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My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday 4 July

1 Andrew Robb in response to a question about the Coalition’s attitude to the co-sponsored Private Members Bill on same sex marriage said:

“None of the millions of families out there who are concerned about their jobs and paying the bills will thank us for being preoccupied for weeks and weeks with this issue”.

Conveniently, it seems, forgetting the inconvenient truth that some of those families might – in fact, wait, definitely do – including same-sex couples. And to think he negotiated three international trade deals.

jac

2Jacqui Lambie’s (the terror from Tassie) comparison of the Greens to Islamic military extremists has left them demanding an apology.

Addressing a mining conference in her home state of Tasmania on Friday, Senator Lambie opened her speech with ‘a little joke’.

“What’s the difference between the Greens and ISIS?” she asked an audience gathered for the third and final day of the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council annual conference.

“Not very much. They both want to take us back into the dark ages.”

It seems she is not only unintelligent with a big mouth she also tells jokes in poor taste.

Midday thoughts.

It seems, according to the Fairfax press, that Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s office knew Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had misled Parliament about Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis three days before the government eventually owned up to the mistake.

The delay in correcting the parliamentary record until the end of a sitting fortnight meant the government faced no scrutiny in question time over its handling of the case.

A Senate probe into the blunder had already discovered Senator Brandis knew about the letter late on. However, it has now emerged Mr Abbott’s office also knew about Ms Bishop’s false evidence that same day.

It was a cover up of the highest order.

Misleading Parliament is a grave offence and usually means someone gets sacked. ‘Heads should roll’ as the PM is fond of saying.

An observation:

“When a political party deliberately withholds information that the voter needs to make an informed, balanced and reasoned assessment of how it is being governed. It is lying by omission. It is also tantamount to the manipulation of our democracy.”

Sunday July 5

1 Keep this in mind when the PM is forcing National Security down your throat: Sure there are people in our midst who would do us harm, who despise who and what we are, but the threat they pose, statistically, is far less than any of us being involved in a road accident.

And ask yourself “why it is that The Border Force Act is targeting doctors, nurses, teachers and aid workers employed in our detention centers?” They face a two-year jail term if they disclose whatt is happening in these places.

And while you’re at it ask yourself why Asylum seekers must always be seen as threats, queue jumpers and illegals, and never as desperate human beings, men, women and children.

Ask yourself “why it is under Abbott’s tenure Ministers who mislead the Parliament don’t resign?” It used to be that way when we had a democracy.

When you have thought about this and the many other issues facing the nation ask yourself why he’s been so busy scaring the nation with an overblown terror threats he can’t find time to address them.

Flags

The most pressing issue I see into the future is the shortage of material for the production of flags. Our manufacturing industry is under threat. At the least he should attend to this.

sportsmanship

2 Not on my usual topic but it claws my gut. I just wish some of our young sportspeople would show respect for the sport they play, their peers, its history and its capacity to make them very wealthy. Young intelligent people by comparison in the sciences and many other career pursuits will never earn what they do but do it none the less. Pampered petulant full of their own importance with an expectation that the world owes them.

An observation:

“The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you”.

Monday 6 July

It’s only Monday but I can already hear the sound of heavy journalistic breathing at the Murdoch press. By Wednesday Bill Shorten’s appearance at the RC might bring on a serious case of exaggerated bullshit.

MY OFFICIAL WARNING

“If a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements then dismiss the article as having no cogency”.

Climate

Three observations:

“In terms of the environment, I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today”.

“If we’re not raising new generations to be better stewards of the environment, what’s the point?”

“We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”.

4 What was I saying most of last week? Well just to confirm my thoughts:

“Poll reveals 76% think family violence is as big or bigger threat than terrorism and advocates call for it to be funded in proportion to the scale of the problem”.

Tuesday July 6

1 The captain of team Australia has chucked a wobbly and decided that its members are unable to play with Q&A anymore. Yes, in a display of childish petulance tough Tony has taken his bat and ball and gone home. Barnaby Joyce was heard to say something like: “Can’t bat. can’t bowl, can’t field, but excellent at sledging”.

The big test will come next week. Will he allow Malcolm Turnbull time at the crease, on a sticky wicket, or indeed, will the ever popular Communications Minister be forced to play with a dead bat? He will need balls though. Either way someone should tell the Captain that one side is playing cricket, the other isn’t.

Anyway, Barnaby Joyce’s appearance on ABC Insiders yesterday confirmed one thing in my mind. When it comes to matters of deep human consideration, matters pertaining to life and relationship he is like so many of the Coalition, simply out of his depth.

Some parts of south-east Asia could view Australia embracing same-sex marriage as “decadence”, the deputy Nationals leader, and possible future deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, has said.

What more can one say except “he is a buffoon of the first order”?

2 Today’s polls confirm that both Shorten and Abbott are on the nose with the electorate. Abbott because he always has been and Shorten because the punters are unsure of him. Wednesday may very well decide for them.

Fairfax has Labor on 53/47 and Newspoll 52/48. A clear lead to Labor.

