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Perplexing paradoxes

Wedge politics is the new game and some say Abbott is good at it. But the trouble with playing that sort of politics is you can find yourself painted into a corner.

Everyone knows that Abbott is on the nose but they have to run with his chosen attack line – would you trust the man who knifed two Prime Ministers? Which is why no-one is formally challenging what is patently an inept leader. The contenders are ready and jockeying for pole position. They are waiting to be dragged unwillingly by backbenchers to the leader’s chair.

We have Scott Morrison having dinner with Rupert Murdoch – an unexpected request which delighted ScoMo. Malcolm is catching trains everywhere and openly supporting marriage equality. Joe has given up on the economy and hitched his wagon to the Republic. Julie is being a very supportive team player by sticking to the talking points whilst taking credit for everything from climate change to the war in the Ukraine.

So who is still on Team Abbott?

He has thrown his hat in with the monarchists, the homophobes, the racists, the misogynists, and the climate change deniers. He has chosen the hard right with people like Eric Abetz and Kevin Andrews as well as senators Cory Bernardi and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. Others like George Christensen and Andrew Nikolic and James McGrath are willing head nodders.

This group of pseudo libertarians are happy to abandon all pretence of helping the disadvantaged under the guise of “personal responsibility” but when it comes to matters of conscience they adopt a very authoritarian approach in dictating their views on things like homosexuality, marriage, divorce, abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research.

They cry freedom while introducing the most tyrannical attack on our liberties with their anti-terror, citizenship and data retention laws.

Abbott also chooses favourites and gives and demands loyalty – up to a point. He has had to learn how to distance himself from some of his Captain’s picks in light of recent events. He doesn’t do it well.

Because Abbott is all about the politics, we end up with some very perplexing paradoxes.

Compare the treatment of Gillian Triggs and Kathy Jackson. Both were whistleblowers.

Jackson was important to Abbott, and lauded by him, because she was instrumental in bringing down Craig Thomson thus weakening the Gillard government. As we now know, Thomson committed some petty misdemeanours. Jackson committed fraud on a grand scale but is still acting like she is immune.

Triggs, on the other hand, was mercilessly attacked for doing her job of bringing to the government’s attention human rights abuses involving the sexual, physical and mental abuse of children in our care. Even though Tony and that fool we now have as an immigration minister keep insisting that they are the responsibility of the countries we dumped them on this is crap, as is so much of what they say.

Compare the treatment of Peter Slipper and Bronwyn Bishop.

Slipper was crucified for $900 worth of cab charges. When he offered to pay them back he was refused as the matter had been referred to the police. His prosecution cost millions of dollars.

Bronwyn Bishop, on the other hand, was allowed to pay back $5,000 for using a helicopter to pick up her dry-cleaning – ok that’s not quite true but near enough. When referred to the police they flicked it straight back to the finance department.

That’s the difference between accepting the role of Speaker in opposition to when in government apparently.

Compare the fury about the carbon tax and renewable energy target against the amount spent on fossil fuel subsidies. The $5.3tn global subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.

Compare the treatment of environmentalists protesting against mining the Galilee Basin to the whackos who are protesting against wind farms.

One group went through the courts using legitimate laws to show that the Environment Minister had stuffed up his paperwork. Rather than just fixing the mistake and resubmitting for approval, Abbott has sent out the attack dogs – lawfare, vigilantism, vexatious litigation. It should be pointed out that the court action contained far more substantive objections about the mine. That the court chose the reptiles is the fault of Hunt, not the litigants. Abbott’s reaction – get rid of environmental protection laws.

And then we have the wind farm objectors. They are “concerned citizens with legitimate complaints”. They didn’t need these complaints to be tested in a court of law for Abbott to act. Wind Commissioner? Sure thing. Ban the CEFC from investing in wind energy? You got it. And let’s have another ‘scientific’ study into how bad you can make yourself feel when you get cross.

Compare how corruption in unions is dealt with against corruption in political parties.

