From Oedipus to Morrison

They came to him. The Theban citizens, in pain and in prayer.…

William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate

In the incessant self-praise of the US imperial project, kept safe in…

Why should our politicians be the only people…

Over the last couple of decades, organisations throughout society, whether they be…

Seventy Years of Aspiration: Rights Charters and the…

It was a gathering of activists masquerading as deep thinkers. Ostensibly, it was…

My Land

By Khaled ElomarI reflect on my childhood in a war-torn country (Lebanon). The…

Oh the irony

One of the production team behind The Political Sword regularly attends a trivia night…

Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions

“Of course there’s one Spain. If there was another, we’d all be…

A Climate of Opinion

By John HalyThe battle for climate change mitigation is euphemistically referred to…

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Category Archives: Rossleigh

Why Tony Abbott Wants The Liberals To Lose…

Now, I don’t like to say, “I told you so!” I just like to be so right against all odds that I don’t have to say anything beyond: Now, I don’t like to say, “I told you so!”

However, when I told you that Scott Morrison was going to skate through the gap created by Dutton a la Steve Bradbury, I imagined that he was going to simply fail to improve the Liberals position. I never imagined how politically inept he really is. Yep, I certainly can’t say I told you so with that one!

In the past twenty four hours, Labor has copped a lot of flack for changing its position on the encryption laws and against almost any other political opponent, I’d be suggesting that this may lose them the election because voters prefer strong leaders who don’t back down. I agree whole-heartedly and wish they’d stuck to their guns even if they were worried that the Liberals would orchestrate a terrorist attack and blame them because if we’d had the new laws, Border Force would have somehow known exactly which phone to check…

However, in this case, I have every confidence that Slomo will remind everyone of a circus acrobat with his tumbles and backflips. That’s – of course – in between his moments as a scary clown.

People will tell you all sorts of things, but to paraphrase Jack Lang, always bet on self-interest; at least you know it’s trying. Consequently I always check the betting odds when people declare their certainty about what an election will bring. They do get it wrong, but you know that betting companies don’t like giving their money away so when it tells you that you’ll only get slightly better than bank interest betting on a May election, you can be pretty sure that the Cross-benchers haven’t decided to take the $7 on a March election, put the government out its misery and make a packet on the side.

Having said that, someone who knows about things politically did give me a couple of interesting theories. First, he (or she) told me that they’ve heard that Scott won’t want to face a potentially hostile Parliament and look like a loser so he’ll call a snap election, blame Labor for causing uncertainty and tell us that the following things would have been in the Budget had they been able to go full term: A surplus, tax cuts for all, lower power bills, higher house prices for owners but lower house prices for first home buyers thanks to a brilliant use of Schrodinger’s cat, the right to say “Merry Christmas”  and sing carols all year round, a cure for cancer, peace in the Middle-East and an end to Bill Shorten.

I suspect that he/she may have been exaggerating, but that’s exactly what I thought when they told me that Julia Banks was pissed off because Christopher Pyne kept trying to screw with her preselection, so the bullying over Turnbull was the last straw for her.

Anyway, they have this other whacky theory. The Tony Abbott faction which, for convenience I’m going to call the Fifties Faction. Not because they hope to return us to the 1950s but because they think that there’s a silent majority behind them that will suddenly rise from the grave like zombies and suddenly give them fifty percent of the vote by eating the brains of voters who oppose them. The zombies, of course, won’t discriminate. They’ll eat all the brains making it easier for Alan Jones to top the ratings.

According to my source, the Fifties Faction are hoping for a significant loss in the upcoming election which will enable those left in Parliament to argue that the Liberal Party has lost its way and they’ll amalgamate with Bernardi or join his party. With backing from Murdoch and the IPA, they intend to sweep back into power because, thanks to the zombies, they’ll be without the hindrance of any Liberal with functioning brain cells, they’ll be united and able to sweep from the land the scourge of workers’ rights.

Now, I found it difficult to believe that they’re are any Liberals with functioning brain cells left, but he assured me that I was being a typical left wing teacher…

By the way, I saw an interesting meme on Facebook the other day. It said: “Share if you believe that any teacher trying to impose their political beliefs on students should be sacked.” I, of course, shared it with the note, I guess this means that the ones who tried to make that nine-year-old stand up for the national anthem are screwed!

At first I thought my Deep Throat had been at the pub too long and I should have joined him/her earlier if I wanted to get some actual scuttlebutt. But the more I thought about it, the more sense if made. I mean can you think of any other explanation for things like Tony Abbott’s behaviour? The decision to make Scottie PM? Or why on earth you’d go to such lengths to make sure you kept Craig Kelly in the Parliament. Can anyone explain why you wouldn’t just refer Peter Dutton to the High Court rather than have him try to be re-elected in a marginal seat where the slogan will be “Elect Dutton and you’ll be voting again in three months when he’s ruled ineligible?

Yes, it made me feel secure knowing that some Liberals really do have a plan like they told us in 2013. Otherwise I have to think that they really are as incapable of long-term thinking as they appear and that the chaos is just a result of their inability to find candidates that less competent than if you randomly grabbed people in the street.

 

Peter Dutton’s Arm And Morrison’s End!

Craig Kelly and Jim Molan are campaigning for a merit based selection process. In fact, the whole Liberal Party supports merit based selection.

  1. Am I male? Tick
  2. Am I white? Tick
  3. Am I a supporter of coal? Tick
  4. Am I in Parliament? Tick

All these things suggest that I deserve to be where I am and if we need someone else, well, the first two are good enough, but failing that number three can be a tie-breaker.

Of course, the politically correct in the Liberal Party have demanded that we acknowledge and pay lip-service to the politically correct, so we’ve revised our selection criteria:

  1. Am I wearing a tie? Tick
  2. Am I needing skin cancers removed? Tick
  3. Am I a supporter of reliable energy? Tick
  4. Do I have parliamentary experience? Tick

Nope, it seems that women have to make it on merit, but good old Craig doesn’t want to face his local branch without the support of some sort of outside intervention… Don’t call it a quota though; he opposes quotas this all about merit and by gum, if you can bully and intimidate a sitting PM into ensuring you get the nod, that’s merit and it’s just those silly women who can’t throw their weight around, because when it comes to weight nobody can doubt that Kelly has it on merit!

Will Craig Kelly support me for making fat jokes at his expense or does the outrage about political correctness only apply when Regressives are criticised? (Clearly if Turnbull and co were “progressives”, then the Abbott gang must surely be “regressives”)

The Liberal Party seem to be suffering from the old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times!

These are indeed interesting times for the Liberals.

Peter Dutton’s arm seems interesting. (Now that’s a sentence I never thought I’d write!)

He’s taking the week off because his doctor told him to.

Now, I’m not a doctor, and even if I were, I haven’t actually examined Petey’s arm, however, in the spirit of all the non-scientist climate change experts on the Coalition side of politics, I offer my humble opinion: While many, many jobs prevent one from working with a bad arm, spreading misinformation and bile is not one of them.

Please don’t infer from this that I consider that this to be Minister Dutton’s job. Clearly he has many, many other duties, but one would think that he could at least turn up to Parliament to vote, even if he wasn’t fully cognisant of the issues…

Speaking of which, did you see Barnaby’s tweet?

