NT MINISTER CALLS OUT MEDIA
NT Police Minister Kate Worden says if Sunday’s shooting death of an Indigenous woman and a baby had happened to a white woman and a baby on the east coast, it would’ve been front page news around the nation. The bodies of two adults and a baby were found at a property 25km north of Alice Springs, the NT News reports. Worden put it frankly: “It wasn’t. So if it’s a race-based issue, then let’s call it as it is. This is an Aboriginal family. They are Territorians. And they have been subject to domestic violence”. Worden says the national media need to help put pressure on the federal government to put more funding into domestic violence in the Top End.
Meanwhile the WA government has moved a group of 17 mostly Indigenous boys — some as young as 14 years old — to an adult maximum security prison, Perth Now reports. They were relocated from Perth’s Banksia Hill detention centre to Casuarina prison — officials say they’ll be kept away from adult prisoners in units while repairs happen at Banksia Hill. An independent inspector found some boys were spending as little as one hour per day outside of their cells. The government said it had no choice because the children were showing “extreme behaviour”, “destroying property”, “assaulting staff” and “harming themselves”. It comes as an inquest into the drowning death of 22-year-old Gomeroi man Gordon Copeland saw footage where an officer said “f*** this little c***” and laughed after Copeland allegedly ran into the river. The NSW coroner said Copeland went into the water after police chased the car he was a passenger in, thinking it was stolen, Guardian Australia reports. It wasn’t.
The NSW government hasn’t produced any documents — like CVs or selection panel reports — from the recruitment process that lead to former deputy premier John Barilaro scoring his controversial NY trade role, the SMH reports. But the government has provided a stack of documents — like briefing notes, recruitment reports, panel assessments, and selection criteria — from the job’s initial recruitment process that saw bureaucrat Jenny West get — and then lose — the gig. Premier Dominic Perrottet is in Tokyo for a trade trip — speaking yesterday he admitted there were issues with Barilaro getting the job, and also for the first time, said he felt for West in light of her treatment.
To another state scandal now and the Victorian opposition are calling for the Andrews government to give back at least $1.3 million after the damning findings of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) report, the Herald Sun ($) reports. How’d they get the figure? Well, $1.2 million of it would be the taxpayer funds paid to factionally aligned community groups by former ministers, while $150,000 would be the money used to employ political staffers who didn’t do much, if any, “legitimate” work. The report says one staffer (Electorate Officer Q) who was paid around $30,000 logged on to work six days across 2019-2020 and sent one work email during his period of employment. Yikes.
WEATHERING THE OUTBREAK
Unions say they will fight for the right to work from home in enterprise bargaining agreements for white-collar workers, The Age reports. It comes as our chief medical officer has called on employers to let staff work from home this winter to deter COVID-19 transmission — but inking the right into contracts could see it stick around for years to come. Telstra and Westpac have bitten the bullet and told all staff to work from home if possible, but government departments are yet to shift work settings, Guardian Australia reports. It comes as COVID-19 hospitalisations have soared past 5300, the SMH reports, as the Omicron outbreak continues.
Still, staying safe at home might not be so straightforward, with the nation facing a tricky few months of weather ahead. The Bureau of Meteorology says August to October is going to bring severe storms and widespread flooding across eastern Australia and elevated fire risks in the Northern Territory, Guardian Australia reports. There’ll be above-average rainfall from Queensland down to the south coast of NSW, with part of the NT to also receive a deluge. The bureau said our soil, dams and catchments are already soaked and that means serious flood events could develop. Victoria and NSW can expect severe storms into spring too. Incredibly, as news.com.au reports, the financial disputes watchdog says they’ve got 72,358 complaints after the last round of floods and storms, with natural disaster complaints more than doubling in the last 12 months.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
There’s no other way to say it, folks: a walrus named Freya is sinking boats while sunbaking in Norway. The curvy beauty is somewhat of a local celebrity in Oslo after turning up on the scandi-city’s shores and lazing indulgently across various boats during Euro-summer, front flippers askance, paying no mind to fishermen who try to approach her. She even enjoyed a rather blissful shower from the bilge pump at one stage (which she activated by getting in the boat in the first place). “She needs to relax for up to 20 hours,” a researcher told Science Norway seriously — and girl, I get it. “When she is constantly stressed out by people and their presence, it is not good for her”. But Freya is also rather worldly and well-travelled, the BBC continued, having previously been sighted in Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands, where she reclined her brown figure brazenly across a submarine last year.
Freya has also been seen on the Scottish island of Vementry where she soaked in some rays next to a salmon farm cage, occasionally dabbling in the seafood buffet like some sort of ancient Egyptian royal eating grapes. She had an audience of oohing and aahing onlookers but Freya was not moved by the voyeurism — although a wildlife photographer admitted to the BBC it would be, in fact, “very hard to disturb a walrus” given they have “size and girth on their side”. But this sort of hedonism is also a state of mind, and I think we could all take a leaf out of gorgeous bronzed Freya’s books this weekend and enjoy the blissfulness of pure indulgence, whatever that looks like for you.
Hoping the smiles come easily today, folks — and have a restful weekend ahead.
