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Hello, ScoMo. Goodbye democracy

“How good is Australia? How good are Australians? … an amazing country of amazing people.” ScoMo manages to amaze himself -shades of Trump – by the Coalition’s shock election results. How good is change that stays the same?

How good are Queenslanders? One in eight votes for Pauline Hanson or Clive Palmer; deliver the Coalition its big win. Of course, it helps that, unlike 2016’s campaign, News Corp now has a monopoly over news in the Banana-benders’ state.

Banana-bender Kevin Rudd’s former campaign manager Bruce Hawker sees News Corp as “easily the most powerful political force in Australia, bigger than the major parties or the combined weight of the unions … I saw how, on a daily basis, the storm of negative stories that emanated from News Corp papers blew our campaign off course.”

Helping “Foxify” Queensland, Win TV last year began broadcasting Sky News, including the right-wing nutters’ “Sky After Dark” free-to-air through its network across regional Queensland and NSW. It’s helping create two nations as in the US.

On the other hand, as Crikey’s Guy Rundle argues, Labor made itself a big ticket, big target without articulating a vision; making a compelling case about what it was all for, what sort of society it wished to create.

Its failure left it wide open to scare campaigns about death duties which didn’t exist. Its franking credits reform ended up worrying a third of voters. Such was the rabid fear-mongering. It didn’t matter that only a tiny percentage of Australians would be affected. It was an election decided by fear and lies. For Rundle, Labor has only itself to blame,

“They bore the cost of their big-ticket strategy” whilst gaining “none of the benefits from a more comprehensive vision”.

Lord of the flies, Morrison seems elated; euphoric. Or is he just grinning with relief? Abbott’s squirrel grip on Liberal policy is at last released. The budgie smuggler is trounced by Zali Steggall in Warringah – not because of GetUp! – but because Abbott’s worked so hard to make himself irrelevant to his electorate. He’s had a fair go; now he has to go.

As Niki Savva puts it, on ABC Insiders, Sunday, Abbott’s resignation is six years’ too late. “I’d rather be a loser than a quitter”, says the suppository of all wisdom. Relax, Tony. Like your predecessor, Howard, you’ve never troubled the nation with any big ideas. But your seventeen plus different positions on climate change will take some beating. As will your craven sycophancy towards the IPA, your policy HQ.

Similarly, your toxic legacy of negativity, hyper-partisanship and your brazen politicisation of the public service lives on. And you can be sure, for all the talk of this being a climate change election, your climate change denial will still thrive. Above all, your contempt for UN conventions regarding refugees’ rights to seek asylum is now a core Liberal value. Arbitrary, indefinite detention? It’s in the Liberals’ DNA.

As is your war on the poor, the crusade your austerity budgeting Treasurer, Joe Hockey portrayed as “lifters” against “leaners”. Expect Centrelink’s extortion via Robo-debt to ramp up. Expect even fewer disabled Australians to qualify for the NDIS.

And now that the ABC board is stacked with Liberal and pro-government appointees, expect the next scheduled $84 million cut in funds to sail through. It may even be time to further delight the IPA by privatising Aunty.

Morrison has nothing to crow about. There is nothing decisive about his “victory” nor can he claim any mandate having taken no policies to the people beyond a tax cut for the rich and a less progressive, more unfair tax system. His thought bubble of a first home buyers’ housing loan deposit guarantee capped at 10,000 borrowers is not a costed policy. Nor does it amount to anything in our vast home lending market.

UBS senior economist George Tharenou scoffs at ScoMo’s stunt. “It’s far too small to change the nature of the property market. It is a tiny 1 per cent share of annual total home loans of $227 billion,” he says.

The world’s most expensive tax cuts will mean cuts to funds for hospitals and schools and welfare but since the $80 billion cost was never taken to the electorate, you have no real mandate, ScoMo. Instead, you will need to cut into funds for the disabled, for hospitals and schools, the things you told voters were ring-fenced with our strong economy – an economy, in fact, which is tanking, before Trump’s trade war with China, further shrinks our export earnings, especially in coal and iron ore.

A quarter of votes cast in pre-poll or postal remain uncounted. A one or two seat majority may well be the future of the Coalition, the marriage of convenience between the Nationals and the Liberals – a coalition of secrets and lies, not to mention chaos, ineptitude, bullying, misogyny, corruption, racism and paternalistic arrogance.

Two cheers for the scare-mongering, dog-whistling ScoMo-government of the top end, for the top end, by the top end of town. A government playing the game of mates has no time at all for environment or climate or lifting wages or ensuring workplace equality.

Oddly Scott Morrison alludes to none of this in his vainglorious victory speech.

You can tell ScoMo’s got no victory speech prepared. No notes. How good is ScoMo? The presumptive Prime Minister, crows and struts on stage at Sydney’s Wentworth Hotel, named after explorer, lawyer, entrepreneur, author, William Charles Wentworth’s original inn, Saturday. Good? A quarter of us put minor parties as our first preferences.

How good? Mark Kenny appears on ABC TV News 24, Sunday, rebuking Labor for its low primary vote of 26% in Queensland, while Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, a stalking horse to lower Labor’s vote, earns no censure. One Nation can do what it likes to subvert our gun laws with secret NRA funding providing its preferences go to LNP. Its followers show a Trump-like immunity to any evidence of corruption or ineptitude.

How good is Australia? A mining billionaire can buy the government that suits his business interests; field a party with instant candidates in every seat; bombard us with anti-Labor ads with the sole aim of lowering the Labor primary vote. Few seem even mildly perturbed that Palmer may have bought the political result that his business needs. Except for the retiring Wayne Swan.

Something is rotten at the heart of our politics Wayne Swan protests, “A $60 million spend by a conservative-aligned billionaire in a preference recycling scheme for the Liberal and National Party cannot be allowed to stand.”

