MY QUEEN, MY COUNTRY
Australia’s national day of mourning doubled as a tribute and a trial. Close to 700 high-profile figures packed into Parliament House in Canberra for a service to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he hoped she could be memorialised through collective commitments to “duty”, “service” and “respect for all” rather than another marble monument, SBS reports.
Around the country, many more took to the streets to protest against the ongoing “racist colonial imperialism” of the British monarchy and “everything her regime stole” from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, writes the ABC. Demonstration organisers Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance called for recognition, the return of land, “truth, accountability and justice” and an end to Black deaths in custody. (A NSW Closing the Gap report released yesterday found suicide and incarceration rates of First Nations peoples has risen, The Canberra Times/AAP reports.) Suffering was expressed through smoking ceremonies, speeches and more symbolic gestures like dousing the Australian flag in fake blood, cutting it up and setting it alight. Federal Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe told a Melbourne crowd: “The crown’s boot is on our neck and we’re sick of it.” Both houses of Parliament will reconvene today for a day dedicated exclusively to the death of the queen and ascension of King Charles III.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants world leaders to punish Vladimir Putin. Putin, meanwhile, will punish his people with as many as 1 million Russians to be conscripted in the coming days, The Guardian reports. The Russian defence ministry said the call-up would be limited to 300,000 reservists, but inside sources say Putin signed off on six zeros. The announcement has prompted a mass exodus of fighting-fit men, says The Australian ($), with cars queued at the border and plane tickets sold out. A seat from Moscow to Dubai is trading at $13,450. As thousands fled, 55 Russians returned home in exchange for 215 captured Ukrainians, Reuters reports.
The Kremlin’s commitment to counter Ukraine’s counteroffensive with more Russians and more weapons sparked anti-war protests across the country, writes SMH/Reuters. 1300 people in 38 cities have been arrested by Russian police and could face up to 15 years behind bars. Overseas, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong joined world leaders at the UN General Assembly to condemn the Kremlin’s nuclear threats, says Guardian Australia. She said more military assistance was on the table and that Australia might move to expel the Russian ambassador. Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham wants more sanctions to “tighten the pressure further on Russia”, The Age ($) reports.
FIND ME SOME FOREIGN FUNDING
Yet another secret study from the Morrison era will soon become public property, the AFR ($) reports. The 2019 feasibility report conducted by Treasury and Office of National Assessments official John Eyers urged DFAT to refocus foreign aid in the Pacific and South-East Asia on “private sector investment”, rather than a “traditional approach of handouts and cheap loans”. This would assuage a regional appetite for infrastructure development while also satisfying Australian geopolitical goals. In short: bolster brand Australia and counter Chinese influence.
Former foreign affairs minister Marise Payne kept the report under wraps for three years, with DFAT continuously rejecting freedom of information requests. All the while, aid budgets were cut. The Albanese government has opted for public release of the independent review. International Development and Pacific Minister Pat Conroy called it a “valuable contribution” that should be released in the interests of “greater transparency”.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
It’s not hard to feel like a fish out of water going through airport security. Recall the chaos and the confusion. Now spare a thought for the fish in water that found out at check-in it didn’t qualify for carry-on. Kira Rumfola, 19, turned up to the airport with her fish Theo only to be told that it was not fit to fly, The Washington Post reports. But she got lucky when customer service agent Ismael Lazo decided he was in the market to fish-sit. He gave Rumfola his number (which she saved as “Airport Fish Taker”) and promised to take care of Theo until she returned. And so began a short and sweet tale of two cities.
Compare this with the pet policy of Australia’s esteemed “national carrier”, Qantas. It advises booking a pet on a flight before booking yourself (perhaps to compensate for the fact that it may well arrive after you?). Pooches, flocks of birds (max four) and domesticated fish “with no aeration requirements” are not entitled to frequent flyer points, but they do qualify for fully flexible bookings up to 14 days before departure. In-flight entertainment is not provided for those travelling in the plane’s underbelly. Nor is food, which I’d argue is a missed marketing opportunity given Qantas’ shift to all-meat meals.
