Remember the Art of Compromise?

By Warwick O'Neill Unlike a lot of people who follow the political and…

What is wrong with our doctors?

By Christopher Kennedy It does not surprise me that young doctors have mental…

Betrayed ... by the mainstream media

What needs to be done for the stinking mainstream media? As I see…

Day to Day Politics: Overlooking politics for the…

Thursday June 22, 2017 Had they really wanted a bipartisan approach the Prime…

Union support: where would we be without it?

I see that some posters on Twitter are pushing the anti-union theme…

Hanson displays her ignorance - again

By Jane Salmon In suggesting that 'autistic kids should be removed from mainstream…

Shooting yourself in the foot

By their own admission, Coalition politicians don’t bother reading reports to inform…

Day to Day Politics: Government and Democracy near…

Wednesday 21 June 2017 1 Why on earth do we not in our…

«
»
Facebook

Category Archives: Rossleigh

The Budget And Malcolm’s Comeback!

When Malcolm Turnbull took over the leadership, he promised an end to the three word slogans… “No more slogans,” he told us, completely ignoring the irony of using three words in a statement that sounded suspiciously like a slogan.

But he did have a point. The public had grown cynical about the proliferation of the way the Abbott government seemed to equate repeating a catch-phrase like “Axe the Tax”, “Stop the Boats”, “Repay the Debt”, or “Stop the Waste” with actually solving the problem. And let’s not forget that the famous jobs and growth first appeared under Tony… Well, actually it was one of George W. Bush’s campaign slogans, but as with “Change and continuity” we like borrowing from the USA, even if we’re borrowing from something that’s a satiric comment on the world of politics… I mean, “VEEP” btw, although you can please yourself when it comes to George W.

Anyway, as we approach the Federal Budget, which the Treasurer tells us is not about politics, the official leaks and unofficial leaks seem to be an attempt to position Malcolm’s Mob as something other than an out-of-touch bunch of refugees from the early twentieth century… Sorry, that should be “illegal immigrants” because they arrived in this century without permission.

For starters, we’re going to go a long way towards putting the Budget back into surplus by changing the way we think about debt. Taking a leaf from the Scott Morrison’s book, I’ve informed my wife that – by ignoring out mortgage and only considering the repayments, we’ll be debt free by the end of the month, once we’ve paid off that credit card that we – and Labor governments – are always putting things on.

Then we’ve got a funding boost of about $300 million to the AFP to fight terrorism. I notice that they’re not using the same criteria that they’d previously argued on education: Just throwing money at the problem doesn’t work, so let’s cut funding.

But we’re also suddenly seeing an increase in education spending. With the proviso that we make sure it’s well spent, of course. And, of course, there’s no such proviso for the extra funding for the AFP. When I say “education”, I’m only refering to schools, because universities and university students have had it far too good for so long.

We’re going to help first home buyers, by enabling them to salary sacrifice to save, thereby building a deposit faster and ensuring that they’re able to pay higher prices so that the property portfolios of the Cabinet don’t take a dramatic hit.

There’s talk of a bank levy to provide for the victims of dodgy financial practices. The banks are suitably outraged. Who do these victims think they are? Wall Street financiers?

And we’re going to get rid of some of the nasty measures still hanging around from “The Hockey Horror Show” such as the four week wait for the dole. (If you think of some slob lying on mum and dad’s couch, the four week wait for a young person seems fair and just. However, if you consider someone on their own without a family for support, four weeks is a long time to ask the landlord to wait for the rent.)

Yep, it’s all good and it’s all going to be about “Fairness, Security And Opportunity”! Yes, not only does that “and” stop it from being a three word slogan, but the “fairness” differentiates it from Abbott’s campaign slogan of “Hope, Reward, Opportunity” which sounded suspiciously like Amway’s slogan. We’ve replaced the Reward with Fairness, the Hope with Security (or vice versa) and the Opportunity – like the song – remains the same.

Will this all be enough to save Malcolm from the circling vultures?

Well, it should be reasonably well received. There’s an attempt to say, we’re not so bad really, and that poor people have every right to exist and even to drive on occasions. And, it would be expected that there’d be a slight jump in the polls once we forget about Malcolm’s cringeworthy, “You and me is pals, ain’t we Donald?” were it not for Tony’s determination to make Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard’s working relationship seem like a romance compared to Turnbull and him. Rudd may well have leaked, but Abbott is openly shitting all over everything.

In the end, of course, the Treasurer is lying when he says that the Budget is not about politics. All his guff about meeting in the middle for the good of Australia is political in the extreme, because a Budget without criticism is a Budget that wins points for the government; there won’t be many for the Opposition being “sensible”. I’m making a general comment there and not talking about this specific Budget. But everything these days is about politics. Even the dangers of climate change are politicised on a daily basis. If ever there was a case for a bipartisan, let’s establish the facts and stop listening to those who clearly have no expertise in the field, then climate change would have to be it.

When Robert M. Pirsig died the other day, I was reminded of when I read, “Zen and The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance”. For those of you who haven’t read it, there’s not much of either, but there is a long discussion about the battle between rhetoric and logic in Ancient Greece. Pirsig examined the whole idea of the artistry of the argument versus the truth of the argument.

Without going through the long debate, we like to think that sometime in the last few centuries, logic won out and that, even if we don’t always see through those spinning eloquent sophistry to win us over, we’re always seeking the truth. Well, often, anyway.

But even before the election of Donald Trump, it’s been clear: We’re all suckers for a compelling short slogan if it goes anywhere near our world view. “Make America Great Again” captures so much for so many that they’ll won’t even consider anything beyond that seems like a good idea. Once you’ve picked your side, confirmation bias takes over and even the most intelligent people will argue for their team without questioning that they may be wrong.

So, it’ll be interesting to see if “Fairness, Security and Opportunity” can overcome the growing cynicism of a population that would like to actually see an improvement in something, rather than simply another contract with the Australian people that if you just continue to trust us, Utopia is just around the corner.

Trump And Turnbull Like Family… Manson Family Comes To Mind!

Remember earlier in the year? Remember the phone call where Trump didn’t hang up on Trumble, but the call ended “amiably” thirty-five minutes short of its allotted time. I guess that must have been because they’d run out of things to talk about.

“So this is the worst deal ever,” says Trump.
“Yes, but I still want you to honour it,” says Turnbull.
“For sure, what’s the weather like down your way?”
“Fine, quite warm actually but it’s always like that at this time of year, and I wouldn’t put it down to climate change.”
“Of course not, we all know that climate change is a Chinese plot.”
“Down here in Australia, Malcolm Roberts tells us it’s a NASA conspiracy, so does this mean that you’re working with them?”
“I’ll look in to it. How’s your wife? Matilda, is it?”
“No, Lucy. She’s well. Melania, is she well?”
“Wouldn’t know. I haven’t had time to speak to her lately.”
“Well then…”
“Right…”
“We’ve got another thirty-five minutes to go. Perhaps we should discuss something like the TPP.”
“Ah, that’s not gonna happen so there’s no point!”
“The ANZUS alliance then?”
“What’s that?”
“Um… Look, maybe you should get back to your briefings.”
“Ok. Good to hear from you Malcolm.”
“Thanks. Look forward to working with you. Love you.”
“Love you, too, Malcolm. I can’t wait till we meet.”
“Bye.”
“Bye.”