“Sure; protesting when fully cognisant of the issue you are protesting about. Not children corralled by teachers.”

I’d say fair enough, were it not for the fact that somebody on his side of politics suggested that they often voted without knowing what they were voting on. Now, who was that again? Mm… Lucky I can’t remember…

I’m simply suggesting that Dutton could surely turn up and walk to the right side of the room when there’s a division, even with an arm that’s suffered from whatever it’s suffering from…

And no, it’s not repetitive strain injury from Nazi salutes… That’s just the sort of cheap shot I’ve come to expect from you lefties.

As Andrew Bolt said, the Liberals lost in Victoria because they were too left wing…

Mm, the Liberal Party who went hard on law and order, were anti-Safe Schools, anti-renewables, anti-union and… God, I can’t actually remember any actual policy they had…

Sorry, I have to stop. I’m getting distracted by everything the Coalition is saying. I mean, I read Amanda Vanstone today and she told me not to write Morrison off because “a week is a long time in politics”.

And strangely, I can see what she means. If a week’s a long time in politics, then the wait till the next election will seem like an eternity…

P.S. I’ve posted the Sportsbet odds, not because I’m encouraging you to gamble but simply to suggest that you should all write to Amanda and ask her if she’d like to take the rather generous odds of $4.25 on the Liberals.

 

I Have Some Good News And Some Bad News, Scott Morrison Is Prime Minister…

Let’s start with Matt Canavan’s strange good news and bad news tweet:

 

Now, some of you may find it strange to juxtapose the bushfires with the news of Adani even if one doesn’t accept a link between coal and climate change. It’s like going to the doctor and being told, “You have gangrene and we’ll need to remove your leg, but cheer up, I’m going to bulk bill you for today!”

Others may find it more strange, however, with the description of an Indian multibillion dollar company as a “little Aussie battler”. While I guess when you didn’t even know that your mother had made you an Italian citizen, it’s easy to be confused about nationality, it’s hard to see how a coal mine that’s constantly been described as big enough to create 10,000 jobs falls into the “little” category.

On the subject of jobs, Matty seems to be suggesting that his government has given up on the jobs and growth idea leading to jobs for all. The day after his tweet, he was on radio telling listeners, “The best thing you’ll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue.” Given the number of protesters, this tends to suggest that he expects dole queues to be quite long into the future.

But – to be fair – he’s probably anticipating that a Labor victory will lead to another Global Financial Crisis like it did last time.

It would be nice to tell the Queensland senator not to give up, because the good news is that Scott Morrison is now PM and they don’t have to worry about that “lefty” Malcolm Turnbull leading them to electoral oblivion. They have the ScoMo who’s sent a bus with more seats than the Victorian Liberal Party to tour Queensland. It’s just a pity that the bus doesn’t actually pick up hitchhikers given it rarely has anyone on it.

Yes, it’s interesting that Malcolm the millionaire is being framed as left-wing. I mean, we’ve had millionaire Philip Adams as the token whipping boy with the constant question of “Where’s the right wing equivalent of Adams on the ABC?” …Usually by some IPA member speaking on the ABC. I guess, it’s possible to be rich and still be a Trotskyite, but I haven’t heard too much from either of them  that doesn’t actually fit within the spectrum of views from mainstream Australia. For example, Turnbull is on the left because he supports marriage equality which a resounding majority voted for. Republic? Turnbull says let’s leave it for a while. These views hardly put him in the Che Guevara camp.

And not just Malcolm. We’re discovering that the Liberal Party has a whole left wing. Former coorporate lawyers, Julie and Julia, for example. Of course, everything’s relative. Speer can be considered on the left of Hitler’s Nazi Party but even he’d be on the right of the LNP… Ok, maybe not the extreme right, but nonetheless…

But as I said, the good news is that we have a “centrist” leader in Scott Morrison who opposed marriage equality, created the video for asylum seekers, refused to say anything about what was happening with the people being incarcerated on Manus and Nauru and argued that distrust of Muslims could be exploited for political gain. Well, whatever, he’s no  Albert Speer…

Scott Morrison, genius behind Tourism Australia’s “Where the bloody hell are you?” campaign, must surely have a few good slogans between now and the election. Was calling Labor’s proposal for battery subsidies, ‘pink batteries” his idea? Yes, that’s the sort of intellectual stuff we’ve come to expect from the party that thought calling Shorten, “Electricity Bill” wasn’t something on a primary school level.

The good news for Labor supporters is that Scott Morrison is PM and that should ensure a wipeout for Liberals at the next election*. The bad news for everyone else is that Scott Morrison is PM and we have to endure this until the next election.

*I know that someone will argue that he’s leading Shorten as preferred PM. As I keep pointing out, the incumbent is nearly always preferred PM. If you go back through the records, you’ll find that even unpopular Prime Ministers rarely trail the opposition leader. In fact, the recent suggestion that Morrison wants to make the election a presendential-style constest between Shorten and him is the sort of attention that helpsOpposition leaders gain recognition. In Victoria, Dan Andrews virtually ignored the other guy making it harder for him to get any attention.  

And as for Adani, I’ve been writing for years that they wouldn’t get finance; their latest decision to announce that they’ll finance it themselves seems strange. If they were going to do that, why waste so much time trying to obtain someone else’s money… Unless it’s a ruse to justify taxpayers money being used to “help”.

 

The Murdoch Media Is Giving Bill Shorten Their Support…

How stupid is Rupert Murdoch?

Now, that’s a question which may get more than a little debate, but as I like to say, “Compared to what?”

Which brings me to the reasons that I’m starting to think that Murdoch is about to suddenly start supporting a Labor victory come May… or sooner, if Rupert thinks that May is too late. (That’s May the month, not May the PM who may no longer be Britain’s PM by the time you read this)!

I want you to imagine just for one second that you’re rich enough to have servants. I want you to imagine that you ring your little bell and one of them dashes into your bedroom. You tell them that you’d like your breakfast. “Gladly, sir,” says someone who makes Dobby from the Harry Potter series seem like a militant union organiser. He exits and you go to the shower.

A few minutes later, you ring your bell again. Nothing happens. You ring it again because you want to ask if you can have your juice straight away and you’ll go downstairs for the breakfast now you’ve had time to shower and dress. You ring your bell. Nothing happens. You start to go downstairs. Your servant rushes to the door, apologising that he hasn’t brought up the breakfast because a) he took ten minutes to find the kitchen and b) there was a five minute argument about who was chef and c) Bill Shorten walked into the kitchen and they all drop everything whenever Bill appears so that they can remind him that you’re in charge and he’ll never get to work for you…

Ok, I could continue this allegory forever, but you probably get the point. Rupert is probably aware that his current mob of servants may never be capable of getting his breakfast. At least if he hires Bill, they may actually get their act together and he may get his breakfast sometime in the next three or four years…

Yeah, you’re right. There’s probably never been a more incompetent government than the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison/Dutton/Bishop government… All right, the last two hadn’t actually made it to the Prime Ministership at the time of writing, but I figure I better be on the safe side…

Let’s not forget that I did tell you about Turnbull and Morrison… Pah, people still thinking I’m writing satire and not the most accurate political commentary in Australia…

Mm, perhaps satire is the most accurate political commentary in Australia. It certainly seems like it some days… We’ve definitely reached a point where the current government is so incompetent that not only can’t they govern for all – or any Australians – they can’t even deliver for their backers… There comes a point where Rupert will decide that he might as well split the Liberal Party, form a temporary truce with Labor and wait three years or else he’ll never get his breakfast.

