Christian Porter sues ABC and reporter Louise Milligan for defamation


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Attorney-General Christian Porter has commenced defamation proceedings in the Federal Court against the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan.

He is suing over an article the ABC published on Friday, February 26, which he says made false allegations against him in relation to a person he met when he was a teenager.

The story reported police had been notified of a letter sent to Scott Morrison detailing an alleged historical rape by a federal cabinet minister.

A statement from Porter’s lawyer Rebekah Giles says although Porter was not named, the article made allegations against a senior cabinet minister “and the Attorney-General was easily identifiable to many Australians”.

The lawyer’s statement, issued on Monday, says that in the last few weeks Porter “has been subjected to trial by media without regard to the presumption of innocence or the rules of evidence and without any proper disclosure of the material said to support the untrue allegations”.

“The trial by media should now end with the commencement of these proceedings,” it says.

“The claims made by the ABC and Ms Milligan will be determined in Court in a procedurally fair process.”

The statement says Porter will give evidence “denying these false allegations on oath.”

The ABC and Milligan have damaged Porter’s reputation by publishing the allegations, the statement says.

“This Court process will allow them to present any relevant evidence and make submissions they believe justifies their conduct in damaging Mr Porter’s reputation.”

The statement points out that under the Defamation Act, it is open to the ABC and Milligan to plead truth in their defence – “and prove the allegations to the lower civil standard”.

Porter’s lawyers include two leading barristers, Sue Chrysanthou SC, and Bret Walker SC, who appeared for Geoffrey Rush when he successfully sued the Daily Telegraph for defamation. Walker also acted for Cardinal George Pell, whose child sex abuse convictions were overturned in an appeal before the High Court.

A statement of claim filed in the proceedings says the article carried the defamatory imputation that Porter brutally raped a 16-year-old girl in 1988.

It says the ABC and Milligan published the article without any attempt to give Porter an opportunity to respond.

It accuses them of selecting portions of the material in order to make the allegations against Porter appear as credible as possible when other portions demonstrated the allegations were not credible.

“Milligan engaged in a campaign against Porter in order to harm his reputation and have him removed as Attorney-General,” the statement says.

The ABC said it would defend the action.

Porter’s office announced late Monday that he will return to work on March 31. He is currently on mental health leave. His return date means he will miss all the current parliamentary sitting and will not be back in the House of Representatives until the budget session in May.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Attorney-General Christian Porter declares alleged rape ‘did not happen’ – and he won’t stand down


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Attorney-General Christian Porter has identified himself as the minister accused of historical rape but declared categorically that the 1988 claimed assault “simply did not happen”.

A highly emotional Porter told a Perth press conference he had not slept with the then 16-year-old who made the allegation more than three decades later. “We didn’t have anything of that nature happen between us,” he said.

Porter declared he was not standing down from his position as first law officer.

“If I stand down from my position as Attorney-General because of an allegation about something that simply did not happen, then any person in Australia can lose their career, their job, their life’s work based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print.

“If I were to resign and that set a new standard, there wouldn’t be much need for an attorney-general anyway because there would be no rule of law left to protect in this country.”

Porter will take a couple of weeks leave to “assess and hopefully improve my own mental health”.

“I think I will be able to return from that and do my job.”

He said he has been asked by colleagues “Are you OK?”. His answer was “I really don’t know. I am not ashamed to say it – I am going to seek some professional assessment and assistance on answering that question over the next few weeks.”

Porter said that in the past few days, while he had remained silent during the legal process, he had been subject to “the most wild, intense and unrestrained series of accusations I can remember in modern Australian politics.”

He said he had never had the allegation put to him in any substantive form before last Friday’s publication. “No-one put anything in any detail to me seeking a response.” He had never seen the woman’s statement, although a statement from her was included with the letter sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week. The ABC published the allegation late Friday.

On the incident itself, Porter said when he was 17 and she was 16 they were both on the Australian schools debating team for a competition in Sydney. He remembered her as an “intelligent, bright, happy, person.”

He was noticeably reluctant to go into detail. Under questioning, he said he did not think he had ever been alone with her, but admitted “it’s not impossible,” while saying he was never in her room.

He recalled a memory, sparked by what he had read of the material – “I don’t think any of us had ever ironed a shirt before, and I recall, she showed us how to do that, I remember that.”

