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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.

What is your ideal society? Do you have a view?

I have a confession to make. I have posted some of the following words in a previous article. Probably more than once. But I do so this time within an atmosphere of change. We have been through a period I have named “The Luddite Period” and survived with the hope that a more empathetic, transparent and credible form of government might replace the ones of Howard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison. One that somehow encapsulates these words of Robert Kennedy.

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

Even if you don’t give it much thought, somewhere in that part of your brain that provides this subject with consideration is a view of what you think a modern society should be.

My view of what a society is and how it should function is encapsulated in those short but exquisite words of Robert Kennedy. He counselled that it must be more than just an economy.

My ideal society is an assemblage of people who desire to express themselves in every human endeavour as a collective: A collective who has aspirations of conducting their humanity, labour, learning, aspirations, spirituality, art, poetry, play and exploration with the most extraordinary possible diversity and at the very centre of my society would be an empathy instilled in their learning – the common good would be at the centre of their politics regardless of ideology.

I mean, equality of opportunity for all would be enshrined in my constitution for the common good.

We judge art not by how it arrived on the canvas but by how it speaks once there.

My kind of society is one where one’s sexual preference or, indeed, one’s gender wouldn’t be the determinant by which one’s character is judged. One’s skin colour would say nothing about anyone except perhaps their geographical origins.

My society would advance the individual’s right to pursue whatever they desire, including the pursuit of economic success, which would only be regulated by the principles of the common good and in consideration of everyone’s entitlement to an equitable share of society’s wealth.

People would be guaranteed freedom of expression, including the right to disagree but be reminded that debate is not necessarily about winning. It is an exchange of many thoughts, Facts, ideas and principles. All have a place. But when broken down, it is simply the art of persuasion.

In my enlightened society, the suggestion that we must legislate one’s right to hate another person would be considered intellectually barren. Free speech would have its limitations based on what serves the common good.

Education or rather the lack of it is, in the main, responsible for racism and should be taught as a subject in our schools.

Access to health and welfare would be assured and treatment guaranteed. Most importantly, the principle that we should treat others in the same manner, we expect them to treat us would be memorable in every citizen’s mind.

My society would have a healthy regard for science over myth and mysticism but simultaneously recognise that each individual has a right to express their individuality or spirituality. Everyone has a right to seek spirituality and practice it so long as it doesn’t harm others. Or so long as it doesn’t corrupt the aspirations of “commongoodism”.

Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, is the best way of providing solutions to human problems.

Free speech’s original intent was to give the oppressed a voice and keep governments honest. If the commercial press instituted a code of conduct similar to the ABC and obeyed it, the government would grant it freedom. In the United States, the 1st Amendment is now used as a justification to incite racism, validate hatred, and promote religious and political bigotry.

In a democracy, the government gives the people’s right to free speech. Therefore, it should be incumbent on everyone to display decorum, moderation, truth, fact, balance, reason, tolerance, civility and respect for the other point of view. Sadly, this seems to have been forgotten here and in the United States.

Will we ever grow intellectually to the point where we can discern and understand the potential for the good within us?

My society would be judged by its welcoming and treatment of its most vulnerable citizens, including the aged, the homeless, the poor, and those seeking asylum.

Accessibility to the law, regardless of stature or wealth, would be available to everyone.

Accepting change would be part of the very fabric of our existence. It would be a progressive society. One that wouldn’t resist change on the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that which makes us feel secure.

My ideal society would acknowledge that a democratic group mentality advances society better than dictatorial individuality. In democratic institutions, our herding instincts are realised by electing quality leaders to form the government.

A “fitness to serve” test would need to be passed by all parliamentarians. The function of Parliament would ensure that experts in various areas assist in our Parliament’s deliberations.

Individual or collective ambition would be encouraged within a social structure built and controlled by an accord with the government.

If we live in a democracy, then it must be the elected officials that decide and regulates society’s advancement and who provide the environment in which to do so. Private enterprises cannot advance without the assistance of facilities provided by the government.

Therefore, every parliamentarian must abide by the principles of a robust constitution independently conceived by the people and a bill of rights under a newly formed republic.

People who disagree with the “common good” society say that it would have to be very ordered and would unlikely work in the United States, for example, where governance structures differ from state to state.

However, in metropolitan areas, governance already consists of overlapping authority jurisdictions and duplication of function.

Brian Kogelman, writing for the Philosophy page “Thinking Small about the Ideal Society” says:

“Disagreement over how our schools should be run, whether we ought to be able to own guns, or whether we ought to be able to smoke marijuana need not result in winners and losers in the political process. In a polycentric governance structure, different political units can cater to diverse individual preferences. Instead of living in constant strife with one another, polycentricity allows us to live better together by, essentially, allowing us to live more apart.”

I fervently hope that the election of Anthony Albanese will change how we are governed and, by extension, our way of life.

In the recipe of an ideal society, there are many ingredients. None more so than the values we pass on.

My thought for the day

Ask yourself: Does the democracy we have make you feel good about your country?

PS Your thoughts on an ideal society, please.

 

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Restoring a democracy that the Neo-Cons butchered

I was of the view that Newspoll was going out of the polling business for some time, so this one surprised me:

Labor 56%

LNP 44%

Best Prime Minister:

Anthony Albanese 59%

Peter Dutton 25%

The only reason I have posted these statistics courtesy of the Poll Bludger is to exemplify that the first step in restoring our Democracy has been taken.

We have wrenched back Government after the forces of the far-right conservatives threatened to destroy our system of governance.

After the election, people observed Anthony Albanese and saw a humble man, unlike other political personalities.

Image from thequesttimes.com

They have seen a man not dissimilar to themselves. They have witnessed his authenticity and his trustworthiness, and above all, his sincerity.

The Poll Bludger tells us that:

“Anthony Albanese’s approval rating has shot from 41% before the election to 61%, while his disapproval rating has fallen from 46% to 26%. The former exceeds honeymoon approval ratings recorded by Tony Abbott (47%), Kevin Rudd (59%) and John Howard (45%) upon Newspoll’s return after the three previous changes of Government.”

Democracy takes many forms and varies throughout the world. Simply put, a democracy is a political system where like-minded people come together with ideas that eventually become a philosophy from which parties are born.

These various ideologies pull in different directions in a quest for majority approval by the people. Australian democracy is far from flawless, and the philosophies can be elastically flexible. Indeed, the world even has democratic dictatorships that are unpredictable, volatile and highly combative.

Australian democracy was imperfect but constructive and generally benefited society. At its best, it expressed Government for the people by the people. It accommodated diagonally opposed ideas, extreme or otherwise. All in all, it was an imperfect beast that served us well.

It changed with the election of Tony Abbott; however, the decline in our democracy over the past decade can be traced back even further to Ronald Reagan and John Howard. Howard spent our wealth on retaining Government. Reagan invited the fundamentalist churches into the political domain, and all hell broke loose. America sneezed, and we caught the flu.

In the absence of anything better, most democracies have a capitalistic economic system. However, capitalists, as far as democracy is concerned, can take it or leave it.

In Australia, the right to vote is the gift that democracy gives. People are free to vote for whichever party (or individual) they support.

An oddity of our system is that many people believe in a democracy but at the same time think their party is the only one that should win. That all changed on 21 May 2022.

A clear indication of an Australian democracy in decline was that people were giving up this voting gift, literally saying: “A pox on both your houses.”

Thousands of people were not voting because our political system had been in crisis for over a decade. Why? Because our solicitations have failed to speak with any clarity on issues that concern people.

Our democracy should be a work in progress and open to regular improvement (new ideas) in its procedures and implementation. Its constitutional framework should be exposed to periodical revision, renewal, compromise and bi-partisanship when the common good cries out for it.

Moreover, if we were an enlightened democracy, we would give the people a sense of purposeful participation.

Previously I have suggested a full-time sitting panel of prominent citizens who would review the contents of the Constitution, take submissions from the public and make recommendations in a yearly report to the Parliament and the people.

But above all, the function of an inclusive democracy should be to serve the common good. We have not even approached that in the last ten years.

The democracy we had during the Luddite period (of Howard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison) existed to serve secular interests and was overseen by the elite of business, politicians and media interests, And corruption flourished.

They had the power to implement their version of a democracy, and without hesitation, they, with sinister aims, did. They didn’t comprehend that democracy works better when it serves the collective from the ground up rather than top-down. Their way is fundamentally anti-democratic.

But it was what a succession of conservative leaders Howard. Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison placed on the menu.

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

We became trapped in the longevity of sameness, and we never saw better ways of doing things. We allowed the far right to have its way, and in our laconic attitude, we sank into a quagmire of similarities with American Tea Party Republicanism.

The Australian democracy I grew up with no longer exists. The demise of Australian democracy originated in a monumental shift to the right by the conservatives and the left forgetting its origins.

Neo-Conservatism replaced the Liberal and National parties.

The Labor Party, in opposition under Albanese, rid itself of outdated social objectives and invested in a social philosophical common good instead and recognised that eliminating growing inequality in all its variants was a worthwhile pursuit.

Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison trashed our Parliament, its institutions and conventions, and people lost faith in the political process and their representatives.

Ministerial responsibility became a thing of the past.

Question Time became an excuse for mediocre minds who could not win an argument with intellect, charm or debating skills to act deplorably toward each other.

The Chamber descended into a place of hate where respect for the other’s view was seen as a weakness.

Light frivolity and wit were replaced with smut and sarcasm. Members debased the Parliament and themselves as moronic imbecilic individuals.

