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Kaye describes herself as a middle-aged woman in jammies. She knew Tony Abbott when they both attended Sydney University where she studied for a Bachelor of Science. After 20 years teaching mathematics, with the introduction of the GST in 2000, she became a ‘feral accountant’ for the small business that she and her husband own. Kaye uses her research skills “to pass on information, to join the dots, to remember what has been said and done and to remind others, and to do the maths.”

Forget sports rorts and car park malarkey – misuse of public money in Defence is staggering

Labor’s fear of getting wedged on national security has allowed Defence spending to skyrocket with little scrutiny and no opposition.

Currently, the budget is planned to grow by a remarkable 87.4% over the coming decade – well above the election promise of 2% of GDP. With $575 billion to spend over ten years, someone should really be paying attention to what these guys are doing.

When the Auditor-General recently had the temerity to suggest that “Defence has not clearly demonstrated that the acquisition provides value for money, as it did not undertake robust benchmarking in the context of a sole source procurement”, he was promptly gagged.

We don’t know how many billion cancelling the French sub contract will eventually cost us, but it isn’t the only such debacle as pointed out by ASPI in their commentary on the defence budget brief 2021–2022.

“Earlier this year, Defence cancelled its project to deliver the Submarine Escape Rescue and Abandonment System. After getting into contract and spending what could be close to $100 million, Defence decided that it had irreconcilable differences with its industry partner.

The Army’s highest priority program, the digitisation of the Army under LAND 200, also has been put on hold after nearly 15 years of work and almost $2 billion spent. Even if it continues, it could take another 10 years to complete—in total, that’s longer than the F-35A. Can Defence keep running projects that take a quarter of a century to deliver?”

Peter Dutton is addressing the Lowy Institute today about the threats we face and how we will maintain peace and prosperity in the region by spending kazillions on weapons of war.

“We are facing challenges including rapid military modernisation, tension over territorial claims, heightened economic coercion, undermining of international law, including the law of the sea, through to enhanced disinformation, foreign interference and cyber threats, enabled by new and emerging technologies.”

Dutton says Australia is maintaining investment in its core military capabilities and continuing to develop new ones “to hold a potential adversary’s forces and infrastructure at risk from a greater distance, capabilities which send a clear deterrent message to any adversary that the cost they would incur in threatening our interests outweighs the benefits of so doing.”

This sounds very much like an admission that we can’t match major-power adversaries and need to develop capabilities to deter them rather than engage them.

Which begs the question of why we are spending hundreds of billions on traditional, conventional capabilities such as expensive, multi-role, manned platforms and an increasingly heavy conventional land force.

Having too much money to spend leads to ridiculous situations like the one where we are deliberately paying more to slow down delivery so our shipbuilders have something to do.

The Force Structure Plan says the cost increase for the Future Frigate Program was caused by the government allocating ‘additional funding to enable construction of ships at a deliberate drumbeat over a longer period of time than originally planned to achieve a continuous shipbuilding program’.

Over the decade, the government is providing $575 billion in funding to Defence, but in that time it won’t deliver a single new combat vessel.

As Defence workforce numbers are capped, one wonders who is going to crew and maintain this vast collection of new equipment. It is already estimated that over 10% of Defence’s acquisition budget is going to contractors helping to run projects, costing way more than if we used experienced public servants.

While there are significant questions about how efficiently Defence is spending, there are even bigger questions about whether it’s spending it on the right things in the first place. Us spending up to $40 billion on heavy armoured vehicles isn’t much of a deterrent to China.

Instead of investing in extremely expensive crewed platforms that take decades to design and manufacture and are potentially too valuable to lose, we should be making greater use of uncrewed and autonomous systems.

Investing in cybersecurity and countering misinformation are far more relevant national security issues than buying bigger guns.

Some say that having a few targeted long-range missiles would be a sufficient deterrent against aggression. It would certainly be cheaper than wasting money on submarines.

Personally, I think respect given and earned, co-operation for mutual gain, and help in times of need or crisis, are far better defences than any weapon. The Coalition picked a bad time to cut Foreign Aid, ignore pleas to reduce emissions, and then act all offended when other suitors come calling.

We need détente, not Dutton – a man who speaks very loudly and carries a tiny widdle stick.

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ScottyfromMarketing won’t be distracted by political games

ScottyfromMarketing is doing the media rounds to assure us that political games will not distract his laser-like focus from dealing with the very serious issues facing this nation.

Like voter fraud. And the ABC. And protecting the rights of religious people to be selectively nasty.

Then there’s the Solomon Islands to protect before someone else does.

Speaking of someone else, it’s so hard for Scotty to hopscotch around making us scared of a Chinese vessel sailing in international waters near us whilst vehemently defending and exercising our right to potter around the South China Sea for no particular reason.

How do you brag about a free trade agreement with China when they can ban imports and impose tariffs whenever you put your foot in your mouth?

How do you reconcile encouraging Chinese investment in business, property and infrastructure with Dutton’s beating drums of war?

Why are visas for sale to wealthy “investors” and why is money laundering through cash payments, gambling and property sales tolerated?

How do you demand more action from China on climate change whilst insisting on your right to sell more fossil fuels?

Inscrutable and vague seems more like a description of Australia’s policy direction than our Oriental neighbours.

Tim Wilson is frantically casting around to find some way to get attention – which reminded me of his ‘retiree tax’ con job last election. Using your position on a Senate committee to collect investors for your cousin’s company, pretending changing Howard’s franking credits rort was stealing from poor pensioners, and getting away with it, ranks right up there in political games.

We are the only country in the world that provides tax refunds to shareholders who have not paid the income tax to start with and it costs us more than $5 billion a year.

If we want to talk opportunity cost – a concept that seems to be sneered at by the pork-barrel apologists – $5 billion pa would allow us to increase Newstart by $95 a week and rent assistance by $20 a week. This would profoundly change the lives of millions of Australians and stimulate the economy but we all know that this government’s laser-like focus is on individual wealth creation rather than the travails of the poor.

