Barnaby Joyce’s edible donkey skin trade beats Turnbull’s…

“It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw,…

“Peace, love, and ice cream”

I feel sorry for George Christensen.  Having so many people to hate…

We Need The Freedom To Offend So This…

Freedom of speech, I have heard recently, is a near-sacred concept and…

Day to Day Politics: Both beyond redemption.

Sunday 26 March 2017 You have to wonder about the sanity of people…

Marching for a better Australia

A joint statement from march organisers Members of the March Australia movement have…

Day to Day Politics: Cunning bastards.

Saturday 25 March 2017 1 Why would the leader of a political party that is…

Instead of moving mountains, just build us a…

I am having trouble understanding this energy debate. For starters, we own the…

Day to Day Politic: What should progressives do?

Friday 24 March 2017 Author's note. Today I give up my daily article…

«
»
Facebook

Rossleigh is a writer, director and teacher. As a writer, his plays include “The Charles Manson Variety Hour”, “Pastiche”, “Snap!”, “That’s Me In The Distance”, “48 Hours (without Eddie Murphy)”, and “A King of Infinite Space”. His acting credits include “Pinor Noir Noir” for “Short and Sweet” and carrying the coffin in “The Slap”. His ten minutes play, “Y” won the 2013 Crash Test Drama Final. He has recently joined the Australian Arts Party.

We Need The Freedom To Offend So This Ridiculous Law Must Go!

Freedom of speech, I have heard recently, is a near-sacred concept and it includes the freedom to offend, insult and humiliate. While 18C has been fixed up and “made stronger” by changing those terms to “harass”, there remains a law on the statute books which greatly inhibits freedom of speech.

SUMMARY OFFENCES ACT 1988 – SECT 4A

Offensive language
4A Offensive language

(1) A person must not use offensive language in or near, or within hearing from, a public place or a school

Why is this ridiculous law allowed to remain on our books? I mean we all need the freedom to offend, right? Why should some bastard arbitrarily decide that my language is offensive? I mean, that’s fucked, right?

As has been observed:

“The cornerstone of public order legislation is usually a provision that permits police to act where behaviour in a public place is regarded as offensive, insulting, abusive or indecent. Such provisions are inevitably vague and open-ended, with the characterisation of the behaviour left to the discretion of the police in the first instance, and subsequently to the discretion of magistrates.”
David Brown et al, Criminal Laws: Materials and Commentary on Criminal Law and Process of New South Wales

So where is the outcry? All right, nobody charged Andrew Bolt. And ok, it’s usually only indigenous people who ever get charged with offensive language. But still, this greatly infringes on my right to go to the football and scream abuse at the umpires. How do can tradesmen go to work when they know that an expletive uttered when they drop a tool or hurt themselves may see them hauled before a magistrate and, just like Andrew Bolt, be told to say sorry and not to do it again? (Ok, I know that some of you are going to mention that the defence offered under Section 2 of the Act which states: “2. It is a sufficient defence to a prosecution for an offence under this section if the defendant satisfies the court that the defendant had a reasonable excuse for conducting himself or herself in the manner alleged in the information for the offence”, but that’s like saying that 18D offered protection to Bill Leak when his cartoon drew criticism and we all know that people don’t like to be criticised so where’s the protection there?)

Why shouldn’t I be allowed to roam the streets with a megaphone pointing out what a pack of arseholes politicians are? Why shouldn’t I be able to stand outside a school waiting for any teacher that gave my child poor grades and express my views in language that makes it clear what my thoughts are? Why shouldn’t I be able, when pulled over for speeding, turn to the officer and say, “What’s the trouble, fuck-face?”

This offensive language act is outrageous and, even though it is may help in the locking up of aboriginal people, surely in this day and age, we can find a more sophisticated reason to incarcerate them. Something like, say, banning the words, “invasion day”! No, the act must go in the name of freedom of speech.

I urge you all to write to your Federal MP and ask them to put time and energy into the repeal of this act. And don’t let them put you off by suggestions that there is an energy problem at this time. When they try to tell you that it’s a state law and outside their jurisdiction, point out that’s never stopped them interfering when it suits them. Surely they could use the Corporations Act or something.

No, go online and start some petition. Organise. Or get Andrew Bolt onside… That should do it!

18C And Malcolm’s Return To The Left!

Early this week, we had Peter Dutton making his run for the leader’s job with his very effective slap-down of those business leaders who dared to express an opinion on marriage equality. Go for it, Peter, I say. I mean, what right to business leaders have to giving the government advice on something like same sex marriage. We should only listen to business leaders on things like whether climate change exists and only if they tell us that it’s a load of claptrap and scientists are far too insular to know which way the wind is blowing and hence they can’t advise us on climate, let alone whether. I mean, weather, or rather, whether or not we should be trying to increase our use of renewables.

No, no, no, business leaders should just quit their business and become a politician if they want to express an opinion. Or start a religion. If you’re a religious leader or head of the ACL it’s ok to have an opinion on marriage equality. But not if you’re a business man like Alan Joyce. I mean, what business is it of an openly gay business leader whether or not we have marriage equality. No, best leave that to white, heterosexual men who go to church. Like Peter. No, best that men like Mr Joyce do as our future PM suggested and stick to their knitting. Which shouldn’t offend Mr Joyce because clearly it wasn’t meant in a homophobic way and Mr Dutton was clearly referring to all business leaders and the Qantas leader shouldn’t feel singled out just because he was the one mentioned by name!

But just when I thought it was safe to go back to the Liberal Party, what do we have? That lefty, socialist Malcolm Turnbull ruining things again?

We’ve already seen how he takes good Australian money and stops the millionaires here getting their fair share, by sending it to the Cayman Islands. And we’ve seen how, like all left-wing socialists, Malcolm is trying to redistribute wealth via tax cuts to the wealthy.Yeah, we all know how that’s going to end, don’t we?

Thanks to the trickle down effect, those tax cuts’ll end up in the hands of the unemployed and homeless because the businesses will start paying their workers more and the extra taxes will lead to an increase in the money going on welfare because that’s what people like Malcolm do – don’t you remember that picture of him putting five bucks in some homeless guy’s cup – and next thing you know, we’ll be some sort of Maoist state like China… well, maybe not China, it’s looking even more capitalist than Rupert Murdoch these days. Cuba?

Whatever, it wasn’t Comrade Turnbull’s position on wealth distribution that made me see red tonight. No, I don’t mean that I’m angry. I meant in the sense that I can see his left-wing, commo’ views are being forced upon us, whether we’re in favour or not!

For years, we’ve been concerned about how 18C has stopped me putting those races back in their place (and you’ll notice that just because of that 18C thing I didn’t call them “inferior” or “subhuman” or “unionists”) just because it “offends” or “humiliates” them when I place a cross on their front lawn. God, it’s got so we god-fearing Christians can’t even put up a cross in someone else’s front yard. Last night I was stopped before we’d even set it alight… Bloody police state!

And brave culture warriors like Andrew Bolt (who isn’t a business leader and therefore has a right to an opinion) and Cory Bernardi have long complained about how 18C is preventing them from saying those things which they’d like to say, but when they do, not only do they have the Left telling them that if they don’t like our values why don’t they go back where they came from, they also risk joining all the other people who’ve been jailed or fined after violating 18C. I’d give you some examples but none spring to mind…

But Turnbull has bowed to the left and after refusing for so long to amend 18C because it’s too restrictive has decided to strengthen it!