The Royal Commission into Trade Unions has definitely exposed some shady dealings which will result in prosecutions. Unfortunately, the focus has been on taking down Labor leaders and tainting and undermining all unions.

But when you look at what the ICAC in NSW has exposed, there is corruption on a grand scale in party politics. In nine months, 11 Liberal politicians resigned, stepped down or moved to the back/cross bench. Damien Mantach, after having to pay back almost $50,000 for misuse of a party credit card in Tasmania, was promoted to head the Victorian branch where he promptly stole another $1.5 million.

Compare the treatment of the ABC with that of the Murdoch media.

The ABC had its funding slashed. It has been castigated for telling the truth about what our government is doing like spying on the Indonesian president’s wife, paying people smugglers, and abuse of asylum seekers. They have had political interference in their shows and right wing warriors appointed to the board.

The Murdoch media is being protected by suggested changes to media ownership laws, making it harder to access movies from other sources, and the destruction of FttP broadband. While the ABC is investigated for bias, the misinformation and manipulation by the Murdoch papers goes unchecked.

Another glaring paradox that Abbott chooses to ignore is Philip Morris suing us as a result of a free trade agreement. They are saying that plain packaging of cigarettes has not had a beneficial health outcome whilst suing us for loss of profits, and Tony seems unable to see the danger in this madness, instead crowing about signing more free trade agreements that he refuses to show us the details of. While Abbott and his stormtroopers spend billions on Operation Sovereign Borders, we are signing away our sovereignty to global corporations.

There can’t be many people left on Abbott’s Team Australia and those that are are probably not the people you want making decisions for you.


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  1. peerved

    Bottom line. This country is screwed every which way. This idiot has to go!

  2. Pauline Westwood

    Good points, but hard to read. You clearly have not mastered English grammar.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Another thing that seems to be perplexing, not sure why….

    Dyson Heydon is apparently taking a week to decide if there could be any perception of bias by a reasonable person in his handling of the TURC.

    Ask yourself this Dyson. If you are there to expose serious criminal activity, why did you spend so much time on Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten? Why was Kathy Jackson given so much time to dispose of her assets? The hated ABC were the ones who reported on bribes and kickbacks and standover tactics by certain union officials – what exactly are you contributing to the investigation as you have no jurisdiction to prosecute? Why aren’t the police acting on the information revealed by the ABC?

  4. Kaye Lee


    If you would care to point out my mistakes I will edit them. Thanks.

  5. John Lord

    It makes for depressive reading. Any chance you could take a holiday Kaye.

  6. John Lord

    Don’t let Pauline near my work.

  7. Neil of Sydney

    why did you spend so much time on Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten?

    Perhaps because they are the ones with questions to answer.

  8. Kaye Lee

    I’m working on it John. Holidays that is. I pop around for a few days here and there.

    I am guessing Pauline doesn’t like sentences begun with conjunctions. It did take me a while to drop my aversion because it was drummed into me in primary school along with never using the word “nice”, I assume in an attempt to make us think of synonyms.

    If that is the case Pauline, I understand you are correct and also how it may jar with you.

  9. corvus boreus

    Pauline Westwood posted eleven words in seventeen syllables.
    (haiku attempt?)

    No errors in spelling, syntax or punctuation were detected.

    And Kaye Lee, you should NEVER open a sentence with a conjunctive.

  10. Ricardo29

    I consider myself something of a language pedant but am prepared to overlook the minor such issues which occur when something is obviously written with passion, and possibly haste. I didn’t find this post hard to read so consider Pauline is being a bit picky. Once again, Kaye Lee, you have rounded up the major issues and presented them pretty succinctly. I know what John Lord feels like. It does make for depressing reading but it needs to be restated though I am not prepared to place a frequency on that restating. Clearly there is the occasional unconverted still requiring preaching to (oops sorry, to whom preaching is still required).

  11. Kaye Lee

    But cb, why ever not?

  12. corvus boreus

    Because it irritates the grammatically pedantic.

  13. FreeThinker

    A lucid and timely summary of where this country finds itself with Abbott now approaching a dreadful 104 weeks as PM.

