Friday, December 08, 2017

Australia finally gets it done

It’s done.

Marriage equality is now law. Liberal Senator Dean Smith’s bill passed the House of Representatives at about 6pm yesterday, with only four MPs voting against it. Speaking at Parliament House, former Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said the vote was a tribute to LGBTI people “who are gone and those who are yet to come”. Same-sex couples will be able to register their intent to marry from Saturday once Governor-General Peter Cosgrove ratifies the bill tomorrow, meaning the first weddings will take place from January 9. Besides the #MarriageEquality hashtag, “House of Representatives” and “LGBTIQ”, the term “Lyle” trended worldwide on Twitter after thousands of people tweeted “eat shit Lyle” at Australian Christian Lobby chair Lyle Shelton.

The charities and non-profit sector has reacted furiously to news that former Labor MP Gary Johns has been appointed as the new head of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Johns, who is notorious for referring to Aboriginal women on welfare as “cash cows” and suggesting mandatory contraception for welfare recipients, has often criticised charities for advocating political and social causes, writing in 2014 that “advocacy is not a charitable purpose”. Community Council of Australia CEO David Crosbie said the appointment was proof the government was “committed to attacking the charities sector”, while Australian Council for International Development CEO Mark Purcell said the appointment was part of a government push to “have the charity regulator tie up charitable critics of government policy between now and the next election”.

The High Court has ruled that trade unions cannot strike during enterprise bargaining negotiations if doing so is in breach of orders from the Fair Work Commission. The decision, which further restricts the right of workers to take industrial action, was handed down in a dispute between the Australian Workers’ Union and resources company Esso over a 2015 industrial action at Esso’s Longford plant in Victoria. Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus said the ruling further eroded the right to strike in Australia, saying “our industrial laws are fundamentally broken and tip the power even further in favour of employers”.

Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie has been elected as new deputy leader of the Nationals following a ballot yesterday. McKenzie, who beat Queensland Senator Matt Canavan, Riverina MP Michael McCormack and Hinkler MP Keith Pitt for the job, is a firearms enthusiast who lives in the bayside Melbourne suburb of Elwood and campaigned against John Howard’s higher educations cuts while president of the Deakin University Student Association in 2003.

In the United States, Democratic Senator Al Franken has resigned after multiple women accused him of sexually harassment and assault. Franken maintained his innocence in a speech to the US Senate, saying “some of the allegations against me are simply not true” while “others I remember very differently”. Radio host Leeann Tweeden, writer Tina Dupuy, army veteran Stephanie Kemplin, Minnesota resident Lindsay Menz and a former Congressional aide who has remained anonymous are among the women to accuse Franken, who has been under growing pressure to resign in recent weeks as more women came forward. Speaking in the Senate, Franken referred to allegations against US President Donald Trump and Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, saying “there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party”.

And Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced he will seek re-election in 2018, likely securing a fourth six-year term. If Putin serves a full term, his 24 years as Russian leader will be the longest tenure since Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for almost three decades. Opinion polls suggest about 85 per cent of Russians have confidence in Putin’s leadership, while supporters of liberal opposition candidate Alexei Navalny have been assaulted, harassed and threatened.

Open Quotemarks

This is like one of those bad 21sts where it’s 11.45pm and the third cousin twice removed is giving a speech.

Close Quotemarks

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Millions are hounded for debt they dont owe. One victim fought back, with a vengeance.

“When the scammers started to hound Therrien, he hounded them right back. Obsessed with payback, he spent hundreds of hours investigating the dirty side of debt ... In his spare time, he was living out a revenge fantasy. He befriended loan sharks and blackmailed crooked collectors, getting them to divulge their suppliers, and then their suppliers above them. In method, Therrien was like a prosecutor flipping gangster underlings to get to lieutenants and then the boss. In spirit, he was a bit like Liam Neeson’s vigilante character in the movie Taken.” bloomberg businessweek

Bribes for blogs: How brands secretly buy their way into Forbes, Fast Company, and Huffpost stories

“Interviews with more than two dozen marketers, journalists, and others familiar with similar pay-for-play offers revealed a dubious corner of online publishing in which publicists ... quietly pay off journalists to promote their clients in articles that make no mention of the financial arrangement ... Four contributing writers to prominent publications including Mashable, Inc, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur told me they have personally accepted payments in exchange for weaving promotional references to brands into their work on those sites.” the outline

The material that built the modern world is also destroying it. Here’s a fix.

“The cement industry is currently responsible for about 5 per cent of global CO2 emissions – more than double the aviation industry. Worse still, unlike the electricity industry, which one day might be comprised of entirely clean, renewable energy, the chemistry of conventional cement dictates that the process will continue to produce huge amounts of carbon dioxide. Unless, that is, Nicholas DeCristofaro’s plans work out.” quartz



Are religious freedoms under attack now that marriage equality is law?

“On Tuesday, Tony Abbott and Kevin Andrews told the Coalition party room they intend to move a ‘pious amendment’ which would not block the cross-party same-sex marriage bill but would reaffirm the importance of religious freedom. Turnbull warned Abbott against the move, arguing it would ‘derail’ the debate because, if successful, it would send the bill back to the second reading stage, starting the clock on a debate that will have lasted three days already in the lower house.”   guardian australia


Truly, the face of discrimination in Australia.

“A teacher who lost his job after telling his school he was gay is speaking out to raise awareness of the laws that allow church schools to dismiss staff based on their beliefs. Craig Campbell’s employment as a relief teacher was discontinued after he told the Baptist college, south of Perth, he was in a same-sex relationship ... Mr Campbell, who has a strong Christian faith, said he is going public with his experience to try to help other students and teachers.”  abc


and finally:

Phew. The year in review.

“Proclaiming the year gone to be the Worst Year Ever has become a holiday tradition on par with listening to Paul Kelly’s ‘How to Make Gravy’ and pretending to enjoy roast turkey. While 2017 didn’t quite reach the exospheric levels of awful that 2016 did, waking up at 4:30 each morning to put Schwartz Media’s The Briefing together puts me in pole position to declare that it came pretty bloody close.” (Editor’s disclaimer: I wrote this. Let me have this.) the walkley magazine