Way out West Look, we’ll give him full marks for chutzpah on this one. Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made his first visit to Western Australia for 537 days, and used it to spread one simple message: “You’re welcome”. Figuring that
Emperor Premier Mark McGowan had plenty of popularity to share round, Morrison decided to see if he could take a little credit for WA’s strong performance in keeping COVID-19 out of the state.
“We did this together, we kept WA safe together,” he told 6PR radio. “I think [McGowan’s] leadership was recognised there at the state election. And equally, the federal government had done more than its fair share there as well.”
In response, the people of Perth gratefully booed as loudly as they could when he attended a West Coast game.
He did however get a warmer reaction from the employees of Christmas Creek mine. This led to the bizarre image of our prime minister leading a group of miners in a round of squats and stretches like a hi-vis Monty Burns. But hey, it got people talking about something other than the vaccine rollout for a bit, right?
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We asked the PMO if this was an event organised specifically for Morrison’s visit but (and you may wish to sit down for this) they didn’t respond by deadline.
Robofret There is something utterly staggering about this government’s approach to the truth. Of course, all governments lie. But the Morrison outfit seems to be so comfortable with obvious dishonesty. See Stuart Robert’s performance on Insiders, speaking about robodebt:
It was unfortunately a 30-year practice where the use of average income data from the ATO frankly wasn’t sufficient, until this government actually got advice to say it wasn’t sufficient and therefore funds were actually paid back. It was a longstanding practice of government that just turned out to be incorrect.
This is demonstrably untrue. It wasn’t until 2016 under the Coalition that the the income-averaging system had human oversight removed and reversed the onus of proof to recipients.
Bring them home Kristina Keneally finally got to Christmas Island to visit the Tamil family who have been held there for the last three years since being removed from their home in the Queensland town of Biloela by immigration services. The senator had gone privately after claiming Defence Minister Peter Dutton intervened to cancel her trip.
Of course it is good the ALP is calling attention to this situation, and it’s hard to imagine quite the same level of gleeful cruelty being inflicted on the family if Labor were in government. But elsewhere, the party has embraced practically identical logic to the Coalition on the issue of asylum seekers — particularly in the ongoing endorsement of mandatory detention and the recent attempt at a scare campaign reporting “out of control” numbers of “plane people” arriving on our shores. Keneally herself deleted a flurry of tweets criticising the bipartisan refugee policy before running for the Senate.
Holy War watch It’s always interesting to see how The Australian ranks the targets of its ire. Today’s Media Diary gives us one such instance — and it’s a surprising one. We can put former PM Malcolm Turnbull above the ABC on its most hated list.
The article accuses Turnbull of hypocrisy (or the very least amnesia): how can he call out the bullying of Christine Holgate when he treated former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie so poorly? The piece points out “in the months leading up to her own departure, Guthrie was on the receiving end of a sustained campaign of pressure from the Turnbull government about what it claimed was ABC bias. At one point during 2018, [Mitch] Fifield lodged six written complaints in five months direct to Guthrie”.
A petty obsession with the public broadcaster’s apparent lack of balance? Heaven forfend! Further, we note that, in its passing reference to Turnbull’s particular ire at Emma Alberici, the Oz neglects to mention its role in publishing leaked information about Alberici’s employment status clearly aimed at discrediting her and forcing her out of the ABC. Perhaps they have amnesia too?