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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.

Scott Morrison And The Function Stupidity of The Liberal Campaign

Functional stupidity: A general reluctance to self-reflect, question our assumptions, and reason about the consequences of our actions. Although this may increase productivity in the short term (making it ‘functional’), it reduces creativity and critical thinking in the long term.” from “The Intelligence Trap: Revolutionise your Thinking and Make Wiser Decisions” by David Robson

Ok, maybe there are better terms than “functional stupidity” for what the Liberals are currently doing but it’ll have to do. Not being in Australia at the moment means that I only hear about what’s going on when I actually go to the trouble of looking it up, and away from the constant noise of the campaign, certain things become obvious.

The first is that while Bill Shorten seems to be singing about his plans for the future, the Liberals seem to stuck on the “Everything is Labor’s Fault” tune. Ok, it was a hit for them once way back in the seventies, and every few years it makes a nostalgic comeback, but really their chorus of “We’re the better economic managers” always wears a little thin once they’ve been in power for more than two elections and they expect us to still join in.

However, the second point may not be quite so obvious when your subject to the cacophony of the combined Liberal/Murdoch Media choir all singing in unison, though not in tune.

What happens when the future happens?

Now I know that people have really short memories and that the fact that someone is wrong, doesn’t seem to bother them when the prognosticator has another go. How else would racehorse tipsters still be employed. Or economists for that matter. As someone once observed an economists are people who get paid large amounts of money to explain why their forecasts were wrong.

Which brings me to Josh Frydenberg’s statement that his Budget “Surplus” is something that hadn’t happened for over ten years. I’m pretty sure you’re wrong there, Joshie baby, because it happened in 2012. Wayne Swan announced a Budget surplus for the next financial year. True, it didn’t eventuate. But essentially that’s exactly what Frydenberg has done. Of course, I’m sure the difference – the Liberals will tell you – is that they will deliver it, whereas Wayne Swan got it wrong because the Treasury forecasts had to be revised. Now that the Liberals are back in charge, Treasury forecasts can be relied on with more confidence because while Treasury is still Treasury, their forecasts suddenly become rock solid under a Liberal government… Ok, Treasury has still got it wrong every years since Hockey’s first Budget, but that’s no reason to think they’ll be wrong this time… And by the way, a racing tipster says that Number 5 in Race 3 is a sure thing…

Yep, the Liberals are thinking ahead with this one and they’ve got their line of attack worked out when Labor are elected and a surplus fails to eventuate. Of course, it may be a minor problem if they were re-elected, but at least they’ll be the winners and isn’t that what counts. After all, if you’re not the government, you can’t give your mates jobs or put them on boards… Or help them get amounts of money that I can’t mention because a certain minister is sending out a flood of legal letters due to some scurrilous accusations that must clearly be false or surely the mainstream media would have printed something instead of spending more time on Married At First Sight.

Yes, there’s only so long you can say this is a work in progress and after the next election, there’ll be no need to blame Labor because we’ve fixed things. The surplus announcement means that you’re in the same boat as Swan if it doesn’t eventuate. “Yes, well, we predicted a surplus that didn’t eventuate, but unlike him, we’re better economic managers and the only reason that ours didn’t eventuate was that the forecasts were wrong…”

Now I’d like to say before I go on that I’ve sometimes been accused of just writing Labor propaganda and that I’m just a leftie hack. Let me make it quite clear that I look forward to the day when Labor has done something that’s annoyed me so much that it hasn’t been trumped by the Liberals before I actually get around to writing about it. Yes, Labor has disappointed me. The Greens have disappointed me. But I must honestly say that the Liberals haven’t disappointed me any time this century. They’ve pretty much done what I expected…

Having said that, I must say that their election campaign so far is bordering on the sort of functional stupidity that makes me wonder if they’ve thought beyond the counting of the votes.

Let’s for a wild moment presume that the opinion polls are somewhere near correct and that Labor will win. Not everyone is interested in politics so when the Liberals tell us that there’s going to be a tax on new cars and that we’ll all be forced to drive electric cars, some people will believe it. Similarly, a lot of people who get franking credits won’t have read the fine print and they may hostile to Labor because they’re expecting to lose money. Some don’t realise that negative geared properties will be grandfathered so it’s only future properties that can’t be negatively geared. And it’s only old properties. A new property can be negatively geared.

All in all, some of these people are going to be pleasantly surprised that the Labor government isn’t going to be “the end of the world” as Terry McCrann wrote. Literally. That was what he suggested. I often wonder if journalists – and I use the word loosely – in the Murdoch stable have great senses of humour and have bets with themselves to see who can come up with the stupidest article and still get published. Or whether they really would make a less suitable Malcolm Roberts replacement in the Senate than Fraser Anning

Many of the people who believed the scare campaign suddenly go, Hey, this Labor government isn’t so bad and rather than a backlash they actually get a bounce at the next election. One only has to look at the Victorian election to see an example of that.

Nothing’s certain. Yes, it’s true that nobody asks Barnaby about the $100 lamb roasts. But I doubt that he’ll try that one again.

Still, we are talking about a man who said that he’d still be happy to be Deputy PM just a short time after being forced to resign in disgrace.

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Liberal Philosophy: Not Everyone Can Ride Business Class

My wife and I are celebrating our 25th; wedding anniversary with an overseas trip, so I’m unfortunately missing a lot of the farce that passes for politics in this country.

I did pick up via Twitter that Peter Dutton was complaining that his Labor opponent hadn’t moved to the electorate. This seems a strange complaint given how often they’ve suggested that Bill Shorten was overconfident and already measuring up the curtains for The Lodge which apparently as part of some austerity drive wasn’t fitted with them in the renovations. Yep, when we said that Tony would never make it to The Lodge we were right, even if only on a technicality.

Whatever, Mr Dutton’s normal completely misplaced confidence did seem missing when he suggested that a candidate who was yet to win the seat should have already found a house and moved in. Is he actually suggesting that Bill should have already got quotes for removalists and worked out the most direct route to Parliament?

To be fair, Petey did tell us that he was only passing on some of the things other people were saying. Unfortunately, due to a whole range of laws, I can’t repeat the things I’ve heard people say about our Home Affairs Minister. Besides, that wouldn’t be fair, would it? To say something about someone and then suggest that I was just repeating someone else’s opinion. Why, I’d probably be forced into an apology the next day even if Scott Morrison tried to suggest that there’s nothing wrong with suggesting that Ms France was “using her disability” as “an excuse”. Subtext: Disabled people do that all the time, don’t you know? Look at how upset people get when Centrelink or the NDIS ask them a simple question like, “Does your child still have Down’s Syndrome?” I mean, it’s a reasonable question. Now that ScoMo’s PM we should expect the odd miracle or two!

However, it was re-boarding the plane at Dubai that I noticed something I’ve always taken for granted. There was an announcement asking for first and business class passengers, as well as those with young children or who needed assistance to board the plane first. And I thought: “The perfect analogy for Liberal policy!”