No leveller, no democrat, Wentworth, like ScoMo held that men must be free, but free to rise—and his own family especially. In charcoal, Canali lounge suit and powder blue Hermes tie, ScoMo radiates aspirational prosperity and the cachet bestowed by a good label.

You’d never guess he’s only there, by and large, thanks to the power of negative thinking. Commentators and politicians tut-tut. Negative campaigns are deplorable but they do work a treat.

What doesn’t work is Labor’s big target, or actually having costed policies to put to the electorate. News Corp has helped abolish all of that. But there has never been a government campaign so devoid of policy; so full of lies and slurs.

In the Labor camp, the knives are out for Party National Secretary, Noah Carroll, reports The Guardian’s Katharine Murphy and Sarah Martin. Carroll is bagged for not telling Shorten his tax agenda is electoral suicide. If only Bill had got the memo Noah couldn’t bring himself to send. Labor’s much-vaunted discipline and team-work takes a beating.

Back at the Wentworth oasis, a Liberal mob cheers as ScoMo pitches a few easy clichés about how great we are. Voting for a pig in a poke. Then it’s into the schmaltz-pot; how his family deserves thanks. Next ScoMo bullshits about how his own disciplined team’s hard work helped win it for the “Quiet Australians”.

Team? Everyone knows he did it almost entirely on his own, jawboning others out of the spotlight; gagging others; hiding MPs such as anti-Environment Minister Melissa Price.

Bear-like ScoMo stoops to a group-hug; proprietorially paws Jenny and the girls, a public paterfamilias, publicly fondling his family and electoral asset; his living CV. It’s an American import, this showing off the trophy family as political accessory, testament to paternalism, a suburban hetero-normality presentation of credentials. And it shows.

The Morrisons look as if they’re about to start a family game of Twister. But let’s stay on message. Who needs daycare? Here’s living proof that even a daggy dad can breed like a cabbage aphid and still get to run the show.

Blokes rule, OK. Father ScoMo knows best. Yet even Morrison’s surprised by his win.

“It’s a miracle”, he says, Trump-like, he ignores the main force in conservative politics, News Corp, with its long-running Kill Bill defamation campaign, an unceasing demonising and character assassination boosted by Clive Palmer and his UAP’s saturation Labor-bashing ad campaign. A chipper Palmer is upbeat about his own party’s loss and upfront about his main aim being to trash Labor.

Advance Australia, the Tory anti-get up group pitches in with “Wake up to GetUp!” episode 2, a second video showing how GetUp! is a gateway drug to world socialism; repeating the lie that GetUp supports Labor, despite GetUp! being found by the AEC in February not to be affiliated with any political body.

How good is the repeated lie, ScoMo? Goebbels knew. How good are citizens who know their place? Know to shut up?

“Quiet Australians” make their debut. “Quiet Australians” echoes Nixon’s “silent majority”. It’s the populists’ conceit that ScoMo, somehow, mystically, intuits the will of a muted majority. A dog-whistle to those who believe the myth that we are muzzled by “political correctness”. Pauline Hanson makes the same claim. If this were true, Morrison would have a bit to say about raising wages or leading on carbon abatement, not a toxic, policy-less campaign based on fear and hate and lies.

“Quiet Australians” also evokes a government which has kept itself in shape by limiting whistle-blowers” rights and increasing ways the state may legally intrude on our Facebook and Twitter, for example, all in the interests of protecting us from terrorists, of course. Quiet Australians are trained not to question as Bernard Keane observes.

“… we are becoming a specific kind of police state, in which the government hands itself ever more power to prevent scrutiny, deter and punish whistle-blowers, smear opponents and hide its wrongdoing, using legal framework justified in the name of national security. We’re becoming a nation where embarrassing the government, or revealing its misconduct, has become a dangerous occupation. Perhaps police state is less accurate than an anti-dissent state.”

ScoMo shrewdly credits his victims for his extraordinary election heist, a win which defies fifty consecutive negative opinion polls for the Abbott-Turnbull- Morrison puppet government and its backers. a policy-free zone where chaos is coaxed into catastrophe but whatever he says, (I’m-a-billionaire-and-I-don’t-give-a-shit), Clive Palmer has the last word.

“It’s clear Scott Morrison has been returned as Prime Minister and he’s only done so because of the 3.5 percent of the vote of the United Australia Party,” his overweening modesty and generosity of spirit prompts Palmer to point out.

Palmer drops a lazy $80million into creating his own party and anti-Labor trojan horse. It doesn’t net a single seat in the lower house, nor in the Senate – but for a man who boasts he’s worth $4 billion dollars – it’s a shrewd investment should tax rates be eased; a tax system flattened.

Or a coal mine or a coal-fired power station project need permission to proceed. Palmer has both on the drawing board. Or beyond. He boasts he’s got environmental approval and he’s already advertising for workers for his coal mine.

Clive’s help in bashing Labor through relentless anti-Shorten ads in his election campaign will give him leverage in negotiating further approval for his massive Alpha North Coal Project, right next door to Adani’s stake in the Galilee Basin – but a third bigger. It is capable of producing 80 million tonnes of coal a year, enough to put a swag of other mines out of business overnight.

Palmer’s Alpha North Coal Mine Project, adjacent to Adani, would be a series of open-cut and underground mines covering an area of 144,000 hectares, according to documents submitted to the federal Department of Environment and Energy by Mr Palmer’s Waratah Coal, reports the ABC.

Waratah Coal chairman Palmer even has a 700MW coal-fired power plant planned to help power the mine.

Scott Morrison may kid himself he’s won victory all he likes, but, in reality, it’s as much Rupert Murdoch’s win – a victory of fear and loathing over reason supercharged by Clive Palmer’s anti-Labor propaganda. It is a victory no-one could see coming but that says more about our pollster’s outmoded polling techniques than it does about our political landscape or our capacity to be hoodwinked by a biased right-wing media.