Mm, yeah. Doesn’t really sound all that plausible, does it?

After all, soon after the fake news leaked about Trump hanging up…

As an aside, can fake news leak? If it’s fake, then how can something that doesn’t exist leak?

Whatever, soon after, we were treated to stories of how Turnbull “stood up” to Trump in the same sort of way he normally stands up to billionaires. He stares them down with his withering gaze. And while some people were unkind enough to ask why he didn’t do the same to the likes of Cory Bernardi or George Christensen, I saw no reason to disbelieve the story. While you lefties were mocking Malcolm, our best PM ever, I said that I couldn’t imagine Tony Abbott standing up to the POTUS like that and isn’t it great that we have a real man in The Lodge. That’s not being sexist. I always thought of Julia as a real man, even though she was a woman, so the politically correct brigade can just shut up because this is Australia and I have free speech.

Anyway, this is my mea culpa. I have to apologise because it seems that Malcolm didn’t stand up to Donald at all. No, we’re now being told that the phone call was just as peachy as my dialogue above. As Trump said at the recent face-to-face meeting with Turnbull:

“We get along great. We have a fantastic relationship, I love Australia, I always have…We had a great call.I mean, we’re not babies.”

To which Turnbull added: “Young at heart.” Which I presume was in response to the babies comment and not a request for a song. Turnbull went further later, telling the media: “We have backgrounds that are similar in many respects, businessmen that found our way into politics. It was very, very warm — as I said — more family than formal.”

Mm, so Malcolm feels that Donald is like family and he’s suggesting that he has a lot in common with him. I guess that’s why he felt it necessary to hold out his hand to offer congratulations for the vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (“Obamcare”). He did it because he felt that the T-Rump is like a brother and not because he thinks it’s a great thing to make those wretched poor people pay a fortune for medical care.

Because we all know how strongly Malcolm feels about a strong public health system, and we know that he’d never have an plans to wind back on Australia’s Medicare system. And we can believe that because we’ve been told. To even suggest such a thing would make him very cross. Remember election night? That’s when he got as cross as Donald did over the refugee deal.

Oh wait, that’s right. Donald didn’t get cross at all. We’ve been told!

Tony Abbott Sets Us Straight – ANZAC Day And Other Thoughts

A number of people have expressed confusion about the Right’s position on free speech. On the one hand, they argue that 18C is contrary to Australian values because, well, we should be allowed to say what we like and if people are offended bad luck, because that’s the price we all pay for the freedom we invaded Turkey to preserve back in WW1. However, on the other hand, whenever anybody says anything which offends them, there’s an immediate baying for blood. Gillian Triggs should resign. The ABC should be brought into line. Yassmin Abdel-Magied should stop talking and self-deport. (Is that a euphemism for “Go back where you came from”?)

Surely, some of you have said, if we all have the right to offend, then it works both ways. Surely, you can’t complain about political correctness stifling debate, then turn around and say that certain people shouldn’t be allowed to speak. No, no, say the opponents of 18C, we’re not saying that they shouldn’t have the right to speak; we’re simply saying that when they do we should be able to object because what they’re saying is wrong and contrary to Australian values. Surely, you then argue, the same applies to the Right! Surely, what they say should be subject to criticism and people should be able to say it’s wrong. No, no, say the conservatives, when we’re criticised it’s a stifling of free speech… Besides, we’re always right, so it’s completely different.

Well, Tony Abbott made a wonderful speech to the Harry Perkins institute of Medical Research on May 3rd, where he put together a marvellous collection of thought bubbles which demonstrated the sort of intellect that made him the sort of Prime Minister that managed to last a whole two years. He began by telling us that being on the backbench “you have the time to reflect, and the freedom to speak”.

Apparently then, the government is run by a group of ministers who not only have no time to reflect on what they’re doing, but even if they do, they don’t have any freedom to speak… Not only does this explain a plethora of this government’s actions, but it makes the fuss over 18C seem trivial, given that those in charge neither think, nor speak their mind.

Anyway, we could go on for days about the content of Abbott’s speech. We could speculate about what he meant by his assertion: “Believers or not, they know that Gospel values are the best way to live.” We could admire his tenacity about what he sees as his government’s crowning achievement when he reminds us: “The Abbott government stopped the boats because no self-respecting country can expose itself to peaceful invasion.” (Personally, I’d prefer a “peaceful invasion” to the more aggressive kind…) We could wonder – when he talks about intergenerational theft being as bad as parents living on their children’s credit card – what on earth children are doing with a credit card. And we could wonder whether he’s still talking about “Gospel values” when he tells us that his government did things “because they made economic sense but fundamentally we did them because they were morally right”.

However, I want to concentrate on the bit about the terrible ANZAC day tweet. As Abbott said, “The most talked about person in Australia over the past week or so has been Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Of course, she shouldn’t have tweeted ‘Lest we forget’ only to make a political point.” It’s disgraceful, isn’t it, that someone would use ANZAC Day to make a political point. Taking it down and apologising isn’t good enough. ANZAC Day should be about our soldiers, not politics.

And as Abbott went on to say, “At the Dawn Service I attended, the padre denounced political correctness as shutting the mouth, twisting the mind and warping the soul – to a ripple of applause from 15,000 people.”

Yes, that’s right. ANZAC Day is about the soldiers and denouncing political correctness. It shouldn’t be used to make political points. Unless you’re a padre with whom Abbott agrees. Then you manage a “ripple” of applause.

I guess the rest of the 15,000 were too stifled by political correctness to join in.

Next Week’s News

Today I didn’t have my iPad at breakfast, so I didn’t get the chance to read the daily paper. Instead, I continued reading a very interesting non-fiction book and started to think more generally about the world rather than catch up on the immediate events of the day. And then I started to think about my habit of reading the news at the start of each day.

While I acknowledge that the mainstream media don’t always give people an accurate idea of what’s going on, I have this irrational belief that one should pay attention to it because, if one doesn’t, one is missing out on something. One should be well-informed and all that. But I rarely feel the need to read yesterday’s newspaper, let alone last week’s. So, I asked myself why I bother.

After all, I can write next week’s for you.

Day 1: Front Page
MURDER OF SOMEBODY YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF IN A PLACE YOU RARELY EVER GO TO
Most details are sketchy, but it seems to have been done by someone who knew the victim. It’s too early for more information, but clearly it’s the most important news of the day and you should watch this space so that you hear the latest developments.

SPORT STAR DISGRACES THEMSELVES
Sport star got drunk/took drugs/assaulted someone/cheated on their partner. Even if you don’t follow that particular sport, it’s important to know the details so that you can shake your head sadly if you happen to see this person in the street.

Pages 2 & 3
DONALD TRUMP DIDN’T MEAN EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID
Sean Spicer explains that the President wasn’t talking in general and he was referring specifically to a particular incident so his tweet shouldn’t be seen in a wide context/Sean Spicer explains that the President was taking in general and his reference wasn’t to the particular incident so nobody should be getting all upset or threatening legal action.

