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Rossleigh is a writer, director and teacher. As a writer, his plays include “The Charles Manson Variety Hour”, “Pastiche”, “Snap!”, “That’s Me In The Distance”, “48 Hours (without Eddie Murphy)”, and “A King of Infinite Space”. His acting credits include “Pinor Noir Noir” for “Short and Sweet” and carrying the coffin in “The Slap”. His ten minutes play, “Y” won the 2013 Crash Test Drama Final.

The Economy Has Gone Bad But What Can A Treasurer Do? >sigh<

The headline told me that the economy hadn’t been this bad since 2000…

(It made me want to say: “Naughty economy! Stop it. Be good,” but I refrained…)

Now, some of you may remember a little thing called the Global Financial Crisis which didn’t really affect Australia because we didn’t go into recession so Labor never had to deal with it. But now, we should just be grateful that we have good economic managers like the Liberals in power…

Of course some of you will be thinking that it was the very fact that Labor was in power which enabled Australia to miss the recession that crippled the rest of the world, but you’re only thinking this because you don’t read the Murdoch papers.

Let me explain the economy for you. The economy is far too complicated for the average person to understand so we need to use analogies so that people can understand the nature of the beast.

At times the economy is just that: A Beast which needs taming. And when it’s calm and going well, it’s because the Coalition have made all the right moves and not intervened and allowed market forces to do what market forces do, which is get the Beast to respond to the invisible hand that controls it.

But, I hear some of you ask, if it’s market forces which control the Beast, how is that the Coalition claim credit for making the right moves when their argument is that the right move is doing nothing and letting the market solve all the problems?

That’s a very good question and in a spirit of non-intervention, I’m not going to answer it myself but I’m sure that market forces will eventually prevail and an answer will appear thanks to efficiency of the market.

Of course, the economy isn’t actually a beast and any attempt to portray it as such is merely an analogy and as such is limited. Consequently, if someone attempts to suggest that the economy is a wild beast that needs a strong hand to tame it, a Liberal Treasurer will immediately tell you that the economy isn’t a beast at all but rather a household budget and we need to simply get the fundamentals correct and once they’ve been adjusted then everything will return to normal and there’ll be plenty of jobs once we’ve cut several thousand public services workers and cut funding to various organisations which are just a drain on the taxpayer, like support for those suffering from domestic violence. It’s not that they don’t support support; it’s just that the support could be better targeted if they can withdraw it, have a think and then announce an increase in funding which takes the support back to halfway to where it was when they first cut it.

If someone were to point out, for example, that if we were really a household we’d surely be doing more to help the unemployed because no household would allow someone in it to be eating bread while others ate caviar. At such a point any Liberal Treasurer worth their salt would point out that the only reason their getting bread is because of our generosity and they shouldn’t expect to get bread indefinitely because they’re expected to put in and there’s plenty they could be doing around the house apart from looking enviously at the caviar. If asked exactly what specifically they should be doing, this is the time to look for another analogy regarding the economy such as comparing it to the weather.

Yes, there are storm clouds gathering for the economy. Everybody knows that we have no control over storms and the best thing to do is to take shelter and wait until it blows over. Not even emergency workers should be out in a storm and the Treasurer is certainly not an emergency worker. He too, needs to duck for cover and just point to the storm and say it’s pretty scary isn’t it? (I did think about put “He/she” but when have we ever had a female Treasurer?)

Some of you will be wondering how the various analogies reconcile to form a picture of the economy, but that’s just because the economy is so ethereal that it’s beyond our comprehension so don’t even try. Just be glad that it’s in powerful hands and remember that everything that happens under Labor is their fault unless it’s a good thing in which case it’s like a sunny day and thanks to the previous Liberal government. Similarly, a Liberal Treasurer has almost no control over things unless their good things and then it’s all down to the superior ability to control the Beast, household spending, the weather of whatever it’s being compared to in the latest attempt to make it clear that even though the debt has doubled and growth has stalled and we’re fiddling with how we judge success on the unemployment front, the Coalition Treasurer still had everything under control and the fundamentals are just fine.

What are the fundamentals?

They’re anything we can point to and say, “See that’s not so bad, is it?”

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Let’s Allow Meth Labs In Northern Queensland To Reduce Their Unemployment…

Why don’t we just legalise the production of methamphetamines in Northern Queensland? After all, there’s a strong demand and I’m sure we could make a lot of money and provide jobs for all those unemployed people…

I know what you’re thinking. Drugs are bad and we don’t want our young people using them. I agree and I’m not proposing legalising the use. We can just export them and content ourselves that our methamphetamines are of better quality so we’re actually helping people by giving them ours instead of some poor quality ones made in a third world country.

Ok, I guess you know that I’m using an allegory to compare the production of methamphetamines and the Adani coalmine.

And yes! I do know that there’s a very real difference. One is certain to cause the deaths of a large number of people and the other is illegal.

All right, all right. Drugs cause deaths too. It’s just likely to be on a much smaller scale than the selling of coal.

Most drug problems could be solved by legalising them and treating them as a health problem rather than a criminal problem, whereas I don’t think anyone can find a way of fixing the problems of mining and burning coal by simply considering that it’s a health problem… And yes, if you consider the health of the planet a concern, it IS a health problem, but that doesn’t help us solve it. You can’t just take your planet to the doctor in the hope he/she will tell it to stop smoking…

All right, I do realise that the whole idea of drugs being solved by legalising it’s a rather controversial statement and most of you haven’t read Hari’s “Chasing The Scream”, but the simple truth is that we spend billions locking people up because of drug problems and stopping us from being able to afford the money we need to treat drugs as a health problem…

Damn, I was intending to write something about Andrew Bolt and his defence of the magazine that confused the picture of that black model with a picture of some other black person which wasn’t a problem because don’t they all look alike and that’s not racist. I was intending to label a photo of Joseph Goebbels and then apologise by saying that it’s an easy mistake to make because all Nazis look alike to me.

