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It was all a con

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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.

Elon Musk And The Terrible Brand X…

Lately I’ve started reading a book called, “The End Of Reality” by Jonathan Taplin which has the tagline: “How Four Billionaires Are Selling Out Our Future.”

While the book has been interesting so far, there was a section about Elon Musk which grabbed my attention. He was driving Peter Thiel, his partner in PayPal, to a meeting and demonstrating “the awesome acceleration” of his $150,000 McLaren sports car when he plowed into an embankment. Apparently Musk told Thiel: “You know, I read all these stories about people who made money and bought sports cars and crashed them. But I knew it would never happened to me, so I didn’t get insurance.”

Musk had the controlling interest in the company at the time and he wanted to drop the name PayPal in favour of, even though there was some suggestion that sounded more like a porn site and it was likely to confuse existing customers.

Of course, the money men were a wee bit concerned about Musk’s erratic behaviour, so they forced him to step aside as CEO and, as we know, PayPal still exists as PayPal and the only things that have the name “X” are one of his children and the site that used to be known as Twitter.

Musk resembles a child whose parents won’t let him name their pet “Fartin’ Martin”, so he grows up and names his first child that to show that he’s now an adult and he can do what he likes, so there!

For anyone who’s noticed how business normally works, it’s pretty usual to try and keep your customers happy and if you have a recognisable brand and name then it’s a good idea to keep it. Frequently the reason people change the name of a business is so that unsuspecting people won’t realise that it’s the same company that has been annoying their friends and family.

And speaking of Brands, you’ve probably heard about Russell’s troubles…

Well, I want to make it clear here that I support the concept of the legal process which includes the whole we need presume innocence until guilt is proven.


I would just like to point out that it’s rather strange when people start down the path of the whole innocent until proven guilty thing, only to then start to suggest that various other people are guilty of various other misdeeds.

For example, when someone asks why they didn’t report it at the time, it shows not only a misunderstanding of how intimidating it can be to report a crime and how it may take time to process what’s happened and to summon up the strength to see it through. Add to that the fear that they may not be believed. Strangely that last point is dismissed by the very people who are doubting the person who has come forward.

The other strange idea is that this whole thing has been manufactured because good old Russell is presenting alternative views and has upset certain people and that it’s all part of some conspiracy. Well, of course there is a possibility that certain people have been upset by some the things he’s said and they’re more than happy to let the story run. But again, this sort of makes it sound like Mr Brand has only just lately started saying the sort of things that upset the powers that be and that this is how they’re going to shut him up.

Notwithstanding the idea that everyone has a potential influence, it would be easier to shut someone up by not giving them any airtime, the fact remains that something like this is more likely to give Russell Brand an audience than no publicity at all. This gives him the perfect platform to announce that he’s being stopped from speaking in much the same way that Andrew Bolt frequently uses his colon to complain about censorship. (The “colon” was initially a spellcheck error but it sounds more appropriate than “column” so I let it stand.)

Of course Russell has previously had the support of Elon Musk: “I watched some of his videos. Ironically, he seemed more balanced & insightful than those condemning him! The groupthink among major media companies is more troubling. There should be more dissent.” We’ll probably find Musk tweeting… sorry, Xing, something that will give an even bigger boost to Russell even though they may have seemingly different political philosophies.

In some ways, they don’t differ all that much. Musk espouses an anti-government libertarian philosophy and some of you may remember a number of years ago when he was guest-editing “The New Statesman”, Russell Brand announced that he didn’t vote because the system was ineffectual and encouraged others to do the same, because by not voting then politicians would somehow feel the pressure and lift their game.

It seems to have worked a treat because in the intervening years, the British have had Conservatives elected a number of times and the Brexit referendum passed. It’s easy to say that the other party are no better when you’re not the one relying on the government to actually provide funding for your wheelchair. Those Communists in the British Labour Party may not have the same enthusiasm for lining the millionaire up against the wall as we’ve come to expect in the 20th Century, but they still spend a touch more on things like Health and Education.

And, devotees of Russell’s Revolution not voting in the United States may have helped Trump to become President where he managed to appoint enough judges to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe versus Wade.

Even if you don’t like the alternatives being presented, simply not voting isn’t really likely to change the system. If enough people turn up and vote for the “Let’s Have A Party” Party or the “May The Fourth Be With You” Party, then, at the very least politicians will start to wonder what ideas they need to steal from them.

But like I said, let’s not presume guilt just because a handful of women who don’t know each other all make a claim against someone. After all, it could be that Big Pharma is so upset that Russ is complaining about them and they regard him as so influential that they feel the need to make up this whole thing instead of just having him arrested by planting drugs on him… which being Big Pharma, they could manufacture quite easily…


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The Clear Bias Of The Labor Government!

For years, we’ve heard the Murdoch Malevolents complain about the bias of the ABC and, when anyone suggests that they themselves are biased, the response is: “We’re a private company; we’re allowed to be biased.” The ABC, on the other hand, don’t have that right and the Murdoch press complains that it presents a different point of view to them so therefore, it’s far too left-wing.

Recently, however, I’ve noticed the odd comment about how the Labor government is showing a bias towards the Voice and how dare they not be impartial when it’s there’s an upcoming Referendum…

Let’s stop and think about that for a moment.

A political party showing bias. You know, actually have a point of view and not being impartial. Why that’s unheard of. It’s outrageous. I can’t see why the Governor-General doesn’t sack them and install the army to rule…

Of course, the people complaining about the bias of Labor on the Voice aren’t the slightest bit concerned that the Liberal Party have adopted a position. Neither are they concerned about the National Party’s decision to oppose it. Or Pauline Hanson’s One Notion. Or…

No, it’s only the government who are meant to be unbiased.

Let me be clear here. The complaints weren’t that the government was funding one side and not the other, or that the Yes case was first in that little booklet that we got and that the No case was on the opposite page. No, the complaint was that members of the government were expressing an opinion.

How dare they? Senator Neville Bonner would be turning in his grave because, as George Brandis, assured us, the first Indigenous Liberal senator would have been dead set against a Voice to Parliament, and if there’s one thing that the Liberal Party has shown over the years, it’s that they are in the best place to speak for people who can’t speak for themselves like women and other minority groups… Yes, well women may not be a minority group in the general community but that one woman in Tony Abbott’s first Cabinet must have felt like real progress was being made when he made one of the biggest percentage increases when it went up by 200% with another one added!

I guess Senator Bonner went to Canberra in order to say nothing because he was so against this “Canberra Voice” being proposed by Anthony Albanese who isn’t listening to the everyday Indigenous people like Price and Mundine… Mundine organised the recent CPAC so there’s no way you could think of him as being part of the elites.

There haven’t been many referendums that have successfully changed the Australian Constitution. Successful ones have generally had bipartisan support and even that doesn’t guarantee success. Peter Dutton’s opportunism to have the Liberals oppose it was an attempt to gain the low-hanging fruit of scuttling its success and making people think he could actually achieve something, even if that something is actually nothing. It should be a slam dunk and we shouldn’t even think that there’s a chance of success. And that’s before all the misinformation, disinformation and attempt to play on people’s fear of change.

Now I’ve prattled on for years about this, but we have to accept that either the media is just this passive receptacle which just reports everything without filter or else we have to understand that everything is an active choice and part of that active choice is saying, “Actually, Mr Smedley, I don’t know that you can assert the idea that the Australian Constitution has been declared null and void by the High Court without producing some sort of evidence… and no, it’s just not fucking true that the evidence you have has been suppressed by Putin acting in concert with Obama and the Chinese who had this all planned from the time they managed to get your granny to put out the good china when you came over for afternoon tea…”

The media have a role to educate… but I guess that’s hard for them when they’re populated with people who don’t know very much beyond the fact that if they make people angry then they’re more likely to engage with them the next day because it’s easy to get people to come back out of anger than to come back to learn something new…

If you don’t know, come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you more things that I don’t know and you can get very, very angry about the fact that one of those people who aren’t you are trying to take my Jaguar that I’ve worked hard for and you can have one too if you just agree that I should have it and not someone who’s angry about something else and part of the outrage industry which is… Oh, yeah, well, it’s wrong to suggest that I’m part of an outrage industry even though we’re perpetually outraged…I’m outraged for good reason and don’t we need to agree with that property developer, Tim Gurner, who said that the workers are getting a bit uppity and a dose of unemployment will put them back in their place where they need to say, “Please sir, can I have some more?”, so we can bundle them off like Oliver Twist was along with all those unions in the glorious days past!

