My Thoughts on the Week That Was
Saturday July 11
1 Kim Carr made a valid point yesterday when he said “we are entering a very dark corner. We are seeing the use of state power to silence political opposition”.
2 The ABC is an independent organisation. The PM has no right to place conditions on it before allowing his ministers to appear on the Q&A program is an absurdity. The people’s right to know should be the major priority.
3 He declared a United Nations report on climate change “got it wrong by almost 100 per cent”, but shock jock Alan Jones was the one who blundered, Australia’s media watchdog has found.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority on Friday found the 2GB host, described on the station’s website as “a phenomenon” and “the nation’s greatest orator and motivational speaker”, breached commercial radio codes in 2013 by making inaccurate comments about the rate of global warming as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Sunday July 12
1 Earlier this year Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said:
“I have no right, no power, nor should I have, to direct the editorial content of the ABC”
“The responsibility for ensuring that the ABC’s news and information services are balanced and objective and impartial, and accurate, is in section eight of the act, and that responsibility lies with the board of directors.”
As one unnamed Coalition source said: “We can’t legislate for gay marriage and talk about national security at the same time, but we can talk about a TV show for weeks. Why on earth are we prioritising this?”
Well it’s because the Prime Minister thinks the solution to every problem can be resolved with a sledge hammer approach. It is warped sense of what he thinks leadership is about that he actually thinks people are impressed.
2 Proverbial motor mouth Bruce Billson (pictured above) would have us believe that “If Labor don’t declare political donations then it’s a sling, a bribe, and a conflict of interest”. Tony Abbott declared donations to his electorate of Warringah 5 years later. Hockey 14 years later and only after they got wind of ICACs interest. What more can one say?
But Bruce felt it was fine to attend a Liberal fundraiser when the Mafia was making donations.
1 I am convinced, if I wasn’t already, after watching a press conference in which the Prime Minister was asked a seriously genuine question about the Greek and Chinese economic situations that he now believes in his own political infallibility. So much so that he thinks people have factored in the thought that his inane answers to questions are acceptable. His political career is littered with irrational doings and sayings and his lying is legendary. However, this one takes first prize.
In this case a journalist was enquiring about what effect these financial crises might have on our economy.
His reply to the question was that we need a strong viable Australian grocery trade. In fairness he was launching something to do with that industry but his answer was so ludicrously silly it bore no relationship to the question. He suggested to reporters that his domestic grocery code of conduct would have prevented the various global market uncertainties. He obviously didn’t mean it because what he said was entirely ridiculous. To make matters worse he ignored the fact that we have a grocery duopoly that doesn’t serve us well. But that of course is beside the point.
He is now at a point in his Prime ministership where he has become bizarre, irrational and conversationally incoherent. He seems to have a preoccupation with trivial ideological pursuits such as the ABC.
And to quote Katherine Murphy of The Guardian:
” . . . choosing to micromanage a public broadcaster late on a Friday afternoon wasn’t quite as strange as the grocery code saving Greece but it was pretty darned strange behaviour, monstering the ABC like it’s one of your junior ministers or an arm of the state, digging yourself deeper in a fight which makes no sense and is only sucking up oxygen and hurting you”.
He has always worked on the principle that you say what you want at the time for maximum impact and tidy up the mess, if any, later.
However he is becoming increasingly untenable as a leader. Leadership has been replaced with dictatorship.
Of course Malcolm Fraser warned that he was a dangerous politician. Are we beginning to find out how dangerous?
2 If Bill Shorten’s dealings by some are viewed as suspect then so too must be the decision to award the Royal Commission a $17 million contract to the firm of lawyers with whom Senator Eric Abetz is associated.
The three Royal Commissions into Labor Leadership has now exceeded 100 million dollars.
Monday 13 July
Oh no. It’s just wind turbines.
The Abbott government has opened up another front in its war on renewable energy by pulling the plug on investments in the most common form of alternative energy; rooftop and small-scale solar.
As a storm raged over the government’s directive to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to no longer back wind energy projects, it emerged that it has also put a stop to solar investments other than the largest industrial-scale projects.