Of course, the non-progressives in the Liberal Party and the media will continue to bag everyone who supported Turnbull…

Non-progressives? Would it be simpler to call them the “regressives”?

They’ll continue to call Malcolm – a multimillionaire who never actually supported a single economic policy that was even vaguely socialist, who had trouble with the most basic progressive idea while in office – a leftist. However, this will just help the split and enable the Liberals to purge the regressives and present themselves as a more reasonable alternative come 2022.

Whatever you think about the above prognostications, there’s just one final point to make, and it’s not about the protection racket that Chrissy-fit Pyne is running for Labor. According to some reports, he’s suggested that if Dutton is referred to the HIgh Court, his government will refer several Labor and Cross-benchers. This suggests corruption to me, because if there’s a doubt over anyone’s status, shouldn’t they be referred and not protected in return for favours, such as not referring Peter Dutton. Of course, the reports can’t be true because if they were it would be further evidence for the need for a federal ICAC…

No, it’s about the sheer stupidity of the Liberals short term thinking on Duitton. He’s in a very marginal seat. There is a cloud hanging over him that won’t be resolved until a HIgh Court appearance. There’s a pretty obvious campaign slogan for any opponent: “Vote for me, at least you know you won’t have to vote again when the new Labor government refers Pete to the High Court!”

Ok, it may not have the same appeal as Abbott’s “Stop The Boats”, Trump’s “Make America Great Again”, Whitlam’s “It’s Time” or Scott Morrison’s “Where The Bloody Hell Am I?” (Here’s a clue: Not on the bus)

Nonetheless, it only has to change the votes of a handful of people in his electorate before it’s a great slogan, and Labor is saying thank you to Scott Morrison for not clearly it up before the election.

The Satirist’s Party – No Position Is Too Extreme For Us!

Right, I’ve worked out my path to fame and fortune…

Of course, I’m not necessarily sold that fame and fortune is a worthwhile ambition.

I mean, take Barry O’Sullivan… Barry O’Sullivan that nasty feminist who tried to suggest rude things about another Senate member today. He again became momentarily famous when Di Natale called him a “sexist pig” which is rather nasty given his round face and his nose does actually make him more than a little pig-like. And even more nasty when he told us a couple of weeks ago that he was becoming a woman so that he couldn’t be attacked… Whatever, given Bazza’s so far out there that he’s lost any winnable spot on the LNP Senate ticket even in Queensland, I suspect that his idea is that if he just becomes offensive and famous enough in his last throes as a senator, then Pauline will court him and he’ll be re-elected as a PHON member leaving him free to follow the consistent path of PHON senators of leaving the party to join another party before deciding that doesn’t suit him either…

Anyway, I’ve decided that I should start a party called “The Satirists’ Party”. I mean, think of the advantages. Those who understand the meaning of the word “satire” would think it hilarious and vote for us out of a sense of irony; those supporting Cory and Pauline and Tony might vote for us because they think that we’re serious and they’re sick of those people who only want to prevent future immigration and are happy to support a party who’d abolish immigration retrospectively… Not quite understanding that they themselves may be caught up in any retrospective legislation!

I don’t want you to think of my new party as a single issue party. We have a number of policies:

  1. Compulsory sausage sizzles at all elections so you don’t go down there to vote and discover that you’ll have to make your own lunch because you’re wife is out.
  2. No more slogans. I repeat, “NO MORE SLOGANS”
  3. No quotas for women but more than fifty percent female MPs. And more than fifty percent for men too.
  4. One million jobs! That’s right, I guarantee that there will be at least a million jobs in Australia.
  5. No replacing your leader. I mean, I’ll be leader so why would you want to replace me… But just in case you consider it, you can’t.
  6. Sunshine and lollipops, but no climate change. Of course, the climate changes all the time, but any suggestion that humans can affect anything that happens on Earth will be punishable by a sentence of being forced to listen to thousand hours of “The Bolt Report”.
  7. Balanced budgets but no taxation.

Yep, that’s about it for now. I’m prepared to sign a contract like Abbott did…

Actually, is that enforceable, given that not only didn’t we sign it, Abbott is at least two PMs ago?

(I’m being circumspect in case Julie has launched her challenge and Peter Dutton is PM by the time you read this)

 

 

After Victorian Irrelevance, Will Dutton Challenge Morrison?

The Victorian election has absolutely no implications for the upcoming federal election. None! And it can’t be considered in anyway an indictment of the decision to dump Malcolm Turnbull.

I know this, because as the results came in, any Liberal MP who had a media gig was pretty clear that this was a state election fought on state issues and the dumping of Turnbull was in no way responsible. Like the Wentworth by-election, it had nothing to do with their overall standing in wider Australia. It was just some untypical people expressing their views on something that wasn’t the Federal Coalition. Nothing to see here, move on.

Actually, I was waiting for one of them to blame Malcolm Turnbull for not coming to Victoria to campaign, given that was the main reason that they lost Wentworth. However, I guess it would be hard to complain given how little interest the boys in Canberra took in the Victorian result. As Josh Frydenberg told us: “Scott Morrison and I and other federal colleagues didn’t play an active role in this campaign, and it was fought on state (issues).”

In case you’re wondering why they didn’t, you have to remember that Scottie had a bus to catch in Queensland, and Josh found moving outside his seat of Kooyong too stressful because people keep mistaking him for Peter Dutton. Still, I wonder if the same commentators who bagged Turnbull for not campaigning will have anything to say about the lack of “an active role” from Morrison and others.

Frydenberg was in fine form all round last night, trying to suggest that the Liberals couldn’t have expected to win by pointing out that no first-time government in Victoria who had a majority for their entire term had been dumped in over hundred years. Note that there are several qualifiers there, such as “Victorian” and had a “majority for the term”. Otherwise, it’s not much of a point to say that no first-term government had been thrown out of office since 2014 when the Baillieu/Napthine lost. It’s not even a straw to clutch at, when you say, “This hasn’t happened since the most recent election”!

Josh seemed to have learned from the Victorian Liberals that running a good, strong negative campaign is the way to go because he went on to point out that Bill Shorten had been responsible for the demise of two sitting PMs. I was waiting for someone on the panel to point out that it’s now four, if you include Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull…

There was a lot of analysis and apart from the Liberals who were directly involved in the knifing of Turnbull, the general consensus was that disunity is death in politics. Jeff Kennett did his bit to promote unity by calling for the resignation of Micheal Kroger, the state president. This, Kennett apparently thought, would leave him free to run the party and make all the decisions leading to a united, happy party all working together and anybody who didn’t agree with Jeff could FRO… A leadership style which won Kennett two elections.