Scott Morrison calls it a “miracle” but his victory is very much business as usual. Dirty business. Morrison, to adapt, Churchill, may be a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is how a negative campaign and an appeal to self-interest can combine with a reactionary media monopoly to re-elect a PM who has offered us nothing in the way in policy to earn a single vote.

If it’s a vote for more of the same, Morrison’s record – carefully airbrushed out of his campaign – gives cause for alarm. Although it’s presented as ScoMo’s “superior reading of The Australian character” by Father Paul Kelly in The Australian, the Coalition victory is more of the ScoMo show combined with Kill Bill, a campaign started by Abbott and happily amplified ever since by News Corp media.

Kill Bill is a theme eagerly taken up, sadly, by Nine News and even our ABC, too cowed by budget cuts and calls to the top floor to dare not to follow the pack.

Saturday sees the finale of the one-month ScoMo Unplugged solo tour. Our narcissist-in-chief, benches the rest of his team to perform a solo populist parody: a beer-chugging, footy-kicking, basketballing, bingo-calling, razzle-dazzle hoopla-variety show while he repeatedly puts the boot into Bill Shorten. Pure vaudeville.

Look out! He’s behind you! Shifty Bill’s after your savings. Hell-bent on raising massive taxes. Look out. He’ll “take money from your pocket.”

Is it a spin-off from the Trump beats Clinton Show; the same franchise that brought us fake news and alternative facts? There are many alarming parallels. What is certain is that whilst Scott Morrison’s Coalition may get the votes he needs to form government, he has neither the statesmanship, nor the policies, nor the record of success to inspire any form of confidence. History suggests the very opposite; government by SNAFU.

Expect instead, a continuation of the ScoMo circus, lurching from chaos to catastrophe with nothing but the prompting of its sponsors and its mining, banking and other corporate lobby groups to guide it, – forever reacting to self-inflicted disaster – a vitiated democratic state that rules by force and fear and favour; not a democracy nor a meritocracy but a one-man band and his cronies, The ScoMo oligarchy.

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  1. O’Rourke

    The Americans have a pithy phrase; Go f#ck yourself.
    Australia has taken it that one step further and actually done it.

  2. Baby Jewels

    O’Rourke. I couldn’t agree more. The feeling of overwhelming sadness when I think of live sheep exports, the Tamil family from Biloela, so, so, many issues which I had hope would be soon resolved after a long 6 years. Hopes dashed. It’s damn near unbearable. What ghastly things lay in wait for us over the next few years and how much does this disaster mean it’ll be impossible to get rid of these destroyers and haters.

  3. David Bruce

    You are generous to say ScuMo had a “thought bubble”. It sounded like another brain-fart!

    In Scumo’s latest photos he is looking more like a cane toad, something Queenslanders can relate to in a less positive manner.

    I guess time will tell and Easter 2020 could be that time?

  4. Kerri

    When Abbott declared
    “I’d rather be a loser than a quitter!”
    I took that as a direct swipe at Turnbull.
    And when Scummo declared
    “I believe in miracles”
    I took that to be a very big threat to non religious freedom!

  5. Miriam English

    Fits well: “government by SNAFU”.




  7. totaram

    Our democracy was taken over long ago by the oligarchs when Newscorp became important and recently Labor was complicit in allowing the entire MSM to become owned by oligarchs. Reap what you sow, I’m sorry to say. I also wonder how all the legislation designed to “save us from terrorism” will now be used against all political opponents, by Obersturmbannfuehrer Dutton. Labor was again complicit to “avoid being wedged”. When will they realise that they will always be wedged no matter what they do, unless they bend over for the oligarchs, and they cannot do that better than the coalition, who are the natural foot-soldiers of the IPA.

    As for government by SNAFU, the only SNAFUs that occur are when papering over the brazen theft of government money that is shovelled up to their donors. If it can be done by a tax-cut for the top end of town, to “stimulate jobs and growth” so much the better!

  8. Keitha Granville

    Keep it coming AIMN, it’s the only place keeping me afloat right now knowing that there are so many others who feel the same and are just as despondent, and horrified.

    I don’t see his appeal, how does that smirking face translate to appeal?

  9. Kronomex

    One can picture “daggy (dodgy) dad” Scummo and his estimated $20 million fortune going up in leaps and bounds as he spends the next three years making corruption well and truly work in his, and his LNP mates, favour.

    Tones will be on his way to the US courtesy of the tax payers sometime soon I expect. Or he will be offered a job as a “commentator” on Farcetel. The less said about Potato Duttonuci the better.

    Stuuf it, I’m off to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail because I’m starting to get a headache.

  10. O’Rourke

    Don’t overlook the Greens usual stunt that reminded the Queenslanders that Adani would almost certainly be stopped by Labor st the Greens urging. Their caravan was ill advised in a state where people REALLY thought daylight saving would fade curtains.
    The Greens are the LNPs fifth column. I will never vote GREEN. Certainly as they present in Australia. The old saying about ‘cutting off noses to spite faces’ should be their motto.

  11. andy56

    only one comment. I have a new phrase that suites the country.

    Shit rises to the surface.

  12. Glenn K

    Australia has had its Trump moment and is now destined to mimic its master. I mourn for the country i loved and once called home.

  13. TuffGuy

    I guess the next question is how long will Scomo last as PM before he gets knifed? I think the first will be Joyce doing McCormack because, you know, he can’t even afford to buy his own house and has to live on his mate’s farm.

  14. New England Cocky

    The Union, united, will never be defeated. United we stand, working for a return to the egalitarian country we had before the Howard disaster was inflicted upon us by lies and maladministration.

