Media companies on notice over traumatised journalists after landmark Age court decision

Source: Pacific Media Centre

Analysis published with permission of PMC

A landmark ruling by an Australian court is expected to have international consequences for newsrooms, with media companies on notice they face large compensation claims if they fail to take care of journalists who regularly cover traumatic events.

The Victorian County Court accepted the potential for psychological damage on those whose work requires them to report on traumatic events, including violent crimes.

The court ruled on February 22 that an Age journalist be awarded A$180,000 for psychological injury suffered during the decade she worked at the Melbourne-based newspaper, from 2003 to 2013.

READ MORE: New research reveals how Australian journalists are faring four years after redundancy

The journalist, known in court as “YZ” to protect her identity, reported on 32 murders and many more cases as a court reporter. She covered Melbourne’s “gangland wars”, was threatened by one of its notorious figures, and found it increasingly difficult to report on events involving the death of children, such as the case of four-year-old Darcey Freeman who was thrown by her father from West Gate Bridge in 2009.

After complaining that she was “done” with “death and destruction”, the journalist was transferred to the sports desk. But a senior editor later persuaded her, against her wishes, to cover the Supreme Court where she was exposed to detailed, graphic accounts of horrific crimes, including the trials of Donna Fitchett, Robert Farquharson and Darcey Freeman’s father.

The repeated exposure to traumatic events had a serious impact on her mental health. YZ took a voluntary redundancy from the newspaper in 2013.

In her court challenge, the journalist alleged The Age:

  • had no system in place to enable her to deal with the trauma of her work
  • failed to provide support and training in covering traumatic events, including from qualified peers
  • did not intervene when she and others complained
  • transferred her to court reporting after she had complained of being unable to cope with trauma experienced from previous crime reporting.

The Age contested whether the journalist was actually suffering from post-traumatic stress. It argued that even if a peer-support programme had been in place it would not have made a material difference to the journalist’s experience.

Further, The Age denied it knew or should have known there was a foreseeable risk of psychological injury to its journalists and simultaneously argued that the plaintiff knew “by reason of her work she was at high risk of foreseeable injury”.

Judge Chris O’Neill found the journalist’s evidence more compelling than the media company’s, even though the psychological injury she had suffered put her at a disadvantage when being cross-examined in court.

Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma in the United States, says:

This is a historic judgment – the first time in the world, to my knowledge, that a news organisation has been found liable for a reporter’s occupational PTSD.

Media companies need to take PTSD seriously
This is not the first time a journalist has sued over occupational PTSD, as Shapiro calls it, but it is the first time one has succeeded. In 2012, another Australian journalist unsuccessfully sued the same newspaper.

In that earlier case, discussed by a co-author of this article (Ricketson) in Australian Journalism Review, the judge was reluctant to accept either the psychological impact on journalists covering traumatic events or The Age’s tardiness in implementing a trauma-aware newsroom. In stark contrast, the judge in the YZ case readily accepted both these key concepts.

Historically, the idea of journalists suing their employers for occupational PTSD was unheard of. Newsroom culture dictated that journalists did whatever was asked of them, including intrusions on grieving relatives, or “death knocks” as they are known. Doing these was intrinsic to the so-called “school of hard knocks”. Cadet journalists were blooded in the newsroom by their ability to do these tasks.

The academic literature shows that newsroom culture has been a key contributor to the problem of journalists feeling unable to express concerns about covering traumatic events for fear of appearing weak and unsuited to the job.

What is alarming from the evidence provided to Judge O’Neill is the extent to which these attitudes still hold sway in contemporary newsrooms. YZ said that as a crime reporter she worked in a “blokey environment” where the implicit message was “toughen up, princess”.

Duty of care
The YZ case shows The Age had learnt little about its duty of care to journalists from the earlier case it defended. One of its own witnesses, the editorial training manager, gave evidence of his frustration at being unable to persuade management to implement a suitable training and support programme. Judge O’Neill found him a compelling witness.

The Dart Center has a range of tip sheets on its website for self-care and peer support. What is clear from this case is that it’s not just about individual journalists and what they do, but about editors and media executive taking action.

One media organisation that is leading the way is the ABC. The national broadcaster has had a peer-support programme in place for a decade.

Such programmes are vital, not just for individual journalists, but for democracy and civil society. This is because whatever changes have been sweeping through the news media, there is no change in the incidence of disasters, crimes and traumatic events that need to be covered.

News workers need help. And they are beginning to demand it.

Dr Matthew Ricketson is professor of communication at Deakin University . He is also chair of the board of directors of the Dart Centre Asia-Pacific, which is affiliated with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma based in the United States. It is a voluntary position. During part of the period covered by the YZ court case he worked as a journalist at The Age.

Dr Alexandra Wake is journalism programme manager at RMIT University. She is also on the Dart Centre Asia Pacific board, and in 2011 was named a Dart Academic Fellow. As part of that process, Alex traveled to Columbia University in New York for training, at Dart’s expense. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence.

MIL OSI

MIL OSI

Grattan on Friday: Liberals stir the culture war pot but who’s listening?

Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

As a new round of the culture wars bubbles, West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith has urged that we should legislate to “protect” the January 26 date of Australia Day.

Smith came to national prominence as one of the small coterie of Liberals who forced the Turnbull government to act on same-sex marriage. He advances his causes with moderation and respect, and always warrants a hearing. But in this instance he lacks a compelling case.

Australia Day’s date – which marks the First Fleet’s landing – has become increasingly contentious in recent years, opposed by Indigenous and other critics on the grounds that it is really “invasion day”.

If we were starting again, I think it would be better to have Australia Day on January 1, to celebrate the birth of the Commonwealth.

But given the present date has strong community support, there is not a compelling case for change. Equally, there isn’t a case to bake in the current date either. (This date, incidentally, only appears in legislation as a public holiday)

In an opinion piece in Thursday’s Australian Smith writes that “Australia Day remains unprotected and could easily fall victim to the whims of a political party or special interest lobby group interested in political point-scoring rather than celebrating the virtues of a contemporary and forward-looking Australia.”

He proposes legislation to “guarantee that January 26 ceases to be Australia Day only after the Australian people have been consulted directly, and that to change the date of Australia Day an alternative date must be submitted to every Australian elector.”

