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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.

Comparative justice: Djokovic Vs Seekers of it

Diary No 5: January 19 2022

1 How is it possible that the attention of the world is so focused on a magnificent sportsman who, in essence, has tried to cheat his way into the Australian Tennis Open? I ask this question in defence of comparative justice. And l defend my use of the term comparative justice with another question.

How does the attention thrust on this tennis player who admits to being an anti-vaccination believer and refuses a jab compare with the plight of a group of asylum seekers housed in the same cheap lodgings? He was incarcerated or inconvenienced for a few days; they have completed as many as ten years imprisonment for never committing a crime.

According to our Government, their crime has been to seek the safety of Australian shores when persecuted by their own. Even after ten years of incarceration, there is no room for empathy from people whose blood runs thin through barren thoughts. If my words were able to jump from this page, I would command them to do so and confront these nefarious politicians’ intent only on using people’s lives to show how strict their border policy is.

Over its time in office, this Government’s performance has been a daily show of crudeness’s raining down on society. Surely performance or lack of it must mean something.

Friday, January 14

Scott Morrison has made yet another political decision to send Djokovic home. A decision made only after calculating that the enormity of any alternative was a political cost he couldn’t carry.

Back in the real world, 32 detainees at Melbourne Park’s Hotel – where Djokovic was detained – didn’t receive the same celebrity attention as the tennis player.

Efforts to free them have been frowned on by the Morrison government: A government that is much more interested in Novak Djokovic and the political gain in the story.

Their objections have been dismissed yet again, the refugees and asylum seekers involved in this sad episode in Australian history. The forgotten men and boys who have been abandoned after up to 10 years of indefinite detention placed their weary eyes on putrid windows. They watched as people gathered in the streets below, waving Serbian flags and chanting support for the tennis great.

A more intense exercise in personal narcissism l have ever seen.

Not a word was heard from Djokovic about their plight. He was undoubtedly preoccupied with winning another grand slam, and the Government was busy putting out the flames of yet another controversy.

Djokovic could have used his high-profile position “to advocate for their freedom” but chose his own self-importance as being more critical.

We live in a country where good takes its place in front of evil, but the margin is slipping by degree.

6pm Sunday, January 16

Novak Djokovic loses his appeal to stay in Australia after the Federal Court upholds the Government’s decision to cancel the tennis star’s visa. The three judges’ unanimous decision and the reasons will be published later.

Notably, the case was about Minister Hawk’s authority to make the decision he did and had nothing to do with the rights or wrongs of it.

The judges concluded that: “It is no part of the function of the court to decide upon the merits or wisdom of the decision.”

Never have I seen so many double faults in one game.

2 If rules are rules, how did Hillsong avoid a fine for singing and dancing. There are rules for some but none for others. Added to that, they seem to have an endless supply of RATS. How come?

Sunday, January 16

I, for one, am sick of the political scam that takes place in Australia every three years or every day, for that matter. Something has to be done. If Labor cannot win this election, I sincerely fear for our nation and its future.

Australian politics has for over a decade been suffering from the longevity of sameness. I advocate a change in the way it is practised. We don’t have a representative and participatory democracy that administers for the benefit of all. It is time to evaluate just what we want from our democracy.

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

Change is needed, but it is more difficult for them because it is anathema to the conservative mindset. For progressive Democrats, it should be uncomplicated.

Anyway, I was thinking about whether it will be enough to just go through the motions of bland, vapid promises and a traditional election campaign. Will it achieve a Labor victory?

Albo’s low key philosophy in the face of a self-destructing Government might work, but if you offer to give the people back its democracy, you might emphatically secure victory.

We are at a point in our history where “change” demands it to be listened to. Where the events of a decade scream out for it. It only requires the voice of a natural leader to order it on behalf of the people.

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

The definition of servitude needs to be indelibly ingrained into the minds of those seeking election. And the self-serving attitudes that now exist need to be purged from the minds of our current politicians.

Brian Briggs tweeted. Never in my 35 years in the law have I seen a Federal Court Appeal proceed so quickly and before a Full Bench and on a Sunday. Some serious strings have been pulled by someone for this to occur. Normally the wheels of justice turn slowly.

We await the court’s reply.

My thought for the day

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

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Leadership is vital in this election

Election Diary No4: January 15 2022.

Continued from my No3 Diary.

1 The importance of leadership is vital for any organisation or country. “Character” is the word used to describe an individual’s mental and moral qualities.

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

It also requires an amalgamation of traits that grow over time. They govern moral choices and demonstrate empathy toward others. It is far better for those with these qualities to lead rather than follow. It is incumbent on them.

If the people vote for Scott Morrison to be Australia’s leader and Barnaby Joyce his deputy, they will overwhelmingly state by their action that they are content with buffoonery.

Morrison needs to consign COVID to history and Omicron with it politically. Omicron began to inflict its nefarious intent upon us over Christmas and into the New Year.

The Australian newspaper supported Morrison. On December 30 and 31, he continued to ease restrictions, and the pages of the newspaper were full of praise, running page-one banner headlines such as: “PM’s plea: set the people free“.

He persisted by easing restrictions further before the sounds of silence could be heard coming from his office.

On January 3, he started having withdrawal symptoms. He hadn’t had his photo taken or been on the telly for a few days.

He selected Seven’s Sunrise programme from his long list of media supporters, telling them that the Government wouldn’t be supporting free rapid antigen test kits to everyone because we just can’t go round and make everything free“.

Well, shock and horror. Even News Corp’s Riah Matthews ran an opinion piece that showed how out of touch Morrison was with “hardworking everyday Australians.”

Two days later, Morrison sent down a weak second serve leaking a proposal for certain folk in the community to be given free rapid antigen tests.

The big guns of Murdoch’s stable, the Daily Telegraph in Sydney and Herald Sun in Melbourne, said it was a backflip. Still, the ever-reliable Australian found a way to put some positive spin on it, saying Morrison wanted to end the debate about COVID testing adding “which is of course a state and territory responsibility”.

It all raised the question of whether Morrison had dropped from the Murdoch group’s favour. It wouldn’t be allowed to happen in years past. Time will tell as to if he has the media mogul’s unquestioning support.

Rumour has it that he has upset the boss by reportedly trying to:

“… put pressure on the senior political correspondents of the Nine newspapers. According to a report in The Australian:

According to a report in The Australian, Nine’s chief executive Mike Sneesby and head of publishing James Chessell met Morrison and the head of his media team last month. Morrison was reported to have complained the political columnists on The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald were “too tough” on him.

The Nine organisation said no concessions had been made, and this became obvious within a week, when columns by the Herald’s political editor Peter Hartcher and the chief political correspondent for the two papers, David Crowe, were notably tough on Morrison.”

Maybe those who should have hadn’t told Morrison they had toughened up their culture of complete editorial independence.

On top of that, the media diversity inquiry was delivered to Government in early December. In the first instance, it was generated by public concern at the concentration of media ownership in Australia. The second happened as a result of a petition by former prime minister Kevin Rudd, focused on the influence of News Corp. News Corp controls two-thirds of the metropolitan daily newspaper circulation. Five thousand sixty-eight submissions and more than half a million signatures were received. One of the Senate’s most significant submissions ever received.

Both Murdoch and Morrison face difficult circumstances. The right of politics had always had Murdoch’s support, except for 1975 when it supported Whitlam, relying heavily on it. You might say that it has become the propaganda arm of the Liberal and Country parties over time.

Morrison needs Murdoch’s help to survive, and in light of the report, Murdoch needs less of Morrison.

2 From Daniel Hurst in The Guardian we learn that:

“Australia’s peak doctors’ body has revealed that it had warned governments to secure rapid antigen tests when they began planning to open up the country after Scott Morrison described the scarce screening tool as a “precious commodity”.

All policy failures:

  1. Initial vaccine rollout.
  2. Rats didn’t plan
  3. Rats isn’t free.

25 million people @ 4 tests per person $10 per test market rate = $1 billion. Perhaps much less when purchased buy in bulk. Say $150 million.

3 The latest on Novak Djokovic is this, as reported in The Guardian:

“Novak Djokovic could face a fine or even prison in Serbia after his admission that he broke isolation while he had Covid last month, lawyers have said, as the Serbian prime minister warned his behaviour appeared to be “a clear breach” of the rules.”

It seems to me that one can only conclude that after admitting he knew he had tested positive when attending a newspaper interview and photoshoot in the Serbian capital on December 18, he should not be serving any aces at the Australian Open.

Saying he had made an “error of judgment” will never pass an Australian pub test. However, after making a fool of himself yet again, Morrison’s best option may be to let him play and cop the boos. A double fault at best.

My thought for the day

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

 

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Today everyone gets a serve. Including Scott. Line ball or not.

