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Emma Elsworthy

Scott Morrison, man-o’-war


Former PM Scott Morrison said he went to Israel because “the Jewish Australians need to know that their cause is a right one”, although he’s tried not to “engage in that sort of commentary” since the election. Speaking to Sky News Australia’s Andrew Bolt, Morrison explained that he was visiting his “good friend” Boris Johnson in London and it was merely suggested, presumably as BoJo checked into his flight, that Morrison might tag along on a trip to Israel. ScoMo tried to drive that explanation home, it seems, by being photographed wearing a coat and pants alongside Johnson’s suit and tie. So last minute! Meanwhile News Corp boss Lachlan Murdoch has urged his journalists to have “courage to expose the disturbing wave of hatred against Jews around the world and in our own communities”, The Australian ($) reports. There was no mention of Palestine or Gaza, or the reported civilian death toll, just the “ensuing war”.

Former deputy PM Barnaby Joyce was given an all-expenses-paid trip to the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) conference, which my esteemed Crikey colleague Maeve McGregor described as a “global right-wing loser-fest”. Guardian Australia reports Joyce was flown business class return between Sydney and London, shouted four nights’ accommodation, and given “hospitality”. He was joined by Coalition Senator James Paterson and Nationals MP Anne Webster, who got the same treatment to their register of interests. They’re the ones we know about so far — the paper notes opposition Indigenous Australians spokeswoman Jacinta Nampijinpa Price was there, as well as lower-profile conservatives Alex Antic, Matt Canavan and former NSW premier Dominic Perrottet.


Qantas, Virgin and Crown Resorts paid no corporate tax in 2021-22, the SMH ($) reports, because they posted pandemic-related losses… despite Qantas reporting a $9.3 billion income. (The ATO reminds us tax is paid on profit, not total income.) Rio Tinto and BHP were some of the biggest taxpayers, however, with their chunk accounting for a fifth of the record $84 billion tax paid by large companies. Aw, isn’t that nice? Our dirtiest companies might be speeding up the warming of the planet, sure, but they pay tax! Not so fast, The New Daily says — electricity retailer AGL and oil giant ExxonMobil both paid nothing, even though they each made $15.4 billion. Shell Energy paid nothing on $776 million in taxable income, as did Chevron on $5.2 billion in total income. News Corp Australia also paid nothing.

Meanwhile, in a world first, ANZ is headed to court after its own shareholder sued the Big Four bank for allegedly not caring a hoot about the climate. Catherine Rossiter says the annual report didn’t say much about what the bank was doing to minimise risk, The New Daily reports, even though it identified climate change and biodiversity loss as major problems. It comes as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he will throw money at the consequences — give Pacific nations climate funds — but won’t stop perpetuating the problem — exporting coal, The Australian ($) reports. He added that the government’s next emissions reduction target would be based on what is “achievable”. We’re doomed, aren’t we?


The Albanese government may have to release up to 92 people, Guardian Australia reports, after yesterday’s High Court ruling that it was unlawful to keep people in indefinite immigration detention if they have “no real prospect of removal from Australia becoming practicable in the reasonably foreseeable future”. An unnamed Rohingya man who was convicted of sexual assault against a child was released. Okay, so what does practicable mean? Basically it affects people who are stateless (such as from Sudan, Myanmar, Iran or Afghanistan), Human Rights for All’s Alison Battisson says, and thus can’t be deported because they have no place to go. So they must be released.

Meanwhile 17,800 cops in Victoria are deciding whether to strike next week, the Herald Sun ($) reports, over a demand for a 4% wage increase, a “cost-of-living adjustment”, and the introduction of nine-hour shifts. Public safety won’t be affected, the union boss says, adding it was about stopping cops from choosing between their job and their family. It comes as whistleblower Gabriel Bernarde says he was frisked and gagged in bed by “six armed AFP officers wearing ballistic vests”. He spoke to the Senate last week about it, Michael West Media reports. My word. Bernarde had accused ASX-listed company Tyro Payments of alleged dodgy dealings, but the eponymous Michael West writes that it’s funny how “nobody at the big end of town ever seems to be raided at home by armed police officers”.


