TO PROTECT AND SERVE
Gunmen “clad in military-style camouflage fatigues” have shot dead two police officers and a bystander in an apparent ambush in Queensland, The Australian ($) reports. Police went to the Wieambilla property about a missing person report but were met by gunfire which killed two officers and an “innocent” neighbour, 9News reports. By 10.30pm, police said in a statement that “two males and a female were fatally shot” — the apparent offenders, according to a union boss the Oz ($) quotes — bringing the total dead to six. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called it a “heartbreaking day” for the family and friends of the police officers, saying “Australia mourns with you”, and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton — a former cop — said it was “deeply distressing” to learn of “police who have been murdered”.
To another story involving police this morning and former Police Association boss Paul Mullett has lost a bid to have a civil case about a plot to oust him reopened, The Age reports. Mullet says he received “malicious” prosecution by Victoria’s highest-ranking police officers, but the High Court refused his appeal and reportedly ordered him to pay $2 million to boot. Mullett says he has “a lot more evidence, information and intelligence” about current cops and people involved with the union, including documents from the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants. In NSW now, and a police officer has told an inquiry into hate crimes against members of the LGBTIQA+ community that a bias crime unit was not popular because “a lot of police still don’t understand bias crimes … or how to identify them”, the SMH reports. Sergeant Geoffrey Steer said it was seven years of trying to convince them to take hate crimes seriously.
PLEASE EXPLAIN, VICTORIA
It looks like One Nation is about to see its first MP in Victorian Parliament, where the Andrews government needs six crossbenchers to pass its legislation. ABC election oracle Antony Green says it’s hard to see how Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell won’t win the seat of North Victoria, and he’s very rarely wrong. Tyrrell is a former dairy farmer, and has “expressed concern about COVID-19 vaccines”, Guardian Australia adds. So who else is likely to sit on the upper house crossbench? Up to four Greens, maybe a Legalise Cannabis candidate, and probably Georgie Purcell from the Animal Justice Party — if Purcell’s name is ringing a bell, it may be because the party was working with “election whisperer” Glenn Druery to get the support of parties working with him, before pulling out at the last minute to direct its preferences elsewhere. As the kids say: sike. Also yesterday, Reason Party MP Fiona Patten conceded defeat, and it looks like former Labor minister Adem Somyurek may have won in the Northern Metropolitan region for the conservative Democratic Labour party.
To another Labor state government now and people still like Annastacia Palaszczuk, or not, depending on what paper you read. Brisbane Times reports Labor’s primary vote of 39.57% in 2020 did drop to 37%, but it’s still ahead of the Coalition’s 35%, according to a survey the paper commissioned (it found the Greens and independents were making up primary ground in the Sunshine State, not the LNP). The Courier-Mail ($) begs to differ — it says six in 10 Queenslanders think she enjoys the “high life” while only half thinks she works hard, according to “The Courier-Mail’s exclusive YouGov poll of 1000 voters”. It says her “biggest electoral strength”, her relatability, is “in tatters”, although does admit 60% of Queenslanders think the premier cares about the state.
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FOOT OFF THE GAS
Shell is ditching a gas supply deal that was meant to patch an energy shortfall last year because the extremely profitable global titan is sulking about the government capping fossil fuel prices, the SMH reports. In September, Queensland’s three liquefied natural gas exporters, Shell’s QCLNG joint venture, Origin Energy-backed APLNG and Santos’ GLNG, all agreed to supply 25% of the east coast’s demand, as Reuters says, but now they’re reportedly reconsidering. The Albanese government confirmed last week that it would limit wholesale gas to $12 a gigajoule, and coal to $125 a tonne — both are measures to drive down our bills.