Question Time is the showcase of the Parliament and is badly in need of an overhaul and an independent Speaker.

Our democracy suffered because no one had the intestinal fortitude to give away the slightest political advantage. Recent times have demonstrated just how corrupt our democracy has become.

Corruption, like mud, continued to stain the carpets of Parliament House, walk its way into the highest offices, and then insinuate its way through all sections of society, including unions, businesses and politics.

We witnessed a plethora of inquiries, all focusing on illegal sickening behaviour, and all areas of the community called for a national anti-corruption body. That is except for the Coalition parties who would supply a new commission with its first three years of work.

Our democracy was bereft of leadership, and Abbott and Morrison debased the Parliament, so there is now no compelling reason to be a politician. Even the Senate elevated itself above its intended purpose of being a house of review and became a house of policymakers.

The worst effect of this Luddite period was that it legitimised lying as an effective political tool and undignified self-interest and narcissistic personality embedded themselves in our politics.

The pursuit of power for power’s sake and the retention of it has so engulfed political thinking that people become secondary, and the common good occupied a small recess somewhere in the labyrinth of small minds lacking the capacity for sound public policy that achieves social equity.

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

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 transformation from reporting to opinion.

With blatant support for right-wing conservatives, Murdoch and his majority-owned newspapers did nothing to advance Australia as a modern enlightened democratic society. On the contrary, it damaged it, perhaps irreparably.

The advent of social media has sent the mainstream media into free fall. It is losing its authority, real or imagined. Declining newspaper sales have resulted in lost revenue and profits. Now bloggers reflect the feelings of grassroots society.

In summary, three things have contributed to the decline in our democracy:

  1. Murdoch mastheads promoted free speech as if they were the sole custodian of it.
  2. The Abbott and Morrison factor and the death of truth as a principle of democratic necessity.
  3. People had forgotten that our democracy is nothing more or less than what we make of it. The power was with the people, and it was incumbent on the people to voice with unmistakable anger the decline in our democracy. It took nine long years for them to do so.

People needed to wake up to the fact that Government affects every part of their lives and should have been more concerned. But there was a deep-seated political malaise that clouded their thinking.

It was a time when horrible things were being perpetrated on us. The shame is that we normalised them and adjusted accordingly.

My thought for today

People like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones, who write and comment outrageously based on payment for controversy, will eventually pass on as Gough Whitlam did. They will be quickly forgotten, but he will go down in the annals of Australian history as a decent, optimistic, passionate and sagacious Prime Minister who made an enormous contribution to Australian society. Something they could never aspire to do.

 

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By the People and for the People: a Fairer Tax System and Stronger Economy

By Max Ogden and John Lord

One of Australia’s most vexing questions is a more equitable taxation system.

At the 2019 election, the ALP presented a couple of mild tax reforms, which unfortunately contributed to its defeat.

Later, when reflecting on his defeat, Bill Shorten admitted that perhaps he should have taken a different approach with personal tax cuts for millions of workers.

He conceded that his proposed tax reforms on franking credits and negative gearing went over like a lead balloon:

“Mr Shorten also acknowledged he should have campaigned with “fewer messages” and taken a different approach on franking credits, the tax reform that infuriated older Australians who stood to lose thousands of dollars.”

Most Australian economists and taxation experts think tax reform should be high on the agenda of any Australian Government. Many have tried, but none have succeeded.

Why? Because they have all tried an “all at once reform” which the electorate refuses to accept in any shape or form.

Remember, the beneficial Henry Tax Review commissioned by PM Rudd that never got off the ground. It now gathers dust in the bottom drawer of some bureaucrat’s desk.

Economists thought it was groundbreaking, whereas politicians knew that they couldn’t sell it in its totality.

These and other experiences show that achieving equitable tax reform is complex compared with the ease with which a government can cut taxes.

It requires sizeable public support, which can only be achieved by profound and long-term discussion by the electorate.

The Albanese government should establish a Tax Commission, or maybe a National Tax Cabinet, which will be charged with generating an extensive and deep public discussion about the whole system, with the objective of achieving three principles.

  1. A more equitable system
  2. Generating a stable economy.
  3. Contributing/supporting climate change action.

The ALP government will not legislate significant tax changes during its first term, except for what it is already committed to.

The Tax Commission/National Tax Cabinet will organise discussions in local communities, workplaces, with state and local governments, employers, employer organisations, small businesses, unions, and ethnic groups, and facilitate any groups which want to be part of the nationwide discussion.

The ABC and SBS could replicate its recent Compass project as a Tax Compass on Australian policy preferences.

The Tax Commission/National Tax Cabinet will conduct surveys, polling, and research, including examining the best international tax systems which achieve the three principles.

An urgent consideration for the Tax Commission/National Tax Cabinet should be to enquire into the various tax advantages open to the rich and privileged in society and the enormous handouts to mining companies.

Towards the end of its first term, the government should convene one or several prominent summits to discuss a new tax system based on the three principles.

Arising from the summit, it should formulate policies to take to the next election, seeking a mandate to implement legislation when elected for a second term, as it currently looks likely.

This is similar to what John Howard did when he legislated for the GST but did not enact it until after the election, so there is a precedent, except this discussion would include the whole community.

The suggested process is similar to the Uluru Statement From The Heart, where there was extensive discussion among indigenous communities, leading to the unanimous agreement at the Uluru Summit.

Polling over many years consistently shows that most electorate is prepared to pay more tax, provided they are assured it will be used for public assets such as health and education.

This does not manifest at an election because there is never a widely discussed detailed proposal, such as suggested here. Such polling provides a reasonable basis on which to develop the process outlined.

The book “Nordic Edge” by Andrew Scott and Rod Cambell indicates that Nordic countries like Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland have the highest tax rates in the world but also have the most robust economies.

Known as The Nordic Model, these countries have the highest living standards with low-income disparity. The Nordic model merges free-market capitalism with a generous welfare system.

Rather than appoint an economist or tax expert to head the Tax Commission/National Tax Cabinet, it should be someone with expertise in adult and community learning, as they will know the best processes for getting broad involvement, polling, and knowledge. Tax experts and economists should be employed to undertake the research that will be required to assist the Australia-wide discussion.

Contributing authors: Phil Drew, Luke Whitington, Neil Watson, Brian Aarons.

My thoughts for the day

Never in the history of this nation have the rich and the privileged been so openly brazen.

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

 

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Question Time, a referendum, boats, more corruption and other matters

1 The first Question Time of the 47th Parliament this time last week was revealing for several reasons. Firstly, it demonstrated the enormous gap in experience between the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader. Secondly, it showed the considerable gulf in intellect between the two.

Because the Opposition carries so much baggage, they have to defend themselves one way or another making it nearly impossible to ask a question that somehow doesn’t reflect poorly on them.

Nowhere to be seen were the refreshingly new standards l was expecting. Well, except to say that the new Speaker, Milton Dick (Member for Oxley, impressed with his authoritative manner and dulcet tone that kept the bear pit under control.

I must admit it was more combative than I thought it might be, but that may have been because my idealism was on high alert. More time might be needed before making a judgement.

Paul Fletcher – considered a “Liberal moderate” – “is now Manager of Opposition Business.” His entry into the pit was both surprising and confusing. Was he angry at losing questions to the Teals? Was he flustered on his first day, or just incompetent? Fletcher’s anger at his party’s reduced number of questions brought forward this remarkable statement:

“Indeed, [with] this standing order, Mr Speaker, we will be right up there with the Russian Duma as a toothless legislative body.”

Really? On a day that Australia recorded the fastest annual rate of growth in consumer prices for more than 20 years. This occurred during the Coalition’s Luddite period, so Dutton didn’t want to go near it. It was a dark, dank day for the Opposition. Note: Luddite period is a term I use to describe the last period of Coalition governance.

However, the usual full of himself Angus Tayler went where angels fear to tread and asked the Prime Minister if he stood by claims in his pre-election modelling that power prices would come down as a consequence of the Government’s climate and energy policies. He conveniently left out two words, “longer term”.

Albanese gave a “come in, spinner” answer by listing all of Taylor’s mistakes as the former energy minister, including delaying a vital electricity pricing update until after the election, which left Australian voters blacked out about possible increases in their power bills.

He then congratulated Taylor “on his courage for asking the question”. And then proceeded to pound Taylor for keeping secret the fact that he knew prices would rise in July.

Dutton’s contribution to Question Time on the first day was to make vague accusations about a construction union he said would now run rampant because Labor had gutted the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Albanese answered his questions, smiling calmly at the opposition leader across the dispatch box and giving the Liberal leader some advice about his vocation:

“I wish him well,” the prime minister said, pausing for a beat, “and I hope he stays there for a very long time.”

Fortunately, Question Time isn’t high on the list of peoples viewing choices. Dutton looks like a loathsome character from a horror movie and speaks in a quiet, almost sinister tone. None of us can help the way we appear, but I find it impossible to see how he could ever gain any public popularity.

Every question asked by the Opposition had a hypothetical tag attached saying, “it was our fault.” And every answer contained all the force of a sucker punch.

 

 

On Thursday, rebuttals of onerous questions ensured that the Opposition received a battering from the Government, highlighting their inaction over the past decade.

It will take years, maybe a decade, for the Liberal and National parties to throw off a well-earned reputation for dreadful governance. Read on to find that we are still discovering more of their political shenanigans.

