Wednesday, September 26, 2018

‘Judgement day’ for Bill Cosby

Actor Bill Cosby has been sentenced to between three and 10 years prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004. Giving a victim impact statement at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Pennsylvania, former professional basketball player Andrea Constand said Cosby “took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it” when “the man I had come to know as a mentor and friend drugged and sexually assaulted me”. Judge Steven O’Neill denied Cosby’s request for bail, and classified him as a violent sex offender, requiring him to register with police, undergo mandatory lifetime counselling and inform communities in which he lives of his status. Many of the 60 women who accused Cosby of sexual assault were in the courtroom to see him led away in handcuffs. Addressing the media outside the courthouse, lawyer and #MeToo advocate Gloria Allred said “judgement day has come”.

ABC chair Justin Milne told former managing director Michelle Guthrie to fire chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici after former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull complained about Alberici's reporting. In an email to Guthrie on May 8, published by Fairfax, Milne said “they [the government] hate her ... We are tarred with her brush. I think it’s simple. Get rid of her. We need to save the ABC, not Emma. There is no guarantee they [the government] will lose the next election.” Turnbull lodged 11 complaints with ABC news director Gaven Morris over a story Alberici presented about the government's research and innovation spending. The news came as acting managing director David Anderson was forced to deny claims senior ABC executives threatened to resign if Guthrie was not sacked. Speaking to ABC News Breakfast’s Michael Rowland on Tuesday, Anderson said he “can't speak on behalf of the rest of the leadership team”, and that “I don't think ABC board deliberations ever come out in public”.

Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced that the 2017-18 budget deficit would be Australia’s lowest since the Global Financial Crisis. The Treasury’s final budget outcome, released on Tuesday, found the $10.1 billion deficit was more than $19 billion smaller than projected, largely due to a higher-than-expected tax intake and fewer people than predicted signing up to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 saved $894 million in aged pension payments, while increased corporate tax receipts accounted for $6.8 billion in revenue. The national debt at the end of the 2017-18 financial year was $342 billion, $13 billion lower than anticipated.

And former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Palmer has urged policymakers to abandon their opposition to pill testing at music festivals and adopt a harm-minimisation approach to illegal drugs. Speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday, Palmer said “not even the strongest conservative could be happy with the results we're currently achieving, or for that matter, have ever achieved under the 'tough on drugs' prohibition mentality”. Polling in the aftermath of two deaths at a Sydney music festival earlier this month found a majority of New South Wales voters supported pill testing at music festivals, despite premier Gladys Berejiklian refusing to consider the approach on the grounds that her government does “not support a culture that says it is okay to take illegal drugs”.


“Anecdotes of the mischievous intelligence of octopuses abound. Individuals have been reported to solve mazes, screw open child-proof medicine bottles and recognise individual people. Keepers are inclined to give them names because of their personalities.”


“Makeup could help men break down restrictive gender norms and express themselves more fully. But it could also force them to face something that has, until now, been mostly the province of women: the pressure to live up to unrealistic beauty standards by spending ever more of their income on lipsticks, powders, and creams.”


“Outside of the greenhouse, a camel grazes. Pale pink sand extends to the rocky mountains in the distance. Only the hardiest tufts of green thrust up through the ground. There is no water. There are no trees. This spot in the Jordanian desert may be one of the most surprising places on Earth to start a farm. It’s also one that, in some ways, makes perfect sense.”



“Scott Morrison wants a national conversation about an Indigenous day, while insisting Australia Day should be celebrated on January 26 ... ‘That is the day that Australia’s history changed. And it should be a day to recognise all Australians from our first to our most recent’, he said.”


“Archaeologists have discovered hundreds of paramilitary Native Mounted Police camps across Queensland, shedding light on Australia’s violent frontier history ... Native Mounted Police camps, set up to support settlers who became engaged in often violent conflicts with Aboriginal groups resisting European occupation, operated across Queensland from the mid-1800s.”



“It was only a matter of time before TV’s revival trend turned its rapacious eye to Frasier, one of the most successful spin-offs in programming history. The long-running multi-cam sitcom from David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee has found new life in memes as well as in pillow forts across the country, offering a soothing alternative to the endless news cycle and puzzle-box shows.”

(Editor’s note: I will never come across an article celebrating Frasier and leave it out of The Briefing. Them’s the rules.)


Win a double pass to Queensland Ballets A Midsummer Nights Dream.

The Saturday Paper invites Victorian readers to enter the draw to win one of 20 double passes to Queensland Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, on either October 4, 5 or 7.

Led by artistic director Li Cunxin, Queensland Ballet has transformed Shakespeare’s masterpiece into glorious dance. Mendelssohn’s wonderful incidental music and Liam Scarlett’s witty choreography bring this magical story of love, jealousy and mistaken identities to life.

Entries close on Friday, September 28 at 11.59pm AEST and winners will be notified by Monday, October 1.

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.