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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.

Whatever the Liberal Party is, it is not a place for women

Who would have thought that of all the blunders the Liberal and National Parties have made over their period of incumbency that it might be women who would bring them undone?

Not by any definition of incompetency or stupidity, but by being used by men for their sexual gratification.

That man and the sin of sexual abuse by members of their political party might be responsible for its demise is unfitting, I know.

That women should have to suffer in seeing the end of its governance is a tragedy.

What l am suggesting is that the magnitude of their suffering might be enough to turn people away from these two parties where the saying “know your place” speaks proudly.

The LNP is steeped in a philosophy of greed and desire where even the most private of a woman’s possessions can be taken against her will by men who know nothing but lust in all its vagaries, be it sex, money or power over her.

We now know that another bright young lady of the Liberal Party, Nicolle Flint dipped her toe into the Parliament’s cold waters at the last election and found it so toxic that she will not contest the next election.

Adding to the already deplorable revelations of the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins, raped by a colleague in a ministerial office in March 2019, we have another allegation by a woman – now deceased – of rape against a government minister before he entered Parliament.

Other women subsequently have come forward to support Brittany Higgins with their own stories of sexual harassment by the same man.

The now-deceased woman’s allegations can no longer be tested in court, so we have to take the women at her word. Men that fit her account will be sitting at the cabinet table staring with accusing eyes, wondering just who it might be. So will the people of Australia.

You might ask if his name should be revealed when he cannot defend himself. Conversely, you might ask if it is appropriate for an accused rapist to sit in Australia’s Parliament or even stand at the next election.

But her words should be read, judged and acted upon if they warrant it.

Two weeks into this calamitous scandal, the Prime Minister is trying to hold back the forces that suggest he is lying (that he was told of the incident that took place on the Minister for Defence’s sofa).

That so many people knew about the rape of Brittany Higgins, and he didn’t make his answers seem implausible.

The excuse that he wasn’t told until two years later is as stupid as your wife saying she forgot to tell you she was pregnant when you are blowing out the candles on its second birthday. One can only suggest that he has the most incompetent staff working in the prime minister’s office ever.

Even the Press Gallery is befuddled. According to the prime minister, the Minister for Defence suddenly became ill on the eve of a National Press Gallery address and was able to assume her duties a day or two later also remains a mystery.

That she was being set up to blame for it, all was a full-hand win until Morrison spoke to her cardiologist.

Now he is covering up. In Parliament last week, his story kept changing as new information emerged.

He refused to answer whether the Gaetjens Review into the conduct of his office would be made public. By the end of the week, it became apparent that the report would be a Cabinet document that couldn’t be released for 30 years.

Until the latest revelation on Friday, February 26 (which happens to be my 80th birthday), I would have tipped that Reynolds would have copped the blame then be sacked as Defence Minister, and Morrison would have walked away scot free. However, I’m now of the view that Morrison will have to convince many women that he isn’t lying. Something he used to be comfortable with but of late has found much harder.

 

My thought for the day

At some time in the human narrative… in our history, the man declared himself superior to women. It must have been an accident, or at least an act of gross stupidity. But that’s men for you.

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Finding the truth and reporting it is more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more

1 The journalist who broke the story about the rape in the Minister’s office, Samantha Maiden said on ABC Insiders last Sunday that she first approached the government to comment on the allegations at 2.30pm on Friday 12 February.

Every programme I have seen her on, I have gleaned a sense of professionalism where the truth mattered more than the controversy.

She has shown sensitivity and warning toward the young women involved and was let known the trials and tribulations that would follow.

She added with a hint of ridicule that they “spent the entire weekend, for which we’re very grateful, seeking facts and information” for the article.

“And yet nobody told the prime minister, and his evidence is that he didn’t know about this story until we published it at 8am last Monday.”

During one of the seemingly endless door stops on Sunday, the Prime Minister was asked whether people should believe that his office did not inform him for more than 48 hours. “Correct – that’s what happened,” as quick as his tongue could shape the words they leapt from lips practised in the art of the lie.

He was asked again why his staff had not informed him, he answered:

“I expressed my view to my staff about that very candidly on Monday.”

Another reporter more forcibly asked Morrison whether his staff were reprimanded for not bringing such a serious allegation to the Prime Minister’s attention.

“You can be assured they know exactly my views about that matter.”

Then he changed his tone. And this is important.

“But you know, it’s not about how I feel. It is always about the person who is at the centre of this.”

This quick change of emphasis where he dismisses himself from the matter at hand (I wasn’t told, and I’m upset) is a familiar ploy, and it is one that the general public overlooks, even forgives him for.

He is not only untrustworthy, but cunning in the Howard mould.

Our society’s true Christians must be dismayed at the damage he is doing to their faith.

After a disastrous week for the Government Mondays, Newspoll result did Morrison and his government little harm. They remain on 50/50. How this happens is beyond most commentators.

Anthony Albanese is even further behind as preferred Prime Minister. Is it time for him to stand down? No. Not on 50-50. At this stage of the cycle, with COVID-19 thrown in, that is a good result.

On Tuesday, The Guardian reported that a second staffer in the governments employ knew about the incident. Another headline in the same news outlet suggested that Brittany Higgins partner David Sharaz would leave his job. It was correct; Sharaz has resigned from his position dealing with federal government clients, saying he could no longer continue the role.

Finally, Clare O’Neil, the Labor member for Hotham, says this about the men in parliament in an excellent article again for The Guardian:

“The problem is simply and coldly this: in the Australian parliament, a man allegedly believed he could rape a woman metres from the Prime Minister’s office and face no consequences. His belief was entirely reasonable because, as we know, he was almost right.”

However, with 4000 people working at Parliament House, they are not all going to be bastions of moral virtue. That’s the reality.

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

2 Two things stood out last weekend that further confirmed to me the success that Rupert Murdoch has had in the indoctrination of Australians. The first was the crowd’s reaction to the mention of vaccines at the men’s final of the tennis, and second, the same vile response at the words “Victorian government”.

When we booed Hawke at the G years ago, it was a term of endearment; now we boo Goodes, and it is sarcastic racism.

It is a travesty that one man’s lifetime could have caused so much societal upheaval.

3 After having used Facebook for only a short period, I wrote the two paragraphs at the foot of section 3 in 2013. I’m not sure that I would do so now. There are many rights and wrongs to this story, but under it, all one word stands proud and tall, and that word is greed.

Perhaps the mainstream media barons should be paying for free exposure and advertising Facebook gives them.

Perhaps Facebook is entitled to charge for the news that finds its way onto Facebook.

4 As a midfield contributor to the political news cycle, opinion and discussion, The AIMN should not be dragged into this argument that Facebook and the Government are having.

Anyway, in greed is good argument; I thought my voice for The AIMN would be “no longer heard.” Still, I never anticipated the technological brilliance of The AIMN’s back room, who quickly rescued me.

My voice and those of others will still be able to be read as you have been used to.

However, you may have missed one or two pieces titled “When will Conservatives ever treat women with a modicum of decency, even dignity?” and “A tale of two wrongs: A rape and the Prime Minister’s response.”

Facebook makes you dive into humanity, hear things you do not want to hear, and defend what you have to say. It is for those with opinions or those without the courage to share them. And Fence-sitters, of course.

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

At the moment, it borders on a being hotchpotch of nothingness.

5 A gold-plated National Broadband Network may have cost $10 billion less than previously estimated by the Coalition government, with hidden figures from a review showing considerable savings expected from technological advancements for a full-fibre rollout.

Then-Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in 2013 that continuing with Labor’s full-fibre approach would mean “wasting well over $50 billion,” helping justify moving to the multi-technology mix.

6 Well, to finish on a good note my computer has just advised me that Craig Kelly has resigned from the Liberal Party. A joy to behold.

My thought for the day

On this occasion I have chosen to step aside for the Prime Minister.

“We think through the consequences of our policies. The Labor Party don’t.” (Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia).

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A tale of two wrongs: A rape and the Prime Minister’s response

As if this government’s 8-year run of corruption, ongoing stuff-ups and persistently bad governance weren’t enough, now we have women being raped in the Defence Minister’s office. On her sofa, no less.

I find myself pausing as I write. I feel ashamed of my country. Well, not so much my country but on those who run it.

Our country’s prime minister asks us to believe that he knew nothing for two years about a rape that took place 50 meters from his office, no less. He turns to his wife for her sage advice. She tells him; Ask yourself, “what if it were our girls.” After consideration, he finds he has empathy for the victim.

He might have asked himself the same question. What if it were him? I imagine the pain would be similar. Do you want me to be more graphic?

That he even needed to confide in his wife is sad in itself that he required some explanation of a women’s fear of a man’s physical power over a woman is pitiful. The fragility of his character has been exposed to the world.

But still, he knows nothing. I see the emptiness of truth in the words that flow guiltily from his mouth.

He knew nothing is considered nigh on impossible by many of those experienced in government machinations. Misleading the parliament is a grave offence – even former Prime Ministers have expressed a view of disbelief at the Prime Minister’s response.

Former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd had a word to say.

“It doesn’t ring true that when you have a case of such gravity involving this young woman who is alleging rape in a ministerial office, that this wouldn’t have immediately been informed or provided as a report to the Prime Minister’s chief of staff.”

And Julia Gillard said she was “horrified both by the incident and the aftermath.”

Another former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull was adamant that it would be “inconceivable” that Mr Morrison knew nothing of the alleged incident.

Even Peta Credlin, former Chief of Staff to Tony Abbott was on the attack, telling 2GB this week that Mr Morrison’s timeline “doesn’t stack up”.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said that a series of text messages contradicted Mr Morrison’s claim that his office knew nothing of Brittany Higgins’ claims until it was contacted by a journalist last Friday.

