Reason vs Emotion

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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.

“It’s Called Newstart Not Nostart, So We Don’t Need To Raise It…”

Ok, I tried to get an interview with one of the Federal Ministers who’ve been telling us that there’s no need to raise the amount that unemployed people are getting, but apparently they’re all too busy ensuring that people have jobs… Not everyone, mind you, just the people who are aspirational and having a go… Oh, and their mates, of course.

Eventually, after much ringing around, I was able to get an interview with someone who works for Centrelink. Yes, I know. It’s a sign of my privilege and contacts that I was able to actually speak to a Centrelink worker, but I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I’m an Anglo male, so I can do or say things that would get anyone else into trouble. The Centrelink person spoke on condition that I keep him (or her) anonymous and don’t expose any links he (or she) may have to any human living or dead. In fact, like any Centrelink worker, any resemblance with any real person is pure coincidence. For the purpose of this, we shall call him (or her), “Worker”.

Me: Now, a number of politicians have been suggesting that two thirds of people are on Newstart for less than a year. Is this true?

Worker: Yes.

Me: So, most people find a job within a year?

Worker: No, we just find a way to kick them off benefits by doing things like sending them Robodebt notices and while they’re on the phone waiting to sort that out, they usually miss a job interview so we can suspend their benefits. 

Me: Are you admitting that Robodebt is just a scam to punish the unemployed?

Worker: Not at all. It’s a perfectly reasonable way of ensuring that welfare expenditure has been well-spent. 

Me: But it’s totally flawed and it frequently targets people who don’t really owe the money.

Worker: Yes. What was your question?

Me: Is that fair?

Worker: No, of course not. I just told you it’s all about ensuring welfare expenditure is well-spent and spending it on the unemployed is really a bit of a waste.  

Me: But you just admitted it wasn’t fair…

Worker: I don’t understand why you’re having trouble understanding that point. What’s fairness got to do with it? Are you a socialist or something?

Me: I’m just saying that it seems strange that you admit that it’s unfair when there have been suggestions that Robodebt letters have led to suicides and that nobody responsible seems to care…

Worker: That’s a shocking accusation!

Me: So how would you refute it?

Worker: Now, stop trying to verbal me. I said it was a shocking accusation, I never said that it wasn’t true. 

Me: So you have no problem with the idea that the policies you implement are causing suicides? 

Worker: Look, I’m just doing what I can to help the government get expenditure down so we can balance the budget. I don’t make policy. I just follow orders and if what I’m doing helps to reduce the number of unemployed then that should help reduce the bottom line.

Me: So how does what you’re doing help anyone get a job?

Worker: I never said it did. I just said it reduced the number of unemployed.

Me: Are you telling me that this is a deliberate policy to drive people to suicide?

Worker: That’s a shocking accusation!

Me: So you’re denying that you… Oh! Forget it.

Worker: Yes, that’s what most people end up saying!

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I Didn’t Realise That George Calombaris Was A Union!

Now that it seems that Labor has decided that their best strategy is camouflage – agree to everything and hope that Queenslanders mistake them for the Liberal Party – I’ve been trying to work out how it’s all going to play out in the coming years.

One thing I’ve always believed is that ninety percent of everything is predictable. That’s what’s makes us so surprised by the unpredictable. After a few shocks, we feel we’ve entered a sort of Humpty Dumpty world where the guy sitting on the fence is tellling us the meaning of words even though we want to argue that words do not have a particular meaning just because a guy we thought couldn’t be put back together has somehow found himself sitting pretty…

Anyway, my twitter feed has been telling me about the Coalition’s determination to stop those nasty unions from taking away worker’s entitlements by introducing some Integrity Bill. I can’t remember what it’s actually called because every time the Liberals use the word “integrity”, I immediately have to spend a lot of time working out whether they’re for or against it.

Personally, I found it strange to see these in the same week that Masterchef George had “mistakenly” underpaid his workers $7.8 million dollars…

Now, I probably shouldn’t put the “mistakenly” in inverted commas. That implies that I didn’t really think it was a mistake. I mean, mistakes are easy to make. I’m sure George would understand if I went into one of his restaurants and mistakenly ran up a bill of $500 when I only meant to spend the fifty I had,  and he could take it or leave it because who could afford that sort of money for a meal so I just presumed that the prices were wrong…

So how will things play out?

Will Trump lose the election and declare martial law?

Will Boris suddenly decide that Brexit is all to hard and attempt to argue that Britain has already symbolicly left the EU so they’ve made their point and everything can just continue as is?

Will Scott continue to start sentences with “How good is…” until he makes the ultimate faux pas and says something like, “How good is indefinite detention?”… Oh wait, he’s already done that one. Maybe “How good is climate change?”… Nup, he’s done that with a lump of coal.  “How good is the gullibility of voters?”  No, the gullible will just cheer… “How good is the privatisation of Medicare?” 

Sorry, that’s just a scare campaign. Although like the “Never, ever” GST, two elections have passed and so we should have all forgotten.

Yep, this predicting business is harder than it looks. Although I’m pretty sure that the sun will rise tomorrow…

But even a prediction like that may get me in trouble with all those who argue that renewable energy like solar is unreliable…

sigh<

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Let’s Hear It For The Adolescent Politician… And The Childish Voter!

Now this probably sounds a little arrogant, but I’m an adult…

I know, I know, telling the world that one is an adult is little suspect after Abbott’s election where we were told the adults were back in charge. I mean, adults don’t go around telling you that they’re adults, do they? It’s like saying, “I’m very sophisticated.” The fact that you say it, sort of undercuts the whole idea…

Anyway, I happened to suggest to someone that Brexit reminded me of a teenager announcing their intention to move out of home. You know the sort of thing: “Mum, Dad, I’m sick of you telling me what to do and now I’ve got a job at Hungry Jack’s, you want me to pay for my own video games, so screw you, I’m moving out.” However, when the parents tell the child that they intend to change the locks, the adolescent announces that they want more time to negotiate such things as use of the washing machine, television, fridge and computer, whereupon the parents say that using such things will be fine, occasionally, so long as one gets permission and enters by knocking and…

Ok, the analogy now makes even more sense with the decision to install Boris as PM…

I could go on and talk about Brexit for ages but I’ll only offend the English. Let’s face it, the English are a population who’ve been invading other countries for centuries. The idea that they want to retreat and just be their own little island – (ok, they’re sort of happy to include Wales, Scotland and Ireland too) – is probably something most peoples of the world are more than happy with. It’s like the boring guy who often sits beside you uninvited, suddenly announcing that if you don’t pay more attention when he’s speaking, he’ll just sit somewhere else…

But I’m an adult, so I’d like to move onto general things instead of insulting the English people who may read this and think that they’re so offended that they’ll not only leave the EU, but move to expel Australia from the Commonwealth… Which may be the quickest way to a republic, when I think about it.

