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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.

Religious Rights, Democratic Rights, Freedom of Speech And All That Other Things That People Try To Pretend Exist…

Now, I’m an old, white male so I’m not used to being wrong…

Perhaps, I should clarify that: I’m not used to having to admit that I was wrong.

I actually thought that Labor would win and that all of the scare campaigns would just seem silly once most people understood that rents weren’t going to go up, the housing market wasn’t going to tank and – in spite of Clive Palmer and his ads which switched from attacking both parties to attacking Labor once he’d had a little chat with the Liberals – Labor wasn’t actually going to tax us by an “extra trillion dollars”!

I’d also like to say that the behaviour of both Labor and the Greens since the election loss makes me want to quote Shakespeare and say: “A pox on both your houses”…  I don’t mean to be awful here but surely it’s the time to not say anything that may be taken down and used in evidence against you. No, it’s not NOT the time to tweet your support for any leader.. why don’t you just elect a new one? And no, Richard, you don’t get points for blaming Labor about anything. If you want to do that, just go and join the Liberals!!

But all these things are the meanderings of a man who has had too many expectations because, well, old, white males aren’t expected to have to say they were wrong… And let’s be real, most of them don’t, even when they are.

And I want to emphasise that I am being entirely personal here and thinking only of myself and my disappointment that we don’t have a change of government… I mean, even Pauline may have led to more of us taking more of interest in politics next time round…

I’m not thinking of all those who have had their franking credits saved.

I’m not thinking how those who have been found to be refugees who are still on Manus or Nauru who may lose all hope and yet understand that now that Scott has been hailed as the Messiah, they will suddenly find a way to go to a better place… Euphemisms abound in days like these…

I’m not thinking of Israel Folau, who can’t tweet whatever he likes when it offends his employer… Because nobody else has been ever sanctioned for defying their employer and sending out another tweet that they were warned not to send…Still, can’t help but wonder why neither Scott nor Barnaby were upset about the reference to liars and adulterers going to hell!

I’m not thinking about poor Alan Jones, who’d promised us that he’d stop public appearances were Labor to win. That’s all public appearances and not just those for the convenience of the public.

I’m not thinking about… Damn I had another group of people I wasn’t thinking about… It wasn’t Queenslanders without jobs because now Adani’s going ahead it’s clear that any of them who don’t get a go, well, it’s because they’re not having a go…

Um… I’m not thinking about…

No, I AM thinking. That’s why I can’t remember the other cheap shot I was going to have.

Who was it that said that we can live together as brothers or die together as fools?

Doesn’t matter… although I suspect that his sexist language may upset some people…

I’d just like to point out two things:

  1. Since the Liberals lost the “unlosable election” in 1993, Labor has only won one election with a clear majority and another by convincing the Independents that they’d be a better bet than a minority government led by Abbott… which, considering his inability to lead a majority government full time, seems completely reasonable… Anyway, the point I’m making is the Liberals must have learned something. Can Labor – or somebody else – learn it quickly and rid us of this smug, person who may become the next John Howard if we all just keep taking pot shots at each other about the past?
  2. My son had a political conversation with me tonight that made me wonder for the first time ever if he could one day be Prime Minister… ok, I used to have loftier ambitions for him but he’s twenty now… However, I decided that he’d be better off to actually use his political nouse to do some good in the world instead of worrying about convincing the majority that he’s right.

The five stages of grief have, like most things, been popular for a while then forgotten, but let’s go through them as best I remember.

  1. Disbelief
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Make the other fucker go through the same five stages!

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ScoMo’s Mandate

At the time of writing, Corangamite looks like being a Labor win. This marginal seat was given electoral bribes of almost $34 million by Labor which sounds a lot until you compare it to the $3 billion worth of promises made by the Coalition. Of course, this begs the question that if it falls to Labor, will Scott Morrison deliver?

People are making comparisons to 1993, where Hewson lost the “unlosable” election by outlining a broad agenda. While I’m sure many people are suffering shock and disbelief that the polls and betting markets could get it so wrong and are calling for Queensland to be removed from country, it’s worth looking at history and remembering that following Keating’s amazing win in that year, he was soundly defeated just three years later by John Howard.

Another three years of this mob, some of you are saying, I’d rather move to New Zealand. Unfortunately, I suspect that their offer to take 150 refugees from Australia only applies to those poor souls languishing on Manus and Nauru… Mm, what’s the Liberal’s plan for them? Leave them there forever as a deterrent?

I’m comforting myself by remembering a book on quantum physics I’m reading; it suggested that inside atoms there were billions of new universes being created all the time. This morning, I’m imagining that there is a universe somewhere else where everything has worked out well for the country and the Liberals have split into two groups: People with a different world view from Labor and the Greens, but who don’t think that they know more than just about anybody on any topic and are prepared to debate consider and find bipartisan solutions, and those who decided to join Fraser Anning’s new party. That way, I can tell myself that this is the world where Scott Morrison has to justify himself and live up to all he promised while presiding over an economy that’s turning to mush. Take that ridiculous first home buyer’s guarantee. Apart from destroying the mortgage insurance business, how will it work in practice? And how will first home buyers respond when they discover that the banks won’t lend them the money anyway because they still don’t have the sort of income to service the debt?

Yes, I know. Politicians get away with breaking election promises all the time, so what if Corangamite doesn’t get its fast train? I mean, Bronwyn just took a helicopter so why don’t they all do that if they’re in a hurry?

Not to mention, Morrison’s promise to pay for the East-West link without any contribution from the Victorian government. Premier Andrews copped a lot of flak for tearing up the contract and “wasting a billion dollars”. Ignoring all the political ins and outs and the whole idea of sunk costs, one certainly has to say that tearing up the contract looks like pure genius. Now we get the road and it’s all paid for by ScoMo. A bargain at a billion dollars.

And your power bills? They’ve started coming down, haven’t they? Oh, maybe not yet. But once the brand new coal-fired power station is built, we’ll practically be paid for using power. I mean, surely they have a mandate for that. We just elected a PM who took a lump of coal to Parliament and passed it around like it was something that wouldn’t get your hands dirty.

Of course, it seems those signs from the Greens which said, “Stop Labor’s Adani mine” worked a treat, now it’s certainly the Liberal’s Adani mine and I think the Queensland government should approve it straight away and ask them when they’ll start providing the jobs that Queenslanders seemed to think would be forthcoming from a mine that’s going to be fully automated.

Personally, I’ll be writing to Josh Frydenberg to ask when construction will start on removing the rail crossing at Glenferrie Road so I can get home to my family quicker. As I never use the road when coming home from work, I don’t really understand how that’s going to work, but there’s a lot I don’t understand at the moment. If Joshie has said that removing this crossing will enable me to get home to my family quicker then who am I to dispute that.