Yes, it’s getting very strange. I was out walking my dog and whenever he does his business, I give him a little treat. I guess that’s the business model of Murdoch. Whenever Andrew Bolt or whoever puts out some shit, they get a little treat.


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Lowe Down, Joyce Gone And One Less Payne In The Liberal Party…

The Australian Financial Review was supportive of the ex-Reserve Bank Governor, Phil Lowe, telling its readers that he was the “scapegoat” for Albanese and Chalmers “their foolish promise to lift the wages and living standards of ordinary Australians without any plan to do so”.

Poor Phil, he was a man who had the impossible task of trying to fix inflation and it wasn’t his fault and he didn’t do anything wrong and it was all those nasty politicians that spent too much during the pandemic and anyway, it wasn’t a promise to keep interest rates at their current levels until 2024 so anyone who took it as a guarantee only has themselves to blame…

The final point sounding suspiciously like: “You knew what I was like when you married me so how can it possibly be my fault that I said I’d do something and then didn’t?”

Whatever the fairness or otherwise, it does strike me that those who worship money are quick to forgive the transgressions of their fellow travellers while being quick to tell the poor and downtrodden that it was just their lack of enterprise/work ethic/personal quality which found them on struggle street.

Now I don’t mean to be too harsh here but there is something rather strange about a situation where the governor of the Reserve Bank, who has the task of ensuring that inflation is kept under control and that the economy is kept from any shocks, decides that it’s necessary to make a prediction that is so far into the future that anything might happen, argues that it’s not his fault that his prediction was wrong and anyone who listened to him was rather silly because he was just thinking out loud and nobody was meant to take it as a definite thing and the only reason that he did it was so that people had some idea about the future.

Putting aside his unfortunate attempt at fortune telling, the fact remains that, if one of his jobs was to keep inflation under control, then one would have to say that he failed at that rather spectacularly when it’s been necessary to raise interest rates so many times. Of course, the counter argument was that the inflation was nothing to do with Australia and that there was nothing he could do… which sort of suggests that he was just putting up interest rates because he needed to do something and that was something, so he did it even though it was only going to make some people less able to afford to eat, while others reaped the benefit of more income from their savings… which is potentially inflationary.

Some people were saying that Lowe has been proven right by the fact that inflation is starting to come down. This is wrong for two reasons. The most obvious being that if it wasn’t his fault that inflation took off, then how can it be his actions that brought it under control. Once the horse has bolted, you can’t claim credit for shutting the gate and then firing shots at the horse in the hope that you’ll either scare it into going back to the stable or kill it… which makes it easy to catch but any hope of a soft landing for the horse is out of the question. (Just to be clear here for anyone taking the analogy too literally and wondering how it can get back into the stable once the gate is shut: The horse is the economy and the soft landing is the lack of a recession.)

The second is that it’s generally conceded that the inflation wasn’t caused by excessive demand, but by costs and supply problems. Therefore suppressing demand would have had minimal effect on it. I mean, I can say that I sacrificed a virgin chicken every full moon in order to appease the gods of inflation and I was successful because now inflation is retreating. The only real difference between that and Lowe’s strategy is that his didn’t involve cruelty to animals… just mortgage holders, but the RSPCA doesn’t care about them.

Anyway, Lucky Phil has gone and 2023 is the year of good-byes. We also say good-bye to Alan Joyce and we can once again look forward to Qantas only cancelling flights that exist. The incoming head, Vanessa Hudson, has announced the novel idea that she’d be working on improving customer service and that this would actually work to help their main aim of boosting the share price so that the outgoing CEO’s package would be worth more. A source told me that Qantas are developing a radical new concept where people’s luggage will be put on the same flight as they are but this may take some time as it will involve a whole new business model.

In breaking news, Senator Marise Payne has announced that she will be resigning from the Senate at the end of the month. This came as quite a surprise to many as she’d been so quiet lately that most people presumed that she’d quit at the 2022 election.

Whatever, her colleagues wished her well and heaped praise on her achievements even if they couldn’t actually remember about any specifically. Opposition Leader (surprisingly, he is that even though the media report his thoughts on just about everything), Peter Dutton said: “For more than 20 years, Marise has not only been a wonderful colleague, she has also been a dear friend – someone who engages in the battle of ideas in the great Liberal Party tradition.” This being code for: The outgoing senator was argumentative and didn’t always agree with me, even though I’m always right!

The rumour is that Tony Abbott will replace Payne in the Senate, but I’d ignore it because the only person spreading it is Tony himself. Scott Morrison said that he was up for the job, before changing his mind when someone convinced him that he couldn’t be a member of both houses, even if he was five ministers in the previous Parliament.

There’s also a rumour that Scott Morrison will quit Parliament as soon as he gets another job, so that’s not likely to be any time in the life of the current Labor government.


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If You Don’t Vote Yes, You’ll Have To Vote Again… Pete’s Genius At Play

The chorus of “You’re The Voice” begins:

“You’re the voice, try and understand itMake a noise and make it clear…_”

One of the No supporters on social media was suggesting that this was a terrible own goal by the Yes campaign because it was suggesting that it was hard to understand but given the slogan “Don’t Know, Vote No”, I’m not so sure that they’re right.

I mean, the slogan “Don’t Know, Vote No” has a subtext that if you’re ignorant, come and join Pauline and Andrew Bolt and Tony Abbott because you’re our sort of person…

Ah yes, I’m typical of those elites who think they know better just because they didn’t run a fish and chip shop or drop out or university or knight a Duke. Actually I would think that giving a knighthood to the Queen’s husband is about as elitist as one can get but whatever…

Last week was a bad week for Labor and the Voice according to Newspoll which had Labor slipping by two percent in a recent poll and a majority against the Voice. While it’s true that this has probably been the worst week for Albanese since he was elected, it’s also another time when the media reported a poll as though there’s no such thing as the three percent margin of error. And, while we’re at it, let’s all ignore the fact that polls have been less than perfect when picking election winners. Polls aren’t useless but it’s bit like getting the score at three quarter time and trying to work out which football team will win. There’s a lot still to happen, so if one team has is a little closer than they were it doesn’t mean that much to the final outcome.

But the big news of the week was Peter Dutton’s amazing stroke of genius where he promised a second poll on First Nations recognition when he’s Prime Minister.

On one level this is a bit like me promising a free electric vehicle to every driver once I’m PM; it’s a bold promise but I’m never going to be PM so what the hell…

However, it does raise a few interesting points. For a start, it does beg the question is this like the recognition that Howard promised or is it more like the recognition that Abbott promised? Or are we talking about the plan from Malcolm Turnbull. Did Scott Morrison mention it at all or did he say, “Look mate, I don’t hold a referendum…”

Whatever, I’m sure the plan is to try to win over those who think that there should be some sort of recognition but are a bit confused about what a Voice looks like because the No campaign have been suggesting that nobody knows what a Voice looks like because you can’t see a Voice, you can only hear one so the idea of putting one in the Constitution is at odds with what the people writing the Constitution wanted because they expected the Indigenous population to do the decent thing and disappear so we’d be going against the wishes of our forefathers who weren’t racist and it’s outrageous to suggest that we should call anyone a racist unless they’re one of those people voting Yes.

But Dutton has opened another risk by suggesting a future referendum.

