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By Georgia * The following is the story of how I became the…


Hung for a penny

As the Coalition sharpen their knives to destroy the life of another political opponent, it would be timely to reflect on some other recent episodes.

Starting with the obvious, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water and Resources and Northern Australia, Barnaby Joyce, impregnated a young staffer, created jobs for her in other offices, claimed for many nights spent in Canberra when Parliament wasn’t sitting, and kept this all a secret before the by-election forced because he never bothered checking his citizenship and so had been sitting in parliament illegally for 13 years. He is also under investigation regarding allegations of sexual harassment and a multitude of other stories abound now added to by the book he had time to write (whilst being an MP, going through a messy break-up and a campaign, becoming a new dad, and doing endless interviews) where he reveals he is/was a drunk and a womaniser. And that’s before we question any possible collusion in water theft.

And let’s not forget Minister for Cities and the Built Environment, Jamie Briggs, who resigned over allegations of inappropriate behaviour involving a female public servant during an official visit to Hong Kong in November 2015. He remained on the government benches until he was voted out in 2016.

Mal Brough moved to the backbench the same day as Briggs pending the completion of an investigation by the Australian Federal Police over the alleged copying of the diary of former speaker Peter Slipper – an act which a judge described as deliberately designed to bring down the government and to which he admitted on tv, yet the police found nothing untoward in that apparently. He chose not to contest the next election.

In 2014, Arthur Sinodinos stood aside from his role as Assistant Treasurer prior to giving evidence as a witness before New South Wales’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). During the enquiry Sinodinos advised he was unaware of a $74,000 donation made to the Liberal Party by Australian Water Holdings, despite being Deputy Chairman on a $200,000 salary and Treasurer of the Liberal Party. He is currently on sick leave.

Minister for Human Services, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Stuart Robert, was forced to resign for being in breach of ministerial standards because of an indirect financial stake in a company owned by a Liberal Party donor he helped in Beijing on a trip he claimed was private but which the Chinese government considered official. He and his wife were recipients of the Rolex watches handed out by Li Ruipeng, the chair of the Li Guancheng Investment Management Group, which they were later forced to return. Robert also had to appear before the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission for some very dubious involvement in local council elections. He still occupies a seat on the backbench.

Speaker Bronwyn Bishop was forced to resign over misuse of entitlements as was Health Minister Sussan Ley.

Former Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach was jailed in 2015 for stealing $1.5 million from the Liberal Party through falsified and inflated invoices and now the Victorian government has referred several MPs for investigation into whether the MPs knew, or ought to have known, they were approving inflated invoices.

Michaelia Cash has been called to testify into the illegal tipping off of the media about a raid on union headquarters and, after that, she faces another case brought by the union accusing her of using the AFP for political purposes.

And Peter Dutton is remaining very tight-lipped about the au pairs he let in contrary to his own department’s decisions and advice..

Then there are the people the Coalition have appointed to important roles.

Both the boss and the deputy in charge of Border Force were forced to leave for having affairs with junior staff and possibly getting a job for the girlfriend.

The head of the ABCC, Nigel Hadgkiss, had to resign because he was found guilty of breaching the Fair Work Act by deliberately giving out false information about right of entry rules for union officials.

The head of the Public Service Association, John Lloyd, announced his resignation just before he was found to have breached the code of conduct by sending government research and employee conditions to the IPA to aid their war against the very body he led.

Abbott-appointed Fair Work Commissioner Michael Lawler did likewise, resigning just as the report into his questionable claim for months of sick leave was handed down.

Lawler’s partner, Kathy Jackson, described as a hero by the Coalition, awaits criminal trial on multiple charges of fraud which she has already been found guilty of in a civil court.

If we want to talk staff turnover, almost half of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s senior executive service officers left between July 2015 and July 2017. Likewise the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority which had 198 staff at the end of June 2016. Since Barnaby insisted they uproot their families and move to Armidale, at least 110 of its employees have departed, including 33 regulatory scientists. Michaelia Cash has lost so many staff members they are considering installing a revolving door.

We have seen how much the Coalition enjoy going for the jugular – Peter Slipper, Craig Thomson, Sam Dastyari for examples. But the public assassination of Emma Husar before any findings from the investigation is a new low, even for them. The allegations pale in comparison to the above list and should have been dealt with through workplace mediation as happens everywhere else. She is a new backbencher and should have been counselled if there were problems.

Alice Workman should realise how she has been used. I hope she learns from it.

The Labor Party hierarchy have handled this abysmally.

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  1. Jaquix

    So timely Kaye Lee. No wonder they don’t want a bar of Labor’s National Integrity Commission. There’ll be a Congo line of them snaking from the doorway …

  2. Kaye Lee

    Having a good memory can be a burden Jaquix. I find myself constantly saying you’ve got to be f*cking kidding me. The constant casting of stones has smashed those glass houses to bits. How much parliamentary time is wasted on crap? Like pursuing Julia Gillard endlessly for legal work she did decades ago.

    They seem to have no idea what the job of government entails and absolutely no workplace ethics, policies, procedures, KPIs, efficiency evaluation, quality assessment, complaint and mediation mechanism – any of the things that every other workplace has. When you give a job this important to people who haven’t got a clue what they are doing and no moral compass to guide them, they behave like children left alone in the sandpit, grabbing the toys for themselves, stamping on other people’s sandcastles, and throwing sand in the eyes of anyone who seems vulnerable. I’m just waiting for the pack to start chanting “Kill the Pig”…oh that’s right, that’s their strategy. Malcolm Turnbull, Lord of the Blowflies.

  3. Bronte D G ALLAN

    What a completely useless, lying, inept, obscenely over paid, so-called liberal bunch of wankers etc we have trying to run (ruin?) our country? There is NOT one of them that is even halfway decent & I wonder if this was replicated in any way by Labor, just how much screaming & carry on would this mob be doing? Cannot wait for the next Federal election where we MUST not re-elect this rabble in to power ever again! Great article, as usual Kaye!