It’s just like when the Reserve Bank revised down the growth forecast, Morrison explained that they were wrong because he’s using a figure that enables him to predict a Budget surplus and to revise it down would mean that the surplus would be like the world I’m imagining where everything worked out well and we elected a government which was actually committed to doing something about the problems that we face and not simply pretending that climate change doesn’t exist, that the NDIS doesn’t need the $1.7 billion that they banked in the Budget, that they have an Environment Minister, that cancer treatment is free and that dealing with Clive Palmer isn’t the sort of thing that will come back to bite them.

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If Labor Introduces A Death Tax, Less People Will Be Prepared To Die!

Josh Frydenberg hadn’t written for three days and I was beginning to wonder if I’d offended him in some way, but last night there it was. A plea to remember that a vote for anyone but the Coalition was effectively a vote for Bill Shorten.

I’ve read this idea in a few places and it did make me wonder if they’d really thought it through. In summary, what they’re saying is if an independent third party is elected, there’s no way that any independent person would be prepared to back Scott Morrison.

Yep, they’re certainly rattled. The Liberal twitter account keeps tweeting about Labor talking about a death tax. Personally, I’ve only heard Shorten say Labor wouldn’t be introducing one, but that didn’t stop them editing it so that he was saying just the words “death tax” and playing just those words in an ad…

I also read on social media that it’d be 40% and if you couldn’t pay, you’d be forced to sell your parents house or car and the government would take their cut. It was amazingly specific for something that isn’t Labor policy and it does make one wonder if it’s actually a secret plan of the Liberals. After all, their ad did say that Shorten was the only one “talking” about a death tax. (Two can play at that scare campaign nonsense.)

Not only that but Scott Morrison hardly gave himself a ringing endorsement after announcing his first home buyer scheme. Later in the day, Labor back it and Scottie says they’re silly because they haven’t done due diligence and, unlike the Cabinet and the voters, they shouldn’t trust his idea without extensive modelling because he certainly hadn’t done any. Why should he? It’s not like he’ll ever have to implement it.

On the way home, I heard an angry man call Shorten “shifty” because of the so-called retiree tax. Now, I don’t know how the rest of you interpret “shifty” but if I tell you that I’m going to steal your wallet, you can call me a “thief” but it’s hardly what I’d call a shifty crime. Still, the man concerned seemed very confused anyway. Apparently, if those who are getting a franking credit were to no longer get it, then they’d be forced onto the pension and then the taxpayer would have to pay. This sort of overlooks the fact that it’s the taxpayer who’s refunding the franking credits. Whatever way you look at it, paying tax on future income is not taking the money people already have, even if that the way some are trying to spin it.

It made me remember Jean.  As the Murdoch press told us:

So poor Jean won’t get that $12,775. This means that she’ll have to struggle to make ends meet on a meagre $3,000 a week. Perhaps we should take up a collection…

And speaking of spin, I also noticed a couple of dozen ads where Clive Palmer’s UAP was telling us that Labor was planning to tax us an “extra trillion dollars”… It didn’t mention a time period, so maybe he was just assuming that they’d be in a long, long time. Just for your information a trillion is $1,000,000,000,000. And that’s extra on top of the taxes we already pay. Yes, it’s interesting to notice the shift in Clive’s ads since the preference deal. While he was attacking both major parties a few weeks ago, now it’s just Bill and Labor that seem to be attracting his disgust.

It has sort of disturbed me that the media have been treating the whole campaign as though the Liberals record over the past six years is an irrelevant detail and what really matters is the campaign. As though you should give the contract to the firm of the person who interviews well, even if they represent a company who has had two previous CEOs stand down after a revolt, and who completely failed to deliver on their previous contract. “Let’s give them another go,” you say, “because Bazza cracked those great jokes in his presentation about the other guy’s name. And he did say all the right things about getting jobs done on budget even if he hasn’t managed to do that in the past.  It’s not really his fault that his environmental manager hasn’t turned up to work for the past month and he had to do the whole presentation by himself…”

If you get a chance to read the Australian Financial Review editorial. In simple terms, it basically lamented the lost opportunities, the incompetence and the lack of courage of the Coalition, but hey, let’s stick with them because Labor is influenced by those unions and unions are so yesterday.

But hearing that Sportsbet has already paid out on a Labor win, I had to wonder if the media are going to stick to their “It’s just too close call” line, or whether they say that there’s always Brexit and Donald Trump to make us a little circumspect, but Saturday may end up being an early night.

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Ah, Josh Frydenberg, The Man Who Told The Truth… Eventually!

No, I didn’t actually watch the Liberal launch. I went and sipped my latte in beautiful downtown Balwyn…Just to be clear, I don’t live in Balwyn, but I live close enough to squeeze into Josh Frydenberg’s electorate. Last time I was in Chisholm and I was looking forward to getting rid of a Liberal candidate, but to my surprise, I suddenly found myself in Kooyong.

Now as a member of the Kooyong electorate, I’ve been subjected to so many letters from Joshie that I was starting to wonder if I could consider it stalking. Every day for the past week, I found at least one letter for either my wife and I or my son who is now of voting age. These letters were very informative. They told me such things as how my private health insurance was at risk, how rents would go up (did nobody consider that some of the good people of Kooyong may be rubbing their hands and thinking how good that would be thanks to the 83 properties they own?), how the economy might stall under Labor when thanks to his sound economic management growth was 2.75% and not 2,5% that the Reserve Bank has adjusted it to, how the Liberals had a plan for reducing emissions but not by so much that it would hurt anything including businesses because we all know that a strong economy which burns coal 24/7 is the best way to reduce emissions, and…

Well, dear reader, I must confess that I stopped reading Josh’s epistles because there’s only so much humour one can take in a month. I mean, “The Bill you can’t afford”! Who thought of that one. ‘Tis a real knee-slapper. I was waiting for Labor to reply with “Sconofriends Morrison”, but they missed their chance.

Anyway, my wife finished her coffee and I wished her a happy mother’s day, and told her that she’d get her presents when our son got home because he got up before six to work. A son working on Mother’s Day…Isn’t that outrageous? Still, I guess it’s better than Scott Morrison who got the women in his life to work at his launch by introducing him…

We went home and I decided to watch bits of the Liberal launch which I’d replayed just in case there was something interesting which I wanted to check later. Not having a mother of my own to call, I thought I might as well watch the launch…My mother died four years ago, she would have turned 100 earlier in the week had she still been alive. In the spirit of all those who have tried to pay tribute to their mothers for who they became, I would like to say that while my mother may have had her faults she cannot be held responsible for me. She did her best to make me the sort of human who would make her proud, but I was always going to be a different beast…I think in some ways, that itself may have made her proud, but that’s a whole other story…

Anyway, I played the launch back and watched with the sort of fascination that one has when one can’t quite believe that the driver has not only failed to notice the red light but has decided to pretend that he was travelling in the direction of the green.

