FOLLOWING THE LEADERS
It’s musical chairs in Parliament today as former Defence minister Peter Dutton will probably become leader of the Liberal Party (with former environment minister Sussan Ley as deputy), while the Nationals will weigh up whether either David Littleproud or Darren Chester should replace Barnaby Joyce, The Australian ($) reports. Joyce is fighting for his life but it might be time to walk — two in five Coalition voters see Joyce as an electoral weakness, according to a poll in Guardian Australia this morning. Elsewhere former energy minister Angus Taylor could become opposition spokesperson for treasury, while Liberals Bridget Archer and Andrew Bragg will probably step forward to fill the moderate exodus of Greg Hunt, Josh Frydenberg, and Ken Wyatt. Conservative Victorian senator James Paterson will probably get a “significant promotion” too, the Oz ($) muses.
On the other side of the floor Labor MPs Clare O’Neil and Jenny McAllister will probably become cabinet ministers, the SMH says, ahead of this week’s official appointments. Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles (who took the Employment portfolio) will probably take Defence too, while former opposition spokesperson for Defence Brendan O’Connor could take Home Affairs. The Queensland right will probably put Anika Wells forward to replace Shayne Neumann on the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio. Meanwhile, both parties are at risk of a Greenslide, according to The Courier-Mail ($). The Greens now have three Queensland seats — Brisbane, Ryan and Griffith — and a new senator Penny Allman-Payne. The paper spoke to one political expert who said the minor party’s stronghold “will be hard to dislodge now” — threatening the LNP on a Brisbane council level and Labor at a state level.
INVESTIGATION INTO REBURIAL
We did not green-light the reburial of Mungo Man and Mungo Lady, the NSW government says. The 42,000 year old remains (among the oldest ever found outside of Africa) were exhumed in the 1960s and 1970s, Guardian Australia explains, and have been in the custody of Heritage NSW since 1992 (her) and 2017 (him). In the last few years, a stoush has arisen between between traditional custodians about reburying them, resulting in a last minute court application about 10 days ago — despite this, they were put back in the ground last week, causing “shock and outrage”. The NSW government says an external investigation is looking into the reburial.
Meanwhile, Australia has just appointed our first Indigenous supreme court justice — barrister Lincoln Crowley. As a boy, Crowley said his school’s deputy principal told him Indigenous Australians “end up in jail” –“I remember thinking, ‘you wait and see, mate’,” he told the Townsville Bulletin ($) in 2018. Crowley has worked on a few big ticket cases — including insider-trader Oliver Curtis, as ABC reports, and Syrian war financier Omar Succarieh, as The Brisbane Times reports. And a Welcome to Country could soon open Catholic masses, school assemblies, and meetings, The Australian ($) reports, a key recommendation in a proposal given to the Church’s Plenary Council that will be voted on later this year. It also endorses the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The proposal was the end product of a hefty 17,457 submissions from individuals and groups, representing more than 222,000 people across the church.
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DIVIDE AND CONCUR
It looks like AGL is about to scrap its proposed split, following pressure from major shareholder and tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes. The AFR says the energy giant is in crisis after it became apparent the demerger might not get the required 75% approval from shareholders next month. If the deal falls over, it would probably see chief executive Graeme Hunt walk, the paper adds. Cannon-Brookes has long said splitting AGL into a coal power-focused Accel Energy and retailer AGL Australia made no business sense and is bad for the planet — he’ll reportedly try to nab two board seats if the demerger fails.
From tech to crypto, and ABC has a cracking story this morning about Glauber Contessoto, who says he became a millionaire in “two months” from digital coins. Contessoto was an early investor in Dogecoin, a meme-coin hybrid that “went to the moon” (increased exponentially in value) after billionaire Elon Musk hyped the coin on social media. At its highest point, the value of the joke crypto hit $124.7 billion, the broadcaster says, remarkable considering the digital coin has “little real-world function beyond speculation”.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
Two years on, it can be hard for many working remotely to recall what it was like to “go to work”. Some will never have to deal with the workplace wardrobe, the commute, the small talk, and the expensive lunchtime salads again, as many organisations decided it’s WFH forever. But others — either voluntarily or begrudgingly — are headed back into the office, and it can be a bit of a culture shock for us. So The Guardian’s Nell Frizzell has written up some cheeky new rules for the office. Firstly, we should all be having less meetings — to make them more streamlined, schedule them half an hour before the lunch break so everyone has a hard out. If you’re dragged into one, you could set your alarm for 15 minutes and act like it’s an important call you need to take when it vibrates. Unfortunately you can’t just flip your microphone or camera off if you need to “burp, fart, scratch, yawn or sneeze” — Frizzell says sneezing is fine in an office meeting, but anything else requires a bathroom trip.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that an office space with a kitchen will smell like fish around midday. There’s no getting around your colleagues eating tuna from a can (unless you burn a candle quite close to your computer) but you can print an “out of order” sign and place it on the microwave to avoid the reheated seafood dinner situation altogether. If your workplace has embraced the hot-desking life, Frizzell says it’s okay etiquette to leave a pen or notepad on a desk to claim it anyway — as long as you’re the apex predator of the office. If more senior people share your space, unfortunately they get first dibs. Circle of life I suppose.
