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As the month of March rolls on, so does Albo

1 Whenever you think the political world has gone quiet, a bit of scratching on the surface reveals that the early frenetic pace set by the Albanese Government has kept up its earlier pace.

Having said that, politics is unquestionably quieter now than during the Coalition years when a scandal seemed to foist itself on our lives daily, but the work is just as intense. Take this month, for example. Prime Minister Albanese has already spent four days in India. He and Prime Minister Modi received rapturous applause while doing a greeting lap at the beginning of the fourth test match in the 132,000-seat stadium in Ahmedabad.

It was as much incredible public relations as it was business between the two nations.

Some call it a defining month for Albanese. But with several overs left before the close of play, he has already put a big score on the board with some big decisions. As David Speers, writing for the ABC says:

“We’re in the midst of a defining month for the Albanese prime ministership. The announcements he makes and the decisions he takes over the coming weeks will shape the Government’s fortunes and Australia’s future.

Consider the various balls being juggled right now and what’s at stake.”

In three days, he left India after seven speeches in three cities; Ahmedabad, Mumbai and New Delhi, in which he put a valuable score on the board. Over twenty-five of Australia’s top businessmen were with him, intent on investing in India’s tech boom and trade with the world’s second-highest populated nation.

 

 

Albanese is undoubtedly unafraid to take on a long inning. Trade investments, collaboration on audio-visual, co-production of films, maritime cooperation, defence, renewable energy and education, and an intention to wrap up a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement before the end of the year.

Anthony Albanese is scoring at a brisk rate, and he needs to. But he could be forgiven for having a few things on his mind besides trade and investment with India.

Then before a ball had reached the boundary, he was off to the United States to announce the purchase of new submarines with President Biden and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. As part of the Aukus pact, it will likely cost more than 100 billion dollars, with South Australia featuring in the build.

As a nation with little security, Australia must spend big on our defence to gain the military capability it will need for the decades ahead. Nuclear-powered submarines are costly, but Albanese promises to reveal the cost in the May budget. Another problem is the question of our sovereignty.

This will upset China for obvious reasons, and the Opposition will prefer something other than a British submarine design, but they look to be onside now.

Last week, the Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles made this point in Parliament:

“Australia will become just the seventh country to have the ability to operate a nuclear-powered submarine. We have never operated a military capability at this level before.”

He is correct, of course. It is a new stage of our ability to defend ourselves against would-be aggressors. For Australia to have “at least eight nuclear-powered submarines” “by the mid 2030s” gives us much food for thought, and every Australian should see our ability to defend ourselves in a new light.

The Government, of course, makes the point that there is no difference between wanting the best available defence equipment possible and wanting a better relationship with China.

Beware the ides of March (to quote Shakespeare).

Ostensibly, March is shaping up as a vital month for decisions on defence, and our economic future, with so many demands for a slice of the pie that can only take so many bites. And let’s remember the trillion dollars of debt. Then there is “The Voice” question. The working group met last week to finalise its recommendations for the wording of the question to be put to the government. It is said that Albanese will be happy with whatever they come up with.

The other matter requiring urgent attention is the plan to strengthen the “Safeguards Mechanism for big emitters.” Minister for Climate change Chris Bowen and Greens leader Adam Bandt have been at loggerheads for weeks without compromise. With a deal that needs to be finalised within three weeks if the July deadline is to be reached, it’s time for the Prime Minister to step in.

“If the legislation fails to pass, it will be far easier for a future Coalition government to undo the Safeguards changes. The chance to give investors some certainty will be lost.”

2 Malfeasance: This word and its dictionary definition are for those who say there is nothing in civil law with which public servants and politicians can be charged. I refer to Robodebt and the evilness of the Liberal Party.

a) Misconduct or wrongdoing, especially by a public official.

b) Evil-doing; the doing of that which ought not to be done; wrongful conduct, especially official misconduct; violation of public trust or obligation; specifically, the doing of an act which is positively unlawful or wrongful, in contradistinction to misfeasance, or the doing of a lawful act in a wrongful manner. The term is often inappropriately used instead of misfeasance.

c) The doing of an act which a person ought not to do; evil conduct; an illegal deed.

3 Normally, after swimming laps, my ears are inclined to block. It occurs even when flying, and it has affected me since childhood. However, my ears refused to unblock this time, and I had it for a month or so. While watching Stuart Robert give evidence at the Robodebt Royal Commission, they finally popped. “Did he say what I think he said?” I asked my wife, who happened to be watching with me. “Yes, he did,” she answered.