It was a team of four, including three boys and “we did what normal teenagers would do”.

“I remember two evenings that week. One was a night at one of the colleges with bowls of prawns, which sticks in my mind. I do remember a formal dinner and going out dancing sounds about right.”

He said he was not in contact with the woman – who took her own life last year – in subsequent decades.

Porter began his news conference by referring to the woman’s parents, saying he hoped they would understand that in denying the allegation “I do not mean to impose anything more upon your grief”.

He rejected the volley of calls into an independent inquiry into the allegation.

“What would that inquiry ask me to do? To disprove something that didn’t happen 33 years ago.”

“I honestly don’t know what I would say to that inquiry. Of course I can’t.”

Porter said he had spoken to Scott Morrison and had his full backing.

He said he was deeply sorry for the fallout the issue has had for his colleagues.

“My colleagues have become the target of allegations and speculation themselves. My colleagues are my friends. And I’m deeply sorry to each of them for that.”

The issue exploded last week when friends of the woman wrote to Morrison and several other parliamentarians demanding an inquiry into her allegation. The letter included a statement the woman had made, detailing her alleged experience.

The woman went to the police a year ago but had not made a formal complaint.

The allegation has derailed the government for a week, when it was already struggling to contain the fallout from former staffer Brittany Higgins’ allegation she was raped by a colleague in the office of the then Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds in 2019.

On Monday, Morrison said the woman’s allegation against Porter was a matter for the police. The federal police referred it to the NSW police. The NSW police said on Tuesday that, “based on information provided to NSW Police, there is insufficient admissible evidence to proceed.

“As such, NSW Police Force has determined the matter is now closed.”

Porter denied the allegation to Morrison on Wednesday of last week.

The ABC’s Four Corners was pursuing the woman’s story last year, but in the end was not in a position to include it in its November program “Inside the Canberra Bubble”. That program reported sexist comments made by Porter as a young man.

Porter entered federal parliament in 2013 after a high profile career in Western Australian politics, where he served as attorney-general and treasurer.

Federally, he was social services minister in 2015-2017, before becoming attorney-general. After the 2019 election, industrial relations was added to his responsibilities.

Australian of the Year Grace Tame, an advocate for victims of sexual abuse, answering questions at the National Press Club, criticised Morrison over invoking his wife Jenny’s counsel that he should think of the Higgins’ situation as a father. “It shouldn’t take having children to have a conscience,” Tame said.

Michaelia Cash will be acting attorney-general while Porter is on leave.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

View from The Hill: Despite his denial, Christian Porter will struggle with the ‘Caesar’s wife’ test


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Christian Porter’s denial of the historical rape allegation is unequivocal, but it won’t draw a line under the issue for him or for the Morrison government.

Porter declares he’s determined to stay in his job, saying to quit would mean anyone could lose their career “based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print”.

It’s true there is little natural justice in this situation. But in politics, there are often many competing factors.

Porter is right that it’s difficult to recall circumstances like this present crisis, with its passion and fevered coverage, and frenzied abuse via social media. And the worst of it is, there’s no way of definitively finding out what did or did not occur, and so where “justice” lies.

Christian Porter
Attorney-General vigorously denied the rape allegations in an emotional press conference.
Richard Wainwright/AAP

A woman who is now dead claimed she was raped by Porter when they were both teenagers. From what she told people and wrote, she had no doubt it happened. Porter says he has no doubt it did not happen.

The police can’t determine the truth, because the woman is deceased, and an independent inquiry wouldn’t be able to do so either.

The claim and counter claim will be fought out in the court of public opinion and it will be an ugly contest.

Porter is not just any minister: his role as attorney-general sets him apart. He is the country’s first law officer – which means he must be above any suspicion. It’s the old “Caesar’s wife” test and – properly – the bar is high.

However unfair it might be, Porter will now never be above suspicion, at least in the minds of many.

Before he was a politician, Porter was a crown prosecutor. He has been around court rooms, and so used to tense situations.

Of course his news conference was not a court room and things are different when you are defending yourself, but it was notable how rattled he was.




Read more:
Has Christian Porter been subjected to a ‘trial by media’? No, the media did its job of being a watchdog


He wanted to avoid the details of that January 1988 time when the four teenagers were in Sydney as part of a debating team (which raises the idle question, where are the other two team members now and what do they think?). When pushed by journalists, some of his answers were fumbling.