It seems to me that experts have bored people for years. Let’s be real. Think of all the times you’ve been at some barbie or dinner party and you’ve had a few glasses of this or that and you’ve started explaining the problems of the world and why your ideas will solve them, when someone who works in the area or has studied it at university embarrasses you by pointing out that your ideas are so completely wrong that it would take them more than an hour to dismiss the basic hypothesis before they got onto nitpicking all the minor ways in which you’ve quoted the wrong person and misunderstood the basic problem. I mean, those bastards who actually know things. Who invited them? We were having a good time until someone introduced facts into the discussion until they started using language like that. Hypothesis, for fuck’s suck…There may be children present. Thank god, for Pauline I say. Nobody could accuse her of letting evidence stand in the way of a good rant.

And so it seems to me that the recent political events are a response to years of having politicians citing experts. We’re damned sick of it, so when a Trump comes along and says that he knows better, he gets a cheer. When the experts start to point out that he’s wrong, we love him even more. Not because he isn’t a complete dunce, but because he is. I mean, don’t we feel great that we’ve got a leader who doesn’t make us feel inferior. At last someone with the self-confidence to stand up to all those experts and not be intimidated by the fact that he knows almost nothing about the topic at hand.

When I read the letters page in the Murdoch newspapers, any self-doubt immediately disappears. Not because I disagree with some of the letters, but because without any knowledge of the subject under discussion these people are expressing an opinion which is so little logical consistency with itself that I wonder how nobody has pointed out their stupidity… And then I realise that people have. Which is why someone like Trump or Boris appeals. They take the heat off the stupid. The experts are so busy talking about them that everyone else gets off scot free…

Mm, Scott free. Nice idea.

Anyway, I suspect that we’ll eventually get sick of it and, just like the person who gives up on the thing that isn’t working and goes back to the doctor, we’ll start to elect people who actually know things.

Or at the very least don’t pretend that they know things when they don’t.

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“How Good Is PR?”

“Hi there, this is your head of Public Relations, Scott Morrison with a very important massage:

“In 2017 over 3000 Australians died by their own hand. It’s affecting our young people, it’s affecting our veterans, it’s affecting boys and girls in remote indigenous communities. It’s affecting middle-aged men 45-50 living in suburbs, the highest rate of suicide in the country. Now just this week acting on OUR initiative to make a towards zero goal a national priority, I appointed Christine Morgan as the national suicide prevention officer and that should be enough so we don’t have to worry about doing things like raising Newstart because HOW GOOD ARE JOBS? We certainly don’t have to worry about Robodebt because people should pay back money which they can’t prove they don’t owe and certainly nobody can prove that they topped themselves because of the debt.

“As for those on Manus and Nauru, we don’t have to worry because our towards zero only includes Australians, so they won’t go into the statistics…”

Too far?  Well, sadly it probably doesn’t go far enough because most of it is straight transcription.

Scott Morrison on suicide prevention

Even the “How good are jobs?” was a response to Barnaby calling for an increase in Newstart. The man is a satire of himself, but who notices in a post-Trump world where the son of an immigrant can tell the daughters of other immigrants to go back to where they came from because they dare to criticise his America which isn’t like the “crime-infested places” they came from even though Trump himself complained that the USA was full of Mexican rapists and murderers, and whenever there’s a news story about a mass shooting there, I’m never sure whether it’s a new one or the same shooting that I heard about in the day before’s news?

Someone did a mock-up where footage of Hitler was inserted into a Trump rally. It only looked out of place because Hitler was black and white, and not orange.

sigh<

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Tim Wilson Can Go To Hell!

No, I haven’t started playing rugby. I’m suggesting that Tim Wilson can go to hell for reasons which have nothing to do with his personal life. Nor am I asserting my religious freedom by judging others.

Although that does beg the question that if I actually suggested he was going hell because he was gay and that Scott Morrison would join him for allowing such a man to be part of his government, would the Liberal Party still support my right to free speech?

This has to do with Timmy Wilson using his recent swearing in to express his religious views to the world. In case you aren’t aware, the book he held in his hand was “Capitalism And Freedom” by Milton Friedman. Now some held a religious tome; others chose to simply swear an oath. As far as I’m aware Wilson was the only one to raise Friedman’s ideas to the level of the Bible, the Torah or the Koran. Apparently Wilson is suggesting that Friedman is some sort of latter day messiah. Why else hold the book in your hand while being sworn in?

Good on him, I say. At least we can check his holy book to understand where he comes from.

While many of you may be aware that many conservative politicians follow the teachings of Saint Milton, how many of you are familiar with his gospel?

Saint Milton has lost many followers in the past few years… mainly because they’ve discovered that his ideas just don’t work in practice. However, a few – like Timmy -stubbornly stick to philosophy like doomsday cultists who wake up to find that the world hasn’t ended as predicted. Like doomsday predictions, Friedman’s disciples always argue that it should have ended and if it weren’t for government intervention then the divine properties of the free market would have destroyed us for our decadence…

On a side note, isn’t it interesting that Josh the Treasurer tells us that it’s good that he and his government will have a surplus but why don’t you people go out and spend your money so that we can and you’re the ones who end up with too much on the credit card…

Ok, ok, I know that we have religious freedom on the table and my mocking may soon be against the law. So in the interest of fairness… No, not the sort of fairness that Hitler liked. The sort of fairness which demands that when the ABC publish the truth, they also give the Liberal Party equal time.

Anyway, here’s some random thoughts from St Milton the Freid…

  • There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
  • Well first of all, tell me, is there some society you know of that doesn’t run on greed?
  • The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.
  • There’s no way a government could land on the moon so it must have been a made-up thing!

