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Day to Day Politics: A Government in a shambolic mess.

Wednesday 26 October 2016

1 Polls this far out from an election are never an indication of how people might vote. They do however, give us a guide to how people think they are being governed.

So yesterday’s NewsPoll tells us that the folk in the great Australian suburbia are disillusioned.

The Poll Bludger tells us that Labor leads the Coalition 52/48. Essential is the same.

The Prime Ministers popularity continues to tumble in the absence of any semblance of leadership. We are being led by a leader who is captive to the right of his party and the junior party of the Coalition whose leader seems to be pulling the strings. Ideologically speaking the so-called Liberal party has no idea where it stands and Turnbull cannot produce a narrative that explains just where we are heading as a nation.

2 Our Democracy is being usurped by the likes of Brandis. Freedom of Information is being hijacked by ultra-right wing power-hungry MPs and the Solicitor General’s Office, with the resignation of Justin Gleeson, has been turned into a branch of the Liberal Party. The position will now go to a Liberal Party stooge who will accept the pay the position demands and never question the Attorney General’s judgements.

Jim Moylan writing for this blog summed it up like this:

”The Gleeson Affair is as significant as the Dismissal. Perhaps more so”.

”Why am I so upset? In simple terms Mr Brandis has now turned the Solicitor-Generals Office into an office of the Government. At the heart of this matter is a despicable and almost treasonous direction from the Attorney-General’s office that any matter that the Solicitor-General might consider, from now on, has to be first cleared personally by Mr. Brandis”.

3 Barnaby Joyce’s integrity is once again being questioned over the sacking of Paul Grimes, the former head of the Agriculture Department.

A March 2015 letter has surfaced that clearly brings into question his conduct. Explosively so. Apparently the Government has spent a lot of money keeping it from the public’s eye.

It all started over the alleged changing of Joyce’s statements in Hansard.

The question arises: “Did Barnaby Joyce sack Paul Grimes to save himself?”

If Joyce is guilty of deliberately trying to change Hansard then of course he should be sacked and resign his position as leader of the Nationals.

4 The MYEFO Economic report due to be released in November will reveal that the Budget is still in a mess.

5 Tristian Ewins manages the ALP Socialist Left Forums Facebook page and is a regular letter writer to Main Stream Media. Here are a couple to Melbourne’s Herald Sun. The newspaper where the truth goes to die.

Refuting the Herald-Sun Again on ‘Welfare Shaming’:

”The Herald-Sun (16/10/16) reports that welfare-dependency figures are “shocking”. But Disability pensioners, Carers and the Unemployed should not be ‘shamed’. Carers save the public hundreds of millions of dollars by providing care and support for pittance that otherwise would cost the state a fortune. If we do not value their work just because it is not part of the ”market sector” then that itself says something disturbing about our priorities. Meanwhile those with a mental illness – who are commonly looked upon as ‘not-really-disabled’ can expect a reduced life-expectancy of 16 years”.

”Or 25 years for those with Schizophrenia. Who would ‘choose’ to be in that position? Finally, research shows there are roughly five job-seekers for every position. Were the government serious it would develop an industry policy to create real long-term jobs – matched to people’s skills. (as some Nordic countries have tried) Instead it tolerates an unemployment rate of around 6 per cent (much more if you include those who have given up the search), and also ‘massive under-employment’ for people looking for full-time, secure work. Because ”Ideologically” it cannot bring itself to support ‘economic intervention”.

Refuting the Herald-Sun Again: Misleading Characterisations on the Unemployed:

”The Herald-Sun (19/10/16) proclaims on its front page:“70% of arrested meth users supported by your taxes” and also: “Dole Blown on Ice.” While the apparent connection between Ice addiction and crime is alarming, the headline was irresponsible for several reasons. Firstly, for those who don’t read the article thoroughly there may be the utterly false assumption that most Newstart recipients are ice addicts. In fact there is no proof of anything like this. .Secondly: ice addicts need help overcoming their addiction. Yes there must be compulsory rehabilitation programs. But a purely punitive approach could lead to a downward spiral of desperation and crime. It seems more than an accident that the headline coincides with the Liberal Government’s attempt to wind back benefits such as Newstart, the Disability Support Pension, the Carers’ Allowance, and so on. To ‘make room’ in the Budget to accommodate corporate tax cuts. And hence to demonise and vilify these people”.

