Lidia Thorpe says she did not date ex-bikie, merely kissed him once


Former Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe says she didn’t actually date ex-bikie boss Dean Martin, The Age ($) reports, but was given legal advice by the party’s lawyer to say she did. We kissed once at a rally on January 26, and I didn’t even know who he was, the now-independent senator told the Senate’s privileges committee. “I didn’t ask for his résumé,” she scoffed. The committee found she was not in contempt and didn’t tell Martin anything sensitive, but added that senators must be responsible and ’fess up about conflict of interests (Thorpe was on the joint parliamentary law enforcement committee). Thorpe says she deserves an apology from Greens Leader Adam Bandt and described herself as “mauled by the media” for nothing. She was stripped of the deputy leadership after the ABC broke the story.

Meanwhile, Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen is refusing to release the “secret” modelling of carbon offsets and emissions, The Australian ($) reports, because it would “reveal the delib­erations of cabinet” and risk “market sensitivities” (the government is a purchaser of carbon credits). But Bandt was like, give us the evidence that large corporations won’t be able to simply “buy their way out of the scheme”. At the moment big polluters have to slash emissions by 4.9% a year or buy carbon credits — but there’s no ceiling on how many they can buy. And considering several fossil fuel titans are posting record profits, including Whitehaven Coal, Santos, Chevron, ExxonMobil ($), and more, the carbon credit costs might seem like little more than a bit of extra accounting while it’s pollution-as-usual. Indeed Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon and Shell made a trillion US dollars (!!!) in sales last year, CBS News reports.


Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews monitored people’s reaction to himself, lockdown restrictions such as the 8pm curfew, the five-kilometre travel limit, and who was to blame for hotel quarantine leaks, The Australian ($) reports. Andrews engaged QDOS Research, a firm owned by Andrews’ strategist John Armitage, using taxpayer dollars. It’s the result of “a two-year Freedom of ­Information battle” and one might think the paper would’ve wanted to end up with more. It frames the revelations as evidence the pandemic response in Victoria — granted the longest in the world — was guided by health advice and “intelligence”. In a statement the Andrews government was like, well yeah — community feedback helped us shape our response. Anyway…

To other state politics and NSW public servant Jennifer West, who was offered a $500,000 trade gig that later went to former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro, is suing him and former trade minister Stuart Ayres. West says the whole debacle was insulting and humiliating, the SMH ($) reports, and alleged it was clear misfeasance in office (a misuse of power). Former Investment NSW boss Amy Brown, who offered the job to West before withdrawing it, is also named as a defendant, as well as the state of NSW. In South Australia now, and an anonymous minister was referred to the state’s watchdog over a $3 million government contract for a personal associate, The Advertiser ($) reports. But the state’s ICAC rejected the bid — commissioner Ann Vanstone was “curious about what might have motivated” it but said due diligence was followed. Still — South Australia’s ICAC is not exactly known as a watchdog with sharp teeth, as the ABC reported.


Happy International Women’s Day — the gals earn a million dollars less than men over their lifetime and retire with $136,000 less superannuation, Guardian Australia reports. That’s according to research from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, and bolsters calls to pay more parental leave (as well as super on parental leave). But we could also make work more family-friendly, the study said, and make childcare free or cheaper. Superfund Hesta says analysis shows Aussie women miss out on more than $2.8 billion at retirement if they have kids.

Happily, the government’s paid parental leave reform became law this week, as HCA Mag reports. From July, a flexible 20-week entitlement (up from 18) will allow parents to take several blocks of time off, and also scrap the rule that the main paid parental leave claimant has to be the birth parent. There’s also this new family income test of $350,000 a year, meaning about 3000 extra parents can get parental leave. But there’s a lot more to do. Men still have higher average salaries than women in 95% of all occupations, the study found, even in female-dominated ones such as midwifery. Speaking of superannuation, new data showed in the eight years to 2022, super funds gave $18.2 billion from retirement savers to fund managers, The Courier Mail ($) reports this morning. Fees are about 1% of our super balances, and experts are urging Treasurer Jim Chalmers to turn his attention to them.