All right, that last one I made up. But he would have said it, if it didn’t make him sound like the looney that he was. Although he did say: “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

That was the one that Donald re-tweeted…

You see, while his ideas are dead, thanks to his followers, they keep rising.

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Loving Scott Morrison… And Praying For Him, Too!

 “That’s what we all need. That’s what our country needs. That’s what our nation needs. That’s what we’re here to do as Christians. Not here to judge. Not here to lecture. Just here to show the amazing love of God.

“My job is the same as yours: love God, love people. We’ve all got the same job.”

Scott Morrison

When Scott Morrison told us that we needed more love, I must admit that I was a little cynical. Was this the same Scott Morrison that locked up asylum seekers, wanted those under thirty to wait six months for the dole, opposed marriage equality, restricted the notion of a “fair go” to those “having a go”, promised to repeal the Medevac legislation, and relentlessly attacked Bill Shorten and the Labor Party? Surely not! It must be some other Scott Morrison. Was our PM going soft? What next? Will he be out hugging some distraught voter Jacinda Adern style? Apart from his attachment to a lump of coal and his affectionate hug of Malcolm just before he screwed him, I’ve never seen anything resembling love from the man.

Ok, ok, love is a very private thing… Unless you’re Barnaby Joyce who’s prepared to talk about it publicly providing you can pay $150,000 for an interview.

Anyway, Mr Morrison seemed to have relinquished the idea that politicians can achieve anything when he told the congregation at Hillsong: “Our nation needs more prayer, more worship. That’s how things are overcome.”

Well, at last I understand why the Liberals are reluctant to throw money at society’s problems. That’s not the way to get things done. Prayer! That’s the answer. Mr Morrison apparently prayed for young people thinking about suicide, for veterans, and rain to ease drought to restore rural communities…

Don’t know why old people thinking about suicide were ignored, but Mr Morrison is the one with the direct link to God, so I’ll presume there must be a higher wisdom at work. After all, as I write this, I can look out the window and see that it’s raining so Scomo’s prayers have worked already. Next time he may need to be more specific about where the rain needs to land.

Now that Labor are being abandoned by all and sundry because of their attempts to co-opt the MeToo hashtag and turn it into a small target strategy for the next election, I must admit that I have been a little confused about where to put my energies. I’d embrace The Greens but they seem more concerned with putting the boot into Labor than actually mounting attacks on the government. One Nation is out of the question and Clive Palmer seems to have disappeared now that his prediction that his party was on track to become the next government has proven wrong. Perhaps, I should listen to Scoot and put my faith in prayer and give up on the whole political thing altogether.

Mm, it has it’s appeal. A religious conversion may be exactly what I need. Particularly after the government work out what extra rights religious people will be afforded in the religious freedoms legislation…

Now I’m not going to mention that overpaid sportsman who seems to be arguing that his religion is so important that he can’t avoid tweeting about it, but not so important that he can forgo the ridiculous amounts of money he’s paid by the sort of people who are clearly all going to Hell. Lately, I’ve noticed that when ever this person with the initials, IF, is mentioned people tend to roll their eyes and wonder whether to politely change the subject or slap the person speaking very hard in the hope that it brings them back to a reality where we can all agree that there’s a certain absurdity when the people who want to remove unfair dismissal laws argue that a particular person should be to be allowed to defy his employer without consequence. However, this is bringing a lot of attention to the restrictions that religious people face which prevent them from doing the sort of things that they’ve been allowed to do for centuries such as persecuting those who are different, burning witches and censoring anybody who says or does anything they regard as blasphemous. Consequently, the government will need to pass some sort of law to keep them happy.

I mean what’s the point of being in a religion if you can’t feel special. And in the age of moral relativism, people don’t automatically cower when you tell them that you’re saved and they’re not, so laws are needed to emphasise that these people can’t be treated like everyone else. Like exemptions from discrimination laws for religious organisations because it would be unfair to force them to employ someone whose beliefs didn’t fit with theirs. If there aren’t exemptions then they could be forced to employ a single mother, which would be especially confusing in some Christian schools because younger students may assume that she’s the Virgin Mary. And if there aren’t very specific laws, then atheists may be able to turn around and say that they’ll only employ other atheists which would be so unfair.

So with the lack of other options available, I’ve decided that prayer is the answer.

“Please God, can you end the drought with a massive storm and a lightning bolt that strikes down large numbers of politicians?” 

The song “What if God were one of us” just started playing on the TV as I write this. Seriously. That really just happened as I was writing the prayer.

Perhaps it is a sign.

Mm, will I be held responsible if the lightning bolt does happen? And can I claim freedom of religion to exonerate myself?

Strange days, indeed.

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Why I’m Never Voting Labor Again…Or For The Greens…

Liberal Party Headquarters, May 20th

Strategy Meeting. Barry and Harry, two strategists are meeting after the re-election of the Coalition Government.

Barry – Morning, how you feeling?

Harry – Ok, quite a victory party, wasn’t it?

Barry – Yeah, I didn’t really expect Scomo to pull it off, but there ya go!

Harry – What do you mean, Scomo? I’m the one who’s been working on strategy for the past few years! He just came along and reaped the rewards from all my brilliant work.

Barry – Yeah, but he still had to deliver, didn’t he? It could have still all gone pear-shaped if he hadn’t run such a great campaign.

Harry – Great campaign? What was so hard about reminding people that Shorten’s first name was “Bill” and linking it to the bills people have to pay? “Electricity Bill” remember that one. That was mine too.

Barry – Yeah, but the great strength of the campaign was reminding people how Labor was likely to send us into further debt just after we’ve got everything under control, even though we haven’t.

Harry – Great strength? Bullshit! Liberal leaders have been blaming Labor for everything ever since Whitlam was elected and we managed to blame him for the oil shocks of the seventies. That’s just par for the course. The trick is making people believe it.

Barry – Well, don’t we have a problem now? I mean, Bill’s gone. We’ll have to come up with a whole new strategy. It won’t be as easy to link the new leader’s name to debt and spending. I mean there’s not much you can do with Tanya or Chris or Anthony… Although if it’s Chris, we could try: “If you chose Bowen, you’ll end up owin’!”

