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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.

Moneyball, Turnbull And Why Having Your Face Slapped Is Popular

Ok, before I talk about Moneyball, I’d like you to do a little survey. Would you prefer:

  1. To have your face slapped
  2. To have some unspecified torture performed with a red hot poker.
  3. Boonja

We’ll get back to the survey later, but before I do, I’d like to talk about “Moneyball”, which was a book about a baseball coach, Billy Beane, as well as a film. Without going into all the differences between the book and the film, the book was a lot better at emphasising the difference between Beane’s approach and the conventional wisdom of the scouts. While the scouts looked at recruits and judged them on whether the recruit had what they considered the necessary attributes such as athletic ability and good techique, Beane prefered to actually look at their record. For Beane, a short fat guy who demonstrated a good batting average in the professional leagues was a better bet than some college player who’d yet to show any real ability. And yet, the less athletic choice with the proven record was cheaper. In terms of the AFL, it’d be like deciding to take a player who’d averaged twenty possessions in the actual league, instead of the number one draft pick.

Beane used statistics and made some bold choices. Naturally he was successful. I say, naturally, because people generally don’t write books about failures. I haven’t heard too many people suggesting that a book about Fremantle’s AFL coaches would be a great read.

Anyway, applying the “Moneyball” principle to politics is a rather interesting exercise. While the Canberra Press Gallery are arguing that, of course, they had to report about the possibility that Shorten would be challenged because he’s so unpopular compared to Turnbull, the simple fact remains, his batting average is actually a lot better the Mal the Magnificent.

Let’s take a step back and look at the respective records. Turnbull takes over leadership from Tony Abbott. He gets a bounce in the polls. He goes to an election a few months later in July 2016. Shorten, it’s generally thought, runs a better campaign. Malcolm loses seats. From memory, the only seat the Liberals won off Labor was Chisholm, where popular sitting member, Anna Burke didn’t stand. Shorten, on the other hand, won several seats off the Liberals.

From there, we have the countdown to the loss of thirty Newspolls in a row. When that happens, the narrative suddenly changes. It’s not the opinion polls that matter. It’s who’s preferred leader. That’s the thing. Malcolm is so much more popular than Bill. The public haven’t warmed to Bill. Various Murdoch news outlets start to tell us that Albanese would be a shoe-in, and with Super Saturday looming, it’ll be Shorten’s fault when Labor lose Longman…

Of course, some of you may prefer Albo. That’s not the issue. I’m just commenting on the determination of the press to raise leadership speculation based on the fact that Anthony made a speech where he said something that could have been interpreted as slightly different from the alleged Shorten class warfare. And then he didn’t make it clear when he was asked if he’d promise not to challenge, because he said that he was looking forward to being a Minister in a Shorten government. Strangely, nobody seems to be asking Dutton to rule out a challenge…

Interestingly, when Labor manage to win, it’s not important, we’re told. Government’s never win by-elections, and this was never about the leadership even though Malcolm said that it was. Well, no he wasn’t lying. It was about Shorten’s leadership and if you voted for the Liberals it was a slap in the face to Shorten, but voting against them is just what you people do in by-elections. As Alexander Downer said, “Must be new arrivals.”

Speaking of slaps to the face, I’m guessing that some of you may picked option one in the survey for the simple reason that you didn’t like the sound of the red hot poker and you had never heard of “boonja”. That’s the way it is with prefered Prime Minister. A lot of people choose the incumbent because they don’t like the alternative, while others do it because they’re unfamiliar with the other option. Even when Howard was winning as prefered leader, it never meant that he was “popular”. After all, there’s a difference between being perceived as competent and being popular. I mean, I may have an accountant who’s very good at their job but that doesn’t mean I want to have dinner with them. (Sorry to all the accounants reading this, I’m sure that you’re very interesting and please feel free to invite me over just to dazzle me with your many other interests! My point is theoretical and not refering to any accountants I’ve actually met at parties, book launches or rock concerts… Come to think of it, I’ve never met any accountants)

Perhaps we need to stop talking about Malcolm’s “popularity” and just like Ben Beane, look at the actual statistics. As leader, has Turnbull actually succeeded in winning a seat from a sitting Labor MP?

Now that would be a slap in the face…

Pyne Tells Us That The Government Likes Wasting Money; Downer Tells Us That He Doesn’t Spread Hate

Sometime last night after it became clear that the Government wasn’t going to win any of the seats, Christopher “The Fixer” Pyne began telling us that it was only to be expected.

Governments never have swings toward them in by-elections, apparently. Why, there hasn’t been an occasion since 1920 of anyone doing that! Really, Labor shouldn’t be getting carried away with this. It wasn’t a referendum on anything, let alone a judgement on Malcolm Turnbull. No, of course, there’s no need to abandon the tax cuts.  It wasn’t really a vote on issues. Or personalities. No, it has absolutely no implications for the next election. That will be fought on things whereas this was all about other things. Or nothing…

Again this morning, Pyne was running a similar line. This was in line with historic swings in by-elections, and as for Georgina Downer, why it was a great result. She got 39%, and if she can just boost that up to 45% at the next general election, she’ll have a great chance of winning…

Of course, one could point out that if she could just boost it up to 55% then she’s a shoe-in, however that ignores reality. It should be pretty easy for her to get that seven percent once people realise that she’s a DOWNER.

Oh, just to make it clear here. By suggesting Georgina is a “Downer”, I am referring to her place in the Adelaide Hills, and not suggesting that she’s rather depressing, but, hey, have it your own way, people.

Anyway, the Downers are apparently nation-builders. That’s what her father, the highly esteemed wearer of fishnet stockings told us in his summary of the election. Not only that but he wrote on social media that the Sharkie supporters had brought hate to the Adelaide Hills.

Bastards! The Downers bring only love and nation-building. It’s those other people who disagree with us that prevent consensus. Of course, as he put it, “They must be new arrivals”!

Before you jump the gun and accuse him of being anti-immigrant, it’s worth stopping to consider that he probably just means new arrivals to the Adelaide Hills, not to the country. There’s a certain type of person who lives there and some of those new arrivals don’t understand that there’s a certain expectation on how one behaves. One should speak correctly, use the correct knife and fork and vote Downer… I mean, Liberal.

