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Category Archives: Rossleigh

Let’s Try To Be Fair And Balanced About This…

Trigger warnings.

One of the problems with politics was best expressed when a Liberal politician was attacking a policy that she thought was Labor’s, only to be told midway that it was, in fact, Cormann who said it. Suddenly it became good policy.

I always try to separate the person from the politics but that’s not always easy. Just like when Andrew Bolt says something you agree with, you wonder whether you should reassess your views or your whole life.

And, of course, when it comes to anything that Christian Porter may or may not have done, it’s hard not to be influenced by one’s previous experience of him. When you look at the stuff that 4 Corners revealed and his performance as a government MP, any thinking person must conclude that he is clearly a… man with a defamation lawyer by his side.

But even if there was no defamation lawyer there, it’s always worth taking the personality out of the equation and asking yourself how you’d feel in general terms.

Yes, this is a noble ambition, but unfortunately, there is never any general terms, so what we’re left with in individual situations which we try and make consistent rules about. Take drink driving. We know that it’s wrong and dangerous so we accept that people should have some sort of penalty unless they work for the PMO and can get a letter from George Brandis… I was going to write Attorney-General but someone might think that I mean the current one and as I said before, he’s a man with a defamation lawyer standing beside him so I wouldn’t want to say anything that would sound like I’m criticising him.

So let’s deal entirely in hypotheticals here, but let’s keep them non-party specific so that we can establish the general rule and then look at whether or not there should ever be an exception. Let’s give Christian Porter his time off and accept his statements at face value and believe him when he says that he has never been made aware of any of the allegations at any time and he strenuously denies them even if he has never been made aware of what they were except by Scott Morrison who hadn’t read them either but somehow knew that Christian Porter was the person to ask about the allegations of which neither of them had the specifics. Yes, as Christian said, everything he read about the woman who made the complaint suggested that she was a troubled soul…which would be confusing owing to the fact that she hasn’t actually been named in the media and he hasn’t been made aware of the allegations so it’d be quite amazing that he knows who she is, were it not for the fact that Christian has probably read a lot about a lot of women and he understands that they’re usually troubled souls when it comes to him.

Let’s be clear to everyone and, in particular, to any defamation lawyers reading this, anything I write from this point on has no relation to Christian Porter or any other Christian or pretend Christian. (Note to my lawyer: Please check that Scotty can’t sue me for the pretend Christian remark.)

Scenario: Woman accuses man of rape. Before this is investigated thoroughly, woman dies. Allegations against man are leaked to media who report them in general terms without naming individuals involved.

Due to the standing of the man accused, this becomes controversial so it’s referred back to the police who say there’s not enough evidence to proceed because the woman died before making a formal statement.

In general terms, what would you have happen here? An independent inquiry led by a judge with coercive powers? A fearless Woodward and Bernstein combination of journalists determined to find the truth. A request that the police waste their precious resources by preparing another statement that they won’t be able to find enough evidence for a criminal conviction but they will at least ask the accused man and tell you if they think he’s dodgy. A whisper campaign to destroy the man. Social media to hang him in effigy.

Well, of course, all these things would go against natural justice. No, from what I understand the best thing is to do nothing because an independent inquiry into accusations from a dead person would mean that no person in public office would ever be safe again. All that it would take to destroy a reputation would be for someone to accuse a high profile person and they’d be forced to have an inquiry into their actions which might find out almost anything and nobody would be safe from vexatious accusations from people who suicided just to gain a political advantage.

Yeah, simple. Piece of fucking cake.

On another note, what a pity that Grace Tame is already Australian of The Year because wouldn’t it be great to be able to make her Australian of the Year after today’s speech.

If you feel alone, don’t, because you’re certainly not. Go into the street and shout “I”m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!” I suspect that this is one day that you won’t be alone, if that doesn’t work here’s the Lifeline number 131114.

(Actually, I always thought that the best line from Network wasn’t I’m mad as hell, it was “All I know is, you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, “I’m a human being, goddamn it. My life has value.”)

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The Presumption Of Innocence Is Reserved For Those With A Good Lawyer…

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I found the phrase, “not a hanging offence” rather absurd for the simple reason that there are no hanging offences in Australia so that even if a government MP committed murder or rape, he could keep his job because, well, they’re not hanging offences. You can check out what I wrote in; Note To Morrison: “You’re Going To Need A Bigger Carpet!”

I thought of this during question time at Morrison’s presser today, but before I deal with that I must say that the first part of the presser reminded me of Churchill. Something like: “Never have so many words been used by so few people to say so little.” Perhaps I missed it but it seemed another occasion where Morrison announced his intention to do something at some unspecific future date. Somebody suggested that he deserved an Oscar when he waved his hands and appeared to become emotional and, while I don’t think that Oscars are a true indicator of acting greatness, I thought his performance at that moment so wooden I doubt whether he’d be cast in Manangatang’s amateur theatre… That may be a little unfair! I have seen any productions at Manangatang and their acting may be quite good. Whatever, the Pro Moter wasn’t very convincing.

I must say that my mind began to wander when he started to talk about the legal process. At one point, our leader assured us that it was up to the police to determine the veracity of a complaint! Silly me, all this time I thought that it was the courts! But I guess you don’t have as much control over them because you don’t take their bins in.

In spite of the news conference being about the release of the report into Aged Care, journalists were more interested in other matters… possibly because the report was released just moments before and none of them had read it because they were all at the press conference. Anyway, when someone asked about the alleged rapist who’s allegedly in Cabinet although we’ve seen no evidence of that recently because he’s too busy allegedly changing his Wikipedia pages, Morrison was quite strong on correct legal procedure and this idea of innocent until proven guilty, which I’ll simply refer to as your Monopoly card because it’s the “Get Out Of Jail” free card.

David Hicks, you may remember, didn’t have this Monopoly card because “we knew he was guilty” according to John Howard. Of course, we were also told that he couldn’t be brought back to Australia because he hadn’t broken any Australian laws. Interesting to put the two ideas together.

Julia Gillard was leading an illegitimate government because she relied on the vote of Craig Thomson who was being investigated for fraud. At this stage he hadn’t been found guilty, or even charged with a crime, but Kathy Jackson said he was guilty so that should be enough, shouldn’t it?