Harry – Ha, that’s the least of our worries. The problem is that now that we’ve been re-elected by telling everybody how good things are, how do we tell them that a surplus would be economically irresponsible because the economy is tanking?

Barry – But isn’t a surplus the result of good economic management?

Harry – Only if you’re trying to take money out of the community because the economy is overheating. When growth is more anaemic than a haemophiliac in a roomful of vampires, you need to be putting money in.

Barry – Sort of like Labor did in the GFC.

Harry – Exactly. So what are we going to do?

Barry – Blame Labor for talking down the economy?

Harry – Good idea. But I’ve got an even better one. I’ll contact a few of the boys at Sky News…

Barry – That’s a bit sexist. What about the girls?

Harry – Good one. Love your sense of humour.

Barry – No, I was being serious. I meant Peta Credlin and that other one… what’s her name?

Harry – Anyway, I’ll get on to a few of our press mates and tell them to focus on whether Labor’s going to support our mandate or not. You know, lots of articles about how their blocking the will of the people and all that.

Barry – So they shouldn’t oppose all the policies that we took to the election like…um, the… um. What policies did we take to the election?

Harry – Don’t elect Labor!

Barry – Yeah, well they can’t really stand in the way of that one.

Harry – Don’t make Bill Shorten PM!

Barry – I think they’ll all be right behind that one now.

Harry – There were the tax cuts, Adani and nuclear power.

Barry – We’ve already approved Adani and didn’t Morrison say that the Labor Party were using a desperate scare campaign when they said we’d introduce nuclear power.

Harry – Doesn’t matter, he never said that he wouldn’t do it. Just that it was a sign of Labor’s desperation.

Barry – Still it’s not much, is it?

Harry – Look, whichever way it goes we can still use the Adani strategy with the tax cuts.

Barry – The Adani strategy.

Harry – Yeah, get the media to stick them between a rock and hard place. If Labor had come out and opposed Adani, we would’ve attacked them on jobs and being captive to The Greens, but if they’d backed Adani we could have just let The Greens cannibalise them from the left by telling everyone that there’s no essential difference between the two major parties. In the end, they sat on the fence and lost out both ways.

Barry – But can that work again?

Harry – Yep, I reckon we can bully Labor into voting for them, then when the Budget’s in deficit, we can blame Labor for voting for the tax cuts.

Barry – Surely that wouldn’t work. I mean, they’re our tax cuts.

Harry – Hey, just look at what happened after the AFP raids. More people blamed Labor for supporting the legislation that enabled it, than blamed us for creating it.

Barry – There’s just one problem with that.

Harry – What’s that?

Barry – The AFP raids haven’t happened yet. It’s only May 20th.

Harry – Don’t worry. Everything’s so predictable. We’ll get the support of the cross-bench in the Senate, Labor will capitulate so that they can’t be accused of opposing tax cuts at the next election and then all those who thought this just makes inequality worse, will direct their anger at Labor and Scott will win the first Newspoll in three years.

Barry – It seems unbelievable. How can Labor keep getting the blame for the things we do?

Harry – It’s a mystery, but some things just seem to work no matter how many times you try them… Well, that was a good day’s work. Shall we take an early lunch?

Barry – Why not?

 

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“I Believe In Miracles,” Says Scomo; “I Don’t!” Says Albo!

Autocorrect changed “Albo” into “Also”, which I hope isn’t some harbinger of things to come.

Let’s recap:

Why are you only asking Labor the hard questions in this election campaign? the media gets asked.

“They’re likely to be the next government of Australia and their policies need to be examined.”

Scott Morrison wins the election and makes the extraordinary declaration that he believes in miracles. This doesn’t get commented on by the media. After all, as I pointed out before, me winning Wimbledon this year would be a miracle, Ash Barty, not so much. When an incumbent PM tells you that their victory was a miracle, rather than a mild surprise, that surely tells you something about how bad his government actually is.

So now that Scomo has had his miraculous victory, the attention, of course, turns to… Labor. How did they lose? Why did they lose? What’s wrong with the pollsters? How did the betting markets get it so wrong? Hey, those of you criticising the media are just sore losers. Don’t you understand, Scomo was brilliant! The way he dodged and weaved past all those tricky questions like “Why are you so popular?” and “Do you have any good curry recipes?”

Anyway, the media has done its in-depth analysis of Labor’s failure to win support for its controversial policies such as free cancer treatment, ensuring that people paying no tax don’t get a refund cheque from the government for the tax they haven’t paid and their climate change policy. Apparently, saying that a coal mine has to stack up commercially and that Labor wouldn’t be giving away taxpayer money to support it was too green for the  people of Queensland, but too unclear for all those inner city latte-sippers who don’t understand unless we have a healthy economy there’s no point in having a planet to put it on.

The Coalition’s first item of business is the tax cuts. Good things, tax cuts. Don’t we all want money in our pockets? This is not like when those lefties try and give you money for nothing by funding schools and hospitals. No this is giving more of your own money back to you, so you can afford to go to the doctor so long as you don’t do it too often. Besides, the economy is “facing headwinds” in spite of being brought back to excellent health by the current team in the six months they’d been there so a little stimulus is a good thing, right?

Yes, six years ago the Liberals went into the 2013 election telling us that they had a plan for jobs and growth. Now, it seems to me that I could similarly stand for election by saying that I had a plan for the drought. Just as the Liberals said we need growth to promote jobs, I could say that we need rain to break the drought. “That’s my plan,” I’d say, “making sure that the fundamentals are right and then rain will occur.” It seemed to be working for the Liberals because just like the inevitability of a drought being broken eventually, so too, after the GFC was growth likely to return. Unfortunately, it seems to have deserted us lately, but that’s surely not their fault, any more than the lack of rain is mine.

Of course, we now have a Budget surplus so we can afford these tax cuts in spite of the “headwinds”. Except these headwinds may put the surplus at risk, so we need the tax cuts to stimulate the economy. And they will. Stage 1 will start appearing once people have done their tax. But it does seem hard to argue that Stage 2 and 3 will encourage growth in the current fiscal year given they don’t come into play until after the next election.

The government refused to spit the Bill as Labor wanted, so the media’s attention turned to whether or not Labor would buckle. Or whether they’d be pig-headed. They were the two choices for Labor. And let’s be real here. We need to talk about what Labor’s going to do, at this point. We don’t need to talk about how intractable the government is when it refuses to split the various stages. We don’t need to discuss the massive change to the progressive nature of the income tax system. We don’t even need to point out that the changes benefit the people voting for them. No, we need to concentrate on Labor and what it will do.

