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All aboard the gravy train

Before Tim Wilson was gifted the high-paying job as a Human Rights Commissioner, he hadn’t really worked unless you count “media whore” for the IPA. Sure, he had done a few courses and been on a few committees, but actual experience (or expertise) at anything was zero.

What was even more bizarre was the fact that, until he was handed a job he hadn’t even applied for (because it didn’t exist), he had been strident in his calls for the HRC to be abolished. All six of Wilson’s fellow commissioners gained their positions after expressions of interest were called for in the Commonwealth Government Gazettes. Wilson says “George” simply rang him and “asked if I was interested”.

The haste with which the conservative free marketeer dumped his Liberal Party membership and grabbed his taxpayer funded position was unseemly.

He then set about making good use of whatever perks were available to him, racking up $77,763 in expenses in his first year on the job. These were in addition to his $332,000 salary package and $40,000 accommodation allowance.

Wilson’s campaigns over the years have been less than impressive.

He fought against plain packaging of cigarettes saying the trademarks were intellectual property and the tobacco companies would have to be compensated to the tune of $3 billion per year.

In 2012 Wilson was prolific in his writing against a carbon tax:

“Australia’s climate leadership will saddle us with the world’s largest carbon tax, without any long-term advantages, while our competitors get a free ride on our efforts.

Like traditional protectionism, the carbon tax will create a constituency of rent-seekers who will fight to protect their interests. Abbott will face a backlash from renewable energy companies claiming that repealing the tax will result in lost investment and jobs. Technically they’ll be right that their business will be harmed. But it will require them to ignore that disproportionately more investment and jobs would flow if the scheme were scrapped.”

As Freedom Commissioner, and no doubt to help his friend and benefactor George Brandis, Wilson championed the repeal of Section 18C of the racial discrimination act, a cause that not only failed but one that seemed completely at odds with his new job. He was loud in his defence of the rights of bigots but embarrassingly silent about the rights of children in detention when his boss, Gillian Triggs, was under fire from his dear friend George.

Our Freedom Commissioner had a go at a religious freedom seminar but caused more angst than he solved by failing to invite the Muslim community to participate. Then off he flew to Israel and Palestine on a trip that showed the ineptitude of the delegation when the Palestinian Education Minister complained they were rude and ill-educated.

Wilson’s friends describe him as ambitious, with a dizzying sense of his own destiny – very status-conscious and interested in how much people earn, a self-promoting name-dropper.

In early 2014 in an interview with the SMH, a close friend said, “He wants to be a Liberal Party senator, that’s his goal,” and lo and behold, we now hear he is being strongly encouraged by party faithful to put his hat into the ring for Senator Michael Ronaldson’s vacant position.

As he gave up his Liberal Party membership to take up the current sinecure, this is unlikely, with the position to possibly be gifted to his IPA colleague James Paterson. Some believe he has his eye on the Melbourne seat of Goldstein, currently held by Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

Wilson is very much into self-promotion and shameless about the tactics he uses as revealed in this interview he gave in 2014:

He became heavily involved with student politics, eventually becoming president of the Student Union in 2001, thanks in part to his talent for favour-trading – plying opponents with “a whole bunch of delegateships” in return for their support. He also had “this really clever little trick”, using a digital camera, “which very few people had back then”, to take photos of himself at university club functions, several of which he would attend in a single night. He would then send the photos to the club magazines the next morning. “They didn’t have any photos, certainly not that immediately. So they’d run them, and of course I was in half of them, and it made me look as if I was the centre of everything.”

One look at his Twitter account reveals he is still using the same tactics but now it is us footing the bill for him to fly around having his photo taken, accompanied by his partner, staying in good hotels and dining in good restaurants.

After listening to his endless assault popping up everywhere in the media, the only thing that distinguishes Tim Wilson’s words is the smirking certainty with which they are delivered. This is a man determined to secure his position on the gravy train despite displaying no talent whatsoever.


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  1. keerti

    With all the free travel and good hotels bronnie is probably green! Wait. They could swap!

