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Democracy in free fall, thanks to Turnbull.

Monday 19 February 2018

The events last week involving Barnaby Joyce have no doubt left the nation aghast at the ongoing destruction of our democracy. It wasn’t just a scandal, but a tragedy. His personal wrong doing and those who would condone it cannot see that events like this, each time they occur, further evaporate whatever is left in the trust jar of Australian politics.

The cynical use of words by a ministry hell-bent on protecting whatever is left of a tarnished reputation was nothing short of scandalous. It was as though words like obligation, honesty, courage, ethics, responsibility and decency had lept from the pages of Webster’s never to be seen again.

The outright lies told by the protagonists in this scandal illustrated just how deeply entrenched it has become in all sections of out community. Lying by politicians has become so habitual that they don’t even realise they are doing it.

Once upon a time people went into politics to fulfill a desire for public service. It was a noble pursuit. Now it seems that it is only for self-interest. There is no pursuit of good works or building a decent society. Now the rust of their corruption spreads itself through the halls of parliament house tarnishing every idealistic thought.

When I sit back and watch I am confounded by the thought that these supposedly intelligent men don’t realise what they are doing to our society. That the hypocrisy they display, the lies they tell and the corruption they do – the example they set is so self-evident. They are judgemental of our unaccountability yet oblivious to their own.

Not content with the damage done the Government’s attack on our democracy continued with the Prime Minister personally intervening with the freedom of the press. To tell an independent media outlet – the ABC – what it can and cannot print under the threat of funds being withdrawn is tantamount to behaving like a dictator.

Greg Jericho had this to say:

“On Friday, the ABC took down Alberici’s analysis, citing that it did not conform to the broadcaster’s editorial standards. Frankly, the article – which has been republished on John Menadue’s blog, is not all that different in focus from analyses by Ian Verrender published by the ABC last year, The Age’s Peter Martin and various others, including myself.”

Particularly when the article was meticulously researched by the author Emma Alberici. It really does highlight just how rotten this Government is. And it didn’t stop there. We lost more of our democracy when agreement couldn’t be reached on the Murray Darling legislation.

When Barnaby Joyce first claimed the extra 450 gigalitres of water didn’t have a “hope in Hades” of being delivered, people pricked their ears. It then got even worse when allegations of massive water theft became public last year. The Australian public are now well aware of the corruption that exists. Joyce in the loose voice of alcohol as much as admitted it when he was half pissed in a pub. As Water Minister he may well be the biggest crook. Well, people have alleged it.

Ostensibly 3 million Australians found politics so unconscionable that they didn’t bother to vote in the last election. They are well aware of just how the system operates and who runs it. Their view of politicians is that they are moronic individuals more intent in their own self-interest than ours. They wouldn’t trust them as far as they could kick them. So they either don’t vote or they turn to ratbags like Pauline Hanson. The fact that she is a drongo doesn’t matter in the least. They just want to be heard. Nor does it matter that she can do little to help them.

What I feel when I see our Prime Minister being so obviously hypocritical or when I hear Joyce using his supposed retail skills, or Morrison telling such obvious lies is a sense of shame. But even more I feel a great sorrow that they know exactly what they are doing.

My thought for the day

“To say that we are ambivalent about our politicians is an understatement. Now we are ashamed.”


23 comments

  1. ajogrady

    I posted this earlier on another site but it has relevance here.
    “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing”.
    In our Democracy/Society the Fourth Estate/Media are the gatekeepers responsible for factually and in an unbiased manner informing the Third Estate/ the People. The Fourth Estate/ Media are now complicit in corrupting our Democracy/ Society for the benefit of those it was meant to protect us from . Neo Conservatism is the love child of the First and Second Estate that the Fourth Estate/Media protects with unconditional love and fanatical devotion. The reality is Neo Conservatism is a blight on humanity. It has resulted in the systematic looting of social cohesion, the plundering of our Human and Civil Rights, the stealing of our common wealth, the robbing of our right to Union representation, the basic right of privacy, the pillaging of sovereign countries in illegal wars, the wanton destruction of the environment for profit and the desecration of our Holy Grail, Democracy. The Fourth Estate/Media has been co opted into doing the bidding of the First and Second Estates and Humanity and the Environment is feeling the full brunt of it. So many have been betrayed for the benefit of so few. Death,destruction and human misery for the many, while the few benefit greatly.
    Many good people have made the ultimate sacrifice for our Holy Grail, Democracy. Neo Conservatives have trashed our Democracy and disrespect those who made the ultimate sacrifice while they wave their flags in patriotic fervour intent in finding new wars to send the youth to their untimely death and reeking havoc and destruction on those poor innocents who cannot protect themselves from the onslaught of profit and Neo Conservatism.
    I WANT MY COUNTRY AND DECENCY BACK.I also agree that this is where we are now and that is because the MSM have been complicit in peddling Neo Conservative propaganda and political parties have been to willing to accept Neo Conservative political donation. These Neo Conservatives are well aware of the Achilles Heel of politics, the need for large amounts of money to run political campaigns and the massive cost of advertising. Which beggars the question, when is buying advertising by companies in blatantly biased media outlets going to be considered a political donation. Each one of us who believe that our democracy and freedoms have been stolen are the power,the power of one. Gandhi and Mandela managed to spread their message without the internet. It is up to us as individuals to stand up and spread the message that we the people want what is ours back. The reason I started this with the quote “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing” is to many people feel powerless and we are not.Everything good that we had before had to be fought for. The power of one is real and powerful.

