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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.

The Best Form Of Healthcare Is A Job!

Ok, nobody has actually said that the best form of healthcare is a job. Nor has anyone said the best form of wealthcare is a job.

However, it’s certainly no sillier than the vacuous: “The best form of welfare is a job”!

Scott Morrison’s reluctance to introduce lockdown measures in response to Covid-19 does seem to underline the priorities of this government. I mean, if you think about this in terms of how they’ve framed climate change action then their slowness is perfectly consistent. “No, we understand the threat perfectly and we’re talking action, but it’s calm, measured action and we won’t be panicked into doing something which will affect our good friends and donors workers in the affected industries.”

Similarly, when it comes the Coronavirus, the Prime Minister knows that some action needs to be taken and, failing that, something needs to be said about the action that his government intends to take. So we have daily announcements about his intentions and how the best medical advice is being followed.

  • “I’m going to the football.”
  • “I’m not going now because of the way it would be misrepresented.”
  • “Nobody should be going to the football because it’s Monday and my advice is to stay home.”
  • “People are defying my advice so I’m telling you I’m going to make the advice compulsory if you don’t start doing the right thing.”
  • “No schools aren’t closing. Kids are perfectly safe and I’m happy to send my kids to school.”
  • “How dare you ask me if I’m actually sending my kids to school. My family is off-limits. Let’s concentrate on what matters; keeping the economy going and making sure that people are all right. To ensure that’s happening we’re announcing a second stimulus package because the first one was so well-received in the media even though nobody’s actually received anything yet. Not only that I’m forming a committee to advice us and we’re putting on experts in the fields of mining and industry to tell us what’s really important during a crisis.”

And so on…

Of course, I’ve resisted the temptation to be pedantic and point out some of Scottie’s inappropriate use of language like when he told us to “reconsider the need for unnecessary travel”. (If you think about that, there is – by definition – no need for unnecessary travel so if one rethinks the need for it one may decide that it is actually necessary!) When he said: “This will be a difficult six months. It could be longer,” I didn’t point out that while the next six months will be difficult a six month period won’t be longer than longer six months no matter how difficult it is I’ve tried to refrain from being un-Australian with regards to hoarding toilet paper, and I have attempted singing that tune from High School Musical “We’re all in this together”. However, it it does get hard when the Prime Minister’s press conferences start to follow that familiar pattern.

  1. We are doing all that we can.
  2. We would do more but it’s not our job.
  3. The states are responsible for almost everything.
  4. We don’t think that (insert latest SNAFU) was badly handled.
  5. SNAFU was badly handled but it was one lone public servant/Labor’s bad planning/Gladys Berejiklian
  6. We’re sending in the army.

As it stands, we’ve been warned by Morrison to be careful what we wish for when it comes to a lockdown because whatever action gets taken, we’ll be stuck with for six months.

It’s a shame that he didn’t give the same warning before the election and tell us that whatever happened we’d be stuck with it for three years.

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Shut Up! The Prime Minister Is Listening To The Medical Experts.

Now, there have been a lot of people on social media taking swipes at Scott Morrison for giving what they consider to be inconsistent advice. Nothing could be further from the truth. He has consistently told people to do as they’re told and not to question anything… particularly if they’re a journalist from the ABC.

The Prime Minister has been taking advice from the medical experts and those people who are questioning him have no business doing so, even if they are a doctor or an immunologist because the advice the PM is taking is the best medical advice. How does he know it’s the best? Well, if it wasn’t the best he wouldn’t be taking it, would he?

It’s only those naughty people who aren’t applying social distancing that have led to this need to introduce harsher restrictions. Them, and the fact that several infected people disembarked from a cruise ship without anybody stopping them. This was a major stuff-up by the NSW government and had nothing to do with the Commonwealth because Peter Dutton is in charge of Border Force and they couldn’t do anything owing to the fact that Dutton has been following the best medical advice and washing his hands. So far, he has washed his hands of any responsibility for anything that’s happening, but he has promised to arrest anybody purchasing more than two rolls of toilet paper which he can do under the special Australian Hoarder Force powers.

However, thanks to the misinformation being put out by the ignorant and mischievous, there is some confusion about exactly what we’re meant to do, so I’ve prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Not only that, I’ve also done something that the government may like to copy and provided a list of Infrequently Given Answers. Actually, any actual answer to the question asked would be a great improvement.

FAQs

 Why is Parliament closing?  

There are two reasons for this. First, it would be unwise to have politicians travel and congregate in large numbers. Second, Parliament is an unwelcome distraction for the PM when facing such a major crisis. 

Why aren’t schools closing?

The best medical advice suggests that children are largely safe from the virus and the one or two percent who have a bad reaction aren’t worth worrying about in the scheme of things.

But can’t younger people catch the virus at school and pass it on, and doesn’t the fact that many of them will be asymptomatic increase the risk that they’ll infect others?

The best medical advice says to keep the schools open and as for any suggestion that they could pass on the virus, shut up and stop being alarmist!

Why are weddings only allowed five people while funerals are allowed ten? 

Simply, you only get buried once but there is no limit to the amount of weddings you may have.

Aren’t there more than five people at the PM’s press conference?

Yes, but we are looking at plans to restrict future pressers to five. This includes the PM, the CMO, the PM’s press secretary, an AFP officer and the journalist chosen after they all submit their questions for pre-approval.

Why are hairdressers allowed to stay open?

This is an essential service because Bronwyn Bishop said she would just die if she couldn’t get her hair set. However, all hairdressers need to apply appropriate social distancing protocols and stay at least 1.5 metres from any customer so there should be no chance of passing on the virus.

Are shopping centres closed?

The simple answer is: Yes. However, they should close if they have a food court, but not if the food court is a takeaway. If that’s the case then the food may be sold, but it may not be eaten at the point of sale. Where the shopping centre has an essential service such as a supermarket, a pharmacy or a brothel, then that shop may remain open, but no more than four people per square metre… or was that four metres per square person. Whichever, no more than 100 people can be inside at any time so unless you count the number of people already there and find that it’s less than that, you may not enter unless it’s an open-air mall, in which case the number is higher but still requires you keep appropriate distances from other shoppers and any children that you may have brought with you.

What should I do if I am returning from overseas?

You must self-isolate straight away without any detours like to the supermarket or the chemist. If you need anything, please just wait until the fourteen-day period is over. You should not see any relatives so don’t get them to pick you up. Take public transport because you shouldn’t be infecting the taxi or Uber driver.

With Parliament out of action until August what about vital pieces of legislation like the Ensuring Integrity Bill, the Religious Discrimination Bill and anything else that needs to be passed?

The best medical advice suggests that we shouldn’t add to people’s stress by talking about a lot of potentially divisive topics at a time like this. If Parliament were to sit there’d be a lot of yelling and people would want to bring up things that could cause PTSD like the Sports Rorts and what’s happened to the Bushfire Emergency Fund?

As children are allowed in groups of twenty or more at school, does that mean that there is no problem with them playing soccer in the park with a small group of friends?

School is an essential part of their lives, whereas going outside and exercising is a luxury that will cause them all to be struck down instantly. Please don’t make us weld your door shut like they did in China.

The PM keeps telling us that he’s happy to send his kids to school but there are reports that they aren’t actually at school…

The Prime Minister’s family is off-limits and can only be mentioned by him when he’s trying to make a political point or justify taking a holiday. For anyone else to mention them is intrusive and a violation of the unwritten code.