I want to make it clear that not all people voting No are racists. However, I do notice that some of the people who are making incredibly racist remarks are very upset when anyone suggests just because they’ve said something bigoted that they’re a racist, complaining that it’s the Yes voters who are sanction apartheid and we’ll end up losing our backyards to people who never bothered to invent the Hills Hoist in 60,000 years.

And it’s these people that form the hard NO. If they turn on Dutton because he dares to support recognition to people who we don’t like because if it wasn’t for them nobody would be calling us racist, then Dutton may have a whole new set of problems. What will Pauline think about this second referendum idea? How will t go down with Andrew Bolt?

At the moment, the media is giving a lot of time to people arguing a case against the proposed change – supposedly on the grounds of balance. I’ve noticed that they are a number of Indigenous people being interviewed who are members of organisations which aren’t exactly high profile. There was a whole story on what Tony Mundine thought. However, the only Indigenous people seeming to be given exposure are high profile proponents of the Yes case like Linda Burney or Thomas Mayo. However, if there’s one thing the media like, it’s conflict and if there’s any sort of a brouhaha on the No proponents then it might all shift to the divisions between them. Sort of robbing Peter to pay Pauline.

The other possibility is that by the time the vote comes around, that some people will be so sick of the conversation that they idea that we’ll have to go through the whole thing again if Dutton gets elected that they may vote Yes just to get it out of the way.

And amazingly, the anti-Voice voters seem upset that the Yes campaign have managed to obtain approval to use a 1986 hit, complaining that, by giving it, John Farnham sold out, even though he wasn’t paid. Someone even posted that they’d thrown all their John Farnham records in the bin, which – given they’ve already purchased them before CDs were a thing, won’t cost Whispering Jack a cent. (Wondering if I should. add what records are for younger readers… Mm, also wondering if I should explain what CDs are…)

While it does seem like an uphill battle for the Voice to succeed, I wonder how many people will go into the polling booth thinking that this won’t get up so I might vote Yes anyway because I don’t really want to be on the side of Hanson and friends.


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Peter Dutton Noes Everything!

Today I saw a book entitled “Everything You Need To Know About The Voice.” Needless to say it was supporting the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

It got me wondering if there’s a book coming out soon by Peter Dutton “Everything You Don’t Need To Know About The Voice” which is filled with blank pages.

I shouldn’t be too hard on Dutton. It must be difficult knowing that when you went to all the trouble of organising a spill against Turnbull that your colleagues preferred Scott Morrison… And it must be even harder knowing that you’ve basically been put in as leader while they try to find someone who can match Albanese for charisma.

So Mr Dutton is adopting the Abbott strategy of opposing everything and making it as hard as possible for Labor to succeed at anything. The big difference is that Abbott had the advantage of Labor’s leadership woes but – in spite of a few likely problems about Qantas – Albanese looks pretty safe.

Speaking of Qantas, I found it interesting that their support for the Voice was called “virtue signalling by certain people. Isn’t a virtue something good? So logically in order to “virtue signal” you have to be doing something that’s positive and right. Yep, some of the No supporters are actually suggesting that it’s a virtue to show your support for Yes.

All right that mightn’t be what they actually mean, but they are a confused lot. After telling us that it’s not clear that all Indigenous people are supporters and that it’s the First Nation “elites” and “activists” who are pushing it, they were quite outraged that the AEC was spending money getting Indigenous people to enrol to vote. “The AEC is trying to help the yes vote!” they bellowed, which sort of undercuts their argument about it only being the “elites”.

I’ve always been confused by the use of certain words as an attack. Elites, for example, are people who are superior in some way so surely they’re worth listening to. Ok, I realise that it’s being used ironically to suggest that these inner city types only think that they’re elite. Of course, it was strange when the monarchists were arguing against a republican and calling its supporters “elites”. After all, how much more elitist can one get than becoming the head of state by virtue of the fact that you’re a member of a special family.

And, of course, there’s the attack on all those “woke” folk, which makes me wonder what the critics consider what the opposite is. I mean the dictionary lists words like “asleep”, “hypnotised” and “mesmerised” as opposites so if you’re not woke are you hypnotised by someone else’s power?

Andrew Bolt: You are all getting sleepy, your eyelids are heavy, my voice is like a warm blanket, wrapping around you and soothing you. As you listen to me, you become more and more relaxed. Your body is becoming heavier and heavier, sinking into the chair. Your eyes are becoming heavy, too, and you can feel yourself drifting off to sleep… You will reject political correctness and believe me when I say that black is white and you will read the Murdoch papers and believe them. When I count to three you will seem to be awake but you will never be properly woke and you will tell everyone how I’m the only one making sense…

Putting the Voice aside, Mr Dutton has his best chance for some time to take the shine off Labor thanks to the cosy relationship with Qantas. While it’s annoying to have a flight cancelled, it’s even more annoying when you find out that the flight didn’t even exist at the time you booked it. Even though this isn’t the fault of Labor, it doesn’t help when you’ve just knocked back Qatar airline’s request for extra flights citing a number of different reasons for the decision apart from the actual one which was: Qantas didn’t want us to.

There’s a lot of potential ammunition for the Liberal Party over this so why do I feel that – yet again – they’ll end up using it to shoot themselves in the foot one more time?


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The Trouble With Education Is That So Few People Get It…

I said something really clever tonight to my wife and I said, “You should probably write that down…”

She did agree that it was clever but she seemed to think that I should be the one to write it down because after all I was the one who said it…

However, now that I’m trying to write it down…

It was something like how we can do all the big picture stuff and all the “this is a successful school because its data says this and I’m feeling like a bit of a failure because the school I spent so much time and effort into making great just went down the shit after I left (not just because I left but...) and I can feel like I didn’t make a difference but that’s just wrong because I made a difference to the people who were there when I was and that’s possibly enough for them and…”

As you can see, it was more succinct when I said it the first time and possibly even had meaning outside my brain…

Which brings me back to the trouble with education. Something that sounds good when someone says it may not make that much sense a bit later on when someone tries to work out what it actually means in practice.

I want to make it clear that I’m one of the first to challenge teachers and suggest that maybe what they’re doing isn’t working all that well and that it might be worth trying something else and seeing if it works better…


It’s always a worry when some politician announces that they have the answer and if only teachers would start doing this or that then all are problems would be solved and the promised land is just around the corner and if we can just get those teachers to stop what they’re doing and do what I tell them then we could fix all those literacy and numeracy problems and teach the lame to walk.

Often stories will be accompanied by a school which “turned things around” and went from being unsuccessful to showing great improvement once they all adopted the same strategy.

Of course the problem with this is that it’s like your average biopic. If you look at a winner then it’s pretty clear that what they did was a winning strategy but it doesn’t alter the fact that fifty thousand other people may have done the same thing and just fallen flat on their face. I mean “Billy Elliot” is a great example of triumphing in spite of everything around you suggesting that you should put your dreams to one side because they’re just ridiculous. Notwithstanding this, nobody is going to make a movie about me attempting to become a great dancer only to give up at the age of fifty after failing to show even a basic sense of rhythm and it just not working…

As for the school where the strategy worked, you need to have a look at what they were doing previously. To use an analogy here, if a football team hadn’t won a game for two years and nobody was turning up to training then adopting a strategy like holding a barbecue with free beer after training may actually lead to greater participation and an on-field improvement. However, even if the team starts a winning streak I doubt that many AFL coaches will be adopting it and throwing their sports science out the window.

The next big thing in education is what’s called “explicit instruction”. In simple terms this is a teaching method that breaks down complex skills into smaller, more manageable steps and provides clear and concise instructions on how to complete each step. It is a teacher-directed approach that involves modelling, guided practice, and feedback.