But of course that’s a cheap and pathetic shot. Andrew is not a Nazi. Neither does he have the capacity of Goebbels for clever sophistry, so I’d be wrong on two counts.

 

A is for Adani, B is for Brexit, C is for Scott Morrison…

I started writing something about the Sri Lankan family currently being held on Christmas Island. Apparently the two year old was separated from her mother and cried the whole flight and I had this nice little dialogue about how separating children from their parents was a good thing because it deterred people from coming here – at least by boat – and therefore it saved people from drowning…

I stopped because I suddenly realised that we were hearing much the same thing from Peter Dutton and, well, I sort of lost my taste for trying to outdo the man and actually come up with something that can exaggerate him to the point of satire. It made me remember how his wife wondered why people think that he’s a monster when he’s quite nice when he’s at home… That’s really good to know. I’m relieved that he doesn’t keep his own children behind razor wire or use the excuse that he’s only exposing his wife to psychological torture as a deterrent to his children.

Still, it was Scott Morrison rather than Peter Button that started the whole “We don’t comment on on-water matters…” We should have realised then that the freedom of the press to report was under threat, but certain journalists were too busy praising his clever political move. Not that I’m blaming them for not realising that once you let a politician tell you that there’s nothing that they need to tell you because it’s a secret but you can just trust them because they’re in charge and how good is that, then you should realise that it’s only a matter of time before laws are passed that make it difficult to criticise them without losing your job or ending up in jail.

There’s too much blame in the world. I once suggested that it worth it for most organisations to pay someone whose job it was to take the blame. Whenever anything went wrong, it was their job to say: “Sorry, it was my fault so stop arguing about who’s to blame and start fixing the problem.”

Of course that wouldn’t work in the Liberal Party because if they actually fixed any problem then there’d be no problem and they’d have nothing to blame the Labor Party for.

Anyway, just like I’ve started to notice that the rhetoric on Adani is shifiting to suggest that environmentalists are making businesses afraid to do business with them, I’ve noticed that Josh Frydenberg has started to suggest that it’s companies paying out all those profits rather than reinvesting it that’s causing the economy to stagnate. It’s a subtle shift but it won’t be long before we hear that it’s the timidity of business that caused the recession and nothing to do with government policy and it wasn’t for that damned recession we’d have a surplus but what’s a man to do?

Similarly in Britain, Boris is suggesting that any attempt by the people who disagree with him to actually stop him from shutting down Parliament will increase the chances of a no-deal Brexit. Yep, come October it’ll be all their fault that Boris couldn’t manage to strike a deal and it’s the lack of a deal that caused all the problems not anything to do with those who drove the whole Brexit process.

And good old Donald is never responsible for anything unless it’s a good thing. He’ll take the credit for a sunny day, but not the fact that his tweets have knocked several billion dollars off the stock market.

How about if we just agree that everything is my fault? I mean absolutely everything even if there’s no chance that it’s actually true. because then the next person that tries to blame someone else can just be told that we know whose fault it is and they can then be asked what they intend to do to help fix it!

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Anyone Over Thirty Is Dead…

When people like that Blot on the landscape criticise young people like Greta Thunberg for trying to save the planet I feel like nothing’s changed since the sixties…

What arrogant tossers we were in the sixties thinking that we’d make the world a better place… But at least we tried before we all gave up and voted in the conservatives!

Actually I’m now actually in my sixties so I have a bit of perspective on the decade of free love and…

Well, I sort of missed the sixties because I was just a wee bit too young to take advantage of all that free love although I am old enough to remember Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young singing:

We can change the world
Re-arrange the world
It’s dying … to get better

Actually now it’s just dying… Although I have made the point many, many times that the world will continue on. We’re just ensuring our own extinction along with several other species… The cockroaches will survive. The Kochbrothers clearly aren’t as resilient… Nor as appealing.

Yep, the sixties when anyone over thirty was dead and Timothy Leary exorted us to “Turn on, Tune in, and drop out…”

How did that song go again? And why did we need to go to Chicago? Who were the Chicago 7? And who was the brother bound and gagged?

Though your brother’s bound and gagged
And they’ve chained him to a chair
Won’t you please come to Chicago
Just to singIn a land that’s known as freedom
How can such a thing be fair
Won’t you please come to Chicago
For the help that we can bringWe can change the world
Re-arrange the world
It’s dying … to get better

Politicians sit yourselves down
There’s nothing for you here
Won’t you please come to Chicago
For a ride

Don’t ask Jack to help you
‘Cause he’ll turn the other ear
Won’t you please come to Chicago
Or else join the other side

We can change the world
Re-arrange the world
It’s dying … if you believe in justice
It’s dying … and if you believe in freedom
It’s dying … let a man live his own life
It’s dying … rules and regulations, who needs them
Open up the door

Somehow people must be free
I hope the day comes soon
Won’t you please come to Chicago
Show your face

From the bottom of the ocean
To the mountains on the moon
Won’t you please come to Chicago
No one else can take your place

Yep, history is written by the winners. Although I must confess that I suspect that were Trump to have his way and we start nuking hurricanes, history won’t be written by anyone at all.

Maybe the cockroaches…

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Let Us Follow The Chosen One And Protect That Fossil Fuel!

A headline screamed that Victoria could face power outages this summer. The reason? No, not those “unreliable” renewables. It seems that a couple of those coal fired power stations need repairs and can’t be relied upon if we have a hot spell. Yep, only coal can give us baseload power… Except that it can’t always because it keeps breaking down.

