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Freedom from responsibility

We hear a great deal about ‘freedom’ from those on the right but what they really want is freedom to impose their idea of morality and ethics, freedom for the individual to prosper with scant regard for the collective good, freedom from transparency and accountability, freedom from responsibility.

Remember when repealing Section 18c was soooo important? Apparently, the right to insult people on racial grounds was something to be fought for. Bugger how it made the victims feel – I shouldn’t be made to think about that! Toughen up, snowflakes. Offence is taken, not given. If you don’t like it, leave.

But if you in any way imply something about me, I have the best defamation lawyers lined up to crucify you and your employer, even if it is true. (You’re so Vain is running through my head.)

And for those of you who carry on about being invaded, January 26 will continue to be celebrated as the day civilisation came to this nation. You should strip off the black armbands, stop scaring the children, and just be grateful for all the money we are spending on keeping you incarcerated, keeping your children in out-of-home care, moving you from remote communities where we have cut off services, employing truancy officers to fix education, managing your income, and pondering how to improve your life expectancy without offending the alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and sugar industries or increasing welfare or providing affordable housing and local health services

(Sorry bout the cuts to legal aid and community centres – have you heard we are getting new submarines?)

A few rather loud groups, which include some ‘colourful’ politicians, have been yelling My Body My Choice in protest against mandatory vaccination and mask-wearing.

Unelected Queensland Senator Amanda Stoker said “The idea that the individual should be able to choose what they want to do with their own body is a fundamental liberal value and that’s why we have never said vaccination will be mandatory.”

This same unelected Senator and Assistant Minster for Women spoke at an anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia rally in Brisbane in May because… hey…”religious freedom”. I’d explain that if I could. My Body My Choice, Your Body My Choice?

Barnaby Joyce says we can’t stop using and exporting fossil fuels because we make too much money from it. Angus Taylor is busily working out ways to give more public money to fossil fuel companies and dress it up as emissions reduction. And Scott’s so scared of disappointing his new besties in Glasgow that he may well call an election just so he doesn’t have to go.

If there was no market for fossil fuels, we wouldn’t be able to sell them. Our coal is cleaner than theirs. Gas is a little bit better than coal. Our emissions are comparatively small. We are lifting people out of poverty (even though the coal-fired power never gets to them). We are protecting jobs (even though mines are increasingly automated and renewable energy is offering far more jobs into the future). We didn’t cut down trees that we could have. Good luck selling that package to anyone besides the people who can’t remember your name.

I read today that we will see legislation for a Federal Icac-equivalent before Christmas. I seem to have heard that before. And I can already hear the cries of outrage about the NSW Icac unfairly orchestrating the demise of our Glad at the pinnacle of her success (before hospitals are overwhelmed, deaths peak, and cases surge).

This is not a case of a naïve woman who was duped by her love interest. In November last year, Berejiklian admitted they used grants funding for porkbarrelling, that it was common practice, and not illegal. Disturbingly, her office shredded notes about meetings and communications.

Phone taps and emails are already in the public domain, but somehow, Glad thought her involvement, both active and passive, was just a personal “stuff-up” that was in the past. It just doesn’t seem to occur to any of them that using public money to enhance their political fortunes, or to benefit their associates, is actually wrong.

Morrison’s cabinet reshuffle is all about rewarding his supporters and nothing to do with responsible government. The trouble is, the talent pool of supporters and those he must appease is a tiny pond filled with very greedy tadpoles – not a prince in sight. A promoted and emboldened Freedom Boy (aka Tim Wilson) is a scary prospect

Freedom of Information has been met with a full suite of disabling tactics – defunding, excuses about national security and commercial in confidence, too time-consuming for staff, increasing delays in responding, appealing decisions, stacking the AAT, court action, redactions, and distractions.

Scott doesn’t hold the hose and Gladys has always acted with integrity – and if anything went wrong it wasn’t their fault.

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33 comments

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  1. Harry Lime

    No princes in sight Kaye,just a knot of self serving,disgusting toads,led by the King of Toads,wallowing in his dried up puddle of credibility.

  2. Jo.

    Re:

    admitted they used grants funding for porkbarrelling, that it was common practice, and not illegal.

    Putting aside the ‘illegality’ or otherwise for the moment because that in fact IS common practice and in many ways is seen as a core responsibility for local member(s). (Keeps them off the streets.)

