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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.

The Economy Above All – Even Life Itself!

Ok, I was going to write about how Dan Andrews is responsible for security guards not being up to the job in Melbourne and ask why the federal government isn’t responsible for security guards committing crimes on Manus or Nauru. Or why the federal government isn’t even responsible for crimes committed by its ministers. But then the whole gas thing happened and I decided that in the interest of balance I should write about what a disappointment Albanese is as Opposition leader, and that he’s neither leading nor mounting an opposition… government follower would be a more appropriate title.

But more on those at some future date. I realised after reading the following quote from the University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor, Duncan Maskell, I’d just have to address this because it seemed so reasonable and measured:

“We have to look at this as an overall picture. My personal view is there should be some form of sensible, public health, QALY*-based analysis done and tough calls made. It boils down to a basic but very hard moral philosophy: What is the value of a 90-year-old’s life versus the value of the continuing livelihood and happiness of a 25-year-old?’’

*QALY The quality-adjusted life year or quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) is a generic measure of disease burden, including both the quality and the quantity of life lived. It is used in economic evaluation to assess the value of medical interventions. One QALY equates to one year in perfect health. QALY scores range from 1 (perfect health) to 0 (dead) QALYs can be used to inform personal decisions, to evaluate programs, and to set priorities for future programs

There was just something about it that I found both rational and disturbing at the same time. I realised that it was a reframing of the Trolley Problem where you’re asked if you’d kill one person to save five, but I sensed that it was something more than that. . And then it just hit me. It was the FRAMING of the hypothetical.

There was so much that was loaded in that single question that it’s hard to know where to start but let’s begin with the implicit assumption that the 90 year old was just a waste of space. I mean if the question was something like: “Why should we prevent Eric from going to his job at KFC and partying on weekends simply to keep David Attenborough alive?” Or substitute Ruth Bader Ginsburg because she was 87 and pretty much there.

And what if the twenty five year old wasn’t happy anyway? Yes, I do have a pretty good understanding of how not having enough money can really affect your happiness, but I’m suggesting that there’s an assumption that if the poor young person can just go back to their dishwashing job that they’ll be happy when some of them may be a lot happier on JobKeeper…

Or what if we frame it in terms of some of our sporting heroes? Why should some poor AFL/NRL player have a shortened season and a lack of opportunity to strut their stuff at a nightclub just so some old person can live?

Yep, the framing makes a big difference.

Once you start accepting the idea that it’s reasonable to start trading off the sad, old 90 year old in order to enable the happiness of the young it’s the old slippery slope. Why stop at ninety? If you think of how much the over 80s cost in terms of health care, it should be a simple matter to round them all up and put them in the same aged care facility with no access to any medications apart from those which allow a smooth painless transition to that place where they’re not costing anyone’s happiness. Now, I’m not advocating that we murder them off; I’m just suggesting that after a few weeks hanging around with other old people they’d surely realise that their time was up and that they’d be happy to go for the greater good. Of course, if they insist on being selfish and living… Well, there’s always methods to make people see reason…

And with the money we save we could afford to give even greater tax cuts to those having a go.

Yes, it’s all in how you frame it. Apparently it’s fine to suggest that we can’t afford any economic slowdown just to keep old people alive. After all, they’ve had a pretty good innings so they can just shut up and accept that COVID-19 will kill a few of them.

Yes, that seems to be an acceptable way to treat the elderly if you’re a politician or an economist or someone who has a media gig…

But if you should suggest touching their franking credits, you’re some sort of monster!

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Reducing Energy Prices And Getting The Debt and Deficit Under Control or Back To The Future XXIV

Let’s jump in the Delorean and take a little trip back to 2013…

We’re heading for an election and Tony Abbott is making his big pitch. Let’s just have a quick look at what he saw as the big issues:

Early on in his speech he told us, “This election is about making a great country even better; and that starts with changing the worst government in our history.”

Well, I think we’d all have to agree that whoever was the worst government in our history at the time he made that statement, it’s certainly moved into second place… Or fourth, if you want to count the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison revolving door as three separate governments.

He then went on with a series of promises:

  • “We’ll abolish the carbon tax so power prices and gas prices will go down.” Mm that worked well. Still, Mr Morrison is now working on a new plan so that gas prices will go down some time in the future. After his government – or someone else – builds a gas-fired power plant which he announced his intention to come up with a plan if nobody else did.
  • “We’ll cut the company tax rate because, as the former Treasury Chief has said, the main beneficiaries will be workers.”Yeah, lucky workers!
  • “We’ll move the workplace relations pendulum back to the sensible centre, restore a strong cop-on-the-beat in the construction industry, and hit dodgy union officials with the same penalties as corporate crooks.”So he intended to let dodgy union officials off with a stern talking to.
  • I want us to be a better country, not just a richer one, but you don’t build a better society by issuing a press release.”Scott Morrison knows this too, and if building a better society was his intention then we’d get more than the odd announcement. Actually, lately we’ve been getting announcements about the coming announcements.
  • “The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will cease making non-commercial loans with taxpayers’ money.” Yes, loans need to be paid back and we don’t want our friends being burdened with a debt when they oould just as easily give the Liberal party a donation.
  • “The NBN will have a new business plan to ensure that every household gains five times current broadband speeds – within three years and without digging up almost every street in Australia – for $60 billion less than Labor.”Do I need to say anything here?
  • “By the end of a Coalition government’s first term, the budget will be on-track to a believable surplus.”Excellent, so when does that first term end again. Or did he mean the second term when the surplus was believable because there were all those coffee mugs saying “Back in Black”. Of course, they were referring to the mug itself, but you’ve always got to check the fine print.
  • We’ll delay the superannuation guarantee levy increase because it’s another cost that small business can’t afford right now.”Or when Howard was first elected. Remember, he changed the legislation too. So we had it delayed until this term when – surprise, surprise, surprise – we can’t afford it because it would be better for workers to get a pay rise. Let’s remember that when the government makes its submission to the next minimum wage hearing.
  • “We’ll have a more functional federation where the states are sovereign in their own sphere.” But not if they shut their borders!
  • “Starting next year, I will work to recognise indigenous people in the constitution – something that should have been done a century ago that would complete our constitution rather than change it.”That went well.
  • “As long as I am in public life, I will continue to spend a week a year in a remote indigenous community as I’ve done over the past decade.”He seems to have left “public life” before he left Parliament!
  • We will be a no surprises, no excuses government, because you are sick of nasty surprises and lame excuses from people that you have trusted with your future.”No excuses, but it was Labor’s fault you know, so don’t blame us for anything ever!
  • “In 2007, Labor told you to trust Kevin Rudd, and you know what happened to him then. In 2010, Labor told you to trust Julia Gillard and you know what happened to her. Now Labor is telling you to trust Kevin Rudd again – but the one thing you know is that you can’t trust what Labor tells you.”And Labor told us not to trust Tony Abbott and look how that turned out…
  • The current government has turned a $20 billion surplus into deficits stretching out as far as the eye can see.”Given the eye can’t see into the future, that was shouldn’t have been very far at all, but…

Yes, it’s a speech that stood the test of time… If by time you mean until ten minutes after Abbott was elected. However, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say who knows what would have happened if they’d left Tony there until the next election. He may have succeeded in such things as knighting Donald Trump…

But it was the energy prices that got me checking the speech. I seemed to remember that a large chunk of the 2013 election was taken up with talk about how the carbon “tax” was sending energy prices through the roof and if we could just abolish it, everything would be hunky dory.