But others are praising the government for staring down the “bullies of the gas industry”, Guardian Australia reports. Head of the Energy Users Association of Australia Andrew Richards said it’s time someone stood up to them about their excessive profits while Australians suffer. Plus, he added, they were more than happy to sell the fossil fuel at $10/gj until just over a year ago — they’re cranky because contracts to the tune of $45/gl or more are now on the table. Former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) boss Rod Sims agreed, saying it was “sensible” to ask companies “making an enormous amount of money” in exporting to help us out at home first. It’s only temporary anyway, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said yesterday. Labor is negotiating with the Greens, the crossbench and the Coalition about the legislation ahead of it going to Parliament on Thursday — independent Senator David Pocock is a maybe, and Jacqui Lambie and Tammy Tyrrell have backed the plan.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
Two emus who were banned from a pub for misbehaviour are back — and they brought their kids. Kevin and Carol copped the ban in 2020 for waltzing into the Yaraka Hotel, pinching food off plates, nicking people’s keys and just generally being rowdy. Management at the Queensland pub had no choice: they barricaded the entrance, and put up signs announcing the emu ban, much to the obvious mystification of the feathered birds. “Emus have been banned from this establishment for bad behaviour,” the sign declared. It was tough, the hotel’s owner Chris Gimblett admitted — Kevin and Carol are locals in the outback town (population: 20). “They still hang around each gate, hoping that they’ll be able to slip in when someone opens it up,” Gimblett said at the time, but the sign seemed to keep them away.
Until now. Kevin and Carol turned up this week in Yakara with a brood of chicks, local Leanne Byrne says — she’s the one who raised the pair of emus from infancy after their nest was discovered. But they’re hardly delinquents, she assures us. “They love cuddles,” Byrne adds. And their feelings were hurt by the ban (we assume) — she had to start buying them “cartons of beers and takeaways” after the sign went up, she jokes. Byrne is actually known around town as “Yaraka Mother of Dragons”, a reference to the Daenerys Targaryen character from Game of Thrones. It seems the similarities to the hit show don’t end there — the apparent new parents are “brother and sister, so we’ll just leave that alone”, Byrne adds.
Wishing you the brazen confidence of a banned emu today.
Folks, I’m taking some time off and my colleagues Julia Bergin and Charlie Lewis will be writing your Worm until the Christmas break. I’ll be back on January 16. Have a restful festive season, and I look forward to writing to you again in 2023. As always, if you’re feeling chatty, feel free to drop into my inbox — tell me what you like or loathe about the Worm, or anything. email@example.com
Visitors who visit or live in Bali would not need to worry with regard to the entry into force of the Indonesian criminal code. There will be no checking on marital status upon check-in at any tourism accommodation, such as hotels, villas, apartments, guest houses, lodges and spas.
You can have sex in Bali without putting a ring on it, Bali’s governor assured everyone, much to the relief of horned-up Aussie tourists everywhere. It comes after revised laws in Indonesia’s newly ratified code included articles criminalising sex outside marriage.
AFP accused of 18-month ‘interference’ campaign on Lehrmann’s behalf: read the extraordinary letter
“In an extraordinary letter released in full today, the prosecutor who charged Bruce Lehrmann over the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins has accused the Australian Federal Police of running an 18-month campaign of ‘consistent and inappropriate interference’ on behalf of Lehrmann’s defence team …
“Following ACT director of public prosecutions (DPP) Shane Drumgold’s decision not to proceed with a planned retrial because it would pose an ‘unacceptable risk’ to Higgins’ mental health, a letter he sent to Australian Federal Police chief Neil Gaughan was released to the public. Crikey readers can read the letter in full below.”
Katherine Deves, Portishead, and the glorious history of artists telling politicians to sod off
Talk about spitting the Dummy. Election sinker Katherine Deves last week expressed disbelief that a member of the band Portishead, leading purveyor of glinting cinematic ’90s soundscapes, had reported her on Twitter for the, well, highly Deves view that the word ‘transphobic’ was actually a term of abuse against women.
“UK super-producer Geoff Barrow, who had reported Deves, then declared: ‘It’s quite obvious you never understood the message in our music or perhaps you did back then before became full of hate for trans people. Shame.’ Of course, this is just part of a long and glorious line of politicians attempting to humanise themselves through popular culture and finding that their admiration is not in the least reciprocated. Let’s reminisce.”
