1. Julia Gillard gets a gong
It was a bit of a surprise, but congratulations to Julia Gillard, who was appointed a Companion in the General Division (AC) of the Order of Australia:
- for her “contributions to economic and social development, particularly policy reform in the areas of education, disability care, workplace relations, health, foreign affairs and the environment, and as a role model to women”.
Having retired from politics in 2013, Ms Gillard is chairwoman of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) – a body bringing together governments, the private sector, philanthropists, teachers and students to improve education in some of the world’s poorest nations.
On Australia Day, she is with a delegation travelling through the southeast African nation discussing how $90 million will be spent supporting 80,000 students and 24,000 teachers.
- “The uncomfortable statistic is that with current rates of change, it won’t be for another 100 years that we universally around the world see girls get to go to primary and the first few years of secondary school,” she said.
“I’m putting my energy into how we equalise that and make sure every child gets a great education.”
2. Culleton gone
The High Court has ended the short and colourful career of Rodney Culleton.
At the time he was elected he was convicted for a crime which carried a sentence of more than a year, rendering him ineligible to serve in parliament. It involved stealing a set of car keys, worth $7.50. The conviction was later annulled, but that is irrelevant, according to the Court.
Now there will be a recount, and it looks as though Culleton’s brother-in-law, Peter Georgiou, will be welcomed by Pauline as the ON senator for WA. Culleton has previously said that he will be Georgiou’s chief of staff in that eventuality. Last night the word was that he was going to write a book.
3. One Nation fruit cakes
ON does attract some fruitcakes, including David Archibald, a candidate from WA who said the government could save funds by not supporting the expensive “lifestyle choices” of certain minority groups, like remote Indigenous communities. Then he took aim at single mothers, saying:
- “These are women too lazy to attract and hold a mate, undoing the work of possibly three million years of evolutionary pressure. This will result in a rapid rise in the portion of the population that is lazy and ugly.”
Patricia Karvelas asked Barnaby Joyce about this. Barnaby said he couldn’t walk in someone else’s shoes, suggesting a bit of empathy might be in order. Listen, he said, and then see if you can help.
I was proud of our Deputy PM!
4. Shoalwater Bay land grab
Back in May, during the election campaign, we heard the exciting news that $1 billion was to be spent in upgrading defence facilities at Shoalwater Bay, near Rockhampton. It’s about army training facilities for Singapore, who no doubt pay.
Now the locals have woken up in fright with the news that around 50 grazing properties are to be resumed. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the existing grounds are big enough, and she will talk to Malcolm Turnbull. Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls weighed in, saying he’s already spoken to his mate Malcolm, and Malcolm has directed Defence to see whether an alternative can be found. Barnaby almost said it won’t happen, but the final word is that Malcolm said he hoped all land purchases would be consensual, and compulsory resumption would be a last resort.
I can’t be bothered finding the links, but last night the American reporter the ABC’s talks to late at night said that Trump had conducted a Twitter exchange with Arnold Schwarzenegger during a prayer breakfast. Arnold had replaced Donald in his reality TV gig, and the ratings had plunged. Trump couldn’t help crowing about it.
Arnold suggested they swap jobs so everyone could again sleep in peace.
Then Trump went on to conduct his foreign relations with Iran via Twitter. Iran had conducted a ballistic missile test, and Trump told them they had better watch out.