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Emma Elsworthy

Reynolds still pursuing Higgins


Former Defence minister Linda Reynolds has vowed to continue her duo of defamation cases against Brittany Higgins and her partner David Sharaz in the wake of Monday’s failed case against Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson, the SMH reports. Reynolds said she was pleased to hear Justice Michael Lee’s findings (he found the basis for an alleged political cover-up was “infirm”) continuing that she and her former chief-of-staff Fiona Brown had suffered damaged careers, reputations and health due to the accusations. It comes as Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Higgins, who the judge found was raped by Bruce Lehrmann on the balance of probabilities, and Sharaz should issue a “full apology” to Reynolds, “a person of great honour and integrity”. Dutton didn’t name the couple, just referred to “people” who he says should settle. It comes as two judges have urged the federal watchdog to investigate Higgins’ Commonwealth compensation payout, The Australian ($) reports.

Meanwhile, Lehrmann has pulled out of speaking at the Restoring the Presumption of Innocence conference in June, Sky News Australia reports, the event organised by #MenToo advocate Bettina Arndt. Lehrmann is copping an “extremely aggressive pursuit by the media” and he was worried it might threaten the audience. Isn’t that nice? Lehrmann went to Gosford police station after Lee’s verdict was handed down to take refuge from the media scrum, the SMH reports. To other top news stories this week (what a week!), NSW police deployed cops to mosques last night after text messages circulated urging the Assyrian Christian community to launch revenge attacks for the stabbing that occurred at one of their churches, The Daily Telegraph reports. And the nine-month-old baby of slain woman Ashlee Good is out of intensive care after the Bondi Junction rampage, reports. Her name is Harriet, and her condition has been downgraded to serious but stable. A fundraiser has so far amassed $533,480.


Three of Sydney’s wealthiest schools received $13.6 million more from the Commonwealth than they were entitled to last year, Guardian Australia reports. Northern Beaches Christian School, St Augustine’s College and MLC School were funded at 171%, 160% and 158% respectively — compare that to the average funding for public schools, which was just 92% of its entitlement. Funding works like this: the Commonwealth pitches in 80% for private schools, while the states and territories cough up the remaining 20%. It’s the reverse split for public schools. What gives? Victoria, NSW, SA and Queensland want the Commonwealth to pay 25% instead, as the SMH reported, arguing a teacher shortage, student well-being decline and achievement gaps are creating the shortfall.

Meanwhile, at least 193,140 square metres of demountables have been erected in school playground space in less than 10 years, The Daily Telegraph reports, with the number of buildings rising 47% — from 4,538 in 2014 to 6,684 in 2023. Kids at St Ives High School now do lunchtime sport at nearby Barra Brui Park because their 38 demountables means there is “very little playground left”. Why? Student overpopulation and no funding for new multi-storey buildings, critics say. From buildings to homes now and house prices in Australia have climbed more than 10% since 2019, the International Monetary Fund found via Brisbane Times, driven by our debt levels. Only the US, UAE and Japan have experienced a higher growth than us.


Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s piecemeal approach to new environmental protection laws has been described as a “win for miners” by The West Australian ($). The Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young agreed, saying the government had “caved to the mining industry” by scrapping a 40km/h speed limit in the Pilbara to protect fauna, but Opposition Leader Peter Dutton called the reforms “anti-mining”. Que? Anyway, the legislation for the new federal “Environment Protection Agency” is expected within weeks (a watchdog that would dole out fines of up to $780 million) but Plibersek wouldn’t confirm the entire Nature Positive Plan would arrive before the election, to be held next May-ish.

It comes as the government has announced $585 million for critical mineral mines Alpha HPA (a Queensland outfit that makes alumina for batteries), and Renascor Resources (an SA outfit in graphite), The Advertiser reports. To other environmental news now and we could be in for another soggy summer. The Bureau of Meteorology has declared the hot, dry El Niño is over, and chances of the cooler, wetter La Niña in spring are rising. It would be the fourth one in five years, which the CSIRO told Guardian Australia has never before been recorded. Meanwhile, we’ve discovered three new species of a megafauna kangaroo, The New Daily reports, one that was double the size of the largest red kangaroo we see today and which weighed up to 170 kilograms. Cripes.


The locals in Vadsø, Norway want more time. There are just so many things to do in the day, they opined to mayor Wenche Pedersen, in our remote freezing Arctic Circle town located unsettlingly close to Russia. We’ve got the ice fishing, we’ve got the hunting, we’ve got language classes, and of course, the time spent sipping enormous pints of øl as blood-stained wolves devour an entire killer whale carcass outside the pub (presumedly). Pedersen agreed. We do need more time to enjoy this fair town. So she sat down, pulled out a crisp sheet of paper, and began: Dear European Commission, we would like a new timezone where there are 13 hours in a day, or 26 hours total including the night.

How would it work? “We haven’t thought a lot about that,” she told POLITICO in a rather frank admission. But basically, the clock would go from 12 to 13. It’s part of the MOREtime project, she said, which basically celebrates the fact there are no buses or trains in Vadsø. We always have time, she reasoned, and we want more. The officials at the European Commission would’ve been scratching their heads upon receipt. Time zones are not determined by the executive arm, a spokesperson shrugged, but rather a country’s own government. Still, Pedersen says, at least we’re getting the word out. Fat cats say time is money, but thought of another way, getting hours back in your life to spend as you wish is real wealth. “In this respect, we are one of the richest regions in Europe,” the mayor said.

Hope you get a moment to yourself today.


You are welcome here for as long as you as you like.

Anthony Albanese

The prime minister says the Bondi Junction #BollardMan, Frenchman Damien Guerot, will be offered a permanent visa to remain in Australia.


