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Spoiler Alert: Team Liberal is moving the Goalposts

It is pretty much a no-brainer these days when the government is in trouble to resort to some kind of scoundrel activity in an effort to win back support. With the government haemorrhaging from a budget disaster and multiple gaffes from ministers and also criticism from within its own ranks, Team Liberal is reverting to a fall-back position it believes is a winner; that of national security.

It seems the key message delivered by Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane and his Nationals counterpart Scott Mitchell to a strategy meeting of cabinet last week, was “no more distractions”, “no more ideology”, “stick to the middle” and “slow things down”. This is the sort of message you would expect from someone on the sidelines who can see the bigger picture. But the ‘no more distractions’ advice looks suspiciously like a ruse. A distraction was exactly what they were looking for.

So, out of the bag of tricks comes the tried and tested ‘terrorist threat’ script. One wonders if some of Team Liberal’s strategists hadn’t stayed up one night watching ‘Wag the Dog’. The idea of starting a war would have circled inside their heads but the technology would be too much to pull off, so why not simply create the illusion of a threat?

irvine And what could be better than a ‘major’ announcement as broad as possible with as little hard detail as possible and then have ASIO Director General David Irvine front up to the cameras with some timely advice, which was also just as vague? By any other language they were simply moving the goalposts and getting the players and the crowd to look in a different direction.

Having achieved that, and with little else to continue this scam, another announcement became necessary. When the Prime Minister advised parliament that already one person had been detained at Melbourne Airport while waiting to board a flight to Lebanon it sounded like a melodrama that could have been written by the Working Dog team for a ‘Utopia’ episode. The evening television newscasters loved it. It filled in at least 60 seconds of their air time. It’s puzzling though, that we have not heard anything about it since. I wonder why. Perhaps it is now an ‘At Airport’ matter.

The revival of the terrorism threat comes as the crisis in the Middle East escalates raising the possibility of another involvement in Iraq and a humanitarian involvement in Syria and perhaps, Ukraine. But despite Abbott’s quite pathetic attempts at sabre rattling and his call to arms, the reality is that we are a small player in these events and Abbott is pretending to play a game that he thinks advances his standing at home.

abbott gun He has the mainstream media on board and they have created the illusion that his talents lie on the international scene. What an absurd proposition. He is small change out there and it shows. He is a pawn, and so are we. The proof will be seen in the outcome. Any contribution we make will be token at best.

But what makes this look so contrived is the implementation. Surely issues of national security are best managed secretly. If the government wanted to be truly effective in its efforts to protect us from any terrorist threat, would it not be more prudent to do it without a megaphone? After all, that is what they are doing with border security.

Why telegraph the government’s intentions to the broader community when it might have the reverse effect and be a trigger for some individuals who harbour evil ideas to carry them out? After all, isn’t the government’s policy not to advertise its intentions? Trying to get information from Scott Morrison about ‘on water matters’ is like extracting teeth, and even then it is not forthcoming.

Yet here we have government ministers lining up to tell us that Australia is ready to join the US in Iraq; a very broad statement that tells us nothing specific, but does succeed in mobilising the minds of the ‘gung-ho’ brigade.

So why are they making such a noise about combatting terrorism? Ramping up a perceived threat, as has been happening recently, is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to win back votes. It achieves no other purpose, except to alert possible terrorists to be more vigilant and to be on their game.

sue lines Western Australian Labor senator, Sue Lines was mindful of this attempt at distracting attention from the budget mess. “[The prime minister] is just using this as a shield to try and deflect from the awful mess they’re in with their budget,” she told Fairfax Media.

Sue Lines is not the only one awake to this attempt at diverting attention from the budget mess. I suspect we all are. It’s a poor exercise in distraction. We should all be awake to this style of deception wherever it occurs. That it plays on the fears of the easily-led exposes the hypocrisy behind it.

So why did Bill Shorten slap down his own members who spoke up to reveal the attempted distraction? This is not 2001. This is not 9/11. This is a thinly veiled attempt to side-track our attention away from the domestic stuff-ups.

