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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.

How Good Is Ignoring Just About Everything? OR Back To The Basics Again.

Writing about education reminds me of when Trump was elected. When I wrote something critical of The Donald, a number of people attacked me for being supportive of Hillary who – according to them – was responsible for just about every rotten decision that the United States has made over the past few years. I looked back over what I’d written and I couldn’t find anywhere that I’d said anything about Clinton at all. If you look back over my writing, you’ll find a number of times when I’ve been critical of the USA. Of course, those articles suggested that I go live in Russia, if I like it so much, even though I never said anything positive about it.

Just because I’m critical of one thing, doesn’t mean I support its enemies.

So when it comes to education, if you want to have a serious discussion about what’s wrong with it and how it could be improved, I’m more than happy to engage. If you want to tell me that there were halcyon days when everyone could read above the average and all students could do calculus in their heads, then I have to suggest that maybe you need to actually look at the reality and not your vague impression of the way it used to be.

However…

When I read nonsense like today’s Sundary Herald-Sun, I have to wonder exactly how bad the education really was in days gone by, if people can read it without tearing up their newspaper and cancelling their subscriptions.

Now, I could do a long analysis of why it would be wrong to use Australia’s recent “poor” performance in the PISA rankings to assess the whole education system. I could also point out that America also writes similar articles about how their education system is failing. I could also speculate that we have large numbers of International students from China, which seems strange when we’re being asked to believe that their education system is so much superior to ours.

Even pointing out while the headline screamed “Back To Basics” while the PISA doesn’t test basic skills such as spelling and punctuation, but actually tests thinking; the ability to solve problems and think laterally.

All these things would make an interesting discussion and I’m sure that some would be able to happily find reasons why they can be ignored.

What perhaps was the most galling thing in the article was the idea that somehow students can study literacy and numeracy all the time without referring to anything else. It’s as though some people think if we just sat round drilling kids on the meaning of words, then their literacy would improve. I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a place for the explicit teaching of vocabulary; I am suggesting that students need to do a lot of reading as well. It’s not – as Education Minister Dan Tehan suggested – that students shouldn’t do anything else until they’ve mastered literacy and numeracy… as though they shouldn’t learn any history, geography, health, music, drama or art until they’re literate. Let’s not acknowledge that many of these things help consolidate literacy and numeracy skills.

The paper asserted that 15 year-olds in Australia were several years behind the rest of the world in these tests. Actually, they did no such thing. They merely suggested that our rankings had dropped. While that’s not a good thing, I’d suggest that there a large number of fifteen year olds in third world countries that have had very little schooling and I’d be willing to suggest that we weren’t behind a number of these countries.

Whatever your beliefs on the literacy and numeracy levels, we can have a civilised and intelligent discussion on the best way to go forward in order to improve them. Notwithstanding that, I’d suggest that the push has nothing to do with literacy or numeracy. The idea is being pushed that we’re neglecting these things because the curriculum is too crowded with “left wing” concepts such as Australia wasn’t discovered by Captain Cook because there were already people living here, or that burning fossil fuel may be putting the planet at risk.

The editorial went on to say this in so many words: “From the anti-Australia Day forelock-tugging intelligentsia to the pro-injecting room drug apologists and the climate change alarmists, the views and rights of the average Australian are being trampled by the screaming fringe dwelling minority.”

Fringe dwelling? I thought most people accepted the idea of climate change, even if Australia day is still an excuse for bogans to wear the flag as a cape.

Anyway, It’s good to know that Morrison had a big win in the week when he not only managed to ignore the bushfires but he also managed to stop sick people getting treatment without Peter Dutton’s ok. It’s a great policy and there’s even talk of extending it to Medicare so that we can bring the Budget back to surplus by stopping people going to the doctor without the approval of Home Affairs. And in an effort to stop concerns about climate change, the government unveiled its latest weapon: Men with powerful guns that can shoot anyone reporting on any possible link between climate change and the fires.

How good are quiet Australians?

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How Good Are Secret Deals?

Forget Jacqui Lambie, I have a secret deal with the government to make something very important happen so you shouldn’t attack me for the fact that I’m now going to say nice things about them…

Ok, the government won’t admit that they’ve got a deal with me, but thanks to me they’ve put off their religious freedom bill and they leaned on Israel Folau to make him drop his case.

Don’t believe me? Well, the proof is that I’m about to say nice things about the government and Scott Morrison. And there’s further proof of what I’m saying by the government’s refusal to even acknowledge the deal that we have.

So, here goes.

As one commentator said today this is a big win for the Morrison government and I agree.

This is probably their most significant achievement. Yes, they’ve managed to repeal the legislation that they didn’t like and they’ve gone back to the situation as it was way back in 2018. Wow, this is almost as impressive as when they got rid of that silly carbon tax. And their repeal of all that red tape and green tape.

After all, isn’t getting rid of things what we hope all governments do? Isn’t the history of the world a record of the progress of what we’ve eliminated? Don’t we celebrate people like Edison for his non-inventions?

Repeal. Repeal. Repeal. The most repellant government in the history of the world.

 

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Scomonomics: The Economic Genius of Doing Nothing

The trouble with economics is that nobody really understands all of it because like the cosmos it’s too infinite, so we break it down into simpler bits and use analogies to help explain our point. You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” which to me has always beg the question, “Does that also apply to other meals or can one find a free breakfast somewhere?”

Naturally, if I were to ask the question someone would tell me that I haven’t understood the basic point that somebody always pays… It’s a fair point, but again it’s not entirely true but it would take me several dozen analogies and then we’d get bogged down into casuistry and semantics before resorting to the sort of abuse that’s normally reserved for climate scientists in an Andrew Bolt column.

Besides, I’ve just thought of a cracker of an analogy to explain the whole Liberal jobs and growth morphing into Scottie’s “We will not be panicked into doing something about sluggish economic growth.”

Yes, Morrison and his Merry Morons are trying to recast Labor’s response to GFC as an overreaction and a panic because after all, Australia didn’t go into recession, so what was all that stimulus about. This is akin to suggesting that the amputation wasn’t necessary because, after it was performed, the gangrene didn’t spread to any other part of the body, but let’s move on.