  2. Terry2

    RBA Governor Philip Lowe last week sounded warnings about the federal government’s push to reduce income tax levels for major corporations. He said :

    “If we were to go down the direction of having lower corporate tax rates, I think it would be a big mistake to do that on the back of higher budget deficits,” he told federal parliamentary committee hearing in Sydney.”But if it’s at the expense of ongoing budget deficits, I think there’s a very big question over that,” he said.

    “As a father of three teenage children, I don’t like explaining to them that we’re racking up debt and they have to pay it back.”

    I wonder, will the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia be treated by our government in the same way as the analysis by Emma Alberici on corporate taxes was by the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield. He called the well researched and factual article from Alberici, who is the ABC’s Chief Economics Correspondent, as being : ” neither fair, balanced, accurate nor impartial. It fails to present a balance of views on the corporate tax policy.”

    He may well have added, as he implied, that it was written by a girl at the ABC when he insisted that it be taken down.

    if you haven’t read the original Alberici analysis it is worthwhile doing so,here : https://johnmenadue.com/emma-alberici-theres-no-case-for-a-corporate-tax-cut-when-one-in-five-of-australias-top-companies-dont-pay-it/

    Rather than insisting on the ABC taking down the Alberici analysis it would have been far more instructive for the Australian people if the government could have responded factually to the concerns raised and those highlighted by Philip Lowe, but so far there has been no economic analysis or rationale for tax cuts from the government.

  3. Keith

    Terry2

    There are other articles about monetary policy that support the article written by Emma Alberici.

    I received this Youtube film in August 2016 via email, it had been published in August 2014.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBpm5sVmGYc&app=desktop

  4. Alpo

    The censoring of Emma Alberici’s program by Turnbull is clear evidence that this Neoliberal-Conservative Government of un-democratic fools has reached the very bottom of their continuous descent into Hell. It’s time for Labor to lift the tone of their rhetoric in defence of our Democracy, without going over the top (as the Greens are prone to do, see their attack on Molan that backfired). People are getting tired of the Coalition and are ready to boot them out, but too many voters remain sensitive to scaremongering, and so they must feel reassured by Labor’s policies and political strategies.

    We are clearly getting closer to a Federal election, as this Government is obviously terminal. The Joyce affair has seriously damaged the relationship between Liberals and Nationals, now we only have to wait for the electoral results in SA and Tassy for the pressure within the Liberal party to reach boiling point if they lose (and they will lose) both elections. … a win for Labor in Batman will also help destroy another line of attack by the Liberals, that they would use if Labor lose: “Labor lost Batman to the Greens, the dangerous and loony Greens are taking over, a vote for Labor is a vote for a Greens Government…. Be afraid, be very afraid… and Shorten is a failure, he should be sacked, Labor are in disarray…. blah, blah!”….. Not an inch of breathing space should be allowed to this Government in free fall…

  5. Freethinker

    Keith February 19, 2018 at 8:03 am
    “George Christensen has reached a new low with his offensive Face Book photo and comment. He has set the bar at the bottom of the barrel.”

    Keith, I agree with you, but I have to add this this behavior it is approved by his electorate and it was not considered as an offence by the Queensland police, further more, in 2015 his low life individual, as the news said, quote: In 2015 he posted a cartoon that depicted the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, naked on a wrecking ball.
    This also was approved by his electorate.
    We have to accept that is the electorate who has the bar sett very low and not only in the both cases mentioned above but also in the case of Abbott behavior towards Guillard that was approved Australia wide by electing him.
    That it is the reality.

  6. Kaye Lee

    This article by Stephen Long tells the reality about the unrealistic assumptions used in the modelling on which the government is relying to spruik its company tax cuts. It is well worth reading.

    Interestingly, Long links to the modelling by the Treasury, and modelling by a firm of consultants hired by the Treasury, but if you click on the links, both of them now show “Page cannot be found”.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-03/long-the-strange-modelling-used-to-sell-company-tax-cuts/7473480

  7. Wam

    Dear oh dear, Lord john,
    Did you read this before posting?

