A Tale Of Two Leaders But Whatever You…

A few days ago, I was tempted to write a scathing piece…

Punishing the Unvaccinated: Europe’s COVID-19 Health Experiment

Forget any notions of juicy carrots; the stick approach of savage punishment…

Undermining trust in institutions is a dangerous game…

The longer the Coalition remain in power, the greater their arrogance and…

The Morrison enigma

By Ad astra It’s becoming alarming. Every day our Prime Minister becomes more…

If Gladys is a “great candidate”, our country…

By TBS Newsbot Gladys Berejiklian managing to resign in disgrace, face the ICAC…

Let’s be clear, Gladys Berejiklian is being investigated…

Over the last few days, there has been a full court press…

Omicron and the Travel Ban Itch

Stick to the script: owe that duty of care to your population,…

So, who's the boofhead, actually?

While it may be fair for us, the hoi polloi, to address…

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Category Archives: News and Politics

A Tale Of Two Leaders But Whatever You Do Don’t Say It’s A Race!

A few days ago, I was tempted to write a scathing piece about Adam Bandt’s response to Labor’s 43% target. You know the sort of thing, point out that complaining that Labor wasn’t going hard enough and how well that’s worked as a strategy over the past few years. Like when the Greens got together with the Coalition and blocked Kevin Rudd’s plan for an emissions trading scheme because it wasn’t ambitious enough.

But then I though I’d have to be even handed and point out all Labor’s faults, like Joel Fitzgibbon.

And then I imagined all the comments where some Green supporter would accuse Labor of just being interested in power and some Labor supporter would fight back and accuse the Greens of being naive and then some anti-vaxxer would say how none of it matters because everyone will be dead before climate change happens because the non-vaccinated are being sprayed with Covid at rallies and the vaccines will kill all those who are vaccinated and we need more people to go the rallies to fight the government who’s killing the enlightened and then someone would say that vaccines never killed anyone and then someone else would link to a website which explained how investing in gold is the only way to preserve your wealth after the whole system crashes due to Bill Gates being a socialist.

So, I decided it was probably safer just to stick to Gladys, who isn’t the Liberal candidate for Warringah

When I say that she isn’t the candidate for Warringah I’m simply being factual. I could just as easily say that she isn’t the candidate for Bennelong but then I’d start a lot of speculation about whether she’s been approached for the former but she’s holding out for the later because she doesn’t want to tackle a seat that she might lose.

No, really, I know that nobody is reporting what I just wrote and there are two reasons that nobody is reporting it: 1. They’re all too busy reporting the government line that she might be standing for Warringah and 2. It’s a total fabrication.

Of course, that second point hasn’t stopped all the media salivating like Pavlov’s dogs every time a member of the government rings a bell.

I don’t see Gladys standing for a number of reasons:

  1. How do the Liberals counter the obvious? She had to stand down as premier because ICAC were investigating her for misconduct and conflicts of interest, but we don’t worry about such things in Canberra.
  2. Then there’s also the: So this why she resigned her seat and didn’t merely stand down as Premier; she was planning this all along. She’s just turned her back on the people of NSW in their hour of need.
  3. The whole Morrison strategy is to talk her up and then say that she won’t stand because an unelected body like ICAC has stood in her way, and isn’t it good that we haven’t rushed into having a federal integrity body!
  4. There’s a distinct possibility that she’d be in Opposition, which might mean that she could become the Opposition leader but it’s hardly the sort of gig that one would willingly take on when you could just try for a much better paying job lobbying for Wagga.
  5. Even if the Liberals won the next election, she’d have to go to Canberra and listen to Scott Morrison’s speeches in the party room.

Of course, I could be wrong, but whatever – the media is full of the idea that the election campaign has started because Morrison is doing lots of photo opportunities and Albo is releasing policies. Personally, I think that Morrison doing photo opportunities is him getting on with what he perceives his job to be, but maybe I’m getting too cynical after seeing this year’s photo of him putting up the same Christmas decorations while totally ignoring basic ladder safety like having someone hold the ladder and putting it somewhere near the thing your placing in position.

Whatever – I thought that the events of the weekend gave voters a tough choice: Albanese who announced a policy on extra TAFE and university places and Morrison who got driven round in circles by the person in the driver’s seat. Ok, it may not seem like a tough choice but last time voters elected the man who wasn’t in the driver’s seat and was content to go round in circles.

 

Image from au.sports.yahoo.com (Picture by Channel 7)

 

Still I did enjoy Leigh Sales hard-hitting question to Chris Bowen last night about electric cars, which – if I leave out a large chunk of the interview – seemed to be: When will an electric car be the same price as a Hyundai i30 – was that an ad on the ABC? Leigh should be counselled! She then suggested that a Tesla was around $70,000 and that this was the sort of question that the average person wanted to know. Personally, I’d like to know when I can get a new Mercedes for the same price as the i30 because the fact that she was comparing a small affordable car with a luxury model like the Tesla seemed a rather strange comparison. So when are Aston Martins going to be as affordable as the Nissan Leaf, Leigh? I think that’s what we all want to know!!

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Undermining trust in institutions is a dangerous game to play

The longer the Coalition remain in power, the greater their arrogance and disregard for our institutions grows.

I don’t expect any better from that idiot George Christensen who recently appeared on the far right wing conspiracy show Infowars spruiking a whole lot of anti-government crap. He is as mad as a hatter and will be gone at the next election. Likewise Criag Kelly hopefully. Good riddance.

The fact that Morrison and Joyce are too scared to “poke the bear” and tell him to pull his head in, their failure to decisively denounce the misinformation, is yet another example of the problems caused by the lack of leadership in our government.

Parents know that children must be taught to respect boundaries and that they themselves must set a good example for their children to follow.

We now find ourselves in a position where both the Prime Minister and his Deputy are telling us that we need to get government out of our lives. They give approval to protests demanding that health orders be overturned in the name of freedom. They ignore the warnings from security agencies that far right-wing groups are infiltrating and leading these protests and the threats to health staff and politicians, and are deliberately fuelling anger towards state premiers.

We also have our leaders waging a shameful attack on the NSW ICAC, describing it as a kangaroo court and pre-empting the results of their investigation into Gladys Berejiklian, presumptuously suggesting that no evidence of wrongdoing had been found.

This disdain for the legal system isn’t an isolated case.

Greg Hunt, Alan Tudge and Michael Sukkar barely escaped contempt charges after they criticised the highest court in Victoria during an active terrorism appeal. In comments published in the Australian, they described the court as an “ideological experiment” run by “hard-left activist judges”.

Peter Dutton, as Home Affairs Minister, launched a similar attack on the Victorian judicial system, blaming the state’s street crime on the appointment of “civil libertarians” to the courts. Dutton also claimed Victorians were “bemused” when they looked “at the jokes of sentences being handed down” due to “political correctness that’s taken hold”.

Attacks on statutory bodies began very early on with the evisceration of Gillian Triggs for being the face of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report on children in detention which Tony Abbott described as a “blatantly partisan politicised exercise and the Human Rights Commission ought to be ashamed of itself. it would be a lot easier to respect the Human Rights Commission if it did not engage in what are transparent stitch ups.”

There have also been unrelenting attacks on the ABC, now described as the “Ultimo wokehive”. The really galling part is the government’s reliance on the ABC’s investigative work for so much of their policing and evidence for Royal Commissions. They also rely on it every time there is a disaster. Yet they want to sell it off because they sometimes expose government failings too.

The Freedom of Information Office and the Auditor-General have both had their funding slashed because answering questions about what you are doing is way too inconvenient.

Equally unrelenting has been their attack on unions. The demise of union membership and power has coincided with erosion of workplace entitlements, loss of job security and increased casualisation of the workforce, countless examples of exploitation and underpayment, a rise in workplace accidents, and flat lining of wages. The workers no longer have the right to withdraw their labour without incurring significant penalty.

Public education has been undermined with culture wars waged about the curriculum. Stop wasting time on critical thinking and get back to rote learning.

The hysterical reaction to, and demonisation of, the anti-bullying respectful relationships Safe Schools program was beyond ridiculous. Teachers had asked for advice and professional development on making LGBTI kids safe and reducing their profound distress and social isolation. But according to then Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi, the program instead “indoctrinates kids with a Marxist cultural relativism”, with George Christensen stating it is tantamount to a “paedophile grooming a child”.

Climate change deniers in parliament have eroded confidence in our scientific institutions like the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. Their tireless efforts to present us with evidence are dismissed as alarmism or fake news. Their ongoing research into mitigation and adaptation is ignored in favour of support for pollution as usual.

It seems the only people we can trust are ScoMo and Barnaby, backed up by the church, the police and Dutton’s army, any criticism of whom will be seen as unpatriotic heresy.

That all of this is done for purely political purposes is quite legitimate apparently, though it does inevitably lead to humiliating backflips and apologies. The real worry is that, having let the dogs off the chain, this government is rapidly losing control of the pack.

 

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The Morrison enigma

By Ad astra

It’s becoming alarming. Every day our Prime Minister becomes more verbose, more shouty, more insistent. The old-fashioned word ‘blatherskite’ comes to mind. Listen to him as he fronts journalists, answers questions in Question Time, or delivers his characteristic off-the-cuff oratory on any subject he chooses, from protestors to carbon capture and storage to electric cars.

In a cute appraisal in The Guardian you can read how Sarah Martin mocked his electric car approach with these acerbic words:

In a galling pivot, Scott Morrison hopes he can peek under the bonnet of an EV and be accepted as a convert.

Not so long ago he said Labor’s electric cars policy would ‘end the weekend’, and now he’s spruiking his own plan, but there’s no substance to it.

It’s hard to say which element of Scott Morrison’s new electric vehicle strategy is most galling. If you missed the unveiling on Tuesday, there’s not much to catch up on, given the strategy has all the substance of a Corn Thin.

The Coalition’s “strategy” for electric vehicle take-up contains $178m of government spending on EV infrastructure but no new policies, just like its “Australian Way” plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It rebuffs calls for vehicle emissions standards and provides no market signal to incentivise take-up – the two measures viewed by experts as the most important to drive change.

But while a policy document three years in the making that is entirely bereft of substance is certainly offensive, it is nowhere near as galling as the way in which Morrison expects voters to forgive and forget the Coalition’s position on electric vehicles ahead of the 2019 election.

As he unveiled the government’s new clean car policy that embraced electric cars, Morrison attempted to deflect accusations of hypocrisy by denying he had attacked electric vehicles before the 2019 federal election when he had insisted Labor would “end the weekend”.

The government has already ruled out subsidising the expansion of electric and hybrid vehicles through rebates or tax breaks, saying it expected only 30% of new sales to be EVs by 2030 – a date by which a growing number of countries plan to ban altogether the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

The “future fuels and vehicles strategy” instead includes $178m of new funding, mostly for new EV and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and to help businesses set up charging stations for fleets. It said the government would “co-invest with industry” to install an estimated 50,000 smart chargers in homes. Under questioning at a press conference in Melbourne, Morrison denied he had criticised EV technology before the last election. But the records show that at that time he had insisted: ”battery-powered cars would ‘not tow your trailer’; ‘not tow your boat’; ‘not get you out to your favourite camping spot with your family’.” Touché!

Morrison claimed his criticism had been limited to Labor’s then-policy, not the technology itself, and that he did not regret saying EVs would “end the weekend”.

“I don’t have a problem with electric vehicles, I have a problem with governments telling people what to do and what vehicles they should drive and where they should drive them, which is what [former opposition leader] Bill Shorten’s plan was,” Morrison said at Toyota’s hydrogen centre in suburban Altona.

“I’m not going to put up the price of petrol [for] families and make them buy electric vehicles, and walk away from the things they have. That is not the Liberal way and the Nationals way.”

