Bedtime Stories #2

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Bedtime Stories #1

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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.

Please, won’t you just say it as it is?

President Trump is giving his daily press conference and on a split screen a man constantly interrupts to point out his lies, his misrepresentations, his illogicality and his perversions.

As is my custom I write early in the morning because in the silence my mind is at its most receptive. This morning however, before I begin I find myself in need of some think time.

“What to write about?” I ask myself. “Do I just continue on voicing my views at the injustices of the world or could I take another path? Why not reinforce your views with those of others. Just freelance and let your mind go where it will. You can always scrap it if turns out crap.”

I accept the challenge and my mind is directed to my “to read” folder where I have forgotten the purpose of putting things there, but whatever the purpose, it must have been important at the time.

1 So my mouse finds its way into my “to read” bin and like a lucky dip the first piece it comes up with is by former US Secretary of Labour in the Clinton administration; Robert Reich. A man short in stature but big in logic, truth and analysis. In this piece he is talking about his least favourite politician, the President of the USA.

I find myself married to his opinions. He is relentless in his attacks on Trump.

2 Trump has claimed that Obama left behind “bad, broken tests” … for a virus that didn’t yet exist.

The Huffington Post also quoted the President saying:

“I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests: this is going to go away without a vaccine.

“Eventually it’s going to go away. The question is will we need a vaccine?”

It is time that those with the capacity to change laws that might prevent the mass murder of people and refuse to do so were made to account. After all they are as guilty or as mad, whatever the case, as the perpetrator himself.

3 To follow that up, the Huffington Post reported that President Trump abruptly ended his coronavirus press briefing on Monday 11 May after getting visibly angry with two female reporters, one of obvious Asian appearance. This brought out the racism in Trump.

4 With Trump and his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo saying anything and everything to blame China for a laboratory origin for the coronavirus I came across this piece (“The Discussion Is Basically Over”: Why Scientists Believe the Wuhan-Lab Coronavirus Origin Theory Is Highly Unlikely) by Joe Pompeo in Vanity Fair. Of Trump’s reasoning he says it “makes for great propaganda – but uses dubious science.” It’s a great read.

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

5 In this piece by Paddy Manning in The Monthly, Manning accuses the government of using the pandemic to target old foes:

“We’re well past the stage where any of this could be excused as an oversight, an unintended consequence of the rushed pandemic response. By now it’s obvious: this is a deliberate strategy. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the rest of the Coalition’s culture warriors are not wasting this crisis, that’s for sure.“

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

6 No, I’m not yet finished with COVID-19.

According to Rod Myer of The New Daily it is ripping a great hole in the finances of News Corp with a $1.5b loss for the March quarter.

So much so that the media giant has called in consultants to its Australian operations to advise on how it can shrink costs and jobs.

“The move, reported in Nine Newspapers, comes after Rupert Murdoch’s flagship called out a poor performance in its Australian operations since July.

“Stories published on Google and Facebook in turn drive a lot of readers back to companies like News and Nine,” says [media analyst Peter] Cox

“If those visits are cut, then I assume advertising revenues would fall because advertising revenue depends on the level of traffic on media sites.”

7 Former LNP Opposition Leader John Hewson wrote an exceptional piece for The Guardian titled “Coronavirus is a dress rehearsal for what awaits us if governments continue to ignore science.” Hewson warns that:

“The coronavirus pandemic should be seen as a dress rehearsal for what awaits us if we continue to ignore the laws of science, the physical world and the demands of several catastrophic threats such as climate change.”

Instead of being proactive we tend to wait for disaster. Even in politics.

8 Former US President, Barack Obama always lowers my political blood pressure. His quiet calm dignity, appearance and reasonableness of argument are qualities of leadership that you would want leaders and especially politicians to have. This piece by the ABC’s North American correspondent James Glenday speaks of the Obama’s critique of Trump’s mis-handling of the coronavirus crisis:

“Former US president Barack Obama has attacked the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, describing it as an “absolute chaotic disaster.”

Mr Obama added that the pandemic would have been difficult for any administration but the Trump White House had approached it with a “what’s in it for me?” attitude.

What we’re fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy — that has become a stronger impulse in American life.”

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

In the interests of length I have omitted Angus Taylor’s alleged Cayman Island company, Peter Dutton failing to register one of his companies, and George Christensen summoning the Chinese Ambassador before a Senate Committee.

My thought for the day

“1500 – That’s the forecasted number of extra deaths by suicide per year over the next five years as a result of the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, according to modelling by Sydney University’s Brain and Mind Centre” (via The Monthly).

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Turnbull: Just the man to tell all (part 2)

I always had a soft spot for Malcolm Turnbull. The early pages of his memoirs outline the many occupations he experienced as a young man and the remarkable dexterity he showed in performing them.

But Prime Minister is what he wanted to be and that’s what he achieved. There are many who would say, and they would be right in doing so, that he was out of his depth.

They point out his unpopularity in his party and his failure with the NBN. That he failed to live up to his potential.

In all fairness, it has to be said that had he been allowed his way with policy he may have made a success of it.

But that wasn’t to be. Instead, he was made to sign an agreement that saw his leadership at the mercy of the ratbag fringe of the LNP. The so-called conservative extremists who eventually got rid of him so as to have their own way.

Many others and I called him a hypocrite in not being able to legislate policies such as. climate change and on a national energy policy. Policies that were joined to his hip, so to speak.

That the likes of Scott Morrison, Barnaby Joyce and other like-minded dunderheads defeated the prodigious intellect of Malcolm Turnbull  showed how out of touch with reality the LNP are.

But this post has more to do with Turnbull,s opinion of the man who ousted him than Turnbull himself.

Katherine Murphy, a consummate journalist for The Guardian, in a preview of Turnbull’s book gives an exhilarating insight into the – what can only be called devious – workings of Prime Minister Morrison. She writes that:

“Turnbull says his first encounter with Scott Morrison happened in 2001, when the then-businessman was mulling options to enter politics and Morrison was the state director of the Liberal party.”

As the story goes Morrison wanted Turnbull to be the Premier of NSW and “had hatched an ingenious” plan to implement it.

Turnbull, however, wasn’t interested and I could imagine he felt it was beneath a man seeking the big prize.

It seems to me that Morrison is always central to the machinations of the party, always in the scrum directing the moves, and always with a long-term objective.

He plays his politics in the shadows just behind the play ready for any eventuality.

Murphy continues:

“Turnbull portrays the current prime minister as always ringside, either in person or through surrogates, during the corrosive leadership battles that erupted shortly after the Coalition came to power in 2013. Turnbull says Morrison began to “sniff out interest in removing Abbott” as early as 2014, only a year after the Coalition’s election victory, when the majority of colleagues were not countenancing a change.

There was talk of moving Turnbull to Treasury to replace Joe Hockey after the disaster of the 2014 budget. “I was careful to play no part in this. Abbott would never move me to treasurer,” Turnbull says. “And I felt I was being used as a stalking horse by others, especially Scott Morrison, to position themselves.”

When one watches individual politicians over a long period of time a profile emerges. In this case the one of Morrison is incomplete but it can be seen that he is conspiratorial type with great cunning.

At this point I’m trying to condense Murphy’s words but the scheming of Morrison is getting the better of me.

Let’s move on.

According to Murphy Turnbull says the “agitation persisted,” and on “10 December he had dinner with Morrison, who wanted to replace Abbott as party leader.”

“It was the first time he laid out, fairly comprehensively, his thinking on Abbott, who he felt would have to go by the middle of 2015 if his performance didn’t improve. He said Hockey should go now and he was making the case to Abbott to replace him with me.

He was closely in touch with the key figures at News [Corp], he told me, and said they were getting ready to dump Abbott. And he made it clear he saw himself as the successor.

After reshuffle at the end of the year and Abbott moved Morrison out of Immigration and into Social Services, Turnbull said that Morrison was “furious” and “this was the first time I recall him saying we will need to remove him before the budget”.

Morrison, according to Turnbull, garnered a cohort of MPs who would readily get rid of Abbott from the leadership.  It was obvious that Morrison wanted the job, “but didn’t want to be seen to challenge him.”

According to Morrison, the shock jocks wouldn’t support him (by whom he meant Alan Jones and Ray Hadley). Morrison also, according to Turnbull, wanted to sideline Julie Bishop, but later changed his mind, and they agreed that Turnbull would be the leader in the event that Abbott got the flick.

Turnbull noted:

“Morrison was vocal in his support for Abbott and publicly denied discussing leadership issues with me. Of course, he’d done so on many occasions, and every indication was that he’d encouraged, if not masterminded, the [first] spill itself.”

If Turnbull is correct you can see the succession and opportunistic planning in Morrison’s mind. The dice were beginning to roll for his own benefit.

Back to Katherine Murphy:

“Turnbull’s ire is directly predominantly at Mathias Cormann and Peter Dutton for the coup that terminated his prime ministership in 2018 but he concludes after some equivocation (“it’s never possible to be 100% certain about these things”) that Morrison “was playing a double game: professing public loyalty to me while at the same time allowing his supporters to undermine me.

