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John has a strong interest in politics, especially the workings of a progressive democracy, together with social justice and the common good. He holds a Diploma in Fine Arts and enjoys portraiture, composing music, and writing poetry and short stories. He is also a keen amateur actor. Before retirement John ran his own advertising marketing business.

They will blame the pandemic for nine years of doing nothing, except for submarines

Come the next election, it’s a fair bet that Scott Morrison will use the pandemic as the reason he and his Coalition partner have been unable to deliver on anything or appropriately act on many unfinished reports, too numerous to mention. Such as how much the Prime Minister knew about Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations. Too busy on COVID will be the shrill word of the next campaign.

However, the Prime Minister and his government haven’t been too busy to play war games with the good old USA. In typical Coalition fashion, they have ditched an agreement with France to build submarines for our defence while at the same time destroying our international trust and reputation on matters of security. We have now dudded both Japan and France. Shameful on many levels.

It seems we have been leading France on for some time by disclosing nothing – the cost is around $2 billion dollars plus. They know how to waste a dollar or two, this mob.

The Prime Minister made his announcement with the usual scarcity of information. No detail, no costings. Not even some twaddle in the fine print to haggle over. It was all impressively incompetent diplomacy.

The decision’s intent is for Australia to plug a hole in America’s defence of the Pacific forty years down the track. And with nuclear technology supplied by the US and England.

We have to ask ourselves why we need to be in the pocket of the Yanks all the time when they don’t give us any guarantee or protection. They will always do what is in the best interests of America. And all we do is insult China, pretending we are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the US and the UK when it comes to military matters.

Then, after insulting our largest trading partner to the point of burying the word diplomacy, we pronounce them an existential threat?

Global warming is also an existential threat that requires global action, so why isn’t the Coalition spending with equal enthusiasm on this pending disaster.

As Katherine Murphy wrote in last Saturday’s edition of The Guardian.

” … a problem just as visible as the militarisation of the South China Sea – Australia can promise nothing unless Barnaby Joyce gets a spreadsheet identifying the precise costs of the transition for the average worker in Muswellbrook, and graciously grants his permission?

I mean, seriously. What a crock.”

All this is for a nation that seems to be perpetually at war with someone and who perceives China to be a threat to everyone’s security at the same time as climate change is readying itself for an event worse than war. An event that will require us to save ourselves from the emerging fires, drawn-out droughts, famines, conflicts over water and a refugee problem ten times worse than the one we have now.

I wish our government were as smart on these matters as they pretend to be at beating the drums of war.

The peoples of all the world nations increasingly seem to be having less to say about their destiny.

So, in forty years, we will have built some nuclear-powered submarines to be used against China at a time when we will all be fighting to save the planet from overheating.

I hope I don’t sound flippant, but it doesn’t make much sense to me. I have always thought that men have never really grown up. Oh, and it is said that the subs will become obsolete when we have finished fighting.

I don’t know about you, but I think the Prime Minister is just trying to frighten people. At least those who will be alive in 40 years.

I asked my Facebook friend John Amadio, who is generally on top of these matters, just what he thought. He answered:

“Unless, of course, it’s a play to the domestic political scene to divert attention away from Morrison and paint another ‘boogie man’ such as terrorism or asylum seekers.

Maybe it’s to instil some good old fear into the general public so that the government can project and ‘look strong’ on protecting Australia.

And, of course, wedge the ALP into a corner. I think it is a shameless political stunt to hang onto power but also potentially a dangerous one. It’s not a significant step from being nuclear powered to nuclear-armed.”

History is just an ongoing commentary on the incompetence of men.

In my state of insinuation, some things become abundantly clear to me:

  • That we have pissed off China.
  • That we have angered the French.
  • That we have wasted a few billion dollars of taxpayers money.
  • We have now dudded both Japan and France who has withdrawn its ambassador.
  • Paul Keating was so upset he couldn’t tell the time on one of his French clocks.
  • And the Greens were nonplussed.
  • ANU strategic policy expert Hugh White and independent senator/former Navy submariner has called it a “new Cold War.”
  • Rex Patrick raised questions that should have occurred to Morrison.
  • News Corp commentators had little hesitation in describing the decision as a “historic defence of democracy.” One that will be well regarded by history.

Never bullshit to an older man with a good memory.

We may very well now face a khaki election where the focus is on who has the best security policy to protect the people from external threats, real or perceived.

Three certainties arise from this poorly thought-through decision.

The first is that the Coalition will dust off all their very best scare campaigns and attack Labor like the crazed do-nothing party they are.

The second is that it will see over 40 years many changes, reviews, and updates because it is so poorly thought through. And as is the reality in builds of this nature, you can add another ten years onto the completion date. And of course, the time lost already. What a stuff up.

Thirdly, trust in Australia will be significantly diminished as a global citizen.

And, of course, the language of diplomacy will have been lost.

My thought for the day

Will we ever grow intellectually to the point where we can discern, understand and act on those matters that seek the good within us?

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Which major political party is more qualified to embrace urgent change?

Tom Tesoro writing on Facebook, said:

“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.”

I hesitate to say that Australia has a fascist Government only because it has so many entities. However, there is some form of it in Australia’s governance.

The way countries are currently being governed or taken over, for that matter, one couldn’t but agree that nationalism, dictatorship or a mode of fascism is prevalent.

That Australia needs a change in government is becoming more apparent by the day. The current one has all the ingredients of a recipe for disaster – corruption, dictatorship, secrecy; if it governs for much longer, and should it win another term, I fear change might become less likely over time.

Indeed, if Morrison and his corrupt band of Ministers win the next election, they will become emboldened to shift the balance of power further to the far right.

If we acknowledge that we live in a world that is more complex, more scientifically advanced than at any other time in the history of the world, it then brings on a moral and ethical dilemma that we are at a loss to explain or cope with.

Socialism comprehends empathy; conservatism and its partner capitalism do not.

Change can be so rapid that we can barely keep up with all its complexities. It is often ahead of the game, sometimes disregarding opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making, with Its own inevitability.

Older people have not coped well with it and still think the right will prevent it or slow it down, but all manner of things are being changed to the right’s advantage.

Whereas the young have grown up with technological change and are disadvantaged with a lack of political education. The old fight to remain in a world of sameness and never see other ways of doing things. It is a conservative value. The young see change as a process; the old see it as an unwanted intrusion on their conservative principles.

They dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can permanently be made to feel secure. Yet change is, in fact, part of the very fabric of our existence.

There is not an area of our existence that has not been dramatically changed by technology. Medicine, weaponry, communications, education, economics and many others.

The Internet has changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people. It is rapidly changing how 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 successfully embrace multiculturalism but are consistently incapable of accepting change because Nationalism clouds many eyes.

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

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

Political change is everywhere – Brexit, the last British election result, and the Australian election result reflected dissatisfaction with traditional politics. The emergence of Trump and the resurgence of extremism in France, Brazil, political insurgency in the Middle East is evidence of global political change everywhere.

It is interesting how Australia, or more importantly, our politicians, has adapted to a transforming world where those on the left find difficulty understanding why the world has so empathetically turned to the right. But those on the “extreme” right have not only understood but implemented it. They have all but taken our democracy from us. All we have left is the power to dismiss them, but we are reluctant to do so.

The indoctrination of society began under Ronald Reagan and Margret Thatcher.

Rapid change brings with it the need for new rules and regulations that question traditional values and concepts. People accept those changes that benefit them but don’t like the necessity for regulation that often comes with it. Yet, they continue to vote for the extremity of the right in believing that things might be better for them. However, the truth is that the right are the ones less likely to do anything for them.

If nothing else they are very skilled at political propaganda.

So, I ask myself; which major political party is more qualified to embrace urgent change, implement it and legislate it for the common good?

Before answering that, firstly, let us appraise the ideological political philosophy of the left and right in Australia to appreciate what they stand for.

What is a conservative?

I know I have put the same question before, but I have expanded a little more here:

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

They also believe that change should be incremental.

Note: Contrary to what they believe, they, the far-right, now seek to control us.

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

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

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

Note the Prime Minister’s confusing allegiance to his religion, one that he never seems to practice when he is doing politics.

What is a neo-conservative?

Neo-conservatism goes back to the 1930s; however, it is identified with George W Bush in its modern form.

Bush embraced unbridled Capitalism, corporate greed together with literalist Christianity to form modern-day neoconservatism.

Carl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld and others added global superiority to the mix, believing that American exceptionalism in all aspects was above the rest of the world.

What is a social progressive?

Social democrats (the left) believe in:

“… government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. The Government must alleviate social ills, protect civil liberties provide health services and individual human rights, thus believing the role of the Government should be to guarantee that no one is in need.”

And that:

“Government must protect citizens from the greed of big business. Progressive policies generally emphasise the need for the Government to solve problems.”

Social progressive democrats believe that a market system in which 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 the left of politics is best qualified to handle rapid change generally and the changes brought about by climate change and COVID-19.

I am explicitly talking about Australia’s two-party system here, and the answer lies 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 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 necessary political, social and economic reforms.

The left side of Australian politics has, until now:

“… implemented 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 Aged Pension, 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.” (Refer to comment from ‘jim’ in the above link).

The ‘right side of politics has implemented the following; 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 provides a comprehensive list of achievements in Government as distinct from significant policy reforms. Here is the list for you to judge for yourself. If I have missed a considerable reform, please correct me.

In a world where science, technology, and information progress 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 comprehending 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 need to be 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 change for the common good at its heart can only be attained with conventions, guidelines, systems, laws, policies, instructions and procedures.

While the central argument of conservative philosophy empathises and overtly supports the individual’s rights, 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 worthwhile change under the umbrella of social democratic philosophy.

An ideology that believes in equality of opportunity, an equitable share of the country’s wealth, maintains individual rights and liberties within a societal framework is best equipped to bring about change. It would also guarantee that no one is left in need.

A government that solves the problems of change together with all who have a vested interest in it.

Change that only serves the secular interests of the wealthy and privileged is change doomed to fail.

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.

Some thoughts for the day

I think accepting and embracing change is one key aspect of what we try to define as wisdom.

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 with ill-health who cannot?

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.

