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ScoMo plays Djoko but Dutton buys tanks

“Nine years long” reads a handmade sign in a sealed window of the Park Hotel, Swanston Street, Carlton, a grim, grey, makeshift, Melbourne gaol for forty-six refugees and asylum-seekers. Most were originally locked up on Papua New Guinea and Manus Island. Now the men are held against their will indefinitely, in contempt of international convention, compassion and human decency. Their food is mouldy and has weevils in it. A couple of floors catch fire in December, but no-one is allowed to leave the building.

Novak Djokovic also lobs here, Wednesday to Monday, a world champion reduced to persona non grata, after Border Force cancels his visa, but – in a sensational comeback – after Monday’s federal court hearing, he’s released into the care of his lawyer$.

The Park Hotel is a far cry from the Serb’s mountainside mansion in Monte Carlo, where he lives tax free. True, he has an incredible portfolio of luxury properties all over the world. New York. Miami. Soho. Even a penthouse in New Belgrade. But Border Force give him no option. Cancel his visa. Lock him up with the other poor sods.

But not for ever, Federal Court Judge, Anthony Kelly quashes the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa on procedural fairness. Border Force breaks a promise.

It’s a technical victory for the tennis star. Border Force fails to keep its word that Djokovic has until 8.30am to seek advice about his pending cancellation, instead cancelling his visa at 7.42am to finish the business before one officer’s shift ends.

Now the international tennis champion, antivaxxer, kinesiologist and property tycoon awaits a call from Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, a mate of the PM, a fellow evangelical and Morrison’s numbers man in the NSW party machine.

Mike Seccombe sees Hawke as a man made in the image of his mentor “hard-charging and abrasive”, an MP reviled by both wings of the party.

Seccombe, writes in The Saturday Paper detailing how Hawke’s leadership of Morrison’s faction in NSW, the centre-right, and his work as ScoMo’s delegate on the party’s state executive has been a catastrophe for the PM. An insider claims Hawke,

“has used his time as Morrison’s representative on the state executive in an endeavour to advance their factional position to the detriment of both conservatives and the moderates – to the point now where the conservatives and the moderates are in an alliance against Hawke. And that means against Morrison.”

In brief, Morrison’s Mini-Me is just the man to forge consensus and garner party support on the Djokovic fiasco, a blunder that splits a parliamentary party already frantic at the PM’s catastrophic failure on the pandemic, the economy, trade – everything he touches. Will the Serbian serve the coup de grâce to Morrison’s corrupted, clapped-out career?

It’s a mystery drama with a dilemma. Morrison’s Pentecostal pal, Hawke has the power to cancel Djokovic’s visa. Or Morrison, a notoriously sore loser, a man with a glass jaw, who hates us to see he’s a fool, looks a right royal prat. Which way it will go?

Hawke decides not to cancel Djokovic’s visa Monday night. He has four hours to use his personal power, under section 133 A or 133C(3) of the Migration Act 1958 if the Morrison government wants to try to keep the tennis champion in detention. Instead, he’ll let us know, Tuesday. In the meantime he discovers his party is divided.

Meanwhile it’s leaked that Border Force, our PM’s personal paramilitary is concerned the Serb or his agent may have lied on his travel declaration.

An alley cat toys with a six foot two mouse. It’s a PMO tactic to stretch out the saga; string us along. Distract. Helps distance Morrison from his minister’s act.

Meanwhile, Omicron ravages the nation while rapid antigen tests (RATS) and booster shots just can’t be found. Federal government policy in the face of a catastrophic rise in cases is a DIY testing regime. PCR test centres are overwhelmed, revealing yet again the wisdom of neoliberal outsourcing and privatisation of public health.

In an echo of its former inglorious failures, our Health Department didn’t order enough RATS. Or boosters. This helps shrink ballooning case numbers. As does the shrewd requirement that you phone in your result. Or making us pay. Other nations provide the tests free. But unless you’re a concession card holder, you pay. Or if you’re one of the millions in low paid casual work, the third of the workforce with no paid sick leave entitlement of leave, you simply do without. Such are your freedoms.

Reports of profiteering or “price gouging” as our “medium” prefers, proliferate. In an inspiring act of charity, the PM shares how his Jen is shopping for RATs, scouring Sydney’s more select suburbs, on a search and supply mission. Making herself useful. Having a go. Just one of us, really. It’s an uplifting fantasy of a Mum on struggle-street where Dad earns half a mill a year plus free board, lodging, transport and healthcare.

Also consoling to a nation wracked by coronavirus psychosis, a heady blend of fear, anxiety, depression and sheer despair is Spud’s uplifting shopping news.

Defence minister Dutton orders 120 yank tanks and other armoured vehicles, because you just don’t know when you’ll have to quell an ugly uprising by the poor. Suddenly submarines and long range anti-panda missiles are out Tanks and Humvees are in.

Spud finds a lazy $3.5 billion down the back of Abbott’s padded Defence Budget. The budgie smuggler pledged two percent of GDP to waste on war toys and other defence over-expenditure. Just for the optics. Make Labor look weak on national security.

Billions are wasted on new toys: replacing the ’59 Abrams M1A1s we bought in 2007, still in mint condition and unused in battle bar the odd ‘Roo shoot and bush bash.

As US imperialist running dogs of the century, we love buying America’s castoffs. Even obsolete military hardware can be a boon in a pandemic. A tank, or two, can help clear any congested supermarket carpark. Counter insurgency thrives in tight corners. Be just in time to quell bread riots as shelves empty across the nation. Besides hunger games, there’s the prospect of ugly insurrection over our fossil fuel mania, our ecocide.

Equally comforting in Morrison’s PsyOps is an image of the PM with a platter of two barramundi. Let’s just get Humpty Doo Barra home delivered like the Morrisons. It’s heady, aspirational stuff that helps us pull ourselves together in time of need. Almost as helpful as knowing we’ve got government ministers who can do what they like.

