Don’t you just love the suspense? A tiny peepshow of a lectern opens on your widescreen as Fauziah Ibrahim interrupts her “show” as she is wont to call ABC News 24; the PRIME MINISTER, is about to make an announcement (all brought to you less by the ABC than by mining magnate and Titanic liar, billionaire Wide-Boy Clive Palmer).
Indirectly. Clive’s $80 million negative advertising blitz on MSM and social media won the Coalition an election it fully expected to lose in 2019. Hence ScoMo’s massive, rorty cash splash. But how good were UAP’s anti-Labor, Shifty Shorten lies? Expect another round, when Morrison calls a snap khaki-Covid 2021 election with Lieutenant-General JJ Frewen in support; waiting at attention in the background.
There’s billions in the war chest, in large part, thanks to Liberal bag-man and Reaganite Josh Frydenberg who speaks softly and carries a big debt; his deficit binge is unprecedented. Of course it’s not all on our tab. It’s topped up by corporates and other donors with deep pockets but shallow arms when it comes to paying workers or taxes.
But how good’s the AEC now no-one can tell just how far you are open for business?
The AEC’s just come up with a nifty way of making it even harder to track donations – the new, you-beaut “other receipts” category in which donations over $14,300 are left to the discretion of giver or receiver, reports Luke Stacey for Michael West Media on the latest scam to corrupt our democracy.
But the money’s in the bag, as Bernard Keane notes, a pair of $100 billion deficits, the biggest in our history outside an economic crisis, despite unemployment being predicted to dip under five per cent.
“If the government can’t win an election with this cash splash, it should give up politics.”
And the PM’s always in election mode. Morrison’s legacy to Australian politics will not just be his petty point-scoring or his toxic hyperpartisanship – or behaving like a vainglorious lout – that all started with Abbott, who was also a notorious liar – nor his gargantuan gaming of funding schemes to funnel billions into electoral campaigns, nor as Bill Shorten says on ABC Insiders, his obsession with secrecy, running his government inside a “black box” – although any one of these would earn The Prime Gas Lighter undying notoriety, as would his lies, in any other government were it not so utterly, wantonly corrupt and inept.
This is what gaslighting looks like, tweets Bradpsychology.
March 2020: “I’m going to watch the Sharks while I still can.”
July 2020: “We’ve got to live with the virus.”
Yesterday: “I’ve been calling this a national emergency for two years.”
Whilst this is, indeed, Olympic class gas-lighting, Morrison will go down in history as the PM who pork-barrelled vaccines. He’s got something up his sleeve. Gladys has been publicly begging other states for their share of vax so that she can be seen to be doing something other than pleading with the great unwashed from her balcony. All of this runs through your mind while you try to follow Fauzia but that peephole is so distracting.
Perhaps the PM will roll out a barrel of vax Friday, you wonder, as he’s about to dash out of another COAG, meeting, which it suits him to dress up as “National Cabinet”; the delusion of a constitutional nincompoop but a grandiose title, Morrison feels can only add to his importance. Ionesco worried about how such abuse of language robbed us of our individuality and humanity. To say nothing of integrity and truth.
But it bigs our Bald Prima Donna up – as he shrewdly calculates.
As does keeping the nation waiting. Yet he’s got to be careful with the optics.
Big-noting yourself can backfire a bit in politics as in the real life. Hubris, the ancient Greeks called it, excessive pride, violating the bounds set for humans. And it was punished by the gods. Well, the PM is being put back in his box by Pfizer.
Morrison keeps us waiting even when his presser’s held at his home at Kirribilli. As it almost always is now. No good knocking. Clearly, like the porter in Macbeth, Morrison has a bit of trouble opening his own door. The Porter, nevertheless, has Morrison The Prime Equivocator’s number in Macbeth;
Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator.