Remember the days when the Coalition’s game plan was all about debt and deficit and how only they could manage money? Back in black next year?

Well now that the debt is rapidly approaching $1 trillion, this bunch of financial wizards think it’s a great time to cut taxes for the wealthy, costing the budget more than $184 billion over the next decade.

And since we don’t care about being in debt anymore, they are increasing military spending for the 9th straight year to over $157 million per day. The Defence Forces have so much money they can’t spend it even with the billions they are wasting on abandoned contracts.

Must we really waste hundreds of billions of dollars just so the Coalition can say Labor taxes more and is weak on national security?

If Scotty takes away the game-playing, what’s left?


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James McGrath’s crusade against the ABC

When Queensland Senator James McGrath gave his first speech in parliament, he made his intentions very clear – this culture warrior was on a mission to destroy the ABC.

“While the ABC continues to represent only inner-city leftist views, and funded by our taxes, it is in danger of losing its social licence to operate. I am calling for a review of the ABC’s charter. And if they fail to make inroads to restore balance, then the ABC should be sold and replaced by a regional and rural broadcasting service. In the meantime, Triple J, because of its demographic dominance and clear ability to stand on its own, should be immediately sold.”

Despite countless reviews which have all found no bias at the national broadcaster, over seven years later, James is still singing the same song though with a far more belligerent tone. Last night he went full crazy.

“What we’re seeing is a grotesque, left-wing, back-scratching orgy of flatulent arrogance from the ABC and those on the Left. This ABC who sneers at us is led by an arrogant chair who sees the ABC as a country apart from Australia.”

There’s nothing sillier than hearing ultra-conservatives using their favourite pejorative “woke” all the time and James gave it a real workout in expressing his obvious hatred for ABC chair, Ita Buttrose.

“The inevitable result of decades of free rein, of grossly excessive budgets and diminished accountability is that we’ve ended up with an inner-city hive of woke workers, hiring woke friends to do their woke work in their quest to wokify the world. But in conjunction with the first-night crowd, the chair of the ABC and her fellow first-nighters are at the opera, chinking their champagne glasses, sneering at middle Australia and at those who believe in a pluralistic, diverse media market. It is time for there to be reform of the ABC. It is time for their inner-city headquarters to be sold and for their staff to be shifted to regional Australia.”

James then seemed to get a bit confused, contradicting himself about media diversity in Australia.

He starts off telling us that the ABC model “is essentially an old wireless trundling along, yet we have a pluralistic, diverse media market…this taxpayer funded monolith is not fit for purpose in the 21st century.”

But it was the next rant that had me truly wondering what the hell this lunatic is on about.

“I will say, as someone who lives and spends a lot of their time in regional Queensland, there is a place for a taxpayer funded broadcaster in regional Queensland and regional Australia because there is not a diverse media market there. But in terms of the rest of our country, it is time for a royal commission into the future of public broadcasting in this country.

It is time that we stood up for the taxpayers of this country who are not getting value for money, and it is time that the board of the ABC – that most arrogant organisation – realise they are losing middle Australia because we have choice.

There is so much diversity in our media market and it would be sad if the ABC were to fail and fall over. I want the ABC to be saved. I want it to be reformed so it can be saved from itself.”

Colour me confused.

James McGrath has been gifted the top spot on the Queensland senate ticket assuring him of another 6 years in parliament.

I can only echo the words of Doug Cameron’s “gobsmacked” response to McGrath’s first speech back in 2014:

“These are the people that are supposed to be the high-calibre Liberals. If this is the high-calibre Liberals I’d hate to go to a Liberal party branch in Queensland and see the low-lifes in operation.”

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Morrison’s belligerence backfires as he bounces around like a beach ball

Scott Morrison was road-testing a new approach today. Apparently, he is the sensible centre, resisting the urgings of those who would drag him off course one way or the other.

The idea that Scott Morrison has a course is the first problem with that narrative.

His vision for governing is to get paid to do nothing. His default position on pretty much everything is to oppose it and his preferred method of opposition is belligerence and ridicule. If forced to take action, pretend it was your idea.

Everyone has recently been reminded of FauxMo’s ridiculing of electric vehicles and humiliating u-turn, but there are many other examples which should not be forgotten.

Remember when a grinning Treasurer taunted Labor in Question Time “This is coal. Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared” as he and Barnaby chortled away?

Then a week before the election, the now PM tried another comedy routine, ridiculing Labor’s plan to rely in part on international carbon permits to achieve its emissions target.

“I call it the Borat Tax with carbon credits for Kazakhstan. I know what Borat would think of the Labor Party’s policies on emissions reduction: Very nice, very nice.” (delivered with accent, silly grin and double thumbs up)

Moving on to the latest Australian Way brochure on emissions reduction, and lo and behold, the government is now relying on “a high-quality carbon credit scheme in the Indo-Pacific” to achieve its 2050 target with a belated acknowledgement that “the benefit to the climate of an avoided tonne of emissions is the same wherever it occurs”.

It’s not just emissions reduction where Scotty has been forced to change direction.

In August 2016, Morrison described calls for a banking royal commission as “nothing more than a populist whinge from Bill Shorten.”

“He is playing reckless political games with one of the core pillars of our economy. He’s acting with callous disregard and complete political opportunism. I think there is the great risk that if the opposition continues to engage in this recklessness that the only product of that approach could be to undermine confidence in the banking and finance system.”

Come November 2017, Scotty grudgingly announces a Royal Commission.

“The nature of political events means the national economic interest is now served by taking what I describe as a regrettable but necessary action. Politics is doing damage to our banking and financial system, and we are taking control as a government to protect the strength of our banking system through a properly constituted inquiry.”