To put this into some sort of real-world situation. Imagine you’re going to teach someone to drive. I would think that this would involve a lot of explicit instruction before you let them turn on the engine and start driving. At the very least, you’d want to ensure that they knew how to steer and where to find the brake and accelerator and that they clearly knew the difference. I doubt that you’d throw someone the keys and say, “Take off and see what you can learn.” Swimming, on the other hand, may involve a bit of play to get them used to the water. Or, as someone once said, “I learnt to swim by being thrown into the lake… It was quite easy once I escaped the sack with all the rocks in it…”

As you can see there’s absolutely nothing wrong with explicit instruction. There are only two problems with a political push to introduce it into schools: The first is that it’s not appropriate for ALL learning. Learning to be an independent learner or learning to work cooperatively in groups can’t solely be taught by explicit instruction. (Although a good teacher can still offer feedback and guidance.) The second is the suggestion that somehow teachers haven’t been using explicit instruction at all. Of course, they may have been using it ineffectively or poorly but this idea that educators have embraced a whole range of other things and no longer ever explicitly instruct students is just a long way removed from what’s happening in nearly every Australian school.

By the time you read this, I expect that the date for the Voice Referendum will have been announced and it provides a great example about advantages and limits of explicit instruction. The Australian Electoral Commission have reminded us that we should write “YES” or “NO” in the box but if we do something else then it will be at the discretion of the presiding officer to decide if the intention of the voter was clear. A person who had a clear YE followed by an indistinct squiggle almost certainly is voting “YES” while a person who draws a Swastika may have intended to vote No, but it may just be that they’re making a comment on compulsory voting.

When it was announced that ticks may be considered a “YES” but crosses wouldn’t be a “NO”, Peter Dutton was outraged that this longstanding practice would be followed and accused Albanese and the AEC of trying to rig the vote. Apparently he’s concerned that in spite of the explicit instruction, the modelling and the examples many of the people intending to vote “NO” can’t actually follow what’s being said to them and will – in spite of being told in writing – to write their intention in words, that they’ll still put a cross.

It’s almost as if he thinks those voting with him are incapable of listening and understanding…

He may have a point.


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Kitsch Und Cabernet: Shelly Claws Shows What Politicians Are Like At Home

Voice Over: There’s no doubt that this leader has had more than his share of detractors but tonight we’re going to visit Adolph Thatcher in his own kitchen where he’ll be himself for several minutes while we unpick his brain and he’ll show you that he, in fact, does have a heart which he keeps in the pantry in the freezer. Tonight we’ll see what makes him tick. Apparently it’s because of his undiagnosed PSTD…

As you see I’m making a dessert of hard toffee with extra sugar because, if there’s one thing that this episode will need, it’s extra sugar.



Shelly: Hello, Adolph. lovely drive.

Adolph: Thanks. I’ve been criticised a lot for it, but it’s just my way of ensuring that things get done in a muscular sort of way…

Shelly: I meant the drive to here. It’s a beautiful spot.

Adolph: Ah, yes, right.

Shelly: And the view.

Adolph: Which one? My view on law and order or my view on why Victorians shouldn’t be allowed to vote?

Shelly: No, the view of the property…

Adolph: Ah, well, that’s what I love about this place. It’s over a hundred years old and we’re renovating…

Shelley: Are you a hands on renovator?

Adolph: Well, only in terms of knocking things down so someone else can rebuild…

Shelley: Sort of like your party

Adolph: Um…Shall we go inside?

Shelly: Thanks.


Adolph: This is the oven.

Shelly: I know, I’ve seen several before.

Adolph: Yes, well, I just thought I should point it out so people know that am aware of what an oven looks like and I’m not confused by the fact that it says, “SMEG”, which must be some foreign name for an oven…

Shelly: So what are you making for me?

Adolph: Well, I thought that a seafood chowder with crab would be appropriate.

Shelley: Lovely.

Adolph: I’m just going to turn on the oven.

Shelley: Better turn on the oven before it turns on you…

Adolph: Sorry?

Shelley: Just a little joke about the way Morrison managed to get you to challenge Turnbull only to use that to take over himself.

Adolph: Are you suggesting that Morrison is an oven?

Shelley: No… Actually do you really need an over if you’re going to use the stove top to cook the…

Adolph: Do you want to take over? I know what I’m doing. I said that this was an oven didn’t I?

Shelley: No, no, it’s fine. Look how about if we show a few shots of you cutting up food and then we’ll go for a walk and you can tell me something that humanises you.

Adolph: I could do that while I cut up the vegetables. I am capable of multitasking, you know.


Shelley: So you were the eldest and your parents got divorced…

Adolph: Yes, I always think that it’s hardest on the eldest. There was time when I blamed them for getting divorced and all the money problems that followed…

Shelley: And this is why it took you so long to be able afford a house?

Adolph: Yes, I bought a house at 19 but it took years to pay off…

Shelley: I understand that you have undiagnosed PTSD…

Adolph: Yes, I’ve witnessed some terrible things. Like there was that poor family that I had to refuse dental treatment for their two-year-old… and I had to look at files from a thirty year old case.. and some of the things that happened to people I took back to the cells…it’s been horrible…

Shelley: Have you thought of getting professional help?

Adolph: No, well, when I was younger you just sucked it up and got on with it.

Shelley: What about now?

Adolph: Now? But I’m… that would make me… I don’t need…

Shelley: Why don’t you show me where you mediate?

Adolph: Ah, yeah, I think there’s enough shots of the food till we eat it.


Shelley: Wow…

Adolph: This just shows that I’m in touch with my soft side. I meditate here.

Shelley: What about when you’re in Canberra?

Adolph: Then I don’t meditate, but I do say my mantra.

Shelley: What’s your mantra?

Adolph: It’s just a single word.

Shelley: Ok, tell me what it is.

Adolph: No.

Shelley: Is that because it’s private?

Adolph: No, that’s because my mantra is “no”!

Shelley: Oh, right…



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“Wifedom” – An Alternate View

I am reading “Wifedom” by Anna Funder which is about the way George Orwell’s wife, Eileen has been given so few words in the biographies. Indeed, even in his own memoir about his experiences in Spain, “Homage To Catalonia”, Orwell scarcely mentions her.

Let me begin by saying that her basic view is completely sound: Women have been written out of most significant events, or reduced to the support role when frequently they were just as – or in some cases – more important than the man who is credited with the discovery, the art, the invention or whatever.

However, while reading Funder’s book, I couldn’t help but wonder if there might be a reason that Orwell left out her significant work apart from male vanity. In fact, I even wonder if it was on her insistence that she was reduced to “my wife” and that much of the action involving her was passively described in terms of the event without mentioning who was involved.

It’s easy to write about the distant past with detachment. If I confess to this or that or write that my housemates were all involved in shady activities, or, even worse, that I once voted for the Liberal Party, I am liable to suffer little consequence beyond a reader thinking less of me. “Homage To Catalonia” was written and published just before Chamberlain returned waving the agreement with Hitler and saying, “Peace for our time.” It’s entirely possible that Eileen and/or George decided that describing all the work that she had done fighting the fascists could have put her life at risk from a range of sources such as Fascists and Stalinists, the latter regarding those fighting against Franco as Trotskyists and therefore an enemy.

While I was wondering about this as a possible reason for leaving out her important work dealing with all sorts of correspondence and propaganda and keeping certain things away from the spies that were all around them, an alternate theory came to mind.

In the book, Funder describes how bravely Eileen sat on the bed to conceal the passports hidden under the mattress while the room was searched by the authorities, it occurred to me that this is not something that was independently verified. Then Funder describes how Eileen bravely waited for Orwell, even after her friends and associates were arrested, fearing that she too might be taken at any moment. She courageously went to the police to get visas stamped even though it may lead to her arrest.

And while I accept that she may have been all that Funder describes and that there’s no way of knowing this: What if she ratted them out in order to save herself and George?

It would make some sort of sense for someone who’s needs to wait till their husband returns, who’s in danger herself and who knows that there are spies all around her so there’s virtually no way that people didn’t know what she was doing to weigh up the options and make some sort of deal in order to enable her to escape.

And it would certainly make both her and Orwell think twice about describing her activities in any detail in “Homage To Catalonia”…

Ok, it’s not a hill I’m prepared to die on, but it’s always worth considering other alternative views… Unless you’re at CPAC where all the Conservatives agree that cancel culture is terrible and nobody should be woke… and certain books need to be banned because they encourage both those things!

