Current Affairs Wrap: Dick Smith’s electronic empire shorted out, Cory Bernadi sparked a fire under Bill Shorten, and the force of the Trump campaign still remained strong – Rob Idol
Hello all, and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had Trump continue to offend while stepping ever closer to the White House, the closure of an iconic Aussie brand and a dream come true for a 16-year-old in Russia.
We’ll start with a quick check on what’s happening with the US Presidential Race. This week saw both Trump and Clinton triumph for their respective parties in the Nevada caucus. The result itself isn’t a huge surprise – after all, if Las Vegas was a person, it would be Donald Trump, and I’m certain that “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” is somewhere on the Clinton family crest. (I know. Sorry.)
Even as Trump’s closest rivals, the ’70s television detective duo of Rubio and Cruz, launched a joint offensive, the Trump train still rocketed down the track, with its horn getting louder at each station. The normal rules of political jousting seemingly don’t fly for Trump as even a former rival, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has now bought his ticket and boarded the Trump Express.
Adding insult to injury (which should honestly be his campaign slogan), some of Trump’s old interviews resurfaced this week, the most controversial being one with Howard Stern in 1997 where Trump described Princess Diana as “crazy” and went on to indicate that he would still have sex with her. Not just would, but could have, when directly asked by Stern, “you could’ve gotten her, right? You could’ve nailed her?” Trump went on to add, for God knows what reason, that he’s never “pleasured himself” to pictures of Di. We didn’t need to know the beginning and we really didn’t need to know the end. I just hope he doesn’t hold that same impulse now.
Canada’s relatively new PM Justin Trudeau is set to become one of the first world leaders to march in a Gay Pride parade. Whilst technically not the first to do so, (former Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt marched in the Copenhagen Gay Pride Parade in 2012,) Trudeau’s participation has garnered significant attention in the international community. He will be joined by his Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, Toronto Mayor John Tory, and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who also happens to the first lesbian premier in Canada. Trudeau, for the record, is Catholic.
Our own PM could see this as a missed opportunity with the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade due to take place next weekend. Not only has Turnbull had a history of attending (the parade route is in his electorate), but prior to taking the big chair, he had been reasonably public in his support for marriage equality. Word is he won’t be anywhere near it this time around, throwing further evidence behind the growing theory that he is nothing more than a sheep in Abbott’s habit.
This week saw struggling retailer Dick Smith announce that it would be closing its doors for good after fifty years. The company is currently in receivership, with appointed receivers Ferrier Hodgson desperately trying to find a buyer for the chain to no avail.
The closure will result in the loss of 2,890 jobs with all 363 Australian and New Zealand stores boarding up the windows within eight weeks. The company was founded by famous Aussie philanthropist Dick Smith in 1968, however, it was sold to supermarket giant Woolworths in 1982. Since then, it has been bought and sold more than five times by a variety of private equity companies until it informed the Australian Securities Commission earlier this year that it had gone into voluntary administration.
Dick Smith has expressed his disappointment and outrage at the result, suggesting that Anchorage Capital, the private equity company that purchased the brand from Woolworths in 2011, has a lot to answer for.
Rumours of an early Federal election have hit fever pitch this week, with Christopher Pyne suggesting on Channel 9 that July would be “as good a time as any for an election.” Pyne did go on to say, however, that he didn’t think there was any plan to have an election in July.
Pyne’s seesawing aside, the possibility of a double dissolution election is a real one, as the Government continues to watch their popularity drop and the popularity of their opposition rise, as the two parties hit a deadlock in this week’s polls. As it becomes increasingly obvious that Turnbull is unable to follow through on the many promises he made, an early election could presumably put the opposition on the back foot as well as allowing him the opportunity to obtain a direct mandate from the public as far as policy direction is concerned.
Whilst the Labor party have drawn level with the Libs, Turnbull still has the advantage over his counterpart, Bill Shorten, in the preferred PM polls. Shorten, however, may have “shortened” (somebody stop me) this gap following a confrontation with resident Lib bigot, Cory Bernardi.