Election Diary No3. January 12 2022.

1 It may be over by the time I have written this (Diary entry January 7), but congratulations to all involved in the debacle that is Novak Djokovic. The outcome is in the hands of Border Force and the courts; however, it reminded me of Australia’s Unions v. Frank Sinatra in 1974. In a dispute about the Crooners comments about women journalists, the then President of the ACTU, Bob Hawke, told cranky Franky that he had better apologise or he could expect an extended stay in Australia. (Expletives deleted.)

The big winner so far has been the Prime Minister, who has, with his intervention, taken his mishandling of Covid-19 and Rapid Antigen tests from the front pages.

As reported in Time:

“While the Victorian Government and Tennis Australia may permit a non-vaccinated player to compete in the Australian Open, it is the Commonwealth Government that will enforce our requirements at the Australian border,” Andrews said in part of a statement.

Neither Morrison nor Andrews can now breathe easily. And nor can the foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne.

There remain stark questions about the so-called border vigilance Morrison was so hairy-chested about.”

Morrison shows an enormous capacity to be so far away for someone so close to a crisis.

That doesn’t stop me, however, from opining about the situation.

Saturday’s Age reported the following:

“Court documents released Saturday night also claim Djokovic contracted COVID on December 16 for a second time, which his lawyers will use to form part of his case to stay in Australia.”

It seems to me at least that the Federal Government told Tennis Australia (TA) that Novak did not have the basis for an exemption for a visa. He arrived without one because TA did not inform him of the Federal Government’s position.

This probably misled him into believing that he was safe to come. Consequently, this is why he finds himself in somewhat unaccustomed lodgings in a 3-star hotel in Carlton.

As I see it, one cannot blame him for being pissed off but only with Tennis Australia, who, it would appear, to me, with my albeit limited understanding, have misled the world’s leading tennis player. (They fell into Morrison’s trap.)

On Tuesday, January 11, the issue was resolved by the court. As best as l can make out, the Morrison Govt tried to put one over on Tennis Australia, and it backfired. Then they tried to blame the Victorian Govt. After all, the Federal Govt is responsible for visas and entry into the country. Therefore, in all probability, it seems that the Morrison Government tried to pull a swiftly on the Andrews Govt.

But on the subject of sport for which I have a deep-seated love, let me say this: I think respect for the sport you play and that provides you with a living is the first criteria to being a success at it. The best are usually hardworking, humble, appreciate their opponent, and are gracious when they lose.

Unfortunately, some seem to think the sport they play owes them something.

 

 

2 If you are interested in an insightful read into the inner psychological workings of Scott Morrison, then I can recommend The Game: A portrait of Scott Morrison by Sean Kelly. An absolutely enthralling read.

There is nothing more formidable than a well-read mind.

3 Jack Boswell sent me a reminder, as you well know, it’s governments that lose elections, not oppositions, that win them. We would all do well to remember this.

4 Not that I ever pay much attention to Peter van Onselen, but I agree with him here.

 

 

5 More about our Prime Minister:

The verbal diarrhoea that usually flows from the mouth of our prime minister seems to have temporarily waned for the time being and probably won’t reappear until the Australia Day awards on January 26.

The Conservative side of politics is probably hoping that he takes a long cold shower during the intervening period and questions his own plausibility. That may take some effort for a politically ego-driven personality such as his. He might also question a dying reverence for the Murdoch brand that is rapidly becoming the leading failure in media influence.

In totality, his media strategy centres on himself, self-confidence, and belief that God is on his side. However, one would have to question these assessments in the current environment.

The proposition that Scott Morrison is all the government has is probably true, but it has soured since he became prime minister. His constant lying has brought public scrutiny upon him, and they have found him wanting. So much so that they now question everything he says.

Current evidence would suggest that he is no different from other political extremists with the same qualifications and intentions.

Indeed, the legacy of a “miracle” win in 2019 still lingers with some, but all his appearances are stage-managed with props to suit each occasion. Revealing the hard hat, chef’s apron, or a high-vis vest while sitting in the cabin of a big truck promotes an image of the man for all seasons. Certainly, the accompanying media throng delight in reporting these events but are rarely invited to ask questions. Let’s not spoil the motive.

The opposite of excellent news appearances is terrible news, where awful news is usually handballed to a cabinet minister. Blame for any bad news is shifted away from the Prime Minister at all costs.

The three media outlets for the distribution of news that guarantee’s the most exposure is Sevens Sunrise in the morning. Radio jocks like Ray Hadley on Sydney’s 2GB are the friendly daily Murdoch’s News Corp outlets. All Sydney centric to the nth degree.

Then, of course, is giving as little exposure to those in the media who are critical of the Coalition. Or who report or opine on the truth of things. These include the Nine newspapers – The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial ReviewGuardian Australia and the ABC.

The aim is always to minimise his exposure to media that is historically critical of the right side of politics. It’s all about making Morrison believable that as many people as is possible will view Morrison as trustworthy and capable.

Morrison has had his character pulled apart this year with questions about his considerable capacity for lying.

None other than French President Emmanuel Macron has called him out about the cancelled submarine contract.

An avalanche of further allegations that he was a liar followed, with his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull, saying he had a reputation for dishonesty.

All the rorts, corruption, bad do-nothing governance have come together at the wrong time for the Government. The electorate is beginning to judge which party and its leader is best qualified to take us past Covid, past climate change and into the future.

I shall continue this section in my next diary.

My thought for the day

Scott Morrison’s words and actions bring into question the very essence of the word truth. Or they have at least devalued it to the point of obsolescence.

 

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Now let’s get this straight: We don’t have the best…

Election Diary. 2022. No2. Saturday, January 8 2022. “Now let’s get this straight: We don’t have the best…”

1 Who is paying for our Covid programme? Socialism is. The Government is borrowing money that the people will have to pay back. It is the public debt. At the same time, the rich and privileged are getting a tax cut. Work that out.

What do we want from this election?

2 Have we listened to the stories in the Child Abuse report? Of those in aged care. Those who have died or are dying from Covid. Or the treatment of women – we cannot escape their anger.

The horror that is our national shame. The dead are many. When will we govern with some form of proactive planning instead of reactive negativity? Did we imagine another variant would never rear its ugly head.? Has the cost spooked them? Rapid antigen tests (RATs) should be free to everyone who requires one. There are many questions.

3 I find it impossible to imagine that the Australian people could be so gullible as to elect for a fourth term a government that has performed so miserably in the previous three, and is becoming worse. And it has amongst its members some of the most devious, suspicious and possibly corrupt men and women in its ranks.

It seems to me that for some time now the electorate has been giving Morrison more than just a cursory going over. Instead, they have become more analytical of the man and his policies. Forensically so.

4 A fascination of mine has always been the “we have the best whatever” statement. We have the best army, the best political system, firefighters, police force. It goes on and on. It’s impossible to have the best everything all the time.

Before the upcoming election, we must do our very best to counter the Government’s claims about these matters.

Now let’s get this straight: We don’t have the best…

5 We are the best managers of the economy, the Coalition would have us believe. Well, the simple fact is that they are not. This link to a post I wrote on the subject affirms it.

The myth created by the Coalition as long back as I care to remember and memorialised for many years since is nothing more or nothing less, a myth.

Of course, those of a conservative bent won’t have a word of it. They simply insist that the tale has God’s word of truth attached to it.

6 John Menadue, always a good read, in The myth that the Liberals are better economic managers? writes that:

“The Coalition is handicapped and hidebound by an out-dated ideology about markets and private enterprise. The tide has turned in the world that now sees the failures of the market system. The Coalition has failed to catch up. That is why we are seeing the failure of the Liberal Party in economic and business management. Its ideology has passed its use-by date.”

7 The consummate liar and How do you trust a liar? are but two articles I have written on the subject of the Government’ s propensity toward telling lies, which you may wish to revisit.

8 Scotty, in his great wisdom, has decided that Rapid Antigen Tests should remain limited to people in close contact with symptoms, pensioners etc., despite growing pressure to provide free tests.

9 On Tuesday on 7.30 Albo faced a load of questions, looking and speaking Prime Ministerial. Like every inch the man you want to lead the country.

I had read earlier in The Guardian that:

“The Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, criticised the government for failing to secure enough RATs, accusing Morrison of again offering “too little too late”.

“This has been an example of something that has characterised Scott Morrison’s prime ministership. He identifies a problem only after it becomes a crisis, and then he doesn’t act. He just seems to blame someone else,” Albanese said at a press conference in Newcastle on Monday.”

No wonder the PM, and many of his associates refused an invite to appear on 7.30.

