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At least I never said "Adani"...

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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. He has recently joined the Australian Arts Party.

At least I never said “Adani”…

Someone asked me how my wife feels about having our conversations repeated in my articles. Of course, I had to explain to the person that, while it’s true I have a wife, the one I write about is like the Liberal plan for jobs and growth: mainly fictional. However, it made me realise that many people don’t realise that most of what I write is completely made up. The confusing part, I guess, is that my prognostications are largely accurate and even my invented sources give more realistic information than the ones that the newspapers create.

However, it worries me sometimes that what I write seems to be proving a template for some of our less able politicians. While I have no evidence that they’re actually reading it, I’ve decided to let that pass on the grounds that we’re not only in a post-truth world, but we entered a post-evidence world quite a while ago. When John Howard, for example, told us that he had to support an emissions trading scheme when PM for political reasons but he rejected climate change on “intuition”, nobody mocked him for basing his judgement on a gut feeling and ignoring science.

So when I wrote my piece on a company removing the stuff from my property, a lot of people took it as an allegory for the way the whole Adani fiasco was going. Now I’d just like to point out that – just as Trump reminded us that he never said “Israel” in any of his bragging to Russia – I never said, “Adani”. It was all a work of fiction.

But the trouble with fiction is that people are quick to see parallels in real life. For example, if I were to write that the company told me that the space under my house would be ideal for a meth lab, then some people might think that there really is a space like that and that I’d be silly enough to put myself in danger by have something as dangerous as that under my house. Unless, of course, we were using coal as a heat source. Whatever, some of you may suggest that selling dangerous drugs is the wrong thing to do anyway, but I’ve been convinced by the words of Malcolm Turnbull, “If we don’t sell, someone else will.” He went on to say that ours was better quality.

Ok, ok, he wasn’t talking about drugs. He was talking about coal which, as everyone knows, will lift India out of poverty because once Adani starts producing, there’ll be so much coal that even someone with no job can afford it. However, I think the point remains.

In reality, I have no intention to start a meth lab. Ok, the company and I did discuss it, but just like One Nation and their attempt to make lots of money from campaign materials, we knocked it on the head almost straight away. And that’s the point, isn’t it? I mean it’s fine to discuss a plan for doing something immoral or illegal providing you knock it on the head straight away… Or when someone produces a tape of you talking about it. Which hasn’t happened in my case, because – like I pointed out before – my writing is largely fictional like One Nation’s concern for the battler.

So much for me…

Let’s move on to Adani!

Last year, I wrote that the Adani mine wouldn’t go ahead because it just isn’t commercially viable. I did add the caveat that there was always the possibility that governments would be so determined not to have the deal collapse because, well, jobs and growth and coal and all that, and Queensland has really high unemployment and we can’t use government money to come up with ways of employing them. We have to give it to a company and let them find ways to employ them because the Adani mine is going to create 10,000 jobs according to one estimate, but that includes the government jobs in 2085 cleaning it up after whichever Adani company responsible has declared bankruptcy.

So we offer them an interest free loan to build a railway… Well, we might. And when that’s not enough the Queensland state government offers them a bit of a royalty “holiday” which means that the Adani family will make more in the first year than Queensland makes in the first ten. But that’s not enough. Adani is now considering its position and has put the mine indefinitely on hold.

Yep, that’s why I write fiction. The truth is so unbelievable!

Mining Company Offers To Take Away All The Stuff In My Garage!

My wife doesn’t like mess, so over the years I’ve moved a lot of stuff under the house. I’ve always intended to go through it and work out what’s worth keeping and what’s just junk but, as I’m a busy man, I just never get around to it.

Anyway, there’s this company who came along and said that they’ll take all the stuff, sort through it, sell what’s valuable and they’ll give me some of the money.

Well, this is a pretty good deal, right? I mean, I’ll never do actually do anything with it myself, so getting some money is better than no money. They estimate that it could be worth thousands of dollars. Millions even, depending on whether anyone actually wants to buy my early poetry and diaries from last century. But failing that, my eighties memorabilia is a hot item and they’ll have no trouble selling it.

I’ve agreed, but my wife is proving harder to convince. She’s a little upset because, in order to move the stuff, they want to build a path through our backyard.

“They’ll ruin the garden,” she told me, but I assured her that they’ve promised to restore the garden just as soon as they’ve got all the stuff.

“And they’re going to pay for the path through our garden,” I told her. “We only have to lend them the money.”

“Why do we have to lend them the money?” she wanted to know.

“Well, you don’t expect a bank to lend them the money, do you? Besides, a bank would make them pay interest and they don’t want to do that!”

Then she wanted to know how much we’d be getting.

“Well, I told them that a royalty of five dollars a day would be enough… But they don’t want to pay anything for the first month, because they’ll be setting up then and they’re not expecting to make money straight away… I didn’t agree to that, of course! I told them that they’d have to pay twenty cents a day from the moment that they’ve laid the path.”

My wife still didn’t think that it seemed like a good deal.

“Look,” I told her. “we’ve still got a mortgage and I’m only working part-time. Our son’s looking for more work. The company has told me that there’ll be dozens of jobs and that should help us all.”

“If you two are going to be doing the work anyway, why don’t you just do it and keep all the profit for yourself?” she wanted to know.

I patiently explained that we didn’t have the expertise.

She was silent for a moment. “Ok, but how do you know that you can trust this company?”

I told her the name, and she looked them up on the internet.

“They’ve been involved in some very dubious practises,” she informed me. “They’re under investigation for fraud and corruption charges.”

“But that shouldn’t be a problem. That was in another country.”

“Oh well, in that case, there’s no problem. Let’s tell them they can start tomorrow.”

“Unfortunately, we still have to get permission from our next door neighbours because they’ll have to knock down their fence and garden as well. And you know how they keep trying to tell us that their garden is… I don’t know, spiritual or something… We may have to get the law changed so that it can’t be blocked by people opposed to selling relics from the twentieth century. I mean, some people are just opposed to progress.”

“Perhaps you should go and explain to them how important this is and how they may get jobs from it.”

“No, they seem to think that some things are more important than jobs and money.”

“Well, they’re right. Some things are more important than that.”

I stopped the conversation there. There was no point continuing if my wife was just going to be irrational.

Forget Housing Affordability. When Is Scott Morrison Going To Do Something About The Avocado Scandal!