Then we had Matt Canavan telling us that a company was “weak as piss” for refusing to deal with Adani. According to him, all these companies such as the banks who refused to lend them any money and various others are just surrendering to the demands of activists. Now, I don’t know how many of you have had dealings with a bank but I have found that when I try to persuade them to lend me money, then they try to ascertain that 1) I have the means to repay them and 2) I am the sort of person who is unlikely to default on the loan. In the case of Adani, the company responsible for the mine is effectively insolvent.

Before Matt Canavan starts suggesting that I’m “weak as piss” and that Adani has many assets and plenty of money, Adani isn’t one single company. There are many aspects to its business and they’re not all under the one umbrella. It would sort of like a person having a number of aliases. And just like a person with a number of different names, banks tend to be suspicious if you produce statements which don’t have the same name as yourself and explain that these accounts are yours but you keep them under a different name so that people can’t get hold of them when you don’t pay your bills.

Not that I’m accusing Adani of any such thing. I’m just suggesting that banks may have been more worried about lending money to a company that may suddenly go into liquidation and the only asset they have is lumps of coal and access to as much water as they want. Perhaps it would be a better business model to leave the coal in the ground and just sell the water…

Of course some of you will be thinking that I’m just another greenie opposed to fossil fuel on ideological grounds. That’s not exactly true. I’m happy to destroy the planet for future generations because what have future generations ever done for me. No, my objection is one of pure economics.

Just like Scottie’s decision to follow the “Chosen One” into battle and protect oil tankers in the Persian Gulf…

You all heard Donald T-Rump refer to Himself as the Chosen One, didn’t you? That wouldn’t have been so bad had He not looked to the Heavens as he said it.

Anyway, the USA have torn up the agreement with Iran and now they feel the need to protect ships because Iran seems to think that it doesn’t need to abide by an agreement once it’s been torn up. Typical of those evil regimes that don’t acknowledge America’s right to do exactly what it likes and commandeer most of the world’s wealth for a mere six percent of the world’s population!

That’s why we need to send troops and ships halfway round the world. To protect fossil fuel. Although maybe it would be better just to save the fuel by leaving them home, but then that’s the sort of logic that climate change deniers use to attack any opponent who dares to fly to a conference…

Speaking of climate change deniers, did you hear that David Koch died of prostate cancer? Very sad. I mean, prostate cancer is so slow. Couldn’t he have got one of the more speedy cancers. Ok, that sounds harsh and one shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but now that some media organisations are calling him a “philanthropist”, it’ll take years to explain to some people that the word doesn’t mean greedy fucker who was prepared to use their money to spread misinformation and kill the planet.

Of course, that’s just my opinion and everyone has the right to an opinion. Even Andrew Bolt who managed to be appalled that Pell lost his appeal. Bolt, who knows more than scientists about the state of the planet, informed his readers that the jury got it wrong and the judges got it wrong. They were probably just swayed by reading the hundreds of pages of evidence, whereas Andrew keeps his mind clear by only thinking about his own opinions. Probably why he dropped out of university: all that learnin’ was confusing him and making him aware that there were people who actually studied things.

So to sum it all up, renewables are too unreliable to provide power when the reliable coal breaks down, Adani’s backers are shifting the narrative so that any delays are the result of protests not the company’s perilous business plan, we’ve joined another coalition of the willing which is even smaller than the last one, David Koch has died, Pauline found the Uluru climb more difficult than her usual attempts to annoy thinking people, Pell is still in prison, Andrew Bolt is Andrew Bolt, and Donald Trump finished off the week by ordering US businesses out of China which had a rather negative effect on the stock market. It’s strange that a president that was meant to be so pro-business and anti-big government now sees his role as telling businesses not to trade with a particular country, but there you go.

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The Public Service Needs To Be More Accountable… Like Politicians Are!

Lately Scott Morrison has started praising the “quiet Australians” as being those for whom he is governing. Obviously if you say anything you’re not one of those quiet ones and can therefore be ignored.

Apparently, the quiet Australians have lost faith in the public service. How Scottie knows this is anybody’s guess because the quiet ones don’t say anything which is their great appeal. Maybe the “strong minority” in the Coalition government has been telling him what the quiet Australians actually think because they know things that ordinary people can only understand through listening to what people say whereas the Craig Kelly’s of this world know things without either talking to people or reading reports.

So Scottie told the Public Service

“Only those who have put their name on a ballot can truly understand the significance of that accountability. I know you might feel sometimes that you are absolutely right in what you are suggesting, but I can tell you when it is you that is facing the public and must look your constituents in the eye, it gives you a unique perspective.”

Well, it got me thinking. And then I started to imagine what it would be like if public servants behaved more like politicians. Would it be something like this?

Minister: Congratulations on your promotion.

Public Servant: Thank you very much. Great to be here.

Minister: So, why did your predecessor resign suddenly?

Public Servant: Sir. I had nothing to do with his resignation. It became clear that the government were no longer supporting the previous Public Servant. In that context and I had nothing to do with his resignation and any suggestion that I plotted it is just offensive…

Minister: I was merely asking. I was just wondering if it was because of some clash of..

Public Servant: If you’d allow me to finish, I was just making the point that this was nothing to do with me and frankly I find your question offensive!

Minister: Anyway, that’s not why you’re here, I was wondering…

Public Servant: No, but it is why I’m here. It’s because my predecessor resigned and if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t be here, so you’ve completely missed the point.

Minister: Let’s move on. This is about the proposed changes to pensions.

Public Servant: But I think that it’s important to acknowledge that I had nothing to do with my predecessor’s removal. My hands are clean. Look at them. I’ve washed them several times and there is absolutely no blood on them. I’m here now and this is a great honour, but it’s time to get on with things and not live in the past; the line has been ruled on those issues of several weeks ago, which I accept were deeply troubling to Australians. But what they want to know now is; ‘where are we going?

Minister: Which brings me to the pension changes. Do we have the modelling on the proposed changes?