10 I have been trying to summarise or get my head around what Scomo is talking about on any subject. You see, now he is saying that what I thought he said is only a figment of my imagination. That what I think I thought he meant is not what he meant at all. When he says something, and I take it to mean one thing, he has the option of saying that what I thought I heard was not what I heard.

Or was it only my interpretation of what he meant? I mean, did he say what he meant, or did he mean to say what he meant or was what he meant really what he meant?

Well, that’s politics. And that’s Morrison.

11 And I thought that vaccinating the public was supposed to fix everything. It’s not as if answers aren’t available. The man is totality out of touch with what the problem requires. A man without any qualities of leadership. He should resign. Given his present form, he may take the option of a half-Senate election in May with a general election in August if that’s possible.

12 Here is something you may have missed. We had our coolest year since 2012, but it was still half a degree hotter than the average.

13 Did the panel (whoever they may be) consider that the Tennis Professional Novak Djokovic is a Covid denier and anti-vaccination freak. In my view, the Australian Tennis Open will have its reputation greatly diminished by his presence in the draw. Or booing a champion on the centre court will not do our international reputation much good.

By 6 am, Thursday, the world No.1 was still dealing with Border Force officials at Melbourne Airport.

Note: I will address this update in the comments section.

14 Would you be surprised if I told you that 21 schools received $90 million in JobKeeper payments while making profits of $97 million. Of course, you wouldn’t. Most of them serve highly advantaged families.

My thought for the day

We live in dark times where horrible things are being perpetrated on us. The shame is that we have normalised them and adjusted accordingly.

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The baggage the LNP have dragged from one year to the next has gotten heavier and heavier

Election Diary. 2022. No1. 5 January 2022. “The baggage the LNP have dragged from one year to the next has gotten heavier and heavier.”

I am starting my Election Diary early this time around. It would seem the pollies are off and running, so I thought I had better get my running shoes on. Yet again, Labor will start in front. Well, at least the polls say so.

The importance of this election cannot be understated. Australia is at the crossroads with a democracy that has been ripped asunder by an incompetent government, easily the worst in living memory.

My first diary entry gives an analysis of where the parties currently stand. Anyone is invited to correct my diary or just comment. Even a bit of debate wouldn’t go astray. We welcome it.

According to The Poll Bludger:

“… analysis Labor is leading substantially in each state with the distinct exception of Queensland: by 53-47 in New South Wales, out from 52-48 in the previous quarter, for a swing of about 5% compared with the 2019 election; 56-44 in Victoria, in from 58-42 last quarter, for a swing to Labor of about 3%; 55-45 in South Australia, a swing of about 3%; and, most remarkably, by 55-45 in Western Australia, out from 54-46 last quarter for a swing approaching 11%. The Coalition retains a lead of 54-46 in Queensland, in from 55-45 last quarter, which still amounts to a Labor swing of about 4.5%.”

The bookies (Sportsbet) have Labor on 1.65 and the LNP on 2.20.

Policies released by Labor so far

Labor has released some policies but will campaign chiefly on the following. High-speed rail, child care, climate change, the NBN, a plan to save Medicare, a National Anti-Corruption Body, aged care, repairing social housing, rewiring the nation, free TAFE, and university courses, protecting the ABC, fully funding schools, opposing the Indue Card, and repairing our Australian democracy.

The Liberals say they have a plan

(As described on the Liberal Party official web page.)

They don’t list policies but describe what they say is a plan for Australia’s future. It includes a recovery after Covid-19, a better broadband, tackling union lawlessness, backing outback Australia, strong border protection, a stronger defence force, stronger national security, lower power prices, protecting the environment, supporting Australian women, supporting senior Australians, supporting young Australians, better health and covid responses, support for families, delivering infrastructure, lower taxes, support for small business and implementing Australia’s economic recovery.

The luggage they carry

The Coalition still carry the leftover remnants of past years. The Indigenous Voice to Parliament remains voiceless. Allegations of corruption, Robodebt, lying, and rorting abound. Accusations of poor governance, their attitude toward women. Global warming will be a more significant issue in this election, but the Coalition has come up with a policy that the whole world has condemned as being lousy.

Trust and transparency, wages theft, a national anti-corruption policy are negative issues. Will the religious discrimination bill be introduced before the election?

Damaged relations with China and our region are such a hot topic that it will unavoidably find itself on the list.

Massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Australians and foreign corporations. More expensive university degrees. Attempts to undermine Medicare. Shrinking home ownership. The everyday cost of living is up and higher debt will cost future generations. A fence-sitter, is Rudd’s forced Senate inquiry into Rupert Murdoch’s political influence in Australia.

The pandemic and the economy have become intertwined, making it more challenging for conservatives.

Water theft will be forgotten unless there is a change in government. The Cashless Welfare Card will also take prominence this year. So too the issue of political donations won’t bury its head in the sand. A shake-up of political donation laws is well overdue, including real-time disclosures.

The Government will have to write down the value of the National Broadband Network, however.

Angus Taylor carries so much baggage that it’s hard to imagine him being off any list. I remind you that we don’t yet have formal energy or climate change policies. How about sports rorts?

The lack of funding for the NDIS will continue to be a thorn in the Government’s side, as will its failure with (suicides).

Jumping onto the list will be aged care, which the Morrison Government is responsible for. And, of course, the resulting deaths which I hadn’t included will also take a place on the list. Bush fires (unless more are forthcoming) might drop a rung or two but remain in the public eye because of Morrison’s inept handling of the 2020/21 fires.

Welfare for the poor and vulnerable will also feature.

You might conclude that a party carrying the weight of all this luggage would be unfavoured to win an election, but that is not the case. Many say they will still win.

As for Labor

They carry the burden of toppling a government that has been in power for three terms. “Incumbency is a powerful weapon“. It has behaved well in opposition, but you can be assured the Coalition will throw plenty of mud. (Scare campaigns)

When will it be?

The Coalition’s preferred option for an election date is in May of 2022 rather than March, unless the Government shows signs of winning early in the year. Of course, Morrison will go when he thinks he has the best chance of winning. My view is that given the next scandal is just around the corner, he should visit the Governor General ASAP. (What’s his name?)

Leadership

Labor has as its leader Anthony Albanese, a man of integrity and respect. He has a long history of service to the nation and the Parliament. Albo seems to be everything that Scomo isn’t.

The Liberal and National parties have Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce, respectively. One need say nothing more about Morrison other than he is a blatant liar. There is nothing to be said for Joyce.

The Morrison Government consists of some of the most corrupt, ill-disciplined and untrustworthy politicians ever assembled in Parliament.

In Scott Morrison’s Australia, everyday citizens are not supposed to protest those things we know to be unfair. The things we know to be wrong. We are not supposed to object when the Government doesn’t meet our expectations. Workers cannot strike for better conditions.

Free speech is in rapid decline. Nor are we supposed to protest our inability to see or obtain information about the workings of Government.

People who report government wrongdoing are ostracised, and worst of all, government propaganda is seeking to change the way we think.

The absence of empathy is being replaced with narcissistic self-importance. It must stop.

My thought for the day

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

PS: Contribute to my diary by making a comment.

 

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2021 forever remembered

The year is almost over, and another will soon begin. What price will Scott pay for the deliverance of his sins?

Yes, 2021 is almost about to park itself in the recesses of our minds but not before reminding us of just how dreadful it was. The world continues to have COVID-19 inflicted upon it in the form of new variants. Hopefully, the latest called SARS-CoV-2 Omicron will prove as ineffective as health authorities predict.

The virus has now preoccupied the hearts and minds of men and women throughout the world for two long and arduous years. 273 million cases have been detected, with 5.3 million deaths. What is immeasurable is the heartache and suffering it has thrust upon families – the mental and physical sorrow of unbearable dying and desolate parting.

How dreadful has been its side effects? Economies have been shattered, and the suffering has been born by those least able to fend for themselves.

Its destructive march has revealed those with a heart for the hard yakka, those willing to risk their own lives to help save others. Yet alarmingly, it has shown a percentage of our population seemingly unknowing of their stupidity.

The changing tactics needed to counter new variants bring on unique problems.

Professionals warn that allowing the virus to spread may be part of a strategy to build herd immunity but could lead to deaths and overwhelm the health system.

Just as alarming has been the world leaders’ attitude toward a heating planet that threatens our very existence.

The COP26 in Scotland yielded only a half-hearted embrace by leaders of many countries who failed to make commitments that would keep us near the 1.5%-degree target. The world’s citizenship could only watch on as world leaders said they would instead retain the power they had than concede that they were wrong.

We in Australia could only watch on as a man believing in things he couldn’t see, touch or hear made terrible decisions about things proven to him by the exact science that discovered a vaccine against COVID-19.