It seems that property developer, Tim Gurner, has the answer to the housing affordability crisis: Cut back on your coffee and smashed avocado. Well, that’s what he told “60 Minutes”. When he was saving for his first home, he wasn’t spending money on smashed avocado and “four coffees at $4 each”.

Well, I don’t remember seeing smashed avocado on most menus until recent days, so it’d have been hard for him to find a place serving it. As for coffees at $4 each, well, it was over a decade when he bought his first home, so he’d have to have been pretty stupid to spend that much for a coffee when it was available much more cheaply.

But I’m being pedantic! Mr Gurner is in a great position to give advice because he’s a very wealthy man. His company owns over five thousand apartments and he’s ranked number 157 on The Financial Review’s Rich List. So when he tell us what’s wrong with young people, we should listen:

“You have to start to get realistic about your expectations. There is no question we are at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high.
“They want to eat out every day, they want to travel to Europe every year. This generation is watching the Kardashians and thinking that’s normal. Thinking that owning a Bentley is normal, that owning a BMW is normal.”

He started out small. He was given $34,000 by his grandfather and used that to build his fortune. Well, that, and not spending money on avocados. So for anyone complaining about not being available to afford a house: Get realistic, stop drinking coffee and ask your poppa for $34,000!

Of course, a few of you out there may be thinking that he doesn’t care about housing affordability because – with fewer people in houses – then there’s more people wanting to rent his apartments. Shame on you! That’s the sort of class warfare and politics of envy that the Liberals like to disparage as they cut another billion or so from welfare programs. This man worked hard for his money. Being nice to granddad, then buying up one negatively geared house after another. It’s not easy to do all those inspections. You’re exactly the same sort of people who’ll point out that Scott Morrison’s salary sacrifice plan to save for a house means that someone on a higher income, will get a tax break of twenty-two cents in the dollar while someone on average income will only get fifteen cents in the dollar. Someone on $37,000 will only get a five cent tax break, but people like that won’t be saving for a house – they’ll be putting all their money into their children’s private school fees…

So for those of you purchasing “four coffees at $4 each” while bemoaning your lack of a house deposit, just cut it out. The coffee and the complaining. By saving the money for the coffees, you’ll save $16 a day. At the end of the year, that’ll be $5,840. So after three years… Let’s see, you’ll have about… Well, let’s round it up to $20,000. Yep, assuming a twenty percent deposit, you’ll be able to afford a house worth $100,000.

Mmm, that’s not going to buy you too many houses… Even ones that don’t have a view of the Harbour or the Opera House. In fact, I don’t even know if it’d get you much in Armidale.

All right, the coffee wouldn’t be the only money being put away for a housing deposit. I mean, there is the smashed avocado! And that probably doubles the amount being saved if one assumes that it’s purchased every day of the year. You’d think that someone saving for a house would get sick of the same thing day after day.

Otherwise, all we really need is a drop in the price of smashed avocado and before you know it, all those extravagant hipsters will be able to afford a house.

Of course, there’s nobody struggling to buy a house who doesn’t drink coffee or eat out every day, because that doesn’t fit the narrative. If you even suggested such a thing, then the next thing you know people would be suggesting that the unemployed have trouble finding jobs because there are more applicants than employment opportunities and that it’s not because they’re all on drugs and therefore too lazy to look for work.

Mr Trump Goes To Washington – First As Satire, Now As Reality!

This was first published as a satiric piece over a year ago. I just thought it timely to republish:

Ok, I did suggest that his Vice-President would be Mickey Mouse, whereas it’s actually Mickey Pence. Donald and Mickey… Mm, is Walt Disney running the US from his crygenic chamber? Whatever…

Of course, one wonders if Donald Trump will be able to overcome what I see as his biggest hurdle: finding a running mate. I mean, would you want to be his Vice President?

Picture the first day of Trump’s presidency. In the absence of an actual running mate, I’m going to use the name, “Mickey Mouse” to refer to the VP.

Trump – Right, now we need to get started. Where’s Mickey?

Mickey – I’m right here, Mr President.

Trump – Let’s start. What do you think my most significant promise was?

Mickey – I don’t know. They were all so good.

Trump – Excellent. Ok then, let’s start with the shutting down that Internet thingy. Could someone bring the Internet in here?

There is a silence.

Trump – Didn’t you hear me? I said that I wanted the Internet brought in here!

Intern – You can’t actually bring the Internet in here… It’s not actually a physical thing.

Trump – You’re fired!

Intern leaves.

Trump – You! Go and get the Internet. (A staffer dashes out) Ok, now what’s next?

Mickey – Well, you did say something about stopping Muslims entering the country…

Trump – You! Get onto that.

Staffer 2 – Exactly how do you want this to work? I mean does this include Muslims who live here who’ve popped out somewhere else on business.

Trump – Of course.

Staffer 2 – And how will we identify them?

Trump – Haven’t they been identified yet? Just what has our security service been doing?

Staffer 2 – But how will the people at the airport identify them?

Trump – By the big sandwich board that says “Beware! I am a Muslim”. That was one of my election pledges,

Staffer 2 – But even if we required American Muslims to wear something, the overseas ones aren’t subject to our laws, so…

Trump – NOT SUBJECT TO OUR LAWS? You’re fired, no wait… I think that’s called treason or something. Hand yourself in before I have to send the CIA to look for you!

Staffer 2 – Mr President, it’s not treason, it’s just that we can’t make people in other countries wear things to identify…

Trump – Didn’t you hear me? I said you were fired!

Staffer 2 – But then you changed your mind…

Trump – Take this guy out and have him shot and then start sending all the illegal immigrants back over the border immediately!

Staffer 3 – Mr President, before we do that, we’d have to identify them and that’s not easy.

Trump – Not easy? They’re the ones with moustaches and foreign sounding names like Pedro and Juan and Jesus.

Staffer 2 – Mr President, not all the latinos are illegals.

Trump – Why hasn’t this guy been taken out and shot yet?

Staffer 2 – Sir, you can’t actually have me shot. Well, not without a trial anyway.

Trump – I can’t? But I’m President. When I was in charge at “The Apprentice” they let me do what I liked.

Staffer 3 – There are regulations and laws which outline your powers, Mr President.

Trump – Well, have them all cancelled. Mickey, how do I go about getting rid of all this red tape which stops me from doing what I want?

Mickey – Maybe if you called a state of emergency.

Trump – Excellent. Let’s do that then. That should boost our ratings.

Staffer 3 – Sir, with respect, this is not a TV show.

Trump – So? It’s still all about ratings.