I could spend ten thousand words on Morrison and his “promise of Australia”, but being rather close to Josh owing to his frequent letters, I’d just like to offer the following three bits of advice:

  1. Your joke about watching another Carlton loss may have gone down well with the Liberal Carlton supporters, but it does make you sound like you’re used to losing. That wouldn’t be so bad were it not for your joke about being “fifteen years into your five-year plan” doesn’t inspire confidence that you’re “predicted” Budget Surplus is going to be any better than Carlton’s. Not only that, but given your party just edited the words “death tax” from every time Bill Shorten denied it and suggested that it was he that was talking about a death tax should be very careful about saying something that could be selectively edited…Particularly when you’ve been in power for five years.
  2. You followed up by joking about your wife and mother being promised a quiet event with just a few people which was funny coz it was true. There was hardly anyone at the Liberal/National launch. However, we all got what you were trying to make funny. The fact that you lied and they had their day spoilt by having to attend a campaign launch. Yep, broken promises, that’s a standard LNP joke. But probably not good to do it in an election launch as it sort of spoils the punch line if you’re re-elected.
  3. Finally, that joke about the Liberal door-knocker who walks through the freshly laid cement and quickly says to the person who opens the door, “How do you do? I’m the Labor candidate!” may go down a treat at Liberal events but the idea that we blame Labor even if we have to lie about it tends to wreck Scottie’s whole election strategy. Still, I do have to say, it was the most truthful thing I’ve heard from the Liberals in ages. If I hadn’t voted already, I’d have to think you were the man…Whoops, is that a bit sexist? Ah, if the Liberals are re-elected, who cares? I mean, obviously, who cares?

That’s it. At the next election, I may even offer to hand out your how-to-vote cards. It’ll be interesting to see how their vetting has improved and whether they give me a blue shirt and handful of cards so I can go up to people and say, “Come on, take it. you know anyone who took climate change seriously hasn’t got a hope in this electorate!”…

🙂

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Scott Morrison And The Case Of The Incredible Shrinking Ministry

I had a concept for a Sherlock Holmes type spoof. Something like the case of the missing environment minister.

However, I’ve decided that I need to have a break before Bill Shorten becomes PM next week…

Ok, I know that making predictions can make one look stupid, but I’m prepared to do it because I actually have a pretty good track record even if I’m occasionally wrong. Nah, that’s not the reason. I’m prepared to do it because it doesn’t seem to matter how often one is wrong, nobody even seems to notice when you are. I mean, how else do racing tipsters, Alan Jones and Terry McCrann still have a job?

See, if I tip that at tomorrow’s launch, Scott Morrison will pay special tribute to his mother and tell everyone how she’s what’s inspired him, then nobody will care if I’m wrong, but if I’m right, I’ll use it to spruik my predictive credentials every chance I get. And if I say that I have it on good authority that she’ll be in the front row and he’ll throw to her and everyone will clap and when someone suggests that he’s copying Bill Shorten, Murdoch’s minions will make one last stand before that young girl stabs the King of Death and all those white-walkers are defeated…

Sorry, I think I just confused the political situation with “Game Of Thrones” because my wife decided to switch from 7:30 to GOT and when I checked Sky News, Bronwyn Bishop was on so it’s an easy mistake to make…

Let’s get back to the Bill Shorten government…I’d like to think that it’ll be much, much better than the current one.

This is, of course, rather like suggesting that – in a high jump – we are expecting a government who actually tries to make it over a raised bar rather than one which trips on the bar because they’ve lowered to the point that they didn’t even realise that it was there at all.

Now, I’d like to be positive instead of just taking pot-shots at the government, but I don’t want to be just a cheer squad for everything that Labor does. Neither do I want to become a Greens supporter. And not because I have anything against them,

So because of all this and the religious freedom debate around Israel Folau, I’ve decided to start my own religion as politics is likely to be just too hard.

You may want to tell me that I can’t just start my own religion…

However, I’d like to point out that by saying such a thing, not only are you inhibiting my free speech, but you are refusing to allow me religious freedom.

I suspect that this is the point at which I should stop before I assure you all that the creator of all that is good has spoken to me and he has assured me that Scott Morrison doesn’t have a prayer next week…And just in case you’re wondering, the creator of all that is good is not named Rupert Murdoch.

Nah, I’m free to start my own religion and you’re free to follow it. Or not.

That’s what makes me different from Rupert’s papers…

Mm, my own religion…Do I get a tax free status?

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Bill Shorten’s Terrible Lies!

Ok, let’s get everything clear. You’re a very, very privileged person and any attempt to create another narrative, I’m going to shoot down because, well, let’s be real here.

Growing up, did you have an indoor toilet? No. Well, did you at least have one that was close to the house? Did it flush? I mean, did you flush all that perfectly good drinking water down the toilet. You lucky bastard! Don’t you know that a large number of the world’s population have to travel miles to get water that you wouldn’t be prepared to use to wash your car…

And that’s another thing. You have a car? Or a telephone? Or a TV? Computer? You rich bastard…

Now let’s pause and acknowledge that almost nobody reading this will be completely exempt from what I said above. Some of you may be able to tell me how hard it was to go outside to that toilet after dark… I know that I needed my Nanna or my mother to go and wait with me until I was a certain age. I don’t know how old I was but I left home at sixteen so I’m pretty sure I’d stopped asking my relatives to check that the spiders hadn’t dragged me in…

Like Bill Shorten, my life is one of privilege and deprivation. This isn’t unusual. And the narrative you choose to tell will depend on the narrative you understood as you were growing up. And yes, I can tell the story of my outdoor loo. And yes, of course, my Nanna and my mum spoiled me by waiting outside when I was too young and scared to go out there by myself.

Of course, as I tell you about my childhood, I am aware that almost nobody will tell me that the particular part of that narrative I have chosen is untrue. Nobody will suggest that I’m “inventing it”. But then I’m not standing for public office and I haven’t told Murdoch to shuffle off and spend your last years with Jerry and just stop trying to control the world.

Nobody checked to see if Jen Morrison really didn’t take medication when she was depressed. Or even if she was really depressed and not just a little sad that she’d been stuck with Scott. Nobody checked when Peter Dutton’s wife said he wasn’t a monster at home.

No, that would have just been wrong. But they decided to trample all over Bill’s memory of his mum.

Forget the politics. What scum these people are! How dare they lecture us about how the “tone” of political debate has been lowered when they’re the ones who lower it at every opportunity.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: “We all born in the gutter, but Rupert Murdoch has made billions by telling us to look at the ones from Fox studios and then go back to the gutter and read my newspapers!”

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It’s Mother’s Day And The Liberals Are Launching Their Election Campaign…

Nup, really.