Consider the drought which, unlike climate change, is generally conceded as something that’s happening. Nobody suggests that the drought is part of a conspiracy by the Bureau of Meteorology. “Bureau” that’s a foreign word which is sus for a start.

Let’s imagine that the GFC is like an earlier drought and let’s imagine that Australia is like a country town and I don’t just mean that in the sense that they should stop listening to Macca on Sunday mornings and get out more. Let’s call this country town “Rupertville” because things should have names and who better to name it after than the local boy who made good. Or made evil, depending on your point of view.

So 2008, there’s been no rain nor any rain forecast. Other towns are resorting to drink seawater but this has sent some of citizens mad and will result in strange elections results in the coming years like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, but I may be mixing the analogy with the real world and I need to be careful…

Anyway, Mayor Rudd announces that with the likely lack of water, we need to do something to ensure more water. Mayor Rudd ignores all this and announces that the council will be purchasing lots of bottled water and distributing it for free so that, at the very least, nobody will dehydrate. As a further measure, he intends to empty the town’s swimming pool, treat the water and use that to keep some of the crops alive.

Some of his opponents say this is too early and we should wait until people are actually dying of thirst before we give them water, but Rudd and his team persist with their plan and everybody gets through unscathed. (I’m expecting an interruption here from somebody talking about pink batts and people dying but remember this is an analogy and like all Liberal analogies it breaks down pretty quickly when you apply it to the real world.)

So fast forward to the mayoral election of 2013. The local priest is elected on a platform of water for everyone but not government supplied water, water from the sky and rivers like it’s always been. (This is meant to represent jobs and growth and the idea that sooner or later the economy will improve and then the Liberals were going to claim the credit). The local priest and his supporters argue that the free water is in fact one of the things that’s wrong and that they’ll be ensuring that not only will the council stop supplying it, but things will be better if they can just stockpile as much as they can. While their argument about stockpiling water for a rainy day while they’re in the middle of a drought, doesn’t make much sense remember that these people support Friedman’s ideas and that anything remotely Keynesian is sacrilege.

After several years of this policy leading to no improvement in the situation and a couple of leadership changes, the chosen one  arrives and he insists that he has the answer to the water problem. “People, the mess-I-are is here. It is I ScoMo and I have stopped the drowinings. Verily, I tell you that we need to stick to our plan of having the council take more water from you than we give back because it is only through the council having a surpus that we shall solve the water problem. We need to sacrifice water to the great gods of industry where it will trickle down from the sky in the form of rain, but this won’t happen if we go wasting it on people who have no water. We must stick to our plan and not panic like Mayor Rudd did, because sooner or later it will rain and that will be thanks to our thoughts and prayers”

And with that the great ScoMo vanished only to be seen running water to the sports team or manifesting himself in Parliament where he’d hold up a relic from his worship of the coal god or explain the wonderful miracle of Angus Taylor’s changing numbers.

Amen.

 

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Scott Morrison: Ask The Audience? No, He Chose To Phone A Friend.

There’s been a bit of media attention about Scott Morrison phoning the NSW Police Commissioner, Mick Fuller. Let’s escape the Canberra bubble for a moment and concentrate on the facts.

  1. There’s nothing wrong the PM ringing the police commissioner because he needed to know about the investigation into Angus Taylor.
  2. There was nothing inappropriate about the conversation because the Police Commissioner didn’t tell him anything that wasn’t in the press release.
  3. The PM couldn’t have simply read the press release because he’s a busy man and only has time to do things like take selfies and run water to the various sporting teams that need it.
  4. There has been a scurrilous accusation that Morrison was a neighbour of Fuller’s who used to take in his bins. Fuller assured everyone today that he didn’t have a personal relationship with Scott Morrison. From this I infer that, as a neighbour, Morrison was a snooty, unfriendly bastard who never spoke to anyone.
  5. The person who made the accusation about the bins was, in fact, Fuller himself in a 2018 2GB interview… but he wasn’t lying; it was just a joke, which some people took seriously simply because it wasn’t funny.
  6. Many of the Liberals’ election promises can similarly be considered a joke that some people took seriously.

Now that all that’s been cleared up, I’d like to tell you that I have an exclusive. Someone has sent me a transcript of the PM’s call to his non-mate, Mick Fuller. I hesitated before releasing it because of the recent AFP raids on journalists. However, I decided that the public had a right to know, even if the letter is complete fabrication like the one Fuller made to 2GB about Morrison… That’s the one about Scott taking in his bins. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that he’s lying about anything, even though he’s on record as saying something that he acknowledges is totally untrue. Anyway, I’ve hidden naked photos of myself in my underwear drawer, so if the AFP want to raid it, the horror may make them think twice before they do it to anyone else. There’s only so much PTSD a person can take…

Transcript:

“Hello, it’s Scott Morrison.”

“Sorry, who?”

“Scomo. You know, your PM.”

“Oh, that’s right the person who used to not take in my bins and who I don’t have a personal relationship with.”

“Yes, I guess you don’t have my number which is why you didn’t answer any of my three previous calls.”

“That’s right. I thought you were one of those annoying telemarketers.”

“No, no. I’m the Prime Minister… So about this Angus Taylor investigation, what’s going on?”

“Well, I can’t tell you anything about from what’s on public record but there’s no need to stand him down because we’re only investigating because we have a complaint.”

“Was that the one from Mark Dreyfus?”

“Exactly. Anyway we haven’t found any evidence yet and we want to make this investigation quick so there’s no likelihood that we will find any.”

“That’s good to know. So you’d say that Angus is completely in the clear and he doesn’t need to stand down?”

“Well, not until the investigation is completed because if some evidence turns up things would change.”

“That’s not likely to happen because from what I understand all the evidence was destroyed.”

“Ok, no problem then. So, is that all?”

“Yes, thanks.”

“My pleasure… Who did you say you were again?”

“Scott Morrison. We used to live in the same street.”

“I have no memory of that, bringing in your bins or your wife, Jen.”

“Excellent. You’re a wonderful quiet Australian.”

Like I said, I don’t know if this is a verbatim transcript but, hey, isn’t it the business of the media to report all rumours, leaks and unverifiable quotes from people who may or may not be real?

