It’s funny ’cause it’s true.
Well, not that funny, but still.
Nyunggai Warren Mundine was ‘one of the North shore’s most influential movers and shakers’ in 2018 (The Daily Telegraph), his status aided perhaps by the TV show he launched in 2017. Called Mundine Means Business, it was a short-lived program on Fox News Australia (2017–2018).
Whatever its other qualities, Mundine Means Business did not mean good ratings. Or at least, not as far as I can tell. Still, the show did score a phat government subsidy: $220,000, in fact. This was a matter of no small controversy at the time, and was part of the reason why it was announced in February 2019 that ‘Warren Mundine steps down from company that won contracts for Indigenous job services’:
The department [of Indigenous affairs] said in estimates that Mundine was awarded a $300,000 contract (excluding GST) in 2017, split between $200,000 in consultancy fees on Indigenous business policy and $100,000 to establish the television show, after he approached Scullion’s office with the proposal.
Scullion said he did not discuss the issue with Mundine.
In 2018, Mundine was awarded a grant of $220,000 to continue what Scullion described as his “very successful television show”.
He was unable to quantify its success, saying that was a “difficult question to answer” but the department “made a decision” that it was successful.
Nice work if you can get it.
At about that time Mundine the Business Man was parachuted in as the Liberal Party’s candidate for Gilmore in New South Wales. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, there was a 16.09% swing against the Liberals in that contest, resulting in a two-party preferred swing to Labor of 3.34%. Still, Mundine likely did better as a Liberal than he would have as a Liberal Democrat, reportedly having considered replacing David Leyonhjelm in the Senate before deciding to lose for the Liberals in Gilmore.
Speaking of unfinished business, it was reported last week that the right-wing propaganda outlet ‘LibertyWorks’, of which Mundine is Chairman, ‘has not paid more than $172,000 it owes government over failed legal cases’.
To the best of my knowledge, LibertyWorks has now effectively dissolved … though I’m happy to be corrected. Anyway, according to a law-talking guy by way of the Human Rights Law Centre the FACTS inre LibertyWorks Inc v Commonwealth of Australia  HCA 18 are as follows:
The FITS Act was enacted on 28 June 2018, forming part of the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme (Scheme). The Scheme requires a person to register details about themselves and their foreign principal with the Attorney-General’s Department in certain circumstances. These included where they communicate to the Australian public information about an activity that they expect will be undertaken, where that person is under an arrangement with, in the service of, or under the order or direction of a foreign principal, and where the activity is to be undertaken for the sole or substantial purpose of political or governmental influence.
In August 2019, LibertyWorks held a political event called the Conservative Political Action Conference Australia. The conference mirrored a conference held by the American Conservative Union. Organisers of the American event supported and attended the Australian event.
Pursuant to powers granted under the FITS Act, the Attorney-General’s Department sought from LibertyWorks copies of invitations, letters and other correspondence, which LibertyWorks refused to provide. LibertyWorks commenced proceedings in the High Court, seeking, among other things, a declaration that the provisions of the FITS Act concerning communications activity by a person acting on behalf of a foreign principal were invalid on the ground that they infringed the implied freedom.
To be honest, I confused ‘LibertyWorks’ with the related phenomenon of ‘Liberty on the Rocks’, a social gathering for proprietarian yoof. In Australia, it too seems to have dissolved, although I expect its ghost will likely be found at the ‘Conservative Political Action Conference’ (CPAC) in Sydney this coming weekend.
Speaking of which, I’ve been trying to drum up interest in the fact that CPAC is being sponsored by GiveSendGo — and that GiveSendGo is raising funds for local neo-Nazis — without much success. But I did note that in today’s episode of the ABC’s The 7.30 Report on antisemitism the boys of the National Socialist Network, which is raising money via GiveSendGo in order to fund its activities, got a guernsey.
More on that later …