It was, of course, precisely what he’d done in 2015 when he said he’d voted for Abbott in the leadership ballot but worked closely with me to ensure his supporters voted against Abbott.”

You might describe Morrison as a cunning rat, loyal and disloyal depending on the need.

Murphy continues:

“Turnbull says he knew on the morning he spilled the leadership, “while I was prepared to accept Morrison’s assurances of continued loyalty, I knew that some of his supporters were starting to urge him to make a move himself”. He says he was aware of the risks of tactical voting by Morrison supporters in the first ballot. Turnbull says Morrison sent him a note while the ballots were being distributed.

The note said: ‘I don’t know why we didn’t discuss this. But that’s your call.

Turnbull is on my ballot.’ I replied, ‘Thanks! It’s the right call. The room has to make up its mind.’”

When the result was 48 votes for Turnbull and 35 for Dutton, “I wondered whether some of Morrison’s supporters had taken the chance and voted for Dutton, hoping they didn’t accidentally deliver him a win.

Subsequent accounts of these events indicate that Stuart Robert and Alex Hawke had organised about half-a-dozen of them to vote for Dutton – enough to lift his numbers up to a level that damaged me but didn’t get Dutton over the line. If Morrison’s friends had voted the way he said he did, the Dutton insurgency would have been utterly dead that morning.

The idea that they did that without his knowledge is fanciful. Scott is a control freak and I’d seen before in the ballots in 2015 how he’d publicly vote one way while ensuring his supporters voted the other way.

When it was clear he had no prospects of retaining the prime ministership, Turnbull actively encouraged Morrison’s campaign.

Turnbull says he lined up behind Morrison because he believed he was “a responsible, safe pair of hands. But Dutton, were he to become prime minister, would run off to the right with a divisive, dog-whistling, anti-immigration agenda, written and directed by Sky News and 2GB, designed to throw red meat to the base.

With no constraints, Dutton would do enormous damage to the social fabric of Australia. It’s one thing having the tough cop handling border protection and counter-terrorism, but not at the head of our multicultural society”.

Turnbull also records the messages he exchanged with his successor after Morrison was sworn in.

“I messaged him,” Turnbull says, “Congratulations prime minister and good luck.” According to Turnbull, Morrison replied the next morning. “Only you can know how I feel today, but I cannot begin to know how you feel.

I loved working for and with you. I’m really proud of what we did. And that is always how I will always feel and speak of it. I want you to know I am thinking about you a great deal and you know I pray for you.

That doesn’t change now. I don’t know why all this happened, but now it has come upon me, you know I will be relying on my faith, friends and values to overcome and conquer what is ahead …

Thank you for all you’ve done for me. But above all as one PM to another, thank you for everything you did for our country. No one knows that contribution better than me.

“Love you, mate.”

All we can do is gather the evidence, sort out the fact from the fiction and come to a decision. For my part, I have the added benefit of about 65 years of an up front close observation of politics that allows one to see through the lies, the bullshit and the intended airbrushing of it all.

I make two points. On the one hand Morrison mentions in his note to Turnbull, “all that we have achieved together.” I’m lost as to what he is referring to because in 7 years they have achieved nothing,

On the other hand I used to think that the Americans were the only race on earth that believed their own bullshit. Now I know that Australian politicians do also.

My thought for the day

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

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Turnbull: Just the man to tell all (part 1)

My association with the man Malcolm Turnbull began in 1999. It was the year that Australia attempted to become a republic.

I was an area leader in this effort to become a country of the future and not the past. Twenty and a bit years on I remember the time for Turnbulls leadership, John Howard’s lack of it, and Tony Abbott’s unpleasantness in his defense of the monarchy.

I confess to a tear or two when I read Turnbull’s post-republican book “Fighting for the Republic.” It was an extraordinarily and rank memoir of the convention and the egos, idealists and opportunists who took part.

Turnbull said John Howard “broke this nation’s heart” over the Republic referendum. He was, without doubt, correct.

I mention this because I’m only 71 pages into his autobiography (ibook version) and my expectation is that it will be filled with many such descriptions of colleagues and of the times.

As my reading progresses I intend to feed readers of The AIM with snippets of Turnbull’s versions of events and the personalities that were placed in the centre of them.

Turnbull would frequently appear on Q&A and other programs and spoke of freedom of the press as though he really meant it. Unlike many of his conservative colleagues.

But before then I want to comment on a couple of things already published in the fourth estate. I refer to two articles that give some credence to a picture of Turnbull as a man of democratic principles, and one who saw them as first and foremost in a democracy.

The first article – by The Guardian’s editor Lenore Taylor – tells the story of how the left-leaning online newspaper got started in Australia and Malcolm Turnbulls involvement.

Those on the Left may find themselves puzzled, even bemused by the fact that it was largely by way of Turnbull’s suggestion that the Australian version of The Guardian came into being.

Why would he do such a thing if he were a true blue conservative hell bent on seeing that the Left got as little exposure as possible?

Taylor reports that in his memoir Turnbull writes that:

“I was beginning to despair about the state of Australian journalism,”

“I wasn’t especially concerned about the political slant of one outlet or another, but more about the fact that newsrooms were shrinking and editorial standards were dropping to the loopy standards of the twittersphere. Gina Rinehart was threatening to buy Fairfax – no doubt so that its newspapers could emulate her own ultra-rightwing views.

“In June 2012, I suggested to Alan Rusbridger, editor of the UK’s Guardian, that he should establish an Australian edition. For a modest cost, he could start a digital-only edition. That would provide a good base from which to build. Alan was interested. We exchanged some rough numbers and he concluded he’d need $20m of underwriting for three years – if it couldn’t get to break-even in that time, it never would.

“Given my political role, I could hardly participate myself, but I thought I knew someone who would. Graeme Wood had made hundreds of millions of dollars from an online travel booking business called Wotif. He was on the political left and had been generous in the past to the Greens. He’d also recently funded a progressive free online newspaper called the Global Mail. It wasn’t going to make it. So, I suggested to Graeme he drop the Global Mail and instead use his fortune to bankroll an Australian edition of the Guardian.

“Its progressive politics suited him plus it was one of the greatest newspapers in the English language, nearly 200 years old and, unusually, wasn’t controlled by any media mogul but rather an independent trust dedicated to ‘quality, independent liberal journalism’.

“Once Graeme Wood was on board, I introduced Rusbridger to two seasoned Canberra political writers, Lenore Taylor and Katharine Murphy (AKA murpharoo). He sent his deputy, Kath Viner, to Australia to be the first editor. The (digital) paper-exceeded expectations broke even after a few years and Wood got all his money back. Clearly, my deal-making skills remained intact.”

Lenore Taylor concludes that particular story with this:

“Turnbull’s recollection skips over a long and complicated process that followed those initial introductions, after which Turnbull had no further involvement as far as I know.”

Perhaps Turnbull’s memoir will enlighten me further but until then I shall remain unconvinced as to the true state of his political philosophy.

However, we can thank Malcolm Turnbull for ridding his party, and the nation, of the combatant pugilist Abbott.

He was, for a time, rewarded for his effort with election winning polls and a personal popularity rating the envy of any celebrity.

Initially with charismatic personality, he seduced and beguiled his way into the hearts of those who wanted nothing more than to see the back of Abbott and some who didn’t.

The punters welcomed his sense of reason, fairness, discretion and natural charm, even if these characteristics seemed out of place in a party so demonstrably right-wing.

He certainly wasn’t a conservative, perhaps an old fashioned Liberal. The sort that don’t exist anymore.

Immediately after being installed as Prime Minister he found himself in charge of the greatest bunch of out of control, extreme right-wing nut cases who he could never control and in the end accepted his assassination without so much as a whimper.

Had he been allowed to govern in his on right it may have been a different story.

There was always this nagging feeling that he was more left than right but would morph into anything to become Prime Minister.

Perhaps some of you will recall the story of Malcolm wanting to join Labor at the time of the Republican Referendum but was told in no uncertain terms that he would be more suited to the Liberals. There are various antidotes.

The second piece I refer to is about Morrison’s part in the deceptive dismissal of Malcolm Turnbull and in turn Turnbull’s characterisation of Morrison. For a so-called Christian he would be somewhat of a disappointment to Jesus, to say the least.

But more on that in Part 2.

My thought for the day

To what degree do we actually control the course our lives take?

 

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The Mongrel that is Rupert Murdoch

In an effort to deflect some recent criticism from former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull, and former Opposition Leader Bill Shorten about his media empire, while addressing News Corp’s December 2019 annual general meeting Rupert Murdoch assured all that:

“There are no climate change deniers around I can assure you” after he was asked at the corporation’s AGM why his company gives them “so much airtime” in Australia.

Unfortunately for Murdoch, Guardian Australia’s Amy Remeikis exposed the lie that this was in her article Rupert Murdoch says ‘no climate change deniers around’ – but his writers prove him wrong.

