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Day to Day Politics: Brandis should be banned.

Sunday 27 November 2016

1 George Brandis is never far away from the next headline. This time it seems his dictatorial style has led to another scandal. Now it seems he allegedly entered into an agreement with the WA Government to enable that State to regain $1billion from Alan Bond’s collapsed Bell Group ahead of other creditors.

If the reports are correct Brandis will have no choice but to resign. It partly explains the toxicity between him and former Solicitor General Justin Gleeson.

Put simply it looks like the Attorney-General instructed Mr Gleeson not to point out legal flaws in a deal involving Alan Bond’s failed Bell Group of companies. Gleeson disregarded the instruction, did as he should, and correctly represented the ATO arguing that WA was not entitled to leapfrog other creditors, including the Tax Office. To recoup almost $1 billion from the Bell Group was contrary to federal tax laws and constitutionally invalid.

That being so then it looks as if the Attorney general has put aside the Constitution in favour of his own political interests.

If it is all true and he doesn’t resign then Turnbull should sack him given the right of the party allow him too. On top of that one of the responsible agencies should investigate possible corruption charges. Yet another reason why we need a national ICAC.

Mike Carlton tweeted:

“Of course Brandis might not be corrupt. But it is certain that he is deeply, irretrievably stupid“.

An observation.

“Governments who demand the people’s trust need to govern transparently to acquire it”.

2 In saying that the “ABC is letting Australia down”, Paul Keating may have opened a can of worms. He is correct to say that 7.30 no longer has the impact that Kerry O’Brien gave it. It does lack punch because Leigh Sales allows politicians to talk her down. Scott Morrison in particular.

The Drum appears to have an over representation of right-wing conservatives, the IPA in particular, and the news service seems to have gone a little tabloid. Personally I think the ABC bashing by the right has got to them. Malcolm Turnbull a once proud defender has now joined the choir of hard knockers.

3 The Government has until Thursday to report to UNESCO its progress to save the Great Barrier Reef.

The report will have to explain what measures are being taken and what funding is being made available to improve r the water quality by 2050 otherwise the World Heritage committee will reconsider the listing for the reef at a meeting next year.

This of course conflicts with the newly proposed coal mine.

Josh Frydenberg the minister for coal, came out strongly defending Australia’s coal industry as “vitally important”. Read more here.

4 The Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce continues to attract as much attention as George Brandis. This time as Water Minister. He has no idea about diplomacy. But he is a darling of the right-wing press. He has upset Nick Xenophon to the point that his team won’t vote on legislation until water flows in the Murray Darling have been sorted.

In 2012 the Labor Party after extensive and widespread consultation signed into law the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The now Water Minister put in writing that he didn’t intend to implement the entire plan which would leave the rivers with 450 gigalitres less water than had been agreed by both sides of politics in 2012.

The previous agreement was a bi-partisan one which will fail under Joyce.

As Tony Burke said:

“There aren’t any jobs on a dead river. If the Government follows its current path, the environment and communities will both lose”.

How anyone can think this inept fool to be a good politician is beyond me. The Government, reputably the most educated ever with degrees from some of the finest educational instructions in the world, look like they couldn’t manage a tram from one end of Burke Street to the other.

On top of that the decision to move the commonwealth’s pesticides regulator to Barnaby Joyce’s own electorate, one that he made off his own bat during the election, has found that there might be significant risks, which if not managed properly could cost the agriculture sector millions.

A report by Ernst and Young has found that:

“Based on conservative estimates of a one-year delay in the approval of new products, the potential impact on the agriculture sector for crops alone could be between $64 million and $193 million per annum”.

Could this be the new definition of evidenced based policy making, like you get all the evidence at a huge cost, and then simply ignore it at a larger cost?

To quote John Hewson:

Barnaby Joyce, is in many respects a political accident waiting to happen, given his inclination to react and speak out on an event or issue well before he has thought about it”.

Every time I see Barnaby sitting in parliament during question time, putting aside his facial expressions, I get that feeling. You know the one where you feel embarrassed for someone even though you’re not responsible.

