A Tale Of Two Leaders But Whatever You…

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

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

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

Undermining trust in institutions is a dangerous game…

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

The Morrison enigma

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

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

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

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

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

Omicron and the Travel Ban Itch

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

So, who's the boofhead, actually?

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

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Category Archives: Rossleigh

Police Officer Resigns Because She Doesn’t Want To Enforce The Law… breaking news…

Amazingly, several media outlets seemed to be sympathetic to a police officer who said that she was resigning because she didn’t like enforcing the laws in Victoria…

I think I should point out at this point that I’m a Victorian teacher who thinks that because of the pandemic and the possible need for students to be contacted urgently, the current mobile phone ban should be repealed… however, I’m not likely to be interviewed if I say that I’m resigning because I don’t like enforcing it. And I certainly wouldn’t be interviewed if I were to resign over the Morrison government’s inability to sign up to net zero.

But sure, a “senior police officer” resigning because she doesn’t like the fact that the police are too close to the government is big news.

Now, I can see that there needs to be a separation of powers under our Westminster system. Parliament makes the laws and the police enforce them. That’s an oversimplification but the basic idea is that you don’t want too close a relationship between the two arms or you can simply have a politician saying to the law enforcement agency, “Hey look, I know that the land deal I just did was technically against the law but if you just give me five minutes, I’ll introduce retrospective legislation that makes it completely legal.”

And, ignoring the Gladys stuff for one moment, the whole absurdity about what some have been saying about ICAC is that they seems to be a suggesting that it should be subject to the government and not allowed to investigate a government MP even if there’s obvious corrupt behaviour. If ICAC were restrained like that then they’d end up resembling the federal government’s proposed integrity body which bans looking at things retrospectively. This is slightly confusing to me, because it seems to suggest that it will only be able to look at crimes that haven’t been committed yet because once you’ve committed the crime, then any investigation would be retrospective… Perhaps, I misunderstood but with “Tricky” as our PM, who can be sure?

But back to the very important news that a senior police officer is resigning over the idea that the police are both too close to the Andrews government and simultaneously don’t want to enforce the restrictions…

I’m always big on framing. You know the sort of thing: When the media asks “Should Polly Titiian resign over her mistake or is an apology enough?”, we end up talking about those two alternatives and completely overlook that it’s only a mistake in the eyes of the paper asking the question and everyone else was just fine with until the question was asked. So let’s take a moment to look at the framing:

Senior police officer – She was an acting Sergeant, which puts her somewhere between a Leading Senior Constable and and a senior sergeant, but below an inspector, a superintendent and commander. In other words calling her a “senior police officer” is true but only in the sense that a store manager at Woolworths could be called a senior executive at a grocery chain.

Then we have her decision to quit the job she said that she couldn’t be happier on a day to day basis because she didn’t want to enforce the draconian restrictions. Interesting. She was working in the Gender Equality and Inclusion Command in a non-operational role. I have trouble seeing that as something that would involve a lot of “scaring people in the community”.

And, bless her little cotton socks, she was also taking a stand against the mandatory vaccination of police officers.

Now, I have every respect for her decisions and I’d like to congratulate her for standing up for her beliefs and refusing to work for an organisation that’s contrary to her personal code. Good on her, well done, Angus and all that!

Her personal stand is not the issue in all this. I get back to the point I made at the beginning. If I resign over the federal government ignoring the Gonski report or any other such issue, the media will show about as much interest as I’d have listening to the budget speeches of 1977-1982.

So why is this promoted as a BIG THING?

I suspect it’s for the same reason that they present Anna Palaszczuk as having locked down Queensland when she’s only banned people from hotspots. I suspect it’s for the same reason that NSW is leading the way on Covid by having a massive outbreak and then getting it “under control” after getting the bulk of vaccines. I suspect this is why Morrison’s failure to get his recalcitrants to agree to even the goal of net zero is fine, but Fitzgibbon is an example of Labor disunity on the issue. And I suspect this is why a debt of less than $300 billion was reported as a budget emergency but a debt of nearly a trillion with no surpluses in sight is just a necessary thing.

“When you wake up to the fact
That your paper is Tory
Just remember, there are two sides to every story”

Billy Bragg

 

 

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Gladys Behaves With Integrity And Other Stories For Journalists

It seems that we have two very interesting narratives over the past week. After it’s announced that ICAC is launching an investigation into Gladys Berijiklian, the NSW Premier resigns. This is widely mourned by politicians and their stenographers, who argue such things as: Why should an unelected body have the power to take down a popular premier in the middle of a pandemic. Unelected bodies investigation politicians? This is undemocratic. Would we allow the police to check whether a politician has obeyed the law? I mean if it’s discovered that a member of the Morrison government has breached a law, we get told that it must be the law that’s wrong and just because a judge says in court that a minister has broken the law, that doesn’t mean that the minister shouldn’t be promoted.

Of course, this narrative overlooks a few basic facts and I’m not just talking about the fact that Gladys resigned and wasn’t actually forced to. There is an argument put by some that once an investigation was launched she had no choice but to stand aside and that’s what’s outrageous about it because of the whole presumption of innocence thing… I’ll come back to this later. However, the most obvious basic fact is that an Independent Commission Against Corruption needs to be what it’s name suggests: It needs to be independent and – ignoring the fact that every media organisation seems to suggest that there’s always and a need for balance – it actually needs to be against corruption.

«Hi, every one. We’re just making some changes. ICAC will be brought under the office of the Attorney-General and will need the minister’s approval before it can ask anyone about anything. As well as this, it will need to also look at the benefits of any corruption and how it has driven economic growth, as well as any negative economic consequences from the corrupt party hoarding any bags of cash and not spending them. Henceforth it will be called the Commission For And Against Corruption Depending On Who’s Doing It And How Much It Cost Taxpayers.»

So, we’ve had several days of mourning for Gladys, the strong, competent, clear-headed courageous leader who is simultaneously unable to get the stars out of her eyes and has just been deceived by a cad who didn’t tell her what he was up to and she had the good sense to tell him not to.

Then, along comes the story about IBAC and Dan Andrews. A story is published which says that an anonymous source has tipped them off that IBAC may be going to question Andrews. About what? A deal with the Firefighters Union. This, according to some, is more than a good reason for him to go. When asked about it, he says that you’ll have to ask IBAC because you’re not meant to go public about their investigations, but hey, surely, if you’re not being questioned, you should deny it.

Presumption of innocence? That’s only for people who are actually being investigated… Or in the case of federal ministers, not being investigated because the police don’t start investigating them because they should be presumed innocent and what’s the point of wasting time investigating someone innocent. Of course, if evidence turns up without the police investigating that’s a bit inconvenient but we need to be sure that the evidence is sound, so we’ll ask some of those connected to the innocent party if they know anything about where the evidence could be found and if they don’t, well, what can you do.

When it comes to a Labor premier, as Tim Smith said, «Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.» This may have been a reference to the firefighters union or it may have just been him using an old saying which is demonstrably wrong because there are other things which may produce smoke apart from fires. However, notwithstanding Tim Smith who’s main role as shadow Attorney-General is to make Michaelia Cash seem like a competent choice, it’s interesting to compare the reaction to the two premiers.