Things that go unnoticed:

3 The Climate Council tells us that electricity emissions have jumped since the repeal of the carbon tax. The increase of 4.3% has undone part of an 11% fall in emissions during the two years the tax was in place.

“The news that emissions have gone up in Australia will do little to counter the impression that Australia is acting as a ‘free rider’ on the back of other countries’ efforts” the Climate Council chief executive, Amanda McKenzie, said in a statement on Sunday.

q

Wednesday 7 July

1 Do you ever wonder who appears the most on Q&A and how the figures stack up? Well prominent Coalition politicians have appeared 139 times to March this year and Labor 110.

Prominent left leaning journalists 9. The right, 23

Bias anyone?

And might I add that on The Drum one would have to be forgiven for thinking that the IPA has a permanent chair at the desk.

2 New emails show Prime Minister Tony Abbott may have known Parliament had been misled about the Sydney siege gunman three days before the government corrected the record. Is there a smoking gun?

3 It looks like Barnaby was not too happy with the Captains call. Will Turnbull have the guts to hit him to square leg? But look, the fact is that a reasonable captain would just get on with the game. A reasonable leader, however, our PM is not. He hates better than most.

4 At least our two leaders presented a united front at the meeting on Indigenous recognition in the Constitution. Unfortunately it might all come to a sudden end with Indigenous leaders demanding protection against racial abuse together with anti-discrimination protection. Symbolic recognition might be one thing but can you imagine journalists like Bolt having their right to abuse taken away?

Midday thoughts:

1Amanda Vanstone’s rant on ABC 24 this morning was hogwash. Current affairs programs will always be confronted with accusations of bias if only because they are confrontational. For Amanda to say she couldn’t get a word in belies her capacity to do just that.

Often what influence you have on these panels is dependent on one’s media savvy, quickness of mind and an ability to speak better than others. Some are just better at it than others regardless of ideology.

Hawke and Keating always thought the ABC were biased against Labor.

2 In addition it’s interesting to note that almost universally the PM has been condemned, even by people on the right, for banning appearances.

A thought:

“The exchange and intellectual debate of ideas needs to be re energised and it is incumbent on the young to become involved”.

Thursday 8 July

1 Did you know that the Abbott government ministry is one of the worst in the developed world for gender balance?

Well I expect you did. It’s fairly obvious. A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development says the gap between women and men in ministerial positions in Australia has actually worsened since 2012, despite the government’s reshuffle in December. It says Australia now has fewer women in its highest ranks of government than every OECD country except for Greece, Korea, Turkey, Hungary and the Slovak Republic.

An observation:

“At some time in the human narrative…..in our history, man declared himself superior to women. It must have been an accident, or at least an act of gross stupidity. But that’s men for you”.

3 This week’s Essential Poll has Labor 52 and LNP 48.

4 Nothing gives me greater pleasure than when our young people achieve success on the international stage be it in sport, entertainment, the arts and sciences. Nothing offends me more than when their petulant behavior misrepresents our sense of fair play and societal decency.

Friday 9 July

1 Politicians frequently update things undeclared. Commercial interests etc. Hockey recently did. Abbott is guilty of doing so. Political donations are dodgy on both sides. ICAC in NSW showed that. Everyone would agree that it needs to be cleaned up. But a Royal Commission costing $80 million. Strewth.

2“The idea that Malcolm Turnbull should not be allowed to appear next Monday night is too ludicrous to believe”(Paul Kelly, The Australian).

Malcolm Turnbull still has views that spring from old Liberalism. In his address to the Sydney Institute all he was doing was expressing them. I could not imagine any other leader, other than Abbott, talking about terrorism in the way he does. Leadership requires character. Politicians on both sides of the divide could do with an injection of it.

“Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics, but unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibers from which it is woven”.

3 Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says “the world has gone mad” after his own government approved the highly contentious Shenhua Watermark coal mine in his NSW electorate, despite his vehement protests.

“I think it is ridiculous that you would have a major mine in the midst of Australia’s best agricultural land” Joyce said. He obviously doesn’t appreciate coal as much as the PM. They are becoming more laughable by the day.

Midday thoughts:

1 The Royal Commission into Unions that the Prime Minister orchestrated for no other reason than to embarrass Bill Shorten has achieved its aim. But that is all. There has been no knockout punch. However the residue of of mud thrown will hang around until the next election. Its report might conveniently come in at a time beneficial to the Government. The pity is that if Labor had a squeaky clean leader victory would be assured.

2 Tony Windsor, the maverick rural MP who helped Labor keep office during the last parliament, says he is considering running again for the seat of New England after the Abbott government gave its approval for a huge open-cut coal mine on the Liverpool Plains.

I am currently reading Windsor’s book “Windsor’s Way” and I hope he does return. He decides issues on what is best for the common good.

3 Combined polling for the week has 52.2-47.8 to Labor. Primary votes for both major parties have fallen. Both leaders have disastrous ratings. The big winner was the Greens.

4 The collapse in the iron ore price will almost certainly mean a collapse in the budget forecasts. Surely Hockey would have taken this into consideration.