But back to the story and what we know so far. It seems to me that there are two stories in this remarkable event. Both are independent of the other and require the attention each independently deserves.

One is about political trust, accountability, transparency, compassion and fairness.

The first concerns the rape of a young woman, and the second is about why the government and the Prime Minister covered it up.

Morrison said that he and his staff knew nothing about the Higgins allegations of rape throughout the week. Well, until Friday 12 February.

This is patently untrue, unless Fiona Brown, Reynolds’ chief of staff, who now works for Morrison and was the first person Brittany Higgins told of her ordeal.

As is the case in matters of scandal, the evidence tends to linger before it lands. Such is the case with the revelation late last week that:

“… explosive text messages have cast serious doubt over the Prime Minister’s account of when he first learned of the alleged rape of a former Liberal staffer at Parliament House.”

An example of this is the story in Saturday’s Australian.

A second woman has come ­forward to allege she was sexually assaulted late last year by the same former Morrison government adviser ­accused of raping his female colleague in Parliament House.

Since the scandal broke, the Prime Minister has invoked the “I know nothing” defence.” At a doorstop press conference on Friday, Morrison repeatedly claimed he knew nothing of this heinous crime and repeatedly tried to shift attention onto the victim’s welfare for the purpose of moving it from himself.

Over and over, he has claimed that his office was unaware of any claims that his office knew about Brittany Higgins’s insistence that a colleague had raped her until a week ago.

He dismisses claims that he had any personal knowledge of the event until he was told last Monday. Yet all of these attempts at denialism fly in the face of a text message that suggests his office was told within a fortnight of the alleged incident. “If there was anything different here, I would like to know,” he said.

Yet again, he denied misleading the public and said his version of events was based on advice from his office. “I have asked the secretary of my department to actually test that advice,” came his response.

The facts suggest that its harder to find people in the parliament who didn’t know than those who did.

The texts are of an exchange between Ms Higgins and a fellow Liberal staffer and came to life on Friday.

The Liberal staffer in the message said they had spoken directly with a member of Mr Morrison’s staff:

“Spoke to the PMO. He was mortified to hear about it and how things have been handled,” he said.

“He’s going to discuss with COS – no one else. I flagged the need for councillor (sic) and desire to be closer to home during the election.”

(PMO refers to Mr Morrison’s office, and COS is shorthand for Chief of Staff).

Last Friday, the Prime Minister edged his way toward the truth, saying that the texts would be “within the scope” of a review of the response to Ms Higgins’ allegations by Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary Philip Gaetjens.

And guess who will conduct the review? None other than Mr Gaetjens himself. Yes, the same man who ran the internal enquiry into the Sports Rorts Affair and found that the Prime Minister had nothing to answer for.

So nothing will come of it.

There is much water to flow under the bridge of this scandal.

In my previous post on this scandal, I wasn’t backwards calling the Prime Minister a liar. I don’t detract from that; in fact, events since would seem to confirm my statement to be correct.

My thought for the day

A man who has mastered the art of manliness embodies many, if not all, of these manly characteristics:

  • He looks out for and is loyal to his friends and family. Does the right thing, even when it’s not convenient. He is proficient in the manly arts. Treats women with respect and honour.
  • Serves and gives back to his community. Sacrifices for the good of others. Works hard and seldom complains.
  • Exhibits both great courage and tender compassion. He has a confident demeanour but isn’t a pompous twit. Is witty without succumbing to sarcasm. Embraces instead of shirking responsibility.

Is that a man you know?

(Paraphrased from The Art of Manliness)

Another thought

At some time in the human narrative… in our history, man declared himself superior to women. It must have been an accident, or at least an act of gross stupidity. But that’s men for you.

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When will Conservatives ever treat women with a modicum of decency, even dignity?

And to think that Morrison knew all about it. Well, to be more precise, both the Liberal and National parties knew of this rape before the 2019 election. In fact, right in the middle of the campaign.

Had it been disclosed at the time, it might have made the difference between winning and losing for Labor.

Shades of John Howard and children overboard again, but more important, however, this time is just who decided to do a hush job. You might recall his very Christian reaction when he became Prime Minister, but when a young woman was allegedly raped, he decided to cover up.

According to the victim, staffer Brittany Higgins, her rape took place in Defence Minister Lynda Reynolds’s office on 19 April after a Friday night drinking session.

The election was held on 18 May.

The damage that such an act would have done to the conservatives – both Liberal and National – during an election campaign would be immeasurable. So what did they decide to do?

Well, on the surface, at least it looks as though they decided to double up on her pain.

The poor girl involved says she didn’t make a formal complaint because she wanted to hang onto her job and not do any harm to the reputation of the Liberal Party. What reputation one might ask?

A follow-up meeting was held inside the same office; the offence is alleged to have taken place a decision the Government concedes is “regretted.”

What moronic individual made such an inhumane decision knowing that it would almost certainly do further harm. Was it intended to?

The issue of the toxic treatment of women inside Parliament House and men’s behaviour within the Liberal and National parties yet again raises its ugly head. Remember Barnaby Joyce and the affair that led to his marriage’s breakup. Remember the Attorney-General Christian Porter kissing in a Canberra pub.

Back to Brittany Higgins, it was reported that:

“… a man working for then-defence industry minister Linda Reynolds took a 24-year-old female media staffer into Parliament House after a Friday night drinking session in March 2019 and allegedly raped her inside the defence industry minister’s office.”

On the Ministers, couch to be exact.

She should hang a sign on her door. “No defence here.”

Her story follows many other women known and unknown who have experienced similar situations.

The junior staffer was very new to her job – just four weeks, in fact – before this horrendous experience occurred. She then had to endure the decision between making a formal complaint or keeping her career.

After it was made perfectly clear that she might lose her job, she was shunted into Employment Minister Michaelia Cash’s office before Ms Higgins resigned.

A statement from a member of the Prime Minister’s Office said the reports about the incident were “deeply distressing.”

“At all times, guidance was sought from Ms Higgins as to how she wished to proceed, and to support and respect her decisions.

Throughout the entire process the overriding concern for Government was to support Ms Higgins’ welfare in whatever way possible.”

It sounds like they were falling over backwards to help her make the right moves to their advantage.

 

Brittany Higgins and Scott Morrison (Image from huffingtonpost.com.au – Photos from Channel 10 and Getty Images)

 

But after all this time, even after being denied access to video footage of the two’s movements, Ms Higgins has decided to ask the AFP to investigate. The why of that is another question. Given their record of investigating this Government, I wouldn’t say I like her chances.

Come Tuesday morning, the Prime Minister in a solemn mood to fit the occasion, fronts the media with apologises for everything under the sun. He had discussed the matter with his wife overnight and now looks at it from the point of view of what if it were his children.

 

 

His first defence was that he never knew, no one had told him anything. I found this to be wholly implausible, and secondly, that it was all a disgrace and he would move Heaven and earth to right everything. But as I said initially, I contend that the Prime Minister knew about it and wanted it covered up.

Of course, “not knowing anything” gave him the excuse to repair matters. Had he known, would not he have the obvious question; “Why didn’t you do something then?”

Samantha Maiden gets its right when she reports that:

“If history is any guide, he the Scott Morrison’s response to Brittany Higgins’ shocking account of sexual assault at Parliament House in Canberra will be open and shut.

He will urge her to take the matter to the police – which she did at the time – and perhaps suggest that is the beginning and the end of the matter?

But is it?

Or, do political parties owe the people that work for them – in this case a 24-year-old young woman – a more significant duty of care if they are sexually assaulted at work?”

If I might add to that, I think that Morrison gets away with his teary act too often and the “I wasn’t told” defence is just a poor excuse.

But time never diminishes the crime. What is needed is for men to grow up and be the men they are supposed to be. These events are just another addition to the many incidents of mistreating women.

My thought for the day

History is just an ongoing commentary on the incompetence of men.

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The revolving door of Conservative wrongdoings

The revolving door of corruption continues to tarnish Conservative politicians’ ranks and their party. Following the tradition of deceit that began in 2013 under Tony Abbott’s (or during Howard’s rein) victory, the Government continues with an openness that most leaders would be embarrassed by. Goodness knows what will happen if they win a fourth term.

1 Who else but Peter Dutton – the Minister for Everything Not Tied Down – could slash “millions in grant funding from organisations that were strongly recommended by his Department, and used the funds to support his own handpicked list”?

Documents obtained under FOI reveal from his own department that:

“The Home Affairs Department recommended funding a list of 70 community safety projects using a merit-based assessment.

Peter Dutton reduced the funding for 19 of the highest-scoring applications and redirected the funding to projects of his choice.

The funding guidelines state the minister can override the department’s merit-based assessments.”

Not only that, but the Minister also used the funds to help out a couple of councils in a marginal seat. It must be like having one’s own personal slush-fund fit for purpose. And to think that his department recommended they shouldn’t be funded at all.

This little morsel of corruption wouldn’t even pass a shandy test in the lady’s lounge.

On top of all this, an investigation by the ABCs 7.30 programme tells all and sundry that Dutton has:

“extraordinary influence that Mr Dutton wields over a multi-million dollar fund, drawn from the seized proceeds of criminal enterprises, for the Safer Communities program.”

As a former copper, you would think he would know better.

The guidelines for the grants for round three of the Safer Communities program stipulate that the Home Affairs Minister must consider each project’s assessment. Still, he has the power to overrule his department’s merit-based reviews.