Public Servant: If I may be candid, the modelling was meant to be done by my predecessor and, let’s be clear here, he was a Labor appointee and he really didn’t know how to manage the department, so it’s really lucky that I’m here now and you’ve got an adult in charge. There are important responsibilities that Australians expect and they expect things to happen, and I intend to make them happen.

Minister: So you have the modelling?

Public Servant: No, but equally the modelling that I will have in the very near future will be much, much better than any modelling we’ve had in the past.

Minister: Why is that? Are you suggesting that your modelling will be more accurate?

Public Servant: No, I’m suggesting it’ll be closer to what you want it to say… those Labor hacks just kept letting little things like expected changes to get in the way of more positive prognostications.

Minister: That’s all well and good, but how soon will you have the actual modelling?

Public Servant: Well, if I may be permitted to quote Menzies who, I think we can agree was not only the founder of the party, but a great PM… a veritable colossus. Menzies was a very witty man and he once said that time was something that we all need more of, but then so it money, hence the expression, “Time is money!”

Minister: Menzies said that?

Public Servant: I have no evidence that he didn’t. 

Minister: So you’re telling me that the modelling won’t be available for the Cabinet meeting tomorrow?

Public Servant: Sorry, but I don’t think that’s a fair representation of what I said…  Or didn’t say… as the case may be… or not…

Minister: WILL I HAVE THE FUCKING THING OR NOT!

Public Servant: I don’t think it’s necessary to speak like that 

Minister: Sorry, but I just want a clear answer.

Public Servant: I don’t think I could be any clearer.

Minister: Just go away…

Public Servant: Hey, if I was actually a politician you’d thank me for my time

Minister (sighs): Ok, thank you very much for your time.

Public Servant: Thanks a lot. It’s been my pleasure!

 

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Why Alan Jones Deserves Another Chance… Or Two!

Now Alan Jones attracted a lot of outrage with his suggestion that he hoped that Scott Morrison would “shove a sock” down Jacinda Ardern’s throat. Of course, Alan had to apologise the next day because some people wilfully misinterpreted this literally when all he meant that Jacinda herself should “put a sock in it”…

Of course, this begs the question, why did he bring Scottie into if it was the NZ PM herself who was meant to place the offending sock in a place that was nonspecific in Jones’s apology? I mean, there’s a world of difference in Don Corleone saying that you should hold your tongue and him saying that he hopes that one of his henchmen rips out your tongue…

Mm, that analogy may be inappropriate because it suggests that Scottie is merely a puppet of Alan Jones who’ll do exactly as he’s told when we all know that our PM doesn’t take orders from Jones, even if Malcolm Turnbull thinks we should cut Morrison some slack because he has to operate in the real world. Yes, Malcolm is bitter and never misses a chance to remind us about Tony Abbott and his inability to do that. However, Turnbull was even nastier when went on to say about ScoMo, “He’s not a dictator or a president, he’s a prime minister, like I was.”  I didn’t actually think that Morrison was quite that wishy-washy, but when Turnbull says that he resembled him as a PM, it’s a pretty nasty assessment.

I mean, Scott Morrison has been getting on the front foot and actually doing positive things like ignoring the investigation into GetUp! which found that they weren’t a political party and announcing that he’d be doing something about them because they were hiding something and that they were “a wolf in wolf’s clothing”,.. Now I’d think that a wolf in wolf’s clothing is being pretty upfront about who they are, but I guess that’s why I’m not leader of the Liberal Party.

Anyway, this is about Alan Jones and climate change so I shouldn’t be distracted by things like Turnbull telling us that Liberal leaders can’t do anything about climate change because of the strong minority in the party opposing it. Yes, I guess one can infer that just leaves the weak majority who’d like to do something but you know how minorities dictate everything these days…

I shouldn’t even get distracted by the Deputy PM saying that the Pacific Islanders shouldn’t worry about climate change because they can always come here and pick fruit. I particularly shouldn’t get distracted by that comment because, when I try to imagine just what he meant by that, my head hurts in ways that make me wonder if this guy is the best the Nationals can do as leader, what would the worst look like? Before you say Barnaby Joyce, remember we could ask the same about him…

Anyway, let’s take Alan at his word and accept that he wasn’t trying to encourage our PM to assault the leader of New Zealand. I mean, after all, we know that Alan has a history of saying something that gets misunderstood. For example, he didn’t mean to incite the Cronulla riots when he read out texts like: “Come to Cronulla this weekend to take revenge. This Sunday every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support the Leb and wog bashing day …” He went on to caution people shouldn’t take the law into their own hands, so he wasn’t endorsing vigilante justice even if those Lebanese guys deserved it…

And when he said that Julia Gillard should be put in a chaff bag and thrown into the sea, he didn’t mean a literal chaff bag, any bag would have done. Of course, this did mean some ambiguity about the word “sacked”, when he suggested that Opera House chief, Louise Herron, should be sacked for refusing to acquiesce to his demands over a horse race.

And when one of Turnbull’s lawyers contacted him, the old rascal realised that calling Malcolm “a traitor to the nation” may have been open to misinterpretation.

Then, of course, was his comments last year when the leadership of Turnbull was under threat: “The n—– in the woodpile here, if one can use that expression – and I’m not going to yield to people who tell us that certain words in the language are forbidden – the person who’s playing hard to get is Mathias Cormann.”

Yes, Alan Jones deserves a second chance. We all make mistakes and say things that we don’t mean in the heat of the moment… It’s just that most of us don’t do it on radio because we don’t have our own sock jock show. Whoops, I meant shock jock.

So let’s be like Alan’s employers and forgive him so long as he promises that this is the last time, as well as promising that he really means it this time. If he doesn’t, I think that someone should show him the real meaning of “shock” and actually give him a literal one…

Oh, I just realised, that last statement could be misinterpreted and someone could think that I was advocating strapping electrodes on Jones and giving him electric shocks.

Whoops. Sorry, Alan. Hope that doesn’t happen.

