It was a historic week. One in which nothing was solved. Racial hatred split streets in Dallas, and opinion remained thusly in our election.
Hello all, and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had anarchy in the US, a Super Typhoon in Taiwan, the never ending election back home and a new user for Tinder!
The US has been plunged into violence and chaos this week following the deaths of two African American men in separate incidents. Philando Castile was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop in Minnesota on Wednesday and Alton Sterling was also killed by police in Louisiana the day before.
With tensions already running high due to similar incidents in recent times giving rise to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the two latest incidents appear to have tipped the situation over the edge. Following the two deaths this week, protests were held in various spots across the US including Dallas, New York, Chicago and Washington as well as in the two cities where the most recent incidents occurred.
The protests in Dallas became the scene for another horrific crime as army veteran, Micah Johnson, opened fire on police with a sniper rifle from an elevated position in Dallas’ downtown area. The attack by Johnson killed five police officers and injured seven more. Police have since discovered bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles and ammunition in Johnson’s home, suggesting that he had been planning an attack of some description for a while.
President Obama has renewed calls for better gun control, stating “We know when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately, it makes attacks like these more deadly and more tragic, and in days ahead we’re going to have to consider those realities as well.”
The incident in Dallas was not isolated, with a number of violent altercations occurring across the country related to #BlackLivesMatter. A 37-year-old man was arrested in Tennessee after opening fire on passing cars and police on a highway. The attack resulted in the death of a woman and injuries to three others including a police officer. Another gunman in Georgia fired on a police officer on patrol on Friday morning but was apprehended after a short car chase. Also in Georgia, police responded to a 911 report of a break-in, only to be ambushed by the caller with gunfire.
US President Barack Obama is stuck between a very large rock and a very hard place. He had been attending a NATO summit in Poland but will now return to the US to try and calm a nation that is tearing itself apart from the inside. He has renewed calls for better gun control in the US, stating “We also know that when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately, it makes attacks like these more deadly and more tragic, and in the days ahead we’re going to have to consider those realities as well.”
US Presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, was surprisingly measured and reasonable in his response to the attacks, offering prayers and condolences to the families of the slain officers, as well as highlighting the importance of restoring law and order. He also spoke of the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, stating that their “senseless, tragic deaths remind the nation how much more needs to be done.”
Taiwan has been hit by Super Typhoon Nepartak this week, and has been responsible for the deaths of at least three people and injuries to hundreds more. The extreme weather has also resulted in the cancellation of more than 600 flights as well as the evacuation of more than 17,300 people from their homes. A further 517,000 homes at least have experienced major power outages.
Nepartak made landfall in the southeastern Taitung County at 5:50am on Friday morning bringing with it the strongest winds that Taiwan has experienced in 61 years. Whilst Napartak is weakening, concerns now turn to China, expected to receive significant rainfall whilst already dealing with severe and damaging flooding.
Most of us had looked forward to the end of election season; a time when the country could return to regularly scheduled programming and our streets could once again be free of the visual pollution that are election posters. Unfortunately, it has become a never ending temporal loop that we may never escape from as the counting continues.
The result is almost a foregone conclusion with Turnbull and his Libs expected to hold on by the skin of their teeth and limp past the finishing line. Whether they are able to form a majority government in their own right or not remains to be seen, however. Everyone’s favourite Akubra-wearing trainwreck, Bob Katter, has thrown his support behind the Coalition, meaning that one way or another, they will retain control, but what Katter wants in exchange for this is anybody’s guess at this stage. I think it’s safe to assume it won’t be anything actually in the national interest.
Hanson focussed on banning immigration for anyone that identifies with Islam, wants to see gun laws relaxed, is opposed to constitutional recognition of Indigenous people and wants a royal commission into climate change. So, basically, she’s Donald Trump.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten hasn’t officially conceded, however he has conceded that Turnbull’s return is likely. Turnbull has also stopped short of declaring victory, however Innovation, Industry and Science Minister Christopher Pyne happily declared such for the coalition when interviewed on Channel 9 this week, going on to describe the Coalition as an “election-winning machine”. I’ve been unable to confirm as to whether this declaration was accompanied with a happy dance and giddy laughter, however it’s safe to assume that it isn’t outside the realms of possibility. If Christopher can explain how this “election-winning machine” could evolve into an “effective government machine”, we would all really appreciate it.