Mind you, he contested five state elections as leader and lost three of them. People kept telling us what a smart political operator he was, when in power. I do remember saying that he’s only on a fifty percent win rate. Then he lost the fifth and retired from politics, giving him a strike rate of forty per cent.

Kroger did his bit for unity by pointing out that the last time Kennett called for a resignation publicly was – as President of the Hawthorn Football Club – Alistair Clarkson, the coach who went on to win four premierships. To his credit, Kroger refrained from saying Jeff’s proclamation earlier this week that changes to Hawthorn’s Tasmanian arrangement would happen over his dead body could be considered a win/win situation.

So where does this leave the federal Liberals? Are they going to continue on like Donald Trump and simply deny any fact that doesn’t suit them? Will they argue that the gangs that made people frightened to go out to dinner in Melbourne, scared them into not voting? Will they continue with the idea that Victoria doesn’t have implications because it was run on state issues and, anyway, Matty Guy only lost because Dan Andrews ran a tricky, positive campaign which caught them by surprise.

Or do they think that their best chance is to change leaders?

Will Dutton challenge? Or will they realise that the only way to get rid of Tony is to make him PM and have him lose his seat a la John Howard? Short-term pain for long-term gain.

Yes, I can hear a lot of you thinking, “No, of course Dutton won’t challenge. How could the Liberals possibly think that a change of leadership would help? How could they think that the public would put up with more Canberra nonsense and infighting? How could they fail to see something that’s so clear?”

However, if you’re thinking like that, I’d ask you to go back and have a look at everything they’ve done and said since… Um, let’s say the knighting of the Duke and ask yourself again, can we really guarantee that we’ve reached the depths of Coalition stupidity?

Bill Shorten Attacks Low Income Earners With Labor’s Class War!

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’ve often thought about that Fitzgerald quote when I hear the Coalition talk about Bill Shorten. On the one hand, he’s a captive of the unions and he’ll just do their bidding once he becomes PM; on the other, the election of his government will lead to more industrial unrest. And then there’s the fact that he’s a social climber who’s trying to suck up to billionaires, while simulataneously waging classwarfare.

Yes, holding two opposing ideas and still being able to function is the result of a first-rate intelligence. This, of course, explains the recent disfunction in the Liberal and National Parties.

Watching Josh Frydenberg’s video about negative gearing, I was amazed by two things:

  1. He’s trying to emulate Scott Morrison’s recent habit of walking and talking at the same time. I’m not sure the reason for this. Perhaps, it’s to suggest that politicians are too busy to sit or stand. Perhaps, it’s the idea that movement will distract from what they’re saying and lull us hypnotically into repeating, “Scott has always been our leader, these are not the drones you are looking for, move on!” Whatever, it reminds me of the home movies where my Nanna used to sit posed for a photo while telling me that it was a movie so it was ok to speak. Perhaps I should add that these were silent movies so all one saw was the lips moving but the meaning was lost… Exactly like Josh and Scottie.
  2. They seem to be persisting with the suggestion that the change to negative gearing not only will push prices down, but also up. While Josh doesn’t suggest that they’ll be lower for sellers, but higher for buyers – which they seemed to be saying when the policy was first announced – but he does suggest that while prices will be lower, rents will be higher. Now, you don’t need a PH.D in Economics to work out that if prices are lower and rents are higher, then it’s a great time to buy whether you’re a first-home buyer or an investor. While not all first home buyers would be able to get finance, investors should find it easy, because if I can buy a property for repayments of $2000 a month and I’m getting a rent of $2200 a month, there’s no limit to the number of properties I can buy. And believe me, if prices went down and rents went up, that’s exactly where we’d be. (Of course, if I did that I’d be stuffed if interest rates went up significantly, but that’s not going to happen according to the Liberals because Shorten’s policy will put a dampener on the whole economy!)

Whatever, the fundamental trick that they seem to be trying to pull is the old, “Look over there, nothing to see here!” Frydenberg is making much of the fact that a large number of negative-gearers earn less than $80,000. This is no surprise. The whole strategy behind negative gearing is to reduce your taxable income, so when Peter of Point Piper complains that he only earns $36,000 a year, one not only wonders why he doesn’t sell one of his 96 investment properties, but how he manages the school fees for his three children which far exceed his entire income. Using Josh’s logic, the next thing will be that some of our largest and most profitable companies won’t be paying any tax just because they’ve found ways of reducing their income so that… Oh wait, I may need to think about this before I go on.

Anyway, when I read about about Labor’s attacks on low income earners and poor retirees, I get the feeling that the reporting lacks any sort of analysis. Yesterday, for example, I read about a poor retired couple who were going to lose $17,000 in franking credits.

Now while I do understand that for people who’ve made their retirement decisions based on getting a healthy kick along from these franking credits, there may need to be a bit of an adjustment. We may need to look at how people who are likely to suffer a hit they can’t afford can be compensated.

However…

If the couple were receiving $17,000 a year in franking credits, that means they are receiving over $60,000 a year in dividend income. Using a generous average of a 4% return on the share portfolio, then they own at least $1,500,000 in shares alone. Any money they’ve tied up in superannuation or property would be separate to this.

Franking credits were introduced so that income wasn’t being taxed twice. Once, when the company paid the tax and again, as part of your income, when you received a dividend. When Howard introduced the idea that people who didn’t have an “income” should receive the money in the form of a payment, he was actually creating a situation where the money wasn’t even taxed once, because the people not paying income tax aren’t being taxed on it twice, they’re receiving the tax paid on it by the company because they don’t pay any tax to offset this against.

Yes, I know it’s very complicated, and very boring. And..

Hey, look over there, is that an embassy being moved or is it a potential terrorist attack?

LNP Senator Becomes A Woman OR “Make Us A Cup Of Tea, Love”!

“I am going to declare my gender today, to be a woman, and then you’ll no longer be able to attack me.” Barry O’Sullivan, LNP Senator for Queensland.

Strangely, I’ve never realised that being a woman somehow protected one from attack. I guess that’s why Kelly O’Dwyer was reluctant to agree that domestic violence was a bigger threat than terrorism.

Yes, I’m being flippant and these are serious matters that Bazza O’Sullivan was raising. Apparently, people have mocked him for his views on abortion, and, by mocked him, I mean that they’ve pointed out that he’s a wee bit out of touch with the twenty-first century. Actually, he’s probably out of touch with most centuries, but let’s not let a little thing called reality stand in our way here.

No, Baz has the answer: “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!” he declares. And that’s even before Barnaby has offered to buy him a drink…

Now, for those of you who don’t know much about Senator O’Sullivan, here are a few details:

So as not to be politically incorrect I’ve used both pronouns to refer to him/her.

  • His/her current Wikipedia entry reads as follows:

    “Barry James O’Sullivan (born 24 March 1957) is a transgender Australian politician who was appointed a member of the Australian Senate for the state of Queensland on 11 February 2014, representing the Liberal National Party (LNP). A former police detective, grazier, property developer and LNP executive treasurer, O’Sullivan was appointed by the Queensland Parliament to the Senate seat vacated by Barnaby Joyce, who had resigned to contest the House of Representatives seat of New England at the 2013 federal election.”