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The Finite Game Of Scomo And Albo… Oh, And Nato. (which is obviously Richard Di Natale!)

There’s a book called « Finite And Infinite Games » which was written some time ago. Over the next few years, it’ll become more famous because Simon Sinek references it for his latest work, « The Infinite Game ».

Simply, finite games are the ones with a clearly defined winner, while infinite games keep going. A game of chess or football is a finite game; getting fit might be considered an infinite game.

When it comes to some activities, you may have some people playing a finite game, while others play the infinite game. You may be trying to raise enough money for a house deposit, while Andrew is trying to become the richest person in Australia. Your game stops once you have a certain amount of money, while Andrew needs to continue going even he does become the richest person because there’s always the risk that someone will become more successful than he is.

So if you consider politics in terms of finite and infinite games, you can see that there are all sorts of finite games that can be played. As an Opposition, Labor might like to play, « Let’s make Angus Taylor resign in disgrace! » Ok, in the current environment that’s not very likely because it doesn’t seem to matter what any minister does, they simply say something like: « It was a member of my staff! » or « I made a mistake and paid the money back! » or « That was against the rules but the rules were changed once we realised that most government MPs had broken them. » After that, there’s a bit of tsk, tsk and then they go on their merry way.

But the big finite game in politics is: « Let’s win the election. »’

Don’t get me wrong. Of course, this is an important game because not only do you get smaller offices, but there’s actually not a lot you can do in Opposition, even if you’re the Labor Party who seem to be getting asked about their policies more often than the actual government… However, it’s a problem when you become so obsessed with the finite game that you forget that some people are actually hoping for an Infinite game from their leaders.

The question for Labor and The Greens is which is more important at this point in history: the finite or the infinite game?

In days gone by, I would have said:

My admiration for The Greens was the fact that they were always playing the infinite game; they were actually trying to create a better future. My admiration for the Labor Party was the fact that they actually got into government and were much better than the Coalition. My admiration for the Liberals was their belief in individual liberty…in theory, at least. My admiration for the National Party was that that they had the sense to realise that they could attach themselves to the rump of the Liberal Party and join in the spoils of government even though only represented a very small percentage of the overall population. (No, I don’t mean country people. They haven’t done that for years; they represent the small percentage that are actually National Party members and you have to admire that in the same way that you admire the way cockroaches will survive nuclear war!) My admiration for One Nation is that Pauline represents the people who can’t string an intelligent sentence together. And she does this admirably by not even… sentence… forget the intelligent bit… we don’t need to… intelligent… I represent the men and people… that’s all right for city… but… look…

Anyway, I think you can see that I’m losing my admiration for just about all political parties and I’m wondering how we get even one of them to focus on the infinite game. How can we get even one to say, “Fuck this opinion poll shit and fuck what the focus groups say, this is what we believe and this is important and if we go down, then so be it…”

But I guess that’s not the way to fight a war. After all, didn’t the ANZACs decide not to charge because they’d lose? Didn’t all the diggers just come back because the Kokoda trail was full of hazards? No, they fought on. (See we can all invoke the silly war shit when it suits us.)

I better stop before I say: Lest we forget and have to leave the country like Yassmin.

On other matters, I have to say that I was gobsmacked by the story about China trying to get someone elected to Chisholm. All I can say is thank God we got Gladys who assured us that she was never a member of all those Communist Party groups and thank God that we have Scott who told the media that they take these allegations seriously, because I find it pretty hard to take anything coming out of Canberra seriously these days!

 

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“How Good Is The Cricket And Firefighters?”

Well, now that Warner has his century and we’ve passed Pakistan with the loss of only one wicket, we can safely say that all those who attacked Scott Morrison for suggesting that the cricket wouldn’t give all those fighting the fires an enormous boost.

See, forget the fires. So what if you lost your home? We’re leading on the first innings and Smith still has to bat…

I should add at this point that the rumours are not true. I did not meet with Scottie and have a private bet that there was nothing I could write that was more ridiculous than the sort of stuff he can get away with. Such rumours are just ridiculous and, frankly, quite insulting. I’m an intelligent man and I know that nothing in my imagination can match the horror that is our PPRM. (Prime Public Relations Minister) 

Anyway, the left should concede that he picked the winner again. Why hang out with losers like Owen, when you can attach yourself to a winning cricket team?

Last week, it’s appropriate to show concern for the victims. The Liberals are more than happy to offer support for victims of tragedy right up until the point of actually doing something. This week we move on and assume that people are suffering compassion fatigue and just want to be told that we’re doing our bit for climate change… Climate change doesn’t have anything to do with bushfires so I don’t know why people keep bringing it up. Just because it’s hotter for longer and we’re in drought, that’s nothing to do with us and it’s all under control because thoughts and prayers were enough.

No, we’re not panicking about the economy either. We’re sticking to our plan which means that we’re intending to deliver our surplus and that’s our plan and we’re sticking to it. And this isn’t the time to panic like Labor did when the GFC hit. Look at the mess that caused. Labor didn’t need to do anything because the GFC didn’t really hit here and we didn’t go into recession and interest rates stayed high but thanks to us, soon the banks will be paying you to take your money somewhere else. In Westpac’s case, they’ll probably pay you not to bank with them because they just can’t afford the fines.

Yes, you can’t vote Labor because they haven’t abandoned plans for their “retirement tax”. There’ll never be a retirement tax under us. As Josh told you earlier in the week, we intend to make you retrain so that you can keep on working and that’ll solve the franking credits problem.

How good is the cricket?