The Shorten-era Labor policy was not to tell people what vehicle they should drive, require anyone to buy an EV or put up the price of petrol. It included a non-binding target of 50% new car sales being EVs by 2030 and the promise of a vehicle emissions standard to reduce the average carbon pollution of the national car fleet.

Morrison stressed the government would not “be forcing Australians out of the car they want to drive or penalising those who can least afford it through bans or taxes. Just as Australians have taken their own decision to embrace rooftop solar at the highest rate in the world, when new vehicle technologies are cost-competitive, Australians will embrace them too”.

The expansion of rooftop solar – which, according to the Clean Energy Council, has now led to 3m systems being installed across the country – was encouraged for more than a decade through federal and state incentives and subsidies.

The government vehicle strategy suggests its approach will have only a limited impact as a climate policy. It is projected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by just 8m tonnes – less than 2% of the national annual total – over the next 14 years.

Transport emissions are nearly 20% of the national total, were increasing rapidly before Covid-19 lockdowns and are projected to escalate in the years ahead.

Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese, said the future policy was “another pamphlet, rather than a serious announcement”. He said a Labor government would make EVs cheaper by removing import and fringe benefits tax. “I think people will look at Scott Morrison today and this announcement and just shake their head and say, ‘What’s changed?’,’This is a guy who says he’s about new technology. Yet he’s resisted it.”

The energy and emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor, said the government’s strategy of helping install charging infrastructure, rather than phasing out fossil fuel cars, was about helping motorists “embrace the increasing range of technologies available to keep them moving in an informed and fair way”. He claimed credit for the number of low emissions vehicle models available in Australia increasing by 20% over the past eight months, but did not explain how the government’s policy had contributed to this.

Car manufacturers across the globe have released a wave of new EV models as governments have announced emissions limits for passenger cars and future bans on fossil fuel cars. Industry representatives say Australians have fewer options than comparable countries due to a lack of policy support.

Once more, Australians face the risk of being left behind. What’s new!

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

For Facebook users, The Political Sword has a Facebook page:
Putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword

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If Gladys is a “great candidate”, our country is truly corrupt

By TBS Newsbot

Gladys Berejiklian managing to resign in disgrace, face the ICAC and bag a better job is emblematic of Australia becoming more corrupt.

Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before, but it seems that yet another public servant mired in political scandal will not only go unpunished, but will fail upwards. Today, Scott Morrison (alongside senior Liberal Party members) told the media that he would welcome Gladys Berejiklian to federal politics, regardless of the outcome of the ICAC hearing. For those of you playing at home, this is the scandal involving hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds potentially incorrectly spent, the one that she resigned over, and included (at the very least) turning a blind eye to the wanton shenanigans of her lover, disgraced Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire.

On September 7, Jodi McKay, the Labor Member for Strathfield, took to social media to ask the questions that we should be asking, and indeed, the questions Gladys should be answering. Tagging the premier in her tweet, McKay directly asked, “Why did you fail to fulfil your legal obligation and report Daryl Maguire to (the) ICAC?”

In the words of McKay, Berejiklian “knew and did nothing”. As The Guardian outlined on October 12, “During a morning of stunning revelations, the inquiry heard intercepted phone calls in which Maguire told Berejiklian that he potentially stood to make hundreds of thousands of dollars if land owned by the racing heir Louise Waterhouse near the site of the new Western Sydney airport was rezoned. The payment would have been enough to pay off ‘about half’ of his $1.5m personal debt, Maguire told Berejiklian in one phone call. Berejiklian responded: ‘I don’t need to know about that bit.’”

McKay also posed another question, of which Berejiklian answered, albeit indirectly. McKay asked, “A leader sets the standard for her Government, what standard are you setting for NSW?”

That afternoon’s Question Time, Berejiklian offered the following to excuse her toleration of corruption by saying: “I did no more than what the opposition did during corruption during their term in government…”

Despite all this, Morrison told reporters in Sydney that Berejiklian would be “very welcome” in his team and would be a “great” candidate for the independent-held seat, comments backed earlier by the finance minister, Simon Birmingham, and the environment minister, Sussan Ley.

As reported elsewhere, “nominations for the Liberal candidacy in Warringah have been extended to 14 January, a timeline that will allow Berejiklian to consider any recommendations for findings made in submissions by counsel assisting ICAC by 20 December. The submissions will not be public.”

As Paul Karp of The Guardian put it, “Despite the ongoing ICAC controversy, Berejiklian would walk into the Liberal nomination if she decided to put her hand up.”

Clearly, political accountability has become Australia’s Bunyip. We’ve all heard rumours, but nobody has managed to see it with their own two eyes. So, it comes as no surprise that our international credibility as a nation is slipping. In January 2019, Transparency International released its Corruption Perceptions Index, noting Australia’s slide into wrongdoing, finding it to be the 13th least corrupt nation.

Transparency International Australia chief executive Serena Lillywhite shared a range of issues which she believes are impairing our reputation as a democracy which actively targets corruption:

“The misuse of travel allowances, inadequate regulation of foreign political donations, conflicts of interest in planning approvals, revolving doors and a culture of mateship, inappropriate industry lobbying in large-scale projects such as mining, and the misuse of power by leading politicians have no doubt had an impact”.

Wind the clock forward, and while Australia has moved up a smidge, as we’re now the 12th-least corrupt nation in the world, Transparency International has flagged us as one of the 21 nations where perceived corruption has worsened “significantly” over the past eight years. Interestingly, 34% believed that corruption had significantly increased since then.

Indeed, the last twelve months has seemingly been a smorgasbord of political wrongdoing. Outside the many scandals of Gladys Berejiklian, or Peter Dutton hand-picking where grant money went, with the Sydney Morning Herald’s Katina Curtis noting that Dutton “diverted almost half the total pool of funding away from recommended projects to his handpicked ones in January 2019.”

A July audit of the Coalition-run commuter car park program found that “not one of the 47 commuter car park sites promised by the Coalition at the 2019 election was selected by the infrastructure department, with projects worth $660m handpicked by the government on advice of its MPs and candidates.”

The Australian National Audit Office released the findings, claiming that the program was “not effective” and identification of projects “was not demonstrably merit-based”, leading to shadow urban infrastructure minister, Andrew Giles calling the program “sports rorts on steroids”.

Perhaps the mindset could be best defined by the cocksure nonsense of Deputy NSW Premier John Baliaro, who defended the use of bushfire relief funds to pork-barrel his interests, claiming it is ‘what elections are for’.

Transparency International shares four key recommendations in order for us to buck the trend: “Putting in place laws and institutions that will prevent corrupt acts from happening in the first place. Legal frameworks and access to information are essential components of a healthy political system where citizens can play a role in demanding accountability and preventing corruption. Whistleblower protection mechanisms and autonomous, well-resourced anti-corruption agencies are also a must in the Asia Pacific region. Reducing impunity for the corrupt. Professional and independent justice systems are necessary where police and prosecutors can respond to technical criteria and not political power plays. Improving space for civil society to speak out. Governments should ensure that activists can speak freely throughout the region without fear of retaliation. Improving integrity and values. Schools and universities should educate youth about ethics and values. Corporations should promote business integrity in the private sector and make these ideas more mainstream.”

This article was originally published on The Big Smoke.

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Let’s be clear, Gladys Berejiklian is being investigated because SHE brought her personal life to work

Over the last few days, there has been a full court press by senior Liberals to get Gladys Berejiklian to run against Zali Stegall for the Federal seat of Warringah.

This necessarily involves attacking the NSW ICAC for what Scott Morrison described as their shameful “pile-on”.

“We have seen plenty of these things and recordings of private conversations detailed intimate things that were paraded around in the media. What was that about? Was that about shaming Gladys Berejiklian? I thought that was awful.”

The ICAC is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian breached the public trust by failing to declare a conflict of interest from her relationship with Mr Maguire, and if she failed to report suspicions or encouraged corrupt conduct.

The reason private conversations were aired was because they showed Ms Berejiklian potentially ignoring corruption and blatantly misusing public money for political gain. The fact that the other party was her boyfriend was irrelevant to the act but relevant to the motivation. The more intimate parts of recordings were not made public but heard in private session.

Let’s be clear here.

It was Gladys that mixed work and play. It was Gladys that chose to keep the relationship secret rather than manage the conflict of interest transparently. It was Gladys that overruled departmental advice to, instead, award grant money to bolster her partner’s political standing.

As Gladys so arrogantly said in her defence, “I don’t think it would be a surprise to anybody that we throw money at seats to keep them. At the end of the day, whether we like it or not, that’s democracy.”

Pork barrelling is not illegal, but it certainly isn’t democracy either.

Morrison said this morning, “What I found is that Gladys was put in a position of actually having to stand down and there was no findings of anything. I don’t call that justice.”

I would remind the Prime Minister that the findings have not yet been brought down and that Ms Berejiklian stood down in compliance with the ministerial standards she herself made. Resigning was her choice entirely.

With the vast majority of the electorate in favour of a Federal ICAC with teeth, and the government’s broken promise to legislate one, attacking the NSW ICAC is a risky strategy.

Zali Stegall is no pushover. If I was Glad, I would seriously consider whether it’s worth the attention that her candidacy would draw.

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Scott Morrison’s #themtoo moment

Scott Morrison’s reaction to the Kate Jenkins’ review was to make it very clear that it wasn’t just his side that behaved deplorably towards women. Whilst no doubt true, it’s a pitiful comeback which invites a response.

Remember in 2011 when Tony Abbott attended an anti-carbon tax rally where he spoke in front of placards that read “JuLIAR, Bob Brown’s Bitch” and “Ditch the witch”? After a speech that was punctuated by chants of “ditch the bitch” and “liar, liar”, Abbott said the crowd was “a representative snapshot of middle Australia”. He said people are “more than entitled” to protest against a Government and a Prime Minister “which has not been straight with them… let’s not get too precious about these things”.

That’s the same man who, as Employment and Workplace Relations Minister, told an Industrial relations conference that bad bosses, like bad fathers and husbands, should be tolerated because they generally do more good than harm. The same man who, when asked to describe the attributes of a female candidate, said she had sex appeal.

Remember the 2013 Mal Brough fundraiser, attended by Joe Hockey? The menu featured a dish called “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – Small Breasts, Huge Thighs & A Big Red Box.” That didn’t stop him from contesting and winning his seat – he only stood down when a police investigation into the James Ashby imbroglio was launched.

Around the same time, a public servant accused Minister for Cities and the Built Environment, Jamie Briggs, of inappropriate behaviour on a boozy late night out in Hong Kong. Brigg’s response was to send “a few people” a photo of the complainant which was then published prominently in weekend newspapers as well as private text messages sent by her, her age and job title.

This did not cost Briggs his preselection for the 2016 election. The voters of Mayo had to turf him out.

Peter Dutton’s response to an article criticising Briggs was to send a supportive text to him calling the female journalist a “mad fucking witch” – except in another glaring example of Dutton incompetency, he sent it to the “mad fuckling witch” by mistake.

Dutton has form with this sort of puerile sexist behaviour. In 2010, he defended telling then health minister, Nicola Roxon, to get on her broomstick.

When it was revealed that that champion for the sanctity of marriage, that dedicated dad that just wanted his daughters to marry a bloke (not sheila), our on again off again Deputy Dawg, the Beetrooter aka the red octopus, had allegedly impregnated a staffer with whom he had been having an ongoing affair, his response was to question the child’s paternity.

Barnaby told Fairfax Media, as you do, that he had “no choice” but to tell the story about the question mark that hung over whether he is the biological father because, around the time the baby was conceived, he had been on an overseas work trip with his wife Natalie followed by a period as acting prime minister during which he was apparently “accompanied by close personal protection bodyguards”.

I cannot type what I would have said to Joyce had I been either of the women he so cruelly and cavalierly disrespected with this completely self-centred abomination, but I did enjoy reading that Natalie threw all his clothes outside and ran over them with the ride-on mower.