“Robert was asked to explain why he had repeatedly defended the program – describing the ultimately successful class action as a “political stunt” and citing statistics pointing to a tiny error rate in debts raised against individuals.

“I had a massive personal misgiving, yes, but I’m still a cabinet minister,” Robert said.

[Catherine]Holmes replied: “Yes, but it doesn’t compel you to say things that you don’t believe to be true, surely? It’s one thing to stick to the policy and say this is how we do it and we are confident in the program but to actually give statistics which you couldn’t have believed to be accurate is another thing, isn’t it?”

Robert replied, ‘As a dutiful cabinet minister, ma’am, that’s what we do.’

Commissioner Holmes replied: “Misrepresent things to the Australian public?”

How astonishing. Didn’t he know that the law required him to tell the truth? No wonder trust in Government is at such a low ebb. There was a time when ministers resigned over the simplest of immoderate acts.

Here we had a Minister openly admitting that he and his colleagues lied, as a matter of course, if cabinet solidarity was required. And saying so to a Royal Commissioner, no less.

All Prime Ministers have introduced codes of conduct to which they are expected to adhere. Stuart Robert apparently had no idea any existed.

Yet there he sits in Parliament House, displaying all the purity of a white dove when he should have been thrown out of the party by his leader but cannot because they all did it.

I will be anxiously waiting for the final Robodebt report in late June. Not for reasons of revenge, but for justice to be done.

My thought for the day

Why is it we find such compelling reasons to treat each other badly?

 

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29 comments

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  1. margcal

    With no natural enemies, we have no need to be spending mega billions on any sort of subs and handing our sovereignty to the US. We are creating an enemy of China by punching it on the nose every time the US tells us to. We are fools.

    We are also hypocrites. India is a racist country which actively persecutes its religious minorities. No call to hit them with sanctions or otherwise express our disapproval as we do of China. Double hypocrisy, in that in the case of China we are on pot.kettle.black territory.

    Safeguarding mechanism? Ha! Allowing new gas plants and the use of carbon offsets. Come in spinner! Bring on global warming!
    The only way to reduce carbon emissions is to reduce carbon emissions. Anything else is flim-flam, smoke and mirrors.

    Morrison, Robert et al are not Christians. They are successful members of a cult developed by conmen who figured they could make a lot of money by perverting the actual Christian message, offering false hope, urging desperate people to pray for what they need, while fleecing them of their dollars. The evil of RoboDebt is but an easy extension of their get-rich-quick sect. Look how successful they were! Don’t hold your breath waiting for them to pay even the smallest price.

    Albo is a great disappointment. He didn’t burst forth from victory to right Liberal wrongs. We got exactly what we saw before the election… Don’t frighten the horses. Our fault for not electing more independents.

    His efforts in the direction of undoing the worst of the Liberal agenda are helping way too little. We’ve got Liberal Lite, hardly to be desired.
    Except in the case of “defence” where he is following the unexamined Liberal play book, not a brain cell exercised on checking if this is a right, proper and reasonable course of action.

    I used to worry about my grandchildren’s future.
    Now I worry about my children.

  2. B Sullivan

    But Margcal,

    The actual Christian message IS a confidence trick. There’s no pretence about it. It requires no perverting by conmen. A confidence trick is one that depends on faith. The word confidence is derived from the Latin word for faith, fide, fidele, fidelity, Fido the faithful dog. Faith is a euphemism for ignorance. It’s worse than that, it is a rejection of knowledge in acceptance of ignorance. Faith is the culture of cancelling knowledge. Every time you hear someone going on about confidence you are being asked to accept something without knowing it is true. You are not allowed to observe the transparent working of government because of cabinet confidentiality. You are not allowed to know what dealings your government has had with private business companies because of commercial in confidence. Con man is – surprise, surprise – short for confidence man. The conmen perverters are men of faith/ignorance peddling faith/ignorance, and their tricks only work on you if you have faith/ignorance. If you can’t walk on water it is because you lack faith. Can’t move a mountain? Oh ye of little faith. If you don’t live forever it’s because you didn’t have faith in jesus. The Christian message is that everything is determined by faith, and it is wicked to seek knowledge instead of submitting to faith. How do you pervert a perversion like that?

