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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.

The Coalition governs for those that have, and the have-nots are left far behind

A problem exists, and a plan is devised to fix the problem. Generally speaking, both sides think it works well, except down the track it is found that one could drive a truck through the rules, and companies do.

It is called “JobKeeper” and is designed to hold onto the link between employer and employee during the pandemic. When the rorting of the rules is noticed, the public becomes angry when companies decide to retain the taxpayer’s money they have been given.

The Labor Party also becomes angry and insists that the parties doing the rorting be exposed by the Tax Office.

The haves are delighted – when their accountants inform them that they haven’t broken the rules – and are entitled to keep the money.

The man who sees the world through the prism of his cash registers, Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman fame, keeps a staggering $22 million is among the worst, but who knows. The government has told the Taxation Office not to reveal those companies who have kept the money. Keep them in the dark seem to be the call.

All because in their rushed need to put the JobKeeper plan in place, they failed to add a little clause that may have said that they would have to pay the money back in the event of any anomalies occurring.

 

 

The double standard comes in when 12,000 people have been issued welfare debts worth a total of almost $33m due to JobKeeper payments, as revealed by Guardian Australia this week.

One such person identified as Jan Raabe and quoted by The Guardian, said:

“I’m just a little person, I don’t have a very large income,” she said. “I don’t own my house. When I heard that certain churches and Harvey Norman and many other people pocketed millions, I feel it is disgusting they just won’t pay it back.

“Why are they allowed to get away with it? Why don’t they have to pay it back?”

Nor did she understand why large companies and non-profits who had projected a loss to claim jobkeeper but then turned a profit, and in some cases paid out dividends or executive bonuses, were not being chased by the government in the same way.

Those with a will, or should I say a moral line in their accountancy principles which have said they will pay the money back include Adairs, Toyota, Rebel Sports, Super Cheap Auto, BFC, Nik Scali, and Dominoes.

Those who have greedily accepted your money are listed in this article by Matthew Elmas in The New Daily.

The Federal Opposition has withdrawn its support for changes that would have required companies to reveal how much JobKeeper funding they received, however:

“Labor initially supported the amendments from independent Senator Rex Patrick after it was revealed at least four-point-six-billion-dollars in JobKeeper support went to businesses that recorded profits.”

Nobody is disputing the timely release of this policy and its effectiveness. However, what is disputed is why the government isn’t demanding that the JobKeeper money taken from the public purse be put back in the same way they are asking ordinary people to do.

The insipid answers they give don’t cut it with the many Australians who are outraged. Indeed, transparency is of the utmost importance in government, as are business ethics and morality. Still, in all fairness, Labor couldn’t put it ahead of families and businesses, who are hurting incredibly.

There will be many who disagree with that decision but Tanya Plibersek has assured supporters that Labor is “still committed” to naming businesses that profited from JobKeeper, despite voting down amendment, she told Patricia Karvelas on RN Drive.

Although I find it hard to agree with, the last thing we need in today’s COVID climate is the side attraction of two parties having a philosophical fight over who is ripping off the people.

Let me make a final point. Finance Minister Simon Birmingham rather gratuitously said that:

“We don’t think it’s appropriate to create a circumstance where now they are vilified with some sort of pretence that they weren’t eligible when they were eligible.”

The straightforward and unspun answer to this is that had they drawn up proper legislation, they wouldn’t have been in those circumstances.

My thought for the day

Economics and society are so inextricably interwoven that we cannot ignore the human cost in our decision making. Conservatives should consider that.

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Climate change action: Scott Morrison will never admit that he was wrong and Labor was right

It is 9 am Wednesday 11 August, when I begin writing this piece. I delay because new facts are coming to light. Because the day’s forecast is for a warm sunny day of 21 degrees that invites an early spring, one side of me wants desperately to venture into my garden. Still, the other summons the necessity of critical news.

Climate Change is now a statement of fact.

Landmark assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) has confirmed beyond doubt that human activities were overheating the planet with temperatures not seen for hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of years.

Here are some of the key points in the IPPC report:

A.1 It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.

A.2 The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years.

A.3 Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, there attribution to human influence, has strengthened since the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).

A.4 Improved knowledge of climate processes, paleoclimate evidence and the response of the climate system to increasing radiative forcing gives a best estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity of 3°C, with a narrower range compared to AR5.

B.1 Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered. Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.

B.2 Many changes in the climate system become larger in direct relation to increasing global warming. They include increases in the frequency and intensity of hot extremes, marine heatwaves, and heavy precipitation, agricultural and ecological droughts in some regions, and proportion of intense tropical cyclones, as well as reductions in Arctic Sea ice, snow cover and permafrost.

B.3 Continued global warming is projected to further intensify the global water cycle, including its variability, global monsoon precipitation and the severity of wet and dry events.

B.4 Under scenarios with increasing CO2 emissions, the ocean and land carbon sinks are projected to be less effective at slowing the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere.

B.5 Many changes due to past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible for centuries to millennia, especially changes in the ocean, ice sheets and global sea level.

C.1 Natural drivers and internal variability will modulate human-caused changes, especially at regional scales and in the near term, with little effect on centennial global warming. These modulations are important to consider in planning for the full range of possible changes.

C.2 With further global warming, every region is projected to increasingly experience concurrent and multiple changes in climatic impact-drivers. Changes in several climatic impact-drivers would be more widespread at 2°C compared to 1.5°C global warming and even more widespread and/or pronounced for higher warming levels.

D.1 From a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions. Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH4 emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution and would improve air quality.

D.2 Scenarios with low or very low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (SSP1-1.9 and SSP1-2.6) lead within years to discernible effects on greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations, and air quality, relative to high and very high GHG emissions scenarios (SSP3-7.0 or SSP5-8.5). Under these contrasting scenarios, discernible differences in trends of global surface temperature would begin to emerge from natural variability within around 20 years, and over longer time periods for many other climatic impact-drivers (high confidence).

And there it is in all its naked truth. In Australia, the reaction is one of apathy. The government’s reaction is a mixture of boredom, insult and sarcastic yawning. If only we had a leader with the courage to take the lead and make the right decisions.

Reinstated Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has not changed his mind. He has rejected all calls for more vital targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions. He said that the latest United Nations report on catastrophic climate change wouldn’t change his mind without a cost of action.

In his typically incoherent mindset, the cost of doing nothing went over his head completely.

He wants some competent organisation to develop a costed plan for the government. He is part of the government responsible for putting the plan together, which has also escaped him.

We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet.

Now with Joyce back in charge of the Nationals, we have a Coalition entirely at odds with each other on how to proceed with the problem. The climate lunatics who have never been able to admit that they were wrong and that Labor was right are still dictating policy in the Party Room.

The Guardian reported that Scott Morrison has already contradicted Barnaby Joyce saying that:

“His cabinet will formulate a plan to reach net zero emissions after the deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce declared climate action plans were formulated by agencies, not by politicians who lacked relevant expertise.”

The same edition of The Guardian also reported that Dr Jonathan Pershing, the deputy to US presidential climate envoy John Kerry, said:

“I think you can say, observing from the outside, that – as a G20 member, as a leading developed country – the commitments they made in Paris are not sufficient.”

What has been missing is a leader with the intestinal fortitude to put politics aside and tackle the crisis head-on.

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

An often-used lie is that we are a small player, and our efforts won’t make any difference. If you combine our efforts with countries of similar emissions, then totally we are of great significance.

In another lie, the Prime Minister said that he didn’t say in 2019 that Labor policies to reduce vehicle emissions would “end the weekend” he wasn’t opposed to electric vehicles, even though he told voters they were expensive, would not tow trailers or boats, or get Australians to their favourite camping spots.

The evidence of him saying it is in black and white wherever you care to look.

So Labor’s Shadow Climate minister Chris Bowen last Tuesday asked the Prime Minister if he believed no one would match Australia’s “ambition for a technology-driven solution” – why did he claim before the last election “that electric vehicles would end the weekend?”

Yet another lie is the one that Scott Morrison repeats all the time, insisting that we are meeting our commitments. It is a lie of omission because, without the credits allocated to us at Kyoto and a pandemic called COVID-19 that has reduced our production enormously, we would not.

As reported in the Australian Financial Review:

“Australia is the only country in the world openly planning to use Kyoto carryover credits to meet its Paris agreement targets.”

They accepted the science of a pandemic so quickly, so readily. Still, in their stupidity, the government cannot take climate change seriously, yet it has the power to end the world as we know it.

Labor was right and they were wrong.

Think about this: If we fail to act and disaster results, then massive suffering will have been aggravated by stupidity.

Before Australians vote at the next election, before they move the curtain that hides their vote from view, they should ask themselves: “What exactly was the point of this decade-long government?”

My thought for the day

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

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Making important decisions requires meticulous judgement – it is something Scott Morrison lacks

Is a commitment to using critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry rather than emotion and ill-founded falsity the best way to solve human problems?

On the one hand, it takes much time and effort to reach a considered view on many matters. On the other, it takes little time to make a judgement. Good leaders make good decisions.

Was Scott Morrison’s decision to partake of a holiday while the flames of hell were destroying New South Wales a good one? Was his decision to ask the US to invite Pastor Brian Houston to dinner any better?

Was his decision to give Christian Porter his old job back as Leader of the House (even on a temporary basis) any better?

Worst of all, what about his decision not to buy the Pfizer vaccine when it was available. There are many more, but these will suffice for now:

On September 7, 2020 The Guardian reported that:

“The prime minister announced a $1.7bn deal with two potential vaccines: the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca to provide 33.8m doses and the University of Queensland/CSL to provide another 50m doses.”

On November 5 2020 the government announced a deal for 10m doses of Pfizer and 40m from Novavax, saying Australia was at the “front of the queue” for mRNA vaccines. Note that The Guardian said that “Pfizer had already signed agreements to provide about 1bn doses to 34 countries by this time.”

As an aside, Greg Hunt, on Insiders 8/8/2021, on a question from David Speers on this subject, said, “There was no other deal available.”

Just who is telling the truth?

Scott Morrison says:

“We aren’t putting all our eggs in one basket and we will continue to pursue further vaccines should our medical experts recommend them.”

The Government announces the vaccine rollout will begin in March.”

Then in December, the front of the queue” changes to “front-row”, and the turmoil of the rollout continues.