This situation led to the extraordinary bonk ban where the PM felt it necessary to make it a rule that MPs stop rooting their staff.

Still Barnaby hung on until details of a confidential sexual harassment complaint against him by a prominent Nationals woman were, once again, leaked to the press without her consent.

Andrew Broad was the first Nationals MP to break ranks and condemn Joyce for his affair with a staffer, only to have to humiliatingly step down after it was revealed he, once again on a work trip to Hong Kong, went out with a woman he had met on a “sugar babies” website where wealthy older men meet women and provide them with gifts in exchange for company.

The WhatsApp messages were excruciating.

“I pull you close, run my strong hands down your back, softly kiss your neck and whisper G’day mate.”

“I’m a country guy, so I know how to fly a plane, ride a horse, fuck my woman. My intentions are completely dishonourable.”

Broad said he could have survived another campaign, despite the scandal, buffeted by the 21% margin in his Victorian seat of Mallee, but he didn’t want to become a “half laughing-stock” figure like Barnaby Joyce.

That most religious of men, George Christensen’s preferred destination was the girly bars in Angeles City near Manila. So much so that he became a potential threat to national security.

When Four Corners aired an episode titled “Inside the Canberra Bubble”, detailing allegations of inappropriate conduct and extramarital affairs by Attorney-General Christian Porter and Population Minister Alan Tudge with female ministerial staffers, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher was quick to express his outrage to Ita Buttrose.

“Why, in the judgement of the Board, are the personal lives of politicians newsworthy?” spluttered Fletcher as he publicly tweeted the letter he sent trying to intimdate the ABC Chair. After all, this was before Malcolm told them that having sex with their staff was a no-no.

Four Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour tweeted ahead of the episode’s airing that the “political pressure applied to the ABC behind the scenes over this story has been extreme and unrelenting”.

The staffer who had an affair with Tudge has recently claimed it was an emotionally, and on one occasion physically, abusive relationship – a claim Tudge denied as he stood aside whilst the complaint is investigated.

Also emerging in recent days, claims by Natalie Baini, the former Liberal who will run as an independent in the Sydney seat of Reid, that her political ambitions were thwarted after she complained about Craig Laundy allegedly lying to her about his marital status before she entered into a consensual relationship with him.

The bullying and intimidation of Liberal women during the leadership spill in 2018 was well documented yet no-one seemed to bear any consequences for it.

Linda Reynolds said in the Senate, before her silence was bought with a promotion, “In fact, some of the behaviour is behaviour I simply do not recognise and I think has no place in my party or this chamber. I cannot condone and I cannot support what has happened to some of my colleagues on this side, in this chamber, in this place”.

I won’t even start on Liberal party staffers masturbating on desks or prayer room orgies or allegations of grooming or drunken late night sexual assaults and the responses to them.

When women across the nation joined together in an outpouring of grief and anger to demand change, Scott Morrison refused to come out and face the March 4 Justice crowds, instead saying from the floor of parliament that it was a triumph of democracy that protesters were not “met with bullets”.

This is not the time to point at someone else saying they do it too. It shouldn’t be necessary to form another committee to work out what to do either. It’s easy.

Just stop it!

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Vacant claimants

By John Haly

Predictably the crises of climate change and the pandemic highlighted deficits in health services, markets, welfare and education. Both have accelerated a predictable economic recession.

To understand the early signs of an economic downturn, we need to go back to when politically acknowledged signs of a faltering economy appeared. The GDP downturn in the third quarter of 2016 was preceded by nearly three years of a per-capita recession.

The retail boom of the last quarter (Christmas) saved us from an official recession. However, by the end of 2018, Australia re-entered a per-capita recession. “Australia’s economic output shrank 0.2pc per person in the fourth quarter of 2018, after a 0.1pc decline in the third”.

By mid-2019, economists predicted a recession as employment growth was slow, unemployment high, and wages were stagnating. Then, by the end of 2019, as Australia was literally burning down due to climate change, a global pandemic hit, and the pack of cards came tumbling down, and the recession we were always going to have, hit us.

 

Fig: 1 – Australian GDP Per-Capita for last decade.

 

Our strollout

The political response to the health crisis, lockdowns, quarantine handling, welfare support, vaccine strollouts has been underwhelming. Yet despite Government mismanagement, we moved from the least vaccinated nation in the OECD to a position by early November 2021 with 80% vaccination rates. Although we still had thousands of active cases, hundreds of newly acquired cases and hundreds in hospital. It isn’t over, but considering the state of other Western countries, we could be worse off.

The Federal Government celebrated some States opening up and criticising those that did not. Our Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, had been spruiking our “recovered” unemployment numbers as the ABS claimed we had unemployment around five per cent. However, despite apparently rising job vacancies and falling unemployment (relative to 2020), business sector elements have complained that they can not find staff to fill jobs on offer.

Zero-hours

So let’s explore the nuances of these circumstances where businesses claim they cannot fill vacancies despite insufficient jobs in the economy and millions without adequate levels of work. That assertion in itself is a reasonably broad claim, so let’s establish its bonafide. First, the ABS has stated that unemployment is low, although it has recently risen to 5.2% in October from 4.63%. This is only because the methodology for the measurement ignores several factors I have discussed previously, including and certainly significantly the thousands of people who have “worked zero-hours” in any given month of 2020/21.

If you define employment as widely as the ABS does and unemployment a narrowly as it does, then the dictionary meaning of employment is lost in the equation.

From Wikipedia: “Employment is the relationship between two parties, usually based on a contract where work is paid for, where one party, which may be a corporation, for-profit, not-for-profit organisation, co-operative or other entity is the employer, and the other is the employee.” So if you’re not paid, and you do no work then by any definition (except that of the ABS) you are not “employed”. The ABS stats do not reflect Australian domestic unemployment (Figure:2 below).

Every other measure out-strips ABS

Jobseeker payments shown in the graph vastly outstripped the numbers classified by ABS as unemployed. It makes a farce out of the misuse of ABS’s statistics as a valid measure of internal unemployment. As previously explained, Roy Morgan’s more accurate assessment becomes more evident when ABS plus zero-hours numbers – has of late – been larger than even jobseeker and youth allowance combined.

 

Fig: 2 – Variant unemployment measures for 2020-2021

 

Vacancies and job guarantees

The question is now, what do poor Job Vacancy measures indicate? There aren’t enough vacancies to cater to the overwhelming majority of unemployed by any measure. This has been the case for decades and is the failure of conservative governments and the private sector. The Government could easily provide a Federal Job Guarantee but is ideologically opposed. Similar opposition was prevalent when Prime Minister John Curtin, postwar, established a not dissimilar mechanism resulting in unemployment remaining beneath 3% in the 1950s and 1960s. Instead, successive governments have diminished the public service by privatisation, undermined manufacturing and deter investment in renewables. Ross Garnaut, who produced two Climate Change Reviews for the Australian government, wrote the book “SuperPower”. In it, he notes we have squandered an enormous economic advantage. Worth reading unless you are susceptible to depression at discovering how the fog of Australian politics” has obscured tremendous economic and employment potential for our country.

Separation of vacancies

This aside, there are two recently diverging measures for job vacancies. The Department of Employment generates the IVI stats for internet job advertisements. ABS does a quarterly vacancy survey amongst businesses. When I first began writing about the anomalies of unemployment stats, the variation between these two figures was negligible enough to be ignored. For example, in 2016, I wrote, “The ABC reported in January that “…newspaper ads rose 0.4 per cent last month, but now make up less than 5 per cent of employment advertising…”.” So I focused on IVI statistics because newspaper advertising, shop windows ads, and private networking recommendations for applicants appeared to be statistically irrelevant.

Increasingly in the internet age, jobs recruitment can occur on various sites: Seek, CareerOne, Australian JobSearch, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. The problem is that there is no government break-up in the last three like the IVI does for the first three. (Figure:3). However, private recruitment agents, “shop window” ads, or boutique specialist websites are applicable for the local low-skilled workforce expected to find work in rural areas for labour, like fruit picking.

 

Fig: 3 – Variant Job Vacancy figures 2019-2021

 

The ABS survey reported smaller numbers than the IVI statistics over a decade ago. That period aside, there was no significant divergence between ABS and IVI until the last four years. You can see the change in Figure 4. While we can’t blame pandemics, it is worth referencing the coincidental timing of the economic falterings discussed initially.

 

Fig: 4 – Roy Morgan employment stats and both Job vacancy measures.

 

Businesses shifted from under-reporting vacancies over a decade ago to reporting more vacancies than were reported as advertised. This is partly due to recruitment alternatives arising in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube that are not included. The most recognised recruitment platform, LinkedIn, is becoming drastically less popular because of stats on how many LinkedIn profiles are exaggerated and out of date. Despite Linkedin’s internal exaggerations, according to Jobvite surveys, the number of recruiters using LinkedIn has dropped from 92% in 2017 to 77% in 2018 to 72% in 2020 to 65% in 2021.

Pre-pandemic economic faltering in Australia meant companies relied on natural attrition or dismissal to shed employees they didn’t replace, sometimes even modifying the job description to force people out. They overworked the ones they employed, but didn’t want to finance their overtime. This became evident as companies were increasingly being outed for wage theft for unpaid overtime. Corporates lobbied to have conservative governments undercut penalty rates on the spurious claims to pay for more employees. Basic maths reveals this was not applicable for anything but a small number of large companies with significant numbers of employees. (Figure:5) Such companies shed employees when penalty rates dropped, and nobody got more work. So jobs continue to be shed.

 

Fig: 5 – Employment capacity required to benefit from penalty rate changes.

 

Businesses reported more contingent vacancies than they appeared to advertise, and then the recession hit. Demand bottomed for all but the largest enterprises, people stayed in lockdowns, the economy recessed, and unemployment rose to nearly a quarter of the workforce. Finally, however, its slowly returning status of between 1 to 1.5 million unemployed of 2019 has emerged. From mid-2021 onwards, unemployment settled between 1.2 and 1.5 million. (Figure:6)

There has undoubtedly been higher average unemployment for 2021, but for the last six months, it hasn’t exceeded the boundaries of 2019. So there are – to be fair to the conservative political commentary – grounds for saying employment has recovered to the range of pre-pandemic levels. Just don’t look at the figures (Figure:6) or the relative range too closely.

So now, business is over-reporting vacancies to the ABS that they do not advertise or intend to fill without a demand surge. Yet even advertised vacancies have gone up. (Figure:3/7). So why might specific labour markets be advertising more? Does it represent an increase in new jobs, or does loss of employment markets contribute?

 

Fig: 6 – Under and Unemployment and variant job vacancy stats.

 

Considerations

Due to international border closures, consider the loss of migrants, pacific Islanders and backpackers coming to Australia – on visa conditions that require rural employment. Consider the access to work of migrants who, out of economic necessity, live in crowded low socioeconomic LGAs with higher exposure to the Covid-19 virus to jobs in external LGAs that had travel restrictions. Third, consider how travel restrictions and lockdowns restricted high-end recruitment that previously used in-person networking meetups or travelling to interview overseas. Fourth, consider that net migration away from cities has accelerated during the recession and remote work opportunities, which has fuelled the rise of alternatives in smaller towns with lower living costs. Finally, consider that the absence of visa workers revealed an entrenched culture of exploitation and inadequate financial compensation in the farming and service industries.

The results of these considerations are two-fold.

  1. This has generated much of the employer claims that they are struggling to find suitable staff to fill job vacancies”.
  2. The realisation that low wages you can get away with for migrants, poor conditions, and exploitation will not be acceptable jobs for Australians. Farmers and Restaurants are now forced to engage with better educated Australians who expect better pay and are more aware of their rights as employees. So it is no surprise they have been less successful in filling jobs.

