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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.

Is Labor doomed for oblivion, or can Albo mount a comeback?

Bill Shorten took over as leader of Australian Labor Party in 2013 and resigned in 2019 after taking the party to two elections.

He won the leadership in a two-horse race with Anthony Albanese (Albo) under revised party rules: Rules that gave Albanese little chance of winning.

In 2016 he came within one seat of becoming Prime Minister after adopting a strategy of prematurely revealing major policies well before the election.

He also adopted a benign approach to the everyday swings of Australian politics. An approach that was seen as sensible by some and too light on by others.

He wasn’t expected to win in 2016 so his narrow loss was seen as exemplary. In 2019 he was in better shape and given the dreadful performance of the Coalition in office was expected to win in a canter.

Labor had led in the polls for the better part of three years. Shorten had turned the conventional wisdom on its ear by going early with new policies and shirt-fronting the government at every opportunity.

In many ways it was a radical approach to electioneering taking from the rich to accommodate a fairer and more equal society. Having said that, there were many Labor die-hards who wanted policy to be even further to the left. Conversely, others wanted more centre-right policies.

In short, Labor had done everything right. They were disciplined and loyal to their leader but when the crunch came, even with a set of policies that would make for a better society, their campaigning was terrible.

“The campaign, not the issues, was Labor’s Achilles heel, with the Coalition’s personal attacks on Shorten the final nail in the coffin,” wrote Peter Lewis in The Guardian.

A leak, however, from the committee appointed to reason why Labor lost, seems to lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of Shorten.

It is now almost 6 months since Labor experienced its night of soul-destroying darkness. All the untruths and scares told by a prodigious teller of fabrication by Morrison wasn’t enough to unseat him.

The accrued mistrust of Shorten together with union association and unpopularity reigned supreme over the lies and scare campaigns of the Coalition. It must have run deep.

Once again Labor was to experience the loneliness of opposition.

Having had a right-wing Opposition Leader who took them to the left they elected a left-wing leader in Anthony Albanese who seems intent on taking them to the right.

In the months that have past, Albanese has given members the chance to publicly speak up on policy. Some have, and I feel sure more will once the report into their election loss is released in the next week or so.

Moreover, this point in time Albanese seems to be taking the rather old fashioned tactic of laying low unless its otherwise necessary, upping the anti in the third year and releasing policy with only a few weeks or months to go before the election.

At this point it would be wrong not to release a climate policy, very wrong.

The perception of Albo was that he could ‘tuff’ talk to any conservative leader. He indeed unlike others knew how to lay a decent shirtfront on the government.

Initially, Party members wanted him instead of Shorten. Now that they have him and the shirt-front is nothing more than a powder-puff to the left cheek, they want more aggression. As if it resolves everything.

As the theory goes, Labor only ever wins when a person of charisma enters the fray. Whitlam, Hawke and Rudd were men of their time who had vision, excited the people with the possibility that they could achieve great things.

All had one thing in common. They dared to be different, even radical.

The common good should be at the centre of any political philosophy. However, it is more likely to be found on the left than the right.

There are those in the Party, and those who support it, who long for the socialism of days long gone without a thought for the changes that have occurred in society. As if one thought suits all.

People scream out “retaliate with the truth”, but the fact is that accessibility or exposure to do so in opposition is limited to a 15-second grab on the nightly news.

Taken in totality, and in my view, there was nothing wrong with Labor’s policies for the recent election. It was just the way they were presented that was deplorable. A Hawke or Keating would have held society in the palm of their right hand and mellifluously told them the facts.

Had as much thought been put into how they were to sell them, and indeed defend the complications in them, they might have stood a chance.

As it was there were so many impediments that you could drive the proverbial truck through them.

Just as the government has a list of talking points to defend its policies, so too should the opposition have had to defend its own.

For example, when employment raises its head every Labor MP should know the following:

“In September 2013, there were 706,400 people unemployed (trend) or 697,100 (seasonally adjusted).

In September 2019, there were 718,000 people unemployed (trend) or 709,600 (seasonally adjusted).

They aren’t keeping up with population growth. Why does no one ever say in response to the jobs growth claim, that there are 12,000 more people unemployed now than when they took over?”

Tell it straight, tell it as it is and fix it.

I have gotten a little ahead of myself so let’s come back to the present. Labor is going through a period of self-examination with a new leader who hasn’t yet found his feet.

Albo is, however, making overtones of doing politics of the past whereas what is needed is something purer than the abrasive manner of the mouth that roared.

Albo should be using the phrase; “He’s loose with the truth” (about Scott Morrison) on every occasion he can, and keep on doing it until it sinks in.

And he should add; ”Just a clone of Trump” to a collection.

It is reasonable to assume that after his sucking up to Trump, Morrison is telling us that it will be the path of Trumpism he will be taking in the future.

At the moment Morrison is having a ball portraying Labor as a party of the past and that it is he and his party that are for the workers.

This impression is reinforced by responses to questions in this week’s Essential Report designed to get the first real take on peoples perceptions of Anthony Albanese’s Labor.

Morrison’s marketing experience – based mostly on slogans – comes through in everything he says and does. He understands the value of lies, repetition and misrepresentation.

It is a pity that Australian politics has degenerated to such a level, but it does however; give Labor an opportunity of rebirth, maybe as a “Common good party.” Dare to be different, and above all be progressive.

It would be a grave mistake to re emerge as just another centre-right party.

It seems to me that everyone wants an economy that is performing well.

However, when you are asking those who can least afford it to disproportionally support it you are not serving the common good.

When Joe Hockey was Treasurer he told the National Press Club: “The average worker works one month every year to pay for the welfare of others.”

At the time I wondered how many months the average worker worked to subsidise farmers, miners, tax breaks, negative gearing, franking credits, private and religious schools (religions don’t pay taxes), and retired politicians.

Fairness and equality of opportunity must be central to any Labor Party platform.

It is difficult to get a grip on just how Albo might rebrand Labor after its period of self-examination given that the opposition leader, given his confusing support for so many Coalition policies.

At the moment he is less popular than Shorten himself. If he doesn’t survive they could end up with a future leadership team of Queensland’s Jim Chalmers and former deputy leader Tanya Plibersek.

So much depends on the attitude of the leader that it is even more difficult to predict how the party will brand itself without it being settled in leadership.

Let’s put that aside for a moment. Before any re-branding can take place the party has to be satisfied that the reason or reasons for the defeat have all been exposed.

Was it the unpopularity of Bill Shorten? Was it the policies or was it entirely the campaign itself?

For me it was the trifecta. Yes, Shorten was unpopular. No, there was nothing wrong with the policies – it was the leaders inability to articulate them, which of course bleeds into the conduct of the campaign.

Ask yourself would Labor have won with Albo?

A hypothetical question indeed. And truthfully I don’t know what Labor should do. It is too early. All I can do is offer some comments, ideas and suggestions, but I have always felt that cleaning up our democracy would be a noble pursuit and the first step toward regaining government.

I note that as I write the news community today, 21 October, are asking for more transparency in our government. It is true that we have a government of a “need to know” mentality, that hides things from us and is about as transparent as a black glass window.

When a political party 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.

Here are some thoughts on a Labor revival based on repairing our democracy:

  1. The Labor Party needs to rid itself of out-dated social objectives and invest in a social philosophical common good instead.
  2. And recognise that the elimination of growing inequality is a worthwhile pursuit.
  3. In terms of talent, both parties are represented by party hacks of dubious intellectual liability without enough female representation and worldly work-life experience.
  4. Labor’s pre-selection processes are rooted in factional power struggles that often see the best candidates miss out.
  5. There is a need to select people with broader life experience. Not just people who have come out of the union movement. Fix it.
  6. Our Parliament, its institutions, and conventions was so trashed by Tony Abbott and those who followed that people have lost faith in the political process and their representatives. Fix it.
  7. Ministerial responsibility has become a thing of the past. Fix it.
  8. Question time is just an excuse for mediocre minds that are unable to win an argument with factual intellect, charm or debating skills. Fix it.
  9. The public might be forgiven for thinking that the chamber has descended into a chamber of hate where respect for the others view is seen as a weakness. Fix it.
  10. Question time is the showcase of the Parliament and is badly in need of an overhaul and an independent Speaker. Fix it.
  11. Recent times have demonstrated just how corrupt our democracy has become. We have witnessed a plethora of inquiries all focusing on illegal sickening behaviour. Fix it.
  12. Light frivolity and wit has been replaced with smut and sarcasm. It has debased the parliament and all MPs, as moronic imbecilic individuals. Fix it

I cannot remember a time when my country has been so devoid of political leadership.

In recent times we have had potential, but it was lost in power struggles, undignified self-interest, and narcissistic personality.

The pursuit of power for power’s sake and the retention of it has so engulfed political thinking that the people have become secondary and the common good dwells somewhere in the recesses of small minds lacking the capacity for good public policy that achieves social equity.

People on the right of politics in Australia show insensitivity to the common good that goes beyond any thoughtful examination.

One cannot begin to discuss the decline of Australian democracy without at the same time aligning it to the collapse in journalistic standards and its conversion from reporting to opinion.

Murdoch and his majority-owned newspapers; with blatant support for right-wing politics have done nothing to advance Australia as a modern enlightened democratic society.

On the contrary, it has damaged it, perhaps irreparably. Fix it.

Bloggers more reflect the feelings of grass-roots society.

Truth in government as a principle of democratic necessity needs to be reinstated.

Fix it first and common good policy will follow.

My thought for the day

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

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The Conservatives may have won the election, but what about our future?

In my two most recent posts, I have, in “The State of Play” discussed the background or lead into the 2019 election.

In the second, “The Bill the Australia despised” I canvassed the comparative campaigns of both major parties.

In this one I concentrate on the aftermath of the election and dip into the future of both parties. Firstly, that of  the Liberal and National Parties and then the prospects of Labor.

It is predictable, even inevitable, that those who participated in the Australian general election of May 2019 will step back and consider the result. Many have done so already.

Members of the victorious party – in this case the Coalition – all charged their glasses and drank of the well of the unworthiness of its victory.

And through rose coloured glasses – after it sobered up – found that nothing had changed.

They were still the same party with the same incompetent personnel. They had won yet another undeserved victory. Yes, nothing had changed. They were blessed with victory but little else.

The same problems (many of their own creation) still challenged them and they are now battling their way through their own incompetence with all the pace of conservative thinking.

In the meantime, the people who voted for them in their melancholy lethargy give not a thought to their decision to vote through their pockets.

