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By Dr George Venturini  On 23 May 2013 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio…

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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.

Why Labor Should Hang Its Head In Shame!

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

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

We cut to commentary:

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

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

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

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

Yes, it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it!

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

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

Actually wrong example.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, how good is Australia!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

How good is Australia, eh?

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

 

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Barnaby Goes To Hell

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

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

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

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

As can many, many other people…

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

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

Barnaby – Good morning.

Staffer – Good morning, sinner.

Barnaby – Would you make me a cup of coffee?

Staffer – Coffee is the work of Satan.

Barnaby – Yes but I’d like one.

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

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

Staffer – Or else what?

Barnaby – Or else I’ll dismiss you.

Staffer – You can’t because my religious beliefs…

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

Staffer – You’re going to Hell.

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

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

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

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

Barnaby – Oh, go to Hell.

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

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

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

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Scott Morrison, Company Tax Cuts And Several Other Jokes That Are On The Electorate!

My wife was not impressed when she discovered that someone in our neighbourhood had voted Liberal. It was the franking credits, they told her, they just couldn’t afford Bill Shorten and Labor. Given that they usually vote Labor, it was a shock to her and told me that it made her angry, but she assured me that she didn’t say anything that meant we couldn’t ask them to clean out the junk mail from our letterbox or bring in our bins when we’re away. In the interests of neighbourhood harmony, I decided not to suggest that she should have asked them if a Labor victory would have meant that they needed to sell their beach house…

I’ve pointed out a number of times that I’m not a rusted-on Labor voter. Frequently I’ve voted for minor parties just to send a message to both major parties. However, I certainly haven’t been able to preference the Liberals ahead of them any time this century. Any party that had John Howard as the best person they could find to lead them had to be suspect as far as I was concerned. Tony Abbott made me nostalgic for Howard and Turnbull just made me nostalgic for Turnbull.

Anyway, getting back to the whole franking credits thing…

Look, I know you’re all fed up to the back teeth with it. For years we’ve been told that the ageing population is a problem; that there won’t be enough workers to support them and it’s a problem. Lordy, lordy, it’s a problem and we can’t think of a solution…

A retirement tax! No, that’s so unfair on those who’ve retired and based their retirement on being able to draw an income from their investments that meant that they never have to draw down their principal and that it just keeps growing like a magic pudding. How will I put fuel in my boat if this new tax goes through!

Yes, I know it’s not and it never was a retirement tax but let’s not the facts get in the way of anything!

Now, I could go on and point out all the stuff that’s been pointed out ad finitum, but I’m sure you’re aware that it’s not double taxation and I’m prepared to debate the whole thing with anyone… HOWEVER, I promised you several jokes.

Well, the first is Scott Morrison. When NSW wins the State of Origin, he’ll alienate most of Queensland with his gloating.

The second is the company tax cuts. Now, I know that Labor won’t do this, but they could agree to cut company tax to 25% because they’ve realised that, like those negative gearing and those getting the refunds from franking credits, some companies earn less taxable income than somebody on the dole. Yeah, the whole taxable income thing is a bit of a joke and something like that would point out the absurdity of the Liberals’ arguments.

But best of all, a cut to company tax would lead to a cut to the refund to those retirees who have almost no taxable income. The franking credit is based on company tax which is 30%. If it fell to 25% some of those people who got very, very angry and signed petitions and called it theft, may not notice that the dividends had gone up. They may actually notice that they were getting less money.

And let’s not forget that it would also put a bit of a hole in their so-called Budget surplus.

Why, in a spirit of bipartisanship, let’s agree to a company tax rate of 15%… I’d like to see how the Liberals would get out of that one.

Democracy Isn’t The Problem, Ignorance Is!

This is not some sour grapes whinge from a rusted on Labor or Greens supporter. I’m trying to look dispassionately at some of the problems that have emerged since the election. I’m not even trying to argue that Scott Morrison doesn’t now have a mandate for whatever torture he wants to inflict on the remaining refugees or to reduce company tax or to give all our water to cotton farmers and coal miners no matter how fish die or how many towns have to rely on rainwater.

As for religious freedoms, Mr Morrison has to navigate the tricky path that allows religious institutions to only employ like-minded people but doesn’t give secular organisations the power to do the same. After all, how do you frame a law that says you can sack someone for not believing the same things as the employer, but still give people like Israel Folau the right to tweet whatever he likes without sanction.