    Apart from that I agree with much of what you say in your comment, except strictly speaking, India is culturalist, not racist. Racism is discrimination of people of a different race. Every human being on the planet belongs to exactly the same race. A fact revealed by genetic science. There simply are no other races to discriminate against. Racism is an act of faith that cannot be sustained in the light of knowledge.

  3. New England Cocky

    I agree with Margcal who has eloquently stated my case.

    Where are the policies to improve the lives of Australian voters rather than fill the pockets of American manufacturers of war materiels?

    Scummo got sucked in by the pro-US NE Military Industrial Complex and set the stage for this sell-out of Australian sovereignty. What fool would stupidly prepare for war against our biggest trading partner?? Only American arms industry shareholders looking for a quick profit at any price.

    The LIARBRAL party has few ideas and even fewer management skills despite their propaganda. I too am looking forward to the charging and conviction of these LIARBRAL disgraces masquerading as politicians and will cheer when they are sent to Manus and Nauru for the term of their natural lives.

  4. Terence Mills

    The coalition whilst boasting that AUKUS was their idea are now asking how the estimated spend of between $268 billion and $368 billion over the next 30 years will be paid for. Peter Dutton has suggested that we start pruning back on the NDIS after all why would the disabled need more money to get by. He will undoubtedly suggest that we next curtail expenditure on the unemployed, orphans and widows and anybody else who can’t fight back.

    Hey Spud ! what about the stage three tax cuts to the top end of town which are estimated will cost the budget a whopping $254 billion over 10 years. Surely Mr Dutton would agree that is a worthwhile saving ?

    Care to comment Mr Dutton ?

  5. Kerri

    In essence Stuart Robert exposed his loyalty to the party before the country and his loyalty to its people as last.
    Til the day I die I will never understand why should mobilise against an invasion from our largest trading partner instead of a country who already has troop’s stationed across our land.
    Which one looks like invasion to you?

  6. Stephengb

    Let’s assume that this replacement of thoroughly obsolete submarInes will cost $368 BILLION, that is a mere $12.2666 per year, over 30 (YES THIRTY YEARS).

    Now, let’s compare that to the above stated 3rd stage tax cuts which Terrance says will cost the annual budget a sum of $254 Billion.

    Looks to me like a very small annual cost to simply maintain our defence capability with a small, but necessary improvement in the ability of these submarines to stay on station.

    It is a fact that China has, and is intent (Xi Jingping’s own words) on a massive increase in their armed forces and in particularly their navel assets. Xi Jingping has also stated on numerous occations the he is not adverse to the invasion of Taiwan.

    Australia, has the tiniest defence capability in the Asian region.Australia has the tiniest of population and the second largest land mass, an island with the largest coastline in the whole of Asia. Even Indonesia has a huge armed force compared to Australia.

    I do not see how Australia can defend itself without the friendship of the USA andvor the UK, because let’s face reality: “Who else can we align ourselves with”.

  7. Canguro

    Ah yes, Kerri… you make a good point but, the point is, one party is invasion by stealth and deception – they look the same as us whiteys and they speak a similar language albeit they sing from a different songbook and march to the beat of a different drum, whereas although the other is our largest trading partner, they look and speak different and it’s therefore easier to let the reptilian brain act as the gate guard and assume they’re the more dangerous of the two, a fatal assumption.

    I’ve had the privilege of visiting both countries and traveling widely within them, and notwithstanding individual acts of kindness and generosity experienced within both, I’m very clear about which one I’d prefer to spend time in, even if the communication with the locals is a bit more challenging.

    And a quick note to Stephengb; while we’re playing the game of ‘let’s assume,’ how is it that all of a sudden the talk around town seems to be predicated on the assumption that somehow or other Australia is under some sort of projected threat from China? As far as I know, the PRC have never uttered any sort of explicit let alone implicit threat or comment about any designs on this country, yet the fevered imaginations of so-called experts (has-beens and drips under pressure) have now seemingly been seen to be the words of oracles and taken up by the MSM and the chatterati to imply that sooner or later we’re going to have to defend ourselves against the might of the Yellow Hordes from the north. It’s beyond ludicrous and is, sadly, tellingly so as to the extent of the ignorance that is allowed to dominate public discourse.

    And as to China ‘invading’ Taiwan, a bit of a history refresher never goes astray, as Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa, has had a close relations with mainland China for many centuries, close to a thousand years, has been subject to rule by Chinese dynasties, and in the modern & more recent context was occupied by the defeated Nationalists after their loss on the Chinese civil war in the mid-20th C, after they looted the Chinese treasury and fled to that island. The term ‘invasion’ is a very emotive word and deliberately used by the USA to maintain the pretence of the Taiwanese being a separate people. They’re not, they’re simply Chinese who lost the battle to control the mainland.

