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Search Results for: the masters of scare

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 5: The masters of scare. It’s like watching the best of “Yes, Prime Minister”

Easter with interruptions for religious observation has certainly dampened the campaigning of both sides.

However, Saturday certainly saw a revitalised Bill Shorten but it seemed that just as he was getting on top it was Sunday.

So in the absence of a lot to write about I thought I would write a piece on scare campaigning. As is my usual practice I gather all my information and peruse it before beginning.

I always do a search on Google looking for facts to support my argument and for anything that might complement my own thoughts, or indeed, correct them.

In this instance I typed in “scare campaigns of the Liberal Party” and I was not surprised to find that the first three pages were full of links written about Coalition scare campaigns.

In this instance I wanted to show that the Liberal Party are the masters of scare so I also draw from a piece I wrote in 2016. (Albeit rehashed).

Contrary to what people may think, I believe all the scare campaigning is doing it is reinforcing the view that the Coalition is being led by negative leaders, with a destructive Ministry followed by a group of deleterious people all arguing with each other about how extremist they want to be.

The reason they find themselves in the predicament they are in is because they are guilty of the abuse of our democracy and as a result the public has said enough is enough.

We need to know that what you are telling us is the truth. We want you to reform the system so that it is transparent, honourable and reflects the fact that your interest is in us, not you. We want no more of the same old same old. You need not just restore our democracy but improve it. Change has to come.

The past 6 years has been shameful. At this election if you cannot demonstrate that you can do these things then we will come at you with baseball bats. Make that cricket bats.

Those of my vintage will well remember Robert Menzies’ “Reds under your beds.”

We are to be invaded by the red hordes from the north,” he shouted loud and clear in every election campaign he participated in.

I remember as a young boy seeing pictures on posters in trams, in the newspapers, and news shorts at the cinema with pictures depicting the communist hordes thrusting their way towards us. There were others with hundreds of Chinese rolling across Sydney Harbour Bridge in their rickshaws with guns and communist flags.

Both the Trade Unions and Labor were pursued with vigorous anti-communist slurs and scare campaigns for decades.

Tony Abbott in his tenure as both Opposition Leader and Prime Minister, on a daily basis sought to place the public in a perpetual state of shock and awe.

Remember his daily visits to businesses resulting in another deceit about a carbon tax. A Sunday roast was going to cost $100 (screamed Barnaby Joyce) and Whyalla was going to be wiped of the map. He insinuated a crisis around every corner every day. Pathetically so, without fact or reason. Yes, the Carbon Tax was going to wreck the Australian economy.

ISIS is coming to get us. And you personally. His scare campaigns were relentless dirty gutter politics. He stopped at nothing to frighten the shit out of people. It was like being on a permanent war footing.

He promoted fear like a legitimate political weapon and wielded it unapologetically.

He created a budget crisis saying that all hell was going to cut loose.

Lie after contemptible lie was told, terrifying the people into believing that the Australian economy was about to collapse.

Amazingly when they gained office we found no crisis. It was just shrill politics from a demented politician.

They had conducted a scare campaign about budget deficits and government debt, but in government Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey forgot all about it.

Make no mistake; the conservatives have been running scare campaigns for decades. Who will forget Phil Ruddock demonising Asylum Seekers always referring to them as illegals? Never in their scare mongering did they have the dignity to treat these folk as human beings.

Ruddock even told us that refugees were so evil, inhuman and violent that they throw their own children overboard. He went on to say that they were bringing diseases to our country.

Nothing was left out in their putrid zest for demonising these people.

Scott Morrison, the ‘Hillsong Christian’ at one time even went out of his way to encourage his party to be more destructive with their damnation. “Praise the Lord.”

Had Abbott continued in office their smearing of Muslims may well have reached its zenith during the election campaign. It is a scare campaign that in its longevity has shown the right of Australians to be the masters of scare.

John Howard, together with Bush and Blair with the use of blatant lies scared the world into believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The consequences of the scare campaign are well known. In Australia we are constantly reminded by the right about terrorists and of course Muslims. Thanks, John.

More recently Liberal anti everything back-benchers conducted a scare campaign against the ‘Safe Schools’ legislation.

We have been told that Labor’s negative gearing proposal would wreck the property market and during the election that a Labor/Green alliance would be one of chaos.

In 2019 we have had Tim Wilson’s scare about Franking credits.

From borders to bankers the Prime Minister’s adoption of scare campaigns is straight out of the series “Yes, Prime Minister” and with the 2019 Election well underway Scott Morrison has about 5 campaigns under way simultaneously.

None worse than the latest one that the Greens and Labor have signed an agreement to, if they win, introduce an inheritance tax.

 

Prime Minister Jim Hacker: “Sir Humphrey, do sit down. There is a matter of great importance I wish to discuss with you.”

Sir Humphrey: “Yes Prime Minister, aren’t they all?”

Prime Minister: “What was that?”

Sir Humphrey. “Oh nothing, Sir, I have been thinking about the beginning of our election campaign.”

Prime Minister: “How on earth did you know that was what I wanted to talk to you about?”

Sir Humphrey: “Well I didn’t, Prime Minister but may I suggest a scare campaign to kick off with. Now I know you haven’t been thunderous successes.”

Prime Minister: “What?”

Sir Humphrey: “The party, Sir. I was alluding to the state of the party. Anyway if I may continue.”

Prime Minister: “Yes, yes, let’s get on with it.”

Sir Humphrey: “Well as I was saying, Sir, ideally I was thinking of a scare campaign to begin with. We are historically very good at those. However this one is a little more complicated. You see we have to entice everyone into thinking that we are the best party to manage money, which isn’t true of course, but nevertheless we tell them that just as we have many times before and they will believe it.

At the same time we tell them how well things are going and convince them that if Labor get in there will be a recession. And we do it without you mentioning the R word. Everyone else can but you deny you ever said it.

Remember, we don’t need to tell the truth. We are only trying to convince the ignorant. Scare them, no educate them. The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you.

You see less-informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. We therefore, feed them all the bullshit they need. And our menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths

And that should leave room to explain why we dumped Malcolm.”

Prime Minister: “And why did we?”

Sir Humphrey: “Because he can’t handle money.”

Prime Minister: ”But he is a multi-millionaire.”

Sir Humphrey: “Good heavens, man, life is not about what is, but what we perceive it to be.”

Prime Minister: “But, Sir Humphrey.”

Sir Humphrey: “Please don’t interrupt, Prime Minister. That wasn’t what I thought you meant at all. I know when he says something and I take it to mean one thing he has the option of saying that what I thought I heard was not what I heard at all.

You see now you are saying isn’t what I thought he said. It is only a figment of my imagination. That what I think I said was only my interpretation of what he meant. I mean, did he say what he meant or did he mean to say what he meant or was what he meant really just a perception of what he meant.”

Prime Minister: “I think I understand now, Sir Humphrey.”

Sir Humphrey: “Yes, Prime Minister, what does it mean?

Prime Minister: “If you tell enough lies people will eventually believe whatever you tell them.”

Sir Humphrey: “Bravo Prime Minister. That’s how we start our election campaign. We continue on as usual.”

Prime Minister: “Brilliant, Sir Humphrey.”

Sir Humphrey: “Yes, Prime Minister.”

My thought for the day

The Government are service providers and it takes money. A lot of it. Cutting taxes doesn’t build schools, hospitals and aged care services. It’s rather like thinking you can do something about climate change without any money.

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Lying does work: Just ask any Liberal Prime Minister

Sometimes I allow myself the indulgence of thinking I know a lot. Then I realise that in the totality of things, I know little. One thing I am certain of however, is that there are known facts in the world because science proves them to be so. That is the truth of it.

I also know that humility is the basis of all intellectual advancement but it is truth that enables human progress. Can you imagine a world without truth? I cannot.

That is why I question everything. What I see, what I feel, what I hear and what I am being told until I understand the truth of it.

But the recent past election showed the power of using lying as a political tool. How destructive it can be. How damaging to a fragile multicultural pluralist society. Indeed, how easy it is to adopt the art of lying as a habit.

Central to the art of lying is that it has become so commonplace, so easy to justify.

Society, or sections of it, has so lowered the bar for the need for, truth or fact, that they require little of it.

Now, I would be less than honest if I didn’t illustrate some dishonest examples within the Coalition. The avalanche of lies started with John Howard and the now disgraced former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Climate change, according to Abbott was crap and a socialist plot. He denigrated renewable energy. His Chief of Staff Peta Credlin later confessed that it was all just a political ploy.

Conservatives were found out telling lies about the cause of climate change but it made little difference. Even the cause of the South Australian blackouts became a target for lying. They categorically stated that it was caused by the introduction of renewable energy, where as it was as simple as towers collapsing during a major storm.

Then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sought to lie about the value of his donation to the Liberal Party. Who cared?

When did all this lying start? Well I could go back to Reagan and his decision to allow the fundamentalist churches into politics and perhaps bring it up to date with the ascension of Trump.

We have inherited it from US politics that “The press are the enemy of the people.”

Lying in Australian politics has reached an unprecedented level. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet took lying to such depths in this election that it is not disingenuous to suggest that government under Morrision no longer has a moral compass or understanding of truth.

Undoubtedly the rise of the right, imported from the United States, has been the major and most worrisome aspect in the decline of the Liberal and National Parties where once small ‘l’ Liberals had residence, but have now been purged.

Neo-liberalism/Conservatism – aided by an inheritance of lying as a political weapon from the US – infiltrated the Coalition and gave birth to extremism.

Lying has and will probably always exist but it reached its zenith during the 2012 Presidential Debates. I watched all of the debates and in the first I agreed that Obama underperformed and was underprepared.

But in the background of that first debate I had the sneaking suspicion that he was rocked by all the lies Romney was telling. He recovered in the other debates and won them easily.

In that campaign Romney told an astonishing 2000 provable lies and lying has now become part and parcel of American politics.

Whilst I would credit John Howard with modern political lying, people of my vintage could easily take it back to Robert Menzies’ “Reds under your beds.”

This scare campaign was used endlessly during his tenure of office with much success even though there was no grounding in fact but it was enough to keep him in office.

The trams and buses I frequented as a young boy had posters from one end to the other depicting the communist hordes invading our country. Our newspapers were a flood of the worst of communism. Our picture theatres carried western propaganda on there silver screens.

Using vigorous anti-communist slurs and scare campaigns the prime targets for Menzies unashamed propaganda were the powerful trade unions and Labor itself.

It went on for decade after decade.

In the modern era Tony Abbott blatantly and dishonestly sought to convince the population that we were under the threat of terrorism and through both legislation and mouth tried to corner us into believing it was the truth.

Daily he made pre planned visits to compliant businesses to spread his lies about the carbon tax.

Barnaby Joyce then in the Zenith of his oral exaggeration suggested that a Sunday roast was going to cost $100.

Pitifully, without fact evidence or reason he relentlessly attacked, the “carbon tax”.

After all it was going to wreck the Australian economy. We now know that it was all part of his plan to become Prime Minister.

When talking about terrorism he always tried to personalise it. His gutter tactics were never further than a heartbeat away.

“ISIS is coming to get us. And you personally,” he would proclaim.

Tony liked to frighten friend and foe alike. His life records his aggro. Frightening the shit out of people was bread and butter to him. He held the country on permanent alert and revelled in it.

He believed in lying and fear as legitimate political weapons and wielded it unapologetically.

Amidst all this fear he managed to create an untrue budget crisis. One where all hell was going to break loose and destroy the country, as we knew it.

Everything is Labor’s fault became the catchcry for all that ever went wrong.

When he attained the Prime Ministership there was no budget and Joe Hockey soon after was telling the country how he had saved us from disaster. It was nothing but shrill politics from Abbott’s demented mind. The 2014 budget proved it beyond doubt.

Now let us outspread our thoughts to earlier times. To a time when Philip Ruddock as Immigration Minister decided that those seeking asylum weren’t actually doing so because he classed them as “illegals”.

Never in their entire term in office have they had the courage, or the dignity to call these people seekers of asylum

Indeed, never at any time in their scare mongering did they have the dignity to treat these folk as human beings because they wanted to use them as examples.

They we so bad, so inhuman, so violent that they would deliberately throw their own children overboard if it meant saving their own lives.

They made up their own truth and left nothing for one’s imagination when describing these people.

And brutal has been the way in which they have managed asylum seekers. From Ruddock to Morrison and now Dutton they have lied, vilified and demonised asylum seekers. Morrison has even encouraged his party to be more destructive with their damnation. “Praise the Lord.” He denied the claim but members of his own party recall it.

If they murdered truth along the way, who cared?

I have every right to call them the masters of scare. The longevity of the one against asylum continues today even though many have become fine citizens.

We cannot erase from our history the fact that John Howard, together with Bush and Blair used barefaced lies and tricked the world into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

And the whole world knows the consequences of that scare campaign.

In Australia we are frequently reminded by the right about terrorists and of course Muslims. They hate them.

Anything warrants a scare.

In more recent times Liberal “anti everything backbenchers” conducted a scare campaign against the “Safe Schools” legislation.

We have been told that Labor’s negative gearing proposal would wreck the property market and during the election campaign told that a Labor/Green alliance would be one of chaos. Yes, it’s true.

In 2019 we have had Tim Wilson’s scare about franking credits. Negative gearing, death taxes, and many more.

At the very core of conservative capitalistic individualism screams the rights of the individual. Yes, at a time when what the world needs most are collective approaches to solve our problems, people they still proclaim individualism an the answer.

Truth has become a rare commodity. I am talking about a truth based on factual evidence and sound arguments.

Politicians now say that only what they say is the truth when Blind Freddy knows it isn’t. Yet many fall into the cesspool of fallacy.

Some people now factor in what they believe to be untrue. Others because of allegiance accept in blind loyalty. Yet others reject it because they know what they are being told is untrue.

However, the acceptance of lying in society generally is of great concern and shows that our standards are badly slipping.

Ministers in the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments also seemed to have carte blanche to tell as many as they like. Peter Dutton and others to this day continue to lie with monotonous regularity.

Truth is the victim. In the first instance the best way to turn the profession of politics on its head in this country and create a new democracy would be to demand that politicians and the media tell the truth.

“Honesty isn’t popular anymore. It doesn’t carry the weight of society’s approval it once did”.

In politics, truth is something that gives policy and ideology a foundation.

Something upon one can rest one’s argument. If the words you use to substantiate your argument are lined with truth then it is more difficult to argue against it.

You can still be wrong but be satisfied that truth was at the core of what you were saying.

Words of course, are the same. They also require truth otherwise they are without meaning. Without truth hey shape no discourse, no truth, and no debate.

Without truth in words the ability to communicate the seemingly endless aspects of human emotion successfully is taken from us.

That’s why I conclude that words are at their best when they are accompanied by a factual truth of what they want to convey.

As I have said in the past, the rise of the right has brought with it a new political language. One that has not yet been classified because it defies any normal understanding of whether truth has a place in it.

Just listen to Trump’s midweek rally speech and you will hear the truth of everything I have said.

But let’s pause for a moment and take a look at the broader picture and ask ourselves what is a lie in general and what constitutes political lying.

Many would say that lying is just a normal part of society’s intercourse. The lies I’m talking about, the blatant ones like when the liar intends to deceive or mislead or the liar believes that what they are ‘saying’ is not true. We call people who use these three principles blatant liars.

Lies, when it comes to the manipulation of the population have proven to be the most advanced tool we have.

You see, one way or another we all live by belief and it can be manipulated.

I’m not talking here about white lies nor any other category except the lie constructed to deliberately hurt others or manipulate society for nefarious reasons.

When politicians collectively or individually over a long period seek lie for their own individual benefit or that of their parties then the lie only serves to denigrate the liar, and show contempt for the voter’s intelligence.

Sir Walter Scott said this about lying:

”Lying is probably one of the most common wrong acts that we carry out (one researcher has said ‘lying is an unavoidable part of human nature’), so it’s worth spending time thinking about it.

Why is lying wrong?

There are many reasons why people think lying is wrong; which ones resonate best with you will depend on the way you think about ethics.

Lying is bad because a generally truthful world is a good thing: lying diminishes trust between human beings: if people generally didn’t tell the truth, life would become very difficult, as nobody could be trusted and nothing you heard or read could be trusted – you would have to find everything out for yourself and an untrusting world is also bad for liars – lying isn’t much use if everyone is doing it.”

When it was revealed that the Coalition knew that a report would say that renewables were not the cause of the SA blackouts the conservatives had to tell lies on top of lies to justify the first one.

My thought for the day

Despite a tendency inherited biologically by all to lie. Truth in politics and society in general matters enormously.

It is not a trivial matter in any democracy.

 

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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 16: Final thoughts but first let’s talk about Bob

Saturday 18 May 2019

1) Friday 17 May 2019
Authors note:
 I had concluded my last diary entry prior to the announcement of Bob Hawkes death. We had known for weeks now that it was imminent but as death is, it carried that sense of shock with it.

My wife and I shed a tear during the short tribute the ABC played and we exchanged some words to the effect that it is often remarkable how some of the greatest men/women are often the least perfect.

He was a great leader because among his many attributes was the ability to listen. His cabinet meetings were known for their length.

Political historians have recorded that his first ministry was perhaps Australia’s finest.

He overcame a serious problem with alcohol and remained teetotal for the duration of his tenure as Prime Minister.

Many achievements will be remembered in his name and no doubt a deserved list will be formulated. But perhaps his greatest will be that he will have taken a never wavering popularity to the grave with him.

He wore his heart on his sleeve like no other. He was a lover, a fighter, a visionary and a peacemaker he was diminutive in stature but a giant of a man. Our younger generations haven’t experienced the feeling one gets when a leader cares more about you than themselves.

With his passing, we will also mourn for the years of considered change that both Bob and Paul represented. Perhaps Bill Shorten can bring them back.

2) On a sour note, I must also enter this. Tony Abbott is arguably Australia’s worst ever Prime Minister. For this slimy sarcastic to suggest that Bob Hawke had a Labor heart but a Liberal head shows yet again why he will be reordered as such while the Labor leader will be remembered as one of our greatest.

Not many can say they made their country a better place. Bob Hawke most certainly can.

3) Saturday 18 May 2019
So the day of reckoning has finally arrived. With much trepidation, I want to believe that because I am still confident the baseball bats are there, just behind the front door, that Labor will achieve an essential victory today.

One that they can say they have earned rather than just walked into by default. A victory that would claim a mandate, see a second term set in concrete, and a third possible.

When they vote today the people would do well not to forget the 6 years of mayhem they have been subjected too.

They cannot afford to ignore the gravitas that has been our governance for such a long period, nor the real opportunities before us should Labor win.

If today we can sweep aside this period of conservative capitalistic madness in which we have allowed the voices of the far right to gratuitously silence truth, logic and the sciences, then we will perhaps have turned the nation away from a horrendous future.

This, of course, includes the salacious titbits of backbench threats, sexism, self-gratification, racist whispers and other seedy events like bedroom frolics that guaranteed to make the climate change, even make babies.

The corruption, the expenses scandals, the lies, the lies by omission, the half-truths, lack of transparency not to mention the absence of any form of leadership, or good policy and decision-making.