    How often do we hear from local representatives from both sides of the aisle and across Australia at all levels of government – That new (school, hospital, road, pool, roof, court house etc) only came into being because of my representation? And in many instances they are speaking factually.

    Witnessed the conversion of a toll road to free usage, any number of new schools built via jumping the queue, etc etc. Sports rorts is a classic example as is the parking lots scandal.

    Should come as no surprise that all levels of government have planning processes with officials dedicated to those planning tasks. Yet we all have seen that rational planning crumble in the face of political ‘interference’. Happens on a very regular basis.

    So it will be interesting to see how the ICAC proceeds in the light of that common practice. Will member’s representation(s) be subject to guidelines in the future? Will claimed illegalities be applied retrospectively? (Very unlikely – the fall-out would be massive. Think of the political and legal consequences.)

    What might be the limitations placed on ministerial discretion in the face of rational planning processes? Particularly if they have been documented (and subject to FOI).

    So many possibilities. Interesting times. No wonder both sides don’t want a Federal ICAC with teeth.

  3. Kate Ahearne

    Hi, Kaye. Thanks for this I especially liked the bit about Amanda Stoker! What a dill! I hope someone brings your piece to her attention. It’s just remotely possible that she will have a light bulb moment. Probly not, though. Perhaps some enterprising journalist could ask her, on the record, how she reconciles the glaring My Body/Your Body contradiction.

  4. DrakeN

    Politics, thy name is hypocrisy.
    Ditto commerce and finance.
    Ditto established religions and religious cults.

    These things should be taught in pre-school, none of which should be conducted by religious bodies.

  5. Kaye Lee

    Yes Jo, Interesting times.

    What never ceases to amaze me is the number of gun clubs that get controversial funding. Am I out of touch? Are gun clubs a common thing? I know The Kings School was given public funding for a rifle range. Some schools would love to have a playground.

  6. David Evans

    lnp coalition chant: “Let Us Prey.”……. Why can’t state ICACs. investigate senators, mhrs and Commonwealth “government” departments in the states where ‘suspects’ reside, and where ‘offences’ occur? eg, morrison by NSW ICAC, porter by w.a., mckenzie by Victoria, joyce by N.S.W., taylor by N.S.W. etc etc etc. The idea may well be outside the bounds of Australias’ constitution, but aren’t these few members also acting outside the constitution of the Commonwealth, and the states?……. I have no doubt that the individual states Corruption Commissions already have enough evidence to bring down entire scamming members and “governments”, that evidence should be acted on and/or made public. What do you think jen?

  7. Terence Mills

    Kaye, that had occurred to me too.

    Senator Bridget McKenzie joined Wangaratta Clay Target Club as a member just four days before her office sent a list to Sport Australia recommending projects it wanted to share in the federal government’s $100 million sport grants “slush fund”. The Wangaratta club was on the list and received $36,000 as part of the sports rorts : McKenzie is now back in Cabinet.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Kate,

    People like Amanda Stoker and Tim Wilson have nothing to learn. Just ask them. They combine the certainty of youthful arrogance with the folly of ideology and the ingrained mantras of religion and the IPA. No wonder these people all think rote learning, phonics, standardised tests like NAPLAN and comparisons like PISA are all-important.

    Creativity, initiative, empathy, collective social and financial responsibility, communication, honesty, integrity, leadership, teamwork…NONE of those things are measured by their exams that tutors train private school kids to answer. They don’t know how to be thinking individuals. They are part of a collective that encourages individual advancement – dog eat dog and good luck to the fattest.

  9. GL

    They get the freedom and we get the repression and oppression?

  10. Michael Taylor

    Yes, interesting times indeed.

    What makes it so ‘interesting’ to us pollie watchers is the sheer audacity of this mob to behave in a manner that elevates them above accountability, and that they are never seemingly held to account over such actions.

    Rinse and repeat.

  11. New England Cocky

    I really like to test the “My body my choice”’ dogmatic bull manure spinners with a couple of simple questions. If your body is your temple, then do you ingest alcohol, tobacco nicotine, prescription drugs, illicit drugs, sugar (sucrose) in your tea/coffee ….. all of which are harmful to personal health?
    .
    When you suffered a skin breaking injury while working with livestock, or timber or sheet metal or indeed anything, did you have a tetanus shot?
    .
    Have you had a Salk shot to prevent polio?
    .
    Do you have an annual flu prevention shot to stay healthy during our winter flu season?
    .
    So what is the problem with getting a COVID shot to protect yourself and your community from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic?