Of course we later moved on to Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee which wanted power generating companies to have both a reliability and an emissions reduction component. However, the Liberal Party decided that they’d prefer a Turnbull reduction and promptly replaced him as PM. Scott Morrison hoped that the whole thing would go away and he tried to ignore it, before eventually deciding that he didn’t want a better society because he did something that Abbott told us wouldn’t lead to one: he issued a press release on 23rd October 2018, which told us:

“Other measures announced today by the Morrison Government that will bring prices down and increase reliability are:

  • Stopping price gouging by the big energy companies. This includes banning sneaky late payment penalties and making energy retailers pass on savings in wholesale prices to customers. It will increase regulator’s power to crack down on dodgy, anti-competitive practices – through fines, penalties, enforceable undertakings, structural separation and divestiture. We have already seen prices come down in Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales on 1 July 2018, and we have directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to monitor electricity prices until 2025 to ensure prices are fairer for consumers.
  • Backing investment innewpower generators to improve competition. Underwriting new electricity generation will attract investment in the electricity market, increasing supply and reducing wholesale electricity prices. The Government will consult on the Underwriting New Generation Investments program, with submissions open until 9 November 2018. Based on feedback from the consultation, the Government will release initial program guidelines and invite proponents to nominate projects through an expression of interest process open from December 2018 to January 2019.
  • Supporting reliable power by requiring energy companies to sign contracts guaranteeing enough energy to meet demand. We will work with state and territory governments through the COAG Energy Council to ensure these contracts are signed.”

So, as you can see, Morrison recent announcement doesn’t come out of the blue. They’ve had processes to back investment in new power generation all the way back to when Scott Morrison first took over as PM. I wonder why they aren’t just going back and having a look at who “nominated projects through an expression of interest process’ which shut on 2019…

Anyway, this latest proposal should go a long way towards helping get us out of the current recession. There’s nothing like a power plant that hasn’t been built for bringing down energy prices. I can’t work out why some people are being cynical about it!

Ok, back into the Delorean. I’d make a little trip into the future to see when the plant is actually built, but there may not be enough fuel in the universe to get there and back!

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Scott Morrison And The Need For Gas Which He Can Certainly Supply!

Scott Morrison made an announcement…

Now I know what some of you are thinking: Our PM is pretty good with the announcements but it’s the follow-up that counts.

And yes, it’s true that some of his announcements haven’t been backed by strong action. Some of you will remember the “notional” bushfire relief and ask yourself why people are still living in tents but it would be silly to have rebuilt when there’s every likelihood that some of the houses may burn down again this summer.

And yes, some of you will point out that Morrison has a habit of re-announcing programs and funding that has already been announced.

However, today’s announcement is different. After the COVID-19 Committee of Committed Capitalists met and decided that gas was the best way to fix all the economic problems, a lot of people were surprised. Ok, the man running the show had the name, “Power” and he was connected to the gas industry but many people were expecting that maybe these people might suggest something like lifting the unemployment benefit because that could give retailers an extra kick along. But no, they unselfishly looked to the future and decided that we need to something about energy prices which – in spite of coming down $550 thanks to Tony Abbott, and in spite of the National Energy Guarantee that was an excellent policy that merely lacked a few details like exactly what was being guaranteed and exactly how it was going to work – are still too high.

So, after due consideration, Mr Morrison made an exciting announcement: The government will back a gas-fired power station. Just to break down this announcement into the important elements, they’ve said that they’ll build one if nobody else does. Of course, the government would rather it be built by private companies because they’re ideologically opposed to the government actually doing anything, so for them to actually spend taxpayer money to build something would be contrary to their beliefs that they – the government – are capable enough to manage any project or run any industry, so they’d ideally like a private company to step forward, but most private companies would rather make a profit, so it looks like the government will have to pay someone to do the job.

Yes, a new power plant. That should drive energy prices down when it’s eventually built which will be just as soon as the government finds out if anyone is going to build it and then after a process they can announce that they have things under control and that this shouldn’t cause any problems for Australia in meeting its 2030 targets because there’s no way that this will be built anytime before 2045. That should give hope to all the people who’ve lost their jobs and their livelihoods.

Speaking of which, I heard on the news last night that thirty percent of Melbourne restaurants would have to close in the next twelve months because of the COVID-19 restrictions, and I thought that must be a great relief to the owners because I’m sure I read somewhere that most restaurants don’t last twelve months so, not only is the figure lower, but the owners don’t even have to blame themselves for their business collapsing.

Anyway, if only these restaurants could hang on until they could afford the energy prices and if only people would work for free, then they’d surely be able to make a go of it.

At least they won’t have to pay that extra half a percent into people’s super. I’m looking forward to the next Federal Government submission to Fair Work Australia where they tell them that a half percent increase is a given before they even consider arguments for higher increases.

But I’m looking forward to the vaccine in January and to a strong, stable “no excuses” government like Abbott promised, the Budget surplus, good economic times and the unicorn ride…

Yep, with the amount of gaslighting the Liberals are doing, Morrison can certainly supply the need for an unlimited supply of gas…

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Tim Smith Is Paid A Lot More Than Me And His Achievements Are Abusive Tweets…

Now let me be quite clear here for the thousandth time: I am more than ready to attack both sides of politics. I look forward to the day when I can mock Labor and The Greens equally before whichever side I’m mocking will accuse me of being on the other side, as though somehow they’re further apart than George Christensen and his electorate. HOWEVER, the current mob of miscreants that masquerade as members of the media make it very hard to do anything but be critical of the Coalition because the media still seem to be behaving as though Labor is the party that have to provide all the answers and that The Greens are dangerous extremists who don’t understand that when Santa puts a lump of coal in your stocking it’s because he wants you to stay warm.

I guess the thing is that the Liberals aren’t really thinking things through…

You can’t blame them, of course, most politicians aren’t very good at looking beyond the election cycle. What is it that sporting coaches say? “We’re taking it one election at a time…”

Anyway, Kristina Keneally is quite the little attack dog, isn’t she? Wasn’t she premier of NSW at one point? But then she ended up in federal politics. Is that the reason that Liberals are telling the media to go after Dan Andrews and the media are happily complying? Do they hope to have the Victorian premier move to Canberra?

