‘Grotesque’ No campaign called out

Campaigners against a Voice to Parliament have attracted criticism over “grotesque” comments on Indigenous people, calls to scale back Welcome to Country ceremonies, and the use of AI disinformation.

What we know:

  • Australian Jewish Association head David Adler, who sits on the advisory board of top “No” outfit Advance, has repeatedly questioned on social media independent senator Lidia Thorpe’s Indigenous heritage, and suggested Indigenous Stan Grant had artificially darkened his skin (SMH); 
  • Jewish Affairs Council chairman Mark Leibler said Adler had recently used anti-Semitic tropes to delegitimise support for the Voice expressed by several Jewish groups, and said the comments about Grant were “grotesque”;
  • It comes as prominent “No” campaigners including federal opposition leader Peter Dutton, National Party leader David Littleproud, Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and former prime minister Tony Abbott call to scale back the use of Welcome to Country ceremonies (NIT); 
  • Speaking at a Voice to Parliament “No” campaign event earlier this month, Abbott said he is “getting a little bit sick of Welcomes to Country because it belongs to all of us, not just to some of us”;
  • Indigenous “Yes” campaigner Marcus Stewart hit back at the criticism of Welcome to Country, arguing that it is “a ceremony that brings us together” (ABC); 
  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese meanwhile has accused the “No” campaign of spreading AI-generated misinformation (The Australian $); 
  • Albanese said it is ­“pretty scary frankly, some of the ‘No’ campaign and stuff that’s going into people’s Facebook posts which is designed to spread misinformation”;
  • Voice supporters are grappling with an “endlessly replenishing swamp of lies, distortions and racist abuse propagated on social media” (The Saturday Paper). 

Australian surfers missing at sea

Four Australian tourists and three Indonesian crew are missing after their boat encountered a storm off the west coast of Indonesia.

What we know:

  • An Indonesian search and rescue team has been deployed to find the group, who were travelling in a wooden speedboat around the Sarang Alu and Banyak islands in Aceh Singkil district (ABC); 
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the four Australians are Elliot Foote, Steph Weisse, Will Teagle and Jordan Short;
  • The group were travelling to Pinang Island, off the west coast of northern Sumatra, as part of a 30th birthday celebration for Foote (news.com.au); 
  • The families of the group said that their hearts “are aching at the thought” of them being missing at sea and asked that their privacy be respected;
  • Those missing were part of a group of 12 Australian nationals and five Indonesians who were travelling to Pinang Island in two boats;
  • The boats left Nias island on Sunday afternoon and experienced bad weather with very heavy rain during the trip;
  • The resort on Pinang Island later reported that the boat with 10 passengers had safely arrived, but the boat carrying the seven that had left earlier had not been seen;
  • Julian Lauencoan, the owner of Banyak Surf Resort and part of the search effort, believes it unlikely the boat has sunk and that wind directions shouldn’t have pushed them too far out into the sea.

Children accuse Rinehart of fraud

Lawyers for two of billionaire Gina Rinehart's children accused the mining magnate of fraud, as they called for her to be cross-examined.

Legal action is being taken by Bianca Rinehart and John Hancock, who claim their grandfather Lang Hancock placed mining assets in a family trust partly for their benefit (ABC). 

Lawyers for Gina Rinehart last week argued Lang Hancock had actually placed them in the trust behind his daughter's back, solely for his benefit and that of his wife Rose Porteous.

Bianca and John’s lawyer, Christopher Withers, told the court on Monday that documents show this was not the case, and accused Rinehart of “calculated and deliberate fraud”.

Withers challenged Rinehart to front the court in Perth.
“We ask this. Where is Gina? She is very much alive and able to give evidence as to these events,” he said.

Rinehart was instead giving the keynote address at a mining and agriculture conference in Perth, where she called for nuclear power rather than “bird killing wind generators and massive solar panel stretches” (The Australian $). 


Database targets heavy gamblers

An online advertising database used to target specific groups of consumers includes categories for “heavy TAB gamblers”.

The dataset of 650,000 international “audience segments” was discovered on the website of Microsoft’s advertising technology platform Xandr (The Guardian). 

The platform offers advertisers the ability to reach certain types of people online, including Australian categories for “heavy TAB gamblers” and people who have gambled “in the last seven days”.

Dr Simone McCarthy, a research fellow at Deakin University who studies the impact of gambling in Australia, said the inclusion of categories of frequent punters in the database was troubling.

“If they gambled in the last seven days, whether it’s a coincidence or they’re a weekly gambler, that puts their risk of being harmed by gambling ads up quite significantly,” she said.

The database of potential global consumers were grouped based on everything from political leanings and race to medical history, including “heavy purchasers” of pregnancy test kits and having an interest in brain tumours.


One Nation drops Latham as leader

Mark Latham has been dumped as the NSW One Nation leader after an intervention by federal leader Pauline Hanson.

Hanson installed a new state executive in NSW and made herself the branch’s temporary leader after disbanding the former state executive to ditch Latham as leader (SBS). 

Hanson said the decision was based on the party failing to pick up extra seats at the state election, after she fell out with the former Labor leader over his homophobic slur towards fellow state parliamentarian Alex Greenwich.

In a statement posted on social media, Latham accused Hanson of removing him from the position “without consultation or due process”, describing the move as a “takeover”.

He said if Hanson was “worried about under-performance, her best solution is to buy a mirror”, highlighting a 3% swing against her at last year’s federal election.

The decision won’t affect Latham’s position in the NSW parliament, where he has an upper house seat until 2031.


In every country pub, city club, suburban home they are doing this tonight. Watching the Matildas.

Former Australian deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce posted video of himself watching the Matildas defeat France on Saturday in a pub. He later realised the pub had put on a friendly from weeks ago, not the World Cup quarter final the rest of the country was watching (The Guardian).


Postscript: The great libraries of Rome

Passersby could wander at will into grand public libraries in imperial Rome. Could they trust what they found inside (Aeon)?