Census sensibility

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Census sensibility

I AM, YOU ARE

Australia is now mostly migrants, with 51.5% of our population either born overseas or the kids of people born overseas, according to the 2021 census. Where are they coming from? England and India mostly — indeed nearly a quarter of a million of us speak Punjabi at home now, up 80% from the last census. And about one in 10 of us call an apartment home now, The Courier-Mail ($) continues, while half of people over 15 are married — some 46.5% (of those, 24,000 are in same-sex marriages, the first time this has been recorded since we legalised it).

For the first time Christians make up less than half of our population — just 43.9% of respondents to the 2021 census chose it as their religion, ABC reports, compared to 39% who said they were non-religious. About 2.7% of us chose Hindu, while 3.2% chose Islam. The times they are a-changing — in 1911, 96% of us were Christian, whereas in the mid 1960s, less than 1% said they had no religion.

Also in the 2021 census — there are now equal proportions of Millennials and Boomers in society (both 21.5%), the SMH reports, signalling a shift in government policy is coming, statistician David Gruen says. A decade ago, more than a quarter of our population were Boomers, whereas only 20% were Millennials (Gen Z make up 18%). Interestingly, about one in eight boomers care for “other peoples’ children”, the paper says, and are more likely to volunteer. Millennials are still studying — accounting for 40% of TAFE and other vocational students — and they make up half of the defence force too.  About 96% of Australian households participated in the census.

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LAW AND BORDER

Overnight Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Russia’s “brutal” invasion had broken international laws and had major consequences for the world, the SMH reports. He’s in Madrid at the moment at the NATO summit along with with Asia-Pacific leaders from Korea, Japan, and New Zealand — Albo continued that the invasion came as China and Russia declared they had a “special relationship” and that definitely upped the ante for Australia. Albanese spoke to the AFR before he flew out to Madrid, saying he still wasn’t sure if he’d go to Ukraine on the way home — it depends on security advice, he said. We’ve donated $285 million in military assistance and $60 million in humanitarian assistance so far, meaning were in the “top dozen” of countries, the paper adds.

Albanese also said he’s chatted to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare for the first time — he called it a “constructive” conversation. Sogavare was acidic after Australia reacted to the security pact the nation formed with China — the PM didn’t name us, per se, but said his country was being treated like “kindergarten students walking around with Colt 45s in our hands”, Sky News reports, and even raised the possibility they might be invaded when speaking at Solomon Islands’ parliament. At the time, former PM Scott Morrison replied that “none of that is true”, but Morrison also stopped talking to Sogavare over fears he would misrepresent the conversation, the SMH reports.

MONEY FOR SOMETHING

Embattled former deputy premier John Barilaro approached former opposition leader Jodi McKay about a trade job in India, Guardian Australia reports. McKay didn’t get the job, but his personal involvement raises an eyebrow considering the NSW government swears the public service — not ministers — were in charge of appointments. It comes as an upper house inquiry into Barilaro’s own appointment to a plum NY gig that pays half a million bucks will begin today.

To (soon-to-be) another former minister now and Fair Work has found Labor MP Kristina Keneally was “unnecessarily harsh” in sacking a former staffer, Crikey reports. Pierce Field was fired after he contacted former Liberal minister Craig Laundy to accuse him of acting inappropriately towards former NSW Liberal candidate Natalie Baini. Baini was Laundy’s ex. Fair Work agreed it was fair enough to sack Field over it, but he should’ve got the opportunity to defend himself. He was awarded the equivalent of a week’s wages.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

She has a little trunk, a tail, two tiny ears, and a smattering of fluff — a near-perfectly mummified baby woolly mammoth has been discovered 35,000 years (!) after she roamed the earth. It’s the most important paleontological discovery in North America and certainly “one of the most incredible mummified ice age animals ever discovered in the world” expert Grant Zazula says — adding that “she’s perfect and she’s beautiful”. The calf’s discovery was pretty serendipitous — a young miner was digging through the northern Canadian permafrost on a public holiday when he noticed something. The mining company phoned Zazula who, shellshocked, scrambled to find geologists to excavate the mini woolly mammoth from the remote region. Just one hour after the geologists removed her body — which measures just 140cm — the heavens opened up. “If she wasn’t recovered at that time, she would have been lost in the storm,” Zazula says.

She was found on the traditional territory of the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin First Nation, and elders named her Nun cho ga, meaning “big baby animal” in the Hän language. One elder, Peggy Kormendy, says it took her breath away when they removed the tarp. So what happened to the little woolly mammoth? Well, geologists found a piece of grass in her stomach, meaning she was probably grazing when she got stuck in some mud. When the ice age hit, the permafrost froze her in time, a near-perfect crystalisation. Tens of thousands of years later, Nun cho ga had “chosen to reveal herself to all of us,” Kormendy says. What comes next for the woolly mammoth will be decided by the Indigenous Canadians “in a way that honours our traditions, culture and laws”.

Wishing you a little wonder and awe about it all today.

SAY WHAT?

Dads in Australia take less than 20% of the parental leave days that dads take globally. That is because our policy settings, aside from America, we’ve got the least adequate paid-parental leave scheme in the OECD.