Notwithstanding the absolutely spiffing result in the Adelaide Hills, where Georgina received a swing of over 30% to her, the other results had some commentators suggesting that it was a poor result for Turnbull. (That’s to her personally, not to the Liberals. There was no Downer at the previous election so any votes she received can be considered a swing to her!)

But how could it be considered anything but a ringing endorsement of Turnbull’s tax cuts? I mean, according to Christopher Pyne, to have won either of these other electorates would have been a miracle, which begs the question:

Why did the government waste so much money?

Now I could go off on an economic tangent and suggest that maybe it’s part of their trickle-down philosophy. High Court cases and by-elections are great for jobs and growth. But given they haven’t mentioned this as an idea, I’m inclined to think that they must just like spending money for the sake of it.

I mean, they caused these by-elections by questioning their opponents’ eligibility in the High Court – a costly exercise. Then there’s the cost of the by-elections themselves. Of course, the various campaign costs of the parties wouldn’t be public expenditure. And I’m sure that none of the MPs would have claimed travel costs.

Whatever, it’s quite a tidy sum.

And, given Pyne’s hypothesis, that Labor and Sharkie were always going to be returned, one has to conclude that his government must just like wasting money.

By the way, has anyone seen Malcolm since the results were announced? Is it too soon for a missing persons report?


Life Size Cutouts Of Pauline “As Good As The Real Thing” According To Those Who Know Her Best!

Life-size cardboard cutouts of Pauline Hanson will replace her at polling stations in Longman because she’s on holiday…

For all those familiar with my writing, I feel that I have to add that I am not making this up. You can google it or, if you no longer trust that giant search engine, just ring Pauline’s office directly. Although I’m not sure that Pauline’s office wouldn’t be just as likely to tell you that it’s fake news and that she and Donald Trump will be campaigning side-by-side at all polling stations in all parts of the world.


Pauline has evidently decided that now would be a good time for a holiday, given that there’s a by-election in her home state of Queensland. While some of you may think that this would be an inappropriate time for the leader of the party which contains her name to take a break, Pauline doesn’t think the same way that other people do.

Ok, ok, I know that some of you will be telling me that I could have finished the previous sentence after the word “think”, but you are overlooking the fact that Pauline didn’t just leave her party in the lurch. She prepared life-size cardboard cutouts of herself, obviously counting on the fact that her supporters wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. After all, she reasoned, they still think that she’s on the side of the battler and haven’t noticed that she’s voted with the government to screw the poor at every opportunity.

In fact, tactical genius, James Ashby, was quoted as telling us that the cutouts were “as good as her”, adding, “A photo visual of Pauline is as good as her being there because it is a presence. People will still be able to come and get a photo with Pauline.”

Now, some of you may think that getting a photo with a cutout isn’t actually the same as getting a photo with the real thing, but they’re the sort of people that point out having a life-size model of your favourite Hollywood star in your home is not the same as actually being married to them. In short, they’re not the voters that Pauline Hanson’s One Notion is appealing to.

Of course, James, people may remember, was one of the clever people behind the plot to embarrass Peter Slipper. My One Nation source, who coincidentally is also made of cardboard, told me that Ashby didn’t go far enough. (That’s in his statements about Pauline, he wasn’t suggesting that he didn’t go far enough with Slipper.) According to my source, far from being just as good, a Pauline cardboard cutout was even better than the real thing. For a start, it could be practicallly everywhere at once, but not only that, it didn’t need to have a rest break. Most important of all, if asked a question, it wouldn’t say, “Please explain”. And it certainly wouldn’t say something that could be repeated in the media and twisted to make it sound as though Pauline was saying something racist just because she was expressing support for good Christian values like burning crosses with protective sheets over one’s head.

If the PHON candidate tomorrow does well – and let’s face it whenever Pauline’s party gets more votes than Malcolm Roberts’ 77, the media suggest that it was a good result for them – then Pauline can claim it was because of the cutouts. On the other hand, if they do poorly, then she can rail about how the government held the election when they knew she’d already booked a holiday.

Whatever the result, I expect to see several opinion pieces expressing the view that if it wasn’t for Bill Shorten, Labor would have increased its vote by a significant margin. This will be followed by suggestions that they should try a similar tactic and have as leader a cardboard cutout. While they could replace him with a talking dummy, programmed to say a few key phrases when you pulled its string, this would simply look they were copying the Liberal Party.

Barnaby And His Anti-religious Crusade!

Recently, Barnaby Joyce addressed a rally of Western Australian farmers on the topic of live exports. Not only did he passionately insist that the live export trade would not be shut down, but yea, verily, it would grow. As Mr Joyce told the rally:

“What we’re up against, is like a religion.

“Zealotry. And they’re not going to stop with just the closure of the live export sheep game, that’s not where they stop. These people haven’t got a partial religion, they’ve got an absolute religion.”

Of course, I don’t know how this sits with Phil “Monty Burns” Ruddock. I mean, the Federal Government has commissioned a report into religious freedom, but it seems to me that if one has the freedom to be religious then that also gives one the freedom to have a non-partial religion.

Mr Joyce, as some of you are aware, is a great supporter of “partial religion”. By that, I mean that he believes that people should be bound by his religious beliefs – as in the case of same-sex marriage – but that he himself should be free to ignore them when it comes to bonking a member of his staff or lying to the general public.

However, a great many religious people seem to have the belief that their religion is an absolute one and not something they can pick and choose. Of course, there are also a great many people who agree with Barnaby that partial religions are the only way to go. For example, it’s sinful to allow schools to have their Safe Schools program, but when Jesus talked about welcoming strangers, he obviously didn’t mean strangers who arrive by boat.

Notwithstanding any of that, Mr Joyce seems to be taking a strong stand against “zealots” because they’re “like a religion”. From this, I infer that Barnaby thinks that groups who are like a religion are somehow bad. This, of course, is strange unless he perceives religion itself as bad.

Now, I’m sure that the WA farmers must have taken issue with Mr Joyce’s reference to the “live export sheep game“, given that it’s not a game to them but a serious business, but maybe they forgave him because he’s from Canberra where everything’s a game. Personally, however, I was more concerned about what he meant by “that’s not where they stop”. Did he mean that once the live sheep industry was shut down that they’d start on other animals? Or was he suggesting that they may turn their attention to human trafficking? Or worse yet, join forces with the Green Religion and try to change life as we know it?