There are many reasons why I think Labor will win. I have spent copious hours unfolding them from mind to keyboard. I have clearly demonstrated the folly of the Luddites and the highly educated lads of little substance. Well, other than believing they were born to rule.

Notwithstanding all these things we have also been subjected to a barrage of poisoned headlines from the Murdoch gutter press and the moneyed shock jocks all of whom are paid enormous sums to titillate the moronic and stupefy the masses into believing that greed is good and reading their gutter journalism opens the door to the highest truth.

When I started writing for THE AIMN some six years ago I had no idea I would still be doing so 72 months and thousands of articles later. I have persevered through illness, depression, abuse and even small bouts of character conflict that have taught me much about myself.

However, simply put I believe this government to be (from whatever perspective) the worst one I have ever experienced.

Forgiveness is at the core of the Christian faith and central to what the Prime Minister is asking of the electorate.

He is asking us all to eliminate from our memories all the trash of the past 6 years. The convenience of forgiveness is a simple ethos.

He is asking you to put aside 6 years of negative progress. Or 6 years of placing the interests of individuals before those of the collective good, Or 6 years of teamwork without leadership, Or 6 years of ideological infighting designed to render the government impotent, Or 6 years of treating the parliament as its own and not the peoples and 6 Years of destroying our institutions and our democracy.

No, I cannot forgive them easily.

But you know, we can, with determination, turn around the outrage of their actions. I know that, fact is I feel it in the very soul of my existence. But Saturday will tell. I expect Labor to have a more than comfortable win.

Having said that a good time to stop writing is when one is on the verge of repeating oneself and I feel that is what I am about to do.

My thought for the day.

”Power is a malevolent possession when you are prepared to forgo your principles and your country’s wellbeing for the sake of it”.

Previous Diaries:

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 1: There is no such thing as a society

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 2: Morrison plays the race card while Dutton lowers the bar even further

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 3: My language really doesn’t tell you what I think of these bastards

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 4: Shorten drops ball on Super but gives Murdoch the boot

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 5: The masters of scare. It’s like watching the best of “Yes, Prime Minister”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 6: Are the baseball bats still behind the front door, at the ready?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 7: Will the young convince us to save us from ourselves?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 8: “Morrison versus the rest”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 9: With just 18 days to go I refuse to believe Newspoll

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 10: No policies so let’s talk about the climate and money

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 11: Wake-up, Australia we need to Change the Government

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 12: “Is there any more?” Cassidy asked

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 13: Shorten has dared to go where other Labor leaders have not

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 14: Have you thought about why we are voting? This might help!

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 15: What are we voting for? This might help

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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 15: What are we voting for? This might help

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Sunday 12 May 2019

1 It has come to the point in this campaign where all that needs to be said, has been said. One side has presented a comprehensive well-presented package that encompasses policies that will change our society for the better, make it fairer, with built-in safeguards to protect us against any future economic downturns.

In doing so it has been upfront with all those affected by its proposed changes. Only 20% account for 70% of the fiscal impact of its policies.

The party’s leadership team and Shadow Ministry has demonstrated a genuine loyalty to its leader. The Ministry is full of capable, enthusiastic and responsible men and women.

The Liberal Party at its launch on Today dispensed with all of the hooplas that emerge at these functions. This one was all about Scott. It had to be there is nothing else.

There was no unity to put on display. Howard, Abbott, Hewson and Turnbull didn’t receive invites. Many Ministers were visible by their absence. It would have been an embarrassment had they appeared.

In the darkness of the auditorium, (I was undecided if it were so for effect or a lack of numbers.) It was the numbers. Scott made the entire running with much to say about nothing, which of course is his speciality. He spent 50 or so minutes telling us what we already knew.

All in all, it was totality uninspiring. If he wins it will be about what Scott thinks the political, and as importantly, the social fabric of our society should be.

2 Anyway because we have heard much of what needs to be said from both government and opposition I wanted to focus my diary entry today on the philosophical differences between the two parties. What’s at the heart of it all?

Before I go on I have copped a bit of flack for not mentioning other possibilities in the election. The influence of Palmer, the Greens and One Nation. I don’t for a minute deny other possibilities exist but in reality, only one of the two major parties can win.

Rightly or wrongly as I have laid out in previous entries that I expect Labor to win but like many, I am relying on real facts and an overdose of gut instinct.

“Socialism comprehends empathy; conservatism and its partner capitalism do not.” (John Lord)

Tom Tesoro on Facebook a couple of years ago said to me; ”They all sense their economic destiny, their power to shape their society to suit the elite they believe to be the superior class. They adhere to the ancient principle of the aristocracy, the ‘betters’, natural leaders, and those best suited to rule. They must accrue all the benefits that society creates as a reward for their superiority.”

There is not an area of our existence that has not been dramatically changed by technology. The Luddites of the Liberal Party have never understood it.

Medicine, weaponry, communications, education, economics and much more.

The Internet has changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people. It is rapidly changing the way in which we do many things including entertainment, commerce, global trade, health care, transport, international national news, world financial services and so on.

Globalisation is gradually framing a world without national borders with a cross-pollination of ethnicity.

Many countries fail to accept change because nationalism clouds many eyes. Others successfully embrace multiculturalism.

Future generations will, out of the necessity of survival, have to embrace change not by fighting old ideas but by building on the new.

Today I thought I would canvas the failure of Australian politics to embrace change.

Politically change is everywhere — Brexit, the British election result and the last Australian result both reflected dissatisfaction with traditional politics, the emergence of Trump and the resurgence of extremism in France, the political insurgency in the Middle East. Evidence of global change is everywhere.

I got to thinking about how Australian politics, or more importantly our politicians, have adapted to a transforming world where we seemingly find it difficult to keep up with all the change.

The ethics of health care often lags behind the benefits of technological advancement because it encroaches on old religious beliefs or mysticism.

Rapid change brings with it the need for new rules and regulation that question traditional values and concepts.

So, I ask myself which of the major political parties is more qualified to embrace change, implement it and legislate and do so for the common good as a guiding principle.

Firstly, let us appraise the ideological political philosophy of the left and right in Australia.

What is a conservative?

Conservatives believe in free markets, individual liberty and traditional values. They believe the role of government should be to provide people with the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals.

Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems. And they are cautious about change or innovation, typically in science, morality, politics, or religion.

They believe that free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation.

The right supports the separation of church and state, but in practice it allows its conservative view to effect its social legislation.

What is a neo-conservative?

Neo-conservatism goes back to the 1930s however in its modern form it is identified with George W Bush who embraced unbridled capitalism, corporate greed together with literalist Christianity to form modern neoconservatism. Carl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld and others added American global superiority to the mix believing that America in all facets was above the rest of the world. A further element in this mix is Tea Party Republican politics.

What is a social progressive?

My view is that Social democrats (the left) believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. That it is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights believing the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need.

Governments must protect citizens from the greed of big business. Progressive policies generally involve the need for the government to solve problems.

Social progressive Democrats believe in a market system in which the government regulates the economy is best. Unlike the private sector, the government is motivated by public interest. Government regulation in all areas of the economy is needed to level the playing field.

The left also supports the separation of church and state.

The answer to my question is that it is the left of politics that is best qualified to handle the rapid changes today’s society needs to go through.

I am specifically talking about Australia’s two-party systems here, and the answer lays in comparative political history.

The Greens and others of English Liberal philosophy might argue their case for inclusion but at present, we only have two possibilities.

By scrutinising the historic social reforms of both of Australia’s major parties and comparing them we can determine who is best qualified to take us through this ongoing period of change and the political, social and economic reforms required.

The left side of Australian politics has conceived the following reforms or policies that have directly contributed to change for the better.

A National Health Scheme, a National Disability scheme, compulsory superannuation, a National Broadband Network, Paid Parental leave, major educational reforms, a price on carbon, equal pay for women, the Age Pension, aged care Mabo and the Apology to the Stolen Generations, and of course the Hawke – Keating major economic reforms that have given the country 25 years of continuous growth.

On top of those you can add Lowered the voting age, abolished the death penalty, Connected homes to sewerage, access to the pill and no-fault divorce.

It has never been afraid of change

The ‘right’ side of politics has implemented the following: the Howard gun buyback, the GST that benefited the rich, an increase in immigration after the Second World War, and Harold Holt introduced a bi-partisan referendum that gave Indigenous people the right to vote in 1967.

And there I have to stop. The Liberal Party website sets out a comprehensive list of ”Achievements in Government” and they are achievements as opposed to major policy reforms. Here is the list for you to judge for yourself. If I have missed a major reform please correct me.

Conservatism

In a world where science, technology and the availability of information progress so quickly change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making, with its own inevitability.

Conservatives oppose change and are wary of science and intellectualism as was demonstrated by the Abbott Government.

They seem locked in a world that no longer exists without any comprehension of how much the world has progressed. Remember Abbott wanted to destroy the Internet.

They believe in traditional values (whatever they are) without recognising the historical elasticity of society. That change is inevitable.

We are governed by rules and regulations. It is the only way change can be civilised and cohesive.

Leaving individuals to pursue their goals without the infrastructure society provides and allowing Capitalism (the GFC) to go on unregulated can only lead to disaster.

A society that has changed for the common good at its heart can only be attained with conventions, guidelines, systems, laws, policies, instructions and procedures.

Whilst the central argument of conservative philosophy empathises, and overtly supports the rights of the individual it can never initiate the reformist zeal for change like the left.

I have concluded that a society facing the changes confronting us can only achieve them under the umbrella of a social democratic philosophy.

An ideology that believes in equality of opportunity, an equitable share of the country’s wealth, individual rights and liberties within a societal framework that guarantees that no one is left in need.

Every facet of society including the democratic process needs constant and thoughtful renewal and change. Otherwise, we become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see better ways of doing things.

3 Monday 13 May 2019

Final election snippets

A) In 2011 Malcolm Turnbull didn’t think there was a need for an inquiry into the news media but agreed with the then PM Gillard that Newscorp should stop publishing crap.

B) So much happens in an election campaign. How much of it gets through to the average punter? How much permeates their minds and leaves such an indelible impression that it affects the way they vote?

C) In a belated attempt to lift its chances in this election the government has invented a policy, unmolded and unapproved by the cabinet of something that purports to help the young with home deposits. It has received wide condemnation from financial institutions.

Labor have agreed to the plan to help first homebuyers save for a deposit, but property industry experts warn the cooperation of the banks is crucial if it is going to work.

Labor should have pressed the pass button.

D) Melissa Price proved that by appearing at the Government’s official launch that she does exist. Congratulations.

E) Morrison has promoted himself in presidential terms, which is very much a right wing thing. Shorten see’s himself as a coach steering his team toward policy successes.

Morrison is an intelligent and cunning journeyman. A plodder. No charisma. Just keeps on keeping on no matter what.

Your choice

F) In 2014 on 24 August, in fact, I wrote the following:

The audit into the ABC after allegations of left-leaning bias showed that only 4 out of 97 stories were in fact of any concern. On the whole, the news coverage by our ABC was found to be balanced and given a clean bill of health.

I wonder if the Government should legislate to see that commercial media outlets are subjected to the same stringent conditions of non-bias as the ABC.

“In the information age, those who control the dissemination of news have more power than government.” (John Lord)

G) The Greens are saying they are in striking distance of unseating the Treasurer.

H) Shorten said his government would purchase Hawke house in Bordertown and make it into a museum. $750,000.

I) The least reported of the many things that make up an election campaign is the fact that after all the noise made about a government surplus this financial year, it’s odds on to a whatever, that this is but now a figment of their imagination.

The Prime Minister is either desperately lying or ignorant about the RBA’s forecasts.

The budget and Treasury’s Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) forecast year-average, real GDP growth of 2.75 per cent in 2019-20. The RBA now says it will be 2.5 per cent. This is enough to put a bomb under the government’s forecasts but it seems nobody in mainstream media wanted to talk about it.

Why I am not sure but the Prime Minister is guilty of outright lying when he says that the Reserve Bank’s forecast was in line with what they had in the budget.

A percentage point over a quarter may not seem like much to the average punter but it is enough to dispose of any claim to a surplus.

You are being conned.

In 2010, for the first time ever in Australian politics, more women voted for Labor than men because of Julia Gillard – by a whopping seven percentage points. The difference returned to zero in 2013.

My thought for the day.

“Surely an incoming government who doubles the countries debt cannot then claim to have inherited a debt problem that amounts to a budget crisis.”

Previous Diaries:

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 1: There is no such thing as a society

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 2: Morrison plays the race card while Dutton lowers the bar even further

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 3: My language really doesn’t tell you what I think of these bastards

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 4: Shorten drops ball on Super but gives Murdoch the boot

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 5: The masters of scare. It’s like watching the best of “Yes, Prime Minister”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 6: Are the baseball bats still behind the front door, at the ready?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 7: Will the young convince us to save us from ourselves?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 8: “Morrison versus the rest”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 9: With just 18 days to go I refuse to believe Newspoll

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 10: No policies so let’s talk about the climate and money

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 11: Wake-up, Australia we need to Change the Government

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 12: “Is there any more?” Cassidy asked

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 13: Shorten has dared to go where other Labor leaders have not

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 14: Have you thought about why we are voting? This might help!

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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 14: Have you thought about why we are voting? This might help

Monday 13 May 2018

Author’s note: Part of this article contains sections of a post I wrote around four years ago. We are not supposed to repeat stuff but I can think of no other words better than those I wrote back then. Anyway, the editor is probably in a pub in County Cork drinking Irish Whisky and won’t notice. 

And I haven’t mentioned the Liberal launch either because I haven’t had time yet to digest it.

1 Here we are at the pointy end of this one-sided election campaign. I say one-sided because only one side in its meditation on what a society should be has been able to articulate a picture of our future.

On the one hand, the conservatives have spoken exclusively the words of the economist. On the other hand, Labor’s language has succeeded in marrying the words of the enlightened economist and those of the thinker to form a sentence that describes a marriage with the word society.

2 Before further explanation as to just what I think a society should be, allow me to pose a question to those as yet undecided as to their voting intention.

How could anyone seriously vote for a party that has performed so pathetically? Firstly, with a leader of the calibre of Tony Abbott who was nothing more than a lying, grubby, uncouth, loudmouth gutter politician.

Secondly, in Malcolm Turnbull, we endured the most hypocritical Prime Minister in our history.

Thirdly, a Prime Minister in Scott Morrison who has been a motor mouth with not the slightest capacity for the deepest contemplation of fairness or future.

All three led a party full of obnoxious liars with a “born to rule” mentality. A party that has been in power for six years and finally tells the country that it has a plan.

All of a sudden Scott Morrison has an ownership on righteousness that will resolve all of our problems. Just listen to him.

A party that argues it is the one better placed to govern for the next three years when it hasn’t done so for the past six.

A party that has wasted six years in which nothing will ever be recorded by political historians as being meaningful.

A party that thinks climate change is an invention of the left to replace communism.

People intending to vote for this obnoxious collection of pithy self-serving narcissists should stop and reconsider their vote and the impact their vote will have on the country.

If climate change is the No. 1 concern of the populace then the polls cannot possibly be right.

”I think we can often become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see other ways of doing things.”

3 In Australia politics no longer meets the needs or aspirations of the people and is held in such low esteem that politicians are barely relevant.

I have long felt that the political establishment has taken ownership of a system that should serve the people but instead serves itself. It is self-indulgent, shows no respect for the people it serves and lacks any trace of transparency.

Successful societies should be built around a common good and we need to examine which political ideology is best placed to build such a society.

This is the first real opportunity for some time that we have had the opportunity for real change. Where the differences between the parties are genuinely spelt out.

The last few weeks I have written copious words about them.

Firstly, let’s ask ourselves what is an ideal society based on. For me it’s an attainment we may never accomplish, but nonetheless is a worthwhile aspiration.

In the modern Western sense, an enlightened society is a populace of men, women, and children who as a collective desire to express their humanity, work, aspirations, spirituality, art, poetry and play with the richest possible diversity.

If Robert Kennedy was looking over my shoulder he might say:

“ … the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages … It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom or our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

It cultivates a common good with equality of opportunity for all. A society where one’s sexual preference or gender is not a judgment upon your character and the colour of your skin says nothing about you other than perhaps your geographical place of birth.

A society that believes in the individual pursuit, intellectual accomplishment and financial reward only regulated by what is beneficial for the common collective good. In other words everyone is entitled to an equitable share of society’s wealth.

If Abe Lincoln was looking over my shoulder he might say:

“Labour is prior to and independent of Capital. Capital is only the fruit of labour, and could never have existed if labour had not first existed. Labour is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

A society where freedom of expression is guaranteed but limited only by the innate moral personal decency of the individual.

Where free speech is fair speech. An enlightened society in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.

“The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of reason never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation.”

A society where the health and welfare of all, is sacrosanct and access to treatment is assured. Where the principle that we should treat others in the same manner as we expect them to treat us is indelible in the mind of every citizen.

A society that respects science before myth and mysticism, but at the same time recognises the individual’s right to the expression of their own form of spirituality so long as it doesn’t hinder the common good.

A society that should be judged by its welcoming, and how well it treats its most vulnerable citizens. By how well protected we are and how accessible the law is regardless of stature or wealth.

In democratic societies (the best – or least bad form of government) our herding instincts are realised by the election of leaders who form government.

Even in the imperfection of democracy, we comprehend that a group mentality advances society better than dictatorial individuality.

So we need a government that is subservient to the will (the common good ethics) of the people and is responsive to the inclusiveness of public opinion.

It is government that decides and regulates the progress and ambitions of society. Or at least provides the environment in which to do so. There is very little that is done in the name of progress that cannot be attributed in some way to government. Individual or collective ambition can only be achieved within a social structure built and controlled by government.

Currently, we are experiencing a shift in power. The right, those who control the means of production, financial institutions, the media, the rich, the privileged, large corporations and government are seeking to take us even further to the right.

Those with corporate power seek a marriage with government to maximise power.

Government by the people for the “common good” needs to be taken back. It is our entitlement, not their’s.

Catalyst is a word that describes something that is a defining reason for change.. This election is such a catalyst.

When I look at the past few years and what this government has done to our institutions and our democracy I can only ask that we might wake from the political malaise that has us bogged us down in a quagmire of selfishness. It’s the individual first second and third.

“A commitment to social justice demands the transformation of social structures as well as our hearts and minds.” (John Lord)

Every part of society, when you think about it, has been indoctrinated with a nefarious, “me first,” attitude that has seen the common good almost vanish. You can witness it in our children.

If a wise old man was advising you on a political resurrection what might he say?

“How can I help you?” might be his opening words.

“Is it not possible to hope that there are some people of integrity who might form a centrist party dedicated to an honest government for all and the principles of “from each according to her/his ability, to each according to her/his need?”

