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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.

Ideas for a better democracy

Our Constitution is the:

“Commonwealth of Australia founding document. After many years of debate and drafting, it was passed by the British Parliament and given royal assent (approval by the Queen) in July 1900. Australia’s 6 British colonies became one nation on 1 January 1901.”

Australians are sticklers for tradition when it comes to our Constitution. Despite 44 proposed changes, only eight have ever been successful.

Change has been an aversion to Australians for a long time, with dozens of proposed changes meeting with a very public flogging. Two proposals to change the Constitution will soon be placed before the Australian people. This year Labor plans a bid to give a Voice to Parliament for our First Nations people and will be placed before the people. At face value, it would seem harsh not to give our First Nation’s folk a voice in their destiny.

Our Constitution is “silent on the histories of the people who inhabited this continent before European settlement.” Therefore, it is incumbent on the Government to correct this ascetic anomaly. It may, however, be the voice of the Opposition leader Peter Dutton that determines the outcome. If he decides his party will vote against it, it would only be for political reasons, and his party would be a national disgrace – an assassination of the referendum.

The second referendum being considered will be a bid to change the Constitution so that we can have an Australian as our head of State.

Both are worthwhile propositions of long-standing and deserve to be supported by a majority of citizens in a majority of states. The time is ripe for change. Sure, this would be a symbolic change. It will not improve our exports or our world standing on many things, but it will provide us with a new maturity commensurate with our standing in the world.

We have too many cultural concepts that speak of our past and not our future.

But are they the only proposals worthy of our earnestness consideration? Here is my list. You may have others, so please note yours in the comments section. Some might only require legislation; others may need referenda:

1 Change the Constitution to make change easier.

2 Create new ways of purposeful participation in the body politic for Australians wanting to be involved and enshrine the positions in the Constitution.

3 A two-year constitutional review ending with the appointment of a full-time sitting committee. They would review, make recommendations and advise the Government of the day.

4 Outline the standards required to become an MP or Senator in the Constitution. A suitability test for prospective MPs.

5 Appointment of an independent Speaker heading an Independent Speaker’s Office with a broader range of responsibilities.

6 An independent review of Australia’s voting system to eliminate any anomalies and to teach politics in year 12 and the possibility of allowing 16-year-olds to vote if registered at high school and completing the politics course.

7 A review to redefine free speech and what it means in an enlightened society.

8 Find a place in our Constitution that guarantees a Department of the Future in the cabinet.

9 A guarantee of affordable health care for all citizens.

10 A 10-point “common good” caveat for all proposed legislation.

11 Describe in our Constitution the place or purpose of the government, the judicial system, business, religion, the law and the media.

12 Major appointments to government agencies be considered by a joint parliamentary committee to discourage stacking agencies with partisans.

13 A bill of rights be looked into by a group of retired judges appointed by the government.

14 Consider some form of yearly citizen-initiated referenda.

15 Reinforce secularity concerning religion.

16 One item I feel is missing, and I am not sure how to phrase it, is to restore science to its proper place.

17 Lock in fixed four-year terms in the Constitution with a specified date.

18 A guarantee of affordable health care for all be enshrined in the Constitution.

19 Re-instate our public broadcasters’ autonomy, financial, programming and management independence with a charter that explicitly requires no government, corporate or religious interference.

As I said at the start, I am asking for general comments on my piece and any new ideas that could be included in our Constitution.

Now allow me to quote from an essay by Dr Venturini written around the same time as my original piece. His 5-part essay is informative in underlining the intent of the Constitution as, basically, enshrining the rights of the states as sovereign entities within a sovereign commonwealth. They were never about ‘we, the people’. So much is left to conventions, and we know how much those have been shunned over the last decade.

“A quick look of the Australian Constitution reveals that it is technically an act of the British Parliament passed in 1900, the last vestiges of British legislative influence in Australia to be eliminated with the passage of the Australia Act in 1986.

The Constitution is interpreted and operates in two ways: literally – some sections of the Constitution are taken literally and followed to the letter; conventionally – other sections operate through a series of ‘constitutional conventions’ which vest real power in the hands of elected politicians.

Alongside the text of the Constitution, and Letters of Patent issued by the Crown, such Conventions are an important aspect of the Constitution; they have evolved over the decades and define how various constitutional mechanisms operate in practice.

Conventions are unwritten rules, not laws. They express an accepted way of doing something. The ‘Westminster parliamentary system’ is built around these kinds of unwritten rules. They presume that people of good reputation and character behave in an honourable way. By and large Australian ‘conservatives’ do not respect ‘Labor people’ as persons of honour. This is one of the reasons why ‘conservatives’ have been preferred to ‘Labor people’ = rabble on a three/fourth basis since federation.”

So, there you have it. What else would you like to see written into our Constitution, or how might we improve it?

My thought for the day

If we were drafting our Constitution today, does anyone seriously dispute that we would require our head of State to be an Australian? Indeed, the Monarchy belongs to our past and not our future.

 

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If we are going to have an Australian as head of state, then the position must be meaningful

Some people sincerely believe that we don’t need the position of president and that the Prime Minister fills the role anyway. As one who worked tirelessly for the Australian Republic Movement during the debate in 1999, I do not concur with that thought.

If we are to become a republic with a ceremonial head of state, the position must fulfil some real purpose or none.

It must be an influential position promoting our country both here and abroad. It is a position that works in tandem with the Prime Minister, full of dignity and purpose, making major speeches and working in partnership with the Prime Minister when necessary and independently when required (and not opening flower shows in outback Queensland).

I was also not persuaded by the view that the people should elect our President. I also believed to do so would only degrade the position and turn it into a popularity contest. I have since changed my mind, given a new model put forward by the Australian Republic Movement (ARM).

In saying this, I presuppose an Albanese government will hold a referendum in 2024. By then, I will be 83. Even as a young boy, I refused to stand for “God save the Queen” at the beginning of a movie when I went to the flicks. Yes, in those days, we were saturated with the trappings of royalty.

One couldn’t attend an event or function without standing and paying homage to royalty. It may have been discourteous of me, but I always questioned why I should do it for the head of state of another country. I was, after all, a true-blue Aussie kid of rebellious thought.

I began articulating the case for the Australian Republic at around 16. I followed the thoughts of Barry Jones and other notable persons on the subject. As I matured, my thinking became more refined.

Now that the Queen has left us, the opportunity presents itself to ask my fellow Australians if they want an Australian as their head of state or if they would rather stick with King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla.

The proposition is simple until one comes up against the process of getting there. That is the methodology by which our head of state is elected. The referendum of November 1999 was defeated partly because those wanting a republic needed to devise a satisfactory method of inducting a President and couldn’t do so.

The Australian people rejected the model of the Australian Republican Movement because it gave more power (real or imagined) to politicians. I supported it mainly because it was better than a popular election process which would have been a disaster. A popular election would mean that many unsuitable people would and could win based on popularity. Eventually, making it political.

Since that time, the ARM has developed a new model that gives all of us a more significant say in the election of a President. But for reasons of brevity, it works like this:

“So, how does it work? The Australian Choice Model will allow every State and Territory Parliament to nominate one candidate for election to be our Head of State. The Federal Parliament will be able to nominate up to three. We will then hold a national election for Australians to decide which candidate should be Head of State – a vote for all of us.”

Above all, the person chosen to be President should have undoubted integrity, truthfulness, and ethics with an astute clarity of expression.

To find out more, visit the Australian Republican Movement website where you will find a complete explanation of their proposal.

The reader should note other reasons for the referendum’s defeat in 1999 because they are essential to understanding why it was John Howard who defeated it.

Malcolm Turnbull summed it up in his book “The Reluctant Republic“, where he accused John Howard (the ‘lying rodent’ – thanks, George) of breaking the hearts of Australians. He was, in fact, correct.

Writing in The Financial Review at the time, James Chessel said that:

“The Member for Wentworth may have ran the Australian Republican Movement from 1993 to 2000 – and accused former prime minister John Howard of “breaking the nation’s heart” for skilfully backing the status quo during the 1999 referendum – but “political realities” could not be ignored.”

Tony Abbott, as leader of the “No” case, was also complicit in this betrayal of the Australian people. They told lies, and Howard used his position as Prime Minister to promote the “No” case. He duded us, and this Australian shed a tear.

Remember this: Australians are sticklers for tradition when it comes to our constitution. Despite 44 proposed changes, only eight have ever been successful.

My thought for the day

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

 

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A comprehensive to-do list for Labor in 2023

The year 2023 will be a hard slog for the government. Perhaps a momentous one in terms of urgency and necessity. There is no point in prioritising one over the other because they are all critical.

It seems incredibly unfair that many in the mainstream media refuse even the slightest praise for a government that has performed exceptionally well, given the wreckage they confronted when acquiring office. But with the number of campaign promises it has ticked off, its popularity has increased.

But according to the mainstream media, newlyweds have no honeymoon anymore.

Therefore, before addressing 2023, I need to acknowledge just a few triumphs made in the government’s first six months in office.

Even though Labor has created a National Anti-Corruption Commission and taken meaningful action on climate change, sections of the MSM seem reluctant to express any kudos.

They have endorsed pay rises for aged care workers, and work on a voice to Parliament for First Nations people is well underway.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong has re-established Australia’s relations with China after the Damage Morrison and Dutton did.

