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Day to Day Politics: Random thoughts from a moth-balled year

Sunday 7 January, 2018

Author’s note:

Looking back over my posting in 2017 I came across the following and I’m toying with the idea of doing a series. Up to date comments are in italics.

1 Malcolm Turnbull made a statement, I think on Q&A, before he became Prime Minister. He was espousing virtuous platitudes of political niceties that got him rave reviews for his generosity of spirit.

“Fairness is absolutely critical” he said last January. And since then he has often repeated the same reflection.

But the truth is that this generosity of spirit has not been evidenced by his Government’s actions. Somewhere along the way he lost his appetite for it.

No votes in it, I suspect.

2 Richard Dennis in a piece last year for The Guardian made the point that in the current debate about Centerlink (remember that) recouping overpayments from Welfare recipients that ”billionaires” get more leeway than vulnerable citizens.”

On top of that there seems to be no fairness when MPs use the living away from home allowance to pay for homes through negative gearing or claim expenses that in the private sector would invite dismissal. They fly willy nilly across the country attending weddings, sporting occasions etc at the public’s expense as though it’s a God-given right.

Whatever happened to the report on Politicians expenses commissioned by the Prime Minister and supposedly to be submitted before Christmas?

How many Government MP’s including former ones, could provide paperwork for 6-year-old travel allowance claims?

Yet the poor old welfare recipient is confronted with a letter of retrospective demand decided by and based on a computer algorithm that suggests they might have been overpaid. They have even placed the onus of proof on the citizen many years after the fact. And it’s a Liberal government.

I’m not arguing that it may well be the case that ”some” are overpaid. My beef is with the fairness aspect.

Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie has, after receiving more than 100 complaints (including from four people who were suicidal) has suggested that the system be put on hold pending an inquiry:

It is a form of class warfare and it’s the right that are fighting it, not the left.

Then they argue as Dennis says that:

”Like the economic modelling used to argue that a $50bn tax cut for big business is the best way to boost the wages of low paid workers, the data matching algorithm used by Centrelink to identify “overpayment” is only as accurate as the assumptions and data it relies on. As the old adage says: garbage in, garbage out.”

The Government argues that they need to cut spending but never look beyond one sector to do so. Unlike many others they can’t blame Labor for this one. Their default excuse of blaming Labor for everything after they have been in Government for 4 long years is not going to work.Yes Malcolm. ”Fairness is absolutely critical”

Well it’s now 5 years and they are still managing to blame Labor for most most things. One member lost a puppy and …

3 No doubt we have a pro-coal Government. With the Coalition considering a $1 billion loan for Adani’s coal mine project in central Queensland they are coming out all guns firing against environmentalists. It’s just a pity that the planet takes second place all the time.

President Trump even suggested during the cold snap that the US is experiencing that they could do with some global warming. How is that for stupid science?

4 According to conservative commentator Judith Sloan said mid year that the Prime Minister’s report card looks a bit sad. She reckons his efforts in public policy development are unsatisfactory. Little progress has been made in reforming industrial relations, education, health, and energy in the past 12 months. It is particularly disappointing that the federal government did not respond to the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s report on the workplace relations regulatory regime.

I would suggest that he has been rather busy being berated by Barnaby for not following orders.

5 More empathy in Government maybe? (Another mid year crisis?). Whatever. So my question is if all that education doesn’t make them better citizens, unable to govern the country? Why does Peter Dutton think that by changing the citizenship test to make it tougher he will end up with better citizens?

What makes him think that the standard of Australian citizenship the Prime Minister and his government sets is any better than that of those seeking to become citizens?

They get me so confused at times.

”You see now he is saying that what I thought he said is only a figment of my imagination. That what I think I thought he meant is not what he meant at all. That when he says something and I take it to mean one thing he has the option of saying that what I thought I heard was not what I heard at all. It was only my interpretation of what he meant .I mean, did he say what he meant or did he mean to say what he meant or was what he meant really what he meant.”

6 An observation.

“Modern Australia is “diversity”. In all its forms, together with multiculturalism it defines us as a nation. People of my generation and later should divest themselves of their old and inferred racist superiority.”

7 In January of last year I wrote:

Now a week wouldn’t be complete without Tony Abbott stirring the pot. He makes a speech to the Samuel Griffith Society raising the spectre of another go at repealing 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act.

He described 18c as a: “troubling law. At its worst, it limits free speech merely to prevent hurt feelings”.