Even after Senator Lambie agrees to a handshake deal and forgets to count her fingers afterwards and the government has the numbers to pass it whatever Labor votes, we need to talk about Labor.

We need to get very, very angry that they didn’t understand that because they’d lost the election they must acquiesce to the government’s mandate. Or, if you think that governments don’t really have a mandate to dictate policy on tax two elections into the future, we should get really angry with Labor for capitulating and not making a principled stand.

Ah well, I guess that Labor have worked out that if they just go along with everything the government does, eventually some of the criticism must eventually be levelled at the Coalition. Although, surely Albo must have been around long enough to notice that strategy has never worked in the past. I mean, you only have to go back to the AFP raids on the media a few weeks ago to notice that people were criticising the Labor party for supporting the legislation in about equal measure with horror at the raids themselves. Very few people seemed to be actually suggesting that the government had failed to put adequate safeguards in the legislation.

Yep, maybe the autocorrect was onto something. Maybe it’s not Scomo and Albo. Maybe it’s going to be Scomo and Also.

 

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Jesus Demands $10 Billion For Wrongful Crucifixion – Personally, I Blame His Dad For Not Marrying His Mum!

Now, if any of you are offended by the headline, I have one thing to say: You have absolutely no understanding of the Christian message and you’re going to Hell.

Ok, maybe not forever, but certainly for the next few minutes as you read what I’m writing and get so angry because… well, I’m just wrong, aren’t I? What’s more, I’m one of those heathens who shouldn’t be allowed to make films like “The Last Temptation of Christ” or exhibit photos like Serrano’s “Piss Christ”!

I guess the whole “political correctness is shutting down our freedom of speech” thing has been a bit like a pebble in my shoe. It’s irritating. But not so bad that it’s made me stop and take off my shoe to find the pebble and throw it away. However, the whole Israel Folau thing has turned the pebble into a rock and it’s hard to walk when one foot is so weighed down that you keep thinking about it and ignoring everything that’s really important…

Yes, I am aware of the irony here. I’m simply trying to take off my shoe here and remove the pebble…

Gee, with analogies like this, I sort of remind myself of Jesus who used parables to express his beliefs. I guess, GoFundMe and lawyers weren’t available in those days.

Suddenly the epiphany hit me. Just like Saul of Tarsus who was struck blind on the road to Damascus# because of his “lifestyle”…

Now, this is almost worth a book and I’d start a “GoFu##Me” campaign myself, were it not for the fact that they may shut it down when I announce that I may use it to write a book that supports striking people blind on the way to Damascus…

How on earth – or indeed, in Heaven – can you complain about political correctness stopping you from expressing whatever view you like when you – as a religion, if not personally – have been responsible for most of the censorship for the past several hundred years?

Yeah, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition and all that… Do you even know what the Spanish Inquisition was? Google it, before you talk about Israel Folau’s rights being ignored!

Yeah, all right. I’m a bit slow and some of you already got to this point a long time ago.

Yeah, there are more important things in this world than whether an indulged man gets his millions in some court case.

Yeah, if God can do anything, couldn’t He have just forgiven us without crucifying his son?

And isn’t a compassionate god more likely to be on my side than Folau’s when I  say that Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison are going to Hell for their treatment of the people on Manus and Nauru? I say this without even arguing for a moment that these people – including the children that Peter “Before the cock crows will deny that his constitutionally eligibility three times” Dutton insists aren’t in detention –  have the right to seek asylum and are not people arriving in this country illegally… Ok, I know you may spend several minutes unpacking that sentence… Like I said, we’re all in Hell now.

Speaking of which, I did notice a story about how Scott Morrison would consider military support to help the US just as soon as The Dumpster works out which war he intends to fight in order to boost his re-election chances…

SIGH<

The more things change…

We can beat these fuckers, you know. It’s not easy. But they feed on our despair. Hope is a currency that doesn’t get doled out by governments and banks. I’m sorry if I made you lose it, I don’t intend to. I’m just old and tired and finding it hard to have much hope in a world where Rupert Murdoch hasn’t just decided to enjoy his billions with his bride… Or alternatively, been struck by the same God that allegedly struck down the twin towers of Sodom and Gomorrah… Mm,  Rupert dies suddenly tonight, I may have a whole new religion, started by me and the amazing serendipity of all things. 

Mm, I may just start that as a religion anyway. If you want to join, please join my GoFundMe campaign. If I tag it “Religious freedom for hating”, I may pick an extra million from confused Israel followers.

That was Israel Folua followers, in case you misunderstood.

#No spoilers here for all you good Christians who’ve actually read the Bible and not relied on some half-baked American version, but Saul did recover his sight and changed his name to Paul, stopped having sex with men and wrote the quote that Israel Folau tweeted about “Drunks, etc…”

 

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Scott McIntyre, Lest We Forget…

Ok, I figure I can use the phrase “lest we forget” because I’m not a woman wearing a head scarf like Yassmin. Yes, it was a pretty head scarf and she certainly looked a lot better than Pauline in her head to foot contraption. Although I must say Pauline looked better in her head to foot contraption than when she took it off…I could be wrong. Who knows? I may be driven out of the country just like Yassmin. I’m just not sure whether it’ll be by people complaining about my use of the phrase “Lest we forget” or by political correctness because I started talking about how women look…

I simply want to make the point that Scott McIntyre was an SBS journalist who was sacked for his tweets about ANZAC day.

Now, I’m not wishing to support Scott McIntyre’s tweets here… Mainly because I can’t remember them… Yes, we forget…

That was “Yes, we forget”, not “Lest We Forget” in case anyone is hard of hearing…

But I simply want to make the point that I don’t remember most of the free speech warriors who are telling us that Israel Folau has a right to tweet whatever he wants because of his religious beliefs were strangely silent when McIntyre was sacked.

I don’t wish to distract things here, but I would like to take an aside and point out the Izzy himself must be going to Hell because he is now arguing that Rugby is his workplace and simply something he liked doing on the day of rest. The Bible expressly forbids working on the Sabbath, yet Mr Folau has been happy to spend it working at his chosen employment of trying to catch balls or grabbing other men and dragging them to the ground.

