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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.

It’s Election Time And The Grand Final Is Predicted To Be Close!

Here we are on Grand Final eve and everyone’s expecting a tight contest. Team Liberal decked out in their traditional blue were looking like a rabble just a few weeks ago but now, under new coach, Scottie “Skull” Morrison, all the commentary is focusing on how well they’ve been doing on the training track. While the reasons for replacing Coach Turnbull have never been clearly articulated, rumour has it that his inability to stop his right wingers deliberately kicking the ball out of bounds was responsible for his sudden departure. In recent days, however, Morrison has shown a great capacity to get everyone working together. Fans and media alike are all telling us what a great job he’s doing and how he’s whipped a disorganised bunch of losers into a crack team. While a number of players have announced their intention not to play on in the coming season and have declared themselves unavailable for selection for the grand final, Morrison is undeterred telling reporters that he doesn’t need them. “I’ve been underestimated in the past, and I intend to win, even if it means playing every position myself!” When asked whether the resignation of a number of high profile female coaching staff was a problem, Morrison said that he’d never thought that their success should be at the expense of those who were having a real fair go and they’d get a go, when they had a go, but not if this meant less positions for the male coaches. 

And it seems that his strategy of encouraging everyone to look at photos of the Opposition Coach and growl loudly has envigorated everyone. Not only that, but his recent agreement with Clive Palmer that if Palmer’s team didn’t look like making the final, Clive would come along and help with strategy, in spite of telling everyone that a win for Morrison’s boys would be a disaster.

So whatever you do, tune into our coverage and don’t look away. It’s going to be a close one!

As I frequently remind myself, making predictions is hard because the future is often unpredictable. However, most of life is very, very predictable. That’s why the surprise takes us by surprise. If things were completely unpredictable all the time, we wouldn’t wake up and go, “Hey, the sky is green today. What’s going on?”, we’d just accept that the colour has changed because it changes every day. To illustrate my point, if the sky is grey rather than blue or has streaks of red, we just accept that it’s raining or that it’s a nice sunset.

Similarly, we know that the media will try to convince us that the election is going to be close. And, to be fair, since World War Two, one of the major parties has either won or run second. The political commentary have a vested interest in trying to make us feel that anything could happen and we won’t know the result until deep into the night on election eve. Compare this to the betting markets, who paid out a couple of days before the recent Victorian election.

And to consider my imperfect analogy of a grand final, when was the last time you ever heard a sports commentator tell people not to tune in because the grand final was going to be a walkover and you’d be better off doing the gardening.?

Of course, I don’t know the future and I’m not guaranteeing the result, but I do think people are better off dealing with facts than the sort of guff I’ve read in some of the papers. Take, for example, a piece I read in today’s non-Murdoch paper. (Yes, there is still one!) It was talking about the potential, albeit difficult path to victory for the Liberals. So far, so good. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of speculation. However, it was the table headed: “The path to power” that I found rather dubious. It then had two lists separated by the image of a ballot box on which, “The seats each side needs to win” was written.

The list of seven seats on Labor’s side finished with the seat of Deakin in Victoria, which needs a 6.4% swing!

Now before you all start maxing out your credit card to place a bet on the Coalition, I’d like to point out that Labor is expected to have a chance of winning Deakin. However, the idea that they “need” to win Deakin makes it sound like they’re facing a monumental task and the Liberals who only “need” a swing of 6.1% to hold Solomon are in a better position.

This is NOT a prediction of where things will be at midnight of the election. This is simply what would happen if there were a uniform swing, and uniform swings don’t happen. Some states will be more extreme; some electorates will buck the trend. But for the point of view of accuracy, this is what would happen with the following swings nationwide.

A uniform national swing of 1% = Labor majority government

A uniform national swing of 2% = Labor hold 81 seats

And just for fun, let’s pretend that the 6.4% of Deakin is actually the swing size that Labor needs:

A uniform national swing of 6.4% = Labor almost has 100 seats and the biggest landslide in the history of the House of Representatives.

So, if you’re contemplating moving to New Zealand because you fear a return of the boys in blue, I’d hold off until after the election.

On the other hand, if it’s because you like their leader better than either of our options, then feel free to start packing.