My thought for the day

“People haven’t rushed to vote early because they are enamoured with the performance of the government. They did so because they were not.” (John Lord)

Previous Diaries:

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 1: There is no such thing as a society

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 2: Morrison plays the race card while Dutton lowers the bar even further

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 3: My language really doesn’t tell you what I think of these bastards

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 4: Shorten drops ball on Super but gives Murdoch the boot

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 5: The masters of scare. It’s like watching the best of “Yes, Prime Minister”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 6: Are the baseball bats still behind the front door, at the ready?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 7: Will the young convince us to save us from ourselves?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 8: “Morrison versus the rest”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 9: With just 18 days to go I refuse to believe Newspoll

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 10: No policies so let’s talk about the climate and money

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 11: Wake-up, Australia we need to Change the Government

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 12: “Is there any more?” Cassidy asked

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 13: Shorten has dared to go where other Labor leaders have not

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Day to Day Politics: This will frighten you.

Friday 15 July 2016

Coming from a party with a long history of frightening people the conservative’s accusation of a scare campaign on Medicare is an affront to ones sensibilities.

Those of my vintage will well remember Robert Menzies’ “Reds under your beds”. “We are to be invaded by the red hordes from the north” he shouted loud and clear in every election campaign he participated in.

I remember as a young boy seeing pictures on posters in trams, in the newspapers, and shorts at the cinema with pictures depicting the communist hordes thrusting their way towards us. There were others with hundreds of Chinese rolling across Sydney Harbour Bridge in their rickshaws with guns and communist flags.

Both the Trade Unions and Labor were pursued with vigorous anti-communist slurs and scare campaigns for decades.

Tony Abbott in his tenure as both Opposition Leader and Prime Minister, on a daily basis sought to place the public in a perpetual state of shock and awe. Remember his daily visits to businesses resulting in another deceit about a carbon tax. A Sunday roast was going to cost $100 (screamed Barnaby Joyce) and Whyalla was going to be wiped of the map. He insinuated a crisis around every corner every day. Pathetically so, without fact nor reason. Yes, the Carbon Tax was going to wreck the Australian economy.

ISIS are coming to get us. And you personally. His scare campaigns were relentless dirty gutter politics. He stopped at nothing to frighten the shit out of people. It was like being on a permanent war footing.

He promoted fear like a legitimate political weapon and wielded it unapologetically.

He created a budget crisis saying that all hell was going to cut loose. Lie after contemptible lie was told, terrifying the people into believing that the Australian economy was about to collapse.

Amazingly when they gained office we found no crisis. It was just shrill politics from a demented politician.

They had conducted a scare campaign about budget deficits and government debt, but in government Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey forgot all about it.

Make no mistake, the conservatives have been running scare campaigns for decades. Who will forget Phil Ruddock demonising Asylum Seekers always referring to them as illegals? Never in their scare mongering did they had the dignity to treat these folk as human beings.

Ruddock even told us that refugees were so evil and inhuman and violent that they throw their own children overboard. He went on to say that they were bringing diseases to our country. Nothing was left out in their putrid zest for demonising these people.

Scott Morrison, the ‘Hillsong Christian’ at one time even went out of his way to encourage his party to be more destructive with their damnation. Praise the Lord.

Had Abbott continued in office their smearing of Muslims may well have reached its zenith during the election campaign. It is a scare campaign that in its longevity has shown the right of Australians to be the masters of scare.

John Howard, together with Bush and Blair with the use of blatant lies scared the world into believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The consequences of the scare campaign are well-known. In Australia we are constantly reminded by the right about terrorists and of course Muslims. Thanks, John.

More recently Liberal anti everything backbenchers conducted a scare campaign against the ‘Safe Schools’ legislation. We have been told that Labor’s negative gearing proposal would wreck the property market and during the election that a Labor/Green alliance would be one of chaos.

Their extravagance of language in these matters knows no bounds. Which of course makes their accusation of a Labor Medicare scare campaign bereft of historical conscience.

It’s anyone’s guess as to what sort of scare campaign Bernardi and his fellow homophobic MPs will mount during the marriage equality plebiscite but it’s sure to be chilling.

In other words, ‘they have form’ as Australians are apt to say.

So it is the height of hypocrisy to hear the conservative parties complain of a Mediscare campaign.

Malcolm Turnbull’s sullen and perplexing speech on election night blaming a result he didn’t anticipate, was full of shrill rhetoric about a well-funded Mediscare campaign. He blamed Mediscare on an unwelcome result.

What we saw was a deeply disappointed man unable to objectively point to the real reasons for a horrific performance.

An objective leader might have done some internal critical analysis and found himself wanting. He might also have questioned a hollow plan for jobs and growth.

Was it a scare campaign? There will be differing opinions. In my view a scare campaign usually has no substance in fact. In this case there was enough superficial evidence, at least, to suggest that if the conservatives had no plans to rid themselves of Medicare they certainly planned to play havoc with it. In my view Bill Shorten was correct to say that Medicare was under threat.

You only have to look at the conservative’s historical attitude to Medicare. They have been against it since Whitlam introduced it in 1974. Fraser tried to get rid of it. Hawke restored it.

They would try again if it were not for the public’s support of the programme. Conservative governments have always tried to destroy it using various methods. Turnbull’s government is no different.

Dr George Venturini in his excellent series on this blog “The facets of Australian fascism: the Abbott Government experiment (Part 40)” has this to say on fear:

“The State lives on fear. Today, it is the fear of ‘terrorists’, which is a manufactured threat, meant to scare people into handing over their rights and dignity to the tricksters in power. “Our twentieth century is the century of fear,” wrote Camus in his article ‘The century of fear’ for Combat, the newspaper which had supported the French Resistance to Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Camus said that fear could be regarded as a developed science”.

My thought for the day.

“How is it possible for the inherited rich and privileged to understand poverty – how can those with the means to pay medical costs understand the inability of those in ill-health who cannot?”

 

The Bobble-headed Boofhead

By Grumpy Geezer  

Ever since the welcome and suitably humiliating demise of the egregious ecclesiastic from Manly, Friar Fuck’d, I’ve been pondering who’d be the most suitably iconic secretion to take his place as a figurehead for the awfulness of the wretched regime that is the L/NP.

* * * * *

The Liberal/National coagulation is awash with talent: talent for greed, corruption, deceit, nastiness, book burning, malice and incompetence, from the lowliest grifter-in-training on the backbench through to that fatuous, smug twat who believes his subscriptions to Jesus-R-Us have purchased the big guy in the sky’s approval to lead the country towards the rapture.

With their tag-team bastardry how to pick just one of them as the symbol for the farce that is this “government”? Someone whose persona says “if it wasn’t so serious it’d be funny”, someone of sustained fuckwittery, someone who can replace the rabid Abbott in that role?

Of course ScumMo has the required profile and exhibits all of the symptoms for him to be the de-facto standard bearer, but as always in the L/NP there are challengers lurking.

Frank Bainimarama, PM of Fiji on ScumMo: “Insulting… condescending… nothing can be worse than him.”

Michael Bobblehead McCormack: “Hold my beer.”

Bobblehead leapt to his feet to gazump ScumMo’s insults and condescension by suggesting inundated Pacific Islanders can fall back on fruit picking in Oz once their own countries have disappeared beneath the waves. This rustic non-entity has more nasty ideas than an Al Qaeda suggestion box(1) – from disparaging Pacific Islanders, gays and women’s sport to championing corporal and capital punishment.

He’s so narrow minded his eyebrows meet at the back of his head. He’s lowered the IQ of every room he’s ever entered, including the empty ones. He would be more suited to a career as Wagga Wagga’s town scarecrow if he had the required intellect or personality; hence he’s a strong candidate to assume the mantle of Tory exemplar.

However, let’s not forget my personal favourite flag carrier of comical idiocy for whom no humiliation can undermine an opinionated self-regard – Bobblehead’s arch foe Alvin Purplehead from New England. The barmy, smarmy fornicator wants his old job back and he’s embarked on an image refresh in pursuit of that cause. There’s now no topic that’s safe from Barmaby’s ill-informed opinions as he struggles to keep his puce mug in front of the cameras; the problem being that his logic always has more holes than Oscar Pistorius’s bathroom door.

If Barmaby resumes jogging as part of his re-imaging crusade we can expect car park boom-gates all over Canberra to go berserk when Barmaby’s gelatinous white thighs thunder past as he sweats off another bender. I’d like to accelerate his fitness regime by tying a bacon butty to his fat arse and having a rotweiller chase him home.

Then there’s Peter Spud-Dutton, a graduate of the Myra Hindley Charm School who couldn’t get $5 for his autograph if it was on a $50 note yet, convinced of his own appeal he skulks, shiv to hand, waiting and plotting . His cadaverous, dead-eyed presence would suck the joy from a puppy frolic. He’s a malevolent hairless Hitler whose own dog would bite him. When his dishwasher stopped working he had her immediately deported. But Spud is a poster boy for the autocrats and the thought police who, if he ever realises his ambition, would no doubt qualify as Australia’s worst PM on his first day in the job.

But it’s not just the pollies who contribute to the gene pool of rancid nastiness that is so characteristic of the Tories. The self-aggrandising mavens of rabid right-wing propaganda and disinformation in the media have valid claims to being symbolic of the feculence of the L/NP.  They are many – Kenny, Albrechtsen, Devine, Bolt, Dean et al but two stand out as the essence of putrescence.

For an over-stayer in public facilities and author of love letters to school boys(2) Alan Gloria Jones has a warped sense of proprieties with his trademark, misplaced indignations. A cranky, poisonous, sad old soap dropper, defamer and outdoor Opera House horse race projectionist who vilifies women from behind his bully pulpit Jones wields an authority far beyond his audience of taxi drivers and querulous septuagenarians. Politicians of both sides line up to feed his ego, tugging their forelocks and polishing his apples thereby making the pathetic old fart far more dangerous than is warranted.

Peta Credlin was Tony Abbott’s groom of the stool during his short-lived glory days as the country’s most prominant vandal. Multi-tasking as the ringmaster of the circus that was Abbottism she maintains the same rabid right-wing mindset that saw the whole farce come crashing down around her boss’s flappy ears. That level of chutzpah and her Cruella De Vil  persona make her a stand-out.

* * * * *

While Bobblehead McCormack has risen briefly above obscurity to pull the headlines it’s only a temporary reprieve for a man who will disappear himself back beneath the waves of his own vapidity. McCormack will resume his old role as ScumMo’s chief noddy and then perhaps publish his memoirs as a colouring-in book with a free set of grey pencils.

Despite the rigorous competition my favourite Abbott replacement and therefore hate figure is still the smirking happy clapper from The Shire. But it’s only a matter of time.

* * * * *

(1) Bill Bailey

(2) Jonestown: The Power and The Myth of Alan Jones –  Chris Masters.

 

This article was originally published on The Grumpy Geezer.

 

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How good are jobs? How wrong is Morrison and his government?

How good are jobs?

Only ScoMo, “Ya Radge Orange Barmpot’s” number one fan-boy Down Under could find something to crow about in Wednesday’s dismal ABS June Labour Force statistics showing jobs and hours worked are down. Yet statistics, fail to reveal the realities of wage theft, wage slavery, bullying and other types of coercion and exploitation, such as Neil Perry’s chef, Rohit Karki’s, working twenty-hour shifts, day after day at The Rockpool Bar and Grill.

Rohit Karki earned twelve dollars an hour. Unable to get home and back in time, he slept on a pastry bench between shifts. Unpaid overtime is common. Australians work an average of six hours’ overtime unpaid each week. That’s $106bn of free work given to bosses every year according to The Australia Institute’s research published last November.

Australia suffers from an epidemic of overwork while other workers suffer underemployment; need more hours. Then there’s increasing wage-slavery.

Celebrity chef Perry was keen to resolve” payroll issues in October last year. He said that Rockpool, which employs 2400 staff and has a payroll of $100 million would backpay its workers $1.6 million to reconcile wages arrears. Words are cheap.

Wage theft is uniquely privileged in being treated not as a crime but as some absent-minded oversight. Imagine if Rockpool missed a bank payment of $1.6 million? Or if a party of guests left without paying the bill? Why do workers’ rights not have the same status? Perry’s announcement does nothing to remedy Karki’s predicament.

Karki is forced to make a federal court claim for six years of alleged underpayment. Originally from Nepal, his work conditions got a lot worse, he says, after he secured a 457 visa sponsorship in 2013. When he complains, he is bullied by a senior chef into taking on the work of three staff members; pressured into resigning.

How good is Karki’s job – and all the other hopeful, migrant workers he represents?

“This is another Dickensian example of wage theft and exploitation of vulnerable workers that is all too common in the hospitality industry,” says Maurice Blackburn Principal, Josh Bornstein, who is representing Karki. Exploitation can also mean underpayment of penalty rates, superannuation and leave entitlements. Industry Super estimates, for example, that one-third of our workers are underpaid super; 2.4 million Aussie workers have $3.6 million per year stolen from them each year.

News of Rohit Karki’s case comes in the same week as Fair Work Ombudsman, Sandra Parker orders celebrity chef, George Calombaris, to pay $200,000 in a “contrition payment”, a penalty which she makes clear, on ABC 774, is “not a fine”. Calombaris must repay the $7.8m he owes workers and also appoint an external auditor to check pay and conditions until 2022. In an almost totally de-unionised hospitality workforce, exploitation is typically unreported. Bullying and intimidation are rife.

In 2018, the Fair Work Office (FWO) investigated 243 restaurants and cafes it targeted in Glebe in Sydney, Victoria St in Melbourne and Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, reports Crikey’s, Bernard Keane. It found wage theft in 38% of these eateries. Over 600 workers were owed $470,000 in unpaid wages. By comparison, the underpayment rate across all industries is around 27%. Something is broken in hospitality.

“Reform” may be on its way. With ScoMo’s miracle mandate, the Productivity Commission could revive its 2015 push to do away with awards and give workers an “enterprise agreement” instead. No time-wasting negotiating, just issue an ultimatum. Tell workers to take it or leave it. If we look at hospitality we are already there. Higher numbers of visa migrant workers make hospitality a much easier workforce to exploit.

Fast-tracking applications from workers on skilled migrant visas are one of the Morrison government’s election pledges. If nothing changes, we can expect more injustice, more inhumanity and suffering among our nation’s most vulnerable group of workers.

Yet hospitality workers are not alone. Wage theft has become routine in certain sections of the nation’s workforce reports the ACTU; the exploitation of workers is now a business model. Agriculture, meat processing, retail and accommodation also all have a high incidence of underpayment of low paid workers. And it hurts, notes the ACTU,

“When low-wage workers are cheated out of even a small percentage of their income, it can cause major hardships like being unable to pay for rent, childcare, or put food on the table. Above all, such wage theft is an injustice that demeans; degrades us all.

Wage theft from low paid workers is also detrimental to society, as it contributes to widening income inequality, wage stagnation, and low living standards—interrelated problems that drive inequality in our society.”  

The ACTU argues that businesses such as 7 Eleven, Caltex, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Red Rooster and others must take responsibility for their flawed business models which invite wage theft and other exploitative practices. It notes that the government does nothing to address wage theft, or the integrity of employers. Instead, this fortnight, it aims to reintroduce Ensuring Integrity, a bill which attacks working people; an act of anti-union extremism that makes it unique in the western world.

Minister for alerting media to AFP raids on the AWU and other union-bashing acts, Michaelia Cash, stashes her whiteboard; joins fellow intractable, “Rottweiler” Morrison in a photo-opp spin and grin. Both smile maniacally on every news.  How good are their jobs? “All credit no responsibility,” says Karen Andrews in thought-bubble of the week.

“Leadership doesn’t mean taking responsibility,” Industry, Science and Technology (and trashing the Westminster system), Minister Andrews declares. It could be ScoMo’s motto. No sign on her desk like Harry S Truman’s spelling out “the buck stops here”.

Politicians serve a wider community and so should always consider others and have their best interests at heart, political economist and sociologist, Max Weber argued in 1919… without responsibility, the politician becomes selfish and interested first in their own careers and goals. Vanity and narcissism tend to reduce responsibility …

Australia’s jobless rate is tanking; plummeting below seventeen other OECD countries. Ninth in 2013, according to World Bank figures, we drop to 13th in 2016. Now we are 18th out of 36 on the latest ABS figures – and falling fast. No-one in MSM reports it.

Only a Morrison government can grin and spin such monumental failure. Unemployment is up from 4.8% to 5.2% in a few months, despite the Coalition hype that it’s steady. As housing slows in NSW and Victoria, expect it to reach 5.5%

Seasonally adjusted, only five hundred new jobs were created across the nation in June, despite market forecasts of 10,000. Monthly hours worked in all jobs also fall by 100,000 hours seasonally adjusted. Bernard Keane and Glen Dyer note some growth but at a slower rate than May.

How good are these jobs? It depends on what and where they are. The mindless repetition of statistics is never accompanied by any acknowledgement of the declining quality of jobs.

Australia has one of the highest shares (13%) of employees working in short part-time jobs (defined as working 1-19 hours per week) among OECD countries, together with the Netherlands (21%), Denmark (15%) and Switzerland (13%).

One in four workers are in casual employment. Over half of all casual workers report they have no guaranteed hours, reports the OECD’s latest employment outlook. 36% of Australian jobs face a significant or high risk of automation.  This means that a sizeable share of workers will need to re-skill or re-train to meet the needs of future jobs.

Labor notes that of the 2.6 million casuals in Australia, more than half have been with their current employer for 12 months and 192,000 for more than 10 years. In April former Labor leader Bill Shorten proposed that workers with a year’s employment with their current employer should be entitled to ask to be made permanent. Doubtless, the proposal, along with Labor’s push for a rise in the minimum wage remains Opposition policy, yet it will be anathema to the Morrison government. Why make any changes when everything is working so well?

Pretence, subterfuge and denial come as easily to our PM as lying and racism comes to his mentor, Donald Trump. The PM lets everyone know he has a hot dinner date with his BFF 19 September. MSM repeat Scomo’s spin that it’s some type of honour to be feted by an increasingly desperate, dangerously degenerate president, who not only has no grasp of the issues but no interest in acquiring one, a populist who would declare war on Iran merely if it improved his re-election prospects.

Yet it’s an auspicious date, not only is it National Gymnastics Day in America, it is also International Talk Like a Pirate Day. This augurs well for ScoMo to offer immediate, unquestioned support – Aye Aye Cap’n to whatever it is his advisers let Trump do to Iran. Or be the ship’s parrot. Trump’s gymnastics, on the other hand, are noted by Roger Cohen who begins a fair and objective appraisal in The New York Times.

President Trump has been all over the place on Iran, which is what happens when you take a serious subject, treat it with farcical superficiality, believe braggadocio will sway a proud and ancient civilization, approach foreign policy like a real estate deal, defer to advisers with Iran Derangement Syndrome, refuse to read any briefing papers and confuse the American national interest with the Saudi or Israeli.

Aware that finesse is needed to resist ScoMo’s subtle sweet-talk, Donald Trump is clearly already training hard for his meeting with our miracle worker by calling London’s mayor Sadiq Khan “an incompetent” and “a stone-cold loser”.

Diplomacy, like charity, begins at home, of course, and Michaelia Cash is rewarded for her sterling work in whiteboarding, media liaison and union bullying with her re-appointment to Morrison’s cabinet. It cost $282,000 just for her AWU case legal fees, a bargain for such a top performer. As Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, she will continue, as always, to grow jobs like crazy as she oversees a Department of Jobs and Small Business. Keeps the whiteboard handy.

