Coal from a coal seam gas well rig in the Pilliga forest, part of Santos' Narrabri gas project (Image: AAP/Dean Lewins)

Corporate compassion We here in the Crikey bunker have no need for clocks. We tell the time based on a far more reliable measure: the 10 seconds it takes a huge company to attempt to gobble up the goodwill of whatever social justice movement happens to be trending (while bravely ignoring its own past).

So it was with Black Lives Matter, so it was with Pride, and so it is with NAIDOC Week.

We’re sure Santos’ commitment to proudly “Heal Country” is news to the dozens of Indigenous-led groups who vehemently oppose its plans to frack at its project in Narrabri.

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McGowan on and on Over in Western Australia, Emperor Premier Mark McGowan’s famed tardiness to his own press conferences has finally been summed up in table form:

University of WA masters student Angus Hughes found, via assiduous scraping of ABC footage and cross-referencing with the “What time is Mark McGowan’s press conference?” Twitter feed, that only four of McGowan’s 39 pressers over the time measured started when they were supposed to. The data, alas, is already out of date. While the previously longest wait during the sample period came in at 32 minutes, just yesterday McGowan bested that, keeping his constituents waiting for 34 minutes.

Eff-all for farmers Senator for coal Matt Canavan has said out loud something we’ve long assumed was the case: agriculture and farming is actually a very minor concern for the National Party. As noted by The Land, Canavan told the Guardian Australia podcast:

About 5% of our voters are farmers; it’s about 2% of the overall population. So 95% of our voters don’t farm, aren’t farmers or don’t own farmland.

Which might explain why it so regularly duds the constituency it is assumed to represent — say, by returning an aggressive opponent of a net zero target to the party leadership, while the National Farmers’ Federation pushes for net zero by 2050, Meat and Livestock Australia pursues net zero by 2030, and the dairy sector commits to a 30% reduction by 2030. We’re glad to have that cleared up.

Taking it to the Banks Julia Banks certainly has a way of eliciting the absolute worst and laziest rhetoric from her former colleagues.

Remember when she first spoke out about bullying in the Liberal Party in the aftermath of Malcolm Turnbull’s axing way back in 2018? We got Victorian Liberal president Michael Kroger: “This is politics. People speak strongly. People raise their voices.” Former senator Helen Kroger gave the vocal equivalent of a shrug: “Politics is clearly not for everyone.” Meanwhile Craig Kelly, who has since followed Banks’ example and quit the party over his principles (in his case, that Pete Evans should be the nation’s chief health officer), suggested Banks ought to “roll with the punches”.

We decided to look up what Scott Morrison, at the time less than a week into the top job, had to say on the matter. We regret to say his response may be the laziest of all. Apart from a bizarre attempt to link Australia’s border protection regime to his own strong anti-bullying stance, the pro-forma “conservative bloke proves his bona fides on gender matters” response dribbled listlessly past his lips:

QUESTION: Julia Banks has publicly condemned your party colleagues for bullying and intimidation. Did you try to discourage her from quitting, have you spoken to her, and are you ordering an inquiry into bullying and intimidation within the Liberal Party?

MORRISON: Well I have no truck with bullying or intimidation in whatever form it is. I said the other day when it comes to keeping Australians safe — that means everything from what we do on our borders through to ensuring we speak out on things that prevent bullying in the classroom or anywhere else. I am the father of two young daughters and I have no truck with that sort of culture or behaviour.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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