Speaking of unwritten, what about that “unwritten contract” with employers to rehire people when this is all over?

The government has an implicit contract which means that by giving employers the money that they will be doing everything they can to help get the government re-elected and this won’t just be in the form of donations but there’ll be a clear expectation that they give people at least one hour’s work a week to help get the unemployment numbers down.

Ok, I think that’s covered most things, but if there’s anything I’ve missed please feel free to drop Scott Morrison a line so he can clarify it in one of his daily press conferences where he tells us what a great job he’s doing and how everything would be bonza if we’d only be fair dinkum and just be Australians and do the right thing and have a go.

 

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There’s A Better Class Of Unemployed And They Couldn’t Possibly Be Expected To Survive On Newstart!

“Bad news, dear. I’ve just been sacked!”

“Never mind, we’ll sit down and work out ways we can tighten our belts so we can get through this.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. There’s no way we could do a budget at the moment. Everything’s too uncertain!”

“But don’t we need to live within our means.”

“No, that was just when I didn’t want you to spend any money.”

Yes, it doesn’t make sense when you use the household analogy that the Liberals are so fond of when talking Federal budgets, but then there’s a lot of things that don’t make sense including the fact that the National Party can continue to find leaders who make us all think of Tim Fischer as an intellectual giant.

Covid-19 has certainly raised a lot of questions, and I don’t just mean about whether there’s a Covid-18 somewhere that nobody told us about. Let’s take the Prime Minister’s comments about people who’ve lost their jobs “through no fault of their own”. Are we meant to infer from this that up until now, if somebody found themselves unemployed, it was their own fault?

It seems that way, because we were also told that we’d have people suddenly having to deal with Centrelink who’d had no experience of being on welfare before. Don’t know how to break it to the Coalition, but every day, somebody has that experience. It’s not like the unemployed are a permanent underclass who are born with an Indue card. In fact, all the reasons for not raising Newstart was that it was only a temporary thing because “the best form of welfare is a job”!

Speaking of inferences, what does one make of the idea that those who lose their jobs because of the Coronavirus are to be given quick access to a temporary wage that will be set at a higher rate than the “undeserving” people who haven’t had their dole raised in real terms since the days where we thought that the election of John Howard was an aberration that would be fixed at the next election? Are we to presume that this is to boost the economy? Or are we to presume that this is an admission that nobody could be expected to survive on Newstart and if too many people are forced onto it, no amount of sporting grants to stop girls having to change behind trees will save the government’s bacon.

Or should that be pork?

No, it seems there’s a better class of unemployed who can’t be expected to make do with the regular dole payments, unlike those people who don’t seem to understand that the best form of welfare is to be compelled to keep looking for a job while half the businesses in Australia are locked down.

At least, Peter Dutton is going to “come after” the hoarders. I’m not sure what law he intends to use but the special powers to deal with terrorists give him a pretty free hand. Mind you, he’ll only be coming after you if you have more than the prescribed number of toilet rolls or cans of baked beans. Unlike hoarding houses, this is not about the politics of envy or class warfare. Nah, keep buying those investment properties there’s no law against that. Or hoarding toilet paper, as far as I’m away, but I’m not Minister for Home Invasions.

While this may seem un-Australian, I can’t help but wonder if the Budget is being delayed for the simple reason that a May budget would have had next to no spending on the bushfires (the Emergency Fund being “notional”) or the response to the Coronavirus and it would have clearly laid out how the surplus that we achieved before we achieved it, was rather like the benefits Morrison got from an empathy consultant – largely imaginary.

Yes, when Scottie was pressed about the surplus a few weeks ago, he responded by asking if any of the journalists predicted the Coronavirus. This deflection was largely successful because none of them actually thought to say they they weren’t the ones making the predictions. If I’d declared that Gold Coast Suns will win the flag this year, I can’t say that nobody predicted the shorter season and if hadn’t been for that, they’d have won their last five games and made the finals, so there was absolutely nothing wrong with my original prophecy.

Delaying the Budget seems strange. After all it’s just a statement of what you expect to happen which always needs to be adjusted when circumstances change. To postpone it to October seems to suggest that Frydenberg is saying that he has no idea what’s happening or what’s likely to happen. While this may be true, there’s always an element of uncertainty about a budget and to throw your hands up and say it’s all too hard at the moment, doesn’t really inspire confidence.

Well, like those “Back In Black” mugs that have been removed from the Liberal merchandising, it’s always dangerous to get ahead of yourself but there’s a difference between laying out a set of expectations and declaring the future certain. If I say that the current government will be the ones who presided over the first recession in Australia this century, I’m running the risk that the run on toilet paper will somehow stop there being two quarters of negative growth, but I think it’s a lot safer than Morrison’s “We delivered a budget surplus next year”.

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Scott Morrison Quiet – Is He Isolated With Covid-19 Or In Hawaii?

Ok, I apologise for the terrible clickbait but, unlike most clickbait it could be true for all I know.

Anyway, apart from spreading rumours, I have a few pertinent points to make about the nonsense coming from the Federal Government and, more importantly, I had this great idea for countering the influence of Murdoch’s Minions and I wanted to share it far and wide.

I’ll start with the idea which is really quite simple. On the weekend, I purchased “The Saturday Paper” and took it to the coffee shop where I read it while waiting for my wife. As I looked at the people reading Rupert’s rag, I could help but wish that the shop stocked something a bit more radical like the one I’d just read. Then it hit me. Why not leave it behind?

Ok, I don’t expect one edition of a mildlly leftie newspaper will lead to a rousing chorus of “Do You Hear The People Sing?” before the quiet Australians try to storm Parliament but it would at least be read by some people who’d normally only read the propaganda from people like Andrew Bolt. If it just changed a handful of votes in the right electorate, it may not lead to a change of government, but at least it might get them remembered in the next sports rort.

Or, if you can’t afford “The Saturday Paper” why not print out one or two articles from “The Australian Independent Media” and if you go down for a coffee, slip them into the paper on the opinion pages. I mean, it couldn’t do any harm and if it just makes one person think, who knows, that might spread like…

Mm, hard to think of the right simile without sounding insensitive. Wildfire, nah. Coronavirus? Definitely not!

Speaking of Coronavirus, I couldn’t help but find Scottie’s rationale for keeping schools open a little weird. According to our fearful leader, it doesn’t matter if it spreads in schools because it doesn’t affect young people as badly. Teachers apparently are disposable, as are any older people that students come into contact with after school.

However, that wasn’t the strange bit. He went on to tell us that if they closed schools down, then parents who were health workers would have to stay home to look after them and we certainly couldn’t spare health workers at the moment. When you say it quickly, this sounds all right, but stop and consider for a moment. If schools are kept open, sooner of later, the children of those valuable health working parents are going to get ill and potentially affect their parents. Then, instead of them merely needing a babysitter so they could go on working, they need another health worker to look after them.

The other thing that puzzles me is the testing. Apparently you can only get tested if you’ve been overseas or you’ve been in contact with a confirmed case. To illustrate what’s wrong with let’s imagine Basil hasn’t been overseas, nor has he been in contact with a confirmed case. Basil, in spite of showing symptoms can’t get tested. Now, if he has somehow picked up the virus from an unknown source, he can continue to infect people, none of whom can get tested because until one of them gets tested, there are no confirmed cases in this spread.