6 The Coal Lovers are at it again. It seems that those who oppose the Carmichael mine have received funding from a US organisation with links to John Podesta who happens to be running Hillary Clintons election campaign and the Libs are not happy. Nor is India’s Power Minister Piyush Goyal.

So Turnbull might just revive some previous legislation that was aimed at curbing vexatious litigation by environmental groups.

On Tuesday he said:

”Coal is going to be an important part of our energy mix, there is no question about that, for many, many, many decades to come, on any view”.

A few years ago he would never have contemplated those words.

7 Among many other things the fast talking Treasurer Scott Morrison said:

The government will therefore also be discussing with the states the potential to remove residential land use planning regulations that unnecessarily impede housing supply and are not in the broader public interest. This will be the strong focus of my discussions at the next Council on Federal Financial Relations that I will convene in early December”.

Of course these are not the only problems the housing industry faces. Government also plays its part and there’s no sense blaming others when your own policy tax policy distorts the market because it produces increased inequality via wealth acquisition.

In other words negative gearing.

And to show just how badly the Government is governing they have allowed an enquiry initiated by Joe Hockey into housing to lapse.

7 Said the Prime Minister on Tuesday:

”The important thing for me, as prime minister, and for my government, is to get on with the job of governing and delivering, and that is what we’re doing”.

”We are delivering, we are governing, we are delivering the jobs and growth that we promised, and we will continue to do so”.

That of course is highly debatable.

My thought for the day.

”The study of free will is an important foundation of rational thinking and objective application of thoughts to actions. How many seriously take up the study of free will and the constraints of pre-determined facts that limit free will, and personal action?”

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  1. Garth

    Thanks John. From your quotes of Tristian Ewins to the Herald Sun was this in relation to ice/substance dependency…

    “Yes there must be compulsory rehabilitation programs… ”

    I know you didn’t write this quote but I couldn’t let it pass. Compulsory rehab programs generally fail spectacularly. Addiction (to anything) is often a physical dependence to something but more importantly pretty much always a psychological dependence to the chemical/activity. To be effective the person with the dependence has to want to address it. Perhaps Tristian was simply chucking a gimme to the narrow minded Herald Sun readership but compulsory rehabilitation in terms of addiction really is a misnomer.

    Otherwise, I was pretty much on board with Triatian’s comments. Thank you for sharing them. The Herald Sun isn’t one of my usual sources.

  2. lawrencesroberts

    The system is broken, I doubt that Labor or a coalition of the left would fare any better. The Politicians continue to play “Pass The Parcel ” while feathering the nest and working on getting re-elected. The employment of party faithful is a disgrace and the salaries should be reported. We need to break this parts an style Westminster System which could be fixed with A Republic, a smaller parliament elected by proportional representation and for longer.

  3. Terry2

    I had taken the Australian Newspaper daily since its inception in 1964. I always enjoyed the Weekend Australian as, living in Queensland, there was never much depth in the Murdoch range of tabloids.

    Then something changed, I couldn’t put my finger on it but I found the editorial content lurching to the Right and Letters to the Editor appeared to be filtered through a Right Wing Prism. I thought it must have been me, but it wasn’t.

    It now appears that the “repositioning” of the Australian was intentional following the appointment of Chris Mitchell as The Australian‘s editor-in-chief in July 2002. There was a concentrated repositioning of the paper to what Mitchell calls the “centre-right”, partly in a bid to differentiate it from Fairfax’s Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

    This all comes to light in Mitchell’s memoir ‘Headlines’ and explains a lot as it was his appointment to the top position that significantly changed the direction of the national broadsheet from being a reasonably well balanced newspaper previously known for its analysis and commentary, to what it is today,

    That’s quite a legacy and whilst he doesn’t mention Murdoch’s role in this realignment it is clear that this is where the influence came from. Whether this was a good commercial decision for the loss making publication is not mentioned but I imagine that this move would not necessarily have boosted readership, in fact quite the opposite.