So are we meant to presume that people are going to have freedom to tweet what they like if it’s a religious tweet, but not if it’s a political tweet and where does that leave Father Rod Bower of the Gosford Church?

Or is it just a case of people can tweet whatever they like so long as it agrees with the prevailing government of the day’s religious or political viewpoint?

Personally, I’d like to see Rugby Australia re-instate Folau’s contract, tell him to tweet whatever he likes, but get all their players to wear rainbow colours when training… I’m not sure whether they have the right to demand a urine sample at any time, but it could be interesting if they did it in the middle of a church service.

Yes, that sounds vindictive and nasty. Far better just to point out that Folau is going to Hell because the Bible forbids tattoos. That’s just me following his religion. Or somebody’s. Apparently it doesn’t matter so long as one is religious.

Aw shit, I had intended to write about Scott Morrison’s plan to revive the “animal spirits” in the economy. Did he really say that, or am in some dream? And is attempting to revive animal spirits in the economy going to require a religious ceremony involving the sort of things that happen in hippy communities on a full moon?

There’s so much I don’t know… However, I do know this with some certainty:

McIntyre, Yassmin and various other people shouldn’t be employed because they crossed the line. But when other people cross the line it’s a violation of their right to free speech to give them consequences. It’s sometimes going too far if one should dare to criticise them…

On this day, “Yes We Forget!”

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The Politics Of Envy And Other Useful Phrases…

Aspiration! That’s a good thing, right? But envy, that’s a bad thing. Of course one could become confused because how does one aspire unless one sees something worth aspiring to.

Now I do realise that there’s a big difference. In the case of envy you may merely want to bring the other person down, while aspirational people work hard and always brush their teeth. Aspirational people don’t get upset because some successful people pay little or no income tax. Aspirational people want to become so rich that they can have little or no taxable income.

And it’s thanks to people like that, Australia has the economy it has today. Lots and lots of successful people who managed to own several properties and businesses while earning almost nothing. Or at least, nothing that needs to go to the wasteful government…

Yes, I do find it strange when politicians talk about how taxation is a burden and just a waste of people’s money. It’s always been my ambition to ask one of those politicians who champions privatisation, “So you’re telling me that someone in private industry would be able to manage this much more efficiently than you can! If you’re so incompetent, why do people keep voting for you?”

Now that Labor has lost the election and is being blamed for just about every policy of the current government whether they support it or not, we’re being treated to the idea that it was lost because of Bill Shorten’s class warfare and how it was a rejection of the politics of envy.

In spite of the success of a more Keynesian approach from the Rudd government during the GFC, the Liberals seem to be operating as though Milton Friedman’s trickle down economics hadn’t been tried for the past forty years.

“Trickle down” is an interesting phrase, isn’t it? I mean, generally speaking, if anything trickles down onto you, the normal thing is to find shelter or put up an umbrella… Maybe it’s an appropriate phrase after all.

It’s the entrepreneurs that create the jobs, we’re told. While that’s true up to a point, they all rely on the hoi polloi to actually buy their goods and services or they end up like many businesses: broke and not able to pay their debts!

Thankfully we have a government that’s going to look after people on very high incomes. They’ve locked in tax cuts all the way to 2024. Now, one would have thought that it would be prudent to wait and see how the Budget actually looks in a couple of years time before making decisions for a future government, but no. Josh and Scottie have the power of prophecy and are giving tax cuts because the government will be well in surplus by then and the economy can handle the tax cuts. It’s not like they’ll add to inflation… Which is surprising because I would have thought with their superior economic management we’d have an economy that was in serious danger of overheating and we may need an even bigger surplus.

The economy isn’t a zero sum game, but Economics 101 tells us that people have unlimited wants and there are limited resources, so it’s all about how we managed scarcity. Like aspiration and envy. it seems we can concentrate on whichever part we want to justify our actions. Giving tax cuts to the wealthiest taxpayers will encourage investment and there’ll be a bigger pie for us all to share, but even targeted government spending, for some reason, doesn’t lead to greater jobs and wealth because… Well, just because, ok.

Yep, it’s going to be a long three years. Unless the Senate is painful and Scottie decides that, with God being on his side and all, he can call a double dissolution and push through some of his more contentious legislation. Unlikely, I know, but when Kevin Rudd and Obama were national leaders, who would have predicted much of the past ten years? Abbott as PM? Brexit? Trump? Barnaby Joyce as Deputy PM? Barnaby Joyce finding a second woman prepared to perpetuate his genes?

No, everything is just too far-fetched. That’s the difference between fiction and real life: Fiction has to be believable!

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Drilling The Great Barrier Reef For Oil…

One of my pet hates is people who respond to the headline and don’t actually read what I’ve written. Yes, yes, I know that one can argue that headlines should actually reflect what one is writing but I have three problems with this:

  1. Often the headline isn’t chosen by the person writing.
  2. I’ve found that people tend to read headlines that they disagree with more often than ones they agree with. For example, “Why Tony Abbott Was Australia’s Greatest PM” will get more views than “Why Tony Abbott Overachieved Given He Became PM With A Total Lack Of Charm Or Intelligence!”
  3. I’m often writing satire.

So, just to annoy people who don’t read beyond the title, I’ve decided to call this one “Drilling The Great Barrier Reef For Oil”.

As far as I know, there is neither oil anywhere near the Great Barrier Reef nor any proposal to look for any potential drill sites…

Of course, we are talking Northern Queensland so before you know it, we may be having a debate about how many jobs drilling for oil would create. Never mind that there’s none there. It’s all about jobs and if some company can be convinced to look for some, why it may even create more jobs than Adani. After all, there’s no prospect of finding any so they could be looking forever, unlike Adani who’ll either leave after they’ve run out of coal, or leave when they’ve sucked all the underground water and sold it for more than they can get for coal.

However, mythical oil deposits aren’t my reason for writing.

I was just wondering how nuclear power is suddenly on the agenda and the media is more concerned with John Setka…

Now, I can see that John Setka is part of what’s wrong with Australia. But not because he’s head of a union. It’s interesting that if a politician was accused of saying and doing the same sorts of things that Setka is alleged to have done, we’d hear one of two things: “It’s personal and we shouldn’t be commenting because it’s nothing to do with the party” OR “This an attempt to shut down freedom of speech by the PC brigade”.

