Increasing the Superannuation Guarantee would be a smart…

Nothing exemplifies better how totally lacking in judgement the Coalition is than…

Day to Day Politics: The Coalition is like…

Friday 25 May 2018I’m having one of those days where I’m relaxing,…

Day to Day Politics: Bloody Hell, just get…

Thursday 24 May 2018On Monday my wife and I attended a function…

Australia’s China Syndrome

Syndromes can make for cringe-worthy, nervous laughter. To see the Australian Prime…

Aw C’mon, Get Up! Change the Rules

By Kyran O'DwyerNever before have we been in this situation. Of course,…

Dodgy dealings

Tony Abbott promised a government that would be transparent and accountable.  Malcolm…

Day to Day Politics: Can you trust them?…

Wednesday 23 May 2018I regret having to break my promise that I…

"The one big soul that belongs to everybody"

The response to our appeal in Wanted: three hundred good people to help with meeting…

«
»
Facebook

Rossleigh is a writer, director and teacher. As a writer, his plays include “The Charles Manson Variety Hour”, “Pastiche”, “Snap!”, “That’s Me In The Distance”, “48 Hours (without Eddie Murphy)”, and “A King of Infinite Space”. His acting credits include “Pinor Noir Noir” for “Short and Sweet” and carrying the coffin in “The Slap”. His ten minutes play, “Y” won the 2013 Crash Test Drama Final.

Tony Abbott On Twitter Where He Demonstrates His Capacity To Twit

“AGL is a business acting against the national interest. Of course AGL want to shut down Liddell because it’s a source of cheap power and they want all of us to pay more so their shareholders can get higher profits.”

Tony Abbott

Rossleigh: Tony Abbott wasn’t available, but I’ve managed to track down a spokesperson who’s prepared to attempt to justify anything the Liberals have recently done, provided I give him anonymity, so he can pretend it wasn’t him. Good afternoon, Tony Abbott?

Spokesperson: No, I’m someone completely different.

Rossleigh: No, I meant would you like to comment on Tony Abbott?

Spokesperson: Oh… No, we have a firm policy in the Liberal Party about not commenting on Tony Abbott unless we have to.

Rossleigh: Well, how about his tweet on the AGL’s decision not to sell Liddell.

Spokesperson: Yes, well, I can certainly comment on that because Tony’s absolutely right on this one.

Rossleigh: So you don’t think that AGL are acting in the national interest either?

Spokesperson: How could they be? Shutting down a source of cheap power just so they can make more money for their shareholders at the expense of everyday Australians!

Rossleigh: But isn’t making profits good? I mean, we’ve been told how the company tax cuts will benefit everyone by increases in wages, higher dividends, more in our superannuation accounts…

Spokesperson: Yes, but that’s coming through tax cuts, that’s not coming from all the mums and dads out there struggling to afford their second negatively geared property.

Rossleigh: But surely we all have to pay somehow if there are tax cuts.

Spokesperson: No, no, no, they’re tax CUTS. Nobody has to pay them.

Rossleigh: But weren’t you asking where Bill Shorten was going to get the money from when he suggested cutting taxes for people on lower incomes?

Spokesperson: That’s different.

Rossleigh: How?

Spokesperson: Well, Bill Shorten proposed it. And well, Unbelieva-Bill. You know? Unbelieva-Bill.

Rossleigh: I don’t see how that answers my question.

Spokesperson: Look, we’ll pay for company tax cuts because when we cut company taxes they invest more and then we get more in revenue from the profits.

Rossleigh: But isn’t that true of Shorten’s cuts too? And won’t much of the company tax cuts go to overseas investors?

Spokesperson: Look it’s clear that you’re just pushing Labor’s case here and if you’re not going to accept our sound, economic modelling then there’s really no point.

Rossleigh: So you’ve done economic modelling?

Spokesperson: Of course.

Rossleigh: And what did it tell you?

Spokesperson: That if you assume that everything goes according to plan then our plan will work.

Rossleigh: There’s something else I don’t understand about Mr Abbott’s assertion. If Liddell is providing cheap power and we get rid of it, won’t that just push the cost of electricity up for AGL as well?

Spokesperson: Of course!

Rossleigh: Well, how does that lead to greater profits? I mean, won’t they have to pay more if they’re not accessing so-called cheap power?

Spokesperson: Um… No, it’ll just make it more expensive for everyone else.

Rossleigh: Sorry, I need to understand. If Liddell is cheap and there’s no Liddell, doesn’t that mean that it’ll cost more for AGL to generate power.

Spokesperson: Of course not. They’ll start using renewables like solar and wind.

Rossleigh: Hasn’t your party been arguing that they’re more expensive?

Spokesperson: Yes, but only sometimes. Look, we acknowledge that we need a mix of power sources, so it’s really important to keep Liddell open.

Rossleigh: Yes, but why is it really important to keep open an ageing power station which keeps breaking down?

Spokesperson: Because we can’t rely on the renewable sector.

Rossleigh: What about battery storage?

Spokesperson: How will that help?

Rossleigh: When the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, can’t batteries provide reliability?

Spokesperson: You’re rambling. Look, it’s really quite simple. Coal has been a reliable source of donations for decades. This renewable sector is just as likely to donate to Labor or The Greens, so how can we rely on that?

Rossleigh: Ah, I see. Moving on to other matters, would you like to comment on your decision to give half a billion dollars of public money to save the Great Barrier Reef without any sort of formal process.

Spokesperson: Well, it’s all part of our attempts to eliminate red tape. Under Labor, this company would have had to jump through all sorts of hoops and put in all sorts of proposals explaining how they intended to spend the money, but with us, they can just get started straight away.

Rossleigh: Started how?

Spokesperson: However they like. They’re the ones with the expertise.

Rossleigh: And the money…

Spokesperson: Exactly.

Rossleigh: What exactly was this company’s expertise?

Spokesperson: Well, that’s exactly the sort of question that bogs people down in bureaucracy. For us, it was simple. The Reef needs saving. These people said give us the money and we’ll do it. We give them the money. Problem solved.

Rossleigh: You’re out of time.

Spokesperson: We’ve still got till August to improve the polls.

Rossleigh: For the interview.

Spokesperson: Oh. It’s been a pleasure.

Rossleigh: Mm…

2024 And Not A Royal Wedding In Sight, So People Have To Think About Politics

As one gets older, one is immediately confronted by the shock of dates… No, I don’t mean going on them… Although that would be quite a shock too. I mean, the shock of when someone says something like, “When the GFC hit ten years ago…”, you tap your watch and go, “Ten years ago, I’m sure it was just this morning”.

It’s with this thought that I am buoyed by the fact that the Federal election will be held any moment now and next year’s Hot Cross Buns will be appearing.

