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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.

Albo’s to-do list: There’s a lot for the new government to fix

Outside of Robert Menzies, 18 years; John Howard, 11 years; Bob Hawke, 8 years. Malcolm Fraser, Joseph Lyons and Billy Hughes all served 7 years. Many had very short stays. No other Prime Minister has experienced more than 4 years. Longevity in office, it seems, is very difficult to achieve.

Many of these esteemed gentlemen faced the problems of their times in their own way. Most achieved very little, and others like Whitlam, Hawke, and Keating achieved much. Whitlam achieved more than all the conservative Prime Ministers put together in his two years. All were progressive thinkers who brought about massive change because they were forward-thinking individuals.

If that seems unfair, I don’t regret saying it because it is true. Conservatives would have us believe that the entire realm and ownership of political understanding is found in one ideology. The records show that they stood by eagerly awaiting the time to pass in their periods in office. Covid excepted, though Morrison did try but wasn’t up to it, so he gave it over to the states.

After nine long years under the pathetic administration of Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison, when we needed leadership these three men were dead to change, dead to any form of leadership and deaf to advice (though Turnbull has valid excuses).

In many of my articles I have promoted the idea that only Labor can mend the multitude of problems we are confronted with. They understand what change means. In my view, at least two terms, maybe three, to clean up the mess handed to them. For example, two weeks out from the election in my article titled When change seems to be the only course of action, I wrote:

“But of course, one’s desire to win must include accepting that you take the good with the bad. And in Labor’s case, it must take on some unprecedented demands on Government.

I cannot remember a time when the requests on Government have been so abundant. You can only get so many slices from a cake; however, it is time to change when some portions far outweigh others and favour the rich and privileged.

Over the past decade, the Coalition became so trapped in the longevity of sameness that they couldn’t see other ways of doing things. Corporate tax evasion, large subsidies to fossil fuel companies, tax cuts for the well-off, and privileges for the rich take an enormous slice of the cake. Only a Labor government can make the necessary changes. Of course, Climate Change is the most outstanding example of how an inability to adapt to change can be an unmitigated disaster.”

 

 

Expand our commitment to fixing the climate

We know what the Government proposes, but we also know that more can be done:

From July 1 there will be a new mega-department of climate change, energy, environment and water, responsible for the new 2030 emissions target and tweaks to the safeguard mechanism (The Guardian)

Cost of living

There are folks like disadvantaged pensioners: It is not this simple, but:

“The logic is this: if your weekly wage increases by $100, but your weekly expenses also increase by $150, then your real income hasn’t really grown at all… you’ve actually gone backwards. That’s what happened in Australia: the 2.3% wages increase is less than CPI/inflation of 3.5%.”

National Integrity Commission

The Government has committed to passing the legislation before Christmas. The Attorney General has already started on it. Then there should be a scramble to see who tops the list for the first customer.

An Indigenous voice

The Government is also committed to a referendum, and the onus is on Peter Dutton for a bi partisan approach; otherwise, history shows that it will be doomed to defeat. We owe it to our first nations people to see it passes.

A republic

Labor’s 2021 national platform says the Australian Labor party “supports and will work toward establishing an Australian republic with an Australian head of state.”

Fix the debt and the economy

 

Medicare

Strengthen Medicare by:

  1. Making it Easier to See a Doctor
  2. Cutting the Cost of Medications

Secure jobs

Labor will:

Create secure local jobs by investing in Fee-Free TAFE and more university places, and make your job more secure with better pay and conditions.’

Restore faith in our democratic processes

This can only be achieved by setting an example and having the opposition follow. Eliminating a decade of “boys behaving badly” won’t be easy, but it is necessary.

Restore our reputation in matters of diplomacy

Use words that tell the other party that you understand their point of view whilst you cannot agree. Not that we are preparing for war. By simply using words that show honesty and “respect” for them.

Free childcare

Labor will:

“… reduce the cost of child care and make it easier for mums, children and working families to get ahead.”

Royal Commission into Robodebt

Bill Shorten will be anxious to get this up and running. The Terms of reference and the appointment of a commissioner will be the first issues.

Restore our former manufacturing ability

Labor will:

Make more things here in Australia by working with business to invest in manufacturing and renewables to create more Australian jobs.”

Fix the housing problem

The Albanese Government will:

“… help more people get into the housing market sooner by cutting the cost of buying a home by up to 40 per cent.

This will mean a smaller deposit, a smaller mortgage and smaller mortgage repayments. It’s an ambitious plan that, if successful, will go part way in solving the problem.”

Address the inequality in education

Private schools are still getting more commonwealth funding than they need at the expense of state-run schools. Often when they don’t need or want it.

Women’s safety and equality

Australian women don’t want special treatment, they just want equality” and to be treated fairly.

“A Labor Government will take action to get us there by:

More assistance for older Australians

Restoring the previous measure by which pension rises were determined would be an excellent first step.

A better future for country folk

Labor has announced:

“… it will reserve $500 million of its National Reconstruction Fund specifically for agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and fibre.”

Realise the value of both the arts and sport

Let’s buck the trend:

“Researcher on government policy, economics and sport and professor of economics at the University of Adelaide, Richard Pomfret … believes there is a lack of understanding about what constitutes the arts in Australia, leading to misinterpretations, especially when compared to sport. Sport is always the winner.”

Take away subsidies to miners.

According to The Australia Institute:

“Fossil fuel subsidies cost $11.6 billion in 2021-22 across all federal, state and territory governments, equivalent to $22,139 per minute.”

Fix the NDIS

It seems that more is spent on lawyers than patients. Bill Shorten will have his work cut out trying to correct this bureaucratic mess.

A more equal nation

Labor believes that:

“All Australians should be able to go about their lives free from discrimination and share in an equitable distribution of the country’s wealth.”

Better funding for the ABC

Labor has:

“… a five-year funding commitment in addition to Labor’s previous promise that an Albanese Government will reverse Scott Morrison’s cut of $83.7 million.”

Restore the role of the public service

Return the work now outsourced to the private sector (costing exorbitant amounts) to the Public Service, which is its rightful place.

Better manage our water

With so many competing forces, the same old problems will arise. However, Tania Plibersek may bring a fresh approach.

Fix the NBN

Labor’s plan is to have access to world-class gigabit speeds by 2025. How much could we have saved had we done it correctly in the first place?

Give the independents a voice

As an act of goodwill, the Prime Minister should regularly meet with the cross benches.

Covid: Where to now?

There were 35,000 cases reported on June 2. Labor needs an up-to-date assessment of just where we are at with this dreadful virus.

International company tax

This is wrong, so wrong:

“Five of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association’s (APPEA) most prominent member companies have paid no income tax for at least the past seven years despite combined income from their Australian operations of $138 billion.”

Fix it please, Albo.

End the prosecution of Bernard Collaery

Greens and independents are calling on Mark Dreyfus to withdraw commonwealth consent to all charges in the alleged Timor-Leste bugging case. The man is a hero, not a criminal.

End the prosecution of Julian Assange.

The telling of truth has a high price.

Fix the problems with Aged Care

After many enquiries and a Royal Commission into aged care, the time has come to fix it.

Summary

Please note that my list isn’t prioritised, meaning it is not in any particular order. People will form their own urgency.

Two points need to be made. Firstly: That any Government would leave the nation’s affairs in such a mess is scandalous. Secondly: Government is a slow-moving beast. Our expectations need to be tempered with patience; however, we are entitled to think that a new era of sensible governance can be established.

 

My previous post: One that the Murdoch Media got horribly wrong.

My thought for the day

Labor will deliver a future where no one is held back, and no one is left behind (Anthony Albanese).

 

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One that the Murdoch media got horribly wrong

1 Before this win, Labor was last in power for six years from 2007-2013. Before that, you have to go back to 1993, when Paul Keating was Prime Minister. The Coalition has dominated the intervening years, and it has done so with the assistance of the newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Things changed forever on May 21 2022. People, in their wisdom, decided that Rupert’s mastheads were part of the problem and not the solution. The influence they once carried in the form of deception, misleading headlines or straight outlying was no longer.

The traditional means by which we gathered our information is now well and truly antiquated.

The control over how we once sought our political news, namely newspapers, has been eroded to the point of obsolescence. This election has proven it. The Murdoch newspapers – try as they may – had very little influence on the election results. There is now a significant disconnect between those who produce news for consumption and its consumers. The monitoring of information from Murdoch and the election outcomes show just how out of step they are with the voting public.

The public rejected traditional media like the Murdoch mastheads for the same reasons they shied away from the Morrison Government. They were sick and tired of all the lying, for example, about climate change, neo-conservatism, and significantly, the state of play in the theatre of politics. They preferred to get their information from social media outlets and reputable online sources such as The AIMN.

The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun, The Courier-Mail, The Advertiser, The Mercury, and the Northern Territory. News Corp is reported to control 70% of the printed news in all capital cities.

 

 

In terms of politics, they are now a defunct rabble. Their opinion isn’t worth the cost of the ink that adheres itself to the newsprint they use.

