SECRETS AND LIES
Former prime minister Scott Morrison says his exit from the $90 billion submarine deal with the French was because he didn’t trust US President Joe Biden, not French President Emmanuel Macron, according to the AFR ($). It’s reportedly a revelation in a soon-to-be-released book, where he says letting Macron in on the plan to ditch the French could’ve seen him complain to Biden, who may in turn have pulled the brakes on the AUKUS deal for a week or two. “Then the opposition would have seen that what we said was going to be announced wasn’t,” Morrison reasoned, so he strung Macron on until then-British prime minister Boris Johnson and the pair agreed to an announcement date for the trio’s $368 billion AUKUS deal, the SMH ($) continues. Real cheating boyfriend vibes, I have to say.
Meanwhile, Morrison convinced long-term Liberal MP Warren Entsch to ditch retirement and run in the 2022 election by luring him with a $10 billion cyclone reinsurance pool for northern Australia and a $20 million electricity microgrid in his electorate of Leichhardt (Queensland), The Australian ($) reports. It comes after Morrison confirmed he attended an exclusive private dinner with Entsch, senior Coalition pollies Bridget McKenzie and David Littleproud and a Soviet-born billionaire Alex Sekler. But Sekler’s (or more precisely, one of Sekler’s company’s) $304,000 donation on the eve of the election was not discussed, Morrison says. Mhm.
IN DEEP TROUBLE
We may be into the last 24 hours of reported oxygen left inside the missing Titanic submersible with five people inside, The New York Times ($) reports, but it’s still a search-and-rescue mission. There’s still a glimmer of hope as a Canadian search plane detected banging noises from beneath the waves of the wild North Atlantic — the US Coast Guard said a team of experts were scrutinising them but analysis has been “inconclusive” so far. It could be animals, Captain Jamie Frederick conceded, or the sort of short, sharp noise a hard object might make if you banged it against the inside walls of a sub, the BBC adds. Chilling. The problem, an expert told CNN, is that the current can deflect sound to seem like it’s coming from a spot kilometres from its origin, and analysis can be as tough as isolating a drum in a stadium of cheering fans.
Another expert told the British broadcaster it’s hard to know whether to look on the surface or down below. And the search area is huge — about 26,000 square kilometres, about a third of the size of Tasmania. In any case, a search vessel that’s actually capable of descending to the depth of the Titanic is not due to arrive until Wednesday evening local time (about 9am today AEDT), Reuters reports. It could be one of two scenarios, the expert continued: either the Titan ran into trouble and released a weight to ascend to the surface, or there was a leak. In that case, “the prognosis is not good”, he said grimly. The Guardian reports OceanGate’s director of marine operations told a lawsuit in 2018 that testing and certification were not up to scratch, placing passengers in “potential extreme danger in an experimental submersible”.
PwC enacted a “calculated breach of trust”, politicians from all major parties found, by covering up the tax leak scandal. That’s according to a joint report that slammed “unethical” behaviour such as claiming legal professional privilege on tens of thousands of documents, the SMH ($) reports, and then not reporting a breach of confidentiality. Greens Senator Barbara Pocock called PwC partners “voracious, greedy, lying scoundrels” who thought they could “get away with” relaying government info to clients. Ouch. Meanwhile — the NSW corruption watchdog’s loooong-awaited report into former premier Gladys Berejiklian’s conduct will be handed to Parliament on June 29, The New Daily reports. The ICAC was looking into former Wagga Liberal MP Daryl Maguire and whether Berejiklian breached public trust during their five-year relationship. It’s nearly 18 months since she resigned, though she denies any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, residents in WA’s Victoria Park have called for the immediate resignation of all councillors after passing a motion of no confidence in an electors meeting, WA Today ($) reports. They are infuriated with decisions they say have left them out of pocket, with one saying there was “no transparency or accountability”, including the sale of a Woolworth’s car park, an alleged fumble over restoring a heritage building, and the maintenance takeover of a housing estate. And in Victoria, The Age ($) has a story about Laywer X Nicola Gobbo’s intention to plead guilty to perverting the course of justice and testify against Victorian cops, which was thwarted when the top prosecutor repeatedly refused to file criminal charges, according to former High Court judge Geoffrey Nettle.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
Gay penguin couple Sphen and Magic are becoming teachers. The Sydney power couple may not be able to fly, but their relationship has reached new heights in the past five years at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. Their love story began in 2018, when penguin department supervisor Tish Hannan noticed they were piling ice pebbles into a temporary nest like a first date picnic. Evidently it went well as Sphen and Magic started bowing to each other, a “gentoo way of saying they love each other”, Hannan told the ABC. It got serious when the pair started collecting actual pebbles for a nest to move in together. Were kids on the cards, keepers wondered? They offered a fake egg, and the couple immediately began fussing over it and trying to incubate it. So the keepers gave them a real egg from another couple that had two (typically gentoos raise only one egg, leaving the “backup” chick to die).
