Thursday, September 10, 2020

Australia Post delivers for Hanson

Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate personally intervened to demand that provocative Pauline Hanson merchandise be delivered to Melbourne’s locked down public housing towers in July, while lobbying One Nation over a key Senate vote. In an email sent by Australia Post’s general counsel, a threat was made to call police unless the City of Melbourne agreed to deliver One Nation-branded stubby holders to every apartment in a locked-down building, reports The Age. The threat came days after Hanson described the tower’s residents as “drug addicts” and “alcoholics”, and as Australia Post was lobbying One Nation to vote against overturning a relaxation in daily postal services. Hanson had sent 114 stubby holders to householders with a note that read “no hard feelings”. The council had intercepted the mail as it saw the move as provocative. An Australia Post spokesman said it took its obligation to deliver mail as addressed “seriously”.

China's foreign ministry has criticised a foreign interference investigation involving a group of Chinese academics and journalists in Australia. Chinese media outlets yesterday alleged that Australian national security agencies raided the homes of Chinese reporters in June, seizing equipment and ordering them to stay silent. The ABC reports that some of those journalists were part of a WeChat group that Australian authorities claim was being used by political staffer John Zhang to encourage NSW Labor backbencher Shaoquett Moselmane to push the interests of China. Two academics in the group, Professor Chen Hong and Li Jianjun, also face having their visas cancelled.

Backpackers on working holiday visas are routinely exploited, a parliamentary inquiry has been warned. The Migrant Workers Centre has told an inquiry into the Working Holiday Maker program that reforms to the program are needed to protect migrants on the scheme. The Fair Work Ombudsman also gave evidence to the committee on Wednesday, saying that despite working holidaymakers making up around one per cent of the total workforce, they account for almost 7 per cent of the body’s active case load.

The Adani group has launched its own rail business to haul coal to its Queensland port, while avoiding mention of the parent company or the Carmichael mine. Bowen Rail Company last month announced the launch of a haulage business to service Abbot Point export terminal, reports the ABC. It follows years of anti-coal pressure that has prompted potential contractors to walk away from the mining giant. Adani’s apparent move to go it alone on coal haulage will add $200 million to the upfront cost of its Queensland project, according to one energy analyst.

How to collect coronavirus
Cultural institutions in Australia have begun to collect evidence of how coronavirus is changing the country in real time, as part of a movement to collect ‘social histories’. But how difficult is the task, especially when there’s no national vision for collecting culture in our country?


“It was a straightforward question, one asked by the chair of the senate inquiry into the government’s Covid-19 response, Katy Gallagher, almost mechanically: ‘How many residents of aged-care facilities funded and regulated by the Australian government have passed away from Covid-19?’”

“Since their inception in 2017, their rotating roster of rappers – J Emz, Spenny, YP, Lekks, Celly and Caesar – have been going viral on YouTube with music videos that parade their thuggish frame of mind. Blurring the lines between street credibility and art, their authenticity has come at a heavy cost. In 2019, their national tour was cancelled because of police pressure on venues and, after a violent altercation, the majority of their members were incarcerated.”

“Reid and his good mate Kyrgios are still in Australia, despite tennis having officially resumed on a limited scale. World No.  40 Kyrgios – a wildly unexpected poster boy for Covid-19 common sense – was joined by the likes of defending champion Rafael Nadal, women’s No.  1 Ash Barty and five other members of the women’s top 10 in skipping the coronavirus-compromised US Open.”


“Farmers are becoming increasingly concerned about the first-hand on-farm effects of climate change, and many are disappointed the messaging from senior Nationals politicians is increasingly out of touch with their traditional constituents. The National Farmers Federation recently united the broad church of agriculture behind a 2050 carbon neutral target, however the move was met with scorn by several Nationals politicians.”


“Deputy Premier John Barilaro has given his strongest indication that the NSW Nationals could split from the Coalition over koala planning policy, with two of his ministers prepared to quit cabinet over the issue ... The damaging division in the Coalition relates to a policy designed to protect koala habitat, but the Nationals say it would severely limit the way property owners could manage their land.”


“The fifty-third foreign ministers’ summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) starts ... via video conference, highlighting an emerging diplomatic reality: regional leaders’ summits are unlikely to be conducted face-to-face this year.”


“Dawa: This cocktail, created in the 1980s at Nairobi’s Carnivore restaurant, is a honey-laced take on Brazil’s caipirinha. The name means ‘medicine’ in Swahili, and Stillwell states that the honey-coated stick is ‘a nod to Kenya’s beekeeping tradition.’”

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