Now for 2023. Albanese and his ministers face the most indulgent of problems, both domestic and international.

Indigenous voice to Parliament

When he won government, Albanese promised to enshrine a voice for our First Nations people in our constitution. A large proportion of Australians agree with this.

The referendum on this is due to be held later in the year, with Minister Linda Burney saying it may be as early as August. It is only possible (historically at least) for a referendum to be won with the support of the opposition. The ultra-conservative Nationals have already given it a big No without even waiting for the detail. I am concerned that the other half of the LNP will only lend its support if they perceive it as political gain.

Many protractors claim there is not enough detail, but this is patently untrue. Seek, and thou shall find.

Even Ken Wyatt has strongly refuted suggestions from his side of politics about a lack of detail. Any successful referendum:

“… requires a double majority – an overall majority of voters plus a majority of voters in at least four states.”

Needless to say, Labor has a ton of work in front of it.

Energy

Energy costs will dominate the political conversation in 2023. The opposition needs more to discuss (it cannot talk about itself) so that it will target anything and everything. If you remember, Parliament was recalled for an extraordinary sitting in December to pass the energy relief package.

Facing international markets that have given the energy sector huge profits, the government has to make this work. It all comes in a year wherein Labor is expected to make further announcements about its climate policy. The May budget will include some aspects.

There is also an electrification package Labor is working on, which is part of a deal with the Greens, on energy subsidy plans for low and middle-income earners on the east coast.

And it all has to be done while appeasing the gas industry and toiling over a code of conduct. Oh, then there is the plan to “rewire the nation.”

I hope Chris Bowen is wired up for the year ahead.

The cost of living

We repeatedly heard, “Everything is going up except your wages” during the May 21 election campaign. But the reality is that there is little the government can do about the cost of living.

With real wages falling faster than ever since 1997, living costs have become a nightmare for low and middle-income earners. We have a cost problem. The cost of housing, energy, food and rent are at a crisis point. My observation tells me that many companies are taking advantage of a bad situation. Even full-time workers are still looking for housing.

It will be touch and go if Australia avoids a recession. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be tough. It will be a walk down a street in darkness. As is usual, it will be the poor who will take the brunt of it.

Inflation and the global landscape

Inflation is the enemy of any economy.” It was expected to rise to 8% and gradually decrease this year. The RBA has signaled that it will continue to raise interest rates until it defeats the enemy. It is the only firepower it has.

The latest report from the IMF shows that Australians are dishing out 40% of their income on housing. One of the highest in the OEDC. At that rate, it raises questions about whether we are close to experiencing a bust in the housing market.

Because we are at the mercy of global inflation, there needs to be more the government can do domestically, but there isn’t. The US, UK, Europe, and China face trickier situations. Australia is vitally linked to these economies and requires them to perform well to combat its own inflationary issues.

Stage-three tax cuts

I have covered this elsewhere, however, it needs repeating:

“Since the election and the disclosure of Australia’s authentic debt, with the enormous amounts required to finance campaign commitments, repair the NDIS, and care for the elderly, the imperative for the cuts is now unwarranted.

The Stage Three Tax Cuts will overwhelmingly benefit the rich, but will they help the economy? The short answer is “no.” Those who benefit from the reductions won’t spend it and will probably invest it in accumulating more wealth. Nor would it encourage them to work any harder.

Given there are so many justifications for cancelling the cuts, Labor is allowed to demonstrate the philosophy they talked about before and during the election campaigns. That being equality and a fairer society.”

The tax cuts defy logic when stacked against the reasons not to. They will not improve equality.

Albanese will build up enough public goodwill to get away with their cancellation. That’s my view.

“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” (Martin Luther King Jr)

Social security and JobSeeker

As part of a deal, he struck with Labor to pass its industrial relations legislation through the senate, ACT senator David Pocock negotiated a yearly review of the adequacy of jobseeker and associated social security payments. Australia has around 13.4% (or 3.3 million) of its population living below the poverty line. While the government isn’t under any obligation to increase these payments, there is an expectation that it will.

The second round of IR changes

Then comes the battle over the second round of changes and the commitment to a broader industrial relations overhaul. These include tackling “same job, same pay” arrangements and an extension of minimum conditions to employment-like work conditions.

* * * * *

And if that’s not enough work that needs to be done, Labor has committed to implementing all 55 recommendations of the sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins’ Respect@Work report. Then it needs to do something about the country’s debt. Let’s remember the jobs market.

After that, there are day-to-day emergencies that come out of nowhere.

My thought for the day

The left of politics is concerned with people who cannot help themselves. The right is concerned with those who can.

 

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2023: A year of change, of progress

The fact that the people of Australia almost lost faith in our system of Government is unsurprising. To say that we were ambivalent about our politicians was an understatement and that we were ashamed of them was undeniable. We still are with some.

However, 2023 presents the Government with a unique opportunity to continue with the policy agenda introduced in the last half of 2022 and right the wrongs of Howard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison. Never has a government inherited a more incredible mess but never has a leader come along who is more capable of fixing it.

To say that our democracy has taken a beating since Howard came to power is no exaggeration.

Its decline has had many consequences. The rise of extremism, corruption and far-right conservatism are, but some. Liberalism no longer exists, and the National Party lives because of a voting system favouring them disproportionally.

Neo-conservative fascism or right-wing politics replaced the Liberal Party, and old-style liberalism no longer has a voice. The so-called Liberal Party needs to change its name to suit whatever ideology it decides to be. The National Party needs to determine if it represents farmers or miners and accepts science generally, particularly climate change.

The Labor Party, in part, needs to invest in a social philosophical common good, unafraid to say that it is known as socialism. It should embrace eliminating growing inequality, unaffordable housing and general poverty and see both as worthy pursuits.

Labor has lost a significant portion of its supporters to the Greens, who may, now that Labor is back in power, decide to return in the knowledge that they can achieve much on their own. Rescinding the tax cuts to the rich and well-off might move green supporters back.

It is unlikely that many independents will lose seats in the next election.

Leading the two major parties on the right, we have two lying, unscrupulous politicians of dubious character, and on the left, a long-serving lily white, of which nothing corrupt can be hung.

Within LNP ranks, we have a collection of MPs who have studied at some of the world’s most prestigious learning institutions. Yet sprinkled among them is a fair splattering of individuals who could only be described as borderline nut cases. Women are both underrated, underrepresented and underestimated.

The LNP have pre-selection processes rooted in factional power struggles that often see the best candidates, particularly women, miss out. Both parties need to select people with broader life experience.

Our democracy has lacked objectivity because former Prime Minister Morrison and his followers debased our democracy to the point that there is no compelling reason to take on public service. Well, at least for people with decency, integrity and compassion.

Pursuing power for power’s sake and its retention has engulfed political thinking. The common good dwelled somewhere in the recesses of small minds lacking the capacity for sound public policy that achieved social equity. The people became secondary under successive LNP governments.

There was no stand-out leadership. In recent times leadership was lost in power struggles, undignified self-interest and narcissistic personality. Prior to the election, the administration of Scott Morrison had been exposed for what it was; simply deplorable.

Question Time is arguably the showcase of the Parliament and is still badly in need of an overhaul: It is nothing but an excuse for mediocre minds who cannot win an argument with factual intellect, charm or debating skills to act deplorably toward each other.

Frivolity and wit have been replaced with smut and sarcasm. Members debase the Parliament and themselves as moronic imbecilic individuals. Labor needs to do more to improve it.

Our voting system is in need of an overhaul. When one party, the Greens, attract nearly the same primary votes as the Nationals but can only win a scattering of seats in the House of Representatives, there is something wrong with the system.

Added to that is the ludicrous Senate situation where people are elected with few primary votes, just preferences.

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

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

Now with almost complete control of Australian politics, the left has shown that Murdoch doesn’t have the influence he once did.

The advent of social media sent mainstream media, like newspapers, into free fall. Murdoch’s declining newspaper sales have resulted in lost revenue and profits. It has lost the influence it once had, real or imagined, and bloggers reflect grassroots society’s feelings more truthfully.

Shock jocks who once shouted the most outrageous lies to vilify people’s character with impunity have been exposed for their villainy. They did nothing to promote proper democratic illumination. They even glorified free speech as if they were the sole custodians of it.

Three final things have contributed to the decline in our Democracy.

Firstly, the Abbott and Morrison factor and the death of truth as a principle of democratic necessity. I am convinced that Morrison and Abbott believed that the effect of lying diminishes over time and therefore is a legitimate political tool. Morrison also thought that lying to protect a lie was fair.

Secondly, some of the alleged ‘criminality’ of Morrison has been revealed, and when the Federal Integrity Commission is fully commissioned, much more will be examined.

And thirdly, truth, transparency and the people’s right to know how they are governed were murdered during the Luddite period of the LNP governments. Let’s hope they are resurrected. The signs so far are promising.

My thought for the day

We have lived with it for the last decade, this destruction of our Democracy. It’s damaged both sides of politics and damaged our country and our reputation.

 

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Does conservatism have a future now that liberalism is down for the count?

