Labor plans simple Voice choice

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has revealed his strategy on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, proposing a broad concept rather than a detailed model in order to avoid the fate of the failed 1999 republic referendum.

What we know:

  • At the Garma Festival in Arnhem Land on Saturday, Albanese proposed that Australians be asked simply if they “support an alteration to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice” (The Saturday Paper); 
  • In a subsequent interview on Sunday, Albanese explained the detail of how the Voice would be left to federal parliamentarians to debate after a successful referendum (The Conversation); 
  • Albanese said he was trying to avoid the situation of the failed 1999 republic referendum  where people may have disagreed with one element within the proposed model and were then urged to vote no;
  • “What I am not going to do [is] to go down the cul-de-sac of getting into every detail because that is not a recipe for success,” he said;
  • Under the draft proposal, the Voice’s role would be as adviser and advocate to Parliament, but its advice could be rejected — defusing criticism it would act as a “third chamber”;
  • The Greens, whose support may be required if the Coalition opposes a referendum, say they will insist on concrete steps towards a treaty with Indigenous nations (The Age); 
  • Also at the Garma Festival, Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney indicated a truth-telling and treaty process is being planned alongside the Voice proposal (ABC). 

Albanese most popular new PM

Anthony Albanese has recorded the highest satisfaction rating for an incoming prime minister in the first post-election Newspoll.

What we know:

  • The 1508 voters surveyed gave Albanese a 61% approval rating, surpassing Kevin Rudd’s 59% in 2007 (The Australian $); 
  • The result comfortably exceeds the previous approval ratings in the first Newspoll following a change in government of Tony Abbott (47%) and John Howard (45%) (Pollbludger); 
  • Labor has surged to a 56% to 44% two party preferred lead over the Coalition, improving on the two-party result of 52.1% to 47.9% at the election;
  • New Liberal leader Peter Dutton recorded a 37% approval and 41% disapproval rate, and he trails Albanese 59% to 25% as preferred prime minister — the widest gap since 2008;
  • Combined support for the minor parties and independents remained high at 30%, but Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party dropped from 4.1% to just 2%.

Protests upset LGBTQ Shrine ceremony

A wreath-laying ceremony for LGBTQ veterans who died in combat has been marred by protests, as the RSL backs a decision not to light Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance in rainbow colours.

On Sunday, the Shrine hosted a wreath-laying ceremony and Last Post for LGBTQ veterans and advocates for the first time, as the rainbow flag flew in the forecourt (The Age). 

About a dozen protesters opposing the LGBTQ service jostled with police when officers attempted to move them on, but no arrests were made.

It comes after several threats made by members of the public successfully pressured organisers to abandon plans to light the Shrine in LGBTQ colours.

The RSL’s Victorian president Robert Webster said he was pleased the display was cancelled, arguing “we’re a very conservative organisation”.

Shrine visitor Claire Andrews, whose late brother did not feel he could come out as gay when he served in the air force, said the lights would have been a “beautiful symbol of the acceptance of the LGBTQI community”.


Bin Ladens gave Prince Charles £1m

Prince Charles reportedly took a £1m payment from the family of Osama bin Laden, despite objections from advisers.

The Prince of Wales had a meeting with two of Osama bin Laden’s half-brothers in October 2013, two years after the Al-Qaeda leader was killed (The Times $).

He reportedly accepted the money despite the objections of advisers at Clarence House and the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF) — the recipient of the donation (The Independent). 

Clarence House disputed the claims, saying the decision to accept the donation was taken solely by trustees.

A Clarence House spokeswoman said: “The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund has assured us that thorough due diligence was undertaken in accepting this donation.”


Samoa’s pandemic isolation ends

Samoa today reopens its borders to international tourists, 865 days after closing due to the pandemic.

The limited number of flights heading to the country are running close to capacity for weeks to come, with large numbers of Samoan expatriates returning to visit their country of birth (The New Daily).  

The first flight to land at Faleolo International Airport will be a New Zealand Defence Force Boeing, carrying Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, staff, community leaders and media.

Weekly flights to and from Australia will resume on August 4 (Travel Weekly).

Visitors will need a vaccine certificate and will have to show a supervised Covid-19 RAT taken within 24 hours of departure.


They said they didn’t have insurance for these sorts of things.

Softball Australia takes a swing and a miss at an adequate response to allegations a coach groomed and sexually assaulted a child (ABC).


Postscript: Digital Collages by Beto Val Splice Vintage Illustrations into Surreal Hybrid Creatures

Ecuadorian artist Beto Val alchemizes vintage illustrations into bizarre compositions that blend fruits with fowl and aquatic life with land animals. Using imagery available through the public domain, Val cuts and repositions fins, wings, and scaly talons into surreal creatures: round owl faces peer out from pineapples, autumn leaves sprout from tropical birds, and a rendering evocative of a biological chart displays fish with bodies made of strawberries, brains, and an early, industrial locomotive (Colossal).


Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.

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