Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Sexual assault allegations rock Liberal party

Two women in the Liberal Party have come forward with claims they were sexually assaulted in separate incidents while on the staff of senior Liberal politicians in 2015. Chelsey Potter alleges one man restrained her and removed her underwear, while fellow staffer Dhanya Mani alleges another man forced himself on top of her and masturbated on her. Both reported the incidents to senior party members but the allegations went nowhere. A Morrison government spokesperson responded to the reports saying they found the allegations “deeply concerning and distressing” and encouraged the events be reported to police to be investigated. Mani and Potter have teamed up to set up a network for sexual assault survivors within the political sphere. 

The Morrison government has directed the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity to investigate links between government agencies and Crown Casino’s alleged illegal activities. Yesterday, the Federal Government admitted that it had an agreement with Crown to fast-track short-stay visa applications for Chinese visitors. Attorney-General Christian Porter said it was important the investigation took place for “public confidence” in law enforcement agencies including police, immigration and customs. “They hold very privileged positions and, as such, are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism at all times," he said. Earlier, the Coalition and Labor opposed a motion for setting up a parliamentary inquiry into the unfolding scandal, with MPs saying it was “totally ill-equipped” to examine the matter and that it could interfere with other investigations.

The two teenagers suspected of killing three people, including Australian man Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, continue to evade authorities in the Canadian wilderness. An unconfirmed sighting of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky near the community of York Landing in northern Manitoba prompted Canadian police to begin searching surrounding forest. The Canadian Air Force has deployed fixed-wing aircrfaft, drones and helicopters for the search, while police teams are using sniffer dogs on the ground. McLeod and Schmegelsky have been on the run for more than two weeks. 

A decision on a 20-year copyright case involving German techno band Kraftwerk could have implications for artists who “sample” other artists’ music. The European Court of Justice, the highest court in the EU, has ruled in favour of Kraftwerk, which brought action against hip-hop producers Moses Pelham and Martin Haas for the 1999 Sabrina Setlur track Nur Mir which uses two seconds of Kraftwerk’s Metall auf Metall. The court ruled that any reproduction of a 2-second sound sample from an existing recording must only be used with the permission of the original producer. Unrecognisable samples can be used without permission. The impact of the ruling could potentially lead to licensing issues for music that includes samples. Sampling is commonly used in hip-hop and rap, as well as electronic dance music.   

Queensland novelist Melissa Lucashenko has won the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award for her novel Too Much Lip. Lucashenko is the third Indigenous Australian writer to win the prize, this year worth $60,000.  

Cooling in the Pacific
Climate change is now the defining issue for the Pacific. It is also one of the factors undermining Australia’s relationship with the region. Katerina Teaiwa on what has changed diplomatically and what could heal the rift.


“Blaxland said he detects an assessment within government that the risk of Australia being subjected to a large-scale, crippling cyber assault outweighs the risks to privacy and civil liberties of ‘big government’ and ‘big industry’ linking their systems.”


“Many MPs, including opposition figures who have previously turned a blind eye to these excesses due to a tacit understanding that no one would cut off lucrative future opportunities, want this senate probe to come back with some firm recommendations to clean up a system that is failing to meet community expectations. The adoption of stronger guidelines, similar to what is laid out for British former ministers, would be a good place to start.”


Skateboarders vs Minimalism (2016) is made up of three videos side by side. In each a skateboarder – trans woman Hillary Thompson, American Jesus Esteban and one of Gladwell’s adolescent heroes, Rodney Mullen, all proficient riders – make their jumps and slides across sculptures by masters of the American school of minimalism in the visual arts, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and Carl Andre, in plain white rooms. Here the skateboarders’ technique is fascinating, but so too is the question of what they are doing in those spaces with those objects.”


“In a statement, the Archbishop said it was the ‘dream bill of the abortion industry’. ‘It will require Catholic [and other] doctors and hospitals to collaborate by either taking part in the abortion or referring patients to someone who will,’ he said. ‘It is yet another attack upon the rights of people of faith.’”



“A controversial ad erected on the side of a NSW highway by an anti-abortion group has been removed following public outcry. The billboard, which was created by pro-life group Emily’s Voice, was recently installed on the side of the Pacific Highway at Lake Macquarie as part of the group’s ‘notbornyet’ campaign. It showed a pregnant woman holding her belly and featured the words: ‘A heart beats at four weeks.’ There was swift backlash from the community after the sign was put up, with many people calling for it to be torn down.”


“Being an emo in the mid-2000s was intense. Not only were our fringes so heavy we could barely see, but we also paid a lot of attention to social divisions. Unlike now, when teens are more into streetwear than subculture, you were either an emo or a normie. You either listened to My Chemical Romance or Justin Timberlake. Which is why I’d have never envisioned myself as I am now: a twenty-something who still wears a lot of eyeliner, but is so deep into K-pop that my great-aunt sends me newspaper cutouts about BTS in the post from Brazil.”


Anna Horan
is a Melbourne-based editor and writer.