  4. Bronte ALLAN

    What a completely useless bunch of obscenely over-paid, lying, inept, flat earth, right wing bunch of people masquerading as the liberal party we have in Australia! Not one of them deserves to be in charge of our political scene! Just hope this rabble are not re-elected at the next Federal election. Pity the Labor lot have been so low key in giving this mob what they really deserve. If the shoe was on the other foot, the effing libs would be having a field day! Great article, as usual, Kaye!

  5. Carol Taylor

    Kaye Lee, quite’s what you do when you have zero credible policies. You know as a very experienced writer that this is typical troll-like behaviour; when you have no credible answers in order to attack the argument, you attack the person.

  6. Barry Thompson.

    An excellent summary of the dastardly doings Kaye Lee.
    You would think with all this history that Turnbull would stop leading with his chin.
    What a shower of shite they are.

  7. helvityni

    Send this to all the Labor politicians. Wake them up before it’s too late… Low posture and meekness does not help you to win the next election…

    Foreign names such as Dastyari and Husar, do not get you votes from the racists, who are looking under every rock hoping to find something, well, maybe dog pooh….

    ABC is piss weak too.

  8. Josephus

    Yes send this to anywhere you can Kaye. Four Corners, go for it. Federal ICAC now.

  9. corvus boreus

    ‘What do we want?’

    “A federal ICAC (or similar).”

    ‘When do we want it?’

    “Preferably with the initial framework to be tabled within a 12 month time-window of the ALP taking the reins of government, subject to the strict qualifying provision that Labor actually achieves a representative majority at the next federal election.”

    Pretty catchy eh?

  10. Rhonda

    Kaye, what would we do without you? I’m sharing this because it has to be… I wish for it be read and recounted far and wide. Thank you (for the gazillionth time)

  11. Kaye Lee

    Another episode I should have included, considering the accusations against Husar, was Greg Hunt’s foul-mouthed tirade against the Mayor of Katherine who had come to see him about contamination from fire-fighting foam in her region.

    She said she had suggested more funding may be needed to get counsellors on the ground in Katherine, rather than over the phone, but Mr Hunt told her she would need to take that up with Northern Territory senator Nigel Scullion.

    Ms Miller said at that point, she told the Minister “Senator Scullion comes to Katherine but I don’t see him”.

    “He relocated his chair, pointing towards me and said ‘you need to fcking get over it, you need to fcking make Senator Scullion your best friend’,” Ms Miller said.

    “I didn’t move. I was absolutely totally gobsmacked.”

    Ms Miller told ABC radio the next two sentences also contained the F-word.

    “And then he sat back a little in his chair and said, ‘I’ve heard you’re feisty’,” she said.

    He also abused a a former Health Department secretary but claims that was ok because they were talking about the progress of screenings for cervical cancer.

    So “strong language” at work is ok when it comes from a man but not from a woman apparently, and the standards for an experienced Minister are lower than those for a novice backbencher.

  12. Kyran

    There is an ad on TV at the moment (I have no idea what it’s promoting) with a young child pictured with the remnants of chocolate cake all over his face. His mother asks what happened to the cake, to which the child shakes his head, apparently not only denying his part in the cakes demise, but denying any knowledge of the cakes existence in the first place.
    This denial of reality in the face of reality is funny, even cute, when a child does it. You may even be inclined to forget about the effort and cost involved in making the cake, or its intended purpose (particularly if it was to be shared with others, for example). The media (MSM) cuts itself a lot of slack for its misdemeanours and partisanship, but it’s getting old. Like, last century old.
    Every single, solitary example you have listed in your article was aided, abetted and promoted by a complicit media, prepared to shine an unedifying spotlight on a misdemeanour when it is one side of politics and deny any wrongdoing in silencing its portrayal of a similar or more egregious misdemeanour when it’s the other side. To add insult to injury, they deny their contribution to, and participation in, the distrust that now envelopes them.
    We have MSM at the moment questioning why nobody loves it anymore. TV isn’t watched anymore, not because of the endless stream of ridiculous reality tv, the mindless repeats, the blatant infotainment, the celebration of celebrity and the promotion of sensational notoriety. They would have you believe it’s either an ungrateful or unintelligent viewing public. Radio is quickly becoming a thing of the past, given the parade of unintelligent shock jocks convinced that their ignorant, ill-informed ‘opinions’ are awaited by a public as if they were the next tablets to come off the mountain top. Print media is dissipating at such a rate that NewsCorpse and Fairfax have now merged their printing operations to cut costs, having already dismissed any semblance of journalistic enterprise in previous rounds of cost saving. Why have a journalist when a barely literate sub-editor will do? Nobody reads past the headline anymore, do they? Their attempts to merge all of the content previously offered into digital platforms to compete with ‘social media’ is merely repackaging the crap, only to then complain about how much they are impacted by ‘disruptive technologies’, how they are unappreciated for their compliance with a 24/7 news cycle and their insistence that the ‘consuming public’ have demanded this cycle, not them.
    Their advertisers are departing and their subscription base is diminishing. The Guardian is the only enterprise that seems to have finally made a profit in the ‘new space’, which has as much to do with its ‘open for comment’ capacity as its journalistic content. The ABC is now a tabloid content in its website format and its ‘trust’ rating is on the same trajectory as its consumption.
    Was it Julia Gillard who made the observation that maybe their fortunes would be reversed if they stopped publishing crap?
    The crucifixion of Emma Husar is not just another scandalous example of trial by media, it has also impacted the MeToo campaign. ‘Name and shame’ wasn’t the preferred model of that campaign, it was the only avenue available (in the absence of formal complaints mechanisms that didn’t unduly effect the complainant more than the respondent). Our intrepid leader and his spin doctors have already changed the subtext demanding to know when Bill Shorten became aware of the complaints. The complicit media will take this and run with it, never thinking for a second to ask our intrepid leader when he became aware of Joyce’s scandalous behavior.
    There is an election due in Victoria in November. The unelectable Guy is letting the media do his campaigning for him with their relentless pursuit of the ‘red-shirts’ scandal. It is barely a by-line that the Ombudsman’s report was tabled over a year ago and that most of the recommendations have already been enacted, with that Guy guy voting against most of them. The ALP has repaid the $300k+ (but not the legal costs). The Police already had a look at the ‘brief’ and decided the rules were too vague to warrant pursuing charges. Now, miraculously, all of these things are worth reinvestigation and we are to believe it is mere coincidence? The media’s obstinate refusal to mention the number of grievances added by Labor (including, but not limited to, the Mantach debacle) to that ‘brief’ is not curious. Its blatant hypocrisy is breathtaking.
    The business about TV crews being at the scene of an impending raid by the AFP is so far beyond farcical, it simply beggars belief. The mantra of Cash has been she’s unable to comment as there was an investigation in progress. That same defence was NOT availed to Ms Husar, with the MSM insisting that she not preempt her testimony, but providing it to them before her inquisitors. The AWU raid would have to be the first example where our MSM interviewed AWU workers demanding to know why they were about to be raided by the AFP, the AWU workers likely to be the only people on the planet unaware of the impending raid. Our intrepid media seem oblivious to the fact their media crews were ‘inadvertently’ outside Conroy’s office before the spectacular raid by the AFP and subsequent seizure of NBN documents during an election campaign. To my recollection, those documents are still in legal limbo due to the questionable legality of that raid. That’s before you start on the Thompson raids. We are not only meant to believe that Cash is the only example, but that there isn’t a very serious problem with the blatant politicization of the AFP.
    As for the irony of “Alice Workman should realise how she has been used”, it’s stupefying. She was the reporter who insisted that she had an obligation to disclose the identity of her source at the time of the AFP raid on the AWU, and has been relentless in pursuing Cash’s office for comment. She is now the journalist insisting she cannot disclose her source due to its prejudicial and political ramifications.
    There can be no doubt that this government’s incompetence and corruption is gobsmacking. But it is only still there because of a complicit media, posing like a child with the cake all over its face, saying ‘No, it wasn’t me’. Like the child who then tries to evoke sympathy for their sore tummy, the MSM seek to question why their relevance is collapsing. It would be cute, if it wasn’t getting so old.
    It is a sad indictment on Labor that they repeatedly fall for their lockstep me too endorsements of a system that is not only woefully inadequate, it’s seriously broken. It’s a bit disingenuous to blame the consumers and voters though. They are the ones abandoning MSM and the major parties.
    Viva la revolución. The beauty of the Fifth Estate is that we don’t need guns to achieve it.
    More cake, anyone?
    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. Take care