    Nobody can put any credence in “opinion polls” as the analysis in The New Daily 200519 reports. Rather, the politicians will have to do a Queensland Labor strategy and regularly get out into their electorates, attending fetes, seeking ideas at club meetings, kissing babies, having beer at the bar, selling the idea, the dream, that the workers deserve better than they are given by the COALition and their foreign owned multinational corporations that are stripping Australian natural resources while paying little if any taxation for the privilege.

    As for regional Australia, it appears reasonable to presume that women supporting Adultery and Alcoholism support National$.

    As for AIMN, does the return of Morriscum mean that we, the AIMN readers, will be subjected to daily pictures of the Grinner as headers for stories about the on-going failure of the Australian COALition government?

  15. O’Rourke

    New England Cocky.

    ..,and water theft and fraud and corruption.

  16. david higham

    Very well written,perceptive,and true.

  17. andy56

    There is no consolation knowing that policies wont change and what ever was screwed before will not get fixed this time. My concern is that we will be well and truely screwed before australians take up pitch forks. How a rabble who squandered billions of dollars could ever get elected by the lucky country has me thinking that we are not so smart after all. Maybe we are all throwbacks and closet Trump supporters.
    Scomo wont get knifed. Have you heard his pledge? Nothing changes.
    If you want to stop Adani, follow the money, forget the government.
    The rest is screwed and will only get worse, ie energy, renewables and the murray darling. Not forgetting the economy hitting a perfect storm of contradictory ambitions. My question is HOW EFFING LOW does it get in this country?

  18. Aortic

    Lower than a snakes belly one would think. As someone once said never underestimate the stupidity of the Australian voter, especially in Northern Queensland and Tasmania apparently.

  19. O’Rourke

    I no longer have any faith in the Australian people’s judgment. They elected Fraser after the coup: they re-elected Howard after the pathetically transparent ‘children overboard’ stunt. They elected Abbott when his sociopathic, psychopathic behaviour was as obvious as could be.
    And now they have elected another sociopathic liar with as incompetent a bunch of MPs as you could imagine. Incompetent and dishonest to boot.

  20. Josephus

    ‘The Greens are the LNPs fifth column’- what does that mean? The only non corrupt party…
    Soon we will see about ten coal mines in the Galilee Basin, fracking all over NT and Queensland, a white minister as usual dictating policy for First Nations, no Treaty, no off shore detained refugees allowed in, well educated as most of them are; corrupt and stupid politicians like Joyce given top jobs, ugly men who need fear no criminal investigation, ultra rich ex police like Dutton not even questioned, hurriedly selling his Canberra flat. Yet they are reelected; how is that possible?
    The Murdoch newspapers are about as honest as the Beobachter or die Sturmer. Palmer has bought the populace with his meaningless slogans. Democracy is a hollow shell , as it was/is in the USSR or China.

    Now wait for the ABC to be further dumbed down.

  21. O’Rourke

    The Greens naivety is used to undermine the Labor Party. They’ve just done it again. Did they really think an election- eve rally would convince the people in under-employed North Queensland? I’d have ignored them if I’d a family and children to support and they preached environmentalism. The rally was enough to convince FNQ that Labor would can Adani.

  22. Mark Needham

    Negative gearing will go on. That is the one thing I am sad about.
    Also unfortunately, the vicious arguments will continue in their absurd ferocity. The days of sensible and civil conversation, seem to have disappeared.
    Respect, is now a weakness, not a virtue.

  23. Judith

    If there’s one bright star in this result it’s that the mining will be concentrated in Queensland and I live in Melbourne.
    I took my son to the Great Barrier Reef in 1995, telling him that his children may not have the opportunity to ever see it.
    Last year I was fortunate to see the reef at lord Howe island before it, too, was recently bleached.
    Can’t imagine the tourism adverts for Queensland in the future – with a dead reef, deforestation and drought affected rain forests, cyclones and sand depleted beaches full of crocodiles, I can’t imagine there’s going to be much reason to visit.

  24. Paul Davis

    Cannot blame Tanya Plibersek for not putting her hand up. The media would destroy her and her family. Her husband’s issues of some years back would be viciously exploited by NewCorps. I know she has weathered twenty years of Sydney Labor factional shitfluckery but three years of constant badgering by Karvelas, Sayles, etc at one end and Kenny, Jones and company at the other and all the nasties in between would be death of a thousand cuts to a decent socially concerned woman. Better let Albo or better still Bowen, neither of whom will ever be electable, get their heads kicked for the next two years …. might find a real leader around then. Maybe a byelection midterm will bring one of either Wong or Keneally into the lower house.

  25. O’Rourke

    I entirely agree. When they have the inevitable drought or floods, they can get stuffed if they bleat for assistance. I have as much sympathy for the drought-stricken graziers as they had for the GMH workers that Hockey invited onto the unemployment queues.

  26. David Tyler

    Judith, my son Andrew who runs a marine construction business out of Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays told me today that he is getting contracts to install art-works of marine creatures over reefs where the coral is dying.

    Doesn’t that sum up this government? All artifice and contempt for scientific advice.

    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    With a pink hotel, a boutique
    And a swinging hot spot
    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot

    And installed some spectacular artworks instead.

  27. Spindoctor

    Already the repercussions are flowing in with business fronting the guvmint to do more for them while $1.5 billion cuts go through to the public service. More privatisation, more hurt on pensioners, NDIS, the jobless, disadvantaged, single parents, no hope of penalty rates returning, more depowering unions and flat rejection of ATO pushes for wage increases. Aunty decimated unless the public protest fronts Scomo and becomes a veritable nationwide thorn in his side. Absolutely more riverine systems dying. Palmers mine aproval spend now sees ex Qld Labor MP’s turning on Premier Palaszczuk demanding Adani goes ahead so never mind the science, jobs for central Qld or its curtains electorally, with the Opposition, Brisvegas and Townsville Rupert rags and partisan TV news chiming in. Federal Labor seats now end in south Brisbane. It’s like the Joh gerrymander is back.. Strategically Albo/Bowen? must be the attack dog copying right from the Abbott playbook heaping and pressuring Scomo until his rabble explode yet again. Gutter politics is the new norm and Shortens Concensus is dead as.