    (I don’t know if this will last, but it was actually what I read when I checked it out a few minutes ago! Update: Since modified, I should have taken a screenshot)

  • He/she is a widower, which is fortunate, given his views on same sex marriages.
  • He/she began work as a member of the Queensland Police Force in 1979.
  • He/she now owns 49 investment properties. (No link between the two.)
  • He left school well before the Safe Schools initiative, so he/she can’t blame those gender-whispering teachers for his/her change.

Yes, I know that some of you will be angry at me, and feel that I’m trivialising the whole transgender experience. No, I’m not. For anyone who’s actually going through difficult times, you have my respect and I salute you. It’s the offhand way, he suggested that he could simply declare himself a woman as though such a thing has no consequences that I find appalling…

Actually, he’s already lost his spot on the Senate ticket, and he never looked like being a minister, so maybe he thought that the party already considered him…

Oh, I better stop before I say something really offensive and get offered a National Party preselection…

And The Wheels Of The Bus Go Round And Round, But Scottie Morrison Doesn’t Notice…

“The wheels on the bus go round and round,
round and round,
round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
all through the town.”

Scott Morrison has been doing his best to help Victorian Liberal Leader in the election campaign by spending his time travelling round Queensland on a bus and avoiding the southern state altogether.

Of course, when I say travelling on a bus I mean that he spends some time on the bus but only to get from A to B. However, letters such as C,D,E, etc are another matter. In order to get from say, Rockhampton to Townsville, he takes a VIP plane.

You may have heard the interview.

JOURNALIST: Prime minister, you’re on the bus tour. Why are you flying?

PRIME MINISTER: Well the bus is going all the way up to Rockie and that’s where it was always planning to go. I mean, it’s a big state and I need to cover as much of it in four days as I can. So we were never planning to take the bus to Townsville, we’d always planned to take that last leg up to Townsville by plane because that was the most effective way to get there and to spend the most time there with people on the ground. I mean, these visits aren’t about sitting on a bus. They’re about actually engaging with small businesses and our supporters and the people of Queensland and listening to them.

JOURNALIST: Then why have the bus?

PRIME MINISTER: Because it gets me from A to B.

JOURNALIST: Will you be taking the bus to Rockhampton from here?

PRIME MINISTER: Yes. The bus will be going to Rockhampton from here. That’s right.

JOURNALIST: With you on it?

PRIME MINISTER: I’ve got to get there earlier than the bus tonight.

JOURNALIST: So you will be flying to Rockhampton?

PRIME MINISTER: I’ll get into Rockhampton tonight and I’ve got a programme tonight in Rockhampton and the bus can’t get me there quick enough so I’ve got to fly.

JOURNALIST: So you’ll be flying to Rockhampton and the bus will catch up with you and then you’ll fly onto Townsville?

PRIME MINISTER: I’ll be flying onto Townsville. And your point is what?

JOURNALIST: I’m just interested in the point of the bus if you’re not on it.

PRIME MINISTER: I am on it, I just got off it. I’m on the bus right now.

JOURNALIST: But not onto Rockhampton or Townsville?

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah well it’s a practical thing. I want to spend as much time on the ground with Queenslanders, and when I can be on the bus and go from place to place on the bus, that’s great. But I’m not going to sacrifice time with Queenslanders, listening to them and hearing them and talking to them about what’s important to them, just to satisfy the media’s interest in the timetable for the bus.

At this point, I feel that I really, really need to emphasis that this is not one of my made-up interviews. This is a fair dinkum, ridgy-didge interview with our Prime Minister. If you catch the video, you’ll notice that not only does he sound absurd but he has the sort of look I’d have if I were just appointed head of BHP: I know that I’m not meant to be here, that it’s some sort of accident, but, gee, I’m having a lot of fun saying stupid things until this whole mess is rectified.

Now, there are a few things in this interview that are really worth exploring. For a start, why does a politician do a bus tour? I could be wrong here, but I would have thought that the whole point is so that one can travel round the particular area and stop every few kilometres or so and talk to people.  Or, if one is more cynical, pose for photos. It sort of defeats the whole purpose of a bus tour if one is not actually on the bus except when one is picked up from the airport.

Ok, when he’s says, “I’m on the bus right now”, in response to the question about the point of the bus if he’s not on it, one can say, well that’s his picture at the back of the bus, so clearly there’s no time in this journey when our PM is not actually ON the bus. On the other hand, I find, Scottie’s understanding of the words “taking the bus” to be rather more problematic. His answer of: “Yes, the bus will be going to Rockhampton from here” seems to suggest that he thinks the fact the bus is following him to his destination means that he’ll be “taking” the bus. However, if I told you I was “taking you to Paris”, I doubt that you’d expect me to fly on ahead while you made your own way there.

But I find Promo’s understanding of almost anything to be problematic. For example, his comment about children on Nauru, “You’ll find yourself on your knees, you’ll find yourself in tears, you’ll find yourself wrestling with this tough stuff”, before telling us that he’d literally he’d been in tears on his knees over these issues. He, of course, didn’t want Border Force to keep pulling dead children from the sea. No, far better to tow the boats back to Indonesia waters where someone else can pull their bodies from the water. No, far, far better to have them starve themselves to death on Nauru where they can act as a deterrent to those who would seek to come here by boat. And let’s not forget, Australia has a history boat people causing trouble going all the way back to 26th January, 1788.

Still, it’s good to know that Scott Morrison doesn’t find it easy to waste billions keeping people on Manus and Nauru. It’s good to know that he occasionally gets down on his knees and cries about all the money he’s wasting every time he goes to Court to prevent an asylum seeker coming here for medical attention. After all, treating them might actually keep them alive and where’s the deterrent factor in that?

Besides, if one shows weakness on asylum seekers, what’s next? Concern about the planet? The sharks would soon be circling… and I don’t mean the ones at sea. Those sharks that swim in the Canberra bubble.

Ah, that song has become an ear-worm. I keep hearing “The Wheels of The Bus”:

The wheels of the Party keep falling off,
Falling off,
Falling off
The wheels of the Party keep falling off,
All through the year.

The Right of the Party keeps counting votes,
Counting votes,
Counting votes,
The Right of the Party keeps counting votes,
Till Tony’s resurrection.

Why African Gangs Are More Dangerous Than Climate Change!

When your average Coalition MP speaks, a lot of people get very, very angry about what he (or occasionally, she) has said. These angry people try to argue about what’s making them angry.

However, this is probably the wrong approach. What we need to do is to simply ask the politician if they’ve changed their mind. When they say, “Of course not, we never change our minds. We’re committed to life exactly as it was in the 50s!” Then simply point out what they said about a different issue just a few years, days or minutes before.

Take protecting our borders. We can’t have people arriving by boat because we need to protect our borders, we’re told. Compare that with their statements on globalisation and how we need to be part of the world. We need to knock down artificial trade barriers and invite the rest of the world in… even if they want to bring their own workers.

