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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.

Breakfast without Barrie

1 The phrase “Back to you Barrie” is synonymous with the ABC Sunday Morning political program Insiders. Last Sunday saw the retirement of its co-founder and long-time host Barrie Cassidy.

Cassidy had a prodigious knowledge of politics and the intrigue that surrounds it.

To say that I will miss Cassidy’s hosting of the program would be an understatement. He had a capacity to involve the viewer in his own emotive take on any particular subject or indeed crisis, of which he saw many over a long career.

My poached eggs on toast will never taste the same again. Nor will the aroma of the freshly ground coffee that always followed.

Wikipedia tells us that:

Cassidy was born in Wangaratta, Victoria, on 4 March 1950, and grew up in the Victorian town of Chiltern, attending Rutherglen High School. He had four brothers and an elder sister, and grew up with a love of football and sports.

Starting his career as a cadet on the Albury Border Morning Mail in 1969, he moved to the Shepparton News about a year later before being hired as a court reporter for the Melbourne Herald. Joining the ABC Network, he initially covered state politics. He moved to Canberra to become the ABC’s federal political correspondent for radio and television in 1979.

In 1986, Cassidy was approached by the then prime minister, Bob Hawke, to become his personal press secretary.

He remained in the job—which he has described as “the most rewarding and interesting period of my life”—until Paul Keating took over the leadership in 1991 following a challenge.

Moving to Washington, Cassidy worked as a correspondent for The Australian before returning to Australia to host the Last Shout and Meet the Press programs on Network Ten. He returned to the ABC to replace Paul Lyneham as host on The 7.30 Report, before he and his wife, Heather Ewart, were sent to Brussels as European correspondents.

In 2010, Cassidy wrote The Party Thieves: The Real Story of the 2010 Election (Melbourne University Press, October 2010, ISBN 978-0-522-85780-1), which one reviewer called “the standard text on precisely what happened in 2010.”

Cassidy has hosted the Sunday morning political discussions show Insiders since its inception in 2001.

He formerly hosted the sports panel show Offsiders, but he stepped down from this role to write The Party Thieves, and at the end of the 2013 season left the program entirely. He has also hosted the morning show ABC News Breakfast.

Cassidy appeared as himself in the first episode of the 1998 Australia television series The Games. He has a keen interest in horse racing, and is a devout fan of Collingwood in the Australian Football League. He is also a keen jogger, running almost every day.

Cassidy was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Quill Awards presented by the Melbourne Press Club on 15 March 2019. In accepting the award, he announced his intention to retire from Insider son 9 June, after the Australian federal election.

 

What often surprised me about the show was the amount of content they packed into the hour and it often didn’t occur to me until I analysed it later.

Take his last show for example. In addition to all the tributes paid by a lot of people from both sides of the political divide and the normal segments he still managed to give the following a decent going over.

The AFP raids and the corresponding assault on a free press, an interview with deputy Labor leader Richard Marles, tax cuts, scare campaigns, Bill Shorten’s future, further analysis of the election, the cash rate crisis, the difference between Treasury’s assessment of the growth rate and the treasures, our relationship with China, and the downturn in the economy in general.

The journalists for the day were the same three who appeared on the first show all of 18 years ago: Dennis Atkins, Malcolm Farr and Karen Middleton.

The tributes to Cassidy were brilliantly compiled but it was unfortunate that Gerard Henderson couldn’t find a few words for the host who had given him much exposure over the years. But then he may not have been asked too.

All in all the tributes were serious but at times funny if you get my drift and Barrie was left with a few tears running down the indented creeks of his weather worn face.

The head-nodding interview of Tony Abbott with Mark Riley always leaves me looking for further thoughts on psychoanalysis and the total incomprehension of Bob Katter left me in fits of laughter.

The most absorbing bits were the reflections by politicians of being interviewed by Cassidy and the comparisons made with other great political interviewers like Laurie Oakes, David Speers, Kerry O’Brien and others.

He wasn’t a trapper for the gotcha moment, as many confessed. It wasn’t until later that you realised that he had enticed the truth from an unsuspecting spider caught in a casino’s web.

2 Here are some other thoughts in what is quickly turning into a continuance of the style of governance we have become used to now for 6 years, heading for 9:

Despite what you may think of our relationship with China she is responsible for the biggest elimination of human poverty in world history.

The inconsistency is absolutely astonishing. One cannot help but believe that they have one set of rules for one side of politics and another for the other. Talking about the AFP.

Truth has grown beyond tired. It seems to be exhausted.

Freydenberg logic: The worse it gets the better off you are sticking with the government who created the mess in the first place.

Labor deep in the red with its finances having failed to win as many votes as it thought it would.

The embracement of women’s sport in society over the past 5 years has been an outstanding success as has been the support of their male peers at grassroots level.

Scott Morrison gets an $11,000 pay rise, the day workers lose penalty rates. And if the tax cuts pass he doubles his money in 2024 with an $11k annual tax cut 💰💰

Yet in July thousands will lose their penalty rates.

Craig Kelly: How on Earth does this gonzo qualify for a permanent gig on Saturday morning News 24. More importantly why do people vote for idiots with empty heads.

The President of the USA has tweeted that the quality of air in his country has improved since he became president.

There was a time when it was harder to get out of the Australian Cricket team than it was to get in. It would seem that getting out of the CFMEU is of the same degree of difficulty.

3 On Wednesday despite many in both the Labor and Union movements seeking his resignation, John Setka refuses to go. For most people he comes over as nothing more than a union thug who has been a stain on the Union movement for many years.

“I’m elected by CFMEU construction division members, right, every four years,”

“They’re the people that I’m beholden to and they’re the ones that pay my wages and I answer to them.

“I don’t answer to anyone else but them. So when an election comes, if they, for whatever reason, see fit to not have me as their secretary, they won’t vote for me.”

Setka has been facing calls to quit following some outlandish criticism about the much-respected domestic violence advocate and former Australian of the Year, Rosemary Batty.

He is already facing charges to which he plans to plead guilty and if he has a sentence recorded against him then he cannot hold public office.

All that said it is not my intention to waste further words on people of John Setka’s breed.

Well other than to say congratulations Albo for having the guts to be rid of the bastard.

My thought for the day

Something is drastically wrong with the moral compass of a nation when it legislates to make bigotry a right.

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He’s the Goodes all right

No doubt some of you will have heard about two documentaries, soon to be released, about the events leading up to the retirement of former champion Australian rules, Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes.

And I don’t use the word “champion” lightly. Firstly, he was a champion man who was chosen as Australian of the Year in 2014 for his activism and good works. Secondly, he was a champion of his selected sport having won two Brownlow Medals. The highest accolade any player can receive.

The better of the two documentaries is said to be The Final Quarter which is set against the story of his final three years of his career.

The other, named The Australian Dream looks at Goodes’ story from the point of view of the historical context of racism and the under view of our ongoing discrimination against our indigenous folk.

Apparently key personnel from all the clubs, players managers, and other vested interests have seen the two movies and as a result have issued Goodes with an unconditional, if not a belated apology to the champion sportsman for not doing more to stem the chain of events that abruptly ended his career.

There are elements within our society who condone racist behaviour simply because of a lack of understanding; some journalists do it to satisfy their masters.

Sensationalism sells. Others do so because it is handed down from the father. With others, it is nothing more than ignorance.

We should look upon them not with anger but with pity. They see what they are thinking and feeling; seldom what they are looking at.

Those who follow my words for The AIMN or on Facebook will know that racism deplores me and I write about it a lot. In the back of my mind, I knew that I had written much about that time and in particular I was disgusted with a piece written by Andrew Bolt.

Not just for his obvious racism but his untidiness in fact and his scant knowledge of our great local game.

Many words have been used to describe what Andrew Bolt does. Some describe him as a journalist – others a commentator. I believe Tony Abbott once declared him Australia’s premier intellect. For me, he is a specialist “scandalist”.

Scandal means a publicised incident that brings about disgrace or offends the moral sensibilities of society: Damage to reputation or character caused by public disclosure of immoral or grossly improper behaviour; Talk that is damaging to one’s character; malicious gossip.

Bolt is a person who specialises in all of the above. Scandals are developed for whatever reason or you can make them up.

So why am I repeating my piece on Bolt (below) I wrote in 2013? Well, in this review from ABC News Breakfast the author points out that an integral part of the documentary in question is the Bolt account of what took place.

“Another part of Goodes’s exit story explored by the documentary is a 2013 incident in which a 13-year-old girl called him an “ape” during a game against Collingwood at the MCG.

Goodes pointed to the girl after she made the comment and she was escorted from the grounds.

“In his press conference the next morning, about 17 times, he said ‘It’s not her fault, please don’t go after her,” Darling said.

“Goodes was supported by Collingwood president Eddie McGuire in the wake of the taunt, but only days later McGuire apologised after suggesting the dual-Brownlow medallist promote the musical King Kong.

Darling said the “narrative” which claimed the treatment of the 13-year-old girl was the reason for the booing of Goodes only emerged in 2015, two years after the event.

The booing of Goodes intensified throughout the 2015 season, during which he performed an Indigenous war cry after kicking a goal in a game against Carlton.

His former teammate, Lewis Jetta, later said the booing was part of what had motivated the display of the dance, which was created during a development program with young Aboriginal footballers.”

You can read the full review and watch video reviews and footage of the time here.

Deconstructing Andrew Bolt

I hesitated to write this probably because enough has been said about the nefarious personality of the journalist (or whatever) Andrew Bolt.

However, I have been affronted on a number of levels. His blatant racism, his elitism, his disrespect for the greatest game on earth (my bias) and his sensationalism but unquestionably his lack of journalist integrity.

This is his piece published 30 May 2013. I invite you to read it in full before I return to the issue.

“ EDDIE McGuire is of course a bigger racist than the 13-year-old girl he helped to smear last week. But I blame the AFL’s Indigenous Round.

First, let’s compare. On Friday, a 13-year-old Collingwood fan at the football with her Nan shouts “ape” at bearded Sydney player Adam Goodes.

She said later she did not mean the word in a racist way and tried to apologise when she was told he was upset. Yet Goodes pointed out this girl, as old as my year 7 son’s to security staff, who marched her out of the stadium.

Police grilled her for two hours, initially without her grandmother present, and threatened with charges. Her face was shown on national TV and she was publicly branded a racist.

On Saturday Goodes absurdly declared, “racism had a face – and it was a 13-year-old girl”.

The US has its Ku Klux Klansmen, Serbia its Ratko Mladic, Australia a teary 13-year-old. Spare me.

Eddie McGuire is not some 13-year-old girl from a single-parent family. He is 48 and a canny media professional. He knows perfectly well “ape” can be a racially derogatory term, since he’d berated the girl for using it.

Yet on radio yesterday he suggested the producers of the new King Kong musical “get Adam Goodes down” to promote it. I was astonished.

Sure, McGuire also says he didn’t mean the comments in a racist way, but if the 13-year-old girl’s excuses weren’t believed, why should McGuire’s, especially when Goode’s was said by his club to be “in more of an emotional state as a consequence of this than of the incident on Friday”?

I blame New Racism for some of this. The Indigenous Round is a fashionably racist event that encourages people to divide the world into a white “us” and an Aboriginal “them”. It assumes a grievance and a difference. It encouraged commentators to see in the 13-year-old the archetypal white racist rather than a scared and sorry girl who’d been naughty but now needed her mum.

It similarly encouraged them to see in Goodes the black victim, rather than a 34-year-old sports star taking outsized offence at the rudeness of a girl.

Enough. We are all humans and all apes. We should start seeing each other as individuals, rather than representatives of some “race”.

The girl is just a girl and not a “white”. Eddie is just Eddie and not that bright.”

Can we all get on with the footy?

My thoughts

Firstly, it must be said that Andrew is a convicted racist and has been found to on many occasions lie in his writing, particularly on the environment. In addition, he has been convicted of defaming a female magistrate. He wants the law changed so that in the future under the guise of free speech he will be able to vilify at his heart’s content. In addition, the federal opposition has openly said the law will be changed so that he will be able to do so.

I have no doubt that he is paid extraordinary amounts of money to proliferate the pages of the Herald Sun with this sort of gutter journalism. Let us not forget what Justice Bromberg, said about Bolt’s use of language. He said, “His style and structure is highly suggestive and designed to excite. His style was ”not careful, precise or exact” and the language not moderate or temperate but often strong and emphatic”. There is a liberal use of sarcasm and mockery,” he wrote. Language of that kind has a heightened capacity to convey implications beyond the literal meaning of the words utilised. It is language, which invites the reader to not only read the lines, but to also read between the lines.”