The first thing I asked myself before commencing this piece was, does conservatism have a future? By conservatism, in this instance, I refer to the philosophy practised by the LNP over the last decade or so.

l have deliberately jumped over the Liberal Party, assuming in my thinking that Scott Morrison and others are responsible for its destruction. Or perhaps its murder might be blunter. If one were writing a political thriller, the three suspects would be Howard, Abbott and Morrison.

Liberalism no longer exists. The party of the people for the people, as envisaged by its founder Robert Menzies is long gone, ruined and wrecked by vandals of its political philosophy.

Those followers with twisted minds and duplicitous thoughts have to decide what it is they want to be. They can choose to continue as the Conservative party they have become with the leader they have acting as if an evil thought never entered his head or under the same leader, leading a far-right party and being who he really is. A woeful man without an empathetic thought. That is his history, his record.

Albanese won the election because he concentrated on two issues. The first was to focus enormously on a failed leader who had become deeply unpopular and consistently lied. The second was his failure to come up with profound solutions to Australia’s significant challenges.

The chronology shows that its leaders are attracted to the same disposition. Look at Tony Abbott; he was so diabolically bad at being prime minister and was of the same personality traits.

The real enemy of neo-conservative politics in Australia is not Labor or democratic socialism. It is simply what Australians affectionally call it: A fair go.

When Tourism Minister Fran Bailey sacked Scott Morrison as CEO of Tourism Australia in 2006, she said of him that he was “missing that part of the brain that controls empathy.” (From the Niki Savva book, Bulldozed: Scott Morrison’s Fall and Anthony Albanese’s Rise, and reviewed on The Conversation).

I’m currently reading her book, and whilst it lambasts Morrison and the conservatives, it isn’t without humour:

Barnaby Joyce being “to Liberal voters what Roundup was to weeds.”

“Often, he would screw his friends” (speaking about the former Prime Minister).

Voters “grew sick and tired of his weaving, wedging, dodging, fibbing, and fudging,” Savva judges. He was “Boris Johnson without the hair or the humour.”

He was “messianic, megalomaniacal, and plain mad.”

“He was woeful,” says Savva, “the worst prime minister I have covered … He simply wasn’t up to the job.”

The Coalition, it would seem, attracts, for whatever reason, the racist, the conspiracy theorist, strange people, science deniers, the misogynist, the anti-gay and a media led by a much louder man than the voice of reason. Then, of course, some are of dubious intellect.

Christensen, Paterson, Abetz, Joyce, Dutton, Cash, Hastie, Littleproud, Stuart, Sukkar, Taylor, Ley, Porter, Abbott and Canavan. And others are of that ilk.

I am convinced conservatives believe that the effect of lying diminishes over time and forget that they leave behind a residue of broken trust.

In their Newspoll quarterly aggregates: July to December, The Poll Bludger reports that:

As it usually does on Boxing Day, The Australian has published quarterly aggregates of Newspoll with state and demographic breakdowns, on this occasion casting an unusually wide net from its polling all the way back to July to early this month, reflecting the relative infrequency of its results over this time. The result is a combined survey of 5771 respondents that finds Labor leading 55-45 in New South Wales (a swing of about 3.5% to Labor compared with the election), 57-43 in Victoria (about 2%), 55-45 in Western Australia (no change) and 57-43 in South Australia (a 4.0% swing), while trailing 51-49 in Queensland a 3% swing).

Further analysis by The Poll Bludger would suggest that if an election were held now, Labor would win another six seats.

So, it all looks rather bleak for the conservative side of politics, and it all comes back to reading community attitudes. It had been self-evident for some time that the people had become disenchanted with how the body politic was being torn asunder in Australia. Scandals had become commonplace, and corruption was rife.

On May 21, the Australian people let their opinions be known. The new leader of the Conservative Party, Peter Dutton, is busy in this new world trying to convince a rapidly declining audience that he is different from the person we have known for the past decade.

I have not yet known a politician who has successfully changed his image from somewhere near subhuman to a nice guy. Abbott tried and found a bridge too far. The senior conservative party thinks this leopard can change its spots into love hearts.

 

Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

 

A commitment to social justice demands the transformation of social structures and our hearts and minds.

Now the National Party is falsely claiming it had a good election (it kept its seats but had swings against it in each). Its leader David Littleproud is prancing around as though he is the de facto leader of the Coalition and would be happy with a divorce. His decision not to support the Indigenous Voice to Parliament is appalling and has cost him one member in Andrew Gee.

Both parties are performing poorly in the parliament, asking questions that reflect badly on themselves. And Paul Fletcher is deplorable as Shadow House Leader.

Writing for The Spectator, Michael Sexton reports says that:

“Demography is moving against the Liberals in a number of electoral groups. This is particularly true among young people who are often attracted to the Greens. They have no fear of the Greens’ irrational economic policies because they have never experienced anything in their lives other than continuing periods of stable economic growth and assume that this cannot ever be disrupted. Moreover, they have grown up in a society where many members of the community make no connection between a government’s revenue and its expenditure so that it is simply assumed that any problem that arises in the community can be addressed by increased government spending without any corresponding increase in taxation.”

Other factors that point to a problematic future are that, based on the previous history, the independents are likely to keep their seats. And a demographic missed by most scribes is the dying off of Conservative baby boomer supporters and the emergence of young Labor and Greens voters.

The Liberal Party as we know it was well and genuinely outspent by Labor, the Teal independents in those seats captured by the Teals. Large companies so concerned about projecting a clean image have stopped donating to a party with an embodiment of buffoonery.

Unions, as is their right, donate heartily to Labor whilst business is reluctant to do so with the LNP, fearing a backlash. It is unlikely to change, so the Liberal Party will continue under-financed into the future.

Again quoting Michael Sexton:

“To all this can be added the fact that the Liberals have comprehensively lost the culture wars. They are the subject of mockery in schools and universities, by the ABC and at artistic and literary festivals. And, as already noted, even in many corporate boardrooms their policies in such areas as climate change, border protection, freedom of speech and religious rights are the subject of deep hostility. These views are not necessarily reflected in the general community but the relentless denigration by these opinion-making groups in Australian society has inevitably taken some toll in the electorate. In the 1950s and the 1960s the Liberals were the respectable party of the establishment and Labor the slightly disreputable alternative.”

At the risk of repeating myself, under its current leadership and personnel, the Liberal Party is finished and has been dead, buried and cremated for some time.

Under a leader as unpopular as the previous one, the party needs somewhere to go. It can remain right of centre, which Labor now occupies or move more to the right, which would be more their actual position.

There is no future in whatever they do.

My thought for the day

The Liberal Party has always been a party of elites and would-be types. The idea that economics and society are intertwined is abhorrent to them. Economics is the domain of the wealthy and privileged, and culture belongs to those of class and privilege.

 

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We may find a way into a better future by looking at our past

Most Australians experienced the passing of 2022 as a year of extraordinary relief. The pandemic that was COVID-19 with all its mutations became a little more controllable, and life began its slow trek back to some normality. Sport began its play; music sought our ears; business began its re-emergence; work became a relief, and laughter came in from the hilarity of its hiding place.

But the residue of this virus’s dread soon engaged with the devastation of fire and floods. For the first five months of the year 2022, we became lost in an election campaign and a decline in our living standards. An unjust war in Europe started by a tyrannical human interceded to make matters worse. The cost of energy sent power companies into a frenzied pursuit of profit.

Leaders seemed to lose interest in the monster that might destroy us: climate change. All these things combined left the average citizen dreading what hazard might strike us next.

But in Australia, no matter how we turned our heads, the face of a corrupt Prime Minister looked us in the eye. His name was Scott Morrison.

Then by mid-year in Australia, we had rid ourselves of the greatest threat to our democracy the country had politically ever experienced. So bad was the corruption of Morrison and his government that, as part of his election campaign, Albanese, the incoming Prime Minister, promised to restore our democracy and political culture. Morrison was rotten to the core. Christianity had never had a worse advocate.

Among those things he promised to resurrect was the behaviour of our politicians, righting the wrongs of established institutional practice and restoring our decency and respect both internally and internationally. Equality, generally and opportunistically, reviving our institutions and conventions was also on the to-do list.

For three terms of conservative governance we had lived on the precipice of what disaster they might bring upon us today. Rather than simply dismissing these Luddite years as mirages, we should examine them and, together with political historians, record the damage they forced upon us.

During this period, we suffered the indignity of three incompetent Prime Ministers. Abbott was a liar and a Luddite. A backbench of climate change deniers constrained Turnbull, but he was also a hypocrite. Morrison was a worse liar than Abbott, a religious fruitcake and, worst of all, incompetent.

Australia suffered terribly under the leadership of these three men. We bobbed up and down for nine long years, like a cork, in a sea of negativity. We had achieved nothing in nine years.

Then on May 21 2022, it all changed. A modest cool-headed man of patience, honesty, discipline and strategic thinking managed to inflict a stunning victory over a man of religious conviction and dishonesty. So devastating was his win that it is hard to envisage this once broad church of moderates winning back the government in the next decade.

On the day that polls are put aside for the reality of the political system, “the Liberal Party recorded its lowest seat share since 1946.” The Treasurer lost his seat, defeated by a teal independent. Other Teals were successful but ended up with little power.

