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Day to Day Politics: Liberal Party’s “women problem” and other stuff.

Monday 21 May 2018

I decided to take a weeks rest after the scourge of writer’s burnout had lingered beyond it’s used by date. My wife had found me asleep with my head on the keyboard – the computer typing a story of its own truth. Anyhow, I am now refreshed ready to take up the fight against these capitalist conservatives who continue to govern for themselves with bugger-all interest in the country.

The disadvantage in taking a rest is that things happen and move on in the blink of an eye. So my first post is about these events.

1 The first thing concerns the lack of women in conservative ranks, and I wonder what all the fuss is about. After all, one of the key tenants of conservatism is an adversity to change and if it is needed, it should be incremental. The Coalition has always been a men’s club and the conservatives within it are the least likely to be abreast of changes in society and fight to the very end to protect the status quo.

When males talk about female representation within the Coalition they talk in terms, not of equality, but privilege. A few maybe, but not many. You see, the men of the Liberal and Country party’s have never really grown up.

It’s a problem they will take with them to the next election. 21 per cent of federal Liberal members are women. Labor has 44 per cent in the current Parliament. Fifty per cent of the Greens are women, but just 14 per cent of the Nationals (anyone surprised?)

The men of the Coalition still reside in their leather lounges of exclusive men’s clubs where the only thing that has changed is the ‘No Smoking’ signs that did the rounds of endless committee meetings before being approved. The difficulty being the science, of course.

2 Within a budget described by Ross Gittins as “too good to be true” a cut of $84 million to the ABC was to be found. That’s on top of the $284 million from the 2014 budget. It’s staggering that a government could extract such amounts from a public service that is the most trusted of all media outlets in the country. More so than any Murdoch owned rag that occupies a place in the media landscape of Australia.

But at the same time as committing this payback of political cowardice for doing their job, they had no compunction about giving Rupert Murdoch $30 million dollars with no strings attached. So lacking in any explanation, the $30 million can only be described as a gift or payout. But the answer to the question “what for?” will probably remain in the minds of men with hate on their lips and dollars in their heads.

Supposedly it is for TV network Foxtel to help promote “underrepresented sports including women’s sport”.

“We’re told the cuts to the ABC are about ‘efficiency’… wonder how the government will audit the appropriate (women’s sport) and efficient use of the $30 million grant to Foxtel,” the ABC’s economics correspondent Emma Alberici said in a recent tweet.

If my memory serves me correctly after last year’s budget when asked about the gift to Murdoch, Mitch Fifield was at a loss to explain just what the money was for. Embarrassingly so. He made a complete dick of himself when the shutters of “how dare you question me” sealed his lips.

Scarcely does one day bleed into the next that Fifield isn’t somewhere critiquing the ABC for those who might benefit both economically and politically from closing it down altogether. But then he is a member of the IPA who is dedicated to having “aunty” closed down. So to this day just why the grant was given remains unclear but it has that odour of the “c” word about it.

3 Corruption is a terrible thing. It impregnates all facets of society and spreads itself like rust on the body of a pre-40s Ford. Perhaps Boral should now be scrutinised in the same way the CFMEU, Bill Shorten and Labor were before a Royal Commission.

The decision to drop all charges against John Setka and Shaun Reardon further reinforces opinions that the $46 million Royal Commission was a set up and witch-hunt:

“The abandoning this morning of trumped up charges of blackmail … brings an end to a dark chapter in Australia’s union and political history.”

The fact that Tony Abbott and his government almost got away with it underpins my contention that our democracy is under threat. In trying to protect the big banks from a Royal Commission the people must surely see that our government is corrupt.

4 Having said all that, the government decided to approach its problems with a number of confessions. The Treasurer in one of his rare moments of lucidity decided that he should, after reviewing a windfall of revenue prior to the budget, never have repeatedly said that revenue was a problem. Suddenly, miraculously money started to flow into the government’s coffers. Nobody could have predicted it, it happened so fast.

He couldn’t just leave it all there to gather dust so he did what John Howard did in election years. He gave the punters tax cuts and scrapped the need for the Medicare levy.

Other confessions included they had been “lying” and Labor telling the truth for years about the funding for the NDIS. Not only that, Mathias Cormann then fessed-up that they should have had a Royal Commission into the banks two years ago. Financial Services Minister, Kelly O’Dwyer, has yet to confess to her wrongdoing but her time will come.

The sudden inflow of millions of dollars into Treasury is proof beyond doubt that Abbott, Hockey, Cormann, Morrisom and Turnbull had been concocting the story all along that we were saddled with momentous unfunded liabilities. The fact is, the money was there all along.

Well, I think that’s enough for one day. I will have more tomorrow. How they lie and get away with it is beyond me. But they do, and it shows up in the polling. So long as you repeat it often enough people will believe you. Fools do rush in. Until tomorrow.