  8. Stephengb

    Terence,
    Correct, $254B over ten years, yes that changes the impact of my point quite a bit.

    But the point can still be made because $245B over ten years is still a hell of alot more than $368B, in fact $762B.

    In addition $12.26666B per year is not a huge sum ?

  9. Terence Mills

    Stephen

    I agree.

    The issue will all be about the stage three tax cuts. These cost $254 billion over the coming decade; AUKUS costs $58 billion over the same ten year period. The implication is obvious – Labor could fund AUKUS by amending the tax cuts, most likely by eliminating the benefits for the wealthiest workers – but Labor do not need to scrap the cuts entirely to pay for AUKUS.

    It’s a win win !

  10. leefe

    Terrence:

    “Peter Dutton has suggested that we start pruning back on the NDIS”

    Well, that’s Duttolini to a T – he’d rather kill people than help them.

    I am so disappointed with Albanese, Wong, Marles and the ALP over this business. They’ve become nothing more than lapdogs for the Pentagon hawks, and that puts us right in the firing line. The US is doing everything it can to promote conflicit with China and they only want us in there to act as cannon fodder and a closer target.

  11. margcal

    B Sullivan … Eff off!

  12. margcal

    Thank you, NEC.

    And Leefe: … Albanese, Wong, Marles and the ALP … They’ve become nothing more than lapdogs for the Pentagon hawks, and that puts us right in the firing line. The US is doing everything it can to promote conflicit with China and they only want us in there to act as cannon fodder and a closer target.

    Sums up all you need to know, really.

    Stephengb, I suggest you head over to Pearls and Irritations ….. Many excellent, authoritative articles on why Labor’s chosen path, not mine, is such a bad idea.

  13. Canguro

    I have just sent a letter to the NSW ALP, resigning my membership.

    ‘Please note that on the back of the Federal ALP committing to the purchase of nuclear-powered submarines for the astonishing projected cost of A$368 billion, I herewith resign my membership of the NSW ALP. I am disgusted that this decision has been made, that the current federal government has joined in a lockstep dance with the USA towards a more aggressive confrontation with our major trading partner, that such a major commitment towards military expenditure will come at the forfeiture of a raft of social programs that could have improved the quality of life for all Australians in areas such as health, housing, education, employment, environment, future-proofing against climate change and more.’

    ‘It is extremely disappointing that this political party, traditionally one that directs its policies and support towards the ‘average Australian’, seems to have jettisoned its traditional roots and jumped into bed with the USA, a nation with a long history of aggressive and questionable military offensives against other countries for its own political and commercial reasons, and this recent decision has pushed me to this action, given I now see that this party and my interests no longer coincide.’

    ‘I have been a lifelong voter for the ALP and have always believed that they represented the best choice for the average Australian voter, but will in future direct my vote towards alternative candidates.’

    ‘I look forward to your acknowledgement of this notification, and would also like confirmation that I have been removed from the list of registered members and that any ongoing donations that I formerly subscribed to have been deactivated.’

    Regards, [Canguro]

  14. margcal

    Thank you, Canguro. I wonder how many others will do the same. (I’ve never been so enamoured of any party that I’ve ever joined.)

    I can’t help but think that Albanese has just thrown away his huge lead in the electoral stakes, also making life harder for the independents. I can see all those disaffected Liberals returning from whence they came, even if they do have to stomach Dutton. And much more encouraging for Josh (puke!) than the Rugg court case.

  15. leefe

    margcal:

    It’s not like the LNP’s poliicies, attitudes or actions will be any better. They started the anti-China bullshit here, after all.

  16. margcal

    leefe, one of my complaints is that it is 100% the Liberal playbook being put into action.

    It’s anyone’s guess where the disenchanted Labor vote will go. But in Kooyong, if they’re getting Liberal policies, those Liberal voters who strayed to independent in 2022 will probably go back ‘home’.

    It does depend on what happens in the next 18 months or so, but at this stage I really can see an “interesting” election in 2025. Perhaps the development, or not, of an anti-war movement will be telling.