As localised markets for exploitable employees have dried up, businesses have had to advertise outside their LGAs. Figure 7 shows that according to the Department of Employment, rises in advertisements for labour with the only significant dips in recruitment across all industries were during the Covid-19 Delta outbreak. However, this does not necessarily translate as a rise in real jobs. Instead, some portion likely reflects the need to expand advertising into previously unutilised media, with further reach than LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

 

Fig: 7 – 2021 Lead up to October’s advertised job vacancy by role classification.

 

Recruitment for hospitality, manufacturing, warehouses, leisure sectors and farming industries relied on a willing pool of locally exploitable, low-skilled, migrant labour on tap. This has vanished for all the aforementioned reasons. Moreover, constrained reach advertising via social media might have limited scope to attract Australians. Many don’t want to work for the exploitative conditions or the low wages on offer.

Lazy Aussies

The political and MSM dialogue to cover the exploitation hasn’t changed in years. “Lazy Aussies just don’t want to work” was an excuse to hire cheaper, exploitable 457 visa migrants when Abbott was PM. Under Morrison, “Laziness” and “JobSeeker is too generous” are the absurdities brought to bear. These diatribes never address the wage rates or the conditions, and employers will lie about them, while politicians facilitate labour exploitation. Corporate Australia seeks to frame this as a “labour shortage”.

In contrast, the ACTU and other Unions call it a living-wage shortage, a hazard pay shortage, a childcare shortage, or a shortage of non-discriminatory, non-toxic management. So instead of being responsive to the needs of Australians in a time of crisis and expanding public sector employment, welfare or active labour market policies, the government are facilitating a gig economy. One complete with exploitation and underpayment and ensuring labour mobility and wage growth are at an all-time low.

Money for mates

In the face of a recession, the recent history of record-breaking under and unemployment levels, stagnating wages, a surge in the part-time and gig economy, the Liberal Party’s solution is support for bringing up to 160,000 foreign workers and students a year into Australia”. So how do they facilitate this amid a global pandemic? Via a private quarantine scheme recommended by DPG Advisory Solutions, linked to former deputy NSW Liberal Party director Scott Briggs”. The scheme “was awarded a $79,500 “limited tender” contract by the Home Affairs department to provide “consultancy services. Also, the founder and director of DPG is David Gazard. A close associate of Scott Morrison and former ministerial adviser. The Department of Home Affairs chose these private quarantine reviewers without government tender.

This is the quality of solution for a federal government that had till now avoided building quarantine facilities, as “carefully vetted” consultants are brought into resolving the issue of businesses – who, despite massive unemployment numbers – are “struggling to find exploitable employees”. This deliberately cast illusion of economic prosperity hides the poverty suffered by millions in Australia and is challenging to maintain with the recent GDP drop – the largest on record. It leaves real solutions of federal job guarantees, active labour market policies, and adequate welfare support in the dust. Is this the land of the “fair go” we want Australia to be, or is that just a myth we abandoned generations ago, if indeed such an ethos ever existed?

 

This article was originally published on Australia Awaken – Ignite your Torches.

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Political Fragmentation: The Challenges Posed by a Possible Lifeline for the Re-Election of the Federal LNP

By Denis Bright

At a time of internal chaos in the federal LNP Government, political fragmentation still offers a lifeline back to government by Scott Morrison or one of his successors if current polling levels continue to deteriorate in 2022.

Beyond the more mainstream of the far-right minor parties with recent federal parliamentary representation, there are over thirty minor political parties registered on the AEC site. Minor far-right parties come and go after fulfilling their divisive purposes. Almost twenty minor parties have been deregistered by the AEC since the 2019 elections to be replaced by a new exercise in social division.

The formation and registration of minor political parties is of course an essential component of a heathy democracy if these political parties are operating in The We The People Traditions.

Minor political parties can become a sinister force if they are merely delivering votes back to One Nation, the UAP, the Liberal Democrats or the more populist regional leaders of the federal LNP.

Recent amendments to The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Party Registration Integrity) Act 2021 (Party Registration Act) have raised the transparency of minor registered political parties a little. There is a new threshold of 1,500 signed up members for continued registration, annual registration fees and some administrative controls on operational practices. Complaints about breaches of these protocols can be made to the AEC.

While the AEC is quite strict on the accountable enforcement of the amended administrative protocols, there is still tolerance of saturation levels of advertising from generous political patrons.

Expect more fragmentation as voters are attracted to the specific issues raised by minor far right parties with support from well-funded advertising. Details of the extent of Clive Palmer’s campaign spending emerged after the 2019 election (Paul Karp in The Guardian, 23 September 2019):

In the wake of the surprise Coalition victory at the May election, Palmer said he had “decided to polarise the electorate” with an anti-Labor advertising blitz in the final weeks of the campaign, rather than attempting to win seats for the United Australia party. In the final week alone, Palmer spent $8m in electoral advertisements.

The submission noted the party was reported to have spent $60m on a “contentious” campaign that failed to win a single seat but Palmer “claims to have secured the Coalition government’s win with his preferences”.

Strategic deals between minor far right parties and the LNP achieved three senate spots in four of the states to deliver a total of 36 LNP senate places seats. With the votes from the two senators from One Nation, the LNP can pass legislation through both houses of parliament except in those situations when Labor votes with the LNP.

A National Integrity Commission can and should support the AEC in supporting the grey areas of political party registration and transparent campaign spending disclosures which are not covered by current AEC controls.

With its control of 23 of the 30 federal House seats in Queensland, the federal LNP has the capacity to use tax-payer funded electorate allowances to promote its logos through regular mail outs of cards to householders, brochures to attract postal votes and mobile offices festooned with LNP propaganda.

In the 2019 senate count in Queensland, One Nation benefited from the exchange of surplus quotas from LNP senators and preference flows from other minor far-right political parties

Some grey areas of campaigning should be scrutinized by the AEC and any future National Integrity Commission.

At previous state and local government elections for the Brisbane City Council, the LNP set up a Postal Vote Application Centre (PVA Centre) to harvest postal votes from across metropolitan electorates for delivery to the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ). These PVA Centres are fully controlled by the LNP. Transparency also requires that the costs of these PVA Centres are fully declared as campaign expenses and not written off as legitimate electorate allowances.

Well funded minor far- right political parties can identify themselves with divisive wedge issues through the purchase of political polling data and intel from soft media and mobile phone and computer app devices. This alignment is particularly challenging to Labor’s broad electoral base in regional, outer suburban and inner-city electorates.

The deteriorating state of national leadership from the federal LNP might assist Labor to bridge these policy divides which cost it government in 2019 through net losses of seats in Queensland and Tasmania and a failure to gain new seats in WA.

Dr Jim Chalmers as Member for Rankin and Labor’s Shadow Treasurer is highly adept at talking up these essential policy compromises with support from the latest ABS statistical data:

Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, Australia

  • Total new capital expenditure fell by 2.2%
  • Buildings and structures fell by 0.2%
  • Equipment, plant and machinery fell by 4.1%

The stagnation in private sector investment, the housing and rental crises and the state of infrastructure commitment is highly relevant in the very electorates where far-right minor parties have gained political traction in 2019.

Labor has responded with the release of sustainable emission targets for 2030 as noted by Katherine Murphy in The Guardian (3 December 2021):

Anthony Albanese will set an emissions reduction target of 43% by 2030 and boost the share of renewables in the national electricity market to 82% if Labor wins the coming federal election.

The ALP leader has unveiled Labor’s most electorally risky policy commitment since the 2019 election defeat, declaring a more ambitious target would spur $76bn in investment and reduce average annual household power bills by $275 in 2025 and $378 in 2030.

Guardian Australia revealed on Friday the shadow cabinet had signed off on a 43% target, which is lower than the 45% medium term target Labor promised at the 2019 election, but higher than the Morrison government’s Abbott-era commitment of a 26-28% cut on 2005 levels.

The primary mechanism Labor will use to reduce emissions faster than current projections will be the Coalition’s existing safeguard mechanism. Improvements to that scheme are expected to deliver emissions reductions of 213 million tonnes (Mt) by 2030.

These compromises can assist in bridging the divide between affluent inner metropolitan suburbs and those many disadvantaged regional and outer suburban struggle streets.

Let’s hope that the electorate is listening to the need for policy compromises to elect a majority government that addresses the havoc caused by three terms of LNP government by ensuring that Labor’s poor results in Queensland, Tasmania and WA are not repeated again. The current tally of thirteen Labor seats out of over fifty available seats certainly justifies the policy compromises.

 

Denis Bright (pictured) is a financial member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to consensus-building in these difficult times. Your feedback from readers advances the cause of citizens’ journalism. Full names are not required when making comments. However, a valid email must be submitted if you decide to hit the Replies Button.

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Democracy: A work in progress

That the people of Australia have lost faith in our system of Government is unsurprising. To say that we are ambivalent about our politicians is an understatement, and we are now ashamed.

To say that our democracy has taken a beating from the hard-Right of Australian politics over the past decade is no exaggeration.

A consequence of the decline of our democracy has been the rise of extremism and far-right conservatism. Liberalism no longer exists, and the National Party exists because of a voting system favouring them disproportionally.

A sort of neo-conservative fascism has replaced the Liberal Party, and old-style Liberalism no longer has a voice. The National Party cannot decide if it represents farmers or miners.

The Labor Party, in part, needs to invest in a social philosophical common good instead of beating the same old drum of socialism. It should embrace the elimination of growing inequality and poverty and see both as a worthy pursuit.

Labor, some might argue, has lost a portion of its supporters to the Greens, whilst rich populist Clive Palmer spends millions confusing people.

In the upcoming election, the door might well and truly be open for independents of character to control the balance of power.

Leading the two major parties on the Right, we have two lying, unscrupulous politicians of dubious character, and on the left, a long-serving lilly white, of which nothing corrupt can be hung. Within LNP ranks, we have a collection of MPs who have studied at some of the country’s most prestigious universities. Sprinkled among them is a fair splattering of individuals who could only be described as borderline nut cases. Women are both underrated, underrepresented and underestimated.

Both parties have pre-selection processes rooted in factional power struggles that often see the best candidates miss out. Both need to select people with broader life experience.

Our democracy lacks objectivity because the current Prime Minister and his followers have debased the democracy to the point that there is no compelling reason to be a politician. Well, at least for people with decency, integrity and compassion.

The pursuit of power for power’s sake and its retention has engulfed political thinking. The people have become secondary. The common good dwells somewhere in the recesses of small minds lacking the capacity for sound public policy that achieves social equity.

There are no stand out leaders. In recent times we have had potential, but it was lost in power struggles, undignified self-interest and narcissistic personality.

It is now nothing but an excuse for mediocre minds who cannot win an argument with factual intellect, charm or debating skills to act deplorably toward each other.

Frivolity and wit have been replaced with smut and sarcasm. Members debase the Parliament and themselves as moronic imbecilic individuals.

Our voting system is badly in need of an overhaul. When one party, the Greens, attracts near enough to the same primary votes as the Nationals but can only win one seat in the House of Representatives, as opposed to nine, there is something wrong with the system.

Added to that is the ludicrous Senate situation where people are elected with hardly any primary votes, just preferences.

One cannot begin to discuss the decline of Australian democracy without at the same time aligning it to the collapse in journalistic standards and its conversion from reporting to opinion.

Murdoch and his majority-owned newspapers with blatant support for right-wing politics have done nothing to advance Australia as a modern enlightened democratic society. On the contrary, it has damaged it, perhaps irreparably.

The advent of social media has sent the mainstream media into free fall. Declining newspaper sales have resulted in lost revenue and profits. It is losing its authority, real or imagined, and bloggers reflect grassroots society’s feelings more.

Shock jocks shout the most outrageous lies and vilify people’s character with impunity and, in the process, do nothing to promote proper democratic illumination. They even promote free speech as if they are the sole custodians of it.

Two things, I believe, have contributed to the decline in our democracy.

Firstly, the Abbott and Morrison factor and the death of truth as a principle of democratic necessity. I am convinced Tony Abbott believed that the effect of lying diminished over time and therefore was a legitimate political tool.

