Christopher Pyne (Image: AAP/David Mariuz)

Pyne time Some events act as a nexus of so many things that are wrong with the world that it’s hard to know which to focus on. An invite-only drinks at Parliament House with Israeli weapons company Elbit Systems organised by former defence minister Christopher Pyne is one such event.

First there is the insulting ease with which former politicians parlay their access to the halls of power into lucrative post-politics careers, the unenforceable ministerial standards acting as a barrier with all the efficacy of hosed-down tissue.

Elbit Systems received nearly $100 million in government contracts during Pyne’s period as defence minister, and then hired Pyne’s new employer EY in January.

Beyond that, of course, is the conduct of Elbit which, in case “giant weapons dealer” didn’t tip you off, has — shall we say — raised some questions. It produces surveillance drones that maintain checkpoints in Gaza, and has been accused of manufacturing weapons that assisted in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial and get Crikey straight to your inbox

By submitting this form you are agreeing to Crikey's Terms and Conditions.

Morrison’s Ulhmann Friday Chris Ulhmann’s soft ball question to Prime Minister Scott Morrison at yesterday’s brief press conference elicited some conspiracies (about the Nine papers printing Morrison’s answers before he had given them) that are, in fact, nonsense.

But that isn’t to say the sense of collusion between government and friendly journalists are without basis. Morrison took just one question not related to Australia’s COVID-19 aid to Papua New Guinea, and it just so happened to go — at a PMO staffer’s suggestion — to Uhlmann, as other journos scrambled to ask about Attorney-General Christian Porter. And Ulhmann just happened to ask him the question he’d most like to answer — giving Morrison a chance to praise retiring Liberal MP Nicolle Flint’s “bravery” in accusing Labor of double standards over its treatment of women.

Council notes Last we heard from him Cumberland Mayor Steve Christou was posting about the concerns over 5G towers. He’s cropped into our view again, this time for voting against implementing the “Racism Not Welcome” campaign in the Cumberland area. The campaign has been adopted by a series of councils across New South Wales, putting up street signs to that effect — a modest but meaningful gesture championed by football pundit turned refugee activist Craig Foster.

At last night’s meeting — in the face of a councillor who had received hate mail, plus several anti-racism speakers — several councillors opposed the motion. Some suggested the street signs would make racism worse — rock solid logic we can agree. It certainly swayed Christou who had the casting vote.

This would be an interesting call at the best of times, let alone given events locally and globally in the past week. But of course Christou is “definitely not racist”, as that’s what he told the 11,000 people who signed a petition calling for his sacking over “racist” and “offensive” comments he’d made over the rejection of a mosque in the Cumberland area.

Boot-kissing The Australian‘s coverage of the rich list took a turn for the obsequious this morning with “aging billionaires share their fitness tips”. Spoiler alert: it always involves owning several pools. The coverage would raise questions questions at the best of times — a penny for the thoughts of Nic Walker as he filled his brief of “as many pictures of elderly men in bathrobes as you can get”.

But it clangs particularly tone deaf during the COVID-19 recession as various billionaires hang on to JobKeeper payments they don’t need. (We wouldn’t know if the subjects of the piece have — given the disclosure requirements that cover them.)

Ratio of the day HuffPost Australia‘s long, sad shuffle from this mortal coil appears to finally be complete, with yesterday’s announcement that the website will no longer publish content. This follows similar demolitions of HuffPo in Canada and the US.

This culling was undertaken by new owner, BuzzFeed. Incidentally, it might not be the best time for BuzzFeed to conduct a call-out for the “most disgusting things” rich people have done during the pandemic.