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Children’s Letters To ScoMo

A few weeks ago, Scott Morrison sent a tweet about a letter from a prep student asking if holidays could be abolished. Some people were unkind enough to suggest that the language and the handwriting were too sophisticated for your average prep student. Of course, they were overlooking the fact that school holidays are a state based responsibility, so the kid wasn’t that clever because he was writing to the wrong person. Anyway, I have it on good authority that children’s letters to ScoMo was going to become a regular thing until someone suggested that given his Hillsong association, it might remind the public of things his friend would like to pretend never happened. Unfortunately these tweets never saw the light of day, but I’ve been assured that they are just as genuine as Morrison’s assurance that he was only ambitious for Malcolm Turnbull. 
Scott Morrison @ScottMorrisonMP(MissingPerson)
I love getting letters from kids. They say the greatest things and this letter from Greg,  is a cracker. He wants me to meet with the fire chiefs because he loves Australia so much that he doesn’t want to see it burn…
Well, sorry, Greg but my approval rating has gone up so much since I was filmed huggng that Owen guy that I feel it would make it seem like I was backing down if I were to meet with them after ignoring them for so long.
Scott Morrison @ScottMorrisonMP(MissingPerson)
I just adore letters from kids. They say such funny things. Here’s one from Sally who says that she’s worried there won’t be any jobs for her when she grows up because everything will be automated. Gee, Sally, who’s been filling your head with nonsense. Clearly you’re a girl and you can just get married and look after your husband like my wife does. There’s no need for you to worry about getting work. That’ll be your husband’s problem.
Scott Morrison @ScottMorrisonMP(MissingPerson)
It’s really awesome when kids write to me. Here’s one from Timmy wondering why he has to wait so long for a wheelchair when the NDIS didn’t spend all its money last year. Well, Timmy, that’s because Labor spent all your money and we need to get back into surplus. Besides we needed to take some of the money to give to the farmers who are experiencing what’s called a drought. However, don’t despair because tonight I’ll be praying that you no longer need a wheelchair. You should pray too, because God gives a go to those have a go. 
Scott Morrison @ScottMorrisonMP(MissingPerson)
Here’s a beauty from Georgie asking if the floods in Venice are a result of climate change. This one gave me a real laugh. No, Georgie, just as Australia has always had bushfires, Venice has always had water in its streets. The only difference is that, thanks to the greenies, nobody’s been able to do anything and that’s why we have fires and floods.
Scott Morrison @ScottMorrisonMP(MissingPerson)
Vicky wants to know if we have a plan for the children locked up in detention on Nauru. Well, Vicky, I don’t know who you’ve been talking to but no children are in detention. There were a few but they’ve all been there long enough to reach the age of criminal liabilty so they’re now they can be considered adults and illegal immigrants.
Scott Morrison @ScottMorrisonMP(MissingPerson)
Eddie says that he goes to a private school and they recently went to the local government school which has just received money to start building a new gym after waiting for twenty four years. He said that he doesn’t think that this is fair. Why should they get a new gym when his school doesn’t even have enough money to heat the river where they go rowing every morning. What you need to realise, Eddie, is that even though parents who send their children to public schools obviously don’t care about their exposure to degenerate teachers who’ll teach them strange values, they still vote and get upset if they don’t get some shiny new building at least once in generation.
                        *         *         *
Ok, they may not be 100% genuine, but at least they’re more believable than any of Angus Taylor’s explanations. 

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How Good Is The Quiet Scott Morrison?

Just lately I’ve noticed that we haven’t heard anything from our PM. His twitter account hasn’t been touched for a couple of days and there’s been no pronouncement telling us that we don’t like being told what to think.

My first reaction was to wonder if Peter Dutton had decided to use some of the laws at his disposal to take Scott Morrison into custody. After all, there are various anti-terror laws that enable people considered a risk to be questioned by ASIO for several days and nobody’s allowed to know where they are. Actually that’s not entirely true. They can tell their partner, and they don’t have to be a risk. It’s sufficient that ASIO believe they know something, so I guess that last point lets Scomo off the hook.

No, I decided, Morrison has decided to role model being a “quiet Australian” and to keep politics off the front page by saying nothing. This could be a winning strategy. It used to work for Tony Abbott. Every time he went on holiday or was otherwise incommunicado, his approval ratings went up; every time he spoke, he used to make people angrier than an interview on the ABC where they pretend that somebody who used to write for a Murdoch publication was a “quiet Australian”. I mean, forget Murdoch for a moment: Surely someone who used to be a journalist hardly qualifies as one of the quiet people.

I was rather annoyed at 7:30, but not because they interviewed people who voted Liberal and then seemed to be amazed that Liberal voters still voted for the current mob at the last election. No, I was annoyed because I was intending to do my own interviews with quiet Australians.

Yes, yes, all right. It is rather absurd because the quiet ones aren’t likely to speak, but leaving aside that oxymoron, I had the plan for the interviews in my head and they would have gone something like this:

“Why did you vote for Scott Morrison?”

“Because he got Labor’s debt under control.”

“Actually, the debt has doubled since the Liberals took over.”

“Didn’t the Liberals just announce a surplus in the last Budget?”

“Yes, but it’s only a projected surplus. It hasn’t happened yet and anyway, a surplus doesn’t actually pay off the debt. It’s complicated but because you voted for the Liberals and obviously like simple things, let me explain it this way. You’ve got a mortgage?”

“Yes.”

“Did you spend more than your earned last year?”

“No way.”

“So your mortgage is paid off?”

“Of course not!”

“Well, that’s how the Liberals are presenting it. It’s likes once you get into surplus that’s the same as paying off your mortgage.”

“Look, I really don’t understand all this government debt. What really matters is getting my franking credits when I retire.”

“Do you own shares?”

“No.”

“Then you don’t get any franking credits.”

“I don’t?”

“No, it’s only for people who own shares.”“Well, at least the NEG will get energy prices down.”

“They’ve abandoned that.”

“So, what’s their plan for getting energy prices down?”

“They don’t really have one.”

“So how are they going to get prices down?”

“The same way that they’re going to get wages up.”

“Cool and what’s that?”

“I don’t know, you tell me, you’re the one who voted for them….            you’ve suddenly gone very quiet.”

 

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How Many National Party MPs Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Q: How many National Party MPs does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: How can we be sure that the lightbulb needs changing because lightbulbs have been around for millions of years, and besides now is not the time to talk about this because we have so many people injuring themselves in the dark!

Sorry, that’s not funny but you know what they say: Satire one day; National Party policy the next.

I think that I could almost buy the “We’re in the midst of a disaster and now’s not the time for politics over climate change” line, were it not for the fact that a number of MPs have come out and tried to blame The Greens for the rampant bushfires. Leaving aside the obvious point that they haven’t achieved government in either Queensland or NSW, one has to wonder if the fires burning over hundreds of kilometres could have quickly been brought under control if only we’d done some preventative burning at the beginning of the fire season. You know, in Spring, during October and November. Ok, it is November. So early November before either moustaches or fuel for the fire had reached the sort of bushy growth that threatens us all.