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

Writing in The Guardian, Malcolm Farr was critical of elements in the Murdoch media, postulating that:

“The most destructive, harmful and dangerous vote anyone can make in the forthcoming election is for a teal independent or the Greens,” wrote the Australian’s Greg Sheridan on May 3. “They are both a direct threat to our national security.”

A futile comment, as it turned out, as the Greens picked up another three seats, and the Independents stomped home in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Most were women replacing men.

Despite what was a clear direction from the punters to elect the independents, Murdoch is known to prefer maintaining a two-party system.

So, what comes out of all this rejection of Murdoch and his acolytes? There are still some good sports pages to read and pics galore, but I wouldn’t trust the politics.

In debating their tactics with colleagues and friends, I have noticed that the Sky (and Fox) viewership seems to be marked by a collective personality disorder whereby the viewer feels almost as though they’ve been let into a secret society. Arguably, this has been the election in which the bias of its tilted reporting has been exposed?

When the polls have been analysed to the nth degree, and all the data is done and dusted, one of the biggest stories of this election will be how Murdoch’s News Corp failed to have the desired influence on the result. From newspapers to television; it has become impotent. Maybe forever. I want to think so.

If a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity, but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements, then dismiss the piece as having no cogency.

2 The new Ministry:

Ups and downs

On the last count, Labor had secured 77 seats from which it has to select a Speaker or select a Speaker from the crossbench (which would be a brave move). Either way, it will govern in its own right.

Albanese has been quick out of the blocks selecting a Ministry to take Australia into the future. He advised all the Ministers “not to waste a day” of government.

Jason Clare, Labor’s campaign spokesperson ended up with education. A little surprising given the work he had done on housing policy. And Albanese wanted to promote the Queensland left-wing senator Murray Watt, and he did. Straight into the cabinet.

Women will be an issue for both major parties, but Albo is way ahead of the Coalition, boasting of appointing the “largest number of women ever in an Australian cabinet.”

Relative to its importance, early childhood ended up in the outer Ministry. “Given cheaper childcare was so central to Labor’s campaign“, that really surprised me.

I’m also surprised when a person with expertise in one area is given another. Murray Watts is a case in point. He has vast knowledge in communications yet ended up in foreign affairs.

The ins and outs

It’s a bit like selecting a football team. You need 22 fit players, and you have 30 players competing for the 22 spots.

Three females have “moved from the backbench to the outer Ministry“:

“Left-winger from Western Australia Anne Aly, Anika Wells from Queensland, and Kristy McBain, both right-wing are from New South Wales.”

Remember, all the factions have to comply with Labor’s Affirmative Action policy. Wells “needed to replace the Queensland right-winger Shayne Neumann” (formerly, veterans’ affairs) on the new frontbench.

So, Aly ended up with early childhood education, and Wells got aged care and sport. McBain got regional development. There are now ten women in a 23-person cabinet, which I think is a record.

Albanese has invested in a talented professional team with Marles in defence, Penny Wong in foreign affairs, Katy Gallagher in finance, Jim Chalmers in Treasury, Mark Butler in health and Tony Burke as leader of the lower house and in the workplace relations portfolio.

NSW right-winger Chris Bowen will implement the plan he set up in opposition for climate and energy.

Bill Shorten was given the portfolio he wanted, disability, even though they are not close, or so it is said.

Pat Conroy will work with Penny Wong on the Pacific in the outer Ministry- left-winger Andrew Giles will manage immigration. Victorian Clare O’Neil in home affairs), and the left-wing senator Tim Ayers will be assistant minister for trade and manufacturing.

As a reward for having delivered four lower house seats to Labor’s column in 2022, Patrick Gorman was appointed assistant minister to the prime minister.

Andrew Leigh, an economics professor, is always disadvantaged because he is not a faction member. He is one of the Labour party’s best brains. Albanese has kept him as an assistant treasury minister responsible for competition policy and charities in honour of his substantial expertise.

The South Australian right-wing veteran Don Farrell has also kicked a goal; now, he’s Labor’s deputy Senate leader. Farrell also keeps the portfolio of special minister of state, which he held in opposition, together with trade and tourism.

The to-do list

The first Albanese cabinet and Ministry were sworn in at Government House on Wednesday morning, and the subcommittees of the new cabinet met for the first-time last Thursday. There is much work to be done.

With a trip to Tokyo out of the way, Albanese is now on his way to Indonesia.

Upon his return, he will nominate Sue Lines, a Western Australian senator, as the new Senate President when the 47th parliament meets for the first time in the last week of July.

As for the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Queenslander Milton Dick and Victorian Rob Mitchell have shown interest, but the more exciting prospect would be Tasmanian veteran independent Andrew Wilkie who has expressed interest in sitting in the Speaker’s chair.

My thought for the day

Would you rather play in a team of champions or a champion team?

My previous post: The villain takes centre stage

 

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The villain takes centre stage

1 It goes without saying that there has been no Australian politician less popular in recent times than Peter Dutton. Yes, even less popular than both Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce.

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

Breathtaking in its audacity would be one observation. A second would be that nobody else wanted the job. Some jokingly say he is just a spud who wants to change and become a sweet potato.

Mike Long on Facebook made this comment reasonably representative of public opinion.

“I can’t think of a name to call Dutton that wouldn’t be insulting to someone else; if you call him an arsehole, that’s insulting an absolute arsehole.”

I know I have written much about this character post-election, but I needed to say more about him and his party’s breathtaking appointment without labouring the point.

Barrie Cassidy tweeted:

“… tell me how someone who walks out of Parliament during the apology to indigenous Australians and the stolen generations and says he was against changing the law around same-sex marriage is the next generation leadership?”

Conversely, Stephanie Dalzel writing for ABC News, said that New South Wales Liberal senator Hollie Hughes echoed those comments.

“Peter Dutton, I think is going to make an outstanding leader for the Liberal Party, and he is someone who is going to bring us back to that centre-right perspective as we look to rebuild into the future.”

I was genuinely shocked when I went to his Wikipedia page and fully digested a litany of his uncouth racist remarks and their longevity. I thought to myself; “How is it possible? Why is it that the Liberal Party harbours people of this ilk, and why do they promote them to leadership?” It is a mystery.

It’s all well and good for people to project an image of him that is different, kinder and more appealing, but why can’t people go to Canberra as themselves? They said the same of Morrison and Abbott, of course.

At this stage, you would have concluded that I am not exactly enamoured with the personality that is Peter Dutton. You would be correct – all those years of treating his fellow humans as unworthy of our ministrations.

Let us be honest here; the election was unfortunate for the Liberals, forcing them to face a painful reality. Their moderate faction was decimated by teal independents and rejected by Chinese Australian voters, turned off by deplorable diplomacy that handed seats like Bennelong and Chisholm to Labor.

One can only look at the evidence of what people say and do, allowing for the fact that when new evidence surfaces, they might change their minds, but when you look through the timeline of the Wikipedia summary, it’s almost impossible to give him the benefit of the doubt. (To give my article relevance, please read the link provided.)

Here is a small sample:

That email:

“In 2016, News Corp Sunday political editor Samantha Maiden wrote a column critical of Jamie Briggs. Dutton drafted a text message to Briggs describing Maiden as a “mad fucking witch” but inadvertently sent it to Maiden. Maiden accepted an apology from Dutton.”

Before the 2016 election, Dutton said of refugees:

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

And this:

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

But:

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

Oops. Embarrassing.

I can only conclude that the man is undeserving of any leadership role anywhere. He is a rudimentary man of little world acumen, loudmouthed, offensive, and nauseous. The Liberal Party of Menzies would not have tolerated a man of the reputation of Morrison, much less Dutton.

“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” (Cynthia Tucker).

After watching his press conference on Monday, I’m convinced he will be the same negative Peter we have come to know over a long period. His narrative was the same as Morrison’s, condemning Labor for all manner of failures he thought would happen. He was a clone of the former PM but with a slower way of saying the same thing. “We will have a huge mess to clean up in three years,” he said (paraphrased). He gave every indication they would continue to oppose Labor’s climate change policy, and there was much explaining about the Peter we have not met yet.

He was vague on an Indigenous voice to Parliament as he was on an integrity commission. There wasn’t any noticeable change but rather an opportunity to explain the science of political chameleons.

2 The Liberal’s partner, the Nationals, also on Monday, at last, gave Barnaby Joyce his just deserts. David Littleproud was elected after a lengthy party meeting, “with NSW Senator Perin Davey as his deputy.” Joyce, a man who represented the past, can now be put out to pasture and disappear amongst retiring stallions. If renewal is now the purpose of the Coalition, I am yet to see any.

My thought for the day

We all toy with the idea of changing the world but never consider changing ourselves.

 

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Where to now for a defeated and chaotic rabble?

With the election now over, all that remains is the tidying up of the final count to see if Labor will win in its own right or require the assistance of a few crossbench members.

As the winners, Anthony Albanese and the Labor government are already spruiking change and a better way of doing government, including a rejuvenated Question Time.

After a decade of shouty chaos, this will be a welcome relief to an electorate worn out by the intensity of ineffectual leadership and pure political bastardry. The Coalition was nothing more than a rabble led by two authoritarian Prime Ministers and one hypocrite, with a collection of lying, corrupt, self-indulgent, educated shysters who achieved nothing in nearly ten years.