In October 2019, trying to tap into the outrage, Morrison ordered his own ACCC inquiry into the big 4 banks (despite having rejected a call for that from Rod Simms the month before).

In his 2019 election campaign speech, ProMo boasted of “having the courage to put the aged care system to a Royal Commission to ensure that we value our older Australians and they get the best possible care, because we love them so dearly.”

Now that one really riled me up because it was personal.

For years I had been trying to get something done about aged care, complaining to everyone from the management of the facility my mother lived in right on up to the federal minister. I still have the response from Ken Wyatt telling me that none of my concerns, including staffing levels or how funding was being used, were the responsibility of the government. It’s up to the provider. The date of that letter is April 12, 2018.

Six days later, I read “Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has unveiled a plan to merge a number of agencies into a new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. It’s being dubbed as a “one-stop shop” to prevent failures and monitor and enforce quality standards.”

“I am not going to tolerate providers who do not meet what is required both within legislation, regulation and in terms of quality standards,” said a completely ineffectual Ken Wyatt.

Luckily for him, there are no regulations regarding staffing levels or staff training or quality assurance.

When Bill Shorten, a couple of weeks later, said the aged care system was in crisis and called for a Royal Commission, Wyatt was outraged.

“I’m slow to anger but I must admit that recently the Opposition Leader commenting that the system is in crisis and a national disgrace was not becoming of what I would expect in a bilateral and bipartisan approach to aged care.

“This demeans every one of those dedicated aged care workers and it achieves nothing but instilling fear into the hearts and minds of older Australians. For the Opposition Leader to continue this fear-mongering is verging on the abuse of elder Australians and it must stop.”

Then Four Corners started an investigation.

Wyatt dismissed the need for a Royal Commission as an unnecessary move because the Government was already reviewing the sector. “A royal commission, after two years and maybe $200 million being spent on it, will come back with the same set or a very similar set of recommendations,” he said.

The weekend before the Four Corners program Who Cares? was to air, I got a phone call from someone at the ABC telling me that Scott Morrison was going to call a Royal Commission. Sure, enough, there he was the day before the two-part program began, executing one of his rapid u-turns.

The recommendations from both Wyatt’s inquiry and the RC have been largely ignored.

Backtrack to November 2013 and the announcement that the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing was to be scrapped – at a saving of just over $1 million a year.

The chair of the Panel, Mr Everald Compton, told ABC Radio: “We’ve only got six months work to go and we can give the government a blueprint on all the legislative and policy and financial changes that need to be progressively made over the next 25 years to make sure we turn ageing into an asset rather than a liability. And I find it a little hard to understand why, when we’re so close to finishing something that we’ve had some years of work in, that it’s chopped off and that the government does not appear to want a report on how ageing is going to hit Australia.”

And Scotty wants me to believe they care?

It’s not extremists that are causing Scott Morrison to bounce around like a beach ball. He’s a thin-skinned bag of hot air, totally dependent on the crowd to determine his direction.

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Morrison’s priorities say it all

Apparently, the most pressing issues for this government to address are dealing with non-existent voter fraud and protecting religious organisations’ rights to bigotry.

The fact that, after 8 years in government, they didn’t have an emissions reduction “plan” until a couple of days before COP26 is neither here nor there. They have important stuff to do like coming up with new three-word slogans, giving interviews on 2GB, high vis photo shoots, social media posts, and FIFO visits to wherever the latest disaster hits.

We have Alan Tudge bringing up the history curriculum again – we don’t want our kids feeling ashamed says Alan (unless they’re gay because that’s somehow bad).

Scotty’s priorities have nothing to do with what is in the best interests of the nation he supposedly leads (cough) – they are solely dictated by how to appeal to the potential One Nation and UAP voters. That’s why Morrison won’t criticise nutters like Craig Kelly and George Christensen and Matt Canavan and our Deputy PM (who apparently thinks his incoherence is entertaining??).

The get-the-government-out-of-my-life line is madness. It feeds the narrative that government can’t be trusted and endorses conspiracy theories about coercive control.

Government ministers often preface their comments with “Australians want” or “Australians know” yet they seem to be only pandering to the noisy far right. According to every poll, climate action, integrity and accountability are high on the list of what Australians want.

Former Labor minister Barry Jones has sounded an urgent call for Australians to demand better “because democracy is under serious threat and both the Coalition and the federal ALP have no vision beyond the election of 2022”.

“Only an active citizenry can prevent sliding towards authoritarian or populist democracy with its endless appeals to the short term and self-interest,” Jones says.

We have Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull teaming up, John Hewson and Barry Jones, the Business Council and the National Farmers Federation and ACOSS, not to mention the state premiers and a growing number of pissed-off foreign leaders, all lining up together to tell Morrison’s government they are not doing their job adequately.

Time to get rid of these dangerous, self-serving, talentless amateurs.

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Scott Morrison takes “don’t-do government” to a whole new level

I’m not sure if Scotty is in his market testing phase or if the campaign is already settled, but selling yourself as a ‘won’t-do government’ is an interesting approach.

Don’t be cross with us – we don’t do anything.

I don’t hold a hose, mate, and I don’t sit in a control room,” Scotty reminded us on 2GB when asked about holidaying overseas as the country burned.

Except he was warned about the danger before that horror fire season erupted and completely ignored all expert advice in his do-nothing way.

“There’s no action by Australia that’s going to change the temperature of the globe at all,” said Barnaby on Sky when discussing emissions reduction. Australia “makes no difference whatsoever. No difference at all.”

Morrison’s do-nothing government can’t set a target to reduce methane emissions by 30% because that would require farmers “to go grab a rifle, go out and start shooting your cattle” according to our “entertainer” Deputy PM.

Which makes me wonder if Barnaby reads as the Australian red meat and livestock industry has already set the target to be carbon neutral by 2030 and, according to them, it “doesn’t need to come at the cost of livestock numbers.