Peter Slipper had to stand down as Speaker because he’d inappropriately charged less than a thousand dollars to the taxpayer. Or at least, he was accused of doing so and it’s not like he was using his home internet to run his business and charging thousands to the taxpayer.

But this case is completely different because the Prime Sinister asked the alleged rapist point blank: “Did you do it?” He apparently strongly denied it, because if you weakly deny it, you might still be guilty, but a strong denial is just fine. Much better than saying, “How can I remember every crime I’ve ever committed?”

Now I think that it’s important to remember that nobody should be presumed guilty without a proper process. However, I also think that people need to remember that presumption of innocence is not the same thing as the proof of innocence. It simply means that we can’t presume them guilty. If a financial advisor beats a fraud charge, I’d suggest that it may not be prudent to say, “Well, they’re ok then, I’ll trust them to invest my life savings and I’ll just check on how it’s all going in a year or so.”

Too often we say that someone was cleared of an offence when it was simply that there wasn’t enough proof to convict. O.J. Simpson was found “Not guilty” but I’d suggest that nobody would be prepared to say categorically that he was innocent of the crime.

So with no complainant and the police unlikely to proceed, exactly what can happen from here?

Mm, well I’m pretty sure the police won’t be proceeding, so we’re left with the Monopoly card. If nobody’s convicted then everyone’s not guilty and entitled to the presumption of innocence and that’s the way it should be, because under this government unless it’s a hanging offence you don’t resign – unless you’re a woman. And the PM asked the alleged man and he allegedly rejected the accusation and that should be enough.

I look forward to Martin Bryant’s release any day now…

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See Scotty Run, Run Scotty Run!

This is Scotty:

He doesn’t hold a hose. What does Scotty do?

Scotty does a lot of standing.

Stand Scotty, Stand.

Scotty shakes hands,

Shake, Scotty, Shake.

Sometimes people don’t want to shake Scotty’s hand.

But Scotty doesn’t care. He shakes them anyway,

Scotty makes announcements.

And if one announcement doesn’t stop people from saying Scotty Does Nothing, Scotty shows them by making another announcement. Announce, Scotty, announce.

Scotty is also good at passing the buck.

This is Bridget. She got thrown under the bus.

This is the bus that Bridget thrown under.

This is Linda. Watch out, Linda, there’s a bus nearby.

Oh no, Linda. You didn’t look both ways…

Women have caused Scotty problems this week, but he forgives them and takes Jen, a woman, the kids, future women, and his personal photographer, not a woman, to the beach but we’re not showing the photographs because surely his family have a right to privacy even if Scotty thinks that they’re just a prop for photo opportunities.

Stay tuned for further adventures with Scotty including “Scotty Tells Us There’s Nothing To See In The Report”, “Scotty Yells Because He’s Angry At Those Naughty Labor People Who Don’t Stop Asking Him Questions” and “Scotty Turns His Back On The Opposition Because He Doesn’t Want To Turn His Back To His Front Bench.”

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When You Call Me Privileged, It’s Just The Politics of Envy!

Privilege is a funny thing, because the privileged often fail to see their privilege and just think that it’s their right. Take the recent discussion around religious freedoms. I’m sure that many of those arguing that their religious freedom should be enshrined in law would have a problem with Russell Kruckman.

When a lot of people talk about religious freedom being a right, they usually mean their own and, in Australia, they usually mean the Christian religion and, in particular, their own special version of it.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all Christians believe that they’re entitled to do whatever they want, but some certainly do. I’m thinking of one in particular but I don’t want to say anything that could get me into trouble or lead to defamation proceedings.

Whatever I’ve never been sure about the phrase “politics of envy”.

I mean, the very fact that someone is envious does suggest that there’s a discrepancy in the respective fortunes of the two people. I suspect that it’s only used when there’s no reasonable argument to make.

“Why was Morrison given one of the first injections?”

”Look, I’m sick of the politics of envy here!”

OR

”Some people are going hungry while others are buying handbags that cost enough to feed a family for a year.”

”Politics of envy. Why don’t they force themselves to eat?”

I guess the thing about privilege is that if you have it, it’s hard to see it. Personally, I wouldn’t describe myself as rich, but I don’t ever consider going hungry for reasons of poverty, I’m confident of making next week’s mortgage payment and I probably won’t go into debt to pay my energy bills unless I’ve used more electricity searching for a way to expose the Morrison government than I thought. (Actually, I can probably stop searching; they’ve been exposed so many times that I think the only thing that’ll bring them down is when the economy slips back a gear and they try to tell us that it’s all fine!)

When I was younger and in severe financial stress, I observed first hand how people didn’t notice their privilege. When expressing my dissatisfaction with my lack of money, a friend advised me to just forget about it and go out. I reminded her that I just explained that I had no money. “You mean you have NO money?” No, I replied, nothing till I next get paid.

Ok, at least I was going to get paid and that would enable me to keep my head above water for long enough to take a breath, so I guess even I had a privilege that I didn’t see.

All of which brings me to the recent changes to JobSeeker.

A cynical person would suspect that they made the changes to create controversy about something other than all the other topics that aren’t going well, but whatever their reasoning, there’s some wonderful examples of people not seeing their privilege.

First of all, let’s take a moment to note that all those saying that the increase is barely enough for a loaf of bread. Yes, the person on benefits is still way below the poverty line, but when you talk about how insignificant another $3.50 a day is, you’re actually showing something about your privilege. For some people, it means that they’ll be able to afford that loaf of bread. Just like Jolly Joe Hockey, who complained that taking his son for an x-ray only cost him $32. When you have the money, it doesn’t seem like much. If you don’t, however…

Of course, the Coalition government didn’t see it as a meagre amount because they resent any money going to people who don’t buy tickets to their fundraising dinners. They think they’ve been generous. Why those on the dole get a fortnightly handout which is more than they get for a daily meal allowance… Ok, not much more, but the pol-bludgers in Canberra think that they deserve any taxpayer money they get, while anyone on JobSeeker is obviously not “having a go” so they shouldn’t “get a go”.

To ensure that they aren’t too work-shy, employers will be encouraged to “dob in a bludger”. In order to facilitate this, a hotline will be established which brings me back to the whole idea of privilege.

Why can’t the employer just ring Centrelink? After all, I seem to remember Alan Tudge saying that the wait time was only eight minutes.