The Nationals retained their share but lost ground in many seats. Now with the resignation of Andrew Gee they are down another. The Greens made some gains in Brisbane, but Labor was able to form its first majority government at the federal level since 2007.

Research by The Australian National University’s Australian Election Study would later conclude that Scott Morrison was the most diminutive prominent party leader “since its study began in 1987.”

Arguably, the worst government to ever be given the privilege of governing this fine country had been kicked out of office by the people in the most dramatic fashion.

Morrison is now a politically broken man looking every inch like the defeated commander but unable to surrender his self-respect. Had the voters known his many character defects earlier, he may have lasted less time than he did. Having gotten over the experience of giving evidence at the Robodebt Royal Commission, his corruptive practices will see him face other enquiries in 2023.

His appearance before the Royal Commission displayed everything within his character that made him the pathetic man he is. He was rebuked for his exclamations, poor grasp of basic arithmetic, not listening, making long pauses, giving digressive answers, emphasising unnecessary detail, unfairly characterising the character of his questioner and being unfamiliar with parliamentary privilege.

People looking for excuses would point to newsrooms where the war in Europe, the pandemic, the deportation of tennis player Novak Djokovic the flooding in New South Wales and escalating geopolitical tensions with China had taken over newsrooms. Still, I never witnessed the motor mouth close his nefarious trap.

So far, proof of Albanese’s effectiveness can be seen through the prism of Morrison’s inadequate government and seeing hope in our future by being prepared to change and be confident in doing so. By supporting the government’s endeavours and considering the possibilities in front of the nation.

We may find a way into a better future by looking at our past

Labor, post-election, was as quick as I have seen any incoming government to tell the electorate that it was fair dinkum about restoring traditional good governance. One that was transparent and said the truth and one you could trust.

1 The government began parliamentary negotiations on its new emissions reduction target for 2030. The target passed in August.

2 Announced Australia’s first federal anti-corruption commission. What a workload it will have.

3 A jobs and skills summit from which came legislation authorising multi-employer bargaining. It responded to a decade of stagnant wages and increased the national minimum wage.

4 Then, it delivered an October Budget that forecasted a 56% increase in energy prices by the end of 2023. Labor spent the balance of 2022 working up a regulatory intervention that would secure some price relief for consumers and businesses.

5 Then came a broad reset of diplomatic relationships with the United States and France, which also sought early personal connections with regional partners, including Japan, India, Indonesia and Pacific leaders.

6 Within a short period of being elected, the new Prime Minister and Foreign Minister were on their way to Tokyo for a meeting with the Quad leaders of the United States, Japan and India.

Later the foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong and Prime Minister Albanese began work on a reset of the China relationship and a face-to-face meeting with Xi Jinping in Bali in November.

Then there was a follow-up meeting with Wong and her counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on December 21, ending a four-year diplomatic stand-off. It was, in simple terms, a triumph for diplomacy.

7 A review of the workings of the Reserve Bank is underway. The outcomes could have repercussions that will last for decades.

8 The international community will welcome Kevin Rudd’s appointment as ambassador to the US. He has a formidable mind and is well-connected.

9 On Friday last, the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, announced that a new merits-review body would replace the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Because the current tribunal had been so “irreversibly damaged” by the political appointments of the previous government that many were receiving $500m, PA was a scandal in itself.

And so, 2022 ended – a year of political skulduggery, scandal and change. There is much to be done and much to be thought about. What is made of our future lies ahead? We have looked at the past decade and rejected it. By ridding the country of the Morrison Government, Labor has shown us there is light at the end of the tunnel. Or should it be on the hill?

The list continues into 2023. Next time: “And what does the future hold for the opposition?”

My thought for the day

Life is about doing things, not having things (but it’s probably too late now).

 

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It was a week before Christmas, and these things caught my eye…

1 She seemed to pause for an excruciating eternity as the gallery sat forward on the edge of their seats; then her lips moved as she said: “Yes, I think you’re right.” Serena Wilson is now retired but was a former deputy secretary at the Department of Social Services, giving evidence before the Robodebt Royal Commission.

Wilson had made the dramatic concession that the Coalition government’s welfare debt recovery program was operating unlawfully and that: “I took no steps to stop it.”

The Robodebt Royal Commission is trying to ascertain who knew it was unlawful and why it was allowed to proceed. On Wednesday, December 14, former PM Morrison appeared before the commission.

In the meantime, The Guardian reported that former ministers Scott Morrison, Lord bless him, and ministers Christian Porter, Alan Tudge, Stuart Robert, Michael Keenan and Marise Payne have received approval for taxpayer-funded legal expenses related to the Robodebt Royal Commission. The price of truth is very costly these days.

But that’s not all. Scottie’s lawyers have asked that he be able to refer to cabinet documents when giving evidence. I suspect he wants to show that all decisions were of the cabinet and not him alone. Would the other witnesses be given the same luxury? And would access to cabinet papers for so many be in the public interest?

Questioning Scott Morrison

He was asked what he knew about the scheme from its inception in 2015 but needed help from a bad memory to enlighten anyone about anything.

His evidence was often interrupted by the commissioner or counsel assisting in criticising Morrison for not listening and giving answers that strayed from the question. Answers with unnecessary detail, unfairly describing the personality of his questioner and trespassing on parliamentary privilege.

His evidence was continuously in conflict with that of others before him, quiet’ sharply at times. He denied he knew-was told that this new method of debt collecting was illegal from the start or at least five years before the courts reached that conclusion.

Really, as the Minister of three departments, overlapping robot debt over time, “nobody ever told him.” Couldn’t lie straight in bed is a term Australians often use.

He then got stuck into those public servants he thought should have told him but didn’t for whatever reason.

Mr Morrison was warned in 2014, early as the social services minister, that the scheme was unlawful, and he and the department were conflicted as to whether parliament ice of would need to pass a law to allow the use of the new method.

Mr Morrison, as reported in The New Daily said the department changed its advice:

“All I know is between February when the [social services department] was communicating a view, there was a series of discussions to work up this proposal and resolve any of these issues,” Mr Morrison said.

At some point in time, some critical pieces of documentary evidence relating to this matter strangely went missing and frustrated the commission’s attempts to conclude the truth of this matter.

For any enquiry involving Morrison, one would have to assume that, given his reluctance to speak the truth, he would replace it with an air of condescension, manipulation and possibility, which he did.

As a witness before the Royal Commission, former PM Morrison contributed nothing more than another self-opinionated view of himself. His self-aggrandisement grates. And we know how full of himself he is.

He didn’t at any time ingratiate himself to the commissioner or council assisting. His answers to questions were full of self-embellishment. Often just to guild the lily with his perceived self-importance.

A good summation of Morrison giving evidence can be found at the ABC. Morrison, in my view, saw it as yet another opportunity to impress upon the people of Australia that he and he alone had the qualifications to make decisions in the country’s best interests. God had ordained him to do so. Why didn’t people understand that?

Is the Trump saga over with?

2 In terms of international public importance, father slime has caught up with former President Trump himself, and any amount of law dodging won’t help him this time. Yes, it’s terrible news for Trump and the Republican Party.

a) Bennie Thompson, chairman of the January 6 committee, enquiring into the assault on the National Capital, announced that it is now open to making criminal referrals to the US Department of Justice and would be forthcoming.

b) It looks like a Manhattan jury has convicted the Trump Organization on 17 counts of tax fraud, conspiracy and falsification. According to prosecutors, the former president was complicit, says the Guardian online news.

c) And now, the Democrats have pulled off a win in Georgia with the incumbent senator Raphael Warnock prevailing in a hard-fought runoff. Georgia once again rejected Trumpism. It was a sound rebuke of anything that had the slightest odour of Trump about it.

Could it be that America, like Australia, is ridding itself of this experimentation with extremism? A return to decency, however imperfect it might be.

Of course, there is still the matter of how top government secrets came to be at Mar-a-Lagoassociating with the wrong people and ripping up the constitution.

3 The Australian Government’s long-awaited plan to reduce power prices passed the house on Thursday afternoon and the Senate in the evening, thus completing a successful six-month period wherein it completed what it said it would.

My thought for the day

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

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Letter to the editor from Morrie Moneyweather Jnr

Saturday, December 10 2022

A letter to the editor. “Upon my death.”

By way of introduction, my name is Morrie Moneyweather Jnr.

Some years ago, my father used to write to this publication with extraordinary wisdom and a calm mind in the face of inexplicable anger shown toward him.

My Dad was blessed with an intoxicating education, but he could make a joint when it needed sharing, and he did like a drink when others shouted. Some say that I am a chip off the old block.

He used to share his letters to The AIM Network with me and now and then our English teacher at Melbourne Grammar would share his letters with my fellow students as examplars of well-written English

Anyways I was writing to tell you that Dad passed away on May 21 this year but I have been waiting for the right moment. Anyways it looks as though the moment has passed so the shock won’t be as much of a jaw-dropping moment to you as it might have been. You know what he was like about getting it “alright.”

Just what he wanted me to tell all you left-wing latte-sipping loonies of the proletariat. You vodka-drinking Bolsheviks who can’t afford a decent bottle of Merlot without any intelligence, like a lot of things, is, beyond me.

You know Barnaby was right about you lot, just a lot of commies. The thing is, you commies don’t understand the fundamentals of conversation. The free market and capitalism. Conservatives (LNP) believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, and traditional values.