  13. Klaus Petrat

    Excellent Summary. I wish Bill & Co would have the guts to stand up to the media and simply ask them pointed questions regarding their pursuit of the cases you listed so succinctly. I would find it interesting whether or not there would be a few red faces among the journos? Where is the MSM???

  14. Karen

    Kyran, great post. For decades I used to listen to radio then as you say ‘it got old’. Now I can only listen to a few seconds of mindless, mental radio prattle before changing activity. Same with tv. Commentary without insight, thanks, but I have better things to do.

    In relation to the Husar drama, Labor has scored an own goal.
    They had 2 choices: focus on the #Reefgate breadcrumb trail back to the PM, or go for in-house drama and depose one of their own. Seems they were too easily distracted. MSM knows how to play off one ego against another. However, in one respect it is funny, adults with agenda-cakes all over their faces.

    Would Labor benefit from experimenting with press releases via twitter as a way to neuter MSM?

  15. New England Cocky

    Thank you Kaye Lee for filling the credibility gap enforced by the MSM editors.

    I think you may have overlooked the about $1.1 MILLION claimed fro the Parliamentary Allowances Scheme by Barnyard in one six month reporting period. This amounts to about $6,000 PER DAY!!!!

    Then ask how Barnyard knew that purchasing two properties in what is now the Santos CSG leases would be a “good grazing investment” when the country supports about 1 sheep/10 acres. Could his former Campaign Director, the former Chairman of Eastern Star Gas, have given him the nod??

    Then in New England we have a long memory …. it was Barnyard who used about his first casting vote to sell off Telstra so that John Howard could have a better superannuation scheme payout. This decisions made early in his career when a Queensland Senator.

  16. Kaye Lee


    To list all of Barnaby’s stuff-ups would take volumes. One of my personal favourites is when this ‘man of the land’ wrote off the $95,000 Toyota Landcruiser we had paid for by trying to drive it through floodwaters. No skin off his nose. We just buy him another one.

  17. DIANE Larsen

    Kate as usual your work is gold

  18. Maureen

    Yes…thank you Kay Lee. There is a litany of corrupt activites and a malignant toxic culture by/in the Murdoch/IPA/Abbott/Turnbull ‘government.’ They are not a real government…they are a cabal – ‘a group of people united in some close design together, usually to promote their private views or interests …usually unbeknownst to persons outside their group.’ And we know what their interests are – MONEY and POWER – the abuse thereof. They have no respect for the People’s House or the people and…they have no shame….

    The question is will Australia ever recover…?

  19. Nigel Drake

    Nice work, Kaye, to which Kyran adds valuable insight.
    I often feel that the News Corporation and the mainly foreign corporately owned mainstream media should be banned from engaging in political reporting and opinion on the basis of “Foreign Interference in Domestic Matters”.
    I have repeatedly said that they should be required to be fair and balanced in their publishing in the same manner as the ABC is required to do under its Charter.
    The Unholy Trinity of Commerce, Politics and Religion has us all tightly held in its thrall.

  20. Kaye Lee

    You must understand what a crucial role you all play.

    The MSM get drops from politicians and vested interests so what they report is skewed by the agenda of the dropper. They feel pressure to “break” exclusives.

    When Michael asked for my bio years ago to put in the About Us section, I was a bit taken aback. What do you include from a life so long and varied?

    The point I am trying to make, and the reason I call myself a middle-aged woman in jammies (though I may have to change that to ‘old’), is I don’t have to leave home to do my “investigative reporting”. No-one rings me with leaks. I learn things from you and from my family, friends, colleagues, customers, neighbours, the free local newspaper, strangers in the shop. I have a good memory to which google provides invaluable assistance. I have the luxury of writing about what I want and absolutely no editorial interference (other than legal for which I am grateful – we sure don’t need a lawsuit and we do get threatened at times). It’s all there if you have the time, know where to look, and are resilient enough to hope that, by sharing information and ideas, we may be able to do better.