MEDIA PERSONALITY NEEDS A PLUG FOR THEIR LATEST VENTURE
There’s a new show on television and you won’t know what anybody’s talking about unless you watch it, and it’s an exciting new challenge for ex-soap star/games show host/shock jock/Australian idol runner-up after their recent divorce/cancer scare/sacking/rehab.

HUMAN INTEREST STORY
An actual human has done something interesting.

Rest of the paper

Ads, letters complaining about what somebody has done or not done, editorials expressing disappointment at both major parties if it’s a Fairfax paper, or anger at Labor if it’s a Murdoch paper.

Day 2: Front Page
TURNBULL ANNOUNCES THAT THEY’LL DO SOMETHING ABOUT A PROBLEM AT SOME FUTURE DATE
Turnbull makes announcement that we needn’t worry about gas/energy supply/education/house prices because he’s intending to introduce a bill to Parliament which will give him the power to do something about it should the need arise sometime in the next three to five years. He’s also immediately springing into action by announcing that a very important person or group will be meeting to decide if this is really a problem. Tony Abbott will say this is what I was doing when I was PM/this is a terrible idea and we need to do what I did when I was PM/I’m not trying to be PM again but this is just silly and I’m saying this even though I think we should stick with Malcolm even though he’s doing such a bad job/it’s a good idea but it’s not as good as stopping the boats

TRUMP THREATENS NORTH KOREA
Trump announces that he’s prepared to do anything to ensure that this part of the world is made safe including wiping it off the face of the earth. In a tweet, he explains that it’s only by dropping a bomb that he’ll stop the region becoming a war zone. To show how serious he is, he drops another large bomb on some Middle-Eastern country.

Pages 2 & 3
BUDGET EXPECTED TO CONTAIN MEASURES THAT LABOR WILL OPPOSE
Story will quote sources as suggesting that something will be expanded if it’s a Liberal idea/cut back if it’s a Labor idea/radically changed if it was Tony Abbott’s idea. It will ask people what they think and print the one’s that either agree with the paper’s position, as well as quoting someone who disagrees but has really radical reasons for doing so.

ANIMAL DOES SOMETHING QUITE WONDERFUL
Animal helps owner after accident by alerting neighbours/dialing 000/performing CPR. Photo of pet and grateful owner looking happy.

Rest of paper
Same as every other day.

Day 3: FRONT PAGE
BUDGET TO BE BACK IN SURPLUS BY 2023
Article will accept Morrison’s change to accounting method and assumptions of growth to tell us that it’s a truly impressive achievement to only need to be re-elected twice more in order to return the Budget to surplus.

GRAPHIC AND TABLE: WINNERS AND LOSERS
Table suggesting that there’ll be more winners than losers because it won’t mention all the real losers.

EDITORIAL
Praise goes Scott Morrison for his calm, rational way of looking at some numbers and completely ignoring them in order to find the numbers which suit his political purpose.

Pages 2 & 3
WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU
Article presuming that you’re a typical Anglo family in Doncaster or a typical family in Vaucluse. Everyone else will be left out of the article.

VOX POPS
People quoted saying what they think of the Budget even though two of the people didn’t actually know anything it contained.

Day 4: FRONT PAGE
BUDGET TERRIBLE
In depth look at how something that the Budget contained will actually affect family or group. They will either be presented as suffering heroes or whingeing ingrates depending on paper’s position on the topic.

SPORTS STAR FROM DAY 1 APOLOGISES AND SAYS THAT THEY’LL SEEK HELP
The article will tell you exactly what you’ve already gleaned from the headline.

Pages 2 & 3
PAULINE HANSON COMPLAINS THAT SHE HASN’T RECEIVED ENOUGH FREE PUBLICITY THIS WEEK IN SPITE OF SAYING OUTRAGEOUS THINGS
Pauline Hanson accuses the ABC of bias for not reporting that she said that she thought that all Muslims should be forcibly returned to the womb. Pauline tells us that she’s not racist because she thinks that all the people who disagree with her should be denied a voice even if they’re real Australians. George Brandis expresses surprise when asked for an opinion because he thought that he wasn’t allowed to say anything but now that he has the chance he’d like to assure us all that One Nation speaks for a large number of forgotten white males like himself and therefore should be listened to

POLICE NO CLOSER TO FINDING KILLER
The police still haven’t charged anyone for the earlier murder but they’re prepared to release information that make us all sure it was the husband/the Apex gang/terrorist related/The Greens.

Day five will just be a re-arrangement of the stories from the previous four days because it’s Friday and we need some sort of closure, and we also need to remind people that there’ll be sport played on the weekend.

* * *

There now. I’ve saved you the trouble of reading next week’s paper. Use the time you’ve saved wisely!

P.S. I should add that the front page accompanying this is a fake. I realise that with some papers it is hard to tell.

Bullshit Jobs!

In “Utopia for Realists”, Rutger Bregman reminds us about the New York garbage strike of 1968, and then compares it to the bank strike in Ireland. Basically, it took six months to resolve the bank strike, and while there were certainly difficulties, people found a way to operate and they generally worked out alternative credit systems like writing cheques. Strangely though, while the Irish were able to soldier on for half a year, the New Yorkers found it rather harder to deal with rotting trash; in spite of Mayor Lindsay insisting that the strike was illegal and he wouldn’t give in on principle, the strike lasted less than a fortnight.

Being a “garbo” may not have the status of being a bank manager, but it’s pretty clear which one we notice when they’ve stopped working.

Bregman goes on to mention Dave Graeber and the whole nature of “bullshit jobs”. He points out that there are large number of people who are working at things that we just don’t need. Ok, the person working there needs to have a job, but if we reduced the number of telemarketers, how long would it be before you said, “Gee, nobody’s rung me in the middle of dinner to discuss funeral insurance”?

There are all sorts of jobs which may actually make a difference. Doubling the number of health workers – as opposed to hospital administrators – could make a noticeable difference and cut down waiting times. Increasing the number of people answering the phone at Centrelink would free up thousands of lost hours for the people waiting on the line. More counsellors and support staff in schools may be a factor in helping to prevent problems later on. I’m sure that you can add to the list.

However, we have a strangely perverse way of rewarding people where many of the well-paid jobs involve activities that only involve moving money from one person’s bank account to another. Short-term trading on money markets, for example, as well as many of the day-to-day share transactions on the stock exchange. How the value of Telstra can fluctuate by a few percent over a week with no announcements or even rumours makes no sense to me, but as with all shares, movements up and down are primarily based on speculating about future movements. Yet many of the people doing things like this will be more substantially rewarded than a Nobel prize winner.

