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John but not forgotten

Good morning, early birds. A NSW trade commissioner in California says he had to work from home after the state government closed its office there to open the new office in New York, and an expert has predicted that half a million Australians will get long COVID in the next few months. It's the news you need to know, with Emma Elsworthy.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro
John Barilaro (Image: AAP/Dean Lewins)


A NSW trade commissioner in California says he had to work from home after the state government closed its office there to open the new office in New York, Guardian Australia reports. It comes after former deputy premier John Barilaro was appointed to the trade commissioner role in the Big Apple, but stepped down under scrutiny soon after. Last week, his former chief of staff told an inquiry that Barilaro had said he would get the California office moved across the country because he wanted the job in New York “when I get the fuck out of this place” — Barilaro denied saying this, calling the recollection false. But the office did move, Guardian Australia adds.

Meanwhile the NSW upper house will probably be recalled for an urgent sitting on Friday because the state government didn’t hand over documents about Barilaro’s appointment, the SMH reports. Parliament isn’t supposed to sit until later this month. The request, which came from Labor, will probably succeed because the Coalition doesn’t have the majority in the upper house. So why didn’t they produce the docs? Shrug — it was an SO52, an order of Parliament, and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says he wants them released ASAP. The government handed over media releases, but there’s been no sighting of the former Nationals leader’s job application and CV. Assuming it exists, of course.


Half a million of us will get long COVID in the next few months, and it’s mostly women, according to The Brisbane Times. It means healthcare and education sectors will take a massive hit, where women are the majority of employees. By the numbers, one cardiologist said, it means up to 3000 of the 55,000 people who tested positive yesterday will get long COVID. Researchers say it’s about 5% but it’s still better than before COVID vaccinations, when it was more like 10%.

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Meanwhile monkeypox has been declared a public health emergency of international concern after more than 16,000 cases were found globally and five deaths, ABC adds. The government says 41 of the cases have been found here as of July 19. This includes 22 in NSW, 15 in Victoria, two in the Australian Capital Territory, one in Queensland, and one in South Australia, reports. The World Health Organisation said it is concentrated among men who have sex with men, and says good health measures can protect the “human rights and dignity” of those affected. Look for swollen lymph nodes, headaches, muscle aches, and rashes on the body that look like chicken pox.

It comes as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has introduced the “strongest ever” biosecurity measures against foot and mouth disease while resisting calls to shut the border to Indonesia. Farming, business groups, and a former top diplomat to Indonesia all agree, saying overreacting risks $500 million in trade, SMH reports. In 2011 the Gillard government introduced a snap live export ban over a horrifying ABC Four Corners report into the mistreatment of cattle in Indonesia — the head of Meat and Livestock Australia said people are still recovering from the “absolute disaster” of that ban.


Anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder says the sale of an $11 million mansion in Sydney listed by someone who reportedly earns less than $1000 a month could mean Australia is being used to hide the wealth of Cambodia’s regime. The Australian ($) says the mansion’s owner, Mongkol Phara, an equity trader, is the son of Cambodia’s deputy prime minister, while Phara’s wife is the daughter of a former agriculture minister. They bought the mansion in 2016 with no mortgage registered, it continues. Browder called for AFP and AUSTRAC to look into it. Incredibly, Hun Sen has ruled Cambodia for 37 years — he was once part of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, and there have been instances of corruption and abuses in recent years. Meanwhile last month another of Cambodia’s deputy prime ministers (there are 10) told Foreign Minister Penny Wong that China will not have access to a naval base in the country’s south, labelling reports as “groundless accusations against Cambodia”, AFR reports. He told Wong the renovation of the base — which China is funding — was to strengthen Cambodia’s naval capacities.

Speaking of China — Australian activist Drew Pavlou has been arrested in the UK over a “bomb threat” email to London’s Chinese embassy that he claims was an attempt to frame him, Guardian Australia reports. Pavlou, holding an Uyghur flag, held a small human rights protest outside the embassy — but the email allegedly read “this is Drew Pavlou, you have until 12pm to stop the Uyghur genocide or I blow up the embassy with a bomb. Regards, Drew”. Pavlou says he didn’t send it, calling it “absolute insanity”, but the Metro police arrested him. He tweeted that he’s facing seven years in prison. Pavlou was in the headlines last month after being kicked out of the men’s singles finals while holing a sign asking the whereabouts of tennis star Peng Shuai, as Fox Sports reports, who levelled sexual assault allegations at a senior Chinese Communist party official before disappearing.