FauxMo’s pretence that he hasn’t done a handbrake turn on electric vehicles is beyond even Credlin and Bolt’s ability to spin.

PETA CREDLIN: … hard to avoid the impression that what was wrong then is somehow right now … Not very convincing to me. You be the judge. – Credlin, Sky News Australia, 9 November, 2021

ANDREW BOLT: Why would Morrison today reinforce exactly the criticism that he’s been getting of being a fake, of being untrustworthy, of not telling the truth, of just being a salesman with no convictions at all? Who’s dreaming up the strategy in his office? It’s all so crazy. – The Bolt Report, Sky News Australia, 9 November, 2021

Scott won’t tell you what to drive. He also won’t provide any incentives to make it more attractive for people to buy EVs and he won’t be introducing vehicle fuel efficiency or emissions standards to encourage a shift to cleaner cars.

‘Labor would make petrol more expensive’ cries the man whose government, in their first budget in 2014, removed the freeze on indexation of fuel excise which had been in place since 2001. That has had the effect of lifting the fuel tax from a set 38.1c/litre to 43.3c/litre currently, rising every year with the CPI.

ScoMo also wants to make it clear that he did nothing during the pandemic, it wasn’t his job.

“My preference is to work with the states and territories to support them to do their job, and their job is to protect the public safety. Their job is to protect public safety within their jurisdictions. It’s not my job to go around second-guessing other people’s decisions….the states are doing what they’ve done throughout the course of this pandemic. They’re making judgements based on the health advice that has been provided to them.”

Yet when asked by all state and territory health ministers for increased hospital funding to help cope with the influx of COVID patients and staffing shortages, Morrison said it was the state’s responsibility to manage their own hospitals – “they’re in the same position to borrow money as the federal government, if that’s what they believe they need to do.” Thanks for the support.

Scotty’s don’t-do government hasn’t given a Voice to Indigenous people. It hasn’t given us a federal corruption watchdog. It hasn’t addressed housing affordability or the increasing number of Australians living in poverty.

In fact, they are campaigning on being a government who is not going to legislate anything and are going to leave everything up to the market and consumers to make the right choices (with the obvious fossil fuel support carve-out).

No wonder they keep spending hundreds of billions on war toys. They haven’t got anything else to do.

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Talking Crap: “the Morrison Way”

The Liar from the Shire has really outdone himself lately.

I didn’t expect any better from the man who dubbed himself ScoMo and then employed a personal photographer to change his image from a persecutor of refugees and social service recipients to a chicken coop building, cap and footie scarf wearing, beer swilling, God worshipping, netball dad who cooks a mean strawberry curry on the barbie.

But the personal photographer approach didn’t work so well when Morrison went up to (WARNING) “put his arm around” Emmanuel Macron. ScoMo’s attempt at a selfie backfired so, in typical fashion, he accused the press of trying to get selfies with the French president thereby giving Macron a platform to flex his muscles for a domestic audience. Scott has this unfortunate tendency to accuse everyone else of what he himself is doing.

ScoMo had done nothing wrong. Leak a private leader-to-leader text to the Murdoch press to prove it.

“Claims were made and claims were refuted,” parroted a conga line of government MPs, except all that was proven was that Macron didn’t know the sub deal was off and Scotty didn’t want to show us his response.

Macron has sledged Australia says an indignant FauxMo.

Hang on, says everyone. He specifically sledged YOU.

Scotty is also getting very irate with everybody pointing out his blatant backflip on electric vehicles but I think the lie that got me truly guffawing was his first high viz hard hat outing after getting home at the Westconnex tunnel.

When I met with His Royal Highness Prince Charles, at Glasgow, one of the things he raised was the great urban projects that have been done here in partnership with the New South Wales government, and made particular mention of the work that both premier Perrottet has been doing and Rob Stokes was doing as well, and I think that’s a great recognition of what is happening here in New South Wales and in particular in Sydney.

And so congratulations, Dom.

Aside from the name-dropping and the extremely unlikely possibility that Prince Charles would know the name of the new premier and roads minister of NSW and choose the “Last Chance Saloon” to discuss them with ScoMo, this was the same day that it was announced that Sydney’s new inner-west light-rail will be shut down for 18 months due to significant cracks in all 12 trams.

The NSW government bought trains that don’t fit the tracks, ferries that can’t fit under bridges or operate at night, and an entire fleet of trams that simply don’t work.

But hey, congrats from the Prince of Wales.

I also object to the glossy brochure misnomered “The Australian Way”. Since when has it been the Australian way to do nothing, to take credit for the work of others, to leave the heavy lifting to someone else, to put our prosperity in front of the futures of our children.

‘Can do’ capitalism, technology not taxes – these are the slogans of a government hamstrung by its own inadequacy, its fear of offending its puppet masters, and a complete lack of leadership.

All pamphlet and no policy, no care taken and no responsibility accepted, fiddle the numbers and pretend you’ve made progress, be indignant whenever your lies are exposed, and ALWAYS blame others – that’s the Morrison Way.


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Freedom from responsibility

We hear a great deal about ‘freedom’ from those on the right but what they really want is freedom to impose their idea of morality and ethics, freedom for the individual to prosper with scant regard for the collective good, freedom from transparency and accountability, freedom from responsibility.

Remember when repealing Section 18c was soooo important? Apparently, the right to insult people on racial grounds was something to be fought for. Bugger how it made the victims feel – I shouldn’t be made to think about that! Toughen up, snowflakes. Offence is taken, not given. If you don’t like it, leave.

But if you in any way imply something about me, I have the best defamation lawyers lined up to crucify you and your employer, even if it is true. (You’re so Vain is running through my head.)