In Australia uninformed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives fed them all the bullshit they needed and the menu generally contained a fair portion of untruths. It was true of this election, and those before it.

Way back on August 1, 2014 I wrote the following:

How has democracy worldwide become such a basket case? Unequivocally it can be traced to a second-rate Hollywood actor, a bad haircut of an English woman, and in Australia a small bald headed man of little virtue. They all had one thing in common. This can be observed in this statement (paraphrased):

“There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich.”

Since Margaret Thatcher made that statement and the subsequent reins of the three, unregulated capitalism has insinuated its ugliness on Western Society and now we have an absurdly evil growth in corporate and individual wealth and an encroaching destruction of the middle and lower classes. These three have done democracy a great disservice.

Where once bi-partisanship flourished in proud democracies, it has been replaced with the politics of hatred and extremism. Where compromise gets in the way of power, and power rules the world.

Australians have tuned out of politics because of the destabilisation of leadership, corruption on both sides, and the negativity and lies of Tony Abbott. The propaganda of a right-wing monopoly owned media and the exploitation of its parliament by Abbott.

Somehow the lost voters must be given a reason to return. A reason that is valid and worthwhile. A reason that serves the collective and engages people in the process, and a politic for the social good of all – one that rewards personal initiative but at the same time recognises the basic human right of equality of opportunity.

We need a robust but decent political system that is honest, decent, and transparent, and where respect is the order of the day. A political system where ideas of foresight surpass the politics of greed and disrespect, and truth, respect, civility and trust are part of vigorous debate and not just uninvited words in the process.

The right to vote is the gift our democracy gives. If political parties (and media barons, for that matter) choose by their actions to destroy the people’s faith in democracy’s principles and conventions then they are in fact destroying the very thing that enables them to exist.

The misuse of free speech may have contributed to the decline of our democracy, but it is free speech that might ultimately save it.

Of course, since then the phenomenon of Trumpism has reached our shores and taken us into a pit of sewage that we struggle to escape from

Opposition in this country has much to overcome before it can govern.

As for the loser well sad to say that they are still recovering from a loss of momentous proportion. How was it possible to lose an election that was well within their grasp?

(Well I will address that in my next article for The AIMN).

Here, however, is my summary of Coalition incompetence past, present, and likely future.

If government is a work in progress then how come this one has so much carry over work from election to election?

Power: Whatever happened to the 25% reduction in power prices we were promised? When will the government tell us its future intentions regarding coal? You would think a decade is long enough. I watched Angus Taylor on Monday’s 7.30 Report and he didn’t seem to have a clue on national energy policy.

Snowy Mountain Scheme: Taylor spoke about Snowy 2 as though it was a done deal and that the cost estimates all stacked up, whereas I could see cost overruns written all over it. And not just the costs but also the completion date of around 2025 seems ambitious. It’s reasonable to assume that it could come in over $10 billion given this governments record.

Initially promised at $2 billion, it was quickly revised to $4 billion and a contract for part of its construction has been agreed at $5.1 billion,” said Dr Bruce Mountain, director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre.

Climate Change: Will they ever take it seriously and admit that Abbott’s decision to rescind the ‘carbon tax’ was probably the worst policy decision ever taken by an Australian Prime Minister?

Drought: What is being done to future proof us from worsening drought? Does anyone know?

Water/ Murray Darling: What is being done to resurrect this once mighty river? Who was responsible for stealing much of the water?  Who is looking to its future?

Religion and free speech: With religion now (as proven by the last national census) in rapid decline will the government come clean on its proposals regarding the influence of religion and free speech?

Banks: The government is going through yet another ‘bash the banks’ exercise, shouting that it’s not us who are responsible for such low interest rates. It’s them, the banks. Now we have to wait for another inquiry for some blame shifting.

Newstart: The government continues to put a surplus ahead of any rise in Newstart. Their reasons are purely political and without a thought for the welfare of its recipients.

A fair rise in this welfare payment would kickstart the economy

National Broadband Network: Together with the tax on carbon it has been a monumental tragedy. To have spent so much money on something so important to the country’s future is a national disgrace.

ABC News reported the Chairman of Telstra, John Mullen as saying that the NBN “was a massively expensive waste of resources that has entrenched a slow, state-owned monopoly, rather than a competitive high-speed broadband network.

Aged care crisis: It is totally incomprehensible how any government, whilst at the time of instigating a Royal Commission into what is another national disgrace, should instead seek a budgetary surplus when previous reports have disclosed problems that could be attended to immediately.

Immigration: Forget about the boats, asylum seekers are flooding in by plane. This is what David Crowe of the SMH had to say:

“Australia is on track to post a new annual record for asylum seekers who arrive by air after official figures confirmed more than 95,000 arrivals over the past five years amid fears of corruption and exploitation.

About 80 people every day since the start of July have claimed protection after landing at an Australian airport, highlighting a huge change in people smuggling operations since the government’s crackdown on boat arrivals.”

And might I mention those who came by boat and are now in year 7 of an unofficial jail sentence for not committing any crime. Shame, Dutton shame.

Inequality in education: The Australian Government continues to spend the majority of commonwealth funding of private and Catholic schools. This is fundamentally wrong. Every child is entitled to equality of opportunity in education.

According to this article in The Guardian, educational inequality has cost the Australian economy more than $20bn, as well as contributing to the widening gap between rich and poor.

International Diplomacy.:Since Scott Morrison adopted the language of Trumpism our voice of international diplomacy has declined into crass gutter talk. Sure you can make your point, but trying to punch above one’s weight usually results in a very uneven fight.

Instead of trying to build a relationship with China it looks as though we are trying to intimidate them. Ah, the art of diplomacy.

Just who does this Prime Minister think he is that on a thought bubble of his own wind, in the loneliness of his limited intellect, think that he can make decisions concerning Middle Eastern peace with all the simplicity of a leader unsuited to the task. It’s not often you can offend all sides of an argument?

Trumpism: In his speeches in America the Prime Minister seemed to indicate that the characteristics of Donald Trump – with its self-styled disingenuous narcissism, hard right authoritarian dictatorial messages using accusations of fake news, or other methods to attack one’s opponents – would be the style he would follow.

The problems facing the world are global ones yet we find right-wing dictators of the Trump ilk using populism to talk about national issues.

Australians have a low opinion of Trump, and for the Prime Minister to deliberately copy his concept of and attitude towards life is to embarrass and lower the public opinion people overseas have of us even further. And at a time when restoring trust in politics is important.

The Office of the American President was once viewed by its people as an office of prestige and importance. Trump has reduced it to one of ridicule and contempt.

Internally the Coalition’s hard-right is holding sway over the small L liberals. Scott Morrison has control but only for as long as Peter Dutton’s ambitions are kept under control: Usually by allowing him to do and say what he wants.

Former Liberal leader John Hewson recently wrote this for the SMH:

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison would have us believe that he is putting Australia “first”, and is governing primarily to reflect the values and aspirations of the “quiet Australians” he would also have us believe gave him his “miracle” election win.

He would have us believe he was putting Australia “first” when he sat like a muppet through US President Donald Trump’s excruciatingly embarrassing press conference at the White House recently, when he allowed Trump to turn the opening of an Australian manufacturing plant in Ohio into one of his cheap presidential campaign rallies, when he did Trump’s bidding on the trade status of the Chinese and when he grossly misrepresented our climate actions in his address to the UN, including a sideswipe at the messenger Greta Thunberg and other student climate protesters.”

The economy: With what appears to be an economy going backwards and the government more inclined towards a political surplus, just what does the government plan to do? Create a surplus or try and fix what they have broken, including many people?

On Wednesday of this week the International Monetary Fund reported on the state of the Australian economy and it wasn’t pleasant reading:

The IMF – again – downgraded Australia’s forecasts, slicing 0.4 of a percentage point off growth for 2019 and cutting the 2020 expected recovery rate by 0.5 of a percentage point to a below-average 2.3 per cent.

As the IMF gave the Australian economy the thumbs down the Australian Financial Review reported that:

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared his budget surplus plan will not be ‘spooked’ by international events, as the International Monetary Fund slashed Australia’s economic growth forecast to just 1.7 per cent and advised world governments to unleash a spending stimulus.”

Rudd prevented a recession during the WFC with a massive stimulus spend. However, it looks as though the Coalition, according to Mathias Cormann, would never consider a Rudd style stimulus.

Given that they have no intention of spending anything immediately on infrastructure and their tax cuts and other measures haven’t worked l’m wondering just what miracle Scott Morrison is praying for to prevent a full-on recession.

Employment: Unemployment is measured with a less than perfect analytical process (one hours work a week= full time) and is probably much higher than the current figure.

Any increases in work participation are only matching the immigration rate so when the government heaps praise on itself for creating jobs this is all they are doing.

It has become obvious that the party that promotes itself as the only one that knows anything about economics is making a mess of it.

In fact ,during their tenure of government this government has made a monumental mess of almost everything they have touched.

* * * * *

Thus far I haven’t yet mentioned Medivac, funding for health, funding for the NDIS, an urgent requirement to do something about political donations, a national ICAC and revised rules for Question Time.

To say that we are ambivalent about our politicians is an understatement. Now we are ashamed.

We have been wandering around like a drunk looking for a drink under this government, from one serious setback to another. They say they have ‘a plan’ but in six plus years they have never revealed it.

What an abysmal bunch of well-educated yet incompetent fools we have in charge of so many important portfolios.

You cannot have clowns in positions of authority when the future of the country is at stake, and with two and a half years of his term still to go just being some sort of crazy clone of Trump wont get us to where we need to be.

My thought for the day

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

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A manifesto for how to tell lies

The Government’s accidental emailing of their confidential talking points is nothing more than a manifesto of how to tell lies, to lie by omission, mislead and generally confuse people.

They have nothing to do with providing the public with information about the Government’s progress in resolving issues, or initiatives in progress, or even the introduction of new ideas.

Lying in government, except for reasons of national security, is wrong at any time, however when they do it with deliberate intention of omission it is even more so. Scott Morrison’s Government, however, seem to do it with impunity.

The document contained an extensive range of talking points over a wide area of policy that including spin about drought assistance, climate change, rising carbon emissions, the banking inquiry, and other matters of embarrassment to the government.

On radio and morning television programs newsreaders and hosts treated the matter as being funny and a bit of a joke.

It isn’t.

The Attorney-General Christian Porter denied it was an embarrassment:

“I didn’t know that they were (distributed),” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“These things happen from time to time.”