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Why I’ll Let My Mate Perform My Brain Surgery Or Why I’m Voting For Scott Morrison…

Chris Uhlmann and various other political journalists have been a little sensitive recently. There have been a number of stories about how partisan people are on social media and how some of them have the temerity to suggest a lack of balance. Outrageous! Apparently, both the left and the right are accusing them of poor reporting so it’s clear that they’re doing ok. However, that’s a bit like suggesting that because both Collingwood and Carlton supporters suggest that it was terrible centre bounce that the umpire doesn’t need to lift his game in any way.

I was particularly impressed by a couple of puff pieces that told us what a good bloke Morrison was and how he was winning hearts and minds by going from town to town and sipping a beer, sampling a pasta and sharing his curry recipes. One even lamented that it was a shame that he couldn’t get around more because by showing his human side, he’d romp in the election because nobody likes Bill…

Now, it is true that before Shorten made the list of celebrities I’d like to have to my dinner party, I’d need a much, much larger house. However, that’s not the point. The prefered PM question is not and has never been: “Which of the following candidates would you most like to go on a date with?”

I repeat, it is not a popularity contest. If I suddenly needed brain surgery… Well, let’s say in the next ten months. If I suddenly needed it, I’d be rushed into hospital and probably wouldn’t get much say… Anyway, let’s say it’s been recommended that I have part of my brain cut away and I want to ensure that the surgeon cuts away the right bits and doesn’t leave me sounding like Barnaby doing an interview with an ABC journalist, I’d find out who people recommended. what various doctors said about the qualifications and skills of the various potential candidates and make my decision based on who seemed most competent.

I wouldn’t use the method the media seemed to be suggesting we employ when we pick our PM: “I was at this barbeque today, and this mate of mine was cooking the sausages and he introduced me to Scottie who told me that the guy I was planning to use was a really nasty piece of work… A social climber who’d probably cost me a lot. Anyway, Scott took over the barbeque and took a sip of beer and said that he could do the whole brain surgery thing at a fraction of the price. and I was really impressed by the way he handled the sausages. Then he gave me this bonza recipe for a curry, so there’s no way I’m going to waste that money on that surgeon guy, because apart from anything else he’s rude to the nurses and they don’t like him…”

No, I’d still probably use the guy with the best track record and some medical qualifications… Even if I discovered that he’s using a Cayman Islands scheme to reduce his taxable income to zero, meaning that he can still benefit from refund of franking credits.

Of course, in the interests of balance, I should point out that the Liberals would argue that Shorten’s track record and qualifications are the things that should worry us. They’re suggesting that Bill will actually do something about climate change and that’ll cost business lots of money and they’re really worried because they don’t like anything that costs them like paying people wages when they could just as easily use interns and sack them when their internship was over.

On a completely different matter, Clive Palmer has been sending me stuff lately. I joined his party with the idea of offering to stand as a candidate just to see if they did any vetting and whether someone like me who’d been publicly critical of him would sneak through the process. I was talked out of it when someone suggested that I’d probably make it through and, even if I tried to quit in a blaze of publicity, Palmer candidates quitting would hardly make the news as it’s so common and then I’d be remembered as someone who stood for Palmer.

But speaking of standing for Clive Palmer, does anyone find it slightly absurd that Clive has spent millions of dollars telling us how bad both major parties were, only to end up agreeing to preference the Liberals?

Now, I know that some will argue that Labor would have probably done a deal too if they could, but that’s not the point: It’s the fact that Palmer is prepared to horse-trade to improve his chances of election.

I’m not even going to pick on the Liberals over this one. After all, if I want to pick on them, I have:

  • Three PMs and three Treasurers in less than six years
  • The flagrant lack of process when giving money to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Paladin and a whole range of others which would take longer than an Oscar acceptance speech.
  • Their pretence that the projected Budget surplus is different from Wayne Swan’s because his didn’t eventuate whereas they know theirs will because of the presumed improvement in growth, wages, commodity prices, etc to levels not seen in the past decade.
  • The NBN
  • The fact that they have a Finance Minister who doesn’t check his credit card statement closely enough to notice that a holiday costing several thousand dollars hasn’t been charged.
  • The response to the dead fish…The actual dead fish, not Malcolm Turnbull’s supporters.
  • QandA’s main challenge becoming just which Liberal can we get on to make the one we had previously look good by comparison. (Jim McGrath did a stirling job to outdo Teena McQueen. I think he had to be considered the winner and I defy them to beat that performance prior to the election.)
  • Making up Labor policy
  • Making up Labor policy and still coming with fear campaigns about things that a majority would support. For example, battling climate change or higher taxes for higher income earners.
  • Tony Abbott trying to suggest that’s it’s only by re-electing him that Manly will get better public toilets. (Alan Jones has been quiet on this issue.)
  • A Queensland Liberal Senate candidate suggesting that more preschool education was a plot to ensure government control over children, before going full conspiracy theory about the Bureau of Metrology and climate change.
  • Pauline Hanson suggesting that the elimination of the dinosaurs wasn’t caused by man, so climate change can’t be real. I add Pauline because – apart from Malcolm Turnbull’s changes to the Senate helping her re-election – it must be remembered that the only reason she came to national prominence was because they endorsed her as a candidate in the 1996 election, only to disendorse her too late to have her name taken off the ballot. She was disendorsed for suggesting cuts to Aboriginal funding and complaining about migrants. This wasn’t supposed to be released until after the election.
  • Peter Dutton… Need I elaborate?

No, I’m not going to complain about the Liberals and Clive. There are too many other things. But I think Palmer has shown himself a little shallow for doing any deal with a major party after his advertising blitz.

And I’m sure some helpful readers will probably add another ten or fifty things.

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Let’s Just Separate Israel, Scott, Rugby And Religion

Religious freedom, freedom of speech and a whole lot of other concepts are being discussed with people’s views fluctuating wildly depending on who or what we’re talking about.

Take the protesters who lost their High Court case. The Court ruled that a deeply held religious conviction didn’t mean that the government couldn’t legislate to stop them protesting near a clinic which performed abortions. The protesters argued that they should have the right to protest anywhere. It would be interesting to ask their position on the recent vegan protests and whether they supported vegans going onto farms to make their position known to farmers.

And let’s not forget Scott Morrison’s little non-campaign invitation to the media to join him at his Easter Sunday worship. When one of them caught him in an unfortunate pose, social media had a laugh at his expense. Scott normally has a great sense of humour. For example, his recent attempt to extend his refusal to talk about «on water » matters when he was Immigration Minister all the way to the water buyback scheme. Good one, Scott. However, he was certainly not amused by the way he was portrayed by a scurrilous few whom he felt were mocking him at a very private moment, calling them cowardly and suggesting that they were living in their mother’s basements. Strange. I would have thought that the basement belonged equally to both parents. I mean, think about your own basement… You don’t have one? Mm, strange to refer to the basement at all. If anything, I would have thought that Australians would have a cellar, but hey, Scott does try to copy Trump at every opportunity.

My strategy is to try and take personalities out of the situation and to judge how I’d feel if the same principle was applied in a totally different circumstance. Let’s say, I invite the media to watch me take a shower. While it’s true to say that I generally regard showering as a personal thing, in an election campaign, I want to demonstrate just how clean I am. Now, I have every right to get upset when someone comments on my lack of muscle tone and tries to body shame me, but I’m not sure if that extends to someone pointing out that I took extra care to ensure that my genitals weren’t exposed and this suggests that I’m hiding something because that would put me in a no-win situation. I could hardly scream that I have nothing to hide, because that could start a whole series of nasty tweets.

Notwithstanding all that, it’s the Israel Folau controversy that seems to be dividing people. After all, argue some, he has a right to express his view. Others argue that his view was homophobic and hurtful to a large number of people. As a side note, I think it should be remembered that he didn’t single out gay people; he also suggested that adulterers, drunks, fornicators and many others who were also going to burn in Hell’s flames. One wonders if he had any politicians in mind…

Many people have questioned whether a sporting body has the right to censor somebody. Others have suggested that, as he’s an employee, his employer has the right to determine what he puts out because he could be seen as representing them.

To apply my earlier strategy, I think it’s important to take both sport and religion out of the equation and consider it as we would any other circumstance. After all, to many people, religion is almost as important as sport, and both can get people quite worked up when they encounter someone who supports a different team who refuses to understand exactly why theirs is the only one worth following.

