Labor has written to the Australian Federal Police to ask them to look into Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s decision to take a taxpayer-funded helicopter trip from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a fundraiser for Ron Nelson, a Liberal candidate in the Victorian state election.
The suggestion is that supporting a party fundraiser is not part of the duties of the speaker of the Australian parliament.
A previous speaker, Peter Slipper, was pursued by the AFP over his use of taxi vouchers to visit wineries outside Canberra in 2010.
In 2014 a magistrate convicted Slipper of dishonestly causing a risk of loss to the commonwealth and ordered him to repay the $954.
But Slipper won a legal battle to overturn the conviction in February 2015. In doing so, the Australian Capital Territory supreme court highlighted considerable uncertainty over the definition of parliamentary business.
Slipper repeatedly argued he was a victim of double standards given other MPs had been allowed to repay expenses under the Minchin Protocol.
At the time Abbott argued Slipper should stand down while being investigated, but it seems Bronnie is going nowhere.
2. Greek tragedy
Or Pyrrhic victory, for both Greece and the Eurozone. What kind of family asset-strips one of its members in broad daylight? asks Suzanne Moore. A family capable of considerable cruelty.
The weight of the commentary is blaming Germany, but a range of countries in northern and central Europe, Finland and Slovakia, for example, were backing Germany to the hilt.
Paul Krugman was scathing and fingered Germany directly.
There is no doubt that other countries will now be cautious about joining the Eurozone. And the notion of moving to a fiscal union, if it ever had a chance, is dead in the water.
In the end Alexis Tsipras played chicken with Germany and lost. He thought they would give in rather than kick Greece out. They showed that they were more than happy to see Greece go.
In a fascinating interview Yanis Varoufakis told Phillip Adams about the circumstances of his resignation. Varoufakis was elated by the referendum outcome, Tsipras was depressed. Tsipras expected a “yes” vote and was quite unprepared for a “no”. It seems he realised that Greece would be punished for its little frolic with democracy.
Just about. The unions, farmers, social services, even Michael Roche of the Queensland Resources Council had a good word to say.
Some debt is repaid and a $1.2 billion operating surplus is predicted. What more could one ask?
4. Federer finished?
Not if you ask him. I saw the last few games of his straight sets demolition of Andy Murray and his play was awesome. Novak Djokovic, however, is a step up, and at the peak of his powers. So Djokovic beat Roger Federer in four in a slightly disappointing match.
Federer had his chances in the first set, up a break at 4-2 and later a set point on Djokovic’s serve. But Federer was not serving consistently well, and was making unforced errors, occasionally shanking shots. After the rain break in the third, Djokovic was in control and it was a matter of time.
But what, may you ask, is a 33-year old doing in a grand slam final, and what business does he have being No 2 in the rankings?
Champion players win most of their slams by the time they are 26, and very few after they are 28. Djokovic is 28, and will probably win more, because he doesn’t have truly great younger players snapping at his heals, as did Federer with Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, now 29 and seemingly on the slide.
You can argue that Federer was in his prime during a weak era; Douglas Perry argues there is no such thing. Any way, Federer’s dominance from 2004 to 2007 is without peer, winning 11 of 12 slams apart from the French. He has also won all four slams in his career, a feat equalled only by Nadal and Andre Agassi since the days of Rod Laver.
Will he win another slam? Probably not, but like Ken Rosewall, while he’s there he’s a chance. Rosewall won four slams when he was older than Federer, and played in the Wimbledon final when he was 39.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.