The Labor party has been wedged once again. It doesn’t want to be seen to be discounting the terrorist threat, but doesn’t seem to realise it can show its resolve to protect the community and still expose the deception. It should go on the front foot, raise the stakes and detail a comprehensive strategy of its own.

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  1. Rob031

    Good article John. In particular “But what makes this look so contrived is the implementation. Surely issues of national security are best managed secretly.

    Yes, it’s a telling point. I hope it gets exposure in the media for it should makes sense to most people if explained in clear language.

    Perhaps a set of well thought out questions in Question Time along such lines should be directed to Caption Abbott.

    “Will the Prime Minister explain why informing potential terrorists of operational matters in the house and elsewhere is a good idea?”

    That kind of thing.

    Any other/better suggestions to help them out?

  2. Kaye Lee

    The man who was intercepted at Melbourne airport when about to fly to Lebanon with his family has been “released without charge”.

    The new Australian Customs and Border Protection counter-terrorism units were introduced last week to monitor the movements of people on the national security watchlist.

    So far they’re based at Sydney and Melbourne international airports but eventually will be stationed at airports across the country.

    They’ll cost nearly $50 million over the next four years to run and are part of the $630 million in beefed up security measures promised by the Abbott government to counter home-grown terrorism.

    An extra 80 specialist Border Force officers will work in tandem with these units.

    The AFP will also receive an extra $6 million to divert and monitor radicals returning to Australia while two dedicated teams will disrupt domestic extremist activities.

    An additional $12 million will also help establish AFP posts in Turkey and Jordan.


  3. David Linehan

    Once again it takes a blog such as yours John to bring to the attention of the nation, well some of us Twitter is as well, Labor led by Mr Shorten have, it appears, no idea how to counter Abbott’s brain farts as spoon fed to him by his minders.

    The Opposition should sit up and take note, there is a growing rumble of concern about the leadership and direction they are drifting toward. Abbott is outgunning them tactically yet again. Comments on social media increasingly express it

    Surely, surely after 3 years of his relentless lies, extravagant promises, inclines and utter crap they have managed to learn how to counteract his stunts. Appears not.

    i watched an interview with Stephen Jones, usually very articulate and decisive in his responses, however on this topic of terrorists threatening our way of life and 100 apparently walking the streets, he duck shoved, had nothing except the Opposition agrees the country must be made safe etc.

    Of course we all do, but when asked if he thought Abbott’s approach was over the top and a stunt, he was as a lamb looking for its mum.

    If the plan is to wait until he slips up on this, the MH planes, Asylum Seekers and the like history records repetition saw him win a convincing victory just 12 months ago. I doubt there is a rope long enough to allow him to hang himself. the noose must be encouraged to tighten for him. All figuratively speaking of course.

    Good article John, thanks

  4. Pingback: Spoiler Alert: Team Liberal are moving the Goalposts | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  5. Kaye Lee

    “When the attorney general, George Brandis, met key Muslim leaders in Sydney on Friday, the group had 30 minutes to review draft amendments to the legislation.

    Muslim leader Hany Amer said there was not enough time to look over the proposals, which aim to stop young Australians taking part in wars in the Middle East.

    The laws as they stood did not have enough safeguards for the innocent and the federal government’s public statements and foreign policies were only exacerbating tensions, he said.

    “These hastily pursued measures with little genuine consultation will infringe on our right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” Amer said.

    Based on Friday’s meeting, it was difficult to feel the community’s voice had been heard, but if there was further engagement positive solutions were possible, he said.

    Amer said he was told the proposals were not up for negotiation.

    The Muslim leaders later issued a joint statement reiterating their disappointment with the meeting.

    They said it left them questioning “whether the government is interested in serious consultation”.

    The group said the legislation would “significantly dilute important legal safeguards and civil liberties of all Australians”.

    In contrast, a spokesman for Brandis said the meeting was constructive.

    “It was a friendly and constructive meeting and it was agreed that consultations would continue,” the spokesman said.

    Last week, a handful of Islamic leaders refused to attend meetings with Tony Abbott in Sydney and Melbourne.

    The prime minister said although the boycott was “foolish”, there was a “Team Australia” spirit among those who did join in.”


