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Day to Day Politics: A house in shambles? No, just chaos.

Saturday 3 September 2016

“It was important to note that the government was back in control after a brief period”.

So said Tony Abbott following a period when the most highly educated and most highly paid group of MPs ever to grace the floor of the House of Representatives, lost control of the chamber.

The Party who for two weeks has been saying they had a working majority were looking more like an uneducated rabble. Tony Abbott’s comment sounds like the teacher had lost control of his high school debating class momentarily. I also found his comment hilarious in a wicked sort of way. I laugh every time I read it.

They lost three divisions when Labor outsmarted them. It was first time since Menzies held a one seat majority 50 years ago. If my memory serves me correctly that seat was won on Communist Party preferences. Paul Hasluck’s seat. Menzies also said that the best majority was one seat because it imposed discipline.

Paul Kelly writing for The Australian called it:

“A farce and a shambles. The ineptitude of this government has been exposed in extraordinary fashion”.

Christopher Pyne, ‘the mouth that roared’ said he had not given members permission to leave early but conceded it was a “stuff up”.

Tony Windsor tweeted:

@cpyne The Abbott legacy lives on Chris. You were part of the architecture of political games. Sadly you will reap what you have sown.

Peter Hartcher writing for Fairfax said:

“Christopher Pyne’s night of chaos failed Malcolm Turnbull and he has to go”.

That won’t happen but never the less it is Pyne’s responsibility.

Of course we are reminded of the old adage that if you can’t run the Parliament then you can’t run the government. Well that’s what Christopher said.

From Labor’s point of view it makes the statement that they reckon the election is not over in terms of debating the issues, like a Royal Commission into Banks, that they took to the election.

With the enormity of the problems facing Turnbull he could do without the arrogance shown by the three MPs who thought that the Government was so in control that they wouldn’t be missed.

It’s not fair really. An unemployed person who misses an interview get heavily fined. A full-time politician that skives off work early get a talking to.

This has been a train wreck for the Government and it wouldn’t want to happen again. But it’s a far cry from bringing down the Government.

To say that the Prime Minister was displeased would be an understatement.

2 A simple way of looking at the Governments economic problems is this:

They need to repair the budget. They won’t get all their savings through the Senate leaving a huge hole. Future attempts to make the poor pay will meet the same fate. The backbench of the party will not accept putting any of the burden on the privileged. The growth figures forecast in the budget won’t happen leaving a revenue shortfall and they refuse to increase taxes on the rich or cut their privileges and subsidies to large corporates. End result. Up shit creek without a paddle.

3 Sam Dastyari is guilty of gross stupidity and incompetence. For someone who spends most of his time pursuing injustices in the financial sector you could conclude that he was just plain irresponsible.

To quote Sean Kelly:

“It’s an awful look for Dastyari. Is it worse than that? The truth is that in the absence of a statement from either Dastyari himself or Huang, all we are ever likely to have are the circumstances as they have already been laid out”.

To hear Cori Bernardi castrating him in the Senate demanding he quit sounded ludicrous and even more so when the Prime Minister followed up.

A certain Tasmanian Senator has a view of Bernardi that I probably shouldn’t repeat. But I will. In response to Bernardi’s mock outrage she described it as “like an angry prostitute lecturing us about the benefits of celibacy”. “Before I receive unfair criticism from the sex workers, I apologise to them profusely for comparing them to Senator Bernardi — I know that is a really terrible low-down thing to do,” Prostitutes are far more honest, sincere, humane, and compassionate and better bang for buck than Senator Bernardi will ever be able to deliver.”

I’m not sure that these sorts of comments help the public discourse. In fact I know they don’t but Bernardi was somewhat over the top.

However in view of the cloud over donations in general the Government’s pursuit of him rings hollow. After all the list of dodgy political donations to both sides is longer than a toilet roll and need to be wiped clean. Perhaps the PM needs to explain why he needed to donate millions to his own campaign,

Without doubt donations from other countries need to be banned and the rules for political donations need an overhaul. Labor has acknowledged this but the Coalition are reluctant.

It’s only a couple of months ago that Turnbull agreed to take a look at laws banning donations from unions and businesses, and capping donations from individuals. It’s about time someone did or the stench of corruption will never go away. Donors don’t give money away for the love of it.

There is an expectation that they will get something in return.

3 The new rules for MP’s expenses were also a sham. The $60,000 cost for an aborted overseas trip by Tony Abbott also needs to be explained.