So, maybe Scottie could go on television, and explain away my concerns. Or maybe he really has been struck down and is being kept in quarantine.

Nah, surely we’d be told.

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Giving Peter Dutton Curry!

Twitter showed its nasty side when people heard that poor, old Peter Dutton had been struck done with Covid-19. Of course, I’m sure that many would argue that someone so devoid of empathy can’t expect any when karma strikes. Some were even nasty enough to bring up the repeal of Medevac and suggest that Dutton should have to seek approval from the refugees on Manus or Nauru before getting treatment

Personally, I’d like to think that I’m better than that. Ok, I only said that I like to think that I’m better than that, I didn’t say that I actually was. I did start to say to someone wouldn’t it be terrible if he was so ill that he had to leave Parliament and I managed most of that without smiling broadly. Even if I’m not perfect, I’m not going to gloat or take part in schadenfreude. No, I’m just going to say isn’t it great that Petey is in isolation and getting the treatment he deserves.

Of course, when I say that he’s getting what he deserves, I’m not suggesting that he deserves to be suffering with Coronavirus. No, I’m just simply happy that Mr Dutton will be eating a healthy curry tonight. I’m sure you all remember that our PM suggested that if we knew anyone in isolation then the best thing to do was to take them round a curry, so undoubtedly ScoMo has whipped together one of his curries and rushed it over.

Now I bet some of you are asking the obvious question: Wouldn’t Mr Morrison be risking spreading the virus by visiting someone who has it?

Well, it seems that Morrison doesn’t need to worry because he doesn’t have Covid-19 and there was no danger that he’ll get it. No, he hasn’t been tested. He just knows because, well, he hasn’t been exposed to it because when he met with Mr Dutton earlier in the week, Mr Dutton was just fine and showing no signs of anything. According to the official story, Mr Dutton picked it up the week before but this didn’t mean that he was a danger to anyone in the Cabinet when they met last Tuesday because he didn’t show symptoms until Thursday when medical experts managed to complete a 72-hour test and give him the results before the day was out.

Did I mention that Scottie believes in miracles?

Mr Dutton’s hospitalisation had many calling for the isolation of the entire Cabinet… Actually, many had been calling for the entire government to be put in isolation for several months now, so that may have nothing to do with Dutton’s illness.

Whatever, even though the PM has assured us that the Cabinet don’t need testing and that crowds of over 500 are just fine until Monday, there’s a lot of worried people out there. And one of the things that’s worrying them is the number of people who say that this is no worse than the average flu – which kills millions –  so there’s really nothing to worry about. While it may be true that this is no worse, perhaps that suggests that we should take flu prevention more seriously than not take measures to slow the spread of the pandemic.

To me, it’s akin to suggesting that one can safely swim in crocodile-infested waters because more people die from car accidents.

Anyway, hopefully, Mr Morrison’s curry has given Mr Dutton all the incentive he needs to get well and to get back to his main job of telling us that the trouble with the Labor party is that they bring politics into everything.

Thoughts and prayers, Mr Dutton.

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Scott Morrison And Finding The Right Level Of Panic

“I was lucky enough to get 812 rolls of toilet paper before the panic-buyers grabbed it!”

If Scott Morrison were accused of rearranging the deck chairs on The Titanic I’m sure he’d tell us that he wasn’t going to be rushed into anything and that he and his first mate Just Joshing are currently working on a plan and pretty soon they’ll respond in a calm, measured way and be able to tell us exactly where those deck chairs should go.

It’s part of his schtick: To sell himself as someone who won’t be rushed into anything, as the calm, thoughtful person who considers things and then announces the solution which, almost without exception is to chuck $2 billion at the problem. Drought, “Here’s two billion!” Bushfires: “We’ve established a two billion dollar Bushfire Relief Fund”! Coronavirus: “We’re working with the states and there’s a two billion dollar fund for extra resources to deal with the problem.”

Now you may have heard that some of the people affected by the issue at hand are having trouble accessing the money, Well, it is taxpayers’ money and we need to be very careful to ensure it’s spent wisely so there’ll be none of this elimination of red tape that the government loves to spruik whenever big business is involved. Environmental impacts? Red tape! Safety audits? Red tape! Effects on local community? Red tape!

Of course, it could also be because – until recently – our prudent economic managers were trying their level best to ensure that the coming budget was in surplus. In order to help with this, as much of the spending as possible had to be put off until future budgets in the hope that circumstances had improved. That’s probably why Andrew Colvin suggested at Senate Estimates that the money in the Bushfire Recovery Fund wasn’t in the Budget Papers because it was “notional”.

Ok, just about every economist who doesn’t worship on the altar of Milton Friedman thinks that a surplus when the economy is more anaemic than a haemophiliac at a Vampires’ Ball would be the wrong thing, but Scott Morrison announced that we had a surplus and when you announce something has happened before it actually has, and argue with people who say that it hasn’t happened yet, you look mighty silly when it turns out that they were right.

Calling yourself a good economic manager is fine when times are good or average, but when the iceberg hits, nobody really thanks the captain when he announces how much was saved by not equipping the ship with lifeboats. The quiet Australians may have been able to forgive moving money from the NDIS to prop up the budget, but now that this coronavirus thing has hit, it’s time to panic because it might affect anyone. No, it’s not just Tiny Tim missing out because Bob Cratchet works for Scrooge, it’s anyone and everyone.

Quick everyone, stock up. We could all be isolated at any moment. And there’s no toilet paper left in the supermarkets!! Shit… No, don’t!!

While the GST on toilet paper may be exceeding expectations, the government has decided that they need to announce a stimulus package. Let’s be quite clear here. It’s only these unexpected things like Coronavirus, Drought, Bushfires, etc. It certainly wasn’t the falling revenues, rising unemployment and any of the things that government had control over. Anyone suggesting that the budget was never going to be in surplus was just wrong because we’d already announced that it was in surplus and once we’ve announced something then it’s true and any suggestion that it’s just notional, is quite unpatriotic!

Yes, we can forget the surplus. It was never that important. No, today we’ll have announcements about a big stimulus package, but not like Labor’s because that was a waste of money. They spent money to avoid a recession, but they didn’t need to because we didn’t have one anyway. The Liberals are going to spend money and we’ll still have a recession, so they’ll be able to say that the circumstances they had to deal with were harder. Today we’ll hear that people on welfare are eligible for a bonus payment. Eligible? Does that mean they have to apply and the Sports Minister will decide who gets it? Or is it eligible like volunteer firefighters were eligible for a payment providing they could prove that they were financially impacted by not being at their normal place of work?

Of course, the main focus seems to be on the economic impact of the pandemic. To a certain extent that’s understandable. At this precise moment, the way the world economies are reacting is more likely to affect people than the actual pandemic: Supply shortages, stock markets crashing, people lose wages because their employer shuts down are all having a direct effect on billions of people, while the virus itself has only touched a relative few. However, that could quickly change.

And that’s where it’s so hard to find the correct level of panic. When you hear about the empty supermarket shelves, it’s easy to wonder if one should have watched more of those shows about zombies for educational reasons about preparing oneself by stockpiling and boarding up the house.  But on the other hand, when someone says that it’s nothing to worry about because it’s probably going to kill less people than your average flu, there’s a certain soothing reassurance about that and I’d like to believe them.

