Thursday, September 20, 2018

Dutton ‘misled Parliament’ over au pairs scandal

The Department of Home Affairs has released more than 100 emails revealing the efforts of Peter Dutton’s office to prevent two foreign au pairs from being deported. The communications show that immigration officials scrambled late at night to ensure a young woman employed by a former police colleague of Dutton was not deported, despite evidence she was breaching her visa conditions by accepting paid work. The emails came as a Labor-led Senate committee found Dutton misled parliament over the au pairs affair, recommending a censure motion against him.

Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone has urged prime minister Scott Morrison to move asylum seeker families and children off Nauru for health reasons. In a letter to Morrison, Bartone cited “the escalation in reports of catastrophic mental and physical health conditions being experienced by the asylum seekers, especially children” as evidence that the deteriorating situation on Nauru was “a humanitarian emergency requiring urgent intervention”. The federal government has not responded to a Senate inquiry, which recommended in April 2017 that it “recognise the impacts of long-term immigration detention, including by commissioning an independent assessment of its impacts on physical and mental health”.

Seven West Media chair Kerry Stokes told former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull that 21st Century Fox co-chair Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp media company were trying to have him removed from the Lodge. The Guardian reports that Stokes told Turnbull in August that Murdoch had discussed News Corp agitating for a change of Liberal leader. Turnbull then asked Murdoch to call off a media campaign against his leadership, also mentioning radio shock jocks Alan Jones and Ray Hadley, as well as Sky News commentators. In a statement, Stokes said “I have never been involved in leadership events nor autopsies of them”. Commenting on the original report of Stokes and Murdoch’s conversation, former prime minister Kevin Rudd said “the Murdoch media behav[es] effectively as a political party in pursuit of its financial interests”.

And New South Wales state Liberal MP Gareth Ward has been accused of bullying by a second woman. In state parliament Question Time on Wednesday, Shellharbour MP Anna Watson read out excerpts from a letter sent by an anonymous Dapto woman in which she accused Ward of having “anger management issues, no concept of appropriate behaviour and appears to have issues with women”. Ward denied the claims, saying they were “simply not true, I wouldn’t do that”. The new allegations undercut Ward’s attempts to distance himself from allegations of bullying by federal Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis, telling Fairfax he “was bullied as a kid and went to hell and back” as a child.



“Some of the most difficult music might also be some of the most pleasurable. This would draw listening to difficult music into proximity with enjoying spicy food, or walking across suspension bridges, or taking rollercoaster rides. These experiences play on discomfort and push us past the quotidian in order to produce intense sensorial effects. At their most extreme, they can, like music, bring about disorientation, shock, the discovery of immersive innumerability, or even the sublime.”


“My father was a ‘failure’ and apparently left everything ‘unfinished’ when he died. This was a family story embedded so deeply under my skin that whenever anyone asked about my dad I’d brush them off with a dismissive ‘I never knew him’, hoping they wouldn’t ask me for any more details. And then a woman in Paris named Coralie wrote to me on Facebook.”


“Given the violent, paedophilic proclivities of Short Creek’s former prophet, the stain of misogyny, incest, and sexual violence has hung like a noxious mist over the twin towns for years. That stain has only recently begun to recede, in large part due to the efforts of women who already face plenty of challenges adapting to the unfamiliar environment of life outside the FLDS community.”


“Cricket Australia has announced an investigation after England all-rounder Moeen Ali claimed he was called ‘Osama’ by an Australian opponent during his Ashes debut in 2015. Moeen, who scored 77 runs in the first innings and took five wickets in the match as England won the series opener in Cardiff, alleges the unnamed player compared him to terrorist Osama bin Laden during an on-field exchange.”


“Three players from a Tasmanian football club have sparked outrage after appearing in blackface for their club’s Mad Monday celebration ... Blackface controversies have popped up quite frequently in Australia in recent years. In 2016, Opals basketball team member Alice Kunek apologised after posting photos of herself in blackface.”


“I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked ‘are Bert and Ernie lovers?’ And that, coming from a preschooler was fun. And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.