Hawke’s “personal power” as Immigration Minister allows him also to let the men banged up in the Park Hotel be released into the community. Or hospital. At least twenty are now sick with Covid. Not that you’d find space for ten now. Still, a triage in a taxi or a tent can save your life. If you can afford the fare. Or you can still walk.

But Hawke goes MIA. At The Park, medical care means you get one Panadol, dry, although a guard does say hospitalisation will be provided to the one or two who may need it, based on Omicron’s mild effect on the rest of the population. But that’s it.

A chap who asks for ginger to gargle to ease his Covid-affected sore throat is ignored.

Formerly, The Rydges on Swanston, The Park was May’s COVID-19 top super spreader, triggering Victoria’s second, deadly wave of coronavirus. Hundreds die. Almost all seven thousand infections, which devastate the state, are traced back to overseas arrivals at the hotel. Now it’s shaping up for an Omicron encore.

It’s a timely reminder of the Morrison government’s wisdom in not providing dedicated quarantine – and it also highlights our ongoing war on The Other which helps keep us safe, feeling relaxed and comfortable and gets Tory MPs re-elected.

Political prisoners, hidden in our midst, in shabby hotels, across Australia are suddenly thrust into the spotlight when Djokovic, Tennis World Champion, has his Visa cancelled by Border Force on arrival at Melbourne to play in The Australian Open. Is the refugee publicity an unforced error? Or are non-citizens now completely invisible?

We lead the world in secret prison camps. Calling them “detention centres” stops any hint that they are gulags. And how good is the word “processing” instead of indefinite, detention? But where we really shine is in throwing away the key.

On average, an asylum-seeker sentence in Australia is currently 689 days. Even in the US, it’s 55 days, unless they put you in Gitmo. In Canada it’s a fortnight. All you need do is arrive here by sea. It’s not a crime to seek asylum but the government still call you illegals. Neglect, maltreat and abuse you. Call you by a number, never your name.

Then PM, Abbott tells the UN to butt out in 2015, when Professor Juan Mendez, Special Rapporteur on Torture finds Australia’s asylum seeker policies violate the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Bugger rules-based order. Abbott is quick to declareAustralians are “sick of being lectured to by the United Nations.” Professor Mendez says Australia has failed to provide adequate detention conditions and that it should end the detention of children. Biloela? None of his business. Now the Park Hotel is a stark reminder on nightly TV.

Team Morrison banks on most of us not caring. Scoring points with the “tough on borders” voter. PMO advisers hope to capitalise on public outrage that a travel exemption has been made for a multi-millionaire sporting star, while families are unable to get together at Christmas. Time for a quick pivot on the politics of Djokovic’s entry.

“People are welcome in Australia. But if you’re not double vaccinated and you’re not an Australian resident or citizen, well, you can’t come,” the PM says 6 January.

Could this be the PM’s Tampa Crisis? A show of manly decisiveness. Upstage his pandemic catastrophe. Curiously, they said the same of Morrison in 2019, normalising Howard’s chicanery and cynical dog-whistling to racists, xenophobes and One Nation supporters. Yet now, opinion polls suggest that wedging your opponents with the politics of race to is unlikely to be the silver bullet Morrison so desperately needs. People just can’t avoid seeing him as a monstrous failure, a fraud and a career liar.

Guardian Australia’s Essential Poll finds that only 37 percent of us believe immigration levels are too high, down from 56 percent in 2019. Yet it remains a divisive issue.

But how good is a distracting scapegoat – especially one which lets Mo remind us all how he invented Border Force, border protection, boat turnbacks to politicise xenophobia, racism and total indifference to the plight of those forced to flee their countries of origin by boat? Two-year-wonder- PM Tony Abbott did much the same toward the end of his miserable prime ministership, largely run by his office.

“I stopped the boats,” Abbott reminds us, a lie that overlooks the Rudd government’s 2013 Pacific Solution announcement that “asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia”. Push factors such as the end of the Afghanistan war helped. Neither Tony Abbott nor Scott Morrison, stopped the boats.

Morrison is on to Djokovic’s extradition like a rat up a drainpipe. But it’s a rapid backflip even for a shit-house rat or a cunning, opportunistic politician. The PM hasn’t bothered to tell Home Affairs’ head, Karen Andrews. Someone has to go under a bus when there’s a country to run. Yet Andrews is on record as expressing a dissenting view.

Djokovic’s unvaccinated status disqualifies him for a visa but, somehow, in cahoots with one of our overweening, “peak bodies” in our pantheon of sport, the temple of Tennis Australia, (TA) Home Affairs Minister Andrews has written to the grand slam champion telling him that he has “a medical exemption”. Did TA dictate, ever mindful of its gate?

So powerful are our sporting organisations that they can tell federal governments what to do. Or at least they can try. And some are down on their luck in a pandemic.

Or was there federal government collusion to waive the big star through the visa process until it discovered that such an exemption did not sit at all well with fans?

Tennis Australia is said to be on its last $2.4 million after what The Australian (paywalled) reports as a $100 million Covid hit. Now TA’s borrowed $80 mill from the State of Victoria. It’s not only keen to get back in the game, clearly, it also has a formidable fan base. Our sports empires, or “governing bodies” as they are known are no strangers to wheeling and dealing. The game of mates. Or a bit of power play.

Tennis Australia puts the lob into lobbying.

Now things get messy. Health Minister, Greg Hunt, writes to Tennis Australia, CEO Craig Tiley, 29 November 2021, stating clearly that people who had tested positive to Covid-19 within six months do not meet exemption requirements to enter the country. But does he show the letter to Kaz? Does he ever intend to? It’s a line-ball decision.

