Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pell, prosecutions and private schools

Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions has told Victoria Police enough evidence exists to charge Cardinal George Pell over historic sex abuse allegations. News Corp outlets report the ruling comes from the DPP’s John Champion SC, who yesterday handed down advice to police regarding evidence stemming from Pell’s voluntary interview with Victorian officers in Rome last year. While the DPP says the cardinal can be charged, it stressed in its advice that the ultimate decision of whether to do so lies with Victoria Police. Pell has been under investigation over the historic claims since 2015, with allegations stretching from the late 1970s to the 1990s. Pell has vehemently asserted his innocence, saying: “claims that he has sexually abused anyone, in any place, at any time in his life are totally untrue and completely wrong”.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has been grilled by voters unhappy with government plans to address housing affordability. Speaking at a town hall-style forum hosted by Sky News in Gosford last night, Morrison was confronted by a woman asking why the government “gives preferential treatment to investors over young people who wish to buy one home”. Morrison’s response that “mum and dad investors” need protection was dismissed as “ludicrous”, and his suggestion that the housing market is unaffordable is because “we’re not building enough houses” was met with groans from the audience.

Some of the country’s most prestigious private schools will receive large boosts in federal funding under the government’s “Gonski 2.0” education funding model. Schools such as Sydney’s Knox Grammar and Melbourne’s Wesley College, which charge tens of thousands of dollars in fees per student each year, will receive the same level of per-student funding as other schools that charge much lower fees but have the same socioeconomic profile. The National Catholic Education Commission, which has been vocal in its opposition to the proposed reforms, says the government’s funding model is “underestimating how much high-income families can contribute, while overestimating how much lower-income families can contribute”, leading to further economic inequality.

And shadow treasurer Chris Bowen will give the traditional post-budget address to the National Press Club today, outlining Labor’s opposition to an across-the-board Medicare levy hike and laying out a case for a more progressive tax system. Bowen will argue high-income earners have disproportionately benefited from the Coalition’s years in government, while those earning less have had additional pressures placed on them by spending cuts and raises in student debt. You can watch the NPC address from 12.30pm here.

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End notes: How is a death mourned after it has gone viral?

“WeChat is set up for quick and intuitive communication and information sharing: Long press any text, photo, video, or pdf, and the top two options will be to Copy or Forward. Any content from anywhere on the app can be sent, without original attribution, to any other person or group. The app was made for virality ... Death videos comprise a kind of genre of content on WeChat. Every day, users share surveillance footage of tourists being eaten by tigers at zoos, traffic accidents, escalator deaths.” real life

How TV became respectable without getting better

“The subgenre of ‘Prestige TV’ has become a tautological concept, with show after show earning the label simply by aping the aesthetic sensibility and glossy production value of the shows that first defined the genre. Everything is brooding, tortured anti-heroes, stillness punctuated by sudden acts of violence, montage and ironically counterposed musical choices. Plus bad writing – really, howlingly bad writing.” current affairs

Shanghai isn’t an AFL expansion attempt – it’s much more interesting than that

“When Port Adelaide announced last year that it had struck a three year ‘partnership’ with Chinese business, the dominant reaction was probably confusion or derision. With a game now having been played for premiership points in Shanghai, now is a good time to try to get to grips with what exactly is going on. While expansionism is often at the forefront of the minds of many ambitious footy fans who are keen to prove that the Australian game is the best game in the world, a much simpler answer is likely afoot: soft political power and raw cash.” hurling people now



What will young Australians do with all the money they’ll save from not buying avocado on toast anymore?

“Research suggests that people from 18 to 34, a group often referred to as millennials, are no more freewheeling with their spending on travel and dining than other generations. And it would take a lot of skipped avocados to put a dent in the heavy costs of homeownership, which is not always a prudent financial goal ... The truth is, even if millennials assumed the eating-out habits of baby boomers, it would take around 113 years before they could afford a down payment on a home.”   new york times


Buy bizarre racist fashion items, probably.

“Chanel has been denounced on social media for appropriating Indigenous Australian culture by producing a $2,000 boomerang derided as the ultimate in useless status symbols. The wood and resin item is priced at A$1,930 in the luxury haute couture brand’s latest spring-summer 2017 pre-collection, under ‘other accessories’ ... More than 86,000 people liked a photo of the inexplicable luxury item on Instagram, where there was a heated debate about Chanel’s appropriation of Indigenous Australian culture.”  guardian australia


and finally:

38 million pieces of plastic waste found on uninhabited South Pacific island

“One of the world’s most remote places, an uninhabited coral atoll, is also one of its most polluted. Henderson Island, a tiny landmass in the eastern South Pacific, has been found by marine scientists to have the highest density of anthropogenic debris recorded anywhere in the world, with 99.8% of the pollution plastic. The nearly 18 tonnes of plastic piling up on an island that is otherwise mostly untouched by humans have been pointed to as evidence of the catastrophic, ‘grotesque’ extent of marine plastic pollution.” guardian australia