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Going from ‘very bad’ to ‘it couldn’t get much worse’

1 What a terrible time it is for our Australian democracy, the government and its Prime Minister who is trying to cover up a minister, Angus Taylor, who judged by any pub test has lied about his conduct.

This is a sackable offence and the Australian people are entitled to know what is going on, but now we find that Labor has been denied an FOI request for the contents of two emails because they relate to an unspecified “ongoing process.

This government has made a mockery of the very existence of Freedom of Information by repeatedly knocking back request after request.

The two emails in question were sent at 8.52am on 25 October – the day after Guardian Australia revealed the controversy – and a second email chain at 3.23pm on the same day.

It is not only Labor’s right to know the contents of these two emails, but also the public’s.

When a political party deliberately withholds information that the voter needs to make an informed, balanced and reasoned assessment of how it is being governed is, in essence, lying by omission. It is also tantamount to the manipulation of our democracy.

2 The lack of any action by the government on climate change is regrettable. It is just trying to tough it out while it spends more on fossil fuels: but it is making a usually docile Australian public become decidedly angry.

Politicians who change their minds aren’t necessarily seeing the light. They might just be feeling the heat.

Important to most Prime Ministers is the legacy they leave behind, and with Scott Morrison, it may very well be a picture of him in Parliament handing around a chunk of coal. The symbolism would be telling. A metaphor of Morrison’s complete incompetency.

It would paint a story of a man hopelessly out of touch with science, inflexible of mind with an inability to lead in the face of hostile opposition from within.

Having adopted the Trump methodology of governance bullshitting, sacking, threatening and lying he believes the more lies you tell the more confused people become.

It could be said that he may be satisfying those with vested interests, those with financial interests, those whose jobs are coal-dependent – those who rely on political donations for their survival or those who simply don’t believe in science but at the same time he empowers those who have the capacity to think for themselves.

What a profound moment it is when you discover an opinion that is absolutely of yourself. Completely devoid of any other influence.

But for all the untruth and repetition of it, those who inhabit middle ground, those who swing – who determine government, know that something is amiss. That our climate is changing not for the better but for the worse. Observation is the basis of all science. Finding the truth and reporting it is more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more.

Repeating lines like; “We’re only 1.3 per cent of global emissions so we have no impact” has been trotted out and shot down so often as to be useless, or; “We are meeting our Paris targets” are wearing very thin indeed.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also gave the government an environmental going over in this interview with Katherine Murphy of The Guardian.

Yes, as I said, Morrison’s legacy might very well be just a lump of coal and all the judgement that goes with it.

3 Robodebt has been added to a long list of government policy failures that has left it red-faced and embarrassed.

Failures with the NBN, NDIS, climate, power, equality of opportunity in education, water, drought, infrastructure, submarines and motor vehicles. Marriage Equality’s success you can give to the people. You could make a list as long as the lord’s arm.

With Robodebt, management quietly sent an email to staff of the Department of Human Services telling them that it would abandon sole reliance on the controversial “income averaging” method and instead require additional proof before demanding welfare recipients pay back alleged debts.

The department also revealed it would review all existing alleged debts and freeze existing debt recovery pending the review.

And then they found out what they were doing was illegal anyway.

4 An illustration of just how secret our society has become is when a Canberra judge doesn’t know what happened to a man who appears to have been tried in secret. Are we now an authoritarian state?

Last Thursday Greens Senator Nick McKim asked the government to tell the Senate why the inmate – given the court pseudonym Alan Johns – was charged and imprisoned in near-total secrecy due to commonwealth orders.

Anthony Whealy, a judge in NSW’s highest courts, reckons the secret prosecution and imprisonment of a man in the ACT raises many questions about the quality of our justice system. The judge said:

Are we now a totalitarian state where people are prosecuted, convicted and shunted off to prison without they or the public having any notion as to what has happened?

5 The Prime Minister is still refusing to answer questions about Pastor Brian Houston’s knockback invitation to the White House giving the impression that he is hiding something.