Gladys, whose involvement with a corrupt boyfriend where she either deliberately ignored his behaviour or was dangerously incompetent at noticing, resigns before an investigation and there’s a general gnashing of teeth at the unfairness of it all. This is the middle of a pandemic and changing leaders is not something anyone should want. Dan, who may or may not be appearing in an IBAC investigation which may or may not be about his behaviour, is «refusing» to stand aside and «stubbornly» continuing to lead his state and refusing to answer questions that may be a breach of the law were he to talk about the inquiry which may or may not exist.

We’ll probably know more in the coming days. And if it’s discovered that Andrews has appeared then it’s only right that he should be placed in the stocks and publicly flogged, even if he was only appearing as a witness where he is cooperating to help bring to light branch stacking in the Labor Party. (Branch stacking doesn’t occur in the Liberal Party; they only have aggressive recruitment).

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There’s No Need For A Target Until You Have A Plan For How You’ll Reach The Thing You’re Not Aiming At!

A basketball story

“You missed,” says my opponent.

“No, I was actually aiming at the backboard, not the ring.”

“You’re meant to be trying to get the ball through the ring. It’s not enough to simply hit the backboard.”

“Maybe not for you, but there’s no point in having a target unless you’ve got a clear plan for how to get there and I had a clear plan for how I was going to hit the backboard.”

“Well, that’s all good, but you don’t get points for simply hitting what you’re aiming for. Besides, you missed the backboard as well.

With all this talk about whether the people who put the coal in Coalition will put the Scott in Scotland, whether the Nationals will agree to a net zero by 2050, whether weather is being affected by the amount of hot air coming out of the federal government’s mouth and whether Dave Hughes used to be funny before he tried to make serious comments, it’s hard to know what’s going on.

However, one thing is crystal clear to me.

Over the past few years, in education circles, learning intentions have become quite popular. This means that teachers are expected to write the learning intention of the lesson on the whiteboard so that there’s a clear understanding of what the lesson is trying to achieve…

Ok, I know this seems obvious but what if I suggested that there’s no way a teacher could agree to what the learning intention is unless he or she has a clear plan of how to get there? Or what if I told you that the teacher had one, but he couldn’t put it on the board until the boy sitting in the back row and the one hanging round the door threatening to go home agreed to it? Of course, they’d need to see the plan of what they needed to do to achieve it, and they certainly wouldn’t be signing up to anything that involved a change in anything that they or any of their friends were planning to do in the next fifty minutes.

Now, I know that some of you are thinking that it’s the teacher’s job to actually know what they want the kids to learn and it’s up to them to set the agenda, but what if they were using our PM as a role model?

Ok, ok. You’re right. We can all hear Scotty saying: “It’s not up to me to be a role model – that’s the state premier’s job.”

 

Photo from 7news.com.au (Photo credit: AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

 

But it does strike me as faintly absurd to suggest that we can’t actually commit to something unless we’re sure how we’ll get there. That’s like saying that a gun club can’t put up targets until they’re sure which Coalition MP will offer them a bribe, so just go out there and shoot, and whatever you hit will be a great result.

Still this week has been full of absurdities like the growing attacks on ICAC for daring to investigate Gladys Berijiklian. Now, I could suggest that there’s an element of hypocrisy for people who were responsible for launching a Royal Commission to find out how Julia Gillard paid for her home renovations in the previous century complaining that an independent body should launch its own investigation. That isn’t the absurd thing.

The absurd thing isn’t even that Gladys resigned before the investigation took place.

No, the absurdity is the argument that some are using which is best explained if we use a body that’s not ICAC. Take the police. Generally, if there’s a complaint, the police launch an investigation. Sometimes this could even be a politician, unless we’re talking about NSW police because they already know better than to do that.

Let’s imagine a hypothetical person who I’ll call Vladimir because I’m less likely to get sued by some guy who happens to have the same name and recognises himself by the crime I’m alleging.

One of the neighbours rings the police to say that the person sharing Vladimir’s house hasn’t been seen in several days and there was a lot of noise and shouting one night. The police knock on the door and ask Vladimir if they can speak to his housemate. Vlad asks them if they have a search warrant and they say no, so he says go away. The police then say that they’re pretty sure they’ll be able to get one.

At this point, Vlad goes public telling Sky News that he’s going to leave Australia on the first plane because we’ve reached a point where unelected bodies like the police can just get search warrants and dig up your whole back yard even though they have no evidence and you haven’t been convicted of anything and as such you’re entitled to the presume of innocence, so that means you’re an innocent man… And all right, his housemate was involved with some shady characters and he hasn’t seen him either but there’s no evidence of wrongdoing so it’s completely terrible that the police would question an innocent bystander who doesn’t know what’s in the cellar because he didn’t ask what they were doing and he’s just the victim here.

May I humbly suggest that it’s a brave Sky News person who’d say that this is an outrageous abuse of power by the police and that the more reasonable question is: Why exactly are you leaving the country and why didn’t you let the police look in your cellar if you’ve done nothing wrong?

Ok, Gladys isn’t in quite the same boat as Vlad. But neither can argue that they’ve behaved with absolute integrity.

I heard a newsreader say that there was a growing belief that there’d be an agreement between the Coalition partners to commit to net zero by 2050. I think that it’s a real shame that it’ll take another 29 years for them to reach agreement.

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When I Say We Are Going Round In Circles, Do I Need A Flat Earther For Balance?

Ah, cancel culture! Or is it can sell culture?

I think that politicians proposing that a phonics only approach would improve our literacy may need to take a deep breath. Whoops. A deep bref.

Anyway, apart from the fact that none of the anti-cancel culture, political correctness gone mad warriors had any problem with Alan Tudge’s we should ban “Dark Emu” in schools, I have noticed a tendency for journalists to argue that there’s a need for expertise when people criticise journalists on Twitter.

Now, let’s get one thing straight, people there is NO excuse for violent threats, abuse or bad language. Any fucker who’d resort to such things should be beaten in public for daring to behave so badly…

Notwithstanding that, I find it interesting that the media frequently ask people to comment on areas outside their field of expertise. This is, of course, fine. I frequently comment on all sorts of things I know nothing about but nobody then suddenly goes, “Hey, Rossleigh said that maybe we should replace democracy with a system where whoever gets the most likes on Facebook should get to be PM for the day.” In other words, people recognise that I’m either on solid ground or I’m putting myself forward as a candidate for the Dunning-Kruger award for 2021.

While it’s true that sometimes people don’t realise that journalists may be playing a devil’s advocate role and asking difficult questions but one doesn’t need expertise in journalism to notice when politicians from one party get asked questions like: “Where will you find the money to pay for action on climate change?” while politicians on the other side get asked, “How did you come up with such a brilliant strategy on saving the jobs of so many people?” Yes, if Scott Morrison gets asks his favourite colour by some journalists, Albanese will be asked to explain how the refraction of light through a prism may result in colours on the wall.