Why it was only in May that Scotty modestly declared victory over Covid. We are “out of the emergency phase” he says. Disbands his Covid Commission Advisory Board. Job done. Mission accomplished. Huge back-pat of self in public. Group hugs. Selfie sticks a-hoy. Stellar A-listers, such as Jane Halton, a former chair of what Paul Barratt agrees was the “appallingly named” People Smuggling Task Force – of Babies Overboard and Crown notoriety can always get a government out of a tight spot.
Halton has been a boon also to Crown’s board despite a fragile memory, although counsel assisting the NSW Crown Resorts casino inquiry, Adam Bell SC, accuses her of playing semantics. Splitting hairs, playing semantics or casuistry is a big part of the Canberra Babel-bubble that is ScoMo-town.
The COVID-19 Commission Advisory Board was established by the federal government to have a go-to panel of experts that would help it ‘troubleshoot in the crisis management phase of the pandemic’ Morrison bullshits, but don’t you love his officalese? You can tell he’s an apparatchik from way back by his verbiage. Today, three states in lockdown may be cursing the PM for his boondoggle.
Nifty Nev Power, formerly of Fortescue Metals and other business-class blowhards were supposedly meeting, and pooling their experience; “looking at things from a business perspective”. AKA putting the foxes in charge of the henhouse.
How do we profit out of Covid? It’s beyond business types to think of others. Pop over in our private jet to Dr Albert Bourla the Pfizer-Kaiser, uncrowned emperor of the Southern world? Go down on bended knee? Never was going to happen.
Ensure we had adequate supplies of vaccine secured? A viable distribution or quarantine system? Never crosses their minds unless they can cut a deal. If only CSL and AstraZeneca had paid off. Morrison’s Covid commission con will cost him dearly. Some of the tamed estate are already connecting the dots between the Prime Time Waster, the pandemic and his criminal neglect of critical responsibilities.
Of course, like leading the world and being at the head of the queue it was another Morrison con. The outcome, after a year of expensive deliberations, was the “gas-led recovery” another pipe-dream. Gas will be so costly it will impede any recovery. Not to mention its dirty little secret – methane emissions. No-one could call it green energy. We’ll soon be paying an external carbon tax because we ditched our own.
Yet Power’s ploy serves the gas industry. Appeases the mining industry. Wins votes in Queensland electorates and in big mining muppet Joel Fitzgibbon’s benighted Hunter.
“Remember, my value is: we look after our mates,” Morrison told us 6 September 2018.
And ourselves first. Like a self-inflating Michelin man, Scotty’s been puffing himself up ever since he bought his miracle win. Yet, at the risk of hurting thin-skinned Clive’s feelings, we can’t leave Murdoch’s puffery out of the picture. Nor its uncanny capacity to turn on ScoMo’s frenemies.
Witness the Daily Tele’s bagging Glad recently. Papped as she and new beau, defamation silk, Arthur Moses SC, duck out unmasked on a morning coffee run.
How very dare she? Her mask-wearing rules are “ambiguous”, thunders the Tele. My, the PMO’s fixer has been busy. The Australian’s Katrina Grace Kelly also does a reverse ferret back-flip, (UK journo Kelvin MacKenzie held that a good reporter should stick a ferret up a public figure’s trousers), based on the Northern sport of ferret-legging. Fawning and flattery saw him run out of his office shouting, “Reverse Ferret!”
MacKenzie would keep very fit in Australia media establishments. KG Kelly, too is exercised, even though her gymnastics may be triggered by a press drop from a PMO fixer. Whatever its origin, the rebuke is clear. And a fair call.
“The NSW government must be held to account. Its actions endanger its own people and the rest of the nation. Failure will cause misery, illness and death, and eliminate our one strategic advantage – isolation and international border closures.”
But it’s not just a pliant press, billion dollar handouts to the likes of Gerry Harvey, via the heavily rorted JobKeeper and powerful media mogul mates prop up our dud PM – whom Hugh McKay says is not even a good salesman;
“In the world of commercial product marketing, brand integrity matters. Honesty matters. Sincerity matters. Delivering on your promises matters. And so does some grasp of the psychology of communication. Yet Morrison shows no evidence that he understands any of this.”