And I would. It’s only the fact that Andrew Bolt is one of the people saying it that makes me think I should start shopping and watch an episode of “The Walking Dead”.

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Scott Morrison: The Man With A Plan But Not A Target!

A short fiction to begin:

Fred announces he’s decided to go to Paris next Christmas. Barney is not so sure.

“Paris? How much is that going to cost you?

“I’m not sure yet. I haven’t checked out flights or accommodation but I have decided that Paris is my preferred destination for my holiday.”

“What? You’re insane. That’s no way to organise a holiday.”

“No?”

“No. You just decide where you want to go and then work out the details after that. First you need a plan, and once you’ve worked out a plan, then you ask yourself will there be new technologies like instant transportation or spaceships, and when you’ve worked out your plan to the last detail, that’s when you work out where you’re going.”

“Really. I’ve always decided where I was going and then worked out the best way to get there.”

“No, that’s just irresponsible.”

“But how do I know where I’m going if I haven’t worked that out first?”

“You don’t. That’s why it’s essential to have a plan, because wherever you find yourself you can say that it’s where you planned to be.”

“What if I don’t like where I end up?” And how will I know if my plan’s successful if I don’t know where I’m going?”

“Look, you’re just being irresponsible and stupid. Paris is a long way off and you can’t just decide to go there and work out how you’re going to get there.”

“Well, what’s your plan for next Christmas then.”

“Oh, I’ve going to board an old steamship and shovel in some coal and when we run out of coal that’s where we meant to end up.”

Yeah, I think that about sums up my problem with the Labor Party being constantly asked how much net zero emissions is going to cost, when nobody ever seems to ask the Coalition for any details whenever they announce that they have a plan.

I mean, I’m sure you all remember their plan for jobs and growth. Or rather, I’m sure that you remember them telling you that they had a plan for jobs and growth. They were pretty short on the detail, and I do remember suggesting that it was like a plan for fixing a drought with rain. If you keep asserting that you have a plan, eventually it will rain and you can go: “See, I told you I had things under control!”

Unfortunately for the Liberals, the economy tanked just as they were about to fulfil their plan and the Budget was once again going to return to surplus. For some reason, I think of the apocryphal tale of the man who nearly proved that he could eventually feed his horse on nothing by cutting down a handful of feed a day, because what difference would a handful make; Just when he was about to prove his point, the horse unfortunately died.

Yes, as Scotty said in the election campaign. “We have delivered a surplus. Next year”, showing that his understanding of the past and present tense is even worse than his understanding of the difference between the truth and an outright lie.

Who could have predicted that there’d be some event that would slow down growth in the rest of the world which would, in turn, slow down Australia’s growth and put the precious surplus in jeopardy? For that matter, who could have predicted that the drought would continue? Who could have predicted that we’d have bushfires? Who could have predicted that the people who predicted droughts and bushfires would be worse in the future could possibly be right?

Anyway, it’s good to hear that the government is considering some form of a stimulus package. Nothing too extreme like the Rudd one. Before you go around saying that it worked, you have to remember that it was unnecessary because Australia didn’t go into recession so there was no need for all that stimulus. No, it wasn’t Labor following Ken Henry’s advice. Unlike the coronavirus, the GFC had no effect here. Scott and Just Joshing are looking at giving money to businesses so they can still pay people their wages. Or something like that. They haven’t worked out all the details but they certainly do have a plan even if they haven’t worked out exactly what it is. They always have a plan. And it’s always a good one even if it’s not one that can be explained in any more detail than, “We have planned for this, so don’t you worry about when and where and what we’re going to do, because we’re busy implementing our plan and I reject the premise of you suggesting that this caught us unaware.”

Yes, while it seems that the only way that the Budget surplus can be rescued seems to be shifting another few billion from the NDIS, we’ll still be hoping for trickle-down economics. The basic idea of trickle-down economics is that if you make the people who have plenty of money even richer then they’ll go out and buy a new Maserati and the car salesman will be so grateful that he’ll throw a few coins into the cup of the homeless people he passes. Or at the very least, speak to them and remind them that the best form of welfare is a job. Or if not a job, a subsidy to business so that they can avoid stealing from their employees.

Yes, as someone once said, trickle-down economics just means that those lower down are being pissed on!

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The Left Are All Snowflakes Who Say Nasty Things And Hurt Our Feelings!

Hypothetical interview with our Treasurer:

“So are you going to deliver a budget surplus or not.”

“Well, nobody could have predicted the coronavirus…”

“Yes, but you predicted a budget surplus a year ago when you were facing an election.”

“That’s when we thought that everything was going to run smoothly. How could anyone predict the bushfires and the…”

“But hang on. You made a prediction and the whole thing about making a prediction is that you are telling us what’s going to happen. There’s not really much point to predicting say, the outcome of the Melbourne Cup and then saying that nobody could have predicted that the other horses would run so much faster than yours.”

“Look the fundamentals of the economy have us in a great position.”

“The dollar is as low as it was in the GFC, unemployment has jumped, the stock market is crashing and the budget is likely to be in deficit. Face it, you people aren’t as good at managing money as you pretend to be.”

“What did you say? You people? This is anti-semitism. Quick everyone, decry the rise in antisemitism in Australia and stop these terrible attacks.”

“But I meant the Coalition by ‘you people’. I wasn’t… I didn’t… “

If anyone is offended by that, I’m sorry. I mean, I don’t want to suggest that anti-semitism isn’t a problem. I’m merely suggesting that there’s a problem when one side of politics is adopting the Andrew Bolt method of dealing with the world.

The Andrew Bolt method goes something like this:

Everyone is too sensitive these days, what happened to the larrikin spirit when people could have a bit of a joke and now just because someone is called an hysterical, shrieking feminist or a useless, lazy drug-adled bludger thay get all sensitive. Why can’t the left take a joke, why do they have to get so nasty and call people names? Let’s look at some examples of these low-life scumbags resorting to personal abuse.

So let’s put that in a bit of context:

This week we had the spectacle of Josh Frydenberg mocking Jim Chalmers for his suggestion about adopting a well-being index similar to the one New Zealand is proposing. Frydenberg laughed about ashrams, yoga, meditation and various things, many of which are associated with the Hindu religion. How this was meant to convey a problem with Chalmer’s suggestion is anyone’s guess, but I suppose if you don’t have any legitimate criticism then ridicule is all you’re left with. Next we’ll probably see one of the Coalition mocking anyone supporting solar power as followers of Ra the Egyptian sun god, and laughing about them building pyramids, using hieroglyphics and making the Bangles, “Walk Like An Egyptian” our national anthem.

However, when Kristine Keneally pointed out the disrespect to Hindus and linked it to the proposed religious discrimination bill, Dave Sharma was quick to tell her via Twitter: “Please spare us the contrived indignation @KKeneally Butt of the joke was @JEChalmers, & for good reason.”

Ok, I’m still yet to discover what that reason is, but moving on. Apparently it’s all a bit of fun and the left are too quick to be outraged.