    Now be a sensible person and immediately get on down to your nearest vaccine hub and get jabbed … for all our sakes.

    COVID cures stupid painfully ….. and permanently.

  12. Jo.

    Senate in Queensland will be of particular interest this time around. Safe bet that the LNP will get 2. Labor will get 2. That leaves 2 spots up for grabs.

    In contention will be Stoker from the LNP. Hanson from PHON. A Green candidate. Campbell Newman from LDP and one from the ALP. As five into two doesn’t compute (and don’t forget there’s a Clive Palmer candidate with any number of dollars and influential preferences) how one allocates preferences will be crucial.

    Stoker is not a dill! Far from it. While one can’t like her attitudes/values/ideology, nevertheless she presents well being articulate and all that. But she has a really vicious streak that sometimes surfaces.

    Question might be how Clive preferences. While he’s had any number of legal fights with the LNP, he’s highly unlikely to preference any progressive.

    So will it be Stoker? Or Newman? Or both before any progressive? After Palmer’s own candidate of course who’s likely to have a sporting background. (Probably Rugby League.) Or maybe himself?

    Interesting times indeed. Be careful how you preference because it’s likely to be a choice between Hanson or Stoker on that side of politics? And at this stage I’ll put Stoker before Hanson.

    Why ‘bribe’ gun club members? Because they’re likely to be single issue voters. Guns are their life etc. Funding the gun club therefore becomes a vote changer – while Climate Change etc might not be.

  13. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye, I do love ‘good luck to the fattest’.

    But seriously, I think you’re right. My naive hope that Amanda might be brought up short, might have a light-bulb moment, is ridiculous. It’s just that I have these moments myself about things I always assumed, took for granted. Don’t we all have those moments?

  14. Andrew J. Smith

    It’s just not the imported US production line of radical right libertarian policies and their media assembly line with MP sock puppets to promote, it’s the US GOP style of grubby, immoral and unethical politics of supposedly ‘true believers’ doing a ‘whatever it takes’ to maintain power into the future…..

    Worse is the number of voters, softened up by legacy media PR, prepared to follow for their own self interest or ‘freedom and liberty’ aka ‘public choice theory’ (Chicago School’s James Buchanan channeled via Koch think tanks aka IPA)…..

  15. wam

    Another good read, kay, The libs, labs and loonies, in SA, showed why we will not have a federal ICAC but a looming election hints that we will have a federal icac al a australie du sud. I was bullied all through school till I became useful and bullying stopped. The people who railed against 18c want the power to bully, belittle and blame(bill clinton) without being responsible for any hurt caused. My rabbottians think it ‘funny’ to belittle non whites or irish, scottish, europeans, women, wasps/wascs, They cite ‘politically correct bullshit’ for 18c. The religious are terrified about real free speech because questions of the belief of individuals could be asked with devastating effect on individual credibility. Religious beliefs held and used by politicians should not be secret. Ministers, and their shadows, should be asked about their beliefs in relation to their portfolios?
    ps
    I think gladys is culpable but my darling has any of my criticism muted.
    pps sadly the possession of state and federal hats protect pollies by whichever chapeau they wish to wear?

  16. Michael Taylor

    Terence, the renovations for Bridget McKenzie‘s new offices in town here cost $600,000. It was formerly the CBA bank. How can it cost that kind of money to renovate a bank branch into an office?

    I’m not suggesting anything untoward, but for $600,000 in this town you could buy a new house and land package and have enough left over to buy an investment unit.

    Maybe it’s nothing. I’m just the suspicious type.

  17. GL

    Michael, It’s just more plain old LNP born to rule corruption at work. Or to let Mel Brooks sum them up –

  18. mrflibble4747

    Don’t these people take an “Oath of Office” when they get these roles?
    Is this not a binding statement against which their behaviour can be tried and tested?

    I’m confused by the statement that they can’t be brought to account unless they establish a set of standards for themselves.

    We all know which way round the horse and cart go and and simple ethics tests like “would you like to have to tell your mother and father what you did” or “read about your “arrangement” in the paper” are not rocket science!

  19. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    Not only was the office expensive to set up, it’s hellishly expensive to run as well.