Now, in case you haven’t noticed, I often think things are the perfect analogy only to become confused when the analogy breaks down after just a couple of sentences. In this, I’m rather like every Liberal leader we’ve had since Fraser, but unlike them, I don’t pursue the analogy for a couple of elections after it’s clearly shown to be… well, an analogy and not something you should base your whole policy development on.

So, when the call came for certain groups to come first, I thought that’s it: Those who have more money and can afford business and first class go first, closely followed by those with young children and those who obviously need help. The rest of us should just wait patiently without complaint because, hey aren’t they looking after those who need it? Look how helpful we are to that man in the wheelchair? See how we allow Mum and Dad to get settled with that toddler who’ll scream all the way to Barcelona? Isn’t this a fair go for those who have a go?

And, if you suggest that, as the first and business class people already have great seats and can wait in the special lounges, maybe they could just be put on last, then it’s the politics of envy and class warfare and you’re no better than those who argue that we should all be travelling the same class and before you know it, our planes will all be like Communist cattle trucks and we’ll all have to dress like Sally McManus! (I’m quoting Janet Albrechtsen, Sally, so if you’re reading this, I have no problem with the way you dress… Not that you need my permission… I’d better get back to the analogy before these politically correct times get me into more trouble than Dutton…)

I did take the analogy a lot further in my head, and I had a lot to say about the whole “”fair go” slogan, but as it’s breakfast time, I won’t do a Liberal thing and pursue it by suggesting a whole franking credits scenario where the business class people get discounts off their tax for their plane tickets, but we need to give an equivalent amount to the unfortunate few business class passengers whose taxable income means they don’t pay any.

No, like Malcolm Turnbull, I know when to quit. Peter Dutton didn’t.

Adios.

The Ute Is Beaut, Give It A Fair Go, Cobber…

When I heard Michaelia Cash telling people that Bill Shorten was the end of the ute as we know it, I couldn’t help but think that her voice is the one thing that makes fingernails running down a blackboard sound like music.

Ok, that may sound a little bit sexist and I did admonish myself and tell myself that I should separate the medium from the message and just listen to what she had to say. To quote her directly:

“People like Johnny,  the car he is driving today, if a Labora (sic) government is elected will not be the car he is driving tomorrow”!

Awesome, I say!

Young Johnny will be able to afford a new car. Probably thanks to wages going up under a Shorten Labor(a?) government…

Oh, I forgot, That’s a bad thing. As Scottie told us:

“To pay someone more, you’ve got to sack someone else to do it. That is the Labor Party’s policy.”

So there you have it a nutshell. Liberal Policy is that you need to drive yesterday’s car because a wage rise would lead to unemployment so low wages growth is really a good thing.

Today Scott was trying to go on the front foot by attacking Labor for not announcing details of their EV policy. After all, it was announced last Thursday and given we’re almost in an election campaign, there’s no excuse for announcing an aspirational target ten years in the future and not having a detailed schedule of how they’ll achieve it. They are the Opposition, after all. It’s not like they’re the government who have to make up policy on the run, because they’ve been too busy telling how good they are to work out the finer details.

It’s like Adani, They were waiting for the “science” and then Queensland backbenchers told them that the science said there was no problem with using all the water in the artesian basin because it wouldn’t lead to photos of dead fish, so the science was go, go, go or else Environment Minister Price would have to!

Even before the election campaign starts, this government seems as though it’s evoking the ghost of Billy McMahon who told people that after examining the facts people should vote for the Labor Party, before correcting himself. Actually when I heard yesterday was the second anniversary of John Clarke’s death, I had a moment of missing his wonderful sketches before wondering if he was making a gesture from the grave by possessing Scott Morrison and giving us some of his best material…

One has to honestly wonder how a government can open a detention centre for a photo opportunity only to close it before the election. That’s not the way to win anyone’s vote.

But you seriously have to wonder who Yoyo is appealing to when he complains that people won’t be allowed to drive “vehicles that have a bit of grunt, that have a bit of power.” I mean, my car has a bit of grunt… all right, not much, but I do manage to drag old ladies and Ford Fiestas at the lights even though the Ustasi sometimes give me speeding tickets because they’re just like those Labor socialists. Strangely I was left stranded by the Tesla next to me the other day. I’ll need to go to the garage and put in all sorts of mechanical thingies to make it go faster. Or possibly I could buy a Monaro before they become illegal.

Of course, I wondered if old Scott had checked the price of the Toyota Hilux when he tried to suggest that apprentices wouldn’t be able to afford an electric car. I wonder if he’d checked the wages of apprentices when Michaelia and he suggested that they all drove HiLuxes. In fact, I wonder if he checked how many apprentices are old enough to have driving licences.

Word on the street is that the election will be called tomorrow. If not, then the day after. Certainly before Monday. Or maybe Monday. Whatever, he’s not going to call it just because Bill Shorten tells him to.

Billl Shorten, we’ve been told by many Liberals is getting ahead of himself. He’s measuring up the curtains for The Lodge.

Perhaps, Bill could point out that The Lodge already has curtains, and unlike the Liberals, he doesn’t feel the need to waste money by making cosmetic changes just because there’s been a change of government.

I could say, “It’s funny because it’s true.” The sad thing is that it’s not funny because it’s true!

Here’s Liberal Excuses Bingo from before the 2013 election:

slaves

Photo: bingo generator

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Winx Can Beat An Electric Car, Says Our ScoMo!

“Hello, is that the Prime Minister’s office?”

“Yes, can I help you?”

“Yes, I was hoping that I’d get a go because I had a go.”

“Sorry?”

“I was ringing Scott so he’d give me a go. I took his advice and had a go. We had been saving to buy an electric car because my wife really wanted one. But then I heard the PM talk about Winx’s owners so I went out and spent the money on a share in a racehorse instead  well, to cut to the chase, I now have no wife, no home and no money because the horse broke down and…”

“That’s unfortunate but what do expect Mr Morrison to do about it?”

“Well, he said that those who had a go would get a go from his government so I was hoping that he could replace my house and organise a new wife for me. Oh, and some money would be nice. I don’t expect to get it all back but even just they purchase price would be helpful…”

“You can’t expect the PM to get you a new wife…”

“Ok, even if he had a word to the old one and said that the racehorse business was his fault. She hates him anyway so it’s not like he’d be losing a voter…”

“This is really nothing to do with…”

“Look, can ScoMo… You don’t mind if I call him, ScoMo, do you? Anyway, he quite clearly encouraged me to go out and buy a racehorse when he said that it wasn’t just Winx but the owners and trainers that ‘epitomised the fair go for those who have a go’.”

“It’s not Mr Morrison’s fault if you were silly enough to lose all your money buying a racehorse.”

“But he was the one who said that it…”

“I’m sorry but we’re not in the business of subsidising gambling losses.”

