Tuesday, February 27, 2018

McCormack becomes new deputy PM

Riverina MP Michael McCormack has become Australia’s 19th deputy prime minister after winning a National Party leadership ballot on Monday morning. Mackay MP George Christensen posed an unsuccessful last-minute challenge to McCormack’s candidacy, prompting a hunt for pens with which to conduct the ballot. Speaking to media, McCormack said he would work as “a team player”, but would “never be silent when I ought to speak”. Besides his homophobic comments in a 1993 newspaper column, attention is being drawn to McCormack’s climate denialism.

The leadership change has failed to dispel ongoing controversy around New England MP Barnaby Joyce, who supporters believe was coerced into resigning by opponents. Fairfax reports that federal and Western Australian Nationals officials, including federal president Larry Anthony and federal director Ben Hindmarsh, met over four days last week to discuss a sexual harassment complaint made against Joyce, which was formally lodged by the complainant at Anthony’s urging. Anthony and Nationals legal counsel Bernard Ponting visited Joyce a day later to inform him of the complaint, which Joyce interpreted as an ultimatum to resign or be publicly disgraced. Anthony has denied the assertions, as well as claims the Nationals leaked the identity of Joyce’s accuser to the media.

Media companies Fairfax, News Corp Australia, Macquarie Media, Channel Seven, Channel Nina and the ABC have joined publisher Bauer Media in its appeal against the record damages awarded to actor Rebel Wilson in a defamation hearing last year. The joint appeal challenges Wilson’s $4.56 million payout, the largest defamation ruling in Australian history, to prevent defamation payouts escalating to levels that media outlets cannot afford. Justin Quill, the lawyer representing the media outlets, said the appeal hoped to “avoid unwarranted restrictions on freedom of expression”, and that “the fact six media companies have combined demonstrates how serious the issue is”.

And Denman man Shane “Shagger” Hanrahan has won Best Mullet at the inaugural Kurri Kurri Mulletfest. More than 150 contestants gathered in the Hunter Valley town on Sunday to compete in the tournament, in which they were judged on length, density, commitment, split ends and adherence to the classic business-at-the-front, party-at-the-back style. Mona Vale boy Alex Keavy, 12, won the Junior Mullet category, while Frankston outsider “Cougar”, 20, took out the Ranga division. On learning of his victory, Hanrahan said: “Rock on! Fuck you! Fuck youse all!”

Open Quotemarks

Ive met a lot of prime ministers in my time. But none so young, not too many so smart, and never one so attractive.

Close Quotemarks

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Is this the most crowded island in the world?

“One day, while poring over the south coast of Haiti on Google Earth – whether I was scouting for places that might be interesting to visit or just killing time I can’t recall – I found an island that looked really densely crowded. From above, it’s difficult to see that it’s even an island – just a big clump of houses surrounded by a narrow band of beach. Had I stumbled upon a place that might challenge Santa Cruz del Islote’s claim? Could this island really be the world’s most crowded?”longreads

The breakup museum

“The Museum of Broken Relationships is a collection of ordinary objects hung on walls, tucked under glass, backlit on pedestals: a toaster, a child’s pedal car, a modem handmade in 1988. A wooden toilet paper dispenser. A positive pregnancy stick. A positive drug test. An axe. They come from Taipei, from Slovenia, from Colorado, from Manila, all donated by strangers, each accompanied by a story: In the 14 days of her holiday, every day I axed one piece of her furniture.” virginia quarterly review

An oral history of Bob Costas having pink eye at the Olympics

“ ‘The decision to take him off air was … not difficult. We were unable to mitigate it in any way through glasses, lighting, or camera angles, and I think Bob could not have been a better soldier about it. He was willing to try or do anything to try to continue, but he needed to be reading copy, and pronouncing difficult names of foreign athletes – reading is a pretty important component. And also, you don’t want to make the audience feel queasy about how there’s a guy in their living rooms with a case of double pink eye.’ ” vulture



Does The Australian have the political credentials to question other people’s reporting?

“Alberici is a good reporter and strong interviewer. She has cover­ed business, been a foreign correspondent and hosted the ABC’s Lateline, where regular viewers soon understood her political leanings. So what? We all have them. The question is: does she have the qualifications to be the ABC’s chief economics correspondent? As Aaron Patrick pointed out in The Australian Financial Review last week, she has a bachelor of arts with a major in Italian.”  the australian ($)


Not if your own smear campaign comes back to bite you in the ass.

“In 1990 News Corp hired me and 8 others among a field of close to 1000 candidates. By the age of 22 the Herald Sun had appointed me finance editor under the tutelage of Terry McCrann. He was a wonderful mentor.”  emma alberici, via twitter


and finally:

Quiz: Fran Drescher or Karl Marx?

“Fran Drescher is best known for her outlandish character, Fran Fine, on the ’90s sitcom The Nanny, but in recent years she’s gained attention for her calls for an economic revolution led by the proletariat (not a joke). Drescher is outspoken on a number of political issues and frequently supports environmental activism and movements for women’s rights. But can you tell her economic philosophies apart from Karl Marx? It may be harder than it sounds.” CRIKEY

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor, and a former editor of Junkee.