Lotteries and Rights in the Sporting Life

The pigeon flapped in desperation, moving across Melbourne’s lavish Capitol Theatre in…

Prospects of Israel’s Return to the Political Centre

By Denis BrightProspects of Israel’s Return to the Political Centre Under a…

Medieval combat for ‘the Palace letters’ (part 7)

By Dr George Venturini  On 17 March 2018 Professor Hocking issued a news…

On reaching the ripe age of 67 ...

Tomorrow, touch wood, I reach the ripe old/young age of 67. Except…

The Yoke of Inequality Burdens Us All

By Ad AstraIt was in 2012 that The Price of Inequality by…

Petroleum Crumbs

By Michael Brazel  Let's talk about the attack on the oil processing facility…

Fake Arguments on Fake News

The constipated tedium that follows each call, denial and condemnation after another…

Only the dumb get dumber

In June of 2007 at the height of one of the Victoria's…

«
»
Facebook

Tag Archives: Andrew Bolt

Glad all over?

Is “One Million Dollar Woman” Liberal Party “gun” fund-raiser, Gladys Liu, a catspaw of the Chinese Communist Party’s 2005 huaren canzheng, a policy of “ethnic Chinese participation in politics overseas” which has seen Beijing support ethnic Chinese politicians in gaining office in Canada, New Zealand, Britain and Australia?

Or is Ms Liu just another reactionary, evangelical, Coalition homophobe to whom LGBT issues, Safe Schools and marriage equality are “ridiculous rubbish”; a former fifteen-year Victorian Liberal apparatchik, who leads the Liberals’ ruse to legalise discrimination under the pretext of “protecting” an already constitutionally protected religious freedom?

In 2016, Liu attracted national attention, if not notoriety, with her social media campaign against Safe Schools, an anti-bullying programme designed to ensure schools are safe places for all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) students, and are free of discrimination. It was her way of getting attention.

Safe Schools originates from school communities, parents and teachers who identify a need for greater support for LGBTI students – students at higher risks of bullying and suicide, and to ensure that schools create safe and inclusive environments. It’s been the subject of much disinformation and misrepresentation from our reactionaries, such as Cory Bernardi or George Christensen who proclaim themselves conservatives. But to campaign against it is damning.

In her orchestrated attack on Safe Schools, Liu aligns herself with ignorance, bigotry, prejudice and injustice and her PM, Scott Morrison. His children go to private school, he tells The Guardian Australia to avoid what he wilfully misrepresents as “skin-curling” sexuality discussions. But not all Glad’s agenda is reactionary. She’s progressive on foreign investment.

Liu calls for Australia to water down its foreign investment limits? China’s just announced it will do the same.  Her vote against treating government action on climate change as a matter of urgency? She’s just toeing the party line.

A whiz on WeChat, Liu’s 2016 social media campaign helped Julia Banks get elected only, in the end, to be bullied out of the Liberal Party. Liu’s pitch on Chinese social media is to claim Chinese Australians worry that future generations will be “destroyed” by “ridiculous rubbish” such as “concepts of same-sex, transgender, intergender, cross-gender”.

Liu continued her attack in an article in The Age Liu in 2016. Above all, subversive Safe Schools undermined conservative Chinese values and “we are concerned it will change society and the moral standard [of] the culture”.

WeChat also ran other fake news including the scare that immigration under Labor would rise to 320,000 in ten years; “surpassing the entire Chinese immigrant population.” Liu’s mentor, Morrison’s legacy as Immigration Minister, 2013-4, incidentally was a program of 190,000, a figure he bizarrely locked in by tying the size to budget calculations.

The nation plays Chinese whispers this week with the Liu debacle. We’re Glad all over. MSM is abuzz with scuttlebutt about the MP for the Victorian seat of Chisholm, a marginal seat where 23,000 residents were born in mainland China.

As Niki Savva says on ABC Insiders Sunday, we need to know more about her miracle fund-raising, which Sam Dastyari happily inflates to $3 million. Where does the money come from? How does she suddenly get her precocious skill in political organising? It was this skill which finally won her pre-selection after nine years of knock-backs and failure.