So, it’s interesting to reflect on this with the shock resignation of Gladys who stunned people by announcing that the fact that ICAC was investigating her relationship with Darryl which was dodgy and her relationship with the truth which was possibly not as dodgy but the jury hasn’t even been sequestered on that one…

Yes, one Sky News journalist pointed out that ICAC had brought down three NSW premiers but not one conviction. There is some potential criticism over the first one, which was Nick Greiner who was subsequently cleared. And, while it’s become popular to suggest that Bazza O’Farrell went down over a bottle of wine, it’s always worth pointing out that it was his insistence – under oath – that not only did he not receive a bottle of Grange worth thousands of dollars but because it was bottled in the year of his birth he definitely would have remembered such a gift. While I have no wish to comment on any potential outcome from Ms Berijiklian’s appearance at ICAC, I feel that it may be a little early for the journalist to be insisting that Gladys is another one where ICAC failed to get a conviction.

Another interesting headline was “LYNCH MOB GETS BERIJIKLIAN” from The Australian. It was behind a paywall, so I’m unsure who the lynch mob is. After all, she stood down “unexpectedly” so it’s hardly those uncouth Twitter folk what done her in. Is it suggesting that ICAC is the mob? Whatever it doesn’t make it sound like they think that she stood down for any other reason than an inability to stand up to bullying… Oh, it sounds like she gave in to pressure when you put it like that. Or was the lynch mob her party colleagues who all wanted her job?

Compare that to yesterday’s Herald-Sun in Melbourne where one of the sub headlines was: “ANDREWS AGAIN BLAMES VICTORIANS FOR RISE IN CASE NUMBERS”. I inferred that they thought he should be blaming someone else but it’s hard to fathom who else is responsible for some of the spread if not the people who held Grand Final parties or who attended protests without masks.. . I mean it’s pretty hard to blame the French. if they were suggesting that he should take the blame, then it’s hard to work out what they think he should have done, given their rhetoric has been all about opening up and not worrying too much about the odd thousand cases here and there.

Well, I could be wrong, but I suspect that any day now there’ll be media articles about what a mistake it would be to have a Federal Integrity Commission when ICAC is responsible for such a great Premier as Gladys having to stand down when she’s done nothing more than have loyalty to her partner and if we’d had a similar one at federal level then who knows how many of the great performers like Stuart Robert or Richard Colbeck would have lost their portfolios over some minor issue like forgetting where they left it.

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Nutzis Invade Shrine To Demand That Victoria Stop Earthquakes!

For years we’ve been subject to people with megaphones complaining that they’re not being given a voice. And when I say megaphones, I mean that both literally and symbolically.

Symbolically, the best example was Andrew Bolt’s piece on the front page of a major newspaper complaining that he was being silenced. Yes, he wasn’t allowed to express his views at all because the court had said he had breached the Racial Discrimination Act because the articles were not written in good faith and contained inaccurate statements. Tony Abbott jumped to his defence, arguing that free speech “the right of people to say what you don’t like, not just the right of people to say what you do like”… I guess Abbott would defend a person’s right to make inaccurate statements.

It would be interesting to ask these two whether they were supportive of Christian Porter’s attempt to sue the ABC or Peter Dutton’s dummy spit about what someone on social media said about him…

But the whole freedom thing got very interesting in Melbourne this week when a group of Nutters, Nazis and some who were a combination of both joined with some CFMEU members to protest mandatory vaccines, lockdowns, earthquakes and a range of things that make me feel like I’m making a speech at the Oscars and I should apologise in advance because I’m sure to miss someone.

There was some debate early in the week about how many of the protesters were actual CFMEU workers with some suggesting that there were tell tales signs that the protest was being infiltrated by regular anti lockdown protesters. These tell-tale signs included pristine hi-viz vests, posts on social media telling people to wear a hi-viz vest to the protest and photos of various known anti-lockdowners such as “Bunnings Karen”. (This is not her real name, but she was an internet sensation for a couple of weeks last year when she filmed Bunnings’ employers refusing her entry even though she was a sovereign citizen and they had no right to tell her that she couldn’t go anywhere. I was trying to find her address so that I could take a group of homeless people to her house and tell her that she had no right to deny them entry because they were sovereign citizens and the idea that this was her house was only something that the illegal government was trying to push….She later posted a video of herself putting a curse on Dan Andrews and saying that if wasn’t premier by the end of the day, we’d all know what happened. Seems like Dan had stronger magic because he’s still there a year later… although there was that earthquake…)

Whatever the actual number of construction workers on the Monday, by the next day, the crowd seemed to be filled with less likely looking bodies and their rendition of “Horses” on the Westgate Bridge wasn’t the sort of revolution song beloved by union movement. By Wednesday, they had the distinct look of sheep who’d managed to give the sheepdog the slip. If you’ve ever tried to herd sheep, you’ll know how apt that comparison is. Like sheep, the protesters changed direction, split up, rejoined the main group, turned left, turned right and didn’t seem to have a clear plan of where to go but the main thing was that they’d given the police (sheepdogs) the slip and they were free to run this way and that before making their way to the Shrine where they celebrated their freedom in a variety of ways which included drinking Jim Beam, doing Nazi salutes, urinating and chanting “Lest We Forget”. While the phrase is so sacred that Yassmin was abused for merely using it in a tweet, these Nutzis were saying it in a way that didn’t seem as though they were giving it the respect demanded by ANZAC or Remembrance Day, but more suggested that they were in the habit of forgetting owing to the amount of drugs and alcohol in their system.

They were disbursed, but they promised to come back every day. Clearly, they did forget. because on Thursday, the protesters turned up in such small numbers, the police were able to either send them home or arrest them. Perhaps this was to lull the police into a false sense of security because Friday saw tactics nearly as brilliant as the Rudy Gulliani press conference at Four Seasons Landscaping.

The protesters meeting place was Coles at Northcote Plaza. This was a masterstroke because there was no way that the police would be able to work out which of the two Coles stores they were to turn up at. And, it seems, neither were the protesters, with one of them live streaming a desperate plea for people to join him even though he felt that the leadership had abandoned them.

I could go into how some people were posting on social media that the earthquake was simply the government dynamiting the underground prisons where the children are being held, but I’d be accused of inhibiting their free speech by repeating what they’d said and suggesting that it makes them sound crazy.

But I guess that’s the problem: For years we’ve had the mainstream media push the idea that any time someone criticises or ridicules certain public figures, then it’s political correctness gone mad or restricting their right to free speech.

No wonder we now have people who think that freedom means that they can block traffic, harass others and ignore laws just because they don’t like them. I’m not saying that there isn’t a time for civil disobedience, or that we should never fight to change the law. But there’s a difference between that and arguing that freedom is your right to do whatever you like with no regard for consequences or anybody else.

P.S, Speaking of freedom, Clive Palmer has put out this statement: “Our position is clear and simple – Every Australian should have the right to choose what they put into their body.” Does this mean he’s supporting the legalisation of drugs?

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Abbott Suggests Following Britain By Reintroducing Imperial Measurements!

No, Tony Abbot didn’t actually say that!

At least he hasn’t at the point that I’m writing this.

Whatever, Boris has suggested that they’ll be legislating to allow shops to use the old imperial stones, pounds and ounces in Britain. This is real and not something I’m making up and while it sounds absurd given the confusion, not to mention the expense of such a move, Boris has actually announced his intention to do this. However, given the knighthood to Prince Phillip, I’m not sure that by the time you’re reading this that the headline about Tony Abbott won’t actually be true.