Sorry I got carried away in the moment. I’d ask for forgiveness if I knew how to spell it.

Me dad was heartbroken when he died. He put so much into doin the right thing by the party. In his will, he asked me to keep up the good fight against Albaneasy.

Just before I go on. I read that piece by John Lord where he attacked our response to our defeat. He needs to take his hand off it. I thought we were modest with our words at the time

Fair dinkum. He wouldn’t know shit from clay. I’d suggest he takes a hold of himself. Surely it’s clear to everyone that we need to tough. Personally, I don’t think Scotty went far enough. He should have banned you commies as well.

And all his bullshit about work. I mean everyone knows that theirs plenty of work. All the sons at Melbourne Gramma will get jobs this year. My son Nigel is doing year 12 again but that’s another story. He spent too much time in the closet with his friend Erwin. Sorry, I lost track of where I was. Now, where was I?

Like Trump, Scotty was a genius in his own mind and might have one had he used it. I mean everyone need to be free to pursue wealth.

I mean I needed the freedom to accept my inheritance. The same with Gina. There will always be haves and have-nots. Even Jesus said that.

And Ronald Regan said. If we keep giving more money to the rich, everyone will have more money. It’s called trickle-down economics.

It’s always worked and always will. The poor will just have to be more patient for a pay rise. Conservatives were born to control capital. Labour comes after capital. Not everyone can be affluent.

And Albaneasy is still going on about consulting people that know what they are talking about. Fairdinkum you wouldn’t talk to those bastards with the red hankies. I can only say that good manners is a basic tenant of conservation.

And women should be obscene and not heard. Some should those left that.

Where was I? Yes? There is no inequity in society. It’s just that some deserve more than others. We were born to rule so we will come back.

That’s why I admire SCOTTY SO MUCH. It talks a lot of courage to fix things for the country. The audacity to suggest that he was a bit over the top is ludicrous. He was the best PRIME minister this country ever had. Sorry, I left the caps lock on but it’s right NOW. Fuck it why is it doing that.

I mean too many educated people can be dangerous for society. They might all want to be wealthy.

And no Scotty didn’t tell lies.

And talking about lies. How stupid people can be. Scotty was one of the finest examples of honesty one could ever meet.

All Albo will do is undo Scott’s work. And he will spend so much time undoing that he won’t do anything. That’s how Scott planned it. Much to do about nothing if you ask me.

That’s what conservatives value most. At this point in time, we need an undoer, not a doer. That’s what Albo is. An undoer and a fixer. What a combo.

In delusion, I finish with a few words about me dad. He was a fine example of conservative values. He gave everything except money to the party. He cried tears of joy on his deathbed because he knew Scotty always had a plan.

Anyway, I have to go. We are having a delayed wake for dad and I need to pick up a dozen bottles of 62 Grange from DamMurphys bloody decent drop that one.

Before I wish you a merry christmas let me tell you that

I think you’re that dumb that you must be three bricks short of a load or not the full two bobs worth. Either that or your three sandwiches short of a picnic.

See I can throw shit too. Your comment about me being transgender was despicable. It confused my boyfriend to no end. I could describe you as a pain in the neck but I have a much lower opinion of you. And most of the comments had to be a joke – no-one can be that stupid and arrogant unless they are members of the Greens.

I can only hope and pray that someday the working classes will come to their senses and show their appreciation for the effluence we share.

Morrie Moneyworthy Jnr, Malvern.

PS: I will be writing more often in 22. And a merry Christmas to you too.

 

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Please don’t ask the LNP about their future until they come out of denialism first

“Had I been asked about these matters at the time, I would have responded truthfully about the arrangements I had put in place.

“I have no intention of now submitting to the political intimidation of this government using its numbers to impose its retribution on its political opponents.” (Scott Morrison – a man loose with the truth – in Key quotes from Morrison censure motion, The Canberra Times.)

But truth tells us that for many, life is about perception. Not what it is but what we perceive it to be. In America and Australia, facing facts or the truth of facts has become outdated among those on the right.

Everyone has their version of reality. Facts and the truth within them are now unimportant to the conservative mind.

Why do they turn their backs on the truth? They are avoiding facts that would set them free from their own bullshit – the truth about themselves.

Morrison was a stupid fool who created a perception with every lie told that he was guilty of something, even if the public couldn’t put their finger on it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a vocal critic of Nazism) said this of stupidity:

“Against stupidity we have no defence. Neither protests nor force can touch it. Reasoning is of no use. Facts that contradict personal prejudices can simply be disbelieved. Indeed, the fool can counter by criticizing them, and if they are undeniable, they can just be pushed aside as trivial exceptions. So the fool, as distinct from the scoundrel, is completely self-satisfied. In fact, they can easily become dangerous, as it does not take much to make them aggressive. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.”

Having the capacity to admit that you are wrong is an absolute prerequisite to discernment and knowledge.

The former Prime Minister’s perception of himself was always one of his superiority of intellect over others with a God-given place in history where he believed he had the right to override parliamentary and democratic conventions in the name of his faith.

When l watched his response to the censure motion against him in the House of Representatives, I couldn’t help, as he was being congratulated by most of his colleagues, if what I was watching was the demise of a once great political party.

There is a theory that Scott believed he had a God-given ordination of predestination and that his history had already been written. In his response, he was in full-throttle Morrison mode, full of the lying hypocrisy of the past decade. He was not giving an inch in his self-righteousness, always creating the perception that he was right because God had given him his authority to be so, even if it meant telling lies.

He insisted that nobody had the standing to judge him.

Lying is wrong, but lying to defend a lie with another one is immoral.

Were all the men congratulating this stupid man just as complicit as he was in the downfall of Liberalism? Were they all equally in denial? Judging by the enthusiasm of their congratulations, one would have to think so.

Since May 21, when the conservatives suffered a terrible defeat, we have not heard a word from Peter Dutton about how he might reshape the party he now leads, even by putting his stamp on it. It might be because he has no plans to do so. His words and deeds thus far would suggest this is so.

There hasn’t been a hint of apology for the appalling governance we have endured for almost a decade. Indeed, it is hard to point to any rational explanations from any opposition member for the defeat. No backbench member has uttered the words, “we governed badly.”

Are they that bogged down in denial that even their leader cannot point to any need for redefining their doctrines?

So, what of their denialism? What a lot of watery human beings they are. None of them with even the intestinal fortitude of a dead rabbit. When l watched all those politicians shaking the hand of the former Prime Minister, the only one l saw with any integrity was Bridget Archer, who ignored the denialists and voted with the government. In parliament she admitted that:

“I do not accept any of the explanations put forward by the former prime minister for his actions, and I’m deeply disappointed by the lack of genuine apology or, more importantly, understanding of the impact of these decisions.”

Do you shape the truth for the sake of a good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down the view people may have of you.? Alternatively, do you use the contrivance of omission and create another lie? I can only conclude that there is always pain in truth, but there is no harm in it.

The questions the Opposition asks during Question Time are a strong indication that the arrogance of conservatism has defeated Liberalism, and all that’s left is a party of far-right Trumpists not sure of its present ideology or what it actually means except that it represents big business, the wealthy and the privileged. Understanding that which you genuinely represent requires a familiarity with the truth.

Locked into denialism, the Opposition cannot possibly seek forgiveness from a shocked electorate. Only “The truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32). The solution to the conservative dilemma lay at the heart of those six words.

My thought for the day

Presenting facts to people who have reasoned by their feelings that they are right is futile.

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To be truthful, “sorry” is a word so hard to say

When you think there isn’t much to write about in politics, the system spews out an avalanche of year-ending scandals, policy decisions, election results and reports.

The year is approaching its final sunset before a new year reinvigorates us with good intentions. Some will reach fruition, and others will perish on the vine. “Sorry” will remain a challenging word.

1 For those who have followed the political career of former Prime Mister Scott Morrison, the knowledge that he was a first-class pathological liar, bible-thumping hypocrite, a devious long-winded speaker who gave the impression he knew everything about anything, and it would be clear to you. If it wasn’t, he would be happy to tell you.

He failed to achieve anything during his combative, disreputable, pathetic tenure as the worst, most destructive, totally corrupt and callously inhumane PM in living memory. People debate the purpose of his tenure, but we can be assured there wasn’t one.

Importantly, in addition to those characterisations, you would be aware of his incapacity to apologise for any error he made, regardless of its significance.

Such was the case when former high court justice Virginia Bell, whose detailed report was released last Friday said:

“We now have three new adjectives for the saga of Scott Morrison’s secret, multiple ministries: ‘unnecessary’, ‘exorbitant’, and ‘bizarre,’ she said in describing his break-glass-in-case-of-emergency powers.”

You can read Scott Morrison’s complete response to Bell’s report here but let me tell you that the word “sorry” doesn’t appear anywhere. Why? Because having the ability to admit that you are wrong is an absolute prerequisite to having the respect of your colleagues, and it’s a little late now. He would therefore be well advised to leave the parliament ASAP.

It’s not the weak who are unable to say sorry. It’s the strong and privileged.