  17. New England Cocky

    Uhm ….. would somebody be so kind as to explain to me how spending this enormous amount of Australian money on a few submarines, that can/will be wiped out by a few sub-seeking drones, does anything to ease the homelessness in fire and drought affected regions of Australia? Or create jobs lost when the Toxic RAbbott wiped out the automobile assembly industry employing about 200,000 skilled and semi-skilled manufacturing jobs?

  18. Jack sprat

    Australia politicians on both sides of politics cannot cast off their Anglo colonial mentality, they leave it to Britain and the USA to dictate our foreign policy. Australia’s nuclear sub purchases is a ruse to base British and US nuclear armed subs in Australia The govt has already conceded this stating that in the interim of the purchased subs arriving in the distance future bases will be built to accommodate UK and USA nuclear Subs. Our polys have given away our sovereignty and ceded our right to neutrality should the US go to war with China. Statistically non aligned countries have far fewer wars than those in alliances.

  19. Phil Pryor

    What is a Dutton..? Is it a shit coated turd deep fried in excrement to catch the unwary hungry political consumer? Is it the next Queensland sensation to follow on from prickly pear, cane toads and the red haired broom jockey? Dutton would slice and shave human directed welfare and support, for buying a Huge Target, soon to be easily discovered as the oceans give up ancient natural concealment. Many a sub has disappeared with total loss of crew, often a mystery. And, can a sub shoot down Cruise missiles and ICBM’s which may one day obliterate and atomise this land, IF WE ARE stuipid enough to give in to warmongering lies??

  20. wam

    our values are labor values but albo et al values are tempered by reality and consequence. Scummo made AUKUS, although a cost prohibitive waste, impossible to ignore. why $8b for WA? Iy will take 3 weeks to reach the Pacific??
    ps
    the bible has the answer to your thought, lord.
    Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12; but do it first.

  21. Terence Mills

    On submarines I’ll say this.

    The three Virginia class units with some new hatch seals , a set of gaskets and a lick of paint – no worries !

    As regards the UK units, yet to be designed or costed, I think we may need to be cautious as these will be prototypes, completely untested in design or performance and even with a good wind (current?) behind them the first one won’t hit the water until 2040 and it seems that Australia will be paying for a large slab of the developmental costs of what will be called SSN-AUKUS.

    These units will rely on US technology and be built in Britain and Australia to a British design : I have a fair bit of cynicism about the value of this project and the operable viability of submarines generally as the future of war and defence changes with advances in technology. Do we really want to be loading up a nuclear powered steel tube with a couple of hundred mariners for lengthy periods of service underwater only to have them rubbed out by an unmanned underwater drone delivering a king hit ?

  22. wam

    spot on dance of the cuckoos.
    when scummo made the announcement for AUKUS I thought U SUKA
    Albo has nowhere to go so keating is right in his assessment but he should shut up.

  23. Caz

    I’m with Paul Keating on this. Collins Class type subs protecting our coastline is a good defence plan. Three nuclear subs supporting the US is us doing their bidding. We are not Britain’s or America’s lackeys, but that is how they treat us. A pat on the head and send us off to help bail out their economies. We are so unimportant that they ignore our requests for Julian Assange to be set free.

  24. Clakka

    Indeed Caz.

    Albo grease hasn’t seemed to work there – how convenient.

    As for Xi’s response to AUKUS, “We will build a ring of steel”, (is this code) will it be getting its iron ore from Oz?

    The high cost of nuke-tech and ballistics is so old school – it’s a bs charade to extract chauvinism, nationalism and taxes from mugs to provide a diorama, a shadow-play, for the otherwise inert tinmen become bling-suited mannequins. All concealing mind$/tech$ experiments.

    The real wars are waged in banking and cyberspace, where Scummo/Dutto grease nor Albo grease is of consequence.

  25. GL

    One rabid right wing religious nut job with eight kids and, no doubt, still counting, complains and the censors almost fall over themselves to not upset the effing little creep.

    https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/censor-to-assess-gender-queer-graphic-memoir-after-activist-s-complaint-20230316-p5csvy.html

    “This is an important step in having this obscene book removed from libraries and, hopefully, completely banned in Australia,” he wrote.”

    What is oscene is the fact that this vile self appointed moral policeman can dictate…ah, screw it…he’s a fucking horrible little man!

  26. andy56

    you know, i am soon going to go all Trump on this mob. If labor keep caving in to the fossil fuel industry, i may just vote for one nation. They are as fucked as anyone else.
    I can now see the appeal of a trump, screw the system so hard that there is no return.

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