 

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Why are you so concerned, Poppa? (part 2)

“Why are you so concerned, Poppa?

“The future,” I replied.

Continued from Part 1.

By the end of our walk and the conversation it aroused in us, I was exhausted. Like most children, my granddaughter’s inquisitiveness was seemingly unending, as was her impatience to learn.

She bowled questions at me, and I played a straight bat to most, answering as best I could. She was certainly well-informed, and the thought occurred to me that she might make an outstanding leader when she completes her education and ventures into a world she is yet to meet.

“The only certainty is uncertainty,” I said. “When we are all vaccinated, and restrictions are over will, normality return, it’s a bit of a guess, really.”

I continued; “If we do have to live with the virus, how will we know what that means?”

She shrugged her shoulders in the way a child indicates unsureness and said:

“There’s a lot to think about, Poppa.”

“And then there’s the effects of climate change,” I ventured.

With that, she left me with my thoughts. Deep and brooding ones at that.

Change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making. With Its own inevitability

In my last post, I covered jobs and economics.

This time I’m looking at various matters that will be subject to change in the future. To do so, I have enlisted the help of Adil Najam and his colleague at Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University undertook a rather lengthy study into the effects of what a post-COVID-19 world might look like. Beginning in March of this year, over 190 days, 103 videos were released. Each one had a duration of around five minutes and asked one vital question: “How might COVID-19 impact our future?” You can watch the entire video series here.

The leading thinkers on topics such as these were interview and recorded such topics as:

“… from money to debt, supply chains to trade, work to robots, journalism to politics, water to food, climate change to human rights, e-commerce to cybersecurity, despair to mental health, gender to racism, fine arts to literature, and even hope and happiness.”

Imagine, if you will, the abundance of knowledge that immerged from such a process. The more competent, more intelligent governments will cultivate innovation and technology to always be ahead of the game. Outside all the gloom and doom, it will be an excellent opportunity for governments to change how they govern us. That is, if they are willing to. Ask yourself how the Australian government measures up.

If they don’t, they may very well face civil disobedience. The significant doubt is this. Is a philosophy that governs for those that have the right one for the times.

The author said this in summary:

“For me, it was truly a season of learning. Among other things, it helped me understand why COVID-19 is not a storm that we can just wait out. Our pre-pandemic world was anything but normal, and our post-pandemic world will not be like going back to normal at all.”

The danger in looking back too often is that we lose the will to go forward.

Here are some observations (via The Conversation) from the interviews:

Phil Baty from ‘Times Higher Education’ warns that universities will change ‘profoundly [and] forever,’ but mostly because the higher education sector was already screaming for change.”

This certainly applies in Australia, where there is a brain drain because the wealthy private schools receive grants far and above their needs.

“Just as people with pre-existing medical conditions are most susceptible to the virus, the global impact of the crisis will accelerate pre-existing transitions. As Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer highlights, a year of a global pandemic can pack in a decade or more of disruption as usual.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of hospitals and medicine in times of crisis, and many countries are struggling to cope. Vast amounts will need to be spent on upgrading these services.

“At Harvard, trade policy expert Dani Rodrik thinks the pandemic is hastening the ‘retreat from hyper globalization’ that was already in train before COVID-19. And Pardee School economist Perry Mehrling is convinced that ‘society will be transformed permanently … and returning to status quo ante is, I think, not possible’.”

That the world has been woken by the dread of a pandemic in itself is sad, but it has happened, and the world must confront its negativity and embrace the more positive aspects.

“Stanford University’s political theorist Francis Fukuyama confesses he has ‘never seen a period in which the degree of uncertainty as to what the world will look like politically is greater than it is today’.”

Australia has experienced nearly a decade of the worst possible governance with a climate change policy that is the world’s worst practice. Extremism is their constant companion, and the people must vote them out at the next election in the same manner as the Americans outed Trump.

“Nobel Prize-winning economist Sir Angus Deaton is worrying we might be entering a dark phase that takes ’20 to 30 years before we see progress’ – it is political commentators who seem most perplexed.

Stanford University’s political theorist Francis Fukuyama confesses he has ‘never seen a period in which the degree of uncertainty as to what the world will look like politically is greater than it is today’.”

People need to wake up to the fact that government affects every part of their life and should be more interested. But there is a deep-seated political malaise.

Robin Murphy, engineering professor at Texas A&M University, is convinced that ‘we are going to have robots everywhere’ as a result of COVID-19. That’s because they became so pervasive during the pandemic for deliveries, COVID-19 tests, automated services and even home use.”

The future of work is a topic for now, not the future.

“Science journalist Laurie Garrett, who has warned about global epidemics for decades, imagines an opportunity to address the injustices of our economic and societal systems. Because ‘there will not be a single activity that goes on as it once did,’ she says, there is also the possibility of fundamental restructuring in the upheaval.”

We live in a failed system. Capitalism does not allow for an equitable flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level.

Achim Steiner, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, is awestruck at the extraordinary amount of money that was mobilized to respond to this global crisis. He wonders if the world might become less stingy about the much smaller amounts needed to combat climate change before it is irreversible and catastrophic.”

At the last G7 conference, the Prime Minister described himself as a “conservationist.” In Australia, we know that all the evidence suggests he is an environmental vandal.

“Noam Chomsky, one of the most important public intellectuals of our times, summed it up best when he opined that: ‘We need to ask ourselves what world will come out of this,’ he said. ‘What is the world we want to live in?’ “

Yet, the capacity of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without considering evaluation and reason never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation.

Adaptation, resilience, empathy and community will have to merge with science and technology if the world is to survive. Those who seek power to rule for power’s sake must be lawfully dissuaded from doing so. If this is our first step into a new world, the second must be overcoming our negativity.

My thought for the day

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

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The truth of the matter is we didn’t order enough of the vaccine. But that’s not all that’s wrong.

1 On Twitter last week, a comment suggested that my constant blame laying of an initial vaccine supply lacked evidence.

I thought I would write an entire piece on the subject, but when I started researching stuff that might satisfy this person who goes by the name of ‘Arabeing’, I thought to myself; “No, if Arabeing wants to know these things, then he can find out for himself.”

 

 

Sorry, I’m in a grumpy mood today. I need to get a few things off my chest.

The truth of the matter is this: In August 2020, Opposition Health spokesperson Chris Bowen was already on the warpath about us not doing enough to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

In an interview with Sky News, he said:

Australia was “way behind in the queue” for a vaccine.

He said other countries, including Japan, had already signed multiple supply agreements for vaccines that might work.

“We haven’t signed one,” Mr Bowen said.

Anyway, Arabeing should read this ABC fact check. It finds that Bowen’s claim that a suggested tally of 1 billion doses would only be reached if so-called “optional” doses were included, as well as the deal with the European Union for 200 million pre-purchased doses and 100 million optional doses, is drawing a longbow.

However, the fact check added that:

“On November 5, 2020, the Government announced it had reached a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech for the supply of 10 million doses of its vaccine to Australia, subject to regulatory approval.

As previously mentioned, the vaccine requires two doses, spread out over a number of weeks, to be effective, meaning the deal would provide enough vaccine to inoculate 5 million Australians.

At the time of the deal, no mention was made of any option being included in the contract to purchase further doses.”

This is where Scott Morrison stuffed up. With a population of 25 million, including children, the amount ordered was totally inadequate. Other points of interest are covered here, here, and here.

The evidence of what I have written is supported by the fact that the Government is crisscrossing the world, borrowing as much Pfizer vaccine as it possibly can when it could have placed an order last November.

Greg Hunt, the Minister for Health, said at the time:

“We have enough vaccines to meet a population of 67.5 million, and we will address all priorities identified by The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).”

2 I was watching ABC Insiders on Sunday morning, and several things commanded my attention, some trivial, some not so.

Firstly, why on earth does David Speers never draw a relationship between what is being discussed and what it might mean in a general election? With but six months in front of us, I think it’s time they opined on the subject.

3 I have become used to Speers trying for a “gotcha moment” every week. It is a little tiresome, but I thought he went close with Stuart Robert on paying back the JobKeeper money. Robert may have been correct in that according to the legislation, companies aren’t obliged to pay it back, but I couldn’t help but remember that line of Tony Abbott when repealing the carbon price:

“After all, what is done by legislation can be undone by legislation.”

In Liberal land, it seems that real anger has arisen from small businesses that didn’t receive the job keeper payments. As much as they try to brush it off with a “the law is the law commentary,” the morality of it is dreadful. It was nothing more than a taxpayer-funded transfer of money. At least Rex Patrick and Jackie Lambie are standing firm on their demand that a list of companies is published. This one is likely to grow some legs.

I received a message from a friend after watching 60 Minutes last Sunday, saying that after seeing the programme Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg should be hung and quartered over the JobKeeper payments scandal.

Anyway, Stuart added that “the plan” that we are all supposed to stick to could change at any moment if you get what l mean. Well, according to Stuart, who seemed to be trying overly hard to know everything.

4 Murdoch’s journalists are advised by The Guardian’s Nick Cohen that:

“If someone says it is raining and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both. Your job is to look out the window and find out which is true.” The world only had to look at the weather outside to know who was trying to fool it.

That the Fourth Estate as the custodians of the public’s right to know might act responsibly and report fact and not just express biased opinion.

5 I’m quoting from Peter Fitzsimon’s interview of Grace Tame for the Sydney Morning Herald:

Fitz: Has Scott Morrison failed here?

Tame: Yes.

Fitz: How?

Tame: There are many examples, but let’s go with the obvious. There is his blatant refusal to take any accountability for anything, which we all saw so clearly in his failure to swiftly address the situation with Brittany Higgins. He had the Respect at Work report gathering dust on his desk for a year, with its 55 recommendations that could have been applied to workplace culture, but he did nothing until Brittany’s story made headlines, which made him do something.

Together with One Nation, the Government combined to defeat Labor amendments that protected women from workplace sexual harassment. The Government is forging ahead with a hopelessly weak response to the landmark “Respect@Work report – adopting just six of the 55 recommendations.” However, that is a little misleading because some don’t need legislation. Labor tried to make it better by putting a positive duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent workplace sexual harassment so that harassment is stopped. But when it comes to abandoning women and workers – the Government can always rely on Pauline Hanson.