Still there’s nothing unusual about things that a logically inconsistent. And I don’t just mean the constant use of the word “unprecedented”, while people argue that we’ve always had bushfires so anyone suggesting a link to climate change is just a latte-sipping raving lunatic who should be kicked off welfare because we all know that only country people have jobs.

No, I couldn’t help but wonder how “The Age” journalist could write that Victoria was bracing for a “one-in-110 years” heatwave that would be worse than the “one-in- 25 years” ones which we had in 2009 and 2014. By my reckoning, these “one-in-25 years events” seem to be happening more often than that. Yes, yes I know. Some Coalition MP will that we’ve always had “one-in-25 year” heatwaves and when they were younger we used have them pretty much every year. In fact, we’ll be told, the temperature used to regularly hit 100 degrees in summer and that hasn’t happened this century… Don’t bother pointing out that it’s because temperatures no longer use the Fahrenheit scale or you’ll be treated to a discourse on how the Bureau of Meteorology is involved in a conspiracy to confuse us and that they change the way things are measured just to make it look like the polar bears are melting when anyone can see that they are, in fact, as solid as they ever were.

No, don’t mention climate change because people are out fighting fires and there’s no way that politicians could be discussing this while they’re busy with thoughts and prayers, which I notice Josh Frydenberg also tweeted… It must have been in the talking points, because the Liberal guy on QandA used the phrase too. Ok, I know that some of you are about to suggest if they have time for thoughting and praying, don’t they also have time to discuss climate change? Particularly, Joshie, the colour blind Treasurer who didn’t seem to notice that the blue of the banner on election day was the purple of the AEC. Josh, after all, had time for an opinion piece in today’s paper where he talked about the problems facing the economy, which to summarise briefly are that the economy has changed since Federation and we no longer rely on sheep and that it’s likely to change again so we need to worry about debt. There was no mention of climate change as one of the potential problems, because that would be political and we can’t have politics at a time like this.

What city folk don’t understand is that the Coalition government don’t have time for politics right now because they need to stand with the people who are affected by the fires. After all, you don’t often get photo opportunities where the PM can show off the funded empathy training he received. The smirk on his face as he stood behind Gladys was even bigger than the one he had when he rolled Malcolm.

Yep, only a lunatic would be worried about the possible causes of such extreme fires in November when there’s so many photos to be taken.

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Thoughts And Prayers Have Been Sent So Let’s Not Get Political!

You know the way it goes: SIEV X sinks and hundreds of people drown, but we shouldn’t get political about it because it would be wrong to blame John Howard, because making political capital out of personal tragedy is just offensive opportunism. Fast forward a few years and Labor are responsible for all the drownings at sea and there’s no problem.

Or when people die installing the pink batts, it’s brought up at every opportunity by the Liberals because they argue that the scheme should have had better planning and more oversight… This was, of course, at the same time as they were arguing for a reduction in red-tape because such things just slow down projects. We never hear of all the workplace deaths that this may have caused because death shouldn’t be used for political reasons.

And so, we have the current fires raging in NSW and Queensland but, hey, don’t mention climate change because we’ve always had droughts and flooding rains, and it’s not the time. Just like in the United States when there’s another shooting, it’s not the time for a discussion on gun control. It’s a time for thoughts and prayers.

If you don’t believe me, just check out the Prime Minister’s tweet.

So let’s not politicise things. Let’s not talk about how the NSW government cut funding to fire services. Let’s follow the lead of Campbell Newman who contradicted someone by tweeting that there have been worse bushfires in the past and then posted a link to a story from last century about a number of bushfires that covered almost as much territory as the current ones, in much the same way that I’m nearly as tall as the tallest man in the world when you compare us to a wombat. This is not being political this is just being factual with alternative facts.

And certainly, let’s not have a look at this from last week’s “The Guardian”:

Mr Mullins is one of 23 former senior emergency figures trying to get the Australian Government to listen to their concerns about climate change and the missing capacity to fight fires in a new era.

“It’s up to the retired fire chiefs who are unconstrained to tell it like it is and say this is really dangerous,” he said.

However, his written requests for a meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison have failed.

“We were fobbed off to Minister [Angus] Taylor who is not the right minister to speak to,” Mr Mullins said.

“We wanted to speak to the Natural Disasters Minister and the PM. We asked for help with that, we never got a reply.

“You had 23 experts willing to sit down with a PM and come up with solutions, but he’s just fobbed us off.

“What does it take to wake these people up in Canberra? I don’t know.”

No, let’s do what the meme on Facebook says and ask those protestors why they’re not out fighting the fires. After all, isn’t it better to deal with a problem after it’s happened than to suggest remedies to prevent it happening in the first place? Complaining about these protestors is ok, because they’re the ones who are making things political with their constant whining about the government’s lack of meaningful action.

Let’s say that this is not unprecedented and that Australia has always had droughts and flooding rains because the poem tells us so and don’t you love Australia and its wide brown land? And let’s pretend that it’s just bad manners to even say the words “climate change” in the midst of such unprecedented disaster because we should be thinking about the victims and hey, how good is the government response, with the army reserve on standby and the coordination and no, we don’t need help from overseas and that’s not because they have none to spare because their fighting their own fires.

How good are thoughts and prayers?

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“How Good Is Putting Everyone On The Indue Card To Stop Secondary Boycotts?”

One of the things that’s always intrigued me is the way in which things can be framed so that people completely miss what’s going on. I’d like to think that I’m immune but I’m sure I’ve missed the main act while being misled into concentrating on the sideshow. I’d give you an example but – obviously – I can’t think of any personal examples because I failed to notice what was really going on, owing to the clever framing of the topic at hand. Or not at hand, given I was misdirected to something minor.