Amanda Rishworth

The social services minister says she supports a flexible paid parental leave scheme ($) that would see couples share the 20 weeks of government-funded leave — which would encourage more dads to stay home and look after young kiddies. Incredibly, at the moment, fathers cannot access the leave (unless they’re in a same-sex relationship or there are exceptional circumstances).

Cows, camping and wine tasting: TikTok users are sending coded messages to women seeking safe abortions

“TikTok users who live in US states where abortion is still protected, or across the border in Canada, are posting coded messages offering their homes as safe places to stay for women who may now be forced to seek abortion outside their home state following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade.

“‘To my American besties,’ writes one user. ‘I live 20 minutes from the Michigan border. If you want to come ‘see my cows’ for the weekend, let me know. I can give you a safe space while you recover from ‘seeing my cows’.”

Dear Mark Butler, here are some facts about how Scott Morrison funded faith groups

“The new information might just give you the ammunition to ask:  what role did the Morrison Pentecostals have in allocating close to $2 million in taxpayers funds to the one80TC rehab facility? And how in heaven’s name did the Australian taxpayer ever get dragooned into paying for it? And how did one80TC’s activities ever get called rehab?

“In my stories last week I danced around the question of how closely the one80TC rehab facility was tied to Hillsong Church. Jacob Harrison, who spoke to us for our stories, called one80TC ‘a Hillsong indoctrination centre with a mild interest in rehab’. (Harrison had landed into rehab at one80TC direct from a psychiatric ward and found himself washing Brian Houston’s car as a ‘volunteer’.) Frankly I didn’t appreciate how right he was.”

Trump’s activist Supreme Court takes the US to the brink of Christian theocracy

“[Justice Clarence] Thomas wrote that the court should now also reconsider its other due process precedents, expressly referencing the historic judgments that recognised the rights to same-sex marriage, contraception and homosexual sex.

“Funnily enough, Thomas didn’t say whether he also thinks Loving v Virginia, a 1967 case which invalidated laws banning interracial marriage and was also based on the due process clause, should be overturned as well. Thomas’ own marriage is interracial, but that’s probably by the by.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

World faces ‘ocean emergency’, UN warns, as activists urge action (Al Jazeera)

Russian court says US basketball star Brittney Griner’s trial will begin on friday (The New York Times)

Russia defaults on foreign debt for first time since 1918 (The Wall Street Journal) ($)

Sudan recalls envoy to Ethiopia after execution of seven soldiers (Al Jazeera)

[NZ] Parliament protest prompts more than 750 police referrals to ‘wellness advisors’ (NZ Herald)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls for supreme court justices to be impeached (The Guardian)

Canada’s COVID-19 response better than many comparable countries, study finds (CBC)

Toxic gas leak in Jordan leaves 10 dead and hundreds injured (The Guardian)

Queen in Edinburgh for annual trip to Scotland (BBC)

THE COMMENTARIAT

‘Pusey law’ could result in people being jailed unfairly — Tania Wolff (The Age): “Last week the government introduced a bill to Parliament which will see the creation of a new criminal offence of grossly offensive public conduct. This offence will carry a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment. The Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 is the culmination of a campaign in response to Richard Pusey’s offensive behaviour after the Eastern Freeway crash in 2020 that left four police officers dead. The proposed new law creates an offence to engage in conduct that grossly offends community standards of acceptable conduct. But who decides this? What one person might find ‘grossly offensive’, another person may not.

“This law has come about as a response to a very specific, highly exceptional example of human behaviour. But the law has general application, and the potential impact of this proposed new legislation would deprive a convicted person of their liberty for up to five years. Given that there was an offence under which Pusey could be charged and did plead guilty, is this really a problem we need to solve through the introduction of new legislation? The concern expressed by lawyers across the Victorian legal community is that this new legislation may result in a disproportionate application of the law, adversely affecting vulnerable people, including those with mental health issues.”

1770 and all that — why renaming Cook Cup is wrong — Bella A’Brera (The Australian) ($): “The Rugby Football Union and Rugby Australia’s joint decision this month to rename the Cook Cup the Ella-Mobbs Trophy is not only pointless virtue signalling but also a gross misrepresentation of one of the most remarkable figures in our recent history. In the past few years James Cook has gone from being revered as a courageous hero to being vilified as a racist coloniser who represented British imperialism and genocide. Statues depicting him have been attacked, to the point where the monument in Sydney’s Hyde Park had to be protected by police during Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.

“Cook was no racist. He did not colonise Australia. He was not even an advocate of colonisation. During his second voyage he was thinking about the impact of European expansion on native societies: ‘We introduce among them wants and perhaps diseases which they never before knew, and which serves only to disturb that happy tranquillity they and their forefathers had enjoy’d. If anyone denies the truth of this assertion, let him tell me what the Natives of the whole extent of America have gained by the commerce they have had with Europeans’.”

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

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  • Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy and Essential Media’s Pete Lewis will unpack the fortnight’s political news in a webinar for The Australia Institute.

Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)

  • Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will speak about regional and rural issues at a speech hosted by The Rural Press Club of Victoria and held at the State Library.

Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

  • Senior Australian diplomat Richard Broinowski will speak about Australia’s nuclear ambitions at the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

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Peter Fray

Peter Fray


Editor-in-chief

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