Lidia Thorpe allegations
The Greens senator, who has been in federal parliament for six months, told The Point she had thought long and hard before deciding to go public with her revelations of what she calls relentless harassment in the corridors of power.
“Suggestive comments, commenting on what I am wearing, what I have got in my mouth when I am eating,” she said.
“I have had two older men put their arm around me, once when I was walking to the chamber for question time. There is one particular senator who waits for me to walk in front of him. If he sees me coming out of my office, he will wait and he will walk behind me.”
She said there were two senators and two members of the House of Representatives who had harassed her, but did not name them and told reporter Sarah Collard that the thought of naming them made her feel sick.
Floods in NSW
The Point visited Coopernook on the NSW Central Coast and spoke to people affected by the devastating disaster that has unfolded in recent days.
There were personal stories, including problems with access to medical care and medication as vast areas were isolated. Gumbaynggirr woman Frances Witt spoke of the on-going peril for the local environment.
“It is part of the weather pattern now. It's not managed very well, our environment around us. There is this sense in the air of fear, almost like you can smell this fear every time there is a flood.
“What is going to happen? Something is going to happen, because nothing is getting any better. The environment, it has paid the price. It is paying the same price as the Aboriginal people, it is colonisation.”
The vaccine rollout
The Point explored the Australian COVID vaccine program, which kicked into gear this week with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people among the first in line. There are 33 Aboriginal community controlled health organisations among the first to administer the vaccine, which in its current phase 1b is available to Indigenous people 55 and over, those with a medical condition, and health care workers.
Dawn Casey, co-chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait advisory group on COVID, said take-up of the vaccine among eligible community health centres had been “extraordinary … they’re already queueing to have the vaccination”.
“There certainly seems to be a fair amount of excitement.”
A truth commission
Host John Paul Janke interviewed Labor senator Pat Dodson after his push for an inquiry into truth-telling and treat-making was defeated in the senate last week.
Asked about Scott Morrison’s rejection of a constitutional parliamentary voice, Senator Dodson said: “I think he is wrong. How wrong were they about the LGBT community? We had to have a plebiscite to put that beyond doubt, and I think the public of Australia are well ahead of where the Prime Minister is at the moment. It is sad he cannot read the message.”
Senator Dodson said a voice to Parliament would “constantly remind a parliament you are not doing well enough, or, yes you are, you have done something right”.
Renaming 'C**n Island'
Shahni Wellington headed to Lake Macquarie to speak with the community behind a push for a new name for 'C**n Island'. The history of the name has no association with the name Coon shared by the cheese brand. Rather, it was named after the first permanent resident of the island — a miner who would come home covered with coal dust and was referred to by the name because of his black face.
Kentan Proctor - cultural heritage officer for the local land council — says: “You wouldn’t use that word to an Aboriginal person, you wouldn’t say that to their face… so we should we have a place named after it? I know that it hurts and I know that it hurts (my family) and so therefore it hurts me really.”
Lake Macquarie councillor Keith Baker said: “It is a genuinely racist name.”
Wild brumby 'infestation'
Ryan Liddle travelled to Jindabyne to explore the controversial debate over the future of the wild horse population, which now numbers an estimated 14,000 brumbies.
“I won’t be able to look my grandchildren in the eye if I don’t speak the truth about that’s happening here,” said local tour guide Richard Swan.
“It’s a feral infested environment. It’s difficult to pretend… I feel like I’m the Barrier Reef guide whose tour is the bleached part. When do we stop and tell the truth? As a tour guide, I cannot pretend any more, I have to be honest with people and say, this is what we are doing to our country, we are knowingly doing this.”
Brumbies arrived with first fleet and spread across the country.
Swan said: “The solution is get them off and use the most humane method available.”
Hamilton hits Australia!
The Broadway musical phenomenon Hamilton has hit Sydney this week and is showing every sign of being as big a smash here as it has been in New York and London.
Shahni Wellington met local cast members, who spoke of the impact the show would have on local performers.
As Callan Purcell told The Point: “That gets me excited because it is again such a privilege to be able to be an inspiration for the next generation that is coming up, to be a part of something so big, because it allows them to go, ‘Cool, I can do something like that’.”