“Oh no, there’s no gambling losses. I mean the horse never even got to the races. I guess you could say it was rather like reopening Christmas Island detention centre.”

“Buying a racehorse is a gamble!”

“Not the way Scottie described it. He said it was just having a go. I almost felt like it’d be a betrayal of ANZAC spirit if I didn’t go out and get one.”

“We’re not giving you any money back!”

“Ok, ok. Well, at least could he go out and at least say a few things that would help me convince my wife that an electric car would be an even bigger waste of money?”

“Sir, you clearly aren’t listening.”

“I mean, it wouldn’t cost him anything would it? He could talk about how much trouble they are to charge…point out that they’re range is limited because we don’t make extension cords more than about fifty metres long so they’re not suitable for long trips… And they’re unreliable because thanks to Labor and The Greens we don’t have enough coal to…”

“Sir, you need to listen…”

“Come on, what harm would it do?”

“Sir, as I said, you clearly aren’t listening. Mr Morrison and his team have been doing that every day. Just get your wife to listen to SAD.”

“SAD?”

“Sky After Dark. It’s an acronym.

“Ah appropriate because it’s full of SAD old has-been politicians and journos. So I just need to get her to watch that?”

“That’s right, we’ve said all those things and more. Now I’m sorry about your horse, but really there’s nothing more we can do.”

“What about an excise on electric cars to make them prohibitively expensive?”

“Excuse me?”

“I said, ‘What about an excise on electric cars to make them prohibitively expensive?’  And you could place a special tax on the charging stations. Call it the Renewable Electric Vehicle or REV tax. No, not tax, because Labor does that and you only have new surcharges. Then you could call it REVS.”

“Sorry, sir, we may be able to help you after all. How would you like to join a team of advisers for the current Prime Minister? It’s good pay and…”

“No thanks. I’m not interest in casual work, I’m looking for something more permanent.”

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Bigger Surplus And Working More? Just What IS Morrison’s Plan?

“FLATTER TAXES AN INCENTIVE TO WORK MORE” screams the headline in The Financial Review.

It’s always intrigued me how people argue that tax takes away people’s incentive to work. It makes some sense… But only if you ignore the reality for most people. Take, for example, the CEO of a company on three million per annum: Is the idea that he or she will go and pick up a couple of shifts at KFC, if the tax rate is just a little lower.

Then, of course, there’s the reality that many people don’t have a choice about whether they work overtime or not.

However, even if you look at the situation where people can choose to work less. Do we really want to encourage people to work 60- 80 hour weeks and not see their families? Or would it be better if the work they were taking was going to someone unemployed?

Ok, I do admit that doesn’t work for some jobs. Even though a surgeon may be overworked and tired, I’d still rather they had the incentive to work.  I mean if someone was going to perform brain surgery on me I’d rather a qualified surgeon even if I was running the risk that they’d make a mistake through exhaustion and I could end up like a Liberal frontbencher, than someone doing work experience where I could end like a National Party leader.

But it’s the whole concept that a Budget surplus is always a good thing that I object to. We’re encouraged to associate it with ideas like thrift and frugality and a good work ethic and living within your means…

Ah, “living within your means”. It makes sense when you apply it to a household but not when you apply it to a government. In some ways, governments have almost unlimited means. If they train more workers in jobs that have shortages, then sometime down the track, there are more taxpayers. If they spend more on health programs, they may save when people don’t need more expensive options because of delays in their treatment. If they spend more on education, then people are more likely to realise what absurd justifications politicians put forward.

A Budget surplus means that the government is taking more in revenue than it’s giving back in services. That’s it.

Just think about that for a moment.

While the Liberals are quick to accuse Labor of being a party of “high taxes”, the truth is that if we have a deficit, at least we’re getting something for our money. It’s a bit like being given a choice between two restaurants. One charges more money but gives you a substantial meal with table service. The other tells you that people should choose it because not only are we charging a few dollars less, but the Coalition Restuarant will encourage everyone to find their own food, which they then take home and cook because there’s no such thing as a free lunch so why are you expecting us to do it for you? Besides, the reason there’s nothing to eat is because the other restaurant keeps feeding people.

Of course, the Liberals have managed to frame the whole idea of a Budget surplus in totally ridiculous way. If we forget any discussions of modern monetary theory for a moment, and just go to the basic idea of a household budget even though it’s a ridiculous analogy. Let’s imagine for a moment that you were living with Kevin and he was a spendthrift. He argued that we need to extend the mortgage because we need a new car and new clothes so that we can keep our jobs and this will be worth the extra interest we have to pay. And while everyone does manage to keep their job, some members of the house tell us that we’re now in an emergency. Tony says that we should give Joe a go at managing the budget, because unlike Kevin, he’ll get it back under control.

Now, I could go on with this analogy but I’d have to swap Joe for Scott after Joe sold off the car because we poor and we don’t need to drive. And there’d be all that stuff about how anyone who knocked at the door asking for help was locked in the chook shed and we were told not to ask about them. All that and I haven’t even got to Malcolm moving out because nobody liked him even though he promised not to express an opinion on anything and all the arguments about whether the solar panels were actually saving money when Tony and Barnaby kept covering them up with tarpaulins so that we’d be forced to use the old briquette heater even though the chimney was blocked…

The fundamental point is this: Even if you accept that Labor created an enormous overseas debt and that the doubling of this by the Coalition was all Kevin, Julia and Bill’s fault, then the fact remains that the only cost to the Budget bottom line is the interest on that debt. At $500,000,000,000 dollars the interest would be about $15 billion.While $15 billion is even more than Julie Bishop’s shoe budget, in the scheme of the Budget, it’s small potatoes. The projected revenue in the Federal Budget, for example, is 3.3 trillion dollars.

Just as with the household analogy. Joe and Scott’s inability to create a surplus has very little to do with the alleged debts of Labor; it’s more like their inability to actually balance their own spending relative to revenue. Just as the household could have got their yearly budget back into surplus with a bit of sensible decision-making, it was never the debt that stopped this, any more than it was Bronwyn’s helicopter flights… Although the later may have had more to do with it.

Billions of dollars of tax cuts to big businesses sound good, but they would have taken even more from the bottom line. As for the idea that they’d stimulate more economic activity, I’m yet to read of any CEO announcing that they would have invested more, but the idea that they’d be taxed at 30% rather than 25% if they made an extra billion, so they decided it wasn’t worth it.

No, when someone tells you that the Liberals are good economic managers, you can remind them of the re-opening of the Christmas Island detention centre, only to announce it’s closure a few months later. Although anyone who still believes the old line about the Liberals being good economic managers will probably reply:

“But they’ve saved over a billion dollars by closing it! Imagine how they’ll be able to spend that…”

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Q&A: Question And No Answer From Arthur…

Did you watch Q&A last night? I didn’t. Well, I started but I went to bed after Arthur Sinodinos totally ruined the premise of the show. I mean it’s called Q and A for a reason, right? If politicians are just going to admit that they don’t know what’s going on, this could start a nasty trend.

