Buddy, our PM’s photogenic pet black Schnoodle, gets his own column (paywalled) in our yellow press; The Daily Telegraph. Bet you never had Schnoodle on your ScoMo winter bingo card. Schnoodle could become a transitive verb, given the recent dip in approval ratings for Morrison in three major polls; Guardian Essential, Nine’s Resolve Monitor and NewsPoll.
Trust that mongrel, Morrison, to schnoodle up to us after failing to deliver on any vaccination promise, people could say. But how good, how quick are his new promises? If stringing a country along were an Olympic event, (and Covid’s entrance in this year’s $20bn Tokyo Olympics may cause its committee chief to pull the pin). Morrison would be sensational; a world champion, instead of making Australia a pariah over its lame “zero by 2050, preferably, BS. And now we’re a laughing stock. The BBC, CNN and NYT are asking how Australia could botch its pandemic response so comprehensively.
Now Scotty’s let everyone in Australia down. Three states are in lockdown because he couldn’t get his vax act together. Five people have died in NSW. ICUs are filling up with people who need intubation just to breathe. Your heart goes out to the family of the mother in her fifties who is found dead in her home, Saeeda Akobi Jjou Stu, 57.
Her twin sons Roni and Ramsin Shawka, 27, are charged by police for allegedly working while infectious with coronavirus. They say a language barrier is to blame. They didn’t fully understand how the lockdown applied to them. NSW Health authorities claim the deceased woman was offered “alternate” meaning alternative care. Vaccination would have helped. The Health Minister and his PM are full of lame excuses as to why vaccine supply is too little and too late.
Or silence. Other countries could secure a billion does, Chris Bowen claims. Kevin Rudd has a virtual meeting with the Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla to ask if a million doses can be brought forward. Bourla is insulted by Morrison’s attempt to bargain through a junior bureaucrat. Rudd says our PM has not bothered to pick up the phone to Bourla.
Morrison certainly knows how to use his ScoMobile. He makes fifty-five calls to thirty world leaders to get Mathias Cormann a post as top dog of the OECD, in a job-seeking junket that cost us $11,000 per day, but he can’t place a single call with the Pfizer Czar? Even that genocidal crook, Packer’s pal, Bibi Netanyahu, could make nice with Pfizer.
“Netanyahu was obsessive, calling me dozens of times, even at 3 AM!” Dr Bourla laughs. But what seals the deal is that Israel boasts one of the most advanced health services in the world – every Israeli, Jew or Arab, young or old, is enrolled in a public health service. Highly organized, it could immediately begin to inject millions with the vaccine very quickly.
Israel puts us to shame. Morrison goes fully Bodmin to gate-crash a G7 in Cornwall, but does he button-hole a single leader who could help us? No he skives off on a pub crawl and he just must look up a felon in his family tree.
Current opinion polls are a slap down; rebuking the federal government and its leader for stuffing up. You had only two jobs to do. Vaccination and quarantine. Albo likes to remind him. You did neither. Punters blame the federal government for the mess we’re in with Delta. No-one buys the bullshit of a brand-new, four phase plan. It’s just the old five phase plan with bit of pruning, although to hear Morrison spin you would expect at least a bit of topiary.
In the eternal sunshine of Scotty’s spotless mind, he has already won. Of course. Not only will Buddy turn all this around like a border collie with wayward mob of merinos, Dr Doolittle will skip away unscathed. But others beg to differ.
“… a drover’s dog could lead the Labor Party to victory the way the country is and the way the opinion polls are.”
Bill Hayden was miffed in 1983 to be stiffed by the silver bodgie; rolled for the leadership by Robert James Lee Hawke, (1929-2019). But Bill could be right on the money again. There’s talk of Albo needing a bit more of a combover, or a makeover or a total replacement but such misgivings may be redundant. In Australian politics, oppositions don’t win elections; governments lose them and Morrison is shaping spectacularly as a loser; a reverse Steve Bradbury.
This week brings news of another huge SNAFU. Instead of discovering how to prevent and treat COVID-19, the Morrison government frittered its research investment on the now-discredited hydroxychloroquine treatment, according to the Medical Journal of Australia. Craig Kelly is out but Clive Palmer must have friends in high places. Or a big war chest.
With over half the nation’s population now locked-down, uptight or out of sight in the Morrison Shit-Show™ as Bill Shorten calls the federal government’s delta debacle; its failure to deliver on any of its vaccination promises is telling. No-one trusts its offers of support: you get no money if you’re already on a pension.
But you do get the compassionate Anne Ruston looking after you with her industrial-strength tough love – or is it withering contempt? Coercive control?