In reality, the January 26 date won’t “fall victim” to “whims”. No government would change it lightly.

An alteration would only happen if there was evidence of a big shift in community sentiment. Maybe that will come in future years – if it does, so be it.

It is not on the cards any time soon. Bill Shorten remains committed to January 26.

The Coalition has been using the (annual) debate about Australia Day as political ammunition.

This became a little messy, however, because Warren Mundine, Scott Morrison’s star candidate for the marginal NSW seat of Gilmore, has been a forthright advocate of moving Australia Day to January 1.


Read more: View from The Hill: Morrison’s Gilmore candidate is the man who’s been everywhere


Mundine wrote on January 24, 2017: “The 26th of January is the wrong day to celebrate Australia Day.

“Firstly, Australia wasn’t founded on January 26, 1788. It was founded on January 1, 1901 …

“Secondly, the tension between commemorating British conquest on the one hand and celebrating Australian identity and independence on the other isn’t going away. This isn’t a recent tension drummed up by Lefties. It’s always been there, even before anyone cared about what indigenous people think.”

Despite his new status Mundine is sticking to his view – he’s just saying now that this is not a priority issue for him. “I’ve got 100 different things in front of that, before I even get to that stage,” he told a news conference as he stood beside his leader on Wednesday.

He declines to be drawn on his position if he were elected and faced a Smith private member’s bill. He told The Conversation, “I’ll jump that hurdle when I get there. At the moment I’m fighting a tough battle to win the seat”.

As this Australia Day approached Morrison ramped up the nationalistic and culture war rhetoric in general, and accompanied it with some controversial actions.

The Liberal party tweeted, “The Government is taking action to protect Australia Day from activists.”

The government proposes to force local councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, after the refusal of some to do so. Councils defying the edict would not be allowed to conduct them at all.

This has come with a recommended dress code for these occasions – no thongs or board shorts. “I’m a prime minister for standards,” declared Morrison, to something of a national horse laugh.

Councils have been given to the end of next month to provide feedback.

Morrison has struggled to differentiate himself from Shorten over Australia Day, since they are at one about the date.

“It’s not good enough to say that you just won’t change it. You’ve got to stand up for it and I’m standing up for it, ” he declared. “Bill Shorten will let it fade away”. It’s true the level of rhetoric around Australia Day has varied over the years but the notion of it just “fading away” is ridiculous.

This week the debate moved on to Captain Cook, with Morrison’s announcement of $6.7 million for the Endeavour replica to circumnavigate Australia to mark next year’s 250th anniversary of Cook’s arrival and take the story of Cook to 39 communities across the country. (The money is from $48.7 million set aside earlier to mark the anniversary.)

Morrison – who was visiting Cooktown in North Queensland – was described by Shorten as having a “bizarre Captain Cook fetish”. (Liberal MP Warren Entsch recalls Morrison’s special interest in Cook from his days in tourism. In parliament Morrison happens to represent the seat of Cook.)

Morrison – who argues that the narrative of Cook can be used as one pillar for Indigenous reconciliation – hit back by accusing Shorten of “sneering at Australia’s history”, declaring “you can’t trust this guy on this stuff.”

He added that “political correctness … is raising kids in our country today to despise our history”, and alleged that Shorten wanted to “feed into that”.

For some in the right of the Liberal party, the culture and history wars are a continuing preoccupation.

But these issues hover on the fringe of politics in this election year, even if they do resonate in Hansonland and similar territory.

It mightn’t have been front and centre, but the battle that’s been going on this week between treasurer Josh Frydenberg and his shadow Chris Bowen about the economy, tax policy and the like is a lot more relevant to most voters than the culture wars and political correctness.

ref. Grattan on Friday: Liberals stir the culture war pot but who’s listening? – http://theconversation.com/grattan-on-friday-liberals-stir-the-culture-war-pot-but-whos-listening-110445

MIL Analysis+Reportage – EveningReport.NZ

Hidden women of history: Mary Jane Cain, land rights activist, matriarch and community builder

Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Heidi Norman, Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney

For the communities of Coonabarabran in New South Wales and her grasslands Gomeroi people, Mary Jane Cain is a revered figure. Cain lived from 1844 to 1929. In the late 1880s, she successfully advocated for Aboriginal land security – a rare coup for an Aboriginal woman at the time. In 1920, she penned a 23-page manuscript detailing her life, her observations of new land owners and their workers, and a list of Gomeroi words.

She was born when frontier violence was at its zenith. Decades long guerrilla warfare had raged as the Gomeroi people resisted pastoral invasion and violent recriminations. Some estimate as few as 10% of the Aboriginal populations survived these killing times.

Mary Jane Cain’s mother, Jinnie Griffin, a “full blood” whose life likely spanned pre and post-contact, had married an Irishman, Eugene Griffin. They moved between Mudgee and Coonabarabran where they operated, for a time, as travelling sales people. After being held up by bushrangers, they spent decades working on pastoral runs – Jinnie as a shepherd and Eugene as a dairyman. At the time of Mary Jane’s birth, they’d been working on Toorawindi property for some years.

The advent of gold mining in 1852 marked a significant shift on the pastoral frontier. As Cain wrote in her 1920 manuscript, all the white people working on one station “left to go mining”. Renewed interest in Aboriginal people as shepherds and stock workers contributed to an easing in frontier violence on Gomeroi lands. This created opportunities for Aboriginal families to get back to their country, but in very different circumstances – as workers, generally without pay.

A page of Mary Jane Cain’s hand written manuscript. State Library of NSW.

By the 1880s Cain had begun agitating for Aboriginal land rights. The 1890s depression caused a further wave of displacement of Aboriginal workers. In this context, the Aboriginal Protection Board emerged, partly in response to rising numbers of Aboriginal people now relegated to the fringes of towns. The board introduced ways to control Aboriginal populations including containment on reserves.

Mary Jane had married Aboriginal stockman Joe Cain in 1865 at Weetalabah station, where they were both living and working, in the home’s “best parlour”. By the 1880s she was living closer to town and shepherded her goats to the mountains and back each day. Her husband Joe became unwell and as she wrote to the Crown, she needed to secure land to support him and her nine children. She petitioned for land at Forky Mountain, about six miles from Coonabarabran, where she could run her goats.


