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Keeping a Morrison government honest?

Warning: this article contains material which will shock monarchists everywhere, especially citizens of the south Pacific island of Tanna in the Vanuatu archipelago who once worshipped Prince Philip as a spirit or a god and who now must transfer their adulation to Charles, the son of (their) god.

Keeping a Morrison government honest is like trying to nail a jelly to a wall, as Teddy Roosevelt wrote of his efforts to get an agreement with Columbia in April 1912. Or the ABC’s work to take the twerk hurt out of 101 Doll Squadron’s sensational dance rendition of Koffee’s Toast (remix) for the “launch event” of HMAS Supply II in Woolloomooloo, (not be confused with HMAS Supply I a vessel which was actually launched where it was made in Spain in 2018).

The ABC is told to undo a video edit creating an image of top brass watching – Governor-General David Hurley, Chief of Navy Vice-Admiral Michael Noonan and Chief of Defence General Angus Campbell “observing the performance.”

The women complain ABC camera angles amount to upskirting which is then shown to the world. They feel “threatened and exploited.” Defence Minister Dutton declares that future ship launch celebrations will be twerk-free zones.

 

101 Doll Squadron

 

Hurley and Noonan claim they arrived post-“Toast”. The ABC releases Toast 2.0 which does show just a sole, impassive, Campbell mentally rehearsing his tribute to the late Prince Philip; doubtless pondering what Philip – both a sailor and a pants man might have made of proceedings. Meanwhile Liberal MPs are unhappy at the dance/warship fusion. They sook about how our armed forces are now too “left” and “woke” at a cost to their core business of killing people.

It’s another top opportunity for the PM to bash the ABC and throw another dead cat on the table to distract from his vaccination debacle. He brands the ABC camera woman’s work “disrespectful to the performers,” on Thursday. “To suggest the Governor-General or others were in attendance there in that way I think was dishonest.

The twerk angle is escalated into a major issue for all armed forces and Morrison’s standards: “ … standards have failed, and so I think Defence will look at these matters and make whatever changes they wish to in the future.”

Standards? Morrison’s invoking standards? What a crack-up. Kristina Kenneally finds her flight to Christmas Island cancelled by Peter Dutton a few hours after she’s made it. She wishes to visit the Biloela family in indefinite detention and she plans to take her joint parliamentary committee with her. Dutton says no suitable aircraft are available.

Ever resourceful, committed to the cause of open government and justice, Kenneally secures a Virgin flight.

“Peter Dutton did the one thing he could as defence minister and cancelled the committee’s flight on a Government Special Purpose Aircraft,” she says. “This from the same Minister who didn’t hesitate in spending $36,000 of taxpayers’ money flying himself on the same Government Special Purpose Aircraft from Queensland to Tasmania to announce a highly political “Safer Seats Rorts” grant during the Braddon by-election.”

Scott Morrison’s government has standards. And to adapt Groucho, if you don’t like those standards, it’s got others.

It’s a week of revision and revisitation. After five abortive tries to get a vaccination programme happening, the PM just gives up. If at fifth you don’t succeed, why try again? Scotty screws up his vaccine roadmap. He’s not playing the jab-plan game any more. Instead, National Cabinet, another Morrison, Secret Squirrel comic fiction, will Zoom bi-weekly to nut out a vax plan. Of course that doesn’t prevent the PM from hinting broadly, Friday, at open borders and quarantine at home for vaccinated Aussies returning from foreign locations. At least 40,000 stranded Australians are in limbo. They are still waiting for him to honour his promise to have them all home by last Christmas. National Cabinet will fix that, too?

So he’d love us to believe. He needs another scapegoat. And headlines. Wrest the narrative from his bullying of Christine Holgate, the interview he’s promised Brittany Higgins, her upcoming book – or reports that Ben Roberts-Smith buries a pink plastic children’s lunchbox of USB flash drives in his backyard. The drives, sources report, contain images that may implicate fellow diggers, a violation of Justice Brereton’s 2016 request that soldiers surrender any such material.

The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes have evidence that Roberts-Smith intimidated witnesses to prevent them giving evidence at the Brereton Inquiry. The media also have Images which show elite, Perth-based SAS troops at a fancy dress party at The Fat Lady’s Arms, an unauthorised bar, frequented by both officers and men in Tarin Kowt in Southern Afghanistan. One wears a Ku Klux Klan costume. Friends of his, dressed in similar outfits are alleged to have executed fathers, brothers, sons say locals in a series of complaints, dating from 2006.

A midweek press drop is called for. In synchronised stenography, surely a future Olympic Event – our media flacks oblige with “Back on war footing amid vaccine mercy dash to Europe.”  It’s  just another desperate Morrison stunt; set up another story that casts himself if not his motely crew of rorty, incompetent failures as valiant, chivalrous heroes.

Mercy dash? Knight errant, valiant, Dan Tehan kits up. Booted and spurred, he’s off to tilt at Brussels’s windmills. Another stunt. None of it fools Niki Savva, whose basilisk stare turned Gillard to stone, or so Savva swears.

“First Australia was in the front of the queue, then it slipped towards the back of the queue, now there is no queue, no timetable and no targets. All too hard.” The Liberal insider, scoffs at Morrison‘s farrago of lies in the party’s Pravda, The Australian.  To her, the PM’s a dead man walking. The pandemic will be the kiss of death because it reveals his government’s utter incompetence -when it comes to governance. And ScoMo has Pinocchio’s nose. His government’s paralysing ineptitude is compounded by its mythomania; its pathological inability to tell the truth.

But the Morrison omnishambles does some things rather well. It’s a well-oiled machine when it comes to injecting money into the economy via Job Keeper. Over a billion dollars went into some of Australia’s biggest and most profitable companies last year, boosting a $3.6 billion return to shareholders. A few will repay $78 million in return. Corporations don’t have to repay – unlike Centrelink beneficiaries receiving overpayments who get debt collectors set on to them.

