The Jackal: December 2019

31 Dec 2019

Apathy in the face of disaster

Warning: This article contains topics that might trigger right wing snowflakes!

Unless you’ve had your head buried in a billabong for the last four months you’d of heard about the Australian bush fires. The fires have been unprecedented, with approximately five million hectares (12.35 million acres) of land burned nationwide. More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed and 9 people have now tragically lost their lives.

The world is watching with ever increasing unease about Australia's climate change related disaster. Not just because the fires aren't under control, but because the Australian Government is sitting on its hands while their country burns.

Youth environmental leader Greta Thunberg succinctly summed their apathy up in one of the most iconic tweets this year:

So what are Aussie leaders doing to help fight these fires? Well going on holiday of course.

On 22 Dec, The Guardian reported:

Scott Morrison says Hawaii holiday was like taking 'that extra plumbing contract' on a Friday afternoon

In a series of interviews on Monday Morrison cited family commitments as the reason for his decision to holiday in Hawaii during the crisis, comparing himself to a plumber forced to choose between a Friday afternoon job or seeing his family.

Morrison returned to work on Sunday, cutting short the holiday by a day after the deaths of two volunteer firefighters on Thursday, but insisted he would not “panic” by increasing Australia’s ambition to fight global heating.

Asked about his judgment in taking the holiday, Morrison said the fires had been going since September – citing his earlier visits to bushfire areas – and “still have a time to run yet”.

Even before the bush fire season had officially started the fires had ravaged much of the Australian east coast causing widespread damage. That stark reality wasn’t enough for Morrison to stick around though. Instead he set about annoying environmentalists by saying burning and exporting more coal wouldn’t make any difference to Australia’s fire season. He then went on holiday to Hawaii.

Australian Prime Minister - Scott Morrison

With an ever-increasing body of evidence available you would think that a Prime Minister would make the simple connection between these unprecedented bush fires and climate change increasing temperatures in Australia. Not Scott Morrison though. He’s been steadfastly ignoring the numerous scientists and their warnings that a hotter, drier climate would contribute to Australia's fires becoming more frequent and intense.

So why would Morrison ignore the warnings and advice that Australia must curb its GHG emissions? Well money of course.

On 23 Dec, AFP reported:

Australia PM defends coal as climate-fuelled bushfires burn

Under-fire Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday rejected calls for "reckless" and "job-destroying" cuts to the country's vast coal industry in the face of a deadly climate-fuelled bushfire crisis.

Morrison's conservative government has fiercely defended the lucrative coal industry in Australia, which produces a third of global coal exports and provides work in swing electoral districts.

"I am not going to write off the jobs of thousands of Australians by walking away from traditional industries," Morrison told the Seven Network, in one of several morning interviews rejecting calls for further action.

"What we won't do is engage in reckless and job-destroying and economy-crunching targets which are being sought," he told Channel 9, responding to calls for more climate-friendly policies.

While Scott Morrison cites the potential job losses from the lucrative coal industry for not reducing Australia's record breaking coal production level, he blatantly ignores the many thousands of jobs that will be directly lost because of these bush fires. He also fails to consider the lost productivity because of record-breaking pollution levels.

On Dec 2, The New York Times reported:

Australia Burns Again, and Now Its Biggest City Is Choking

State officials have warned of the dangers. The New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage said that “our network has recorded some of the highest air pollution ever seen” in the state.

In November, the department recorded 15 days of poor air quality, far beyond the monthly norm.  On Monday, the levels of PM2.5, the most harmful form of pollutant, were 22 times the accepted safety level — the equivalent of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day. Pollution levels were expected to reach similar heights on Friday.

Even compared to the terrible fire seasons of 1994 and 2001, “this event,” state officials said, “is the longest and the most widespread in our records.”

It’s not just the human cost that should be counted either.

On 29 Dec, The Evening Standard reported:

Nearly 500 million animals killed in Australian bushfires, experts fear

Around 480 million animals are feared to have died in the bushfires sweeping Australia, including nearly a third of the koalas in New South Wales's main habitat.

Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate around 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have been killed, directly or indirectly, by the devastating blazes since they began in September, The Times reported.

This includes almost 8,000 koalas, which are believed to have burnt to death on the state’s mid-north coast.

So what will it take to get Scott (Scumo) Morrison to act in the nations and environments best interest…one of Australia’s cities burning down? Clearly a change in Government will be required in Australia before we see any meaningful reduction to their coal exports, which account for a whopping 7% of GHG emissions worldwide.

