Liberal Senator Ben Small
Liberal Senator Ben Small (Image: AAP)

A small matter As we reported yesterday, ABC managing director David Anderson was hauled in front of Senate estimates to have politicians who in every other context won’t stop banging on about freedom of speech interrogating him about what ABC journos like on Twitter.

Call it an offensive waste of time and public resources if you wish, it’s produced the funniest and strangest use of a parliamentary process since those fast-food guys who said “privilege” before every sentence no matter how many times the committee they were in front of told them they didn’t need to.

You may have seen the following tweet from comedian and writer Ben Jenkins, mocking the conservative media reporting Christian Porter’s withdrawal of defamation proceedings against the ABC as though it were a victory for Porter:

Anyway, Western Australian Senator Ben Small — oil and gas chum, expert room reader and man who has his TER score in his parliamentary bio — decided to, utterly deadpan, read it in its entirety. It’s a pretty good gag anyway, but Small’s delivery elevates it to something else entirely. It puts us in mind of the episode of decency panic in the UK back in 2008 that erupted after comedians Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross left nasty messages on Andrew Sachs’ mobile. This led to the surreal sight of current affairs show Newsnight host Emily Maitlis telling then BBC director-general Mark Thompson dirty jokes from his own programming.

Nothing but the truth Today’s Australian editorial weighs in, inevitably, on the Christian Porter/ABC defamation saga. It waxes lyrical about its brilliance in holding institutions like the ABC to account and, in classic Oz Holy War style, hints darkly at the “the work, the habits and the hubris of Sally Neighbour and Louise Milligan”, all under the grandiose heading: “Greatest enemy of truth is those who conspire to lie”.

Apart from reading like the op-ed young Lib presidents get published in their uni paper, it’s noteworthy to look at this paper’s unwavering commitment to the unvarnished truth.

This is the same paper which, on its front page this morning, argues that the following tweet — which eagle-eyed viewers may notice is actually the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail with some writing on it — represents a “a doctored online image of Porter without any limbs”:

Church in court This isn’t normal Crikey fare but given the work we’ve been doing lately on the Pentecostal church and questions of sex abuse we thought it worth sharing a news story that’s come our way.

NSW Police have confirmed that last Friday a 29-year-old “youth leader” attached to a Pentecostal church was charged with aggravated sexual intercourse with a person older than 14 and younger than 16, and one count of aggravated indecent assault of a victim “under authority of offender”.

The assaults are alleged to have happened between 2015-16 and 2017-18, which puts it right in the time frame of the royal commission into child sex abuse — which heard evidence from senior Pentecostal figures from the Australian Christian Churches. The ACC represents Pentecostal churches in Australia — including, until recently, Pastor Brian Houston’s Hillsong — and told the royal commission that it vowed to do better.

The ACC declined to give Crikey any comment “due to pending court case”.

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Jess
Singapore

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