1. Senator Penny Wong has spoken about her decision to vote against Julia Gillard in Wednesday’s Labor leadership ballot. In an interview with The Adelaide Advertiser, Wong has explained that her loyalty to Gillard and to the party had ceased to be “aligned.” She also acknowledged that Gillard had been treated unfairly by both the media and the opposition, saying that whether future women will be able to take out the top job: “depends on how we as a community be honest about what happened and how we can as a Parliament become a little more bipartisan in our desire to enable women to succeed … our willingness to implicitly and explicitly prevent sexism and misogyny dominating.” Wong denied that Rudd’s support of same-sex marriage was the reason behind her vote, as the policy would need bipartisan support.
2. Australia’s refugee assessment process is going to become more stringent under the new Rudd Government. Speaking in Indonesia, where PM Kevin Rudd is due to take his first overseas trip after reassuming office, Foreign Minister Bob Carr has stated that the new process will give significantly less discretion to courts and tribunals, allowing for a more “hard-edged” approach. Carr has cited an increase in economic migrants as the reason for the change in policy.
3. A wax figurine of ex-Prime Minister Julia Gillard standing in a Centrelink queue has attracted a significant amount of media attention. The life-size figurine was placed outside a Centrelink office by Sydney wax museum, Madame Tussauds. Whether the prank was funny is up for debate, with Fairfax’s Giles Hardie describing the stunt as “tacky, tasteless and incredibly short-sighted.”
4. Nelson Mandela is reportedly showing “great improvement” after reports that he was in a critical condition last week. Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madakizela-Mandela, has stated that, although things are looking up, the former South African President is still “unwell.”
5. Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has returned to training after being charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend in February. Wearing a Nike hoodie and his signature carbon fibre running blades, the athlete was reportedly overcome with emotion as he returned to the track. He is due back in court on August 19
6. A senior Catholic priest is one of three men who have been arrested on suspicion of corruption and fraud, as part of an inquiry into The Vatican Bank. The men were reportedly plotting to move 20 million euros ($28 million) between Switzerland and Italy with the assistance of a former Italian secret service agent. The inquiry into the scandal-ridden Vatican Bank was one of Pope Francis’ first moves after his election. The Pope has openly spoken out against the bank, saying: “St Peter did not have a bank account.”
7. The ‘Baron of the Barossa’, Peter Lehmann, has died aged 82. The legendary South Australian winemaker is credited with turning the Barossa Valley into an internationally renowned wine growing region, through his brand, Peter Lehrmann Wines, which he founded in 1960.
8. The New Yorker has celebrated the US Supreme Court’s landmark gay marriage ruling with a cover featuring Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie. The cover image is titled: ‘Bert and Ernie’s moment of joy.’