    In the three months from April to June this year, the office cost over $55 grand to run and that doesn’t include wages or rent or utilities. On top of that, she claimed $15,558.63 domestic travel for staff in the same period. Where are they going?????

    https://www.ipea.gov.au/sites/default/files/reporting/2021Q02/2021Q02_McKenzie_Bridget.pdf

  20. Michael Taylor

    Hi, Kaye.

    That’s astonishing. Nay, outlandish.

    I’m sitting here trying to work out an explanation. I keep drawing a blank. In a state that’s been in lockdown for most of the year one would expect limited travel. Maybe she takes a large entourage of staff to Canberra with her.

    But geez, for $15,558.63 Carol and I could fly around the world (and back 😁) and sip Moët all day. 😀

  21. HENRY RODRIGUES

    Michael…. Kaye lee…..Bridget’s snout is ideally shaped for sucking up the ooze in the trough. Even better for scraping the bottom of the cesspit. Taxpayer’s money is there for the taking, according to the bludgers.

  22. Michael Taylor

    Henry, I might see if I can get a job in her office. Lots of travel perks in the offering.

    I could take Carol with me. Yep, charge it to the taxpayers.

    Hmm, but what about our pets? No worries, put them in a kennel and charge it to the taxpayers.

    And what about our extravagant lifestyle? The lobster mornays, the fillet steaks washed down with a Grange Hermitage. No worries, charge it to the taxpayers.

    What about the $200 a night I’m given to pay for accommodation when we’re staying with a friend we might happen to have in the town or city? Bugger it, I’ll keep it. The taxpayers won’t miss it.

    Henry, I know I’m sounding silly, but as a former federal Public Servant I can attest that all of the above does happen.

  23. DrakeN

    Indeed Michael, your experiences align with my own; the misuse of public funds and facilities for personal purposes is well establish, – at almost every level of society.
    My late father-in-law observed much the same within the large mining company to which he was seconded as a planning engineer.
    The adage “Near enough is good enough for government work” is a reflection of the values of society at large – a society of chancers, opportunists and egocentric individualists.
    The same society which, having inherited priviledges gained by displacing people from their land by murder and violence, steadfastly refuses to support those folk whose whole populations, freedoms and cultures have been destroyed.

  24. Kaye Lee

    Yes. And his deputy will apparently be Stuart Ayres who happens to be Marise Payne’s partner (despite being 17 years her junior).

    And Glad’s new boyfriend is the solicitor who represented her at ICAC last time she was there with her old boyfriend.

    And Bridget’s new boyfriend is Murdoch scribbler and Coalition letterbox, Simon Benson.

    It’s all rather incestuous.

  25. calculus witherspoon.

    Gee, catholic happy clappies or proddie happy clappies… what a choice modern democracy offers.

    Whatever happened to the good ol’ aussie bullshit detector?

  26. Michael Taylor

    Incestuous is the word, as you said. All neatly summed up.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Speaking of incestuous….Angus Taylor’s sister-in-law is looking to make her move for even more power for the Taylors. What the Taylor dynasty collectively receive from the public purse is quite extraordinary – as is their intervention to protect their own interests.

    “Bronwyn Taylor, the mental health minister, who is now in the upper house, is expected to run in Barilaro’s seat of Monaro and could also put her hand up.”

    Angus Taylor went into politics to stop wind farms from spoiling the view from the family homestead. Bronwyn intervened in the poisoned grasslands saga. ICAC could get very busy….or disbanded.

  28. Michael Taylor

    I swear under oath that I am not related to Angus Taylor. 😁

  29. Josephus

    I have listened carefully to the filmed interview between the just resigned Victoria police officer and her sympathetic male interlocutor, which was uploaded on AIMN. She is certainly an ethical, articulate and brave person. Her views mirror exactly most opinion pieces found in ‘The Australian’, with its quaint cartoons of Premier Andrews as Chairman Mao. One recognises therefore the officer’s tribal affiliation.

    Here are my comments:

    The ex officer is not a thuggish or stupid anti vaxxer a la male bogan crowds wrongly described by her as mums and kids with a few agents provocateurs ruining the show; but let that pass. Rather she opposes compulsion, ie mandatory jabs,. She feels that compulsion infringes her human rights. She is not entirely anti jab, but wants to be able to make up her mind free of sacking for obdurate refuseniks.