Well, anybody who’s ever tried to ring Centrelink will be rolling on the floor with sarcastic laughter. Nobody would ring Centrelink if they didn’t have to, and no employer should be expected to waste their time sitting on a phone for hours. See, the idea of employer privilege is embedded in the whole concept even before you start to ask why there isn’t a hotline for job applicants to dob in employers who offer less than the award, or indulge in other unsavoury practices?

But I guess if anyone complains about the employers getting a special hotline, it’s just the politics of envy.

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Investigation Into What Prime Minister And His Office Knew Concludes Its Report!

Phil: Ok, I’ve interviewed the rest of the staff and, with your permission, Mr Morrison, I need to ask you a couple of questions.

Scotty: Go ahead.

Phil: Ok, were you told about the alleged rape in March 2019?

Scotty: Yes.

Phil: When were you told?

Scotty: Can’t be sure of the time but sometime on April 5th.

Phil: Right, well that concludes my investigation. Apparently, everyone in your office knows and most of them have known for nearly two years. I’ll start writing up my report and I should have it to you about… um, September?

Scotty: No, there’s been a change of plan. We’re not going to an election this year, so probably better to get it out of the way early.

Phil: Ok, around Budget time then.

Scotty: Yes that sounds fine. And, of course, this is about the Defence Office.

Phil: Yes, clearly there are security concerns.

Scotty: Clearly.

Phil: And so I probably should suggest that it be examined to ensure classified information isn’t being inadvertently leaked.

Scotty: Definitely. And redactions will need to be made before we can hand it on to be checked to ensure that it doesn’t breach anyone’s privacy.

Phil: This is a very delicate matter.

Scotty: Very.

Phil: Who should check it to ensure that privacy isn’t being breached?

Scotty: Mm, it’s a very important matter. I guess my office should be the one to check it.

Phil: I don’t suppose we could suggest that it’s an “on water” situation.

Scotty: No, but it is an “operational matter”.

Phil: Oh, definitely. So I shouldn’t comment on an operational matter until the report is released.

Scotty: And that includes any questions about when the report is likely to be released.

Phil: Which I guess it up to you.

Scotty: And I’m waiting until it’s been fully checked to ensure that there is no security or privacy concerns.

Phil: Yes, we need to do everything right so that nobody can suggest that this is a coverup.

Scotty: No I’ve already got an announcement ready about investigating the inordinate delay in releasing reports. It’s going to be released very quickly and it’s going to suggest that it’s all the fault of Peter Dutton’s portfolio and he needs to get his act together. That should stuff any leadership challenge.

Phil: You think of everything.

Scotty: It’s what I’m here for.

Phil: So, what’s the plan after this?

Scotty: Sorry.

Phil: Like what are we going to about getting Australians back from overseas.

Scotty: That’s a state job.

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The Mysterious Case Of The Steam Cleaned Sofa…

Ok, the title’s a bit misleading because I originally had this idea about a Sherlock Holmes type mystery to look into the Brittany Higgins case but I initially rejected it for two reasons:

  1. It would be hard to do something with enough sensitivity that made the points without seeming like I don’t understand the seriousness of the situation.
  2. There is no mystery because everyone knows that Morrison is lying through his crooked teeth.

I mean, I’m not even sure that he actually had that conversation with Jen. What she supposedly said is plausible, I guess, but then we’re left wondering what on earth he was saying that gave her the need to tell him that he needed to think about this like a father.

“Jen, I don’t know what to do. It’s going to be difficult crush this woman without seeming like a heartless bastard.”

“Perhaps, dear, rather than trying to crush the woman, you should think about this like a father. Imagine if was one of your daughters…”

“Oh no, I’ve been thinking about this all wrong. Rape is serious because the victim may have a father who’s upset by it. I need to be more sensitive.”

But just when I decided that the Sherlock Holmes idea wasn’t a goer, up pops Scotty with his trademark smirk to tell us that he’d appointed Phil Gaetjens to investigate what his office knew.

In case you’ve forgotten what a sterling job Gaetjens did with his investigation of the sports rorts I’ve posted a link here. I can’t tell you what the report said because it wasn’t released but while it did find some shortcomings in the awarding of grants, there was no “political bias”.

So while I’ve rejected the Sherlock Holmes idea, I can imagine that when Hercule Poirot Phil calls them all together to announce his verdict into who knew what, it’ll probably go something like this:

”Mesdames and Messieurs, this case was very tricky and at first I was distracted by the couch and I made enquiries into whether anyone in this office knew about the steam cleaning. Madame Brown who worked in Linda Reynolds office at the time, undoubtedly knew about it when she was there but when she moved into the office of M. Morrison her knowledge was vacuumed away like the evidence of the crime, but the couch I soon realised was a herring rouge.

“No, if I were going to get to the bottom of this case I was going to have to question the people who may have been mentioned in the texts, so naturally I decided to start with Jen, even though this had nothing to do with her. When I asked her if she had any evidence that M. Morrison knew anything she replied that she has to clarify practically everything to him including things like when you’re pretending to build a chook shed do not pose with nails in your mouth, when you have in your hands a drill…

”I could have been satisfied with this but the PM wanted an exhaustive inquiry so I asked all members of his staff if they had any phone records they’d like to give me. They were all happy to give me any phone records except for the ones which they said were about a matter that could be the subject of a police investigation which only left a handful of texts about ensuring that certain people were ‘taken care of’, but due to privacy concerns they wouldn’t tell me who these people were.

“At this point, I could have given up and concluded that this mystery was just too big and there was no way that we’d ever know whether anybody in PMO knew anything, when voila, a breakthrough. One of M. Morrison’s most trusted members of staff confessed and said that he did know and that it was all his fault and he just wanted to protect his leader so he kept it to himself but now he realises it was wrong and he’s resigning to take a job at a higher rate of pay in private industry.

”Who is this person, you ask? Well, I can’t tell you because he hasn’t done it yet, but I suspect that he will before we leave this room or you’ll all be looking for another job on a lower rate of pay!!”

Yes, it seems a little far-fetched and a little like I’m mocking a serious crime. But I’d argue that. Morrison’s behaviour in appointing a hack like Gaetjens to investigate, backgrounding against Ms Higgins’ partner and suggesting that she may have been confused because she was stressed, was the real failure to take this seriously. “I was devastated,” he said, before moving on to the things he could smile about.

It’s always worth remembering that with Watergate it wasn’t the burglary that led to the downfall of Nixon; it was the coverup and the lies.