He may as well have answered:

“Our government likes it, when we are answering questions to all be lying in unison, all telling the same lie in other words. What’s the point of us all telling different lies? Now that would be embarrassing.”

Here are some examples of the talking points, courtesy of The Guardian:

If you are asked about the ACCC inquiry announced by the Treasurer …

The government has directed the ACCC to undertake an inquiry into the pricing of residential mortgage products, particularly after the banks failed to pass on the RBA’s recent interest rate cuts in full.

The Inquiry will focus on the period from 1 January 2019. Since this date, there have been three cuts (June, July and October) by the RBA to the official cash rate.

Together these cuts have reduced the cash rate by 75 basis points, and the big four banks have passed on an average 57 basis points in owner-occupied home loan rates.

The major banks have decided to put their profits before their customers, and that’s not a good outcome for their customers or the economy.

As the Reserve Bank governor pointed out recently “lower interest rates put more money into the hands of the household sector and, at some point, this extra money gets spent and this helps the overall economy.

The inquiry will ensure the pricing practices of the banks are better understood and made more transparent by; understanding how banks make pricing decisions for residential mortgages – which is particularly important in the current context of banks not passing on the RBA rate cuts in full. Assessing how prices differ for new and existing customers. Investigating barriers to switching.

The inquiry will consider pricing across the entire residential mortgage market by major banks, smaller banks, and non-bank lenders. But the big four banks will be a key focus of this inquiry, given they hold around 75% of residential mortgage debt.

The government is committed to increasing competition in banking and promoting good consumer outcomes in the mortgage market to ensure that consumers can get a better deal.

The consumer data right provides consumers with greater access to their personal information giving them power to securely transfer their banking data to other providers to get a better deal. This is one of a number of policies the government is implementing to increase competition.

If asked how this differs to the royal commission and previous ACCC inquiries …

The financial services royal commission specifically focused on misconduct rather than the way that banks are pricing their mortgages.

The ACCC’s previous residential mortgage price inquiry specifically focused on whether the major bank levy affected the prices charged for residential mortgages.

The government has also decided to acknowledge the IMF climate report, which said Australia would fail to meet its Paris target:

We’re taking meaningful action to reduce global emissions with our $3.5bn climate solutions package that will deliver the 328 million tonnes of abatement needed to meet our 2030 Paris target.

Our national target is achievable, balanced and responsible, and is part of coordinated global action to deliver a healthy environment for future generations while keeping our economy strong.

In the electricity sector, we are reducing emissions while maintaining reliable and secure supply:

The latest official projections show the national electricity market (NEM) is on track to be 26% below 2005 levels by 2022, eight years early.

On the back of $25bn of committed investment in clean energy, Australia leads the world with more than double the per capita investment of countries like France, Germany and the UK.

If asked – IMF climate change report saying we will not meet our 2030 target …

We’ll meet our target without introducing a carbon tax.

When Labor were in government and introduced a carbon tax, energy prices went up and industry threatened to take jobs offshore.

The IMF report does not take into account our $3.5bn package which maps out to the last tonne how we will deliver the 328mt of abatement needed to reduce emissions to 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030.

The report also states that under a $75 carbon tax, retail electricity prices would increase by 70-90% in Australia.

That is not something we are going to do to Australian households and small businesses.

The Guardian adds that:

“When asked about that on Friday, Josh Frydenberg seemed to miss the question and answered along the lines of “Who said that? Labor?” which is a standard response these days.”

“The government is also pretty into what the party who is not in government is doing. Joel Fitzgibbon has given them some extra steam… “

Labor division on energy policy …

Joel Fitzgibbon has backflipped on his recent calls for a carbon tax and again presented yet another position on energy policy – this one driven by self-interest to save his own seat, following huge swings against him at the recent election.

Meanwhile Bill Shorten and Penny Wong have recently said they are “proud” of Labor’s reckless 45% target and made the case to keep it.

This follows calls by the assistant climate change spokesman Pat Conroy to scrap their 45% emissions reduction target but Labor change spokesman Mark Butler won’t commit to anything.

Whether it’s “Chairman Swanny” calling for Labor to keep their $387bn tax and spend agenda or Fitzgibbon looking back to the future then doing a backflip, Labor haven’t learned the lessons from the election and want to rehash policies Australia has comprehensively rejected.

We’re taking meaningful action to reduce global emissions with our $3.5bn climate solutions package that will deliver the 328 million tonnes of abatement needed to meet our 2030 Paris target.

Under our government Australia leads the world with more than double the per capita investment of countries like the UK, France and Germany.

The Guardian also adds:

“But the best thing about this one is that the government actually admits that emissions have increased (at least through its notes). For the records, emissions have increased every year since 2014, when the carbon price was scrapped.”

If asked about recent increases in emissions …

Emissions fell 0.4% over the first quarter of 2019.

Emissions for the year to March 2019 are up 0.6 % or 3.1 Mt. This small increase is due to an 18.8% increase in LNG exports. LNG production related emissions increased 4.7 Mt.

Absent the increase in LNG exports, total emissions would have declined. Australia’s LNG exports for the year to March 2019 are estimated to be worth $47.8bn.

While this industry’s success has increased Australia’s emissions, it has potentially reduced global emissions by up to 28% of Australia’s annual emissions by displacing coal generation in importing countries.

We are nearly half way towards our 2030 Paris target – emissions are down 11.7% on 2005 levels and the emissions intensity of the economy and per capita are at their lowest levels in nearly three decades.

We are also on track to overachieve on our 2020 target by 367 million tonnes.

And these are just some examples from 17 pages of nonsense. A government that finds it necessary to have to mislead the public so openly isn’t worth a pinch of salt, let alone a pot of Fosters.

Just before I finish I posted this yesterday on Facebook:

The Prime Minister’s cancellation of next month’s COAG meeting is yet another example of his government’s inability to govern. Early reports at 6pm on a Sunday night suggest a case of spilt milk over recycling policy and that other than “they had nothing else to talk about.” What a load of hogwash.

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 Bill that Australia despised

Who had the better election campaign?

It is said that hindsight is a wonderful thing.

An extended period of time after an event gives one a better reflection of its context, rather than the usual instantaneous rushed response.

So, it is in that vein that I look back on the last Australian election campaign, Saturday 18 May 2019.

Analysing the election campaigns a few months on gives one a greater understanding of the campaigns of both parties.

But let’s start with the Coalition. What did they take to the election other than some ill-considered tax cuts? (By ill-considered I mean that I struggle with the concept of tax cuts while there is a Royal Commission in place about the treatment of our aged and $1.5 billion is being taken from the NDIS). Well, they took very little, actually. A born to rule party, generally speaking, doesn’t think it needs to.

Although the Coalition, maybe because it was convinced it would lose, decided the effort really wasn’t worth it.

However, this belies the fact that Scott Morrison campaigned like a drunk looking for a drink. He lied in fact and by omission.

He invented scare campaigns in the best Liberal Party tradition. A retiree tax, The Bill Australia Can’t Afford, franking credits, and a tax on everything all worked a treat. So much so that you would be hard pressed to pick the best.

He upped his pomposity to the point of pure fakery that was a precursor to his conversion to Trumpism, playing his Christ-thin Christianity for all it was worth.

All it amounted to was some more money for domestic violence, a reduction in pensioner chemist scripts before becoming free, a lift in the five-year freeze on Medicare, 307 million for schools, 100 billion for infrastructure over 10 years, a cap on refugee numbers, a cap on immigration, a promise to maintain border security and catch internet trolls.

There was also a promise to reduce our power bills by 25% and of course, the tax cuts.

That was it in all its Liberal glory, shallow with no narrative about our future or where the Prime Minister saw us in an increasing complex world. There were no ideas, no mention of the struggles of our First Nations People or the poorest in our community.

Negativity seemed to be the order of the day, highlighted by a champagne launch held in the shadows of darkness in case the light might reveal how few bothered to turn up.

Hardly the foundation for a winning an election campaign but Morrison, to his credit, furiously pounded Bill Shorten for his inability to explain Labor policy.

He made what – was in my view – good policy look mediocre. His sheer will must have won over many voters.

Aided and abetted by the Murdoch press and the shock jocks; the wealth of Palmer and the inappropriate intervention of Dr. Bob, the Prime Minister created, not a miracle, but an illusion.

Life is about perception, not what is, but what we perceive it to be.

If you tell the people often enough that you are the best to manage the economy … they will believe you.

Hence the campaign slogan“Building our economy, securing your future”.

Speaking of slogans and advertising in general, one has to say that for the first time I can remember the Coalition got it right with the use of television and social media.

They targeted voters judicially with ads aimed at specific groups and individual personalities at the micro level.

If per chance you are wondering why I haven’t mentioned the Deputy Prime Minister and his party it is simply because I cannot remember his name nor what he said he would do for our good country folk.

That Morrison could have won after 6 years of the poorest governance the country has known, together with a policy campaign that berated Labor and overlooked its own hopelessness speaks volumes for his abilities of persuasion.

And what of Labor?

Labor entered the campaign full of running. After all, it hadn’t lost a poll since the Moses parted the Red Sea.

The government had elected yet another leader and had proven to be an accident-prone chaotic mess of people who had no idea how to govern. It had a leader who hadn’t shown an empathetic tear in all the portfolios he had been a minister in. Was he ‘tuff,’ was he a motor mouth. Yes he was.

Labor had everything going for it. It had revealed policy after policy in a calm orderly manner and provided the Australian voter with a stark ideological difference to consider.

Its policies were fair and just, seeking to take a more equitable share of the country’s riches from those that have and create a more just society.

Gone would be the days when the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

Labor’s policies were full of fresh economic ideas that would see an end to trickle-down economics that in conservative eyes at least is the answer to all things economics.

More money would be spent on schools and hospitals and all those things that created a better social cohesion. Nothing wrong with that. The average punter would endorse those moves rather enthusiastically

It undoubtedly had the better power and climate policies, the best proposals on health and infrastructure, and the better and fairer policies on education. The sheer range of policy was enormous, and displayed the vast work the party must have put into them.

But here is the crux of the matter. They fell for the oldest trap in the political Bible. They found themselves in a mire of detail.

Every policy required a truckload of explanation. Did you ever have it explained to you just why the country wouldn’t be able to afford the subsidies for franking credits and negative gearing a few years from now? No, because it would take a month of Sundays to do it. Therefore attempts to do so ended up being bogged down in the inevitable too hard basket.

And you can add to that last but not least the main reason Labor’s campaign fell flat on its face.