Well, that’s what he said:

 

“We are strengthening the race hate laws. These are stronger laws, more effective laws, because they are clearer laws!”

 

See, he’s just shown how much of a lefty he really is. He’s strengthening it by replacing “insult”, “offend” and “humiliate” with “harass”.

Whereas once you used to have to insult, offend or humiliate, now it’s enough to simply harass. And one of the definitions of “harass” is to “make repeated small-scale attacks on”. So now you don’t even have to offend them, it’s enough to make attacks, and small-scale ones at that.

Bring on the challenge, Peter! Quick, before that socialist, Scott Morrison, brings down his Robin Hood Budget where he uses populist measures like tax cuts to low-income earners between $100-200k! This may be you’re only chance before those communists running our companies try to impose gay marriage on us all.

Oh, please don’t think that I meant the Chinese there when I said “communists running our companies”. I don’t want anybody to call me racist!

Je Suis Andrew Bolt – How Andrew Was Subjected To Terrible Treatment Over 18C!

Remember the headlines about the death of free speech. Remember the editorials? The Herald-Sun saw it thus:

“But should there be a law to protect people from being offended? Gagging people from fairly and legitimately held opinions is censorship. It is a basic denial of freedom of speech, which was pointed out by Attorney-General George Brandis in front of a hostile panel and audience on Q&A on ABC television on Monday night.

“The discussion on the repeal of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act turned into an attack on Bolt. An opinion as to some people using their ethnicity to their advantage might have been offensive to some, but should that have prevented Bolt from saying as much? The Herald Sun says the answer to this is an emphatic “no’’…

“But calling on the Government to adjudicate in a debate is to diminish people’s right to voice their opinions, blunt as they might be.

“Senator Brandis said in his option Bolt is “no racist’’ and brought some sense to the Q&A tirade by pointing out that, in his opinion, a failure to repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act in its current form is to say “political censorship is OK”. No, it’s not, and the Racial Discrimination Act, Section 18C, is an Act too far.”

And remember how terribly Mr Bolt suffered after he lost the case. Ok, he didn’t do jail time and he wasn’t fined, but the judge found that many of the claims he made were factually inaccurate, and if a journalist like Andrew is restricted to making accurate statements, it’d only be a matter of time before he lost his job. Luckily 18C only applies to certain areas so Mr Bolt has been able to happily continue to write the world has been cooling for the past seventeen years in spite of record temperatures.

No, the terrible treatment he suffered was that he was found to have breached the law. I imagine it must be very hard for him trying to speak to members of the Coalition. “We can’t work with that man,” they must be saying. I know, I know, it’s an “unjust law”. We all should be able to say whatever we like without the need to stick the facts… I mean, if it’s good enough for the President of the United States, then surely…

Anyway, the Coalition must surely be shunning Bolt as the man was found to have broken the law. I’ve been trying to find the condemnation, but it must have been removed from the internet because they were all inaccurately calling him South African or something, and therefore it offended him and breached 18C Not that being called “South African” is insulting per se, it’s just that as he was born in Australia to a Dutch parent and therefore still has the trace of some strange accent… And by strange I wouldn’t want to insult or offend anybody, whether Dutch, South African or Boltish… or even Baltic…

Whatever, I’m sure that the right wing must have really got stuck into Andrew, given their condemnation of Sally McManus for merely suggesting that where laws are unjust – such as illegal walk-offs when safety is breached – then she’d support unions who took action . “We can’t work with her,” said Turnbull. (I guess they won’t be able to work with Adani now either.) Christopher Pyne said that there’d be chaos if Australians failed to follow the law. Michaelia Cash said that it was an “extraordinary admission” that McManus thought that unions could pick and choose when they broke the law and when they didn’t. (Actually, I suspect that everybody “picks and chooses” when they break the law, then it’s up to the police to “choose” to find us and arrest or fine us!) And George Brandis, the chief law officer of the land, said nothing… probably because he’s too busy preparing the diary that the court ordered him to release it six months ago.

So if that’s how the Coalition reacted to someone who merely said that she’d support unions who broke unjust laws, imagine how they must have treated poor Andrew Bolt who actually breached a law! He must be a complete person non grata in Liberal-land.

Or is it a case of all laws are equal but we didn’t write all of them, so some laws are more unjust than others?

The Outrageous ACTU And The Courageous Malcolm Turnbull!

I was all set to write about Malcolm’s recent announcement about the Snow-job River Hydro Improvement scheme…

Earlier tonight I heard Malcolm tell us that there used to be some plan to extend the Snowy River thingy and all it lacked was leadership and money and that the current government had plenty of both.

Well, I thought, they’ve certainly got half a dozen or so who intend to flash their leadership credentials, but it was a surprise to discover that they had money. Budget emergency solved! Wow!

I was all set to praise Malcolm. And then I was going to condemn the ABC for allowing those protesters to say nasty things about the recently deceased Bill Leak. Yes, of course it was the ABC’s fault because you should always shut down anyone who wants to say anything negative about someone who said negative things about people when he was alive, once that champion of free speech is dead. I was going to say something about how we can say whatever we like about Hitler because he didn’t support free speech but once someone who supports free speech dies we should all just say how awesome he was and if anyone has a different point of view then they should be shut down immediately.

But enough about what I wasn’t going to write about. There are too many negatives in this world as it is, and if I mention Hitler someone’s bound to invoke Godwin’s Law… which, by the way, isn’t a law because I never voted for it and isn’t that how laws are passed?

Whatever…

It was the outrageous Sally McManus… I think that’s her name. Not that it matters because all those unionists are the same and they all support the Labor Party and that’s enough reason to dismiss them… Just as it’s a good enough reason to dismiss the Labor Party because of their union links…

Where was I? Oh yes, apparently this union hack told someone that she had no problem telling people not to support “unjust laws”…

How terrible. I mean, where would Germany be now if it weren’t for people prepared to support laws without ever questioning whether they were unjust or not? I mean they’d have never even been able to… Perhaps, we should pause for a commercial while I think about this!

Oh, sorry, I forgot. Godwin’s law…

We should always support the law no matter how unjust. We should never disobey. Or protest. If Donald says press the button, he’s President after all and nobody should stop to consider if there might be consequences. Never question or break the law, I say… Unless it’s something to do with taxation. Then we should find some way to get around the law, and, if we can’t, then we should just donate to some party or other who’ll pass laws that give us access to all that money that goes to waste in the public service.

Nobody should ever support breaking the law. Unless it’s to do with speeding tickets… We all know that’s just a revenue raiser and a speeding car never killed anyone and even if it did, surely that’s not as bad as a government trying to raise revenue.

Um, I’m almost confused enough now to be leader of the National Party…

Pauline Hanson And Other Stunning Successes In The WA Election

The Western Australian Election was a stunning success for One Nation. I mean, the political party, not Australia… Or any other nation, for that matter. No, they did really, really well. Fantastically well! Just ask Pauline. She said it was a great success.

Or ask Malcolm Roberts who seemed to think that they’d be winning three upper house seats.

