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Day to Day Politics: The circus of many clowns.

Thursday 1 September

1 It is now confirmed, according to ‘The Turnbull Gamble’ by Peter van Onselen and Wayne Errington both the Prime Minister and his Treasurer wanted Negative Gearing cuts but were rolled by the conservative right in the Cabinet. In the election campaign Turnbull served up a deceitful load of nonsense about Labor’s policy whilst wanting a similar policy himself.

The Prime Minister in the Parliament yesterday denied any such event took place which leaves him nowhere to go if the authors release fresh evidence. Or a Minister leaks.

It is really extraordinary that we are led by a Prime Minister who is at odds with so many of his party’s major policies.

Let’s look at them.

In truth he doesn’t agree with the Coalition policy on Climate Change, saying that Direct Action is a costly dud, and in the past has said so in the most forceful language.

He is in favour of Marriage Equality and is against a plebiscite.

He is in favour of reducing the outrageous tax discounts the privileged get on superannuation but will probably get rolled on that.

He supports Australia becoming a republic while his party doesn’t.

And he apparently wanted changes to Negative Gearing.

All a bit of a circus really.

It puts beyond doubt the fact that he is not his own man. That he signed a document agreeing to the National Party’s demands speaks damagingly of his character. I doubt that, when you think back, that we have had a Prime Minister so controlled by others. Whether you liked them of not Hawke, Keating, Howard and many more stood up for their convictions. They led with authority.

2 Speaking of the plebiscites, Essential Media asked the question: ‘The Federal Government intends to hold a national vote on same-sex marriage. If the question was “Do you approve of a law to permit people of the same-sex to marry?” how would you vote?’

The result 57% yes, 28% no, and 15 % undecided. So why is the government determined to spend $160 million or so on a plebiscite to confirm what is already known?

Those most likely to vote “yes” were Greens voters (85%), Labor voters (69%) and voters aged 18-34 (62%). 50% of those aged 65+ would vote “no”.

There’s a story for another time in those figures.

Anyway the whole thing is a complete mess regardless of whether Labor don’t back it because the Government don’t have the numbers in the senate to pass it now that Hinch and the Xenophon Team have decided to vote against it.

And then amid all the mayhem Shorten and Tanya Plibersek had “given notice that they intended to introduce a private member’s bill to make marriage equality a reality.

Not to be left out the three Lower House crossbenchers, Cathy McGowan, Andrew Wilkie and Adam Bandt (who were intending to flag their plans on the second day of the new Parliament), immediately announced their intention to introduce a joint bill to legalise same-sex marriage.

Turnbull sooner or later will have to confront his party and say ‘’I am the leader’ ’it’s inevitable, so he may as well choose this issue and take a chance on a backflip by putting it to a free vote. There would be an explosion of big bang proportion but he might come out as the leader he wanted to be, or should be.

3 The Essential Poll has Labor leading the Coalition 51/49 and Newspoll has them 50/50. Whilst the best leader still belongs to Turnbull his popularity is dropping fast.

4 The Government has appointed a well-known climate sceptic in Craig Kelly to chair the backbench committee on environment and energy. Not only that a Nationals member, Kevin Hogan is secretary.

The Prime Minister should veto Kelly’s appointment but he won’t front the conservatives.

The committee reports to the coal-loving Frydenberg,

5 The Guardian reports that thirty-four notable Australians – also including economists, academics and religious leaders – have put their names to the letter urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to change course on the Newstart benefit. They’re also calling on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Labor to stand firm against the Government’s plans.

6 If the Government is serious about bi-partisanship it will have to do better than putting up an omnibus bill and saying that the Opposition agreed on all the policies during the election then slip in a number of others. Very shonky indeed

7 The ABCC bill. You know, the one that caused the election. The one that was so important. Well the Government wants to water it down to get it passed.

Yet another example of poor leadership.

8 If you are of the sort to criticise politicians and the amount of work they do then you will be pleased to know that the Remuneration Tribunal has confirmed it is preparing to consider whether MPs should be awarded their first pay rise since 2013.

9 On the subject of pay rises senior government public servants are being awarded average pay rises of more than $40,000 a year.

10 Sydney shock jock Ray Hadley told Scott Morrison that a lot of MPs are bludgers. Not often I would agree with Ray but I am at a loss to explain what 11 senators from Tasmania do.

11 The NSW ICAC findings on corruption prove beyond doubt the need for a similar national one.

12 We are a long way from being an enlightened society. We might think we are but enlightened societies don’t legislate for people to have the right to hate each other.

But in a rare display of backbone the Prime Minister slapped down those wanting changes to 18c.

13 On his first day on the job Derryn Hinch goes to sleep in the Chamber. Not an offence worth of a death sentence unless you live in North Korea where Kim Jong-un had two aids put to death for just that.

My thought for the day.

“When you express your right to free speech you also reveal your personal inner morality”.

PS As Sean Kelly said:

The 45th parliament convened today, and never was the phrase “the circus is back in town” quite so apropos.


