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Day to Day Politics: Retribution – what an awful word

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Alas, my wife and I were called to Melbourne yesterday to assist with the nursing of our daughter-in-law who had suddenly taken ill with a perforated bowel. Having suffered from bowel cancer myself, I could instantly relate to her predicament.

An observation

“Every experience is a mountain with a peak to climb, a descent to to safely navigate and a lesson or two on the route” (Heather Ducker).

As in my daughter-in-law’s experience this sudden near-death experience has been an occasion for reflection, a sojourn of thought and introspection about the hazards of life and its short duration.

Because it is so short I often wonder what causes politicians to devote so much of a very limited lifespan to negativity and retribution, which like a sponge squeezes the very essence of life’s purpose from us.

Such is the case with former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce who suddenly seems to have woken to the fact that he was expertly conned into resigning.

Simply put, it was pre-arranged so that he is unsightly persona didn’t take up as much of the political landscape as it did. Why Joyce hadn’t woken to this subversion is tribute to his naivety.

But once the savage beast of retribution seeks its way, all pretense of what the individual should do is lost in the fog of vengeance. Those who once demanded loyalty, more often than not abandon it with gay abandon.

As with Abbott, Rudd and many others before them, Joyce has chosen a “pay back” method of his own choosing.

He has urged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to do the honourable thing and step down if he cannot revive his political fortunes by the end of the year.

People might argue that it is simply a ploy to set a deadline to decide the leadership but that is nonsensical in light of the fact that he could easily set the date for September.

”Malcolm’s not a fool. Where stating hear the bleeding obvious. Nobody wants to actually go to a Federal election which you know you’re going to lose.”

”You have an obligation to all around you that if you honestly believe that is the case, then you must do something about it and do the honourable thing and start grooming an alternative. Now we are a long, long way from that at the moment. But if I said ‘Oh well, no-one ever considers it, everything’s fine’ well there is also not telling the truth. The first thing you’ve got to be with the electorate is truthful.”

Now there’s an original thought.

“Mr Joyce has supported Mr Turnbull’s leadership in public in recent weeks but the pair have fallen out over the way the Nationals leader was driven out of his job over his relationship with former press secretary Vikki Campion.”

While on one hand I’m surprised at Barnaby’s inability to see through such an obvious dismissal I’m equally surprised at the time the retribution plan has taken to put in place, “But that’s dumb for you.”

And the obviousness of revealing Joyce’s chosen method of retribution the day after “Newspoll’s 30th in a row” is laudable for its untruthfulness. Topped-up by their 80th consecutive loss in the Guardian Essential poll (latest being 53/47), the Coalition looks like a political movement on Valium plus.

My thought for the day

“Just because we are governed by clowns it doesn’t mean we have to laugh.”


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  1. New England Cocky

    I hope things in Melbourne are going appropriately.

    Choosing the execution date for the RAbbott Morriscum Dicko Turdball NLP misgovernment is a speculative game for otherwise limited MSM journos lacking the personal experience and historical interest in Australian politics.

    There have been many wonderful suggestions, Turdball resigns from the Liarbral Part and moves to the backbench while the unelected political hacks who control pre-selection in the NLP chase their tails into a lost motion of no confidence and a losing election.

    More likely is the traditional summer season election of November or December 2018. However, yesterday there was a report that Turdball would hang on grimly until May 2018, so as to ensure that the greatest abuse of Parliamentary Allowances can be made by the many NLP politicians financially preparing for their imminent political demise.

    What the people want is not considered and indeed those polls that nobody watches are rigged anyway, so what the hell.

    Perhaps it is time that Australia takes a giant leap forward and introduces fixed term Parliaments of say, four years, as occurs in NSW.

  2. Terry2

    Isn’t it so typical of this government.

    When a story is leaked that Peter Dutton came up with a suggestion (don’t call it a policy) that immigration be reduced by 20,000, from current level of around 190,000 which was evidently knocked back by Turnbull and Morrison.

