Bleats

Andrew "James Bond" Broad Announces That He's Quitting Parliament Over The Whole Sugar Daddy Thing

Well, that escalated quickly.

What a difference 24 hours makes.

This time yesterday Mallee MP Andrew Broad was trying to paint himself as the victim of a New Idea story alleging that he went on a horrible-sounding date with a woman he met on a sugar baby site while popping over to Hong Kong for the Asia Fruit Logistica in September.

We talked about it yesterday but we’re absolutely going to reuse that James Bond gif because it’s hilarious.

He’s now announced that he won’t be standing at the next election, giving the Nationals a chance to stick someone else in the seat. “After recent media stories about my private life, it is clear that the people of Mallee will be best served in the next parliament by a different Nationals candidate.”

“I have done my best and at times we have achieved good things, but I have also let them down,” he said, not long after confirming that yeah, he did use taxpayer funds for at least some of the journey.

And this abrupt decision makes clear just how scared the government are. And with good reason.

Sure, Mallee has never been out of Country/National Party hands and Broad got over 63 per cent of the primary vote in 2016, so it’s surprising that he’s not doing a Barnaby Joyce and just gritting his teeth and letting his 20-odd per cent buffer save him from consequences.

However, the anti-Coalition sentiment of the Victorian election has clearly spooked the hell out of them.

More specifically, they’re looking clearly at the shock victory of independent Ali Cupper – an proudly feminist vegan with a history of LGBTIQ+ activism – in the formerly safe Nationals seat of Mildura, which overlaps the federal seat of Mallee and evidently thinking “say, maybe a married father of one that’s an outspoken opponent of marriage equality and who’s been outed allegedly buying time with women on the internet isn’t a great fit.”

That being said, it’s almost certain that current deputy leader Bridget McKenzie will parachute in from the senate. She’d been tipped as a potential challenger in the Victorian seat of Indi, currently held by independent MP Cathy McGowan, so this would be a much easier fight, and is assumed to be positioning for the leadership down the road.

Either way, soon parliament will lose the wisdom and upstanding adherence to traditional morality which Andrew Broad brought to the chamber, whether it was calling same sex couples that wanted to marry “rams in a paddock” mounting one another, or high-handedly calling for Barnaby Joyce to resign for having an affair .

So let’s just say a fond, final “G’day, mate” to the man which the Australian Christian Values Institute celebrated with the 2016 award “For Values Lived”. Catch you on the dating scene!

So That Minister Who Was First To Call For Barnaby Joyce To Be Sacked Is Now In A Sex Scandal Of His Own

Just when the government was hoping it would have some clear air to show how stable and leaderly they are, New Idea say "hold my beer."

In what is not ideal timing on a day in which the government was keen to trumpet their economic credentials and return to a budget surplus, the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Andrew Broad has resigned after a story was published in New Idea claiming that he was soliciting women online via a “seeking arrangements” website, including a very awkward dinner in Hong Kong with sugarbaby “Sweet Sophia Rose”.

But the real story here is that New Idea – the magazine for celebrity divorce gossip and knitting patterns – just broke a story which led a government minister to resign.

Truly, we live in a golden age.

For those not down with the lingo, “sugar daddy” relationships involve a wealthy older man paying a younger woman money to pay attention to them. This may or may not involve actual sex, although Ms Rose’s profile supposedly specified that she would not be intimate on dates.

And to be fair, it doesn’t sound like this dinner at Aqua was exactly seduction central:

“He kept commenting on prices and how expensive they were,” she told the magazine. “It made everything so awkward from the start. He told me he was in Hong Kong for a conference but he shouldn’t have been here at all. He kept saying that he was very important and that when he left he was going to have to throw away his phone. He referred to himself as James Bond numerous times.”

Mmmmm, hott.

Just to be clear: sugar baby relationships are 100 per cent legal both in Australia and Hong Kong. And morally, people are free to do whatever they like, as long as everyone consents. We don’t judge, friends, and what arrangements or agreements exist in the Broad marriage are their own business.

Even so, politically it’s not a great look for a married conservative MP who was perfectly happy to talk about how same-sex marriage wasn’t proper marriage – memorably and respectfully comparing it to rams mounting each other in the paddock – especially when Broad was the first Nationals MP to call for the resignation of then-party leader Barnaby Joyce for having an affair with his media advisor. Ouch.

The bigger issue is that Broad seemingly pressured a woman for sex despite her making very clear that it wasn’t on the table. Also, whether the taxpayers were subsidising his activity.