We should also remember whilst we are on the subject of Apes that during the London riots, of the not to distant past Bolt in one of his pieces used the word ‘aped’ to describe the copycat behaviour of some people. The use of the word was legitimate in that sense until you appreciate that he was talking about black West Indians, and then the word became racist.

Now it should be remembered that Mr. Bolt is of Dutch origin and there is nothing wrong with that of course except that he tends to proclaim it as some sort of European superiority. So much so, that he has this need to travel to Europe to attend the opera because he doesn’t think ours is up to scratch. I ask myself what might he know about Aussie Rules football. Well, I would venture to suggest he wouldn’t know a behind post from a goal post, but then Andrew seems to have a view on everything. After all, he is paid too, and the more outrageous the better.

Now let us examine what Mr. Bolt has written

She said later she did not mean the word in a racist way and tried to apologise when she was told he was upset.

Two points here. Firstly Mr. Goodes had no way of knowing how old the lass was. Teenage girls can look decidedly older. Secondly, she wanted to apologise when she was told he was upset.

Is Bolt saying that his actions didn’t already indicate it? And why does he mention that the girl is the same age as his son? Where is the relevance?

Who marched her out of the stadium.

Really I saw no one being “marched” out of the MCG.

Police grilled her for two hours, initially without her grandmother present, and threatened with charges. Her face was shown on national TV and she was publicly branded a racist.

The use of the word “grilled” is sensationalist unnecessary and inflammatory. How does he know she was questioned for two hours and it is illegal to my knowledge to question a minor without the presence of a parent?

Her face was shown in the “live” footage how could it not be” and later pixilated for the news programs.

Because of what she said, the media reported it as racist. She was not “branded” Again he uses inflammatory language.

The US has its Ku Klux Klansmen, Serbia its Ratko Mladic, Australia a teary 13-year-old. Spare me.

Good gracious, please spare me the quite nonsensical comparison. Why not include Hitler?

Eddie McGuire is not some 13-year-old girl from a single-parent family. He is 48 and a canny media professional. He knows perfectly well “ape” can be a racially derogatory term, since he’d berated the girl for using it.

No, McGuire is politically of a leftist persuasion and has never forgotten his roots. His parents by choice still live in one of the less affluent suburbs of Melbourne.

I draw the readers attention to Andrew Bolt’s use of the ape word as previously indicated. He knows all about the ape word. Again he uses a provocative word “berated” but I don’t think McGuire ever did that.

Sure, McGuire also says he didn’t mean the comments in a racist way, but if the 13-year-old girl’s excuses weren’t believed, why should McGuire’s?

There is no disputing this point except to say that in McGuire’s defence he is the only personality I have heard not mount a personal vindication of their actions.

I blame New Racism for some of this. The Indigenous Round is a fashionably racist event that encourages people to divide the world into a white “us” and an Aboriginal “them”.

In my lifetime, I do not think I have ever read a sentence more calculated to offend. Bolt seems to not only offend the great game itself but those who play it and the multitudes who follow it.

New racism. What is that? Racism is racism. There is nothing at all new about it.

The Indigenous round is a series of matches that celebrates the unique contribution that some of the most amazing players make or have made to our game.

I hardly think Bolt would appreciate that. When you see the way in which white teammates applaud their black counterparts. I do not see, any white us or black them. I think Andrews mind has gone “walk a bout” And I meant that to be insulting.

It similarly encouraged them to see in Goodes the black victim, rather than a 34-year-old sports star taking outsized offence at the rudeness of a girl.

I am a 79-year-old white former player. I think I grasp the emotion of our game and how he feels. I do not expect a person of the stature of Bolt ever could.

Enough. We are all humans and all apes. We should start seeing each other as individuals, rather than representatives of some “race”.

The girl is just a girl and not a “white”. Eddie is just Eddie and not that bright.

Can we all get on with the footy?

Science might tell me that I descended from apes. Darwin might also suggest that by virtue of mutation I am not one now. Just as Michael Long is of the Aboriginal race, I am of European descent.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and white, but as with Eddie is not that bright.

These last couple of paragraphs I think reinforces the opinion of David Marr that Bolt is a journalist of little repute. To quote Marr on Bolt read this:

But Bolt’s ugly columns have not cost the Herald Sun much more than a fair dose of embarrassment.

There is in the office of the Editor of the Herald Sun (and dare I say those of other Murdoch newspapers) a four-drawer filing cabinet with a suspension file with a tab and the word “truth” on it. It has not been looked at in many years because it is the newspaper where the truth goes to die.

The statement from the AFL read as follows:

“The treatment of Adam challenges us, and our right to be considered Australia’s Indigenous football code,” says the joint statement. “Adam, who represents so much that is good and unique about our game, was subject to treatment that drove him from football. The game did not do enough to stand with him, and call it out.”

“We apologise unreservedly for our failures during this period. Failure to call out racism and not standing up for one of our own, let down all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, past and present.”

My thought for the day

Champions get up when they can’t.

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The disappearance of your right to know. Author: Rot. N. Government

Saturday 8 June 2019

1) I had intended concluding my remarks from last Wednesday’s piece on the character of Coalition MPs in the House of Representatives with an analysis of Coalition Senators but seeing as the numbers are not yet finalised I shall confine myself to a few general remarks.

The new group of Senators will take their seats on July 1. At this stage, it looks as though they will be a little more accommodating to the Morrison government than the previous misfits.

It appears the government will need the support of five, maybe 6, conservative crossbenchers to pass legislation.

Labor’s Katy Gallagher, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts in Queensland and Jacqui Lambie in Tasmania look as though they will get another go in the house of bribery.

“Ten sitting senators have lost out including Lisa Singh and Gavin Marshall (Labor), Ian Macdonald, Jim Molan, Lucy Gichuhi (Liberals), Steve Martin (Nationals), Peter Georgiou (One Nation), Derryn Hinch (Justice Party), Fraser Anning (Conservative Nationals) and Duncan Spender (Liberal Democrats) will exit the chamber.”

The Greens, with a seat in every state, will keep their representation at 9 and the existing non-Greens crossbench cut from 10 to six.

Labor seems to have won 13 seats.

Despite what appears to be a spend of $60 million Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party failed to win a seat.

Maybe he can claim to have lost the fight but won the war.

What was it Keating called them, ah yes, “unrepresentative swill.” Well, that they still remain.

“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that, the vast majority take very little interest. Why is it so?” (John Lord)

2) “Mr Morrison refused to comment on whether he supported the proposal Home Affairs and Defence bureaucrats were alleged to be discussing in Smethurst’s story. He said he supported the free press and argued the raid was not an attack on that.”

So said the Australian Prime Minister in response to a police raid on a News Corp journalist’s home more than a year after a story she reported.

It seems to me that the more power you give them the more reasons they will find to use it.

The Government puts forward arguments for increasing the powers and the budget of AFP while those opposed are too feeble to dissent lest they are shamed for being insincere about national security.

They are given everything they want and the public put up with more and more secrecy and a lack of transparency that has become a hallmark of the cloud of clandestineness under which this government seems to operate.

As if that incident wasn’t enough a day later they raided the offices of the ABC regarding the Afghan files.

I am really bewildered that this warrant allows the AFP to “add, copy, delete or alter” material in the ABC’s computers.

Does it mean that the AFP could change as little or as much as it decided in order to falsify evidence or indeed create it?

All Australians should think about that: the AFP has the power to delete material in the ABC’s computers. Is this Australia 2019?

This is an unprecedented violation of the independence of the press and coming so soon after the election carries with it an implicit message that the government and its agencies have the power to shut you up and that they intend to use it.

It’s aimed at intimidating whistleblowers that have revealed information that the people have a right to know. It’s aimed at shutting down journalists and frightening ‘the you know what’ out of those contemplating spilling the beans.

So here we are three weeks after the election having been assured during the campaign that the economy was the best in the world, but now we have a crisis created by the same party and only they can fix it. No change really. Just lie some more.

“Surely an incoming government who doubles the countries debt cannot then claim to have inherited a debt problem that amounts to a budget crisis.” (John Lord)

For their part, the fourth estate as the custodians of the public’s right to know is obliged to act responsibly and report facts.

Clearly, Peter Dutton needs to fess up as to the point of raiding Smethurst’s home and not her office and he also needs to explain why the raid was necessary in the first place.

He wanted more power than any person in Australian political history has ever had. He now has it but is he the right man to be in charge of the most secret democracy.

Then on Thursday 6 May the AFP more or less admitted that journalists from both the Newscorp and the ABC stables are now likely to be charged with publishing protected information.

The raids provoked outrage and drew international attention to Australia’s draconian secrecy laws. Which, by the way, are supported by both major parties.

The combined raids are so full of coincidences as to make me wonder what side of my mouth I should laugh from.

3) It hasn’t taken long. And you can put aside the excuse that the new minister, Angus Taylor, is new to the job and is still settling in. Transparency is something this government tried to destroy in its previous two terms.

In yet another example of Coalition clandestineness, or secrecy plotting.

This time the Energy Minister has failed to release our emissions data for the December quarter as mandated by the Senate. And there can be no excuse.

Labor’s climate and energy spokesman, Mark Butler, responded saying that Taylor “must immediately release the latest emissions data.”

“Angus Taylor has failed his first task as new emissions reduction minister,” Butler said. “This is a disgrace and shows total disregard to the Australian people and the Senate process.”

“But really it’s no surprise considering Angus Taylor has continually argued against climate action and is part of a government that has incessantly lied about what their emissions data actually shows, which is that emissions are rising and we’re not on track to meet our international climate commitments.”

In 2018 the Senate passed an order that the data be released no later than 5 months after being determined.

The government has been under pressure because its climate policy has been failing to stall Australia’s emissions, which have been increasing every year for the past four years.

They have lied and lied and lied about the figures. Particularly the Prime Minister and the Minister. They should immediately stop doing so.

“If a political party is not transparent in supplying all the information necessary to form a judgement, it is destroying the democracy that enables it to exist.” (John Lord) 

Then out of the blue on Thursday 6 June what should be released into the public domain as a matter of course, is done so in an interview with “The Australian“ newspaper. Now, how classy is that?

The figures show emissions rose by 3.5m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or 0.7%, in the year to December 2018 thus continuing a steady climb since the abolition of Labor’s carbon tax.

4) On World Environment Day 5/6/2015, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Australia was not taking credible action on Climate Change and called us a free rider. What has changed?

My thought for the day

“To my friends who keep insisting that we are guaranteed free speech, please listen. The Australian constitution does not guarantee it. It only implies it.”

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Not without controversy: dunderheads disguised as ministers (part 2)

Individuals come together to form a team and it is how they come together that dictates success or otherwise. What is best; a team of champions or a champion team? I would take the latter anytime.

When I began researching the individuals that make up the Morrison team it became apparent that there were some good people within the Coalition. Equally apparent was the fact that they held little power within the parliamentary party.

In this piece I am more interested in the character of the individuals that form the team and how they fit into the group as a whole. So with a little help from our friends at Wikipedia, let’s take a look at this incompetent and controversial mob of dunderheads. We’ll start with Scott Morrison and work our way through:

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison in 2007 following the retirement of Bruce Baird lost a pre-selection ballot 82 votes to 8 to Michael Towke, a telecommunications engineer and the candidate of the Liberals’ right faction.

However, allegations surfaced that Towke had engaged in branch stacking and had embellished his resume.

The state executive of the Liberal Party dis-endorsed Towke and held a new pre-selection ballot, which Morrison won. The allegations against Towke were subsequently proved to be false.

Read into that what you may but it would hardly pass the pub test.

Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack:

In 1993, McCormack published a controversial editorial in which he blamed homosexuality for AIDS and criticised pride parades. He wrote that “a week never goes by anymore that homosexuals and their sordid behaviour don’t become further entrenched in society. Unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay”. He asked “how can these people call for rights when they’re responsible for the greatest medical dilemma known to man – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome?” His article was the subject of three complaints to the Australian Press Council.

In other editorials, he called for the return of caning in high schools, saying “there is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with students being given a ‘stinging reminder’ about how to conduct themselves”.He also compared women’s soccer to an “egg and spoon race”, and advocated for the death penalty.

David Littleproud, Minister for water Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management:

In December 2017, Littleproud was one of only four members of the House of Representatives to vote against the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 legalising same-sex marriage in Australia.

Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer.

Alan Tudge, Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure.