Abbott was a pugnacious street fighter eventually put down by our first female Prime Minister. Malcolm Turnbull had a formidable mind but belonged to the wrong party. Morrison’s politics often contradicted his Christianity.

Of course, the first thing both conservative parties must do is elect their respective party’s leaders. For the Liberals, there wasn’t a choice. Peter Dutton is their new leader because he was the only one standing. The new leader is a person detested everywhere (except in his own state). Why? Well, mainly because of an inflexible inhumane attitude towards refugees and deeply conservative views that are out of touch with a modern pluralistic society.

Rachel Withers writing for The Monthly predicts that:

“The electorate won’t forget who Peter Dutton is, no matter how much the Liberal Party tries to rebrand him.”

And rightly so.

You might also recall that the medical profession voted him the worst Health Minister in over 35 years during his time in that portfolio. His public image will be difficult to erase.

Any gains in his rise up the political ladder have been made through a dark force of character. It is said that his private persona is very different to the one he shows through the medium of television. However, as I have said many times, life is about perception. Not what it is, but what we perceive it to be.

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

The WA Premier McGowan said this of Dutton:

 

 

Most of us would agree with that assessment!

As for the National Party, leadership it has to decide whether to stay with a yesterday’s man in Barnaby Joyce or look to the future and elect a person more in touch with today’s world. They also need to represent their traditional constituents instead of just being additional votes for the Liberals.

That a party founded by Menzies would deal with a person of such ill repute and ratbaggery as Joyce is incomprehensible.

Both parties – the Liberals and the Nationals – might decide to go their way until they find an identity that differentiates them from Labor and, at the same time, philosophically marries them together.

Already there is a call for the party to go further to the right. A mistake because the world has now had a glimpse of where far-right or left politics leads. For ten long years, like rust, the insidious hand of neoliberalism spread itself through every dimension of our society.

Neoliberalism is an often-used term, but what does it mean? Most people, I think, use it to:

“… describe what they see as the new right – the extreme of conservatism. The Liberal party needs to return to its roots of true Liberalism, and the Nationals need to drop that name and return to being a country party.”

It will be embarrassing to have so many ladies of the right sitting in the Parliament, so their dismissive contempt for feminism has to be addressed: A problem that conservatism won’t fix in five minutes.

 

Where to now? (Photo by Alex Ellighausen, The Sydney Morning Herald)

 

Neoliberalism is an often-used term that describes the new right – the extremes of Liberalism or conservatism.

They must now admit that they have lost the climate war and surrender to the public will.

In this election, we have made a seismic shift in the make-up of our new government. I feel that a great weight has been lifted off Australia’s shoulders with this shake-up ideology. The Coalition needs to decide what it stands for. A rethinking of what constitutes, the common good.

The most objectionable feature of a conservative attitude is its propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge, science, in other words.

We can even rejoice in the public rejection of Murdoch media’s attempts to hijack the election using the Trump-Fox saturation of its mastheads, social media and television.

This doesn’t mean that we should congratulate the public for their decision to dump Morrison and his government. On the contrary, it took almost a decade for them to realise that Labor and a “chorus line” cast of women were a better proposition than a few crooks and liars.

Alan Tudge, when he returned from hibernation, said on ABC TV that a critical reason the LNP was defeated was that Labor badly damaged the Scott Morrison brand…

I think that is correct.

My thought for the day

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

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And so it came to pass

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

And so, it came to pass on the twenty-first day of May in the year 2022 that the people of Australia decided to end its decade long flirtation with what was a rotten, corrupt government and its lying leader Scott Morrison.

The polls were correct, taking into account the margin of error.

They decided that a change in government might bring about the many changes necessary to restore trust in government and attend to the many problems we face as we head into an uncertain future.

The winners were Labor, who will probably govern with a majority of one, some independents, and the Greens. If not a minority government.

The Nationals may have retained seats but experienced sizable swings. There were also large swings against One nation. Still, the biggest loser was the Liberal Party, which had been forced away from its natural constituency firstly by Tony Abbott and then by the religious zealot Scott Morrison.

Clive Palmer, of course, lost much of his pocket money – $70 million or thereabouts – and he can now go and hide somewhere in the annals of Australian political history.

On the Labor side, Kristina Keneally was a victim of a wrong decision to override the local committee. Other big losers were Tim Wilson and Josh Frydenberg, whose concession speeches revealed how little they understood why they had lost. The loss of Frydenberg cannot be overstated.

Perhaps they were still in shock. Rather than engage in some self-reflection about their performance and the way their party effectively alienated what should have been their natural constituency.

They sought to blame others; The Teal Independents, Climate 200, GetUp!, the tooth fairy, Peter Rabbit, anyone but themselves or their party, which had alienated women, particularly, ignored climate change issues, ICAC, etc.

 

Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

 

The reality is that these ‘Teal’ women galvanised local support, literally in the thousands across the electorates that they contested. This doesn’t just happen. They tapped into the frustrations of the local constituents. If the other candidates who lost to independents adopt a similar lack of insight, then the LNP can be assured of further devastation in future elections.

The government seemed unable to grasp that a group of brilliant, very able, articulate, capable, strong, charismatic women could unseat them. Intelligent women rejected by the Liberals had to go it alone.

As a party, the Liberals now need to learn fast or face life in the political wilderness for many years to come. Peter Dutton from the conservative far right, in the absence of Frydenberg, will win the leadership at a time when they need to embrace the centre-left.

By choosing Anthony Albanese over Scott Morrison, Australia has said enough of the lying, cheating and rorting. They want honesty, responsibility, stability and transparency. Albanese may not have the charisma of a Hawke or Whitlam, but with a proven background in getting things done has the personality and credentials for the times.

Anyone with just an ounce of reason would have to concede that Morrison has not served us well. Claiming that he managed us through the pandemic when the states made the decisions was typical of his Prime ministership—taking the credit while blaming others for his mistakes.

If nothing else, eventually, Albanese will leave a legacy of having blocked the advance of conservative fascism in our country. If the Liberals turn to the hard right and go full Trump, it may spell the end of liberalism as we know it.

The result tells us that most voters thought they couldn’t trust Morrison and that his persistent lying damaged his character and his party.

It may take years to change the Liberal’s relationship with women and return to the broad church they once epitomised.

Albanese was proven correct in running a small target strategy. Especially in climate action, the small target approach seems to have worked a treat. Having been badly burnt in 2019 with well-thought-out policies, there was no point in repeating the error. The simple proposition that Albo would be better than Scomo was enough.

The election wasn’t a massive affirmation of Labor, either. It could be said that the outcome was a realignment of politics, with 7 in 10 not voting for the winning party. It can, however, walk away with a mandate on many policies. Climate change, a national ICAC, and a voice for our First Nations People are but three.

Any incumbent government has an enormous advantage over its opponents. It has the treasury and many other departments at its disposal, so it should have had an abundance of vision and ideas, but one-man shows usually end up with tired cabinets and lacklustre MPs.

The government offered nothing more than a weary version of three more years of the previous three.

With a growing list of problems to be faced now and into the future, the government didn’t offer any real solutions. In particular, their policies on climate change seemed to amount to nothing more than the same old remedies. It is safe to say that the climate wars that have divided the nation for a decade are now over.

Climate change was acknowledged as the biggest problem facing the nation and the world. Labor probably had some excuse for not being more serious (see earlier comments), but the coalition’s policy lacked urgency and commitment to reach net-zero by 2050.

When it became apparent that Labor would be victorious either in its own right or with the assistance of the Greens or Teal Independents, Antony Green finally called it a night. I became very emotional. Finally, the nightmare of hard-right governance was over.

I’m not sure how many elections I have left in me. Still, at least my country is in better hands now, and we can anticipate a new season of honesty. Notwithstanding the enormity of the Labor Party’s problems, a better-united future awaits us if we take the opportunities presented.

It must keep its promises, including a national corruption authority, and see that those guilty of criminality and rorting be punished for their misdeeds.

The Coalition is beset with internal divisions and a disregard for science. It will have a chance to address the folly of its ways. It should learn that governing with lying extremist leaders is futile. That economics and society are inextricably joined at the hip and should be treated that way.

Albanese now has to govern for all Australians (his words), and he must do so with more zeal than he has campaigned with. Bold, vigorous, and empathetic in the face of so many wanting a slice of an ever-dwindling pie. Equality, transparency and responsibility were also promises that will need to be kept.

Without delay, the new Prime Minister should begin working on bringing the country together and ensuring trust and truth is paramount.

Interest rates will continue to rise; inflation will be an ongoing problem, wages are stagnant, and diplomacy with China needs urgent attention. Ukraine still threatens global energy security, and the most damaging effects of global warming are now visible to all and sundry.

My thought for the day

Substantial and worthwhile change often comes with short-term controversy, but the pain is worth it for the long-term prosperity of all.