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Nigel Farrage Or What’s A Conservative Anyway?

Recently we had a number of foreigners come here and tell us what was wrong with the place. If they’d been from some countries we’d have told them that we shall decide the circumstances in which they come and whether they’re allowed say anything at all, but they were mainly from Britain and the United States so it was all ok, because we have a long history of being told what to do by those countries.

I refer, of course, to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Sydney. You may have read reports that when former Breitbart editor, Raheem Kassam, started speaking about Kristina Kenneally, sections of the crowd broke into chants of “Send her back”, which had a certain irony and just because of the number of speakers who were from her country of origin. As Kenneally herself pointed out, the original chant was because Trump had suggested that four congresswomen go back to their “crime-infested” countries of origin and start fixing things there, so the crowd was basically suggesting that the USA was a crime-infested country that needed fixing.

The conference was full of speakers happy to tell us that the greenies had taken over the world. Ok, let’s ignore the fact that we have three of the biggest buffoons to ever make it to high office and they all identify as conservative. Ah, for the days of those intellectual giants like Ronald Reagan, John Major and Billy McMahon… No, we just recently had communists like Malcolm Turnbull and David Cameron running things…

Now, I would have thought that trying to preserve the planet was about as conservative as you could get, but apparently not. It seems that by “conservative” what they all seem to mean is what I understood as “reactionary”: a person who opposes progressive social change and wishes to return to the halcyon days when everyone had the right beliefs and you could get a fair day’s work for a fair day’s whipping.

Most of you probably have an image of a conservative as someone like Bob Menzies, a defender of tradition, so long as it was British and suited his political agenda, and a keen lover of the Royal Family. However, Nigel Farage’s little speech made me wonder just what a conservative is these days.

Farage came to prominence as a member of the pro-Brexit UKIP party. I always thought that “kip” meant to have a sleep so when people say the name, it always makes me wonder who they’re suggesting should go to sleep. Nigel still holds ambitions of becoming PM, and given the situation, it’s highly likely that, were he to find an electorate silly enough to elect him, then he may be the only person silly enough to want the job in a post-Brexit Britain.

Surely someone like Farage would be a staunch supporter of the monarchy, I thought. Well, he sort of is. He loves the Queen – “an awe-inspiring woman, we’re bloody lucky to have her” – but he’s not so keen on some of the others in the family. Apart from describing the Queen Mother as a “overweight, chain-smoking gin drinker”, he told us: “Well, if I want the Queen to live a long time to stop Charlie Boy becoming king, I want Charlie Boy to live even longer and William to live forever to stop Harry becoming king,” His concern was prompted by Charlie Boy and Harry’s attitudes to climate change. (I’m presuming that “Charlie Boy” is Prince Charles and not one of the Queen’s racehorses).

Of course, this is a monarchy and, as such, it doesn’t really matter what a common man like Nigel thinks about succession so I don’t know why he’s bothering with an opinion at all. I also don’t think he quite understands that Harry is so far down the list now that the chances of him becoming king are less likely than Farage becoming PM. Still, his desire for William to live “forever” does seem a little extreme. Unless by forever, he just means to the end of the world which, if he and his fellow travellers get their way, may come a lot sooner than we’d like…

P.S. On Sunday night, the ABC ran David Attenborough’s “Climate Change; The Facts”. I understand, that there has been some backlash because they didn’t balance this by presenting non-facts. Malcolm Roberts is said to be ropable and is planning to write to the ABC management just as soon as he learns his other letters.

 

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What About The Religious Public Servant?

Public servant, Michaela Banerji, was sacked for criticising government policy even though she did it under a pseudonym. In the past week, the High Court has ruled that the sacking was correct because the public service needs to be apolitical.

Of course, I immediately thought of Israel Folau. Not in a sinful way, but I wondered if this had any implications for his case, but before I could fully form my thoughts a friend told me that the cases were entirely different, because this was to do with people working for the government and their need to be seen to have no opinion about government policy.

“So does that mean that they can’t be supportive of government policy either?”

“Well,” said my intelligent friend, “I suppose it does, but what government would sack someone for supporting their policy.”

“They wouldn’t, but what if there’s a change of government? Remember how Tony Abbott sacked Martin Parkinson because he implemented government policy? I mean, are we going to have public servants saying that they can’t write press releases that are positive about government policies because it looks like they are taking a political stand?”

I was told that I was taking things to an absurd level, which made me wonder if I should join the Liberal Party because clearly I’m a potential minister.

Anyway, I decided not to pursue the point with my friend because he has a tendency to get frustrated by what he considers my stupid questions. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about Israel Folau and the whole idea of legislation to enshrine religious freedom.

So let’s imagine that they get some sort of legislation that protects my religious freedoms. And while we’re imagining that, let’s imagine that I’m a Commonwealth public servant who worships at Father Rod Bower’s church and I take my conduit to God very, very seriously and I feel the need to tweet:

Scott Morrison is going to Hell over his treatment of asylum seekers!! 

Does the religious freedom legislation trump the public service legislation? Can I argue that even though I have no political freedom of speech, I do have a religous freedom of speech which allows me to denigrate the government in a spiritual, but stil apolitical way?

Remembering A. Bolt keeps referring to the Green Religion, could that be used as evidence in a court case where someone is trying to argue freedom of religion to justify their attack on the government for their love affair with coal?

Love affair? No, that’s not quite right. When I think about the way they all handled that lump of coal that Scottie passed around, it seems more like a fetish…

Ok, I’m sure that Scottie and his mates would argue that some religions are too political and any religion that has a view that they disagree with, isn’t a religion but a political stand… Still, it is really hard to right legislation that asserts only religions that never disagree with anything that a Coalition government proposes are valid.

Yeah, all I can do is plead with people to stop asking the question: How bad can this government get? I mean, we all read it as a rhetorical question… They seem to think it’s a request to show us!