  6. June M Bullivant OAM

    We are afraid that Team Abbott looks artificial and every one knows that they are using this to try and make themselves popular, both Labor and Liberal look like they are acting in a play, they look so artificial when they make gestures and emphasise the problems facing our country, if the bloke seized leaving Australia has been released without charge he wasn’t a security risk, was he allowed to travel, and there are more than two airports to leave Australia, give us a break, it will not deter the community into believing you are looking after us, the budget says different. And by the way some of the letters to the editor are Dorothy Dix answers, give us some credit Prime Minister.

  7. stephengb2014

    Interesting -Kaye Lee, ypu have such fabulous network of source’s I wonder did you find out if our new border protection mob have been issued a special uniform
    Looking remarkably like a ‘brown shirt’

  8. Terry2

    Like that small boy who called out ‘but the emperor has no clothes ‘ Sue Lines nailed it and it is a miserable act for Shorten to slap her down and even more appalling for Morrison to call her a muppet.

    Abbott is playing us with the very dangerous security card and when he says that our role in Iraq will only ever be humanitarian we have to ask how FA18 Super Hornets can deliver humanitarian aid. Abbott and Johnston are like two little boys who are busting for a fight but fortunately for us Obama brings some maturity to the situation.

  9. Kaye Lee

    I don’t think Tony likes brown and I am SURE that Scott Morrison doesn’t.

    I am seeing a blue “Team Australia” shirt with lots of logos from armaments manufacturers, pharmaceutical firms, mining companies, fossil fuel energy producers and charismatic churches. Perhaps on the back we could adapt a slogan or two… Real Polluters, Stop the Infidels, We will make the drugs of the 21st century (provided you bludgers cough up), Why Waste Money on Education When You Can Buy Jets.

    It’s all about trust and any man who wears blue must be trustworthy.

    (I have been trying to avoid sinking to the level of drawing attention to Tony’s hair of late but has anyone else noticed the Hitleresque combover?)

  10. Rob031

    I detect a certain amount of penis-waving on Abbott’s part. Let’s hope they soon don some brown underwear and trousers. I think it’s an old joke about pirates.

    I’m off to a big (hopefully huge) march tomorrow – even though I’m somewhat claustrophobic about large crowds.

    Bring on the crowds 🙂

  11. mars08

    “…the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

    ~Hermann Göring during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (1946)

  12. rossleighbrisbane

    It’s always worth remembering that the only reason that “Animal Farm” is thought to be satire is because Orwell used animals instead of people…

  13. Kaye Lee

    “When governments rely increasingly on sophisticated public relations agencies, public debate disappears and is replaced by competing propaganda campaigns, with all the accompanying deceits. Advertising isn’t about truth or fairness or rationality, but about mobilising deeper and more primitive layers of the human mind.”

    Brian Eno

  14. PopsieJ

    SirPository thinks ADF stands for Abbots Defence Force .

  15. stephentardrew

    Too true John Sue Lines simply confirmed the facts. Why the hell do Labor have to be so weak. The LNP wouldn’t think twice if it was Labor. Labor has not learned that direct action and assertive projection of strength is a real winner with the masses. Abbott made an art of it and got elected. Labor must be direct and assertive at all levels by continually criticizing the LNP. They must realize that a little immediate negativity can be overcome by assertive direct action if it is all qualified by the lousy financial management of this mob. You have to drive the news cycle to be successful not let it drive you. Drop the focus groups and chasing the polling. Go about changing peoples perceptions with brute force and absolute confidence. Back peddling just makes you look bland and ineffectual.

  16. Florence nee Fedup

    I am a Shorten supporter, but in this case he would be better to take his clues from Obama, not Abbott. Even Cameron is not talking like Abbott.

    This is not the time for megaphone diplomacy.

    It is not about joining the USA and going in with guns blazing., It is about getting all in the region on side., Yes, it is about attacking the ISIS not the Muslim world.

  17. Rob031

    @Florence nee Fedup: “I am a Shorten supporter, but in this case he would be better to take his clues from Obama, not Abbott. Even Cameron is not talking like Abbott. ”

    My partner is currently in (Old) South Wales in GB and following the media there. According to her Cameron is doing pretty much of ‘an Abbott’.

