1. Margaret Court pipes up
No doubt you remember this from Saturday salon 13/5:
Margaret Court, tennis legend, later Pentecostal Christian minister in 1991 and now a minister at Perth’s Victory Life Church, brought a storm upon her head when she said she would no longer fly Qantas because of Alan Joyce’s advocacy for same-sex marriage.
SBS has the full story. She’s incurred the wrath of Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, both openly gay. Navratilova has called for the Margaret Court Arena to be renamed. Current player Casey Dellacqua, whose partner Amanda Judd has had a child, said “enough is enough”.
Court says she has nothing against homosexuals, or Casey Dellacqua personally, it’s just that God ordained that marriage is for a man and a woman, and we must obey.
Malcolm Turnbull has said, Margaret Court can have her opinion, we don’t have to agree, but we can still honour her greatness as a tennis player.
Tennis Australia has said that while it respects Court’s success in the sport, “her personal views are her own, and do not align with Tennis Australia’s values of equality, inclusion and diversity”.
That should be the end of it, except if, as Peter FitzSimons has suggested, sponsors start to pull out.
2. Twiggy comes out
Billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and his wife Nicola made the single biggest philanthropic donation by a living person in Australian history on Monday – $400m, to be distributed to causes of the Forrests’ choosing. Turnbull said, along with florid praise:
$75m would go towards coordinating world cancer institutes, $50m for building stronger communities, $75m for higher education and research, $75m towards “giving every child their best chance”, $50m towards creating equality of opportunity, and $75m towards removing modern slavery from human history.
All good worthy causes, and there is no doubting the sincerity of the Forrests. It’s all very admirable, and I believe Twiggy has already donated about $250 million anonymously. He wants to come out now and set an example others might follow.
Kristina Keneally has blown the whistle:
- Philanthropy from wealthy individuals is many things: generous, inspiring, and selfless. But it is also inherently undemocratic. It vests massive power in the hands of the giver to determine how much money is available and what causes merit support.
This is not to say philanthropy has no role to play in a democracy. It does. But democracies cannot allow wealthy individuals and successful organisations to use philanthropy as a substitute for paying tax. That’s no longer democracy: it is oligarchy.
She then goes on to detail how much money his companies made and how little tax they paid.
3. Trump watch
Summary of Trump’s foreign tour garnered from Twitter:
- Abject bootlicking of Saudi & Gulf despots, gratuitous insults aimed at actual allies.
News Daily reports on The Donald shoving the man from Montenegro out of the way.
Jared Kushner is also now a person of interest in the FBI probe on dealings with Russia. Phillip Adams talked to Alec MacGillis, reporter from Propublica, about Kushner’s real estate empire and his bad treatment of tenants.
Bruce Shapiro told Adams that Mike Pence may also be in the frame, over General Flynn, from memory. It’s a new form of reality television to keep us entertained.
4. Manchester attack
Turkey has had a series of attacks, threatening to tear the country apart, detailed at Al Jazeera. The latest terrorist attack at Manchester seems closer to home, for a variety of reasons, but partly because there were children, I gather mostly girls, killed and injured just attending a pop concert.
The US singer Ariana Grande was due to tour Australia later this year. She was said to be devastated and there must have been a question as to whether the tour would go ahead.
Child psychologists on the radio said that our children will relate the events to themselves. Their advice was to talk to our children and be honest. The ABC program Behind the News is designed for kids and has done a short story. They’ve also put together some resources on how to deal with upsetting news.
It’s also good to contextualise and talk about the positive stuff that goes on. The authorities have been quick in their police response, with now 11 arrests made, so the baddies will be punished. Manchester people were magnificent in helping out, all the emergency responders seemed to do well. Local Muslim leaders came out and condemned the attacks, saying they really get along well with the rest of the community, and there was no obvious back-lash. There were memorial vigils all over the country, including Manchester, in big crowds to express solidarity and thank the emergency responders.
- The evening sun shone over Manchester’s Albert Square tonight, as the city came together to mourn those who lost their lives in Monday’s attack.
The square was packed with thousands of people, many of them girls around the age of the young people who were killed, who had rushed here from school and work to pay their respects.
The crowd spontaneously sang Don’t Look Back in Anger after a minute’s silence.
Ariana Grande has vowed to return to the “incredibly brave city of Manchester” for a benefit concert to raise money for the victims. She said on Twitter “we won’t let hate win” and “we won’t let this divide us.”
5. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Finally, I’ve missed a few anniversaries lately – the Coral Sea Battle, the death of Hitler – but the Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th anniversary taps into a period when there were strange currents running culturally and politically. Think only of Che Guevara, Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg and a little later Woodstock and the Red Brigade. It was a period of my life that had a fair bit of stress. New job, a miscarriage in the first attempt at baby-making with my first wife, and still studying, I think the ninth year in a row I sat for end-of-year exams. Harold Holt was PM, with front-page spreads of him with his nubile nieces, only to disappear into the waves in December that year.
Anyway, the songs have magical music, tunes and lyrics you can hear that tell a story, unlike much that followed, but resonate back into the 1960s where they say that if you can remember those times you weren’t really there.