    This is my community service and you are all a vital part of it. Unless we ask for better, and keep fighting, we won’t have it handed to us. They are few and we are many. And whilst we concentrate on writing about the bad stuff, there are also a lot of amazing success stories out there and wonderful people working every day to help others and to expand our knowledge.

    Chin up, shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone, roll up your sleeves…slowly, little bit by little bit, we ARE making the world a better place even if it doesn’t feel like it. We have challenges but nothing we can’t handle if everyone just gets real.

    (I sound like some form of overly chipper Civil Defence Warden but one has to believe that manning the barricades is worthwhile until there’s enough of us to push back)

    PS I should say that most stories are reported on in the MSM. They just have to move on constantly whereas we can collect and collate. They do do good stuff (well some of them), it’s just overwhelmed by the crap.

  21. Maria Etheridge

    Kaye Lee (and other commentators), would like your opinion on this post. Authors (Bernstein and Woodward) claim to be two members of the Canberra Press gallery who are angry that they are banned (by their editors) from publishing information they claim to be true. They are using pseudonyms to protect their identities, and have posted several articles on this Facebook page.

    Link to one article

    Some worrying facts(?) in the post eg. that Turnbull has agreed to sell the ABC to Murdoch!

    I don’t know what to think, opinions please.

  22. guest

    Thank you, Kaye, for your article. As the evidence gathers the more farcical and obscene this political episode becomes. And the Coalition has poor form in this kind of hideous behaviour as you demonstrate.

    In another place Dr Jennifer Wilson discusses this incident, asking why the complainants said the Department of Finance claim the Depart denied responsibility, whereas the Department has said it is indeed its business regarding bullying, etc. So BuzzFeed has taken up their cause, and in doing so has intercepted private mail. Surely there are legal matters here.

    As well, one of the males said to be involved in an accusation of a sexual action made towards him denies that this incident occurred. But it is reported by BuzzFeed asif it did.

    And all the complainants remain anonymous, which reminds me of Maggie Thatcher who, when approached by a journalist saying “Some people say etc etc, Maggie said: “Name them!” How can Husar reply to anonymous allegations?

    BuzzFeed has trampled over judicial procedure.

    So, as one correspondent said, “20 of 3 members of staff were assembled in order to wash dishes…and film a dog” doing doggy-doos. Farcical..

    But such farces are becoming more commonplace. We see it in all kinds of arenas. The things said about climate change or education or religious freedom or political correctness are ridiculous, but there are those who live by these obfuscations of language. I just want to point out one example on a different topic.

    Kevin Donnelly is saying: “One of the foundations of Western civilisation is an education system based on rationality and reason, but even here the political correctness movement has spread its infection. A rainbow alliance of theories including neo-Marxism, radical feminism, postmodernism, deconstructionism, and gender and post-colonial theories dominate the academy.” (Note the apparently innocent use of ‘rainbow’.)

    So my request to Donnelly is: Name them. Name the academics. Name the faculties. Name the universities.

    I remind Donnelly that these theories arose in the West. And religion of the Christian kind, according to Donnelly et alli, is central to Western Civilisation, yet depends almost entirely on faith and not on rationality or reason.

    So there are people who have a blind faith, unwarranted, in the printed word and what is heard on tv or around the backyard bbq. Enter chinese whispers and misinformation.

  23. Jon Chesterson

    Malcolm and the Liberals need to wash out the tree stumps in their eyes before they start throwing bricks. And if they do throw bricks should they not be put on apprehended violence orders!

  24. guest

    The report has been released and the sexual allegations are not supported. Interesting to see how much of the case collapses. Labor saying Husar need not have resigned. Lift your game, Shorten. Care for your flock.

  25. Kaye Lee

    I never understood why Buzzfeed published the salacious stuff. It just sounded silly.

    “The independent assessment remarked that the release of a selection of matters subject to this assessment in the public domain was reprehensible. It had served to elevate tensions in an environment in which many have reported the stress this matter has placed on their mental health. For the record, no public material was released by the assessment.

    …the allegations of misuse of public entitlements should be referred to the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority, a move Husar had already made….[regarding] allegations staff were “subjected to unreasonable management”, [the report] recommended further training.”

    Publishing unproven allegations should have consequences considering the devastating affect this has had. I am very disappointed in Buzzfeed. They sunk to Murdoch gutter stuff. And I agree Shorten needs to stop turning to water at every headline. Where was the workplace mentoring?

    I would like to hear Shorten come out and say we failed to provide guidance and mediation early enough. If they had complaints, then they should have intervened to sort it out. I cannot begin to think of the number of times I have had to do this in a multitude of settings. Ignoring everyone allows molehills to grow into mountains. It is your job to acquaint new members of the team with the rules and protocols and a brochure may not be sufficient.

  26. silkworm

    Turnbull et al’s renewed attacks against Emma Husar are a desperate attempt to deflect from the GBRF scandal (#Reefgate). This scandal has engulfed the government and T’s downfall is inevitable.

    I noticed that when ABC News brought up #Reefgate a couple of days ago, they would not mention the names of the GBRF members or their connection to the fossil fuel industry.

    Concentrate on #Reefgate. Everything else is deflection.

  27. Terence Mills

    Maria Etheridge

    I don’t believe it is the case that Murdoch wants to buy the ABC but what he does want in all the markets where he operates is dominance. So what he has demanded from the Turnbull government is that the ABC (and SBS) be hobbled and defunded to a point where they become a shadow of themselves and their ability to provide quality news coverage and innovative drama are severely hindered.

    This current outcry about Sky is well overdue and it’s not just one right-wing nut job getting a soft interview and a platform for his poison but as many have been noticing it’s how conservative politicians avoid the ABC and swarm to Sky even though the audience exposure is minimal (fifty thousand is a good night for The Bolt Report against the 7.30 report who regularly get over half a million). The attraction of appearing on Sky is that it gives our conservative politicians an echo-chamber and soft interviews and a platform on which other media then report.