Has Ms Andrews been set up? Morrison’s office is a Bermuda Triangle of careers that just disappear without trace -especially women’s careers -despite PMO lip-service to internal inquiry and promises, one day, to implement every one of Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins’ recommendations in her Set The Standard review.

Or could Home Affairs’ letter of acceptance be a figment of Djokovic’s imagination? His quack doctor has him on a weird diet. What he fails to provide is evidence in the form of a positive PCR test of his having had COVID-19 in the last six months. Or twice, depending on which account you read. Is he on some macrobiotic hallucinogen?

Or is it just testosterone? What is clear is the outrage from Belgrade. Is Serbia’s hero lured to Australia to be humiliated? Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vučić says he’d do the same to Morrison should our PM ever visit. He’d have no trouble selling tickets.

Vučić vows to “fight” for Djokovic to be able to enter Australia. Another diplomatic shit storm brews. Morrison’s government alienated France after the PM lies about welching on our submarine deal in favour of AUKUS and nuclear subs we can’t even crew.

As for our biggest trading partner, China, President Xi won’t even speak to Canberra; responding instead with a trade war after Australia calls for an inquiry into the origins of the “Wuhan Flu”, pandering to conspiracy theorists and others who would like to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic. Sabre-rattling Defence Minister Dutton talks up war, Canberra must be prepared for whatever lurks “on or below the horizon”.

Across the ditch, Jacinda Ardern is miffed that we repatriate Kiwi-born Australian residents who break the law. Many were children when they left the land of the long white cloud. “Taking the trash out,” Peter Dutton calls his deporting of New Zealand offenders. If that sticks in your craw, kiwi crayfish are selling for a hundred dollars a pop in China as our federal government’s trade war sinks our own export businesses.

A $3 million marketing campaign by federal government to entice New Zealanders, is not going so well. Bookings are down 76 per cent year-on-year for the four weeks from April 19. Our pacific island workforce is also inexplicably smaller this year.

Migrant workers are critical to Australia’s farming sector and food security. What is shameful are the conditions leading so many to abscond, notes Deakin University’s Victoria Stead.

Is Morrison aiming for his own grand slam in alienating the world? Pay them back for treating him as a sick joke on curbing carbon emissions, flouting refugee conventions, and lying. Or does he just not care? As he tells Annabel Crabb on Kitchen Cabinet.

Lying? Djokovic does have a document bearing the Serbian Institute of Sport’s letterhead, which says he caught Covid 16 December. Yet there’s no medical test evidence, sniffs Home Affairs Supremo Andrews who is refused an extension to postpone the federal circuit court hearing of his case until Wednesday.

Clearly, she’s been left right out of the loop, standard operating procedure for Federal Liberals with their record of misogyny, sexism, secrecy and captain’s calls.

“The tail won’t be wagging the dog here”, Judge Anthony Kelly says

Kelly’s quip may be a sly dig at PistoI and Boo, Johnny Depp and then partner Amber Heard’s Yorkshire Terriers who, accidentally, helped us to show our borders are tough.

The stars forgot to quarantine their pets. In 2015, a righteously “tough on illegal immigrants” Barnaby Joyce threatened to euthanise the “illegally imported” pair of mutts (the pets not the actors) if they weren’t out of the country on the next plane. A document was alleged to be forged.

Heard has recently named one of her new dogs Barnaby Joyce in honour of the fiasco.

Djokovic is known for his dogged tenacity. Certainly, for a man with Covid, the star has wasted no time lying doggo in iso. A photo emerges on social media of the Serbian hero unmasked in public 17 December at a state ceremony to honour him by presenting him with a set of Serbian National postage stamps bearing his photogenic image.

For someone with a potentially deadly viral infection, Djokovic is quite the social butterfly, appearing not only to be in rude good health, but actively engaging with young people. Hugs and back pats. On December 17, he participates an open PR event. Images appear of the star embracing children at an awards ceremony at an event organised by the Tennis Association of Belgrade. Talk about infectious goodwill.

But that’s not all that’s caught in the spotlight; illuminated is an inept, cruel and increasingly desperate Morrison government which will do anything to divert us from its failures. Our PM threatens to shirt-front the Serb; put him on the next plane home. By Monday, this is toned down and Morrison’s office puts out word of amicable discussion between our PM and his Serbian counterpart – in which Morrison explains our rules.

But Djokovic is used to winning from behind. It’s his trademark. Along with abusing injury time out. With help from friends in high places in Belgrade “the Serbinator” successfully lodges an appeal against his extradition.

This is not the outcome that Morrison’s office had in mind. Or is it?

Djokovic’s lock-up is a political intercept; a stunt to distract from the Morrison regime’s disastrous mismanagement of the pandemic which by Monday, reaches 972,000 cases, after restrictions are abruptly eased in a backflip which Morrison calls Living with the Virus aka Playing with Fire as the Omicron variant rages through the population, bringing an already over-stressed hospital system to the point of collapse.

Welcome to Shitshow 2.0, an homage to Bill Shorten’s zinger: “it’s not a race” the Morrison government’s first, vaccine stroll-out fiasco, a display of extraordinary ineptitude, disinformation, outright lies and rapid back-flips.

In Shitshow 2.0 business meets the PM in secret to force sick workers in supply chains back to work. No workers’ representatives are present, nor is the ACTU invited, its secretary, Sally McManus warns. Not only does his “small” government mandate work for sick workers, it helps spread infection. Talk about sharing and caring.

But look over there! Border protection opportunity knocks. Dead cat on table time. Cancel Novak, Djokovic’s visa. What a stroke of genius.

Once again, despite a battalion of advisers and all of Scotty’s military escort, JJ Frewen’s much-vaunted, spit’n polish, military efficiency plus weapons-grade logistical expertise, it is painfully obvious that the Morrison government has stuffed up everything.

True there’s a bit of help from a friend, NSW Premier, Dom Perrottet who “lets her rip.” Now he must mend the tears to the fabric of NSW society and its tanking economy.

