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Emma Elsworthy

Exclude sleazy politicians from Parliament: Thorpe


“Misogynist” or “sleaze” politicians should be excluded from sitting weeks, independent Senator Lidia Thorpe says, and fined for poor behaviour. She told Guardian Australia she hadn’t heard an update from the parliamentary workplace support service where allegations from several people against independent Senator David Van, formerly of the Liberal Party, were referred (Van denies the allegations). Independent MP Kylea Tink added that Parliament’s workplace code of conduct rolled out last February hadn’t changed behaviour much because a tough sanction body isn’t in place. The UK model orders pollies to apologise, suspends pay, and even expells MPs and senators, the paper notes. It comes as Thorpe accused PM Anthony Albanese of “laughing off” Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce’s drunken fall in the street, The Advertiser reports, while having made “condescending, inaccurate comments about his female colleagues, myself included”. He once described Thorpe as not acting “normal” as a citizen or a senator.

To more eyebrow-raising behaviour and the WA ombudsman Chris Field “insisted” he arrive in a limousine for a meeting with former finance minister and OECD boss Mathias Cormann in Paris last year, The West ($) reports. It wasn’t an unnecessary cost, he told a corruption probe into his use of public funds in his roles as both ombudsman and president of the International Ombudsman Institute. Meanwhile, ASIC deputy Karen Chester told the chair James Shipton that she could have “destroyed” his career amid the expenses drama, according to the AFR. (He was cleared of wrongdoing but has decided to depart anyway.) Chester, who said she was in the top two to be his successor, told him to hype her up as having done a “damn good job” and showing “restraint” in parliamentary hearings when she was acting chair. Her lawyer told the paper the comments were out of context.


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese voted in Parliament for a motion that calls for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s release from prison in the United Kingdom. The SMH said it was the strongest stance yet on the motion, brought by Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie, which returned an 86-42 in favour of Assange’s return. Tasmania’s Bridget Archer was the lone Liberal who voted in favour. Wilkie, who got a pat on the arm from Albo as he left the House, is flying to London for Assange’s last-ditch appeal in the British High Court next Tuesday over the Australian journalist’s extradition to the US.

Meanwhile, Labor has been urged to rethink truth-telling by former Indigenous Australians minister Ken Wyatt, The Australian ($) said, who said the “African model” Makarrata Commission would “antagonise” Australians. (The paper notes the truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa holds formal hearings.) Wyatt says it’s all about education through the arts, the media, schools and universities — Labor should commission docos from the ABC about Indigenous history, he continued, and task the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies to develop “historical monologues”. It comes as shadow Indigenous Australians spokesperson Jacinta Nampijinpa Price says the government should do yet another “audit and thorough investigation of what is and isn’t working” instead of pursuing Treaty, the Herald Sun reports. There were no fewer than 22 audits completed while the Coalition was in power from 2013 to 2022, the SMH reports.


Academics from the University of New South Wales collaborated on research into drones with an Iranian university that is under international financial sanctions, The Guardian reports. They worked alongside US and UK counterparts on reports that one expert said had direct military applications (Sharif University of Technology in Tehran is known for having military ties). Iranian drones have been used in attacks in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and against shipping in the Red Sea. Still, the paper says, there’s no evidence research breaks any sanctions or laws.

Meanwhile, the Coalition and Sky News Australia’s Sharri Markson are continuing their attacks on Immigration Minister Andrew Giles after the journalist unearthed comments from 2022 where he said immigration detention should be used as a “last resort” and that boat turnbacks are “inherently unsafe”. It comes after documents revealed the crimes committed by 24 of the 149 stateless former offenders who were released after the High Court ruling. That’s about 16%. The recidivism rate in Australia is more than 60%, one of the highest reoffending rates in the entire world.


January Jones sits with her phone to her ear, listening to the ringing tone of a call she knows will go unanswered. Rolling her eyes, she hangs up, only to feel the vibration of her phone in her hand. “Are you OK? What’s wrong?” it reads. She’s fine — she’s just a millennial who likes to talk on the phone, a phenomenon as rare as spotting the snow leopard on the icy slopes of the Himalayas. The simple fact is that many in her generation and younger consider it the utmost rudeness to call a friend without warning, much like boomers might find the random knock on the door, and like the silent generation might find any form of physical affection. Anyway, is it rudeness or are we all just frightened of phone calls, she wonders in the SMH. And when did this happen precisely?

Jones recalls the seminal teenage experience of dialling her friend’s home phone number and having to say hello to their dad first. Mortifying. And one would practically burst into flames of humiliation if you accidentally confused a sibling for your friend and started yakking, she adds. Maybe that trauma is why we avoid the call in adulthood. And yet voice notes have really taken off lately — structureless, filler-word-laden rambles that one has to sit and endure, like a needle, while you think about how your friend should never, under any circumstances, start a podcast. Jones says: bring back the call — there is a “certain magic” to the small moments that make up a person’s day, a connection that feels far closer to an in-person coffee than pixellated words on a screen. If anyone would pick up!

Hoping you feel connected to those around you today.


Imagine if Penny Wong, Bridget McKenzie, Linda Reynolds or Pauline Hanson behaved like Barnaby. The double standard from colleagues and the media is mind-boggling. As is his apparent incapacity to see the damage he does to himself, his party and Parliament.

Amanda Vanstone

The former senator was blown away that the Nationals MP and former deputy PM evoked sympathy rather than outrage from many of his colleagues in Parliament (and let’s face it, several high-profile male journalists too).