  4. Carol Taylor

    On Turnbull being a captive to the far right of his party – but he doesn’t have to be…he is, after all Prime Minister and leader. If he is being held captive, it’s either because he wants to be, that he and the far right are in accord OR he’s too lazy to assert authority. I am tending towards the latter as over the numerous possible coups in the past several years, just when it seemed that Turnbull was about to challenge, he’d back down. The going got too tough for him.

    This time around the leadership must have been handed to him on a silver platter along with a golden challis. Well known is that Turnbull ‘loses interest’ if things don’t go his way 100%. And that is what we are basically stuck with, a PM who has no interest in the job he’s supposed to be doing, allowing the far right to run rampant.

  5. lawrencewinder

    Just imagine, if you can, the further damage that will be wrought by this incompetent ruling rabble over the next two years as they seek to mangle every social institution and privatizes everything they touch.
    Will Labor have the “balls” to make swift changes back, to sack every single one of the political appointments currently being made? Unlikely.
    There are very few options open to remedy this corrupt mess.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Carol, that is what I don’t understand either. Various people have made threats but, in all reality, does anyone seriously think that the Nats would ever go back on the agreement that hands them many seats on a miniscule vote. Even if the Nats withdrew their support, there is no other grouping who could combine to form government so the Libs would remain in power and Barnaby and his dinosaurs would be relegated to the backbench. If I was Malcolm I’d call their bluff.

    Sadly, both Malcolm and the government “lack the ticker, integrity and political capital to tackle” pretty much anything. Leadership? Ha!–someone-elses-with-a-fix-years-away-20161024-gs9q7h.html

  7. Stephen Bowler

    I think Turnbull, shows all the signs of someone who sulks when they can’t get their own way, and has spent a lifetime doing ‘whatever it takes’ to grab the top job in the belief this will get him his own way, only to find his “ends justify the means” approach, actually achieves the opposite, and so he just looses interest whilst looking for another opportunity to get his own way.

    He is without doubt worse than Abbott, Abbott is a leader (even if he is just leader of a gang of bully boys) – Turnbull is weak, he cant even leader a bunch of bully boys, they lead him, he is wishy washy, incoherent, and incapabable of delivering the leadership, to which he believes he was born. (Dunning Kruger effect comes to mind.)

    Delusional is the word!

  8. Kaye Lee

    This interview from 1991 was when Turnbull was a bit more honest…

    The Turnbull game plan is hard to pick. He says it’s simple: he wants to continue doing what he is doing – merchant banking. He says he has given away any political ambitions: “I’m not sure that I’m really suited to the democratic process.”

    Turnbull really doesn’t have any idea of how to work constructively with other people or any interest in doing so.

    “Lucy and I” will enjoy the socialising whilst amassing a fortune from our less than ethical investments. The rabble are so tedious.

  9. helvityni

    “On Turnbull being a captive to the far right of his party – but he doesn’t have to be…he is, after all Prime Minister and leader.”

    Yes, Carol, he just wants to be seen as the nice, happy, smiling PM. I don’t know about his happiness levels but of course he’s not nice and his smiles are more like patronizing smirks.

    He does not seem to care about how happy the ordinary folk are with their lot,( or with him), if they are jobless they are just lazy, and no, he does not do compassionate Captain’s calls when it comes to a small number of asylum seekers, no matter how keen those kids are to learn, to fit in…and to be HAPPY.

  10. Rezblah

    At what point does this atrocious ‘experiment’ and any on going analysis end? Surely the results are in? This government is an utter disaster, and a despicable disgrace on all fronts, at every step.

    At what point is it brought to a stop and charges of HIGH TREASON laid?

    The trajectory and the end result for this government and its IPA dictated agenda are blindingly obvious – a complete take over of our country by corporate entities. (On that note, does anyone know if the ISDS clauses in the TPP can be enacted more than once on any given dispute? Can a dozen Adani’s line up one after the other and sue us over and over again for not letting them mine the Great Barrier Reef for example?) I say again, HIGH TREASON.