In case you missed it, when asked why people on Newstart were excluded from the one-off payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples to help with their energy bills in the spite of the government bringing in the highly successful NEG,  Arthur replied:

“I’m not sure what’s happened in relation to Newstart. I’m not sure exactly what the rationale there… The short answer is, I don’t know why,”

This is a far cry from the days of Joe “poor people don’t drive” Hockey, who would have probably told us that people on Newstart don’t have homes so they don’t pay power bills, but it did sort of suggest that this wasn’t going to be a repeat of the Teena McQueen fiasco of the week before. Where’s the fun in watching someone come clean and tell us that they have no idea the reasoning behind their party’s decision.

I was glad I left when I did, because apparently, the senator went on to say that there was a case for increasing Newstart. The program even had John Roskam of the IPA suggested that Newstart was too low.

However, Yo-yoMo set us all straight by telling us that it’s a very modest surplus “so I don’t think you can all of a sudden go ‘oh let’s make whoopee’!”. Yep, it’s modest so we can’t get all carried away and raise the Newstart allowance when we need to bring forward tax cuts to people earning more than $90,000 a year.

Of course, while the Liberals never actually come out and say it, they regard all unemployed people as just a little bit suspect. They help them with “work-for-the-dole” schemes. Now the basic absurdity of such schemes is simple: If there’s work to be done, why not just employ them? Is it because they believe that they wouldn’t get enough applicants? Or is it because they’d have to pay attention to all those nasty things like awards and Worksafe and insurance? Whatever, every now and then – and by every now and then, I pretty much mean most “nows” and every “then” – someone slips up and exposes their true feelings.

Take John Ruddick’s tweet which I initially thought was an April Fool’s joke, but then I noticed that he’d posted it a few days earlier. John Ruddick was a well-known figure in the NSW Liberal Party and author of the book, “Make The Liberal Party Great Again”, which may also have a blue cover but isn’t the same blue book that Pauline allegedly read. Even though Ruddick resigned after Muddling Malcolm was made PM, his tweet sums up the views of many who decided to wait around and fix that radical Point Piper socialist. He tweeted:

If I was Treasurer this would be my budget:

Cut staffers by 70%

Cut MPs pay by 50%

Privatise ABC

Abolish 50% of depts

Let states tax individuals & companies

Get people off welfare by forcing them to read motivational books

No drought relief

Zero funding of global warming

Now while there are a couple of excellent policies there, like letting states tax individuals and companies, which is the current situation, and the “zero funding of global warming” which I’d argue means that there’ll be no more subsidies to fossil fuels or talk of backing a coal-fired power station, it’s the “Get people off welfare by forcing them to read motivational books” that really took my eye. Yep, that should do it. I wonder if his reading list includes “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, or just more down to earth ones like “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and “The Art of The Deal” by Donald Trump…

Whatever, it betrays the sort of assumptions that those with an egocentric view of the world hold. I’m not denying for a moment that some people could be helped by the right motivational book at the right time, but I seriously doubt that someone who’s been on a disability pension for twenty years will suddenly no longer need it just because they read, ‘The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale.

Still, I shouldn’t judge all Liberals by someone like John Ruddick. There are the softer, more leftwing ones like Amanda Vanstone. Didn’t you just love her article in yesterday’s paper, suggesting that we could be worried about immigration due to Islamic extremists without it necessarily being Islamophobia? Isn’t she a treasure? Of course, New Zealand might do well to restrict Australians attempting to go there for all the reasons, Mandy suggests. I know that most of us are decent, upstanding people who don’t involve ourselves in radical groups, but after Christchurch isn’t it better for them to be on the safe side! While there’s an argument for having ex-politicians giving readers an informed view of what’s going on, if they’re just going to be a party hack, then they should be paying the paper for a political ad, rather than receiving money as a journalist.

Ah well, it’s the Budget tonight and there’s lots of speculation that this could be the government hitting the reset button and putting themselves on a better footing for the upcoming election. It might be, but I’d be more convinced if it wasn’t for Tony Abbott’s 2014 promise after a few “hiccups” that good government starts today. Or the reset of Malcolm Turnbull taking over the leadership. Or the 2016 election. Or the ascension of Scottie to the top job.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but I’m wondering how the Liberals will try to spin that anything they now spend is the result of a healthy economy but if Labor want to spend the same money on a different project it’ll cause our ruination.

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Josh Frydenberg Tells Me What The Government’s Doing To Meet Our Paris Commitments But He Doesn’t Mention The High Cost!

A brochure arrived in the mail…

I probably should explain that I used to live in the marginal electorate of Chisholm which meant that we’d be inundated with electoral material in the leadup to an election. I’m now in Kooyong. When I moved into Box Hill North over twenty years ago, I never dreamed that one day, I’d be in a house worth a million dollars in the electorate of Kooyong… Well, I never dreamed that such a thing could happen without me moving… Yep, they changed the electoral boundaries. Ok, I though, my vote won’t count, but at least there won’t be much campaigning.

Gee, was I wrong. There have been Liberals hovering around the local supermarket trying to force me to accept blue canvas shopping bags with Frydenberg’s name on them. “No, thanks,” I tell them, “I’d rather a plastic one, so I can flush it down the toilet and kill a few of those whales.”

And today Josh Frydenberg wrote to me to tell me all about the “Climate Solutions Package”. As well as his letter, there was a nice shiny brochure from the Australian Government so I’m unclear as to whether this is election propaganda or just more of that taxpayer-funded Government information stuff like those ads telling me that the Australian Government is working to create a fairer tax system. I mean that’s really good to know, but I don’t know how that’s going to help all those poor people losing the franking credit refund who’ll be forced to rely on their investments and not a refund of the tax that they haven’t paid because they worked so hard to avoid paying tax and now they want a refund from the government on the tax that they didn’t pay.

One thing I immediately noticed that it didn’t talk much about how the need to take action.  The first page told me that it was all about meeting our “commitments” and had helpful dot points outlining their plans. If you were one of the brave souls who knows how to turn a page, you’ll be confronted with our “strong track record on climate change action”. This is backed up by some graphs showing details of comparisons of such useful things as per capita emissions for 2030. The next few pages give more detail on the plans from the first page. As well as telling us about the plan to continue to give businesses billions to do the things that they were going to do anyway, the booklet included such helpful information as:

“A national electric vehicle strategy will ensure the transition to new vehicle technology and infrastructure is carefully planned and managed, so all Australians can reap the benefits.”

No shit, Sherlock. What a shame that after five years in government all they have to say about this: We plan to have one. In other words, it is our plan to develop a plan. 