I agree. In a speech on Monday morning, September 6, to the National Women’s Health Conference, the Prime Minister advocated a culture change. He should start with his party’s attitude toward women.

Hypocrisy, anyone?

6 Which reminds me that the Gaetjens Report into what the PM knew about the Brittany Higgins rape seems to have been successfully buried in the ‘never to be revealed’ file.

7 “Ultimately everything is a state matter,” the Prime Minister said in Parliament last Tuesday. Did that make him redundant? One would hope so.

8 This week will mark 1000 days since Mr Morrison promised to establish a national anti-corruption commission.

9 In Parliament, Josh Frydenberg declared, “JobKeeper was well targeted.” Terri Butler interjected: “If that’s well targeted I’d love to play darts with you!”

The notion that a few privileged individuals can own the vast majority of a countries wealth and the remainder own little is on any level unsustainable, politically, economically or morally.

10 The Parliament returns in November when the Glasgow Climate Change Conference will be front and centre. Will we have the courage to change tact, or will we continue to be the international embarrassment we are?

11 The Poll Bludger reports that Roy Morgan published its regular fortnightly (for so it now seems) federal voting intention poll on Wednesday, which recorded an incremental improvement for Labor on their already previous solid result:

Labor was credited with a lead of 54.5-45.5 on two-party preferred, out from 54-46 last time, from primary votes of Coalition 37.5% (steady), Labor 38.5% (up one), Greens 11.5% (down one) and One Nation 3% (down half).

Well, now that I have that off my chest, I can get back to my next post for The AIMN. Part 2 of “Why are you so concerned, Poppa?”

My thought for the day

Sometimes wisdom jumps a generation. Well, we can always hope.

 

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Why are you so concerned, Poppa? (part 1)

“Why are you so concerned, Poppa?” my granddaughter said to me as we meandered along the pathway adjacent the Maribyrnong River in inner suburban Melbourne. At 11, she is an intelligent young girl full of life, creativity and vitality.

She likes to talk “mature talk,” as she puts it, so I spoke with words that would satisfy her curiosity. I shared my concerns about climate change, and how not doing something to arrest the damage it will cause worried me enormously.

She confided in me just how much she missed her friends at school because of what we refer to as nothing else but COVID-19. She is also an enthusiastic conversationalist.

Did she really understand just what is going to happen in the future? My thoughts drifted away, wondering what a future world might look like when she was my age.

My sojourn was interrupted when she nudged me in the side, saying,

“Poppa, but why are you so concerned about the planet’s future when you are so old.”

I gave a little chuckle and answered:

“Well, I have been on this planet for a long time, and I have grown rather fond of the old lady, her capacity to feed us, nurture us and many other things.”

We sat down on a grassy knoll at a place where the water quickened with some urgency before cascading over some large rocks.

“Tell me about the future, Poppa. Like after you are gone?” She asked. I replied with:

“Well, why don’t I write it down for you? There is a lot to think about and much of it you won’t understand today, but you must promise to read what I write on your birthday every year. That way, you might better understand what is happening to the world you live in. And you might question my opinions. Even write an essay about them. It might even help you to remember how much you’re Nanna and Poppa loved you.”

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy on not fighting the old, but on building the future” (Socrates).

September 2021

It is somewhat scary writing about the future, and given that I probably don’t have a lot of my allotted time left, I continue with some trepidation. My comments should be taken in the context that what I know is only surpassed by the enormity of what I don’t. Meaning we are all limited by the knowledge we have acquired.

Where to start? Well, there is no good place, so I will start with the hardest on the basis that COVID-19 and climate change will force the world to change in more ways than we can possibly imagine. I do not know what some of these changes might be, but most assuredly, they will come, so I will stick to what I do know.

The changes I speak of in economics, work, health, education and technology and many other matters will, because of climate warming and COVID-19, accelerate even quicker than we are starting to experience. There is no reason to imagine that the changes I have seen in technology might not triple in your lifetime. You need to go with the flow but question the changing ethics that come with them.

Adaptation, resilience and change will be the keywords of tomorrow.

Some observations

In my lifetime, people of my vintage have seen more change than in any other period in history. What is in store will be even more spectacular. Be optimistic and open to change.

Often, I lie in bed at night thinking about what the future might have in store for my children and their children. Like many parents, I worry about their jobs and their security.

It is well that interest rates are so low; otherwise the interest on the more than formidable amount we have borrowed might send us broke on its own.

Our future is inextricably aligned to how we as a society respond to the coronavirus pandemic and others that might follow and, of course, climate change. Both present a crisis for the government of the time and the one that wins the 2022 election.

Hopefully, they can rebuild or invent a new economic system that better reflects the distribution of our country’s wealth that recognises the contribution of the low paid. Something more equitable and fairer, recognising the humane equality of the people’s toil.

Governments worldwide must not just exist in a capitalist bubble where the rich become more prosperous and the poor become serfs.

Economics has to grow a heart and invest in a society that produces for the common good. A modern economy of global supply with fair ages and productivity. It must invest in the challenges of climate change and see the opportunity for a cleaner world with its economic rewards.

We must strive for new economics driven by futuristic ideas that challenge one to the other. Or one value over another. Economists will have to admit that a strong convergence between economics and society results in a marriage not only of convenience but of necessity.

Suppose we approach climate change and the coronavirus logically, instead of saying that they are environmental or social problems. In that case, we have to examine the social reasons we keep emitting greenhouse gases. The same goes for COVID-19. We know the virus’s direct cause, but living with it requires a better knowledge of human behaviour.

Whilst the epidemiology of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, the core logic of its progression is relatively simple. People who live close (we are herding animals) mix socially, at work, or in households. Vaccines are becoming more readily available but living with the virus will become more the norm. Social practices might also have to change with social distancing and the wearing of masks becoming mandatory.

A simple method to reduce greenhouse gases is to produce less of what cases it. We need to question what we need over what we want. This might be an oversimplification, but I use it to explain the many ways the problem can be approached, from the simple to the complex.

Nevertheless, in 2021 I cannot see beyond a partial solution to both these problems that will lead to huge social and economic issues. Having said that, I don’t discount a cleaner planet with enormous financial possibilities for job creation.

Alas, we are not a proactive race. We are reactionary.

I will come back to jobs later. For the moment, let’s look at education. In Australia, students have been battered by the loss of teaching. During the Ebola crisis, just a few years back, girls in Africa suffered badly from sexual exploitation and, as a result, teen pregnancy and forced marriage followed. As a result, 20 million girls never returned to school. 129 million were already deprived of education. The loss of knowledge was enormous.

Australia is a knowledge-based nation. It is the foundation from which we have built our successes. In fact, we educate a large portion of the world’s student population. Parents and students in the main will have now realised the value of a good education. Teachers will be more appreciated. Still, there will be a residue of pupils who may simply drop out, thus adding to the current knowledge inequality.

Finding a place in society for its misfits will be a challenge and social science needs to think creatively so that these folk lead a worthwhile existence.

60 per cent of the world’s population don’t have access to the Internet.

Worsening inequalities in education urgently need addressing. Societies of the future might not survive without social harmony, participation of the disadvantaged, and equality of opportunity.

Those in government know that future success relies almost entirely on education. Not only now but into the future. The government will now have to turn its attention to educating the have nots and not just the privileged.

For the life of me, I fail to understand how anyone could vote for a party that thinks the existing education system is adequately funded and addresses the needs of the disadvantaged.

The COVID-19 and climate change crises will oblige whichever party wins the 2022 election to face many issues. The importance of which cannot be underestimated.

The most significant change, as I see it, will be personal. If we cannot change from pursuing individual narcissism to something akin to collective socialism, society will be changed irreversibly.

Well, that’s all for my first look into a changing world. My next post will include many other issues.

My thought for the day

We dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that which makes us feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence.

 

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The greatest con of all: It’s safe

It started with the prime minister appearing on the morning television programme; The Today Show. He was making comments about Australia opening up.

Morrison was making comments about the possibility of the country opening up. You see, he has this plan put together by the Doherty Institute:

“Now, it’s like that movie – in The Croods, people wanted to stay in the cave … and that young girl, she wanted to go out and live again and deal with the challenges of living in a different world,” Mr Morrison said.

Now I’m sure Mr Morrison, like me, has never seen the movie, and someone has suggested that it would make a good metaphor for devious utterings.

When he took to Facebook overnight, WA premier McGowan replied to the Croods reference, saying it was “an odd thing to say.”

“It was an odd thing to say. I think everyone would rather just see the Commonwealth look beyond New South Wales and actually appreciate what life is like here in WA.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister went on to say that:

“COVID is a new, different world, and we need to get out there and live in it. We can’t stay in the cave, and we can get out of it safely.”

Outside Parliament House, he used the safe word repeatedly.

“It’s the safe plan to ensure that Australia can open up again with confidence.”

So, there’s the rub or the con, to put it another way. Yes, the Prime Minister is trying to con us into the plan the government had briefed the Doherty Institute on.

The brief put to Doherty was squarely aimed at winning an election, not the safety of our citizens. Not only that, the period they were asked to look at was the end of October to the beginning of May. Draw your own conclusions.

The procedure also requires only rudimentary measuring of half the population, which might fit into the Prime Minister’s plan for winning the next election, but it is by no means safe.

No one doubts that we will have to end the shutdowns and learn to live in the real world at some time. Has anyone ever suggested we shouldn’t? To say we can do it safely is another matter. It is a world in which the Delta strain of the coronavirus virus prevails.

Writing in The New Daily, Richard Dennis suggested that:

“The only fight the Prime Minister thinks he has a chance of winning against the premiers is that their people are tired of lockdowns (of course they are) and that we shouldn’t stay in lockdown forever.” (?) [That will not be safe. But in his mind, he needs to act urgently].

I’m no scientist, and I have little knowledge of epidemiology. Still, I know that keeping Australia safe from this monster requires high vaccination rates and measures of certainty on what percentage is the safe one. At the same time, there is the need to keep people away from each other while potentially infectious. Doing so requires science to dictate societal needs and not the timing of a federal election.