What Luddites they really are. They say they believe in the science of Global Warming but their every action is contrary to that belief. It seems the combined advancement in battery and solar technology has escaped them.
People often argue from within the limitations of their understanding and when their factual evidence is scant, they revert to an expression of their feelings.
Tuesday 14 July
Yesterday’s Morgan Poll with Labor on 51% and the LNP on 49% proves that Abbott’s decision to force Shorten to front the Royal Commission was a politically correct one. He has insinuated upon us the politics of negativity and the populace has fallen for It.
1 Has Australia ever, so blindly, elected a man so negatively characterless? So ignorant of truth and transparency. So insensitive to those who cannot help themselves. So willing to endorse and foster inequality. So illiterate of technology and science. So oblivious to the needs of women. So inept at policy formation and its implementation. So prone to the language of absurdity. So pugnacious, so confrontationist so self-righteous, in his attitude toward others. So dismissive of those who desire equality. And so out of touch with a modern pluralist society. A man so unsophisticated in deep worldly acumen or discernment, yet religiously motivated.
2 Indonesia’s decision to reduce its cattle imports from Australia must be directly linked to our more recent diplomatic differences. It’s simply payback time for Abbott’s awful diplomacy. Having said that, the National Party representing those affected will remain silent, weekly toe the line as people wonder why they are in the Parliament at all. They are grossly overrepresented as a proportion of their vote anyway.
3 Malcolm Turnbull and John Hewson,both voices of moderation on the right last night slammed the Prime Minister for his deliberate campaign to scare the people on National Security.
And on the issue of Ministers appearing on Q&A they both vented their dismay at the Prime Minister’s attitude.
Wednesday 15 July
“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”
1 This week’s Essential Poll has Labor on 52 with the Coalition on 48.
2 The Morgan Poll tells us that the government still lags behind Labor with voters between the ages of 18 and 34 comprehensively favoring the opposition, 63.5% of 18-24-year-olds polled saying they would vote Labor.
By contrast, voters over the age of 60 favor the Coalition, 58% to Labor’s 42%.
Does that tell you something?
Posted in “Your Say” in THE AIMN:
Q&A And a Boys Question
He is really Off His Rocker or He’s a nut case.
Thursday 16 July
1 Why does the Prime Minister feel the need to enhance his already well won reputation as Australia’s premier political liar by telling more of them?
2 Speaker Bronwyn Bishop has charged taxpayers almost $90,000 for a two-week European trip partly aimed at securing her a plum new job. Mrs Bishop was entitled to take two staff members on the trip. And she charged taxpayers more than $5000 to charter a flight from Melbourne to Geelong in November. Her office has repeatedly failed to explain why Mrs Bishop needed to charter a plane for a trip that would have taken her about an hour in her much cheaper chauffer-driven commonwealth car.
Apparently she made a spectacular entrance at a golf club for a Liberal Party fund raiser.
Of course this is not unusual. Remember Tony Abbott’s claiming expenses of $9,400 from the taxpayer while on a promotion tour to launch his book?
And when he was opposition leader his office needed twice the budget of the Prime Ministers to function.
The age of entitlement is still with us. Right, Joe. When you have both the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House ripping off the system with impunity then you know your democracy is in trouble.
There was a time when parliamentarians with integrity resigned over such matters.
3 A group of Federal MPs say they doubt Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce’s reliability after his decision to oppose a Chinese-backed coal mine.
The fact that he was right in doing so seems to have escaped them. I don’t usually agree with him but on this occasion I admire him for standing on his dig. My God they are a feral lot.
4 Abbott’s response to Labor’s leaked discussion paper on Climate Change drew his usual response but this time there was a touch of desperation. He sounded shrill and over the top. So too were the media.
A Midday Thought
How is it possible that one Speaker of The House of Representatives can be hounded out of office, his life virtually destroyed by an Opposition with no moral compass other than hate and revenge over $900 worth of cab charges, yet another in Bronwyn Bishop get of scott free over a $5000 helicopter flight for a Liberal Party fund raiser? As I said yesterday, there was a time when parliamentarians would resign over such matters. She will probably be given the opportunity to repay the money and that will be the end of the matter. Slipper was never availed of that opportunity.
