Monday, March 19, 2018

Weatherill out, Kearney wins

Jay Weatherill will resign as leader of South Australian Labor after losing government to Steven Marshall’s Liberals. Speaking to reporters at Government House in Adelaide, Weatherill said he would continue “being the state member for Cheltenham” and had “zero ambitions to go into federal parliament”. Latest counts from Saturday’s state election indicate the Liberals are likely to secure a slim majority in South Australia’s 47-seat lower house, while the Nick Xenophon Team secured only a single seat despite reaping nearly 14 per cent of the vote. Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives also had a disappointing result, achieving only 3 per cent statewide. In the Melbourne electorate of Batman, meanwhile, Labor’s Ged Kearney had an unexpected triumph over The Greens’ Alex Bhathal.

Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has spoken out about “waves of NRA-originated ideology” as an emerging gun lobby seeks to weaken Australian gun control laws. Speaking to Guardian Australia, Fischer warned that “creep and corrosion of the core of the gun law reforms is a danger”, and that “the core structure and content of the Howard gun reforms must not be done away with”. Last week home affairs minister Peter Dutton said he was considering the formation of a “firearms advisory council”, including executives of weapons companies, to review federal firearms laws.

New South Wales Labor MP Hugh McDermott has denied allegations of sexual harassment, following revelations a former staffer had lodged formal complaints with the Public Service Association of NSW. The woman alleged McDermott was verbally abusive, pressed his groin into her back and brushed her breast on multiple occasions. “Categorically” denying the allegations in a statement, McDermott said “aggrieved employees have a number of channels available to them under workplace laws and policies”. State opposition leader Luke Foley expressed surprise at the news, saying it was “appropriate that the party itself investigate this matter”.

And in Russia, President Vladimir Putin has won a fourth six-year term, extending his tenure to 2024. The results of Russia’s presidential elections were never in doubt, given Putin’s control of the state media and the prohibition of opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s candidacy. An exit poll from state-run polling outfit VTsIOM estimated Putin had secured more than 73 per cent of the vote, with his nearest rival gaining 11 per cent. Opposition activists and election observers reported widespread voting irregularities, complaining of ballot-stuffing, voter fraud and intimidation by pro-government groups. Putin will become Russia’s longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin if he completes his fourth term.

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I was very surprised and disappointed to see parties like the Greens, which normally support pokies reform, preferencing both major parties ahead of SA Best in many seats.

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Vladimir Putins politics of eternity

“In power, eternity politicians manufacture crisis and manipulate the resultant emotion. To distract from their inability or unwillingness to reform, they instruct their citizens to experience elation and outrage at short intervals, drowning the future in the present. In foreign policy, eternity politicians belittle and undo the achievements of countries that might seem like models to their own citizens. Using technology to transmit political fiction at home and abroad, eternity politicians deny truth and seek to reduce life to spectacle and feeling.” the guardian

This multibillion-dollar corporation is controlled by a penniless yoga superstar

“Twenty-three years ago, when he was a poor young yoga instructor living at the foot of the Himalayas, Baba Ramdev pledged to spend the rest of his life as a sanyasi – a Hindu ascetic. He forswore possessions and renounced the material world. But today he can be found in the most material of places. Turn on an Indian TV, and there’s Ramdev, a supple yoga megastar in saffron robes, demonstrating poses on one of the two stations he oversees.” bloomberg businessweek

The price French bulldogs pay for being cute

“The cranium of a Frenchie is so out of proportion to its body that puppies are typically birthed by means of C-section. Health problems plague their lives. This doesn’t mean they deserve to die in overhead bins. But it means that French bulldogs are far more fragile than they look – an unfortunate fate that has been guaranteed to them by the choices humans have made in breeding them.”the new york times



What caused the Greens’ Batman plans to go so wrong?

“In the wash-up of the Batman byelection, Richard Di Natale is looking inwards. Not just at what went wrong in a campaign that appeared to be the Greens’ to lose but what went wrong in the party, which allowed internal fractures and divides to dominate the party’s chance to add a federal MP to its lineup ... The wheels fell off the Greens’ campaign in the final weeks before the 17 March poll, with infighting, increasing factional divides and disagreements over policy directions overshadowing Alex Bhathal’s attempts to finally wrestle the seat from Labor.”  guardian australia


This might have had something to do with it.

“Greens leader Richard Di Natale has made a late pitch to conservative voters in Batman – the 20 per cent who voted Liberal in 2016 – urging them to preference the Greens ahead of Labor to protect retirees’ incomes ... On the last day of campaigning ahead of a byelection that the Greens are narrowly favoured to win, the minor party sought to capitalise on the backlash Labor has received over its proposal to recoup $59 billion from shareholders over a decade.”  fairfax


and finally:

Donald Trump Jr. divorce leaves confused, heartbroken nation wondering why bad things happen to good people

“Lamenting that even the purest hearts were fated to be broken, the confused and anguished U.S. populace was struggling Friday with the question of why bad things happen to good people following the news that Vanessa Trump filed for divorce from Donald Trump Jr. earlier this week ... As of press time, the saddened American populace had let the couple know they were there for them if needed, just as Don Jr. and Vanessa had always been for them.” the onion