Remember this accusation about the Liberals providing journalists with questions wasn’t made by some lefty lunatic on Twitter; it was made by Steve Price on “The Project”. Or have we moved to the point where Price is considered part of those who have a Marxist agenda to destroy western civilisation?

Once politicians feared journalists. Their wrongdoing may have been exposed. These days, it’s more like let me give you a better scoop, not just yet, but if you’re a very good journalist, I’ll rub your tummy and let you know what’s going on.

Journalist: Your family trust benefitted by the Treasurer’s recent policy change to the tune of several million dollars, would you like to comment for a story I’m writing.

Politician: Look, my family trust is off-limits. You should know that families should be given personal space and not subject to the rough-and-tumble of politics.

Journalist: Sorry, you misunderstood. I’m not going to mention the family trust. I was wanting your comment about what a great announcement it was and how it’s going to help Australia...

Here in Victoria, the media seem to be trying to create a sense that Dan Andrews is facing a revolution when most polls suggest that people understand that he has a difficult job and he’s doing the best that he can. The media, on the other hand, seem to be playing gotcha.

On ABC radio this morning, Virginia Trioli asked the police commissioner, Shane Patton, whose decision it was to impose a curfew. He replied that it would have been the Chief Health Officer’s. She then played a clip of the Premier saying that it was his decision, leading to the frightful admission that Patton hadn’t heard Dan Andrews comments. Ok, so the point was? I mean we already know that Andrews made the decision and that it wasn’t at the behest of the CMO. I mean, we already know that we’re living under a dictatorship worse than anywhere and that anyone criticises Andrews is sent to a gulag for re-education. I happened to say that I thought he should be wearing a tie the other day and the secret police questioned me for days about who I was working for and…

Anyway, I can just picture Dan Andrews standing up in a press conference and telling them all that he’s had enough and he’s off to Hawaii. Can you imagine the volume in the Murdoch media being dialled up to eleven and all the ABC copycats joining in to condemn Dan for leaving when we’re in crisis, even though many of them have been asking for him to do so on a daily basis … Actually, I can’t picture it growing any louder. I suspect that if we get an out of control bushfire this summer, the media will be demanding that the premier tell us when it’s going to be brought under control, before asking if it’s really necessary to stop tourists from driving to the area because of all the business that’s being lost.

Meanwhile nobody in the media seems to be harassing Scotty about opening up Australia’s borders. While it’s prudent to stop international travellers from arriving on our shores and potentially spreading the virus, the borders of Queensland, WA and Victoria should be thrown open. South Australia seems to have been forgotten in all this and Tasmania, is after all, not part of the country. (That’s sarcasm, before I get correspondence from Tasmanians who don’t understand irony.)

Although the gods do seem to starting to say that it’s about time your luck ran out, Mr Morrison. Big announcement on vaccines, then a few days later the trial is halted. Ok, it’s always likely that there could be a glitch and that there needs to be a pause in a medical trial. That’s why it takes so long to get a new drug or vaccine on the market. I’m just amused that the timing was so soon after the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT. Usually the Liberals make the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT and it’s some months later when we discover that only $27.38 was spent out of the $2 billion announced owing to people not filling in the application form before the due date which was two days before the form was released to the public.

However, just so you don’t think I’m not being fair: in the spirit of bipartisanship, let me defend Morrison, who gets accused of running out on press conferences if the questions get too hard. In actual fact it may not be the questions; after all those curries he may need to make a hasty exit.

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If I Give My Son A Cubby House On Fathers’ Day What Will His Mum Get Him For Mothers’ Day?

Ok, I saw the media stories about how our beloved leader has been spending his weekends making a cubby house for his kids…

And yes, I did read that some of you lefty people were saying that it was too late and they were too big for it.

Well, I was about to do a whole piece on fat shaming when my son distracted me with a simple question: “Gee, Dad, why didn’t you ever make me a cubby house on Fathers’ day?” I quickly explained that I was too busy, what with my determination to actually do my job, which this year included finding the time to write a piece attacking people for complaining about those poor Morrison girls’ inability to fit into the cubby that our PM was neglecting the whole nation to put together when he put me straight.

“Too BIG, as in too OLD… This isn’t to do with their size. Nobody is calling them fat. God, Dad, you are so stupid!”

Well, I considered going straight into the back yard and making him a cubby just to prove there were no hard feelings, but at his age he may have considered it a hint that I wanted grandchildren…

Instead I simply apologised for my inability to do things to please him on Fathers’ Day to which he replied that I clearly didn’t get his irony.

“Jesus, I’m supposed to be doing things for you on Fathers’ Day, Why on earth would I ever expect you to make me a cubby? You’re an idiot!”

To which I replied: “You actually understand irony. Thanks. That’s the best gift I could have hoped for…”

He suggested that if that was the best gift then maybe it wasn’t too late to take my actual gift back and try for a refund. I suggested that maybe he was bitter because I’d never actually made him a cubby house.

”Nah, if you hadn’t killed yourself in the act of building it, you’d have probably injured me when it fell down on top of me.”

“Hey, are you suggesting that I’m less competent than Scott Morrison?” I asked

He then gave me an even better Fathers’ day gift by going to bed without replying…

Still, next year if he forgets Mothers’ Day I’ll have an iron as a standby present. Let’s see how that works out, and if we still have the same PM by then….

Ok, you may not think that an iron is a great present but I don’t have an empathy coach, so how could I know any better?

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Vale Dave Graeber

When one writes satire, it’s sometimes hard to write something serious and have people realise that you’re actually just writing what you actually think, particularly if one is simply describing the political situation in countries where people like Scotty, Boris and Donald are leaders.

However, I felt that I should note the passing of Dave Graeber, the writer of two of my favourite non-fiction books, Debt: The First 5,000 Years and Bullshit Jobs: A Theory.

Graeber was an anthropologist and, as such, took a slightly different tack on economics. He challenged the beliefs that many economists take for granted, such as the way in which trade and debt evolved. I noticed that his New York Times obituary described him as a “radical anthropologist” and I was left wondering if that was because of his approach to his discipline or because of his involvement in things like the Occupy movement.

Challenging economic orthodoxy can have its consequences and he didn’t have his contract renewed by Yale in 2005, so I wonder whether the champions of free speech demanding Peter Ridd’s sacking would have taken up his cause were it to be a recent event.

In Debt: The First 5,000 Years, Graeber made a strong case that debt was around long before what we traditionally think of as money and that cash and barter were uncommon until there needed to be a system to deal with those who may have proven to be untrustworthy or who were outside your normal world. You didn’t need to have cash or to barter with the local innkeeper, for example, because he could keep a tally and you would pay him in kind when you did your harvesting or slaughtered your livestock. Cash was only needed for trade with the stranger.

