Thursday, November 01, 2018

Young Nats did Nazi this coming

A group of 15 people has resigned from the New South Wales Young Nationals following revelations that white supremacist extremists attempted to infiltrate the party. An internal review into dozens of Young Nationals members found on Wednesday that 17 people in the party were involved in activity on neo-Nazi websites and social media forums, while a further 20 members were cleared of involvement in such activity. In a mass resignation letter to the NSW Nationals executive, the party’s former Sydney metro region co-ordinator, Clifford Jennings, claimed to speak for “young white Australians” who “see a grim future for themselves and their children, of becoming a minority in their own country”. In closed Facebook groups, Jennings described his political affiliation as “fascism” and detailed his attendance at “fight nights” run by white supremacist agitators.

Dozens of survivors of sexual abuse are preparing to sue the Catholic Church, claiming previous payments received from the church were inadequate to address their suffering. Victims who went through the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s in-house compensation program, the Melbourne Response, received an average payout of $36,100, with the church denying legal liability as part of the settlements. Speaking to Fairfax, a survivor who chose to remain anonymous, said “the money offered to me many years ago was totally inadequate and does not in any way reflect the permanent suffering and damage I have suffered since I was a teenager”. In Queensland, Greens MP Michael Berkman has tabled a bill that would remove the so-called “Ellis defence”, which protects institutions such as churches from lawsuits if they hold their assets in trust.

Former attorney-general George Brandis has told a London radio station that the federal government was working to remove all refugee and asylum seeker children from Nauru by the end of the year. Speaking on talkback station LBC, Brandis defended Australia’s offshore detention regime, saying “there are hardly any children in Nauru and in New Guinea and we expect that by the end of this year there'll be none”. Fewer than 40 children remain on Nauru, according to refugee advocates. Brandis, who now serves as high commissioner to the United Kingdom, defended Australia’s practice of detaining children,  saying “we are very strict on illegal entrants”. Brandis was also forced by radio host Shelagh Fogarty to say the words “g’day Sheila”, which is something at least.

And federal crossbenchers have stepped up their demands for the government to abolish the live animal export industry after a review of the department of agriculture found a widespread failure in the department to monitor the trade. The review, conducted by former law enforcement integrity commissioner Philip Moss, found “a lack of focus on and expertise in animal welfare”, a diffusion of responsibility and insufficient “characteristics necessary for effective regulation including skills, resources and technology”. While the government has accepted all of Moss’ 31 recommendations, independents Andrew Wilkie and Kerryn Phelps have flagged their intent to reintroduce a motion banning the livestock trade.



“The melomys was previously the only mammal endemic to the Great Barrier Reef. Its entire population was confined to the single Torres Strait island for which it was named, a cay inhabited by no people or introduced predators, about four hectares in area and less than three metres above sea level at its highest point.”


“Jackson Pollock’s famous Blue Poles; Willem de Kooning’s Woman V, also a controversial purchase; Mark Rothko’s moody black and burgundy #20; Andy Warhol’s serried rows of Marilyns, Maos and Campbell’s Soup tins; Nan Goldin’s devastating sociological photographs: these and so much more are among the 150 pictures and sculptures on display.”


“For more than 200 years, people have been building castells, or castles, from humans. These human towers are synonymous with Catalonia, the autonomous region in north-east Spain with Barcelona as its capital. In towns across Catalonia, hundreds of people form collas, or teams, to build towers in a symbolic show of community strength.”


“Former education minister Simon Birmingham has been accused of politically interfering in Australian universities after blocking $4.2 million worth of research grants ... Current education minister Dan Tehan has defended Birmingham’s decision as being in Australia’s ‘national interest’.”


“New South Wales is bracing for its first heatwave of the season, and Queensland is poised to break October records, as temperatures soar this weekend ... Meteorologist Jenny Sturrock said the conditions were being called ‘an early season record’, with summer still a month away.”


“The result: 100 films from 67 different directors, from 24 countries, and in 19 languages. French can claim to be the international language of acclaimed cinema: 27 of the highest-rated films were in French, followed by 12 in Mandarin, and 11 each in Italian and Japanese.”


Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.