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Grab some popcorn – things are about to get interesting

2019 is almost upon us and Scott Morrison must be sweating bullets.

Not only will he have to hit the road running to contest an election, the first few months of the year are littered with land mines which have the potential to explode all around him.

The Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission’s final report will be provided to the South Australian Governor by 1 February 2019.  That has the potential to embarrass both the NSW government and Barnaby Joyce right before elections.

February 1st is also the deadline for the banking Royal Commission to deliver its final report to the Governor-General.  We have already heard enough to know that it will be damning which only underlines the government’s poor judgement in characterising it as a “political stunt” by Labor.

February is also the month when the Federal Court is due to hear the case regarding the media tip-off from Michaelia Cash’s office about the raids on AWU offices, providing she hasn’t succeeded in having the subpoenas set aside as she has said she would.

The case against Kathy Jackson, that ‘lion of the union movement’, may take a little longer.  It is due for court mention in January but a tentative trial date of April 29 has been set because “she’s yet to secure funding for her legal representation.”

In the few sitting days available, the government will have to deal with a crossbench determined to facilitate medical evacuations from Manus and Nauru.

And there will still be the question about what to do with all those pesky gay teachers.

Jenny Macklin and Ann Sudmalis will be back from their jaunt to the UN.  I doubt Macklin will retire quietly and it remains to be seen if it was enough to shut Sudmalis up about the bullying allegations she made before she was gifted the $100,000 trip to New York to get her off the scene for three months.

Sooner or later they are going to have to release the five-yearly State of the Forests report due in 2018 which will have the fact-checkers working overtime to compare the emissions reductions claimed for the LULUC sector with some actual data – presuming they provide any because they keep saying in the National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory that they haven’t had access to satellite images for the last two years.

Matt Canavan is going on Adani overload trying to convince us all that it is a happening thing, but the challenge to the Indigenous Land Use Agreement will likely be heard in May after the W&J people crowd-sourced the funding to continue their fight.  There are also issues remaining about water and threatened species management plans and unapproved bores.  It is extremely unlikely that Canavan will be able to point to any progress before the election.

The December quarter national accounts will be released on March 6th, less than a month before the budget is handed down.  The government is running on a campaign of good economic management but there are indicators that the updated figures might not be quite as good as they would hope for.

There is a $10 billion war chest of “decisions taken but not yet announced” but spending up big, presumably on tax cuts, will make claims of frugality and a promised but never achieved surplus harder to sell.  Not to mention gross debt rapidly approaching $540 billion and net debt at $350 billion.

Yup.  It sure will be an interesting few months.

38 comments

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  1. Matters Not

    And then there’s Dutton! Always ready to help. But never sure who the recipient will be.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Quite a few people are also pointing out that Hunt was a prime mover in the Dutton debacle. Victorians aren’t too enamoured with him right now. And Matthias did the dirty on WA’s girl Julie.

    Oh and the $350,000 offered to Kent Johns not to run against Craig Kelly. And the anti-Abbott groups pushing hard in Warringah.

  3. Matters Not

    Hunt will be a contenda as soon as he works out where the Walri live. He needs to travel more. Gets his poles mixed up.

    Seriously, if the results of Victorian State election can be extrapolated, then Hunt and even Tim Wilson (Freedom Boy) will be having sleepless night. Triggs must be smiling.

  4. Baby Jewels

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of b******ds.

  5. Matters Not

    Re:

    Not to mention gross debt rapidly approaching $540 billion and net debt at $350 billion.

    But as MMT theorists will tell you – that’s not a problem. (And maybe it isn’t.) But in the current and recent political reality it can be massive. Then again issues come and go – with the unforeseen Tampa(s) always in play. That’s where the Duttons of this world come into their own.

  6. Kaye Lee

    The debt thing just dints their narrative. I don’t think it is an issue but they do….or at least they used to…and there would be some great clips out there of them wailing about it. There is so much material for Labor to use but they may do better to just keep plugging on with policy and let the Coalition implode. For years this government has ignored things and delayed them and swept them under the carpet. Bad plan.

  7. MattersNot

    Re:

    just dints their narrative.

    But it’s the pejorative narrative (at a particular point in time) that wins or loses elections. Of recent times we’ve had Tampa, carbon tax, debt and deficit and the like – all bullshit – but not the political narrative of the moment. Now known in retrospective but citizens don’t get to vote retrospectively.