In my view Labor had the best campaign, the best policies, and the best group to manage the economy and was and is the best party philosophically conditioned and able to take Australia into the future.

However – and it is sad to say this – they had the wrong man as leader. One can hear populism vibrating in the hearts of those who use it and you can tell sincerity when confronted with it. Morrison reeks of populism and Shorten the latter.

My view nevertheless wasn’t that of the majority of Australians. More than enough hated him for reasons beyond my understanding to make the difference between winning and losing.

In a couple of weeks a small group of Laborites will report on why Labor lost to such a group of pathetic individuals unfit to govern our great nation. They will come up with a multitude of reasons, but Shorten probably wont be on the top.

My thought for the day

I found it impossible to imagine that the Australian people could be so gullible as to elect for a third term a government that has performed so miserably in the first two and has amongst its members some of the most devious, suspicious and corrupt men and women but they did.

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The state of play

Election 2019: Some background

Bill Shorten took over as leader of Australian Labor Party in 2013 and resigned in 2019 after taking the party to two elections.

He lost both narrowly.

In 2016 he came within one seat of becoming Prime Minister after adopting a strategy of prematurely revealing major policies well before the election.

He also adopted a confrontational approach to the everyday swings of Australian politics. An approach that was seen as sensible for some and light-on by others.

He wasn’t expected to win in 2016 so his narrow loss was seen as exemplary. In 2019 he was in better shape and given the dreadful performance of the Coalition was expected to win easily.

Labor had led in the polls for the better part of three years. It repeated Shorten’s plan of revealing policy early.

In the face of arguably the worst governance the nation had ever experienced, with infighting and three Prime Ministers in three years it is hard to see how Labor lost.

Until now I haven’t ventured down this path, the why Labor lost road, but I knew I would have to face it sooner or later.

To say that it was a shocker would be an understatement. It was a devastating loss. Nobody expected it. It was as we say, an unloseable election.

Labor had lost, but what wasn’t acceptable was that they had lost to the worst government in Australian political history. And might I add, they lost a fair slice of their base.

The eventual winner, Morrison campaigned with all the ferocity of a leader with nothing to lose, lying at will, exaggerating and inventing successful scare tactics that Labor failed to counter.

Was Morrison a better leader and campaigner? Did the Coalition have better policies? Was it how the votes fell in different states? What effect did religion have on the result? What part did the press play?

Morrison in his acceptance speech said it was:

“The quiet Australians” who voted for his party. “It has been those Australians who have worked hard every day, they have their dreams, they have their aspirations, to get a job, to get an apprenticeship, to start a business, to meet someone amazing.”

“To start a family, to buy a home, to work hard and provide the best you can for your kids. To save for your retirement. These are the quiet Australians who have won a great victory tonight.”

Anthony Albanese the favorite to take over the leadership said that the task was to respect the election outcome, “go back, talk to people and do better, because our people need us to be in government. I think Australia needs a Labor government.”

Before I go on there has been an event that will directly affect the approach of both parties as we move toward the next election.

Morrison meeting Trump and the subsequent words uttered by both confirm that both parties intend taking a nationalist approach to their politics.

In Australia the Liberal Party is now dead and buried. Morrison has confirmed it with his cloning of Trump’s speech to the United Nations.

At a time when what the world needs to solve problems of great importance is “internationalism” Scott Morrison has chosen to take the Trump path of “nationalism”.

The problem of climate change, international trade and indeed the human rights of the world’s citizens will not be resolved by nations looking inward.

Imagine if you will, a world where each nation outside of those able to stand on their affluence was subservient to the rich nations. Australia first, America first, England first, Japan first.

Where does it end? No nation is an island. (“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main,” said John Donne).

It is indeed sad, even hilarious, that after a week with Trump, Morrison was converted by the greatest fraud of our times into his illogical thinking.

Trump declared that the future belonged to the “patriots” and not “globalists.” Then Morrison echoed Trumps intemperate language.

By choosing to follow the ideology of the dangerous sociopath, Morrison by his own mental incapacity has humiliated our nation and placed us in the position of holding the hand of the imbecile.

He has no mandate for this.

Now back to the election background

Labor was so far in front in the polls for so long that it seemed inevitable that they would win. They had introduced policies that would result in a fairer more equitable Australia.

They were up front about where the money would come from and how it would be redistributed.

Conversely the Coalition was in a mess changing its leader three times. Internal disputes kept pulling them apart.

The Coalition for three years had been so riddled with infighting about its ideology. And so poor was their governance that they were criticised on a daily basis for it.

Their words and actions brought into question the very essence of the word truth. Or they at least devalued it to the point of obsolescence. Just because clowns were governing us it didn’t mean it was a laughing matter. Well, on reflection sometimes it became so.

We had gone through the Abbott years of incompetence followed by Turnbull’s years of hypocrisy.

Now almost 12 months into its third term the chaos and incompetence of Morrison continues with the same moronic ministers still in do-nothing mode.

It has become deeply imbued in either no policies for energy or climate change or enquiry after enquiry that are never revealed to the public.

The only legislation put forward is that which will further erode your civil rights or give the police more powers.

But this isn’t new, its stuff they have been working on for six years.

Yes, that is so. For six and a bit years the Coalition – while trying to re brand itself as a right-wing, deeply conservative political party – has at the same time been performing double back flips to produce policies that are of no importance to the people. It has all been about the brand. We are the best to handle the economy, the best on immigration, border protection and so on. We are the tuff party.

The battle for supremacy between the wets and dries, that is, the moderates and the hard-right has been fought and won by the hard-right. The Liberal Party exists in name only.

One might in fact argue that it is this internal debate that is dragging them into a dysfunctional rabble.

Malcolm Turnbull for all his pretension of being a moderate never offered his vast intelligence to this debate instead parking his views on climate science and energy least it upset the far-right colleagues of the party who were busy fighting nationalist wars.

Eventually the white flag of surrender was raised by the small “L” libs and the Liberal Party now exists in name only.

The reason Scott Morrison is Prime Minister is because he best fits the brand image of a far-right party. Remember that no one could explain why he was Prime Minister?

It has been a most bizarre period in Australian political history.

Now most of Morrison’s time is spent defending policies be it cuts to the ABC, a poor Internet service, the NDIS or their disgraceful response to the Uluru statement. The fact is that it rejected the proposal for ideological reasons, instead of having a proper debate, raises the question: Is there a place for the colour black in a “Nationalist” Australia?

Now that Morrison has adopted Trump’s language of putting nationalism before internationalism, one’s country before all others. Does it mean that our government will ignore the advice and or findings such as the UN or the international Monetary Fund or the WHO and others?

After six years is this government of the people, for the people; their sole achievement, other than introducing marriage equality, that we are a nationalist government believing that global governments are non-existent and unnecessary.

But then this is a born-to-rule government unconcerned with the views of others: of women, scientists, policy experts and particularly the young and most definitely other countries other than the United States of America of course.

If what has been done by this government; the erosion of our democracy and its institutions and a transformation into a nationalist government, putting itself first among all nations then by their own standards they need to be shown the door.

Just who does this Prime Minister think he is that on a thought bubble of his own wind, in the loneliness of his limited intellect, think that he can make decisions concerning our standing in the world with all the simplicity of a leader unsuited to the task?

It’s not often you can offend all sides of an argument.

My thought for the day

This American Conservative political strategy of painting everything as black as possible and then pretending it’s only they that have the answers is being duplicated in Australia. It seems Australians are falling for it. I thought we were brighter than that.

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What a ‘balls-up’ of a government

This is now my third post in a row in which I talk about the mistakes, bungles, stuff-ups and what we Australians call ‘balls-ups’ of this government.

You would think a party, or more accurately a coalition, couldn’t continue in government for six years making so many errors, faults, blunders, slips, gaffes and an appetite for lying unsurpassed in Australian political history, but this government has certainly achieved it all.

They, of course, haven’t woken to the fact yet. They still think they are God’s gift to the population; making plausible decisions that will overcome the threat of a recession by placing money ahead of the common good to achieve their aim of proving that drip down economics actually works.

That’s even if they have to reduce the taxes of the already well of and create poverty to prove a point.

The same goes for climate change. They will, if necessary, spend billions on more coal mines just to prove that it is all a socialist plot to take over the world.

Everyday I awaken to the controversy of differing views on this subject, wondering why the opinion of the illogical is allowed to shout its perverted anger longer and louder than the science.

We have impacted the climate, can we at least agree on that. Dismiss the science if you wish but can we agree that the weather is manifestly unlike that which we experienced when we were kids.

It is the self-superior wealthy white males who impact our thinking. People like the Trumps of this world who has thrown out every notion of goodness and empathy out the window.

He is a narcissist who treats the rules and established conventions that bind a society together like personal playthings to bend and corrupt for his own hold on power? The peoples of the United States and Australia need to urgently to say yes or no to the leaders of these nations.

If the answer is yes then we may as well forget The World Trade Organisation, the global trading rules and great rival trading blocs.

Does it mean that the LNP sometime in the future will be prepared to ignore the many global agreements and treaties we’ve signed? Particularly the ones in relation to refugees?

The people of a once-great nation need to, at the next election, reconsider the course their country is taking and the leadership that is compelling them toward disaster. Do they need a leader who cries and lies, yelling, “fake news” and “gossip” when confronted with the reality of his wrongs?

In the history of the United States have the people ever elected a President so ready to abuse his powers. If not, then he is most certainly the most divisive ever.

The conversion of some Australians into de facto Americans usually comes after an extended stay in the land of milk and honey. Scott Morrison managed it in a week.

His conversion to “Trumpism” is now complete. So much so that we need to ask the Prime Minister if he agrees with the President’s view that the future does not belong to globalists, it belongs to patriots,” which, I find to be an ugly and absurd proposition.

Why do these old men of times gone by believe that the past represents the future of the young? It doesn’t.

In Morrison’s short indoctrination period he managed to attend a political rally of the President of another nation, which is normally considered a no-go zone in international relations.

He also humiliated a young girl trying to voice an opinion, an argument beyond his comprehension.

He warned against fuelling “needless anxiety” among Australian children in the wake of a scathing judgement from the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg about the danger of climate change. “I’ve always liked kids to be kids,” Morrison said.

How grubby, how condescending, how patronising when speaking to the voices of tomorrow.

He wasn’t too concerned about the anxiety levels of two young citizens he and Dutton plan on returning to Sri Lanka.

On Sky News, a psychologist diagnosed her as autistic and delusional. She is on the autism spectrum.