There is no question that increasingly hotter temperatures are fuelling these fires...and despite underfunded fire-fighters best efforts, the numerous infernos look set to continue destroying homes and livelihoods across Australia with little to no intervention from their climate change denying Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.

30 Dec 2019

The Spinoff is a bit shit really

Call me old fashioned, but I like my sport to be played fair and on an even field. In fact there’s nothing worse than a game where the ref fails to umpire properly and one team is flouting the damn rules.

The same goes for politics. If journalists don’t do their jobs properly, politics becomes a complete shit show! That’s because without politicians being held to account they can pretty much get away with doing and saying whatever they want with impunity. In this regard biased reporting puts the entire political system and our democracy at risk. After all, a misinformed population cannot be expected to vote for or act in their own best interests.

Like previous years, the need for independent oversight and scrutiny from the press has never been greater. But unfortunately 2019 hasn’t seen any increase in balanced reporting. Instead, so-called journalists have again attempted to mislead the public into believing falsehoods with numerous examples of prejudiced and downright dishonest reporting often being the norm not the exception.

Toby Manhire - freelance writer and editor of The Spinoff

A good example of this was displayed when The Spinoff claimed in September that the Labour Party had attempted a cover-up of an alleged serious sexual assault, a claim that turned out to be entirely untrue.

On 18 Dec, Radio NZ reported:

Sexual assault allegations against ex-Labour staffer 'not established'

As part of her inquiry, Ms Dew conducted several interviews and considered 28,000 Facebook and text messages between the complainants, the respondent and others.

There was a "a serious allegation of sexual harassment" made against one of the Labour Party volunteers at his home, along with other allegations of sexual harassment made by the complainant and two other female complainants.

"The most serious allegations, those of sexual assault, were not established," the report said.

"The assault is alleged to have occurred in February 2018 at the respondent's home. However, there is insufficient evidence that the events occurred as alleged by Ms 1, at any time during February 2018.

"Her evidence was incorrect in several critical respects in relation to the events of that evening."

The report also revealed the two people had been in a "consensual personal relationship" for some eight months by February 2018.

On Dec 19, The Daily Blog reported:

TDB 2019 Media Awards  - Worst Journalism 2019 
The Spinoff published a damning one sided expose hit job alleging serious sexual assault, this led to feminist journalists and right wing Pundits to declare that not only must Jacinda have known about this sexual assault, but that she actively covered it up as well. 
It was a vicious character assassination against Jacinda based on nothing more than woke mantra and rumour.

A real good old fashioned witch trial.

When this erupted in the media, huge pressure went on Labour to cauterise this wound and Nigel Haworth lost his job and a review immediately called. To confuse matters, Simon Mitchell, Lawyer and Labour Party uber insider swore that the claimant had never sent the documents she claimed she did.

Pathetically The Spinoff hasn’t bothered to respond to Bomber Bradbury's post. Likewise, the Dew report confirming that the Labour Party wasn’t informed of the alleged serious sexual assault hasn’t resulted in any retractions of the lies that The Spinoff published.

Alex Casey - Senior Writer at The Spinoff
Such unwarranted silence is in stark contrast to their previous vociferous attention seeking. Without a second thought for those who might be impacted, opinionated hacks like Andrea Vance, Tova O'Brien, Toby Manhire and Alex Casey loudly beat their war drums for Labour Party resignations like a bunch of crazed zealots! Too invested in their own false narratives to properly contemplate just how prejudiced their misinformed reckons were, these “journalists” lacked impartiality on a scale never before seen in our faltering fourth estate.

Even now, after an extensive investigation and comprehensive report showed their accusations were false, some journalists still claim Labour mishandled the serious sexual assault complaint, which according to them is the reason party president Nigel Haworth resigned. Apparently the MSM still view Haworth as insignificant collateral damage not worth a second thought or upholding things like journalistic integrity over. God forbid they actually apologise to him for their numerous incorrect accusations that destroyed his previously unmarred career as the Labour Party president.

The investigation clearly shows that Haworth hadn't failed in his duty to the Labour Party or the alleged victims. Instead Haworth resigned because he admirably didn’t want to see his party mired in a relentless, vindictive and unfounded smear campaign orchestrated by unprofessional journalists whose attack articles lacked any semblance of objectivity.

23 Dec 2019

Paula Bennett wrong to condemn PM

Warning: This article contains sensitive topics some people might find offensive.

