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Day to Day Politics: When two egos butt heads.

Saturday 17 February 2018

What a week it was in Australian politics. And to finish it off the Prime Minister gave the Deputy Prime Minister and the Parliament a lecture in private and public sexual morality.

Something for which no one has an ownership of other than the standard society itself sets. Sexual morality is an elastic thing that seems to change from one generation to the next.

At a time when sex and its function is rendering women as nothing more than pawns in a game of male cowardliness, Barnaby Joyce finds himself being judged for misdemeanours over and above his own.

The self-appointed prosecution of the nation is Malcolm Turnbull. Of Barnaby Joyce he said this:

“shocking error of judgment in having an affair with a young woman working in his office.”

Barnaby had unleashed a “world of woe”.

“encourage” Joyce to take a week’s leave to “reflect”, to “seek forgiveness and understanding.”

“Most of the ministers, most of the bosses in this building if you like, are men and there is a gender, a real gender perspective here.”

What was his motive in giving Joyce this advice? On the one hand, I would have thought that Barnaby was terminally ill and had no hope of surviving. Was he telling Barnaby to take a week off, think about it, and then resign honourably?

The point is that Barnaby is no longer the best retail politician in the land as some news outlets would have you believe. No longer can he stride around the country bombastically telling people how good he is and with a deception of lies promote his own moral compass.

He has lost the trust of the nation and done the business of politics a harrowing disservice. As if it weren’t bad enough already.

On the other hand, or at the same time, Turnbull has stopped his Ministers from having sex with members of staff. I assume that the other 180 or so members of parliament are free to do so.

Will Peter Dutton, have members of Border Force lifting the sheets of members looking for limp evidence? Trying vainly to enforce a ban on the most passionate of all human desires is one of the most ludicrous things I have ever heard of.

He argued that by re-writing the ministerial code he was addressing the power imbalance between the genders. As if? The fact is that men have never grown up. It is more about control than power. Of course, trust comes into it and only 13% of people trust politicians.

If you can’t trust them with sex on the side how can you trust them with corruption in cabinet?

It’s 11 am Friday and I interrupt my writing to take my wife to a doctor’s appointment. On getting into the car I hear Jon Faine utter the word “inept”. He goes on to explain that Barnaby Joyce had called the Prime Minister inept. My first thought is that that will be the end of him. You simply cannot speak to the boss in that way. Then common sense pushes the alarm button and I tell myself that it isn’t that easy.

But let’s have a look at how this unfolded. Joyce has never made any move to hide the contempt that he holds Turnbull in. Turnbull is contemptible of Joyce’s – what should I call it – country ockerism and lack of intelligence. It was Joyce who plotted to get rid of Turnbull the first time around.

We now have a serious crisis. Is it time for Turnbull to sack him as a minister? He can’t sack him as leader of the Nats. Is it time for the Governor General to step in? I don’t know the answer to those questions.

What I do know is that we are being governed by easily the worst government in our political history. It’s so full of corruption that a national ICAC or similar institution it would take two years to clear the decks. It is now clear that the Liberal party and the National Party are at war with each other or you might say that the ego’s of the two leaders are. Both are incapable of understanding that they are elected to govern for the people, not themselves.

Could it lead an inevitable split between the two parties, something that has been suggested over the years? A kiss and make up won’t do. Has the toff from town pushed the boy from the bush a little too far? The damage has been done. If Turnbull doesn’t do something he will look weak and humiliated.

Turnbull resents that he is told what to do by a lesser mortal. One that can only get 5% of the vote. In turn, Joyce believes that he has been ordained to hold in contempt those who would question the philosophy of conservatism and it’s connection with the past.


“An angry-sounding Mr Joyce has accused the PM of making things worse with comments he gave yesterday about the extramarital affair between Mr Joyce and his former staffer Vikki Campion.”

The Deputy Prime Minister said the comments caused “further harm” to his family.

“Comments by the Prime Minister yesterday at his press conference … in many instances, they caused further harm. I believe they were in many instances inept and most definitely in many instances unnecessary,” he said


“In regards to the National Party, there is nothing that we dislike more than implied intervention into the party processes of the National Party.”

As things stand the Prime Minister has responded with a customary smile and empty answers. Perhaps he intends doing something when he returns from Tasmania. Will he still meet with President Trump? Well, at the moment that’s anyone’s guess. I must say, however, that the answers he has given were limp (there I go again) in the extreme.

At the moment I cannot see, with the relationship the way it is, just how this alliance can possibly continue.And it’s only a couple of weeks ago that the band reformed.

My thought for the day

“Telling the truth should not be delayed simply because we are not sure how people might react to it.”


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  1. Hotspringer

    Two buttheads says it all.

  2. Terry2

    What seems to have slipped under the radar in recent days and slightly off-topic,is the removal of an analysis by senior journalist Emma Alberici from the ABC’s website. The article pointed to the fact that the government’s push to deliver on tax cuts to big business seemed to fly in the face of the fact that one in five big earners in Australia don’t actually pay any tax.