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Note To Morrison: “You’re Going To Need A Bigger Carpet!”

There’s a famous line in “Jaws” after Brody first sees the shark: “You’re going to need a bigger boat!”

With all the things that the Coalition have swept under the carpet, I can’t help but think it’s about time someone asked the Promo Minister if he has any plans to get a bigger one.

Now when I say “swept under the carpet”, I’m not entirely accurate. Large problems of ethics and corrupt behaviour are met with the suggestion that no rules were broken so what’s the big problem or, if rules were broken we’ll be told that what happened wasn’t a “hanging offence”. Of course – as I’ve pointed out before – there are no capital crimes on the statute books in Australia, so it would be correct to say that rape and murder aren’t hanging offences but I doubt that were a government member to be found guilty of a crime that serious, nobody would be saying that they shouldn’t lose their job because well they haven’t committed “a hanging offence”.

Just like the guy who – allegedly – took a woman – allegedly – into an allegedly restricted area where the alleged CCTV allegedly showed them entering and the woman was allegedly raped. He hasn’t committed a hanging offence even if all the alleged behaviour is true.

I’m using the word “allegedly” because it saves one from a law suit because some MPs have been throwing the word “defamation” around a lot lately. I think I can say that without adding the word “allegedly”.

For example, Peter Dutton did make it clear that he regarded suggestions that he was corrupt as defamatory so I’m going to make it very clear that I’m not talking about Mr Dutton – or any other alleged government MP – in the following dialogue and I’m speaking more generally. And if there are any generals who feel that I’m talking about them, I’d like to suggest that everything I write is fiction and any resemblance to them or any member of the government is entirely coincidental.

By the way, you know that the difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to be plausible… I can’t remember who said that, but whoever it was, they said it before Donald Trump was elected so one has to be impressed.

A short fiction:

“Does Mr Bent need to stand down?”

“No, I’ve looked into it and no rules were broken.”

“But he went outside the guidelines…”

“Guidelines are just that, they’re a guide. Like those lines down the middle of the road, you’re allowed to cross them from time to time if you think it’s reasonable.”

“Actually we’ve noticed that he also broke the rules.”

“Yes, but we’re the ones who wrote the rule book and if we think it’s time for a rule change, it’d be a lot of meaningless red tape if we had to change them before we ignored them entirely.”

“Doesn’t that mean that the rules are irrelevant then?”

“On the contrary, the rules are there to give us a starting point. After all, if rules didn’t change we’d still be keeping slaves and forbidding women to vote…”

“Isn’t there a difference between changing a law and ignoring a rule? I mean we didn’t just wake up one day and decide that we’d ignore the law that prevented gay people from marrying because most people thought that it was a violation of their rights.”

“Look, nobody but the left cares about this issue and while we govern for all Australians we don’t govern for those who aren’t patriotic and if you don’t want to get behind your government, whose side are you on? China’s? If you like rules so much, why don’t you move to China?”

Anyway, moving back to the real world, we had Bridget McKenzie, who was once allegedly a minister in this alleged government suggesting that the word “rorts” was unparliamentary and that if it were used outside she would sue… Not sure why she hasn’t sued all those other people using the word, but anyway… I was more intrigued by the idea that changes were made by an unnamed member of staff after she’d signed off. Is it normal for members of a minister’s staff to decide that the minister doesn’t know what they’re doing and add a few million to marginal seats here and there?

Still it does make sense.

If the Prime Monster needs his wife, allegedly Jen, to explain to him that he has to think about a rape case as though he’s a father -which he is, allegedly – and to think of what he’d want to happen if it were his own alleged daughters in the same position as Brittany Higgins, then you certainly wouldn’t want any of the ministers in this government having the final say on anything!

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Why The Public Don’t Understand The Give And Take Of Political Interviews!

People were a little upset with Patricia Karvelas and her questioning of Tony Burke.

I’m not going to go off on a long tangent here but I think we need to understand that there is a bit of a game which goes on between regular journalists and politicians. The whole argy-bargy of the journalist trying to knock the politician of their talking points and the politician trying to stay on task and not bring his or her whole party to the brink of extinction used to be like watching a tennis match between a baseline player and someone who liked rushing at the net.

There was a certain skill on both sides.

These days, however, watching the Morrison ministers I can’t help but feel there’s no rushing the net. It’s more like they watch the volley go past and then try to argue that the ball wasn’t even in play and even if it was, there’s nothing wrong with losing the odd point and who said that this was set point anyway.

I mean, if we look at Greg Hunt’s performance the other day…

Actually someone called me a real Greg Hunt the other day and I got quite upset until they explained they weren’t comparing me to him… It was simply rhyming slang.

Anyway, after Mr Hunt was asked about the use of the Liberal logo by Michael Rowland, he attempted to suggest that the ABC reporter was the only journalist who was worried about it…

We could pause here and reflect on the fact that Mr Hunt seems to be suggesting that it’s only when a significant number of journalists are worried about something that it becomes an issue. Nothing is an issue if it’s only the public who are worried about it. Neither are questions of right and wrong a concern unless one has the backing of other members of the media.

When pressed, Mr Hunt then went on to say that is because Rowland was a member of the left that he was raising this.

Is the subtext that only non-left journalists can raise concerns?

Mr Hunt then suggested that his office was indulging in illicit wagering by telling everyone that they’d been betting that this issue would take up more than fifty percent of the interview would be taken up by this issue when they should be talking about the vaccines.

Given that Mr Hunt talked in so much depth, one suspects that he’d bet on the plus fifty percent option and was trying to ensure that he won by his refusal to actually answer the question and argue that the question was irrelevant, impertinent and a distraction. Seems like cheating to me.

However, the thing worries me most of all about the direction of political journalism in this country is the way in which there’s a reality which is shared by nearly everyone but which is ignored because we keep looking at the shadow puppet performance and not at the clumsy puppeteers who are so inept.

When Morrison made his side-splitting, “Craig Kelly is not my doctor!” at the Press Club, there was laughter. Some people felt that he was rude and arrogant, and that Laura Tingle had been treated badly for asking a legitimate question but I’m starting to feel – as I did with Patricia Karvelas and Tony Burke – that by focussing on the journalist and the politicians we’re ignoring the wider reality.

