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Desk Jobs And Numbers Aren’t Always Boring!

Dave Allen used to tell a joke…

Well, he used to tell a lot of jokes he was a comedian, after all, and he was often politically incorrect. As Darryl Somers said about “Hey, Hey, It’s Saturday, if the show were on today it’d be cancelled. In Dave Allen’s case, it would probably be more because he’s dead, but then I guess you could say the same about a lot of Daryl Somer’s humour.

Anyway, the joke went like this: “One in three road accidents is caused by someone with alcohol in their system… This means that two-thirds of the accidents are caused by SOBER PEOPLE! Why don’t they get off the road and give the poor drunks a go?”

While it’s not very funny, it’s been great for teaching kids about using statistics in argument. You put forward the proposition that the guy saying this has a really good point and they respond that it’s just stupid. When you tell them that statistics don’t lie, they know there’s something wrong, but they have trouble articulating exactly what. Eventually, someone gets it and says that the number of alcohol-related accidents is disproportionate to the number of drunk drivers, but it often takes a while.

I bring this up because of Scott Morrison’s assertion: “Christian Porter is innocent.”

Like the kids in class trying to work out what was wrong with the proposition that drink driving is safer, I couldn’t work out exactly what I was objecting to. After all, I do support the idea of the presumption of innocence. And I did understand that conviction in a court of law would be difficult owing to the death of the victim and the historical nature of the case. Even an investigation could prove inconclusive.

Allowing for all that, I was still disturbed by Morrison declaring Porter innocent. Why was this more galling than the average, “I wasn’t convicted so the court has completed exonerated me!” Courts rarely “exonerate”; the best is that they don’t find people guilty. Lack of evidence is NOT proof of innocence. It simply means that the person should be given the benefit of the doubt.

On a side note, I am wondering when appeals courts throw out convictions because of irregularities to do with the Gobbo fiasco, will the same people who now assert that the High Court found George Pell innocent as opposed to not guilty, suddenly start suggesting that particular underworld figures are similarly “innocent”.

So what was wrong with Morrison’s assertion of Porter’s innocence. Do I not accept that I must presume him innocent?

And then I remember the Dave Allen joke.

We’ve been hearing statistics about how only three percent of rapes result in convictions. And we can speculate about all the possible reasons for it.

But I just want to spin the Morrison thing around and make it not about Porter but pursue it to its logical conclusion. It means that the subtext is all the rapes that didn’t result in a conviction were made against innocent men. 97% of the claims are therefore false and made against innocent men.

Everyone – except Pauline Hanson – knows that’s nonsense.

When the Prime Minister suggests that you can’t judge someone guilty on the basis of an accusation, he’s theoretically right. However, that doesn’t mean that you can simply dismiss the accusation and say we can’t condemn people on the basis of an allegation. That’s when you end up with the absurdity of the past week and Eric Abetz. (I’m referring to the specific statement by the Tasmanian speaker not the general absurdity of Eric.)

Scotty’s response to that could be summarised as: “Blokes sometimes get it wrong but I haven’t with Eric because he assured me that he didn’t say those things and that she was just making it up and while I believe in the general principle that we should believe a woman, you just can’t when the bloke vigorously, strenuously or categorically denies the allegation because a man’s a man for all that. Investigate further? But I already have his denial. What would further investigation achieve?”

Of course, one very interesting thing about the conversation Eric didn’t have with Sue Hickey on March 1st was the fact that he identified Porter before Christian had outed himself. If the conversation had taken place as Ms Hickey says, then this would have been three days after the letter that Morrison never saw was delivered to his office and five days after Morrison confronted Porter with the allegations which he didn’t have. So, if Hickey is telling the truth – and it appears that she spoke to the Tasmanian Premier at the time – the question must be: Who told Abetz? Remembering that part of Porter’s defamation claim is that he was identifiable from Louis Milligan’s article do we conclude that the phrase “senior Cabinet minister” was something that Eric read and immediately thought: “That can only be Christian!” Or was it an open secret like the prayer room which apparently everyone but Scotty knew about?

As for Brittany Higgins allegation that his office was backgrounding journalists about her partner, it would be unfair to simply believe her. After all, as he pointed out many times, he’d seen no evidence. Had he asked his staff it were true? No need, because he’d seen no evidence it was happening and if you haven’t seen any evidence, they all must be innocent and there’s no formal complaint and… Oh, Brittany’s made one. Well, he can’t believe her just because she said it’s true. Neither can he simply ask his staff. No, we need another inquiry which will go to enormous lengths and leave no stone unturned in its attempts to get to the truth of this matter. It may take years, but it needs to be thorough.

Anyway, just because our PM believes Porter, Abetz et al, this doesn’t mean that he always disbelieves the woman. I’m sure that if any woman has any charges against a member of the Opposition, Morrison will happily endorse it even before an investigation.

