MARK MCGOWAN
Premier of Western Australia Mark McGowan (Image: AAP/Richard Wainwright)

Way out west The sheer numbers of the WA election continue to boggle the mind. It now looks as though the Legalise Cannabis Party will secure two upper house seats. If you add the Daylight Savings Party, that means the upper house has more single-issue micro-parties than the lower house has Liberals.

This absurdity does double service for emperor Premier Mark McGowan. Firstly and most obviously, it makes the Liberals and the Greens (both completely wiped out — the Greens are now reduced to a single seat) look like total berks. But the prospect of a man who received 98 primary votes and will have to move back from the US to take up his seat to campaign for one issue (as Daylight Savings MP Wilson Tucker will) gives McGowan cover to do one thing he said he wouldn’t do: reform the upper house voting system.

These guys again? Why in the name of both-siderism is Q+A platforming the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL)? The group was nasty enough during the marriage equality debate, but at least it was defensible as a legal requirement of the postal survey (another winning element of that winning policy). Since then, the ACL’s chief contribution to recent public debate is calling for Israel Folau’s reinstatement to the NRL. The relevance of this intervention was undermined somewhat when NRL chief Peter V’Landys pointed out that no teams had applied to hire Folau. He added that the ACL might be better off trying to do something about poverty or inequality, a perfect “get a proper job” slam that we can not top.

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Women’s cabinet Who says Prime Minister Scott Morrison is a political chancer more adept at announcements and photo ops than addressing substantial political problems? After all, anyone who merely focused on the optics of any event would presumably have considered how it might look that pretty much every photo of the first meeting of the Women’s cabinet taskforce features Morrison talking, rather than listening.

(Image: Marise Payne/Twitter)

Regardless, it’s nice that the Morrison government is now aware policy has a gendered dimension beyond whether women use roads — something we’ve been trying to point out for a while.

ACTing up An intriguing point from the letters section of The Canberra Times over the weekend:

At a public gathering outside the ACT Courts building on March 29 eminent speakers addressed public policy issues involved in the prosecutions of Bernard Collaery and Witness K for disclosure of the illegal bugging of the Timor Leste cabinet room by Australian government officials. Members of the public were shocked when a court official started shouting at them to stop photographing speakers.

One speaker, Sister Susan Connolly, asked the court official to stop interrupting her address. Members of the public were appalled when the court official shouted back, almost drowning out the amplified voice of the speaker. This is not the first occasion when court officials have stopped photography of eminent speakers including members of the Commonwealth parliament … Is it really necessary for court officials to stop photography of eminent speakers at a public gathering outside the court building but well clear of the entrance to the court?

A good question. We asked ACT Courts whether it was standard for employees to involve themselves in public gatherings this way. Principal registrar Amanda Nuttall told us that ACT Courts media policy set out permitted filming locations.

“A clear pathway into and out of the court precinct must be maintained at all times, and persons operating video, photographic or audio recording equipment must not impede the pathway of persons entering or leaving the court precinct,” she said.

“It is usual practice that orderly conduct is maintained immediately in front of the court building to ensure that members of the public, including jurors, can access the building without obstruction.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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