But notwithstanding the fact that this booklet left me with the feeling that it had all the sincerity of Scott Morrison’s: “I’m ambitious for this fellow,” as he put his arm round Turnbull, I couldn’t help but wonder if Liberals further north were sending out the same booklet to their constituents. I mean have people in Warringah been receiving the same letter from Tony Abbott now that he’s a born again Paris convert? Will Craig Kelly announce that he intends to embrace “Earth Hour”? Has George Christensen broken away from his fiancee long enough to let his people know what wonderful thing the government intends to do…

Speaking of Georgie, does it seem strange to anyone else that Scott Morrison forcefully told us that Christensen hadn’t been to the Phillipines “on his watch”. I mean, wasn’t it all fine because he was visiting his loved one. Ok, he probably went a little too often for someone who was meant to be a full-time MP, but stopping him from visiting his fiancee altogether doesn’t seem very pro-family.

Nope, all things considered, it looks like the Liberals are worried that we’re taking this climate change stuff seriously and that large numbers of people may actually not care how well the economy’s doing, if mankind is wiped out in the process. While some people living in Hawthorn may aspire to a beach front property, I doubt that they want to be like me and the million dollar property in the Kooyong electorate, and get one without moving.

Now I’m not suggesting for a moment that Josh will lose Kooyong. However, the level of campaigning does suggest that the Liberals aren’t taking it for granted. Perhaps, the penny’s dropped and they’ve worked out that Wentworth may not have been an outlier. Or perhaps, they’ve just decided to ignore the climate deniers and do more to reduce emissions than shutting down the automotive industry.

Either way, the election will be interesting.

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The NSW Result, Mark Latham And Why This Means That We’ll Have A Terrible PM After May!

Ok, first things first. I’m not advising that anyone bet on politics, but the media have a vested interest in telling us that elections will be close because they want us to get interested in the coverage. In Victoria last year, the media was telling us that it would be close, but some betting markets paid out the day before.

I ALWAYS check the betting markets when it comes to elections. They’re not infallible, but they always tell you the truth about expectations. Nobody, for example will give me 100-1 on Bill Shorten being PM after the next election, even after they’ve said that they just don’t think he’ll win. Several months ago, the betting markets told us that the Liberals would most likely be returned, with Labor a slight chance of winning. After Luke Foley ceased to be leader, there was a period where Labor’s odds firmed to the point that the markets were telling us they really didn’t know who’d win. Last week, the odds firmed to the point that anyone who used the odds as a predictor knew that a Liberal win was very, very likely.

I mention this because I’m sure that some people will now be saying that the NSW result is the turning point and that Labor may very well lose the coming election and that it’s terrible and people are terrible and how could people vote for the Liberals and they deserve everything they get and…

But let’s talk a deep breath and look at the current odds: Labor $1:18, Coalition $5, Greens $200, One Nation $250…

Now I am aware that Donald Trump was elected and Britain voted for Brexit and Jeff Kennett lost in 1999, so don’t withdraw your life savings and put them all on Labor, but it’s probably a safer bet than Winx because she’s a horse and, if she loses her jockey, she can’t win the race, whereas if Labor did buck Bill Shorten off, they’d be able to get someone else to remount and canter to the finish line.

Now I can’t let the NSW election result be forgotten without mentioning the “extraordinary personal triumph” (to quote Alan Jones, which is mandatory in NSW) of Mark Latham. He was standing for One Nation but, in spite of that, he managed to get elected. I mean, was that why it was a “personal triumph”? I’m sure that Pauline would like to think that he was riding on her coat-tails… in a totally non-sexual harassment sort of way… Or was it the fact that he managed to overcome the handicap of a thoroughly objectionable personality?

I guess I shouldn’t say that he has an objectionable personality. Some people may like him, just like some people think Pauline Hanson is great. I read some comment on social media where a person said: “I’m not racist, I just admire Pauline because she speaks her mind.” I wanted to reply with: “You brain-dead halfwit, you piece of trash, you oxygen thief, I suspect that your parents probably wish they’d tried almost any other sexual position on the night you were conceived because it would have given one of the more intelligent sperm a chance to fertilise the egg” but I refrained, not because I was concerned about social media being either an echo chamber or a shouting match. but because I realised that speaking my mind like that would have said person admiring me so much because I speak my mind, that they may have encouraged me to form my own political party and name it after myself so that we could have “Rossleigh’s Other Nation” as alternative to “Pauline Hanson’s One Nation” and the semantic contradiction that would cause at election time would be enormous. Actually, when I think about it “Rossleigh’s One Nation” may be even more of a semantic contradiction and then it would confuse people because they’d wonder how there could be two “one nations” in the one nation…

Anyway, all things considered, I have to predict that, as things stand at the moment, we’ll have a terrible Prime Minister after May. I’ve heard Labor people tell me that Bill Shorten won’t make a good PM. And, according to Liberals, Bill has been responsible for all of Labor’s sins and misdemeanours going back to before he was born.

And, in spite of Scott Morrison sitting on God’s right hand… Yes, he is to the right, no matter what the media tell you… that demonic left-wing, social-climbing, Bill Shorten will be our next PM.

Unless the Liberals have another leadership change before then!

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Yo-yo Morrison And The Ups-And-Downs Of Making A Decision!

Remember when Milo Yiannopoulos was banned, then he was personally approved by that “lefty” David Coleman before being banned again. (Our Immigration Minister was referred to by Yiannopoulos as a “lefty”… That’s David Coleman, in case you didn’t know…) 

I guess there’d be more commentary in the media if it weren’t for the fact that this seems fairly typical of the current…

Look, I don’t want to refer to them as a “government” because that’s insulting to people are actually governing and as the PM told Waleed last night, they didn’t have any control over the Medivac bill and they can’t control which murderers and rapists and paedophiles come into the country because they don’t have the numbers in Parliament. Ok, he didn’t say that quite as directly as that, but if you check the tapes that’s exactly what he said.

You only have to compare the Milo situation with their performance on energy policy. Or choosing a leader.

Yes, leadership has its ups-and-downs, but I don’t think that I’ve ever seen someone who moves up and down as much as the human yo-yo, Scott Morrison. You know how the yo-yo works: it reaches the end of the string and it hurries back up to the top only to immediately sink again.

I guess the thing that struck me about Yo-yo Mo’s threat to sue Aly was the simple fact that Waleed was reporting something that had been widely reported in various sources years ago. When it was first reported, our PM told us that he didn’t comment on Cabinet discussions. Not so last night, where he assured us that he brought up concerns about Muslim immigration because he wanted to “address them”. He didn’t explain how he hoped to address them as Shadow Opposition Immigration minister. Maybe he planned to help promote unity by complaining about the taxpayer funding flights to the funeral services of asylum seekers who perished when the ship crashed on Christmas Island.

Or perhaps he was trying to help last night when he assured us that there were over fifty people on Manus and Nauru who had “character” concerns. When asked how many of them were actually “rapists, murderers and paedophiles”, he was less clear, but it was clearly “significantly more than one”…

Is three significantly more than one? It is 300% after all.

