Flood NSW Sydney
Floodwaters in Camden in South Western Sydney (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

WEATHERING THE STORM

Flooding in and around Sydney could rise above anything we’ve seen in the last 18 months, SES commissioner Carlene York via the ABC said, continuing that places that have never flooded before should brace for it. It’s a “life threatening situation”, news.com.au reports, with up to 100mm of rain expected in Sydney today. But the dangerous weather is impacting as far north as Newcastle to the South Coast and as far inland as Oberon. About 32,000 people have been given evacuation orders — overnight parts of Penrith, Emu Plains, Emu Heights, PittTown, Agnes BanksLower Portland, and Yarramundi were all told to leave. The SMH has a good roundup of where to go if you’re evacuated — there are six centres open. So far, one man has been killed after his kayak capsized in the Parramatta River. Wondering what’s causing yet another flood crisis? Check out this explainer from The Conversation.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has reportedly attracted some criticism for being abroad during the floods, according to the AFR. Albanese is in Ukraine but reporter Phillip Coorey says Albo’s office has refused to confirm it, even though our PM’s trip has been covered by several international news agencies. Anyway — Albanese has promised $100 million in aid and vowed to ban Russian imports of gold, as well as sanctions for 16 more Russians, Guardian Australia continues. In surveying the damage in the Kyiv region — including several destroyed residential buildings — Albanese declared “this is a war crime”. He will also reopen Australia’s embassy in Kyiv in a show of solidarity.

WALKING THE WALK

Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds is calling for gender quotas to see more women rise the ranks of the party, The Australian ($) says. The paper says the election was the worst one for Liberal women since 1993 — only nine of the 42 Liberals in the House of Representatives are female, about 21%. In the Senate, it’s 10 (that’s 38%). It means, overall, less than a third of elected Liberals are women. Acting Opposition Leader Sussan Ley says the party is aiming for 50% representation by 2025 — which’ll mark 120 years since Australia became the first nation in the world to introduce equal federal suffrage that allowed women to be elected and vote. Absolutely dismal.

Meanwhile, Labor’s Tony Burke is calling for safer working environments for women in the arts, Guardian Australia reports. He says he has been closely observing the issue while in opposition, including the allegations from actor Eryn-Jean Norvill against actor Geoffrey Rush, Sony Music’s Denis Handlin leaving amid “boys club” criticism, and singer Jaguar Jonze’s allegations of sexual assault against two producers. Burke is the first minister to ever hold the joint portfolios of Arts as well as Employment and Workplace Relations — and he wants to use our national cultural policy to address the issue. First Nations art and cultural practice will be foundational in the policy, Burke added. Speaking of — happy NAIDOC Week! There’s so much on country-wide this week — check out this handy tool that shows events near you. Or, if you’d prefer, Aboriginal Legal Service is always happy to receive donations.

A APPY ENDING

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil says the nation’s Digital Passenger Declaration — which cost taxpayers $75 million, as Crikey writes — will be scrapped on Wednesday as Australia lifts all COVID-19 restrictions from its international borders. It means no travellers will have to reveal their vaccination status to enter or leave the country. Hume says it’ll make airports less busy, The West ($) says. Yesterday, Australia’s COVID death toll reached 10,000 lives lost to the virus.

It comes as Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath warned Australia’s third wave had not peaked yet, and would probably be worse than the second wave because of the Omicron subvariant strength, The Courier-Mail ($) reports. Queensland hospitals are struggling at the moment with 630 COVID cases in beds while 1500 staff are furloughed (18 people are in intensive care in Queensland), as The Brisbane Times reports. Yesterday the state recorded 3971 new cases, and D’Ath urged people to get their boosters and flu shots, saying “people are still dying every single day around this country”.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

Has the Great Resignation gone too far? Mickey Mouse could soon be quitting Disney. The chipper rodent is subject to a 95-year copyright law that will see his design re-enter the public domain in 2024 — it basically means anyone can use the character without risk of artistic infringement. And sometimes it can have disturbing results, as The Guardian continues. Hundred-Acre Woods local Winnie the Pooh entered the public domain in January, and now the eponymous honey-loving bear and his pal Piglet are starring in an upcoming flick called Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. The horror flick will see the cuddly pair go on a killing spree because they were abandoned by Christopher Robin. Yikes.

But the Mickey Mouse most of us know and love won’t be butchering folks any time soon. Only the original 1928 design would be re-entering the public domain. There’s no kind way of saying this — Mickey looked rattier, with a long pointy noise, beady black eyes, awkward legs and a long tail. Cast your mind back and you may remember the black and white cartoon called Steamboat Willie when he first hit our screens. Or, if you’re Gen X/a Millennial like me, you may more clearly remember the Itchy and Scratchy version on The Simpsons. The fictional cartoon-inside-a-cartoon asks the question: what would happen if Mickey Mouse had psychopathic tendencies towards a tender and well-meaning cat? Hmm — maybe a Mickey-horror crossover isn’t that far away after all.

Wishing you a far more relaxing Monday ahead.

SAY WHAT?

Although we are far away geographically, Australians are paying Putin’s petrol prices. We are paying more for food and household items, because global supply chains have been disrupted by his illegal and unjustifiable invasion.