On April 25, 2014, I wrote a review of the Paul Barry book; Breaking News: Sex, Lies and the Murdoch Succession. Here is a short extract:

Depressingly readable is the best way to describe Paul Barry’s revealing biography of Rupert Murdoch. I placed the word mongrel in the title of this piece but it could just as easily used scumbag, which means a contemptible or objectionable person.

It is a story about one man. A man with a love for money, power, influence, acquisitions, wives, children and even scandal. Scandal makes money.

Covering much of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, it is fluent yet comprehensive, with a not-too-much-not-too-little approach to Murdoch’s life.

It is brilliantly written. Barry has a rare talent for the exposure of things complex and how to unravel them.

What was depressing for me was the uncouthness of the man in question. He has obtained a vast fortune by printing smut and conditioning people to reading it and in doing so has displayed a complete disregard for the lives of others. His obsession with profit over anything else, even people’s privacy, is staggering. His business and personal moral corruption stands out larger than the worst of his tabloid headlines.

Having the power to elect governments is the ultimate power that carries with it the highest rewards that corruption can bring.

On three occasions I had to put the book down, so affronted was I by this vile nefarious excuse for humanity. One time was when one of his tabloid editors described the reason for his papers existence by saying:

“The reason we exist is to destroy peoples lives.”

On 7 September 2017, I wrote another piece titled about Murdoch, pondering whether he will again tell us how to vote, pointing out that his influence in the distribution of print media had waned but they were still the go-to news for the right-wing.

Again, here is a short extract:

So in terms of political influence Labor has little to fear from the nefarious front pages and slanted editorials of his tabloids. The Labor victories in both Queensland and Victoria have highlighted News Limited’s growing irrelevance to the electoral process.

Last year, the total daily circulation of all Australian daily newspapers was a little over 2.1 million; fully one million lower than it was at the turn of the century. When you take into account the growth in population post Second World War the decline is even more spectacular.

In 1947 two copies of daily newspapers were sold for every five people. In 2014 the figure was 1-14. So now, Murdoch with a 60% share of the Australian circulation can only attract 4% of the population to buy his rags.

I went on to say that:

So, if all the research is correct, Murdoch only reaches less than 10% of the voting population which is about half the reach they had when they so blatantly supported Howard in 2001.

There are a couple of things to remember when discussing Murdoch’s political influence. The first is the flow on effect.

The Australian is the shock jocks first point of call every morning and the presenters of untruth quickly absorb whatever bias is on for the day.

Putting Julia Gillard aside those who feel most aggrieved, Shorten, Rudd and Turnbull have every right to feel so.

That one man through his power of opinion can make or break governments and individuals is just demonstrably and democratically wrong.

During the last election, Bill Shorten copped scathing headlines and opinions from the Murdoch stable of filthy headlines as to his character and anything else they could attack, which I covered in my Election Diary:

With an ever-increasing hostility from the Newscorp tabloids and The Australian Shorten at a press conference on Thursday decided to hit back.

I suggest you read this piece from Paddy Manning in which he says that:

Shorten let rip: “First of all, it is just a nonsense claim,” he said of the suggestion that Labor’s carbon reduction policy could cost business $25 billion. He continued: “It is built upon the back of a big lie. It says somehow that using international offsets to help abate carbon is a bad thing.” In terms of the costs, Shorten said that the Labor plan relied on the same public modeling as the government.

Shorten continued: “The News Corp climate change deniers and their ally, the prime minister – a coal-wielding, climate-denying cave-dweller on this issue – they all say, ‘Look at the cost,’ but never mention the cost of extreme weather events, do they? They never mention the cost of not getting into renewables, and they never mention energy prices, do they?”

The Daily Telegraph has been vomiting out its usual front pages. The Australian is in a battle with itself to see how many anti Labor headlines it can fit on its front pages. After dark Sky News is so partisan it only has comedic value.

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

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

They even promote free speech as if they are the sole custodians of it.

I don’t think anyone could deny Newscorp’s bias and their capacity to influence the character assassination of any individual should they want to.

However, as I said earlier given the declining influence of its mastheads the question is how much influence does he really have?

The outspoken former head of News Corp Kim Williams reckons Malcolm Turnbull has overstated the Murdoch press’s ability to influence elections because News Corp is “old media” with dwindling power.

He described Newspapers as a “terminating technology” and would soon disappear.

“I am surprised at the severity of Malcolm Turnbull’s comments because it attributes a level of power to old media that I don’t think they have any longer… ”

Conversely, Turnbull’s view was that:

“Media barons, and many other billionaires, like politicians who are dependent on them…

So, while it’s easy to say that the Murdoch’s thought I was too liberal, at the heart of it was the fact that they knew I was my own man, and had seen that up close many times over 40 years.

With Abbott they had a deferential prime minister they thought they controlled.

A similar assessment can be made of Alan Jones, Ray Hadley and their colleagues at 2GB – in their vanity and megalomania, Jones and Hadley berate and bully politicians who don’t kowtow to them.”

Sometimes it is good to stop, think, evaluate and formulate one’s own opinion instead of being influenced by the media and other vested interests.

In a no holds barred piece for The Guardian late last year Kevin Rudd went on the attack:

“And for those who think it will all expire when Rupert dies, there’s another Murdoch in waiting. Lachlan is every bit as conservative as his father, including being a climate change denier. Murdoch has cultivated an atmosphere of fear in Australia.

Debating Murdoch’s power has long been effectively off-limits. Politicians, academics, corporates, even journalists and commentators from other news organisations are fearful for their own reputations, because they know from experience that Murdoch’s editorial henchmen will come after anyone who attacks them, with a view to shredding the offender’s reputation.

Murdoch editors see no need to correct the record when they print inaccuracies or just make stories up. After all, who is going to have the guts to challenge them? Which is why we have such a deafening national silence in this country on the problem, which dare not speak its name: Murdoch.”

A Death Certificate might show proof of death but the legacy you leave behind will demonstrate how you lived.

A Royal Commission is long overdue into the nefarious working of Murdoch and his mafia-like behaviour.

It is well known that Murdoch’s media outlets in Australia lose millions of dollars every year, so why does a man who luxuriates in the making of it allow this?

It can only be for the power and influence it gives him. At nearly 90 one might question its importance, but then, old habits die-hard.

My thought for the day

There are those who make money but are never remembered. There are others who do great deeds and are.

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A very unstable genius

Where would the President of the United States get the idea from that injecting disinfectant into the body could cure COVID-19? From a fellow called Mark Grenon, apparently. Writing in The Guardian, Ed Pilkington reveals that:

“The leader of the most prominent group in the US peddling potentially lethal industrial bleach as a “miracle cure” for coronavirus wrote to Donald Trump at the White House this week.

In his letter, Mark Grenon told Trump that chlorine dioxide – a powerful bleach used in industrial processes such as textile manufacturing that can have fatal side-effects when drunk – is “a wonderful detox that can kill 99% of the pathogens in the body”. He added that it “can rid the body of Covid-19”.

Who could imagine any American President in his right mind ever suggesting the citizens of his country take bleach by injection as a cure for the coronavirus, but Trump has.

The American people are indeed unfortunate to have, during a time of crisis, a man so unqualified to lead, let alone lead them through a pandemic.

While the piles of dead mount daily and millions lose their jobs, and the very fabric of its culture is torn asunder, the President seemingly indulges himself in his own self interest, embellishes his own character, his TV ratings and is now suggesting that people-inject disinfectants into their lungs which is tantamount to suggesting they commit suicide.

Never, under any circumstances inject Lysol or Dettol into your bloodstream say the manufactures, Reckitt Benckiser.

The President of the United States is not a doctor of medicine. Instead, ask yourself what is his Cabinet doing about his dangerous advice?

Nothing. And to think this President has described himself as a “very stable genius.”

When the foolhardiness of his words were explained to him or by some miracle he realised it himself later, he back peddled and told another lie. Rather flippantly he suggested he was just being sarcastic.

What would his thinking be if a declaration of war were required?

With the death toll at 53,000 what will it take for the American people to realise that their president is of unstable mind?

In a piece for The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg wrote that:

“Trump, meanwhile, spoke of the crisis in the past tense, as something America is now emerging from, suggesting that all the country will face in the future is “some embers of corona.” The day before, the country had recorded around 2,200 deaths, making it one of the deadliest days of the pandemic in the United States.

Over the last three and a half years, Americans have had to accustom themselves to a relentless, numbing barrage of lies from the federal government. In one sector after another, we’ve seen experts systemically purged and replaced with toadying apparatchiks.”

Frankly, the president shouldn’t be left in charge of his own mouth.

 

My thought for the day

The Office of the American President was once viewed by its people as an office of prestige and importance. Trump has reduced it to one of ridicule and contempt.

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A layperson’s guide to lying

An app for the purpose of finding and identifying those who are close to a virus carrier is an invention of significance.