  2. Douglas Evans

    Absolutely spot on. Wilson has risen to his current position by promoting his willingness to sing as loudly as possible whatever song his powerful but venal supporters require. KLs accurate description of Wilson as a talent free, free-loading, shameless self promoter applies equally to his chums still at the IPA. Chris Berg, John Roskam and James Paterson all of whom aspire to a place on the conservative gravy train. That all are well positioned to get what they want speaks volumes for the values and qualities of the political right.

  3. Kaye Lee

    The fact that Wilson thinks a cigarette packet is intellectual property worth suing over shows the level of his thinking. He is the archetypal aging Young Liberal repeating stock standard phrases with no depth of understanding and he has an inflated self-belief (like someone else we know) which hinders any attempts at informed discussion. He knows the argument he is to promote and facts to the contrary are irrelevant. Wise people ask questions. Puppets deliver scripts.

  4. Keith

    With his view about plain packaging for cigarettes, he clearly promotes killing people slowly is ok.

  5. Kaye Lee

    I forgot to mention that Wilson also has a “reunion allowance’’ of $16,800.

    And on plain packaging….

    When, in 2010, the federal government flagged its intention to introduce plain packaging, the IPA (whose financial backers include British American Tobacco) went into overdrive, deriding it as nanny state paternalism. Wilson, in particular, warned of the legal Armageddon that would descend on any government that attempted to implement the measure, insisting that Australian taxpayers would have to pay the tobacco industry $3 billion a year in compensation. But when the case went to the High Court in 2012, the tobacco companies lost 6-1.

    “Wilson’s understanding of that issue was almost infantile,” says Simon Chapman, professor of public health at Sydney University. “And yet here he was, venturing a hugely confident opinion that the government would lose.” Chapman says Wilson’s performance on this issue “would have embarrassed an ordinary person into early retirement”.

    According to Chapman, Wilson is “just a cocksure errand boy for big business”. Taken to its natural conclusion, Chapman says, Wilson’s libertarian outlook tends towards “social Darwinism, where the more privileged and educated people survive, and to hell with all the rest”.

    When I mention Chapman’s name, Wilson visibly stiffens. “I have to respect someone to care what they think.”

    But would Wilson concede he was wrong on plain packaging? “No.”

    “Have you ever been wrong on anything?” I ask.

    “I’m sure there have been things,” he says. “But I can’t think of them right now.”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/tim-wilson-freedom-fighter-20140216-32umq.html#ixzz3uo7THz9C

  6. Douglas Pye

    Indeed, Kaye ! ….in line with the old adage that says … ” … a picture tells a thousand words … ” even a glance at his posed for pic above, speaks volumes ! … .. a closer look and it reeks of Ego !! …. and that’s before we deal with the ( closed ) arms folded stance ! …. ‘nuf sed ?! …

  7. Kaye Lee

    And the framing of the picture shooting from below and no reference points to make him look taller. I once heard him asked if he had any regrets, if he would change anything…he said “I wish I was taller.” What a self-absorbed inane thing to say.

  8. denis crowther

    He has friends??

    What sort of people would admit to that?

  9. Terry2

    All this and he doesn’t seem to have a clear job description. How do we – his employers – evaluate what he has actually achieved ?

    It appears that he was put there to undermine Gillian Triggs until he could springboard into conservative politics .

    As a gay man I am surprised at how silent he has been on marriage equality, why is that ?

  10. Kaye Lee

    “Securing a definitive and final recognition of marriage for same-sex couples requires giving the Parliament and MPs the breathing room to consider and approve a bill that crosses party lines…..The importance of calmly getting the law right is more important than speed.”

    What’s so hard I ask our ‘defacto’ Commissioner for LGBTI rights? After all, you held “dozens of meetings with 70 organisations across Australia from Fitzroy Crossing to Hobart.”

    Or are you just too scared to rock the Conservative boat (read vote)? Put it off till after the election and pretend you are giving your base a say, who cares about wasting $160 million or so.

  11. Ruth L

    Thank you KL.
    Richard Ackland’s weekly column in The Saturday Paper also paints Wonder Boy Wilson in all his ‘self perceived’ glory.

  12. Jeanette

    TINY Tim Wilson, there you have it in one. Small man syndrome. One can only hope for the old saying…how the mighty (perceived) fall.

