A formal complaint of sexual harassment has been made against deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce. In a statement yesterday, National Party federal president Larry Anthony confirmed to The Daily Telegraph ($) that a Western Australian woman involved in the party made the complaint, saying “all complaints are taken seriously and treated with strict confidentiality and given due process”. A spokesperson for Joyce dismissed the allegation as “spurious and defamatory”, while WA Nationals MPs told The Daily Telegraph the “very credible” allegation was behind the state party’s announcement on Monday that it no longer supported Joyce’s leadership. The Daily Telegraph published sexual harassment allegations against Joyce earlier this month, in which an anonymous woman claimed ($) he drunkenly “pinched my bottom” at an awards ceremony in 2011.
Nationals MP Andrew Broad has called on Joyce to step down, becoming the first federal National to declare that Joyce should quit the federal leadership. Speaking to the media on Thursday, the Victorian backbencher said Joyce should “spend some time on the backbench” as “it's not fit for Barnaby to be able to step up as the acting prime minister”. Broad criticised Joyce’s extensive interview with Fairfax on Thursday, saying Joyce was “clearly playing the media” when he was supposed to be on personal leave. Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion defended Joyce’s leadership, saying “Barnaby Joyce would still be deputy prime minister at the end of Monday”, when a Nationals party room meeting is scheduled.
Refugees, asylum seekers and staff at the Nauru offshore detention centre are being exposed to “highly toxic” mould that poses a “major risk to the health and safety of the occupants”. Guardian Australia reports that at least a dozen former Nauru staff have developed illnesses from exposure to mould growing on tent canvas, with several swapping medical advice and exploring legal action. Multiple inquiries by private contractors have found dangerous levels of mould growth. A 2014 Biological Health Services report found “the scale of the mould contamination problem at Nauru is considered to be an enormous challenge”, and that “exposure risks are persistent” for asylum seekers living in contaminated tents. At least 330 people are still living in the tents.
And in the United States, President Donald Trump has suggested arming high school teachers to prevent future school shootings while meeting at the White House with survivors of the Florida high school massacre. Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and parents of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting met with Trump in an hour-long televised “listening session”, although several Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students that have risen to prominence for their gun control activism since the shooting were not invited. Trump was widely criticised on social media after a photograph of a cue card he was holding, with prompts such as “I hear you”, went viral. While Trump has tweeted about “strengthening background checks” and proposed a ban on bump stocks, which allow high-powered rifles to fire hundreds of rounds without reloading, he has given no indication the White House will push for a ban on semiautomatic weapons or reinstate an Obama-era law that Trump repealed, restricting gun ownership for some people with a mental illness.
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In Sudan, rediscovering ancient Nubia before it’s too late
“The region known as Nubia – home to civilisations older than the dynastic Egyptians, skirting the Nile River in what is today northern Sudan and southern Egypt – was paid relatively little attention. The land was inhospitable, and some archaeologists of the era subtly or explicitly dismissed the notion that black Africans were capable of creating art, technology, and metropolises like those from Egypt or Rome. Modern textbooks still treat ancient Nubia like a mere annex to Egypt: a few paragraphs on black pharaohs, at most. Today, archaeologists are realising how wrong their predecessors were.”undark
Nine things people get wrong about being non-binary
“Being non-binary means different things to different people. To me, it means that I reject the whole concept of gender. Growing up, I never felt people were wrong when they called me a woman, but it felt like a label imposed on me rather than one that fit. In college, I learned about non-binary identity, and that did fit. I have likes and dislikes that some might label ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’, but I don’t feel any need to label them that way. The gender binary has made me feel pigeonholed, and I don’t want to identify with it.” teen vogue
Worst roommate ever
“Bachman wasn’t a typical squatter in that he did not appear especially interested in strong-arming his way to free rent (although he often granted himself that privilege); instead, he seemed to relish the anguish of those who had taken him in without realising that they would soon be pulled into a terrifying battle for their home. Nothing they did could satisfy or appease him, because the objective was not material gain but, seemingly, the sadistic pleasure of watching them squirm as he displaced them.” new york magazine
Is Victorian Labor MP Adem Somyurek on the warpath?
“Labor factional warlord Adem Somyurek texted a stream of abusive and bitter threats against a federal MP in the lead-up to Wednesday’s alleged altercation between Mr Somyurek and a government minister in state Parliament ... ‘I’m going to f--- that Marles’, Mr Somyurek texted to his rival. ‘Better not see that c---. No one f--- lies to [sic] and rat f---s like that and gets away with it. There will be payback mate. Big time.’ ” the age
Not if he’s only bringing a butter knife to a gunfight.
“Daniel Andrews’ government is in damage control with claims a butter knife was pulled in a confrontation between a minister and Labor factional boss in the parliament's dining room ... Sources close to Mr Eren said the minister felt intimidated when Mr Somyurek picked up a butter knife from the table, but Mr Somyurek denied threatening anyone during their ‘robust’ discussion.” abc
Who knew how inspiring it could be to watch teenagers gang up on a US senator on live TV?
“Senator Marco Rubio appeared at a CNN town hall event in Sunrise, Florida, moderated by the network’s Jake Tapper, and attended by several teenagers who survived the attack. Including Cameron Kasky, who drew continued applause from the vocal crowd for asking, and then continuing to press, Rubio on a single question: ‘Can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA?’ ” the av club
Win a double pass to Sarah Blasko and a signed vinyl copy of her new album
Our readers have the chance to win one of four double passes to see Sarah Blasko in Sydney at The Metro Theatre on Friday, June 1, or in Melbourne at 170 Russell on Friday, June 22. The ARIA Award–winning, AMP-shortlisted singer is touring nationally in support of her new album, Depth of Field. Winners will also receive a signed vinyl copy of the album.
The competition closes at 5pm AEDT on Tuesday, February 27 and winners will be notified by 5pm AEDT on Wednesday, February 28.