As one week bled its way into the next and weeks into months, seasons changed slowly but surely, as circumstances converged to convince us that Scotty, our leader, told too many lies. In the Australian way, the people unhurriedly awoke from their long-lasting slumber to find that they had not only a pathetic liar as Prime Minister but a moron to boot.

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

For this writer, 2021 has been a demoralising one, not for reasons of having nothing to write about. The LNP gifted me with so much food for thought that I sometimes suffered from digestion and the negativity was at times demoralising.

To be honest, I’m worn-out writing about the truth of things or what I believe to be the truth of those things concerning the nature of good governance. We are in a state of near collapse. Unless we rid the nation of the Morrison government in the upcoming election, we will deteriorate into a form of middle fascist power.

I cannot begin to imagine what might happen if Morrison were to win with a decent majority. However, I believe that the electorate has primarily come to its senses and that Labor is in a winning position this time around.

Governments who demand the people’s trust must govern transparently to acquire it. Morrison’s doesn’t.

So as the negativity of this year slowly passes us by, we must use all the ways and means available to us to convince those wavering that it is their vote that will change our destiny. Not the voice of the convicted voter but the voter who knows that our democracy is under threat. The swinging voter who wants right to prevail over wrong, regardless of ideology.

That is what we of political instinct and knowledge must do. The incumbents are not your ordinary liberals with a smattering of conservatives. This government is far right from top to toe.

The real enemy of neo conservative politics in Australia is not Labor or, indeed, democratic socialism. It is simply what Australians affectionally call a fair go.

Therefore, it is incumbent on those of a socially progressive bent to help inform those of an opposite persuasion of the danger in supporting those who, over a lengthy period, have created so much havoc and mistrust.

In writing over 100 articles for The AIMN this year, I hope I have kept those who so ardently follow my words well-informed about the political machinations of our country and, to a lesser extent, around the world.

There is, of course, much that I have left behind or unsaid, but I will catch up with it as luggage they carry from one year to the next.

To the many other writers who pound their keys for truth and fairness, I would say thanks for your sage thoughts and contributions.

This is my last post for 2021, so the season’s greetings to you all. I will be back in 2022 with my usual stuff, plus an Election diary. Would you please continue to add your comments as fervently as you have in the past?

My thought for the day

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

 

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Albo seems to be everything that ScoMo isn’t

Who is this bloke called Albo?

In the Australian manner of receiving a title by plunking an “o” on the end of one’s name, Anthony Albanese became Albo. But what do we know about the man other than he mispronounces a word or two?

Wikipedia tells us that:

“… he was born 2 March 1963) is an Australian politician serving as Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) since 2019. He has been a member of parliament (MP) for the division of Grayndler since 1996. Albanese was deputy prime minister of Australia under the second Rudd Government in 2013 and a Cabinet Minister in the Rudd and Gillard Governments from 2007 to 2013.

Albanese was born in Sydney and attended St Mary’s Cathedral College before going to the University of Sydney to study economics. He joined the Labor Party as a student, and before entering parliament, worked as a party official and research officer. Albanese was elected to the House of Representatives at the 1996 election, winning the seat of Grayndler in New South Wales.

He was first appointed to the Shadow Cabinet in 2001 and served in several roles, eventually becoming Manager of Opposition Business in 2006.

After Labor’s victory in the 2007 election, Albanese was appointed Leader of the House; he was also made Minister for Regional Development and Local Government and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

In the subsequent leadership tensions between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard from 2010 to 2013, Albanese was publicly critical of the conduct of both, calling for unity.

While serving in the Gillard Government, Albanese supported the introduction of carbon pricing and voted, along with the rest of the Labor Party, to establish the Clean Energy Act 2011, which instituted a carbon pricing scheme in Australia. After the Abbott Government abolished the system in July 2014, Albanese stated that carbon pricing was no longer needed, as “the circumstances have changed”.

Albanese is a prominent backer of renewable energy and has declared that Australia’s “long-term future lies in renewable energy sources”.

Personal life

In 2000, Albanese married Carmel Tebbutt, a future Deputy Premier of New South Wales. They have one son named Nathan. Albanese and Tebbutt separated in January 2019. In June 2020, it was reported that Albanese was in a new relationship with Jodie Haydon.

Albanese describes himself as “half-Italian and half-Irish” and a “non-practicising Catholic”. He is also a music fan who reportedly once went to a Pogues gig in a Pixies shirt and intervened as Transport Minister to save a Dolly Parton tour from bureaucratic red tape.

As a lifelong supporter of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, he was a board member of the club from 1999 to 2002 and influential in the fight to have the club readmitted to the National Rugby League competition.”

In all its brevity, there is my rehashed profile of Anthony Albanese. There is more, of course, if you want to follow the link provided, but I’m trying to make a point here. I keep searching. I visit his web page, where he tells the story of being raised by a single mum who wanted him to have a better life than she had.

Then I peruse his parliamentary web page. No luck there. Very mundane stuff.

A Google search “Anthony Albanese Scandals” then takes me to news.com.au, where I find that; “Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese was involved in an awkward exchange during a grilling about a veteran MP involved in a scandal in Victoria.”

Albanese had refused to intervene.

I went back to my search for any sort of scandal concerning Albo. I’m led to The Daily Mail (England edition) to read that:

“It was revealed in June last year that Opposition leader Anthony Albanese had found love again with Jodie Haydon, after his devastating split from wife Carmel Tebbutt.

The politician previously revealed the break-up with his ex-wife Carmel, 57, in January 2019 wasn’t his decision.”

“One last go,” I said to myself. My final search told me that the son of the Albanese’s turned 20 this month.

Wow.

I cannot think of a politician with so little scandal. I think to myself; “What on earth will the conservatives do. How could you possibly trust a leader without a scandal or two behind him?”

My search yielded no corruption, no abundance of lying or lack of truth. There is none of the Morrison arrogance nor self-entitlement. No question of him being untrustworthy. Nothing to raise a scare campaign about. No mistakes, bungles or stuff ups. I shall leave it there. Once one has made one’s point, it is best to leave it.

Albo seems to be everything that Scomo isn’t.

My thought for the day

The way you think and feel about yourself affects every aspect of your life. When you love, accept, respect and approve of yourself, you validate your existence.

 

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This might help Labor win the ‘must win’ election

In reality, both major parties have commenced their 2022 campaigns, and it is about time the media (you know who I mean) of this country admitted that there is more than one party running for election and give Labor equal billing.

So far, Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has given the Prime Minister a decent shirtfront every time he has crossed the boundary of lying. In January, I expect Albanese to announce minor preliminary appetiser policies that Australians will find more attractive than the LNPs.

Those who follow politics will acknowledge that the country’s political establishments, conventions, and political truth have been devalued and run-down to the point of being unrecognisable to the constraints we had but a generation ago.

We also have to recognise that it is not those who follow politics (the devotees of both parties) that we have to bring over but those whose vote is insecure-those willing to listen to a story of transparency, trust, fairness, honesty, ideas and sound policy.

Of all the issues, two have captured the electorate’s attention more than the meagre efforts of the Coalition in combating climate change and the decline in the standard of Governance. Rorting and unfairness have run amok and continued throughout the terms of Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison.

A virtual wage freeze has typified the lot of the average wage earner while the ultra-affluent have increased their wealth astronomically.

Robodebt is but one example of the Morrison Government’s unfairness, whilst the largesse of Jobkeeper for companies in comparison boomed during Covid is another.

The country now has more than a trillion dollars of debt, which raises the question of how it is repaid. The usual way of doing so for conservatives is to slash spending.

The usual targets are the ABC, universities, education, the unemployed, women’s programs, etc. After lowering taxes, they would unlikely increase them.

The answers to many questions remain so, but one thing we know for sure: The Morrison government must be defeated at this election.

Here is my plan for defeating the LNP in 2022. (You may also want to read Rob Gerrand and Noel Turnbull’s list on Pearls and Irritations, on which my list is based).

Trust

There is no common thread for a recovering society/economy to cling to without trust. Everyone likes to feel they can trust the other person. On multiple occasions, Morrison has been called out for lying.

The French president called him a liar on the international stage. Albo must go in hard exploiting his untrustworthiness. What will he do if he regains power? Can you trust him?

By comparison, Labor will stand by its promises and commitments.

The economy

Labor sees the post covid economy as an opportunity to marry society with economics where spending is bonded to and justified by the common good. It will grow the post-covid economy in a new state/national government cooperative agreement, including infrastructure and new green technologies.

An electric future confronts us. Electric vehicles are just a starting point. Incentives for Australian companies to undertake research into tomorrow’s key developments and services must be front and centre of Labor’s platform. Even to the extent of introducing a ministry for the future.

Taxation

The tax cuts introduced by the Coalition may not be sustainable, and Labor must be truthful about it.