Money, he points out, is only as valuable as your faith in the king who issued the coin. A principle we’d do well to remember in these days when we’re constantly asked where the money would come from when talking about climate change, but “money” was quickly found which enabled executives to keep their bonuses thanks to JobKeeper. “Money” will also be miraculously found for tax cuts because we all know that the best way to fix a deficit is to reduce the amount of revenue you’ll receive. .

His assessment of the world of work in Bullshit Jobs: A Theory is particularly apt as we hear more and more that today’s students will be in jobs that don’t exist yet. One has to question the need for them. Sure, the best form of welfare is a job and all that, but maybe we’d be better off employing people in areas that actually need more workers such as aged care, rather than creating jobs for the sake of it. (And yes, I know that not all new jobs will be unnecessary.)

Graeber argued that there were five types of soul-destroying jobs and acknowledged that not everyone doing these jobs would necessarily feel that they weren’t doing something significant. However, it’s worth remembering that when there’s a strike by garbage collectors, we can only go a few weeks before the situation becomes dire. When the banks in Ireland went on strike in the 70s, people managed for six months without the country grinding to a halt. He described the following types of “bullshit jobs”:

  1. flunkies, who serve to make their superiors feel important, e.g. door attendants
  2. goons, who oppose other goons hired by other companies, e.g. spin doctors
  3. duct tapers, who temporarily fix problems that could be fixed permanently, e.g. people constantly repairing copper wire to enable the NBN to reach the building
  4. box tickers, who create the appearance that something useful is being done when it isn’t, e.g., the surveys you constantly get about how the company did when nobody gets back to you if you tell them service was terrible.
  5. taskmasters, who manage—or create extra work for—those who do not need it, e.g., middle management, leadership professionals[

Vale, Dave Graeber. The world needs more thinkers like you. Sadly, we have one less.

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The Important Thing Says Scotty Is That The Wheels on The Bus Go Round And Round…

I heard a bit from our Prime Minister’s press conference today and something echoed when he said; “Not everyone has to get on the bus for the bus to leave the station. But it is important the bus leaves the station, and we all agree on that.”

For a few moments, I thought of talk about throwing various ministers under the bus. And then I thought of Tony Abbott wanting the throw the elderly under the bus. But I was sure there was something else and then I remember this from the last federal election:

PRIME MINISTER: Well the bus is going all the way up to Rockie and that’s where it was always planning to go. I mean, it’s a big state and I need to cover as much of it in four days as I can. So we were never planning to take the bus to Townsville, we’d always planned to take that last leg up to Townsville by plane because that was the most effective way to get there and to spend the most time there with people on the ground. I mean, these visits aren’t about sitting on a bus. They’re about actually engaging with small businesses and our supporters and the people of Queensland and listening to them.

JOURNALIST: Then why have the bus?

PRIME MINISTER: Because it gets me from A to B.

JOURNALIST: Will you be taking the bus to Rockhampton from here?

PRIME MINISTER: Yes. The bus will be going to Rockhampton from here. That’s right.

JOURNALIST: With you on it?

PRIME MINISTER: I’ve got to get there earlier than the bus tonight.

I suppose that I should add that this is an actual transcript from an actual interview at the time and no, it wasn’t written by me… Or John Clarke. It was our actual PM explaining – for the first time – that the important thing was that the bus left even if there weren’t people on it. Thank god he was never a public transport minister… Or even a bus driver.

The important thing is that the bus leaves the station so really the only person who matters is the driver and I’m sure that he sees himself as the driver of the National Cabinet so it really doesn’t matter who’s on board the only the thing that matters is that the bus is actually moving even if it’s not actually taking anybody anywhere…

Sort of like Alan Tudge’s announcement today that there’d be a task force looking at bringing business to Australia. From what he was saying they have a plan to put together a task force to develop a series of ideas that will help businesses come to Australia and we want to attract them because it’s only by attracting people from overseas that we can actually get the best and brightest…. Mm, and they call other people unAustralian! What are they being offered? Well, help with all the red tape! Will they be getting financial incentives? Case by case basis. Yes, if they’re related to a donor.

Anyway, it’s good to know that Scotty thinks that the important thing is not that we have consensus because that’s just impossible with these Premiers who won’t open their borders. The important thing is that the wheels on the bus going round and round. And, if the Premiers aren’t on the bus when I re-open Australia’s borders then we’ll just have to have everyone flying to Christmas Island so I can say that I did have borders re-opened by Christmas just like I promised.

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Josh Frydenberg Seems Confused But He’s Not The Only One!

When I saw a brief headline saying that Josh Frydenberg was calling for a roadmap from Dan Andrews, I thought, Josh obviously has trouble using that tricky GPS because anything that came after the 1980s is a problem for him. Then I read the article and I realised that he was actually wanting to know the plan for bringing Melbourne out of Stage-4 lockdown.

Mr Andrews rather pathetically suggested that it would all depend on future events which is not something that the Liberals ever do. They always have a plan even if it isn’t exactly clear what it is. And they can tell us about the future. I mean, who could forget Scott Morrison’s: “We’ve brought the Budget back into surplus next year!” They even have the coffee mugs to prove that it happened. Unfortunately, there was no Budget delivered in the May so the predicted surplus didn’t happen but that – like everything else – wasn’t their fault.

Dan Andrews has been upsetting quite a lot of people recently… although it’s mainly Liberals who are frustrated that some people are failing to blame him for not being in total control when he should be, because it’s only when he assumes control that they can call him “Dictator Dan” which is their best nickname for a Labor leader since “Electricity Bill”. Someone I know has accused Dan Andrews of a) trying to spread a vicious lie that COVID-19 is more deadly than your average cold, and b) completely incompetent because he let the various spread killing thousands… I’ve read somewhere that the mark of an intelligent person is the capacity to hold two ideas simultaneously so I’ve decided that said person is in the Einstein category.

However, 2020 has produced a number of people who seem similarly blessed. For example, just a few weeks ago, Sam Newman was suggesting that he might run for Lord Mayor of Melbourne on a platform of stopping the lawlessness and anarchy that this city has been witnessing. However, just recently he was calling for 250,000 people to ignore the lockdown and congregate in the city to protest the silly restrictions placed on Melburnians. It has since been discovered that Sam has donated his brain to science sometime in 2019 because he personally hadn’t found a use for it and very much doubted that he’d be using it at any time in the future.

Still, Sam was an ex-sportsman who recently lost his long time job as a resident idiot on “The Footy Show”, so it’s only reasonable that he should consider taking on the only other job where being an idiot is an advantage: politics.