6 On top of the Royal Commission into the Financial Industry, we now have Westpac breaking the rules a zillion times without caring.

With the government refusing to have a RC and repeatedly voting against it gives off a whiff of corruption somewhere in the corridors of power.

All things considered, the banks and large companies – avoiding tax and not paying award wages – commit more crime than all the unions put together.

But even with unions now only making up 14% of the workforce the federal government was hopeful that One Nation would support its Ensuring Integrity Bill, with the minor party’s two votes being crucial to its passage through the Senate. Meanwhile, independent senator Jacqui Lambie had proposed a number of last-minute amendments to the bill in return for her support. (Taken from the Roy Morgan daily newsletter 26/11/2019).

How anyone could barter with peoples right to receive medical treatment is beyond me.

Then in the midst of my writing, a bill in the Senate is voted on and to the shock and horror of the government, the bill is defeated in the Senate. Yes, the redhead, the mad scientist and the queen of Tassie have said “no” to the elimination of unions in this country.

7 Also in the same Roy Morgan newsletter and coming on top of the band-aid $500 million infrastructure spend announced by the government:

The Parliamentary Budget Office has forecast that Australia’s net infrastructure investment will peak at $38 billion in 2019-20, before falling over the next three years.

This is primarily due to expectations that the net debt of the state governments will blow out to around $156 billion by 2022. This would constitute the states’ highest share of public debt in two decades.

8 As the China Syndrome takes a foothold in the consciousness of our citizens Scott Morrison is doing his usual band-aid solution on our relationship with the great mass from the north. Logic would have it that in the future China will become, in many ways, the most dominant country on earth.

Time for a policy that recognises this and logically makes the most of it while at the same time caters for the most self-obsessed nation on earth.

9 The same can be said for the $500 million for Aged Care. It won’t even cover a shaving nick by a 90-year-old. Always reactionary never proactive, that’s our government.

10 But for what it’s worth the answers to these questions are summed up in the way the cake is carved. Take a look at my post on just how much money is used this government gives away to the rich in subsidies.

My thought for the day

It’s now over six years that I first tapped out an article for The AIMN. Its title was “An Abbott in the lodge – NEVER.

During that time I have enjoyed the assistance of the editor Michael Taylor and his small band of followers who dedicate their time to keeping the individual writers relevant and interesting, alive and valid and importantly, in a time of much crap comment, truthful.

In particular, I want to thank Michael whose strength of character has helped me along the way. It has at times been more than I deserve.

My arthritis causes me grief almost daily but so far it hasn’t touched my fingers. I have lost count of how many articles I have penned in my time with The AIMN.

As I near my 80th year my mind remains young and my enthusiasm for change remains undaunted.

We live in a time where horrible things are being perpetrated on us. This government’s performance over its time in office has been like a daily shower of offensiveness. I remain steadfast in my desire to see it removed.

PS: In conclusion might I add that no legislation has passed since the miracle of Scott Morrison’s election victory. That in itself is proof of my criticism of a do-nothing government.

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26 comments

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  1. Kathryn

    After six EPIC years of relentless lies, broken promises, malevolent deception, increasing fascism, rorting and scandalous waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned funds, breathtaking ineptitude, totalitarian styled secrecy and rising corruption, nepotism and elitism, there can be absolutely NO DOUBT that the Abbott/Turnbull/MorriScum circus is the WORST, most depraved, morally bankrupt and dangerous pack of bible-thumping hypocrites to have ever disgraced Australian politics. It is now OVERTIME that Australians rise up and DEMAND the Lying Nasty Party BE DISMISSED NOW!!!

    Where the hell is this useless Governor General? The GG is conspicuous by his silence and by his absence – what the hell are we paying this do-nothing imperialistic puppet to the LNP for? If he refuses to use his position to protect the rights of ordinary Australians against the most terrifying government in our history, what’s the point? It looks like anarchy may be the only alternative in ridding ourselves of a pack of permanent political parasites who don’t give a shit about ANYONE but themselves and enriching and empowering their multi-millionaire donors in the top 1%.

