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Category Archives: News and Politics

Dutton stigmatises CEOs as no better than women. Wow.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton inexplicably stepped out of his portfolio last week to make commentary on CEOs with an opinion on marriage equality that does not coincide with his own.

Dutton singled out Qantas CEO Alan Joyce for particular attention, presumably because Mr Joyce is gay.

In a final flourish, Dutton advised CEOs to “stick with their knitting” and in so doing revealed the putrid depths of his masculinist contempt not only for gay men and marriage equality advocates, but also for women.

Knitting is largely (though not entirely) a female occupation. It has long been the practice of hegemonic masculinity to “feminise” and therefore devalue gay men through the conflation of homosexuality with effeminacy.

Heterosexual masculinists such as Dutton work to denigrate homosexuals and their CEO supporters as undesirably  “female” by suggesting that their expertise is not in the world of business, opinion and commentary, but rather in a confined domestic environment where they are powerless, voiceless, and, knitting.

The denigration works only if Dutton (and heterosexual masculinists of both genders who agree with his point of view) believes women are inferior, and uses the recommendation to “stick to your knitting” as a profoundly unpleasant, homophobic and sexist insult.

The Minister is actually saying: you have no place and no power in the world of “real” men like me, because if you are a man who supports marriage equality you are inevitably effeminate.

Dutton devalues the male CEOs by attributing to them the “feminine” activity of knitting, and simultaneously devalues women. Our real place is not, in his opinion, in the public space advocating marriage equality, but in a domestic life removed from concerns best left to masculinist politicians.

In Dutton’s view, gay men and male supporters lack masculinity, evidenced by their subversive refusal to unquestioningly support the hegemonic masculinity Dutton represents.

Indeed, Dutton’s masculinity is, like the Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton, defined by his heterosexuality. I recall Shelton’s plaintive tweet that if we allow marriage equality, no one will know he is straight.

Feminising gay men and supporters, stigmatising them as no better and no more relevant in the world than women, is an abject attempt to differentiate the heterosexual masculinist from his greatest perceived threat: a man who loves another man and in so doing becomes, oh dear god no, feminised.

In the world of heterosexual masculinists opposites attract, therefore, if you’re a man who loves a man, you must be a woman.

That this is employed as an insult by Dutton should give us significant pause.

Knitting is generally regarded as a harmless occupation, however, Dutton should note that knitters are not necessarily quite so bland. Madame Defarge, for example, knits contentedly on through the Revolution as the despised ruling heads of France fall one by one into the basket under the guillotine, their names stitched into her patterns.

Dutton has managed, in one short phrase, to cast a thoroughly offensive slur upon gay men and all women. Actually, there aren’t many human beings Dutton likes. This nasty piece of work does not belong in our government. Let’s hope his electorate see it that way.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

Day to Day Politics: Peter, Peter, think more deeply.

Monday March 20 2017.

1 The Minister for Immigration and noted homophobic non-thinking leader of conservative opinion in the Coalition must wake up every morning thinking what he can do to tweak his nasty disposition.

I said immediately after the election that the issue of Same-sex Marriage would never go away, that it would continue to burn like a gas fire that you could never put out.

Like Pyne, Dutton is a Coalition go-to man when gutter politics and exaggeration or just plain lying are needed to douse the flames of public discontent.

So some 30 CEOs of major companies using their democratic right to support their customers on the subject of Gay Marriage express it publicly with an open letter asking the government to get the matter resolved. It’s called free speech but attack dog Dutton takes an exception in the belief that free speech should only be available to those who support conservative policies.

Last Friday he told shock jock Ray Hadley that big corporations including Qantas were afraid of being targeted online by activist groups. Really, what a load of codswallop. Playing the man he gave outed gay Qantas chief Alan Joyce a big serve, accusing him of using the company’s brand to push his personal view on equality.

An observation.

“Love has no gender.”

Come Sunday the few moderates left in the Coalition had been pulled into line and any chance of a free vote was taken from them by a Prime Minister who supports marriage equality. Work that out.

But Dutton in giving 30 of our most influential businesses a serve about marriage equality showed just what an ignoramus he is.

Dutton said:

“Some of these businesses are concerned that if they don’t sign up that they will be subject to a campaign which will be run online by GetUp! and others… and that is going to impact on their business.”

He suggested that all the businesses should pay more attention to their bottom line. By that he means profit. Had he done any research he would have realised that gays as a cohort have the largest disposable income of any group in society. The pink dollar, as it is known, is much sort after and business knows it. They are looking after their bottom line. Thank God he isn’t the Finance Minister … or the Prime Minister.

Bloody dunderhead suffers, like many government ministers from foot in mouth disease.

An observation

“When you express your right to free speech you also reveal your personal inner morality.”

2. ‘In short’: A selection of responses, emails etc that I get from various online sources.

i) The Prime Minister has finally come out in support for the decision made by the Fair Work Commission.

“It is important to remember this was not a decision from the government, it was an independent considered decision of the independent umpire of the Fair Work Commission, every member of which was appointed by a Labor government, three of who were appointed by Bill Shorten.”

Life is about perception, not what is but what we perceive it to be. No matter which way you look at it he will be the PM who reduced the wages of the poor while cutting the taxes of the rich. A hard one to sell.

ii) A leaked document revealed the Turnbull government costed how much would be saved by stopping all welfare payments below $20 a fortnight. Energy supplement etc.

From the PM – A report today that the government is cutting the aged pension is false and we outright reject it. I can assure all aged pensioners the measure reported will NOT be in the Budget.

We assured the journalist too, but she insisted on writing the story. And sadly, I can also assure you that you can always rely on Bill Shorten to lie.

What has Bill Shorten to do with it?

iii) True. Dutton is seeking conservative votes in the party room.

iv) Hasluck, Pearce, Stirling, Canning and Swan. would all change? Become Labor seats.

v) Unsure. Every issue the Turnbull government has can be traced back to the Howard government.

vi) Maybe. There is no real difference between democrats and republicans. Both controlled by the elites.

vii) The liberal party preselected 38 female candidates for the lower house in the federal election. 92 per cent of them in marginal seats. So you wonder how serious they are re getting women into parliament.

viii) Minor parties polled 23 percent House of reps last election. Tipped to be 25 percent next election. Could be heading for a period of political instability.

ix) Interesting thought. Hanson fields candidates knowing they won’t win. But they will get over the threshold. So the party will earn some public funding.

x) I think so. Ban all donations over $5000. All foreign donations.

xi) I think so. Abbott could well be challenged by a moderate for liberal pre-selection in his seat. And lose.

xii) Maybe. The carbon tax and the NBN were the two worst decisions ever by an Australian government.

How do you mean?

Open re NBN. Carbon tax made little environmental impact.

xiii) The liberal party preselected 38 female candidates for the lower house in the federal election. 92 per cent of them in marginal seats. So you wonder how serious they are re getting women into parliament.

ixv) GST is 12 per cent of our tax revenue. Personal income tax about 40 per cent.

xv) Optional preferential is better but the major parties won’t touch it. For a number of reasons.

xvi) If company tax was at 22 per cent of our tax revenue it would go a long way towards paying off our debt

xvii) Greens are stuck on 10 per cent. Since shorten became Labor leader unions have donated $25 million to the party

xviii) Agree with Richo. Australians have moved to the right over the last 20 years. So the Greens are becoming more of a fringe party

ixx) The snowy mountains hydro scheme was really a Labor project. Although implemented by Menzies.

xx) The hydro project is 5 years away at best.

More like 8.

xxi) Interesting. If there was a federal election on Saturday Julie bishop would be the only liberal in WA to hold their seat.

xxii) Conflict of interest? “Malcolm Turnbull’s wife Lucy Turnbull is Chairman of Prima Biomed.

Prior to Malcolm Turnbull becoming PM of Australia, Lucy’s shares were valued at $750,000 then her share of the company according to reports grew to $5.5million. Prima Biomed is partners with GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis which both develop vaccines. Vaccine Makers have benefited greatly from the introduction of the No Jab, No Pay under Turnbull.

xxiii) John Alexander likely to retire at the election. After 3 terms. Something odd going on there. Risks a preselection battle if decides to stay.

Note: I cannot vouch for the veracity of all the comments I get via different sources, but they always make for interesting reading.

My Thought for the day.

“Are you really doing what is important? What you believe in, or have you just adjusted to what you are doing.”

 

Thou shall not hate

In the words of The Monthly, If the name Milo Yiannopoulos means nothing to you, congratulations on being a normal, well-adjusted person. Yiannopoulos is someone we all aspire to be the complete opposite of. He was until very recently, an alt-right figurehead and said all the ‘right’ things. According to The Guardian he did a fine line in Islamophobia, misogyny, transphobia or harassment. Out Magazine, (which takes pride in its LGBTI heritage) called him a ‘super villain’. Recently, The Monthly reported:

Here in Australia, Yiannopoulos has many fans on the right. Andrew Bolt called him “fabulous” in one of his multiple appearances on The Bolt Report. Bolt’s Herald Sun colleague Rita Panahi thinks Yiannopoulos is “razor sharp, insightful and funny”. Former Liberal MP Ross Cameron regards him as “an ancient form of genius”. Writing in the Spectator, Daisy Cousens described him as an “intelligent, charismatic, witty, stylish, and unbearably handsome powerhouse of a man”.