Politics often comes first in the decision-making process. Well, more often than not, but always because the retention of power is uppermost in the leader’s mind.

How often is logic thrown out the window when emotion clutters the politician’s mind and clinging to power rises above all else?

Indeed, the decision to take his children on a trip to Hawaii was an emotional one. The kids had been nagging him for weeks, and no matter what, he wasn’t going to let them down. After all, he didn’t hold a hose.

It could be argued that it was an indefensible decision that could only be made by a father desperately wanting to please his children. Those of us who are fathers could all plead guilty to that one.

But we are not necessarily leaders. The consequences didn’t occur to him. I believe that he tried to hide the fact that he had taken leave. It was a dumb decision.

Morrison was the Prime Minister; first and foremost, it was his responsibility to look after the health and safety of Australians.

At the time, the prime minister’s office refused to say if he was on holiday or where he was. McCormack admitted he was Prime Minister. The aftermath of bad decisions can be worse than the decision itself. Remember the slinky handshakes. For someone who prides himself on his spinning ability, the marketing guru had made a terrible decision.

Perhaps a few days with wife Jenny and the kids were more important than the security of the people he was supposed to protect.

Eventually, as reported in The Guardian, he was forced to apologise, saying that:

“Any offence caused to any of the many Australians affected by the terrible bushfires by my taking leave with family at this time.”

His decision to give Christian Porter his old job back as Leader of the House was another example of his poor decision making and brought his judgment into question. Once again, the Prime Minister’s judgement, and morality, was bought into question with this woeful decision. One that humiliated and slapped the face of every Australian woman.

The utter impertinence of the Prime Minister to do such a thing after the continual beating women have taken under his leadership has been beyond belief.

The allegations against Porter are amongst the gravest in our criminal code. The bare minimum test of his fitness to hold ministerial office would be an independent inquiry. At this point, it looks as though the Prime Minister has made yet another ill-considered decision just to let it pass. How damming would that be?

 

 

Yet again, his judgement comes into question when he decided to include Pastor Brian Houston’s name on a list of invitees to the White House. Houston had been a mentor for many years. He even got a mention in Morrison’s maiden speech.

It has long been known that when Houston gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, he admitted trying to protect his father. He even disobeyed church rules and allowed him to preach after admitting the violation.

Frank Houston had abused up to nine boys in Australia and New Zealand.

Now Brian Houston has been charged, and justice will take his course. Here we must try to fathom Brian Houston’s morality and state of mind before judging him. In Morrison’s case, it is more straightforward.

Presumably, he would have been aware of the evidence, as would the White House, so why had he refused to answer questions for months on the subject?

Let’s not pretend that good decision making is easy; it isn’t, but we make many minor ones daily. However, we expect our leaders to make significant decisions regularly with sound judgement.

The ones expressed above used poor judgement by a poor leader, and unfortunately, there are many more examples just like them. Climate Change (for instance) and the decisions required for our survival are paramount and must be made by people who know how to listen to the opinions of science.

To choose the correct path, our nation’s leadership must have a clear set of priorities together with an open mind that takes into account new or alternative ways of doing things.

They must use whatever experience they have and make common good, common-sense decisions with a willingness to change as knowledge changes.

The decisions politicians make define their judgement. It is better to be informed by the truth than be controlled by lies.

When you look at the decisions made by this Government during their tenure of office, well, to put it bluntly, they have been simply appalling, and given the criteria I have laid out for making them cannot be excused. That’s my judgement, anyway.

My thought for the day

People often argue from within the limitations of their understanding and when their factual evidence is scant, they revert to an expression of their feelings.

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The Abbott years

In 2013/14 I wrote short stories, then, in a mood of political disgust, I wrote about Tony Abbott. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

The Abbott years

Tony Abbott defeated Malcolm Turnbull by 42 votes to 41 to become the party’s leader and Leader of the Opposition.

He was sworn in as the 28th Prime Minister of Australia on 18 September 2013. He was, in my opinion (at the time), the most unqualified man politically and psychologically ever to be elected to the position.

And so began a period that has seen our country move to the far-right of politics. A move that could only be described as disastrous for the nation and our future.

Whoever eventually replaces the existing Coalition government will be charged with righting the wrongs of a succession of failed leaders over a generation together with the enormous problems forced on us by a very destructive pandemic.

Successive leaders, blinded by their crimes of complacency to what was apparent and ignorance of what was not, have shown an absence of any ability to think beyond self and power.

What is fundamental to the political observer is following the progress of a changing tide in political discourse, trying to work out the how and why of so many complexities.

Tony Abbott, after his years in Opposition, created a negative image of our nation. He never had a positive word to say about his country. As Opposition Leader, he used simplistic slogans to talk about complex problems and, in doing so, suggested he had answers when he didn’t. He spread negativity like rust throughout the community because he saw a need to promote a sense of crisis, an Armageddon about everything.

He, if nothing else, was a very colourful character. He was aggressive both physically and in the use of language. His negativity was legendary, and he had little consideration for ideas other than his own and said NO to his opponent’s policies regardless of their worthiness. He was by evidence and his own admission a liar of some regularity.

Added to that, he had a political gutter-mentality and little respect for the institution of Parliament and its conventions.

Everything is wrong, and he is the only one who can fix it. There is a budget crisis when none exists. There is a debt crisis (while adding to it) when none exists. There is a crisis about the cost of living when Australians have never had it better. It’s a deliberate tactic of social engineering. Create an illusion of disaster, and people will believe that perception is, in fact, a reality. And of course, keep on doing it when you attain government.

In terms of leadership, he was a failure. Many said that he was the most exemplary Opposition Leader the country had seen, but he could never bridge the gap of Leader of the Opposition to Prime Minister. On the international stage, he was a dismal failure.

He attacked the price on carbon, which he misnamed the “carbon tax,” stating that:

“Let’s be under no illusion. The carbon tax was socialism masquerading as environmentalism.”

Abbott’s former Department head later admitted that his mission to “axe the tax” was only about politics. Nothing whatsoever about reducing our emissions and honouring our commitment to the Paris accord.

When Abbott repealed the “Carbon Tax,” a tax that had been working well and emissions were dropping, the Coalition, who had put ideology before the common good, staggered like drunken adolescents from one side of the street to the other. They have been unable to put together a comprehensive environmental and energy policy since. It was arguably the worst policy decision in Australian political history.

When looked at in isolation, the lies and indiscretions of Tony Abbott, his problems with women and even his negativity could perhaps all be written off as just Tony being Tony. Alternatively, that’s just politics. However, my focus here is on character and whether Abbott had enough of it to be the leader of our nation.

Julia Gillard – our first and only female prime minister – was subjected to the most obnoxious and depraved attacks that, in a political sense, were unnecessary if gaining office was the only objective. However, it seems that some men cannot help themselves, so they went for the jugular and, in so doing, he may have set back the political aspirations of women for generations.

I contend that because we are looking at a litany of instances of lying, deception and bad behaviour over a long period, he did not have an essence of a character, which is one of the main ingredients in the leadership recipe.

Some would argue that it was John Howard who sent us spiralling towards the right of politics. But conversely, I put the case that it was Abbott’s force of personality, following Labor’s revolving door leadership that the electorate liked. The mood was for a mongrel, and in Abbott, they got one.

They didn’t consider the baggage that he carried with him.

When Barak Obama visited, he broke long-standing conventions by politicising his speech as Opposition Leader.

He did the same when the Indonesian President visited.

He did the same when the Queen visited.

He would not allow pairs (another long-standing convention) so that the Minister for the Arts could attend the funeral of painter Margaret Olley, an Australian icon. Malcolm Turnbull, a personnel friend, was also prevented from attending.

He refused a pair whilst Prime Minister Gillard was on bereavement leave following the death of her father.

Tony Abbott is far, far more mean-spirited. His 2014 Budget reflects his incapacity to understand inequality. He demonstrates this in the way he ignores human misery and how he belittles those suffering from it.

He is, in a nutshell, nasty to the core. Stories surface that he has been inherently vicious for as long as people have known him. Still, it was not until 2005 that I first noticed his extreme level of nastiness and lack of compassion for human misery when it was hoisted onto the national stage. It came only hours after the NSW Leader of the Opposition, John Brogden, had attempted suicide. The Age reported at the time that:

“The day after Mr Brogden was found unconscious in his electorate office with self-inflicted wounds, Mr Abbott publicly joked at two separate Liberal Party functions about the disgraced leader’s career-wrecking behaviour.

Mr Abbott was asked at a fund-raising lunch about a particular health reform proposal and reportedly answered: ‘If we did that, we would be as dead as the former Liberal leader’s political prospects’.

Smutty to the core. And to a mate.

He also claimed that Bernie Banton was a mate. Not that he acted like one.

When Abbott was the Minister for Health, the dying asbestos disease sufferer Bernie Banton obtained a petition containing 17,000 signatures of those who supported listing the mesothelioma drug Alimta on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

This petition was to be presented in person to Tony Abbott. If it was not disrespectful enough to snub the petition, then his verbal response certainly was.

Mr Abbott was quick to dismiss the petition:

“It was a stunt,” Mr Abbott said on the Nine Network.

“I know Bernie is very sick, but just because a person is sick doesn’t necessarily mean that he is pure of heart in all things.”

It would appear that he likes making fun of dying people. Does he expect we will all laugh along with him?

He even has a go at deceased people. Margaret Whitlam was not even in the grave before Tony Abbott used her death to score cheap political points.

“The death of Margaret Whitlam caused such an outpouring of saddened fondness that comments by Tony Abbott linking her passing with the sins of the Whitlam government appear to have struck an incredibly wrong note.

He said she was a ‘woman of style and substance and a marvellous consort to a very significant Labor leader and an epochal Australian prime minister’.

‘There was a lot wrong with the Whitlam Government but nevertheless, it was a very significant episode in our history and Margaret Whitlam was a very significant element in the political success of Gough Whitlam’ Mister Abbott said.”

The answer to “what took place and why” is that, in our apathy, our indifference, we allowed and are still allowing a laconic attitude toward our politics to dictate who wins. We do so in the forlorn hope that we will, also.

When on earth will we wake up?

Leaders on the extreme right of politics seem to have the same human characteristics of nastiness, offensiveness, spite, resentment, malice, contempt and bad manners. Abbott, like others on the conservative right, seemed to fit into a slot in history. One that was utterly rejected by his colleagues who, in due course, sacked him. He was subsequently replaced by Malcolm Turnbull, who was not right-leaning enough. He, in turn, was replaced by Scott Morrison, who had planned his ascension in precise detail where he continues the work of Abbott.

