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Less shovels and more reading

Many have expressed surprise that no-one in Peter Dutton’s department bothered reading a press release that stated there would be random identity checks in Melbourne.

But it really is no surprise at all.

No-one in George Brandis’ department, despite our security level being at uber scary, bothered passing on the letters from Man Monis.

It wasn’t the fault of “vigilante litigants” that the court ruled against the approval for the Adani mine. It was because Greg Hunt admitted he had failed to take advice from his department on threatened species into account.

Chairman of the senate inquiry, LNP senator Ian MacDonald, condemned the HRC report on young asylum seekers in detention — but then admitted he hadn’t read it.

“I haven’t bothered to read the final report because I think it is partisan,” Senator MacDonald told the hearing.

Christopher Pyne, famously didn’t even bother reading the initial Gonski report on education funding reforms after it was released before emerging to attack it.

Tony Abbott blamed the shelving of BHP’s Olympic Dam project on the carbon tax, without reading the company’s statement which mentioned various reasons, none of them to do with tax.

Despite quoting Ian Plimer’s much-panned book all the time as justification for his climate scepticism, Tony confessed that he is ‘probably more familiar with the book through people who’ve written about it than I am through having read it myself’.

He also opposed the expansion of marine parks on the basis that it had not been ‘properly, scientifically justified’, yet the Environment Minister Tony Bourke displays the volumes of scientific evidence on which the proposals had been based.

Despite not having seen Cardinal Pell give evidence to the Victorian inquiry into child sex abuse, or having read the report which was highly critical of Pell, when asked to comment on the findings, Abbott said “As is pretty well known, I have a lot of time for George Pell…He is in my judgment a fine human being, a great churchman.”

In 2012, a press conference with the South Australian and Federal Liberal leaders was cut short when Tony couldn’t name any of her policies. Is it any wonder they don’t want him in Canning?

As that excruciating interview with Kerrie O’Brien showed, Tony didn’t have to know anything about broadband to know he wanted to destroy the NBN.

And then there was Tony’s announcement that he would create a body called Infrastructure Australia to prioritise infrastructure projects on the basis of cost-benefit, seemingly unaware that the organisation already existed fulfilling exactly that role.

One can only hope that someone is reading the free trade agreements rather than just lining up to collect autographs.

Tony and his ministers would be far better served spending some time in their offices doing more reading and less time flying around the country, claiming entitlements to have photos taken with shovel in hand.


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  1. Terry2


  2. Kaye Lee

    PLEASE! You have NO idea how many photos of Tony with shovel in hand that I had to choose from.

  3. Bronte ALLAN

    What a sad, useless, lying bunch of toe rags ALL this Liberal party are! The only shovel they should have is the one that shovels them all out of office!

  4. Southerly

    So the adults are in charge? Looks like they didn’t learn to read.
    Or perhaps they are too lazy to bother about any real ideas for Australia.
    3 word policies are about the extent of our dear leaders capacity.

  5. A

    Tony needs as many shovels as he can get to help dig his way out of all of the bullshit that continually comes out of his mouth

  6. Adrianne Haddow

    Perhaps if the government reports, press releases and government agendas were written in three word slogans with the important bits highlighted, these academically gifted LNP pollies might actually “read” them.

    But everybody knows its not necessary to read documents pertaining to the good governance of all Australians when corporate Australia has its hand up your back making your mouth move.

    One wonders how they all achieved their academic awards without reading.

  7. Möbius Ecko

    Kaye Lee at 6:26 am

    And eating things. At any photo op where there was anything resembling food he shoved the nearest piece in his mouth.

  8. Kate M

    It does seem to be an LNP theme.

  9. Blinkyewok

    Now they are in govt they don’t need to read anything. Murdoch and the IPA tell them what to think.

  10. Roscoe

    in the top photo, just what are they shoveling? I suspect it is bull shit

  11. keerti

    Why is there no mechanism to kick these sponging leaners out, nor one to removeone who gives all the appearnace of have psycho-emotional isssues?

  12. Lawriejay

    Just watched ‘Pistol’ Kroger on AM Agenda rationalise about the missing funds from the Victorian Branch of the Liberal Party – he fell just short of blaming Julia Gillard.

  13. Kaye Lee

    Not the carbon tax?