    Those of us who have seen what FOX News has done in the USA are deeply concerned that this template is being rolled out here to the detriment of open public discourse.

    News Corp globally punched in a loss of $US1.4 billion for FY 2018 and whilst they put a lot of spin on this it is not a good reflection for a business that largely operates pay TV where they generate membership fees in addition to advertising. It appears that in Australia they make their money out of not a particularly good business model I would think.

  28. Rhonda

    Recommended reading also: Cameron K. Murray & Paul Frijters – Game of Mates: How Favours Bleed the Nation.
    I just got it out of the my local library and I suspect it will give me nightmares

  29. corvus boreus

    Terence Mills,
    I would agree that Murdoch probably has little desire to buy up a privatized Aunty as a lock-stock lot, but I do think that if/when our national broadcaster is cut up and sold of, Murdoch would want some of the more potentially profitable or influential slices of the ABC layer cake (eg, acquisition of radio national).
    His ambitions should be considered within the broader context of other changes to media legislation/regulation that the US media magnate is pushing for through his chorus lines of sock puppets.
    Here are some of the media ‘reforms’ suggested in the IPA 75 point wish-list; which I strongly suspect were ghost written by the grubby hands of the dirty digger himself;

    14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
    15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’
    16 Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law
    17 End local content requirements for Australian television stations
    27 Eliminate media ownership restrictions
    50 Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function.

    Implementation of points 14 – 17 and 27 would make point 50 a much more worthwhile investment for Rupert.

  30. James Cook

    Thanks Kaye and all the respondents. Your commentary and information is invaluable [although sometimes a bit depressing] to me. I post your thoughts on my facebook page whenever I can and get lots of feedback from friends, many of whom also share. Whenever I see posts asking “If you could choose any one in the world to share dinner with, who would it be?” my thoughts immediately go to Kaye Lee, John Lord, Rossleigh, etc. If I was a religious person I would pray that your work was read by 99% of the population … Oh, and I’d also ask that the MSM be forced to be fair and impartial.

  31. helvityni

    Eliminate morals, compassion, fairness from the country….

    Long live racism, bullying,,,

    Mammon and men rule …

    Sometimes I think I’m living Margaret Attwood’s Gilead, I wonder what Emma Husar thinks…

  32. iggy648

    Amazing national treasure!

  33. Kyran

    “Lift your game, Shorten. Care for your flock.” – Guest
    That’s probably the saddest part of this whole sorry saga, making it more reminiscent of the ‘Witch Trial’s’ of the 1600’s in England and America, than an evolved, ‘civilised’ system of ‘due process’. After so many centuries, the mere allegation of spurious, specious, salacious behaviour has been sufficient to drag the alleged offender to the pond with the ‘test’ being ‘if she drowns, she is innocent, because a witch has the power to survive mortal threat’.
    Michelle Grattan published a piece before the ‘report’ was released and it remains on the ABC website, ironically in the ‘analysis’ section. It does not resemble analysis in any way, shape or form. It is outright speculation on hypothetical scenarios, somewhere in between ‘implausible’ and ‘impossible’.

    “A by-election is the last thing the NSW Liberal party would welcome, on top of the state one it has in Wagga Wagga, after its MP resigned in a corruption scandal, and an expensive state election early next year.
    If any Liberal call does come for Ms Husar to quit parliament immediately — rather than at the election, as she’s announced — rest assured it would be made on the comfortable expectation that she wouldn’t do so.
    The bad publicity around Ms Husar, accused of bullying and misusing her staff and much else (all of which she denies) and the associated Labor party infighting, should help the Liberals in Lindsay, other things being equal. But that’s for later, at the general election.
    Shorten may be ‘resorting to literalism’
    Meanwhile Turnbull is weaving the extraordinary saga of this first term MP into the government’s familiar narrative about Bill Shorten. That the Opposition Leader doesn’t tell the truth. And that his workers-friend credentials are phoney.
    Mr Shorten repeated on Thursday: “I had no knowledge of these complaints. I’ve gone back and asked my staff, they had no knowledge of the complaints or the process until we heard it leaked to the media.”
    But the Government declares he must have been aware much earlier — on the grounds that everyone else seems to have known.”

    Ms Grattan then goes from the implausible to the inconceivable. Turnbull has said ‘Liar, Liar, pants on fire’, which means the electorate should not be satisfied with the obligatory crucifixion of Husar, complete with character disembowelment while she is drowning, but should seek to burn Shorten as well. Ignoring that Turnbull’s alleged asbestos pants have either been incinerated, or he has engaged in an act of self-immolation. The arbiter of the practical definition of Truth is Turnbull? Seriously, WTF are you smoking? The upshot is that the spreading of spurious, specious rumours and innuendo by a rabid media calls into question the integrity of our politicians, as if there was any suggestion that anyone out here in ‘voter land’ believed in political truth any more than they believed the leprechaun riding the unicorn would eventually capture both the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

    “Voters assume politicians are lying all the time
    Whether the Government can make political mileage with its claim that Mr Shorten knew about Ms Husar’s behaviour earlier than he admits is yet to be seen. While voters don’t have a high opinion of Mr Shorten, they also have such low regard for politicians generally that they are more likely than not to assume many of them are lying much of the time.
    As always happens with scandals, they’ve been calls for changes to the system — in this case, more rules around treatment of staff.
    Is this really necessary? MPs’ offices are hot houses of pressure and tension, and staff often have testing bosses, very challenging jobs and punishing hours. But bad circumstances in one office don’t necessarily mean the whole system needs overall. Anyway, the fall of Ms Husar will send a powerful message to other MPs on being careful about how their offices run.
    Unfortunately, however, the sorry tale has also sent another message. That one is to the voters about their politicians — and, as so often, it’s a negative one.”

