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Barnaby’s Having A Baby OR What We Miss When We Focus On The Soap Opera!

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!


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  1. Terry2

    Senator Ian MacDonald, that filibuster specialist of the Right, said in parliament last week that Adani had already employed some 800 people in the Townsville area .
    When you consider that Adani themselves have only estimated 1500 employees tops when the project is up and running, you have to ask what’s going on, who’s spinning the truth ?

  2. helvityni

    Focussing on the soap opera has certainly made it clear to me that it’s OK for the Libs and Nats to shout about Labor siders’ private lives, but leave theirs well alone… Double standards?

  3. Kaye Lee

    That was an interesting statement from MacDonald.

    “Already 800 families have been employed in the Townsville region by the Adani company as part of their railway line construction for the coal fields in the Galilee Basin”

    Then on his facebook page he makes the correction

    (*my reference to 800 jobs in Townsville should actually relate to Central and North Queensland not just Townsville)

    But then we find……

    Hundreds of people are taking part in training programs for work on Adani’s railway line between the Abbot Point coal terminal and its coal mine in the Galilee Basin.

    Townsville resident Sonya Hirvonen, who has been unemployed for six months, said the training was a good opportunity for her community.

    “They can’t guarantee us a job, but at the end of the day it’s up to us to do what we want to do,” she said “[It’s proving] to the wider community and the whiter community that we don’t like to be dole bludgers.”

    Then some group called Townsville Enterprise Ltd, who is pushing very hard for Adani to go ahead says, “The Townsville North Queensland region is already experiencing a boost to its economy as a result of the project, with over 200 people employed in the Regional Headquarters based in Townsville. Tenders and contracts have also been awarded to local businesses, supplies are coming through the Port of Townsville and our city will be one of two FIFO hubs for the project. ”

    What sort of supplies? Office stationery? What sort of contracts? Supplying lunch for the office staff? I find it very hard to believe that 200 people are employed in the office of a project that doesn’t even have finance yet let alone actually doing anything.

    I can only find one advertised job for Adani and it’s for a paper shuffler

  4. Pappinbarra fox

    Helvityni writes: OK for the Libs and Nats to shout about Labor siders’ private lives, but leave theirs well alone… Double standards. What happened to Julia Gillard is well beyond double standards – there are no standards in the LIBNAT attack on her and her partner, I was physically sick hearing some of the things said and written. They proved to me that they are low life scum who deserve no respect and no quarter should be given to their treatment. Tanya was way too muted in Insiders this morning, in fact she did not look well at all. Hope that’s not the case.

  5. diannaart

    Yep, it’s the 99% of Liberals that give the rest a bad name.

    Loving that one Rossleigh.

    Now, about this:

    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.

    Yes but, no but, yes but. OK it is a truism that money talks and everything else winds up in the toilet.

    BUT, would there be as much change away from coal mining without “greens”? That mob which not only includes inner-city latte sippers but actual scientists and people capable of seeing the benefits of transitioning off burning lumps of carbon to turn the big wheels of industry into more (lucrative) sustainable forms of energy generation?

    Not burning coal – not just fiduciary sense but actual sense.

  6. guest

    Meanwhile the WE Australian is trying to make Labor’s luke-warm stance on Adani as a “blunder’ which could cost votes – and they use comments by Jenny Hill to support Coalition propaganda.

    So the Murdoch media is persisting with the claim that the Adani mine will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in North Queenslan per year to be burnt overseas. There is scarcely a mention of Climate Change, which is seen as merely part of the “slow-burn tensions”arising from this $16.5bn project: “the clash between jobs and the reef, coal and climate change, city versus region, blue-collar workers’ mores against green-tinted idealism.”

    So the authors of this piece set up false dichotomies, this versus that. Jenny Hill tells us that “Everyone wants to be part of the Australian dream” and will not be dictated to by places such as Sydney and Melbourne, because this is about money and jobs. But of course it is not just about jobs and North Queensland and local politics. It is about the wisdom of ignoring the science and playing political games by fondling a lump of coal in Parliament House to try to convince us about the existence of “clean coal”. For such sceptics and ideological gamers, Climate Change does not exist, or is not worth worrying about. It is about the money, stupid!

    Nor is it just about Adani and its demands for funds for a railway line and airport. There are other players in the Galilee Basin as Barnaby reminds us: Gina Rinehart and India’s Reddy family.

    So also, behind the farce of Barnaby’s dalliance is the pea-and-thimble trick of shuffling the mother-to-be from one job to another – and we are not supposed to notice or the make comment. Jobs are jobs, however they are made.

  7. Frank Smith

    “Well, it’s – let’s not talk about so much Adani. Let’s talk about the Galilee Basin.”

    My immediate take on hearing that comment from Barnaby was that Adani is going to fall over, but we still need to protect Gina’s interests in the massive GVK-Hancock proposed mines at Alpha, Alpha West and Kevin’s Corner in the Galilee Basin. Development of those mines may also be under threat now following last week’s announcement that Aurizon has withdrawn its application for North Australian Infrastructure Facility funding to build the line to the Galilee Basin. Barnaby has been in Gina’s pocket for years, together with Sophie (remember her? Sophie from Indi, former submarine expert and now mining and cattle station expert). Former Barnaby staffer and now Senator Canavan is also near the top of Gina’s guest list.

  8. guest

    Sorry, beginning of 2nd paragraph should read: “So the Murdoch media is persisting with the claim that the Adani mine will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in North Queensland by digging up and shipping 64m tonnes of coal per year to be burnt overseas.”

  9. Rossleigh

    Fair point, diannaart, lots of businesses are changing practices because of the sorts of activism that green groups have undertaken. However, in the case of Adani, it was more about the economics than the desire to be good citizens..

  10. diannaart


    It will be economics which will drag most of the fiducially compromised over the line towards what should be common sense.

    How much damage will occur until then? We can only hope that the “innovative” can manage to mitigate some if not all irreversible change to our environment.

    “innovative” being in quotes due to being poisoned by neo-liberals.

  11. Rossleigh

    Interesting snippet from September 2016: “LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Joining me from Tamworth is the acting Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce.

    “Thank you very much for being with us. Just in case any viewers are wondering, we should point out you’ve had some skin cancers removed, you haven’t been in a fist fight or anything?

    “BARNABY JOYCE, ACTING PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, that’s correct. I’ve just got a cream on it. This is what you get as payment for working out in the sun as a young fella.

    “It’s not my wife beating me up. It’s the sun.”

  12. New England Cocky

    Excellent article, thank you.

    I see the relevant point as the GVK Hancock proposal to develop a railway line from the Galilee Basin to Abbott’s Point to allow export of coal and huge profits for Auntie Gina who is reported as retaining a 20% stake in the company. Barnyard scuttled across to Infrastructure, shafting Darren Chester in his desire to ensure that the $1 BILLION of NAIF funding would find its way towards this project where his political patron has an interest. Well, what did you expect for a $50,000.00 correctly documented political donation; pumpkin scones??

    Karen Middleton in the Saturday Paper edition immediately before Christmas 2017 (pay wall) reported this matter in some detail, and it may account for the $40,000 “unemployment benefits” from Auntie Gina that Barnyard accepted then was forced to return by public opinion during the Kiwi bye-election.

    Entrepreneurs pay politicians to make profits for entrepreneurs.

  13. Cassandra

    Over the past few days LNP’ers have come out saying that they can reveal indiscretions with the opposition – do they mean stuff ONLY related to the ALP’ers jobs? Or, do they mean, “private matters”? Again, with the hypocrisy. Apparently there might be a couple of ALP ministers set to be outed.

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