There are no Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) but the public must use them and phone in their results because PCR testing, heavily outsourced to private firms collapses. Boosters are dwindling. Hospitals are not coping. Doctors are angry and exhausted.

315785 active cases, underestimates the true number just in NSW. Self-administered tests are yet to be recorded, while others don’t bother to get tested. Some experts say the real number could be as much as 5-10 times higher.

  • 2,186 are admitted to hospital
  • 170 are in intensive care
  • 51 require ventilation

Hospitals are stretched. “Elective” surgery cancelled. Not only are too many cases being admitted, thousands of workers must be spelled because they have been exposed. Some simply resign in exhaustion and frustration; cross the border to work in Queensland where wages and conditions are higher and a government which is not infected with crazy libertarianism.

Everywhere there are long queues to get tested while RATs just can’t be found. Supermarket shelves are stripped bare. Customers stay at home while shops close their doors. Making it even harder on business and consumer, there’s no JobKeeper.

Yet to hear Scott Morrison, he’s a paragon of quiet, modest diligence as he quietly reassures those attending a Sydney Institute Dinner last week.

“What is most important to me as Prime Minister is that I seek to humbly do everyday things that make Australia even stronger than we are today, both now and in the future.”

Morrison’s hypocrisy is boundless. The humble housekeeper pose is laughable coming from the man who warned Julia Banks “I. am. The. Prime. Minister.”

The Bronte bogan loves a motivational slogan,

“There’s no guidebook to COVID. We all know that. And so what I think is important is the country just focuses on the task ahead. Keep looking through that windscreen. That’s where I’m looking. We’re looking forward.

Inspirational or terrifying? Government is not a self-driving Tesla. Shoulders right back, no hands on the wheel and eyes on the road ahead Morrison, is a black-belt in bumper-sticker wit and witless boosterism. And lashings of public self-adoration.

But no-one’s fooled. The task ahead is our Prime Narcissist’s own squalid political survival, not the public good or the welfare of the commonwealth. He’s a ruthless pragmatist, a truculent bully whose sole goal is to stay on top of the dung-heap; maintain his own undeserving, increasingly threatened ascendancy.

Today, Morrison wrests control of his party by appeasing its libertarians whose influence has grown since the charismatic John Howard inspired them to “big themselves up”. Despite presiding over our biggest government since Curtin, the PM declares stumps and pivots; announcing that it’s time for government to butt out of peoples’ lives.

No-one believes a word Morrison says but we all know he will say or do anything. And say and do something else tomorrow. Then deny both. Witness his witless excrescence at a cricket match, Saturday, “Australians taking wickets in the virus” while grandstanding in the Ashes commentary box on day three of the fourth Test at the SCG.

While shoppers fight over toilet tissue in panic buying and Australians are intubated in ICUs and hospitals are stretched beyond capacity and then some, only Scott Morrison would seek to buoy the spirits of a nation with a bizarre cricketing analogy.

Morrison excels in buck passing. Our fearless, leader’s fortune-cookie windscreen wisdom inspires a claque of fellow travellers; no ideas persons, moral pygmies, clowns, contrarian libertarians and fellow former apparatchiks in the confederation of dunces which passes itself off as Australia’s federal government.

Yet his latest move is to exhume the pernicious myth of personal responsibility, a version of Margaret Thatcher’s nonsense. No such thing as society, she declared.

2022, the Great Evader declares will be The Year of Taking Responsibility. AKA I’m all right Jack – and bugger the rest of you. There’s no guidebook for Covid, he lies. He’s an expert at not reading the map. Ignoring or contradicting expert advice. His ministers share a vision, an adolescent Hayekian fantasy that sanctions doing nothing .

Once we take personal responsibility for our own health, a free market will cure all. Cue the sound of one invisible hand clapping. A wag in the Canberra press gallery tackles health minister, Hunt, over his government’s lack of any clear plan to procure rapid antigen tests, last October. The Minister snaps “let that market develop”.

Living with Covid is Mo’s latest backflip, undoing two years of containment. No more nanny state. Buy your own bloody test kits. Under pressure, he backs down. Some of us may access ten free tests every three months. 6.6 million concession card holders across the nation are overjoyed. Such fun trying to find a test supplier.

Sensing a dip in credibility according to recent NewsPolls and still smarting at being an international laughing-stock because of his behaviour at last year’s G20 COP26 with its green hydrogen and “technology not taxes” claptrap, a green-washing of mining business as usual, Morrison opts for yet another cop-out. And a dead cat.

In a heaven-sent opportunity for distraction and tough-talking, his private militia, Border Force cancels anti-vax, health crank Djokovic’s visa and puts him up in the Park.

Acing the champion tennis player certainly gets everyone’s attention. An astute Djokovic clan member declares our PM “not a human being”. But Morrison loves a fuss, especially a heady brew of sport and the institutionalised racism of “tough on borders” rhetoric, despite some of the most porous borders in the world. If you fly in.

We’ll decide who gets into our Australian Open and the manner in which they do so.

Taking Personal Responsibility, a staple of Reagan and Thatcher political misrule, is a ruse to cover the Morrison government’s utter ineptitude. As it abandons all pretence at keeping Australia safe, it shifts the blame to the victim of the latest wave of the pandemic, a wave that appears fit to swamp us all.

Let ‘er rip. Politics trumps science, with the help of Neoliberal econobabble, the perversion of economics fetishised by such exalted local Tory politicians as NSW’s Dominic Perrottet or Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer of our nation’s federal Coalition of mining, business and finance Muppets. Omicron, the latest mutant variant of SARS-COVID-19 surges, bringing our infection rate to match the United States.

It’s a shameful, culpable dereliction of duty and abdication of responsibility that we also see in in fellow clown, Boris Johnson, muppet of the UKs Policy Exchange boffins, a front for corporate greed, fair wages and anthropogenic climate change denial.