Where the Morrison government really excels is being frugal with the truth. While it bullshits about its affection for small government, what it loves most is secrecy and deception.  And it’s not just good at lying its head off, it’s mean and sneaky. It’s a black belt in the dark arts of persuasion such bullying Holgate, who cops a bucketing from Jared Lynch for her grandiose ideas, which did not endear her to the government, as he tells the story, in Friday’s The Australian. Add in the backgrounding against Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz or steam-cleaning a sofa. Anything underhand.

Or under Hunt. Down. Down. Down. Monday’s jab tally sags to 56,000. By Wednesday it is only slightly better at 63,633. No biggie, lies our Health Minister who, like his PM, would con us that in a pandemic, best to be the tortoise in any race to the mortuary. Or how we always stuff up on the best expert advice. Professor Murphy says so.  “Vaccination alone,” moreover, “is no guarantee you can open up.” Yet last month, Morrison was promising an October jab-by-date.

A travel backflip is not without its risks. QANTAS’ ruthless CEO, one of the highest paid executive in Australia (total salary last year of $24.8 million) a $700 million government corporate welfare recipient, Alan Joyce, is overjoyed that domestic travel is back to eighty per cent of pre-pandemic level, whatever that means in an industry of brutal cutbacks. Joyce is still barracking for open skies in October, despite the Morrison’ latest dummy-spit on setting any target at all.

Alan’s not alone. Others join Joyce in intoning “October” as if it were some holy mantra – as if by power of repetition the month will bring news that we’re all vaccinated and back to business as usual. All our trading partners fit and well again.

You can always trust Hunt to plant his feet firmly in the air. Our thoroughly post-modern Health Minister Greg Hunt is always up for a back-flip. Or pivot. Or somersault. Just don’t ask him to reverse his refusal to testify to what he saw at the Intervarsity Debating Tournament in 1988, attended also by Christian Porter and Paul Fletcher.

For Hunt, there’s no open border on the horizon, ever. Nope. Nope. Nope. No commitment to when we’ll all have had the jab. Even when we do have everyone vaccinated, borders may stay shut. It’s a last-ditch effort to dump the whole vaccination distribution debacle back on to state laps. But before any smartarse can query the futility of more talk about distribution without having any supplies, Holgate-gate breaks, a public name and shame of bully-boy Morrison.

Clad in suffragette white, Christine Holgate appears before a senate committee to accuse the Prime Misogynist of trashing her reputation; gaslighting her resignation, in an orchestrated psychological war on one woman that she says leaves her suicidal. All too much for Scotty. He vastly prefers the old Holgate who was a self-serving corporate hack and Murdoch lackey on Ten. Scotty steals away on Shark 1. Jets to the western front for photo ops, a cash splash for Seroja cyclone victims and perhaps a single malt with merry, Kerry Stokes. WA is showered in handouts, a token five hundred dollars for kids and twice that for adults -just enough to big-note the PM but useless to those who must rebuild.

Shark 1 is a modest one hundred and two seater, a Qantas A330 converted in 2015 by Airbus to a freighter and air-to-air refueler. The RAAF KC30-A tanker is set up to ferry the PM and claque of embedded journos on big overseas trips. If he gets to make another: Morrison flew to Japan, last November. Foreign Minister, Marise Payne and former Defence Minister Linda “Lying Cow Reynolds” flew Shark 1 to Washington but PM’s office told them not to use the VIP suite.

Nor its comfy bed. The $250 million re-jig is worth every cent. A nation wonders how any PM ever did without it. No doubt it will come in handy if it ever becomes safe for any leader to jet away. The pandemic is raging globally.

WHO reports a rise in new COVID-19 cases around the world – for the seventh, consecutive week. Over 4.5 million new cases are reported, as of last week. 76,000 new deaths are reported. Alarmingly, the number of new deaths continues to rise over four consecutive weeks. It’s up by 7% compared to last week. Our PM would do well to heed this trend.

In the meantime, he’s desperate to wrest control of the narrative which entails despatching former DFAT pen-pusher and onetime diplomat in our nation’s Embassy in Mexico, dapper Dan Tehan, Minister for TTI, trade, tourism and investment to EU HQ to plead for more vaccine, even though we don’t deserve it. Dan’s had stellar success in Education, which he equates with training for jobs. Why, he singlehandedly doubled the cost of an arts degree, while helping ensure that Universities and the like did not qualify for Job Keeper. Bet that wins him fans in academia worldwide.

Perhaps the flight will also give Morrison time to reflect on his peroration on the dying of Abbott knight, Sir Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, for whom tributes still flow, thick and slow. Scotty’s no Boris Johnson who fancies Philip as an expert carriage-driver, whose racism and misogyny were just ways to “break the ice; get people laughing.”

“You look like you’re ready for bed!” he tells the President of Nigeria in 2003, dressed in traditional robes. It’s a quip that’s guaranteed to build respect and rapport between the two leaders and their respective nations. Just ask Boris.

It’s a tough gig. Morrison’s got a bit of competition, too. The demise of the notorious gaffer, the fabled Duke of the eponymous Scheme and self-reliant to the last, inventor of his own, patent, modified Land Rover hearse springs a gush of tributes. It’s tricky territory, which Marina Hyde reminds us, reveals more about the author than the subject.

” … neither royal fans nor royal detractors care entirely selflessly about what the royals want. Emotions are for us, not them. They are mostly required to serve as Rorschach blots, in which we see only what we wish and reveal only ourselves. Knowingly or otherwise.”

Many of us warm to Britain’s royalty, described by US Ambassador, William Crowe, in 1997, as the royal family mourned Diana as “aloof, rigid and lacking in empathy.” Many of us don’t. We project what we believe we see; and even that projection is shaped by others. Hamlet asks Polonius. “Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?

Polonius: By the mass, and ‘tis like a camel, indeed.

Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.

Polonius: It is backed like a weasel.

Hamlet: Or like a whale?

Polonius: Very like a whale.”