Anyway, read Anna Funder’s book and make up your own mind. It’s certainly one of the more interesting books I’ve read.


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The Coalition Hate Childless People!


Just listen to David Littleproud on “Insliders” telling us about all those “mum and dad” pharmacies that’ll be in trouble thanks to Labor’s changes allowing 60 days worth of prescriptions to be dispensed. I mean, what have the Coalition got against pharmacists who aren’t mums and/or dads?

And when they talk about landlords and negative gearing changes, they always mention that heaps of property investors are low income “mums and dads” just trying to put something away for their retirement.

I fully expect them to say that many of the people involved in the PwC leaks were also mums and dads who were just trying to help out other mums and dads in companies that felt that they were paying too much tax if they were asked to pay more than their fair share which – after careful calculation – is none at all.

To be fair, there’s a lot of politics of envy in this country and some people who make sacrifices to send their kids to private schools have the sort of income that means that they have even less taxable income than a multinational company but with careful budgeting they manage to afford the $100k in schools from their meagre income of $38 for the financial year.

Anyway, they’re the sort of mums and dads that are having a go and getting a go because if there’s one thing that the Liberals admire it’s people who have a go unless they’re workers demanding the sort of living wage that’ll add to inflation because if a worker can’t make ends meet then they’ll just have to cut their cloth to meet their suit or whatever the saying is, but if an employer can’t make ends meet they’ll go out of business and we’ll all be in trouble so price rises are just the fault of those greedy workers wanting to eat and heat…

Unless, of course, we’re talking about a landlord who has used negative gearing to ensure that they don’t make a profit because if their property starts to be profitable they need to buy another one to ensure that they aren’t paying tax and that they are still making a loss because that’s the way that some of these mums and dads have a go…

So I’d like some interviewer to ask the Coalition frontbencher – after they talk about mum and dad pharmacists/landlords/investors/meth lab syndicates – why they hate the childless people so much.

Ok, yes, all right, I know. The phrase “mum and dad” is emotive and it makes one think of nice, middle-class people struggling in a way that words like “father and mother” or “sire and dam” don’t. It doesn’t make one think of King Charles and the mother of his children, Princess Di. Neither does it make one think of Tony and Carmela Soprano and their mum and dad waste management business.

And, before someone points out the lack of inclusion here, what about the “mum and mum” or “dad and dad” parents that can now marry and have children…

On a side note here, but did anyone else think that it was strange that one of the arguments people made against same sex marriage was that children should have a mother and a father and same sex relationships denied them this. What I find most confusing about that is the fact that same sex relationships where the couple have children already existed and denying them the right to marry didn’t solve the alleged problem of children not having a parent of both sexes. It just took away the legal security that a marriage can provide. Reminds of me of some of those people against the Voice who simultaneously argue that it’s a risk because Parliament will decide its form and we don’t need it in the Constitution because Parliament could set one up tomorrow without the need for Constitutional change…

Now let me make it clear that I have nothing against people being in business and making a buck. After all, this is a capitalist system and I’m not going to suggest that those benevolent employers who only exist to give people jobs should be the first to be lined up against the wall and shot when the revolution comes. However, it does strike me as a little inconsistent when businesses argue that they’re the ones taking the risks and so they should be entitled to great rewards, only to turn around and say that the risk didn’t work out so someone should do something because life shouldn’t be this unfair when they’ve taken the risk and started/taken over/inherited a business. We all remember how some businesses took the JobKeeper money and kept it, even though they made a profit and there was no obligation on them to establish that they lost revenue during the pandemic. They didn’t even have to prove their parental status.


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Abbott Sick Of “Welcome To Country” So Maybe We Should Shorten It For Him!

Yes, I suppose that some of you are offended because you realise that I’m only shortening the “Welcome To Country” by one syllable for Tony Abbott. While others probably think that I should take out the “Welcome” when it comes to the ex-PM because he was clearly not welcomed at the election where the voters of his electorate preferred the Independent candidate, Zali Steggall.

Of course we all understand that Tony Abbott’s views are the sort of news that’s worth reporting. As someone who was once Prime Minister of this fair land, his opinion is worth a lot more than mine or yours because we’re all equal and to set up something like the Voice is, well, it’s just like Apartheid in South Africa because having the Indigenous population given that sort of recognition in the Constitution would lead to people like Mr Abbott being just as oppressed as all those poor South Africans who were forced to stick to Whites Only areas.

And Dutton certainly has a point when he says that the Albanese government is spending too much time on the Voice when the cost of living situation is so dire that the Opposition are going to oppose the two-for-one prescription legislation in order to ensure that Pharmacies aren’t affected by it. Still, it’ll be too late for those ones that lost everything and gone out of business as soon as Labor even thought of the idea. I remember the Pharmacy Guild head, Trent Twomey, telling us this just before he told us that he definitely wasn’t going to be a candidate for the Liberal Party at any upcoming election even though he was a member of the party.

The Opposition have made the point about Albanese’s obsession with the Voice in Question Time by ensuring that just about every question they ask has some connection to it, including Michealia Cash’s supplementary one about did they know where in Canberra the Voice would be located. Labor didn’t answer that question and it’s this lack of detail that should worry everyone…

On Twitter there are many people making the point that you can oppose the Voice and still not be racist, just as having a white sheet over your head doesn’t make you a member of the Ku Klux Klan. After all, it could be Halloween and you could be going as a ghost and, all right, it’s several months away but you need to check that the sheet fits, don’t you and just because you’re wearing it on the same day as the Referendum, well, both events occur in October.

An example of one of these non-racist people is this tweet:

He or she is not the only person concerned about “fake aboriginals” (sic). It’s been a theme of Andrew Bolt even though he had his free speech seriously curtailed by a court which said that he had to be accurate.

Of course, the irony is that someone connected to the “No” camp was guilty of actually creating something using AI which the “Yes” camp inaccurately tried to suggest was a fake Indigenous person, but as the creator of the campaign, Philip Mobbs explained:

“Our society is made up of a rich tapestry of people from nearly every corner of the world, people of colour are effectively the audience that makes up Australia. My view is, just because I used a person of colour, doesn’t mean it was an Aboriginal person. I found it perplexing they assume it was an Aboriginal person … it never crossed my mind, I wanted to communicate to the majority of Australians by reflecting a multicultural society.

Members of the “No” campaign were outraged that the “Yes” campaign tried to make something of this when it was nothing to do with them and that Mobbs was a completely different person who they don’t know and so it didn’t happen.

I’ve also seen several tweets along the lines of people should stop expecting government to help them and that if Indigenous people wanted a better life then they should work for it and get an education.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should flaunt your success by dressing well. After all, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price complained that Linda Burney was “dripping with Gucci”. Burney’s office did clarify that she didn’t own any Gucci products which is lucky for Price, otherwise Gucci may have been sued for suggesting that their products somehow melt.

Yes, if you’re a First Nations person you should take responsibility and try to make something of yourself but if you do:

So there you have it. If you’re an Indigenous person with any sort of problem, you should solve it yourself, but if you’re a success you should be out there helping those “true unfiltered Aborigines”.

Strangely, when I responded to this tweet (or should I say “X”?) in a true and unfiltered way, I was blocked, but there you go!

Confused? Mm, well, if you don’t know:

Ask questions and find out!!!


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Peter Dutton Is Not A Monster! (Monsters threaten to sue!)

There’s something quite terrible about what’s happening in Australia.

If I can sum it up it goes something like this: There’s a suggestion that the Indigenous population will be given a Voice to Parliament but unless I know what they’re going to say I don’t think that they should be allowed to speak.