Industrial relations and union-busting stuff now become part of Attorney-General Christian Porter’s portfolio. Porter, of course, has his anti-union bill at the ready. He’ll call it a reform even though it harks back eighty years to Brazil’s dictatorship, according to The International Centre for Trade Union Rights based in the UK.

The Coalition’s “Ensuring Integrity Bill” breaches international conventions on labour rights by restricting workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining, even when they are not involved in wrongdoing. ACTU President Michele O’Neil warns that the Morrison government’s proposed legislation is dangerous and extreme.

“All Australian workers benefit from the work of unions. If unions are shut down or silenced, who will stand up to the powerful, make sure workers get their rights and fight to improve workers’ rights?” she tells AAP.

“The Morrison government has overseen raids on journalists and is now attacking working people’s freedom to run their own unions. These are dangerous attacks on fundamental pillars of democracy.”

How good are jobs? Mostly you are likely to be overworked and underpaid in short-term, casual or part-time work. The OECD identifies one major reason why – the decline of unionism, a process ScoMo and Co are mad keen to accelerate.

“In Australia, the proportion of union members among employees fell from 45.6% in 1986 to 13.7% in 2018, while the proportion of employees covered by collective agreements declined from 83% to 58.9% over the same period.”

One result of an underpaid, casualised, de-unionised workforce is increased inequality given a helpful boost also from the Coalition’s tax cuts and its attack on our progressive taxation system. Average income earners pay more tax which helps to enrich the wealthy who now pay less. And among the wealthy are the fabulously rich merchant princes of our banking cartel which hasn’t fixed up its act at all after the Royal Commission.

How good is Ross McEwan’s new job? Guaranteed a fixed salary of $2.5 million PA just for showing up, starting April 2020, the new CEO of NAB, who pipped former NSW Premier and Pepsodent kid Mike Baird on experience for the job, will get $3.75 million extra if he hits “annual targets”. That’s a lot of upside, as they say. Add another $3.25 million a year based on the long-term performance of the bank and the former Kiwi, could be paid $9.5 million a year, all going well.

NAB was a stand-out performer at the recent Banking Royal Commission Show, earning censure, if not withering derision from Commissioner Kenny Hayne overcharging fees for no service and for its culture of profits before people. NAB Chairman Ken Henry was forced to throw in his claw and CEO Andrew Thorburn was also compelled to explore other employment opportunities. Both appeared aggrieved at being unfairly singled out but why aren’t they in gaol?

Of course, there’s more. Our banking cartel hates to see its CEOs begging in the street. Or “growing dope” and nicking stuff to get by, like our rural Newstarters, according to Barnaby Joyce. Topping it all off, new boss, Ross gets “vesting rights” which could take his pay over $10 million, depending on how NAB shares perform. They’re off to a good start with investors hugely comforted by NAB’s caring 2017 plan to make 6000 employees redundant by 2020.

Masters of spin, confirming it was sacking 180 workers in February, NAB avoided any references to job losses at all. Instead, it was a restructure which “was designed to better align rosters with customer banking habits”.

The tough love of Newstart, fixed for twenty-five years is totally vindicated, despite advice to lift it from a Melbourne Cup field of experts. Even John Howard says it should be increased. The payment’s value has fallen forty per cent in real terms over that time but it would be folly to raise it above the poverty line, say ScoMo & Co. Madness. Starvation and beggary uplift and motivate; incentivise us to get jobs. Above all, turning your back on a neighbour in distress is good old Aussie mateship at its conflicted best. Even Labor now says you’ve got to convince the government yourself.

Besides, ScoMo and Co always would have us know, rorty Newstarters on the public tit, get heaps of supplementary payments. Suck our budgets dry. It is a fact, as he and Frydenberg like to remind us, that 99% of recipients are on other benefits, such as “parental allowance and other forms of support”. But it’s also true that the additional income is meagre. Fifty-seven per cent of us on Newstart receive only one additional payment, moreover – nine dollars per fortnight, Energy Supplement.

“We have one of the best safety nets, if not the best, of anywhere in the world,” Whoppers Morrison misleads us in May. The unemployed “don’t just live on Newstart alone,” he claims. “It goes up twice a year and 99 per cent of people on Newstart are also on other payments.” It’s a despicable, cynical act of damaging disinformation.

A single unemployed adult on Newstart gets $555.70 each fortnight. That’s $40 a day. Add in an energy supplement, a paltry $228.80 a year. Yet ScoMo would have us believe the extra 60 cents a day is a huge boost. If you’re sixty, or over, you’ll receive just over $600 a fortnight, after nine continuous months on Newstart. It’s a meagre increase which virtually guarantees you a life below the poverty line.

On DHS figures, Newstart recipients who also get rent assistance (about 28%) get an extra $55 a week on average. So they live on about $48 a day. For people to get the maximum rate of rent assistance of around $10 a day, they had to spend twice as much in rent to be eligible. In summary, the extra help averages out to about a dollar a day.

It is time the Morrison government dropped its nonsense and increased its welfare payments. It is not true that low payments increase your motivation to get a job, especially when there are at least eight applicants for every advertised vacancy and many times more in regional centres where jobs are fewer.

Tell the truth about Newstart being a poverty trap. Acknowledge that at least twenty percent of beneficiaries are on Newstart for five years or more.

Above all acknowledge the growing percentage of older Australians who are put on to Newstart and made to seek jobs which their age precludes them from. Until they qualify for the age pension. They lose their jobs to younger people and find their applications rejected by ageist prospective employers. The number of people aged 55-64 on Newstart has risen by more than 55,000 in less than five years. This group is growing by 10,000 a year and must cause a rethink in the Coalition’s callous inhumanity.

Older, working Australians deserve a new start, too. They can’t afford one on $40 per day, especially if they have to rent. Increasingly we are a society where it’s OK to see mature women who lose their jobs and their homes being forced to live rough or live in their cars.

Nothing your government has done yet has even acknowledged this vulnerable group, ScoMo. Drop the moralising “mutual obligation” slogan. These Australians have given their lives to society. They don’t owe you anything. It’s time you gave a little support back. Stop your prosperity gospel and exercise some Christian compassion.

Well overdue that is you drop the fetishising of jobs, ScoMo. Stop the meaningless statistical pressers every month. Start to look for quality of work, not number. How good is a job? It depends entirely on where and what that job is. If it’s as CEO of a bank or as a Liberal Party cabinet MP, it can seem absurdly ill-deserved; a cruel reminder of our growing inequality. And of how the many in your Australia must subsidise the few.

If, on the other hand it’s in the 457 Visa jungle or in the increasing majority of dog-eat-dog de-unionised workplaces such as in hospitality or in agriculture, meat processing, retail and accommodation  – or in employ of one of the many wage-slavers running franchises it’s likely to be a wretched, unfair, underpaid, uncertain and dangerous thing.

If you are young and in a regional or rural area, you probably won’t even get the hours you need to get Centrelink off your back, so you can expect to have to report your income and prove that you’re applying for jobs even though everyone knows – from Centrelink to your job provider – your applications are a waste of time.

How good is a job ScoMo? Under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Coalition government, the experience of work has not been good at all, overall. Degrading, depressing and dehumanising if you must know. Wise up. It’s not the job, it’s the nature of the work that matters. And the workplace. It must, at least be safe, supportive and protect workers’ rights to be respected and valued.

Your IR policies, your vicious war on unions and on workers’ rights to organise; their right to expect a fair wage, fair dealing and safe conditions – has been nothing short of an indictment of your corrupted government and its capture by captains of mining, commerce and banking at the expense of those whom you were elected to represent and protect.  Urgent reform is needed before the decline is irretrievable.

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Duttonisation – an existential threat to Morrison?

By Ad astra 

Make no mistake – Dutton’s thirst for power remains unquenched. His conviction that he is ‘the better man’ to be prime minister continues unabated. This piece argues that in pursuit of this lofty goal, he has now consciously embarked on a process best described as ‘Duttonisation’.

Let me explain.

The most recent demonstration of what I have termed Duttonisation was his foray into intimidation of sections of the mainstream media that dared to reveal information that was embarrassing to the government. By bringing the Australian Federal Police into play, he exposed his intention to flex his muscles and push his retaliatory line, even if it embarrassed Morrison in the process.

What’s more, I posit that it’s credible to deduce from Dutton’s recent behaviour that his intention is to put the finger on Morrison until he buckles and the time is right to strike. This is the theme of this piece. 

There is no need for me to detail the intimidating AFP raid on the Canberra home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, or the raid on the ABC’s Sydney headquarters; you have seen accounts of them ad nauseam. They will remain as emblems of the Morrison government’s strident push towards authoritarianism, its intolerance of criticism, and its rejection of any disagreement with its values and actions.

Some critics insist that this push will inexorably lead to ‘a police state’! They put side by side the authoritarian pattern of behaviour exhibited by Dutton and Morrison and that of ‘Big Brother’, the central character in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty Four. who, as leader of The Party engaged ‘Thought Police’ to persecute individuality and independent thinking. Read what David Tyler had to say about this in ScoMo embraces police state in a shocker of a week on The AIM Network.

Although Morrison has not resisted the push towards authoritarianism, it is the mean, intemperate Dutton who is the driving force. His nastiness is legend, his persona exudes it, and his daily words and actions confirm it. Paul Keating’s request to his electorate to ‘drive a stake through his mean heart’ was ignored by the voters of Dickson, who re-elected this meanest of men. You can picture him in his former role as a ‘tough cop on the beat’.

Morrison ought to be worried about this viper in his nest, who would undo him in an instant should the opportunity arise.

If you have doubts about Dutton’s agenda, reflect on the words and extraordinary actions of his departmental head Mike Pezzullo, who took the unusual action of ringing Senator Rex Patrick to tell him to watch his words after he issued a press release criticising the media raids.

What did Patrick say? “The overall trend has been clear for some time with the Government clearly working up a suppression trifecta: routinely obstructing and delaying Freedom of Information applications; persecuting whistleblowers such as Witness K and Richard Boyle, and now using the police to intimidate journalists. There is no doubt that Coalition Ministers and senior bureaucrats have no love of media scrutiny.” 

What was Pezzulo’s beef? Apparently, he felt the last sentence reflected poorly on his character! We can be sure that he would not have said what he did without a nod of approval from Dutton. Departmental heads do not go out on a limb different from their masters.

Morrison’s reaction was muted. While hinting that Pezzulo’s action was not appropriate, he did not come down heavily on him for castigating an elected member of the Senate. Was Morrison afraid of upsetting Pezzulo’s boss – the intemperate Dutton?

Following a previous episode of criticism, Dutton had angrily retorted: ” Some of the crazy lefties at the ABC, and on The Guardian, and The Huffington Post, can express concern and draw mean cartoons about me and all the rest of it. They don’t realise how completely dead they are to me.” His insolence is legend.

Recall his oft-used words when, as Immigration Minister, he was publically commenting on ‘boat arrivals’ and their asylum-seeker cargo. He shrouded vital information about them by insisting he would not comment about “on water” matters, “operational” matters, “national security”, “commercial-in-confidence” matters, or matters “under investigation”. He insisted that such matters were a “report to government not by government”. Whenever he elected to address the public, his obsession with secrecy ensured that the truth was obscured.

Sadly, secrecy has now become the Morrison government’s modus operandi.

Writing in The AIM Network, Kaye Lee comprehensively spells out the Coalition’s obsession with secrecy in Pull your head in Mike. Do read it.

As current Minister for Home Affairs, Dutton continues on his shameless pursuit of those who seek asylum in our country. Although our National Anthem joyfully declares: “For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share”, Dutton differs. His intention is to punish those who try their hand in leaky boats.

A recent case exposes yet again Dutton’s mean heart. Sri Lankan Tamils Nadesalingnam and Priya arrived separately by boat in 2012 and 2013, having fled the civil war in that country. After being processed on Christmas Island, and having been given a bridging visa, they met in Queensland, married, and started a family in Biloela. But one day after Priya’s visa expired last March, the family was moved to the Melbourne Immigration Detention Centre (MITA), 1800km south of Biloela, where they remain to this day. Dutton insists they are illegal migrants, and the courts confirm this. He is hell-bent on deporting them. But that is not the point of this story.

On last Sunday’s Insiders, Dutton insisted that he had got all children out of detention here in Australia, patently a lie, as the family remains at MITA. About to celebrate her second birthday, youngest daughter Tharunicaa was eagerly waiting the arrival of her birthday cake – a strawberry cheesecake – but this was denied entry into MIT. Although Dutton is responsible for goings-on at MIT, did that touching situation melt his hard heart and persuade him to intervene? Will it? Don’t hold your breath! Will Morrison get involved? What do you think?

Now that the Federal Court has ruled that doctors do not have to have a face-to-face interview with a refugee before determining whether they need medical treatment in Australia, and can instead make a recommendation based on a person’s records, the medevac issue has been raised to prominence once more. Already Dutton has claimed: “It may have applicability to many hundreds of people, which has certainly the potential to restart boats and that would be a travesty.” No doubt he will again insist that countless murderers, rapists, paedophiles, and sundry criminals will soon arrive on our shores. Dutton never misses an opportunity to mount a monumental scare campaign, no matter how many safeguards are in place to prevent this. ‘Fear’ is part of Dutton’s stock in trade.

How will Morrison react? No doubt he’ll amplify Dutton’s scaremongering. He certainly won’t attempt to dampen down any of the fear Dutton generates around Medevac. Fear is his stock in trade too!

Now in case you think that Dutton could not behave even more abhorrently about the effect of Medevac, reflect on what he said on Sky News on 12 June“…women have been “trying it on”, under the Medevac legislation. Let’s be serious about this. There are people who have claimed that they’ve been raped and came to Australia to seek an abortion because they couldn’t get an abortion on Nauru. They arrive in Australia and then decide they are not going to have an abortion. They have the baby here and the moment they step off the plane their lawyers lodge papers in the federal court which injuncts us from sending them back.”And now he’s claiming that asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island and Nauru are refusing resettlement offers in the United States because of the medevac legislation!

Dr Kerryn Phelps, former member for Wentworth, who led the charge for Medevac, blasted Dutton’s claims: “It’s outrageous that the Minister of Home Affairs should come out swinging on this law, and try to deny people the healthcare they need on World Refugee Day. To denigrate the motives and reputations of the doctors who are giving their time for a humanitarian cause is unconscionable.

“These doctors are acting out of compassion in the interests of human rights and the obligations of the medical profession to provide healthcare where possible to people who need it. To disparage their reputation in this way is just unforgivable. It’s an international embarrassment.”

So what can we conclude?

In summary, this piece argues that Dutton is resolutely determined to elevate his status and eventually take control of the LNP government. From the moment Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership came into question, Dutton believed he was the ‘better man’ to replace him, and that his bid for the top job should be supported by his colleagues. There is no evidence that he has abandoned this lofty ambition. In fact, recent revelations show how he and Morrison colluded in this shameful process. And I’m not the only one who sees it that way. Read David Tyler’s Dutton’s naked power grab in The AIM Network, and Kristina Keneally’s assessment of the ‘man who cries wolf’ in The Guardian.

I wonder how Dutton will react to the recent National Press Club statement on the AFP raids and the NPC event on 26 June: Press Freedom – On the line featuring the Managing Director of the ABC, David Anderson, the Chief Executive Officer of Nine, Hugh Marks, and the Executive Chairman Australasia, News Corp, Michael Miller?

Watch Dutton in the months ahead and draw your own conclusions.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword.

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He’s the Goodes all right

No doubt some of you will have heard about two documentaries, soon to be released, about the events leading up to the retirement of former champion Australian rules, Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes.

And I don’t use the word “champion” lightly. Firstly, he was a champion man who was chosen as Australian of the Year in 2014 for his activism and good works. Secondly, he was a champion of his selected sport having won two Brownlow Medals. The highest accolade any player can receive.

The better of the two documentaries is said to be The Final Quarter which is set against the story of his final three years of his career.

The other, named The Australian Dream looks at Goodes’ story from the point of view of the historical context of racism and the under view of our ongoing discrimination against our indigenous folk.

Apparently key personnel from all the clubs, players managers, and other vested interests have seen the two movies and as a result have issued Goodes with an unconditional, if not a belated apology to the champion sportsman for not doing more to stem the chain of events that abruptly ended his career.

There are elements within our society who condone racist behaviour simply because of a lack of understanding; some journalists do it to satisfy their masters.

Sensationalism sells. Others do so because it is handed down from the father. With others, it is nothing more than ignorance.

We should look upon them not with anger but with pity. They see what they are thinking and feeling; seldom what they are looking at.

Those who follow my words for The AIMN or on Facebook will know that racism deplores me and I write about it a lot. In the back of my mind, I knew that I had written much about that time and in particular I was disgusted with a piece written by Andrew Bolt.

Not just for his obvious racism but his untidiness in fact and his scant knowledge of our great local game.

Many words have been used to describe what Andrew Bolt does. Some describe him as a journalist – others a commentator. I believe Tony Abbott once declared him Australia’s premier intellect. For me, he is a specialist “scandalist”.

Scandal means a publicised incident that brings about disgrace or offends the moral sensibilities of society: Damage to reputation or character caused by public disclosure of immoral or grossly improper behaviour; Talk that is damaging to one’s character; malicious gossip.

Bolt is a person who specialises in all of the above. Scandals are developed for whatever reason or you can make them up.

So why am I repeating my piece on Bolt (below) I wrote in 2013? Well, in this review from ABC News Breakfast the author points out that an integral part of the documentary in question is the Bolt account of what took place.

“Another part of Goodes’s exit story explored by the documentary is a 2013 incident in which a 13-year-old girl called him an “ape” during a game against Collingwood at the MCG.

Goodes pointed to the girl after she made the comment and she was escorted from the grounds.

“In his press conference the next morning, about 17 times, he said ‘It’s not her fault, please don’t go after her,” Darling said.

“Goodes was supported by Collingwood president Eddie McGuire in the wake of the taunt, but only days later McGuire apologised after suggesting the dual-Brownlow medallist promote the musical King Kong.

Darling said the “narrative” which claimed the treatment of the 13-year-old girl was the reason for the booing of Goodes only emerged in 2015, two years after the event.

The booing of Goodes intensified throughout the 2015 season, during which he performed an Indigenous war cry after kicking a goal in a game against Carlton.

His former teammate, Lewis Jetta, later said the booing was part of what had motivated the display of the dance, which was created during a development program with young Aboriginal footballers.”

You can read the full review and watch video reviews and footage of the time here.

Deconstructing Andrew Bolt

I hesitated to write this probably because enough has been said about the nefarious personality of the journalist (or whatever) Andrew Bolt.

However, I have been affronted on a number of levels. His blatant racism, his elitism, his disrespect for the greatest game on earth (my bias) and his sensationalism but unquestionably his lack of journalist integrity.

This is his piece published 30 May 2013. I invite you to read it in full before I return to the issue.

“ EDDIE McGuire is of course a bigger racist than the 13-year-old girl he helped to smear last week. But I blame the AFL’s Indigenous Round.