With a trillion-dollar debt, cutting taxes may not be advisable. Labor should trust the rich and privileged to understand that the debt problem will have to be brought under control. Any economist would testify that it is unsustainable, and the nation has to fix it. A high-level enquiry with the powers of a Royal Commission is the proper way to address the problem. The ultra-greedy must pay their fair share.

 

 

Climate change

The fear I have here is that Labor, after being burned in the past two elections, will fail to recognise that this time around that the climate is a red-hot topic and needs to be respected as such. Tell the country the truth. Coal is finished. It has no future.

Tell mine workers that Labor will ensure that they are looked after as Australia transitions out of coal. Insist that they will not be left behind.

Tell them that the “billions being spent on subsidies for fossil fuels and new gas exploration will be diverted to investment in green hydrogen plants (using solar and wind electricity to generate hydrogen).” Tell them they have a future.

Integrity Commission

Labor needs to go in hard with its promise to release a policy (before Christmas) for a Corruption Commission. Now that the Coalition has vacated the transparent government space, it must promise to end corruption and waste and establish a proper independent anti-Corruption Commission “that has the power to hold politicians to account and stop the rorting.

The workplace

People may have jobs, and there might be more in the pipeline. However, “wages have barely increased since the Abbot/Turnbull/Morrison governments have been in power.” At the same time, company profits are overflowing.

Labor is, of course, “committed to good jobs with good wages and training all workers, especially the young, for tomorrow’s industries.” The promise of free TAFE places has been a good start, as has its pledge to increase JobSeeker to $450 a week, at the poverty line.

Health

Health has traditionally been one of Labor’s strong suits and it must keep with this tradition. A focus on prevention would appeal to the younger voter. Promising to work with the health funds to reward those willing to adopt healthy lifestyles would be popular with many.

With covid in mind, it must refund our hospitals for their incurred costs. Not only for their selfless efforts during the pandemic but simply because it is something that needs to be done.

Raising doctors’ Medicare rebates (deliberately held down for years) would show how much society appreciates their work.

International relations

Labor should promise to restore the principles of sound old-fashioned diplomatic principles and promise to restore relations with China. Whilst being a treaty nation with the US, we should diplomatically tell them that we will always do what’s best for Australia.

The ABC

Labor would assure the ABC that proper financial support would be legislated over five years instead of three. It would also undertake an assurance that Government would “stop undermining its independence.” The arts would also receive appropriate sustainable support.

Innovation

Labor has already undertaken to fix the balls up, known as the NBN (or Fraudband). It should empathise the urgency of the task.

Labor will make Australia the world leader in green technologies with a fund to support start-ups that show promise.

Labor should offer to increase university funding if they commit to more significant research programmes. It would also provide funding to launch new innovative firms and create thousands of jobs. It must also address the unfinished work of Gonski.

The standard of Governance

The one thing that Morrison is now disliked for that is revealed in focus groups, surveys, and polls is his appalling leadership and governance. You can add to that the performance of his cabinet and Ministers in significant portfolios. This pitiful governance can also be attributed to the junior partner in the Coalition, the National Party.

Morrison cannot even admit that he tells the most outrageous lies and lies on top of lies in the face of facts that show he does. He really believes he doesn’t.

 

 

I and many others have written over the year about the many examples of rorting in detail, almost to the point of boredom. Here are just a few reminders: Angus Taylor and Josh Frydenberg’s environmental stuff-ups; the sports rorts of Bridget McKenzie; the railway car parks fiasco; the gifting of billions of JobKeeper money to companies that earned record profits; the gifting of billions of dollars to the Government’s fossil fuel friends in the guise of meeting emission targets.

Need I go on?

You can’t trust Scott Morrison” should be a slogan repeated ad nauseam throughout the election campaign.

My thought for the day

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

 

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A post from 7 December 2016. Check out the familiarity with the same day in 2021.

One of the more pleasurable activities I ingest when I have a moment to spare is to go back in time and see what I was writing about on the same day a few years before. Often the results reveal some interesting treasures. Sometimes I want to laugh, have a giggle, or bawl my eyes out at how little we have advanced as a society.

Why? Because our present Government will never change until it gets too uncomfortable to stay the same.

Here are a few things I wrote about on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. My 2021 comments are in italics.

1 It wasn’t long ago that we had a ‘carbon tax’. One that, over time, would have become a Carbon Trading Scheme. Then the conservatives conveniently converted a statement by the then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, into a lie. Consequently, we have lost years to tackle a life-or-death challenge.

The conservatives’ decision to repeal the carbon tax will historically be recognised as the worst public policy decision in Australia’s history.

Despite knowing it would be a political disadvantage, Labor put the good of the country before politics and proceeded with a tax. The then Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, agreed with it and, when replaced, because of his views, gave the Coalition a critical serve it had coming to them on its hopeless Direct Action Plan.

Strange as it seems, as I write on December 9, 2021, there is an article in the Guardian about Turnbull supporting independents standing in marginal seats with Climate Change as their focus.

Sometimes, change disregard’s opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making, with Its own inevitability. Particularly now that our politics has degenerated into the chaotic mess it is now.

2 Abbott, an Oxford graduate, would suggest that climate change a socialist plot. In doing so, he does a great disservice to that esteemed university.

But here we are years later, with the conservatives still no further advanced other than lies on top of lies.

As is predictable, the far-right members the Coalition government are screaming and shouting over something that makes perfect sense to most people but is a monumental crime of ideology to them. (Referring to the carbon tax).

Those in the energy sector and the business community generally pleaded with both parties to stop the nonsense and develop a bi-partisan plan to cut emissions over the coming decades, including a carbon price. Will Turnbull take the bull by the horns and confront the denialists? If he does, he will get public support; it will confirm his weakness if he doesn’t. He has to do it sometime, so why not now?

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull faces a fresh outbreak of party disunity over climate policy, with backbench MPs questioning the government’s timing, scope and tactics after a formal review of the Direct Action plan was finally announced”.

As history will show, he didn’t, and the consequences are known to one and all.

3 If profit means the end of coal, that’s the decision business will take. But science and capitalism will win the day, and nothing will stop them.

I don’t think the word “tax” will appear in any legislation.

4 Josh Freydenberg says his Government “… is committed to adopting a non-ideological approach to emissions reduction to ensure we secure the lowest cost of abatement.”

So, it would necessarily consider a carbon price. Let the market decide which technology wins at “the lowest cost” if you take that seriously, you are as silly as Barnaby Joyce.

5 As if Barnaby Joyce’s decision to move the nation’s agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines regulator into his electorate for $250 million wasn’t enough.

Like most things this government does, it’s clear the move was never about what was best for the agricultural sector. We now find it was allegedly greatly influenced by celebrity gardener Don Burke over people in his department.

I wonder how all that went. Well, Barnaby Joyce continues to confirm he is not intellectually up to the task of Deputy Prime Minister. He needed to win his seat, and he did. That was the real motive. But $250 million.

6 Another thing I missed was this headline in The Sydney Morning Herald: “Barnaby Joyce vows LNP maverick George Christensen will become a cabinet minister.”

Sorry, I’m lost for words.

7 Senator Pauline Hanson said yesterday, when referring to party member Rod Culleton: “He’s not a team player at all. We can’t work with him; you can’t reason with him.”

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. I ask myself where the right get these people from, but I never get an answer.

8 The special Minister of State Scott Ryan has an independent review of MPs entitlements but is dragging his feet with recommendations for an overhaul. In the meantime, there is a lot of activity in the skies with charter planes doing record business.

I don’t recall seeing the results of that enquiry. Like many things, they seemed to have fallen into the abyss of terrible governance.

With the purchase of yet another property, Peter Dutton has expanded his impressive portfolio to six properties.

Thank goodness I’m not a taxpayer and not contributing to his wealth, but I feel sorry for the silly buggers who are.

Many federal MPs have properties, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. It beats me why the taxpayer should have to fund their wealth.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy have seven properties, including their Point Piper home, a Hunter Valley farm and a New York apartment.

Nationals MP David Gillespie has 18 properties, including 17 for investment purposes.

Liberal MP Ian Goodenough has nine – three residential and six investments.

LNP MP Karen Andrews has six investment properties and one residential.

Of course, this was in 2016. God only knows how many they have added to their portfolios. Is it any wonder they opposed Labor’s negative gearing policy at the last election?

9 The characteristic that most defines modern Australia is ‘diversity’. In an argument last week about what defines an Australian, I came up with this:

In all its forms, together with multiculturalism, it defines us as a nation. People of my generation and later should divest themselves of their old and inferred racist superiority.

We have changed for the better. It is such a pity that this great nation is being held back by those of little understanding. There is no shame in not knowing. The shame is in not wanting to know.