Wishing you a no-fluff Friday, folks.
How could Biden not lose damn face if these fuckers do not pass it in Congress?
The South Korean president’s delicate diplomatic diatribe was picked up by a hot mic on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Global Fund conference in New York. He eloquently concluded that US counterpart Joe Biden’s plans to up the ante on funding for HIV, TB and malaria were not without political risk. Yoon Suk-yeol was already in the hot seat for skipping an appointment to see the late queen lying in state. Why? Allegedly “heavy traffic”.
“Private Media, Crikey’s publisher, has filed its defence against allegations by Lachlan Murdoch that Crikey defamed him in an article published in June about the role of Fox News in inciting the January 6 US insurrection. The Federal Court will shortly release the document, which has already been canvassed in other news media. Private Media’s CEO Will Hayward released a statement yesterday in text and video form about the company’s defence.”
“Ordered to terminate a pregnancy. Forced to break up with partners — and supervised while doing so. Phone numbers changed and communication with family monitored. The allegations from a review into racism at the Hawthorn Football Club, as revealed by the ABC, are shocking.
“They expose an alleged culture under four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson and former assistant coach Chris Fagan of abuse, deeply entrenched racism and control over Indigenous players’ lives and families.”
“With Qantas’ snub to vegetarian, kosher, halal and gluten-free passengers still exciting plenty of media interest yesterday, rival Virgin was only too happy to point out it doesn’t share the contempt of the ‘national carrier’ for anyone who doesn’t like eating animals. Virgin continues to offer vegetarian meals to all business and economy passengers, it said yesterday.
“While the nature of the meal you get on board might not outweigh flight availability and price for most travellers, the latest insult by Qantas is all part of what might be called the Joycification of the airline, in which a creeping contempt slowly extends across all facets of the company — first to its workers, and then to customers — that reduces the Qantas experience to a succession of impositions, insults and inconveniences provided by overworked, underpaid and wholly unappreciated staff.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Tribunal upholds Khmer Rouge’s Khieu Samphan’s life sentence (The Australian)
Hobbits and the hard right: how fantasy inspires Italy’s potential new leader (The New York Times)
How NFL hiring practises block Black coaches from top jobs (The Washington Post)
Bread-and-butter budget we just have to have — Jim Chalmers (The Australian): “We know it’s unusual to hand down a second budget this year, but this is a new government and these are unusual circumstances. It made no sense to us to wait 13 months between budgets when the tasks are so urgent, the challenges so confronting and the needs so substantial.
“This will be a fairly standard bread-and-butter budget because, for the times we are in, that’s what it needs to be. It shouldn’t be viewed in isolation from the other two or three we hand down this parliamentary term. It’s the beginning, not the end, of a big national conversation about our economic challenges, the structural position of the budget going forward, and the kinds of choices we need to make as a country in the future about what our priorities are, what’s affordable and what’s fair.”
ClubsNSW has lost its moral compass over pokies — “The Herald’s View” (SMH): “Last November, a senior gaming regulator told the Herald that he believed about $1 billion is laundered each year through clubs in Australia, much of it through NSW’s 85,000 poker machines. The Daily Telegraph this year leaked details of a confidential state government report which said investigators suspected organised crime had laundered $5.5 million though 178 Sydney venues in one seven-week period.
“ClubsNSW’s regular denials of the scale of the problem are reminiscent of the denials by casino operators Star Entertainment and Crown Resorts before numerous inquiries showed they were facilitating systematic money laundering through their gaming tables. ClubsNSW has made noises about fighting both money laundering and the equally serious problem of harmful gambling but in reality it has dragged the chain.”
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)
Federal Parliament will resume for a special sitting day of condolences to the late queen.
Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)
Kaurna Country (also known as Adelaide)
Turrbal and Jagera/Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)
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