The Informer: The ethics of bubble-busting comes into question

In the public interest or of interest to the public?
In the public interest or of interest to the public?

As difficult as it is to ignore the slow motion car crash that is the US election, for the sake of our mental health, we might try doing just that today.

Just quickly though, the US Attorney-General, William Barr, has officially entered the fray and told federal prosecutors to look into possible "substantial" allegations of voting irregularities.

Which, wouldn't you know it, leads nicely into the sudden prominence of Australia's Attorney-General. Who's that you say? That'd be Christian Porter.

It was Mr Porter and his fellow cabinet minister Alan Tudge who were at the centre of "The Canberra Bubble" - the ABC's Four Corners investigation into pollies behaving badly which we alluded to yesterday before it aired.

In sporting parlance, it's MPs who play away from home. Behave inappropriately on a number of levels. Mr Porter's sexist behaviour was traced back to his university days while a former staffer for Mr Tudge said she had a consensual affair with him.

Today Mr Tudge regretted his actions and the hurt it caused, while Mr Porter is considering legal action over what he called "totally false" allegations.

It's entirely fitting many of the reminiscences were from incidents at the Canberra bar, Public. Because that's where we're at - was the expose in the public's interest or, more basely, of interest to the public?

Former PM Malcolm Turnbull featured on the Four Corners investigation and was "handily" lined up to be a guest on the following show, Q and A. There he continued to answer questions on the subject.

A man who was not present - and who has not publicly entered this discussion is Simon Longstaff, from The Ethics Centre. Yet on Q and A a few weeks ago he may have gone some way to unintentionally answering why the MPs behaviour is of relevance.

Mr Longstaff was asked how can truth and transparency be more consistently embedded in Australian politics. Essentially he said we have to ensure those who exercise public power do so in the public interest, and what's upsetting Australians in that too often this hasn't been happening. Listen to his answer here.

Meanwhile today there was news of a major victory over the virus that has killed over a million people and battered the world's economy - Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90 per cent effective; veteran Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon quit the ALP's front bench but showed no sign of ending his war on Labor's climate policies; the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement payment is to be extended at a reduced rate; and McDonald's announced it's going to release a line of meat-free dining options. Called McPlant. Obviously.

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