My thought for the day.

”Lying in the media is wrong at any time however when they do it by deliberate omission it is even more so. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity.”

PS: “Its is a pity that the written word cannot convey the tone of the spoken one. It has to rely on the skill of the writer.”


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  1. Wam

    Welcome back with your word of wisdom.

    Have they gone a woman too far?
    Sadly this has been put in context by gerard sadsack’s observation that many of the grass roots who vote against women are women.
    Cleverly, he points out that women are to blame for number of women in the LNP government.

    Still the de-selection provides another long arrow to bill’s short bow.

    The greens value the contribution of women as di natale, brandt, whish-wilson and mckim will attest but I must confess I heard that SHY thanked the party for numero uno?

    It could be time for labor to feed the fungi on the dead wood of the Nationals and make a push against Melbourne

  2. richard

    Good to have you back John take care and look after yourself.

  3. Kaye Lee

    So much for a “broad church”…..

    A Queensland MP who spoke out against the dumping of Jane Prentice has been summoned to appear before the LNP’s candidate review committee in a move described by supporters as “politically stupid payback”.

    Michelle Landry is one of a group of MPs, including Trevor Evans, Warren Entsch and reportedly, George Christensen, who have been called before the review committee. All four have contradicted party lines, three on social issues, and one against the leadership.

    Landry, who could not comment for this article because of party rules around preselections, has now been summoned to appear before the Liberal National party state secretary, Angela Awabdy, as part of a candidate review process, despite not facing a challenger of her own.

    “What you are seeing is the far right of the party start to flex it’s muscles,” one LNP source said. “We are seeing this time and time again, all across the Liberal party.

    “We are supposed to be a centre-right party but, anytime you have someone speak up on a social issue now, they are targeted. They’ll tell you this is usual, but it is usually done with a phone call. It is so short-sighted and it’s just going to make us look worse.”

    Warren Entsch, who also lashed out against Prentice’s defeat, calling it a “bloody disgrace”, as well as helping to lead the charge within the government to legislate marriage equality, has also been called to face the panel, along with Trevor Evans, who was also instrumental, behind the scenes, in pushing for the vote.

  4. Ella miller

    So good to read your words of wisdom again John. Please take care , we need you for the long haul.
    Kay Lee…let us hope they self destruct…a house divided etc.It seems they are fighting “wars” on many sides.
    GetUp, Abc, now own members…the only thing they are good at is taking revenge.

  5. Lurline O'Brien

    I’ve missed your daily dose of sanity in what has, for me, been an incredibly insane week. You may have seen my dramas on Facebook.

  6. helvityni

    …oh please, no MORE Liberal women; Ms Julie’s stare and Michaelia’s mouth are scary enough….nightmarish!

  7. Terence Mills

    With the dumping of Jane Prentice, there has been speculation that the LNP in Queensland just don’t like women or trust them to do the right thing or to be responsible. Peter Dutton, who was the numbers man in Ryan, said it was all above board and that it was democracy in action and that the LNP preselected candidates on merit not on gender.

    Clearly Dutton has missed the irony and inconsistency of his statement relative to his own preselection in his adjoining seat of Dickson.

    What actually brought down Jane Prentice was nothing to do with her gender or the fact that she has been a competent and diligent member representing the interests of her electorate and her role in disability services. What signed her death warrant was that she was a moderate and that she was a Turnbull backer, two characteristics despised by the LNP and the Dutton/Abbott faction.

  8. Florence Howarth

    What is going on is not about gender. This mob don’t care. It is about far-right ideology where women are in the way It is aimed at getting rid of Turnbull. What is surprising that he appears to be unable to head them off.

  9. blair

    It is interesting that as soon as Abbott and Abetz meeting with Boral are mentioned in the Setka/Reardon trial the Prosecution drops the case!
    more needs to be found out about this, what did Abbott/Abetz want from Boral?
    Was this Corruption???
    This was never a criminal case of blackmail, it was an industrial dispute about safety.

  10. Harry Verberne

    To take up your last point John, the money was always available as it is created out of nothing. That’s what sovereign governments do.

    But anyway, I will settle for “Budget Repair that’s Fair”.

  11. king1394

    Also can be noted that a female Senator, Lucy Gichuhi,(Liberal) has been relegated to an unwinnable place for the next election

  12. DIANE Larsen

    Glad you have returned to the keyboard I always enjoy your pieces and others on this site they help keep me sane in knowing my views are shared by others

  13. Pete Petrass

    When looking at the Lieberal’s women problem from a different angle I actually came to the conclusion that perhaps they are justified in not having too many. Think a little about the “quality” of their women, the likes of Bishop, Cash, O’Dwyer, etc. Compare them with the likes of Plibersek, Wong, Kenneally, etc. Seems obvious to me the Lieberals are unable to attract women of the calibre of those in the Labor Party. So let’s face it, if that is all that is available would you seriously pick them? Would you want any more of them?
    Not to also forget that many on the male Lieberal side of the fence are as bad or worse.