First, let’s compare. On Friday, a 13-year-old Collingwood fan at the football with her Nan shouts “ape” at bearded Sydney player Adam Goodes.

She said later she did not mean the word in a racist way and tried to apologise when she was told he was upset. Yet Goodes pointed out this girl, as old as my year 7 son’s to security staff, who marched her out of the stadium.

Police grilled her for two hours, initially without her grandmother present, and threatened with charges. Her face was shown on national TV and she was publicly branded a racist.

On Saturday Goodes absurdly declared, “racism had a face – and it was a 13-year-old girl”.

The US has its Ku Klux Klansmen, Serbia its Ratko Mladic, Australia a teary 13-year-old. Spare me.

Eddie McGuire is not some 13-year-old girl from a single-parent family. He is 48 and a canny media professional. He knows perfectly well “ape” can be a racially derogatory term, since he’d berated the girl for using it.

Yet on radio yesterday he suggested the producers of the new King Kong musical “get Adam Goodes down” to promote it. I was astonished.

Sure, McGuire also says he didn’t mean the comments in a racist way, but if the 13-year-old girl’s excuses weren’t believed, why should McGuire’s, especially when Goode’s was said by his club to be “in more of an emotional state as a consequence of this than of the incident on Friday”?

I blame New Racism for some of this. The Indigenous Round is a fashionably racist event that encourages people to divide the world into a white “us” and an Aboriginal “them”. It assumes a grievance and a difference. It encouraged commentators to see in the 13-year-old the archetypal white racist rather than a scared and sorry girl who’d been naughty but now needed her mum.

It similarly encouraged them to see in Goodes the black victim, rather than a 34-year-old sports star taking outsized offence at the rudeness of a girl.

Enough. We are all humans and all apes. We should start seeing each other as individuals, rather than representatives of some “race”.

The girl is just a girl and not a “white”. Eddie is just Eddie and not that bright.”

Can we all get on with the footy?

My thoughts

Firstly, it must be said that Andrew is a convicted racist and has been found to on many occasions lie in his writing, particularly on the environment. In addition, he has been convicted of defaming a female magistrate. He wants the law changed so that in the future under the guise of free speech he will be able to vilify at his heart’s content. In addition, the federal opposition has openly said the law will be changed so that he will be able to do so.

I have no doubt that he is paid extraordinary amounts of money to proliferate the pages of the Herald Sun with this sort of gutter journalism. Let us not forget what Justice Bromberg, said about Bolt’s use of language. He said, “His style and structure is highly suggestive and designed to excite. His style was ”not careful, precise or exact” and the language not moderate or temperate but often strong and emphatic”. There is a liberal use of sarcasm and mockery,” he wrote. Language of that kind has a heightened capacity to convey implications beyond the literal meaning of the words utilised. It is language, which invites the reader to not only read the lines, but to also read between the lines.”

We should also remember whilst we are on the subject of Apes that during the London riots, of the not to distant past Bolt in one of his pieces used the word ‘aped’ to describe the copycat behaviour of some people. The use of the word was legitimate in that sense until you appreciate that he was talking about black West Indians, and then the word became racist.

Now it should be remembered that Mr. Bolt is of Dutch origin and there is nothing wrong with that of course except that he tends to proclaim it as some sort of European superiority. So much so, that he has this need to travel to Europe to attend the opera because he doesn’t think ours is up to scratch. I ask myself what might he know about Aussie Rules football. Well, I would venture to suggest he wouldn’t know a behind post from a goal post, but then Andrew seems to have a view on everything. After all, he is paid too, and the more outrageous the better.

Now let us examine what Mr. Bolt has written

She said later she did not mean the word in a racist way and tried to apologise when she was told he was upset.

Two points here. Firstly Mr. Goodes had no way of knowing how old the lass was. Teenage girls can look decidedly older. Secondly, she wanted to apologise when she was told he was upset.

Is Bolt saying that his actions didn’t already indicate it? And why does he mention that the girl is the same age as his son? Where is the relevance?

Who marched her out of the stadium.

Really I saw no one being “marched” out of the MCG.

Police grilled her for two hours, initially without her grandmother present, and threatened with charges. Her face was shown on national TV and she was publicly branded a racist.

The use of the word “grilled” is sensationalist unnecessary and inflammatory. How does he know she was questioned for two hours and it is illegal to my knowledge to question a minor without the presence of a parent?

Her face was shown in the “live” footage how could it not be” and later pixilated for the news programs.

Because of what she said, the media reported it as racist. She was not “branded” Again he uses inflammatory language.

The US has its Ku Klux Klansmen, Serbia its Ratko Mladic, Australia a teary 13-year-old. Spare me.

Good gracious, please spare me the quite nonsensical comparison. Why not include Hitler?

Eddie McGuire is not some 13-year-old girl from a single-parent family. He is 48 and a canny media professional. He knows perfectly well “ape” can be a racially derogatory term, since he’d berated the girl for using it.

No, McGuire is politically of a leftist persuasion and has never forgotten his roots. His parents by choice still live in one of the less affluent suburbs of Melbourne.

I draw the readers attention to Andrew Bolt’s use of the ape word as previously indicated. He knows all about the ape word. Again he uses a provocative word “berated” but I don’t think McGuire ever did that.

Sure, McGuire also says he didn’t mean the comments in a racist way, but if the 13-year-old girl’s excuses weren’t believed, why should McGuire’s?

There is no disputing this point except to say that in McGuire’s defence he is the only personality I have heard not mount a personal vindication of their actions.

I blame New Racism for some of this. The Indigenous Round is a fashionably racist event that encourages people to divide the world into a white “us” and an Aboriginal “them”.

In my lifetime, I do not think I have ever read a sentence more calculated to offend. Bolt seems to not only offend the great game itself but those who play it and the multitudes who follow it.

New racism. What is that? Racism is racism. There is nothing at all new about it.

The Indigenous round is a series of matches that celebrates the unique contribution that some of the most amazing players make or have made to our game.

I hardly think Bolt would appreciate that. When you see the way in which white teammates applaud their black counterparts. I do not see, any white us or black them. I think Andrews mind has gone “walk a bout” And I meant that to be insulting.

It similarly encouraged them to see in Goodes the black victim, rather than a 34-year-old sports star taking outsized offence at the rudeness of a girl.

I am a 79-year-old white former player. I think I grasp the emotion of our game and how he feels. I do not expect a person of the stature of Bolt ever could.

Enough. We are all humans and all apes. We should start seeing each other as individuals, rather than representatives of some “race”.

The girl is just a girl and not a “white”. Eddie is just Eddie and not that bright.

Can we all get on with the footy?

Science might tell me that I descended from apes. Darwin might also suggest that by virtue of mutation I am not one now. Just as Michael Long is of the Aboriginal race, I am of European descent.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and white, but as with Eddie is not that bright.

These last couple of paragraphs I think reinforces the opinion of David Marr that Bolt is a journalist of little repute. To quote Marr on Bolt read this:

But Bolt’s ugly columns have not cost the Herald Sun much more than a fair dose of embarrassment.

There is in the office of the Editor of the Herald Sun (and dare I say those of other Murdoch newspapers) a four-drawer filing cabinet with a suspension file with a tab and the word “truth” on it. It has not been looked at in many years because it is the newspaper where the truth goes to die.

The statement from the AFL read as follows:

“The treatment of Adam challenges us, and our right to be considered Australia’s Indigenous football code,” says the joint statement. “Adam, who represents so much that is good and unique about our game, was subject to treatment that drove him from football. The game did not do enough to stand with him, and call it out.”

“We apologise unreservedly for our failures during this period. Failure to call out racism and not standing up for one of our own, let down all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, past and present.”

My thought for the day

Champions get up when they can’t.

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It’s not the economy, stupid, it’s climate change that matters most to the nation.

“In climate change, there will never be enough figures to satisfy the climate sceptics. If you don’t believe in the science of climate change, no amount of evidence will ever convince you because, fundamentally, it’s a stupid position not to take action,” Labor’s leader squelches a popular press narrative in Darwin Tuesday. The News Corp story is a “bait the left” stunt is that Labor’s emissions policy target will cost business $25 billion.

Bill-baiting starts Tuesday. 10 “News First” Jonathan Lea asks, “When can voters learn more about Labor’s emission reduction target, how you will get there and the cost to the economy?”  Read their policy?

A “look at me” moment from a TV journalist, to engineer a sense of something at stake, says The Guardian’s Katharine Murphy who has her own thoughtful analysis of a policy which has been available since December.

It’s not perfect. Labor’s carbon trading raises questions. No carbon budget exists yet, given the hyper partisan state of our energy debate, but it’s way ahead of a Coalition driven by a group of climate change deniers.

Malcolm Turnbull helpfully enters the fray, swinging at ScoMo, his nemesis, Sunday, alleging that by dumping the national energy guarantee, (NEG) Scott Morrison’s captain’s recall will drive up electricity prices. Turnbull takes issue with a Daily Telegraph column by Sky News’ David Speers on the NEG and electricity prices.

Turnbull takes exception to Speers’ characterisation of the NEG as “Malcolm Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee”.  The NEG had support from cabinet and ScoMo. It is no longer policy only because of a “right wing minority” revolt in the party room: a few MPs threatened to cross the floor unless the NEG was dropped.

Disregarding the many flaws in the NEG, Turnbull argues, “The consequence is no integration of energy and climate policy, uncertainty continues to discourage investment with the consequence, as I have often warned, of both higher emissions and higher electricity prices.” In a parting shot at Labor, the former PM helpfully calculates Labor will have to find about $35 billion through carbon credits purchased offshore by 2030.

A small fraction of the economy would be affected, argues ANU economist, Professor Warwick McKibbin. The Morrison government policy to reduce carbon emissions would subtract about 0.4 per cent from the economy by 2030, he reckons, despite much criticism of Direct Action’s usefulness and Labor’s would do the same.

But long range forecasts are fraught. And why must cost dominate? William Richard Shorten remonstrates.

“This has been a 10-year torture on climate change, where the climate has got worse, the extreme weather events have got worse, and this government is still trying to delay and discourage.”

Australians are united on global warming.  New research from The Australia Institute, puts the lie to myths of a North/South divide: most voters in all states and a majority across political allegiances want the government to mobilise all of society, “like they mobilised everyone during the world wars”, to tackle global warming.

Instead, the Coalition mobilises a scare campaign to panic electors. Labor will massively tax superannuation. Business will go bust with the extra costs of international carbon credits.  Labor’s climate change policy is Carbon Tax 2.0 which will impose MASSIVE costs on Australians. Basic, diversionary tactics help it evade scrutiny of the $40 billion in spending cuts required to pay for the Coalition’s promised tax breaks.

The prospect of any cuts upsets the states. Treasurers in Victoria, Qld, WA, the ACT and the Northern Territory write to fledgling Federal Treasurer Frydenberg, this week asking him to “confirm that there will be no further funding cuts to hospitals, schools, infrastructure and other essential services that Australians rely on.”

Their letter points out that a $40 billion cut in spending “is more than the Commonwealth’s entire annual contribution to the states and territories for health ($22.8 billion) or education ($21.5 billion) in 2019-20”.

Along with its Kill Bill campaign and ScoMo’s nervous tic of naming Bill Shorten twice at least in every sentence, the Coalition attacks Labor’s electric vehicle target of 50% of all new car sales by 2030; a government fleet target of 50% by 2025 and 20% tax deductions for businesses purchasing electric vehicles (EVs) with witty retro word-play; Bill’s Car-Bon tax. Suddenly we’re back in 2013 with the Mad Monk Abbott.

Meanwhile, astonishingly, our accidental PM morphs into a clear communicator, admired for his consultative style by key stakeholders in an explosion of spin from his turd polishing unit which even has a piece on The BBC News website. Yet Scott Morrison cannot, so far, voice a single reason for toppling Turnbull. Instead he is photographed in business suit and RM Williams boots clod-hopping carrot fronds in Tasmania.

“What’s over there?”, he power-points, as all leaders must, on camera. “Carrots” says a minder. On a carrot farm? What will they think of next? Root vegetables deracinated, plant husbandry done, an honest tiller of the soil for a whole photo-op, hands dirty, ScoMo turns to ask reporters, “How shifty is Bill Shorten?” As he does.

ScoMo’s parody of John Cleese as Minister of Silly Walks may well win over a few Monty Python fans and those who warm to visual puns about carrot incentives and Easter Bunny (EB). But is it wise? EB’s role may be already taken by the lovely “Dutts” as Home Affairs’ Dutton is known to sycophants such as Hunt and Sukkar.

Peter Dutton is Labor’s Easter Bunny, their secret weapon, notes Paul Bongiorno in The Saturday Paper, who observes that Dutton’s abortive coup, (his numbers’ man Mathias Cormann botched the arithmetic), is a living reminder of the dysfunction and deep division that is today’s post-modern conservative Liberal Party. And a reminder of Morrison’s curiously confected legitimacy, his party’s antidote to having Dutton elected leader.

Dutton is toxic in Victoria, Labor research finds. He may even be the most unpopular Liberal politician in living memory, a keenly-contested title. ScoMo’s campaign stump in Deakin with local MP, Michael Sukkar, a Dutton numbers man, is briefly diverted when a wag hack asks whether the odium Victoria reserves for Morrison has anything to do with Sukkar’s judgement that “Peter Dutton should have been the leader of the Liberal Party?”

Luckily the government has campaign strategists and consultants CT Group to lead them onward; upward. There’s a bit of static about gorgeous George Christensen’s neglect of electoral duties in Dawson, QLD. “The Member for Manila”, as wags dub him, love-struck George spent seventy days each year, visiting April Asuncion, his fiancée in The Philippines for the last four years.

“He’s a human being,” David Littleproud offers a conjugal defence but Dawson voters may argue he’s their MP, first. At least his long-distance romance keeps him off the streets; away from Reclaim Australia Rallies.

On the streets, a Liberal Party advertising truck tools around Canberra, a city Walter Burley Griffin designed for “a country of bold democrats”. “Labor will tax you to death” its slogan runs, a hoax which invokes rumours on Fake-book, (bogus Facebook pages) that Labor will re-introduce death duties.

The legend mimics Conservative negative advertising in the UK in 2010, by Crosby-Textor (now CT group) whose fear-mongering and dead cat on the table diversions failed to deliver a Tory majority in 2017 or avert Turnbull’s 2016 near-disaster.

Yet, as Lizard of Oz, Sir Lynton Crosby and former Australian Liberal Party Director, knighted for frightening UK folk to vote for their neoliberal oppressors, famously opines, “you can’t fatten a pig on market day”.

Or by weighing it. Sadly CT group has its own problems to contend with; Mohammed Saderuddin Syed, 44 the firm’s former chief financial officer has recently been charged with defrauding the company of $850,000.

The dead-cat slogan on the truck simply betrays Morrison’s mob’s desperation. Even those inside the Canberra bubble, a no-go-zone which bubble-dweller, ScoMo, invokes to dodge questions, know the Coalition’s on the run from voters wanting policy on environment, climate change, energy, – anything -even a budget passed by parliament. Josh Frydenberg’s recent dodgy estimates will never appease our high priests, the economists.

Above all, voters have had a gutful of government profligacy, waste and the game of mates. Fourteen out of a flurry of 70 appointments to boards, statutory bodies and tribunals, and diplomatic postings in the last few weeks are former Liberal or National MPs, party executives or advisers to Coalition ministers, according to Guardian Australia analysis. No-one suggests corruption, but the practice does politicise government bodies.

Corruption’s stench does, however, waft up from water rorting in the Murray-Darling Basin, while Adani’s last-minute fake approval stinks; its water management plan is not endorsed by CSIRO, despite Price’s pretence.

The Australia Institute reports that “Minister Price was reportedly threatened by members of her own Government to approve the groundwater plan or face public calls for her to be sacked. The internal lobbying reportedly included Ministers Canavan and Dutton demanding answers of their colleague last week. Adani Australia CEO Lucas Dow even flew to Canberra to push the case, having recently threatened to sue for damages if any restrictions were made to coal mining in Queensland.” 

Adani still faces a number of other tests before it gains final approval from the Queensland government but the way the “approval” is rushed through, on the cusp of caretaker mode, raises serious concerns about the Morrison government’s regard for due process. It may also provide grounds for approval to be rescinded.

No-one was ever bluffed by Hunt’s Direct Action boondoggle. Now renamed “The Climate Solutions Fund”, it’s re-set to squander a $2 billion top-up paying farmers to plant trees they would have planted anyway, amongst other rorts, such as refurbishing Vales Point coal-fired power station. The move puts Australia at odds with The World Bank, the US and Europe, all of whom opposed using climate funds to retrofit coal power stations.

“If you were committed to meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which the Australian government says it is committed to, this is just lunacy,” says Sean Kidney, CEO of London-based Climate Bonds Initiative.

“No investors in the western world will accept any green bonds that incentivise anything like coal station retrofits. From an investor’s perspective, coal is a dead duck.”

Nothing to see here, is the Morrison dead Mallard’s response. Every truck, bus and Vespa motor-scooter in Canberra should bear the legend. Foremost is the erupting scandal of Murray-Darling Basin scheme water buy-backs. Minister for Agriculture and Water Rorts, Barnaby Joyce, fulminated against buy-backs, whilst overseeing at least three big deals; $200 million for giant corporate irrigators such as Webster farming.

The Menindee Water Savings Project will fundamentally change the lives and livelihoods of all of the people in the Lower Darling Valley report The Australia Institute’s MaryAnne Slattery and Rod Campbell, September 2018. The Australian government has paid one large agribusiness $80m in compensation. No other stakeholder has received any compensation, instead they have all been made more vulnerable.

Pressure mounts for an inquiry. By Saturday, however, it’s go-low ScoMo who accuses William Richard Shorten of “throwing mud around” during the election campaign. Our own Watergate scandal is upon us thanks to research compiled by The Australia Institute and some assiduous detective work by investigative journalist Michael West. Channel 10’s, The Project’s Hamish Macdonald re-runs the story, which first broke a year ago.

The issue has been “raised before and has been addressed” says Scott Morrison whose much-lauded (by his own spin unit) clear communication style becomes cloudier the more he says; the longer his sentences extend.

“I understand the Senate inquired into the matter and sought production of documents from the government, regarding those transactions, which the government has provided,” he bull-shits before reaching for the buzz-words. “So, that strikes me there is a high level of transparency.”  Expect more posturing and protestation but Labor has asked for an explanation by Monday 22 April. It’s a scandal unlikely to help Morrison’s campaign.

Nor is the Coalition’s war on climate change abatement. It is “malicious and stupid” snorts William Richard Shorten; as a reporter twits him about the cost of Labor’s carbon reduction policy on Thursday in Darwin, now another China One Belt One Road, port thanks to a Coalition financial management and security masterstroke.

In 2015, Adam Giles’ NT government leased the port for ninety years to Chinese-owned Landridge group for a mere $506 million. Andrew Robb, Former Trade Minister, who later became a star Landridge recruit, at $880,000 PA, promoted the lease and purchase of a controlling interest in port operations. It was a “powerful sign” of a commercial relationship through a free trade deal of his. Later he resigned from the firm when it did not seem to have much work from him to do. No suggestion is made that Robb acted with impropriety.