But let’s not go back to earlier in the month when Paul Bongiorno happened to invoke Goebels “big lie” when Mathias Cormann’s talking about the refusal to accept the independent auditor’s report. Suddenly, Cormann’s accent was the issue and because that was the reason he was being called a “Nazi”. Ok, he did vote for “It’s ok to be white” in the Senate, but that was just a mistake. No, this was an outrageous link to make because the poor man happens to be Belgian and from the German-accented side of the country. Paul Bongiorno, according to many Liberals, should be sent to a re-education camp.

Now, you may notice that there’s a consistent pattern in all this. Just like the hypothetical interview at the start. all the discussion moves from the topic under discussion to something else entirely. Yes, the other thing – whether it’s anti-semitism or carelessly calling people Nazis – is important and worth discussion, but not as a distraction. It should be as a subject in its own right.

So instead of talking about the idea of a well-being index and examining the idea that maybe society is about more than money, we’re talking about the whether Treasurer’s was offensive. Similarly, If you read Cormann’s tweet in response to Bongiorno, he’s upset about supposedly being called a Nazi, but he doesn’t seem the slightest bit concerned about being called a liar.

But I guess that’s because he isn’t actually a Nazi.

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Labor Needs To Come Clean On Emissions Target But Liberals Can Go On Being Dirty!

One of the consistent narratives over the past few years has been the Liberals’ demand that Labor tell us what their policies will cost. Sometimes asking about cost is entirely reasonable; other times it’s a little ridiculous.

To use a household budget – one of the Liberals’ favourite analogies – Mr and Mrs Smith are at the hospital waiting for news about their middle child when the doctor comes out to tell them that she needs their permission for an emergency operation. Does anyone think that the Smiths will say, “Hang on a minute, how much will this cost?” before telling the doctor that they’ve already worked out that the budget for his food and school fees threatens their surplus in the coming financial year, and well, this operation will put them into deficit?

Ok, that’s a silly analogy. How could parents be worried about cost when the lives of their child is at stake? No, it’s only when the lives of all children throughout the world are at stake that we want to know what the zero emission policy will cost.

Climate alarmism, eh? Yes, it’s a load of nonsense. A few years ago we were told that we’d have unusually severe weather events and look at what happened. There’s nothing unusual about them at all, we have severe weather events all the time now. There’s nothing unusual about having “once in a hundred years” rainfall several times in the space of a decade.

I guess the main thing that concerns me is that nobody in the media seems to be going: “Ah cost, that’s something we should consider, Mr Morrison what is the cost of your climate change policies?”

Ok, we all know how that would play out: Scottiie rejects the premise of the question. Quite right of him, too. The Liberals have no  policies about from a general idea that they’re against too much climate change and that some action is needed so long as that action doesn’t result in any change to anything whatsoever.

As I’ve previously pointed out the hashtag “Scottyfrommarketing” is appropriate. (Although not as appropriate as #Scottysackedfrommarketing”!) Morrison seems to think that once he’s managed the spin at the press conference then the job’s over. Getting flack about this, then announce that. Getting flack because that didn’t happen, tell everyone you’re disappointed and you’ll look into it. That still not happening, tell everyone you’re very, very angry and you’ve appointed someone to have an inquiry which will report to you personally and you’ll let us know how it showed you weren’t at fault in any way.

And this is how he deals with urgent matters, so 2050 is someone else’s problem. All that matters is making sure that neither Labor nor The Greens sound like they have any decent ideas about anything. If a press conference goes in the wrong direction, you bring it back on track by telling the reporter that you weren’t aware of any report that said anything or that his premise is faulty or that it’s just gossip and people outside the Canberra bubble don’t care about large scale corruption.

Yes, just like in the election campaign where Shorten was asked for specific details about all his policies while Morrison was asked which of his baseball caps was his favourite, there seems no equivalency in the focus of the media’s attention. We need to know the precise cost of a net zero emissions policy by 2050 but rather than being compared with the cost of the Coalition’s emissions reduction policy the nearest we get is, “What’s the cost of doing nothing?”

Which, I’m sure many would argue, IS the Coalition’s policy.

However, it would be nice if that could be made explicit rather than forcing us all to infer it from the fact that we have Coalition spokespeople like Matt Canavan telling us that zero emissions = zero jobs and Prue McSween telling us that 2050 is only twenty years away and how could we swap to renewables in a mere twenty years. (Perhaps somebody should tell Prue that twenty years ago we didn’t have YouTube, Facebook, smartphones and Google was but a glint in the eyes of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, so there can be a lot of change in a short time!).

At least then we can start saying that the choice is between a Labor Party who isn’t doing enough to fight climate change and a Coalition who seem to think that thoughts and prayers are enough for everything.

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Indue, Uhlmann, Andrew Bolt And Holden Cars…

Politics seems to have reached a point where we don’t just have different views depending who we are. We’ve gone beyond Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” where some were  arguing that Trump’s inauguration numbers were greater than what was being reported. At least, Conway was trying to argue a consistent set of incorrect information. She wasn’t trying to argue, as has become what I would suggest is Doubled-down Schrodinger’s Cat Position. Schrodinger’s cat, you may remember, was a physics thought experiment where a cat could be considered both alive and dead until one opened the box. Politician and opinion writers seem to arguing that the cat is both alive and dead AND they’ve opened the box to have a look but we can’t see because it invades the cat’s privacy/the cat is commercial-in-confidence/the cat is wrapped in a Cabinet paper/viewing the cat would sap consumer confidence.

I mean, is it just me but does anyone else find it strange that the Commonwealth can approach the robodebt court case announcing that they don’t have a duty of care while rolling out the Indue card. Of course if you’re a critic of the card, you can argue that it not only humiliates the holder but also makes their lives infinitely more complicated. However, the government’s argument is that they’re doing it to help the poor souls manage because if they don’t have to get approval to spend their money then they might waste it on things like drugs, alcohol, second-hand goods or rent. Yes, the government doesn’t have a duty of care, but it does care enough to check how people spend their money and it’s their duty to ensure it’s spent well.

Just when I thought that was going to win my nomination for Political Schrodinger of the Week, Chris Uhlmann bobs up on Twitter with this: For all of those who are taking up the memorable catch cry of RFS volunteer Paul Parker. Here is a bit more context from an interview he did with 9News AUS. There is only one politician in Australia he doesn’t think should “get f-ed”. Guess who?”

Yes, he wanted us all to know that Paul Parker was Pauline Hanson supporter.

Reading the response to Uhlmann’s tweet, the general reaction of the loose coalition of left and sensible centre who felt that Parker spoke for the nation when he told the PM where to go – which, if you didn’t hear it, wasn’t Hawaii – was, “Oh well, it’s a free country and while we don’t agree with him on PHON, he’s still a brave firefighter and didn’t deserve sacking just because he swore about the PM.”

It seemed to me that nobody much cared. Nobody was nominating the man for canonisation; nobody was asking him to run the country.

This was not the response that Uhlmann was wanting but, as with the wind farms not being the sole cause of the blackouts in South Australia a few years ago, Chris is not the sort of journalist to let the facts get in the way of his story. Suddenly there appeared an opinion piece from Unhlmann: “In despair, I wondered how politics got so bad – then I looked at Twitter” where he laid the blame of all that was ill with the state of politics at the feet of Twitter where Australia “has shattered into gated communities of the mind; a society Balkanised by its bigotries and harnessed by its hatreds.”

One of his main reasons for this conclusion? The way we all turned on Paul Parker after we discovered his political leanings. Which thanks to Uhlmann were broadcast on Twitter by… Oh, Chris Uhlmann.