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Albanese May Be The New Moses!

Moses, for those of you who lack the biblical background, was the leader who led his people around in the wilderness for forty years instead of going to the “promised land”. It wasn’t because his satnav was broken; he’d been instructed by a higher power. “You’ve done the wrong thing, so you’ll just have to wait until I say it’s ok,” said God who, according those wandering in the desert was even more powerful than Rupert Murdoch, who also said much the same thing about the Labor Party. “And I won’t say it’s ok,” God told them, “until every last one of you has died and it’s your children who settle there!”

Albo seems to have a similar plan to Moses. He seems to intend to have Labor wander round in circles for a number of years until the current mob are all dead. His strategy seems a complete misunderstanding of the MeToo# movement. The Coalition propose something which most thinking people would oppose. Labor say they won’t vote for it. The Government then makes the issue all about the Opposition, even when they’ve got the numbers to pass it whether Labor vote for it or not. Labor then backs down and agrees to vote for the proposed legislation.

I’m really not sure what the point of this tactic is. From a tactical point of view, it would be better to say, “We’re not the government and we won’t make up our minds until we’ve seen all the amendments and even then we may just decide to abstain while we wait and see how it all turns out. In fact, we’ve decided to boycott Parliament for the next few months as a protest over Morrison’s use of the phrase: ‘Unfudned empathy’!”

At last that would make them look like they stand for something…

Not that standing for something is actually a prerequisite for winning an election. It just makes one a potentially better government if one does happen to be elected, and one can actually start doing more than starting every third sentence with, “How good is…?”

“How good is Australia?” “How good are jobs?” “How good is coal?” “How good is unfunded empathy?”

Actually that last one isn’t very good at all, apparently. Although it does invited the question: What the fuck did Morrison mean?

Is empathy only ok when it’s funded like it was when the Labor were trying to prise franking credit refunds from people. In Dick Smith’s case it would have been hundreds of thousands of dollars. Poor Dick. Anyway, somehow these and various other things like tax cuts to those who are earning over $200,000 a year and therefore “working harder” are all “funded”.

Or was Morrison suggesting that we shouldn’t be empathetic to those on Newstart because they weren’t having a go. We can deduce this by remembering that Scott the Moribund is fond of reminding us that those “who have a go, will get a go.” Clearly, the unemployed aren’t getting a go so therefore they mustn’t be having a go.

Of course, Channel 7’s “Sunrise” program were in no doubt that the unemployed weren’t having a go, giving us the statistics about how many of them have had their benefits suspended. I’m not going to bother to repeat the numbers because one of the great things about statistics is how meaningless they can be if you don’t have anything more than the raw data. For example, if you are given the statistic that over ninety percent of those surveyed didn’t go out on a Saturday night, it might be worthwhile to also know where the survey was taken. If it were in a nursing home or a jail, for example, it’s hardly a high number.

Anyway, a government department cuts people’s payments because they’re not having a big enough go, or sometimes they’re meant to be having a go in two places at once, and then the government puts out the statistics to convince us that they were right to cut the payments because these are the sort of people that get their payments cut.

It was also interesting that “Sunrise”, the show that helped boost Pauline Hanson’s profile when she was in the political wilderness, also saw fit to equate having one’s benefits suspended with being a “dole bludger”… which is an oxymoron even before one starts to analyse the morality. If one isn’t getting payments any more, can one still be a “dole bludger”?

But it gets back to this whole idea that we want people to be miserable if they don’t have a job. I guess it’s because a lot of working people hate their jobs and think that if they’re miserable, then why should someone else have the right to be happy when they can’t even get a job…

Our Deputy PM, Michael Whatisname, suggested that the unemployed should be prepared to move to get a job. He wasn’t very clear about where there was a shortage of workers. I think that his idea was that it might help if country folk moved to the city and the city people moved to the country. That way they’d all be away from friends and family AND unemployed. That should really show them…

But let’s imagine that someone on benefits in Tasmania were to pack up, procure a tent and move to Queensland to enable them to leave more cheaply in better weather. Why, that would be outrageous. Moving just so they could camp out? Let’s cut them off benefits and confiscate their tent!

On the subject of contradictions, but did anyone else find Andrew Bolt’s attack on Greta Thunberg rather strange given his stance on Adam Goodes? Bolt, you may remember, suggested that Goodes bullied a poor, thirteen year old girl who wouldn’t have realised that the word “Ape” was racist and Goodes should have been able to pick her age in a second and not pointed at her so that security could remove her. However, two years of age  makes an enormous difference and Bolt has no trouble writing, “I have never seen a girl so young and with so many mental disorders treated by so many adults as a guru” about Thunberg. He went on to say worse…

But you’re probably right. It’s better not to give him the publicity he so pathetically craves.

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“It’s Called Newstart Not Nostart, So We Don’t Need To Raise It…”

Ok, I tried to get an interview with one of the Federal Ministers who’ve been telling us that there’s no need to raise the amount that unemployed people are getting, but apparently they’re all too busy ensuring that people have jobs… Not everyone, mind you, just the people who are aspirational and having a go… Oh, and their mates, of course.

Eventually, after much ringing around, I was able to get an interview with someone who works for Centrelink. Yes, I know. It’s a sign of my privilege and contacts that I was able to actually speak to a Centrelink worker, but I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I’m an Anglo male, so I can do or say things that would get anyone else into trouble. The Centrelink person spoke on condition that I keep him (or her) anonymous and don’t expose any links he (or she) may have to any human living or dead. In fact, like any Centrelink worker, any resemblance with any real person is pure coincidence. For the purpose of this, we shall call him (or her), “Worker”.

Me: Now, a number of politicians have been suggesting that two thirds of people are on Newstart for less than a year. Is this true?

Worker: Yes.

Me: So, most people find a job within a year?