    I too am sympathetic to Shorten. But… This little black duck (me) is highly conflicted about him and the ALP in general. I really hope when the next election comes he and his party have gotton (is that a real word?) their act together. So far, as I can see so far, this is not the case. They appear to be wrong-footed by the Libs and kinda flailing about this way and that – they currently have the kick of a mouse in carpet slippers in Question Time in parliament and in the media in general.

    A ‘One Dimensional Man’ like Abbott is so open to exposure on so many fronts. Till the ALP gets their act together they’ll only get my vote after the Greens – and I’m not all that nuts about them either. But anything but Abbott and his motley crew on the good ship “Team Australia”.

    I’m hoping that the getting of the ghastly budget through the Senate is as painfully drawn-out and as newsworthy as possible. And there’s other things that may upset their apple-cart: ICAC may start exposing the Fed Lib’s slush fund connections with the NSW government. Also, we may see more inner leaks occurring within the Lib’s themselves. We can only hope that the shit hits the fan for this delightful bunch of Chaps. I think, if anything happens, it’s gonna happen in a great big whoosh. But I’m not holding my breath. The bad guys often win at the end of the day.

    What a way to spend a Saturday night 🙂

  18. bobrafto

    Man of steel Mk2 is in the making right now.

    As John has inferred it is so contrived, even the Abbott’s chest beating appears like ham acting.

    It was very opportunistic to detain a ‘jihadist’ in Melbourne and a couple of ‘suspects’ in Sydney, now one has to ask if they can do all this now, why do we need more terror laws? or more expense?

    The other question that needs to be asked is why the AFP and the ASIO boss doing the political bidding of the govt.? Are we now witnessing the start of a Police State?

    Another blatant governmental decision was handed down by the Chair of the CCC (CMC) in the matter of Palmer and Seeney a decision by the Chair said that Seeney did not have to report Palmer to the CCC for attempted corruption because he could not be classed as a public official.

    I don’t have a link to this story which was in the Guardian yesterday, however, what the CCC is saying Seeney as Deputy Premier has no statutory (or moral duty) to report any suspicious or criminal activity. EH!!

    It appears that politicians are not Public Officials in Queensland. (ICAC def , People working in the Parliament, government departments, statutory authorities and local councils in NSW, as well as NSW magistrates, judges, local councillors and politicians are all public officials.)

    Newman has got the cops and the judiciary on side and the Abbott is going the same way. Scary stuff all these boot camps in QLD and the rollout of a slave entrenched Green Army.

  19. bobrafto

    Abbott Horror

  20. Anne Byam

    Would like some help please.

    Ref the last para of the article : ” The Labor party has been wedged once again. It doesn’t want to be seen to be discounting the terrorist threat, but doesn’t seem to realise it can show its resolve to protect the community and still expose the deception. It should go on the front foot, raise the stakes and detail a comprehensive strategy of its own. ”

    I have watched several speeches delivered by Bill Shorten … some of good length. These have been on You-Tube in part, and on other links.

    On all but one occasion, the “Government” was conspicuous by it’s absence. In a very BIG way. Shorten delivered his speeches to a mostly empty seated Government side of the chamber. On one occasion it appeared that Government Ministers simply rose from their seat and departed. Is that permitted ?

    Is that what they do ? Disappear en masse, because the leader of the Opposition is scheduled to give a speech to Parliament.

    IF … that is the case, it shows the ineptitude, antipathy and gross cowardice by the Government. Do they suddenly take a ‘day off’ from attending … and can they DO that ?

    I would really appreciate, someone letting me know …..

    It appears so crude and absolutely, offensive … ( which of course this Government is anyway ).

    I am sincere in my enquiries.

  21. Rob031

    @bobrafto and @Ishe B
    Followed the links you both posted. Pay them no mind. That mob are bat-shit crazy.

  22. Rob031

    @bobrafto. Sorry I meant only that put up by @Ishe B

    Pay them no mind. That mob are seriously bat-shit crazy, bananas and bloody bonkers.