 

Prince Philip and Elizabeth in Australia

 

“The Duke’s life was one of duty and of service, of loyalty and of honour,” Morrison intones, unwittingly evoking his own back-stabbing, duplicity. The citing of the dutiful, master-servant, a mythological beast is compulsory. Unsaid are the hard facts of privilege. Despite Philip’s apocryphal stories of his poverty, he got by with a bit of help from his family including his grandmother, Princess Victoria at Kensington Palace, and later, his guardian Uncle George, Marquess of Milford Haven. His mentor was the distinguished Uncle Dickie, Lord Louis Battenberg, also renamed Mountbatten to disguise his German ancestry, but not his paedophilia, described in FBI files as his “perversion for young boys.”

Philip himself spent his married life playing gooseberry to a Queen’s love affair with her own royal duty. It did not sit well with him. “I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.”  Self-disparagement aside, he generally did as he pleased, if not without a certain ironic resignation.

Less well-aired are Battenberg’s views on the social picnic, although on one occasion, Philip did demand service. The Duke  knew what he wanted but never really got it, a tragic subtext the obsequies of mourning clogging our screens.

“Bugger the table plan, just give me my dinner.” Cut off in his prime at 99, HRH, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is said to be a “shock death”. The consort, on sufferance, of Queen Elizabeth, the Second, whom he said was “only interested in something if it farts and eats hay, is admired for daring to share his inner vulgarian. Yet the Duke knew that fine words butter no parsnips. He’d be quick to deplore our media’s manic eagerness to fawn over him on his demise.

The gush threatens to become a deluge. Our own closet monarchists on The ABC are awash with tosh. They prattle endlessly, recycling well-worn, clichés and reheating stale platitudes.  We learn yet again how Philip “modernised the monarchy” or how his gaffes were really helpful in instructing us what to avoid. Or taken out of context.

Yes. He was a devoted family man. Royal biographer, Sarah Bradford writes, of the younger Philip, “the women he goes for are always younger than him, usually beautiful and highly aristocratic … He has affairs and the Queen accepts it.

The BBC creates a dedicated complaints form on its website to cope with a volley of protests from viewers who find its royal fawning emetic. Many object to East Enders, Gardeners’ World and the final of MasterChef being replaced by simulcast pre-recorded tributes from Philip’s children. Randy Andy, Jeffrey Epstein’s pal, who was sired, by Lord Porchester, The Seventh Earl of Carnarvon is very much in frame. As is Harry, whose paternity is also controversial.

The BBC form’s a handy counterpoint to the sycophantic, bollocks of countless, mindless, fatuous, fact-free eulogies.

Philip did marry well. It should be his obituary. Being born an aristocrat was another stroke of luck. Forget the myth of his poverty. His people knew people who knew people with money. And mansions in England. Philip fled Corfu in 1922; smuggled out in an orange crate borne aboard HMS Calypso. (Greek: she who hides). The plan was to evade anti-monarchists out to kill his Papa, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, brother of King Constantine of Greece.

King George sent a Royal Navy gunboats around, as you do, when a rellie is in spot of bother. He’d never forgiven himself that time when he was too slow to pull the fat out of the fire for his other cousin, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia whose main claim to fame is that he had no idea how to be a Tsar. Nor did he want to be Tsar. Russia was less than understanding. It ended badly for Nick and family. Now things were looking crook for cousin Constantine.

Con was forced to abdicate. Grovelers gush that the sea rescue kindled Phil’s interest in the navy, but that’s a bridge too far. He was an eighteen-month old tot at the time. He could hardly be expected to know his Navel from his Naval. Oddly, he has no fond memories of Greece or the Greeks especially the Greek who shot his uncle George in 1913.

King George I of Greece and Denmark was on an afternoon stroll in the streets of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, when shot in the back by Alexandros Schinas, who declared that he shot George for refusing to give him money. He’d even petitioned the palace a few years earlier. Philip took the story to heart.

Schinas, whose tubercular delirium may have triggered his shooting, as he claimed, died six weeks later in a fall from a window of the Magistrate’s Office.

Like LEGO, the Greek monarchy, in 1922, was an expensive Danish toy, imposed on the Greeks by a referendum in 1862, after thirty odd years’ under Bavarian import, King Otto of Wittelsbach, a dud they fell in love with at first sight but whom they later came to detest, depose and expel. Surprisingly, there was no mad rush of candidates to replace him.

Prince Wilhelm of Denmark, the eventual winner, received a paltry six votes. More popular candidates, include Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, another debauched party-goer. Instead, Alfred is sent on tour to Australia, by his mother, Victoria, partly to curb her son’s appetite for society high-life. A bullet which lodges near your spine can also have that effect. Prince Alfred, Earl of Kent and Earl of Ulster, is the only royal known to have been shot whilst on a visit to Sydney.

Henry O’Farrell shoots Alfred in the back in a visit to a picnic, a fund-raiser for the Sydney Sailors’ Home held at Clontarf Reserve in February 1868, the first royal tour of Australia. Men and women faint. Tears are shed. Tempers flare. A few quick-thinking bystanders barely manage to prevent O’Farrell from being torn asunder on the spot. An “Indignation Meeting, only a day later, draws 20,000. Things turn ugly for Irish-Catholic Australians across the nation.

O’Farrell fesses up to being a lone wolf. Just before he’s hanged, he disavows any link with any other Fenian, much to the relief of NSW cops who are quite unable to find evidence of any fellow terrorists.

O’Farrell is fuelled by Fenian republican sentiment; the desire to liberate Ireland from British tyranny. Prince Albert made an heroic recovery by the end of March yet he was not destined to become the king of Greece.

“Affie” as Prince Alfred was fondly known to his family, won 230, 016 votes. Yet he was forced to politely decline the offer to become King of Greece, however, flattering largely because his mother, Victoria, disapproved. He would later marry Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, the only daughter of Nicholas II and Marie Alexandrovna of Russia and on the death of his uncle Ernest II, in 1873 took up the duchy of Saxe Coburg and Gotha and gradually became popular and was well regarded by his subjects on his death in 1900. Fast forward.