Some of those members of the Green Religion attempted to twist the words of the ACCC report and suggest that by telling us we needed to have a transition from coal, that meant that we shouldn’t keep burning coal forever. No, by orderly transition they clearly mean no transition at all, and that we should build more coal-fired stations which are natural and wholesome. If God hadn’t intended coal to be our power source why did he make it so cheap? However, the Green Religion want us all to go back to some by-gone day when people managed to live without polluting the atmosphere. I mean, it’s all very well to rely on solar, but if the sun stops shining – which scientists predict will happen sometime in the next billion years – that’ll put a real dent in economic growth.

No, I’m with Mr Joyce on this one. We need to put people before sheep and coal before people. Anything else is just succumbing to the zealots! We need to listen to the rational people like Tony Abbott, Craig Kelly, George Christensen and Cory Bernardi.

Religous freedom is all very well. But not if it’s a religion we don’t like!

Tax Is Bad, Welfare Is Bad; However, Shorten Threatening My Cheque From The Government Is Worst Of All!

Article from the Australian excerpt…“Earlier this year Mr Shorten unveiled his franking credits policy to claw back nearly $60bn over 10 years by abolishing cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits.

“Modelling from the listed investment companies sent to the ALP this week argues it would increase the tax burden on individuals with low marginal tax rates and those who do not access a government pension. Depending on an individual’s income level and mix, the policy may reduce a low-income earner’s after-tax income by up to 30 per cent.

“Its analysis claims taxpayers earning less than $65,000 who are likely to be financially worse off include 18-65-year-olds running their own business, single parents, non-working spouses and self-funded retirees.” (emphasis added)

So, they’re at it again!

Labor seem to want to take money from people who have gone to enormous lengths to reduce their taxable income to a point where they’re classified as our low income earners.

How terrible!

I mean, surely someone who’s only earning a taxable income of $19,000 a year should be entitled to franking credits from the million dollars worth of shares they own. And non-working spouses, who somehow – in spite of their workless state – have managed to accumulate a large share portfolio from which they receive a refund from the government for the tax that the company paid on their behalf. They shouldn’t be taxed on this income twice… Or given that the tax already paid is being returned, it seems that they shouldn’t be taxed once, because, after all, they’re not working, and unlike the unemployed, they’re not lazy because they have share portfolio…

This is the negative gearing argument all over again. As Scott Morrison pointed out, some of those who were negative gearing weren’t high income earners. In fact, some of the people with 49 negatively geared properties were only earning a pitiful income. Although when $40 a day is enough to live on, their pitiful income was relative, but it was the sort of pitiful income that a teacher or a nurse would earn, and therefore we should be outraged that Labor would seek to take away the very means that allows them to reduce their taxable income from the gross of a million or so, down to the seventy or eighty thousand that makes us all pity them…

Unless we’re on $40 a day, in which case we can be dismissed as try to start class warfare or politics of envy or something like that.


I sometimes find the arguments a bit hard to follow.

Like when our PM went on “The Project” to tell us that the people smugglers had control of our borders when Labor was in power, which makes me wonder why we were bothering to pay people in the coast guard and customs areas.

The PM had a good result in Newspoll today. I know this because “The Australian” had a headline  about Turnbull leaving Shorten for dead. My immediate thought was that this just proves the man lacks compassion and empathy if he’d just leave somebody like that. However, it was in relation to the poll where it showed that he was still preferred PM, even though Labor were still in front on a two party prefered. I mean, the two party prefered thing doesn’t count really, does it? As most sports people would say, I’d rather give up any of my premierships so long as I got the highest honour…

Ok, maybe sports people wouldn’t say that, but I’m sure that Malcolm would if he had the talent to succeed at anything apart from be obsequious to the conservatives in the Liberal Party.

And when it comes to that, he’s worth every penny of the income he doesn’t receive because it goes into a private charity. From there it goes to that place called None Of Business, It’s A Private Charity, but some went to hospital once…

Oh, and didn’t we all see the photo of Mr Turnbull putting a fiver into that homeless man’s cup? Probably what was left over from the fund after overheads. And slinging that guy was so much easier than actually doing something about homelessness, which would have resulted in lots of bureaucracy and red tape.


WHITE GANGS TERRORISE AUSTRALIA – Politicians Refuse To Acknowledge Problem!

A gang of predominantly white males has been threatening our way of life and making people feel unsafe in their jobs. The IPAx gang has instilled fear in a great many Australians but our current Federal Government refuses to admit that there’s a problem, in spite of the fear that they instill in many people. For example, the ABC are so intimidated that they frequently invite them onto their programs, claiming that they do so in the interests of “balance”, when we all know it’s simply so their presenters don’t have to be afraid of going out to dinner with the PM. 

Many of the members have no respect for the our culture and can frequently be heard supporting lawlessness by railing against regulation. They have frequently argued for the repeal of laws that they say prevent them from offending, insulting, humiliating or intimidating people or groups. They exhibit no concern for our environment, and some have even doubted the beauty of our wide, brown land, while others simply claim that our attractions like the Great Barrier Reef are hardy and will bounce back. 

They argue that their efforts to eliminate or water down anti-discrimination laws aren’t because they’re a group of white males, pointing out that some of their number are in fact female. For example, gang member, Georgina Downer, insisted that they were not “political” and that it’s only coincidence that many of the members join the same political party.

While some gang members proudly exhibit their colours in public, the ones supplying the funding insist that their identities remain secret…

Yeah, you’re right. This story is a bit of a beat-up. But it’s nothing like the job that Channel 7 did on African gangs earlier in the week. When they complained that police won’t admit it’s a problem, I couldn’t help but think of Saddam Hussein’s WMDs. We kept getting told that he was refusing to hand them over, and when he allowed weapons inspectors into the country, he further showed his duplicity by hiding them. Not only that, long after his country was invaded, he continued to hide them. Strange though, one would have thought that he’d have felt the need to use them once the country was at war. Strange also, that the USA didn’t seem to be factoring in massive damage to their troops – or even civilians back home – when they attacked. After all they were supposed to be weapons of MASS destruction! Mm, I also remember Liberal Ministers complaining that the ABC reporting of the WMDs was “cynical” and seemed to doubt their existence. But, of course, that was before we discovered that they didn’t exist, so it wasn’t an example of anything other than ABC bias against believing something just because it was being told us by Liberal pollies.

