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It’s a matter of trust. But would you?

There was a time in Australian politics when ministerial conduct was important. So significant was trust that Ministers could lose their portfolio for the simplest misdemeanour.

In John Howard’s first term as Prime Minister he lost 7 Ministers after introducing a Ministerial Code of Conduct. The code required members to divest themselves of share portfolios and to tell the truth in Parliament. Tell the truth. Gee, that’s a laugh.

Of the seven Bob Woods resigned over a questionable expense claim. One was stood down over a teddy bear and another over a television set.

As Prime Minister, John Howard certainly came down hard on those who didn’t obey the rules but later, because he was losing so many Ministers, he softened them.

The question is of course is; “What’s to stop Malcolm Turnbull from acting?” And the answer is that the right-wing of the party won’t allow it. They value their perks as a precious right that sets them apart from us ordinary folk.

The same goes for behaviour. Politicians think for some obscure reason that they are entitled to tell lies, lie by omission, bend the rules to a degree that we folk cannot. Telling lies has become an everyday privilege for the likes of Dutton, Morrison, Pyne, Joyce,Turnbull and they do it without so much as a wink of the eye. They don’t even feel concerned that they know that we know they are lying.

At another time in our political history Barnaby Joyce would have, without hesitation, resigned. Today the power, the position and the money comes before dignity and trust.
This week we have had former Prime Minister Tony Abbott making a nonsensical speech about immigration while Barnaby Joyce has been serenading the media seeking forgiveness for the wrongs he has committed. Neither of them has the common decency to walk away.

Both have tasted the lushness of power and the smorgasbord of possibilities it offers.
Australia has now fallen from the top 10 measure of corruption and is it any wonder with the example set by politicians.

Remember former Health Minister Sussan Ley’s purchase of a unit around this time last year? Documents show that Ms Ley travelled from Sydney to Brisbane on 9 May to make an announcement at Wesley hospital of $1.3bn in funding.

“All above-board,” I hear you say. You are correct to this point. Then she jumps on another plane to the Gold Cost where she says – or more correctly a spokesperson says – she met with local health stakeholders about access to new medicines. Strangely, no one seems to know who they are.

Then after staying the night with her partner at the taxpayers’ expense she, on the spur of the moment decides to purchase from a Liberal Party donor, a unit worth $795,000.
It was “not planned nor anticipated,” the spokesperson said

Well sorry, try pulling the other leg. Doesn’t even require a pub test.

The ministerial code of conduct clearly prohibits the use of public office for private purposes.

“Ley’s explanation that the purchase ‘was not planned nor anticipated’ is woefully inadequate and an insult to Australians,” Opposition shadow Catherine King said.
Barnaby Joyce the unqualified acting Prime Minister at the time, said; “If they made a purchase, even though I admit it is a substantial purchase, that’s not the reason she went to the Gold Coast. She went to the Gold Coast for work.”

In recent years both sides of Parliament have been guilty of the most outrageous claims, including Bronwyn Bishop’s infamous helicopter rides.

If Turnbull has any decency, even a scintilla of leadership he would have sacked Joyce.
He wouldn’t, of course, because he is a weak leader and the far-right see it as their divine right stemming from of a born to rule mentality, to rip off the public purse.

According to the last Essential survey only 13% of the population trust our politicians. What a dreadful space for our politics to be in, remembering that politics has control over everything you do except what you do in bed and it seems they are also after that. What has happened to the once noble profession that there isn’t a man or women that can articulate a narrative that might explain to the Australian just where we are headed and why?

Instead we have a group of self-indulgent publicity seeking, egotistical people, without the ability to put together a few sentences absurdly sounding like parrots. Talk they can but explanation seems beyond them. What has happened to the likes of Whitlam, Hawke and Keating who explained the function of politics and its relation to the largest of ideas and how ideas were formed and policy debated?

And when that was done the fourth estate had its go. Alas, it to has disappeared. The journalistic function of prosecuting and interrogating the big ideas seems to have died with the likes of Michael Gordon. Australian politics has turned into a circus but it’s no laughing matter. It has no grace, no flair, no style, no emotion, no wit, no poetry, no truth, no transparency and most of all it has no trust.

Joyce may survive but he will be relegated from retail to wholesale together with others who cannot be trusted.

To say it has been a bad start to the year for the government would be an understatement. It’s a shocker. If it has anything it is a passion for all those things that make us an unequal society.

My thought for the day:

“Governments who demand the people’s trust need to govern transparently to acquire it.”


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  1. Tricia Walton

    Brilliantly written artcle e and unfortunately the sentiments expressed are so.true.

  2. paul walter

    Trust them as far as far as I could throw them.

    Same with most of press and meeja.

  3. Frank Smith

    John, gone are the days of the witty oratory of Fred Daly and Jim Killen who did not need to resort to lies or spin to make a point.

  4. helvityni

    They need to use a lie detector before elections…

    Oops, they might elect only the proven liars…

  5. ajogrady

    Speaking of trust Michalia Cash has not been held to any account for her actions. She has gone off the radar and must be eternally grateful for Barnaby Joyce and the vast media attention that his corrupt life invokes. Speaking of windbags and there are a lot in conservative politics with the likes of Cash,Joyce, Turnbull, Molan ,Xenophon, Hanson and Bernardi and add a little money each way player like Di Natalie beds the question, are we the taxpayers still paying for their/L/NP’s Wind Farm Commissioner and staff?

  6. Frank Smith

    John, you ask the question: ‘“What’s to stop Malcolm Turnbull from acting?” And the answer is that the right-wing of the party won’t allow it. They value their perks as a precious right that sets them apart from us ordinary folk.’