It was also revealed that:

“… Mr Dutton was warned by the department, in a previously confidential ministerial briefing, that overruling the merit system could draw scrutiny from the Australian National Audit Office or other news organisations.”

Well, they sure did, and sadly they will probably get away with yet another one of these political crimes.

The documents, released under freedom of information laws, can only increase the mistrust we already have in our politicians. How we award, grants generally must be reviewed in light of the avalanche of evidence before us.

As is his usual ploy, Dutton tells us everything is above board and squeaky clean and you should believe him because he is a former policeman.

And meanwhile where is the chairman of this ring of skulduggery? Hawaii? No, he just allows it all to happen.

However, The ABC tells us that:

“The ministerial submission Legal experts have told 7.30 that Mr Dutton’s consideration of the grant funding after the association donated to the Queensland LNP may give rise to a perceived conflict of interest, which could be considered a breach of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ministerial standards.”

In breaking news Friday 12 February 2021, The Labor Party has asked the Auditor General to investigate the Safer Communities Fund after departmental documents exposed Mr Dutton diverted almost half the total pool of funding away from recommended projects to his own handpicked ones

2 So the National Party, the party that receives about half the Greens’ votes yet has nine seats to one in the House of Representatives wants to determine Australia’s climate policy. They don’t even have the support of the National Farmers Federation. To say they represent country people is in itself a lie. Just look at the NBN.

They must be the most unqualified group of people to have ever served the nation in this. Whoops, I forgot the redhead.

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

4 From Facebook (author unknown):

“It was refreshing to see David Speers meeting his match on insiders this morning. Sunday 7 February. Try as he might, he could not disrupt or contradict Labor official Marles this morning, who reflected the quiet, competent professionalism awaiting Australia after this tired, lazy crooked Government is removed in favour of a new capable Labor’s government. Do we want more Craig Kelly’s or Marles, the difference is a bit too obvious? Of course, I haven’t even mentioned Tanya Plibersek or Kristina Keneally or penny Wong. Labor has a wealth of reformist talent ready to lead.”

5 This email from Mark Dreyfus I received in my Roy Morgan daily newsletter summary is worth repeating:

“We’ve all seen the ever-growing list of scandals surrounding the Morrison Government.

Sports Rorts. Robodebt. The Western Sydney Airport Land rip off.

The list goes on and on.

Australians deserve to have confidence in their Government. Still, Scott Morrison and his Liberal and National Party mates are doing everything they can to prevent the establishment of a powerful and independent national anti-corruption commission.

The Liberals are even proposing what has been called ‘the weakest watchdog in the country’ which will ensure they are never held accountable for their multiple scandals.”

6 Also from Roy Morgan:

“Professor Andrew Stewart from the University of Adelaide is among 23 labour law experts who have criticised key elements of the Federal Government’s omnibus industrial relations bill. Professor Stewart says a particular concern is the proposal to exempt some enterprise agreements from the ‘better-off-overall test’ for two years. The senior academics have also questioned the proposed definition of a casual worker. Professor Stewart stresses that the academics support some parts of the bill, such as increased penalties for wage theft.” (Original article by David Marin-Guzman, The Australian Financial Review, 09/02/2021).

7 From Peter van Onselen (Peter referred to Minister Greg Hunts astonishing attack on ABC journalist and morning host Michael Roland last Tuesday):

 

 

Anyway, truth won in the end.

My thought for the day

We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that, the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?

PS: Many thanks to Marilyn Richards, who found the time to write the following:

“Thank you I have enjoyed your writing and your thoughts on this crazy life for some time. I have particularly enjoyed the self-control you seem to have when I have needed to gather my thoughts and courage to stop myself from exploding. Wishing you many more enlightening contributions. To keep some of us sane.”

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Religion and politics can agree, but rarely do (part 1)

When did the Christian religion first influence American and Australian politics? Let’s start in the present. Faith got its back up when the now-disgraced Christian President Trump signed an executive order separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Religious organisations of varying denominations spoke out against what they considered a barbaric practice. The Trump administration pursued a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy as a deterrent for immigrants by prosecuting adults who illegally crossed into the country, resulting in systematic family separation. Five hundred and forty-five children’s parents still cannot be found, and it is estimated that about two-thirds had been deported without their kids. So religion does speak its mind when it is confronted with things it considers evil or against God’s laws.

It is easy to prove the historical involvement of religion in politics concerning particular issues. But which presidents or prime ministers have defended the separation of church and state most ardently? Both in Australia and the U.S., our constitutions both explicitly outline the separation of church and state.

John F Kennedy was in danger of being overlooked for the 1960 Presidency because he was a Catholic:

“Protestants questioned whether Kennedy’s Roman Catholic faith would allow him to make important national decisions as President independent of the Church. Kennedy addressed those concerns before a sceptical audience of Protestant clergy.”

He made his now-famous speech about the separation of church and state. But there are also many examples of religion seeking a place in government. They all form part of the Christian or religious right that has its origins in Christian political factions that are strongly socially conservative. Mostly they are United States Christian conservatives who seek to influence politics and public policy with their own particular interpretation of the teachings of Christ. (Note: An opposing view might be that Jesus was the world’s first socialist.)

These Evangelical Christians are an informal coalition with a core of conservative evangelical Protestants and some Roman Catholics.

The notion that a few privileged individuals can own the vast majority of a countries wealth and the remainder own little is on any level unsustainable, politically, economically or morally.

In Australia, the Christian right was unheard of until recent times when conservative Evangelical Christians took control of both church doctrine (the gospel of wealth) and political Liberal ideology moved to the far right (a reluctance for change). With an Evangelical Prime Minister who has similar religious and political philosophies as former U.S. president Donald Trump, Australia began to shift in both language and style under the Prime Ministership of Tony Abbott.

The Christian right has influenced politics since the 1940s but has been particularly powerful since the 1970s.

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

Although Christian rights are most commonly associated with politics in the United States, similar Christian conservative groups can be found in other Christian-majority nations’ political cultures. It promotes its teachings on social issues such as:

school prayer, intelligent design, embryonic stem cell research, homosexuality, temperance, euthanasia, contraception, Christian nationalism, Sunday Sabbatarianism, sex education, abortion, and pornography.”

The right-wing Evangelical churches promote these issues in and outside the church. Most members adhere to these teachings, but those raised in a modern pluralist society feel conflicted between church and state.

The problem for the Australian Christian is this question: Is it a good thing to be associated with a political party who only has the interest of those who ‘have’ at the centre of its ideology or should it re-examine Biblical teaching in light of a rapidly changing society and technological change and reach out to the ‘have nots’?

Scott Morrison started his church life in the Uniting Church and was greatly influenced by the Reverend Ray Green. Brian Houston of the evangelical mega-church Hillsong (Assembly of God) and Leigh Coleman left a lasting impression on him. All three got a mention in Morrison’s inaugural speech to the Australian parliament.

Houston was criticised by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse for failing to report sexual abuse by his father. In other words, he broke a law of the state. Mind you; he wasn’t alone in his sin.

Morrison’s flippantly opportunistic approach to programs run by the Government like Robodebt, Sports Rorts, and Aged Care homes suggest corruption on a grand level.

His “dear friend” and fundraiser Leigh Coleman somehow raised $43 million from the Morrison government for programs to help Indigenous folk, but somehow most of it seemed to go in salaries.

Leigh Coleman, formerly of Hillsong, has allegations of fraud and bribery against him. (Note: Allegations, not charges.)

The $43 million in contracts from the Defence Department to a company he is linked to (in so much as he founded and managed it) “while being a registered charity was set up to address Indigenous unemployment and disadvantage.”

That’s $43 million of our money, and it reeks of suspicion. And this man is a friend of the Prime Minister, and just as importantly, a friend of Pastor Houston.

A bit sus, cynical, or wouldn’t pass the pub test are few expressions Australians would use to describe these transactions. So much so that it has the whiff of corruption about it. These are the sorts of things that can happen when religion gets to close to government.

Even more suss when one looks closer at this recent piece from The Guardian, and you see that the org upon which such legion of government largesse is bestowed, ServeGate Australia, has all the hallmarks of a front, a tax dodge, a money-laundering operation

 

In part 2: How the merger progressed to make a threesome with the industrialists and their wealth.

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 are in the religious fever of climate change, conservative politics and unconventional religious belief.

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The Morrison Government: Scandal-ridden to the core

1 The forthcoming election is up for grabs. On the one hand the conservative parties are convinced that they can win based on what they believe to be the excellent job they have done with the pandemic. That is despite the states doing most of the work.

On the other hand, Labor has its policies and a bottomless basket full of conservative corruption and other activities to choose for an attack on the government’s legitimacy. If I were going into an election, I would much rather be in Labor leader Albanese’s shoes than the Prime Minister’s.

Let me remind you of a few of those activities.

Sports rorts, Robodebt, Federal ICAC, aged care deaths, land sales and now a follow up to sports rorts in bushfire rorts. Add to that list their opposition to an increase to Newstart, political donations and rental assistance and failing to follow up on the Uluru Statement.

They have been a do-nothing government of little accountability and endless corruption.

And might I add big business’s failure to return the JobKeeper money; the taxpayer’s money the government gave to companies to save jobs. And there was the Treasurer on Insiders last Sunday joyfully defending their right to pocket the taxpayer’s funds.

Belatedly the Prime Minister says it’s the politics of envy when you ask companies to give back job keeper money, which begs the question of Robodebt. What was it when the government pursued its false debt? Anyway, the Auditor General will investigate JobKeeper after it (was illegally used) to pay dividends and bonuses.