And secondly, Morrison sees past his lies and brings into question the very worthiness of the word ‘truth’. Or he has at least devalued it to the point of obsolesce.

There is much more to be said about how and what needs fixing. Next time I shall discuss the real possibility of an Albanese victory and what our priorities should be.

My thought for the day

We’ve had it now for the last dismal decade. This destruction of our Democracy. It’s damaged both sides of politics, it’s damaged our country and our reputation. It has to stop. It must stop.

 

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Not a dry eye in the House as rats abandon ship

Omicron, OMG? No worries, Health Minister Greg Hunt is all abreast of the latest threat to public health, even finding time at the end of his statement to parliament to read aloud a letter from Olivia, the mother of Bella, a six-year-old girl in Koo Wee Rup, who is seriously ill, before a half-nelson clinch with bestie Josh Frydenberg as Hunt quits the Morrison government’s rapidly sinking ship; its motley crew mugged by sordid reality.

Trust Hunt to ensure his exit plan from the Morrison omnishambles includes a public back pat. Sentimentality triumphs over true feeling, particularly in a government whose PM gets high on his own schmaltz.

Treating the house to moving stories of his selfless efforts or his team’s tireless work to relieve suffering by making medication more available is Hunt’s signature and it is a fitting swan song for the self-indulgent egotist. Yet it is off-key in the context of his government’s vaccine debacle.

There is nothing wrong with alleviating the suffering of one person. But what of the five million who are known to have died worldwide of COVID-19 so far? It’s a figure likely to be only a third of the true total. Vaccine inequity is a huge global issue. Yet here we shirk our duty.

Whilst two thirds of people in wealthy countries are vaccinated, only 2.5 per cent of peoples of low-income nations are fully protected. The pandemic has, moreover, set back the work of tackling global disease and poverty

Hunt loves lashings of schmaltz. So did Charles Dickens. But, as Oscar Wilde warns, one would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing.

Yet there’s not a dry eye in the house as Hunt tears up as he tugs the heartstrings of his fellow empaths, woke blokes and sensitive New Age Males with a modest tale of his truly heroic procurement of compassionate access from an overseas company of a medication for Bella that would never be available in Australia and never a listed medication.

Yet is self-congratulation in order? Richard Denniss notes the “PM, his health minister and the secretary of the department of health have overseen the most expensive public policy mistakes in Australian history, but to hear Scott Morrison or Greg Hunt speak is to hear a man seeking praise for his performance. Yet their failures have cost tens of billions. Two thousand lives already. Many more must follow.

Then there’s the economic cost of the federal government’s failure to procure vaccines in a timely and adequate manner. NSW with its gold standard premier, Gladys Berejiklian, cheered on – and on – by the PM and his “team freedom” fail to contain the Delta variant. Both federal and NSW government’s COVID failures help create the third-largest quarterly decline in Australia’s economic activity in sixty years.

Beneath its veneer of inefficiency and inadequacy lies further corruption. exposed this week, in the release of a report which exposes a party rotten at the core; the rampant misogyny, bullying and frigging in the rigging, which Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins’ documents at length in her report ‘Set the Standard’ an indictment of male behaviour in parliamentary workplaces which the PM has no intention of reading, let alone heeding – preferring just to hold a copy aloft as a prop – while his MPs are all at sea over climate, energy, economic policy; baffled by a Captain barking orders which some just openly ignore. Or jump ship.

Hunt’s not the only Victorian rat to desert a ship that long since ceased to be sea-worthy. Former footballer, Damian Drum, Nationals MP for the northern Victorian electorate of Nicholls, also beats a retreat, Friday. Team Morrison is down ten members, two-thirds of a Rugby team but the PM’s game plan will stay unchanged. Labor hasn’t learned its lesson, he shrieks, claiming as Abbott did before him, that a modest increase in carbon emission targets will ruin the economy, triple the cost of the Sunday roast.

But he can’t blame Labor for his own snafu in making new laws no one needs or wants, a process fancifully dressed up as a legislative agenda.

Much fuss is made in the tamed estate of a legislative agenda getting stuck in the S-bend of the Senate, but Morrison’s agenda is the problem. It’s just unreal. Confected for its own sake. Religious discrimination is a lame way to appease a few religious conservatives who find 2021 confronting and yearn for a simpler world where God knows what’s best for us and who feel cheesed off they lost out to marriage equality in 2017.

Despite its title, the bill would promote discrimination. So it’s off to a committee for a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down. It’s been malingering since 2019, a bill if not an act of bad faith; a sop to gay marriage nay-sayers and other homophobes.

We have no religious discrimination – and like the government’s racist voter ID fraud law planned, it is another solution in search of a problem. Bernard Keane sums up the farce.

“The government has no actual agenda addressing issues of substance – not on climate, not on wage stagnation, not on housing affordability, not on higher education, not even on defence, where the year has been marked by a major step backward in procurement of our next generation of submarines.”

Luckily, a crisis pops up in the form of Omicron – the WHO latest “variant of concern” because it is highly infectious. It’s too early to know whether it’s deadlier than Delta but much of the fuss results from the federal government’s own failure to plan.

“We’re well-prepared and we are in the best scientific hands in the world,” Health Minister Hunt lies, the Dr Pangloss of a hands-free government of dud judgement and failure to deliver. Unless you’re talking about spin. Vacuity. Entropy. Or mindless, hyper partisanship.

Or the $10.3 billion in subsidies we paid our battling gas and coal producers last year, all part of the Liberal Party’s very postmodern interpretation of Adam Smith’s invisible hand, whereby the wealth of social goods and public benefits that flow over the beaver-dam of accumulated self-interest – are boosted heroically by a rising tide of subsidies that floats all boats and super yachts. Santos, Twiggy Forrest and Gina Rinehart never had it so good.

Twiggy Forrest’s superyacht, the Pangaea off Bundaberg

Just because there’s a pandemic on doesn’t mean you forget to look after your mates. Why waste funds on dedicated quarantine stations? OK. They do work. The Howard Springs facility is a 100 per cent success. But this is a federal government which works around the clock to dodge its federal responsibility. Evasive talking points don’t just write themselves.

“Well, I cannot control what ATAGI advises” says a PM in full flight, last July, implying he’s in a constant battle to get his scientific hands to change their advice but a new deference is apparent as Hunt does the prelude to OMG it’s Omicron, the latest show stopping number in our sensational government-drip-fed media’s Covid series, which includes such memorable performances as Wuhan Flu and Twiggy Bigs Up Test Kits, a spectacular confrontation in April 2020 between Australia’s richest man and a plutocracy he co-owns.

The Twigster gate-crashes a federal government press conference to present ten million test kits plus some PPE gear which his business links help him secure at a bargain $325 million, for which the Morrison government will reimburse him, naturally, despite initial press suggesting that the billionaire’s intervention is a philanthropic gift.

Some BGI kits are used in Victoria, but other states prefer their own tests. WA says, they weren’t needed at all, a reflection on federal government health efforts generally. The states have done all the heavy lifting, prompting some pundits to propose a new phase in commonwealth-state relations, or at least a shift in the balance of power under a weak and manifestly incompetent Prime Minister.

Hands? Let’s put our hands together for the biggest health policy disaster since federation from a government that cares not a jot about doing its job; whose dereliction of duty is matched only by its ability to cock up the simplest task. Like order vaccines. But be fair; at least Hunt’s got something right. Yep. He’s retiring to spend more time with his family.

As for Hunt’s glib lies and his incompetence, we will be paying the price for some time. The world’s “best scientific hands” help deliver us over 213,339 Covid cases. Nearly 15,000 cases are active. Two thousand and twenty-one Australians have died. Albanese’s right about the Morrison mob having two main jobs: vax and quarantine. They stuff up both.

Dutton backer, duck-‘n-cover-Hunt saw his credibility shredded well before his graveyard shift as Health Minister in a government that fails vaccine procurement and distribution whilst also evading responsibility for senior Australians; the elder abuse and neglect endemic in the nation’s corporatised aged care. Investors continue to prosper while their “clients” die. Dedicated quarantine facilities are simply another federal responsibility still in search of a responsible federal government.

As Greg legs it, we pause to reflect on his earlier incarnation as Mr Soil Magic, the MP who spruiked climate denialist, Tony Abbott’s Direct Action, boondoggle. Polluters were paid $3 billion to pursue efficiency projects which they would have implemented anyway, while soil-magic paid farmers to play-act carbon sequestration, or soil-carbon, a fantasy still popular with a National Party lining up to receive subsidies for farmers as recompense for having to agree to net-zero by 2050.

His legacy? Hunt will go down in history as the shyster who aided and abetted Tony Abbott, another IPA mining puppet in his disastrously successful crusade for the abolition of a price on carbon, a practical and effective way of curbing carbon dioxide emissions.

But it’s not as if fossil-fuel corporations don’t pony up when it comes to political donations. It’s just that they are very hard to trace. We do know from the Centre for Public Integrity that that over last twenty years, the resources sector gave at least $136.7 million to political parties and lobby groups. The real amount is many times higher. Yet this but one measure of influence in what is the owning and controlling of political decision-making.

There are lobbyists. Fund-raising dinners where corporate CEOs pay hugely to bend the ear of the minister who can help further their business interests and to hell with parliamentary democracy. What we have running the place is an oligarchy of corporate plutocrats.

Enter Clive the Dinosaur. The impossibly litigious Palmer gifts $89 million to getting the election result he wants in 2019. Big Clive is the most generous donor, but his gift is a tad one-sided. The Coalition gets over three times the amount directed to Labor, while a high disclosure threshold of $14,000 hides another estimated third of all political donations.

In effect, Australia’s federal government is a fully paid-up subsidiary of mining, banking, gambling, Big Farm and Big Pharma and allied commercial interests who get to decide climate and energy policy – and just when we open our borders to the latest WHO mutant variant of interest.

Yet all is well, as the Covid-19 pandemic proves endemic, just as experts predicted, an inevitable outcome of a world in which multinational corporate greed decrees that only the rich get vaccinated. Hapless millions have no choice but infection and becoming a giant human petri dish. Vaccination must be global if Covid is to be eliminated. Yet less than five per cent of all poor people in low-income countries have had one jab.

Hunt invokes ATAGI. We get boosters and if we can’t get boosters or they don’t work we get Omicron. But it won’t be as bad as we fear. Just like the flu bubbles Parnell McGuiness on The Drum.

Or it will be bad but we’ll get new vax.

Under the government thumb – yet only overruled when the PM disagrees – ATAGI could bring forward boosters. If we have any. Or if they work. ATAGI’s, an agile and dynamic if not svelte, advisory panel of twenty-three health experts and other interested parties. If boosters don’t work, there’s always Pfizer. Whip up a vat of vax overnight.

Outside a Morrisonian fantasy-land, Pfizer guesses it could make commercial quantities of an Omicron vaccine by March 2022. By then, the new variant will have spread everywhere.

Omicron, the latest WHO high risk Covid variant of concern will be all over the world well before Hunt remembers the paediatric vax he forgot. Greg The Unready is chief apologist, the man who is top pup on the empty tuckerbox of a Morrison policy-free government of perpetual unpreparedness and colossal bungling. And not just in failing Covid.

Who can forget the forty billion dollars the treasurer, Greg’s BFF from Kooyong gave to multi-nationals and big Australian firms that simply did not need the money?

We could have doubled Newstart for five years on forty billion.

The runs are on the board for the Morrison experiment. It’s already shown a criminal failure to provide quarantine, protect first nations’ peoples, or procure in timely fashion, vaccine for kids in a world where Covid mutates readily in populous nations such as South Africa, too poor to access vaccinations jealously hoarded by the rich. It can’t claim it wasn’t warned.

Instead, we got the shadow puppetry, a Covid Commission. Sounds potent, prudent and provident. Yet it was entirely gas-lighting, a secret cabinet committee led by a gas industry for a gas industry rich-lister nifty Nev Power, formerly Fortescue Metals CEO.