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  1. Craig Robson

    Andrew Probyn reported of this backgrounding of Ms. Higgins on Fran Kellys program 621am about 3-4 weeks ago,
    He went onto say that the backgrounding included she has only complained since entering into a relationship with a disgruntled former lib staffer.
    At the time I was dismayed but not shocked that none of the MSM reported it,

  2. Keitha Granville

    that’s my very favourite Dave Allen joke !!!
    It makes such logical sense, I will have to have a think about why it isn’t.

  3. Neilw

    I would raise the ‘Wilful Blindness’ doctrine. He’s choosing not to investigate.

  4. RomeoCharlie29

    Some of us have long believed that Morrison is completely the wrong person for the job of PM, despite the evidence (from polls) that a majority of citizens apparently think he is. However, putting aside things like well, everything he has said and done or not done, about anything since he was shoehorned in, then the past couple of weeks have demonstrated how abjectly incompetent he is. So, one wonders when, or if, the scales will fall from the eyes of his supporters sufficient for him to be forced to an election. The fact that the screeching harpie Michaelia Cash might get the AG gig permanently, shows just what a dearth of talent the LNP have. Further proof of this must surely be that the least competent Treasurer in recent times, sorry forgot Hockey, is actually, apparently, being spoken of as a potential replacement. If I believed in her I’d say God Help Us.

  5. Kerri

    Surely “blokes don’t always get it right!”
    Is the adult equivalent of “boys will be boys”
    Or should I say right wing adult equivalent?

  6. New England Cocky

    we have Lies, damn lies and Scummo ”facts”. A Royal Dispensation from the disHonourable(?) Prim Monster has NOT heard the evidence and so may be tried a second time because all the evidence would be fresh and compelling evidence, ans so the Rule against Double Jeopardy is not contravened Think about it Labor.

  7. Harry Lime

    Apparently, our self esteemed ,first among equals ,fake prime minister suffers from a rare physical disorder whereby the anal sphincter is located at the back of his throat,which would explain why he talks so much shit,or conversely is seen to be talking through his arse..Not to be confused with simply lying non stop.The’broad church’ certainly attracts some seriously strange people,and maybe should revisit their recruiting strategies to disinclude complete fuckwits.

  8. Kronomex


    That gives a whole new meaning to the end of 2021 for him, it will be his anus horribilis.

  9. Diane Larsen

    Oh Harry Lime you crack me up what a treasure of a comment I have taken a screen shot of it so when frustrated with this current distasteful mob of tossers I can give myself a chuckle knowing that there others who feel as I do.

  10. Kaye Lee

    As per usual, they are going after the whistleblower….

    “Hi guys, I have a journalist who is naming me as the whistleblower tomorrow, despite my wishes that he doesn’t. Amongst other things, he is accusing me of destroying the careers of those involved. I have supplied him the statement below. I’m not looking forward to tomorrow”

    Apparently it’s a journo from The Age.

  11. Harry Lime

    Kronomex,his concession speech will involve taking one foot out of his arse, whilst simultaneously taking the other foot out of his mouth,which will be highly entertaining.Empathy consultant not required.
    D.L…. my pleasure,and thankyou.

  12. Canguro

    Must be a terribly tense household when the Morrisons all get to be under the one roof, with the alpha male lumped in with three of the opposite gender who must have by now all cracked on to the notion that their dearly beloved doesn’t trust women, doesn’t believe them, doesn’t value them or accord them equality in the to & fro of the domestic dynamics.

    Or does he?

    Does he have one set of values for the nearest & dearest and another for those folk unlucky enough to be outside his particular tent?

    Perhaps. He wept tearus crocodilus in faux emotive empathy as visions of his wife, daughters and mother thrust themselves into his consciousness in his faux mea culpa “I’m an idiot’ presser, his rat-cunning survivalist motives in play as to how best to scrape though another clusterf*ck of his own making, only to release the angry beast when challenged by the Sky News journo and thereby blowing up his contrived empathetic show of contrition.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, Rossleigh. The man’s a disaster when let loose in the public area. Can’t he be pensioned off to pursue a late-career change… backyard cubby builder or a daggy dag persona flogging laundry detergent in late night TV ads?

  13. Lisa Clements

    Well written Rossleigh. Articulates many concepts I have thought.

  14. Zathras

    Two observations –

    When it comes to statistics. if you stand with one foot on hot coals and the other on a block of ice, on average you would be quite comfortable.

    Right is right, even if no-one’s doing it and wrong is wrong, even if everyone’s doing it.

  15. JudithW

    If Scott Morrison is correct when he says blokes don’t always get things right then why does he persist in putting them in important ministerial positions?

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