However, it seems that even the alt-right has boundaries. A YouTube video recently came out (pun intended – Yiannopoulos is gay) where he seemed to endorse intimate relations between older men and boys. He lost his job as a Senior Editor on the Breitbart (extremely conservative) news website, a book deal and some speaking engagements. Let’s give credit where it is due, those who severed connections with a person who seemed to endorse paedophilia did the right thing. However, it also brings into question why hate speech against religions, gender and those who have a different sexual orientation is permitted by the same organisations – as they are all just as abhorrent as the straw that broke the camel’s back on this occasion. Let’s face it, by supporting Yiannopoulos while he promotes hate speech, the organisations also gave implied support for his positions on those other issues. Severing the connection when Yiannopoulos seemingly ‘crossed the line’ demonstrates the principal.

The Guardian reported that during a meeting of an ultra-conservative group in North Carolina, the ‘Islamification of America’ was being discussed:

The Muslim Brotherhood, a culturally conservative organization founded in 1928 that briefly took power in Egypt after the Arab Spring, is the focal point of paranoid rightwing fears about a supposed Islamic plot to infiltrate and subvert American institutions from within and impose sharia law.

“A tactic that the Brotherhood has established over the years is establishing the presence of Islamic centers or mosques, which for them means a recruitment center for jihad, and forming a permanent foundation wherever they’re allowed to exist,” Jones said, continuing to read from Stakelbeck’s book [The Terrorist Next Door].

Jones’s presentation was repeatedly interrupted by comments about killing Muslims from Frank del Valle, a staunchly anticommunist Cuban immigrant, with little or no pushback from the others in the room.

“Can we not kill them all?” Del Valle asked, about 15 minutes into the presentation, during a discussion about the differences between the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam.

But it wouldn’t happen in general society in Australia, would it? Well it does actually. Madonna King wrote an opinion piece for The Brisbane Times recently based on the reaction to Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s recent appearance on ABCTV’s QandA. You may remember that Adbel-Magied contradicted some of the more conservative panellists’ views on the Islamic religion and Sharia Law with some facts based on her understanding of the religion as a practising member of the faith. In the piece, King rightly labelled Australians as haters pointing out that while you and I certainly have the right to decide if we agree with Abdel-Magied’s opinion, she does have the right to vocalise it without people starting petitions for her to be sacked from her job presenting a show on ABCTV’s News 24 station, which is what happened on this occasion.

Let’s look at another example. Pauline Hanson was recently reported as suggesting that young women will deliberately get pregnant to receive some perceived advantage from the LNP Government’s proposed changes to family benefits. Quite probably she is partly right — generally a small minority will take any advantage that they can find and turn it to their perceived advantage. Hanson’s argument seems to be:

I’ve gone through a bloody tough life myself as a single mother and held down a part-time job. I had no assistance, no help from anyone. But we have such a welfare handout mentality.

Apart from the fact that single parent payments, family allowances and tax ‘breaks’ for families have been the practice of Australian Governments of all political persuasions for a number of decades, meaning Hanson could have received help if she met the criteria, her rhetoric seems as shallow and self-serving as her claim not to be a professional politician despite being first elected to the Ipswich City Council in 1994, followed by running for the seat of Oxley in the Federal Parliament in 1996, then failing to be elected at most elections between the end of that Parliament and the commencement of the current one.

The issue here is that considerably more young women will use the benefit as it was intended, to ensure that while babies and their parents are both going through a major change in their living and financial arrangements, there is some assistance from the rest of our society to make the financial transition slightly easier. Remember that the children who benefit from the government’s ‘largesse’ here are those who will be paying for the roads and medical services that the naysayers such as Hanson will consume in twenty to thirty years’ time when they are retired and contributing far less taxation (if any at all). All Hanson is really doing here is inflaming the anger in those who follow her particular brand of politics when they see pregnant women or young families walk past. It’s not healthy for the victims and certainly not healthy to the level of political conversation in Australia.

Of course, our ‘major’ party politicians wouldn’t stoop to using hatred to achieve political ends – would they? Don’t be silly, of course they do. As blogmaster of The Political Sword Ad Astra recently noted in his article Abbott’s legacy of destruction, former Prime Minister Abbott’s opposition to action on climate change wasn’t a divine revelation that there was another and better way to mitigate the man-made influence on global temperature increase caused by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide, it was purely political. It is worth looking at Abbott’s head of staff’s (Peta Credlin) statement on Sky News again.

Credlin made her comments during an episode of Sky’s Sunday Agenda: “Along comes a carbon tax. It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know. It was many other things in nomenclature terms but we made it a carbon tax. We made it a fight about the hip pocket and not about the environment. That was brutal retail politics and it took Abbott about six months to cut through and when he cut through, Gillard was gone.”

As Ad Astra wrote,

The article continued with Credlin’s comments:
“It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know.

“Okay, okay, okay. Let’s just provide some context. Australia has a complicated history in trying to do what many countries have already done – put a price on carbon emissions.

“Emissions trading scheme proposals contributed to the demise of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader in 2009 and Kevin Rudd as prime minister in 2010. Julia Gillard finally introduced a carbon-pricing scheme in 2011.

“It was Tony Abbott who re-framed Gillard’s scheme as a “carbon tax”, even though after the first year the price on carbon emissions was no longer fixed, and was instead set by the market.

“Abbott rode the anti-carbon tax movement all the way into The Lodge and eventually had everyone, including Labor and the media, calling it a carbon tax”.

How about we call that for what it is. Abbott lied to get the Prime Ministership. He traded off the future liveability of this country for his personal ambition.

Both Hanson and Abbott (amongst a number of other politicians from all sides of politics) also support or have supported in the past the forcible incarceration of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru while claiming to uphold ‘good Christian values’ not only in their daily lives but in their public lives. While neither ‘Thou shall not hate’ nor ‘Do unto others as you wish others do to you’ are listed in the 10 Commandments, they both have some textual context in the holy book that Abbott, Hanson and others claim to follow. How is changing an environmental imperative to a political argument, denying a benefit the country can obviously afford on the basis that some may abuse it, or treating people poorly in the Australian detention camps, not demonstrating pure and utter hatred to those who don’t meet particular world views of some extremely narrow minded people?

It’s somewhat hypocritical to suggest that ‘good Christian values’ are a part of your life while overseeing hate speech, active persecution of others for daring to hold alternative beliefs or not caring for the world we live in and are leaving for our descendants. You would have to wonder how these people can live with the basic contradiction that is obvious to a large proportion of society – if you have good Christian values, you should live by them.

Someone who should have some idea of what represents ‘good Christian values’ is the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. He has previously made statements on climate change, education, helping those who need a hand, paying your way in life and recently made a statement on refugees which has been widely reported. Even the extreme right wing Breitbart News (yes, the same august journal that accepted the resignation of Yiannopoulos) headlined their report with:

In powerful language, Pope Francis said Thursday that Jesus abhors hypocrisy and it is hypocritical to call oneself a Christian and at the same time not be welcoming to refugees, even if they belong to a different religion.

Pity those who routinely preach their ‘good Christian values’ will not put two and two together. Thou shall not hate.

This article by 2353NM was originally published on The Political Sword.

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Je Suis Andrew Bolt – How Andrew Was Subjected To Terrible Treatment Over 18C!

Remember the headlines about the death of free speech. Remember the editorials? The Herald-Sun saw it thus:

“But should there be a law to protect people from being offended? Gagging people from fairly and legitimately held opinions is censorship. It is a basic denial of freedom of speech, which was pointed out by Attorney-General George Brandis in front of a hostile panel and audience on Q&A on ABC television on Monday night.

“The discussion on the repeal of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act turned into an attack on Bolt. An opinion as to some people using their ethnicity to their advantage might have been offensive to some, but should that have prevented Bolt from saying as much? The Herald Sun says the answer to this is an emphatic “no’’…

“But calling on the Government to adjudicate in a debate is to diminish people’s right to voice their opinions, blunt as they might be.

“Senator Brandis said in his option Bolt is “no racist’’ and brought some sense to the Q&A tirade by pointing out that, in his opinion, a failure to repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act in its current form is to say “political censorship is OK”. No, it’s not, and the Racial Discrimination Act, Section 18C, is an Act too far.”

And remember how terribly Mr Bolt suffered after he lost the case. Ok, he didn’t do jail time and he wasn’t fined, but the judge found that many of the claims he made were factually inaccurate, and if a journalist like Andrew is restricted to making accurate statements, it’d only be a matter of time before he lost his job. Luckily 18C only applies to certain areas so Mr Bolt has been able to happily continue to write the world has been cooling for the past seventeen years in spite of record temperatures.