This is the week that was.

Two final thoughts:

1 “The most simple way to turn the profession of politics on its head would be to demand they tell the truth”.

2 Wouldn’t it be nice if Mr. Abbott, instead of spending an estimated 200 million on three Royal Commissions to damage his opponents, spent it on reducing domestic violence?

dom

 


14 comments

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  1. stephentardrew

    Great summary as usual John. Damn it just seems to get worse week by week. Shorten has failed for too long it is time for change now.

  2. Colin

    8 July, para 1 – you could have removed the words “for gender balance” without speaking a word of a lie. Oh, and the words “one of” and “developed” as well.

  3. NotinmyName

    Shorten could resign protesting his innocence and make the point that the RC was a charade to blacken his and Labor’s name. If he spilled the beans on Abbott’s mendacity and manipulation and if they had a cleanskin to compete against it would panic the LNP.

    Of course the issue that undermined Kevin and Julia would be at play with Bill – ego.

  4. Kaye Lee

    “Every intelligent minister faces a choice. You can either be carried along by the convection current of Abbott’s over-egged and unconvincing pitch to the voters, and his petty vindictive arguments, or when the moment presents, you can say enough is enough.

    Two ministers, in separate ways, did that this week.

    They stood up.

    And there was Abbott, in the middle, with his grocery code, and his silly finger jab at the ABC, while the world around us wobbles.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/10/tony-abbotts-pointless-whims-uncover-those-who-refuse-to-minister-to-him

  5. Michael Taylor

    Another great summary, John.

  6. Harquebus

    Will the Shenhua mine, if it goes ahead, employ Australian or Chinese workers?

  7. Kaye Lee

    As part of the agreement, China and Australia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the topic of an “Investment Facilitation Arrangement” (IFA).

    The IFA allows a project company registered in Australia but with 50% Chinese ownership to bring in Chinese workers for a proposed infrastructure development project. The development must be projected to involve capital expenditure of A$150 million over its term.

    There is no requirement under the MOU for labour market testing. This means the project company will not need to prove that they are unable to source Australians to work on the project. There is no requirement to prove that there is a skill shortage or that the project company has had recruitment difficulties in enticing Australian workers. (This is different to the 457 visa programme, where employers are supposed to show they have tried and failed to find Australian workers for jobs, before hiring skilled foreign workers.)

    CHaFTA allows Chinese companies registered in Australia to import Chinese workers for the duration of projects, so long as the capital expenditure exceeds $150 million.

    Whilst this does increase the level of economic activity in Australia, it does not translate to increased job opportunities for local workers as it is likely that through the IFA, these projects will be staffed by temporary migrant workers from China.

    Even more concerning, is the fact that Chinese businesses can negotiate “concessions” with the Department of Immigration and that these will be stipulated as a term of a private contract between the two parties and not be on the public record. This allows the Executive arm of government enormous discretion in the making of these arrangements, with limited opportunity for transparency and public accountability.

    https://theconversation.com/factcheck-could-the-china-australia-fta-lock-out-australian-workers-43470

  8. Michael Taylor

    Loved this comment on Facebook:

    QandA to be renamed Yes, Prime Minister.

  9. Harquebus

    Thanks Kaye Lee.
    That pretty much answers it.
    The resource, the profits and the jobs all go overseas. Just great.

    How about a dedicated page solely for abusing Tony Abbott? No article. Just comments.
    You could call it “Up Yours Prime Minister”. I’ll bet there would be some doozies.
    Just a thought.

    Cheers.

  10. Michael Taylor

    Hmmm. And I can see us getting sued because of the comments it would encourage.

  11. eli nes

    kaye lee 417 visas? any one anywhere 2 years before 457 requirements?
    Thursday 4 fair play and decency? tell him he’s dreaming.
    For anyone to contemplate sending a minimum of 45 billion overseas for subs is horrific why labor isn’t giving karl baby and koch questions to ask abbutt and that religious twit andrews os????

  12. John Lord

    I’M AWAY FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS. SO IF I DONT COMMENT THATS WHY.

  13. Peter F

    John, your statement that “The Royal Commission into Unions that the Prime Minister orchestrated for no other reason than to embarrass Bill Shorten has achieved its aim. But that is all” ignores the fact that it has given the MSM all that it needs to distort the facts beyond recognition. Today I had lunch with a group of friends, on of whom came out with the statement that ‘ Shorten is finished because a judge accused him of corruption this week” He went on to point out that ‘it is in all of the papers’.

    Abbott know what he was doing, and I fear for this country,as i now believe that he might succeed in being re-elected.

  14. Peter F

    I have personal experience of how the Chinese work, in relation to the conversion of a Sydney office building (Chinese government owned) into vip accommodation.

    When I pointed out the danger of structural alterations they HAD undertaken without engineering advice, and other matters which would be required to meet NSW safety and fire legislation, my services were no longer required.

    I will never go near that building.

    Only a fool would believe that this proposed mine will be anything but a total disaster for this country.

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