Mickey – I don’t think we can just call a state of emergency without some reason.

Trump – Well come up with a reason or you’re fired too!

Mickey – You can’t fire me, I’m Vice-President.

Trump – So?

Mickey – Well, the Constitution makes it very clear that…

Trump – Constitution? Did our ancestors worry about the Constitution when they invited the British to Thanksgiving and served them tea because we weren’t allowed to vote for the King who’d lower our taxes.

Mickey – That’s not quite what happened, but our founding fathers actually wrote the Constitution.

Trump – So I can just ignore it, because it was written by a bunch of people who aren’t around to object.

Mickey – Mr President, surely our first priority is to pick your cabinet.

Trump – I don’t have time to worry about the furniture.

Mickey – No, your cabinet. The people who’ll be in charge of the various areas of government.

Trump – I’m in charge. I’m President.

Mickey – But you can’t be expected to be on top of everything. You need advice from…

Trump – If I’d taken advice, I’d never have got where I am. So get out of here all of you. And get Putin on the phone. I’ve got a merger proposal that I’d like to discuss with him.

Mickey – A merger?

Trump – Well, more like a takeover. But I think Putin’ll be more likely to agree if I call it a merger.

Mickey – Ok, Mr President. Just one last thing. Could you approve this before I go?

Trump – What is it?

Mickey – It’s a top secret security matter. It’s called “Operation Oswald” and it’s absolutely vital to the security of this country. If you just sign it, we can commence and then you can put it right out of your head.

Trump – It was never in my head.

Mickey – Not yet…

Trump – Get started on those sandwich boards!

Next FBI Chief – Who Will Trump Appoint?

Ok, James Comey is gone. And while the White House initially told us that it was on the basis of advice from the Deputy Attorney General, Trump later told us that he sacked him because Comey wasn’t doing a very good job. I haven’t been able to confirm if the T-Rump believes this because he’s been unable to uncover evidence of the President’s involvement with Russia, and he believes that anyone who’s failed to do that must clearly be incompetent.

So who will take over?

The acting head of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, would be the logical choice to take over, but he made it clear that he didn’t want the job by the declaring that he thought that Comey had the support of the agency. When he added, “Simply put, sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution,” he disqualified himself, because The Donald certainly doesn’t want a man like that in the job.

So what other possible candidates are there and what are the odds.

Rudy Giuliani – Loyal Trump supporter. Helped Trump draft a “more palatable” travel ban. Has experience in public office. Would be Trump’s most sensible choice, so highly unlikely. 25-1

John Cornyn – Senate Majority Whip and former Texas attorney general. Possibility, although he sits on the Intelligence Committee and Trump hasn’t shown any inclination make any appointments where the candidate has any Intelligence in their background. 5-1

Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher – A woman so probably excluded on those grounds alone. 8-1

Jared Kushner – Already has security clearance by virtue of the fact that he’s a Senior White House Adviser and confidant of the President, as well as being his son-in-law. While Trump might possibly just add “FBI chief” to his list of roles, there could be some concern that Kushner would have too much to do given that he’s also in charge of brokering peace in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. 6-1

Keith Schiller – Trump’s bodyguard who delivered the letter to Comey informing him that he was terminated. (At least, it would have informed him of that, but as it was already on the news, Comey already knew.) Anyway, Schiller has been critical of the FBI for not being more aggressive in their investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails. In addition to this, Schiller has forcibly removed reporters and punched a protester. As one of Trump’s most ardent supporters, he’s almost a certainty, so I won’t be offering odds on him.

This, of course, overlooks the possibility of Trump deciding that the only way to get the FBI back on track is to appoint the current head of the KGB to run the organisation.

“Fairness, Opportunity, Security” – Is The Last One About Malcolm’s Job?

Those who actually watched last night’s Budget speech couldn’t help but be impressed with how Scott pronounced most of the words correctly, even if he did refer to “Fartisuiticles” at one point. One presumes he meant “pharmaceutical”, but you can’t be sure.

The other impressive thing was projecting the surplus until well after the next election, so that if Labor get elected they can be blamed for it not happening or else, the Liberals will take the credit if it does. “This is thanks to the work we started in 2017,” Scott will tell us. They’ll have a problem if they do get re-elected, but just about everybody on the front bench seems to be working hard to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Yep, as I predicted last week, various media outlets are printing a “Winners and Losers” Table. To me, this has always seemed a rather strange exercise and not just because surely we’re all winners out of such a great Budget… No, it’s because it’s only a matter of time before you see something like cancer sufferers in the winners column with people buying a car worth more than $200,000 in the losers.

I was particularly impressed with Malcolm and Scott’s repetition of the words, “Fairness, Opportunity, Security”. I thought if they added, “Sincerity, Industry, Leadership” then they’d have the acronym FOSSIL, which not only pays homage to the coal industry#, but also the ideas of many of their members.

Of course, words by themselves have no meaning. When Malcolm talks of security is he talking about protecting us from terrorism, making our borders STRONG or job security? In particular, his own. And opportunity? Opportunity to discover what it’s like to be homeless is still an opportunity, prison is an opportunity to turn your life around and staying in your wife’s flat while claiming a parliamentary travel allowance is an opportunity to double-dip at the taxpayers’ expense. As for fairness, well Hitler was a great advocate of fairness, except he was using it in the sense of blonde haired, blue-eyed Germans who would become the master race.

And speaking of the master race, did you see the Labor Party’s great own goal – their ad about protecting Australian jobs? It’s being widely criticised because of the lack of diversity in the actors’ ethnicity. I’d consider this fair enough except when you’re making an ad to appeal to potential One Nation voters, you can’t get too carried away with foreign looking people who may not support ANZAC Day and Australia values. Surely it was enough to have a few women in there as well as someone who looked vaguely Asian.

However, I do take the point that many people made about the group so lacking in diversity that if they were going to be so unrepresentative of a typical street in Australia, they might as well have asked the Coalition’s front bench to star in the ad.

Here’s Tony Abbott complaining to the IPA about the lack of diversity in the Labor ad:

Ok, that’s a lie. He’s just at the IPA wishing them a happy 75th birthday. You can tell how excited they are to have him speak by the looks on their faces.

But speaking of terrible videos, did you happen to catch this one of Turnbull?