  28. Blink

    Well said David, and thanks for not bashing the greens like some on this site.

  29. Miriam English

    O’Rourke I understand that you’re angry that Labor didn’t get in. Welcome to the club. But please save your bullshit about the Greens. You’re just showing your ignorance.

  30. Patagonian

    Arthur Sinodinos has warned that the Liberal party should not stand in the way of renewables, suggesting the government should use a changing energy market to bolster its environmental credentials.

    Yeah, good on you Arfur $eeNoDonor$. Why didn’t you say something BEFORE the election?

    And they won’t heed it anyway, it would upset their incestuous relationships with Big Coal.

  31. Peter Tansey

    The world: No country could be stupider than the US because they elected Trump
    Australia: Here, hold my beer!

  32. Patagonian

    Gottleibsen boasting of his role in the ‘retiree tax’:

    No one realised it at the time, but in Sydney on October 30 last year the ALP election loss was being planned by a remarkable group.

    They were people who had come together as a result of Chris Bowen’s plan to end cash franking credits.

    I was invited to speak and join the discussions. In that room was the community power that would play a huge role in preventing Bill Shorten being prime minister.
    Read Next

    We are used to community power being exercised in the street with protests, or via massive media campaigns. Retirees don’t march in the street but they belong to connected organisations which enable them to become a massive political force if they are aroused.

    When Chris Bowen devised the scheme to end cash franking credits, he convinced his leader Bill Shorten that this was an attack on the rich. My first reaction was that the rich would not be affected and that the ALP would therefore not raise the money it was projecting.

    Then came the remarkable research by the president of the Self Managed Superannuation Fund Association, Deborah Ralston, who showed that up to 1.4 million people were in Bowen’s firing line and there were at least 1.1 million people who would be hit hard.

    These people were not rich. Rather, they were battlers trying to self-fund their retirement and the average impost of $4,000 would be a big blow.

    Suddenly I realised that with so many people being hit, the ALP would indeed raise the billions it projected, albeit not from rich people.

    At the time Graham Richardson said that there was no way retirees could organise to fight.

    I suspect Chris Bowen had the same view. But in that room there were 11 remarkable organisations with the databases and contacts to reach almost every one of those 1.4 million people.

    Some organisations were regional, like WA Self Funded Retirees, or Gold Coast Retirees, but most were national bodies.

    Not every one of the people due to be affected belonged to the organisations, but there were connections to members of Probus, Rotary Australia, and others. These organisations were not involved, but their members helped spread the word.

    In my discussions at the meeting ,the associations bemoaned the fact that franking credits were “turn off” words that few understood. We had to find a new way of describing the Bowen measures. I had a not insignificant role in the selection of the title: “retirement and pensioners’ tax”. We put the word “pensioners” in the tittle because Bowen had a select group of government pensioners in the gunsights as well. To my mild annoyance, the Liberals reduced to the title to “the retirement tax” but nevertheless there now was a clear set of words that did not mention franking credits.

    Politicians were involved at the October 30 meeting, including MP Tim Wilson and Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert, and their roles would be important to give people the chance to use the political system. But it was the power of the databases and connections in the October 30 gathering that delivered at least a million votes to the Coalition. Many would say they would have voted for the Coalition anyway.

    Wrong. Retirees were appalled at the spectacle of three prime ministers in three years and many had originally planned to vote against the Coalition.

    When you have connected community groups, digital journalism is incredibly powerful because the articles are emailed around or put on social media. As is his right, Chris Bowen wrote articles that were very critical of my commentaries. What stunned me was that in one of them he actually counted the number of franking credit commentaries to that date: 17.

    But I was just getting started. There were a lot more to follow. And when Bill Shorten said cash franking credits were a “gift”, the retired community went ballistic. And the rage doubled when they discovered many could avoid the retirement and pensioners’ tax by joining an industry fund. And when Bill Shorten attacked accountants, the retirees’ accountants added to the passion.

    In many articles I kept showing Chris Bowen how, if he was unhappy about franking credits, he could levy the tax on a fair basis.

    Retirees would have accepted that. Instead, he told the million-plus people in the firing line to vote for the Coalition if they did not like it. En masse that’s exactly what they and their families did. It will be a long time before politicians again take on the retirement community.

  33. Blink

    Heard Malcolm Roberts is back, talk about cat amongst the pigeons.

  34. Mark Needham

    That labour has never privatised, cheers me no end. Particularly when stones begin to fly.

  35. Matters Not

    Yes Patagonian, it’s always amusing when these avowed individualists boast of successes via collective action without ever recognising the inherent irony. Bishop the Elder often claimed her embracing of individualism was her reason for joining the Liberal Party.

    Nevertheless, Gottleibsen’s story reminds us that Bowen’s boast of a well thought through policy was anything but. At least in political terms. But with Albo from the Left nominating for leadership who else does the Right have? Tony Burke perhaps?