It was a little female penguin, Lara, and another chick followed in 2020, a little male named Clancy. In the years since, Sphen and Magic have been formidable parents, teaching nest-building and incubation to the kids. But the doting dads kept a full life outside of parenthood too — indeed this year they marked WorldPride in Sydney with a pride march (pride waddle?) across a mini Sydney Harbour Bridge, as QNews reports. “The pair marched with polyamorous, bisexual king penguin throuple Neptune, Arthur and Aurora and new king penguin couple Forrest and Nog,” it says, and are penguins more sexually progressive than us?! Anyway, now Sphen and Magic’s love story will be part of a new NSW syllabus about sexuality and consent, with keepers working with the Teachers Federation. A keeper added that penguins also share equal parenting duties — it seems we have much to learn from the little tuxedo squirts.
Hoping you feel the love around you today.
Our strategy was that if we are going to do this, we can’t let it lead to the French knowing — in case that damages the French deal. So, we had to build Chinese walls — pardon the pun — around our discussions.
The former PM appears to have managed to offend France, the US, the UK and perhaps China in two short sentences when he explained he didn’t cancel the French submarine deal until he was certain the US and UK leaders were about to announce the AUKUS deal, fearing Joe Biden might back out of it if Emmanuel Macron complained about us ditching him.
White resentment, zero-sum games and the populist politics of Voice opponents
“The right-wing campaign against the Voice to Parliament fits perfectly into this pattern: faced with the problem that the Voice won’t actually deprive non-Indigenous Australians of anything, opponents must either argue that Indigenous peoples are being given something non-Indigenous people aren’t, or that some vague non-material loss is being inflicted or could be inflicted on non-Indigenous people.
“Racist groups such as the Institute of Public Affairs that are opposed to any form of recognition of Indigenous peoples have long tried the ‘they’re getting favoured treatment’ by arguing Indigenous peoples are just another minority group like, say, Greek Australians, redheads and the left-handed, so why should they receive specific recognition — an effective restatement of the terra nullius fiction, since it rejects the fact that Indigenous peoples were here before invasion, were dispossessed of their land, and were systematically deprived of human rights by white Australians.”
Media don’t help. They enable violence against women and fuel the backlash
“And there was Crikey’s very own Guy Rundle, who made a particularly unique contribution to the ‘what was she wearing’ genre when he wondered what Higgins had spent her settlement money on, including designer shoes. No, Rundle, you are not ‘entitled’ to know the details of Higgins’ confidential settlement just because you are a taxpayer; nor are you entitled to muse about what she spent the money on. ‘Entitled’, indeed.
“My frustration with media representations of violence against women, and the extent to which the media can either be part of the solution by tackling the attitudes and beliefs that give rise to violence or part of the problem by reinforcing those beliefs via harmful myths and stereotypes, is not theoretical. I have skin in this game. For my sins, when I first arrived in Australia a decade ago I took a job with Our Watch, the national foundation to prevent violence against women, as the inaugural national media engagement manager.”