My thought for the day

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

 

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A government with such little respect

Like many other Australians, I am an avid sports fan. I competed for as long as possible, and when my body could no longer perform to my satisfaction, I turned to a daily routine of running, lap swimming or walking, to keep fit. Why do I tell you this? I like to think that I paid due respect to my opponents, who generally returned the favour.

Presently I am in awe of the respect shown by our Olympians to their sport, coaches and families. It all seems to come so naturally and enthusiastically and has been an inspiration to us all. In the same way, it is a pity our government couldn’t show us the same respect and inspire us into an uncertain post COVID-19 future.

Now, let us look at the lack of respect the government shows toward us. They represent us but use lies to do so. And in doing so, they show us no respect.

1 So much for truth and transparency when the former Attorney-General Christian Porter can have redacted evidence from his dropped defamation case against the ABC scrubbed from the public record.

Nine and News Corp (forget their motive) have been asking for the documents to be made public, but Justice Jayne Jagot ordered that the documents be ditched from court files.

There is no longer any excuse for the Prime Minister to set up an independent inquiry into Porter’s fitness for office. That might show us some respect.

Porter’s seat of Pearce lost some safe Liberal ground in a recent distribution and is now under threat from Labor.

2 Talking about redistributions, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Victorian and Western Australian changes are now complete. It seems that those skilled in these matters agree that the Liberals have lost one seat; the former seat of Stirling in WA has been abolished. The ALP has gained one; the newly created safe Labor seat of Hawke.

These same analysts agree that no seat has notionally changed hands as a result of the boundary changes.

3 Writing for The Saturday Paper last weekend John Hewson described our Prime Minister in these terms:

“He has accepted Barnaby Joyce back with no conditions – indeed, let him start to dictate climate and other policy. He has failed to deal effectively with claims of rape, bullying and harassment in Parliament House; has normalised pork-barrelling, corruption and wasteful expenditure; denies responsibility; is quick to blame others; and ignores the need for reform in response to the great social challenges of Indigenous recognition, child- and aged-care, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, mental illness and domestic violence.”

I have written in the same manner myself, and he is spot on, and Joyce is but one of many who has little respect for the electorate.

4 Morrison never seems to take charge when things are going wrong. He disappears then reappears to take the credit when things go right. He is gifted in thinking that he can make things better first for himself and secondly for you with the use of dishonesty.

We were in the front of the queue when the reality was, we were at the back of the pack. “This isn’t a race,” he said. How wrong he was. It is a race, and we are realising the price of his failure.

What sort of man would deliberately buy a lessor quality (AstraZeneca) vaccine after being offered 40 million doses of the higher quality Pfizer? Now we are paying the price for his stupidity with not enough vaccines to avoid lockdowns.

5 Whatever happened to those reports from Morrison’s chief of staff Phil Gaetjens? Morrison is still undecided as to whether he will release them publicly. I’m assuming that, like their ICAC proposal, they will let them lapse into the file of “no time left” before the election.

Like the Sports Rorts report that has never been published, a summary found there were “significant shortcomings” in the way McKenzie decided on the grant. But he also found that (Lord save me) how the minister’s office approved funds for different projects was not unduly influenced by reference to “marginal” or “targeted” electorates.

Where is the respect?

6 In the time I have spent writing for The AIMN, hardly a day has passed without the Government framing emissions reduction with all the negativity of Tony Abbott.

Writing for The Guardian, Katherine Murphy reported that:

“On Tuesday, the group Beyond Zero Emissions released a report based on economic analysis from ACIL Allen. This work found that establishing renewable energy industrial precincts in two Australian regions would create 45,000 new jobs and generate revenue of $13bn a year by 2032. The two regions the report identified were the Hunter in New South Wales and Gladstone in central Queensland. If you follow politics closely, you’ll know these regions will be heavily contested at the next federal election.

In the world envisaged by this report, dedicated renewable energy zones would support energy-intensive businesses during the transition to low emissions. I might need to repeat that sentence because the Coalition has spent more than a decade telling Australians that renewables and heavy industry are fundamentally incompatible.”

Over to you, Scotty. And show some respect.

7 The Prime Minister has apologised and accepted responsibility for the slow vaccine rollout.

“I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to achieve the marks that we had hoped for at the beginning of this year,” the PM said on Thursday.

“I take responsibility for the vaccination program. I also take responsibility for the challenges we’ve had.”

Does that pass as an apology? What do you think?

8 Speaking of apologies, I posted this on Facebook last week and received some criticism from those deemed to be unsuitable for the Astra vaccine:

WORDS THAT MAKE YOU THINK.

Isn’t it rather odd that the people who refuse an AstraZeneca jab are the same cohort who vote for the LNP? (70 and over)

It was insensitive to those who, for whatever reason, are unable to take the vaccine, and for that, I apologise.

9 Alarm bells ring when I turn on my computer to read this headline in The Guardian: Coalition to spend $19,000 send Tony Abbott on trade mission to India.”

Where is the respect in that?

10 Back in the time of Sports Rorts while in caretaker mode or, to be more precise, in the fortnight between 27 March and 11 April 2019, the Government announced 70 appointments to boards, statutory bodies and tribunals, and diplomatic postings. One in five of the people appointed to government bodies in that fortnight had links to the Liberal or National parties.

11 Did you know that Australia doesn’t have a comprehensive formal parliamentary set of rules governing the behaviour of our MPs.

Yes, where is the respect?

My thought for the day

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

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“Ye shall know them by their fruits”

On Wednesday, 20 July, The Prime Minister did three radio interviews. During the third on Melbourne’s KIIS 101.1, he was asked by the host Jase Hawkins to apologise for the “nightmare” of the vaccine rollout.

“Can you honestly say to me that the government has taken accountability?” he said.

“Like, I have never heard the word ‘sorry’ – ‘guys you know what, sorry, we did screw it up, but we are getting it right now’.”

For the entirety of the interview, Jase tried to elicit the word “sorry” from the Prime Minister. It was like trying to extract blood from a stone. He did, however, manage an admission of sorts that he was responsible for Australia being last on a list of nations well ahead of us with their vaccination programs.

He eventually conceded this fact but still refused to apologise.

“I am accountable for the vaccination program and everything that has happened in it.

“And I am also accountable for fixing it, and that is what I am doing.”

In Mathew Matt 7:15-20 of the Christian Bible, the author speaks of false prophets, saying you can spot false prophets by their behaviour.

It is a scripture that the Prime Minister would be very familiar with.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing”) for inwardly, “they are ravenous wolves.”

So, who takes responsibility for all the mistakes, lies, deaths, illnesses, billions of dollars of losses, quarantine failures and mental illnesses?

“Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

The Prime Minister continuously blames others, misleads and tries to lie his way out of situations. He has played a political game from which we have inherited so much misery and pain. He is responsible for the bitter harvest we have reaped. Consequently, he will be called out for his indiscretions until the next election.

One of the perils of writing articles of condemnation is that the person in question – midway through your writing – does an about-face and apologises for his actions.

And this is what happened. Before I had finished, I was greeted with this headline on news.com “PM apologises for vaccine rollout failure, despite previously denying responsibility.”

The article essentially said that:

“Adelaide’s FIVEaa radio hosts David and Will told the PM: “The reason you’ve got 12 million people in lockdown is because you got it (the rollout) so wrong in the first place.”

“No, I don’t accept that,” Mr Morrison said.

The PM made similar deflections later on Wednesday on ABC radio:

“We’ve had our problems … many have been out of our control,” he insisted.

But after 24 hours of intense scrutiny, “Mr Morrison chose a different form of words on Thursday.”

Then is the space of 24 hours; on Thursday, he had changed his tune. He had been lying.

“I take responsibility for the things that haven’t gone as well as we have liked and I take responsibility for the things that have worked as well,” he said.

But when pressed by reporters on why he didn’t accept responsibility sooner, Mr Morrison said:

“I think I have been very clear that as Prime Minister I am responsible for the vaccination program and I also have been very clear that that responsibility means fixing and dealing with the problems that we’ve had.”

In a mood of utter disgust and dissatisfaction that what I had read could in any way be described as an apology, I went in search of some words of sincerity that might be apologetic.

The nearest I came across was in The Guardian:

“I’m certainly sorry we haven’t been able to achieve the marks that we hoped for at the beginning of this year,”

“Now hang on,” I thought to myself. Here we have arguably the worst public policy stuff up in the nation’s history, one that has cost many lives and will cost many more, and this is an apology. Simply outrageous

Perhaps in my haste to extract an apology from this buffoon purporting to be a leader, I have lost sight of the bigger picture. The need to have more people vaccinated. That this should be the main aim after all.

Or perhaps I find the apology empty because if he can find a few words representing an apology in this matter, he should be able to do so for the many other instances that require one.

For this reason, I cannot say that the apology offered is sufficient. It lacks grace and sincerity, and importantly it is devoid of anything that might restore the trust that has been lost.

It is difficult to restore trust in a leader who, when confronted by significant decisions (no matter the circumstances), allows his politics or religion to replace the common good.

We have so many lockdowns because Scott Morrison used his political judgment rather than his common sense and placed too much faith in AstraZeneca rather than putting in an order for Pfizer in July 2020.

He said that we were in the “front of the queue.”

When it became apparent that we were last, Mr Morrison changed his mind and said, “this isn’t a race.”

Contrary to the fact that we are in a race to save lives, Scott Morrison re-iterated in March and on no less than three other occasions, “it’s not a race, it’s not a competition.

My thought for the day

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

PS: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”


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Just who is this man named Morrison that he needs Murdoch’s defence?

Who is this man who would have you believe that he is God’s gift to all that bothers us?

Has the nation finally woken to his lack of leadership, his lack of character and his lying? Can he keep up this façade of broken promises and false credibility?

Journalists from the non-Murdoch media definitely don’t see the shine that is all too often portrayed in Murdoch publications. Here are some examples:

Peter Lewis in The Guardian June 22 noticed that:

“There has been an undeniable shift in Morrison’s rhetoric on climate since Christmas. He has softened his support for new coalmines, shifted focus to gas as a transition, and left open the idea of hitting zero emissions at a point that may or may not bear a passing resemblance to 2050. It’s not exactly embracing Greta Thunberg but at least he has stopped fondling lumps of coal in the parliament.