Just as Scott Morrison is trying to divide debt into “bad” debt and “we can make big announcements and not have anyone ask how we’re going to pay for it” debt, maybe it’s time to acknowledge that the world can survive with people working fewer hours than ever before and it’s time to start restructuring the economy so that we don’t simply have the “I’m overworked” and “Get off your backside, you lazy bludger” categories. While we’ve all had fun with the Liberals “jobs and growth” mantra, it may be time to actually question whether we’ve reached a point in human history where we need to consider what jobs are necessary and, if the jobs isn’t absolutely necessary, is it still worth doing? Maybe it’s time we sat back and asked why Keynes’ vision of people working a fifteen hour week thanks to technology hasn’t come to pass, and why it’s considered a good thing to aim for growth and for people to work longer and harder, rather than saying with a little bit of reorganisation, there’d be more opportunity for the unemployed and some of the workers would have more time to smell the roses.

Or even grow them!

Attack On The ANZACs Must Be Condemned!

na

Hot on the heels of Yassmin Abdel-Magied and her refusal to adopt Australian values, another shocking ANZAC day moment has been brought to my attention. Yassmin, for those of you who haven’t heard, posted on Facebook the following comment: “Lest We Forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine)”. This comment is so disrespectful that it’s been repeated hundreds of times by the media so that we can all hear how disrespectful it was. Of course, not only did Yassmin fail to appreciate the offence her comment would cause, but once this was drawn to her attention she did something that nobody embracing the values of this country would do: She apologised and took down the post.

But, it’s not her that I wanted to talk about. And it’s not even Labor MP, Anne Aly, who apparently only laid a wreath at one Anzac day ceremony and was justly castigated for refusing to lay a wreath at another one.

No, I want to draw your attention to a dreadful attack by people on our Anzacs. Apparently, on 25th April, 1915, our forces were innocently minding their own business and defending freedom on the Turkish coast when a group of terrorists attacked them. Now, thanks to political correctness, I can’t tell you what religion the people attacking our poor soldiers were. Well that, and the fact that I don’t know. But I think I can probably guess, and if I have a guess, it’ll be a damn good one, because I won’t know that I’m wrong until someone produces some empirical evidence. Whatever, thanks to that dreadful 18C, I can’t say what I’m thinking and that’s just wrong because everyone should be allowed to speak their mind.

Unless, of course, it’s something that contradicts Australian values. Freedom of speech only means the freedom to say things that support Australia and Australians and Anzac Day. Our diggers didn’t go and fight so that people could say “Lest we forget” and add something political. After all, there was nothing political about what they were doing, so on Anzac Day we should remember that it’s the one sacred day of the year where we remember and mourn those who sacrificied themselves for their country. And on November 11th, we mourn… Mmm… Well, I suppose we don’t mourn the Anzacs again because they’ve already had their day and even Jesus only gets one day a year for mourning, so I suppose that we mourn that the war ended and how that prevented even more of our soldiers from being given the chance to do something heroic. And these two days are sacred and to talk about anything else on such days is disrespectful.

P.S. Speaking of disrespectful, someone brought this terrible poem by some guy called Rudyard Kipling. This Kipling guy uses the phrase, “Lest we forget” and makes no reference at all to Anzac Day. Some may try to excuse him by arguing that he wrote it in the nineteenth century, but I don’t think that excuses him!

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word-
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Update On Peter Dutton… And Apology From Me!

The other day, I wrote a satirical piece where I suggested that Peter Dutton would claim that it was an operational matter and he wouldn’t be able to release any information about his sources for contradicting all those on Manus who disagreed with his version of events.

Today he announced that it was “classified”.

Therefore, I must humbly beg your forgiveness. It wasn’t because it was an “operational matter”. It’s because it was classified. Apparently, you can release classified information as long as you don’t say who told you. This will be a great precedent in any trial involving the leaking of state secrets.

As an aside, I must also say that I’m appalled that the ABC is suggesting that Muslim woman whose name I can’t remember and, besides, it isn’t important, was making comments in her own time and they haven’t deported her yet!

Geez.

Don’t they realise that the diggers fought and died trying to keep the country free so people would be allowed to say what they liked, and I’m sure that they’d all support me when I say that anybody who doesn’t say the right thing has forfeited the right to free speech?

I mean, free speech has its limits. It was meant for people who agree with me, not for every Tom, Dick and Harry! And certainly not for a woman with a name like Jassimin or Fatima or Soula or whatever it is… Her name’s not the important bit. It’s the fact that it’s not something easily remember that makes me doubly angry. I mean, if we’re going to open our hearts to people like her, then the least they can do is show a bit of subservience! We’ve already had enough trouble with women who have an opinion – that’s why we had to deport Germaine Greer!

If we allow people like whatshername to say things like “Lest We Forget” and add a few other things on ANZAC day, what’s next? We’ll have people saying things like the guy who shot the Archduke and started World War One was a terrorist and we shouldn’t have gone to war to support his country.

And nobody would ever want that…

When Malcolm comes back from his meeting with Trump to announce his support for whatever war we’re going to be involved in, I’m prepared to back him all the way!

Even if the reasons for going are “classified”!

Shots Fired After Malcolm Asks Peter To Come Into His Office…

A five year old boy passed on the record of conversation between the Prime Minister and Peter Dutton. While some are claiming that this is inaccurate, my sources tell me that it’s completely accurate and anyone who is saying something different doesn’t have the facts. I have the facts, and they’re not alternate facts they’re actual facts according to people who’ve told me that this is what happened and anybody saying anything different shouldn’t be taken too seriously because I have senior people and I once knew someone who lived in Canberra. In fact, I have relatives in Canberra and they haven’t told me that this is a complete fabrication. Neither have they denied that there was a five year old boy in the room with Malcom and Peter. The five year old boy is the one who took notes and it’s from these notes that I have pieced together the conversation between them.

Malcolm: Ah Peter, I want to ask you about the recent disturbance on Insiders. You repeated your claim that a 5-year-old boy was led away by three asylum seekers and that caused the mood to elevate quite quickly. Now, that’s not true, is it?

Peter: Of course, it is true.

Malcom: It’s not true.

Peter: It is true. It’s perfectly true that I made that claim.

Malcolm: But the claim itself isn’t true. Who gave you this information?

Peter: Can’t remember.

Malcolm: You can’t remember. That’s not good enough.

Peter: Well, it worked for Arthur.

Malcolm: But just about everybody who’s speaking publicly is denying it. How are you going to back up your claim?

Peter: Easy. We’ll say that the true version is an operational matter and, as such, nobody is allowed to say anything about it and it’s only those without actual information can speak to the media because to tell anybody what’s happening breaks several laws.

Malcolm: Do you really think anyone would buy that?

Peter: It’s worked so far.

Malcolm: I’m sorry, I just can’t let you go on as Immigration Minister.

Peter: Oh, you’re stepping down so I can be PM?

Malcolm: No. You were a disaster as Health Minister and if anybody took the time to examine your record, they’d realise you were even worse in your current role…

Peter: Well, I might as well be PM then…

Malcolm: I’m not going to make you PM.

Peter: I’ve heard you don’t want the job any more.

Malcolm: Who told you that? Of course I still want the job!

Peter: Not according to my information. My sources say you couldn’t possibly be doing this badly unless it was a deliberate attempt to get dumped so you could go on world cruise with Lucy.

Malcolm: That’s just not true.

