Amanda Vanstone, “Illegals” and the stampede of elephants.

A few weeks ago, I talked about The Elephant in The Room in relation to the lack of women in Abbott’s Cabinet. The idea of the elephant in the room is, of course, something very obvious which nobody seems to be mentioning. Well, I’m beginning to think that before Abbott’s term is over, we’ll have such a large herd that we can start making piano keys out of ivory again.

Let’s start with Joe Hockey’s comment on Wednesday.

Well that’s because Labor created the debt. It’d be the height of hypocrisy for the Labor Party which started the fires in relation to the debt, to complain about us trying to stop the fires, to start to pay down the debt, to start to back-burn and get back to surplus.

Adam Bandt was attacked for trying to link the bushfires to climate change. Yet here we have Hockey trying to link the ALP to the fires and I haven’t noticed any criticism. Or aren’t we meant to draw any link between the NSW fires and his metaphor? Is it just an unfortunate coincidence that there happened to be bushfires and Hockey had forgotten all about it? Or was it a deliberate, pusillanimous statement from a man who now wants to distract us all from his “budget emergency” rhetoric. Back-burning? Next we’ll hear that a rise in unemployment is because the economy is doing so well that more people are seeking work!

Then we have Scott Morrison’s determination to have asylum seekers refered to as “illegals”.

Now, for just one second, I’d like to accept Scott Morrison on his word, because being a Christian, I know that he wouldn’t be deliberately lying. After all in this article from Misha Schubert on February 15, 2008, he declares his views on “righteousness”, which surely would mean a reluctantance to lie.

“Declaring his faith was not a political agenda, he said it would, however, shape his political agenda based on values of kindness, justice and righteousness.”

The Liberals often present themselves as being tough on “law and order”. Yet apart from some time in “remand” (the detention centres), not one of these asylum seekers has been charged with a crime. Yet – we’re told – they have entered the country “illegally”. Why are they not being charged with this “crime”.

It seems strange to me. Surely, if they’ve done something illegal, there should be charges. Perhaps someone should ask Morrison about this failure of our justice system. After all, he does say his political agenda is based on justice. But he also says it’s based on kindness, so perhaps he’s just confused.

As for the committee of audit, there have been some eyes raised at the inclusion of Amanda Vanstone and querying her qualifications to be there. (She does have a column in a newspaper, and as Andrew Bolt will assure you, that makes you an expert on everything!) So let’s have a look at Vanstone’s career.

Prior to politics, she attained both Law and Arts degrees, and further qualifications in Legal Practice and a Marketing Studies Certificate, and she was as a retailer in a large department store. She ran her own business selling prints and pictures frames, before working as a legal practioner.

As a politician, she held numerous portfolios none of which where in Treasury or Finance. But she was Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women. Her achievements as a minister included abolishing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC). As Immigration Minister, she was showed her humane side by overturning a deportation order and granting a visa  to Francesco Madafferi, in spite of alleged criminal connections, and, in spite of alleged donations to the Liberal Party from members of his family. She was twice dropped from Howard’s cabinet. But she did show her creative side in February 2007 with Under Southern Stars.

So why would she be chosen to be on the Commission of Audit? Well, when she was Minister for Family and Community Services, her opposite, Wayne Swan described her as “a political hyena who takes delight in attacking society’s most vulnerable”. And this audit commission certainly needs someone with that sort of expertise in looking at Centrelink.

As for the inclusion of  Peter Boxall, you might find this quote from an interview with him which appeared in The Canberra Times in 2006 instructive:

Asked if in cutting the first deficit there was anything that caused him anguish, he says, “No. I don’t recall actually. It was quite interesting that the public service didn’t seem well prepared for it and a lot of it was driven by the new ministers.” In doing this he says they met resistance, including from central agencies. He agrees that he has wielded the knife for a fair bit of his career and, when asked if he prefers this to doling out money he says, “I would not prefer to be doling out money because I have great respect for taxpayers’ money and I don’t like supporting programs which I don’t think are good value for the taxpayer.” 

I guess it reminds me of “Yes, Minister.”

Minister, two basic rules of government: Never look into anything you don’t have to. And never set up an enquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be.’

Let me just cautiously predict the Audit Commission will recommend selling Medibank Private, Australia Post and one of two other things. It will also find that the Government needs to cut spending in some sensitive areas. It will not use the words “cut spending” prefering to talk about “eliminating waste”. Hockey will say this means that we need to be harsh in the Budget, but it’s Labor’s fault.

I also predict that the “back-burning” may get out of control.

