From time to time, I do the quiz in “The Age” on my iPad. Every now and then, it surprises me. For example, it gave the answer to the question, “In what year did Malcolm Turnbull become Prime Minister?” as “1975”. (No, it didn’t say Malcolm Fraser! I checked it twice.) A few days later, I discovered that Kim Jong-un’s Western Education took place in a country called “Woolloomooloo”. That day, I was also stunned to discover – a few questions later – that Switzerland was a suburb in Sydney.
Ok, we all make mistakes. After all, how many of us thought that Malcolm Turnbull had moral fibre…
Oh. I see. Yes, you’re right. We only had to remember the whole Godwin Grech fiasco… Or indeed, the fact that he was happy to stand there while Tony Abbott insisted that as the person who practically invented the Internet in Australia, he was clearly the best qualified Coalition MP to take on the job of wrecking the NBN…
Actually, the idea of “inventing” something, but only in your own country I found an interesting concept. Usually that’s simply called “stealing”. You know, here’s the man who “invented” Rolex watches in China. But let’s not talk about Rolex watches because that might remind everyone of the time those Liberals accepted a gift of a fake Rolex watch which turned out to be genuine.
Before I get distracted on a trip down the best SNAFU moments of those boys in Canberra we laughingly refer to as the government, I’d better get back to the topic. (Yes, yes I know there’s a couple of girls but generally they’re only trotted out for ceremonial occasions like the Melbourne Cup or raids on union offices) Staying on topic is important when you’re writing something; straying off topic is a necessary skill for a politician…
Perhaps I’ve missed my calling anyway:
Lately, there have been a few moments where the media has been accused of getting it wrong. The Dumpster (aka Donald Trump) tweeted that the media was full of fake news because they were 91% negative about him. I don’t know whether you can accuse the media of being “fuill” of fake news when only 9% got it wrong, but before you accuse me of being one of those latte-sipping, chardonnay-swilling inner-city hipsters, I’d just like to say that occasionally people you disagree with, get it right. A difference of opinion and a difference of accuracy are not the same things. I’m pretty willing to take on any bets about the quiz being wrong about Kim Jong-un going to Woolloomooloo for his schooling. After all the question asked, “What country…” and unless I’ve missed something Woolloomooloo was still part of Australia.
So, I was extremely pleased to read Andrew Bolt’s column about the ABC this week because he accurately told us why the government was cutting its funding. It was because they were running stories that reflect poorly on the government and, as such, deserved to be punished. Ok, you may have a difference of opinion with both Andrew and me here: You may think that the ABC isn’t running enough stories that point out what an incompetent mob of muddlers they are. But I would argue that whenever the ABC publicises anything that a Coalition MP does or says, then they’re showing the government in a poor light. Similarly, reporting what’s actually happening is to be positively hostile to the Coalition. After all, Andrew’s paper rarely does it.
Of course, this begs the question, if it’s ok for the current government to punish the ABC for not running the party line, does that make it ok for a Labor government to do it in future. Naturally, Mr Bolt would say no. After all, his column frequently suggests that it’s only white men with lots of money who have certain rights, so any time you suggest that they’re wrong is inhibiting their free speech, so if you’re one of those lefty people you should just shut up or be sacked, jailed or run out of the country… (Big “Hi” to you Yassmin!)
Still, Andrew Bolt wasn’t the only conservative saying strange things in the past few days. Rudy Giuiiani’s suggestion that Comey was fired because he wouldn’t tell Trump that he wasn’t the target of an investigation does tend to suggest that the accusations of trying to obstruct justice can’t be too wide of the mark.
And, of course, we have the Federal Budget. And this year it’s that magical, just before an election one where everything that the government has done is working and there’s no problems and everything’s going so smoothly that we can give Big Business billions of dollars. Not only that, but we’ve got $500 in a tax rebate for some of you… After the election, but trust us, we’re the grown-ups.
Oh, things may be going well, and we’ll be back in surplus next year. but that doesn’t mean that the ABC doesn’t have to tighten its belt… Oh, it doesn’t have a belt anymore? Guthrie got rid of it? Anyway, we need a few million from the ABC to pay for your tex cuts in 2024.
2024, you know. The year when we’ll have got our coal-fired power stations actually reducing emissions, and we will have – like King Canute – turned back the rising sea levels. 2024 the year when Adani will announce that they intend to start mining sometime “in the very near future just as soon as funding has been settled”. 2024, the year when we’ll have had five surplus budgets delivered by Scott Morrison and we’ll be having a national holiday to remember Peter “Nobody else will deliver a surplus in my lifetime” Costello. 2024, when Dutton’s super ministry will still be holding all those nasty people protesting about spending more on Captain Cook commemorations than on reducing domestic violence.
And yes, ASIC is having $26 million cut from its funding. What’s ASIC? Don’t worry, it’s just one of the things that should have been looking into the banks, but now we’ve had the Royal Commission, the banks have said sorry and there’s really not as much work for ASIC to do because we’ve fixed it all up.
Maybe I am wrong. Maybe “The Age” was right and Malcolm has been PM since 1975. It certainly seems like it’s been far too long.
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