Good morning, early birds. A third woman has come forward to allege she was sexually assaulted by the same former Morrison government staffer accused of two other sexual assaults, and Australia’s vaccine rollout has officially commenced. It’s the news you need to know, with Charlie Lewis.
Note: this story discusses sexual assault.
A third woman has come forward to allege she was sexually assaulted by the same former Morrison government staffer accused of two other sexual assaults.
The woman, who spoke anonymously to The Australian, was a Coalition volunteer during the 2016 election campaign, and alleges she was assaulted after a night out with the then political staffer.
The allegations follow those from Saturday, when another woman alleged she had been sexually assaulted by the same former government staffer as Brittany Higgins — who last week alleged she was raped in the office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019.
Higgins will make a statement to the Australian Federal Police on Wednesday to reactivate the investigation into the incident.
Four separate reviews of Parliament’s toxic workplace culture have commenced since Higgins’ story was published.
AUSTRALIA TAKES A SHOT
After weeks of announcements, Australia’s vaccine rollout has officially commenced, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, chief medical officer Paul Kelly, chief nursing officer Alison McMillan, a handful of aged care residents and staff and frontline workers receiving the first batch of Pfizer shots.
Most winsome of all, 84-year-old World War II survivor Jane Malysiak, got the first shot in Australia and followed it up with a distinctly old school version of the V for Vaccine/Victory sign.
But because no news can be uncomplicatedly good in this, the year of our lord 2021, the rollout followed anti-vaccination protests which attracted thousands of people across the country. And certainly those arguing against the “tyranny” of the government got plenty of material from the reaction of Victorian police, with several arrests taking place at Melbourne’s Fawkner Park event, including two Herald Sun journalists.
GOING FROM AD TO WORSE
In response to Facebook’s Australian news block the government has pulled a major online advertising campaign aimed at easing concerns around COVID-19 vaccines.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday that his department would no longer use paid Facebook posts ($) to push its vaccination campaign into users’ feeds.
The prime minister had already ceased his paid Facebook posts on Friday, ahead of an expected shift away ($) from advertising on the platform from the whole government. The government will continue to use free Facebook posts.
Given that we know misinformation and conspiracy theories — in particular regarding the vaccine — are likely to fill the vacuum left by the sudden evacuation of credible news sources on Facebook, we’re sure this will turn out well.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
You are a very opinionated group of people.
The Tennis Australia boss was unable to conceal her… let’s call it surprise, that references to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the Victorian government during the Australian Open trophy presentation attracted such loud booing.
A divided government unravels on rape allegations and energy policy — and for once, COVID doesn’t help
“You wouldn’t necessarily know it from a media obsessed with posturing about Facebook, but it’s hard to overstate just what a disastrous week Scott Morrison and the rotten — in all senses of the adjective — government he leads has just had.
Overlooked this week in the focus on Brittany Higgins and the implosion of the news media bargaining code was how deeply and bitterly divided the Coalition is. Morrison was forced into the humiliating position of withdrawing a key bill — his legislation to push the Clean Energy Finance Corporation into funding gas projects — because his own backbenchers, led by former cabinet ministers Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan, intended to make it a vehicle for government funding of coal-fired power stations.”
“Hours before the one-year anniversary of the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children, Facebook disabled the charity Facebook page Small Steps 4 Hannah.
The social media giant’s ban on Australian news content has also suspended pages for Indigenous, domestic violence, homelessness and health services, along with charities and emergency information pages including the Bureau of Meteorology.
Some of these have been reinstated after an outcry, but Facebook has been slammed for limiting access to emergency information both in the middle of a pandemic and in the middle of severe weather in Queensland.”
“News Corp may have said nothing explicit to Scott Morrison’s government but it didn’t need to; it’s been campaigning against tech/social media on its front pages for years. This global historical moment in tech v old media — the producers of Succession must be furiously rewriting episode nine of the coming season as we speak — has come about in Australia because we’re the ‘weak link’ in the sham idea of a free press and democracy. We’re a Murdochracy, bought and sold, especially, but not only, when the Coalition is in power.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Call her Ms Higgins: the PM’s over-familiarity is revealing — Jacqueline Maley (The Sydney Morning Herald): “It may not have been deliberate, but the persistent use of Higgins’ first name, and Morrison’s comments about consulting his wife Jenny on how to handle the alleged rape, all gave the impression that this was a matter to do with Women’s Feelings. Women’s Feelings is a private emotional realm, tricky to navigate and best left to the ladies. It has little to do with male leaders, and nothing to do with important matters of state.”
National security at risk without unity on threat preparation — Jim Molan (The Australian): “Civil defence must come back onto the agenda. Long-range missiles and the prospect of nuclear confrontations demand this. We also need a way to review our national security enterprise, and keep that view up to date. These last points collectively add up to the need for an office of national security. This office should be a statutory organisation sitting outside government, but responsive to all. Much like the Office of National Intelligence, this policy counterpart could co-ordinate all levels of government, develop appropriate policies for action and assess achievement.”
Australia’s recovery appears to be going well, but it’s still very weird out there — Greg Jericho (The Guardian): “In this whacky state of affairs we live in, where lockdowns can happen mid-way through tennis matches, and where travelling to and from various states and locales can stop and start with next to no warning at times, it is little wonder that the economy seems rather discombobulated. The good news is things are improving. The bad news is we’re still in an employment recession.”
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