Allow me to put it another way: As I understand it, the Doherty modelling does not say it is safe to end lockdowns once the vaccination rate hits 70 or 80 per cent.

In a piece for The Australia Institute, Richard Dennis reasonably argues that it is:

“An inconvenient truth, perhaps, but no matter how many times the PM quotes the Doherty modelling, his false distinction between vaccines or lockdowns is all about messaging, not medicine.”

“Indeed, according to the Doherty modelling, we could spend up to 39 per cent of our time in lockdown if we begin to open up when vaccination hits 70 per cent.

Regardless of what the PM says, temporary city-wide lockdowns will be a near certainty for Australians over the next 12 months, regardless of when we open up.”

No matter how well Scott Morrison spins a safe opening up of society, there will still be limitations on our play, production, movements, and mingling.

The politics of it are this: Simply put, The Prime Minister stuffed up the purchase of vaccines, and before a rock-solid judgement by the Australian people that it is all his fault sets in (if it hasn’t already). He wants to be the Prime Minister who gave us our freedom and in so doing set up a win in the next election.

He is desperate to move the debate away from the fact that we wouldn’t have the current problem had he acquired enough vaccine when he should have.

We can sometimes become so engrossed in our own problems that we can easily overlook the enormity of the suffering of others.

Because of Morrison’s stupidity, the Australian people now face the unenviable position of:

“… letting COVID-19 have its way with more than eight million people – most of whom are children – who will still be unvaccinated when we hit the 80 per cent vaccination threshold that Scott Morrison is so focused on.”

His bad decisions have been numerous this year, and to place winning an election before the welfare of the people speaks more of his miserable leadership than anything else.

But while lockdowns will, over time, inevitably be lifted, whether partially or entirely, huge case numbers and high mortality rates are still forecast.

Heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the circumstances or consequences.

If we wait until vaccination rates are high and uncontrolled outbreaks in states like NSW are controlled, the number of deaths will be much lower than if we let the virus rip after giving it a running start. So, we have to face the inevitable question…

How many deaths are acceptable?

It is not at all clear if the contact tracers will be able to cope. So, Morrison should not be shoving all this safe talk into unwitting ears when Doherty itself points out that even if the virus is raging, the assumptions it makes about the effectiveness of tracing once there are thousands of cases in the community are at best an even bet.

A point on contact tracing: Without it, “Australia would have looked more like the UK last year than New Zealand.”

Safe be buggered, I say. Without a fully supported hospital system together with the best possible tracing, any plan is futile.

Morrison’s words and actions bring into question the very essence of the word truth. Or he has at least devalued them to the point of obsolescence. Power is a malevolent possession when you are prepared to forgo your principles and your country’s wellbeing for the sake of it.

To pretend that it is safe under any circumstances to venture into a new world with COVID-19 is the most exceptional con of all.

Given all the mistakes he has made, he cannot afford another one going into another one. Watching Insiders on Sunday, I was surprised that none of the panellists could make a connection between Morrison’s plan and the next election. In fact, the upcoming election didn’t rate a mention.

Perhaps Speersy was too busy doing what he usually does.

My thought for the day

The true test of any nation surely must be the manner in which it treats its most vulnerable.

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Has Australia ever had a Prime Minister so devoid of leadership qualities?

Has an Australian political party ever elected a man or woman so characterless to be its leader? So ignorant and open to corruption? So unaware of truth and transparency? (His lying has indeed become pathological.) So insensitive to those who cannot help themselves yet amenable to furthering the interests of those who can? So willing to endorse and foster inequality? So illiterate when it comes to science and technology? So oblivious to the needs of women that he needed the advice of his wife?

So against change. So inept at policy formation and its implementation. So prone to the language of absurdity. So self-righteous in attitude toward others. So aggressive and dismissive of those who seek fairness and equality. So out of touch with a modern pluralist society. A person so unsophisticated in deep worldly insight or discernment, yet profoundly devoted to his religion.

In other words, a person so uniquely devoid of all the requirements of leadership.

The answer to the above headline is that we have been blessed with quality people in leadership. People who have risen to the top in their particular fields even inspired the nation to fight above its weight in times of war.

Or, by example, led the world in sporting endeavour, in academia, science, medicine, entertainment, education, law and order, the arts and more, but very few when the category of politics is raised.

The only one to stand out in all categories to come near Scott Morrison is Tony Abbott. He was the most celebrated liar ever to soil the plush green carpets of the House of Representatives.

Having said all these things against the incumbent Prime Minister, perhaps I should explain myself. This article picks up some of the accusations made in my previous post and gives them further consideration. In the calmness of thought and without reverting to anger, I examine the Prime Minister’s lies, mistakes and character.

I was generally speaking about leadership and the fundamental qualities necessary to be successful at it. Morrison’s actions, together with his inability to speak the truth, have demonstrated the ineffectiveness of leadership that leaves the nation in terminal decline.

Scott Morrison is nothing more than a fast-talking politician whose record speaks of nefarious decision-making that is always on the borderline of immorality or corruption. There are some tenants of Christianity that are intentionally sacrosanct and cannot be broken. Morrison cherry-picks Biblical laws he thinks he can get away with and blames others for the rest.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the facts. During the COVID-19 crisis, the states have made most of the running. In May, Morrison put his four-step plan to the National Cabinet, and the states accepted it. The point of the goal was to reach 80% vaccinations and then do away with the need for lockdowns.

The plan was also to promote Morrison’s position as a national leader who could bring people together for the common good while having no authority over states and their borders.

There is a conventionally accepted view that the position of Prime Minister has an unspoken power. A power that has some clout when used judiciously. The states were given their authority when our founding fathers wrote our constitution giving sufficient power to the states to ensure they were no pushovers.

Regardless of the argument, be it economic reform, climate change, national disasters like bushfires, floods, pandemics or just good policy, he is consistently found wanting. He struggles even to convince women that he is concerned with accusations of sexual assault and harassment.

I must say that his early efforts in keeping the government on top of the pandemic were commendable, particularly the economy and could be compared favourably with Labor’s efforts during the Global Financial Crisis.

However, his efforts seem to have deteriorated to the point where the public is rapidly losing faith in his leadership. The latest Morgan Poll has Labor at 54% and the LNP at 46%

If delegation is a fundamental of leadership, then he doesn’t seem to know how to disperse it. Either that or his ministers are incompetent to the point of worthless.

Public opinion, in favour of the LNP only months before an election (my tip is February) is rapidly declining, and the government is in serious trouble.

These weaknesses have become dramatically clear. Challenges like those currently experienced by the Prime Minister bring out the best or worst of a leader’s character. That he isn’t the leader for the times that Australia needs is becoming patently clear.

He has no sense of urgency about anything. He is slow at responding to anything. There was lethargy in helping those who helped us in Afghanistan. An indifference to take a position on workplace vaccine mandates when the business community was seeking clarity. Despite a decade to do something about climate change, he still walks at a snail’s pace in making decisions. He still needs to confront his deputy leader, who vehemently opposes the government’s policy on climate change. Not that he has one himself.

I can see nothing in his character that shouts “Leader.”

It has been the winter of our discontent, and political historians will record that the bleakness has come chiefly from a lack of leadership.

We had no one with the leadership qualities necessary to paint a picture for a spring of hope. He hopes for a Christmas retail reopening gift to boost the economy after or if our kids are vaccinated. That is, if the parents are willing to expose their unvaccinated kids?

Katherine Murphy reports in The Guardian that our Claytons leader is so desperate to undo his past sins that he is opening vaccination appointments without even having the vaccinations. Now that’s leadership for you.

Unlike Howard, among others, Morrison doesn’t have a genuine feel for politics, that instinct compels a leader to think about consequences before actions. Yes, he should have known and had ample time to prepare for a rush of Afghanistan’s wanting to leave the country, just as he had ample time to purchase covid19 vaccinations instead of allowing the consequences of not doing so to overtake him.

Good leaders anticipate emerging issues and act accordingly.

Other decisions that showed little leadership included; a) the number of people we will take, and b) the unwillingness to grant them permanent status and c) crying “Stop the boats.”

“I want to be very clear about that. I want to send a very clear message to people smugglers in the region that nothing’s changed,” he said on Wednesday.”

Writing for the ABC, Michelle Gratton said:

“In this Afghanistan moment – which is one of reflection and regret for the failure of the allies’ aspirations for that nation – we show the world what sort of country we are. We should display a more generous character.”

There is a fight about to begin. It is about leadership and who will make the better leader after the winter of our discontent.

Niki Savva wrote last week in The Australian (paywalled) that:

“Anthony Albanese has to make Scott Morrison unacceptable and hope that by the election, there will be more voters not only happy he is not Shorten, but that he is not Morrison.”

Anthony Albanese will have to show that he can make the decisions of a genuine leader. Leadership that requires action, and not just be a do-nothing blame-shifter.

Now that Scott Morrison’s leadership has been found wanting, he will likely set out to try and prove that Anthony Albanese is every bit as corrupt as he is and tells as many lies as he does. Good luck with that.

And in the time that passes by until the election, he will have to ensure that the vaccines arrive on time without telling lies about anything while at the same time winning back people to the Liberal Party – all this while at the same time having his reputation trashed.

On top of that, he has to persuade those that the party has lost to accept that he can take us back to pre-COVID-19 normality when vaccinations reach 80%.

If not, the Prime Minister must ready himself for the political consequences of unvaccinated kids falling ill and an unknown number of Australians suffering long-term effects from the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Making such a decision takes authentic leadership.

In a piece for Pearls and Irritations titled “Morrison has the smell of political death about him,” Jack Waterford has a view similar to mine:

“I do not know whether prime minister Scott Morrison will be run over by a bus, be deposed by his colleagues, fail at the next election or survive, for the short term at least, by another miracle. But the smell of political death is about him, and it is not because of bad luck, circumstance or treachery. What will destroy him, I expect, are things already done, character traits already on display, idiosyncrasies that might once have seemed almost attractive but which now repel. The values he once proclaimed – not least of active Christian temperament – are ones he appears to have repudiated.”

That he isn’t the leader for the times that Australia needs is becoming patently clear.