Still, I’m not sure what the point is. Is he suggesting that a non-convicted paedophile with a life-threatening condition which couldn’t be treated on Nauru would be allowed to die because we couldn’t keep them under control if they came to Australia? I mean, George Pell was taken to hospital because he’s got the flu and he’s an actual convicted sex offender.

Watching last night, I couldn’t help but think that this Waleed Aly interview will be called a “trainwreck” which – as I wrote a few weeks ago, trains actually have tracks which they go off; this mob in Canberra resemble a car where the fighting for the steering wheel has become so intense that the wheel itself has ended up in the boot.

Speaking of trains, did you hear Morrison say, when “announcing” the last resort of the desperate government, a fast train, “The train never leaves the station unless people get on board”? This must be news to train drivers the world over who thought that they actually had a timetable that wasn’t dependent on whether people were there or not. Still, I don’t suppose the poor man has ever relied on public transport and probably thought it worked the same as the Commonwealth cars where the drivers wait for you.

I suspect that the reasoning behind the interview was the idea that if Scottie goes on and acts all friendly and calls Waleed “mate” (which he did), then it would seem like this was a difference of opinion between friends where they could agree to disagree and not the result of the PM getting all hot under collar because a popular Muslim called him out. Instead, he grew prickly and talked over Aly, shouted him down, told him that his question was poor, and looked smug after each moment of aggression.

And I’ve been trying all day to work exactly what this means: “And on bringing Australians together, I think you’ll find it hard to find another Member of Parliament who has not made at least the same effort that I have to build these bridges between these communities.” Simplify this down, he said: It’s hard to find another MP who hasn’t made the same effort to bring communities together.

But there was a moment in last night’s interview when Yo-yo Mo said something I agreed with. When I heard Scottie say, “I’m sorry, I’m the Prime Minister”, I felt that he spoke for all of us!

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All Options Are On The Table, But Clearly Not Scott Morrison Answering A Difficult Question!

Writing satire is easy…

Well, sometimes it’s hard because you begin by trying to describe something in a totally calm and rational way, and then you get halfway through and you suddenly think that if I hit publish now, people will think that I’m just trying to send up the government when every word I say is accurate…

So this is an opinion piece. No satire intended. I just want to ask what did our elected leader mean when told Turkey’s president, Tayyip Erdogan:

“I will wait to see what the response is from the Turkish Government before taking further action but I can tell you that all options are on the table.”

Mm, does that include sending Peter Dutton over there to explain the finer points of our foreign policy?

I mean all options are on the table! 

Sending Fraser Anning over to show how he can not only stand up to eggs, but also whatever the Turkish leader wants to use to send back Australians back in body bags…All right, he needed the help of several neo-Nazis because the silly boy was just filming him and not realising that when you put egg on the face of those who know how to do it for themselves, they tend to over-react, as do his Nazi mates… Any connection to any Scott Morrison, living or dead, is just coincidence…

Ok, I’ll get back to opinion and stop the rhetoric…

Erdogan was obviously talking emotionally… All right, some may like to think of it as talking tough. You know, being a strong leader and all that jizz… But he was reacting to the Christchurch obscenity in an emotional way.

So what does our Scottie do? Say, well that’s a bit of an over-reaction and not all Australians should be judged by this one guy? Does he say We need to understand that this guy is a bit of an emotional wreck because of the events in Christchurch…

All right, I actually doubt that he’s actually an emotional wreck and I suspect that he’s playing to his crowd…

Anyway, what does the work experience PM do?

Nah, Morrison says, bring it on, sister, I can out trashtalk shit with anyone. I’m going full Trump here. How do you like that? 

Scott tells us that all options are on the table! I mean, really? Come 25th April we’ll invade Turkey and get it right this time? FFS.

That should calm things down!

Scott Morrison! The leader who makes Bill Shorten seem like a statesman. Whatever else, that’s quite an achievement!

Anyway, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s interview with Greg Hunt where he tells us that went on the record as saying that he never heard Scott Morrison express anti-Muslim views at a Cabinet meeting and the revelation that he wasn’t at the meeting only proves that he couldn’t possibly have heard anything that ScoMo said, before telling everyone that he’ll be available for speaking engagements in a couple of months… Or, if you like, he can twist balloons into whatever shape you want and entertain the kids because he’ll have a lot of time on his hands come post-election.

Just in case you haven’t seen it! Worth watching just the disappearing act after he can’t work out how to answer the potential questions!!

Only 736? This should go viral!

Cheers~

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He Who Must Not Be Named… No, Not ScoMo… Well, him too, but the other one!

The media is pox-ridden whore!

Ok, perhaps that’s a little bit politically incorrect and maybe I should start again…

The media should stop and take a long hard look at itself…

Nah, that doesn’t really express my outrage.

I guess, if anyone reads this in future years, they’ll wonder who on earth I’m referring to here, but I couldn’t help but wonder why a certain senator was given the lead story for the nightly news yet again, when all he’d done was call a press conference to tell us that he wasn’t sorry.

Now, let’s stop and think about that. HE called a press conference to tell the media how he felt and they dutifully lapped up his comments, before giving people the chance to condemn them. Yes, let’s whip a bit of anger. I mean, that would have been the last thing that he wanted. Lots of publicity for the forthcoming election. And lots of people telling us not to vote for him, because, well, the sort of people who are likely to vote for the senator in question are clearly going to listen to other politicians.

Yes, I’m sure some of you are thinking what’s the point of not naming him when everyone knows which senator has created all the fuss with his “Those who live by the sword, die by the egg” comments. I just couldn’t bring myself to give the man even one more mention of his name. Perhaps, even this helps in his drive to be noticed, but at least if you’re reading this and you don’t know who I’m talking about, I haven’t alerted you to his existence.

Of course, I did delete a certain senior politician’s name from a recent piece that I wrote. Apparently, the PM’s office got all hot and bothered when Waleed Aly suggested in a response to Christchurch something that was widely reported in 2011 and threatened defamation action.

A rather interesting response, given Scott didn’t threaten to react so litigously when it was reported way back in 2011. I guess it was different then. It wasn’t being said by a Muslim.

A couple of Liberals suggested that we should look at Scott Morrison’s response to Christchurch. Personally, I’d prefer to watch the end of “The Great Dictator”.

Morrison Tells Us That We’re Doing 23% In A Canter, But 45% Would Be Armageddon!

Typical ABC! I was listening to Jon Faine the other day and he openly admitted that he did something which will greatly benefit the Labor Party. Scott Morrison was his losing voice and Faine admitted that he gave ScoMo’s minders advice that would help get it back! It’s almost as if Faine realises that a silent Scott would be a great boon to the Labor Party so he felt the need to do all he could to help restore Morrison’s speech.

Just recently our fill-in PM was getting all hot under the collar and telling us that a 45% target was impossible…

Now I feel that I need to point out that he was talking about a renewable energy 45% target and not the two-party preferred vote for the Coalition in the coming election. The way ScoMo’s going, he looks like he may achieve that.

