The Informer: Winning friends, influencing people 21st century style

Influencers? Craig Kelly MP and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.
Influencers? Craig Kelly MP and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.

There was a lot to distract you today - from political posturing to verbal barrages and backflips by the bucketload.

It all boiled down to relationships: rogue Liberal MP and serial Facebooker Craig Kelly unfriended the Liberal Party; Facebook "refriended" Australian news; and the government and the nation's jobless, well - it's complicated.

Mr Kelly handed his resignation to the PM this morning to sit on the crossbenches.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison still has a majority of 76 seats in the 151 seat Parliament, but as the Speaker (currently Liberal Tony Smith) rarely is involved in legislation, 75-75 deadlocks are likely to become less rare. It was Greens crossbencher Adam Bandt who said Mr Kelly will now have "even more power" over the PM.

Of course, it's never that simple and allegations of behavioural complaints against a senior staffer of Mr Kelly's continue to swirl also.

And wouldn't you know it, not a week after pulling the plug on news accounts, Facebook and the Australian government have made up. Well, enough for them both to put on professional front and say they'll work together again.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg explained it this way after amendments were to the government's media bargaining code legislation: "The government has been advised by Facebook that it intends to restore Australian news pages in coming days."

"These amendments will provide further clarity to digital platforms and news media businesses about the way the code is intended to operate and strengthen the framework for ensuring news media businesses are fairly remunerated."

OK then. Perhaps that means they had a chat and reached a compromise. Very adult.

When the coronavirus supplement to the JobSeeker payment ends in March, unemployed Aussies now will receive an extra $50 a fortnight, the government revealed today.

As one commentator suggested on Twitter: "So the government agrees that people can't live on $40 a day but thinks $43.5 is fine?"

The permanent base of the dole will rise to $620.80 a fortnight, but among the litany of associated changes, bosses will be able to dob in anyone who turns down a job.

The modest increase - all $3.47 a day- falls significantly short of the $150 coronavirus supplement, and has left welfare groups describing the action as a heartless betrayal.

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