How Setka’s behaviour is an excuse to attack the union movement, I’m yet to understand. After all, it’s not like the ACTU came out in support.

Whatever, I’m more concerned about the nuclear power thing.

And not because of the nuclear power. I’m quite happy to put a nuclear power plant in Townsville. They need the jobs. And one in Rockhampton. Cairns. Mackay. Cardwell.

In fact, we can put so many nuclear plants up there that we can shut down all the coal fired plants in the southern states and the electorate of Dickson can store all the toxic waste… I mean, if they’re happy to re-elect Dutton…

No, it’s the fact that Scott Morrison and various journalists suggested that talk of nuclear power was a “scare campaign” by the Labor Party.

Ok, that lovable rascal ScoMo did tell us that nuclear power was “not not on the table”. When some people interpreted that double negative as meaning that it was on the table, Morrison cleared it up by saying that they Liberals had no plans to change the legislation and that nuclear power wasn’t legal and they had no plans to change that but if someone came along they’d listen but he doubted that would happen because it just wasn’t viable…

Somehow this seems to have changed since the election.

Mm, I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on Scottie. Nobody can predict the future, after all. Predicting the past or present is equally impossible, because of the nature of the word “predict”. However, one would hope that the PM would have a little bit more of a handle on what was likely to happen, should he and his band of merry men win the election…

Sorry, I shouldn’t have called them “merry men”. And not just because it’s sexist. No, it suggests they’re like Robin Hood’s gang who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. There’s no way our current government would do that.

Sigh

If there’s suddenly a proposal to drill for oil in the Great Barrier Reef, I may have to have a long hard look at what I write.

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Why Labor Should Hang Its Head In Shame!

Ok, let’s skip ahead to next year, Josh Frydenberg is delivering the Budget:

“As you are all aware , this year’s projected surplus will now be a small deficit. There are many reasons for this but chiefly, it’s down to Labor. Not only did they block many of our savings measures but they irresponsibly waved through our tax cuts, leaving a big hole on the revenue side of things. As we’ve always said, Labor just cannot live within its means. The five percent cut in company tax has also been a de facto retirement tax because it, in fact, reduces franking refunds by five percent…”

We cut to commentary:

How do you think this will be received in the wider community, Tony?”

“Well, I think it’s another nail in the coffin for Labor. This just shows why the public found them unelectable at the previous election.”

“What about the argument that the government had a mandate?

“The government had a mandate to return the Budget to surplus and now, thanks to Labor, it won’t return until after the next election!’

Yes, it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it!

Well, that’s how the current discussions about Labor are sounding to me. Taking the AFP raids as a great example, we now have the media talking about how the Labor Party must take responsibility for the way they waved them through. I don’t mean to suggest that Labor aren’t blameless, but it seems that the media are forgetting that people who live in stone houses shouldn’t throw glasses. Ok, that’s usually the other way around but it works my way too and the media is anything but you can see through a glass house and the media has been anything but transparent lately…

Labor can’t say anything because they did write and ask for an investigation, we’re told. Asking for an investigation doesn’t automatically mean that one wants the AFP to spend several hours trawling through everything in a journalist’s computer. I mean, if I asked for an investigation into that thing that I can’t mention because a certain minister is extremely trigger happy when it comes to threatening legal action, it doesn’t mean that I want to see the said minister publicly strip-searched and interrogated for hours on end until he breaks down and…

Actually wrong example.

Just because I ask for something to be investigated doesn’t make me wholly responsible for any overkill on the part of the investigator.

I don’t want to sound like I’m just defending Labor because I’m a rusted-on leftie. I used to be considered a conservative when I was a student. Within a few years, I was middle of the road. Now, I seem to be a radical. This is strange because my views haven’t really changed all that much, but when arguing that a strong economy isn’t worth much if it comes at the expense of being able to breathe, makes you a soul brother with Che Guevara, there’s something very, very wrong.

I’d much rather be writing and criticising Labor for over-reacting to their loss. Albanese seems almost to be saying, “See, I told you I should be leader because all our policies were wrong and let’s change them”, completely ignoring the fact that it was the thumping in Queensland, combined with Labor not having the landslide expected in other states led to a narrow loss.

If I can flashback to 2004 and Latham’s loss, we were given various different reasons. It was the handshake AND it was the hitlist to private schools AND it was a whole range of things. Of course, this overlooks the problem that when people vote only one party becomes the government… Ok, sometimes it’s a coalition of parties, but the point still stands that it doesn’t mean that the losers were wrong on everything. It’s easy to push your own agenda and suggest, for example, that people didn’t like cutting funds to the wealthiest private schools. One only has to stop and think about that for a nanosecond to realise that almost nobody who isn’t connected to one of the wealthiest private schools would even consider not voting for someone for that reason, particularly if they liked all the other policies that the party was putting forward.

Yes, I’d much rather that Labor had taken a pause and said that they need to re-think all their policies in light of their election defeat and then say nothing for the next six months. In fact, it might be a better tactic to say nothing for the next three years and go in with the simple slogan. “We run positive campaigns, not like those bastards who just call people names and haven’t delivered all the jobs they promised”.

At the very least they could work out which policies people actually liked, which policies they didn’t understand (franking credits) and which policies lost them the election before doing their mea culpa and begging Queensland and big business for forgiveness.

As for Adani, they should simply point out that the price of coal is tanking and producing massive amounts of coal will only depress the price even further, making all our coal mines less viable but Adani is a private company and if it wants to waste its money providing a hundred jobs or so, great, but they’d rather do the following to reduce unemployment in Queensland…

No, thanks to the media’s inability to take any responsibility for the total lack of scrutiny they applied to so much of the legislation that was enacted to protect us from terrorism, I’m defending Labor at a time when I should be telling them to get their act together and rid us of this incompetent bunch of clowns.

As I’ve written before, I accept terrorism is a problem in today’s world, but if one looks at history, many, many more people have been harmed or killed by governments with too much power than by terrorists. We should tread carefully and not simply accept it when governments tell us that technically that’s what the legislation would allow, but hey, we’d never use it like that. Trust us, this is Australia.

