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Emma Elsworthy

Seven to investigate Bondi blunder


Seven has launched an internal investigation into it incorrectly naming University of Sydney student Benjamin Cohen as the perpetrator of the Bondi Junction stabbing. The actual killer was shot dead by a police officer after killing six people, five of them women. But Cohen was allegedly named several times, including by Matt Shirvington and reporter Lucy McLeod, The Australian ($) notes. Cohen is suing for an apology, compensation and costs. “A video was also posted on April 14 on 7NEWS Australia’s YouTube account which has 1.66 million subscribers and had [presenters Monique Wright and Michael Usher] talking about the killings — underneath was a caption that also wrongly named Mr Cohen as the killer.” Seven chalked it up to “human error”. It may be a costly one indeed.

To another alleged femicide and Ballarat woman Hannah McGuire asked the police for protection in fear for her life two weeks before she died, the Herald Sun reports, but only received it mere days before her body was found in a burnt-out car. The paper says it’s prevented from going further into her attempts to get help because of “legal reasons” but noted there are concerns the delay might have contributed to the 23-year-old’s death. Meanwhile, the Liberals are going after puberty blockers. WA Liberal leader Libby Mettam has called for a ban on puberty blockers commonly used for kids with gender dysphoria, The West Australian ($) reports, and vowed to do so if she wins the 2025 state election. Considering Labor won 60% of the primary in a landslide touted as perhaps the party’s best-ever result, it’s a steep hill for Mettam.


Newspoll is in, if you go for that sort of thing. Labor’s primary vote is up to 33% to the Coalition’s 38%, while the Greens fell to 12%, One Nation stayed on 7% and the rest of the crossbench are at 10%, The Australian ($) reports. On two-party preferred, Labor leads 51-49%, while Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is preferred PM by a healthy margin of 13 points, showing voters responded well to Labor’s A Future Made in Australia Act (subsidies and loans for clean energy and industry) — while the SMH reports on Coalition turmoil over its nuclear plans. Nine newspapers’ Resolve survey found similar-ish vibes to Newspoll — Labor’s primary vote was 30% to the Coalition’s 36%, the parties were tied for the two-party preferred, and Albanese was up eight points as preferred leader. Still, the paper says it’s the government’s worst poll result and “There’s now a swing against Labor compared with their narrow majority at the 2022 election,” one expert remarked.

Speaking of — the Albanese government considered tweaking the stage three tax cuts after being elected, a 16-month freedom of information request battle has revealed. Former senator Rex Patrick saw the documents that showed Labor looked at the cuts within a month of May 2022’s federal election, including a “rule of thumb” costing provided to Treasurer Jim Chalmers to take to the expenditure review committee before October 2022’s budget. There were three options, Guardian Australia reports: keep the tax rate for $45,001-$200,000 at 32.5% (instead of reducing it to 30% from 2024-25), keep the 37% tax rate for $120,001-$200,000, and keep the 30% rate for $45,001-$180,000 but hike it to 45% for those between $180,001 and $200,000. It comes as Chalmers warns of a precarious global outlook because of dismal growth in China, Britain and Japan, the AFR reports. And he’s not the only one: NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey says the state will probably lose its AAA credit rating because of an $11.9 billion GST hole in revenue, the ABC says. It’ll cost the country’s most populous state “more than COVID”.


Senator Linda Reynolds thinks it’s nice that former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins extended an olive branch but she’s still suing her, the ABC reports. Higgins apologised for hurt caused to Reynolds and her former chief of staff Fiona Brown in a statement yesterday, acknowledging differing memories of the days after she was, on the balance of probabilities, raped by Bruce Lehrmann and adding: “I deeply regret we have not yet found common ground”. But Reynolds said her defamation case was “never about the allegation of rape” but rather the allegation of a cover-up. Reynolds had dinner in Fremantle with The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen in the days following Justice Michael Lee’s verdict, WA Today reports. The pair had been at a conference organised by conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

Meanwhile, Victorian doctor Tom Crawford had restrictions placed on him after alleged racist and homophobic remarks paused because of the money it would have cost him, Guardian Australia reports. He denies he made the comments, which allegedly included asking a woman in a same-sex relationship if they “even knew the father” of her child and saying Māori people avoid acknowledging European ancestry to claim benefits. The Medical Board of Australia ordered 10 months of supervision at his Bendigo office but the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal suspended it because of the “significant financial imposition” on Crawford — also acknowledging that he is one of the last bulk-billing doctors in the region.


It’s 2021 and the landscape in Kalbar, about 80km south-west of Brisbane, is “brown, dead, desiccated in the heat haze” as Guardian Australia tells it, riddled by drought. Jenny Jenner remembers there was simply no water left, and you can’t grow anything without water. It wasn’t just the landscape; townsfolk were suffering too, feeling the slow creep of depression that a drought can cause. Then an idea came to her, wrapped in cellophane: three gaudy yellow sunflowers from the local Woolies, brought home by her husband Russell. More than a week later they were still bright, bold, and resilient in her vase. So Jenny and Russell planted sunflowers in their fields, thousands of them. They can withstand drought after all and typically only take 60 days to go from seed to bloom.

Any doubts were quickly assuaged by the crop bursting to life before their very eyes — rows and rows of pure, yellow happiness. When they first opened the farm to guests, Jenny told the paper 2,500 people turned up a day wanting to tour the fields of flowers and get selfies. In 2022, the couple decided to plant the flower again, this time laying down a million sunflower seeds. But a persistent cough on Russel’s part led him to an air-conditioned doctor’s office, where he was told he had oesophageal cancer. He was stoic, Jenny says, but sadly took his last breath last year. Now she runs the farm without her husband of 38 years, raising money for cancer. No matter how they are planted, sunflowers always face east, Jenny says, towards the light. It’s a reminder that humans should always look for it too.