Anthony Albanese

The PM put it plainly: pain at the pump is Putin’s fault. Albanese is in Ukraine at the moment, and pointed the finger squarely at Russian President Vladimir Putin for not only the terrible destruction and bloodshed in Ukraine, but the international shocks driving so many into financial distress worldwide.

CRIKEY RECAP

Australia made a $75 million app for incoming travellers. Everyone hates it

“He explains that the app requires you to put in information that the Australian government already knows about its returning citizens. Despite knowing who comes in on what flights, their passport information and their vaccination certification, the app requires you to manually input or upload all this information.

“When Newton finished that task, he was sent an email noting his completion. Then, on both occasions, he was sent another email saying that he hadn’t completed it. Newton says he then relaunched the app, which showed him that he had in fact completed the required tasks — and then he got another email saying that’s the case. (He also notes that the email comes from ‘no-reply@d35ywk0fnc9dia.cloudfront.net’ so it’s not clear if it’s official communication or a phishing attempt).”


The US Supreme Court, like Trump, goes beyond neoliberalism to nihilism

“And it goes beyond economic anxiety to resentment about the undermining of white heterosexual male supremacy in a myriad of ways. The entire agenda of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News from its establishment in the 1990s has been to stoke that anxiety and resentment and channel it into political action — including ever more aggressive, anti-democratic and violent rhetoric.

“Should Trump vanish tomorrow, Fox News would continue to stoke and exploit that resentment, and simply transfer its favour to someone else who could effectively exploit it — someone perhaps more presentable, and smarter, than Donald Trump.”


Abortion drugs are overpoliced, underprescribed and can be used later than Australian regulations allows

“These days they’re more readily available, with registered GPs able to prescribe them after an in-person or telehealth appointment. But the pills are still policed more than other drugs. Just a fraction of GPs have completed training and are actively registered to provide the pills.

“Each prescription has to be approved by Services Australia before it can be dispensed. The pills can only be prescribed when a woman is less than nine weeks pregnant, despite a large body of evidence that they are safe and effective more than 12 weeks into a pregnancy. And there is just one company that supplies them to Australia.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Palestinian teen shot by Israeli soldiers in Jenin dies (Al Jazeera)

Several hurt in Copenhagen shopping mall shooting (BBC)

At least six dead after chunk of glacier breaks loose on Italian mountain (The Guardian)

Two children diagnosed with NSW’s first cases of diphtheria in 100 years (SBS)

PM Jacinda Ardern to lead trade delegation to Australia this week (Stuff)

Liz Cheney won’t rule out criminal referral against Donald Trump (The Guardian)

Ukrainian forces withdraw from Lysychansk, their last holdout in key region (CNN)

China’s fast-fashion giant Shein faces dozens of lawsuits alleging design theft (The Wall Street Journal) ($)

THE COMMENTARIAT

Virtue signalling over Sorry Day won’t solve Indigenous poverty but it will help pollies feel betterSteve Price (Herald Sun) ($): “It seems non-Indigenous Australians are very good at creating special days and weeks of commemoration but not so good at fixing the problems I’ve seen, and that obviously still exist. The rates of domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of education, poor health outcomes, homelessness and unemployment will not be helped by forcing a primary school in Melton or Moonee Ponds to raise the flag of Indigenous Australians. As usual, it’s virtue signalling at its worst to make white male politicians like Premier Dan Andrews and Education Minister James Merlino feel better about themselves.

The premier, in defence of the new school policy, reverted to type defending it with weasel words about acknowledging the past as a nation to define our future together. He said: ‘It’s about making sure everybody feels equal, everybody feels included and everybody feels safe.’ He’s referring, of course, to well-resourced, capital city schools, not the places I visited. The problem is, premier, everybody isn’t equal and the little kids and women in those communities don’t feel safe and won’t feel safe until there is meaningful change on the ground, not talking about it in schools in Brighton or Broadmeadows.

What would a First Nations foreign policy look like?Huon Curtis and Blake Johnson (The Age): “The Indigenous Diplomacy Agenda is about shaping the international system by understanding, first: how states distribute power to Indigenous groups; second, how Australia’s diplomatic network can shape the international system to benefit Indigenous peoples economically and politically; and third, how Indigenous knowledge and ways of relating with others can be incorporated into Australia’s relations with other nations. On the last point, this could mean ceasing to view international relations in zero-sum terms, instead moving towards concepts of reciprocity, co-development and mutual respect.

“The agenda positions Indigenous affairs at the heart of our foreign policy, but it is important not to romanticise what this means. Australia has a complicated and brutal postcolonial story and reckoning with this — demonstrating that we are learning, growing and strengthening democratic values — is a point of shared truth with other colonial nations. Forming a shared truth with our neighbours is a way for Australia to build trust, demonstrate shared values, and exercise influence.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)

  • Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick as well as MPs Leeanne Enoch, Peter Russo, and James Martin will be at a Budget Briefing dinner held at Golden Lane restaurant.

  • The University of Oxford Future of Humanity Institute’s Elise Bohan will chat about her book, Future Superhuman: Our transhuman lives in a make-or-break century. You can also catch this one online.

Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)

  • Writers Julia Bak, Aurelia St Clair, Tiia Kelly, Kylie Mirmohamadi, Miriam Webster, and Theresa Tully will all speak at The Next Big Thing: Hot Desk Edition #1 held at The Moat by the Wheeler Centre.