No, the terrible treatment he suffered was that he was found to have breached the law. I imagine it must be very hard for him trying to speak to members of the Coalition. “We can’t work with that man,” they must be saying. I know, I know, it’s an “unjust law”. We all should be able to say whatever we like without the need to stick the facts… I mean, if it’s good enough for the President of the United States, then surely…

Anyway, the Coalition must surely be shunning Bolt as the man was found to have broken the law. I’ve been trying to find the condemnation, but it must have been removed from the internet because they were all inaccurately calling him South African or something, and therefore it offended him and breached 18C Not that being called “South African” is insulting per se, it’s just that as he was born in Australia to a Dutch parent and therefore still has the trace of some strange accent… And by strange I wouldn’t want to insult or offend anybody, whether Dutch, South African or Boltish… or even Baltic…

Whatever, I’m sure that the right wing must have really got stuck into Andrew, given their condemnation of Sally McManus for merely suggesting that where laws are unjust – such as illegal walk-offs when safety is breached – then she’d support unions who took action . “We can’t work with her,” said Turnbull. (I guess they won’t be able to work with Adani now either.) Christopher Pyne said that there’d be chaos if Australians failed to follow the law. Michaelia Cash said that it was an “extraordinary admission” that McManus thought that unions could pick and choose when they broke the law and when they didn’t. (Actually, I suspect that everybody “picks and chooses” when they break the law, then it’s up to the police to “choose” to find us and arrest or fine us!) And George Brandis, the chief law officer of the land, said nothing… probably because he’s too busy preparing the diary that the court ordered him to release it six months ago.

So if that’s how the Coalition reacted to someone who merely said that she’d support unions who broke unjust laws, imagine how they must have treated poor Andrew Bolt who actually breached a law! He must be a complete person non grata in Liberal-land.

Or is it a case of all laws are equal but we didn’t write all of them, so some laws are more unjust than others?

Day to Day Politics: Turnbull, breaking bad laws.

Sunday March 19 2017

In the political section of my library I have a book written by Jim Cairns, published in 1972, titled The quiet Revolution. On one of its pages Cairns (I couldn’t find it) makes the same statement that ACTU leader Sally McManus, made on Wednesday’s 7.30 when she said that she believed in the rule of law and then qualified it by saying:

“Where the law’s fair, where the law’s right, but when it’s unjust, I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it.”

The Conservatives were up early the next day preparing their nefarious, but thoughtless words of megalomania that only people with delusions of power could write.

The Prime Minister said he doubted that he could work with new ACTU boss Sally McManus after her comments that union members should break “unjust laws”. Peter Dutton a former copper called her a ”lunatic”. Even Bill Shorten got in on the act with a stinging rebuke. The shallowest thinking people in our society, the shock jocks were intoxicated with thoughts of unionists breaking the law. Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, dubbed her comments ”anarcho-Marxist claptrap”.

An observation.

“I always used to say to my kids. Think beyond the answer. There’ sure to be another one lurking there somewhere.”

On the surface it would seem right that people can’t go around breaking the law. But having said that we do live in a time where horrible things are being perpetrated on us and the shame of it is that we have normalised them and simply adjusted accordingly.

Anyway I thought to myself what sort of world would we live in if Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Liu Xiaobo, Susan Brownell Anthony and many others didn’t just protest bad laws, and then break them.

Would you say you’re justified in breaking the law whenever you morally disagree with it? Law and order is one of the greatest achievements of humankind but every law was written by a fallible mortal. Even those in a democratic societies with the best will in the world always get it right. Not all laws are made in good faith, even with the best interest of the people they are supposed to protect.

What about Whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg, Mark Felt, ”Deep Throat” , Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and hundreds of others who have all broken the law to disclose wrong doing? Politicians themselves break the law by creating ones that hide the truth.

The law and the ethics of it have been debated since the times of the great philosophers. Its not a black and white topic with simple solutions for laws that are made by fallible people.

Australia broke international law when together with the USA it unilaterally invaded Iraq. Is it justifiable to break a law if a person’s life is at risk?

Some say that rules/laws are put in place for those who aren’t capable of being good citizens without there being some sort of consequence. Even that I find to be thoughtless gibberish. Its so much deeper than that.

Jane Caro writing for Fairfax said:

Even in a democracy, laws tend to be made by the powerful and the privileged. It is therefore inevitable that those with less power and privilege, including women, may have to break some of those laws to find justice.”

When Turnbull, a lawyer and Dutton a policeman, and Pyne, also a lawyer don’t have any comprehension of the vagaries of the law and are seemingly, by their statements, are against the actions of Mandela and company I well understand why the country is in the political mess it’s in.

It was civil disobedience that ended slavery.

An observation.

“In terms of social activism. The word wait should never mean never.”

Anyway, no doubt there are many opinions on this subject so I will leave you with two thoughts.

When the founding fathers of America broke the tyrannous laws placed upon the colonies by Britain, the United States of America was formed.

The Eureka rebellion was more than just a few miners breaking the law and protesting against an unjust tax. Some argue that it was the time Australian democracy was born.

On this day in 2016 I wrote the following:

When I wrote my piece titled ‘Only in America. Looking at Trump from Down Under’ I must confess that secretly in the labyrinth of my being I thought the American people were to intelligent to succumb to Donald Trump’s populist outbursts.

Stupidly I, like many others, assumed that over time his utterings of nefarious intent would be seen for what they were. The ravings of a pathological ratbag intent on obtaining power by any means. In my piece I covered the man’s personality disorders, his inappropriateness to even be considered as the Republican nominee and then I tied together current Australian conservatism with that of the American right.

As the Republican debates got underway it became apparent that Trump was not just a flash in the pan contender. People actually loved him for his bigotry, for his racism, for his anti-immigrant rhetoric, for his uncouth mouth, for his incitement of violence at his rallies. The more he did so the more they cheered him. The more hatred he spat out the more his supporters encouraged him. Even reciting an oath of allegiance on his command.

They loved him for his prejudice, his lies, his sexism. His racist tweets, and his offer to pay the legal fees of those who commit violence. His supporters worshiped when he advocated the use of torture and the murder of terrorists’ families.

They almost wet themselves when he gleefully told stories of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood. And they fell over themselves with excitement when he compared refugees to “snakes”, and claimed that “Islam hates us”.

They applauded him when he tweeted racist images and racist lies. When it took him 48 hours to disavow white supremacy there was not a murmur.

Cheers and raucous joy arose at his rallies at his every hate filled denouncement of minorities and everything he sees as un-American. As if America has some sort of ownership on all morality and righteousness.

Having observed this man, his vile behaviour and listened to his rhetoric, the anger he elicits, and the reaction of the American people to it I have to admit I was wrong. Rather than Americans seeing him, as I thought they would, for the fool he is, they are embracing him as their champion.

If I was wrong about Trump I also regrettably have to concede I was wrong about the American people or more particularly Republican Americans. Wanting a person like Trump as President speaks as much about their mindlessness as it does about his inappropriateness.

At some stage I reconciled that he might win the Republican nomination but could never win the Presidency. Am I also wrong about that?

Commentators are saying that if he gets the nomination we will see a more reasoned Trump. A more lucid personality.

The logic of this suggestion escapes me. I know who he is, what he stands for, and it frightens me. It should petrify the world.

My thought for the day.

“Time doesn’t diminish the crime.”

 

 

Sally McManus, the hero

Sally McManus is the hero of workers. Turnbull is welcome to try to villainise her, but in doing so, he’s only making himself the enemy.

In her first television interview as head representative of people who work, McManus was involved in what media-insiders call a ‘gotcha moment’. Courtesy of the get-me-a-gotcha-moment-in-place-of-any-useful-political-analysis-queen, Leigh Sales. In their version of events, McManus was in hot water for backing the safety of workers at any cost, even if that cost is breaking laws designed to help employers shirk any responsibility for protecting people who work for them.

Right wingers squealed in delight when Sales drew supposably controversial comments out of McManus so early in the piece. The attacks came thick and fast from all the obvious places, including many journalists, who tut-tutted about law-breaking as if the law-breaking in question was home invasion or carjacking. Even those from Fairfax, who were more than happy to illegally strike in protest at their own colleagues being sacked, apparently can’t see the irony of criticising workers who do the same thing when a colleague is killed. Christopher Pyne, jumping on McManus like a seagull on a chip, called on her to resign. Turnbull, grasping for something to divert from his own failures, said he couldn’t work with her.

A year ago, this whole episode would have been yet another predictable, not worth mentioning, union bashing media-beat-up. But things have changed in the past few months. People have woken up to wealth inequality. Australia saw this wake up contribute to Brexit and the election of Trump. Closer to home, we’ve had One Nation pop up in Turnbull’s double dissolution, only to be over-egged and come crashing back down in the WA election, where, lo and behold, Labor achieved an 8% swing in their primary vote without any help from minors.

Throughout this time, Turnbull’s government continues to be a mixture of insipid do-nothing indecision, scandal and destruction, infighting and chaos, ideological bastardy and economic incompetence while they sidestep from one policy disaster to the next. Amongst the attacks to Medicare, the undermining of welfare through the Centrelink debacle, the failure on energy policy, the distractions from fringe fundamentalists such as anti-marriage-equality and repealing hate-speech laws, there is one policy which stands shiny and red as the most detestable, a pimple on a bum of failure: an attack to wages through a cut to penalty rates. This decision was the nail in Turnbull’s coffin. Commentators and Federal Liberals can claim all they like that the electoral result in WA was a result of local issues. But there is absolutely no doubting that a cut to wages saw voters melting off Liberals like sweat from Turnbull’s, and Hanson’s brow.

Let’s get something clear. Wages are the central concern of the electorate. Yes, most of us have other concerns, including climate change, education, healthcare, infrastructure, housing affordability, energy policy, immigration, just to name a few. But first on Maslow’s Hierarchy of political needs for left-wing and right-wing voters alike is an economic indicator which is being felt personally in homes from Broome to Launceston, from Townsville to Bankstown: record low wage growth. To put it bluntly, workers aren’t paid enough for the productive labour they contribute to the economy. There is plenty of money being made. It’s just not reaching those who create it.

