In related news: Saudi men can totally divorce their wives without telling them.
This new tweak means that women can apply for alimony when they’re suddenly informed of their new relationship status via, you know, a text message.
And that’s good because up until now some women have only discovered it when, say, applying for a passport or attempting to open a bank account or get elective surgery or travel outside of the kingdom – all things which women can’t do without a male relative giving their assent.
Saudi men can divorce very easily – literally by deciding that they’re divorced, in fact – whereas women have to prove fault from a male-centric justice system in order to receive “khula”, and risk losing their children by doing so.
Also, it’s worth noting that things like alimony and child support is not exactly heavily mandated in Saudi Arabia if the ex-husband doesn’t fancy paying it. Also, that it reportedly extends for a period of four months and ten days, and that men get automatic custody of their children after they turn seven (for boys) and nine (for girls).
In other words: this new text message service is more a courtesy than anything else.
In The Year Of Broad, Barnababy and the Bonking Ban, Let's Remember Australia's Weirdest Political Sex Scandals
2018 has been a low point for parliamentary junksmanship, but it truly has been ever thus…
At first glance 2018 might seem like an especially lousy year for political genital-behaviour.
For one thing, there was a whole lot of high-profile sexual harassment disasters. Following the outing of a complainant who did not want her identity to be made public the Nationals finally investigated the claims that she was sexually harassed by then-leader Barnaby Joyce and, after eight months, quietly went “eh, we don’t know”.
And this doesn’t even take into account the bullying and sexual harassment of women which saw Liberal MP Julia Banks quit the party, LNP MP Anne Sudmalis and Labor MP Emma Hussar retire from politics altogether, and Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young start defamation proceedings against Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm.
Honestly, Australian politics, BE BETTER.
But before you start branding 2018 as the randiest year in Canberran history, it’s worth noting that history gives some useful context. And that is that wow, power really must be one hell of an aphrodisiac because there seems to be a LOT of action happening for a bunch of chaps who, to be generous, must have amazing personalities.
Come, dear reader, and join us in a little stroll down Humpery Lane!
1967 Harold Holt drowns in front of his mistress
For reasons you can probably surmise, it wasn’t heavily reported that the Prime Minister was cavorting on Cheviot Beach with one Marjorie Matear Gillespie when he vanished, never to be seen again.
However, Holt’s reputation as a pantsman did indeed extend to his passing from this earthly realm. Which he presumably would have been pretty happy about.
1974 Treasurer’s affair with a staffer destroys the Whitlam government
The 1973 Global Oil Crisis was wreaking havoc on the Whitlam government’s accounts when two affairs rapidly led to the unravelling of the deputy PM and treasurer Jim Cairns, with the ensuring chaos leading to the controversial Dismissal of the government the following year.
First was the “loans affair” in which Cairns co-signed off on a deal to secure funds from the Middle East, and the other was the “affair-affair” he was carrying on with his staffer Julie Morosi – which he only admitted to (and in doing technically perjured himself) in 2002.
1976 Bob Hawke’s decades-long love affair with a journalist
Hawke met Blanche d’Alpuget in 1970 and then again in 1976, when she was researching a biography of Sir Richard Kirby, at which point they threw themselves into a long term affair which his wife Hazel was less than chuffed about – especially the bit where Bob left her to marry d’Alpuget in 1995.
They’re still together, though, so it’s basically a love story now.
1987 Billy Sneddon dies on the job with his son’s ex
The Liberal leader who failed to beat Jim Cairns to destroying Whitlam at least went out in a memorable way: feeling inspired by John Howard’s campaign launch in 1987 he retired to a hotel in Rushcutter’s Bay with “Mary”, ex-girlfriend of his son Drew.
This is possibly the only time where proximity to John Howard ended in sweet, sweet lovin’.
1997 Australian Democrats leader Cheryl Kernot joins Labor, politically and Biblically
There was a time when the Australian Democrats were one of the most important political parties in the country and they enjoyed their greatest success under the leadership of Queensland senator Cheryl Kernot – who abruptly defected to Labor in 1997.
