Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Albanese turns on John Setka

Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese has called for the expulsion of Construction, Forestry, Mining, Maritime and Energy Union Victorian secretary John Setka from the Labor Party over offensive comments and behaviour toward women. Speaking on Tuesday, Albanese said Setka’s complaints that Rosie Batty’s campaigning on domestic violence had lessened rights for men were “completely incompatible with the values of the Labor Party and the broader labour movement”, and that he had written to Labor’s national executive asking that a motion expelling Setka from the party be voted on at its next meeting in July.

Communications minister Paul Fletcher has indicated the federal government may be open to a review of press freedom laws following recent Australian Federal Police raids on media outlets. Speaking to Nine newspapers on Tuesday, Fletcher said the government understood “that last week’s events would cause anxiety amongst journalists”, and that press freedom was “a bedrock principle of the way that democracies operate”. Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance media president Marcus Strom has called for an overhaul of anti-terror and espionage laws following the AFP raids last week, saying that Coalition and Labor should “take collective responsibility for the legal framework they've created that is allowing for what appears to be [a] politically motivated assault on press freedom”.

One of the three elected representatives of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in the Western Australian parliament has quit the party, and will sit in the state’s upper house as an independent. Charles Smith, who was elected to WA’s Legislative Council at the state election in 2017, announced his defection in parliament on Tuesday, saying that “today is the end of a long line of frustrations for me”. Smith’s defection will reduce One Nation’s influence in the upper house, where WA premier Mark McGowan’s Labor government must deal with a wide range of crossbenchers to pass legislation. One Nation has been beset by defections throughout its existence, with more than half of its elected representatives resigning from the party since it began winning parliamentary seats in 1998.

And a university professor who stood for former senator Fraser Anning’s Conservative Nationals party at the federal election has been awarded a Queen’s Birthday honour. Adrian Cheok, a computer scientist who has posted homophobic social media content about Labor senator Penny Wong and advocates for government funding to improve human sex with robots, was inducted into the Order of Australia “for significant service to international education” on Monday. Cheok stood as the Conservative National candidate in the Adelaide seat of Boothby, winning 868 votes.

Lastly, today is my final day at The Briefing. After two-and-a-half years, it’s time to try something new. Thanks to Erik Jensen, Glenn Mulcaster, my long-suffering subeditor, and you, the reader.



“As the tensions between the US and China grow, Australia is left in a position a bit like a kid caught between divorcing parents, traumatised by the prospect of choosing one or the other.”


“It was as if James Balcombe, supported in court by a woman whose baby bump was not yet a match for his own bulging belly, was not the wannabe king of the (inflatable) kingdom. Rather, it was as if he were but a curious onlooker who had entered Magistrate Sarah Dawes’s courtroom in error but stayed due to the attention-­grabbing incompatibility of Molotov cocktails and kids’ jumping castles.”


“The interesting thing about the Chinese word for gunpowder is that it doesn’t contain the word ‘gun’. Historically, as with many materials eventually warped for violence, its original uses were much more positive, including celebration and ancestor worship. The Chinese term, 火药 huǒ yào, literally means ‘fire medicine’.”


“The Aboriginal owners of two clothing businesses are shocked after receiving legal letters demanding they stop using the Aboriginal flag on their merchandise because it ‘violates Australian copyright laws’. The NRL, Cricket Australia and the AFL may also have been issued notices by Queensland-based WAM Clothing over the use of the Aboriginal flag on clothing.”


“A non-Indigenous company that holds worldwide exclusive rights to use the Aboriginal flag on clothing, and has issued infringement notices to the AFL and several Aboriginal companies that use it, is part-owned by a man who has previously been prosecuted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for selling fake Aboriginal art.”


“I’ve got some shit boys. My huge beautiful wife gave me children who think and speak like the toilet. I have four garbage sons: The first son is named Royce, the second son is named Preston, the third son is named Lance And Blake (two names for just one son), and the fourth son is the dreaded Laramie. Which one of my toxic sons are you? Take this quiz to find out!”

Breaking up big tech
Once a radical thought, the idea of breaking up tech giants to help regulate them is gaining traction with politicians and tech entrepreneurs. Osman Faruqi on the battle between free speech and hate speech at places like Facebook.

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.