Goodness gracious she has admitted that herself, but to say she is delusional is rather like saying that the science is also.

Misogynistic, demented, bigoted, narcissistic right-wing zealots and deniers like Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Sam Newman, Chris Kenny, Mark Latham, Lyle Shelton have also jumped on the bandwagon to criticise her.

What all these media tarts have in common is that they deny the science and all of them have debased, belittled, insulted and pilloried a young girl who believes passionately in the planet before self-interest and greed.

If Scott Morrison really wanted our kids to be free of worry and anxiety about their future, then he should do something about it.

He could start by declaring a Climate Emergency and not opening up more coalmines.

Under the Liberals, Australia’s carbon emissions have been rising ever since 2014.

The Government’s own data shows they will keep rising all the way to 2030.

Scott Morrison, his Government and by association the Australian people are an international joke on climate policy.

At least the good folks on Twitter have got it right when it comes to this government! Here’s a selection of what they are saying:

I think he still would have. They’re soulmates. He has virtually condoned foreign interference, in his defence of Gladys Liu. Even though the Chinese govt still doesn’t like him. Morrison will do anything to hold onto his majority, he has no scruples. Why would Trump’s lack of scruples worry Scott?

Then why aren’t they a national joke? What is wrong with the voting public of Australia? Are they entirely selfishly stupid? If we were to vote for a party whose only agenda was action against climate it would be better because we are basically looking after ourselves anyway.

I suspect all political parties are preparing contingency plans for a sudden, early election. There is a distinct possibility that the Federal Court will declare 2 LNP members ineligible very soon… Thus removing Scummo’s majority and plunging Parliament into crisis!

Barnaby Joyce spent less than 3 weeks on the ground while drought envoy yet claimed $675,000 in expenses during 9 months in the role and produced no published report. Who holds him to account? Under Morrison, nobody. They treat public money as their own.

I’ll leave the final word to …

 

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And I thought Tony Abbott could lie!

A. In my view Tony Abbott still wears the crown of the greatest liar ever to have soiled the plush red carpets of the House of Representatives. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, depending on his eventual time in parliament, might just take his crown.

I have written much on the subject of lying. In 2013 I wrote a piece titled “Being conned with bullshit” in which I said:

“There was a time when Australians didn’t like being conned.”

“Don’t listen to him, he’s a con artist, my folks would say.”

I can vividly remember that phrase. As a teenager we seemed to apply it to everything. We sort of instantly knew when someone was bullshitting.

Now it seems we have lost that instinct and are now a gullible lot ready to believe whomever and whatever we are told.

It was just three months ago that I wrote another piece in which I said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Prime Minister cons the people by saying he believes in the science of climate change, but his actions don’t back his words.

But the greatest con of all is when Rupert Murdoch says:

“I have always been a firm believer in providing the public with choice and access to quality content – it was the driving force behind the launch of Sky, Fox News and, particularly, The Australian”.

That then brings me to the point of this article, which is to highlight the fact that lying by our current Prime Minister is as much an everyday affair as were Tony Abbott’s.

You can tell lies for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because you want to cover things up that would otherwise embarrass you. That being said, they must have a lot to be embarrassed about.

On that basis let’s take a look at his current spate of lying.

An SBS journalist asked Morrison why it was racist to question Gladys Liu’s connections to China but not racist to call Mr Dastyari ‘Shangahi Sam’.

“I didn’t use either of those phrases. He bluntly answered.”

It was a blatant lie. He had used the term 17 times.

He had accused Labor of being racist toward Ms Liu, which is but another lie.

B. Next we have this from the Bernard Keane writing about the infamous National Press Club in February of this year.

“It takes real effort to stand out as a liar in Australian politics, but Scott Morrison yesterday lied so egregiously and offensively it was a triumph of political bulls–tery.”

They were into the Q&A part and talking about Financial Services.

Thus, that difficult issue didn’t arise until the Q&A part of proceedings, when the Prime Minister was asked about Labor’s plan to try to extend parliamentary sittings. Morrison responded with a lie of Trumpesque proportions.

C. The Morrison government kicked one of the biggest own goals on record criticising the Labor Party’s electric car policy when the Liberal’s own policy is basically the same.

D. Worth a look: Government Lie List – May Weeks 1 & 2 – twitter.com.

Here’s a some sample via Sally McManus:

About Scott Morrison’s litany of lies. 1 in 3 of new jobs are second or third jobs for someone already in insecure work or needing a second job because the wages in …

E. And this headline in The West Australian on 12 April this year from Gareth Hutchens:

“Scott Morrison caught out lying about Labor again.”

“Mr Morrison claimed overnight that Treasury had costed seven of Labor’s policies and the costing’s showed Labor would be the highest taxing Australian Government on record.”

F. Mark Butler in the SMH (and other publications) regularly complains about Morrison’s and Minister Taylor’s unvarying lying on climate emissions and meeting our Paris commitments, but seriously, what I am trying to fathom here is the why of it.

It is of course not just confined to Australia. It is a worldwide phenomenon that has resulted in the profession of politics now being synonymous with untrustworthiness.

Why are Morrison and his government telling so many lies? The only thing I can think off is that they are trying to hide their own incompetency. Their own stupidity.

You wouldn’t have to if you were a government of integrity, transparency and honesty.

I keep on asking myself why it is that the Australian people are so satisfied with liars to lead us.

One thing we do know is that politician’s lies undermine the very democratic processes that enable them to function. In doing so they deny the public an informed consent and you cannot have a democracy without it.

What is truly astonishing though is the assumption that they believe it is OK to lie and they know that we are silly enough to believe them.

It is such a condemnation of our political discernment and the reason why we treat our gift of the right to vote so badly.

And to think that at his early morning briefings surrounded by his many advisers, all they can discuss is what lie to tell to get him out of his or the governments latest mistake.

You would be forgiven for thinking that modern day politicians feel they are immune from speaking truth. That somehow they were above truth and the need of it.

The most intriguing thing though is that a man so obviously devoted to his faith can so easily lie.

Former US President Jimmy Carter was a most devout, righteous, Baptist. I wonder what he thinks of the current crop.

How utterly dispiriting it is when the hearts and minds of our politicians are so utterly corrupted by this virus of political lies, but more demoralising it is that ordinary people catch the same infection.

Let me finishing by quoting psychologist Tahnee Schulz:

“For a pathological liar, lying is innate. There’s a genetic predisposition, perhaps activated by trauma, personality disorder, or brain injury. Compulsive lying is more a learnt behavior. A pathological liar is a compulsive liar but a compulsive liar isn’t necessarily a pathological liar.”

 Just what classification the Prime Minister fits into I’m not sure but he can certainly tell some biggies.

My thought for the day

Has Australia ever elected a Prime Minister so ignorant of truth, so ill informed of science, so oblivious of the needs and aspirations of women and the needy – so out of touch with a modern pluralist society?

 

Scott Morrison: Prime Minister of Australia and other bullshit

With conservative governments one only needs to leave one’s fingers off the keyboards for a day or two and the gloom of their governance seems to crush the validity of one’s thinking.

So with a bit of positive thinking I will try to put my slant on what has been taking place in the world around us.

In no particular order of course, just as they come to mind.

1 Morrison’s trip to the US of course heads the list and my first thought is why would he invite our Prime Minister and I can only conclude that amongst the world leaders he is the only one that match’s Donald’s propensity for untruth and the phoney side of life. What Donald calls fake.

He sat through a press conference with the President in the oval office listening to the craziest politician in the world ramble inane words of war and peace as though he were the self-elected arbitrator of all things good and bad.

2 I don’t think it unreasonable to ask, but the Dept of Home Affairs has refused to say just how many warrants police agencies have sought to investigate journalists, claiming to do so would be an “unreasonable diversion of resources”.

What a joke. Day by day our freedoms are being taken away.

3 The schools protest last Friday was a huge success and many other concerned citizens joined them. The ratbaggery of our nation said the usual disparaging things and made themselves look foolishly under educated in the process.

So here’s a shout out to the Magritte fan holding a placard with a picture of a hammer labelled; “this is not a drill”

“Heat Is Murder” is the second-best slogan I spotted

And a special sign at the rally read, “If you were doing your job, I would be at school.”

Young Greta Thunberg followed up on Monday with a passionate speech at the UN condoning world leader for their inaction.

At the same time 250 academics at Australian universities say the federal government’s inaction on the climate crisis requires civil disobedience in response and they feel a “moral duty” to rebel and “defend life itself”.

4 The Biloela Tamil family were given permission to stay until the final hearing of their deportation case. Fingers crossed for them. If Dutton and Morrison win it will only confirm the extent of their miserable cruelty.

5 There has been a lot of conjecture about those attending the White House state dinner and why Pastor Brian Houston was rejected. Well given that Mr. Houston, the founder of the Hillsong Church, was censured by the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse may yet face the courts, this isn’t surprising.

However, over and above this anomaly there is another of even greater importance. Here is a clue. If you were selecting a list to attend this function who do you think would represent Australia better than anyone else?

A colorless list

Kerry Stokes

Andrew “Twiggy’’ Forrest

Anthony Pratt

Gina Rinehart

Rupert Murdoch

Lachlan Murdoch

Greg Norman

Nicole Kidman

Andy Penn

Shemara Wikramanayake (Macq. Group)

Mark Vassella (Bluescope)

Andy Thomas (Astronaut)

6 A $3.5B under-spend in the NDIS budget to aid placing the national budget in surplus is an immoral unjust imposition on those in need of life improving assistance.

Again, it is only to improve the government’s economic image in the electorate. 3.5 billion is a hell of a lot of money. The Minister would have known about the underspend for some time in order to work on his own budget.

Sad as it is this is pure government propaganda of the worst kind and yet again proves that they are not the best managers of our money. The best manipulators of it but certainly not the best managers.

They never will be until they understand that economics and society are interwoven.

One cannot exist without the other. We don’t have a government at the moment. We have a bunch of individuals hell-bent on the retention of power above all else and will do things like the aforementioned, or worse, to stay in power.

Any surplus comes on the back of a lot of hardship and sleight of hand economics.

7 This was sent to me by a Facebook friend:

Living in rural NSW, Northern Rivers, where politics is substantive only as action – we rarely take notice of Canberra and Sydney wafflers, who do little to nothing for us, and what little they do is often destructive.

Our northern rivers are nearly dry and the air is heavy with a deep haze of smoke.