  13. Mark Needham

    Take a break and have a nice Christmas with the Family, Kaye Lee. The world is full of us arse%les.
    You do need to take a rest, from the bastardry of it all.

    Skimmers and Scammers will still be there, when you come back. The foibles of others will slowly poison both your heart and brain and at the end of the day you will,
    a. not have changed any ones mindset from grub to human being.
    b. made any difference.
    c. made you really feel any better.
    d. the mongrels do not matter.

    Fortunately the tide will turn one day, Labour will get back in, and the “snouts in trough” will be ended for ever and ever. Gone will be the days of rhetoric, theft, bastardry, misogyny, mediocrity and waste.
    Let the good times roll, Hey!
    In Peace,
    Mark Needham

  14. Bronte ALLAN

    Thanks for the information on this bloke! I wondered who he was & how he got his “position”. Sadly, because he is just another loud mouth, conservative would be politician who,like the rest of his mob, probably still thinks he Earth is flat, supports everything his “great/dear leader”, Malcolm Talkbull says etc! i like his new title, “Wonder boy Wilson”. And he short, poor lamb! Like that really matters in the grand scheme of things!

  15. brickbob

    Thanks for a good read on this man. I often hear him being interviewed on ABC radio and television,and they treat him like he is some giant intellect and forward thinker,a man sought out for his wise council, as for me i cant stand the obnoxious little prick’

    He is the typical right wing hypocrite,defending free markets and small Government,raving on how taxpayers money should be spent and not wasted while at the same time shoving his self entitled snout into the tax payer trough and grabbing every cent he can to maintain his own privileged extravagant life style,and as a gay man he should be speaking out a lot more than he does in support of gay and lesbian rights.
    Yes, i would describe him as a self promoting born to rule snought in the public trough hypocrite.

  16. Garth

    Has Tim actually done anything of value for the people of Australia in his role as ‘Freedom Commissioner’? That’s a serious question… after almost 2 years in the job I can’t find anything of note.

  17. kerri

    Great work Kaye Lee.

  18. Graham Parton

    Another brilliant article from Kaye, mind you writing about Wilson is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. He has no redeeming features.

  19. Mercurial

    If those claims around Wilson’s appointment are correct, then due process has not been followed. I’m sure there would be an appeal or grievance process that could be followed by a potential candidate for the position, on the grounds that the appointment was not based on merit (at leas there is no evidence of that). But as I’ve posted elsewhere, conservatives don’t seem to care much about evidence. Emotions are much more important to them. Emotions like fear. And greed.

  20. Loz

    Just another Liberal feeding off the taxpayers money. He is just a waste of space,

  21. Geoffrey England

    Having porked it up in the last couple of years or so speaks to his gravy being rich and calorific indeed. Another overfed right wing trough surfer let loose on the public teat, to feed till engorged.

  22. Sunday

    Tim reminds of the character Commodus from the 2000 movie Gladiator with Russell Crowe. I think Tim is even more vengeful and evil and feels more entitled than Commodus.

  23. kerri

    Mercurial, it may be legal for an Attorney General to “co-opt” or “appoint” a person he believes has merit??
    I am not sure about that but there are roles in Government instituitions that alllow “appointments”.

  24. Mercurial

    Thanks kerri. If what John writes is correct, then it seems a little odd that Wilson’s appointment would be done by a different method from the other commissioners.

    But then Freedom Boy is special, isn’t he?

  25. Tinfoilhatter

    Speaking of Pyne, Bishop & Wilson, the Palestinian Education Minister called the group “rude” and said they had “false
    information” and were “not well educated”…

    Oh, the shame(lessness), the shame(lessness)…

  26. vivienne29

    Tim bloody Wilson did many TV Drum gigs – they always have one from the Right and it seemed that the source was always the IPA who sent the spokesperson. He was always full of drivel then. Tragically those very appearances gave birth to more appearances elsewhere (Q & A). The ABC are to blame for Wilson’s ghastly elevation and all because they had to present bloody balance.

  27. Emmie

    Am I the only one who thinks that he is very like James Ashby, they both seem to share the “look at me” genes. Additionally they both seem to think that they are important in the scheme of things, lol. Just a pair of LNP stooges doing the bidding of those who think they are born to rule.