My thought for the day

When a political leader deliberately withholds information that the voter needs to make an informed, balanced and reasoned assessment of how it is being governed. It is lying by omission. It is also tantamount to the manipulation of our democracy.

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Simple, simple words, simple, simple thoughts. My methodology of writing when angry

Before writing my next article, l thought l would share my writing technique with you. The one I use when I’m upset with my government and very angry, which is most of the time, and I want to write an angry piece about it, l write down succinct reminders about how l feel before the emotion leaves me.

After formulating a list of possible inclusions, l remind myself about what I’m trying to achieve. In this case, l am trying to tell the people of Australia that we have a gilt-edged moron as our Prime Minister. It is about a man who lacks the character necessary to be Prime Minister of Australia. (Notice the calmness with which I tell you this.) ln reality, he couldn’t make a decision to save himself. I have, of course, written about my disgust of this power-driven dictator previously, but this time I’m not holding back. The only natural ability he has is to lie better than anyone else.

Once l have settled on the direction or the points I’m trying to convey to the reader, it is my habit to stew over it for a while before letting my fingers loose.

Then I’m into it, checking links and facts as l go. I select any of my quotes that might be applicable. Some articles have a natural flow, and others one has to slave over. This one has a natural flow that comes from a broken political heart.

So, this is an example of how I begin. My list starts, just randomly jotting things down. Then l search for a title.

Humanitarian crisis without a humanitarian response. How can it be?

Just shut up, Scott; your lies betray you.

There is no news anymore, just COVID-19.

I will defend to the end my right to say I’m right all the time.

Time doesn’t diminish the crime.

Morrison has people coming by boat already. I have heard it all before, Scott. Please don’t take us through it all again.

Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Fleeing persecution. The weight of it. Returning to it. I have no words.

Women’s rights. The desires of many lives lost.

I try to explain man’s inhumanity to man, to a grandchild with tears in my eyes, not knowing if any understanding takes place.

Perhaps a greater understanding of what I am saying might be obtained by exercising a greater willingness to think more deeply.

Wash out your mouth, Scott. The lies betray your motives.

At 80, l have never been less proud of my nation.

Refugees are incarcerated for seven years without committing a crime. The politics of it shame me.

Shut the fu$k up, Scott. I detest you.

You bastard. You, John Howard and others helped make this incredible mess. You cannot just walk away and leave it so. You have a responsibility.

If Morrison is a Christian, then l have nothing more to add.

Political leaders of any quality have sound judgment, poise, dignity, grace, truth and compassion. Morrison has none.

You are not a leader’s arsehole.

Forgive me, father, for I know not what l do. My lying has become habitual. What should l do?

Niki Savva writes in The Australian (paywall) that:

“Anthony Albanese has to make Scott Morrison unacceptable and hope that by the election, there will be more voters not only happy he is not Shorten, but that he is not Morrison.”

On Facebook Julie Grint offers some inclusions to consider:

People who vote LNP are complicit and responsible for the incarceration of little Australian girls.

Inefficient NBN.

2020 Robodebt deaths.

COVID-19 deaths in federally-run aged care homes.

Cuts to Medicare.

Cashless debit card.

Missing bushfire donations. Check it out first.

JobKeeper sham of some businesses keeping money not used.

John Howard’s defence of himself.

The shortage of vaccines.

Roll-out of available vaccines.

 

Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

 

A decade in which our government decimated us not only economically but socially. Good job, guys.

No new purpose-built quarantine facilities.

Climate change deniers.

Fossil fuel advocates.

Rorts (think sport, carparks).

Cover-ups of alleged sexual abuse.

Inebriated politicians are not being criticized whilst in Parliament.

Elevation of possibly unfit members to positions of authority.

We were sending troops to conflict zones where we have justifiably no right to be.

The delays in the evacuation of support Afghan personnel to safety will sadly result in many unnecessary deaths.

Include more lies and spin to induce the uneducated and stupid to vote LNP.

The most incompetent PM Australia has ever had.

I’m sure there’ll be many more cuts to our services.

Sadly, the list grows daily.

Think about that, LNP voters. We have a racist, corrupt, duplicitous, mean-spirited and self-serving government who care nothing for you or anyone, yet you still vote for them!

As Melbourne and Sydney’s lockdowns continue, don’t forget to add in ALP (54%) increases lead over L-NP (46%).

So that is my methodology, folks. I use simple, simple words and simple, simple thoughts… even when I’m angry.

My thought for the day

We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the government, the media and self-interest groups.

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The Coalition governs for those that have, and the have-nots are left far behind

A problem exists, and a plan is devised to fix the problem. Generally speaking, both sides think it works well, except down the track it is found that one could drive a truck through the rules, and companies do.

It is called “JobKeeper” and is designed to hold onto the link between employer and employee during the pandemic. When the rorting of the rules is noticed, the public becomes angry when companies decide to retain the taxpayer’s money they have been given.

The Labor Party also becomes angry and insists that the parties doing the rorting be exposed by the Tax Office.

The haves are delighted – when their accountants inform them that they haven’t broken the rules – and are entitled to keep the money.

The man who sees the world through the prism of his cash registers, Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman fame, keeps a staggering $22 million is among the worst, but who knows. The government has told the Taxation Office not to reveal those companies who have kept the money. Keep them in the dark seem to be the call.

All because in their rushed need to put the JobKeeper plan in place, they failed to add a little clause that may have said that they would have to pay the money back in the event of any anomalies occurring.

 

 

The double standard comes in when 12,000 people have been issued welfare debts worth a total of almost $33m due to JobKeeper payments, as revealed by Guardian Australia this week.

One such person identified as Jan Raabe and quoted by The Guardian, said:

“I’m just a little person, I don’t have a very large income,” she said. “I don’t own my house. When I heard that certain churches and Harvey Norman and many other people pocketed millions, I feel it is disgusting they just won’t pay it back.

“Why are they allowed to get away with it? Why don’t they have to pay it back?”

Nor did she understand why large companies and non-profits who had projected a loss to claim jobkeeper but then turned a profit, and in some cases paid out dividends or executive bonuses, were not being chased by the government in the same way.

Those with a will, or should I say a moral line in their accountancy principles which have said they will pay the money back include Adairs, Toyota, Rebel Sports, Super Cheap Auto, BFC, Nik Scali, and Dominoes.

Those who have greedily accepted your money are listed in this article by Matthew Elmas in The New Daily.

The Federal Opposition has withdrawn its support for changes that would have required companies to reveal how much JobKeeper funding they received, however:

“Labor initially supported the amendments from independent Senator Rex Patrick after it was revealed at least four-point-six-billion-dollars in JobKeeper support went to businesses that recorded profits.”

Nobody is disputing the timely release of this policy and its effectiveness. However, what is disputed is why the government isn’t demanding that the JobKeeper money taken from the public purse be put back in the same way they are asking ordinary people to do.

The insipid answers they give don’t cut it with the many Australians who are outraged. Indeed, transparency is of the utmost importance in government, as are business ethics and morality. Still, in all fairness, Labor couldn’t put it ahead of families and businesses, who are hurting incredibly.

There will be many who disagree with that decision but Tanya Plibersek has assured supporters that Labor is “still committed” to naming businesses that profited from JobKeeper, despite voting down amendment, she told Patricia Karvelas on RN Drive.

Although I find it hard to agree with, the last thing we need in today’s COVID climate is the side attraction of two parties having a philosophical fight over who is ripping off the people.

Let me make a final point. Finance Minister Simon Birmingham rather gratuitously said that:

“We don’t think it’s appropriate to create a circumstance where now they are vilified with some sort of pretence that they weren’t eligible when they were eligible.”

The straightforward and unspun answer to this is that had they drawn up proper legislation, they wouldn’t have been in those circumstances.

My thought for the day

Economics and society are so inextricably interwoven that we cannot ignore the human cost in our decision making. Conservatives should consider that.

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Climate change action: Scott Morrison will never admit that he was wrong and Labor was right

It is 9 am Wednesday 11 August, when I begin writing this piece. I delay because new facts are coming to light. Because the day’s forecast is for a warm sunny day of 21 degrees that invites an early spring, one side of me wants desperately to venture into my garden. Still, the other summons the necessity of critical news.

Climate Change is now a statement of fact.

Landmark assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) has confirmed beyond doubt that human activities were overheating the planet with temperatures not seen for hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of years.

Here are some of the key points in the IPPC report:

A.1 It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.

A.2 The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years.

A.3 Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, there attribution to human influence, has strengthened since the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).

A.4 Improved knowledge of climate processes, paleoclimate evidence and the response of the climate system to increasing radiative forcing gives a best estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity of 3°C, with a narrower range compared to AR5.

B.1 Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered. Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.

B.2 Many changes in the climate system become larger in direct relation to increasing global warming. They include increases in the frequency and intensity of hot extremes, marine heatwaves, and heavy precipitation, agricultural and ecological droughts in some regions, and proportion of intense tropical cyclones, as well as reductions in Arctic Sea ice, snow cover and permafrost.

B.3 Continued global warming is projected to further intensify the global water cycle, including its variability, global monsoon precipitation and the severity of wet and dry events.

B.4 Under scenarios with increasing CO2 emissions, the ocean and land carbon sinks are projected to be less effective at slowing the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere.

B.5 Many changes due to past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible for centuries to millennia, especially changes in the ocean, ice sheets and global sea level.

C.1 Natural drivers and internal variability will modulate human-caused changes, especially at regional scales and in the near term, with little effect on centennial global warming. These modulations are important to consider in planning for the full range of possible changes.

C.2 With further global warming, every region is projected to increasingly experience concurrent and multiple changes in climatic impact-drivers. Changes in several climatic impact-drivers would be more widespread at 2°C compared to 1.5°C global warming and even more widespread and/or pronounced for higher warming levels.

D.1 From a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions. Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH4 emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution and would improve air quality.

D.2 Scenarios with low or very low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (SSP1-1.9 and SSP1-2.6) lead within years to discernible effects on greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations, and air quality, relative to high and very high GHG emissions scenarios (SSP3-7.0 or SSP5-8.5). Under these contrasting scenarios, discernible differences in trends of global surface temperature would begin to emerge from natural variability within around 20 years, and over longer time periods for many other climatic impact-drivers (high confidence).

