Saturday 3 September 2016
“It was important to note that the government was back in control after a brief period”.
So said Tony Abbott following a period when the most highly educated and most highly paid group of MPs ever to grace the floor of the House of Representatives, lost control of the chamber.
The Party who for two weeks has been saying they had a working majority were looking more like an uneducated rabble. Tony Abbott’s comment sounds like the teacher had lost control of his high school debating class momentarily. I also found his comment hilarious in a wicked sort of way. I laugh every time I read it.
They lost three divisions when Labor outsmarted them. It was first time since Menzies held a one seat majority 50 years ago. If my memory serves me correctly that seat was won on Communist Party preferences. Paul Hasluck’s seat. Menzies also said that the best majority was one seat because it imposed discipline.
Paul Kelly writing for The Australian called it:
“A farce and a shambles. The ineptitude of this government has been exposed in extraordinary fashion”.
Christopher Pyne, ‘the mouth that roared’ said he had not given members permission to leave early but conceded it was a “stuff up”.
Tony Windsor tweeted:
@cpyne The Abbott legacy lives on Chris. You were part of the architecture of political games. Sadly you will reap what you have sown.
Peter Hartcher writing for Fairfax said:
“Christopher Pyne’s night of chaos failed Malcolm Turnbull and he has to go”.
That won’t happen but never the less it is Pyne’s responsibility.
Of course we are reminded of the old adage that if you can’t run the Parliament then you can’t run the government. Well that’s what Christopher said.
From Labor’s point of view it makes the statement that they reckon the election is not over in terms of debating the issues, like a Royal Commission into Banks, that they took to the election.
With the enormity of the problems facing Turnbull he could do without the arrogance shown by the three MPs who thought that the Government was so in control that they wouldn’t be missed.
It’s not fair really. An unemployed person who misses an interview get heavily fined. A full-time politician that skives off work early get a talking to.
This has been a train wreck for the Government and it wouldn’t want to happen again. But it’s a far cry from bringing down the Government.
To say that the Prime Minister was displeased would be an understatement.
2 A simple way of looking at the Governments economic problems is this:
They need to repair the budget. They won’t get all their savings through the Senate leaving a huge hole. Future attempts to make the poor pay will meet the same fate. The backbench of the party will not accept putting any of the burden on the privileged. The growth figures forecast in the budget won’t happen leaving a revenue shortfall and they refuse to increase taxes on the rich or cut their privileges and subsidies to large corporates. End result. Up shit creek without a paddle.
3 Sam Dastyari is guilty of gross stupidity and incompetence. For someone who spends most of his time pursuing injustices in the financial sector you could conclude that he was just plain irresponsible.
To quote Sean Kelly:
“It’s an awful look for Dastyari. Is it worse than that? The truth is that in the absence of a statement from either Dastyari himself or Huang, all we are ever likely to have are the circumstances as they have already been laid out”.
To hear Cori Bernardi castrating him in the Senate demanding he quit sounded ludicrous and even more so when the Prime Minister followed up.
A certain Tasmanian Senator has a view of Bernardi that I probably shouldn’t repeat. But I will. In response to Bernardi’s mock outrage she described it as “like an angry prostitute lecturing us about the benefits of celibacy”. “Before I receive unfair criticism from the sex workers, I apologise to them profusely for comparing them to Senator Bernardi — I know that is a really terrible low-down thing to do,” “Prostitutes are far more honest, sincere, humane, and compassionate and better bang for buck than Senator Bernardi will ever be able to deliver.”
I’m not sure that these sorts of comments help the public discourse. In fact I know they don’t but Bernardi was somewhat over the top.
However in view of the cloud over donations in general the Government’s pursuit of him rings hollow. After all the list of dodgy political donations to both sides is longer than a toilet roll and need to be wiped clean. Perhaps the PM needs to explain why he needed to donate millions to his own campaign,
Without doubt donations from other countries need to be banned and the rules for political donations need an overhaul. Labor has acknowledged this but the Coalition are reluctant.
It’s only a couple of months ago that Turnbull agreed to take a look at laws banning donations from unions and businesses, and capping donations from individuals. It’s about time someone did or the stench of corruption will never go away. Donors don’t give money away for the love of it.
There is an expectation that they will get something in return.
3 The new rules for MP’s expenses were also a sham. The $60,000 cost for an aborted overseas trip by Tony Abbott also needs to be explained.
The Guardian tried and:
“Clarification was sought from Abbott’s parliamentary office to explain the cost, but questions were referred to the prime minister’s office. It advised that questions should be directed to the Department of Finance, but the department said the government did not comment on the work expenses of individual senators and members”.
Then we find that the expenses bill for the final 6 months of 2015 was $55 million. Really this is getting out of hand. And George Christiansen spent $300 dollars on Radical Islam to support his Islamophobia.
Find out how much your member spent go here.
4 Labor will be delighted with the latest and largest Poll results on Marriage Equality. Reach Tel polled 10,271 people. 59.7% supported same-sex marriage and 40.3% opposed it.
Yet again I ask; Why are we spending $160 plus million to confirm something we already know?
Asked about a plebiscite 51.7% were in favour and 48.3% wanted the pollies to sort it out.
$160 million or four new hospitals perhaps.
“Time never diminishes the crime”.
5 Changes to Australia’s media laws are not getting much attention and they should be. According to Roy Morgan research the Australian Government’s proposed media reforms have again been delayed. They include the abolition of the reach rule which prevents mergers between metropolitan and regional free-to-air networks. The Government tabled the bill into the lower house on 1 September 2016. Nick Xenophon believes Australia’s free-to-air licence fees are too high and he may oppose the reforms if his demand for a fee reduction is not accommodated by the Government.
6 A On things more serious. Pope Francis has declared the destruction of the environment a sin.
B Josh Frydenberg the minister for the love of coal has said that Government has no plans to tighten emissions by our biggest polluters. The Climate Change Authority has called on the Government to do so, but the response from Government has been the usual get stuffed.
C A report released prior to the G20 Summit says that Australia is the worst country among the G20 when it comes to action on climate change.
On the scorecard, Australia was the only country to receive a rating of “very poor” in a majority of categories.
My thought for the day.
“We can become immeasurably upset by current events and at a later time wonder what all the fuss was about”.
PS What a week it was. It was not very edifying, more like high farce …or was it just an aberration. Oh, and I forgot to mention Trump.