Locally, our own mineral and Business Council flogs wag the dog of Morrison government. Rupert, Gina, Andrew and Kerry and their merry band of ruling oligarchs now urge sick workers to man the supply chains lest profits or fall or business founder.

To them, also Morrison must seem a liability. Morrison and his government may have been useful fools for a while but their future looks increasingly uncertain cloudy now they threaten to cost our oligarchs their profits.

Whilst voices with the sound of money in them call for an end to the Djokovic sideshow, there is a chance the debacle of the un-cancelling of a tennis player’s visa may alert the nation to other ways its federal government falls short in humanity and democracy. The Australian Open’s biggest drawcard may prove a Djoker in the pack.

The saga of a tennis star’s visa cancellation certainly serves to highlight the incalculable damage the federal government is suffering as it utterly fails to deal with a pandemic catastrophe which its own Libertarian easing of restrictions helped create. It also exposes a mind-boggling degree of incompetence and miscommunication, of posturing and dissembling that would be comic were it not so toxic to the health of the commonwealth.


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  1. Phil Pryor

    What is the difference between Morrison, Dutton, Joyce, and, a large pot of turds?? (it’s the pot, isn’t it?) When Adolf and Josef, among so many turds in history, ran whole nations, aggressive programs, war machines, the human race was in for misery, death, destruction, all because aggressive idiot nobody egotistical misfits had WON control. Now, how can that happen? Poloitics is a game with rules, habits, weaknesses, procedures and faults, The cunning and ruthless exploit and one of the turds gets the GO. We focus, behave, concentrate, work, serve, obey, and, find our dreams are stuffed, gone. Fight, always, hard, for decency, honesty, service, duty, and fight against the selfish, stupid shitskulled shysters, shonks, shams and sharks of conservative selfishness. Most of them are backroom bastards in money, marketing, mining, media and military. EVIL.

  2. David Tyler

    Thanks, Phil. Trying to expose our government’s lies, inhumanity, chicanery and holding them to account helps too.

  3. Andrew J. Smith

    A lot to take in. However, on borders, this modern, but old, classic US nativist import was inspired by a visitor to and admirer of the white Oz policy, white nationalist John ‘passive eugenics’ Tanton, the muse of Steve Bannon, re-popularised the ‘great replacement’ and informed the Trump White House on immigration policy (groups still access and inform media).

    This was for political wedging, dog whistling and deflecting from fossil fuels by highlighting (post 1970s) refugees, immigrants and population growth as an ‘environmental hygiene’ issue; would have been earlier but had been resisted by GOP (but forces of Koch and Fox helped it along in recent years).

    Australia’s obsession with the (inflated in 2006) NOM net overseas migration that captures all border movements inc. temporary churn over, but misleadingly described as ‘immigration’, has acted as our own virtual Trumpian border wall; Covid and closed borders nullified that dog whistle probably to the frustration of many strategists round the LNP etc.

    The GOP’s Cafe con leche Republicans had started warning about (former ZPG types) Tanton et al. a decade ago during the Obama administration (opposition inspired by Koch architecture & astroturfing Tea Party), that his political tactic of dog whistling ‘immigrants’ was informed more by eugenics…. and the ideology has prevailed, for now, till the ‘great replacement’ or demographic change hits the above median age vote.

    As Tanton always said, keep complaining and talking about ‘immigrants’ and linking them negatively with the left, while ignoring the fact that they too assimilate on mainstream political and voting norms; George Bush has been warning the risible ‘Anglo-Saxon’ Republicans that they cannot possibly attain then sustain power by denigrating emerging demographics, or do they have something else planned?.

  4. David Tyler

    Andrew, thank you. Always appreciate your thoughtful comments. Enjoy your writing. Astonished to see the ABC recently publish Stan Grant article in which he asserts that strong borders are the keystone of national sovereignty. Nope. He means our medium has bombarded us with that fallacy. Worth an article in reply.

  5. Kaye Lee


    They are also trying to force through The Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill which means they could deport someone on the basis of the maximum possible sentence for a crime rather than what the court imposes.

    This means any visa holder, including permanent residents, no matter how long they have lived in Australia, who is convicted of a crime which carries a maximum penalty of two or more years, even if they actually receive a much lighter sentence such as a fine or community service, would automatically fail the visa character test and likely face visa cancellation.

    This would then result in their detention and forced removal from Australia, permanent separation from their family and livelihoods. People owed protection as refugees would face indefinite detention in Australia or could face return to a country where it has been found they face a likelihood of persecution..

  6. David Tyler

    Thank you Kaye Lee. I am shocked. It’s outrageous and a flagrant breach of human rights to say nothing of its implications for the law. Christian Porter’s work?

  7. New England Cocky

    Oh dear David Tyler, your too accurate description of our malignant Liarbral Nazional$ fascist misgovernment made me stop for breath about three times during my reading of your perceptive analysis of the latest Scummo abuse of power.

    I had little faith in the Border Force before this article demonstrated that a pre-requisite for employment was being an ill-educated, self-absorbed unthinking dill..

    So now we see the guiding lights in the feral COALition are actually working for bosses other than Australian taxpayers. Alex Hawke aka Small Scummo, batting for spiritual redemption from the Hou$ton Hell$inger$ Choru$ and Dom Perrotet, aka DoPe, the Vatican’s man in Macquarie Street, keen to divest NSW residents of about $5 BILLION of cemetery properties in NSW to the Vatican church better known for kiddie fiddling on a grand scale.

    And it is all a self-inflicted wound that only Australian taxpayers may resolve by:
    and we may just save Australian democracy for our grandkids.

  8. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, David.