Greg Hunt, Minister for Health:

In June 2017 Tudge, and Liberal Party colleagues Greg Hunt and Michael Sukkar, faced the possibility of being prosecuted for contempt of court after they made public statements criticising the sentencing decisions of two senior judges while the government was awaiting their ruling on a related appeal. They avoided prosecution by, eventually, making an unconditional apology to the Victorian Court of Appeal.

Susan Ley, Minister for the Environment:

An examination of Ley’s expenditure claims and travel entitlements in January 2017 revealed she had purchased an apartment on the Gold Coast for $795,000 whilst on official business in Queensland. Ley defended the purchase, saying her work in the Gold Coast was legitimate, that all travel had been within the rules for entitlements, and that the purchase of the apartment “was not planned nor anticipated (a claim which was widely derided).

Ley released a statement acknowledging that the purchase had changed the context of her travel, and undertaking to repay the government for the cost of the trip in question as well as three others.

Kevin Andrews:

As Minister for Immigration and Citizenship [in the Howard government], Andrews attracted controversy after he revoked on character grounds the visa of Dr Muhamed Haneef, who had been granted bail on charges of aiding terrorists.

It was a grubby move by Andrews to make something out of nothing. He was guilty of nothing and we lost a good Doctor. He is also known for his pro everything Christian and anti everything else attitude.

Peter Dutton, Minister for Home Affairs:

The AMA named him worst ever Health Minister [when in the Howard government] then he followed that up with a long list of controversies from Manus, Nauru, South African farmers, same-sex marriage, African gangs and many others the reader would be familiar with. No point wasting my precious words.

Nicolla Flint:

Some of Flint’s columns [she was a former journalist] expressed her support for recreational and commercial fishing and hunting. She wrote that Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath should not have apologised for taking and sharing trophy photographs with animals he killed while on safari in Africa.

She expressed support for the commercial hunting of Saltwater crocodiles in the Northern Territory and described the McGrath controversy as an “opportunity to encourage a debate about the economic, ecological and environmental benefits hunting can bring.”

In her maiden speech in the Commonwealth Parliament in 2016, Flint spoke of the “modern day scourge of environmental and animal activism.”

Ian Goodenough:

In 2018 he supported Peter Dutton calls to treat white South African farmers, who are sometimes targets of attacks, as refugees.

Goodenough is not a supporter of environmental conservation efforts: voting against a carbon price, increasing marine conservation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and efforts to support the Great Barrier Reef.

 He does not believe in restricting gambling and restricting foreign ownership in Australia, and his voting record indicates that he voted strongly for the right of civil celebrants to refuse to marry same-sex couples.

In 2019, claims emerged that Goodenough had “[taken] a group of overseas visitors to local businesses while being the director of a company that is paid for striking export deals”. Goodenough denied the conflict of interest claims and blamed them on “tall poppy syndrome.”

Alex Hawke:

Hawke said he strongly supported new rules to allow religious schools to expel students who are gay, bisexual or transgender, warning that people of faith were under attack in Australia: “I don’t think it’s controversial in Australia that people expect religious schools to teach the practice of their faith and their religion. We’re mostly talking about the primary system and very very young people who are below the age of consent. So this is a manufactured issue that the left is raising to try and circumvent religious freedom.”

Andrew Hastie:

Son of a preacher with a career in the military and takes his born again beliefs seriously.

Luke Howarth:

In October 2018, Luke Howarth’s mother, Denise, was granted access to Howarth’s electorate officer’s computer and e-mail address. The access was then used to send propaganda to at least one constituent to push an anti-abortion flyer. The communications sent from the electorate office falsely claimed that there will be no independent counseling before terminations and that staff would be obligated to “act against their conscience”

Steve Irons:

Irons charged taxpayers for wife’s travel for Queensland golf tournament.

In 2016, Irons charged his wedding flight to the taxpayers in 2011. Subsequently paying the charge back.

Andrew Laming:

In 2007, Laming and fellow Queensland Liberal MPsGary Hardgrave and Ross Vasta, were investigated and subsequently cleared of breaches relating to parliamentary entitlements.

This included A$67,000 for printing campaign material and Laming’s five-day employment of a staff member who worked in the office of Hardgrave.

There was speculation in the media and the Queensland Parliament that funds had been diverted to the Liberals’ 2006 state election campaign. On 2 March 2007, the Australian Federal Police conducted a search on the three MPs’ electoral offices as well as those of a printing company and a graphic artist. Laming described the incident as a “routine visit”.

Christian Porter:

In 2016, Centrelink, operating under Porter’s senior oversight as Social Services Minister, became involved in a debt recovery controversy. Despite heightened media interest and complaints, after meeting with the Department of Human Services, Porter stated that the program was working “incredibly well”. The program was later subject to a Senate committee inquiry.

Melissa Price:

Price caused controversy in her role as Environment Minister by allegedly telling Anote Tong, the former president of Kiribati and climate change advocate, “I know why you’re here. It is for the cash. For the Pacific it’s always about the cash. I have my chequebook here. How much do you want?”

Stuart Robert:

On 18 August 2014, Robert attended an event in Beijing, China, at which a mining deal between Australian company Nimrod Resources and Chinese state-controlled corporation China Minmetals was signed.

In February 2016, when details of the trip were released, the Opposition called Robert’s presence at the signing “inappropriate”, because Nimrod chairman Paul Marks was a friend of his, as well as being a substantial donor to the Liberal Party.

Robert claimed that the trip was in a “private capacity”, and not official government business.

In a subsequent Senate Estimates Committee hearing, officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) stated that the department had not been informed of the trip until Robert had returned, and that it appeared that Chinese officials at the event were under the impression that Robert was present as an Australian government minister.

[Then] Prime Minister Turnbull asked his department secretary, Martin Parkinson, to investigate and report on the circumstances of Robert’s visit to China, to determine if he had breached ministerial standards of conduct.

On 12 February 2016, Robert announced his resignation from the First Turnbull Ministry as part of a broader reshuffle triggered by the resignation of Andrew Robb and Warren Truss.

Crime and Corruption Commission – Operation Belcarra.

In March 2017, it was revealed that Robert would appear at a public hearing of the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission named Operation Belcarra #opbelcarra, inquiring into the possibly illegal conduct of candidates in some local government elections. It was alleged that some candidates had formed an undeclared group, and provided an electoral funding and financial disclosure return that was false or misleading.

In 2017, it was revealed that Stuart Robert had direct financial links with a company, the GMT Group, which was awarded millions of dollars worth of government contracts. This may have meant that he was in breach of the eligibility requirements of Section 44 of the Constitution of Australia  Stuart Robert’s parents were listed as the directors of his company for six years without their knowledge.[19] The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is investigating these claims.

Internet usage controversy

In October 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that he had asked the Special Minister of State, Alex Hawke, to investigate Mr Robert’s internet bills. Mr Robert’s internet usage is funded by taxpayers and concerns were raised about apparently excessive bills.

Michael Sukkar:

In his maiden speech, Sukkar categorised himself as an “economic liberal” and with “strong conservative foundations”. He credited his Catholic faith as being one of the two most significant influences in his life, as well as his family.

In 2013 he expressed support for the school chaplaincy program at an Australian Christian Lobby forum.

Sukkar opposes same-sex marriage. He stated that he would abide by the outcome of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey and believes all politicians should be held to it. Despite this, after his electorate voted 66% in favour of same sex marriage, Sukkar abstained from the vote, saying that he could not support the bill.

[Then] Prime Minister Turnbull  at the time gave Mr Sukkar responsibility for addressing housing affordability. When asked about housing affordability on 20 February 2017, Sukkar told Sky News that “we’re also enabling young people to get highly paid jobs which is the first step to buying a house”. Labor MP Tim Watts said in response that the remarks showed the Coalition was “back to where Joe Hockey started on housing affordability.”

Angus Taylor:

On renewable energy, Taylor was a speaker at the “Wind Power Fraud Rally”organised by the anonymous anti-wind blog StopTheseThings.com and hosted by Alan Jones on 18 June 2013 in Canberra.

Taylor has called on the Coalition government to reduce its support for wind farms and is concerned with Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) based on a belief that renewable energy projects, in particular wind, are increasing electricity costs and a belief that there are cheaper carbon reduction methods.

I am not a climate sceptic. For 25 years, I have been concerned about how rising carbon dioxide emissions might have an impact on our climate.

Speaking about the Renewable Energy Target in June 2014, Taylor said “religious belief is based on faith not facts. The new climate religion, recruiting disciples every day, has little basis on fact and everything to do with blind faith.”

Taylor was also a major donor to the Liberal Party, significantly exceeding amounts donated to the party by other members.

Bert Van Manen:

He was endorsed by the evangelical Christian Dunamis Church, which provided church volunteers to aid his election campaign with “booth work, letterbox drops and many other things.”

In January 2018 it was reported that several changes to Mr Van Manen’s Wikipedia page that included deleting references to his failed business, Vangrove Financial Planning, were traced to parliamentary IP addresses. A spokesperson for Mr Van Manen described the edits as having been “well-meaning.”

Lucy Wicks:

Although she had been raised on the Central Coast, she was heavily criticised for allegedly being “parachuted” into Parliament.

Wicks narrowly won re-election in the 2016 federal election from Labor candidate Anne Charlton.

Wicks opposes same-sex marriage.

Tim Wilson:

Wilson was employed by the Institute of Public Affairs for seven years, serving as Director of Climate Change Policy and the Intellectual Property and Free Trade.During this time, he argued against plain cigarette packaging, and to vote against the proposed local government referendum in Australia. He was a vocal critic of the Human Rights Commission and during his time at the IPA, the Institute called for the abolition of the Commission.

Wilson served as Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner between February 2014 and February 2016. On appointment to the Human Rights Commission, Wilson resigned his membership of the Liberal Party. During the term of his appointment he argued for changes to Section 18C of the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act, calling the prosecution of broadcaster Andrew Bolt for vilification of indigenous Australians an infringement on Bolt’s right to freedom of speech.

He was subsequently elected to the Australian House of Representatives at the 2016 election.Wilson currently serves on the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources and the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs.

Jason Wood:

Wood gained notoriety in 2008 when he mispronounced a series of words during a speech to the federal parliament on the risks associated with genetically modified organisms, culminating in him twice saying “orgasms” when he meant to say “organisms”.

Trent Zimmerman:

Zimmerman’s appointment was controversial, with now-suspended party member Juris Laucis describing the process as “undemocratic” and “a stitch-up”[and reform activist and former Liberal party member John Ruddick called for Liberal voters feeling disenfranchised to send a message to the party by giving Zimmerman their last preference.

Political journalist Peter Hartcher attributed his preselection to his being an ally of Michael Photios, “the power behind the NSW machine”.Whilst a candidate for preselection, Zimmerman was also the head of the body that sets the rules for party elections, a position his opponents described as a “complete conflict of interest.

Zimmerman is one of eight openly LGBTI current members of the Parliament of Australia and the first openly LGBTI member of the House of Representatives. Zimmerman has indicated he will speak out on LGBTI issues and declared his support for Gay marriage in Australia.

Keith Pitt:

Pitt was one of only four members of the House of Representatives to oppose the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017; that was enacted to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia

Michelle Landry:

In April 2016, Landry drew national attention when she attempted to communicate her belief that the Federal Government’s messages were not being communicated effectively enough, and said that the public was perceiving the government’s communication as being “a little wishy washy”.

* * * * *

I find 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.

The aforementioned people exist to make their living as members of the Australian House of Representatives. One would expect to find in such an august chamber only people of the highest calibre and integrity but instead we find a bunch of highly educated self-interested members of the House of Representatives who the Prime Minister thinks are worthy of being in his team.

Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct.

It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics. But unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibres from which it is woven.

… Continued Saturday

Thought thought for the day

Ask yourself this: Does the political culture we have make you feel good about your country?

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Not without controversy: dunderheads disguised as ministers (part 1)

Monday 3 June 2019

I was watching the Governor General swearing in the new cabinet ministers and it occurred to me, given the rather frivolous nature of their demeanour, that Scott Morrison and his team have not shown the slightest hint of astonishment at being returned to power. It was as if the principal of them being “born to rule” had been put to the test and had come through with flying colours even if they had no appreciation of the fortuitous nature of their undeserved victory.

On the contrary, they have acted in a rather overly crass fashion without any admission that they had performed like mediocre buffoons for six years. Phrases like ”wake up call” might have been considered appropriate in the circumstances but like children who could not see the error of their ways, they said they needed to continue with the good works they had already started.

At the swearing-in event and on other occasions I have watched it was as if regardless of the circumstances the people had voted according to their better conscience anyway. Hubris at its worst. And on top of that to then claim a mandate on a victory of the narrowest of margins is the height of high-handedness and swagger.