William Bowe in The Poll Bludger on July 7 said that:

“The shine continues to come off Scott Morrison’s COVID-boosted personal ratings, plus new evidence of a softening in support for the Coalition among women.”

Just how much longer is the Liberal Party and the Murdoch media going to keep supporting Scott Morrison?

Katharine Murphy, writing in The Guardian observed that:

“The public needs political leaders to put their interests first and be competent in a crisis. That’s the long and the short of it – and the past 72 hours has not inspired confidence.”

Greg Jericho, also for The Guardian, June 27 said:

“It’s 2021 and we have a government within sight of an election with no policy on climate change that endeavours to reach net zero emissions, and the National party has just re-elected as its leader Barnaby Joyce, whose main policy position appears to be to ensure such a target is never set.

Climate change denial continues to be the strongest force in Australian politics.”

On his current demeanour, one wouldn’t have any confidence in Scott Morrison conducting a chook raffle at the local pub, let alone running government business on a world scale. We should look at his latest promises regarding the Pfizer vaccine with doubt, given his history of lying to us.

Adding to the government’s woes of three terms of deplorable governance is the re-emergence of Barnaby Joyce, who has nothing to offer the country except negativity and gloom. He is undoubtedly a man lost when deep oblique thinking is required.

But we are indeed a weird lot, or should I say an accepting lot. One would, under normal circumstances, assume that we would have reached the bottom line of political management. What one would regard as reasonable government a decade ago has passed us by, and we can lament its passing. But there are no protests on the streets. Even the Union movement seems to have a passive attitude toward the government’s incompetence.

Many political observers (including me) are now saying Scott Morrison is the worst Prime Minister in the history of Australia. Yes, even worse than Tony Abbott.

Katharine Murphy writing for The Guardian made this observation:

“But if we look closely at what has been happening in recent weeks, we can also observe Morrison’s frustration levels building. When it comes to managing outbreaks, the states remain risk-averse, particularly in an environment when not enough Australians are vaccinated. That creates constant friction between the jurisdictions, given vaccine supply is a commonwealth issue.”

He has now opted for a “less of me” attitude to take Government off the front pages where even Murdoch is hard-pressed to hide his smart-arse smirking face, his announcements and his sense of entitlement.

His triumphant announcement that we were at the “front of the queue” when procuring sufficient vaccines to protect the Australian people was another unforgivable lie. One of the many announcements that were full of hot air without any measured result and all Calculated to deliver an ant nest of activity simply as a diversion from the lack of vaccine supply.

The front of the queue announcement, as it turns out, was nothing more than another Scott Morrison attempt to fool the Australian people into believing his every word. A belief that is waning with every week that passes.

His pronouncement that NSW was the “gold standard” for handling COVID-19 has proven wrong. So much so that he should turn to the Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, the man he so readily denounced and seek his advice.

The Prime Minister, however, doesn’t have ownership of stupidity when it comes to making announcements.

 

 

A wing and a prayer may be an attitudinal way for a Christian Prime Minister like Morrison to govern the country, but the problems of today need to be honed with critical reason, factual evidence and scientific methods of enquiry so that they clearly articulate the currency of tomorrow.

In other words, instead of announcements, just give us the facts without the maybe’s, for Christ sake. Things like putting the Minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews, in front of a savvy media pack to tell them that Australia’s doors were closed when all the evidence suggested otherwise.

Indeed, on the contrary, our borders are wide open, with the “Federal Government granting hundreds of exemptions for Business Travelers.” They freely travel in and out of Australia, whether they are vaccinated or not.

The Deputy Premier of Queensland confirmed this at a recent Media Conference, saying that the only thing “required to get a permit from the federal government to leave the country is proof you have a meeting in another country.”

How then, did Margaret Court get an exemption to go to Wimbledon and not Ash Barty’s parents?

As if to go one better, a brazen Scott Morrison issued a “Captain’s Call” that people under 40 years of age could now access the AstraZeneca vaccine. He did so without any discussion in the National Cabinet he had just left.

State and territory leaders only became aware of the decision when they sat down to watch the evening news.

Regardless of all this ineptitude and imbecility, there was a stampede of right-wing journalists ready to defend the Prime Minister. Newscorp, as usual, are the worst offenders.

Surly journalists have a more crucial moral principle to report the truth than to out of hand defend the Morrison’s lies.

In following the media moguls instructions, print media publications and their journalists commit themselves to destroy Anthony Albanese without the slightest thought that the 4th Estate must keep the Government of the day accountable.

Australia is seemingly governed by the whim of an ancient American who lives in that country. He owns much of this nation’s media, including its printing presses.

He gives our conservative coalition parties licence to make our rich richer and our poor poorer. Such is his ethics.

My thought for the day

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

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A preliminary look at the next election and what matters most

So, who do you think will win the upcoming federal election and why? When will it be?

Seriously, put aside your bias for a moment. Why? Because it is an opinion that is discriminatory and unbalanced with an absence of objectivity. Put aside your emotions because they cloud the issues. What is required here is pure intelligent logic, nothing more, nothing less.

What would influence your vote the most? Is it the state of the economy? Your allegiance to your party? Perhaps you favour the party with the highest ideals with the best social justice policies. Maybe you are an idealist and want more change, more reform.

As a woman (for those female readers), you are conceivably affronted by your treatment over many years, and the consequences still define you. Of vital importance to you might be the environment and the lack of any coherent policy.

Perhaps you are from the “a pox on both your houses” faction who wouldn’t vote for any of them.

There are many issues to consider. Loyalty to the party you have voted for all your life. It has a strong, almost sentimental appeal and doesn’t take much thought, but there is little logic. Your interest might be equality of opportunity and fairness. “That’s the party my dad voted for.”

Are you a voter driven by anger over a specific issue that affects you directly? Perhaps the depth of your pockets dictates what boxes you tick. Then again, you might be the type who seriously weighs up the talents or otherwise of the candidates in your electorate. Or, for ease of conscience, you vote as a block, husband and wife/partner in the belief that one of you knows better than the other. Or hubby knows best about these things.

You are offended by the corruption and immorality that exists in Government. However, you believe that “the devil you know is better the one you don’t.”

Contrary to that, you couldn’t care less, use a blunt pencil to mark the voting form because you have to get the shopping done before canteen duty at the footy club. It’s when you open the curtain at the poll booth that you give any thought to who you might vote for. Consequently, your vote is wasted because it is illegible, but you’re not too fussed. In the past two elections, over two million voters have decided not to vote at all.

Perhaps you prefer to vote for the party that delivers for the have nots, or conversely, you want the party that rewards those who have a go.

At this stage of the election cycle, the polls will only tell us how people are thinking, not who they will vote for. It is impossible to get a fix on the outcome of this election because, as is usual, the differences in opinion vary considerably.

Until the election campaigns start in earnest, most people will go about their daily business doing whatever they do, confirming the purpose for life without considering the reason for it – society ticks along doing what is needed to grow our food – feed our children.

There are those devoted to our entertainment so that we might obtain pleasure from it. Others volunteer so that it is organised. Yet others do good works because they yearn to help others like those seeking asylum but instead have looked rejection in the face. Others battle with the daily grind of survival, seeking the leftovers of the haves. Others will tell of their ordeals so that they might encourage hope.

The prosperous will record in glowing terms of their success as if it is available to all who seek.

This recipe contains all the ingredients that form what we call society. When they all come together, this amalgamation of skills, supporting others with philanthropy, determine what sort of society we are or should be.

I have left aside the two most essential ingredients in this recipe. The first is how we, as a nation, are led and, secondly, how we are governed. You are the unbiased judge on both. What do you think? We have not been gifted with good leadership since when?

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

Bias: It is an opinion that in the absence of objectivity, is prejudiced and unbalanced. Its foundation is untruth and therefore cannot be impartial.

This election is remarkable for many reasons. None more so than it will happen when the world is deciding, as COVID-19 recedes, just how it will change the function of Government. Probably in ways we never imagined.

Will, the people, choose the incumbent Morrison Government with a proven record of disasters over a long period, or will they seek a new Government to replace them. Or perhaps people of independent minds will decide the outcome.

Never have the people been entrusted with such an important decision.

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

This Government has a record of internal turbulence made worse by the return of Barnaby Joyce as leader of the Nationals. Will this incoherent loudmouth enhance the Coalition’s chances, or hinder them?

In a post-pandemic world, infighting over ideological issues that don’t help any of us might be a thing of the past, and the common good might become more critical. Many things will change, the jobs market, how the economy works and how we are governed.

In any case, 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.

My thought for the day

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

PS: Any perceived bias by me is countered by the 80 misdemeanours of this Coalition I have identified in my latest series of articles.

 

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For auditing assistance, park your truth here

1 I have no doubt that had a Labor government committed just one of the more severe misdemeanours l mentioned in my previous series of articles, they would have been hounded from office by the feral Murdoch media.

In that series, l totalled 79 reasons why people shouldn’t vote for this conservative government. A figure any government should be ashamed of, but as is the case with this government, bad governance doesn’t stop at the end of my astonishingly long list, of which many remain unresolved.

Is it any wonder that the government refused the Auditor-Generals Department’s request for additional funding in the last budget?

Now my list increases to 80. This time, it is a follow-up to the “Sports rorts affair,” except this time it’s for “Car parking at suburban” train stations. Labor MP Andrew Giles can claim the credit for exposing both rorts.

Headlines around the country Tuesday morning read similar to this (except for Newscorp, that is):

Auditor-General slams government’s latest secretive grants scandal:

“The Auditor-General has blasted another federal government grants program, criticising a car park construction fund that heavily favoured Coalition-held seats, and ignored the areas of most need.

It has been revealed more than half of the grants were chosen the day before the government hit caretaker mode in the 2019 election, and more than three-quarters of the projects were mooted for Coalition-held seats.

Labor has already branded the latest scandal “car park rorts”, with the Auditor-General finding that 10 projects under the commuter car park fund weren’t even attached to train stations.”

An election that with God on his side Scott Morrison was desperate to win.

The Auditor-Generals report also revealed that more than three-quarters of the sites selected were in Coalition held seats. Not only that, but he also found that ten projects under the commuter car park fund weren’t even attached to train stations. No kidding.