Worker: No, we just find a way to kick them off benefits by doing things like sending them Robodebt notices and while they’re on the phone waiting to sort that out, they usually miss a job interview so we can suspend their benefits. 

Me: Are you admitting that Robodebt is just a scam to punish the unemployed?

Worker: Not at all. It’s a perfectly reasonable way of ensuring that welfare expenditure has been well-spent. 

Me: But it’s totally flawed and it frequently targets people who don’t really owe the money.

Worker: Yes. What was your question?

Me: Is that fair?

Worker: No, of course not. I just told you it’s all about ensuring welfare expenditure is well-spent and spending it on the unemployed is really a bit of a waste.  

Me: But you just admitted it wasn’t fair…

Worker: I don’t understand why you’re having trouble understanding that point. What’s fairness got to do with it? Are you a socialist or something?

Me: I’m just saying that it seems strange that you admit that it’s unfair when there have been suggestions that Robodebt letters have led to suicides and that nobody responsible seems to care…

Worker: That’s a shocking accusation!

Me: So how would you refute it?

Worker: Now, stop trying to verbal me. I said it was a shocking accusation, I never said that it wasn’t true. 

Me: So you have no problem with the idea that the policies you implement are causing suicides? 

Worker: Look, I’m just doing what I can to help the government get expenditure down so we can balance the budget. I don’t make policy. I just follow orders and if what I’m doing helps to reduce the number of unemployed then that should help reduce the bottom line.

Me: So how does what you’re doing help anyone get a job?

Worker: I never said it did. I just said it reduced the number of unemployed.

Me: Are you telling me that this is a deliberate policy to drive people to suicide?

Worker: That’s a shocking accusation!

Me: So you’re denying that you… Oh! Forget it.

Worker: Yes, that’s what most people end up saying!

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I Didn’t Realise That George Calombaris Was A Union!

Now that it seems that Labor has decided that their best strategy is camouflage – agree to everything and hope that Queenslanders mistake them for the Liberal Party – I’ve been trying to work out how it’s all going to play out in the coming years.

One thing I’ve always believed is that ninety percent of everything is predictable. That’s what’s makes us so surprised by the unpredictable. After a few shocks, we feel we’ve entered a sort of Humpty Dumpty world where the guy sitting on the fence is tellling us the meaning of words even though we want to argue that words do not have a particular meaning just because a guy we thought couldn’t be put back together has somehow found himself sitting pretty…

Anyway, my twitter feed has been telling me about the Coalition’s determination to stop those nasty unions from taking away worker’s entitlements by introducing some Integrity Bill. I can’t remember what it’s actually called because every time the Liberals use the word “integrity”, I immediately have to spend a lot of time working out whether they’re for or against it.

Personally, I found it strange to see these in the same week that Masterchef George had “mistakenly” underpaid his workers $7.8 million dollars…

Now, I probably shouldn’t put the “mistakenly” in inverted commas. That implies that I didn’t really think it was a mistake. I mean, mistakes are easy to make. I’m sure George would understand if I went into one of his restaurants and mistakenly ran up a bill of $500 when I only meant to spend the fifty I had,  and he could take it or leave it because who could afford that sort of money for a meal so I just presumed that the prices were wrong…

So how will things play out?

Will Trump lose the election and declare martial law?

Will Boris suddenly decide that Brexit is all to hard and attempt to argue that Britain has already symbolicly left the EU so they’ve made their point and everything can just continue as is?

Will Scott continue to start sentences with “How good is…” until he makes the ultimate faux pas and says something like, “How good is indefinite detention?”… Oh wait, he’s already done that one. Maybe “How good is climate change?”… Nup, he’s done that with a lump of coal.  “How good is the gullibility of voters?”  No, the gullible will just cheer… “How good is the privatisation of Medicare?” 

Sorry, that’s just a scare campaign. Although like the “Never, ever” GST, two elections have passed and so we should have all forgotten.

Yep, this predicting business is harder than it looks. Although I’m pretty sure that the sun will rise tomorrow…

But even a prediction like that may get me in trouble with all those who argue that renewable energy like solar is unreliable…

sigh<

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Let’s Hear It For The Adolescent Politician… And The Childish Voter!

Now this probably sounds a little arrogant, but I’m an adult…

I know, I know, telling the world that one is an adult is little suspect after Abbott’s election where we were told the adults were back in charge. I mean, adults don’t go around telling you that they’re adults, do they? It’s like saying, “I’m very sophisticated.” The fact that you say it, sort of undercuts the whole idea…

Anyway, I happened to suggest to someone that Brexit reminded me of a teenager announcing their intention to move out of home. You know the sort of thing: “Mum, Dad, I’m sick of you telling me what to do and now I’ve got a job at Hungry Jack’s, you want me to pay for my own video games, so screw you, I’m moving out.” However, when the parents tell the child that they intend to change the locks, the adolescent announces that they want more time to negotiate such things as use of the washing machine, television, fridge and computer, whereupon the parents say that using such things will be fine, occasionally, so long as one gets permission and enters by knocking and…

Ok, the analogy now makes even more sense with the decision to install Boris as PM…

I could go on and talk about Brexit for ages but I’ll only offend the English. Let’s face it, the English are a population who’ve been invading other countries for centuries. The idea that they want to retreat and just be their own little island – (ok, they’re sort of happy to include Wales, Scotland and Ireland too) – is probably something most peoples of the world are more than happy with. It’s like the boring guy who often sits beside you uninvited, suddenly announcing that if you don’t pay more attention when he’s speaking, he’ll just sit somewhere else…

But I’m an adult, so I’d like to move onto general things instead of insulting the English people who may read this and think that they’re so offended that they’ll not only leave the EU, but move to expel Australia from the Commonwealth… Which may be the quickest way to a republic, when I think about it.