  8. Rhonda

    I’ve got the munchies coming on. I just cannot work out Dutton’s playbook – the douchebag is seriously weird. Hey, MN, I’ve no doubt there’ll be some forged Tampa-ing attempts, but I suspect his potato is already overcooked. Just can’t wait to see the back of them. Bastards all

  9. Kaye Lee

    I think Peter has cried wolf too often. He was also burned by the failed coup. And he is going to have to concentrate on his electorate where he is in serious trouble. Crap about crime in Melbourne or congestion in Sydney won’t cut it.

  10. CoralieN

    And the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, which Morrison is up to his neck in.

    So much explaining to do & so little time.

  11. Miriam English

    I guess it all hinges on whether Uncle Rupert, the kingmaker, will come to their rescue with a deluge of bullshit propaganda for them, or whether he’s as sick of them as everybody else is.

  12. lawrence winder

    Britain’s a mess, America’s a mess, Australia’s a mess ….and who runs the press in all three? Tumbril time!

  13. Shaun Newman

    A $10 billion war chest will not even touch the sides of what is needed in public health and education which was robbed of $40 billion in the 2014 Abbott/Hockey budget and to my knowledge never replaced. We poor people who are surviving on Vita brits are hoping that the gullible general public will not be swayed with a measly $20 per week pay rise with the budget.

  14. pierre wilkinson

    It simply couldn’t happen to a better group of total incompetents: but I am tipping a March election when they realise that they have lost any confidence the cross bench might have had in them… well hoping at least for a March election

  15. Rossleigh

    The difficulty with the Liberals playing the terrorism card is that it’s now a bit like stopping the boats. Without an actual boat arriving, then it’s hard to keep the rhetoric going about what a good job we’ve done, because the boats are yesterday’s news and you promised to get those energy prices down and get me a job or a tax cut or whatever else happens in the next month or so.
    Given the propensity of the AFP to make a spectacular raid at times when the government is in trouble, people are inclined to view such things cynically by now and wonder if it’s really something or just another one of those occasions when there’s an arrest but no major charges are ever proven. An actual terrorist attack, on the other hand, weakens the narrative that we’re keeping you safe because clearly we haven’t.
    As I said a few days ago, if Morrison announces that he’ll do whatever it takes when trying to prevent asylum seekers coming here for medical treatment, we can expect to see all sorts of dirty tricks leading up to an election. The problem for him is that, apart from having the leadership skills of a lemming, he has a bitterly divided team who are starting to wake up to the fact that the deus ex machina may not descend for thim this time.
    Pass the popcorn. Even without a front row seat or a home theatre system, this should be good viewing.

  16. Rossleigh

    And Pierre, nobody seems to be looking at the possibility that Scott might pull the plug on February 11th and have a long election campaign like Malcolm Turnbull did which would place the election in April without him having to face Parliament again.
    Ok, that didn’t turn out to well for old Mal but the Liberals don’t seem to learn from history. Besides, every day spent as PM not only gives one more time to pray for a miracle, but it also boosts one’s material wealth and shows one that God is pleased with one…

  17. Kaye Lee

    And the rumour mill has it that Barnaby is expecting another baby.

  18. Diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    Same girlfriend?

  19. Kaye Lee

    lol diannaart, I guess that’s a fair question. Rumour has it that Vicki is pregnant again but we may have to ask Barnaby if it is his.

    And Peter Dutton is doing well isn’t he. Not only did he trash Turnbull on the weekend, he had a go at Julia Banks and she ain’t taking it any more.

    “Mr Dutton also used the interview to reject claims by former Liberal MP Julia Banks that she had been bullied during the August leadership battle, accusing the Victorian parliamentarian of having a case of sour grapes.

    In response, Ms Banks retweeted a claim by an unnamed cabinet minister that Mr Dutton was “just an egotistical moron who lacks self awareness”.

    Rudd also chimed in.

    “Wonderful to see the Murdoch boys at work in all Sunday papers in a nation-wide puff-piece on their poster boy Dutton,” the former PM tweeted.

    “The man who boycotted the Apology to appeal to racists. And was supposed to be Murdoch’s man in the Lodge. Now they’re trying to rehabilitate him & save his seat.”

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/dutton-s-attack-on-turnbull-dents-coalition-election-hopes-20181230-p50ou7.html

    Go Pete….Well done you lolol

  20. Peter F

    Kaye, on the subject of the $10Bn ‘surplus’ , I find it incomprehensible that this mob who campaigned against the the ‘Debt and Deficit Disaster’ to win an election and now, having added massively to that debt, claim that $10Bn surplus over four years is proof of their financial management skills. At that rate it would take half a century to pay of the debt they have created.