What state he will be in after a period of leave remains to be seen, because it is likely the pressure on him will increase rather than ease.

Then there’s the question of the impact on the whole government. It is extraordinary what a toll the Brittany Higgins’ affair and the allegation against Porter are taking. It amounts to an enormous distraction for Morrison.

Scott Morrison
The Morrison government is reeling after the Brittany Higgins’ affair and the allegation against Porter.
Mick Tsikas/AAP

All this at a time when the government is struggling with the early days of the vaccine rollout.

And of course, the positive news has been put in the shade – Wednesday’s economic growth of 3.1% for the December quarter, which is a seriously good performance by any international standards.

Morrison is loyal to his ministers – or at least he understands that to put political blood in the water by cutting a minister loose is never without consequences.

When it is the attorney-general, that would be a huge step.

But asked this week whether he believed Porter’s denial, Morrison would not commit himself. “That is a matter for the police,” he said.

Significantly, Morrison didn’t send the woman’s statement to Porter after he received it in the letter from her friends on Friday. Porter said he still hasn’t seen it.

Porter’s spokesman said on Wednesday night that to have received the statement or documents when he was the subject of them, and they were matters for law enforcement agencies, would have been “inappropriate”. This seems a stretch.

Porter says he has Morrison’s support. The question is whether he will retain it in the days to come.

There is this hiatus, while Porter is on stress leave, during which Morrison can assess the situation.

He must decide whether he will remain dug in behind his embattled minister or encourage him to conclude that, despite what he said in his statement, his position is untenable.




Read more:
Senator Hanson-Young’s defamation win reminds us how the law can silence sexual slurs and raise survivors’ voices



If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call the 1800 Respect national helpline on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Has Christian Porter been subjected to a ‘trial by media’? No, the media did its job of being a watchdog



AAP/Richard Wainwright

Denis Muller, The University of Melbourne

Aside from his strenuous denials of the rape allegation against him, the central point made by Attorney-General Christian Porter at his media conference was that he had been the victim of “trial by media”.

He warned if the media’s publication of allegations in these circumstances resulted in a public figure being forced from office, it would represent a new and unacceptable standard for public figures generally.

He also said no one in the media had confronted him with the allegation. And he said that when Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed the matter with him last week, the document containing the allegation had already been sent to the Australian Federal Police, so he had not seen it on that occasion either.

These are important questions deserving of scrutiny.

What constitutes a ‘trial by media’?

“Trial by media” is one of those phrases that trips off the tongue in cases where the media apply intense pressure on a person or organisation at the centre of an issue.

Trial by media occurs when either of two things happen. The first is where media coverage prejudices the outcome of legal processes, such as police investigations or trials in court. The second is when the media initiate an issue and then proceed to play prosecutor, judge and jury.

Neither applies in the Porter case.

As far as is known, there are no police investigations or legal proceedings on foot and there has been little prospect there would be, given the woman who made the allegations is now dead. The South Australian police are preparing a report for the coroner, an investigation that by definition is confined to the circumstances of the person’s death.




Read more:
Attorney-General Christian Porter declares alleged rape ‘did not happen’ – and he won’t stand down


The New South Wales police investigation was suspended after the woman took her life in June last year, and this week, Commissioner Mick Fuller said the case was closed.

The South Australian police commissioner discussed the matter with the NSW and AFP commissioners this week, as well, but has made no comment on whether his force would pursue an investigation. The AFP has no jurisdiction.

So much for the first test of trial by media.

The media also did not initiate the allegation. That was done in a 31-page letter sent anonymously to politicians on both sides of federal parliament, including Morrison and the Labor leader in the Senate, Penny Wong.

The ABC obtained a copy of this document and reported the allegation without naming Porter, saying only that it referred to a senior cabinet minister. The rest of the media then reported the story, also without naming Porter.

It would have been legally perilous and ethically unconscionable for the media to do so without putting the allegation to him.

How should the media have handled the allegation?

This raises the question: should the media have put it to Porter?

In principle, as a matter of fairness, yes. As a practical matter, however, it is a very difficult proposition.

No doubt the ABC and other media would have obtained pre-publication legal advice about this.

The first difficulty the media face in these circumstances is the accused person might not give an answer but make a threat to sue for defamation. Given the weakness of defences in defamation law in Australia, it would be a very risky business to publish in the face of such a threat.