    One point that comes through clearly from your article to me Kaye, is the stark contrast in the LNP and the MSM treatment of people with politically useful associations to the LNP but also accused of dishonest or potentially criminal behaviour, and the treatment by the LNP & the MSM of other Australians, particularly those associated with the Labor Party and the unions. The inequity gives me and many others cause for deep disquiet.

    Relatedly, we are seeing the Abbott government’s whose legislative achievements pall in contrast to Gillard’s, seeking to change this nation in many ways, but outside the sphere of parliament. This is gradually transforming the House of Representatives into a more ritualised and conflictual zone, (for which ex-Speaker Bishop has been a primary agent), in achieving its heightening status as an effete debating chamber. So good that she at least has been replaced.

    Meanwhile today, Rupert’s Herald-Sun became anally obsessive about that very same word ‘ anal’ , following the ABC’s Q. & A. tweet on during the show Monday evening .

    There is a high-sounding editorial urging the cessation of the program and the replacement of Mark Scott.

    The Herald-Sun included a page 3 feature article on the failings of the program, complete with a coyly obsessive censoring of the offending Twitter name in question.

    Finally, in the opinions section of the paper, there is a polemic piece by News Corp ‘ journalist ‘, Rita Panehi, about the mainly ‘leftish’ excesses of Q &A. in recent years.

    All this because of a 3 second tweet on the program, obliquely associated with Abbott !

  14. RosemaryJ36

    I do love your articles, Kaye – and the comments they evoke!
    I am saddened by the inability of politicians of any leaning or background to recognise that this country is on a cliff-edge and in drastic need of being saved from tipping over into a bottomless pit!
    The once lucky country is becoming a nation of fools.

  15. guest


    Perhaps Pauline is upset with the end of the penultimate sentence (…of.) Finishing the sentence with a preposition, said Churchill, is something up with which he would not put. Sounds silly and pedantic?

    The contradiction which concerns me is the way one Ministry is promoting the sale of millions of tonnes of coal to be burnt overseas while another Ministry is struggling to reduce emissions.

    There is another group which believes in a reduction in population rather than a reduction in the burning of coal. Perhaps they believe the continued burning of coal would itself achieve a reduction in population, given the deleterious effects on the health of people.

    It is difficult to see any kind of coherent vision in the messy and contradictory policy platform being concocted piecemeal on the run.

    It is impossible to see the Coalition as a Government with anything to offer but perpetual chaos.

    Hopeless and dispiriting.

  16. Phil

    Pauline Westward found the article hard to read – I didn’t – so I take it I also have a poor grasp of English grammar. Oh dear me!!

    I take it that Pauline is an exceptionally brilliant person, at least she seems to be suggesting that.

  17. Phil

    A pedant is one who is excessively concerned with minor details, so why would anyone out themselves of such an affliction? Is it really necessary to air soiled linen in public – what purpose does it serve?

    I’m wondering if some of the writing on AIMN is hitting some raw nerves out there and hence the personal criticisms about grammar – perhaps an attempt to belittle?

  18. Neil of Sydney

    Triggs, on the other hand, was mercilessly attacked for doing her job of bringing to the government’s attention human rights abuses involving the sexual, physical and mental abuse of children in our care.

    No. Triggs was attacked for being partisian. Triggs did nothing until the Coalition won the election. She should have been doing something when elected Commissioner when Labor was locking all the kids up.

  19. Paolo Soprani

    I would have to say that the reason Dyson Heydon is taking so long to reach a decision about his suitability as Royal Commissioner is one that has not been mentioned much, namely his salary. Disqualification could potentially cost him millions of dollars so the powers that be are probably still manouevering and crunching the numbers.

  20. John

    This party of personal responsibility and individual freedom (to”, not “from) is the reason we need laws.

  21. Möbius Ecko

    Abbott stated that the TURC was set up to clean out the Labor Party. Proving it’s political.