    I am not supporting the idea that the debt itself represents a problem, I am attacking the methods and motivation of this LNP mob.

  21. Terence Mills

    If they are going to to try to point at Labor as being weak on border protection, the are going to have to explain why the Australian Border Force fleet has been ordered to cut back patrols in the waters to our North evidently to save money on fuel.

    Rather than doing puff pieces,News Corp should ask Dutton to explain why he has ordered “operational limitations” on ABF boats, including Cape Class and Bay Class vessels, which are integral to Australia’s border protection.

    Or is this a Dutton ploy to signal to people-smugglers and assist a few boats through the “ring of steel” during the run-up to the election, which he can then use to slug Labor ?

  22. New England Cocky

    The Courier Mail last Friday reported that there was going to be another Barnyard Bastard. But that is OK, Auntie Gina is funding the National$ so that Barnyard keeps his job, unlike Andy “Sugar Babe” Broad who was considered too much of an embarrassment to be given pre-selection at the 2019 Federal elections.

    You see, it all depends on how wealthy your political patrons are and whether they will fund the unelected political hacks who control pre-selection in the National$.

  23. Kronomex

    “February is also the month when the Federal Court is due to hear the case regarding the media tip-off from Michaelia Cash’s office about the raids on AWU offices, providing she hasn’t succeeded in having the subpoenas set aside as she has said she would.” I’m betting that the whole thing thing will be, I was going to say whitewashed, white boarded and she’ll just continue on her merry way until the LNP is booted out come May.

    The LNP “plastic raincoat with the holes in the pockets” promises (I refuse to use “war”) chest is exactly that, a chest full of promises that has no meaning outside the looming election. Promise the masses that cash will rage down the sides of the LNP volcano like a pyroclastic flow IF, I repeat IF, they win. It’s all bullshit.

  24. wam

    spot on, Kaye. Your pieces will make 2019 great for us old trolls.
    ps Peter the boys can campaign on Labor’s disastrous debt because labor has no rabbott to remind us of lnp debt.
    Terence(I cannot look at your posts without a smile and a whistle of the dance of the cuckoos with a head reeling with such lovely memories of fun with entertaining my children) same communication nobody knows this gov failing because no rabbott is on the tele telling stories?
    If rupert gets ill there could be an early election??

  25. Kaye Lee

    The rest of the Hancock family are not quite as enamoured with Barnaby.

    Businessman and estranged son of Gina Rinehart, John Hancock, has intervened in the leadership crisis surrounding Barnaby Joyce, describing the Deputy Prime Minister as “dangerous to Australia”.

    “He got involved in our family dispute and the judge condemned the pressure he put on us,” Mr Hancock said on social media on Wednesday.

    “This is why Barnaby is so dangerous to Australia – he is a person willing to act without considering the consequences, time and time again.

    “Time to go, Barnaby, and don’t come running to Hancock for a job after the people wise up to you.”

    “Barnaby needs to go… Australia simply deserves better, and we can do better, surely,” he said.

    https://www.afr.com/news/politics/gina-rineharts-son-john-hancock-calls-for-barnaby-joyce-to-resign-20180214-h0w29f

  26. RomeoCharlie29

    Much of what has been written above totally depresses me. The thought of five months. Or even three of these shifty bastards , aided by the Murdochracy, pulling out every sneaky, underhanded trick in the book to try to fool the sheeple yet again gives me no cause for joy. Even though, deep down, I know they are toast and Morrison isn’t half the sneaky rat Howard was, I fully expect not only a dirty campaign but at least one faux terrorism incident, or a boat incursion to be manufactured. There are no depths these mongrels won’t descend to.

  27. whatever

    Just in case you missed it, …..the ambitions of this government are more important than the current and future state of the Nation.

  28. Miriam English

    With luck, there might be a shortage of the blood of virgins, which would put Murdoch out of action for a while. 😀

  29. Peter F

    WAM. I agree . . ” labor has no rabbott to remind us of lnp debt.’ How much power can we go if that is what is needed to remove this blight on our country.

  30. totaram

    whatever: “..the ambitions of this government (and its “donors”) are more important than the current and future state of the Nation.”

    A very important element in the equation that should not be missed, has been inserted in brackets.

    Kaye Lee: “..media tip-off from Michaelia Cash’s office about the raids on AWU offices, providing she hasn’t succeeded in having the subpoenas set aside as she has said she would.”

    What is this really about? Can they really play fast and loose with the laws in this fashion? If so, don’t we need to strengthen these laws, and then set them in concrete so that no messing around is possible? Do we need another referendum to do that?

