Michael McCormack is the New Leader of the National Party
Barnaby Joyce has gotten out of the way. Michael McCormack is the new leader of the Nationals Party and is the new Deputy Prime Minister.
Some of the old hi-lights from McCormack’s career include:
  • A poisonous editorial he wrote about homosexuality in the early 90’s. It’s vile. He has since apologised for it many times, and ended up voting ‘yes’ in the same sex marriage poll last year – which is a lot more than the previous leader of the Nationals ever did. Other smash hits from his editorial writing include advocating for the death penalty and comparing women’s soccer to an “egg and spoon” race.
  • McCormack oversaw the census in 2016 – largely regarded as the most poorly run census in Australia’s history.
  • He’s been a previous critic of Tony Abbott, publicly complaining about Abbott’s decision to knight Prince Philip when he was Prime Minister. (When Abbott was Prime Minister, not Phil. Phil’s never been PM of Australia. That would be…weird. But kind of sexy and playful if Matt Smith played him. Even weirder.)
Micahelia Cash will name women, yo
Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash managed to grab headlines this week by chucking a tanty in a Senate Estimates hearing.
You may remember, Michaelia Cash got in hot water last year. There was a controversial police raid on the Australian Worker’s Union. The police were responding to a tip off about Bill Shorten (the leader of the Labor Party) – but apparently turned up nothing. Somehow, the media knew the raid was happening. Michaelia Cash denied anyone in her office tipped off the media. Whoops. They totally did. That guy resigned, and since then the office has had extremely high turn over.
The investigation into that whole debacle is ongoing. Cash was questioned in Senate Estimates this week about general staff movements in her office. She responded sharply: “If you want to start discussing staff matters, be very, very careful,” she said. “I am happy to name every young woman in Mr Shorten’s office about which rumours in this place abound. If you want to go down this path today I. Will. Do it. Do you want [me] to start naming them? For Mr Shorten to come out and deny any of the rumours that have been circulating in this building for many many years. [It’s a] dangerous path to go down, and you know it.”
Well clutch the pearls and ruffle the feathers. Everyone was outraged. Senator Penny Wong demanded an apology for her “outrageous slur” against the women working in Shorten’s offices. The Liberals tried to defend Cash. (Tony Abbott said she must have had a ‘brain snap’- always helpful, our Tony.) Eventually, Cash withdrew her comments and apologised.
Just as an aside, there’s plenty of quotes that’s surfaced in all of this, but this little gem from The Australian Financial Review I quite enjoyed:“As a minister in the former government, Mr Shorten was the subject of rumours spread by the Coalition that he had had an affair with a staffer called Shannon who became pregnant. The rumours persisted even though Shannon was male.”
Tasmania votes
Tasmania’s going to the polls this weekend. Labor and the Greens are putting up a strong opposition, but a Liberal majority government looks likely.
Happy Birthday Mardi Gras
It’s the 40th Anniversary of the Sydney Mardi Gras this weekend. The parade will hit on Saturday night. Slow News Weekly hereby authorises you to wear rainbow colours and pash someone you fancy in celebration. You’re welcome.
Gun Debate Continues
It’s been a bizarre week for Trump and gun laws. At the end of last week, Trump’s latest idea was to arm and train school teachers to better deal with mass shootings. This was lauded by most moderately sane people as incredibly stupid. He stunned everyone on Wednesday when he reversed a lot of his rhetoric on gun laws. In a live television press conference, he appeared to embrace gun control, expanding background checks, keep guns from the mentally ill, secure schools and restrict gun sales from young adults. Everyone was bewildered, and everyone is skeptical. He had a similar press conference in January on the topic of immigration, in which he stated that he sought to assist children brought to the States illegally – before he reversed everything and used a hard-line approach in the Senate.
Meanwhile, two major retailers have voluntarily restricted their sales of assault-style rifles. Walmart, the nations’ biggest gun seller, announced that it would no longer sell guns to anyone under the age of 21, and it would no longer sell items resembling assault-style rifles, including toys and air guns.
Xi Jinping – Emperor For Life
President Xi Jinping of China made moves this week to extend his presidency into a third term and beyond. There’s been outcry across the country (and around the world). In a move to quell the outrage, Chinese censors went on a bizarre, Orwellian-inspired rampage to silence online protests. The internet is controlled by the state in China, and so censors were able to block a whole litany of phrases, including the words ‘Disagree’, ‘Personality Cult’ and ‘immortality’. They even briefly blocked the publication of the letter ’n’. No one’s quite sure why. (Or should I say: o oe’s quite sure why.) We’ll do a breakdown of Xi Jinping and the current state of China in a deep dive next week.
Barbra Streisand cloned her dogs
In an interview from Variety this week, Barbra Streisand revealed that two of her three dogs are clones. Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett have been cloned from Barbra’s late dog Samantha. Apparently, this is something that we’ve been able to do since about 2006. For $50,000, you can clone your dog too.

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