It deserves the co-operation of every citizen with a device able to accommodate it. So why all the negativity? Despite every possible assurance by the government, why do so many say they won’t download it?

Well, take your choice:

A. The government and its ministers cannot be trusted.

B. The Prime Minister is a liar and cannot be trusted.

C. The government has lied so much that you wouldn’t believe a word they say.

D. They have stuffed around with matters relating to people’s privacy that you wouldn’t trust them as far as you could collectively throw them.

E. People wouldn’t have a bar of anything Stuart Robert was involved with.

F. The data will be housed in another country.

Truthfully, any of the aforementioned points would be justifiable in making your decision. And it’s such a pity given the app’s unique ability to save lives and end the crisis.

Although I have some misgivings about the government handling of the coronavirus emergency they have, thanks to an acceptance of the science, performed admirably.

Consequently they have received praise for their efforts proving in the process that doing good has its rewards.

Improving the common good post COVID-19 is another matter.

Lies that are told when an internal conscience tells the liar that he/she are wrong is the last act of self-defiance.

We should question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it.

The lies so frequently being told by this government are worse than the normal ones couched in innumerable shades of grey.

The lies being told by Morrison, Dutton, Hunt, Taylor and others are so repetitive, so blatant, and so desperate that they could only come from men of self guilt and deliberate intent.

The Prime Minister sets the example for the ministry to follow. It’s when he is being questioned under stress that his lying is most blatant.

These are scared politicians who have become so immersed in untruth that they have forgotten the truth that sincerity and transparency brings with it. It’s called ‘being honest.’

The Prime Minister continues to say that we will reach our Paris targets in a canter. He does so in the knowledge that it is untrue.

His own department tells him we cannot but he so desperately wants everyone to believe him that he is prepared to toss his faith out the window and lie to us.

Only a very desperate person would stoop so low. Morrison is one such person.

If we are to restore trust in our democracy then the first thing we must do is insist that our politicians should at least tell the truth.

In September 2017 in a piece for The AIMN I wrote:

“How important is truth in politics? As a writer who happens to love the way words can be constructed to shape a thought, send a message, express love, anger, or convey an action I am lost without them.

Without them something vanishes from our discourse. Without words the ability to communicate the seemingly endless aspects of human emotion is taken from us.”

Words of course are at their best when they are accompanied by a factual truth of what they want to convey.

Tony Abbott is the greatest liar ever to have soiled the plush carpets of Parliament House.

Malcolm Turnbull, by walking away from what he believed in, is the greatest hypocrite.

Scott Morrison by with his lying has betrayed his faith.

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

If more people had the capacity to think for themselves and question what they are being told perhaps we would have more genuineness in politics.

If more journalists had the intestinal fortitude to question and syphon out the truth of what politicians are telling them we may get a better body politic. A more honest democracy.

In July 2016 in Dr. George Venturini’s outstanding series, The facets of Australian fascism: the Abbott Government experiment, he wrote:

“The State lives on fear. Today, it is the fear of ‘terrorists’, which is a manufactured threat, meant to scare people into handing over their rights and dignity to the tricksters in power. “Our twentieth century is the century of fear,” wrote Camus in his article ‘The century of fear’ for Combat, the newspaper that had supported the French Resistance to Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Camus said that fear could be regarded as a developed science.”

The next time you hear or see an interview with an LNP politician consider these methods they use to counter questions or even avoid them:

  • Keep talking. The more you talk the fewer the questions.
  • Questioning the question or attack it.
  • The question is offensive
  • Attacking an external group. (The opposition or rival groups). Blame Labor.
  • Starting an answer but not finishing it (interrupting yourself)
  • Saying or implying that the question has already been answered.

The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you.

Lying, misinformation, lying by omission, subliminally implied suggestion, straightforward propaganda, deliberate scare campaigning and any form of untruthful communication has become the norm in the way politicians and the media converse with the public. So normal and long applied has this form of conversation become that we are now unquestioning of it.

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

Four months ago Morrison argued that there wasn’t any evidence that connected the bush fires with Climate Change. When he said that reducing Australia’s emissions would do nothing, he told another lie:

“But I think to suggest that at just 1.3% of emissions, that Australia doing something more or less would change the fire outcome this season – I don’t think that stands up to any credible scientific evidence at all.”

It is well known that those countries with the equivalent emissions or under Australia’s make up for a third of the total problem.

Grant Turner, writing for Independent Australia about the Sports Rorts said:

“LOOKING BACK through Australian political history, I’ve tried to find a more blatant example of a Prime Minister knowingly looking down a camera lens and flat-out lying to the Australian people as Prime Minister Scott Morrison did when he said in relation to the sports rorts grants program that all projects funded were eligible and that his office had no input into which projects received grants.”

When addressing the United Nations in September of last year the Prime Minister said, “plastic pollution in the oceans is a more immediate threat than climate change.” This simply isn’t true and you don’t need to be a scientist to know so.

His holiday in Hawaii was yet another unnecessary lie as was the lie about Paster Houston being invited to the White House.

Another time when being questioned about the phrase “Shanghai Sam” in connection with Gladys Liu’s potential links to China’s central government as being racist. He denied it, where as in fact he had used the phrase 17 times. He then claimed he misheard the question.

We can go back to the time when he was immigration minister and at the height of Abbott’s “stop the boats” propaganda he invents the phrase “on water matters” and under these words refused to answer the simplest questions.

Scott Morrison displays an annoyance, an almost paranoid dislike of answering questions. He finds it anything but comfortable.

It’s not that he is born of incompetence but rather petulance. Like it’s beneath him. The longer an interview goes the more seething is his demeanour.

Of course he, as Prime Minister has to front up but you can tell he doesn’t like it. That he should be questioned at all he finds contemptible.

It has never been as easy as it is now to get away with lying in politics.

My thought for the day

Do you shape the truth for the sake of good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down the view people may have of you?

Alternatively, do you simply use the contrivance of omission and create another lie. I can only conclude that there is sometimes pain in truth but there is no harm in it.

 

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It’s more than just a virus: there are culture wounds and abscesses of leadership

So submersed have we become with all the consequences and complications of COVID-19 that it has preoccupied our minds as if nothing else exists.

And rightly so, given the deathly possibilities this virus insinuates upon society.

Like rust this deadly virus, without instruction, without fear or favour, spreads itself throughout the community; the wealthy and the poor die. The aged and not so aged.

Its side effects include the wrecking of lives, families, and the devastation of economies and cultures with the possibility of a world recession.

Without a cure our only defence is isolation and some meaningful rules that – if followed – suffice as effective and efficient weapons.

The rich with a negative worldview see the gloom as a reason to protect themselves and their wealth. The poor with no recourse to health insurance die because Trump hates the word Obama. But the rich do too because of an unpreparedness to combat this killer.

Some, like President Trump, arguably the biggest political liar in history, have likened it to a war and as we know truth is the first fatality of any conflict. He is well suited to the title, king liar.

He advocates – against the best health advice – a return to business as usual, taking the risk that the vicious virus might restart again even encouraging people in certain states to protest against their state governors.

Without even a thought for those who might die because of such a premature decision Trump urges these protests as if he is the sole dictator over life and death.

His mental deficiency also prompted a bad decision to withdraw money from the World Health Organization at a most precarious time in the spread of the pandemic. A decision that has faced condemnation around the world, and at home, and will end the lives of many in Africa where most of the money was spent combating Ebola, HIV and other diseases.

As is his habit, Trump seeks to blame others. Maybe the silence of the cash registers in his resorts has been a price t0o much to pay.

In Australia our Prime Minister is of the same ilk as Trump. His lying, although just as notorious as Trump’s, doesn’t have the same chilling, life-ending, effect. He is, however, a politician so arrogant as to believe that he is beyond the inconvenient nuisance of being questioned. How detestable is the hypocrisy?

The US has a coronavirus death rate per million population of 114.14 compared to Australia 41.9.

Defending his poor handling of the pandemic, Donald Trump resorts to more lying:

 “We’ve handled the situation incredibly well … Everything is perfect … the United States has the most robust, advanced, and accurate testing system anywhere in the world … We’re now the king of ventilators … The research and development that we’ve done at the federal level has been absolutely incredible … Ultimate victory in this war will be made possible by America’s scientific brilliance.  There is nothing like us.  There is nobody like us.  Not even close … We did the right thing.”

Scott Morrison – like Trump – is devoid of trustworthiness. Although both profess by faith to be Christians any suggestion that trust would be a quality of leadership in them both needs to be ignored.

That aside, however, Australia it would seem is in a better position to resume business as usual ahead of most countries.

Most are predicting that four weeks will see us back to normal. Morrison is no longer talking about “snap back”, instead saying that we will be in:

“… a different world on the other side of the virus …

We’re going to have to have economic policy measures that are very pro-growth.”

That to me sends a message that a reliance on old style economics will be used to try and fix what is a crisis on two fronts. On the one hand the virus, and on the other hand the economy and all the agony that goes with it.