Read more: Hidden women of history: Ruby Lindsay, one of Australia’s first female graphic designers


The politics of land

In February 1892, Cain secured 400 acres. Further land grants in 1902, 1906 and 1911 saw her recover 600 acres that became home to displaced Aboriginal families up until the late 1950s. These families made homes from kerosene tins lined with glued sheets of newspaper, grew vegies, milked their cows, hosted pantomimes and lived lives recalled with enormous fondness. Over this site, Mary Jane Cain was Queen.

Cain’s grandchildren all recalled “multiple letters” from Cain addressed “to the Queen” (Victoria) requesting the land at Forky Mountain and her trips to Sydney to meet with government officials to petition for her land. Her descendants emphasised that Queen Victoria granted Cain land to manage as a place “for the dark people to live on”.

Mary Jane Cain, right, and grandsons George and James. The sun dancin’ : people and place in Coonabarabran (Aboriginal Studies Press, 1994).

While Aboriginal reserves and missions are often viewed as sites of segregation and genocidal violence, Mary Jane Cain’s story highlights the economic, social and political context that saw reserves, at least initially, self-selected and defended by Aboriginal families; where Aboriginal worlds survived and where political organisation occurred.

In NSW, of the 85 Aboriginal reserves created in the period 1885 to 1895 more than half (47) were initiated by Aboriginal families. The new interest in taking up reserves coincided with a downturn in the two dominant economies – pastoralism and gold mining. Land likely represented an option for Aboriginal security in the wake of decades of colonial violence and disease that caused loss of land, people and livelihood.


Read more: Hidden women of history: Elsie Masson, photographer, writer, intrepid traveller


‘Queen Mary Jane’

Cain’s grandchildren, Julia and Violet Robinson, Ethel Sutherland, Joe Cain and Emily Chatfield share generous and proud stories of “Queen” Mary Jane: she was a great cook, hand stitched marvellous outfits from hessian and old sugar bags and ran a large, immaculately scrubbed, loving home.

They loved her dearly and worked hard to fetch her goats from the mountains; they say she dressed beautifully and descriptions of her “sharp features” suggest they thought her beautiful. She was generous and kind, loaned money to those in need, and welcomed all to Burra Bee Dee (as the Aboriginal reserve was known from 1912). She was Queen of the reserve and Queen in the eyes of her family.

“Queen” was clearly a title Mary Jane was comfortable with: her 1920 manuscript is annotated at page 23 “by M.J. Cain, Queen 1920”. Available studio photos show a regal figure and flanked by her grandsons in military uniform, her own clothing and stature match this formal authority.

Visiting missionaries to Burra Bee Dee in 1909 were also reminded and duly acknowledged her Queen status. They fondly reported on the performances, poetry recital, dancing and the singing, at the end of a long evening, of God Save the King. Mary Jane Cain implored a further and final recital in her honour: God Save the Queen. They obliged.

She also held a powerful place in white society. After her death in 1929, the Coonabarabran Times described Mary Jane as being,

known and loved by all from a very great distance round this district and outside it … and a word against her, … would have evoked the undying hostility from the oldest and most respected families of the North Western slopes and Central West.


Read more: Hidden women of history: Hop Lin Jong, a Chinese immigrant in the early days of White Australia


Cain’s keen sense of justice is evident in one entry in her 1920 manuscript where she refers to organising a petition in 1864 “which everyone signed” in defence of two brothers and “a young [‘half caste’] man … whom they hired” who had been wrongly arrested and charged for cattle stealing.

She writes that: “I presented the petition to Thomas Gordon Danger who was at that time member of Parliament”, which had the effect of reducing their sentence and “them liberated at five years”.

Mary Jane Cain Bridge over the Castlereagh River in NSW. Wikimedia Commons

Aboriginal people negotiated the rapid change to their worlds as the grasslands country came to be intensively farmed. At Burra Bee Dee and through the oral history of Mary Jane Cain’s descendants we hear the stories of matriarchs who acquired the skills of the new world – literacy, shepherding and stock work, knowledge of political systems and how to effect change – and who built ways to sustain Aboriginal worlds in dramatically altered circumstances.

Today, after several years of careful community work, the history of Burra Bee Dee is beautifully documented with signage and photos detailing where families lived. The adjacent cemetery is a site of return for many generations to come. The bridge over the Castlereagh river bears Mary Jane’s name, the local rotary club has installed a plaque in her honour and her life has inspired an art exhibition. Still, the story of this matriarch and queen to her people deserves to be more widely told.

Professor Heidi Norman is a descendant of the Gomeroi people. Her Nan’s uncle (Charles Ruttley) married Mary Jane’s daughter (Eliza Josephine).

ref. Hidden women of history: Mary Jane Cain, land rights activist, matriarch and community builder – http://theconversation.com/hidden-women-of-history-mary-jane-cain-land-rights-activist-matriarch-and-community-builder-110186

MIL Analysis+Reportage – EveningReport.NZ

Throw a sea cucumber on the barbie: Australia’s trade history really is something to celebrate

Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Tim Harcourt, J.W. Nevile Fellow in Economics, UNSW

The sea cucumber is a marine animal that has a leathery skin but soft body. Its shape and size resembles a cucumber. In Australia we commonly call it trepang, adopted from a Malayan word. It was Australia’s first export to Asia, where it is regarded as delicacy, particularly in Chinese cuisine.

There is evidence fishermen from Makassar, on what is now the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, were visiting the coast of what is now Arnhem Land to collect sea cucumbers as early as the mid-1600s to sell to Chinese merchants. The fishermen camped on the beach to boil and dry their caught trepang, and exchanged goods with the local Indigenous tribes.


Read more: Long before Europeans, traders came here from the north and art tells the story


Through the lens of trade, therefore, the story of modern Australia, a nation interacting with the global economy, begins long before January 26, 1788.

There are many debates that surround Australia Day. But we can all celebrate our history of trade. Like any history, there are episodes of engagement we can’t admire or be proud of. But on the whole, what began with seafood trade on the coast of Arnhem Land has proven a remarkable success.

Arrivals, departures, department stores

Two of Hong Kong’s most iconic department stores provide another example of historic interaction with Asia.

Throughout the 19th century large numbers of Chinese, particularly Cantonese, migrated to Australia’s goldfields. As in any gold rush, it was those who ended up selling supplies that usually prospered more than the prospectors (the 19th century equivalents of Atlassian). In Victoria, Chinese merchants became prominent in the development of retail sectors in Ballarat and Bendigo.