I emailed ‘right to disconnect’ critics after hours. Guess how many replied?

A sleepy Peter Dutton (Image: Private Media/Zennie)

Basil Zempilas, City of Perth mayor and candidate for the Liberal Party’s nomination for the WA district of Churchlands. Previous right to disconnect comments: ‘Is this the way to drive our country forward? Is this the spirit with which we built our great nation? Is this the attitude which has meant good people can work hard and get ahead? I think not.’ — X, formerly Twitter, February 7. Response to Crikey: Nil.

Julie Fallon, Woodside Energy’s human resources head. Previous right to disconnect comments: ‘If sending someone emails out of their working hours isn’t allowed, then that would be a real challenge.’ — Australian Financial ReviewFebruary 12. Response to Crikey: Nil.

Dutton likely unscathed by damning Home Affairs revelations, thanks to the media


“You would think it was big news that Opposition Leader Peter Dutton had presided over billions of dollars in government contracts to allegedly crooked companies and ignored all warnings about them for years. Not so, according to News Corp publications, with The Australian barely reporting on the latest damning revelations — and even then only to seemingly excuse Dutton. Even the ABC only managed a single desultory online write-through of the story.

“… Richardson also found that the department’s internal audit, conducted in 2019 and reporting to minister Dutton, picked up that the government had subcontracted KPMG to look into a major tenderer, but that KPMG had conducted its audit on the wrong company. “

‘A toxic workplace’: Six-day pilot strike to test Hudson as Qantas looks for cheaper crews


“Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson is facing her first major test as pilots from the Australian Federation of Airline Pilots (AFAP), employed at Qantas’ subsidiaries Network Aviation (NA) and QantasLink in Western Australia, begin an unprecedented six-day strike.

“The federation added three more days to an existing strike on Tuesday night that started at midnight. It’s the second strike in a week, after a one-day stoppage last week that saw 35 flights cancelled; Qantas was also forced to cancel east coast flights to bring in aircraft, and to pay Virgin and other charter operators to step in … Crikey has learnt that the AFAP on Tuesday issued a survey about confidence in management, chief pilot Evan Bartlett (the target of much ire from other pilots) and workplace conditions.”


Iran condemns ‘terrorist’ attack on gas pipelines (Al Jazeera)

Prabowo Subianto on track to win Indonesia presidential race – early results (BBC)

Israeli hostage families seek justice with war crimes complaint against Hamas (CNN)

Nato chief rebukes Donald Trump and announces record defence spending (The Guardian)

[Canada] will stop investing in ‘large’ road projects, environment minister says (CBC)

State of emergency declared as residents flee homes in wake of massive Port Hills fire (Stuff)

Global warming, deforestation, fires combined could hasten Amazon demise, study finds (Reuters)

Spain and Ireland call for ‘urgent review’ of EU-Israel agreement over war in Gaza (euronews)

Leaning into migrant woes, Suozzi paves election-year path for Democrats (The New York Times) ($)


Australia faces more unpredictable Indonesia under PrabowoAmanda Hodge (The Australian): “Will Australia find a friend in Prabowo Subianto, the temperamental former strongman general who is Indonesia’s most-likely next president? From fiery nationalist to quasi-political Islamist and finally now pluralist statesman, the 72-year-old has given cause for optimism and apprehension over a long and controversial military and political career. In Prabowo’s early days as Joko Widodo’s second-term defence minister, a senior aide told The Australian that he remained wary that Canberra could interfere in the West Papuan liberation struggle just as it had backed East Timorese independence.

“Since then, Prabowo has defended Australia’s sovereign right to secure its own national interests through the AUKUS security pact, helped build closer defence ties and publicly acknowledged a debt of gratitude to Australia for supporting Indonesia’s independence struggle against the Dutch. The hardline nationalist may also take a stronger line on China, which would be welcomed in Canberra — though his frequent outbursts on the campaign trail against foreign intervention are just as pointedly directed at the West as they are at the East. With reliable quick counts hours after polls closed showing Prabowo romping to a decisive first-round victory, one thing is certain; after a decade of steady, even-tempered leadership under Joko Widodo, Australian diplomats will soon be navigating trickier and more unpredictable diplomatic waters.”

I’m a vaping barrister. Violent criminals have seized this marketRobert Richter (The Age): “As a criminal barrister with a special interest in drug law reform, I have watched in horror as Australia’s prohibitionist stance on vaping has helped create another thriving black market, controlled by criminal networks. As history has shown with alcohol and illicit drugs, harsh restrictions simply shift the market from legal retailers to criminals and unregulated black markets. This is precisely what’s unfolding in Australia with vapes. As a nicotine vaper, I am concerned that Australia’s prescription-only policy is making legal products less accessible for nicotine-dependent adult smokers. After decades of heavy smoking, I was found to have a cancerous nodule in my lung.

“My surgeon removed it and told me to quit smoking immediately. He suggested that if I could not function properly without smoking, I could switch to vaping. Vaping worked for me where no other treatment had, and I haven’t smoked a single cigarette in five years. Fortunately, my cancer has not returned … There is a powerful economic incentive for this black market. A disposable vape, costing as little as $3 from China, can be sold for $35 in Australia. The arithmetic is simple yet compelling for these criminal groups. It’s a low-risk, high-reward enterprise, especially when even a fraction of the smuggled goods making it through customs can ensure profitability. The cost to the community is huge.”



Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

  • Author Rebecca Hazel will talk about her new book, The Schoolgirl, Her Teacher and His Wife, at Better Read Than Dead bookshop.

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