The Calypso took Philip to Italy and he went on to Paris. Philip never looked back. Or forward. Phil, the Greek, or Stavros or The Hun as the Queen Mother called him, may technically have been a Greek prince, but he neither lived in Greece nor spoke Greek. French and German were his languages. As a young child in Paris, he saw himself as a Danish prince.

At seven, he was abandoned by his father Andrew who left to set himself up in Monte Carlo with his mistress, while his strikingly beautiful mother, Alice Battenberg, profoundly deaf, but who could lip read in several languages, believed herself to be a nun and the only woman on earth and married to Christ. A doctor diagnosed her as a paranoid schizophrenic. Philip’s grandmother was persuaded by psychiatrists that Alice was best placed in a secure sanatorium.

Alice did not go willingly. In Easter 1930, the highly distressed woman was physically subdued by the doctor, sedated and taken by car to a clinic near Lake Constance. His mother’s committal, 2 May is the end of Philip’s family life.

 

Alice of Battenberg, Prince Philip’s mother

 

Philip did not reconcile with Alice until 1967, when they were re-united and they spent her last days together.

Philip was  sent to England to live with his maternal grandmother. His childhood was chaotic and infused with tragedy, writes Andrew Scott in Politico. He was cared for by his grandmother, Princess Victoria in England at first and was later in the guardianship of his uncle. Gordonstoun school and later the Royal Navy were to be profound influences on his character and personality.

As an adult he retreated into a Colonel Blimp caricature, a public persona that could be an irascible racist and sexist. Examples abound. Philip once asked a group of women community workers in the East End of London who presented the Queen with a sponge cake, whom “they were sponging off.” “Do you meet for a gossip?” he added.

Did he fill the House of Windsor’s random stand-up comedy slot? Leaven her Majesty’s chit-chat and banter? He was far too shrewd to be its court jester. Philip is credited with introducing a business like approach to the royal household and he did notch up an Olympic record of seventy six years as her Britannic Majesty’s “Cookie’s” chief squeeze.

Hacks at The Daily Telegraph and other sycophants enjoyed creating the myth that Philip was a no-nonsense man of the people but he showed no great fondness for commoners. He was no democrat. He greeted the brutal Paraguayan dictator General Alfredo Stroessner in 1963: “It’s a pleasure to be in a country that isn’t ruled by its people.”

The man, however, remains an enigma. Much is made by British media of the royals’ charity work and there is no doubt it is hard work. Perspective matters, however. Whilst Tory tabloid toadies love to fawn over Philip’s statistical record of 22,219 “engagements” in his capacity as the Duke of Edinburgh over six decades: “… most such engagements, involving anything from launching battleships and unveiling plaques at town halls to guzzling drinks and tucking into banquets in the company of other reactionary toffs, lasted on average an hour.”

His working week averages about 350 hours a year of seven hours a week over sixty-four years. For his he earned a stipend of £360,000 PA. All expenses, such as travel, accommodation and meals were paid for him. A complex and reticent figure despite his rhinoceros hide, Philip is not found in his obituaries or the obsequies of public figures.

Another baffling enigma, Scott Morrison is back into his cosplay, the mainstay of his Prime Ministry, doing stretch exercises with mining workers (but not twerking) to the strains of Jimmy Barnes’s Working class Man. It’s quite a stretch even for our protean PM. He tells pet journos that we could be all be jetting OS again, Friday.

“The doctor ate my homework,” or the experts told us to take a punt on a few vaccines are its first line of defence. But when the going gets tough, Morrison gives up. Fail to honour a single pledge to meet any vax distribution deadlines? It’s the only thing, for which federal government will take direct responsibility. Now it refuses to even have a plan. You can’t criticise a plan that doesn’t exist. Just as you can’t be held to account for a rape you don’t hear about.

The non-plan won’t catch on. Vaccination rollout an omnishambles? All of us have skin in the game. Morrison’s inspired decision to abandon all targets is all lamely explained away by scapegoating suppliers. Uncertainties such as vaccine nationalism have been known since the first vaccines appeared. Labor’s Antony Albanese warmed the government of  the risk of putting all our eggs in one basket at the time.

Critics such as a left-wing ABC or the sewer rats of social media are confounded. Great solace is to be had that we rank just ahead of Bangladesh or one hundred and fourth in the global vaccination race?

Of course it’s just a walk in the park; not a race and we’ve lost only a total of 909 says the PM in a video he posts on Facebook, a type of social media he tells Australians not to trust, Laura Tingle, reminds Greg Hunt.

“We’ve been very clear to point out where you get your information from. You don’t get it from Facebook. You get it from official government websites,” Morrison patronises our National Press Club, 1 February, this year.

Yet our dilemma deepens – and with it Morrison’s problem. New evidence from researchers at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital indicates that just counting fatalities does not begin to assess the effect of the pandemic because it ignores Long Covid which may afflict at least nineteen per cent of all Australians who contract acute COVID-19.

“Long COVID hits women more often than men, affects young and old, and while more common in those who had severe symptoms in the acute stage, it can also afflict those who had only a mild course of COVID-19,” reports Crikey’s Jason Murphy. 

Health Secretary Brendan Murphy praises the rigour of St Vincent’s research model which selects patients before they succumb to COVID-19 and which tracks them after they do. The experimental design side-steps some vociferous critics of studies which include non COVID-19 sufferers who dismiss Long Covid as all in the mind.

But don’t call Dr Laming. Liberal love rat, Andy Laming, the LNP’s upskirter can’t get enough of Facebook. He has a swag of fake Facebook community and news pages. The AEC is looking into the Queensland MP’s failure to make any political disclosure. Given the AEC’s record of investigations clearing Liberals in Kooyong for example, he’s got nothing to fear.