And for those of you who carry on about being invaded, January 26 will continue to be celebrated as the day civilisation came to this nation. You should strip off the black armbands, stop scaring the children, and just be grateful for all the money we are spending on keeping you incarcerated, keeping your children in out-of-home care, moving you from remote communities where we have cut off services, employing truancy officers to fix education, managing your income, and pondering how to improve your life expectancy without offending the alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and sugar industries or increasing welfare or providing affordable housing and local health services

(Sorry bout the cuts to legal aid and community centres – have you heard we are getting new submarines?)

A few rather loud groups, which include some ‘colourful’ politicians, have been yelling My Body My Choice in protest against mandatory vaccination and mask-wearing.

Unelected Queensland Senator Amanda Stoker said “The idea that the individual should be able to choose what they want to do with their own body is a fundamental liberal value and that’s why we have never said vaccination will be mandatory.”

This same unelected Senator and Assistant Minster for Women spoke at an anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia rally in Brisbane in May because… hey…”religious freedom”. I’d explain that if I could. My Body My Choice, Your Body My Choice?

Barnaby Joyce says we can’t stop using and exporting fossil fuels because we make too much money from it. Angus Taylor is busily working out ways to give more public money to fossil fuel companies and dress it up as emissions reduction. And Scott’s so scared of disappointing his new besties in Glasgow that he may well call an election just so he doesn’t have to go.

If there was no market for fossil fuels, we wouldn’t be able to sell them. Our coal is cleaner than theirs. Gas is a little bit better than coal. Our emissions are comparatively small. We are lifting people out of poverty (even though the coal-fired power never gets to them). We are protecting jobs (even though mines are increasingly automated and renewable energy is offering far more jobs into the future). We didn’t cut down trees that we could have. Good luck selling that package to anyone besides the people who can’t remember your name.

I read today that we will see legislation for a Federal Icac-equivalent before Christmas. I seem to have heard that before. And I can already hear the cries of outrage about the NSW Icac unfairly orchestrating the demise of our Glad at the pinnacle of her success (before hospitals are overwhelmed, deaths peak, and cases surge).

This is not a case of a naïve woman who was duped by her love interest. In November last year, Berejiklian admitted they used grants funding for porkbarrelling, that it was common practice, and not illegal. Disturbingly, her office shredded notes about meetings and communications.

Phone taps and emails are already in the public domain, but somehow, Glad thought her involvement, both active and passive, was just a personal “stuff-up” that was in the past. It just doesn’t seem to occur to any of them that using public money to enhance their political fortunes, or to benefit their associates, is actually wrong.

Morrison’s cabinet reshuffle is all about rewarding his supporters and nothing to do with responsible government. The trouble is, the talent pool of supporters and those he must appease is a tiny pond filled with very greedy tadpoles – not a prince in sight. A promoted and emboldened Freedom Boy (aka Tim Wilson) is a scary prospect

Freedom of Information has been met with a full suite of disabling tactics – defunding, excuses about national security and commercial in confidence, too time-consuming for staff, increasing delays in responding, appealing decisions, stacking the AAT, court action, redactions, and distractions.

Scott doesn’t hold the hose and Gladys has always acted with integrity – and if anything went wrong it wasn’t their fault.

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Dutton does defence

After spending 9 years as a Queensland copper, Peter Dutton was elected to Federal parliament at the age of 30 and he has been bumbling around pissing people off ever since.

He refused to attend the apology to the Stolen Generations, saying he “regarded it as something which was not going to deliver tangible outcomes to kids who are being raped and tortured in communities in the 21st century.”

He also refuses to support an Indigenous Voice to parliament, erroneously characterising it as a Third Chamber.

He had to apologise after being caught on camera making a joke with Tony Abbott about rising sea levels threatening low-lying Pacific Islands.



Another apology was required for calling journalist Samantha Maiden a “mad f***ing witch” in a text message that he meant to send to disgraced colleague Jamie Briggs but accidentally sent to Maiden.

P Duddy has a particular penchant for white Christians.

He once said allowing Lebanese Muslim refugees into Australia in the 1970s was a “mistake” accusing them of being responsible for higher crime rates in Western Sydney.

In 2018, he said Melburnians were “scared to go out to restaurants” because of ‘African gang’ violence.

Dutton really annoyed the South African government when he wanted to offer special visas to “persecuted” white South African farmers who “need help from a civilised country like ours.”

Speaking of persecution, Dutton’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers has been particularly cruel.

In response to a Greens proposal to boost Australia’s refugee intake, he once said “illiterate and innumerate” asylum seekers would take local jobs or languish on the dole.

So bad has the treatment of refugees been, the government settled a class action by Manus Island detainees for $70 million rather than let the matter go to trial where the court would have heard evidence from detainees detailing deaths inside the detention centre, allegations of systemic sexual and physical abuse, and allegations of inadequate medical treatment leading to injury and death – all of which had been routinely dismissed by Dutton as “false allegations in an attempt to get to Australia”.

As Health Minister, Dutton was voted the worst ever by doctors.

As Home Affairs Minister, there were countless scathing reports about poor outcomes, poor administration, poor morale, poor oversight and poor leadership.

Even his colleagues didn’t want him as their leader when he staged his failed coup.

So, in this time of heightened global tension where diplomacy and cultural awareness and building relationships is so important, what does ScoMo do?

Gives this moron Defence just to keep him happy.

And what does P Duddy do?

Pisses off the French and Chinese by changing his mind about subs, throwing a whole workforce into unemployment, endangering free trade negotiations with Europe, poking our largest export market, and scaring the whole region that we are escalating an arms race. And, just to underline how inept this government is, no-one thought to mention it to the French.

In his maiden speech, Dutton said “I have seen the sickening behaviour displayed by people who, frankly, barely justify their existence in our sometimes over tolerant society.”

Having watched Dutton enhance his personal fortune for twenty years, I have seen nothing to justify his existence in our parliament or the support of his over tolerant constituents and colleagues.



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We can do so much better than this

This government seems to think I should feel grateful for their stewardship.