And there it is in all its naked truth. In Australia, the reaction is one of apathy. The government’s reaction is a mixture of boredom, insult and sarcastic yawning. If only we had a leader with the courage to take the lead and make the right decisions.

Reinstated Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has not changed his mind. He has rejected all calls for more vital targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions. He said that the latest United Nations report on catastrophic climate change wouldn’t change his mind without a cost of action.

In his typically incoherent mindset, the cost of doing nothing went over his head completely.

He wants some competent organisation to develop a costed plan for the government. He is part of the government responsible for putting the plan together, which has also escaped him.

We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet.

Now with Joyce back in charge of the Nationals, we have a Coalition entirely at odds with each other on how to proceed with the problem. The climate lunatics who have never been able to admit that they were wrong and that Labor was right are still dictating policy in the Party Room.

The Guardian reported that Scott Morrison has already contradicted Barnaby Joyce saying that:

“His cabinet will formulate a plan to reach net zero emissions after the deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce declared climate action plans were formulated by agencies, not by politicians who lacked relevant expertise.”

The same edition of The Guardian also reported that Dr Jonathan Pershing, the deputy to US presidential climate envoy John Kerry, said:

“I think you can say, observing from the outside, that – as a G20 member, as a leading developed country – the commitments they made in Paris are not sufficient.”

What has been missing is a leader with the intestinal fortitude to put politics aside and tackle the crisis head-on.

In terms of the environment I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today.

An often-used lie is that we are a small player, and our efforts won’t make any difference. If you combine our efforts with countries of similar emissions, then totally we are of great significance.

In another lie, the Prime Minister said that he didn’t say in 2019 that Labor policies to reduce vehicle emissions would “end the weekend” he wasn’t opposed to electric vehicles, even though he told voters they were expensive, would not tow trailers or boats, or get Australians to their favourite camping spots.

The evidence of him saying it is in black and white wherever you care to look.

So Labor’s Shadow Climate minister Chris Bowen last Tuesday asked the Prime Minister if he believed no one would match Australia’s “ambition for a technology-driven solution” – why did he claim before the last election “that electric vehicles would end the weekend?”

Yet another lie is the one that Scott Morrison repeats all the time, insisting that we are meeting our commitments. It is a lie of omission because, without the credits allocated to us at Kyoto and a pandemic called COVID-19 that has reduced our production enormously, we would not.

As reported in the Australian Financial Review:

“Australia is the only country in the world openly planning to use Kyoto carryover credits to meet its Paris agreement targets.”

They accepted the science of a pandemic so quickly, so readily. Still, in their stupidity, the government cannot take climate change seriously, yet it has the power to end the world as we know it.

Labor was right and they were wrong.

Think about this: If we fail to act and disaster results, then massive suffering will have been aggravated by stupidity.

Before Australians vote at the next election, before they move the curtain that hides their vote from view, they should ask themselves: “What exactly was the point of this decade-long government?”

My thought for the day

At the last G7 conference the Prime Minister described himself as a “conservationist”. In Australia we know that all the evidence suggests he is an environmental vandal.

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Making important decisions requires meticulous judgement – it is something Scott Morrison lacks

Is a commitment to using critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry rather than emotion and ill-founded falsity the best way to solve human problems?

On the one hand, it takes much time and effort to reach a considered view on many matters. On the other, it takes little time to make a judgement. Good leaders make good decisions.

Was Scott Morrison’s decision to partake of a holiday while the flames of hell were destroying New South Wales a good one? Was his decision to ask the US to invite Pastor Brian Houston to dinner any better?

Was his decision to give Christian Porter his old job back as Leader of the House (even on a temporary basis) any better?

Worst of all, what about his decision not to buy the Pfizer vaccine when it was available. There are many more, but these will suffice for now:

On September 7, 2020 The Guardian reported that:

“The prime minister announced a $1.7bn deal with two potential vaccines: the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca to provide 33.8m doses and the University of Queensland/CSL to provide another 50m doses.”

On November 5 2020 the government announced a deal for 10m doses of Pfizer and 40m from Novavax, saying Australia was at the “front of the queue” for mRNA vaccines. Note that The Guardian said that “Pfizer had already signed agreements to provide about 1bn doses to 34 countries by this time.”

As an aside, Greg Hunt, on Insiders 8/8/2021, on a question from David Speers on this subject, said, “There was no other deal available.”

Just who is telling the truth?

Scott Morrison says:

“We aren’t putting all our eggs in one basket and we will continue to pursue further vaccines should our medical experts recommend them.”

The Government announces the vaccine rollout will begin in March.”

Then in December, the front of the queue” changes to “front-row”, and the turmoil of the rollout continues.

Politics often comes first in the decision-making process. Well, more often than not, but always because the retention of power is uppermost in the leader’s mind.

How often is logic thrown out the window when emotion clutters the politician’s mind and clinging to power rises above all else?

Indeed, the decision to take his children on a trip to Hawaii was an emotional one. The kids had been nagging him for weeks, and no matter what, he wasn’t going to let them down. After all, he didn’t hold a hose.

It could be argued that it was an indefensible decision that could only be made by a father desperately wanting to please his children. Those of us who are fathers could all plead guilty to that one.

But we are not necessarily leaders. The consequences didn’t occur to him. I believe that he tried to hide the fact that he had taken leave. It was a dumb decision.

Morrison was the Prime Minister; first and foremost, it was his responsibility to look after the health and safety of Australians.

At the time, the prime minister’s office refused to say if he was on holiday or where he was. McCormack admitted he was Prime Minister. The aftermath of bad decisions can be worse than the decision itself. Remember the slinky handshakes. For someone who prides himself on his spinning ability, the marketing guru had made a terrible decision.

Perhaps a few days with wife Jenny and the kids were more important than the security of the people he was supposed to protect.

Eventually, as reported in The Guardian, he was forced to apologise, saying that:

“Any offence caused to any of the many Australians affected by the terrible bushfires by my taking leave with family at this time.”

His decision to give Christian Porter his old job back as Leader of the House was another example of his poor decision making and brought his judgment into question. Once again, the Prime Minister’s judgement, and morality, was bought into question with this woeful decision. One that humiliated and slapped the face of every Australian woman.

The utter impertinence of the Prime Minister to do such a thing after the continual beating women have taken under his leadership has been beyond belief.

The allegations against Porter are amongst the gravest in our criminal code. The bare minimum test of his fitness to hold ministerial office would be an independent inquiry. At this point, it looks as though the Prime Minister has made yet another ill-considered decision just to let it pass. How damming would that be?

 

 

Yet again, his judgement comes into question when he decided to include Pastor Brian Houston’s name on a list of invitees to the White House. Houston had been a mentor for many years. He even got a mention in Morrison’s maiden speech.

It has long been known that when Houston gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, he admitted trying to protect his father. He even disobeyed church rules and allowed him to preach after admitting the violation.

Frank Houston had abused up to nine boys in Australia and New Zealand.

Now Brian Houston has been charged, and justice will take his course. Here we must try to fathom Brian Houston’s morality and state of mind before judging him. In Morrison’s case, it is more straightforward.

Presumably, he would have been aware of the evidence, as would the White House, so why had he refused to answer questions for months on the subject?

Let’s not pretend that good decision making is easy; it isn’t, but we make many minor ones daily. However, we expect our leaders to make significant decisions regularly with sound judgement.

The ones expressed above used poor judgement by a poor leader, and unfortunately, there are many more examples just like them. Climate Change (for instance) and the decisions required for our survival are paramount and must be made by people who know how to listen to the opinions of science.

To choose the correct path, our nation’s leadership must have a clear set of priorities together with an open mind that takes into account new or alternative ways of doing things.

They must use whatever experience they have and make common good, common-sense decisions with a willingness to change as knowledge changes.

The decisions politicians make define their judgement. It is better to be informed by the truth than be controlled by lies.

When you look at the decisions made by this Government during their tenure of office, well, to put it bluntly, they have been simply appalling, and given the criteria I have laid out for making them cannot be excused. That’s my judgement, anyway.

My thought for the day

People often argue from within the limitations of their understanding and when their factual evidence is scant, they revert to an expression of their feelings.

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The Abbott years

In 2013/14 I wrote short stories, then, in a mood of political disgust, I wrote about Tony Abbott. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

The Abbott years

Tony Abbott defeated Malcolm Turnbull by 42 votes to 41 to become the party’s leader and Leader of the Opposition.

He was sworn in as the 28th Prime Minister of Australia on 18 September 2013. He was, in my opinion (at the time), the most unqualified man politically and psychologically ever to be elected to the position.

And so began a period that has seen our country move to the far-right of politics. A move that could only be described as disastrous for the nation and our future.

Whoever eventually replaces the existing Coalition government will be charged with righting the wrongs of a succession of failed leaders over a generation together with the enormous problems forced on us by a very destructive pandemic.

Successive leaders, blinded by their crimes of complacency to what was apparent and ignorance of what was not, have shown an absence of any ability to think beyond self and power.

What is fundamental to the political observer is following the progress of a changing tide in political discourse, trying to work out the how and why of so many complexities.

Tony Abbott, after his years in Opposition, created a negative image of our nation. He never had a positive word to say about his country. As Opposition Leader, he used simplistic slogans to talk about complex problems and, in doing so, suggested he had answers when he didn’t. He spread negativity like rust throughout the community because he saw a need to promote a sense of crisis, an Armageddon about everything.

He, if nothing else, was a very colourful character. He was aggressive both physically and in the use of language. His negativity was legendary, and he had little consideration for ideas other than his own and said NO to his opponent’s policies regardless of their worthiness. He was by evidence and his own admission a liar of some regularity.

Added to that, he had a political gutter-mentality and little respect for the institution of Parliament and its conventions.

Everything is wrong, and he is the only one who can fix it. There is a budget crisis when none exists. There is a debt crisis (while adding to it) when none exists. There is a crisis about the cost of living when Australians have never had it better. It’s a deliberate tactic of social engineering. Create an illusion of disaster, and people will believe that perception is, in fact, a reality. And of course, keep on doing it when you attain government.