Shorten was fronting the media over the Libs’ investigation into the Safe Schools program, something that Bernardi himself is fighting to have withdrawn.
The anti-bullying program is focused on creating a more accepting environment for children who identify as LGBTI. Bernardi is fiercely opposed to the program suggesting that it “indoctrinates” children and was seeing children “being bullied and intimidated into complying with a radical program.” The small minded view is no surprise from a Senator that once likened homosexuality to bestiality.
During Shorten’s press conference, Bernardi happened to be walking past in the background, which drew Shorten’s attention as he quickly ad-libbed, “there’s the chap.” Bernardi, not one to shy away from a shitfight, hit back with, “at least I’m honest, Bill, and you’re a fraud.” Then Shorten, possibly channeling master Labor Party jiber, Paul Keating, turned to the camera and retorted, “no, mate. At least I’m not a homophobe.” The epic verbal blow by Shorten has seen him draw praise from many in the wider community, myself included. The possibility that he has more moxie than we had thought does not bode well for the Turnbull Government.
Bernardi wasn’t going to leave it there, of course, as he made every attempt on social media to unequivocally prove that he is nothing but a weak little bully who isn’t used to being called out for what he truly is. Bernardi tweeted “It’s disappointing someone seeking to be PM resorts to name calling when confronted with a different policy view.”
Sorry Cory, homophobia isn’t a policy view. It’s an affliction of the fear-filled, weak-minded bigots who have no place in modern society, let alone politics.
Wacky and wonderful
A Russian schoolboy this week has had all of his pubescent fantasies come true after winning a competition to live with a porn star for a month. (Um, what? – Ed)
Ruslan Schedrin, who is reportedly sixteen years old, described himself as “so happy” and “boiling inside” after taking out the online competition. The porn star “prize” in question is Ekaterina Makarov, also known as Macy Ssens, who is believed to be in her mid-twenties.
The win bodes well for young Ruslan as Makarov refused to rule out taking the young man to bed, stating, “It is not supposed to, but life is life,” before describing sixteen as “a good age to be independent.”
Unsurprisingly, Ruslan’s mother isn’t too impressed, indicating that she believes that her son should be focused on studying. At the very least, his time with Makarov, who Ruslan described as having “good sizes” should see him ace his biology exams.
From the files of “Only in America,” one of Iowa’s legislative bodies has this week passed a bill which will allow children to handle handguns.
The move isn’t that surprising, as current laws place no restrictions on children using long guns or shotguns under parental supervision. State Representative Kirstin Running-Marquardt, unsurprisingly a Democrat, hit the nail on the head, stating, “we do not need a militia of toddlers.”
Then again, we are talking about a country that may well out-Bush themselves by electing Donald Trump to the White House…so really, anything is is possible. God help us all…
That’s it from me, readers. Have a great week!
The ‘weak’ in Aussie politics as seen by Roger Pugh
This was the week when Bill finally realised that Malcolm had only been teasing him over the GST.
Heard at Liberal Party HQ
“It seems like Malcolm’s honeymoon is finally over”
“Now he can concentrate on divorcing Bronnie”
Heard in Tony’s office
“I was disappointed not to get a gig in Malcolm’s shuffle”
“Look at it this way, you’re lucky he didn’t wreak his revenge by putting you in charge of the NBN”
Heard in the Canberra Press Gallery
“Are you expecting any new economic policies from Malcolm this week?”
“No chance, Tony’s policies won’t reach their use-by date until the budget”
Heard in a Canberra restaurant
“Sarah Hanson Young seems to have gone quiet recently”
“I think that’s because she’s realised that if she applies her normal mode of address to anyone besides Tony she’d be charged under Section 18C”
Heard at a Liberal ladies lunch
“I hear you’ve been going through a rough period recently”
“That’s true I even sent Barnaby a Valentine Card”
Heard in the Coalition caucus
“How do you rate Bill’s plan for negative gearing?”
“A non-starter somewhere between reverse and neutral”