    Grattan, allegedly a journalist of some experience and repute, cites ‘Ms Husar’s behaviour’, not her ‘alleged’ behaviour, not rumour, innuendo or outright lies, but her behaviour. A correction was not forthcoming after the release of a report which separates reprehensible rumour mongering from matters worthy of further enquiry. Her ‘expenses claim’ was referred by Husar to the relevant committee as soon as she was made aware of the potential vagary. As to the administration of an office, which appears to be outside her temperament and experience, the report has suggested counselling.
    Grattan is sticking with the maxim that we don’t trust politicians, ignoring the reality that they are not only distrusted, but loathed and held in contempt. This is, after all, how they view their constituents. As for the media’s role, Grattan seems oblivious to the fact that the media is seen as a partisan, agenda driven ‘mob’, yet wonders why they now struggle to establish a modicum of relevance, having discarded any pretence of integrity (journalistic or otherwise). They wonder why nobody pays for the crap they’re peddling.
    Grattan was last seen holding a box of matches and a petrol container, singing Billy Joel in a duet with Workman. You know the one……..
    We didn’t start the fire
    It was always burning
    Since the world’s been turning
    We didn’t start the fire
    No we didn’t light it
    But we tried to fight it
    We didn’t start the fire
    It was always burning
    Since the world’s been turning
    We didn’t start the fire
    But when we are gone
    Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on
    What a brave new world we live in. Disclosing of facts is to be discouraged because of its prejudicial potential, whereas disclosure of gossip, rumour and innuendo should be encouraged because of its prejudicial potential. These ‘people’ seriously believe their own BS. Is it any wonder that MSM is in serious decline?
    As for Shorten and the obvious implication of ‘Labor factions’ in the initial leak of the ‘story’, they have merely underscored how out of touch the whole system is. A matter alluded to but not explored adequately by Grattan.
    “But bad circumstances in one office don’t necessarily mean the whole system needs overall.”
    One can only presume that Grattan meant to say ‘overhaul’, a carelessness that epitomises the whole debacle. Shorten, Labor and a woefully partisan, inadequate media need to understand that they are seriously out of touch. The IPA/LNP don’t even come into the equation, given their self professed adherence to principles that were inadequate in the 1600’s.
    This sad and sorry debacle certainly does not represent most of the people I know or come into contact with. It does underline the damage done by their irrelevant, out of touch ‘process’ and ‘discussion’, fueling a fire that we hoped was being extinguished by the MeToo tsunami. Sisters everywhere have been issued a blatant threat. If a scurrilous allegation is made, your gender will define the treatment meted out. Exhibit A – Joyce. Exhibit B – Husar.
    It is much more preferable to live out here in the real world rather than that toxic rarefied space these fools live in. It is regrettable that their ‘fire’ should be given oxygen, but the paucity of them and their ‘character’ should be given no quarter, lest it impedes the tsunami.
    Thank you, again, AIMN and commenters. Take care

  34. guest

    Kyran, Grattan is not the worst of it.

    It is revealed – can I say it? – that Karri Markson of The Daily Telegraph has been awarded prizes for ‘scooping’ the story of Joyce’s infidelity. She got the story out first? Not so. It is a filthy falsehood.

    Are we to believe that a rag like The Terror delivers fine journalism?

    We must ask why the whole story was not revealed before the date of the by-election, 2 Dec. It was ‘scooped’ two months later in Feb 2018!

    Yet the story had been common knowledge in Tamworth and was reported in other news outlets.

    We are being treated as idiots by elements of the media which are propaganda outlets for the RWNJ.

    And why did Grattan and no one else of the big MSM not reveal the Joyce story earlier? Am I missing something?

  35. Margaret Knight

    When is the story going to go public about Abbott and his mistress (apparently) living together?

  36. guest

    Apology for misspelling in my last post. Frustration.

    With regard to the Husar matter, it is interesting to see how social media distorts the truth.

    For example. A correspondent writing about the Whelan decision points out that the complainants (some or all) tried to get their complaints heard – by the union, by the body which deals with complaints,by the party, but no responses – and threatened to go public – which brought about the Whelan Inquiry, but that was too slow, so they were ‘compelled’ to go to the media.

    Sounds to me like there was a conspiracy of concealment and cover-up if we are to believe this correspondent. And at the same time the impatience and desire to get the result they wanted could suggest a conspiracy to remove the incumbent. Which is it?

    So we get a judgement on a range of accusations from speaking harshly, to collecting dog poo, to inappropriate sexual conduct. The more lurid accusations are dismissed as unprovable, but other accusations a regarded as believable and therefore stickable.

    Is it not possible they could all be dismissed or all upheld? How have any of them been proven?

    And there are questions. Did the complainants complain to Ms Husar? Why did the complainants say the body required to take complaints says it was not its business when their website says it is their business? Why did no one want to deal with the complaints? Were they all regarded as improbable, or just embarrassing, or to be swept under the carpet? Or were they dealt with but not to the satisfaction of the complainants?

    And of course there is no point in saying Ms Husar did not need to resign, when it is all too late when the matter has been corrupted beyond help, with people saying she had to resign even before the judgement was handed down when anonymous statements were taken and made public.

    What is going on here? Why are the facts distorted in public view – or kept secret?

    And here is another example. A correspondent making claims about climate change, such as the idea that carbon dioxide has nothing to do with global warming. Another claims Ian Plimer has dealt with the history of climate change in a ‘scientific manner’.

    Well, no he has not. His trick is to embed a falsehood in a question, such as this: “How can man-made CO2 be responsible for global warming when natural carbon dioxide is not?”

    The truth is that natural carbon dioxide at 280ppm has been able to maintain an average global temperature at c.14 degrees because carbon dioxide is a green-house gas. Carbon dioxide is now at 410ppm, a 40% increase since pre-industrial times.

    What is so frustrating is that the facts can be so easily found, but truth is hidden away behind self-seeking propaganda assisted by self-inflicted ignorance so that trying to discuss is lost in a fog of misinformation. This from at least one news outlet which refuses to educate its readers beyond blatant RWNJ ideology.

  37. totaram

    Guest: I have just seen on TV the ads telling us that Coal fired power stations are cheap and efficient and they are the reason Japan has cheap electricity! I don’t know who is running these ads but I think it’s time that there was something about “false advertising” that one could take to court. Just repeating such lies because they have the money to do it, is completely the way that these oligarchs can destroy our democracy.