Morrison’s response to Covid has little to do with protecting public health and everything to do with private profit. The federal government gives the green light to Santos and co to guzzle even more public funds under the ruse of a “gas-led recovery.”

It’s grotesquely absurd. As TAI points out. If the Morrison government had to pick the industry least likely to help the economy, gas would have been the perfect choice. Not only does it employ few workers, its emissions help destroy our rapidly depleting atmosphere

Our federal MPs are in thrall to a mining oligarchy spruiking ecocide. It’s a rapacious, relentless, powerful elite which helps itself to resources, as in the NT intervention land grab, yet cannot prompt its Muppet government to honour its pledge to protect vulnerable, high-density extended family communities such as those in the Northern Territory.

Flash as a rat with a gold tooth, mining magnate Twiggy Forrest, is flogging green hydrogen, our robber-baron, corporate cowboy’s latest snake-oil, a product so rare that not a molecule is yet to be made. Twiggy’s butler, world-renowned liar “Pinocchio Morrison” shoots himself in both feet in international trade and diplomatic circles by scuttling our submarine deal with France. Lying. Leaking personal texts.

And then lying about lying afterwards.

Not that it stops Scotty setting up Australia’s stand at COP26, as a market stall for coal and gas – at a conference of handwringing over global warming, climate change and the need for everyone to promise to phase down but not phase out coal.

The Glasgow Climate Pact itself is a predictable let-down; a missed opportunity to address the catastrophic health impacts of the climate emergency, according to academics at the UNSW School of Population Health. They say it’s shameful.

But nothing deters Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) pitching its rocking horse manure to the world. Take a bow, mining titan Twiggy, godfather of The Indue cashless welfare card, a fantastic, plastic, social metastatic, which a Morrison government will extend to all welfare recipients. It’s a form of coercive control if not abuse.

As for abuse, Indue enables Twiggy to call The Greens, “the party for paedophiles” in 2017.

“I have to hold the Greens accountable here; the Greens might as well be the party for paedophiles, the party for child sex abusers – you’re the party of human rights and you’ve forgotten the human rights of children, just call yourself the party for paedophiles.”

Why? The Greens oppose the card which researchers say adds misery, is racist and helps only its backers, Murdoch reporters help promote Indue as the cure to sexual depravity, pornography addiction and drunken excess amongst Aboriginal communities.

In case the logic is not obvious, the Twigster alleges that because First Nations’ folk can’t budget, they fritter their income on drugs, grog and pornos, leaving children to roam the streets at night; their own kids are too frightened to be at home in their beds.

“Paedophile” arises in Howard ‘s 2007, The Northern Territory Emergency Response slur on Aboriginal culture in which paedophile rings were alleged to operate in the Northern Territory, despite ABS evidence that only 4.2% of substantiated reports for Aboriginal child abuse and neglect were for sexual abuse compared to 9.3% of non-Aboriginal NT children.

A Rumpelstiltskin in RM Williams moleskins, Forrest and his tame PM, Morrison, boast how they will spin straw into gold. Or water into hydrogen – a simple process which involves vast amounts of water and electricity. It’s so simple you could do it at home with a couple of jumper leads attached to the national grid. Try Bunnings. And a Murray Darling basin of water. Oh. And somewhere to dump toxic salt by-products.

To make 70 million tonnes of pure hydrogen per year – the current global output, you would need about one-and-a-half times as much renewable electricity as the world produces.

Funding? Part of the big picture. Build it and they will come with open cheque-books. Who cares if the Twiggy Piggy bank is empty? A mere bagatelle to a gas-captured Morrison government, which underwrites Santos’ gaslighting in Glasgow as at home.

In a post-truth, post-shame political world having nothing to sell but our souls is part of The Australian Way. And what better venue to set out our gas cartel’s stall than COP26? Certainly, the Morrison government goes out of it way to besmirch our nation’s credentials.

We are now dishonest broker, international conman, and carnival barker for the fossil fuel industry’s business as usual- exclusive greenwashing scam. Just listen to the Twigster,

“Hundreds of billions of dollars” in “implementation capital” will be “funded by the world’s greatest institutions, who must invest in humanity’s journey to a zero-carbon future.”

The green hydro hustle comes from the same mob that brought us natural gas or re-badged methane, a gas with 80 times the global warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it enters our atmosphere. Hitching our wagon to the Santos star fixes Australia’s global reputation as money-grubbing, fossil fuel grifters.

Gas prices have tripled over the last seven years as gas production tripled in Australia. It takes a fair amount of effort, not to mention skullduggery to increase the price of a product as you increase supply.

Not that we’ve been idle behind the scenes, slogging our guts out to help China and India undermine any hope of an agreement to cease burning coal. Hopes for the planet’s survival are dashed when the hoopla that is COP26 fails to agree to phase out coal or even set effective rules for global carbon trading. Shonky carbon offsets will allow fossil fuel corporations to continue polluting and global heating in dirty business as usual.

The COP is now all over bar the shouting, squabbling and bickering. Until next year in Egypt where shameless, ecocidal, climate derelicts such as Australia will be flogged with a limp lettuce leaf, if we can’t improve on the Abbott Experiment’s pathetically inadequate 2030 carbon emission reduction target to reduce emissions by between 26 and 28 per cent on 2005 levels. Yet Barnaby Joyce is keen to have the last word.

In an Abbott-like gesture of integrity, Nationals’ Santos’ stooge, Joyce, who is also currently deputy PM of Australia claims “I did not sign it.”

Not to be out-bid, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) – representatives of 18 gas exporting countries meet in Qatar to stick up for the fossil fuel underdog, in a statement protesting the “the ongoing reductionism and cancel culture on hydrocarbons.”

Reporters ask Joyce if his rapidly dwindling and hopelessly divided party is onboard with COP26’s lamentably diluted communique, an anti-climactic flatulence from some self-deflating whoopee cushion at the end of the Glasgow-a-go-go climate summit. At the eleventh hour, India gets the text altered from “phasing out” coal to “phasing down”.

Providing a bit of slapstick slap-down, Elvis impersonator, Michael McCormack, upbraids Rinehart cowboy, Barnaby. Points out that anything the PM signs on behalf of the secret squirrel coalition that poses as a federal government automatically entails the assent of its junior partner. Given his PM’s capacity to pivot on submarine deals, Mick-Mack’s either a very brave or foolish ex-deputy. This will not end well for either MP.

Above the squalor of our Nationals’ barney a Santos’ float with blue and green LEDs showcases the wholesome new miracle fuel like some type of gelati vending machine.

Australia attracts gold diggers. Led by the US and the UK, other economies invest $4 trillion here, mostly in mining, followed by real estate and finance. We rely on foreign investment, DFAT is quick to tell us, to reach our “economic potential”, but let’s not confuse what fuels our economy with our right to a fair and decent society. Or pretend that economic imperialism is The Australian Way and not a global neoliberal tyranny. Above all is the reality that we are a neocolonial tributary state.

Ironically, the ambitiously bellicose Peter Dutton, eager to declare war on China, warns hacks at his Press Club harangue that China sees Australia as a “tributary state.” It doesn’t wish to occupy us, he says, but rather wants us to “refrain from making sovereign decisions and acting in [our] self-interest.” China is right, Mr Dutton but not in the way you would prefer us to believe. Our masters are the US and the UK and have been for as long as we began to be profitable to them.

Above all, while our PM or his Thatcherite treasurer babble about open markets and invisible hands, there’s nothing fair about market forces dominated by oligarchs or duopolies and monopolies. As most of our markets are. Before we even get to our corrupted government providing handouts to prop up uneconomic fossil fuels.

Government subsidies, to Santos, for example, permit it to continue business as usual, fracking and extracting, while its carbon capture and storage conjuring show, “a very elegant project” permits it to continue making methane while banking tax-payer subsidies or carbon credits because CCS.

Our rulers’ Neoliberal faith in market forces means that investors generally get what they want, while increasingly, middle- and working-class Australians miss out. Our lives are relentlessly impoverished, each year, as capital swells investors’ profits while leaving workers an ever -shrinking share of the economic pie.

That “can do capitalism,” our Prime mining muppet, Scott Morrison’s keen to embrace is increasingly a story of foreign investment largely out of Luxembourg, The British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and other notorious tax havens.

Our neo-colony has also been seen as a cornucopia of fleece, beef, mutton, butter, wheat; hailed as a virtual workers’ paradise where Jack was as good as his master if not better, the antipodes of an Old World of class and privilege and a post-war place of refuge, a dream shattered during the eastern colonies’ depression of the 1890s.

But not today. Now we are the untrustworthy Australian, shunned after boat-stopper Morrison, mining corporation shill to the world goes full Cobargo in his own anti-charm offensive at the G20 pow-wow and its after-party, the COP26, where almost 200 heads of state see our PM publish Emmanuel Macron’s personal text then lie about its contents, while he is first of our PMs to leak a confidential security briefing against a sitting US President.

Morrison’s already abused the G7 gabfest in Cornwall to leak a list of 14 grievances Beijing has with Australia, including restrictions on foreign investment decisions based on national security grounds, government funding for Sinophobic think tanks, and hostile reporting by Australian media.

What could possibly go wrong?

First, there is the Morrison government’s abuse of a world convention on curbing carbon emissions as an excuse to flog fossil fuels, along with that naff Santos stall promoting carbon, capture and storage, (CCS), a notorious scam.

Twiggy Forrest’s artisanal, hand-crafted, bijou, behemoth, Fortescue Future Industries is also there along with NBN genius, Fizza Turnbull, AO, conscripted to explain how we’ll all be saved by Twiggy’s green hydrogen, despite his having no financial backing apart from a $500m pledge from Fortescue Metals on a project he talks up to cost hundreds of billions of dollars from anonymous investors and despite it not having produced a single droplet yet.

The investors have no names. There is not even indicative funding. It is FFI funded by NFI. Joe Aston scoffs in the AFR. But none of this stops the Twig from taking multi-billion pound orders for a product which doesn’t exist, has never been developed commercially and for which there is nothing but hot air in place of the cold cash of capital investment.

But it’s a great story in which heroic, humanitarian, eco-friendly, mining companies will brew up a bit of brown hydrogen and use it for a while, let’s say fifty years, before some lab invents a way to switch to blue hydrogen – or like the mouldy old orange that invented Fleming’s penicillin, then abracadabra up will jump, green hydrogen like Athene born fully armed from the head of Zeus.

Expect Green Hydrogen about the same time as CCS, elctrolyser technology and interplanetary travel become as cheap as chips. No wonder purists at Glasgow take offence. But how good is Forrest’s bait and switch scam?

“So, voters and investors might think they’re getting green hydrogen funded by Covid-19 relief packages, but they are actually being propositioned with polluting blue hydrogen, and will most likely end up with more brown hydrogen,”

write Alex Grant and Paul Martin in their paper Hydrogen is Big Oil’s Last Grand Scam.

Above, all, there is our clandestine love-in with China, India and Russia in which we punch above our weight; helping abort both gatherings of world leaders’ aims to phase out coal, an obstruction, helped no end, by five hundred reps from fossil fuel corporations.

Morrison can brag that not everyone’s giving us the bum’s rush. China, India and Russia are all over us like a rash even if it’s just cupboard love. And selective.

The land of Oz, an oligarchy of Big Miners backed by Rupert Murdoch’s army of hacks and flacks, wins Colossal Fossil Award as COP 26 winds up in chilly Glasgow – not that our PM and sidekick Taylor even hang around.

Minister Keith Pitt calls it an economic win. Australian mines won’t have to close. Within hours, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne cut up ugly in a pugnacious statement making it clear the government would not lift a finger to better its inadequate 2030 goal.