It seems to me that experts have bored people for years. Let’s be real. Think of all the times you’ve been at some barbie or dinner party and you’ve had a few glasses of this or that and you’ve started explaining the problems of the world and why your ideas will solve them, when someone who works in the area or has studied it at university embarrasses you by pointing out that your ideas are so completely wrong that it would take them more than an hour to dismiss the basic hypothesis before they got onto nitpicking all the minor ways in which you’ve quoted the wrong person and misunderstood the basic problem. I mean, those bastards who actually know things. Who invited them? We were having a good time until someone introduced facts into the discussion until they started using language like that. Hypothesis, for fuck’s suck…There may be children present. Thank god, for Pauline I say. Nobody could accuse her of letting evidence stand in the way of a good rant.

And so it seems to me that the recent political events are a response to years of having politicians citing experts. We’re damned sick of it, so when a Trump comes along and says that he knows better, he gets a cheer. When the experts start to point out that he’s wrong, we love him even more. Not because he isn’t a complete dunce, but because he is. I mean, don’t we feel great that we’ve got a leader who doesn’t make us feel inferior. At last someone with the self-confidence to stand up to all those experts and not be intimidated by the fact that he knows almost nothing about the topic at hand.

When I read the letters page in the Murdoch newspapers, any self-doubt immediately disappears. Not because I disagree with some of the letters, but because without any knowledge of the subject under discussion these people are expressing an opinion which is so little logical consistency with itself that I wonder how nobody has pointed out their stupidity… And then I realise that people have. Which is why someone like Trump or Boris appeals. They take the heat off the stupid. The experts are so busy talking about them that everyone else gets off scot free…

Mm, Scott free. Nice idea.

Anyway, I suspect that we’ll eventually get sick of it and, just like the person who gives up on the thing that isn’t working and goes back to the doctor, we’ll start to elect people who actually know things.

Or at the very least don’t pretend that they know things when they don’t.

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“How Good Is PR?”

“Hi there, this is your head of Public Relations, Scott Morrison with a very important massage:

“In 2017 over 3000 Australians died by their own hand. It’s affecting our young people, it’s affecting our veterans, it’s affecting boys and girls in remote indigenous communities. It’s affecting middle-aged men 45-50 living in suburbs, the highest rate of suicide in the country. Now just this week acting on OUR initiative to make a towards zero goal a national priority, I appointed Christine Morgan as the national suicide prevention officer and that should be enough so we don’t have to worry about doing things like raising Newstart because HOW GOOD ARE JOBS? We certainly don’t have to worry about Robodebt because people should pay back money which they can’t prove they don’t owe and certainly nobody can prove that they topped themselves because of the debt.

“As for those on Manus and Nauru, we don’t have to worry because our towards zero only includes Australians, so they won’t go into the statistics…”

Too far?  Well, sadly it probably doesn’t go far enough because most of it is straight transcription.

Scott Morrison on suicide prevention

Even the “How good are jobs?” was a response to Barnaby calling for an increase in Newstart. The man is a satire of himself, but who notices in a post-Trump world where the son of an immigrant can tell the daughters of other immigrants to go back to where they came from because they dare to criticise his America which isn’t like the “crime-infested places” they came from even though Trump himself complained that the USA was full of Mexican rapists and murderers, and whenever there’s a news story about a mass shooting there, I’m never sure whether it’s a new one or the same shooting that I heard about in the day before’s news?

Someone did a mock-up where footage of Hitler was inserted into a Trump rally. It only looked out of place because Hitler was black and white, and not orange.

sigh<

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Tim Wilson Can Go To Hell!

No, I haven’t started playing rugby. I’m suggesting that Tim Wilson can go to hell for reasons which have nothing to do with his personal life. Nor am I asserting my religious freedom by judging others.

Although that does beg the question that if I actually suggested he was going hell because he was gay and that Scott Morrison would join him for allowing such a man to be part of his government, would the Liberal Party still support my right to free speech?

This has to do with Timmy Wilson using his recent swearing in to express his religious views to the world. In case you aren’t aware, the book he held in his hand was “Capitalism And Freedom” by Milton Friedman. Now some held a religious tome; others chose to simply swear an oath. As far as I’m aware Wilson was the only one to raise Friedman’s ideas to the level of the Bible, the Torah or the Koran. Apparently Wilson is suggesting that Friedman is some sort of latter day messiah. Why else hold the book in your hand while being sworn in?

Good on him, I say. At least we can check his holy book to understand where he comes from.

While many of you may be aware that many conservative politicians follow the teachings of Saint Milton, how many of you are familiar with his gospel?

Saint Milton has lost many followers in the past few years… mainly because they’ve discovered that his ideas just don’t work in practice. However, a few – like Timmy -stubbornly stick to philosophy like doomsday cultists who wake up to find that the world hasn’t ended as predicted. Like doomsday predictions, Friedman’s disciples always argue that it should have ended and if it weren’t for government intervention then the divine properties of the free market would have destroyed us for our decadence…

On a side note, isn’t it interesting that Josh the Treasurer tells us that it’s good that he and his government will have a surplus but why don’t you people go out and spend your money so that we can and you’re the ones who end up with too much on the credit card…

Ok, ok, I know that we have religious freedom on the table and my mocking may soon be against the law. So in the interest of fairness… No, not the sort of fairness that Hitler liked. The sort of fairness which demands that when the ABC publish the truth, they also give the Liberal Party equal time.

Anyway, here’s some random thoughts from St Milton the Freid…

  • There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
  • Well first of all, tell me, is there some society you know of that doesn’t run on greed?
  • The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.
  • There’s no way a government could land on the moon so it must have been a made-up thing!

All right, that last one I made up. But he would have said it, if it didn’t make him sound like the looney that he was. Although he did say: “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

That was the one that Donald re-tweeted…

You see, while his ideas are dead, thanks to his followers, they keep rising.

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