Malcolm Congratulates The Boys

(Unfortunately, I can’t directly link the video just Malcolm’s Facebook page, but it’s about three down, where he talks about the Budget)

While I particularly like the shot of Barnaby Joyce looking like he’d rather be anywhere else and the fact that it all seemed so staged, I just couldn’t help love the way it was all meant to be so candid, as though the camera just happened to be turned on as things were winding up.

Yep, as Groucho Marx said, “To succeed in this business, you need sincerity. Once you’ve learned to fake that, you’ve got it made!”

I think Turnbull may need some more lessons in faking it.

# Speaking of the coal industry, how are the Liberals going to respond to the report that Adani would seriously lead to a drop in prices and therefore production in the Hunter Valley where the quality of coal is much better (dare I say cleaner?). Ok, I know they could just do what they usually do with reports and either tell us they’ll get back to it later or attack the source of the report, but in this case it’s the coal industry itself that did the modelling.

The Budget And Malcolm’s Comeback!

When Malcolm Turnbull took over the leadership, he promised an end to the three word slogans… “No more slogans,” he told us, completely ignoring the irony of using three words in a statement that sounded suspiciously like a slogan.

But he did have a point. The public had grown cynical about the proliferation of the way the Abbott government seemed to equate repeating a catch-phrase like “Axe the Tax”, “Stop the Boats”, “Repay the Debt”, or “Stop the Waste” with actually solving the problem. And let’s not forget that the famous jobs and growth first appeared under Tony… Well, actually it was one of George W. Bush’s campaign slogans, but as with “Change and continuity” we like borrowing from the USA, even if we’re borrowing from something that’s a satiric comment on the world of politics… I mean, “VEEP” btw, although you can please yourself when it comes to George W.

Anyway, as we approach the Federal Budget, which the Treasurer tells us is not about politics, the official leaks and unofficial leaks seem to be an attempt to position Malcolm’s Mob as something other than an out-of-touch bunch of refugees from the early twentieth century… Sorry, that should be “illegal immigrants” because they arrived in this century without permission.

For starters, we’re going to go a long way towards putting the Budget back into surplus by changing the way we think about debt. Taking a leaf from the Scott Morrison’s book, I’ve informed my wife that – by ignoring out mortgage and only considering the repayments, we’ll be debt free by the end of the month, once we’ve paid off that credit card that we – and Labor governments – are always putting things on.

Then we’ve got a funding boost of about $300 million to the AFP to fight terrorism. I notice that they’re not using the same criteria that they’d previously argued on education: Just throwing money at the problem doesn’t work, so let’s cut funding.

But we’re also suddenly seeing an increase in education spending. With the proviso that we make sure it’s well spent, of course. And, of course, there’s no such proviso for the extra funding for the AFP. When I say “education”, I’m only refering to schools, because universities and university students have had it far too good for so long.

We’re going to help first home buyers, by enabling them to salary sacrifice to save, thereby building a deposit faster and ensuring that they’re able to pay higher prices so that the property portfolios of the Cabinet don’t take a dramatic hit.

There’s talk of a bank levy to provide for the victims of dodgy financial practices. The banks are suitably outraged. Who do these victims think they are? Wall Street financiers?

And we’re going to get rid of some of the nasty measures still hanging around from “The Hockey Horror Show” such as the four week wait for the dole. (If you think of some slob lying on mum and dad’s couch, the four week wait for a young person seems fair and just. However, if you consider someone on their own without a family for support, four weeks is a long time to ask the landlord to wait for the rent.)

Yep, it’s all good and it’s all going to be about “Fairness, Security And Opportunity”! Yes, not only does that “and” stop it from being a three word slogan, but the “fairness” differentiates it from Abbott’s campaign slogan of “Hope, Reward, Opportunity” which sounded suspiciously like Amway’s slogan. We’ve replaced the Reward with Fairness, the Hope with Security (or vice versa) and the Opportunity – like the song – remains the same.

Will this all be enough to save Malcolm from the circling vultures?

Well, it should be reasonably well received. There’s an attempt to say, we’re not so bad really, and that poor people have every right to exist and even to drive on occasions. And, it would be expected that there’d be a slight jump in the polls once we forget about Malcolm’s cringeworthy, “You and me is pals, ain’t we Donald?” were it not for Tony’s determination to make Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard’s working relationship seem like a romance compared to Turnbull and him. Rudd may well have leaked, but Abbott is openly shitting all over everything.

In the end, of course, the Treasurer is lying when he says that the Budget is not about politics. All his guff about meeting in the middle for the good of Australia is political in the extreme, because a Budget without criticism is a Budget that wins points for the government; there won’t be many for the Opposition being “sensible”. I’m making a general comment there and not talking about this specific Budget. But everything these days is about politics. Even the dangers of climate change are politicised on a daily basis. If ever there was a case for a bipartisan, let’s establish the facts and stop listening to those who clearly have no expertise in the field, then climate change would have to be it.

When Robert M. Pirsig died the other day, I was reminded of when I read, “Zen and The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance”. For those of you who haven’t read it, there’s not much of either, but there is a long discussion about the battle between rhetoric and logic in Ancient Greece. Pirsig examined the whole idea of the artistry of the argument versus the truth of the argument.

Without going through the long debate, we like to think that sometime in the last few centuries, logic won out and that, even if we don’t always see through those spinning eloquent sophistry to win us over, we’re always seeking the truth. Well, often, anyway.

But even before the election of Donald Trump, it’s been clear: We’re all suckers for a compelling short slogan if it goes anywhere near our world view. “Make America Great Again” captures so much for so many that they’ll won’t even consider anything beyond that seems like a good idea. Once you’ve picked your side, confirmation bias takes over and even the most intelligent people will argue for their team without questioning that they may be wrong.

So, it’ll be interesting to see if “Fairness, Security and Opportunity” can overcome the growing cynicism of a population that would like to actually see an improvement in something, rather than simply another contract with the Australian people that if you just continue to trust us, Utopia is just around the corner.

Trump And Turnbull Like Family… Manson Family Comes To Mind!

Remember earlier in the year? Remember the phone call where Trump didn’t hang up on Trumble, but the call ended “amiably” thirty-five minutes short of its allotted time. I guess that must have been because they’d run out of things to talk about.

