Thursday, February 07, 2019

#MeToo allegations against legal service head

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Wayne Muir has denied allegations of sexual misconduct raised by four women. Speaking to the ABC’s 7.30, Leanne Muir, Wayne’s niece, said he raped her when she was 14 and sexually abused her when she was 16. Luana Morgan, a friend of Muir’s family, alleged he sexually assaulted her when she was 14 or 15 years old while she stayed at the family home. Katrina Beer alleged that Muir asked her to perform oral sex on him in his university office in Ballarat, while Vicky Peart claimed that he grabbed her breasts at the university’s Koori unit. Speaking through a lawyer, Muir denied the claims, describing the Katrina Beer incident as “a workplace complaint” for which he apologised.

Liberal MP Tim Wilson has resisted calls to resign as chair of the House of Representatives economics committee after leaked audio revealed he scheduled a public hearing into federal Labor’s proposed changes to franking credits to coincide with a planned protest against them. Nine newspapers reported on Wednesday that Wilson and fund manager Geoff Wilson, a distant relation, arranged to schedule a November hearing of the parliamentary inquiry into franking credits on the same day as a “franking credits roadshow” organised by Wilson Asset Management – which Geoff Wilson founded and runs – so that opponents of the Labor policy proposal “could do a little protest”. Tim Wilson, who chairs the inquiry, has been criticised for creating a website attacking the policy and encouraging opponents to organise against it. Labor seized on the story, saying on Wednesday that Wilson “needs to step down now and answer some serious questions about his use of taxpayers’ money”. Guardian Australia reports that Liberal Senate candidate Robert Gunning helped run the Defenders of Self Funded Retirees campaign, and refused to confirm his identity when contacted by journalists on the phone.

Former Victoria Police deputy commissioner Malcolm Hyde has resigned from the royal commission into the Informer 3838 scandal after revelations that the lawyer at the centre of the controversy was registered as an informant 10 years earlier than originally disclosed. In a statement on Wednesday, state attorney-general Jill Hennessy said Hyde’s resignation was “due to the potential for overlap between the matters of interest and Mr Hyde's time at Victoria Police”, and did not reflect a conflict of interest. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews called a royal commission in December after revelations that Victoria Police used a lawyer who represented high-profile gangland figures as an informant, potentially jeopardising dozens of convictions.

And independent candidate for Warringah, Zali Steggall, has criticised federal Labor for refusing to block the proposed Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland. Speaking to Guardian Australia on Wednesday, Steggall said Labor’s climate policy was not “ambitious enough” and that Australia should begin “an orderly retirement of coal”. In a joint submission to Queensland parliament, mining lobby group the Queensland Resources Council and the Queensland branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining, Maritime and Energy Union urged state parliament to reject a bill, now before a Queensland parliamentary committee, that seeks to ban coal mining in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.



“Lost in the swirl of shock, horror and outrage surrounding Aya Maasarwe’s death has been discussion of how common sexual assault has become for international students studying in Australia. According to AHRC data, 6.1 per cent of international students – male and female – at La Trobe University were raped or sexually assaulted in 2015 and/or 2016.”


“This drama, describing the disappearance of a couple’s baby from their car in a seaside Victorian town, has all the requisite elements: the shock of discovery, the parents’ ensuing panic, and the grim reality of the police hunt. But at each step there’s also a psychologically fraught examination of key relationships amid the corrosive force of guilt and responsibility.”


“To Pharrell Williams’ ears, Rogers had arrived, fully formed, ready to make pop music that could change the world. Within seconds of hearing ‘Alaska’, Williams had compared Rogers to the Wu-Tang Clan and Stevie Wonder. A spacey, quiet girl from small-town Maryland had flapped one of the most unflappable figures in modern music.”


“A new OECD report has warned that Australia risks falling short of its 2030 emissions target unless it implements ‘a major effort to move to a low-carbon model’. This view is consistent both with official government projections released late last year, and independent analysis of Australia’s emissions trajectory. Yet the government still insists we are on track, with prime minister Scott Morrison claiming as recently as November that the 2030 target will be reached ‘in a canter’.”


“The nation’s pre-eminent science agency has cast doubt on the environmental benefits claimed under the Morrison government’s main climate policy, raising concerns Australia is overstating its contribution to the fight against global warming.”


“Ask anyone who was there, and they’ll tell you that The Offspring topping the Hottest 100 of 1998 was one of the biggest musical injustices of all time. While ‘Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)’ was a great song at the time, the novelty soon wore off, leading to listeners looking back at the countdown with a bit of shame and guilt.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.