On Monday, Malcolm Turnbull was still overseas so our nation was being run by Barnaby Joyce. Yes. The nation survived the moment. As Barnaby stood up at the start of Question Time Chris Bowen interjected: “What a country! Look at this kids, anyone can do it”.

5 Which leads me into the followin:. Did you know that the Nats hold 16 of the government’s 76 seats in the House (21 per cent) and six of the government’s 30 senators? They have five spots in the 23-member cabinet (21.7 per cent), only one of seven in the outer ministry, but three of 12 (25 per cent) among the assistant ministers. Overall, they hold 10 of the 42 spots (almost 24 per cent) in the Turnbull ministry. In the lower house they receive roughly the same vote as the greens who have one seat in the house of reps.

6 This week the world lost the life of Tyrone Unsworth a 13-year-old effeminate gay boy. He took his own life. His was a life that the Safe Schools program was designed to protect. But the bullies got him.

His mother said:

“Tyrone ended up being gay and a lot of people started picking on him. He was a really feminine male, he loved fashion, he loved make-up and the boys always picked on him, calling him gay-boy, faggot, fairy; it was a constant thing from Year 5. I feel like these people who were bullying Tyrone are the cause of why he is not here anymore. They pushed him to the edge”.

I wonder if the likes of Bernardi and Christensen in their quiet moments of reflection ever stop to consider their actions.

My thought for the day.

“Life is an experience of random often unidentifiable patterns and indiscriminate consequences that don’t always have order nor require explanation. The more we relate to others the more we get to know ourselves”.

PS: I was asked yesterday to reduce my post on free speech into a quote.

“An enlightened society is one in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren”.


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  1. Terry2

    The only thing that can save Brandis is the Christmas break. There are only four Senate sitting days left this year and Brandis will probably be put in witness protection over the next few days.

    You can tell that there is something very dodgy going on when even Christopher Pyne won’t speak up in Brandis’ defence and whilst the PM came out to defend the unnecessary and pointedly inflammatory comments from Dutton, so far he has avoided doing so for Brandis.

  2. Harquebus

    An enlightened society is one in which hate speech is not a problem and legislation to prevent it is not required.

  3. helvityni

    Yes, yes, bring back Kerry, bring back Paul….

    I remember the smiling O’Brian interrogating Turnbull, who stuttered: Kerry, Kerry, let me say this….

  4. helvityni

    Enlightened societies have no need for hate speech, they communicate civilly, yet truthfully…

  5. Kaye Lee

    From Facebook…

    George Brandis…

    – defunded Legal Aid.

    – defunded women’s legal centres (life and death help for domestic violence victims)

    – defunded Aboriginal legal centres

    – but gave $2.2m to those *challenging* native title claims.

    – bullied Gillian Triggs to quit for spotlighting refugee abuse (ie. her job).

    – spent $28K of taxpayer money on a personal library.

    – defunded Environmental Defenders Office shortly after mining lobby told him to.

    – put condition on community lawyers that they’d only get funds if they stopped criticising govt/calling for law reform.

    – gave a 20 min speech linking environmentalists to Nazis (google it).

    – did dodgy stuff to shut down the Freedom of Info Commissioner.

    – stacked an *independent* govt watchdog (AAT) with Lib buddies.

    – pushed for metadata laws but can’t explain metadata.

    -wants s18C scrapped to protect people’s ‘right to be bigots’.

    – thinks climate change believers are stifling the ‘free speech’ of climate deniers.

    – when a court found the Environment Minister broke the law in too hastily/sloppily approving a coal mine near the Great Barrier Reef, Brandis tried to change the law to stop green groups taking such government law breaking to the court.

    – and now, allegedly, wanted the Solicitor-General to ignore the constitution and let the WA Liberal govt get away with passing an unconstitutional law.


    They left out how he approved raiding the office of the lawyer for Timor l’Etse and confiscating the passport of the key witness so he couldn’t attend the trial in the Hague.

    Also appropriating arts funding for himself so he could give people like the IPAs Kemps a lazy million to buy a mansion for their ballet school.

    I am sure I will think of more….