The electorate knows this. They might not be able to pinpoint exactly what the problem is, but they feel the anxiety of having to do more with less. They are working harder. They are paying more for housing, groceries, petrol, energy bills, healthcare and education. But they are not getting the hours they need to cover these costs, nor the pay-rises they deserve, to show how their contribution to profit is valued. Their jobs are too often casual and insecure, their wages stagnant and their lives feel stationary.

This tension and anxiety means the relationship between worker and employer, between labour and capital, is fraught. In turn, the relationship between those who represent workers – unions – in this case – Sally McManus, and those who represent capital – Turnbull, Pyne, big business, business lobbyists, Liberal donors, is more-than-usually-difficult.

When Turnbull said he can’t work with McManus, he was admitting he can’t work with workers. This isn’t a new state of affairs. Turnbull has never done anything positive for workers. Instead, he defends the employers who, as well as preferring to reward shareholders instead of workers, constantly fight for lower wages and less protections for workers. The penalty rate cut was just the latest in a long line of anti-worker policies rolled out by the Liberal government, including cuts to social and environmental policies which hurt all of us, worker or not.

When Sally McManus explained to Sales that her priority is to defend workers rather than defending laws designed to hurt workers, she wasn’t being caught in a trap. She was doing her job. Whether the media and right wing elite recognise it or not, we, workers, applaud Sally McManus for her principles. In that 730 interview, we saw a union leader standing up for us when our employers refuse to do the same. We saw a union leader standing up for us where the Liberal government refuse to do the same.

The political environment has changed in the last 12 months. Unions have been framed as the enemy for so long that the Turnbull government think they’re on a winner when they find a stick to beat unions with. What they’ve neglected to realise is that when they bash unions, they bash workers. Workers are sick of being the victim of Liberal governments. Workers are sick of being the victim of big business lobbying, which results in them taking home a shrinking share of the profits from their work. When Liberal governments bash unions, workers don’t see a hero fighting against a villain. They see a villain threatening their hero. With wage growth at record lows, workers need a hero. They have one in Sally McManus. Anyone stupid enough to fight the hero of workers, better be ready for an army poised to join their hero into battle.

We, as a human species, have a deep and abiding obligation to this planet and to the generations that will come after us

2010 Sydney Launch: Zero Carbon Australia: Stationary Energy Plan 

Malcolm Turnbull: (eight days before the 2010 federal election)

Transcript

You know, it’s an interesting thing, Quentin made the point that this issue, this issue of clean energy and climate change has not been at the forefront of this election. And Bob Carr just said to me a moment ago that he didn’t think there were any media covering this meeting tonight, I don’t know whether that’s true or not. But it is remarkable that on a cold winters night this issue has managed to fill the town hall. And that tells you something *Audience Claps* that tells you something about the extent of the concern that Australians have about climate change and the interest in and hunger for information and knowledge about the way we can deal with it and the way we can move, as we must move, if we are to effectively combat climate change to a situation where all or almost all of our energy comes from zero or very near zero emissions sources.

Now our response to climate change must be guided by science. The science tells us that we have already exceeded the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide. We are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we’ve got. We are dealing in scientific terms with enormous uncertainty. There is a tendency for people to point to the forecasts for the future, sea levels, temperatures, other impacts of climate change and say oh well you know they’ve over egged the pudding a little bit, it’s probably going to be less dramatic than that. But we are dealing with uncertainty and it may well be and indeed there is considerable evidence, that it may well be that many of these forecasts that we’ve become so used to, in fact err on the conservative side.

We are told that 2010 will be the warmest year on record since records began in the late eighteen hundreds. We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic. We know that extreme weather events are occurring with greater and greater frequency and while it is never possible to point to one drought or one storm or one flood and say that particular incident is caused by global warming, we know that these trends are entirely consistent with the climate change forecasts with the climate models that the scientists are relying on. Just in the last month floods and landslides have killed thousands in Kashmir, Poland, Pakistan, Korea and China. Russia has lost at least 30% of its grain crop due to the worst fires in that country’s history.

Now sometimes the task of responding to the challenge of climate change may seem too great, too daunting. It is a profound moral challenge, because it is a cross generational challenge. We are asking our own generation to make decisions; to make sacrifices, to make expenditures today so as to safeguard our children, their children and the generations that come after them. It truly requires us to think as a species, not just to think as individuals. We are not, as Edmund Burke reminded us so many years ago, like flies of the summer that just come and go without any knowledge of what went before and what will come after. We as a human species have a deep and abiding obligation to this planet and to the generations that will come after us **Audience Applause**

Now in order to do that, in order to discharge that obligation, we must make a dramatic reduction in the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Now you can look at the targets, 50% the common sort of rubric rule of thumb is to cut emissions by 2050 to a level equal to 50% or even lower than they were in 1990 or 2000. I promise you, you cannot achieve that cut, you cannot achieve it without getting to a point by mid-century where all or almost all of our stationary energy, that is to say energy from power stations and big factories and so forth comes from zero emission sources. The mathematics simply will not get you there, the arithmetic, not as complex as mathematics. The arithmetic will not get you there unless you can do it. And so technology is of absolutely vital importance.

Now I want to congratulate Matthew and all the authors and collaborators on this report. This is a fantastic piece of work. Many people will look at it and they’ll say it’s too good to be true. And we all know that often when things are too good to be true, they probably are. But let me give you one piece of data, one fact, one insight which should give you encouragement as you read this report.

You’ll see that the key technology that this project relies upon is concentrated solar thermal power. As you know the great challenge with renewable sources of energy; solar and wind in particular, is that they are intermittent. So what do we do when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. How do we store that power. There’s a very detailed discussion that the authors will go through with you tonight, and I won’t even begin to canvas it. But there is the ability with concentrated solar thermal power stations to use the suns energy to superheat a substance, in this case molten salt, that will hold its heat for long enough to be able to continue to generate steam and hence energy after the sun has stopped shining or during or day after day of rain. So there is a real opportunity there, with that technology, to generate baseload power from solar energy something of a holy grail.

Now there are some small plants in operation that are doing just that now and there are a number of much larger plants that are about to be commissioned. But you might still say, not unreasonably, look this has not really been proven at a big industrial scale and you’d probably be right. But let me say this to you, concentrated solar thermal is a more proven technology than clean coal is. *Audience applause*

Now when I was your environment minister, I spent a lot of your taxes on technologies designed to reduce our emissions including clean coal, including solar energy, including technologies to economically store electricity so that renewable sources of energy could provide baseload power, but one of the things and it’s a sobering thing to bear in mind and those of us who follow the literature on clean coal would be aware of this, that despite all of the money and all of the hope that has been put into carbon capture and storage there is still, as of today, not one industrial scale coal fired power station using carbon capture and storage, not one.

Now this is a frightening prospect because if you look at the work that is done by the International Energy Agency or any number of bodies or think tanks that study how we can model our way to a low emissions future, clean coal is a very big part of the assumption and while I believe as a matter of prudence we should continue to invest and pursue that technology, you do start to get something of a sinking feeling as you contemplate the fact that the hope of the side has not yet stepped onto the field to play his first game, it’s a real challenge.

So all of that underlines, firstly, don’t be too skeptical about this, this is a good piece of work and the most radical technology in it is far from unproved. Secondly let’s remember governments should not be picking technologies. It’s tough enough for the private sector to pick technologies. It’s almost invariably the case that governments will get it wrong, that is why in the long term and really sooner rather than later, we must have a price on carbon.
**Audience applause**

We need to send that price signal to the market that encourages the step changes in technology that will transform our economy and it may be that concentrated solar thermal wins the day, it may be that super-efficient photovoltaics sprint ahead, it may be, despite my rather gloomy prognosis, it may be that carbon capture and storage suddenly leaps into the fore or it may be that they all have a role to play but without that carbon price you will not and cannot unleash the ingenuity, the infinite ingenuity of millions of people around the world who once they know what the rules are, once they know what the price is, will then start to work to ensure that they have presented to us and to the world the technologies that enable us to move to that low emission future.

Government support for innovation and investment in clean stationary energy is important, particularly at the early stages. It is much more important to focus on cutting edge technologies as to provide support for research into the basic science than with appallingly designed policies such as the recent cash for clunkers policy which delivers carbon abatement at a price almost $400 a tonne. I mean it is really a mockery of a climate change policy.

Now we must give the planet the benefit of the doubt, we must act now. Now the coalition as you know, no longer supports a market based mechanism to put a price on carbon and I regret that, none the less it has pledged if elected to introduce policies which by purchasing carbon offsets has the potential to meet the 2020 target of a 5% reduction from 2000 levels. On the other hand, and this is I guess the depressing prospect, the Labor party which was elected in 2007 on a platform of meeting the greatest moral challenge of our times now has no policy and sadly nothing more than what appears to be a notice for a meeting.  No leadership and no conviction.

I want to congratulate Matthew again and all his team for this extraordinary piece of work. It is very important work. It provides the most comprehensive technical blueprint yet for what our engineers, our scientists can begin to do for us tomorrow. I commend them for their work, we’re deeply indebted to you all for this work and I encourage them and others to take note of this and to build on it as we work together, I trust, to a zero-emission future, we know, is absolutely essential if we are to leave a safe planet to our children and the generations that come after them.  Thank-you very much.