Who can forget her slur on those out of work, that raising Newstart would be a gift to drug dealers?
While a yellow press uses lurid features and sensationalised reports in newspapers, along with dog stories and beat ups featuring druggie dole-bludgers, to entice readers and boost circulation, The Terrograph or Smellograph as it is also known, is also, like Sky and The Australian, larding Murdoch’s sewer with a fatberg of Liberal propaganda.
Where does Murdoch begin and Morrison end? They are joined at the hip-pocket.
In Morrison’s case, moreever, The Daily Telegraph helped a hugely unpopular candidate but a useful idiot cheat the system. Himself.
The Tele helped create Morrison, MP. News Corp’s notorious, dog-eat-dog Tory dung-heap-raking, dirt sheet gave Morrison a way to hack into post-truth federal politics. He’s always keen to think outside the box. The ballot box.
In four articles in July 2007, “The Tele” defames Lebanese Christian Michael Towke; causing NSW Libs to dump ScoMo’s democratically pre-selected rival candidate for blue ribbon Cook. Towke is pilloried as some type of imposter; a serial liar. Accusing another of your own behaviour is a classic gas lighter’s tactic. Towke wins a defamation case which News Limited settles out of court. But irreparable harm is done to Towke and his family. The stress puts his mother into hospital.
Faking a family pet’s perspective is another nifty initiative from the same creative whiz behind the fifty-five million dollar fiasco of the 2014 Cambodian Solution, which resettles two refugees -another Morrison Shit-Show™ stunt, light years ahead of its time. And how good are budgie smugglers? Morrison’s unique genius in marketing NSW Liberal Peter Debnam in his swimmers helped him lose the 2007 NSW Liberal election Shit-Show™. Labor had a field day.
“The member for Vaucluse barely ventured outside his harbourside comfort zone. But when he did, it was for staged stunts in his Speedos. That’s not listening to the community, it’s offending common decency,” then NSW Transport and Police Minister, who later become Labor Deputy-Premier, John Watkins, calls out ScoMo’s modus operandi.
Robodebt is another Morrison brainwave, hatched in his thirteen months’ stint as Minister for Social Services, a brief role which, nevertheless, created interminable suffering for victims. Apart from those who took their own lives.
At least 2,000 vulnerable citizens who had received a Robodebt notice between July 2016 and October 2018, died during that period, although with no official coroner’s report, it is not known how many were driven to suicide.
Robodebt went beyond offending common decency and into court where the government wasted $1.2 billion settling a case it should never have brought. The total comprised refunds of $721 million to 373,000 people, $112 million in compensation and $398 million in cancelled debts.
Given the PM’s pathological obsession with secrecy, no-one will ever know just how many similar triumphs he or his office are behind. Or why. There’s the baffling disappearance of Brittany Higgins’ alleged rapist who once had access to the entire ministerial wing at Parliament House and who could knock up security in the small hours. If he were a Labor staffer, there’d be such a brouhaha and a hullaballoo from the Murdoch media you’d never hear the end of it.
This week comes news of an optional online learning module of two hours for staffers and one hour for MPs. Brilliant. Fix up all that disrespecting. Of females. The women who marched on parliament have been studiously insulted. Mocked. Abused.
Sends a clear message to all serial sex pests. The boys’ club rules, OK?. But there are signs of waning support for the PM and his government among women. Finger On the Button, Dutton keen to keep himself relevant as his PM crashes and burns, beats up two Chinese spy ships lurking in international waters off Queensland to watch our navy’s sailors play war games with America’s.
Settle down, Dutto. Chinese ships visited when the biennial games started in 2017 and again in 2019. Let’s not pretend it’s up there with malicious cyber warfare, although it’s touching to see how we come running, panting, when our US masters need token support from their imperialist running dog lackeys as we were in Mao’s era. Bound to help our merchants solve China’s current Aussie export embargo.
If spying’s old hat, it also seems the hard way to garner Oz-defence secrets. All it takes to get into the defence minister’s office is a Liberal junior staffer or two with a pass, even at absurdly early hours of the morning. You don’t even have to be sober. Any security guard who challenges this system and speaks on ABC will be sacked.
If a Yellow Peril 2.0, doesn’t put the wind up you, a blue Katie Hopkins™ pops up on the starboard bow just when the PM and his open-all- hours poster girl, Gladys Berejiklian, need another Shit-Show™ distraction. Hopkins’ claims to fame include being caught en flagrante delicto frolicking naked in a field with Mark Cross, a former married colleague, but her racist bigotry and attacks on refugees make her a serious threat to the Coalition’s One Nation supporters.