As we rush toward a recession and 10% unemployment I see no intention to reform the economy at all. I see no promise of a more equitable system that addresses fairness, the privileges of the rich, and all the subsidies to the mining companies.

Morrison says that he has a 3-point plan. The three priorities he outlined were to:

A: Protect the health of Australians

B: Secure their jobs and livelihoods.

[Note, some economists are predicting a jobless rate of up to 16%, which of course would be catastrophic].

C: Set Australia up to bounce back stronger.

And everything is on the table but I don’t see the evidence of it.

That sends shivers down my spine and the word ‘draconian’ enters my head as a descriptive for the next budget.

It is obvious to me that we are in a unique period of time where from these recent health, societal, economic, and environmental disasters there will evolve the opportunity to correct our course.

Now is the time and the opportunity for reform. Yes, real reform. Think health, social security, the aged, pensions, infrastructure, economics, government subsidies, taxes etc.

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

Dictatorships in the guise of democracies have grown their crooked influence and are more interested in power than people.

Morrison has stated that the parliament will sit on a trial basis for a two-week period. Now that’s democracy for you. It shouldn’t be on trial, it should just be.

We have leaders like Trump and Morrison who cannot comprehend the importance of truth as being fundamental to the democratic process yet they make the most contribution to its demise. And of course, there are many others.

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

But as I have diligently argued many times previously, Conservatives cannot do reform of the nature I speak of. It goes against their philosophy.

I’m afraid the only plan our Prime Minister has is to return us to where we were.

We must fight against this Government’s return at the next election with everything we have, and more.

My thought for the day

This Government’s performance over its time in office has been like a daily shower of offensiveness raining down on society.

Surely performance or lack of it must mean something.

 

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Memes R Us

I put this simple question, “What is a meme?” to Wikipedia.

This is what they told me:

An Internet meme, more commonly known simply as a meme (/miːm/ MEEM), is a type of meme that is spread via the Internet, often through social media platforms.

Traditionally, a prominent form of such memes consisted of image macros paired with a concept or catchphrase. In some cases, these memes used words and phrases contain[ing] intentional misspellings (such as lolcats) or incorrect grammar (such as doge and “All your base are belong to us“).

However, in more recent times, memes have evolved from simple image macros with text to more elaborate forms such as challenges, GIFs and viral sensations.

These small movements tend to spread from person to person via social networksblogs, direct email, or news sources. They may relate to various existing Internet cultures or subcultures, often created or spread on various websites. Fads and sensations tend to grow rapidly on the Internet, because the instant communication facilitates word of mouth transmission …

… And on they went.

My interest in them stems mainly from a general appreciation of how we use words; how they make us think, the effectiveness of them and the perceptions they might carry.

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

Here are my top 15 favourite memes. The first thing you will notice is that the group of 15 all reflect my own views. Memes allow this. It’s part of the culture.

 

15 Every picture tells a story. Yes?

 

14 Admitting one’s guilt.

 

13 Words that make you think.

 

12 Seriously funny.

 

11 Slam dunk.

 

10 What’s his name again?

 

9 I liked this for its truth.

 

8 I agree

 

7 Fools rush in.

 

6 No words needed.

 

5 The truth hurts.

 

4 When you tell a lie you deny the other person his or her right to the truth.

 

3 Memories

 

2 A true, if biased view

 

1 A classic.

 

I have no more to say except that I might follow up with a Top 10 Donald Trump memes. They should give your thought processes a thorough going-over!

My thought for the day

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

Words have special meaning when they are written by the intellectually rich but mean nothing when written by the intellectually corrupt.

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“Be generous with your praise and considerate with your criticism”

What ever I have been involved in be it sport, the arts, politics, community or writing for The AIMN I have tried to adhere to my quote that suffices as the headline for this piece.

I have no doubt that I am influenced by my personal bias from time to time but in the main I believe that I am fair and considerate.

So, based on the principles of fairness and consideration I was a bit taken a back last week when Barrie Cassidy, on The Drum, gave the Government full-on praise for their handling of the Corona virus crisis.

I was not at all upset by the well-deserved praise but rather for the imbalance of it. Had he qualified it with an “it’s not before time mind you” or a “mind you it’s taken six years”, even a mention of “snapback” and I would have felt much happier.

If he had even mentioned that Morrison had said, “We have to get back to where we were before.” I would have declared a need for balance.

The truth of the matter is that after Morrison’s effort on the fire front he could not afford another cock up of the same magnitude.

After early mistakes with Centerlink caused by the obfuscation of the Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert and some lessor things around the edges they gave it over to the experts who seemingly have and should take the praise – things under control.

When the Parliament met (as they should in a democracy like ours) and the Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese said, “This is good legislation” in reference to the bill allowing for increases to Newstart etc. we saw for the first time two leaders wanting to meet in a bi-partisanship way for the betterment of the nation. The government should be praised. And It deserves the generosity of our praise.

But that the government refuses requests from people of sound lawful knowledge and judgement for the parliament to sit during this crisis deserves the sting of our criticism.

That it is doing so unassumingly to avoid criticism is manifestly wrong under any circumstances and continues their track record of almost seven years. There isn’t room to be considerate. They are just wrong.

They seem to, at long last, be listening to those reputable in the science of viruses. This also is deserving of our highest praise.

That they do not apply the same logic to the science of climate change is deserving of our most serious foreboding.

If you have a point of view, feel free to express it. However, do so with civility. Then your point of view is laced with a degree of dignity.

The government, when in opposition, was extremely critical of the Labor government during the GFC and after its criticism dried up almost went as far as denying its existence.

In fact, the Murdoch press followed suit despite the world heaping praise on the Australian government and its Treasurer Wayne Swan.

This new found bi-partisan approach has brought with it a community anticipation that things will change. Once having demonstrated that calm rational debate can work. The community has raised its expectations.

They are asking why it cannot work all the time. Well it can, and the exchange of intellectual debate and ideas needs to be re energised and it is incumbent on everyone to become involved.

The coronavirus has bought with it the hope of a renaissance. That a new understanding of whom we are and what we are here for might emerge from this dreadful time.

Would it be too much to hope that a new period of enlightenment might indoctrinate itself into the hearts and minds of our leaders who at present govern us from the perspective of self-interest only?

Have they woken to the fact that good open governance has its rewards? We have so much to learn from people we disagree with that it’s a wonder we don’t do it more often.

My thought for the day

Will we ever grow intellectually to the point where we are able to discern, understand and act on those matters that seek the good within us?

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What will happen in the aftershock of the corona virus? (part two)

What does ‘snapback’ mean?

Our political system is in crisis because our government fails to speak with any clarity on issues that concern us.

Last week’s Essential Report asked people about their expectations of what would happen to the economy following the coronavirus situation:

“Half of the people (51%) think the coronavirus will impact the economy for up to a year, with slow growth following. A further 29% believe the impact will be even more devastating, with long-lasting impact and recession.

Younger people aged 18-34 are a little more optimistic, with 16% thinking the economy will recover within 2-3 months (compared to 9% of those aged 55+).”

The now retired Senator and Scottish warhorse Doug Cameron tweeted:

 

Cameron’s words in there brevity contain the sting of truth and the bark of foolhardiness.

Only a government bereft of any political nouse would believe that it were possible to, as Cameron said, abandon its own dogma, snap its fingers and return to the political settings of early January 2020.

I know I’m stepping on my previous words here but please be patient. In a short space of time the government (1) doubled the benefit payed to those out of work, and (2) spent $130 million on unconditional wage subsidies with the dole queue likely to remain lengthy for a long, long, time.

For the first time in my life the issue of peoples’ health became the government’s top priority.

The answers to the question from Essential poll show a remarkable naivety by the young with the other half of the people just as gullible.

That said, what of the born to rule party who think they are best to manage the economy? The party who, before COVID-19, was almost certain to take us into a recession waving a white flag.

But no party is recession proof.

Wikipedia tells us that Paul Keating’s recession – the one we had to have – saw 11% unemployment.

The young of today wont know what hit them. Youth unemployment reached 17%; inflation and interest rates soared, and financial institutions collapsed.

I was in business at the time and paying 19% interest on a large overdraft.

Having ticked up the biggest budget deficit in postwar history, and recognising that at some time it will have to be paid back the Prime Minister intends to go ahead with the already legislated tax cuts for the well off. Greg Jericho wrote last week it’s a form of “snapback” austerity – meaning cuts to services will be inflicted on the less well-off. He went on to say that:

“And yet, despite the coronavirus shredding all projections made even just three months ago, the government remains firm in its view that it will deliver its tax cuts – cuts which were not even costed when they were legislated, and which now are based on scenarios of pure fantasy.”

Having now dipped his toe in the waters of flexible ideology why doesn’t the Prime Minister just put a blanket ban on subsidies (unless proven to be in the common good) and the taxation loophole doors that are always revolving for the rich and privileged.

As I said in my previous piece, this crisis could be the catalyst for change.