  23. sebastian johann

    This tony abbott led fascist government needs to be stopped. Sadly the average voter is too stupid to realize yet alone understand their mistakes.

  24. patriciawa

    Anne, there are some very clear rules about how people should behave in our Parliament.


    But there is no rule that says members must stay to listen to each other! Often attendance is good and there are lively exchanges, but sometimes the only way to make a statement is by being absent from the chamber. That’s showing how little interest one has in the other party’s point of view.

  25. James Cook

    Rob031, I agree with you re Shorten and Labor’s ineptitude/lack of fight. I’ve been making a similar point on a number of sites but getting very little response. I really think it comes down to a lack of planning/strategy on Labor’ part. If they had fully developed and articulated plan for Australia (you know, one that shows real vision for our future) then they could articulate responses to the Lib’s nonsense instantly. But, to do this convincingly, they must also believe in their own vision. At the moment they appear to be making it up as they go. As I’ve said before…I’m very scared!

  26. Terry2

    Oh dear ! Yesterday he addressed the Nationals Conference with his new three word slogan…….

    twelve months ago : WE SAVED AUSTRALIA

    We are going to hear much, much more of this, I fear.

    The word ‘section’ popped into my mind, I asked my wife if it is still possible to ‘section’ somebody – she didn’t know. I checked the dictionary:

    section – to commit someone compulsorily to a psychiatric hospital in accordance with a ‘section’ of the (British) Mental Health Act

    Restraints may be used, it is for the good of the patient and an act of compassion – they have very good treatments for these delusional conditions nowadays.

    How do we start the process, are there forms to be filled in ?

  27. marwill10

    t 30, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    @Florence nee Fedup: “I am a Shorten supporter, but in this case he would be better to take his clues from Obama, not Abbott. Even Cameron is not talking like Abbott. ”

    I also was a Shorten supporter but after he went missing in action for the first 10 months after the election I became disillusioned. On finding out the reason for his absence I was even more upset. How could he have put his personal life, with all that mud, some of which is going to stick, above his Party? He should stand aside as Labor Leader. The media have been very quite about the whole affair, but just wait until prior to the next election. You can bet they will come out with additional dirt, whether true or not. The whole Labor front bench needs a good shake up, realise they are our only hope, and while they are at it, grow some balls. They can always ask Sue Lines how she grew hers.

  28. Paul of Sydney

    Shorten’s not up to it.

  29. Roswell

    Now ain’t that the truth, Paul.

  30. dennis

    By taking money from a ineffectually part of the community and putting it into defence, customs, new weapons (militarising) for police employing a lot of people in these services, these people and their family and friends are assuring this government gets back into power.

  31. David Linehan

    Excellent points marwill. Sue Lines getting wonderful support on Social Media, she tweeted ….

    Senator Sue Lines ‏@linessue Aug 29
    Tnks for the amazing response to my comments abt Abbott’s true agenda fantastic that many value the important things in life

  32. Ishe B

    @Rob031. I don’t know if this mob are bat-shit crazy or not. I looked at the merit of the content (unlike @Bobrafto). Let me just say that the mega-trend of the last 20-30 years of single parent families on the rise, is in no small part due to lies and deception no longer being tolerated in individual relationships. Women no longer want that modeled for future generations. If the individual is no longer accommodating lies on a personal level, it certainly isn’t a great leap for the collective society to insist on truth in their name on a political level. The personal is political after all. I have, for some time now, approached authority with my evidence not to comply with some thing or another and asked them to provide evidence why I should. I hope that trend spreads. I’m doing my bit in that direction. You are also entitled to your opinion, which is all it is.

  33. David Linehan

    Anne the only requirement for there to be members present in the chamber while a debate is in progress is there is a quorum, a set number of members required to be present….
    The Constitution authorises Parliament to set the quorum for each chamber. The quorum of the Senate is one-quarter of the total membership (nineteen); that of the House of Representatives is one-fifth of the total membership (thirty). In theory, if a quorum is not present, then a House may not continue to meet. In practice, members usually agree not to notice that a quorum is not present, so that debates on routine bills can continue without other members having to be present. Sometimes the Opposition will “call a quorum” as a tactic to annoy the Government or delay proceedings, particularly when the Opposition feels it has been unfairly treated in the House. It is the responsibility of the Government whips to ensure that, when a quorum is called, enough Government members are present to make up a quorum.

