Tuesday, November 10, 2020

‘Bonk ban’ targeted Porter, Tudge

An investigation has uncovered concerns of inappropriate behaviour towards women by federal Attorney-General Christian Porter and Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge. The Four Corners report, which the federal government attempted to quash before its airing, found that former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s 2018 “bonk ban” was aimed at the pair in addition to former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce. The investigation uncovered allegations that Porter made unwanted advances on women and sexist remarks across his career, and was seen with a young female employee of another cabinet minister at Canberra's Public Bar, which prompted a warning from Turnbull at the time. Tudge, meanwhile, was having an affair with female staffer Rachelle Miller, who told the ABC there was a significant power imbalance between the two, and that Tudge would pressure her to “war-game” answers to media if their relationship was uncovered. Porter said many of the claims on Four Corners were defamatory and that he “will be considering legal options.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will extend ($) JobSeeker coronavirus payments beyond the planned cut-off date of December 31 until the end of March, but at a reduced rate. The Australian reports that cabinet’s expenditure review ­committee signed off last week on the extension, but at a lower rate than the current $250 supplement and subject to final tick-off by cabinet. It is understood that one ­tapered rate being considered was $150 a fortnight.

The Queensland Government will take a $150 million stake in a central Queensland coal port and underpin a $1.2 billion expansion of the asset and further coal mine development. The Queensland Investment Corporation will take a 9.9 per cent stake in the float of the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, which InQueensland reports marks a significant shift in attitude by the state government since Cameron Dick took over as treasurer from Jackie Trad.

President Donald Trump’s administration has yet to sign off on documentation needed to formally begin the transition process, as he ramps up efforts to contest the election result. Trump-appointed General Services Administration administrator Emily W. Murphy needs to sign a letter to release funds to the Biden transition team. This would give access to national security tools for background checks of incoming staff and funds for training and payroll. It comes as Trump tweeted that he has fired Mark Esper as defense secretary, and has reportedly told advisers he’s thinking about running for president again in 2024 if plans for upcoming rallies fail to make the case for overturning the election results.

When police charge the victim
A new report collating the experiences of hundreds of frontline workers has revealed how criminal and judicial systems are failing victims of family violence. Today, Rick Morton on how we’re still letting down survivors, and what needs to change. This episode contains descriptions of family violence

“The damage to convention, the rule of law, honesty, integrity and decency that Trump has wreaked – and is still wreaking – will be harder to repair ... Trumpery will live on, at least through the next two years. And the man himself is not going anywhere – except to the courts, where he threatens to keep litigating until the last complaint can be dragged in front of the last judge, whom he himself has just appointed.”

“The federal government is continuing to pour millions of dollars into local sports grants favouring Coalition electorates, despite an auditor-general’s rebuke earlier this year about political bias. The amount of funding for the sport program, which is within the Health portfolio, was not disclosed anywhere in this year’s budget papers.”

“Whereas in years past extreme poverty hit mostly the unskilled, the rural and the marginalised, now it is spreading to white-collar professionals, to well-educated people stuck at home or in sectors fast declining, to fading city centres, to artists, musicians and people who used to survive well by doing creative things while doing odd jobs. If I am right that we are already in the early phase of a spontaneously evolved grim post-capitalism, maybe it is time to start designing, rationally and together, a desirable post-capitalism. But where to begin?”

“Labor MP Andrew Leigh tabled the media diversity petition in the House of Representatives on Monday, describing it as ‘the largest e-petition in Australia's history’. ‘In Australia, the media is shrinking and extremely concentrated,’ he said, citing a fall in the number of journalists. ‘There are now over 20 “news deserts” in Australia, which weakens the community and raises the risk of corruption going unchecked.’”

“Labor has taken a petition with more than half a million signatures to parliament calling for a royal commission into the influence of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation but the party’s leaders won't say if they support it or not ... A spokesman for Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the party did not have a view on the petition. Deputy opposition leader Richard Marles appeared to distance his party from the calls for a royal commission.”

“In essence, we now have a full-scale turf war between two crucial components of the democratic state – an independent judiciary and a free press, both seeking to defend their respective territory … The ‘Pell 36’ are a concatenation of editors, reporters, producers of online content, morning-radio shockers and TV talking heads. Some are household names, others just names in their own households.”

“Come Jan. 20, Donald Trump will not be president. In the coming weeks, there will be plenty of opportunities to think about what lies ahead, but for now, we want to bid farewell to the Trump officials and family members who have made the past four years so difficult for so many people. We know they’re not just going to go away, but their power is dwindling, and soon they will not matter. Goodbye!”

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