    But too long for me. There does seem to be a lot of ‘filler’. I particularly wish you hadn’t included this bit:

    ‘As US imperialist running dogs of the century, we love buying America’s castoffs. Even obsolete military hardware can be a boon in a pandemic. A tank, or two, can help clear any congested supermarket carpark. Counter insurgency thrives in tight corners. Be just in time to quell bread riots as shelves empty across the nation. Besides hunger games, there’s the prospect of ugly insurrection over our fossil fuel mania, our ecocide.’

    It’s clear that you do have your tongue in your cheek, but this is the second time in 24 hours that I have read an idea like this. The other was a commentator on another article on AIMN who put the idea forward, in all apparent seriousness, that the US tanks would/could be used against the Australian people.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Suggesting our government would use tanks against Australians is no doubt hyperbolic.

    I would have thought the same could be said for any idea that our government would lock up innocent refugees for nine years, or that they would deliberately keep families apart, or that they would put children as young as 10 in gaol….but here we are.

  10. Kate Ahearne


    Yes, as I pointed out in my comment, David’s remarks were clearly hyperbolic. But this comment by “Glenn’ on your article yesterday, The Real Cost of Aukus’ doesn’t look like hyperbole to me.

    ‘Everyone misses the obvious. Dutton wants these to use against the Australian population. Crowd control and fear mongering.’

    I found this comment very worrying and unsettling.

  11. Dr Lynette

    It is an extreme view, granted. But why do they want those huge tanks to defend this island’s beaches?

  12. Jan
    Using tanks “against” the people is not an unreasonable comment if you understand how it can engender a mood that softens us up for war. Case history above.

    Leaving the basis for the tank purchase unexplained, could be part of the tactic to amplify the mood by allowing speculation to run wild as we do here now.

    How would we use these tanks? How do you use tanks at an international airport? What’s the game plan? War-game scenario? Why no questions from media?

  13. GL


    The LNP might not be (not holding my breath however) in power for much longer so the Reichspud will miss out on his new toys appearing unless he can create a functioning teleportation system between now and the election. So we won’t have photos of him sitting astride the barrel of one the Abrams while wearing a plastic raincoat and Scummo standing in the cupola because his fat arse won’t fit any further.

  14. Kaye Lee

  15. Kate Ahearne


    Did you actually read the article you have provided the link for?

    If there actually is a terror alarm, yes, of course the army has a role to play. Or are you suggesting that a terror alert might be ‘manufactured’?

  16. Jan

    Hi Kate, Yes I did.
    How do you actually use a tank? What in heavens name would a tank achieve at one of the busiest airports in the world? I am not suggesting a fabricated terror alert, I could not find follow up reporting of the facts around the nature of that alert. But the same crowd that rushed tanks to the airport did not seem to have their facts right about the facts justifying the Iraq invasion.

    The point I make, in the absence of a decent explanation why we spend money on tanks, the ground is ripe for speculation. e.g. is Tim Wilson talking about water canons? or tank mounted units? (note, its a bad meme nucleation)

    Mind you Kaye asks regularly why we spend all that money on “defense”. What is the threat? Bigger than climate change?

  17. Consume Less

    I would have thought tanks almost obsolete in modern warfare, but a cast off bargain from Uncle Sam, think The Castle.

  18. Michael Taylor

    Jan, spending billions on tanks just so they can be used against local dissenters is not only a ludicrous suggestion, but economic stupidity.

    Acts of Parliament can achieve all that at zero cost.

    Might I suggest you look through bills passed by the Howard government.

  19. David Tyler

    Here’s the fine print on the tank and armoured vehicles purchase.

    Marcus Hellyer, a senior analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the Australian government had decided that it wants to maintain the ability to engage in “close combat” in urban environments as part of counter-insurgency operations.

  20. Kate Ahearne


    Thanks for the info, but it does nothing to support the idea that the tanks might be used against Australian citizens.

    I do accept that you were ‘joking’, but others making similar statements might not be, and that’s what worries me.

    We are bedevilled by conspiracy theories. Let’s be careful not to feed them.

  21. Jan

    I could not agree with you more, “spending billions on tanks is economic stupidity”. I hope you are not suggesting that I hold the view that “billions are spent on tanks just so they can be used against local dissenters” I am a little bit tired of you failing to extend me some grace.
    You need to wake up, the vacuum we sheeple are exposed to when the government announces billions to be spent on war toys is a problem. As ludicrous as any of the unsubstantiated conspiracy cr*p that people come up with may be, it is what happens in that void.
    Help me, 2022/23 financial year we will spend $37.63 billion on defence, can you enlighten me on the economic genius of that? Natural disaster relief $0, Environment protection $1.1billion under Housing and community amenities. What is in your mind the most significant existential threat humanity faces at the moment? Climate change? Or is that also ludicrous economic stupidity to think that a few of these “defence” dollars should be going to helping us deal with that? Please enlighten me on the genius you allude to.
    Enlighten me, the acts of parliament that can be used against local dissenters at zero cost.
    Enlighten me, those bills passed by the Howard government worth looking through.
    All that help we give East Timor out of our defence budget makes economic sense to take their oil. Or is that also just ludicrous conspiracy. If Tim wants to unleash water cannons on protesters, if anti-terror provisions are subverted to arrest you tubers, is it really that far fetched to think that a bit of sabre rattling of war toys cannot happen to instill “desirable” emotions in our community?
    Please, make some sense.

  22. Michael Taylor

    ”I am a little bit tired of you failing to extend me some grace… You need to wake up…”


  23. Kate Ahearne


    I can’t for the life of me make head or tail out of that last ‘comment’ of yours.

  24. Jan

    Not sure what 😳 means.

    You made some suggestions, I ask you for help to enlighten me. Any chance of you doing that?


  25. Jan

    Sorry Kate, are you referring to my response to Michael?

  26. Kate Ahearne


    Yes, indeedy!