Or compare the demands for religious freedom with the calls to ban the burqa. Ok, ok, the burqa may be cultural, but there does seem to be a contradiction there. Notwithstanding that, it is nice to see a party with so few male MPs who tell us that their party doesn’t need quotas, complaining that a particular garment oppresses women. Ok, I concede the merit argument: Women could get preselected if only they could find women the calibre of Tony Abbott, Kevin Andrews or Eric Abetz… And they could make it to the ministry if only they could be like the new Minister for Immigration, David Coleman. Now, there’s a rising star. Remember his recent interview? You don’t…Maybe that’s because he hasn’t done one in living memory.

Then we have the whole 18C thing. People should be allowed to say what they like. However, you shouldn’t be allowed to call someone racist or sexist because that’s political correctness gone mad.

But I guess the most obvious recent example is the “African” gangs. I put “African” in quotation marks because it’s rather interesting that we refer to them as African. No, I’m not having a go at Dan Tehan’s statement about kids not knowing that Africa is a country. I’m just pointing out that we don’t have the children of immigrants from England or Scotland refered to as “British” gangs when they commit a crime.

Nontheless, we have to face up to the fact that the Sudanese community is over-represented in crime statistics. Even though they make up significantly less than one percent of the population, they account for about one percent of the crime. (I’m quoting these figures from the media, so they must be accurate). Yes, there are all sorts of reasons for this, such as there being a greater likelihood of being charged, or their difficulty adjusting to a new country after traumatic experiences in their youth.

This may be a novel defence, but I suggest that the lawyer for the next member of an “African” gang uses these figures to justify releasing the defendant without charge.

Why? Well, it’s very simple. It’s only one percent so if they all stopped, it would make no difference to the crime statistics. They would only hurt themselves financially. And for what? Nothing would be achieved. It’s only when everyone else stops committing crimes that we’ll make inroads. Besides the science on crime isn’t really settled yet…

Yes, the Coalition on climate change does sound rather strange when you apply it to other areas…

Now I could keep going on about Liberal inconsistencies and point out the contradiction of spending half a billion dollars on upgrades to the War Memorial, while skimping on support for veterans, but that’s hardly a change of mind. The Coalition have always been good at glorifying war, while pretending that any individuals who are having problems adjusting afterwards aren’t really worth discussing because there’s plenty help for them.

And, of course, Scott Morrison doing a bus tour of Queensland where he flies just about everywhere isn’t a contradiction; it’s more the norm when your government uses “Utopia” as a “How-To- Govern” video, rather than a cautionary warning.

Bloody Fair Dinkum Power, Where The Hell Are You?

To me, the great thing that Scott Morrison had going for him as Treasurer was his capacity to be boring. Let’s be real, one only has to use the words “fiscal”, “nominal expenditure”, “Gross Domestic Product” and “Consumer Price Index” in the same paragraph and not only does it seem like one knows what one is doing, but most sane people are too bored to pay much attention. Certainly I don’t want the person doing my tax to sound too interesting; it makes me worried that they’re up to something.

I expected this boredom bonus to carry over once he became PM, giving Scottie a little bit of a honeymoon period, where we were comparatively content that – unlike erratic Abbott or flashy Turnbulll – we had a boringly safe pair of hands on the tiller, sailing us through the calm waters till there’s a change of government. Unfortunately, for the Liberal Party, it seems as though he’s chosen to spend his honeymoon at the Ettamogah Pub, that fictious chaotic hotel which was turned into a reality by some enterprising businessmen.  Similarly, Scott seems to want to turn us into the ficticious fifties Australia where we were all fair dinkum and there was a fair go for all… so long as you were an Anglo-saxon male.

I could overlook his use of the phrases “fair dinkum power” and “a fair go for those who have a go” if I thought they’d just slipped out in the way that your offensive uncle’s views slip out at Christmas after a few drinks. Unfortunately, they both seem to be a carefully crafted slogan and part of a marketing campaign. As such, it makes his “where the bloody hell are you campaign” for tourism seem like the epitome of good taste and intelligent marketing. While “jobs and growth” was bad enough, at least they were three words I’d heard in normal conversation this century. Stone the bloody crows, I’m waiting for him to casually drop “sheilas” into an interview about women in the Liberal Party or to tell us that the unemployment figures are just “bonza”. Yes, I’m fair dinkum about that!

“Fair dinkum power” is rather like their plan for jobs and growth. If we get fair dinkum power, it’ll be both reliable and cheaper. What’s the plan for achieving this? How do we get it? Just like jobs and growth, it’ll happen when our plan is put into place so it won’t be happening straight away, but it will happen. Similarly, I can cure your cold. Just pay me ten bucks and if your cold doesn’t clear up in the next four weeks, I”ll give you your money back. Yes, “fair dinkum power” is something that won’t occur until after the election, and it’ll only happen if you re=elect the Liberals. If you don’t, well there won’t be any fair dinkum power…. at least not for them.

The worst part of Scott Morrison is that he’s starting to get to the point where Tony Abbott is looking good. I know, I know, it’s a big call. But some of Tony’s worst captain’s calls were harmless things like knighting a duke. Yes, we all felt that Tony was like a kid playing with matches; Scott seems to be lighting them and trying to land them in the can of petrol.

Perhaps the best comparison for Scott would be Billy McMahon, a man once described as “a despicable bastard” and a “contemptible little squirt” but that was by other Liberals, Menzies and Sir Paul Hasluck. McMahon may be best remembered for his surprsingly accurate assessment of the situation when he told voters that after looking at the facts, they should vote Labor. He quickly corrected himself, but he may have been better to have stuck with his original statement.

Whatever, I suspect that the best move for the Coalition would be to go to the polls now and limit the damage. Over the next few months, I see one or more of the following things happening.

  1. The people of Wentworth grow to appreciate having an Independent who actually stands for something. They also realise that the Liberals won’t be in power after the next election and they might get more bribes from Labor if Phelps is the member, because there’s no incentive for a Labor government to do anything to help a sitting Liberal, but helping an Independent look good is one more seat the Liberals have to spend campaign funds winning back
  2. The National Party could change leaders. Even if they don’t go the full Barnaby, they may feel that they need a change because the current one has been there almost a year and they want to look like a major party.
  3. Scott Morrison will float an idea because a radio shock jock seems to think it’s a good thing. He will later get into more trouble by insisting that it’s just an idea and nothing is definite and it’s a great idea because Alan likes it and it’s just an idea and it’s worth discussing but don’t tell me there’s anything wrong with it because we don’t want to talk about it. (See the moving of the Israeli Embassy for a prototype. Even Turnbull who was sent to discuss it with Indonesia, wasn’t meant to discuss it!)
  4. Someone may actually notice the irony in outgoing minister, Simon Birmingham’s press release expressing his pride at being the longest serving Education Minister since Brendan Nelson. He was there for slightly less than three years, which is longer than your average PM, but not quite long enough to make it from one election to the next.
  5. There may be questions about whether the neo-nazis are being expelled from the National Party because they were too left wing for some in the NSW branch.
  6. Tony Abbott will say something that reminds people of why we got rid of him.
  7. Scott Morrison will say something that makes us wonder whether getting rid of Tony was really such a great idea.