Had they collectively opened their bushy eyebrows it might have occurred to them that this was an unconvincing victory and if the latest results are confirmed then after supplying a Speaker, close to the status quo will apply.

It’s problematic as to whether the public will realise that their unwillingness to accept change because of their indoctrination by the right has resulted in a great loss of benefits to ordinary folk.

Imagine if you will that you have just been appointed the CEO of a multi-national company that had for the past six years been performing badly. You have ploughed your way through the employment contracts of all the key personnel and found that they are overpaid, under-performing, and without a bloody brain among them. I’m referring of course to the current Australian government.

I started my research for this piece in the House of Representatives and because of the magnitude (much of which I have left out) of negative commentary, quickly found that a third piece would be necessary to say what I want to.

But the most dangerous aspect of this government as far as the public is concerned is the quality of Ministers the Prime Minister has appointed and of course MPs that fill the numbers. Granted, some are squeaky-clean upright MPs but others of the ilk of Craig Kelly have about as much talent for their job as a drunken captain in rough weather. Barnaby Joyce and George Christensen also show a reluctance to set an example for the community to feel good about their parliamentary representation. But they are just two of many.

Christensen spent 25 per cent of the year in the Philippines making whoopee with his girlfriend at the taxpayer’s expense.

Turning to Craig Kelly, he:

” … has been described as a climate sceptic. He was appointed chair of the backbench Environment and Energy Committee, giving advice to Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg. He has previously written that convict arrivals to Australia in the 18th century found the weather warmer than in recent years and has invited climate sceptics from the Institute of Public Affairs to present to the government prior to the Paris Agreement. Kelly has criticised renewable energy, saying that it causes higher electricity bills. He has furthermore stated that this could kill people who are afraid to turn on their heaters.”

And, he:

“… stated on his Facebook page that he would vote with his electorate in the marriage survey. In the conscience votes which sought to amend the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017, Kelly voted for all the amendments, none of which passed.”

“In February 2019, after Cardinal George Pell‘s conviction for child sexual abuse, Kelly posted a series of Facebook posts labelling the trial a “grave miscarriage of justice”, and the media a “lynch mob”.”

If at this stage you think that this is an attempt at naming and shaming then consider yourself 100 per cent correct. A sport’s coach will tell you that he or she is only as good as the players he has at his command.

Old-time political followers say that Bob Hawke’s first Cabinet was arguably the best ever. In Part 2 I’ll start taking a closer look at what could arguably be the worst.

My thought for the day

Just because we are governed by clowns it doesn’t mean we have to laugh.

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Anthony John Abbott. The End.

Saturday 1 June 2019

The first post l ever wrote for The AIMN; Tony Abbott in the Lodge: Never remains my most read. I have lost count of the articles I have written since about him. That being said it would be remiss of me if l didn’t comment on his departure from politics.

He was the classic negative politician. There was nothing he saw through the prism of life that wasn’t so. He believed that policies weren’t necessary, that just being in power was all the Coalition needed.

He need only look into a mirror to see the one responsible for his own demise. When talking about parliamentary liars Tony Abbott held the distinction of being the best.

In fact, he was, in my view, the greatest liar ever to have felt the plushness under his feet of the green carpet in the House of Representatives. It came just so naturally to him.

Tony Abbott suffered foot in mouth disease like no other politician, but never showed a hint of remorse. He was nothing more than a grubby individual who was at home in the politics of taking things down, never building them up.

We can but thank the good people of Warringah for bringing about the demise of Tony Abbott. To his lasting credit losing his seat will be the final act of his career. That he achieved a consensus for his departure may be the only thing he ever achieved agreement on.

The only mourning of his departure will come from the extremities of his own party; the ones who supported his cloak and dagger politics.

He never transitioned from gutter style opposition leader to prime minister. It was simply a bridge too far. People of my ilk, on the one hand, would say good riddance to his love for the past but on the other yearn for a stay of execution so that I might further denounce his primitive politics.

The revolving door of politics of the past decade has ended. Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Malcolm Turnbull – all of whom had brilliant minds and in different times might have served us well. Abbott was different in so much as he was only of mediocre intellect.

His area of expertise was in hostilities, grudges and revenge. The back door manipulations that some politicians thrive on.

Typically, even defiantly, he said that he would “rather be a loser than a quitter.” Did he consider the other option of a gentle retirement to allow another person to stand for his seat? No, he was never a team man. He was also known as a supreme leader of cabinet secrets.

His departure will not only see the end of a first class liar but also a first-class Luddite who not only wanted to destroy the internet, but also the renewable energy industry. He was a man of the past who never realised that it had passed him by.

He knew all along, as admitted by his chief of staff Peta Credlin, that the science of climate change was true, but he preferred to make it a political issue to suit his own political purposes.

In doing so he put Australia through a decade of climate wars that continue as I type. Eventually, the good people of Warringah saw through his “climate change is crap” arguments, and duly noted his denials as just that.

He speaks continuously of his legacy but it is nowhere to be found unless it is under his 2014 budget considered the most unfair of all time. Or his decision to vote against his electorate’s view of marriage equality.

“What legacy?”, you ask. He was a pathetic prime minister. His claims to have stopped the boats and ending the tax on carbon remain questionable, but both were negative and not in the best interests of the Australian people. He later admitted that he should have adopted Gillard’s Malaysia Solution.

His only claim to having an idea of sorts was a paid parental leave scheme that in the end, he had to concede was unaffordable. He did award a Knighthood to Prince Philip, but that was an even worse idea.

What he was good at was just being a nasty bastard who would fight from the sewer whether it was necessary or not. He enjoyed it and it didn’t matter if it were his own side.

He displayed a destructive inclination for power over people, and women in particular.

He subjected Julia Gillard to the most contemptible and at times depraved attacks that in a political sense were unnecessary, if just gaining office was the only objective. All he achieved was to set back the political aspirations of women for generations.

Tony Abbott if nothing else will be remembered for being a very colourful character. He was aggressive both physically and in the use of language. His negativity is legendary and he has little consideration for any ideas other than his own which are sparse. He says “No” to his opponent’s policies regardless of their worthiness. He is by evidence and his own admission a liar of some regularity. Added to that he has a political gutter mentality and little respect for the institution of parliament, its conventions, and our democracy.

As an opposition leader and then prime minister he was bereft of any character at all. He has been described as the Mad Monk and many other things but essentially, he is a repugnant gutter politician of the worst kind.

In following the American Republican Party’s example, his shock and awe tactics associated with perpetual crisis did nothing but degenerate the standard of Australian politics and the Parliament generally.

In the public eye, he was most effective in attack dog mode. However, he was found wanting when he needed to defend himself and simply reverted to stuttering hesitation and lies, or just walking out on press conferences when he stumbled over tough questions.

This was particularly noticeable when he tried to explain the complexity of policy detail.

Thank goodness he is now gone from where our democracy sits to decide the outcomes of debates, discourse, ideas and important decisions on our country’s future. It will be better off without the voice and presence of Anthony John Abbott.

“As he spoke, truth came from the beginning of a smile or was it just a sneer of deception” (John Lord).

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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Trying to juggle religion with politics in Australia

Wednesday 29 May 2019

1 It must be very difficult for men like Prime Minister Scott Morrison, when, like love, truth is a central tenant to the Christian faith he follows but is not part of his politics.

Particularly when he wants to form a special bond between what he believes in and the Christianity he follows. More so when the adherents of his religion insist on a literal interpretation of it.

In recent times the subject of religion and its relationship to politics has become a talking point in the media, mainly due to the fact that the Prime Minister is a Pentecostal Christian.

The problem here is that he and others like him, if they want Christianity to have a greater influence on our politics and society, have to admit that their particular offspring of it believes in a literal interpretation of everything the Bible says.

That being that every word is the absolute truth; the word of God. Unlike his politics where lying is very acceptable.

Having had experience in both mainstream and Evangelical churches, I can tell you that the Uniting Church, for example, long ago cast away any vision of hell but fundamentalist churches insist it’s real.

Unquestioning literal interpretation of the ancient scriptures leads to opinions like those of champion footballer Gary Ablett to confirm champion rugby player Israel Folau’s view that homosexuals belong in hell.

Opinions seem to bounce from one side of the net to the other, clipping the net cord without ever conceding a point, or indeed missing the point that in Australia the “Christian church is fighting for its very survival.”

It is impossible to estimate the damage done to the Catholic Church by the abuse of children. Talk to a priest and he will tell you of the diminishing congregation. I have.

Now the Catholic Church is more interested in saving the institution than attending its flock.

Despite some growth in charismatic churches, mainstream churches are declining rapidly.

However, when one sees or listens to religious discussion one would think they are humming along splendidly. They are not. Get into a religious discussion and you will quickly find that Christianity is on the nose. Toxically so.

In his engaging and most thoughtful book “Losing My Religion” Bishop Tom Frame (he is the Priest that conducted the services after the Bali bombings) concludes that:

“Unless there is a turnaround in the fortunes of all community organizations by 2025 the Christian Church will be a marginal player in Australian life with only a few remaining remnants.

When the Christian affiliation of the population drops below 50 per cent, projected to happen around 2030, those identifying, as Christians will be found in four main clusters.

The Roman Catholic Church will continue to exercise sufficient discipline among its people to resist the mutating of popular culture.

The Pentecostal/Charismatic churches will flourish in the larger cities, form communities within communities and become more sect like.”

The conclusions he draws would appear to be backed up by the results of the last five, five yearly Australian censuses.

The last one showed a remarkable increase of 30 per cent in unbelief.

In fact, five of the eight states and territories now have more unbelievers than believers. In country areas, Christian churches are closing at a rapid rate and this is attributable to a number of factors including an ageing population.

Much research has been done over many years into the decline of belief and church attendance in Australia.

Today only around 7 per cent of the population regularly attends Sunday services. Of these many are what I call cultural or recreational churchgoers who don’t have a particularly strong belief, but attend because it forms part of their social circle.

When these people are deducted from the 7% there is probably very little real belief.

However, the main reason for the decline in belief I would suggest is the fact that children are now better educated than their parents. Today’s generation questions everything. They have an excess of information.

With access to information on the Internet it is now easy to reason and question traditional problematic belief.

The young have also become impatient with religions inability or failure to remedy human suffering and put an end to social inequality. If anything, it tends to exacerbate these problems.

Moreover, of course the young find it difficult to fathom how the ethical problems of today can be solved by referring to a moral landscape thousands of years old, and written by humans with intellectually inferior minds than the advanced scientific ones of today.

They are being asked to accept a set of rules and values that assume that the world they live in has never progressed scientifically, morally or socially.

Many conclude that religion (and its God) is a man-made concept and has been a monumental failure.

So in Australia given that the census (taken every five years) continues on its downward spiral and Bishop Frame is correct in his assumptions we could expect that within 15 or 20 years the Christian church will no longer exist.

Although this piece focuses on Australian faith it is worth noting that recent surveys in the US see for the first time a decline in belief in people under 30.

This also backs up my reasoning on the impact of education outside of traditional sources. Most major social problems in the US occur in the most Pentecostal/ charasmatic and under educated states.

Note: This link is a summary of the Australian 2016 Census. It doesn’t paint a very rosary picture for faith in Australia.

No matter what spin may be placed on the census results, the one thing that stands out is that the young have little interest in religion. Diversity and what happens around it may very well hold the key to Australia’s future thoughts on ethics, values and social structures.

2 Another area in which the Prime Minister will find himself at odds with his faith is when the clergy remind him of what the scripture tells us.

On 23 May 60 Christian leaders representing eight denominations and twelve organisations from across five states in Australia sent a letter to Scott Morrison, telling him to get his act together regarding climate change.

One signatory Rev Dr Michael Frost of Baptist Churches of NSW, published the letter online and candidly told him by quoting biblical scripture to be aware of his responsibility as Prime Minister:

“The bible both begins and ends with God’s presence on Earth overseeing the wise stewardship of all of nature,” the letter reads. “Until that time, our responsibility is to manage it for the benefit of all creation and not just with the short term in mind.”

The question obviously arises as to whether the Prime Minister should obey the scriptures or follow his political instincts.

”Science has made in my lifetime, the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and enjoyed by all sections of society.” (John Lord).

“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.” (John Lord).

3 A journalist put the following question to Mr Morrison: “What’s your belief, do gay people go to hell?” Mr. Morrison replied:

“I support the law of the country and I always don’t mix my religion with politics and my faith with politics.”