    Full info on the running of the Parliament here


    Hope that answers you question


  34. NicoleR

    I disagree with everyone on Shorten. He is up against the might of the Murdoch media. Don’t think that Rupert hasn’t said (pardon the pun) “Kill Bill”, just as he did to Whitlam. Both Bill and Labor have to be very careful in what they say, as the MSM will twist and pervert it to suit their purpose. It’s been difficult for Rupert’s newspapers to put a positive spin on the drivel that comes out of the mouths of this government ministers, but with Labor keeping a low profile, that’s all they have to sell their papers. No wonder the circulation is down. Their journalist have lost all credibility by supporting the actions of this LNP government. They are desperate for sensational headlines as evidenced by today’s “terrorism” headlines (as seen on Insiders 31/8/14). Sadly, people buy into this sort of rubbish.

    As for the accusation of rape, Bill has been cleared. My question is, why did this woman leave it until now, to press charges? I suspect Rupert had a hand in this. And except for the fact the Bill beat them to the punch, Limited News would have smeared his name in their inimitable style. I’ll bet they and the LNP were furious about Bill spoiling their fun.

  35. Anne Byam

    Thank you …. to Patriciawa, and David Linehan. And tku for the links too.

    As Patricia said, the absence from the house by a party, is a ‘ statement ‘showing little interest in the opposing partys’ point of view…. and that sure as heck shows. I seem to remember however, when Julia Gillard spoke, the entire contingent of the Opposition then, was in attendance …. to heckle, interject, laugh, deride, and at their helm was their vindictive and abusive leader …. the Abbott. !!

    David … ref. a quorum. I was seriously under the impression that when Parliament is actually ‘sitting’ that all members have to be present, or have a very good reason not to be. I understand, in corporate committee management, board meetings etc. a quorum must present – or there’s no meeting. I did not know that extended to Parliament.

    Now I do – and thank you.

    I was however, alarmed at the ‘quorum’ situation – as noted : ” In practice, members usually AGREE NOT TO NOTICE that a quorum is not present, so that debates on routine bills can continue without other members having to be present. ” That would have to go against procedural ethics, rules and regs – wouldn’t it ? And for an Opposition to ‘call a quorum’ just to upset the Government ? … while being a delaying tactic obviously — is to me very odd. Admittedly the whip then has to make sure there is a quorum present. I would have to ask why the whip doesn’t make sure of a quorum absolutely EVERY time Parliament sits. ? He/she cannot surely go along with members who ‘agree not to notice a quorum is not present’ ???

    I don’t require any answers here … just expressing my astonishment at the blatant disregard of procedure, in some instances.

    From a legal definition of a quorum … ( duhaime.org ) “Without a quorum, the meeting is never properly constituted; it cannot transact business validly. ……. Any business transacted where a quorum is not present is null and void except for one item and that is a motion to adjourn.”

    So how MANY times …. where members have ‘agreed not to notice the lack of a quorum’ … have there been invalid decisions made, debates held, ‘routine bills’ passed … and votes called for by the speaker ( H of R ). ???

    Ye Gods !!

  36. Florence nee Fedup

    Looks like Abbott has his war. Not sop sure what is great about two planes dropping supplies.

    Why does he feel the need to build up hate.

    Does not shrink from robust debate. Does not shrink from scrutiny. If so, why has so much of his government been conducted in the greatest secretly

    He has saved Australia, now he is out to save the world. .

  37. Florence nee Fedup

    It I about what is right for our country. What is right for the world. Seems disappointed that there has been no request for military engagement.

  38. Rob031

    @Ishe B replied: “You are also entitled to your opinion, which is all it is.”


    Government propaganda and the enslavement of humanity

    You’re correct, of course. Then again I simply pronounced/pontificated that the article was bat shit crazy without further elaboration.