Folks, there has been international interference in the Bird of the Century contest that has been likened to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, the NZ Herald gravely reports. New Zealanders were scandalised after British-American comedian John Oliver heavily backed the pūteketeke in a 13-minute monologue on his US talk show. The pūteketeke is this weird, vomiting bird with a mullet, he said, that flirts by doing chest bumps with each other — just so relatable, he added. Merely saying the name feels like your “tongue is tap dancing”, he said. Oliver even went so far as to dress up in a pūteketeke costume fit for a Rio Carnival during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The scope of this man’s fowl play cannot be overstated.

He’s plastered signs encouraging folks to vote for the vomiting bird in Tokyo, in Paris, in London, Mumbai, New York, Rio De Janeiro and in Manitowoc, Wisconsin for some reason, as The Guardian reports. He even organised a moving truck billboard in the UK urging Britons to “help us crown a real king”: the pūteketeke. Travel company RealNZ hit back with billboards urging Oliver not to “disrupt the pecking order”. It’s going for the kākāriki karaka, and says it’s “always believed in the plucky underdog” (a bit of a mixed metaphor there, but sure). The bird of the year contest is celebrating its centenary, and usually gets about 60,000 votes. That number came in overnight after Oliver’s push. “This is what democracy is all about — America interfering in foreign elections,” he said. Oh my God, he admitted it!

Hoping you get behind the underdog today too, and have a restful weekend.

As always, I welcome you dropping into my inbox for a chat. Tell me what you like or loathe about the Worm, or anything —


I’m disappointed that a barber couldn’t do haircuts today. That seems like one of the few things you can do without connectivity.

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin

Not exactly a PR masterstroke for the CEO of a telco to punch down on a barber after 10 million people were plunged into digital darkness this week in a nine-hour outage. North Sydney Barbers’ Jake Azar struck back, saying it’s a bit rich considering Bayer Rosmarin “can’t even do her job”.


Australian media decide ethnic cleansing by Israeli colonists isn’t happening

The aftermath of an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank (Image: AAP/Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

“But for Australia’s commercial media, the upsurge in efforts at ethnic cleansing on the West Bank since the Hamas atrocities simply don’t exist. You will find not a single mention of them in any media coverage in the month since the war began. Only the ABC has reported repeatedly on violence directed at Palestinians, before and after October 7 and more recently, while SBS has also covered the violence.

“The only commercial media outlet that seems to have mentioned it was The Australian, which on the weekend ran Wall Street Journal piece on Israel stepping up arrests (of Palestinians, not colonists) in the West Bank. The WSJ itself has been far more interested in covering the violence, including reporting on it in-depth a week ago.”

Kmart pulls Christmas ham bag after complaint that its pun was too close to the word ‘Hamas’


“The Australian Jewish Association (AJA) has celebrated a ‘success’ after Kmart yanked a novelty Christmas bag from its shelves because the product is printed with a pun that’s similar to the word ‘Hamas’. On Thursday afternoon, the centre-right Jewish group posted to social media that it had written to Wesfarmers, the parent company of Kmart, over its $4 ham bag product which is emblazoned with the text ‘Merry HAM-MAS!’ …

“Amid a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Australia and against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war, the AJA’s complaint drew backlash on social media. The group ‘Jews Against Fascism’ sarcastically congratulated the AJA for Kmart’s decision. ‘Hats off to the Australian Jewish Association for striking a major blow to the solar plexis [sic] of anti-Semitism today: a Christmas-themed bag to keep ham fresh,’ it posted.”

Which one of you drongos tried to send Scott Morrison a bag of weed?