Jia Jiang was on a mission to be rejected for 100 days. All he had to do was ask tough questions — like, can I have a hotel room for free? Can I loan $100 from you? — receive a no and, mortified, walk away, for more than three consecutive months. It might sound masochistic, but it’s quite the opposite — it’s called Rejection Therapy, and the idea is to build up one’s resistance to receiving the “no”, to smash through the fear that stops us from chasing our dreams, big and small. One clinical psychologist told The Guardian the concept was, in his view, the ideal treatment for social anxiety. Jiang came across Rejection Therapy in his 30s — he was a senior manager but had big dreams of developing apps. The fear of being rejected, however, had frozen him in place. So he delved into the program.

On day three, he walked into Krispy Kreme, asked for a doughnut in the shape of the Olympic rings, and readied himself for the embarrassment of the “no”. But it didn’t come. The worker sketched the design and gave him his sugary interlocking quintuplet 15 minutes later, free of charge. He posted about the interaction online, which quickly went viral, and he went on to write a book and give a TED talk on the power of embracing the “no”. Jiang says we often expect the worst, but everyone is actually a lot nicer and less confrontational than we think. In chasing the “no”, Jiang played football in a stranger’s yard, had Santa sit on his lap, and taught a class at college. “When I finished teaching that class I walked out crying,” he says. “I saw I could fulfil my life’s dream just by simply asking”. When the “no” does come, Jiang says, it’s good to remember it’s not a report card on who you are. “It’s just an opinion”.

Hoping you’re brave enough to risk rejection today, folks.


I’m not here to comment on the Liberal Party and some of the transphobic, homophobic and frankly, un-Victorian kind of hatred. This spite just doesn’t work. Like we’re all equal. We all should be respected. We all should be safe.

Daniel Andrews

The Victorian premier says he’s not going to waste words on Melton City councillor Moira Deeming who was endorsed by the Liberal Party on Saturday night for the upcoming state election. Deeming has spoken out about banning Drag Queen Story Times for toddlers and banning trans women from using women’s bathrooms and change rooms.


Divinely ordained neoliberalism: ex-PM’s mistrust of government is longstanding

“For a man who has devoted most of his life trying to get into government, Scott Morrison sure has a low opinion of them. After an unsuccessful career in tourism marketing, he moved from political party machine man to MP and, eventually, to the prime ministership. Now he says you shouldn’t trust government. Affecting the air of a grizzled veteran, one who has been there done that, Morrison now declares: ‘As someone who’s been in it, if you are putting your faith in those things, like I put my faith in the Lord, you are making a mistake.’

“It’s reminiscent of when a bitter Mark Latham, having spectacularly flamed out as Labor leader, left politics and warned young Australians not to waste their time with parliamentary politics. Inevitably, Latham has since decided parliamentary politics really are worthwhile after all, having found a political party that would have him.”

Morrison’s Revelation: Australia has been living in a theocracy and we’re just waking up to it

“Press gallery journalists too should take the time to closely examine the words of Australia’s 30th prime minister and ask themselves how they missed one of the biggest stories of the decade: the coming to power of a politician so thoroughly in the thrall of a niche religious belief. Crikey has been pointing it out for at least a year, but it took Morrison’s departure to reveal the extent to which God had inhabited the Lodge over the past four years.

“Morrison’s lengthy sermon to Pentecostal believers gives us a better understanding of the defining features of his prime ministership: his disdain for secular accountability (whether an ICAC or the findings of the Australian National Audit Office) and his ability to mislead, be caught and yet carry on without apparent shame. Ultimately Morrison reveals himself as a man who can justify much in the cause of spreading the dominion of the Lord. Here is what we have learnt, courtesy of Morrison himself …”

‘Unethical’: crowdfunded online clinical trial giving ivermectin to treat COVID-19

“It is officially registered and received ethics approval from the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne. The trial is open to anyone who signs up via a website after testing positive for COVID and participants are mailed a treatment of drugs including ivermectin.”


