Thursday, February 15, 2018

Turnbull ‘deceitful’ on Voice to Parliament

Members of the Referendum Council have claimed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was “deceitful” in privately encouraging them to explore establishing an Indigenous advisory body. In Question Time yesterday, Turnbull said he told the Council in November 2016 that “I thought the prospects of such an amendment to the constitution being successful were absolutely zero”. However, Cape York lawyer Noel Pearson said Turnbull encouraged the Council to “undertake a disingenuous process of pretending to consult with the public” on a proposal he had no intention of approving. In a letter co-signed with opposition leader Bill Shorten and sent in December 2016, Turnbull recommended to the Council that “all models should be equally tested with the community”. Council co-chair Mark Leibler warned against compromise proposals to the constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament, saying ($) Indigenous people would “not countenance the substitution of what was a unanimous outpouring at Uluru”.

Queensland Nationals MP Ken O’Dowd has called for deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce to resign, prompting division in the Nationals party room. Fellow Queensland MP David Littleproud has dared Joyce’s critics to “put up or shut up”, while Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie said Joyce “has the full support of the National Party”. Compounding Joyce’s terrible week, the ABC unearthed discrepancies between his official biography and Australian Defence Force records of his service in the Royal Queensland Regiment of the Army Reserve.

Former attorney-general Philip Ruddock’s review of religious freedom laws has been criticised by pro-marriage equality campaigners for intending to hold closed meetings, proceedings of which will be beyond the reach of Freedom of Information requests. In a joint proposal to the review, several churches have proposed limiting anti-discrimination laws to allow church-run institutions greater powers to hire and fire staff based on religious belief, as well as the creation of a “national religious freedom commissioner”. The Equality Campaign, meanwhile, will urge the review to recommend that religious exemptions to anti-discrimination laws be abolished.

In Guatemala, Oxfam International chair Juan Alberto Fuentes Knight has been arrested by authorities, along with former Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom and much of his former cabinet. Knight, Colom’s finance minister, was detained as part of a corruption investigation into the former government’s payment of $35 million to companies running Guatemala City’s bus system. Knight’s arrest is the latest in a series of scandals to rock Oxfam recently, with the charity still reeling from revelations some of its aid workers in Haiti used charity funds to pay sex workers after the 2010 earthquake.

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He appears to consider himself above the normal rules of law and wants justice only if it goes in his favour.

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Not the end of The World

“A decade since it was dredged from the seabed, The World is a forlorn sight. It was the most ambitious plan of Dubai’s pre-crash bubble, topping the creation of peninsulas shaped like palm trees and the construction of the tallest building on the planet, dreamed up as the ultimate trophy project to trump them all. In pursuit of the world’s attention, the oil-rich emirate would remake the world itself.”the guardian

Why Black Panther is a defining moment for black America

“In a video posted to Twitter in December, which has since gone viral, three young men are seen fawning over the Black Panther poster at a movie theater. One jokingly embraces the poster while another asks, rhetorically: ‘This is what white people get to feel all the time?’ There is laughter before someone says, as though delivering the punch line to the most painful joke ever told: ‘I would love this country, too.’ ” the new york times magazine

A Macedonian tennis racket

“Not everything about Grncarov is phony. There is a real person by that name, and he does play tennis – or at least he did at one time. But before Grncarov played his first and only sanctioned match, he was celebrated for great performances that almost certainly never happened. If Grncarov seems too good to be true, that’s because much of his story isn’t true. The legend of Darko Grncarov is fake news, from the country that helped invent the phenomenon.” slate



Does Australia need a federal integrity body?

“Tony Abbott has told Coalition colleagues the Turnbull government should not blindly follow Labor and create a federal integrity commission – an initiative flagged by Bill Shorten in a scene-setting speech in January ... Shorten in January said Labor would adopt a national integrity commission if he won the next federal election, and invited Turnbull to work in bipartisan fashion between now and the election season.”  guardian australia


Not according to the Prime Minister’s office.

“The prime minister’s department has not suspended or removed the registration of any lobbyists who have broken rules over the past five years, despite identifying at least 11 instances of breaches. A report published on Wednesday by the auditor general into the lobbyist register, which is managed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, found it was ‘unclear’ exactly how many alleged instances of noncompliance with the rules had been reported since 2013 because of poor record-keeping.”  guardian australia


and finally:

Can you tell these National Party politicians apart, or do they really just all look the same?

Self-explanatory, really. I got 7 out of 21. You will do badly. buzzfeed australia