  14. Douglas Evans

    Wonder what Neil of Sydney has to say about this?

  15. Matters Not

    Tony hasn’t time for reading and it shows. When will some journalist ask a question, for example, about Elon Musk’s ‘Powerwall’ and its implications for future power generation and storage?

    Some may remember his (mis)’understanding’ of ‘peak oil’; now forever on the public record.

    While cycling, running and the like might be good for the body (his), nations need leaders more concerned with the mind. And in that department, Tony is wilfully ignorant.

  16. Douglas Evans

    Re: what is happening in the shoveling photo above. I think that although bumbling, jovial Joe Hockey doesn’t know it he is helping Abbott and whoever that is on the left dig a very deep hole that he (Hockey) is about to be buried in so that Abbott can replace him with Scott Morrison and cling on to power until Christmas. After that he will call a double dissolution election early next year. That at least is what James Massola from Fairfax thinks is likely to happen. That would leave the loathsome Morrison next in line waiting for Abbott to self destruct or step down if they lose the election. Anyone who saw the closing clip from Sunday’s Insiders would form the impression that this is what Abbott has in mind also.

  17. Roswell

    The same thing he always says I suspect, Douglas. He’ll come in with a “hey look over there, look what Labor/the Greens did/said blah blab blah”.

  18. Douglas Evans

    To me and most people here the Abbott government is among the worst in living memory. In terms of legislation passed per sitting day of each administration this list, updated from a 2012 Nick Evershed Guardian article supports the view.
    Gillard 0.495
    Hawke 0.491
    Fraser 0.481
    Keating 0.476
    Whitlam 0.472
    Howard 0.452
    McMahon 0.436
    Rudd 0.374
    Abbott 0.372
    Gorton 0.334
    Holt 0.314
    Menzies 0.274
    This is a crude measure that prioritizes quantity over quality but still tells us how good they were/are at passing legislation – something we hope all governments are able to do. The relative positions of Gillard, Rudd and Abbott are instructive. Given that Gillard had to contend with minority government and constant white-anting from Rudd and his supporters the list speaks volumes for her negotiating skills.

  19. PC

    Thank you Kaye Lee for your wonderful work. This article should be spread far and wide.

  20. Möbius Ecko

    Yes Terry2 Dutton’s gross incompetence ensures he’s up for promotion in this government. After all they made the biggest stuff up of them all their leader.

  21. gangey1959

    Excellent article Kaye-Lee.
    I see their shovels, and raise them a bull(shit) dozer. I still have a license to drive one. It wont hurt, I promise.

  22. Eva

    The Government doesn’t take “I didn’t know”, or “I didn’t read it” as an excuse for people with their tax matters or any other law – nope, nope, nope. The Border Force shambles was indeed another example of the sheer incompetence of this government, the disdain with which it treats Australians and the complete abrogation of responsibility the second something gets called out.

  23. Kaye Lee


    I just posted a video on another thread of LG David Morrison’s speech “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept”.

    It is an example of honesty, a man taking responsibility and action. A real juxtaposition with how Abbott and co pass the blame and scurry for cover and hide and make little of any wrongdoing on their part.

  24. Mark Needham

    Commissioner Heydon, will continue the royal Commission into the trade Unions.
    Mark Needham

  25. Jexpat

    That presents an interesting strategic choice: if you’re a subject of the inquiry, do you appeal this to federal court… or do you waive that right and allow a potentially commission to return what will obviously be biased and perhaps in the public’s mind, tainted findings?

  26. Kaye Lee

    I think anything he has to say about Julia Gillard or Bill Shorten just got neutered.

  27. Mark Needham

    Kaye Lee, Julia and Bill, can do that just as well by themselves, methinks.
    But that should be not for us to judge, hopefully, the truth will out. The guilty charged, as they should and the innocent dismissed from the enquiry.
    Mark Needham

  28. Arthur Applecart

    I think that would be fewer shovels, not less.

  29. Kaye Lee


    I can see where you are coming from and I don’t want to upset you (sorry couldn’t resist 🙂 ), but I was thinking more of the behaviour than the number of shovels. I want our politicians to stop roaming around the country having their photo taken and spend some time actually getting across the problems, alternatives, and policies. They don’t seem to go beyond the issued talking points and scripted press releases – and even those they don’t read it seems.