    Nothing – absolutely NOTHING – motivates this lazy, depraved, totally corrupt pack of entitled bastards in the LNP but greed, selling off everything taxpayers own for the sake of transient profit at the expense of ordinary Australians and their OWN monetary and self-serving political ambitions. Morrison is a serial pathological liar; a smug, stratospherically arrogant and dangerous fascist who resides in a bubble of pretentious hypocrisy and elitism – it is now clearly evident, this inept narcissistic psychopath needs to be forcibly removed as PM of our nation – he is not fit to be in parliament, certainly not fit to govern and should be prosecuted and jailed for the astonishing level of criminality that permeates his government from the top down!

  2. whatever

    “$500 million infrastructure spend” looks like going to roads and carpark upgrades, mostly. A lot of suburban road development is, these days, just part of a Beltway Project to deliver customers to the nearest Westfields.

    Some reports I have seen/heard suggest that the some of the ‘infrastructure spend’ will not be actual spending, but more erosion of the Award wages system and further de-regulation of environmental laws for the Mining companies.

  3. johno

    Scotty is so behind the 8ball he needs a miracle to catch up.

  4. Terence Mills

    Whilst it is mildly satisfying that this arrogant government failed to get their Orwellian Ensuring Integrity legislation through it is quite disturbing that we are reliant on the idiosyncratic moods of Pauline Hanson to provide stable governance in this country.

    Having said that, I note that they may well withdraw their Medevac Repeal Bil and that their Religious Discrimination Bill is also on the nose with churches.

    That would seem to imply that the entire legislative vision of this government is spent – much like the emu fart referred to elsewhere.

  5. Grumpy Geezer

    Surely the tide is now turning. Some of this must be getting through to even the most gormless dullards who voted for the Lying Nasties at the last election. I’ll use one of my “the Libs are better economic managers” mates as a litmus test by questioning his awarness of these issues.

    And Albo’s recent performance is morale boosting.

  6. Garth

    From your mouth to my dogs ears Grumpy. But I won’t be holding my breath that your erstwhile ‘better economic manager ‘ following friend has heard much of what is going on. If the (lack of) coverage of recent political events in muckrakes rags is his/hers source of ‘news’.

  7. Keitha Granville

    thank you JL for all your writings, you keep me hopeful that at some point a majority of Aussies will work it out.

    Government? Are we still calling this bunch of crooks a government? Couldn’t organise the proverbial . . . .

    For total depression we just watched Fahrenheit 11/9, and realised we are also heading down that slippery slope to totalitarian rule and fascism.

    Happy New Year ? I doubt it.

  8. Kaye Lee

    From David Crowe in the SMH….

    “Morrison’s personal standing is not strong as he thinks. His political skills are not as polished as his acolytes claim. His judgment is not as sound as he pretends. That makes this week something of a wake-up call.”

    It makes a pleasant change from reading about the Messiah from the Shire or photos of ScoMo drinking beer at every sporting event in the country.

  9. totaram

    I’ll second what Garth says. The number of people who are even aware that Morrison had a bad day in parliament is minuscule, because of the non-coverage given by the Murdoch and Stokes rags. One article in the SMH will soon be forgotten.

    Are there any polls published nowadays? I used to keep pointing out that the coalition’s primary vote was rusted on at 38%, but no one thought it was worth noting, when a Labor victory was predicted. I still maintain that until that primary shifts, especially in Queensland, Labor will only get in by some fluke – only to be quickly brought down again by the non-stop propaganda against them.

  10. Kaye Lee

    I tend to disagree totaram. The Coalition win was really narrow even with Queensland thrown in. The four parties that make up the Coalition got 41.44% of the first preference vote. Labor and the Greens got 43.74%.

    Come next election, will Clive Palmer be willing to spend another 60 million? Will the drought and bushfires and cyclones and floods wake people up to the climate emergency – Adani will probably still be doing nothing despite its approvals. Will the government secrecy being highlighted by the right to know campaign make people start asking what are they hiding? Private health insurance and energy bills are still rising. Over 3 million are living in poverty as ScoMo wanders around saying How good is Australia with his practised grin and thumbs up. Wages remain flat.