Ok, I may have that slightly wrong but I did hear the incredible Sussan Ley tell radio listeners today that the trouble with a Treaty is that we don’t know what will be in it… which, if you think about it, is usually the case in the days before a Treaty is agreed to. I mean, consider the Ukraine/Russia situation and ask yourself if it sounds reasonable for Zelensky to say: “I won’t negotiate a peace deal with Russia until I’m told what the final deal will look like.” The whole point of any sort of treaty is that you negotiate so the idea that we know what it looks like is slightly absurd. Or to put it another way, Sussssan is basically suggesting that Albanese could simply say that he’s decided on the Treaty and that it’s all sorted and he doesn’t need to consult anyone else…

By the way, when I called Sussan Ley “incredible” I meant it. She is incredible. She’s unbelievable. She’s neither credible nor believable…

Anyway, back to Peter Dutton.

I want to make a couple of things quite clear here:

  1. I sort of imagined that I’d be mocking the Labor government for their inability to do more by this point in the electoral cycle.
  2. I also imagined I’d be mocking The Greens for their inability to negotiate something that was better than what Labor are doing.
  3. I never imagined that the Liberal Party would be so bad that I can’t resist shooting fish in a barrel and letting Labor and The Greens off the hook because why resort to fishing with hooks when you have all those fish in the barrel just waiting for me to take shots at…

That’s actually more than a couple. With number skills like that I could replace Josh Frydenberg as Treasurer because he was 60 billion out…

So like I said, back to Dutton…

Magicians are good at what’s called misdirection. They encourage their audience to look at one thing when the trick is really being performed somewhere else and suddenly, “Hey presto, look at this magic I’ve performed.” Of course, when it comes to magicians, we refer to what they do as “magic tricks” because we’re all aware that they’re tricks.

When it comes to politicians and the media, we’re often aware of the misdirection and that means that we sometimes start looking for it so hard that we fail to see the obvious thing. For example, Bruce Lehrman is suing parts of the media and now he’s threatening to sue the ACT DPP and this has led to some people backing him and saying things like, “Poor bloke, the court found him innocent!” while other people are pointing out that it was a mistrial and no verdict was found and… The whole argument comes down to whether he’s been been a victim and some say yea and some say nay and… Why, there was even a story about how he worried that he’d never work again… It seems that nobody will employ him but he still has enough money to pursue all these legal actions…

To me the question that seems to be overlooked here is: Why isn’t he suing any of the people who had him sacked prior to the 2019 election? I mean, if he feels so aggrieved, why not the ones who sacked him and let Brittany Higgins keep working?

I’m not going to speculate on an answer for various legal reasons, but it is an interesting question, don’t ya think?

Any, back to Dutton… Apparently he’s a lovely chap. He’s even managed to get an endorsement from his wife which raises another obvious question but that’s not the obvious one that I want to talk about.

The Uluru Statement asked for a Voice, a Treaty and Makarrata or truth-telling. While there’s been a bit of an attempt by the Coalition to argue: “Look we’re not racists; we just think that giving the Indigenous people a Voice could lead to all sorts of things like them using it to say things that we don’t approve of”, they are trying hard to suggest that they’re actually in favour of reconciliation.

But what do they mean by reconciliation? Not a Voice. And certainly not a Treaty. The attacks on Labor and the attempt to say that the Voice is just going to lead to a Treaty makes it quite clear that they are dead set against that. Given their attacks about the idea that Albanese plans to deliver the Uluru Statement IN FULL, one must presume that they’re also against a Makarrata or truth-telling…

Actually, I think that we can be certain that Peter Dutton is definitely against anything to do with truth-telling!

So it seems that the Coalition is opposed to every part of the Uluru Statement. They’re not opposed to recognition and if only Labor had a referendum on that, they’d have supported it. Why the idea of constitutional recognition is something they’ve been in favour of as far back as when John Howard was Prime Minister. It’s just been a bit too hard to have a referendum on the thing because well, there was so much else to do… Like checking up the legality of Robodebt!

Yes, Dutton supports reconciliation as long as it doesn’t lead to anything.


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Of Course You Already Know What I’m Going To Write But I Have A Surprise Or Two Yet…

My wife told me that AI was writing for the Murdoch press.

I was gobsmacked. Why would they use artificial intelligence when actual intelligence has been something that disqualified anyone for the job at the Murdoch stable…

Of course, I shouldn’t have used the word “stable” because that implies horses who are kept in a confined space and only allowed out when someone wants to ride them… Mm, ignore that previous sentence.

Anyway, I suddenly remembered that Modern Western civilisation defines intelligence by IQ tests which are basically one’s ability to recognise patterns. Therefore people like Andrew Bolt can be considered intelligent because they just write the same stuff, over and over and repeat it, ad infinitum… (Ok, people who regularly read me, pot and kettle… Yes, yes, but notwithstanding that…)

Anyway, consider this from Bolt:

The Climate Change Scam

The climate change scam is one of the biggest frauds of our time. It is based on the false premise that human activity is causing the Earth to warm at an alarming rate. This premise has been repeatedly debunked by scientists, but the climate change alarmists refuse to listen. They are more interested in pushing their political agenda than in the truth.

The climate change alarmists have been very successful in scaring people. They have convinced many people that the Earth is on the brink of a climate catastrophe. This fear has been used to justify all sorts of government interventions, from carbon taxes to cap-and-trade schemes.

But the truth is that there is no climate catastrophe. The Earth’s climate has been changing for millions of years, and it will continue to change. There is no evidence that human activity is causing the Earth to warm at an alarming rate.

The climate change alarmists are doing a great disservice to the public. They are scaring people with false information, and they are wasting billions of dollars on ineffective policies. It is time to wake up to the climate change scam.

Ok, now before I continue let me make the following confession: That was not written by Bolt at all, but by an AI bot who didn’t know who Bolt was (lucky AI), but when I said that he was part of the Murdoch stable, the AI came up with that.

In addition it told me:

Bolt would likely also make the following points:

  • He would likely point to the fact that the Earth’s climate has changed many times in the past, and that there is no evidence that human activity is the main cause of the current warming trend.
  • He would likely argue that the climate change alarmists are exaggerating the risks of climate change, and that the costs of their proposed solutions are outweighed by the benefits.
  • He would likely appeal to the public’s sense of skepticism, and argue that they should not be afraid to question the prevailing wisdom on climate change.

However, the AI also added (and I’m not making this up it really did this):

What are some of the counterarguments that could be made to Bolt’s position?

  • Climate scientists argue that the current warming trend is unprecedented in the past 1,000 years, and that it is very likely caused by human activity.
  • They argue that the risks of climate change are serious, and that the costs of inaction could be very high.
  • They appeal to the public’s sense of responsibility, and argue that we have a moral obligation to take action to protect the planet for future generations.

What is your own opinion on the issue of climate change?

I believe that climate change is a serious problem, and that we need to take action to address it. However, I also believe that the climate change debate has been hijacked by ideologues on both sides. I think it is important to have a balanced discussion about the issue, and to consider all of the evidence.

So there we have it. AI could take the place of Andrew Bolt tomorrow but it would probably be sacked due to its ability to consider a counter argument.

As a final aside which has nothing to do with intelligence, I must say that I read a couple of articles today from journalists who could never be replaced by intelligence, artificial or otherwise… Basically, after reading them, I understood that Scott Morrison had launched a strong defence against the Robodebt RC findings which I summarise as follows:

Scott Morrison says that he didn’t do anything wrong because he didn’t do anything and it was up to the public service to tell him and they didn’t and even if they did he would have believed them and he did and he wasn’t in charge and someone else said mean things but they didn’t understand that that’s not the way it works and they didn’t give him the presumption of innocence which even Christian Porter was entitled to and I REJECT THE PREMISE OF THE FINDINGS because the silly woman who headed the Commission didn’t allow me to present evidence that would show that I am on God’s Right Hand and anything I do is forgivable, nay permissible, because one of the Ten Commandments is “Thou Shall Have No Other Gods Before Making The Poor Fear The Lord And His Servant Centrelink And, Like God, Even If You Ask For An Answer Centrelink’s Phone’s Don’t Answer Until The Afterlife”!