Peter: Now, who are you going to believe? Me, or some Twitter version.

Malcolm: Twitter version? What are you on about?

Peter: Hang on… Oh, I’m getting a text. It says that you’ve sacked me.

Malcolm: No, I didn’t.

Peter: I’m calling a press conference where I tell everybody that you’ve lost the confidence of the Party and I’m throwing my support behind a spill but I won’t be standing.

Malcolm: You’re what?

Peter: That’s what the text says.

Malcolm: But you’ve been doing the numbers for the past six months.

Peter: Yes… I’m a bit confused about that one. Oh, the text says that when Tony stands, I’ll have a change of heart and offer myself as the moderate candidate for the good of the party.

Malcolm: Who’s this text from?

Peter: My source on Manus.

Malcolm: Your source on Manus?

Peter: Yeah, the one who’s in Canberra counting the numbers.

Malcolm: Your Manus source is in Canberra?

Peter: Yeah, well, you wouldn’t expect anyone who’s actually on the island to have any idea of what was going on, would you?

Malcolm: Peter, I’d really like you to stay on us Immigration Minister.

Peter: But what will I say at the press conference?

Malcolm: You don’t need to say anything. You don’t even need to have a press conference. I’m not sacking you.

Peter: Ok, I’ll just say something about how you have my full support and that I have no intention of challenging you.

Malcolm: You bastard! You know that’s exactly how I launched my challenge.

At this point the notes stop because the five year old taking them decided that he needed a nap.

The Biggest Problem With Labor’s Negative Gearing Policy

Looking at the register of pecuniary interests, one can’t help but notice the number of politicians with more than one property. Actually, when you look at the number of properties, it’s tempting to suggest that were they all required to divest themselves of all real estate investments, then that’d go more than halfway toward solving the “supply” problem that the Liberals suggest is the reason for high prices.

Of course, to suggest that it’s all a supply problem overlooks the demand side of the equation. Ever since non-landholders were granted the vote a couple of centuries back, the poor have grown more demanding and now most of them seem to think that they require houses, even in the more temperate areas of Australia. Thankfully, there are some who are content to be homeless even if they make the streets untidy. Personally, I think our Deputy PM, Barnaby Joyce (doesn’t sound so absurd if you say, US President Donald Trump!) hit the nail on the head when he suggested that people should quit their jobs and move to his electorate so that they could afford a house… Assuming that they could get another job in an area where unemployment is so high.

But I didn’t start writing because I had a solution to the problem. Like the Liberals, I think it’s enough to point out Bill’s shortcomings… (Mm, Shorten’s Shortcomings! I may be able to sell them that one. They seem to have run out clever catch-phrases lately. I mean, “clean coal” is an oxymoron and makes about as much sense as “dry water” or “right-wing think tank”. They haven’t had anything like “jobs and growth” or “Innovation rules, ok” for over a year!)

The big problem with the policy Labor took to the last election is that only allowing negative gearing on new construction is that it would bring down the price of houses. And this won’t help affordability. Why not? Well, it just won’t. Have I done any economic modelling? There’s no need for economic modelling because it’ll either just confirm what I already know, or else it won’t have taken into consideration other factors like the fact that it doesn’t confirm the assumptions that I started with.

If housing prices come down, then the value of the politicians’ property portfolio would drop by millions of dollars. And they’d feel poor, making them vulnerable to corruption. So by keeping property values high, then we’re helping to ensure the integrity of the Parliament. In fact, recently some politicians suggested that by giving people access to their superannuation, we could help push prices even higher and therefore our MPs would have even less incentive to accept a bribe.

But really the problem is now solved. The crackdown on 457 visas means that no longer will we have goat farmers, blacksmiths and various other occupations coming over and buying up all our houses so that they can use them to strike their spouses, practise female circumcision and deny their families Australian values.

Hopefully this doesn’t cause too much of drop in demand. I’d hate anything to reduce the wealth of our politicians, but I guess, if that were to happen, Malcolm would have a solution. If not, I’m sure Tony would have an idea he’d be happy to share.

Peter Dutton And His Imaginary Five Year Old Friend

Mr Dutton told Sky News today that the mood on the island had been tense following an alleged incident “where three asylum seekers were alleged to be leading a local five-year-old boy back toward the facility”.
“There was concern about why the boy was being led or for what purpose he was being led away back in the regional processing centre,” Mr Dutton said.
“I think it’s fair to say the mood had elevated quite quickly. I think some of the local residents were quite angry about this particular incident and another alleged sexual assault.”

ABC Online

In an exclusive interview, the Minister Responsible for Incarceration, Mr Peter Plod, revealed that he had no information about what caused the shooting incident but he was happy to speculate and spread nasty innuendo.