  27. Michael Taylor

    Jan, Howard’s anti-terrorism laws in (either 2006 or 2007) where Aus citizens could be detained for 14 days without explanation comes to mind. This was in response to three terrorism threats. A senior AFP friend whispered to me that two of these were fake, but were designed to get the laws rushed through (which most in our department suspected anyway).

    I trust you’ll respect that I can’t tell you much more than that. One thing that came with my security clearance was an oath that I keep my mouth shut.

    Governments, of course, can alter our behaviour for the better. For example, the introduction of random breath tests has altered our behaviour which has in turn reduced the death toll from road accidents.

  28. Jan

    Hi Kate,
    Michael posted to me “spending billions on tanks just so they can be used against local dissenters is not only a ludicrous suggestion, but economic stupidity”
    I agree with “spending billions on tanks is economic stupidity”.
    But Michael appears to lump me with “spending billions on tanks just so they can be used against local dissenters”. Well, no, I would not be so simple as to suggest that billions are spent “just so they can be used against dissenters” There is a lack of grace I could perceive in his one liner.
    I link to the Heathrow tanks because at the time its absurdity was striking. The link includes a statement: “Many suspected that the deployment of tanks was a PR stunt to engender fear in the population and persuade them that the imminent war was legitimate”
    What I say is that it is not unreasonable to imagine that the use of tanks “to engender fear in the population and persuade them that the imminent war was legitimate” would be in fact using tanks “against” the people. I do not suggest that Australia is spending billions for the single purpose of stifling dissent, I am not.
    Just to poke Michael a bit, in response to the idea that I may be guilty of entertaining “economic stupidity”, the other side of that coin would be that he sees “economic genius” in tank purchases.
    But we can zoom out from tank purchases and look at a bigger picture, our projected spending on Defence for 2022/23 financial year was $37.63 billion (old figures, lots higher now). I think this is obscene and allude to the economic genius that this represents to our nation.
    We flexed some of our Defence muscle in East Timor and then later learned that behind the scenes there was a filthy chapter of deceit of our government in cahoots with oil interests ripping their oil resources off them.
    Then I muddy things up a bit, sorry. But Tim the IPA stooge is an ar$%ole. Joins HongKong marchers but water cannons for covid protesters. And NO, I don’t think the anti vax protests are a good thing.

    Good on ya Michael, thanks for your comment. I also take what is said with care.

  29. Carole

    Jan I think you are a bit naive if you think that tanks would never be used against Australian citizens. In my opinion as a lay person of advanced years, this government that has passed so many draconian laws, is quite capable of turning tanks against the general population. I suspect that Morrison is contemplating postponing our forthcoming election using the the pandemic as an excuse. The result of such a decision could be rioting especially if we are still experiencing shortages of food, employment and medical assistance. Under those circumstances do you doubt that force would be used to control dissent? If you disagree I think it’s time to go back to the history books.

  30. David Tyler


    May I modestly propose that not only is satire a perfectly legitimate means of expression with a long and rich heritage, but that it, in fact suits our dark times and the incomprehensible incompetence and unfathomable cruelty of our ruling class.

    As for encouraging nutjobs and conspiracy theorists, the current federal government does a good enough job of that all by itself. I’m redundant there.

    But you can’t write with such monsters looking over your shoulder. It’s a type of self censorship and a hall of mirrors and detracts from what you have to say.

    You do have to take risks. Fear of being taken literally did not inhibit the great Dean* Swift from suggesting the poor eat their babies. It was provoked by his sense of outrage at the inhumanity gratuitous cruelty and racist barbarity the contemporary English ruling class in Ireland inflicted on their subjects.

    I commend the following to all readers.

    “A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729.”
    *Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, hence his common sobriquet, “Dean Swift”.

  31. Jan

    Sorry Carole, I may well be naive but I find it unlikely that such a scenario will play out. My instinct is that there is a decent level of incompetence among those elected and a crumbling bureaucracy that has been white-anted through years of crony appointments of mates without the requisite skills for the jobs they have been parachuted into. I doubt it will come to anything near use of force. This government is particularly useless, cant find their way out of a paper bag, let alone organize themselves. Australians would not put up with government that tries coercion. We are way too cat-like to be herded. Led astray on the other hand, quite possibly. Allowing ourselves to be taken advantage of by can do capitalists, well that is just good ole colonialism at work, it has been like that for a very long time. But I see very good people trying to change some of that decay. We should not take this country for granted. We must keep improving 🙂

  32. Kaye Lee

    And then there is this story from August 2021…..

    The two contender vehicles for Australia’s soon-to-be-selected infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (LAND 400 Phase 3 project) recently conducted a firepower demonstration at Puckapunyal Military Area, showcasing next-level protection, firepower and mobility.

    Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s KF-41 Lynx and Hanwha Defense Australia’s Redback have been facing off in extensive user-evaluation field trials.

    Both companies have delivered three prototype vehicles, which are being tested over the course of this year as part of a two-year risk mitigation activity. A decision on the preferred tenderer will be presented to government for consideration in 2022.

    Both companies, should they be successful, have committed to building the majority of vehicles in Australia, with substantial investment in Australian industry capability, supporting Australian jobs, talent and technology.

    Valued at between $18.1 billion and $27.1 billion, the Land 400 Phase 3 project is the largest acquisition project in Army’s history.

    Are Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Armoured Personnel Carriers different to tanks cause they sure look the same in the photos.

    Or was this another case of dumping the tender process to give the contract to the US?

    How many of these things do we need????

  33. Bert

    NEC I always like your comments and the capitalised tag lines you use are spot on, almost. “VOTE BELOW THE LINE FOR ALL CANDIDATES IN THE ORDER OF MY PREFERENCE.” This one grates a little. An editorial suggestion, maybe change the MY to YOUR? Anyhoo, keep up the fight and vote these bastards out. ‘Ave a good one.