And there is the conflict of interest. If he were true to his faith then he would have answered; “Well of course. That’s what the Bible says”

Australian Pentecostals in my experience take a dangerous literal, approach to the Bible, (or cherry pick when they want too) believing that if speaking in tongues and miracles happened in New Testament, times then they should happen today.

“A commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, is the best way of providing solutions to human problems.“ (John Lord).

They are generally very conservative, totality against same sex marriage, which is consistent with Morrison’s stance together with his views on greater religious freedoms.

4 If as I do, you believe that Jesus was the world’s first socialist then you would find it extremely difficult to accept the Pentecostal/charismatic church’s adoption of conservative political and social values.

In particular its adherence to “prosperity theology“, which links any scripture that suggests that God wants the very best financial success for his followers to you personally.

The Prime Minister will be taking a great risk if he chooses to unite his Christian beliefs with his political philosophy. Australians have never liked “Bible Bashers.”

“If you read the Bible with literalist intent it becomes the only text book on living never updated but if you read it with logical reasoning and an exploratory mind all manner of things are revealed.” (John Lord).

My thought for the day

When asked as to my belief or otherwise in religion, or indeed my tendency toward a continuous search for truth. I can only say that I am in a perpetual state of observation which is the very basis of science or fact.

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The one that got away (Part two). If you think it ended last Saturday then think again

Sunday 26 May 2019

I said this last Monday.

1) The first thing I would point out is that this isn’t a runaway win by the conservatives. There is no doubt in my mind that had Labor had another leader they would have won.

Only 181,000 votes separate the two major parties with over 600,000 informal votes.

But however slowly, with our own methodologies, we are all still processing what it was that eventuated last Saturday night.

There are some aspects of it that might even remain a mystery. Try as I might I am still trying to resolve how a democracy like ours allows a very wealthy individual like Clive Palmer to spend $60 million not so much on getting his own party elected but more so to prevent another from doing so.

How does a democracy allow that? Moreover, when the man in question says he “decided to polarise the electorate” with anti-Labor ads to ensure a Coalition win.

On top of that a company he owns, Waratah Coal, is seeking federal environmental approval for its proposed Alpha North coal mine in the Galilee Basin one has to wonder…

“What’s in it for Clive?” Now that’s the question on everyone’s lips?

Together with Pauline Hanson’s grassroots popularity in Queensland, they destroyed Labor’s chances of taking seats in that state. In fact, winning the election full stop.

Now, for obvious reasons, we will not, under this government, have an integrity commission and the Morrison government will continue to get away with its corrupt behaviour.

2) Why is it that people seem to think that there are no jobs in renewable energy? Let me rephrase that. The impression that is left when discussion takes place about the need for coal mines is that they produce jobs, but you never hear it said: “Hey, so do renewable Energy projects.” It seems to be discounted from any discussion yet 170,000 people are employed in the Renewable Energy industry in Germany.

Why was Labor not busting its lungs with that message throughout the campaign?

3) For years the polls predicted that Labor, in varying degrees would win the election. History now records that it didn’t and rightly or wrongly the public have a right to feel cheated. Well only because the polls claim a certain degree of accuracy.

However, this inaccuracy was atrocious because they seemed to equate to the political environment of the time. Most people questioned as to why Labor were not further in front.

Again I seem to be asking myself how is it possible in the midst of chaos, scandal, lying and you name what else that a reverse of the polls was true.

People were actually saying that they didn’t mind Barnaby’s frolics between the sheets, his drunken behaviour, and stealing water, Dutton’s cunning with the immigration portfolio. All the chaos, all the other Trumpish like behaviour had their approval.

At least the pollsters are now trying to reconcile their methodology with Essential being the most honest. There was a time when the sampling was much more reliable, even accurate.

Have Mobile phones stuffed it or does the public now claim equal rights to lying as the politicians?

There is nothing wrong with polls if they give you an accurate reading of how the electorate is responding to the governance of the country.

4) I find myself desperately hoping that all these things will be cleared up with the application of some reasoned practical facts that convey truth. At the moment it is all so confusing.

One has to wonder why Bill Shorten didn’t attack the government over its claim to be the better money managers. Take for example the growing clouds over our finances.

Undoubtedly the Prime Minister is either lying or just chooses to turn his back on the Reserve Banks serious downgrading of Australia’s economic outlook.

”It is far better to form your own independent opinions relative to your life experience and reason than to allow yourself to be blindly led by others.” (John Lord)

According to the banks downgrading of the government’s growth forecasts, a surplus is now in grave doubt. All this became evident during the campaign so why didn’t Shorten use it.

One might even say that the country is technically in a recession and it’s only government spending that is keeping us above water.

On the surface, it may have looked as though he and his team had prepared well but with the benefit of hindsight Shorten and his team left to many areas open to attack. Hard to explain and easy to exploit.

Whatever our conclusion the bottom-line is that the Coalition were rotten but re-elected.

5) We will not know who made donations to the campaigns of both parties for another 8 months. Why is it so?

6) Last but not least is the expected appointment of Anthony Albanese as leader of the Labor Party. Many would say that had he been the leader this time around then Labor would have won. I think that would be a little disingenuous to Shorten who must have asked himself a hundred times “what more can I do?”

Albo, the warhorse who can mix it with the best of them will surely be the next leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition. From Albo, we will probably see a bit more biffo and a move to the centre left.

7) From Scott Morrison, we expect to see a Prime Minister emboldened by his surprise win. He faces many challenges from the right of his party who want to take it further right and externally from the world of global economics.

The one thing he has on his side is the fact that the electorate has given him permission to lie with impunity, just like Murdoch has.

”Lying in the media is wrong at any time however when they do it by deliberate omission it is even more so. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity.” (John Lord)

8) Congratulations to David Speers on his selection as the replacement for Barrie Cassidy on Insiders. Should do an excellent job and enhance the ABCs reputation for unbiased reporting and trust.

9) And George Christensen has to be congratulated for increasing his margin in his seat of Dawson by 11%. Just goes to show that if you put your weight behind something you are generally rewarded.

Even if you rip off the taxpayer to spend 3 months of the year courting your girlfriend in the Philippines.

And we shouldn’t forget Craig Kelly who now has a margin of 10% in Hughes. NSW.

“There’s nothing like the certainty of a closed mind.” (John Lord)

It seems like country people just don’t care who represents them.

My thought for the day.

“Lying is wrong but lying to defend a lie is appallingly immoral.”

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The one that got away (Part one)

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

“Humility is the basis of all intellectual advancement. However, it is truth that enables human progress.” (John Lord) 

1) I had considered taking a week or so away from the grind of writing but I think it better to think out loud and disperse of my thoughts while everything is fresh and alive.

I, like many others, are just coming to grips with the stunning victory of the conservative side of politics. While doing so we should keep in perspective that as of this moment it is only around 181,000 votes that separate the two parties.

Hardly a ringing endorsement of the conservative forces.

As is my want when trying to sort through a mess I try to isolate out all the factors that have created it and then if possible marry them together in a way that gives an overall view.

2) Fortuitously on Monday night, I was watching “The Drum” (a public affairs program where the participants aren’t continuously shouting at each other) where the commentators were sanely trying to dissect the outcome of the election.

So with a great deal of crystal balling, I shall try to decipher what it all means and what might play out in the future. Thus it will take two parts.

The first thing I would point out is that this isn’t a runaway win by the conservatives. There is no doubt in my mind that had Labor had another leader they would have won.

That is not to be over critical of Bill Shorten. He performed admirably in bringing the party together and sticking like glue for six years.

However, it has to be said that he lacked the charisma to persuade the average voter to his point of view.

Commendable also were his efforts on policy. The problem was that they weren’t “liar” or “explainable” proofed. Morrison was too easily able to hit for a six everything Labor proposed.

That the Prime Minister was so easily able to call Shorten a liar and have people believe him is a concern for the future of our democracy.

There can be no doubt that we are well and truly in the age of Trump.

“Lying in the media is wrong at any time however when they do it by deliberate omission it is even more so. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity.” (John Lord)

Just putting my idealism hat on for a moment in the knowledge that Pentecostal Christians take a literal interpretation of the Bible I am often bemused at their very liberal take on truth.

“Now children, you must always tell the truth.”

“But daddy you’re the Prime Minister and you tell lies all the time.”

“But children my lies are special ones that Jesus says are ok to tell.”

Truth in politics and society has lost its allure and untruth has won the day. Along with trust, it has been thrown out the window. Now we will have to seek out the truth of everything rather than accepting what we are being told in good faith.

3) One of the few positive things to come from the election is the demise of Tony Abbott. Without a shadow of a doubt, he is, in my view, the greatest liar (of both sides) ever to have trodden the plush carpets of parliament house.

4) The great difficulty of this election is trying to work out just why Labor lost. Was it Bill Shortens inability to sell the Franking Credits, Capital gains and Negative Gearing proposals? Was it Morrison’s ability to successfully convert concessions into taxes or his scare tactics about death taxes and retirement taxes? There was simply too much to defend.

5) That 675,000 or 4.5% of the vote was informal shows just how informal and certainly shows the disdain politicians are held in.

6) We might also ask ourselves how is it possible to be unstable, in chaos and rotten for six years but re-elected. As yet I have no answer for that.

7) It was also said that climate change was at the top of the concerned list. If that were the case then it should have made more of an impact but it hardly made a ripple.

There is this phenomenon in modern society wherein people expect everything should cost nothing.

Isn’t it strange that we all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health but we don’t want to be liable for the cost of a healthy planet.”

So, nothing is resolved on this matter and other than Abbott all the old deniers, the protagonists of old, remain to protect coal.

Morrison now has the authority to confront them but will he.

Alan Jones was on Q&A Monday night denying the science. Why should Australia act, we won’t make a difference? Well yes, if we and countries with similar emissions all act then we will eliminate 41% of the problem.

Sure I want something done about climate change but don’t expect me to pay. Sure I want better schools, better education, better hospitals and better retirement fertilities but don’t tax me more.

8) The conservative importance on the individual to make his or her way in the world seems to be making traction in a world that is losing its faith in society itself.

Even democracy, as the best method of government, is being questioned.

9) There was a long list of things that seemed to be of little consequence to Coalition supporters. Their hip pockets were their main fear. They are little fussed as to how many women serve in cabinet. The next cabinet might be even worse as might the cabinet generally.

Imagine that. A cabinet worse than the last one. The Prime Minister has already indicated that Melissa Price will have the environment portfolio. On that point, we will end up with an opposition shadow cabinet much stronger than the governments front bench.

10) One of the key tenants of conservatism is an adversity to change and if it is needed, it should be incremental.

11) The Coalition has always been a men’s club and the conservatives within it are the least likely to be abreast of changes in society and fight to the very end to protect the status quo.

12) There is no need for Labor to feel downhearted about this result. It may turn out to be a good one to lose.

With dark economic clouds building on the horizon, a recession (heaven forbid) is not out of the question and the promised surplus now looking in doubt three years is not far away. The shadow of Bill Shorten will be gone from the scene. And if the coalition is true to form they will have messed up a number of times.

You cannot always control what happens in life but the true measure of its impact is the way in which you respond.

13) There is much more to write about the election Labor should not have lost so I will catch up with you all on Saturday morning for part two.

My thought for the day

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

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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 17: How wrong could I be?

Monday, May 20 2019

 “Having the ability to admit that you are wrong is an absolute prerequisite to discernment and knowledge.’ “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 media and self-interest groups.” (John Lord)

1) Sunday, May 19 2019
During the course of writing in my diary over the past five weeks, l confidently predicted that the baseball bats would be at the front door ready to punish the Coalition for the crimes they committed against our democracy. Nothing l saw or heard during the campaign warranted a change in my view. How wrong I was!

The reasoned recipe of my prediction was based on a list of common sense ingredients, not hearsay or a gift for picking winners. I simply asked myself if it were really possible that after six years of a deplorable government that the good people of Australia would reward the incumbent government with another three.

I also said that Labor would win handsomely. It just made common sense to me. How wrong I was!

As I lay my head on my pillow Sunday night l gave thanks to THE AIMN who have made it possible for me to express my feelings and that they have been read by so many.

I had hoped to say that at last, we have finally rid the country of the putrid smell of a do-nothing Ministry full of ultra-right-wing homophobes, climate deniers and women hating fools. How wrong I was! 

Now it has come to pass that on the 18th day of our Lord in the year of 2019 the good people of Australia in their infinite wisdom have given license to the worst government the country has ever known to continue their mediocre governance. How wrong I was!