The New York Times’ Dan Harris met the Dalai Lama and walked away with a single, poignant, reverent understanding: we should all be way more selfish. But it wasn’t a licence to blaze through life taking everything one can get and giving nothing back. His holiness has this theory, “wise selfishness”, where selflessness and selfishness as we know them are not binary opposites, but rather two concepts that inform each other. Wise selfishness basically denotes that “acting in generous and altruistic ways makes you happier than solely being out for yourself does”, and that we should do so for our own benefit alone. It isn’t easy to redefine selfishness this way, not least because some might say the concept in its most widely understood sense is the single biggest thing wrong with humanity. Plus, aren’t studies always spruiking the benefits of spending our days giving ourselves over to compassion and generosity?

Well, yes, Harris says. But if that was our modus operandi every darn day, it would constitute what another Tibetan Buddhist teacher called “idiot compassion”, he writes. The Dalai Lama told Harris, “Thinking in a more compassionate way is the best way to fulfil your own interests,” adding rather sweetly: “The result? I get benefit!” Altruism is not forgetting one’s own interests completely, he added, but rather making them the reason we give. So how do we act with wise selfishness then? Harris suggests baby steps: chatting to strangers in “micro-moments” at the coffee shop or in elevators, experience “helper’s high” through small acts of generosity, like holding a door open or giving a compliment. “There’s nothing wrong with deriving pleasure from selfish gratification,” Harris concludes.

Hoping you dish out a random compliment today too — it’s for your own good, after all.


Apart from the outrageous illustrations of jet aircraft being shown leaving a profiled red-coloured map of China, the extent of the bias and news abuse is, I believe, unparalleled in modern Australian journalism.

Paul Keating

The former PM called yesterday’s front covers of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age the most “egregious and provocative” thing he’d seen in a newspaper in 50 years. The Age’s read “Australia ‘must prepare’ for threat of China war”. Miffed executive editor Tory Maguire said she stood by the coverage, and complained Keating didn’t call out the ABC and Sky News when they looked at the issue.

The wildest details of the Rugg v Ryan affidavits

Ryan has since told reporters the PM thing was a joke, which is exactly what I would say if a conversation like that got out. Ryan has since reminded everyone that she certainly does have a sense of humour — jibed about her chances of making it to the lodge by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton during question time, she shot back that she would ‘be there before you are’, which got a laugh.

“The matter comes to a head with an all-team meeting that Ryan attempts to schedule — with 30 minutes’ notice — at 9am on a Sunday in November. Rugg pushes back with ‘it’s not great to call a team meeting at 8.40am on a Sunday morning for 20 mins time … Can I suggest a meeting later in the day so people have time to organise with their families that they have a work call?’ “

Generation F’d: how neoliberalism consumed the future

“Well, surprise, surprise, with the government’s exit from upholding and progressing living standards, real wages are lower than they were 10 years ago, workers’ share of the economic pie has shrunk to a postwar low, schools and hospitals are in a workforce crisis, and bulk-billing doctors are harder to see. The Productivity Commission found the rate of income poverty — defined as those earning below 50% of the median income — remained at 9% of all Australians over the period 1988-89 through to 2015-16, despite 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth.

“The Australian Council of Social Service, which uses a measure of income poverty after housing costs have been deducted, found there were more people living below the poverty line in 2018-19 (13.4%) than 20 years ago in 1999 (13.1%). Census data shows homelessness rose by 30% in the decade to 2016. None of this was inevitable.”

The teals are in a climate war. There’s no time for the bitter tears of Sally Von Won’t

“… it’s the sense that, by pushing an office work-process breakdown to the front pages, one is actually carrying through the morality of the movement itself … Such claims are, of course, nonsense. Rugg is raining down the sort of blows on the teal movement that the Coalition couldn’t have landed in their dreams. This piece of intra-office lawfare is playing to every suspicion that wavering voters in their electorates might have had about such candidates, even if they voted for them.