The Guardian tried and:

“Clarification was sought from Abbott’s parliamentary office to explain the cost, but questions were referred to the prime minister’s office. It advised that questions should be directed to the Department of Finance, but the department said the government did not comment on the work expenses of individual senators and members”.

Then we find that the expenses bill for the final 6 months of 2015 was $55 million. Really this is getting out of hand. And George Christiansen spent $300 dollars on Radical Islam to support his Islamophobia.

Find out how much your member spent go here.

4 Labor will be delighted with the latest and largest Poll results on Marriage Equality. Reach Tel polled 10,271 people. 59.7% supported same-sex marriage and 40.3% opposed it.

Yet again I ask; Why are we spending $160 plus million to confirm something we already know?

Asked about a plebiscite 51.7% were in favour and 48.3% wanted the pollies to sort it out.

$160 million or four new hospitals perhaps.

An observation

“Time never diminishes the crime”.

5 Changes to Australia’s media laws are not getting much attention and they should be. According to Roy Morgan research the Australian Government’s proposed media reforms have again been delayed. They include the abolition of the reach rule which prevents mergers between metropolitan and regional free-to-air networks. The Government tabled the bill into the lower house on 1 September 2016. Nick Xenophon believes Australia’s free-to-air licence fees are too high and he may oppose the reforms if his demand for a fee reduction is not accommodated by the Government.

6 A On things more serious. Pope Francis has declared the destruction of the environment a sin.

B Josh Frydenberg the minister for the love of coal has said that Government has no plans to tighten emissions by our biggest polluters. The Climate Change Authority has called on the Government to do so, but the response from Government has been the usual get stuffed.

C A report released prior to the G20 Summit says that Australia is the worst country among the G20 when it comes to action on climate change.

On the scorecard, Australia was the only country to receive a rating of “very poor” in a majority of categories.

My thought for the day.

“We can become immeasurably upset by current events and at a later time wonder what all the fuss was about”.

PS What a week it was. It was not very edifying, more like high farce …or was it just an aberration. Oh, and I forgot to mention Trump.



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  1. jim

    Can you imagine the hoop la if the boot was on the other foot T’would be ” Labor shambles”, “Kick this mob out”.ad nausium.
    All this and we haven’t even got to the NBN or MTM aka Malcome Turnbulls Muckup, why the police raids? I’m guessing the whole thing is so woeful it will have to be ripped up and redone properly with FTTP exactly as Labor planed.
    We still have the Media taking every opportunity to try and make Bill Shorten look “silly” eg.. every single night without failure the Project try to do this and try to pass it off as comedy, it’s not, it is Labor bashing and nothing more and I’m outraged. hey “the project” why do you want to destroy Australia? why are you interfering with our democracy?. Shame on you.

  2. Peter F

    I believe it was Moreton,which was the last seat declared in 1961. I quote wikipedia ” Coalition was not ensured of a sixth term in government until Jim Killen won Moreton by only 130 votes after receiving 93 vital Communist preferences” . I lived in that electorate at the time, and have enjoyed the irony ever since, especially as it was a ‘reds under the bed’ election.

  3. Jaquix

    Everyone seems to have forgotten that the Liberal Party recently received a “donation” from one Malcolm Turnbull (allegedly). One not yet officially reported, I believe. We might have to wait 18 months to find that out, and its probably cloaked under an obscure company name. As John Lord says “Donors dont give money away for the love of it. There is an expectation…..” You have to wonder how many voters might have voted differently if they knew about this action by Malcolm who expected to ensure his re-election chances by keeping the machine going when big donors outraged by super changes, apparently withheld their normal largesse.

  4. Jaquix

    Jim The Project is sometimes valuable but they showed their ignorance of the issues recently when “discussing” the plebiscite. Even Wahleed Aly had no clue, despite his academic credentials. The segment was about the level of Sonia Kruger comnents.

  5. cornlegend

    John Lord,
    A good summing up of the Turnbull circus
    Tony Burke added to their woes with this little attack,

    and Tony adds in his emails

    “A cabinet leak revealed that the PM and Treasurer were rolled on reforms to negative gearing by ministers loyal to Tony Abbott. I don’t usually quote Tony Abbott but did have a point saying this a Government that is in office but not in power.

    The right wing radicals running the Liberal party are pushing to remove protections against hate speech (s 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act) and they seem to be winning the internal fight. All but one of Malcolm Turnbull’s backbenchers in the Senate has now signed on to weakening the protections against hate speech.

    Prime Minister Turnbull was given repeated opportunities to rule out weakening protections against race hate speech. He refused every time.”