    Material like this sets all my bullshit-detectors clanging like crazy. This stuff has a certain ugly tone to it. Some characteristics that leap out at me off the screen include:

    Cherry-picked facts
    Huge sense of urgency.
    SImple answers to every question and criticism.
    Fast track to the Truth.
    Total lack us subtly, irony or humour.
    Grim determination to save the world.

    I’ve met a couple of crazies over the years. The crazier of the two wound up murdering his mother (with whom he still lived at 40) with an axe! He had guns buried in his garden in plastic bags for when the government came for him as they probably would. He fed himself on a constant diet of books about the Illuminati and other conspiratorial rubbish. (This was before the Internet – which he would have lapped up.) Nice guy and highly intelligent too.

    Go figure.

  39. Ishe B

    @Rob031. I agree about the delivery. But I’m interested in what you think about
    1. making it criminal for people acting on behalf of the nation to lie,
    2. creating a database of serial offenses by people in such positions and
    3. making them accountable.
    All the Fact Check options we currently have don’t give us this deterrent, and the collective memory is short indeed. That’s the meat of it. Instead you give me a commentary of the fashions on the runway.

  40. David Linehan

    Anne just to clarify hopefully. There would never be a time when bills would be passed without a quorum. The not calling of one in a general debate while seemingly is not strictly within the rules, cannot effect the passing of legislation. The Speaker or in her/his absence Deputy is bound to enforce the rule and I cannot recall in many years of involvement and observing Parliament, legislation being passed without a quorum, even non contentious bills.
    Others more knowledgeable than I may assist us, I would be interested to know. Interesting debate though you have introduced. Hope we have a quorum to get an answer 🙂

  41. Rob031

    @Ishe B

    But I’m interested in what you think about
    1. making it criminal for people acting on behalf of the nation to lie,
    2. creating a database of serial offenses by people in such positions and
    3. making them accountable.

    It took me a few minutes trying to understand the above questions. Let’s hope I’ve got it correct. You’re speaking about elected representatives and perhaps associated staff?

    1. making it criminal for people acting on behalf of the nation to lie,

    My immediate gut response is an emphatic: ‘Yes!‘. Mmm. But then again there may be times when lying produces the lesser of two evils. For example honestly answering a question in parliament or in an interview that would endanger the lives of others. Perhaps not a brilliant example though I’m sure that there other situations where lying should not be an offense on this basis.

    Any laws crafted to make lying illegal would need to take into account these possible ‘lesser-than-two-evils’ kinds of situations. No easy task. It’d a very tricky area to try to legislate for. Perhaps you may have some helpful suggestions here?

    2. creating a database of serial offenses by people in such positions and
    3. making them accountable.

    Given my misgivings about #1 the remaining questions area tad problematic for me at the moment.

    @Ishe BAugust

    All the Fact Check options we currently have don’t give us this deterrent, and the collective memory is short indeed. That’s the meat of it. Instead you give me a commentary of the fashions on the runway.

    I agree. But I’m perplexed as to what you mean by: Instead you give me a commentary of the fashions on the runway. Do you mean that I’m too distracted by the style to take in properly the main message?


  42. Ishe B

    @Rob031. Yes, I am talking about elected staff, representatives of a democracy people voted in. They must take either an Oath of Office or an Affirmation http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/02/swearing-in-australian-parliament-explained. Personally I would make it a criminal offense to mislead the public in these positions, but contamination of their Oath or Affirmation (with consequences) will do just as well. It is not dishonest to respond “I am not at liberty to say” or “I don’t have all the information to give you an informed response”, or “I’ll take that on Notice”, even “It’s Classified information”. All of these are truthful. So I don’t understand your objections at all. As for the last para, you’re right.

  43. Rob031

    @Ishe B

    I hadn’t considered the matter from the angle of an Oath of Office or an Affirmation. I’ll follow your link and have a bit of a think about it.

  44. Anne Byam

    Thanks again David. I still have a query or two … but at 1.30 a.m., I don’t think I can get my head around much. I take your point however, that routine bills have not been actually passed … without a quorum. I missed the words “debates on” …. ( routine bills ) when mentioning that previously.

    I am euchred, and need my sleep now … 🙂

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