2 In Victoria, Labor had a 6 per cent swing against it with a surge in support for the Greens and independents for a comfortable parliamentary majority. And on my reckoning, they will need to win 22 seats to gain government in four years’ time.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has announced he will resign as leader of the Victorian Liberals after successive massive defeats.

Daniel Andrews is the most dominant political figure of his time. Does anyone think I’m wrong?

 

 

3 On Facebook, Michael Brooke commented on my post for The AIMN; A view of Trump from Down Under:

“It’s never the man. It’s always who and what the man represents. Trump is an ulcer on the USA’s backside. John Lord, he’s absolutely as awful as you describe him, a festering sore, a pustule that is uniquely American – he is a symptom of a nation in decline, a failing empire, a once-democracy that has become a mere money-market. Demonising Trump is too easy: picking at America’s democratic scab is more to the point; one discovers, horrified, that the nation is a plutocracy; a nation ruled exclusively by the wealthy, either directly or indirectly, by subterfuge, only the wealthy rule.”

It’s hard to argue with that.

4 Stuart Robert’s in trouble, yet again. This time the:

“Nine newspapers have published leaked emails that suggest Mr Robert, a Queensland Liberal MP, secretly advised Synergy 360 in 2017 and 2018 and helped the company meet senior political figures.

Cabinet Minister Bill Shorten has ordered an urgent investigation into government contracts secured by a lobbying firm that allegedly has close links to former Coalition minister Stuart Robert, while using parliamentary privilege to warn against corruption.”

5 Ricky Pann posted on Facebook:

“Every time I hear delusional Greens say ‘Labor adopted our policies’ it reminds me of what a disappointing unrepresentative, arrogant rabble they are. The greens are a product of middle-class privilege & hollow rhetorical nonsense. It is why they will always stay on the fringe of governance as, like the Nationals, they are a brand that misrepresents their proper position.”

6 And I should keep Andrew Bolt on my list.

“I’ve never in history seen a Facebook post with purely laughs. No likes, no loves, just 500 laughs. Someone notify Andrew Bolt.” (David Fowles, Facebook).

 

 

My only thought on this nonsense is that Murdoch’s mainstream media will only ever print or say whatever is in its best interests. Then it might say something interesting and truthful.

7 It’s been going on for four years, so you must admire Guardian Australia; they don’t give up easily. The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water had taken legal action to block it from accessing documents about an investigation into illegal land-clearing by Jam Land Pty Ltd. The shadow treasurer, Angus Taylor, and his brother Richard have an interest in the company.

Last month the Australian information commissioner ordered the release of 11 documents. Then a week ago:

“… the department took the unusual step of appealing against the commissioner’s lengthy ruling in the administrative appeals tribunal. The case is likely to be heard next year.”

It concerns:

“… the department’s site visits to the Monaro plains in late 2016 and early 2017 to inspect the damage to endangered native grasslands, which were sprayed with herbicide in late 2016.

The case has been controversial because Taylor sought meetings in 2017 with senior environment officials and the office of the then environment minister Josh Frydenberg about the laws that protected the grasslands while the investigation was under way.”

8 The 27th United Nations climate conference, COP27 drew to a close with fears it would end in total disaster:

“There appeared to be no momentum towards consensus.

Some countries were pushing to drop the ambition to keep global warming below 1.5 Celsius. Others said they would rather reach no agreement than accept such an outcome.

Before the meeting began, commentators had noted that because of the various crises distracting nations – wars, natural disasters, energy shortages – a “win” for COP27 might’ve been as simple as not backsliding from the ambitions set previously.”

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

9 A transference of votes started in the May 2022 federal election, and will continue. Anyone who follows political polling would know that the constituency of the conservative parties has always been older people. Every poll I have ever looked at proves it. It was always apparent to me that, at some time, these folks would pass on. At the same time, the left’s constituency has always been the 18-year-olds upwards. I’m surprised the LNP doesn’t realise that.

We must have the courage to ask our young that they should go beyond desire and aspiration and accomplish not the trivial but greatness. They should not allow the morality they inherited from good folk to be corrupted by the immorality and lies of evil minds.

My thought for the day

Sometimes I allow myself the indulgence of thinking I know a lot. Then I realise that in the totality of things, I know little. However, there are known facts in the world because science proves them.

 

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Promises, Promises, Promises

What’s a promise or, more specifically, an election promise? Is it a guilt-edged set-in concrete commitment made during an election campaign? What if the circumstances change after the campaign making it impossible to fulfil? Is a promise a legal commitment? Is it nothing more than just a proposal?

Tony Abbott said this about promises before the 2013 election:

“It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their Government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.”

That is an unambiguous promise that one couldn’t take any other way than how it is written or spoken.

Yet:

The day before the 2013 election, Tony Abbott said there would be no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to the pension, no changes to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS,”

 

 

And it is recorded in Hansard:

“…because his Government gave the false story the day before the election when the now Prime Minister of Australia said to the Australian people, ‘There will be no cuts to the ABC’.”

So, it is noted that Tony Abbott knowingly lied to the people on the eve of the 2013 election.

Paul Keating legislated tax cuts before the 1993 election but scrapped them soon afterwards when he recognised the budget was in great difficulties. The circumstances had changed.

Many believed he lied, but others thought it was an appropriate course of action.

Now we have another income tax promise. We have already legislated tax cuts for high-income earners. (Voted into law by both major parties.)

I believe the Prime Minister will abandon tax cuts for high-income earners once he has exhausted proof of the Government’s trust. Logic must prevail over emotion.

Then he can say:

“… we have reconsidered this tax break in the light of current knowledge and however obligated we find ourselves; the giving could never match the benefits of not doing so.”

Whatever criticism the Government gets, and there would be an avalanche of it, it is, however, the right thing to do. Transparency and honesty would be crucial. Broken promises are a hard sell and require exceptional circumstances. Therefore, words of explanation are essential.

They are not due for a couple of years, and by then, the Prime Minister should have built up a trust profile that will enable him to put a fair case for them to withdraw the legislation.

But let’s take a “so far” look at Albanese’s promises in the six months he has been in power. There is now but one week remaining of the parliamentary year, and some other promises remain on Labor’s list for 2022.

Although not as vast as the reforms of Gough Whitlam (now 50 years ago), one could draw similar parallels.

On the agenda are the Anti-corruption bill, or national ICAC, and the Government’s industrial relations reforms which the opposition describes as “extreme.”

The National Anti-Corruption Commission legislation will pass through the House of Representatives containing the “exceptional circumstances” clause for public hearings. It will be up to the Senate to change the clause that the major parties want but the average voter doesn’t.

You can almost hear them shouting, “we wanted a commission with teeth” now, we will not listen to or see any evidence.

Politicians will want to avoid any visible scrutiny of themselves. Especially if the “exceptional circumstances” clause is retained. But this will still be good legislation. It will have had a few teeth extracted and replaced with a reputational denture that protects the standing of witnesses and the accused fitted. One the Labor Caucus and the Coalition wholeheartedly supported anyway.

The rise of narcissism and inequality and the demise of compassion illustrate the state of the world.

Australians voted in tune with the temper of the nation on May 21. The two major parties suffered diminishing support that separated the boys from the men or, should I say, girls. This result ended with a three-way split reflecting the voting public’s mood for change. Teals and a scattering of independents were the third part of this three-way split, and all were progressives.

The progress made by Anthony Albanese and his Hawke-like team has been exceptional. From righting international relations, setting in train a decent Climate Change and energy policy, and last week, lowering the price of electric vehicles.

At the recent International Trade Union Conference held in Melbourne, Albanese told those in attendance that:

“… there are always those who say that any improvement in workers’ pay, any improvement in the status quo will see the sky fall in.

They say it every time and they are wrong every time.

And we will push ahead like we do every time.”

Philip Lowe, The Governor of the reserve bank, disagrees, saying that any wage improvement will only add to inflation.

With the Greens onside, it should be able to get the legislation passed before Christmas. David Pocock, the Australian Capital Territory independent senator, supports multi-employer bargaining, and the Government is willing to give him the amendments he’s pushing for. Although it’s hard to get anything out of him other than “I need more time.”

The promise, the commitment for our first nations people to have a voice in the Parliament, requires a referendum. History tells us they are challenging to win, significantly if the opposition is offside.

It is known that Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has a bitterly divided party room on the subject, and the only way out will be a free vote.

Indeed, we will, in this referendum debate, get a glimpse of whether Dutton has achieved his desire to become a more empathetic leader. Or will the long-standing, deep-seated conservative overtones of racism have their way?

There won’t be any funding for the yes and no cases. Why? Because you wouldn’t fund racist dogma on the no side.

The left of politics is concerned with people who cannot help themselves. The right is concerned with those who can.

By the time Christmas rolls around, the Government will have delivered on all the promises with some urgency behind them, including territory rights on voluntary assisted dying. The last of the big ones before Australia takes its annual sojourn will be the Government’s answer to spiraling energy costs.

Conclusion: By any test, this Government has done more in six months than the previous one achieved in a decade.

My thought for the day

Under Albanese, at least truth has survived the worst of it.

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A view of Trump from Down Under

The news that former President Trump would be standing for the position again in 2024 has greeted the world with a mixture of dismay and weighty indignation.

That the American Constitution would allow such a thing suggests a lack of foresight in the founding fathers’ thinking. I’m not suggesting that former presidents shouldn’t be able to run for office again but that persons of such apparent mental derangement should not.