And, how good is Australia!

 

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Let’s Stop The Hysteria, The Press Are Still Free!

Let’s just consider those AFP* officers for a moment! It seems that the public is never happy. If we go back to the raid on the AWU offices a number of people complained that they were looking for documents from ten years earlier which the union could have already legally destroyed. “If they were so concerned, why didn’t they raid the offices back when the union was legally required to still have the records,” said one talkback caller. Comparatively speaking the recent raids on the ABC and a Murdoch journalist seem to light years faster. One story was from 2017 and the other was just over a year ago.

But more significantly, people were complaining that the media were tipped off about the AWU raids. The recent raids show that the AFP have learned their lesson and there was no tip-off this time.

Were people happy? No! It seems that they can never win.

And our Home Affairs Minister tells us that he didn’t know about the raids until they happened. Our PM assures us that – like Sgt Schultz – he knew nothing. See, again the AFP get no credit for apparently learning the lessons of the AWU debacle where someone tipped off Senator Cash’s office and someone from there tipped off the media, even though they didn’t let anyone else in the office know. When Senator Cash assures the public that she knows nothing, it’s very easy to believe it.

Let’s all take a cold shower and calm down. I mean, nobody from the press has been charged yet and it’s highly unlikely that they will be. After all, the AFP still haven’t got to the bottom of things in the AWU leaks so even if they were to investigate much more quickly, we’d have had several changes of Prime Minister by the time anybody was being held accountable!

No, it’s not the press that need to be concerned. I very much doubt that they’d ever be charged with anything for publishing the information they receive, and thanks to the recent AFP raids, members of the press are even less likely to be held in contempt of court for refusing to reveal their sources.

Why?

Well, it’s quite simple. Let’s imagine for a moment that I’m working for a highly sensitive department… Say something to do with stopping the boats. As we all know, “on water” matters are highly confidential… Or at least they became highly confidential after Scott Morrison became Immigration Monster; before that, everyone was free to publicise any information at all about boats arriving whether they were real or only imagined. Anyway, let’s imagine that I’m working in the department that’s in charge of stopping the boats and I discover that, in fact, the boats haven’t stopped and that there are boats arriving, sometimes carrying as many as twenty people. I quickly work out the realm is under threat because the government is secretly sneaking these so-called asylum seekers into the community and nobody has noticed even though we now have as many as three or four hundred happily minding their own business and enjoying their new life in Australia.

As a patriotic Australian, I’m outraged. I make copies of the necessary evidence and I smuggle it home where I… suddenly remember the AFP raids. And then it hits me. I can’t go to the media because I’ll almost certainly be exposed. No, I decide. I can’t take the personal risk.

See, it’s not the press that will have the problems. It’s the whistle-blowers themselves. There’s no need for concern because, in the future, the press won’t get the information so we won’t know whatever it is that we should be concerned about so we can all just keep going in blissful ignorance, happy that the government knows best and is having a go and helping me with my aspirations.

How good is Australia, eh?

*Just for clarification, AFP stands for Australian Federal Police and not Anti-Free Press. 

 

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Barnaby Goes To Hell

While I understand that people can focus on the specific and overlook the obvious, I must say that the whole homosexual thing has clouded the wider issue when it comes to Rugby Australia. Let’s unpack Israel Folau’s tweet a little further and see what we come up with…

Folau tweeted: “Warning – Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolaters. HELL AWAITS YOU. REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES”.

Now, I could point out that it’s probably because of the stagnating wages under the Coalition that only Jesus saves and the rest of us need to use our credit cards to pay those rising energy costs, but I’m sure that it’s somehow Labor’s fault and not just because He’s well-connected and His father found him a position in the family business.

Let’s ignore all of that and look at the rest of the tweet. “Drunks, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolaters. HELL AWAITS YOU.” While the bit about idolaters may have referred to the lump of coal that the government front bench passed round with such adoration, the fact remains that he had quite a list there. Speaking personally, I probably qualify on a number of fronts so if it turns out that my drinking isn’t enough to get me past the bouncers on the gates of Hell, then I’m sure that I can qualify one way or another…

As can many, many other people…

Surely, surely an employer has the right to sack an employee who goes on social media to criticise their boss. After all, some of the head honchos Rugby Australia may be drunks, liars, fornicators or any combination of the descriptions. Are those politicians who have had many attempts at eliminating unfair dismissal laws suddenly telling me that a boss has no rights when it an employee tells them that their lifestyle is sinful?

Imagine for a moment that someone on Barnaby’s staff were to have similar views to Israel Folau:

Barnaby – Good morning.

Staffer – Good morning, sinner.

Barnaby – Would you make me a cup of coffee?

Staffer – Coffee is the work of Satan.

Barnaby – Yes but I’d like one.

Staffer – I’ll be you would. I’ve heard about your sins. 

Barnaby – Look, you work for me and I want a coffee. Now go and get me one or else.

Staffer – Or else what?

Barnaby – Or else I’ll dismiss you.

Staffer – You can’t because my religious beliefs…

Barnaby – It’s not your beliefs, it’s your refusal to obey my instruction…

Staffer – You’re going to Hell.

Barnaby – You can’t tell me that I’m going to Hell. 

Staffer – Yes, I can. The legislation you introduced protects me from this sort of harassment.

Barnaby – I’m not harassing you. I’m just asking for a coffee and for you to stop telling me that I’m going to Hell.

Staffer – This is an infringement of my freedom of speech. I should be allowed to say what I like without things like that stupid 18C…

Barnaby – Oh, go to Hell.

Staffer – You can’t say that! Only I can tell people that they can go to Hell!!

Ok, perhaps I’m oversimplifying things. But I can’t see how you can frame legislation which stops doctors from insisting that their receptionist can’t hand out anti-abortion material while simultaneously exempting religious schools and organisations from anti-discrimination laws. What happens when St Agnes of The Bleeding Heart tries to sack their receptionist because of the photos which are appearing on the internet and the receptionist replies that the naked acts she was performing with a goat were part of her Satanist religion and as such couldn’t be part of her employment contract?

Or are we moving to the situation where the government is just going to say that they’re passing legislation which says that all the people they think are ok have certain rights and the rest of us can just go to Hell because that’s where we’ll end up anyway?

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