“So this is the worst deal ever,” says Trump.
“Yes, but I still want you to honour it,” says Turnbull.
“For sure, what’s the weather like down your way?”
“Fine, quite warm actually but it’s always like that at this time of year, and I wouldn’t put it down to climate change.”
“Of course not, we all know that climate change is a Chinese plot.”
“Down here in Australia, Malcolm Roberts tells us it’s a NASA conspiracy, so does this mean that you’re working with them?”
“I’ll look in to it. How’s your wife? Matilda, is it?”
“No, Lucy. She’s well. Melania, is she well?”
“Wouldn’t know. I haven’t had time to speak to her lately.”
“Well then…”
“Right…”
“We’ve got another thirty-five minutes to go. Perhaps we should discuss something like the TPP.”
“Ah, that’s not gonna happen so there’s no point!”
“The ANZUS alliance then?”
“What’s that?”
“Um… Look, maybe you should get back to your briefings.”
“Ok. Good to hear from you Malcolm.”
“Thanks. Look forward to working with you. Love you.”
“Love you, too, Malcolm. I can’t wait till we meet.”
“Bye.”
“Bye.”

Mm, yeah. Doesn’t really sound all that plausible, does it?

After all, soon after the fake news leaked about Trump hanging up…

As an aside, can fake news leak? If it’s fake, then how can something that doesn’t exist leak?

Whatever, soon after, we were treated to stories of how Turnbull “stood up” to Trump in the same sort of way he normally stands up to billionaires. He stares them down with his withering gaze. And while some people were unkind enough to ask why he didn’t do the same to the likes of Cory Bernardi or George Christensen, I saw no reason to disbelieve the story. While you lefties were mocking Malcolm, our best PM ever, I said that I couldn’t imagine Tony Abbott standing up to the POTUS like that and isn’t it great that we have a real man in The Lodge. That’s not being sexist. I always thought of Julia as a real man, even though she was a woman, so the politically correct brigade can just shut up because this is Australia and I have free speech.

Anyway, this is my mea culpa. I have to apologise because it seems that Malcolm didn’t stand up to Donald at all. No, we’re now being told that the phone call was just as peachy as my dialogue above. As Trump said at the recent face-to-face meeting with Turnbull:

“We get along great. We have a fantastic relationship, I love Australia, I always have…We had a great call.I mean, we’re not babies.”

To which Turnbull added: “Young at heart.” Which I presume was in response to the babies comment and not a request for a song. Turnbull went further later, telling the media: “We have backgrounds that are similar in many respects, businessmen that found our way into politics. It was very, very warm — as I said — more family than formal.”

Mm, so Malcolm feels that Donald is like family and he’s suggesting that he has a lot in common with him. I guess that’s why he felt it necessary to hold out his hand to offer congratulations for the vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (“Obamcare”). He did it because he felt that the T-Rump is like a brother and not because he thinks it’s a great thing to make those wretched poor people pay a fortune for medical care.

Because we all know how strongly Malcolm feels about a strong public health system, and we know that he’d never have an plans to wind back on Australia’s Medicare system. And we can believe that because we’ve been told. To even suggest such a thing would make him very cross. Remember election night? That’s when he got as cross as Donald did over the refugee deal.

Oh wait, that’s right. Donald didn’t get cross at all. We’ve been told!

Tony Abbott Sets Us Straight – ANZAC Day And Other Thoughts

A number of people have expressed confusion about the Right’s position on free speech. On the one hand, they argue that 18C is contrary to Australian values because, well, we should be allowed to say what we like and if people are offended bad luck, because that’s the price we all pay for the freedom we invaded Turkey to preserve back in WW1. However, on the other hand, whenever anybody says anything which offends them, there’s an immediate baying for blood. Gillian Triggs should resign. The ABC should be brought into line. Yassmin Abdel-Magied should stop talking and self-deport. (Is that a euphemism for “Go back where you came from”?)

Surely, some of you have said, if we all have the right to offend, then it works both ways. Surely, you can’t complain about political correctness stifling debate, then turn around and say that certain people shouldn’t be allowed to speak. No, no, say the opponents of 18C, we’re not saying that they shouldn’t have the right to speak; we’re simply saying that when they do we should be able to object because what they’re saying is wrong and contrary to Australian values. Surely, you then argue, the same applies to the Right! Surely, what they say should be subject to criticism and people should be able to say it’s wrong. No, no, say the conservatives, when we’re criticised it’s a stifling of free speech… Besides, we’re always right, so it’s completely different.

Well, Tony Abbott made a wonderful speech to the Harry Perkins institute of Medical Research on May 3rd, where he put together a marvellous collection of thought bubbles which demonstrated the sort of intellect that made him the sort of Prime Minister that managed to last a whole two years. He began by telling us that being on the backbench “you have the time to reflect, and the freedom to speak”.

Apparently then, the government is run by a group of ministers who not only have no time to reflect on what they’re doing, but even if they do, they don’t have any freedom to speak… Not only does this explain a plethora of this government’s actions, but it makes the fuss over 18C seem trivial, given that those in charge neither think, nor speak their mind.

Anyway, we could go on for days about the content of Abbott’s speech. We could speculate about what he meant by his assertion: “Believers or not, they know that Gospel values are the best way to live.” We could admire his tenacity about what he sees as his government’s crowning achievement when he reminds us: “The Abbott government stopped the boats because no self-respecting country can expose itself to peaceful invasion.” (Personally, I’d prefer a “peaceful invasion” to the more aggressive kind…) We could wonder – when he talks about intergenerational theft being as bad as parents living on their children’s credit card – what on earth children are doing with a credit card. And we could wonder whether he’s still talking about “Gospel values” when he tells us that his government did things “because they made economic sense but fundamentally we did them because they were morally right”.

However, I want to concentrate on the bit about the terrible ANZAC day tweet. As Abbott said, “The most talked about person in Australia over the past week or so has been Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Of course, she shouldn’t have tweeted ‘Lest we forget’ only to make a political point.” It’s disgraceful, isn’t it, that someone would use ANZAC Day to make a political point. Taking it down and apologising isn’t good enough. ANZAC Day should be about our soldiers, not politics.

And as Abbott went on to say, “At the Dawn Service I attended, the padre denounced political correctness as shutting the mouth, twisting the mind and warping the soul – to a ripple of applause from 15,000 people.”

Yes, that’s right. ANZAC Day is about the soldiers and denouncing political correctness. It shouldn’t be used to make political points. Unless you’re a padre with whom Abbott agrees. Then you manage a “ripple” of applause.

I guess the rest of the 15,000 were too stifled by political correctness to join in.

Next Week’s News

Today I didn’t have my iPad at breakfast, so I didn’t get the chance to read the daily paper. Instead, I continued reading a very interesting non-fiction book and started to think more generally about the world rather than catch up on the immediate events of the day. And then I started to think about my habit of reading the news at the start of each day.