I’m not making it up.

Six days before the election, you launch your campaign. And on Mothers’ Day!

Still, I listened to Scott Morrison on 7:30. He didn’t answer the question about whether he’d have three ex-PMs at his launch preferring to tell Leigh Sales that he was more concerned with talking to the people… I’d take that as a no, personally.

Perhaps, Scott should have replied by suggesting that they couldn’t make it because it was Mother’s Day… although that may prompt someone to suggest so those mothers had to celebrate their special day elsewhere!

There was just too much to write about yesterday. I mean, when I first woke up and read about Centrelink suddenly finding that the person mounting the test case for the Robodebt didn’t actually owe any money. I mean, they’d had another look at it and they suddenly realised that they’d made a mistake so let’s not proceed with this test case thingy…

Yeah, I thought that would be the worst thing all day. And when I came home and found that Josh Frydenberg had placed a little card in my letterbox… Well, not personally. He did handwrite the bit on the back explaining that he was telling me all about what he’d been doing in the electorate… No mention of the election. Apparently, he’s removed the level crossing at Glenferrie Road. Or rather he will, because he’s suddenly realised that he may need to promise that just to make sure that he’ll get elected even though he’s in one of the safest Liberal seats…

But no, Scott Morrison was on 7:30. And he was back to his boring best. Quoting numbers to the point that your eyes glaze over and you wonder if a billion now is more than a trillion in the 33rd Century and does the government really need to deliver surpluses before they can stop increasing the debts and do pink batts stop pink balls and is night cricket ever going to… Sorry, Leigh, I hadn’t finished answering the question you didn’t ask…

But there it was in the middle of all the waffle:

LEIGH SALES: But my point is, what does it say about your principles if you’re prepared to do deals with those kinds of people to stay in power?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, it says that do I think the United Australia Party is a bigger risk to the Australian economy and jobs and Australia’s future than the Labor Party and the Greens? No, I don’t think they’re a bigger risk. I think Bill Shorten and the Greens are a much greater risk to people’s jobs and the economic security and national security of this country than the alternative.

Now think about that for a second. A vote for a failed businessman whose company went into liquidation and who still owes money to many people is preferable to the Labor Party. In spite of Clive’s assertion to the contrary, I tend to doubt that his part is on track to win the election but that doesn’t really matter. When you preference someone, you’re implying that you’d prefer them to be elected than all the people below them. However, in this case, we have our PM telling us that explicitly. We’d be better off with Clive Palmer as our leader than Bill Shorten!

Does he believe it? Or is he prepared to say whatever in order to win the election?

Makes you wonder who is behind the posts on social media about Labor’s “inheritance tax”. I read one today explaining how it would work. It read:

“Just stole this off another post

“For those who don’t know, here’s how Shortens inheritance tax will work:
“If your parents leave you a fully paid for $400,000 home, you will get a bill from the Tax Office for $160,000 (40%).
“If you can’t pay that, they will sell it.
“If they get $400k, they will take $160k, the real estate will take $8-10k and you will get around $230k
“Not bad considering your parents worked all their lives for it, paid taxes on all the money they earned along the way and and just under half of what they worked for now goes to the government.

“What about if they leave you a fully paid $40k car, congratulations you now owe the Tax Office $16k for that car.

“What a wonderful world where we can leave so much to the government.”

Interestingly, when I posted a comment that this just wasn’t true because Labor doesn’t have a policy for an inheritance tax, my comment disappeared. Actually, even if a party had one, surely they could start at a slightly lower figure than 40%, but let’s leave that to one side because a made-up scare campaign couldn’t possibly work if it wasn’t so outrageous.

Well, happy Mothers’ day everyone!

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Scott Morrison’s Activity OR Why Wasn’t The Energiser Bunny On The Ballot Paper?

“I was simply trying to encourage [Mr Shorten] to tell the truth and to look me in the eye”.

“He couldn’t do that either. He scurried away,” Mr Morrison said.

“Wisecracks and stunts isn’t how you run a country. I’m happy for Bill Shorten to put on a cabaret performance in a debate but that’s not how you run a country and that’s not what Australians want to see.”

We’ve been treated to many tales of how ScoMo has energised the campaign. We’ve been told that he’s been busy going from place to place bowling cricket balls, shearing sheep, playing tennis and dribbling the odd soccer and basketball. However, it seems from his comments about Bill Shorten that a cabaret performance is not relevant when it comes to running the country. Scott’s capacity to dribble does seem to have some relevance according to the media.

Yes, both Scottie and the media keep telling us that Bill Shorten has been getting caught up with tricky questions about policy. Bill is required to talk about his own policies rather than performing gymnastic backflips, milking a giraffe or whatever physical activity that Morrison had performed. What energy from the PM! Wow, this is impressive and exactly the sort of thing that should determine who runs the country.

Ignoring all this, I was confused by an article which suggested all these early voters were somehow a threat to democracy. Apparently, we should wait and hear the finer points of policy that may be released in the final two weeks before we go to the polls… Or rather before we’re meant to go to the polls. Some people are ignoring what the writer defined as the proper way to vote: Listen to everything the leaders say in the two weeks before the election date, check to see that they don’t make some slip of the tongue, judge the energy with which they run around promising things which are normally state responsibilities in marginal electorates and completely ignore all the history of the previous performance.

In this particular election, that would mean ignoring the promise of stability by Tony Abbott in 2013 only to beat Labor by having, not just three PMs, but three different deputy PMs as well, the stuff-ups in the NDIS, the NBN and energy policy, the various projects that spent millions without going to tender, the large number of Liberals deserting the sinking ship, the refusal of the Coalition to admit that there’s a problem with endorsing female MPs, the refusal of the Right wing rump to compromise when it comes to just about anything causing policy inertia and… Well, the list is pretty long, but you can see why some people may be saying do I really need to wait and see if Scott Morrison manages to convince me that if they’re re-elected we’ll all be given an extra slice of cake and that wages will start to grow again thanks to employers being so grateful for a Coalition government that they decide that they’re profits are large enough and they’ll give workers the 3.25% predicted in the Budget?

They better or else the promised Budget surplus may just be a ridiculous idea floated by the Liberals to get themselves elected but they try to ignore later on…

And speaking of Tony Abbott, did you catch his comments to the student protesters about climate change? Apart from telling them that he had a responsibility to tell them the truth, not just agree with them – which I think we’ll all agree is a welcome change from Tony – Mr Abbott proclaimed “the earth has survived many things”.

Yes, that’s true. I’m sure the earth will survive climate change. It’s mankind I’m not so sure about. Still, we can be just as blasé about that destructive species as we are about various others.