The Labor Party are clearly impressed with what they’ve seen from Shorten during this election campaign, unanimously voting to give him another crack at the title as Labor leader. According to Shorten, that crack might come sooner rather than later, as he told the nation he expects that we will be returning to the polls within a year on the back of a divided Liberal party, a bare majority and what is expected to be a hostile Senate.
Speaking of the Senate, let’s just say that things didn’t go according to plan. As we know, Turnbull called a double dissolution over the Senate’s unwillingness to pass the ABCC bill after multiple attempts. Efforts to convince us that it was of such national importance that it warranted the dreaded DD aside, it’s reasonably obvious that the Libs at least hoped that clearing the upper house would result in a less combative Senate that was more likely to allow the Libs to push legislation through.
The result could not be further from that goal.
Results are not final, however it would appear that TBS’s own Derryn Hinch has won himself a sport at the table with his Justice Party. Hinch has been a vocal advocate for tougher criminal penalties (particularly for pedophiles) as well as greater support for victims of crime.
It is all but certain that the Senate will also see the return of one of this nation’s most controversial politicians, Pauline Hanson, and her One Nation Party, who look to have secured at least two senate seats – with possibly more to come. Hanson ran on a campaign focussed on, surprise surprise, banning immigration for anyone that identifies with Islam. She also wants to see gun laws relaxed to provide easier access to firearms for self-defence, is opposed to constitutional recognition of Indigenous people and wants a royal commission into climate change, which she maintains doesn’t exist. So, basically, she’s Donald Trump.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Why Labor’s Mediscare worked
- Is this the death-knell of our two-party system?
- Pauline Hanson: Supplier of headlines, or slave to them?
- The Masked Lib: Pauline Hanson and the comeback the Left enabled
The Libs may have one less Senator as well with outspoken Right-wing power broker, Cory Bernardi, announcing this week that he is in talks to break away from the Libs and form his own ultra-Right-wing conservative party. On behalf of all of us, Corey, do it. Do it and convince Pauline Hanson and Andrew Bolt to join you. Grab the Family First guys, the Liberty Alliance, Rise Up Australia and the Christian Democratic Party and join forces. In fact, I think I speak for most of the country when I say that we will happily give you some land and let you secede so you can form the Heterosexual Kingdom of Xenophobia (thank me later for the name). Or at the very least, give us the chance to get rid of all of you in one hit at the next election.
Wacky and wonderful
Most of us are familiar with or at least have heard of Tinder. For the uninitiated, it’s basically Menulog for casual sex. For one Fiona Bloom, it has become so much more.
The 47-year-old from New York has been luring unsuspecting suitors to her place to do chores. From installing an air conditioner to a free ride to the Hamptons, Bloom makes it very clear to her matches that there is no quid pro quo involved for their assistance, with the most they can expect being a thank you and a closed door. Apparently, Fiona is not alone with others managing to use their feminine wiles to avoid that dreaded handyman callout fee.
All I can say is it would be a brave man that tried to use Tinder to get his shirts ironed.
Looking to other great app uses: Denmark and Sweden declared war on each other this week.
A Twitter war, that is.
— Sweden.se (@swedense) July 7, 2016
The official Twitter accounts for the two nations engaged in a very entertaining tit for tat in 140 characters or less. Denmark started with an innocuous tweet, celebrating the similarities between the two nations. Sweden, however, had it’s troll pants on that morning, hitting back with “Another thing we don’t have in common is that our lakes are the size of your country.” Denmark took the bait and hit back with “Did you know that everything that is not forbidden in Sweden is mandatory?” and it was on like Donkey Kong.
The battle continued with quips over fleeing Mooses and a well-placed reference to the Swedish police who mistakenly identified a man as Danish when it turned out he was just a drunk Swede. Sweden channelled their inner Churchill, telling the Danes, “You slur, but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still slur.”
I can’t wait until Australia and NZ have it out; once NZ get the internet of course. What…they are ranked higher than us for average internet speeds? Thanks, Mal…
Have a great week, TBSers!