Multinational Muppet Morrison and his sidekick, fellow fossil fuel fanboy, Round Upper of rare, native grasses and Lord of Murray-Darling rorts, Angus Taylor, rush home to tell lies about Australia’s path to net zero. This translates as business as usual – we’ll actually increase our carbon emissions while, presto, the magic of CCS will suddenly start working; prove itself worth the six billion dollars we’ve already wasted on it.

Not that there is anything but gratitude from our Big Australian trans-national mining corporate party donors who are a hawking, talking, driverless truckload of promotion for what Morrison now calls can-do capitalism evoking old pal, Campbell Newman.

Our fossil fuel industry is a magic pudding. It banks $115 billion from selling Australia’s petroleum and coal resources in 2019-20. It pays state and federal governments $7.3 billion in royalties. Yet, in 2020-21, it gets over $10.7 billion in subsidies, reports Michael West Media’s Callum Foote citing The Australia Institute’s analysis of state budget papers.

Morrison bangs on about how private sector “can-do capitalism,” not government policy, will be crucial to cutting carbon emissions. Provided it is a fabulously well subsidised ward of the state. He hopes to further politicise climate change to win the next election.

“Glasgow has marked the passing of the baton from targets and timetables … to private enterprise and the millions of dispersed decisions, flashes of inspiration, which make up consumer-led technological progress,” he bullshits the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) on Wednesday, a hotbed of innovation, disruptive change and subversion of the dominant paradigm.

“We believe climate change will ultimately be solved by can-do capitalism … (not) governments seeking to control people’s lives.”

See what he does there? Someone on ABC Insiders credits Morrison with tapping into lockdown anger, something largely manufactured by the Murdoch gutter press – and like transitioning from brown to green hydrogen – fuelling a miracle election victory.

Morrison will be lucky to be around to hear the outcome of our betrayal of our Pacific neighbours as we choose self-interest, profit and plunder by siding with China, India and Russia at the G20 in Rome against a proposal by the UK and EU countries to pledge to phase out coal production.

Australia’s shores are girt by sea; lapped by an azure Pacific, a vast body of water bigger than all the world’s land masses and islands combined, whose rising seas will drown our Pacific Island neighbours on whom we rely to pick pears in Orrvale and harvest stone fruit in Maroopna and where Vanuatu is out to sue the fossil-fuel corporations responsible and the governments that enabled them.

Australia’s representatives steal away like a thief in the night from COP26, a conference based on the need to co-operate, but not because they are shamed but because they believe that the planet can wait.

The federal government’s contempt for global co-operation, humanity and for climate science is brazen. Nothing is more important than winning the next election. And serving the fossil-fuel oligarchs who rule us through their wholly-owned subsidiary, the Liberal National Coalition.

Yet what neither may have counted on is the Morrison government’s rapid disintegration through ineptitude and acute dysfunction combining with its record of betrayal over COVID to keep any of its promises; discharge its responsibilities. Add in the seamy underbelly revealed in the release of Kate Jenkin’s report, an expose of toxic masculinity and bullying guaranteed to alienate women voters. Despite all of Clive Palmer’s money and anti-Labor lies it may be in for a big shock at the ballot box.

 

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What privileged middle-aged white men call “woke identity politics” is what matters to everyone else

There is nothing more infuriating, and typical, than hearing the things you care about being dismissed by affluent white men in power as “woke identity politics”.

The inspiring Uluru Statement from the Heart has been dismissed as such. Instead of using this blueprint to move forward, the men run scared at this perceived assault on their power. They won’t have an Indigenous Voice telling them what to do – we have lobbyists and consultants who are paid a fortune to do that. Their best effort has been to introduce, and widen the reach of, the cashless welfare card. And employ more truancy officers and police. And pay for more privately run detention centres.

Speaking of detention centres, the ongoing plight of refugees, indefinitely incarcerated for the non-crime of asking for our help to flee persecution and war, is also dismissed as bleeding heart lefty nonsense or, for some of the more rabid, a threat to national security and an assault on Western values and our Judeo-Christian way of life.

Which is kind of dismissive to we Australians who do not feel that Christian institutions should take credit for our values and morality or dictate how we should live our lives. To do anything but revere, protect, and fund the church, regardless of all that we know, is apparently verboten. Civilisation and salvation arrives and resides with the Christian Church. Truth-telling is dismissed as “black-armband” history that will upset the kiddies.

Those kiddies should be in school concentrating on rote learning and practising for standardised tests, not worrying their pretty little heads about alarmist stuff like climate change. Leave it to the grownups. The can-do-capitalists have that all sorted out.

Go watch some tv. Better catch your favourite shows on the ABC before they are sold off and filled with ads. Because we really can’t allow that Ultimo wokehive to keep spewing out its biased green-left agenda. It’s costing us too much in Royal Commissions and compensation payouts.

Who could have known the horrors in nursing homes that were exposed by the Four Corners program that was set to air the day after our brave PM changed his mind and announced an RC into Aged Care. And imagine the surprise we felt when we found out the disabled are being abused and neglected too. Why didn’t they speak up?

Women should speak up more too. Not those communist pot-smoking lesbians at the Teachers Federation who want to turn all of our kids into breast-binding, penis-tucking transgender Marxists. And not those rabid feminazis who keep demanding control of their own reproductive health. Or those token snowflakes that have pushed their way into parliament and then can’t handle it when the boys have a joke. We need more women like those esteemed award winners, Peta Credlin and Bettina Arndt.

If it wasn’t for the feminazis, the ABC lovers, the gays, the Aborigines, the refugees, the ecoterrorists, the inner-city latte sippers, the kids, the aged, the disabled, the homeless, the poor and all those other woke identity politics bleeding heart whingers – this government could get on with the serious business of wealth creation and post-politics employment planning.

 

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(Some of) the lies from Scott Morrison since he became Prime Minister

By Shane Crocker

A person could grow very weary trying to keep up with Scott Morrison’s lies. Below is a section of his falsehoods, which by no means is an exhaustive list and some of them you no doubt know, while others may be new to you. Either way, there are many more out there.

September 3, 2018: Told Melbourne radio station 3AW that homosexuality is a choice and that he supports conversion therapy.

October 10, 2018: Told Melbourne radio station 3AW that schools have a right to expel homosexual students and fire homosexual teachers, and that hospitals have the right to fire homosexual doctors and nurses.

October 10, 2018: Lied when he promised to introduce legislation to protect LGBTIQ+ students. (Note: this was the same day he told Melbourne radio station 3AW that schools have a right to expel homosexual students.)

December 12, 2018: Lied when he promised to create a new federal level anti-corruption and integrity commission based on New South Wales’ ICAC. No progress has been made in the three years since because he had no intention of following up on the 2018 promise.

April 7, 2019: Lied about electric vehicles when he said:

“[An electric vehicle] won’t tow your trailer. It’s not going to tow your boat. It’s not going to get you out to your favourite camping spot with your family. Shorten wants to end the Australian weekend.”

December 10, 2019: Refused to allow volunteer fire-fighters to be paid or compensated with tax breaks. He further alienated the fire-fighters by saying they “want to be out there“.

December 16 to December 21, 2019: Went on an unannounced holiday to Hawaii during the bushfire disaster. Instructed the Office of the Prime Minister to falsely tell the media that he wasn’t in Hawaii.

January 6, 2020: Announced a $2 billion fund for bushfire disaster recovery. Nearly two years later most of the relief money has yet to be distributed to the bushfire victims.

March 12, 2020: Dismissed the announcement by the World Health Organisation of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, saying on Twitter, “I’m going to the footy this weekend & I’m looking forward to it…& I encourage you to, unless you’re ill.”

 

 

May 11, 2020: Said, “It’s a free country” in response to the violent anti-lockdown protest on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House in Melbourne. He gave support to the protesters two more times; on November 12 and November 19, 2021.

 

 

August 19, 2020: Lied when he said:

“Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, if it proves successful, through an agreement between the Australian Government and UK-based drug company AstraZeneca.”

There was no agreement.

October 22, 2020, March 31, 2021, Apr 24, 2021, June 22, 2021: Lied and exaggerated four times, between October 2020 and June 2021, about the number of Australians who have received the COVID-19 vaccine saying; “everything is on track”.

November 4, 2020: Lied when he said; “Our strategy puts Australia at the head of the queue.” The UK and the US started vaccinating their populations a month before Australia. In the UK half of all adults had their first jab before any vaccinations started in Australia.

 

 

February 23, 2021: Undermined former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins allegation of rape by saying she is “confused”.

March 11 2021, March 14 2021, March 31 2021, July 21, 2021: Mishandled the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program, saying three times in March “It’s not a race”.

July 9, 2021: Lied when he said Australia is leading the world in the vaccination rate. In fact Australia is rated last among the 38 OECD nations for vaccinations (Iceland is Number 1.)

August 30, 2021: Lied when he said all the problems with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout had been “overcome” when several states still couldn’t get supplies of the vaccine.

August 31, 2021: Refused to strengthen laws to protect women from sexual harassment and sexual violence.

October 31, 2021: Lied to the President of France about the French contract to build submarines for Australia.

October 26, 2021: Lied when he told a press conference saying Australia would be taking a net zero emissions target to the COP26 in Glasgow.

October 31, 2021: Lied to the President of the USA when he told President Biden that he told President Macron about terminating the submarine contract much earlier than he really did.

November 2, 2021: Leaked private text messages between himself and French President Emmanuel Macron for domestic political points.

November 10, 2021: Announces the Australian government will do nothing to reduce greenhouse emissions:

“We believe climate change will ultimately be solved by ‘can do’ capitalism; not ‘don’t do’ governments seeking to control people’s lives and tell them what to do.”

November 11, 2021: Lied when he said he’d never said anything negative about electric vehicles.

November 12, 2021: Says; “I’ve never told a lie in public life. I don’t believe I have, no.”

 

Image from Twitter (@sacarlin48)

 

November 12, 2021: Sends mixed messages by giving comfort to the extremists involved in the violent anti-vaccination protests in Melbourne by saying “I understand people’s frustrations.” This was actually the second time he gave tacit support to violent demonstrations. The first time was on June 12, 2020 when he said, “It’s a free country.”

November 13, 2021: For the second time in a week he equivocated over the violent protests in Melbourne. He said he didn’t have sympathy for the violent protests but that he had sympathy for their cause. Asked if he had sympathy for the protesters, Mr Morrison said he did have sympathy for those who have had a “gutful of government’s telling them what to do”. This was after he said; “My message couldn’t be clearer.”

November 18, 2021: At a photo-op at a NSW brewery, he made a sexist and racist joke about “an Irish girl in a brewery.” It made the news at Irish on-line news site, Independent.ie. Scott Morison has now upset the Irish. They are not amused.

November 22, 2021: Lied about telling the Federal Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese where he went during the 2019 bushfire disaster.

November 25, 2021: Blocked debate on the creation of a federal integrity corruption commission despite making a promise in 2018 to set up a federal version of ICAC.

November 26, 2021: Refuses to guarantee teachers and students won’t be expelled and sacked if the Religious Freedom legislation is passed. Said that the legislation will be “reviewed” in 2023 despite promising gay students will be protected by legislation by Christmas 2018.

That’s just a collection of his many lies. I’m sure there will be more to come, and we should call him out for every one of them.

Please note: I would never use the term “homosexual” myself. The term is anachronistic and quite a put down. I was quoting what Scott Morrison actually said. Scott Morrison just says “homosexual” in preference to LGBTQI+. He’s an Evangelical Christian. To the Evangelicals “homosexuality” is an unforgivable sin. He also says it’s a “lifestyle choice”. He voted against the Sep 19, 2012 Marriage Amendment Bill 2012. He also voted against bills that would have legalised marriage equality in 2008 and twice in 2010. He hates gays. Use of the term “homosexual” is an affront in 2021 but I won’t soften what he said.

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Scotty Morrison’s Economic Bounce From The Printing Of Booklets

Interviewer – Good morning, we’re joined today by Tor Kingpoints, the only person available owing to all Liberal MPs flitting between the various going away parties for outgoing MPs.