Folks, after exactly three years writing your Worm, I’m finishing up on May 10. It’s been an absolute pleasure writing for you every weekday. The newsletter will continue, however, under a successor, and I thank you for your ongoing support of Crikey. And of me.

Hoping you spot a sunflower on your Monday.


If you follow Justice Lee’s findings, a rapist has weaponised the records obtained by police for a criminal trial to humiliate and target a rape victim.

Samantha Maiden

The News Corp journalist put it plainly on ABC’s Insiders yesterday when referring to former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann’s interview on Seven’s Spotlight.


CEOs can cry slim margins but the supermarket probe reveals gaping problems in our duopoly

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci in 2019 (Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

“Woolworths’ Brad Banducci was never going to find a Senate inquiry a welcoming environment. But this was bad, even for him. Banducci’s train-crash performance on Four Corners is already legend amongst comms and PR people — televised testimony to the adage that media training can only get you so far.

But his performance in front of the Senate inquiry into Australia’s supermarket sector was something else again. Asked by chair Nick McKim a relatively straightforward question about return on equity, Banducci attempted to spin his answer, explaining that Woolworths preferred the metric of return on investment — a slightly different measure that includes the company’s borrowings. That’s fine, McKim replied, but what’s your return on equity?”

SBS ‘unhinged’, PVO’s new gig, and turmoil at Seven


“Media Briefs is aware that at least nine journalists have left the news and current affairs division over the past year, including a wave in mid-2023. That includes World News national editor Matthew Connellan, senior producer Charlie Page, features and investigations editor Kate Sullivan, deputy features editor Isabelle Lane and cross-platform journalist Omar Dehen.

“More recently, reporter Mahnaz Angury has been seconded on a medium-term deal to Turkey’s public broadcaster TRT World, while former cadets Achol Arok and Francesca De Nuccio have left to join The Daily Aus and Seven respectively.”

Albanese’s abuse of critics can’t disguise the silliness of his protectionism


“Former Productivity Commission (PC) chair Gary Banks believes the world is flat, according to the prime minister, because he dared to criticise Labor’s Future Made In Australia policy and its heavy interventionism to create new manufacturing industries.

“It wasn’t the harshest criticism ever dished out by a prime minister, by any means, but it was certainly not becoming of a national leader. Labor doesn’t like Gary Banks, the long-time Howard-era inaugural head of the Productivity Commission. Banks is the neoliberal’s neoliberal — especially on industrial relations. Hell, we at Crikey are no big fans of his either.”


One dead, seven missing after two Japan navy helicopters crash in Pacific (Al Jazeera)

Ukraine Russia war: US House passes crucial aid deal worth $61bn (BBC)

Ecuadorians head to polls for referendum as Noboa seeks backing for war on crime (CNN)

Former Port of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson on trial for workplace death of Pala’amo Kalati in unprecedented prosecution (NZ Herald)

Former British spy in IRA who allegedly admitted murder will not be prosecuted (The Guardian)

Hungarian voters sceptical about what European Elections can accomplish (euronews)

TikTok says US House bill that could ban app would ‘trample’ free speech (Reuters)


The Tories are playing a risky game with their relentless pursuit of Angela Rayner
Andrew Rawnsley (The Guardian): “Labour has struggled to shut down the attacks partly because of choices made by the leadership. Rayner says she is in possession of legal advice that exonerates her, but her defiant refusal to expose that advice to outside inspection has allowed her enemies to supplement their original accusations with further ones of obfuscation and evasiveness. The Labour leader says members of his team have looked at the advice and endorse his deputy’s assertion that she’s in the clear. Yet it is a head-scratcher that Sir Keir, by far the most experienced lawyer in his office, declines to clearly explain why he has not scrutinised the legal advice himself.

“Before Tories get too overexcited, they ought to clock that things they hoped would happen have not. Labour has not cracked under pressure by allowing visible wedges to appear between Rayner and colleagues. Rachel Reeves, Yvette Cooper and David Lammy, the three most senior members of the shadow cabinet after the leader, have circled their wagons around her. There’s a well-chronicled history of scratchy and mistrustful relations between Sir Keir and his deputy. She has said he would not be top of her invitation list to a karaoke party, perhaps accidentally endorsing the view that he is not the most exciting guy in the world. If her job were in his gift, not that of party members, there’s reason to doubt that she would be his first choice as number two.”

Melania’s trialsMaureen Dowd (The New York Times): “Melania surely recoils from the prospect of testifying, which Justice Juan Merchan suggested may happen. He has also ruled that jurors may hear about Trump’s affair with Karen McDougal, but not about how it continued while Melania was pregnant. The former first lady, who is helping her son prepare for college, perhaps at New York University, does not want Barron’s name thrown around in a New York court. Trump made Barron an issue, asking for a day off for his son’s high school graduation.

“Signaling that she will be part of the campaign, Melania is headlining a Log Cabin Republican event at Mar-a-Lago this weekend. In an interview with Fox News Digital previewing her remarks before that LGBTQIA+ group, Melania said that America ‘must unite.’ It’s not the first time her message has been at odds with her husband’s behaviour. As first lady, Melania clearly styled herself after Jackie Kennedy, wearing high-fashion clothes that seemed to be not only art but also armour and maintaining poise through a parade of indignities.”



Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

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