In the case of Morrison, it was simple. While you may not have found it funny, some people laughed because, well, of course, as if anyone should listen to Craig Kelly. The subtext of Scotty’s response was clear enough: Kellly is a buffoon and you shouldn’t be listening to him. Of course, when previously asked about this, Morrison would have resorted to the “free speech is precious” response.

It’s rather interesting when you think about it.

Should certain views be banned?

No, it’s better to let people speak and then they can be debated and we can show them where they’re wrong!

So what do you think about so and so’s absurd claim that the moon is made of green cheese?

Free speech is wonderful thing and I’m not going to stop them by disagreeing.

And it seems to me that we’ve reached a point where politicians know that what they’re saying isn’t entirely true, the journalists know it isn’t, and even the public know it isn’t, but we keep operating in this little bubble of pretence that not only is it just a difference of opinion, but that we don’t want even acknowledge that everyone knows that the reality but the farce is the only possible way of managing the discussion.

Can we start, at least, saying things that are true? We could start by calling out the platitudes and motherhood statements and meaningless phrases which the current government uses to hide the fact that they’re not actually governing. Or when the Deputy PM tells us that he doesn’t care what happens in thirty years time, ask him if that’s why they won’t raise the rate of superannuation because it doesn’t matter if more people need the pension to survive?

Or could we start by simply acknowledging that the Canberra press gallery have basically argued that they need to keep sweet with politicians and print their press releases without much criticism or else they’ll miss out on getting the scoop of the early press release?

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National Party Fractures With Canavan Refusing To Support Leader’s Position!

In looking at our current government – even when I try to put aside any of my different priorities and values – I’m struck by one thing: I wouldn’t trust most of them to housesit my home… And not just because I think they’d sell anything that wasn’t locked down and pretend it was a burglary… No, I’d be afraid that they’d find some way to accidentally destroy the place.

And credit where credit is due, just when I think that they’ve hit bottom, they find some way to dredge the ocean floor and reach new depths of absurdity.

Now, I could understand Michael McCormack’s attempt to argue that farmer’s shouldn’t be part of any zero emissions strategy. After all, he relies on a very small number of voters concentrated in farming areas to wield a disproportionate amount of power. However, when he tried to argue that farming, mining AND manufacturing should all be exempt. I mean, if he just adds Craig Kelly talking, there’ll be very little left that causes emissions.

But not content with that, McCormack tried to appeal to young voters with the idea that he didn’t care what happened in thirty years time. Appeal to young voters, you ask? Yes, I say, appeal to all those young voters who don’t think about the consequences of anything they do and are happy to drink to excess, take risks and believe that they don’t need to think about tomorrow, not the young people who are concerned for the planet’s future because let’s face it, the latter group of young people are never going to vote for his party anyway.

You’d think that “we don’t care what happens in thirty years” would be a pretty uncontroversial position in a party whose previous leader lost his job by getting a staffer pregnant, but no!

Matt Canavan announced that he DID care about thirty years into the future and promised to cross the floor if there was any attempt to legislate zero emissions because if there’s one thing that the National Party insist on is there right to have emissions even if they result in children born out of wedlock.

I’m stunned that the media haven’t picked up on this major difference between two Nationals but then I’m frequently stunned by the way the media fails to pick on a large number of things like the fact that the current government announces that they’ve secured more vaccines to go with the other vaccines that we’ve secured but don’t actually have. I haven’t heard the word “secured” used like this since we were told that the GFC was caused when all the secured properties weren’t worth anything.

I’m also stunned that nobody seems to have a problem with Scotty From Modelling telling us that there’s no point in setting a target until we know how we’ll get there and we can’t know how we’ll get there because we don’t know what our target is, but hey, technology not taxes is how we’ll meet the challenge which isn’t a challenge because we’ll meet it in a canter.

Or nobody seems to question the fact that while the opinion polls tell us that an election would be too close to call, the focus seems to be on Morrison’s so-called popularity and the polls are written up as though the next election will be a Liberal landslide. It well might be, but that’s not what the polls are saying. In fact, given the margin of error, the polls rarely tell us anything more than the fact that the next election might be closer than we think, or a landslide depending on which seats have the numbers that change.

Ask yourself honestly, do you really think that the vaccine rollout won’t have an enormous impact on how people vote in the next election? And if it’s successful, Marketing Morrison can look forward to annoying us all for another couple of years.

And ask yourself honestly, do you really believe that there won’t be some major stuff-up with Stuart Robertdebt running things?

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Save Yourself Some Time: All The Coalition Interviews Ever Here!

“Good afternoon, we have the Liberal Party spokesman for marketing and photo opportunities, Mr Farr Cup.”

“Good afternoon, pleasure to be here.”

“First off, how has the recent tension between the PM and Craig Kelly played out in the party room?”

“Ok, I reject the premise of your question, there is no tension. If you want to talk about tension ask me about the Labor Party and how they seem to be changing leaders at the drop of an opinion poll…”

“To be fair, they’ve only changed leader once since 2013.”

“Exactly. Why didn’t they stick with Bill, eh? Is it because they knew that he was unelectable because he never stays at home to build chook sheds?”

“He stood down when he lost the 2019 election, but I’d rather talk about this week’s events. There’s no lingering problem with Craig Kelly and his Facebook posts?”

“Look, I’m not going to comment on Craig Kelly’s posts because I haven’t seen them. I don’t comment on things I haven’t seen.”

“But didn’t you recently comment on a report you hadn’t read?”

“Are you suggesting that I shouldn’t be allowed to comment on that report? That’s the trouble with this country! It’s cancel culture gone mad. Rather than debating the issues people just want to shut things down and…”

“With due respect, I was just pointing out that while you were happy to comment on a report you hadn’t read, you’re refusing to comment on Craig Kelly’s posts because you haven’t seen them so that does seem a little inconsistent.”

“If you want to talk about inconsistencies, let’s talk about the Labor Party. They took all these policies to the last election and now they don’t want to talk about them just because nobody likes their leaders.”

”Moving on to the recent hotel quarantine outbreaks. There’s been a suggestion that the Federal Government should take charge of quarantine in order to have consistency…”

”Yes, well, those Labor states insisted on running their own quarantine so what can you do?”

”But wasn’t that because your government wasn’t doing anything?”

”On the contrary, we were focused on repaying Labor’s debt.”