 

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All that remains is for you to cast your vote… but think before you do

An emboldened Scott Morrison would be a disaster for Australia. A vote for Anthony Albanese would bring new hope for better leadership and a more egalitarian society. Whilst the wrongs of the past decade would not disappear immediately, many would. Others might take two terms of Parliament.

Should he be triumphant, the tasks of a new Labor government would be enormous. Still, an Albanese-led government can accomplish much with a leader who has experienced life from bottom to top and believes that good government comes from the delegation of authority and not one individual.

I’m all for the recreation of a new and decent society that is inclusive and caring.

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

I mean that equality of opportunity for all would be enshrined in its constitution by the common good.

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

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

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

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

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

Most importantly, the principle that we should treat others in the same manner, we expect them to treat us would be indelible in every citizen’s mind.

My society would have a healthy regard for science over myth and mysticism but simultaneously recognise that each individual has a right to express their spirituality in their way so long as it doesn’t corrupt the aspirations of ‘commongoodism ‘.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I get somewhat tempestuous about the decline in our democracy and the corruption accompanying it.

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

A vote for an Albanese led government could bring about a better system of government, resulting in a better society. Whilst retribution might be on the lips of many, I fervently believe that a new government needs to address only those wrongs that would lead to better governance.

My thought for the day

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

 

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“If you want change, change the government”

For this, my second last post before voting in earnest commences, I have dispensed with my usual roundup of everything I can think of relevant to the election. Including the debate on housing. Now with just four days until the future of our nation is decided, I ask you to consider what follows when making your deliberations.

Imagine, if you will, another three years of Coalition governance or even another decade. The Prime Minister has promised a more friendly, softer, cuddlier version of himself. As I recall, it was around this time seven years ago that Tony Abbott said that “good government starts today.” It never did and still hasn’t.

Moving forward, last Friday – just eight days before the election – focus groups apparently said they didn’t like Morrison for the bastard he was. So overnight, he decided to change into a better version of himself.

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

After three years of testing by the Morrison cabinet, the ‘Better me’ pill is now available on the free pharmaceutical list. Morrison has developed into an outlandish caricature of himself.

By voting in favour of another three years of a Scott Morrison, you can expect another three years of the same incompetence. He has governed the country with a degree of Christian self-righteousness never before experienced in our politics.

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

On Friday of last week, the Prime Minister announced that he would lead with a new, softer approach if he won the election. He said he had been a bit heavy-handed and a bit of a bulldozer in the past.

“Some things will have to change with the way I do things, because we are moving into a different time.

What Australians have needed from me going through this pandemic has been strength and resilience. Now, I admit that hasn’t enabled Australians to see a lot of other gears in the way I work.”

Predictably, Anthony Albanese responded with the obvious:

“I find it quite extraordinary this government has been there for almost a decade, this prime minister has had four years in office and what he’s saying is, ‘If you vote for Scott Morrison, “I’ll change,” Albanese told reporters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison sought to isolate Labor’s attack on his character, admitting he can “be a bit of a bulldozer” and needs to change.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese rejected the prime minister would change, saying it was an act of desperation:

“If you want change, change the government. We can’t just have three more years of the same. If this government is re-elected, it will be more arrogant, more out of touch.”

Further to that, as reported in thesenior.com.au:

“A bulldozer wrecks things; a bulldozer knocks things over. I’m a builder. That’s what I am …

If I’m elected prime minister … I’ll build better infrastructure, I’ll build a response to climate change in partnership with our allies. I’ll build the skills capacity of this nation up, I’ll build people’s living standards.”

Morrison has steered clear of inner-Melbourne and inner-Sydney seats like the plague. These seats are all held by moderate Liberals facing challenges from climate-focused, pro-integrity independents. Because he is personally unpopular, he affords them no assistance at all.

Labor continues to point out that Morrison is a leader who won’t accept responsibility and always seeks to blame others. Opposition frontbencher Tanya Plibersek was more direct when asked if the Prime Minister’s standing impeded the Liberals’ chances at the next election.

“This is one of the most important choices Australians have faced in many years,” she said.

“Between a leader, Anthony Albanese – who’s prepared to turn up take responsibility, show leadership, who’s got a plan for the future – and Scott Morrison who has only ever got excuses.

“That’s what he’s saying. ‘Vote for me and I’ll change’. Well, if you want change, change the government.”

My previous post: Counting down.

My thought for the day

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

PS: To those who accuse me of a Labor bias. Let me say this: A biased person rejects everything out of hand and is incapable of objective reasoning. That is not me. I believe that we have suffered for nearly a decade from abysmal governance.

The mainstream media will only ever print or say whatever is in its best interests. This is blatant bias. Then it might say something interesting and truthful

Anyway, I will let others judge. Who knows, next thing someone will say I’m a commo and that Karl Marx’s grave is a communist plot.

Just ask yourself: Does our democracy make you feel good about your country?

Allow me to finish by saying this: Our Prime Minister is so full of egotistical compost that he can continuously replenish his own discharge.

“If you want change, change the government.”

 

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Counting down …

1 When I’m asked to articulate just when the decline in our democracy occurred, I usually start in 2013, when Tony Abbott, the most unqualified man to ever became the Prime Minister of Australia, won the election. But John Howard set Australia on the path toward a totalitarian leadership style. His longevity in power speaks to his success, but it also set the tone for power for power’s sake. All power emanated from the office of the Prime Minister. Subsequent Prime Ministers have followed suit.

My point is that good leadership doesn’t always require total power. Bob Hawke was also a successful Prime Minister. He, however, was a first-class delegator.

Liberal Prime Ministers since have all tried to rule with Howard’s defining power, but the quality of those under them has been deplorable. The longer Howard remained in office, the more power he attached to himself, and as a consequence, the quality of his ministry declined.

Albanese has unequivocally stated that he would govern in the Hawke style; delegating authority to his ministers, thus removing some of his power but not his authority.

Sounds better than the dictatorial, “I know better than everybody else”, and “I’m a Christian”, so I’m righteous of Scott Morrison.

2 Some satire from The Shovel:

“A Journalist tests Albanese’s commitment to women by asking him to name every woman in Australia, thus divesting himself of some power but not authority.”

3 Colour me surprised. From Greg Sheridan in The Australian (paywalled):

“Actions speak louder than shouty debate.

As the great Fonzie once told Richie Cunningham, you’ve got to fight at least once. It’s hard to think of a single issue the Morrison government has fought for.”

4 All the talk last Wednesday was about Albanese’s backing an increase in the minimum wage of at least 5.1 per cent. As is usual, businesses claimed the higher costs would destroy jobs. Of course, this prompted another argument about who handled money better.

During the course of the two defining years of Covid, I heard/read commentators say on many occasions that it was these workers who carried the burden. As a consequence, they needed to be rewarded and recognised. Albanese knows this and supports the lowest-paid workers in the land.

I would argue that holding back wages for as long as the government has actually led to inflation. Look what has happened in the USA, where conservatives have held wages down for 30 years.

Business groups said, of course, that any increase above 3% would send the inflation bells ringing. If Labour wins, it will formally submit to the independent umpire without mentioning a figure. We should also consider that the Reserve Bank has said that Australians’ real wages are set to shrink as much as 3% in 2022 as salary increases lag behind inflation and may only start to catch up by 2024.

 

 

 

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

One could add that there is no good reason to give our highest-paid workers a tax cut at this time. What have they done to deserve it?

I am convinced that Scott Morrison believes that lying diminishes over time and forgets that he leaves behind a residue of broken trust.

4At no point in my lifetime has the ABC been more important than it is today,” Kerry O’Brien says in a video published by ABC.

5 Here I am back on the polls with The Poll Bludger publishing the latest Morgan results showing Labor 54.5 and the Coalition on 45.5. The Poll Bludger also has some interesting State breakdowns.

The polls’ consistency demands that we note their new methodology. Let’s hope the polls are correct this time.

6 Kevin Rudd makes some excellent points about Murdoch in this article for The Guardian:

“… they normalise the idea that Murdoch’s national stranglehold on print media is OK because it’s merely a right-wing counterbalance to the left-wing ABC. This is ludicrous; the ABC has robust standards, rigorous complaints processes, and is accountable to parliament. News Corporation is functionally unregulated, its political bias is way off the Richter scale, and it acts like a petulant child at the very suggestion that it be compelled to answer questions at a commission of inquiry about their monstrous levels of monopoly.

The Murdoch’s insist they have nothing to hide, while claiming the ABC is compromised. If they actually believed this, they would have welcomed a wide-ranging media royal commission years ago.”

7 What is it about these Coalition people? Scott Morrison seems too terrified to be seen behind an ABC mike, and Alan Tudge is too frightened to show his face as the Education Minister.

You know a political party is in trouble when it talks more about its opponents than itself.

8 If you wanted to see a fact-check that terrible debate last Sunday, read this article by Paul Karp of The Guardian.

9 And if you are wondering who won the final debate last Wednesday night, The Guardian reported that:

“150 undecided voters determined Albanese the clear winner of the Channel Seven debate. The Labor leader convinced 50% of those who voted in the network’s ‘pub test’ compared to 34% for Morrison and 16% who were still undecided.”