The question of Parliamentary expenses will never be resolved by politicians. It needs an independent inquiry otherwise corrupt practices will just continue and people like Bishop will continue to drink from the trough at the taxpayers’ expense.
Posted Morrie’s Letter to the Editor.
Friday 16 July
Continuing on from yesterday’s “Bronnies Expense Gate” I repeat again: She should resign. As the principal office holder in the House of Representatives, Bishop has an obligation not only to uphold the highest standards, but to set an example to all MPs. In the absence of a compelling explanation, she has failed on both counts.
One of the more humorous aspects of taking a daily interest in politics is watching politicians defend the indefensible. But more serious is seeing them get away with it.
The issue of claiming unjustifiable expenses has been going on for decades. In recent times we have had the Slipper affair (mentioned yesterday) that cost him his job, his health, and his reputation.
The Prime Minister, a lifelong habitual expense claimer, not so long ago claimed taxpayer expenses for the launch of his own book. Later he arranged a morning visit to a hospital so that he could claim overnight living expenses. The Speaker and the PM ripping off the taxpayer. “Unbelievable”, I hear you say. Reputably he is the highest paid politician in the world and she earns $370,000 a year.
To think that she can tick up $90,000 on a European trip partly aimed at securing a plum new job abroad is a scandal that we should not turn a blind eye too.
Even Treasurer Joe Hockey has called on Bishop to explain why she spent $5000 on short helicopter ride to a Liberal fundraiser, agreeing it doesn’t pass the “sniff test”. Mr Hockey admitted Mrs Bishop’s expenses were “not a good look” for the government, after he had personally declared the “age of entitlement” was over. He declined to say whether she should resign.
Unfortunately the public have become so used to this sort of behavior from our politicians that they just let it go through to the keeper without complaint.
I don’t wish to get into the area of who sniffs and where but this has the smell, the stench, of born to rule privilege written all over it.
Pigs with snouts in the trough of the public purse need to be identified, castigated and ridiculed in any way possible. I’m doing my bit. Are you? The PM, if he has any guts, should ask her to step down.
1 Interesting take on Bishop’s helicopter flight by Murdoch’s The Australian. Their view is that her mistake was in not taking a cheaper price on offer. Really? On that measure Slipper would not have been in trouble had he used Uber instead of Silver Top? How is that for journalistic excellence?
2 So George Christensen, the rabid right wing Islamophobic MP is to be a feature speaker at a Reclaim Australia rally. A group of swastika tattooed racist feral types who are anti anything that isn’t white.
One has to wonder why our Prime Minister would allow his MPs to speak at these race hate rallies but not allow others to appear on Q&A.
And the week ends with the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives likely to be investigated by the Federal Police for allegedly misusing Parliamentary entitlements.
Shame, shame, shame.
This is the week that was. I leave you with this thought:
“Good democracies can only deliver good government and outcomes if the electorate demands it”.
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The farmers and growers seem to be taking quite a hit lately. Some of them rely on income from hosting wind turbines on their properties, which may be reduced with the cessation of CEFC investment in wind energy.
It has also been announced this week that Indonesia has closed its borders to citrus imports, excluding lemons, for the 3rd quarter, which is apparently our peak export time. Our exports to Indonesia for the same period last year were worth almost $10 million. Strangely, the MSM has been rather quiet about this, although it did get a mention by the ABC yesterday.
“Indonesia’s decision makes it the third major fruit export market to close its doors to Australia in fewer than 12 months, after Vietnam shut its borders in January and Russia placed a trade embargo amid the political fallout from the downing of flight MH17.”
I am nearly 80, but if I lived 3 lifetimes I would NEVER vote for these immoral greedy liars!
John if this is not a game changer nothing will be. Bishop should resign and Abbott should stop Christensen from attending the Reclaim rally.