In a comment on my previous post for The AIMN the astute Kaye Lee noted that:

“He can ignore the debt and deficit and all other policy because…. pandemic.

But I don’t think he will be able to ignore, or deal with, climate change and energy policy. With the election of Biden, world scrutiny and demand for action is ramping up. They can’t con the international community with “meet and beat in a canter” crap. There is every chance that the EU and other countries who are making significant cuts to emissions will impose “carbon border adjustment charges”. Scotty is in trouble here.”

And how true that is.

Of course, every government has its share of scandals. Nothing new in that but this Coalition government has critically changed how we are governed. Acts of corruption, malfeasance, wrongdoing and impropriety are now weekly occurrences, not just unlucky slip-ups.

They are now so commonplace as to be an embarrassment. And worse is that most are ongoing open wounds in our democracy.

2 By the way, its Happy Birthday to Medicare. 37 on 1 February. Not perfect but nonetheless it has served us well. If the conditions were right, the conservatives would be rid of it in a flash.

3 I was reading the Michael West weekly email newsletter yesterday. One of his authors (Lyndsay Connors) points out that:

“Since Scott Morrison became prime minister in 2018, the Coalition has poured an extra $4.6 billion over a decade into Catholic and independent schools.

“Productivity Commission figures released this week show government funding for non-government schools continues to grow faster than for public schools. Judging by statements the new federal Education Minister Alan Tudge made to Parliament, inequality will deepen.”

4 The new QandA timeslot will hopefully bring a broader audience to the panel discussion show. Last night’s panel – apart from Alexander Downer who appears to be remote from ordinary people – was excellent.

5 Now we have Bushfire Rorts. How long is it going to last? Have you ever applied for a grant? It is almost as if they don’t want you to get it.

6 One would have to think that Craig Kelly has something on the Prime Minister. If not, how does he get away with all the crap he serves up.

The Hughes group against Kelly hopes to field an independent in the seat to challenge him in the next election.

7 The government is serving up a very meagre policy agenda for 2021, as reported in The Guardian:

“The Morrison government has nominated waste policy, climate adaptation and reform of national conservation laws as its environmental priorities for 2021, prompting criticism that it is not focused enough on improving the plight of the country’s declining wildlife and threatened species.”

Note: Not a mention of the 38 recommendations made by the former competition watchdog head, Graeme Samuel, in a review of the EPBC Act released last week.

8 Albanese has his party no more than a point behind the Coalition, according to this week’s Newspoll 50/50 poll, at level pegging. The Guardian’s latest Essential Poll has Labor ahead 47 to 44, with the rest undecided.

9 The abuse of Albanese of the last few weeks has led me to this: Having supported Labor for all of my 80 years l am now of the view that my party isn’t much interested in winning government.

10 Total political donations for 2020:

“… are $168m, way down on the $434m in the previous year 2018/19. The Liberal Party edged out Labor as the top recipient. Total donations for Liberal Party are $57m, Labor $55m, Nationals $12.4m, Clive Palmer $10.2m, Greens $7.2m and One Nation $5.8m.”

My thought for the day

I feel people on the right of politics in Australia show an insensitivity to the common good that goes beyond any thoughtful examination. They have a hate on their lips, and their hate starts with the beginning of a smile.

PS: Might I remind my friends that it is they who we are fighting, not ourselves?

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With all the luck in the world, the Prime Minister progresses but fails to move forward

If I had time I would sit down, do a bit of research and document how more often than not events seem to fall rightly or wrongly into place to favour the Liberal Party or what is now the Conservative Party waiting for another name.

On this occasion, a virus slipped in to help a down and out government on the ropes and just about to enter a recession. After almost three pathetic and corrupt governance terms, they are looking to take a fourth, and if you believe all the Albanese knockers, he hasn’t the charisma to beat Scott Morrison. Sorry, but we have heard it all before.

Which of these leaders had charisma?

John Howard.

Julia Gillard.

John Hewson.

Bob Hawke.

Gough Whitlam.

Bill Shorten.

Kim Beasley.

Kevin Rudd.

Malcolm Fraser.

Anthony Albanese.

Mark Latham.

Scott Morrison.

Who had the least, yet in terms of longevity was the most successful? In my view, John Howard was the least charismatic yet the most (in terms of longevity), successful. It is often the case that in polling, the popularity of a leader doesn’t always correspond with the party they might vote for.

People get carried away with popularity when as we get closer to the election the question of; “Who would you vote for?” is more important than; “Who would make the better Prime Minister?”.

In the last week or so we have witnessed a bombardment of attacks; call it character assassinations if you like, against Anthony Albanese that amount to nothing more than people’s feelings and have no basis otherwise. Take Troy Bramston’s article in The Australian 2 February 2021. It can only be described as a list of unsubstantiated claims that are nothing more than grubby attempts at character assassination.

In polls such as Newspoll, one can take little from them other than how people are feeling at the time. On the question of who is the more popular, Morrison must come out on top. He is well known, full of crap and has taken over the media, in the fullness of its reach. I mean, COVID-19 has by necessity demanded that the Prime Minister be proactive in leadership and feeding information to the press and the public. That means exposure. Its value in terms of public perception cannot be measured, but I sure wouldn’t like to be paying for it.

For his part, Albanese has and still is an example of how bipartisanship politics in the face of a national crisis should work. He has been firm but fair in all respects without any acclaim.

It is often difficult for an opposition leader to get a sentence on the national nightly news let alone during a pandemic. On top of that, he is fighting the Murdoch media empire’s might.

Yet despite all this people demand that he be more assertive. That he should be in campaign mode before the campaign has even begun.

Nobody in the party is more aware of the leadership rumblings within than Albanese. This was the entire point of last Thursday’s reshuffle.

Albanese has come up with a more purpose-fit alternative ministry. One that in my view that person for person is much better than the incumbents. Take a look at the frontbench and see if you agree.

No doubt many Labor MPs ask themselves if their current leader can beat Scott Morrison in an election this year. Despite the 50/50 Newspoll result, The Australian has written Albo off as yesterday’s hero to be replaced in a matter of days. If the 50/50 remains for three consecutive polls, you can say there is a trend. What a load of piffle it is. For those who look for a more in-depth analysis, I would suggest in part that people may have woken up as they did in the US to the enormous falsities that they were being told.

When a political party deliberately withholds information, the voter needs to make an informed, balanced and reasoned assessment of how it is governed. When it lies over a long period, disregards science and tells the people that everything is fake except what they tell them, they eventually react.

Labor MPs might continue to ask themselves and one another whether Albanese has what it takes to beat Morrison, but they should give him a chance. Like President Biden, he can call bullshit out for what it is and then calmly explain the truth of things. Why people need a raving voice of reply to counter everything a leader says is beyond me.

Biden has set an example that others should take notice of; “Let your words speak their purpose.” Trump’s words or lies then became exposed for what they were.

Frankly, I am sick of people proposing a leader’s dismissal before the fight has even begun. Give the bloke a go.

Joe Biden’s victory should be seen as a fillip for international action against the extremities of the right.

Now a few words about the Albo’s shadow cabinet.

Bowen is an excellent choice for when, as it must, the climate debate eventually becomes one of economics. He is a proven performer and debater of a wide range of policy.

Labor desperately wants the election to be a post-pandemic one that outlines a future Australia. In the reshuffle, Richard Marles has a super portfolio that narrates our future. No one better than the philosophical Marles to do that.

Burke stays in Industrial Relations as was his want with Chalmers still in the Treasury, leaving Stephen Jones to prosecute Superannuation. Plibersek loses her portfolio’s skills component to Marles, which is a bit of a slap on the wrist to a possible challenger.

Victorian left-winger Brendan O’Connor was handed the shadow defence portfolio. Both O’Connor and Albanese are in the same faction but have been indifferent corners in a few debates.

This reshuffle reflects the battle that lays ahead. In my view, the government is very vulnerable on many fronts, and the opposition has a team that can take it up to the government.

They need to be a group of enthusiastic men and women who believe that winning is a result of good leadership, supporting the leader and tackling your opponent with words that have the ring of truth about them.

The world is sick of leaders like Trump and Morrison. It’s time for a change.

My thought for the day

One of the oddities of political polling is trying to understand how 50% of the voting public would willingly return a party that has governed so abysmally.

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Can Joe Biden change Australian politics for the better?

“If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot,” ( President Biden, 21/01/2021).

He might have been showing his age using that language, and I may be showing mine by repeating it. However, what is inferred by the message is that the new President will no longer tolerate the sort of behaviour demonstrated by the former President, Donald Trump. It is time for all the abuse to end.

What happens in America usually repeats itself in Australia. We seem to inherit everything about them, their music, sport, dress, speech and many other cultural influences. Ain’t that right, guys?

Under Trump, the language of politics changed. US politics was harsh enough and brutal enough as it was, but Donald Trump added a new dimension.

In Australia, we had picked up on the vernacular at the beginning of the Tea Party revolution when one could call on the use of foul language, bad manners and a lack of truth as legitimate political tools. Lying in earnest began in the US when Mick Romney opposed Barack Obama in his second term.

Australia experienced it out of the mouths of opposition leader Tony Abbott and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce. And what vile fluid it was.

Then from the first time Trump met Morrison, they developed some sort of relationship of thought that lasted until Trump’s bitter end. They may have had more in common than we first thought.

They both admired populist strongmen and had a fawning allegiance to reactionary populist strongmen the world over.

Both were prone to making mistakes by not taking advice and being surrounded by people of mediocre intelligence. Look at Trump’s sackings and Morrison’s hopelessly incompetent cabinet.