  28. lawrencewinder

    Nice KL. Timmy,”Twat -Freedom Man” Wilson’s ambitions are in inverse proportion to his talents. His utterances border on the infantile and the Kafka-esque ludicrousness of his appointment by “Bookshelves” Brandis is only demonstrated each time he grandiloquently shrills another pearl of wisdom.
    He was going to be offered a stint with a radio program at the ABC before he was offered his bludge in Canberra and it’s also worth noting Trigg’s response to a question about him. “He seems a nice boy and he’s learning.”

  29. townsvilleblog

    The LNP always look after their mates on “our” money, it is ours because as we discovered last week 579 big businesses don’t pay a jot of taxation to contribute to our nation. All tories believe that they and only they are “entitled” to these benefits. The rest of us either work 2 jobs simultaneously or live below the poverty line there is no freedom if you don’t have the purchasing power to buy anything other than your food.

  30. kerri

    Mercurial I have been trying to read the government blurb on the appointment process. Blurb is the ooerative word and I am yet to see anything referring to appointment without committee/board/council approval and without job advertising and application procedures?? You may be right? This could be an abuse of process by Brandis (and who would be surprised by that?) We definitely need a Royal Commission into abuse of process by The Abbott/Turnbull Governments.

    And Tinfoilhatter doesn’t that just add to our reputation? Not to mention our climate denial being 3rd only to Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan???

  31. kerri

    Emmie you need to read Ross Jones book Ashbygate! The things Ashby has gotten up to in his life pre Slipper. Constantly hounding those more powerful with offers of “dirt” on their adversaries! He has been a corrupt little bicth from day one!
    His life has been one of many changes of both job and address/state. His appeal as a poor little gullible staffer bludgeoned by Slipper’s sexual obsessions and manipulated by the Machiavellian Brough, Roy, Pyne seems at odds with many events in his life prior to Ashbygate. Another Royal Commission I hope?

  32. paul walter

    Aspergers..feel sorry for the poor creature.

  33. Mercurial

    Thanks again kerri. If I thought there was a chance of success I’d back such a claim. Unfortunately, the current government doesn’t seem to give a flying fig about due process, and actively resist any attempts to bring them to heel.

  34. king1394

    The dizzying ease of getting a top job leads people like Tim under the impression that high wages and pleasant work are something anyone can have. Explains why the phrase go get a job springs so readily to the lips of such people

  35. Michael

    What can one say – someone to look up to – a perfect example of a lifter extraordinaire …. now if we all did the same what a world it would be .. whatever happened to the honours?

  36. margcal

    Tim Wilson is different to other Liberals ….. how, exactly?
    My local members [Josh Frydenberg, Kooyong, Fed.; Tim Smith, Kew, State (VIC)] are cases in point – both career politicians, not interested in the local electorate except as a backdrop to photo ops and anything else that might advance their careers. Anything they do that betters the community (can’t think of anything TBH) is purely accidental.

  37. Kaye Lee

    Mark Needham,

    Thanks for your concern but I am having a lovely time with my friends and family as always.

    “The foibles of others will slowly poison both your heart and brain”

    Only the people who are important to me can truly affect me. Luckily I am surrounded by wonderful people who make me laugh. As for me changing minds or making a difference, I don’t think that is what I am trying to do. I am a teacher at heart. I like to present information. I certainly agree that I let more of my opinion creep in than I ever did teaching but the intent is the same. I want people to ask questions. I want people to check the credibility of their sources. I want them to be presented with factual information rather than cherry-picked misinformation.

    I have no affiliation with any party and I really couldn’t give a toss who does the right thing…I just wish someone would. I only started doing this because I hate being lied to. I do have strong feelings about the social contract and I feel the people are being betrayed. But it doesn’t keep me up at nights or at a computer all day. I pop in and say my piece as I wander about which actually DOES make me feel better.

    We got rid of Tony Abbott, with a great deal of help from the man himself. That alone makes me smile 🙂

    Merry Christmas Mark and always remember, you know less about me and my life than you know about politics 😉

  38. Matters Not

    despite displaying no talent whatsoever … KLs accurate description of Wilson as a talent free, free-loading, shameless self promoter applies equally to his chums still at the IPA. Chris Berg, John Roskam and James Paterson …

    Not sure about that. I think they all have solid intellectual abilities.