Now, I’m not saying all these things will happen in the next six months. However, I suspect that if the Liberals haven’t acknowledged the trouncing they had in Wentworth, then there’s little hope for them. Yes, it’s true they can turn it around. They have in the past. But that required them to actually have a look in the mirror and say, “What are we doing wrong and how could we fix it?” While many of you may not have liked what they did, the point is that it worked electorally for them in a number of elections. For this one, they seem like a football side who are behind at three-quarter time deciding that they’ve won from this position before so there’s really no need  do anything differently – they don’t even acknowledge that they may need to try harder.

Still, I can understand why they wouldn’t want to take a look in the mirror. I mean, would you if you were going to see a reflection like that?

Office For Men? Well, Why Not?

If women are the fairer sex, does that mean that men are the unfairer sex?

Lately, we’ve been hearing about how hard it is to be a man. Why, Donald Trump was expressing the view that it’s a very ‘scary time for young men in America’. His reasoning? ‘You can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of’. While he his way of putting it may have create a paradox, it’s easy to see where he’s coming from after the whole Kavanaugh thing. Personally, I’ll be telling young men that in order to be safe, they should never talk to strangers or go out alone, make sure that they don’t drink, and dress in ways that don’t encourage women to make false accusations against them. Of course, there is the problem that most false accusations will come from women they know but why should I let that fact alter my right to imply that men falsely accused may have brought it on themselves…

Perhaps, David Leyonhjelm was thinking along these lines when he recently  began suggesting that if there’s an Office for Women, in the interests of equality, we should have an Office for Men.

Now it’s hard to argue with David at the best of times… mainly because he has trouble following when people say things that he disagrees with. It makes him stop and go: “Hang on, you have a different point of view. This is amazing. Before you go on, I need to consider all the reasons why you can’t possibly be right… Oh, of course. It’s because you’re someone who doesn’t agree with me. Thanks, but if I allow you to continue to speak to me it may inhibit my freedom to say what I like without having to consider that I may be wrong, so shut up and stop oppressing me!”

Anyway, an Office for Men. What a great idea!

Imagine: “We won’t stop until we have at least fifty percent representation in Parliament! Hey, done! Mission accomplished… Let’s go to the bar!”

Or: “We won’t stop till we have closed the gender gap on pay. So how do we do this? Is it easier to raise women’s salaries, or would cutting the salaries of company directors go some way towards balance?”

Yes, it’s certainly an idea worth floating. I’m surprised Scott Morrison hasn’t told us tthat every day he wears a tie near his Australia pin to remind him whose side he’s on. He could adopt a slogan something along the lines of: “We support merit, but that doesn’t stop women from having a go. Bless their little hearts.”

Sooner of later though, I guess Scottie has to stop floating ideas..

Mm, interesting phrase!

I guess one could argue that – given how quickly they sink – Morrison hasn’t actually “floated” anything. It would be like arguing that one had the power to fly because one fell out of a tree.

I particularly liked the idea of reassigning funds from the NDIS for drought relief. If he wants to help the farmers, fine. I don’t think too many people would have a problem with making money available for people struggling with the drought. It’s just that the choice to take it from the NDIS has a nasty edge to it. I mean, if somebody had fifty thousand set aside for future expenses, even if one is able to replace the money later, it sounds worse to take it from the money set aside for your child’s operation than it does to take it from your new car fund, even though you plan to return it in the coming months, and even if, it something went wrong, you’d drive last year’s model and make sure your child still had his health needs met.

Now I could draw the inference that Morrison is taking it from the NDIS because he basically believes that unlike farmers, people receiving money from the fund aren’t “having a go.” Of course, nobody would openly argue that. It’s not like anyone would say, “We believe that it’s every Australian’s duty to make a contribution, not take a contribution.”

Still I can’t imagine, Scottie telling farmers that the best form of welfare is a job, so why don’t they walk of their farms and get one?

Ah well, even the conservative writers are shaking their heads at the current Coaltion mess. The IPA was aghast at the Liberals suggestions of government intervention in the energy market. I’m not sure whether this because they took Rupert’s suggestion that three years of Labor might be a price that needs to be paid in order for the Liberals to get their act together, or whether the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison/Bishop/Dutton government is so bad that to defend them would mean that any claim you had to be taken seriously would be gone forever.

I suspect the latter, but it’s a line ball.

 

Scott Morrison Tells Us That The Bell Hasn’t Rung…

It was strangely ironic when Scottie told us last Saturday, “we will stand up for what we believe until the bell rings – the bell hasn’t rung.”

It was ironic because I’d been thinking that if the current government was a boxing match, the referee would surely have stopped the fight. I mean, when you have one boxer staggering around, not sure who he’s fighting, it’s clearly time to get the doctors to check him…

Although, on that basis, Abbott would have been gone years ago.

Of course, the trouble with the Liberals is that they don’t stand up for what they believe. Ok, they have a few times, but it’s been electoral suicide. Take Fightback ’93 as an example! Or Workchoices 2007, if you’re not that old.

In 1993, I wrote that the Liberals couldn’t work out what the lesson from Hewson’s loss in the unloosable election was. Ok, I wrote it on a bit of paper so I can’t find exactly what I wrote, but that simply means that – like the Liberals – I can pretend and nobody can call me out. Anyway, I remember writing that the Liberals couldn’t work out whether elections were about offering up a vision of an alternative future and if that vision was rejected, well, that’s democracy and we should change what we offer OR we take a stand on what we believe and we keep arguing for that until we bring the people along with us.

In the aftermath of ’93, they tended to explode and say things like, “We told them what we’d do and that was a mistake. We’ll never do that again!”

Ok, I’m not quoting directly, but if you want to search for quotes, I’ll bet you can find someone saying something pretty close… Actually, when I think about it, that’s pretty close to an accurate reflection of everything they’ve done since.

But back to the present…

There seems to be a strange view about the Wentworth by-election which goes something like this:

“No, we don’t need to reconsider our policies in light of the result because this is all down to one simple thing. It was a very, very silly thing to remove Malcolm as leader and that was all his fault, so we don’t need to think that maybe it was all about the policies and nobody gave a tinker’s cuss about Malcolm because clearly this was because everyone loved Malcolm but not because he seemed to want policies more in touch with the majority of Australia than the rest of us: it was personal. He was trying to push the party to the left so we got rid of him because people didn’t want that but unfortunately people didn’t realise that they didn’t want it and got angry because we got rid of this man because, well, he quit, we didn’t get rid of him…Sorry, what was the question?”

Yes, when Scott Morrison said, “This wasn’t unexpected,” on Saturday night, I had to wonder why wasn’t it? And not just because he used a double negative instead of saying, “This was expected.”  I mean, yes, if I have three glasses of scotch, finish off the bottle of wine, see how many times I can spin around and then try to climb onto a table and dance, when I fall over and do some damage, the line, “This wasn’t unexpected,” may be true for anyone that witnessed the previous ten minutes, but the people who asked me to babysit an hour or two before, would be thinking that, while the end damage wasn’t unexpected, the drinking and twirling wasn’t something that they factored in before they entrusted their child to me.