Mr Abbott went on to announce that he didn’t think that the environmental catastrophe predicted by scientists would happen. He didn’t seem to elaborate on reasons for this, but it’s also worth remembering he predicted a Budget surplus once he was elected. He did add: “I’m not saying that there isn’t going to be some time in the future when, for whatever reason, things come to an end, but I don’t believe that modest increases of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over the next few decades are bound to bring about the kind of environmental catastrophe that you seem to fear.”

Well, that’s good to know. It reminds me of the doctors in the 1960s telling us that smoking was good for our health. Why? Who knows, but they believed it.

Anyway, in two weeks the election will be over and we’ll no longer have those silly articles telling us how close things are, how the leaders’ debate didn’t produce a clear winner and how a change in methods of calculations gave the Liberals an extra point in the two-party preferred voting.

The simple truth is that Liberals are starting from a position of minority in terms of seats and they have to not only win seats, but stop Labor from winning in seats where it’s generally conceded that they will. I’m not suggesting that this can’t happen. I’m simply suggesting that it’s even less likely than the Liberals running an ad based on the old energiser bunny commercial where they show Scott Morrison racing to the finish line while Shorten conks out…

Actually, that may happen now that I’ve put it out there. Of course, it would run the risk of people suddenly demanding to know why the bunny wasn’t on the ballot paper. No, I don’t mean Peter Dutton, the bunny who paved the way for Morrison to become PM. No, not Turnbull either. You know, the one that used to be in that commercial.

Never mind…

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Frydenberg Removes Level Crossing And Possibly Simon Holmes a Court!

You may not have heard the news but the Kooyong level crossing is going to be removed thanks to Josh Frydenberg. But not only that. Josh, apparently removed Simon Holmes a Court from a function.

To be fair, I haven’t checked this story with the Treasurer, but I’m pretty sure he’d be too busy telling me that when Bill Shorten runs out of money he’ll come after mine because he repeated that several times in his press conference.

It’s interesting that when Labor spend any money it’s always a waste, but the Liberals are doing us all a great service when they do it. Take the Kooyong railway crossing, for example. Here, in Victoria, the Andrews government has made a big thing out of removing our “most dangerous level crossings”. Apparently, the Kooyong one wasn’t on the list, but hey, it is in Josh’s electorate and there’s nothing more dangerous than a threat from an Independent and a high profile Greens candidate.

Of course, it does beg the question that, if the Liberals are going to suddenly take over level crossing removal, why only the one? I mean, surely there are plenty of others who are even more dangerous. And by that, I mean in dangerous marginal seats.

But I still give the quote of the day to the National’s leader, Michael McWattisname, who said today:

“The fact is that the National Party policies, probably closer align with One Nation, than they ever will with the Greens or Labor.”

Given the recent resign of Steve Dickson after his drunken strip club visit, I’m sure many would agree. Barnaby? What do you think? Do you think that your party has more in common with a party that has a member who gets so drunk they don’t remember what they’re doing and behave like a total sleazebag than Labor or the Greens?

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It’s Election Time And The Grand Final Is Predicted To Be Close!

Here we are on Grand Final eve and everyone’s expecting a tight contest. Team Liberal decked out in their traditional blue were looking like a rabble just a few weeks ago but now, under new coach, Scottie “Skull” Morrison, all the commentary is focusing on how well they’ve been doing on the training track. While the reasons for replacing Coach Turnbull have never been clearly articulated, rumour has it that his inability to stop his right wingers deliberately kicking the ball out of bounds was responsible for his sudden departure. In recent days, however, Morrison has shown a great capacity to get everyone working together. Fans and media alike are all telling us what a great job he’s doing and how he’s whipped a disorganised bunch of losers into a crack team. While a number of players have announced their intention not to play on in the coming season and have declared themselves unavailable for selection for the grand final, Morrison is undeterred telling reporters that he doesn’t need them. “I’ve been underestimated in the past, and I intend to win, even if it means playing every position myself!” When asked whether the resignation of a number of high profile female coaching staff was a problem, Morrison said that he’d never thought that their success should be at the expense of those who were having a real fair go and they’d get a go, when they had a go, but not if this meant less positions for the male coaches. 

And it seems that his strategy of encouraging everyone to look at photos of the Opposition Coach and growl loudly has envigorated everyone. Not only that, but his recent agreement with Clive Palmer that if Palmer’s team didn’t look like making the final, Clive would come along and help with strategy, in spite of telling everyone that a win for Morrison’s boys would be a disaster.

So whatever you do, tune into our coverage and don’t look away. It’s going to be a close one!

As I frequently remind myself, making predictions is hard because the future is often unpredictable. However, most of life is very, very predictable. That’s why the surprise takes us by surprise. If things were completely unpredictable all the time, we wouldn’t wake up and go, “Hey, the sky is green today. What’s going on?”, we’d just accept that the colour has changed because it changes every day. To illustrate my point, if the sky is grey rather than blue or has streaks of red, we just accept that it’s raining or that it’s a nice sunset.

Similarly, we know that the media will try to convince us that the election is going to be close. And, to be fair, since World War Two, one of the major parties has either won or run second. The political commentary have a vested interest in trying to make us feel that anything could happen and we won’t know the result until deep into the night on election eve. Compare this to the betting markets, who paid out a couple of days before the recent Victorian election.

And to consider my imperfect analogy of a grand final, when was the last time you ever heard a sports commentator tell people not to tune in because the grand final was going to be a walkover and you’d be better off doing the gardening.?

Of course, I don’t know the future and I’m not guaranteeing the result, but I do think people are better off dealing with facts than the sort of guff I’ve read in some of the papers. Take, for example, a piece I read in today’s non-Murdoch paper. (Yes, there is still one!) It was talking about the potential, albeit difficult path to victory for the Liberals. So far, so good. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of speculation. However, it was the table headed: “The path to power” that I found rather dubious. It then had two lists separated by the image of a ballot box on which, “The seats each side needs to win” was written.

The list of seven seats on Labor’s side finished with the seat of Deakin in Victoria, which needs a 6.4% swing!

Now before you all start maxing out your credit card to place a bet on the Coalition, I’d like to point out that Labor is expected to have a chance of winning Deakin. However, the idea that they “need” to win Deakin makes it sound like they’re facing a monumental task and the Liberals who only “need” a swing of 6.1% to hold Solomon are in a better position.

This is NOT a prediction of where things will be at midnight of the election. This is simply what would happen if there were a uniform swing, and uniform swings don’t happen. Some states will be more extreme; some electorates will buck the trend. But for the point of view of accuracy, this is what would happen with the following swings nationwide.

A uniform national swing of 1% = Labor majority government

A uniform national swing of 2% = Labor hold 81 seats

And just for fun, let’s pretend that the 6.4% of Deakin is actually the swing size that Labor needs:

A uniform national swing of 6.4% = Labor almost has 100 seats and the biggest landslide in the history of the House of Representatives.

