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Emma Elsworthy

A super idea


The federal government wants the superannuation sector to fund social and affordable housing, the ABC reports. Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones met with the peak industry group yesterday to persuade it to help shore up the housing shortage — super funds have so far been reluctant, however, because of the lower return and higher risk of housing investment. But things are bad and getting worse in the housing crisis, particularly for the vulnerable: one report put the shortage of social and affordable housing at 700,000 by 2036. Dismal. Another found the shortage is costing Australia $676 million a year. It comes after the Reserve Bank raised interest rates to 2.35% yesterday, the AFR reports, the fifth consecutive month it has done so. RBA governor Philip Lowe says he’s not done yet — more rises will be required to bring the surging inflation rate down.

But it’s hurting Aussies in the meantime. In Queensland, homeowners have to find an average of $146 extra a month to pay their mortgage, The Courier Mail ($) reports. But one in four were already struggling to pay it before yesterday’s rise. Across the country, it means we will be forking out 29% more on an average mortgage than we were in April — about $3528 a month (up from $2727 in April), according to Finder. The paper put it plainly: $9608 more a year spent on the mortgage is the same as “three return flights to London, a small second-hand car, or a full year of groceries for a family of four”.


Former Liberal MP Andrew Laming has asked for nearly $1 million in his defamation case against the Nine Network, The Australian ($) reports. It dates back to March last year when Nine screened a news report that claimed Laming allegedly took an upskirt photo of a Brisbane worker — Laming has denied the report ever since and asked for it to be removed from the website, but Nine dug its heels in (two reporters won a Walkley for the report). So Laming sued for defamation. Nine has since withdrawn its “truth” defence relating to the upskirting claim (in effect admitting it wasn’t true) and accepted Laming is “entitled to damages”, according to court documents. Meanwhile out west former Melbourne Football Club president Glen Bartlett is eyeing suing current president Kate Roffey, The West ($) reports, amid his defamation suit against some of the country’s top AFL journalists. Bartlett’s lawyers say it’s Roffey’s “contributions” to a bunch of articles in question that embroil her in the saga.

To another, more personal defamation battle now and independent Zoe Daniel has taken her motion for an inquiry into media concentration in Australia to Parliament. The motion will be introduced to the House today, Crikey reports — it calls for a judicial inquiry with the powers of a royal commission. It came after Fox billionaire Lachlan Murdoch launched his defamation proceedings against Crikey, but Daniel (a former journalist) says it’s also about journos losing their jobs, regional newspapers folding (at least 60 during the pandemic) and the need for a “fit and proper person” test in the Broadcasting Services Act. What does that mean? In the UK, the communication regulator (its version of ACMA) gets to decide who should receive — or keep — a broadcast licence. For instance, in 2010, Bang Media, which operated adult chat channels, had its licences revoked.


In what could well be the biggest industrial action of its kind, more than 1000 childcare centres will close their doors today, Guardian Australia reports, with worker rallies planned in every capital city and some regional centres. Staff are fed up with low wages and crap conditions, they say — 70,000 families will feel the discomfort of the strike, according to the union. Astoundingly, workers in childcare earn 30% less than teachers — some $22 an hour, the SMH reports. Pundits say it’s one reason the childcare sector has such a high turnover. Plus, more than two-thirds of all centres are owned by private equity and shareholders, with some saying the operators are profiting from the low wages.

Meanwhile, if you’re flying next week give yourself an extra several hours — 350 third-party ground handlers at Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney have voted to strike for 24 hours on Monday the 12th. The transport union said it’ll mostly affect Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Emirates, Sky News reports. So what’s the deal? Well, Dnata was one of the outsourced ground handling operations that Qantas engaged after the national carrier sacked 2000 ground crew, a move that the Federal Court found had breached the Fair Work Act in July 2021 (Qantas is challenging this, as Guardian Australia reported). But Dnata workers were denied JobKeeper during the pandemic, transport union secretary Michael Kaine explained, and now the jobs are so low paid that he says people are being forced out of the industry.