  22. Rezblah

    Re: the Phillip Morris case, why on earth it’s not been resolved in a 3 second 3 word meeting is completely beyond me (I’d be more than happy to chair it for the $50m+ it’s cost us all so far too)

  23. stephentardrew

    Kaye you never cease to amaze me the quality and productivity of your work.

    One thing I can guarantee when I come to AIMN I get the well reasoned facts in a cohesive and manageable form. Your work, and all contributors at AIMN, is really inspiring and I rely upon you to keep me up to date with hard facts and great commentary.

    I know you all work hard voluntarily and it is much appreciated.

    Every now and then I have my little rave but honestly I am incredibly grateful for the great work you are doing and especially the funding and work that Michel puts in.

    Been busy doing other things lately so have not participated as much however am always dropping in for the latest.

    Heart felt thanks to you all.

  24. silkworm

    Wasn’t Heydon Dyson the only dissenting opinion in the tobacco lobby’s case against the government?

  25. silkworm

    “Libertarian” Senator Leyonhjelm’s advisor on the “evils” of wind farms is none other than exposed literary fraud Helen Dale Darville Demidenko Deville. Neither of them can see the difference between truth and fiction, or if they can, they think that we cannot. They are either evil or stupid.

  26. Peter F

    @NoS “Triggs did nothing until the Coalition won the election. ” Your selective amnesia ignores the truth about the timing of her report. This has been explained at length. Do you suggest that she knew what the election result would be in advance, and delayed the report accordingly? You might be a bit sensitive there, Neil. Still, as we now know, the Government has put everything right on Manus in the two years they have been in charge. I’m sure you will agree.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Why, critics have asked, did I as president begin the inquiry in 2014 and not six months earlier in July 2013, when the numbers of children in detention reached a record high. Why, it has been asked, did I not act earlier?

    The answer is that the commission has worked tirelessly over many years reporting on the failure by both Labor and Liberal governments to comply with their international law obligations to refugees. In July 2012 the commission reported its findings of an inquiry into the treatment of asylum seeker children who were subject to mandatory detention as people smugglers. A number were held in adult prisons, on the basis of flawed age determination processes. The report revealed major concerns over how a number of government agencies dealt with these children. Over the subsequent months, significant changes to law and policy were made to address the concerns identified by the commission.

    Within eight weeks of commencing as president in July 2012 I was at Villawood Detention Centre, interviewing children and other detainees. Four weeks later I was on Christmas Island.

    The report of that inspection visit was the first of three reports, six background papers and five extensive submissions to parliamentary and other inquiries that the commission completed on asylum-seeker issues in my first 15 months as president.

    In addition to this, as president I handle complaints made under the commission’s legislation which allege breaches of human rights. Between January 2009 and September, 2014, the commission received 159 complaints in relation to children in immigration detention – each of which is separately investigated and conciliated by the commission.

    So where was I and the commission in 2013? We were using the range of powers and functions available to us to address the longstanding and ongoing concerns about the treatment of asylum-seeker children. We were in detention centres, publishing reports and investigating complaints. Consistently, we were highlighting the collateral damage to children of maintaining a mandatory immigration detention policy.

    The year 2013 saw a peak in the number of asylum seekers globally – largely as a result of the unrest of the Arab Spring. This impacted on Australia, with asylum seeker numbers rising to a record high in July 2013. There were 1992 children in detention in that month. By October 2013, efforts to move children into the community had reduced this number to 1045.

    In stark contrast, over the six months after the new government took office, it became clear that children were being held for significant periods and were not being released. While the boats were stopping, the children were being detained for lengthening periods of time. When the inquiry was announced in February, 2014 children had been held on average for seven months and 1006 remained in closed indefinite detention.

    The commission had always intended to come back and review what changes had occurred in the 10 years since our landmark 2004 report, A last resort? These worrying developments confirmed that it was appropriate for us to do so come 2014.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/dont-shoot-the-messenger-says-human-rights-commission-president-gillian-triggs-20150214-13evmp#ixzz3k3IyWEBb

  28. Möbius Ecko

    Watch Neil ignore that Kaye, it’s fact with source. He’ll respond with either another one of his few Labor bashing points or with a diversion to another topic. It’s something he’s always done without fail whenever he’s pulled up on fact.