Some Chinese migrants who opened stores in Australia eventually returned to China, and took what they had learned with them.

A Sincere store in Mongkok, Hong Kong. Wikimedia, CC BY-NC-SA

One of those was Ma Ying Piu, who in 1990 does he mean 1890? opened Hong Kong’s first Chinese-owned department store, called Sincere. The store is said to have been inspired by David Jones in Sydney.

Hong Kong’s second Chinese-owned department store, Wing On, was started by brothers Kwok Lok and Kwok Chuen, who returned to China from Australia in 1907. Both businesses opened branches in Shanghai and became two of the “four great department stores of China”.

Such entrepreneurial spirit from around the world enabled the separate Australian colonies to boom for much of the 19th century. Admittedly some paid a heavy price (convicts and Indigenous people treated like slaves, for example). But great economic growth was achieved, as economic historian Ian McLean points out in Why Australia Prospered, without a national government or “many of the institutions and sources of advice now regarded as essential for macroeconomic management”, such as trained economists.

The long march to the Asian century

Colonial governments ran trade missions to China, South East Asia and Japan in the 19th century. After federation in 1901, the Commonwealth government set up trade offices in Shanghai, Tokyo and Batavia (Jakarta) before the interruption of World War II. In the post-war era there have been “four waves” of Asian engagement.

The first three were: the Japan-Australia Commerce agreement in 1957; Gough Whitlam’s recognition of China in 1971; and the Hawke-Keating economic reforms between 1983 and 1996.

The fourth wave is the Asian Century. It began after Australia survived the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-99 and realised its future did lie in Asia.

To get to that point was a long process. Paul Keating might have been the prime minister who most enthusiastically spruiked engagement with Asia, but he was certainly not the first to advocate closer ties.

That was then, and this is now

So that’s some of our history. What about now?

There are many contemporary things we can be cheerful (and proud about) in 2019 that echo our history.

We can be very pleased about successful Indigenous exporters and entrepreneurs – the successors of our first traders from Arnhem Land.

Think of Ros and John Moriarty of Balarinji, the design agency that has developed all of the motifs used by Qantas in its Flying Art series.

Balarinji oversaw translating Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s 1991 painting ‘Yam Dreaming’ for application on a Qantas jet. Qantas

Or Peter Cooley, who founded Blak Markets to provide economic development opportunities to Indigenous people. (He also hosts his own business show.)

Or David Williams and the members of the Bangarra dance company.

At my business school at the University of NSW a new generation of Indigenous business students have just completed summer school. I am hopeful many will become our business stars of tomorrow.

Along with homegrown talent, Australia has been blessed by waves of immigrants rich in the same entrepreneurial spirit that enabled Chinese merchants to prosper despite the racism of the 19th century.

From the first fleet, we’ve had English, Scots and Irish seeking freedom from poverty and persecution. We’ve had East European Jews, Vietnamese Buddhists, Lebanese Christians and Afghan Muslims fleeing persecution and war.

About one in four Australians were born overseas, but they represent one in every two exporters, and two out of every three entrepreneurs. Immigration has been a good story for Australia in terms of trade and entrepreneurial talent.


Read more: How Australian cities are adapting to the Asian Century


The books Why Nations Fail and Why Australia Prospered show Australia has developed much more successful economic institutions (such as property rights) and political institutions (such as democratic rights) than other nations with similar natural resources, agricultural endowments and increases in human capital through immigration.

This is partially due to our successful record as a trading nation.

No nation is perfect. They all have their failures and aspects of their history not to be proud of. But the things we have gotten right are worth remembering.

So even if you throw a shrimp on the barbie, at least remember the sea cucumber.

ref. Throw a sea cucumber on the barbie: Australia’s trade history really is something to celebrate – http://theconversation.com/throw-a-sea-cucumber-on-the-barbie-australias-trade-history-really-is-something-to-celebrate-110266

MIL Analysis+Reportage – EveningReport.NZ

The stubborn high-pressure system behind Australia’s record heatwaves

Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Steve Turton, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Geography, CQUniversity Australia

If you think the weather this month has been like Groundhog Day (albeit much hotter), you’d probably be right! Much like a stuck record, weather systems seem to have stalled over most of the country.

Brisbane residents are questioning the lack of rain, storms and heat. Darwin has just endured its second-latest monsoon onset on record after weeks of heat and humidity. Interior towns and cities have experienced significantly hot weather with a number of new maximum and minimum temperature records broken, along with records for consecutive days over 35℃.


Read more: Coastal seas around New Zealand are heading into a marine heatwave, again


Perth has largely escaped the heat so far this summer, while Sydney and Hobart have had a mixed bag. Coastal sea breezes have tempered conditions in the south and southeast of the continent. However, heatwaves are forecast for Melbourne and much of the southeast, with the arrival of strong, hot northerly winds. This will also bring extreme or severe fire weather conditions in many areas, including Tasmania. Adelaide, meanwhile, has sweltered through the hottest day on record for any Australian capital.

Bureau of Meteorology

These weather patterns across the country are largely due to a stubborn blocking high-pressure system that has remained over the Tasman Sea since early January, affecting weather on both sides of the ditch. This type of strong high-pressure system typically forms further south than usual, and remains almost stationary for an extended period, thus blocking the west-to-east progression of weather systems across southern Australia.


Read more: Australia’s ‘deadliest natural hazard’: what’s your heatwave plan?


Sometimes, these blocking highs position themselves over the Great Australian Bight. They can occur at any time of year, and can stay in the Australian region from several days to several weeks.

This schematic shows a ‘blocking high’ preventing weather systems moving across Australia. Understanding Climate Change in Australia report

Winds rotate anticlockwise around high-pressure systems in the Southern Hemisphere. On the northern flank of the blocking high, southeast trade winds have been affecting northern New South Wales and eastern Queensland due to a persistent ridge of high pressure. These winds have been largely cool and dry, with only the far north of Queensland experiencing significant showers. The ridge has kept the inland trough further west over inland NSW and Queensland, preventing normal afternoon thunderstorm activity in the inland, and adding to the woes of the extended drought.