“Snapback” won’t snapback easily. Having seen the value of our public health system and the part private hospitals play in it pressure will be on the government to fund it better. Or organise it better.

We have also witnessed the intrinsic value of essential workers including nurses, cleaners, aged care workers, child carers and home delivery drivers. Their value must be adequately recognised and recompensed.

Pause and think; should be the mantra, develop ideas look at different ways of doing things, dismiss nothing? A moment of tranquillity that brings creativity, stillness, thoughtfulness and change is a precious one.

We, together with our politicians need to stop and ask ourselves what a society is and what are the aspirations and desires of it. Surely they must be better that what we have now.

They put their ideology aside to help fix the problem. Why not prolong it with ideological forgetfulness.

Now that the government has accepted the science of the coronavirus they should totality accept the science of climate change and recognise that we must all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health.

So why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet and do something substantial to lower our emissions as a matter of urgency?

But having said that, one can picture the deniers of climate change arranging their forces to attack those who believe and don’t want it to become worse than what it is.

Now is not the time – “they will say afresh” and the same old story will be repeated.

We must at all cost resist them.

Those of us game enough to display our naked idealism see a much different world than the unregulated one of capitalism and the far right.

Never confuse what you want with what you need.

We see a society where the common good works hand in hand with regulated capitalism. Where caveats are placed on policies so that fairness, kindness and the colour green is evident. A society where ample time is given to the children we have conceived to raise the citizens of tomorrow.

We must have time that balances work, rest and play. We must plan ahead free of the dogma of greed is good and free of past errors.

As I see it, the simplistic message of “snapback” suggests that governments are only ever reactive institutions instead of, as far as is possible, being proactive.

This must be reversed.

Hugh Mackay, writing for The Conversation puts it this way:

“But pandemics are such a potent sign of our interconnectedness and interdependency, they remind us that sustainable communities depend on a steady supply of compassion to nurture them. Longer term, major disruptions like this one tend to bring out the best in us, so we are entitled to hope for some overdue corrections to our mad materialism and our unhealthy individualism.”

Scott Morrison said “snapback” means, more or less, that we have to get back to where we were before.

Surely he doesn’t mean experiencing the rorts, the corruption, the daily incompetence and the appalling lies … then forget it.

When we emerge from our confinement the worst possible thing would be that the “snapback” principle simply reinforces a conservative view of a world that has long past us by. Let us hope that it is not the destination the leader wants to take us.

My thought for the day

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

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What will happen in the aftershock of the coronavirus? (part one)

With the curve allegedly starting to flatten, writers and political commentators are already speculating about what might happen in the immediate future when the virus has run its course and the damage it caused has been assessed.

The Prime Minister has already said that things will just “snap back” and return to where they were. But is that really the case? Is it even politically feasible?

I would like to think that this event might be the catalyst for change: Economic and social change for the better.

Let’s take a look at what might happen in the aftershock of the coronavirus?

Before we do let’s keep in mind the words of Greg Sheridan (pay-walled):

“The government’s massive fiscal intervention in the Australian economy, entirely justified by the gravity of the COVID-19 crisis, will change center-right politics in this country forever. You cannot make the need for small government, free markets and less state intervention your chief political narrative if you have just used government on a scale never before imagined to rescue the nation from a desperate health emergency”

Will the government – when the time comes for “snap back” to occur – just pull the switch and magically everything will return to its unfair and unequal state?

How would you feel if you were already on Newstart and were then required to return to an amount that all and sundry believed to be grossly unfair and below the poverty line?

Will the “dole-bludger” tag of blame for those who remain unemployed be reinstated by a reinvented philosophy?

Or you are part of the 10% plus who lost their jobs and found themselves on Newstart’s new fortnightly payout only to find it reduced to a pittance.

How would you feel if after you had experienced free child minding for six months that helped save your job and then found that you were back paying the full fee?

What if your wages had been subsidised by the government to keep you on your employer’s payroll only to find that when eventually you returned to work the company had lost a contract and had to put you off. On top of that, the government had reverted to once again calling you a “dole bludger” or a “leaner”..

The Prime Minister is on the record as saying: “We have to get back to where we were before.”

Is he serious? Does he think politically speaking that he could explain the politics of such a move in a few interviews?

The conservative mindset of paying down the debt might be chaffing at the bit to do so, but is it politically feasible?

You simply cannot use one philosophy to resolve an issue and then revert back to your own when the job is completed. It would be political suicide.

He has ruled out any restructuring of franking credits and indicated that the tax cuts will go ahead.

Our stimulus measures were “temporary, expenditure,” he said last week, adding:

“There is a snap back to the previous existing arrangements on the other side of this … So there is an intensity of expenditure during this period, and then we have to get back to what it was like before, and then we have to deal with the burden that will be carried out of this period of time.”

After spending $200 billion on stimulating the economy and then to go ahead with tax cuts when raising them seems to be the logical thing to do is a bit beyond me.

Guardian Australia’s Greg Jericho also said last week that:

“… the tax cuts were predicated on rosy budget forecasts over the next decade, which are now laughable and will either have to be shelved or paid for with deep cuts to expenditure.

‘Given we are very likely to experience a period of ongoing low revenue, the only way to have the tax cuts be budget neutral is to cut services – and the cuts will have to be much larger than previously expected’.”

Paying back the debt (the $200 billion in stimulus measures), according to Scott Morrison, is:

“… going to put a great strain on the country, clearly, but … one that is absolutely necessary given the circumstances that we face.”

Yet he:

“ruled out franking-credit reform or the shelving of tax cuts.”

We will have to wait until October’s “Snap back” budget to find out just who is going to pay back this debt and how. There are only three areas where that sort of money is available. It is in education, health or social services, although I’m sure they will take the opportunity to give the ABC a going over.

My sarcasm aside, most Australians are sitting on their bums at home in perfect isolation without the faintest idea of what is about to hit them. The word “recession” doesn’t have the tone of alarm about it but having experienced every one since Menzies’ 1963 through to Keating’s one that we had to have, they are most unpleasant.

Might we see a 2 per cent budget repair levy or the GST increased to 15 per cent and extended to everything including food, but no new taxes?

Morrison may be receiving accolades for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis but it doesn’t make up for seven years of appalling governance. Can you trust a government that has been lying to you for seven years?

But let’s move on. Now that all sides of our democracy have tasted the salt of bipartisanship is it not possible to use the events of the last year as a catalyst for change? To recognise that now is the time to give economics a human face and cement a marriage between it and society.

The big banks have set the scene for change and accepted that money should have a humane face going into the future. Why not the government?

ANZ Bank chief executive Shayne Elliott in an interview with Clancy Yeates of the Sydney Morning Herald spelt it out:

“We’re already being a shock absorber by being able to say to customers: ‘You know what, if you want a deferral and not pay us for six months, you can do that,'” … “Does it come at a cost to shareholders? I would argue it already has.”

“… He predicted the crisis could have lasting impacts on consumers’ attitudes to debt, the housing market, and how people do their banking.”

“Australia in the future won’t look the same,” he said. “It won’t look the same because it will impact a whole generation of our customers, the way they think about technology, the way they think about borrowing, the way they think about employment, the way they think about frankly the capitalist system and democracy.”

Both major parties – during this crisis – have shown a spirit of bi-partisanship that has been both encouraging and enlightening, but can it last? The Premiers’ responses have also been welcome.

However, all the emergency measures are undoubtedly designed with all the elasticity needed to snap back into place at the end of there usefulness.

As I said earlier, it must be problematical as to whether the public will accept the “snapback” or consider it a “payback.”

 

 

The government will be forced to explain its adaption of “flexible ideology“ and if it will be ongoing. After all, it is a form of political philosophy never tried before – an experiment of great economical and societal significance.

Even conservative commentators have acknowledged that the centre-right, or the further-right, of politics will have to find a new narrative to sell to the electorate. “The centre-right politics is going to be in desperate need of a new political narrative,” suggests Lenore Taylor.

The National Cabinet has proven to be an effective way to manage a crisis but there will come a time when normality will regain its place. Is it then that we will likely witness an inevitable return of ideological differences?

If we can have ‘free‘ childcare for six months why can we not have it all the time?

When the current wave of stimulus has reached the shore and all but evaporated into the waiting sand the country and its householders will be left in a sand pit of debt.

How will we possibly repay it? How will we resurrect our economy our society and everything that goes with it?

As unpalatable as the choices are, decisions will have to be reached. Given the track record of this government my mood is grim and foreboding.

My thought for the day

One of the oddities of political polling is trying to understand how 51 per cent of the voting public would willingly return a party that has governed so abysmally.

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What makes the Morrison government’s actions of the past week so astonishing

What is conservatism?

“Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions like politics and Christianity. It believes in Incremental change, limited government, free markets, the rights of the individual and personal responsibility also make the list.”

Manners even feature in the context of culture and civilisation.

Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as parliamentary government, and property rights, with the aim of emphasising social stability and continuity. It also has a distrust of science.