Of course, nothing seems to be working for the Coalition at the moment. Whether it’s their Barnaby Joyce saying he really should be leader, or calls for coal-fired power stations, everything they touch seems to turn to excrement. They even lacked the ability to simply say, “Look, we understand that these kids are upset and we are doing all we can to reduce climate change, so it’d be better if they just went to school and prepared themselves to be educated enough to seek the solutions when their time comes”, which have been far better than belittling the protesters and suggesting that they’d been “brainwashed” by all these Trotskyite teachers who have such appalling communist leanings as thinking that scientists who had studied the situation might be worth listening to. Or at least, have a more informed opinion than radio personalities who grow confused about which penis is theirs in public toilets.

The government seem to have a simple strategy for making us forget all about their latest stuff-up: they make an even bigger one so that we quickly move on and don’t dwell on that minister who did something inappropriate and would have resigned straight away in those days when ministerial integrity meant something…

You know the funny part is that I’ll bet you could try to name all the ministers I’ve just described, and someone could probably come up with another one.

But in some ways, this is an effective strategy. It means that we don’t dwell on the absurdity of Morrison’s statements about the renewable energy targets. For months, we’ve been told that we’ll easily meet our Paris targets and there’s no need for any further action. And the 23.5% renewable energy target is like Baby Bear’s bed. It’s just right and we can go to sleep.

Now let’s think about this for a second. If this was anything else would we say that we’re going to meet the target easily so there’s no need for a higher/lower target figure? For example, does this make sense? “We aimed to cut the road toll by ten percent, and it looks like we’ll do it easily so we’ll be taking booze buses off the road for the rest of the year.”? Or “We planned to save $300 million with target efficiencies, and it looks like we’ll do it easily so we’re going to ease up and just let people waste a few dollars here and there.”

While we’re able to reach 23.5% renewables without a worry, the slightly higher figure of 45% will destroy the economy, according to Prophet Scott. There will be great winds and a terrible shaking and the temple of Mammon will be split in two and your neighbour will take your job and then loseth his own because…

Because we had more renewables in the system.

Of course, nobody is asking Scott the Bewildered to explain exactly how the greater reliance on renewables would ruin our economic health. We’re just meant to accept it as a given because even the most basic questioning tears it to shreds.

  1. Cost? Renewables are now cheaper than coal.
  2. Reliability? Battery storage is pretty well advanced and by 2030, there should be more efficiencies. Compare the mobile phones of today with those of eleven years ago. Yes, we did have the first iPhone, but it didn’t do half what today’s will do. Besides, it’s only 45%. There’ll still be 55% relying on fossil fuels which should be enough to provide that mythical baseload power that renewables supposedly can’t supply.
  3. People in the mining industry losing their jobs? Well, mining only employs a fraction of our workforce and coal is only a small part of that. How many jobs will renewables create?
  4. People in the coal-fired power station becoming redundant. Again, will this be balanced by jobs in the renewable sector?

Now, maybe there’s some other reason that I haven’t mentioned. Perhaps Scott knows something that I don’t. If so, I think that it’s incumbent on him to share how and why he sees Labor’s target as the wrecker that he promises it’ll be.

Whatever, we shouldn’t dwell too much on this. With this government, you know that everything changes. Take Milo Yiannopoulos. First, he was banned, then our Immigration Minister personally approved his visa, but now Milo has been banned again. So, I’m sure that there’ll be something in the coming days to focus our attention away from climate change and terrorism and Barnaby.

Another poor Newspoll and a challenge from Dutton? But before you decide that’s too ridiculous to even consider, let me remind you, these are the people who didn’t see a problem with voting for the “It’s Ok to be White” legislation, and then defended it by arguing they weren’t even aware of what they were voting for.

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Fraser Anning Is A Human Being!

Ok, I realise that’s a bit controversial at the moment. Last night, like anyone who read his statement I was ready to write something attacking him as scathingly as I could but I’ve had a night’s sleep and I’ve realised that like all human beings, Fraser is a flawed creature.

Ok, Anning is more flawed than most, but let’s take a big deep breathe and remember that – at times like these – we feel both compassion for the victims and enormous anger. That anger needs to go somewhere and it’s often directed at the sideshow and not the main event.

Fraser Anning wasn’t the one pulling the trigger. He didn’t kill anybody.

Ok, you might argue that his rhetoric, his use of the words “final solution” in the Senate when refering to Muslim Immigration, his dancing with devil in the form of neo-nazis all contributed to this. But, again, let me emphasis, he didn’t pull the trigger.

If you’re going to condemn Anning for his, “I’m not a nazi, but didn’t Hitler have some great ideas” stance, then we have to start looking at a whole range of people who are now peddling back as fast as there little legs can carry them. We’d have to blame a current politician who can’t be named because he’s now threatening defamation action over a story that’s frequently appeared in the past which alleges that he suggested to Cabinet in 2011 that the Coalition should be taking advantage of anti-Muslim sentiment or Peter Dutton for his demonisation of the other.

No, you can’t hold people responsible when other people act on their words. If you did that, you’d be also blaming Andrew Bolt and Mark Latham and Sky News and…

Well, the list is endless.

No, we need to remember that this is crime committed by one human… Ok, he may have possibly been part of a group. But they’re an outlier. We can’t hold all those responsible.

If we start holding people responsible for what they say, we’d start to blame polticians and not those who were the foot soldiers carrying out the orders of their extremist group.  Their very small group, because the rest of us aren’t like that. But, I must say that if the terrorist turns out to have ever atttended a Christian church, I’m disappointed that church leaders haven’t condemned him yet.

No, at times like this, we need to remember that we’re all human beings. Yes, even Fraser Anning. A stupid, ignorant one who’s too weird to even get a gig on Sky After Dark when his Parliamentary term finishes… At least, I presume so.

Anger and outrage just feeds the publicity machine which sets an agenda of “us” and ”them”. It’s hard not to be angry, but it’s what the terrorists want. Anger stops us thinking.

And, if you don’t believe that’s bad, just take a long hard look at Fraser!

 

Ban The Necktie; It’s A Symbol of Male Oppression!

Watching the Hanson/Latham mutual admiration society on “60 Minutes” last Sunday night…

Actually that’s not really true, I didn’t watch it. I happened to switch back to the channel accidentally and like most people, when you think you’re about the witness an accident, you find it hard to look away until that moment when you go: “Oh no, that’s just too horrible.” In the case of last night’s program, it only took about “60 Seconds” before I’d had enough and would have changed to almost anything had it not been for them flashing to shots of Pauline in her burqa.

Now, I know that Pauline’s point is that the burqa should be banned for security reasons. Of course, there is some truth to the argument that you don’t know who’s underneath the burqa and if it were a suicide bomber, you wouldn’t be able to get an accurate description so when you reached the Pearly Gates, St Peter would turn you away because you couldn’t describe your assassin…

Ok, maybe not.