Cool, moist weather from the Southern Ocean is being displaced southeast by the blocking high, resulting in prolonged continental heatwaves and lack of rain. On the western flank of the blocking high, hot dry northerly winds from the arid centre are pushing through South Australia and Victoria, generating heatwave conditions.


Read more: Why we’re hardwired to ignore safety advice during a heatwave


Across the ditch, cooler and drier southerly winds are affecting much of New Zealand. Only the southwest of the South Island is getting any significant rain due to persistent moist westerlies on the southern flank of the blocking high.

An unusually strong ridge of high pressure across Queensland, extending up to Cape York, has kept the monsoon trough north of the continent. This pattern is forecast to change as a deep tropical depression forms in the Gulf of Carpentaria over the coming days and moves south into northern Queensland. Unfortunately, the stubborn ridge of high pressure over central Queensland is likely to block the rain-bearing low from moving much further south over drought-stricken parts of inland Queensland and NSW.


Read more: Coping with heat waves: 5 essential reads


While parts of the country have sweltered, the far southwest of Australia has experienced cooler and wetter than average conditions this month. Cape Leeuwin, Australia’s most southwesterly point, set a 123-year daily rainfall record for January, recording a massive 57mm of rainfall.

Bureau of Meteorology

In the short term, there is no indication that the blocking high will break down or move eastward. Forecasters on both sides of the Tasman expect the pattern to continue until February at least.


Read more: Are heatwaves ‘worsening’ and have ‘hot days’ doubled in Australia in the last 50 years?


ref. The stubborn high-pressure system behind Australia’s record heatwaves – http://theconversation.com/the-stubborn-high-pressure-system-behind-australias-record-heatwaves-110442

MIL Analysis+Reportage – EveningReport.NZ

Why people born between 1966 and 1994 are at greater risk of measles – and what to do about it

Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Kristine Macartney, Professor, Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Sydney

Australia was declared free of measles in 2014. Yet this summer we’ve seen nine cases of measles in New South Wales, and others in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.

High vaccination rates in Australia means the measles virus doesn’t continuously spread, but we still have “wildfire” outbreaks when travellers bring measles into the country, often unknowingly.

If you haven’t received two doses of measles vaccine, you are at risk of contracting measles.


Read more: What’s behind the sudden rise in measles deaths in Europe?


How can you catch it?

Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads by touching or breathing in the same air as an infected person. The virus stays alive in the air or on infected surfaces for up to two hours.

An infected person is contagious from the first day of symptoms (fever, cough and runny nose). These general symptoms start about four days before the rash develops, meaning contagious people can spread the virus even before they realise they have measles.

If you’re not immune to the virus, through vaccination or past infection, the chance of becoming ill after being near someone with measles is 90%. Being in the same café, waiting in line at the checkout or flying on the same aeroplane as an infected person could be enough to pick up the disease.

Why is it so dangerous?

Measles causes a fever, cough, and a rash that starts around the hairline and then spreads to the whole body.

The red rash starts around the hairline, then spreads. Phichet Chaiyabin/Shutterstock

It can also cause middle ear infections (otitis media), chest infections (pneumonia), and diarrhoea.

Swelling and inflammation to the brain (encephalitis) occurs in 1 in every 1,000 cases and can lead to permanent brain damage or death. In 2017, 110,000 people died from measles worldwide.

Even after surviving the initial illness, measles can cause a devastating and fatal complication known as subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (inflammation of the brain) many years later.

Why are people in their 20s to 50s more at risk?

To protect yourself against measles, you need two doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Children in Australia routinely get this vaccine at 12 and 18 months of age. The second dose is given in combination with the chickenpox vaccine.


Read more: Vaccine program changes protect kids, but with fewer ouches


It’s important to have two doses of MMR vaccine, especially if you haven’t reached your mid-50s. Most people older than this would have been infected with measles before vaccination was routine.

People aged in their 20s to early 50s (those born from 1966 and 1994) are most likely to have only had one dose of MMR vaccine.

While we’ve had the measles vaccine in Australia since 1968, a two-dose program was only introduced in 1992. A brief school-based catch-up program from 1993 to 1994 offered school children a second dose. For those missed out on the school program, catch-up vaccinations were given on an ad-hoc basis via GP clinics.

So not everyone in this age group would have received two doses of the measles vaccine.

If you are this age, you may not be not fully protected against measles. Checking with a GP or immunisation nurse is the best way to be sure. They will check your records, and may do a blood test if you have no proof of immunisation.

Even if you can’t be sure of past vaccinations, it’s still safe to have an extra vaccine. And it’s free for those who need a catch-up dose.

It’s not harmful to have an additional dose of the MMR vaccine. Shutterstock

If you have a child under 12 months of age and you’re heading to a country with measles, an early additional vaccine dose can be given to protect your baby from measles. This ideally should be done at least a month before you travel, to ensure an immune response has time to develop. The routine scheduled doses at 12 months and 18 months will still need to be given later.


Read more: Autism and vaccines: more than half of people in Britain, France, Italy still think there may be a link


What if you’re not protected?

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for measles. Getting adequately vaccinated is the best form of defence against this serious disease.

If you think you’ve been exposed or may be ill from measles, see your GP or call Health Direct or your public health department as soon as possible.

If exposed, but not yet ill, it may not be too late to get a protective vaccine and ensure you don’t spread the disease to others.

If you are unwell, and suspect measles, call ahead to let the clinic know so they can make provisions to keep you away from other patients in the waiting room.

Other, more common, diseases can look like measles, so an urgent specific test (throat swab) must be done to confirm the infection. If measles is proven, public health workers will trace your contacts and your treating doctor will monitor you for complications.

Are we at risk of measles returning in Australia?

Australia currently has all-time high vaccine coverage, with 94.5% of five-year-old children fully immunised at the end of 2017.

By keeping vaccine coverage near or above 95%, herd immunity where there are enough people vaccinated helps prevent measles from spreading to others, including those who cannot be vaccinated.

But in our interconnected world, we must work together to reduce the threat of measles worldwide by boosting immunisation programs in regions with low coverage, including in the Asia Pacific.


Read more: Why it’s hard to run a mass measles campaign in Nigeria’s war-torn states


Measles have resurfaced in some countries due to falls in vaccine coverage from unfounded safety concerns as well as weak health systems. In the first six months of last year, for instance, Europe had 41,000 cases of measles, nearly double the total number of the previous year. This, among other factors, has prompted the World Health Organisation to list vaccine hesitancy as a top ten threat to global health in 2019.