2) In reaching my point of view l took into account the logic of the following:

  • Labor has Hardly lost a poll in three years, even longer.
  • Individual seat polling has always been notoriously wrong because of the low numbers.
  • Labor only lost by a seat the last election.
  • Redistribution nominally gives Labor another two seats.
  • Coalition starts from behind.
  • Winning a third term is rare losing a second is also rare.
  • Three Leaders in six years is highly negative.
  • Early-voting numbers despite the convenience factor would indicate a predisposition for bringing out the baseball bats.
  • You cannot dismiss the protest results of the recent Victorian election and the success of Dr Phelps.
  • The increase in young new voters since the gay marriage survey.
  • Popularity or otherwise of a leader means nothing. Who do you intend voting for is the more pertinent question?
  • The bookies are rarely wrong.
  • Bob Hawkes death would insinuate itself onto some voters. Dreams of good governance long paste.
  • Something is fundamentally wrong with the methodology of the polling.

How wrong I was!

3) In looking for reasons as to why the conservatives won I cannot see where my thinking is at fault. Maybe I have simply misjudged the nation’s capacity to understand even the simplest conception for change. Although change is a constant in life it tends to scare people. Change is certainly a challenging concept.

”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” (John Lord)

I have also underestimated the nation’s capacity for selfishness in that the word tax seems to have frightened the hell out of them.

And as for women well the punters didn’t seem to mind that we will now have but a few trying to Advance Australia fair. Women just don’t seem to matter much to conservatives.

Then it was confirmed to me that Queensland is indeed a very strange place. UnAustralian and bizarre.

I also learnt that taking three months off every year on full pay could be rewarded with a positive swing in your vote. I have no idea how it works but an increased vote is nothing to squib.

It came as no great shock to me that as far as disunity and infighting is concerned that it can be a great advantage. It can actually win an election for you.

You could even conclude that Scott Morrison actually managed to erase the past with one of those miracles he believes in. Did performance even matter?

Who knows we might even see a few ex PMs raised from the dead. Scott tells us that Hell exists, as do miracles and he plans to look after religious freedoms. Another miracle.

There were so many things that made this election very special, even weird. For example, scare campaigns do actually work. This election proves it. There were so many of them from the conservatives that at least a few had too. (Death taxes.) (Everything became a tax even when it wasn’t.)

It became apparent to me early on that Murdoch still matters. I underestimated that.

“The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you.” (John Lord) 

And of course, Palmer’s money mattered to Morrison. Only time will tell if there is a payback.

The greatest controversy in this result is undoubtedly how the pollsters could be so far out and for such a length of time.

The National Party learnt a thing or two. Mostly they have learned that doing nothing for six years has its rewards and they can go back to sleep now. Doing nothing guarantees success in the bush.

When we look at the votes on an age basis we found that most conservative votes came from the over 65’s cohort. Coincidently they are the most scare-able.

Another thing that occurred to me is that conservatives still don’t rate the issue of women very highly and there may be fewer women in this cabinet than previous ones.

But gender still matters, does it not. It’s a bit like positivity. It’s nice to have but negativity works better.

I have left until almost last the Bill Shorten factor and it may be fair to say that he bit off more than he could chew. His policies could have changed the face of the nation but the changes were so complex that people didn’t understand and became scared of them.

These and others are the issues we have to carefully way up before judging the miracle that has occurred.

All in all, there is no mandate for the coalition to do anything but govern. Altogether it has been rather disappointing for progressive Australians like myself and those who read my work.

Power will still be in the hands of the wealthy elite (yes class exists) until such time as the people grow some guts and stop being so bloody scared.

“Meritocracy is a term used to imply that those at the top of the social scale have merit and a slur against those at the bottom.” (John Lord)

My thought for the day

“I don’t mind the criticism but please don’t do it on an empty head.” (John Lord)

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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 16: Final thoughts but first let’s talk about Bob

Saturday 18 May 2019

1) Friday 17 May 2019
Authors note:
 I had concluded my last diary entry prior to the announcement of Bob Hawkes death. We had known for weeks now that it was imminent but as death is, it carried that sense of shock with it.

My wife and I shed a tear during the short tribute the ABC played and we exchanged some words to the effect that it is often remarkable how some of the greatest men/women are often the least perfect.

He was a great leader because among his many attributes was the ability to listen. His cabinet meetings were known for their length.

Political historians have recorded that his first ministry was perhaps Australia’s finest.

He overcame a serious problem with alcohol and remained teetotal for the duration of his tenure as Prime Minister.

Many achievements will be remembered in his name and no doubt a deserved list will be formulated. But perhaps his greatest will be that he will have taken a never wavering popularity to the grave with him.

He wore his heart on his sleeve like no other. He was a lover, a fighter, a visionary and a peacemaker he was diminutive in stature but a giant of a man. Our younger generations haven’t experienced the feeling one gets when a leader cares more about you than themselves.

With his passing, we will also mourn for the years of considered change that both Bob and Paul represented. Perhaps Bill Shorten can bring them back.

2) On a sour note, I must also enter this. Tony Abbott is arguably Australia’s worst ever Prime Minister. For this slimy sarcastic to suggest that Bob Hawke had a Labor heart but a Liberal head shows yet again why he will be reordered as such while the Labor leader will be remembered as one of our greatest.

Not many can say they made their country a better place. Bob Hawke most certainly can.

3) Saturday 18 May 2019
So the day of reckoning has finally arrived. With much trepidation, I want to believe that because I am still confident the baseball bats are there, just behind the front door, that Labor will achieve an essential victory today.

One that they can say they have earned rather than just walked into by default. A victory that would claim a mandate, see a second term set in concrete, and a third possible.

When they vote today the people would do well not to forget the 6 years of mayhem they have been subjected too.

They cannot afford to ignore the gravitas that has been our governance for such a long period, nor the real opportunities before us should Labor win.

If today we can sweep aside this period of conservative capitalistic madness in which we have allowed the voices of the far right to gratuitously silence truth, logic and the sciences, then we will perhaps have turned the nation away from a horrendous future.

This, of course, includes the salacious titbits of backbench threats, sexism, self-gratification, racist whispers and other seedy events like bedroom frolics that guaranteed to make the climate change, even make babies.

The corruption, the expenses scandals, the lies, the lies by omission, the half-truths, lack of transparency not to mention the absence of any form of leadership, or good policy and decision-making.

There are many reasons why I think Labor will win. I have spent copious hours unfolding them from mind to keyboard. I have clearly demonstrated the folly of the Luddites and the highly educated lads of little substance. Well, other than believing they were born to rule.

Notwithstanding all these things we have also been subjected to a barrage of poisoned headlines from the Murdoch gutter press and the moneyed shock jocks all of whom are paid enormous sums to titillate the moronic and stupefy the masses into believing that greed is good and reading their gutter journalism opens the door to the highest truth.

When I started writing for THE AIMN some six years ago I had no idea I would still be doing so 72 months and thousands of articles later. I have persevered through illness, depression, abuse and even small bouts of character conflict that have taught me much about myself.

However, simply put I believe this government to be (from whatever perspective) the worst one I have ever experienced.

Forgiveness is at the core of the Christian faith and central to what the Prime Minister is asking of the electorate.

He is asking us all to eliminate from our memories all the trash of the past 6 years. The convenience of forgiveness is a simple ethos.

He is asking you to put aside 6 years of negative progress. Or 6 years of placing the interests of individuals before those of the collective good, Or 6 years of teamwork without leadership, Or 6 years of ideological infighting designed to render the government impotent, Or 6 years of treating the parliament as its own and not the peoples and 6 Years of destroying our institutions and our democracy.

No, I cannot forgive them easily.

But you know, we can, with determination, turn around the outrage of their actions. I know that, fact is I feel it in the very soul of my existence. But Saturday will tell. I expect Labor to have a more than comfortable win.

Having said that a good time to stop writing is when one is on the verge of repeating oneself and I feel that is what I am about to do.

My thought for the day.

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

Previous Diaries:

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 1: There is no such thing as a society

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 2: Morrison plays the race card while Dutton lowers the bar even further

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 3: My language really doesn’t tell you what I think of these bastards

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 4: Shorten drops ball on Super but gives Murdoch the boot

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 5: The masters of scare. It’s like watching the best of “Yes, Prime Minister”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 6: Are the baseball bats still behind the front door, at the ready?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 7: Will the young convince us to save us from ourselves?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 8: “Morrison versus the rest”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 9: With just 18 days to go I refuse to believe Newspoll

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 10: No policies so let’s talk about the climate and money

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 11: Wake-up, Australia we need to Change the Government

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 12: “Is there any more?” Cassidy asked

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 13: Shorten has dared to go where other Labor leaders have not

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 14: Have you thought about why we are voting? This might help!

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 15: What are we voting for? This might help

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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 15: What are we voting for? This might help

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Sunday 12 May 2019

1 It has come to the point in this campaign where all that needs to be said, has been said. One side has presented a comprehensive well-presented package that encompasses policies that will change our society for the better, make it fairer, with built-in safeguards to protect us against any future economic downturns.

In doing so it has been upfront with all those affected by its proposed changes. Only 20% account for 70% of the fiscal impact of its policies.

The party’s leadership team and Shadow Ministry has demonstrated a genuine loyalty to its leader. The Ministry is full of capable, enthusiastic and responsible men and women.

The Liberal Party at its launch on Today dispensed with all of the hooplas that emerge at these functions. This one was all about Scott. It had to be there is nothing else.

There was no unity to put on display. Howard, Abbott, Hewson and Turnbull didn’t receive invites. Many Ministers were visible by their absence. It would have been an embarrassment had they appeared.

In the darkness of the auditorium, (I was undecided if it were so for effect or a lack of numbers.) It was the numbers. Scott made the entire running with much to say about nothing, which of course is his speciality. He spent 50 or so minutes telling us what we already knew.

All in all, it was totality uninspiring. If he wins it will be about what Scott thinks the political, and as importantly, the social fabric of our society should be.

2 Anyway because we have heard much of what needs to be said from both government and opposition I wanted to focus my diary entry today on the philosophical differences between the two parties. What’s at the heart of it all?

Before I go on I have copped a bit of flack for not mentioning other possibilities in the election. The influence of Palmer, the Greens and One Nation. I don’t for a minute deny other possibilities exist but in reality, only one of the two major parties can win.

Rightly or wrongly as I have laid out in previous entries that I expect Labor to win but like many, I am relying on real facts and an overdose of gut instinct.

“Socialism comprehends empathy; conservatism and its partner capitalism do not.” (John Lord)

Tom Tesoro on Facebook a couple of years ago said to me; ”They all sense their economic destiny, their power to shape their society to suit the elite they believe to be the superior class. They adhere to the ancient principle of the aristocracy, the ‘betters’, natural leaders, and those best suited to rule. They must accrue all the benefits that society creates as a reward for their superiority.”

There is not an area of our existence that has not been dramatically changed by technology. The Luddites of the Liberal Party have never understood it.

Medicine, weaponry, communications, education, economics and much more.

The Internet has changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people. It is rapidly changing the way in which we do many things including entertainment, commerce, global trade, health care, transport, international national news, world financial services and so on.

Globalisation is gradually framing a world without national borders with a cross-pollination of ethnicity.

Many countries fail to accept change because nationalism clouds many eyes. Others successfully embrace multiculturalism.

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

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

Politically change is everywhere — Brexit, the British election result and the last Australian result both reflected dissatisfaction with traditional politics, the emergence of Trump and the resurgence of extremism in France, the political insurgency in the Middle East. Evidence of global change is everywhere.

I got to thinking about how Australian politics, or more importantly our politicians, have adapted to a transforming world where we seemingly find it difficult to keep up with all the change.

The ethics of health care often lags behind the benefits of technological advancement because it encroaches on old religious beliefs or mysticism.

Rapid change brings with it the need for new rules and regulation that question traditional values and concepts.

So, I ask myself which of the major political parties is more qualified to embrace change, implement it and legislate and do so for the common good as a guiding principle.

Firstly, let us appraise the ideological political philosophy of the left and right in Australia.

What is a conservative?

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

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

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

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

What is a neo-conservative?

Neo-conservatism goes back to the 1930s however in its modern form it is identified with George W Bush who embraced unbridled capitalism, corporate greed together with literalist Christianity to form modern neoconservatism. Carl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld and others added American global superiority to the mix believing that America in all facets was above the rest of the world. A further element in this mix is Tea Party Republican politics.

What is a social progressive?

My view is that Social democrats (the left) believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. That it is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights believing the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need.

Governments must protect citizens from the greed of big business. Progressive policies generally involve the need for the government to solve problems.