It seems rather tedious to have to reiterate this on the eve of Christmas, but people are innocent until proven guilty under New Zealand law. Evidently certain journalists and politicians have forgotten this basic tenet of our Justice System. Of course people can make assumptions, but the media and Members of Parliament in particular must ensure that they aren't simply broadcasting beliefs that are based on mere speculation.

I am of course referring to the findings of an inquiry into the allegations of sexual assaults and harassment that recently rocked the Labour Party to its core, an inquiry that was the result of certain media and National Party politicians mercilessly going on the attack against Labour without verifying the facts first. 

Sadly for those who jumped to conclusions, Maria Dew QC recently summarised:

Sexual assault allegation – not established 
1.15. The allegation of sexual assault made by Ms 1 against the respondent is not established. The assault is alleged to have occurred in February 2018 at the respondent’s home. However, there is insufficient evidence that the events occurred as alleged by Ms 1, at any time during February 2018. Her evidence was incorrect in several critical respects in relation to the events of that evening. 
1.16. The investigation also found that Ms 1 and the respondent had been in a consensual personal relationship for some eight months by February 2018. The time Ms 1 and the respondent spent together in his home or her flat, during the evenings in that month, arose out of their personal relationship. In this event, the New Zealand Labour Party Code of Conduct and Harassment policies do not govern their personal relationship.

As some people seem to be a bit confused about this finding, please allow me to clarify. It does not mean a sexual assault did not occur. It is not the place of a QC to make such a determination. Instead that is the role of the Police and ultimately a Court of law.

The problem is that without the alleged victim making a formal Police complaint (here's how to report rape or sexual assault), published speculation about somebodies guilt or innocence is just that, speculation. A trial by media on the basis of misinformation promoted by unscrupulous politicians doesn't help anyone. It certainly didn't help the alleged victims in this case.

Deputy Leader of the National Party, Paula Bennett

A lack of any due process unfortunately didn’t stop Paula Bennett from trying to condemn Jacinda Ardern about the alleged sexual assault complaint, a complaint that hadn’t actually been made to the Labour Party at all. The facts be damned! Bennett smelled blood and knew that her media lackeys would lap her rhetoric up like there was no tomorrow.

Cover-up they yelled, too hungry for a scoop and reckless with their own credibility to even properly check the veracity of the claims made. For most of us however, even before the investigation was concluded, it was pretty obvious such an unrelenting public attack on the PM was unwarranted. The report just confirmed that our suspicions were correct.

The remainder of her evidence about reporting this allegation orally in her 9 March 2019 investigation committee interview, is rejected as improbable when assessed against the weight of other witness evidence to the contrary. On the balance of probabilities, the emails Ms 1 sent to the Party on 9 March 2019, to both Mr Simon Mitchell and Ms Lacy, did not contain any attached document detailing her allegation of sexual assault by the respondent.

This means Labour was telling the truth when they said they hadn’t received a complaint about a serious sexual assault. The QC likely checked for any attachments on the emails Mr Mitchell and Ms Lacy had received and found none. We should therefore consider this finding entirely evidentially based.

So a genuine mistake to attach a document (we've all been there) and/or a calculated attempt to discredit the Labour party and in particular the Prime Minister? In my opinion this all stinks of more business as usual Dirty Politics from the National Party. There is no question that Paula Bennett used the vulnerable 19-year-olds situation to her advantage. Instead of informing the Police about an alleged rapist, Bennett selfishly politicised the unsubstantiated claims and in the process ignored the legal rights owed to all those involved.

Clearly it wasn’t in the public’s interest for Bennett to abuse the very foundation of her Parliamentary Privilege by failing to act with honour. Invariably the general public is interested in politicians telling the truth and upholding the law rather than the morally challenged amongst them using other peoples misfortune to try and save their own deteriorating political careers. In this respect and in light of the malicious smear campaign she caused, Paula Bennett has breached her Conditions of Service as a Member of Parliament.

Here’s what she tweeted just after the report was released:

Get that! Labour wants to bury a report that almost entirely exonerates their conduct. Talk about deluded! The realisation that it’s in her best interest for people to be on holiday at the moment seems entirely lost on Paula Bennett...and for this stupidity alone she should resign.

Do you want to talk?

Safe to talk Kōrero mai ka ora sexual harm helpline:, 0800 044 334

TOAH-NNEST Te Ohaakii a Hine – National network ending sexual violence together:

National Collective of Rape Crisis 24-hour helpline: 0800 883 300