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It was a week before Christmas, and these things caught my eye…

1 She seemed to pause for an excruciating eternity as the gallery sat forward on the edge of their seats; then her lips moved as she said: “Yes, I think you’re right.” Serena Wilson is now retired but was a former deputy secretary at the Department of Social Services, giving evidence before the Robodebt Royal Commission.

Wilson had made the dramatic concession that the Coalition government’s welfare debt recovery program was operating unlawfully and that: “I took no steps to stop it.”

The Robodebt Royal Commission is trying to ascertain who knew it was unlawful and why it was allowed to proceed. On Wednesday, December 14, former PM Morrison appeared before the commission.

In the meantime, The Guardian reported that former ministers Scott Morrison, Lord bless him, and ministers Christian Porter, Alan Tudge, Stuart Robert, Michael Keenan and Marise Payne have received approval for taxpayer-funded legal expenses related to the Robodebt Royal Commission. The price of truth is very costly these days.

But that’s not all. Scottie’s lawyers have asked that he be able to refer to cabinet documents when giving evidence. I suspect he wants to show that all decisions were of the cabinet and not him alone. Would the other witnesses be given the same luxury? And would access to cabinet papers for so many be in the public interest?

Questioning Scott Morrison

He was asked what he knew about the scheme from its inception in 2015 but needed help from a bad memory to enlighten anyone about anything.

His evidence was often interrupted by the commissioner or counsel assisting in criticising Morrison for not listening and giving answers that strayed from the question. Answers with unnecessary detail, unfairly describing the personality of his questioner and trespassing on parliamentary privilege.

His evidence was continuously in conflict with that of others before him, quiet’ sharply at times. He denied he knew-was told that this new method of debt collecting was illegal from the start or at least five years before the courts reached that conclusion.

Really, as the Minister of three departments, overlapping robot debt over time, “nobody ever told him.” Couldn’t lie straight in bed is a term Australians often use.

He then got stuck into those public servants he thought should have told him but didn’t for whatever reason.

Mr Morrison was warned in 2014, early as the social services minister, that the scheme was unlawful, and he and the department were conflicted as to whether parliament ice of would need to pass a law to allow the use of the new method.

Mr Morrison, as reported in The New Daily said the department changed its advice:

“All I know is between February when the [social services department] was communicating a view, there was a series of discussions to work up this proposal and resolve any of these issues,” Mr Morrison said.

At some point in time, some critical pieces of documentary evidence relating to this matter strangely went missing and frustrated the commission’s attempts to conclude the truth of this matter.

For any enquiry involving Morrison, one would have to assume that, given his reluctance to speak the truth, he would replace it with an air of condescension, manipulation and possibility, which he did.

As a witness before the Royal Commission, former PM Morrison contributed nothing more than another self-opinionated view of himself. His self-aggrandisement grates. And we know how full of himself he is.

He didn’t at any time ingratiate himself to the commissioner or council assisting. His answers to questions were full of self-embellishment. Often just to guild the lily with his perceived self-importance.

A good summation of Morrison giving evidence can be found at the ABC. Morrison, in my view, saw it as yet another opportunity to impress upon the people of Australia that he and he alone had the qualifications to make decisions in the country’s best interests. God had ordained him to do so. Why didn’t people understand that?

Is the Trump saga over with?

2 In terms of international public importance, father slime has caught up with former President Trump himself, and any amount of law dodging won’t help him this time. Yes, it’s terrible news for Trump and the Republican Party.

a) Bennie Thompson, chairman of the January 6 committee, enquiring into the assault on the National Capital, announced that it is now open to making criminal referrals to the US Department of Justice and would be forthcoming.

b) It looks like a Manhattan jury has convicted the Trump Organization on 17 counts of tax fraud, conspiracy and falsification. According to prosecutors, the former president was complicit, says the Guardian online news.

c) And now, the Democrats have pulled off a win in Georgia with the incumbent senator Raphael Warnock prevailing in a hard-fought runoff. Georgia once again rejected Trumpism. It was a sound rebuke of anything that had the slightest odour of Trump about it.

Could it be that America, like Australia, is ridding itself of this experimentation with extremism? A return to decency, however imperfect it might be.

Of course, there is still the matter of how top government secrets came to be at Mar-a-Lagoassociating with the wrong people and ripping up the constitution.

3 The Australian Government’s long-awaited plan to reduce power prices passed the house on Thursday afternoon and the Senate in the evening, thus completing a successful six-month period wherein it completed what it said it would.