    She offers in her defence the Nuremberg principle, that obedience of rules cannot be paramount in a democracy. Blind obedience to orders can never be the ultimate guiding principle . Soldiers in democracies may without penalty refuse orders to kill unarmed civilians, which is not to deny that a few might absentmindedly shoot unarmed peasants, ambulance drivers or children, but again, let that pass.

    The freedom warrior officer who has sacrificed her career on the altar of principle declares that mandating vaccinations for certain professions introduces vaccine apartheid, in that it creates two classes of citizens, namely, those who having had the requisite two jabs may once more enjoy frequenting bars, (brothels were she says approved all along, as no close physical contacts occur in them apparently) ; as well as gambling lounges, while those who refuse jabs in the name of freedom are condemned to linger outside, gazing through the glass darkly, brothels alone excepted.

    Now, while I sympathise with the officer’s concerns respecting ideological divisions, I feel that these exist anyway, thanks to social media and the Murdoch empire. Furthermore, the compulsory jabs , she omits to add, are unavoidable only in certain circumstances: care homes, hospitals, the police too apparently. In prisons also? I hope so; think of the high numbers of Aboriginal children and youth locked up for small offences…Hospitals are bad enough as incubators of contagion; it is selfish and irresponsible to infect the already often sick first peoples, the frail old or disabled, in particular.

    That said, in general I totally sympathise with our principled police officer’s stance with respect to the eroding civil rights of nonconformists in this country. Whistleblowers have no rights, cf Assange, McBride, Collaery… the police and immigration staff obey orders from governments that don’t want their practices open to scrutiny; they are not respecting individual rights at all. The officer might have therefore have spared a thought for the victims of this totalitarian lack of respect for human rights. Where is our Charter of Human Rights, she may ask but did not. Where is our Treaty with the people whose land we took without their permission?

    The officer mentions that serving police are gagged; they may not disagree with their superiors in eg enforcing mask wearing, nor voice dissident views, even on private, pseudonymous accounts. Yet she omits to point out that public servants have likewise been threatened or sacked on account of their views on eg climate or refugees, or if they point out the deficiencies of our voluntary fire services.

    Belatedly, the UK was obliged, thanks to its membership of the 47 member Council of Europe, to adopt the ECHR convention in 1998, in force since 2000. However Australia has no such Charter. Certain of our States do, certainly. It is time…

    I confess I cannot fathom why the officer tirelessly repeats the ad hominem furphy of Andrews being to blame for anything she disapproves of. I care nothing for who is leader of what. What matters is the considered opinion of medical specialists. These are sometimes brushed aside despite the stress on our staff in hospitals, but are nevertheless always consulted. The officer at no point mentions these experts, nor the disasters in eg the southern USA states or Brazil, where freedom counts for more than community protection.

    If the officer considers sacking totalitarian, I suggest instead that vax refuseniks be quarantined in special rooms or tents in or near their workplaces, paid as usual, but perhaps subject to pay part of their medical costs should they be hospitalised. Yes I confess that one might as well penalise drunks, smokers and very fat people too. In that case put all these offenders up in nice refurbished rooms or tents, each category separated from the other villains. I leave details to the ethicists.

    The interviewer murmured in passing that ebola might be more legitimately accommodated as worthy of concessions on the part of the anti vaxxers. I have no idea how ebola compares to Delta and its variants. The officer is not medically competent to judge such things.

    Finally, I must laud the officer for her principled condemnation of police brutality. We can all recall the police bashing of a university professor lying on the ground having joined a peaceful climate or refugee protest in Sydney. I recall too the image of a police van at some Queensland mining site, whose sides were emblazoned with the mining company logo , its having donated several such vans to the delighted police. The police are less subservient perhaps to governments than they are to rapacious companies.

    However like the officer I am horrified to learn that at demonstrations there appear giant tanks with turrets armed to spew rubber bullets at citizens. I leant that after the huge Women’s Rally in Canberra in mid March (one of many), our non present Prime Minister opined that at least we were lucky not to be shot. Really? Perhaps Jenny asked her hubby not to call out the rubber bullet armed tanks. For that I am profoundly grateful.

  30. Lawrence Roberts

    Kaye Lee, please run at the next election. The Australian Labor Party have yet again had their ideas stolen just before an election but far enough out that uninterested voters won’t notice. With media bias and a primed up war chest it looks like we are going to be stuck with this kleptocracy for another 6 or 9 years. Please run as an independent so you won’t have to follow a party line. There seems to be only you, Mr Patrick and Friendly Geordies game to tell the truth.

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