    The ideal candidate would be Penny Wong but I don’t think Australia is ready for her for a whole host of (prejudicial) reasons. More’s the pity,

  36. wam

    “Morrison has nothing to crow about. There is nothing decisive about his “victory” nor can he claim any mandate having taken no policies to the people beyond a tax cut for the rich and a less progressive, more unfair tax system. His thought bubble of a first home buyers’ housing loan deposit guarantee capped at 10,000 borrowers is not a costed policy. ”

    What a bloody load of drivel
    “nothing to crow about”
    the slimy prick has control of the house, How the bastard did it may be despicable but how can that not be shouted from the rooftops? Scummo the former and labor the latter??
    One of scummos chief shitheads birmingham said they have a mandate to continue their programs.
    That is fcking awful but an absolutely true mandate.
    for example:
    There are plenty of scummo loving principals who would do anything to privatise their ‘elite’ public schools with ‘classy’ locations.
    ps patagonian
    I have always had the dream of going to Patagonia and down to tierra del fuedo since I read about the nomad of the desert.(I read every book in our one teacher school ‘library’ ie two dusty shelves in a cupboard)
    Your piece on ‘franking was great, the slimy rich men’s unions are powerful and are prepared to take the practical route do any now trust us it will be better for you in the end. (narrow nose and his boys have developed that syndrome and labor needs to cut them adrift)
    I think bowen has baggage preventing him from leading.

  37. Matters Not

    Mandates manifest (clear and obvious to the eye) only when you have the numbers (present and voting). That’s the political reality.

  38. O’Rourke

    Miriam English.
    My comments about the Greens were repeated earlier this evening by Tony Windsor, who opposes Adani but concluded that Bob Browns march swung a lot of people who cared about employment prospects. The timing of the protest march was unfortunate, maybe even stupid, because it’s almost guaranteed the project will go ahead.

    And Mark Needham
    Hawke privatised a number of government-owned businesses. And Labor privatised the CBA. What a shit decision that proved to be.

  39. David Tyler

    Here’s a working definition of a mandate. I hope it clarifies my use of the term. The first is from the ACTU.

    “The re-election of the Morrison Government gives them no mandate whatsoever to further pursue an anti-worker agenda. “Morrison’s silence, despite repeated requests, on industrial relations policy means he has no mandate to undermine worker’s rights, pay or job security.”

    My point is simple. Because Morrison has not articulated any policies beyond his tax cut and first homeowner’s deposit guarantee he has no mandate.

  40. David Tyler

    And here’s John Menadue;

    Despite the ‘miracle win’ Scott Morrison has no mandate. His campaign was overwhelmingly negative and devoid of significant policies.

  41. wam

    hahaha duh the winner of an election has a clear mandate to continue as before even old men like gough’s secretary knows that so if you read his ‘no mandate’ he says scommo brought nothing new into the debate so elect him on his current policies

    As for the ACTU that is a example of a specific whinge that could easily fit ANY WORKING DEFINITION of a mandate in that every Australian knew then and now so voted in the clear knowledge that scummo was against unions???


    The government has every bit of a mandate to fck unions and the ACTU.
    Do you suggest they don’t have a mandate to continue this policy???
    The Commonwealth Government increased funding for both public and private schools but the increase for private schools was nearly double that for public schools. Commonwealth funding for public schools increased by $718 per student compared to $1,325 in private schools.

  42. whatever

    The ‘Miracle’ of Scotty was achieved by vote-buying and micro-managed fear campaigns.
    Karl Rove was the strategist who got G.W.Bush elected, and he pioneered the technique of enlisting Gun Clubs and Evangelical Christian groups.
    You don’t just ask them to vote for your candidate, you tell them that everyone in their family MUST vote to stop the Democrats/Labor/Greens from taking their guns away and leaving their families at the mercy of illegal immigrants. And you tell the Christians they and their families MUST vote to stop the Democrats/Labor/Greens from turning their kids gay.
    (The LNP Govt. has granted Gun Clubs $77 million over the last 5 years)

  43. Aortic

    Just watching the fact that Switzerland is considering tightening their gun laws which surprisingly were fairly liberal. The NRA of course owns the American government policies through their donations but can’t these poor deluded people think again about the NZ UK and many other countries who have stricter gun ownership laws? To cling to a long outdated constitution from a long ago time is surely denying the fact that stricter gun laws save lives. Still if they vote Trump it is a sure indication they are incapable of rational thought but then again Morrison is PM again with a no policy campaign so what does that say about is?

  44. Rhonda

    It’s Labor’s fault – we larfed & larfed at their repetitive ravings…
    Nuthin matters anymore. We’re franked!

  45. Miriam English

    O’Rourke the people who had been brainwashed by Murdoch into greedily thinking that the Adani Carmichael mine meant lots of jobs for them were not going to be changed by protesters against the mine.

    Of course, “the most automated mine in the world” (Adani’s words) was never going to deliver the jobs… certainly nothing like the employment potential for solar and wind power, but those people’s minds had already been broken by Murdoch.

    Personally, I was against the protest drive to North QLD as I doubt it would ever achieve anything. Murdoch already had total control.

  46. Miriam English

    I’d say the biggest liability against Labor in QLD was the Palaszczuk Labor government making it clear that it wanted the Adani mine to go ahead despite enormous opposition here. If the Greens had convinced people to vote LNP then why did the Greens get a swing +1.3% and Coalition only get a swing +0.3%?

    The second biggest liabilities were Pauline Hanson who attracted a lot of the vote and Clive Palmer who also did, then both passed their preferences on to the LNP.

  47. whatever


  48. Paul

    So how low does this country have to go before the people actually realise what they have done?

    The economic forecasters tell me it may be sooner than we think!

  49. David Tyler

    More useful examples of the meaning of mandate as the term is used.

    Key Senate cross-benchers are denying the Coalition its supposed mandate on tax changes, with Central Alliance and One Nation holding out against the $158 billion tax relief package, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

    “The only true mandate is when voters give a single party control of both houses and that hasn’t happened in this particular instance,” said Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff.

