Rob Idol

About Rob Idol

Rob is an aspiring writer who balances his time between a “real” job and his passion for politics, social justice and all things creative. He has an MBA, an unhealthy obsession with current events, an even unhealthier obsession with pop culture and has been known to offer favourable food reviews in exchange for free meals.

Current Affairs Wrap: Aus shootings surge, Brexit backpedal, Seagal gets Russian citizenship

Approx Reading Time-12The week that was saw the Brexit bomb, Australia pained by shootings, Scott Ludlam take leave to address mental health and Steven Seagal given Russian citizenship from ol’ buddy Vlad.


Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap.  We’ve had a big hurdle for Brexit, a spate of shootings at home and an interesting twist in US/Russia relations.



Let’s start with a very quick recap of what’s happening in the US election – with the potentially apocalyptic date approaching in a couple of days, next week’s wrap is sure to feature it all prominently (assuming the internet still exists if Trump wins).

Following the release of further emails that are potentially damaging to Hillary Clinton’s chances, Trump has managed to fight back in the polls. The latest New York Times/CBS poll has Clinton just ahead of Trump with 45 to 42 percent of the voters. The FBI, it has been suggested, hold a great deal of antipathy towards Clinton with some sources referring to them as “Trumplandia”.

First Lady hopeful, Melania Trump, took the opportunity this week to vow to combat cyberbullying, particularly against women and children. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the world were quick to point out that her husband is one of the worst cyberbullies on the planet.

Across the pond, the controversial “Brexit” movement has hit a significant snag following a High Court ruling that parliamentary approval is required for Britain to leave the EU.

The British Government had been arguing that under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, Ministers could utilise “powers of the royal prerogative” and could act on behalf of the crown. The interpretation was challenged by an Investment Fund Manager by the name of Gina Miller, along with a number of other interested parties. Ms Miller and Co appear to have won the day, with the court throwing out the Government’s interpretation, and confirming that such a move must have the signoff of parliament.

Whilst the latest development probably won’t stop Brexit from proceeding given that any MP that blocks it will be voting against the “will of the people” it poses the question, is this still what people want? The result was a shock, and many that voted in favour of an exit had absolutely no idea of the far reaching impact until after the fact. Given that the British Pound immediately surged to a four-week high following the High Court ruling, it could be a good opportunity for everyone to sit back and work out what is actually best for the country without the hyperbole and hate speech getting in the way.



Greens Senator Scott Ludlam announced this week that he will be taking leave from his parliamentary duties to deal with long-term mental health issues.

Ludlam has indicated that he will return to work as soon as he is able to give the commitment his role requires. He is to be offered what is referred to as a “pair” in the Senate – where a single vote is sacrificed on opposing sides of all debates which effectively cancels out his absence. This arrangement will be in place “as long as is required”.

Greens Leader, Richard Di Natale, spoke out in support of his Deputy on Twitter, wishing Ludlam all the best.

With the Senator showing such incredible bravery about his health in such a public position, hopefully it sets an example to countless others out there that they need not suffer in silence.

All the best and a speedy recovery from The Big Smoke team, Senator.

You would be forgiven this week for thinking that we were living in the US of A rather than Australia, following a spate of unrelated shootings across the country.

The town of Booral in QLD is in shock following what appears to be a double-murder-suicide which has seen three members of the same family lose their lives. Details are still emerging, however it is believed that a mother and daughter were killed in a domestic-related shooting which is being treated as suspicious, with the 79-year-old father and husband also killed, his death being treated as not suspicious.

A family friend, Gwenda Knapp, has spoken out suggesting that the couple were suffering from chronic illnesses and that the shooting may have been an “act of mercy”.

In Rosebud, Victoria, an elderly couple have also been killed via gunshot. Details are still emerging however police have reported that a male was found inside a car on Adams Avenue on Thursday with upper body gunshot wounds alongside a woman who was already deceased. The man was flown to Alfred Hospital in a critical condition and died on Thursday night.

In Watson, ACT, a 37-year-old man died from a fatal gunshot in suspicious circumstances. Police attended a block of flats following reports of disturbance and found the man with serious injuries. Both police and paramedics attempted to render first aid however the man succumbed to his injuries on the scene.

Police have confirmed that they are examining the possibility that the incident was related to domestic violence however have not confirmed or denied whether the incident is linked to the bashing of a man last month at the same unit block.

Police have also shot dead a man after he allegedly ambushed a woman before stabbing her and dousing her with petrol in Port Macquarie, NSW.

Police have advised that the two were known to each other and had been in a relationship for about two months prior to an apprehended violence order being taken out against the man. Police had been searching for the man since the 31st of October to serve the AVO however had been unable to find him.

The man was pursued by the police following the alleged attack, eventually terminating the chase for public safety concerns. They then managed to stop the man’s car on the Pacific Highway at Bonville using road spikes. The suspect then continued running on foot before turning around and attacking officers with a knife. An officer deployed a taser which was ineffective prior to the suspect being shot.

There have also been reports that the incident followed weeks of harassment from the alleged perpetrator.

The victim remains in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Also on The Big Smoke

Cory Bernadi took a break from official duties as an observer at the United Nations this week to publicly endorse Donald Trump in the US presidential race. He also confirmed that Mr Trump is the only person that he follows on Twitter.

Labor were quick to call on PM Turnbull to pull Bernardi into line, pointing out that he is there on a taxpayer funded trip, representing parliament which hardly includes getting involved in commentary regarding the US election.


Wacky and wonderful

Everyone’s favourite ponytailed assassin action hero, Steven Seagal, has officially received Russian citizenship this week via presidential decree from Vladimir Putin.

That’s right, Casey Ryback is sleeping with the enemy.

Seagal has never been afraid of taking the stranger path. Since the late ’80s, he has been a Reserve Deputy Chief in the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana Sherrif’s Office. In 2008, this led to the A&E television show, Steven Seagal: Lawman, which followed Seagal during his work as a deputy.

His new citizenship, as it turns out, is a natural extension of the bromance he has with Putin, who he has described as “one of the great living world leaders” and whom he says he would like to consider as a “brother”. Back in 2013, Putin had actually suggested that they appoint Seagal as an honorary consul in California and Arizona to allow him to act as a go-between for Putin and Obama.

Who knows…if Trump wins, it may turn out to be a good idea. When a failed reality television star is suddenly in charge of the nuclear codes, then you really need a larger than life action star to sort shit out…


I don’t know about you, but in my humble opinion there are fewer greater human beings on this planet than the one and only Sir David Attenborough. He makes nature cool and does it with dulcet tones that make you feel like you are wrapped up in a warm blanket. I had the pleasure of seeing him live last year and thought afterwards that it just wasn’t possible to love him any more than I already did.

Until now.

Sir David was recently speaking to the Radio Times about his new BBC series, Planet Earth II, and inevitably the conversation turned to the US election and Donald Trump. Interviewer Emily Maitlis reminded Attenborough that in 2012, Trump claimed that climate change was a hoax made up by the Chinese. Sir David could do nothing but cradle his head in his hands.

Attenborough went on to say “Yes, I know. Well, we’ve lived through that with earlier presidents – they’ve been equally guilty… But what alternative do we have? Do we have any control of influence over the American elections? Of course we don’t”.

He paused, had a quiet giggle and softly continued, “We could shoot him… It’s not a bad idea.”

When the world’s biggest conservationist believes the best alternative is to shoot a man then you probably shouldn’t elect him as your president… just sayin’…


Have a cracking week, TBSers!

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