  6. lawrencesroberts

    So Alan Bond was not really bankrupt: still at least one billion dollars kicking around and didn’t the banks happily get the big gold hole at Boulder?

  7. Kronomex

    The balding coconut is pretty well safe because there is no way the ventriloquists puppet will do anything to jeopardise his ongoing fairy dream of being PM and leader by pissing off his masters.

    Joyce, the mutant tomato, is a moron with power. It’s a horrifying thought but there you go.

  8. kerri

    And who could forget the arrogance of Brandis reading poetry at Senate Estimates?
    George Hubris not Brandis.

  9. Michael Taylor

    An enlightened society is one in which hate speech is not a problem and legislation to prevent it is not required.

    An enlightened society is one where there is no hate. We are not enlightened.

  10. helvityni

    When looking at the pictures of our Liberal politicians, I notice that their perfectly normal features are distorted by years of letting their inner ugliness to rule them; the condescension is changing George’s face…

  11. helvityni

    “The mutant tomato”, well yes, the face is often red, then we have the pale potato, or is it a cabbage; this lot is putting me off my vegies…

  12. Jack Straw

    Mathias Cormann appearance on Insiders was a perfect timing for a toilet break.

    Harquebus: An enlightened society is one in which hate speech is not a problem and legislation to prevent it is not required.

    I think you need to learn to meditate and find where your brain is at. An enlightened society develops laws like 18c because it knows what human beings are capable of.

  13. John Brame

    An overripe tomato will go mouldy and rot. Here’s hoping.

  14. Will

    IS Georges goose cooked?

  15. jim

    A great day for Australia a great day for the human race we salute you Mr Gleeson well done

    I can hear them now calling you “lefty”, Hmm….. but will Talcum sack him prob not knowing the Liberals/lnp.

  16. Terry2

    I hear this morning that Tony Abbott on Sky is calling for Turnbull to revisit the 2014 budget ‘reforms’ including the GP co-payment.

    Just the other day, I visited my GP, the first time in well over a year I’m happy to say.The extended consultation came in at $111 and the Medicare recovery is $74 and the co-payment $37.

    Am I missing something on this co-payment push from the LNP ?

  17. Douglas Pye

    In times gone by, when “hate speech ” surfaced it used to indicate defense of Hollow Argument ….. ( recognised as lacking substance) !

    The use of swear words, and bullying tactics were also said to cover for lack of concrete evidence! ..

    The application of ‘common decency’ was encouraged (taught) in the home, and used in social conduct (as a matter of personal pride).

    Perhaps I should realise that society has moved along (natural improvement ? ) and I lag behind, in ‘old culture ?? …

  18. wam

    Thank you Lord, for what we receive each day from your pen,
    Is 5 truth or disingenuous rubbish?
    Glad you didn’t mention hanson’s junket or the loonies pact with the rabbott but the ABC’s right turn has not been noticed by anyone who could be influenced by uhlmann or sales except when they are quoted on the commercials.
    I have some fun laughing at the few abbottians, who were so vehement in their support of the rabbott’s DEBT CRISIS in 2013, when they venture into the paper and ABC pages.
    I wish little billy would be laughing at the rabbott’s assessment of trunbull’s debt crisis when compared to labor’s minidebt. But he seems so inept, leaving, as shakey would say. ‘labor’s lost. love’ try “all’s well that end well”

  19. Susan

    John Lord & Kaye Lee I applaud you. You are a light in these dark times.

  20. Davidbruce

    Good article John! Why do I get the feeling that Malcolm and his crew (not team) are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? Do we know whom or what is pulling their strings?

  21. Deidre

    Thanks John and Kaye. Your work is very much appreciated and valued.

  22. John Lord


    5 Is factual. They hold to much power relevant to their proportion of the vote.

  23. Jaquix

    Best Christmas present would be seeing Brandis sacked. Even better impeached and out on his arrogant, unethical, corrupt ear. Yes I know we dont have that option, but perhaps we should. Heard Laura Tingle say on Insiders that he cant be called corrupt because corruption means lining your own pockets. I disagree with this narrow interpretation – Brandis has acted (or tried to) corruptly for a BENEFIT to himself (in this case by providing a favour to his political party colleagues WA Liberals) against the interests he is responsible for – the people of Australia, in the form of the ATO. That is a corruption of proper process. As a trained lawyer he should know better than anyone. Turnbull, another trained lawyer, also knows this. Just being furious doesnt cut it. Perfect opportunity to show your integrity and leadership Malcolm, should you have any left.