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13 replies

  1. One day we’ll wake up from this nightmare…….

  2. OTT (one term tony) and his bunch of sycophants are still going to have to work hard to beat Queensland’s perennial idiot.

    From the dynasty of the “Liberal family” the newman name opened the doors to a simpleton of such calibre that Downer now resembles a Mensa member.

  3. Talking about unfortunate metaphors, how about Amanda Vanstone and a stampede of elephants, snigger

  4. Rarely have I seen a woman with a such a lack of sensitivity as this person. where are we going.

  5. Can anyone really believe anything that anyone in this govt. says. They got into power by using lies, they are still using lies & trying to make us believe that they are competent. They are definitely NOT. We are in for a very bumpy ride for the next few years.

  6. Their cheek. Is it just stupidity coupled with a privileged upbringing?
    Are they working for the devil?
    Consistency means nothing to these creatures. It is the assumption of sheer power, which exercises itself precisely by inconsistency; by having no principle – while preaching principle at the drop of a hat.
    Inconsistency is their resolve. It would be weakness to us. We are not them. They are very intent on showing that.

    They expect everyone to knuckle under to them – and they scream outrage and dire threat whenever it does not happen. The atrocious individual now the chief law officer of the Commonwealth is found to have committed exactly the same sort of misuse of funds as charged against Peter Slipper; and yet concedes nothing about his own behaviour, while showing not one bit of diffidence over the Slipper case, which he worked so energetically to have brought to court – preaching principle daily.
    They are not subtle. Everyone with half a brain and who pays any attention at all can see what they are doing – but it makes no difference. What one might assume to be their weakness, they assume as their strength; and they might just be right. How woeful is that?
    They are not skilled, and often not even clever or cunning – and yet their bluff works almost universally. For example, they have the whole of the ABC under their thumb – the whole of it. Exceptions willing to disprove my last point please signify here..

  7. The LNP have moved beyond the elephants (they had to – the room was full), their new “Audit Commission” is merely Abbottspeak for we’re gonna piss on Australia and tell ‘em its raining.

    (And it’s Labor’s fault)

  8. Labor must take much of the blame for not taking the initiative over medibank private which doesn’t need parliament to approve the sale. They must share the blame for the closure of shops, the loss of jobs and the increase in fees for we retirees who are members. Who thinks those losses and costs will be in place by early in the new year? Certainly labor can blame the Rudd camp for instability, Gillard for not clearing the air about her trading price and the rabbott’s tax and the media for extreme bias but above blame themselves for sin of sloth. Whilst the rabbott’s stoats and weasels drove the simple slogans into the sheep, labor’s bottom layer floundered with nothing as a rejoinder, the pollies floundered with trying to explain the concept rather than getting off their arses into the streets and telling us how nasty and untrustworthy the rabbott’s and his henchmen were. Sloth, instead of getting journalists to explain the rabbott’s carbon tax, his misogyny, his admission that he lies or his lack of computer knowledge, or driving home little johnnies selling and taxing and wars with nothing but money for 12 years, they bleated about saving us from the depression no-one under 80 experienced. Who the fcuk advised them?? Whomever it was certainly didn’t read the site or watch/hear/read the media or look up the IPA. Makes you think? I am not smart so are the labor people and caucus that dumb??

  9. “Parliamentary Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott told the IPA’s 70th anniversary dinner that the 12 items below in red have been agreed to and will be implemented.

    1 Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.

    2 Abolish the Department of Climate Change

    3 Abolish the Clean Energy Fund

    4 Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

    5 Abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council

    6 Repeal the renewable energy target

    7 Return income taxing powers to the states

    8 Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission

    9 Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

    10 Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

    11 Introduce fee competition to Australian universities

    12 Repeal the National Curriculum

    13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums

    14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

    15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’

    16 Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law

    17 End local content requirements for Australian television stations

    18 Eliminate family tax benefits

    19 Abandon the paid parental leave scheme

    20 Means-test Medicare

    21 End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

    22 Introduce voluntary voting

    23 End mandatory disclosures on political donations

    24 End media blackout in final days of election campaigns

    25 End public funding to political parties

    26 Remove anti-dumping laws

    27 Eliminate media ownership restrictions

    28 Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board

    29 Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency

    30 Cease subsidising the car industry

    31 Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction

    32 Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games

    33 Deregulate the parallel importation of books

    34 End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws

    35 Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP

    36 Legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit

    37 Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a searchable database

    38 Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food

    39 Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities

    40 Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools

    41 Repeal the alcopops tax

    42 Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including:
    a) Lower personal income tax for residents
    b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers
    c) Encourage the construction of dams