The deal did, however earned a protest from then US President Barack Obama who said he would at least have liked some prior notice. He should be so lucky. Even federal cabinet was not aware of the deal until hours before then-chief minister Adam Giles announced it publicly in November 2015. The $506 million is long spent.

Undeterred, News Corp hacks and flacks cackle gleefully at the prospect of beating up another great big new tax on everything fear campaign, praying that it’s 2013 all over again. As Darwin’s sale shows, only the Coalition, a party whose MPs have financial management in their DNA, according to fiscal wizard Tony Abbott can be trusted to propitiate our gods of the economy, free trade deals and security.

The Australian’s, Chris Mitchell, a flack with the Morrison incumbency’s propaganda arm, savages opponents of the Adani Carmichael Mine with environmental concerns. First, it is nowhere near the reef. The Galilee Basin is inland in sparsely settled, dry pastoral country. Adani’s coal will have to be railed 300km to the Abbott Point coal loader, which already services coal exporters from Bowen Basin fields 200km closer to the coast.

That settles that, then. Or does it? For James Bradley, in The Monthly, opening one more coalmine while allowing emissions to continue on their current path it is like locking our children in a burning house.

“Ecosystems around the world will collapse, wiping out most species of animals. Acidification and anoxia will devastate the oceans. Rising sea levels will destroy coastal areas, while heat and famine and cascading climate disasters will kill hundreds of millions. These are not outside possibilities. They are the inescapable and near-term outcomes of failing to reduce emissions. In the face of this reality, opening new coalmines is like locking our children in a burning house and throwing away the key.”

Divided, delusional and drowning in a Watergate scandal of its own making, the Morrison government is held by some news outfits to have “won” the first week of the campaign.

It’s a dubious claim that ignores vital evidence that voters see through the scaremongering, the nonsense about the prohibitive cost of acting responsibly on climate change – not to mention ScoMo’s Canberra bubble, his cone of silence, which is just Morrison’s update on refusing to speak on “on water” matters – a practice he began as Minister for Immigration and, later, Border Force, now a part of Dutton’s struggling super-ministry.

The phrase “on water matters” is particularly apt again now that a scandal is brewing around the rorting of water from the Murray-Darling Basin scheme that could help cause a Coalition election washout.

================

Seven flaws in the NEG from Environment Victoria

 

  1. It is worse than doing nothing for our renewable energy industry.
  2. It may give polluting coal generators an incentive to keep polluting for longer.
  3. It is inconsistent with our Paris climate agreement commitments or stronger targets necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 to 2°.
  4. It concentrates market power with the ‘Big Three’ energy retailers (leading to higher electricity bills for consumers).
  5. A major loophole – international offsets instead of domestic action.
  6. It undermines state renewable energy and greenhouse pollution reduction targets.
  7. It ignores the advice of the Chief Scientist and is a thought bubble with no economic modelling.

==================

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Their lying has its roots in the gutter

When I was looking through AIM’s list of articles last weekend I noticed that Kaye Lee had already covered a subject that I so desperately wanted to write about.

To hell with it I thought. After watching Angus Taylor being interviewed by Barrie Cassidy on Insiders last Sunday I thought, bugger it. They need as much truth thrown at them as the lies they tell. His was a dreadful performance.

Cassidy threw all the truth that reason warranted at him but his lies contained a sort of political finality about them. Lies that are being told when an internal honesty tells the inner self that the final act of defence has been reached. When defeat looks one in the eye.

An observation

“Question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it.” 

The lies so frequently being told by this government are worse than the normal ones couched in innumerable shades of grey.

The lies being told by Morrison, Joyce, Dutton, Hunt, Taylor and others are so repetitive, so blatant, so desperate, that they could only come from men despairing of losing something. In this case power.

These are frightened scared politicians on the cusp of defeat so worried about it that they will not hesitate to place lies before facts, as was the case with Taylor.

Despite Cassidy shooting him down with irrefutable facts that our emissions were going up each year, he continued to talk over him with figures so obviously wrong that you would feel ashamed if your own son or daughter were quoting them.

But of course, he isn’t the only one. The Prime Minister continues to say that we will reach our Paris targets in a canter. He does so in the knowledge that it is untrue. His own department tells him we cannot but he so desperately wants everyone to believe him that he is prepared to toss his faith out the window and lie to us.

Normally a Prime Minister of standing, of reputation would not utter a sentence that implied that under his opposites governance the country would go into recession. Only a very desperate person would stoop so low. Morisson is one such person.

An observation.

“If we are to restore our democracy then the first thing we must do is insist that our politicians should at least tell the truth.”

In her article, Kaye Lee says that:

“For a democracy to function successfully, there must be checks and balances on power.  Government decisions must be transparent and accountable.  The electorate must be told the truth so they can make informed decisions about alternative approaches to address the challenges facing the nation.”

In September 2017 in a piece for The AIMN, I wrote:

“How important is truth in politics? As a writer who happens to love the way words can be constructed to shape a thought, send a message, express love, anger, or convey an action I am lost without them.”

“Without the,m something vanishes from our discourse. Without words, the ability to communicate the seemingly endless aspects of human emotion is taken from us.”

Words, of course, are at their best when they are accompanied by a factual truth of what they want to convey.”

The next great lie likely to be perpetrated on us is when the next budget is announced. The Treasurer will say that it is a surplus budget. But the reality is that we will not know until November 2020 when all of the accounts are finalised if it is or not.

Because their habitual lying prevents them from doing otherwise and despite the figures saying the economy took a dive in the last quarter of 2018 they will tell us that everything is splendid.

It is said that a campaign filled with fear will always beat one filled with hope. History would record that the LNP are the masters of fear.

An observation

“The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you”

A comment on Facebook this week said:

“Sadly, there are still millions of sheeple who are afraid to move from their entrenched position as LNP followers, believing the constant mantra “we are the better money managers “without even glancing at the turmoil and waste over the past six years. The sheer brutality and corruption is so blatant it is impossible to overlook, yet again, millions do. Poor fellow my country.” 

Tony Abbott is the greatest liar ever to dirty the plush carpets of Parliament House.

Malcolm Turnbull, by walking away from what he believed in is the greatest hypocrite.

Scott Morrison by trying to buy office with lies has betrayed his faith.

Again this week we had the Federal Treasury scolding the Coalition for exaggerating the impact of Labor’s proposed negative gearing overhaul.

The government’s words and actions bring into question the very essence of the word truth. Or they have at least devalued it to the point of obsolescence.

If more people had the capacity to think for themselves and question what they are being told perhaps we would have more genuineness in politics.

If more journalists had the intestinal fortitude to question and syphon out the truth of what politicians are telling them we may get a better body politic. A more honest democracy.

In July 2016 I wrote a piece for The AIMN about fear. In it, I quoted Dr. George Venturini:

“The State lives on fear. Today, it is the fear of ‘terrorists’, which is a manufactured threat, meant to scare people into handing over their rights and dignity to the tricksters in power. “Our twentieth century is the century of fear,” wrote Camus in his article ‘The century of fear’ for Combat, the newspaper that had supported the French Resistance to Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Camus said that fear could be regarded as a developed science.”

The next time you hear or see an interview with an LNP politician consider these methods they use to counter questions or even avoid them – 35 techniques politicians use to avoid answering interview questions.

Keep talking. The more you talk the fewer the questions.

Questioning the question or attack it.

The question is offensive.

Attacking an external group. (The opposition or rival groups) Blame Labor.

Starting an answer but not finishing it (interrupting yourself).

Saying or implying that the question has already been answered.

Lying, misinformation, lying by omission, subliminally implied suggestion, straightforward propaganda, deliberate scare campaigning and any form of untruthful communication has become the norm in the way politicians and the media converse with the public. So normal and long applied has this form of conversation become that we are now unquestioning of it.

This election should tell us if we have woken up to these illegitimate forms of persuasion or are we just plain stupid?

My thought for the day

Power is a malevolent possession when you are prepared to forgo your principles and your country’s well-being for the sake of it.

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HMAS Chum Bucket almost scuppered in a week of scandal and self-sabotage.

Loose lips sink ships. “Hockey owes me”, a brief indiscretion over a mate’s favour – now disputed by both- almost blows HMAS Chum Bucket, the Coalition’s yellow submarine out of the water, this week. Yet “chum-gate” is merely the latest scandal in a series of political depth-charges that threaten to sink the rudderless tub that is the Morrison government.

Trump-like, Morrison retreats into howling down shonky Bill Shorten. No-one can trust Bill. His policies mean bigger taxes, sky-high power prices and a government run like a union (of thugs). He recycles Howard-era fear of boat people and blends in a bit of the budgie smuggler’s carbon taxing, big spending big Labor Scare Campaign of 2013.

No-one can get a straight answer out of ScoMo. He doesn’t run commentary, he says, or he’s just getting on with the job when journalists dare venture a question about Helloworld Travel. He denies that Joe Hockey instructed staff to meet on 26 April 2017 with Helloworld travel subsidiary QBT before it lobbied for government.

“I’m advised embassy staff did not meet QBT or other staff in relation to the tender and embassy staff have met and corresponded with a whole range of travel providers to discuss the embassy’s travel requirements.”

Labor’s Jim Chalmers responds that DFAT has documented Hockey’s request.

“The prime minister is denying something of which there are reports of documents which exist from officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – that is a very serious matter.”

Morrison shrugs it aside. Always he’s got better things to do than be accountable. He simply repeats his facile, clapped-out Canberra bubble mantra; nobody outside the Canberra bubble cares (about dodgy, dirty deals or wanton profligacy).

ScoMo goes OS. No. Not to China where mystery shrouds major Chinese port Dalian’s decision to ban further imports of Australian coal. That would require leadership and independence from Trump’s US China-bashing policy. He pays a flying visit to New Zealand, his maternal grandfather, Sandy’s homeland, but he’s careful not to outstay his welcome. Not every Kiwi is thrilled to see him given the Coalition’s deportation policy. And not all former colleagues love him.

In 1998, Morrison was inaugural Managing Director of New Zealand’s Office of Tourism and sport, a body offering advice to government where he reported to NZ Tourism Minister, Murray McCully but was not universally popular. “Hard man” ScoMo, as he was seen, takes credit for the 100% Pure NZ campaign, for which he contracted M&C Saatchi- whose services he sought for his later controversial campaign at Tourism Australia “Australia, where the bloody hell are you?”

Morrison and McCully clashed with the independent NZ Tourism Board and a number of officials and board members resigned during his tenure. Morrison, himself, resigned in 2000, one year before his contract was up. As with Helloworld Travel, or with his termination from Tourism Australia he himself has never given a satisfactory explanation.

In 1999, the NZ Auditor General challenged Morrison’s handling of an independent review and found two payouts of staff in 2008 to be unlawful. The auditor’s report was critical of Morrison’s job performance in ways that are echoed by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), nine years later, which finds his management of Tourism Australia marred by non-consultation, making unilateral decisions, not observing due process and restricting board access to information. Little appears to have changed since.

Not everyone hates him. Tim Fischer is a big fan – as is Martin Ferguson but Fran Bailey, Tourism Minister at the time, observes of Morrison, “I’m sure he’s learned how to work with people better these days. His career has certainly had a few twists and turns.”

In his quick trip across the ditch, Friday, Morrison cops an earful from Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern about all the Aussies born in New Zealand his government is repatriating, even though most have no family in the land of the long white shroud. It’s another diplomatic triumph as he cops a mouthful from Ardern. The NZ Herald reports,

“Ardern didn’t mince words. She employed the strongest criticism yet of any New Zealand Prime Minister or foreign minister about deportations of Kiwi offenders… The New Zealand people have a dim view of the deportation of people who move to Australia as children and have grown up there with often little or no lasting connection to here.

Ardern’s referring to 1,500 NZ citizens deported since 2015. Coalition “immigration reforms” grant the Department of Home Affairs power to deport foreigners on nebulous ‘good character’. Last year, 600 Kiwis were deported on this criterion alone. It can be a death sentence. In the last three years, at least four people have died in Australian detention centres (where Kiwis are now the largest group. Before 2015, they were not even in the top ten).

Or they die immediately following deportation. Fatalities may be higher. Neither nation keeps records of deaths. 15,000 Kiwi citizens will be deported in the next ten years. Morrison is not receptive to Ardern’s appeals. She will not give up.

Nobody cares, ScoMo?  For all your nihilism, your Trumpista populism, the week sees the Canberra bubble burst by a series of sensational revelations. Top of the bill is the hyper-reality melodrama of “Hockey owes me” a rip-roaring, cigar-chomping, trough-snouting show of cronyism and corruption which Mark Dreyfus dubs “chum-gate”, in which Joe Hockey’s bestie Andrew Burnes’ Helloworld Travel company appears set up to win a billion dollar government contract.

Not all contracts are open, especially when the Commonwealth seeks “procurement” on Manus Island. Officials use a “limited tender” meaning no other bidders. They have to, they tell senate estimates. There are no other bidders. No-one good wants the work.

Yet this is a side issue. As the Australian Financial Review (AFR) investigation puts it, the committee wants to know “how Paladin, despite its lack of capacity, expertise or track record in the sector, appointed as the government’s main service provider on the island, becoming the recipient of contracts worth $423 million over 22 months.”

Yet journalists at the AFR quote locals who contest the government’s version and who suggest there were others who would have liked to tender for the contract. Greens senator Nick McKim gives Home Affairs a serve.

“The Paladin contracts, and the unexplained increases, yet again raise serious questions about lack of probity and due diligence inside Home Affairs. It’s an absolute disgrace that a shonky operator like Paladin is raking in the millions while comprehensively failing to provide even the most basic support for many hundreds of vulnerable refugees.”

Former CEO Craig Coleman broadly agrees with McKim. Three weeks before they gained the contract, he alleges, Paladin was,

“not well prepared to perform the role provided for under the Proposal” . He puts his view in documents he has filed with a court as part of an employment dispute with Paladin. Home Affairs cannot, of course, offer any insight and any further comment would be inappropriate given that the firm is to appear before a judge later in the year.

Yet more news does emerge of the shadowy Paladin Group’s receipt of over $A420 million over two years. A security firm is paid $1600 per refugee, per day, to pay locals to watch over men on Manus who pose little threat of escape? At least that’s the theory. News comes this week from two Manus detainees that Paladin does nothing.

Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Prize, Behrouz Boochani, who has been held on Manus for six years reports,

“What I am seeing on the ground is that Paladin, they … are doing nothing,” he tells Guardian Australia. “In Australia, people ask this question now. But this question for us is for years, not only for Paladin, but all of the companies. How do they spend this money? It is a question for us, not only Paladin, [but for health contractors] IHMS, PIH.

Paladin is part of a pattern where major “offshore processing” contracts are awarded in a limited tender process. Home Affairs deputy-secretary Cheryl-Anne Moy, explains to a senate estimates committee, this week, that companies are reluctant to run our gulags where human beings are illegally detained indefinitely without charge; with no other cause than they desperately needed to flee their country of origin by boat, instead of being part of the sixty thousand or so who successfully fly in with QANTAS and other airlines. Border protection or punishment? It’s sadistic cruelty.

“Primarily the people who expressed some interest early on and then decided that they wouldn’t tender gave us the reason that there was too much noise for their organisations – they were international companies – around regional processing.”

Too much noise? Try a reluctance to be part of a punitive, illegal scheme to deny refugees human rights.

Dutton’s mob is conceding that it can’t find competent contractors because no-one good wants to work on Manus? Time to close the camps. Bring the men to Australia. Let some take up residence in Australia – but shut down Manus.

The Guardian reports major flaws in the work of Pacific International Hospital, (PIH), a PNG healthcare provider which receives $21.5 million for ten months’ service from the Australian government to look after men we placed on Manus six years ago, despite its chairman, PNG Deputy PM being found guilty of misconduct in the use of public funds.

More alarming, PIH’s expertise, competence and treatment standards are a grave cause for concern amongst refugees remaining on Manus. Coroner,Terry Ryan, confirmed their worst fears during his 2016 coronial inquest into the death of twenty-four year old Hamid Kehazaei, who died in September 2014 from a treatable leg infection. His inquest found that PIH staff did not understand that Kehazaei was critically ill, despite hearing the alarms from his life support machines.

PIH staff failure to respond directly contributed to Kehazaei’s subsequent cardiac arrest. Equally disturbing, however, bureaucrats failed to book him on the next available flight to Brisbane. As Ryan reports,

“An urgent transfer request from a doctor had languished while an immigration official queried why medication could not be sent to the detention centre instead, and then referred the request to a superior who did not read it until the next day.”

As the Coalition prepares to take asylum-seekers to Christmas Island for treatment, will it follow Coroner Ryan’s eight recommendations? These include proposing that Home Affairs enact a new written policy which puts the clinical needs of detainees first when medical transfers required the approval of Australian immigration officials.

Ryan’s 140 page report also recommends that clinics treating asylum seekers offshore be accredited to a level equivalent to Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) standards. He recommends the Department of Home Affairs also conduct annual audits of clinics “in conjunction with” the RACGP.

Happily for the Morrison government, which has sensibly shut down parliament, Paladin is likely to be eclipsed by China.

The elephant in the news-room and the dark shadow over HMAS Chum Bucket‘s chartroom is, of course, China which, we learn this week, bans ship-loads of Australian coal, at Dalian, a north-east port where ninety per cent of our iron ore goes ashore. From its posturing, it’s clear no-one in government knows why China should give us the coal shoulder- but suddenly everyone can explain it all away. Alarmed? Relax. Sheesh, it’s a hole in only one end of our trade flagship.

Worth around $58bn, the coal trade is Australia’s largest export earner next to iron ore ($57bn). In 2018, we exported 89 million tonnes of coal to China, worth $15 billion, almost a quarter of our nation’s total coal exports.  Now they’ve suddenly cooled off on us despite our “you beaut” free trade agreements stuck five years ago. Then it’s not a ban but just a slowing up of the process of unloading while quality control checks are carried out. Then it’s a Chinese whisper joke.

You were saying coal not cow, right? China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, has a laugh at our expense. Yet in the China Daily, he upbraids ScoMo for alleging that “a sophisticated state actor” (read China) is behind the recent hack attacks both on parliamentary computers and those of major political parties.

China Daily responds by calling Scott Morrison a conspiracy theorist. ScoMo is rebuked for his Trump-like public accusations and for being a US lackey- or at least rashly irresponsible.

“… this is not the first time that Canberra’s anxiety-driven willingness to emulate Washington has prompted it to lay the responsibility for alleged spying at Beijing’s door… No matter whether he was assigning the malevolent acts to China or another country, it is irresponsible of him to cast aspersions in this way.”

Ian Verrender reports a Chinese go-slow on coal imports began months ago. Dozens of coal-laden ships are queued off ports across China as delays extend beyond 40 days.

Five harbours are under Dalian customs control but Phillip Lowe, governor of our politicised Reserve Bank -which even cautioned the Morrison government to avoid any “regulatory response” to the Banking Royal Commission which might put the brakes on lending to home buyers and businesses –  is quick to point out that it’s only a few months of our exports. A drop in the national coal bucket, really.