Ok, nobody, would be silly enough to let me babysit. Unless they voted Liberal where they entrusted the whole country to Scott Morrison. To be fair, at the last election they thought they were entrustring it to Malcolm, but at the previous one, they were giving Tony Abbott the keys to the Lodge…

Actually, Tony never made it to the Lodge owing to some renovations. Scott emulated John Howard and announced that he needs to be based in Sydney owing to his young family, Fair enough, I suppose, but one really shouldn’t put one’s hand up for a caretaker role and then expect to be able to work from home.

Whatever, the Wentworth by-election does make it clear that we have an entire government with about as much self-awareness as Donald Trump on LSD… Actually, Trump may have more self-awareness after dropping acid…

The Liberals have lost one of their safest seats, but they conclude it was only because they removed Turnbull as PM and they did that when he called a spill after Peter Dutton was counting the numbers and threatening to challenge. Then, after losing, Dutton’s backers assured everybody that they had the numbers. However, owing to the Finance Minister’s inability to count, the Treasurer slipped by and emerged victorious. Turnbull then did as he promised and left Parliament, leaving an unwinnable by-election because the Liberals only held it by a margin of 17%, so you’d hardly expect that not to be down to Turnbull’s personal following. No, that’s the explanation and we don’t need to consider changing any policies because Wentworth is out of step because they’re all well-off and not like the rest of Australia. No, we don’t need to change any policies…

Oh, have we mentioned we’re bringing eleven children from Nauru for health reasons. Not a change of policy. We’ve always been nice guys where people’s health is concerned…

No, there’ll be no change of policy on anything else.To quote Tony Abbott from 2014 after a few little hiccups: “Good government starts today.”

I must go and check the news to see if the rumours of a Bishop challenge are true.That’s Julie, by the way. Bronwyn’s left Parliament and she’d make a terrible PM…

Although, when I think about it, the Liberals seem to think that’s a prerequisite for the job!

Wentworth Circus, Elephants In The Room, Jokers In The Pack And Too Many Ringmasters…

The Liberals have lost Wentworth for the first time and so the analysis begins.

We’ve already been told that Malcolm didn’t help. He should have been there, campaigning his little arse off out of gratitude that the Liberals made him PM. Ungrateful wretch.

And, in the washup, Sky News was telling us not to draw too many conclusions because Wentworth wasn’t typical of the rest of Australia…It’s one of the wealthiest suburbs and it does have a significant gay population. True enough, I suppose, but is one meant to draw the inference that other electorates have an insignificant gay population?

However, I keep coming back to a point I make over and over again. We only get to vote once every three years or so and we often make our choice based on who we think is the least worst. Our vote is sometimes the lesser of two evils, rather than a ringing endorsement of every single policy of the party we ultimately vote for. And sometimes, an electorate gets the chance to say, yes, you seem more in tune with what we actually think than either of the major parties.

It’s not that Wentworth is out of step with the rest of Australia on something like climate change. Wentworth has pretty accurately reflected the fact that most people think more should be done on climate change. It’s not that Wentworth is out of step with attitudes to LGTBI issues or children on Nauru; it’s more that the loudest conservative voices have managed to make it sound like they are speaking for the “ordinary” Australian. And it’s hard to get more ordinary than some of the people backing Peter Dutton.

Now, I always suggested that Malcolm Turnbull wasn’t all that left-wing. I know, it’s surprising that a Point Piper multimillionaire Liberal Party leader wouldn’t be an extreme socialist pushing for the overthrow of the corrupt system.  Yes, we’ve been told about leftie Malcolm, so often that we overlook the fact that most of his progressive views were consistent with the majority. Backing for the Republic, marriage equality, action on climate change. You name it, there was nothing that wasn’t a popular position. He was always positioning himself for popularity. That is, until he became Prime Minister, where his Faustian bargain left him unable to please either his party or his electorate. While it was one thing to paint Malcolm as progressive; it’s quite another to ask us to believe that a Liberal stronghold – one of its safest and most affluent seats – is a hotbed of out-of-touch elites who were simply angry at the dumping of their man.

It’s worth pointing out that they did so with the full knowledge that, unlike so many by-elections, they had the power to make the Coalition a minority government. If anything, this should have chastened them, made them more circumspet. And it’s not as though, this was a surprise like the 1999 defeat of Kennett in Victoria where people made a protest vote without any expectation that it would result in a change of government.

The electorate made a conscious decision to create a hung Parliament. But to hear Scott Morrison last night, it was all about Malcolm Turnbull, it was all about the “price” of switching leaders. But rest assured, the Liberals would rise again. (I’m sure I heard a few “hallelujahs” at this point from the crowd). Ok, perhaps not in three days, but it certainly sounded like an evangelical meeting at times. He went on to repeat his well-worn slogans of “Those who have a go, will get a go”, “The best form of welfare is a job”, “Jesus was a small businessman” and “I stopped the votes” and several other meaningless phrases, as though these had somehow helped deliver an electoral victory rather than the most embarrassing thing to happen to the Liberals in almost a week.

I guess it’s easy to be pessimistic and shake one’s head. We have a governent voting for a motion then realising that they didn’t intend to vote for it, floating ideas which are against all departmental advice, squabbling internally, considering a disgraced Barnbaby for a return to the Deputy PM role only a few months after his embarrassing admissions. And I know some of you will be worried by the assertions that this won’t flow through to the general election because of Rupert Murdoch or because the Liberals will “get away with it like they always do”.

However, I think that it’s always worth stopping and considering how many impossible things have happened. I mean, not only have the Liberals lost Wentworth – unthinkable just a few weeks ago – but they lost to an openly gay Independent. Yes, I know some of you are thinking, so what? But that’s the point. How long ago would it have been unthinkable for a candidate to have called their same sex partner up on the stage during their victory speech? If you go back to the beginning of this century it would have been talked about for weeks.

Progress may feel like two steps forward and one step back. And even, at times, the other way round. But because progress is slow, we often don’t see how far we’ve come. There’s still a long way to go, of course. For example, I was confused as to why the email suggesting that Phelps had pulled out because she had HIV was reported as being a “smear” and a “slur”. I don’t see having HIV is either of those, any more than a suggestion that she was cancelling an appearance because she had the flu. It was a nasty trick, sure, but why a “smear” as though HIV suggested something immoral about the person.

So, before the media starts talking about how terribly the Labor Party performed and tries to start leadership speculation about Shorten, let’s see this for what it is: a massive wake-up call for Scott Morrison. Unfortunately for him, his speech last night suggested he intended to just keep hitting the snooze button.

If You Missed Scott Morrison’s Concession Speech

Ok, I was watching Sky’s coverage of the election.

We cut from the winner’s speech to the Liberal event because the Prime Minister was speaking.

Just to be clear, that’s still Scott Morrison … Although it may be Peter Dutton by the time you read this …

Anyway, after telling us that the Liberals were angry – meaning the voters – he then said that the Liberals – meaning the party he leads – would win the next election because of what they believed. He then reminded us that there’ll be a fair go for those who have a go and the best form of welfare is a job and …

Yes, you get the idea. It was just the repetition of all the cliches that lost them the by-election. He then put his arm round Josh Frydenberg and left. Strangely, I thought of this:

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