Both were devoid of international diplomacy. Look at Morrison’s handling of the Jerusalem embassy and his inability to fulfil any trade diplomacy with China. And, especially in his handling of the China relationship, there’s been a streak of impulsiveness that at times outweighed any consideration for the delicate balancing act that is international diplomacy.

Trump would have nothing to do with getting things done for the common good, fearing that socialism might be used to describe it. Morrison and his cabinet have committed policy failures that would see riots on some countries’ streets, but laidback Aussies don’t do such things. Morrison is a little less subtle, but the comparisons are remarkable.

In the recipe of good leadership, there are many ingredients. Popularity is but one. However, it ranks far below getting things done for the common good.

In a review of Nick Bryant’s latest book; “When America stopped being great,” Andrew West, says that.

“Joe Biden had a solid win in the electoral college, but the Democrats are weaker and more divided on ideology than at any time in the past forty years. Trump’s influence will taunt Biden’s administration, which will need to balance its two factions: the social-democratic left versus what you might call the social media left. The former will hope that Biden summons up his instincts of half a century and prioritises unions and workers’ rights; investment in infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and his beloved Amtrak; higher taxes on the super-rich; the protection of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; and the incremental expansion of health care. The latter, channelling its energy through Vice President Kamala Harris, will demand attention to group rights based on ethnicity, sex, sexuality, and gender. Biden and Harris have about eighteen months to make it work before a bruised, but defiant Trumpism stirs again.”

Biden needs to convince his nation that his way of doing politics will have better outcomes for a country yet to overcome the callous, selfish politics of a leader bereft of decency. He needs to make his methods work and show the world that the crass politics of conservative Trumpism is of a world that has now passed.

If they can, Australia’s people will see through the copy-cat style of Morrison’s politics that have washed over us. He should stop pretending to be Trump and start telling us the truth.

Now that he doesn’t need to align himself to Trump, Morrison should quietly back away from his impersonation.

Some time back he praised Trump’s political priorities, saying that they “shared a lot of the same views.” As recently as December, Morrison accepted the Legion of Merit (a US military decoration) from the 45th president. What on earth did he think he was doing?

He should never have accepted the honour. And with a President as mentally fragile as Trump, he should have kept the fact that they shared many thoughts and ideas to himself.

His judgement in attending what was fundamentally an election rally with Trump in 2019 was another error. His presence gave the impression that he was tacitly endorsing Trump, whereas he should have stayed out of it as another nation’s leader.

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.

The end of the Trump era has opened the door to endless possibilities. Time to ponder the damage he created, but more importantly to consider just what Biden’s ascent to power will do to the rest of the world.

He has come to power with an impeccable service record to the American nation. His inauguration has given his country – and perhaps the rest of the world – a chance of doing politics in a new way.

The last vestiges of Trumpism await a second impeachment that will hopefully never see in a public office again. What are the implications for Australia where our conservative politicians have so astutely followed the principles of Trumpism?

Joe Biden intends to reverse America’s image that Trump built in his four-year term. He is already back on board with the Paris Agreement on climate change, together with a wholesale shift in energy policies.

A raft of other policies are being reversed, dropped, or shelved under Biden’s administration. It is now time for us to put a heavy emphasis on how Biden’s new policies will reflect on our own.

We still have the pandemic and a recession that began before it. The heavy dominance of global and domestic terrorism seems to have given way to right-wing terror and insurrection in the US.

But politics in Australia will have to change. Not only in the way it is delivered and the manners that are used, but also in the policies.

Our issues will move closer to those of the US and domestically – rather than a fight between two protagonists – both Labor and the LNP will be forced into being more broadly acceptable. Morrison will have to shed telling all the lies he does and drop his phoney imitation of Trump, and although Australia has never placed much weight on personality, Albo will have to grow some and do it quickly.

The Prime Minister has a dominant, know-all personality with a liking for demonstrating it. On the other hand, Albanese is relatively unknown and super clean when it comes to controversy.

Morrison is a weak leader who gets away with a lot. His unwillingness to punish and replace those of his cabinet who have failed leaves the electorate thinking they have something on him.

We don’t seem to have the same methodology for dealing with incompetence that other countries do.

From now on we will not be able to rely on the old comparison answer that “oh well, we are not as bad as them” be it vaccinations or economics.

According to The Washington Post, Trump told more than 30,573 lies (or misleading claims) during his presidency.

The political and cultural damage from all those lies now lay at Biden’s feet. Our Prime Minister followed his very same political game plan. Conservatives in Australia need to look at the damage his philosophy has done to his country and ask themselves if they should continue with their Trump-style politics, or start acting like real Aussies. Do we really want to end up with a similar mess that Biden has to clean up?

My thought for the day

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

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January 26, 1788: The day the white men came and plundered

Whatever your opinion of the day, it is impossible not to stop and consider it. By considering I mean how does one give it the meaning it so richly deserves.

Of course, our First Nations People would like it moved to another day because they see the day as an invasion of the country they have occupied continuously for thousands of years.

Although now almost 80 years of age, I have to confess I have only ever shaken one Aboriginal’s hand in my lifetime. It was that of Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls (of the Yorta Yorta nation) who played VFL football with Fitzroy many years ago. I might have been 16 years of age at the time.

Other dark-skinned faces have just walked by with a look of resignation as I have acknowledged them in the street. Am I ashamed of not making a more significant effort? Yes, I am.

However, I’m not removed from having a view simply because of a lack of connection. No, indeed l am not.

More importantly, social justice or injustice raises my blood pressure above normal. I find racism amongst the worst of all evils. This year as we approach day 26, we are reminded by both sides of the argument just what the day means to all Australians, but at the same time, we are also asked by our First Nations People to consider whether it is the right day.

For me, it is a bad day, and I should think that commemorating the day you have your country taken from you is hardly the day the nation which is now a multitude of ethnic origins is hardly a day to celebrate it. I hope most reasoned people would agree, but that is not the case. It gets a bit unsavoury for me when my fellow citizens treat the day so flippantly and dismiss out of hand our First Nations People’s involvement in it.

On the one hand, many of my fellow Australians see it as a chance to celebrate the country’s lifestyle, culture and achievements, typically through barbeques and public events, yet always through the prism of the white fella’s eyes. However, the date is not a happy one for Australia’s Indigenous people.

January 26 is also a significant date on the cricketing calendar, and this year Cricket Australia (CA) – much to the ire of Prime Minister Scott Morrison – recognisees the pain it brings to Indigenous Australians

“After consulting with Indigenous leaders, CA is choosing not to market games as ‘Australia Day’ clashes, instead referring to them as ‘January 26’ matches because it wants be inclusive of all people Down Under, including First Nations people who view the date as a dark day in the nation’s history.

However, Mr Morrison was completely against the decision, telling Queensland’s 4RO radio: ‘A bit more focus on cricket, a little less focus on politics would be my message to Cricket Australia’.”

When he became Prime Minister, Scott Morrison repeated the lie of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that a voice for our First Nations People would create a third chamber in the Parliament. An Australian parliamentarian has never uttered a more significant load of crap.

The last paragraph of the above article …

“Morrison did not nominate where the idea for a new Indigenous day came from but said it’s a ‘good discussion to have’. After a request from Guardian Australia, the prime minister’s office was not able to nominate any process of consultation to consider the idea.”

… is yet another example of the Prime Minister not wanting us to have an opinion but more importantly, not wanting Indigenous folk to view themselves in a situation of modernity. He doesn’t want them and us to focus on politics in case we might see his philosophy differently than he does.

In my lifetime, Indigenous Australians have taken considerable strides in sport, education, the arts, and health.

Of the last eight Indigenous Australians of the year, four have been sportspeople. (Lionel Rose, 1968; Yvonne Goolagong, 1971; Cathy Freeman, 1998; and Adam Goodes, 2014).

Each was a fine choice, but at the same time, when it happens, it can be controversial. Success by individuals doesn’t always reflect itself at a community level.

Australian Rules football, rugby, and many other sports are dotted with champions’ names.

More Aboriginals are now entering politics, becoming doctors and academics.

In the arts, we have The Bangarra Dance Company, now a worldwide success. Painters Albert Namatjira and Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and many others adorn galleries’ walls throughout the world. More Aboriginals are now attending university than at any time in history.

The following quote is taken from a Covenant statement of the Uniting Church 1994:

“We lament that our people took your land from you as if it were land belonging to nobody, and often responded with great violence to the resistance of your people; our people took from you your means of livelihood, and desecrated many sacred places. Our justice system discriminated against you, and the high incarceration rate of your people and the number of Black deaths in custody show that the denial of justice continues today.”

What is needed is a date in which we can celebrate an Australia Day in which with the use of truth-telling we can create a narrative that satisfies the history of our First Australians and at the same time defines who we are in the world we inhabit.

Do the majority of Australians have an opinion on when Australia Day should be celebrated? Apparently not:

“A poll commissioned by progressive think tank Australia Institute found 56% didn’t care when the national day was held, while a separate poll from conservative group the Institute of Public Affairs resulted in 70% support for keeping Australia Day on January 26.”

Do you remember the Uluru Statement from the Heart?

“The Uluru Statement from the Heart was released on May 26 2017 by delegates to the First Nations National Constitutional Convention, held over four days near Uluru in Central Australia.”

The Government’s rejection of the statement that the public greeted with some enthusiasm was, in my view, indefensible. It was an act of “political bastardry” that told our First Nations People that they were wasting their time.

“This act of political bastardry cannot be left unanswered and must be answered with no less than the full outrage it deserves.”

Before any Government can find an Australia Day worthy of celebration it must include all the nations now settled on our shores.