“It’s the sense of a new elite, moving smoothly into a power occupied by the old Melbourne establishment, and bound up with their own soap operas. Furthermore, the claim to right — that this is about unreasonable working hours — makes the larger issues of climate change and other matters look like a mere extension of a battle of precious subjectivities.”


Earthquake damage in Turkey set to exceed $100b, UN says (Al Jazeera)

Fed’s Powell opens the door to higher and possibly faster rate increases (Reuters)

Cheesed off: US denies exclusive gruyère rights to Switzerland and France (EuroNews)

Poland’s ruling party under fire after suicide of opposition MP’s son (The Guardian)

Five women sue Texas over the state’s abortion ban (The New York Times)

Where is marijuana legal and how do people feel about it? Five charts show the shifting landscape (CNN)

Japan destroys new rocket minutes after lift-off (BBC)


We must stop wilfully condemning single mothers to a life of povertyAnne Summers (The Age) ($): “The Liberals and sections of the media are wailing in anguish about the tiny tax increases proposed for the 80,000 Australians with superannuation accounts worth more than $3 million. But their sympathy would be more appropriately directed at another similar-sized group: the 87,279 single mothers forced by the government to subsist on JobSeeker and try to raise their kids on $784.50 a fortnight. These women are victims of the ‘policy-induced poverty’ initiated by John Howard in 2006 and accelerated by Julia Gillard in 2013 that requires single mothers be dumped from the parenting payment ($961.30 a fortnight) and on to the dole (JobSeeker) when their youngest child turns eight.

“They are currently paid $176.50 a fortnight less than they would receive if still on the parenting payment. This policy was intended to encourage single mothers off welfare and into employment, but a decade on there is no evidence this has succeeded. Instead, these women and their children have sunk deeper into poverty every six months because not only is the rate of payment lower, it is indexed differently. For instance, those on the parenting payment received an extra $33.90 from the March indexation increase while the more than 80,000 women on the dole got just $26.60. As a result of the policy changes, these women are no longer seen as single mothers once their youngest turns eight.”

My message to Benjamin Netanyahu: stop your coup or we’ll stop the countryYuval Noah Harari (The Guardian): “Sixty-one members of Knesset [the Israeli Parliament, with 120 members] could pass any racist, oppressive and anti-democratic law they think of; 61 members of Knesset could also change the electoral system, to stop us from replacing the regime. When we ask the leaders of this coup what will keep the power of the government in check under the new regime, and what will protect basic human rights, they only have one answer: ‘Trust us.’ Prime Minister Netanyahu, Justice Minister Levin, MK Rothman, chair of the constitution committee, we do not trust you! You’re tearing to shreds the contract that has somehow held our society together for 75 years, and then you expect us to trust you?

“We don’t trust you, because we know very well what you want. You want unlimited power. You want to shut us up and to tell us how to live, what to eat, what to wear, what to think and even who to love. But you don’t understand who you’re dealing with. Israelis are not good raw material for making slaves [the enslavement of the ancient Hebrews is a core part of Jewish holy texts, remembered especially at the festival of Passover]. We Israelis are stubborn, we’re free-spirited, and nobody has ever managed to shut us up. We will not allow you to turn Israel into a dictatorship. So what will happen over the coming weeks? They will go on trying to pass their dictatorial laws. They will also go on calling us ‘anarchists’ and ‘traitors’, and exploiting or even initiating extreme events in order to suppress the resistance. On our side, we will continue to protest …”


The Latest Headlines



Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

  • Author Chris Wallace and Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek will chat about the former’s new book, Political Lives. Australian Prime Ministers and their Biographers, at the ANU.

  • British high commissioner to Australia Vicki Treadell will speak about Britain and colonialism at the National Press Club.

Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)

  • Author Fatima Bhutto and journalists Shokoofeh Azar and Santilla Chingaipe will speak about politics, power and feminism in a talk at The Capitol.

Yuggera and Turrbal Country (also known as Brisbane)

  • Author Megan Norris will talk about her new book, The Messiah’s Bride, at Avid Reader bookshop.

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