  30. Kate M

    I’ve been pondering the government’s claim that they didn’t read the press release today – and I have to say that despite your always-excellent arguments, I still don’t think it’s credible that they didn’t read it. This is a government that is obsessed with Spin. Abbott spends over $4 million on spin doctors, PDuddy spends over $8 million on spin doctors.

    I agree completely that they don’t read inbound stuff from other people – which is the other examples you’ve given. And that is truly appalling.

    But this was an outbound communication piece. I just don’t find it credible that with around 100 people in PDuddy’s communication department, that it wasn’t a priority for one of them to read this press release. Of course it could have been a stuff up – but they didn’t say that. They said nobody read it as though they don’t read every press release that goes out. And I just don’t buy it.

    You could be right – maybe they didn’t read it. But it doesn’t smell right to me.

  31. Kaye Lee

    “The media adviser for immigration minister Peter Dutton replied “thanks for letting me know” the second time his office was sent a press release from Australian Border Force that appeared to threaten random visa checks and forced the cancellation of a Victorian police operation at the weekend.”

    I’m sure SOMEONE read it and I am equally sure that same ‘someone’ thought it would be just fine and dandy with the minister.

  32. Matters Not

    I’ve been pondering the government’s claim that they didn’t read the press release today – and I have to say that despite your always-excellent arguments, I still don’t think it’s credible that they didn’t read it

    ‘Governments’ don’t read ‘press releases’. Nor do they write same. It’s what individuals do. What is crucial is the structural location of particular individuals and their roles and responsibilities.

    You say:

    PDuddy spends over $8 million on spin doctors


    He doesn’t! While his Department might outlay that amount on what might be labelled a ‘communications unit’ or something similar, it’s unlikely that Dutton would have had any direct contact with same. Yes his Media Advisor(s) are in daily/hourly contact with ‘some’ in that ‘communications unit’ but they too have no legal power to direct activities.

    The $8 million ‘unit’ is not at the beck and call of the Minister and while ‘releases’, in Draft form may, and do come from that source, the responsibility for authorising same ‘ultimately’ lies with the Minister but practically with his own Media Advisors. The Minister cannot escape blame. He must be held accountable.

  33. Kate M

    Agree completely that PDuddy is unlikely to have read the press release. I suspect he reads what he’s told to read by his Advisors.

    When I said PDuddy spent over $8 million, I wasn’t suggesting he personally spent that amount – I meant his department. The one he is responsible for. Which includes a truckload of ‘media advisors’.

    In the end though MN – I think we are saying the same thing – a Minister is responsible for what happens in their department. It’s that simple.

  34. Kate M

    On a completely different matter – I do love a good video BTW.

  35. Kaye Lee

    This one needs sharing a lot

  36. Kate M

    I feel the need to type out parts of this video exchange:

    Poodle Pyne: We will not change the GST or the basket of goods on which it is applied….
    Tony Jones: Can we just confirm this one thing – it is the commitment – you will never ever change the GST in any period of government?
    Poodle Pyne: There will be no change to the GST in an Abbott government……I said there’d be no change to the GST in an Abbott government……
    Penny Wong: If you don’t want to change it, why would you review it?

    I do wish we saw more of Penny Wong.

  37. king1394

    In his reasons, Mr Heydon admitted he had no computer, was “incapable of sending or receiving emails” and as a result, could only read the correspondence after it had been printed out for him by someone else. Passing the buck … or a new version of the trickle down theory.

    Since many of these senior people rely on others to read and present their mail, it is a concern that so many public servants from lower ranks have lost their jobs. Presumably this is why there are not enough people in Ministerial offices etc to check press releases and open attachments.

    Standards are changing: I seem to remember Dr Jim Cairns losing his position in 1975 for signing a letter that he had not read.

  38. corvus boreus

    Matters Not (31/8 10:10 am),
    Thank you, I hadn’t seen that footage before. Wow!(!!!)
    Abbott admits that he has not even heard of the concept of ‘peak oil’ (to audible giggles at his sheer ignorance), then gives out a bumbling finger wag of babble ending in the statement that he does not believe that fossil fuels are finite.
    He is ignorant and deluded at the most basic level, and he is allegedly in charge of our country.

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