    What we have is denials and claims of media inaccuracy and that there will be no change to current immigration settings.

    Surely, what we are all crying out for is a real immigration policy into the future together with real ongoing consultation with state governments and local councils who have to plan the infrastructure and housing needs for a growing population.

    For a start it is unlikely that Peter Dutton actually came up with a policy, that would be a first. Even if he did, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we are not planning our population growth or the roads, water, electricity needs, the schools, hospitals or housing that go with a well structured population policy.

    When Dick Smith first alerted us to a problem in the lack of population planning, I was intrigued as he would not normally be on the wing-nut fringe on these issues. But now I see that he is spot on, we are just not planning for the future, we have allowed our politicians to be blinded by the economic growth associated with population growth and demand.

  3. Jack Straw

    Yes Terry all the new immigration policies are made in the car or on the way to 2GB studios.

  4. Florence nee Fedup

    I suspect Joyce might have done the PM a favour. Turnbull is refusing to face reality if he really believes it is business usual. Challenges will come later in the year. They are waiting to be in a position to go to an immediate election. In the meantime, the government will see the likes of Dutton, Morrison etc vying to get the numbers for a spill.

    Why does Turnbull say the election will be in first half of next year. Not due to the latter half.

    Some are saying that it could be likely as Turnbull nears 64, he would probably step down later this year. I suspect that is true.

  5. etnorb

    I do hope your daughter is recovering from her ordeal. Great article, as usual John! Yes, Talkbull should (must?) go, but who within in this rabble of inept, lying, flat earth, right wing so-called “liberal” politicians ( I use this term advisedly!) could take his place? Not one of ANY of the members of this party are worthy of being PM, so, what a dilemma they are in! Cannot wait for the next Federal election, when (hopefully!) they are kicked out of the asylum & the real people take over!

  6. Zathras

    I don’t think Joyce was conned into resigning – I think he took the less personally and politically damaging option.

    There were several outstanding allegations of womanising, misogyny and general drunken misbehaviour that were not raised in the media which would have driven him out of public life altogether and probably brought down the government.

    Even those allegations from women in his own party went no further and Joyce took no legal action to defend himself (the reason being “witnesses” according to some).

    His performance as a Minister was also terrible and further discussion about corruption and mismanagement of water resources also seem to have now been set aside.

    His desire for some sort of payback is no different from Abbott’s small-minded lust for vengeance and validation but Joyce in particular should tread warily.

    More importantly, my best wishes for you and your family and a swift recovery. It’s a terrible way to regain perspective about what’s really important in life.

  7. helvityni

    Keating made me laugh, Whitlam’s enthusiasm made me smile; this mob of clowns have an opposite effect on my mood, they give me a heavy heart, they take away hope….

    When they ‘smile’ it just looks like bearing of the teeth,( at the dentist), their eyes stay cold …

  8. Jamboree

    I agree with every word of Zathras. But I do protest at the very idea Dutton aimed to cut immigration; he is begging for us to take a few Afrikaner farmers in, since we are known to be a generous nation, with lots of (other peoples’) earth to share. With whities.
    All the best for your daughter.

  9. flohri1754

    Very good column … insightfully observed both in its political and larger life context.

    The way in which Julia Gillard departed the political scene appears increasingly commendable as time goes by. In my view, she was the best PM Australia has had since Paul Keating.

  10. Alan

    Hi John, yes retribution, it looks like a childish reaction to feeling like a victim. In the case of Joyce vs Turnbull, its effect is relatively benign. No-one is being maimed or killed. The press (always the biggest victim) had their pound of flesh from Joyce and have since moved onto to other targets. Pass the sandpaper please. Abbott and Joyce are still playing victim and Turnbull might soon join them in the back benches. Retribution – all wars, terrorist activities and any pre-meditated crime have it as a driving force – it shows up as either a ‘getting back’ at a culture, a country, a company or an individual. It’s a projective activity – immature at best, irresponsible and criminal at worst. Really, who needs to use retribution? Are we children?