Now isn’t that odd? I don’t think I would want to live in a society where people’s feelings weren’t important.

He went on to say that he should have allowed Julia Gillard’s government to implement its so-called Malaysian solution and send up to 800 asylum seekers to that country, to deter the flow of asylum seeker boats.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. No wonder good government evaded him.

And he still contends that his 2014 budget was his greatest gift to the Australian people despite the fact that it was deliberately designed to make the less well off in society pay for the sustenance of the rich and privileged.

How many more weeks of this incompetent government we are supposed to endure I am unable to answer. I only know that my patience is wearing very thin.

Now I’m sure I missed something, but I can’t think what.

PS: Yesterday I wrote about how character effects leadership. Feelings has a lot to do with it.

8 From February 2017:

How dreadful, how disillusioned those good Catholic folk who have their faith at the core of their being must feel. I know our local parish priest does. But having committed the sins it has, it is difficult to see how the Catholic Church has any right to cast moral judgement on others.

The indignation it is showing over accusations about Cardinal Pell is outrageous given the deaths it has caused. So many children abused, lives destroyed and families devastated. To this day I don’t think they fully comprehend the damage they have done. The Vatican still won’t release documents in their keeping. As an institution the Church is morally bankrupt.

More recently the Vatican has indicated it will release some documents and you would have to suppose that they will be ones that support Pell’s case.

9 Goodbye, Harper Lee. As a young boy you changed my life.

10 The Essential Poll published last week posed this question:

“Thursday 26 2017 January is Australia Day. Will you personally be doing anything to celebrate Australia Day or do you treat it as just a public holiday?”

Most people recognised the holiday but only a third of us said we would actively celebrate the occasion.

For most it’s just another and they don’t get too fussed about the reasons behind it.
Just what the future of the national day is, is anyone’s guess. Probably it will just linger on in its present form until a catalyst presents an opportunity to give it sincerity and integrity.
Such a time may very well be when we become a republic. When we have cast away our final ties to the motherland and we can declare that we have arrived at our adulthood, with one of our own as head of state.

Australia Day would then have all the necessary ingredients for a national day of celebration. So I declare that Australia Day should be moved to the date on which we become a republic and cancel the Queen’s birthday holiday.

11 Shane Crocker is a Facebook friend of some years and drives a taxi in Townsville, Queensland. Like most drivers he likes a chat. His hobby is an avid interest in science and is extremely well-informed on the subject. On Sunday he made these observations.
For non- Australians the statement “Australia Day celebrates the landing of Captain Cook” needs clarifying. The far-right Australian politician, Pauline Hanson also made this statement on Australia Day (January 26) last week:

James Cook landed at Botany Bay (now a part of the city of Sydney) on April 19, 1770. Australia Day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships on January 26, 1788.

Pauline Hanson, like many right-wing populist politicians, is profoundly ignorant and made a fool of herself by confusing the two events.’’

These are actual statements made by taxi customers in Townsville:

“Not all of them are rednecks. The comment about the Jews bringing the Holocaust on themselves was made by a professional person.”

Things I’ve recently heard around the place from people in Townsville, Queensland, Australia:

“One Nation is going to wipe the ALP off the map.”

“Maybe fascism is what this country needs right now.”

“Gay marriage would bring down society as we know it.”

“God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

“The answer to the crime problem is to bring back the death penalty.”

“Australia should free up the gun laws so we can protect ourselves.”

“The right to keep and bear arms is in the Australian Constitution.”

“The Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves.”

“Muslims should be banned from coming to Australia as well.”

“Refugees get everything for free.”

“Australia was established as a Christian country.”

“Australia Day celebrates the landing of Captain Cook.”

“A lot of people just say they’re Aboriginal so can get everything for free.”

“It should be illegal to speak any other language than English in public.”

“It’s a criminal offence to burn the Australian flag.”

“Hitler had the right idea, his only mistake was to have a war with England.”

The only thing missing from that lot is that the Australian Constitution guarantees freedom of speech.

12 In the month of September rumour has it that Christian Porter will replace George Brandis as Attorney-General who in turn will replace Downer in London.

Wasn’t just a rumour, as it turn’s out.

13 Trump’s public endorsement of Fox News over cable news rivals is something extraordinary. He’s really acknowledging that Fox is now state TV.