AIMN: Good morning, Mr Plod.
Plod: Good morning.
AIMN: What’s the latest information about the incident on Manus?
Plod: Well, I understand that several asylum seekers were filmed throwing a child into the ocean.
AIMN: Really?
Plod: Yes, apparently there’s a video.
AIMN: And you’ve seen the video?
Plod: No, but I’m told by a very reliable source that it exists and it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that these people throw children into the sea…
AIMN: But just yesterday you were implying that this was related to an alleged sexual assault?
Plod: Yes, I stand by that as well.
AIMN: But the PNG police have said that nothing of the sort occurred, that a ten-year-old boy had been taken into the centre because he was asking for food and there was no allegation of sexual assault.
Plod: I’m not going to comment on an ongoing investigation by the PNG police.
AIMN: But it doesn’t sound like they’re investigating anything.
Plod: No, Look the point is that these people in the centre aren’t very nice people. Otherwise why would the armed forces be shooting at them?
AIMN: Well you couldn’t have unarmed forces shooting at them…
Plod: What? Or, no the point is that it was defence personnel who launched the attack. That surely tells you that it was deserved.
AIMN: So you’re suggesting that any time asylum seekers are attacked it’s their own fault.
Plod: Illegal immigrants.
AIMN: What?
Plod: They’re illegal immigrants. People who come to Australia by boat are illegal immigrants…
AIMN: But they never made it to Australia.
Plod: No but they intended to. Just like they had intentions with that five-year-old boy…
AIMN: But the incident with the boy appears to be a complete fabrication.
Plod: You’re overlooking the video.
AIMN: There’s a video of a five-year-old boy being led into the centre.
Plod: No there’s a video of these people throwing children in the water. I just told you about a minute ago.
AIMN: Who has it?
Plod: Peter Reith, I’m told, and I don’t want to be bothering him now, because he’s not well.
AIMN: So let’s get this straight. You’re no longer claiming that a five-year-old boy being led away and linking that to some alleged sexual assault?
Plod: That’s not what I said… I never claimed that at all. You’re trying to put words into my mouth!
AIMN: So, what did you claim?
Plod: I merely confirmed that there was a definite rumour and that shots were fired and it was probably something to do with that alleged sexual assault and some kid being led away and all those children in the water. Whatever, they’re not the sort of people who should be allowed to stay.
AIMN: On Manus Island or here?
Plod: So I don’t follow.
AIMN: Never mind. If I can just move on to the citizenship test. Let’s take the English skills test. How good does your English have to be? Like, for example, would Matthias Cormann pass?
Plod: That’s really offensive. Making fun of someone just because he has a little bit of an accent.
AIMN: I wasn’t making fun of him. It was a genuine question. I just wondered if people had a thick accent like that, would they pass the test?
Plod: Oh. In that case, no. It’s far too foreign.
AIMN: And some of the questions on the front page of the paper yesterday… Are they really the sort of thing you’ll be asking?
Plod: Give me an example.
AIMN: “Under what circumstances is it appropriate to prohibit girls from education?”
Plod: Great question.
AIMN: Is the answer, “When they can’t afford their HECS debt”?
Plod: Umm….
AIMN: Here’s another: “While it is illegal to use violence in public, under what circumstances can you strike your partner in the privacy of your home?”
Plod: Ok.
AIMN: So. What’s the answer?
Plod: Ah… I don’t have the answers. I just helped out with a few of the questions. We didn’t have to supply answers. That’s up to the applicants.
AIMN: So the answer isn’t, “If you are the leader of a political party in (REMOVED FOR LEGAL REASONS AND BECAUSE IT WAS A LONG TIME AGO AND IT WAS ALL HUSHED UP)”
Plod: That’s an outrageous thing to say! You’re just repeating unsubstantiated rumours. I bet you wouldn’t do that if it were a Labor guy.
AIMN: So you have a problem with someone repeating unsubstantiated rumours. Now that’s ironic.
Plod: What is?
AIMN: Ok, back to question. What if someone wrote, “You are allowed to strike your partner if he’s coming at you with a knife”?
Plod: Look, I’m not going to give the answers. This is the government’s way of ensuring that we get the right sort of people gaining citizenship.
AIMN: Yeah, but it’s too late to exclude Abbott’s parents.
Plod: Pity that… Don’t write that down. Write: Tony was a great PM, he just had trouble explaining things to people, and it was a shame but when his poll numbers dropped that low he to go. Emphaise the bit about poll numbers, but don’t say anything directly about Malcolm’s being just as bad. And say that we all should remeber that Tony really loved Australia and he had great ideas about what the country should be like.
AIMN: And what did he think the country should be like?
Plod: Well, more like England really, with knights and dames and lots and lots of English people.
AIMN: So when do you think we’ll get to see this video?
Plod: What video?
AIMN: The children being thrown into the sea.
Plod: Oh, that’s an on-water matter. It’s classified. But you can trust us. We wouldn’t make something like that up.
AIMN: Thanks, Mr Plod.
Plod: And thanks for not asking me about any leadership challenge.
AIMN: Yes, it would be, wouldn’t it?
Plod: What?
AIMN: A challenge. Leadership, I mean.
Plod: I don’t understand.
AIMN: QED.

Why Theresa May Called An Early Election And How Tony Abbott Is Helping Turnbull

When I heard that Theresa May had called an election for June 12, I thought, “Well, that’s one way of avoiding all the mess of Brexit. Get voted out!” However, all the news stories I’ve read seem to suggest that she’s expected to win. It’s a strategy to give herself a mandate for Brexit, they said. The Labour vote is down, they said. Some even suggested that it was a clever move.

Well, I don’t know much about British politics, but if I want to succeed as a hard-hitting opinion piece writer, I can’t let total ignorance stop me from commenting. After all, if only the well-informed commented then the whole standard of political discourse would be improved and then there’d be no room for Barnaby Joyce. So, for what it’s worth, here’s my two cents worth… Or should that be tuppence, giving I’m writing about Britain?

In spite of Brexit and the election of Trump, most commentators seem to be behaving as though these things are entirely predictable. And, if we have a good hard look at what May is arguing, we discover that – even though they had a vote about leaving the EU – the British PM feels that she needs another election in order to give her a mandate. Of course, they’ve already passed the legislation and put the wheels in motion and triggered Article 50 and announced that there’s no going back. However, she just needs a bit of reassurance. No, they’ll still go ahead, no matter what, but she doesn’t feel that her seventeen seat majority is enough and she’d like it extended so that she can say how much everyone is behind Brexit.

Except that a lot of people aren’t. Even some of those who voted against it were doing so as a protest, but when they won, it all became a bit real for them. And now that UKIP, Boris Johnson, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all have demonstrated that while they campaigned with all the passion of a dog chasing a car, once the car pulled over, they didn’t seem to have any ideas about what to do, apart from continuing to bark until someone put them back in their kennel.

And given that there’s a strong expectation that May will win, the danger of yet another protest vote leading to a surprise result remains a real possibility. It seems that there are only three possibilities: 1. May loses the election badly and the whole process is in chaos while Labour works out exactly what they’ll do; 2. May needs the support of other parties to form government, meaning that she has less authority to make decisions; 3. May is returned with a working majority, which even if she increases the number of seats, she’s effectively in the same position she’s in now, except she can say that she has a mandate to do what she’s already done!

It’s always worth remembering that while ninety percent of everything is predictable, that’s what lulls us into a false sense of security and causes us to miss the fact that the other ten percent is unpredictable and therefore always likely to catch us by surprise.

Now take Tony Abbott, for example. Various Liberals are making the same suggestion that was made to that shepherd whose sheep were making too much noise: “Why don’t you shut the flock up!” However, I don’t see Tony as doing much damage at all. Every time he opens his mouth, we’re reminded of exactly how out of touch with reality he actually is. True, Turnbull may be two-faced, duplicitous, arrogant, out-of-touch, manipulative and prepared to do anything in order to stay PM, but at least he gives the impression that he has some grip on reality. Comparatively speaking, that is.

And, of course, Abbott’s five point plan for fixing up the government made Turnbull’s announcement on 457 visas look impressive by comparison. Turnbull managed to get through the whole thing without blaming Labor for not changing it sooner… Possibly because then the question of why it’s taken them four years before they’ve actually got around to taking off such things as Cinema Manager, Park Ranger or Amusement Centre Manager from the list. Ok, I know that many of the changes are largely cosmetic and that there’s still a heap of jobs on the list where we don’t actually need overseas workers, but could you imagine, Tony ever making an announcement without telling us why it was someone else’s fault?

Tony’s five point plan, for those of you who missed it, consisted of attacking renewables (they shouldn’t get subsidies – only fossil fuels provide jobs), cutting spending so that our grandkids don’t have debt (mind you, they’ll have a bucketload of delayed infrastructure they’ll have to pay for), reforming the Senate (ok, we just did it, but we need to keep doing it until only Liberals can be elected), cutting immigration (we don’t want people like his parents coming here) and getting rid of the Human Rights Commission (because it’s part of the “nanny” state and Tony obviously hated his grandmother!)

So after Tony’s little outburst, I see a bump in the polls for Malcolm. Of course, I could be wrong. There’s always the possibility that Malcolm may actually make the mistake of showing us one of those excruciating moments where he tries to look all human and relaxed by having a beer. That never plays well. And, of course, his version of “All the way with LBJ” where he goes “I’m a chump for Donald Trump” may get him into trouble.

