A Melbourne City Council investigation has found former lord mayor Robert Doyle sexually harassed two female councillors and created an “unsafe work environment”. Investigators found Doyle had drunkenly groped councillors Tessa Sullivan and Cathy Oke, both of whom went public with their complaints in December. A summary of the 100-page report, tabled to council yesterday, found the incidents “occurred in the context of the lord mayor having consumed substantial amounts of red wine”, and that the harassment occurred despite “Doyle’s strong denial of engaging in the alleged inappropriate conduct”. Taking to Twitter after the summary was released, Sullivan said “Robert Doyle is a sexual predator with a serious history of offending”. In a statement on Doyle’s behalf, his wife, Emma Page-Campbell, said he “fervently rejects that any such conduct was intended to be inappropriate or sexual in nature”.
Channel Seven breakfast program Sunrise has been widely criticised after airing a segment in which an all-white panel of commentators recommended placing Indigenous children with white families. Drawing from comments by assistant children and families minister David Gillespie that Australia should consider more “open adoptions” of Indigenous children in unsafe families, the Sunrise segment asked Brisbane radio host Ben Davis and commentator Prue McSween for their opinions. McSween appeared to endorse a return to Stolen Generations-era mandatory removal policies, saying “just like the first Stolen Generation where a lot of people were taken because it was for their wellbeing ... we need to do it again, perhaps”. Writing for IndigenousX, BuzzFeed Australia Indigenous affairs reporter and Dharumbal/South Sea Islander woman Amy McGuire noted that “neither McSween, Davis or Armytage have any expertise … in Aboriginal affairs. Their credibility rests on just one thing: they are all white.”
The first day of the royal commission into the banking, superannuation and finance industries has heard allegations of misconduct, dishonesty and lack of co-operation by major banks. The commission heard evidence that National Australia Bank employees ran a bribery ring to solicit loans and falsify documents for ineligible customers, and that NAB did not report their activities to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission for three months. Counsel assisting the royal commission, Rowena Orr, criticised Commonwealth Bank for flooding the commission with irrelevant spreadsheets after being asked to provide further information on incidents of misconduct, while noting that NAB also “failed to provide comprehensive information”. Watch today’s hearings from 10am here.
And in the United States, President Donald Trump has fired secretary of state Rex Tillerson. The former ExxonMobil chief executive reportedly discovered he was fired hours after it was first reported by The Washington Post ($), and only minutes before Trump announced his departure on Twitter. Speaking to reporters, Trump said he and Tillerson “disagreed on things” and had “a different mindset” on many issues, saying “I think Rex will be much happier now”. Tillerson’s exit is the latest in a wave of high-profile departures from the Trump administration, and comes during feverish diplomatic preparations for the proposed meeting between Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un. CIA director Mike Pompeo will face confirmation hearings before he can replace Tillerson.