**Audience Applause**

Mr Turnbull was correct in predicting 2010 would be the hottest year on record, until it was overtaken by 2014, then 2015, then 2016.  The threat has not decreased Malcolm, just the quality of the debate.

I’m a politician and you’re not so shut up – the weirdness of Peter Dutton

It takes a pretty screwed up world for there to even be rumours of Peter Dutton being touted as a future leader.

We could talk about his dismal failure as a Health Minister, rated by the industry as the worst ever, or his failure as Immigration Minister to find any solution for the poor souls stuck on Manus and Nauru.

We could talk about his many gaffes, joking about islands being inundated or misdirecting a profane text supporting a disgraced minister to the journalist he was abusing.

We could talk about him sending a pregnant rape victim back to Nauru without counselling.

We could talk about his abuse of Sarah Hansen-Young about her claim that she was spied on, which turned out to be true, or his vilification of Gillian Triggs for doing her job.

We could talk about his statement that “Illiterate and innumerate” refugees would take Australian jobs at the same time as saying they would “languish” on the dole and use free health services provided by Medicare.

Or how he told parliament that Fraser made a mistake allowing Lebanese people to come here in the 70s as most terrorist-related offences are committed by their kids and grandkids.

We could talk about how he walked out of the chamber during the Stolen Generations Apology.

But today, I want to discuss his views on political correctness.

Dutton, like so many others of his ilk, talks repeatedly about “political correctness gone mad”.  He seems to feel that people’s right to be critical is being curtailed, but only if they agree with him.  People who disagree should hush.

As part of his annual pre-Christmas rant about carols being banned in schools – they haven’t been – he lambasted the political correctness of “left wing teachers.”

When teachers in NSW and Victoria wore t-shirts protesting Australia’s offshore detention camps for asylum seekers, Dutton said “If they want to conduct these sort of campaigns, do it online or do it in your spare time. Don’t bring these sort of views into the minds of young kids.”

A teacher’s job is to foster critical thinking.  It is crucial that the next generation be encouraged to consider the issues that they will soon be facing both as voters and as our future leaders.  To suggest that political issues should never be discussed is ridiculous.  I am certain Dutton would be more than happy for us to spend months talking about Menzies.

Teachers see first-hand the damage done by the divisive rhetoric of politicians like Dutton, Hanson and Christensen.  They understand the importance of inclusion and a feeling of self-worth, of safety, of hope for the future.  If Dutton thinks his words and actions, and the hatred they have unleashed, aren’t already in “the minds of young kids”, he is badly mistaken.

The same applies to the marriage equality debate and the Safe Schools program.

The message being sent to young people is that homosexuality is perverted.

The hysteria about the Safe Schools anti-bullying program sent a clear message that gender and sexuality are not issues that should ever be discussed in schools and anyone who did not conform with the “traditional” norms was indulging in deviant thoughts and behaviour which must be ignored.

This ostrich approach completely ignores the bullying and terrible suicide rate of young people which led teachers to ask for resources to be developed to help them deal with the tragedy they were witnessing.

The debate about marriage equality has hit the farcical position where Peter Dutton, that warrior against political correctness, is now telling us that, if we want to express a view about marriage equality, we should go into politics.

When more than 30 high-profile company executives joined together to sign a letter publicly urging the government to legislate for same-sex marriage, Dutton responded by saying publicly listed companies shouldn’t take political stances and business leaders should not prioritise debating moral issues over running their companies.

He said if chief executives want to debate moral issues they should quit business and seek election.

“If you want to become a politician, resign your job at $5 million a year, come on to $250,000, if they can tolerate that, and enter the political debate.”

“Become a politician.”

“This is a big problem for our country because if you have people who are afraid to speak out or afraid to remain neutral and I suspect some of these business leaders… are in that category,” Mr Dutton said.

The executives who signed the letter included Business Council of Australia chair Jennifer Westacott, Qantas boss Alan Joyce, Deloitte’s Cindy Hook, Commonwealth Bank chief Ian Narev, Australian Super chair Heather Ridout and KPMG’s Peter Nash.  Somehow I doubt these people have been intimidated into expressing their view.

“Some of these businesses are concerned that if they don’t sign up that they will be subject to a campaign which will be run online by GetUp! and others… and that is going to impact on their business.  I don’t know how we can tolerate that position.”

Or perhaps they think that this discrimination is detrimental to their employees and business.  Or maybe they are using their public profile to right a wrong.  Did that ever occur to you Peter?

According to Dutton, anyone who disagrees with his opinion must have been coerced, or, at the very least, they should just keep their opinions to themselves because they aren’t politicians.

Day to Day Politics: Talk about a Circus

Saturday March 18 2017

“Just because we are governed by clowns it doesn’t mean we have to laugh.”

The unedifying, undiluted, unplugged Jay and Josh press conference, or more appropriately called circus SA, between two monkeys on steroids showed Australians just why our politics has degenerated into a three-ring circus. In this instance, however, my sympathies are with Weatherill. Over the past few months he has had to accept much horse shit thrown from the conservative donkeys on the right who are brilliant at blaming the opposition for the circus’s unpopularity. He was just throwing a bit back.

A day after pretending he was a decent ring leader by getting gas companies to guarantee our future supply, (what choice did they have and why did the Government allow such a deal with no national interest test in the first place?) he cracks the whip by announcing a 2 billion upgrade to Snowy Mountain Hydro.

“She’ll be right” shouted the men of the Snowy when it seemed their work would never end or became too arduous. It wasn’t the negative quote we have interpreted it to be. It meant that regardless of the hardship, the work would be done. “She’ll be right, mate.”

It’s a quote unsuited to a do nothing Government. A bunch of clowns without the balls to juggle anything.

If nothing else the press conference highlighted just how broken our political system is. It demonstrated that in the big tent of politics, the circus is just full of under-performing jugglers who constantly drop the ball. A state government fails to brief the federal government on what it intends announcing and the federal government does the same. Not a thought about options or  solutions. Just gratuitous slurs hurled like knives at each other.

Weatherill wasn’t wrong when he said it was “galling” that the Commonwealth had endlessly “bagged” the state and now said “we want to work together”.

Mind you I have some sympathy for the Premier who since the lights out storm has copped a barrage of lies and insults that would make a trapeze artist reconsider a safety net.

Weatherill was probably responsible for instigating the confrontation but we have to consider that his ‘ENTITLED ANGER’ had been boiling away for six months so he had a lot of steam to let off.

Weatherill said the Snowy initiative was a “$2 billion admission that the national energy market has broken and there needs to be public investments to actually fix it up” adding that the government was “in a white-knuckled panic about national energy policy”.

Frydenberg not to be outdone said Weatherill had delivered a “$550 million admission of failure” two days earlier, and had a big job to do explaining why the lights went out in South Australia “not once, not twice, not three times, but four times”.

At the end of it Turnbull trotted in like the head clown in the three-ring circus to say:

I understand that the Premier’s conduct spoke volumes about the Premier’s state of mind at the moment.”

Low blow clowning at its best.

This was somewhat unfair as the federal government would have blamed the three dwarfs if it could. What the boots and all 20 minute press conference did tell us was just how little cooperation exists between the states and the commonwealth. It is now toxic. Turnbull has been saying for months now that any increase in energy prices would be the fault of the states. By stepping into the gas crisis he must now take ownership of the problem.

Now let’s look at Turnbull’s proposal in isolation.

It is not new. It has been around a long time. As to the cost they seemed to have plucked 2 billion dollars out of a magician’s hat. Like most projects of this type the cost seems to get out of hand and the time doubles so it could cost 6 billion and take a decade to compete. As yet it is only in feasibility stage which is to be completed prior to Christmas and the work to commence shortly afterwards. However, some say that it will never see the light of day. The major shareholders Victoria and NSW know precious little about it yet have been asked to dob in their share. If they don’t/won’t then with slight of hand dexterity the government will. Remarkable how they can find a few lazy billion when it doesn’t exist. Circus life does have its advantages.

Now it well maybe an excellent proposal, this Snowy scheme, but the question that needs to be asked is just how does it, and Weatherill’s proposal fit into the Finkel National Energy Policy that he is due to report on mid year.

The Coalition has had four years to come up with an energy plan, and all we have had is a lump of coal being handed around in the bullpit with accompanied bullshit. Pathetic I hear you say. The circus band plays on.

Finkel of course has been asked to come up with a plan that excludes the solution. Strange I hear you say. Well the Government has ruled out any  consideration of the approach considered by the National Farmers Federation, Energy Networks Australia, the retailer Energy Australia, the electricity provider AGL, the Climate Change Authority, the Business Council of Australia and the CSIRO who all agree that a form of an emissions intensity trading scheme is the best way forward. In their submissions all of the aforementioned have included consideration of an ‘EIS’. Finkel can hardly dismiss them out of hand.if he does the opposition will do an extra matinee for free.

The reason why Turnbull has forbidden this approach is that it is a tax and it be seen as an admission of guilt in axing Labor’s carbon tax. He values his job as ring master of the three-ring circus more highly than what’s best for Australia’s energy needs and a moral approach to our carbon emissions. It’s an ideology over common sense approach. It’s just amazing how much clout the clowns of the right-wing circus have.

What our readers say.

