Manly players Sean Keppie, Kieran Foran and Reuben Garrick happily wearing the pride jersey (Image: AAP/Supplied by Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Manly players Sean Keppie, Kieran Foran and Reuben Garrick happily wearing the pride jersey (Image: AAP/Supplied by Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

PLACE OF PRIDE

Seven Manly Sea Eagles footballers will boycott tomorrow’s pivotal match against the Roosters because they refuse to wear a Pride jersey, news.com.au reports, but the show will go on. Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley refused to play — reportedly over their religious beliefs. Yesterday coach Des Hasler apologised profusely — first over the jersey and who it had offended, and then to those offended by the seven players refusing to wear it. Cripes. Veteran Fox Sports commentator Warren Smith was astounded, tweeting “Imagine, in 2022, having to apologise for wanting to promote inclusiveness and diversity”.

So what gives? Michael West Media’s Mark Sawyer says Pacific Islanders and Australian-born Pasifika people are a crucial part of the game in numbers and quality of play (six of the seven players were from a Pasifika background). He says Methodist missionaries who led the colonists in the 19th century “embedded a belief system that has, in the 21st century, engendered communal solidarity” and says Christianity has become a foundational part of the Islander identity. The SMH spoke to Reverend Ma’afu Palu who said the same: “Whatever the Bible says is very authoritative to us.” Of course, as ABC’s Nick Campton says, not all Pasifika players are from conservative religious backgrounds, and other players will reject the jerseys for non-religious reasons. Sawyer suggests different jerseys for different players, saying: “Muslim sports men and women have been granted dispensations to not partake in alcohol advertising.” Though is comparing the promotion of alcohol to LGBTIQA+ rights fair game? You be the judge.

AYRES AND GRACES

Deputy NSW Liberal Leader Stuart Ayres signed a document saying Jenny West was the “successful candidate” for the NY trade commissioner role after a “full recruitment process” but told Parliament 10 months later that there was “no suitable candidate identified”. It’s the latest revelation from the inquiry delving into how former Nationals leader John Barilaro ended up with the gig, which pays half a million dollars (he has since said he will not take the job). Labor reckons Ayres mislead Parliament, SMH reports, and accused premier Dominic Perrottet of doing so too, because Perrottet “noted” the document last year (though didn’t sign it) before saying recently that he had been told there was no suitable candidate from that round of recruitment. Yikes.

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Perrottet is in Seoul at the moment on an Asia trade tour as his “government drifts from under pressure to embattled”, as The Australian ($) puts it. It was “unthinkable” weeks ago, but the paper claims senior ministers are wondering whether Treasurer Matt Kean or Cities Minister Rob Stokes would be a better leader to take to the March 2023 election. Perrottet told voters to keep the faith in his government, AAP via The Courier reports, saying with somewhat of an oxymoron that NSW is “arguably 100%” in a better place today than 11 years ago. He says he has no memory of the “noted” document, and that Barilaro would’ve been a great pick for the job. “People should trust government because there are good people in politics,” he added — which sounds like a thinly veiled rebuke of former PM Scott Morrison’s sermon last week, as Guardian Australia reported.

UNTANGLED WEBB

Folks, we might have cracked open one of Australia’s biggest mysteries. The body of the Somerton Man was found on an Adelaide beach nearly 75 years ago, and the chilling case has baffled researchers since. Inside his pocket were the words “Taman Shud” which means “finished” in Persian, news.com.au says, while an unsmoked cigarette was resting on the breast of his perfectly pressed jacket. His clothes were American, as was his aluminium comb, which suggested he may have recently returned from abroad.

Could he have been a spy? A researcher from the University of Adelaide says no — he was a sparkie. Derek Abbott says his name is Carl “Charles” Webb and he was an electrical engineer from Melbourne, ABC reports. He disappeared without a trace, and his wife — perhaps assuming he’d left her — filed for divorce and moved to Bute. Abbott says Webb may have gone looking for her. He was exhumed last year and his DNA led them to find Webb’s first cousin three times removed. SA Police haven’t confirmed anything yet, however.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

With seemingly endless rain lately and rising COVID cases making one wary of any sort of exercise, it would be understandable if you’ve let your fitness slide a little bit. British runner Rose George writes for The Guardian that she’s coming out the other end of a long stint of COVID and feeling a bit blah. But she says the key, the secret, the magic is, quite simply, marginal gains” — making a tiny change in your life leads to monumental results: “Even five minutes a day of exercise that raises the heart rate is good for you,” George reasons.

Hopping off the bus one stop earlier or taking the stairs really does work, she continues. Finding an exercise buddy makes a big difference, too. And a little bit of trickery can really change things, George adds. For instance, say to yourself: whenever I brush my teeth, I’ll squat at the same time. After a while behaviour becomes habit, and your butt will look great for it. She also makes a point of getting up every 45 minutes while working to sneak in some squats — but honestly, even just getting up for a five-minute walk around the place would do you a world of good. “You may be starting small,” George says, “But small is better than the sofa.”

Hope you have a spring in your step today, folks.

SAY WHAT?

I was having a lovely breakfast, enjoying the winter morning outside our local café in Perth, when a lady approached our table. She asked where I was from, and I replied Australia. I had the feeling already of where this was going, but I also genuinely wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Tracy Vo

The Nine newsreader and former Today show host says the woman probed her about her religious background, them labelled her family “communists” before turning to her partner Liam and saying: “Don’t be had by this Asian woman.” Vo says it’s a reminder that intolerance is still alive and well in Australia, and tweeted: “Sorry lady, we won’t be had by you.”