  50. Jack Cade

    I think the Coalition was elected on its record and not on its ‘promise’, one of which they have already broken. They have presumably been elected – effectively by Queensland – to continue as they were.
    If Adani goes ahead, and it assuredly will because the State government wants it, the ordure will hit the air conditioning when the 10,000 or so jobs promised evaporates down to maybe 1000 and automation.
    Meanwhile FNQ will have cyclones and floods and the GBR will be further endangered. Philistinism rules!
    We anti-Coalition voters will look at the state of the recession-hit economy in 12 months and say ‘Thank heaven we didn’t win in 2019.’ Nothing is surer. Employment is tanking and now, three days after the election, economists are saying – this morning – that a rate cut is 70% likely in June.
    Greg Jericho in the Guardian says that the country’s economy is far from buoyant and the promised ‘surplus’ is not feasible. Three days after an election, there is already re-positioning.

  51. Jack

    Enough about the ON and UAP preference whinging. Palmer only got 3 or 4%, didn’t get any seats in the senate. Bugger all preferences would have flowed through to LNP. The Greens prefs going to Labour would be more than ON and UAP combined.

    As for negative campaigns, everyone does it. Keating smashing Hewson on the GST. Mediscare anyone?

    I think for most regulars to this site the election result is a good thing as it provides 3 more years of material to post about. Imagine if ALP has won, the articles would have no one to bash!

  52. Stephen

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. Victory goes to our true overlord Rupert Bloody Murdoch!

  53. Miriam English

    whatever and Jack Cade unless you think all the other states don’t matter then let’s stop the simplistic “it’s all Queensland’s fault” bullshit, okay?


    LNP −0.6% +0.3% −3.2% +0.3% −3.4% +5.6% −0.8 −3.4% +3.9%
    Labor −0.9% −2% +1.7% −3.6% -1.9% +4.4% −3.9 −2.7% +3.1%
    Greens −0.2% −0.6% −1.7% +1.3% −0.7% +3.2% −0.3 +1.5% +0.8%
    UAP +3.4% +3.3% +3.6% +3.5% +1.9% +4.2% +4.8 +2.6% +2.6%
    PHON +1.7% +0.7% +1% +3.2% +5.1% +0.8% +2.7 - -
    Others −2.2% −0.8% −0.3% −3.2% −0.4% −37.4% +2.8 +6.2% −11.2%

  54. Jack Cade

    Miriam English.

    Queensland has 30 federal electorates. The ALP has a handful of them.
    The LNP has 76/77 seats FEDERALLY.
    Qld gives them 25.

  55. David Tyler

    Jack – Bernard Keane explains it well:

    Some quite senior political journalists were only discovering yesterday that the swing in Queensland hadn’t been to the LNP, but to ON and Palmer first, despite it being clear even early in the count on Saturday night. Rashida Yosufzai at SBS has been the only journalist to detail One Nation’s success. As Yosufzai noted, ON had also turned in a remarkable effort in the NSW seat of Hunter, where Hanson’s candidate boasted “the damage that One Nation did down here is now going to be talked about around the country for weeks.”

    Most of those votes appear to have come from former Labor voters, not LNP voters. The LNP more or less held steady in Queensland, but receive a strong preference flow from ON and Palmer candidates. This is the worst possible outcome for Labor, which had been expecting to pick up disgruntled LNP voters directly. Instead, its own voters abandoned it for ON and Palmer candidates and didn’t even preference Labor.

  56. James Cook

    It might well be three more years of LNP crap, but the MSM will sell that ordure as acceptable fragrance!

  57. Miriam English

    My takeaway?

    QLD swung as strongly towards the LNP as the much more populous state NSW, and against Labor more than NSW, though because of the way the electorates are arranged that swing had a much worse effect in QLD — in NSW Labor ended up with more seats than the LNP even though they received less votes. In QLD Labor ended up with less than a fifth the seats as the LNP did, even though it received more than half the number of votes as the LNP did.

    Seats won
    LNP 75 22 14 23 11 4 1 0 0
    Labor 65 23 21 5 4 5 2 3 2
    Greens 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
    UAP 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    PHON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Others 5 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 0

    There was a swing towards the Greens in QLD (much of that would have preferenced to Labor), whereas it was away from the Greens in NSW.

  58. Jack Cade

    My takeaway?
    It was Queensland’s fault. 80% conservative. They voted much as they voted for Bjelke-Petersen. Plus ca change…
    They are thinking of re-making ‘Deliverance’ in FNQ.

  59. Miriam English

    Can anybody tell me if our preferences system works like this?

    Or does it only take the first alternative vote?

  60. Miriam English

    Jack Cade Murdoch controls almost all the media in QLD — much more so than in other states. Despite that QLD voted in a Labor State government, but they’ve been such a massive disappointment in the way they’ve handled the Adani debacle that a lot of voters have left them.

    Also the scare campaign of amazing lies run by Murdoch and One Nation and Clive Palmer had to be seen to be believed, and it successfully frightened a lot of elderly voters away from voting the way they would otherwise have done.

    A campaign based on outright lies should disqualify a candidate, in my opinion. One Nation and Clive Palmer should have been kicked out of the race for cheating.

  61. whatever

    Waiting for the Anti-Abortion/Anti-Vaxx crowd to demand their spiritual mandate from Scotty the Miracle Man.

  62. David Tyler

    Yes, Miriam – your video is accurate.

    If there’s no clear winner — (candidates need to receive more than 50 per cent of the vote) — the candidate with the fewest votes is excluded.

    If you voted for that candidate, your ballot paper will then be re-examined for your second preference.

    This process is repeated until a candidate has achieved the necessary number of votes.

    Your vote can live on through the count beyond your first selection.

  63. guest

    Patagonia @8.43 pm

    Your revelations about the campaign re franking credits does not seem to explain why retirees receive ‘franking credits’. Shorten said the money they received was really a “gift” because those retirees were being compensated for taxes which they in fact had not paid on their shares.