According to Uhlmann, “When this nugget hit Twitter, it was like watching a train pull into Central Station as most of the mob got off. In the all or nothing era, St Paul can’t be part of what we hope for, he has to be with us on everything. He can’t be blemished by views that trigger delicate sensibilities.”

See, it’s not journalists who are failing to demand standards from politicians by holding them to account and reminding them of their tendency to hold more positions than the Kama Sutra. It’s Twitter!

I had just finished telling a friend that I thought that Uhlmann had managed to outdo Andrew Bolt and was a surefire candidate for lowlife of the week, when I was reminded that one should never underestimate Bolt’s ability to limbo dance under a snake’s belly.

Most of you probably heard about his little chat with Gerard Henderson where he said that the St Kevin’s coach “hit on the boy” and “no sex occurred”. Notwithstanding the fact that “hitting on” people in the workplace is generally not a good idea, there’s a whole offence called grooming which means that people can be charged even if they haven’t actually “hit on” the underage boy or girl.

Andrew wasn’t finished. He followed up by attacking the ABC for their reporting of his remarks. He was outraged that the pubic broadcaster had suggested that he was trivialising the coach’s behaviour and that they had falsely reported that he’d said that “only hit on” when what he’d said was that the coach “hit on the boy and no sex occurred”

Mm, don’t know about you but I infer a suggestion of “only” from that sentence.

Earlier this week I thought Scott Morrison’s anger about GM closing down Holden was sure to be the Political Schrodinger of the week. After all, Joe Hockey practically ran the car industry out of the country and we stopped subsidies in the first year of the Abbott government, but hey, it was the company that let Holden “wither away on their watch”. Yes, that’s right – Scottie didn’t try to blame Labor for that one.

Still, it is strange that Morrison should be angry about a commercial decision. For a start, it’s not like Holdens run on coal and secondly, doesn’t his government believe in letting the market decide. And when the market makes decisions like replacing the Holden Caprice Commcars with BMWs, doesn’t that mean that the company should realise the writing is on the wall and that they owe it to their shareholders not to waste money on something that not even the Federal government will buy?

Yes, it was a very even field, but I think the winner has to be Andrew Bolt.

Altogether now, to the tune of “Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden Cars”:

 

Sports rorts, gun clubs, Morrison and leadership,

Pauline, coal mines, climate change and Energy

Indue, Uhlmann, Andrew Bolt and Holden Cars.

 

Yes, we sound pretty Australian.

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The Consistent Narrative Of Barnaby Joyce And Dorothea Mackellar

Perhaps the speed of the 21st Century really has taken away people’s concentration span, but I keep coming back to the same point. While a clever brain can hold two points of view simultaneously while working out an answer, lesser minds usually seek a logical consistency that means they don’t frequently swing from one thing to the other without some attempt at a fig-leaf of an explanation.

You know the sort of thing:

“Yes, I am on record as saying that I don’t support violence in any situation but that guy I just punched must have really deserved it because I’m such a pacifist.” 

OR

“Yes, the economy does seem to be running into some headwinds, so isn’t it lucky that you have me in charge because Labor have showed they couldn’t manage an economy in recession by doing all they could to avoid one when we had the GFC.”

So, I’m having a lot of trouble putting together the narrative of the Barnaby Joyces of this world.

  1. We’ve always had bushfires so it’s nothing to do with climate change. Dorothea Mackellar wrote about “droughts and flooding rains” in her poem over a hundred years ago, so this nothing new.

  2. No, the bushfires are not worse. They’ve been worse in the past.

  3. These bushfires are particularly bad because in the past we had hazard reduction burns but thanks to lots of red-tape like not burning on days when the fire is likely to get out of control, we have a build-up of fuel and without that, we wouldn’t have a problem.

  4. No, it’s not unprecedented. Didn’t you hear me? We’ve had worse in the past.

  5. Yes, it’s because of the fuel. The past fires were easily brought under control because we didn’t have all those greenie restrictions.

And so on…

While it’s possible to mount a strong argument against each point, it because impossible to defeat the moving target. It’s very reminiscent of against the There is no climate change/Of course the climate is changing because it’s changed in the past so it’s nothing to do with emissions.

When it was just climate change and the bushfires, it would be bad enough but the thinking seems to be seeping into other areas too. How else can the PM stand there and say that he has a report; he can’t show it to you because it’s confidential but he can tell you what’s in it? The absurdity of this is the failure of people to call out its absurdity. I wish some journalist would ask Morrison if he’s breached the official secrets act by revealing the contents of a report which can’t be shared!

In the past few years, I’ve made some very accurate predictions like removal of Abbott for Turnbull, and Scott Morrison impersonating Steve Bradbury to beat Dutton. (At this point, I should point out that Bradbury’s Olympic triumph was not solely luck. He concluded that he wasn’t one the fastest three skaters, so his best chance of a medal was to hang back and hope that some of the faster skaters got knocked over. It was a deliberate strategy which relied on others making a mistake, whereas Morrison… Come to think of it, it was exactly the same strategy!)  Anyway, my capacity for prognostication relies on one simple idea: pick the most absurd course of action and imagine it happening.

Which, of course, brings me to Barnaby Joyce. I could predict that he’ll attempt to sell himself as a man who believes in family values so strongly that he started a second family, but that’s not absurd enough for the man who made the Christmas Eve video where he told us that he wanted less government in his life.

No, my prediction is that Barnaby will make another tilt at the Nationals leadership and unless his colleagues decide that they have to make him happy by giving in, Joyce will take the rebels and form a new party, arguing that they’re getting back to their roots by reclaiming “The Country Party” as their name because they’re going to stick up for the little guy in the bush by backing mining, fracking and less government, unless it’s a subsidy to buy non-existent water or a coal-fondling lobby group. “We are no longer ‘Nats’!” Joyce will tell us, but stop short of giving his rebel colleagues the name that the rest of the Coalition will be calling them.

This strange turn of events will embarrass the government in House of Representatives with several votes being lost when Joyce announces that they’ll be abstaining until the government agrees to put a new coal-fired power station in every city and to legislate to restrict the amount of wind and solar which can be allowed into our nation.

Faced with possible humiliation of the floor of the House, Morrison will decide that this is his chance to get rid of the pesky Nats – and others – once and for all. He’ll call an election, content in his conviction that miracles do happen for him on a regular basis. Not only was he made PM, but he was actually elected by voters. Why not a third sign that he is the chosen one?

Content that the sports rorts and the disinformation about Labor’s policies did him no harm last time, he will begin his campaign by telling people that anyone in a marginal electorate will be given ten thousand dollars so they can start their own sporting club providing that they’re not a member at the time of signing, and attacking Labor for their policy of compulsory vasectomies for any male over the age of eighteen. He’ll try to win the female vote by announcing that Labor intend to charge you extra tax based on the number of children you have, presuming – like Tony Abbott did as Minister for Women – that the only thing a woman cares about is having babies.

The Murdoch press will ignore everything that he puts out and back him on the grounds that, as we’ve fallen into recession and the long-awaited surplus hasn’t eventuated, we need a government prepared to make the tough decisions. Various editors will attack Labor for their plans to actually spend some taxpayer money on the taxpayers when it could be better spent by ensuring that newspapers had enough money to continue operating.