However, it will always be considered unworthy unless our First Nations People have their words flown on eagles’ wings, at the forefront of all the Indigenous nations now gathered.

In recent times our conservative governments have rejected all Indigenous folks’ efforts to advance their people and their voices.

They always seem to stop short when the word “equal” appears before them.

Then words like “know your place” show their white on black and it is like a barrier that can never be overcome. Sadly, racism is alive and well in 2021 as it was in 1788.

Until the conservatives in the government can comprehend the words equality, reconcile and unify, we will never celebrate a real Australia Day.

In closing, here’s a quiz: Who said this?

“We could all make a list of the things that should be better: trust in politicians, economic competitiveness, standards in schools, safety on our streets (especially in Melbourne), congested roads and inefficient public transport, and – yes – the well-being of the First Australians, but is anything to be gained by this annual cycle of agonizing over the date of our national day?”

My thought for the day

Never allow racism to disguise itself in the cloak of nationalism.

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Is Scott Morrison guilty of cloning Donald Trump?

Amid the trumped-up support of Donald Trump, you might remember the time he made some lewd comments, on a recording, about women. The one where he mentioned grabbing them by the p#ssy.

At the time, his running partner Mike Pence said “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them.” After that episode, he continued to come out strongly in support of his partner:

“Pence vigorously defended his running mate against the claims and promised evidence casting doubt on the claims was about to be released.”

Pence said Trump personally assured him that the allegations were untrue:

“Before the day is out, there’ll be more evidence publicly that calls into question these latest allegations.

Stay tuned. I know there’s more information that’s going to be coming out that will back up his claim that this is all categorically false.”

Nothing eventuated.

In the same breath, Pence also defended Donald Trump’s use of the Tax Code, racism, and the disgusting remarks he made against the Army Capt. Humayun Khan.

He defended Trump against what he said were unsubstantiated allegations of sexual misconduct made by multiple women.

We are entitled to ask the question: How is it possible for a man who places his belief in God above all else, including politics, able to defend a man who is so obviously at odds with the teachings of Christ?

Is he not sinning in defending a racist misogynist who has little time for righteous behaviour?

Are we not also entitled to ask the Australian Prime Minister and his deputy, who display the same God-fearing traits, why they both defended Trump’s actions.

Well-know journalist Dennis Atkins concurs:

 

 

How is it that godly men married to the ten commandants and believe in the absolute Christian tenants of faith, love and truth can defend a known narcissistic liar and cheat? If you are a Christian, then perhaps you should ask your God.

Too often, those of faith hide behind the omission of facts and actions. They deny things that can be proven to be true. In front of their God, they deny their actions.

In my knowledge of faith, every time Scott Morrison tells a lie or puts into action a policy that will hurt people, he sins. He cannot have it both ways.

 

 

Morrison’s refusal to criticise Trump’s behaviour – let alone accept that the violent mob was incited by Trump – can only mean that he condones it. Even now, he continues to imply his admiration for the man.

But then their policies and decisions show that they are both opinionated, self-centred, narcissistic, and without empathy. The only difference is that Trump thinks himself a genius.

In a survey conducted by The Australia Institute, 56% of respondents agreed when asked whether Morrison should either criticise or condemn Trump for his role in inciting the riots. In comparison, 26% disagreed and 18% were unsure.

The Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, was circumspect in his response to what he called “effectively an insurrection”, saying there was “no doubt that both the words and actions of Donald Trump have encouraged this activity.”

I agree with Dennis Atkins. We have a weak, spineless and character-free Prime Minister.

My thought for the day

Religion does not have a monopoly on morality. Or anything else in my experience.

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Don’t expect leadership from Scott Morrison

“You are only as good as your Cabinet” are words that make you think. For those of my vintage, it suggests a group of people who respect leadership and intelligence with the same broad objectives. Bob Hawke’s first Cabinet was such a group. They were a progressive bunch with the will to take the country forward, and they did so with hard work and diligence.

The Ministry included such luminaries as Hawke, Lionel Bowen, John Button, Paul Keating, Barry Jones, Bill Haydon, Susan Ryan, Mick Young and Gareth Evans.

Of course, talent doesn’t always follow those with degrees. The current Ministry is probably the most educated of all time, whereas the Hawke Cabinets conversely contained a fair few without degrees, other than life experience.

Sure, they had a bit of flair with a touch of Hawke larrikinism. Keating left school at 14, Mick Young worked as a shearer and roustabout, and Peter Walsh was a wheat and sheep farmer.

I mention these fleetingly because I have written in-depth on this subject before. I really wanted to comment on a few LNP politician’s behaviours who don’t represent the parties they stand for and are not representative of any standard of decency expected of our parliamentarians.

Let’s go back to President Trump’s Twitter ban and begin with the response by the climate change fact-denying, bible-bashing absentee George Christensen who believes that free speech that allows for the individual’s right to lie without consequence is a good thing:

“On Sunday, Christensen proposed laws to ‘stop social media platforms from censoring any and all lawful content created by their users’.”

He was, of course, opposing Twitter’s suspension of President Trump. Trump has been very active lately firing out violence-inspiring words. Words like these:

“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

Trump’s speech was riddled with imagery of warlike-violence and I wonder if Mr Christensen supports this example of ‘free speech.’

The New York Times reported that:

“Several laws clearly make it a crime to incite a riot or otherwise try to get another person to engage in a violent crime against property or people.”

Again, I wonder what George thinks of that?

Acting Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack has been criticised in the media when his words compared the riots with the recent Black Lives Matter marches.

If hydroxychloroquine-deviates like Christensen and the clearly incompetent McCormack want to express their views in the guise of free speech, it does not mean it should be free from ethics like truth, but people often demand free speech to compensate for the freedom of thought they rarely use.

Christensen and McCormack are but two of one of many in the government with these traits.

I can but humbly conclude that if you agree with Trump’s right to free speech and it contains actions that promote violence, then you must in part at least own a bit of the story.

Scott Ludlum takes a dig:

 

 

Both Christensen and Craig Kelly have also agreed with the President that hydroxychloroquine is an effective coronavirus treatment.

The point here is that Morrison’s Cabinet members and those outside it appear to have carte blanche to say what they want on any subject. Matt Canavan regularly does on energy and climate change as does Kelly. No strong leader would allow it.

Chris Bowen gives the impression he doesn’t think highly of those guys.

 

 

Of course, it must be remembered that the two of them have power over the Government who with a one-seat majority are still vulnerable on the floor of the House. If one of them crossed the floor, their demise could mean life or death for the Government. They know it, as does Morrison.

McCormack said that he did not believe Christensen or Kelly should be criticised for having different opinions. Still, when those opinions aren’t substantiated with facts, they are just baseless crap.

“Facts are sometimes contentious and what you might think is right, somebody else might think is completely untrue … That is part of living in a democratic country,” McCormack said.

The Acting Prime Minister also doubled down on remarks he made comparing the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests to last week’s riot on the Capitol, saying “any form of violence” should be condemned.

McCormack, the acting Prime Minister while Scott Morrison takes a break, was asked whether Donald Trump should be removed from office for inciting the riots:

“It is unfortunate that we have seen the events at the Capitol Hill that we’ve seen in recent days, similar to those race riots that we saw around the country last year,” Mr McCormack told the ABC’s RN program.

In yet another tweet, Josh Frydenberg couldn’t support the Deputy Prime Minister quickly enough.

Tony Windsor also tweeted:

 

 

What is it in the Acting Prime Minister’s innermost thinking that compares a Black Death in custody with a protest by some uninformed “fascists”?

Now let’s move onto the Prime Minister and see how the leader is shaping up at the beginning of 2021.

Thus far, he has refused categorically to tell his backbench to stop spreading misinformation.

However, he tweeted:

 

 

The Australian chimed in:

 

 

On leave, the Prime Minister is quoted as saying that he is hoping for a peaceful transfer of power in the United States.

He criticised the rioters for their “terribly distressing” acts of violence in storming the Capitol building but could not find few condemning words for the President. When he asked the crowd to disperse, Trump’s mixed messages were overlooked when the rioters read between the lines.

Morrison also refused any criticism of others on his backbench (and others) for supporting and promoting unfounded conspiracy theories over the US presidential election results.

Anthony Albanese was direct and blunt in his response, saying the actions of the people involved were those of insurrectionists. In contrast, Malcolm Turnbull said Morrison had been “a bit weak” and “a bit tepid” compared to other world leaders’ condemnation.

So it has to be said that the Prime Minister is carrying a large amount of luggage from one year to the next he is also adding a significant amount into 2021.

2020 was a challenging year, and many societal and economic changes will be thrust on us by COVID-19. The Government is hardly likely to merge the economy with society and bring about a fairer governance system.

Their record whilst in power has been nothing short of deplorable. There are no “Liberals” left to bring about change that in turn would apply equality of opportunity, transparency, and an open government style that governs for all.

No doubt exists in my mind that all the small ‘L’ liberals have gone and we are left with a rabble of conservative, very right-wing Trump-like species who only have feelings for themselves. What’s in it for me?

The LNP is like the GOP. Both have lost the traditional values of at least having a heart. One only has to look at the decline in both their values over the past decade. They have sold them out to the corporations and the extreme right-wing of their parties, in other words, to the highest bidder who gives not a dam for the collective good.

America has proven that it can with the right people overcome the moronic-powerful like Trump, and this year Australia may have the same opportunity with Morrison.

The question is; Does Labor have the right people to do it?

My thought for the day

Leadership is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of life and 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.