Wishing you a little spring in your step this morning.
The text messages about the liar and the hypocrite, not reining George [Christensen] in when he should have, not reining Matt [Canavan] in when perhaps he should have. None of those things helped and it actually gave those people who were seeking to park their vote somewhere other than the Liberals the excuse to do so.
The Nationals backbencher had no problems skewering the party leader ($) this morning as Barnaby Joyce fights to hold onto the top job. It’s no secret they’re not exactly chummy, however — McCormack and Joyce have jostled for the leadership during the past four years (though McCormack’s not challenging this time).
“The reaction of the right to the Liberal Party’s devastating result last Saturday is an important event to study for political sociolog- OMG who I am kidding? This is hilarious! These people are nuts! Forget ‘get the popcorn’ — get yourself a popcorn machine! They’ve spent the whole week planning to revive the party in outer suburban seats they went backwards in, or mid-suburban working-class seats where they get a third of the 2PP.
“But wait, it gets better. It’s clear that the right is pushing for a sort of populism which not only attacks the metropolitan cultural elites but is going further and actually attacking the well-off and the rich for being… well-off and rich. This is the party of free enterprise doing this. It’s the most wack thing I’ve ever seen.”
“One of our favourite things in the world is the backbencher you’ve never heard of popping up, doing something extremely weird and then disappearing back into history. The 46th Parliament gave us so many of these beautiful moments …
“South Australia’s Rowan Ramsey reading the wrong Dorothy Dixer; Western Australia’s Ben Small and his utterly deadpan reading of a tweet about falling into a big vat of manure in its entirety at Senate estimates — to make a point about ABC bias, we think; Liberal Senator David Van saying a mixture of a “gruff” voice and his mask were to blame after he was accused of making dog-like growling noises at Jacqui Lambie as she spoke in the Senate. This was the same day as a scathing report on the treatment of women in Parliament was released.”
“Morrison couldn’t campaign on his success in handling the pandemic, given the widespread view that he’d botched vaccines, COVID in nursing homes and rapid antigen tests. With health, aged care, climate, the NDIS and integrity all no-go areas, what could he talk about? Wages — the fifth most-covered issue — proved particularly problematic.
“Cheered on by the media, Morrison tried to seize on Albanese’s commitment to real wage maintenance for low-paid workers as some sort of gaffe. It rapidly became clear the issue was a winner for Albanese, and Morrison — and much of the press gallery — had backed a loser. Within days, Morrison was forced to soften his language around wages growth.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Flight with 22 people on board missing in Nepal (Al Jazeera)
Green energy complicates the Taliban’s new battle against opium (The New York Times)
Cannes 2022: South Korea scoops record awards haul (The Guardian)
At long last, nation’s ‘it’s time’ moment on Indigenous voice — Mark Leiber (The Australian) ($): “The victory speech delivered by our new prime minister late on election night confirmed my unwavering confidence that constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, as presented in the Uluru Statement From the Heart, will be realised. My confidence was never, and still isn’t, naive of real-world political obstacles, which remain regardless of the change in government. Quite the contrary, my reading of post-election politics is that the final stages of the long road to achieve meaningful constitutional recognition will have the support it needs across federal parliament to achieve a successful referendum, and a new dawn for reconciliation …
“As such, it would most certainly not constitute a third chamber of parliament, a mischievous misrepresentation of the body, initially proffered by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who wasn’t prepared to state his real reason for rejecting such a modest, reasonable proposition — his tenuous authority over more conservative elements of his own joint party room. Indeed, the ‘third chamber’ line was swiftly taken up by Barnaby Joyce though, to his credit, Joyce said two years later, in 2019, that he’d been ‘corrected by the experts’, and apologised.”
I hid in fear while a gunman killed 17 at my school four years ago. Why has nothing changed? — Dara Rosen (The Guardian): “When I was a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, in Parkland, Florida, a gunman entered my school and murdered 17 people. I hid in a closet, terrified that I was next. As a survivor of a mass shooting, whenever another shooting happens and gets broadcast in the media, your own trauma begins to haunt you again. And so it was recently, when a gunman entered Robb elementary school in Texas last week, and killed 21 people: 19 children and two teachers. After the shooting at Parkland, we heard a lot of chants like ‘never again’ and ‘enough is enough’. Sometimes, it felt like we were on the brink of change, like this senseless tragedy might be the catalyst for gun reform. There was no shortage of protesters or outrage.
“Four years has passed since then. Nothing has changed. There are still children being gunned down in their schools, like they were in Texas. Just this year, 27 school shootings have taken place in the US. Schools are supposed to feel safe. They’re supposed to be places where you can learn and grow and thrive as a person. Children simply can’t focus on their education if they live with the very real fear of being killed. There was so much momentum after Columbine in 1999; after Sandy Hook in 2012; and after Parkland in 2018. But lawmakers in positions of power have failed to protect us or make any significant strides in gun reform.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)
ABC’s Stan Grant will discuss how the media reports on China in an Media Diversity Australia event hosted by the Judith Neilson Institute.
Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)
Writers Mykaela Saunders, Samuel Wagan Watson, and Ellen van Neerven will speak about This All Come Back Now: An anthology of First Nations speculative fiction at Avid Reader bookshop. You can also catch this one online.