In terms of leadership, he was a failure. Many said that he was the most exemplary Opposition Leader the country had seen, but he could never bridge the gap of Leader of the Opposition to Prime Minister. On the international stage, he was a dismal failure.

He attacked the price on carbon, which he misnamed the “carbon tax,” stating that:

“Let’s be under no illusion. The carbon tax was socialism masquerading as environmentalism.”

Abbott’s former Department head later admitted that his mission to “axe the tax” was only about politics. Nothing whatsoever about reducing our emissions and honouring our commitment to the Paris accord.

When Abbott repealed the “Carbon Tax,” a tax that had been working well and emissions were dropping, the Coalition, who had put ideology before the common good, staggered like drunken adolescents from one side of the street to the other. They have been unable to put together a comprehensive environmental and energy policy since. It was arguably the worst policy decision in Australian political history.

When looked at in isolation, the lies and indiscretions of Tony Abbott, his problems with women and even his negativity could perhaps all be written off as just Tony being Tony. Alternatively, that’s just politics. However, my focus here is on character and whether Abbott had enough of it to be the leader of our nation.

Julia Gillard – our first and only female prime minister – was subjected to the most obnoxious and depraved attacks that, in a political sense, were unnecessary if gaining office was the only objective. However, it seems that some men cannot help themselves, so they went for the jugular and, in so doing, he may have set back the political aspirations of women for generations.

I contend that because we are looking at a litany of instances of lying, deception and bad behaviour over a long period, he did not have an essence of a character, which is one of the main ingredients in the leadership recipe.

Some would argue that it was John Howard who sent us spiralling towards the right of politics. But conversely, I put the case that it was Abbott’s force of personality, following Labor’s revolving door leadership that the electorate liked. The mood was for a mongrel, and in Abbott, they got one.

They didn’t consider the baggage that he carried with him.

When Barak Obama visited, he broke long-standing conventions by politicising his speech as Opposition Leader.

He did the same when the Indonesian President visited.

He did the same when the Queen visited.

He would not allow pairs (another long-standing convention) so that the Minister for the Arts could attend the funeral of painter Margaret Olley, an Australian icon. Malcolm Turnbull, a personnel friend, was also prevented from attending.

He refused a pair whilst Prime Minister Gillard was on bereavement leave following the death of her father.

Tony Abbott is far, far more mean-spirited. His 2014 Budget reflects his incapacity to understand inequality. He demonstrates this in the way he ignores human misery and how he belittles those suffering from it.

He is, in a nutshell, nasty to the core. Stories surface that he has been inherently vicious for as long as people have known him. Still, it was not until 2005 that I first noticed his extreme level of nastiness and lack of compassion for human misery when it was hoisted onto the national stage. It came only hours after the NSW Leader of the Opposition, John Brogden, had attempted suicide. The Age reported at the time that:

“The day after Mr Brogden was found unconscious in his electorate office with self-inflicted wounds, Mr Abbott publicly joked at two separate Liberal Party functions about the disgraced leader’s career-wrecking behaviour.

Mr Abbott was asked at a fund-raising lunch about a particular health reform proposal and reportedly answered: ‘If we did that, we would be as dead as the former Liberal leader’s political prospects’.

Smutty to the core. And to a mate.

He also claimed that Bernie Banton was a mate. Not that he acted like one.

When Abbott was the Minister for Health, the dying asbestos disease sufferer Bernie Banton obtained a petition containing 17,000 signatures of those who supported listing the mesothelioma drug Alimta on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

This petition was to be presented in person to Tony Abbott. If it was not disrespectful enough to snub the petition, then his verbal response certainly was.

Mr Abbott was quick to dismiss the petition:

“It was a stunt,” Mr Abbott said on the Nine Network.

“I know Bernie is very sick, but just because a person is sick doesn’t necessarily mean that he is pure of heart in all things.”

It would appear that he likes making fun of dying people. Does he expect we will all laugh along with him?

He even has a go at deceased people. Margaret Whitlam was not even in the grave before Tony Abbott used her death to score cheap political points.

“The death of Margaret Whitlam caused such an outpouring of saddened fondness that comments by Tony Abbott linking her passing with the sins of the Whitlam government appear to have struck an incredibly wrong note.

He said she was a ‘woman of style and substance and a marvellous consort to a very significant Labor leader and an epochal Australian prime minister’.

‘There was a lot wrong with the Whitlam Government but nevertheless, it was a very significant episode in our history and Margaret Whitlam was a very significant element in the political success of Gough Whitlam’ Mister Abbott said.”

The answer to “what took place and why” is that, in our apathy, our indifference, we allowed and are still allowing a laconic attitude toward our politics to dictate who wins. We do so in the forlorn hope that we will, also.

When on earth will we wake up?

Leaders on the extreme right of politics seem to have the same human characteristics of nastiness, offensiveness, spite, resentment, malice, contempt and bad manners. Abbott, like others on the conservative right, seemed to fit into a slot in history. One that was utterly rejected by his colleagues who, in due course, sacked him. He was subsequently replaced by Malcolm Turnbull, who was not right-leaning enough. He, in turn, was replaced by Scott Morrison, who had planned his ascension in precise detail where he continues the work of Abbott.

My thought for the day

Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics. But unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibres from which it is woven.

 

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A government with such little respect

Like many other Australians, I am an avid sports fan. I competed for as long as possible, and when my body could no longer perform to my satisfaction, I turned to a daily routine of running, lap swimming or walking, to keep fit. Why do I tell you this? I like to think that I paid due respect to my opponents, who generally returned the favour.

Presently I am in awe of the respect shown by our Olympians to their sport, coaches and families. It all seems to come so naturally and enthusiastically and has been an inspiration to us all. In the same way, it is a pity our government couldn’t show us the same respect and inspire us into an uncertain post COVID-19 future.

Now, let us look at the lack of respect the government shows toward us. They represent us but use lies to do so. And in doing so, they show us no respect.

1 So much for truth and transparency when the former Attorney-General Christian Porter can have redacted evidence from his dropped defamation case against the ABC scrubbed from the public record.

Nine and News Corp (forget their motive) have been asking for the documents to be made public, but Justice Jayne Jagot ordered that the documents be ditched from court files.

There is no longer any excuse for the Prime Minister to set up an independent inquiry into Porter’s fitness for office. That might show us some respect.

Porter’s seat of Pearce lost some safe Liberal ground in a recent distribution and is now under threat from Labor.

2 Talking about redistributions, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Victorian and Western Australian changes are now complete. It seems that those skilled in these matters agree that the Liberals have lost one seat; the former seat of Stirling in WA has been abolished. The ALP has gained one; the newly created safe Labor seat of Hawke.

These same analysts agree that no seat has notionally changed hands as a result of the boundary changes.

3 Writing for The Saturday Paper last weekend John Hewson described our Prime Minister in these terms:

“He has accepted Barnaby Joyce back with no conditions – indeed, let him start to dictate climate and other policy. He has failed to deal effectively with claims of rape, bullying and harassment in Parliament House; has normalised pork-barrelling, corruption and wasteful expenditure; denies responsibility; is quick to blame others; and ignores the need for reform in response to the great social challenges of Indigenous recognition, child- and aged-care, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, mental illness and domestic violence.”

I have written in the same manner myself, and he is spot on, and Joyce is but one of many who has little respect for the electorate.

4 Morrison never seems to take charge when things are going wrong. He disappears then reappears to take the credit when things go right. He is gifted in thinking that he can make things better first for himself and secondly for you with the use of dishonesty.

We were in the front of the queue when the reality was, we were at the back of the pack. “This isn’t a race,” he said. How wrong he was. It is a race, and we are realising the price of his failure.

What sort of man would deliberately buy a lessor quality (AstraZeneca) vaccine after being offered 40 million doses of the higher quality Pfizer? Now we are paying the price for his stupidity with not enough vaccines to avoid lockdowns.

5 Whatever happened to those reports from Morrison’s chief of staff Phil Gaetjens? Morrison is still undecided as to whether he will release them publicly. I’m assuming that, like their ICAC proposal, they will let them lapse into the file of “no time left” before the election.

Like the Sports Rorts report that has never been published, a summary found there were “significant shortcomings” in the way McKenzie decided on the grant. But he also found that (Lord save me) how the minister’s office approved funds for different projects was not unduly influenced by reference to “marginal” or “targeted” electorates.

Where is the respect?

6 In the time I have spent writing for The AIMN, hardly a day has passed without the Government framing emissions reduction with all the negativity of Tony Abbott.

Writing for The Guardian, Katherine Murphy reported that:

“On Tuesday, the group Beyond Zero Emissions released a report based on economic analysis from ACIL Allen. This work found that establishing renewable energy industrial precincts in two Australian regions would create 45,000 new jobs and generate revenue of $13bn a year by 2032. The two regions the report identified were the Hunter in New South Wales and Gladstone in central Queensland. If you follow politics closely, you’ll know these regions will be heavily contested at the next federal election.

In the world envisaged by this report, dedicated renewable energy zones would support energy-intensive businesses during the transition to low emissions. I might need to repeat that sentence because the Coalition has spent more than a decade telling Australians that renewables and heavy industry are fundamentally incompatible.”

Over to you, Scotty. And show some respect.

7 The Prime Minister has apologised and accepted responsibility for the slow vaccine rollout.

“I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to achieve the marks that we had hoped for at the beginning of this year,” the PM said on Thursday.

“I take responsibility for the vaccination program. I also take responsibility for the challenges we’ve had.”

Does that pass as an apology? What do you think?

8 Speaking of apologies, I posted this on Facebook last week and received some criticism from those deemed to be unsuitable for the Astra vaccine:

WORDS THAT MAKE YOU THINK.

Isn’t it rather odd that the people who refuse an AstraZeneca jab are the same cohort who vote for the LNP? (70 and over)

It was insensitive to those who, for whatever reason, are unable to take the vaccine, and for that, I apologise.

9 Alarm bells ring when I turn on my computer to read this headline in The Guardian: Coalition to spend $19,000 send Tony Abbott on trade mission to India.”

Where is the respect in that?