Speaking of which, he still found time to complain about the prices of the meal, which doesn’t exactly scream James Bond. Unless there was a scene in You Only Live Twice where Sean Connery whined for ages about how the portions were tiny and he could have bought a bottle for less than the price of two glasses.

“I am very suave.”

“He kept grabbing my hand and putting it on his leg, so I excused myself and went to the bathroom and when I came back I told him I was leaving,” she explained. “He led me to believe he was younger and he wasn’t pleasant to be around. I know some people wouldn’t understand the premise of the site but in a lot of cases like mine, it’s simply dinner and a chat, and that’s not what he was looking for.”

Broad has resigned from the ministry but not from parliament, and issued a statement that “I have been advised that the person making the allegation may have engaged in criminal activity. This matter has been reported to the Australian Federal Police and I will not be making any further comment.”

The AFP? Why didn’t you didn’t report it to Her Majesty’s Secret Service, James Broad?

“Dinkum. Fair dinkum.”

It’s worth adding that this is the second scandal embroiling the Nationals in as many days, as news broke that an LNP staffer sent a journalist an “expletive-filled tirade” about an article she wrote about soon-to-be-ex Senator Barry O’Sullivan.

The text to Annika Smethurth “including the terms “feminist c–t” and “bitch”. The staffer also wished the recipient’s family died “of painful cancer”.” But the staffer has been put on “indefinite leave” and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack explained that the staffer actually meant to be send the message to a friend. You know, as you do.

Anyway, Coalition. About that “woman problem” you seem to have

The Government Are Rolling Some Shady Stuff Past While You’re Distracted By Christmas

Who can be bothered reading boring reports when there are only 11 shopping days to go?

If you ever want to know what stuff the government is embarrassed about, check the news on Friday evenings.

That’s when the government take out the garbage – releasing unflattering reports, announcing embarrassing resignations, or announcing unpopular policy via press releases timed to juuuuuuust miss the deadline to make the news.

And if you want to see that writ large, check what gets released in the period which is basically Australia’s National Friday – the period mid-December to Australia Day.

How very true blue.

This is the period where most people are more interested in their holidays/Xmas preparations/sense of crippling exhaustion than what’s happening in Canberra.

That’s why we had the sudden appearance of the Religious Freedoms Report, which was submitted in May and only released publicly today. Weird timing!

Scott Morrison announced that his government were determined to embrace all the recommendations, such as appointing a religious freedoms commissioner – but with any decisions about, say, whether gay kids should be kicked out of faith-based schools to be discussed at a yet-to-be-determined time way out in the future.

But that was overshadowed by the release of the plan for a Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC), less than a month after dismissing calls for a federal anti-corruption body was a “fringe issue” about which no-one cared.

Pictured: fringe issues.

Today, however, Morrison announced “We think it is always important to raise the bar and maintain the bar to ensure the public can have confidence in the rid of Commonwealth public administration. These are sensible changes we’re outlining today.”

The consultation paper is up at the Attorney General’s website and has some less than inspiring information in it, including that much of it is business as usual.

For example, public can only refer matters to the commission through existing complaint frameworks, despite the inadequacy of current systems being one of the reasons the public want an anti-corruption body.

What’s more, the CIC will not be able to actually do anything about any matters which it uncovers beyond referring them to the courts.

What the CIC will be able to do, though, is investigate things. Except that there’s this rather intriguing bit about the public sector division of the CIC – the bit which applies to parliamentarians and their staff – which “will not be able to: exercise arrest warrants, hold public hearings, or make findings of corruption, criminal conduct or misconduct at large.”

Tell ’em, Lionel.

Oh, and “The CIC will not investigate direct complaints about Ministers, Members of Parliament or their staff received from the public at large.” So that sounds cool!

Attorney General Christian Porter clarified that just because it would operate without public scrutiny and not release its findings didn’t mean that it was a secret body. “An investigative body necessarily investigates in a non-public way, which is very different from operating in secret,” he told the Guardian. Phew!

You tell ’em, disaffected animated youth!

Now, it’s worth adding that these things are not law and won’t be until they’re passed by parliament when it returns in February (assuming there’s not a sudden announcement for a March election), and that there doesn’t appear to be any way that either will be passed by either house.

In other words, these are a less like actual “policies” than “ways to stop people asking annoying questions ahead of the election”.

So: expect announcements on energy and environmental policy to turn up shortly. Our bet is on or around December 24.

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