    There are no voices of moderation left in the government. They will continue their trainwreck and it won’t take many people to change their minds.

    Somehow we have to get through to the 25-34 year olds in outer urban and regional areas – they were the surprise swing last election.

  11. John OCallaghan

    I dont know who originally wrote this and it sounds pretty good to me..

    A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth……………..

  12. paul walter

    I would fall some where between Kaye Lee and totaram.

    I’ve been as demoralised myself which is why John Lords comments unfortunately make sense, as do totaram’s, yet Kaye Lee is also right, since to wallow in that demoralisation is to retreat from a struggle that still needs to be fought, if only for self respect.

    Besides, resistance means we might be able to buy a few more years for ourselves and loved ones, even if final defeat is not improbable.

  13. Kaye Lee

    paul,

    We must keep up the pressure because it will force them to modify their policies. They refused to stop Robodebt until the media joined together people for a class action. I don’t think young people are going to get quieter about climate change. The drought doesn’t look like breaking any time soon and I am again completely enshrouded by smoke despite there being no fires near me. The affected communities will not forget quickly.

    Tony Windsor once said I don’t care who cuts the ribbon as long as the bloody thing gets built.

    We can’t just focus on the election. we have to focus on making them act now and shining a light on their shady dealings so they are less game to be overtly corrupt.

  14. whatever

    Here is a prediction.
    By Monday morning, Radio National will have concocted some “Big Win for the Govt.” story to lead the news.
    They have been doing so every Monday for years, now.

  15. Kaye Lee

    whatever, I don’t think Monday evening will be good for them.

    Q&A are having a program on the Pacific where Alex Hawke will meet with Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fijian Attorney-General, Enele Sopoaga, Former Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Manu Tupou-Roosen, Director-General of the Pacific Fisheries Agency, and Virisila Buadromo, Fijian women’s advocate

  16. Peter F

    “no legislation has passed since the miracle of Scott Morrison’s election ”
    John, I wonder how this compares with Julia Gillard’s government at around the same time. Is it possible to check? I do know that her government passed hundreds of pieces of legislation through the means of careful negotiation and listening.

  17. Matters Not

    Looks like Morrison might need help from on high. Another miracle required?

    Legislation aimed at preventing religious discrimination will not be introduced to Federal Parliament this year as planned, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.

    Perhaps a case of Heaven can Wait? Or why attempt to fix what ain’t broken?

    “I have yet to see any wholehearted or enthusiastic support coming from either religious organisations, equality groups or the business community,” Labor frontbencher Kristina Keneally said shortly before Mr Morrison’s announcement.

    “It is currently, as a draft bill, a friendless piece of legislation.”

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-30/government-delays-introduction-of-religious-discrimination-bill/11753614

    Suppose Angus could do a Jimmy Little impersonation. Got the hair for it at least.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ-QsMYqzoY

  18. wam

    6 years of disappointment 6 years of whinging 6 years of ‘labor and the greens and drip drip drip in the areas where the voters are drip drip drip for 12 ^@^ years under the worst man ever to be a PM. 6 long years with you telling us about how bad our democracy is without addressing how labor could win.
    How bad the labor economic image is but worse is 10 years of hiding how bobbu brown voted with the rabbott to kill climate initiatives. Every time you write or hear labor and the greens 90% of Australias think labor does nothing without the extremist loonies
    Get real labor you are the party that is great for Australia tell the voters that the lnp is dangerous, the extremists are worse get the autocuists onto angus, get the costs of indue bring up phone call to public officials revisit ‘redacting’ revisit robodebt anything that makes scummo look bad

  19. Ken Fabian

    “We’re only 1.3 per cent of global emissions so we have no impact”

    And if Mr Morrison believed that he would tell LNP supporters to not bother voting – each vote being a lot less than 1.3%. Framing what Australia does on climate as Australia doing it alone is very misleading – yet it cuts through to a poorly informed/misinformed public and no doubt confirms Morrison’s view that voters are idiots and deserve having their ignorance taken advantage of.