My thought for the day

Change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making. With Its own inevitability. Particularly in politics.

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9 comments

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  1. GL

    Scummo is utterly incapable of accepting any blame for all the pain he has created. To paraphrase a line from an episode The Young Ones: “It was not me, it was was everybody else in the world.”

  2. KB

    The non-stop lying; the persistent habit of blaming everyone else but himself; the dodging and weaving; the haughty arrogance and the refusal to accept any responsibility for ANYTHING that happened under his “control” when everyone knows that Morrison was – and still is – a megalomaniacal control freak … all of these things: the obfuscation, the shirking of responsibility et al are the glaring hallmarks of a remorseless pathological psychopath!

  3. Phil Pryor

    Scott Stiffschidt has the mentality of a mischievous mistake, is mentally messed, mucked, mired and merdey, has defects, demerits and derogations, is a cursed and cullioned crotel, cannot be trusted, treated or tupped off, and, must be eliminated, eviscerated, and merdivorously extravigated, the scumbled scrotter…One hears a distant wheeze, a far cough.

  4. wam

    Love the line and your story. lord.
    In the November 8 election, Warnock only received 49.4% of the vote and Walker received 48.5% this lack of a majority triggered the re-run.,
    1,816,096 to the incumbent 1,719,483 to the challenger is a certainly a rebuff of trump. Do you think a joy for biden, lord?
    ps
    radio national yesterday had a great scientist who gave a reason why ‘climate change’ is not able to be processed as compared to what is happening now.
    The melt cannot be denied????
    Worth a listen.

  5. Clakka

    Scummo and via didactic ranting will be hoist by his own petard. As a clot that claimed to be intimate with the provisions and operation of the Act, numerous times when asked what was at the front of his mind, originally and throughout the process, he attested, “Nothing had changed, the department(s) had used the process of income averaging and investigation for 20 years.”

    He many times prattled about the history of obtaining and averaging of ATO info (by hand delivery of “tapes”). He had provided circumstantial (but incomplete) evidence as to that history, BUT NOTHING as to transition from ATO information to, and the process of, INVESTIGATION – which is where the HUGE difference (and new Robodebt illegality) lies.

    The Commissioner and Counsel have carefully invited him to provide the additional (missing) evidence, and he has (with bluster) agreed.

    I assume they will get him on the ‘did know’ or had ‘a minister’s duty to know’ before he allowed (against the rules of parliament for ministers) the omissions, misdirections or out-and-out lies to to go before cabinet, then onto the ERC and through to implementation.

    I will be reading the Commission’s report, and I hope she is merciless, and gives the AG a compelling case for further referral.

  6. Daryl Marshman

    Unless I missed something, at no point did he actually say he did not know. Morrison continually skirted the issue with twisted words, so to his mind he will think he did not lie but smirks and chuckles about how he is so ‘clever’ he bamboozled them with his words. Sort of makes you want to wipe the smile off his face.

  7. Terence Mills

    Daryl

    You’re right, true to form he would never accept any blame for decisions (he) made that didn’t work out in his favour ; the closest he came was to say that :

    “Morrison told the commission that the failure of the advice to be brought to him in its final form represented a “critical failure in the system”, adding it was “distressing” that he didn’t know why that didn’t occur.”

    It was them, not me !

  8. New England Cocky

    I recognise your optimism that the former douche-bag for a PM will accurately ”tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” to any inquiry into his actions, including his delusional fantasy of becoming the first democratically elected ”overlord” of the royally approved fascist Australian theocracy following the tenets of the Hell$inger$ ”pay your way to heaven now” cult.

    Naturally his exceptional talents in leading the nation into the biggest financial disaster ever, destroying the lives of some 2,000 Australian taxpayers with Robodebt, and creating abysmal misery for legal refugees on Manus and Nauru will require special access to Parliamentary records best kept secret because he is just ”special”.

    I think the comments by others are very restrained and generous in their description of the Scummo years of incompetent woe.

  9. Andy56

    Morrison still sees it as a legal issue when really its profoundly a moral issue. Hes the one who set himself up with his christian faith on his heart. The tv appearances of him clapping hands high. Hes the one who failed to understand the basic tenants of christianity by persecuting the down and out. He used his ” christian ” values to further his political standing. And now, the legal aspect was not his job? One has to ask the obvious questions, as PM and minister for social security, what the fuck was his job? As a christian, does he understand the morality at play? Does he accept he was the minister to accept blame?
    That to me says a lot about the man, truely as delusional as abbott.

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