I am in my tenth year of writing for The AIMN, and goodness knows how many articles I have written in that time. As dreadful as it may sound, none have given me more pleasure than those describing the unfitness of Donald Trump for the position of POTUS.

It would be tempting to state the truth and describe President Trump as I did in 2016. And there have been many addons since that time, like stealing top-secret documents, inciting violence to take over Congress, and denouncing – not accepting his opponent’s victory and being impeached twice. Where to start and where to finish.

Well, why not. His performance as President left the world aghast at how inadequate the man was for the job. Ironically, around 40% of the population agree with his self-assessment that he is a genius.

Anyway, without apology, this is how I felt about the moron in 2016:

“From Down Under, we see a sick deluded man of no redeeming features, a sexual predator full of racial hatred, a narcissist in every sense of the word. A deluded, pathetic liar who was unsuitable for the highest office in the land, if not the world. He sees complex problems and impregnates them with populism and implausible black-and-white solutions.

He is a person of limited intellect and understanding, only capable of seeing the world through the prism of his wealth. The far edges of knowledge seem to have passed him by. Matters requiring deep philosophical consideration seem beyond him.

His opinions on subjects of internal and international importance are so shallow that one would think he spent the entirety of his youth in the wading pool at the local swimming pool or six years in grade 1 and never academically advanced.

He is a crash-through politician with a ubiquitous mouth. Trump remains an incoherent mess who bounces back after each disaster thinking he has been impressive while those around him are laughing their heads off. Entertaining in a uniquely American way, he might be to the hillbillies, but leadership requires worldly character.”

You can read my original piece, in total, of this deluded individual. Only in America: A look at Trump from Down Under (part 1), (part 2 ) I haven’t changed the text to retain the piece’s integrity. And do remember, it was 2016.

According to the latest reports, Trump officially intends to run again in 2024. And at a time when the US needs a steady hand, not a character reminiscent of a headless crook.

For the next two years, he will command the attention of the international press for all the wrong reasons. When the world needs rational-thinking leaders to overcome problems of immense complexity, this moronic, mentally challenged individual stands in the way, like another Putin, to world peace.

Trump is a greatly diminished figure who suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of President Biden. However, he still commands the interest of a mainly sick media who crave personalities over reality. We can only hope he doesn’t get beyond the primaries or is jailed before they take place.

 

 

People like Donald Trump believe in this thing they call “American exceptionalism.” It is a myth, of course, but they consider themselves superior to all others. Conversely, Australians might say they think their shit doesn’t stink.

In his book titled “A Brief History of American Exceptionalism,” Burton Mack (deceased) explains the truth of the phrase.

“In truth, “American exceptionalism,” a term currently making the rounds among journalists, denotes those features of American self-understanding that distinguish it from other modern societies, especially European nation-states. Most of the features of note are characteristics familiar to most Americans with some sense of our history and the history of Europe since the Industrial Revolution. Chief among these is the notion of democracy born of a revolution against monarchy, not driven by an alternative vision of society (as was the case in the European revolutions). The purpose of the American Revolution was to give the people and their colonies freedom for their pursuits without any control by the king in England and only minimal control by the other colonies in America. It was this kind of freedom that marked America as the “land of the free.”

My thought for the day

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.

 

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China-Australia Relations and a Leader for the times

That Prime Minister Albanese had just 30 minutes following a 3-hour meeting between the USA and China to talk with the Chinese leader President Xi Jinping, was it worth the effort? Indeed, it was.

In diplomatic terms, even just talking with the President was Prime Minister Albanese’s most significant achievement since winning the May 21 election.

Following a decade of Abbott, Turnbull, and Morrison’s belligerent style of decadent diplomacy, Albanese is showing Australians that relationships with those who differ politically and culturally and who you disagree with can exist so long as differences are respected.

We have not respected China’s rise from poverty to a global superpower in the last 40 years. An astonishing accomplishment, however one looks at it. That China now has all characteristics of a Fascist state doesn’t make the task any more manageable, but we must try to understand their objectives culturally and geopolitically.

China now has:

“… the world’s second-largest economy, trailing only the United States (International Monetary Fund 2020). Within a few years, it will be number one. It was the world’s leading exporter and second-largest importer in 2018, the last year for which data were available (World Bank 2020a). Its foreign aid provision and outward foreign direct investment (FDI) have also increased exponentially over the last decade.”

Accompanying China’s economic rise has been an escalating assertiveness.” America has been exporting its culture as a democracy to the world for as long as I recall, and China now chooses to exhibit itself to the world. That’s right, guys.

Whatever was in the minds of Abbott, Dutton, and Morrison in using language calculated to offend China but impress a domestic audience is anyone’s guess. One can only conclude that it was dumb diplomacy. China and the Australian electorate were equally unimpressed.

That they continued to use such belligerent language after losing billions in trade speaks volumes for their inability to talk the talk of international diplomacy.

Deliberately picking fights with a superpower is as stupid as saying, “I am responsible for what I say, but I’m not responsible for what you understand.” (Anonymous)

Albanese may not be our most articulate politician, but his knowledge, maturity and experience tell him when to ruffle feathers and when to push the diplomatic button.

After reading and listening to the many media reports, it is evident that he was, in the time available consistent in saying what was relevant to Australia’s interests.

Our Prime Minister, having employed the basics of international diplomacy, has taken giant steps toward restoring our relationship with China after years of open hatred. All it took were words that made the point intended without offence.

All of this doesn’t hide the obvious. Stan Grant, in an article for the ABC, made these points.

“That Xi Jinping is the same Xi Jinping today as he was yesterday. The leader who has overseen what has been called a genocide against the Uyghur Muslim minority.

The same Xi Jinping who threatens war with Taiwan.

The same Xi Jinping who crushes dissent. Who has strengthened his iron grip on Hong Kong, tearing up the commitment to one country, two systems?

He is the same XiJinping whom Joe Biden called a thug.

The same Xi Jinping who calls Vladimir Putin his best friend and inked a no-limits pact with the Russian leader on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

All of this, of course, is true, and Grant adds the following to the world’s most perplexing problem.

“Democracy is in retreat globally. The US appears as a nation exhausted.

The midterm elections may have given some pause to Trumpism. But Donald Trump was always a symptom of a deeper malaise, which has not gone away.

America’s social contract is broken. It is crippled by inequality. It is lacerated by race.

Joe Biden is a pause from Trump’s excess and disruption. Even if he runs and wins a second term, he is not the future of the US.

More broadly, the West cannot expect that the liberal democracy that triumphed in the 20th century will meet the challenges of the 21st century.

It is tested at home and abroad.

Market-first neoliberalism ran aground in the 2008 global financial crisis. Globalisation has produced as many, if not more, losers than winners.

Those left behind have fallen for the siren song of political populists. From Hungary to Poland, Italy, India, Turkey, and the US, race-based nationalists, far-right white supremacists, and identitarians have triumphed.”

And where in this conundrum does the nation of Australia stand?

Despite the economic and social concerns that still exist, we have a mature leader who, in a short time, has proven himself to be a leader willing to get things done for the common good. He has already demonstrated the art of diplomacy and delegation – a leader for the times.

He has this thing we call character. Loosely it is described as 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.

My thought for the day.

“We can learn so much from people we disagree with that it is a wonder we don’t do it more often.”

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There’s always something to write about

The political writer’s life was much easier when the previous government was in power – almost a scandal or some form of corruption every day. We didn’t have to think much about what to write. Now with a more sensible government in power, we have to think more deeply about what keys our ever-sensitive fingers hit.

But that is not to say there isn’t anything to write about; here are a few examples.

Brazil Election

News that Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the leftist Worker’s Party has defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro will come as good news for those concerned with saving the Amazon. The election was fought on two fronts. One, Brazil had one of the world’s deadliest outbreak of COVID-19, and the government mishandled it. And two, the widespread deforestation in the Amazon basin.

As at the time of writing, Bolsonaro still hadn’t conceded.

Israeli Election

Exit polls in the Israeli elections suggest that the former prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, “may have scraped a razor-thin election win with the help of new far-right allies.”

Talking about Covid

A new strain of Covid-19 has hit Australia, but experts aren’t yet too worried about its impact based on early evidence. (More to come on this, I’m sure.)

The latest Newspoll

The post-budget Newspoll courtesy of the Poll Bludger finds that:

“Labor’s two-party lead at 55-45, in from 57-43 at the previous poll eight weeks ago. Both major parties are up on the primary vote, Labor by one to 38% and the Coalition by four to 35%.

Anthony Albanese’s lead on preferred prime minister has slipped from 61-22 to 54-27, and he is down two on approval to 59% and up four on disapproval to 33%. Peter Dutton is up on both approval and disapproval, respectively by four points to 39% and three points to 46%.”

False accusations by an insipid Opposition.

It certainly is a Clayton’s opposition. Consider this:

“Michelle Landry, the member for Capricornia accused Anthony Albanese of ‘bullying’, saying she left the chamber distressed and ‘humiliated’ after the prime minister answered her question.”

I witnessed the episode in parliament, and I saw Albo tearing strips off Dutton. And as for Landry, it couldn’t have been too bad because what I saw was her giggling throughout the whole event.