While I acknowledge that the mainstream media don’t always give people an accurate idea of what’s going on, I have this irrational belief that one should pay attention to it because, if one doesn’t, one is missing out on something. One should be well-informed and all that. But I rarely feel the need to read yesterday’s newspaper, let alone last week’s. So, I asked myself why I bother.

After all, I can write next week’s for you.

Day 1: Front Page
MURDER OF SOMEBODY YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF IN A PLACE YOU RARELY EVER GO TO
Most details are sketchy, but it seems to have been done by someone who knew the victim. It’s too early for more information, but clearly it’s the most important news of the day and you should watch this space so that you hear the latest developments.

SPORT STAR DISGRACES THEMSELVES
Sport star got drunk/took drugs/assaulted someone/cheated on their partner. Even if you don’t follow that particular sport, it’s important to know the details so that you can shake your head sadly if you happen to see this person in the street.

Pages 2 & 3
DONALD TRUMP DIDN’T MEAN EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID
Sean Spicer explains that the President wasn’t talking in general and he was referring specifically to a particular incident so his tweet shouldn’t be seen in a wide context/Sean Spicer explains that the President was taking in general and his reference wasn’t to the particular incident so nobody should be getting all upset or threatening legal action.

MEDIA PERSONALITY NEEDS A PLUG FOR THEIR LATEST VENTURE
There’s a new show on television and you won’t know what anybody’s talking about unless you watch it, and it’s an exciting new challenge for ex-soap star/games show host/shock jock/Australian idol runner-up after their recent divorce/cancer scare/sacking/rehab.

HUMAN INTEREST STORY
An actual human has done something interesting.

Rest of the paper

Ads, letters complaining about what somebody has done or not done, editorials expressing disappointment at both major parties if it’s a Fairfax paper, or anger at Labor if it’s a Murdoch paper.

Day 2: Front Page
TURNBULL ANNOUNCES THAT THEY’LL DO SOMETHING ABOUT A PROBLEM AT SOME FUTURE DATE
Turnbull makes announcement that we needn’t worry about gas/energy supply/education/house prices because he’s intending to introduce a bill to Parliament which will give him the power to do something about it should the need arise sometime in the next three to five years. He’s also immediately springing into action by announcing that a very important person or group will be meeting to decide if this is really a problem. Tony Abbott will say this is what I was doing when I was PM/this is a terrible idea and we need to do what I did when I was PM/I’m not trying to be PM again but this is just silly and I’m saying this even though I think we should stick with Malcolm even though he’s doing such a bad job/it’s a good idea but it’s not as good as stopping the boats

TRUMP THREATENS NORTH KOREA
Trump announces that he’s prepared to do anything to ensure that this part of the world is made safe including wiping it off the face of the earth. In a tweet, he explains that it’s only by dropping a bomb that he’ll stop the region becoming a war zone. To show how serious he is, he drops another large bomb on some Middle-Eastern country.

Pages 2 & 3
BUDGET EXPECTED TO CONTAIN MEASURES THAT LABOR WILL OPPOSE
Story will quote sources as suggesting that something will be expanded if it’s a Liberal idea/cut back if it’s a Labor idea/radically changed if it was Tony Abbott’s idea. It will ask people what they think and print the one’s that either agree with the paper’s position, as well as quoting someone who disagrees but has really radical reasons for doing so.

ANIMAL DOES SOMETHING QUITE WONDERFUL
Animal helps owner after accident by alerting neighbours/dialing 000/performing CPR. Photo of pet and grateful owner looking happy.

Rest of paper
Same as every other day.

Day 3: FRONT PAGE
BUDGET TO BE BACK IN SURPLUS BY 2023
Article will accept Morrison’s change to accounting method and assumptions of growth to tell us that it’s a truly impressive achievement to only need to be re-elected twice more in order to return the Budget to surplus.

GRAPHIC AND TABLE: WINNERS AND LOSERS
Table suggesting that there’ll be more winners than losers because it won’t mention all the real losers.

EDITORIAL
Praise goes Scott Morrison for his calm, rational way of looking at some numbers and completely ignoring them in order to find the numbers which suit his political purpose.

Pages 2 & 3
WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU
Article presuming that you’re a typical Anglo family in Doncaster or a typical family in Vaucluse. Everyone else will be left out of the article.

VOX POPS
People quoted saying what they think of the Budget even though two of the people didn’t actually know anything it contained.

Day 4: FRONT PAGE
BUDGET TERRIBLE
In depth look at how something that the Budget contained will actually affect family or group. They will either be presented as suffering heroes or whingeing ingrates depending on paper’s position on the topic.

SPORTS STAR FROM DAY 1 APOLOGISES AND SAYS THAT THEY’LL SEEK HELP
The article will tell you exactly what you’ve already gleaned from the headline.

Pages 2 & 3
PAULINE HANSON COMPLAINS THAT SHE HASN’T RECEIVED ENOUGH FREE PUBLICITY THIS WEEK IN SPITE OF SAYING OUTRAGEOUS THINGS
Pauline Hanson accuses the ABC of bias for not reporting that she said that she thought that all Muslims should be forcibly returned to the womb. Pauline tells us that she’s not racist because she thinks that all the people who disagree with her should be denied a voice even if they’re real Australians. George Brandis expresses surprise when asked for an opinion because he thought that he wasn’t allowed to say anything but now that he has the chance he’d like to assure us all that One Nation speaks for a large number of forgotten white males like himself and therefore should be listened to

POLICE NO CLOSER TO FINDING KILLER
The police still haven’t charged anyone for the earlier murder but they’re prepared to release information that make us all sure it was the husband/the Apex gang/terrorist related/The Greens.

Day five will just be a re-arrangement of the stories from the previous four days because it’s Friday and we need some sort of closure, and we also need to remind people that there’ll be sport played on the weekend.

* * *

There now. I’ve saved you the trouble of reading next week’s paper. Use the time you’ve saved wisely!

P.S. I should add that the front page accompanying this is a fake. I realise that with some papers it is hard to tell.

Bullshit Jobs!

In “Utopia for Realists”, Rutger Bregman reminds us about the New York garbage strike of 1968, and then compares it to the bank strike in Ireland. Basically, it took six months to resolve the bank strike, and while there were certainly difficulties, people found a way to operate and they generally worked out alternative credit systems like writing cheques. Strangely though, while the Irish were able to soldier on for half a year, the New Yorkers found it rather harder to deal with rotting trash; in spite of Mayor Lindsay insisting that the strike was illegal and he wouldn’t give in on principle, the strike lasted less than a fortnight.