  11. Keitha Granville

    A bunch of toddlers annoyed and peeved because somebody else is winning pass the parcel and they wanted the prize first. JG definitely gets the prize for knowing how to withdraw gracefully, and staying out of comments once departed. Rudd and Abbott are as bad as each other, sniping and commenting from afar just to make sure we don’t forget they were dudded and they are still around if we’d like to give them another turn. Fixed terms, no other way to stop this profligacy with public money, and waiting for a good poll.

    My best wishes to your daughter for a speedy and good recovery.

  12. wam

    Yes, ‘dumb’ fits with the 30 polls, Australians are so consistently told to regard as important?

    Joyce delivered a simple act of vengeance. He is one of many political men and women for whom revenge is a big part of their ego.

    I admired shorten for sticking with gillard and felt sad that gillard didn’t reward him with a ‘retribution’ for the behaviour of the rabbott. This allowed the fear-whining husics and the slapped monkey to add to the lemon’s white-anting bullshit to push bill(reluctanyly?) into rudd’s corner.

    The lnp, if they were clowns we would all laugh but currently the only have 50% laughing but trumball amuses 62% of all voters and 74% of lnp.
    ps on research:
    “Newspoll didn’t exist in Robert Menzies’ day. But if it had, the founder of the party Turnbull leads might have been on course in election year 1954 for 50 losing Newspolls.
    Menzies prevailed in that year thanks to the Labor “split” and the Petrov Affair, which involved the defection of a Russian spy at the height of the Cold War and on the eve of the 1954 poll.”
    and the dog traded on the immigrants fear of unions and commos for the next 11 years
    QED WoMD, children overboard. illegals vs polls???

  13. Kronomex

    I wonder when the adults are going to start running the country because we’ve been waiting now for about five years and they still haven’t appeared.

  14. Ros

    John, hope your daughter-in-law has a speedy recovery.
    If you look at Newspoll the coalition have not been above 48 and Labor has not been below 52 for the last 2 years. Now if you were Malcolm Turnbull, a wealthy arrogant sod, would you spend a couple of million of your own hard earned to be humiliated in losing an election to someone who you regard as your inferior in all respects?
    It’s plain the very real prospect of losing by one seat let alone 20 is driving Malcolm totally potty.
    Malcolm will not have to resign or be knifed the nice men in white coats will come and take him away well before the next election.

  15. Ross

    John, hope your daughter-in-law has a speedy recovery.
    If you look at Newspoll the coalition have not been above 48 and Labor has not been below 52 for the last 2 years. Now if you were Malcolm Turnbull, a wealthy arrogant sod, would you spend a couple of million of your own hard earned to be humiliated in losing an election to someone who you regard as your inferior in all respects?
    It’s plain the very real prospect of losing by one seat let alone 20 is driving Malcolm totally potty.
    Malcolm will not have to resign or be knifed, the nice men in white coats will come and take him away well before the next election.

  16. Meg

    Wam, we need a glossary to decipher your obscure comments, namely:
    “the slapped monkey”?
    “the lemon”?

  17. diannaart

    John Lord

    May your daughter-in-law regain her health speedily and well.

    @ Meg, speaking of awful words:

    I think “slapped monkey” refers to Abbott and “lemon” refers to Rudd. What has got me stumped is ” fear-whining husics”.

    I did get wam’s “I admired shorten for sticking with gillard” – yeah, right up until Shorten didn’t stick with Gillard.

    That’s enough of decoding wam for one day.

    Head hurts.

  18. Lorraine Palmer

    with Barnaby on the back bench , we have Michael McC a true wilted lettuce if ever you saw one, much prefer Mr Tomato Head in charge .

  19. diannaart

    You prefer Barnaby Joyce to Michael McCormack as Leader of the Nats?

    Have you considered a freshly picked tomato would have more skills than either?

    In fact, drop the entire National Party and replace with a mixed salad – would actually represent the electorate than the overly privileged Joyce or McCormack.

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