    The other successful themes are just as ethically bereft; the whole “climate activists who are functional members of society- ie use things made from or powered by fossil fuels – are hypocrites” line is in effect saying if you care about your emissions and don’t turn yourself into the embodiment of an fanatic environmentalists who goes all stone age you have no right to call for the government to treat seriously a problem they already know is very serious. And the self appointed hypocrisy police, hypocritically, will not take you seriously even if you do go all stone age.

    Even the “saving mining jobs” line is cover not content; this lot would cheer if coal mining was made more profitable through robots replacing every miner’s job (less unionists).

    Any wonder I think the nation’s problems are principally ones of Integrity versus Corruption?

  20. wam

    well well lord, how good was penny this morning nearly let slip that booby’s screamers lost the election

  21. corvus boreus

    Ken Fabian,
    Yeah, corruption is an issue that resonates with the broad voting public.
    Unfortunately, it is also an area where the old meme of the LIB/LAB duopoly has a distinct ring of truth.
    Even as Angus Taylor faces criminal investigation for falsifying documents and the PM is under the cosh for blatantly attempting to alter the course of justice, the ALP still coyly tip-toe around, avoiding any use of the c-word in proclamation or policy.
    In fact Albo (who sees no evidence of corruption in federal politics) has made it plain that he just wants his mate Scomo to hurry up and table the coalition bill for a toothless ‘integrity commission’, so that both parties can quietly shelve the matter.

    Meanwhile, for the voting public, feelings of helpless anger at the blatant continued grift and graft in Canberra (conducted at the expense of the public good) is feeding both the exodus of votes to minor parties and the general electoral malaise.

  22. Bernie

    Hi John, point 4 caught my attention – “how secret our society … when a Canberra judge doesn’t know what happened to a man who appears to have been tried in secret.” I just finished watching CIA whistleblower, Kevin Shipp, give a good explanation of ‘Deep State’ vs ‘Shadow Government’. Note how MSM fits into the scheme.
    Part 1: Kevin Shipp, CIA Officer Exposes the Shadow Government 2018
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQouKi7xDpM
    One more for good luck – CIA director John Brennan, and apologies to any journalists reading this post, not:
    Former CIA Director John O. Brennan Speaks to CFR on Chemtrails (2018) –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVNyPPyHTjE

  23. silent reader

    John you keep tapping that qwerty for as long as you can mate, and we’ll keep reading.

  24. king1394

    John, I sympathise with the arthritis. I am inclined to think that keeping those fingers moving as long as possible is good advice. However, when it gets too much, you need not be silenced. Find the little microphone symbol in your settings and start using voice to text typing. It is quite fun, even when it misinterprets you. I am sure that you can find someone to help with this if you need to.

  25. Ross W Cornwill

    Thanks John I enjoy reading your posts.

  26. Jon Chesterson

    Prince Andrew and Scott Morrison it would seem are in much the same boat and born to rule class who think we should all be silent until spoken to, kiss the ground on which they walk and allow them to perpetrate scandal after scandal and have no accountability for their abuse. Time we took a leaf out of other countries and bring their knowledge back, whether it be Tunisia, Germany, Slovenia, Finland or Norway. But I think we should start with iceland, where more than 70 banking CEOs and executives were put on trial and sent to jail. Then we could start working on our politicians and stripping them of their entitlements for their abuse of Australian citizens, Aboriginal peoples, refugees and the nation’s heritage, environment and assets; and we could start with Morrison, Abbott and Dutton. My soul will not rest till these freaks are behind bars and the world will not be safe nor the threat of climate change and extinction mediated till we make it so. I did take heart in Michael Moore’s ‘Where to invade next’ on SBS tonight. We could learn a lot from many countries around the world and forgetting are sycophant relationship with the USA and capitalism.

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