In this episode, we look at the release of findings by the NSW ICAC regarding former Premier Gladys Berejiklian and former NSW MP, Daryl Maguire. The ICAC found both individuals engaged in serious corruption, with Berejiklian breaching public trust by supporting a grant to the Australian Clay Target Association and the construction of a hall for the Riverina Conservatorium of Music. While it was recommended that charges be laid against Maguire, no charges were recommended against Berejiklian. The findings come after criticism from former Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the former NSW Coalition government. The media’s portrayal of Berejiklian as a “victim of a bad relationship” has been challenged, and the delayed release of the findings has also sparked an outrage.
The war in Ukraine and recent events in Russia: Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner paramilitary force, instigated an insurrection in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, before surrendering his weapons and seeking exile in Belarus through a deal with President Alexander Lukashenko. The potential implications of this event, including the ongoing war in Ukraine and its potential to spread to Russia, pose serious risks for Europe and the rest of the world. However, Australian media coverage of these events has been lacking, leading people to seek information through alternative channels such as Twitter, Reddit, CNN, or Al Jazeera.
The former Labor leader Simon Crean died during the week, and is remembered as one of the more decent figures in federal politics, received tributes from all sides of the political spectrum. Although his tenure as Labor leader from 2001 to 2003 was not marked by strong public support or success in opinion polls, Crean made significant reforms within the Labor Party to make it more democratic and less dominated by union bureaucrats. His memorable speech opposing the Iraq war showcased his courage and foresight, ultimately vindicating his position.
We also look at recent opinion polling – the two-party preferred voting figures, which remain relatively stable with Labor at 54% and the Coalition at 46%. However, of particular concern for the federal government is the decline in the percentage of people who believe Australia is heading in the right direction. Over the course of a year, the figure dropped from 48% to 33%, while the number of people expressing that the country is going in the wrong direction increased from 27% to 47%. This shift in public opinion could have implications for the government’s popularity and electoral prospects.
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