 But Laming is in a spot of bother over his awarding a $550,000 govt grant to a rugby club in his electorate with links to one of his electoral staffers. Worse, the grant which comes from funding aimed at female participation, goes to the Southern Cyclones rugby club, which does not even field a women’s team?

MP for Bowman, Laming flip-flops on his vow not to stand for re-election thereby making himself a “de-selected candidate” who is entitled to a $105,625 resettlement allowance , explains researcher and Walkley finalist, William Summers. A net loss to his own party in terms of scandal, Laming will exit politics at our expense. Yet Morrison’s refusal to stand the MP down is yet another sign that the PM lacks the bottle to be an effective leader; much as he lacks the moral compass to condemn the behaviour of a party member who is a stalker and a troll who bullies women online.

Finally it’s still a shock to many that the PM takes it upon himself to offer an Easter Message. Worse, the sentiments expose the inadequacy multiplied by the inhumanity and sadistic cruelty of his government’s policies

“A very special time when people and families come together?” OK. Not so much for forty thousand Australians stranded overseas by his government. Or the Biloela family in indefinite detention, a type of torture according to the UN, on Christmas Island. Not for the poor whose numbers his government’s IR and economic policies have vastly expanded. 3.24 million of us are forced to live below the poverty line of half the minimum wage, ACOSS calculates.

But how good is The PM’s Easter Massage? Lynton Crosby may throw a dead cat on the table to distract us but it takes a Scott Morrison to get Jen to pet someone else’s live labradoodle. Get real.

A nation goes wild over platitudes and re-hashed homilies as we are left pondering his parable of the girls who must grow up but who’ll never lose their love of  chocolate. Tony Abbott’s mentor, Cardinal “Melbourne Solution” George Pell reinvents Easter in an op-ed in The Australian in which he bullshits that the pagan festival has Christian origins.

But imagine if the Easter Message were not words at all but deeds; a commitment to a living minimum wage. Businesses can afford higher wages. The Guardian’s Paul Jericho reminds us businesses can afford higher wages. Profits increased by 15% in the last 12 months. It’s the first recession in Australian history when profits got bigger, not smaller.

Women would benefit the most. Two thirds of all award-dependent workers are women. Yet government policy increases inequality. As women returned “to part-time, casual and low-paid roles last year, the gender pay gap across all jobs (including part-time and full-time) widened from May to November, reaching 31%.

The federal government needs to do more than hand-ball the pandemic to the states to deal with. If it can’t secure enough vaccine, then say so. Call an election. But at the same time it needs to heed the women who marched on parliament not patronise and divide them or buy them off with a women’s cabinet taskforce.

A real boost to the minimum wage would not only help address the gender pay gap and the scourge of inequality, it would stimulate an economy that is coming off job-keeper in a world in which the coronavirus pandemic still rages, only to be depressed by the application of austerity economics – as seen in the shameful measures mooted by a Morrison government to make it harder for our most vulnerable to access the NDIS.

Time to drop the evasion and the indecision, Prime Minister, the nation is calling out for leadership not only in obtaining adequate and timely supplies to ensure a successful vaccination roll-out – but leadership in applying consequences to the likes of Andrew Laming. Above all leadership and vision is required from your government in boosting the minimum wage to stimulate the nation’s prosperity and to attack the scourge of violence against women at of its key origins – the undervaluing of women’s work and gender inequality in the workplace.

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40 comments

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  1. Phil Pryor

    Morrison and his supporters, colleagues, donors, backers, are a whole swamp of filth, self focussed on asserting, domineering, profiting, posing, repressing, “winning”, and any lie, propaganda, deal, scheme, defence, justification, story, will do. We all lose. I enjoyed the article and take much from parts of it. As for the Morrison menagerie, you can talk to a pot of turds until you are brown in the face, but…

  2. Harry Lime

    Best Saturday morning pick-me-up since I was about 18,thanks David.As for the cockhead Morrison,hell will freeze over before he ever does the right thing…He’s wired like a 1949 FX Holden…he’ll only go when he’s pushed..

  3. Kaye Lee

    The investigation into Christine Holgate found no wrongdoing on her part but it did find quite a lot of confusion about corporate governance from board members. And who is on the board?

    “It includes Tony Nutt, former Liberal Party director, member of the so-called Star Chamber that has determined ministerial staff in the current government, and apparently the board member who is supposed to represent the unions and the postal agency franchisees (who have apparently never met him, according to other evidence to the Senate inquiry).

    There is Michael Ronaldson, a former Liberal senator and minister, Bruce McIver, former president of the Liberal National Party of Queensland, Mario D’Orazio, “a personal friend of Minister [Mathias] Cormann”, according to Holgate, and Deidre Willmott, who Holgate told the Committee “worked for the Liberal Premier in Western Australia [and] Minister Cormann used to work for Ms Deidre Willmott”.

    … the political story of Australia Post only seems to show how such corporatised bodies remain at the whim of the prime minister of the day and a haven of high paying board jobs for political associates.”

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-17/christine-holgate-australia-post-topsy-turvy-givens-politics/100075394

  4. GL

    And now Friedeggburger wants to help “…Frydenberg said one of his goals in the May 11 budget would be to prevent workers being “scarred” for years by last year’s recession…” How is he going to help? By “…signalling help for those who want to retrain for other work.” which means throwing $4 billion straight into the pockets of big business who of course will fall over themselves to milk it…oops, help the poor workers and youth.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/skills-and-services-the-budget-priority-as-frydenberg-tempers-expectations-20210416-p57jwv.html

    Less a budget, but more like pre-election (almost all of which will be ultimately worthless) promises from the LNP.

    ““Confidence is going to be the cheapest form of stimulus,” he said.” What a repulsive and sickening platitude.

  5. Terence Mills

    Kaye

    With that line up on the Australia Post board it’s a wonder that they haven’t already sold off the parcel delivery business that Holgate was evidently resisting.

    I noted that they announced Holgate’s replacement the day before the senate enquiry, presumably to ward off any attempts to reinstate her.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Terence,

    From the same article…..