Being a “garbo” may not have the status of being a bank manager, but it’s pretty clear which one we notice when they’ve stopped working.

Bregman goes on to mention Dave Graeber and the whole nature of “bullshit jobs”. He points out that there are large number of people who are working at things that we just don’t need. Ok, the person working there needs to have a job, but if we reduced the number of telemarketers, how long would it be before you said, “Gee, nobody’s rung me in the middle of dinner to discuss funeral insurance”?

There are all sorts of jobs which may actually make a difference. Doubling the number of health workers – as opposed to hospital administrators – could make a noticeable difference and cut down waiting times. Increasing the number of people answering the phone at Centrelink would free up thousands of lost hours for the people waiting on the line. More counsellors and support staff in schools may be a factor in helping to prevent problems later on. I’m sure that you can add to the list.

However, we have a strangely perverse way of rewarding people where many of the well-paid jobs involve activities that only involve moving money from one person’s bank account to another. Short-term trading on money markets, for example, as well as many of the day-to-day share transactions on the stock exchange. How the value of Telstra can fluctuate by a few percent over a week with no announcements or even rumours makes no sense to me, but as with all shares, movements up and down are primarily based on speculating about future movements. Yet many of the people doing things like this will be more substantially rewarded than a Nobel prize winner.

Just as Scott Morrison is trying to divide debt into “bad” debt and “we can make big announcements and not have anyone ask how we’re going to pay for it” debt, maybe it’s time to acknowledge that the world can survive with people working fewer hours than ever before and it’s time to start restructuring the economy so that we don’t simply have the “I’m overworked” and “Get off your backside, you lazy bludger” categories. While we’ve all had fun with the Liberals “jobs and growth” mantra, it may be time to actually question whether we’ve reached a point in human history where we need to consider what jobs are necessary and, if the jobs isn’t absolutely necessary, is it still worth doing? Maybe it’s time we sat back and asked why Keynes’ vision of people working a fifteen hour week thanks to technology hasn’t come to pass, and why it’s considered a good thing to aim for growth and for people to work longer and harder, rather than saying with a little bit of reorganisation, there’d be more opportunity for the unemployed and some of the workers would have more time to smell the roses.

Or even grow them!

Attack On The ANZACs Must Be Condemned!

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Hot on the heels of Yassmin Abdel-Magied and her refusal to adopt Australian values, another shocking ANZAC day moment has been brought to my attention. Yassmin, for those of you who haven’t heard, posted on Facebook the following comment: “Lest We Forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine)”. This comment is so disrespectful that it’s been repeated hundreds of times by the media so that we can all hear how disrespectful it was. Of course, not only did Yassmin fail to appreciate the offence her comment would cause, but once this was drawn to her attention she did something that nobody embracing the values of this country would do: She apologised and took down the post.

But, it’s not her that I wanted to talk about. And it’s not even Labor MP, Anne Aly, who apparently only laid a wreath at one Anzac day ceremony and was justly castigated for refusing to lay a wreath at another one.

No, I want to draw your attention to a dreadful attack by people on our Anzacs. Apparently, on 25th April, 1915, our forces were innocently minding their own business and defending freedom on the Turkish coast when a group of terrorists attacked them. Now, thanks to political correctness, I can’t tell you what religion the people attacking our poor soldiers were. Well that, and the fact that I don’t know. But I think I can probably guess, and if I have a guess, it’ll be a damn good one, because I won’t know that I’m wrong until someone produces some empirical evidence. Whatever, thanks to that dreadful 18C, I can’t say what I’m thinking and that’s just wrong because everyone should be allowed to speak their mind.

Unless, of course, it’s something that contradicts Australian values. Freedom of speech only means the freedom to say things that support Australia and Australians and Anzac Day. Our diggers didn’t go and fight so that people could say “Lest we forget” and add something political. After all, there was nothing political about what they were doing, so on Anzac Day we should remember that it’s the one sacred day of the year where we remember and mourn those who sacrificied themselves for their country. And on November 11th, we mourn… Mmm… Well, I suppose we don’t mourn the Anzacs again because they’ve already had their day and even Jesus only gets one day a year for mourning, so I suppose that we mourn that the war ended and how that prevented even more of our soldiers from being given the chance to do something heroic. And these two days are sacred and to talk about anything else on such days is disrespectful.

P.S. Speaking of disrespectful, someone brought this terrible poem by some guy called Rudyard Kipling. This Kipling guy uses the phrase, “Lest we forget” and makes no reference at all to Anzac Day. Some may try to excuse him by arguing that he wrote it in the nineteenth century, but I don’t think that excuses him!

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word-
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Update On Peter Dutton… And Apology From Me!

The other day, I wrote a satirical piece where I suggested that Peter Dutton would claim that it was an operational matter and he wouldn’t be able to release any information about his sources for contradicting all those on Manus who disagreed with his version of events.

Today he announced that it was “classified”.

Therefore, I must humbly beg your forgiveness. It wasn’t because it was an “operational matter”. It’s because it was classified. Apparently, you can release classified information as long as you don’t say who told you. This will be a great precedent in any trial involving the leaking of state secrets.

As an aside, I must also say that I’m appalled that the ABC is suggesting that Muslim woman whose name I can’t remember and, besides, it isn’t important, was making comments in her own time and they haven’t deported her yet!

Geez.

Don’t they realise that the diggers fought and died trying to keep the country free so people would be allowed to say what they liked, and I’m sure that they’d all support me when I say that anybody who doesn’t say the right thing has forfeited the right to free speech?

I mean, free speech has its limits. It was meant for people who agree with me, not for every Tom, Dick and Harry! And certainly not for a woman with a name like Jassimin or Fatima or Soula or whatever it is… Her name’s not the important bit. It’s the fact that it’s not something easily remember that makes me doubly angry. I mean, if we’re going to open our hearts to people like her, then the least they can do is show a bit of subservience! We’ve already had enough trouble with women who have an opinion – that’s why we had to deport Germaine Greer!

If we allow people like whatshername to say things like “Lest We Forget” and add a few other things on ANZAC day, what’s next? We’ll have people saying things like the guy who shot the Archduke and started World War One was a terrorist and we shouldn’t have gone to war to support his country.