Although when I think about it, I did order a footlong sub the other day so we still use imperial measurements in some shops. I think I should be clear that I was in Subway and I actually ordered, paid for it and left with my order. I didn’t leave my credit card, walk away and then suddenly have them find out that I was intending to eat a quarter pounder from MacDonald’s because I called a media conference to announce my dietary intentions for sometime in 2040.

That’s why I’m not fit to be in government. I wouldn’t have spent lots of money on subs that I wasn’t going to use and while it could be argued that I haven’t, I think the fact that the shop I’ve pissed off have my credit card could possibly lead to it being an expensive exercise. In Victoria, there was a lot of flack when Dan Andrews didn’t proceed with the deal for a freeway which the Liberals had signed up for in their dying days. Unlike the submarine deal, he wasn’t the one who signed up for it, only to change his mind.

Speaking of submarines, Christian Porter has resigned.

I know that previous sentence may not seem to make sense to those of you who don’t follow politics closely but the current modus operandi of the government is to distract us from the previous disaster by pointing us in the direction of another disaster until one of them has something that we can focus on where there is more than one side of the argument.

To demonstrate with a complete hypothetical:

  1. Let’s say the government has failed to plan for bushfires in 2021/2 and a bushfire breaks out.
  2. Scott Morrison announces his intention to holiday in Hawaii because not telling people seemed to upset them so he’s being completely upfront about his refusal to hold anything unless directed by his photographer. (Behave… this is not the Benny Hill Show)
  3. There is a media outcry but we talk about the PM’s right to have a holiday.
  4. If this is not going well, we suddenly that a government MP has been caught sending inappropriate texts to a member of his staff.
  5. The member of staff puts in a complaint.
  6. He/she is sacked.
  7. She/he goes to media.
  8. The story becomes the news of the night.
  9. The government then talk about an MP’s right to privacy and how inappropriate it was that this staffer released the private texts.
  10. There is some discussion about the right to privacy.
  11. The government point out to various media organisations that not only do they have the private texts of people but that recent legislation means that the AFP and ASIO are legally entitled to change them.
  12. An inquiry is announced into whether Fast Phil should be the one to hold the inquiry into the invasion of privacy or whether a Royal Commission is needed to ensure that all retired judges are gainfully employed.
  13. There is a terrorist alert.
  14. Someone is arrested for terrorism and their next door neighbours are arrested too.
  15. We start to talk about whether the next door neighbours’ rights were violated because they were arrested for their failure to alert the authorities to the fact that people in the street were printing anti-government material.
  16. Peter Dutton says we don’t have time to worry about rights in a time of war. When someone asks who we’re at war with, he declares war on China.
  17. We start talking about whether the Defence Minister has the capacity to unilaterally declare war without consulting the PM.
  18. Dutton declares a state of emergency and claims that – as Defence Minister – he is now in charge.
  19. Morrison sacks Dutton and declares himself head of Border Force.
  20. At this point, we are now listening to Insiders discuss whether the PM has the right to sack a Defence Minister after a state of emergency has been declared and whether, in fact, the Defence Minister has the power to declare one, and if he (or she) does what happens if the PM doesn’t like it…

Where were we? Ah, Porter and the blind trust.

Yes, sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the twees.

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Some Christians Rely On Blind Faith; Others Rely On Blind Trust…

My wife watches a lot of murder mysteries, so I’ve sort of picked up how this should be done. You examine all the potential suspects one by one and then in the final reveal you announce that it was the least expected…

Ok, now I’m aware that some politicians have become very trigger happy with litigation, so let me just remind them that I have some very good lawyers prepared to represent me in any case just as long as I can find several thousand dollars a day and I’ve assured them that they should have blind faith in me. They suggested that they’d rather a blind trust account, so I said, “Set one up, why should I care where the money comes from.” One of them suggested that this was dangerous because some criminal enterprises could use it to launder money and I said that so long as I don’t know where the money comes from, I’m ok. After all, it’s not as though if I suddenly found that I had millions of dollars that I didn’t earn that any government agency could ask me to explain where it came from. At this point, the lawyer told me that I needed to retain him/her before they gave me advice explaining the law and how people who couldn’t tell the government where their money had come from often had problems with a whole range of different agencies…

Bloody lawyers!

Anyway, it seems that when you’re a Christian, all sorts of people spring to your defence… And not just the lawyers.

So, because I’ve given up on politics and gone back to writing works of fiction and because I don’t have blind trust in the legal system not ripping me off, I’m going to pitch my fiction to you in the hope that you’ll be prepared to back me to get this fiction on to the screen. I’m going to call the character, Eric.

Mulligan Let’s imagine that Eric considers a journalist called Lucy Mulligan has defamed him. (This is work of fiction, so if there’s any journalist out there by that name – or any similar sounding name, I’m prepared to change the name so that she doesn’t feel the need to sue me.)

Eric decides to sue her but taking legal action can cost more than a humble man like him could be expected to raise, but hey, principles are at stake here so he decides to engage lawyers anyway… Mm, that’s a bit implausible unless the lawyers are prepared to work pro bono.

I know, let’s have a mystery person offer to stump up the cost for his lawyers.

Yeah, that works. Except who tells Eric? And at what point? Look, this is at the pitch stage. We’ll work out the holes in the plot later…

Ok, so he sues. This Louise or whatever her name was and the organisation behind her, mounts a truth defence. After reading the defence, Eric decides to settle for mediation. After mediation, Lucy or whatever her name was, says that I’m not apologising. To which, Eric says fair enough at least I didn’t get my day in court and this story has a happy ending because – after standing up for his principles – Eric can tell us all that he had a great victory because Lucy has promise not to reveal the allegations in return for paying the cost of his parking during the mediation session.

Now this is an elevator pitch and I’ve already taken too much time unless the elevator is stuck between the floor working on a federal integrity commission and the floor purchasing aircraft to battle bushfires…

The big climax where the intrepid journalist gathers all the suspects in the one room and reveals the forces working against her.

  1. Is it the man who blamed her for spending a year in jail for a crime that the Highest Court in the land found that he shouldn’t have been found guilty because juries don’t quite get the law and can’t find people guilty when we don’t like the decision?
  2. Was it the Chinese who hoped that by saving him, they’d one day be able to make Eric the leader of our country? Or even more implausibly, a popular name?
  3. Was it the friends of Lucy Mulligan who hoped to one day force Eric into an admission of guilt because they’ve formed the blind trust with the name “WeScrubPhotos&OtherEvidence.”
  4. Was it some elaborate EricKeeper scheme whereby the taxpayer was billed through some elaborate scheme?
  5. Or was it the white-shoed friend of the ghost of Joh Bjelke PetaSon who through channelling Joh, understands that you can bankroll most politicians and they’ll be prepared to head your party…

Ok, there’s a few flaws in this. For a start, at what point did Eric realise that he was being set up by taking the money? I mean, he can’t be completely stupid or where’s our hero.

And, if I make it suspect number 5, isn’t that a little too predictable given he’s been using his money to buy political influence since I didn’t have blind trust in our political system.

And, why did Eric decide to go ahead with things unless he already knew about his benefactor?