Capitalism is, of course, a central tenant of its ideology however it takes second place to profit when necessary.

Conservatives also believe the role of government should be to provide people with the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasise empowerment of the individual to solve problems.

Conversely, socialism believes in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all:

“It is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights.

It believes the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. It’s policies generally emphasise the need for the government to solve problems.

So, what makes the Morrison government’s actions of the past week or so, so astonishingly staggering? Is it that it has completely abandoned its ideology in favour of those of the socialist?

The question as to why they should do so, to the political observer, is most perplexing.

Or perhaps l should put the question that The Australian’s Greg Sheridan posed (firewall):

“The government’s massive fiscal intervention in the Australian economy, entirely justified by the gravity of the COVID-19 crisis, will change centre-right politics in this country forever. You cannot make the need for small government, free markets and less state intervention your chief political narrative if you have just used government on a scale never before imagined to rescue the nation from a desperate health emergency.”

I would have to disagree with his assumption that the Coalition parties are centre-right. I think they are far more right than mildly centre-right.

What have they done? Well, just a few weeks ago “balancing the budget” was its top priority despite a decline in economic conditions. Now in the space of a few days, they have done a triple bypass spending $18 billion, propping up the economy and saving jobs. Even minding the kids will be free.

It is now it is lining up a new wave of spending commitments for business, valued at more billions.

They are also making a commitment to specific sectors like tourism, sports, arts and entertainment and the airlines, which will total more than $1 billion.

Who would have believed it? So socialist!

Conservatives will even be hard-pressed to explain how the science of climate that discovered our planet is overheating and threatening our existence is somehow different (and unbelievable) to the science that discovered a virus that also threatened great destruction.

When, many years ago, the lady with the bad hairdo uttered her famous and dispassionate condemnation of the human species:

“There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect from the rich” (paraphrased).

I was horrified. It was a statement that could only be expressed by someone with a deep sense of isolation, selfish indifference, or indulgence.

Was she saying that families only consisted of individuals making their way without any dependency on a societal structure? The basic need for companionship, for each other.

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

We are by nature a herding animal. We form groups because no individual can survive without the assistance of others.

No man is an island,” as John Donne said. Margaret Thatcher’s statement condemns us to class self-centeredness and serfdom.

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

Anyway, how do we explain this interchangeable ideology? Is it common good even common sense politics? An attempt to retain power perhaps.

Will it all, at the end force a change in political ideas? Will it all at the end just revert back to the way things were?

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

Will the conservatives when they have done with the philosophical ideals of the left once again take on the mantle of the capitalistic rights of the individual over the collective?

The way I see it at the moment is that all they are doing is governing for the common good and I have to salute that.

The philosophical arguments will come later.

My thought for the day

It’s difficult to cast yourself in a new light when you’re coming out of the darkness.

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A government trying to fix everything while they’re not even working

There was a time in this country when government took advice from public servants.

You know, those who work for the government in their specialised fields and offer independent advice.

One would think that advice from these people who diligently and independently gather all there is to know on a given subject, and then without fear or favour place it in the lap of government, would be the people to consult.

But no, that old thinking went out the window a long time ago.

Now we need panels, lobbyists and advisers to whom we pay millions of dollars.

And as if the government – backed by advice from as many public servants from as many departments as is required and as many advisers as they can lay their hands on – together with the state premiers and officials from federal and state departments the Prime Minister has decided to suspend the parliament for five months and appoint a panel of business people to manage the government’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

These people are apparently more gifted than the heads of the public service – including the head of Treasury.

Presenting facts to people who have reasoned by virtue of their feelings that they are right is totally futile.

This new panel of gifted business people are as deputy chairman former Telstra chief David Thodey. The Board members include former Labor government minister Greg Combet, former health department Jane Halton, former Toll Holdings boss Paul Little, and EnergyAustralia managing director Catherine Tanna.

They will be joined by Philip Gaetjens, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary, and his counterpart at Home Affairs, Mike Pezzullo and will be known as the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC).

Julie-Anne Spargue from the AFR tells us it will be chaired by former Fortescue Metals chief Nev Power whose job it will be to “coordinate advice to the government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.”

I know very little about Mr Power and just what experience he has had managing pandemics, but I’m sure it would be no more than that of the head of the public service or the head of treasury, for example.

All I know is that he is a mining executive, as are others on the panel, a friend of the PM, and according to the Prime Minister won’t be constrained by the codes and traditions of the public service, and that:

“When I rang him the other day, I simply said, ‘Nev, I need you to serve your country.’ And he quickly responded … and he stepped up.”

(Morrison is becoming more like Trump every day: “The codes of the Public Service”?)

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

So, the parliament will suspend parliamentary sittings until August 11 and wont bring down a budget until October.

The government has always been paranoid of criticism. ‘Accountability’ isn’t a word they particularly like. That is why they are so secretive.

After all, the LNP has governed appallingly and achieved nothing yet they are now asking the people to take them in good faith and guide them through a pandemic and a recession when they still haven’t recovered from their ill-fated 2014 world’s unfairest budget. (Maybe that’s a bit unfair, but you get my point.)

Now we know that the possibility of a recession was very real before the virus hit and there wasn’t much business on the government’s books, but closing parliament down for so long is a big call.

In fact, it must be a bit of a joke. How are they going to pass the necessary legislation to deal with the crisis?

It is as Tony Burke, Manager of Opposition Manager Business said:

“I will be more than surprised if we can go from now until August and find that the legislation we put through the parliament today is all the nation needs for Australia to handle this pandemic, all the nation needs to deal with the crisis of unemployment and recession that we’ll be facing.”

To think that during a crisis of this magnitude you can simply close the doors of the people’s parliament so as to escape scrutiny.

The government may argue that it wants to totally concentrate its efforts on the economy and the virus, and there is certain legitimacy in this argument but it certainly flies in the face of known democratic principles.

I notice that Margo Kingston, author of “Not Happy John” fame tweeted last Monday night:

 

The Australian’s sometime-left-wing stirrer Peter van Onselen wrote (paywall) that the parliament:

“… kept operating through both World Wars. It operated during the Great Depression and even the Spanish Influenza of 1919. In those days we didn’t have the technology nor know-how we do today to make it even easier to keep parliament open.”

Crikey’s Guy Rundle argued that (paywall) MPs should continue to do their jobs – “no excuses.”

Former Treasurer Wayne Swan joined the chorus, tweeting:

 

If ever there was a justification for recalling the parliament one only has to look at the performance of the government thus far. Here are three examples:

  1. The Prime Minister should be outlawed from delivering any public notifications regarding government decisions.
  2. Government Services Minister Stuart Robert’s performance regarding the MyGov debacle illustrates why we need the federal parliament to hold this government to account. He should be immediately sacked from his portfolio.
  3. Then of course there was the debacle with the Ruby Princess.

The better performing states premiers are currently overshadowing the government’s performance.

They need to reopen the people’s parliament, restore our democratic processes and lift their game.

My thought for the day

Never confuse what you want with what you need.

An addendum

In a strange twist, having written all this, on Monday 30 March the government in perhaps the greatest ever back flip in Australian political history came out with a wage’s package that just a week ago they absolutely and empathetically opposed.

What a truly staggering conversion from the pursuit of a surplus a month ago to compassionate socialism today.

Without at this time going into the whys and wherefores of their decision I agree with the thoughts of Barrie Cassidy who tweeted.

 

And of course they will have to reconvene the parliament to pass the necessary legislation.

A further thought

Economics is not a capitalist gift to the right of politics to further the wealth of the rich or a plaything for politicians to cement their power. Economics should be a process used to mold a humane and rounded society committed to kindness and compassion. One where the pursuit of success is encouraged while at the same time acknowledging that fairness and equality of opportunity is real in economic terms.

Imagine, if you will, an Australia where economics has a human face to it: Where the common good controls capitalism.

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Our greatest failure has been the decline of our democracy

When this corrupt conservative reign of appalling governance ends, as it must, and the COVID-19 virus has been erased – in the aftermath we will come to the realisation that everything must change. Not just Australia, but the world.

In particular, the way in which we conduct our politics.

Conservatives will be hard-pressed to explain how the science of climate that discovered our planet is overheating and threatening our existence is somehow different (and unbelievable) to the science that discovered a virus that also threatened great destruction.

We will also grasp the understanding that our current monetary system doesn’t work. Capitalism has failed because it has no understanding of society.

Capitalism matched to a government that is society sympathetic could work. One that has the common good at the centre of its philosophy.

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.

It cannot measure our humanness and its intercourse with economics. It only measures black and white or profit and loss. It does however measure greed.

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

In this current crisis governments have had the very unique example of human health colliding with monetary systems and billions of dollars will have to be spent on a peoples’ health and propping up our financial systems.

It does, however, give the world an opportunity to pause and question whether capitalism without government regulation and greed without conscience should form a part of a modern world economy.