I have always believed that less informed voters, unfortunately, outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at their stupidity, but I’m sure they will continue with it into the next election.

As sure as night follows day, the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, as usual, demanded that Minister Tudge – then-urban infrastructure minister Alan Tudge, at the centre of the rorts – resign, saying that it was “sports rorts on steroids.” However, resigning is an outmoded term in Coalition morality, so there is little chance of that.

I am talking, of course, about the Coalition’s $660 million Commuter Car Park Projects.

The ABC’s Sian Johnson summed it up succinctly:

“A $660 million Commonwealth government spend on train station car parks leading up to the 2019 federal election was not based on need and focused on Liberal-held or marginal seats, a review by the auditor-general has found.

The review of the program, part of the $4.8 billion Urban Congestion Fund (UCF) established in the 2018-2019 federal budget, showed just 11 per cent of 47 project sites had started construction by the end of March this year.

The projects, which were mainly based in Melbourne and announced in the months prior to the 2019 Federal Election, were mainly in Liberal-held seats, with some in marginal seats.”

Of the 47 projects, the “most successful electorates” were all Liberal held.

The New Daily reports that:

“Six were in the seat of Goldstein (held by Liberal Tim Wilson), five in Deakin (Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar), four in Kooyong (Treasurer Josh Frydenberg) and four in Banks (Mental Health Minister David Coleman).”

Not only does the Auditor General’s office provide a mountain of evidence (worth reading for its comedic value), but it more than adequately portrays a party so desperate to win the 2019 election at any cost that it would stoop to such desperate measures to do so. Sound familiar?

What a joke this Government is. It couldn’t lie straight in bed so long as it gets the headline. Creates panic and confusion, as it is doing with the vaccines.

Most laughable is that only two of the proposed 47 car parks have been finished and only 12% of the proposed funding spent.

It goes without saying that if the Prime Minister needs to explain his involvement in yet another misuse of our money for election purposes.

Labor’s spokesman for urban infrastructure Andrew Giles tweeted:

 

 

Watching the current Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher on morning television news wiggle his way through an explanation was equivalent to watching Scott Morrison doing the same thing and reaching the conclusion that one of us is unstable. So confusing he can be.

2 Nationals MP Darren Chester is our local MP (Gippsland) and enjoys an excellent reputation in the electorate. He is a likeable fellow.

Given the sack by Barnaby Joyce, he rightfully decided not to let the matter rest, instead deciding to vent his spleen calling the now Deputy Prime Minister “incoherent” while adding:

“I have no personal relationship with Barnaby, I don’t seek a personal relationship with Barnaby,”

“I’ve been screwed over by the National Party twice in the last three years.”

“I wouldn’t normally comment on private conversations, but I’m gonna say the conversation I had with Barnaby was so incoherent yesterday, I couldn’t actually explain what he was even saying to me…”

“People of Australia, brace yourself, there will be more conversations like that,” Mr Chester said.

All this suggests to me is that Scott and his acolytes must spend more time praying about how to right their wrongs than managing the country.

With Joyce back in his old job, we can only imagine what we will face in the coming weeks.

3 Former Liberal leader John Hewson writes a timely piece for The Saturday Paper (firewall) titled “On shame and politics,” from which these quotes are extracted:

“It is most disturbing how genuine compassion has been lost from our national Government.

Even worse, they seem so shameless about it.

Concepts of government responsibility, integrity and accountability are increasingly downplayed, even ignored. A sense of shame is essential to an effective moral compass.”

4 I suspect the reason behind the Prime Minister’s statement regarding under 40s approval to take the AstraZeneca vaccine (after consulting with their GP) is that in doing so he reckoned on this disgraceful situation being with us into the new year.

Better to get as many people vaccinated between now and then.

And that Pfizer will only become progressively available.

Life is about perception. Not what is but what we perceive it to be.

All this, unfortunately, means that this deplorable messaging will continue for the balance of the year, as will the media coverage that goes with it. At this point, leadership is everything. Scott Morrison is in a position where having stuffed up the original purchases; he cannot afford any more. This one has the hallmarks of a captain’s call. So, taking out insurance with an election in sight is a valuable thing to do.

My thought for the day

Sometimes, I allow myself the indulgence of thinking I know a lot. Then I realise that in the totality of things, I know little. I feel a sense of shame.

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The Untouchables

Continued from “If you wanted more proof of Coalition misdemeanours, here it is.”

As I finished writing my previous post, I had a somewhat disquieting feeling that I had sinned by omission. I was guilty of leaving off my already long list of Coalition misdemeanours, others that should have been included. For that, I apologise. So please do not treat the following as supplementary. On the contrary, they are of equal importance.

1 The Monthly reports that the appointment of Barnaby Joyce as Deputy Prime Minister:

“… is a painful reminder to women that men accused of inappropriate behaviour can still ascend to the highest offices in the land – after three years on the backbench, of course.”

2 Rachael Clun of the SMH reminds us that:

“Voters will face another “Mediscare”-style campaign at the next election as Labor latches onto the federal government’s planned reforms to Medicare to accuse it of cutbacks to the universal health system.

From July 1, more than 900 Medicare Benefits Scheme items will be changed, across orthopaedics, general surgery, cardiac surgical services, vascular, and general practice and primary care item numbers.”

3 Another one I missed was the QAnon mystery. Here is the obvious, which unfortunately has attracted zero interest from the mainstream media:

 

 

4 Indigenous Recognition as a Preamble in the Australian Constitution: Why doesn’t the Constitution recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples? Why the hold-up?

My case is now complete. I have presented the reader with 79 factual instances where this horrific Coalition government has been corrupt, broken established conventions or lied for their convenience.

So, before we go any further, it has to be said that there have been instances, or periods, on both sides of the political divide where governments have been corrupt or even worse. Perhaps there are even darker reasons that have never seen the light of day. Others may have never been exposed and never will but remain buried in the course of Australian political history.

In the comments section of my last post, “Yes Minister” wrote this:

“Whilst there is no argument that the incumbent LNP federal government fully deserves severe criticism, avoidance of mentioning the other political factions implies that they are immaculate, perfect and beyond reproach.”

In response, let me say that l do not mean by the omission of any other comparison to create the impression that one is better than the other. It is just that in 65 years of following Australian politics, I have never known a period of less accountability, less transparency, and less responsibility. My list covers three terms of parliament.

Had I started when Tony Abbott was appointed Leader of the Opposition, it would have made things even worse for the Coalition.

In 2011 we were engrossed in the Health Services Union expense’s affair. Then there was the Pink batt’s scandal.

On top of that, we had the James Ashby/Peter Slipper scandal:

“… a covert political conspiracy by the Coalition to bring down the Parliamentary Speaker, Peter Slipper, and through him the Federal Government of Australia.”

It could have been the most prodigious conspiracy in Australian history.

This was also shameful:

“Australian spy agencies attempted to tap the phones of high ranking Indonesian officials, including the president. Abbott refused to apologise.”

Corruption in Australian Water Holdings and the NSW ICAC investigation into Liberal Party fundraising.

Offshore detention crisis where asylum seekers were locked up indefinitely while their refugee status was being assessed. After nine years, some are still there.

At a press conference, Peter Dutton was overheard saying about the Pacific Islands that:

“Time does not mean anything when you are about to have water lapping at your door.”

 

 

The first Joe Hockey budget delivered by the Abbott government was seen as the worst in Australia’s history based on severe cuts to welfare and other social programs. It triggered a polling slump that Abbott struggled to recover from.

After controversially reinstating knighthoods, Abbott gave one of the first knighthoods to Prince Philip.

And this was disgusting:

“The governing Coalition supported a motion in the senate declaring “it’s ok to be white” and opposing the ‘deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation’.”

And how about Scott Morrison’s holiday and reactions to our bushfires last summer?

“Scott Morrison took a family holiday to Hawaii during one of the worst bushfire seasons on record. He returned only after significant public pressure.

When touring bushfire affected communities, many residents refused to engage with Morrison. On several occasions, Morrison forced a handshake on residents.

The government released an advertisement praising their bushfire response. However, the advertisement was attacked as being a party political ad paid for by taxpayers.”

And this piece of arrogance?

“Scott Morrison’s Mentor, Pastor Brian Houston, was invited to attend an official White House dinner. Houston is under investigation for covering up his father’s sex abuse.”

The primary reason for writing this series was to bring to people’s attention a list of facts that: a) drew attention to the workings of an egregious government; b) was to discuss what could be done to prevent such events in the future, and; c) was why people showed little interest in all this corruption, preferring to vote for the untouchable incumbent for their personal and often ambiguous reasons regardless of the party’s track record.

In any survey one reads, most people seem to be pure of heart and invariably are anti-corruption and against any form of those things that make for obnoxious governance.

However, when you ask whom they will vote for, they will not stray far away from the party they consistently voted for.

In plain English, people understand the truth of things, even the consequences of their party’s decisions but cannot bring themselves to stray from their allegiances. They will join the majority opinion against their party and then vote for them in an election.

So in listing all the misdemeanours, I could find I have answered question A. The answer to B is some form of National Corruption body constituted by people who are not presently politicians, and C lays at the feet of truth-telling politicians and a fourth estate with the same instincts.

On this, I agree with “Yes Minister.”

“That begs the question of creating a more expansive / more encompassing federal ICAC from which all three arms of government are excluded from administering / managing / nobbling, one that can hold politicians, bureaucrats and the judiciary to account since all three groups have demonstrated they are anything but honourable.”

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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If you wanted more proof Coalition misdemeanours, here it is

Continued from Coalition misdemeanours: the list is long.

From Part 1, a refresher:

I have had the following list in my files for some time. They were first circulated early last year, and shared so widely that I am unable to determine neither its origin or creator, though I thank him or her for their efforts. There is enough meat in their list to make some salient observations.

The list [from Part 1] contains allegations of government corruption and misdeeds covering the early part of the Abbott/Turnbull/ Morrison era.

It is just the start. My next post [today’s post] will cover the latter part of Turnbull’s tenure and Morrison’s impact.

I continue the list (with some extra of my own):

50 George Christensen charges taxpayers for domestic flights and ComCar trips that were part of his trips to known red-light districts of the Philippines. Then, when he is caught, he pays back $2,100 with no consequences.