Yeah… nah.

Ten reasons why we MUST have a change of government:

  1. We have Ministers wandering around wearing coal miners’ outfits and a government who thinks the greatest threat to the Reef is plastic and the best way forward is an economic recovery based on fossil fuels.
  2. Secrecy has become the norm and people who tell the truth are prosecuted.
  3. Bettina Arndt was awarded an Order of Australia for “significant service to the community as a social commentator and to gender equity through advocacy for men”. Two of her supporters, Amanda Stoker and Lorraine Finlay, have been elevated to high position, one as an unelected Senator and anti-abortion Assistant Minister for Women, and the other as an IPA-chosen appointed-without-advertising-or-interview Human Rights Commissioner.
  4. There is a mentality that people should be grateful to businesses for providing them with a job. Unions have been systematically demonised and undermined as the worker’s representative. Company profits have soared whilst wages have flatlined and work entitlements and job security have gone backwards.
  5. Social security is seen as a burden rather than an investment in the education, health and well-being of the populace.
  6. Public education has been sacrificed to fund wealthy private and faith-based schools. And before anyone brings up those poor struggling Catholic schools, the church’s wealth in Australia was estimated at $30 billion some years ago. And they pay NO tax.
  7. Public money has become a slush fund to be used for political advantage and positions are gifted as reward for party loyalty. The arrogance of long incumbency has fostered a culture of unaccountability. And no Federal ICAC in sight.
  8. They cannot shake the colonial mentality that they know best how to Close the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage. As in everything else, they refuse to acknowledge any culpability, any blame, any criticism or any advice. We can’t tell the truth or we are teaching our children to hate us said the Education Minister. We might get sued squeaks John Howard. We really care but… law and order… truancy… addiction… laziness… cries the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison cohort.
  9. According to this government, the NDIS is unsustainable. Yet Josh Frydenberg’s nearly-‘balanced’ budget was built on a $4.6 billion underspend on the NDIS in 2018-19. And. as at June 30 this year, the DisabilityCare Australia Fund is valued at $15.5bn, delivering a return of 0.4% over the last 12 months. Why is Peter Costello sitting on this fund and why did it get such a crap return?
  10. The 46th Parliament Current Ministry List.

But wait… there’s more…

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Farming is an industry based on science so why do they elect Luddites?

Listen to a Nationals MP and it won’t take long before they spew forth terms like “latte sippers”, “virtue signalling”, “bedwetters”, “woke capital-city greenies”, or some such other dismissive guff.

This childish fact-free language is not just directed at those who live in the city or those with a university education or pot-smoking communist lesbian ecoterrorists – energy analysts, climate scientists, environmentalists, banks, insurance companies, superannuation funds, economists, health authorities, all get the same rot thrown at them.

The Nationals Party has decided to pin its fortunes on the fossil fuel industry. Unfortunately, this approach is more about their personal best interests – whether short-term electoral or financial, or post-politics employment – as opposed to what all the evidence shows is in the best interests of the very people they purport to represent.

Farming is an industry based on science and technology, constantly evolving with new information and innovation. They use observations to make predictions which inform their decisions about what to farm, when, where and how. They rely on weather and climate forecasts, and are cognisant of longer-term changing seasonal trends that affect their planning.

But what’s the point of all their hard work when Barnaby Joyce decides to give more precious water to the cotton farms or to the mines. When Matt Canavan and George Christensen think climate change is crap and coal-mining provides lots of jobs. When Michael McCormack thinks linking bushfires to climate change is “the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies.” When David Littleproud calls for the boycott of “virtue-signalling” banks for fulfilling their fiduciary duty to minimise their exposure to future stranded assets. When Keith Pitt vetoes approval for a wind and battery plant because he thinks, unlike all the energy regulators, giving the gas industry billions will provide cheaper power.

Years ago, farmers used the pesticide DDT to great effect for insect control in crop and livestock production. When evidence mounted of the declining benefits and environmental and toxicological effects, its use was banned except for malaria control in some high-risk areas.

Farmers acknowledged the risk and changed their practices.

Agriculture has a huge role to play in both the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change. It is in their best interests to lead the way to a sustainable future and there is enthusiasm to do so from this generation of farmers.

So why do they keep electing Luddites?

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Tim Wilson epitomises so many things that are wrong with the Morrison government

Two photographs taken by Alex Ellinghausen last week pretty much sum up Liberal Member for Goldstein, Tim Wilson.

The first shows Tim joining the Parliamentary Friends of Running (yes, there is such a thing) and the Indigenous Marathon Foundation members as they head off together on a four-kilometre jog to promote active lifestyles in Indigenous communities.

Tim, clutching his mobile phone, is wearing a Liberal-blue t-shirt, jogging shorts, and what appears to be some sort of compression skins underneath the shorts. I am assuming that was to protect his groin when he did a rapid u-turn when the cameras stopped filming. Tim only ran 100 metres before Ellinghausen snapped him returning alone to the warmth of parliament house.

It’s all about self-promotion as Tim freely admitted in a 2014 interview.

He became heavily involved with student politics, eventually becoming president of the Student Union in 2001, thanks in part to his talent for favour-trading – plying opponents with “a whole bunch of delegateships” in return for their support. He also had “this really clever little trick”, using a digital camera, “which very few people had back then”, to take photos of himself at university club functions, several of which he would attend in a single night. He would then send the photos to the club magazines the next morning. “They didn’t have any photos, certainly not that immediately. So they’d run them, and of course I was in half of them, and it made me look as if I was the centre of everything.”

How very Morrison-style Liberal of him. It’s all about the photo ops and trading favours.

It’s not just running where Tim does his rapid back-flips.

After years campaigning for the Australian Human Rights Commission to be abolished during his time at the Institute of Public Affairs, he was chuffed to immediately accept a very high-paying job with them when, after a pleasant evening spent together at the IPA’s 70th birthday bash, George Brandis rang out of the blue to offer Tim a job that didn’t exist.