A continued global coordinated effort will be required to maintain elimination and prevent resurgence of this deadly disease in Australia.

ref. Why people born between 1966 and 1994 are at greater risk of measles – and what to do about it – http://theconversation.com/why-people-born-between-1966-and-1994-are-at-greater-risk-of-measles-and-what-to-do-about-it-110167

MIL Analysis+Reportage – EveningReport.NZ

New research reveals our complex attitudes to Australia Day

Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Darren Pennay, Campus Visitor, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, Australian National University

In the cultural warfare over whether January 26 should be retained as Australia Day, survey results are deployed like guided missiles. But what do Australians really think about the continuing debate?

A recent study undertaken by the Institute of Public Affairs found that three-quarters of Australians agreed that Australia Day should be celebrated on January 26.

In a survey taken late last year, before the annual Australia Day debate commenced, the Social Research Centre asked members of its Life in Australia research panel a similar question:

To what extent do you agree or disagree that 26 January is the best day for our national day of celebration?

And from the 2,167 responses, it received similar results: 70% of respondents agreed (37% strongly agreed/33% agreed).

But this is where the story becomes interesting.

Support for 26 January increases with age. It is 73% for Generation X (39-53 years) and 80% among Baby Boomers (54-72 years). Among the Silent Generation (73 years or older), support for January 26 is nearly unanimous (90%). But it is notably lower among the younger generations at 47% and 58% for Generation Z (aged 23 years or younger) and Millennials (24-38 years).

These results may explain why the ABC shifted its Triple J Hottest 100 away from 26 January after taking a poll in which 60% of the 65,000 who voted supported the move.


Read more: Henry Reynolds: Triple J did the right thing, we need a new Australia Day


Support was also lower among those with a university degree (55%) compared to those without (75%). In terms of geography, support for January 26 was highest in Western Australia (83%) and lowest in Victoria (65%), and higher in the regions (78%) than the capital cities (66%). These results seem consistent with what we know about the patterns of progressive and conservative political values in Australia.

There are stark differences according to party affiliation. Support is highest among Coalition (85%) and One Nation (94%) supporters compared with 62% of Labor supporters and just 38% among Greens. On these results, perhaps the federal Labor Party’s present support for Australia Day might eventually come under pressure from within.

Those who disagreed that January 26 was the best day for our national celebration were asked:

On which day do you think Australia should have its national day?

Ten options were offered or an alternative could be nominated.

Reconciliation Day on May 27 – the anniversary of the 1967 referendum – was the most popular alternative at 24%. It was followed by January 1, Federation Day (18%). Somewhat bizarrely, 15% of those opposed to January 26 being the date nominated May 8, because it sounds like “mate”. At present, no date clearly stands out as a popular alternative to January 26 as Australia Day.

To gain a better insight into what January 26 actually means to Australians, we then asked a series of questions to explore which aspects of Australia’s culture and heritage were most strongly associated with Australia Day.


Read more: Why Australia Day survives, despite revealing a nation’s rifts and wounds


Just over two-thirds (68%) of respondents agreed that January 26 celebrated our British culture and heritage. 63% believed the current timing was a celebration of our democracy and system of government. And 58% believed it celebrated the contribution of all immigrants to Australia.

The view that Australia Day recognised the contribution of all immigrants to Australia received stronger endorsement from those born overseas (65%) than the Australian born (55%). This suggests that the long-standing official Australia Day emphasis on unity in diversity has to some extent spoken to their sense of belonging. There is no other date in the Australian calendar that could be considered to represent the contribution of migrant communities.

The association of Australia Day and British culture and heritage was highest in New South Wales (73%). This possibly reflects the particular significance of January 26 for the history of that state, but it is still below the levels observed in the Australian Capital Territory – 81% – and the Northern Territory – 77%. The association with British culture and heritage is highest amongst Coalition and One Nation supporters, at 73% and 71% respectively. For the Silent Generation, the celebration of Australia Day on 26 January is particularly evocative of British culture and heritage: more than four out of five agreed.

Official proponents of Australia Day have fudged the association of January 26 and Britishness as far back as the 1988 Bicentenary. They have more often emphasised diversity and belonging. Yet, fewer respondents accepted that the day was a celebration of migrant contributions relative to its association with British heritage.

In a similar vein, only a minority – although a large one (40%) – believed January 26 celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. This proposition is rejected most strongly by Labor and Greens supporters, those living in the capitals and the young.

Yet perhaps the most striking of all our findings is that 45% of respondents agreed the day was offensive to Indigenous Australians. This figure is higher than that found in an Australia Institute poll of January 2018, which put the figure at 37%.

The survey also found that women (49%) are more likely than men (42%) to see things this way, possibly reflecting the modern pattern for women to have more progressive political views. Those with a university degree (59%), Victorians (51%) and capital city residents (48%) were also more likely to hold this opinion. And the party divide on this issue is clear. Labor and Greens (50% and 75%) supporters are much more likely to agree than Coalition and One Nation voters (32% and 12%).

Nearly three in ten (29%) of respondents who agree with having Australia Day on January 26 also recognise the date is offensive to Indigenous people. It seems that many of us are sensitive to their objections, but not concerned enough to want to change the date. Australians incorporate in their historical consciousness a range of perspectives on the Australian past, and their significance for present-day commemoration, even when they are apparently in conflict with one another.


Read more: First reconciliation, then a republic – starting with changing the date of Australia Day


So what factors are at play here? One school of thought is that many Australians are mindful of the day’s negative connotations, but place a high value on it because it is an important marker in the calendar. The attachment to this last summer public holiday before the school year starts possibly outweighs concern about offence. Previous research has shown that when people were asked to associate three words with Australia Day, the favourites were “barbecue”, “celebration” and “holiday”.

Still, the mix of attitudes we have uncovered seems likely to ensure the day remains contentious. Any expectation that January 26 might perform a similar kind of civic function to July 4 (Independence Day) in the United States or July 14 (Bastille Day) in France is fanciful.