    43 Repeal the mining tax

    44 Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states

    45 Introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax-free threshold

    46 Cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25 per cent

    47 Cease funding the Australia Network

    48 Privatise Australia Post

    49 Privatise Medibank

    50 Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function

    51 Privatise SBS

    52 Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784

    53 Repeal the Fair Work Act

    54 Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them

    55 Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors

    56 Abolish the Baby Bonus

    57 Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant

    58 Allow the Northern Territory to become a state

    59 Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16

    60 Remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade

    61 Slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the United States

    62 End all public subsidies to sport and the arts

    63 Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport

    64 End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local manufacturers in government tendering

    65 Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification

    66 Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship

    67 Means test tertiary student loans

    68 Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement

    69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built

    70 End all government funded Nanny State advertising

    71 Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling

    72 Privatise the CSIRO

    73 Defund Harmony Day

    74 Close the Office for Youth

    75 Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme

    The above list was published in August 2012. More recently, the same three IPA authors added the following 25 items to the list:

    Following on from our 75 ideas in the last edition, John Roskam, James Paterson and Chris Berg offer 25 more ideas to reshape Australia.

    76 Have State Premiers appoint High Court justices

    77 Allow ministers to be appointed from outside parliament

    78 Extend the GST to cover all goods and services but return all extra revenue to taxpayers through cutting other taxes

    79 Abolish the federal department of health and return health policy to the states

    80 Abolish the federal department of education and return education policy to the states

    81 Repeal any new mandatory data retention laws

    82 Abolish the Australian Human Rights Commission

    83 Have trade unions regulated like public companies, with ASIC responsible for their oversight

    84 End all public funding to unions and employer associations

    85 Repeal laws which protect unions from competition, such as the ‘conveniently belong’ rules in the Fair Work Act

    86 Extend unrestricted work visas currently granted to New Zealand citizens to citizens of the United States

    87 Negotiate and sign free trade agreements with Australia’s largest trading partners, including China, India, Japan and South Korea

    88 Restore fundamental legal rights to all existing commonwealth legislation such as the right to silence and the presumption of innocence

    89 Adhere to section 51(xxxi) of the Constitution by not taking or diminishing anyone’s property without proper compensation

    90 Repeal legislative restrictions on the use of nuclear power

    91 Allow full competition on all foreign air routes

    92 Abolish the Medicare levy surcharge

    93 Abolish the luxury car tax

    94 Halve the number of days parliament sits to reduce the amount of legislation passed

    95 Abolish Tourism Australia and cease subsidising the tourism industry

    96 Make all government payments to external parties publicly available including the terms and conditions of those payments

    97 Abandon plans to restrict foreign investment in Australia’s agricultural industry

    98 Cease the practice of setting up government-funded lobby groups, such as YouMeUnity, which uses taxpayer funds to campaign to change the Australian Constitution

    99 Rule out the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment for electronic gaming machines

    100 Abolish the four pillars policy which prevents Australia’s major banks from merging


    The IPA held its 70th anniversary dinner in Melbourne on Thursday, 4 April, 2013. The guests included Rupert Murdoch, the Leader of the federal Liberal National Parliamentary Party, Tony Abbott, members of the LNP front bench and the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, and mining magnate and media investor Gina Rinehart. The MC was Andrew Bolt, the infamous presenter of Channel 10′s The Bolt Report.”

    My apologies for the "12 items not appearing in red" … here they are :

    Numbers 1,2,3,4,6,42 (a,b & c),43,44,49 & 69.

    With Number 48 currently on the cards.

  10. I sort of met Amanda Vanstone when she was a minister at a small meeting.

    Amandas BO almost made me gag – she smelled like she hadn’t bathed in weeks. Admittedly it was in the tropics, but with airconditioning, motels with running water etc, it was inexplainable.

    Having lived in the tropics it is easy to tell the difference between today’s honestly gained sweat and last weeks unwashed body. I can honestly say I that standing near her was almost impossible so I beat a hasty retreat.

    I hope if she is making more public appearances Amanda Vanstone learns to bathe every day.

  11. For me the inclusion of Vanstone and Boxall is far less concerning that the nomination of Transfield’s Tony Shepherd. How can it not be a conflict of interest, real or perceived, when your company is, at the very least, in line to receive benefits from your decisions?

  12. Jan, I suppose the conflict of interest is just the way that the Libs do business. I suspect that they believe it is just a normal business practice that grown ups are allowed to do. What I would like to know is what body, or who, is supposed to be making sure these clowns are not breaking the law with their mates rates, nepotism, dodgy claims etc? The Federal Police seem to be oddly aligned with the Libs.

    So much for Adults being in charge – but then again being adult doesn’t make a person decent law-abiding citizens.

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