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  1. Terry2

    So Sam Dastyari accepted a $1600 travel payment from a China associated company, not a good look but a least he declared it and has now repaid it.

    He needs to understand that the rules are different when the Liberals are in power. Remember how Gina Rinehart flew three Coalition MPs to Hyderabad in a private jet, where they watched the granddaughter of her business partner marry in front of 10,000 guests.

    But Barnaby Joyce, Julie Bishop and Teresa Gambaro collectively claimed more than $12,000 from taxpayers in spurious “overseas study” allowances to pay for flights home and when exposed, they refused to repay these costs.

  2. Pappinbarra Fox

    I’d like to see someone examine in scrupulous details Cory Bernadahs expense claims.

  3. Freethinker

    I understand that we, here are not happy with the performance of Malcolm Turnbull as a leader and PM but sadly John the Australian people prefer him any time before Bill Shorten.
    Some time I just wonder if instead of keep complaining about Malcolm and his government ( I am one that do that) will be better to star trying to analyze why the electorate prefer them instead of Bill and his team even to the point to elect some politicians that are an embarrassment in the Australian political landscaping.

  4. Möbius Ecko

    So Shorten’s motion to have a Royal Commission into banking just got defeated by some devious trickery by the government. I will leave it up to others to highlight how this was done as it’s in the morning news bulletins.

    My beef is with the ABC and I have two major ones this morning.

    First is ABC News Breakfast could not have been more effusive about Tim Wilson’s rather good speech in parliament. OK, it was a decent speech but yesterday there was also a good speech given by Linda Burney, the first Indigenous woman elected to the House of Representatives, but not a peep from our ABC except for one fleeting byline.

    ABC News Breakfast then showed what can only be described as a promo for Tim Wilson.

    The second was on my opening paragraph for this post. The ABC piece on the defeat of Shorten’s motion can only be described as Shorten bashing and positive spin for Turnbull.

    It seems to be that since the appointment of a Murdoch hack to run the ABC they have openly become a propaganda arm for the L-NP. They have been mostly Liberal biased for a while but now it’s almost blatantly so.

  5. helvityni

    ‘Norway built the biggest sovereign wealth fund in the world by investing a share of revenue from its offshore oilfields. Australia should have followed its example with the money from the mining boom” ABC news.

    Why can’t we ever do something that benefits the whole country and all it’s citizens, like the clever little Norway has done, they are all happy millionaires over there. Watching Morrison shouting at Question Time made me feel sick… it’s an ugly circus there in Canberra

  6. Trev

    Agree with Mobius on the misuse of media.
    Rather than progress our society and economy, the MSM perform the function of a fog machine.

    If we are going to have a plebiscite on same sex marriage, why not include a few other issues of concern that the general public might like to see sorted, for example:
    1. RC into the banks;
    2. Anti-Money Laundering legislation
    A simple yes or no to gauge public interest – extra cost to public – $0.

    Meanwhile, the lack of political will shown in shutting down illegal funds entering Australia is telling. There is no point in arguing about what kind of country we want if we no longer own it: [over $9T in auditing irregularities in China’s accounts since 2000 used in a very cunning fashion to buy up assets in Australia and other countries – unchallenged to date!].
    Wake up.

  7. Wayne Turner

    GUTLESS Turnbull continues.

    The MSM are the reason a majority of gullible and ignorant people prefer him as PM to Shorten.Turnbull is a lying fake and gutless.He stands for nothing but being PM.The majority of the public fail again.

  8. z

    the Remuneration Tribunal has confirmed it is preparing to consider whether MPs should be awarded their first pay rise since 2013. but people in lowest income are facing cuts for benefits because budget repair, where is the fairness? should budget repair only targeted on poor if a real issue is treasurer?

  9. The AIM Network

    Our apologies Trev. For some reason your comment was caught up in our spam folder, which happens occasionally. Again, our apologies.

  10. totaram

    helvityni: Norway built a future fund using huge export surplus revenues from their offshore Oil and gas. That revenue is in foreign currency (typically USD) and it has been invested world-wide.

    Australia has never had substantial export surplusses in spite of the mining boom. You can guess why. Australia also built a future fund, but using so-called “savings” in its own fiat currency, by having “budget surpluses”. This is now invested everywhere in the financial sector as well as in Telstra shares which the govt. couldn’t “sell”. Details are even more interesting:

    The Future Fund scandal:

    The Future Fund scandal

  11. wam

    good one lord, the first couple of sentences shows how political truth works.
    The pollies are herd animals grazing in groups , so their voice depends on 50% plus 1.
    Apart from an occasional captain’s pick, how ridiculous, would it be for a PM, to go against the party room? So lie it is!!!

    Labor could begin every interview with a little dig about the power of the boy(s) in the closed party room and the puppet leader????

    I agree that jacqui deserves her place and, under the same electoral position, so does pauline, derryn and the xen.
    The rest are little more than useless party hacks.

    spot on mobius, Linda, Indigenous and a woman not much chance there against a crispy clean smile, striped socks and grandad’s watch. Of course he is destined to follow malcolm to communication????