Whatever, it’s all very predictable. Apart from the bits that aren’t. And if I could work them out, I’d have it made!

Turnbull And Flexibility

You’ll notice in the video, Mr Turnbull making his position on penalty rates very… ah, clear. Well, that is to say…ah, we’re in no doubt that he supports…flexibility. Turnbull on penalty rates

And we can sure of his support for flexibility because if there’s one thing we can say about his time as PM, it’s how flexible he’s been. If being a contortionist was an Olympic sport, he’d be a gold medal chance. He supports the Republic, not until the Queen dies; he’s all for marriage equality but only after we have a plebiscite and then he’ll allow a vote in Parliament; he supports action on climate change, but nothing that would affect anyone’s business interests; he doesn’t support subsidising renewables because the market should decide, but wouldn’t it be just peachy to lend that big coal money a billion dollars interest free; he supports saying whatever you need to say to get elected, but wants the Federal Police called in because “Mediscare” was a fraud!

So it was pleasing to hear him talk about flexibility. Now I know that some of you will think that’s just a euphemism for “how can we screw workers even more?”, but I’m sure that you’ll find that flexibility is a two-way street. For example, in return for giving up their penalty rates, some workers will get to work more hours. Or, after telling their boss that they need to have a day off to look after a sick child, some workers will find that their employer is so understanding that he tells them not to come in again and that they can spend the rest of their life as a stay-at-home parent.

Yes, flexibility. It – and innovation – is the way of the future. And in return for all that flexibility, the workers will have jobs and the economy will have growth and the Liberals will be able to pay down all that debt just like they promised… Which wasn’t a lie, because they fully intended to have the Budget back in surplus but they didn’t realise that their plan had a few holes in it. I know some of you have rather unkindly suggested that they had no plan, but they had a very clear one:

Get elected, hope that the economy improves because the adults are back in charge, cut spending on anything that they couldn’t link to defence and sell Medibank Private, Australia Post and the ABC. Any suggestion that they wanted to privatise Medicare was just a Labor lie, in spite of Mr Turnbull’s response in February, 2016, to a question in Parliament about the government’s intention to privatise aspects of Medicare:

“What we are looking at, as we look at in every area, is improving the delivery of government services … looking at ways to take the health and aged care payment system into the 21st century. This is about making it simpler and faster for patients to be able to transact with Medicare, to get the services they are entitled to.”

Yep, no privatisation there. That’s not how privatisation works. Privatisation is where the government tells you that they’re incapable of running something efficiently because they’re not really all that good. They then cut the funding to prove how badly they’re running it. When people are fed up, they sell it to a private company, who make a couple of changes before putting up the price and making heaps of money through cutting the services. In return for their massive profits, the private company makes an altruistic donation to some organisation committed to public service, such as the Liberal Party.

Flexibility, it’s even more important than innovation!

Hot On The Heels Of Cadbury, We Discuss An Even Bigger Scandal!

Senator Hanson’s recent call for us boycott Cadbury’s because of an old photo of a man holding up Halal certification and some Cadbury’s chocolates has left me slightly outraged. I mean, I know that I should be supporting the jobs of Aussie workers at Cadbury but when someone has a certificate to show that their Easter eggs contain no animal products, I know that I should just forget all about buying Australian and get my eggs from wherever those delicious Lindt ones are made.

Pandering to the politically correct, just so they can sell more Easter eggs to Muslims, because I’m sure that they must be a big market at Easter is as bad as the halal wine I read about a couple of years ago.

But then I discovered from a very reliable source – Barry down at the pub – that there was en even bigger scandal. I had a bit of a headache so along with the drinks I asked the guy at the bar if I could have a glass of water.

“Water!” exclaimed Barry who was sitting at the bar.

“I just want it to take a couple of aspirin, then I’ll have my chardie like all good socialists,” I explained.

“No, mate,” he said, “don’t you know?”

“Know what?”

“We’re all boycotting water in here. We’ve discovered that it’s halal.”

“Really?”

“Yep. 100% halal. You won’t catch me drinking water any more.”

I was tempted to point out that I’d never caught Barry drinking water. “Right then,” I told him, “no more water for me… Does that include washing? I mean, we’re still using the water.”

Barry considered. He clearly hadn’t thought about it. “Mm, I think halal only refers to stuff you eat…”

“And flushing,” I added. “Do we have to stop flushing our toilets until they clear up this whole halal thing?”

“Flushing is fine,” declared Barry authoritatively.

“Great. I mean, I could go without drinking water but…”

“Look, we’ve contacted Pauline and we expect that she’ll fix it and any day now we’ll get back to good old Aussie water.”

“How are they going to do that?”

“We had a bit of a brainstorm the other night and Gazza suggested adding roadkill at the treatment plant.”

“Does that make it non-halal?”

“Too bloody right it does!”

“What about the hygiene factor?”

Barry looked at me like I was stupid, so I took my drinks – minus the water – back to my table. I still had a bit of a headache, so my explanation of why water didn’t pass the pub test was a bit garbled.

“Whatever,” I told my friends, “Pauline’s onto it, so I imagine she’ll fix it a few days, just like she did with the Great Barrier Reef. Remember how she and her mate went swimming and showed us that it was just fine!”

Then someone asked if the water she was swimming in was halal too, and, if so, should she be swimming it.

It was a good point. But I guess she may not have realised. I mean, not even Malcolm Roberts knows everything. I haven’t had that confirmed with empirical evidence, but it seems probable, even if he disagrees.

What If Malcolm And Scott Had Been In Charge During The GFC!

8

People have trouble switching from the micro to the macro when it comes to a whole range of things, and in particular economics.

On the micro level, the recent proposal to allow people to access their superannuation to buy a home has a superficial appeal. And, Chris Bowen made a terrible blunder when he said that if couples could access $40,000 from their super, then that would just add $40,000 to the cost of houses. He overlooked that it’s the deposit that the money goes to, so if a couple have an extra $40,000 then, assuming a twenty percent deposit, they may be able to borrow another $200,000!

But hey, isn’t it in their long-term interests to have a home now, because, well, their access to super is a long time off and even then, won’t they be better off if they own their home. The short answer is possibly, but so much depends on unknown variables, I’m sure that it’d be better to let super do what super was meant to do and to find another solution to help those poor first home buyers.

However, the proposal has appeal to two groups of people: many of those trying to buy their first home and to the Coalition government. The former because they’d be happy with anything that helped them now because nobody under forty even thinks about super and isn’t retirement going to be banned anyway? The latter because it gives the appearance of action while delaying any consequences or action to sometime in the future. Snowy 2.0, anyone?

And after thinking about Malcolm’s “let’s solve the current energy problems by announcing a feasibility study” and Scott’s “let’s solve the potential housing bubble by inflating with more air”, I thought back to Labor’s handling of the GFC. Of course, the Liberals don’t want to acknowledge that we avoided recession. No, even though at the time they said that, Labor was going too hard, too early and there’d be nothing left for when we were actually in recession, they quickly adjusted this to accusations that Labor didn’t need to stimulate the economy at all because we didn’t go into recession. You know the sort of argument, why did you build the levy bank so high, when the water didn’t even spill over the top.