On the other hand, (Reserve Bankers are masters of understatement; the measured anti-inflammatory, anodyne),

“If it were to be the sign of a deterioration in the underlying political relationship between Australia and China, that would be much more concerning.”  Nothing like a passive, subjunctive construction to sound the non-alarmist alarm.

Given coal from Russia and Indonesia is still welcome in China, our finest political minds work feverishly overnight to assure us not to take the ban personally. This type of thing happens all the time; there’s nothing to see here. In brief, no-one has a clue what’s going on and China isn’t about to enlighten anyone. If it were a shrewd move to slow down coal consumption, then others would be subject to the same bans and caps.

Other commentators, including Verrender, see the bans as serious. Despite involving about ten per cent of our coal exports, Dalian’s indefinite ban on Australian coal imports marks a significant deterioration in Sino-Australian trade relations. As Greg Jericho notes, the incident exposes the Coalition’s spin about its Free Trade agreement with China. Revealed beneath the hyperbole is the vacuous rhetoric and the hollow promise of the free trade “breakthrough”.

“A major step in cementing closer economic relations with China” that would “be the catalyst for even further mutual gain between our two countries”, raved our then foreign minister, Julie Bishop, in 2014. Jericho calls bulldust. Had Bishop tarried after her valedictory on Thursday, someone might have asked her how it could have gone so wrong.

John “always look on the bright side” “Noddy” Birmingham, an underwhelming former education minister turned Trade Minister exudes insight and reassurance, telling an anxious nation that “it’s not an all-out ban“.  Whew! Not yet. Unlike the latest case against indefinite detention on Manus and Nauru just delivered to the High Court.

Prominent refugee lawyers are preparing to prick the government’s latest thought bubble – the moving of sick refugees and asylum seekers to Christmas Island. In addition, two new legal actions will also be heard in the High Court, explains ACU Allan Myers Professor of Law, Spencer Zifcak, a former president of Liberty Victoria – class action cases which argue that the Commonwealth has acted negligently; breached its duty of care.

The lawyers will argue that the negligence is constituted by crimes against humanity.

The Commonwealth Criminal Code 1995 criminalises certain crimes against humanity recognised in international law. These include:

  • Imprisonment or other severe deprivations of liberty.
  • Severe deprivation of a person’s rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These include freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, freedom from arbitrary arrest , the right to take a case before a court if deprived of liberty, the presumption of innocence, freedom of expression, and freedom from national, racial or religious discrimination.
  • Inhumane treatment i.e. treatment engaged in intentionally that causes great suffering, serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

The argument is that the Commonwealth government has committed each of these crimes offshore.

As for Christmas Island, Human Rights Law Centre executive director, Hugh de Kretser, tells Nine Newspapers’ Sydney Morning Herald, “the legal basis for a challenge would be that the government had breached its duty of care by sending refugees and asylum seekers to a place where inadequate treatment was available”.

National Justice Project’s George Newhouse concedes a legal challenge over Christmas Island, which has inadequate medical facilities, is more likely to succeed than a challenge for those in offshore detention on Nauru or Manus.

While ScoMo is busy rehearsing his Kiwi charm offensive, Friday Labor also fires a warning shot across the bow of the Chum Bucket. And upstages him. The Opposition’s Immigration spokesman, Minister Shayne Neumann tells AAP,

“Labor, if elected, will accept New Zealand’s generous offer to resettle refugees with appropriate conditions similar to those under the US arrangements and negotiate other third country resettlement options as a priority.”

Labor reaffirms its pledge to accept New Zealand’s offer, a strategic policy announcement which wedges Scott Morrison, a puppet of his right wing, into defending an immoral, illegal and unsustainable, punitive, indefinite, offshore detention regime on the grounds that any change to it is “not in Australia’s interest”.

Opinion polls and the Coalition defeat in Wentworth suggest he’s increasingly out of touch with popular opinion. Sixty per cent of voters polled by GetUp! last Thursday support Medevac Bill reports The Guardian Australia.

Yet the nation so often learns of government by snafu, it may become inured to scandal and incompetence. Paladin alone or Chum-gate alone would be sufficient to bring other governments down. Now there’s dinnerplate.

The Morrison government must, navigate reefs of hazards as scandals arise from as far away as Manus Island and as near as the plush executive suites of our big bean-counters’ head offices with their billion dollar Sydney harbour views

Dinnerplate, involves CEOs from the nation’s Big Four accountancy firms, EY, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC meeting regularly for private dinners, as Labor’s shadow assistant treasurer and former ANU economics professor Andrew Leigh discovers.

Naturally such gatherings lend themselves to admiring the view, praising the catering and appreciating the wine list, but Leigh’s curious to know what else is on the menu – and has asked to ACCC to look into the meetings.

Allegations of price fixing; collusion over fees and monopolising markets, such as Hayne found among our banks are not easy to prove. Doubtless the bean counters are celebrating their colossal good fortune in being blessed with a Coalition government which has been prepared to pay them $1.7 billion between 2013 and 2017 for their services.

Dining together may have in no small way contributed to any or all of the big four looking after their other three mates. A similar cosy mutual self-help arrangement also appears to have been part of the Helloworld Travel pitch, although all parties vociferously deny any allegations of impropriety.

Joe Hockey, our Ambassador to the US and occasional Trump golfing partner, a former treasurer who once defended a hike in the petrol excise on the basis that poor people either don’t own cars or don’t drive very far buys $1.3 million dollars’ worth of shares in a company run by his bestie, Andrew Burnes.

Burnes, who just happens to be federal Liberal Treasurer is CEO of a travel company Helloworld Travel which stands to win a billion dollar government contract if the Coalition scraps Labor’s red tape and goes with a single travel agency.

Tragically, after the rude intrusion of Labor and sections of the media, Joe’s holdings have dropped a tad. Shane Wright on Insiders brings it up.

Cursed by a run of bad luck and mismanagement, the Chum Bucket fetches up high and dry on a dying Great Barrier Reef after freakish cyclone force winds bring a perfect storm of graft, cronyism and catastrophic incompetence. As Jim Chalmers puts it

I seek leave to move the following motion:

That the House

(1) notes that:

(a) yesterday, it was revealed the Finance Minister received free flights to Singapore from Helloworld, which he booked by calling the CEO of this ASX listed company directly, just before it was awarded a multimillion dollar whole-of-government contract by the Minister’s own Department;

(b) today, it’s been reported that US Ambassador Joe Hockey – who has a million dollar shareholding in Helloworld – helped a Helloworld subsidiary lobby for the Embassy’s travel contract;

(c) the CEO of Helloworld and one of its largest shareholders Andrew Burnes is a Liberal Party heavyweight and current Liberal Party Treasurer, with connections to a number of Liberal Party politicians;

(d) the Finance Minister told Senate Estimates yesterday that he had “a close personal relationship” with Mr Burnes;

(e) Mr Burnes was previously a colleague of the now Prime Minister during the Prime Minister’s time at Tourism Australia;

(f) since being awarded Government contracts, the share price of Helloworld has skyrocketed, making shareholders like Mr Hockey and Mr Burnes rich; and

(g) this morning, it was reported that the Herald Sun asked almost all of the 82 Liberal MPs in Parliament whether they had received free travel from Helloworld, but only 14 said they had not; and

(2) therefore, calls on the Prime Minister to investigate and report to the House how far this Helloworld scandal reaches into his Government.

The PM hunches over his papers. Gets Christopher Pyne to answer.

Luckily, ScoMo’s unplugging the nation’s parliament for six weeks. The Coalition’s lost the remote. No-one’s seen it since Morrison lost Wentworth, plunging his government into minority. At least Hockey Owes Me should now get a good box office. It will run back to back with Tampa 2.0, the Coalition’s end of term pantomime; another terrific show to follow up Paladin’s Cave, a $423 million mystery saga attracting rave reviews this week over at Senate Estimates’ theatre in the round.

Hockey owes me turns out to be a big show with a huge cast, stunning song and dance numbers and some beaut ensemble work from veteran performer Hockey and his a star-studded chorus. A drop-dead gorgeous performance of injured innocence from Helloworld’s CEO Andrew Burnes, who also manages to double as the Liberal Party’s federal treasurer steals the show. Forming a brilliant counterpoint to Burnes’ aria Hockey Owes Me is the pathos of the poignant testimony of disgruntled former executive, Russell Carstensen. The production is every bit as good as Tampa 2.0.

Tampa 2.0 is modelled on the false assumption that John Howard won in 2001 by getting commandos to prevent the Tampa, a Norwegian vessel from docking at Christmas Island to put ashore 433 refugees it had rescued from the water.

The popular fiction is that Tampa robbed Labor of an easy election win. In reality, as statistician Adrian Beaumont and analyst Peter Brent point out, the polls were closing after Labor’s 57-43 lead in March to 52-48 in August when Howard denied Tampa permission to its human cargo. And while the Coalition may have gained a two point lead from Tampa, it gained five points from September 11 gaining a 55-45 lead which abated to a 51-49 win in November.

And HMAS Chum Bucket? The craft is modelled on US civil warship, CSS Hunley, one of the earliest fighting submarines sporting forty feet of bulletproof iron but a most dangerous vessel to be inside.

Morrison’s crew, duck down the hatch; all hands to the pumps. Chum Bucket is leaking badly; listing starboard.  Sharks circle asylum-seeker policy writes Laura Tingle who also notes that “chum buckets are buckets full of fish guts and heads and other smelly stuff” which fisher-folk cast overboard “to attract a feeding frenzy of fish, particularly sharks”.

Chum bucket first hove into view with ScoMo ranting that Labor had “gone to the bottom of the chum bucket” in seeking the truth behind Helloworld, a scandal which could blow any government out of the water. Chum bucket is Sutherland Shire satire; rebarbative wit. You can take the boy out of Bronte but you can’t take the Bronte out of the boy.

Julie Bishop, jumps ship, another rat joining a slew of deserters, including ship’s purser Kelly O’Dwyer, a former NAB banker whose bon voyage bon mots are missed by many Liberals, including Tony Abbott who choose to slink out precisely as O’Dwyer rises to give her valedictory.

It may be payback for her one good speech given to Victorian Liberals where she recently excoriated her party telling her colleagues the Liberals are widely regarded as “homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers”.

Displaying all the true grit and instinct for self-survival which has made her a household name, along with her enormous capacity for business travel, Princess Mesothelioma, aka Julie Bishop, a former corporate lawyer, whose sterling work for Perth legal firm Clayton Utz in the 1980s helped CSR delay compensation payouts the courts had already awarded to victims of its asbestos mining at Wittenoom.

“Even if the workers die like flies, they will never be able to pin anything on CSR,” wrote Norman Irving, the mining corporation’s personnel manager in 1977, expressing a contempt for its wage slaves distressingly familiar to students of modern industrial relations. Bishop, or Julie Gillon as she was then devised her own echo of Irving’s solicitude.

As Peter Gordon, recalls, “(She) was rhetorically asking the court why workers should be entitled to jump court queues just because they were dying.”

Gordon’s words sum up so much of the inhumanity, injustice and indifference to those lower on the social ladder as much as they foreshadow the sense of privilege and entitlement and arrogant superiority that will ultimately be the undoing of this Liberal government, a Liberal government, as Bill Shorten put it, of the donors, by the donors for the donors.

Time democracy and humanity got a look in.

Extreme distraction (part 2)

By Tony Andrews

… Continued from Part 1

The world is rigged, and it has been for a very long time.

Society has a bad habit of labelling everyone into being something that can fit into an easily defined mould. Capitalist, Socialist, Christian, Muslim, right wing, left wing, progressive, conservative, conspiracy theorist, whatever term or ‘ism/ist’ that can be used to remove the impression of autonomous, free thinking individuals.

Labelling or pigeon holing is, after all, the basis of most of our western names. Our first names and our surnames are both derived from the need to identify and pigeon hole the owner, John Smith, ‘that man’s a christian and he’s a tradesman’, is one obvious example.

I’m no different to anyone else and am guilty of pigeon holing and labelling people and stuff as well, so feel free to label me as you wish, but at least I acknowledge that it’s a bad habit that allows us all to judge other people based on almost nothing… who knows, maybe it’s genetic.

The modern reality show, as well as being entertaining, is also exposing the flaws in our economic system. The popularity of shows that give an insight into how the other half lives, gives a newfound and constant form of proof to the world that the rich and privileged in our society are no smarter than average people. In fact, often they actually appear less intelligent, more self-absorbed and seem to lack self-awareness more than most of the world’s population.

While we laugh at the selfish and demanding personalities, edited to capture their individual extremes, the more outrageous the better, in order to capture the tv audience from other network’s similar, reality-based shows, overall, the essence of who these Uber members of society really are shines through. And we are all slowly realising that these are the people and children of the people, that control our very existence.

That they didn’t get where they are today by working harder or being smarter than the average wage earner. They did it by being either, manufactured by industry as marketing tools, a personality that the target market for the corporate product can identify with, or inherited wealth and the networks and connections that offers, has provided them with a life that their brains and ability could never have provided.

To quote Jack London, “they walk on dead man’s legs.”

The same flaws are being exposed in our political system. The constant need for program content on news and current affairs shows and its ‘news all day, everyday’ mantra, means that our elected representatives in government are revealed as the people they really are, warts and all.

The talking heads that interview our members of parliament and the senate, as well as our economic and intellectual leaders, are trained to attack weakness and to follow their employer’s editorial direction.

They need to look ‘hard hitting’ in order to maintain their own profile and career, in other words, to continue to service their mortgage and investments… to earn their daily bread, so to speak, because let’s face it, one thing we all have in common is a need to provide for ourselves and those we love.

The interviewers also have to appear knowledgeable about whatever subject is being discussed whilst maintaining their image as ‘ordinary’ members of society.

It’s a balancing act that has cut many careers short, as we don’t like ‘tall poppies’ or ‘know it alls.’

The work of selectively diligent researchers and discreet earpieces that can direct the interview from behind the scenes, mean these talking heads often appear more knowledgeable on a subject to the viewing public, than the person being interviewed, regardless of their training or expertise in the field being discussed… and we wonder why people have lost faith in ‘experts’… although, to be fair, strict ideological doctrines, like those that are universally trained in neo-liberal economic theory, for example, hasn’t helped ‘experts’ credibility much either.

Interrogated would be a more appropriate description of the modern interview technique. Especially when it is a politician whose views differ from those promoted by the shareholder appointed controllers of the media and whose ideas may upset the status quo… after all, the senior management of the media corporations want to keep their jobs as well and provide for themselves and those they love.

The accepted reality of today is that we need to be ‘competitive in the global economy,’ but the fact is that it’s just another slogan to promote the corporate’s profit serving agenda. Like the politically powerful ‘stop the boats’ or ‘jobs and growth’, used by the business arm of politics to persuade the general public that they are serving the needs of the people, when the reality is that they are only serving themselves and our corporate masters. We are a means to an end.

The corporations need us, the same way that a pig farmer needs to feed and fatten his produce in order to profit from their sale at market.

We, the consumers, are powerless and in today’s world, taxpayer funded government spending has added to the burden on citizens by directly subsidising these corporations in order to attract their investment. Allowing them to take full advantage of profit shifting to their parent companies via tax havens overseas and increasing the financial strain on the individual tax paying members of a country.

What is the point of a high GDP if the living standards of a country’s citizens don’t rise proportionately with it?

What has the ideology of the free market delivered for ordinary Australians?

For an economy to benefit everyone it needs to have a balance between regulation and the free market. No single solution ideology fits our modern societies, if they ever even did.

It’s about balance but, instead of looking for balance, we’ve allowed ourselves to get distracted, again, with seemingly urgent issues and philosophical debates that allow the corporate machine to continue on its path to worldwide economic and social collapse.

More and more of us know this now, we can see that we’re all being used, but we still fall for the old ‘divide and conquer’ rubbish. It’s not all our fault though, we’ve been trained by history to accept our reality and not rock the boat too much.

We know that millions upon millions of ordinary people have died in the pursuit of ‘freedom’. We know that fighting for a fairer share of the pie often leaves those that can least afford it destitute and hungry. Of course, we, the ordinary members of western culture and society, are scared to risk everything for a chance to help everyone and ourselves. History has shown us that we’ve risked it all before, only to replace one set of masters with another or have our burden increased by victorious incumbents we swore to serve. However, there is no free ride.

To really change things in favour of the majority of humanity, we need to resist the distractions of blame, hatred, and revenge. We need to resist those that insist change can only come with ‘class struggle’ and great personal loss because that brings with it the same problems… blame, hatred and revenge.

I’m not saying that there will be no cost, that it’s as easy to fix as snapping our fingers, but the revolution of the last thirty years, that’s what the economic reforms have been, a revolution, have occurred almost unseen. Capital has taken complete control over almost all the world economies. Social protections and our communal well-being have been removed almost completely from consideration.

In our country, Australia, de-regulation and the sale of publicly owned assets, as well as the offshoring of manufacturing have resulted in unparalleled levels of economic growth (on paper anyway). The social costs of these reforms need to be assessed accurately, calculated and given a value. This value then has to be returned to us. Not necessarily in monetary form, but in increased social protections and the ability to reform ourselves for future economic development, to regain the shared ability for individual economic prosperity.

We need to take some form of control back from the domination of the stock market’s rise and fall.

It’s not impossible, it just needs accurate data and the will to pursue a counter revolution. ‘Changing the rules’, a slogan and campaign produced by the Australian trade union movement is an example of this counter revolution. It’s already begun, the people are getting behind it. No guns. No violence. No ‘seizing the means of production’ or overthrowing capitalism. Just solid data and the will to initiate change to benefit people, not just bank balances. To quote a couple of influential Australians; “from little things, big things grow.”

The trade union movement and by extension, all workers, have suffered much during the current revolution.

The offshoring of manufacturing and the ‘modernising’ of industrial relations in all other forms of employment, has damaged our societies much more than the politically uninterested could believe possible.

Until rapid deregulation allowed the ‘housing boom’ to create another lucrative revenue stream for the multinationals, new suburbs around Australia were mostly built with public funds to provide housing for the workers that were needed in our industries. Not just large locally or internationally owned factories, but our mining and power generation as well.

Local workers earned enough to eventually build their own homes in the same areas. Creating ‘local’ economies, providing employment and opportunity for small businesses to service the local community. Creating, at the same time, the ‘fair go’, that’s become a cliché of Australian values.

Now, our communities are fractured. We no longer know our neighbours well or work together. Our high-priced homes in new estates, planned and built around the potential for profit generated by their development, rather than servicing the needs of local employers, has divided us more than skin colour or religious belief ever could.

Historically, communities formed the backbone of trade unionism in Australia and around the world. If workers in one industry were locked out or on strike, their friends, other members of the local community, did their best to ensure that the striking worker’s families still got fed and provided moral, as well as financial, support.

This concept of community must be recognised, also given a value, and internationalised. If the global economy is ever going to work for all of us, we need to re-adopt the same approach or similar, that allowed individual prosperity and the means for anyone to progress above the superficial barriers of ‘class’.

The idea needs to be continually reinforced in the public minds that modern unions are not just self-interested groups looking to improve the fortunes of some workers, while ignoring others that are not under their influence.