Let’s be quite honest here. There’s no reason to specifically ban the burqa on those grounds. It would be one thing to make laws which insisted that faces couldn’t be uncovered in public; it’s quite another to be specific about a particular garment when there’s no evidence that anyone wearing a burqa in Australia has ever committed any atrocities, with the possible exception of Pauline and her destruction of the English language.

Now, I don’t really want to dwell on Latham and Hanson. I am aware of the difficulty of finding the balance between not allowing their nonsense to go unchallenged and ignoring people like that so that you don’t give them the oxygen they need. Of course, it’s hard to ignore them when “Sunrise” gives Pauline airtime on a regular basis and “60 Minutes” give them the “Married At First Sight” treatment. Of course, I’ll stick with Pauline, says Mark, as if I’d leave her party before the election!

Anyway, the segment reminded me about all those other arguments for banning the burqa that I’ve heard over the years. It does strike me as ironic that many of those I’ve heard arguing that wearing it oppresses women, are the same people who argue that feminism is just political correctness gone mad.

But when it comes to oppressive clothing, I couldn’t help but notice Mark Latham was wearing a necktie. I mean, why on earth was he doing such a thing?

Clearly the necktie is a symbol of male oppression. Men are forced to wear neckties which contricts the blood flow and that stops oxygen getting to the brain. If you think about it, most of the world’s problems have been caused by men wearing ties!

You only have to look at Latham’s statements about DNA testing of those claiming Aboriginal heritage. I mean nobody who had blood flowing freely to the brain could possibly be that stupid…

Ok, Pauline Hanson doesn’t wear ties but she’s an exception. It may be something to do with the chemicals she inhaled while working in the fish and chips shop, but if we could just ignore her for a moment… Actually, could we just ignore her forever.

Anyway, I don’t blame the men wearing the neckties. I mean it’s not really their fault. They were persuaded by people who didn’t want them to think for themselves and once they started wearing those ties, they couldn’t really see the damage that it was doing.

I think the best thing we can do is when we see a man wearing a tie and giving a speech, we should all shout: “Loosen the tie, there may still be hope. Quick, before the damage is permanent.”

But don’t do it to Latham. He may tighten his, just to show that he doesn’t need oxygen and that he can manage just fine on…

On second thought, do it to whoever you see wearing a tie.

sigh

How many days till that election? I don’t have hopes that Labor will solve all our problems, but I do feel that they may stop making them worse.

At least there’s a couple of Labor ministers who don’t have those blue ties stopping their capacity to think!

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Scott Morrison, Free Speech And Too Much Milo

When I hear people talking about Milo, I instinctively think of that chocolate beverage that my housemate used to drink because she believed coffee was sinful and dangerous, so when someone asked me if I thought that Milo should be let into the country, my first reaction was to ask why on earth would anybody object to such a harmless thing. But then I realised they were talking about Milo Yiannopoulos.

I guess we’ve got a pretty simplistic view of human rights in this country. A lot of that stems from having so many. No, I don’t mean that we’re perfect or that there aren’t people having their rights impinged. I just mean that compared to a place where people can be whisked off the streets and be questioned by the security forces and tortured for days on end without the need for them to lay charges, we’ve got it pretty good…

Actually, under the anti-terror laws passed by John Howard, we can be whisked off the streets and be questioned by the security forces for days on end without the need for them to lay charges, but I’m sure that they wouldn’t torture anyone in their custody because this is Australia. Mind you, if they did, a person wouldn’t be allowed to say because it’s illegal to reveal that you’ve been taken in and questioned, so telling people that you were tortured would be a little difficult when you’re not allowed to say who was questioning you or why.

Anyway, part of the problem when discussing human rights is that they sometimes overlap. I may assert that I have the right to sing, but according to the UN, cruel and unusual punishments are a breach of human rights and some would argue that my singing falls into that category. When it comes to free speech, it’s often said that people shouldn’t be allowed to scream “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, but I would argue that even this would be all right if a fire had actually broken out.

So when governments ban someone like David Icke there’s always two ways of looking at it. David Icke, in case you’re unaware, is one of those people who started hearing voices but instead of going onto medication and getting help, he developed a following. He believes that a race of inter-dimensional lizard people have hijacked the Earth. While this may sound like the ravings of a madman to most of you, to others it’s a perfectly valid theory. Of course, the election of Donald Trump, Tony Abbott and various other leaders does make me pause before I dismiss the idea of lizard people altogether. However, I remind myself that if there really were such a race, surely it would have developed a more appealing set of world leaders.

Of course, the point isn’t whether or not I agree with the person. The point is should they have the right to come to Australia and share their message because once a government starts banning people just because they don’t like their message we have the old slippery slope problem. How long is it before Craig Kelly is arguing that we should ban Al Gore? Oh wait, I think that might have already happened. Ok, for a better example, remember Kisch.

Generally speaking, I don’t think governments should be banning people just because they don’t personally like their views. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t sometimes good reasons to stop someone from entering the country. Someone, for example, who’s likely to promote violence. Or someone who ignored the laws on a previous visit.

So, I was right behind the decision to refuse Milo Yiannopoulos a visa, and not simply because his visit could “incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community”, Not only has Milo made offensive comments about Muslims, Indigenous Australians, African Americans and the LGBTIQ community, but he used PayPal to send a Jewish journalist $14.88 a number used by neo-nazis where the “14” represents a future for white children and the “88 “means “Heil Hilter”!

He was also issued with a bill for $50,000 from Victoria police over security which he failed to pay. If a music festival in NSW had to be cancelled because of the promoters’ inability to come up with enough money to pay for police security, I don’t see why a foreign speaker should feel that they have the ability to just ignore payment and go ahead with his tour. (The issue of whether people should have to pay for a police presence is another issue altogether, I’m just arguing for consistency)

However, I didn’t realise that the people in charge of this country were likely to overrule the decision on Milo’s visa. Yes, Andrew Bolt and Pauline Hanson quickly sprung into action with Pauline suggesting that government was “acting as an arm of AntiFa.” Outrageous! Government going along with an anti-fascist group. Which side are they on? 

Ok, free speech and all that. But given the Minister can ban anyone on “character grounds”, do we really need to import another offensive racist bigot when we’ve got more than enough of our own? Jobs for Australians first, I say, and I thought surely Pauline would support me, but no. Pauline called the decision “weak” and “gutless” and lobbied the Immigration Minister, David Whatshisname. who responded with a show of strength and reversed the decision. In fact, we were told that he’ll “personally approve” the visa – I’m trying to work out how one could impersonally approve something – which makes it sound like it’s practically a character reference.

Yes, nothing demonstrates the resolve of the Morrison government like their handling of Milo. Honestly, if they were a jockey they’d be up before the stewards to explain why they were running dead…

Actually, when I look at the betting odds on the election and their performance, I do have to wonder if a large number of them haven’t put their money on Labor.

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