Anyway, I started to wonder how the current mob would have handled the GFC… (This is where we go into the dream sequence!)

* * *

2008 in a mythical Australia. Press conference. Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison stand by the podium.

Malcolm: Good afternoon. Now recently we’ve had a lot of ideas floated about how we best handle the recent financial collapse in the USA. I’m here today to tell you that we’ve decided that what we’ve considered all the ideas that were on the table yesterday and decided that most of them shouldn’t have been put on the table, so had someone clean them away. We will not be changing the personal tax rates. And, owing to a hostile senate, the idea of leasing the Great Barrier Reef to the Chinese for 99 years has been shelved.
But we need to take action. Strong, decisive action. And that’s what we’ll be doing.
(MALCOLM NODS. HE STOPS SPEAKING.)

Reporter 1: And what action will that be?

Malcolm: It’ll be strong. And it will be decisive. And it will protect jobs.

Reporter 1: Yes, but specifically.

Malcolm: Now, I don’t want to get into the specifics at this stage, but let me just say that we’ve been working hard on this and I think you’ll find that Scott Morrison will have more to say in the coming days. Scott?

Scott: Yes, we’re looking at cutting taxes to major companies in order to encourage investment, but we’ll release the detail in the coming weeks.

Reporter 2: But how will cutting taxes help? I mean, that’ll only help the profitable companies and isn’t the concern that very few will actually make a profit.

Scott: No, the concern is that when the crisis hits Australia, there’ll be no investment, so by cutting taxes we’ll be encouraging investment.

Reporter 1: But who’ll want to invest in companies that don’t make a profit?

Scott: That’s why we want to cut taxes. That way companies will be able to keep employees on and that’ll protect jobs

Reporter 1: Not if they’re not making a profit, because they won’t pay tax anyway…

Scott: What’s your question?

Reporter 1: Can you respond to how cutting taxes helps companies not making a profit?

Scott: There’ll be more detail in the upcoming mini-Budget.

Reporter 3: And when will that be released.

Scott: As soon as we’ve finalised the details…

Reporter 3: Details about what? What is it exactly that you’ll be releasing?

Scott: Our response, obviously. What else would we be releasing?

Reporter 2: But what exactly is your response?

Malcolm: If I could just butt in here, our response, as I’ve already said is STRONG and DECISIVE.

Reporter 2: But exactly what are you going to do?

Scott: I’m sorry but we’re not going to comment on operational matters.

Reporter 3: What about Labor’s idea of giving everyone a handout of $900?

Scott: People’ll just waste by spending it!

Reporter 3: Isn’t that the idea? Stimulating the economy.

Scott: We’d rather do something more substantial.

Reporter 2: Like infrastructure projects?

Scott: No. Absolutely not! This is a time of crisis. This isn’t the time to be spending money. We should be looking at ways to save money, like cutting back on services.

Reporter 3: But won’t that make things worse?

Malcolm: Sorry, but Scott and I need to go and work on the final details of our plan, which is a strong one and a decisive one. And it’s different to Labor’s so it has to be good. Thank you!

* * *

Yes, I know, it’s totally unbelievable…
As if the reporters would question Malcolm and Scott that hard!

Fonex, One Nation, The Australian Newspaper and Other Absurdities.

Owar guvenment iz torking to Britush pollytishun and skools minista, Nick Gibb, about fonnex. Apearently, in Britun, kids ar givun a test on may dup werds to see wich of them dozent undastand fonnex…

Ok, I’ll stop now. If you’re interested in what’s wrong with the British model, there’s a link at the bottom of the page. But I’d just like to make two points before I leave the absurdity of Australia buying this program from Britain and move onto even more absurd things:

1. Most of the spelling mistakes that I’ve come across are actually students spelling things phonetically.
2. Schools already teach phonics. I’m yet to speak to a primary teacher who says that they’re school doesn’t teach kids to sound out words. However, it’s just one (or should that be wun?) strategy in the process of teaching reading.

However, I realise what a topsy-turvy world we now live in by looking at the front page of today’s “The Australian”. I didn’t read the whole article because there’s a limit to how much you can read before the person in the newsagency asks if you intend to buy it, but I was taken by the way they framed Bill Shorten as being “isolated” in his opposition to the Adani project. Apparently unions are for it, councils are for it, local people are for it, kangaroos are for it and only Bill Shorten opposes it!

Which would be something that surprises a lot of you! Because you thought that you opposed it too! However, my reading of Bill’s comments suggested that he wasn’t opposed to the mine, just “lending” Adani the billion to build the railway, interest free.

“The Australian” also had a companion piece on the front page – which I didn’t read, because I may have been asked to buy the paper and my wife doesn’t like me swearing in public… or in private, for that matter, but hey, fuck it, when someone suggests you buy anything that helps out Rupert “Burns” Murdoch, what else can you do but utter obscenities? Anyway, the heading was enough: “Shorten Resorts To Left-wing Fanaticism”.

Now, let’s just slow this down for any One Nation supporters who may have seen their name in title and  strayed here. Bill Shorten is opposed to giving a loan to a company to help it out and thinks that it should be able to raise its own finances in the market and that’s now left-wing. Yep, refusing to subsidise companies is fine if they’re into renewable energy. Reducing money for the CSIRO is ok, because they should be commercially viable, but Mr Adani, hey, he’s just fine by us and we should give him anything he wants. Water, yep, native title, gone, you need a billion as a loan, fine, just pay it back when you can, what else can we do for you, back-rub? Oh, right, you want your back scratched and in return, you’ll scratch ours at some future time when coal has removed the caste system in India…

Bill Shorten, Adam Smith, Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics, with their left-wing fanaticism are just destroying the joint…

And speaking of left wing fanatics, have you heard One Nation’s threat on the ABC?

Pauline’s blames the ABC over her trip to Afghanistan being cancelled, Malcolm Roberts thinks the ABC are an affront to democracy, and Senator Burston informs us: “I’ve contacted Mathias Cormann and said One Nation wants the ABC funding reduced by $600 million over the forward estimates. If they’re not forthcoming in reducing funding to the ABC as part of their budget repair we’ll have to seriously consider what budget repair options… that the Liberal Party puts forward. It’s about time we apply a little bit of pressure on the government to do something about the left-wing, Marxist ABC.”

Which, of course, puts the government in a bit of a dilemma. They could cut funds to the ABC and say they were always going to do it. But that wouldn’t stop One Nation trumpeting their ability to bark orders at the Turnbull (or whoever’s PM by Budget Time), and trying the same trick on all sorts of weird policies. Or they can say no to them and try to negotiate with the other senators. Or they could even negotiate with Labor. But, of course, that would be impossible because, while you need to take into account the views of the party that got about four percent of the vote, you can just ignore the party that got a higher number of votes than the Liberals themselves. (I’m not including the Nations, in that figure, but even if I did, the point is still valid)

It’ll be interesting to see how that one plays out. Will the government stand up to One Nation or take the Turnbull option and just pretend like they’re still in charge?

Link to Phonics Article

Scroll Up