Let’s say that I work for a large retail company as a sales assistant. It comes to the attention of my manager that, using my own name and identifying myself as a worker for that company, I have been tweeting messages along the lines: «While National Party voters are all stupid, people who vote for One Nation shouldn’t be allowed out of the house without a minder as they’re clearly incapable of crossing the road without help. » After I argue that these are just my opinions, my manager tells me that some of the customers are, in fact, National and One Nation voters and while I have a right to my personal views, I can’t express them when it’s going to be linked to the store.

Now, some of you may still argue that I have the right to express my views. However, if I were to say that I see the point and in future, I’ll be more circumspect, I can hardly complain if I’m dismissed when I suggest that I’d like to have some of what Clive Palmer has been smoking…

By the way, Clive Palmer’s latest newsletter tells the faithful not to believe the fake news and that they’re on track to win government. He says that their polling says that 15% intend to vote UAP and that there’s a 28% undecided vote who’ll vote for him giving him a total of 43% which will be enough to win government apparently… Yep, that’s convincing!

Forget the sport and religion for a second and go back to the retail assistant. Does the employer have the right to determine an employee’s public tweets? Does your view on this change if the employee has agreed not to publicly say anything controversial? Or does it simply change depending on who said it and what they said?

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The Barnaby Interview!

Now I’ve had some wine with lunch… And I had a couple of drinks when I got back to the hotel, so all in all, I may have consumed most of a bottle of wine, so I may not be able to completely capture the… what’s the word for it… the “Je ne sais que pas” of Barnaby’s voice in the interview, but I’ll do my best… I’ll keep drinking and I’ll probably get closer to it as I write…

Not that I’m suggesting that Barnaby had been drinking. I would never suggest such a thing. I’m just being terribly arrogant and suggesting that I find it easier to think and sound like Mr Joyce after I’ve had a few drinks, while he can sound like himself with almost no effort… And from the sound of it, expending no effort is exactly how he approached his time as Water Minister.

In case you missed the interview, it went something like this (and I am doing this from memory so fictional Barnaby may sound a whole lot more articulate than he actually was)

Patricia Karvelis: Mr Joyce, did you ask any questions…

Barnaby (talking over her): LABOR DID IT FIRST! WHY DON’T YOU ASK PENNY WONG?

PK: Well, you’re here now and I’ll ask Penny Wong when I get her on…

Barnaby (talking over her): Labor did it first and I was just doing what Labor did and anyway, there were competent people telling me what price to pay and I just did what I was told and I’m not responsible for anything.

PK: Didn’t you ask questions?

Barnaby (talking over her): Yes, of course I did. I asked where I should sign and…

PK: Mr Joyce, can you just…

Barnaby: Labor, Labor, Labor! The Queensland government said it was a good deal. Are you suggesting that they don’t know what they’re doing and that they’re morons who don’t know more than I do because that’s pretty hard to believe…There were lots of competent people who told me that this was the only water for sale and I bought it because Labor and The Greens wanted us to buy water and I can’t see why anyone would want to buy water, but they do and they’re not the sort of people who’d buy anyone a beer, but…

PK: Mr Joyce, you were Water Minister at the time…

Barnaby: I was just doing what Labor did and I don’t like them but that’s no reason to change anything and anyway why are you talking to me, I don’t know anything but I’d like to say that I’d be happy to tell you that…of course I asked questions.

PK: So what were they?

Barnaby: I was told it was a great deal and you couldn’t get non-existent water cheaper anywhere because the price is going up all the time and if you tried to buy it now, I reckon we wouldn’t be prepared to sell it for less than we paid unless someone told us to.

PK: So who benefitted from the sale?

Barnaby: I don’t know. You don’t ask whether the person is wearing clothes or whether they’re married, you just want to see the colour of their money…

PK: Weren’t the government the ones buying the…

Barnaby: Gees, Patricia, why aren’t you asking Labor all this? Penny Wong did this too, you know. 

Like I said, I may have got this a little wrong, but if you’d like to check out the actual interview it’s here. Unless it’s been removed in the interests of balance…

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Climate Change Is A Cost!

Interesting ABC story headline: ”Climate change costings a cause for concern as Coalition ups its attack on Labor’s commitments”

Now, I don’t know if you’ll think that I’m just being obsessed about semantics, but I do think that it’s a fair point to make. Labor’s policy aren’t ‘climate change costings”; they’re attempts to avoid climate change costings. The cost of climate change will be doing nothing about it.