Similarly, when the police say things like, “Yes, there are African youths committing crimes but, as a percentage of overall crimes, it’s not that high”, this is an example of the police’s refusal to acknowledge that you can’t have a clearly identifiable problem unless the “enemy” is a clearly identifiable group of people. Why, some crime figures are so much just like you and I, that a guy who wants to be Premier, can have lunch with them without even realising that such people are “known to police”. Perhaps I should say “alleged”. Ok, such people are alleged to have an alleged lunch with a guy who allegedly wants to be Premier with people who are known to alleged police.k

Of course, statistics are one thing and any gang violence is to be deplored. It’s not going to matter, for example, if someone has just punched you and stolen your wallet and phone, whether they’re black, white or purple. If I tell you that even though you have a broken nose, you need to remember that most white males aren’t criminals, you’ll probably look at me and wonder what on earth I’m telling you that for.

No, African gangs are the big problem, and not because we’re racist. Nah, that’s got nothing to do with it. It’s because the people we hope to appeal to are racist.

There’s A Lot To Learn From David Leyonhjelm…

During the week, a man named Andy Nolch was charged with vandalising the memorial to Eurydice Dixon, the young woman who was raped and murdered while walking home.

We were then treated to an explanation of his “reasons” for such an attack. It wasn’t “personal”, but an attempt to bring public attention to his views on vaccination, as well as being an attack on feminism. If you’re having trouble with working out why the man thought it was appropriate to deface a memorial to do this, you need to be aware that Ms Dixon’s alleged attacker is autistic. The conclusion Mr Nolch seems to have drawn is that the media were ignoring the obvious link to vaccination because as anyone with the good sense to know that the world is flat and the moon landing was a hoax, knows that vaccinations cause autism. The attack on feminism, however, is a little harder to understand.

In the interests of sensitivity, I’m not going to discuss the details of this in any more depth. Suffice to say, that while we may be tempted to organise a lynch mob for such a cruel, senseless act, we should else consider the likelihood that the man has some sort of mental illness. He pointed out in an interview that he had no diagnosed mental illness, but, hey, Don Burke has undiagnosed Asperger’s… Or rather, unprofessionally diagnosed Asperger’s, given that he himself has diagnosed it… So maybe we should give this man’s self-diagnosis the same credibility we gave to Burke’s… Maybe we should consider that the possibility that he could be mentally ill and that he may actually need some sort of professional help. Then again, he may just be a privileged arsehole. Whatever, it’s hard to tell from just reading about him and I think we should just leave it to the people dealing with what he’s done to come up with the best course of action without a running media commentary.  And yes, I am aware that I’m about to question the amount of attention Nolch received, and while I’m also focusing on him, it’s hard to question the media’s choices without actually mentioning them.

What I find strange is that the media thought it worthwhile to publish his motivation. Let’s strip this to its basic facts and look at the media’s role:

  1. Man with strange ideas wants to get public attention to spread his message.
  2. Man commits act which shocks people. 
  3. Man is then given the publicity he craves and a soapbox to broadcast his views. (The media also telling us that he has a podcast, as well as reporting what he had to say!)

Anyone see a pattern here? And I don’t just mean when they report the motivations behind terrorist attacks.

Now, I don’t know about you, but it strikes me that if I want to get a message out there… Let’s say, I want to draw attention to shocking prejudice that PHON supporters face when they talk to intelligent people, or I want to alert you to the dangers of drinking water… Or let’s say, I read “The Herald-Sun” today and I discovered that a full week after the opening of the safe injecting room in Richmond, there were still people injecting in alleyways, and I want to show people that it’s been a failure because we all thought that it’d only take a week for every druggie to find out about the centre and start using it.

Whatever my message, if I want to get it out there, it seems that the media is more interested in me if I do something offensive.

I don’t mean to suggest I’m perfect. I’m sure that I do have some faults even if none readily spring to mind because I’m male. However, I do tend to try and be polite, reasonable and thoughtful in my dealings with other people, even if they tell me that they think Donald Trump is a good bloke. Yet if I ring the media and tell them that I have a great idea and I’m very intelligent and it’s a cracker and I’d like some space in tomorrow’s paper because my idea would not only help to cure most known diseases but everyone would like it and I’d probably end up with the Nobel Peace Prize, they’d tell me to go away. On the other hand, if I said that I was planning to make a porno movie on the steps of the Shrine of Remembrance, they’d probably have a news crew there in a flash… if you’ll pardon the expression.

Which, of course, leads us to Senator David Leyonhjelm. After making a statement to Sarah Hanson-Young which has even been condemned by Tony Abbott, instead of shunning him, he gets to do a round of interviews. Not just on “The Outsiders” where his comments were deemed so inappropriate that the young female producer who copied them into the feed was suspended (honestly, where do this women get the idea that they can just write down what men say free of the consequences?), but on the ABC and various other places as well. At such a time, the media seems to gravitate towards the offensive, rather than saying, “Mm, let’s raise the tone a bit and interview an intelligent, well-respected politician who’s got some agenda worth discussing”…  Well, there must be one or two, they can’t all be like the ones that pop on the daily news.

Whatever, it does suggest to me that if I want to actually increase the circulation of my ideas beyond the few thousand who are reading this, then I should take a leaf out of David Leyonhjelm’s book and find ways to offend people.

The trouble is that I can’t think of anything in that sweet spot between being bad enough to get you publicity but not so bad that you end up in jail. Once it was easy, but thanks to people like Andrew Bolt and Germaine Greer, you really have to think hard to make yourself stand out. And when you have aspiring politicians like Georgina Downer telling us that the IPA isn’t political, then not even being ridiculous is likely to work.

Nay, it’s just too hard these days. There’s too much competition for being outrageous – whether by crossing a socially acceptable line or by making a statement that’s so demonstrably false that people can talk of nothing else for the next few days.

Lucky I don’t actually have any ideas that would solve all the world’s ills. If I did, I might have forgotten it by the time I came up with something that’d grab the media’s attention.