2 As if time has stood still, many things have converged to remind us just how bad the conservative Luddite period has been. Since May 21, we have learnt that Morrison deliberately brushed aside a long-standing convention to leak information about the arrival of a suspected asylum-seeker boat.

Every time one thought Morrison couldn’t sink any lower, he did.

The Guardian reported the incident with these words:

“The former government ‘sabotaged’ protocols for political gain and was ‘without precedent’ in Australian history.”

3 On top of that, yet another corrupt activity has surfaced:

“An audit of a controversial $1.15bn Coalition grants program for regional development found Liberal-held seats received twice as many grants as Labor electorates.”

Michael McCormack and Barnaby Joyce decided on the allocations. It seems they learnt nothing from the unethical activities of “Sports Rorts.”

4 Trent Zimmerman was one of those in the Coalition that you couldn’t help but like. Quietly spoken and centre-right with a pragmatic view, he always seemed to be on top of his subject. Indeed, it was sad to see him go at the last election. So, when I read his piece for The Guardian (Friday, July 29), I was impressed with the clarity of his thinking:

“When your party is on the losing side of an election, why double down on policies that helped facilitate that defeat?”

Zimmerman may have lost his seat but not his wits.

5 From what I read, many in the Liberal Party were unhappy with Dutton’s captain’s call to continue with a climate policy bereft of any creditability, let alone common sense.

Our lives should be subject to constant reflection; otherwise, the way forward is locked into the constraints of today’s thoughts.

6 On Saturday, July 30, the Prime Minister at the 2022 Garma Cultural Festival in Arnhem Land released a draft of the proposed words that would enshrine a voice in our constitution for our First Nations People:

“Do you support an alteration to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?”

1.There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

2.The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to parliament and the executive government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

3.The parliament shall, subject to this constitution, have power to make laws with respect to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

I believe Peter Dutton will play the spoiler in the proposed referendum. The same as he has on climate change. He will risk a backlash in doing so, but the man’s character dictates his actions.

In the mind’s smallness, genuine ignorance can be found.

7 Only a man of great charisma could deliver a despondent economic speech to the House of Reps with the charm of Jim Chalmers. He is also a much-appreciated truth-teller.

My thought for the day

Nothing matters more in life as to live it decently. And you don’t need any form of religious belief or political allegiance to do so. Be as humane as you can possibly be.

 

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Damning words and how to use them to tell the story of Morrison’s downfall (Part two)

Damning words and how to use them to tell the story of Morrison’s downfall. On May 21, Labor won.

I continue with my observance of the downfall of the Coalition with my quotes and allow their words to tell their story. A story of the worst period in Australian political history. With the worst cabinet members and the worst leaders. The only one with any benefit of the doubt was Turnbull, who had his hands tied behind his back in an ideological sense.

Before and after thoughts

Veteran Journalist Malcolm Farr was alleged to have described a former PM as “The shallowest, most deceitful, most self-important & incompetent PM possibly ever.” An apt description, I would have thought.

“How incredible it is that people on high wages blame workers on modest and low incomes for inflation when the real cause is their company’s extraordinary profits.”

“The LNP diminished science and embarrassed Australia in the eyes of the world. What did they gain for our children? Like many policy decisions, they were not about government for the common good. It was about petty little characterless minds of little intellectual value playing politics for power’s sake. We should not forget.”

I found it impossible to imagine that the Australian people could be so gullible as to elect a government that has performed so miserably in the first three for a fourth term.” Some of the most devious, suspicious and corrupt men and women were among its members, and they didn’t.

Morrison believed that success, for whatever reason, depended on being seen doing everyone’s job but their own. Albanese is allowing his ministers to do their jobs.”

“You cannot buy relevancy. It doesn’t come in a box. It comes about with good policy, leaders of proven trust and saleability, and a capacity to overcome past errors.”

“We were guilty of spying on our poorest neighbour, Timor-Leste. For those who believe in the proper administration of justice and freedom of the press, Attorney General Mark Dreyfus’s decision to intervene in Bernard Collaery’s secret trial is welcome. He, along with Witness K, are heroes.”

“The task ahead for Anthony Albanese is restoring the idea that governments should seek to make the country better.”

Do we live in the best country in the world, as we are all apt to say when we have much mental illness and far too much domestic violence? Systemic problems with aged care. A housing shortage, a crisis in homelessness, a shortage of GPs, out-of-control suicides, an emergency in the cost of living, and overpriced childcare.”

“One can hardly compare sunning oneself on a beach with accepting an invitation to visiting a country under attack by a superpower.”

“Wouldn’t you think that after a thrashing at the election, mainly because of lousy policy on energy, anyone with a scintilla of intelligence might have admitted defeat and quietly backed down? No, not this mob.”

The public might be forgiven for thinking the chamber has descended into a hate forum – a sideshow where respect for the other’s view is seen as a weakness.”

“I have promoted the idea that only Labor can mend the many problems we face. But what a mess there is.”

“Conventional wisdom would have it that the populace will always stick with the incumbent government in times of upheaval. What was different this time?”

“It was astonishing, even laughable, to hear a man appointed to be his party’s Leader trying to blame Labor for the very policy failures the people had overwhelmingly condemned them for two weeks earlier.”

As illustrated by its actions post-election, the Albanese Government is hell-bent on righting wrongs and implementing policy. Thus far, their attack on the issues has been impressive. They have kicked goals in foreign affairs, wages, health and human rights, to name a few. They have inherited more problems than first identified but are in an attacking mood.”

“Dutton’s worldview seems to have been formed from a series of pessimistic experiences without ever comprehending the meaning of optimism.”

“In contrast to the Prime Minister, Peter Dutton has been saying silly things like his Shadow Ministry has an enormous depth of talent when everyone knows it’s as shallow as a toddler’s wading pool.”

“I know no other leader to do such a thoughtless disservice to his faith than former Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Leaders of faith communities must have been appalled at his behaviour during his term of office. Or were they.”

“Many people have strong views, myself included. Some have listened at length to many opinions. Because of this, we are often called biased. They are called reasoned.”

“So, what could be Morrison’s motivation for staying on? Perhaps his ego is telling him to be patient for another opportunity. Maybe he believes God’s will is for him to fulfil his destiny. Maybe there is another reason.”

News Corp in this election was at its bombastic best. Its front pages were full of dangerous, destructive insulting and harmful pictures. They savaged independent candidates with articles that knew no boundaries.”

“Usually bucketfuls of blood follow a Liberal loss. Incompetent both in or out of government. Morrison seems to have escaped any blame for this massive defeat.”

After receiving a resounding defeat in which Australia said all that needed to be said about the Coalition’s governance, the Liberal Party chose this creepy individual as its Leader on Monday.”

He comes across as a very intimidating former copper who you wouldn’t want to meet up with in an alley on a dark night. With Dutton as the Leader, the Liberals will remain in opposition for at least two terms.”

President Barack Obama said if he could take three things from Australia, they would be our Health System, Compulsory voting and our gun laws.”

“It is obvious that Question Time in the Australian Parliament is just an excuse for mediocre minds who are unable to debate with intellect, charm or wit to act deplorably toward each other. And in doing so, debase the parliament and themselves as moronic imbecilic individuals. It needs urgent attention. Question time should be the showcase of the parliament and badly needs an independent speaker.”

“We may very well have seen the end of polling as we know it.”

Amid the angry voices intent on doing over one’s opponent, there must be people who have a genuine desire to change our democracy for the better. There has never been a better opportunity than now.”

As illustrated by its actions post-election, the Albanese Government is hell-bent on righting wrongs and implementing policy. Thus far, their attack on the issues has been impressive. They have kicked goals in foreign affairs, wages, health and human rights to name a few. They have inherited more problems than first identified but are in an attacking mood.”

Do we live in the best country in the world, as we are all apt to say when we have much mental illness and far too much domestic violence? A housing shortage, a crisis in homelessness, a shortage of GPs, out-of-control suicides, an emergency in the cost of living, and overpriced childcare. Systemic problems with aged care.

JUST WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

Instead of uniting in the hope of tomorrow, Dutton has surprisingly chosen to reside in today. Does he not realise that the electorate has said no to the type of governance his side practised?”

“It was astonishing, even laughable, to hear a man just appointed to be his party’s Leader trying to blame Labor for the very policy failures that the people had overwhelmingly condemned them for two weeks earlier.”

And so it came to pass that truth persisted, hope survived, and democracy will be restored.”

Amid the angry voices intent on doing over one’s opponent, there must be people who have a genuine desire to change our democracy for the better. There has never been a better opportunity than now.”

After receiving a resounding defeat in which Australia said all that needed to be said about the Coalition’s governance, the Liberal Party chose this creepy individual as its leader on Monday.”

In the early days of the Albanese Government, two things have become apparent. The daily evidence suggests the Morrison Government was worse than we thought. And two that we can at least have some optimism that despite the mountain it has to climb, Labor is sinking its picks into the rock.

Link to Part one.

My thought for the day

The government’s words and actions questioned the essence of the word truth. Or they at least devalued it to the point of obsolescence.

 

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Damning words and how to use them to tell the story of Morrison’s downfall (Part one)

Some readers of The AIMN would know that besides writing for it, I also use Twitter and Facebook to express my views. I write using the title “Words that make you think.” I do so not only to express my opinion but to hopefully elicit different views from the many who read my work and draw them into The AIMN where truth prevails.

I have written a random selection of quotations and thoughts this year. They tell the story of a Labor victory and whether they will rescue us from the deterioration in governance the Liberals and Nationals created.