Social progressive Democrats believe in a market system in which the government regulates the economy is best. Unlike the private sector, the government is motivated by public interest. Government regulation in all areas of the economy is needed to level the playing field.

The left also supports the separation of church and state.

The answer to my question is that it is the left of politics that is best qualified to handle the rapid changes today’s society needs to go through.

I am specifically talking about Australia’s two-party systems here, and the answer lays in comparative political history.

The Greens and others of English Liberal philosophy might argue their case for inclusion but at present, we only have two possibilities.

By scrutinising the historic social reforms of both of Australia’s major parties and comparing them we can determine who is best qualified to take us through this ongoing period of change and the political, social and economic reforms required.

The left side of Australian politics has conceived the following reforms or policies that have directly contributed to change for the better.

A National Health Scheme, a National Disability scheme, compulsory superannuation, a National Broadband Network, Paid Parental leave, major educational reforms, a price on carbon, equal pay for women, the Age Pension, aged care Mabo and the Apology to the Stolen Generations, and of course the Hawke – Keating major economic reforms that have given the country 25 years of continuous growth.

On top of those you can add Lowered the voting age, abolished the death penalty, Connected homes to sewerage, access to the pill and no-fault divorce.

It has never been afraid of change

The ‘right’ side of politics has implemented the following: the Howard gun buyback, the GST that benefited the rich, an increase in immigration after the Second World War, and Harold Holt introduced a bi-partisan referendum that gave Indigenous people the right to vote in 1967.

And there I have to stop. The Liberal Party website sets out a comprehensive list of ”Achievements in Government” and they are achievements as opposed to major policy reforms. Here is the list for you to judge for yourself. If I have missed a major reform please correct me.

Conservatism

In a world where science, technology and the availability of information progress so quickly change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making, with its own inevitability.

Conservatives oppose change and are wary of science and intellectualism as was demonstrated by the Abbott Government.

They seem locked in a world that no longer exists without any comprehension of how much the world has progressed. Remember Abbott wanted to destroy the Internet.

They believe in traditional values (whatever they are) without recognising the historical elasticity of society. That change is inevitable.

We are governed by rules and regulations. It is the only way change can be civilised and cohesive.

Leaving individuals to pursue their goals without the infrastructure society provides and allowing Capitalism (the GFC) to go on unregulated can only lead to disaster.

A society that has changed for the common good at its heart can only be attained with conventions, guidelines, systems, laws, policies, instructions and procedures.

Whilst the central argument of conservative philosophy empathises, and overtly supports the rights of the individual it can never initiate the reformist zeal for change like the left.

I have concluded that a society facing the changes confronting us can only achieve them under the umbrella of a social democratic philosophy.

An ideology that believes in equality of opportunity, an equitable share of the country’s wealth, individual rights and liberties within a societal framework that guarantees that no one is left in need.

Every facet of society including the democratic process needs constant and thoughtful renewal and change. Otherwise, we become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see better ways of doing things.

3 Monday 13 May 2019

Final election snippets

A) In 2011 Malcolm Turnbull didn’t think there was a need for an inquiry into the news media but agreed with the then PM Gillard that Newscorp should stop publishing crap.

B) So much happens in an election campaign. How much of it gets through to the average punter? How much permeates their minds and leaves such an indelible impression that it affects the way they vote?

C) In a belated attempt to lift its chances in this election the government has invented a policy, unmolded and unapproved by the cabinet of something that purports to help the young with home deposits. It has received wide condemnation from financial institutions.

Labor have agreed to the plan to help first homebuyers save for a deposit, but property industry experts warn the cooperation of the banks is crucial if it is going to work.

Labor should have pressed the pass button.

D) Melissa Price proved that by appearing at the Government’s official launch that she does exist. Congratulations.

E) Morrison has promoted himself in presidential terms, which is very much a right wing thing. Shorten see’s himself as a coach steering his team toward policy successes.

Morrison is an intelligent and cunning journeyman. A plodder. No charisma. Just keeps on keeping on no matter what.

Your choice

F) In 2014 on 24 August, in fact, I wrote the following:

The audit into the ABC after allegations of left-leaning bias showed that only 4 out of 97 stories were in fact of any concern. On the whole, the news coverage by our ABC was found to be balanced and given a clean bill of health.

I wonder if the Government should legislate to see that commercial media outlets are subjected to the same stringent conditions of non-bias as the ABC.

“In the information age, those who control the dissemination of news have more power than government.” (John Lord)

G) The Greens are saying they are in striking distance of unseating the Treasurer.

H) Shorten said his government would purchase Hawke house in Bordertown and make it into a museum. $750,000.

I) The least reported of the many things that make up an election campaign is the fact that after all the noise made about a government surplus this financial year, it’s odds on to a whatever, that this is but now a figment of their imagination.

The Prime Minister is either desperately lying or ignorant about the RBA’s forecasts.

The budget and Treasury’s Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) forecast year-average, real GDP growth of 2.75 per cent in 2019-20. The RBA now says it will be 2.5 per cent. This is enough to put a bomb under the government’s forecasts but it seems nobody in mainstream media wanted to talk about it.

Why I am not sure but the Prime Minister is guilty of outright lying when he says that the Reserve Bank’s forecast was in line with what they had in the budget.

A percentage point over a quarter may not seem like much to the average punter but it is enough to dispose of any claim to a surplus.

You are being conned.

In 2010, for the first time ever in Australian politics, more women voted for Labor than men because of Julia Gillard – by a whopping seven percentage points. The difference returned to zero in 2013.

My thought for the day.

“Surely an incoming government who doubles the countries debt cannot then claim to have inherited a debt problem that amounts to a budget crisis.”

Previous Diaries:

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 1: There is no such thing as a society

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 2: Morrison plays the race card while Dutton lowers the bar even further

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 3: My language really doesn’t tell you what I think of these bastards

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 4: Shorten drops ball on Super but gives Murdoch the boot

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 5: The masters of scare. It’s like watching the best of “Yes, Prime Minister”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 6: Are the baseball bats still behind the front door, at the ready?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 7: Will the young convince us to save us from ourselves?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 8: “Morrison versus the rest”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 9: With just 18 days to go I refuse to believe Newspoll

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 10: No policies so let’s talk about the climate and money

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 11: Wake-up, Australia we need to Change the Government

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 12: “Is there any more?” Cassidy asked

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 13: Shorten has dared to go where other Labor leaders have not

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 14: Have you thought about why we are voting? This might help!

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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 14: Have you thought about why we are voting? This might help

Monday 13 May 2018

Author’s note: Part of this article contains sections of a post I wrote around four years ago. We are not supposed to repeat stuff but I can think of no other words better than those I wrote back then. Anyway, the editor is probably in a pub in County Cork drinking Irish Whisky and won’t notice. 

And I haven’t mentioned the Liberal launch either because I haven’t had time yet to digest it.

1 Here we are at the pointy end of this one-sided election campaign. I say one-sided because only one side in its meditation on what a society should be has been able to articulate a picture of our future.

On the one hand, the conservatives have spoken exclusively the words of the economist. On the other hand, Labor’s language has succeeded in marrying the words of the enlightened economist and those of the thinker to form a sentence that describes a marriage with the word society.

2 Before further explanation as to just what I think a society should be, allow me to pose a question to those as yet undecided as to their voting intention.

How could anyone seriously vote for a party that has performed so pathetically? Firstly, with a leader of the calibre of Tony Abbott who was nothing more than a lying, grubby, uncouth, loudmouth gutter politician.

Secondly, in Malcolm Turnbull, we endured the most hypocritical Prime Minister in our history.

Thirdly, a Prime Minister in Scott Morrison who has been a motor mouth with not the slightest capacity for the deepest contemplation of fairness or future.

All three led a party full of obnoxious liars with a “born to rule” mentality. A party that has been in power for six years and finally tells the country that it has a plan.

All of a sudden Scott Morrison has an ownership on righteousness that will resolve all of our problems. Just listen to him.

A party that argues it is the one better placed to govern for the next three years when it hasn’t done so for the past six.

A party that has wasted six years in which nothing will ever be recorded by political historians as being meaningful.

A party that thinks climate change is an invention of the left to replace communism.

People intending to vote for this obnoxious collection of pithy self-serving narcissists should stop and reconsider their vote and the impact their vote will have on the country.

If climate change is the No. 1 concern of the populace then the polls cannot possibly be right.

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

3 In Australia politics no longer meets the needs or aspirations of the people and is held in such low esteem that politicians are barely relevant.

I have long felt that the political establishment has taken ownership of a system that should serve the people but instead serves itself. It is self-indulgent, shows no respect for the people it serves and lacks any trace of transparency.

Successful societies should be built around a common good and we need to examine which political ideology is best placed to build such a society.

This is the first real opportunity for some time that we have had the opportunity for real change. Where the differences between the parties are genuinely spelt out.

The last few weeks I have written copious words about them.

Firstly, let’s ask ourselves what is an ideal society based on. For me it’s an attainment we may never accomplish, but nonetheless is a worthwhile aspiration.

In the modern Western sense, an enlightened society is a populace of men, women, and children who as a collective desire to express their humanity, work, aspirations, spirituality, art, poetry and play with the richest possible diversity.

If Robert Kennedy was looking over my shoulder he might say:

“ … the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages … It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom or our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

It cultivates a common good with equality of opportunity for all. A society where one’s sexual preference or gender is not a judgment upon your character and the colour of your skin says nothing about you other than perhaps your geographical place of birth.

A society that believes in the individual pursuit, intellectual accomplishment and financial reward only regulated by what is beneficial for the common collective good. In other words everyone is entitled to an equitable share of society’s wealth.

If Abe Lincoln was looking over my shoulder he might say:

“Labour is prior to and independent of Capital. Capital is only the fruit of labour, and could never have existed if labour had not first existed. Labour is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

A society where freedom of expression is guaranteed but limited only by the innate moral personal decency of the individual.

Where free speech is fair speech. An enlightened society in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.

“The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of reason never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation.”

A society where the health and welfare of all, is sacrosanct and access to treatment is assured. Where the principle that we should treat others in the same manner as we expect them to treat us is indelible in the mind of every citizen.

A society that respects science before myth and mysticism, but at the same time recognises the individual’s right to the expression of their own form of spirituality so long as it doesn’t hinder the common good.

A society that should be judged by its welcoming, and how well it treats its most vulnerable citizens. By how well protected we are and how accessible the law is regardless of stature or wealth.

In democratic societies (the best – or least bad form of government) our herding instincts are realised by the election of leaders who form government.

Even in the imperfection of democracy, we comprehend that a group mentality advances society better than dictatorial individuality.

So we need a government that is subservient to the will (the common good ethics) of the people and is responsive to the inclusiveness of public opinion.

It is government that decides and regulates the progress and ambitions of society. Or at least provides the environment in which to do so. There is very little that is done in the name of progress that cannot be attributed in some way to government. Individual or collective ambition can only be achieved within a social structure built and controlled by government.

Currently, we are experiencing a shift in power. The right, those who control the means of production, financial institutions, the media, the rich, the privileged, large corporations and government are seeking to take us even further to the right.

Those with corporate power seek a marriage with government to maximise power.

Government by the people for the “common good” needs to be taken back. It is our entitlement, not their’s.

Catalyst is a word that describes something that is a defining reason for change.. This election is such a catalyst.

When I look at the past few years and what this government has done to our institutions and our democracy I can only ask that we might wake from the political malaise that has us bogged us down in a quagmire of selfishness. It’s the individual first second and third.

“A commitment to social justice demands the transformation of social structures as well as our hearts and minds.” (John Lord)

Every part of society, when you think about it, has been indoctrinated with a nefarious, “me first,” attitude that has seen the common good almost vanish. You can witness it in our children.

If a wise old man was advising you on a political resurrection what might he say?

“How can I help you?” might be his opening words.

“Is it not possible to hope that there are some people of integrity who might form a centrist party dedicated to an honest government for all and the principles of “from each according to her/his ability, to each according to her/his need?”

