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A sad sad week. We lost Sean Spicer from the White House, another Greens Senator from the Senate and one Canadian fisherman farewelled his innocence, to a roving pack of randy seals.
Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve seen the departure of another key Trump staff member, the loss of leftist hope back home and two very different weird stories from Canada.
Everyone’s favourite White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, has hung up the microphone and resigned this week, citing the chaos in the Trump administration and specifically the appointment of New York financier, Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.
President Trump has said via new press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, that he is grateful for Spicer’s service. In the statement he pointed to Spicers “great television ratings” as proof of a job well done; an unsurprising metric from the world’s first Twitter President.
How Huckabee Sanders performs as his replacement remains to be seen, but in his short tenure, Spicer has certainly left a legacy. He was the Press Secretary that hid in the bushes when it became a little too tough and the Press Secretary given the near impossible task of defending the indefensible – pretty much every word that has come out of Trump’s mouth. Let alone referring to our own PM Turnbull as Trumble. The list goes on.
The music world has been hit by tragedy again this week with the apparent suicide of Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington.
Bennington had discussed his struggle with depression and addiction earlier this year in an interview however many that knew him believed he was winning the battle . Motley Crue Bassist, Nikki Sixx, tweeted after the news came out “I am in tears. Chester just told me how happy he was…he was such a sweet and talented man…..I feel so sad for his family, band mates and fans”.
Chester has been close friends with Chris Cornell who we also lost this year to suicide and had performed at his funeral.
Whilst most of the public and the music industry have paid tribute or sent condolences, Korn guitarist, Brian Welch, took to social media to call Chester a coward.
“Honestly, Chester’s an old friend who we’ve hung with many times, and I have friends who are extremely close to him, but this is truly p_ssing me off! How can these guys send this message to their kids and fans?! I’m sick of this suicide s__t! I’ve battled depression/mental illness, and I’m trying to be sempethetic (sic), but it’s hard when you’re pissed! Enough is enough! Giving up on your kids, fans, and life is the cowardly way out”.
He experienced significant and swift backlash which resulted in a quick retraction saying he “didn’t mean to sound insensitive” and that he knew “this could have been me back in the day after getting wasted one night”.
At any other time it may have been considered tongue in cheek, but Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, has publicly produced evidence that he renounced his Italian citizenship prior to being elected. Di Natale posted a copy of a certificate from the Italian consulate on his twitter account along with “Ecco qui. Non sono Italiano (Here goes. I’m not Italian!)”.
In last week’s TBS Current Affairs Wrap, I reported that Greens Co-Deputy Leader, Scott Ludlam, had resigned after it was discovered that he still held New Zealand citizenship, making him ineligible to hold office in Australia.
As everyone was coming to terms with the incredible oversight, we then saw the resignation of another Green’s Senator, Larissa Waters, after it was confirmed that she still held Canadian citizenship. Waters was born in Canada and spent the first eleven months of her life there but has never been back.
Waters explained that she was of the belief that she had been naturalised as an Australian and that she had a choice at age 21 to choose whether or not to be a Canadian citizen which she opted not to. Waters went on to explain that the law surrounding this apparently changed just a week after her birth which required her to actively renounce her Canadian citizenship rather than just not opt-in.
Nonetheless, section 44 of the constitution specifically excludes dual nationals from holding office leaving Waters with no option but to join her fellow Deputy Co-Leader, Ludlam, on the sidelines. Both cases are technicalities and one could easily argue that Section 44 was never intended to be used in such a way. Particularly when you consider that both former PM’s Gillard and Abbott were born overseas but both had correctly renounced the citizenship of their respective birthplaces.
That didn’t stop One Nation’s Pauline Hanson from taking the opportunity to capitalise on Twitter by saying “After 2nd citizenship related resignation Greens are confirmed as most un-Australian party”.
Rich words from the most un-Australian public figure currently polluting our screens and airwaves.
Wacky and Wonderful
We’ve all lost our car at some point or another. Whether it be in a Seinfeldesque moment amongst the homogeneous levels of a multi-level car park or simply forgetting which laneway or side street we left it in after making the smart decision to taxi home during a big night out.
When US teenager, Gavin Strickland, not only found himself in a similar situation but managed to do it in an entirely different country, the Internet came to his rescue.
Strickland had driven from Syracuse, New York to Toronto (to attend a Metallica concert) but in his rush to hear the opening notes from “Nothing Else Matters”, neglected to note where he had left the car. His Father took to Craigslist to seek help, posting the following advert which quickly went viral:
“Our doofy son parked the car in an indoor parking garage, in the first floor (slightly lower / basement level) but that garage cannot now be located…The car has US Florida licence plates, a small Canadian flag affixed to the door frame, and a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker”.
Thus began what one online user called “the best scavenger hunt ever”.
Madison Riddols and her boyfriend tracked down the vehicle after deciding to “go on a little adventure in our city”. Strickland was delighted to hear the car was found and quickly returned to Toronto to find it. In even better news, the car park where it was found only charged him for one day and waived the other four days it was left there and gave him a Bluetooth device as a gift to help him avoid a future repeat incident. Hats off Toronto – there aren’t many places in the world where this story would have had such a happy and generous ending.
While we’re in Canada, over the other side in British Columbia, a commercial fisherman has told the media that he was held captive for 24 hours – by a herd of seals.
Pete McAllister was thrown from a commercial fishing boat during a heavy storm leading the Canadian Coast Guard to consider him dead. According to McAllister who has now been found alive, he managed to find his way onto a rock island populated by seagulls and dozens of seals.
Already weak and dehydrated, when the seals began showing signs of aggression, McAllister decided to play dead. It worked…..sort of. According to McAllister, the Seals didn’t think he was dead, but rather, thought he was a female seal. They then proceeded to try and have their way with him.
As strange as it sounds, the tale might not be so fishy. Marine biologist, Helen Feller, has said that the elephant seals were definitely in breeding season during which time they can become very aggressive. According to Feller, “It may sound weird to say, but if the seals hadn’t tried to mate with him, he would’ve probably died from hypothermia”.
May sound weird to say Helen? Understatement of the year…
That’s it from me TBSers! Have a cracking week!