Yes, it’s certainly been a week! Lots and lots of exciting things happening in the world of politics.
On Friday,I heard that strong argument for gene pools needing lifeguards, Georgina Downer, complaining about trial by media when discussing Robert Doyle. While I get the point that one’s reputation shouldn’t be trashed on the basis of one allegation which could prove false, and while it’s true that one false allegation could lead to others, it’s also true that when public figures are accused of wrongdoing, the voters have a right to know. Otherwise, it may look like a cover-up when it’s discovered that the media knew that Mr So-and-So has been doing such-and-such for years and nobody ever reported it because they considered his criminal behaviour part of his private life. This is a general reference and nothing to do with Robert Doyle who may – for all I know – be innocent of all the accusations made against him. Personally, I have no evidence that he was even Lord Mayor beyond what I read in the paper.
Some Liberals seem to be trying to portray Robert Doyle as a bit of a victim who was denied due process, which is strange because Doyle resigned before responding to the accusations claiming that it was a situation where he was being required to prove his innocence.
While not wishing to contribute to the so-called trial by media, I’ll just make a general comment that it always difficult to prove one’s innocence when one is guilty.
Jeff Kennett reminded everyone of why he was Victoria’s precursor to Donald Trump by suggesting that Doyle’s treatment was unfair, because it “took two to tango”. Mm, not sure what his point was. Is he suggesting that women who are assaulted are to blame for having a body? I wonder if the guy who head-butted Tony could plead the Jeff defence of it taking two to tango. I’m sorry that the journalist didn’t follow-up with a question about how many does it take for line dancing.
Yep, it’s the 99% of Liberals that give the rest a bad name.
Kennett was the first politician I remember to keep things out of the spotlight by claiming “commercial in confidence”. We, the taxpayer, couldn’t know the details of contracts signed in our name because they were being made as part of some arrangement and companies are allowed to keep things secret. Which sounds fair enough, until one considers that it’s not just potentially a way to prevent anyone finding out if a deal is corrupt, but it’s also not true. Listed companies have to report their dealings to the stock market. Again, I’m not suggesting that any of the deals were corrupt. I’m just saying that, if they had been, we wouldn’t know.
These days, however, Jeff could have simply claimed that it’s a private matter between him and the company. Just as the PM tried to do when asked about the job which was apparently created for the mother of Barnaby’s love-child. None of our business that a new highly paid position suddenly appeared in Matt Canavan’s office. Who created it and why? Matt’s mum?
However, let’s forget the soap opera of who did what to whom and how could they when he looks like a bloated toad, for a moment.
I’d like to focus instead on something our Deputy PM said in his interview with Leigh Sales when he was asserting his right to a private life because – unlike the rest of his family – his new baby wasn’t going to put on display in the next election campaign. No, it was nothing to do with whether the pregnancy was a planned one or whether he refused to practice safe sex because of his religious beliefs. No, indeedy, his private life had nothing whatsoever to do with the statement. I am talking about his highly interesting response to the question on Adani:
“Well, it’s – let’s not talk about so much Adani. Let’s talk about the Galilee Basin.
“The Galilee Basin is so vitally important for jobs. In that part of Australia, where unemployment is so high, if you go to people in that area and say, “Well, look, we’re not – you know, these jobs are on offer,” and then people say, “Oh, well, those jobs are somehow immoral. You shouldn’t take them,” then they rightly say in north Queensland, “Well, what job are you offering me?” And usually there is no other job.”
Then when he was asked if the specific project would go ahead, he responded:
“Well, that’s a question – like, that’s a question for Adani: as to whether it can go ahead. But if you said we should develop the Galilee Basin: yes, we should. And should there be a railway line, built by somebody, from the Galilee Basin to a port? Of course there should. I mean, that is how we drive the economy forward.
“And calling it all about Adani is like saying that the Hunter Valley is all about Peabody Coal. It’s not. It’s a resource that we need to develop if we want to earn export dollars, so we can maintain the standard of living that everybody expects we should have.”
So it seems that even Barnaby Joyce, who doesn’t see the problem with exporting coal, is beginning to understand the point about Adani. You have about as much chance getting the banks to finance a coal mine as a new factory for buggy whips. While the various green groups can argue that it was their pressure that led to the big four banks announcing that they wouldn’t be backing Adani, in truth it was more to do with the banks sticking to that old-fashioned idea that they only lend to people where there’s a reasonable chance of them repaying the loan.
Mr Joyce’s answer seems to suggest that the government will be preparing the ground for Adani’s pull-out.
Bill Shorten has, of course, been attracting a lot of flack for Labor’s position on Adani. For those of you who haven’t been able to follow it, their actual position is this:
“We don’t want to say anything which the LNP will jump on and suggest that we’re anti-jobs in Queensland, but we don’t want to support it too heavily because we’ll lose votes to The Greens. Either way, we’re stuffed, so the best thing we can do is to pretend we like it until it all falls over and then we can just suggest that it was all the fault of the Government. Basically, we’re caught in a pretty nasty wedge and the sooner people realise that what we do has absolutely no relevance one way or another, the better!.”
Interestingly, it’s the socialist Labor Party who are saying that we shouldn’t be spending government money to help this private company create jobs for tax accountants in the Cayman Islands. The Coalition, on the other hand, think that it would be good to exempt Adani from royalties and taxes, lend them lots and lots of money and ensure that they don’t have to take any financial risks because, while we believe in small government, that only applies when talking about things like adequately staffing Centrelink, not when splashing money to ensure that a dodgy company pretends it’s going to create jobs. Which sort of begs the question: If the Australian taxpayer is taking on all the risk, why don’t we just mine it ourselves and keep the profits?
Well, I guess the most intelligent response to that is the fact that coal may end up being a dud investment and that it would just be silly to waste taxpayers money like that.
Better to lend it to Adani and let them waste it!