Of course, the other thing that age does is makes you wary of predictions. As I often remind people ninety percent of everything is very predictable, but it’s that, that lulls into a false sense of security and gives us the shock when we actually have that Black Swan moment like Brexit, the election of Donald Trump or the Liberals releasing a coherent policy on jobs.

So, in spite of this, I’d like to peer into the crystal ball and annoy all the rationalists who insist that I have no psychic powers by telling them that I knew they’d say that.

A Peek Into The Future

It’s 2024 and there’s not a Royal Wedding in sight, although there’s a lot of speculation from royal watchers that Prince George may be dating. There’s also a lot of speculation from Republicans that the whole Royal Family idea has already dated, but the recent death of the Queen means that it’s too soon to mention the idea that Australia should hold another referendum on the Republic. Similarly, in Britain, there is discussion about whether the Queen’s death should result in Charlies now becoming monarch or whether they should just embalm her and wheel her out for public ceremonies as Her Majesty is still more popular than Charles. 

Meanwhile, in the USA, Kanye West has become President on his platform of eliminating all mention of slavery and the promise to rename the State of the Union Address: “At The House With The Kardashians”. 

Australia has just spent twenty billion dollars celebrating the tenth year of Coalition government. The 2018 election was surprisingly lost by Labor after Peter Dutton’s Border Force arrested all Labor candidates as a threat to national security. 

The 2024 Budget reminded us all how many jobs had been created and how the unemployment rate had been reduced to zero with the idea that anyone who spent their time breathing could be considered fully employed. The Treasurer repeated the oft-quoted line that “the best form of welfare was not to complain too much” because complaining got you nowhere. In reporting this, no journalist mentioned that – in fact – complaining could get you quite a long way. Deportation, if you weren’t a citizen. Citizens, of course, still had the right to complain so long as they did it quietly enough that nobody reported them for Sedition. 

The 2024 Budget also announced measures to counteract poor people forming companies to take advantage of the government’s company tax arrangements. After cutting zero company tax rate to minus ten percent in 2021, some poor people formed companies so that they too could be given money simply for existing. In abolishing this loophole, the Treasurer told us that poor people were only here as a cautionary tale and if they got money for simply existing, then it would encourage more of them to exist. Henceforth, only companies that made a profit would be given money from the government and any shelf companies which existed purely as a scam would be outlawed unless they could show that they were part of a multinational company tax minimisation strategy or had a history of political donations to approved parties.

Ok, it may all sound far-fetched, but go back just three years and tell me if you’d have believed me if I”d written Donald Trump will be President, Prince Harry will marry someone in “Suits”, Tim Paine will be Australian cricket captain and the Budget will be in surplus by next year…

Actually, that last one still sounds a little dodgy, but Scott Morrison said it so he’d hardly risk looking ridiculous by getting it wrong. Although I guess, he might still think that he could use the old “We don’t comment on operational matters’ that worked so well when he was Minister for Sinking The Boats.

 

 

 

The Best Form Of Welfare…

You’ve got to hand it to the current government…

Well, you do! There’s no way they could pick it up themselves.

Anyway, I’ve noticed a certain phrase cropping up lately whenenver the Coalition is confronted with the idea that Newstart is so low that even economists think it should be raised. FFS, even John Howard thinks it’s not enough.

However, the current Turnbullies…

(You like that? I figure that if they think that “Unbelieva-Bill” is clever, why not hit them where they live and make them all go: “Oh no, someone’s come up with a name for us, we’re going to lose the next Newspoll now!”)

Moving on…

The current, Turnbullies simply reply, “Well, yes, it isn’t much but then it’s only meant to be a temporary safety net and THE BEST FORM OF WELFARE IS A JOB!”

Fuckin’ brilliant, I say. Needs to be rolled out faster than the cashless welfare card.

I mean, let’s look at how it can be used in other areas.

“Yes, hospitals are underfunded, but people aren’t meant to be in them for long and we think the best form of healthcare is not to get sick.”

How awesome is that? That’s a big tick for Health at election time. So where else might they have problems?  Mm…

“Yes, some schools get no federal government funding but only poor people go to them, and we think the best way to get educated is to have enough money to go to an expensive school.” 

Or what about asylum seekers?

“Yes, some people are drowning on their way to Australia but we think that they shouldn’t be in the water for long and besides the best way to protect themselves is to stay well clear of Australia.”

Oh wait, they’ve already used that one.

Ok, then how about:

“Yes, climate change may lead to the destruction of the planet but people aren’t meant to live forever and anyway we believe the best way to live is to make as much money as we can as quickly as we can and who cares about tomorrow…”

But I guest there’s an inherent danger. I mean what if the general public caught on and started saying things like:

“We know that it’d be hard on those losing their seats if we abolished Parliamentary Pensions, but we think that the best form of Parliamentary Pension is to actually serve the people so that you don’t get kicked out in the first place!” 

Mm, I guess that’s the danger of extending it beyond those who have the misfortune to be unemployed. Once you start doing that, the next thing you know we’ll have the equivalent of the cashless welfare card for politicians’ expenses… Just to make sure that they don’t waste it on alcohol or other vices.

Coalition Response To Shorten’s Budget Reply Speech OR We’re In Charge Because We’re More Mature Than YOU!

Shorten – My fellow Australians, as I listened to the Government’s fifth budget on Tuesday night, I knew immediately: We can do better than this. The people of Australia deserve better than this. And a Labor Government will deliver better than this.

Better than ten years of cuts to schools and hospitals – in exchange for $10 a week. $10 a week. That’s all the Liberals think it will take, for you to forgive and forget.

Julia Banks – People can live on $40 a week.

Michaelia Cash – Of course they can.

Malcolm – Yeah, $10 is heaps. 

Shorten – The Liberals desperately want you to believe this budget is fair.

Malcolm Turnbull – It is, it is. Make him stop complaining. He’s lying, he’s lying, he’s lying. Make him stop.

Shorten – I’m here to outline Labor’s plan to bring the Fair Go back into the heart of our nation.
– A plan to properly fund health and education
– A plan to boost your wages
– And a plan for real tax cuts to help you with your family budget.

Scott Morrison – Unbelieva-Bill… Hey everyone, did ya hear what I called him?  Unbelieva-Bill… Hee, hee, let’s all do it.

Malcolm –  Unbelieva-Bill,  Unbelieva-Bill, Unbelieva-Bill.

Mathias Corman – Liar, liar, pants on fire. 

Shorten – It’s a plan we can afford, because we’re not going to spend $80 billion of tax expenditure on big business and the big banks.

Scott – Where’s ya costings? 

Malcolm – Yeah, bet you did them on the back of an envelope. 

Scott – Oooh, that’s a good one. How do you like that, Unbelieva-Bill?

Shorten – And it’s a plan that will work, because Australia thrives when middle class and working class Australians can get ahead.

Scott – We’ve got a plan too. We’ve got a plan for Jobs and Growth. 

Mathias – Yeah, Jobs and Growth. 