  24. Kaye Lee

    Tony Abbott said on Skynews this morning “It’s good we are no longer talking about innovation and agility because, frankly, that bores people”.

    He has also previously said “I have never been as excited about economics as some of my colleagues; you know, I find economics is not for nothing known as the dismal science,”

    Tony wants to talk shirtfronting type stuff – only now it’s Malcolm who has replaced Putin and ISIS as his target.

  25. Matters Not

    Brandis can’t be sacked. Turnbull doesn’t have the power. Brandis is his ‘man in the Senate. His Senate ‘numbers’ man.

    On the upside, replacing a Senator doesn’t require an election, so it can be relatively ‘clean’ IF Brandis can be enticed to walk. But he would want a higher position. Would probably accept a High Court appointment but the only position on the horizon doesn’t appear until 19 March 2017 with the mandatory retirement of Robert French AC. Perhaps Finch could also be enticed to ‘retire’ earlier – but I don’t think so. Besides, Brandis only has a limited ‘legal brain’ – about on a par with his political brain. Very, very average and only on a very good day.

    Perhaps an ambassadorial role. The two plum positions of the US and Britain are already filled by political hacks and there’s no evidence they want ‘out’ either.

    So Brandis will be retained I suspect. Mainly because Turnbull lacks other options.

    (I am quite happy about that because the more albatrosses he has hanging around his neck – the better.)

  26. Kaye Lee

    Downer’s three year appointment runs out in June next year. I don’t think he wants to be told to go but it will be up for renewal or a change. To reward Brandis would be a travesty but no doubt it will happen in some way. It used to happen (and maybe still does) in schools where the really crap teacher would be recommended for transfer or promotion just to get rid of them. It was easier to pass on the problem than deal with it.

  27. Kyran

    Funny story. Back in 1997, brandy applied to be a QC. He got knocked back by the Queensland Bar Association. He ‘transitioned’ from law to politics around about 2000, having not ‘practiced’ law for a few years. As an aside, why do doctors and lawyers have ‘practices’, when their clients require ‘certainties’?
    Anyway, he got his QC. Around about 2006, having not ‘practiced’ law for nearly a decade. Is ‘QC’ now a thank you for staying away from ‘the law’? He got promoted to AG. How eminently qualified was he? Seriously, you can’t make this shite up.
    As other commenter’s have pointed out, he clearly can’t go to London, or Washington. How about we make him Ms Triggs replacement? ‘Human’ ‘Rights’ ‘Commissioner’?
    He’s human, apparently, by definition. He protects rights, even if it is only bigotry. And, a bonus, he can decommission his own commission. It won’t be the first time he’s shot himself in the foot.
    Probably irrelevant. He’s in witness protection now.
    Thank you Mr Lord. Take care

  28. Harquebus

    Actually, there is no science involved in economics. It is just dismal.

  29. my say

    There is talk that Turnbull is giving Brandis a reward by giving him an overseas posting,A stint in goal would be more fitting if the accusations are true

  30. Jerry

    Brandarse should go to jail.

  31. oldfart

    “gave a 20 min speech linking environmentalists to Nazis (google it).”

    Wow, I didn’t realise that George was a greenie.

  32. Kronomex

    Brandis was a revolting object when he took over as A. G. and now that it’s HIS ministry he’s not going to give up the power for anyone or anything. He has continued to be revolting after showing that he’ll stab anyone in the back (Hockey appears to be the latest) to keep his position. Will the ventriloquists dummy do anything to remove this blight? Nope, he’ll have to protect him because he’s put himself in a position whereby continued perception of control comes from appeasing the rabid right. Will Brandis resign, no, and he’ll have to be dragged kicking and screaming (no doubt plotting revenge on anyone who dares to cross him) from that position.

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