10 I didn’t get the opportunity to voice my view on the ‘sugar’ debate last week. The suggestion that we should tax sugary soft drinks is nonsense and unnecessary. It’s as simple as this. Science knows that the primary cause of ill-health in society is consuming too much sugar, fat and salt. Mainly in fast foods. An enlightened society that wanted to save lives would legislate to, over time, reduce the amount of these killers in the foods we consume. Problem solved. It won’t happen for two reasons. One, ideology and two, we are not an enlightened society.

11 When talking about the cost of living, I think people get confused. There is a big difference between the cost of living and the cost of lifestyle. A recent survey found that 56% of those complaining about the cost of living had taken an overseas trip in the same year. And a further 52% had reduced dining out from three to two times a week.

And in 2021, it is still a hot topic. Have you looked at your grocery bill of late?

12 On December 8 2016, Newspoll has both parties the same. The Essential Poll has Labor on 52% and the Coalition on 48%.

On December 8 2021, Newspoll for the year records Labor’s two-party lead unchanged at 53-47, from primary votes of Coalition 36%, Labor 38% (steady), Greens 10% (down one) and One Nation 3% (up one).

Yet again, Labor finds itself in the box seat to win Government. It must do so for the nation’s sake; otherwise, Scott Morrison will be emboldened or at least tempted to commit crimes against our society more extreme than he has thus far.

My thought for the day

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

 

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How do we make an ideal society?

If you were starting from scratch wanting to build an ideal society, what would you include? My thinking on these subjects leads down many roads, some of which are paved with idealism and the direction in which l head.

Yes, you may find my ideas a touch idealistically romantic, even simplistic, but that’s where I position myself as I write.

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

This common good with equality of opportunity for all would be enshrined in its constitution.

It would be a society 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 other than perhaps their geographical origins.

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

In my democratic society, 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 things. Facts, ideas and principles. All have a place. But when broken down, it is simply the art of persuasion in its purest form.

In my enlightened society, the suggestion that we must legislate one’s right to hate another person would be considered intellectually barren.

Access to health and welfare would be guaranteed and access to treatment assured.

Most importantly, the principle that we should treat others in the same manner we expect them to treat us would be indelible 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 spirituality in their way so long as it doesn’t corrupt the aspirations of ‘commongoodism‘.

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.

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. Change would be part of the very fabric of our existence.

My ideal society would acknowledge that a democratic group mentality advances society better than dictatorial individuality.

In democratic societies our herding instincts are realised by electing quality leaders who form the government.

A fitness to serve stipulation would seek a clause in our constitution to as much as possible guarantee that the most gifted serve in our Parliament.

Individual or collective ambition can only happen within a social structure built and controlled by a sympathetic government.

If we live in a democracy, then it must be the elected officials that decides and regulates society’s advancement and who provide the environment in which to do so.

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

In reality, very little is done in the name of progress that cannot be credited in some way to the government.

I get somewhat tempestuous about the decline in our democracy and the corruption that has accompanied 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.

What do you think?

My thought for the day

Of all the things that have caused the disintegration in the public’s trust in the body politic. It is the lack of a truth that defines it.

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Democracy: A work in progress

That the people of Australia have lost faith in our system of Government is unsurprising. To say that we are ambivalent about our politicians is an understatement, and we are now ashamed.

To say that our democracy has taken a beating from the hard-Right of Australian politics over the past decade is no exaggeration.

A consequence of the decline of our democracy has been the rise of extremism and far-right conservatism. Liberalism no longer exists, and the National Party exists because of a voting system favouring them disproportionally.

A sort of neo-conservative fascism has replaced the Liberal Party, and old-style Liberalism no longer has a voice. The National Party cannot decide if it represents farmers or miners.

The Labor Party, in part, needs to invest in a social philosophical common good instead of beating the same old drum of socialism. It should embrace the elimination of growing inequality and poverty and see both as a worthy pursuit.

Labor, some might argue, has lost a portion of its supporters to the Greens, whilst rich populist Clive Palmer spends millions confusing people.

In the upcoming election, the door might well and truly be open for independents of character to control the balance of power.

Leading the two major parties on the Right, we have two lying, unscrupulous politicians of dubious character, and on the left, a long-serving lilly white, of which nothing corrupt can be hung. Within LNP ranks, we have a collection of MPs who have studied at some of the country’s most prestigious universities. Sprinkled among them is a fair splattering of individuals who could only be described as borderline nut cases. Women are both underrated, underrepresented and underestimated.

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

Our democracy lacks objectivity because the current Prime Minister and his followers have debased the democracy to the point that there is no compelling reason to be a politician. Well, at least for people with decency, integrity and compassion.

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

There are no stand out leaders. In recent times we have had potential, but it was lost in power struggles, undignified self-interest and narcissistic personality.

It is now nothing but an excuse for mediocre minds who cannot win an argument with factual intellect, charm or debating skills to act deplorably toward each other.

Frivolity and wit have been replaced with smut and sarcasm. Members debase the Parliament and themselves as moronic imbecilic individuals.

Our voting system is badly in need of an overhaul. When one party, the Greens, attracts near enough to the same primary votes as the Nationals but can only win one seat in the House of Representatives, as opposed to nine, there is something wrong with the system.

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

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

Murdoch and his majority-owned newspapers with blatant support for right-wing politics have done nothing to advance Australia as a modern enlightened democratic society. On the contrary, it has damaged it, perhaps irreparably.

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

Shock jocks shout the most outrageous lies and vilify people’s character with impunity and, in the process, do nothing to promote proper democratic illumination. They even promote free speech as if they are the sole custodians of it.

Two things, I believe, have contributed to the decline in our democracy.

Firstly, the Abbott and Morrison factor and the death of truth as a principle of democratic necessity. I am convinced Tony Abbott believed that the effect of lying diminished over time and therefore was a legitimate political tool.

And secondly, Morrison sees past his lies and brings into question the very worthiness of the word ‘truth’. Or he has at least devalued it to the point of obsolesce.

There is much more to be said about how and what needs fixing. Next time I shall discuss the real possibility of an Albanese victory and what our priorities should be.

My thought for the day

We’ve had it now for the last dismal decade. This destruction of our Democracy. It’s damaged both sides of politics, it’s damaged our country and our reputation. It has to stop. It must stop.

 

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This do nothing, good for nothing Government is now at its most vulnerable

Over the past decade, one theme that has meandered its way through my writing has been how we conduct our politics, and I have sought to identify what makes for a sound representative democracy and what doesn’t.

In this post, I repeat some of my concerns. Concerns that have done anything but diminish under the leadership of Morrison.

That this does nothing, good for nothing Government is now at its most vulnerable is a given, and it is now incumbent on every citizen who believes in an accessible and equitable system of government to be rid of it.

But why have some disentangled themselves from the process? Has politics become so stained with the incompetency of the right’s extremism that people have just tuned of or belatedly tuned out? Do you stand up for your democracy?

If it weren’t for left-leaning online media, newspapers and blogs with this government’s terrible inclination for secrecy and given that Murdoch controls the vast majority of city newspapers, our access to political news would be minimal. Even that is under threat.

Good government is about making and executing decisions that serve the common good. That gives security to the people it governs, and it follows the rule of law and is truthful about its intentions.

When making decisions, it must be sensitive to the people’s will, and it should enable its citizens to be participatory in the purpose of government.

Social engineering is a means of implementing ideas and principles relative to your party’s philosophy.

Sometimes, however, it is politically expedient to forgo your beliefs when specific policies become entrenched in the country’s way of life.

Our health system and the NDIS are but two examples.

When a political party seeks to use selective ambiguous, manipulative and treacherous psychological techniques to influence and change the attitudes of masses of people to its point of view, we should worry.

If you look at the society we had when Tony Abbott came to power and compare it with today, you could not deny that it is less accessible under Morrison.

FOIs are more difficult to procure, press freedoms have declined, we are more open to corruption, and police intervention in our daily lives has increased.

Older folk are treated abysmally, as are women generally. The treatment of asylum seekers and our indigenous folk have gotten worse.

Our economic attitude toward the wealthy, corporations, or individuals has increased the rich’s handouts and subsidies.

Lying, of course, is the social engineer’s most effective tool. Throughout his career, Tony Abbott used it most effectively.

Malcolm Turnbull was hypocritical on climate change, and Morrison has taken lying to another level.

Another tool of social engineering is secrecy, and the conservative governments have displayed a propensity for it, and it’s called lying by omission.

Do you stand up for our democracy? Do you stand up to the right-wing wreckers, those who would bring it down? Those among you that cannot see beyond what’s in it for them: the Morrisons of our society?

I have raised my voice and said my piece.

I have written about becoming a republic and how we can achieve it. I have identified the rise of the far-right and how we get the flu when the US catches a cold.