The reasons for this became clearer in 2002 when journalist Laurie Oakes revealed her affair with Labor deputy leader Gareth Evans at the time. It rather ruined her credibility – but at least it led to one of the best songs in Keating: The Musical.
2005 WA Liberal Leader sniffs a female colleague’s chair
Troy Buswell spent three years denying that he took a big whiff of a staffer’s chair shortly after she’d vacated it, before breaking down in a 2008 press conference and admitting that it was true.
Supposedly it was done as a joke but when added to allegations of sexist behaviour, including snapping the bras of fellow MPs, his leadership lasted months before being replaced by future premier Colin Barnett. He stayed in the ministry until revelations of an affair with Greens MLA Adele Carles in 2010 scuttled that, and he finally retired from politics altogether n 2014.
2012 Craig Thompson’s use of credit cards comes to light
The Labor member for Dobell had been an official with the Health Services Union prior to entering parliament, and in 2012 he asked to be suspended from the Labor Party as he was being investigated over his use of credit cards.
2013 Queensland parliamentarian sends photo of his wang in a glass of wine
Peter Dowling was in the mood for love when he decided to send a photo of himself naked from the waist down – the worst of all the nakeds – with his penis in a glass of red wine to his mistress. When the story of his affair broke, along with the associated use of parliamentary entitlements for the tryst, his marriage ended and his political career was torpedoed.
2016 Jamie Briggs gets lost in a woman’s “piercing eyes”
The Liberal MP for Mayo was only begrudgingly elevated to the ministry of Malcolm Turnbull in September 2016, but in November he was the subject of a complaint by a staffer from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade after reportedly getting drunk and affectionate on a Hong Kong ministerial trip – including telling the woman that she had “piercing eyes” and kissing her.
He responded by circulating pictures of the staffer in question, which in turn made their way to the media. And while he resigned from the ministry, he still pledged to run in the 2016 election – where he lost his historically safe Liberal seat to his former staffer Rebeckha Sharkie, now of the Centre Alliance.
Pictured: not Ms Sharkie.
Nationals Party leader Barnaby Joyce – the hardline conservative who opposed marriage equality because it was a risk to families and opposed cervical cancer vaccines lest it give teenage girls leave to be promiscuous – had always had rumours of infidelity swirling around him.
2018 Malcolm Turnbull imposes a “bonking ban”
The effect of Joyce’s little scandal leads the PM to impose what is immediately declared a “bonking ban” on members of government, forbidding them from having sex with staffers. The rule was immediately decried by Joyce and others, while the rest of the nation went “…um, yeah, that’s how it works.”
2018 Andrew Broad’s taste for sweet, sweet sugar babies
Briggs wasn’t the only MP to find Hong Kong impossibly sexy, or for it to be the city where everything fell apart for him.
The Shaky Legacy Of 'Blurred Lines' Ends With Pharrell Williams And Robin Thicke Paying Out A Whole Lot Of Money
To be fair, as the song made clear, they knew they wanted it. Hey hey hey.
‘Blurred Lines’ is the Avatar of popular music: a massive-selling pop culture artefact utterly inescapable at the time which had close to zero lasting impact.
While wedding bands are happily still banging out ‘Uptown Funk’ and ‘Get Lucky’, Robin Thicke’s biggest hit has been cast on the garbage heap of songs which made sense at the time and now inspires vague embarrassment, if anything at all.
Which is weird, for a song with such a classy video.
And the number has had its share of controversies, from Thicke’s insistence that he co-wrote what seemed to be a 100 per cent Pharrell Williams song to Thicke’s subsequent meltdown and barely-selling divorce album Paula (about his ex-wife Paula Patton), all usurped by a copyright suit which brought everything undone.
Oh yeah, and the fact that it’s a creepy as hell song celebrating date rape. There’s that too.
And now the sorry saga of the little song that shouldn’t has come to a close with a US$5 million payout by its authors.
The suit itself – that the song is a rip off of the late Marvin Gaye’s classic ‘Got To Give It Up’ – was at once both obvious and also unsettling because instead of arguing that the song jacked a melody line or a lyric the Gaye estate contended that it stole the “feel” of the song, which seems like a chilling sort of a precedent to set.
The case, however, won – and then the appeal also failed.