It may be that the fortnight or so surrounding Australia Day is evolving into an annual season in which some of the deepest paradoxes of Australian identity play out in public.

ref. New research reveals our complex attitudes to Australia Day – http://theconversation.com/new-research-reveals-our-complex-attitudes-to-australia-day-110035

MIL Analysis+Reportage – EveningReport.NZ

To protect us from the risks of advanced artificial intelligence, we need to act now

Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Paul Salmon, Professor of Human Factors, University of the Sunshine Coast

Artificial intelligence can play chess, drive a car and diagnose medical issues. Examples include Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo, Tesla’s self-driving vehicles, and IBM’s Watson.

This type of artificial intelligence is referred to as Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) – non-human systems that can perform a specific task. We encounter this type on a daily basis, and its use is growing rapidly.


Read more: When AI meets your shopping experience it knows what you buy – and what you ought to buy


But while many impressive capabilities have been demonstrated, we’re also beginning to see problems. The worst case involved a self-driving test car that hit a pedestrian in March. The pedestrian died and the incident is still under investigation.

The next generation of AI

With the next generation of AI the stakes will almost certainly be much higher.

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) will have advanced computational powers and human level intelligence. AGI systems will be able to learn, solve problems, adapt and self-improve. They will even do tasks beyond those they were designed for.

Importantly, their rate of improvement could be exponential as they become far more advanced than their human creators. The introduction of AGI could quickly bring about Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI).

While fully functioning AGI systems do not yet exist, it has been estimated that they will be with us anywhere between 2029 and the end of the century.

What appears almost certain is that they will arrive eventually. When they do, there is a great and natural concern that we won’t be able to control them.

The risks associated with AGI

There is no doubt that AGI systems could transform humanity. Some of the more powerful applications include curing disease, solving complex global challenges such as climate change and food security, and initiating a worldwide technology boom.

But a failure to implement appropriate controls could lead to catastrophic consequences.

Despite what we see in Hollywood movies, existential threats are not likely to involve killer robots. The problem will not be one of malevolence, but rather one of intelligence, writes MIT professor Max Tegmark in his 2017 book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

It is here that the science of human-machine systems – known as Human Factors and Ergonomics – will come to the fore. Risks will emerge from the fact that super-intelligent systems will identify more efficient ways of doing things, concoct their own strategies for achieving goals, and even develop goals of their own.

Imagine these examples:

  • an AGI system tasked with preventing HIV decides to eradicate the problem by killing everybody who carries the disease, or one tasked with curing cancer decides to kill everybody who has any genetic predisposition for it

  • an autonomous AGI military drone decides the only way to guarantee an enemy target is destroyed is to wipe out an entire community

  • an environmentally protective AGI decides the only way to slow or reverse climate change is to remove technologies and humans that induce it.

These scenarios raise the spectre of disparate AGI systems battling each other, none of which take human concerns as their central mandate.

Various dystopian futures have been advanced, including those in which humans eventually become obsolete, with the subsequent extinction of the human race.

Others have forwarded less extreme but still significant disruption, including malicious use of AGI for terrorist and cyber-attacks, the removal of the need for human work, and mass surveillance, to name only a few.

So there is a need for human-centred investigations into the safest ways to design and manage AGI to minimise risks and maximise benefits.

How to control AGI

Controlling AGI is not as straightforward as simply applying the same kinds of controls that tend to keep humans in check.

Many controls on human behaviour rely on our consciousness, our emotions, and the application of our moral values. AGIs won’t need any of these attributes to cause us harm. Current forms of control are not enough.

Arguably, there are three sets of controls that require development and testing immediately:

.

.

For example, it’s possible to model the controls that exist in a particular system, to model the likely behaviour of AGI systems within this control structure, and identify safety risks.

This will allow us to identify where new controls are required, design them, and then remodel to see if the risks are removed as a result.

In addition, our models of cognition and decision making can be used to ensure AGIs behave appropriately and have humanistic values.

Act now, not later

This kind of research is in progress, but there is not nearly enough of it and not enough disciplines are involved.


Read more: Why R2D2 could be your child’s teacher sooner than you think


Even the high-profile tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has warned of the “existential crisis” humanity faces from advanced AI and has spoken about the need to regulate AI before it’s too late.

The next decade or so represents a critical period. There is an opportunity to create safe and efficient AGI systems that can have far reaching benefits to society and humanity.

At the same time, a business-as-usual approach in which we play catch-up with rapid technological advances could contribute to the extinction of the human race. The ball is in our court, but it won’t be for much longer.

ref. To protect us from the risks of advanced artificial intelligence, we need to act now – http://theconversation.com/to-protect-us-from-the-risks-of-advanced-artificial-intelligence-we-need-to-act-now-107615

MIL Analysis+Reportage – EveningReport.NZ

We’re awarding the Order of Australia to the wrong people

Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Nicholas Gruen, Adjunct Professor, Business School, University of Technology Sydney

It’s almost Australia Day and hundreds of us are in line for an award.

Sadly, as unpublished research by my firm Lateral Economics reveals, many will get it for little more than doing their job. And the higher the job’s status, the higher the award.

Governors General, High Court Justices and Vice Chancellors of major universities would hope for the highest Companion of the Order (AC). Professors, public service departmental heads and senior business people should hope for the next one down – an Officer of the Order (AO). School Principals would generally slot in next for Members of the Order (AM).

If you’re lucky, or you’ve done your job extraordinarily well, you’ll be promoted one rank, but that’s pretty much it.

We reward most the already rewarded

Meanwhile, those who succeed in some achievement principally in and for their community usually qualify for the lowest award, if that; the Medal of the Order (OAM). And usually only if they’ve become conspicuous.

The level of gratitude among recipients seems to follow an equal and opposite arc. Those at the bottom seem the most thrilled for being recognised the least.

Distinction in putting others first gets short shrift. As Anne Summers lamented in 2013:

Seven years ago I nominated a woman I admire for an Australian honour. It took two years but it came through and she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for a lifetime of work with victims of domestic violence. I was disappointed she had not been given a higher award – I had hoped for an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) at the very least – but she was thrilled and so was her family.

Money, fame and status are nothing to be sneezed at if they are honestly earned. But they are their own reward. Why should they beget other rewards?

We could be putting awards to use

Here’s an idea. Why don’t we award honours to encourage people to do more than their job? In a world that is lavishing increasing rewards on the “haves”, the worldly rewards for doing your job need little bolstering.