What does Dan Andrews’ plan to ‘bring back the SEC’ actually mean?
“In 1993, a whopping 29 years ago, I wrote the press release for the Kennett government announcing the SEC had been abolished. It was the world’s most integrated government electricity monopoly, doing everything from digging up dirty brown coal in the Latrobe Valley to chasing down the pensioners who couldn’t afford to pay their electricity bills.
“The initial step was to break it into three — creating Generation Victoria for the mines and power stations, Powernet Victoria for the monopoly transmission assets, and Electricity Services Victoria (ESV) for the poles and wires distribution monopoly. After that, ESV was broken up into five regional distribution monopolies and progressively sold off to largely US buyers for a collective $8.3 billion …”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Iran publicly carries out second protest-related execution (Al Jazeera)
US opioid crackdown hampers some patients’ access to psychiatric drugs (Reuters)
Israeli forces kill Palestinian girl in occupied West Bank raid (Al Jazeera)
Freed Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout joins ultranationalist party (The Guardian)
‘European democracy is under attack’: Roberta Metsola addresses EU Parliament corruption scandal (EuroNews)
Canadian households now owe $1.83 for every dollar of disposable income they have (CBC)
Why Labor is dismissing the gas industry’s anger — Jennifer Hewett (The AFR) ($): “But most companies quietly recognised the politics of a prime minister under pressure to demonstrate his government really is delivering for Australians on soaring energy prices. The legislation to enable this was regarded as more of a nuisance and an unfortunate precedent — but not particularly damaging otherwise. In part, that’s because this measure will have a limited impact on reducing gas prices despite the enthusiastic rhetoric. Except for some medium-sized manufacturing companies which have not contracted gas for next year due to shockingly high prices, most households are likely to see only modest, delayed relief despite increased funding from state and federal governments.
“Nor are prices on the spot market for gas covered by the price cap. But it was the unexpected kicker in the draft legislation that produced instant outrage as well as industry claims that the government just doesn’t get it. This gives the government the ability to determine what is a ‘reasonable price’ for gas on the east coast of Australia indefinitely. Most companies now believe Labor either doesn’t understand the impact of this on future investment — or that it is happy to have gas shut out in favour of renewables. Gas as well as coal has just been excluded from the new capacity scheme, for example, which is supposed to ensure enough firming power in the grid to back up wind and solar.”
What would happen here if China invaded Taiwan? — Elena Yi-Ching Ho (The Age) ($): “China’s assertive authoritarianism agenda has been disrupting the rule-based liberal order. Through human rights violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and the trade retaliation against Australia, China has repeatedly ignored international law or values that have been upheld by the international community. In addition, in recent years, China has intensified authoritarian control over its citizens through technology and its zero-COVID policy. As such, some political analysts and government officials in Canberra suggested that if China were to take over Taiwan, it would ‘catastrophically compromise’ the stability of the region.
“Since Australia is considered one of Washington’s most important and reliable partners, it is likely to find itself caught in a double bind if the US defends Taiwan as Joe Biden has publicly stated. Even if Australia chose not to get involved in militarily supporting Taiwan, it would still face potential economic sanctions from China. In fact, surveys from the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and Lowy have indicated that almost half of Australians show willingness to send troops to defend Taiwan. Moreover, the consequences of these conflicts always run deeper than the political aspects. The disruptions to the Australian economy and food security brought about by the Russia-Ukraine war would seem almost insignificant when compared to a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)
Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor, Accenture Australia’s Marni Poropat, and SkillsIQ’s Yasmin King will speak about skilling Australians in an event held by CEDA.
Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)
Kurdish-Iranian writer Behrouz Boochani will talk about his new book, Freedom, Only Freedom, at the Roundhouse.
Whadjuk Noongar Country (also known as Perth)
WA Minister for Regional Development, Agriculture and Food Alannah MacTiernan, CSIRO’s Brad Ridoutt, and the University of Washington’s David R. Montgomery are among speakers at “Meaty Matters: Cows and Climate”, at the Convention Centre. You can also catch this one online.