Saturday 29 August
1 I have reluctantly taken the decision to no longer refer to Tony Abbott as “Prime Minister” in my writing. I say reluctant because I generally believe in respect for the position itself. However the performance of this excuse for a national leader is so appallingly bad that I refuse to acknowledge his prime minister ship. I shall in future refer to him as Abbott.
2 Friday’s Reachtel poll has Labor on 53 and the Coalition on 47. Shorten 10 points ahead as preferred PM.
3 As of 9pm Friday night the Australian Border Force story had not made an appearance on the Herald Sun’s online edition. And little coverage in Saturday’s Australian. You have to love the Murdoch Press.
I still can’t get it out of my head that a Liberal, or any other Government for that matter, would deliberately try to bring about circumstances specifically designed to cower people for political purposes. But then it is the same mob who were trying to bring about the downfall of the democratically elected Gillard Government by blackmailing the speaker of the house.
Tony Windsor is correct:
“I’ve got no doubt that some of these people in Abbott’s government hope that something goes wrong domestically. That they can taunt a Muslim into doing something so that they can say that we’re the only ones that can protect you, the Labor party are too weak to protect you, vote for us,” he said, adding, “I think that’s an extraordinary agenda to go to an election on.”
John Barker said:
When asked to explain the Australian Border Force’s (intended) actions in Melbourne yesterday, Minister Dutton responded that he did not comment on “on-street operations”.
“Was he in the gutter when he said it”.
1 “Obviously it was a mistake” Abbott dismissively said about Operation Fortitude. Not a word of regret. On the contrary he reckons us critics should be ashamed of ourselves. We are all just hyperventilating. If he thinks Australia will accept his explanation he is sadly mistaken. And like the ABC I thought heads might roll. And why hasn’t Dutton made a statement.
2 People really do need to understand this. Abbott is governing not for the electorate that installed him as prime minister but for the far-right numbers that installed him as party leader.
3 When next you hear Abbott, Hockey, Hunt and others claim that every Australian received $550 of their Electricity bill as a result of the abolition of the carbon tax read this.
The claim: Treasurer Joe Hockey says that Treasury documents show “that electricity prices have come down $550 per household as a result of us abolishing the carbon tax”.
The verdict: The documents, dated up to February 2015, contain predictions that household savings – not electricity savings – will be $550 over 2014-15. The ACCC’s most recent estimates for annual savings on electricity bills – which are based on the actual savings passed on by companies to consumers – range between $100 and $200 depending on which state or territory the household is located. Hockey’s claim is wrong.
They are lying.
“People often argue from within the limitations of their understanding and when their factual evidence is scant, they revert to an expression of their feelings”.
Monday 31 August
1 Will Commissioner Heydon recuse himself today? I think on the evidence available he should. Should the Commission be wound up? Yes it should because it and the others were witch hunts in the first place. However I believe that all incriminating evidence should be handed to the AFP, ASIC, the Fair Work Commission and the Australian Crime Commission. They should have handled any allegations in the first place.
2 I forced myself to watch the “Bolt Report” for its entirety yesterday. I learnt a number of things: 1) Tony Windsor said something he didn’t. 2) The Border police did nothing wrong. 3) The ABC deliberately placed on screen an offending tweet. 4) The ABC is biased and he isn’t. 5) Abbott’s office did not request that the U.S. Request our involvement in Syria. 6) Abbott is doing a wonderful job although he may be sacked if they don’t retain Canning. 7) I got a lesson in the art of misrepresentation. 8) Unions have no right to protect the jobs of its members. 9) Everyone else is wrong and he is right. Just ask him. Conclusion: Thank God he rates so poorly.
It’s interesting what can be learnt from a man who was leaked classified information by the Howard Government and then proceeded to do a hatchet job on Andrew Wilkie during the Iraq War.
3 Two comments from Insiders: Firstly from Lenore Taylor; “20 Years on we will look at today’s policy making and ‘say How could they have gotten it so horribly wrong?'” And two, Philip Coorey related the following from a Government Minister: “We can hide the PM in Canning but not in a general election”.
4 Minister Dutton refusing to comment on “operational street matters”. He was in the gutter when he said it. He was sacked as Heath Minister for incompetence and is proving to be just as incompetent in Immigration. And you can add the following to his performance.
5 Cambodia will not take any more refugees from Nauru other than the four agreed too at a cost $10 million each. Yet another example of the incompetence of Abbott and his Ministers.
“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”
An Afternoon Thought:
Heydon has considered all the submissions and has dismissed them. Notwithstanding the implications immediately and the legalities to follow it has to be said that whatever the outcome the RC will be forever tarnished with a perception of bias.
Tuesday 1 September
Dyson Heydon in making a decision on the man/women in the street, perception of bias has handed down a decision that actually ignores it, and instead focuses on his own character. On that point he may in fact be correct. I for one would not doubt his integrity. Nor do I for one minute believe that people who have committed a crime shouldn’t be prosecuted.
But in making his decision he has chosen to ignore “the perception of bias”. Surely, as a man interested in public life he would have been aware that there had been much criticism surrounding Abbott instigating Royal Commissions that had been described as highly political in all sections of the media.