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The baggage the Morrison government has lugged from one year to the next means that 2021 will be a hard slog

At this time last year, I wrote a four-part series about the Morrison government titled The luggage they have carried from one year to the next means 2020 will be a hard slog.

In Part 1, my focus, in the main, was on global warming and the lies being told to justify the Government’s denial of the problem. The Government’s vetoes have been with us for over a decade now. It is difficult to comprehend how educated men and women can be stupid enough to allow such a catastrophe to occur when it is in their power to do something about it.

In Part 2, I concentrated on a return to trust and transparency in our governance.

In Part 3, I talked about the lack of leadership in our country, and in Part 4, I presented the actual baggage list, with my observations centred on the Government’s problems it would carry with it into 2020.

So out of curiosity, I thought I would take a close look at those leftover remnants of 2019 to see how they ended up; how much was forwarded to 2020, what entered the list in 2020 and carried over to 2021. So here we go.

1 A continuing problem with global warming, which the Government continues to ignore (will be carried over as baggage into 2021).

2 There’s this problem which we can also expect to be carried over into 2021:

“One-third of Australia’s largest companies paid no corporate tax last year despite the total tax take increasing by more than $6.6 billion.”

3 Wage theft had become a big problem in for the Government in 2019 as accusations were being made from month to month. Ditto in 2020. Can expect another ditto in 2021.

4 Julian Burnside in The Saturday Paper (21/12/19) on The Secret Trial of Witness J:

“The underlying criminal case against Witness J remains a mystery to the public. In the Senate on November 28, 2019, the minister representing Attorney-General Christian Porter refused to provide any details about the case. That witness J was charged in secrecy is scandalous in a country that purports to be a democracy. It is also a serious warning to all of us, raising the risk that Australia is quietly becoming authoritarian.”

The two men involved should be treated as heroes, not criminals.

In 2020 whistle-blowers are still being persecuted. Don’t expect the government to change its stance in 2021.

5 Didn’t the Prime Minister promise a form of federal ICAC as part of his election campaign? Whatever happened to it? This has been going on for two years now. A draft was presented to the Parliament and outright rejected. The first and most business a national corruption body would attract would come from the Coalition itself so one would hardly expect them to hurry. (No clear outcome. Can forward this to 2021 as well).

6 The election 2019 narrative of “jobs and growth” seems to have dropped by the wayside now that the unemployment figures are rising. With school leavers about to hit the jobs market unemployment will be a pain in the Government’s backside this year. (Compromised by COVID-19. No clear plans outlined so we can comfortably carry this one to 2021 as well).

7 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. This has been an ongoing problem for a decade or more, forwarded to 2021, where another controversy awaits.

8 A senate enquiry into how Question Time could be improved has never been started. Why? (Forwarded to 2021).

9 Will 2020 disclose just what the secret deal was with Jacqui Lambie to repeal Medevac? Lambie is still silent and Morrison is saying there was no secret deal. (Adding into the growing list in 2021).

10 Economic experts were saying that the Government would have to write down the value of the National Broadband Network. (Still no outcome. Move to 2021).

The problem with designing a network to meet the needs of today is that it denies you the ability to meet the needs of tomorrow.

11 Did you know that 2020 would, for some asylum seekers, be the beginning of year 7 of their incarceration for not even having committed a crime?

The Government does not indicate when this unfair and vile treatment will end. (Forward to 2021 horror treatment list).

12 Angus Taylor carries so much baggage that it’s hard to imagine him being off any list. Energy and climate change are the two main ones. (Forward to 2021 list). Let me remind you that we don’t yet have a formal energy or climate change policies.

* * * * *

The lack of funding for the NDIS will continue to be a thorn in the Government’s side as will the stench of its failure with Robodebt and the suicides it caused. You can expect more agitation from our First Nations peoples over The Uluru Statement and #BlackLivesMatter. But water theft will be forgotten unless there is a change in Government. The Cashless Welfare Card will also take prominence this year. New ideas will not arise until the next election. These will all remain on the 2021 list with varying degrees of importance.

What else of importance will fasten itself to this list in 2021? In what I am tipping as an election year climate change will secure itself more securely now that the latest survey finds 75% support for setting net-zero by 2030 target for emissions, and 81% support for net-zero by 2050.

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

Jumping onto the list will be aged care for which the Morrison Government is responsible. And of course the resulting deaths of COVID-19 in aged care facilities. Sports rorts – which I hadn’t included last year – may again rear its ugly head. Bush fires might drop a rung or two but remain in the public eye because of Morrison’s inept handling of the NSW and Victorian fires this time last year.

Wage stagnation, and attacks on welfare for the poor and vulnerable will also feature (as they do under any Coalition government).

A fence-sitter well my be Kevin 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 but not impossible to address all of these issues at once. However, it may take a Cabinet more blessed with talent than this one.

As I said in 2020:

“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.

Nor are we supposed to protest our inability to see or obtain information about the workings of Government.

Free speech is in rapid decline. 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.

The Coalition contains some of the most outstanding liars, propagandists and hypocrites our Parliament has ever seen, including the Prime Minister. Is it possible the punters might, in 2021, see through them?”

What has changed? Nothing.

My thought for the day

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

Eg:

  • Wage stagnation.
  • Massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Australians and foreign corporations.
  • Attempts to undermine Medicare.
  • More expensive university degrees.
  • Shrinking homeownership.
  • The everyday cost of living up.
  • Higher debt.

 

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The last words on Trump, hopefully

Goodness knows how many words I have written about this man. I want to think it is my last, but I’m not confident.

74,222,957 Americans voted for Donald Trump in the recent election. 46.8% of them don’t hold the President responsible for any of his mistakes. They see no wrong in his most vile acts. It is these people that have the secret to the why of it. Why are so many people dissatisfied with their lot in the land of milk and honey?

No doubt there are many factors like inequality, jobs and many others. Still, in this piece, I want to concentrate on my thoughts on Donald Trump’s Presidency and what he has done and how he has impregnated his worshipers with the same vile hatreds. In part, the why of it can be explained by what I call the “if it’s okay for them” rule.

Suppose my government or its leader demonstrates that it’s fair to act in a certain way then it is okay for me to follow suit. When America’s most privileged and powerful break the rules of accountability with impunity, the less well-off act with the same impunity, albeit the destruction of property or other violent actions.

Remember back in 2008 when:

“Wall Street nearly destroyed the economy. The Street got bailed out while millions of Americans lost their jobs, savings, and homes. Yet no major Wall Street executive ever went to jail.

In more recent years, top executives of Purdue Pharmaceuticals, along with the members of the Sackler family that own it, knew the dangers of OxyContin but did nothing. Executives at Wells Fargo Bank pushed bank employees to defraud customers. Executives at Boeing hid the results of tests showing its 737 Max Jetliner was unsafe. Police chiefs across America looked the other way as police under their command repeatedly killed innocent Black Americans.”

Nothing has been fixed. It all continues to happen, and the disenfranchised respond accordingly. If it is okay for our leaders to break the rules, then it’s okay for me to respond in kind.

Trump became President thinking that no law was too rigid for him to break thus setting an example for the entire population. He, over four years, became a threat to American democracy itself. “IF THEY CAN DO IT, WHY CAN’T WE?”

He told the people that the Presidency gave him the power to:

“… dig up dirt on political rivals, fire inspectors general who find corruption, order the entire executive branch to refuse congressional subpoenas, flood the Internet with fake information about his opponents, refuse to release his tax returns, accuse the press of being “fake media” and “enemies of the people”, and make money off his presidency.”

He was a President who lied without conscience about the election result insisting he had won when the evidence insisted Biden had. And of course, he had.

At the dawn of his exit, he has misused his Presidential pardons to the point of corrupting them. They are typically used as a pardon for possible wrong sentence, good conduct or the grace of forgiveness.

Those pardoned include:

“… aides convicted of lying to the FBI and threatening potential witnesses in order to protect him; his son-in-law’s father, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion, witness tampering, illegal campaign contributions, and lying to the Federal Election Commission; Blackwater security guards convicted of murdering Iraqi civilians, including women and children; border patrol agents convicted of assaulting or shooting unarmed suspects; and Republican lawmakers and their aides found guilty of fraud, obstruction of justice and campaign finance violations.”

Trump has not only deemed the crimes of those he has pardoned as unaccountable actions but also demeaned the courts that convicted them.

The problem here is societies’ willingness to accept his actions as standard, of somehow condoning actions that a mere decade ago might have condemned.

Other than saying the man was a sociopath, the why of it is not easily explained. If nobody is held accountable in a democratic society, norms collapse, and society’s very fabric decays with it.

History shows us that no former President has been convicted of ever having committed a crime. Perhaps this speaks volumes for the system. When Trump’s presidency is finally finished, and the last of his vilest words escape his tongue, he may very well face a barrage of lawsuits, but it is doubtful that he will serve time.

He will probably, almost certainly present himself with Presidential immunity or a self-pardon that will protect him.

One would think that the slightest hint of a criminal trial against the former President might see a partisan uprising across the states.

All this, of course, brings into perspective the power of future presidents. Congress might seek to make it tougher to break the rules. Trump will probably get away with all the mayhem he has created, including a new way of doing politics. Robert Reich writing for The Guardian, puts it this way:

“Congress may try to limit the power of future presidents – strengthening congressional oversight, fortifying the independence of inspectors general, demanding more financial disclosure, increasing penalties on presidential aides who break laws, restricting the pardon process, and so on.

But Congress – a co-equal branch of government under the constitution – cannot rein in rogue presidents. And the courts don’t want to weigh in on political questions.

The appalling reality is that Trump may get away with it. And in getting away with it he will have changed and degraded the norms governing American presidents. The giant windows he’s broken are invitations to a future president to break even more.”