However, I can’t help but feel that Scottie isn’t as good as he thinks he is. Let’s take the whole protest thing. While it’s true that while we concentrate on the tactics of the protestors, I’m not going down the whole “Hitler liked quiet Germans so much that if they weren’t, they soon were!” path. The Liberal Party is at least two elections away from actually executing those who don’t like their policies… Although I did see a tweet from failed candidate Warren Mundine suggesting that QandA should be dragged over hot coals for their recent program. To be fair, this may not have been because he was advocating violence, but more about finding another use for coal when the rest of the world stops buying the stuff.

It was more the way Morrison described the protestors as “selfish” and “indulgent” which I found interesting in terms of the framing. Let’s just accept for a moment the rather interesting notion that they overstepped the mark when they got in the way of all those police batons and how the poor horse was subject to PTSD after that woman forced it to break her leg and look at our national waterboy’s framing of the situation.

As altruistic miners try to enter a building they’re stopped from their humanitarian aims by these incredibly selfish protestors who are just there for the fun of harassing the saints who, out of the goodness of their hearts, give up their spare time to find ways of giving people jobs. These saints of industry have worked tirelessly to eliminate all canaries from their coal mines and are moving towards a world where mining is fully automated and no humans will be forced to undertake such dangerous work. At such a time, they’ll then share the wealth they’ve created by donating their stuff to the people who can’t afford it at current prices because they’re such great human beings, unlike the bullies who are blocking their way just for the fun of it.

Whichever way you look at it, the protestors believe that they’re trying to save the planet. Even if you think that the planet doesn’t need saving, it’s really hard to argue that they’re the selfish ones. “You bastards, you’re only trying to save the Earth because you live on it! Have some consideration for people like Alan Jones who haven’t been on the planet for years!”

Whatever, it’s easy to see how you can crack down on people blocking pedestrian traffic. There is actually a thing called the riot act and police can read it, demand people disburse and arrest them if they don’t.

The secondary boycott prohibition, however, seemed so impossible to enforce that I just presumed this was another attempt at framing the debate so that we were discussing this instead of the whole climate change issue. It’s been quite easy to shift the focus. After Greta Thunberg addressed the UN, we were suddenly arguing about such things as her age, the nasty personal attacks and then to top it all off, we had the same people who’ve been spouting their own opinions with scant regard for the facts telling us that we should be listening to the scientists… even though that’s exactly what Greta had done.*

But then I started thinking about it…

Now, I know that I’m going to sound crazy. I know that this is going to sound like satire. However, let’s have a good long think about the Indue card. First they come for the unemployed and we don’t mind if we’re not unemployed. Then they come for the aged pensioners, and we don’t mind because we’re not aged pensioners. And then it’s for the childcare rebates and parents with dependants start to mind, but it’s too late because before we can do anything there’s no such thing as cash any more and the government tells us it’s to crack down on the black economy and make everyone pay their share so that we can finally get the Budget surplus that we’d have if it weren’t for all these tradesmen doing cash jobs, then…

You can’t boycott a company because the government says that it’s a good one and you can’t use your money to help that other company because it’s not on the list of approved companies and not just because it didn’t lend money to Adani or donate to the Liberals. There are other reasons but these like Scott Cam’s salary and what he’s actually doing for the money are commercial-in-confidence…

Ok, nonsense. I know…

But it might make a great scare campaign and that seems to be what wins elections these days!

*A few weeks ago, Kevin Donnelly, told us that 47 respected climate experts disagreed with Thunberg and that the world had managed with higher levels of CO2 about 500,000,000 years ago and we still have plants and animals. Yes, I thought, but not the same ones. Anyway, I wonder how Kevie feels about the 11,000 scientists who came out telling us that  climate change is real and we better start taking it seriously. Nah, he’ll say, I like my 47 better and those 11,000 were probably just taken in by that sixteen year old.

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«How Good Is Listening To The Quiet Shareholders?»

Earlier today the newspapers had the gift of prophecy. Various media outlets informed us:

“Apocalyptic in tone. It brooks no compromise. It’s all or nothing. Alternative views are not permitted,” Mr Morrison will say.

 

Outrageous. Apocalyptic in tone! Alternative views are not permitted. No, he’s not talking about The Book of Revelations. Neither is he repeating Peter Dutton’s latest pronouncement. No, as the prophets of the press went on to tell us:

“I think some of our largest corporations should listen to, and engage, their ‘quiet shareholders’, not just their noisy ones,” Mr Morrison will say. “Let me assure you this is not something my government intends to allow to go unchecked.”

So, in order to stop these “indulgent” and “selfish” protests, MoSco is ensuring that alternative voices to the climate activists are heard, by introducing measures to stop the views of the climate activists.

“Together with the Attorney-General, we are working to identify mechanisms that can successfully outlaw these indulgent and selfish practices that threaten the livelihoods of fellow Australians, especially in rural and regional areas, and especially here in Queensland.”

Now, some of you may be concerned that this is an attempt to silence legitimate protest and it’s a bit hypocritical given that one of his reasons is that alternative views are not permitted, but I think Scott’s got a bigger problem.

No, it’s not that he may turn them into the “quiet Australians” that he says are the only ones worth listening to… Of course, it’s impossible to listen to the quiet Australians because they don’t say anything.

Neither is it the fact that it should be easy to get round laws preventing people from urging a boycott. I mean, how could one be prosecuted if one were to, for example, publish the following: “Even though some of you are very upset about Alan Merandabolt’s comments about whipping Senators who disagree with his Holiness the PM, I wish to remind you that it is illegal to call for boycotts of his advertisers. In particular, it’s illegal to call for the boycott of the following advertisers: Acme, Beta, Gamma, (etc), so don’t do it because you’ll be breaking the law. Can you please share this community service announcement to remind people that they shouldn’t boycott anyone and urge people to contact the various advertisers to assure them that there will be no boycott!”

It is, in fact, Scottie’s proposed religious discrimination laws. They may run smack bang into his anti-boycott laws.

I’m not suggesting that banks and insurance companies can refuse to service coal industry on the grounds that they may have gay people working for them and if florists can’t be compelled to bake wedding cakes then financial industry people can argue they can’t be compelled to lend them money. And I’m also not  suggesting that the government would have any trouble arguing that the belief in man-made climate change isn’t a religion, even though ministers like Angus Taylor have called it one. No, they’d have no trouble saying that yes, it is a religion but not one that’s eligible for a tax-free status, or protection for its adherents to say what they like because it’s a deeply held religious belief.