“Get over yourself,” Katie tells a UK journo. I’ve stolen both my husbands. There’s a tip right there, Kerry and Peter, for Farmer Wants a Wife.
Billed as a “far-right provocateur” and a “reality TV personality”, both iron-clad guarantees of security – if not integrity – in our state-sponsored dog whistling racist political culture, Hopkins is astonished to be given the bum’s rush after she flouts quarantine rules by refusing to wear a mask or anything else in her luxurious quarantine hotel, a grave risk to our multi-skilled AFP wallopers on room service calls. She hopes to “frighten the shit out of them” by answering the door naked, she boasts.
Hopkins’ deportation mirrors the overkill of Morrison’s slathering attack on Christine Holgate, over the Cartier watches she gave a few workers as bonuses. We all know, now, that Holgate was not on board with his plan to privatise Australia’s Post. Had to go. By bullying a woman, from the floor of the House, protected by parliamentary privilege, Morrison hopes to pose as an authority figure who just happens to go MIA whenever there’s set of bad opinion poll results, or a Covid or a bushfire crisis.
Barking Barnaby Joyce, a changed man, he tells us, also gets a chance to butch up and put the boot in on Insiders. If he’s going to be paid a Deputy Prime Minister’s salary, he might at least pretend to take the high moral ground with Ms Hopkins over her breach of quarantine etiquette, even if he is upstaged by his mate Kerry Stokes’ outfit Channel 7 whose business end terminates Katie’s Celebrity Big Brother contract, given the threat that advertisers might boycott his Olympics broadcasts. If there is an Olympics.
Behind his Po-face, however, WA’s bantam rooster and Ben Roberts Smith godfather, billionaire mining, construction and media showman Stokes is laughing all the way to the bank. We’re all in this together, as Morrison says. To all his A-lister associates and toadies. In Western Sydney where the workers live, it’s a different story.
NSW police are demanding ID on the street or wherever they knock you up. Some even helpfully rummage through your Westie shopping bags, a welfare call, to help poor working class consumers determine which of their purchases are essential.
Invasive? Discriminatory? Legal? All of the above. It’s another top idea made flesh under emergency super powers the Coalition gives itself, in the interests of public health. States rush to follow suit. Some more quickly than others.
But help is on its way. The Indue cashless debit card for all welfare beneficiaries including age pensioners will quickly sort out the vexed issue of taking the discretion out of discretionary expenditure.
Cunning stunt of the week, however, goes to the Shit-Show™ that is the federal government in secret squirrel mode for its refusal to release details of fixer Phil (The Ferret) Gaetjens’ secret enquiry into Bridget McKenzie’s role in the Morrison scandal known as the Sports Rorts Affair.
Sports rorts are minor compared to the $600 million car parks in the air scam.
Why buy one election when you can buy three? The budget-minded need fear no more. Michael West reports Jimmy Tee’s 2020 research which shows team Morrison has stashed away billions in the Community Development Grants Program to buy at least the next two elections. The official extension of the CDG “provides the government with yet another campaign war chest of $1 billion for the next election in 2022 and a yet-to-be-determined figure for the election after that in 2025 — a case of rolling rorts.”
Another day, another government corruption scandal. The plot thickens in senate estimates, reports The Monthly’s Rachel Withers; the same PMO staffer enabling the “sports rorts” corruption is confirmed “as the contact for the car parks fund, for which a list of the top 20 marginal seats was created to canvas for projects – not just for commuter car parks, but for the entire $4.8 billion Urban Congestion Fund.”
FOI requests are rebuffed because the Rorts Report was commissioned for Cabinet ministers’ eyes only, a bluff that rather defeats the object of FOI laws, but in our brave new world of government by disinformation, deception and double-speak, a world in which Barnaby can stand in a paddock in a corn pone hat and blow his bags about how he’s the Deputy Prime Minister and not just some random Nationals leader.
And how Hopkins better remember how he dealt with Johnny Depp.
But Morrison’s circus is not just a flea-bitten dog and (corn)pony show, there are clearly big ideas in the offing.
Next the chooks will be cackling on 2GB. Other pets are bound to follow. History lessons from The Morrison Goldfish, Shark. ScoMo’s QAnon bestie, Tim Stewart, will pen a personal reflection: So Your Family Dobs You in to the National Security Hotline? Stewie could also do the odd family friendly report on our war with satanic paedophiles. Be just the sort of re-set we all need given the Morrison’ government’s monumental ineptitude; a paralysis that is turning a coronavirus crisis into a catastrophe.