So, if you’re contemplating moving to New Zealand because you fear a return of the boys in blue, I’d hold off until after the election.

On the other hand, if it’s because you like their leader better than either of our options, then feel free to start packing.

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Why I’ll Let My Mate Perform My Brain Surgery Or Why I’m Voting For Scott Morrison…

Chris Uhlmann and various other political journalists have been a little sensitive recently. There have been a number of stories about how partisan people are on social media and how some of them have the temerity to suggest a lack of balance. Outrageous! Apparently, both the left and the right are accusing them of poor reporting so it’s clear that they’re doing ok. However, that’s a bit like suggesting that because both Collingwood and Carlton supporters suggest that it was terrible centre bounce that the umpire doesn’t need to lift his game in any way.

I was particularly impressed by a couple of puff pieces that told us what a good bloke Morrison was and how he was winning hearts and minds by going from town to town and sipping a beer, sampling a pasta and sharing his curry recipes. One even lamented that it was a shame that he couldn’t get around more because by showing his human side, he’d romp in the election because nobody likes Bill…

Now, it is true that before Shorten made the list of celebrities I’d like to have to my dinner party, I’d need a much, much larger house. However, that’s not the point. The prefered PM question is not and has never been: “Which of the following candidates would you most like to go on a date with?”

I repeat, it is not a popularity contest. If I suddenly needed brain surgery… Well, let’s say in the next ten months. If I suddenly needed it, I’d be rushed into hospital and probably wouldn’t get much say… Anyway, let’s say it’s been recommended that I have part of my brain cut away and I want to ensure that the surgeon cuts away the right bits and doesn’t leave me sounding like Barnaby doing an interview with an ABC journalist, I’d find out who people recommended. what various doctors said about the qualifications and skills of the various potential candidates and make my decision based on who seemed most competent.

I wouldn’t use the method the media seemed to be suggesting we employ when we pick our PM: “I was at this barbeque today, and this mate of mine was cooking the sausages and he introduced me to Scottie who told me that the guy I was planning to use was a really nasty piece of work… A social climber who’d probably cost me a lot. Anyway, Scott took over the barbeque and took a sip of beer and said that he could do the whole brain surgery thing at a fraction of the price. and I was really impressed by the way he handled the sausages. Then he gave me this bonza recipe for a curry, so there’s no way I’m going to waste that money on that surgeon guy, because apart from anything else he’s rude to the nurses and they don’t like him…”

No, I’d still probably use the guy with the best track record and some medical qualifications… Even if I discovered that he’s using a Cayman Islands scheme to reduce his taxable income to zero, meaning that he can still benefit from refund of franking credits.

Of course, in the interests of balance, I should point out that the Liberals would argue that Shorten’s track record and qualifications are the things that should worry us. They’re suggesting that Bill will actually do something about climate change and that’ll cost business lots of money and they’re really worried because they don’t like anything that costs them like paying people wages when they could just as easily use interns and sack them when their internship was over.

On a completely different matter, Clive Palmer has been sending me stuff lately. I joined his party with the idea of offering to stand as a candidate just to see if they did any vetting and whether someone like me who’d been publicly critical of him would sneak through the process. I was talked out of it when someone suggested that I’d probably make it through and, even if I tried to quit in a blaze of publicity, Palmer candidates quitting would hardly make the news as it’s so common and then I’d be remembered as someone who stood for Palmer.

But speaking of standing for Clive Palmer, does anyone find it slightly absurd that Clive has spent millions of dollars telling us how bad both major parties were, only to end up agreeing to preference the Liberals?

Now, I know that some will argue that Labor would have probably done a deal too if they could, but that’s not the point: It’s the fact that Palmer is prepared to horse-trade to improve his chances of election.

I’m not even going to pick on the Liberals over this one. After all, if I want to pick on them, I have:

  • Three PMs and three Treasurers in less than six years
  • The flagrant lack of process when giving money to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Paladin and a whole range of others which would take longer than an Oscar acceptance speech.
  • Their pretence that the projected Budget surplus is different from Wayne Swan’s because his didn’t eventuate whereas they know theirs will because of the presumed improvement in growth, wages, commodity prices, etc to levels not seen in the past decade.
  • The NBN
  • The fact that they have a Finance Minister who doesn’t check his credit card statement closely enough to notice that a holiday costing several thousand dollars hasn’t been charged.
  • The response to the dead fish…The actual dead fish, not Malcolm Turnbull’s supporters.
  • QandA’s main challenge becoming just which Liberal can we get on to make the one we had previously look good by comparison. (Jim McGrath did a stirling job to outdo Teena McQueen. I think he had to be considered the winner and I defy them to beat that performance prior to the election.)
  • Making up Labor policy
  • Making up Labor policy and still coming with fear campaigns about things that a majority would support. For example, battling climate change or higher taxes for higher income earners.
  • Tony Abbott trying to suggest that’s it’s only by re-electing him that Manly will get better public toilets. (Alan Jones has been quiet on this issue.)
  • A Queensland Liberal Senate candidate suggesting that more preschool education was a plot to ensure government control over children, before going full conspiracy theory about the Bureau of Metrology and climate change.
  • Pauline Hanson suggesting that the elimination of the dinosaurs wasn’t caused by man, so climate change can’t be real. I add Pauline because – apart from Malcolm Turnbull’s changes to the Senate helping her re-election – it must be remembered that the only reason she came to national prominence was because they endorsed her as a candidate in the 1996 election, only to disendorse her too late to have her name taken off the ballot. She was disendorsed for suggesting cuts to Aboriginal funding and complaining about migrants. This wasn’t supposed to be released until after the election.
  • Peter Dutton… Need I elaborate?

No, I’m not going to complain about the Liberals and Clive. There are too many other things. But I think Palmer has shown himself a little shallow for doing any deal with a major party after his advertising blitz.

And I’m sure some helpful readers will probably add another ten or fifty things.

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Let’s Just Separate Israel, Scott, Rugby And Religion

Religious freedom, freedom of speech and a whole lot of other concepts are being discussed with people’s views fluctuating wildly depending on who or what we’re talking about.

Take the protesters who lost their High Court case. The Court ruled that a deeply held religious conviction didn’t mean that the government couldn’t legislate to stop them protesting near a clinic which performed abortions. The protesters argued that they should have the right to protest anywhere. It would be interesting to ask their position on the recent vegan protests and whether they supported vegans going onto farms to make their position known to farmers.

And let’s not forget Scott Morrison’s little non-campaign invitation to the media to join him at his Easter Sunday worship. When one of them caught him in an unfortunate pose, social media had a laugh at his expense. Scott normally has a great sense of humour. For example, his recent attempt to extend his refusal to talk about «on water » matters when he was Immigration Minister all the way to the water buyback scheme. Good one, Scott. However, he was certainly not amused by the way he was portrayed by a scurrilous few whom he felt were mocking him at a very private moment, calling them cowardly and suggesting that they were living in their mother’s basements. Strange. I would have thought that the basement belonged equally to both parents. I mean, think about your own basement… You don’t have one? Mm, strange to refer to the basement at all. If anything, I would have thought that Australians would have a cellar, but hey, Scott does try to copy Trump at every opportunity.