  29. Kaye Lee

    I’m expecting something about car manufacturing ME 😉

  30. corvus boreus

    Triggs was also fulfilling a major function as acting Racial Discrimination Commissioner from her appointment in 2012 until October 2013. That might have kept her a little busy.

  31. Möbius Ecko

    He also ignores the point that all of us here and indeed many Labor supporters have consistently condemned Labor’s stance and actions on boat people, yet he never condemns the Liberal’s stance against them whilst always bashing Labor’s.

    Neil also has a long history of doing that, ignoring that valid criticisms of Labor are made here and elsewhere by those he attacks whilst he never addresses the considerable failings of the Liberals, especially those of Howard and by this woeful government.

  32. Peter F

    The depressing thing is that a great number of voters will see things as Neil does. There was an explanation of how Joh managed to stay in power for so long in Qld. Up until 1957, secondary education in Qld was restricted to a few major cities. I don’t know what our current excuse is.

  33. Neil of Sydney

    Why, critics have asked, did I as president begin the inquiry in 2014 and not six months earlier in July 2013

    The question Coalition supporters want to know is why she didn’t start the inquiry in July 2012 when she became President? The Commission must have know of the deaths, suicides, acts of self harm going on in Labors detention centers. In fact Triggs stated that she delayed the inquiry because there was an election coming up.

    it became clear that children were being held for significant periods and were not being released. While the boats were stopping, the children were being detained for lengthening periods of time.

    I think this is rubbish. It is because the maths changed. Under Labor they always were locking up children. The newly arrived children kept the average time in detention down. Under the new govt the boats stopped and children were no longer being locked up so there were no new arrivals to kept the average time in detention down.

  34. Michael Taylor

    So children are no longer being locked up, you say. Gosh you are ignorant.

    And I think you’ll find that everyone here didn’t like the idea of children being locked up under Labor either. So please drop the subject. You’ve mentioned it in just about every comment and it’s well past being boring.

  35. Kaye Lee

    “The question Coalition supporters want to know is why she didn’t start the inquiry in July 2012 when she became President? ”

    Within eight weeks of commencing as president in July 2012 I was at Villawood Detention Centre, interviewing children and other detainees. Four weeks later I was on Christmas Island.

    The report of that inspection visit was the first of three reports, six background papers and five extensive submissions to parliamentary and other inquiries that the commission completed on asylum-seeker issues in my first 15 months as president.

    The three months from July to October 2013 saw the number of children in detention decrease by 947. The next four months saw a reduction of only 39 children.

    I will also point out that Rudd only introduced the “no resettlement” law in July 2013.

    The Government’s latest statistics, dated 31 July 2015, reveal that:
    • 118 children are held in immigration detention facilities within the Australian mainland;
    • 87 children are held in detention in Nauru; and
    • 480 children are detained in the community under residence determinations, a system referrred to as community detention.

  36. Neil of Sydney

    Within eight weeks of commencing as president in July 2012 I was at Villawood Detention Centre, interviewing children and other detainees. Four weeks later I was on Christmas Island.

    What? So it took Triggs 3 months to get to Christmas Island? If it was the Coalition who had been in power locking all the kids up she would have been at Christmas Island the day after she became President in July 2012.

    Triggs publicly stated she delayed the report because there was an election coming up.


    In a sensational and disastrous appearance before a Senate estimates committee in November, Triggs offered a range of contradictory reasons for delaying the inquiry. One of them — suggesting a snap election was imminent from March 2013 when the election date had already been announced for September — was self-evidently nonsense.

    Others simply contradicted other reasons proffered by the president. The core allegation from the government is that Triggs delayed the inquiry to avoid embarrassing the Labor government. This occurred despite the numbers of people and children in detention rising rapidly throughout 2012 and the first half of 2013.