It’s worth remembering that his colleagues found this man preferable to Dutton. However, I did find Peter Dutton impressive on 7.30 last night when he said that it wasn’t up to anyone else to tell ex-PMs when to resign and that they should be allowed to pick their end date, before listing a number of them, including Howard… I guess that he’d forgotten that Howard tried to do that but the electors of Bennelong picked it for him…

Yeah, I guess it’s believable that Dutton didn’t remember the briefing and that there were no notes because everyone forgot to take them…


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It’s Not Corrupt If Both Sides Do It!

Greg Sheridan made an interesting comment on “Insiders” where he told us that if the Voice fails to get up that means that Peter Dutton is not a racist because most people agree with him.

Interesting logic. Does that mean that the American South weren’t racist for excluding African-Americans from certain places because most people there agreed with it? Or that Hitler wasn’t anti-Semitic because most Nazis agreed with him… (No, I’m not comparing Dutton to Hitler before you start invoking Godwin’s Law. That would be unfair. For a start, Hitler managed to successfully seize power, while Dutton couldn’t even get his own party to pick him ahead of Scott Morrison.)

It sort of reminded me of some of the justifications when it was suggested that Gladys Berejiklian’s grants to provide Darryl’s tractor with enough fuel to run over his iPad, as well as several other special favours of a financial nature to his electorate in return for his special favour of letting her be boss while in public. Pork-barrelling isn’t corrupt because both sides do it.

I must say that – as a general rule – it doesn’t hold up to most other areas of your life. “Yes, officer, I am pissed and driving but so are all the other people leaving the party so it’s ok and I’ll just be on my way!” OR “Look, I read that in nearly all relationships women do most of the work around the house you finish the vacuuming and stop complaining because I’m trying to watch this show.”

Anyway, I was intrigued by the basic nature of a couple of things recently. In particular, I saw a heading that BHP would be $3 billion out of pocket with Labor’s “Same job, same pay” laws. This is particularly intriguing because I’m sure that I remember a number of Coalition MPs and business leaders telling us that this would mean that workers would be out of pocket because it’d be impossible for bosses to pay people more for things like greater experience and skill. Now, it may just be me here but I couldn’t see how this is going to lead to an enormous lift in BHP’s wages bill unless they’re going to lift everyone’s wage which sort of contradicts the argument about workers being worse off.

But then there are a lot of things like this:

  • The Voice, for example, is just “virtue-signaling” by “inner-city elites” and will lead to no actual changes while simultaneously giving enormous power to First Nations people and enable them to hold up legislation, demand reparations, force a treaty and take over your backyard. The backyard, I should point out, is not a problem because the Mabo legislation led to nobody owning their backyard as it was all taken over by land claims from Indigenous people… Oh wait, that didn’t actually happen, did it?
  • Remember how the proposed changes to negative gearing proposed by the Labor Party in the 2019 election campaign was going to drive down housing prices because all the landlords were going to sell. However, this was not going to lead to first home buyers getting a chance to buy because somehow the changes were going to drive UP the price of houses at the same time.
  • Governments need to do something to bring down energy prices, but when Dan Andrews announces that no new houses will be allowed to connect to gas after January 1st, 2024, it’s an outrage because people should have the freedom to connect to gas which is – according to some critics of the decision – abundant and cheap. While not disputing the fact that Australia has so much gas that we can export it, the fact remains that we are paying high prices for it and – according to the gas companies – to reduce the price would mean that it wouldn’t be worth their time and money to make a “reasonable profit” as the proposed federal legislation was requiring. No, unless they’re making an unreasonable profit they’d be better off doing nothing. Anyway, this is particularly ironic given that so many Murdoch misanthropes have accused Andrews of “gaslighting” the Victorian public.
  • Pre-election, the Coalition told us that Labor can’t manage money and they’ll run up an enormous deficit but when they deliver a surplus, it was easy and anyone could have done it, even though the Liberals didn’t manage it in any of their eight budgets. Of course, now that Labor have a surplus they should be offering relief to people at the same time as reducing their spending and not adding to inflation by giving relief to people.
  • Rain “robbed” England of a victory in the 4th Test even though we still had five wickets in hand and the possibility of setting them a target. An Australian victory would have been unlikely but not the most far-fetched scenario to have happened in the history cricket. With Australia at 0/135 when rain stopped play in the 5th Test, can we say that if there’s no play today that rain “robbed” Australia of victory or is the fact that it’s not over till the final ball, something that doesn’t suit the narrative of the English this time? Surely you wouldn’t have double-standards from people who voted for Brexit while expecting to retain all the benefits of being part of the EU…
  • Samantha Maiden thought that Kyle Sandilands’ opinion of Dan Andrews was worth a whole article and included quotes like: “That government sucks ass.” How strange that, of all the views you could report on, you think that Sandilands are the most relevant and insightful. So these days political journalists aren’t just writing stories which are nothing but their own opinion, but they’re also writing stories that are nothing but another media personality’s opinion.
  • Finally, Elon Musk has recently been accused of ruining Twitter. However, now I think we can definitely say that he has killed Twitter. The recognisable bird has been replaced by an “X” which seems appropriate giving the fact that an ex usually refers to something that’s over like ex-lover or ex-PM.


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The Devastating Economic News About Rising/Falling/Stagnant House Prices…

From time to time I like to remind people of the wonderful poem, “Said Hanrahan” which I’ve included at the bottom for those who don’t know it. But basically, Hanrahan announces how “we’ll all be rooned” any day now.

While it’s basically about the trials of the farmer, it has a certain modern appeal for anyone listening to anything that any economist predicts after they’ve spent an hour or so gazing at the latest statistics.

The stock market on the other hand, is a different beast from your average economist, and rather than rely on the cold hard statistics or the cold, squishy entrails of a chicken, the share market is rather more emotional. That’s not to say that everyone playing the share market is irrational; some of them are just trying to make money out of someone else’s irrationality.

In the simplest terms possible let me declare: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ECONOMIC GOOD NEWS!

Now, I know that many people will dispute this but it helps to remember that economics is like the AFL premiership. Some people will be happy if one team wins, but most supporters of the other teams will be disappointed. And, let’s be clear here, most of the rest of the world will be unaffected and not care, but simply wonder what all the fuss is about.

So it is with economics. We can interview an Australian economist who tells us how terrible it is that house prices are slipping, even though last year, the interview was with someone who thought that it was terrible that house prices were rising because it either a) created a bubble which would eventually lead to tears, or b) keep first home buyers out of the market. Whichever way it goes, someone will be cheering, but, unlike sports commentary which tends to focus on the winners, most of the economic focus will be about who’s likely to lose badly.

I couldn’t help but wonder why the media keeps focusing on vested interests without stopping to point out that they are only interviewing these folk in the hope that they’ll give us some greater insight than – to paraphrase – “We don’t think we should be the ones to suffer, so please consider us and ignore the losers because they’ve always been losers and we’re not, so don’t change it so that we have to give up some of our booty because it’s really not that much in the scheme of things and if a few thousand need to go hungry or homeless or both it’s a small price to pay to ensure that nothing upsets those who’ve sacrificed lots to make sure that they’ll one day have a shitload of money…”

I always notice the little tricks with statistics at such times and the emotive plea to help those “mums and dads” who are never “dads and mums” or even “aunts and uncles”. And they’re certainly never “stepdads and mistresses”.

No, it seems that most landlords only own one property and the handful who own upwards of fifty properties each can be ignored, even though it works out that the ones who own more than one sometimes own lots more than one, so it does work out that even though there are more of the poverty-stricken mum&dad single owners than multiple rental property owners, the latter group still own most of the rental properties…

But leaving aside statistical tricks, I heard one amazing thing from an interview today. I joined late, so I can’t name the man who said this but he was asserting that some of these mums and dads who’ve only bought a property to finance their retirement (not for the tax advantage of negative gearing so I guess they haven’t bothered to claim anything there!!), will be forced to sell thanks to Dan Andrews proposed “rent freeze”. This will be awful, not just for them but it won’t help in any way because – and you may need to think about this – they won’t be bought by renters or investors!!!