    In his interview with Fairfax, Baaarnababy said: “I am humbled by the support in my electorate and in the community. People are starting to see this as a witch hunt. I’m not going anywhere, I never would.”

    What the BeetRooter fails to realize is that the majority of Australian voters do not want this bumbling oaf representing them as Deputy Prime Minister – we are embarrassed as a Nation by him. So, let this minor Party, The Nationals, do what they want about their leadership. But, the Deputy Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor General following a recommendation of the Prime Minister. So, Turnbull needs to stop sitting on the fence, listen to the people for a change, and immediately sack Joyce from his Deputy PM position and from his Ministry – forget about so-called “Coalition Agreements” – Baaaarnababy himself trashed those.

  7. Wam

    Selamat pagi, lord john, this is your friendly troll giving a positive spin to your negativity.
    A search showed cara jenkin of has pollies, journalists(including radio jocks and tv autocue) well above union leaders. But that is not the point and would impinge on your truth.
    Just heard the acting pm explain why not taxing business (eg qantas) would be good for every on so big business shouldn’t be paying tax and if they did it would adversely affect everyone down to the workers.
    I am now fully aware that a business who pays tax is philanthropic and consequently deserves to be rewarded by not paying tax, especially as our tax is too high.
    Matt made it very clear that the workers are rewarded by the top end tax cuts and, by inference, their PAYE tax is all the country needs.
    I regret all my spurious repeatiing of anti-trickling and will slip into a period of mea culpa mea maxima culpa and give myself a good birching or maybe a hard scourge could be better.

  8. Glenn Barry

    Great article John Lord – and it’s almost a reverse joy based upon schadenfreude to see our slide in the corruption index.

    Will the LNP blame Labor yet again? It will be a very tortured pretzel of an argument to make that case, which is something in which they are well versed.

  9. Terry2

    Two points about Barnaby’s resignation speech :

    The media were baffled about his constant references to the Weatherboard Nine. My better half wondered if it could be connected to the Secret Seven.

    My wife also opined about where he would now get a job, who would employ him : she was surprised when I told her that in Canberra it was just shuffling the National Party deckchairs, nobody actually loses their job, not like you and me !

  10. Graeme Henchel

    Chattanooga Barnaby

    Barnaby Joyce, he’s the prick with an Akubra
    We know he lied, bout his bit on the side
    Barnaby Joyce, better known as the beetrooter
    He doesn’t care, just another affair

    Barnaby’s been screwing round for many a year
    Always getting pissed on a skinfull of beer
    Only time he’s keener, is screwing us for Gina
    This hypocrit’s nothing but a first class leaner

    When he has a chance he goes straight to the bar
    Drinking beer and a rooting and a big fat cigar
    In between the drinking there’s very little thinking
    Who’d root the beetrooter its so bizarre

    Jobs for the boys, and the lovers
    Blokes got no shame, just par for the game

    Barnaby’s been caught lying to the nation
    He’s a disgrace, we need him replaced
    But He’ll hang on, until the cows come home
    But the beetrooter is rooted, so rooted he’s gone

    The beetrooter is rooted, so rooted he’s gone

  11. Frank Smith

    Terry, Weatherboard Nine had me baffled too, and I’m a country lad. It is actually “Weatherboard and Iron” but the lethargic Barnaby doesn’t know about the ‘a’ or ‘d’.

  12. Wun Farlung

    Weatherboard nine???
    I was sitting here thinking wtf, then realised he was going with the I love youse all- I look after the battler routine

  13. Anon

    Kronomix, the return of Clive Palmer as a replacement target for Barnaby is welcome news for MSM. As long as no-one questions major policy directions it’s all good for the neo-con agenda. Get ready for more petty distractions, here we go again 🙂

  14. Andrew Smith

    Shows another sign of , hollowing out, weakness and lack of ethics in Anglo conservative politics in Australia, UK and USA whereby they feel compelled to act anyway in acquiring &/or maintaining power while being divided amongst themselves; whatever it takes to keep their corporate masters or puppeteers happy.

    PS Tiny detail re. Joyce vs Turnbull narrative when the former described the latter’s comments as ‘inept’, me thinks he may have meant ‘inapt’?

  15. Matters Not


    comments as ‘inept’, me thinks he may have meant ‘inapt’?

    Indeed! But if Tony can confuse repository with suppository , then Barnaby might be granted some tolerance. Besides, it’s rare that either speak without a prepared script. But worry not because next week they will rail against the failures of schooling and the catastrophic decline in the basics.

  16. Andrew Smith

    Was going to add, it may reflect the language and literacy skills of his own advisors 🙂

  17. John Lord

    We will never see the likes of Fred Daly again. He would have the house in fits of latter.

  18. Cubism

    “What has happened to the once noble profession that there isn’t a man or women that can articulate a narrative that might explain to the Australian just where we are headed and why?”

    I think the LNP can’t say where they would take us because we’d be horrified by the true answer and Labor can’t say where they’d like to go because they’d be wedged and flayed by the Murdoch (and increasingly all main stream) press. Keep quiet and wait for the other side to make a mistake has been the norm since Abbott became opposition leader. It would be nice if the LNP were crushed at the next election and Labor slowly regained the confidence to articulate a new narrative for Australia. After the treatment that Rudd and especially Gillard received who can blame them for holding back?

  19. derbyiter

    Now then, “ if your prepared to VOTE 4 ME, i will cut all payments of politicians in half and remove the fringe benifits unless, they pay and seek payment back ! As with their superannuation, the pay rate they are on. They sort out their own ‘ SUPER FUND ‘ now is anyone prepared to vote for us as pm ? “
    It’s your choice, make a good decision, eh !

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