And Wilson wasted no time taking advantage of his new role, spending $77,763 in expenses in his first year on the job in addition to his $332,000 salary package and $40,000 accommodation allowance. Unfortunately, this came at the expense of the extremely competent Disability Commissioner, Graeme Innes, as Tim’s new job didn’t come attached with any new funding, so someone had to go.

But Tim was just marking time, waiting for another IPA party-goer, Andrew Robb, to retire from his plum Liberal seat of Goldstein, at which time Tim very quickly resigned from his sinecure at the Human Rights Commission which had only ever been to give him something to put on his CV. Tim was now a Member of Parliament in a seat that has always voted Liberal – barring disaster, a lifetime gig (unless a better offer comes along as it did for his predecessor).

In his previous life at the IPA, Wilson had also spent his time writing witty bon mots ridiculing those who urged action on climate change.

The success of Kerryn Phelps at the Wentworth by-election caused Tim to do another spectacular u-turn when he realised his Inner-city Melbourne constituents were possibly more concerned about climate change than coal-mining jobs. So obvious was Tim’s about-face, the Quadrant magazine labelled him Tim ‘Windvane’ Wilson.

Wilson’s very public championing of freedom of speech is also inconsistent.

During the Occupy Melbourne protests in 2011, he tweeted “all people who think freedom of speech = freedom 2 b heard, time wasters … send in the water cannons”. Yet, in 2019, he was tweeting selfies taken at democracy protests in Hong Kong, extolling the importance of their voices being heard.

During his IPA days, Wilson was a constant panellist on the ABC whilst his organisation was calling for its privatisation. Use it to raise your profile and then demand it be sold off to appease the doyen of the IPA, Rupert Murdoch.

Tim Wilson, as chair of the parliament’s economics committee, collaborated with a relative and investment partner to use publicly funded hearings to attack Labor’s franking credits policy, co-ordinate protests with committee meetings, use a petition to collect signatories contact details, and enlist new members to the Liberal Party.

The Liberal Speaker of the House, Tony Smith, expressed his concern about Wilson’s actions which he said could be “seen to have caused damage to the committee’s reputation and damage to the house committee system more generally”.

Wilson was bemused. ‘What did I do wrong?’

I can understand his confusion.

Tim is the archetypal Liberal. No expertise other than self-promotion, jobs for the boys, rapid u-turns for political expediency, maximise your expense claims, deals for mates, feather your financial nest, and get your photo taken a lot. He will probably go far.

And isn’t that … so disappointingly inadequate?

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Scott Morrison’s “promise to Australia”

Scott Morrison’s 2019 election campaign speech:

“To run a stronger economy requires a government that knows how to manage money.

If you can’t manage money, you can’t run the country.

Have you ever noticed this? How those who can’t manage money always end up spending more of it, and never spend it well? What they say, those who can’t manage money, what the costs will be – if they’re game enough to tell you – that’s only just where it begins.

The real cost comes after their big spending programs fall victim to their incompetent administration. We have seen it every time under Labor.

You know, Labor’s appetite for big spending always exceeds their competency to spend it wisely or properly. You know, that’s the bill you really cannot afford.

And as we know, when Labor runs out of money, they always come running after yours soon after. So, today, I’m not getting into a spend-a-thon with Labor. They’re welcome to it. Reckless spending is not a vision, Australians. It’s a burden on current and future generations. So I say to Australians; do not allow Labor’s reckless spending to start. Vote Liberal and Nationals next Saturday.

Our Government has restored our nation’s finances. We have turned that around. We have kept our Triple A credit rating. We have handed down – well done Josh and the entire ERC team – the first Budget surplus in more than a decade, back in the black.

And by staying on this path we will eliminate the debt within a decade, without raising your taxes. We have achieved this by getting spending growth under control, getting Australians off welfare and into work – and treating every dollar provided to us by the taxpayer with respect. It’s what Liberals and Nationals do.”

Other things Liberals and Nationals do…


Cashless welfare card.

JobKeeper gifted to profitable businesses.

Sports rorts et al.

White elephant NBN.

Torture refugees by locking them up indefinitely in unsafe offshore detention.

Subsidies and grants to the fossil fuel industry.

Signing up for 12 submarines whose cost has blown out from $50 billion to $90 billion before they have even fully negotiated the details.

Use fraudulent documents to attack a political opponent and suffer no consequence.

$40 million gifted to Foxtel whilst slashing funding for the ABC.

Almost half a billion dollars to a few businessmen who called themselves the Great Barrier Reef something-or-other.

Another half a billion to a security firm headquartered in a beach shack on Kangaroo Island.

A fortune spent on consultants and government advertising.

Trash our international reputation through inaction on climate change.

Antagonise China through pointless hairy chest-beating.

Huge money paid to donors for water that doesn’t exist and land that was worth a fraction of the price paid.

Run up a trillion dollar debt.

Uncountable jobs for the boys and girls, stacking Boards and tribunals and diplomatic posts…

I could keep going forever… it’s been a long 7 years 8 months and 6 days.

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The insane pinball game that masquerades as Coalition energy policy

Three years ago, then Treasurer Scott Morrison declared the government was not interested in subsidising any source of energy.

The days of subsidies in energy are over, whether it is for coal, wind, solar, any of them,” the treasurer said.

“That is the way I think you get the best functioning energy market with the lowest possible price for businesses and for households and that is what the national energy guarantee and our energy policies are designed to achieve.”

Fast forward to this week when Keith Pitt, the minister for resources, water and northern Australia, blocked a loan for the Kaban green energy hub which had been approved by the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (Naif) in January.

The blocked funding would have helped build a 157-megawatt windfarm and 100MW battery and included a 320km transmission line upgrade.