Shorten’s Leadership Under Threat; Everything Fine In Liberal Ranks

So, just in case you haven’t quite understood the past couple of weeks, Labor clearly have leadership tensions because Albanese made a speech where he undermined Bill Shorten’s class warfare agenda by suggesting that Labor should work with business if it were to win the election. No, it wasn’t an attempt to calm the concerns of those who were afeared that after the election, Labor would refuse to acknowledge private property rights and send everyone with assets of more than ten million dollars off to a re-eduction camp. Apparently it was an attempt to overthrow Shorten, whose leadership has attempted to stir up class hatred by assertions such as: “Poor people do drive”, “People earning under $90,000 deserve tax cuts too”, “There needs to be an investigation into the behaviour of banks” and, even more controversially, “Not everything the union movement has done has been corrupt and evil”!

Meanwhile, on the Liberal side of politics, everyone has united behind Malcolm Turnbull. Tony Abbott has decided to stop sulking and is working extra hard in order to ensure that Mr Turnbull knows exactly what to do. Tony has, in recent days, helped Malcolm by instructing him on better ways to run the country.

Take Paris – as the Nazis said way back in World War Two. Not wishing Mr Turnbull to waste his valuable time and limited working memory considering what to do about Paris, Mr Abbott helpfully told Mal that signing up to it was a dreadful mistake. Of course, it was a mistake that was made under the stewardship of Tony Abbott, so announcing what a bad move it was, took away any need for Mr Turnbull to worry about how he was going to break it to Tony that he was actually going to change one of his policies. How helpful was that?

Just pull out, was Abbott’s message. Perhaps it would have been better if he’d give the same message to Barnaby about a year ago, but whatever. This enables Turnbull to do what he does best: Follow Tony’s lead without thinking too much about it. As Abbott explained in his speech, when his government signed up to the Paris agreement:

“My government set a 2030 emissions reduction target on the basis that this was more-or-less what could be achieved without new government programmes and without new costs on the economy.”

In other words, we set an emissions reduction target that we could achieve without actually doing anything. Sort of like a diet where you just eat what you like, and then hope you don’t weigh too much more than you did before going on the diet.

Or as Abbott said in another part of the speech, he didn’t understand that he was signing up to something that would result in lower emissions every year, leading up to 2030. He just presumed that it would be like his contract with the Australian people and everyone would have forgotten about it. Or that people would take it as a “binding commitment”! He presumed that it was like an election promise or wedding vows. You know, the sort of thing that one says because everyone expects you to say something and if you say, “Well, I sort of think that I’d like to keep my word, but hey, tomorrow’s another day and, don’t the bridesmaids look lovely and shouldn’t we be toasting them?”, then it’s quite likely to be misinterpreted, like when he said that pensioners wouldn’t be getting cuts, people presumed he meant to the pension, rather than being given the strap.

Tony followed up today by telling us how nobody was dissenting in the Liberal Party: “I got to say there aren’t that many opportunities for dissent in the party room these days. Party room procedure has changed under Prime Minister Turnbull.”

See, everyone in the Liberal Party is on the same page. No dissent in the party room.

I bet Bill Shorten wishes he had loyalty like that from his party!!



Bill Shorten’s Mistake And The Media’s Lack Of Memory

A few days ago I wrote about the problem that the left had with “framing”. In the light of Bill Shorten’s terrible, terrible mistake, I thought it was perhaps instructive to just consider how Bill is being framed by the media.

Now, just to clarify, by “framed” I don’t mean that he’s being set up to be convicted for a crime he didn’t commit; I’m talking about how we’re being asked to view the whole thing.

Let’s start with what he actually did. He answered a direct question with a direct answer. Unfortunately, the answer he gave wasn’t a Labor policy that had gone through caucus or the shadow cabinet. So far, so bad. Then, on Friday, he turned around and announced that he was wrong. It wasn’t Labor policy and wouldn’t be Labor policy.

Politically, I think it would be fair to say that this was not Bill Shorten’s shining moment. And we can go down the path that the media is framing for us and talk about his leadership, his lack of charisma, the fact that Turnbull is still prefered PM, Bill’s bad breath, the fact that Albanese made a speech where he said that Labor would work with business… Why, I could even tell you that someone in the Labor party – who I haven’t named – has expressed unspeciified doubts about Shorten as a leader.

There’s just a few things wrong with this, however. While I’m sure some of you will happily use this to trash Shorten, I come to neither to bury Bill nor to praise him.

The first point I’d like to make is one I’ve made many, many times before: The incumbent usually has a healthy lead over the challenger in any opinion poll when it comes to prefered PM or prefered Premier. It’s the long term two party prefered trend of polls that really matters. More accurate is the betting markets. Shorten – or Albanese or the drover’s dog – won’t really matter when it comes to election day. Sure, it would be great if there was a Hawke – who was a well-known, popular Opposition Leader for the few weeks before the 1983 election – to lead. However, I can’t think of anybody in the current party who’s a current day Hawke.

The second point is one that seems to be being ignored in the discussions about Shorten’s future is Kevin Rudd. What’s he got to do with anything?

Well, for those of you with short memories, way back in 2013, when Rudd took over the leadership, he introduced what I’d call the “No More Ides Of March” rules. And when he lost the election, Labor had to choose a new leader. While once they could have played spin the bottle and just picked the person it landed on, now there needs to be a ballot of members, as well as a vote by the parliamentary party. You may remember that after a process lasting several weeks, while Bowen was temporarily leader, Albo won the popular vote, but Shorten won the latter, and according to some complicated algorithm, which put all the votes together, Shorten was declared Leader of the Opposition.

I bring this up because with less than a year to go before the next election, any move to replace Shorten would have to be agreed to by Bill himself, or else there’d need to be a period with a caretaker leader while the whole mess was sorted out. In what world do you imagine, Turnbull not calling an election during this time? I mean, they called the by-elections on the day of the Labor conference. I know, I know. That was just a coincidence. Would Labor really take such a risk?

But let’s just forget all the technicalities here. Let’s just look at what happened last week in the cold, harsh light of political apathy.

Just stop for one moment and ask yourself. How much do you care about the tax rate for the companies affected? I mean, did you even know what their tax rate was before last week? Was it something you discussed at your last barbecue? Did you hear anything like the following conversation during the week?

“I was going to vote Labor until last week. I mean, the reversal of the tax cuts for businesses turning over between $10 million and $50 million was a deal breaker for me.”

“Yeah, I was pretty upset about the cuts to my penalty rates, but the poor boss isn’t going to get the full benefit of that if Labor gets in. It hardly makes my sacrifice worth it!”