The words or quotes I use have appeared on Facebook, Twitter or The AIMN. Some on numerous occasions.

Pre-election: My thoughts in early April 2022

I find it impossible to imagine that the Australian people would be so gullible as to elect for a fourth term a government that has performed so miserably in the first three. But they might.”

“If you want to change, change the government.

Morrison suggests he will become a new person

“It’s easy. Before bed, you take one ‘Better me’ tablet, as prescribed, and bingo. In the morning, gone is the arrogance, bullying, the self-righteousness, the motormouth and the know-all attitude.”

“Many Australians will be confused with the Prime Ministers interview with Leigh Sales last night. If he is as good as his answers why is he in so much trouble. I’m Baffled.”

“I need a second term, I’m just warming up. Only a man out of touch with reality could make a statement like that.” (The Australian, paywalled).

“If, as the Prime Minister says, he intends to change and become more empathetic, he could start by releasing the Biloela family. They have been held in Immigration Detention since March 5 2018. The two children, Kopica and Tharunicca, were born in Queensland. The family had lived and worked in Biloela for four years.”

“Isn’t it remarkable that a highly-paid politician (Scott Morrison) so demonstrably objects to our lowest-paid workers receiving a pay rise?”

“Politicians who say they will change aren’t necessarily seeing the light. They might just be feeling the heat.”

“There is no good reason to give our highest-paid workers a tax cut now. What have they done to deserve it?”

“At this stage, Labor’s lead is much more significant than it was in 2019. These figures show that all the current polls have moved toward Labor, and if they hold up into next week, the Coalition is looking at an electoral shellacking on May 21.”

“I contend that Labor is the only party that can bring about the social change necessary to restore and carry our democracy into a bountiful future both economically and socially.”

“Debate is not of necessity about winning or taking down one’s opponent. It is an exchange of facts, ideas and principles. Or in its purest form it is simply the art of persuasion.”

“Every Australian should ask whether Australia needs a campaigner or a leader. Do we need a bullshit artist or a leader? A corrupt Prime Minister or a leader without baggage. A perverted liar or a leader.”

“Instead of being proactive, we tend to wait for disaster. Even in politics. This government is a typical example.”

“The economy is being run by a minister who may very well lose his seat, but the message is “We are best to manage the economy?” A contradiction in terms? Go figure.”

“Now, I must confess that my objectivity these days suffers when I listen to him. I have written much about his lying (and his proven guilt of dishonesty) that I’m trying to pick out the pieces of truth when I listen to him now.”

“Conservatives say that poverty is the fault of the victim, but wealth comes from virtue, and both are the natural order of things.”

“When I talk to people about this election and mention Scott Morrison’s lying, I’m often surprised at how many men forgive him because “they all do it.” Imagine what sort of a society we would have if all we did was lie to each other.”

“It is obvious that Question Time in the Australian Parliament is just an excuse for mediocre minds who are unable to debate with intellect, charm or wit, to act deplorably toward each other. And in doing so debase the parliament and themselves as moronic imbecilic individuals. Change is necessary. Question time should be the showcase of the parliament and badly needs an independent speaker.”

Ask yourself: Does the democracy we have make you feel good about your country?”

“Labor has never been better placed to win a contest of ideas. It must vigorously argue the case for action against growing inequality. Instead of pretending it is a Socialist party, be one.”

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

 

 

“After some time, buffoon Joyce was replaced with the buffoon McCormack, and after a period in which buffoon two accomplished nothing, they returned to buffoon one.”

“Which country has shown the most compassion. The one who had the heart to accept them or the one who couldn’t find the heart. Seeking asylum.”

“Sure, any Labor proposals should be scrutinised as much as any other parties, but to suggest that both entities are as guilty of pork barrelling as each other when one has not been in government for nearly a decade is a bit rich.”

Continued on Saturday with part two: Post-May 21, Labor have won.

My thought for the day

The Coalition Government’s performance over its time in office had been like a daily shower of offensiveness raining down on society. Surely performance or lack of it must have meant something.

 

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We have a conundrum: The Greens want to flex a bit of muscle, and Labor wants to exercise its authority

In his interview with David Speers last week, the leader of the Greens in the Australian Parliament, Adam Bandt, came over as a contemptuous young man of little diplomacy.

He would do well to read the now old book by Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People. One would have thought his party had won the election; such was his obnoxious manner.

They indeed increased their position in the House of Representatives and have a healthy presence in the Senate, but they are not the Government.

Whilst not for one moment do I doubt his sincerity for the beliefs he holds; he needs to tone down how he demands his right to them.

In the interview with Speers, he outlined these demands and the conditions under which he would negotiate climate and energy policy.

Speers: “Will the Greens support a 43% target?”

Bandt: “It’s too early to tell yet.”

On the draft legislation:

“It doesn’t compel the Government to do anything.”

“We have seen the Legislation, and there are a number of problems with it, but we are willing to talk about it.”

“The 43% becomes stuck in law, and the parliament would have to come back to change it.”

Referring to new Gas and coal power stations:

“You don’t put the fire out while you’re pouring petrol on it.”

“You can’t even have this discussion if the Government is saying. It’s my way or the highway.”

Speers: “If they can fix the wording or amend the wording to give you some sort of assurance about coal and Gas in the future. Would that be enough?”

Bandt: There are four issues: 1) There can’t be a ceiling, 2) There must be a genuine floor so that we can’t go back to it, 3) Is it just symbolic, and 4) What about Coal and Gas?

“We will put them on the table in a good faith way, but there has to be an end to the “It’s my way or the highway” or else it’s going to be a very long three years.”

This sounds at worst like a man demanding he gets his way, or at best demanding he gets it even when he isn’t in Government. A man with an attitude that grates.

Note: I have taken these quotes from a video of the interview. For complete accuracy, I’d recommend viewing it.

Also critical was David Wu from Sky News:

“Greens leader Adam Bandt hopes he can sit down with the government to improve the wording on the climate legislation – but only once Prime Minister Anthony Albanese drops the ‘take it or leave it’ approach.”

After more than 10 years of debate, Anthony Albanese wins Government for the Labor Party. After being thwarted by the Liberals, the National and the Greens from implementing their policy, it now has the Greens telling it in no uncertain way what it can and cannot do by a disagreeable leader who needs to learn some political manners. You can explain your grievances without demanding their implementation.

By precisely submitting the policy, they took to the election. Labor intends to introduce its legislation when Parliament resumes on 26 July. It will lock in the emissions reduction target of 43 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen met with independents and representatives from the Greens on Thursday, 21 July, to introduce Labor’s draft of the bill.

If Adam Bandt wants to change it, he won’t be doing so in the Lower House and in the Senate. Newly elected ACT former Rugby star David Pocock has indicated he will support the legislation.

Staying too far from what the government desires would invoke memories of 2009 when the Greens voted against a bill that would have promoted action but voted against it because it couldn’t get its way. The Greens wouldn’t want to do it again. Labor has never forgiven them.

Labor legitimately claimed that if the Greens hadn’t voted against its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), Australia’s carbon emissions would have been more than 200 million tonnes lower, and electricity would have cost less.

The Prime Minister has said that:

“If the Greens Party haven’t learned from what they did in 2009 – that was something that led to a decade of inaction and delay and denial – then that will be a matter for them.”

Having said that, Labor doesn’t have to do anything it doesn’t want to. It can proceed with its policy without any legislation.

The Prime Minister promised a new politic. It would be better, however, if it did agree with the Greens where it can. Here is an opportunity to rise above their natural dislike of them and demonstrate it.

But if Labor isn’t willing:

“… to negotiate on even this minor tweak from the Greens, who now seem resigned to accepting the 43 per cent target, what kind of sensible, good faith amendments will it listen to? Surely not the minor party’s demands for a moratorium on new coal and gas projects, an essential part of the Greens platform that doesn’t particularly gel with Labor’s position.

And so we have a conundrum. The Greens want to flex a bit of muscle, and Labor wants to exercise its authority.

Labor should be flexible enough to concede a little to the Greens by finding a way to prove that its 43 per cent target is just a minimum commitment. And the Greens should take whatever they can get in “sensible’ good faith” (their words) or be “crucified” as a spoiler.

Who knows, the Independents might have some viable suggestions.

As reported in The Guardian, they have had briefings with the climate and energy minister, Chris Bowen, late last week and have outlined some things they want to be included in the legislation.

They also want to include what they describe as a “Dutton insurance” policy. A clause that would make it difficult for future governments to ease up on action for climate change.

I have often written that the world won’t act on climate change until something really catastrophic happens. On that, we are edging closer.

My thought for the day

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

(Often repeated since 2013)

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A new beginning for the Left and good riddance to the Right

1 The right of politics has, for some time now, imposed its thuggish propaganda and intimidatory behaviour on democracies worldwide. As far back as Reagan and Thatcher, the right has had its way. Other than a few exceptions, they have chalked up many more years in power than governments of the left. In Australia the extreme right-wing has primarily been in power. Since 1910, non-Labor governments have governed for two-thirds of the time and Labor for one-third.

In their governance, the right has attracted a proliferation of odd xenophobic people who have sought to plaster their thoughts on every parliament wall, from religious extremism to coal is good.

The true Liberalism of Menzies is now dead and buried and has been replaced by a brand of Conservatism unique to American politics. The Liberal party exists in name only.