    ‘Unconsionable’ has all the hallmarks of deep understanding which is hardly applicable to your usual description of the level of intelligence and understanding of the majority of your fellow voters.
    Still if you believe it then it is your truth.
    My truth is we had 17 candidates and got 87.1% turnout for new england (the poms are lucky to get 66%).
    Still you are knowledgable about ‘them’ and ‘they’ and that is the t r u t h for sure.

    Ambivalence is replaced by ashamed wow the swishing of one prick paints the lot?

    Hands up anyone who remembers lord john being ambivalent about joyce? Dutton? The rabbott? Billy and labor yes-ish? Di’s boys no or yes? Di’s girl no-ish?

    There is no ambivalence on the ABC censorship of Aberici. The act was confirmation that rupert’s law of editorial control is rife in fife.

    ps tell billy slogans work on people. Even when it is followed by drivel on the 4th floor employees.(the post is a film, aj)

  8. Glenn Barry

    John, great article – the brazen level of dishonesty of the current LNP is beyond the pale, however we have all known that for quite some time.

    It is incidents like the Joyce saga and the Emma Alberici article that bring it back into sharp focus with the avalanche of lies rendering the scene surreal.

    On a related note with media interference – this is not Turnbull’s first round of media manipulation – the NBN coverage was first, before the 2013 election!

    It makes the howls of bias at the ABC by right wing MSM journalists (opinionistas) and various right wing journalists all the more hypocritical, given that the bias has in fact been occurring, but it has been bias TOWARDS the right wing LNP.

    http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2013/09/19/3851924.htm

    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/exclusive-nick-ross-speaks-to-ia-about-mark-scotts-abc-and-malcolm-turnbulls-nbn,8710

    https://newmatilda.com/2016/01/24/false-balance-the-full-transcript-of-the-meeting-between-nick-ross-and-bruce-belsham/

    https://delimiter.com.au/2014/05/23/abc-delayed-albericis-pro-nbn-article-election/

    This video is worth watching – Turnbull on lateline in 2014 – watch from 9:02 onwards – I am amazed at how slimy, smarmy and generally untrustworthy Turnbull is

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/nothing-illegitimate-about-lobbying-the-government/5382494

  9. Harry

    Terry2:

    I am with you on the very thin case in favour of corporate tax cuts but progressives must be very careful they do not swallow the lie by the RBA governor that “If we were to go down the direction of having lower corporate tax rates, I think it would be a big mistake to do that on the back of higher budget deficits,” he told federal parliamentary committee hearing in Sydney.”But if it’s at the expense of ongoing budget deficits, I think there’s a very big question over that,”

    “As a father of three teenage children, I don’t like explaining to them that we’re racking up debt and they have to pay it back.”

    Some quotes from Bill MIchell’s blog today should be seen as a corrective to those mis-leading remarks.

    “First, the central bank governor basically provided depoliticised cover for the highly contested fiscal policy decision by the government to cut corporate taxes, in an environment where many of the top corporations have been revealed to be not paying any taxes at all – it is hard to justify the policy on the grounds that there will be a boost in investment and higher pay for workers.

    The reality is the Government is cutting spending (or spending growth) in vital areas such as education and health while handing out massive amounts of corporate welfare to the top-end-of-town.

    The RBA Governor should not become part of this scam.

    Second, the fiscal deficit fetish is pure neoliberal.

    On what grounds does the RBA Governor conclude that “higher budget deficits” are bad and undesirable at this point in time, especially when earlier he had talked about the idle labour resources and the record levels of household debt?

    There is nothing in the discussion to justify the throwaway line that the “lower corporate tax rates … [do not] … come at the expense of higher budget deficits”.

    Why not?

    Why are lower fiscal deficits desirable now?

    Nothing!

    Third, the RBA Governor gets personal and desperate when he tells the Committee that he would not like having to explain to his three kids that “we’re racking up debt and they’re going to have to pay it back.”

    This is the classic argument.

    Future generations will choose whatever tax and spending regimes are in place through the political process at each point in history.

    The public debt now has no necessary bearing on that choice.

    Further, by trying to reduce debt now through austerity the future of the next generation(s) is always undermined.

    They inherit compromised education, health and infrastructure systems.

    They bear higher unemployment and underemployment and lower wages which undermines their future choices and prosperity”.

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=11218

  10. jimhaz

    jimhaz’s law

    As an online leftie discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving MMT approaches 1.

  11. Harry

    jimhaz: do you have anything of substance to contribute other than labelling ? Newsflash: MMT is neither left or right. Its an accurate description of macroeconomic reality and can be used for either pole of politics.

  12. diannaart

    Harry

    Indeed, rom my reading MMT tends to be a centre/centre thing.

    However, even if JH’s claim is true, that the left frequently bring up the monetary theory, JIMHAZ, it is because a common value of the left is to search for solutions.