”Haven’t we gone further into debt than we did under the GFC? And isn’t the debt larger than it’s ever been?”

“I don’t understand your point.”

”Anyway, what’s the government doing about quarantine?”

”I’m glad you asked. Scott Morrison has recently announced his intention to look at building a quarantine facility in Queensland.”

”Hang on, didn’t you say that this wasn’t feasible when the Queensland Premier suggested it?”

”Yes but she was suggesting an unused mining camp and what if the miners want to go back there and camp?”

”Whatever, wouldn’t be better to start using an existing facility rather than building one from scratch?”

”No, because there’s more bang for buck in building a new one.”

”You mean because of jobs?”

”No because we get to announce our intention to look at it, and then we get to announce our intention to build it, so there’s more than one announcement there.”

”And the third announcement when it actually happens?”

”What do you mean?”

”You get to announce the commencement of the building.”

”Why on earth would we need to build it? That’d just be a waste of money because by the time we get round to building it, there’ll be no need for it. We’ve got to start paying back Labor’s debt you know. I mean, we’ve got a lot of Back In Black mugs sitting around waiting to be sold when next announce that the Budget is back in surplus.”

”But that won’t be for decades.”

”On the contrary, we intend to announce it just before the next election.”

”You think you’ll have the Budget back in surplus by then?”

”Don’t be stupid. We’ll just announce that we’re on a trajectory that has the Budget back in surplus in the year 2025 thanks to the ten percent growth in the economy brought about by our superior economic management. By the time that hasn’t happened, we’ll have won two elections and nobody will even remember.”

“Just finally, China…”

”What about it? Do you want to talk about how we have to stand up to its growing influence?”

”No I wanted to ask about the hit to the economy from their boycott of our goods and how that’s likely to affect the growth you need to meet your projections.”

”Well, it’s good that you should be focused on how dangerous our dependence on China has become. I think we all know that it was that Chinese speaking, Communist spy which pushed us in this direction: Kevin Rudd! And if it wasn’t for him and Labor we wouldn’t have coal ships waiting to unload their cargo because if he’d has way we wouldn’t even be selling coal!”

”So what’s the plan to end the impasse with China?”

”We don’t want to end the impasse. We want to go to war so that we’ve got a justification for those submarines.”

“You want to go to war with China?”

”Well, not literally. We just want to sound like we need to be prepared and make everybody hate them so that we don’t cop the blame for the breakdown in relations.”

“Thank you, your time is up.”

”That’s what you thought last election, isn’t it? But you were wrong. Ha ha!”

”I mean the interview is over.”

”Oh.”

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In Shock Announcement Morrison Tells Us Craig Is Not A Doctor!

I’m sick of them!! Absolutely sick of these elites who think that they know everything shoving their opinion down everyone’s throat when we all know that Jack’s as good as his master and a furniture salesman has just as much expertise to talk about climate change as one of those university educated know-alls who try to pick my opinion apart by talking about the science and my poor spelling!

And just when I thought that we were getting somewhere what does the Prime Minister do? He tells us that we shouldn’t be getting our information from Facebook and that Craig Kelly is not his doctor! (Some smartarse wrote: “If he’s not giving you a prostate exam, you shouldn’t be allowing him so much latitude when it comes to what he’s doing with his pronouncements!” Geez, another elitist who thinks that they’re clever!)

Whatever happened to freedom of speech? If a government MP can’t promote something in his area of expertise like how good Pete Evans lamp will look with the rest of your furniture without being mocked by his leader, then what’s the world coming to? I mean surely freedom of speech means that anybody can say anything without being put down by people who think that they know better just because they’ve studied the topic at some fancy university or read some fancy academic paper that’s been read by peers. Why should the House of Lords get the final say just because they’re peers?

And then we had the PM telling us that they wouldn’t be asking people to pay back any of the JobKeeper money because he wasn’t into the politics of envy. If mocking Craig Kelly wasn’t an example of the politics of envy, what is? After all, it was clear that our leader is jealous of Kelly’s common touch because you don’t get much more common than Craig. When Scotty uses the word “mate”, it’s his way of trying to show that he’s just one of the boys but you’ll notice that nobody ever calls him “mate” back which just shows that he’s not really part of the gang and not just because he failed to measure the door of the girls’ cubby meaning that they’d never fit inside or because the chook shed fell down before he put any chooks in it!

No, it’s clear Scotty wants people to like him and that he’s only picking on Kelly because Craig has more Facebook friends and that’s why he wants to force Facebook to pay his bestie Rupert for content. Or something like that.

Morrison is about to launch a $24 million ad campaign to encourage us to get an injection but not on Facebook – obviously -because you shouldn’t get your information from there. No we’ll have ads telling us to get the injection as soon as possible when the rollout starts in late February… or early March which is another way of saying “in late February” because isn’t that what March is?

He also told us that like the vaccine rollout, he wants to get to zero emissions “as soon as possible” which is a very definite target because that clearly means if doesn’t happen, it wasn’t possible.

I wonder what a Google search for “Scott Morrison as soon as possible” would throw up…

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Joel Fitzgibbon Helps Albo Show Who’s In Charge!

This is a rather difficult post to write. One of the things that upsets people on the left side of politics more than anything is other people on the left side of politics ruining consensus by having a different point of view.

I noticed this on social media this week when it seemed that anyone who said something along the lines of, « I don’t agree with the decision to dump Mark Butler, particularly when Albo said he wouldn’t be doing that just a couple of months ago, » was accused of practically handing the next election to the Coalition. Apparently it’s fine to get rid of Butler because he hasn’t been able to cut through in his portfolio but any suggestion that one should replace Albanese as leader because he isn’t cutting through is a terrible suggestion and we’ve all got to pull together and get behind the leader.

Joel Fitzgibbon has been making a lot of noise and doing more interviews than just about anyone in the Labor party lately and his point is that one shouldn’t be focused on climate change because the emphasis should be on jobs… In particular, his.

Of course, it’s always good to adapt to the times and to demonstrate a capacity to change your mind based on a more thoughtful consideration of the best course of action. Albanese realised that the only way to get Joel Fitzgibbon on board was to give in to everything that he wanted. This is a great way to foster unity… And a couple of days ago when Joel said that they had to make it easier to change the leader, he was very clear to tell the audience that this was a general comment and nothing to do with the current leader, so that seems to have worked really well.