In an article for The Conversation, Frank Bongiorno points out that:

“Labor’s two-party-preferred vote in 2022 is only slightly behind Gough Whitlam’s in 1972… an argument can be made that the 2022 election discloses an electoral shift to the left. It is perhaps the most significant since the combined momentum of the elections of 1969 and 1972 that brought the Whitlam government to office.

Changes of government in federal politics don’t happen often. There have been eight since the second world war, and three of those were in a turbulent decade between late 1972 and early 1983.”

Australian voters are a laconic bunch who have wrongly interpreted the quote “she’ll be right.”

It was never meant to have a lazy terse meaning but an optimistic one. So, we have, for the most part, clung tightly to antagonistic non-Labor governments.

Because Australian voters regularly return governments, tending not to discard the incumbent, we can reasonably assume that the last election signals a broader shift in voter attitudes and leanings.

This Government I speak of was a false democracy. It looked harmless to the voting population, but as time progressed, all the interaction with everyday people, the pretending to be a hairdresser or whatever, was only a perception of Morrison’s creation. In the beginning, people were fooled by his acting, but when you see it every day for years, you eventually must wake up from your vacation.

It was peculiar to all governments that the conservatives held power over, from Howard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison.

Although Albanese started his leadership in times unsuited to massive change, it may be that he was chosen for just that reason. Therefore, we can reasonably be assured that an Albanese Government will receive two terms of Government if they fulfil their commitments. All going well, perhaps another three.

The start of his tenure demonstrates that he comfortably fills the shoes of the office. He looks the part, listens with dignity, and speaks with understanding.

No one would dare suggest that Albo has the charisma of John Curtin, Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke or Kevin Rudd. Still, he does display sincerity, warmth, integrity and authenticity.

In comparison, the newly elected Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton, decided to go on holiday not long after being elected. I would have thought he would immediately start mending the many things that needed fixing, but he has continued as though nothing happened.

On Albanese’s travel, the Opposition has proven that they have taken nothing from their loss. The cynicism coming from it about Albanese being out of the country is nothing more than what the Prime Minister himself described as nothing more than “beyond contempt.”

We seem to learn more about governments and their leadership when they have died (much the same as ordinary people) than when they are in Government.

Climate change, anti-corruption, gender equality and competent Government – are now the domain of the progressive left and hopefully will remain so for some time.

Whom should the Coalition blame? Well, Howard and Abbott are front and centre. Scott Morrison, his lying, and the Coalition support for fossil fuels and, of course, the rogue irrational MPs for their climate denial.

The Murdoch media defended their stupidity but couldn’t recognise its own. And let’s not forget their attitude toward women and the party infighting. And, of course, their questionable values and governance.

And yet they still seem to be at peace with their party’s relationship with the fossil fuel industry.

But the Coalition stars will always be John Howard, who took the party to the right. Tony Abbott may have been a better liar than Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnbull, who traded the leadership for well-worn beliefs and Barnaby Joyce, who proved himself to be the Leader of the many nut cases that formed the National Party.

Morrison believed that success, for whatever reason, depended on being seen doing everyone’s job but their own. Albanese is allowing his ministers to do their jobs.

How many guises did you see Scott Morrison in, ambo, hairdresser, test pilot or poultry boner and many more?

He put on hard hats, high-vis vests and gauze caps and propelled himself into the lives of the average working citizens who have been identified as politically advantageous. All these images were implanted in us, on TV, in hotels and in gymnasiums.

Do you know why? Well I don’t, either. I guess that about sums it up. Now let’s move on.

2 Together with the Prime Minister’s promise of a new politic comes a commitment to implement an influential Integrity Commission. The Greens and the independents will reject loose ends that allow for an escape route for corrupt politicians.

Furthermore, if this promise is to have some bite, it must also have adequate freedom of information process.

The independent auditor-general must be “independent” with a reasonable budget. The same goes for the Ombudsman.

The Government must create an impartial, professional and effective public service resembling that of yesteryear.

3 Something we can all agree on:

“Former Attorney-General Gareth Evans has called for Witness K’s conviction to be reversed following the decision to abandon the prosecution of the whistle-blower’s lawyer Bernard Collaery.

And Evans states that:

“Decency would also demand that the Witness K conviction be effectively reversed, but that’s probably a bridge too far.”

4 The Monthly reported that:

“The gap between male and female Coalition voters: only 28 per cent of women now say they would vote for the Coalition, compared to 38 per cent of male voters. The gap has widened since the federal election, with women continuing to drift from the Coalition under Peter Dutton.”

Who could blame them?

5 They are not mucking about, this Albanese Government. They have announced details on:

“… its promised jobs summit, to be held in Parliament House in early September. Treasurer Jim Chalmers says workplace reforms agreed to as part of the summit may be introduced as early as this year.”

6 In yet another example of Labor’s intention to make change a priority:

“Politicians will have to declare political donations over $1000 in real-time as part of a sweeping package of integrity measures.”

7 Special Minister of State Don Farrell wants to introduce the changes by mid-2023. “Truth in political advertising” laws will also accompany this legislation.

8 Another change will “potentially double the number of senators allocated to the Northern Territory and the ACT, from two to four.” The joint standing committee will examine the proposals on electoral matters.

My thought for the day

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

 

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Will the Opposition achieve relevancy? Only time will tell.

I’m trying this morning to get a feeling for the future of politics in our country. Not much critical analysis has been written about the aftermath of the May 21 election.

Probably the most substantive thing I noticed was that the young have finally caught up with the aged. Yes, the Millennials have caught up with the Baby Boomers. Let me explain: For many years the old have supported the right of politics, and the young have latched onto the left. Polls have consistently shown this. The seniors in an ageing population are dying quickly and taking the conservative vote with them.

The young left vote has been exposed in significant proportion. Labor, the Greens and the Independents obtained 75% of the total vote. The old card-carrying supporter of my vintage has gone, and the young with no natural allegiance have moved in.

Our national census tells multiple stories about a country experiencing considerable change. It doesn’t paint much of a picture of the chances of the right in the next election. Population shifts in Victoria and New South Wales will lead the Electoral Commission to eliminate what were three blue-ribbon Coalition seats. All now held by so-called Teal Independents.

Another ingredient in this recipe for a rapidly changing nation is its browning. And the focus on immigration has shifted from the end of the war, white Europeans and the 60s, Italians and Greeks, and the Asian influx that followed to the now Middle Easton, African and Indian persuasion.

In my thoughts on what might emerge in the aftermath of the election, I find it astonishing that no self-reflection has occurred. I mean, does the Coalition think they were just victims of being in office a tad long? Maybe they feel that being on the far right eliminates any circumspection.

We have heard not even a cry that the leader failed or that we should never have appointed him as our leader. It’s as if he is not to blame for anything – the young saw his deceit and cunning through his lies and voted with purpose. Why couldn’t more of the elderly see through him?

At this point in my writing, you are probably asking yourself, “didn’t he watch Four Corners?” on July 3. I did, but it only focused on branch stacking and pre-selection in NSW. There is more to it than that.

I want to know why Morrison had such a hold on the party. When it became apparent that they were going to lose, why was he not confronted? Why wasn’t he told to tone down his religiosity? Those and many other questions remain unanswered.

It leaves the conservative parties caught between a rock and a hard place. Just like when John Howard advised Tony Abbott against Royal Commissions into the Unions and Pink Batts, opining that they weren’t worth the trouble.

Labor hasn’t much choice. Having championed a Corruption Commission for so long, the Prime Minister is duty-bound to provide it with some work. They have enough investigative work to last a couple of years.

Here are but a few examples of alleged corruption:

The land they paid 30 times its value for, Sports rorts, misappropriation of water from Murray-Darling by coalition donors, $444m to Great Barrier Reef Foundation with no tendering, many of Angus Taylor’s questionable activities, $30 million to Foxtel for no apparent reason and there is a list as long as the Flemington straight.

On the one hand, voting against an Integrity Commission will cause much grief for the Opposition. On the other, they, the Coalition, have no choice but to vote for one in the knowledge that there are those in their party who will have to face the music for their sins.

What happened with Robodebt and who gave the order to proceed when it was illegal needs a Royal Commission.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will have to make a similar choice to Abbott’s. He can say that we must investigate all the allegations to return to a decent democracy or that he is not into vengeance politics. However, we may need a prick of spite to prove what can happen to democracies when corruption is allowed to flourish. I believe blood needs to flow now so that the governance we were forced to endure never happens again.

Of the many mountains the Coalition will have to climb to return to its once-held dominance, none will be more important than relevance. It will not be regaining lost seats or how far right it should go, but how relevant are they as political parties. By the next election, their base will be further eroded by the loss of more elderly voters, leaders unsuited to the times and two parties who have drifted away from each other. So much so that even talking to each other brings on conflicts.

You cannot buy relevancy. It doesn’t come in a box. It comes about with good policy, leaders of proven trust and saleability, and a capacity to overcome past errors.

At the moment, the leader of the National Party, David Littleproud, looks out of his depth. Peter Dutton has picked a rather odd time to go on leave (all expenses paid) after declaring that his party’s policy on climate won’t change and that he will fight the next election on education in the belief that communists are teaching our children.

Making it even harder is a Government quite the opposite of the previous one – a trustworthy leader backed by a team of competent ministers ready to put things right over time. An understanding electorate is glad of the truth even when difficult to swallow. This Coalition has none of these prerequisites.

Anthony Albanese exhibits leadership qualities the populace has been waiting a decade for. Of vast experience with a diplomatic manner and forceful tone. Comfortable on the global stage without a hint of self-importance.