Malcolm – How do you like that, Unbelieva-Bill?

Mathias – Let’s make him cry. Let’s call him names until he runs home to his mummy. Hey, weak girlie man. 

Malcolm – Don’t say that one? 

Mathias – Why not? 

Malcolm – Coz that’s what Tony calls me and I don’t want to think about him. Let’s just stick to “Unbelieva-Bill”. Hey,  Unbelieva-Bill, I’m PM and you’re not. Ha ha. And…and I’m prefered PM so there. 

Shorten – Our plan begins with a better and fairer tax system. After years of flat wages, rising power bills and increasing health costs under the Government: it’s a time for a fair-dinkum tax cut for middle class and working class Australians.

Scott – That’s because of Labor. That’s not our fault. It’s not, it’s not. We’re the adults. You ran up debt and we’ve had to try and fix it and we will because we’re awesome and even if the debt is twice is big now that’s not our fault, that’s your fault. It is, it is, it is. And we’re going to fix it next year and then everyone will know how great we are and we are because Uncle Rupert says so and he should know because he’s got lots and lots of money and that’s why we don’t ask him to pay any tax because he’s really good and he gives people jobs. 

Malcolm – Let’s all shout Unbelieva-Bill again when Chrissy Pyne gets here.

Scott – Where is Chrissy?

Mathias – I think he and Michaelia are playing hide and seek and they’re both still hiding because they don’t realise that nobody’s looking for them. 

Malcolm – Oh, it’s not as much fun calling Bill names without Chrissy. Remember when he called him a grub…

Mathias – No, he actually called him a c…

Malcolm – It was “grub”. He said it was “grub” and it only sounded like that naughty word because the microphone was a bit faulty. 

Scott – Unbelieva-Bill.

Malcolm – It’s true. It’s really and truly what he said.

Scott – No, not you. I was just calling out at Bill because I wasn’t sure he heard me while he was speaking.

Mathias – Oh no, he’s finished and all these people in the gallery are cheering. 

Malcolm – That’s not fair. Can we get Peter to take them in for re-education? 

Scott – We could call it Gonski 3.0 and then people would be pleased that we were spending money on education. Hee, hee.

Malcolm – You’re so funny, Scottie. Let’s go outside and shout out “Unbelieva-Bill” until our friends on the Business Council join in.

EXEUNT…

 

Malcolm Turnbull Longest Serving PM, Kim Jong-un’s Australian Schooling And 1924!

From time to time, I do the quiz in “The Age” on my iPad. Every now and then, it surprises me. For example, it gave the answer to the question, “In what year did Malcolm Turnbull become Prime Minister?” as “1975”. (No, it didn’t say Malcolm Fraser! I checked it twice.)  A few days later, I discovered that Kim Jong-un’s Western Education took place in a country called “Woolloomooloo”. That day, I was also stunned to discover – a few questions later – that Switzerland was a suburb in Sydney.

Ok, we all make mistakes. After all how many of us thought that Malcolm Turnbull had moral fibre…

Oh. I see. Yes, you’re right. We only had to remember the whole Godwin Grech fiasco… Or indeed, the fact that he was happy to stand there while Tony Abbott insisted that as the person who practically invented the Internet in Australia, he was clearly the best qualified Coalition MP to take on the job of wrecking the NBN…

Actually the idea of “inventing” something, but only in your own country I found an interesting concept. Usually that’s simply called “stealing”. You know, here’s the man who “invented” Rolex watches in China. But let’s not talk about Rolex watches because that might remind everyone of the time those Liberals accepted a gift of a fake Rolex watch which turned out to be genuine.

Before I get distracted on a trip down the best SNAFU moments of those boys in Canberra we laughingly refer to as the government, I’d better get back to the topic. (Yes, yes I know there’s a couple of girls but generally they’re only trotted out for ceremonial occasions like the Melbourne Cup or raids on union offices) Staying on topic is important when you’re writing something; straying off topic is a necessary skill for a politician…

Perhaps I’ve missed my calling anyway:

ACCURACY

Lately, there have been a few moments where the media has been accused of getting it wrong. The Dumpster (aka Donald Trump) tweeted that the media was full of fake news because they were 91% negative about him. I don’t know whether you can accuse the media of being “fuill” of fake news when only 9% got it wrong, but before you accuse me of being one of those latte-sipping, chardonnay-swilling inner city hipsters, I’d just like to say that occasionally people you disagree with,  get it right. A difference of opinion and a difference of accuracy are not the same things.  I’m pretty willing to take on any bets about the quiz being wrong about Kim Jong-un going to Woolloomooloo for his schooling. After all the question asked “What country…” and unless I’ve missed something Woolloomooloo was still part of Australia.

So, I was extremely pleased to read Andrew Bolt’s column about the ABC this week because he accurately told us why the government was cutting its funding. It was because they were running stories that reflect poorly on the government  and, as such, deserved to be punished. Ok, you may have a difference of opinion with both Andrew and me here: You may think that the ABC isn’t running enough stories that point out what an incompetent mob of muddlers they are. But I would argue that whenever the ABC publicises anything that a Coalition MP does or says, then they’re showing the government in a poor light. Similarly, reporting what’s actually happening is to be positively hostile to the Coalition. After all, Andrew’s paper rarely does it.

Of course, this begs the question, if it’s ok for the current government to punish the ABC for not running the party line, does that make it ok for a Labor government to do it in future. Naturally, Mr Bolt would say no. After all, his column frequently suggests that it’s only white men with lots of money who have certain rights, so any time you suggest that they’re wrong is inhibiting their free speech, so if you’re one of those lefty people you should just shut up or be sacked, jailed or run out of the country… (Big “Hi” to you Yassmin!)

Still, Andrew Bolt wasn’t the only conservative saying strange things in the past few days. Rudy Giuiiani’s suggestion that Comey was fired because he wouldn’t tell Trump that he wasn’t the target of an investigation does tend to suggest that the accusations of trying to obstruct justice can’t be too wide of the mark.

And, of course, we have the Federal Budget. And this year it’s that magical, just before an election one where everything that the government has done is working and there’s no problems and everything’s going so smoothly that we can give Big Business billions of dollars. Not only that, but we’ve got $500 in a tax rebate for some of you… After the election, but trust us, we’re the grown-ups.

Oh, things may going well and we’ll be back in surplus next year. but that doesn’t mean that the ABC doesn’t have to tighten its belt… Oh, it doesn’t have a belt any more? Guthrie got rid of it? Anyway, we need a few million from the ABC to pay for your tex cuts in 2024.

2024, you know. The year when we’ll have got our coal-fired power stations actually reducing emissions, and we will have – like King Canute – turned back the rising sea levels. 2024 the year when Adani will announce that they intend to start mining sometime “in the very near future just as soon as funding has been settled”. 2024, the year when we’ll have had five surplus budgets delivered by Scott Morrison and we’ll be having a national holiday to remember Peter “Nobody else will deliver a surplus in my lifetime” Costello. 2024, when Dutton’s super ministry will still be holding all those nasty people protesting about spending more on Captain Cook commemorations than on reducing domestic violence.