“That’s right. They just hate aspiration. I’m not going to do 36 hours overtime a day so I can earn enough to benefit from the tax cuts to higher income earners.”

“It’s not just that it’s their whole class war, politics of envy thing. As Malcolm said, Labor want to keep the workers in their place, whereas the Liberals want them to…”

“Yeah? Finish your sentence.”

“Um, I think that Malcolm was making the point that we should aspire to be like him where we donate all our wages to a foundation which helps us to minimise our tax, but when I think back, he didn’t really make it clear!”


All in all, whatever happens, I’m intrigued to see how the media will manage to keep this one front and centre, after next week when Abbott will contradict government policy directly, Turnbull or Morrison will praise One Nation and a minister will make a mistake that dwarfs anything Shorten has ever done.

Ok, I mightn’t know the future, but you’d be brave suggesting that won’t happen!

Forever Is A Long Time, Mr Turnbull, Even If “Never, ever” just means until after the next election!

Framing the debate has always been a problem for the left. Part of the reason is that the media always seem to accept the frame that the Liberals place on it. But a large part of the reason is that Labor don’t try to re-frame the debate on their own terms…

For example, I’ve just framed this so that we’re talking about “left” and “right”.  And I’ve framed it so that the Liberals are the “right”, leading to people inferring that I think that Labor are the left. In reality, the current Labor Party are slightly more “left” than Liberals but not so much that anyone earning more than half million dollars a year will notice.

In terms of this frame, when we hear that Malcolm Turnbull donated his salary to charity, it becomes a problem for Labor to attack him for accepting a large pay rise. What! You want to stop money going to charity.

And while it can be pointed out that his charitable donations may be another form of tax dodge, this isn’t the best way to frame the news.

It would be far better to run an ad saying:


This would be a much better strategy, because – while nobody would actually be convinced – it would lead to Turnbull complaining, and one thing I’ve noticed is that every time Mal feels hard done by, he says something stupid.

Now, I know that stupid can be really good sometimes. Next time some relative tells you that Labor lied about Mediscare leading up to the 2016 election, just say, “Nah, mate, the AFP cleared them!” If they argue, remind them that Turnbull was going to refer Labor to AFP; he said so on election night, and if he said it, surely he did it, and therefore the Federal Police must have decided that there was no evidenced.

Yep, sometimes you can play stupid to win. It worked for Barnaby Joyce for a long time, but sooner or later, you fall flat on your face. Or some other body part…

As PM, Malcolm has been playing stupid quite well. While there is a case that Barnaby wasn’t playing, one surely has to believe that Turnbull isn’t really as brain dead as he pretends to be. After all, he did manage to lead the Republican Movement to a referendum loss even though most people thought that Australia shouldn’t have an overseas monarch as our head of state. Oh…

Well, he recovered from that and became Opposition Leader where he – very cleverly – attacked Kevin Rudd over the undeclared use of a Ute, which would have been a scandal had it not been for the fact that the email Mal used as evidence was fabricated.

Anyway, whether Mal is just playing stupid or actually likely to be confused when someone points to two shovels and tells him to take his pick, one has to wonder about his latest prognostication.

Apparently – according to our PM – coal-fired power will part of our energy mix for a long time, “possibly forever”.

Now, ok. Philosophy 101 and the nature of what’s real may be able to frame this in a way that makes sad, old Mal seem like he was just speculating about the nature of time and whether in fact it exists outside the present moment.

However, those of us living on planet Earth will be aware that coal is a finite resource. The idea of it being used “forever” sort of seems a bit confusing, given there’s only a limited amount of coal and an infinite amount of “forever”.

Or perhaps, by “forever”, Mal just meant until the human race no longer inhabits the earth, which gives him more credibility than those who argued that by “never, ever”, John Howard just meant that the GST wouldn’t be introduced in the life of his first term. After all, we often use terms like “never” and “forever” when simply mean “in our lifetime”.

If Malcolm meant that coal would be used for power until there were no more humans, then his comment makes sense. After all, burning coal would make that definition of “forever”, potentially just around the corner.


Let’s Keep The ABC And Sell The Government!

As I’m fond of pointing out, Liberal governments have a strangely inconsistent message. For example, they’re strongly in favour of free speech, but want any criticism of them shut down. People should be free to spend their money how they choose, but they want individuals contributing to GetUp! to jump through so many hoops that one has to wonder what happened to their “war on red tape”…

Similarly, we have to listen to their endless boasting about how awesome they are at economic management, only to be told that private industry is much better than they are at managing just about anything. Is it just me or does it seems strange that people who tell us that they’re excellent at running the economy, but totally incapable of running any of the things that comprise the economy.

And so it becomes Liberal policy to sell the ABC…

Let me be clear here: When I say that it’s Liberal policy to sell the ABC, I don’t mean it’s the policy of the Liberal Party because they’ve said quite clearly that it’s not their policy. Why it’s even more not their policy than introducing the “never, ever” GST, or Tony Abbott’s “ironclad guarantee” that there’d be no changes to the Medicare safety net after the 2004 election. And it’s certainly more strongly not their policy than all the election promises they broke after the 2013 election in order to keep their most important promise of getting the Budget back into surplus. A promise so important that we now have billions of dollars in proposed tax cuts, because the only thing more important the promise of getting the Budget back into the black was Malcolm’s promise that if you make me leader, I’ll keep winning elections.

No, selling the ABC is not the policy of the Liberal Party; it was only voted on at the Liberal Party conference. Even though the result was a resounding, “Yes, because Rupert wants to buy it”, it’s not really worth worrying about because the Liberal Party conference votes are – like election promises – not binding on the parliamentary party.

So recently we’ve had Scott Morrison tell us that he funds the ABC, so he doesn’t have to defend it and Malfunction Turnbull tell everyone that it has a left wing bias. While Mal’s comment begs the question, “Compared to what – Reclaim Australia’s manifesto or Socialist Weekly?”, Scott’s position is a little more confusing. Would Morrison say that the government funds Centrelink therefore they don’t have to defend it? Or we fund schools and hospitals, so we don’t have to defend them?

Assuming that by “I”, Scottie meant the government, and by the government he meant the taxpayers, then we have a rather strange logical extension if you apply the same concept to almost anything else. For example, would you say I’m funding my lawyer so I don’t have to defend his behaviour in court?