The final question in this relatively civil debate was full of its own intrigue. Both were asked to say something nice about each other. Morrison went first and praised Albanese’s rise from humble beginnings and then went on to bag him with any negative he could think of. Albanese praised Morrison for his interest in mental health and chose not to say more.

The Australian, surprise surprise, gave Morrison a narrow win.

10 If you know who said this, I would be obliged if you were to let me know, so I may give the author due recognition:

The Liberal party needs to be destroyed at the ballot box. And to start again. This time putting the interests of ordinary Australians ahead of ideological zealots and donors. This is close to the worst lot of conservative politicians I can remember. There is nobody even remotely of the quality of Howard and Costello.

It has been a decade of insufferable negligence: their intolerable lies and incompetence.

11 Talk about Ministerial standards. Education Minister Alan Tudge seems to be in hiding at the moment. How can you have an affair with a staffer and then be cleared of any wrongdoing and invited back into the ministry if the Liberal Party wins? And the taxpayer has to pay half a million dollars for his behaviour. Just plain wrong.

12 A friend said that Labor would end up with a large majority. A hypothetical thought indeed. His theory is that a few Coalition former ministers will resign when the Coalition loses. Labor will then gain those seats in by-elections. Nothing wrong with his thinking.

13 Are we to forget the misdemeanours of this government? Will it mean that if this government wins the election, we will ignore the crimes of Robodebt, Sports Rorts, land purchases, car parks, and many others?

And there I must end until next Wednesday.

My thought for the day

You cannot possibly believe in democracy if at the same time you think your party is the only one that should ever win.

 

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Let’s hope the polls are right this time

And so, the second leader’s debate on 9News has come and gone. At times it was unedifying and robustly undignified. It lacked moderation and structure and demonstrated how much of a bully our Prime Minister is. And I might add how amateurish commercial TV can be. Sure, both combatants gave as much as they got, but the continual interruptions of Albanese’s answers by the panel and the Prime Minister became tedious. It mostly led to the responses of both being indecipherable at times.

The two troopers asked the best questions to each other. Morrison asked Albanese about tax. He wanted to remind the viewers about negative gearing and franking credits.

Albanese asked the Prime Minister about the workplace. Should anyone be paid less than the minimum wage?

His answer came down to two words: “It depends.”

9News should have given more thought to the rules and presentation of the debate. Maybe they wanted a dog fight. If that’s the case, that’s what they got.

As one who is deeply concerned about the state of our democracy, its discourse, and the media’s part in it, I found the whole thing a regrettable waste of time. I concluded that Albanese won, but only because he cared more about the future than the Prime Minister.

Others, like Chris Uhlmann of 9News had this observation:

“I have been engaged in these things before when the leaders would look straight ahead and give short speeches and not at any stage take any chance,” he said.

“I thought Anthony Albanese, who is clearly leading at this stage, might go risk-free, and in fact he initiated the banter between the two of them, and at some stages he really did it quite willingly.”

While Katharine Murphy from The Guardian made this point:

“I think Morrison blamed either international factors or Albanese for most things. There was a particularly surreal exchange about the federal integrity commission when the prime minister (who had point-blank refused to introduce legislation giving effect to his own election promise) berated his opponent for not having any legislation from opposition, when Morrison (still in Government, last I looked) could have put his own legislation in the parliament for a vote.”

The results

As unscientific as they are, the viewing audience scored the debate a draw, but Labor came out on top on other questions.

Decided or not, which are you more likely to vote for?

  • Coalition – 44%
  • Labor – 50%
  • Other – 6%

Choosing only between the two major parties, which are you more likely to vote for?

  • Coalition – 47%
  • Labor – 53%

The Polls

Knowing that some polls were due to be released the same evening, I sneaked a look at The Poll Bludger around 10 pm for further revelations. I was surprised to find that, contrary to the usual expectation, the polling wasn’t contracting in favour of the incumbent as it usually does.

Newspoll had Labor ahead 54/46, Ipos had Labor on 50, and the Coalition 35 with 15 undecided. I would be surprised if the Essential Poll tomorrow showed anything different.

At this stage, Labor’s lead is much more significant than it was in 2019. So, to win, the Liberals need a more substantial error than that which occurred in 2019.

These figures show that all the current polls have moved toward Labor, and if they hold up into next week, the Coalition is looking at an electoral shellacking on 21 May.

Other observations from the week that was

1 An enormous amount of talk about housing as we draw closer to 21 May. Mortgages and rents are all rising. Housing affordability has undoubtedly become an election issue.

2 Last Thursday, at his morning presser, the Opposition leader couldn’t remember his party’s six-point NDIS plan. Albo later gave the media a much-needed serve. I’m told the journalist who posed the NDIS gotcha question to Albanese was reading his question from his phone. Hypocrisy, much?

3 It was only a matter of time before Malcolm Turnbull entered the election in earnest and did so by telling voters to vote for an independent. I’m tipping it won’t be his last. After Morrison unethically disposed of him, payback is not unexpected.

4 Isn’t it interesting that a Coalition exists even though they don’t agree on much. It hardly gives the voter much confidence.

5 On the one hand, Independents with one policy agenda and little else, are hardly fully representative of the community. On the other hand, as was proven by Oakshot and Windsor, in the Gillard Government, they bring a depth of thought outside the mainstream. It has been suggested that 90% of teal preferences will go to the ALP.

6 To satisfy the demands that have their hand out, Labor would either have to raise taxes, cut subsidies or change the way the rich can avoid paying taxes or tax them more.

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

7 A friend tells me that Anthony Green said on the radio last week that the ‘undecided’ section is not any different to any recent election. He also noted that most election campaigns don’t change anything – the vote on the day reflects the split polling revealed at the start of the campaign – however, he did acknowledge that 2019 was the exception to that rule.

8 When he was in parliament, Fred Chaney was one of the most respected men in the halls of power. He is on the record that the liberal party he joined in 1958 was different from today’s party. Today it is more controlled. He intends, like many other former Liberals, to vote independent.

9 In a wide-ranging interview with Guardian Australia on the hustings this week, the Labor leader said all of his colleagues were worthy of their current roles, “… but we are certainly not getting ahead of ourselves.”

10 Amid all the banter, debates, interviews and discussion, I feel that the importance of this election is being lost.

11 I agree with George Megalogenis when he says that under Scott Morrison, Australia has lost credibility on the world stage. The news that Scott Morrison has not spoken to the Solomon Islands prime minister since calling the election condemns him as just an ignorant fool without the skills required for international diplomacy.

 

 

12 The prime minister is such a liability in progressive Liberal seats that he ignores them to campaign in marginal Labor seats. Go figure. He is an in-your-face Prime Minister who is on course to lose to an unknown contender without baggage. He is so unpopular that he can only try popular things.

13 Why is Morrison desperately avoiding a debate shown on the National Broadcaster? Well, there isn’t anything in it for him. Not only that, but he is refusing to appear on the ABC’s Q&A. Not a good look when you are behind in the polls.

14 Research by Climate Analytics tells us that the Morrison government’s climate change commitments are consistent with more than 3C of global heating, bordering on 4C. This level would lead to catastrophic damage across the planet.

15 Here are five stark policy differences between the two major parties. Paul Daley writing for The Guardian, answers those who say there is little policy difference between the two parties.

(i) The road to reconciliation.

(ii) Countering corruption.

(iii) Social policy ambitions.

(iv) Caring for the elderly.

(v) Who would best lead a minority.

16 Try as she might, Lisa Millar on ABC News Breakfast, could not extract an answer from Stuart Robert as to why taxpayers are forking out half a million dollars to Alan Tudge’s former staffer Rachelle Miller. It seems Mr Tudge has gone into hiding in case he is asked a question.

17 Kevin Rudd continues his investigation into Murdoch’s monopoly and sets the tone for TV, radio and online news.

 

 

My thought for the day

I find it impossible to imagine that the Australian people could be so gullible as to elect for a fourth term a government that has performed so miserably in the first three. Especially when it has amongst its members some of the most devious, suspicious and corrupt men and women, but they could.

 

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When change seems to be the only course of action

For almost a decade now, we have had governance unbefitting the times. When a government has governed without due regard to what is best for the nation and its people, there is only one course of action. Change it, and when you do, you change society.

The peoples of all the nations of the world increasingly seem to be having less to say about their destiny.

Extreme totalitarian right-wing governments worldwide have held sway over people and their democracies for far too long and at a time when what is needed most is a caring application of governance for the collective, not just for those at the top.

Despite the news served up to us by a media intent on backing a conservative point of view, the fact is that this country faces enormous problems. Not insurmountable but serious nonetheless. Well, severe enough to suggest that this would be a good election to lose.

But of course, one’s desire to win must include an acceptance that you take the good with the bad. And in Labor’s case, it must take on some unprecedented demands on government.

I cannot remember a time when the demands on government have been so abundant. You can only get so many slices from a cake; however, it is time to change when some portions far outweigh others and favour the rich and privileged.

Corporate tax evasion, large subsidies to fossil fuel companies, and an array of privileges for the rich take an enormous slice of the pie. Only a Labor government can make the necessary changes. Over the past decade, the Coalition became so trapped in the longevity of sameness that they couldn’t see other ways of doing things. Of course, climate change is the most outstanding example of how an inability to adapt to change can be an unmitigated disaster.

