Australian Parliament has been mostly over-shadowed by the continuing citizenship clusters**k, which we did a deep dive on earlier in the week. Doubt about Parliamentarians eligibility to serve continues as the High Court begins to process cases. One Nation Senator Malcom Roberts is the most in danger, as he is the only politician to have known about his dual citizenship when submitting his candidature. Senator Roberts insists he’s totally in the clear, because he sent a letter to the British embassy renouncing his UK Citizenry. Tony Windsor, who won second place to Barnaby Joyce in their electorate of New England, has joined the legal battle to try and claim that he is the only rightful heir to House Lannister. Jon Snow awaits in the North, and Queen Daenerys, breaker of chains, is contesting Kings Landing.
Two more Melbourne councils have joined Yarra Council in ditching official Australia Day celebrations. The federal government isn’t happy. We’ll do a deep dive into this issue on Tuesday, where we’ll attempt to answer the niggly point of whether local councils actually have any power in the matter at all.
The Government announced pregnant women will now have access to free mental health assessments, including in the first eight weeks of their child’s life. It’s a good news story to come out of dozens of recommendations from a special taskforce looking at the entire Medicare Benefit Scheme.
The Government is rolling out trials in Logan, Queensland and Western Sydney to drug test those applying for unemployment benefits. The controversial move is ostensibly designed to further assist those at risk of drug and alcohol abuse, re-directing them to health care services. The scheme has been criticised for unfairly discriminating against those who are already vulnerable. The Logan mayor wasn’t happy about the trial, claiming he was only informed by the media that it’d be happening in his council.
Fresh gossip out today: Tony Abbot was too drunk to come to work back in 2009. Kevin Rudd was PM, trying to push through critical legislation associated with the Global Financial Crisis. Abbot was hungover, and slept through the vote. His absence didn’t affect the vote, nor the fact that he would go on to become Australia’s best-loved onion-eating Prime Minister.
Donald Trump’s week began by firing his chief strategist, the controversial Steve Bannon. Trump’s now fired almost all of his senior advisors that he began with at the start of the year. He gave a long-winded speech at a rally in Arizona, continuing to defend comments that appeared to be overly sympathetic to white nationalist protestors. There were intense interactions between protestors and police outside the rally. Controversy continues over moves to remove or alter statues of Confederate soldiers. In Australia, the debate has sparked renewed discussion from South Sea Islanders, who would like to see memorials to Queensland “pioneers” more accurately reflect their association with “black birding” – where Islanders were kidnapped from their homes and used as slave labor.
The ACT is offering to resettle refugees currently held in the “inhumane” Manus Island and Nauru detention centres. The motion passed through the ACT legislative assembly without division. This has little effect on federal immigration policy, although the ACT government hopes it will trigger other State governments to declare themselves refugee-friendly and put further pressure on the federal government.
The Northern Hemisphere were treated to a rare solar eclipse earlier in the week – where the moon lined up to block the sun. Everyone was warned at great length to not look directly into the sun…because that damages your eyes. Trump stared directly at the sun. So the internet’s had a lot of fun with that.
Legendary comedian Jerry Lewis died at the age of 91 this week. The gifted physical comic was a key influencer of artists like Jim Carrey. Mr Lewis’ later years were over-shadowed by sexist and racist remarks. His work lives on in films such as The Nutty Professor, The Bellboy and At War With the Army.
Victorian Member of Parliament Fiona Richardson has passed away. Ms Richardson died just a day after publicly revealing she was suffering from multiple tumours and resigning from her job. She is remembered by her friends and colleagues for being a fierce advocate for family violence survivors. She was instrumental in bringing about equality legislation, Australia’s first royal commission into family violence, and bringing respectful relationships education into school curriculums. Her parliamentary colleagues wore purple in remembrance, and left a yellow rose in her now-absent seat.
The photo at the top of this week’s blog is from Reuters. People released doves at Yasukuni Shrine for the war dead in Tokyo last week — a symbol of peace marking the 72nd anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.
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