Linda Reynolds
Linda Reynolds

Reynolds apologises While it did nothing to change the impression she was shifted into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) portfolio as part of a “glass cliff” process to ease her out the door after her disastrous handling of the aftermath of the rape allegations by her staffer Brittany Higgins, Crikey was glad to hear Linda Reynolds apologise to the family of David Harris.

As one of a number of apologies she was required to make during her appearance at Senate estimates on Friday, Reynolds said: “I am deeply sorry and I absolutely offer my condolences to the family.”

Harris was a Sydney man with severe schizophrenia who died alone in his kitchen some time in early 2019 after all but one of the NDIS services he had relied on had been withdrawn. He wasn’t found until July. In December 2020, after Young Walkley Award-nominated reporting from Crikey‘s Amber Schultz, an inquest was called into his death.

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’Twas ever thus The stoush between the government and the ABC continues apace, with ABC managing director David Anderson grilled at Senate estimates this morning. The “delay” in broadcasting Louise Milligan’s Four Corners report looking at Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s friendship with a QAnon-promoting conspiracy theorist put one tipster in mind of an early 2001 episode, which eventually ended with then-MD Jonathan Shier departing.

Shier delayed Andrew Fowler’s Four Corners story “Party Tricks”, accusing the ABC legal team of being negligent in clearing the story for broadcast. “Among other things, Andrew had used a hidden camera to film senator Bill Heffernan meeting a bagman in a cafe in the Boulevard Hotel on Williams St,” the tipster recalled. Shier called in his own QC, Henric Nicholas. Henric went on to clear the story so, as our tipster put it, it was a “humiliating backdown for Shier”. At the time, opposition leader Kim Beazley said Shier had “jeopardised the political independence of the ABC”. “Party Tricks” was eventually aired on July 23, 2001.

The drama came around the time of Four Corners‘ 40th anniversary. At the party commemorating the milestone, Shier reportedly berated “Party Tricks” producer Quentin McDermott. According to a piece by The Australian‘s then media writer Amanda Meade, Shier called McDermott “‘stupid’ and “a Pom who didn’t know the content of his own ‘boring’ program”. Soon after, Shier resigned with a fairly decent payout.

Wolf out the door Comedy, they say, is all about timing. So is being an enormous dill. On Sunday US author Naomi Wolf was banned from Twitter, something a long time coming. Wolf, once a leading feminist writer and campaigner, has spun off into COVID-19 semi-denialism, anti-vax stuff, and more than a glance at chemtrails, etc. It’s a sad story, with a touch of relevance deprivation syndrome about it. So who would want Wolf on their side?

Step forward The Australian‘s new US correspondent Adam Creighton, himself partial to the “but at what cost?” angle when covering any attempt to limit the spread of COVID in Australia. He filed a chummy interview feature with Wolf on Saturday, in the Weekend Australian, one day before she got the Twitter boot. Coincidence? Yeah, right. Wake up, sheeple!

Trump watch What did the discourse ever do without him? The former US president returned over the weekend to give one of his first post-White House addresses at the North Carolina Republican Party convention. The footage, pored over like it was this generation’s Zapruder film, appeared to show that Trump’s trousers had no zip, which inevitably led people to one conclusion: for one reason or another the Donald was wearing his trousers backward.

Fact-checkers Snopes had a look and concluded that certain angles show the trousers clearly had a zip and declared the theory false. Trump, as ever the pioneer, the first US president to require a fact-checking website to verify he hadn’t put his clothes on backwards like a senescent Kriss Kross.

Snot good news Turkey’s Sea of Marmara is coated in what may be the largest outbreak of “sea snot” in history. Marine mucilage — the thick slime produced by algae when it’s overloaded with nutrients, a result of hot weather and pollution — has bloomed in the Marmara and the nearby Aegean and Black seas.

Hardman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to “save” the sea from the outbreak, presumably aiming to expel the slime quicker that an activist demanding recognition for victims of the Armenian genocide.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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