What seem to be a torrid week is just morphing into who cares as the government primarily ignore accountability.
The L-NP are simply relying upon public complacency and media compliance.
It is incredibly worrying that Ministerial accountability has been so quickly and effectively undermined.
We no longer have an accountable media willing to present the facts rather than opinion and to relentlessly investigate Abbott and his cronies.
No! No! No! Chopper Bishop should remain exactly where she is.
She shouldn’t ‘cut and run’. There’s nothing to see here. They all ‘do it’ apparently.
So why should Chopper Bishop be held to account when others evade the same scrutiny?.
Seriously, when a train is derailing it’s best to step out of the way. Perhaps a push here and there might be in order but throwing intellectual or political ‘floating’ devices should not be on the agenda.
Remember Abbott engaged in ‘total warfare’ while in opposition and he’s quick to adopt the same approach now he has the reins of government.
Don’t give him a political break.
Abbott’s supermarket glitch has been blamed on an implant failure – the offending micro-chip has now been replaced but no guarantees and no extended warranty available.
Madam Speaker spending $90,000 of public money on an overseas junket and job application, and $5000 on a grand entrance to a party fund-raiser reminds me of the fact that there have been calls and motions from the Greens for a National Integrity Commission, to both provide advice upon expenses prior to claims and investigations after the fact.
These, like the repeated calls for a federal ICAC, were defeated through filibustering by both major parties.
John, thanks for your week in revue. Two comments – Barbaby Joyce thinks there are more votes on the Farmers’ side than there are on the Miners’ side,so don’t be too ready to praise him; and Abbott is reported as having warned Bishop against this trip. If so, did he warn her that she should not claim the costs? If he did, why did he not check? Did he not care?
Who are these people who think abbot and his government are good. All my friends are aghast at this government and we are all over 60
I agree with Robyn. I do know people who voted for Abbott’s lot but they’re almost as aghast as I am at what they’ve done IN OUR NAME since. People over 60 include many who demonstrated for nuclear disarmament, Human Rights, Women’s Liberation, Aboriginal Land Rights and Aboriginal Reconciliation, and against the first Gulf War and both the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions. We may be in a minority in our age-group but we’re definitely not a silent one. We’re still working on those things that stir our passions, including the inordinate financial and political power of the global 0.1% and also the unfortunate lack of critical thinking among some of our age-group peers.
The totality in the lack of standards of any sort with this ruling rabble must make it the most corrupt of any in Australia’s history.
From their misogynistic denigrations of Gillard to their outright lies on policy and the extensiveness of their personal rorting of entitlements, to the cruelty’s ordered onto refugees and the “monstering” of Triggs and the ABC, these mongrels through their slavish implementation of the Right-Wing IPA agenda, have shown that they are not ruling for the nation but small sections of large corporations. Therefore they have no authority, and no credibility.
Citizen Abbott and his parliamentary paramour have done much to earn their places on the tumbrel. His suggestion that heads should roll may yet prove prophetic. We await the next election with revenge smoldering in our hearts accompanied by not so affectionate memories of their sophistry and over-bearing disregard for the electorate. .
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That’s what you get when you use foreign made parts.
Bring on the next election. ASAP.
Drawing a comparison between the Slipper issue and Chopper Bishop is quite unfairto her and that seems to be the main direction of calls for her to resign – there is no way the two issues are the same, Slipper did not rent a chopper????
I don’t think anyone really wants her to resign : who is saying that ?
Perhaps stand down as Speaker but that is more about incompetence and failure to be impartial.
The problem , as with Slipper, is that the rules on travel are vague and as you know, he was finally acquitted on appeal but after significant damage to his career, his health and his family.
Labor are just giving Bronnie a bit of heat and exposing the hypocrisy in this government.
‘I don’t think anyone really wants her to resign : who is saying that ?’
Oi, Bronnie! (yes, you, ‘madam speaker’)
You should quit your job; you stink putrid at it and you’re costing us way too much money.
Go home and have a kero-scrub, you sketchy painted coprophage!
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