I guess if I’m trying to be balanced like the ABC is meant to be, I’d write “so-called climate change” because that’s how Tony Abbott referred to it recently. However, it seems that the ABC has a strange idea about balance these days.

If the ABC ran the election debate, I suspect it’d go something like this:

Moderator: Mr Morrison, would you like to lead off by saying how well you’ve managed the economy?

Morrison: Thanks. We’ve done really well because we’ve paid off Labor’s debt and unemployment is practically zero and people who pay no income tax are entitled to their franking credits but Labor want to take that away and give it to people who don’t have a go.

Moderator: Now, Mr Shorten, how do you respond to the idea that Labor can’t manage the economy, control the borders or reward those who deserve it?

Shorten: Well, there’s quite a few issues there…

Moderator: We know, and that’s why you’re unpopular. Can you overcome all this and still run a positive campaign?

Shorten: Well, in response to the first issue…

Morrison: Hang on, he’s got two chances to respond. Where’s my next question?

Moderator: Sorry, Mr Morrison, um, so what’s your favourite colour?

Morrison: Thanks for the question. Blue is my favourite colour.

Moderator: it’s a lovely colour. Mr Shorten, how will you manage the shortfall in revenue without raising taxes and causing a recession?

Shorten: Well, we’ve announced all our intended tax changes and, if there’s a danger of a recession, should we be so obsessed with a Budget surplus?

Moderator: So you don’t think you can manage a surplus?

Shorten: That’s not what I said. But why is he getting questions like what’s your favourite colour and I’m getting grilled on my policies?

Moderator: Do you have something to hide?

Shorten: No, but his questions are easier.

Moderator: Ok, what’s Mr Morrison’s favourite colour?

Shorten: Blue!

Moderator: Aren’t you just copying the PM when you say that?

Shorten: Of course I am, it’s his favourite colour, after all.

Morrison: Can I just interject? I mean, Bill Shorten is basically getting a free run here and I’m very upset that the ABC isn’t giving me a chance to point out that Mr Shorten is trying to suggest that he knows my favourite colour when clearly he has no idea.

Shorten: You just said it was blue!

Moderator: Please don’t interrupt! You’ve had a fair go.

Morrison: Thank you. This is just typical of the Labor Party. They think they can dictate people’s favourite colour and…

Shorten: I’m just quoting what you said. Personally I don’t care what anyone’s favourite colour is. I think it’s a matter of personal taste and I don’t think it’s really an issue.

Moderator: I’ll give the last word to you Mr Morrison. What are the dangers of voting Labor?

Morrison: it’s simple really. Labor will take away the incentive to work by forcing everyone to drive electric cars and they’ll drive up energy prices by refusing to even consider nuclear power which we’re not considering, and it was a total beat-up to suggest such a thing and they throw retirees into the sea.

Moderator: Very clear. Thanks to both of you.

Next day: Headline would be: “Shorten Refuses To Talk About Economy And Demands People Stop Talking About Colour Issues”

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Women Burning Dung, Notre Dame And A Fair Go!

There are lots of beggars in Barcelona…

When I say «lots of beggars», I simply mean that I’m noticing them. In my home town of Melbourne, I tend not to notice them because they’re part of the normal street scape and one can’t respond to all of them. Of course, when I say that, it’s a simple way of ignoring their plight and not responding to any of them.

Walking down the streets of Barcelona, I particularly liked the  one who had several cups in front of himself, each with a different sign. The signs read, “Food, Beer, Lambo, Weed, Disneyland”. While I still don’t know what “Lambo” is, I had to admire both his marketing strategy and his aspiration. After all, who hasn’t thought I won’t respond to this beggar because he’ll probably just waste the money on drugs. With the signs, it’s almost like you’re telling him, “Here, spend this wisely!” in fact, by putting money in the food container, it’s almost like you’re actively discouraging his drug use. And the “Disneyland” cup made me inclined to throw coins in his cup.

Unfortunately there’s an appeal on for Notre Dame and one has to get one’s priorities straight… (Ok, the real reason that I didn’t contribute to his Disneyland fund was that I’d just arrived and the smallest note I had was a twenty Euro note. However, I promise that if I see him again, I will lighten my pockets of all the silly coins I’ve acquired because of my inability to work out what they are when I’m trying to buy something.)