The rise of far-right neo-conservatism, American style neo-liberalism (call it what you will), has changed our politics to the point of insaneness. Where debating an idea has become one where the philosophy surrounding it is more important than the idea itself.

On these pages, I, as have many others, have been at the forefront of denouncing the lies told by our far-right government over its tenure in office until my fingers hurt.

I have described how Liberal-lite has turned into far-right lunacy.

I have denounced this government for its lack of transparency, corruption and lack of accountability. In doing so, I have identified individuals who are not up to the standard of a decent democracy.

I have identified its deplorable treatment of women. I have, in my writing, called out their governance for the privileged rich and neglect of the poor, disadvantaged and disabled.

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

Of climate change, my disgust with our government has been enunciated to the point of losing hair not yet grown.

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

As the showcase of the Parliament, Question Time has also come in for its fair share of my fault-finding.

It is obvious that Question Time 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. Question Time should be the showcase of the parliament and badly needs an independent speaker.

I have exposed the rise of narcissism, inequality, and compassion’s demise that illustrates the nation’s state.

I have raised my voice in protest at the failure of capitalism.

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

I have registered my disgust at our lack of leadership.

It seems to me that the wisest people I know are the ones that apply reason, and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who don’t.

I have also protested my objection to the inequality of our education and health systems – the imbalance of opportunity.

For the life of me I fail to understand how anyone could vote for a party who thinks the existing education and health systems are adequately funded and addresses the needs of the disadvantaged.

I have written endlessly about the need for change and who is best qualified to bring it about.

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

I have written extensively about the power of the press in our country and who controls it.

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

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

In the nine years l have been writing for The AIMN, I have written nearly nine hundred posts for the site.

Why do I do it? Well, when I see a rotting philosophy lying stagnant in the back of people’s minds, I want to bring it out of the darkness and into the light, and I want to expose it for what it is. When I see what they are doing (or not doing), I feel obligated to write about it.

The only way to bring about change is to vote out this deplorable government, and whoever replaces it must restore the democracy we once had.

My thought for the day

Good democracies can only deliver good government and outcomes if the electorate demands it and it doesn’t come about by good people disengaging from the process.

 

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The consummate liar

As if given a second wind by a few writers who have dared call him out for his blatant lying (me included), the Australian Prime Minister has belligerently doubled down on his deceptions, telling 3AW Radio Host Neil Mitchell when asked if he had ever told a lie in public life, he answered; “I don’t believe so, no.”

Last week, I spoke to a Facebook friend who criticised me for not writing anything positive about this Australian Government. He was right. Indeed, I cannot remember the last time my keyboard had anything positive to say about the LNP and its leader.

I must admit that I took it to heart because I like to think that I can put aside any bias I might have when writing. So, I thought about it for the day and concluded that I was right.

The truth is the Prime Minister’s demeanour over the past week or so has been so agitated and his lying so blatantly offensive that I had to call him out for his dishonesty. I have nothing positive to write about Scott Morrison or his band of liars.

Neither does Chris Bowen, telling Sky News that:

“Tragically, Scott Morrison has managed to trash that, quickly, with his very clumsy handling.

“Secondly, of interest to the Australian people is Scott Morrison’s fundamental dishonesty; I mean this guy lies, he lies to Australians, he lies at every opportunity, he lies about Labor, he lies about the past.”

And Annabel Crabb said this in her weekly email newsletter:

“Never was this feature more in evidence than this week’s prime ministerial heavy-petting tour of Melbourne, during which the nation’s leader blankly denied ever having disparaged electric vehicles during the 2019 election.”

And on it goes, with Sarah Martin reporting in The Guardian that:

“For those who need a reminder, Morrison shamelessly claimed that Labor’s policy, which set a target of half of all new cars to be electric by 2030, would “end the weekend” and lead to apartment dwellers dangling extension cords out of their windows.

“It’s not going to tow your trailer. It’s not going to tow your boat. It’s not going to get you out to your favourite camping spot with your family,” Morrison said at the time.

“A hyperbolic Michaelia Cash, then the small business minister, pledged to ‘stand by our tradies and … save their utes’ from Bill Shorten’s grasp.”

Doug Cameron – always good at hammering a message home – got some runs on the board.

 

 

 

The Australian mainstream media had little to say about it, and surprisingly it hardly rated a mention on last Sunday’s Insiders programme.

His lying on both an international and national scale is very concerning. Without any understanding of the art of diplomacy, it is time perhaps that we should be truly concerned about the man’s ability to govern.

Morrison is currently converting himself and his language to that of outlandish “Trumpism.”

Imagine, if you will, a world in which we all openly lied to each other as a matter of normality.

This is now my third post in a row in which I talk about his lying, mistakes, bungles, stuff up’s and what we Australians call a “balls-up.”

It is somewhat extraordinary when you think about it that a government with a lying leader could make so many blunders over such an extended period, many of bewildering proportion, and still be governing.

They have made errors, faults, blunders, slips, indiscretions, gaffes and been obsessed with an appetite for lying unsurpassed in Australian political history, but this Government has survived it all.

Morrison still thinks he is God’s gift to the nation. I find it impossible to imagine that the Australian people could be so gullible to re-elect a government that has performed so miserably over such a long period.

It has some of the most devious, suspicious and allegedly corrupt men and women amongst its MPs, yet we re-elect them. Astonishing, isn’t it?

Every day, it seems, I awaken to a new controversy wondering why illogical opinion is allowed to shout its perverted anger longer and louder than science.

Simply put, their rhetoric about climate change does not match the facts, and has become worse.

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

It is the self-superior wealthy white males who impact our thinking. People like the Trumps of this world have thrown every notion of facts, goodness and empathy out the window, and Australia, as is its way, is following suit.

Both Trump and Morrison are narcissists who have treated the rules and established conventions of democracy that bind a society together like a personal plaything. To bend and corrupt for a hold on power? With Trump now gone, the people of Australia need to see that Morrison suffers the same fate.

The people of this great nation need to, at the next election, reconsider the course their country is taking and the leadership that is compelling them toward disaster. Do we need a leader who lies as triumphantly and belligerently as he does?

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

The conversion of some Australians into de facto Americans usually comes after an extended stay in the land of milk and honey. Scott Morrison managed it in his first meeting with Trump.

His conversion to Trumpism is so apparent. So in your face, that we need to ask the Prime Minister if he agrees with the former president’s stated view that “The future does not belong to globalists; it belongs to patriots.”

A term I find to be an ugly and ridiculous proposition.

Morrison’s ability to be “Trumpesque“, repeatedly lie, lie by omission and obfuscate in an Aussie sort of way will either work for him or equally bring him undone.

Now he has added a new dimension to his character. Just like Trump, Morrison now shoots from the hip, rejecting anything he has said in the past as a Labor lie. Being “loose with the truth” is now the norm, even when confronted by a literal truth.

He warned against fuelling “needless anxiety”:

 

 

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

He could start by declaring a climate emergency and not opening up more coal mines.

Morrison also claimed that:

“… activists had spread ‘completely false’ reports about Australia’s efforts on climate change.”

How grubby, how condescending, how patronising when speaking to the voices of tomorrow; the sufferers of his decisions.

And speaking of grubby, on Sky News Rowan Dean said:

“… climate activist Greta Thunberg has now become a “diagnostician able to cure mental illnesses” with the “medication” of climate change activism.”

Oh dear.

What do these misogynistic, demented, bigoted, and narcissistic right-wing zealots and deniers like Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Sam Newman, Chris Kenny, Mark Latham Lyle Shelton know about delusion? Other than they might all suffer from it themselves.

What do they see in this mild-mannered young girl that provokes such intense rage?

These types deny the science of climate change. All of them have debased, belittled, insulted, and pilloried a young girl who believes passionately in the planet before self-interest and greed.

In their temper, they have thrown at her some of the vilest, vicious criticism, but in the face of their bullying, she has stood mature and resolute.

Have they not viewed the pictures of our youth protesting in all our major cities and beyond?

Morrison repeated his claim that Australia exceeded its emissions targets in his recent speech to the United Nations. A claim those who know anything on the subject say is bullshit. Morrison’s use of Trumpesque language must be seen as words of bullshit and was taken as such when he addressed a near-empty auditorium at the COP26 meeting in Scotland.

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

Whatever advances we are so far making is being done by business and the state governments. Indeed, not the Australian Government.

Australia’s climate policies have:

  • been ranked last for its climate policies behind Russia and Brazil
  • slipped four spots to 58th overall in latest Climate Change Performance Index

What a disgrace we are.

More to the point, what a disgrace Scott Morrison is.

My thought for the day

Science has made in my lifetime, the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and enjoyed by all sections of society. The only areas that I can think of where science is questioned is in the religious fever of climate change doubters, conservative politics and unconventional religious belief.

