Friday, July 12, 2019

PM to ’veto’ Indigenous voice to parliament despite popular support

A poll has found a majority of Australians support recognition of Indigenous Australians in the constitution, and the establishment of a voice to parliament. The Essential survey found that in a sample of 1097 respondents, 70 per cent supported constitutional recognition, 66 per cent were in favour of an indigenous voice to parliament, and 59 per cent supported a treaty. The poll came in the wake of the minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, promising to work towards holding a referendum on recognition in three years. Senior government sources told The Australian ($)  that Prime Minister Scott Morrison would “veto” any move to establish a voice to parliament in the form of a constitutionally enshrined indigenous advisory body, despite such a move being recommended in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and supported by Labor. 

A tourist surge is crowding the climb up Uluru ahead of the permanent closure of the hike in October. The visitors are trespassing, camping illegally and dumping rubbish on the walk, which is being closed on the wishes of the Anangu traditional owners, who regard Uluru as sacred and have always asked tourists not to climb. Marriage celebrant Meredith Campell told the ABC that in years of visiting the region for her work she had never seen it like this: “On Sunday I went to the Ayers Rock campground to meet a marrying couple and at the reception there, they were just like processional caterpillars; caravan after caravan, arriving, arriving, arriving.”

Electronic funds transfer and automatic teller machine services have been restored after a nationwide outage affected many retailers, Australia Post, and all four major banks starting at 3pm AEST on Thursday afternoon. The problem was traced to a Telstra fault, with the telecommunications giant reporting that services were starting to restore at 8pm AEST. The outage saw some stores ask to take cash, and large queues at Woolworths stores, where transactions were being processed manually.

The UN Human Rights Council has narrowly approved an investigation into Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, which human rights advocates claim has killed 27,000 people suspected of being drug dealers or users. The resolution highlights concerns over a range of alleged abuses under Duterte’s watch, including killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention. 

In sport, Australia has been dumped out of the men’s cricket World Cup at the semi-final stage, with England crushing the defending champion in an eight-wicket victory. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Australia was left reeling at 3-14, but clawed its way back with a 103-run fourth-wicket stand between Steve Smith and Alex Carey before being bowled out for 223. England chased down the total in just 32.1 overs, securing a spot in the final against New Zealand on Sunday.  

A Voice and a prayer
Scott Morrison began the week praying in front of 21,000 people. He closed it promising a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.


“There’s something completely apposite about the opening of the parliament being heralded by an Aboriginal smoking ceremony. The entrance to the people’s house was enveloped in pungent smoke. Traditionally it is a cleansing ceremony designed to ward off bad spirits. That’s what Ngunnawal elder Aunty Tina Brown meant when she instructed Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese to ‘let the smoke roll over you and let it come through you and embrace it within you’. Here, though, it could just as well be a metaphor for the tricks and devices used to mask what is really going on in political contests. The next three years will be a test of the ceremony’s effectiveness.”


“Scott Morrison has a new obsession: the budget surplus. In spite of his assurances to the contrary, this has not actually been delivered, and there are growing doubts that it will be. The storm clouds and headwinds of which the prime minister and his treasurer confusingly warn us could well blow it away. But it remains ScoMo’s fetish, replacing his pet rock, the lump of coal he brought lovingly into the parliament in 2017. The quest for surplus is now his reason for being, his ‘precious’. And nothing is to stand in its way – certainly not economic reality.”


“‘The issue,’ says Hannah Fox as we weave our way through the crowd to join the prospective swimmers, ‘is to try and avoid seeing anyone you work with’s penis.’ It’s early Saturday morning and Hobart’s Long Beach is overwhelmed with shivering nude bodies. Fur coats are strewn across the promenade, and people are stretching red swimming caps, with ‘Grin and bear it’ written in Gothic script, on their heads.”


“A Victorian man who conned his way into becoming the director of nursing in an aged care facility by falsely claiming he was a registered nurse has been fined more than $60,000. The man was convicted of four counts of claiming or suggesting that he was a registered nurse without being one, one count of unlawfully using the title of ‘registered nurse’ without being registered with the relevant board and one count of unlawfully claiming to be authorised or qualified to practise nursing at Ringwood Magistrates' Court on Thursday.”


“Dozens of elderly residents in an aged-care home on the Gold Coast are distressed and potentially homeless after the private facility shut down unexpectedly. Police were called to the Earle Haven Retirement Village at Nerang about 2:00pm on Thursday to investigate a reported disturbance and amid suggestions the operators had gone into administration. A Queensland Health spokesperson said medical equipment had been stripped out of the Earle Haven Retirement Village, where 70 people live.”



“Stereotypically, there are two sources of anxiety constantly nagging all millennials at a semi-conscious level like a pair of battery-draining mobile phone apps that can’t be uninstalled. One app is called ‘Massive Debt,’ and the other is ‘Anxiety About an Impending Climate Catastrophe.’ There’s even a certain harmony to them; an inexorable descent into personal financial oblivion pairs nicely (at an aesthetic level) with a perceived inexorable descent into universal destruction. The latter, it would seem, may even cancel out the former.”

Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.