And, while on the subject, isn’t it good that Tony Abbott is going on welfare in Britain. I mean he always said that the best form of welfare is a job and it looks like they’re going to give him one that suits his talents down to the ground. He’s going to be negotiating agreements and he has a lot of good form on that. Remember how successfully he negotiated with Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeschott, or his success at getting legislation through the Senate, or even convincing his back-bench to keep him as leader. Yes, it seems it’s one of those schemes to give a person a job just to keep them busy because there’s no way they’d get it on merit.

It’s been a confusing week all round, but the one thing that’s really got me confused is the suggestion that the MSM wants to be paid for Google or Facebook “using” their stories. I’m going to ignore Facebook for a second because it’s a bit more complicated but the basic point remains.

  1. Google started as a search engine which was just that. It made no money. It just gave you a way of finding things you wanted.
  2. Google became a capitalist and started doing things so that it could make money by getting people to pay it to advantage them in searches.
  3. Historically, media companies didn’t use the internet, but like everything if you’re not on the internet you don’t exist. (If anyone argues with that, I will make the obvious point that they are on the internet!)
  4. Some media companies put up their news content for free; others have a paywall.
  5. Because news is available on the internet, advertising revenues are down for traditional news outlets.
  6. The media now want Google to pay them because Google is sending people to media companies’ websites without giving them any money for sending people to the media companies’ websites.

Now there are a lot of implications and there are a number of things that need to be ironed out, like how do we keep investigative journalists going if there’s no money in it, however, when you boil it all down, it’s media companies’ business model that’s collapsed. The idea of making Google pay for sending people to the website is so contrary to the original concept of a search engine that you can only see it if you look it in principle. Consider these and explain the difference:

  1. Imagine that I run a chain of cinemas and business is down. I decide that film critics should pay me for reviewing any film in my chain.
  2. My clothing brand has its name on the T-shirts it sells. Business is down so I decide that people exhibiting my brands logo on the shirts should have to pay a fee every time they wear it.
  3. A judge on “Masterchef” recommended people eat at my restaurant. I want payment if he ever mentions it by name again.

In all these cases, you can see that the “get stuffed” element is likely to be very strong. Where does it leave me if nobody mentions me again?

Similarly, if Google simply changes its algorithm so that no Australian media company pops up when people do a search, what’s Rupert’s next step?

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The Liberals Have A Plan So What More Do You Want?

Anchor – Good evening, we hoped to bring you an interview with the Aged Care Minister but there was a last minute emergency. He was called away because Mr Morrison needed him to watch some water on the stove and call for help if it started to boil. Apparently he’ll be unavailable for interviews until Canberra runs out of water. Instead we have a spokesperson who is authorised to speak on his behalf. We cross now to Rossleigh.

Rossleigh – Hi, thanks for coming in.

Spokesperson – Good evening.

Rossleigh – I’d like to start off with the Royal Commission. It criticised the government for not having a Covid-19 plan for Aged Care…

Spokesperson – Well, I’ll just reject the premise of your question.

Rossleigh – But I haven’t asked it yet.

Spokesperson – Yes, but when you do I’ll just reject the premise of your question because you’d be suggesting that we didn’t have a plan and I reject that entirely.

Rossleigh – So you’re saying that you had an effective plan?

Spokesperson – Now just a second, will you be asking about whether we had a plan or will you be asking me to evaluate it before we’ve even implemented it?

Rossleigh – So you’re saying that you have a plan but you haven’t implemented it yet?

Spokesperson – Yes, why would we implement it?

Rossleigh – Well, isn’t that the point of a plan?

Spokesperson – No, the point of a plan is to have one. Once you implement it, then Labor would know what it was and, if it was any good, they’d steal it. I mean, if they come up with policies that look like winners, we steal theirs, so why wouldn’t they do the same?

Rossleigh – So you don’t think that the point of a plan is to actually make something happen?

Spokesperson – No, the point of a plan is to make it sound like you’re actually going to do something. Take our plan for jobs and growth…

Rossleigh – Yes.

Spokesperson – Brilliant.

Rossleigh – Yes, but what was brilliant about it.

Spokesperson – Well, we planned to have jobs and growth.

Rossleigh – But how?

Spokesperson – Well, if we told you that then the plan wouldn’t have been secret.

Rossleigh. – I’m not following.

Spokesperson – Look, it’s very simple. You’re obviously pretty new to this type of thing. What the government does is announce that they’re aware of a problem, then they say that they have a plan and then they keep the plan to themself, and that way nobody can criticise it.

Rossleigh. – But you’re in government. Shouldn’t you be implementing your plans?

Spokesperson – Ok, let’s go back to our jobs and growth one. We announce that we’re in favour of growth and we’d like more jobs and then we sit back and wait for private industry to fix everything because governments are the problem and now we’ve said that we’re not going to do anything, then they should feel good and start employing people.

Rossleigh – Yes, but what’s the role of government?

Spokesperson – Our role is to do as little as possible. We device a plan, and if things are concerning people enough, we’ll remind everyone that we actually have a plan even if we’re not going to put into action because that would involve too much government interference in the economy and it’s always best to let market forces rule.

Rossleigh – So how does that square with JobKeeper?

Spokesperson – Yeah, we never planned for that. We just had to do that because if we didn’t introduce JobKeeper people would see just how stuffed the economy really is.I mean unemployment is going to be through the roof as it is, so imagine how much worse it would be if we weren’t pretending that the people on JobKeeper actually had jobs!

Rossleigh – So you’re telling me that the role of the government is simply to pretend that they have a plan?

Spokesperson – No, we actually do have a plan. We just don’t tell anyone about it. And if it looks like people want about more then we announce that we have one and usually that’s enough. If that doesn’t work, we mention some money we allocated in last year’s budget and everybody’s happy and the press all nod and say everything seems to be under control now. I can’t believe you don’t know all this.

Rossleigh – I can’t believe what I’m hearing…

Spokesperson – Come on, this is all obvious. Let’s stop chatting and start the interview.

Rossleigh – This is the interview.

Spokesperson – Surely this was all off the record.

Rossleigh – No. This is all being taped.

Spokesperson – Gee, lucky I’m in the pre-palliative… sorry, Aged Care department. If I stuffed up this badly in another ministry someone would probably notice.

Rossleigh – Thank you and good night.

Spokesperson – You don’t have to say my name, right? Can you just say I work for Michael Sukkar… I mean, there has to be heaps of people falling on their sword with him, right? Maybe just say I’m…

Rossleigh – The tape’s still running.

Spokesperson – Shit! Can we just start again. I’ve got heaps I can leak to you anonymously. You think the stuff leaked to Costello for SixtyMinutes and The Age was dynamite…

Rossleigh – That’s all we have time for.