And yes, ASIC is have $26 million cut from its funding. What’s ASIC? Don’t worry, it’s just one of the things that should have been looking into the banks, but now we’ve had the Royal Commission, the banks have said sorry and there’s really not as much work for ASIC to do because we’ve fixed it all up.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe “The Age” was right and Malcolm has been PM since 1975. It certainly seems like it’s been far too long.

Julia Creates More Trouble For Banks!

“I could live on 40 bucks a day knowing that the Government is supporting me with Newstart looking for employment.”

Julia Banks on ABC, 02/05/18

Well, it’s certainly good to know that Ms Banks won’t be relying on anything more than the Newstart allowance when she’s out of work after the next election. Or perhaps she meant that she could live on forty bucks a day while the Government supports her to look for a new job in the next few weeks while they parachute Geogina Downer into her seat. (Remember you heard that here first!)

Apparently, Ms Banks thinks that increasing the Newstart allowance is socialism. Ok, while I may not be one of Milton Freidman’s strongest supporters, I’m not exactly someone who’s ever carried around Mao’s little red book. Just calling something “socialism” doesn’t close the argument for me. Sometimes socialism can work. You know, when it involves things like buying the Liddell Power Station even people like Tiny Abbott supports it. (The “Tiny” is a typo, so it’s not about balance and I don’t have to fix it. Besides I don’t work for the ABC so you can’t have a sook and make me apologise.)

Of course, it’s easy to live on forty bucks a day for some people. Take politicians, for example. Instead of wasting money on public transport fares like many of those spendthrifts on Newstart do, they save by taking a Commcar. Or, if you’re Bronwyn Bishop, a helicopter. Doesn’t cost them a cent. Unless you’re party leader says that you have to pay back the cost of the helicopter flight, which I understand takes a large chunk out of your $40 for that day.

Similarly, instead of wasting money by renting a room, then you can just sleep in your office. Or, if you’re leader of a party, who’s been thrown out of home by your wife, you can stay at a townhouse rent free.  More money saved. And, of course, you can always save money on food and drinks by offering to open the odd building or two. There’s usually free nibbles and wine.

So when your average politician says that he or she could live on $40 a day, it’s probably no challenge at all. However, the average person on Newstart doesn’t have access to a chauffeur driven car. Yes, I know that this will be a shock to some of you who vote Liberal, but it’s actually true. Not only that, but they don’t even have an office to sleep in, let alone a friend with a spare townhouse. Of course, there’s no reason why they couldn’t offer to cut the ribbon when the Rossleigh Brisbane Arts Centre is opened. However, I suspect that this building isn’t on the current government’s agenda so this strategy for a free meal won’t be a goer in the foreseeable future.

No, when the average person ends up on Newstart they can’t resort to the same money-saving measures as politicians. Unemployed people would probably find that they can’t actually live on Newstart. So what do the Liberals expect them to do?

Yep, I know. The Liberals expect them to sell their BHP shares or to liquify one of their negatively geared properties. After all, weren’t we being told that most negative gearing was being done by low-income earners?

 

Why The Banking Royal Commission Is An Outrageous Denial Of Human Rights!

Supply-side – This concerns the bits of the economy which produce goods and services. Policies which target the supply-side make it easier to make things and make money, and this very often involves lowering taxes. For this reason, ‘supply-side’ is code for ‘rich people’, thus ‘supply-side economics’ in practice means ‘rich-people economics’, because the policies involved –lowering taxes and cutting regulation –are always popular with the rich. One of the ideas behind supply-side economics is the ‘trickle-down effect’, in which the rich get tax breaks and spend money on services provided by people with less money, who then spend money on services provided by people with even less money, and so on, as the money ‘trickles down’ through the economy and everyone benefits. If that was going to work, you’d have thought that it would have kicked in by now.”

From How To Speak Money by John Lanchester

Now, don’t get the wrong idea here. My interest in human rights is – like many politicians – completely flexible. For example, I can be ultra-concerned about Andrew Bolt being denied the opportunity for to write untrue, racist columns, while telling everyone that it’s all right to hold children on Nauru indefinitely because their parents tried to come to Australia on a leaky boat and the rights of the child are superceded by the need to discourage others from making the journey.

And when it comes to over-payments by Centrelink, I have no interest in that old chestnut, “Innocent until proven guilty”‘ As far as I’m concerned, anybody taking money from the government is committing fraud until they can prove that they’re only receiving back the franking credits that they’d receive if they were actually taxed on the superannuation income they were receiving. To do otherwise would be like denying companies access to the tax cuts, just because they’re not paying any. I’m sure that our government has a plan  to include them when they eventually get the comapny tax cuts through which will be something like the franking credit refund. However, when it comes to the whole robo-debt thing, I don’t care if they were entitled to the money under the rules, the point is that the more money the government claws back, the less they have to tax me. Taxing me, is a denial of my human rights.

Of course, when it comes to unions, I can assert that union officials have no right to enter work-sites to make safety inspections but it’s quite ok for the AFP to make raids on union offices to seize ten year old documents that the union was under no obligation to have held for that long.

But when it comes to Royal Commissions, I’m quite consistent. Royal Commissions should only be used for political reasons, because all Royal Commissions have certain powers that – under normal circumstances – we’d regard as a breach of our rights. So we need to be very careful to ensure that any Royal Commission doesn’t go too far. I mean, remember the one into the Painters and Dockers union? It ended up finding out about the “bottom of the harbour” tax avoidance schemes, which wasn’t its intention at all. And the Fitzgerald Inquiry was never meant to lead to the jailing of Queensland miinsters and the end of Joh, it was meant to simply tell us that while there was some police misbehaviour, what could one expect when they were dealing with criminals all the time, so we’ll tell them not to do it again and everyone can go back to developing the sunny state!

Now the time has come to say that enough is enough when a Royal Commission starts ignoring religous freedoms and not just human rights, because – as I’m sure Phil Ruddock’s report into the protection of religous freedoms will tell us – religions should have a special type of status. You know, one where their rights are free to trample over the rights of godless heathens who’ll spend the rest of eternity in Hell anyway, so why not start now?

Not all religious rights, of course!  Some people have cultural practices which are inconsistent with the approved religions. As a society, we should be free to strip such people of any rights on the grounds that they are either a cult or against Australian values.

But when it comes to the approved religions, there is no way that a Royal Commission should be asking people to choose between the normal behaviour of secular society and their particular faith.

So these bankers and financial planners who have spent their lives worshipping Money, shouldn’t be asked to pretend that they think such behaviour is wrong. Why, one poor man collapsed while being questioned. That’s how much cognitive dissonance we’re causing them.