  31. Kaye Lee

    Not only did/is Michaelia seeking to have the subpoena set aside, we are footing the legal bill for her to do so. As we do every time they choose to fight court orders.

  32. Kyran

    When it comes to the ‘you can’t make this stuff up’ category, the past five years have taken us to levels previously unimagined. That the unimaginable is now routine is, in and of its self, nothing short of remarkable. That our government and their media minders promote it with a straight face positively dwarf’s the miniscule comedic capacities of the Yankee Doodle Duo, the ‘red cordial induced hype’ of Trump and his deadpan sidekick, Huckabee Sanders – now left looking positively pedestrian.
    The incredulous, preposterous, farcical, absurd, illogical, nonsensical, obscene, inhumane and mind numbingly stupid have been put in a blender, along with science fiction (in the sense that all science is now considered fiction), producing an eerie bastard child of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and the ‘Wizard of Oz’. The only possible title could be ‘Mis-Adventurous Malice in Oz’. That both of those books had juvenile female heroes and this mob can’t even find a credible older female of merit just stretches incredulity that little bit further.
    “Grab some popcorn – things are about to get interesting”
    Peter Dutton’s alter-ego, Peter Dutton, just happens to be the sales manager for ‘Soul Popped Popcorn’. Even the incredible (as in not credible) marketing genius of Morrison couldn’t stuff up that campaign.

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/peter-dutton-s-popcorn-brand-considers-opportunities-down-under-20180824-p4zzig.html

    Ok, he’s black, which may have dented his Australian counterpart’s enthusiasm, but he was magnanimous in his camaraderie when launching his campaign for ‘crowdfunding’ his trip.
    “To the Peter Dutton of Australia, maybe we can share popcorn together?”

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-other-peter-dutton-launches-crowdfunding-campaign-to-visit-australia

    Clearly he was more popular than his ‘Stray’an doppelgänger’, as it worked – he did eventually make it ‘down under’. Obviously, it was under the auspices of a new ‘Immigration Minister’, as his ‘Ozzie coussie’ had been sent to the naughty corner. Presumably there was no problem with his visa, although he was hardly capable of being considered a young, white, female au-pair. There hasn’t been any report of whether the Dutton’s had a ‘family reunion’, a right no longer normally extended to immigrants. Lucky the import wasn’t seeking asylum, hey?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-01/peter-dutton-of-texas-is-heading-to-australia/10190984

    As for “February 1st is also the deadline for the banking Royal Commission to deliver its final report”, the final report has been available on the Banker’s website for months now.
    In April 2017, their spokesman, Anna Bligh, continued her campaign to extol the virtues of the unvirtuous, avoiding the issue of the banker’s bankruptcy in every single department pertaining to values, other than their financial value. That their financial security is more a sign of the strength of a government guarantee than their financial prowess is studiously ignored.
    “”Banks here in Australia are under an unprecedented level of pressure and scrutiny. I think there is a direct correlation between the implosion of trust and explosion of scrutiny,” she told the Australian Financial Review’s wealth and banking summit in Sydney on Wednesday.
    While being the “envy of the world” for their strength and stability, even during the global financial crisis, Ms Bligh said the respect of customers did not match that level of peer respect.”

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/australian-bankers-association-head-anna-bligh-concedes-banks-face-implosion-of-public-trust-20170405-gvdzi0.html

    She preannounced the government’s capitulation on a RC when announcing their reform package, derived from their own banking enquiry, in May. Naturally, their recommendations predetermined the scope and terms of reference of the then unannounced RC, which didn’t happen until late in 2017. Never announce an enquiry unless you know the outcome. If only Tony understood that when announcing his RC’s.
    “It has not gone unnoticed by some commentators that the reform program was announced around the same time that the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and other political leaders focused on the banks and demanded change. Increased public scrutiny galvanised the industry and made sure the leadership of the industry had the resolve to face into the challenges of working together as a group of competitors determined to drive industry-wide changes in banking.”

    https://www.betterbanking.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ABA-Industry-Annual-Report-Banking-Reform-Program.pdf

    That all of their own recommendations have been implemented but are unenforceable seems to have escaped her. The government has already started on the ‘complaints’ body, having ramped up the Victorian ‘Financial Ombudsman Service’ to create the ‘Australian Financial Complaints Authority’, a body already struggling under the weight of claims received and inadequate staffing levels.