Everyone knows the authentic challenges facing us, but negativity didn’t build the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Snowy Mountain Scheme, or other Australian achievements.

What is needed is a leader with a passion for change. And might I add, with a government ready to back him up with explained policies.

Of course, the most significant change required is how we think.

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

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

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

The balance of this piece is derived from an article I wrote in 2020 about “social engineering”. You will note that I will now use the term “social change” instead of “social engineering.” Other parts I have changed to bring it into the times. It is essential, though, concerning this election.

Labor must find a means of making its citizens participatory in the function of government.

It should be inclusive, equitable and supportive of the people’s right to know. By equity, I mean the people have a right to a fair reward for the fruits of their labour.

And above all, it should be answerable to the people.

What is Social Change?

Social Change is a means by which you bring your ideas and principles relative to your party’s philosophy both up to date and in service of the common good.

Sometimes, however, it is politically expedient to forgo your beliefs when specific policies become entrenched in the country’s way of life. NDIS and national health are but two that are against conservative ideology but are firmly entrenched in our society.

It is when a political party seeks to use selective deceptive, manipulative and insidious psychological techniques to implement change in the attitudes of the masses that it is wrong.

Suppose you look at our society when Tony Abbott came to power and compare it with today. In that case, you could not deny that it is less accessible, FOIs are more difficult to procure, press freedoms have declined, we are more open to corruption, and government intervention in our daily lives has increased.

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

Our economic attitude toward the wealthy, be they corporate or individual, has resulted in the rich getting increased handouts and subsidies.

Critics labelled Abbott’s social changes planted in the 2014 budget as the most draconian ever. Cuts to services such as welfare, education and health copped most of the budget pain.

It also slashed billions in funding from international aid, health and education. Alongside cuts to family benefits, all were designed to change the societal structures of how we live.

My problem with the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments is that they all embarked on a program ideologically targeted at changing the way we think, and for all the wrong reasons.

Think climate change, for instance, and the worldwide pandemic at its conclusion (if ever) will bring about the need for social and economic change. Demands for wage rises for first responders will be central to these changes. We have yet to hear about this in both parties’ campaigns so far.

Conservatives will seek to create crises even when none exists to counter these changes.

The Chinese will be at fault for everything. Even our sports results will be said to be rigged by them.

Create an illusion of disaster, and people will believe that perception is, in fact, reality. (Covid-19 and climate change aside, of course.)

Appeal to the base instincts of ordinary people and the racists.

A have/have not form of serfdom runs through the Morrison government’s work.

The disparagement of science (Covid-19 excepted) has been peculiar to the three governments.

In communications, we have a concerted attempt to eliminate the reasoned voice of opposing views. The dual attack on the ABC by the Murdoch empire and the government attempts to stifle debate.

When a government condemns a perceived bias of one outlet without acknowledging the prejudice of another, it is practising social engineering. Not social change.

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

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

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

We also see social engineering in communication policy. The best NBN is now effectively only for those who can afford it. They have become information-rich, and those who cannot have become information poor.

All of these things contribute to how we think, act and feel. By manipulating society into thinking that the entire realm and ownership of knowledge is found in one ideology, one individual or cohort of individuals is a form of social change.

By influencing society into believing that if the rich become more prosperous, their lot will advance at the same rate, conservatives see their social engineering as a success.

As I said initially, all forms of government, corporations, institutions, religious groups, and even the advertising industry practice social engineering. Still, when you use social change to better society, the result is different.

Conservatives seek power through social engineering, whilst those on the left use social change for a better society.

My thought for the day

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

 

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At the half way mark can Labor feel confident of victory?

Saturday, April 30

1 Whatever it was, the week’s rest seems to have done wonders for Anthony Albanese. His performance at last Saturday morning’s press conference was as good as l has seen from him. And it must be said that other members of the leadership group who accompanied him gave equally passionate performances.

And it has to be said that having shadow ministers backing the leader was impressive. A cohesive team will always beat a group of individuals.

With another debate scheduled for next Sunday, at 8.30 pm at Nine’s Sydney studios, l expect a fiery confrontation.

Sunday, May 1

2 But prior to that, the Labor Party’s Campaign Launch in Western Australia was a spectacular success. Jason Clare is proving to be a winner as the media front man with a unique grasp of policy combined with an astonishing capacity for wit.

The usual luminaries of past Labor Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Paul Keating were in attendance, as were the Western Australian premier, witty Mark McGowan, and the newly elected South Australian premier, Peter Malinauskas.

In 2013, Albanese was the deputy Prime Minister, and Labor faced a self-inflicted defeat. Back then, he floundered, struggling to contain his emotions. On Sunday, Albanese brimmed with a different emotion, proud of his party of which he was now the Leader, daring to hope beyond hope that he was a winner.

The Opposition Leader said that after the challenges of the past three years, be it floods, fires, or the pandemic – Australians had “earned a better future“.

Labor promised reduced medication costs, a rollout of new charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and a focus on improving pay equity for women via the Fair Work Act.

The decision to reduce the cost of drugs on the PBS by $12.50 means the maximum price for medicines for millions of Australians would be $30.

A shared equity scheme to improve housing affordability for low and middle-income earners that had been announced earlier was met with rapturous applause.

Albanese also said his government would use “all the tools in our power to close the gender pay gap“.

The most applause was reserved for statements about Australians deserving a government that would shape the future. All in all, Albanese gave a direct account of the current political situation and how it can do a better job.

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

Albo as he is known, claimed that Australians had “worked out” Scott Morrison. A claim that I wholeheartedly support.

“Australians understand we can’t bet our future on three more years of a prime minister who looks at every challenge facing our country and says that’s not my job…

For a decade now, the Liberals and Nationals have treated governing as an inconvenience and public money as a political slush fund.”

I will not run from responsibility or treat every crisis as a chance to blame someone else.

I will show up, I will step up, I will bring people together. I will lead with integrity and treat you with respect.”

Of course, it was full of symbolic messages and not a lot of policy which was part of the Labor plan to allow Morrison nothing to get his mouth into.

Monday, May 2

3 The Australian’s headlines in response to Labor’s launch (paywalled).

Albanese’s Labor is rhetoric-rich, policy-poor

There has never been a Labor launch like this. Powerful rhetoric and symbolism to conceal the most modest policy offering from federal Labor at any election in the past 50 years.

Plenty of ideas but no grand plan in low-key launch

Anthony Albanese has vowed to change Australia by doing very little different. This is the fundamental contradiction in Labor’s case for change.

4 Here is one I nearly missed. It was in The Australian of all places (paywalled) “Peter Dutton flies under the radar in drone deal”:

“Peter Dutton gave the green light days before the election for the purchase – without an open tender process – of ­reconnaissance drones used by China and Russia.”

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

5 With just 17 days to go, Morrison has made up little ground. The latest Newspoll courtesy of The Poll Bludger shows that Labor leads the Coalition 53/47:

“Labor’s lead is steady at 53-47, with Labor up a point on the primary vote to 38% and the Coalition steady at 36%. One Nation has gained two points to 5% now that it is offered as a response option in every seat where it is fielding candidates, which is to say all but two of them compared with a little more than a third at the 2019 election, while the United Australia Party is steady on 4%. The report is silent on the Green’s primary vote, but the full results should be up reasonably shortly. (UPDATE: The Greens are steady at 11%). The poll also found that 56% believed it was time for a change of government, with 44% favouring the alternative response that the Coalition deserved to be returned.”

“Also out today from the Age/Herald is the second Resolve Strategic poll for the campaign, which finds the Coalition down two on 33% and Labor steady on 34%.”

“Resolve Strategic does not provide a two-party preferred result (though the Age/Herald report fills the gaps), but these numbers suggest around 54-46 in favour of Labor using flows from the 2019 election.”

The Essential Poll shows that:

“… while primary support is flatlining, Labor retains a lead over the Coalition of 49% to 45% on a two-party preferred ‘plus’ measure.”

The polls have recently done better in predicting state elections. Let’s hope that the corrections they have made to how they collect data have been a success. That being said there are still many people who remain undecided or who have dropped out altogether.

6 Latest betting from Sportsbet has Labor at $1.44 and the Coalition at $2.72. Ladbrokes are offering $1.80 for Labor and $2.00 for the Coalition. The latter seems a bit out of whack.

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

Wednesday 4 May

8 When I first saw this breathtaking list, I thought it was just another of those lists that show the government for what they are.

Nothing more than corrupt rorters. I got to number 200, thinking that would talk about the duration of the Morrison Government. How mistaken I was. The list covers the period from Abbott to Morrison. It is published by The Saturday Paper (compiled by Matthew Davis) and is titled “Achievements of the Coalition government” it lists some 1011 of them. The worst part is that they are all authentic. I’m hoping this link will get me a free subscription.

My thought for the day

A Coalition leads the nation, but we never see the two leaders together when they campaign. Why is it so?

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It’s not all about the economy, Mr Morrison. What about jobs?