Along with a fawning claque of press gallery courtiers posing as reporters, credit for Morrison’s miracle win and the stupor mundi that is his rapidly unravelling misgovernment is also due to carparks in the air, SportsRorts© – dwarfed tenfold or eleven according to Michael Pascoe by the Community Development Grants program and pork-barrelling; an election bought with rorts; so on the nose that you get a fishy whiff every time Morrison is due to speak.
A fish rots from the head down, but this government is also rotten to the core. From Robo-debt’s extortion of the poor and the tightening of NDIS – a sadistic cruelty which McKay believes Morrison appears to enjoy – through to the 1000% mark up on the Leppington triangle land for a Liberal donor, wall to wall corruption.
From leaking against Julia Banks and David Sharaz, partner of Brittany Higgins, whose alleged rapist appears to have vanished, to the $3.7 million the government is prepared to spend in the prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery – just to deter to any would-be whistle blowers in the future – corruption.
It’s a study in putrescence rotten with sleaze, self-interest, scams, rorts and malice aforethought.
South Korean contemporary sculpture and installation artist Lee Bul, whose work “questions patriarchal authority and the marginalization of women by revealing ideologies that permeate our cultural and political sphere” captures our federal government’s essence with her Majestic Splendour, (1991-2018) a series of sequin-covered rotting fish she displayed at London’s Hayward Gallery.
Tragically, Majestic Splendour catches fire as it is being removed. Lee had added potassium permanganate to attenuate the stench. In an otherwise flawless 1997 showing at New York’s MoMa, Majestic Splendour’s stench makes visitors puke. But the chemical is also an accelerant.
Only minimal damage is done to the gallery thanks to the London Metropolitan Fire Brigade who are quick on the scene to extinguish the exploding fish but Morrison may not be so lucky.
Trashing Labor helps. Flash forward to Saturday’s Dan Bash. Richard Willingham tells ABC viewers that “frustration is mounting” with the Victorian government when a trio of orchestrated demonstrations against lockdown, vaccination, 5G, reason and common-sense, bring thousands into the streets of Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. Things turn ugly. Violent. A man punches a police-horse in Sydney.
Dan is almost done according to Willingham who detects “a general shittiness around the community over the latest lockdown. His article’s headline reads,
“Premier Andrews needs to offer hope to ease mounting anger, but it’s a nearly impossible task”
Oddly, apart from the PM’s favoured Newscorp stable, there is generally less censure for Gladys. But give it time.
For Sydney in a Clayton’s lockdown, there are fears that this will prove a super-spreader. The super-spreader, however, is Morrison who’s knocked back vaccines offered by the almighty Pfizer Corporation, failed to discharge the federal government’s responsibility for quarantine and totally failed the supply and distribution challenges of a vaccine roll-out. But what will be his spiel on Friday?
We are besides ourselves in anticipation.
No. He’s not coming out to tell us he didn’t shit himself in Engadine Maccas. He did that a week ago on Sydney radio’s top-rating Kyle and Jackie O Show, while the city is locked down in a pandemic of epic proportions for, which Morrison is largely responsible. He brings it up, himself. Priorities.
When Gladys was on KIIS she came bearing gifts, a set of cuff-links for a man who never wears a shirt and a bottle of red and a white. That’s when she swore she would never ever impose a lockdown.
But look over there. Up pops a lonely lectern in a little picture frame all on its own down low. It’s OK, you can still read the chyron. How good is a single wooden prop to build our mounting excitement? Waiting for ScoMo. There’s a lot of Beckett’s theatre of the absurd about the entire Morrison production. He’s kept us all waiting for years. And frustrated. Existential angst? Who can forget the balding prima donna’s bravura performance in The Boat Stoppers, a long-running theatre of cruelty soap opera?
At first a weekly presser with a mute, uniformed Angus Campbell doing backup vocals as ScoMo militarised our compassion. No. You can’t ask questions about any on water matter. National security is at stake. Then the weekly Canberra soapie moved to Sydney so ScoMo could be home for tea. After a few heady, histrionics from the man who would keep us all safe, the pressers became more infrequent until they petered about altogether, in line with every enterprise Morrison has ever been involved in.