Terry 2

“The prime minister has ordered a feasibility study by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) into increasing the capacity of the Snowy Hydro scheme by up to 50% by the use of pumped-hydro technology. It is a “feasibility study” and should be completed by the end of the year. ARENA, which provides financial grants for 40 per cent of the CSIRO’s energy research, was set to be stripped of $1.3 billion in funding as part of the government’s Omnibus Savings Bill still before the parliament.”

“By the way, I think that SA’s reserve gas power facility is good risk management particularly as it will be publicly owned; Weatherill deserves our support for tackling a problem that the federal government is only now belatedly acknowledging.”

Peter F

“Within the last hour Fran Kelly was told by someone who has worked on the Snowy Hydro scheme that the PM’s idea is nothing new, it was always part of the original proposal, but that it will take YEARS to get agreement between all of the parties before anything can happen.”

“Yes, it should have been part of any government plan. But that is exactly the point: there was no plan before Weatherill’s announcement.”

“Ok, so, in response to the proposal for a battery system in SA ( one proponent says it could be up and running in 100 days) our wonderful PM drags out a $2bn Snowy Mtns scheme expansion (ARENA says it could have a 7 year lead time), while denigrating the battery proposal.”

Paulwalter

“As it stands SA and now the Commonwealth are up for heavy costs to remedy the fossil fuels oriented neglect of the previous decade, along with the hiving off of control of resources and infrastructures for ideological and political reasons with probably even graft involved.”

Whatever you make of all this one thing is abundantly clear. The Government led by Turnbull must be the most incompetent ever to have served the nation. In spite of all their collective education they can’t, after four years, even come up with decent policies on Energy and the Environment. Shame, shame, shame. And many other policies. Shame, shame, shame.

”This three ring circus needs to get its act together. At the moment it seems to have no energy at all”

On this day in 2016 I wrote the following:

I have always believed Greg Hunt to be the second biggest liar, behind Abbott, in Australian Politics.

On Tuesday morning while driving my grandsons to school he was being interviewed on AM. The previous day it was announced that the average global surface temperature for February was 1.35°C warmer than the global average for the month between 1951-1980—a margin that shattered the previous record of 1.14°C, which was set just one month earlier—and exceeded preliminary figures released earlier this month.

“NASA dropped a bombshell of a climate report,” wrote meteorologists Bob Henson and Dr. Jeff Masters, founder of the Weather Underground. February 2016 has soared past all rivals as the warmest seasonally adjusted month in more than a century of global record keeping.

On Q&A on Monday night Australia’s Chief Scientist empathized the seriousness of the latest data more or less suggesting that the battle is being lost.

Seemingly oblivious to the situation Hunt in his interview told repeated lies about our commitment to reducing emissions giving the impression that Australia is on top of everything when the fact we are not.

“My best estimate is that we are unlikely as a nation ever to surpass [2005 levels] … In my best judgment, the advice, the information from the department, we reached peak emissions in 2005-06 … and the course of history to come for Australia is that we will continue to be below that figure.”

In saying this he is assuming that his monumentally condemned Direct Action will work.

There is not an economist, environmentalist, climate scientist or serious science writer who thinks that ‘Direct Action’ is the answer.

Lenore Taylor in the Guardian said:

“Independent experts predict Australia’s emissions will almost certainly rise over that decade under current policies, which do not put limits on emission increases from industry, electricity generation or land-clearing. They were deeply sceptical of Hunt’s peak emissions in 2005 claim.”

Hugh Grossman, the executive director of Reputex, said his company’s analysis of the government’s own data showed Australia’s emissions would continue to grow and that ‘there is no peak in sight’.

Malcolm Turnbull said this:

“Now I think those are arguments that some of the supporters of the scheme take, but it obviously – if you want to have a long-term solution to abating carbon emissions and to achieve – if you want to have a long-term technique of cutting carbon emissions, you know, in a very substantial way to the levels that the scientists are telling us we need to do by mid-century to avoid dangerous climate change, then a direct action policy where the Government – where industry was able to freely pollute, if you like, and the Government was just spending more and more taxpayers’ money to offset it, that would become a very expensive charge on the budget in the years ahead.”

Donald Trump said this:

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

My thought for the day.

“Just because we are governed by clowns it doesn’t mean we have to laugh.”

 

Federal Court rules asylum seekers can keep mobile phones in detention

Media release

The Federal Court in Sydney today (17 March 2017) has ruled that asylum seekers have the right to continue their legal fight to keep their mobile phones while in onshore immigration detention, following a class action brought by human rights lawyers the National Justice Project to prevent Serco and Border Force from seizing detainee phones.

Border Force had planned to confiscate all detainee phones and SIM cards on 19 February 2017, but were prevented by an temporary injunction obtained by the National Justice Project on behalf of all detainees with phones in detention. The government challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to hear the application but that challenge has been dismissed and the case can now proceed.

National Justice Project Principal Solicitor George Newhouse, while welcoming today’s decision, emphasised that this is an ongoing matter and that the Government is likely to appeal, saying:

“This is a small but important victory, but it’s a long journey ahead and we’re up against a Government that will oppose human rights at every turn.”

Newhouse continued:

“Seeking asylum does not make you a criminal. Mobile phones provide asylum seekers with vital access to the outside world, to loved ones and to advocates – their mental health and their families depend on this. The blanket ban on phones punishes innocent men, women and children and demonstrates the increasing criminalisation by this Government of asylum seekers who have committed no crime.”

Prior to this recent policy change, asylum seekers who arrived by air had a right to mobile phones as long as they have no camera or recording facility. The new policy would see all phones confiscated and anyone found in onshore detention with a phone punished.

 

See you Jay and raise you a fluoro vest

It was with great gusto and fanfare that our previously ineffectual Prime Minister announced his game-changing solution for energy security in Australia.

We will have, in a year or two…..drum roll please….a feasibility study!

Don’t get me wrong – when you are messing with river flows and drilling into mountains, a feasibility study is a good idea.

The thing I don’t understand is how you can announce the cost, the employment it will provide, the power it will generate, and a completion date, before you have even started the study.

The Victorian government, who are part owners of the Snowy Hydro scheme, only heard about the idea in the media – the Telegraph knew about it before they did.  And the NSW government, who are the majority shareholders, got a phone call the day before the announcement.

Frontier Economics managing director Danny Price said “At this stage I would regard the Snowy proposal as a ‘thought bubble’.  It’s not a quick fix. The problem we face now is immediate.”

Turnbull and Frydenberg would have us believe the project will be finished in four years.

Dr Mark Diesendorf of the University of NSW said he thought the project would take at least 10 years because they would have to tunnel through the Great Dividing Range and also build new transmission lines to handle the higher electricity capacity, which actually takes longer than building a new power station.

Dr Roger Dargaville of the Melbourne Energy Institute said pumped hydro needed the right mix of water and geography to make it work.

“It’s not cheap to do … and by most accounts the potential of the Snowy Hydro has already been tapped,” he said.

ARENA have been asked to do the feasibility study.  That’s the same ARENA that Tony Abbott tried to abolish and that Morrison’s Omnibus Bill proposed cutting $1.3 billion in funding from.  They succeeded in cutting $500 million, leaving them with $800 million over the next five years to fund renewable research, development and innovation.

Call me overly cautious, but I wouldn’t be making announcements and promises before the study is even begun.  Batteries could be a whole lot cheaper and definitely quicker option.

Call me overly cynical, but I wonder if this announcement would have been made if Jay Weatherill hadn’t gotten the ball rolling by taking control and action in SA.

The Outrageous ACTU And The Courageous Malcolm Turnbull!

I was all set to write about Malcolm’s recent announcement about the Snow-job River Hydro Improvement scheme…

Earlier tonight I heard Malcolm tell us that there used to be some plan to extend the Snowy River thingy and all it lacked was leadership and money and that the current government had plenty of both.

Well, I thought, they’ve certainly got half a dozen or so who intend to flash their leadership credentials, but it was a surprise to discover that they had money. Budget emergency solved! Wow!

I was all set to praise Malcolm. And then I was going to condemn the ABC for allowing those protesters to say nasty things about the recently deceased Bill Leak. Yes, of course it was the ABC’s fault because you should always shut down anyone who wants to say anything negative about someone who said negative things about people when he was alive, once that champion of free speech is dead. I was going to say something about how we can say whatever we like about Hitler because he didn’t support free speech but once someone who supports free speech dies we should all just say how awesome he was and if anyone has a different point of view then they should be shut down immediately.

But enough about what I wasn’t going to write about. There are too many negatives in this world as it is, and if I mention Hitler someone’s bound to invoke Godwin’s Law… which, by the way, isn’t a law because I never voted for it and isn’t that how laws are passed?

Whatever…

It was the outrageous Sally McManus… I think that’s her name. Not that it matters because all those unionists are the same and they all support the Labor Party and that’s enough reason to dismiss them… Just as it’s a good enough reason to dismiss the Labor Party because of their union links…

Where was I? Oh yes, apparently this union hack told someone that she had no problem telling people not to support “unjust laws”…

How terrible. I mean, where would Germany be now if it weren’t for people prepared to support laws without ever questioning whether they were unjust or not? I mean they’d have never even been able to… Perhaps, we should pause for a commercial while I think about this!

