Russians protect Medibank hackers despite AFP information


Russia knows who carried out the Medibank hack, but it won’t help the Australian cops. AFP commissioner Reece Kershaw says he gave Russian authorities the identities and locations of the criminal responsible for the hack, the SMH ($) reports, but they did nothing — a “one-way street” as Kershaw described it, though no timeframe was reported by the paper. Oddly, it’s six months since we worked out the hack — which affected millions of Aussies — came from Russia; at the time the Russian ambassador was offended we didn’t share our intelligence with Moscow.

Meanwhile the Albanese government is waiting too — waiting on South Australia to hand over land surrounding the Osborne shipyard to make room for the nuclear-powered submarines. The SA government and the federal government signed a cooperation agreement in March when Defence Minister Richard Marles said the government wanted to build the shipyard “immediately”, The Advertiser ($) reports. Vice-Admiral Jonathan Mead is antsy, warning Beijing’s rapid military growth will see it accumulate about 200 surface ships by the end of the decade, up from 57 in 2000.


Afterpay, Zip and other buy now pay later services (BNPL) will be — at long last — treated the same as credit products, the ABC reports. Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones will announce today that BNPL businesses will be regulated under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act and will require a credit licence, with Jones saying the model posed “growing dangers to consumers”. Why? It’s just really, really easy to get approval — far easier than through a bank. Guardian Australia reports some of those calling the national debt helpline with a BNPL debt — some as high as $30,000 — had almost always maxed out all their other credit cards. It’s only been made worse by the rising cost of living in recent months, experts said.

Speaking of — driving down inflation was a key promise from the Albanese government ahead of the election, so how’s it going? Take a look at the “Promise Tracker” from the ABC, which is following all the promises by status or subject matter, including cutting power bills for households by $275 a year by 2025 compared with before the election (in progress), and reducing the maximum charge for PBS scripts by $12.50 from January 2023 (done). So far the “broken” button has no promises within it, though there are six within “stalled”. Meanwhile the NSW government is taking on home ownership, the SMH ($) reports, hoping to convince the crossbench of its policy to remove stamp duty on properties under $800,000 (up from the Coalition’s $650,000) while any property purchased up to $1 million will have a slashed rate.


ABC boss David Anderson has apologised to Stan Grant after the outgoing Indigenous host wrote a powerful story about the ongoing “grotesque racist abuse” he’d copped, Guardian Australia reports. Anderson acknowledged that Grant feels publicly unsupported by the broadcaster, but he also slammed “sustained and vitriolic” anti-ABC reporting. Indeed The Australian and Sky News mentioned Aunty no fewer than 150 times in the two weeks after the ABC’s coronation coverage, data showed. In a recent editorial (a category this Worm writer finds an archaic news relic that allows broad strokes without byline accountability), The Australian ($) said the ABC “fell far short of acceptable standards”, calling a panel about the monarchy’s impact on Indigenous peoples a “one-sided tirade of bitterness and bile”. That a national broadsheet was indignant about First Nations folks having a difficult association with the Crown…

Still, ABC is not without fault. Former ABC staffer and now Nine Newspapers’ ($) Osman Faruqi said 16 of the 17 people on the ABC’s leadership team and board are white, creating either a “dismissive” or at times “hostile” environment for people of colour. Pakistani-Australian comedian Sami Shah tweeted that management “perpetuates and practises a level of racism that every [person of colour] in media knows about”. Dismal. It’s not clear yet whether Grant will return to our screens, but in the meantime, the Q+A post could be taken up by RN Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas according to The Australian ($), with longer-term replacement names such as The Drum co-host and Warumungu man Dan Bourchier being floated.


British army veteran Hari Budha Magar has done the near-impossible — he climbed to the top of Mount Everest. The 43-year-old said it was “harder than I could have ever imagined” but the group just had to “carry on and push for the top, no matter how much it hurt or how long it took”. It was made even more remarkable by a teensy tiny detail that did complicate things somewhat: Magar has no legs. Back in 2010, the Gurkha had been trudging across the landscape of Afghanistan when his foot came down on a seemingly innocuous patch of soil. In an instant, everything went black. When he woke up again, he looked down to see both his legs had disappeared. He said he felt quite certain that his “life was finished”.

But the father of three slowly recovered, and was faced with learning to live life with his new disability. To some people’s surprise, Magar even began to thrive with it, as the BBC reports, taking up skiing, golfing, cycling and climbing — no joke. His biggest goal, he said, was to “simply to change perceptions on disability and to inspire other people to climb their own mountains”, no matter what they look like. Everyone has that voice of self-doubt, whose sentences begin with “I can’t…” But there’s another voice in there, a voice of courage, and that’s the one we have to strain to hear sometimes. But strain we must. “No matter how big your dreams, no matter how challenging your disability, with the right mindset, anything is possible,” Magar said.

Wishing you a smidge of his determination today folks.


There are some countries where your head would be cut off for doing that sort of protest. That’s not the case in Australia. Protest is a good thing — but if you’re going to do stupid stuff that puts your life at risk, that puts other lives at risk, you can expect to get up to a $50,000 fine.

David Speirs

Just be grateful the state isn’t murdering you, South Australia’s Liberal leader said, in defending harsh penalties following Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in Adelaide.