I think it’s worth remembering that the last election wasn’t a wipeout for Labor. The disappointments came because they were expected to win and, in most states, they did well. Queensland was a bit of an outlier and there were a couple of surprises like Gladys Liu, but given the recent state result in Queensland, the next federal election may not be so positive for the Coalition… particularly if Morrison campaigns there.

As I see it, Labor’s strategy since the last election is to work on the theory that if they just move closer and closer to the Liberals then people won’t be able to tell the difference and that they’ll win because they’re so much nicer. This is pretty much what Kim Beasley tried with asylum seekers in the lead-up to the 2001 election and that worked out really well because, well, he almost won.

Personally I suspect that when one starts adopting one’s opponent’s position, it tends to suggest to the electorate that the other side was right all along, but then I tend to think that parties would be better to stand up and tell the truth, even if it meant that there’s some electoral damage. I mean Labor went into the 1969 election opposing the Vietnam War; they lost. However, they didn’t decide to revise their policy and try to make themselves more appealing by ditching something that many of the members felt strongly about. To me, fighting climate change fits into that category.

Yes, I know. It’s easy when it’s not your job that’s at stake. But the reality is that when it comes to jobs in coal, it’s a matter of when. Even the PM when asserting the long term nature of coal assured as that there’s still be jobs in coal in “ten, twenty, thirty years”. Thirty years is a far cry from the coal will be around forever that was being suggested by the Matt Canavan brigade.

Arguing that we need to help workers and businesses in the transition from fossil fuels is at least honest. Pretending that their jobs are safe is like trying to keep the fax machine factory operating.

Speaking of transitions, I’m still trying to get a handle on the whole Google should pay for content thing. While I think that Google is far too big and we need to be looking at ways to ensure it pays its share of tax and doesn’t take advantage of its near monopoly position, arguing that it should pay media for directing people to their site is like asking the Uber driver to pay a fee every time he brings someone to your restaurant. Whatever else, it does strike me as odd that the government is getting involved in this dispute between private companies and coming down so hard on the side of the media companies.

At least it would strike me as odd if it weren’t for the fact that the same government paid Murdoch companies to cover women’s sport and the Murdoch companies charge the ABC for the right to show it.

Yes, this government is a shocker, and according to some people on social media, I shouldn’t be criticising the Labor party because we all have to unite and get behind Albo. I understand that but I did find it amusing when someone replied that they wouldn’t vote Labor while Joel Fitzgibbon was leading it. Yes, disunity is death. And yes, I get that some people want consensus and that means that nobody should disagree with them.

But I do wonder what those people will be saying if we have a new Labor leader by the end of the week. Sportsbet is running a book on whether Albanese leads them to the next election and if you suspect that he won’t be challenge because nobody else wants the job, then you can get good odds on that happening. While I’m not encouraging you to gamble, you can also get even better odds on Shorten being the next Labor leader but surely they wouldn’t do that!

Still after Brexit, Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Scott Morrison and everything else that’s happened, betting on the most unlikely result would have made some people rich!

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The Day John Lennon Was Shot I Had A Cold Sore So It Was A Bad Day For Both Of Us!

I remember clearly that the day John Lennon was shot was a pretty bad day for a lot of people. Personally I had a cold sore so it wasn’t flash for me either…

Ok, I know a lot of people will think that I’m drawing an equivalence between the two but I don’t think you should draw that inference. And a number of you probably think I’m making reference to Scott Morrison’s remarks about January 26th not being flash for the convicts that arrived…

Although, now that I think about it, why would arriving in Australia after a long sea voyage be a day that wasn’t good for the convicts? I mean, I’m not saying that life was great for the convicts; I’m just suggesting that it may have been nice for them to actually survive the voyage and disembark but I wasn’t there so I’m only speculating and one shouldn’t speculate about such things unless one is the PM, which I was shocked to discover is short for Prime Minister and not Posing Model!

And speaking of not being flash, I must say that I was particularly shocked that Margaret Court is about to be given a Companion of Australia which is a higher honour than the one she has.

I’m not one of those left-wing people that think she should be excluded because of her views. After all, if we start excluding people from Australia Day honours just because their views are homophobic, racist, fascist, unscientific or ignorant, we’ll end up with a very small honours list indeed.

No, what surprised me was the number of people saying that she was being given it for her tennis! Given that she hasn’t won a grand slam event this century and that she already had a court named after her and the second highest gong, what tennis has she played to deserve an upgrade? I mean I’d not expecting Phar Lap to be named “Horse of the Year” or Bradman to be awarded the Alan Border medal any time soon, so I have to conclude that it’s her work spreading the word of Robert Copeland. (For those unfamiliar with the man, I’ve added a video at the end.) She apparently ordered a series of tapes from the Robert Copeland Ministries and that she wore them out which is a rather silly thing to do because that wouldn’t meet many dress codes. She then ordered a second set and this time she “listened to them until she was established in righteousness.”

So there, she’s established in righteousness, so take that people. When you call her self-righteous, she actually agrees.

Last year we had Bettina Arndt for her services to men and this year we have Court for her service game because what says “Australia” more than the capacity to hit a ball and if that’s not deserving of our highest honour, then what is?

Still, that controversy about changing the date just won’t go away… particularly when various media personalities and politicians start complaining about those suggesting a date change well before anyone has even mentioned it. I had an idea for a compromise this morning, so hear me out before you reject it out of hand.

Keep the date the same, but change the name. Yes, I have suggested calling it Rum Rebellion Day before because that actually occurred on January 26th and who couldn’t celebrate the overthrow of the ruling elite? Others have suggested it be called Invasion Day but that’s just likely to cause division.

No, I’m proposing we simply call it “White Australia Day”, because after all isn’t it actually celebrating the arrival of white people?

Ok, I realise that there may be some echo of the White Australia Policy which would make it seem a little racist, but surely the people who currently insist on keeping the date where it is would have no problem with a little racism. As for the rest of us, at least we’d know that those honouring the day have no doubt what they’re doing!

But is you want an unedited one:

 

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Australia Day OR Fun With Flags…

Flags are strange things.

Or rather, that should be: people’s attitudes to flags are strange.