  38. Florence Howarth

    I believe it might be the coal industry. Been going on for a while now.

  39. Kyran

    It’s funny you should mention that Guest. At the risk of digressing further from the intent of Ms Lee’s article, it is worthwhile looking at that example of ‘faux’ awards. The Kennedy Foundation and its awards don’t really stand any scrutiny at all. Yet the awards they distribute for journalism (cough) make for ‘News’ (cough) as if the award grants the journalist some measure of gravitas, some credibility, and their employer some legitimacy or relevance.
    It’s a bit like winning a ‘Logie’ or an ‘Oscar’. Pretending the granting of an award from an inherently corrupt and easily rigged ‘system’ is somehow reflective of merit.
    The Kennedy Foundation is a ‘philanthropic’ venture to help those in the media industry who fall on hardship. It is based on ‘sponsorships’. The ‘Awards night’ is their major fundraising event.

    “The Kennedy Foundation promotes strong camaraderie among news media professionals – to protect and support them in what can be a tough game. We know the intensity of competition between rival media organisations can take a heavy emotional, physical and financial toll but we believe the bond formed on the road can never be broken.”


    If you scroll down that first page, you see their sponsors include 7 News (cough), Nein News (cough), ACA (vomit), and numerous other MSM paragons of truth, integrity and independence. The Awards were held on the 10th August. From their website, they made an announcement on the 8th August.

    “The Kennedy Foundation is honoured to announce News Corp Australia and The Daily
    Telegraph will be sponsoring the prestigious Kennedy Award for Lifetime Achievement, to
    be showcased at the 2018 gala event on Friday night, 10 August.”

    The awards, as described on Mumbrella, rewarded the generosity of NewsCorpse with 14 awards. Nine went to Fairfax, two to ABC and one to SBS.

    As for the ‘legitimacy’ of Markson breaking the story, even in that confected alternative universe known as the Press Gallery, they feigned either ignorance of the subject or an inability to verify the substance, altogether ignoring that they never even asked if there was any truth to the rumour.
    Who can forget Murphy’s furious indignation when accused of partisanship. She starts off by saying she grew up with the Joyce’s and hails from that neck of the woods. She knew nothingk, she heard nothingk, she saw nothingk, she said nothingk. That makes her as effective a journalist (cough) as Schultz was a ‘guard’.

    “So here’s my story. Perhaps because I don’t spend enough time hanging around in the corridor, or at the pub, or because I became obsessed with the national energy guarantee at a deeply inconvenient moment, I heard zip about the deputy prime minister’s private life until just before Daily Telegraph reported last October that he was “struggling with issues that have affected his marriage of 24 years”.”

    It is deeply ironic that Bill Shorten will now be investigated for the same misdemeanour by that very same journalist (cough). When did he know? Why didn’t he know? Why didn’t he do something?
    As for your reference to the ‘breaking’ of the story, there are many misgivings that go to underscore the relationship between MSM and the ‘Fifth Estate’ and the validity of their respective roles in breaking stories. IA are (IMO) rightfully indignant that they have not only been ignored, but dismissed as irrelevant by a craven, self-interested MSM. They pointed this out to Media Watch some time ago and the interchange is well worth a look.,11776

    MSM is convinced of its own importance and sites such as this are lumped into a dark space, referred to as ‘social media’, which is, apparently, the domain of troll’s. What they furiously deny is this technology thing. Whilst they and their supporters decry fake news, they completely ignore that it has never been easier to conduct searches and establish credible sources and credible information. All of the above information was obtained in a few minutes, with further time for reading the parts cited.
    “We are being treated as idiots by elements of the media which are propaganda outlets for the RWNJ.”
    That is, undeniably, their folly. There are more than enough reasonably intelligent people to call out their BS. It is unfortunate, IMO, that we consistently accept the premise that the vast majority of people are ‘sheeple’, when the evidence is well and truly to the contrary.
    My apologies Ms Lee for the digression. Your article references numerous transgressions of numerous acceptable standards out here in the real world, for which there is no ‘remedy’ available to those most effected. MSM is not central to your article, but it is worth a mention as they ‘enable’ the lowest of the low to wreak havoc. The Joyce/Husar comparison is but one example.
    It is regrettable that there is no discussion of a system that does not have a complaints mechanism. Not just in Canberra, but nationally. For all of the complainants in both the Joyce and Husar instances, there was no credible authority for them to appeal to. It became fodder for MSM at a base and salacious level. All the while ignoring bullying, harassment and sexism and the complete absence of any framework for everyday people to seek meaningful redress. That’s before you start on the likes of Dutton and his pet dogs in the media who vilify entire groups who are largely unable to defend themselves against the verbal onslaught and the resultant abuse, verbal and physical, from their ignorant ‘fans’.
    Ah well. At least the journalists (cough) appreciate themselves.
    Thank you, Guest, for your comment. Take care

  40. diannaart


    I cannot speak for Kaye Lee, however, I would suggest that commentary of such high standard as yours Kyran is not only acceptable but vital, after all “everything is interconnected” and relevant digression is worthwhile for the AIM reader.

    That said, your link to Independent Media’s exchange with Media Watch indicates the rise and rise of real journalism in the fifth estate as compared to a bloated MSM which is as complacent as it has become complicit in the dumbing down of 4th estate journalism..

    I also appreciate the clarity with which you write – your intent being to inform rather than to disenfranchise the gentle reader.

  41. Kaye Lee

    I completely concur diannaart. Kyran’s contributions are always informative and appreciated. I have no problem at all with conversations developing. We are all here to learn.

    As for the many awards Sharri Markson received – Journalist of the Year, Outstanding Political Journalism award and sharing the Scoop of the Year Award – not only did she steal the story, if that is what we consider the best of investigative journalism, we may as well give up.

    Meanwhile, the Murray-Darling RC is revealing some shocking things.

    I would like to add that Mary Fallon from Four Corners did the story Unholy Silence which contributed to the formation of the child sex abuse RC, she did the story on water theft on the Murray-Darling that led to the SA RC, and she did the story on Don Dale leading to the juvenile detention RC….along with countless other crucial stories.

