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Embattled Home Affairs department awarded A+ for spin

Overall, is this ANAO stamp of approval good? Well sure, particularly for secretary Michael Pezzullo who’s been atop the super department since its inception.

Does this mean it answers questions from journalists when asked? Of course, it doesn’t.

At least, we’re told, they’re polite and meet deadlines with their responses to the questions they wish they’d been asked.

The report gave a shout-out to Home Affairs’ most liked social media post from 2022 as well. It was from Australian Border Force about the end of TV show Neighbours and wished all the best to Toadie.

It makes sense, on reflection, that Border Force would think having good neighbours is desirable. We’re glad the department found time and resources to post that contribution amid all the other things it’s doing so well.


The opening of ex-commando Heston Russell’s defamation trial against the ABC in Sydney on Friday saw his barrister Sue Chrysanthou, SC, go full ham and accuse the national broadcaster of going “rogue”.

One comes to expect a certain rhetorical flourish from Chrysanthou and it’s fair to say she delivered, even with a somewhat croaky voice that prompted Justice Michael Lee to ask if she required a break. (Reader, she did not, although she did say it was a product of “too much talking”.)

Heston Russell (left) with barristers Sue Chrysanthou, SC, and Nicholas Olson (back).Credit: Kate Geraghty

“Shoddy, uncorroborated, reckless reporting is not in anyone’s interest,” Chrysanthou said in a blistering opening. “And because of those uncontroversial notions, the public interest defence in this case is absolutely doomed.”

But there were moments of levity in the proceedings, including Chrysanthou quipping that she would listen to a newly discovered audio recording of an interview conducted by ABC Investigations journalist Mark Willacy “over lunch while I eat my sad salad”.

In happier times, Chrysanthou and Russell shared shards of chocolate from a reindeer-themed smash cake the barrister sent the commando in February as a late Christmas present.

“Breaking the summer shred regime with a belated Christmas present from the Baddest Boss-B* Barrister in the land,” Russell posted on Instagram with a happy snap that included Chrysanthou and a comically teeny mallet.

“Be Rude, get Sued”, read an edible badge on the cake.

Perhaps the commando-turned-fitness influencer could return the culinary favour and hook Chrysanthou up with some finer Federal Court fuel.

The ABC is set to deliver its own opening on Monday.


Beyonce’s Renaissance tour might have conspicuously skipped Australian shores but don’t fret, the event’s spiritual antipode, the Conservative Political Action Conference, is hitting The Star in Sydney next month with an all-right lineup.

Naturally, one of the nation’s most confident orators Pauline Hanson will kick off festivities before CPAC chair Warren Mundine and Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price preach No to the proverbial choir.

Anti-trans campaigner Sall Grover, expelled Victorian Liberal MP Moira Deeming, Women’s Forum Australia’s Rachael Wong and former senator Amanda Stoker will convene for the panel “Have the left fallen out of love with women?” (CPAC certainly hasn’t, with a whopping 36 per cent women on the lineup. Who needs quotas?)

Alan Jones and Price have featured in the event’s online advertising along with the slightly less infamous Nick Cater, executive director of the Menzies Research Institute and current host of Battleground on Jones’ “outrage network” ADH TV, which is also a sponsor of CPAC.

Cater, an enthusiastic proponent of nuclear energy, is fresh off a ground-trembling investigation where he uncovered a “graveyard” of dozens of discarded wind turbines in Queensland.

“Renewable energy isn’t actually that renewable,” the gonzo reporter told Sky News host Andrew Bolt. “They’ll just sit there leeching various substances into the earth.”

This column wonders if the same concern extends to decaying uranium.

Facebook events are a terrible gauge of audience interest, but CPAC’s social marketing spree has convinced 14 people to hit “Going” on the online invite. CPAC’s treasurer will be praying at least some of those attendees have stumped up the $7000 for VIP platinum tickets.

That eye-watering sum promises “a unique experience like no other in Australia”, although flicking on Sky after dark might get you close enough.



Earlier this month, CBD reported Australia cricket captain Pat Cummins had signed on as global brand ambassador and shareholder of Goodness Group Global, parent company of reduced-sugar soft drinks slinger Nexba.

Now they’ve added recent Sunrise émigré David Koch to their celebrity investor roster. Kochie contributed to the Aussie start-up’s Series B capital raise, which is aiming for $7.75 million.

The fable goes Kochie met founders Drew Bilbe and Troy Douglas on a plane a decade ago and has been an admirer of their valiant crusade against sugar ever since.

Kochie’s kombucha cash splash has been egged up as his first big move post-Sunrise and he’s instructed his content marketing company, Pinstripe Media, to help signal boost Nexba.

Prepare for slo-mo shots of Cummins downing ’booch and indulging in the group’s latest product: a no added sugar, keto friendly Black Forest Torte. CBD prefers its pastries fully loaded, but each to their own.

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https://www.smh.com.au/cbd/embattled-home-affairs-department-awarded-a-for-spin-20230730-p5dsed.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Embattled Home Affairs department awarded A+ for spin

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