My strategy is to try and take personalities out of the situation and to judge how I’d feel if the same principle was applied in a totally different circumstance. Let’s say, I invite the media to watch me take a shower. While it’s true to say that I generally regard showering as a personal thing, in an election campaign, I want to demonstrate just how clean I am. Now, I have every right to get upset when someone comments on my lack of muscle tone and tries to body shame me, but I’m not sure if that extends to someone pointing out that I took extra care to ensure that my genitals weren’t exposed and this suggests that I’m hiding something because that would put me in a no-win situation. I could hardly scream that I have nothing to hide, because that could start a whole series of nasty tweets.

Notwithstanding all that, it’s the Israel Folau controversy that seems to be dividing people. After all, argue some, he has a right to express his view. Others argue that his view was homophobic and hurtful to a large number of people. As a side note, I think it should be remembered that he didn’t single out gay people; he also suggested that adulterers, drunks, fornicators and many others who were also going to burn in Hell’s flames. One wonders if he had any politicians in mind…

Many people have questioned whether a sporting body has the right to censor somebody. Others have suggested that, as he’s an employee, his employer has the right to determine what he puts out because he could be seen as representing them.

To apply my earlier strategy, I think it’s important to take both sport and religion out of the equation and consider it as we would any other circumstance. After all, to many people, religion is almost as important as sport, and both can get people quite worked up when they encounter someone who supports a different team who refuses to understand exactly why theirs is the only one worth following.

Let’s say that I work for a large retail company as a sales assistant. It comes to the attention of my manager that, using my own name and identifying myself as a worker for that company, I have been tweeting messages along the lines: «While National Party voters are all stupid, people who vote for One Nation shouldn’t be allowed out of the house without a minder as they’re clearly incapable of crossing the road without help. » After I argue that these are just my opinions, my manager tells me that some of the customers are, in fact, National and One Nation voters and while I have a right to my personal views, I can’t express them when it’s going to be linked to the store.

Now, some of you may still argue that I have the right to express my views. However, if I were to say that I see the point and in future, I’ll be more circumspect, I can hardly complain if I’m dismissed when I suggest that I’d like to have some of what Clive Palmer has been smoking…

By the way, Clive Palmer’s latest newsletter tells the faithful not to believe the fake news and that they’re on track to win government. He says that their polling says that 15% intend to vote UAP and that there’s a 28% undecided vote who’ll vote for him giving him a total of 43% which will be enough to win government apparently… Yep, that’s convincing!

Forget the sport and religion for a second and go back to the retail assistant. Does the employer have the right to determine an employee’s public tweets? Does your view on this change if the employee has agreed not to publicly say anything controversial? Or does it simply change depending on who said it and what they said?

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The Barnaby Interview!

Now I’ve had some wine with lunch… And I had a couple of drinks when I got back to the hotel, so all in all, I may have consumed most of a bottle of wine, so I may not be able to completely capture the… what’s the word for it… the “Je ne sais que pas” of Barnaby’s voice in the interview, but I’ll do my best… I’ll keep drinking and I’ll probably get closer to it as I write…

Not that I’m suggesting that Barnaby had been drinking. I would never suggest such a thing. I’m just being terribly arrogant and suggesting that I find it easier to think and sound like Mr Joyce after I’ve had a few drinks, while he can sound like himself with almost no effort… And from the sound of it, expending no effort is exactly how he approached his time as Water Minister.

In case you missed the interview, it went something like this (and I am doing this from memory so fictional Barnaby may sound a whole lot more articulate than he actually was)

Patricia Karvelis: Mr Joyce, did you ask any questions…

Barnaby (talking over her): LABOR DID IT FIRST! WHY DON’T YOU ASK PENNY WONG?

PK: Well, you’re here now and I’ll ask Penny Wong when I get her on…

Barnaby (talking over her): Labor did it first and I was just doing what Labor did and anyway, there were competent people telling me what price to pay and I just did what I was told and I’m not responsible for anything.

PK: Didn’t you ask questions?

Barnaby (talking over her): Yes, of course I did. I asked where I should sign and…

PK: Mr Joyce, can you just…

Barnaby: Labor, Labor, Labor! The Queensland government said it was a good deal. Are you suggesting that they don’t know what they’re doing and that they’re morons who don’t know more than I do because that’s pretty hard to believe…There were lots of competent people who told me that this was the only water for sale and I bought it because Labor and The Greens wanted us to buy water and I can’t see why anyone would want to buy water, but they do and they’re not the sort of people who’d buy anyone a beer, but…

PK: Mr Joyce, you were Water Minister at the time…

Barnaby: I was just doing what Labor did and I don’t like them but that’s no reason to change anything and anyway why are you talking to me, I don’t know anything but I’d like to say that I’d be happy to tell you that…of course I asked questions.

PK: So what were they?

Barnaby: I was told it was a great deal and you couldn’t get non-existent water cheaper anywhere because the price is going up all the time and if you tried to buy it now, I reckon we wouldn’t be prepared to sell it for less than we paid unless someone told us to.

PK: So who benefitted from the sale?

Barnaby: I don’t know. You don’t ask whether the person is wearing clothes or whether they’re married, you just want to see the colour of their money…

PK: Weren’t the government the ones buying the…

Barnaby: Gees, Patricia, why aren’t you asking Labor all this? Penny Wong did this too, you know. 

Like I said, I may have got this a little wrong, but if you’d like to check out the actual interview it’s here. Unless it’s been removed in the interests of balance…

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Climate Change Is A Cost!

Interesting ABC story headline: ”Climate change costings a cause for concern as Coalition ups its attack on Labor’s commitments”

Now, I don’t know if you’ll think that I’m just being obsessed about semantics, but I do think that it’s a fair point to make. Labor’s policy aren’t ‘climate change costings”; they’re attempts to avoid climate change costings. The cost of climate change will be doing nothing about it.

I guess if I’m trying to be balanced like the ABC is meant to be, I’d write “so-called climate change” because that’s how Tony Abbott referred to it recently. However, it seems that the ABC has a strange idea about balance these days.

If the ABC ran the election debate, I suspect it’d go something like this:

Moderator: Mr Morrison, would you like to lead off by saying how well you’ve managed the economy?

Morrison: Thanks. We’ve done really well because we’ve paid off Labor’s debt and unemployment is practically zero and people who pay no income tax are entitled to their franking credits but Labor want to take that away and give it to people who don’t have a go.