And why didn’t the High Court open up Western Australia?

Oh wait, that’s a whole other story…

Anyway, my lawyers will be drawing up my GoFundMe page so that I can get this work of fiction actually onto the big screen… or the little screen… or just made into street theatre.

Please contribute… We need all the blind trust we can muster.

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How To Win At Elections OR We Are Not Overcoming The Monster…

Above all, and it is the supreme characteristic of every monster who has ever been portrayed in a story, he or she is ecocentric. The monster is heartless; unable to feel for others, although this may sometimes be disguised beneath a deceptively charming, kindly or solicitous exterior; it’s only real concern is to look after its own interests, at the expense of everyone else in the world…

“Despite its cunning, its awareness of the reality of the world around it is in important respect limited. Seeing the world through tunnel vision, shaped by its egocentric desires, there is alway something which the monster cannot see and is likely to overlook. That is why, by the true hero, the monster can always be outwitted…”

The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker

I am reading a book which I wanted to read from a time when I used to spend more time writing fiction than writing about politics…

Ok, ok, I know that there’s going to be some cheap shot about how politics is all about fiction and truth is relative and…

Let’s just leave all that to one side and possibly come back to it later… Ok, ok, that’s polly speak for I’m never going to mention this again and when you bring it up I’m going to say that we’re already discussed it…

The book is about the seven basic plots and the first one is: “OVERCOMING THE MONSTER!”

So, is the monster Scott Morrison or Rupert Murdoch? In a lot of the mythical stories which Booker quotes in his book, once one has dispatched the initial threat to the village or country, a new, more fearsome and tricky monster emerges to take revenge on the hero for the death of the first… Mm, John Howard becomes only the second sitting PM to lose his seat in a general election and Tony Abbott emerges from the sea to reek his vengeance on the forces that unseated the PM. And while Kevin is severely wounded and incapacitated by Tony and Julia manages to hold him off with the help of the Independents, Tony eventually destroys the government before being devoured by his own hungry fellow travellers. While many rejoice at the defeat of Abbott, the Liberals turn out to be a many-headed hydra where once one head is removed, its place is taken by something even more shocking.

Of course, I’ve always believed that the problem with political discourse is that you define the other side as evil, which justifies many dubious acts because, after all, it’s evil that we’re fighting. In suggesting that he’s a monster, I am ignoring the PM’s request to the Women’s Safety Summit last week where he said, ““I know everyone joining us for this summit wants the same thing. We will go much farther, you know, when we can all appreciate that we are all, from whatever place we are coming from to this summit, earnestly trying to achieve that same goal.” That’s hardly the speech of a monster, is it?

Oh wait, what was it that Booker said again? “The monster is heartless; unable to feel for others, although this may sometimes be disguised beneath a deceptively charming, kindly or solicitous exterior; it’s only real concern is to look after its own interests, at the expense of everyone else in the world…”

Mm, so maybe we need to look to the actions of the various mythical heroes when working out how to defeat the monster. David defeated Goliath, after all, by keeping his distance and scoring with a well-aimed stone. Perseus avoids being turned to stone by not looking directly at Medusa and using the reflection from his shield to locate and kill the Gorgon. Which mythical hero should we emulate?

Or perhaps something more modern? Dorothy defeated the Wizard by simply noticing that behind the screen, he was just an ordinary man… Although that’s been Scott’s defensive play when trouble strikes: “See I’m just a dad who likes making cubbies, curries and chook pens. And I make time from my busy schedule to fly into Canberra and do Prime Ministering as often as I can but getting this work/life balance thing isn’t easy…” And in H.G. Wells “War Of The Worlds”, the unstoppable Martians were defeated by exposure to a simple virus… Mm, sounds like they should have ordered the vaccines sooner.

Whatever, I’m sure that I’m on to something here. Let’s think, modern heroes…

Ah, James Bond. Well, not so much Bond himself, but the fact that the villain always reveals his plans once he has captured James and, once he escapes, he knows exactly what to do. Although, when I think about it, that’s no help because we know exactly what Scotty will do. He’ll schedule a press conference to announce the fact that they have a plan, even if they’re not very specific beyond telling us that they either are announcing an inquiry into The Thing That Needs Fixing or that they already have a plan and this plan is a good one which will totally fix The Thing That Needs Fixing. If any journalist should have the temerity to ask about this at some later stage we know that Scotty will tell us that it’s too early or that it’s too late but at least their plan was a good one even if the “hindsight heroes” are pointing out that it didn’t actually work.

Mm, maybe that’s the answer. We create a character called “Foresight Hero” who goes around telling us what’s going to happen.

I’ll work on it and get back to you. It’s all fine now, because I have a plan!!

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Hope Is The Thing With Feathers And That Makes Scotty Glad!

One of Emily Dickinson’s poems was “Hope Is The Things With Feathers” and my first thought was that she must have meant that hope enabled us to fly. In fact, her poem talks about hope lifting us up with its song… which is what Gladys and Scotty are trying to do. They are trying to lift us with their warbling.

“Don’t worry about the depressing numbers look at the beautiful numbers like the ones that show that we still have a majority in parliament. They’re the sort of numbers that we find really inspiring and so what if there’s a few more cases today. Case numbers aren’t important unless you’re in a Labor state and then they’re an indication of how badly the government is doing.”

“Thanks to my great management,” says Gladys, “in just a few weeks you’ll be able to go on a picnic providing you can demonstrate that you’ve been vaccinated.”

Now one of the problems with vaccinations is that some people don’t want to get one. Well, it’s a free country and if that’s your choice, fair enough. What I find strange is the people who argue that they should be free to not get one, but then want to convince everyone else how dangerous vaccines are and want to ban people who do get the jab.

So, take Craig Kelly…

I’m tempted to say, please. Somebody has to… But that’s a very old joke and without him to laugh at, you might notice how much politics resembles an episode of Would I Lie To You?

(Would I Lie To You? is a British comedic panel show where guests are given the chance events to describe, some of which are lies and other unlikely ones true. It’s quite impressive the way that some of them can convince the other side that the most outrageous things are true. Mind you, this is just a game and we can be impressed with their capacity to seem convincing. I suspect that something similar happens when someone has been a journalist in Canberra for too long and they become more impressed with a politician’s capacity to convince people that they’re not responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people instead of being appalled by the fact that they actually are.)

So, if any of you are tempted to take Craig Kelly’s advice about vaccination, just ask yourself three questions:

  1. Would you accept his advice about your need for brain surgery?
  2. Would you allow him to perform brain surgery on you?
  3. If you answered no to the first two questions, I think the point has been made but if you answered yes, then wouldn’t you rather send me ten dollars and I can send you an alternative which I can’t disclose for fear of Big Pharma shutting me down but Donald Trump gave me a secret personal endorsement and for just an extra two thousand dollars I can get you an autographed photo of the time Donald, Clive, Craig and I all met and discussed how to.. sorry, what question was I asking? Oh, yes, I can send you Hydroinvermyasinagainsthumanity but only if you promise never to reveal who sold it to you because the drug companies are trying to shut it down owing to the fact that nobody has trialled it…

Anyway, Emily Dickinson was wrong. The thing with feathers turned out to be Gladys and she flew away before things got so bad that she’d have trouble with the misdirection of “That’s not the number that matters; this is the number that matters!”