Knowing awards are reserved for people who do more than their jobs might encourage us to choose more selfless and socially committed lives at the outset of our careers.

There’s a hunger among the young to do just that – to combine good, privately rewarding careers with serving their community and tackling social ills.

If honours are “the principal means by which the nation officially recognises the merit of its citizens” as the 2011 Government House review put it, I’d like to use it to encourage those people the most.

Wouldn’t it be more consistent with Australian values?

It’d make them more Australian

Government House provides online biographies of all those awarded honours. Lateral Economics sampled about half of them back to 2013 looking specifically at the gender division of honours and the extent to which those biographies included descriptions of work done without personal gain.

Barely more than a quarter of Order of Australia recipients recorded voluntary work in their biographies.

And those that did were more likely to be near the bottom of the awards ladder.

More than a third of those receiving the very bottom award, the OAM, were engaged in obviously selfless work, compared with a fifth at the top (just two out of ten ACs).

Still we may be making a little progress. Perhaps spurred by sentiments such as those expressed by Anne Summers, last year saw a higher percentage of women than in any previous year. Unusually, six women got the top honour, the AC, compared with four men, and the proportion with voluntary service broke through the 30% barrier for the first time.

I wonder what Australia Day will bring. I’m thinking that, whatever it is, we can do a lot better, for our community, and our country.


Thanks to Shruti Sekhar for research assistance.

ref. We’re awarding the Order of Australia to the wrong people – http://theconversation.com/were-awarding-the-order-of-australia-to-the-wrong-people-110487

MIL Analysis+Reportage – EveningReport.NZ

View from The Hill: Morrison’s Gilmore candidate is the man who’s been everywhere

Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Scott Morrison’s controversial move to install former Labor party president Warren Mundine as Liberal candidate in the ultra-marginal NSW seat of Gilmore has triggered a local implosion.

As members of the Liberal state executive were voting on Tuesday to admit Mundine to their party and nominate him as the candidate for the marginal seat, Grant Schultz, who had been selected by the locals in December, was exiting the party, as were some of his supporters.

South Coast state Liberal MP Shelley Hancock (who is Speaker in the NSW parliament) pointedly observed: “Only recently Scott Morrison was talking about the importance of grassroots processes when preselecting candidates”.

Schultz, son of the blunt-talking former MP, the late Alby Schultz, told the South Coast Register that his dad would be “rolling in his grave in utter disgust and anger” at what had happened.

“He would take the same view of mine that the leadership of Scott Morrison has taken the party to the days of Eddie Obeid and the faceless men of Labor,” said Schultz, who is a local real estate agent. “To turn their backs on the democratic principles of this party is quite frankly extraordinary and without precedent in this party’s history.”

Not quite. Late last year Craig Kelly, who helped bring Malcolm Turnbull down, was protected from his locals who wanted to deselect him. The Prime Minister feared that unless Kelly’s future was guaranteed, the maverick backbencher could defect to the crossbench.


Read more: Turnbull versus Morrison in Liberal crisis over Craig Kelly


Morrison and senior party figures have been in negotiations with Mundine for months, and party research has tested his popularity. Gilmore is currently held by Ann Sudmalis, who last year announced she wouldn’t stand again, alleging branch stacking and bullying against her.


Read more: Morrison tells Liberal organisation to act on bullying after second woman flags she’ll quit


Gilmore stretches along the NSW coast from Kiama in the north to Tuross Head in the south. It takes in popular resort and retirement areas and farming land.

The government’s grip on the seat is wafer-thin – less than 1%. In the present climate, it is likely to be lost to Labor whoever the Liberals put up. With this kerfuffle, and Schultz declaring he will run as an independent, their chances could simply be further diminished.

To complicate the picture, the Nationals are considering whether to enter the race, with local branch members wanting former state minister Katrina Hodgkinson to stand.

Philip Ruddock, president of the NSW party, explained the refusal to accept Schultz in a brief statement. “Mr Schultz nominated against a sitting member who later withdrew and given these circumstance the party has elected to not proceed with the endorsement. The party should be able to consider the best candidate to represent voters, their aspirations and concerns in each community.”

Mundine doesn’t live in the electorate, although he has family connections there. He has been quoted as saying, “I love the place. I feel most comfortable in that area, for me it’s like going home.”

ABC election analyst Antony Green describes Mundine as “a brave choice” (in the Humphrey Appleby sense), pointing out that “it’s the sort of regional seat where personal vote matters.”

In 2001 Mundine ran unsuccessfully in third place on the ALP Senate ticket. Later he failed to get Labor preselection for a lower house seat.

He was ALP national president in 2006-07. But his public profile has come through his role as an Indigenous voice. He was a member of John Howard’s Indigenous advisory council, and chaired that of Tony Abbott, a position he lost under Malcolm Turnbull. (In late November Mundine tweeted “I wish Malcolm Termite would crawl back into his little hole he come from.”)

Mundine left the ALP in 2012 and became increasingly identified with the conservative side of politics. He has also built a media presence on Sky, where he has a program “Mundine Means Business”.

As he weighed his future in recent months, Mundine has been double dating.

In 2018 he joined the Liberal Democrats, and was being considered as a potential Senate candidate for them.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm says he spoke to Mundine late last year about reports that the Liberals were courting him.

Mundine played down the speculation as media talk, Leyonhjelm says. But he said he had some issues with section 44 of the constitution through his business interests which needed sorting out, and he suggested leaving the discussion about the possible Senate spot until the new year.

That’s where matters lay until last week when the president of the Liberal Democrats received a letter from Mundine resigning from the party. Leyonhjelm wasn’t totally surprised: he’d been watching Mundine’s recent pro-Liberal tweets.

The Prime Minister will appear with Mundine in Gilmore on Wednesday. Morrison on Tuesday wouldn’t be drawn on Mundine’s candidacy. But he said that he’d been “a friend of Warren for some time” and described him as a “top bloke” who had “a lot to offer”.

Be that as it may, this is shaping as a very inauspicious start to the campaign of someone who will carry the tag of a captain’s pick candidate.

ref. View from The Hill: Morrison’s Gilmore candidate is the man who’s been everywhere – http://theconversation.com/view-from-the-hill-morrisons-gilmore-candidate-is-the-man-whos-been-everywhere-110300

MIL Analysis+Reportage – EveningReport.NZ