The difficulty of politics is that we only get one vote in an election. Perhaps it would make more sense if instead of the whole country voting at once, we did it with a different electorate every week. After all, that would mean that every electorate voted about once every three years and changes in government would be gradual, giving them a chance to adapt, but not allowing them to make great promises before an election only to “suddenly” discover that what they promised just wasn’t possible in the time frame (even though they’d been told this before the election.) Of course, it could be argued that this would lead to lots of pork-paralleling in the electorate facing the election, but that might mean that some of the non-marginal seats actually get something instead of it all going to Corangamite…

Labor has a fundamental dilemma now. Do they abandon a number of their more contentious policies such as the death tax… Oh, wait. That wasn’t one of their policies. That was just a lie. Or as Tim Wilson explained it, some on the Labor side would like to introduce one, so it’s not. On that basis, I guess the sale of the ABC and the abolition of the minimum wage is Liberal policy. Perhaps now that the principal has been established the left could run ads suggesting that what the IPA is proposing is actually Liberal party policy… Actually, it probably will be anyway, now that the election has been held.

Let’s get back to an actual policy here. Let’s take the “retiree tax”, which was even more dishonestly named than the “carbon tax”. For starters, this wasn’t a tax. It was a decision not to refund the money from franking credits to people who couldn’t use it as an offset against their income tax because they didn’t pay income tax. In many cases, this would have been people whose main income was from superannuation because it’s not part of your taxable income. However, if I were the partner of someone on a high income who didn’t work and I just happened to have a large parcel of shares which I purchased by being extra frugal with the housekeeping, then I also would get a similar refund even though my partner’s income was in the top ten percent of earners.  Similarly, if I happened to have negatively geared several properties and was just getting by on my partner’s $350,000 a year income, I’d be eligible for the refund.

I think you can see that there’s something wrong with this because well, I’m not having a go, am I? I just sitting at home watching the money roll in and leaving all the work to my partner… Or is that what Scottie means when he says “having a go”? Letting someone else do all the work while you collect the money.

In a democracy, the question for a defeated party is this: Do we keep trying to convince people that we were right or do we accept that people voted it down and change policy? Of course, there’s no single right answer. It’s a question of core beliefs. Labor were happy to argue against the Vietnam war until the public got on board. Similarly, I doubt that The Greens will suddenly embrace Adani just because of the election result. Last week, Labor took a number of policies to the election and they lost. But in the post mortems, it’s worth asking which policies were the result of the electorate rejecting them and which were the result of the electorate actually being ignorant of what the policy actually was. After all, while the Liberals were crying crocodile tears about these poor retirees, nobody pointed out that they were the party who raised the pension age and wanted to raise it even further, yet the election ended up being framed as though Labor were the ones ruining people’s retirement.

There’s always going to be a problem with the fact that a large number of people aren’t politically engaged and make their decision based on things like the Clive Palmer ads or what someone posted on Facebook, so maybe there’s no simple answer. But it would certainly help if the media made sure that at least those paying attention weren’t misled by simple slogans that don’t reflect the reality of policy at all.

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“I’ve Always Believed In Miracles,” Scottie tells us, which makes me wonder why nobody pointed out the obvious…

Let’s be clear here. I don’t expect that I’ll win Wimbledon next year. It would take a miracle. Given that he’s retired, I don’t expect that Lleyton will either. That would be a major shock… But it surely falls short of the miracle criteria for sainthood.

However, if I get an extension of my current teaching contract, one would have to seriously wonder what I’d been doing if I were to do a Scott Morrison and stand up in front of the school community and announce that I’ve been given another teaching job and isn’t that great and well, most people thought that I wouldn’t be given more time but well, miracles happen don’t they and…

I’m not suggesting that I should be named teacher of the year here. I would totally understand if the school chose to embrace the younger generation instead of me. Ok, it’s true that I haven’t been going around spreading lies about them… Whatever, I wouldn’t regard it as a miracle were I re-employed because, well, I have a lot to offer and I’ve offered it.

Mm, so if I did happen to win “Teacher of The Year”, I actually don’t think I’d tell everyone that it was a miracle… that tends to suggest more than false modesty… that suggests that somehow I don’t believe that I deserved it… Ok, I don’t. There are far more deserving recipients but I’d like to accept the award on their behalf and I’d like to thank my mother who always wanted to be a teacher… Aw shit, I hope the Murdoch muckrakers don’t find out that she actually did teach when she was thirteen and really, really enjoyed it.

So Scomomo wants us to think that his election victory was a miracle.

Yep, well, I agree. After three separate Prime Ministers, the NBN, their robodebt fiasco, the lack of any plan for what to do with the remainiing refugees on Manus and Nauru, the inability to develop an energy policy and all the other things I could add to the list, how else can it be explained?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Um… I’m not thinking about…

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

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

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

I’d just like to point out two things:

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

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

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

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ScoMo’s Mandate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🙂

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Scott Morrison And The Case Of The Incredible Shrinking Ministry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bill Shorten’s Terrible Lies!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nup, really.

I’m not making it up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Just stole this off another post

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

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

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

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

Well, happy Mothers’ day everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never mind…

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Frydenberg Removes Level Crossing And Possibly Simon Holmes a Court!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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