Thursday, March 01, 2018

Cash withdraws ‘disgraceful’ remarks

Jobs and innovation minister Michaelia Cash has been forced to withdraw a threat to expose details of “rumours” involving young women working in opposition leader Bill Shorten’s office. During an exchange with Labor Senator Doug Cameron in Senate estimates yesterday, Cash said she was “happy to sit here and name every young woman in Mr Shorten's office over which rumours in this place abound”. Cash said gossip about the young staffers had been “circulating in this building now for many, many years”, and said she was ready to “start naming them”. Cash’s comments prompted an angry response from Labor Senate leader Penny Wong, who described Cash’s “outrageous slurs” as “disgraceful and sexist”. Cash withdrew her remarks after Wong threatened to take the issue to the Senate.

Deputy prime minister Michael McCormack has insisted ($) his views on homosexuality have evolved after The Daily Telegraph published details of multiple columns condemning LGBT people McCormack wrote in the 1990s. “If homophobic can be taken as an intense fear of homosexuals then that’s fine, call me homophobic”, McCormack wrote as editor of Wagga Wagga newspaper The Daily Advertiser. “If something isn’t done and done quickly to prevent homosexuals getting rights they don’t deserve then God help us.” In another editorial, McCormack criticised the Keating Labor government for “pandering to a ‘limp-wristed’ minority”. McCormack told The Daily Telegraph the columns “in no way reflect how my views and community views have changed since publication”.

A journalist has claimed a television newsroom was tipped off about Australian Federal Police raids on Australian Workers’ Union offices in October 2017 by then justice minister Michael Keenan’s office. Speaking anonymously to BuzzFeed Australia, the journalist alleged a staffer working for Keenan told them the times and locations of the raids an hour before they took place. An adviser to jobs and innovation minister Michaelia Cash resigned in October after admitting to tipping off media outlets, while Cash has refused to answer questions about the matter for several months. In a statement, a spokeperson for Keenan said “neither the minister or anyone in his office informed media outlets prior to the execution of search warrants”.

University activists have called for the repeal of laws allowing residential colleges to self-govern. As orientation weeks at Australian universities approach, sexual assault awareness organisation End Rape On Campus has released The Red Zone, a 211-page report detailing sexual harassment and assault at universities. “Orientation weeks (‘O Weeks’) have been highlighted as a time of pronounced vulnerability, particularly for new students”, the report reads. “One in eight attempted or completed sexual assaults at the University of Sydney colleges will occur during a single week of the year – O Week.” In 2016, the University of Sydney’s St Paul’s College used its self-governing powers to boycott an external investigation into sexual assault at residential colleges.

And businessman and environmental campaigner Geoff Cousins has claimed opposition leader Bill Shorten repeatedly backed away from a promise to declare Labor’s opposition to the Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland. Cousins claims Shorten promised to change Labor’s position on the Adani mine after travelling to the Great Barrier Reef and the mine site in December, telling Cousins “I’m going to lead on that, I’m going to go forward, there comes a time when you need to lead and this is it”. Cousins also said Shorten pushed back the proposed timeframe for the shift, eventually not returning Cousins’ calls.

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The reckoning

“Long after missionaries and Europeans settled on the coast of New Guinea in the 19th century, the mountainous interior remained unexplored. As recently as the 1920s, outsiders believed the mountains, which run the length of the island from east to west, were too steep and rugged for anyone to live there. But when gold was discovered 40 miles inland, prospectors went north across the Coral Sea to seek their fortunes. Among them were three brothers from Queensland, Australia: Michael, James and Daniel Leahy.”smithsonian

Monica Lewinsky: Emerging from the House of Gaslight in the age of #MeToo

“To be blunt, I was diagnosed several years ago with post-traumatic stress disorder, mainly from the ordeal of having been publicly outed and ostracised back then. My trauma expedition has been long, arduous, painful, and expensive. And it’s not over. But as I find myself reflecting on what happened, I’ve also come to understand how my trauma has been, in a way, a microcosm of a larger, national one. Both clinically and observationally, something fundamental changed in our society in 1998.” vanity fair

Why is it so hard for clothing manufacturers to pay a living wage?

“In the garment industry, stories about workers who barely eke out an existence on ‘starvation wages’ are legion: Factory workers in New Delhi often describe living in makeshift hovels ‘barely fit for animals’. A young woman from Myanmar might wrestle with the decision to feed her children or send them to school. In Bangladesh, sewing-machine operators frequently toil for 100 hours or more a week, only to run out of money before the end of the month.” racked



Do Julie Bishop’s family travel arrangements pass the smell test?

“Julie Bishop has claimed $32,000 in taxpayer-funded family travel for her long-term boyfriend but says she is not obliged to disclose his financial interests on the parliamentary register because he is not her ‘spouse’ or de facto partner. In a case that highlights how a couple who is not married or living together can avoid being classified as a spouse under the parliamentary rules, Bishop has avoided listing property developer David Panton on her parliamentary register of interests because they do not live together.”  fairfax


Send in the case workers!

“To determine if you’re a member of a couple, we may need to assess your relationship. We’ll consider the following factors: financial aspects of your relationship; nature of your household; social aspects of your relationship; if you have a sexual relationship; nature of your commitment to each other. We can decide you’re a member of a couple even if all of these factors aren’t part of your relationship.”  centrelink


and finally:

Ce*sored! China bans the letter N from the internet as Xi Jinping extends grip on power

“It is the 14th letter in the English alphabet and, in Scrabble, the springboard for more than 600 8-letter words. But for the Communist party of China it is also subversive and intolerable character that was this week banished from the internet as Chinese censors battled to silence criticism of Xi Jinping’s bid to set himself up as ruler for life. The contravening consonant was perhaps the most unusual victim of a crackdown targeting words, phrases and even solitary letters censors feared might be used to attack Beijing’s controversial decision to abolish constitutional term limits for China’s president.” the guardian

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