He would even have been aware that the Royal Commission into Pink Bats was preceded by 13 others and the findings it concluded were little different, and that the conclusion most people reached was that it was activated for political reasons.
He would also be aware that a very lengthy cross examination of Julia Gillard yielded nothing after a witch hunt by the Liberal Party and the Murdoch Press lasting 20 years.
It must also have entered his mind that the allegations against Craig Thompson and Cathy Jackson came about, not from Royal Commissions, but normal law enforcement agencies.
Additionally, it must have also occurred to him that the matters being handled by him could easily have been handled by the same agencies.
So the point I am making is that with all this information it had to be apparent to him that his was not a normal RC but a highly sensitive politically charged one. Surely he couldn’t have been blind to all this. The accusations that Abbott had initiated the commission for his own political gain were widespread.
As I see it he has made a judgement on his own reputation and character rather than one that addressed “the perception of bias” which it fundamentally should have.
Wednesday 1 September
1 Abbott is now openly saying that the Royal Commission is an inquiry into the Labor Party. Unnamed Ministers are calling for Hockey’s head. Sinodinos is giving lectures about loyalty and Dutton who apparently was ill over the weekend and couldn’t talk to the media about Border Farce is whipping the troops into line.
He reckons Fairfax is carrying out a Jihad (notice the use of terrorist language) against the Government which prompted me to wonder how he would describe the Murdoch Presses attacks on Labor. It would be funny if it were not so serious. No wonder only 16% of the population have any faith in politicians.
2 The best friend the Workers ever had seem to have little to say on the 711 slave wage scandal. Abbott and Small Business Minister, Bruce Billson should be deploring this revelation but I suspect they think it’s an ABC plot to destroy the Government.
3 Speaking of the Governor General, Peter Cosgrove must be the most inactive publicly shy one we have ever had.
4 I wonder if those who supported the abolition of the Carbon Tax actually understand that whereas polluters were paying to fix the problem it’s now their taxes that are.
5 It has been asked of me. Why didn’t you (particularly when I was younger) get into politics? My answer is simple. I don’t do the porkies thing very well.
6 You have to be a bit desperate when you need to hold a press conference to axe a non-existent tax.
7 Tuesdays Essential Poll has Labor back on 52% and the Coalition on 48 %
Thursday 3 September
1 I turned on News 24 to find Hockey doing a press conference on the latest GDP figures. I quickly assumed, the way Hockey was speaking, that they must have come in at market expectations. Further on the language wasn’t right and I realised he was spinning. Fancy allowing myself to fall for that I thought.
In fact the figure of 0.2 per cent showed a marked deterioration from the 0.9 in the March quarter. The market expected 0.4.
Along with the first quarter GDP in 2013, it was the weakest growth since early 2011, which was affected by the severe floods in Queensland, and the equal second weakest since the Global Financial Crisis-affected contraction in December 2008.
In nominal terms — with the effects of inflation excluded — GDP growth was 1.8 per cent, the weakest figure since 1962.
In other words this is a disaster. It makes Hockey’s projected growth figures in the budget look silly. Which is what they were in the first place.
Ask Costello and Howard. They thought so. “There is no risk of recession in Australia,” Hockey said. Time will tell.
2 A cruise line is standing by accusations it was advised to sack Australian staff because they were too expensive. Abbott says the company is telling lies. The spokesman for the company says “I don’t tell lies” Should make for an interesting Senate Inquiry. As to the lying. Well who would you believe?
Friday 4 September
1 How were you governed in August?
A Wastes $55 million including $15 million on relocating four refugees to Cambodia before the deal to resettle refugees from Nauru collapses – 30 August 2015
B. Oversees botched Border Force announcement that they would stopping people for visa checks in the Melbourne CBD – 28 August 2015
C. Splurges $10 million to rename Border Force – 26 August 2015
D Cuts $10 million from a grant to support sufferers of an incurable disease – 26 August 2015
E Breaks an election promise to “make no changes to the GST” by extending it to purchases made online – 21 August 2015
F Spends over $20 million on an advertising campaign to sell it’s free trade agreement with China – 19 August 2015
G Tries to introduce laws to stop citizens exercising their legal rights to stop big developments that damage the environment – 19 August 2015
2 Abbott suffers yet another foot in mouth moment comparing ISIS with the Nazis. They might be cruel bastards but if I were Jewish I would feel insulted by his words. But I wouldn’t be the least surprised. It was a poor comparison both in scale and sensibility.
3 What will our answer be when called upon to assist a growing refugee problem greater than our own? I fear our captain has already spoken.
“Less informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths”.
1 The New York Times today got stuck into Australia’s Asylum Seeker Policy calling it “unconscionable”. It urged European nations struggling with a tide of migrants not to follow suit.
2 Murdoch spends a month in Australia and decides the best remedy for what ails the nation is a snap poll that would reinforce Abbott’s right to govern. Have a majority in the Senate and get on with his policies to make Australia a better place.
I’ll leave you to ponder that one.