No, they should be allowed to worship their God, and it’s wrong of us to expect them to do otherwise. We don’t appreciate Money like they do. That’s why it’s wrong of us to keep it when they want it in ways that we pagans can’t understand.

If we don’t shut down this Royal Commission right away, before we know it, there’ll be all sorts of unintended consequences. You know, things like expecting financial planners to put their client’s needs before their own religion.

And we can’t have that!

Bankers, Tankers, Anchors And The Liberal Party…

One of the things that I’ve learned over the years, is that being honest is usually you’re best option. Of course, like most people, I find myself in situations where I’ve… ah, shall we say, bent the truth. This leads me to another bit of sound advice. If you’re lying, you’re better off saying nothing after it’s clear that you’re lying. Or else, do a full mea culpa and admit that either a) you were mistaken, or b) you lied.

In politics, this is usually looked upon as a refreshing change. Unless, of course, you do it on a weekly basis, in which case it’s not a change at all.

So when it comes to the Liberal Party, I acknowledge that we have a different set of values and while I personally understand that there’s some need for a defence force, I believe that the $200 billion we’re spending on planes and submarines over the next ten years might be more productively spent elsewhere. But, like I said, different set of values. There’s a discussion to be had, when two people have differing priorities and sometimes a compromise can be reached.

On the other hand, lying is a completely different matter. It’s one thing to say that: We told you that privatisation would make energy prices cheaper,  that was before we realised that private companies would put profit before everything – but now we’ve realised that, we’ve put a few safeguards in and any day now you’ll get all the benefits of privatisation. Besides you’ve got energy stocks in your super so you’re ridiculously high energy prices are actually helping you save for retirement.

That still fits under the definition of a difference of opinion. However, when the Liberals start to tell us that the Banking Royal Commission which they opposed has nothing to do with the new penalties that Scott just happened to announce at the same time that everyone is going: “Shock, horror. Banks exploiting their customers. Who would have thought such a thing!”

It’s very hard to believe the Liberals when they tell us:  We argued that there was no need for a commission, but we set one up anyway, and now that it’s finding all these examples of wrongdoing, it’s showing that it wasn’t necessary until we decided it was necessary, and, in spite of all that it’s discovering, it’s not having any effect on us, because all the new oversight and any new penalties are just things that we were going to do anyway.

Or to try and put the government’s position as simply as possible;

  1. There was no need for a Royal Commission because while there were some examples of dishonest or corrupt practices, there was plenty of checks and balances to ensure that these were these practices would be detected and dealt with.
  2. There was suddenly a need for a Royal Commission after some Nationals threatened to break ranks. It became even more pressing and one was announced shortly after the banks suggested that it would be ok by them if we had one.
  3. The Royal Commission starts to discover that the culture in some parts of the banks is even worse than its critics suggested, which doesn’t lead to any action from the Liberals because – according to Scott Morrison – all the new penalties were planned and not in response to anything happening at the Commission. Like the announcement of the Commission itself, the timing was just coincidence.
  4. For the Liberals the Royal Commission will be their equivalent of Schrodinger’s Cat – the thought experiment in Quantum Physics, where a cat in a sealed box can be thought of as both alive and dead. The Royal Commission wasn’t necessary when Labor and The Greens called for one, but became necessary once the Liberals decided that it was, meaning that the Commission is now both necessary and unnecessary. It remains necessary because the Liberals set it up, but it remains simultaneously unnecessary not only because Labor suggested it, but also because nothing it discovers will lead to any admission from the government that their actions have been influenced by it.

Like I said, liars need some consistency, or their story falls apart. On a real level, it would have been refreshing to have heard the Turnbull Terriers tell us that Labor and/or The Greens had raised a convincing enough argument for them to change their minds. But no, instead we have ministers once again trying to justify the unjustifiable.

Ah well, at least now I’ll find it easier to explain quantum physics without having animal rights people ask me why the poor cat was sealed in the box.

The Schrodinger Royal Commission! Mm, it has a certain ring to it…

 

African Gangs Makes Melburnians Afraid To Go Out, But AMP And The Banks Make People Unsafe In Their Houses

Now, I know that I’m meant to write satire but sometimes I just have to use my language skills to point out what is probably bleedin’ obvious.

Compare the way the conservatives among us thunder on about burglaries and carjackings to the way they respond to people who are prepared to steal your life-savings…

No, I don’t mean the Labor Party. Honestly, the whole kerfuffle about the idea that money going to retirees from dividends should be taxed at least once was a great example of how the Liberals – with the help of Murdoch – can spin things that make Chicken Little’s “the sky is falling” look like a case of understatement.

But anyway, Victoria was being hit with a crime wave because of Dan Andrews being too soft on crime and that was making people too scared to go out at night. Well, that’s what we were being told. Although this did seem to stop once polling showed that, while people were becoming more concerned about gangs, they also felt that Labor would be better at dealing with it. We didn’t seem to hear much about African gangs after that.

However, I think that conservative calls for tougher sentences make an interesting comparison when placed along side Scott Morrison’s comments on the Royal Commission into Things We Tried To Avoid Looking Into Because These Men Aren’t Linked To Labor. Our Treasurer really got stuck into AMP, telling us:

“This type of behaviour can attract penalties which include jail time. That’s how serious these things are.”

Ok, it seems fair enough if you don’t actually compare it to say, a car theft. I can’t imagine any Liberal politician telling us that maybe, just maybe, a car theft could attract a penalty. You know, it might. And that penalty could include jail time. So, shucks, guys, you really shouldn’t be doing that sort of thing. I mean it’s that serious. So please don’t do it again, hey? Of course, it’s not like AMP and some of the banks were actually taking your car for a joy ride. Nah, they were just giving some people advice that led to them losing their home.

So it’s a bit rich when people complain that they were charged for financial advice they never received. I mean, given the quality of the financial advice and the fact that the Liberals opposed legislation to ensure that a financial advisor was acting in his or her client’s best interests, people who didn’t receive any advice at all should have been more than happy to pay for the privilege. Nay, they should have been grateful. Instead, they’re complaining.

The Liberals were right. There’s no need for a banking Royal Commission. It’s just fostering ill will and leading to a lot of complaints from people. Ok, not perhaps, the dead clients that the Commonwealth Bank continued to charge for advice even though they knew that they’d died. Let’s be real here, people. Dead people aren’t in the best position to make their own decisions so they probably needed the advice more than anyone. I have it from a source that in many cases the advice was: “You should stop paying me now that you’re dead.” Not one of these dead clients are complaining that the advice was wrong, even if it wasn’t heeded.

Yep…

I had another paragraph, but some days when I consider that, not only is Scott Morrison our Treasurer but he doesn’t seem as disconnected from reality as the rest of the government,  words just fail me.

 

Ho, Ho, Ho, Scott Is Santa, While A Shorten Government Will Fail To Balance The Budget!