Housing Australia Future Fund? Four words, four lies

(Image: Gorkie/Private Media)

“How inadequate is that? Well, the waiting list for public housing in Victoria is 60,000 households, with 36,000 in urgent need. So it would address 8% of the urgent needs — over five years. It wouldn’t even touch the sides of acute housing distress. Rental stress and unmet housing needs? It isn’t within a million miles of doing anything about that.

“Come at it another way. Nationally, there were about 60,000 absolutely homeless people in 2021 (with another 60,000 highly precarious). They need, say, 20,000 homes. The Housing Australia Future Fund wouldn’t even house all the Australians sleeping in a tent or their car tonight — after five years. So it’s not a Housing Australia Future Fund, is it? It’s a cynical joke, a political stunt.”

My future looks bleak, and Labor’s two-faced climate rhetoric achieves nothing

“When young people are struggling to comprehend that we must construct our futures within a world characterised by frequent and severe natural disasters, a world where climate change is exacerbating food insecurity and impacting living standards, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has recently greenlit four new coalmines.

“For a government that needs younger voters onside to secure a second term in Parliament, it’s failing to acknowledge that more Australians than ever are stating climate change as their central concern. Labor’s climate policies are symbolic of its party’s system of governance as a whole. We see ambition to do marginally better than the past government, but not a bit more. No ambition to stand up to the fossil fuel donors that continue to overtly influence political behaviour, day in, day out.”

Our housing crisis won’t be easily fixed. It’s designed not to be

“Most prominently, housing prices are not regulated. In Australia’s highly privatised housing market, vendors compete at auction to charge the highest possible price for selling a property. Landlords are free to charge the highest rent the market will bear. Rent caps are anathema to many economists, and of course to landlords. But should they be? Our governments regulate energy prices, minimum wages, even university fees. Given current market failures, refusing to cap rents amounts to a free kick to landlords to make windfall gains.

“Governments are also failing to build. Genuinely addressing housing supply requires a massive national effort of affordable home building, analogous to the huge public investments made after World War II. State governments are particularly culpable, in recent times selling off more public housing than they’ve managed to build.”


Far-right minister says Israel ‘in charge’ during visit to Jerusalem holy site (Reuters)

Here’s why Europe is watching Spain’s regional elections (euronews)

Rome climate protesters turn Trevi fountain water black (The Guardian)

Biden says he has authority to challenge debt limit, but no time (The New York Times)

Greek PM leads election but no majority: exit poll (BBC)

Jeffrey Epstein appeared to threaten Bill Gates over Microsoft co-founder’s affair with Russian bridge player (The Wall Street Journal)

Anti-regime activists in Canada accuse Cuba of using YouTube channel to intimidate them (CBC)

Electric vehicle sales hit a tipping point in 2022 (CNN)


The good, the bad and the populist of Labor’s first yearAlexander Downer (The AFR) ($): “Speed through Jim Chalmers’ speeches because they’re laced with politics. Yes, yes, Labor is better than the Liberals etc etc. Instead, spend some time on the recent comments of the Treasury secretary and the present and former governors of the RBA and study carefully the work of the Productivity Commission. What has interested me in the past week is Steven Kennedy’s call for economic reform to lift Australia’s woeful productivity performance. It reflected the cry of anguish in the fascinating Productivity Commission report of last March which gave advice on how Australia could lift its productivity performance, thereby lifting the living standards of our population.

“Yet the political class are playing a different game. They’re playing populist politics. They’re dividing the country over two false narratives. First, they’re trying to convince us that by giving unelected radical Indigenous activists a permanent consultative forum, the country will unite and the problems of remote Indigenous communities will be solved. It seems unlikely that people who have weaponised race will be unifiers. If the Voice gets up in the forthcoming referendum it will set up a permanent and institutionalised confrontation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. If it fails, it will leave a trail of bitterness among its supporters. Either way, the Voice referendum will be one of the most divisive acts by any Australian government I can remember.”

A watered down Indigenous Voice to Parliament would still be an affront to the ideal of constitutional equalityTony Abbott (The Australian) ($): “Those wanting the Voice to be watered down, from the current fourth arm of government, to a constitutionally sanctified advisory body to the Parliament (and perhaps also to ministers too) think this might allay fears that this is really a power grab by Indigenous activists masquerading as constitutional recognition and that it might make it easier for the federal parliamentary Liberal Party to drop its opposition to the Voice. The Voice modifiers are decent people who are understandably worried about the bitterness a failed referendum could engender, hence their eagerness to make it more acceptable.

“But the Voice opponents are decent people too, also worried about the bitterness of a failed referendum, just not enough to acquiesce in a dud change that should have been better thought through from the start. Whether they’re pro or anti Voice, none of the current proposal’s critics deserve the vitriol Noel Pearson has directed at them. Instead of providing the prophetic leadership of which he is sometimes capable, Pearson’s bullying of everyone who dares to disagree illustrates just how divisive this Voice of his would be. A Voice that could make representations to a much more limited range of entities and that had the effect of its representations clearly defined would certainly be less of a potential disruption to the work of government.”



Yuggera and Turrbal Country (also known as Brisbane)

  • Author Nicole Madigan will discuss her new book, Obsession, at Avid Reader bookshop.

Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)

  • Vietnamese writer and poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is running a creative writing workshop to explore memory and family heritage at the Wheeler Centre. There is actually a bunch of workshops on today — check them out here.

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