  34. Kate Ahearne

    I need to make one point in the context of remarks that have been made about the tanks. It is very important that we make a clear distinction between two propositions. On the one hand we have the idea that tanks that have been bought for defence might also be used against Australian citizens to ‘quell riots’ etc. On the other hand, we have the idea that the tanks have been bought in order to be turned on Australian citizens. The second alternative is a conspiracy theory.


    May I quote you? ‘May I modestly propose that not only is satire a perfectly legitimate means of expression with a long and rich heritage, but that it, in fact suits our dark times and the incomprehensible incompetence and unfathomable cruelty of our ruling class.’

    You’re quite right, but the paragraph that I objected to in your article wasn’t satire.


    May I also quote you? ‘ But the same crowd that rushed tanks to the airport did not seem to have their facts right about the facts justifying the Iraq invasion.’

    Eh? I’m not a military person, so I’m not in a position to know why tanks should or should not have been sent to that particular location in response to that particular terror alert. But to connect it to some kind of justification for the war in Iraq looks to me like you’re drawing a veeeeery long bow.

  35. Consume Less

    @Kaye, How many of these things do we need ??? With annual worldwide military expenditure around 1.7 trillion, just a few too many. Sigh.

  36. corvusboreus

    Military deployments are often based on strategies that mix varying amounts of domestic political goals into operational parameters.

    In the context of the tank deployed at heathrow, a rotating armoured cannon on tracks makes less than little tactical sense in terms of providing any kind of situationally appropriate response to a passenger + lethal luggage threat in a crowded airport,
    but it certainly provided a visual reinforcement of the ‘war on terror’ scare-script being used as primary justification for both the 2nd invasion of Iraq and a whole raft of authoritarian legislature.

  37. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks for the elucidation, CB.

    As I said, I don’t have a military background, so I am grateful for your explanation. (BTW, WAS the threat a matter of passenger and/or lethal luggage nature?)

  38. corvusboreus

    Kate Ahearn,
    By my best recollection, the clearest official statement definining precise nature of threat mentioned “something really scary”.

    The ‘passenger with lethal luggage’ is my own Occam razor assumption, but I struggle to visualise any airport-threat scenario short of paratrooper invasion where a tank would provide an appropriate tool.

  39. David Tyler


    The paragraph is satire. You don’t have to take my word for it but I have had a discussion with the author, whom I know well.

    I’m not trying to ignite conspiracy theorists. Our rulers don’t need any help with that. George Christensen, for example, lauds No-vax Djokovic as a hero in the fight against a conspiracy to have us all vaccinated.

    On the other hand, I hope that all readers are aware that other “armoured vehicles” in the same paragraph you take issue with, are part of a deal which is not only a ludicrous waste of public funds – but a deal which is not even mentioned in the latest (2016) Defence White Paper.

    In two hundred words, tanks receive not a mention except for a passing “tank upgrades” as part of a broader investment in amphibious warfare on pages 97 and 98. What’s worrying is that Marcus Hellyer, senior analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, (ASPI) is currently saying that the Australian government wants to maintain the ability to engage in “close combat” in urban environments as part of counter-insurgency operations.

    Urban environments? Counter insurgency? Close combat?

    It’s also worrying that tank-gate comes at a time as Dr Wilson argues so cogently, in The AIMN, that the federal government is fudging its pledge to make rapid antigen tests free to concession card holders. The same PM who says “you can’t just make everything free” is prepared to indulge in “frivolous” expenditure as Greg Sheridan, calls it – quoted in Dr Binoy Kampmark’s recent, magisterial article.

    Elsewhere, Dr Kampmark warns that ASPI, a security think tank, often acts as an operational mercenary. Funders want advice that confirms and validates a position.

    It would be worrying if we were to assume that we understand how the new hardware will be used. Even more disturbing that we are locked out of the decision-making. Or debate. What the Morrison government thrives on is a tamed press gallery that is generally unwilling to question, speak truth to power or hold governments to account. Yet in this case there are a rash of articles – even in The Australian – which generally publishes Coalition propaganda – deploring the waste of money on outmoded military hardware.

    As Paddy Manning argues in Crikey, five years ago “Regardless of whether a local or foreign build is chosen, Australian taxpayers are within their rights to demand that a proper, transparent process is adhered to before such a large decision is taken on how to spend so much of our money.”

    Whether canoes or subs, defence procurement needs to be more transparent

    To me it’s a purchase which has all the hallmarks of impulse and which may well reflect the political ambitions of the current Defence Minister, keen to posture as a strong man in his tactical battle to succeed a mortally wounded Scott Morrison.

    Finally, a word from the Dean is in order,

    “Satire is a sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own; which is the chief reason for that kind reception it meets with in the world, and that so very few are offended with it.”

    ― Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books and Other Short Pieces

  40. Kate Ahearne


    I don’t understand:

    ‘The paragraph is satire. You don’t have to take my word for it but I have had a discussion with the author, whom I know well.’

    I was under the impression that you were the author!

    And regardless of what anyone says, the paragraph in question is not satire. It may be TRYING to be satire, but that’s not the same thing, no matter what anyone has to say about the nature of satire.

    For the rest of what you have to say about the tanks, no argument from me. My problem wasn’t about any of that.

  41. leefe

    “spending billions on tanks just so they can be used against local dissenters is not only a ludicrous suggestion, but economic stupidity”

    There is a decision made by this misgovernment that does NOT involve an inordinate level of economic stupidity?
    The pandemic is destroying our society and our economy – helped along by the misgovernment’s ineptitude. Starting a shit fight with China – one that we cannot possibly win, or even draw – is a degree of economic stupidity that is breathtaking. Trying to enforce financial backing of fossil fuel industries while refusing to support less destructive energy sources is not only environmentally foolish, but economical suicide.
    et cetera

    Going on past evidence, economic stupidity is no argument against any possible future behaviour by that mob.

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