  6. John Lord

    Peter F Jim Killon. You are correct.

  7. Kaye Lee

    Soon after his election in October 2004, in an email to a Greens Woollahra councillor in February 2005, Malcolm Turnbull wrote that he believes “no political donations should be allowed unless they are: from citizens and/or persons on the electoral roll (ie, no companies, unions, associations etc); subject to a cap; and donors should certify that the donation is either their own or their spouse’s money and has not been given to them by a third party”.

    After the Liberals lost the NSW and Federal elections in 2007, then shadow federal treasurer, Malcolm Turnbull, joined the NSW Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell, in calling for changes to the laws on political donations, and a ban on corporations or unions donating money to parties.

    Now would be a good time for reform Malcolm but I suspect this fine sentiment has gone the way of your other principles.

  8. Freethinker

    Just wonder if Christian Porter and Michael Keenan are from the extreme right saboteurs.
    We know that the potato head is.
    You never know with this mob, they are capable of anything if they like to damage Turnbull leadership.

  9. helvityni

    Turnbull’s leadership…???

    Where, Freethinker?

  10. 1petermcc

    Michael, the parallels with Republicans are no accident. Chaps like Cory spend a lot of time studying the Tea Party faction which is probably why he thinks religion is more important than it is in Aussie politics.

    I think a fair case can be made for Trump channeling Tony Abbott too. His two faced behavior over the trip to Mexico was pure Tony.

  11. helvityni

    [ “Christopher Pyne’s night of chaos failed Malcolm Turnbull and he has to go”.

    That won’t happen but never the less it is Pyne’s responsibility.]

    Silly me, I thought (heard) it was all Labor’s fault.

  12. cornlegend

    CoryBernardi is now acknowledging himself as a Liberal/Australian Conservative [his new group, website and all}
    Whispers are that there are 13 supporters all who could well sign up to the Australian Conservatives as well within weeks.
    That could cause Malcolm problems and even the Liberal Party, depending on their constitution

  13. Carol Taylor

    Well, it’s this going to be interesting. After the free-for-all of the Abbott years where each and every person just went and did their own thing – caught helicopters just make an impressive entrance, extending the overseas ‘study tour’ to include weeks visiting scenic locations, using overseas jaunts to push their mates’ business interests etc and etc, the Libs are going to have to have something called: Discipline. They will think that their little throats have been cut. 😀

    I think that this is going to me a massive struggle because the only one who has the ability to install this discipline is Turnbull. So far, the back bench has been treating T’bull with nothing but contempt, contradicting his take on policy, pushing 18C when he has stated (lamely) that he has no interest in pursuing changes – in fact, ignoring the fact that T’bull is even PM.

  14. cornlegend

    Carol Taylor
    I agree,
    I don’t know why Fizza bothers turning up .
    No wonder there are only 27 sitting days from when Parliament resumed and Xmas.
    Could you imagine the shit he’d get himself into with an extra week or two?
    Then again, he probably needs time at home to check his Cayman accounts and have Lucy pull the knives from his back

    ya gotta smile 😀

  15. lawrencewinder

    What a bloody shambles is this liarbril ruling rabble.

  16. helvityni

    …maybe they had to leave ‘work’ early to rush out to buy their Chrissie pressies or to plan their next holidays…

    Maybe they were all a bit off colour, those mean Canberra winters…

  17. Carol Taylor

    Quite clever of Shorten to have spotters at the airport to see who had nicked off early. 🙂

  18. paulwalter

    Keenan and Porter..the excuses do not wash. The bloody minded madness of the Coalition includes a turning in on itself, so rabid it even bites itself and eats it own.

  19. Terry2

    Fact Checking by The Conversation has confirmed that a politician’s entitlements allow more for a single night stay in Canberra than an unemployed person can claim for a full week on Newstart.

    The flat rate for a politician overnight in Canberra is $273 and the Newstart single rate is $263.80 per week.

    A tragedy of our times !

  20. wam

    loved lambe description of the drip and endorse it with gusto.
    The plebiscite has a working majority for and, as you thought says, same sex marriage, like climate change, has become boring enough to be lost.

  21. Florence nee Fedup

    Lambe really hit the spot, he did indeed whinge, ran to the speaker complaining she wasn’t playing fair.

    Waiting to see what reception PM gets on his trip overseas.

  22. Florence nee Fedup

    I suspect the only thing that held the Coalition together this long was the highly condemned Peta, I don’t agree with much that she says. Have observed her on SKY for months now, Pitted against Kristina Keneally mostly.

    The lady does have talent.

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