    There will be no turn around, there will be no improvement, there will be no change to what is happening, there will be no accountability, there will be no consequences. They will be well rewarded with massive life long pensions and lucrative positions. To hope for anything else at this point is to be self delusional.

    The Murdoch press has ably demonstrated that blatant sedition is no longer a crime in this country, so why don’t we follow their example?

    The LNP is at war with the citizens of this country, we are fast approaching the end of this war and we are losing.

    Enough is enough, sack and prosecute them all, move to a republic and reset the system, now.

  11. Harquebus

    While governments continue to ignore diminishing energy returns, the economy will continue to slow and unemployment will continue to increase.

    BTW: John Podestra should be John Podesta.


  12. ozibody

    The ” Turnbulls” …. both Mr. & Mrs. are having a fine old time, in spite of his ‘press’ ! ….. Mrs Lucy Turnbull appears to exert influence in the move to split Sydney into three ‘Zones’ ….. quite a little ‘ fiefdom’ between them! (when one considers her roles in the business world)..

    Perhaps readers might find it interesting reading should Mrs. Turnbull’s various ‘activities/roles’ be laid out in some detail.

  13. Michael Taylor

    Thanks H’. I’ve fixed it.

  14. helvityni

    The Abbott Experiment was totally unnecessary, but looking back now I can see why it happened. He had some folksy likeability to men, who kick ball, cycle or do other such practices; men who are not so keen on women (the cooks and the ironers), therefore he was a better choice for them than Julia.

    The change to Turnbull was also not needed. He has been a total disappointment for all of us who believed he could do a better job. Well, he hasn’t, we should have kept Tones, and now we would be rid of the lot of them… 🙂

  15. Ricardo29

    What we need are recall provisions, as they have in some states in the US. We would then be able to challenge some of our inept politicians such as Brandis and Joyce and perhaps get them sacked. However this wont happen because our politicians are too self-serving to vote or something like this. Short of a couple of Lib MP’s dying, or (unlikely) crossing the floor I think we are stuck with these incompetents for two more years. Mind you, if Barnyard could be found to have misled parliament, he might be ruled ineligible, there could be another election in New England, Windsor could win and it would be a whole new ballgame. Yeah, I know, incurable romantic.

  16. Freethinker

    IMO 48% support is far to much and if we add the support for One Nation and few right wing independents we have to accept that the opinion is well divided.
    Malcolm is doing bad in the polls, worse that Abbott but better than Bill.

  17. vicki

    Did Brandis ever hand over his office diary? Just asking because I think I must have lost track of that story.

  18. townsvilleblog

    I grow more confident every day that the conservatives L&NP around the world in developed countries like our own Australia are selling their “people” out to the corporations owned by the 1% of the global population who already own 50%+ of the global economy, as I have always labeled them ‘the servants of the rich’ up til recently I hadn’t understood who the ‘rich’ were, that they were serving, but I’m confident now.

    Small business thinks they are playing the same fiddle as big business but big business in the form of huge corporations like McDonald’s, Coke etc are taxed not’s as Treasurer Hillsong would say, and they are using the billions that should have been paid in income taxes to the host country to purchase the host country’s government services which those who do pay tax PAYE taxpayers and small business pay the government to receive, these corporations owned by the 1% are getting it coming and going, and noone says a word? Why?

  19. margcal

    “So yesterday’s NewsPoll tells us that “the folk in the great Australian suburbia are disillusioned”.
    The Poll Bludger tells us that Labor leads the Coalition 52/48. Essential is the same.”

    That split is far too narrow to suggest that “the folk in the great Australian suburbia are disillusioned”.
    More like, it suggests that a significant number of suburbanites are ignorant, fools, or both.
    The numbers needed to get the LNP over the line at the last election would indicate that very many people voted against their own best interests, never mind the best interests of Australia.
    And post-election, it would seem they haven’t changed their minds terribly much at all.

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