    The Coalition is consistently arguing that by reducing business tax the Australian economy will attract more investment and create more jobs – perhaps even turn us into a Pacific tax avoidance haven. It was also a commitment that they made to their mates and benefactors at the big end of town. In her analysis Emma Alberici had argued that there was no case for a corporate tax cut when one in five companies did not pay tax.

    Then, all of a sudden the article was taken down after the prime minister attacked the articles in Question Time and then wrote formal letters of complaint to ABC management. Not because it was inaccuarte but mainly because it was inconvenient.

    I can understand that the research and analysis done by the ABC and Emma Alberici was inconvenient and undermined the spin that the government have been running on the need for corporate tax cuts. But, at a time when the government are trying to introduce the discarded Fox News slogan fair and balanced – largely to keep Pauline Hanson onside – into the ABC Charter, surely these numpties understand that taking down this article as if it never existed is not a balanced approach and implies that the national broadcaster has been hobbled by politicians.

    A spokesperson at the ABC’s department of political manipulation said : “The analysis piece did not accord with our editorial standards for analysis content, and has been removed for further review.” I wonder how Emma feels about that.

    Remember how Winston Smith on Orwell’s 1984 worked in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth, where his job was to eliminate inconvenient truths and rewrite and distort history according to the dominant party needs ? It seems that this dark art is part of the coalition’s strategy in media management : we should be worried about this !

  3. Glenn K

    How fcked up is this government. How corrupt. How can the LNP still have the support of 46% of the voters? How fcked up is that? What a farce and comedy.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Thankfully, Emma’s excellent article, based on factual evidence rather than political ideology and business greed or dubious assumptions, is still available.

    One great quote from it (and there are many, it is an outstanding analysis),

    “According to other Treasury-commissioned modelling, if the rate is lowered from 30 per cent to 25 per cent then gross domestic product will double by September 2038 as opposed to December 2038 without the cut. Both models predict that in 20 years’ time the unemployment rate will be 5 per cent regardless of whether we spend $65 billion on company tax cuts or not.”

  5. Barry Thompson.

    Barnaby is trying hard to make the issue all about his love life. He wants to deflect attention away from his misuse of Ministerial power and the possibility that financial gain and corruption are the real issue.
    This aspect will be followed up when Parliament resumes and my bet is that Barnaby will not survive it.
    As for Turnbull, although he cannot sack Joyce as leader of the National’s, he can sack him as Deputy PM. and should do so.
    The National’s have far too much say and Ministerial representation in relation to their seats in Parliament. Turnbull should be the risk taker he used to be and take them on.

  6. helvityni

    “The Deputy Prime Minister said the comments caused “further harm” to his family.”

    WOW, doesn’t Barnaby see that all the hurt to his family has been caused by himself only… I think he feels hurt that PM FINALLY said something that he doesn’t like to hear….

    Poor little baby Barnaby….

  7. Frank Smith

    Political intrusion by the PM into the editorial policies of the ABC is very worrying. It smells of a big stick approach – “report what the Government want or we will cut your budget further”. It even bears some of the hallmarks of Ministers abusing the power they have over junior female staff. Unlike either Turnbull, Morrison, Abbott or Hockey, Emma is a qualified economist. I found the analysis she wrote very informative. Shame on ABC management for not supporting her. Shame on them too for meekly handing back the Cabinet files that fell into their lap before fully exploiting them.

  8. helvityni

    Frank Smith, I see that ‘their’ ABC is now nothing more than a Comedy Channel, gone are good days of Kerry O’Brian and other brave men and women…. and truthful reporting….plenty of sport though.

  9. Matters Not

    Re the shit fight between Joyce and Turnbull, Labor would be well advised to listen closely to The Beatles and their wise words.

    Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be

    Yeah there will be an answer

    Let it be

    Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be

    Whisper words of wisdom

    Let it be

    Barnaby must stay. He is too important to be sidelined. He’s a gift from heaven. Back off – for the moment at least.

  10. Roswell

    I think I remember the words of that song, MN. By memory it starts off like this:

    When I find myself in times of trouble
    Father Malcolm comes to me
    Speaking words of wisdom
    Let it be.

    It just doesn’t sound quite right though.

    I may have got it wrong.

  11. Roswell

    On a more serious matter, I agree with you that Barnaby must stay.

    He hasn’t done enough damage to the coalition yet. He needs more time.

  12. helvityni

    MN, you might be onto something, but then again those two hypocrites might just decide to be the best of friends, anything to keep their jobs..
    It’s all too slimy for me.

    We are so immersed in this Barnaby mess that we have already forgotten about the seventeen young lives lost in yet another school shooting in good old USA.

  13. Matters Not


    just decide to be the best of friends

    Yep! And that would add to their (in)credibility. Just be patient. Don’t boil this poisonous broth! Just let it simmer . Keep the stirring to an absolute minimum.

    Re the school shootings – every one sends their thoughts and prayers to an Almight being that just sits back and let’s it happen. Forget the prayers – what about some laws that ban guns.

    Buy your loved one a gun for ..

  14. johnF

    It’s good to see Barrie Mackenzie doing a presser in Canberra, I was gettting sick of the politicians.