    Your justification to oppose the payment of compensation for taxes they had not paid is “they were not rich. They were battlers trying to self-fund their retirement.” Not entirely fund themselves, but relying on a handout from the government.

    It is this handout which is soon to total some $9 bn in the near future – more than money spent on government schools.

    In 2017 there were some 3.8 million retirees in Oz The numbers are a little different now, but the trend is clear. There are calculated to be 1.4 million affected by the removal of franking credits, some 1.1 million affected “hard”. So what about those more than 2.4 million who would not be affected by loss of franking credits.

    Presumably they had other means of funding their retirements – and presumably they did not all have shares and the worry of franking credits.

    And some would have been rather poor and reliant on welfare. Welfare is an abhorrent word in Right-wing circles and is closely aligned with socialism – and communism for some. So we know that the Right reduces social payments or slows any increases to aid the “leaners” in our society and reduces Government social costs in order to reach the golden surplus. So there are “battlers” and there are battlers.

    The words “franking credits” are here regarded as “turn off” words, so the trick is to call them something else or not mention them at all. So the situation was named as “the retirement tax”.

    So what happened? There were retirees who had no shares and no recompense for franking credits who believed that Shorten was coming to take away their money. It is cunning strategy.

    Remember how Abbott made hay with the idea of the “carbon tax” being a “Great Big Tax” on everyone, whereas it was a levy only on those who emitted high levels of CO2.

    Since then, both Abbott and Credlin have admitted it was not a tax at all.

  64. Terence


    I don’t think the climate change “cost of doing nothing” (answer “nothing”) policy went over that well.

  65. andy56

    O rourke, i have to agree with you. they wanted an us vs them election and got it. When the Murray darling finally dies, farmers will still be crying for assistance. My mother got thrown out of the rag trade with no assistance yet farmers , after 200 yrs still dont get it.

    Labor has to learn the bitter lesson, fear is the only game in an election. They let the neo cons run their lines on economic management over and over for 40 plus years, is it any WONDER. This government should have been hung and quartered, labor decided to play by gentlemen’s rules and got kicked in the knackers. Politics isnt for the faint hearted, you can pin that one on Tony Abbott. The government record has nothing to do with winning, nor has a policy position. Its FEAR FEAR FEAR.
    Morrison is the perfect patsy for this. Evangelical arsehole. Where does his religion say that lying is acceptable? And he lied BIG TIME. Where does his religion say its acceptable to throw refugees in prison indefinitely? Where does JESUS F’N ChRIST say screw the poor for they are not having a go? Thats what i would be hammering, fck him. Christian hah, i would rather be muslim or communist., at least they have ethics. How do you stop a snake? you kill it.

  66. Jack Cade

    The retiring MP Kate Ellis summed Morrison up in a pithy sentence in the aftermath of the election said’ He is very shallow.’
    And so he is. As are most people who use the Bible (written by a number of itinerant tribespeople over hundreds of years) and then another group of people who made up the life of Jesus to match Mithras who was the favourite God of the legionnaires and thus acceptable to Rome.
    As I’ve said many times, I learned, in a long business life, never to do business with someone who keeps a bible on his or her desk.

  67. Judith

    David Tyler…
    “my son Andrew who runs a marine construction business out of Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays told me today that he is getting contracts to install art-works of marine creatures over reefs where the coral is dying.”
    This is so sad…

  68. Miriam English

    I wonder, in three years, when… the reef is dead, what little groundwater in QLD and NT remains is poisoned forever, farming is impossible over much of the country, the coal export business is dead (it’s been dying for years anyway), people and businesses have gone a long way to converting to renewables despite the government, after another three prime ministers stabbing each other in the back, a quadrupled deficit, hospitals woefully understaffed and medical staff underpaid, outbreaks of preventable disease because Medicare is gone, public schools starting to close and be replaced by religious charter schools, homelessness rampant, rents skyrocketing, pensions slashed, and record-level bankruptcies because nobody can afford to buy goods from shops… will the LNP still be blaming Labor? And will Labor still be blaming the Greens?

  69. corvus boreus

    In 2013, the Australian Academy of Science conducted a survey on scientific literacy in Australia, using a sample of 1500 people.
    Over 25% of Australians surveyed believed that early humans and dinosaurs co-existed together.
    Sometimes, as cognitive dissonance threatens to overwhelm and I pose myself questions like ‘how the phuq can so many people fall for the blatant crap peddled by ignorant morons like Pauline Hanson or patent shonks like Clive Palmer?’, it helps to remember that, according to official statistics, over 1 in 4 Australians are thicker than frozen pigshit.

  70. Jack Cade

    Were they all in Queensland?
    About 10 years ago an old girl friend – from my days living in Brisbane – came to visit me in Adelaide. During a drive to Victor Harbor and Hahndorf, she raved on about how good Bjelke was as premier and that all the corruption was rubbish. No amount of evidence could dissuade her.
    Her visit ended acrimoniously, with me alleging that 42 was not only the answer to ‘Life, The Universe And Everything’, but was also approximately the IQ of Queensland.

  71. Miriam English

    corvus boreus wow! That is amazing. It is sobering to remember that half of all humans are, by definition, below average intelligence… though, of course, the other half are above average intelligence.

    Jack Cade, how do I put this as politely as possible… fck off.
    Substitute anything else for “Queensland” (e.g. skin color) and you can see what a stupid pig you’re being. It’s like saying that anybody with the last name “Cade” must be a pedophile. It is obviously untrue and an absurd thing to say.

  72. Jack Cade

    Miriam English.
    I won’t fck off. Qld got 25 out of 30 seats. Christensen increased him his vote after being exposed as spending half his time – paid by us – looking for love in Manila. And Dutton increased his vote. If that’s not indicative of fluckwittery, I’d like to see a better definition.

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