    While change is anathema to the hard right, the left tends to grasp the need for change – this is why we refer to ourselves progressives as opposed to the immovable, rigidity, blinkered vision of the regressives (that’s right-wing to you JimHaz)

  13. Harry

    I agree. The right is generally happy and supports the status quo because they do well out of it.

    Jimhaz: how about you come up with a rundown of your economic and political views instead of slagging off by what amounts to trolling.

  14. OPPOSE THE MAJOR PARTIES

    The RBA are in breach of their statutory duties and have been for many years. They need to be brought to account like the fascists that have been running this country since 1974. They are complicit in the government’s use of unemployment to combat inflation and have abandoned their statutory duty to implement policies conducive to full employment

  15. Wam

    Well cut your cash cards harry, pay off your debt and live within your means.

  16. jamesss

    In my opinion, Turdbull is still working for his old employer in the U.S. Goldman Sach, their Hit man. Look at the natural wealth in Australia, He wants to create another Greece through foreign debt.

  17. jimhaz

    You first need both a financial and political world where MMT can be safely implemented. Regardless of whether you like it or not globalised finance and industry is here to stay. Countries who stuff around with their money supply always end up in dire straits (other than the US as the world trading currency). They get punished by high interest rates or lost investment or increasing import costs. We are far too tied to that world to go it alone, so first their needs to be an international agreement that regulates the use of MMT. There would seem to be zero chance of that occurring…..without there first being a great depression, to force debt to be written off.

    I understand the lure of MMT in terms of full employment, that it is logical that using created money, via job creation programs presently unused capacity could add back in at least part of the cost of their unemployment or enable more job long term, and this would outweigh the negatives of the increased money supply.

    I’ve not seen good evidence that such job creation programs work. The rate of return is often low. About 2% or more of unemployed are not of sufficient quality to economically employ or just have no interest in work as it would mean for them. Too many modern jobs are just not that enjoyable, one is rarely in charge of the work. New jobs need to arise because there is a saleable demand, not a government money induced one (at least not a very big scale one like MMT).

    Even if such programs did work economically then the government would just increase immigration or 457 type visas.

    MMTers need to provide evidence of how the current system of issuing bonds for debt is designed primarily to provide protection for the most wealthy – above and beyond that of it being a pointer to the management and responsibility, reliability of a countries government and the competiveness of the workforce.

    Then we come to the political world and the nature of politicians themselves and to our political minds as well. There is no discipline there at all. It scares me to think what they would do under MMT in order to obtain or hold government or how they would abuse it to enable profit making by ticket clippers.

    Then there comes the problem of explaining it to the public, as it goes completely against reality. We know the things that seem to offer the most for the least price 9 times out of 10 come back to bite you. It is not a sellable idea. Can you imagine the outcry from the conservative ranks! What it is only an option in a time of acute crisis.

    The amount of money is not the problem. For me the true problem lies in the decrease in taxation an regulation of the wealthy. Too few people have become too powerful.

    Democracy has been completely white-anted. The purpose of democracy is that the most valid and fair arguments should win, and that we can elect managers with the right skillset to bring the best ideas into being to improve our lives, not just economically. All we see though from all parties is vested interest propaganda. MMT is not going to fix that. The cost of debt should force governments to live within its means over a cycle, but also force a competent thus competitive labour force. That this has not been occurring is not the economics but the management.

    What MMT could achieve could be done by common good policies, even if debt was involved. I don’t think it is the economic system at fault, but the general population in allowing governments to work for bigger business, above us. We all love what capitalism brings too much and most people are not truly struggling economically – not enough to bring the big crowds out.

    Sorry, but the effects of capitalism and technology and globalisation and the wealth divide on our way of life are too profound and too confusing for the general population to wake up. Something else will have to occur and I don’t know what that will be. I can only see negative agents of change, as the media accumulated effect makes it impossible for a white knight situation. We need a downsizing, something to force a bottoms up rejection of uncontrolled capitalism. I’ve gotten tired of expecting a massive market and asset re-evaluation, and the resulting depression.

  18. Glenn Barry

    kronomex I hope that the libs lose in both Tasmania and then South Australia with the Federal LNP following suit.

    Even in NSW the LNP are behind in the polls and I can count on one hand the number of times the NSW Labor leader, Luke Foley gets air time on ABC and SBS.

    The LNP’s relentless march toward fascism needs to be halted – sieg heil

  19. ace Jones

    Emma Alberici is better at highlighting LNP bullshit than Labor, who were once again sleeping.
    What a bloody shame we have no effective opposition

  20. auntyuta

    //www.getup.org.au/campaigns/democracy/mission-1-flood-them-with-letters/flood-them-with-letters?t=EQRpAh0qR

    What do you think, is our democracy at risk because of this Bill?

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