Ok, it might not all turn out like I’m suggesting, but given the last few years, would anyone be surprised?

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AFP Finds No Evidence That Malcolm Roberts Exists

Of course, when I say that the Australian Federal Police found no evidence of the existence of Malcolm Roberts, I have to be fair and point out that they didn’t look for any. As with the Angus Taylor case, they saw no need to waste valuable resources when there was very little likelihood of finding any evidence. And there was obviously almost no chance of finding any evidence because they weren’t going to look.

And, as with the Angus Taylor case, the absence of any evidence – apart from a letter containing incorrect information which he signed – doesn’t prove anything one way or the other, so it’s best to keep an open mind and accept that there is a possibility, however, unlikely, that somebody who could be stupid enough after being wrong in their assertion that they didn’t have dual citizenship because they didn’t believe they had it, could turn around and start asserting that large numbers of scientists were wrong on the basis of their personal belief.

Given the unlikelihood of Roberts’ existence, I can’t see why so many people are still talking about him. Surely it’s time to move on and look at some of the other problems facing Australia:

  • After promising to be a “no excuses” government, the Liberals excused Tony Abbott from PM duties and agreed to let Turnbull be the guy as long as he promised not to actually do or say anything about climate change. Now Mal’s gone and Scottwhogotsackedfrommarketing has said a number of times that climate change is real and we need to do something about it as soon as somebody comes up with something that we can do that doesn’t affect anything that we’ve done in the past, change anyone’s work practices or cost money.
  • Frydenberg is suggesting that the balanced Budget that they achieved last year was all they needed to do because the Surplus was “never an end in itself” and now they’ve balanced the Budget that practically counts as the Surplus they promised, so they don’t need to make excuses and they can help out all those in need because of the drought and the bushfires. (Of course, using the logic that a balanced Budget that is close to a Surplus, one could argue that Collingwood won the 2018 Grand Final because the game was balanced and it was only one kick in the end.) In order to help those in need, we may need to take money from the NDIS and crackdown on welfare recipients who don’t understand that the best form of welfare is a job which everyone can get. Look how easy it is for failed Liberal MPs to get work when they lose!
  • To encourage young people to look for apprenticeships in the trade area, PM Morrison engaged Scott Cam as a jobs ambassador. Now, lots of students are interesting in becoming a tradie so they can be paid hundreds of thousands to do nothing. Unfortunate that the jobs ambassador has the name S.Cam.
  • In a “7-30” interview, minor party deputy leader, David Littleproud, argued that people shouldn’t vote Greens because they were a minor party and had no power. His use of the phrase “We cut the cheques” was unfortunate given the only reason that he became deputy was because of all those large cheques that Bridget McKenzie approved. He went on to complain about the “emotional two-word slogan ‘climate change’!” Slogan? Surely all slogans are three words like “Stop the boats” or “meet and beat”. Still, Littleproud did tell us that he wasn’t academically gifted. I don’t know why he felt the need for the word “academically”!
  • Speaking of stopping the boats, the Liberals have a new plan to eliminate them once and for all. By privatising the visa system, instead of paying people smugglers, potential asylum seekers can just pay the preferred tender for a visa and come by plane. Unfortunately, the Liberals declared a donation of $165,000 from a company run by one of the people attempting to win the billion dollar contract. They quickly scrubbed this and explained that the disclosure was a mistake which makes me unsure as to whether it was the disclosure that was the mistake because they were intending to hide it, or the fact that the money was never intended to go to the Liberal Party and that it was just an administrative error. If it was the latter, it does concern me that this is not the sort of thing we want from someone in charge of our borders. To paraphrase John Howard, “We will decide who issues our visas and how much they can charge us, but they get to decide who gets in and the circumstances under which the money gets transferred to hopefully the right account.”

So, it’s little wonder that AFP can’t waste their valuable resources on Angus Taylor when it was simply a matter of fraud and he said sorry and not much damage was done because the document used had such dodgy information that anyone could pick it as unbelievable… except apparently Angus, but how can you expect from a busy minister to check what they’re putting their name to. The AFP need to concentrate on tipping off the media about raids on union offices and not tipping off the media before the raid their houses.

And, of course, their most pressing investigation.

I suspect that one will take even longer than their investigation into Michaelia Cash’s office.

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Report Tells Us That The Sports Grants Were Not Political So Scott Morrison Is Off The Hook!

Let me see if I can explain this in ways that make the IPA happy.

  • Sometimes governments set up bodies and institutions to ensure that they make decisions based on objective criteria so that they’re not influenced by political whims and they make decisions that are fair to everyone.
  • Sometimes there is even legislation giving these bodies powers so that decisions are separated from the potential short-term considerations of politicians.
  • Such bodies are unelected.
  • It’s a democracy so politicians should have the power to over-ride unelected decision-makers.
  • When the government does just that, it would be wrong to suggest that we’re doing so for political reasons. They are obviously just changing the criteria to something that they – as our elected representatives – are happier with.
  • This new criteria is not politically motivated at all.
  • However, exactly what the criteria is remains a secret because if people start understanding the rules, then they may make applications based on the new criteria and then we’d have to hand out more money and then there’d be problems because we need to be frugal or we won’t have a surplus.
  • No, it’s got nothing to do with marginal seats and Bridget McKenzie’s colour-coded spreadsheet was just to ensure that there were an appropriate number of grants given to all electorates evenly and not just going to Liberal and National seats.
  • All the projects were eligible.
  • If you say that you think they weren’t, you’re some sort of sick pervert who wants to see girls changing in cars and behind the sheds.
  • The Auditor-General said one thing, but Scott Morrison got his mate to do another report which is confidential and says that the other report isn’t very good because the Auditor-General is one of those unelected people who can be over-ruled which is what the new report said, and no, you can’t see it because apart from the bit about it all being Bridget McKenzie’s fault it’s confidential.
  • Just to make it clear, these grants weren’t decided on political grounds. The minister looked at the applications and decided who was eligible based on the size of the font in the application and/or whether they used the word, “please”.

There I think that about sums it all up. Bridget’s gone and tomorrow there will be a new National leader.

Of course, by that, I don’t mean to suggest that Barnaby will topple Michael McWotsisname. Neither am I suggesting that there is a third contender that will do a Scott Morrison and is currently doing a ring around to say that they shouldn’t go back to Barnaby but if they stick with the current guy, they’ll be dead meat, so why not give me a go?

No…

Perish the thought of another leadership change.

No, I just mean that another female leader in the form of the Deputy Leader of the Nationals has bitten the dust. But hey, let’s not mention the female thing here, eh? I’m sure that any male in the same position would have resigned.

And I’d just like to back up Scott Morrison and say that she has shown the highest integrity there. She’s maintained extremely high ministerial standards.

Of course, some of you are probably suggesting that standing down because you haven’t done everything perfectly isn’t really showing high standards and that you’d be better off by not breaching the standards in the first place. However, I do understand what Morrison means: Everyone is breaching the rules, but unlike the rest of his front bench she’d decided to stand down now that she’s been told to, unlike a couple of them who have simply told him to get stuffed.

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Scott Morrison Dazzles At The National Press Club…

As a teacher, I’m aware that most kids tell the truth most of the time. It occasionally stuns students when I believe them without demanding proof. “How do you know he’s not lying,” someone will occasionally ask. The answer, even though I never tell them, is quite simple. Liars invariably give themselves away with a little smirk which says more clearly than words, “That stupid teacher bought it when I said that I was late because I was helping Mr Smedley pack up the chairs.”