Yes, inflation may rise to 7%. Yes, interest rates will continue to go up. Yes, climate change and energy will be costly, but the people will accept it if you tell them the truth. The same goes for our debt.

Relevance is a consistent reminder of how the electorate views its politicians. The Government is ready to do its job; the Greens are emboldened and Teals excited. This parliament starts its repair work on Tuesday, July 26 2022. The question is, though, will the Opposition have any relevancy? Only time will tell.

The independents and the Greens would do well to recognise that they are not in power. They, along with the Opposition, form part of the body politic and should behave maturely if they want to be seen as relevant.

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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Opposition to continue recycling old policies, while the government gets on with the future

1 Apparently, after being soundly defeated at the election, the Coalition still thinks there is mileage in continuing to oppose climate change while supporting coal. This sort of talk takes us back to the Neanderthal age. It’s flat Earth stuff.

Wouldn’t you think that after a thrashing at the election, mainly because of lousy policy on energy, anyone with a scintilla of intelligence might have admitted defeat and quietly backed down? No, not this mob.

Most normal people would accept the loss and back away. Even with the loss of “Wentworth, North Sydney, Mackellar, Kooyong, Goldstein, Curtin, Bennelong, Higgins and Ryan,” they still think they can front up to the next election with the same policy. It goes to show how far right they have gone. Having said that, I still believe that Labor has a lacklustre target for 2030.

Traditional economic thinking says that it is the less well-off who will have to forgo wage growth to bring inflation under control: Cap on wages or cap on profits.

Why not a Resources super profits tax? I’m in favour of real wage growth rather than wage stagnation. Just a thought.

I still believe that the tax cuts for the more privileged should be cancelled as part of an economic crisis plan. You can hardly expect others to have their wages held down when the more advantaged are getting tax cuts. Use it to cut the deficit. The rich don’t need it. As Abbott said about the ‘carbon tax’, if it can be legislated, it can be unlegislated. Well, words to that effect.

2 The new Minister for Workplace Relations, Tony Burke, has promised:

“More than eight million Australians will have access to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave by the end of the year as the new government pledges to make workplace equality reforms a priority.”

3 The final two-party preferred count has Labor on 52.1 per cent of the vote and the Coalition on 47.9. How that many could vote for the Coalition astounds me. And guess who gave it victory? It was the better educated, the under 55s, and women.

4 The government confirms it will terminate the controversial Cashless Debit Card trial across Australia.

5 In 2015 Bill Shorten asked:

“… if we were drafting our Constitution today, does anyone seriously dispute that we would require our head of state to be an Australian?”

That is just as important today as it was in 2015. Indeed, the Monarchy belongs to our past, not our future.

The same can be said of our flag. It also speaks of our past and says nothing of our future. Most of it contains another nation’s flag, and the balance is a few stars. Nothing in it recognises our First Nations People or our future. And contrary to some views, we don’t fight for a flag; we fight over right versus wrong.

6 Peter Dutton doesn’t understand that not everyone acts in a grubby self-interest.

 

 

7 The new education Minister, Jason Clare, has decided to do away with the compulsory religious element of the national school chaplaincy program and open up the program to allow schools to choose either a chaplain or a professionally qualified student welfare officer.

8 America may be the most advanced technological nation on earth. However, its social progress on matters of great moral importance is still fighting its way out of the Dark Ages when mysticism was rampant.

9 Cross benches advisor allocation has been reduced from 4 to one. The parliamentary Library will be given more resources to assist them. I expect it will finish at two.

10 Prime Minister Anthony Albanese continues to repair our international relations. (It was, of course, in dire need of much repair.) Big kudos also for our Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, who looks quite at home on the world stage.

11 A new budget on October 26. Parliament reconvenes next month and a jobs summit shortly.

My previous article: Dutton and Speers: That pathetic interview.

My thought for the day

There are three kinds of people. Those who know. Those who know when they are shown and those who have no interest in learning.

 

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The difference between manners and civility

One of the promises the new Prime Minister made during the election campaign was to create or recreate a more civil parliament and, for that matter, a more tolerant and reasoned society. Most would all agree that we want our politicians to put their better minds to the problems confronting us. We want the screaming and disrespect to end.

This can only come about if we show each other consideration. Respect is an admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities and achievements. Some say that we earn it by way of our behaviour toward others. I think we would all agree with that.

To quote Roy Jenkins (from 2003):

“Civilised conduct, mainly: courtesy or politeness, lamented the decline of civility in our politics. It lacked a polite act or expression of the little formalities of political society.”

However, other words come into play if Anthony Albanese is to achieve a more civil parliament.

Manners are associated with a person’s outward bearing. Manners are often described as either good or bad to indicate to others whether or not their behaviour is acceptable.

In sociology, manners can indicate a display of social status and a means of differentiation between classes. This is less so in Australia, where class matters less.

Manners are integral to the function of the social norms and conventions enforced through personal practice and upbringing and are self-regulated in public and private life. They also apply equally to both men and women.

Other words such as etiquette, politeness, charm, values and demeanour also come into play.

All these niceties, of course, don’t only apply to politics. I believe erratic behaviour in sports comes about because of a lack of respect for the games they play by the players.

Respect for the sport you play and provides you with a living is the first criteria for being a success at it. The best are usually hard-working, humble, show respect for their opponent, and are gracious when they lose. However, some seem to think the sport they play owes them something.

The same can be said of politics, where politicians generally enjoy privileges that far outweigh other areas of society. In our politics, Question Time is often seen as the showcase of our parliament. It is here that Albanese wants to start his crusade against bad behaviour.

No one could seriously challenge the thought that it has descended into a bear pit of savagery.

Some think they can win a debate by being loud and crass. Others believe they can win with a perceived superior intellect. Few realise how necessary civility is to produce reasoned outcomes.

A debate is not necessarily about winning or taking down one’s opponent. It is an exchange of facts, views, ideas and principles. At its best, it is simply the art of persuasion.

The public might be forgiven for thinking that the chamber has descended into a hate forum. A sideshow where respect for the other’s view is seen as a weakness. Where light frivolity and wit have been replaced with smut and sarcasm. And in so doing, they have debased the parliament and themselves as moronic imbecilic individuals.

 

 

There is no doubt in my mind that at the beginning of Tony Abbott’s Prime Ministership, we entered an American period of our politics. A term I use to describe the Trump form of lying, bad manners and vile politics that became the norm in the US. It had a rotten smell that has hung around for a decade.

Those on the right fostered these behaviours until they became legitimate tools in the armoury of political tactics. And so, over the decade, the Australian politic fell into disrepair.

We abused free speech when what it required was respect. In a democracy, the right to free speech is given by the people through the parliament. Therefore, it should be incumbent on people to display decorum, moderation, truth, fact, balance, reason, tolerance, civility and respect for the other point of view. Nobody has ownership of righteousness.

In the American period, all that mattered was that you created a picture of a man or woman you wouldn’t trust. If you dragged others in, so much the better.

With that said, how will the Prime Minister create more respect than disrespect at Question Time? From what I understand, the manager of the House of Representatives, Tony Burke, doesn’t plan many changes to the standing orders. Much to the chagrin of many, Dorothy Dixers will still be allowed. Burke reckons they fill a function of informing the parliament about government progress. Some questions usually allocated to the opposition will now go to the teal members. Dutton is said to be unhappy with this arrangement.

Without any formal statement, it is challenging to predict opposition behaviour, and given Dutton’s foul-mouthed past, one cannot imagine any change. Although now that parliamentary behaviour is front and centre, I would expect Peter Dutton to make some sort of effort or carry the consequences.


My thought for the day

Do you show respect to those trying to mould you into fine young men and women who will relish what confronts you in the future?

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Dutton, Speers, and that pathetic interview

I regret that I’m compelled to write again about the Leader of the Opposition. In what was an interview about the past, he told us everything about the style of leadership we can expect from him. Let’s call it “Liberal Negative” to give it a name.

Frankly, I was shocked by Dutton’s incapacity to concede defeat. The born-to-rule attitude runs strong. Or so his answers indicated. Time and again, when he ran out of reasoned words, he resorted to the Morrison tactic of abuse and blame.

It was astonishing, even laughable, to hear a man just appointed to be his party’s Leader trying to blame Labor for the very policy failures that the people had overwhelmingly condemned them for two weeks earlier.

As reported in The Guardian, the opposition leader constantly deflected blame for the national energy crisis, saying there is “fault all-round” while blaming the states for locking up gas reserves. For heaven’s sake, they were the Government for a decade.

“Dutton also suggested that there was a “sense of panic” on display from the new energy minister, Chris Bowen while defending the Coalition’s management of the national energy market when it was in Government.

“The sense of panic from Chris Bowen that is out there at the moment wasn’t there when Coalition was in government,” Dutton said. “I think he is a bunny in the headlights.”

 

A clearly unimpressed Mark Kenny responded via Twitter:

 

 

How can Dutton, a dyed-in-the-wool true-blue conservative after a decade of the most robust opposition to any reform, now claim that it is all Labor’s fault. Or at least 50% is. Those sorts of lies are why the LNP lost. The people woke to it.

Even though heartland seats fell to climate independents across the country, Dutton said they would not support Labor legislation that enshrined the 43% cut in emissions by 2030. More likely, they would take a smaller target to the next election.

Instead of uniting in the hope of tomorrow, Dutton has surprisingly chosen to reside in today. Does he not realise that the electorate has said no to the type of governance his side practised? Lie and attack, create chaos and confusion, divide and rule. We are on the periphery of a new politic.

