Wednesday, September 19, 2018

‘I walked up to my hotel room and I burst into tears’

Western Australian business leader Catherine Marriott has spoken out about allegedly being sexually harassed by former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce. Speaking to the ABC’s 7.30, the former WA Rural Woman of the Year said she didn’t want her complaint against Joyce made public, as she was “just a little human against a big system, and I was terrified”. Marriott said she “walked up to my hotel room and I burst into tears” after the alleged incident at a function in Canberra in 2016, and accused the National Party of leaking her confidential complaint. “That is one of the most frightening things that you will ever have to live through … you finally find the courage within yourself to stand up for what you believe in and then all control is taken away,” she said. Joyce has denied Marriott’s complaint, calling it “spurious and defamatory”.

Energy minister Angus Taylor has admitted the federal government would not legislate a new renewable energy policy after the Renewable Energy Target peaks in 2020. Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Taylor said “the Renewable Energy Target is going to wind down from 2020, it reaches its peak in 2020, and we won't be replacing that with anything”. Writing in The Australian Financial Review ($), Taylor said energy companies were too focused on “environmental targets, diversity training and corporate social responsibility reports” rather than “the customer”. He also claimed Australia would meet its Paris agreement commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 26 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 “without additional intervention,” despite the Energy Security Board warning Australia was on track to overshoot its targets without a concrete emissions reduction policy.

Rupert Murdoch told Seven West Media chair Kerry Stokes that former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull “has got to go” shortly before Turnbull was ousted in a leadership challenge. ABC political editor Andrew Probyn reported on Tuesday that Murdoch, the 21st Century Fox co-chair, who was in Australia for the Institute of Public Affairs’ 75th anniversary celebrations in August, told Stokes “we have got to get rid of Malcolm. If that's the price of getting rid of him then I can put up with three years of Labor.” Stokes and Turnbull had previously discussed what they believed to be a campaign by Murdoch-owned media properties to destabilise Turnbull’s government.

And Labor MP Julian Hill has criticised the federal government’s prosecution of whistleblower Witness K and lawyer Bernard Collaery in a Labor caucus meeting. Addressing Labor parliamentarians on Tuesday, Hill asked shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus whether the case would be tried in open court. Witness K and Collaery will appear in the ACT Magistrates Court this afternoon, despite the government’s attempts to have the court closed to the public. Federal Labor has been hesitant to criticise the pair’s prosecution for revealing details of Australian intelligence officials bugging East Timorese Cabinet offices in 2004.


“The rise of prison as the preferred form of punishment followed the increasing desire to focus on more minor crimes. Not those against people’s bodies but crimes against property ... Prisons provided a means to punish vast numbers of us out of sight of the public with little hope of inspiring public revolt. The shift led directly to the establishment of the carceral state and enlisted each of us into its disciplinary ranks.”


“It starts pouring out of me like a stream. Horrible, dark shit. Racist. Homophobic. Misogynist. Every appalling thing you can think of right now, that’s what I can hear myself saying. But it’s not me. Or, rather, it is me, but it’s completely unbidden.”


“In one image, he saw himself and his wife at a table in a restaurant, both smiling at the camera. But this photograph had never been taken. At lunch one day, his father had held the button down on his iPhone a little long, resulting in a burst of images of the same scene. In one, he was smiling, but his wife was not; in the other, his wife was smiling, but he was not. From these two images, taken seconds apart, Google’s photo-sorting algorithms had conjured a third: a composite in which both subjects were smiling their ‘best’.”


“Not a single lobbyist has been punished for breaching rules in the past five years – either federally, or in Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland or South Australia ... An auditor-general’s report earlier this year found the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which oversees lobbying, had not suspended or removed the registration of a single lobbyist since 2013.”


“Senior defence officials and military figures are taking paid jobs with firms lobbying for arms manufacturers, sometimes within weeks of leaving their government posts. Guardian Australia has identified eight former military officers or defence bureaucrats, most of whom were high-ranking, who have publicly registered themselves as lobbyists for firms that represent military contractors.”


“Daydream sources confirmed that Steven Laposata’s coworker and remote acquaintance Alexandra Katos idly and momentarily entertained the idea of personal intimacy with Laposata, experiencing a brief and disjointed flurry of thoughts that will forever serve as the sole incidence in Laposata’s eventual 82 years of life during which anyone has or shall consider him as an object of desire.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.