10 Back in the time of Sports Rorts while in caretaker mode or, to be more precise, in the fortnight between 27 March and 11 April 2019, the Government announced 70 appointments to boards, statutory bodies and tribunals, and diplomatic postings. One in five of the people appointed to government bodies in that fortnight had links to the Liberal or National parties.

11 Did you know that Australia doesn’t have a comprehensive formal parliamentary set of rules governing the behaviour of our MPs.

Yes, where is the respect?

My thought for the day

The danger in looking back is that we lose the will to go forward.

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“Ye shall know them by their fruits”

On Wednesday, 20 July, The Prime Minister did three radio interviews. During the third on Melbourne’s KIIS 101.1, he was asked by the host Jase Hawkins to apologise for the “nightmare” of the vaccine rollout.

“Can you honestly say to me that the government has taken accountability?” he said.

“Like, I have never heard the word ‘sorry’ – ‘guys you know what, sorry, we did screw it up, but we are getting it right now’.”

For the entirety of the interview, Jase tried to elicit the word “sorry” from the Prime Minister. It was like trying to extract blood from a stone. He did, however, manage an admission of sorts that he was responsible for Australia being last on a list of nations well ahead of us with their vaccination programs.

He eventually conceded this fact but still refused to apologise.

“I am accountable for the vaccination program and everything that has happened in it.

“And I am also accountable for fixing it, and that is what I am doing.”

In Mathew Matt 7:15-20 of the Christian Bible, the author speaks of false prophets, saying you can spot false prophets by their behaviour.

It is a scripture that the Prime Minister would be very familiar with.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing”) for inwardly, “they are ravenous wolves.”

So, who takes responsibility for all the mistakes, lies, deaths, illnesses, billions of dollars of losses, quarantine failures and mental illnesses?

“Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

The Prime Minister continuously blames others, misleads and tries to lie his way out of situations. He has played a political game from which we have inherited so much misery and pain. He is responsible for the bitter harvest we have reaped. Consequently, he will be called out for his indiscretions until the next election.

One of the perils of writing articles of condemnation is that the person in question – midway through your writing – does an about-face and apologises for his actions.

And this is what happened. Before I had finished, I was greeted with this headline on news.com “PM apologises for vaccine rollout failure, despite previously denying responsibility.”

The article essentially said that:

“Adelaide’s FIVEaa radio hosts David and Will told the PM: “The reason you’ve got 12 million people in lockdown is because you got it (the rollout) so wrong in the first place.”

“No, I don’t accept that,” Mr Morrison said.

The PM made similar deflections later on Wednesday on ABC radio:

“We’ve had our problems … many have been out of our control,” he insisted.

But after 24 hours of intense scrutiny, “Mr Morrison chose a different form of words on Thursday.”

Then is the space of 24 hours; on Thursday, he had changed his tune. He had been lying.

“I take responsibility for the things that haven’t gone as well as we have liked and I take responsibility for the things that have worked as well,” he said.

But when pressed by reporters on why he didn’t accept responsibility sooner, Mr Morrison said:

“I think I have been very clear that as Prime Minister I am responsible for the vaccination program and I also have been very clear that that responsibility means fixing and dealing with the problems that we’ve had.”

In a mood of utter disgust and dissatisfaction that what I had read could in any way be described as an apology, I went in search of some words of sincerity that might be apologetic.

The nearest I came across was in The Guardian:

“I’m certainly sorry we haven’t been able to achieve the marks that we hoped for at the beginning of this year,”

“Now hang on,” I thought to myself. Here we have arguably the worst public policy stuff up in the nation’s history, one that has cost many lives and will cost many more, and this is an apology. Simply outrageous

Perhaps in my haste to extract an apology from this buffoon purporting to be a leader, I have lost sight of the bigger picture. The need to have more people vaccinated. That this should be the main aim after all.

Or perhaps I find the apology empty because if he can find a few words representing an apology in this matter, he should be able to do so for the many other instances that require one.

For this reason, I cannot say that the apology offered is sufficient. It lacks grace and sincerity, and importantly it is devoid of anything that might restore the trust that has been lost.

It is difficult to restore trust in a leader who, when confronted by significant decisions (no matter the circumstances), allows his politics or religion to replace the common good.

We have so many lockdowns because Scott Morrison used his political judgment rather than his common sense and placed too much faith in AstraZeneca rather than putting in an order for Pfizer in July 2020.

He said that we were in the “front of the queue.”

When it became apparent that we were last, Mr Morrison changed his mind and said, “this isn’t a race.”

Contrary to the fact that we are in a race to save lives, Scott Morrison re-iterated in March and on no less than three other occasions, “it’s not a race, it’s not a competition.

My thought for the day

Leaders who cannot comprehend the importance of truth and trust as being fundamental to the democratic process make the most contribution to its demise.

PS: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”


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Just who is this man named Morrison that he needs Murdoch’s defence?

Who is this man who would have you believe that he is God’s gift to all that bothers us?

Has the nation finally woken to his lack of leadership, his lack of character and his lying? Can he keep up this façade of broken promises and false credibility?

Journalists from the non-Murdoch media definitely don’t see the shine that is all too often portrayed in Murdoch publications. Here are some examples:

Peter Lewis in The Guardian June 22 noticed that:

“There has been an undeniable shift in Morrison’s rhetoric on climate since Christmas. He has softened his support for new coalmines, shifted focus to gas as a transition, and left open the idea of hitting zero emissions at a point that may or may not bear a passing resemblance to 2050. It’s not exactly embracing Greta Thunberg but at least he has stopped fondling lumps of coal in the parliament.

William Bowe in The Poll Bludger on July 7 said that:

“The shine continues to come off Scott Morrison’s COVID-boosted personal ratings, plus new evidence of a softening in support for the Coalition among women.”

Just how much longer is the Liberal Party and the Murdoch media going to keep supporting Scott Morrison?

Katharine Murphy, writing in The Guardian observed that:

“The public needs political leaders to put their interests first and be competent in a crisis. That’s the long and the short of it – and the past 72 hours has not inspired confidence.”

Greg Jericho, also for The Guardian, June 27 said:

“It’s 2021 and we have a government within sight of an election with no policy on climate change that endeavours to reach net zero emissions, and the National party has just re-elected as its leader Barnaby Joyce, whose main policy position appears to be to ensure such a target is never set.

Climate change denial continues to be the strongest force in Australian politics.”

On his current demeanour, one wouldn’t have any confidence in Scott Morrison conducting a chook raffle at the local pub, let alone running government business on a world scale. We should look at his latest promises regarding the Pfizer vaccine with doubt, given his history of lying to us.

Adding to the government’s woes of three terms of deplorable governance is the re-emergence of Barnaby Joyce, who has nothing to offer the country except negativity and gloom. He is undoubtedly a man lost when deep oblique thinking is required.

But we are indeed a weird lot, or should I say an accepting lot. One would, under normal circumstances, assume that we would have reached the bottom line of political management. What one would regard as reasonable government a decade ago has passed us by, and we can lament its passing. But there are no protests on the streets. Even the Union movement seems to have a passive attitude toward the government’s incompetence.

Many political observers (including me) are now saying Scott Morrison is the worst Prime Minister in the history of Australia. Yes, even worse than Tony Abbott.

Katharine Murphy writing for The Guardian made this observation:

“But if we look closely at what has been happening in recent weeks, we can also observe Morrison’s frustration levels building. When it comes to managing outbreaks, the states remain risk-averse, particularly in an environment when not enough Australians are vaccinated. That creates constant friction between the jurisdictions, given vaccine supply is a commonwealth issue.”

He has now opted for a “less of me” attitude to take Government off the front pages where even Murdoch is hard-pressed to hide his smart-arse smirking face, his announcements and his sense of entitlement.

His triumphant announcement that we were at the “front of the queue” when procuring sufficient vaccines to protect the Australian people was another unforgivable lie. One of the many announcements that were full of hot air without any measured result and all Calculated to deliver an ant nest of activity simply as a diversion from the lack of vaccine supply.

The front of the queue announcement, as it turns out, was nothing more than another Scott Morrison attempt to fool the Australian people into believing his every word. A belief that is waning with every week that passes.

His pronouncement that NSW was the “gold standard” for handling COVID-19 has proven wrong. So much so that he should turn to the Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, the man he so readily denounced and seek his advice.

The Prime Minister, however, doesn’t have ownership of stupidity when it comes to making announcements.

 

 

A wing and a prayer may be an attitudinal way for a Christian Prime Minister like Morrison to govern the country, but the problems of today need to be honed with critical reason, factual evidence and scientific methods of enquiry so that they clearly articulate the currency of tomorrow.

In other words, instead of announcements, just give us the facts without the maybe’s, for Christ sake. Things like putting the Minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews, in front of a savvy media pack to tell them that Australia’s doors were closed when all the evidence suggested otherwise.

Indeed, on the contrary, our borders are wide open, with the “Federal Government granting hundreds of exemptions for Business Travelers.” They freely travel in and out of Australia, whether they are vaccinated or not.

The Deputy Premier of Queensland confirmed this at a recent Media Conference, saying that the only thing “required to get a permit from the federal government to leave the country is proof you have a meeting in another country.”

How then, did Margaret Court get an exemption to go to Wimbledon and not Ash Barty’s parents?

As if to go one better, a brazen Scott Morrison issued a “Captain’s Call” that people under 40 years of age could now access the AstraZeneca vaccine. He did so without any discussion in the National Cabinet he had just left.

State and territory leaders only became aware of the decision when they sat down to watch the evening news.

Regardless of all this ineptitude and imbecility, there was a stampede of right-wing journalists ready to defend the Prime Minister. Newscorp, as usual, are the worst offenders.

Surly journalists have a more crucial moral principle to report the truth than to out of hand defend the Morrison’s lies.

In following the media moguls instructions, print media publications and their journalists commit themselves to destroy Anthony Albanese without the slightest thought that the 4th Estate must keep the Government of the day accountable.

Australia is seemingly governed by the whim of an ancient American who lives in that country. He owns much of this nation’s media, including its printing presses.

He gives our conservative coalition parties licence to make our rich richer and our poor poorer. Such is his ethics.

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.

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