Those were my thoughts as l watched Peter Dutton’s interview with Speers on Insiders last Sunday. Even after a resounding defeat, he couldn’t concede that the lack of an energy policy was a key reason. Had he overlooked that he had been part of the Government for the last nine years?

He seemed underprepared, or putting it more bluntly; he wasn’t sufficiently up with the detail to give a reasoned answer to anything, so he repeatedly aborted his answers to attack Labor negatively. All he could offer was a hatred of Labor. It was unprofessional politics and showed his limitations.

He was so wooden that you could almost hear his media advisers’ sighs of despair. My take on the interview is simple. They have learnt nothing from the defeat. We can expect a totality of hostile opposition in the Abbott mould. The Liberals will move further to the right, and the Nationals will remain the climate deniers they are.
Nothing has changed. Nothing.

Speers also asked him about an article published in The Australian where he said he had devised a plan when he was Defence Minister to buy a couple of submarines from the United States to fill a capability gap.

At the time, his comments were disparaged by Defence Minister Richard Marles as “rank politics.” There were even allegations that Dutton may have leaked classified information had the plan been canvassed by the Government’s nuclear submarine task force, which Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead was leading.

No such thing, Dutton told Speers. Apparently, he had reached his conclusion after visiting the Connecticut production line.

The remarks had been formed by “his judgment.”

“There is nothing top secret in a professional judgment as the former defence minister that I have made. It’s not based on classified information or secrets but the judgment that I made,” he said.

Speers went on to ask about the Indigenous voice to parliament that Labor has promised to deliver as a priority.

The opposition wanted time to go over the detail of the proposal before deciding on support, Dutton announced without even a hint of bipartisanship.

“We want to see that detail and there are lots of questions that will come from that. I don’t think the public has any understanding yet of what the Government is proposing,”

Perhaps I’m a bit of an idealist, but I wouldn’t say I was enamoured with the tone of that last sentence.

He then more or less changed the subject to bring up that; “I really want to see the closing of the gap.” It, of course, is a separate issue. And one that is hard to believe.

Labor has promised an Uluru statement from the heart in full. It would include a truth-telling Makarrata commission as a first step toward a treaty with Indigenous Australians and constitutional recognition of the voice to parliament.

Dutton’s record on anything to do with Indigenous folk isn’t great. He is on the record in 2019 as opposing the voice to parliament because it would create a third chamber. A nonsensical suggestion if ever I have heard one.

Liberals tend to pull up the shutters when equality for others is proposed.

In 2008 he opposed the national apology to members of the Stolen Generations, but after becoming Leader of his party, “mistake.”

Of course, changes in the constitution have an abysmal record without the full support of both major parties. In the past, Dutton has shown a giant chip on his shoulder when it comes to people who, in some way, are different. Or at least perceived that way.

Amidst all this negativity from Peter Dutton, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, has urged Dutton to be on the “right side of history” in supporting the voice.

My previous article: About “Boofhead”

My thought for the day

Australia is one of the most advanced technological nations on earth. However, our social progress on matters of great moral importance is still fighting its way out of the dark ages when intolerance ruled.

PS: Trying to deflect blame for Australia’s energy crisis onto Labor shows all the intelligence of a reincarnated Tony Abbott.

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Only Labor can implement the much-needed change we need

1 For a long time now, l have been promoting the idea that only Labor has the ideology and the know-how to manage the changes necessary to restore our democratic processes and implement massive change.

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

It wasn’t a difficult decision to reach. The LNP had proven themselves incapable. The Greens would never have the numbers, although they might have a big say in the Senate, and the independents might find themselves as an idea’s forum without the balance of power.

I said if you want change, change the government, and fortunately that is what happened, and is precisely what is happening now. I also said that when Tony Abbott became Opposition Leader, he would wreck our democracy if given the opportunity. Guess what happened.

In November of 2013, I wrote my first piece for The AIMN titled An Abbott in the Lodge – Never, in which I commented that:

“On a daily basis the negativity of Abbott spreads like rust through the community. He seeks to confuse with the most outlandish statements. Hardly a day passes without referring to Prime minister Julia Gillard as a liar while at the same time telling the most outrageous ones himself. And with a straight face I might add.”

It got far worse than that, and it never changed in the years following.

2 As illustrated by its actions post-election, the Albanese Government is hell-bent on righting wrongs and implementing policy. Thus far, their attack on the issues has been impressive. They have kicked goals in foreign affairs, wages, health and human rights to name a few. They have inherited more problems than first identified but are in an attacking mood.

When enthusiasm meets opportunity and ideas, anything can happen.

3 NDIS Minister Bill Shorten is in a fighting mood, vowing to consider the scheme’s more comprehensive economic benefits when assessing the scheme’s sustainability.

4 Work has begun on legislation for a new fully independent corruption commission. But patience is required because it won’t be effective until June next year.

Will we ever grow intellectually to the point where we can discern and understand the potential for the good within us?

5 Last Friday, the Government held their first National Cabinet meeting, and I’m sure there wasn’t a lack of things to discuss. A possible recession might top the agenda. Health was a priority, followed by the lack of skilled workers. If I could have added a point, it would have been to stop subsidies for fossil fuels and put the savings toward aged care.

6 Ostensibly, in the period after the downfall of the Morrison Government, one thing stands out like the proverbial: That being the disclosure of just how inept this Government was. The prime example has been the lack of an energy policy and any belief in climate change. The Federal Government has now provided the market with the certainty they have wanted for a decade.

It will take time to resolve the energy problems. Because of a stream of bad policy decisions, the previous Government has left our energy system almost unable to meet the demands.

However, we are now committed to a more ambitious emissions reduction target. There may be mountains yet to climb, but there is also a desire to reach the summit.

As Anthony Albanese has pointed out:

“Scott Morrison went to the Glasgow conference last year and gave an empty speech to an empty room with no changed position. We saw a pamphlet released by a former government rather than a policy framework, and we continued to see arguments even during the election campaign about the science of climate change, let alone the need to act.”

7 The writers of political history should record in the archives just how abysmal our governance was in this Luddite decade. And they should do so in a way that compels the reader to absorb just how near to disaster we ventured.

8 The Federal Government has now provided the market with the certainty they have wanted for a decade.

9 Still, not a month into its incumbency, Albanese Government is finding out the hard truth of the problems it finds itself surrounded by; interest rates will rise, unemployment, now 3.9%, will increase as soon as immigration recommences.

10 In yet another example of this Government’s progressive nature, they showed a willingness to listen.

The first act of the previous Government was to abolish the Climate Commission. One of the first acts of this Government was to meet with Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA):

“Led by Climate Councillor and former Commissioner of Fire & Rescue NSW, Greg Mullins, Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) has cut through the political noise and firmly articulated that worsening extreme weather is being aggravated by climate change, driven by burning fossil fuels.”

I say be quiet to those who think they can win a debate by being loud and crass. To those who believe they can win with a perceived superior intellect, I say be humble. Discourse requires civility to produce reasoned outcomes.

11 How refreshing it has been to hear Albanese and others talking about our problems without the constant interference of politics interrupting the discussion. Policy problems and how to fix them is now the new politic. There is no time for constantly trying to score political points by criticising each other.

Now that the election has concluded, it is hoped that our politics has learned a lesson. The conservative far-right has tried its hate for hate’s sake style of political confrontation. It took the electorate a decade to wake up to its dangerous consequences; then, they were told where to go. People lose faith in the process when politics gets in the way of solutions.

Weaponised adversarial politics has ended, and there has been a notable dialling down of political hostility.

Albanese often uses the phrase “people have conflict fatigue“. This decade of weaponised politics by the right has so degraded trust in public life that politicians have spent little time addressing the things that improve the lives of voters.

Only Labor can implement the much-needed change we need. As the old saying goes: “That is a no-brainer.”

My previous article: About “Boofhead”

My thought for the day

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

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About “Boofhead”

A person’s appearance is the most challenging thing to write about because one doesn’t want to be insulting. Nevertheless, when such things have a direct bearing on the electability of an individual, the writer needs to make a judgement.

Many factors come into play when accessing one’s ability to lead, and I referred to them many times during the past decade when criticising Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison.

Now the Liberal Party have elected Peter Dutton as their leader and finds themselves confronting the same problem: a leader has no character.

His appearance is but one of the numerous flaws that make him unelectable. At times his appearance can be positively frightening. I watched an interview with him last week in which he appeared grotesque to the point wherein he looked menacing, even absurd. Perhaps it was the lighting, but his face seemed to lack definition. From it, two small black eyes appeared. The right one was blacker than the other.

No doubt he can be a frightening-looking man. Women, in particular, I’d assume find him so. I’m not being silly here, but perhaps he should consult a make-up artist.

But let’s take a few steps backwards and do a background check.

Wikipedia tells us that:

“Peter Dutton … is an Australian politician who has been Leader of the Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition since May 2022. He has represented the Queensland seat of Dickson in the House of Representatives since 2001and held ministerial office in the Howard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison Coalition Governments.

Early Life

Dutton was born on 18 November 1970 in the northern Brisbane suburb of Boondall. He is the eldest of five children, with one brother and three sisters. His mother, Ailsa Leitch, worked in childcare, and his father, Bruce Dutton, was a builder. Dutton finished high school at the Anglican St Paul’s School, Bald Hills.