Ok, some of you pedants may point out that going from one to three is a three hundred percent increase while going from zero to three is impossible to calculate because there’s nothing on the bottom line, but Malcolm Roberts is good at Maths because well, he is, and he has empirical evidence for that, because he does and it’s not made up like NASA graphs! Of course, others may simple wish to point out that it doesn’t actually look like they’ll get three seats, so I guess that could be considered a 33.33% decrease!

Yes, it was disappointing that they didn’t get the twenty percent of votes that one poll forecast, or even the ten percent that many others predicted, but that’s ok, because, well, as Pauline said, it was a fantastic result because if it hadn’t been for that “scare” campaign about their preferences going to Liberals then many people would have voted for them. Well, that’s what she told us. But Labor ran a dishonest campaign and pointed out that her party was preferencing the Liberals, and this somehow led people to think that One Nation was supporting them. “Let’s be clear,” she told us. “Colin Barnett was like sour milk and just because we were telling you to vote to keep it in the fridge, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t think that it smelled bad and should be thrown out, but somehow Labor twisted the fact that our how-to-vote cards were helping the Liberals, and tried to suggest that I was just a Liberal Party stooge who supports their policies on penalty rates and screwing those bludgers on welfare, whereas I actually think that the Liberals haven’t gone far enough on penalty rates because I know what it’s like to be a small business owner and when the milk in your fridge goes off, it’s really hard to sell it! And this had the effect of putting many of our potential voters off, because let’s face it, they’re pretty gullible and believe what they’re told.”

She also told us that the media is “not letting you know the results we have got.” No, it’s all “fake news” and One Nation actually won the election and Pauline is now Premier but you won’t read that anywhere because of that conspiracy between Rupert Murdoch, NASA, The Greens, pharmaceutical companies, Labor, Rod Culleton and voters in WA to stop the truth from being told.

While some are wondering exactly how accurate those poll figures were, I can say with certainty that the polls were completely accurate reflection of the people who were polled. The fact that they were so different to the actual votes on the day doesn’t mean that opinion polls have no validity when it comes to minor parties like One Nation. No, it simply means that either something like two-thirds of the people changed their minds about voting for PHON at the last moment or by a remarkable coincidence, all the polling companies just happened to get a disproportionate number of Pauline supporters owing to the fact that they did their polling outside One Nation party meetings.

Meanwhile the Liberals have decided that the idea of swapping preferences is really good and that it was only the fact that Pauline’s party got so few votes that caused Mathias Cormann to make it clear that just because he helped set up the deal, doesn’t mean he was the only one who should take the blame. In fact, he hardly had anything to do with it. Probably it was someone involved in the Essendon scandal who came up with the original idea. Or Kevin Rudd. But swapping preferences is a good idea and next time we hope that not only do One Nation get more votes, but we also hope that fifty percent of their preferences don’t leak back to Labor. Maybe next time, they’ll try to swap with Labor. They got plenty of votes!

Yes, a “fantastic” result according to Senator Hanson. Of course, it’s unclear whether Pauline meant the word in the sense of “extraordinarily good or attractive” or whether she meant its other meaning: “imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality”!

Why The WA Result Has Absolutely No Implications For Turnbull

While Pauline has decided to emulate her hero, Donald Trump, and ban a certain news organisation from her post-election party because she can, I hear from other outlets that she thought that One Nation had a great result in the WA election. Yes, one poll told us that they were likely to get twenty percent, and most polls suggested a vote as high as ten, Pauline isn’t greedy and was happy with almost five. After all, they really weren’t ready and they weren’t very organised and they had to rush everything, so all things considered, it was a very good result and if it wasn’t for the media stoking controversy by reporting what she actually said, then it would have been a great result. Yes, she did talk about Putin and vaccinations but these things weren’t the things that mattered and people were drawn to her because she spoke about Important Issues that Mattered to People. And yes, the preference deal was a mistake, but they wouldn’t rule out doing it again. Similarly, the Liberals weren’t ready to concede that it was a mistake, even though they were acknowledging that maybe it hadn’t worked as well as they’d hoped.

Basically they sounded like a couple who’d hooked up online, had a quickie before they’d finished their first drink together, felt a sense of embarrassment when telling their respective friends, but neither was prepared to rule out a repeat, because they both suspected that they’d soon be desperate enough to do it again.

It seems that both parties overlooked the simple fact that the exchange of presences doesn’t work that well, unless the other party is actually getting votes. To be fair, they did both get votes. Just not enough to actually help each other actually win any seats. Although as one brave Liberal suggested, there were still a couple of lower house seats where One Nation preferences might get them over the line. If that happens that should give the Liberals bragging rights over the Nationals. “See, we still won twice as many seats as you did!” Sort of makes the deal worth it!

Predictably, there were no Federal Implications in this election. As Matt-Finish Cormann told us, this election was fought on State Issues, and when asked about Shorten’s comments that penalty rates had been a factor, the Terminated told us that Bill Shorten was irrelevant and he only came over to bask in the glory of Labor’s win. Now, I know that some Labor supporters will want to point out that Shorten went over several times to campaign, while Turnbull only went once, told WA not to expect anything to be done about the GST carve-up until after the next Federal election but he did feel their pain and he intended to do something about someday and jobs and growth, innovation, innovation, Labor bad, jobs and growth, aren’t I handsome, vote for whatsisname and yeah, Pauline isn’t a bad sort is she, jobs and growth, thank you linesman, thank you ball-boys, let’s get out of here before I have to take some of the blame, and who are those villagers circling with torches and pitchforks, before disappearing back to Canberra as fast as his little jet would take him.

So, all things considered, it seems exactly as I wrote yesterday, that Malcolm will be completely safe and that nobody will see this as something that could reflect on the current Canberra mob in any way. I’m also expecting that Tony Abbott will appear sometime today and express his belief that now is not the time to change leaders, Andrew Bolt will write a column on what a great job Turnbull is doing, Malcolm will talk about his great working relationship with Scott Morrison and Cory Bernardi will ask to rejoin the Party. because, well, this was all about State Issues!

Three Reasons Why Malcolm Will Definitely Still Be PM Next Week!

“Oh, hell—prophecy’s a thankless business, and history has a way of showing us what, in retrospect, are very logical solutions to awful messes.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano.

Well, I was going to write a piece about the way we’re being set up to allow fracking. Just as the Liberals have managed to demonise the reliability of renewables because South Australia had blackouts, while ignoring blackouts in states with very little reliance on renewables as being just one of those inevitable things, then we’ll soon have a campaign that suggests that those gas “shortages” will be solved by allowing lots and lots of gas companies to do lots and lots of onshore exploration. That should bring the price down! Of course, the argument is a bit like saying if we let companies drill for gold because there’s probably some under your house, then we don’t need to compensate you because you’ll benefit when the extra gold brings the price down for your next jewellery purchase. If companies do manage to get more access to gas through fracking, it won’t solve the “shortage” because the shortage is being caused by the fact that it’s being flogged off overseas, not because Australia doesn’t produce enough. I suspect that all the “extra” gas will still be flogged off to other countries for higher prices than we’ve traditionally paid.

But, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote in his rather prescient 50s novel, Player Piano, prophecy is a thankless business. If I’m right, people will say how obvious, but if I’m wrong, it’s something to hold over my head. However, in spite of the dangers, I’m prepared to give three reasons why Malcolm Turnbull will still be PM next week.

1. The first is that neither Scott Morrison nor Peter Dutton have the numbers to be sure that they’d win. True, they”d both have more votes than Turnbull if the spill happened, but each is trying to shore up just a little more support to ensure that they’re the one to emerge victor. Look at the shadow plays. Dutton tries to empire build with the proposed Department of Homeland Security. Morrison, on the other hand, starts talking about helping with housing affordability. Turnbull announces that he’ll have more to do with the Budget. So, it’s quite possible that there’d be a bit of argy-bargy before either of the terrible two was confident enough to challenge the Wet One.
2. Because of the general expectation that Labor will win in WA today, then the fallout from the loss may not be as bad for Turnbull as it could be. Should the Liberals just lose, we may even have Malcolm suggesting that it was a shame he was too busy to get over there in the last week, because his appearance may have just got them over the line. Ok, that may be delusional, and it’s probably more accurate to say that if Colin Barnett had been too busy to campaign that may have actually helped the Liberals, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Anyway, Labor need an enormous swing to actually form the government, and while it certainly looks likely, there’s a strong chance that the swing may not be as big as expected. When the Puppets of Pauline fail to get the twenty percent or so that some polls suggest, Malcolm may try to spin a small loss as an enormous victory for the sensible centre, in spite of the fact that in the past few months he’s said nothing either “sensible” or “centre”. Mind you, it also wouldn’t surprise me, if the Liberals are decimated in WA, which would create a lot of twitchy backbenchers in Canberra.
3. But my main reason for suggesting that I’m supremely confident that Malcolm will be PM next week is that Monday is the start of the week and there’s no way they’ll remove him before Tuesday at the earliest.

Why Turnbull Has A Gas Problem And Why Vaccinations Are Not Safe!

Mm, it gets hard…

I’ve spent several days trying to reconcile the idea that certain people can both admire a leader like Vlad Putin suggesting that Australia needs a leader like him, while arguing that any attempts to persuade people to vaccinate their children is an attempt to impose a dictatorship and we all should have freedom of choice.

After giving the matter considerable thought, I’ve decided that either people believe that what we need is a strong leader who’ll impose all the things that I agree with and jail all those who dare to try to argue with me… Or else, many people can’t put two ideas together because they suffer from ADOITS (Attention Defic…Oh Isn’t That Shiny?)

Whatever, I do acknowledge that from time to time, the mainstream media, science, the political class has got it wrong. That’s why we need to research and seek out differing opinions. I like to hear arguments from people who think differently. I like to discuss differences and learn so that I may grow. And as a general rule of thumb, I’ve found that I’m most likely to grow from the exchange when someone begins the exchange with some like:

“Yes, but have you considered…?”

To which, I am likely to reply, either: “Yes, but that still doesn’t…” or “No, just let me think about that for a while!”

However, I’ve generally found that when the exchange begins: “You’re just an idiot who believes everything that they’re told and if you stopped listening to the mainstream media you’d understand that the following people are working together and it’s only thanks to someone like Donald Trump/a blogger who lives in treehouse and can only blog in short bursts because he generates all the electricity for his computer by peddling/Fox News/the aliens who visit me every Shrove Tuesday to explain why their predictions for the previous year were thwarted by gnomes/Cory Bernardi that we know what’s really going on and that vaccinations aren’t safe!”

Now, I’m sure that sometimes there have been some side effects from some vaccinations for some people. To me, it’s a bit like going to work. Sometimes people may drop dead of a heart attack from stress at work, but I suspect that in the overall scheme of the world, more people have died through not working and starving to death! (Ok, we could have a discussion about a universal income at this point, but I’m trying not to get…Oooh Shiny!)

I’m also old enough to remember that there are side effects from things like polio. Which according to someone on social media never really existed and it’s just a made up thing because nobody they know has ever had polio so why do we need the vaccine?

Now, vaccinations are one things, but I’ve found the recent debate on energy even more confusing. Apparently – a few years ago – some of the states privatised the electricity supply and/or delivery to make it more efficient. This has led to a whole range of different suppliers and distributors and, even though, it’s all more efficient now, prices keep going up exorbitantly. Of course, part of this was the carbon tax which wasn’t a tax according to Peta Credlin. And that would make sense if it weren’t for the fact that it’s continued to rise even faster after the tax that wasn’t a tax was removed.

Ok, I sort of get that it’s all because of renewables, because apparently it’s cheaper to get coal and gas out of the ground than it is to get sunshine out of the sky or wind out of the air. Renewables cost a lot to set up. And they’re apparently inefficient. That could make sense if it weren’t for the fact that two of the states with the biggest price rises were ones where they had almost no reliance on renewables.

Then just lately we’ve been hearing that the big problems with renewables is their unreliability. As Tony Abbott told us a couple of weeks ago, sometimes the sun doesn’t shine, the wind doesn’t blow anywhere but Canberra and the tide is turned back by King Canute. We need fossil fuels! And not just because they contribute to so many Liberal Party lunches, but because they’re reliable and they’re always there.

Imagine my confusion then when I hear that we may have blackouts because of a gas shortage. No, not the one in California last year, but right here in Australia. We may not have enough gas because we don’t pay enough apparently and suppliers are selling it to people overseas for more than we’re prepared to pay unless we increase our energy prices. Which sort of makes it harder to argue that renewables are too expensive when gas is too expensive too.

Of course, someone with much more understanding of gas – like Malcolm Turnbull – will probably be able to explain that increasing investment in renewables won’t help. No, what we’ll need to do is stop our silly obsession with things like clean water and allow companies to start fracking and the like. After all, what’s the point of a country if you – or overseas companies – can’t exploit its natural resources.

When it’s all said and done, what’s the point of your population if they can’t be exploited, and with the growth of robots we don’t really need people any more. Except to consume things. When they invent a robot who can do that, there’s no longer any need for anyone who doesn’t contribute to the Liberal Party…

Pauline Puts Putin On Pedestal; Turnbull Tears Down Tyrant!

Some of you may have noticed a strange train of thought from Pauline Hanson. She praises Putin, telling us that we need a strong leader like Putin, but before the interview is over, Australia’s answer to The T-rump is telling us that she opposes the government attempting to coerce parents into vaccinating their children because it’s like “a dictatorship”. What’s one meant to take away from that? (Admittedly, take-aways haven’t been Pauline’s strong point since the fish and chip shop days!) Apparently, we need a strong leader who can impose his or her will, but not when it comes to giving kids needles. Or even imposing action on climate change. We need a leader who can impose Hanson’s will on the people. The sort of leader who’d name a party after themselves and expel those who she didn’t agree with. In a totally democratic way, of course.

Turnbull was, of course, quick to contradict the No Notion leader in this particular instance. While the Liberals have traditionally said that they disagree with One Nation before adding, but isn’t it great that people can make xenophobic statements and generally talk the sort of nonsense about science that makes Barnaby# seem intelligent, in this particular case Turnbull was anxious to disagree. No, he told us, we don’t want a strong leader like Putin – there’s a strong case for having a jellyfish who just goes along with whatever they’re told.

Strangely, Turnbull was given praise by some sections of the media for his decision to criticise Pauline’s comments. Have we become so used to seeing Turnbull as the obedient lap-dog of every right wing nutter that we somehow think merely saying that he disagrees is the sort of performance that where we’d start refering to him as the Australian Vladimir? He’s set the bar so low that he attracts praise when he does such courageous things as telling Trump that he expects a deal to be honoured or attacks Bill Shorten for hobnobbing with the elite. On the latter, surely Turnbull wasn’t suggesting that Shorten was being a class traitor because, as any member of his government will tell you, it’s only Labor who indulge in class warfare…

Whatever, the coming Western Australian election will throw up an interesting predicament for the Federal Liberals. It’s highly unlikely that the Liberals will produce a strong result, and possibly the worst case scenario for them is winning government with One Nation holding the balance of power in the upper house (or even, less likely, the lower house!) While Labor can condemn the preference deal that put them there, it’s a lot harder when you’re the ones who made it. However, a loss would surely have the knives being sharpened in Canberra. Actually, the knives must be pretty sharp by now.

As someone said to Caesar, beware the ides of March!

#By the way, did you catch his performance on “The Project” last week?

Energy In Australia And Why The Federal Government Lacks Any!

On Facebook this morning, a “promoted” site popped up asking me to sign a petition to stop the closure of the Hazelwood power station. Now, being a helpful sort of a chap, I thought I’d like to point out to the creators of the site that Hazelwood is being closed by its French operators, not the Labor State Government. Private operators don’t tend to take much notice of petitions about how badly this will affect workers; they’re more concerned with their bottom line.

However, on visiting the site energyinaustralia.org, I couldn’t find any “Contact Us”. In fact, I couldn’t even find who was behind it. No names, no organisations, nothing. Just a site telling me all about how dangerous and insignificant renewables are. So I decided to search to see where it’s Domain Name was registered. Strangely, Energy In Australia had something which said: “IP Location France France Roubaix Ovh Sas”.

Ok, well there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, I don’t know how these things work. Maybe it was just cheaper to register the site in France for some reason. And who really cares who’s behind a site, eh? If a group of Frenchies want to educate us on the dangers of renewables, then we shouldn’t be xenophobic about it. Not when the site consists of such wonderful stories and information. Yes, when we ask them to please explain they can tell us that we have the “14th Highest Power Bills in the World”.

Which means, of course, that there are thirteen countries where power bills are higher, and given that some of the countries who have lower power bills would be third world countries where people don’t have very high power bills because they don’t have power supplies in the first place, 14th is hardly something that we should be shrieking about. Surely we should be saying thank heavens that we’re not in one of those unlucky thirteen. I can’t tell you who they are because there were no links or information about where they were getting their figures from. With a bit of googling, I found this, but this has Australia a lot lower the fourteenth.

It also had a few nice little stories on energy under the title of “Recent News”. These weren’t attributed to anyone, so one assumes that they were written by the creators of website. Recent News included the following:

Storm Clouds Gather Over SA Businesses
February 15, 2017
Oh, Canada… Learning From A Nation’s Mistakes
January 31, 2017
Hazelwood Closes, Electricity Prices Rise
January 31, 2017
3 Reasons Adani’s New Mine Matters
January 24, 2017
Renewables Push To Hit Poorest Customers Hardest

I particularly liked the 3 Reasons Adani’s New Mine Matters. The three reasons were 1. North Queensland Needs It, 2. 10,000 jobs on offer and 3. More Much Needed Schools & Hospitals. Each reason was accompanied by a paragraph which – like the assertion that our power prices are the 14th highest in the world – had very little evidence to back it up. But not just a paragraph. Each also had a little video, though I can’t for the life of me see what the final one had to do with anything. To save you the trouble of looking it up, here it is:

http://giphy.com/gifs/reaction-excited-fx-h01OpEeFWverS?utm_source=iframe&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=tag_click

The Hazelwood Closes story conveniently ignored the fact that it wasn’t a government decision to shut it down, but rather a commercial decision based on the fact that it was reaching the end of its lifespan and would cost too much to upgrade the plant.

Anyway, I had two minds about drawing attention to these anonymous people who don’t even have any comments on their website yet, but I thought it’s only a matter of time before someone in the current Coalition quotes them in justifying their decision to subsidise a new coal-fired power plant. For those of you who haven’t been following lately, the Federal Government position goes something like this: “Labor spent a lot of money and got us into debt and we all need to live within our means and now we’ve taken over, we’re going to try really hard to make things better by clawing as much money out of those who can least afford it, which is only reasonable because if they had a job they would be contributing and not forcing those pour workers on 457 visas to support them, and when it comes to energy prices we’re not going to tell people that if they’re energy prices are too high, then maybe they should cut back on something else and live within their means because that’d cause a backlash, so instead we’re going to suggest that it’s all because of renewables, even though NSW has some of the highest bills in the world and they’re not even part of those Labor states with unrealistic targets. No, renewables are ideologically wrong and they cost too much and need to be subsidised, and we can’t afford to subsidise them because we’re too busy trying to find ways to subsidise the fossil fuel industry to make energy cheaper because that the way the free market works!”

Of course, anybody who’s paying attention may notice one or two little inconsistencies in their whole approach: Like the fact that Prime Minister seems to believe that he’ll lose more votes by failing to keep Pauline Hanson happy than by actually pointing out that most of her candidates think that the jury is still out on the flat earth, and have so much certainty about things they know nothing about that it’d be more appropriate if they named themselves the Dunning Kruger party. (One day in the future, I expect to see Dunning Kruger change its name to “Donald Trump syndrome”!) Or the fact that if the Liberals had managed to get their spending cuts through then we would have had two quarters of negative growth and been in the first recession since Paul Keating gave us the one “we had to have”.

Anyway, the Liberals are expected to lose in WA next week in spite of their decision to screw the Nationals and preference One Nation ahead of them. I guess the question is whether someone is waiting till after that to challenge Malcolm on the grounds that they don’t want to be blamed for the loss. The risk, of course, is if the Liberals limp back then Trumbull may be safe.

Interesting times, if you like that sort of leadership musical chairs. Otherwise, you’re probably just wondering why the Federal Government shows less movement than a constipated sloth!

Ninety Percent Of Turnbull’s Front Bench Have Poor Numeracy Skills, But The Other Half Are OK!

Turnbull must be thanking his lucky stars that Trump was elected! No sooner does one of his front bench suggest an answer to the question how inconsistent can you be and still not have the people rise up and say that this whole democracy thing is rather dangerous, than the Trump Show manages to make it all somehow look sane by comparison.

By the way, I understand that Trump is now dismissing any protests on the grounds that they’re being organised by people who don’t support him… but that’s a whole other issue.

No, I’m trying to work out how a government who for years has avoided scrutiny on some outrageous things by saying that they won’t comment due to “privacy concerns” can suddenly turn around and release the details of Andie Fox, in order to set the record straight and show how it was Centrelink that was being unfairly criticised. Interestingly, it was given to a journalist at that bastion of Marxist ideology, the Fairfax group! I say, interestingly because I’m starting to find politics rather boring.

I mean, when Kevin was undermining Julia, we had all sorts of people being quoted “off the record”, but these days the Liberals just keep telling us what’s going in public so there’s no fun in speculating whether it was an actual leak or whether the journalist had a deadline and just made it all up. These days, when Tony Abbott throws the toys out of the cot, Peta Credlin goes on SkyNews and says what can one expect because nobody’s fed him and his nappy needs changing. And Turnbull says that Tony strategically planned his complaints to coincide with an opinion poll and – seeing as how we all hung on every word that Tony says – that led to a massive difference in the result. Personally, had I been asked, I would have tried to find the way to express my support for everything that Turnbull is doing and I would have complained that there was no section that allowed me to say that Turnbull was the greatest leader since Alexander the Great, but then I heard Tony say that we needed to become more conservative and I thought, no, that Alexander the Great was a bit of a lefty and failed to stop illegal immigrants sacking that library which had all the books. Or something like that.

I could look it up but we don’t have highspeed internet yet and I wouldn’t be able to press publish until I’d waited for the NBN to be installed sometime in 2016 like the Liberals promised… And there’s a lot of fake news suggesting that it’s already 2017, but I trust Tony.

And then I thought, it’s true, what that Tony guy said. We need to bring energy prices down.

Of course, stopping companies from selling our gas overseas would be one way to do it, but that’d be terrible because it’d stop jobs somehow.

And then, I realised that jobs and growth are very, very important. Jobs… They come from growth… And don’t jobs create growth? So if we can just one then the other will follow like… Well, love and marriage… they go together like a horse and ah, um… that thing behind a horse. I mean, you can’t have one without the other and that’s why we need a tax cut for people already making a profit…

Let’s see, how does it go? Company profits have grown and wages have gone backwards so if we can just give companies those tax cuts, they’ll decide that they have enough money now and start sharing it with their employees.

And speaking of jobs, wasn’t the reduction in penalty rates going to lead to more jobs? So why is Turnbull suggesting that it should be brought in slowly? Surely it would be better to speed it up as it’s going to lead to some sort of turbo charged economy! Wouldn’t it?

No wonder I find politics boring; it’s just too confusing. Maybe the next PM will be better at explaining things! Maybe when Scott Morrison takes over next week, he’ll be able to explain.

Of course, I could be wrong about Scott Morrison taking over next week… It might be Peter Dutton. Apparently he’s hoping not to be remembered as the worst Health Minister in history, and he thinks that by becoming the worst PM in history, we might forget…

Whatever, in the stakes that began when the US elected Ronald Reagan and we saw their Ronald and raised them John Howard. George W. OOOh, we said…. you win. But then, we decided to try and win by sneaking in Tony Abbott. We’ll see your Abbott, they said and raised us Donald Trump. Ha ha, we said, we changed to Malcolm Trumble while you weren’t paying attention. Really, they said, we can’t tell the difference.

So, in the game of “Who Can Pick The Most Ridiculous Leader And Still Not Have A Revolution?”, Peter Dutton is the obvious choice…

But maybe we should just stop playing and, instead of voting, randomly select the PM from everyone on the electoral roll and then pick someone else at the end of each month… Ok, it’s not much different to now, but at least we could all breathe easier knowing that nobody was silly enough to actually vote for the current leader of our country!

Turnbull is Toast!

Butter him!

Spread your choice of jam!

I’m tempted to say he won’t last till the end of the month, but it is the 28th February and that only leaves a couple of hours…

Anyway, Tony was attacked for his comments by former supporters.
This means that some of them have decided that he has no hope and they’re other hoping to be the next PM. Or else hoping for a promotion under the new leader because they’ve shown that they can be loyal, even to a jellyfish like Turnbull, so what would they accomplish under a real leader…

Then today, George Christensen resigns as whip…

All right, he may have just got rid of the whip so that he could have his own float at the next Gay Mardi Gras, where overweight men men in singlets and glasses all model themselves on him, but I tend to think that, much and all that George is trying to outdo Kylie as a gay icon, this is more about politics than personal choices. (Um, have they got rid of that “insult and offend” thing in 18C yet? No? Ok, then I’ll watch what I say about George, in case I have to invoke 18D about the protections for satire, etc.)

So, George is sending a shot across the Liberal’s bow… if you’ll pardon the expression.

Basically, he’s saying that he hasn’t defected… Yet!

I could go on…

But I won’t.

Malcolm can’t…
But he’ll try!

Let’s face it. When you sell yourself on the grounds that you’re a winner, once you start to lose, you’ve got to depend on your friends…

Malcolm’s friends? Well, he wasn’t prepared to condemn a preference deal with One Nation, so maybe they think that he’s a bit more agreeable than John Howard.

Mm, the peasants once complained that they had no bread, to which the Coalition replied, “Well, if they have no bread then they certainly don’t deserve cake. Look at how well profits are growing and even though wages are shrinking, once you pass the company tax cuts, then the rich will decide that they have enough and workers will get a pay rise…”

But, now Malcolm is toast and there’s enough bread to go around because we can all have a piece of him!

Ok, I rather like strawberry jam. But if you prefer marmalade, then it’s up to you…

The Liberal Party, on the other hand, may prefer a rotisserie.

Either way, stick a fork in him and turn him over, he’s done!

Honour The Sabbath, But Clearly In A Clearly Optional Way OR Why Tony Is The Only True Conservative Left!

Recently I’ve speculated on how the Christian Right have found clear evidence about the Bible’s opposition to gay marriage based on highly ambiguous readings of obscure verses here and there, but not one of them has come out and condemned the reduction of penalty rates on Sundays. I suppose one could argue that they see it as a sin anyway and whether one is paid double time or not is hardly the issue. However, I would expect that someone like Neil who graced us with his presence in the comments, or Lyle Shelton would have been jumping up and down and complaining about the abolition of penalty rates leading to more sin…

Yes, the wages of sin is death… But you do get to pick your own hours and the working conditions are pretty good!

I don’t know why I chose to start talking about penalty rates. I’m really much more interested in the coming leadership challenge which leaves us with a Liberal Party 100% behind Scott Morrison… Or Peter Dutton, if they decide that he’s the only one who’s still friendly enough with the Tony to convince him to take the effing job in London before they have to revoke his citizenship under the recent changes allowing us to cancel it when dual citizens commit crimes such as sedition… Sedition can loosely be defined as trying to bring down the government, and they could even get a jury to convict Abbott on that.

Ok, ok, I know that Abbott isn’t really a dual citizen and that he revoked his British citizenship some time ago, but he won’t tell us when because it’s a deeply personal thing and therefore an operational matter. Of course, when I say that I know, I’m using the words “I know” in the same way that Donald Trump knows that nobody understands the world like him and he knows that climate change is part of a conspiracy between Hillary and the Chinese to destroy Trump Tower!

Anyway…

Tony decided to warn his colleagues that they were in danger of losing the next election because they weren’t conservative enough. The Tone decided to do this – not in the Party room where he was concerned that his mates may be asleep or not paying attention – but via the media. In the everyday world where most of us live this would be the normal way of doing things. If you had a problem with your boss, you wouldn’t blurt it out at a staff meeting. No, you’d publish it on social media in the hope that someone would bring it to his attention and he’d go, “Yes, that person had a point, I’ll change my ways!”

Peta Credlin rushed to Tony’s defence. He wasn’t being disloyal. He was just frustrated. She quickly added that she was no longer working for Tony and her reflections were just to help us all understand that it was his pent-up frustration and that she wasn’t speaking on his behalf. No, she was just presuming that he was frustrated, and she was just trying to explain what he gets like when he’s frustrated by not having his own way. No, she may no longer be his Chief of Staff, but she knows where he’s coming from!

Tony, we’ll all have you know, is simply trying to keep the Liberal Party together. And we all know that the best way to keep a party together is to criticise it in public…

Yes, Labor has disunity; the Liberals have “a broad church”.

And part of this broad church, in the Gospel according to St Tony, tells us that we should just get rid of all the nonsense that we pretended to believe in when we were trying to get elected. You know, like all that nonsense he pretended to believe in when he was studying to be a priest before he realised that he’d never be Pope.

I mean, don’t you all understand the threat of One Nation?

No, not the One Nation which encourages songs like “We’re all in this together” or multicuturalism. No, the One Nation that wants to exclude most people in our nation from anything approaching rights and thinks that penalty rates should just be abolished altogether and women get pregnant for the money!

You know, One Nation…

Remember, Tony did his bit by meeting with Pauline where they had a jolly good laugh about how he raised the funds to have her put in jail.

You know, One Nation…

Who’ve hired James Ashby. Remember him? He left the Liberals to go and work for Peter Slipper. That worked out badly and he had to leave because he alleged that Slipper was sexually harassing him, but his case sort of fell down when his reaction to a text about being spanked was to reply that he might like it. (This is not a joke. Unless Winston Smith has started to work for the government it’s easily searchable!) Now James is working for Pauline and Tony is saying that we need to be less consistent to what we believe and more like PHON!

You know, One Nation…

Whom Abbott seems to believe may take votes off the Liberals and are a threat.

You know, One Nation…

The Party that the Liberals decided to preference above their Coalition partners in WA. Of course, helping them get elected doesn’t mean that we support them and agree with them. We’re just doing it because we’d trade preferences with the devil himself if he it helped us get elected. I mean, at least we have sunk so low as to work with The Greens!

Yes, it’s a worry that people may start to agree with One Nation whose candidates have done such wonderful things as suggesting that a termite repellent can be used to treat skin cancer (or could, were it not for the fact that silly regulations have stopped it’s import, just because a few people have needed hospitalisation because they have large holes in their face) and the idea that gay people are using “Nazi mind control” to change our thinking. I can see more votes leaking to One Nation than the Labor Party or The Greens. God, doesn’t Donald Trump show how dangerous the left can be?

When I suggest that the Liberals will call a spill this week, it seems highly unlikely at the time of writing. However, in a world where Abbott was elected as PM and Turnbull is praising the virtues of coal and Bill Shorten looks the most sincere of the three*, then it’s a risky call to bet against me unless you’re getting good odds. Do I think, Malcolm will be PM by the end of the week? Probably… But I am prepared to suggest that the person who suggested that Turnbull would go on to be one of our longest-serving and most successful Prime Ministers must be wishing that they’d decided to write a column about the achievements of Lachlan Macquarie instead!

*I only said, of the three, AND I do know we could have a long discussion about it, but the idea that it’s even debatable is EXACTLY my point!

The Future Is Different! If That Seems Obvious Then Why Are So Many Acting As Though It Isn’t!


“Ironically, in an age of instant global connection, my certainty about anything has decreased. Rather than receiving truth from an authority, I am reduced to assembling my own certainty from the liquid stream of facts flowing through the web. Truth, with a capital T, becomes truths, plural. I have to sort the truths not just about things I care about, but about anything I touch, including areas about which I can’t possibly have any direct knowledge. That means that in general I have to constantly question what I think I know. We might consider this state perfect for the advancement of science, but it also means that I am more likely to have my mind changed for incorrect reasons.”



From “The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future” by Kevin Kelly

Now, while the media is asking us to look at the differences between Abbott and his former underlings, it’s interesting to look at exactly where the areas of difference between the current Liberal direction and what Abbott is saying. While Tony wants to slow immigration and to eliminate the Human Rights Commission in order to stop “official bullying” (ok, if he’s refering to the bullying of Gillian Triggs by government and other officials, it’s probably true, but I’m more worried that it seems he has no problem with unofficial bullying), they all basically agree on what a great thing coal is and all they have to do is get a STRONG economy and all the other problems will take care of themselves.

Actually, I wonder if Tony and Malcolm and Scott had been alive a hundred years ago whether we’d have heard something like this:

“The horse and cart will be part of our transport mix for a long time to come. Some states are putting unrealistic targets on the number of automobiles and are suggesting that by 1930 we’ll have as much as fifty percent of our goods moved by truck. Let’s be clear we need a baseload system and you can’t go past the horse for that. While some people are complaining about the horseshit, we think that it’s important to remember that it’s a naturally occuring thing and good for plants, so how could it be damaging to anyone’s health? The fact remains that automobiles are currently much, much more expensive to run than horses and they are nowhere near as reliable. The idea that they’ll ever be produced in the sort of numbers that would bring their price down to where they’d be able to compete with horses is just a silly dream. Besides, it’s all right for those in the city, but once you venture into the country, where will you get the petrol from? It’s not like they’ll ever have a way of providing petrol outside the major cities like Sydney and Melbourne. No, we in the Liberal Party are committed to the horse and cart, while Labor are pushing transport costs higher with their suggestion that the new, expensive invention can provide a reliable means of transport.”

Yep, they all seem to be ok with this idea that we need coal. Coal is beautiful. Coal is carbon. Coal is a diamond. Old King Coal was a merry old soul… Or as Tony told us, we should stop subsidising these renewables, let them stand or fall in the market, and just stick to subsidising coal like God meant us to.

But I suspect that – Donald Trump and the Coalition of the Lying notwithstanding – the market will fix coal sometime in the next decade. I don’t expect the market to fix everything, but this is one thing where it just might work.

No, I don’t agree with the current government’s strange idea that the Market solves all our problems. We’re constantly being told how when the economy gets back “to normal”, when we have stronger growth, when we fix the deficit, when we pay off debt, then it’ll all be ok. Unemployment will be fixed and housing will be more affordable. In Debt: The First 5,000 Year, Dave Graeber explains the appeal of Adam Smith’s writings:

‘This is actually why Smith’s work is so important. He created the vision of an imaginary world almost entirely free of debt and credit, and therefore, free of guilt and sin; a world where men and women were free to simply calculate their interests in full knowledge that everything had been prearranged by God to ensure that it will serve the greater good. Such imaginary constructs are of course what scientists refer to as “models,” and there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with them. Actually, I think a fair case can be made that we cannot think without them. The problem with such models—at least, it always seems to happen when we model something called “the market”—is that, once created, we have a tendency to treat them as objective realities, or even fall down before them and start worshipping them as gods. “We must obey the dictates of the market!”’

Now the big problem with treating the market as some sort of deity is that we expect deities to have a clear idea of what they’re doing. The very idea of “letting the market decide” implies an intelligence weighing up the consequences and coming to a sensible, rational conclusion. The Market makes no actual decisions; it’s the result of numerous decisions by flawed individuals. While the wisdom of the crowds has some merit, it’s also worth remembering that The Bay City Rollers were once very popular.

Unfortunately, while conservatives often preach less government intervention, they’re happy to have governments intervene to protect their own interests. For example, think copyright laws and patents that stop us simply manufacturing things that other people have invented. Yes, I think that such things should exist, but I’m neither a free marketeer, nor an anarchist. Pursued to its logical conclusion, laissez-faire economics would argue we have no need to stop companies from pouring poison into our water supply because when everyone’s dead, the company won’t have a market any more and the market will have solved the problem.

In abstract terms everyone understands the simple reality is that world is changing. While this fact is used by the Liberals to reduce the pay of workers on penalty rates, there’s no acknowledgement that even though improved growth may create some extra jobs, it certainly won’t be enough to help the long term unemployed or solving housing affordability. Improvements in growth and more manufacturing don’t necessary lead to more jobs. There’s every possibility that it will be a machine or robot doing the work. Yes, our GDP may have increased, but the idea that if you increase the profits of businesses it will trickle down to the workers is just so last century…

Actually it wasn’t even true then.

We need to acknowledge that economics frequently involves “wicked problems”. A wicked problem is where the unpredictability and interconnected nature of all the factors involved means that it’s very hard to predict the outcome of any course of action and any solution tried may lead to even worse problems.

At its most simple, we see the MP put in charge of doing something about housing affordability, Michael Sukkar who suggesting that getting a highly paid job was the solution to the problem, and he then using his own experience of getting a law degree and being elected to Parliament, enabling him to purchase a second property by the time he was 35. Most of the criticism of his comments was along the lines of how out of touch he was, and how his remarks echoed various other Liberals who seemed to think it was just a matter of having richer parents or earning more. Of course, there’s an element of truth in that, but probably the more frightening thing is when the person in charge of examining the system sees it in terms of what works for the individual. Housing affordability is a wicked problem. We could decide that we’d give all those saving for their first house the same pay rates as an MP and we’d do absolutely nothing to make houses more affordable because it would simply add to the price they could afford, pushing prices up even further.

Take penalty rates as an even more complicated example of a wicked problem. The Coalition look at it simply. Pay people less and we’ll have more employers willing to hire people to them to work on a Sunday. We’ll have more cafes, more shop open and those that are already open will employ more people for more hours because it’s cheaper. In some cases, this may happen, but one of the reasons that Sunday is the busiest day for some cafes is because their competition has decided it isn’t worth opening. Once it too decides to open, the takings of the busy shop may decrease. “Gee, I really don’t need to have two waiters on any more, half my customers are going down the road and another handful don’t come in any more because now they’re starting an hour earlier at their retail job!” Then, of course, you need to take into account the loss of business from people who can no longer afford as much because they’re penalty rates have been cut.

Now I’m not saying that’s what will happen with the decision to slash penalty rates; I’m simply pointing out that it’s a wicked problem and therefore unpredictable.

We need to begin to start talking about the future. But first we need to understand that it won’t be like the past, and while it’ll be unpredictable, we should start looking at what’s likely and not merely buying shares in the buggy whip company and telling everyone that they’re great value one day soon they’ll bounce back when people start using the horse and cart again.

Clean Coal, Malcolm’s Principles And Other Oxymorons!

Now, I know that consistency isn’t a strong point with people generally. And I don’t have a problem with people who change their minds. As John Milton Keynes was alleged to have said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. How about you, sir?”

No, it’s not as Donald Trump administration would have it, “When I change my mind, the facts change and it’s all fake news anyway, because as Abraham Lincoln said to George Washington, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet!”

I found it hard to reconcile the Abbott government’s insistence that the workers killed installing insulation were the fault of the Labor government’s lack of oversight, while announcing that they’d get rid of all the red tape which slowed down business.

But lately, the Liberals are creating a new gold standard when it comes to saying one thing one minute, then another thing a minute later. Sometimes they’re even contradicting themselves in that same sentence when they tell us that negative gearing doesn’t make house prices higher, but removing it would make them lower.
Most you probably noticed Josh Frydenberg floating the idea of allowing the CEFC to invest in “clean” coal, and I suspect that many of you would probably argue that like it’s allowing QUIT to invest in clean tobacco.

Of course, you do have a strong argument, and I’m not denying that the idea of “clean coal” sounds more of an oxymoron than “Malcolm Turnbull’s principles” or “humble One Nation MP”, but I’m prepared to say that it’s not impossible that we may be able to create “cleaner” coal if we put our minds to it and pour money into researching it. Of course, I’m also prepared to say that unicorns may exist, that Scott Morrison may not be planning to be PM before the year is out and any day now, Donald Trump may announce he’s resigning because he’s done everything possible to get impeached but the Republicans are stupider than he imagined… It’s not the possibility of clean coal that I find inconsistent. It’s a strange idea. But the Liberals do have a lot of stranger ideas, like putting Cory Bernardi on their senate ticket or telling us that One Nation is now more “sophisticated than it was twenty years ago.

No, it’s their recent decree to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation that’s the weird thing. Late last year, Mathias Cormann and Josh Frydenberg lectured the CEFC about the need to strive for an annual return well above the bond rates. In other words, they were told that they needed to be investing in profitable enterprises. None of this helping out evolving industries and giving them a helping hand while they become more commercial. Nope, we want commercial decisions which make a profit, and not just a small profit: 3-4% above the interest rate!

So imagine the surprise from the CEFC when they hear that just a few short weeks later, they get told that Mal and his mates are looking at changing the legislation to enable an investment in coal from the fund. The fact that clean coal isn’t profitable is no problem. I almost expect Frydenberg to be telling us that “Field Of Dreams” is the evidence on which they intend to base energy policy, and if we build it, they will come.

Of course, this is on top of the fact that a voluntary levy which coal companies paid to investigate clean coal was used for political advertising. Of course, it’s rather scandalous that the money to pay for the advertising was deducted from state royalties. But that’s not what I found most interesting about the ABC’s story.

No, for me it was this simple statement which the ABC seemed to skate over:

‘With a lack of research projects to finance, the levy was suspended in 2012. In 2013, the coal lobby changed the mandate of Coal21 to downplay research and allow its funds to be used for “coal promotion”.’

Let me just repeat that first bit for you, “With a lack of research projects to finance, the levy was suspended in 2012.”

Or let me just put it in bold: With a lack of research projects to finance!

In other words, our government now wants to give taxpayer funds to something that even the coal industry itself didn’t think was worth looking at. The levy was stopped, not because it was too expensive in these hard times for coal producers, but because they had more money than there were projects to fund.

So, if you thought George Brandis was bad when he suggested that asylum seekers were breaking the law, but he wouldn’t tell us which section of the migration act they were breaking because that – like operational matters, on-water events and where they’ve hidden Christopher Pyne – is a secret, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait till they tell us that we can give millions of taxpayer dollars to the coal industry to research something that even they themselves thought wasn’t worth spending money on. Just wait till they tell us that it’s a mistake to be “ideologically driven”, but the coal industry is the way of the future. I mean, didn’t you see those great ads? Not only that, thanks to all the money they’ve been given, they’ll soon be making even better ads. They’ll have Scott Morrison, holding a lump of coal, telling us that it’s only through coal that the Budget will be back in the black, and it’s only the coal industry that stands between us and the Marxists forcing their clean energy ideology on us all. Not only that but they’ll have a row of dancing girls with lights powered by coal – that’s both the dancing girls and the coal.

Coal – if it’s good for humanity, it’s god for the Liberal Party!