An opportunistic chimp named Chichi had a monkey’s day out in Ukraine’s second largest city. Chichi made her daring escape from Kharkiv city zoo on Monday, touring a local park and exploring the streets of the city with two zookeepers hot on her heels, The Guardian reports. But when it started to sprinkle, a suddenly sooky Chichi was ready to go home. She turned to one of her keepers dolefully and then returned into her arms for a comforting hug. The keeper was ready with a canary yellow rain jacket for Chichi, which she promptly dressed the chimp in before helping Chichi onto a bicycle. Then two people and a monkey wearing a coat on a bike made their way through the streets and back to the zoo. The footage brought some much-needed smiles to the city, which has been sadly bombarded by the Russians.

And it’s not the only cheeky animal making headlines today. In true rock star fashion, an echidna has trashed a hotel room at a NSW country pub, as ABC reports. Cleaner Robbie Lee opened the door of room 8 at Bendemeer Hotel on Sunday and found torn-up carpet, dirt on the sheets and a heater and fan askew on the floor. What the hell had happened, he wondered? The room was empty the night before and there were “no footprints”. Peering under the bed, Lee saw a blond-tipped ball of mischievousness plonked right in the middle of the carpet. He donned some welding gloves to remove the rowdy guest and release him safely into the paddock. As for the room, it’ll set the pub back about $3000 to fix, but at least it has a cracking story to tell. “We’re now actually thinking of calling Room 8 the Echidna Suite, in honour of our little friend,” publican Leanne Summers says.

Hope you see the light side of life today folks.


One company has a 59% share of the metropolitan and national print media market by readership. Only Egypt and China have a greater concentration of newspaper ownership.

Zoe Daniel

Yep — you guessed it: the Murdoch media empire. The independent MP for Goldstein is pushing for a royal commission-type inquiry into the concentration of media in Australia, with her motion seconded by fellow independent Monique Ryan.


Tudge, the man who never was, thinks we’ll forget about his grubby history

“So we’re left with the mystery of why Miller was awarded $650,000 when, as we’re told by her employers, nothing happened to her — with the implication from Tudge that Miller has lied about his treatment of her. It’s the same mystery as the role of Tudge in the Morrison government after he ‘resigned’ (despite the Thom review ‘clearing’ him), when he somehow remained in cabinet and yet wasn’t working as the education minister, when he was somehow a member of the ministry while Stuart Robert actually did his job.

“And it’s the same mystery as Tudge’s location during the election campaign, when he hid from the media and his own voters, turning a safe-as-houses Liberal seat into a tight marginal. Tudge is a man defined by his absence, the man who wasn’t there — not there in the bed allegedly assaulting Miller, not there rorting car park grants, not there in cabinet, not there in an election campaign. There’s never anything to see here with Tudge.”

Partying with Lindsay Fox can get you more than a hangover

“The extravagant $5 million 85th birthday bash for Lindsay Fox reportedly involves a 12-day cruise from New York to Montreal. Throw in travel time and the 450 guests are expected to be out of the country for more than two weeks. If you plan to attend, just make sure your bosses give the sign-off.

“The billionaire trucker has a long history of extravagant birthday parties — whether it was the $8 million three-day celebration at the Sydney Opera House for his 70th or the celebration of 80 years since his conception on what was dubbed a Love Boat cruise of the Mediterranean with the likes of Joe Hockey, Greg Norman and Jeff Kennett. However, it was a cruise down the Nile celebrating his 55th birthday in 1992 which wasn’t so good for the career of then ANZ Bank CEO Will Bailey …”

Avi Yemini admits donation page was set up before he was denied entry to New Zealand

Yemini claims he was told by an official that his rejection was because of an article written about him in the New Zealand Herald that called him a ‘conspiracy commentator’, but an Immigration NZ spokesperson told Crikey his criminal record — which includes a conviction for domestic violence — meant he did not meet immigration requirements.