The suspense of awaiting his Prime-ness to bless us with his presence mounts as Scott Almighty Morrison keeps the nation waiting, as he does last Friday, only to bust out of the almost suburban door of the Lodge, interior all done up nicely on a frugal budget of $8.8 million by Tony Abbott and his Canberra landlady Peta Credlin.
Tragically, Abbo never got to move in thanks to Fizza Turnbull knifing him and the Morrisons are never there, expect on sufferance, under Covid.
And the last Trump shall sound. Morrison dashes out of the Lodge to appear at a greatly relieved lectern. His face is a study. Things are not going well in the National Cabinet. The premiers have been used to fighting the pandemic by themselves and now for the PM it’s like herding cats. Morrison’s upstaged by his own pretension. Mike Seccombe’s impeccable contacts give us the inside story.
Straight into the call, the New South Wales government minister was ripping into Scott Morrison. The prime minister had two jobs, he said: roll out the vaccination program and fix the quarantine system. “And he stuffed it.”
When it was suggested to the minister that he sounded as if he was reciting Anthony Albanese’s talking points, he replied: “Well Albo’s absolutely correct.”
The Lodge looks scruffy on the outside. Needs a paint job. No wonder ScoMo spurns it in preference to playing King of Kirribilli. But then again, he has tickets on his tickets on himself. He is as Katharine Murphy says, aspirational; a project still in process.
Morrison’s speech is ordinary, too, when at last we get to hear it. He’s an Olympic standard word salad tosser and a Gish galloper who’s almost impossible to parse or follow. Sets out to overwhelm his audience with as many arguments as possible, with no regard for the accuracy, validity, or relevance of those arguments.
The Delta variant completely changes the game, he tells us. And off he gallops using a favourite personal brow-beater, the completely spurious list. My, how he loves to list information already well known. It gives him time to think, of course; a temporizer, but it’s also a tactic he knows will wear his listeners down. Here he goes
“… the Delta variant presents a very fresh challenge and we have to adapt and we have to change on occasions how we do things, just as countries are all around the world, whether they be in Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, indeed of course here in Australia and across Europe and other parts of the world. That’s the nature of the Delta variant.”
Masochistic readers can enjoy the full text of his edited presser themselves. By the second paragraph he’s come up with the solution. We’ve got to soldier on.
“So, in New South Wales, as we continue to combat this in Sydney, what I want to say to those in Sydney is we’ve got to press on. We’ve got to continue to show that strength. We’ve got to continue to support each other. There are no easy solutions here. There are no silver bullets, just as there were not last year when Victoria went through their prolonged lockdown. This thing only gets beaten by suppressing it. Of course, vaccines can put wind at the back of those who are trying to achieve that outcome, and that’s what we have to do.”
If only we’d remembered to buy the vaccines, which are morphing here from a shot in the arm to a tailwind for those of us who are keen to stay alive or out of an ICU. If only we’d got them into peoples’ arms. We’ve had plenty of time to do both.
Spoiler alert: the day after his presser in which he publicly sends Gladys “Oliver” Berejiklian, who dares asks for more, away with an empty vax bowl, in another Oliver Twist (remember he played the Artful Dodger in his High School production, in 1982 – the PM or his fixer comes up with a solution. He has a secret stash of vaccine.
Sceptics wonder if this just a virtual surplus vaccine derived by extending the Pfizer second shot from three to six weeks – against all medical advice.
(“I’d Do Anything” is the anthem of the resourceful pickpocket and street urchin). So well cast. Right on cue, The Dodger finds some more vaccine in a national stockpile that must have fallen down the back of the sofa – no- not that sofa. The next day.
As the learned Dr Sheep Devil Person aka Dr Jennifer Wilson tweets,
Morrison says he has “found” 280,000 Pfizer doses. But he couldn’t “find” anything when Queensland asked two weeks ago? Only the most vile person would play games with vaccines in this way.
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