Friday, February 09, 2018

National apology for abuse survivors

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will deliver a national apology to victims of institutional child sexual abuse by the end of the year. Speaking on Thursday, Turnbull said he would use today’s Council of Australian Governments meeting to urge all premiers and chief ministers to commit to implementing a national redress scheme that would financially compensate survivors and elicit formal apologies from the institutions in which they were abused. “As a nation we must mark this occasion in a form that reflects the wishes of survivors and affords them the dignity to which they were entitled as children,” he said.

The Daily Telegraph has claimed ($) Nationals Senator Matt Canavan created a paid position on his staff for the former Barnaby Joyce employee who is now pregnant with Joyce's child. The newspaper alleges the staffer was moved to Canavan's office after knowledge of her relationship with Joyce caused personal tensions in Joyce's office. It also claims Diana Hallam, Joyce's former chief of staff, quit due to her closeness with Joyce's wife Natalie and the deputy prime minister's refusal to resolve the relationship and the dysfunction it caused in his office.

A preventive HIV medication will likely be approved for federal subsidy today, marking a major milestone in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Truvada, or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), prevents the user from contracting HIV with up to 99 per cent effectiveness. The drug has proven popular among gay men, but its prohibitive cost currently restricts its availability outside of government-approved clinical trials. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee will today decide whether to include the drug on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, increasing its availability and likely dramatically reducing new transmissions of HIV. Health minister Greg Hunt has supported the move, saying “if [PBAC] does recommend PrEP we will list it and list it quickly”.

Actor Geoffrey Rush has successfully suppressed The Daily Telegraph’s legal defence against defamation charges brought by the actor, preventing documents associated with the defence from being publicly released. Rush filed defamation proceedings against the newspaper in December over an article alleging he engaged in “inappropriate behaviour” during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2016. Richard McHugh SC, Rush’s barrister, argued that the article’s front page headline imputed far more than the substance of the article, saying “how anyone could describe the headline ‘King Leer’ as a fair way of reporting an unsubstantiated complaint like that is not a serious argument that can be put”.

In The Netherlands, the International Criminal Court has begun a preliminary examination of a complaint accusing Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte of crimes against humanity. The complaint, filed in April 2017 by lawyer Jude Sabio and Filipino politicians Antonio Trillanes IV and Gary Alejano, accused Duterte of “repeatedly, unchangingly, and continuously” undertaking mass murder while executing his “war on drugs”. At least 7000 people have died in the “war”, many in vigilante killings or suspicious circumstances. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte welcomed the news as he was “sick and tired of being accused”, and would “argue his case personally and face the ICC” if required.

And the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics begin tonight. Australian snowboarder Scotty James will lead Australia’s 51-strong contingent in the opening ceremony, with snowboarding and skiing shaping up as Australia’s most likely medal chances. A total of 168 Russian athletes competing in the Games are not officially representing their nation or bearing Russian colours, instead competing as “Olympic athletes from Russia”. The country was banned from PyeongChang by the International Olympic Committee after a report found the Russian government participated in a “systematic and institutionalised cover-up” of its state-sponsored doping program. Watch the opening ceremony on Channel Seven from 8.30pm AEDT here.

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Citizen Thiel

“Peter Thiel is an internet oligarch who believes in a stateless world free of regulation or limits on human endeavour. He made millions on PayPal, and billions on Facebook ... He was secretly granted citizenship, but within months of his ‘solemn vow’ appeared to move on. He has barely seen since. What remains are his boltholes in Queenstown and questions over whether political pressure played any part in his gaining citizenship.” new zealand herald

How long is a moment?

“It can mean the barest speck of time or it can stretch over hours, days, weeks – with so many different meanings that trying to pin it down might seem a fool’s errand ... Time, even in its most fiat-based forms, is a slippery beast that seems to defy our attempts to define, cage, contain, and regulate it. Bringing into focus something that is, at once, as precise and fuzzy as a moment means taking a closer look at what time is and how we understand it, through linguistic, scientific, neurological, and philosophical lenses.” atlas obscura

In conversation: Quincy Jones

“‘[Marlon] Brando used to go cha-cha dancing with us. He could dance his ass off. He was the most charming motherfucker you ever met. He’d fuck anything. Anything! He’d fuck a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye.’

He slept with them? How do you know that?

[Frowns.] Come on, man. He did not give a fuck! You like Brazilian music?’” vulture



Donald Trump starting to remind you of anybody?

“Tanks, jets and other killing machines painted olive-drab and tan could be rolling the routes of the nation’s capital later this year for a peacetime parade inspired by President Trump. The Pentagon is in the planning stages for an event that was last held in Washington in the summer of 1991, after the end of the 41-day gulf war was celebrated with a $12 million dollar victory parade.”   the new york times


Ask someone who grew up in the Soviet Union.

“I sometimes joke that growing up in the Soviet Union prepared me for working as a journalist in the United States. That joke has become less funny now that the President is positioning applause as a central issue of American politics ... Whenever the Politburo or the Central Committee of the Supreme Soviet had a session, the newspaper would fill with endless metres of incomprehensible gray copy, in which the only lines that made any sense were the parenthetical clauses describing applause.”  the new yorker


and finally:

Calls for national sick day after nation forced to imagine Barnaby Joyce having sex

“Workers rights groups have called for a nation-wide day off, after millions of Australians were involuntarily subjected to the mental image of the member for New England having intercourse. Marianne Nolan from Workers Health Australia said Wednesday was a harrowing day for many Australians, and that they needed time to recover. ‘There’s been a lot of nausea, a lot of small vomits in the mouth. We need to look after each other today.’ ” the shovel