Of course, if you ask the student to go and get a note from Mr Smedley, he or she will, for the first time ever, need to get on with their work and it’s really, really insulting that you should question their honesty.

I don’t know why this occurs to me as I write about Mr Morrison’s dazzling performance at the National Press Club. And, yes, I was smirking as I wrote that.

While much has been written about the PM’s inability to find more than two modes of expression – Shouty McShoutface and the Jerk with the Smirk – I haven’t seen anybody suggest that his behaviour is exactly like that of an adolescent. Smug, when they think they’ve got away with something, and angry when they haven’t. For those of you who’ve never dealt with a teenager, you may be surprised to find that one of their favourite tactics when they’re caught doing something wrong is outrage: “You only caught me because you hate me and you didn’t catch George yesterday, so everything is really your fault and you should apologise!!!”

From yesterday’s performance, which Peta Credlin gave “full marks, we learnt a number of things:

  • The Federal Government doesn’t have the power to do things unless the states ask for help because – apparently – they can’t declare a national emergency unless asked to by the states.
  • Some of the states didn’t ask for help, so why not go to Hawaii?
  • Climate change is real so we should just buy more sunscreen and prepare for hotter times.
  • We need to cut down lots and lots of trees because they’ll just burn so maybe the Commonwealth should have more power to make this happen.
  • We need more gas so maybe the Commonwealth should have more power
  • This government is taking the Auditor-General’s report very seriously, but no rules were broken and guidelines aren’t rules.
  • While the Minister should have the final power to make decisions, it was different when Ros Kelly and any Labor Minister made a decision because they need to follow all guidelines.
  • Even though Senator McKenzie was responsible for the grants, Mr Morrison was able to reject categorically that the colour-coding was about targeting marginally electorates, because he told us: “That’s not why I did it!” which suggests that he was involved in the decision-making process.
  • All of the grants were about female change rooms because Mr Morrison doesn’t want girls changing in the car or behind the sheds.
  • He was late because he was helping Mr Smedley pack up the chairs.

Of course, you’ve probably noticed a recent tactic by our Prime Minister of telling the journalist, “I reject the premise of your question.” Like so many other things with this government, this seems to be acceptable without any sort of scrutiny. While Labor keeps getting asked how much their emissions reduction targets will cost, nobody ever asks the PM how much will it cost to “beat” our targets.

Perhaps, the next interviewer could try something like this:

“Mr Morrison, are you concerned with the lack of urgency with which the Attorney-General is developing his ICAC legislation?”

“Sorry, I reject the premise of your question.”

“Which premise is that?”

“The premise that there’s no urgency. We won’t be rushed into making a poor decision and there’s no need to panic.”

“So you’re saying you’ll take your time and get it right? Well, I reject your definition of urgency.”

“Sorry, but I reject your rejection of our definition of urgency.”

“On what grounds.”

“On the grounds that we are giving this our urgent attention.”

“So what happens with things that aren’t urgent, if the urgent ones miss deadlines.”

“Like I made clear earlier, we won’t be panicked into making poor decisions.”

“Well, I reject the premise of your assumption that you made that clear.”

“Look, the Australian people aren’t interested in a semantic argument. They want us to get this right.”

“I reject your assumption inherent in your premise, because I think that you did promise to have legislation ready by the end of last year and your rejection of my premise suggests that your promise…”

“I am sure that the Australia people are more concerned with things like the strong economy that we’ve created.”

“And which offshore tax haven is that in?”

Speaking of urgency, how long do you think it’ll take for that report on whether Bridget McKenzie breached ministerial standards to reach the PM’s desk? It’s been a week and nothing yet. I mean, it’s not like they need to wait for DNA samples to come back from the lab.

But I guess it’s hard to convince someone to take one for the team when everyone else is playing for themselves.

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Is It Just Me? Amanda Vanstone gets AO in Australia Day Honours!

Ok, I’m sure that there are always people who receive honours and you ask how on earth did they get the nod, whereas others you can look at say, “Even though I personally find them an odious reptile, I can see that they have done some things that a rather warped person would see as truly great.”

For example, while many of you wouldn’t like Campbell Newman, it’s worth noting that his award was for services to the Queensland Parliament and I can certainly see that. Newman was elected in the biggest landslide in Queensland’s history and then governed so badly that he lost the next election, which most people surely see as a great service to the Parliament and the people of Queensland.

But Bettina Arndt? I mean, really?? Clearly she only got the nod because she’s a woman. After all, plenty of men have been going around justifying their own bad behaviour and nobody ever nominates Chooka for explaining why he and his mates have every right to comment on the way women dress and how it’s their own fault if anything happens to them.

As for Amanda, I’ll leave it, “Is it just me?”, the way she did when commenting on Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s grant to complete her book. That way I can’t be accused of all the implicit dog-whistles…

Oh, that’s right. A metaphoric dog-whistle is meant to be something that only racists can hear. Big fail there, Mandy.

Anyway, given the fact that most people won’t be happy with the current Australia Day Honours for all sorts of reasons… The fact that it’s not being called Invasion Day, for one. Or the fact that nobody even thought of nominating you is another. And, of course, the fact that the list contains all sorts of people who have simply done what they were paid to do and, in some cases, they didn’t even do that well…

Given people’s unhappiness, I thought I’d give you my own list.

  1. Bridget McKenzie an OD (Order of Distraction) for her services in deflecting attention away from the Government’s inability to come up with any sort of sensible response to climate change.
  2. Paul Kennedy OND (Order of Non-Distraction) for interviewing a couple of politicians and actually not allowing them to simply regurgitate their talking points.
  3. Michael McWotsisname (Order of Miraculous Achievement) for rising to role of Deputy PM with no discernible talents or abilities. In spite of being born without a personality, he hasn’t let this stop him and he remains an inspiration to all those ordinary people who refuse to accept their lack of a qualification prevents them from having an opinion on such topics as climate change or monetary policy.
  4. Malcolm Turnbull OI (Order of Irrelevance) for coming out and saying the sort of things that make us feel that he would have made a great PM if only he’d made the long trip with Dorothy and discovered that he could actually have courage without waiting for the Wizard to give it to him.
  5. Twiggy Forrest OO (Order of Obfuscation) for announcing that he was giving $70 million to bushfire relief, only to clarify that $50 million was going into his own charity which will conclude that it’s all the fault of letting trees grow and nothing to do with fossil fuels.
  6. Peter Dutton OOC (Order of Outright Contradiction) for doing what some people would consider lying. Apart from the comment about not listening to the “Twitter crazies” (how does he know they’re crazy if he don’t listen to them?), when asked if he’d ever heard of Matt Kean, Dutton told listeners, “Never!” He then added that he doubted that anyone outside a three kilometre radius of inner Sydney had… Perhaps it was just a lucky guess, but most of us wouldn’t be able to pinpoint the location of someone we’d never heard of.
  7. Anyone keeping up with politics and still being optimistic that good sense will one day triumph petty point scoring should be given an OWWD (Order of Wow, Well Done!) Yes, it’s a hard job but if nobody does it, we’ll all just end up in a foetal position on the floor and that won’t help anyone.

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