America faces, whether they like it or not, the startling reality that Trump will get away with breaking many laws and degrading the norms of American democracy and decency.

Those who voted for Joe Biden voted for a return to normalcy whilst those who voted for Donald Trump voted for a continuance of his brand of hate-filled politics.

Democrats need to sort out the why of it if they want to return to a typical America. In the next four years, they will need to discover the answer to my question, address it and gain another term with control of both houses and set an agenda that will make America great again.

My thought for the day

If we are to save our democracy, we might begin by asking that at the very least our politicians should be transparent and tell the truth.

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Pathetic leadership = pathetic policy = pathetic cabinet = pathetic governance

Is it just a rumour or another timely deflection? Ambassador to the USA, Arthur Sinodinos was rumoured to be ill and would be replaced by a cabinet minister. However, he ruled out any shock early departure, saying he is well.

Another rumour suggested Marise Payne would take up the post. Yet another had Peter Dutton a laydown certainty of being the next Defence Minister. Nevertheless, all rumours aside when one has a pool with such little talent, what does one do?

One rumour on news.com said that Josh Frydenberg organised a women-only dinner with the Prime Minister to praise the work of Senator Reynolds.

When rumours of cabinet reshuffles are imminent, the grapevine becomes alive to the whispers of the political insiders.

So, let us take a look at the current Ministry, analyse the performance of the incumbent Ministers and throw in the changes.

Ministry List

The 46th Parliament Morrison’s second Cabinet.

They are updated after reshuffle made on 18 December 2020. My comments about each are in italics.

Prime Minister and Minister for the Public Service

The Hon Scott Morrison MP

Robodebt had Scott Morrison’s name written all over it when he was the Social Services Minister, and it followed him into Treasury and then the Prime Minister’s Department. Over 2030 people committed suicide because of Robodebt. It also cost the taxpayer $1.2 billion to settle the problem.

The same goes for Aged care. Seven hundred older adults died of COVID-19 because the Prime Minister turned his back on numerous reports demanding action.

It is now known beyond doubt that he took part in the distribution of the Sportsrorts funding.

That he is a liar is beyond doubt. Any honourable man would have resigned.

He alone as leader is responsible for all the irrational decisions, and the corruption that stems from them.

His greatest crime, of course, like leaders before him, is being unable to convince his party that Climate Change is real and requires immediate attention.

An ICAC candidate if ever there was one.

Minister for Indigenous Australians

The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP

Retains his portfolio, but he will never achieve a mention in the constitution for our First Nations People. I think the “know your place” rule applies here. In other words, they will never become equal. He is a good man for a good cause but a member of the wrong party.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts

The Hon Michael McCormack MP

How this gay-hating individual ever became the leader of his party let alone Deputy Prime Minister is beyond my comprehension. He has also called for the return of caning in high schools. He has also dismissed climate change as the concerns of “raving inner-city lefties.”

Minister for Agriculture, Drought, and Emergency Management

The Hon David Littleproud MP

A trier at best. Still has a family water problem. Ambition to be the leader of his party (or is that just a rumour?).

Minister for Education and Youth

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

Wikipedia records that:

In March 2020, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ordered that an Afghan asylum seeker who had previously been a part of the Afghan National Army be granted a temporary protection visa. Tudge, who was Acting Immigration Minister at the time,[instantly appealed the judgement of the AAT to federal court, which failed. However, during the 6-day appeal process, the asylum seeker had been kept in the detention centre. Six months later, the Federal Court found that Tudge “engaged in conduct which can only be described as criminal,” and that Tudge had deprived the asylum seeker of his liberty, which has prompted calls for his resignation.

“In the ABC Four Corners episode broadcast on 9 November 2020, former Tudge staffer Rachelle Miller revealed that she and Tudge had engaged in an affair. A moderate Liberal Party member, Miller described Tudge’s opposition to same-sex marriage (based on his support for “traditional” marriage) is hypocrisy.”

A decade ago he would have been sacked for having an affair. Now there is no accountability.

Treasurer

The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP

Yet to prove himself in the court of public opinion.

Minister for Finance

(Vice-President of the Executive Council)

(Leader of the Government in the Senate)

Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham

Steady as she goes. Doesn’t seem to stay in a ministry long enough to make a mark.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women

Senator the Hon Marise Payne

Kept her job despite persistent murmurs of underperformance and incompetence.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment (Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate)

The Hon Daniel Tehan MP

A big promotion given our relationship with China, which has the fragility of a bull in a china shop. Is he up to it?

Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Leader of the House

The Hon Christian Porter MP

A womaniser who is lucky to have retained his job after recent flirtations. You could also add to his titles the Minister for Never Allowing a National anti-Corruption Body.

From Wikipedia:

“On 20 September 2015, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Porter would replace Scott Morrison as Social Services Minister as part of a Cabinet overhaul.

In 2016, Centrelink, operating under Porter’s senior oversight as Social Services Minister, became involved in a debt recovery controversy. Despite heightened media interest and complaints, after meeting with the Department of Human Services, Porter stated that the program was working “incredibly well”. The program was later subject to a Senate committee inquiry, and the program was estimated to be responsible for over 2000 deaths.”

An ICAC candidate if ever there was one.

Minister for Health and Aged Care.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP

The workaholic who is good at making announcements about new medicines. Has inherited most of the Aged Care ministry from Richard Colbeck who could not count the dead from COVID-19. Brilliant liar when Environment Minister.

Wikipedia reminds us that:

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

Minister for Home Affairs

The Hon Peter Dutton MP

Probably the most disliked Minister of all. Showed a distinct lack of judgment in thinking he was prime ministerial material.

An ICAC candidate if ever there was one.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts

The Hon Paul Fletcher MP

Paul Fletcher was Urban Infrastructure Minister at the time of dodgy land deals worth $30Million at Western Sydney airport. The purchaser was a Liberal Party Donor. Pub test anyone.

Another ICAC candidate if ever there was one.

Minister for Education and Youth

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

He is just getting over a messy affair with former advisor Rachelle Miller.

“A former adviser to Population Minister Alan Tudge has lodged a formal complaint that alleges he engaged in workplace bullying and intimidation that left her “anxious and afraid” in a system that failed to support her and other staff.”

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business and (Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate)

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

In October 2017, the Australian Workers’ Union offices were raided by the Australian Federal Police, and media were tipped off before the event. Cash denied it was her office. She misled the parliament in doing so and should have been sacked for that alone.

Yep. Yet another ICAC candidate.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology

The Hon Karen Andrews MP

There were no misdemeanours that could be found.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia

The Hon Keith Pitt MP

Another one were no misdemeanours that could be found.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction

The Hon Angus Taylor MP

Where does one start with this individual? Controversy seems to follow him like a bad smell. Senator Penny Wong, the Labor leader in the Senate, said:

“I do not think there has been a climate minister, energy minister who has been more anti-renewable than Angus Taylor.”

His emphasis has always been on emphasis on reducing the cost of energy rather than reducing energy.

Taylor was accused of using $80 million of taxpayers’ money to buy water licences from two Queensland properties owned by Eastern Australia Agriculture (EAA). Taylor was a director of EAA, though resigned from his position in November 2009

October 2019, Taylor was said to be repeating misleading claims about the previous Labor government’s poor record on carbon emissions.

In July 2019 “An investigation into illegal land clearing against a company part-owned by the family of federal minister Angus Taylor.”

In October 2019, Taylor was accused of having “forged” a City of Sydney Council document and providing that document to The Daily Telegraph. The incident stemmed from a letter the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore wrote to the Minister, asking him to declare “a climate emergency.” In his reply to her, Taylor criticised her own department’s travel – claiming that the City of Sydney Council spent $15.9 million on travel for the 2017-18 period, which he attributed to an annual report document available on the council’s website.

When one looks at his ministerial record it hard to imagine how on earth, he is still a minister. An ICAC candidate if ever there was one.

Minister for the Environment

The Hon Sussan Ley MP

Came back into Ministry after serving time for misusing parliamentary expenses.

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Ms Ley’s replacements in the health, aged care and sport portfolios would be announced next week.”

She was using the flights to negotiate her property investments.

Another one for the ICAC.

Minister for Defence

Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC

Despite the rumours, she has held onto her Ministry. Journalists had formed the view that she was unqualified for such a significant portfolio.

Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel

The Hon Darren Chester MP

Chester is one of the few honest politicians left in the Coalition (and not because he is in the electorate of Gippsland where I reside).

Minister for Families and Social Services

(Manager of Government Business in the Senate)

Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

There were no misdemeanours that could be found.

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister for Government Services

The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Both he and the Prime Minister attend the same church and are personal friends. He has a list of controversies as long as one’s arm that genuinely make him unfit to be a minister. This article provides the truth of his misdemeanours.

Outer Ministry

Because this piece addresses significant decision-makers in the government l have left the Outer Ministry off the list in order to concentrate on the Ministry’s themselves.

Notwithstanding that, it is beneficial to mention some names which would prevent decent policy decisions. Names like Moylan, Canavan, Christensen, Joyce and Kelly, who are questionable in terms of intelligence, and have far too much influence.

People such as these are nothing more than enemies of progress.

I contend that my comments are a reminder of just how poorly equipped the Coalition is to make decisions that effect this great nation and its future..

Hardly any of the personal listed are qualified for the positions they hold. Particularly the Prime Minister.

My thought for the day

I feel people on the right of politics in Australia show an insensitivity to the common good that goes beyond any thoughtful examination. They have hate on their lips, and their hate starts with the beginning of a smile.

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