No, quite simply the banks and insurance companies can simply remind everyone: Money is a religion. And it’s one of their strictest commandments that they don’t throw it away by lending it to people who are highly unlikely to pay it back.

By the way, did you happen to notice that Adani has had its $18.5 million payment for their water licence bill pushed back again. Now it’s due mid-2021.

Yes, when it comes to Adani, I’d certainly want some collateral.

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And It Really Does Send You Blind Or My Conversion On The Road To Damascus…

Ok, for all those heathens reading this, Saul used to persecute Christians… Now, in spite of my support for marriage equality, I’ve never gone out of my way to do that, even though some of them have felt that I was mocking them for their religion. That’s not true. I wasn’t mocking them for their Christianity; I was mocking them for their lack of fashion sense, which I understand will still be all right, even if Scott Morrison’s religious discrimination laws got through unamended.

Anyway, back to Saul. He used to persecute Christians until, one day on the road to Damascus, God struck him blind with the words, “Saul, Saul why dost thou persecute me?”

Now, Saul was a clever sort of a chap for someone who never married because… well, he just didn’t, ok? In these political correct times, I can’t say, but let’s use some sort of innuendo to besmirch the poor man because that’s what we do now that I don’t have the freedom of speech to come out and say that he didn’t like women. Saul straight away that the best way to get away with his past crimes was not to seek forgiveness as Jesus suggested. It was to pretend that he was someone else entirely, so Saul changed his name to Paul and started writing letters that people eventually passed off as gospel.

Similarly, I can see the writing on the wall and I’ve decided to embrace religion so that neither God nor Scott Morrison needs to strike me blind. Why? Well, I could suggest that it’s because God told me directly, but that may be considered blasphemous by some and, believe it or not, blasphemy is still a crime in a number of Australian states.

The difficulty, of course, will be finding a religion that suits me. I want one that has a similar signup clause to the Coalition’s approach to climate change action. I want to sign up and get all the benefits, but I don’t want one that forces me to change my lifestyle in any meaningful way. And by meaningful way, I mean, at all.

This sudden conversion may seem a little insincere but  I have been thinking for some time that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. All the tactics that we’ve tried to create a more just society have just been defeated by wedge politics, so maybe the only way to start pushing people back to some sense of sanity is to jump so far to the ridiculous that you make Pauline look like a bleeding heart leftie! (One could never do that to Peter Dutton; he’ll look like anything other than Voldemort in the Harry Potter films!)

Instead of using reason and evidence, perhaps we should start saying things that will split the Coalition. Here’s a list of ten possible ways to wedge the Liberal Party which you could use for Twitter or a letter to the Editor:

  1. Why hasn’t the Labor Party been declared an illegal organisation and its members all been stripped of their citizenship?
  2. How dare the Federal government allow our schools to teach foreign languages as part of their LOTE programs!
  3. Why don’t the “quiet Australians” get two votes at election time?
  4. Abolish the judicial system and let Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt decide all future cases.
  5. Isn’t it time for removing the dole in Queensland because now that Adani has begun work there are plenty of jobs and anybody who isn’t working must be a protestor?
  6. Let’s introduce six months compulsory National Service for all ten-year-olds where they get taught Australian values and the importance of coal while spending time learning how to survive in the bush.
  7. Why do we drive up the price of newspapers by paying journalists when they just regurgitate the government’s talking points?
  8. Instead of locking up asylum seekers wouldn’t it be a greater deterrent if we were to simply drown them? (Actually, we may already be doing this but we don’t know because it’s an on-water matter)
  9. Shouldn’t aged pensioners have to meet the work test too?
  10. Let’s raise the medicare levy by two percent and give the money to Gina and Rupert so they can create more jobs.

Yes, I do realise that you’d need to be careful because the current mob may take them seriously and start implementing them, and while it could be argued that this would certainly lose them the next election, when I look at the number of stuff-ups in the previous year, I can’t believe that they didn’t lose this one.

Whatever, my religious conversion is only lacking something to convert to, so once I have that, and once the new religious freedoms are in, I’ll be able to say whatever I like because isn’t everything a religious position?

Mm, I’m sure that Angus Taylor said that climate change was the new religion. Does that mean that nobody will be allowed to dispute anything any deeply committed Greenie says because it’ll inhibit their free speech?

Interesting times!

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Scott Morrison And His Strange Relationship With Children (No, Not About The National Party)

“To a hammer, everything is a nail.”

MY wife hit her head yesterday and she decided that she wanted to go to an emergency department to check it out. Without going through all the ins and outs of the experience, she’s fine and, after triage, we sat in some less than comfortable chairs for the next hour, until my wife complained about her head and she was given pain-killers and sent to sit outside the “fast track” for the next couple of hours.

This was the point at which I started to wonder what “fast track” actually meant and I decided that it was just a way of making those complaining feel better. Naturally, this made me think of Scott Morrison. Sitting there, I wondered if we’d be there till the next day and, at such a point, were I to complain would the conversation go something like this:

“Excuse me, but these chairs are impossible to sleep in.”

“Well, the chairs are only temporary and people aren’t meant to sleep in them.”

“But it’s been all night and I haven’t managed to get any proper sleep.”

“Look, the best form of care is a hospital bed.”

“But we haven’t been given a hospital bed. If my wife was in a hospital bed, I could go home and…”

“We have put more people in hospital beds than the hospital down the road, so you should just think about all the people who are in bed and remember that the chairs aren’t meant to be a long term thing!”

Ok, that’s a ridiculous conversation, so why can the government get away with talking that way about raising Newstart! I mean it’s not like unemployment is going down. Generally speaking, when a government starts talking about the number of jobs that they’ve created, it’s because they have no idea how to reduce the number of unemployed. There are always jobs being created; the issue is whether more are being lost.

But that the thing about this government. It’s all about the marketing rather than the substance. Granted, some marketing is necessary or nobody knows what great things you’ve done, but when you try it without actually doing anything, the message eventually wears a little thin. Take the drought. While it sounds like the government is doing something when they talk about the billions they’re spending drought-proofing Australia sometime in the life of the next Parliament, this is only going to impress those not directly affected. It’s like turning up at an accident scene and instead of calling an ambulance or administering first aid, the politician makes an announcement about increasing the spending to remove dangerous intersections. Worth doing, but the bleeding guy with the broken leg would probably rather be in the hospital emergency room, even if the fast track is only an illusion…

Anyway, while I was waiting I came across the following tweet from Mr Morrison.