And nobody would ever want that…

When Malcolm comes back from his meeting with Trump to announce his support for whatever war we’re going to be involved in, I’m prepared to back him all the way!

Even if the reasons for going are “classified”!

Shots Fired After Malcolm Asks Peter To Come Into His Office…

A five year old boy passed on the record of conversation between the Prime Minister and Peter Dutton. While some are claiming that this is inaccurate, my sources tell me that it’s completely accurate and anyone who is saying something different doesn’t have the facts. I have the facts, and they’re not alternate facts they’re actual facts according to people who’ve told me that this is what happened and anybody saying anything different shouldn’t be taken too seriously because I have senior people and I once knew someone who lived in Canberra. In fact, I have relatives in Canberra and they haven’t told me that this is a complete fabrication. Neither have they denied that there was a five year old boy in the room with Malcom and Peter. The five year old boy is the one who took notes and it’s from these notes that I have pieced together the conversation between them.

Malcolm: Ah Peter, I want to ask you about the recent disturbance on Insiders. You repeated your claim that a 5-year-old boy was led away by three asylum seekers and that caused the mood to elevate quite quickly. Now, that’s not true, is it?

Peter: Of course, it is true.

Malcom: It’s not true.

Peter: It is true. It’s perfectly true that I made that claim.

Malcolm: But the claim itself isn’t true. Who gave you this information?

Peter: Can’t remember.

Malcolm: You can’t remember. That’s not good enough.

Peter: Well, it worked for Arthur.

Malcolm: But just about everybody who’s speaking publicly is denying it. How are you going to back up your claim?

Peter: Easy. We’ll say that the true version is an operational matter and, as such, nobody is allowed to say anything about it and it’s only those without actual information can speak to the media because to tell anybody what’s happening breaks several laws.

Malcolm: Do you really think anyone would buy that?

Peter: It’s worked so far.

Malcolm: I’m sorry, I just can’t let you go on as Immigration Minister.

Peter: Oh, you’re stepping down so I can be PM?

Malcolm: No. You were a disaster as Health Minister and if anybody took the time to examine your record, they’d realise you were even worse in your current role…

Peter: Well, I might as well be PM then…

Malcolm: I’m not going to make you PM.

Peter: I’ve heard you don’t want the job any more.

Malcolm: Who told you that? Of course I still want the job!

Peter: Not according to my information. My sources say you couldn’t possibly be doing this badly unless it was a deliberate attempt to get dumped so you could go on world cruise with Lucy.

Malcolm: That’s just not true.

Peter: Now, who are you going to believe? Me, or some Twitter version.

Malcolm: Twitter version? What are you on about?

Peter: Hang on… Oh, I’m getting a text. It says that you’ve sacked me.

Malcolm: No, I didn’t.

Peter: I’m calling a press conference where I tell everybody that you’ve lost the confidence of the Party and I’m throwing my support behind a spill but I won’t be standing.

Malcolm: You’re what?

Peter: That’s what the text says.

Malcolm: But you’ve been doing the numbers for the past six months.

Peter: Yes… I’m a bit confused about that one. Oh, the text says that when Tony stands, I’ll have a change of heart and offer myself as the moderate candidate for the good of the party.

Malcolm: Who’s this text from?

Peter: My source on Manus.

Malcolm: Your source on Manus?

Peter: Yeah, the one who’s in Canberra counting the numbers.

Malcolm: Your Manus source is in Canberra?

Peter: Yeah, well, you wouldn’t expect anyone who’s actually on the island to have any idea of what was going on, would you?

Malcolm: Peter, I’d really like you to stay on us Immigration Minister.

Peter: But what will I say at the press conference?

Malcolm: You don’t need to say anything. You don’t even need to have a press conference. I’m not sacking you.

Peter: Ok, I’ll just say something about how you have my full support and that I have no intention of challenging you.

Malcolm: You bastard! You know that’s exactly how I launched my challenge.

At this point the notes stop because the five year old taking them decided that he needed a nap.

The Biggest Problem With Labor’s Negative Gearing Policy

Looking at the register of pecuniary interests, one can’t help but notice the number of politicians with more than one property. Actually, when you look at the number of properties, it’s tempting to suggest that were they all required to divest themselves of all real estate investments, then that’d go more than halfway toward solving the “supply” problem that the Liberals suggest is the reason for high prices.

Of course, to suggest that it’s all a supply problem overlooks the demand side of the equation. Ever since non-landholders were granted the vote a couple of centuries back, the poor have grown more demanding and now most of them seem to think that they require houses, even in the more temperate areas of Australia. Thankfully, there are some who are content to be homeless even if they make the streets untidy. Personally, I think our Deputy PM, Barnaby Joyce (doesn’t sound so absurd if you say, US President Donald Trump!) hit the nail on the head when he suggested that people should quit their jobs and move to his electorate so that they could afford a house… Assuming that they could get another job in an area where unemployment is so high.

But I didn’t start writing because I had a solution to the problem. Like the Liberals, I think it’s enough to point out Bill’s shortcomings… (Mm, Shorten’s Shortcomings! I may be able to sell them that one. They seem to have run out clever catch-phrases lately. I mean, “clean coal” is an oxymoron and makes about as much sense as “dry water” or “right-wing think tank”. They haven’t had anything like “jobs and growth” or “Innovation rules, ok” for over a year!)

The big problem with the policy Labor took to the last election is that only allowing negative gearing on new construction is that it would bring down the price of houses. And this won’t help affordability. Why not? Well, it just won’t. Have I done any economic modelling? There’s no need for economic modelling because it’ll either just confirm what I already know, or else it won’t have taken into consideration other factors like the fact that it doesn’t confirm the assumptions that I started with.

If housing prices come down, then the value of the politicians’ property portfolio would drop by millions of dollars. And they’d feel poor, making them vulnerable to corruption. So by keeping property values high, then we’re helping to ensure the integrity of the Parliament. In fact, recently some politicians suggested that by giving people access to their superannuation, we could help push prices even higher and therefore our MPs would have even less incentive to accept a bribe.

But really the problem is now solved. The crackdown on 457 visas means that no longer will we have goat farmers, blacksmiths and various other occupations coming over and buying up all our houses so that they can use them to strike their spouses, practise female circumcision and deny their families Australian values.

Hopefully this doesn’t cause too much of drop in demand. I’d hate anything to reduce the wealth of our politicians, but I guess, if that were to happen, Malcolm would have a solution. If not, I’m sure Tony would have an idea he’d be happy to share.

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