There’s an old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me! Fool me over and over again, you must be the Murdoch Press telling me that the Liberal Party are great economic managers…”

Yep, I did think that most ridiculous thing I heard was Sean Hannity’s denial that he was a “client” of Michael Cohen. Hannity – the Faux News’ personality in charge of justifying whatever Donald does – denied that Trump’s lawyer had ever been hired by him. Hannity has just – from time to time – had the odd chat about legal matters…

There’s a whole series of questions there, but I’ve been distracted by the photo of Scott Morrison in a Satan suit. Sorry, Santa suit. I always get those two confused. That’s Santa and Santa, by the way, not Scott and Satan. Scott, Santa and Satan One is a mythical creation designed to scare people into being good, one just enjoyed punishing people, and one used to be  charge of Hell. However, he’s passed that job onto Peter Dutton, so Scott’s the one without a clear role, hence the Santa suit…

Anyway, I’m not suggesting that Scottie Morrison actually dressed up in a Santa suit. This is just a little something that the Murdoch media are allowed to do. Dress Scott up in a Santa suit, place Labor politicians in Nazi uniforms, put Chris Kenny in a compromising position with a dog…

Oh wait, that last one was done by the ABC’s Chaser crew and was just totally wrong, because they were doing satire and not serious news. Apparently you’re only allowed to photoshop things that haven’t happened if you’re doing actual news…

So let’s be clear, we can’t elect Shorten because that’ll stuff up the whole economy because it’s only by giving tax cuts to rich people that anything good happens. However, giving tax cuts to anyone earning less than $60,000 is just a waste of money because they’ll probably just spend on things like food and shelter. Then, before you know it, the Budget will be in worse shape because Labor need to run surpluses, but the Liberals just need to be reducing the size of the deficit at some future date after the next unicorn sighting, or when Gerard Henderson admits he was wrong about something.

But apparently, now that the Budget is only a few billion in deficit, everything is just hunky dory and Scott can afford to make it Christmas in May.

Although, didn’t Bananaby tell us that Malcolm needed to fix his poll numbers by Christmas or he should step down? Christmas in May?

Could this be Santa Morrison’s way of bringing forward a challenge?

Well, if there’s one thing I can’t predict, it’s the future. However, in spite of that,  I’ll bet that when uses the Budget reply speech to tell us that we’d be better to put the company tax cuts towards a cut in personal tax for people on incomes less than $100,000, we’ll be told that this will send the Budget into freefall even if it costs less than the $65 billion for the company tax cuts.

 

Rudd Had The Australia 2020 Summit; Abbott/Turnbull have Australia 3030

So, Turnbull survived his thirtieth Newspoll. Now he’s after Julia Gillard’s record and the media can start a whole new countdown. Yes, when Rudd called his Australia 2020 summit it seemed a long way off. However, when Turnbull made his comment about Abbott losing 30 Newspolls in a row, I’ll bet he never thought he’d see 30/30.

To be fair, the Coalition haven’t lost sixty in a row; there were a few in Turnbull’s first year where people still thought he’d actually do something. “He’s waiting until after he wins the election,” people rationalised. Later it changed to, he’s waitng until Tony Abbott leaves Parliament or he’s waiting till Hell freezes over, before those who thought he’d be a breath of fresh air had to concede that even if he had complete authority all he’d do is erect statues of himself and insist that all art galleries have a section devoted to his best selfies.

When asked about the thirty opinion polls, a senior Liberal told me, “We have no plans to do anything at this stage!”

“You mean about Turnbull?” I asked.

“Yeah, that too,” he replied. “But, you know, we don’t believe in doing anything about anything else either, because we’re a small government government.”

“A small government government?”

“Yes, we believe the less we involve ourselves in the economy the better. That way the invisible hand of the market can work its magic…”

“But what about the suggestions to lend Adani money or the idea about building a coal-fired power station.”

“Ah, well, of course, sometimes we just have to intervene because the market is composed of people and occasionally some of those people are left-wing greenie bastards who distort the market so we need to help out the…”

“Hang on. Do you believe in small government or not? I mean you can’t have it both ways.”

“Now that’s a very limited view of the world. It’s really quite simple. When Labor are in power, we don’t think that they should do anything, but when we’re in power we need to do things to dismantle everything that Labor put in place.”

“Even the good things?”

“Nothing Labor does is good! All they do is introduce things it takes us years to get rid of!”

“What about Medicare, superannuation, no fault divorce, anti-discrimination laws. the NBN?”

“Exactly!”

“But they steered us through the GFC without going into recession.”

“At the cost of enormous debt. It’ll be years before we even think of paying it back, if ever.”

“Hang on, haven’t you doubled Labor’s debt?”

“Yes, that’s right. We’ve doubled Labor’s debt, but we’ve got our own Budget back under control…”

“No, it’s not.”

“It’s a slow process. Besides, we added a record number of jobs last year. Labor didn’t do that when they were in office.”

“They were battling the GFC!”

“I think the GFC is over-rated. It never had any real effect in Australia – we never even went into recession.”

“If you’re so good at adding jobs, why hasn’t the unemploymnet rate gone down?”

“That’s because of all the lazy bastards who appear on the front page of the paper refusing to do any work!”

“You mean politicians?

“No dole bludgers. It’s really terrible the way some people expect others to support them.”

“Well, you’ve been in power four years now, Shouldn’t you have fixed that by now?”

“Why would we want to fix that? If it weren’t for people like that, someone might notice that there are actually more unemployed than there are jobs.”

“Anyway, what I really wanted to ask you was about the Newspoll and…”

“Yes, Turnbull is still well ahead of Bill Shorten and he’s beaten him in every poll since he became leader.”

“That’s got nothing to do with anything.”

“People don’t want Electricity Bill.”

“I think the preferred PM thing is irrelevant. I mean, how often has the Opposition Leader been preferred PM? Gillard was beating Abbott 46 to 32 in September 2012 but that didn’t stop Labor dumping her. And Howard was 43 to Beasley’s 34, yet Beasley nearly won that election. Look at history! There’s only been a handful of times when an Opposition leader was even close. It means nothing.”

“I think you’ll find that when the election is called that Shorten will prove a liability.”

“To Labor or to your mob? Anyway, can you guarantee that Turnbull will be leader at the next election?”

“He has my full support!”

“Has any leader ever had your partial support?”

“What?”

“You said ‘full support’, has anyone ever had your…”

“Now, if you’re just going to play word games, I might as well be on the ABC.”

Note: It should be clearly stated that the above conversation is a work of fiction. like much of this government’s achievements. I have no contact with anyone from the Liberal or Labor parties and any similarity to anyone living or dead is just a really big coincidence. No, really. And I haven’t been told that the election will be called for August unless the leadership spill leads to a complete meltdown. That’s just another coincidence when it happens. 

