A constitutional crisis is brewing in South Australia, as The Advertiser reports Governor Frances Adamson will be asked to sack Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman, after she lost a vote of no confidence in the state parliament. The vote came after a parliamentary inquiry found Chapman had “an actual and perceived conflict of interest, breached the ministerial code of conduct and misled parliament on three occasions” in relation to her decision to veto a proposed seaport on Kangaroo Island.
ABC reports that the motion requires the Speaker of the House, former Liberal Dan Cregan, to express to the governor the House’s will that Chapman be dismissed from her duties as deputy premier and a minister of the government. The complication arises because Chapman is refusing to resign, and Premier Steven Marshall is standing by his deputy (and both are denying any wrongdoing), InDaily reports. By convention, the governor acts on the advice of the premier, and so this unprecedented set of circumstances leaves us with little understanding of what will happen next.
This political debacle comes at a bad time for Marshall, who is looking to secure a second term at the upcoming South Australian election in March next year, news.com.au reports. Chapman is the first minister to receive a vote of no confidence in the lower house in South Australia’s history.
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NOT SO OPEN AND SHUT
Victoria has lifted almost all restrictions as the state nears 90% double dose vaccination, on a day where anti-government protests dwindled but the turmoil within Parliament House reached a new peak, ABC reports. Although very few restrictions remain, the debate around the pandemic bill is focused on the future of government powers to declare states of emergency and enforce health orders during pandemics.
As The Australian ($) reports, the focus now turns to Victoria’s upper house crossbench, with Adem Somyurek’s surprise return to parliament leaving the government short of the votes needed for the bill to pass the upper house. Somyurek’s bombshell forced Victorian Premier Dan Andrews to delay debate yesterday, but The Age reports negotiations continued late into the night, with the hope the bill can return to the upper house today. Without the powers available under a state of emergency, which will permanently expire on December 15, the Victorian government will be left with no avenue through which to enforce safeguards such as mask-wearing and quarantine.
CONCERNS FOR CHINESE TENNIS STAR
Concerns are growing for Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who has not been seen since accusing a top Chinese government official of sexual assault over two weeks ago, the BBC reports. Scrutiny has increased after the Women’s Tennis Association cast doubt on the authenticity of an email released by Chinese state media, purportedly from Peng, that retracted the assault claims. The SMH reports that the WTA has doubled down on their inquiry, threatening to cancel tournaments in China if legitimate evidence of Peng’s safety isn’t produced soon.
The Guardian reports that Peng’s seeming disappearance has captured the attention of tennis stars across the world, with Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic making statements expressing their shock at the situation. Peng posted her allegation against former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli on Chinese social media site Weibo on November 2. The post was removed within half an hour, with censors blocking related searches.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
Apparently there are awards for comedy wildlife photography, and the winners are enough to bring a smile to even the gloomiest of mornings. As seen in Traveller, the 2021 winners include sassy birds, camera-shy bears, and a frog who is simply loving life. Good for you frog.
The top prize however, goes to amateur photographer Ken Jensen, who captured the moment a golden silk monkey seemed to find itself in a world of pain … Apparently the expression was actually a monkey’s display of aggression, but human audiences will appreciate the humour nonetheless.
Of course there’s going to be an Irish girl here in a brewery.
In a pre-election campaign stop to Tooheys Brewery in Sydney, the prime minister’s attempt to crack a joke while highlighting migrant apprenticeships fell a little flat.
“The governing rules, made by the then-prime minister in 2016 and still in force, stipulate that an ordinary MP like Laming can employ up to four staff in electorate officer positions. The only guidance on the duties these staff can and can’t perform is that ‘they are employed to assist the Senator or Member to carry out duties as a member of Parliament and not for party political purposes’.
“But what about purely personal business? It’s implicit, because their salaries are paid from the public purse, that the only legitimate use of their services is for work directly related to the MP’s role as an MP. That does not include pursuing private legal action, such as threatening to sue for defamation over allegations that have nothing to do with Laming’s duties as an MP.”
“Crikey has obtained an email and campaign brief from Vocal Media, a small US-based influencer marketing agency that has worked with other left-leaning political and non-for-profit organisations. The email was sent to a TikTok user — this author — with the subject line ‘Paid TikTok Opportunity: Australian Labor Party’. The email offers $300 to make and post a TikTok video ‘based on the overarching theme of ‘Scott Morrison is too slow and always late’.
“Nowhere does the brief discuss making a political authorisation or disclosing that this content is sponsored. Failure to authorise political content is a breach of election laws and can result in a penalty for up to $26,640 for an individual according to the Australian Electoral Commission.”
“What’s happening in Victoria, and to a lesser extent elsewhere, is a deliberate effort by different groups to harvest and monetise the discontent and anti-government sentiments of anti-lockdown/anti-vax/anti-Andrews/anti-waddya got movements.
“The far right and white supremacist groups are working hard to cultivate, groom and recruit from the ranks of protesters. The same phenomenon has been observed elsewhere. Lockdowns and confusion about vaccines are an ideal opportunity for fascist groups to circulate conspiracy theories, anti-Semitic propaganda and calls to violent action in the name of freedom.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Religious discrimination commissioner to cost $11m (The Australian) ($)
Work starts on Western Sydney Airport passenger terminal (The Daily Telegraph) ($)
Election could be a choice between plane food and train food — Phillip Coorey (AFR): “[Scott Morrison’s] flicking of the switch to the cost of living, in the context of the economic recovery, is where he wants the fight to be for the next six months. It’s also what is increasingly exercising the minds of the swing voters in the focus groups, as is their desire for governments to get out of their lives after the micro-management of the pandemic. By identifying petrol prices as a problem before Labor did, his basic message to voters was ‘if you think they’re bad now, they’ll be worse under Labor’. Shameless, but potentially effective.”
It’s hard to be a good leader with voters like us — Amanda Vanstone (The Australian) ($): “As voters, we say we want long-term thinking, but we also want the gravy train to stop at our station first. When one side puts out a longer-term plan, it is immediately criticised if it ‘won’t be delivered until after the next election’. Thus, both sides are actively telling us not to trust long-term commitments — unless they are the ones making them. We want leaders to be strong, on duty and in charge. But at the same time, we want them to be ‘first among equals’ and consultative. So, we want them in charge but listening. Listening to our elected representatives, to experts and to us. And collaborating with each other. In a pandemic. Political leaders have tough jobs.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Australia will get a glimpse of the flower moon, the last full moon before the summer solstice, at sunset today. The partial lunar eclipse will see the moon pass almost totally into Earth’s shadow.
National Agriculture Day 2021, also known as AgDay, will focus on attracting people into jobs in agriculture.
Eora Nation (also known as Sydney)
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will speak at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Sydney Dialogue, also streamed online.
Kaurna Country (also known as Adelaide)
Female high school and tertiary students are invited to join the Women in STEM Seminar at Science Alive!, held at the Ridley Pavilion, for an evening of presentations from leading female engineers and scientists from a diverse range of STEM careers.