The crisis we face is far reaching. There are mass fish kills along the Darling River, Dubbo, is running out of water, inflows into the Macquarie River are at an historic low, the huge Burrendong dam on the Macquarie is nearly empty, Nyngan in rich red soil country has had no rain since 2016, the country on the way to Bourke is turning into desert, Girilambone is dying, Warwick and Stanthorpe in Queensland have had no rain for month upon month and might run out of water completely, Stanthorpe deep in drought will need to truck in drinking water, towns in Queensland’s Southern Downs and Granite Belt are deep in drought … city dwellers have no idea how devastating climate change is to our fragile country and to the people who struggle to live thereon.

While outback fire fighters are fighting to contain 70 or more fires our politicians are squabbling and the media is gossiping – I wonder how they would react if the water out of their tap was mud brown and stank of things rotting. How would city folk enjoy living in country ruined by cotton, farming, coal seam gas and mining?

Politics is substantive as an action that is helping kill Australia. Not only is Australia suffering its worst drought ever, there is the additional fact that Australians are systematically trashing what remains of the fragile natural environment. Heavy clouds of smoke that I see from my study window are testament to that.

8 Now who would have thought that the Prime Minister of Australia and leader of the Liberal Party would suggest that the Labor Party was racist because it dared to question the credibility of a Chinese member of the House of Representatives?

In Question Time in an answer to a question from Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus he doubled down on his accusation making it blatantly clear that Labor was engaged in the character assassination of MP Gladys Liu.

I would have thought that the PM should be taking these matters more seriously.

However, the absurdity of this Christian Prime Minister is that he is making a fool of himself in making such a claim.

There is much water yet to run under the China Bridge so the Prime Minister should temper his reactions with an understanding that it is legitimate to ask questions. Many of them.

The integrity of many people is at stake here.

9 This song from Les Misérables keeps repeating in my ears

♫ Do you hear the people sing,

singing a song of angry men

It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again,

When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums

There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes. ♫

10 Why would you front the Government Senate Enquiry into domestic violence when one of the co chairs, Pauline Hanson, has prejudged you to be a liar?

We have had many deeply flawed people in our parliament over the decades but none more so than her.

Like everything else this government touches it is filled with political advantage regardless of the ethics.

This time it is to gain the vote of Pauline Hanson in the Senate. The most recent valuable enquiry on the subject is lying in a drawer somewhere with the words “look at me” emblazoned on the front page.

The deeply religious deeply conservative deeply excruciating Kevin Andrews and the deeply preposterous Pauline Hanson are to co chair the enquiry. Think deeply about that.

11 In an open letter, professors, researchers and lecturers from more than a dozen institutions have declared support for the Extinction Rebellion movement and its global week of non-violent civil disobedience in October.

12 The government appointed Barnaby Joyce its special drought envoy, yet he failed to write a report. Said he was busy cleaning up his act for the next series of Australia’s got talent.

My thought for the day

In terms of social activism, the word wait should never mean never.

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Withdrawing into an inner darkness … that is depression

Call it a product of modernity if you will, but it is not. Give it whatever name you desire. It has, to my way of thinking, been with us for as long as our capacity to think advanced beyond the primitive.

The news last week of the death of former St Kilda champion Danny Frawley is yet another in a long list of sports people and others who have suffered from this terrible affliction we call depression.

The fact that (as disclosed by his family) he believed he had beaten the beast of darkness, and stopped taking his medication made his death all the more sad.

Three doors up from a previous address where I resided there lived a young family with two teenage boys. Everything about them appeared normal.

The eldest boy played Under 16 Aussie Rules football with one of the local junior teams. As it goes, it was the same club as that of my grandsons.

At training I would often compliment him on his prodigious talent. “Ya reckon,” would be the response of the typical teenage kid with an exceptional ability.

Often I would say hello as he walked past on his way home from high school. He readily engaged in conversation … especially if it were about the football.

He seemed as content as the average teenage boy. I later learned that being alone in the bush, hunting and fishing, was what he enjoyed most. It was in this environment that he took his own life. He was found at his campsite with a self-inflicted bullet wound to the head.

The deepness of his depression had won the day.

The “RUOK?” day passed us by last week and since the suicide of my young neighbour I have often asked myself what if l had asked the lad that very question.

Or indeed what if someone had asked me at the lowest point of my own depression.

Unlike Danny Frawley, l continue to take my medication in the knowledge that to do otherwise is to invite the dreaded darkness back into my life and l never want that again.

In one of my latter sessions with my psychologist I mentioned how oblivious people can be to one’s depression even those you know and love.

In my experience I went from day to day, appearing to function normally without emitting any clues, or when I did either intentionally or unintentionally, people responded with the usual just “just get over it” or even when I attempt to explain, they without any understanding, accused me of seeking pity.

In my case I sought the sanctity of that which I thought I enjoyed most, writing everyday for The AIMN and acted out my everyday life life as best I could.

The catalyst for my recovery came with an innocent question to my doctor from which resulted a diagnosis of depression. I was refereed to a psychologist, placed on medication, and the began the long road toward the light.

I was never suicidal. I just wanted some understanding of that which I didn’t comprehend myself.

I found out that depression is common in men of my vintage, however every case is different. In my psychologist I found a women of great understanding who gave me back – through her treatment – many things I thought I had lost.

In medication I found an acceptance of drugs I would once, in a typical manly way, have rejected.

In meditation I found the calmness and tranquillity I longed for. The capacity to overcome mental and physical pain.

In my recovery I rediscovered the positive empathetic encouraging person I once was. One so willing to pass on the experiences of a life well-lived.

My thought for the day

Life is an experience of random often unidentifiable patterns and indiscriminate consequences that don’t always have order nor require explanation. The more we relate to others the more we get to know ourselves.

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Only the dumb get dumber

In June of 2007 at the height of one of the Victoria’s most crippling droughts, when Melbourne’s water storage levels had dropped to 28.4% – a drop of 20% on the previous year – the Bracks Government, amidst great controversy, decided to build a desalination plant.

According to Wikipedia the plant was completed in December 2012, and was the largest addition to Melbourne’s water system since the Thomson River Dam was completed in 1983.

However, at the time, Melbourne’s reservoirs were at 81% capacity, and the plant was immediately put into standby mode.

The conservative opposition of the time was at its critical best portraying the government as reckless and lacking in judgement.

Using a little bit of sagacity I recall saying at the time that there would come a time when the good folk of Victoria would be thankful for the farsightedness of Steve Bracks.

The plant was completed in December 2012, and was the largest addition to Melbourne’s water system since. The Thomson River Dam was completed in 1983.

At the time of its completion Victoria had weathered the drought and dams were still at 81% capacity, and Victoria copped a thrashing from those who haunt the dark alleys of backward thinking.

But only now is the former Victorian Premier being recognised for his forward thinking.

Ostensibly, the point I am trying to make here is that if we are to overcome our water problems of the present and the future we are going to, in the face of a rapidly changing climate, need men and women of the ilk of those who overcame the engineering problems great of the great constructions of the past.

The Harbor Bridge, the Opera House and the Snowy Mountains Scheme immediately come to mind.

“We have always had droughts. They come and go,” was the catch cry of the day. “She’ll be right, mate.”

Our current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison when wearing his Christian coat of many colours offers a different alternative to tackling drought. He invites us to pray:

“I pray for that rain everywhere else around the country,” the prime minister said soon after he took office. “And I do pray for that rain. And I’d encourage others who believe in the power of prayer to pray for that rain and to pray for our farmers. Please do that.”

With natural disasters like we have been experiencing; cyclones, floods and fires we have been effective in our reaction but we have never been proactive.

With the advent of more frequent events and because we are encroaching beyond our city boundaries we are going to have to develop better preventative skills and even faster reaction times.

It is vital that we become effective before disaster hits.

Now you might be asking what the writer knows about all this climate stuff. Well, the answer is very little, actually. I just happen to believe in the science. You see, science has made – in my lifetime – the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and enjoyed by all sections of society.

The only areas that I can think of where science is questioned are in the religious fever of climate change doubters, conservative politics and unconventional religious belief.

I have experienced bushfires and their capacity to frighten the shit out of one’s emotive thoughts, and the dryness of a drought-ridden tap, but that is all.

To place one’s own uneducated voice above that of scientific observation is just plain dumb. Question it by all means, but do so within the context of your own knowledge.

What the average Australian lay-person, whether they live in the bush, as I do, or the person who lives in the city, as I once did, is to change the way we think about catastrophic events.

In my view the first thing to do is not to listen to the dumber than dumb politician or journalist whose first reaction is always the old; “well droughts have always been with us” or “a once in a lifetime event.”

When I listen to those who know about these things I always refer to the increase in the frequency of the events-the changing weather patterns across the nation.

They are the sorts of things we should give thought to.

When talking about climate change don’t think you have to win the debate. All I do is acknowledge that it is indeed a very emotive and complex argument, and then say that’s why I support the science. If you think you know better than 98% of the worlds scientists then that’s up to you.

But can you give me a good reason as to why I should I believe you before 97% of the worlds climate scientists who specialise in the area?

After all, we don’t now ask for the evidence between cigarette smoking and cancer or the suntan and skin cancer, so why do folk want specifics when we talk about climate change.

It’s fair to say that last weeks fires up north were caused by vandal hastened intent but they thrived in conditions bought about by climate change. And of course we cannot say that this is definitively do. But the modern farmer knows about his land.

A Facebook friend by the name of Rod Judd recently wrote that:

“Living in rural NSW, Northern Rivers, where politics is substantive only as action – we rarely take notice of Canberra and Sydney wafflers, who do little to nothing for us, and what little they do is often destructive.

Our northern rivers are nearly dry and the air is heavy with a deep haze of smoke.

The crisis we face is far reaching. There are mass fish kills along the Darling River, Dubbo, is running out of water, inflows into the Macquarie River are at an historic low, the huge Burrendong dam on the Macquarie is nearly empty.

Nyngan is rich red soil country has had no rain since 2016, the country on the way to Bourke is turning into desert, Girilambone is dying, Warwick and Stanthorpe in Queensland have had no rain for month upon month and might run out of water completely.

Stanthorpe deep in drought will need to truck in drinking water, towns in Queensland’s Southern Downs and Granite Belt are deep in drought; city dwellers have no idea how devastating climate change is to our fragile country and to the people who struggle to live thereon.

While outback fire fighters are fighting to contain 70 or more fires our politicians are squabbling and the media is gossiping – I wonder how they would react if the water out of their tap were mud brown and stank of things rotting.

How would city folk enjoy living in country ruined by cotton, farming, coal seam gas and mining?