“Yemini used this denial of entry as a rallying call for donations to his legal fund to challenge the decision so that ‘Avi can provide real, on-the-ground reporting and ask the questions NZ media refuse to ask’. His YouTube video and social media posts linked to a website: Keen watchers on social media soon noticed that the website had been registered the day before Yemini had been rejected.”


‘Inappropriate’: Solomon Islands leader rejects Australia’s offer to fund upcoming election (SBS)

Deadly al-Qaeda attack targets Yemen’s southern separatists (Al Jazeera)

Russia is buying North Korean artillery, according to US intelligence (The New York Times)

Dutch city becomes world’s first to ban meat adverts in public (The Guardian)

Iran sentences two LGBT activists to death (BBC)

Juul to pay $438.5 million to settle probe over underage use (The Wall Street Journal) ($)

Video shows fake Trump elector helped access election office (CNN)

Flood-hit Pakistan bids to stop its largest lake from overflowing (Al Jazeera)


Release the handbrake on competitionDaniel Andrews and Adam Triggs (The Australian) ($): “The government hit the accelerator hard at the jobs and skills summit. Its practical actions on skills, immigration and participation will help to address skills shortages. But boosting skills and growing the workforce without increasing economic dynamism — meaning more new firms, job-switching and competition — is a bit like accelerating with the handbrake on. The problem is that markets behave differently in the absence of dynamism. Well-intentioned policies are less effective. Sometimes they are even counterproductive. Workers struggle to switch to jobs that better match their new skills. Companies that face little competition have little incentive to invest in their workers in the first place.

“And even if the skills agenda raises company productivity, less of the benefit goes to workers. Companies that face little competition for their workers hoard the gains for themselves. This isn’t a theoretical problem. We can see it in the data. Research from the e61 Institute shows that a lack of market dynamism has shrunk the pie and is seeing less of it going to workers, particularly young Australians. Companies pass on 25% less of their productivity gains to workers than 15 years ago, when start-up and job mobility rates were higher and the corporate structure was less bloated. The policy challenge now is to inject a dose of dynamism into Australian markets.”

I’m a psychologist – and I believe we’ve been told devastating lies about mental healthSanah Ahsan (The Guardian): “If a plant were wilting we wouldn’t diagnose it with ‘wilting-plant-syndrome’ — we would change its conditions. Yet when humans are suffering under unliveable conditions, we’re told something is wrong with us, and expected to keep pushing through. To keep working and producing, without acknowledging our hurt. In efforts to destigmatise mental distress, ‘mental illness’ is framed as an ‘illness like any other’ — rooted in supposedly flawed brain chemistry. In reality, recent research concluded that depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance of the brain. Ironically, suggesting we have a broken brain for life increases stigma and disempowerment.

“What’s most devastating about this myth is that the problem and the solution are positioned in the person, distracting us from the environments that cause our distress. Individual therapy is brilliant for lots of people, and antidepressants can help some people cope. But I worry that a purely medicalised, individualised understanding of mental health puts plasters over big gaping wounds, without addressing the source of violence. They encourage us to adapt to systems, thereby protecting the status quo. It is here that we fail marginalised people the most: Black people’s understandable expressions of hurt at living in a structurally racist society are too often medicalised, labelled dangerous and met with violence under the guise of ‘care’ “.


The Latest Headlines



  • Indigenous Literacy Foundation ambassadors Jessica Mauboy and Gregg Dreise will celebrate First Nations peoples’ stories, languages and cultures through a digital event hosted on the Sydney Opera House website.

  • Photographer Michael Amendolia will speak about the power of photography and how to take photographs that make a change, in a webinar for Head on Festival.

Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

  • Author Daryl Jones will discuss his book, Curlews on Vulture Street: Cities, Birds, People and Me, at Glee Books.

Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

  • Resources Minister Madeleine King, Opposition leader Peter Dutton, and opposition Resources spokeswoman Susan McDonald will speak at the MCA Minerals Week 2022 Conference at the Hyatt.

  • Timor-Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta will speak to the National Press Club.

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