    But hey Sharri – you go girl. (rolls eyes)

  42. Michael Taylor

    As much as I hate to do so, I have to side with the Daily Telegraph on the Barnaby Joyce Affair.

    Yes, independent sites had articles about it months before the Telegraph did. We too were offered a story about it, a couple of weeks before it was published elsewhere. But I wasn’t interested. Why? Because it was all hearsay without one speck of evidence. We also had to consider Barnaby Joyce’s family if it turned out to be incorrect. Sure, it turned out to be true, but until the Telegraph’s article, sites were only publishing stories based on speculation and gossip.

    The Telegraph came up with actual evidence. To claim that the independent sites were robbed is a bit rich. If we had stories offered long beforehand, it’s certain that the Telegraph had something about it too. They just waited until they had the evidence to back it up.

  43. Michael Taylor

    PS: And that is probably the one and only time I’ll ever side with the Murdoch media. 👍

  44. Michael Taylor

    And I too enjoy reading Kyran’s comments. He has set a high bar.

  45. diannaart

    Tis a brave person dares to stick their head above any cultural parapet (especially online).

    Michael, I take your point. My point concerned the specific part of the Independent’s debate was that held between ABC’s Paul Barry – who should’ve known better and the Indi. This being an example of the further erosion of the ABC as a factual resource of the 4th estate.

    Just a point about the ABC, if I may, Auntie sure has been riddled with far-right termites and her once shining star of journalism has dimmed. For this reason, instead of casting aspersions to the ABC which is, oh, so easy and, oh, so cheap, , I have recently joined “ABC Friends” and placed a (really rather large) bumper sticker on my (rather small) car. Said sticker proudly and graphically loudly stating; “I ‘heart’ the ABC AND I vote”.

    Wishing I could do more to fight for democracy, but doing what I can.

  46. Carol Taylor

    Diannaart, it seems an eternity ago that our friends such as Mungo MacCallum and special friend Tim Dunlop wrote for the ABC. Does anyone remember when Tim wrote for And we had the late, great Matty Price writing for The Australian? That’s how far to the rabid right we’ve gone in such a short space of years.

  47. Kaye Lee

    I have had to endure the company of Chris Mitchell at family functions. People like him have hastened the demise. I have to walk away when he is holding court. There is no chance of a sensible conversation with someone that arrogant with so little actual knowledge or experience.


    There are cultural parapets, there are legal parapets, and there is common decency too. Is the story in the national interest? Early in the piece, Barnaby’s story was a personal matter but it became more, partly because of his hypocritical moralising, but mainly because of his endless rorting.

    We have pulled stories here at times rather than take on a legal battle. There is always another story.

  48. Kaye Lee

    Michael, I think for perhaps the first time, I disagree with you. A photo of a pregnant woman is not what should have given legitimacy to the story. That was pure sensationalism with a level of stalking. If they had verified the story we all already knew, they should have been reporting on the alleged misuse of public funds etc to deserve any sort of award. (Though I am a hypocrite too because I took great delight in passing on how Barnaby’s wife rode over his clothes on a ride-on lawnmower)

    The fact that Barnaby and Vicki are now trying to make money from the whole sordid affair is despicable. I will be checking Barnaby’s expense claims. I hope he isn’t claiming for his book promotion tour.

  49. diannaart


    What really scares me (OK, I admit it,am in a permanent state of existential fear) is how swiftly we adjust to the new norm – what was unthinkable has become mundane for many. I guess this comment fits within the boiling frog analogy.

    Which is why I find it dismaying when well-intentioned people of the left lambaste the ABC – particularly right now, when liberties are being pruned, choice and diversity considered a threat.

  50. Kaye Lee

    I also hate how differently people are treated. Look at Emma Husar vs Barnaby Joyce. Look at everyone being admonsihed to wait for the results of the investigation into the SAS in Afghanistan before reporting on the allegations. Look at Michaelia Cash trying to avoid court subpoenas on some sort of “public interest immunity” grounds.. Look at Kathy Jackson still swanning around. Look at the Commonwealth trying to stop employees from answering questions about water theft at the SA RC.

    That sort of shit really pisses me off. Paparazzi photos of pregnant women also piss me off.

  51. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    When it comes to doing hypocrisy the ALP are amateurs compared to the shenanigans of the LNP. So many claim to be devout Christians, clearly are not, then there’s the paint anything Labour or Green as less endearing as dog vomit for political gain.

    Paparazzi photos of women in general are not to be confused with great art.

  52. Alan Baird

    One theme emerges repeatedly concerning the constant histrionic state of the conservative-reactionary parties in their criticism of Labor. It is of course the parlous state of the media, their default pro-conservative-reactionary “program” followed to a ludicrous degree, and their equally default desperate critical pursuit of the ALP. Other media players which could display some integrity have been nobbled into a form of self-censorship by the mainstream media and incumbent government.
    The media let the MPs complained of get away with it because they know they can.
    For example, Joyce should at the very least have been fired.

  53. Joseph Carli

    Kaye Lee…it was ALWAYS a moral question in regards to Barnaby’s misdemeanors, The monetary misuse was secondary to the moral issues…and was also a result of the moral issues..I argued on Twitter this point to the point of being blocked by several well-known social media bloggers incl’ Dave Donovan because I accused those middle-class, private schooled types of lacking the intestinal fortitude of confronting BOTH parties in the affair of collusion in the betrayal of the very moral standards The LNP both promote and play to in the New England electorate community to get re-elected…
    It was always the moral question that would bring Barnaby down..the financial misuse was never going to hold water..and as was shown by the dodgy “investigation” that will likely never see the light of day, it was the one that the govt’ wanted to play on in the media so it would fizza out to “nothing to see here folks”..
    The middle-class always defers to the money as a defence…never the moral or ethical question when it is in regards to their own..Money is their plaything, their ‘home turf” and their expertise…Moral behaviour, defrauding the dole, bludging and welfare cheating are for the lower classes..just check Murdoch’s shit-sheets for confirmation.

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