Whatever, it seems that we’re being softened up for the eventual attack on the ABC. While selling it would be politically hard, it’s even harder to oppose the will of Rupert “Monty” Murdoch. If you repeat something often enough, people start to believe it. I’m quite willing to concede that the ABC is further to the left than the editor of “The Financial Review”, but I’m yet to hear anyone on the ABC talk about which bastards will be lined up against the wall when the revolution comes. Neither is there a disclaimer after the News segment discussing the financial markets telling viewers that many of these companies make their profits through the tears and blood of exploited workers.

No, the ABC seems frightfully middle of the road to me. While many ask where’s the right wing equivalent of Philip Adams – a Sydney millionaire who’s meant to represent the ABC’s leftist bent – they conveniently ignore the fact that Adams isn’t exactly advocating revolution. More importantly, they also conveniently ignore that they’re often asking it on the ABC, in much the same way one talkback caller complained that they never had talkback callers like him on the morning show.

I suspect that the best way to stop talk of selling the ABC wouldn’t be to oppose it but to embrace it. Once I start my crowdfunding campaign to purchase it and run it as an “Alternative Broadcasting Company”, then we’d quickly see the government finding all sorts of reasons to keep it public hands.

Then we could start a campaign to privatise the Federal Government and Australia could be run by the highest bidder.

Which, I guess, is sort of what happens anyway…

Vaccines Cause Climate Change And Other Logical Conclusions!

While I’m sure that there’s a lot of anti-vaxers chomping at the bit to read what I have to say, I thought that I’d start with the Treasurer:

That’s right! He’s used “it’s” when he should have used “its”. But that’s not what I’m writing about today. As I said when Donald Trump wrote “there” instead of “their”, these are busy men and in the rush to tweet, you can’t expect them to ask someone to proofread every little thought bubble for grammar, spelling and factual accuracy.

I’m more concerned about logic.

Now, I’ve never been one who’s joined the choir in the Church of Logic. There are times when logic is useful; other times it’s appropriate to just accept the fact that one is an emotional animal who won’t be swayed by facts and figures and go ahead and do what you intend to anyway without trying to find a consistent, rational basis for one’s actions. I mean, this philosophy seems to work for the Coalition…

For example, I infer from Scottie’s tweet that Moody’s confirming Australia’s AAA credit rating, that this is because of the Turnbull government “living within it’s (sic) means”. However, this conveniently ignores that under Labor during the GFC we never lost our AAA credit rating. It also conveniently ignores that Moody’s gave rock solid credit guarantees to a number of firms that went belly up in 2008.

Now, I’m not suggesting that Australia is about to go into liquidation, but it does seem strange that we should be getting all excited about a rating that a) hasn’t changed in years and b) doesn’t mean much anyway.

Ok, it does mean we could borrow money more cheaply but the Australian government doesn’t borrow money, does it? I mean, weren’t we told for years about Labor’s debt spiralling out of control. So clearly, the Turnbull government wouldn’t be borrowing, would it?

What’s that, you tell me? That government debt is double what it was when these guys came into office. Well, that’s ok, because I’m sure it would have been even more under Labor. You know, like when we were told that interest rates would always be lower under a Coalition government. Until they were lower under Labor. Then, it was a case of low interest rates being a result of a sluggish economy.

Logic is a very intesting thing, because we adopt certain positions emotionally, then use our rational brain to argue that we’re right. The logic of Barnaby Joyce arguing that exclusion zones around abortion clinics shouldn’t be allowed, but one photographer creates the need for an exclusion zone around anyone he thinks should have one, does seem a little strange. After all, he’d just given an interview to request that people show no interest in him or his new family. And the ratings seemed to suggest that he’d been successful. Behaviour like this only makes sense when you work on the theory that people will change their position quite easily when it comes to how they feel, and then attempt to apply their brain power to justifying that there’s a coherent basis for their positon.

I’m reading a book called “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling, which is an interesting read that I thorougly recommend. I was trying to explain some of the basic premises to a friend where I put forward the idea that – in spite of all the bad news stories – if you looked at the progress of things like health, life expectancy, girls’ education and so on, the  long term data shows that it’s all generally improving. Sure, there are setbacks, but the data is much better than most people in countries like Australia expect. Now my expectation from someone who’d identify more with the left side of politics was that he may have questioned the data, or argued that it still wasn’t good enough. Instead he told me that the trouble was that the world couldn’t sustain more people.

Now, I’m not going to try and be an expert here. I don’t know how many people the earth can sustain. But I found it interesting that someone would hold on to the pessimistic view, when confronted with optimistic data. I wondered what it would take to make him go: That’s fantastic, so things are really much better than Fox News is telling us. 

Of course, few of us hold our beliefs lightly. But they rarely stem from logic. Logic is just our way of getting the wagons in a circle when challenged. It’s inconvenient if what we are saying contradicts what we said yesterday, or last year, but we can trot out some rational argument about why Obama meeting with Kim Jong-Un would have been a sign of weakness, but Trump is demonstating how effective he is at getting things done… Likewise, we can suggest that the meeting was a failure because Trump is too stupid to achieve anything… Although this overlooks the fact that pencilin was discovered due to poor housekeeping!

I’m as guilty as anyone. Every time I hear about some supposed problem with vaccines, I just presume that it’s as fraudulent as the autism scare. However, this does prevent me from reading anything about a link to vaccines and climate change dispassionately. Of course, for some the very fact that I’ve linked the two will be enough for them to repeat it as logical evidence. Just as it will be used by Andrew Bolt to suggest that the absurdity of such a link is further proof that climate change is a hoax created by scientists in order to get funding because they’d rather research something that they’d made up then any legitimate problem. Thankfully, all those philanthopists in the fossil fuel industry have exposed the hoax and we can go on burning coal because they practically give it away for free.

(When is Adani starting, by the way? Is it still October 2016, or will we have another anouncement about it being next month any day now?)

Nah, it’s probably best just to ignore logic and admit that we’re all creatures of emotion. After all, figures can be made to suggest anything. For example, nearly all heroin uses started on breast milk.

I think I’ll go back to my book…

The Gospel According To Wind And Sun!