Read more:
Media companies can now be held responsible for your dodgy comments on social media


Even publishing what is called a “denial story” is risky because of the damage to reputation inherent in the question. If the media publish a story saying Porter denied a rape allegation, this leaves open the question of whether he is to be believed.

A story based on a voluntary public statement of the kind he made this week, however, is an altogether different situation.

The second difficulty is there is always the chance the accused person will obtain an injunction restraining publication. In a case like this, there is a good chance the court would also issue a “super injunction” banning the reporting of the fact that an injunction had been granted.

This would have tied up the matter in the courts, probably for weeks.

A political matter, not one for the media

Clearly, the media decided to treat this as a political story and watch it play out in the political process.

Of course, the media are part of the political process. The part they play is that of watchdog and commentator, and in this case, virtually all of the scrutiny was on Morrison’s response.

He was already under pressure for the way he and his government handled the rape allegation made by former staffer Brittany Higgins. A new allegation against a member of his cabinet intensified that pressure enormously.

When did he know? What did he know? How did he know? What did he do? What does he intend to do?

These are all legitimate questions and have nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of the allegation itself. They have everything to do with how the prime minister handles another alleged incident of sexual misconduct involving someone in his government.

Porter’s outing himself took the political process a step further. As he himself said at his media conference, where it goes from here is for others to decide.

Should there be an inquiry like the one instigated by the High Court concerning the conduct of the former justice Dyson Heydon? Again, the media spotlight returns to the prime minister for answers.




Read more:
Social media and defamation law pose threats to free speech, and it’s time for reform



If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call the 1800 Respect national helpline on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.The Conversation

Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Advancing Journalism, The University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

I kept silent to protect my colleague and friend, Kylie Moore-Gilbert. But Australia’s quiet diplomatic approach is not working



Abedin Taherkenareh/AAP

Jessie Moritz, Australian National University

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a Middle East expert from the University of Melbourne, has now been held by the Iranian government for almost two years.

She was arrested in September 2018 and then convicted of spying and sentenced to ten years’ jail. She has denied all allegations against her, and the Australian government rejects the charges as baseless and politically motivated.

Until recently, Kylie has been in solitary confinement in Iran’s Evin prison, run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. But this week, she was transferred to Qarchak, which is notorious for its brutal treatment of prisoners.

Portrait of Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been detained in Iran for more than 680 days.
Department of Foreign Affairs

Kylie is a colleague and a friend. For the past two years, I have been keeping silent in the hopes a quiet diplomatic approach would secure her freedom.

But it is hard to overstate how horrific this week’s development is. Australia needs to do more.

‘Entirely alone’

I am a Middle East analyst, who specialises in the Persian Gulf. In fact, Kylie and I first met because we both work on state-society relations in Bahrain. I can see, examining the treatment of other foreign political prisoners in Iran, that Kylie has been treated exceptionally poorly.

In letters smuggled out of Evin prison last year, Kylie wrote how she felt “entirely alone”. She has also written how her “physical and mental health continues to deteriorate”.

Media reports indicate Kylie was able to speak to her family about a month ago and Australian diplomatic staff have also been in contact.

However the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s statement this week – that they are “urgently seeking further consular access to her at this new location” and “hold Iran responsible for Dr Moore-Gilbert’s safety and well-being” – suggests Australia was not consulted before her transfer to Qarchak.

On Wednesday, The Guardian reported a recording of Kylie out of Qarchak. Speaking Persian, she says:

I can’t eat anything. I feel so very hopeless […] I am so depressed.

Is this all two years of diplomacy has bought us?

Australia must do more

I am not speaking out now to challenge this quiet diplomatic approach regarding Iran. I am speaking because I believe more public pressure must be placed on the Australian government to ensure it is living up to its own rhetoric.

DFAT claims Kylie’s case is “one of the Australian government’s highest priorities, including for our Embassy officials in Tehran”.

But the amount of secrecy involved in the process means we cannot know if this is true.




Read more:
The Australian government needs to step up its fight to free Kylie Moore-Gilbert from prison in Iran


Even though the situation is sensitive, there are avenues Australia can pursue on behalf of Kylie.

Based on my analysis of publicly reported cases, around one in three foreign political prisoners in Iran over the past five years have been released via a prisoner swap. This reportedly includes Australian tourists Jolie King and Mark Firkin who were arrested in Iran last year.

