Wednesday, November 14, 2018

‘Sexual violence’ allegation rocks Greens

New South Wales state Greens MP Jenny Leong has used parliamentary privilege to accuse her party colleague, Jeremy Buckingham, of “an act of sexual violence” against a former Greens employee. Speaking in the NSW Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, Leong urged the state Greens “to act so that he is no longer a representative or member of the Greens”. Leong’s statement was supported by federal senator Mehreen Faruqi, former federal senator Lee Rhiannon and NSW upper house Green David Shoebridge. In April, former employee Ella Buckland complained to the state Greens that Buckingham, who sits in the upper house of NSW Parliament, had groped her in 2011. A report from a workplace investigation consultant released in September found “insufficient evidence … that the physical incident alleged occurred”. In a statement on Tuesday, Buckingham denied Buckland’s allegation and said he would not step down.

Melbourne man James Gargasoulas has been found guilty of six counts of murder and 27 counts of reckless conduct endangering life for speeding along a footpath in the Melbourne CBD last year. A jury took just 57 minutes to convict Gargasoulas, who drove at speed along a pedestrian walkway on Bourke Street in January. Gargasoulas told the jury yesterday that he had a divine premonition before the attack, and that “a comet related to judgement day was coming”. He will be sentenced in January.

A study into workplace gender equality has found men take home an average of 21.3 per cent more annual pay than women. In a new report released on Tuesday, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency found the gender pay gap dropped 1.1 per cent from last year, the largest decrease on record. However, the report cautioned that “five-year data trends also show virtually no movement in gender segregation across Australian industries and little improvement in either access to paid parental leave or the representation of women at CEO level or on boards”. The disparity translated to an average take-home pay gap of $25,717, with gender pay inequality rising in the construction and health sectors.

And in the United States, drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has gone on trial. The world’s richest and most powerful drug kingpin, Guzmán founded and ran the Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexican crime syndicate that continues to operate in his absence. Guzmán, who has escaped from prison twice, is being held under an unprecedented amount of security in lower Manhattan, with the Brooklyn Bridge expected to be shut down twice a day as Guzmán is transported to and from a court building in Brooklyn. Guzmán has pleaded not guilty to 17 charges, including conspiracy to murder, drug trafficking and operating a criminal enterprise. Authorities are seeking the forfeiture of more than US$14 billion in funds made through the drug trade, and have seized almost 200,000 kilograms of cocaine allegedly smuggled by the cartel.


“The tale of the push by alt-right activists, self-acknowledged fascists and neo-Nazi sympathisers to infiltrate the National Party through its youth wing – and of how they were eventually exposed and banned – is not just a great political story, it’s a great detective story. Not to mention a timely warning to political parties, not only those of the conservative side, to watch carefully for weeds growing among the grassroots.”


“Unfortunately there is a widespread belief that if enough money is thrown at the problem a solution will be found. All science requires funding, of course, but the truth is we have to think our way to a solution, not spend our way to one. And we won’t outsmart cancer until we understand what it is.”


“Born in Iran, Afshar moved to Australia in 2007 and has lived and worked here since. As a photographer, her practice is prolific. Her works are ironic, subversive and challenging, responding to stereotypes of Iran in the Western imagination. She is deeply interested in the power of representation, in allowing complexity for marginalised people who are often denied it in media. She believes firmly in the ability of image-making to change not only attitudes, but systems.”


“ACTU secretary Sally McManus has accused the ABC of refusing to let her on the premises of the public broadcaster for a talk to union members on Wednesday. In an astonishing tweet, McManus said the ABC was ‘the first employer in the country to say no to me being allowed on their premises to talk to their employees’ since she was elected in March last year.”


“Queensland is preparing for the arrival of world leaders, including United States vice-president Mike Pence, who will attend the APEC summit in Papua New Guinea ... It is understood Pence will fly back and forth from Port Moresby, choosing to stay in a hotel in Cairns, rather than stay in Port Moresby each night.”



“Last night on Q&A, we were treated to a work of art. Some of the best moments in this cursed show take place when the camera cuts to the audience reaction, and on last night’s episode we got a glimpse of one audience member’s incredible shirt, which featured the Vegemite logo replaced with the word ‘sodomite’ instead.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.