The previously mild-mannered member for Eastern Victoria went in hard last week on opposition leader in the house David Davis – while the veteran Liberal found himself in the bizarre position of facing a no-confidence vote – under parliamentary privilege.
Shing also led a privileges committee investigation into how bits of a parliamentary report found its way into the hands of journalists from The Age last year, before its official publication.
The probe arrived promptly at the doors of crossbenchers Fiona Patten, of the Reason Party, and Liberal Democrat David Limbrick, who both fessed up to having conversations with one of the journalists, and Patten admitting to having supplied the reporter with quotes from the report’s foreword.
Shing made it clear – both in the report into the leak and in the chamber – that she’d had enough of MPs blabbing out of committees and of the wall of silence faced by efforts to investigate, and that it was time to make an example of someone.
Limbrick was found to be in contempt of parliament, technically, but not in a “wilful or malicious” way. Patten was found to have been in contempt, no ifs or buts, with Shing’s committee demanding an apology from the crossbencher, which was promptly delivered. Case closed.
But Patten tells us these are not uncharted waters for her: she was found in contempt of the national parliament back in her Eros Foundation days of the 1990s, when the then sex industry lobbyist threatened to reveal which federal MPs were on the mailing lists of distributors of X-rated videos. What would Harriet make of that?
You’d think an Extinction Rebellion activist wouldn’t be seen dead at the Conservative Political Action Conference next month, unless they were there to protest outside.
But the chairman of CPAC’s Australian branch, Warren Mundine, is positively crowing about the planned presence of Zion Lights at the conference in Sydney next month.
CPAC describes Lights as “co-founder of the climate activism group Emergency Reactor. She was former UK spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, and editor of their print newspaper, The Hourglass.”
True, but that kind of glosses over the acrimony between Lights and her former XR colleagues, who accused her in 2020 of waging “a deliberate PR campaign to discredit Extinction Rebellion”.
Extinction Rebellion also says Lights left their group to go and work for pro-nuclear energy lobby group Environmental Progress, run by Michael Shellenberger, who will also appear at CPAC in Sydney and whose piece in The Australian a couple of years ago, bemoaning the “climate scare”, sent local greenies into meltdown.
Nowadays, Lights heads up her own group, Emergency Reactor, lobbying for nuclear power as the antidote to the world’s energy woes. It’s a cause close to Mundine’s heart. Just ask him.
So, attendees at CPAC, the location of which remains secret, won’t be getting to see a climate zealot up on stage after all. But by checking out some of Lights’ many appearances in the conservative media, Daily Mail, Sky News, Herald Sun and others, they could have figured that out for themselves.
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