Dutton, the part-time opposition leader, pulls another vanishing act

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton (Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

“No-one compelled Dutton to invoke Port Arthur; it was a deliberate choice. Days later, an apparently mentally ill man murdered six people and injured several others in a public place, and Dutton, happy to discuss mass murders last week, suddenly went to ground. Did the horrific events at Bondi not fit the narrative Dutton wanted to promote? Was he scared of journalists asking him how appropriate it was to be talking about the Port Arthur massacre?

“The second is that, rightly overlooked because of other events, there was a by-election on Saturday that the federal Liberals comfortably won, sending — just for a change — a white male consultant to Parliament in the form of Simon Kennedy. Leadership representation in Cook was left to Sussan Ley, who was also stuck with putting a happy face on the Liberals’ debacle in Dunkley, the former Liberal seat they should have comfortably won in March.”

Who is Mar Mari Emmanuel, the bishop stabbed last night?


“In March last year, CLM achieved wider notoriety when violence — foreshadowed and then defended by the group — erupted outside a CLM-promoted event featuring then One Nation MP Mark Latham. Two men were arrested and riot police were deployed after LGBTQIA+ protesters with the group Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR) and police were attacked outside the event.

“CLM denied any responsibility for the violence, joining Latham in blaming CARR. CLM went a step further, doxxing individual members of the protest alongside a post saying: ‘These evil people need to be held responsible for their actions!!’.”

Let’s be thankful for Justice Lee, a judge who wasn’t buying anyone’s narrative


“The cover-up became the story, certainly for Wilkinson and The Project, however, it was ‘objectively short on facts, but long on speculation and internal inconsistencies’. The sensation ‘won the Project team, like [ reporter Samantha] Maiden, a glittering prize; but when the accusation is examined properly, it was supposition without reasonable foundation in verifiable fact; its dissemination caused a brume of confusion, and did much collateral damage’ — including to the criminal justice system.

“Lehrmann loses, comprehensively, and now everyone can safely drop the ‘alleged’ when they call him a rapist. He also has his next rape trial, in Queensland, to look forward to.”


Armenia claims Azerbaijan ‘completed’ ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh (Al Jazeera)

National Conservatism Conference: Police told to shut down right-wing Brussels event

Ukraine says it ‘ran out of missiles’ to stop Russian strike ruining power station (Reuters)

UK lawmakers to vote on plans to ban smoking for those born after 2009 (euronews)

[Canada’s Finance Minister Chrystia] Freeland tables her fourth federal budget — this time with a tight focus on housing (CBC)

Italy passes measures to allow anti-abortion activists to enter abortion clinics (The Guardian)

Justices to hear obstruction case that could bar charges against Trump (The New York Times) ($)

Court of Appeal weighs in on Black Power member Kevin Moore’s drawn-out fight against eviction (NZ Herald)


Lisa Wilkinson and Ten trumpet the calling they failed: journalismClaire Harvey (The Australian) ($): “So why is Ten lucky? Because Brittany Higgins just happened to be telling the truth. Not about everything — the judge said she lied and misdirected, including in the witness box — but Justice Lee found her central claim utterly believable: her harrowing description of drifting into consciousness to see the face and sweaty body of Bruce Lehrmann above her on that sofa. That means Ten gets the overall win, but loses badly on the virtue it’s now trumpeting: journalism. Justice Lee has done the journalism Ten should have done in 2021: he’s stripped away the fibs and silly inconsistencies, and followed a trail of common sense and contemporaneous evidence.

“That allowed him to distinguish Higgins’ initial untruths, which he said were an understandable response to trauma and humiliation, from her later evocation of a grand conspiracy, which the judge has said was utterly false. When it published its Project story in 2021, Ten didn’t know if Higgins was telling the truth, and had not made much effort to find out. Presenter Lisa Wilkinson and producer Angus Llewellyn wanted to believe, and that was enough. Their five-hour pre-interview, played to the court, was a meeting with Sharaz and Higgins in which Wilkinson and Llewellyn did not ask any hard questions at all.”

Why Biden has a narrower path to the presidency than Trump, in 11 mapsDoug Sosnik and Quoctrung Bui (The New York Times): “Biden’s declining popularity in the Sun Belt states is the main reason Trump has an edge right now. He is especially struggling with young and non-white voters there. Let’s take a closer look: according to 2020 exit polls, Biden won 65% of Latino voters, who comprised roughly a fifth of voters in Arizona and Nevada. And Biden won 87% of Black voters, who made up 29% of the Georgia vote and 23% of the North Carolina vote. He also won 60% of voters aged 18 to 29. Now look at this year: a New York Times/Siena College poll released last weekend showed support for Biden had dropped 18 points with Black voters, 15 points with Latinos and 14 points with younger voters nationally.

“Abortion could be a decisive issue in Biden stemming this erosion of support in Arizona and Nevada. The Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling last week that largely bans abortions raises the stakes of a likely ballot initiative on the issue there in November. It also appears likely that there will be a similar ballot measure in Nevada. Nevertheless, the key to Biden’s victory is to perform well in the three industrial states. If Trump is able to win one or more of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Biden’s path to 270 electoral votes becomes even narrower. If Biden and Trump remain ahead in the states where they are currently running strongest, the outcome of the election could come down to who wins Michigan and the two Sun Belt states where abortion will very likely be on the ballot, Arizona and Nevada.”



Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

  • Writer Lech Blaine will talk about his new Quarterly Essay, Bad Cop: Peter Dutton’s Strongman Politics, at Glee Books.

Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

  • Defence Minister Richard Marles will speak about the national defence strategy and investment program at the National Press Club.

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