Missing Titanic sub: what are submersibles, how do they communicate, and what may have gone wrong?
“In a best-case scenario, the Titan may have lost power and will have an inbuilt safety system that will help it return to the surface. For instance, it may be equipped with additional weights that can be dropped to instantly increase its buoyancy and bring it back to the surface. Alternatively, the vessel may have lost power and ended up at the bottom of the ocean. This would be a more problematic outcome.
“The worst-case scenario is that it has suffered a catastrophic failure to its pressure housing. Although the Titan’s composite hull is built to withstand intense deep-sea pressures, any defect in its shape or build could compromise its integrity — in which case there’s a risk of implosion.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Sudan’s warring sides resume fighting after latest ceasefire ends (Al Jazeera)
Donor bought pricey golf simulator for Ron DeSantis, raising ethics questions (Reuters)
Four-day week: which countries have embraced it and how’s it going so far? (euronews)
Paris explosion: more than 20 injured after blast (BBC)
Three ministers gone since Hipkins was made PM (Stuff)
‘Political provocation’: China hits back as Biden calls Xi ‘dictator’ (The Guardian)
Labor and the Greens aren’t strangers to conflict. But this week’s housing stand-off, something snapped — David Speers (ABC): “The government also pounced on the Greens’ decision to delay, labelling it the first step in setting up a double-dissolution election. The government can call an early double-dissolution election if a bill fails in the Senate and then fails again at least three months later. In the government’s view, this week’s decision of the Senate marks the first ‘failure to pass’. The Greens disagree, insisting they have not opposed the bill, simply deferred a vote. It turns out there’s little precedent for what counts as a ‘failure to pass’ — only one High Court ruling nearly 50 years ago when the Whitlam government was in power. The circumstances weren’t comparable …
“It’s also true an early election risks replacing a mostly helpful Senate with an unwieldy upper house. The quota required for each Senate seat is halved at a double dissolution, making it easier for minor party and independent candidates to win. Still, most prime ministers like to have the option up their sleeve. Having a double-dissolution trigger in the back pocket could be useful for Anthony Albanese next year. Who knows what the political or economic landscape will look like then? In the meantime, while Labor is being frustrated in the Senate, it senses it now has the upper hand politically. It reckons the Greens have blundered this week and is using every opportunity to belt the minor party for playing political games while those in need of a roof over their head suffer.”
‘A green transition that leaves no-one behind’: world leaders release open letter — Emmanuel Macron, Mia Mottley, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel, Olaf Scholz, Fumio Kishida, William Ruto, Macky Sall, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden (The Guardian): “We want our system to deliver more for the planet. The transition to a net zero world and the goals of the Paris agreement present an opportunity for this generation to unlock a new era of sustainable global economic growth. We believe that just ecological transitions that leave no-one behind can be a powerful force for alleviating poverty and supporting inclusive and sustainable development. This requires long-term investment everywhere to ensure that all countries are able to seize this opportunity. Inspired by the historic Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework, we also need new economic models which recognise the immense value of nature for humanity.
“We are convinced that poverty reduction and protection of the planet are converging objectives. We must prioritise just and inclusive transitions to ensure that the poor and most vulnerable can fully reap the benefits of this opportunity, rather than disproportionally bearing the cost. We recognise that countries may need to pursue diverse transition paths in line with the 1.5-degree limit depending on their national circumstances. There will be no transition if there is no solidarity, economic opportunities, or sustainable growth to finance it. We, leaders of diverse economies from every corner of the world, are united in our determination to forge a new global consensus.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)
Lowy Institute’s Roland Rajah, Richard McGregor and Jenny Gordon will speak about China’s economic and strategic plans in a panel for the Lowy Institute.
Writer Vidya Madabushi will speak about her new book, The Days Toppled Over, at Better Read Than Dead bookshop.