  15. diannaart

    Barry Thompson.February 17, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Barnaby is trying hard to make the issue all about his love life.

    So is the PM – clearly they have common ground.

    He (Barnaby) wants to deflect attention away from his misuse of Ministerial power and the possibility that financial gain and corruption are the real issue.

    Again, common ground between the Deputy and his PM – you’d think they would work together on this.


  16. Wam

    Dear writer,
    There are enough coulds and speculations in your piece today, to beg the question “Are you touting for a job on the Australian or the ABC”?

    Of course there could be truth in your ‘coulds’ or even in your ‘easily the worst’.

    However, I am down in the big smoke, with my rabbottian family, for them G/G were the worst governments in our history and that is their truth. I happen to think little johnnie’s efforts were lower than trumbles but therabbott and his joey formed the worst collection of ministers by far and that is my truth.

    One of the ex-darwin’s retirees told me about meeting her sitting member and SA labor candidate. He spoke about the ‘billions’ we are spending. Such a speil may impress a fervent uneducated labor supporter but has the opposite effect on newcomers who read murdoch papers.
    Just pulling in to Strathalbyn to a couple of catholic oldies who will be with the marshall or, hope not, the beast.
    ps to make your 5% true did you ignore Qld and barnaby’s 55000 supporters pre- VC or the other seats like murray or parkes? Check di’s boys results?? Is it true that the green candidates are largely self-payers and the party takes all the cash?

  17. Wam

    Pps not forgotten yet Helvityni because of the culpability of the FBI but it wont linger like bj and vc.
    We could remember that she is satisfying the hope all catholic men by carrying a boy. But that is as churlish as suggesting the gun laws had anything to do with the murders..

  18. jimhaz

    A link I followed from one of MN’s posts

    Robert Mueller Tightens Rope, Indicts 13 Russian Nationals for Tampering with 2016 Election

    posting as it refers to a court case relating to political donations
    Buckley v. Valeo

    So many woes seem to stem from the how the US Constitution can be misused by conservatives, not just gun control. Had the Court, and others since, NOT struck down limits on expenditures by candidates, we’d have a different world.

  19. Terry2

    Today, the Australian is all over Emma Alberici and the ABC pointing to factual errors and misrepresentations in her analysis on tax avoidance by large corporations but, oddly, not being able to hone in and identify those errors and misrepresentations.

    Alberici herself has noted that “In 2001 I was a finalist for a Walkley Award for a story on tax minimisation, just saying”

    She has also noted that the only help she received on this analysis was from economist, Saul Eslake and Don Hanson of Plato Investment Management : they are pretty good sources in anybody’s book.

    Among the complaints that the ABC received were those from Turnbull, Morrison, Fifield, Qantas chief Alan Joyce and the Business Council of Australia.

    Fifield, actually said that the Alberici analysis “displayed a lack of understanding about the tax system, and failed to accurately present the facts or range of views on this issue with appropriate balance” He could well have added, the balance that you would get from 2GB and Sky/Fox.

    Alan Joyce, the other day said that he does pay a lot of tax : GST and Departure Taxes for instance for overseas flights but failed to mention that these are taxes on the consumer, what we are talking about, as he well knows, is the question of company tax.

    Guy’s we know that you can minimise your taxes and in many cases avoid them entirely depending on how you structure you business enterprise but please don’t insult our intelliegence arguing that you need a tax cut to encourage jobs & growth. Guess what, it’s an established economic fact that if you cut the taxes of consumers they spend more money on goods and services and that leads to jobs & growth much more directly.

  20. Matters Not

    jimhaz, if you want to follow up on how big dollars are donated to politicians in the US then Super PACs are a good starting point.

    Unlike traditional PACs, super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates, and their spending must not be coordinated with that of the candidates they benefit. Super PACs are required to report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or semiannual basis – the super PAC’s choice – in off-years, and monthly in the year of an election.

    As of February 16, 2018, 1,799 groups organized as super PACs have reported total receipts of $248,997,117 and total independent expenditures of $37,073,022 in the 2018 cycle

    Note: $248,997,117.00 a goodly sum, methinks.

    The US government is current not for sale because it’s already gone to the highest bidders.

    Also watch this clip. And weep.

  21. Ella miller

    Thank you Kaye Lee for that info.

  22. paul walter

    The “errors” that Australian claims are in fact facts that conflict with one law for Murdoch and cronies and another for everyone else.

  23. Barry Thompson.

    Just realised I misused the apostrophe in Nationals.
    My apologies.

  24. kerri

    Seriously is there anything BUT egos in the LNP?
    Hiw is Julie’s ego going to survive knowing she has been overlooked as acting PM?

  25. John O'Callaghan

    Malcom Turnbull….. “The Band Is Back Together Again”….. Thats what they said about the Beatles in 1971.

  26. Terry2

    John O’Callaghan

    Perhaps he was thinking of the Sex Pistols !

  27. Nearly Normal Frederick

    Yes, stay tuned for the next hilarious episode of the Beavis and Butthead (black) comedy show.
    Pity about Malcolm. It seems as though he has been taken over and held captive by the the dark side – the right-wing culture war warriors.

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