Legislating ‘apartheid’: Critics slam Bosnia’s election law plan (Al Jazeera)

[US] heat records expected to be broken on Sunday (The New York Times)

Japan’s Sakurajima volcano erupts, prompting highest alert (CNN)

Rights group seeks arrest of ex-Sri Lanka president in Singapore (Al Jazeera)

[Hungary PM] Viktor Orbán sparks outrage with attack on ‘race mixing’ in Europe (The Guardian)

Google fires engineer who contended its AI technology was sentient (CNN)

Elon Musk’s friendship with Sergey Brin ruptured by alleged affair (The Wall Street Journal) ($)

WHO declares monkeypox spread a global health emergency (The New York Times)


‘Sabotage’ claim unfair: united voice could not be clearer Marcia Langton (The Australian) ($): “It is absolutely not the case that I have been influenced by Liddle and Price. Neither Liddle nor Price attended our consultative meetings. Nor have they ever spoken to me about the voice. I am influenced by the thousands of Indigenous people who did speak to me and who want to influence policies because they desperately need better living conditions in their communities and a better future for their children. I haven’t spoken to Liddle or Price in many years, and the last time I spoke to Tony Abbott, who has demanded ‘all the detail’ behind the voice, was when he and Bill Shorten met with us as a group of Aboriginal leaders wanting constitutional recognition after our Expert Panel report, Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution, was presented to Julia Gillard in 2012. Abbott inherited the report and told us he would never act on it.

Leibler is wrong to say I am ‘motivated by a desire to sabotage the process’. To the contrary, I support a referendum with a simple question: Yes or no to a voice? I also support the democratic notion that voters have a right to be accurately informed about what they are voting for, or perhaps against. This seems to me essential given the extent of the lying and obfuscation from the usual parties. For instance, it seems many Coalition members and former members, such as former PM Malcolm Turnbull, continue to peddle the lie about a ‘third chamber of Parliament’ despite the opinions of Queen’s Counsel and constitutional lawyers that this is not the case. Abbott’s claim that there is no detail comes despite our Final Report setting out all the details in 272 pages, and the reports of up to 10 other inquiries and committees, some of which deliberated during his tenure as PM.”

Could a smaller, bolder Splendour be a better festival experience?Osman Faruqi (The SMH): “Who’d be crazy enough to run a music festival? It was a frequently uttered question backstage at this year’s Splendour in the Grass, as artists, crew members and managers grappled with the logistical issues that defined its return after three years. Back in the summer of 2019, it was Falls Festival that bore the brunt of Australia’s increasingly frequent natural disasters when the entire Lorne show was cancelled due to extreme heat and bushfire threat. Sheer resilience kept Australian music afloat over the past two years, but as live shows started to return anticipation built for Australia’s biggest music festival, Splendour (run by Secret Sounds, who also put on Falls Festival).

“This time it wasn’t COVID that affected the festival’s return. In a throwback to Falls in 2019, it was weather that posed the biggest threat. The north coast of NSW has been battered by heavy rains and floods throughout 2022, devastating many local communities. The area had been drying out in the lead-up to Splendour, but an already high water table and projected torrential rain led to fears the entire show would be scrapped — for the third time in a row. In the end, it was only the first day of Splendour that had to be abandoned due to flooding. Organisers and crew worked throughout Friday night to get the site in working order so that all the scheduled artists could hit the stage on Saturday and Sunday. It seems significant that extreme weather has bookended the pandemic’s impact on live music. With climate change making summers hotter and rainfalls heavier, there are serious questions about the long-term viability of Australia’s iconic outdoor festivals. But weather wasn’t the only logistical challenge.”


The Latest Headlines


Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)

  • Poets Ella Jeffery, Rebecca Cheers, and writer Mitch Cave will speak at the launch of Rabbit Poets Series at Avid Reader bookshop. You can also watch this online.

Kaurna Country (also known as Adelaide)

  • Resilience NSW’s Shane Fitzsimmons, anaesthetist Richard Harris, and vaccination researcher Helen Marshall will speak about leadership in crisis as three former recipients of Australian of the Year.

Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

  • The new US Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy will speak at the US Embassy in Canberra.

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Peter Fray
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23 days ago

Jiang played football in a stranger’s yard, had Santa sit on his lap, and taught a class at college.

Let’s hope it wasn’t an English class, with questions like “Can I loan $100 from you?”

23 days ago
Reply to  Mercurial

More likely the Worm editor.