51 Barnaby Joyce runs up a bill of $675,000 in 9 months in his role as Special Drought Envoy. When asked what he did in the roll, Joyce explained that he sent his “report” in the form of multiple text messages to Morrison; when The Guardian submitted a Freedom Of Information request for these texts, it was rejected because Morrison was too busy to retrieve them.

52 The Coalition awarded a $423million contract to run Manus Island detention facilities to a small and almost unknown company called Paladin as part of a “limited tender” process only meant to be used under exceptional circumstances. The company’s head office was a small shack on Kangaroo Island, and family members of the PNG Parliament were directly profiting from the contract. (Expanded from Point 18 in Part 1 of this list).

53 On two separate occasions, Peter Dutton personally intervened to have European au pairs allowed into the country after being initially refused by Border Force. The first was on behalf of an old Police colleague, the second on behalf of the AFL Chief Executive and son of a Liberal Party donor.

54 Barnaby Joyce’s ‘mistress’, Vikki Campion, was forced to leave her role as his staffer when rumours of their affair started causing tension with colleagues. As a result, she was given a plum $190,000 a year job with good friend Senator Matt Canavan despite Parliamentary rules prohibiting ‘partners’ positions.

55 The Coalition granted $200,000 to Foxtel’s Sky News to fund a new show featuring future Liberal Candidate Warren Mundine. The funding was taken from money budgeted for “Indigenous Advancement”. Inquiries later found that the grant had been officially approved before Mundine had even formally applied for it.

56 Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert charged taxpayers $2,000 a month for home internet, blaming “connectivity issues”. He was later forced to repay $38,000 in inappropriately claimed expenses but was not further investigated.

57 Barnaby Joyce approved a ‘dodgy’ $80million water buyback from a property owned by a Cayman Island’s based company that Energy Minister Angus Taylor used to be the Director of and his college mate now ran. Then, when Twitter users began to discuss it, his lawyers sent letters threatening legal action for defamation if they didn’t delete the tweets.

58 A property owned by Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s brother was alleged to have illegally burned 30 hectares of native grassland classified as endangered under existing environmental laws. After Angus Taylor personally intervened and met with then Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg about the investigation into his brother, the Government suddenly announced a review into the part of Commonwealth environment laws that deals explicitly with endangered native grasses.

And that is where the list that I acquired ends and mine begins. I have not placed my list in any particular order but just how they have come to mind.

1 The Labor Party instigated a price on carbon, and out of hand, the Coalition repealed it. It was arguably the worst policy decision by any Australian Government ever.

Almost a decade on, we are no further advanced. Writing in The Guardian, Katharine Murphy spells out the consequences:

“Over the past couple of months, the International Energy Agency has said fossil fuel expansion must end now if the planet is to address the climate crisis; there has been a G7 declaration (with Morrison in attendance) that public financing of unabated coal-fired power must stop this year and a pledge that net-zero emissions must be achieved by 2050 “at the latest.”

2 The former senior spy dubbed Witness K has been given a three month suspended sentence for conspiring to reveal classified information about an alleged spying operation during oil and gas treaty negotiations between Australia and East Timor. His lawyer Bernard Collaery awaits sentencing. Both were only ever guilty of telling the truth. That being that the Australian Government was guilty of espionage on its neighbour East Timor with the intent of robbing them of what was theirs. A secret trial like no other.

3 An international fail on diplomacy. Words are a beautiful means of communicating with others. How you use them with other countries takes great skill and an understanding beyond that of Scott Morrison.

Jumping to his defence comes David Speers:

“Prime ministers all say things they live to regret. It’s how they clean up the mess that inevitably follows that can be telling.”

4 Morrison refused:

“… to apologise to: Christine Holgate, the former Australia Post boss who says she was bullied, harassed and hounded out of a job, in part because of her gender and in part by the Prime Minister.”

5 Chris Graham writing in New Matilda broke the story that:

“On the day before the 2019 federal election, the Morrison government gave $15 million to one of its largest donors – the retail giant Wesfarmers, which had recently announced a half-yearly profit of $4.5 billion.”

6 Christian Porter remained in a job [but not for long] despite calls for an independent inquiry into historic rape allegations from several quarters, including the alleged victim’s own family. He pulled out of his defamation case and has to pay costs.

7 No use pretending otherwise. The Australian rollout of COVID-19 vaccines at 3% has been and continues to be a balls up of epic proportions, and the fault is undeniably that of Scott Morrison and his Government.

8 Scott Morrison and his Government stand accused of not having any empathy at all, and it is true. For example, they jailed the Biloela family on Christmas Island without regard to the cost, and they have been incarcerated there for three years. All because Morrison wants them to be seen as an example to others who might seek asylum here. How pathetic. “The Biloela family are just the latest unwilling participants trapped in Australia’s ongoing theatre of cruelty.”

9 Liberal Party MP Dr Andrew Lamming made headlines – albeit for the wrong reasons – after he allegedly bullied two female constituents online, including the wife of a local councillor.

10 Remember Sports Rorts? The Sydney Morning Herald’s article “Remember sports rorts? Here’s why we mustn’t forget that shameful episode” gives us an insight and a warning:

“These are the lessons of the abuse of the $100 million Community Sports Infrastructure grants program. The Sports Rorts program offers a prism illuminating all that is wrong with the Government.”

11 And then we come to Paul Fletcher, who:

“… previously served as cities and urban infrastructure minister – weighed into the controversy about the purchase of the so-called Leppington Triangle from a Liberal donor, explaining the decision was made by a departmental secretary due to a ‘highly inadequate brief’ that disguised its true value.”

12 So the Prime Minister didn’t know. Then he apparently changed his mind and admits he’d heard that allegations had been levelled against one of his ministers in a letter from friends of a now-deceased woman who had accused the unnamed minister of raping her in the late 1980s.

13 The Royal Commission into Aged Care said:

“Government did not prepare the sector well enough for the pandemic. In a damning report, the commission rejected the Government’s repeated claim it had a plan for aged care, which is a federal responsibility.

The commission said that now ‘is not the time for blame’ for what happened in aged care, where most of the Australian deaths have occurred – as at September 19, 629 out of 844 total deaths. The latest number of deaths from residential aged care is 665.”

14 Continuing the Government’s love of oil:

“The Australian Government’s support for the fossil fuel industry and lack of a credible climate policy has caused UNESCO to recommend the Great Barrier Reef be listed among World Heritage sites in danger, according to a new report.”

15 Arguably, the worst public policy failure in Australian political history is the introduction of Robodebt:

“The federal government’s robodebt scheme was a ‘massive failure in public administration’, according to the Federal Court judge who has approved a $112 million settlement over the “unlawful” program.

The Federal Court approved a $112 million robodebt settlement on Friday morning, with Justice Bernard Murphy criticising the Government over the ‘unlawful program’, labelling it a ‘shameful chapter’ in Australia’s social security history.

The Judge also said it should have been obvious to the public servants and Ministers presiding over the program that it was faulty.”

And that:

“In 2018, the Senate was provided with figures showing that, from July 2016 to October 2018, 2030 had died after receiving a robodebt notice. Morrison had his name written all over this policy.”

We must never forget the damage caused by this program. Never. It deserves to be the albatross around Scott Morrison’s neck.

* * * * *

My last post included many accusations of pathetic governance. This one continued down that path adding more facts about Coalition corruption or misdemeanours. In my next post I shall summarise what I have written and pose just what dangers these facts might do to Australia in the future.

Well, I don’t know about you. Still, I’m just about exhausted and I haven’t mentioned the NDIS, the backgrounding on (in this case roughly translated as bad-mouthing) of Higgins’ partner, domestic violence, a failed NBN, racism, transparent government, and the good old-fashioned ‘fair go.’ Then follows discrimination, the destruction of our democracy, and lying in all its guises.

My thought for the day

Current experience would suggest that the Australian people need to take more care when electing its government.

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Coalition misdemeanours: the list is long

In my previous post I mentioned that I would post a list of Coalition misdemeanours over their term in office. There are many, which to most of us would come as no surprise as to the depths of the Coalition’s dirty dealings and the realisation of how rotten these two parties are.

I have had the following list in my files for some time. They were first circulated early last year, and shared so widely that I am unable to determine neither its origin or creator, though I thank him or her for their efforts. There is enough meat in their list to make some salient observations.

The list contains allegations of government corruption and misdeeds covering the early part of the Abbott/Turnbull/ Morrison era. You be the judge.

It is just the start. My next post will cover the latter part of Turnbull’s tenure and Morrison’s impact. Hang onto your seat.

1 Angus Taylor and Barnaby Joyce were involved in a shady water buyback scheme that involved channelling money through the Cayman Islands

2 Andrew Robb was taking an $880k/yr job with a donor before even leaving politics (alleged).

3 Christopher Pyne took a job with E&Y straight after politics – despite the fact he was the Defence Minister, E&Y had been awarded $21 million in contracts to do consulting work for the Defence force.

4 Julie Bishop was appointed to the board of Palladium after exiting politics – a company that profits from foreign affairs (her previous portfolio).

5 Barnaby Joyce misused his travel allowance to stay with Vicki Campion.

6 Julie Bishop and her $450k Chinese sponsored “Glorious Foundation.”

7 Former Liberal President Shane Stone was paid $500k per year to oversee flood recovery efforts in rural Queensland. This salary is nearly the same as our Prime Minister (not illegal, of course).

8 George Christensen was accused of spending 300 days in the Philippines during the last few years – despite claiming to represent the Australian people.

9 Fraser Anning claimed $35k for family travel expenses on 44 trips between January and December 2018. Then there was his recent problem with women.

10 Sussan Ley popping up to the Gold Coast on travel allowance and ‘accidentally’ buying a $700k apartment at the same time.

11 Failure to address housing inequality – when at the time 226 federal MPs owned 524 properties, there’s zero incentive to address the problem

12 Barnaby Joyce free rent from a donor. (See above).

13 Billions of dollars in foreign aid go to Indonesia – they, in turn, purchase billions of dollars’ worth of military helicopters and now consider bidding for the 2032 Olympic Games!

14 Joe Hockey owns more than $1 million worth of shares in Helloworld – whose share price goes up 164% in 4 years since being awarded a string of government contracts worth $1 billion. Talk about insider trading. Mattias Cormann, not realising at the time that his family got a free holiday to Singapore – only weeks after Helloworld was awarded a new government contract.