Spokesperson – Come on, I’ve got dirt on everyone. Just give me the tape. The things I could tell you about one of our ex-PMs… Or better yet, I can give you the recipe for Morrison’s curries. I’m prepared to deal. I’m in line for a safe seat, you know. There’s a plan to dump Tim and I’ve been promised… Oh, turn that tape off…

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A Trip Down Memory Lane: Morrison First Attempt To Curry Favours

There was an interesting juxtaposition on Twitter recently. While one person was praising Priya for regularly cooking curries for the local hospital workers in Biloela, another was criticising Scott Morrison for posting his latest curry sensation on LinkedIn…

Morrison is very obsessed with his curries. It makes one think that the reason that the family has been sent to Christmas Island at great expense is because he was worried that hers would make his attempts make him look like a pathetic try-hard.

Ok, before anyone suggests that it’s terrible to use the poor Sri Lankan family to mock Scott Morrison, let me just say that I think their treatment a disgrace from every point of view you can throw at it: The waste of money, the lack of humanity, the idea that one family who nobody would have even heard of if they hadn’t been treated so appallingly would have started boats arriving if they’d just been left in the place where they and the local community were more than happy for them to stay. Let’s be real about the whole asylum seeker situation, regardless of your views on stopping the boats and strong borders and all that, you’d have to admit that it’s clear that the Liberals have backed themselves into a ridiculous corner with Manus and Nauru. They simply have no plan about what to do with the people there, apart from waste billions of dollars keeping them in detention indefinitely. And, even if you’re one of those silly people who believes that they’ve entered the country illegally, you’d have to admit that seven years is a pretty long sentence with no parole hearing. If you were a Trump supporter in the USA, you could shoot a journalist and be pardoned by the President in less time than that. Seven years is even longer than an AFP investigation into a Liberal frontbencher before they decide that enough people have forgotten about it and they can announce that they found nothing because they didn’t actually look.

Anyway, I had this vague idea that I’d written about Morrison and curries before so I did a search and what da ya know: Our Prime Marketer was using a curry analogy as far back as 2018 which was just after he become less ambitious for that Turnbull guy.

If you feel like a trip down memory lane, there’s even a short video where the presenter refers to Mr Morrison’s inspiring metaphor as “verbal diarrhoea”.

Ah, those were the days!

Here you go: When Scott’s Curries Gave Even The Media The Shits!

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Alan Jones Is Right Or Why I Only Listen To Experts When It Suits Me…

A Facebook friend posted a video of Alan Jones talking about opening up the borders. I listened carefully and while he made a couple of reasonable points, the fact remains that people in states without COVID-19 are reluctant to allow in potential carriers. This makes perfect sense. At the moment, I am not aware of anyone in my neighbourhood with the virus even though I live in Victoria. Were one of my neighbours to knock on my door and tell me that their partner had just needed a test because half their workplace tested positive so could they stay with us until he or she was given the all clear, I suspect that I may suggest that the person go to a hotel… or something that rhymes with hotel.

Anyway, given the person on Facebook has always given the impression of being extremely left wing and alternative, I was tempted to write something like, “At last you’ve realised that all those things you’ve believed were just bunkum and you recognise Alan as the genius that he is!”

I thought better of it because I knew what she would say: “Jones is a tool of the reactionary capitalists and a fool. He just happens to be right this time!” And then I’d have to point out that using him as a source to back you up only works when you think that the source is right most of the time.

But it is a strange phenomenon. I can sort of see the “Look, even the Republicans are voting against Donald Trump on this one, so it’s hard to argue that he’s right,” but that’s not the same as using Alan Jones as backup to your argument. I’m not saying that he’ll never be correct; I’m just suggesting that he doesn’t add to your case.

It’s not like a whistle-blower who’s jumped ship and is now spilling the beans on all the secrets about what his fellow-workers did. Of course, one still has to be a little suspect of the spies who jump ship. Basically, I don’t trust anything I’m told completely. That’s why I’ve taken Noam Chomsky’s advice and I read the finance pages for basic information. Yeah, sure, their slant is a little warped, but they’re less likely to lie to you on the financial pages because people with money get upset when they lose it because of inaccurate information and then they buy shares in the paper and have journalists who convinced them that there wasn’t going to be a revolution so they didn’t need to sell their shares in Third World Exploitation Pty Ltd. only to have the coup make their twenty thousand shares worthless two weeks later when the Marxists take over.

Somehow though I still end up in dialogues like this:

“Why are you wearing that mask?”

“Some people think that it helps slow the spread of the virus…”

“What virus? That fake Covid-19 propaganda that we get from the media? Don’t tell me that you’re just another one of those sheeple who believes everything that they’re told!”

“I don’t believe everything that I’m told. In fact, I’m highly cynical about the media, but medical experts are saying…”

“Medical experts? You mean the tools of Big Pharma?”

“I’m no fan of drug companies, but doctors…”

“Doctors are all in the employ of Big Pharma. You can’t trust them. They push vaccinations on us.”

“Oh, you’re an anti-vaxxer?

“Why must you sheeple reduce everything to simple name-calling without debating the issues?”

“Well, vaccinations have enabled us eradicate a number of diseases, like small pox.”

“Small pox? There’s no such thing. It was just made up by capitalists to justify the vaccinations…”

“But small pox was around centuries ago.”

“So the agents of Big Pharma want us to believe!”

“Anyway, I’m wearing a mask. What harm can it do?”

“Actually a lot. You could get carbon dioxide poisoning.”

“No, apparently carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas and couldn’t do me any harm.”

“Who told you that?”

“You did, when you were trying to convince me that climate change was a hoax to enable governments to distract people from their true agenda…”

“Anyway, I’ve read an article that says that this whole thing is a hoax and there’s no need to worry.”

“Weren’t you trying to tell me that I shouldn’t believe everything I read?”

“Don’t believe what you read in the media, sure. But this was different… It was on the internet and apparently it keeps getting taken down which just proves it’s true.”

“Then how did you read it?”

“I read it before it was taken down again.”

“Anyway, why should I believe it?”

“It was written by a doctor.”

“I thought you didn’t trust doctors.”

“This one’s ok because he’s telling the truth.”

“In other words, he agrees with you.”

“Of course, otherwise it wouldn’t be the truth, would it?”


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Morrison Promises Free Rides For All Once Unicorn Is Genetically Engineered!

Ok, I’ve realised that it’s not even worth commenting any more. I mean there are only three sorts of people in the world:

  1. Those who are already aware that Morrison is all about the announcement and the details can be worked out later, but they almost certainly won’t be because the devil is in the detail and he definitely doesn’t want to go round releasing the devil.
  2. Those who believe Scotty and, incidentally, are buying shares in my unicorn which is a certainty for the Melbourne Cup because unicorns can fly, and finally,
  3. Those with a vested interest in seeing Morrison succeed.