Based on publicly available knowledge, Australia does not currently hold any Iranian prisoners. However our key ally, the United States, does.

The politics are not straightforward

It must be acknowledged that the politics around this case are very complicated. Relations between Iran and the US and far from friendly – especially after the assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.

There is another problem, too.

Despite Australia maintaining constructive relationships with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, they are not the key to securing Kylie’s freedom.




Read more:
As pressure on Iran mounts, there is little room for quiet diplomacy to free detained Australians


The Iranian political system is fragmented and parts of the army, judiciary and intelligence agencies report to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Rouhani and Khamenei’s relationship is also poor and Khamenei’s influence has grown since Kylie was first incarcerated. Iran will hold presidential elections in 2021 and as Khamenei seeks to secure Iran’s future, he may attempt to empower a more hardline president.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani walking in front of a portrait of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Relations between Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are poor.
Iran President handout

This means Australia must think outside the box to secure Kylie’s release. The solution to this crisis is undoubtedly a diplomatic one – and we clearly need to spend more diplomatic capital than we’re already using to fix it.

But it will become more difficult if we do not put sufficient resources into her release before the next presidential election.

This case is relevant for all of us

COVID-19 also makes Kylie’s situation more urgent. My assessment is the Australian government must urgently push for Kylie’s immediate transfer out of Qarchak prison, to a safe location where her consular access and health can be protected.

There is precedent for foreign detainees to be transferred to house arrest in embassies while cases are resolved.

Beyond the harrowing personal situation, Kylie’s case is also relevant to all of us. It fits a wider pattern, where the space for academic research is being narrowed in authoritarian states. This is occurring not just in Iran but in countries such as China, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

If this research cannot be conducted, or if the Australian government fails to protect its researchers who need to do fieldwork in these countries, this allows authoritarian states to silence criticism.

And then set the narrative about their internal politics as they see fit.




Read more:
Scholars’ growing insecurity puts academic freedom at risk


The Conversation


Jessie Moritz, Lecturer in Middle East studies, Australian National University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Regulator failing to resolve complaints on alleged human rights abuses by Australian companies


Shelley Marshall, RMIT University

The Australian National Contact Point (ANCP) was set up as part of Australia’s membership of the OECD to hear complaints on the way Australian corporations operate overseas, but research shows it’s poorly resourced and rejects most claims at the initial assessment stage, raising concerns about its effectiveness.

There are National Contact Points already operating in OECD countries, that are achieving more with their mandate to promote Australian businesses respecting human rights while operating or based in other countries.

Australia does not have a legal framework that specifically regulates the human rights obligations of Australian corporations overseas. The Australian government is missing a vital opportunity to promote sound and ethical business practice and mediate disputes before they blow up, by inadequately resourcing this important human rights body.

Why is the ANCP needed?

Australian companies now operate all around the world in mining, manufacturing, finance and other industries. Sometimes this is through wholly owned subsidiaries, sometimes they invest in joint ventures or part shares, and at other times Australian businesses procure parts through supply chains.

When their activities negatively impact communities overseas, those affected should be able to go to the ANCP to hear their complaints. Though, in principle, communities can take their claims to local police and courts, in many countries corruption, bias and long waits often make remedy through legal avenues impossible.

Company structures also sometimes render it difficult to hold the parent company or a lead company in a supply chain responsible, even though that business may be calling the shots.

As the Australian government adheres to the OECD’s guidelines for multinational enterprises, it’s required to have a National Contact Point to assist corporations in observing these guidelines. Part of this includes providing a platform for mediation and conciliation.

Though its findings may not be legally enforceable, the ANCP is particularly important because it’s the only avenue for redress for many communities and individuals affected by Australian business, outside our national borders.

Properly resourcing the National Contact Point would allow the government to better fulfil its obligations under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

Findings by other National Contact Points, when it comes to breaches of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, have been highly influential in other countries. For example, the UK NCP determined that mining company Vedanta Resources had breached human rights guidelines regarding its planned mine in India.

It found the mine would displace thousands of tribal people. This finding resulted in high profile divestments from the company by a number of shareholders and the adoption of a new corporate social responsibility approach by the company. Interviews with shareholders that divested revealed that although the determination was not legal in nature, it was seen to have heightened authority because it came from the UK government.

