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Day to Day Politics: It’s all a secret.

Thursday 1 February 2018

“What is good government?” I asked myself. After some deliberation I came up with this: “Everything that the Coalition is not,” I mused. But I’ll have a stab at it.

“Good government is about making and implementing decisions that serve the common good. That give security to the people it governs. Follows the rule of law and is truthful about its intentions. When making decisions it must be responsive to the will of the people. It should allow its citizens to be participatory in the function of government. It should be inclusive, equitable and supportive of the people’s right to know. By equity, I mean the people have a right to a fair reward for the fruits of their labour. And above all it should be answerable to the people.”

I then asked myself how the Abbott/Turnbull governments stacked up against my thinking, and I had to admit they have been deplorable. Now there is nothing new in that. I have probably ranted more than most writers on this site about the Coalition’s capacity for bland ineffectiveness.

This Government came to office saying they were adult and trustworthy. They have not been. In writing today I sense a light at the end of the tunnel – that an end to its appalling corrupt behaviour is coming to an end.

Bill Shorten’s intent to carry through with a national ICAC with teeth might now put to an end to the sort of nonsensical extremist behaviour we have witnessed from the neo-conservatives.

And yesterday, contrary to everyone thinking they were deliberate leaks to hurt Abbott, the ABC had obtained not just a few sheets of paper that came to it in the most extraordinary way, but thousands of cabinet documents.

A few Ministers both past and present might feel under some pressure in the weeks and months ahead. Although I must say that much of what they released yesterday was already known. Perhaps from the release of the balance of the cabinet papers might come a cleansing, or greater understanding of the operation of government might take place.

Shorten also alluded to the restoration of our democracy, maybe then when the dust of their dismissal has settled a new form of democracy might begin.

My thought for the day

“Of all the things the voter must consider when confronted with the ballot sheet none is more important than the performance of the incumbent.”


  1. Möbius Ecko

    What has come out of the classified documents find yesterday is the revelation that politicians are using the federal classificaiton system, not for its intended purpose of preventing harm to the nation, but to hide political sensitivities that would be unpalatable to the public, but in most cases are in the public interest.

    I’m glad the revelation of these documents has opened up a debate on the matter of transparency by some of the MSM and online, except for the right wing media and cronies like the IPA, who are defending the practice of politicians hiding behind the federal security system.

    This comes on the back of Turnbull attempting to bring in legislation that would not only make government far less transparent, but would severely punish anyone for even mentioning the existance of information the government arbitrarily deems unfit for public consumption.

  2. Terry2

    Peter Dutton swears that the keys to this filing cabinet were under a pot plant at his office, in line with normal Homeland Security protocols.

    The fact that the new owner drilled out the locks to gain access is a breach of national security and he suspects African gangs, and the Labor Party were behind it.

    He will take instantaneous action by going on Ray Hadley’s talk show on 2GB for a rant.

    Interestingly, had a public servant with knowledge that these documents were in this filing cabinet reported that fact, he or she would have breached security regulations and been liable to a sentence of six months on Manus Island.

  3. Zathras

    Here’s a hint for those interested in looking at internal corporate documents and a warning for those responsible for security.

    Most modern floor-standing photocopier/scanner/printer/fax machines incorporate a hard disc drive to buffer data, which can be extracted with a simple utility available on the internet.

    From overseas experience, it’s just a matter of buying a replaced machine at an auction, removing the hard disc and and looking at what has been printed, scanned or copied – typically a large number of documents.

    As well as spying on business competitors, machines from government, tax, legal or law enforcement offices can be treasure troves of information.

    I heard about one ex-Police Station photocopier bought at an auction that still had somebody’s charge sheet left on the glass.

    The problem with getting information in this or any other fragmented way is that there may be other unseen documents that change their context, meaning or relevance.

  4. Arthur Tarry

    Will an Australian ICAC crimp the outrageous claims some politicians make using so-called entitlements. It would, you hope, catch the overtly corrupt like Obeid et al but what about those making claims within the ‘rules’. The ill-defined rules have been exploited by all and sundry in a rip-off way seemingly without retribution because it is ‘within the rules’. We need not only an ICAC, but also a commission dedicated to to ethics, morality, decency and, dare I say, common sense. Politicians supervising politicians is simply a crude joke. This sort of behaviour by politicians certainly affects the way people judge their worthwhileness. Exploiting loopholes for personal gain is rank behaviour.