TK – Good morning.

Interviewer – So what’s the mood in the party room like.

TK – From what I hear, it’s very positive. The government has had an extremely good year and they’re all looking positively at the future.

Interviewer – Is that because you don’t want anyone to look at your record?

TK – Ha ha, of course not. We’ve successfully done heaps of things and we’re looking forward to moving forward and making forward progress in the future which is where all future progress will be and we don’t intend to get stuck looking back at the past.

Interverviewer – Exactly what do you see as your achievements?

TK – Now there’s no need for hostile questions like that, we’ve achieved a lot. Australia is still here and nobody listening to this has died which is all down to the PM and his government.

Interviewer – But people did die from Covid and some would argue…

TK – Some people are always prepared to argue. All I’m saying is that most of our success is in front of us and that’s why we’re not going to be looking backward.

Interviewer – Specifically, can you name a government achievement from 2021?

TK – Apart from all the lives we saved? Well, what about our commitment to net zero by 2050? That’s a pretty big achievement!

Interviewer – But you used to say that there’s was no point in committing to a target unless you knew how you’d get there…

TK – Technology not taxes, that’s how we’ll get there.

Interviewer – What does that mean?

TK – It means that we won’t tax people and we’ll give lots of money to the fossil fuel companies so that they can see if they can come up with something that reduces emissions?

Interviewer – Won’t this come from taxes?

TK – Not theirs because we don’t want them to pay any!

Interviewer – But doesn’t someone have to pay…

TK – Look let’s not get bogged down on this one glorious achievement, we’ve got plenty more. We’ve got pages and pages of legislation ready for the delivery of a federal integrity commission.

Interviewer – So why haven’t you introduced it?

TK – You’ll have to ask Labor that?

Interviewer – Is that because you don’t have an answer?

TK – No, it’s because they’re refusing to have a bipartisan approach and we can’t introduce legislation this important unless they agree.

Interviewer – But that hasn’t stopped you introducing other bills such as the Religious Freedom bill…

TK – Well, that’s because a bill like that is too important to wait till everyone agrees. The Religious Freedom bill is there to differentiate between the good people who care about things and those who would follow the path of evil like Labor and The Greens.

Interviewer – Aren’t Labor supporting the bill?

TK – Not without looking at parts of it first which suggests that they’re really just supporting it to take it off the table. But let’s not focus on the past, let’s move forward and look at the future. The future, that’s what counts.

Interviewer – Ok, so what about the Jenkins report will you be implementing all 28 recommendations?

TK – It was a shocking report, truly shocking and let me say that, it was no surprise to any of us, but let me point out that all parties have problems and it wasn’t just us.

Interviewer – Yes but, as you say, let’s not dwell on the past, are you going to implement the recommendations?

TK – I’d like to remind you that we were the party that commissioned the report and we did this, thanks to complaints from our staffers, so really it’s something that the government should take a lot of credit for.

Interviewer – The recommendations?

TK – Yes, they’re in another booklet. We’ve released more booklets than any other government in history and if it wasn’t for this, why the whole printing industry may have gone under in the recent pandemic…

Interviewer – What is your plan for the recommendations?

TK – I’m glad you asked that because we certainly have a plan, unlike Labor, and it’s an excellent one.

Interviewer – Would you like to give us the plan?

TK – Well, first we’ll look at the recommendations in Cabinet and then we’ll form a working party to device how we can best work through the booklet in a way that maximises the opportunities for genuine change and then that working party will co-opt various people to make a report which will then be given to the PM in the form of a booklet which he can show the press, so that they’ll all know that we haven’t been idle.

Interviewer – But exactly what action to improve things for everyone and females in particular will the government be taking?

TK – Look I can’t pre-empt the working party. Sorry but I going to have to go.

Interviewer – Oh, do you have another interview?

TK – No, it’s just one of the end of year parties will be in full swing and if I don’t get there soon, I might miss the stripper.

Interviewer – Thanks for your time.

TK – See you next year after I get preselection.

 

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Forget sports rorts and car park malarkey – misuse of public money in Defence is staggering

Labor’s fear of getting wedged on national security has allowed Defence spending to skyrocket with little scrutiny and no opposition.

Currently, the budget is planned to grow by a remarkable 87.4% over the coming decade – well above the election promise of 2% of GDP. With $575 billion to spend over ten years, someone should really be paying attention to what these guys are doing.

When the Auditor-General recently had the temerity to suggest that “Defence has not clearly demonstrated that the acquisition provides value for money, as it did not undertake robust benchmarking in the context of a sole source procurement”, he was promptly gagged.

We don’t know how many billion cancelling the French sub contract will eventually cost us, but it isn’t the only such debacle as pointed out by ASPI in their commentary on the defence budget brief 2021–2022.

“Earlier this year, Defence cancelled its project to deliver the Submarine Escape Rescue and Abandonment System. After getting into contract and spending what could be close to $100 million, Defence decided that it had irreconcilable differences with its industry partner.

The Army’s highest priority program, the digitisation of the Army under LAND 200, also has been put on hold after nearly 15 years of work and almost $2 billion spent. Even if it continues, it could take another 10 years to complete—in total, that’s longer than the F-35A. Can Defence keep running projects that take a quarter of a century to deliver?”

Peter Dutton is addressing the Lowy Institute today about the threats we face and how we will maintain peace and prosperity in the region by spending kazillions on weapons of war.

“We are facing challenges including rapid military modernisation, tension over territorial claims, heightened economic coercion, undermining of international law, including the law of the sea, through to enhanced disinformation, foreign interference and cyber threats, enabled by new and emerging technologies.”

Dutton says Australia is maintaining investment in its core military capabilities and continuing to develop new ones “to hold a potential adversary’s forces and infrastructure at risk from a greater distance, capabilities which send a clear deterrent message to any adversary that the cost they would incur in threatening our interests outweighs the benefits of so doing.”

This sounds very much like an admission that we can’t match major-power adversaries and need to develop capabilities to deter them rather than engage them.

Which begs the question of why we are spending hundreds of billions on traditional, conventional capabilities such as expensive, multi-role, manned platforms and an increasingly heavy conventional land force.

Having too much money to spend leads to ridiculous situations like the one where we are deliberately paying more to slow down delivery so our shipbuilders have something to do.

The Force Structure Plan says the cost increase for the Future Frigate Program was caused by the government allocating ‘additional funding to enable construction of ships at a deliberate drumbeat over a longer period of time than originally planned to achieve a continuous shipbuilding program’.

Over the decade, the government is providing $575 billion in funding to Defence, but in that time it won’t deliver a single new combat vessel.

As Defence workforce numbers are capped, one wonders who is going to crew and maintain this vast collection of new equipment. It is already estimated that over 10% of Defence’s acquisition budget is going to contractors helping to run projects, costing way more than if we used experienced public servants.

While there are significant questions about how efficiently Defence is spending, there are even bigger questions about whether it’s spending it on the right things in the first place. Us spending up to $40 billion on heavy armoured vehicles isn’t much of a deterrent to China.

Instead of investing in extremely expensive crewed platforms that take decades to design and manufacture and are potentially too valuable to lose, we should be making greater use of uncrewed and autonomous systems.

Investing in cybersecurity and countering misinformation are far more relevant national security issues than buying bigger guns.

Some say that having a few targeted long-range missiles would be a sufficient deterrent against aggression. It would certainly be cheaper than wasting money on submarines.

Personally, I think respect given and earned, co-operation for mutual gain, and help in times of need or crisis, are far better defences than any weapon. The Coalition picked a bad time to cut Foreign Aid, ignore pleas to reduce emissions, and then act all offended when other suitors come calling.

We need détente, not Dutton – a man who speaks very loudly and carries a tiny widdle stick.

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Scott Morrison renews crackdown on social media users

For the second time this year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, bereft of the will and the capacity to announce anything useful, has again declared he will go after “anonymous trolls” on social media.

His cunning plan requires forcing tech giants who own the platforms to either identify the “trolls” so they can be pursued for defamation, or pay defamation costs themselves. The proposal also requires social media users to provide proof of identity before being allowed to use the platforms. You can’t sue anonymous.

This proposal is unlikely to be legislated and equally unlikely to be useful in the event it becomes law, except for the privileged few who can afford to pursue legal remedies.

It is worth remarking on as yet another performance of hypocrisy on the part of Morrison and some members of his Government. Backbencher Andrew Laming, for example, renowned for his photographs of a woman bending over at work, created dozens of Facebook accounts specifically to troll his opponents using identities other than his own.

Morrison regularly trots out the social media bogeyman, including an address he gave to a Christian convention on the Gold Coast earlier this year in which he described social media as the “work of the Devil” and a “weapon used by the evil one”.

It is remarkable how Morrison’s Pentecostal religious convictions frequently appear to dovetail with the business of his Government. His war on social media is but one example. Think of his attacks on people with reduced means in the form of Robodebt and the cashless debit card, attacks that are consistent with the Pentecostal principle that material benefits accrue to believers and deny God his due results in misfortune.

Then consider Morrison’s current efforts to pass the so-called “Religious Freedom” Bill, a 2019 Election promise and one that some in his own Party fear will undermine existing rights preventing discrimination by religious institutions. The LGBTQI community will be most affected by the Bill, which nicely fits with the Pentecostal abhorrence of homosexuality.

Not all members of the Morrison Government are followers of the Pentecostal cult – or, indeed, any religion – however, they are all committed to a neoliberal project that fundamentally corrodes society and destroys trust in its institutions. There is in Australia an unfortunate convergence of interests between Pentecostals, conservative Christians and neoliberalism that creates a substantial powerbase, enabled by supportive media.

The most powerful antidote to this cabal is social and independent media. These platforms offer “ordinary people” the opportunity to express disagreement and to challenge the edicts of the political class. They are the cyber equivalent of heckling and discomfiting politicians and their enablers in the streets.

Inevitably, the authoritarian populist regime headed by “Scomo” not only wants to silence public dissent, but it also wants to punish the dissenters. What better way to do that than threatening ruinous defamation action? After all, despite the Prime Minister advising marching women they were lucky not to be shot, we have not yet reached the stage where people protesting their government’s actions can be disappeared off the face of the Earth. And defamation action is legal.

The pre-election pearl-clutching around the “evils” of social media deflects from the major site of abuse and concealment in Australia today: the Morrison Government.

Morrison, assisted by other MPs, senior advisors and staffers, is suspected of concealing his knowledge of the alleged rape of Ms Brittany Higgins in a ministerial office just down the corridor from his own, in March 2019.

But social media is the problem.

The Morrison Government is attempting to introduce voter identity law, when voting is already compulsory and there is, according to the Australian Electoral Commission, no evidence at all of widespread voter fraud. This legislation will likely disenfranchise many groups of voters.

But social media is the problem.

Alleged rapist and former Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter had his legal fees covered by secret donors. He has not declared their contributions, which are estimated to be up to $1 million, making a mockery of the declaration of interests required of MPs.

But social media is the problem.

The Morrison Government is committed to the coercive control of millions of Australians through the imposition of the cashless debit card.

But social media is the problem.

Millions of public dollars have been commandeered by the Morrison Government to fund extensive rorts as part of its election campaigns.

But social media is the problem.

I could go on, itemising the numerous ways in which Morrison and his MPs have deceived, defrauded and abused the Australian people, but I have a word limit.

So let me finish with a link to an ever-growing list of Scott Morrison’s lies. The Prime Minister is, indisputably, a serial liar. He even appears to lie without purpose, when nothing is achieved by the lie, or when the lie compounds an earlier lie.

We are now at the stage where nothing he says can be believed, because so much of what he says has proven to be a lie. There really is little point in listening to him, because, lies.

But social media is the problem and Morrison has the solution. Praise be.

 

 

 

This article was originally published on Independent Australia.

 

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