Moderator: Now, Mr Shorten, how do you respond to the idea that Labor can’t manage the economy, control the borders or reward those who deserve it?

Shorten: Well, there’s quite a few issues there…

Moderator: We know, and that’s why you’re unpopular. Can you overcome all this and still run a positive campaign?

Shorten: Well, in response to the first issue…

Morrison: Hang on, he’s got two chances to respond. Where’s my next question?

Moderator: Sorry, Mr Morrison, um, so what’s your favourite colour?

Morrison: Thanks for the question. Blue is my favourite colour.

Moderator: it’s a lovely colour. Mr Shorten, how will you manage the shortfall in revenue without raising taxes and causing a recession?

Shorten: Well, we’ve announced all our intended tax changes and, if there’s a danger of a recession, should we be so obsessed with a Budget surplus?

Moderator: So you don’t think you can manage a surplus?

Shorten: That’s not what I said. But why is he getting questions like what’s your favourite colour and I’m getting grilled on my policies?

Moderator: Do you have something to hide?

Shorten: No, but his questions are easier.

Moderator: Ok, what’s Mr Morrison’s favourite colour?

Shorten: Blue!

Moderator: Aren’t you just copying the PM when you say that?

Shorten: Of course I am, it’s his favourite colour, after all.

Morrison: Can I just interject? I mean, Bill Shorten is basically getting a free run here and I’m very upset that the ABC isn’t giving me a chance to point out that Mr Shorten is trying to suggest that he knows my favourite colour when clearly he has no idea.

Shorten: You just said it was blue!

Moderator: Please don’t interrupt! You’ve had a fair go.

Morrison: Thank you. This is just typical of the Labor Party. They think they can dictate people’s favourite colour and…

Shorten: I’m just quoting what you said. Personally I don’t care what anyone’s favourite colour is. I think it’s a matter of personal taste and I don’t think it’s really an issue.

Moderator: I’ll give the last word to you Mr Morrison. What are the dangers of voting Labor?

Morrison: it’s simple really. Labor will take away the incentive to work by forcing everyone to drive electric cars and they’ll drive up energy prices by refusing to even consider nuclear power which we’re not considering, and it was a total beat-up to suggest such a thing and they throw retirees into the sea.

Moderator: Very clear. Thanks to both of you.

Next day: Headline would be: “Shorten Refuses To Talk About Economy And Demands People Stop Talking About Colour Issues”

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Women Burning Dung, Notre Dame And A Fair Go!

There are lots of beggars in Barcelona…

When I say «lots of beggars», I simply mean that I’m noticing them. In my home town of Melbourne, I tend not to notice them because they’re part of the normal street scape and one can’t respond to all of them. Of course, when I say that, it’s a simple way of ignoring their plight and not responding to any of them.

Walking down the streets of Barcelona, I particularly liked the  one who had several cups in front of himself, each with a different sign. The signs read, “Food, Beer, Lambo, Weed, Disneyland”. While I still don’t know what “Lambo” is, I had to admire both his marketing strategy and his aspiration. After all, who hasn’t thought I won’t respond to this beggar because he’ll probably just waste the money on drugs. With the signs, it’s almost like you’re telling him, “Here, spend this wisely!” in fact, by putting money in the food container, it’s almost like you’re actively discouraging his drug use. And the “Disneyland” cup made me inclined to throw coins in his cup.

Unfortunately there’s an appeal on for Notre Dame and one has to get one’s priorities straight… (Ok, the real reason that I didn’t contribute to his Disneyland fund was that I’d just arrived and the smallest note I had was a twenty Euro note. However, I promise that if I see him again, I will lighten my pockets of all the silly coins I’ve acquired because of my inability to work out what they are when I’m trying to buy something.)

That’s the interesting thing, isn’t it? It’s easy to raise a billion quickly for the repair of the Cathedral, but philanthropy for those less fortunate is another matter entirely. I mean, I do understand the post on social media where the guy was lamenting that it was so hard to create beautiful things because as soon as you do, there’s somebody saying that the money is needed somewhere else. Of course, the reason that Notre Dame was pledged so much so quickly is very similar to reasons that I notice beggars in this city when I’m so impervious to them in my own. We’re all a bit blind to the normal state of affairs, but something out of the ordinary shocks us into doing something. It’s why we can let people die of cold in the streets but, should a building collapse and the same person is trapped alive, we’ll spend large sums of money trying to rescue them. It’s why we can ignore the plight of some countries on an every day basis, but open our wallets when we see some unexpected disaster on TV. Mind you, there are lots of disasters that we never hear about…

This is why Michelle Landry’s concern for those poor Indian women was so refreshing. She told ABC radio that the coal from Adani would be “going to hundreds of millions of Indians who do not have electricity … this is about women and families that are cooking over open fires in huts. They are burning cow dung. There is little ventilation in those huts.”

What a generous gesture! I mean, they must be having a go, so we need to give them a fair go, don’t we? Doesn’t it make you feel that all those hipster city folk, with their so-called love of the planet and their so-called climate change are just a little bit selfish? Denying these poor women access to the same electricity that makes their lattes?  The selfish bastards! I’ll bet they’d deny these same women access to plutonium so that instead of burning cow dung, they could all set up their own nuclear reactors.

Yes, it sounds good to suggest that the Adani coal is going to poor Indians who use open fires, but it completely ignores the reality of why this is happening. It’s not because of a lack of coal in India. It’s because they aren’t connected to the electrify grid. And, even if it were nearby, the people Landry is referring to would have even more trouble paying their electrify bill than those retirees we’re meant to be so worried about. ‘

You know, the retirees who won’t be able to afford to pay their electricity bill because they’ll lose $50,000 in franking credits and who’ll have to pay an extra $5000 when they buy their new car which will have to be a Tesla so they won’t be able to pull their caravans, because electric cars have no “grunt” and the weekend is lost for these “hardworking retirees”…

Before I go on, does “hardworking retirees” sound like a bigger oxymoron than “right wing think tank”?

Let’s completely ignore that the franking credits are, at most, 30% of their income from dividends. And income from super isn’t counted until it reaches a substantial amount. Let’s completely ignore the fact that those on even a part pension are exempt from the franking credits changes. Let’s  also ignore the idea that Labor isn’t introducing a “new car tax”, but simply insisting on similar emission standards to overseas countries. Apparently in spite of Barnaby Joyce, the Coalition seem to think that emissions are no problem. Let’s even forget the whole idea that somehow the “weekend” will be lost unless your car can make the sort of noises that make one glad to be a One Nation supporter.

No, none of these things are important, because Michelle Landry’s reasoning for allowing Adani wins her the: “I’m not sure if this politician is really this stupid or whether they really think we’re that gullible” prize for the election so far.

Still, it’s a strong field and I wouldn’t declare her over the line yet.

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