Now, I would have expected that if there were a flood of properties on the market that at least some of them would be purchased by non-struggling investors, keen to add to their portfolios at bargain prices given – as the interviewee suggested – Andrews freeze would drive up rents.

But if they were driving down house prices, I would have also thought that some people saving to buy a house would be renters and that when they bought a place then that would be at least one or two out of the rental market.

However, no. Neither a renter nor an investor will be those who are buying these properties from the mums and dads and uncles and aunts or anyone with a grandfathered investment. Verily I ask, who shall these buyers be that are neither an investor nor a renter? Just some average home owner who wants to expand next door?

It’s a mystery.

Anyway, as I said at the start the conclusion of any economic news is that we’ll all be rooned any day now. To quote Hanrahan directly:


“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,

In accents most forlorn,

Outside the church, ere Mass began,

One frosty Sunday morn.

The congregation stood about,
Coat-collars to the ears,
And talked of stock, and crops, and drought,
As it had done for years.
“It’s lookin’ crook,” said Daniel Croke;
“Bedad, it’s cruke, me lad,
For never since the banks went broke
Has seasons been so bad.”
“It’s dry, all right,” said young O’Neil,
With which astute remark
He squatted down upon his heel
And chewed a piece of bark.
And so around the chorus ran
“It’s keepin’ dry, no doubt.”
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.
“The crops are done; ye’ll have your work
To save one bag of grain;
From here way out to Back-o’-Bourke
They’re singin’ out for rain.
“They’re singin’ out for rain,” he said,
“And all the tanks are dry.”
The congregation scratched its head,
And gazed around the sky.
“There won’t be grass, in any case,
Enough to feed an ass;
There’s not a blade on Casey’s place
As I came down to Mass.”
“If rain don’t come this month,” said Dan,
And cleared his throat to speak–
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“If rain don’t come this week.”
A heavy silence seemed to steal
On all at this remark;
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed a piece of bark.
“We want a inch of rain, we do,”
O’Neil observed at last;
But Croke “maintained” we wanted two
To put the danger past.
“If we don’t get three inches, man,
Or four to break this drought,
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.”
In God’s good time down came the rain;
And all the afternoon
On iron roof and window-pane
It drummed a homely tune.
And through the night it pattered still,
And lightsome, gladsome elves
On dripping spout and window-sill
Kept talking to themselves.
It pelted, pelted all day long,
A-singing at its work,
Till every heart took up the song
Way out to Back-o’Bourke.
And every creek a banker ran,
And dams filled overtop;
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“If this rain doesn’t stop.”
And stop it did, in God’s good time;
And spring came in to fold
A mantle o’er the hills sublime
Of green and pink and gold.
And days went by on dancing feet,
With harvest-hopes immense,
And laughing eyes beheld the wheat
Nid-nodding o’er the fence.
And, oh, the smiles on every face,
As happy lad and lass
Through grass knee-deep on Casey’s place
Went riding down to Mass.
While round the church in clothes genteel
Discoursed the men of mark,
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed his piece of bark.
“There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
There will, without a doubt;
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.”

John O’Brien


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We All Like Democracy Until The Voters Get It Wrong!

I’m currently out of the country so I’m only catching up on the greatest disaster in the history of Australia. Apparently cancelling a contract is the sort of thing that can do world-wide damage to our country’s reputation.

No, I’m not talking about Scott Morrison’s decision to cancel the subs deal with France. That was fine. No, I’m talking about Dan Andrews cancelling of the Commonwealth Games which has apparently sent shock waves everywhere including countries who aren’t in the Commonwealth and can only watch with the sort of envy that makes them wonder why any country would demand their independence from Britain when we have such wonderful side benefits as our own games. Something that rivals US baseball’s World Series which only includes American teams.

Speaking personally, it did strike me as strange that most of the criticism was about the cancellation rather than the original decision to bid for them. Particularly as it came from the same quarters who’ve been complaining about the Victorian government’s spending and debt. As I see it this is like me putting down a deposit on a Maserati only to discover that this didn’t lock in the price and that, while I could sell my house and close the deal, I’d be homeless and unable to afford the upkeep of the car. By all means, attack me for being silly enough to put down the deposit but surely you shouldn’t be telling me that withdrawing from the sale was a foolish thing that’ll ruin my credit rating.

Anyway, I’ve been keeping up with what’s happening in my home state via the media which seems to only be able to find people critical of the decision. Even the good old ABC is only balancing the people who are highly critical of this decision with people who are highly critical of everything that Dan Andrews has ever done.

Phil “Gladys Saved The Nation” Coorey wasn’t content to rebuke Andrews, but suggested that Victorian voters were fools and insisted that Dan had gaslighted Victorians just like he did with the pandemic when he dared to adopt a different strategy from Phil’s “let her rip” heroes of Scotty and Gladys. Ok, in real terms neither of them were ever prepared to totally let it rip, but it always struck me as odd that the same people who were advocating no lockdowns were also hypercritical of Andrews for the virus escaping hotel quarantine.

Sure. People have a right to criticise Andrews but to suggest that anyone who disagrees with him is somehow mentally defective seems a trifle arrogant. Like I always say I don’t expect everyone to agree with me all the time but when they start disagreeing with themselves in the space of one opinion piece it’s a worry. Like when people who are complaining about laws against misinformation are censorship and an outrage, only to turn around and demand that Big W stop selling a book because they think it should be banned.

When they do it in the space of one post on Twitter, it’s an even bigger concern…

Without naming the person and leading to a possible pile-on, there is one person who keeps popping up in my Twitter feed and I’m trying to work out why unless it’s part of Elon Musk’s cunning plan to drive all the woke people off Twitter. Said person has been railing against the Labor government calling them communists, socialists and evil people who are dividing the country. Albanese is even worse than Whitlam who destroyed the country. Included in her tweets was:

“We are all aware on Tweeter (sic) that not everyone agrees with our views. But there are people who are also mentally unstable and have their own agendas to challenge anything to create a situation”

Which would be fine. Everyone’s got a right to an opinion, etc. However, today this person posted the following:

“The abuse that is levelled at people who are against the “voice” is sadly indicative of the intolerance towards people who have a different opinion. It’s the most divisive issue that we have ever seen.”

So, it’s all right to suggest that some of the people challenging you are “mentally unstable” but just make one or two little comments like “this will give the Indigenous population “the power to challenge any decision or legislation of the government of the day”, and people start suggesting that you might be racist because you seem to be ignoring that the status quo is that anyone can already do that, so why should we be concerned that a Voice with no veto powers could do what everyone can already do… Ok, people may not get very far, and the Voice may get a bit more media coverage if they suggest that what the government it doing lacks input from the people most affected, but the point remains.

Anyway, I’m sure that I could spend several useless months picking up all the inconsistencies of people and talk at length how confirmation bias means that two people can look at the same by-election and conclude that Fadden was a poor result for Dutton because he only got something like the expected swing in spite of spending ten times more than Labor, while someone else may look at it and think that it was a great result for Peter because he received more first preferences than the percentage of people who have him as preferred PM…

Whatever, I recommend taking a stoic path and deciding that you can’t do anything about the inconsistency of others, so you’re best to control your own. It might be wise occasionally to take a step back and say, “How would I feel if the other side did this? Would I justify it? Would I say no big deal? Or would I be demanding that King Charles break with protocols and declare martial law until a government who understands the meaning of integrity is returned, no matter how many elections that takes.”

As I mentioned at the start, I’m out of the country but we did receive our energy bill while away making us wonder if it would be cheaper to extend our holiday indefinitely even if it meant moving to a five-star hotel. I do remember sometime last century, Jeff Kennett privatising everything he could manage in order to make it all more efficient and cheaper. Imagine how expensive it would be if it were still in public hands…


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