Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Guthrie ‘devastated’ at sacking

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie is reportedly considering legal options after being sacked two-and-a-half years into her five-year term. In a statement, ABC chair Justin Milne said the board made the decision “to seek fresh leadership”, declining to explain what the board found wanting about Guthrie’s approach. Guthrie said she was “devastated” by the news, saying that “at no point have any issues been raised with me about the transformation being undertaken”. Several high-profile ABC personalities praised the decision, with ABC Radio Melbourne presenter Jon Faine claiming she did “not take on her role as a champion for this organisation”.

Several Liberal MPs who supported former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in August’s leadership spill have hit out at the coup culture of Australian politics. Speaking to 60 Minutes’ Chris Uhlmann on Sunday, Former deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop said foreign ministers, who had contacted her after her resignation, called Australia “the Italy of the South Pacific and the coup capital of the world”. Bishop also described politicians’ behaviour during Question Time as ”not as well-behaved as schoolchildren”, and said quotas were “an appropriate mechanism” to raise the number of women in parliament. Liberal MP Craig Laundy said Question Time meant voters viewed politicians “as lower than bloody used-car sales people”.

Telecommunications companies have warned against a federal government proposal requiring spyware to be installed on mobile phones. The Assistance and Access Bill 2018, introduced to parliament last week by home affairs minister Peter Dutton, would require mobile phone manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung to install software allowing security agencies to remotely monitor people’s phones. Telecommunications lobby group the Communications Alliance has fiercely opposed the bill, claiming it would create “serious potential compromises for the privacy of all Australians” and may cause foreign telco providers and device manufacturers “to withdraw service offerings from the Australian market”.

And Schwartz Media’s Horne Prize essay competition has scrapped proposed rule changes to its entry criteria after two of its judges resigned in protest. Guidelines introduced this year sought to exclude “writing that purports to represent the experiences of those in any minority community of which the writer is not a member”, including “essays by non-Indigenous writers about the experiences of First Nations Australians”. Judges David Marr and Anna Funder stepped down after The Australian reported ($) the change, with Marr writing in Guardian Australia that he would not have been able to “write about political parties, the Catholic church, criminal syndicates or the high court” under the rules. Saturday Paper editor-in-chief Erik Jensen said the “guidelines were restrictive and should not have been included”.


“Six years ago, Golf Digest profiled this inmate who grinds colored pencils to their nubs drawing meticulously detailed golf-scapes ... It took about a hundred drawings before Golf Digest noticed, but when we did, we also noticed his conviction seemed flimsy. So we investigated the case and raised the question of his innocence.”


“I can’t dictate who should and should not be allowed to speak, and I wouldn’t want to. But I can make my own choice as a free citizen. So I choose not to debate them. I choose not to treat them with deference they don’t deserve. I am not interested in hearing out the ideas of the far right, because there are no new ideas on the far right. There are only new recruits.”


“Lawyers, bureaucrats, philanthropists and even a government minister from faraway Sydney have driven across the outback to take stock of this river town’s battle to rescue itself from crime. Bourke is pioneering Australia’s most innovative way of tackling a problem haunting many parts of the country: the shockingly high rate of crime and incarceration among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”


“Three hundred new words have been added to the official Scrabble dictionary, including sriracha, beatdown, zomboid, twerk, sheeple, wayback, bibimbap, botnet, emoji, facepalm, frowny, hivemind, puggle and yowza. Merriam-Webster released the sixth edition of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary on Monday, four years after the last version.”


“Chocoholics have been left not so sweet after a revamp of the perennial fan favourite Roses range. Cadbury announced last month it was reinventing the Australian favourite, which first hit shelves 70 years ago. Crowd-pleasers such as hazelnut whirls, classic fudge and strawberry cremes are all out, but the often-controversial Turkish delight has survived to further divide consumers.”


“When the Great Lismore Magpie Shooting Of 2018 took place, Richmond Police District Inspector David Vandergriend took to the Northern Star to clarify that police were absolutely following the rules there – they didn’t just ‘rock up’, as he put it, and think ‘there’s a swooping bird, we’ll shoot it’.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.