Police career

Upon leaving high school, Dutton graduated from the Queensland Police Academy in 1990. He served as a Queensland Police officer for nearly a decade, working in the drug squad in Brisbane in the early 1990s. He also worked in the sex offenders squad and with the National Crime Authority. In 1999, Dutton left the Queensland Police, achieving the rank of senior detective constable.

Business activities

On leaving the police, Dutton completed a Bachelor of Business at the Queensland University of Technology. He and his father founded the business Dutton Holdings, registered in 2000; it operated under six different trading and business names. The company bought, renovated, and converted buildings into childcare centres, and in 2002 it sold three childcare centres to the now-defunct ABC Learning. ABC Learning continued to pay rent of $100,000 to Dutton Holdings. Dutton Holdings continues to trade under the name Dutton Building & Development.

Note: A comprehensive biography of Peter Dutton is available on Wikipedia, and I suggest you go there if you require more information.

What we know about his character

(My apologies for repeating what I wrote a little over a fortnight ago, but I feel that it was important to include in this article).

1 Let’s begin in here when:

“… News Corp Sunday political editor Samantha Maiden wrote a column critical of Jamie Briggs. Dutton drafted a text message to Briggs describing Maiden as a “mad fucking witch” but inadvertently sent it to Maiden. Maiden accepted an apology from Dutton.”

2 Before the 2016 election, Dutton said of refugees:

“… many won’t be numerate or literate in their own language let alone English”, and “These people would be taking Australian jobs”. Turnbull defended Dutton by stating he is an “outstanding Immigration Minister”.

3 And this:

“Dutton denied claims made by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young that she was spied on during a visit to Nauru.”

4 But:

“The spying claims were later confirmed by the Immigration Department and Wilson Security who carried out the spying operation.”

The spying claims were later confirmed by the Immigration Department and Wilson Security, who carried out the spying operation.

5 When the then-prime minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generations in 2008, Dutton was the only member of the Coalition frontbench to ‘boycott’ the apology.

He excused his absence by saying the apology was:

 

 

Five years ago Dutton told the Sydney Morning Herald that he didn’t understand its symbolism and importance to Indigenous people at the time. This was when his name was being brought up as a potential future PM. This albatross around his neck over the apology has been there – and will continue to be there – for some considerable time. He can make all the excuses he likes, but he’s going to have fun trying to find someone who believes his excuses.

5 Sudanese gangs. In January,2018, Dutton claimed people in Melbourne were “scared to go out to restaurants” due to “African gang violence”.

6 Peter Dutton resigned from the Police Force 20 years ago, but a cloak of mystery has always hung over it.

In his maiden speech in Parliament in 2001, Dutton said he’d witnessed:

“… the best and the worst that society has to offer during his time in the force.

I have seen the wonderful, kind nature of people willing to offer any assistance to those in their worst hour, and I have seen the sickening behaviour displayed by people who, frankly, barely justify their existence…”

Interesting observation. I wonder which one has had the most influence in his political career.

7 Mr Dutton, during the 2019 election, was forced to apologise after he accused his rival of using her disability as an excuse to not move into the electorate.

8 He thought that performing an anti-marriage equality song at the NRL Grand Final was a good idea. Because it was “free speech”.

Dutton also criticised a list of 20 high-profile CEOs who signed a letter urging the prime minister to legislate for same-sex marriage and singled out Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

“If Alan Joyce and any other CEO wants to campaign on this or any other issue in their own time and on their own time, good luck to them,” he told a Queensland LNP conference crowd.

9 Dutton did, however, raise a few eyebrows when he suggested “special treatment” of white South African farmers earlier this year, claiming they were being “persecuted” and faced “horrific circumstances”. Apparently, this didn’t go down well in South Africa – its government demanded Dutton retract his comments.

10 In 2015 Dutton joked about the plight of Pacific Island nations facing rising sea levels due to climate change. And who was he telling the joke to? Well, none other than Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison. Abbott was prime minister then and had just returned from talks with Pacific Island leaders about climate change in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

They were late for a meeting about Syrian refugees, and Dutton remarked that they were running to “Cape York time“. Abbott replied that there was “a bit of that up in Port Moresby”.

“Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to have water lapping at your door,” Dutton quipped back.

11 Peter Dutton identifies as a Christian, but his public activities in that space are rare.

12 More recently, as the new Opposition Leader, Dutton suggested that specific portfolios required a different tone or a different language than others and that he hoped people wouldn’t judge him by it.

13 Dutton’s wealth – including extensive property holdings and his wife’s child care business – continues to be a talking point. Estimates have been anywhere between $5million and $300million, depending on who you read and how it is calculated. I have no idea what his worth is, and I refuse to engage in speculation.

The pedlars of verbal violence and dishonesty are the most vigorous defenders of free speech because it gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy. With the use of free speech, the bigots and hate-mongers seek to influence those in the community who are susceptible or like-minded.

Summary

After all the racist overtones, the belittling comments, the callus detachment and straight-out xenophobia, is he really saying it was only an act because that’s what different portfolios demanded? How insulting to those who sought our refuge and demeaning to those who would offer it. And how evil of those who would believe him.

Dutton’s worldview seems to have been formed from a series of pessimistic experiences without comprehending the meaning of optimism.

And for old time’s sake:

 

 

 

My last post: Why is Scott Morrison remaining in the Parliament?

My thought for the day

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

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From being horrible in government to being hypocritical in opposition

1) I am somewhat surprised at the lack of remorse from the outgoing Government. It’s as if this terrible loss came as a surprise to them. Better to own up, apologise and set about renewal.

There has always been a degree of bloodletting from the defeated party in the past. This time, I cannot recall any comments that might have the sting of guilt or blame about them.

There have been no repercussions, no scapegoating. Even the former Prime Minister has escaped the wrath of colleagues even though the fault for this most grievous loss sits squarely on his shoulders. As a fundamentalist Christian, he would, in all probability, put his defeat down to God’s will.

When a loss of such proportion demoralises a party, those who have lost their seats typically seek retribution or use words calculated to damage those responsible. There has been none of that.

Maybe I have been spooked by the last decade and never want to see a repeat of it. Whatever it is, it’s unsettling.

Nowhere can l find the word sorry for nine years of Luddite philosophy. Perhaps it’s just a matter of waiting for the invasive weeds to die off and for the political history of the time to write itself.

After a couple of weeks into a new Government, the Dutton Opposition is claiming that everything is Labor’s fault. However, the new Opposition leader already displays an intention of “business as usual,” or put another way; he shows every sign of just being who he is. Not the changed man he promised to be. Perhaps there will be a flood of books in the not-too-distant future.

Maybe they are telling us they will take a long time to get over the loss, or perhaps everyone has gone quiet because they have the letters ICAC ringing in their ears.

In any case, the sooner they come to the party of enlightened politics, the sooner we can get on with righting all those wrongs of the past decade.

I found three examples of this new enlightenment this past week while perusing the pages of respected publications. The Murdoch’s still seem to be in mourning. And yes, everything is Labor’s fault.

2) How refreshing it was to witness Chris Bowen methodically but quickly (within 14 days of being elected) bring the states and territories together to agree on devising an energy policy that everyone agrees on and will benefit all. Yes, we are on the cusp of change. It may not happen in a day, a month or a year. Still, we are witnessing the genesis of a new political evolution, refreshing honesty, transparency and the acceptance of new ideas. It was favourably reported on SBS that:

“Energy Minister Chris Bowen chaired a roundtable with his state and territory counterparts on Wednesday, where 11 action points were unanimously agreed to.

No silver bullet, no magic answers, but material steps forward in a very positive fashion…” he [Bowen] told reporters following the meeting.

The meeting also agreed to devise a national transition plan for the energy market ahead of the next meeting in July.

Noting the urgency, Mr Bowen later told a press conference that:

“The reason why we are in this crisis today is because there hasn’t been enough planning about the changes that are necessary…”

After a decade of monumental stuff ups and a three-ring circus mentality from the former Government, we are finally getting some action.

3) Another example of correcting wrongs from the past is that work has commenced on an anti-corruption bill. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but new Attorney General Mark Dreyfus isn’t wasting any time setting up Australia’s first Anti-Corruption Commission, and we now know that:

  • It will have retrospective powers and be able to conduct public hearings.
  • Labor will consult with the independent MPs on its design.
  • Dreyfus hopes it will be up and running by the middle of next year.

2023 might sound a little distant, but a lot of consultation needs to occur because they must get it right. It will be based on the independent member Helen Haines’s draft legislation.

4) In contrast to the Prime Minister, Peter Dutton has been saying silly things like his Shadow Ministry has an enormous depth of talent when everyone knows it’s as shallow as a toddler’s wading pool. In addition, a piece in The ABC (and elsewhere) about submarines suggested that Dutton contravened elementary rules of foreign affairs.

 

 

This quote from Peta Credlin, as reported in Crikey (firewalled) is interesting as well as ridiculous:

“Dutton has got to do better than this. In the end, what are we? One cohesive nation or a collection of tribes, ethnicities and genders all nursing our grievances and looking for the next chance to take offence? So far, the new ­opposition leader is saying that he has an ‘open mind’ on the Indigenous Voice while asking the Government for more detail.”

While announcing the total cost to Australia for the blundered subs contract ($3.4 billion), Albanese further contrasted the now apparent difference in style. Dutton is about as boring as his appearance, while Albanese is already making a difference, as are his ministers.

5) So good to see that the Tamil family have returned to Biloela. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.

My previous article: Why is Scott Morrison remaining in the Parliament?

My thought for the day

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

 

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