14 On 31 January 2016 I wrote:

The Coalition regrets having to announce that good government has been further delayed. At least until after the next election. Circumstances beyond my control. Authorised by Malcolm Turnbull. Canberra.

Still waiting Malcolm but patience sweating thin.

15 Malcolm Turnbull is facing flak from the Abbott conservative forces within his government. There is hardly an issue of any substance where he is showing quality leadership. The issue is again in the headlines with conservatives saying they will not abide by the outcome of the proposed plebiscite on Gay Marriage.

The people won in the end.

In fact they are lining up to say they will vote against. We pay for good government and expect it from day one. Tony Abbott said that we would get it 12 months after the ball had been bounced. Even then it didn’t happen. We are still waiting for Turnbull to stop talking about it and start delivering. By the time the election comes around the electorate will be entitled to ask whether the Coalition can ever deliver on it.

Anyone for tennis?

16 Only in America.

Both the President and the Vice President have made it very clear that the next appointee to the Supreme Court will be an anti-abortionist. I would have thought that the first attribute of a judge of any court would be impartiality. To appoint people who will do your bidding is tantamount to rigging the judicial system.

17 The way Theresa May looked at the President and repeated what they had discussed looked to me like she was wanting it confirmed publicly.

My thought for the day

“For the life of me I fail to understand how anyone could vote for a party who thinks the existing standard of governance is acceptable.”


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  1. wam

    What a sad thought, Lord. You have spent many words on the intelligence of the voters of Australia but it is you who confess you cannot understand why anyone would vote for little johnnie or the rabbott. The obvious answer is in the paper everyday, on sunrise every morning and on ch9 news every night. It is repeated at every golf club, footie club and BBQ.
    Every sheep bleats libnats gooood labor baaad.

    The LNP’s trump card is making complex economy sound simple. The truth is different in that Labor is the manager, but the simple belief becomes truth.
    The bottom line is, we are rich and dumb enough to pay $20 a litre for water to watch sport that cost a day’s wage for a pensioner and, as long as there is someone poor to make us feel better, why should we care about politics? We just lie back and think of england whilst they f#ck the country but inform us they are doing a better job than labor. QED.

    Perhaps you need to listen to the boys and girls who voted the stable genius politicians into power many many times?
    They will repeat the simple words of the slogans and you will be unable to refute the words with complex explanations, Fire with fire could be a tactic?????.

    (Maybe a visit to John Kelly Oct 2014?
    Jason’s post:”I’ve heard it said that ‘Western civilization’ is white patriarchy (as experienced in Europe as Catholic feudalism) and that we now actually live in a post-Western civilization world that is informed by multi-culturalism and feminism. (It’s worth noting that Kim Williams recently wrote of Rupert Murdoch running his newspaper business in a feudal manner.) It’s also curious to consider that so-called Islamic radicalism is in fact extreme religious conservatism that is also based within immense male insecurity.
    The Abbott agenda becomes quite clear when considered in this context, as does the viciousness against Australia’s first female, atheist, prime-minister.”
    Wonder why women put up with a male god???
    ps where is the truth in number 9? Did Atticus’ racism allow you to see Aborigines?

  2. Phil

    The comment that:

    “Not all of them are rednecks. The comment about the Jews bringing the Holocaust on themselves was made by a professional person.”

    That’s a howler!! Hah, hah, hah. Being a professional person can’t equate with redneckery? Bullshit.

    My evidence to the contrary? : I give you Peter ‘Evil’ Dutton.

    Watch out progressive Australia, those abysmal one liners from the north will soon appear in Turnbull’s new Australian Song Book that Dutton is writing during the holidays for early February publication.

  3. Jack Russell

    The rubicon is upon us, and the majority are distracted by trivia … poor fella my country.

  4. Chris

    “13 Trump’s public endorsement of Fox News over cable news rivals is something extraordinary. He’s really acknowledging that Fox is now state TV.”

    While murdoch is trying to pretend he is in no way responsible in(with) this new book thing….

    “Rupert Murdoch described Donald Trump as “a f*cking idiot”” Guardian


    Your list of things Australians say is pretty familiar.
    Have a good one, John.

  5. wam

    What a chuckle, Phil, intimating politicians equate with a profession?
    Surely they merely attend a retreat from any education or training. They begin as highly intelligent stable minded men and quickly move to a genius. With some ‘others’ floating in and out.

    ps when was the harper book published, Lord??

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