    “Yet another consultant report, by Boston Consulting Group, was prepared for the incoming and current chairman, Lucio Di Bartolomeo, in 2019 at the cost of $1.38 million.

    It darkly predicted Australia Post would be running at a loss by now and proposed a cut back in its retail presence and in its staff, and the possible hiving off of its lucrative parcel service.

    Holgate thought that was a terrible idea. Australia Post has done very well on its current model. “

  7. Williambtm

    Mr.Urbanwrongski you portray yourself as a man with an extensive compulsion & capacity to offer your followers a vast amount of your life experiences along with your life acquired wealth of knowledge.
    Hmm, seems I might have to recommend you for a Gong, Urban, this to acknowledge your meritorious services to the good of Australia’s people with your forthright transparent comments made available to all in Australia.

  8. John OCallaghan

    Great article!

  9. Michael Taylor

    My understanding is that the postal service – as laid out in the Constitution – is the sole responsibility of the Federal Government. If that is the case then it can’t be sold off to a private enterprise.

    A few decades ago some bright fellow – upon hearing the cries of a disgruntled public following a steep rise in the standard postal rate – started up a his own postal service with competitive pricing. He was quickly shut down because it was unconstitutional.

    As an aside, also a few decades ago a large Australian corporation found that it was cheaper to have statements and other correspondence posted from NZ instead of from their offices here in Aus.

    BTW, David, brilliant as usual.

  10. New England Cocky

    David Tyler: A long article that some may find interesting background information, but it excludes any comment about the influence of Louie Mountbatten nee Battenberg. (Or did I miss it??)

    The demise of a senior member of the most dysfunctional family in Europe is a natural occurrence despite the tourist value of a Royal event (weddings, funerals, anything). But Australians must look forward and determine when Australia will wean itself off the colonial teat as the founders of the Commonwealth of Australia worked for during the 1890s Constitutional Conventions and slashed upon Federation, much to Chamberlain disgust.

    Given that Betty Windsor is from a long lived family she may even survive Charlie which many would see as a blessing in disguise. However, it is certainly time for Australian voters to take control of our own future without political interference from Buckingham Palace, as Whitlam suffered, by having an Australian borne Head of State elected by the people for the people.

  11. Harry Lime

    Cocky,perhaps we can interest Malcolm Bligh Turnbull in offering some advice,seeing he has previous experience and is believed to be looking for a sinecure.The rug was pulled out on the last one before he even had time to preen or pontificate.

  12. leefe

    [pedant mode]

    In order to keep them honest, we would first have to find a way to make them honest. And this, frankly, is probably beyond the combined efforts of the entire remaining population of the planet. [/pedant mode]

  13. David Tyler

    New England Cocky -happy to supply comment on Phil’s eminence grise, Louis. “Dicky.” Also Charles’ mentor.
    In the meantime, Betty, may owe her longevity to her grandmother “Cookie”whose mother was a serving girl and cook. Glamis fathered two of his children by her. As aristocrats did before IVF. One of the reasons The Queen Mother (absurd but revealing title) hated Philip whom she called “The Hun” from the outset. His bloodlines were much better.
    You can’t help good genes. But HRH and family do get good medical attention. They demand it. It’s also a type of insurance policy for the Tories.
    (Another issue I’ve curtailed to keep length down.)

  14. leefe

    A brilliant article but it does leave me a little confused.

    The dancers are wearing hotpants. How on earth do you “upskirt” someone in an outfit like that? It’s like accusing the bloke who took that marvellous shot of Tayla Harris in action of “upskirting” her.

  15. Terence Mills

    Michael

    They did manage to sell off Telstra !

    But that sneaky John Howard wanted us to see this as the Australian public, the mums and dads of Australia, becoming shareholders and taking ownership of our national telephone service : we didn’t realize until it was too late that we already owned Telstra – he was selling us a publicly owned utility that we already owed and what a disaster that became.

    Our local village post office is however a thriving concern although the aged postmaster does complain about the volume and weight of parcels he has to hump around : if you order a case of wine he gets you to go around the back and load it yourself ! He’ll even quaff a glass of a cheeky red with you if you have the inclination.

    Australia Post is the last remaining jewel in our depleted crown of formerly cherished publicly owned assets – don’t dare let them flog it off.

  16. Kaye Lee

    They are working their way through the IPA’s 75 (+25) wish list

    47 Cease funding the Australia Network (done)

    48 Privatise Australia Post – working on it

    49 Privatise Medibank (done)

  17. Matters Not

    Section 51 of the Constitution speaks of the (Federal) Parliament having power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to: *(v) postal, telegraphic, telephonic, and other like services; * as well as other enumerated clauses (39 in all).

    The Federal Government doesn’t have to own or even deliver such services. Just has the power to legislate (and therefore to also regulate) such (like) services including, for example, TV, Radio and Internet etc which, the High Court ruled fell under the stated other like services.

    As for:

    we didn’t realize until it was too late that we already owned Telstra – he was selling us a publicly owned utility that we already owed

    So we already owned Telstra? Then who are the WE referred to? Are they best described as taxpayers or as citizens? Did the (supposed) shareholders agree to the sale? Were they (the supposed shareholders) even consulted? Was the sale therefore an illegal act? Where did the sale proceeds go?

    So many questions that might be asked (but never are.)

  18. David Tyler

    Kaye Lee – IPA wish list of privatising ABC boosted by the PM’s absurdly confected outrage at 101 Doll Squadron, – OK, putting the absent top brass in the shot did falsify the record but was it really intended to be subversive? Perhaps she thought she was doing the dancers a favour. You know how it is when you twerk and there’s next to no-one in the audience. Working your butt off. With regard to the suggestive show could the woman behind the camera produce any other image than she did? – yet another top level complaint to the ABC helps Coalition bag the ABC agenda – as does stacking the board and funding cutbacks which now total one million dollars. I smell a rat.
    Note also Dutton’s orchestrated overreaction. Even if he’s Minister of Defence, he doesn’t get to call the shots – if you’ll excuse the pun.