    By July 2013, a year after Triggs began her presidency, the number of children in detention reached a record of almost 2000 — and still Triggs did not launch the inquiry even though she had apparently already decided it was necessary.

  37. Kaye Lee

    I am very aware of the Murdoch press attacks on Triggs. I treat them with the contempt they solicited and deserved. I could show you countless links to statements by law societies, human rights groups, the UN, and even Malcolm Turnbull, all saying how deplorable and unwarranted the attacks have been and how disgusting it was to ignore the message to shoot the messenger.

    The reason she waited until after the election was to see if there was policy change. The HRC has been reporting to government about asylum seeker policy since 1992.

    And I am with Michael. That is enough Neil.

  38. Neil of Sydney

    Slipper was crucified for $900 worth of cab charges.

    Nobody here knows all the things that went on with Slipper. I suspect that Slipper was like Al Capone. The FBI could not get him on what they wanted but they got him on tax evasion. Better than nothing.

    I found this interesting


    Slipper then flew to New Zealand. According to Slipper’s letter to Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, in late 2010 outlining the New Zealand trip, Slipper arrived in Wellington at 11.15pm – or 9.15 pm Australian time. It was a relatively short flight of just over three hours. Slipper’s day had started in Buderim in Queensland and finished at an airport by 5pm to fly to NZ.

    By Sunday, December 12, Slipper was conducting meetings in New Zealand with a New Zealand exporter, according to his itinerary.

    While he was in New Zealand, Slipper’s travel back in Australia was apparently continuing, according to Department of Finance reconciliation records. On Sunday December 12, a Cabcharge docket for the amount of $125.00 was signed in Slipper’s name in Australia. This Cabcharge, dated December 12, was also in the name of the car service operated by Babylon Investment Group.

    So Slipper was in NZ on Dec 12 and he was also in Australia on Dec 12.

  39. Kaye Lee

    As always Neil, got your finger on the pulse of important current affairs.

    You have been given more than a fair go. If your remarks bear no relevance to this decade they will be removed.

  40. Möbius Ecko

    Yes Neil how about addressing the current happening of your proto-fascist (Turnbull’s words) leader sending Border Force onto the streets of Melbourne this weekend to randomly check IDs and crack down on anti-social behaviour?

  41. Neil of Sydney

    You have been given more than a fair go. If your remarks bear no relevance to this decade they will be removed.

    I was commenting on your statement that Slipper was condemned for $900. You mentioned it not me.

    Am i not allowed to post on your statements? I am on topic.

    Slipper was condemned for a lot more than $900. He was a serial rorter who falsified his documents. And fraud against the Commonwealth is a serious offense.

  42. Felicitas

    Next step is thought control – no wait, we already have that. Thank you Lord Murdoch. Should I put on a yellow star and march myself to the gulag? Wait, I’m an environmentalist, maybe it should be a green star. Oh I’m so confused. Will you be waiting there for me to ‘fix’ my thinking errors NoS? And if I’m good and recant my heresies, can I get paid what you are being paid to loiter here?

  43. Anomander

    Few charges, if any, will ensure from the $80 million Kangaroo Court into Unions because the powers used to compel people to testify means any evidence gathered under such duress is not admissible in any normal court.

    Yet more public money squandered on Abbott’s personal mission to destroy the ALP by attacking their main source.

  44. Anomander

    Neil – Slipper’s supposed rorts were seemingly overlooked while he was a Liberal member. Why would that have been?

    It was only when he left the Libs that they decided to pursue him for a trifling amount, in order to bring down the government.

  45. Neil of Sydney

    Neil – Slipper’s supposed rorts were seemingly overlooked while he was a Liberal member. Why would that have been?

    Well i do not know but i guess he did things nobody could prove.

    I am not up on the whole story but i doubt that it was only for $900 that he was charged. But he did falsify his documents and that is a crime. But i suspect he defrauded the Commonwealth of thousands of dollars.

  46. Trevr

    Eff off Neil of sydenee! By your account it’s all Labors fault, and the greens. Wake the eff up or shutit.

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