For example, if you’ve been given the role of carrying your nation’s flag, it’s generally considered poor form to let the flag touch the ground. On the other hand, some people consider it very patriotic to buy thongs with the Australian flag and walk all over it, which – I probably don’t need to point out – would probably rile those same thong-wearers if one put the actual flag on the ground and walked all over it…

I’m not sure how they’d react if you had a welcome mat in the shape of the Australian flag at your front door, but I’m pretty sure a large number would scratch out the word, “Welcome” if you had it on a sign. Whatever, if it’s disrespectful to put a flag under your feet, what can one say about Australian flag underpants?

As we approach Rum Rebellion Day – or as some like to call it Australia Day – I”ve been thinking about flags. We’ll have the usual outrage from some who like to complain about what they call the outrage industry where they try to argue that anyone calling it “Invasion Day” is part of the Stalinist school of history revisionism because it was quite reasonable to claim Australia on behalf of the British Empire because the Indigenous population, lacking a flag, had never run their standard up a flag-pole and said, “This belongs to us!”, so any suggestion that it was an invasion overlooks all the things that we brought with us. And, if you point out that they’re the ones who are regularly paid to be outraged, or that the phrase “brought with us” does tend to suggest that there’s an exclusion of the Aboriginal population, then suddenly you should just thank your lucky stars you’re in the sort of country that values free speech and just shut up.

I know that this may seem like a pedantic point in the midst of so many important ones, but wouldn’t you like to see a Vox pops with a cross-section of people where they’re asked exactly what is being celebrated on Australia Day?

Now, I know that some would say that it remembers the circumnavigation of Australia by Captain Cook, but I wonder how many would actually know. Answer, before you cheat and look at the answer at the bottom of the page.

And I know that some would say – as our PM said a while back – that it marks the beginning of Australia as a country. This view completely overlooks the fact that Australia didn’t begin as a country until 1901. Immediately prior to that we were a number of states which had been British colonial outposts. And prior to that, there’d been a long history that I know almost nothing about because we’ve pretty much pretended that nothing happened before the Europeans “discovered” it. While most of you know that the day only became a national holiday in 1994 so the idea that changing the date that we celebrate is hardly changing years of tradition, it’s hard to argue that there’s something special about the date because someone turned up in a boat carrying a lot of lawbreakers, and refused to adopt the local customs. Is this a celebration of the first people smugglers?

Whatever one thinks about the date, I can’t help but wonder why there are so many yobbos running around with Australian flags on their back. The flag wasn’t in existence on when Captain Phillip landed so they should really be running around with a British flag if they wanted to be traditionalists.

Yes, someone once said that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel, but we’ve moved on since those days. Political figures often use it as a first refuge, well before they’ve hit their last one. These days the last refuge of the scoundrel is to refuse to accept the premise of the question!

Answer:No, it’s not the day the First Fleet landed. It’s the day that Captain Phillip raised the Union Jack in Sydney Cove and began the British colonisation.

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Just Don’t Try To Make Sense And Accept That The Liberals Can Flip Position Without Anyone Noticing!

Before I start talking about the incredible turn-around in what the mainstream media want from Google, I’d just like to point out the current government’s latest trick to move your money into their own pockets.

You probably heard about their trick with superannuation access where, if you accessed $10,000 from your account, you had to spend that before you became eligible for JobSeeker. Anyway, there’s a new proposal on the table where – instead of rises to your super – you can take the money as a wage increase. This is, according to Tim “Trust Me” Wilson, a way of helping you to afford a house so you won’t be homeless in your old age. For the sake of argument let’s presume that you’re on $100,000 and you forgo the 0.5% super rise. Now, if you’re thinking the this will give you an extra $500 per annum and should greatly increase your chances of owning your own home, I have some bad news for you: You’ll need to pay tax on the money which will mean that instead of the fifteen percent you’d pay if it went into your super, it’ll be thirty percent plus the Medicare Levy. Yep, that’s right. If the government can talk you into taking your super increase as a wage rise, then you’ll be paying twice as much tax, but you probably won’t even notice because who looks at their super and hey, there’s more money in my pay cheque… at least enough for an extra coffee a week.

Brilliant way of paying off their enormous debt, eh?

Anyway, before I begin to ask just what the government thinks it’s doing with the proposal to make Google and others pay for content, I’d like to put on record that I think that there is a case to be made that some of the big technology companies are getting a little too big for anybody’s comfort and we need to have a good hard look at them and how we can regulate to ensure that they don’t abuse their power.

HOWEVER when it comes to the recent events, I’d like to explain it in terms of a little analogy.

Imagine I see a YouTube clip that someone has posted online. (Actually in this case, it’s me but that’s not the point. You’ll need to pretend that I’m two different people for a mom.) I decide to share it with this link. Clip from YouTube Rossleigh.

Now, suddenly an extra five or five thousand go to that clip and YouTube Rossleigh is really annoyed because he’s not making any money from the clip so he wants me to pay him for writing about it and sending people to the site. I don’t want to pay him because I’m a greedy capitalist who wants to keep all my money and I tell him that it’s his business model that needs fixing and if he can’t make money from the way he’s set up his YouTube channel then that’s not my problem. He gets his local member, Josh Frydenberg to change legislation to make me pay him for directing traffic to his site. At this point, I remove the link and this outrages Joshie and YouTube Rossleigh who both think that I should be compelled to mention provide links because, well, how will he get traffic to his site otherwise?

This loosely is how the Google/Australian media controversy has gone. If I use Google to look up Scott Morrison to see whether he’s announced that he’s taking another break and I’m directed to an article by newspaper that doesn’t have a paywall, then they’ll be relying on advertising from the traffic that goes to their site in order to make money. Why they’d argue that Google should be forced to pay, I can’t work out. It would be different if Google was plagiarising the articles or breaching their copyright, but if the media companies aren’t happy with this arrangement, then they can put all their articles behind a paywall.

But it does seem odd to me, that Josh Frydenberg and the media companies are now crying foul because it seems that Google is experimenting with ways of excluding them from searches.

You can’t have it both ways, even if you’re a friend of the current government. Although I guess they’ve grown used to the idea that you can support the free market because it’s supposedly the most efficient thing that there is, while demanding government intervention and subsidies every time the market doesn’t do what you’d like.

After call, government MPs have no problem calling for a boycott of the ANZ because they don’t want to risk money lending to coal companies, then becoming outraged about “cancel culture” when someone calls for a boycott of one of their owners… Whoops, that was meant to be “donors” but perhaps autocorrect knows best!

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