  19. Terence Mills

    Interesting to watch ABC’s Q&A on Thursday. They had James Paterson on carrying the right-wing, IPA banner which is fine. But the disturbing thing was that there were, in the audience, a Paterson cheer squad who whenever Paterson made a comment no matter how trivial or inconsequential would burst into enthusiastic applause.

    I got the feeling that this could be the undoing of Q&A as a serious platform for debating issues – perhaps the ABC need to rule out audience cheer squads… I don’t know !

  20. Michael Taylor

    Thanks for that, MN. You saved me the time of looking it up. It was either that or tend to urgent stuff in the garden.

  21. Michael Taylor

    PS: There would be a uni lecturer out there very disappointed in me for not getting that right. ☹️

  22. Kaye Lee

    The Role of Government…..

    “Another general role, related to the need for efficiency, is the organization of large-scale projects. It is for this benefit that we accept government involvement in the construction of society’s infrastructure, including roads, posts and telecommunications, and water, sewage and energy utilities. Further, giving government charge over these utilities guarantees that they remain in public hands, and solely dedicated to the common good. If such services are privatized, the owners have a selfish motivation, which could negatively affect the quality of the services.

    That such assets should have public ownership is expressed in the idea of the “commons.” They should be owned by and shared between the members of the current population, and preserved for future generations.”

  23. Andrew J. Smith

    Terence Mills: I do not watch Q&A (confusing, analysis free, shouty and gamed by IPA, NewsCorp, LNP etc. talk fest where one learns nothing new…) but it is a knock off of BBC’s Question Time which has been accused, since pre Brexit, of going off piste into accommodating the far right, via a producer, the issues till rumbles on today. Worse, if not the rhetoric, the themes are the same as Q&A, getting people/viewers talking about immigration, identity and related nativist issues.

    From Open Democracy UK in ‘Is BBC Question Time’s audience producer really a fascist?’ (15/12/16)

    ‘Recent Question Time audiences seem angrier and more Europhobic, a fact that has not passed viewers by. “I haven’t been able to watch it due to the absolute absurdity of the audience”, writes one reddit user – “very extreme nowadays and not just your average opinionated types who just want to vent. There’s no nuance to it anymore, it’s all highly polarising rhetoric.”’

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/ourbeeb/is-question-time-s-audience-producer-really-fascist/

    Last year from The Guardian UK in ‘BBC’s Question Time accused of giving platform to far right’ (22/3/20)

    ‘It follows the BBC’s decision last month to upload on Twitter comments made by one recent audience member who claimed migrants “were flooding in” to the UK and costing public services too much.

    Later, the individual was alleged to have stood in a general election for the neo-nazi National Front and be an active a supporter of the far right figurehead, Tommy Robinson, founder of the Islamophobic English Defence League.’

    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/mar/22/bbc-question-time-far-right-audience

    PS. On James Patterson, IPA alumnus and proponent of their imported Koch radical right libertarian ideology, he looks disturbingly similar to Reinhardt Heydrich of the SS……

  24. Matters Not

    Yes James Patterson might look disturbingly similar to Reinhardt Heydrich of the SS but when it’s all said and done isn’t that just a distraction? A waste of time? Why isn’t the focus on the the ideology (and its underlying values) rather than on an individual’s likeness?

    When Turnbull replaced Abbott, there was much rejoicing here on this site and across the land more generally because (supposedly) things would be different, broadly speaking. But that didn’t happen, did it? Just a new shade of lipstick on the metaphorical ideological pig. Same values. Same underlying view of human nature. Same view of the good society and how it might be achieved. etc etc.

    Perhaps it might be more useful if we focus on the principles, the values and the attitudes, as well as the assumptions made and leave the personalities out of the discussion because they might matter not?

  25. Terence Mills

    MN

    It was mentioned yesterday in reference to the passing of Andrew Peacock that he was the last of the true Liberals in the Menzies tradition. But as Niki Savva pointed out there is still one Liberal around and that is Malcolm Turnbull and the ruling conservative cabal hate him for that.

  26. Kaye Lee

    Terence,

    You appear to have a slightly different take on Q&A to Gerard Henderson

    “Last night’s Q+A was held in the socialist redoubt that is contemporary Melbourne – Hendo’s home town. And what a leftist stack it was. If ABC managers are still wondering why many senior Coalition ministers will not go on Q+A – they should check out last night’s program.

    It would appear that the Sandalista soviets of Fitzroy North and Carlton emptied out last evening and marched to the ABC’s Southbank, just over the Yarra River, where they comprised much of the audience And didn’t they cheer and hoot when their hero Norman Swan, the ABC’s doctor in the House, criticised the Morrison government? Why, the comrades even cheered his oh-so-discourteous interruptions of the only Morrison government supporter on the panel – James Paterson, the Liberal Party Senator for Victoria.”

  27. Matters Not

    TM – Nicki Sava’s husband worked for Turnbull so perhaps there’s a positive bias there? But yes Turnbull, freed from the party’s constraint, is an ideological ‘liberal’ as far as his values etc are concerned. And so is Rudd. Nevertheless, Turnbull had his chance but didn’t make the necessary difference.

    As we know, calling themselves the Liberal Party these days is a misnomer. Morrison is NOT a Liberal.

    As for Q&A, Andrew J. Smith’s analysis seems on the money. As I understood it, the ABC producers took several steps to get a balanced audience but it relied on people telling the truth so it was easily gamed. Not sure what they do these days. It’s not compulsory viewing for me anymore but because it’s on IView I can ‘flick’ through it. Don’t think the audience adds much except perhaps a bit of theatre which is not my thing.

    As for Gerard Henderson … Enough said. Hates the ABC with an unbridled passion.

  28. Vikingduk

    Dear ipa/lnp, fuck off. And when you get there, just keep fucking off. Fuck off until you reach the gate telling you no fucking off beyond this point. Dream the impossible dream, climb that gate and just keep fucking off.