1 Today, I would like to draw your attention to a campaign press conference the Prime Minister gave at around 10 am April 27, in which he was asked a question about taxes.

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

He had previously said that taxes would not rise under his government. This, of course, is an absurdity because:

“… the Low-Middle Income Tax Offset, LMITO, was boosted to a maximum of $1,500, but it has not been extended beyond this financial year.

In his Federal Budget speech, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said low to middle-income .

The increase is estimated to benefit more than 10 million income earners and applies to those earning incomes up to $126,000.economy

However, unlike what the rumour mill suggested, the LMITO – in place from 2018-to 19 – will not be extended past this financial year.

Harrison Ashbury at Savings.com reported that “Mark Chapman, director of H&R Block’s tax communications, said this is effectively a tax hike in disguise.”

Next year, the “low and middle-income tax offset” disappears completely – meaning that people earning up to $126,000 will see a tax rise of up to $1,080,” Mr Chapman said. A return to the Government of $14.8 billion. Not bad, said tricky dicky.

It’s hard to see how that will do anything to help cost of living pressures over the medium and long term.

Worse, just as most Australians will see this tax rise, the wealthiest Australians will be anticipating a tax cut of up to $9,075 in 2024-25.”

Meaning that, in effect, the Prime Minister was telling a lie. The question asked of the Prime Minister was a good one, but unfortunately, it wasn’t followed up by other journos, and that’s what they are supposed to do. Either they are too inexperienced, unresearched or just dumb.

 

 

Scott Morrison then said that Labor would implement a carbon tax by stealth within the Carbon Credits Scheme, which is bullshit, but you can’t stop him. Again, the journalists couldn’t find a question. Tony Abbott implemented the CCS they refer to.

Yet again, he put Matt Canavan in his place. Still, no one raised the possibility of history repeating itself in the case of a hung parliament and a group of National MPs threatening to cross the floor or bring the Government down if they didn’t like specific climate legislation.

And to prove that they are still deniers of the highest order, the Liberal candidate for the Melbourne seat of Macnamara Colleen Harkin reckons that describing global warming as a climate emergency is akin to child abuse.

Conservatives govern for those who have, while those on the left think more about those who have not.

2 The inflation rate came in at 5.1% – the highest in twenty years. This will guarantee that prices will rise further, and interest rates will follow. It also puts paid to a lot of Government economics forecasts.

Greg Jericho in The Guardian put this slant on it:

“The latest inflation figures showing a 5.1% increase in prices over the past 12 months mean three things: the budget figures are already wrong, an interest rate rise next week is very likely, and last, workers have seen their real wages absolutely smashed.

It is not unusual for budget figures to be wrong, but to be wrong after just one month takes some doing.”

With China shutting down and testing many of its citizens because of another Covid outbreak, sales of our commodities will obviously fall, resulting in a significant revenue decline.

Frydenberg is busily trying to save his backside, so the defence of the Governments’ economic performance will fall on a lying Prime Minister.

At 5.1 per cent, Morrison is right to point out that inflation is worse elsewhere. And the Treasurer, when he gets a word in, is correct to blame the war in Ukraine and COVID supply constraints. But these comparisons are unlikely to appease communities faced with colossal cost of living expenses. Especially the lower-paid cohorts.

As sure as night follows day, we will be consumed over the next few days with debate about who the best economic managers are.

Of course, the Reserve Bank, at the same time, will be thinking about not when but by how much interest rates will rise.

Blaming international events won’t cut it. Keeping wages low for so long has led to this inevitable result as it has in the US.

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

Some quick thoughts:

3 Albo cannot afford to let go of an opportunity to attack Morrison’s style of blaming others, telling lies and degrading our democratic institutions.

4 Anyone who thinks that Morrison’s comment about he and Jen being blessed that they didn’t have kids with disabilities wasn’t part of his characteristics should read the book by Sean Kelly titled “The Game.”

5 The Coalition’s latest scare campaign over Labor’s climate policy highlights the real mess surrounding adequate planning for a shift towards renewables. Half of the experts cited say they were misquoted.

6 A second leader’s debate has been proposed for Sunday, May 8, in the 60 Minutes timeslot. That timeslot would ensure a vast audience. Labor is awaiting the outcome of Albanese’s bout of Covid before committing.

That’s all for now.

My previous diary entry: Who can scare you the most?

My thought for the day

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

 

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Who can scare you the most?

1 If you didn’t know an election was on and campaigning had been in progress for a few weeks, then you could be excused for not remembering that yes, the election is on the twenty-first of May.

So mundane has been the campaigning that you would think we were having a debate about what side of the street we should walk rather than the future of our nation.

My thoughts, as usual, are drawn to who is telling the most truth because it is better to be comforted with fact than controlled by lies. For some reason, I find it essential to the voting process. When I talk to people about this election and mention Scott Morrison’s lying, I’m often surprised at how many men forgive him because “they all do it.” Imagine what sort of a society we would have if all we did was lie to each other.

The opposite is that women hold him in such low esteem that they could cost him the election.

When the two leaders commenced their campaigns, who would have envisaged that the three most significant issues after nearly three weeks of campaigning would be Albo’s senior moment, a female candidate’s views on gender and the Solomon Islands’ relationship with China?

In the absence of Anthony Albanese, a fantastic opportunity exists to showcase some of Labor’s pre-eminent media performers. Jason Clare is stepping up to the plate as the media spokesperson, and Jim Chalmers, with his ever-present smile, seems to have a handle on any subject.

Unlike the Coalition, at least Labor is putting on an upbeat show, whereas Morrison, Dutton, Joyce and Taylor seem to be negatively defending everything. Taylor has been caught out again presenting dodgy figures, as this headline points out in The New Daily fact check: “Angus Taylor was caught in a dodgy climate scare campaign.”

And as for the warmonger, Dutton. really, what does one say? He hasn’t got a brain in his head or a diplomatic bone in his body. He is anticipating a war with China and wants us prepared. These scare campaigns do nothing more than treat us with contempt. Meanwhile, they increase the size of their army by the size of ours every year.

 

 

2 While watching the dawn service and at the same time fiddling on my iPad, I came across a piece from Crikey that I had saved in my “to read” file. It caught my attention because I don’t subscribe to it, and it’s not often one finds an entire article without subscribing.

The headline read; “The Liberal Party wants us to ‘look at the facts’. But just whose facts?

Of nine claims in the Liberals’ new ad campaign, one is correct, two are deceptive, and six are barefaced lies.

The piece is written by Alan Austin, who will be familiar to some readers. In essence, it was a put down of Scott Morrison’s claims that:

i) ‘Australia’s recovery is leading the world.’

But claiming Australia is still a leader on this metric is quite false.

ii) “Through the pandemic, we’ve had fewer deaths … than almost any advanced country”

A more valid comparison, I would argue, is with advanced nations far from those countries and using current figures.

iii) “Less debt than almost any advanced country.”

Twenty-nine advanced economies now have less debt than Australia.

iv) “And more jobs growth than almost any advanced country”

The Liberal graph again compares Australia with seven non-comparable nations and ignores the advanced economies beating Australia. These include Norway, which improved employment by 3.11%, Argentina by 3.3%, Cyprus 3.7%, Israel 4.1%, New Zealand 4.3%, the Netherlands 4.5%, Denmark 5.3% and Malta by 5.9%.

v) “The Liberal government is building a stronger economy.’ ‘… With lower taxes.”

This would make Donald Trump blush. Last month’s budget papers showed that from 1969 onwards tax to GDP has been much higher under the Liberals. The highest-taxing administration was John Howard’s. Morrison’s was second highest.

vi) Lower unemployment

Yes, the headline jobless rate is lower. But you could argue that is due to migration shifting into reverse, to thousands of “workers” on one hour or zero hours a month, and to the blow-out in the public service – not a strong economy.

vii) “More apprentices.”

Apprenticeship numbers have recovered slightly in the past year, but from a low base. Relative to population, apprentices in 2017 and 2018 were the lowest in two decades.

viii) “More funding for health and other essential services.”

This claim is correct. But that’s due to higher population and the larger budget relative to 2013, not sound management.

(In regards to point iii you might want to read Alan Austin’s Worst debt blow-out in the developed world refutes Coalition claims of economic competence published recently on The AIMN.

2 Last Sunday, the LNP gave a guilt-edged guarantee that taxes overall wouldn’t rise above 23% of GDP. At the moment, they are on 27%. The highest ever taxing Government is the current one, and the highest after them is John Howard’s. Labor has never reached 27%.

3 The Kevin Rudd Facebook page report into Murdoch bias finds that 90% of their articles so far are favoured towards the Coalition.

At this stage, the respective campaigns of both parties are being dominated by scare campaigns. Labor is scaring pensioners to death over the Government’s welfare card, and the Government is more than a little upset. Having said that, Morrison is running around like a headless chook saying all sorts of negative things about Albo and who can forget his scare campaigns about Shorten’s negative gearing and franking credits.

Labor has conceded that all this negativity does work and that there is no point in being as pure as snow. A pity, but that’s the truth of the matter.

