Former Olympic swimmer Susie O’Neill has joined the women accusing TV celebrity gardener Don Burke of sexual harassment. Speaking to Fairfax, O’Neill and her then-manager Nick Cummins described Burke making graphic sexual comments while interviewing O’Neill in 2000, and Channel Nine’s refusal to cancel the segment. In an interview with A Current Affair’s Tracy Grimshaw, Burke said he had “worked out” that he was an “Asperger’s person” without being diagnosed, and blamed social media and “the Twittersphere” on the “witch hunt” against him. Burke also retreated from his initial vehement blanket denial when asked if he had tried to remove researcher Louise Langdon’s top, saying he “certainly wouldn't have done it seriously”. Fairfax journalist Kate McClymont, who published the accusations against Burke on Sunday, told ABC News she had received “at least 200 emails from people coming forward with further allegations”, including members of the public, casting doubt on Burke’s claim that his accusers consisted of “a small number of … disgruntled ex-employees who still bear a strong grudge against me”.
Cape York lawyer Noel Pearson has flagged his intention to work with a future Labor government on ratifying the recommendations of the Uluru statement. Speaking to Radio National Drive, Pearson said he would devote his energies to “urging a sympathetic government, a progressive government, from the left to do the right thing by blackfellas”. Pearson’s admission came after excoriating Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in “Betrayal”, his essay in The Monthly, saying “at a crucial juncture of our history the prime minister lied, and his lie was a slur on the country’s most unequal people”, and admitting that “my strategy of reaching out to the political leadership of the right availed us nothing in the end”.
Radio station Triple J has announced it will move the date of its annual Hottest 100 music countdown from January 26 in 2018 to avoid associations with Australia Day. In recent years the ABC music station has struggled to reconcile calls from high-profile artists such as hip-hop duo A.B. Original to move the date with complaints from listeners wanting the countdown to stay put. In August the station began polling its listeners on the prospective change, finding that 60 per cent of respondents were in favour of moving the countdown from January 26. Communications minister Mitch Fifield was quick to criticise the decision, saying “the ABC should honour” January 26 as “our national day”. If you wish to avoid yet another months-long culture war by the conservative press, now would be a good time to take a long overseas trip or go into hibernation.
Two Nationals MPs have pledged to cross the floor in support of a royal commission into the banking sector, giving Labor and the crossbench enough votes to pass a bill to that effect before the end of the parliamentary sitting year. Llew O’Brien and George Christensen have confirmed they intend to vote for a bill, put forward by Liberal National Senator Barry O’Sullivan, that will likely secure Labor, Greens and crossbench support in both houses. The Nationals will decide their position on a banking royal commission at a party-room meeting on Monday, potentially giving its parliamentarians a free vote on the issue. The absence of former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and the Member for Bennelong, John Alexander, as they contest byelections in their New South Wales seats, has given supporters of a commission the numbers to suspend standing orders in the House of Representatives and bring a vote on O’Sullivan’s bill.
And, in the UK, two people are getting married early next year.