If we allow the current crop of revolutionary leaders and their propaganda arm, the media corporations, to continue with the ‘us vs. them’ style doctrines, directing the dialogue and condensing the public debate around globalisation into division between the haves and have nots, the future of the union movement and its regained public allegiance by the political parties that originated from their support, will wane.

Ignoring the current age of corporatism is not an option. Any political party that promises to wind back the clock and take capital head on, will very quickly find themselves unelectable.

Collective unity must include everyone.

The idea that for those with less to gain more, those with much must lose everything, has been an unshakeable barrier to change and is a huge factor in why we are where we are today.

The idea that there must always be winners and losers in any negotiation, means the threat of the guillotine still remains. For this reason, ‘changing the rules’ may bring about unintended consequences because capital will not capitulate.

It will go down fighting.

It will change the rules as well and, as history has shown us, it plays dirty.

The next card up the corporate sleeve if the status quo is too threatened, will be putting down social revolt in order to maintain the free market revolution. Not right now of course, so don’t go building a bunker in the bush just yet, they’ll need a reasonable excuse first.

Again, they’ll go back to basics.

The ever-widening gap between the rich and poor will be exploited even further because hate makes us blind. When we ‘see red’ we forget consequences. We forget to think rationally. Hate is a powerful weapon because it’s the one thing that can turn the masses into a mob.

Midway through the First World War, German leaders knew exactly what they were doing when they released Lenin from prison and shipped him off to Russia in a boxcar. The war was going badly, and they were desperate to ease the pressure on their borders. A Russia thrown into political turmoil seemed like a great idea at the time… it didn’t help them of course, they still lost the war, but the consequences of their actions still echo through time. The concept of the ‘class struggle’ has never gone away and it will only take massaging and coercion to steer the people’s desire for a fairer deal into something far bigger.

Just as the rise of salesman Trump has challenged the current political structure, it won’t be long before his polar opposite appears.

Not Sanders in the US, not Corbyn in the UK, these men desire stability and a fair go for all. That is not enough to create the kind of conflict that can stop change in its tracks.

The media, intentionally or not, will help create a new Lenin.

Like with the modern version of fascism, rising under Trump and others, ideology will be a secondary consideration. Old style communism will not work. Trotsky, for example, didn’t decide to take to the countryside and preach to the farm labourers, the rural peasantry, his version of a worker’s paradise for no reason. The more educated workers in the cities and larger towns were not so easy to convince and allow themselves to willingly be used as a weapon of their own personal destruction.

A new angle will need to be found and it’s quite possible that the trade union movement, somewhere in the world, will inadvertently provide it. Covertly encouraged by the masters of our present economic system.

Passion is infectious and easily exploited by those that have none. Given enough rope, a ‘true person of the people’, indulged by those in the media in search of high ratings and the illusion of job security that ratings provide, will help create an ‘anti-Trump’. Someone that can polarise the people by offering another means for us all to acquire that new can opener or toaster. The rope will tighten and there will be war.

The real winners though, will not be people. It will be the corporate machine and it will continue to roll over the top of us long after the war it creates between the historic monsters of ‘fascism’ and ‘communism’ has come and gone.

Any changes to the rules that will benefit us all and direct a fair distribution of profit back to those that provide the labour and consume the products created will be stalled indefinitely.

It will also provide another ‘ism’ for future corporate revolutionaries to scare us, the workers/consumers, into submission with for as long as they can… the threat of ‘unionism.’

Because almost all humans have at least one thing in common. We may wait years to buy a new can opener or toaster, deciding which brand suits us best, but when we make up our minds to get one, we buy it, and nothing will change our mind once it’s been made up. The same applies for which footy team we support or political party we vote for.

So the revolution will continue in the background and it will be our own fault, because instead of balance, we’ll allow extremes to control the agenda and humanity’s direction. Then, when the burden seems like too much to bear and we start to demand, again, a ‘fair go’, we’ll again search for someone to blame, rekindle our hatred, then seek revenge…

With the corporation’s covert approval.

Extreme distraction

By Tony Andrews

A revolution has occurred while we’ve been watching the telly, dreaming of a new car, dishwasher or holiday, and trying our best not to offend anyone.

No tanks have rolled through suburban Australia, no massed forces have seized the factories and farms, instead they’ve been relocated overseas or sold off, radically and completely changing the game.

Actually, ‘game’ is not the right word: our lives, our rights, our ability to work hard and be paid accordingly, our chance to get above debt and enjoy a comfortable life that allows more than just the illusion of freedom and independence. That is what’s been taken. It is no game.

This should be a reasonable and achievable goal for everyone, and from the 1950s up until the mid 1990s, it was. However, it isn’t anymore and never will be again for the majority of us, without a counter revolution.

We’ve been fooled into believing in nonsense concepts, like karma and good things come to those who wait. Work hard and be rewarded, good triumphs over evil… that the extra money generated by tax cuts for business will trickle down to the rest of us. But it’s all rubbish.

The reality created by this revolution doesn’t allow us all to become rich, doesn’t allow us all to have that one good idea that can put an entrepreneur into the world of the super wealthy.

That’s just how it is.

Almost all of us are destined to see out our days worrying about our rent or mortgage and paying just for the privilege of our existence.

Paying all we earn for our need for comfort and security. For our necessities and our most modest dreams.

Paying all we earn for our electricity, our phone, our car, our big screen televisions with Foxtel and internet, ensuring we can feed and clothe our children, send them to school, and dreaming that, hopefully, they can have a better life than us.

But they almost certainly won’t.

Life for all of us is full of good days and bad, regardless of our level of wealth. The difference between the haves and have nots though, is what they can do to ease the bad days and extend the good.

Most of us can only imagine never needing to worry about providing the basic needs of existence for ourselves and those we love.

Never worrying about where the money will come from to pay for the car registration or the utility bills. It’s a luxury not afforded to many Australians or indeed, most of the world’s people.

Worrying about unexpected illness or injury and the affects that it can have on our quality of life and finances has been eased a little for Australians without accumulated wealth, but the attacks on Medicare since its inception, and escalating rapidly, has given us long-term causes for concern. But, like everything that is taken away from us, it’s downplayed or dismissed as scaremongering from the radically conservative members of society… our revolutionary masters.

How to stay employed and have enough money to retire comfortably after our working days are over.

These worries take up a lot of the average person’s thoughts, just like finding enough work to feed themselves and their families possessed the thoughts of our great grandparents during the Depression.

Today, the radically conservative influenced governments and the media make sure that the rest of our thinking time is filled with distraction, not just entertaining programming, sports and reality shows but also news that’s tailor made to suit their needs. Preying on our fears and manipulating our emotions with one sided statistics and an agenda focused coverage of local and world events.

Advertising that forces us all to be avid, materialistic, consumers, spending more than we can afford.

This distraction allows them to further stretch the gap between those who have and those who have not, often without really meaning to. They are mostly just reasonably normal people. People that have been trained to see the world one way and have been given free reign by our apathy and life’s distractions to build the world to reflect their beliefs, often with unintended and unseen consequences. ‘It’s not personal, it’s just business’, is a phrase we’ve all heard way too often.

It’s not their fault really. How many people actually read a book that they aren’t required to?

How many people continue to educate themselves informally after their schooling is complete? Not many, and who can blame them?

It’s much easier and less stressful to drift with the tide.

Most people see glimpses of the truth at times, but the saying, “ignorance is bliss” is truly based in fact, so that when we see a politician or political commentator discussing the merits of this policy or that, the effects on our daily lives purposely obscured by lengthy, convoluted dialogue, we switch off, find another distraction and leave it up to those that we assume, know best.

One of the main focuses of distraction by boredom is the economy.

When you listen to our elected representatives in government and their spin doctors, the lobbyists, and our corporate masters, you get the idea that the economy is a fragile thing, that any negative affect to shareholder value and trade will cause untold damage to our way of life. And it’s mostly true. They have structured it that way.

They will wring every cent out of us that they can because the corporations no longer have any choice. Their programming has been designed to deliver certain results, not to think about social consequences.

They must expand and maximise profit, devouring smaller enterprises because if they don’t, they too will be taken over by other corporations.

Surplus profit has to be put to work to create more profit or else the whole concept of corporate capitalism will fail, but it’s very nature will also be our undoing.

Hardly anybody is prepared to make decisions anymore because it may affect their own position in the corporate world or jeopardise their climb up the ladder.

The ones that do decide on the future direction of the corporation that employs them are rarely given all the facts related to the decisions they are required to make. Only the information that is beneficial to the stock price appears to be calculated and taken into account, for reasons of ‘plausible deniability’ those in charge often don’t want to know all the facts.

Those below them in the corporate structure, will also quite willingly throw someone else under a bus to maintain their own progression and livelihood. Decisions which involve personal financial risk are avoided because the modern business has purposely removed the protections once afforded to its employees.

No one wants to be the negative voice that stands in the way of profit. Altruism and a social conscience have no place in the boardrooms of the corporate world. They have a multitude of think tanks and spin doctors compiling oaths, company creeds and internal policies that would have the outside world believe otherwise, but unless there’s a financial benefit to behaving ethically or for the good of humanity and the planet, it just doesn’t happen… well, sometimes it does actually, but it’s more of a by-product of progress rather than purposeful humanitarianism.

The world is changing though, like ‘terminators’ that have become self-aware, massed humanity is awakening slowly to reality. The only way the machine can continue to generate profit for profits sake, well into the future, is by distracting the masses with the same old tricks. By giving the monsters from the past enough air to distract us all from creating real change that may negatively affect the corporate bottom line.

Today, that distraction is ‘privilege’, ‘equality’ and ‘over-population’. Tomorrow, unless we’re very careful, the only solutions offered to us will be ‘fascism’ or ‘communism’.

Extremes never fail to keep us occupied.

White privilege is a fact, but it’s also a fairly broad term that misses the point. It seems to encompass all white people, and, to a certain extent, it does. Except that, for the majority of white people, it doesn’t mean very much.

Sure, we don’t generally have police checking our identification before we are allowed to buy alcohol, as is a frequent occurrence for Australian First Nations people, or are not baselessly accused of being ‘terrorists’ because of our olive skin, beards and belief in a certain religion, but overall, the majority of white people are not exactly given the red carpet treatment by society either.

Once upon a time it was definitely ‘trueish.’

White people did control commerce and write the versions of history that our western societies still mostly assume to be true. This is changing of course, but the belief of ‘white superiority’ will linger in the minds and ambitions of some for a long time to come. As will the concept of ‘racial superiority’ in the minds of people with a different melatonal composition, but if the ordinary Irish, Scot, English, or Frenchmen, from centuries past, could still speak, I doubt they would ever have considered themselves privileged above others.

It’s just another slogan that separates us all into factions and divides humanity, allowing the revolution to continue in the background.

An emotive branding that simplifies a complex issue, providing a focal point for the historically oppressed that covers a section of our global community with a blanket that would seem to define colonialism and atrocity purely on skin colour.

Or, if you’re white skinned, a rallying cry to draw those with an obvious genetic legacy into allegiance with those that wish to use our massed alliance to pursue their own agenda. It ignores the real truth, that individuals within the collective global society, with skins of many hues and varying degrees of size and strength, have no real power. We have no voice that isn’t just an extension of someone else’s philosophical or political belief. Our emotions are easy prey for our present and potential future, revolutionary leaders. Men and women that are trained to capitalise on our frustrations and voicelessness.

After watching a ten-minute adformercial about the latest and greatest can opener or toaster, who doesn’t want to own one themselves? If every couple of days we’re told we’re being discriminated against because we’re white, black, too short, too tall, disabled, unskilled, too skilled, male or female, genderless even, it’s hard to resist the impulse to agree, especially when we are barely treading water. Even the most successful humans (in monetary terms) of our societies are prone to the suggestion of discrimination against themselves. ‘Class warfare’ is their rallying cry, isolated by their wealth and despised by those that are not so well off. The unfortunate victims of ‘the politics of envy’.

We are all malleable to suggestion.

We are unconsciously drawn to anything that appears to improve our present circumstances. We buy lotto tickets hoping for a better life, knowing that we don’t have a hope in hell of winning. We grasp at any straw that’s offered to us because we know that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

Am I saying that discrimination based on human traits doesn’t occur or the lingering effects of historical oppression are blown out of proportion… no, I’m not.

An interesting fact is that men between 6’ and 6’ 3” are the most highly paid and are disproportionately represented in the higher levels of the corporate and political world. Is this their fault?

Are they smarter than those of less impressive stature?

No more or less than any other group within society, it’s just that height commands a kind of instant respect and is considered a ‘leadership quality’… unless they are too tall of course, over 6’ 5” and we consider them to be freaks.

Is this bias towards a certain male height an example of what they call ‘reverse discrimination,’ because I’m not sure what that term means exactly, but it’s obvious that we are not only malleable to suggestion, we are all guilty of stereotyping as well. Which goes a long way towards creating the world’s winners and losers.

Even the terms we use most to describe admiration and respect reflect this bias. We “look up” to someone and “look down” on those that we don’t respect. We ‘size people up’ to appraise their worth.

Men of less impressive stature that question this ‘natural’ order, apparently have a well known syndrome…

Humanity it seems, deserves the future that has been written for us.

We all need community, people that we feel akin to, that we consider are the same as ourselves. It’s natural and human. It’s just that it’s no longer sustainable for these feelings of tribal connectivity to be localised or based on common features, cultures or easily definable traits. If we want human life to continue to exist, we have to evolve, not regress. Race. Religion. Nationality. All redundant. All just a form of special effects used to distract us from the present revolt.

Blaming individuals or groups within society for our disconnect from modern life and the lack of individual advancement, regardless of effort, is pointless and self-defeating. Collectively, we are achieving nothing except another drift into catastrophic global conflict, but there is hope.

Slowly and, in most cases, without actually meaning to, individuals on our planet are educating themselves, all of them.

We have access to the accumulated knowledge of the entire world. Our children can access historical information that their grandparents, unless specifically trained, would’ve refused to believe could be true.

They were not stupid, not at all, unfortunately, ignorance is now commonly regarded as meaning the same thing, but ignorant just means unaware.

Our grandparents were generally ‘unaware’ of what was happening outside their own borders or interests. Which is why they were susceptible to ‘the call to arms.’ Why the people of the past appeared so willing to allow themselves to be treated like cattle and herded in whichever direction their political leaders required. Now, we want more than a strong hand to guide us or a romanticised ideal. We know there’s no Utopian paradise awaiting us after the war, any war is won… the truths of history are now in the public domain and easy to find if you look or accidentally stumble upon when ‘net surfing. However, before enough of us wake up a ‘strong hand to guide us’ is a distinct possibility for our future.

The drift away from our major political party’s is a reflection of the dissatisfaction and doubt in the ability of our leadership to improve our individual lives. Which is why voters are choosing to elect people that they believe share their outlook or are prepared to ‘shake things up’. Trump, a billionaire salesman. Clive Palmer, a billionaire mining magnate. Pauline Hanson, a fish n chip shop owner.

‘Class’ is not the issue for most voters, they don’t care about your background anymore, they just want things to be different.

Trump is a good example of this indifference to class war by the general public. He is a salesman, pure and simple. Trained from birth to ‘make the deal’, he is not affected by attacks on his intelligence or diplomatic skills by political pundits or his rivals, it runs like water off a duck’s back because he knows who his target market is. He knows who’s buying what he’s selling. It isn’t the intelligentsia or political elite, it’s the average, disillusioned punter.

These voters are not confined to any particular class, they are from all levels of society. That’s what makes him scary to the existing political establishment and exemplifies how easy it is to drift toward fascism. Not ideological based fascism as we know it, but a different kind. The people know he’s bullshitting to them, but it’s ‘honest’, car salesman style bullshit. He’s promising them a better can opener, a better toaster, and just like insomniacs tele-surfing at midnight, the voters have got their credit cards ready.

Those that wish to continue the present revolution are getting desperate to maintain the illusion of division rooted in different skin colours and cultural backgrounds. Between left and right, god and the devil, between anything that they can think of really, to keep us from collectively changing the world to one that benefits all of mankind, instead of just those that have inherited the earth and its riches as we know it. The modern beneficiary however, is not a person or small group of powerful individuals, they’ve now been incorporated. The multinational is now in control of our destiny, and it’s a runaway train. A Titanic in search of an iceberg.

The individuals at the helm however, are still under the delusion that they are in control and will fight to the death (your death and your children’s, not theirs of course) to maintain the status quo. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that their fortunes are tied so closely to the stock price and not their brains. The influential proponents of the ‘free market’ and its revolutionary leaders are not immune to the negative effects of its progression, unfortunately though, their cognitive dissonance and fear of a future created by the disgruntled masses continue to perpetuate the current revolution…

They feel they have no choice.

War and economic collapse are almost inevitable because the real division in society is dawning in the minds of ordinary, working people. Those that are in power, as well as those that seek control, are starting to strategise. Some have even re-emerged from history’s closet, to claim what they believe is rightfully theirs… before it’s too late.

Before enough of us understand that philosophical ideals and adherence to strict ideological doctrines are the reason we are where we are today, and that almost all of them are a con.

The world seems unable to stop the rapid rise of inequality. The yawning chasm between the haves and the have nots is ever widening, yet the ‘solution spinners’, the political and intellectual elite of our world (both from the left, the right, and all spaces in between) apparently have no ideas or set directions to follow that aren’t based on ideological and/or philosophical notions from the last and previous centuries. Notions that widen the chasm even further by encouraging hatred and revenge. That promise to satisfy their followers, yet only offer further division of our already fragmented humanity.

The agenda driven, manufactured versions of division, the ones based on religious beliefs or melatonal composition are designed to distract us, but the ones underlying those, the ones that until now, have been easy to defeat for those with the money, are not so easily hidden.

When the obvious disparity between the wealthy and the wage earner is more and more pronounced every day and the access to factual information regarding wealth inequality is within the reach of almost anyone with access to the internet and an inquiring mind, those that hold all the cards need to reshuffle the deck.

Until recently, the aces hiding up their sleeve haven’t been needed, but the age of distraction, the game of smoke and mirrors is almost over. It’s time for the manipulators to bring out their big guns, and this is why…

All the distractions of the modern world are failing to numb the minds of wage earners and their children. Normal, everyday people, that are developing, through education and intimate knowledge, an awareness of the real causes of the stress created by providing a living for themselves and those that depend on them.

The ability and means to understand that something is wrong with the way the world is run and that no matter how hard they work, they only ever seem to barely, and not always, stay ahead of their financial commitments. Seeing a future where retirement is not going to provide security or comfort. Where their children are at the mercy of an untouchable system that still doesn’t care if they survive or not.

That doesn’t care about addressing past wrongs or future internationally significant issues. Paying lip service to change, instead of actually changing to advance the interests of all mankind…

OK, I meant man and womankind… umm, maybe I mean all genderkind. Forgive me, it’s difficult to keep up with the divisive distractions that seem so vital to address and cause us all to walk on eggshells every time we open our mouths or write down our thoughts, but actually create more division that hides the real barriers to collective unity.

Concluded tomorrow with Part 2

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