    https://www.fos.org.au/

    Nah. It’s not a big prediction to announce the RC’s final report will be sponsored by paint manufacturers across Australia, given the amount of whitewash to be applied.
    There was also another hand grenade the government shoved down its trousers which was reported in ‘The Guardian’, being the number of ‘Free Speech’ type legal cases that are in the eminently imminent, if not imminently eminent, category.

    https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/dec/27/battle-lines-drawn-as-a-crop-of-free-speech-cases-come-before-high-court

    Obviously, Scummo’s crusade for the freedom of religious institutions to persecute everybody, not just their own brethren, is a grenade likely to detonate. Luckily, should it detonate between his legs, there is little likelihood of any damage in the broader community.
    The hapless, witless, gormless Dutton is clearly ‘adjusting his position’ to incorporate a new portfolio – media advisor – into his arsenal. Even Scummo would note that it is more ‘arse’ than ‘all’. Bearing in mind he ‘lost’ immigration, he clearly has too much time on his hands. Not since the misdirection of then treasurer ‘eleventy’ have we seen such skill in the ‘look over there’ department. Eleventy, ‘leaner extraordinaire’, has gone on to be the greatest lifter of government sponsored entitlements ever known, having endeared himself to the Orange Thing by no other aptitude than learning Greg Norman’s phone number. Only Dutton could try to surpass that feat, by placing his own feet well and truly where they don’t belong. In his recent thesis on political posturing, he boldly declared;
    “Malcolm had a plan to become Prime Minister but no plan to be Prime Minister,” was Mr Dutton’s damning evaluation.
    He also criticised the former leader for actions he saw as undermining the Morrison government.”
    Hilarious, right? He skilfully omitted that the hall mark of his and Scummo’s crusade for the crown of thorns in their broad church was that they both aspired to be the new messiah whilst retaining the same old bloodied hymnbook.
    “We went from three-word slogans under Tony [Abbott] to 3000 under Malcolm and our achievements weren’t effectively communicated as a result,” he told the paper.
    “Countless opportunities to strengthen the government or nail Shorten passed us by because Malcolm couldn’t make a decision.
    “Malcolm is charming and affable but he doesn’t have a political bone in his body and it’s not a criticism, but without political judgment you can’t survive in politics and he didn’t.”

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/we-went-from-three-word-slogans-to-3000-dutton-blasts-indecisive-turnbull

    Again, he omitted Scummo’s talent of using 3,000 words extracted from a vocabulary of less than 100! He clearly has learned well the marketing guru’s mantra – repetition, repetition, repetition. Dutton’s religious fervour comes to the fore with the reference to ‘nailing Shorten’. ‘Good Friday’ was infamously not so good for Jesus, being a nailing few are ignorant of. It falls on April 19 next year, which is in the election ‘killing zone’ of March – May, 2019. Maybe Duddo was hoping for a resurrection of sorts. Like his own political judgement.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/dec/31/peter-duttons-turnbull-spray-hurts-coalitions-election-chances-colleagues-say

    He also appears to have overlooked what will be the feature of his own return to politics in 2019. Remember the last weeks of parliament, when Duddo’s hand job had him sidelined? Allegedly his only ever attempt at fence building went amiss. Who would have seen that one coming?

    https://thewest.com.au/politics/dutton-injury-keeps-him-from-parliament-ng-s-1908293

    Even the AIMN’s resident non-medical medico, political analyst/futurist (self-deprecatingly posing as a satirist), Mr Brisbane offered insightful opinion.

    https://theaimn.com/peter-duttons-arm-and-morrisons-end/

    The politically astute Duddo seems to be attempting to draw attention from the fact he will likely be referred to the High Court for assessment, given his entitlement to sit.
    Do you really think popcorn will be adequate? Australia now produces beef jerky, which seems fitting on so many levels.
    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. There is every chance we may finally escape 1950 in 2019. Take care

  33. David Bruce

    What a well informed bunch of commentators you have spawned KL.

    With our ASIS and ASIO links to MI5, MI6, CIA, and Mossad, it would not surprise me to see an event where British brains, US muscle and Israeli co-ordination are used to influence Australian voters.

    Mr Macron came from no where to become President of France! His No Where was as a banker for Sir Evelyn de Rothschild’s banking empire.

    Could some thing similar happen here? I guess I could consult the IPA, or read the following:

    https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/everything-is-going-down-why-you-need-to-own-gold-bullion-right-now.html

  34. Max Gross

    I have no doubt that there will be a well publicised “terrorist incident” and convenient AFP raids prior to polling day. Pastor Promo said “whatever it takes and by whatever means available” and for once I actually believe him

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