Lyle Shelton is planning to join the ranks of politicians by standing for the Australian Conservatives. As his leader, Cory Bernardi, told us, “Lyle brings a wealth of political and campaign experience having headed up the no campaign last year that saw millions of Australians stand up against political correctness.”

Now, I would have thought that running one losing campaign doesn’t constitute a wealth of experience. But then I also thought those voting “No” against marriage equality were voting against the idea of same sex marriage. Apparently not. They were voting against “political correctness”.

The anti-PC brigade has always confused me. On one hand, they argue that it’s stifling free speech and people should be allowed to say what they like. On the other, they argue that people shouldn’t be allowed to criticise people who are making statements that are “politically incorrect”. Apparently, I should be allowed to call you names but if you say that I’m offending you, you shouldn’t be allowed to speak.

Similarly, I find Shelton’s latest tweet a little perplexing:

Apart from the inconsistency of someone standing for Australian Conservatives using the American “sidewalk”, I find the concept of “counselling” a rather euphemistic term. Are these people trained counsellors who will be helping people clarify their thoughts about a pregnancy? Or will is there another agenda? After all, Lyle suggests that the “counselling” is “life-saving” which tends to suggest that it’s not going to end with: “Well, so long as you’re happy you’ve made the right decision. Good luck with the procedure!”

Of course, we could accept Shelton at his word and agree that respectful free speech and counselling should be allowed everywhere. For example, while I’m not a member of the “radical Greens left”, I am one of those who thinks that we should be doing something to help save mankind…

I specifically didn’t say “save the planet” because I suspect that the planet doesn’t need saving. It’s the humans – and a few other species – that’ll be wiped out. The planet will continue just fine and the cockroaches will adapt and become the rulers of the earth.  Although, some may argue that the cockroaches have already taken over…

Ok, that may be a little controversial. And not just because I said “mankind” which is politically incorrect.

Anyway, Lyle has tweeted in the past that he intends to be “relentless against the Green religion”.

So, if being Green is a religion, well, I may not qualify as one its acolytes. However, if we take Lyle at his word, then maybe all those attending churches, synagogues and mosques are in need of some intervention. After all, standing outside as people attend and trying to give them life-saving sidewalk counselling could be considered in their best interests.

I’m not advocating harassment or bullying. Just respectful singing of “Kumba Ya”, “We Will Not Be Moved” and “Jesus Had Two Fathers And He Was OK”, as well as the odd bit of respectful free speech where they call out to Lyle telling him that he’ll burn in hell for his refusal to embrace Green ideology.

Surely he’d have no problem with that. Surely he’d consider any attempt to stop it just as unfair as the exclusion zones around abortion clinics.


Strippers, Grandmothers, Wedding Cakes And Political Correctness!

Yes, we all know that it’s political correctness gone mad. When Greg “The Greatest Minister In The World” Hunt gets criticised for simply telling a 71-year-old grandmother that she needed to “f * * * ing get over it, you need to f * * * ing make Senator Scullion your best friend”. I mean, what’s the world coming to if you can’t tell people to do something that involves a lot of asterisks… Back BPC (Before Political Correctness), we used to take all sorts of risks and we certainly wouldn’t have restricted ourselves to asterisks. We used to let our children play on the road and if a car happened to hit them, instead of getting all hung up about how many beers the driver may have had, we’d send the kid to bed without supper and not rush him off to hospital for x-rays just because his arm was now at a funny angle.

Of course, I could understand the outrage if it was about the idea that anyone should be forced to make Nigel Scullion you’re “best friend”, but that’s an entirely separate issue that doesn’t seem to attract the same level of attention.

Yep, it seems that all the wrong things attract attention these days. Take Barnaby Joyce… Yeah, enough said.

For example, another matter which attracted attention in Victoria this week was the decision by someone to hire a stripper at the Bayswater Football Club. Honestly, back in my day, strippers were compulsory. In fact, we used to have them in the clubrooms before the game to get the boys into the right frame of mind for football. Once all the primitive juices were flowing, we’d be more than ready to go out and perform on the field.

However, some people found the idea of a stripper at the club politically incorrect, just because the function was for the Under 19s. Well, that and the fact that the Under 16s had also been invited along. But I say, balderdash. Isn’t it better that these boys were out, doing something with their mates instead of slowing up the NBN by watching porn at home?

And, of course, all the talkback callers were just presuming that the stripper was a woman! I mean, who knows, in these politically correct times, it may well have been a male… Which would be terribly confusing, because I wouldn’t know whether to rant about the attempt to impose a gay agenda on young boys or whether to continue my rant about political correctness preventing people from hiring whomever they chose to.

Anyway, at least the US Supreme Court has sensibly ruled that people can’t be forced to bake cakes if it’s against their religious beliefs. Well, not so much the baking of cakes, but the baking of cakes for people who were going to do things that they disapproved of, such as eating the cake at a ceremony to solemnise the commitment of the people ordering the cake. Sorry, just to be clear here. It’s not so much the eating of the cake at the ceremony as the idea that a baker should be allowed to express their disgust that people don’t live according to his or her moral code by refusing service. At least, I think that’s what it means. Anyway, this ruling should help do away with all this political correctness where people are trying to impose their beliefs on others by enabling religious people to try and impose their beliefs on all their clients.

Which makes me think that there’s a fantastic business opportunity screening potential clients for bakeries. Actually, not just bakeries, but florists and all sorts of other businesses as well. People hoping to use their services could be asked to fill out a survey something like this to see if they have the necessary morals to be acceptable:

  1. Have you engaged in premarital sex?  
  2. Do you believe that the universe was created at 6pm on October 22nd, 4004 BC, or do you think that Archbishop Ussher failed to take leap years into account? 
  3. Are you willing to agree to perform sexual acts only in the bedroom after dark?
  4. Do you intend to have sex after the wedding for any reason apart from the procreation of children? 
  5. If your activity does not result in one child in the first two years will you a) accept it as God’s will and stop, or b) try more often?
  6. Is there an approved Bible in your house? (Approved Bibles to be listed according to the baker, florist, etc preference)
  7. Will all your sex be in the missionary position as God intended? 
  8. Will you allow a person of my choice to come to your wedding venue/house to perform whatever exorcism is deemed necessary?

Then it’d be much easier for people to discriminate against all people whose lifestyle offends them. That should prevent any accusation that they’re homophobic!


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