Yes, Scotty doesn’t hold a hose, but Gladys doesn’t hold a press conference!

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Scott Explains Why Women Must Understand How Ambitious He Is For Them!

There are times when I think that the intelligent people have actually taken over and have a brilliant plan to get rid of the stupid. Then, I think to myself, that sounds elitist and like I think that I’m special. But then I think what makes me think I’m one of the intelligent and not just one of the bugs to be squashed.

Just to illustrate my thinking here: Let’s reduce any problems caused by having too many people for the available resources by convincing people to do something dangerous that will potentially kill them thus getting rid of all those silly enough to believe either of these two things: a) Covid doesn’t exist and b) that taking a horse worming tablet would cure it. Of course, some people seem to believe both things simultaneously which gives them a double shot of being someone who will be part of Gladys Berijiklian’s: “Death is pretty bad but keep it in perspective, poor Portia hasn’t ridden her pony in over a month…”

I guess that’s the thing though: All human progress has depended on the stupid. It was the person who said, “Hey, let’s get out of the cave and take our chances!” that led to everyone else saying, “Grug hasn’t come back. I wonder if there’s really something more out there…”

Mind you, Grug had been eaten by the first predator he found and the next six people out of the cave all died too, but the one who hung back and made notes about how they all died managed to go back into the cave and say, “People, I’ve discovered a thing called science and if we just observe and make notes then we can learn a lot about what it needs to survive and improve our lot…”

Of course, being cave men – which is only slightly above the National Party on the evolutionary scale, they threw rocks at her, forcing her to pretend to be a man so that they’d listen to her and science could eventually be taught in schools…

Which, of course, brings me to the current federal government…

You’d think that someone who’s Prime Minister would have a better understanding of how the wrong word or phrase can completely ruin what would otherwise simply be your average stuff-up. I mean, it’s one thing for Scott – as Grace referred to him… You know, Grace Tame, Australian of the Year. She called him Scott which is just fine because they’re on first name terms… He always refers to her and Brittany by their first names because, well, he’s pals with those girls and if you can’t call your pal by their first name…

Anyway, it does show how much he hates some his colleagues because he always refers to them as “Mr.” or “Minister”…

Where was I? Oh yeah, it’s one thing for Scotty baby to decide that he’ll set the agenda by using the keynote speech at The Women’s Safety Summit to explain to all those women how hard they have it and how terrible it all is. He read letters from women who’d been the victims of male violence out aloud and while it would be a lot to expect that he’d sought their permission, one hopes that they were at least aware that their personal experience was going to end up in a keynote address, so that they weren’t suddenly going, “Hey, that’s my letter he’s quoting!”

Yes, he didn’t have time to read the letter about the Vehement Denier, insisting it had to be handed straight to the police, but he had time to pick out bits to read for his keynote. He needed an inquiry to discover if he, or anyone in his office, knew anything at all about the incident that wasn’t covered up before the 2019 election but in a sudden spirit of openness, he shared the assaults on women from the countless letters and emails he’d received “from women sharing some of the most anguished and personal experiences of their lives”.

One letter, he told us, was from Queensland and “it came in a small envelope, and it was written on lined A4 paper, in cursive script, running writing”… Why go into such detail? I guess to prove that it was real and you’d actually read it and it wasn’t something that had been inserted by some speechwriter. It’s detail that makes things sound authentic, even empathy.

You know, the sort of detail that made it look like he wasn’t with his wife and kids because he was tweeting a Father’s Day message from months before. Although maybe he always planned to be found out so he could tell us again how he’d promised his kids a trip to somewhere else and because he couldn’t take them even though he’d promised, he felt it incumbent on himself to move heaven and earth and a VIP jet to be there with them on the day because just seeing him should be enough and who, but the most hard-hearted would begrudge the poor little blighters time with their Dad…

But you’d think that Scott – or his speechwriter – would have some memory of his arm around Malcolm Turnbull and the words, “I’m ambitious for this guy,” just before his orchestrated double cross of Turnbull AND Dutton.

You know it really doesn’t suggest a bright future for the next National Plan when he said, “And it is one we seek to emulate in an even more ambitious way as we develop the next National Plan to end violence against women and children.” Mm, was there something wrong with the old one, apart from not implementing it or starving it of funds?

And, “We come to this Summit with an open mind, an ambitious spirit, encapsulated by the target to end – not reduce, but end – violence against women and children,” suggests that his mind is as open as his spirit is ambitious for a target to end violence against women and children.

Yep, Mr Morrison is so ambitious for women that he’s implementing a whole 6 of the 55 recommendations from Kate Jenkins’ Respect@Work Report.

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“Mr Speaker, This Is Coalvid, Don’t Be Afraid, Embrace It, Step Toward The Light!”

Thankfully the playgrounds are opening again in Victoria. Over dinner, I told my son that I’d be able to take him there again tomorrow and hopefully that would improve his mental health. He pointed out that I hadn’t taken him there since he was in Grade 4 and – apart from the fact that he can now take himself because he’s already graduated university and that you only need to have passed Year 12 to go to the playground by yourself. I was about to point out that I was usually busy at work but he interrupted to say that he was going to bed because he has an early shift tomorrow.

sigh< His generation is never grateful.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to write about Victoria because I was more concerned about the epiphany I had when I realised that Scott Morrison’s message never changes no matter what he’s talking about… Actually, his message changes all the time… but it is consistent. What I mean is that he has a particular way with words, Mr Speaker, and that way is the way that words only work when they are used to mean something, Mr Speaker, and that is sometimes the way that leads people to think that he has said something when, Mr Speaker, he has not – in fact – said that very thing that people, Mr Speaker, think he has said, Mr Speaker, but has instead, Mr Speaker, said nothing at all. And, Mr Speaker, to quote Harvey Dent aka Two-Face from The Dark Knight, “It’s always darkest before the dawn comes and it hits you that the sun is up and it’s time that we were also looking forward with hope because there’s a new dawn and it’s better than the one we just had because that was today’s dawn and tomorrow’s dawn is the future and we must move forward, because moving backward could mean that you bump into something…”

However…

Ok, I’m a bit slow sometimes, but I suddenly remembered his coal speech and I put it together with his Covid speech.

“This is coal,” he said, bringing a prop into Parliament in spite of the convention forbidding it. “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be scared.”

Compare this with his Covid speech: “We should not fear it. We should embrace it. And we should move forward together.”

Just lately, he’s been demanding that the Premiers stick to the Doherty plan and not keep locking down which sounds all right until you remember that only one state is anywhere near 80% vaccinated, and that’s because they got the lion’s share of the vaccines… Why was that again? Oh, that’s right, they needed them desperately and the other states weren’t going to miss out, NSW was just going to get the extra ones that didn’t exist. Whatever, the Doherty plan kicks in when the population is 70% vaccinated, not when NSW is ok.