 

Pauline – Another Bloody Indigenous Person Making Impossible Demands!

Now I must confess that I didn’t watch the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, but apparently, it’s caused quite a stir because it not only had an Indigenous rap artist, but it also featured didgeridoos. While you personally may not have a problem with either rap or didgeridoos, it’s caused a lot of concern for some people… Ok, mainly Alan Jones and Pauline Hanson, but I’m sure that their opinion matters more than anyone else’s. As Pauline told us:

“I’ve got nothing against the Aboriginals but I’m sick and tired of being made to feel as if I’m a second-class citizen in my own country… I am Indigenous as far as I’m concerned. I was born here – this is my country as much as anyone else.”  

So don’t accuse Pauline of being racist. She doesn’t hate Aborigines – or ‘Aboriginals” as she puts it. She just doesn’t think that they should be given so much attention and that people like her are just as indigenous as they are, because well, as far as Pauline is concerned, she’s Indigenous and when it comes down to it, as far as Pauline is concerned, what she thinks is all that should concern anybody. No, it’s not racism from her. As she said, “Our country is not based on the Aboriginals. Our country is what it is because of the migrants that have become here.” It’s unclear, however, whether she was advocating for a group of dancing One Nation members dressed in burqas to be part of the Games ceremony, or whether she’d have been content to merely have a parade of trained kangaroos pulling a sleigh of bronzed lifesavers around the stadium.

Whatever, Pauline is “…sick and tired of people having a go at me because it’s racism. Don’t call me a racist when people don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.”

While I’m not sure whether she included herself in the “people who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about”, but I was rather intrigued by the possibilities of her recent threat to Labor about putting The Greens last or they’d “place the Greens and Labor last at the next election”.

If Pauline was here, I’d have a few questions to ask her, but as she’s not, I’ll just have to make them rhetorical:

  1. If Labor refuse to do her bidding, will PHON actually put Labor last on their how-to-vote cards?
  2. If PHON does that, doesn’t that mean that they themselves aren’t doing what they demanded Labor do? 
  3. If they don’t put Labor last and preference them ahead of The Greens, doesn’t that mean that Pauline’s threat was an empty one and that we can’t rely on her word?
  4. Has she not noticed that Labor don’t actually listen to her, unlike the Liberals who – after throwing her out of the party in 1996 for announcing their agenda of cutting funding to Indigenous services and demonising immigrants before the election – have attempted to tell us that we need to listen to her because she speaks for a significant minority? (This would be ok, were it not for the fact that they then argue that we don’t need to listen to anyone on the leftish side of politics because they failed to win a majority!)
  5. Did she ask Tony Abbott to launch her book because he was the main instigator of her time in jail, which gave her the chance to compare her eleven weeks jail time with the almost thirty years that Nelson Mandela spent incarcerated?
  6. Why was her book, subtitled “In Her Own Words” when it was written by a ghostwriter whose name was on the cover?
  7. Would she rejoin the Liberal Party if they offered her Malcolm Turnbull’s job, or would she want to actually be their leader?
  8. Does she ever miss her days in the fish and chip shop when the only thing she could stuff up was the orders?
  9. Can she sum up what she’s learned in twenty-five words, or is that too many?

Ah well, let’s ignore Pauline. I mean, that’s what most of us have tried to do for the past twenty-two years, but she doesn’t seem to go away. There are more important things happening.

Like Newspoll. Tomorrow apparently is the thirtieth Newspoll loss for Turnbull.

Interestingly, the media don’t seem to be working on the theory that it might be a win. After all, polls do have three percent margin of error which means – as I frequently point out – they could be three percent up or down and the pollsters would still consider that was accurate. This, of course, means that no single poll is actually worth analysing, but that would take all the fun out of explaining why the Coalition have improved by one percent when the figure is so small as to indicate nothing.

Tomorrow also sees Tony on the Tour de Bike, so that’ll make it hard for him to launch a challenge. Although maybe he’ll think that he looks good in lycra and that announcing it while wearing a bike helmet will add a couple of votes.

Mm, tomorrow: Tony calls the challenge after dismounting his bike and standing in front of a coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley, telling us that it’s what John Monash and Menzies would have wanted. Peter Dutton announces that if there’s going to be a spill, he’ll also stand. Julie Bishop says she’s happy to go being Deputy Leader and Foreign Minister no matter who’s leader because she’s grown used to the role and the duty-free shopping. Kevin Andrews puts himself forward as a compromise candidate. Christopher Pyne says that he’d be a much better compromise candidate. A suggestion is made that they just install Shorten as PM and get it over and done with. Scott Morrison speculates about re-arranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic and says that for all we know, it may have helped. Nobody understands what Scott is talking about, but that’s one of his political strengths, so he is persuaded to be the leader. Malcolm is rolled and immediately announces he’s leaving Parliament. Pauline is sounded out about standing in Wentworth as a Liberal. Using his Home Office powers, Dutton has both Morrison and Hanson taken into custody and declares himself leader until the mess can be sorted.

Yep, sounds more plausible than anything that’s happened in the past four years.

 

Turnbull To Call Election Tomorrow!

Like I said a few days ago, if you’re going to make a prediction, make it a really unlikely one. That way, if you happen to be correct, you look like a genius; if you’re wrong it looks like a joke.

Why do I say that Turnbull will call an election?

Well, quite simply, he probably fancies his chances of winning an election more than he fancies his chances of surviving Monday’s leadership spill.

And think of it this way, if he wins, he’s asserted his right to lead the party, and if he loses a general election, he can quickly resign as a backbencher, causing a by-election that nobody will care about. So calling an election is a simple way of either averting personal disaster or revenging himself on the disloyal bastards.

On the other hand, if he loses on Monday, he’s stuck in Parliament until the next election.

Unless, of course, he decides to pull the plug anyway. Or hang around and cross the floor occasionally, just to cause the new leader grief.

Moving on, the question is will Dutton actually be Prime Minister by Monday, or will it be Julie Bishop? Or will it be a surprise out of left field like Scott Morrison? Perhaps, Kevin Andrews will put his hand up, but surely even he couldn’t have that little grasp on reality.

And Tony Abbott? While there’s almost no chance that they’d go back to him, will he return to the ministry?

Interesting times.

The soap opera continues…

By the way, this is what Rupert tweeted in 2015. Bill seems to have stuck around longer than Mr Murdoch thought!

You Really Have To Admire Some Liberals!

Ok, you probably noticed something about the Monash Forum in the media…

But just in case you haven’t, basically, the Monash Forum is a group of backbench Liberals which includes Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Craig Kelly and a number of others who are even more irrelevant than the aforementioned trio. Their aim is to stop the “demonisation” of coal.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Coal has been demonised by a handful of Christians linking it to the fires of Hell and therefore it’s been associated with demons in much the same way that Matthew Guy has been linked to underworld figures just because he has the occasional lobster with a mobster. Totally unfair.