The idea that he’s out there and pressing the United Nations button … I’ve spent two months trying to repair our international relations and that sort of nonsense, throwaway, conspiracy line about the United Nations I think isn’t worthy of someone who led Australia.
The PM says he was astonished to hear former PM Scott Morrison’s sermon at church where he said — verbatim — “we don’t trust in governments”. Albanese said it just shows he didn’t lead a government that was worthy of the Australian people.
“Staffing jobs were used for internal political work and nepotism — instead of serving the public, appointees worked, sometimes full-time, on factional hackery, or never showed up for work at all. Attempts were made to misdirect grants to factional mates. The report finds there was a culture of branch stacking within the Victorian ALP that went beyond Somyurek’s faction, and the misconduct was openly or tacitly condoned by senior figures in the party …
“Seriously — the man has been leader for 12 years, premier for eight, suspects something is happening that is ‘a serious problem’ and ‘a corruption risk’ — and seems to do nothing about it. Indeed, he appoints as minister the man identified by IBAC as the leader of branch stacking and misuse of public resources, and then reappoints him in 2018 after he was dumped for alleged bullying.”
“Even as we, the media, have come to accept our issues with diversity, we promise to do better — yet then we continue to make the same mistakes. For example, I would bet my house that there are more articles written or interview segments in the last year complaining about trans people — which are more or less the same stuff over and over again — than there have been written by or featuring trans people about any topic.
“You want something newsworthy and interesting? Imagine if we used this rare and privileged platform to go and speak to five trans people about what it’s like when both candidates for prime minister of Australia denied that trans women are women in a televised leadership debate. No one wrote that article (including me). But a lot of people have written about how using genderless pronouns or terminology denies women’s existence. It’s boring to publish that again.”
“Anthony Albanese has created an unpleasant precedent for himself after speaking with Neil Mitchell in Melbourne yesterday … It could also be viewed as a subtle form of pressure on the RBA. What will the government do if the bank ‘overreaches’ — especially while the bank is being reviewed? It’s a problem politicians haven’t had to contend with for more than a decade: being asked to reflect on the RBA’s decisions to tighten monetary policy.
“But Albanese himself was a senior member of the past government that faced rising interest rates, back when the mining investment boom and the recovery from the financial crisis saw seven 0.25% rate rises in just over a year between 2009 and 2010. Statements of the bleeding obvious don’t merely hold the potential to undermine the RBA’s independence, they can create a rod for your back down the track. Best not to overreach on that front.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Russia resumes Nord Stream natural gas supply to Europe (The Wall Street Journal) ($)
India’s next president will make history when she’s sworn in (The New York Times)
Monarch butterflies are now on endangered ‘red list’ (Al Jazeera)
[US] House passes bill to ensure contraception rights after Dobbs (The New York Times)
Why reforming Victorian Labor won’t be part of Andrews legacy — Annika Smethurst (The Age): “So, will these reforms put an end to it? It’s unlikely. There is little doubt these auditing and transparency measures will make branch stacking harder, but the reforms fail to dismantle the incentives that encourage party powerbrokers to use branch stacking as a way to gain influence. Instead of the bold reforms needed to unpick this problem, Labor will require new members to flash a photo ID when signing up and ensure they pay for their own memberships.
“The changes also fail to address the way candidates are selected and do little to ensure voters are presented with the best candidates, instead of those who remain loyal to powerbrokers. Another reason we should be sceptical about the proposed changes is because vested party and factional interests were broadly welcoming of the recommendations and response of the government. As the report concludes, ‘rules can provide the impetus for cultural change, but can equally be rendered ineffective by an apathetic or resistant culture’. This is not an argument against the proposed integrity measures, but a recognition that reformation will require bolder action.”
Climate bill front and centre when Parliament starts but it’s the least of Albanese’s problems — Michelle Grattan (The Conversation): “If you’re outside staring in, you’d probably say the Albanese government is looking good. If you’re inside gazing out, you’d likely think its challenges appear little short of dire. Next week the new parliament will commence with a fortnight’s sitting. There’ll be focus on the government-Green negotiations on the legislation for Labor’s 43% climate target. But it’s the economy and COVID that will actually be the more immediately worrying issues.
“Treasurer Jim Chalmers, perhaps with an eye to the politics, has been using a megaphone to say he’ll have bad news when he gives a state-of-the-economy address to the House of Representatives on Thursday — a day after the release of the latest inflation figure, expected to be a shocker. The revised economic projections will be affected by a range of factors, including to an extent the current, still-worsening, COVID wave, which governments are trying to manage without the imposition of restrictions people would no longer accept. As we confront this wave, it would be desirable for the new parliament to have a repeat of the COVID Senate committee that did good work in the last term in questioning officials and extracting information.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)
Former US presidential candidate and author Marianne Williamson will discuss “embracing the wisdom of the heart” at Evolve Together held at Sydney Town Hall.
Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)
Former US National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers will deliver an address to the National Press Club called Russia and China: geopolitics and the new global cyber challenge.
Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)
Author Helen Yeates will chat about her memoir, Do Look Now, at Avid Reader bookshop. You can also catch this one online.