Politics is substantive as an action that is helping kill Australia. Not only is Australia suffering its worst drought ever, there is the additional fact that Australians are systematically trashing what remains of the fragile natural environment.

Heavy clouds of smoke that I see from my study window are testament to that.”

The concern is that people, mainly in our cities, don’t see don’t even think about the problems Rod wrote about.

In many instances we are an; “out of sight, out of mind society” that believes there is nothing we can do. We could have voted this hopeless bunch of climate deniers out of office a short time ago but we let the chance go through to the keeper.

We have to put the logic of our argument to our partners of our journey into the future. And there is no need to leave out the emotional aspect.

Above all, we cannot allow our children in their protests to say that their seniors were dumber than dumb.

My thought for the day

The Deputy Prime Minister (I can never remember his name) suggests that we ‘get serious’ about water security. I will leave you to ponder that.

 

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Our self-righteous ‘know all’ Prime Minister

When the Prime Minister made his first official speech in Albury after becoming leader of the Liberal Party, he spoke passionately about the principles of Menzies, the culture of the time, and his own personal philosophical beliefs. He spoke about the founding of the Liberal Party and said it was the most successful political party in our history.

Now most people would know that without the help of the unrepresentative National Party, the Liberal Party couldn’t win.

Whilst I admired his craving for his political beliefs, when he spoke of his party’s current achievements he could find no room for self-critique. He never does.

It was as though he was blind to all the chaos happening around him or lost in the elation of getting the top job.

One would have thought he was talking about the best government ever when we all know that they are arguably the worst.

When he spoke of the past I thought “here we go again” with this conservative, tranquil longing for a time that has long passed us by. A time when everything seemed to take an eternity to happen and people knew the difference between manners and civility.

You can go back to the place but not the time. Whatever there is to dislike about our nation now, well it all began with Morrison’s side of politics.

The aforementioned words are taken from a piece I wrote in September 2018 that rather opportunistically leads me into the present.

It is said that truth is the first casualty of war. Unfortunately, it is also the first causality of Australian politics.

Today truth is treated like it has – like religion – gone out of fashion.

Take for example the Prime Minister’s and Treasurer’s straight out lying about the economy during and since the recent election. They spent the entirety of the campaign telling us that it was all going to plan.

‘Plan’ is a word you will hear more often than not these days. It’s like the truth; they plan to make it obsolete some day.

They cannot deny that with all the resources available to them they simply had to have known that the economy was in bad shape, but in spite of it choose to lie to the Australian people.

Yes, they said it was all going to plan despite knowing that we were soon to be presented with some of the worst economic growth figures the nation has had for many years.

When Scott Morrison told his audience in a speech at his party’s campaign launch last May, that “You know it all begins with keeping our economy strong,” he must have known he was telling a lie of omission.

The latest GDP figures make it very clear that the economy was clearly tanking when he made his speech, and he must have been well aware of it.

We now know that the economy hasn’t been in good shape for some time – way before he made his speech to the party faithful.

We have been conned by the best in the business but most people don’t give a stuff.

This brings me to last week’s Essential survey. Whilst the Coalition continues to govern with the same haphazard ‘born to rule’ turmoil it did before the election and the Labor party, under a new leader, is still under a few meters of snow and as last week’s Essential Report shows, the majority of the public has simply turned off politics.

A bare majority say they are taking notice of federal politics, with just 15% professing to follow events closely.

That leaves half the population either wholly or partly disengaged.

Less-informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths.

Talking about the Global Financial Crisis Russell Marks of The Monthly today wrote that:

“… Australia avoided a recession through the application of sound economic policy. Now, there would be no way Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg could claim, as Paul Keating did, that a recession – should it eventuate – is one we “had to have”: it’s entirely avoidable. Future historians may well reflect that the oddest thing about it is that in May 2019, we voted for it.”

The brutal yet incontestable fact is that after six years of three conservative treasurers we have not had a worse financial year since the 1990-91 recession. Best managers of our money? That is what they are still saying, believe it or not.

The Parliament returned last Monday for the spring session with the sitting days determined by the Prime Minister. One wonders where they will find the business to fill the working week given their inability to think beyond the next day, let alone the next month.

The government – in its attempts to divert the public’s attention from its appalling handling of the economy – now has a number of diversions running simultaneously. In fact, they are drunk on the drug of diversity.

Firstly, we have the time honoured demonisation of anyone who arrived on a boat, known as the ‘systemic cruelty to asylum seekers drug.’ Secondly, the Newstart recipients opiate for great pretenders and the unscrupulous culture drug known as the ‘ice cashless welfare debit card.’ (Still on trial but who cares? Sounds cool to me).

The government has said that trials of the debit card have shown signs that the system works. Perhaps they ought to read the Auditor Generals scathing report that has been deeply critical of claims that this program is working.

But then, they never read the Gonski report into education either.

Anyway, if you believe in progressive democracy, as I do, you cannot pre-suppose that the party you support should win every election. What you are, however entitled to expect is that whomever wins will govern for the common good. Conservatives have been in power for six plus years and we have not seen one iota of good governance. The have governed for those that have and forgotten those who have not.

6 As an ashamed Australian I’m appalled at my country’s continuing immoral punishment of children and adults in indefinite detention under the excuse that it is a message to people smugglers.

It is well known that these people have committed no crimes yet have been incarnated for nearly six years. Shame on my country. This government should be charged with child abuse.

Our government is spending inordinate amounts of your money, in your name, to wreck the lives of asylum seekers just to make an example of them and also in the name of Christianity.

It is just as well that Labor has a girl with the qualities of Florence Nightingale who regularly cleans up Dutton’s vomit of hatred and admirably throws it back at him. Kristina Keneally shows all the attributes of a Shadow Minister for Home Affairs to be able to stand up to a former copper intent on unjustly sending home a Tamil Family who have done no wrong.

Yet another raid took place last week by the Australian Federal Police, and yes, we are not allowed to know for what by whom or indeed anything else and as usual the iron-wall of the top echelons of those you govern us have said “no comment” as they incrementally turn us into a police state. And no, we are not allowed to know why that is.

Three weeks ago during a chat after a church service I spoke to the Minister about the decline in Christianity in the western world. I said that the media and government didn’t realise that the church in Australia was indeed fighting for its very existence,

He agreed adding that the thought didn’t occur to many in the church either. I have written on that very same subject for The AIMN if you care to read.

The Prime Minister’s performance last Monday night was impressive. His unexpected win at the last election has emboldened him to the point where his ability to omit facts and embellish others knows no bounds.

He seems to have, such is his confidence – or downright self righteousness – gone from “my government” to describe what the government has done, doing or has planned, to the word “l” in describing all things Morrison.

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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They are the most consistent government in living memory

To say that I’m completely surprised would be an understatement. During the election campaign the LNP assured us that they were the best at managing our economy and that everything was fine economically.

Now I don’t know what to believe. I do know however, that when you only govern to win the next election – or indeed to be rid of your leader – then you haven’t got your eyes on the road ahead.

The example that readily comes to mind is the government’s refusal to give the surplus a miss and put the money into infrastructure. Surely the management of our money is now in question.

Blaming Labor, Labor, Labor, Trump, floods and drought will no longer do. Labor had a Global Financial Crisis to contend with and they came through with flying colours.

Because they have promoted themselves as the best party to manage the economy doesn’t make it God’s truth.

On that front Wednesday’s news that the economy was tanking came as no surprise. Before I go on let me say this …

To hear the Treasure waffle on about the latest growth figures in the G7 (of which we are not a member) like they were a tiny hiccup instead of a full-on fart was agonisingly consistent.

The Prime Minister talks about consistency in all policy (in this case refugees) but that raises the question of his own Christian consistency and of course consistency is something that the LNP is very familiar with.

Chaos has been the one consistent throughout the tenure of the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments and it continues unabated.

If you think back over the now 6 years plus of this government’s performance, then chaos consistency has been its greatest achievement.

This government’s performance over its time in office has been like a daily shower of chaotic offensiveness consistently raining down on society. One has to ask if performance – or the lack of it – means anything.

When drafting a budget for the common good what should your priorities be?

Last Sunday morning while I was watching ABC Insiders it occurred to me just how many policy areas they include in the program. Some raised didn’t get the discussion they deserved.

Because I have always taken notes while I watch it, I can verify what I say. It all points to the turmoil of the government.

They began with the obvious Aldi bag full of dollar notes but Labor escaped a full-on hiding when it was agreed that both parties accept donations in dishonest circumstances and that something needs to be done about it. This led into the need for a National ICAC, real time disclosure of donations and there the discussion terminated.

Then they moved onto the eminent High Court decision regarding the Sri Lankan family and the options open to the government.

Then they went back to the ICAC discussion and the need for Labor head office intervention in NSW.

Religious freedoms were next on the list and many points were raised as to the complexity of the proposed legislation.

I pause at this juncture to point out my reason for this listing. It is to communicate to the reader that this is what happens every week on the program and has been the case for the last 6 plus years.

They then went on to discuss education, needs-based funding and raising teaching standards.

From that they went onto university fees and how foreign students propped up universities.

Then it was our relationship with China and how poor it was, and how it affected our trade with them. Somehow the Deputy PM copped a serve from the panel with one of them calling him hopeless. I concur. What is his name again?

From there they went onto the US-China trade war and then to that travesty of justice known as Witness K.

By this time they hadn’t even touched on the state of the economy and when they did it, didn’t get the time it deserved.

The same can be said for press freedom, and then it was all over rover and from that I hope I have made my point.

Chaos reins and has done so since the LNP won office. No doubt you can add the economy and Treasurer’s pithy attempt to spin it, drug testing welfare recipients and the AFP raid plus our right to know into tomorrow’s program.

When a political party 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.

From last week you could add the Barrier Reef, and credibility on climate change.

Previous to that it was Newstart, Joyce bringing abortion into line, women’s vote, digital enquiry, personal information, ACCC Report, transparency in government, news diversity, Australian content, surcharge on access to NBN, lying about Paris figures, lying about job figures, drought funding, industrial relations, Angus Taylor and power prices. Must have been a week where they gave climate change a miss.

So there you have it. For six years we have had scandal after scandal or leadership challenges with chaos spreading like rust throughout the whole parliament.

Never in the longevity of my observation of our politics have I witnessed a more incompetent, corrupt and narcissistic bunch of lying fools.

Afraid to make decisions or when they do it’s usually to take something from us or to give the rich more wealth.