I’d say that I’m starting to notice a pattern here, except I’m not. When it came to lockdowns, the same people who were telling us that we needed to “live with Covid” and not be scared, were the ones who suddenly grew concerned about people’s mental health. Yep, when people get depressed looking for jobs or dealing with Centrelink, the response is “Harden up, princess!” but Covid lockdowns are responsible for every mental health problem in the country and we need to open up businesses for the sake of mental health… mainly the mental health of the people who weren’t earning enough to double their donation to the Liberal Party.

As a Victorian whose been locked down more times than Scott Morrison says “Mr Speaker” in a sentence when answering a question, I have to say that lockdowns can be hard on your mental health and it’s very tempting some days to just move to NSW where Golden Gladys has managed a wonderful impersonation of Schrodinger’s Cat.

In the famous thought experiment, the cat was both alive and dead at the same time. Now, I’m not suggesting that Gladys is both alive and dead, but it does seem strange that she is both having the “harshest lockdown Australia has seen” and showing us how to live with the virus without the need for locking down.

Like the people who seem to be able to embrace the idea that we need to worry about mental health while not actually doing much to help people with mental health issues, as well as feeling like the budget has to get back to surplus but we need to give high-income earnings tax cuts, as well as telling us that we can’t afford the NDIS but franking credits refunds to people who don’t earn a taxable income are no problem*, Gladys seems to be able to hold two seemingly contradictory positions at the same time. Yes, she was unlucky in love and that Maguire guy pulled the wool over her eyes, but she should stay Premier because she’s very astute and makes good decisions.

Yes, it’s going to be a difficult month or so until the Federal election. I said October at the start of the year and I’m going to call it a win if it’s in November because, like Scotty’s approach to the vaccines, what difference does a month or two make?

*I should point out yet again that Labor weren’t going to abolish franking credits. People were never going to be taxed twice. They were simply going to stop the practice of giving a franking credit refund to the people who paid no tax which meant that this tax wasn’t even paid once. Generally speaking, the people who benefited from this had little or no TAXABLE income, which meant they could be earning large amounts from their superannuation if they were over sixty or had a clever negative gearing arrangement with several properties.

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Covid, Morrison And The Day My Car Stood Still

When people suggest that I’m just one of those sheep that follow people in authority blindly, I must admit that I have to agree with them. I mean, who am I to argue with them? I don’t actually think that I’m a sheep, but who am I to argue with someone who has a really strong opinion? Obviously, they have done the research and they have a really strong grasp of how it all works.

So, arguments about vaccinations and lockdowns and whether Gladys is gold standard I find difficult because I can see some really good points on all sides. It’s true that Big Pharma make enormous profits by selling us drugs we don’t need, but it’s also true that they supply drugs that actually keep people alive, even if they’re doing it for commercial rather than altruistic reasons.

I’m not a genius so I tend to rely on other people’s opinions a lot. You know, should I support a lockdown or will that just make me a sheep?

“No,” someone on Facebook told me, “you need to ignore the power structures and come and join us in protesting Covid restrictions.”

“But,” I suggested, “I’d rather not be in a large crowd of people before I’ve got my second vaccination.”

“YOU GOT A VACCINATION?” the person thundered. “Get away before you contaminate me with your shedding.”

“I don’t own a shed. I’m not very masculine when it comes to tools,” I tried to tell him, but he was probably out of earshot because this was a Facebook conversation and he’d stopped it before he could tell me what to do in order not to be a sheep.

Anyway, I couldn’t have gone to the protest without taking public transport and I never take public transport because – like renewable energy – it’s too unreliable. Like a coal-fired power station my car never lets me down.

My car just suddenly stopped working. I don’t know why, and unfortunately a very persuasive guy just convinced me that mechanics were just in it for the money and there’s no way that I need ever consult one again.

“Really?” I asked. “Because I’ve been told that I need to keep my car serviced so that it doesn’t use too much petrol.”

“Cars don’t need petrol,” he assured me. “That’s just a myth perpetuated by mechanics and oil companies. Cars run just fine on methane, which can be created from excrement.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Positive,” he told me. “You can run your car on shit and the silly sheep spending money on petrol have never looked into that.”

“So you’ve successfully run your car on petrol?” I asked.

“Nah, I don’t have a car. Cars are part of the whole evil mechanistic world that controls us.”

I nodded. If someone who’d totally rejected automobiles wasn’t an expert on such things, then who was?

Next day, I collected as much dog poo as I could find and put it in the petrol tank and I continued to do that for several days.

Then, for no explicable reason, my car just stopped working. I’d take it to a mechanic but such people are simply wolves.

Not that I need to worry.

I’m not a sheep.

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Who Gave Craig Kelly Your Number?

Now, just for the record, I am a member of Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party. I joined prior to the 2019 election with the idea of standing as a candidate in Kooyong then quitting the party during the election campaign citing the reason that they clearly didn’t do due diligence given that three years ago a Google search would have given them access to plenty of blogs, some of which showed that I thought that Clive Palmer was an even bigger buffoon than Pauline Hanson…

I’m still a member because there seems to be no mechanism by which one can resign. There was nothing on the website and my emails didn’t get a response. I haven’t tried that hard because the occasional email from Clive lets me know exactly what he’s up to and gives me a good laugh. For example, a few days prior to the actual election last time, Clive announced that they were on track to win government. The fact that he failed to win a single seat didn’t phase him – he wrote after the election that it was a great success and that they’d achieved a great result.

Notwithstanding all that, my wife has had nothing to do with them, is fairly protective of giving out personal details and has never been a member of any political party. So she was quite surprised to get a message from Craig Kelly telling her that she couldn’t trust Labor, Liberals or Greens ever again… Just to clarify, she wasn’t surprised that she may not be able to trust at least one of these parties, she was surprised that Craig Kelly had her number. She had no desire to click the link and I certainly wasn’t going to click it for her… However, I did look it up on my computer. Of course, some of you are going to suggest that was silly because it could have been a virus. As a member of Clive’s party, I can simply counter that with viruses don’t exist!

The link took me to a video of Craig Kelly where he told us that the Liberal and Labor parties had ruined the country and that I should vote for the party hat he was now leading, which was Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, which sort of begs several questions, such as how can he be leading a party which belongs to someone else and how can Australia be united when he’s attacking the government, the opposition and anyone who disagrees with him on vaccinations!

This is before one gets to the obvious question for Mr Kelly: at what point did you realise that the government you were part of was wrecking the country? As well as the obvious followup: what took you so long? Or possibly even: then why do you keep voting for them in motions of no confidence?

Apparently, my wife isn’t the only one to get a message from Mr Kelly. I notice on Twitter that two other people are saying how did this man get my number? That may not seem like a large number but when you add all the others who don’t use the word “man” in their tweet, you get a much larger one.

Whatever, it does seem like United Australia Party has found itself a leader and I will certainly be putting my hand up to stand as a candidate. I don’t know if Clive will give me the nod, but at least that may be one way I can actually resign from the party.

“Some People Are Just Dying To Live With The Virus!”

“Good afternoon, we have a spokesperson for the PM, Ms, Hope Leeder to explain the government’s new position on lockdowns. Good afternoon, Ms Leeder.”

“Miss. It’s Miss Leeder. I’m not a feminist.”

“Sorry, I was just…”

“And let me make it clear the government does not have a new position. The government’s position has always been that we need to open up immediately.”

“So you’re saying that there’s no change and the government is committed to opening up as soon as it’s safe.”