So when Scotty announced that he’d procured vaccines for everyone and that he was making them compulsory, I had to concede that he’s getting better at his distractions. After all, the compulsory thing created just enough controversy that people didn’t notice that the vaccine was yet to be developed… Or that he doesn’t have a contract, just a letter of intent, which basically means that all going well, we’ll work out something when and if they create one before anyone else does. (Update: I misunderstood that when Morrison actually said that would be made “as mandatory as possible”, he didn’t mean “compulsory”. Perhaps someone from the PM’s office can get back to me with an explanation of the difference.,, or possibly some Coalition supporter could just call me names and that would fix it!)

This is much better than the announcing that the Budget was back in surplus next year, or the notional bushfire fund, or the Arts funding that won’t happen until the Arts is back up and running again because you can’t be giving those artsy people money to develop ideas unless they already have an audience, or the press conferences where the government tells everyone that they’re putting billion or so into something even though it’s the same billion that was promised last year but hey, things change so it’s good to remind you press people that this is happening.

Yes, good old Scotty managed to take the focus off aged care and the Ruby Princess…

Actually is it just me, or does anyone else find it strange that when an inquiry finds that Dutton’s department had nothing to do with Covid-19 positive people getting into the country that he claims that it’s completely vindicated them? To compare it to what’s happening in Victoria where the papers constantly refer to the Hotel quarantine fiasco, I think we’d find it strange if the private security firm tried to suggest that they’d been vindicated if an inquiry found that they had nothing to do with stopping the guests who were leaving the hotel when they were meant to be in quarantine…

But Victoria’s a strange place at the moment. The Herald-Sun was printing stories about Sam Newman running for Lord Mayor. If you don’t know who Sam is, you’re lucky. Sam is ex-footballer who appeared to be forging a career by playing the clown on “The Football Show” but more recent years have shown that not only was he not playing, but that he probably had far too concussions to be let out in public without supervision when crossing the road… (Actually, I probably should have ended the previous sentence after the word “public”!)

And Andrew Bolt was trying to run an argument that the lockdown was unnecessary because, well, most of those who’ve died were likely to have died anyway… Some people seem to have bought this argument but you only have to stop to think and you realise that he’s deliberately framing it the wrong way round. It’s like arguing that we don’t need life guards because the people who have drowned were likely to have drowned anyway. Yes, but it’s the ones that they’ve saved that’s the issue. We don’t know how many more cases we’d have and how many healthy people would have died without the lockdown.

Yes, Scotty did well today. We’ll have vaccines for all and they’ll be free, even if there’s no such thing as a free lunch. He’s negotiated something that’s not a contract because we’d be silly to enter into one for a product that’s yet to be invented, when we could enter into a much better arrangement for something non-existent with Angus Taylor for twice the price.

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“Hey, Bill, your son’s made a racist cartoon!” “Ok, well, he has to get a name somehow!”

When a friend asked me why I’ll read the Murdoch media if it’s left out on a bench when I know that it’s just full of illogical propaganda and hate-filled nonsense, I replied that I thought it good to hear what other people had to say even if I disagreed with them otherwise we’d simply be living in an echo chamber and nobody would ever change anyone’s mind.

“That’s ridiculous,” he replied.

“Why?” I asked. At which point he shouted that he didn’t have to explain himself to me and promptly blocked me on social media.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. I mean it didn’t actually happen to me but I’m sure that there’s someone out there who’s thinking that I must have been listening in to the argument they had with somebody they know.

I think it’s important to listen to all people for the simple reason that, unless somebody actually disagrees with them, they’ll go on thinking that everyone agrees with them… Apart from those idiots who should be shipped off to wherever it is that the people disagreeing with them should go.

At this point, I should add that there are people on both the left and the right are guilty of not considering the simple idea that they’ll be wrong about some things at some point in their lives. I know I’ve been wrong on at least two occasions but that’s a whole other story.

Anyway, I’ve heard people on the left proclaim that I shouldn’t accept something because I read it the mainstream news, and while that’s true, I also believe that it’s foolish to reject everything that I read in the mainstream news. It’s possible to pick up information that’s factual true even when it’s presented through the medium of a biased media. I can accept, for example, that the moon landing happened and still not see it as a triumph of capitalism, particularly when it was a government program. It’s also possible to believe that Scott Morrison actually made an announcement about providing funding to something without accepting the media narrative that this is the same as actually providing the money.

And so this idea that somehow the political correctness of the past few years has invented “cancel culture” and thanks to some humourless lefties, people are liable to have their lives ruined over the odd casual remark. Of course this completely overlooks how often the conservative forces have enacted their own form of cancel culture. They don’t need to boycott advertisers to get people taken off the air or removed from their jobs. Think Scott McIntyre who was sacked over his ANZAC tweets or Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Recall the furore over Annaliese van Diemen, Victoria’s Deputy Health Officer, comments comparing Captain Cook to Coronavirus which some on the right didn’t like because they didn’t think that Cook did that much harm, while others didn’t like it because it suggested that like Covid-19, the man was largely a myth created by people with a vested interest.

Whatever, we’ve had censorship for a long time and, while some may argue that they’re sovereign citizens and they have a right to do whatever they like including walk onto private property and tell people that they have no right to impose any conditions, it’s generally agreed that some things are just too offensive to be in the public arena. The only real debate is what these things actually are. Once upon a time a woman in a bikini would have been arrested for public indecency, but now we not only allow that, but there are even photos of Tony Abbott in speedos published in the newspaper where they made lead to nightmares in impressionable children… And while standards in this area have changed, we can all agree that a photo of Clive Palmer in budgie smugglers is argument for the return of the death penalty…

So, when Johannes (son of Bill) Leak has his offensive cartoon published in “The Australian” what should one do? I mean, it’s tempting to ignore it because he’s obviously trying to emulate his father and drum up a bit of publicity, and it’s hard to do that when you lack the talent to make perceptive observations with your cartoons so you have to resort to racism in the hope that you’ll actually attract the sort of outrage that will actually alert people to the fact that you are not your father even though you basically copying his style because you never developed one of your own.

Photo from Twitter (@KarenMMiddleton)

Yes, it’s tempting to just ignore it because you feel that outrage must be what he’s after because nobody could be stupid enough to think that it’s acceptable. Still something about the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

And, like I said before, unless someone disagrees, people might actually think that nobody thinks what they’re saying is wrong.

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Why Are Those Ignorant, Ugly Trolls So Abusive?

Perhaps one of my favourite bits of irony is when journalists go on Twitter to complain about Twitter…

It’s true, of course, that there’s a lot of ignorant and abusive people on social media who spout opinions without evidence, attack defenceless people and generally lower the whole tone of debate. I can see why some journalists are upset by this because these amateurs are doing for free what journalists get paid to do.