It now continues, gathering pace, as did Steven Bradbury at the 2002 winter Olympics, winning by doing nothing. Being consistently bad at what you do takes a lot out of anybody but fair dinkum all these blokes deserve a gold medal. And the girls of course.

They have nowhere to go on the economy because in their consistency they have never been able to see that economics and society are intertwined and is therefore is abhorrent to them.

Wouldn’t it be good if in our parliament, regardless of ideology, we had politician’s whose first interest was the peoples and not their own.

Embedded in their minds is the idea that economics is the domain of the rich and privileged and society belongs to those of class and privilege.

After six years of various prime ministers and treasurers, internal warfare and amateur government, Australia has just recorded its worst financial year since the 1990-91 recession. Josh Frydenberg thinks it’s a sign of a good year in the rose garden. As I said, they are consistently good at being bad. Everything points to another financial year of much the same consistency.

They will place all their faith in an extremist neo-liberal orthodoxy of old monetary policy that might give them a Clayton’s surplus and a recession just to top it off.

My thought for the day

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.

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A society of our own creation

Facebook makes you dive into humanity, hear things you do not want to hear, and defend what you have to say. It is for those with opinions or for those who had not previously had the courage to share them.

And fence-sitters, of course. It also attracts the reasoned, the not-so reasoned, the civil and the uncivil.

The biased and the unbiased. It is for people with ideas and sadly those without any. It whispers or shouts dissent. But mostly it’s a society of our own creation.

Unfortunately, it gives a safe house to those with the cut of sarcasm and the political nutters who without it have no voice.

Many times those who inhabit the extremities of right-wing politics have demonised me. Those feral types who would not have their voices heard elsewhere.

Friendships are made when the tyranny of distance is broken by the written word. It makes possible the resumption of friendships long since lost in the overlook of time.

With technology not thought of in our youth but readily accepted by the young it is but a click or two away – the correspondence of today.

People live on our Facebook front doors and you can see, feel or hear them. Their voices give credence to their presence. It is no substitute for the charisma of another’s presence, but it makes for an excellent second best. To be able to reach out to a single person a thousand miles away a century ago would’ve been God-like in its essence

As a tool for social networking nothing surpasses it – families included.

Dating I cannot opine about but it is useful for business. Video chat fits easily into Facebook’s seemingly endless possibilities, as do news and information. Politics being my main interest and means of friendly persuasion seems to start on Facebook and ends with The AIMN.

It does have privacy and fake profile issues but the biggest downside is one’s time that it seems to engulf in enormous amounts.

My truth is that Facebook is the first thing I open every morning. If I have an article that has also been posted on The AIMN then I share it on 100 Facebook pages that I’m a member of.

Facebook suffices for My thoughts for the day. They seem to have attracted a small but significant following of thoughtful people who add their opinions to what I say.

I have never been able to work out why it is that if I post a piece as plain text it is likely to get more reads than a linked version to The AIMN. Much more satisfying for the intellectual journey.

Reading the comments of my articles on the various pages, together with my email and messenger communications is all very time-consuming. Mostly I just press ‘Like’ and hope that it suffices and that people will understand that it is impossible to comment on everyone’s. I do read them all.

One is often surprised with the total comments one gets but at the same time I’m left wondering just how many of my friends are actually “live” so to speak.

Some days I get 10-20 friend requests and I haven’t a clue as to why people do it, given I never hear from them again. Maybe they just like my thoughts without complication.

With great certainty as I peruse Facebook every morning I find many links from it to the many fine articles on The AIMN. This is but one of many ways I digest my news and commentary.

So Facebook to me has become somewhat of a complicated beast. It doesn’t have the political quality of discussion that The AIMN has but nonetheless is part of my daily life.

Social media used wisely can enhance your life and provide an opportunity to share similar interests and ideas with people who otherwise would not do so.

It opens up a treasure chest of thoughts you may not have considered and an opportunity to debate them.

As with drums, smoke signals, word of mouth, the printing press, the pen, books, the telephone, newspapers, film, radio, television, tablets, type writers, computers and so on all these things over the centuries have, all in there own way, provided us with a sense of community and inter-connectedness.

For some it is not a mandatory part of being who we are where as for others if gives them a voice in matters that concern them.

Nobody forces you to read a newspaper or send smoke signals. Facebook is at the end of a lingering line of historical means of communicating with fellow humans and it probably wont be the last.

It will not however, replace the human touch, the reverberation of the human voice or the aroma of life that we all so fervently require.

My thought for the day

No one group should think they have an ownership of righteousness, or ideas for that matter.

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Finding the root of the problem

The mainstream media (MSM) will only ever print or do whatever advantages them the most. But when what you are looking for is often buried in the bowels of its publications, one has to dig somewhat deeper to find the roots of what one is looking for.

So much attention is given to renewable energy when discussing the lowering of our carbon emissions that we neglect just what can be achieved with a few trees. Well more than just a few.

In fact, you would have to be barking mad to dismiss just what effect a few trunks can have.

I recently found this article by Samuel Osborne in The Independent, where he talks about how China intends to raise the country’s forest coverage to 23 percent by 2020. With the aid of 60,000 foot-solders it plans two projects covering an area of at least 66,600 hectares:

“Asia Times recently reported that a large regiment from the People’s Liberation Army, along with some of the nation’s armed police force, have been withdrawn from their posts on the northern border to work on non-military tasks inland.

The majority will be dispatched to Hebei province, which encircles Beijing, according to the Asia Times which originally reported the story. The area is known to be a major culprit for producing the notorious smog, which blankets the capital city.”

When I mentioned all this to the editor of The AIMN he implied that I was barking mad. Sapped me a bit, then he tweeted:

He tore me to threads limb from limb telling me to concentrate on the trees. So I did. Further reading revealed that India was also planting in massive numbers. “India planted 66 million trees in 12 hours as part of record-breaking environmental campaign,” and all done using 1.5 million volunteers.

But that’s not all:

Last year volunteers in Uttar Pradesh state set a world record by planting more than 50 million trees in one day.

Meanwhile in Australia, the latest report on the condition of the Great Barrier Reef says that it has gone from poor to very poor according the Sydney Morning Herald. The next rating is “In Danger.”

I watched the Environment Minister, Susan Ley, who admitted it was as a result of climate change, tell the press that the government was doing all it could and that we were on track (broken record) to achieve our Paris commitment.

Her gloomy words were contrary to glowing report she gave the reef not long ago when she said, after a spot of diving, the reef was teeming with life.

One could be excused for thinking that some form of good news had come upon her, such was her demeanour.

“But 50 million trees in a day,” I thought. “I wonder how many starfish there are.”

Another report The Guardian Friday showed greenhouse gas emissions rose 0.6% in the year to March.

Watching the Emissions Reduction Minister, Angus Taylor, tell the press that the government was doing all it could and that we were on track (broken record) to achieve our Paris commitment was pure theatre.

As an aside, 80% of our coal is exported, and yes, coal is the real problem.

My thought for the day

Isn’t it rather ironic that coal and gas are the biggest contributors to climate change and that Australia is the biggest exporter of both?

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Being conned with bullshit

Until such time as the Prime Minister of Australia puts aside his belief in a literal truth of the Bible and listens to the same science that convinces him to place drugs on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme; as tells him that we are damaging our planet and its inhabitants to the point of extinction, then it is incumbent on us scribes who opine on such matters to keep the public up to date on what Scott Morrison; and other leaders are doing to destroy the planet.

Even if we find ourselves repeating our gloomy truths as often as the lie itself.

The old adage that if you tell the same lie often enough it will eventually be believed has never been truer than the one where we will meet our Paris target in a canter or the less-used one about Why should we do anything about our emissions when we only emit 1.3 % of the world’s total emissions?

I notice now that all government MPs, given that their boss tells these blatantly obnoxious lies, feel at liberty to do so themselves.

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

Have you ever thought about the fact that if Australia emits 1.3% of the world’s emissions, or thereabouts, then there must be other countries similar to us in size and stature, with much the same emissions? Well of course there is:

Image from Visualcapitalist.com

And that being the case, what might their total emissions amount too?

Well I found such a list and the total emissions are about 25% of the total. So that if Australia and all of those similar to us in output made an effort to reduce emissions then we would reduce the world’s emissions substantially.

Is there not a journalist who can ask this simple question of the Prime Minister?:

“Sir, you say that Australia only emits 1.3% of the world’s emissions and in lowering them we would hardly make any difference. Is that correct?”

“Yes, correct”

“Well then my question is this: If there are a number of countries who emit 1.3 %, or thereabouts, and the total is about 25% of the worlds emissions would you not think it in Australia’s best interests to encourage these countries to match us or even go beyond our target?”

An important point to remember here is that if exported “Australian coal was factored into Australia’s emissions,” as this article in The Canberra Times tells us, “our contribution to global emissions would be 4 per cent rather than 1.3 per cent. This would make Australia the world’s sixth-largest contributor to climate change.

Why then are the journalists, media outlets, the scientists and others not telling us in the most forthright manner that this is what we should be trying to achieve?

All the government is doing by telling us that we can do nothing is just perpetuating a lie of omission.

The thing about the first lie is that at the original Kyoto meeting John Howard refused to sign up. Then as the curtain was coming down on the conference Australia was offered some rather remarkable concessions as inducements in the form of carbon credits, to join up.

Of course, if we use these credits it would make it much easier to reach our target but the world would rightly think that we were not making a serious effort.

In spite of the fact that all the government agencies saying that we cannot make our target and our emissions are continuously rising Scott Morrison insists that we will. No one knows what secret information he has, nor will he tell us. Worst of all though is that no one asks.

When the government’s own departments tell us that we haven’t a hope in hell of doing so and he contradicts them, who should we believe?

This article from the ABC Fact Check explains how the government is misleading or actually lying about how Australia will meet its Kyoto 2020 carbon emissions.

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.

It is a matter of great amusement to me to hear people call for – as they did on Q&A last Monday night – a common sense debate on the subject. I would have thought the debate had been overwhelmingly been lost by the right of politics a long time ago. Enough said.

A thought

The current destruction of the Brazilian rain forests, as alarming as it is might be, or could turn out to be, might just be the catalyst for an event of monumental proportions.

One that might force us into action. The lungs of the earth, as the rain forests are called, as I write are experiencing 7,300 fires and the illegal harvesting of the trees is beyond tally.

Something will have to give sometime.

My thought for the day

On the subject of climate change. Think about this. If we fail to act and disaster results, then massive suffering will have been aggravated by stupidity.

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