Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Increased AFP powers at airports

The federal government has announced plans to give the Australian Federal Police the power to demand identification from people in airports without precondition. AFP officers currently cannot request someone’s ID unless they are confident the person has committed, or plans to commit, an offence. Home affairs minister Peter Dutton called current arrangements “an absurdity”, saying police would also be given the power to move people on from airport precincts “if it’s believed that they’re involved in certain criminal activities”. CT body scanners common at international airports will be installed at domestic airports as part of a $294 million security upgrade. Senator Derryn Hinch’s quick pledge of support for the increased powers “as long as it doesn’t degenerate into racial profiling as we’ve seen in the US” has generated strong responses from people who have already experienced racial profiling at Australian airports.

Aid agencies and governments have responded to Israel’s use of force that left at least 61 Palestinian protesters dead. Medical aid charity Medecins sans Frontieres called the violence “unacceptable and inhuman”, saying “it is unbearable to witness such a massive number of unarmed people being shot in such a short time”. Foreign minister Julie Bishop expressed Australia’s “deep regret and sadness” over the deaths, urging Israel “to be proportionate in its response and refrain from excessive use of force” while telling “Palestinian protesters to refrain from violence”. White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said “the responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas”, accusing the group of “intentionally and cynically provoking this response”. Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull echoed that sentiment, telling Melbourne radio station 3AW that Hamas was “seeking to provoke the Israeli defence forces” by orchestrating the protest.

Former Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has warned supporters Malaysia’s new government will need time to tackle the country’s problems, saying “one election does not a democracy make”. Speaking to Fairfax, Anwar nominated “independence of the judiciary, rule of law, free media and proper separation of powers” as his priorities once he takes office. The former deputy prime minister is expected to be pardoned today, allowing him to take a seat in parliament once a member of his Pakatan Harapan coalition steps down. Anwar will likely then become Malaysia’s eighth prime minister under the terms of a power-sharing arrangement with current prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. On Saturday former prime minister Najib Razak was barred from leaving the country, and a police cordon has been set up around Najib’s home.

And Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi is at risk of losing her seat at the next election. The ABC reports the South Australian Liberals may pick Adelaide City councillor Alex Antic over Gichuhi for the third spot on the party’s Senate ticket, leaving Gichuhi in an unwinnable fourth position. Gichuhi, a Kenyan-born migrant, joined the Liberals in February after a brief stint as an independent following the collapse of Family First, declining to join Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives. The preselection battle adds to tension in the Liberal Party about the number of women in leadership positions. Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull admitted he unsuccessfully urged Liberals in the seat of Ryan to select assistant disability services minister Jane Prentice as their candidate at the next election. The federal minister for women and minister for financial services, Kelly O’Dwyer, donated $50,000 to the Enid Lyons Fighting Fund, an organisation she set up this year, to provide financial support for Liberal women running for office.

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Six months on from a Yes vote on marriage equality: Gender fluidity widespread and compulsory, Christmas and Easter successfully cancelled, dildos in classrooms everywhere

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Are we ready for robot sex?

“Henry is six feet tall, with six-pack abs and the customer’s choice of penis. He’s just a prototype at the moment – you can’t buy him – but the two female models Realbotix developed alongside Henry will ship this summer. So far, there have been 50 preorders at $12,000 apiece. Henry, Harmony, and Solana have sturdy silicone bodies, and once they’re synced up to a corresponding app, they can give compliments, recite poetry, tell jokes, and seduce.” the cut

Can anyone catch Londons serial cat murderer?

“It was 10 P.M. on Saturday, March 3, and Josephine, a furry, ginger-haired Abyssinian whose friskiness had delighted her owners, was now the latest casualty of the Croydon Cat Killer, who, by some estimates, had killed 450 small animals, mostly house cats, but also a few foxes and rabbits. So far, despite a nationwide manhunt, he or she is still at large and has left no forensic evidence or other identifying clues, while miraculously evading the more than four million surveillance cameras that monitor Great Britain.” vanity fair

Henry Winkler is just happy to be here

“You surely know Winkler from something. For a long time it was likely from Happy Days, where he charmed the world as the avatar of cool, the Fonz. Increasingly, lately, it’s probably from shows like Arrested Development, Parks & Recreation, Royal Pains, and now Barry. But Winkler has achieved the improbable task of not letting himself be defined by his biggest and most iconic role. There’s an entire generation who probably doesn’t know that ‘jumping the shark’ was a thing that actually happened.”gq



When does the Liberal Party pick women to run for office?

“Georgina Downer, the daughter of one-time Liberal leader and foreign minister Alexander Downer, has been endorsed unopposed as the party’s candidate for the upcoming Mayo federal by-election. Ms Downer confirmed she was seeking preselection last week, after the incumbent, Rebekha Sharkie, announced her resignation.”  abc


When they inherit the seat through birthright.

“Downer, an Institute of Public Affairs research fellow and former corporate lawyer and diplomat, unsuccessfully stood for Liberal preselection ahead of the 2016 federal election in the Melbourne seat of Goldstein ... Downer will aim to become the latest MP in a family dynasty that includes her father, grandfather Alick (Menzies Cabinet minister) and great-grandfather Sir John Downer, a former South Australian premier.”  adelaide advertiser


and finally:

Here’s why opinion polls aren’t as important as people think

“One of the concepts the media gets behind is the idea of political momentum: that the real test of a party is whether they can convert their political wins into long-term support. And after recent polls, media are really hamming that up ... ANU political scientist Jill Sheppard thinks the concept is complete bogus. ‘There is absolutely no evidence for momentum in politics’, she said.” junkee