Bleats

An Australian Federal Candidate Paid Stormy Daniels For An Endorsement And It's Better Than That Sounds

And it's possibly Australia's least-Trumplike political figure!

Political endorsements are pure electoral gold. At least, we assume that’s the case because otherwise getting them would just be a big stupid waste of time and, on occasion, US$250.

Such as this case, where comedian Michael Hing has gotten an endorsement for One Asian’s senate campaign from Ms Stormy Daniels.

Yes, that Stormy Daniels.

And, like certain sitting US presidents are alleged to have done, Hing paid for the pleasure – specifically, he paid the company Cameo the aforementioned two-hundred-and-fifty-dollars-US-which-is-what-$354.84-Australian-before-conversion-fees for 15 seconds of Daniels’ time.

Unlike others, however, Hing has happily copped to it. And it’s fair to assume that she found the experience far more pleasurable.

And while NSW voters are probably not going to give the genuinely brilliant Hing a gig, it’s worth pointing out that he is almost certainly not eligible to sit in parliament under Section 44 of the Constitution in any case – not because of his citizenship, but because he’s employed by SBS and is therefore is possession of “an office of profit under the Crown”.

But hey, that’s for the High Court to determine! In the meantime, NSW, you know what to do.

One Nation's Disgraced Senate Candidate Bows Out With The World's Greatest Typo

To be fair, it's consistent with the care and attention he's paid to the rest of his political career.

Sometimes you should be careful what you wish for.

After the eye-opening al-Jazeera documentary How To Sell A Massacre showed One Nation’s Steve Dickson and James Ashby tooling around the US with undercover journalist Rodger Muller merrily talking about how US money could help them water down Australia’s gun laws.

Party leader Pauline Hanson, who was also shown in the documentary expressing conspiracy theories about the Port Arthur Massacre, demanded that al-Jazeera release the complete footage.

Dignity. Quiet dignity.

They declined to do for reasons which became clear on Monday when A Current Affair used unauthorised footage revealing that Dickson also went to a strip club on the US trip where he was filmed groping and abusing strippers, as well as delivering some very salty comments about Asian women.

And thus, predictably, he resigned. And did so while putting the most appropriate typo imaginable in his statement.

That being said, since pre-poll voting has already begun and the ballots are printed there’s still the very real possibility that he’ll get elected in Queensland. Not because One Nation are likely to get two senators in the state – they’re not – but because the #1 senator on the ballot, Malcolm Roberts, was removed last time around for being ineligible under section 44 for genuinely hilarious dual citizenship reasons.

And he’s claimed that he’s since renounced his UK-Via-South-African citizenship, sure, but he claimed that last time too and that turned out to be entertainingly wrong.

And if Roberts is elected and is forced to bow out for accidentally sending his forms to renouncing@england.citizenship.itsmalcolm.thanks.bye.nz or something, then Dickson takes the slot regardless of whether or not he’s resigned from the party.

So don’t worry, Australia. We may yet reap the parliamentary benefits of the wisdom and gentle good humour of Steve “You Haven’t Touched My C**k” Dickson.

And sure, there’s something deeply unpleasant about how soliciting funds from American gun lobbyists is AOK but getting a lap dance in a legal strip club is a huge scandal that ends a political career, but hey – Australia’s ability to freak the hell out over anything vaguely sexual shouldn’t surprise anyone that’s seen a comment thread involving Safe Schools.

In any case, respect Mr Dickson’s privacy. As he says, he’s no longer of any pubic interest.

Your Social Feed Is Absolutely Being Manipulated For The Australian Election

All the lessons of the last US election are being used - deliberately, in many cases - for our own little democracy-party.

If you’re feeling angrier and more frustrated this election then maybe it’s time to take a deep breath and ask the question “is this because of social media?”

And if the answer is yes (and spoiler: the answer is yes): then it’s worth being aware that there are multiple signs that the same forces that were at work during the Trump-winning US election are at work here too.

Some of it looks like foreign interference – even the most cursory glance at Twitter would show the number of no-photo new profiles with overseas ISP addresses who nonetheless have very, VERY strong opinions about why [insert party here] are going to ruin Australia.

Surprise!

But a lot of it is from actual political parties themselves.

For one thing, there’s a mobile app by uCampaign which “gameifies” political activism – Trump’s campaign used it, as did the pro-Brexit movement, and less successful campaigns like the anti-abortion campaign in Ireland and Australian Christian Lobby’s No campaign in the marriage equality postal vote here – and several minor (and conservative-leaning) parties have bought it up to create their own tool this election.

The problem with the app isn’t just the more objectionable things it’s used for, but the security of the data since it has been reported by the ABC that such apps can quietly access a users entire contact list and social media data.

And that’s not great news if you’re in the phone of or FB friends with anyone who supports a party that’s built their app off that template.

There’s also the fact that cybersecurity experts have warned political parties that the data they’ve collected on voters is as insecure as the politicians themselves. And that’s a bit of a problem since the majors were hacked back in February, as was Parliament House itself.

And as you know thanks to those Clive Palmer text messages you’ve received and can’t opt out of, political parties are exempt from the Privacy Act. And thus it’s hard to see how they’d be held accountable for what happens to the data they scrape.

Data does enjoy being scraped, to be fair.

And we’re already seeing fake news circulating on social media regarding “death taxes” which comapnies like Facebook are declining to remove, despite their promises to stamp out this exact thing during the election. So it’s no wonder you’re feeling antsy.

So what do you do?

Don’t download dodgy political apps, block and report things that look fake, use your better judgement when you see something that smells a bit like bullshit, and most of all remember that the election is just around the corner and that this too shall pass.

Just hold out for those democracy sausages, friends.

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