Monday, March 25, 2019

Turmoil for NSW Labor after defeat

New South Wales opposition leader Michael Daley has vowed to stay on after leading the state Labor Party to an emphatic defeat at Saturday’s election. Despite polls showing Labor neck-and-neck with premier Gladys Berejiklian’s Liberals, Labor had picked up just one extra seat as of Monday, with counting still under way in East Hills and Lismore. State member for Kogarah, Chris Minns, said on Sunday he would challenge for the Labor leadership if he held his seat, saying “after three election losses the party has to reassess what we are offering the people of NSW”. Labor’s campaign was derailed last week after comments Daley made in September last year that “foreigners are moving in and taking their jobs” were made public.

Minor parties have increased their presence in both houses of NSW parliament, with the Nationals losing several seats to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers. The state Greens held on to three lower house seats, while independent Mathew Dickerson and Nationals candidate Dugald Sanders were locked in a tight count for the seat of Dubbo. In the upper house, former federal opposition leader Mark Latham won a seat for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, while Labor and the Coalition garnering less than 60 per cent of the vote between them.

Leaked footage of detention centre guards harassing and using excessive force against detainees has highlighted conditions in the centres for people awaiting deportation. Guardian Australia reports that much of the footage shows emergency response team guards throwing and pinning detainees to the ground, while one video shows a Serco guard boasting that he has never been investigated for his conduct, despite having “no idea how many complaints I’ve ever had”. A federal court ruling in June allowed detainees to keep and use mobile phones while in detention, giving outsiders a glimpse into facilities the federal government tries to keep secret. Several people detained at Villawood detention centre in Sydney have died by suicide this year.

One million people have marched through London demanding a new referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union. EU leaders agreed last week to give Britain until April 12 to ratify an exit agreement, but prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit proposal has been repeatedly rejected by parliament. Pro-Brexit Conservative MPs told the BBC on Sunday they would consider voting for May’s proposal if she agreed to resign, while May has indicated she would not bring her deal to a third vote if there was insufficient support.

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“The Islamic Council of Victoria is among the Muslim organisations that have warned for some time of the escalating threat from right-wing extremists. Spokesman Adel Salman believes not enough is being done. ‘We’re not confident they’re taking the threat of far-right extremism as seriously as they do – and I’ll use their terminology, though I don’t like it – Islamist-based or jihadist terrorism’.”


“Intimate stories were told, from cross-dressers wanting their identities recognised to isolated mothers fearing they would bash their children, and women speaking about brutal domestic violence. Dennis Altman successfully argued that the commission’s scope should include testimonies about homosexual relationships. In many ways it was a #MeToo moment for 1970s Australians, only with a much larger remit.”


“The toppling of a senior Catholic cardinal for child sexual assault no doubt deserves media attention. But we cannot let the news itself suck the oxygen from other critical issues facing survivors. Namely, the uphill battle they continue to face in seeking fair redress for the abuses perpetrated against them.”


“We will repudiate any party which stands for stuff that is outside the mainstream. And that includes the sorts of racism or Islamophobia that some parties, including One Nation, have been out there talking about.”


“Sinodinos declared that the One Nation of today was a ‘very different beast to what it was 20 years ago’. It was put to him that One Nation’s policies had not actually evolved in 20 years, but Sinodinos said ‘they are a lot more sophisticated, they have clearly resonated with a lot of people’.”


“I would say anyone can make it as a creative if you just do what I did: work hard, be kind, and have access to a reservoir of unlimited time and money, courtesy of your unconditionally supportive and financially prosperous parents. Other than that? It just, kind of… happened!”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.