And they wanted Albo to apologize.

Essential Poll and power prices

Last Tuesday’s Essential Poll revealed what Australians thought about intervention in the energy market as power prices soar. Two-thirds back it. To quote Treasurer Jim Chalmers:

“We are contemplating the kinds of steps that governments wouldn’t have contemplated a year or two ago.”

Robodebt Royal Commission is underway

From Luke Henriques-Gomes from The Guardian brings us the latest:

“Royal commissioner Catherine Holmes AC SC says the inquiry’s focus will be on those who had or should have had oversight over the automated debt recovery scheme.”

Officials from key government departments embroiled in the robot debt scandal and two private debt collection agencies are expected to be grilled.

I recently read that even after the scheme was found to be unlawful, Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisted it go ahead. That’s pure speculation on my part, of course. Despite searching, I cannot find any reference to it. Let’s hope the commission will identify those responsible for this cowardly act of taking money from people without reason.

Scott Morrison, Christian Porter, Marise Payne, Alan Tudge and Sturt Robert are sure to be star witnesses when they give evidence.

Kids Matter

It always touches the heart when a child dies. Mainly when one hears words that testify to the kindness of their character. Such a boy was 15-year-old, Cassius Turvey. Cassius was killed on October 23, 10 days after being allegedly bashed while walking home from school with a group of friends in Middle Swan, in Perth’s northeast.

Sarah Ferguson a hit on 7.30

Peter Dutton was interviewed by a professional journalist last week and found the going tough. Sarah Ferguson gave him a going-over, and he didn’t much like it.

 

 

An alphabet full of Donald Trump

In the absence of much political news, this from Craig Coulter might amuse you:

He lives in Castle Rock, Colorado and asks this question of Quora Email Digest:

Is Donald Trump mentally challenged, or is something else wrong with him?

a) Trump has an IQ of about 65 at best. Yes, this means mentally challenged; let’s review why…

b) Trump had to ask if ingesting disinfectants to treat covid was a good idea.

c) He apologized for his wife not being there while she stood next to him on September 14, 2017, at a conference for hurricane Irma.

d) He redrew the hurricane path with sharpy.

e) He thought he could nuke hurricanes to stop them.

f) Asked if China had a hurricane gun, they were using against us.

g) “This is one of the wettest hurricanes we’ve seen from the standpoint of water.”

h) Told us about visiting the president of Puerto Rico. Did anyone tell him he is the president of Puerto Rico?

i) Made a call to the president of the Virginia islands.

k) Raked leaves in the forest to prevent forest fires.

l) Windmills cause cancer (he was referring to wind turbines, but he is too dumb to know this.)

m) Frederick Douglas is getting more recognized today (he died in 1895.)

n) F 35 jet is literally invisible.

 

 

o) Couldn’t figure out a unity handshake at g7 Summit (also so unfit he was the only one who took the golf cart.)

p) Coloured American flag wrong colours.

q) Took over airports in 1776.

r) Starred right at the sun during an eclipse. Twice

s) Falling trees in the forest explode.

t) People are dying who have never died before.

u) Though he could buy Greenland on 7-25-2021.

v) The green new deal will prohibit windows, cows, and people.

w) In the spring of 2022, when asked about the invasion of Ukraine, Trump went off on a tirade about wind turbines; he could not even stay on topic long enough between the time the question was asked and whatever nonsense came out of his mouth.

x) Wanted to build a wall between Colorado and Mexico.

y) Moon is part of Mars.

z) If you support or voted for this guy, you should read the following two paragraphs very slowly and carefully. [See link above].

Some worthy quotes to finish off with:

 

 

My thought for the day

It is a pity that fact in journalism cannot be made compulsory and decency legislated.

 

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Budget expectations, honesty and responsibilities

Before Anthony Albanese and his party came to power more than six months ago, the Australian people didn’t know much about the fresh-faced, good-looking young man who has represented the seat of Rankin in the House of Representatives since 2013. The lead-up to last Tuesday’s Budget had been extraordinary. Dr Jim Chalmers made it almost his daily duty to explain its importance to the nation’s future.

The Treasurer’s mother is a nurse, and his father is a courier driver who left the marriage when Chalmers was 13. He has two older sisters but spent his adolescent nights at home alone because his mother worked the night shift. He says he could quickly have gone off the tracks but for a high school teacher who found a way to reach him.

Before Jim’s election to Parliament, he was the Executive Director of the Chifley Research Centre and Chief of Staff to the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer.

He has a PhD in political science and international relations from the Australian National University and a first-class honours degree in public policy from Griffith University. He is a qualified company director and has written two books.

Last Tuesday, Chalmers, to use his term, had his chance to “walk further and forward” when he delivered his and the Government’s first Budget. His nerves early on were understandable, having been Treasurer for only five months. However, he has overseen close to 16 Budgets as a staffer and advisor. One might call him the youngest-ever father of the Budget lockups.

He has known the secretary of the Treasury, Steven Kennedy, for 15 years. Together with his Chief of Staff, Claudia Crawford, they were both at Wayne Swan’s side during the GFC. The Finance Minister, Katy Gallagher, is a friend and colleague. It has been said that being involved in Budget preparation with her is like being “hit in the arse with a rainbow.”

The Treasurer and Finance Minister said before delivering his first ever Budget:

“This budget will be solid, sensible and suited to the times we are in…

This budget is the government’s first opportunity to deliver on our commitments to the Australian community and to begin to clean up the mess left behind by the former Coalition government.” (Jim Chalmers).

“The former government used taxpayers’ money to cynically buy votes before elections by politicising grants funds and used the budget to land political deals with the Nationals in the Coalition party room – that approach to spending ends in Labor’s first budget.” (Katy Gallagher).

Off the top of my head, I listed the following that wanted or needed an increase in their share of the cake: Income support, job seeker allowance, climate change, increase in rental support, disaster mitigation assistance, child poverty, housing, Health, Dental care, education, aged care, aged health dementia, free child care, parental leave scheme, cost of living, charitable institutions, domestic violence, wages, government departments like FIO, mental health, NDIS, suicide, The ABC, defence, The environment, Bureau of metrology. And on top of all that, there is the funding of Labor’s election commitments.

In my memory, it would be the first Budget delivered in a honeymoon period. On top of that, it would be a budget delivered against a backdrop of a possible world recession, global inflation, and environmental disasters. You can add poor leadership around the world to that.

Flood waters running down our east coast continue to rise, inundating crops and property, demoralising communities and adding inflationary pressures.

There is no doubt that the global economy is volatile. We have a budget that is in structural deficit, meaning that we have an imbalance between what we earn and what we spend. We must address this problem in the short term for the good of the long.

In the words of Jim Chalmers:

“I think about it almost every day. How do I take the complexity of the economy and the Budget and not dumb it down but explain it and level with people about what we are grappling with; try and give them the sense that there’s a lot of 50-50 calls in managing the economy. That’s the sense I want to give.”

We are now in the post Budget period, and how the Treasurer has performed with the crucial task of getting the economy back on track is being reviewed. Anyway, if my analysis doesn’t suit you, here are five experts who can help:

David Crowe:

“The devastating line that worked so well for Labor only months ago is now rebounding on Jim Chalmers in a budget that cannot guarantee the most important election promise of all.

“Everything is going up except your wages,” voters were told in a relentless Labor message before the election. “Only Labor has a plan to get wages moving.”

Ross Gittens:

“This Budget is careful with taxpayer funds without embarking on major changes that put Labor’s political capital at risk.

The tough decisions are being put off until May.”

Shane Wright:

“There are no longer four horsemen of the Apocalypse. There are five stubborn donkeys of debt and deficit, and their names are interest, aged care, health, defence and the NDIS.

The 2022-23 redo budget from Jim Chalmers and Katy Gallagher reveals clearly just how the new crew are wreaking havoc through the nation’s finances. Since taking office, they have referenced the five spending donkeys and the long-term financial risk they pose. The Budget confirms the damage.”

Jessica Irvine:

“Australian households hoping for significant cost-of-living “relief” in this Budget will be sorely disappointed.

Chalmers has offered a “five-point plan” to provide “responsible cost-of-living relief”, comprising cheaper childcare, expanded parental leave, cheaper medicines, more affordable housing and getting wages moving again. But households need to prepare for much more short-term pain before this benefit kicks in.”

More from Ross Gittens:

“This “solid and sensible” Budget is not so much good or bad as incomplete. It hints at “hard decisions” to be made but doesn’t make them. Chalmers says it’s “a beginning of the long task of budget repair, not the final destination”.

In the end, all will be revealed. But right now, we’ve been shown little.”

Peter Hartcher:

Dr Jim Chalmers has observed the doctor’s sacred obligation under the Hippocratic oath – do no harm. His mini-budget doesn’t aggravate any of the problems in the economy or the Budget. But it doesn’t do much by way of healing, either.”

It was as I predicted. A clear-the-air budget that sets up the next one and the one after so that continuity is achieved. It will reveal the hard decisions that still need to be made.

We were entitled to an honest appraisal of the actual state of the economy, and that’s what we got. It was open and responsible and revealed the incompetence of the conservative parties.

It told us that we were in a financial mess, but we have good honest people trying to fix the problems.

My thought for the day

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

 

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