- Is JK Rowling right about cancel culture, or is she just shielding herself from criticism?
- The science behind our selfishness in a pandemic
- Worldwide genome research could change the course of medical history
- “Every day I wake up and wonder why I’m still here” – the right to die is now legal, with a massive asterisk
- Unlike New Zealand, we’re yet to talk about eliminating the virus
Oh, the week that was. The refugee team has been confirmed for Rio, Shorten hardens in the PM race, and we farewell a giant.
Hello all, and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. The world has lost a giant, the Olympics in Rio have a new team and a man in England became the poster child for tattoo regret.
The Olympics in Rio this year will see a brand new team of 10 competitors joining the event. This team is extremely unique in the fact they have no country, no home, no flag and no national anthem. They are a team made up entirely of refugees, headed up by Kenyan-born runner Tegla Loroupe, who was the first African woman to win the New York City marathon.
IOC President Thomas Bach has stated that he hopes the team can “send a signal to the international community…despite the unimaginable tragedies that they have faced, anyone can contribute to society.”
The move should be applauded, but I have to say that the precedent it sets could spell disaster for the future of Australian sport. Without our refugees and immigrants, we would struggle on the international sporting stage just as we would in so many areas of life.
Western and Central Europe is in the midst of serious flooding which has wreaked havoc across multiple countries. Eleven people have been killed in Germany, two in Romania, one in Belgium and at least two in France. The French Environmental Minister, Ségolène Royal, reported that the weather events have caused the River Seine to reach it’s highest level in more than 30 years. The famous river has breached six metres in Paris, submerging roads and causing damage to a variety of small businesses on quaysides.
The flooding has put some of the world’s most famous artwork at risk, with volunteers working through the night at the Louvre and Orsay museums to protect the priceless artwork from the rising water. The river is expected to peak at somewhere between 6.1 – 6.4 metres which could see it reach levels higher than those of the 1982 floods, whilst still short of the 8.62 metre record in 1910. Unfortunately, Minister Royal has indicated that the death toll is likely to rise, particularly in small village areas in central France who have suffered through their worst floods in a century.
As it stands, more than 20,000 people have been evacuated in France already.
Joining the other polls that have already done so, this week saw the Fairfax-Ipsos poll report that Labor has jumped ahead on a two party preferred basis. The same poll has Bill Shorten hitting an approval rating of 41 percent versus a disapproval rating of 47 percent – interestingly, a level that is better than Tony Abbott’s at the same point during the last election which he went on to win. PM Malcolm Turnbull, conversely, has seen his approval rating drop to 45 against a disapproval rating rise to 42.
Polls are by no means definitive as we all know, but the trend simply must have those on the coalition side nervous, and those on the Labor side smelling blood in the water.
Meanwhile, Bill Shorten managed another “Good Guy” PR moment this week whilst on the campaign trail in Tasmania, during an emotional meeting with Tammy Newson in the seat of Braddon. Ms Newson’s son, Nick, only has five percent sight in one eye and 25 percent in the other, making it near on impossible for him to hold down work, leaving him suicidal. Frustrated with fighting a seven-month, losing battle with Centrelink, and further frustrated with her local Liberal MP, Brett Whiteley, who refused to meet her, Ms Newson took matters into her own hands. She attended a Bill Shorten forum several months ago and told the opposition leader of her son’s plight. Channeling his inner super-hero, Shorten got on the case and involved the Social Services Minister and the PM’s office. The hard work of Shorten’s office paid off with Nick’s pension being approved four weeks ago. Newson got the chance to meet Shorten this week and share an emotional hug with the man that she credits as her “son’s savior”.
In news from the other camp, Turnbull headlined a fundraiser for Cory Bernardi’s Conservative Leadership Foundation, raising “several hundreds of thousands” of dollars for the far far far far right.
One thing that both Shorten and Turbull can agree on, however, is that they are the only two viable options on the table. Shorten accused the Greens in Victoria of a preferences deal that would hurt Labor in key Victorian seats, to which the Greens responded that they would never preference the Libs ahead of Labor. Greens MP Adam Bandt took it further, accusing Labor of working with the Libs on a preference deal to hurt the Greens. All this as Turnbull stated that a vote for the Greens, Independents or the Nick Xenophon team, or anyone apart from the Libs, is a vote for “chaos.”
Does anyone remember when we used to talk about actual policy?
Turnbull’s attack on the minor parties and Independents certainly appears to be a case of self preservation, as he ramped up campaigning in South Australia this week amid reports that the growing support for Nick Xenophon’s team could see them hit a primary vote of more than 20 percent, which could result in them gaining two more senate seats as well as lower house seats.
Of particular concern are the seats of Sturt and Mayo, currently held by high profile Libs, Christopher Pyne and Jamie Briggs. A recent poll reported that under 40 percent of Mayo voters plan on voting for Briggs, with Xenophon Team representative Rebekha Sharkie edging closer, in second spot with 23.5 percent. Over to Pyne’s homeground of Sturt, he has slipped down to 41 percent with Xenophon Team representative Matthew Wright sitting in second on 21 percent. Labor’s Matt Loader is a close third with 20 percent.
Which leaves us all with the million dollar question: who is Team Xenophon going to back on the day? A kingmaker he has become…
Wacky and wonderful
Carl McCoid of Bridlington in the UK is having a tough time getting a girlfriend. Is it because he has a dull personality? Is it his breath? Or is it just because he’s looking for love in all the wrong places? Well, they could all be factors, of course – however it’s most likely got something to do with the 29 Miley Cyrus inspired tattoos adorning his body.
The super fan has employed a tattoo artist to help cover up the art due to the “negative effect” they have on his life. His first Miley tattoo came in 2010 due to his self confessed obsession with the Achy Breaky offspring. However, in his own words, “People can’t seem to see past the tattoos,” which has left him feeling trapped and loveless. While I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this is completely true, Carl’s feelings might also be hurt following comments from Miley during an interview last year where she described the tributes as “ugly” and “creepy.” McCoid denies that this is the reason for his decision to remove them but I’m pretty sure that if I had covered my body with tattoos in tribute to someone and they described them as “ugly” and “creepy”, there is a good chance I’d be questioning my original decision.
Carl claims that Miley’s provocative behaviour is the driving force, declaring “She’s doing silly things and I don’t want to be associated with the things that she does.” Without putting words in Miley’s mouth, I’m pretty confident she feels the same…
It turns out that our friends across the Tasman enjoy many of the same things that we do back here, particularly a good dick joke. Sam Wallace, a weatherman in New Zealand, struggled to get through his weather report on local television this week due to a waterspout that appeared quite phallic in composition.
Not relying on the less-than-subtle representation on the screen, Wallace drew attention to it, asking the audience and his fellow presenters, “When you take a step back, is there anything else you notice in this picture?”. One co-presenter quickly jumped in stating “It’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer,” whilst the other presenter was unable to do anything other than laugh hysterically.
To close this week, we’ll end with a tribute to the recently departed leviathan, Muhammad Ali.
As the man himself said:
“Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.”
That’s it from me. Have a great week, TBSers.