That’s the interesting thing, isn’t it? It’s easy to raise a billion quickly for the repair of the Cathedral, but philanthropy for those less fortunate is another matter entirely. I mean, I do understand the post on social media where the guy was lamenting that it was so hard to create beautiful things because as soon as you do, there’s somebody saying that the money is needed somewhere else. Of course, the reason that Notre Dame was pledged so much so quickly is very similar to reasons that I notice beggars in this city when I’m so impervious to them in my own. We’re all a bit blind to the normal state of affairs, but something out of the ordinary shocks us into doing something. It’s why we can let people die of cold in the streets but, should a building collapse and the same person is trapped alive, we’ll spend large sums of money trying to rescue them. It’s why we can ignore the plight of some countries on an every day basis, but open our wallets when we see some unexpected disaster on TV. Mind you, there are lots of disasters that we never hear about…

This is why Michelle Landry’s concern for those poor Indian women was so refreshing. She told ABC radio that the coal from Adani would be “going to hundreds of millions of Indians who do not have electricity … this is about women and families that are cooking over open fires in huts. They are burning cow dung. There is little ventilation in those huts.”

What a generous gesture! I mean, they must be having a go, so we need to give them a fair go, don’t we? Doesn’t it make you feel that all those hipster city folk, with their so-called love of the planet and their so-called climate change are just a little bit selfish? Denying these poor women access to the same electricity that makes their lattes?  The selfish bastards! I’ll bet they’d deny these same women access to plutonium so that instead of burning cow dung, they could all set up their own nuclear reactors.

Yes, it sounds good to suggest that the Adani coal is going to poor Indians who use open fires, but it completely ignores the reality of why this is happening. It’s not because of a lack of coal in India. It’s because they aren’t connected to the electrify grid. And, even if it were nearby, the people Landry is referring to would have even more trouble paying their electrify bill than those retirees we’re meant to be so worried about. ‘

You know, the retirees who won’t be able to afford to pay their electricity bill because they’ll lose $50,000 in franking credits and who’ll have to pay an extra $5000 when they buy their new car which will have to be a Tesla so they won’t be able to pull their caravans, because electric cars have no “grunt” and the weekend is lost for these “hardworking retirees”…

Before I go on, does “hardworking retirees” sound like a bigger oxymoron than “right wing think tank”?

Let’s completely ignore that the franking credits are, at most, 30% of their income from dividends. And income from super isn’t counted until it reaches a substantial amount. Let’s completely ignore the fact that those on even a part pension are exempt from the franking credits changes. Let’s  also ignore the idea that Labor isn’t introducing a “new car tax”, but simply insisting on similar emission standards to overseas countries. Apparently in spite of Barnaby Joyce, the Coalition seem to think that emissions are no problem. Let’s even forget the whole idea that somehow the “weekend” will be lost unless your car can make the sort of noises that make one glad to be a One Nation supporter.

No, none of these things are important, because Michelle Landry’s reasoning for allowing Adani wins her the: “I’m not sure if this politician is really this stupid or whether they really think we’re that gullible” prize for the election so far.

Still, it’s a strong field and I wouldn’t declare her over the line yet.

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Scott Morrison And The Function Stupidity of The Liberal Campaign

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

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

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

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

What happens when the future happens?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Liberal Philosophy: Not Everyone Can Ride Business Class

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adios.

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

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

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

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

Awesome, I say!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

slaves

Photo: bingo generator

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Winx Can Beat An Electric Car, Says Our ScoMo!

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

“Yes, can I help you?”

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

“Sorry?”

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

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

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

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

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

“This is really nothing to do with…”

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

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

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

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

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

“Buying a racehorse is a gamble!”

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

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

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

“Sir, you clearly aren’t listening.”

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

“Sir, you need to listen…”

“Come on, what harm would it do?”

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

“SAD?”

“Sky After Dark. It’s an acronym.

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

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

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

“Excuse me?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just think about that for a moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Q&A: Question And No Answer From Arthur…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If I was Treasurer this would be my budget:

Cut staffers by 70%

Cut MPs pay by 50%

Privatise ABC

Abolish 50% of depts

Let states tax individuals & companies

Get people off welfare by forcing them to read motivational books

No drought relief

Zero funding of global warming

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

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

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

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

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

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

A brochure arrived in the mail…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Either way, the election will be interesting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unless the Liberals have another leadership change before then!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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