CRIKEY RECAP

‘SURPRISE SURPRISE’: anti-vaxxers spread misinformation about the monkeypox vaccine

“Some of the misinformation and rumours about the monkeypox vaccines follow the same pattern as typical anti-vaccine rhetoric. Users in online anti-vaccine communities frequently share content showing the vaccine’s potential side effects published by the maker, which they claim are also, simultaneously, being covered up: ‘Pfizer’s long list of covid vaccine side effects (that they tried to hide),’ one user wrote.

“Others have baselessly speculated that the spread of monkeypox may have something to do with vaccines. One popular conspiracy theory is that only countries that received Pfizer COVID vaccines have suffered monkeypox outbreaks — either claiming that the vaccine somehow caused the virus or is being used as a cover-up for vaccine side effects.”


‘Wearing prejudice with pride’: seven Manly players put principle over playing

“What’s the legal position? The Morrison government failed to pass any religious freedom law, and the NSW government has not yet carried through its announced plan to add religious discrimination to its anti-discrimination legislation. As the law stands, therefore, the Manly players have no claim that they are the victims of discrimination by being required to wear a jumper that offends their religious beliefs.

“It may be that if the players refuse to play they will be in breach of their employment contracts; that depends entirely on the terms of those contracts. It sounds like a non-issue, because Manly reportedly is allowing them to voluntarily stand down without penalty. If it did move against them, the players might seek to invoke protections under the federal Fair Work Act against religious discrimination by employers.”


Even in political death, Scott Morrison finds new depths to plumb

Morrison will presumably refund a week’s salary to taxpayers given he can’t quite make it to work. Every other remaining Coalition MP that he led to defeat has to eat the shit sandwich of facing Parliament from opposition; that Morrison can’t bring himself to join them in that ordeal speaks volumes.

“He will exit Parliament at some stage before the next election. Better that he does it now, so that taxpayers aren’t paying more than $200K a year to a bloke paying more attention to opportunities on the international rubber chicken circuit, and trying to rehabilitate his reputation from that of international pariah and the man who wrecked the NSW Liberals to that of suburban statesman, than to the needs of the constituents of Cook.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

South Africa calls for Israel to be declared an ‘apartheid state’ (Al Jazeera)

Russia to pull out of International Space Station (BBC)

If it looks like a recession and quacks like a recession… (CNN)

Melting glacier in Alps shifts border between Switzerland and Italy (The Guardian)

Shopify says it will lay off 10% of workers, sending shares lower (The Wall Street Journal) ($)

‘Straight racist’: complaints as school bans dreadlocks, braids (NZ Herald)

Saudi Crown Prince MBS heads to Greece, France to discuss ties (Al Jazeera)

Tomohiro Kato: Japan executes Akihabara mass murderer, say reports (BBC)

Tony Dow, ‘Leave it to Beaver’ star, dead at 77 (CNN)

THE COMMENTARIAT

Pass the climate bill to end the energy culture warsChris Bowen (The AFR): “It is no accident that one of the first pieces of legislation introduced by the Albanese government in the 47th Parliament is in response to one of the most urgent and pressing issues of our time — climate change and the energy transformation The climate bill is an opportunity for this Parliament to send a message that not only does Australia have a government that is getting on with the job of implementing a policy framework to accelerate investment in renewable energy, transmission and storage, but also that we have a Parliament that is united in getting on with the job.

“While this legislation is not necessary for the Albanese government to embark on the policy actions we sought and received a mandate for, it is best practice. It will help provide the policy certainty and stability that the Australian community has called for. This in turn will help attract the investment and skills that are needed for the transition to net zero, because the world’s climate emergency is Australia’s jobs opportunity. It sends the message that Australia is back as a good international citizen, and that the country now has a government and a Parliament that wants Australia to be a renewable energy powerhouse.”

I saw signs of monkeypox at Berlin’s pride parade — but that doesn’t mean it’s a ‘gay disease’Roland Bull (The Guardian): As I embraced one friend, I noticed two large scars on his face that he would later explain were the remnants of enormous pustules that had flared up, crusted over, scabbed and finally healed, indicating he was no longer infectious. The scars would likely never dissipate though, hence the effort of a bushy beard to hide them. Expanding on his experience, he told me of red-raw tonsils and excruciating lymphadenopathy. ‘I didn’t know we had that many lymph nodes!’ he marvelled. I did.

“I’m an Australian medical student halfway through my degree, taking a year off to breathe after two years of pandemic study and my own health woes. I push the upper-limits of ‘mature-aged’ at medical school, having come to the vocation late in life after a career in LGBTIQA+ health. Berlin has long been a kind of second home. As the march progressed, amid the thumping techno and bustling rainbows, I heard more stories. Sores concentrated in the rectum obscuring diagnosis — in the absence of pox on the body, the man’s fever was just attributed to COVID or the flu. The rectal sores must have seemed an unwelcome anomaly though.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

  • CSIRO’s Larry Marshall will launch the Our Future World report in an address to the National Press Club.

Whadjuk Noongar Country (also known as Perth)

  • OECD secretary-general Mathias Cormann will speak at the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry event at Crown Towers Perth.

Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)

  • Doctor Ben Bravery will speak about his book, The Patient Doctor: How one man’s cancer diagnosis led to a quest to put the heart back into healthcare, at Avid Reader bookshop. You can also catch this one online.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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