Pitt’s reason for overruling the decision was that investment in “mature technologies” like wind and solar energy would be driven by the private sector whilst the government’s policy was to support dispatchable generation.

I’m not sure what Mr Pitt thinks batteries are for.

Instead of giving a loan to a commercially viable renewable project that would have employed about 250 people in its construction, the government has announced hundreds of millions in direct funding to the already very-profitable gas industry.

In March, the AEMO published their Gas Statement of Opportunities in which they said:

“Industrial demand for natural gas is not forecast to grow in the next 20 years, and could potentially reduce significantly as industrial users in the gas sector start to decarbonise.”

Head of the Energy Security Board, Kerry Schott, says increasing gas supply won’t bring prices down “when there are a whole lot of other things around that are cheaper in price, like wind, solar and big batteries, like pumped hydro and we’ve got Snowy 2.0 coming.”

“Nobody is going to build it from the private sector because it doesn’t stack up. Because it’s expensive power, it’s hard to see it makes commercial sense.”

After years spent trying to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the government is now trying to change the legislation to redirect money into their own preferred technologies, including carbon capture and storage, gas generators and hydrogen produced from fossil fuels.

In typical Coalition fashion, Angus Taylor has stacked the board at ARENA with handpicked appointments that he hopes will do his bidding.

Meanwhile, in March, the European parliament voted to forge ahead with carbon levies on products from countries with weak environmental laws.

Two senior European officials said the transition to green technologies would drive power shifts away from those controlling and exporting fossil fuels, mainly referring to oil rich countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia, suggesting that traditional fossil-fuel exporters would need to diversify their economies and free themselves from the “oil curse” and the “corruption it so often fosters”.

As Professor Warwick McKibbin pointed out, “The economic cost of a carbon border adjustment mechanism is nothing compared to the issue Australia will have to deal with economically when its fossil fuel export industry dramatically declines over the coming decades. There needs to be a reopening of the debate on how to create a world-leading framework for climate and energy policy in Australia.”

Despite all the dire warnings from climate scientists, the direction suggested by energy experts, the agreement from economists and the business community, and the threats of trade sanctions, a handful of politicians in Australia have put their short-term vested interests in front of the inevitable action we must take to tackle this global emergency.

Why is it that everything to do with the pandemic is predicated on “the best medical advice” but, when it comes to the health of the planet, it’s all about the profits for political donors and the electoral prospects of a few politicians?

When we have idiots like Matt Canavan, whose brother’s coal company recently went broke, saying “Renewables are the dole bludgers of the energy system, they only turn up to work when they want to,” what hope have we got?

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The drums of hairy chest beating

It is a given that a Coalition government will, rightly or wrongly, promote their credentials on national security. Who could forget Tony Abbott’s ludicrous promise to shirtfront Vladimir Putin.

The tough talk might appeal to some but this political posturing has real-life consequences for people.

“Stop the boats” was not a strategy to deal with the global refugee crisis. It never addressed how our role in foreign wars was contributing to the exodus, how our greed consigned others to poverty, or what would become of the people we turned around on the high seas.

Incarcerating asylum seekers indefinitely became a weapon – a warning to others who may look to us for help. We have spent tens of millions keeping the family from Biloela locked up on Christmas Island, and hundreds of millions fighting court cases and paying compensation for the harm we have done to traumatised people who fled from danger seeking a safer life.

Buoyed by what they call success, Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and Mike Pezzullo have decided, with an election looming, to up the ante.

Deporting a 15 year old boy to New Zealand is called “taking out the trash”.

Australian citizens who try to return from pandemic ravaged India face jail time.

And Australians are warned that we must prepare to send our children off to a war with China over islands that having nothing to do with us.

The arms manufacturers are delighted. Out trots Peter Jennings from ASPI, who are sponsored by these same arms dealers, to agree that we must spend hundreds of billions more on missiles we will never shoot, submarines that will be obsolete before they are built, jet fighters that will spend most of their time on the ground.

Let’s get real here – we are never going to be a military power.

Is diplomacy dead in Australia?

Our ADF could play a vital role in building relationships if these hairy-chest thumpers would shut up and let them play to our strengths.

We are very good at search and rescue, disaster response, medical emergencies, humanitarian relief, peace-keeping, building infrastructure, providing expert advisors. Domestically the ADF have been crucial in assisting with natural disaster clean-ups and rebuilding, border closures, quarantine, and vaccine rollout. They are an agile, skilled workforce who can make a valuable contribution here and overseas rather than an expendable asset offered up for war.

Peter Dutton has failed at every portfolio he has ever been given. The critical reports of his departments have been scathing. Yet the Canberra media call him a powerbroker, a man who brings gravitas to his new role as warmonger.

Dutton is, and always has been, only focused on promoting himself.

When he went close to losing his seat of Dickson in the 2007 election, winning by only 217 votes, Dutton chose to abandon his constituents, running for preselection in the safer seat of McPherson for the 2010 election.

Interestingly, despite a lot of pressure to roll over and let Dutton have his way, Karen Andrews, Dutton’s successor in the Home Affairs portfolio, defeated him in the preselection ballot and refused to stand aside. Dutton had to skulk back to Dickson.

As the person responsible for our domestic security, Andrews needs to show that same determination now.

Home Affairs department secretary, Mike Pezzulo, hugely overstepped the mark with his belligerent drums of war speech. It was either a job application to head Defence, or a power play to let the new Minister know who is in charge. Either way, Andrews should have asserted her authority and shut it down when shown it “as a matter of courtesy” just beforehand. It was unnecessary chest-poking from a man whose experience should make him know better. What audience was he hoping to appeal to?

Karen Andrews has no experience in this area so will no doubt take a little while to find her feet – it’s a big, and important, portfolio.

Will she be strong enough to keep Batfink and Karate in check? That remains to be seen. In the interests of our national security, social cohesion and, quite frankly, our humanity, I sure hope so.

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