    Sorry moderators, all I’m capable of offering this fine article, but it would be a true delight for that mob of fuckers to fuck right off until they are a mere wisp in the distance, a bad dream we have woken from, an aberration best forgotten.

  29. Terence Mills

    Re Q&A

    Kaye clearly I have a very different take to Gerard Henderson…………..something to be thankful for………….interestingly it was the common sense coming from Norman Swan that gave the program some legitimacy particularly on matters pertaining to COVID.

    MN : I happen to think that Turnbull was good prime minister and had it not been for his efforts to free asylum detainees – initially with Obama and then with Trump – they would still all be languishing on remote islands where Dutton had abandoned them.
    I also note that Turnbull has stuck to his diet and looks better for it – wish I could !

  30. Henry Rodrigues

    They’ve captured all the free media, including the ABC and SBS. Q&A is just a mouthpiece for the IPA agitators, masquerading as independent participants.. I stopped watching it months ago, when Tony Jones was still incharge. When Tony started to bend to their will, It started to go downhill. They’ve experimented with other moderators but all are tools of the IPA and Murdoch.

    I’m with you VikingD. Damn them all, the bastards ( Rowan Dean, Janet Albrechtsen, Gerard Henderson et al ).

  31. Charlie

    Terence, I used to think Norman Swan was the voice of reason but not so much now. Every time I hear his words ‘vaccines are safe’ I have to wonder how well read is he. I don’t consider heart attack, blindness, deafness, loss of consciousness, stroke, etc safe as shown in the UK’s COVID-19 mRNA Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine analysis print Report Run Date: 12-Apr-2021:
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/978316/050421_PF_DAP.pdf
    Anyone under 50 years of age would do well to read the above analysis before consenting to experimental therapy.

  32. Kaye Lee

    Charlie,

    I don’t think that is a list of reactions to the vaccine. It might be all medical ailments detected in people who had had the vaccine in that period eg the vaccine can’t give you genital herpes or chillblains or a joint injury.

  33. Charlie

    That is possible Kaye, I haven’t yet read why people fill out the adverse reaction form. If one were blind the day before the injection I doubt if they would add that to the database after jab. It’d be an interesting exercise to publish that pdf in tomorrow’s newspaper.

  34. Kaye Lee

    What makes you think those are from adverse reaction forms rather than normal medical records? It lists congenital (from birth) disorders. I think you will find it is diagnoses of medical conditions, not adverse vaccine reactions. Where did you find the link to the pdf? That might explain more.

  35. Michael Taylor

    I’m with you, Kaye. If one is asked to look for a reaction, and if they look hard enough, they will always find something.

    “Oh, look. I have an ingrown toenail. I swear it wasn’t there before I had the vaccine.”

    I recall a 30-second sketch on Laugh In back in the late 60s. A patient – about to go under the knife – asks the doctor if he’d be able to play the piano after his operation. Relieved to be reassured that he could, he replied; “That’s odd. I couldn’t play it before the op.”

  36. Matters Not

    The link is to spontaneous reports.

    Spontaneous reporting has been defined as:

    ‘An unsolicited communication by a healthcare professional or consumer to a company, regulatory authority or other organization (e.g. WHO, Regional Centre, Poison Control Centre) that describes one or more adverse drug reactions in a patient who was given one or more medicinal products and that does not derive from a study or any organized data collection scheme’(ICH 2003).

    … An important feature of SRS is that they cover all medicine use within a whole population for an unlimited time period (WHO 2006), encompassing the entire product life cycle of each medicine. …

    https://globalpharmacovigilance.tghn.org/articles/spontaneous-reporting/

  37. Charlie

    Kaye, this is where I found the link: ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine adverse reactions’, A weekly report covering adverse reactions to approved COVID-19 vaccines, From Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccine-adverse-reactions
    If the UK system is like the USA VAERS reporting system then either patient or health provider involved can generate a report.
    I find it interesting how focused the media presenters are on blood clots and ignorant of other serious side-effects.

  38. DrakeN

    Charlie, personally I’m fascinated by the lack of focus on the effects of infection by the Covid vaccination as compared, say, to the effects of even relatively small amounts of imbibed alcohol on long term health. The failure to appreciate the long term effects of even a mild dose of Covid, the immediate physical damage and risk of death from it, in proportion to the very low risk of side effects from the vaccine is a fine example of herd hysteria overcoming simple logic. If you worry about the vaccine, then you should worry more about the effects on your eyes, lungs, ears as well as your mental health of living in urbanised environments: The dangers from inhaled microparticles from diesel engines, benzines and nitric/nitrous oxides in every breath, dust from centuries of dangerous chemicals, excessive noise and ground vibrations, biphenols everywhere, formaldehyde gassing out from your furniture et-bloody-cetera and, above all, nowhere to escape the intrusions of other people into your sanity.

  39. wam

    David a beaut read and re-read(slow learner).
    I was in New England uni on August 27 1979, at the course welcome party of about 60 staff and students when the news came through.
    It was 58 shock horror the Irish bastards and two cheering on the flying thongs. The only thing, for me, about Phillip, was sorry forgot it.
    The prick got nearly the ton.

  40. Charlie

    DrakeN, I don’t worry about the new tech ‘vaccines’ for myself as I will not be having any until gene therapy is proven safe. I’ll watch this transhumanist experiment play out for a while yet. My main concern is the lack of informed consent happening.
    As for your shopping list of other harmful by-products of a modern age, most of those things will be history by 2050: http://www.ukfires.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Absolute-Zero-online.pdf
    The chart on pages 6-7 show how the Western carbon footprint is going to shrink by at least 60% in many respects. Good.
    As for others intruding my sanity, how so? If I see an interfering person in my world, eg. Bill ‘the jabber’ Gates – he is not me. I don’t identify with his controlling elitist hypochondriac world view. I won’t play his games. Others can, but that will be their problem.

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