  5. Kaye Lee

    ASIO officers have moved to secure the thousands of top secret and classified cabinet files obtained by the ABC, in early morning operations in Canberra and Brisbane. Officers delivered safes to the public broadcaster’s Parliament House Bureau and South Bank studios around 1:00am

    ASIO and the AFP seem to move very fast when government embarrassment is at stake but they are seemingly unable to do anything about foreign bribery and corruption.

  6. jimhaz

    I’m really quite glad Rudd is suing the ABC over yesterday’s coverage of the Pink Bats saga. When I heard them talking about in on ABC News and on the ABC website my reaction was anger that they would stoop to this sort of Murdoch style fake news.

    Headline: “Kevin Rudd was warned about ‘critical risks’ of home insulation scheme before installer deaths”

    The problem was all about the headline drawing a link to warnings about deaths when they had no information that actually did that. I did not think that the Strategic Priorities and Budget Committee would be involved in safety matters – just financial ones.

    i would like to see news organisation being sued wherever possible in relation to fake news.

  7. Chris

    “And yesterday, contrary to everyone thinking they were deliberate leaks to hurt Abbott, the ABC had obtained not just a few sheets of paper that came to it in the most extraordinary way, but thousands of cabinet documents.”

    Well it is not really good enough to claim they had all this ‘good’ stuff and then have this happen. Its not like they couldn’t have guessed what might eventuate. The ABC totally fails us again.

  8. Patrice

    Why 1 am? It seems a strange time? Did someone alert the MSM so they could film it? Ha ha

  9. Aortic

    If they could find the key to the Cabinet with the instructions to put in place systems to ensure this breach will never happen again, they will put in place systems to ensure this will never happen again.

  10. Terry2


    These muppets always do raids in the early hours when people are not too alert and the theory is that they find it difficult to make a fist.

    But the ABC ??

  11. Terry2


    My thoughts precisely, the ABC went on and on about critical risks of which Rudd was aware but they did not define what these critical risks were but drew clear implications about safety considerations concerning the installation of home insulation.

    In the event, this proved to be totally inaccurate.

    It has always baffled me that the media and the coalition tried to make Labor responsible for the actions of a few rogue or negligent contractors responsible for the tragic death of four men.

  12. roma guerin

    Re the pink batts schemozzle – blind freddy knows that anything that involves government paying for it brings the shonks out of the woodwork. From memory, the registered installers grew almost overnight from a few hundred to a couple of thousand. I knew this would happen, why didn’t the government of the day? There appeared to be no oversight by the office wallahs as to whether all these new installers had any qualifications whatsoever. Mr Rudd can get on his high horse about anyone who ventures to have a go at him, and maybe the ABC has overshot the mark, but really, who set the scheme in motion, and who set the groundrules? Who was supposed to be overseeing the possibility of fly-by-nights jumping into the eldorado on offer? It seems to me that this simply did not occur to anyone, and it is high time the public service were schooled in risk management, not just ticking boxes.

  13. Aortic

    Off topic but gave me the laugh of the year so far. Headline in the UnAustralian under Greg Sheridans monicker. ” Now that Trump has sounded Presidential and Statesmanlike, will his critics give him the benefit of the doubt?” I can barely keep my IPad still from laughing my arse off.

  14. Wam

    Congratulations on your thought, lord john. It must certainly rework your opinion of the man presiding over consumer confidence the hightest this century, low unemployment, increasing wages and many states with approval 50% plus?(the aorta needs a bypass or a stent)
    Why would the ABC select an anti- rudd/labor piece when the rabbott had spent millions on a RC with no result? They wanted us to say ‘see the prick was guilty.’
    ps girls did you like the BBC justifying lower pay for women as they were in the development stage. That is us men for you we can rationalise anything?? Trust dilubdransimkims? Sure can!! But, seriously, the boys must be overjoyed at the irish stupidity?

  15. Jon Chesterson


    One of the most fundamental questions we should be asking is why so many poor, poorly paid and socio-economically disadvantaged Australians vote Liberal? And why so many of these in Rural areas including struggling farmers vote National, when clearly both these parties and the Coalition Government they have formed are ripping off this segment of the population something I can only describe as scandalous!