“What seems to have happened is that someone sent a bag of weed in the post to an illegible address, and put the return address as ‘Scott Morrison, Canberra’. So when the devil’s lettuce in question couldn’t be delivered to its addressee, it eventually found its way to the APH mail room.

“Now we don’t want to accuse someone who sends bags of primo bambalachacha through the mail — and puts ‘where the politicians live’ as the return address — of fuzzy thinking, but if it’s an elaborate prank, it’s a bit of a weird one. Morrison wasn’t even PM at that point. Was the sinsemilla offered by way of consolation, coming roughly a week after his job got decidedly less hectic, maybe?”


Three rights groups file ICC lawsuit against Israel over Gaza ‘genocide’ (Al Jazeera)

6 takeaways from the Republican debate (The New York Times) ($)

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in hospital — reports (BBC)

Israel will begin 4-hour pauses in military operations in Gaza each day, White House says (CNN)

Russian fuel export ban to be lifted next week (Reuters)

Spain’s socialists, Catalan Junts reach deal for government support (euronews)


Ron Barassi plotted my demise, but he was my heroGareth Andrews (The Age) ($): “Most memories of him were black and white. Through newspaper images and later television, he was everywhere. On the ground or on the air, it was Barassi. In 1965, the bombshell of Barassi moving from Melbourne to Carlton as their playing coach rang through the football world. In the same year, I’d grown up and become a Cat myself. My second game for Geelong was at Princes Park, the home of the Blues — and Barassi’s new home. It was his first home game and 34,946 people swarmed the ground. Robert Menzies was probably there in his Bentley.

“I was full-forward for Geelong, matched up on Carlton full-back, Graeme Anderson. Alongside me for much of the game was Barassi. He went to defence following a clash with my captain, Polly Farmer. When ‘Barass’ rolled me into the boundary fence I almost wanted to say sorry for being in his way, such was my awe. (Note, I’m now calling him Barass — as in, my mate Barass). The Cats won by six points with Farmer kicking five goals and me, three. I must have played very close to the big sticks. The 10 years of my VFL career (1965-75) had begun with a healthy mixture of success, some flat spots, and a year travelling around Europe in a Bedford van. In various guises, Barass loomed over it. Can you imagine him taking a year off? He was the ultimate professional in a non-professional era.”

To Matthew Perry, God was a bunch of drunks in a roomHank Azaria (The New York Times) ($): “At the time, I didn’t know what he meant. I’ve since learnt. He meant that as bad as we feel, as low as we go, we tend to feel we’re alone in it, whether our problem is alcoholism, a bad marriage, illness, depression, strife. We feel that we are the only one who has ever gone through it; in recovery we call it terminal uniqueness. And it’s by going into a room with a few or a lot of other people and sharing, saying out loud what it is that’s upsetting us and hearing that from others that we feel, well, maybe we’re not alone. In fact, in time, what we become sure of is that the most unfortunate, terrible things we face are actually our greatest strength, as they connect us with others.

“And so all that seemingly pointless suffering has a tremendous point … God was a bunch of drunks together in a room. I think of that phrase every single day. I loved Matthew, and I leaned on him a lot in my early sobriety. I was lucky that Matthew was my guy because humour is a huge part of recovery. And he was a hilarious, hilarious man. As funny as he was on Friends — and he was — he was breathtakingly, hysterically unbelievable to be with in person. In any situation, he’d just start finding what was funny about it, beat it into the ground until it wasn’t funny anymore, take that as a challenge and then find a way to bring it back so that it was not just funny but riotous.”




  • Former senator Rex Patrick, the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization’s Rawan Arraf, the Australian Centre for International Justice’s Kieran Pender and the Human Rights Law Centre’s Sharara Attai will talk about whistleblower David McBride’s plight in a webinar held by the Australia Institute.

Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

Yuggera and Turrbal Country (also known as Brisbane)

  • Monash University’s Tom Chodor and the University of Queensland’s Shahar Hameiri will talk about their new book, The Locked-Up Country, at Avid Reader bookshop.

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