Now, if you watch it, you’ll notice that not only does Jude have a wonderful grasp of sentence structure for a prep student, but he also has some of the best fine motor skills that I’ve seen in a five-year-old.

But leaving aside the veracity of the letter and the appropriateness of a middle-aged man telling us that he wants to encourage kids to write to him, it does seem that the message we’re meant to take away isn’t very clear.

Forget the fact that it’s a kid and we’re left with the following: A constituent writes to the PM, he reads out the letter, laughs about the request and says that he’s not going to do anything about it.

Is that really the message that the PM wants to send? Or was he virtue signalling that it’s great that this kid has a similar work ethic to the one he has. Scott is a very hard worker, after all. If he’s not playing tennis, praying for rain or running water for the rugby team, then he’s telling us that we need more love and shouting at the Labor Party because they don’t show enough for his policies… Although since the election…

Anyway, I was wondering if we were likely to hear more letters from children, you know things like:

Dear Mr PM, 

My name is Charlotte and I am six, I am really pleased with your request to let kids be kids. My classmates don’t like that Greta Thunberg and not just because she’s different. It’s her views on anthropomorphic climate change, which she asserts without the benefit of peer review. 

Thanks and keep up the good work.

 

Dear Mr Morrison,

Thank you from protecting us from all the boogy men. I used to be scared but now that Peter Dutton is keeping us safe, I don’t need Mummy to leave the night-light on.

Love,

Andy, 6 and a half.

P.S. Good on you for telling those silly UN people where to put their negative globalism

.

Dear ScoMo,

I am starting school next week and thanks to your hard work with the budget, there will be more money for my education and healthcare. Good on you for ignoring those troglodyte Keynesians who don’t understand that there’s no such thing as a free lunch and refusing to jeopardise the surplus with a stimulus package. 

Regards, Timmy aged 4 and 3 quarters.

 

Dear Mr Morrison, 

Can I please go for a ride in the submarines when they are built?

Best Wishes, Christopher Pyne.

Yep, I can see children’s letters to ScoMo getting a regular spot on TV. Maybe it could replace MediaWatch…

 

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Journalists Need To Remember That Nobody Is Above The Law!

Interviewer – This week the Prime Minister told Parliament that while he supported freedom of the press, nobody was above the law. To clarify what this means in practice we have Liberal spokesman, whose name we’ve redacted to enable him or her to speak freely. Government Spokesman, do you mind if I call you Neville?

“Neville” – That’s not my name and I’m quite happy to speak freely without the need for all this subterfuge. You can use my real name?

Interviewer – I intend to ask you questions about Peter Dutton’s department.

Neville – Neville, it is then.

Interviewer – First of all, the Prime Minister asserted that nobody is above the law…

Neville – That’s quite correct.

Interviewer – Well, if that’s the case, how can the government justify that Freedom Of Information requests are falling outside the legal time?

Neville – Simply because the volume of requests is quite overwhelming and there aren’t enough staff to…

Interviewer – But isn’t this due to government decisions about the number of staffing…

Neville – Exactly. The government is committed to a Budget surplus and to ensuring that there is no waste.

Interviewer – Hang on. I don’t wish to get distracted by the obvious point that if there’s not enough people to process the requests then more staff are clearly needed. My point is simply that if nobody is above the law, then how can the government justify FOI requests falling outside the legislated time…

Neville – No, not at all.

Interviewer – Why not? I mean doesn’t this suggest that the government thinks that it is above the law?

Neville – No. They’re not above the law, they’re outside the law.

Interviewer – I don’t see the difference.

Neville – Well, something that’s like the difference between your roof and your garden shed. You wouldn’t want your shed to be inside.

Interviewer – I wouldn’t want my roof to be inside either.

Neville – Exactly.

Interviewer – But when it comes to the law, what’s the difference between being above the law and outside the law.

Neville – Well, clearly someone – let’s say a journalist like you – who thinks that they’re above the law feels that they can break it with impunity whereas somebody who’s outside the law doesn’t feel they can break it with impunity; they simply understand that the law doesn’t apply to them in a particular case.

Interviewer – Isn’t the result the same?

Neville – Yes, but the difference is that journalists are trying to suggest that they’re a special group whereas the government can just change the law if it doesn’t suit them, so while they’re getting around to changing it, they can just operate outside it.

Interviewer – But doesn’t that make the government above the law?

Neville – Exactly.

Interviewer – But wasn’t the PM suggesting that no-one is above the law.

Neville – No ONE is above the law, but because there are lots and lots of people in the government, then they’re more than one.

Interviewer – But there are lots of lots of journalists. Doesn’t that mean that they’re more than one?

Neville – Look, if you’re just going to play silly word games…

Interviewer – Let’s move on. The Intelligence and Security Committee announced its concerns about the proposed legislation to allow facial recognition because it felt there weren’t enough safeguards. Is the government prepared to consider further measures to ensure that people aren’t singled out when they’re simply engaging in legitimate protests.

Neville – No, it’s purely an anti-terror thing.

Interviewer – So, you’ll be happy to put in place legislation to ensure protesters aren’t targeted?

Neville – Definitely… Unless, of course, the protesters are doing illegal things such as holding seditious slogans.

Interviewer – Seditious slogans.

Neville – Yes, you know things that… um, let me quote the law directly. Seditious intent includes things such as using words “to excite disaffection against the Government or Constitution of the Commonwealth or against either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth”. 

Interviewer – So you’re suggesting that people could be identified in demonstrations for holding signs criticising the government.

Neville – For example. I mean, they could also be identified and charged if they block traffic… or pedestrians.

Interviewer – But what about people’s right to protest?

Neville – They can protest as much as they like so long as they don’t use seditious language or get in anyone’s way. Nobody is above the law, you know.

Interviewer – Thank you.

Neville – Is that all?

Interviewer – I certainly hope so!

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