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How can we trust a liar?

The person you can most easily convince about anything is yourself because you are susceptible to your own emotions – your own bias and beliefs. Some people are more prone to believing their own bullshit than others. In this instance, l refer to the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Some can consider these susceptibilities when speaking or writing about different subjects like politics, for example. Others have it in varying degrees, while others have no control over it at all.

It can be infuriating when listening to a politician answer a question (or most likely not answer), and you know the words they are using belong to a question they would have liked to have been asked.

You know what I mean. It goes backwards and forwards (you know, the answer) until the interviewer goes on to the next question. Your frustration builds while your respect diminishes.

The best tactician in this regard is the Prime Minister himself. He uses what l call the ‘conlie‘, where he simply denies any association with what he might have said.

You know it’s a con, but you separate the hustle from the lie. Then the argument is discussed in terms of the differences between the deception and the falsehood rather than the lying itself.

This week he used this technique regarding what he had said about electric cars during the 2019 election campaign.

 

 

It’s akin to saying that life is about perception. Not what is but what we perceive it to be. Or people see what they are thinking and feeling, seldom what they are looking at. Morrison appeals to those who have reasoned by virtue of their feelings that they are correct, and it is totally futile to appeal to their logic.

That is why (if my previous remarks make sense to you) most people from the left at least have no hesitation in calling our leader a liar, and I think it’s safe to say he now surpasses Tony Abbott.

In 2019 during the election campaign after Labor announced its EV Policy, Morrison said that it would; “end the weekend”, and incorrectly stated that the vehicles in question wouldn’t “tow your trailer.” Then he questioned how people in apartments would charge them.

 

 

His policy for this election, it seems, is to set up how the vehicle would be charged. It came with a rather ridiculous scare campaign on utilities.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers, appearing on RN Breakfast, labelled the U-turn an embarrassment:

“How humiliating for a prime minister who said electric vehicles would end the weekend,” he said. “[He’s] now trying to pretend, all of a sudden, because we’re on the eve of an election, that he cares about electric vehicles.”

Writing for The Monthly today Rachael Withers asked the question:

“So how exactly does Morrison intend to pull off this brazen backflip, from claiming EVs would ruin the Australian way of life to spruiking his own highly insufficient EV plan? The answer is with a shamelessness that outstrips many of his earlier instances of barefaced lying.”

When asked about his “end the weekend” comments at Melbourne’s Toyota hydrogen production centre, he classically did what I said he does. He conlied:

“I don’t have a problem with electric vehicles … claiming his issue was only ‘with governments telling people what to do, and what vehicles they should drive, and where they should drive them,’ as he alleged former Labor leader Bill Shorten had wanted to do.”

Again, he is lying by omission and twisting words. He went on to say things that Shorten had never spoken:

“Even when a reporter argued that Morrison couldn’t honestly say he hadn’t attacked EVs back in 2019, Morrison claimed he could “because that’s true.”

One cannot help but pick up on the likeness, style, and technique Morrison shares with former US President Donald Trump. “I didn’t say that,” when it is clear that he did.

Quoting Rachael Withers again:

“Morrison wilfully misrepresenting the Opposition’s policy as a “mandate” (it was a target, with incentives to boost uptake, which experts and the Electric Vehicles Council say is what’s needed), while suggesting it is Labor that is fibbing. “That is just a Labor lie,” he said, speaking of comments he made on the public record.”

I get so frustrated when Morrison does this. Indeed, it isn’t too much to ask that in a democracy that our politicians at least tell the truth. I, like most Australians, want to be proud of our Prime Minister and the work they do.

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

Morrison’s falsity is written all over his face. It is commonly accepted amongst writers that he is a liar, and I could never trust anything he says – the man’s an inveterate liar.

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

I have been flipping through a new book by former Rudd advisor and Monthly Today columnist Sean Kelly, titled, The Game. Kelly observes that:

“Morrison never feels, in himself, insincere or untruthful because he always means exactly what he says; it is just that he means it only in the moment he is saying it.”

When one thinks about it, the way Morrison lies might mean that there is some truth in it.

Unfortunately for Morrison, his insincerity on climate now just comes over as old fashioned bullshit, or he is conlying.

My thought for the day

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

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Crash goes his character as pressure rises on Scotty from marketing

Our prime minister has returned from Scotland with his tail between his legs and his character shot to pieces. If his arrogant behaviour and shouty mouth on the international stage annoyed you, we are as one.

After copping a mauling from President Macron of France and a slap over the wrist from President Biden, the Australian Prime Minister then did the unthinkable. After being called a liar by Macron (it is scarce for one head of state to call another a liar), he decided to leak an American national security document against an international leader. It was tactically and typically Morrison.

By this, I mean that it is typical of the man to create another lie to divert attention from the one he is defending. He said he wouldn’t accept the President’s sledging of the Australian people, which the President never uttered. His defence was to embrace nationalism:

“Australia’s integrity, and the slurs that had been placed on Australia – not me, I’ve got broad shoulders, I can deal with that – but those slurs, I’m not going to cop sledging of Australia. I’m not going to cop that on behalf of other Australians.”

The mistake had been made. President Macron, in fact, went out of his way to praise the Australian people, and his beef was with the Prime Minister. He arrived in Scotland willing to tell lies about Australia’s commitment to climate change on a global level but found himself telling them about submarines.

French President Emmanuel Macron accused Morrison of lying. While in Rome for the G20, reporters had asked the French President if he thought Scott Morrison had lied to him about the submarine deal’s future, Macron was asked by reporters in Rome. “I don’t think, I know,” he had replied.

By the time Morrison got to Glasgow, his demeanour was as low as a man who told lies about which sporting clubs he followed.

Macron called him a liar on a stage that Morrison wasn’t used to performing on. He played his part as the bearer of bad news then exited stage left with disastrous reviews of his performance.

Yet again, in typical Morrison fashion, he had quickly changed from a weak leader, climate denier, to don the cloak of nationalism and become the defender of our pride, whereas, in truth, he is in the world’s view a leader not to be trusted.

Finding the truth and reporting it should be more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more.

That Morrison is a peddler of half-truths and lies is beyond dispute. When he apologises, Scott Morrison usually precedes it with an avalanche of indulgent words of self-praise intended to compliment him and his government. He told Channel 9 news that:

“Australia made the decision not to go ahead with the contract for submarine that was not going to do the job that Australia needed to do, and I’ll never make any apologies for that decision.”

Then referring to former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – one of his COP26 critics – he added.

“As you know, I always treat all former Prime Ministers with respect, and I’m going to continue to do that.”

Which, of course, brings back images of Morrison with hand on Turnbull’s shoulder saying, “My leader” while stabbing him in the back to replace him.

In the recipe of good leadership there are many ingredients. Popularity is but one. Character is another. It however ranks far below getting things done for the common good.

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

His answers are so pathetic and simultaneously self-congratulatory about a fall in our emissions. He neglects to mention that we have met our targets because there have been fewer cars on the road, businesses closed, and no planes in the air.

He reluctantly went to the COP26 Glasgow conference to achieve two things: to set down Australia’s position on our efforts to combat climate change. On that front, we now know that our mediocre results, since the climate conference in Paris (2015), prove that Morrison is more interested in retaining power than preserving the planet’s life. The other reason was to try to appease Macron and allay any misgivings. Instead, it packed a suitcase full of policy decisions to Glasgow perfectly entrapped in wedge politics and internal government political problems.

 

Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

 

Instead of this flat-earth thinking, a leader with any character would slap down members of his cabinet who roamed the road of lying with all the force of a heavy roller. At the same time, he would restrict himself from doing the same thing and, just as significantly, refrain from insulting every international leader above his station.

In January 2021, journalist Dennis Atkins tweeted:

Morrison’s been unmasked. His refusal to openly condemn Trump’s behaviour & legacy is the deliberate act of a weak, spineless & character free Prime Minister. At a pivotal time, Morrison retreated. He didn’t want to tell the truth (because of) politics.

It is no wonder we have diplomatic problems with China; his diplomacy stinks. This again was another Morrison diversion against the appalling governance of his government and the daily crisis that confronted him.

Of the conference itself, one can only conclude that it was mostly a flop, except that it looks as though business and state governments will be left to pick up the baton that our government found too hot to handle.

I remain of the view that something so catastrophic will occur that will force us to act. Something incomprehensible to us now, unforeseeable, dark and sinister. Instead of being proactive, we tend to wait for disaster to receive us. Then and only then do we react.

My thought for the day

Have we reached the point in politics where TRUTH is something that politicians have persuaded us to believe, “Like alternative facts” rather than TRUTH based on factual evidence, arguments and assertions.

 

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