Bravo to the fellows of the senate of the University of Sydney for their wise decision to make Mark Scott the new vice-chancellor. Mark and I go back a long way. He was just two years behind me at school – in the form above the outgoing vice-chancellor he replaces, Michael Spence – and then just behind me at Sydney University, before becoming my editor-in-chief at Fairfax, immediately prior to become managing director of the ABC, and then head of the NSW Department of Education. I know, quite the stunning resume, isn’t it? Throughout all those professional positions he has prospered through softly spoken decency, hard work, and an ability to manage people to get the best out of him. A passion for education is in his very bones, and his wife, Briony Scott, is the highly regarded principal of Wenona girl’s school. He was born for the position, and will prosper.
What’s going on here?
Ummmm, has anyone noticed something odd being played out when it comes to the musical chairs of commercial breakfast television hosts over the last two decades? Every few years there is a major change, as someone leaves and someone new arrives. Look at them: Tracy Grimshaw, Jessica Rowe, Sarah Murdoch, Kelly Connolly, Lisa Wilkinson (thank you, I know), Georgie Gardner, Deb Knight, Ali Langdon, Mel Doyle, Samantha Armytage. Notice anything yet? Yup. All the changes are with the female co-hosts. On average they have been replaced every four years or so. But next to them? We have Karl Stefanovic and David Koch who between them are batting 40 years, not out, with the momentary exception of Stefanovic’s brief hiatus in the naughty corner before being brought back. Why is it so? I point this out with great respect to Koch and Stefanovic, both of whom I know well. But it is a striking comparison, yes?
As to who will replace Armytage, it is not official yet, but the word on the street (and on the inside) is that it will be offered to Natalie Barr. My two cents worth is that she’d sign. She is already a key and valued member of the team, and is adored by the viewing public.
Joke of the Week
Father O’Malley answers the phone.
“Hello, is this Father O’Malley?“
“This is the Australian Taxation Office. Can you help us?“
“Do you know a Ted Houlihan?“
“Is he a member of your congregation?“
“Did he donate $10,000 to the church?“
Tweet of the Week
“When rounding up, Australia is just 4 million vaccinations short of its target of 4 million vaccinations by the end of March.”
Quotes of the Week
“I’m not going to take any legalistic moralising from this Liberal government. This is the Liberal government that appointed an independent investigator, Dyson Heydon of all people, to look into 30-year-old allegations about Julia Gillard, her former boyfriend and a kitchen renovation. Now if it is okay for the Liberal government to appoint an independent investigator to look into a kitchen renovation, then surely it is okay for the Liberal government to appoint an independent investigator to look into allegations of rape.” – Kristina Keneally to Fran Kelly
“Australia has raised our grave concerns about the military coup in Myanmar and the escalating violence and rising death toll following the events of February 1. We condemn the use of lethal force or violence against civilians exercising their universal rights, including the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.” – Foreign Minister Marise Payne in a statement announcing thatAustralia has suspended its bilateral Defence Cooperation Program with Myanmar’s military in the wake of the country’s violent military coup last month.
“How good does it feel to be a minister in the Morrison government knowing that no matter what questions arise over your conduct your job’s safe?” – ABC 7.30 host Leigh Sales, to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
“How cruel it is that this country, the cradle of civilisation, should have been afflicted by so barbarous a blow, with ancient places of worship destroyed and many thousands of people – Muslims, Christians, Yazidis and others – forcibly displaced or killed. Today, however, we reaffirm our conviction that fraternity is more durable than fratricide, that hope is more powerful than hatred, that peace more powerful than war.” – Pope Francis speaking to the people during his visit to the ruined Iraqi city of Mosul.
“Obviously this on face value would be concerning. Let us take it away on notice and provide you with a fulsome answer, and if there is an issue that needs to be resolved, it will be.” – NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet telling budget estimates that he cannot explain why state insurer iCare paid a labour hire firm $235 million, including to lease and fit-out premium Sydney Harbour office space at its Kent Street premises. (And yes, I think he misunderstands the meaning of the word “fulsome” too.)
“There’s a convention that when you’re the grandchild of the monarch, so when Harry’s dad becomes king, automatically Archie and our next baby would become prince or princess, or whatever they were going to be . . . While I was pregnant, they said they want to change the convention for Archie. [It’s] not their right to take it away.” – The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, to Oprah Winfrey.
“I don’t believe a word she says, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report.” – UK media creature Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain after the interview. Morgan has since left the show.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.” – The Queen about the interview.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Chant has been a familiar face, offering vital health information for our state in addition to years of service to the health sector. Dr Chant is a role model, especially for women, and has absolutely excelled in her chosen field to effect lasting change.” – Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing that NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, who has overseen the management of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia’s most populous state, is the NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year, the highest honour in the NSW Women of the Year Awards.
“His life is written in brick and stone and timber and concrete, in the beautiful historic buildings of The Rocks and Millers Point, of Glebe and Woolloomoloo.” – David Noonan of the CFMEU remembering Jack Mundey at Mundey’s State Memorial Service.
Peter FitzSimons is a journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald.