Advancing Australian Tourism

  By Denis Bright Denis Bright invites discussion on the social market foundations of…

Day to Day Politics: The Trump Report No…

Wednesday 21 February 2017 It's rather ironic that the President of the USA,…

Clean Coal, Malcolm's Principles And Other Oxymorons!

Now, I know that consistency isn’t a strong point with people generally.…

Is Trump the Disaster we had to have?

By James Moylan Since WWII the American government has been taken over by…

Day to Day Politics: How the right play…

Tuesday 21 February 2017 Much is being made of Donald Trump’s angst with…

Where are my (and your) taxes going?

While I was at Births, Deaths and Marriages I was stunned at…

Would you give your bank statements to Births,…

For reasons of privacy, I don't like giving my bank statements to…

Day to Day Politics: The ABC's INSIDERS.

Monday February 20 2017 Journalists Malcolm Farr, Mark Kenny and Niki Savva joined…

«
»
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.

Mexico To Pay For Wall After All!

You’ve got to hand it to Donald Trump and his hand-picked advisers!

While some have been getting upset just because his pick for Education, Betty Devos, seemed unaware of the difference between judging a child’s proficiency or their progress (she actually didn’t seem to understand that there could be a difference) or her beliefs on the teaching of evolution, his economics team have shown the sort of startling grasp of economics that Joe Hockey had when he said that he’d pay for Liberal promises by not spending money on Labor proposals that we couldn’t afford. (You may need to think about that for a second.)

No, they’ve announced that they’ll make Mexico pay for the wall by imposing a twenty percent tariff on Mexican imports!

Gee, that’ll fix those Mexicans. Using the same concept, I think we could solve all our Budget problems overnight by imposing 100% tariff on goods from
China.

Now some of you may see a little flaw in this logic, but in case you haven’t picked up yet, I’d just like to put forward the question that’s on my mind. Is the Trump team really that stupid or do they now believe that if the public was stupid enough to vote them in, then Americans will buy just about anything… Apart from Mexican goods, of course, after the 20% tariff.

And no, the flaw in the argument isn’t simply that a 20% tariff would lead to a reduction in people purchasing things from south of the border – although such a thing is likely, and in that sense, Mexico would be “paying” for not paying for the wall. However, just as Australians would be the ones paying it if we imposed that 100% tariff on Chinese goods, then it’ll be those suckers in the USA who’ll be paying the tariff on Mexican goods.

“You’re an idjut,” I can hear some of those good ole boys who support Trump, “President Trump is only imposing it on Mexican goods, so they’ll have to pay it.” And I’m trying to wonder if they’d ever get it, no matter how many times I tried to explain.

But much and all as people may try to suggest otherwise, many of Trump’s supporters were educated and intelligent… Or at least capable of grasping reality. Surely some of them must be starting to get edgy. Surely some of them must be worried that they dismissed some of the stranger things Trump said as part of the game; necessary to get him elected, but once he was POTUS, then he’d start using the sort of business acumen that enabled him to be so successful… After all, how many people can have as many bankruptcies as him and still end up so wealthy?

I can hardly wait until Australia’s (sometimes) resident village idiot, Tony Abbott, comments on this one.

>Sigh< It's going to a long four years.

News For February 2017 (Because I’m Clairvoyant!)

Actually, I’m not clairvoyant. I nearly had a relationship with a clairvoyant once, but she wisely decided not to meet me.

Anyway, using the power of reason and simple deduction, I can confidently tell you that these stories will appear in the media in February:

“TURNBULL ANNOUNCES INTENTION TO PURSUE TPP REGARDLESS”

In spite of all other eleven countries pulling out, Malcolm Turnbull has announced his intention to pursue the TPP. Branding Labor “obstructionist”, he complained that there was nothing standing in the way of a successful negotiation apart from Bill Shorten.
“We have every confidence that we can reach an agreement with ourselves and it’s only Bill Shorten and his Green mates that are stopping us from have a free trade agreement with Australia.” When asked what a free trade agreement would contain, Mr Turnbull said that details were confidential, but it was certainly something that would enable more people to do meaningful work enabling them to pay back any debts that they may owe Centrelink. “It’s ridiculous,” he said, “Labor and The Greens want to know what’s in the deal even before it’s written. One Nation, on the other hand, have shown themselves to be flexible and have told us that whatever we do is ok by them. No wonder, this country is going backwards when Bill Shorten is too gutless to just acquiesce and do whatever the government wants.”

“MUSLIM LINK TO TERRORIST THREAT”

A building displaying the billboard with the two Islamic girls wearing a headscarf was threatened with bombings and revenge attacks. “This is Australia,” wrote Eric Herring of 45 Trump Street, Hitler Hills, “and we shouldn’t have to put up with things like that! Either take down the billboard or we will!” When it was pointed out that the billboard had been removed shortly after Australia Day, Herring tweeted that this was a great victory for the common man.
The two girls on the billboard have been taken in for questioning over their role in this incident.

“TONY ABBOTT GIVES SPEECH SUPPORTING EVERYTHING THAT TRUMP IS DOING”

Tony Abbott says that it’s good to have a President who is actually doing things, while giving the keynote speech at the “Make America Great Again” society in Bertie county. After assuring everyone that this wasn’t meant to be a criticism of his own leader, he added that it was really, really good to be overseas telling people how he was happy just representing the people of Werr-i-was – or whatever his electorate is called. “No,” Tony Abbott told the assembled crowd of almost a dozen people, “I had my chance and I did brilliantly, I just wasn’t very good at telling people what a great leader I was, so it’s really, really good that you have a leader like Trump who’s learned to communicate and tell you all how awesome he is. If I’d learned that lesson early on, I’d probably still be PM, because I didn’t make any other mistakes.” He added that he knew that his time had come and gone and there was no chance of him being Prime Minister again, no matter how much the country needed it.


“CHRISTOPHER PYNE SAYS THAT HE’S STILL RELEVANT”

Christopher Pyne announced: “I’m still relevant.” When asked to elaborate, Pyne looked confused because nobody had ever asked him to do that before.

“NDIS IN TROUBLE”

As one of his first acts as Health Minister, Greg Hunt announced that in order to ensure that NDIS would be value for money, it would be taken over by Trump Health. “We all know that the private system runs things much better, that’s why we turned the TAFE system over to private providers,” he announced, before adding that the cost blowout because of Labor’s earlier decisions meant that the Medicare levy would need to be increased to 5% for those earning less than $100,000. When asked if he meant to say those earning more than $100,000, he replied that people like that already contributed enough in tax.


“CHRISTENSEN CALLS FOR CHANGES TO RACIAL VILIFICATION ACT”

George Christensen addressed a meeting of the “Give Australia Back To Australians By Deporting Muslims, Aborigines And Anybody Else Who Doesn’t Wear A Flag On Australia Day” and announced that if he forms a new party it will eliminate 18C and replace it with legislation supporting free speech by forbidding anybody from calling people “racist” or “homophobic”. He added that he had no plans to form a new party “just yet” as the Liberals were still doing what they were told, but they had been dragging their feet a bit with the whole 18C thing and he wasn’t sure how long he could wait to say what he really thinks about “certain people”.

“TRUMP TWEETS RESPONSE TO COMEDIAN AT TRY-OUT NIGHT WHO ATTEMPTED JOKE”

@realDonaldTrump: Dwayne Trout tried to make joke about me. Failed badly. He should stick to his day job. Will the…

@realDonaldTrump: place in New York that gave him a try-out give me equal time? Come to that will Twitter stop cut..

@realDonaldTrump: ing me off after 140 characters? I am President.

Mm, why do I suspect that sometime in February I’ll be wondering if maybe I am clairvoyant after all…

When Is A Model? Howlong Is A Town!

Ok, Howlong may be a city by now. I don’t know. I just remember when I asked where we were and someone said, “Howlong,” and I made some comment that made me feel embarrassed because I was clearly uninformed about the geography of the area.

Anyway, I’m feeling less embarrassed now that the Turnbull government…

Mm, I don’t know why I keep refering to them as the Turnbull government, because they seem neither…

Anyway, I’m feeling less embarrassed now that the Turnbull government announced that they’d done no modelling…

Done no modelling? I seem to remember some other time that they admitted as much but I can’t remember when. Perhaps I should ask Arthur whatsisname.

Anyway, I’m feeling less embarrassed now that the Turnbull government announced that they’d done no modelling on the USA pulling out of the TPP, because it was “a hypothetical”.

Now, I could suggest that it should be “an hypothetical”, but nobody does that any more and it’s just part of the whole destruction of English as we know it. (Yes, yes, it’s ok for all you pedants to point out the circumstances when one drops the aitch as in “an ‘onourable” and hypothetical isn’t one of them, but have fun trying to be a prescriptivist in an “alternative facts” world! Why don’t you do what that other pedant did and correct Betty Devos’ tweet, just because she’d fail a grammar test doesn’t mean that she’s not eminently qualified to be Trump’s Education Secretary!)

Ok, let me just ask those of you who have some sort of understanding of “modelling” – and I don’t mean those who made the finals of “Australia’s Top Model” – but surely ALL modelling is looking at hypotheticals. I mean, isn’t that the very nature of modelling. If we do this, then the expectation is that, but if we do the other, then we expect that it’ll result in something else, while a third thing entirely is even less predictable than a Trump presidency…

Speaking of which, it does seem to me…

And let me be clear, I’m no expert when it comes to modelling… Although, I’m happy to be a contestant in “Australia’s Next Top Model” or whatever it’s called and the fact that they won’t pick me is just part of the whole reason that Pauline Hanson has a popularity rating rivalling that of Clive Palmer before even Queenslanders realised that he was slightly (removed for legal reasons). She stands up for fat, old white men like me who are having a hard time lately. And I don’t mind that she gets upset with women who march because, well, if my wife marched, who’d cook my dinner?

No, I’m talking about economic modelling, and while I clearly don’t have a clue, I would have thought that if one of the two remaining candidates says that he won’t go ahead with the TPP, then there’s a chance that he may be elected, which would mean that there’s a chance that the USA won’t be part of it. And when he is elected, then there’s even more of a chance of America not being a part of it.

However, it seems that Turnbull and company were relying on people being able to explain to Trump that this was all about screwing workers by enabling American companies to do whatever they liked, while screwing all the other countries in the free trade agreement.

But like I said, I’m no expert. I’m not even a pretty face. Which is probably why I won’t be on “Australia’s Top Model” even if you start a petition on GetUp! or organise several million women to march.

I guess that’s the thing. They’re marching because Trump is removing the rights of some organisations to comment on abortion, but they didn’t march to support my right to be on that model show. How hypocritical! I look forward to Rita and Andrew and others writing something about how oppressed I am tomorrow…

The Fiction Of Unemployment

“This is actually why Smith’s (Adam) 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!”

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by Dave Graeber

Back in the 1980s, people spent a lot of time discussing the future of work. One thing I remember being told was that we needed to be ensuring that students knew how to use their leisure time because with the improvements in technology, we’d all be working fewer hours.

Of course, we all presumed that meant that the working week would be shorter for all of us rather than the situation where the employed are expected to work longer while the unemployed have so much leisure time that we feel it necessary to compel them to go for a large number of jobs which they’re unlikely to get rather than actually using their time productively. Simply, even though there aren’t enough jobs to go around, we want to make sure that nobody feels ok about not working; they need to blame themselves rather than changes in the economy.

It was William Gibson who said, “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” In his book, “The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future”, Kevin Kelly suggests the following scenario:

“First, machines will consolidate their gains in already automated industries. After robots finish replacing assembly line workers, they will replace the workers in warehouses. Speedy bots able to lift 150 pounds all day long will retrieve boxes, sort them, and load them onto trucks. Robots like this already work in Amazon’s warehouses. Fruit and vegetable picking will continue to be robotized until no humans pick outside of specialty farms. Pharmacies will feature a single pill-dispensing robot in the back while the pharmacists focus on patient consulting. In fact, prototype pill-dispensing robots are already up and running in hospitals in California. To date, they have not messed up a single prescription, something that cannot be said of any human pharmacist. Next, the more dexterous chores of cleaning in offices and schools will be taken over by late-night robots, starting with easy-to-do floors and windows and eventually advancing to toilets. The highway parts of long-haul trucking routes will be driven by robots embedded in truck cabs. By 2050 most truck drivers won’t be human. Since truck driving is currently the most common occupation in the U.S., this is a big deal.”

He goes on later to tell us:

“In fact, any job dealing with reams of paperwork will be taken over by bots, including much of medicine. The rote tasks of any information-intensive job can be automated. It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, translator, editor, lawyer, architect, reporter, or even programmer: The robot takeover will be epic. We are already at the inflection point.”

Now this leaves the question of what “unemployed” in a future world where it’s those who own the means of production who acquire even more of the wealth, and then complain that they need to pay taxes to support those who have no meaningful way of supporting themselves. At least with the industrial revolution workhouses were a possibility because there was still work to do, but in a world where technology can do the vast majority of things, we may need to rethink the whole way the economy is shaped. Otherwise, we may end up with governments suggesting that certain companies need a billion dollars or so, because they didn’t benefit from the tax cut owing to the fact that they haven’t paid tax for years, while the rest of us are left to our devices.

There are no simple answers, but it’s clear that the answers we’ve been trying for past few years won’t work into the future. When the Liberals have been tell us that they support Jobs, somebody needs to tell them that he died a few years ago and Apple is run by someone else now.

Whatever the answer, maybe it’s time to do more than think outside the box; we need to think outside the clichés too. The following video isn’t a solution, but it might be some sort of start:

P.S. If you’re a teacher, you might find this blog interesting:
https://rossleigheducation.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/creative-commons-ok-its-not-clickbait-but-if-you-dont-know-what-it-is-you-probably-should-read-this/

Trump’s First Day!

Ok, I’m going to try and be fair and remember that not all Trump supporters are bad. It’s just the ninety percent who give the rest a bad name.

Trump promised so much on his first day that there was a lot of breathless speculation about what he’d actually do.

Apparently, he went to a prayer service, followed by a visit to the CIA to tell them that he really, really respected them and that when he made nasty comments about how they got the WMD thing so badly wrong, well, he didn’t really mean to mock them and those reports of an “Operation Oswald” that wasn’t what his advisers thought it was, was it? Anyway, boys, no hard feelings, carry on making America great again!

I presumed he’d be heading straight back to New York to tell someone to get rid of what somebody had written on the Statue of Liberty. Apparently there’s this poem which includes the lines:

 

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

How inappropriate! I mean that could give Mexicans the wrong idea. Who on earth would put something so inappropriate on the Colossus to America’s greatness?

There was a little video doing the rounds on social media which pointed out that Trump had quoted Bane from “The Dark Night Rises” in his speech. I guess after the furore when Melania used large chunks of one of Michelle Obama’s speeches, he wanted to make sure that he wasn’t quoting Barack.

People may also remember this attempt to emulate Leni Riefenstahl.

I was wondering why he didn’t get them to appear at his inaugaration, but someone told me that they were suing him because of a failure to pay travel expenses like he promised. Surely such a thing can’t be true. Trump misleading someone!

Meanwhile, back here in Australia, I’ve heard rumours that Turnbull is quite enthusiatic about Trump’s election because he thinks that now an alleged billionaire is in the White House, people won’t think of him as out-of-touch because he’s merely a multi-millionaire who was brought up in the slums of Vaucluse. He’s also quite excited about the idea that when Trump starts actually doing things, his own strategy of sitting on his hands and stealing slogans from Tony Abbott will look good by comparison.

Sorry, Malcolm. You’re on a slippery slide. You’re not liked, you’re not trusted, you’re considered out of touch and arrogant and nobody expects you to follow through on anything. And that’s just by the Coalition MPs.

Interesting times ahead!

Trying To Get My Head Right!

I’d begin by saying that this is not funny, but unfortunately I often find that I’m funny when I don’t mean to be. But I wish to begin by saying that I understand that there is nothing funny in what happened in Melbourne today.

A man drove a car through the CBD and killed several people, injured dozens and scarred many people for a long, long time into the future.

We could demonise him. We could hate him.

We probably will.

A random thought: Once I wrote that everything, whether we realise it or not, is system problem. I guess that I don’t feel like reflecting much at the moment because this was my city and…

No, I need to focus.

When nobody knew who was driving the car, people speculated about it being a terrorist incident or one of the Apex gang or somebody that they wanted to blame. David Linoleum – or however that senator with the funny sounding name spells it – used the incident to make a cheap point on gun control.

However, it seems from looking at the man in the nightly news that he’s just your typical white, mentally ill, drug addled domestically violent individual so it’s all ok now and we can just go back to sleep and say thank god it wasn’t us.

Except…
Except…

I have these echoes in my brain that tell me that earlier this week we had a terror incident when someone threatened that unless a billboard was taken down people would be hurt.

And I feel that I need to say sorry and condemn these things because they were done by people who share some similarities with me. White, male, Australian.

Ah yeah, it’s just those politically correct people… White men should never have to apologise for anything. It was someone else in a galaxy, far, far away. And even if it were me, it’s past and…

F*ck politics.

We can never make it up to the people who’ve suffered loss today, but we can do better. We can learn to be better. We can stop the stupid way we try to deal with things by anger and big sticks and attacks on political correctness…

Maybe John Donne said it best all those years ago.

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.”

Namaste… (“I bow to the Divine in you”)

Numerology, A Bot And Other Observations!

By now, most of you are probably aware of how ex-Minister Ley acquired the double “s” in her first name. Apparently, she “read about this numerology theory that if you add the numbers that match the letters in your name you can change your personality” So she altered the spelling so that her life would be “incredibly exciting” and “interesting”.

Mm, ok, she did do it in the 1980s, but she stuck with it. Now I’m no expert here and for all I know the only reason I’ve had such “exciting” and “interesting” life may be because of the double “s” in Rossleigh, but I do find it disconcerting that our former Health Minister placed so much faith in numerology that she changed her name. One would hope that she didn’t bring her beliefs about numbers into the Health portfolio. Did she ever suggest to her department that maybe the odd change to a person’s name might eliminate the need for treatment altogether?

But it was possibly her influence that caused Malcolm to add that extra “s” into Medicare on election night. “Mediscare” was clearly a continuation of Sussan’s determination to add letters wherever possible.

Of course, numerology isn’t just about adding letters. Sometimes subtracting them can greatly help a person. When Madonna ditched her last name, I’m sure it was a great help to her career. If Donald were to ditch the “T” and the “P” from his surname, he could do wonders for his approval ratings.

So, with this in mind, I’m suggesting to Tony that maybe he should delete one of the “b”s in his surname and simply call himself: “Tony A bot”…

Well, it wouldn’t be the silliest thing he’s done. Like his tweet yesterday about the search for the missing plane being called off:

Now, again I’m no expert, but I suspect you don’t actually need to be an expert to suggest that if they haven’t found it in nearly three years of searching, there are CLEARLY better places to search. When Mr A Bot interrupted Question Time in 2014 to announce that they were very close to finding it, I wrote something suggesting that he was suffering from premature excitement. Somebody commented that shouldn’t be making fun of our PM when he was announcing such important news. I made the point at the time that he wasn’t announcing news; he was announcing that there would be news very, very soon and he looked forward to announcing it. Which I thought was rather silly but not as silly as his recent tweet. Even if we ignore his sudden conversion to the idea of listening to experts when he spent most of his time as PM ignoring all expert advice, it still seems rather strange that nobody involved in the search has bothered to take any notice of these “experts” and that they’ve persisted in searching in the wrong place when someone else knows exactly where they should be searching!

Ah well, A Bot clearly had to tweet something yesterday, otherwise people may have started writing about how there’s no way he’ll ever get a ministry under Turnbull. Reports that 2016 was the hottest year on record make hell freezing over just that little bit more unlikely. (Who wants to take bets on which of the Cuckoo Conservative Club will announce that breaking the record for the hottest year is no reason to blame climate change because we break heat records just about every year!)

While his irrelevance may irk him, at least it gives Toe-knee* the freedom to offer a running commentary on all that’s wrong with the current government. Of course, the main subtext of the commentary is: “There’s not much wrong, apart from the fact that I’m not leading it”! Apart from that, his only complaint is that Malcolm hasn’t accomplish all the things that he and Smoking Joe failed to do when they had the reins of power.

But enough about yesterday’s man. Tony Abbott is irrelevant and we shouldn’t waste words talking about him. At least not until he launches his leadership challenge, which will pave the way for the Liberals to install somebody like Peter Dutton as PM.

Speaking of absurd, did you happen to catch this photo of the Clayton’s PM?

Now, perhaps it’s just me. But did anyone else find what Malcolm wrote above the image ironic? Good ole’ Turnbull spruiking his innovation agenda while hanging around a museum dedicated to an obsolete company. Pretty much sums up their approach to the NBN.

Actually, pretty much sums up the whole government!

*Hey, I’m not a numerology guru, but he might as well try it! Nothing else is likely to work…

Greg Hunt To Become Health Minister And Other Good Jokes!

Of course, Greg Hunt has to be our Health Minister. After all, he’s the “best minister in the world” according to some group somewhere. And the idea that Arthur “What Was I Doing Again” Sinodinos could take on such an important portfolio is just ludicrous. Why he might easily lose track of where the all the money went.

Not that losing track of things is that big a problem for the current government. According to an audit report into our detention centres, “$1.1 billion was approved by DIBP officers who did not have the required authorisation and for the remaining $1.1 billion there was no departmental record of who authorised the payments.” It further found that there was no assessment of whether we were getting value for money. And what was Peter Dutton’s response? Well, of course, it was Labor’s fault because they changed Howard’s policies and that was the reason for all these boat arrivals.

But enough bad jokes. Let’s move on to some good ones. Like the one about the boy who shot both parents and pleaded for a lighter sentence on the grounds that he was an orphan.

I think the point of that joke is that some people never take responsibility for their own actions even when they’re not the Minister for Immigration.

Which sort of leads me in a roundabout way back to the distraction of Susssan Ley (I added an extra “s” because clearly her decision to add an extra one in order to have a more exciting life was a mistake and if I simply took it away, you’d think I didn’t know how to spell her namme) and to the whole Centrelink debacle. In a strange coincidence, I was read a book called “Messy” by Tim Harford and I came across a section where he wrote about Google’s 96% accuracy with the Street View. I quote him verbatim:

“Such a high error rate is actually a source of comfort, because it means the method won’t be relied on. Companies such as UPS or Fedex would never accept as many as one in twenty-five of their parcels going to the wrong address; it would be a reputational disaster.”

But, one in five errors, according to our Aussie government is the system going according to plan. And the most worrying thing about that is that I’m afraid that it’s the truth.

However, all’s well, because a confluence of things gave me the solution to the unemployment problem. Shortly after reading a suggestion that instead of targetting the poor, the government should be sending letters of demands to all those companies avoiding tax, I noticed a report in the media which told me that the eight richest men owned as much as the bottom half the world combined. And I thought, there’s the thing. They don’t want to upset people who are wealthy. They dont’ call them leaners. Even if you’ve got a million or so in investments, nobody complains if you spend you’re whole day just checking the stock prices and sipping boutique beers while wondering how to while away the hours.

And then it hit me. We need to start making our unemployed millionaires. Ok, we can’t do it overnight, but if instead of saying it’s all your own fault for the fact that sometime in the last twenty-five years some head of some company decided that he’d export your job to some third world country or that it be better off to be done by a machine and, in return, he got the sort of pay increase which means that he’s in the sort of tax bracket where he feels entitled to complain about all his taxes going to pay to keep those dole bludgers in food and clothing, we need to make them all men and women of means.

Of course, we could have done it simply by considering that the mineral wealth of Australia belonged to all of us and pretending that everyone was a shareholder, instead of receiving “welfare” we could have all received a dividend cheque once a fortnight, but it’s probably a bit late for that. So I guess the only solution is to find a few billionaires and fine them for something. I mean there must be some law that they’ve broken. Or maybe we could simply send them a letter asking them to prove that they didn’t owe the government half their wealth. Failure to do so would lead to a confiscation of several billion. And let’s be real, does it really make any difference whether you’ve got five billion or ten billion?

Now let’s say that we’ve collected five billion in the first year. If we gave a million to each of the longest term unemployed, there’s five thousand instant millionaires. What a boost to jobs and growth that would be, eh?

The only problem is how to pick which of the unemployed get the million. I guess we could encourage them all to look harder for jobs by having random job applications chosen as the lucky winners. Ok, the chances might be small but then so’s their chance of getting a job in today’s market.

All right, I know it’ll upset some of you who’ll think it unfair that the unemployed are rewarded and not working people, but don’t worry. The longer that this mob stays in government the more chance you’ll have of becoming one of them yourself.

The Age Of Entitlement Is Over, Not The Age Of Entitlements!

Yes, we all remember Joe’s pronouncement about the “age of entitlement” being over. But like so many things that the Coalition tell us, you need to listen very carefully or you may miss the subtlety. He was, of course, talking about people, not politicians.

Now some of you will be pointing out that politicians are people too, and, of course, that’s true. But they’re a special sort of person. They’re the sort of person who finds coincidences everywhere. Like a few years ago, when Tony Abbott went to Melbourne on official business, and he just happened to have Liberal Party business on the same trip. Things like that were happening to him all the time. But, it seems, that’s just part of the special magic that seems to follow politicians around.

And they’re always working, and logically, because they’re always working, anywhere they go, they should be entitled to claim a travel allowance. As Sussan Ley pointed out, she’d done nothing wrong and she was only resigning because she thought it was the right thing. And Mr Turnbull agreed telling everyone that she’d done the right thing by resigning when she’d never done the wrong thing because sometimes it’s the right thing to stand aside to stop all those nasty people attacking you about all those trips on government business to the Gold Coast where – by a simple twist of fate – your partner has a business.

No, if one has done the wrong thing, one should resign. Not only that, even if one hasn’t done the wrong thing, one should resign because sometimes that’s the right thing, because, if you don’t, you’ll have to explain why you suddenly and impulsively directed the Commcar to an auction where you weren’t planning to buy a property, as well as why you seem to have so much electoral business in the Gold Coast, whatever ministry you’re in charge of.

No, nobody’s done anything wrong. In fact, in another amazing coincidence, Mr Turnbull has just announced that he’ll be doing something about all these travel claims from politicians just like he promised to do when he got the report from the socialists who thought it unreasonable for politicians to take helicopters in order that their arrival was given the sort of grand entrance that their position deserved. He’s also promised to actually keep his promise this time.

But, this travel allowance business is not simple. As Steve Ciobo, Minister For Trade, pointed out, it’s only reasonable for politicians to claim travel allowances for sporting events because, well, he didn’t get free tickets because he’s Steve Ciobo, he got free tickets because he’s a minister and what’s the point of getting free tickets if you end up out of pocket by having to pay your own travel costs. To be fair, Mr Ciobo did make the point that while at events like the AFL Grand Final, politicians are actually working. To me, that’s the shame. Tickets being wasted on people who don’t have time to watch, when so many people would love to be there merely to see the game!

Pauline Hanson, meanwhile, grew rather testy at a reporter who asked her about whether all her travelling around Queensland campaigning was an appropriate use of travel allowance. Pauline pointed out that she wasn’t campaigning, she was on electoral business because she’s a senator and the whole of Queensland is her electorate. It just happened to coincide with opportunities to introduce One Nation Candidates for the coming state election. Like I said, coincidences follow politicians in a magical way.

(Speaking of One Nation, did anyone else notice that the candidate with an Asian background, Shan Ju Lin, was disendorsed for making homophobic statements, but there was no problem with another One Nation candidate, Tracey Bell-Henselin, writing the LGBTI community was out to “destroy families”, as well as reminding people about the Clinton’s pizza parlour. The One Nation candidate who suggested that the photo of the dead Syrian child was staged and that Martin Bryant was innocent has offered his resignation, but it hasn’t been accepted yet. Given Pauline was disendorsed for her remarks in 1996 when standing for the Liberal Party, it’s good to see that she has so many candidates prepared to attempt to follow her example.)

So, from what I’ve learned this week, it seems that Peter Slipper’s mistake was to try to pay the money back. If he’d just said that he was travelling on electoral business and that he decided to visit several wineries “on impulse” then it wouldn’t have been the wrong thing. And, if Craig Thomson had merely announced that Health Union members expect their officials to spend lots and lots on the credit card, well, he would have had an ally in Ciobo.

But I suspect that Liberal politicians might see that differently.

A “Polite Letter” To Malcolm Turnbull!

Dear Mr Turnbull

We have received information from the Australian Tax Office about your employment income. Apparently you have been paid as Prime Minister when it is clear that you have been paying no attention to the mess your government is creating.

What You Need To Do
1. Please check what ridiculous things your MPs have been saying lately
2. Confirm that we are correct in that your only interest in being PM is to swan around saying, “I’m Prime Minister, what are you?”

You can do this by going to a Centrelink office and waiting in line as apparently there’s only a ten minute wait before someone will tell you that you need to go online because they don’t deal with actual people at Centrelink. You can login at the myGov.au website, which takes no time at all because it’s now 2017 and thanks to the Liberals all premises have access to high speed Internet.

What You Need To Know
If you do not respond, you will be charged with fraud where the court case should go something like this:

Prosecution: We think that this man has defrauded us and claimed money that he’s not entitled to.
Judge: Do you have any proof?
Prosecution: No, but he can’t prove that he didn’t!
Judge: What does the defence have to say?
Defence: I thought the obligation was on the prosecution to prove guilt, not the other way around.
Judge: Yes, I thought so too, but not when we enter the political world.
Defence: Oh, in that case, the defence – like the PM – rests.

More Information

If you are found to be merely pretending to be PM you may be subject to a 10% penalty as well as being required to pay back all your salary. However, this may be preferable to actually admitting you had any part in this shambles of a government. Certainly, history will judge you less harshly if you can just pay us to remove all references to you as Coalition leader.

Should you not receive this letter, it’s your fault for not reading the AIMN. However, that is no excuse and you can expect to be visited by a debt collector any day now. Apparently a guy called Tony isn’t doing much and he said he’d be happy to pay you a visit.

Yours sincerely,

Director, Earned Income
Customer Compliance

Making Tony Abbott Grate Again!

Yes, I can spell. I meant exactly what I wrote in the title. I’m sure that a few of you have been so disappointed with Malcolm that you’ve forgotten exactly how annoying Abbott was when people actually had to try and implement some of his thought-bubbles. Malcolm, on the other hand, resembles a shepherd whose sheep have discovered that not only is there a hole in the fence but that the sheep-dog that only responds to someone else’s commands. There are rumours that every now and then, Malcolm will suddenly stop meetings and ask if this is one where he’s meant to be paying attention, but I don’t believe it. I’ve heard that he understands that he never needs to pay attention in meetings and is expected to save all his energy for remembering when to say, “Jobs and Growth” and when to say, “Innovation”.

But let’s – like the Liberal party – just ignore Malcolm for now. Tony Abbott is about to make his big move. I can tell these things. And like everyone else who makes predictions, I’m prepared to just ignore it when I get it wrong.

Something in the way he urged Britain to embrace its exit from the stifling bureaucracy of the EU and to regain its rightful place as a world leader made me feel that we’re seeing Tony attempt his statesman impersonation again. (Ok, it’s not quite as convincing as when your uncle pretends that he’s Taylor Swift at the Karaoke bar, but he thinks it’s impressive.)

In case you didn’t catch it, Tony wrote a little foreword for the UK’s Free Enterprise Group where he suggested that this Brexit thing could be the making of Britain. To quote the man exactly:

“Brexit means that Britain is back.The country that gave the world the English language, common law and the Mother of Parliaments is once more to seize its destiny as a global leader.”

Yep, you certainly couldn’t suggest that any other country gave the world the English language, although some linguists might suggest that English is mainly the result of successful invasions. Surprisingly, he didn’t go on to tell us that soon Britannia would rule the waves again and that Britons never, never, never would be slaves. Perhaps that’s because it was only their inability to “stop the boats” of the Romans, Vikings, Saxons and Normans that led to the English language as we know it. And I did think that the phrase, “the Mother of Parliaments” may be open to misinterpretation – particularly in some parts of the US, but it was his comments on free trade that had me flummoxed.

Apparently he’d like a “one page” free trade deal with Britain. Now, I’m not sure what he had in mind because I would have thought that a free trade deal would be more complicated than something that would only take up one page. Maybe Mr Abbott thought it’d be something like, “In 1973, you left us but we never left you. Let’s get back together, because… well, you had me at Brexit!”

After telling us that “no two countries were more like-minded than Britain and Australia, with a common language, set of values and much shared history”, he cleverly didn’t mention knighthoods, but merely pointed out, “If a car is fit to be sold in Britain, it’s fit to be sold in Australia. If a doctor is fit to practise in Australia, he or she is fit to practise in the UK.” Ah… if only we had a car industry, it wouldn’t seem like the free trade deal involved us importing cars from Britain, while exporting doctors. Is he suggesting that maybe doctors will be moving there because under the Liberals nobody in Australia will be able to afford one?

So here’s the possible scenarios:

1. Suss Ley is found to have breached ministerial guidelines and Tony Abbott is appointed Health Minister. He uses his new position to put himself in conflict with Malcolm and causes a leadership spill. (Highly unlikely)
2. The inquiry finds that Suss Ley has broken no rules and she is allowed to return to her position. Abbott says that this is outrageous and the rules need to be changed and uses this populist position to challenge Malcolm. (Slightly more likely)
3. Suss Ley is found to have breached ministerial guidelines and, instead of Tony, someone else is appointed Health Minister. Various writers in the Murdoch Media – such as Peta Credlin and Andrew Bolt – suggest this is just petty-mindedness from Turnbull and he needs to be replaced. Tony launches challenge to “clear the air”, but someone else stands and wins. (Much, much more likely!)
4. Same as 3, except the Liberals realise that Abbott will throw the toys out of the cot like John Howard did all through the eighties, and wreck the party unless they make him leader again. (Probably most likely so far)
5. Tony will finally agree to become British High Commissioner. Once there, he’ll suddenly remember that he’s still a British citizen and stand for the Tory Party with the expectation that he’ll become PM of Britain. (Now, this one is a ridiculous as Donald Trump becoming President, so it’s got to be the most likely!)

Of course, there are other scenarios like Abbott will quietly fade into the background or aliens will take control of the Earth, but I decided not to list ones that were too far-fetched.

While Trump Doubts Russian Hacking, Bishop Is Certain That Socialists Brought Down Ley!

Yes, while some have expressed considerable doubts about CIA reports that the Russians attempted to help Trump, Brownyn Bishop is in no doubt that it was the “socialists” who are behind Sussan Ley’s troubles.

Personally, I’m inclined to believe the CIA in this case because, if there’s one thing that the CIA should be an expert on, it’s interfering in elections. I know that saying that I believe the CIA leaves me open to attack and that someone will suggest that I’m niave and a supporter of Hillary. Just as I’m sure that if I say that I think Donald Trump actually did “mock” that disabled reporter, someone will point out that Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and how can I criticise Trump when America has such a terrible past.

So I’ve decided to move on from Trump for two reasons. The first is that any criticise of Trump seems to taken as an endorsement of his opponents. The second is that I’m worried that he may catch wind of me and respond by calling me “over-rated” and other nasty names and I’m a very sensitive guy. I’ve noticed that Trump still uses Twitter to attack to anyone who says anything bad about him. In fact, the only people he’s positive about are his supporters and Putin.

Anyway I was quite taken aback to discover that the “socialists” in Australia were still so powerful. As Bronwyn Bishop said:

“… I do know that there are socialists out there who want to attack free enterprise and anyone who sticks up for it. And I know that socialists, like alcoholics, will blame anyone but themselves. And whereas alcoholics can damage their own families, socialists can destroy the whole country.”

Now, as well as her renowned impulse purchase, Ms Ley – as Assistant Minister for Education – apparently had a couple of trips on New Year’s Eve to discuss the jobs network with Sarina Russo, a Liberal donor who runs Jobs Access, a training provider. Nothing suss in that. Why wouldn’t a busy woman feel it necessary to meet with the Assistant Minister during her gala party. I wonder if they took minutes…

Bronwyn Bishop went on to tell us that we should wait for the inquiry before rushing to any conclusions, because “I was within the rules, she was within the rules.”

So if I have this straight, the ex-Minister for Kerosene Baths lectures us that we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions because – without knowing any of the details – she can assure us that Ms. Ley was “within the rules” and it was the socialists who had brought her down. I also inferred that Bronny thought that the socialists may have had some role in her demise, too, although I was struck by the irony that she implied that it was the staff who made travel arrangements and that it’d be their fault if there was some problem.

Of course, this leaves the question of who are these socialists of which she speaks? How do we identify these “enemies of the people”? Right, well, Bronwyn listed three things: 1.They are responsible for her having to stand down as Speaker. 2. They never take any responsibility prefering to blame others. 3. They attack free enterprise.

Mm, well, I thought that it was Tony Abbott who asked her to stand down and it was Malcolm “Empty” Turnbull who didn’t put her in his new ministry. And it was the Liberal Party who failed to endorse her in the last election. Surely she’s not accusing them of being socialists!

But wait, she told us a couple of times that the socialists blame everybody but themselves. Didn’t Tony and Joe Hockey (remember him?) persistently blame Labor for their inability to get the Budget back in surplus. Actually, come to think of it, they blamed Labor for just about everything. And Malcolm has continued with this strategy, taking it to whole new heights with his election night speech where he not only blamed Labor for his poor showing, but also suggested that maybe they’d get the AFP in to investigate fraud over their campaign. Apparently, he was dissuaded from going down that path when it was pointed out that Labor might retaliate and they had a much better case because the Liberals had been fraudulently claiming that Malcolm was a leader.

So the first two boxes are ticked. But free enterprise? My understanding of free enterprise is that things are primarily left to the market with little government control.

We could conclude that the socialists were the current government if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re right behind “free enterprise”…

Except for wind farms. They’re ugly and unsightly. They certainly shouldn’t be subsidised. Not like fossil fuels which attract government help, because they’re “good for humanity”. Actually that doesn’t sound to free enterprisy!

Come to think of it, opposition to marriage equality is the sort of governmnet control that’s stopping a whole new market. Think of all the business same sex marriages would generate. Preventing seems pretty totalitarian to any true believer in the laissez-faire system.

And asylum seekers! How often have we heard the Liberals tell us that they were determined to “smash the people smugglers’ businsess model”? Yes, that’s the very antithesis of a free enterprise government. Indeed, they’re whole policy on people coming here by boat is the exact opposite to their policy on Health, where they encourage people to jump the queue by having private health insurance. Unfortunately, even their Health policy has socialist elements because they subsidise those with private health insurance.

All three boxes ticked. Yep, Bronny’s right. These socialists are ruining the whole country.

Just Sharing!

If you’ve been one of the lucky people who have been contacted by Centrelink and you don’t actually owe them any money you might want to check this out:

http://notmydebt.com.au

If you just want to check out some useful information. I suspect that the Youtube link is satire, but you never can tell with the Keystone Cop Cabinet we have in Canberra.

Minister Sells Medicare On Whim!

On a recent tax-payer funded world tour, the Minister For Impulse Buying And Medicare, Ms Susssan Leybor’s-Faultneway sold Medicare.

A spokesman for the Minister told us: “It wasn’t a planned sale. She just happened to be on her way back from Paris where she went to make an announcement on the health benfits of climbing the Eiffel Tower when she stopped in New York to check if there were any stakeholders living in that part of the world and a man approached her, asking her if she had any public health systems that she wanted to sell. The sale wasn’t planned or anticipated and all travel was within entitlements unlike those greedy people who mislead Centrelink and need to pay it back.”

When asked about it, the PM refered people to the Minister’s statement fifteen times before being pressed what this did to his complaints about Labor’s Mediscare campaign. He reminded us that he wasn’t responsible for any actual policies so couldn’t be held accountable if promises were seemingly broken. “Look, I haven’t made a decision apart from what colour tie I wear since 2009, so it’s really nothing to do with me!”

With Labor calling for the decision to be overturned, the Deputy PM took the front foot and began talking about something else entirely in the hope that he might once again remind us that this was not the sort of thing that voters cared about. “When I’m stopped in the street, people have totally different concerns from the Canberra elites. They’re not asking about things like same sex marriage or climate change or Safe Schools. They know that I can’t explain these things. They want to know how I manage to keep so calm when faced with Labor’s bloody mindedness everyday. They want to know how to put food on the table which I can explain because it’s a simple matter of taking it from the fridge or stove and placing it on that four-legged item of furniture with chairs around it.”

When it was further revealed that the sale was to a Coalition donor, a spokesman for the government assured us that there was nothing unusual in that. “You’ll find that nearly all of our sales are to donors of the Party. Frankly, they’re the only ones who can afford it, so I don’t see why it should be a problem in this particular case. I suspect that it’s only because the minister is a woman. Next you’ll be asking how many shoes she bought on the trip and making all sorts of sexist suggestions about female ministers, which is just absurd because the PM has increased the number of women in Cabinet by 400%.”

The actual minister concerned was unavailable, having decided to spend time actually having a close look at her investment property in the Gold Coast. The spokesman explained that she was unable to have a close inspection when she purchased it, as she was busy with official business, but now that she’d sold of most of her portfolio, she had plenty of time on her hands.

“A Mistake? From Centrelink? Highly Unlikely!”

“Hello, I was wondering if you could help me.”
“Certainly, how may I be of assistance?”
“I received this letter telling me that I owe $2 million dollars in overpayments from Centrelink…”
“If you’re wondering how to repay it we have a number of options: you can use a bank transfer if you like, but we also accept cash or gold bullion. The cash can either be in US or Australian currency and…”
“I don’t want to pay it!”
“That’s unfortunate. You did read the consequences of not paying your debt straight away?”
“No, I’m trying to point out that you’ve made a mistake and that…”
“A mistake? Highly unlikely. We’ve had quite a few people come down here and complain and only one in five is a mistake.”
“One in five? That means that there are thousands of mistakes.”
“But it also means that there are thousands that we got right.”
“But if you haven’t checked all of them how do you know that there aren’t even more mistakes out there and that people haven’t complained because they just presume that…”
“Sir, if I could direct your attention to the consequences of not paying your debt on time.”
“But there’s no way that I could possibly owe that much. I only ever received about ten thousand in total from Centrelink.”
“Yes, but you’re overlooking our debt recovery costs.”
“What?”
“Debt recovery has been contracted out to us in order to make it more efficient. That’s why the costs are so high.”
“How is it more efficient?”
“Well, we make a profit. The public service don’t do that, therefore they’re not as efficient.”
“Ok then, what if I just refuse to pay.”
“If you read the letter, you’ll see that failure to pay by the due date will not only will incur further costs but we take a member of your family and sell them into slavery.”
“That’s ridiculous!”
“Why? Debt slaves have been around for centuries and we do have a group of traditionalists running the country these days. Besides, you get to nominate which member of your family gets taken.”
“You expect me to nominate someone in my family to be a slave?”
“Well, they have to be of working age somewhere between ten years old and 80. Although if they grow too infirm to work, you’ll have to replace them.”
“This is absurd. Can I speak to someone higher up?”
“Sorry, sir, but there’s only a ground floor and there’s nobody on the roof apart from some guy threatening to jump unless we cancel his debt.”
“What are you doing about that?”
“Oh we can’t give in to blackmail. It’s like giving medical attention to those illegals… It only encourages them to get ill or beaten up by local police. No, if he jumps we’ll just pass the debt on to his next of kin.”
“Anyway I meant that I wanted to speak to your superior.”
“He’ll only tell you what I told you.”
“I’d like to speak to them anyway.”
“There’ll be quite a wait.”
“How long?”
“He won’t be free till sometime in 2018. In the meantime, your relative will be working to pay off your debt and you may find that it’s hardly worth the effort of complaining.”
“What are you saying?”
“Well surely you’ve got some kid at home who doesn’t help around the house enough. This is their chance to do their bit for the family. It could be the making of them! Just think of it like a permanentwork-for-the-dole scheme where they get food and shelter as well.”
“How can you live with yourself?”
“What do you mean?”
“Doing this job?”
“I don’t have a choice.”
“What do you mean?”
“My mother had a debt and she said it was either me or Nanna and she figured Nanna wouldn’t last and it’d be me in a couple of years anyway. Besides, Nanna could change her will and then Mum’d have nothing!”
“I see.”
“It’s really better this way. Even if there’s the odd mistake, it only affects the poor and vulnerable so they’re not likely to make much of a fuss and even if they do, nobody cares that much. The government’ll just get those current affair shows and shock jocks to complain about how these dole bludgers are ripping off the taxpayer and nobody’s likely to remember the odd story about some poor pensioner getting all upset about a demand for money.”
“I’m going but you haven’t heard the last of this.”
“Just before you go, sir, could please nominate your preferred method of payment, or failing that, nominate a relative for pick-up?”