15 Barnaby Joyce purchases property with insider knowledge of the rail route.

16 The continued protection of individuals’ tax-free status with millions of dollars in tax – whilst the lowest paid people in society struggle to get any meaningful wage increases due to how the official CPI calculation has been corruptly manipulated to keep wages low artificially.

17 Matt Canavan failing to declare property interests.

18 Peter Dutton awards a $423m contract through a ‘limited tender’ process to Paladin to run Manus Island – a company his sister, works for that has no previous experience in running such facilities.

19 Sale of Darwin’s port to a Chinese company four days after $40k donation to LNP. (Alleged).

20 $30m to Foxtel for women’s sports, while cutting $84m from the ABC (later added another $10 million).

21 David Feeney failing to declare $2.3m house

22 Choppergate by Bronwyn Bishop.

23 Sussan Ley $21k on cabs in the USA in one week.

24 Tony Abbott’s repeated expenses that have needed to be repaid, e.g. 2016 total expense claims equivalent to 37 years of Newstart payments

25 Tony Abbott’s daughter acquired a $37,000 unadvertised “scholarship.”

26 Arthur Sinodinos’s inability to recall anything under oath at NSW ICAC. (He is now Ambassador to the USA).

27 Roman Quaedvlieg’s (Border Force) $500k nine months paid leave.

28 Failure to fix significant scale tax evasion – why do so many massive businesses persist with Australia if they collectively lose trillions here? (Good question).

29 Michaelia Cash was leaking to the media before raids on AWU – and then spending nearly $1m of taxpayers dollars trying to defend her behaviour.

30 Similar for NBN raids on Stephen Conroy’s office.

31 Sarina Russo receives $754m of contracts in return for a $20k donation to LNP in 2010 (Alleged).

32 NBN issues multi-million FTTC contract to NetComm, whose chairman is also a director of NBN co. (I’m unaware of this one).

33 George Brandis allegedly forced Justin Gleeson’s resignation as Solicitor General, lying to a Senate enquiry.

34 Steve Irons “electorate business” in Gold Coast spending $2k for the wife to attend with him. (I’m unaware of this one.)

35 Georgina Downer was handing over big cheques for government grants in her ‘electorate’ despite not even being an elected member of Parliament.

36 Stewart Robert’s inappropriate behaviour on a trip to China.

37 The Government gave $640k to Bjorn Lomborg for a climate-denying book.

38 Eric Hutchinson appointed to $160k job after losing his seat in 2016 election

39 George Brandis appointing his son’s lawyer to $370k/yr job (Firewall).

40 Craig Laundy failing to declare businesses on a register of interests.

41 $444m to The Great Barrier Reef Foundation with no tendering – straight into the pockets of directors with links to Liberal National Party.

42 Cabinet Minister Kelly O’Dwyer told colleagues the Liberals are widely regarded as “homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers” during a crisis meeting of the federal Victorian Liberal party.

43 A $4.6 billion buy off deal was struck with Catholic and independent schools, heading off another potential election-losing issue.

44 Mr Morrison flagged Australia’s Israeli embassy’s shifting to Jerusalem to win backing from Jewish investment bankers to keep funding Australia’s record debt.

45 Then Finance Minister Mathias Cormann charged taxpayers $4,400 to take his wife on a romantic beach getaway on her birthday. More recently was his use of a government aircraft to fly around the world to secure a job with the OECD.

46 ‘Nick’ Zhao, a Chinese born Australian, goes to ASIO telling them he’s been offered $1million from the Chinese Government to run as a Liberal Party candidate and then infiltrate the Australian Parliament as a Chinese Spy. He then turns up dead in a Melbourne hotel room in March. Enter Gladys Liu, the Liberal Candidate with a host of concerning connections to the Chinese Government who earns Liberal pre-selection thanks to miraculously raising a million dollars in donations. Fairfax then discovered a photo of Liu at her home with Nick Zhao in the background. Gladys is now the Liberal Member for Chisolm.

47 Liberal Candidates Gladys Liu and Josh Frydenberg both have signs in Mandarin at polling booths in the colours of the Australian Electoral Commission branding telling Chinese citizens how to vote (by putting one next to the Liberal Candidate).

There is no Liberal Party branding on the sign. However, liberal officials admit in court that the characters were designed to convey the appearance of official electoral commission material.

48 Angus Taylor writes a public letter, published in The Daily Telegraph, to Sydney Mayor Clover Moore criticising her for her millions of dollars of domestic travel. However, the document he quotes is a forgery.

Taylor refuses to disclose where he got the fake document and denies all Freedom of Information requests from the media that might give insight.

49 Fake ‘How To Vote’ cards were handed out in Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson designed to trick Greens Voters into voting for Dutton.

Fortunately many of the names on the list are no longer Members of Parliament!

Anyway, that’s where I will round it off for the first part of this most revealing list. (And one to keep in mind prior to the next election). The next post will further reaffirm my contention that Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison presided over the most rotten Governments in living memory.

My thought for the day

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

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Who do you trust?

At the end of my last post I suggested I needed more words to explain my proposition that Labor could win the next election. I did so because I felt l would be overwhelmed by anti-Albanese comments.

True to form, the anti-Albanese’s (mainly Facebook) were at it wanting a character full of sarcastic rebukes and aggressive remonstration. Even if it were Tanya Plibersek. I do not doubt that Albo has that in him; I have seen it when Albo was his party’s attack dog during Question Time. But when people are sick to death of shouty debate, it will not shape a believable candidate when looking for someone they can trust to oppose Scott Morrison.

Albo has all the characteristics of a politician who has given long service to his electorate, party, and country. He has held several portfolios and has served as deputy Prime Minister.

However, his main attribute is that he has a clean slate without scandals: Nothing on which Morrison (or the media) can pin a controversy. In other words, he is more trustworthy than Morrison. And that, of course, also applies when words like decency, transparency, lying, honesty, morality and fairness are used to describe a political candidate.

Who would you trust?

With Albanese, we have a man who can, when necessary, raise the tone of a debate while appealing to people’s better instincts.

Conversely, in Morrison, we have a Prime Minister who refuses to answer questions about his knowledge of one of his best friends’ involvement in the conspiracy theory QAnon. It is the “why” he won’t answer that annoys people. If there is nothing in it, why not answer?

And it’s a little early, but Morrison could always employ the Liberal’s favourite scare campaign saying that the boats will start again if the Biloela family is granted asylum. There isn’t one iota of evidence that this is so, yet the Coalition sticks to its hard-line policy. It will lead to the floodgates opening again, they might say. And after all these years, raising this issue against a child’s illness is despicable and fills one with disgust.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has the final say, but it was like taking a step back in time listening to him last Thursday. The words remain the same, as does the manner in which they are conveyed.

But of course:

“… the pedlars of verbal dishonesty are the most vigorous defenders of lying because it gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy. They use our countries gift of free speech to influence those in the community who are susceptible or like-minded.”

But alas, I have drifted from the points I wanted to add to my last piece. I wanted to strengthen my view that there were enough issues so damaging to the Government that Labor would make it look vulgar in an election campaign: Problems that amount to gross incompetency and negligence are as numerous as mice in a cornfield.

For example, at the G7 conference, the emissions reductions promised by the US, UK and EU doubled those proposed by the Morrison government. They also promised more policies before Cop26 in Scotland.

By comparison, Australia, in the eyes of the world, looks foolish and uncommitted. Despite acknowledging that the world is moving to a new energy economy, Scott Morrison has yet to address how Australia fits into it.

Australians now clearly see the need for us to be part of this new world. A world in which we lead the technologies race and the will to make it happen. Yet the conservative attitude that has so blinkered their thinking since Labor first proposed a carbon tax continues to take us down the wrong path and will not get us there in the future.

COVID-19 and the Royal Commission into Aged Care have highlighted the Morrison Government’s horrifying attitude to aged care in our country. So much so that I found (as an 80-year-old) this source for my research upsetting:

“Homer Simpson could have seen the catastrophe in aged care coming with COVID-19 because it was there in your face,” said Professor Joseph Ibrahim, head of the Health Law and Ageing Research Unit at Monash University.

When a political party deliberately withholds information that the voter needs to make an informed, balanced and reasoned assessment of how it is being governed. It is lying by omission. It is also equivalent to the manipulation of our democracy.

The Government’s outright incompetency has:

… cost 909 deaths from COVID-19, more than two-thirds of them (685) people in aged care facilities. Sadly, this is a disgrace, and the blame sits securely at the Government’s feet.

Yet another stone to throw at the Morrison government is the Coalition’s failure to produce a policy on the oversight of corruption or even a national security review. To find the answer to why a national ICAC has been left to decay at the grave of crime, you only have to read a list of the Coalition’s blunders, scandals and corrupt activities.

To formulate such a list – a complete one guaranteed to shock those who value their vote – will require a few more days. The more I dug, the deeper the scandals became. So can you please wait in anticipation?

Governments who demand the people’s trust need to govern transparently to acquire it.

I contend that the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison governments are the most incompetent, corrupt and unempathetic governments in my lifetime. The cabinet is full of narcissistic males who have a low opinion of women and a lessor one of the citizens they serve. And an awful lot of academic achievers who wouldn’t know shit from clay, as the saying goes.

This being so, then why are they still in power? Many of the activities, as mentioned earlier, should have required ministerial resignation. Still, principles and responsibilities seem to have been thrown out the window by this Government which has grown worse in this last term. Yes, they are ripe for defeat, and deserve to be.

My thought for the day

The real enemy of neoconservative politics in Australia is not Labor or indeed democratic socialism. It is simply what Australians affectionally call. A fair go.

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What’s it all about, Albo? Morrison or you?

I’m inclined to believe that the next election is more likely to be about Morrison than Albanese. If that seems odd to you, then stay with me. In the most recent US Presidential Election, Senator Biden used a low-key strategy focused not on himself but President Trump’s record, policies, actions, offensiveness, and lying.

In other words, he made Trump the issue, just as Howard did with Latham, and Morrison with Shorten. It was not about himself. This strategy proved to be most effective, and Biden went on to win by 6 million votes. And Howard then Morrison.

Ostensibly what Albo has to do is be himself and point out until boredom sets in the many varied and costly mistakes the Coalition has made. None more so than the Robodebt fiasco which cost the taxpayer an estimated 2 billion dollars. Thus far, nobody is responsible for probably the most extraordinary act of culpability the nation has ever seen, and it was the Prime Minister’s idea and responsibility. Nothing short of a Royal Commission is required to flush out those responsible for this crime against the citizens of Australia.