As is the suggestion that many of us heard as kids that Santa would leave lumps of coal in our stocking if we were naughty. How innaccurate! Clearly it’s only the very best children who’d be given lumps of that good-for-humanity coal stuff!

So anyway, this Monash Forum has the intention to remind us all how absolutely necessary coal is for cheap power. It takes his name from John Monash, a man who, while once very useful, is now – like coal – dead.

There have been suggestions that the group has evolved from the so-called “Monkey Pod”. Although the suggestion about evolution has angered some in the group because they don’t support evolution in any shape or form.

George Christensen has encouraged various Nationals to also join the group, prompting one Nationals senator, John Williams, to tell the media that while he’d yet to see the group’s pledge or manifesto, he’d texted back saying that he was keen to join because anything pro-coal was just fine by him. He further added that if AGL didn’t want to sell the Liddell power station, then the Government should compulsorily acquire it and run it. After all, it’s not like that would be socialism or subsiding an inefficient industry.

Anyway, the group is also suggesting that the Government should intervene and build Hazelwood 2.0 because well, it just should, because spending $4,000,000,000 on a new power station is no problem, just so long as it’s a coal-fired one and not one of these new-fangled renewable ones.

Josh Frydenberg told us that the Government and the Monash group wanted the same thing. As far as I can ascertain, nobody in the media asked him if that were the case, why did the group feel the need to form. I mean, it’s not like there’s a sub-group of Liberal backbenchers forming to press the case for company tax cuts.

Whatever, the group is assuring us that coal has a future and that there’ll always be a need for it. While some silly greenies believe that coal and oil will one day run out, it’s clear that the Monash Forum believe that there are sufficient fossils in the Liberal Party itself to provide coal in the future.

Yep, like I said, you just have to admire some of these Liberals. In spite of all the opposition from people who know what they’re talking about, they bravely go on, insisting that coal is the way to go. No, the scientists don’t know what they’re talking about. No, the industry experts are wrong too. And AGL, why on earth would you shut Liddell when just a few hundred million dollars will make it as good as new? Better even. The free market just doesn’t work sometimes because it doesn’t deliver the outcomes we want, and then we need to tweak it so that our biggest donors get the money in their pockets, so that they can continue to be our biggest donors… How many other people could go on in the face of so much opposition and continue to deny reality like that? I’m sure I couldn’t.

And no, this isn’t a threat to Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. Of course not! Didn’t Malcolm once say that he could never lead a party that wasn’t as serious about climate change as he was. While some of you have taken this to mean that all his talk about climate change was just empty, populist rhetoric from a man who makes the characters from film “La La Land” look complex, I would argue that this is a promise he’s certainly kept.

There’s no way anyone could consider that Turnbull has led the party in any sense of the word.

Why Malcolm Turnbull’s Government Will Win The Next Newspoll!

Prediction is easy. It’s one of the easiest things in the world. The difficult bit is getting your predictions right. However, getting your prediction right isn’t always the only thing that matters. As a society, we give too much credit, on the person who fluked the unlikely, and far too little criticism on people who get things consistently wrong.

In the case of the fluke, some people have attempted to claim a lot of credibility from the fact that they predicted a Trump win. In their triumphal gloating, they claim that they were right and everyone else was wrong. However, people who only gave Trump a ten percent chance of winning weren’t necessarily wrong. Think about it this way.: Most of you wouldn’t play Russian roulette even though the odds of the bullet being in the chamber is only 16%; you’re aware that it’s entirely possible that something with a low chance of happening might happen. And you probably wouldn’t play even if you were the chance to win a million dollars with one click of the gun.

Just getting a prediction right doesn’t mean that your reasoning was sound. When Fred consumes twenty stubbies and assures you that he’s right to drive, the fact that he makes it home safely doesn’t mean that he made an intelligent decision even though his prediction was accurate. Similarly, you should ignore the argument that he always intended to knock over the letterbox because it’s ugly and his decision to use his car to do it was a flash of genius that he wouldn’t have had if he’d taken a taxi.

The unlikely event that happens is just that: An exception to expectations.

So, if by some freak of statistics or some fiddling with the figures, and Turnbull does win the next Newspoll, and I look clever, it’s no good asking me for the Tattslotto numbers or stock market tips. I’ve had my fluke for the year. Of course, I deliberately said next because that means that I can point to the headline and say I was right in the unlikely event that he ever actually wins another one.

That would be similar to the way that during the GFC, the media gave a lot of time to pundits who’d been predicting a crash, and asked them what would happen next. Of course, the fact that some of them had been predicting a crash since 1988 didn’t stop the media from saying how prescient they were. Predicting a catastrophe in global markets is a bit like predicting rain in a desert. Sooner or later, it’ll happen, but a lot of people will die of thirst waiting for their containers to be filled.

The great thing about making predictions is that nobody ever seems to remember the ones people get wrong. (I’m talking here about the media, of course, Some of my friends still remember predictions I got wrong from last century!) Some political and economic commentators will be back telling us about the future and nobody will ever have the temerity to remind them that the only thing they got right in the past five years was when they were asked for a tip on Melbourne Cup Day. And even then all they got right was, “Number 5, but I have no idea, so you’d be foolish to back my horse.”

So it’s no surprise that these commentators don’t call out politicians for their lack of prophetic powers. After all, when everyone’s getting it wrong, it’s best just to move forward and hope that nobody has a memory or enough time to go back and point out that the most accurate thing that anybody said was: “Whatever. The sun will still rise tomorrow.”

Ok, we all remember when Malcolm Turnbull told us that Barnaby Joyce shouldn’t stand down as Deputy PM  because the High Court would find in his favour, but we didn’t think of that as an inaccurate prediction. We just presumed that it was Malcolm’s arrogance that he knew the law because he’d studied it.

And Tony Abbott’s wonderful concession speech to Malcolm Turnbull where he predicted that there’d be no sniping or. undermining. That’s pretty hard to forget, but we don’t take that as a failure of prediction; we just take it as another broken Liberal promise.

But we seem to have collective amnesia when we read yet another article about how Adani intends to start it’s mine “next month”, no matter how many times they announce an intention to start soon.

And then there’s, all those golden oldies: Predictions byTony Abbott and Joe Hockey about getting the Budget back into the black in their first term of office, and how once we had a Liberal government then the economy would click back into gear and…

Budget deficit? What Budget deficit? Everything’s just fine. We can give business a tax cut. And this will lead to wage rises. No, really. Nothing surer. Didn’t we say that we’d have jobs and growth? And isn’t growth just as good as it was under Labor? And didn’t we produce a record number of jobs last year? In fact, we produced enough jobs that unemployment didn’t go up. Ok, it didn’t go down but it will when the company tax cuts get passed.

We know this because if there’s one thing you can depend on, it’s a prediction.

 

Scroll Up