Oh, sorry, I forgot. Godwin’s law…

We should always support the law no matter how unjust. We should never disobey. Or protest. If Donald says press the button, he’s President after all and nobody should stop to consider if there might be consequences. Never question or break the law, I say… Unless it’s something to do with taxation. Then we should find some way to get around the law, and, if we can’t, then we should just donate to some party or other who’ll pass laws that give us access to all that money that goes to waste in the public service.

Nobody should ever support breaking the law. Unless it’s to do with speeding tickets… We all know that’s just a revenue raiser and a speeding car never killed anyone and even if it did, surely that’s not as bad as a government trying to raise revenue.

Um, I’m almost confused enough now to be leader of the National Party…

The pointy end of governing

As Donald Trump gets down to the pointy end of governing, the White House will today reveal his “skinny budget”, described as more a policy direction than a fiscal statement.

Reportedly, he intends to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent from $8.2 billion to $5.7 billion, its lowest level in 40 years, adjusted for inflation.

The blueprint will cut State Department spending by a similar amount, 28-31%.  The cuts include drastic reductions in the 60-year-old State Department Food for Peace Program, which sends food to poor countries hit by war or natural disasters, and the elimination of the Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service program, which subsidizes flights to rural airports, although the White House instructed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to leave untouched the $3 billion annual foreign aid payment to Israel.

In addition to the cuts at the E.P.A. and the State Department, Mr. Trump’s team is expected to propose a wide array of cuts to public education, to transportation programs like Amtrak and to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including the complete elimination of the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which funds popular programs like Meals on Wheels, housing assistance and other community assistance efforts.

Federally funded arts programs are on the chopping block.  Trump’s budget is also expected to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports PBS, NPR, and other public TV and radio outlets. Its annual budget stands at less than $500 million.

Meanwhile, in his first month in office, Trump wasted $15 million of tax payers’ money playing golf at his resort in Mar-a-lago.

The president would funnel $54 billion in additional funding into defense programs, beef up immigration enforcement and significantly reduce the nondefense federal work force to further the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” in the words of Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.

A broader budget will be released later in the spring that will include Mr. Trump’s proposals for taxation as well as the bulk of government spending — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs.

One can only imagine the joys that will confront Trump’s ‘common man’ supporters then.  Trump’s own words, “Who knew healthcare was so complicated,” don’t instil a great deal of confidence

As with here, there is no money for health, education, community support programs, the environment and action on climate change, or the arts, but we have endless funds for ‘national security’.

With promised tax cuts in the mix, it will be very interesting to see how Trump’s band of amateurs make the figures stack up presuming they ever do produce a real budget.  It ain’t gonna be pretty.

A pound of flesh

Well inside his first 100 days, President Trump is facing a revolt from his core constituency. Trump promised a number of ‘initiatives’, from ‘draining the swamp’ (a reference to the political class in Washington DC), to building a wall to keep Mexicans in Mexico and repealing Obamacare, more formally called the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’, a program implemented by the Obama Administration to ensure health care was affordable for Americans who were not on large incomes.

Trump’s problem is that it sounded like a good rallying point to suggest that Obamacare was unaffordable, a waste of resources and a complete disaster. As Paul McGeough observes in Fairfax’s websites:

Until now being President has been easy-peasy for Trump – keeping his base happy by snarling at the news media, offering a new “he tapped my phones” conspiracy to replace the Obama birther nonsense, firing off another executive order on migration when the first backfired, and shirt-fronting the world on trade and security.

Trump’s Presidency just got harder.

The self-proclaimed dealmaker is attempting a sleight of hand, by which millions of his own voters stand to be screwed. More than 80 per cent of them told election day exit pollsters that Obamacare had “gone too far”, but experts warn that under Trump’s proposed deal they will be slugged for thousands of dollars more a year.

And at the same time, Trump must convince dozens of small government purists in Congress that what is being foisted on them, dubbed Obamacare-lite by some, is not a halfway house that fails to deliver on their absolute commitment to be rid of Barack Obama’s legacy-defining health insurance scheme.

McGeough goes on to quote a number of the 90% of Trump voters (those who earn less than USD200,000 per annum) who will be worse off. Trump is now finding out it is all very well to claim that on the whole, a country would be better off if one course of action rather than another was taken, but the reality is in Trump’s case, he implied that every American citizen would have all their problems fixed if they voted him in. We’ve discussed this before on The Political Sword:

Trump has by implication promised to ‘fix’ the perceived personal problem of every person that has voted for him, as well as those who didn’t. It really doesn’t matter that there are a multitude of problems and, given all the good will in the world, some of the problems are so entrenched in the global economic system that they will never be ‘fixed’, Trump’s implicit promise is to ‘fix it’ and benefit all those US citizens who voted for him. When it comes time for other Republicans to challenge him for the 2020 nomination sometime in 2019, a lot of the disaffected that voted for Trump this time around will look at their individual circumstances and decide whether they are either worse or no better off. While Trump may not necessarily follow the usual political protocols, he can’t ‘fix’ everything he claimed to be able to manage in under 24 months. He is already ‘talking down’ his promise to cancel Obama’s Affordable Health initiative. Will these people (probably numbered in the hundreds of millions) accept Trump’s inevitable line that he is gradually turning things around? Or will they, to paraphrase a former Australian politician be waiting on the porch with a baseball bat?

And that’s the problem when you play with people’s perceptions. Your perception probably differs greatly from mine on certain issues – and ‘fixing’ an issue to your satisfaction means that I probably won’t be happy with the result. Depending on the importance of the ‘fix’ in our daily lives (maybe financial, social or educational disadvantage), one of us is likely to withdraw our support and to be figuratively, at least, standing on the verandah with the cricket bat waiting for the perceived wrong doer to come by. As The New Yorker recently stated:

The thing always to remember about Trump—and this week has merely confirmed it—is that he is a sham populist. A sham authoritarian populist, even.

Going back to late-nineteenth-century Germany, many of the most successful authoritarian populists have expanded the social safety net. Otto von Bismarck, the first Chancellor, introduced health insurance, accident insurance, and old-age pensions. “The actual complaint of the worker is the insecurity of his existence,” he said in 1884. “He is unsure if he will always have work, he is unsure if he will always be healthy, and he can predict that he will reach old age and be unable to work.”

During the twentieth century, Argentina’s Juan Perón, Malaysia’s Tunku Abdul Rahman, and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew were among the authoritarian leaders who followed Bismarck’s example. Today, if you look at the election platform of Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front, you see something similar. Like Trump, Le Pen is a nativist, a protectionist, and an Islamophobe. But she is not proposing to dismantle any of the many social benefits that the French state provides. Rather, she says she will expand child-support payments and reduce the retirement age to sixty.

Trump, on the other hand, has little to offer ordinary Americans except protectionist rhetoric and anti-immigrant measures. Before moving to gut Obamacare, he at least could have tried to bolster his populist credentials by passing a job-creating infrastructure bill or a middle-class tax cut. Instead, he’s staked his Presidency on a proposal that would hurt many of his supporters, slash Medicaid, undermine the finances of Medicare, and benefit the donor class. That’s not populism: it’s the reverse of it. And it might be a political disaster in the making.

Politics is political and never has the ancient saying ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ been more current than today. As an example, in the recent Western Australian state election, Liberal Premier Colin Barnett was dismissing a preference deal with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation as recently as November 2016 and by February 2017, was claiming the subsequent deal to swap preferences with One Nation above long term allies the National Party as a ‘sensible and pragmatic result’. Barnett also admitted in a radio interview he was personally ‘uncomfortable’ with the preference deal with One Nation but said he accepted the party was now ‘a reality’.

Hanson’s comments after the WA election were interesting as well. She admitted the preference swap was a bad idea:

“Doing the deal with the Libs has done damage to us, in all honesty. It was a mistake,” Hanson said. “We are really going to have to have a good look at this because all I heard all day leading up to this election was ‘why are you sending your preferences to the Liberal party?’”

Hanson suggested the problem stemmed from doing a deal with a major party leader past his use by date. “It wasn’t One Nation. I think it was Colin Barnett – people did not want Colin Barnett.

As well as blaming the ALP for her party’s poor showing, Hanson blames ‘the people’ for not understanding the system:

People ask me about preferences and they don’t understand the voting system, the preference system, and the preferences. I think that’s where most of the damage has come from.

Writing for Fairfax’s websites on the Monday after the election, Peter Hartcher suggested that Hanson has ‘lost the plot’. His argument is:

Unshakeable faith in the common sense of the ordinary people is the very definition of populism. Hanson, under pressure of failure, has lost the plot.

What happened?

First and foremost, One Nation forgot its essential character as a protest party.

Its entire raison d’etre is to register a protest vote against the main parties, to express the people’s disgust at the political establishment.

Instead, One Nation did a deal with one of the main parties. Worse, it was with the ruling party. It made Pauline Hanson look like a close partner of the establishment.

Why on earth did One Nation agree to swap preferences with the Liberals, the party of Premier Colin Barnett?

Simple. It was a lunge for power. One Nation wanted more spillover preference votes, even if they came from the devil himself.

The party sold its soul for power. But it was far worse than a standard Faustian bargain. One Nation sold its soul, yet didn’t win any temporary advantage. It ended up powerless as well as soulless.