Pensions, the NDIS, Medicare, open borders, Chinese Reds under Labor beds, frightening, isn’t it?

But that’s the way the game is played.

My thought for the day

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 tantamount to the manipulation of our democracy.

 

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While Albanese looks to the future, Morrison just talks about the past

1 Currently, we find the two aspirants for the position of Prime Minister talking about “stopping the boats” of a pastime. A fight won and is now strewn amongst the rocks of many islands in Australia’s political history book.

What Australians want is vision. They want a leader who can illustrate Australia’s future in 20, 30, and 50 years. This, of course, includes cleaning up the current mess.

I began writing this entry for my diary in the early hours of Tuesday, 19 April 2022. I was somewhat downcast until I saw the latest Newspoll results. They showed that Labor’s vote had held up despite Albo’s blunder on the first day. 53/47 said, The Poll Bludger. I thought it might collapse under the weight of frivolous reporting by the Murdoch press. Morgan followed up with 55/45 to Labor, and Essential has Labor just in front.

2 On News24, Morrison was still going on about boat turnbacks, offshore detention, third-country resettlement, and how Labor’s policy differed from the Coalition’s. A factcheck quickly settled that in Labour’s favour.

“For better or worse, Labor has agreed with the Coalition that nobody who came by boat since 2013 will be resettled in Australia. There is bipartisan support for boat turnback’s, offshore detention and third-country resettlement.”

3 A little later on, I found a reinvigorated Anthony Albanese. He looked like he had had a blood transfusion; such was his demeanour. He was spruiking Labor’s climate and energy policy into the future. He was talking about the future, about electric cars and their manufacture.

But talking about the future and its endless possibilities is just talk without the means of enabling it. This means restoring trust in our body politic. It must be a priority for a new government.

“A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears. A better politics is one where we debate without demonising each other; where we talk issues and values and principles and facts rather than ‘gotcha’ moments or trivial gaffes or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.” (President Barak Obama).

4 Restoring our democratic processes:

Albo must advocate for many changes. Take the high moral ground. Not everything will be able to be done at once. Labor will need to win by a margin that ensures two terms leading into a third.

I am drawing on a post titled; I was right back then, and I’m right now, which I wrote in 2017 for the following suggestions.

There is no doubt that the Australian political system needs repair, but it is not beyond it. Albanese needs to advance ways of opening our democracy to new ways of doing politics: ways that engage those who have been in a political malaise to feel part of the decision-making process again.

How about fixed four-year terms with a set date? Genuine reform of question time with an independent Speaker.

Albanese needs to promote the principle of transparency enthusiastically, advocating things like no advertising in the final month of an election campaign, and parties should submit all costings in the same time frame.

The people are sick to death of dog-eat-dog politics, of politicians who cannot think outside their yearnings for power at all costs.

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

Present national interest policy in common good terms. Create a willingness for bipartisan decisions when the common good reason demands it. Allow the House to accept the kudos of such extraordinary co-operation.

Never in the history of this nation have we been overflowing with such riches, but at the same time, those seeking our capital have never been as numerous.

We need to exercise our fairness, reason, compassion, and logic when determining what is affordable now and into the future.

We must talk about what is best for individuals, couples, families, employees, the arts, charitable institutions, groups, employers, retirees, welfare recipients, the aged, the infirmed, and decide how this cake of wealth is divided and how it is grown into the future.

Albanese needs to convince people of the need for a genuinely collective representative democracy that involves the people and encourages us to be creative, imaginative and exciting.

In a future world dependent on innovation and ideas, the government will be determined by those with a better grasp of the common good and not the pursuit of power for power’s sake.

5 And folks, that’s where I will have to end my diary for today. Alas, I have come down with a bout of Shingles, which has bedded me with fatigue. I would have liked to have said more, particularly about the debate. However, I can recommend Katharine Murphy’s analysis in The Guardian.

Until next time.

My thought for the day

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

 

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‘Gotcha’ fact checks and other important things

Diary entry 29: Saturday, April 20 2022

1 If a reputable fact-checker corrects a blatant attempt to pull the wool over the public, it could reasonably be a “gotcha moment”. The culprit has been found out telling a lie, lying by omission, gilding the lily, or simply trying to cloud the issue. “Gotcha”

Following are seven examples from AAP Factcheck of what could be called “gotcha” moments. Most fact-checked examples refute a wrong, then published and quickly forgotten, particularly by a media predisposed to self-interest or straight-out propaganda.

The culprit has achieved its purpose of misleading the public. This is not to say that Labor doesn’t also do it to a lesser extent. However, the overwhelming culprits are the Prime Minister and his ministers.

i) The claim. The Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic saved 40,000 Australian lives.

AAP Fact check verdict.

Misleading. Experts say Australia’s low death rate is due to a mixture of state and federal government policy and non-government factors.

Read more here.

To claim that you have saved 40,000 lives while at the same time your mishandling of the ordering of vaccines probably cost some is shameful.

ii) The Claim. No trees have been planted toward the coalition Government’s 2018 target of one billion new trees by 2030.

AAP Fact Check verdict. Mostly True. Around 4300 hectares of trees have been planted since 2018, equivalent to only around one per cent of the 2030 goal.

A Labor claim that proved to be a gotcha one.

iii) The Claim. Minister Dan Tehan Claimed that the Australian economy is performing better than any other country after COVID-19.

AAP Fact Check verdict. False. Australia has had a strong recovery from the pandemic, but several other countries have performed better on key indicators.

Such lies are told regularly. I shall go on:

iv) The Claim. The Prime Minister has claimed that Australia has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by around 20 per cent – more than the US, Japan, Canada, and New Zealand.

AAP Fact Check verdict. Mixture. Australia likely reduced net emissions by more than all except the United States between 2005 and 2020; however, Australia was the worst performer when comparing gross emissions.

Lying by omission.

v) The Claim. The Morrison government cut climate spending by 35 per cent in the 2022 federal budget.

AAP Fact Check verdict. Mostly True. Budget papers show a 35 per cent decline in funding for climate programs over four years, although this doesn’t necessarily account for all spending by government agencies.

vi) The Claim. The Government insists that Labor will introduce a death tax.

ABC/RMIT fact check verdict. Death taxes or an inheritance tax are not part of Labor’s current official policy platform — nor were they in the lead-up to the 2019 election. While senior Labor figures Mr Albanese and Mr Leigh may have historically indicated support for an inheritance tax in their non-parliamentary roles, both have since indicated they no longer support such a policy.

Talk about the masters of the scare!

vii) The Claim. Defence Minister Peter Dutton has claimed that Labor cut billions of dollars from the defence budget when it was last in Government.

ABC/RMIT fact check verdict. Misleading. Labor cut defence spending in two years while in office, but overall real-term spending went up while in Government.

2 The Prime Minister is facing an uphill battle to convince the electorate that he is serious about a corruption commission. Trying to present an argument that it won’t happen because Labor cannot bring itself to support his policy is a friendless argument.

3 Another observation of the first week of campaigning is that the standard of media reporting is deplorable. Of course, we have come to expect it from the Murdoch tabloids whose bias seems to have no end but is this the best we can hope for. Scott Morrison, it has to be said, is an excellent campaigner but can they at least balance that against the destruction of our democracy over the past 10 years.

But when on day one, news anchors are asking their travelling correspondents whether or not Albanese had just lost the campaign, I’m afraid they leave me somewhat breathless.

4 “The first campaign poll shows the scars of Labor’s troubled first week but still suggests they lead on two-party preferred.” Read more at The Poll Bludger.

5 On Insiders last Sunday, Marise Payne refused to endorse Katherine Deves for Tony Abbott’s former seat of Warringah. There was a time when people with views like hers were immediately dis-endorsed. But then she was personally picked by Scott.

Marise Payne also refused to enlighten us as to why Rachel Miller, a staffer in Alan Tudge’s office, is to receive over half a million dollars plus expenses after having an affair with him. And, of course, he remains in the Ministry. We are entitled to know.

6 Let’s hope that this week we will see the campaigning move to some policy debate about things that matter instead of following some immature gotcha moment of little importance.

We have to change the government to one that is indeed a representative democracy that reflects the community’s views.

I could just go on repeating all those reasons for voting this government out, recounting their dishonesty, nit-picking the Canberra gossip, cataloguing dishonesties and incompetence’s – ceaselessly doing what I have been doing and losing readers because of my passion.

But I would implore our readers to think of the future and marry science, technology, and economics to best reflect a community with a compassionate heart.

A couple of months back, a Facebook reader wrote:

“Lately, John, you’re thinking has run into a brick wall that others have built. The significant issues are not parochial, not country or city, urban or rural; they are dire ubiquitous problems that are universally threatening.”

Alas, that is true. I must redouble my efforts not to just condemn the wrongs of this vile government but to point out the possibilities the future holds for a government intent on serving the people and not themselves.

My previous diary entry: This will be a ‘gotcha’ campaign

My thought for the day

We must have the courage to ask of our young that they should go beyond desire and aspiration in a changing world and accomplish not the trivial but greatness. They should not allow the morality they inherited from good folk to be corrupted by the immorality of nefarious governments.

 

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