“Like moving mountains,” I hear you say. Well yes, to a degree, but a renaissance is possible.

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.

Three weeks ago Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers advocated that the government deliver a social wellbeing budget, including environmental outcomes alongside traditional financial indicators in the nation’s books.

He was very serious about it.

Extending it further it would give government the opportunity to wean itself off the multitude of ways it opens for the rich and privileged to reduce their tax and make companies pay tax and for companies not to receive subsidies unless they could demonstrate a return for the taxpayer.

All Jim Chalmers got for his educated suggestion was a decent serve from Josh Freydenberg, reported Katherine Murphy:.

“Now I want you to picture this alternative,” Frydenberg said. “The member for Rankin is about to deliver his first wellbeing budget. He walks in, barefoot, into the chamber … robes are flowing, incense is burning … beads in one hand and speech in the other … gone are the seats, gone are the benches … and in their place, meditation mats for all, Mr Speaker … hugs for all, Mr Speaker”.

Besides an apology to those Hindus he had offended he ended up with egg all over his face when he found himself making decisions that, had they gone into the usual May budget, would equate to a wellbeing humanist socialist budget.

Of course he won’t admit to it but his rolling fiscal stimulus is an emergency wellbeing budget. More so because the regular budget has been put back until October. (A scandal in itself)

Wellbeing budgets can be refined over time as objectives and priorities are decided but at the core of there intent should be a fairer distribution of the countries wealth and equality of opportunity both economically and educationally. Economics must touch base with society.

If the conservative President Abraham Lincoln was looking over my shoulder he might repeat one of his famous quotes:

“Labour is prior to and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labour, and could never have existed if labour had not first existed. Labour is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

As I said at the beginning, these current tragic events have given us cause to reflect on our economics and our wellbeing but we also need to address the sort of democracy we want to be and the society that overlays it.

We must ask ourselves if we are content with the narcissistic, self-interested dog eat dog individualistic, stuff my neighbour, greed is good society we have now or can we dare for the want of something superior.

Will the events of this Australian summer, as ongoing and dreadful as they are, be the catalyst that might wake us from the political malaise that has bogged us down in a quagmire of narcissism? It’s the individual first second and third.

Every part of society, when you think about it, has been indoctrinated with a nefarious, conservative me first. Attitude that has seen the common good almost vanish.

“Is it not possible to hope that there are some people of integrity who might form a centrist party dedicated to honest government for all and the principles of “from each according to her/his ability, to each according to her/his need”? (Origin uncertain).

There will of course be various views as to what comprises a society. Here are mine (you may find them a touch idealistic, but that’s just my manner):

Simply put, my society Incubuses a collective of people who have a desire to express themselves in every human endeavour. A collective who have at the very centre of there being aspirations to express their humanity, work, aspirations, spirituality, art, poetry and play with the richest possible diversity.

My society would have empathy instilled in their learning. Common good at the centre of their politics regardless of ideology.

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

A society where one’s sexual preference or gender is not a judgement upon your character and the colour of your skin says nothing about you other than perhaps your geographical place of birth.

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

My society advances the right of the individual to pursue whatever desires he/she has including the pursuit of wealth, which would only be regulated by the principles of the collective common good.

In other words, everyone is entitled to an equitable share of society’s wealth.

Freedom of expression would be guaranteed.

An enlightened society in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones’ right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.

Health and welfare of all would be at the forefront of its common-good philosophy.

Sacrosanct for all and access to treatment would be assured.

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

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

My society that would be judged by its welcoming, and the treatment it provides for its most vulnerable citizens.

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

In democratic societies (the best – or least bad form of government) our herding instincts are realised by the election of leaders who form government.

A ‘fitness to serve’ stipulation would seek a clause in our constitution so as to as much as possible guarantee the most qualified serve in our parliament.

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

My ideal society would be one that acknowledges that a group mentality advances society better than dictatorial individuality.

If we are to live in a democracy then it is the government that decides and regulates the progress and ambitions of society.

Or at least provides the environment in which to do so.

The Liberal Party has always been a party of elites and would bes. The idea that economics and society are intertwined is abhorrent to them. Economics is the domain of the rich and privileged and society belongs to those of class and privilege.

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

Individual or collective ambition can only be achieved within a social structure built and controlled by a government that is sympathetic to it.

Those of you who follow my daily political mutterings on Facebook will probably know that first and foremost I am passionate about thwarting the decline in our democracy and the corruption that accompanies it. Amid the daily enraged voices of doing over one’s opponent there must be people with a genuine desire to change the way our democracy functions. There has never been a better opportunity.

My thought for the day

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

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The Public versus Scott Morrison

It rather reminds me of the story of the boy who cried wolf. Remember, it was one of Aesop’s fables. It went like this:

“A young shepherd would trick his fellow villagers by shouting for help, pretending that wolves were attacking his sheep. Several times the villagers rushed to his aid, only to find the shepherd laughing at them. One day, some wolves actually came. The shepherd cried for help, but the villagers, who had grown tired of his pranks, ignored him, and the wolves devoured his sheep.”

The story rings true of our Prime Minister and the folks who decided to divest our supermarket shelves of nature’s essentials.

And being the laconic lot that we are to catch a wave at Bondi in the face of Marketing Morrison’s decree that we practice some social isolation. Or was that social engineering?

Anyway when he said, as reported by Sarah Martin in The Guardian: “Stop hoarding … I can’t be more blunt about it,” people didn’t take any notice. After all, why would you pay any attention to those who have, like the boy in Aesop’s fable, been telling lie after lie for near on 7 years?

Remembering that trust in Australian politicians is at an all-time low, again, why would you when only a week and a bit ago, Friday the 13th to be exact, Morrison – in the face of serious life and death decisions – wanted to go to the rugby and his beloved Hillsong needed the weekend for its conference.

He wasn’t practising civil compliance or social isolation so why should we? People are just fed up being told lies.

What we really had was a prime minister telling us not to succumb to the same fear that his party has injected us with every year since I was an infant.

I believe that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

For as long as my memory enables me to recollect the conservative parties have been masters of scare; winning election after election using age-old scare campaigns.

The point here is that the story of the boy who cried wolf, as simple as it is, portrays the modern LNP coalition in stark reality. After a litany of lies, no one believes them. Well, in the spirit of truth approximately 50% of the population believes them (going by the 2019 election results).

I have written much about conservative lying, particularly by Scott Morrison. In my recent piece; “Truth doesn’t have the same importance it once did” I said that:

“Lying in Australian politics has also reached unprecedented levels. The Prime minister and his Cabinet have taken lying to such depths that it is not disingenuous to suggest that this government under Morrison no longer has a moral compass nor any understanding of truth.”

In another piece; “You Cannot be a Leader and a bare-faced Liar at the same time” it was noted that:

“Climate change has been met with inaction, as our nation slips dramatically in the Climate Change Performance Index.”

Look at their recent record. We had the White House exclusion of Scott Morrison’s Hillsong pastor Brian Houston from the White House guest list, then there was the great secrecy used to hide the Prime Minister’s Hawaii holiday during the bushfire crisis, followed by Morrison’s active involvement in the allotment of sports grants before (and after) the May 2019 election.

Not having learnt any lesson from all of this, Government Services Minister Stuart Robert – when the MyGov website crashed – chose to tell a lie, originally saying that it was subject to a cyber attack … when it was a case of numbers. In parliament he retracted but his first reaction was to tell a lie.

Robert is a fellow Christian and friend of the Prime Minister.

When you tell a lie you deny the other persons right to the truth.

All that has happened or is likely to happen will take time. It will certainly not end in the near future or without much pain be it financial or with great numbers losing their jobs, or worse, their lives.

I have always been of the view that rather than fighting for Flag or Monarch our service men and women fought for what they believed to be right. Flags and Monarchs are but metaphors and symbols but what is right is entrenched in truth.

Which brings me to my final point.

Australia has suffered tragedy upon tragedy the past few years with nature’s protests against its treatment going unheard.

Floods, fires, droughts and now a virus has come along to decimate us. With typical human ingenuity we will overcome these things only after nature and the virus has taught us yet another lesson.

Our conservative government had no hesitation in believing the science behind COVID19 and reacted accordingly yet they have failed to recognise the science that speaks of an impending disaster with climate change. Will they go back to their reactive ways or will they see the truth for what it is and become proactive?

The final days to this tragedy are in front of us and much economic suffering is to be inhaled by our society. To what extent, we do not know. Most of the population has not even lived through a recession, let alone a pandemic.

In the aftermath of these experiences what will politicians of all persuasions have learnt? Will it be that gratuitous lying achieves nothing, or that the ubiquitous annihilation of conventions and established norms of conduct must stop?

If we don’t learn then a dose of enlightenment will have been lost. In 2016, I wrote a piece titled; “A Society for the Common Good” (Updated 2018). My thoughts on this topic are worthy of a discussion.

My thought for the day

We can sometimes become so engrossed in our own problems that we can easily overlook the enormity of the suffering of others.

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