My thought for the day

“People haven’t rushed to vote early because they are enamoured with the performance of the government. They did so because they were not.” (John Lord)

Previous Diaries:

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 1: There is no such thing as a society

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 2: Morrison plays the race card while Dutton lowers the bar even further

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 3: My language really doesn’t tell you what I think of these bastards

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 4: Shorten drops ball on Super but gives Murdoch the boot

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 5: The masters of scare. It’s like watching the best of “Yes, Prime Minister”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 6: Are the baseball bats still behind the front door, at the ready?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 7: Will the young convince us to save us from ourselves?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 8: “Morrison versus the rest”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 9: With just 18 days to go I refuse to believe Newspoll

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 10: No policies so let’s talk about the climate and money

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 11: Wake-up, Australia we need to Change the Government

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 12: “Is there any more?” Cassidy asked

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 13: Shorten has dared to go where other Labor leaders have not

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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 13: Shorten has dared to go where other Labor leaders have not

Saturday 11 May 2018

1 By this time next week, only those who haven’t voted pre-poll will be left to cast their vote in this most important election. All the policies, or lack of them, will have resonated with the electorate in varying degrees. Some will vote in a state of confusion but most with certainty. The young have become engaged and hopefully, they might return our democracy to some form of respectability and transparency.

The issue though is will the right win, will they be emboldened to move further right to satisfy the interests of the establishment, corporates and rich individuals. Or on the other hand, will the electorate be prepared to give Labor’s policies of change a chance?

2 The polls have played a fairly negative part in portraying an accurate position of the parties. Given the knowledge all and sundry have of the previous 6 years I find it difficult to believe they are an accurate reflection of the public mood.

“An enlightened society is one in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.” JL

3 In recent days it has really hit home to me just how intensive the use of social media has played in this election. My message box, my email, and any other way, the parties could attract my attention, they have pestered to a point where I have had to look the other way.

A positive is though that my diary has attracted new readers by ten a day for its duration.

“The fourth estate as the custodians of the public right to know should act responsibly and report fact and not just express biased opinion.” JL

4 Peter Dutton has come out from whatever slime hole to inform us that Bill Shorten intends letting the boats start again and the redhead insists they will introduce a death tax.

5 Yesterday Labor released its costing’s. Why? Well, it might have been because they were very confident that any criticism of them could be hit to leg but another reason might be that it would keep attention on Labor’s policies and bring Chris Bowen into the picture.

Predictions already show that Labor because of the huge and fair increases in its revenues will be able to better the governments planned surpluses by double and have a $200bn war chest to spend on further tax cuts over the next decade.

It has also allowed $55 million for a plebiscite on Australia becoming a Republic.

“The parliamentary budget office estimates will also reveal that Labor has about $200bn to spend on tax cuts beyond the forward estimates to meet a tax-to-GDP ratio of 24.3% – the same level achieved under the Howard government.”

On any level, you would have to admit that they have not been sitting idly by for the past three years. They have not left a stone unturned to get things right and be upfront and transparent with the public.

6 Also, the release might just detract from the Liberal Launch on Sunday. Which in itself, is but a liberal Party cost saying measure and if Turnbull is a no show, an embarrassment.

7 From the Press Club debate, I would have been tempted to say that I learnt nothing new but that wasn’t the case. I learnt that the opposition, if a world economic downturn did occur, is better placed, because of the savings from Franking and Negative gearing to ward off the effects.

8 The other thing was the Prime Minister saying that Melissa Price would be the Environment Minister in the next Government should he win. He had to be joking. But “Where is she?” said Bill. Time will tell.

“We will never truly understand the effect Free Speech has on an individual until we have suffered from the abuse of it.” JL

9 I cannot remember a government going to an election with so few policies. You would have to go back to Tony Abbott to make any comparison. Tony, of course, believed that just being in office fixed everything. The born to rule brashness.

“If a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements then dismiss the article as having no cogency.” JL

10 Incidentally what is the difference between Scott Morrison’s $2.4 billion cuts to the Aged Pension four years ago and cuts to Franking Credits? He sneakily changed the way future rises to the pension are calculated.

11 AIM readers may have missed my Facebook post on the Daily Telegraph’s version of what Bill Shorten knows about his own mum. So here it is.

I wrote this while ill in bed and managed to post it on Facebook but not the AIM.

“Why this was the most compelling moment of this election campaign”

This was the headline on the ABCs online site today. The Daily Mail had attacked him because he attended an elite school.

“In a new low, The Daily Telegraph has decided to use my mum’s life as a political attack on me, and on her memory.” Mr. Shorten said.

“Mother of Invention”, read the headline accusing him of not telling the full story about his mother.

Mr Shorten said his mother died from a catastrophic heart attack in her sleep in April 2014.

“I miss her every day,” he said. “I‘m glad she wasn’t here today to read that rubbish.” 

While appearing on Q&A last Monday, Mr Shorten had spoken of his mother, Dr Ann Shorten, as his inspiration.

He said, “She had wanted to study law but had to take a teacher’s scholarship so she could support her younger siblings.” 

The newspaper accused Mr Shorten of having neglected to say that his mother did go on to study law, and gained first-class honours before going on to practice for six years.

The Daily Telegraph also described Mr Shorten as having benefited from studying at “Melbourne’s elite Xavier College”. 

“I didn’t read it all because there’s only so much time in your day and you can’t afford to waste it on the rubbish,” Mr Shorten said of the article today.

“They think that [because] I explained myself at Q&A on a Monday night, that they play gotcha about your life story — more importantly, my mum’s.”

“She loved being a teacher and she was very good at it. She later became a teacher of teachers.”

“She worked at Monash University over three decades, but she always wanted to be in the law.”

He said, “his mother studied law in her 50s and he was proud of what she achieved.”

“When I was in my first year of law school, she was in her final year. She was her brilliant self and won the Supreme Court prize.”

“She finally realised her dream and qualified as a barrister in her late 50s.”

Conservative media seem to get some perverse satisfaction from this sort of defamation. Remember Alan Jones attack on Prime Minister Gillard:

‘’Her father died of shame because of her political lies.”

I am not well today but I felt compelled to say a little or a lot about the Daily Mail’s attraction of Bill Shorten. Firstly the leading tabloid of the Murdoch gutter publications published it. To say that it is the worst example, the most gutless of all his publications would be an understatement.

They are the newspapers where the truth goes to die. Bill Shorten doesn’t need me to defend him he does a fine job on his own. However, when one’s mother becomes the intentional centre of an attack on the son then we need to speak up and combat it.

I have never really understood the dislike of Bill Shorten because l have always found solace in my enquiries when criticisms have been directed at him by the press and every day by the government. They did the same with Gillard and I also found that reprehensible.

That he has gathered together a team that is so woven in solidarity. So married to his leadership and so surrounded with women is truly, to me at least, remarkable. Sure he has little habits that annoy me but nowhere near as much as the Prime Ministers overbearing nature.

In this election, Shorten has dared to go where other Labor leaders have not. He has taken on the rich and said enough is enough. Schools, hospitals and aged care are the priorities. He has bravely taken on top-down economics and said there is a better way.

My thought for the day 

“If you are looking for the ultimate expression of the purity of love, there is no better place to look than in the sanctity of what we call motherhood.”

Conservative media seem to get some perverse satisfaction from this sort of defamation. Remember Alan Jones attack on Prime Minister Gillard: ‘’Her father died of shame because of her political lies.”

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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 12: “Is there any more?” Cassidy asked

Wednesday 8 May 2019

1 With 10 days to go and the latest polls suggesting a tightening of the vote, I am still thinking they are well off the mark as they were in Victoria and the by-election in Wentworth.

Both wins came on the back of a universal swing against a very unpopular government. Even though Victoria was a state election it still carries the residue of the people’s distrust of a party so willing to change its leader on the slightest whim.

Placing my emotion at the rear of my logic I conclude that all those voters who protested at the abysmal performance of the Coalition are now, if the polls are correct, suffering from some sort of collective self-indulgence wherein they have decided to take the money.

On Insiders yesterday Josh Frydenberg (he seems to be the only one allowed to appear on the program) was asked, after answering a series of questions pertaining to the future of the Nation, if there was there any more.

He had couched all of his answers during the interview in economic gobbledygook and failed to recognize Cassidy’s reason for putting the question to him. “Was there any more?” Cassidy asked again.

The sad thing was that Frydenberg in his ignorance as to the why of the question couldn’t find a sentence that married the two words economy and society together.

And it is there that my memory goes to the lady with the bad hairdo who once said …

“There is no such thing as society, there are only individuals making their way.
And the poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect from the rich.” (paraphrased)

I sat there looking at Frydenberg who was completely oblivious to the whole thing. How sad it must be when you can only see the world you inhabit through the window of a dollar note. And sadder still is that it might as well have been our Prime Minister occupying the same seat.

“The right of politics govern for those who have and the left for those who have not.” JL

To believe the polls is to believe that the entire nation has been in some form of long term hibernation and have just woken completely unaware of how chaotic their government has been or conversely they have been awake all the time and have just decided to forgive them all the damage they have caused our body politic.

Another scenario might be that this monumental effort by conservatives to push our politics far out to the right, might have escaped them. That, however, that scenario I am inclined to dismiss due to what has obviously been protest votes.

2 Anyway for what it’s worth

Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor; Ipsos: 52-48 to Labor

Two polls show Labor maintaining its modest lead, although they have different stories to tell on primary votes and leaders’ ratings.

Two national polls this evening, one being a second Newspoll result in successive weeks, showing Labor’s two-party lead unchanged on last week at 51-49. There is also next to no movement on the primary votes, with the Coalition at 38% (steady), Labor at 36% (down one), the Greens at 9% (unchanged), One Nation at 5% (up one) and United Australia Party at 4% (down one). As was the case last week, this might well have come out at 52-48 before Newspoll adopted its United Australia Party preference split of 60-40 in favour of the Coalition.

There is, however, a significant negative movement for Bill Shorten’s approval rating, which at 35% is down four points on last week’s result (which itself was a two point improvement on a fortnight before). His disapproval rating is at 53%, up two. Scott Morrison was down a point on both approval and disapproval, to 44% and 45% respectively. His lead as preferred prime minister is 46-35, out from 45-37 last time. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 2003.

Read William Bowe’s full summary at The Bludger Track.

Ladbrokes betting odds

NEXT FEDERAL ELECTION
Coalition$4.30
Labor$1.22
Australian Conservatives$301
One Nation$301
Greens$301

3 Labor’s official launch

4 On Friday 6 May 2016, I wrote the following:

You would think that a Prime Minister and his Treasurer who are proposing to cut company tax to 25% over the next ten years would have some idea of what the cost to the taxpayer might be. But no. When the PM was asked in an interview with David Speers on Sky News he didn’t have the faintest idea. When Speers asked if it might be $55 billion he said it may or may not be correct.

Surely a Government expecting to go to an election with economic management and trust at the forefront of its campaign wouldn’t be stupid enough not to have costed the centrepiece of its budget?

When 3AW Melbourne commentator Neil Mitchell asked Scott Morrison the same question on Thursday he also couldn’t answer.

“It’s in the budget, look it up” he robustly told Mitchell.

“I haven’t got in front of me. Couldn’t you just tell me”, replied Mitchell.

He didn’t get an answer.

Speers pressed Turnbull a number of times but he continued to be evasive simply saying that Treasury projected the budget to be back in the black by 2020/21 and stay there.

This, of course, didn’t answer the question. Speers asked again. “I don’t understand what the cost is – what’s it going to cost taxpayers to cut the company tax rate to 25 per cent?” he asked. Later he confirmed that Treasury had costed the company tax cuts.

Labor bared their teeth against the government in Parliament.

“The centrepiece of the budget and they forgot to cost it. Even Joe Hockey was more competent than that,” said frontbencher Tony Burke.

Then he was gagged by the government.

Labor released costing’s by the Parliamentary Budget Office showing that a cut to 25% would cost the budget $16.45 billion a year by 2026/27.

When told that Deloitte Access Economics director Chris Richardson estimated the tax cut would hit revenue by $55 billion over the next 10 years, Mr Turnbull could only say that Mr Richardson “may well be right”, but warned that “the further out you forecast, there is more uncertainty.”

The fact of the matter is that they had not done the costing and were just plain lying. And they put up trust as an issue in the forthcoming election. Just who are they kidding?

Chris Bowen at the end of Question Time gave a very spirited account of the Budget omission leaving the Government somewhat embarrassed. And so they should be.

Does it all sound familiar? Nothing has changed.

“Telling the truth should not be delayed simply because we are not sure how people might react to it. ” JL

Tuesday 7 May 2019

5 The Essential Poll comes in at 52/48 to Labor.

6 At this point, my diary entries terminate just as I have much to say. Unfortunately, I have come down with some sort of wog and I have also run out of my arthritic pain tablets.

But there is still fight in the old dog yet so I will front up hopefully on Saturday as usual.

I finish by saying that I thought Labor’s campaign was sensationally well put together. On top of that, he was in his element on Q&A and performed with sincerity compassion and forthrightness.

My thought for the day

“I think the PM last night set a world record for words per minute in his interview with Leigh Sales.” 

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