Not everyone’s taken in. The vaccination disaster is the worst national public policy failure in modern Australian history, rivalled only by Paul Keating’s early-1990s recession “we had to have.” ANU Historian, Professor Frank Bongiorno writes in Inside Story.
Malcolm Turnbull cuts to the chase on The Project. The inability of the federal govt to secure enough Pfizer vaccines for Oz is “an epic fail”. It is the biggest failure in public admin he can recollect.
“The vaccines were able to be got, because other countries got them. What we lacked was leadership.”
Morrison could never be accused of being a leader. Or much of a success, really. His career is filled with stunts that blow up in his face. “Crass and sickening” The Greens call his decision to rock up twenty minutes late to the Cambodian debacle – and then to break out the champagne. Toasting his Cambodian “dirty deal” with champagne would be one of the lowest points of his political trajectory if there weren’t so many rivals.
Keating observed that Peter Costello, Howard’s eternal bridesmaid, was, a low altitude flyer. Morrison claims to have heard the voice of God in a painting of an eagle. He’s a low-flyer, too. Eagles may soar but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.
As the PM’s career goes to the dogs, you are struck by a groundhog day vibe.
In a career spanning a series of election campaign failures, notes Bernard Keane, Morrison’s employment pattern is to leave or be shown the door before his contracts end. It’s a bit like serial monogamy. Coitus interruptus? Or chronic incompetence? .
Scotty’s NSW Liberal godfathers, John Howard and Bruce Baird helped Morrison become NSW Liberal Party Director and Toe-Cutter, 2000-2004. Next, “Where the Bloody Hell Are You?”, he’s Lara Bingle’s travel agent (2006). An even more hypomanic period follows where the quick change artist and protean, shape-shifter poses as a federal MP who claims to be Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Treasurer. What we have here is chronic case of delusions of grandeur.
For some time now Morrison’s been insisting that he’s PM. Julia Banks vividly recalls Morrison telling her; “Julia. I. Am. The. Prime. Minister,” Paul Bongiorno, notes that he’s made himself King of Kirribilli with more than a hint of The Castle in his claims to legitimacy, abandoning The Lodge to those of less exalted status.
Now, as Delta exposes Morrison to be a dangerous sham, it’s time for the Bronte Bogan to mimic something more presidential. The affection of a literary pet should do it. The tradition dates to 1789 when George Washington brings Polly, to his administration. While George’s parrot’s commentary is unknown, during the period between his death in and internment, in 1845, the earthy Andrew Jackson’s Poll, another African Grey, turns the air blue with obscenities.
Is it grief? Or Old Hickory’s faithful, feathered, two-legged companion’s playback, payback, panegyric? All we know for sure is that the parrot has to be removed from the premises. Reverend William Menefee Norment, who presides at Jackson’s funeral, observes that the ex-presidential parrot is, “excited by the multitude and … lets loose perfect gusts of ‘cuss words.’” People are “horrified and awed at the bird’s lack of reverence.”
Buddy Morrison has a hard act to follow. A Schnoodle is not renowned for causing shock and awe. Yet everyone is cheered by a shaggy dog story, especially when times are rough if not downright impossible. Despite Glad’s Gold Standard Clayton’s lock-down of Botany Bay, the omphalos of Oz and spiritual shopping centre of our corporate oligarchy’s universe continues to put on a brave face. Seldom does it deign to wear a mask.
There’s business class muppet, Gladys Berejiklian’s mock-down fiasco, a spectacular leadership debacle and toxic by-product of the ongoing failure of a morally and intellectually bankrupt federal government to govern, let alone lead.
A NewsCorp photograph of Gladys and her new squeeze, hot shot defo lawyer, Arthur Moses, unmasked on a morning Macciato run doesn’t augur well for the Premier. Watch out for that bus. Nor does her mentor’s disappearance bode well for Glad. RoboScomo doesn’t give an Engadine Maccas whom he pushes under a bus if it saves his own hide.
And as for all those stricken with the deadly Delta variant of Sars-Covid 19 -and all those who worry about their friends, their neighbours; their family members’ safety, especially mothers bearing the bulk of the emotional labour of parenting – and even more in an era where women are forced into insecure underpaid part-time casual work.
“I”ve just learned not to care,” Morrison tells Annabel Crabb.
“And I really don’t that much.”
It shows. Increasingly, as a pandemic rages that could so easily have been brought under control just with vaccination and a dedicated quarantine system. A plan that’s not just four, vapid, flatulent phases of evasive rhetoric.
And a government with its heart in the right place from the start. A government fit to govern. One that honours its contract with the people. Not an endless series of announcements; a cynical shitshow™ of promises to be broken.
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