Monday, April 15, 2019

Labor candidate quits over Israel remarks

Former Labor MP Melissa Parke has withdrawn as the party’s candidate for the Perth seat of Curtin after comments she made criticising Israel’s occupation of Palestine. In a speech to the WA Labor for Palestine group last month, Parke recounted an incident where “a pregnant refugee woman was ordered at a checkpoint in Gaza to drink a bottle of bleach”, and said that the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians was “worse than the South African system of apartheid”. Parke reportedly resigned hours after the Herald Sun sent Labor questions about the speech. Parke rejected Executive Council of Australian Jewry chief executive Alex Ryvchin’s claim on Friday that she was an “extreme and divisive figure”, saying “it is not anti Semitic to protest injustice and to support the international rule of law & non-discrimination”. Meanwhile, Reform and Conservative Jewish groups in the United States have urged US president Donald Trump to discourage Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was elected for a fifth term in office in a general election last week, from his campaign pledge to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has urged the federal government to bring Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange to Australia. Assange, who was arrested by British police last week after living in Ecuador’s London embassy for almost seven years, is facing extradition to the United States on charges stemming from a massive document dump in 2010 revealing US soldiers had killed civilians in Iraq. Assange is also facing extradition to Sweden, where he faces multiple rape charges. Speaking on Sunday, Di Natale said Assange was being targeted by the US because he was “responsible for uncovering what were war crimes”.

Northern Territory community legal services say they have been forced to pull back their work in remote Indigenous communities, leaving children as young as 11 without legal representation in bush courts. The ABC reports that the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission has stopped sending lawyers to remote courts outside the territory’s major centres, leaving Aboriginal people to navigate the legal system on their own, compounding difficulties of language and culture. Criminal Lawyers' Association of the NT president Marty Aust said “somebody braver than me might suggest it's indicative of an institutional racism amongst government departments”. NTLAC received $6.9 million in funding last financial year.

Home affairs minister Peter Dutton has apologised after claiming last week ($) that Ali France, Labor’s candidate running against him for the Brisbane seat of Dickson, was “using her disability as an excuse” not to move into the electorate. Calling Dutton a “thug”, “mean” and “despicable”, Labor senator Kristina Keneally said on Saturday Dutton’s comments were proof he was “the most toxic man in the Liberal Party”, while deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said “I hear from some people that Peter Dutton is a horrible human being”. In an apology on Twitter, Dutton said “my argument with the Labor candidate is about how our respective policies would affect the people of Dickson”.

And in sporting news, Tiger Woods and Winx both won their things.



“The CSIRO has revealed that the undertaking Adani gave to improve its plans, which preceded federal government approval, allows it to take up to two years to redesign and check its modelling. Two days before prime minister Scott Morrison named May 18 as polling day, environment minister Melissa Price approved the groundwater management plans for the Indian-owned Adani Group’s controversial mine.”


“At this point, the persona of Don Quixote seems less an analogy for Gilliam than an inseparable part of the director’s DNA. Both on screen and off, the filmmaker has always been positioned, often via his own belligerent self-mythology, as an anachronistic dreamer in trapped in the tyranny of the present, an artist wrestling with old-timey notions of fantasy in his very own Age of Iron.”


“When interviewed, she says she’s a ‘lucky girl’ and that her win really belongs to her team. When told last week she’s now ranked No. 9 in the world for both singles and doubles the 22-year-old responded like a poet of the Australian collective imagination: ‘There you go. How bloody good.’”


“Prime minister Scott Morrison has accused Labor of peddling racist sentiments over the Indian-owned Adani coal mine as the election campaign descends further into negative territory on its third day. Morrison accused deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek of racism – though without actually using the word – after she said Australians could not ‘rely on an Indian mining company to bring jobs to central and North Queensland’.”


“Bill Shorten has asked the Labor Party to review the Australians First ad, which takes aim at the government’s policy on temporary work visas and promises to ‘Employ Australians First’. It includes a picture of Shorten standing next to a group of mostly white Australians, sparking accusations of racism that picked up steam on social media on Monday.”


“Greetings and welcome to Victual, an old-time public house and purveyor of fine provisions that has been foisted upon you by someone who lives in the West Village. Before you ask, yes, this Gingham shirt and denim apron are sewn directly into my skin to save time.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.