  12. oldWomBat

    Should the plebiscite go ahead I suggest adding a few more questions. Top of my list, given the current activity of the Remuneration Tribunal would be to ask the public:

    How much should politicians be paid?
    Is politicians’ superannuation scheme too generous?
    What sort of ongoing benefits should politicians recieve when they leave parliament?

  13. Jack Straw

    What a great game it was yesterday in Parliment. Turnballs ducking and weaving was legendary.
    He even managed a few famous quotes to finish the bastards off with and didn’t he look happy with himself. It was marvelous see the brutal Ruck Rover Meathead Morrison running through the packs with his elbows up. Look out! It was very Carl Ditterrich. Then by jingo put your glasses down Harry Beitzel that little goal sneak Chrissy Pyne in the play of the day pulled down of the oppositions full back Tony Burke shorts down and kick a beautiful snap through the goals . And the Liberals flashy new half forward flanker Tim Wilson may have been worrying Labor as what’s to come. Sammy was off his game. Well there’s always tomorrow. He’ll bounce back. Looking forward to today’s battle

  14. Kronomex

    “Turnbull sooner or later will have to confront his party and say ‘’I am the leader’ ’it’s inevitable…” No it’s not, Turnbull is so desperate to hold on to being leader and PM that he will not do anything to upset the wacko right wing of the LNP that helped him. He will make noises but, ultimately, will doing nothing.

  15. Rob Holmes

    1. If you are old enough, recall that the Hawke/Keating government modernised the Australian economy – many of the measures were opposed by cabinet colleagues – but through the power of leadership and conviction cabinet was persuaded what needed to be done – Keating’s dogged pursuit of a surplus – much against Willis’ views – due to a trust in Treasury advice which he later regretted. Now we have the Turnbull/Morrison government wagged by the right-wing tail. Now we hear how this government is now being run by the “faceless men” of the LNP – Turnbull openly conceding that he accepted the views of his colleagues on marriage equality. Where is the conviction in what he believes in?

  16. Terry2

    When Malcolm came out shortly after shafting Abbott, he said ‘ the Liberal Party is not a party of factions’ and his audience came back smartly and said ‘ Oh yes we are !’

    If he were to come out now and say ‘I am the Leader’ the Abbott faction would smartly respond with ‘only as long as we say so’.

  17. diannaart

    Yes, the clowns are back and we do wish some real politicians would turn up instead – OK not so newsworthy (which may be why we always get clowns – entertaining, right?) but we could use a some rational leadership instead of the nonsense we have been subjected to, since, unfortunately, the Hawke/Keating era.

    It is no coincidence that the stranglehold on independent media has tightened in line with the ascension of some of the worst people ever to lead our country; the LNP couldn’t have done it without Murdoch. The latest example being that of the promotion of pampered Tim Wilson and the deliberate ignoring of Linda Burney, the first Indigenous woman elected to the House of Representatives (thank you ME for this observation).

    Will Turnbull be turned on by the LNP righteous?

    Will Tony Abbott do a Lazarus?

    Will white people ever get to say whatever they want about non-white people?

    Will the LGBTIQ community ever shut-the-f*ck up?

    Stay tuned to the Murdoch media (now infiltrated into the ABC).

  18. Morry Stu

    Pappinbarra FoxSeptember 1, 2016 at 7:32 am
    I’d like to see someone examine in scrupulous details Cory Bernadahs expense claims.

    Butt plugs.!

  19. Lord John

    Morry Stu: In Heaven’s name what is a Butt Plug and where do you get these from?

  20. jimhaz

    Not something I would goggle.

  21. Lord John

    jimhaz: So you wear goggles whilst you have This Butt Plug thing ? Just trying to understand all this.

  22. paulwalter

    The key point for me is #5. Some folk keep trying to tell me Labor is the people’s party, but I will wait till to see the results before applauding the ALP further.

    How can they abandon their own?

  23. Zathras

    I’d like to see some travel and expense details for Bernardi’s visit to the USA a few years ago where he studied the political strategies of the American Tea Party, as well as a list of his political donors.

    Somebody like him must surely have a lot of skeletons in his closet (or in the closet with him?).

  24. Max Gross

    Excuse me? Character? Malcolm’s character was well established long before entry to parliament. HIH, anybody? And when he finally clawed – paid? – his way into the House of Reps he confirmed all doubts with the Godwin Grech scandal. Character? Spiv, shonk, shyster!

  25. metadatalata

    Hi John,
    I am afraid you have completely mis-judged Malcolm Turnbull. He has no personal beliefs in anything concerning climate, poverty, education, inequality, political corruption or any other matter of political interest. He has only ever shaped his language to achieve the ulterior motive of the top job. Who can say whether he really thought “climate change is the challenge of our times” before he joined the Liebrals or whether his current support of Direct Inaction is real? The truth is he doesn’t really think about it in real terms; only how a particular answer will enable his continuation in his current job. This is the case for the full front bench of the Liebrals at present.

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