    Quite simply, this is the critical segment of our population that is swallowing all the lies, security propaganda, bravado and fear-mongering without realising that the very parties they are voting for are destroying their livelihoods, stripping them of their civil rights and then scapegoating them when they fall down as the ‘bludgers’ Turnbull and the LNP want them to feel so envious of – The switch that turns the table – NIGYYSOB in ‘Games People Play’: That unsavoury relationship between ‘Victim’ and ‘Opressor’, but you know what, the ‘Oppressor is playing ‘Rescuer’, fake rescuer each election time then swinging back behind their comfortable Parliamentary seats to repeat the same diatribe all over again. The Liberals and Nationals have milked this population group and indoctrinated them, lied and fed their prejudices hook, line and sinker; because they sure as hell only have a very small percentage of wealthy people on their genuine voting cards, less than 10% of the population at best. Of course there are many middle income home owners also who perhaps are scared their homes will lose value, think they are paying too much taxes (and of course it all relative) or refugees will take their jobs and welfare, believing this is Labour’s fault and all those millions of ‘bludgers’ out there plus those waiting to get into Australia, just waiting must be a crime regardless of the terror they run from, their situation and mode of entry. Why bother to be honest and have integrity when deception wins more votes without the hard yakka.

    Turnbull, Abbott, Howard have learned that to lie with authority and swagger ‘in that great Aussie tradition’ (and is it Aussie? Hmmm I’ll ley you be the judge) is to win elections because, right there is this population group that is easily hoodwinked and fried. This is how a ‘major’ party with only 10% of the genuine economically aligned electorate seize power and keep it. This is the lie and deception we need to address in our democracy. This is not good government, it is not even government. It is FRAUD!

  16. johnlord2013John

    Aortic. I almost swallowed my teeth when I saw that.

  17. Roswell

    Good question, Jon. I think the answer is in your comment. The lie was bought.

  18. Roswell

    Bugger ya, John. I sprayed coffee all over my phone you made me laugh so much.

    Couldn’t imagine the pain of them coming out the other end, especially if the gums are attached.

  19. Wam

    Any lnp voters from middle, poor, poorly paid or economically disadvantaged or social invisibles Australians in you circle or on your facebook for you to ask, Jon, or are you just talking what you believe and accepting it as truth?
    Labor’s economic mismanagement is true because labor does not expose the lie.
    The green’s pro-refugee/asylum seeker stance is disingenuously presented because they don’t need to govern just do a ‘winston’.
    Slogans are simple and most effective where belief is strong and research is weak. Heard of a bell curve, Jon?
    Any arrogance or truth, as they believe, in jon, john or roswell?

  20. etnorb

    IF Labor could “reintroduce” the sorts of politicians (& party!) that put Australia & its citizens first, & NOT themselves or their party, then maybe we will get a Government we can all be proud of! Probably just another pipe dream though! It seems almost “mandatory” (?) that whatever party is elected to run the country, they first thing they do is make sure they can get all the lurks, perks, & “freebies” etc they can get, bugger the nation or the people! After the Beaconsfield mine disaster many years ago, where Shorten was extremely good in everything he did to assist the trapped miners, I thought, “here was a bloke who maybe could be PM one day & run it far better than ANY Liberal etc crony could”. How different he has been since becoming Leader of the ALP! He has turned out to be a not very confident speaker, far too “mild” to make much difference to Australian politics & does not seem to be anywhere near as forceful & strong as he was when the Beaconsfield business was “on”. Time will tell, of course, but he will have to lift his game a “bit” & KEEP promise etc that he makes IF he is to win the next election & be our PM. Well wriitten article, as usual, Mr Lord!

  21. Jon Chesterson

    Wam – Not just opinion Wam, I and many of my colleagues have been meeting them every day, just go ask any health care professional, social worker and the people you meet in the street. Where else do you think Liberal get the other 35% of their votes, other than through preferences from even more extreme right? There are only so many wealthy people out there.

    Don’t understand your reference to bell curve or your last question. And I disagree with your comment on the Greens ‘pro-refugee/asylum seeker stance is disingenuously presented’… Now you see there is the problem with people’s sense of humanity or is it the elephant in democracy or just the self preservation instinct of bipartisanship clicking in. Where is your evidence or is this just your opinion?

    What do you mean, ‘they don’t need to govern’. That really is a discount of the values we should be expecting of politicians and their fitness to govern, conversely does this not sound like its okay that those who do govern are the pathological liars, cheats, self righteous hypocrites they pretend not to be. No wonder our worst narcissists rise to the top of the partisan ladders, especially the ones on the right, when ordinary people think this way.

  22. Jon Chesterson

    Roswell – Maybe that is it, too many people can be bought and good judgment is evicted in favour of self interest, no matter how small or short term the gain it would seem. The milking mechanism the Liberals have exploited so effectively, but both major parties do it. But surely there’s got to be more to it than this?

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