While short term political expediency has a place (maybe), it certainly didn’t help Barnett retain government or Hanson gain influence. Any deal is a contract between two parties whereby both parties get something they want. As the WA Liberals lost power, any deal they made for power sharing is probably over; a good thing for whoever replaces Barnett. It’s not only Trump, Hanson or the WA Liberals that play Russian roulette with political expediency and populism. Last October, Crikey discussed the potential connection between political donations and renewable energy policy. In the discussion, Bernard Keane suggested:

Malcolm Turnbull says he has lots of solar panels. But the Coalition’s hatred of renewable energy isn’t so much about personal views as about the cash.

It was probably not a surprise when you clicked on the link to the Crikey article above to see that the conservative parties in Australia received far more donations over the past decade or so from energy and coal companies than the ALP. While it is attractive to suggest that no big business should be donating to political parties, there is nothing illegal with the process at the moment. The energy and coal companies would also want their pound of flesh from the politicians, and it’s probably not hard to guess what the preferred outcome would be.

The average solar system in Australia can generate 5kW according to Infinite Energy, a commercial solar installer with offices in Perth and Brisbane. Turnbull’s Point Piper home can generate 14.5kW of electricity with some battery storage ability. However, Turnbull sprukes the ‘advantages’ of ‘clean coal’ over renewable energy claiming the issue with variable renewables – by which I mean principally solar and wind – is that they don’t generate electricity all the time.

Clean coal is a myth both economically and practically. Fairfax media reported in early February:

An analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance released on Friday found this type of plant was the most expensive and dirtiest source of mainstream electricity supply available.

Across their lifetime, the most efficient modern coal plants would cost a minimum $134 per megawatt hour of electricity generated, and possibly as much as $203.

Wind ($61-118 per megawatt hour), baseload gas ($74-90) and large-scale solar ($78-140) were much cheaper.

The analysis found the cost of building new coal could fall to $94 per megawatt hour if the government were to take on all risk across its decades-long lifespan.

It could be suggested that the donors to the conservative parties are getting their pound of flesh.

When recent headlines suggest that ‘Climate change in Australia impact on Australia may be irreversible, five yearly report says’ and ‘Economic growth more likely when wealth distributed to poor instead of rich’, you’d have to ask if Turnbull, like Abbott before him, should join with Hanson and Trump as (in the words of The New Yorker) ‘sham populists’. While they seek the popularity, they all support tax cuts to big business and those on larger incomes, xenophobic immigration policies, cutting of wages (through mechanisms such as reduction in weekend penalty rates), support to political donors that arguably jeopardises the future of our country and so on. Turnbull’s polling figures reflect general dissatisfaction and Hanson potentially revealed her true colours when she did a ‘preference deal’ with the moribund Barnett Liberal Government in Western Australia and paid the price for that decision.

Putting it bluntly, it’s Turnbull, Hanson and Trump’s fault that they are in the position they are. Hopefully these examples will in time convince future politicians that a conversation on the pros and cons of matters affecting our society is required – rather than sham populism.

This article by 2353NM was originally published on TPS Extra.

 

Day to Day Politics: God give me energy, please.

Thursday 16 March 2017

The sentence stood out like the proverbial dog’s balls:

”However, industry and environment groups were united in calling for the federal government to provide more certainty though a national energy policy.”

You mean we don’t have one, I thought to myself. I read on.

”The federal government has charged Australia’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, to review national energy security and he will report later this year.”

But of course the Prime Minister has categorically ruled out what all the major players believe is an obvious solution.

They being the National Farmers Federation, Energy Networks Australia, the retailer Energy Australia, the electricity provider AGL, the Climate Change Authority, the Business Council of Australia and the CSIRO.

So the question arises that if all of these organisations want an “emissions intensity scheme,’’ (EIS) agreeing it’s the logical way forward, why has the Prime Minister ruled out such a scheme? I mean it’s rare to get a group of this ilk to agree on anything. So why tell them to stick it. Even the Federal Minister Josh Frydenberg agreed with them before the ultra-right pulled him into line.

It’s simple really. Some members of his party have told him that he would be sacked if he pursued that course of action. It’s a pity he didn’t have the courage and zeal of Gough Whitlam. He would confront the bastards. If he only could reinvent his former self. The Malcolm Turnbull who supported a tax on carbon and thought that direct action on Climate Change was a waste of the public’s money. Whatever happened to him? The man of innovation.

All of this can be viewed within a framework of inaction by a Coalition of a coal loving Government unable to look forward to a renewables future, but with a gargantuan capacity to blame others.

Our energy market has been screwed. Privatisation, deregulation, greedy companies and Government are all to blame.

It can be factually argued that inaction by the Federal Government in both the supply of energy and the reduction of emissions is responsible for the current crisis. It lawfully has power over the export of gas, the introduction of an emission’s trading scheme and a national energy policy.

It has now been in power since 2013 but has accomplished little in the way of ground breaking policy of any sort.

The South Australian government, in the absence of any national strategy, is attempting to go it alone. So are others while a dithering National Government sits on its backside waiting for a report from the Chief Scientist later in the year? What was Greg Hunt doing all those years other than telling lies? Of course it would be better if all the states came in under the umbrella of a national scheme for both emission’s and energy supply. However, all they get is abuse and blame. They must be sick of it.

Yesterday morning both Frydenberg and Turnbull were giving the states a serve of inappropriate bullying. Victoria had closed down the Gas industry. SA was bucking the system. Albeit a non existing one. We have enough Gas, that’s not the problem. The problem is that we haven’t saved enough for ourselves. Blame Howard, he did a deal that could only be described as giving it away.

It is bizarre that gas customers in Japan buy Australian gas more cheaply than Australians. Some of this gas is drilled in the Bass Strait, piped to Queensland, turned into liquid and shipped 6,700 kilometers to Japan but the Japanese still pay less than Victorians.

The SA response could well be described as simply trying to treat the symptoms of a non existent national energy policy. Of course they could all be part of the solution but with a government treating them like shit what would you expect.

With great enthusiasm they hand around a lump of coal in the parliament. It’s convenient to mock It and  Weatherill every time the national power regulator fails, even if towers fall over, to keep the power on and to blame a massive storm on the SA government as an opportunity for a slogan, “Labor can’t keep the lights on”.

They are attempting to do what the federal government, with good will, and the common good in mind, could fix themselves. Just take the politics out of it, tell the denialist nutters where to go and problem resolved.

Penny Wong commented:

”The last bipartisanship we had on energy policy was in 2009 before Abbott tore down Turnbull. And it’s time Malcolm Turnbull rediscovered some of that, because a sensible long-term approach to this market that frankly the private sector is calling out for they are calling out for leadership.”

Matthew Warren, of the Australian Energy Council said.

”Many features of its (SA) energy plan would be made redundant by effective national energy policy reform,” Warren said. “This would be a win for all consumers and remains the fastest and cheapest way of fixing Australia’s energy crisis.”

The only thing standing in the way of a solution to our energy crisis is a select band of Coalition coal loving climate denialists led by Tony Abbott and a Prime Minister more in love with the stature of the Prime Ministership than doing what’s good for the country.

Nick Xenophon was promoting an energy intensity scheme to manage carbon emissions back in 2009, a policy now supported by everyone from the energy suppliers and the National Farmers’ Federation to the ALP.

Yesterday morning Malcolm Turnbull stood before the assembled members of the fourth estate, looking sartorially Prime Ministerial and said ”Good morning. Today I’m taking national leadership to resolve this gas crisis.” Where had it been all this time?

Rather reminded me of Tony Abbott’s declaration that ”Good government starts today”.

When a leader all of a sudden announces he is going to lead, all sorts of other questions arise. The crisis may not be as bad as he makes out and could be resolved with leadership. It’s just that he is not the right one.

STOP PRESS. Late Wednesday the Prime Minister predictably announces that the gas companies will supply whatever is required for Australia’s needs. In doing so he claims good leadership. It’s just a pity that we don’t in all the Coalitions years in power have a National Energy Policy or an Emissions policy. Shame, shame, shame.

On this day in 2016 I wrote the following:

Peter Dutton says that the $55 million that was spent on a resettlement deal with Cambodia for two refugees was “a good deal”.

He also thinks that if Labor were to win the next election the Stock Market would crash.

The economy would collapse and there would be an inevitable recession.

We are awaiting his thoughts on the potential for a budget surplus if the Coalition wins.

Did you know that in 2008, when new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generations, Dutton was the only coalition front bencher to abstain?

On 5 June 2015 Dutton categorically denied claims made by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young that she was spied on during a visit to Nauru.

On 11 September 2015, Dutton was overheard on an open microphone, prior to a community meeting on Syrian refugees, joking about the plight of Pacific Island nations facing rising seas from climate change.

Dutton also attempted to introduce a GP co payment of $7, but this proved highly unpopular with both the public and the medical profession, and the plan was dropped. Dutton was overwhelmingly ranked as the worst health minister in 35 years according to a poll run by Australian Doctor Magazine.

Then in 2016 News Corp Sunday political Editor Samantha Maiden wrote a column critical of Jamie Briggs and Dutton drafted a text message to Briggs describing Maiden as a ‘mad f*cking witch’ but inadvertently sent it to Maiden herself. Maiden accepted an apology from Dutton.

He has had five ministries and hasn’t lasted very long in any.

We deserve better.

My thought for the day.

“Leadership is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life and grow over time. They govern moral choices and demonstrate empathy toward others. It is far better for those with these qualities to lead rather than follow. In fact it is incumbent on them”