    While I disagree strongly with the ‘world view’, including attitudes, values and the like, as espoused by the IPA mob, I don’t think their ‘intellects’ are their weaknesses. They lack compassion, sympathy, feeling, empathy, understanding, care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, tender-heartedness, warmth, love, mercy, tolerance, consideration, kindness, humanity, charity, benevolence and the like.

    They make ‘assumptions which are very different to mine and develop their arguments accordingly. Take Ayn Rand (a high priestess) as an example of their ‘world view’:

    Ayn Rand rejects altruism, the view that self-sacrifice is the moral ideal. She argues that the ultimate moral value, for each human individual, is his or her own well-being. Since selfishness is serious, rational, principled concern with one’s own well-being, it turns out to be a prerequisite for the attainment of the ultimate moral value. For this reason, Rand believes that selfishness is a virtue

    Not dumb but also not ‘nice’. Only help when it’s in their perceived interest to so do.

    Could provide a long list of Titles but choose not to because I want the world to be a better place.

  39. terry

    thank god u noticed, thought I was the only one, fair dinkum human rights ,he is so full of it ,should be investigated his a rorter for sure :]

  40. Wayne Turner

    I use to do walk around the city deliveries,this past year. I would see Tim WIlson bludging in coffee shops for ages,and having long lunches. All at our expense I bet. Often alone or with his buddy Brandis.

    Tim Wilson = LEANER.

  41. Kaye Lee

    What’s the bet that it is Brandis encouraging Timmy to come play at his House.

  42. Matters Not

    it is Brandis encouraging Timmy to come play at his House.

    Perhaps? Or maybe he was reminding the ‘freedom boy’ as to his ‘non marital’ status as he did re Gillard and his/her absence of ‘offspring’.

    Brandis suggested that as Ms Gillard did not have children, she did not have the understanding to comment on the issue of pre-marital sex

    George only opens his mouth to change feet. Or perhaps other appendages?

  43. pappinbarafox

    The sacking of Disability Commissioner Graeme Innes must be one of the most appalling acts of this government in the time they have been in office.

  44. Kaye Lee

    In the Australian Human Rights Commission Act it clearly states under 8B Human Rights Commissioner:

    ” A person is not qualified to be appointed as the Human Rights Commissioner unless the Minister is satisfied that the person has appropriate qualifications, knowledge or experience.”

    To my mind that excludes Tim Wilson.


  45. Terry2


    Yes, the treatment of Graeme Innes was appalling but was just one of many such acts by the ‘Abbott’ regime which hopefully is now behind us.

    I think the act that most appalled me and that I found ominous was the ban on coalition Ministers from appearing on the ABC’s Q&A : not a major event in the scheme of things but in the context of freedom of speech and our democracy I saw this as the act of a fascist state. You may recall Barnaby Joyce our Minister for Agriculture was to appear and even as late as the the Sunday before – on Insiders – he stated categorically that he would appear but then evidently he got a phone call and was obliged to dropout.

  46. Kaye Lee

    I enjoyed the Coalition ban on Q&A. The conversation was far more interesting. One can only listen to repeated slogans for so long.

  47. Roswell

    Q&A was much better without Pyne’s smug face and smart arse remarks.

    Actually, everything’s better without Pyne’s smug face showing up: Breakfast, going shopping, going to a restaurant, travelling, life.

  48. Di's friend

    But he told me he wanted to be Australia’s first gay Prime Minister. I don’t recall any mention of being a senator.

  49. Emmie

    Kerri – I am a member of the Ashbygate Trust and have purchased and read Ross Jones’ book. I wish more people would read the book or at least the articles on Independant Australia but unless the MSM get on board and start writing the truth about the matter the LNP will not be held to account for their role in the matter.

  50. Geoffrey England

    He’s a smug little prick, literally and figuratively speaking…..the “little prick” part that is.

  51. Pingback: All aboard the gravy train – » The Australian Independent Media Network | olddogthoughts

  52. silkworm

    “But when the case went to the High Court in 2012, the tobacco companies lost 6-1.”

    IIRC, the dissenting view was Dyson Heydon!

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