“No, I’m saying that Mr Morrison has been very clear that he wants these silly lockdowns to stop. Last year he told us to stop hiding under the doona even before we had a vaccine and now he’s saying that we can’t stay in the cave, so you can’t accuse him of being inconsistent.”

“But didn’t he say that sometimes a short, sharp lockdown was the only way to handle things?”

“I think you’re taking that out of context.”

“What was the context then?”

“He was talking about Parliament not the economy.”

“So he doesn’t support lockdowns until the vaccination rates get to 80%?”

“Of course he does. He just re-affirmed his commitment to Doherty modelling.”

“But didn’t he say in Parliament that the Doherty modelling had been updated?

“Yes, but that was confidential Cabinet information and you’ll have to trust his reassurance.”

“Let me try to understand clearly, we’re using modelling that can’t be made public to tell the public that they should trust the modelling?”

“The PM was very clear. There is an agreement with the Australian people that we’d follow the Doherty model so any going back on that would be breaking a promise and, while Premiers may break promises all the time, Mr Morrison is very careful never to make them.”

“I’m not sure that’s true.”

“Which bit?”

“Any of it, but just to be completely clear: the PM wants the states to guarantee there’ll be no lockdowns once the vaccination rate reaches 80%?”

“Or 70%. He was very clear that he doesn’t mind if it’s lower.”

“Is that 70% in total, including children or 70% of the eligible population?”

“I think it was 70% of the Federal LNP, but I’ll have to take that on notice.”

“What sort of death rates are the government prepared to accept?”

“None. Our policy is that we need to learn to live with Covid and people who are dying are clearly not adhering to our policy.”

“Nobody chooses to die.”

“Are you sure? We’ve been pushing the lockdown causes suicides angle pretty hard…”

“I meant that people dying from Covid don’t choose it.”

“We could debate this all day but the government policy is that we live with Covid and if they’re not doing that, we can’t be held responsible if they don’t follow our policy any more than we can be held responsible for those who chose to be contractors in Afghanistan rather than working directly for the Australian government.”

“On that, would you agree that the evacuation of Afghanistan could have been done better in hindsight?”

“Well, nobody can be expected to have hindsight about the past, but I think it’s worked exactly as we wanted it to. I mean, we can drag Peter Dutton out to tell everyone that those left behind were really possible terrorists and we can remind everyone about our strong border policies and people will stop talking about Covid.”

“Getting back to lockdown situation…”

“In Afghanistan?”

“No, in Australia.”

“I’d much rather talk about overseas…”

“The PM today made a speech about embracing the virus. Isn’t that the opposite of the health advice?”

“Sorry?”

“And he also said that it’s darkest before dawn. Is that actually true? I mean don’t you get slivers of light before dawn?””

“I don’t understand.”

“The Prime Minister was telling us that dawn wasn’t far away and that we were working toward the dawn. What did he mean?”

“Well he was trying to inspire the people…”

“And then he said that we were ‘hastening’ toward it. I mean who using a word like that? Hastening? We’re working towards it and we’re hastening towards it. Next we’ll be about to fight it on the beaches or we’ll be asked to understand that there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.”

“What’s your question?”

“I don’t have one. I just realised that this whole thing is some sort of demented word game and I should stop trying to ask sensible questions.”

“Well, there’s no point in continuing the interview!”

“Yes, Miss Leeder, on that we can agree.”

 

* * *

In breaking news, Matt Canavan has clarified that he doesn’t mind if The Wiggles choose to have a racially diverse line-up with female members. Just as they have no right to pick the Nationals front bench, he has no right to dictate their line-up and if they want to have people who’d have no chance of being preselected for the Nationals, then that’s up to them but he stopped watching them years ago once he realised that mother was never going to take him to a concert because he was over thirty.

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Gladys In “Pride And Prejudice”

It is a truth universally acknowledged that should anything go wrong while a Labor government is in power it’s their fault but Liberal governments are always the victim of unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances.

However little known the causes for such a disaster, the columnists and shock jocks will undoubtedly ascribe said catastrophe to Labor’s lack of attention, as in the Pink Batts scheme, or to Labor’s desire for a nanny state, as in any time they attempt to pass any legislation to protect people.

“My dear Mr Morrison,” said Gladys one fine day, “have you heard that there is an outbreak of Covid-19 in my state?”

“No,” replied Mr Morrison, “but I’m sure you’ll manage to keep it under control without relying on those silly lockdowns.”

“Yes, but we may need some financial assistance and you’ve just said that Victoria won’t be getting any, so…”

“My dear Gladys, how can you even compare yourself to Victoria. Why you only have to ask and I shall get young Joshua to open up the purse and give you whatever assistance you need.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Gladys as she gave a delightful little curtsy.


All right, I know some of you aren’t Jane Austen fans so you probably won’t appreciate my attempts to turn the whole absurdity of NSW into some ironic novel… Although it is tempting to keep going until I work out whether to make Daryl into a modern-day Darcy…

But other events caught up before I could finish the whole novel.

For example, there was Matt Canavan’s tweet asking if the Taliban were going to commit to net-zero. This was so offensive that even his colleagues tried to distance themselves from it. Personally, I couldn’t understand the point he was trying to make. Was he suggesting that the Taliban would commit to net zero, so we shouldn’t be like them, or was he suggesting that they wouldn’t, so we should copy them?

Either way, the whole tweet was overshadowed by the chaos of the withdrawal, which was always going to be messy, according to President Biden. Nobody could have predicted that an army, which had previously been unable to defeat the Taliban with US help would think that it was better to run away than stay and be slaughtered.

Whatever, there was nothing Scotty and the team could have done, unless they’d known the future but they didn’t so the idea that they could have prepared a contingency plan where they tried to get those who’d helped the Aussies out prior to the pull-out assumes a level of thinking about the future that seems beyond this government. “Water bombers to fight bushfires? But why would need them when the fires were last year. We need to be sourcing vaccines which we meant to get but we weren’t aware. it was a race until someone pointed out that the big noise was the starter’s pistol. and Australia was about to get lapped, but never mind because we’re doing just fine now and look at how many vaccines we’ve delivered/how many Afghans we’ve taken/how much money we’ve saved by not building all the car parks we promised!”

On a personal note, today marks two weeks since my second Astra Zeneca injection, but like so much of Australia, I’m in lockdown. For many Victorians, this is particularly hard and am aware of the toll that lockdown can have on one’s mental health.

Having said that, I must say that I find it disturbing how concerned some pundits are with mental health and depression when they’ve never seemed to give a toss about it previously and anyone who’s brought it up has been labelled a “bleeding heart lefty” and told that they should harden up because this younger generation has had it too easy and a dose of national service in the army would do them all a world of good.

Yes, it’s the contradiction that gets me. I’m not suggesting that lockdown is easy, nor am I saying that kids unable to go to the playground won’t find it tough. I’m just wondering why now the same people who’ve been saying “Harden up, princess!” whenever anyone has talked about asylum seekers in detention, or the unemployed or any marginalised group, now suddenly find the fact that people are doing it hard a cause to be embraced.

It’s almost like they’re pushing an « open up the economy and consequences be damned » agenda!

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