By playing low key, Albo, in my opinion, will place the focus entirely on Morrison, his policies, his record and his character. Not a bad strategy when you bundle up almost three terms of plain awful governance. When you look back over the Coalition’s three terms in office, you cannot be but shocked at the extent of their incompetency.

The sheer length of their horrifying governance and the volume of their inhumaneness is what Albo must attack. It would stretch the length of any campaign trail and give forth a constant stream of scandal, corruption, and bad management.

For me, it’s got to be, “Has your life improved under the Coalition government?” Or “Look at the performance of this government, it has been atrocious – scandal after scandal, numerous bad policies and the absence of any humanity where citizens can feel their government has their back and won’t abandon them.”

My premises are not based on wishful thinking but on the belief that there is always a point when all the wrong you created eventually catches up. And there is ample evidence of that now.

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

An election might have been pencilled in for the last quarter of 2021, but a string of atrocious scandals, decisions, and massive mishandling of COVID-19 vaccinations may have forced them to pull out until the first quarter of 2022.

Indeed, the Coalition will start favourite mainly because – ironically – of their handling the pandemic. Early on, there is no doubt that the government will inherit the favour of the people (even though the states bore the heavy burden), however, all that will be negated by its woeful handling of the vaccine distribution. There is great angst in the community against its inability to carry out the promises it proposed.

Another societal or phycological mismanagement that could cost them dearly is the refusal of the Prime Minister to release the Tamil family detained for two years on Christmas Island.

We have gone past the used by date of “stop the boats” and “on-water matters” of the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison era. Past the scaremongering of “Muslims are coming to get you,” and “marriage inequality.” And beyond, second-rate politicians like Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack warn against federal Liberal MPs’ calls for the Biloela Tamil family detained on Christmas Island to return home to Queensland.

The treatment of this family and others is so unrepresentative of our instincts as global citizens that it makes my blood boil. It infuriates my understanding of why we vote to retain such a Prime Minister. Perhaps he should consult his wife Jen as he did about rape to determine the damage incarceration can do to children roughly the same age as his own.

This story has echoed worldwide and reminded us of how cruelly Australia practises its deterrence – the more stubborn, the better. My view is that the world is sick to death of the far-right phonies who pretend to know what is best for us when it is really them that know who governments can do best for.

David Littleproud (Deputy leader of the National Party) said on morning ABC News (14 June) that a solution for the Biloela family would be found because, ultimately, we are a fair people. I wouldn’t dispute that it’s just that we have a dreadfully unfair government.

Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

As I write, our media suggests that the government is on the verge of announcing a solution. However, even if they do, a residue of the stench of the government’s inaction will follow them into the election.

The people have had enough of this gratuitous governance for almost a decade now, and may I suggest people want more truth, more transparency, more honesty, more of all the things in the ingredients in the recipe of good governance? But, in reality, all the things this government is not.

There is nothing new about scandals; they have been part of the political landscape for as long as I can remember. But unfortunately, so frequently do they occur that if you blink, you might miss them.

Here is one, now almost all but forgotten:

In December 2019, contrary to the rules on the use of commonwealth aircraft, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer billed taxpayers almost $5,000 to take the prime minister’s private jet from Canberra to Sydney for Lachlan Murdoch’s 2018 Christmas party. There was little public outcry, no remorse, no embarrassment, and it scarcely registered as a scandal? It’s that easy to get away with.

In February of this year, Nick Feik in The Monthly wrote of this scandal-ridden government that:

“Scandals are nothing new in Australian politics, but the way they have piled up in the recent years of Coalition government points to a critical shift in our governance. Acts of malfeasance and impropriety have become more than isolated episodes, more than egregious slips or embarrassing failures. Unexplained and unresolved, they are open wounds on the body politic, overlapping and now chronic.”

Of course, the next election and the accompanying campaign policies will carry the burden of climate change. But, whilst an agreement by the G7 last weekend commits members to phase out government support for fossil fuels, our Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was singing the praises of coal, reinforcing yet again his government’s commitment to the industry.

That the Coalition remains in dispute of the science is a given. That they intend to do little to improve the planet’s health must be a feature of Labor’s campaign. But just as public opinion is now firmly behind a world without fossil fuels, it would be a significant mistake not to take an unshakeable commitment to renewables to the election.

There is a mountain of material to attack the Coalition on appalling governance alone. But, further, I believe that the electorate has realised that corrupt liars and fools govern us.

The Australian people are waking up to the fact that government affects every part of their lives, and should be more interested. As a result, the political malaise that has been so deep-seated is beginning to disintegrate, and the government is being judged with reinvigorated minds.

“Hey, these guys are corrupt,” you will hear them say.

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: In its wisdom (or cruelty), the government granted the Tamil family community detention, which in reality is no decision at all, just an extension of its problem (or misery). This should be of no surprise given their attitude to such matters.

I believe that l have not fully covered my argument in this piece, so l will continue on this theme in my next post. Your comments might be of some assistance.

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Attempting to tame the juveniles in the play pit – or at least their stupidity – is a thankless task

Earlier this year, I consciously decided to give Question Time a miss for the year or until it at least resembled a sliver of those things that make up a democracy. Not the chamber of collective juvenile circus performers we have now. Instead, a group of men and women whose words and actions resemble those of people who have never grown up.

However, for some reason or another, I succumbed on the day that the current Speaker Tony Smith sat the Prime Minister on his backside together with Greg Hunt. What a sight they made of sucking on their thumbs while all the other juveniles played games on their phones. You can watch them here.

In it, you will witness just how badly the juvenile types behave. Even Uncle Tony’s futile attempts to put some of them back to sleep for an afternoon nap seems not to affect their behaviour one iota.

Honestly, the House of Representatives during Question Time resembles a kindergarten rather than a showcase for our democracy. Perhaps I’m a little unfair in belittling the juvenile types when I say that, but Smith was deservedly blunt when telling those acting like three-year-olds to get back to sleep or just shut up.

Yes, Mr Speaker Tony Smith told MPs that he was more than a bit cross just after playtime on Thursday.

At least a few of them stopped moaning long enough for him to hear points of order. The Speaker said:

“Obviously, in the course of the last week, I’ve enforced the standing orders vigorously… I intend to keep doing that, and the reason for that was to get an improvement in parliamentary standards.”

Another interpretation might have been: “If you all persist in being such dickheads – you can forget your afternoon naps.”

Smith, for sure, wanted to make his intentions heard in the Chamber. So during Question Time the following week, he sat Prime Minister Scott Morrison on his backside when the Prime Minister failed to heed his warning to return to the substance of a question. Direct relevance indeed.

Both Hunt and the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also found his displeasure with a warning from Mr Speaker that he would use the ushers of the big black rod on their bare bums if they didn’t toe the line.

Anyway, as juveniles do, they all tried to push the line a little too far. Hence, the Speaker gave the flick to those immature little morons who use depressing brainless juvenile Dorothy Dix questions to sledge the opposition. Albo also called them out, saying it’s about time they grew up.

And the Speaker had to endure a prolonged assault on his highchair from the newly chrome-domed leader of the government in the House, Peter Dutton. There was even a rumour that he might challenge for the top job if he matured in time for the next election. There was some doubt, however, over the daily management of his potty mouth.

A few of the juvenile kids have spat their dummies since Porter quit the job. Any wonder why.

Anyway, at the end of the two-week parliamentary session, the Speaker called all MPs together for a dose of honesty to settle them down before telling them that he reckoned his ban on rattles was working. And:

“It has certainly been quieter,” the Speaker noted. “That’s for two reasons: those making the noise don’t stay in the chamber very long, and the vast majority of members have understood the need for an improvement in standards.”

So impressed was the Speaker with the improvement that he gave each member a new toy to play with now that the juvenile biting, pinching, and hair-pulling had stopped. He even gave thanks to the many members, private citizens and those in the public galleries who had approached him, thanking him for at least returning Question Time to some semblance of a kindergarten.

“I thought it was important to make that point as we finish up the sitting week,” he said.

Smith’s decision to take it up to those who think they can throw food at each other across the chamber continuously was going too far. His decision to pull them all into shape by telling them that they were little useless clowns intent on destroying our democracy.

Seriously though, there was a time that the public trusted our politicians to do the right thing while they just got on with life. When politics was a principled occupation – a time when Question Time may have been combative, but it had a purpose. But, unfortunately, the current one has none other than to tell lies or put down the opposition.

So, the question remains: Will these juvenile thugs have their way in the Parliament, or will they learn the difference between manners and civility?

Can Question Time get any worse than the appalling mess than it is? Can it be rescued by those intent on saving our institutions and our democracy?

There is a background to Smith’s attempt to change how the voting public gets but a small glimpse of the workings of their Parliament. A Senate committee had been working on changing Question Time from the thuggish presentation to be slightly less dreadful. The parliamentary committee recommends modest changes in the standing orders – changes that would turn Question Time from a bull pit into a wild dog pit. In other words, not much at all. Bloody little brats need to get a hold of themselves and understand that there are ladies present.

Katherine Murphy in The Guardian explained it this way:

“Smith presumably knew the whole complex was so heavily invested in being appalling that those changes had little to no chance of being adopted, so he decided to set about resetting the spirit of question time using the authority of his office as Speaker.

I strongly suspect the Speaker thinks the problem with behaviour between the hours of 2 and 3pm on sitting days isn’t a function of deficient standing orders. I suspect he thinks it’s a function of two things: MPs choosing to behave badly, and presiding officers more worried about not offending powerful people than about being custodians of important institutions.”

The current Speaker is an honest man desirous of reforming Question Time to resemble something like it was intended. Consequently, people like Katherine Murphy and I are of the same ilk.

I’ll leave the final word to Murphy:

“Smith’s crusade to improve the status quo may or may not work. But the point of drawing attention to it is to provide a level of reassurance to readers that there are people around who would like to change the culture, even modestly.”

Note: I make no apologies for calling those men and women intent on bringing down our democracy “babies” or “juveniles.” But, unfortunately, that is what they act like.

My thought for the day

The right to vote is the gift that democracy gives. Suppose a political party is not transparent in supplying all the information necessary to exercise this right. It is destroying the democracy that enables it to exist.

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