  14. Keith

    Any person who cares about the well being of their community would not be joining the Liberal Party whether they are male or female.

  15. Kaye Lee

    Keith, I think that is the fundamental difference.

    There are those who care about community, from local to global, and others who just care about getting the best for themselves and who jealously guard their wealth and that of the country. There are those who give what they can and those who take what they can. There are those who set their own standards of honesty and integrity and those who will do whatever they can get away with.

    We are all probably a mixture of those dichotomies. Our leaning tends to depend on the degree of self-focus. The Libs like to call that reward for effort, or rewarding the aspirationals. I can pretty much guarantee that every teacher, every nurse, every gardener, every aged care and childcare worker, every building labourer, every cleaner, works harder than any shareholder and that, unless you are born into wealth and privilege, your aspirations are much harder to achieve.

  16. Keitha Granville

    Keep it coming John, and Kaye too. Your voices of sanity in the sea of lies and spin and corruption are the liferaft we need.

  17. Rod Stebbing

    Oh so true Kaye. (One of) the most absurd ‘grunts’ that emanate from government apologists, including of the News Corp chorus, is the selective reference to those who WORK HARD – and are therefore entitled to ADDITIONAL government largesse/bribes.

  18. totaram

    “..those who will do whatever they can get away with…”

    In order to do that they have constructed a suitable rationale: “it’s my money and the govt. just takes it away and gives it to undeserving layabouts. Anything I can do to get it back is justified”.

    To counter this nonsense, the first step is to stop saying something is “taxpayer funded”. If you examine any govt. budget, you will find there is a substantial portion of revenue that does not come from taxes. Typically, this is “royalties”, the pitifully small amounts that multinationals pay to rip our resources out of the ground and ship them off for great profit (made elsewhere, outside Australia). There used be other sources of revenue but a series of neoliberal-minded govt.s have sold off many of those. However, there is still enough reason to say “govt. funded” rather than “taxpayer funded”, without invoking MMT (which of course tells you it isn’t “your” money at all)

  19. diannaart

    @ helvityni May 21, 2018 at 8:33 am

    Maybe there are not enough “Liberal” women to make up 50% representation in the LNP.


    I believe there ARE (unfortunately) enough self-interested, greedy self-entitled women of the Right to make up the numbers – of course how the men of the Right determine what “merit” is is another interesting kink in the values of the LNP and the propensity to dump any women who reveal the slightest hint of integrity.

    Therefore, you worry needlessly, it is unlikely parity of gender will be reached in the near future by the LNP.

  20. jimhaz

    [I can pretty much guarantee that every teacher, every nurse, every gardener, every aged care and childcare worker, every building labourer, every cleaner, works harder than any shareholder and that, unless you are born into wealth and privilege, your aspirations are much harder to achieve]

    Yep..but I think that conservatives count fretting about having more money and protecting ones existing wealth like Scrooges – as being actual work. All that time, effort and cost spent working out ways to avoid fair tax makes for a 100 hour week.

  21. bearbrooke

    Good you are back John Lord with your biting ill humour picking flesh from the bones of our woebegone government. I share your ill humour. I am a harsher critic than you; not with such detail, but with a jaded overview of the conservative mind. The conservative mind, when it is extreme, is exactly as I describe it:—

    Ultraconservative Doctrine observes — the universe is not kind. It is not regulated by a giant social worker wearing sandals. Nor is it a kingdom with a capricious sovereign named God. The universe is a violent and purposeless anarchy, seething with remorseless conflicts. All forms of life intermesh in harsh processes of natural selection, evolving in a random and directionless way, cleaving to one simple rule — only the fittest shall survive.

    The only worthwhile human law is competition and struggle, the war of all against all, and there are no exceptions. Humans are subject to the same natural law as the lion and the lamb.

    Most people don’t want to know this truth, which Darwin revealed, which life experience avers — the strong male and the clever and the rich and the ruthless and the rulers who are kings and dictators and despots are the only humans who matter.

    People would rather delude themselves into believing life has a purpose, a destiny, a progression, but this is weakness and stupidity.

    The lion will prevail and the lamb be his prey — in this truth is our strength and wisdom.

  22. Trevor vivian

    Another incisive reveal from AIMN’s prolific commentator John Lord. Beware of burnout John. We need your voice for a long time to come.
    The real lie we are all fighting to reveal is the real nature of captalism, Socialise the losses and capitalise the profits.

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