I know, I know. When they ask Dan Andrews a question, ignore his answer and then ask the same question, they’re just holding politicians to account. When they ask politicians to prejudge the findings of an inquiry they’re just trying to get a scoop; they’re not attempting trial by media. And when they ask Andrews if he’ll resign, it’s a simple question. It’s not like those people asking for the government in Lebanon to resign. No, the people in Lebanon are seeking retribution when they talk about resignations…

So it seems to go something like this. Journalists are there to hold politicians to account, but it’s not the public’s job to hold journalists to account for anything whether the public feels that it’s an inappropriate line of questioning or a lack of balance in the holding of particular politicians to account. It’s up to journalists to make that decision and it’s quite frankly none of your business and if you should dare to comment on their decision-making processes, let alone their ethics, why you’re a troll whose putting at risk the whole democratic process. Why shouldn’t we let the Liberal Party write our questions for us? I mean, it saves the trouble of getting them to send them through via our editors. It’s the sort of efficiency that we need in these troubled times for the media. In fact, we should save a lot of time and just print the Coalition’s press releases verbatim…

It’s intrigued me for years the way that the media has gone along with the idea that the Labor party is omnipotent while the Liberals are largely a victim of circumstances. Think back at how various issues have been portrayed. The Liberals are still banging on about how Labor were responsible for the deaths under the Pink Batts scheme even though it was faulty work practices. “It was too rushed and they should have been better trained’, but when Robodebt deaths occur that was something that just couldn’t be helped because how is the government expected to know the consequences of putting people under pressure. Unemployment under Labor equals a weak economy while unemployment under the Gliberal party is because of all those work-shy people who’d rather live in poverty and take drugs.

And so Victorian Labor is at fault for the pandemic raising its head again because the security workers should have had better training and been told that when you’re in charge of a person under quarantine you’re not supposed to be exchanging bodily fluids with them. That’s the sort of specialised knowledge that could only come with an extensive and expensive TAFE course run by a Liberal donor.

And it’s thanks to Victorian Labor that the economy will take longer to recover. Josh Frydenberg told us so and he should know because he’s about to deliver his second budget and nothing in it is the fault of the government but the bringing forward of the tax cuts is all down to the superior economic management of the Glibs because the best way to bring the budget back into the black is to reduce your revenue stream.

Now I’m not saying that Labor are without fault or that the media have no right to criticise. I’m just suggesting that a little more even-handedness would be welcome. I mean, if they could just point out the irony of the party that spent so long talking about strong borders could even think of joining Clive Palmer’s High Court challenge to border closures, or at least ask the Federal government why they backed it and then withdrew, it might be a good start.

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Passing On Debt To The Grandchildren And Why Josh Will Be Able To Deliver A Surplus After The Next Election!

Now I heard something rather interesting recently. Somebody said that because of all the spending associated with the pandemic, it’d be impossible for the Liberals to deliver a budget surplus any time soon. I started trying to explain to this person why they were wrong before realising the futility of what I was doing: Just like all those times I’ve shouted at the politicians, the person on the TV wouldn’t be able to hear me no matter how loudly I yelled.

So, because I couldn’t explain it to the guy who said it, I’m going to explain it to you. And, just like a politician, I’m going to use an analogy because if I started talking about actual macroeconomics, you’d straight away see that my argument had various counterarguments and nobody wants a debate when they start explaining things.

Let’s imagine that I’m a father which is pretty easy to do because I actually am one, but so that I’m using a hypothetical I’m going to imagine that I have two sons and two daughters rather than just the one son. For the purposes of ease, I’m going to refer to them as A, B, C and Trevor.

Let’s start with Daughter A. She has moved out of home and has a good job. Daughter B is still studying. Son C is travelling overseas on a gap year and like the two daughters totally irrelevant to my analogy, so we’re really just dealing with Trevor.

Trevor has just come to me and asked me for a $15,000 loan so that he can buy a car which would enable him to start a job in hospitality which he has been offered. The hours of work mean that public transport isn’t an option and taking Ubers would mean that it wasn’t worth working. I tell Trevor that I don’t actually have $15,000 but he points out that have a redraw facility on the mortgage and could easily raise the money. This is where I take a leaf out of the Liberals book and suggest that if I go into debt by accessing the redraw facility then my grandchildren will be paying off the debt and is that any way for him to start a family and before I can invoke the spirit of John Howard, Trevor interrupts me and points out that if he’s working, he’ll be able to pay me back starting at twenty cents in the dollar once he’s earning over $19,000 moving on to cents in the dollar once he hits $37,000 which just happen to be Australia’s income tax rates…

Anyway, Trevor convinces me to lend him the money and so, Trevor is now working and I have to pay an extra few hundred dollars in interest each year, and because I’m a fair sort of chap I decide that I have to give all my children a similar loan.

Now stick with this because this is where I make the point about the surplus. If we say that the borrowed sixty thousand is going to cost me about two thousand in interest when it comes time to do my personal budget for next year, the only difference between a surplus and a deficit is two thousand. The fact that I’ve borrowed and spent sixty thousand doesn’t come into play with next year’s budget beyond the interest I need to find. And because son C used the money instead of putting things on his credit card when on the gap year, that Daughter A used it to get into the housing market and the Daughter B used it to help pay her HECs debt means that my grandchildren are all in a potentially better financial position than they would have been if I’d stayed debt free and kept Trevor unemployed.

And, if any of my kids start paying me back because they’re better off financially or I decide that I can work more hours, then the sixty thousand has very little effect on next year’s budget at all. In fact, it may even help me have a surplus because I have more possible sources of revenue.

Which is exactly the way JobKeeper might work. Except that unlike my ungrateful non-existent children, people who work are obliged to pay tax.

So there you have it, economics by analogy. I know it’s a terribly flawed analogy but then so are all the ones about government’s putting things on the credit card and the idea that there aren’t times when you shouldn’t spend more than you earn. In theory plenty of people could borrow money at about three percent using equity in their home and purchase a diverse range of shares that would pay off the interest as well as growing in value. Yes, it’s a bit risky but people who make money don’t mind a bit of risk… that’s why you have so many people who write for the financial section of the papers calling for an early end to lockdown saying that we just have to let COVID-19 rip because lockdowns cause mental illness, isolation and depression that are unacceptable unlike when those things are caused by neoliberal economic policies.

So while Josh may not be able to deliver a surplus with his second budget, it won’t be that hard to deliver one after that unless he resorts to the supply side economics that caused the economic mess of the Fraser years. Of course, when his next budget will be is anyone’s guess given that he delivered his first one a month early and his second is scheduled to be six months late but, hey, it’s not like you need to do it on a fixed date every year. Why not just do the Federal Budget whenever it suits?

I hope my actual son doesn’t read this or I may have to lend him the money for a car just to show that I’m not playing favourites with his imaginary siblings…

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