How the ANCP is failing

The research on Australia’s NCP is part of a larger project that conducted 587 interviews with 1,100 individuals mainly in Australia, the UK, India and Indonesia. It assessed the performance of the ANCP based on an analysis of every claim that has been lodged with the body.

It found that the ANCP has all but abdicated its workload; it rejected or transferred (to another NCP) two thirds of all complaints made. With only one exception, the remainder of accepted complaints were closed without resolution, as the ANCP was unable to bring the parties to mediation and unwilling to issue a determination against the company the subject of complaint.

In the more than ten years since its establishment, the ANCP is yet to make a single determination against a company the subject of complaint.

In my meetings with Treasury, the department confirmed that until recently, one public servant was tasked with running the ANCP, who already had a full-time load of other work. Treasury also disclosed this single staff member, with no expertise in the area, was expected to deal with complex human rights complaints involving some of Australia’s biggest companies, around their primary role, with no dedicated budget.

To provide a point of comparison, the Dutch NCPhas two full-time staff, as well as other staff who have responsibilities to the NCP as part of their other duties, and receives an additional €900,000 over three years to promote corporate ethics. It is advised by four independent members and four advisory members from the government departments most relevant to business and human rights. Australia’s NCP receives no such independent advice.

The cases brought to the ANCP include a complaint regarding ANZ’s alleged financing of logging in Papua New Guinea and alleged forced evictions at a coal mine in Colombia jointly owned by BHP Billiton.

What needs to change

There are several ways the ANCP can improve its functioning and provide access to remedy. Top amongst these are: improving the independence of the ANCP and properly resourcing it, improving the process for handling complaints and increasing transparency.

If there was ever a time that the much neglected ANCP has a chance of being reformed, it is now. Australia is making a bid for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council this year.

The ConversationModern slavery – especially the extent to which it taints the supply chains of Australian businesses and businesses operating in Australia – is the subject of a parliamentary inquiry and national attention. Hopefully this important human rights mechanism gets the attention it deserves.

Shelley Marshall, Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow, expert in corporate accountability, RMIT University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Australian Politics: 14 July 2013


With the return of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister in Australia, things have been moving along fairly quickly in Australian politics. Time of course is running out as an election looms, so time is necessarily of the essence. One of the areas that the ALP has moved to address is the carbon tax, with Kevin Rudd’s government moving toward an emissions trading scheme. This has brought the typical and expected responses from the opposition, as well as charges of hypocrisy from the Greens. For more visit the following links:

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/kevin-rudd-confirms-government-to-scrap-fixed-carbon-price-20130714-2pxqi.html

The link below is to an article that pretty much sums up the situation currently in Australian politics I think – well worth a read.

For more visit:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/12/tony-abbott-fall-stunt-men

Also causing continuing angst in Australia is the issue of asylum seekers and boat people. There has been even more terrible news from the seas surrounding Christmas Island, with yet another asylum seeker tragedy involving a boat from Indonesia.

Around the edges of the mainstream parties are those of Bob Katter and Clive Palmer. There are stories of an alleged financial offer from Clive Palmer’s ‘Palmer United Party’ to join with ‘Katter’s Australian Party’ for $20 million dollars and form the combined ‘Katter United Australian Party.’ For more visit the links below:

http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/palmer-denies-deal-with-katters-party/story-e6frfku9-1226679175607
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-14/katter2c-palmer-at-odds-over-claims-mining-magnate-offered-fin/4819098

And finally, for just a bit of a chuckle – not much of one – just a small chuckle, have a read of the following article linked to at:

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/turnbull-still-not-laughing-at-tonys-internet-humour/story-fnii5s3z-1226679169349

Brazil: Benny Hinn’s Son Involved in Beating a Man at Crusade


The link below is to an article that reports on an alleged beating of a man at a crusade event in Brazil by three men, including the son of Benny Hinn – Joshua Hinn.

For more visit:
http://global.christianpost.com/news/pastor-benny-hinns-son-detained-for-allegedly-beating-man-at-brazilian-crusade-90252/

C. J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries Facing Lawsuit


The link below is to an article reporting on a lawsuit being brought against C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries over alleged covering up of child sex abuse.

For more visit:
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2012/10/cj-mahaney-sovereign-grace-ministries-sued-for-concealing-child-sex-abuse.html