But Gladys is in good hands. Her senior adviser is the arch-conservative, Graham Watt, former Liberal MP for Burwood, who in eight years in state politics, is remembered as the only MP who refused to stand for Rosie Batty’s standing ovation when the Domestic Violence Campaigner and Australian of the Year, visited Victoria’s Parliament in 2015.

Watt is not in Canberra, Tuesday when all hell breaks loose, after Gladys strays into Andrew Bolt’s lair; his Sky Studio. As a Liberal, never did she expect to be held to account. And certainly not by Bolt. A similar perspective appears to have been behind her interpretation of AEC rules regarding polling booth signage.

A case before the High Court challenges Liu’s Chinese-language posters’ how-to-vote advice which effectively directed unwary voters to vote Liberal. Oliver Yates, the unsuccessful independent candidate for Kooyong, Hungarian Josh Frydenberg’s seat, has teamed up with a voter in Chisholm to have the election result ruled invalid. Yet the current crisis, capably boosted by MSM’s Sinophobia, is self-inflicted, like so much of ScoMo & Co’s political franchise.

The latest buzz stems from Ms Liu unplugged. Un-minded. In sensational disclaimers to an incredulous Andrew Bolt on Sky, Tuesday, Liu fails to recall her twelve-year membership of key agencies of China’s bid to influence local politics; organisations linked to the CCP’s United Front Work Department. Add in failing to disclose a $39,675 donation to the Victorian Liberals, three years ago. Liu’s s also three years late in declaring a second donation of $25,000.

Victorian Liberals quickly claim the $39,675 is not in fact a donation after all. “As these payments were for attending events, Ms Liu did not have an obligation to submit a return to the AEC,” the party says. That clears that up then.

The member for Chisholm evades questions critical of China’s foreign policy. Her name might well have been added to the organisations without her knowledge, she conjectures, a fanciful narrative she abandons next day.

The media pack is baying. The Victorian Liberal Party was warned, by “men in grey suits”, against pre-selecting Ms Liu, trumpets The Herald Sun, while The ABC reports this week, that in 2018, then PM Turnbull was advised by ASIO not to attend Ms Liu’s “meet and greet” function whose guest list contained “thirty names from the Chinese Community”.

Is ScoMo spooked? It’s just another day at the spin machine for our PM who opts for a ludicrous downplay – as he did recently with his presence at Nine’s fund-raiser – which Jennifer Duke and David Crowe report in The Sydney Morning Herald, a Nine newspaper, netted the Libs $700,000. All that happened was Nine gave a function and he was there.

It’s part of his government’s Trumpist gaslit-nation strategy. Fraser Anning uses it too. There were no fascists at a Blair Cottrell, Neil Erikson organised rally, he attended, despite images clearly showing protesters exchanging Nazi salutes.

“I think the problem here is Gladys Liu has given a clumsy interview,” Morrison says. “That is all that’s happened here.”

“Everyone has a bad day in the office and that was one,” Barnaby “bad-day” Joyce throws his own, huge, personal, authority into the mix on Patricia Karvelas’ RN drive. Nothing to see here. But how good is Mick-Mack’s melt-down!

Look over there: Deputy PM, vacuous Michael McCormack, stages a meltdown in question time, Wednesday, in case Liu sabotages ScoMo & Co’s smooth roll-out of Labor-bashing bastardry and wedging. Attacks on Labor fill its policy vacuum.  It also presses on with Ensuring Integrity, another zombie bill. ACTU’s Sally McManus says it’s some of the most draconian anti-union legislation in the world. ScoMo & Co’s war on workers must proceed until every union is crushed.

The nation is suffering the economic consequences of Coalition governments’ – and some of Labor’s – long-term strategy of de-unionisation. Labor may claim to represent working class interests. But in office, both federally and at the state level, it has consistently implemented neoliberal, anti-working class policies over the last three decades.

Take a bow, John Setka. Setka is a gift in ScoMo & Co’s demonisation of organised labour and their attack on Labor’s credibility and Albo’s authority. Yet it’s not about Setka. Our average unionist is a thirty-nine-year-old female nurse.

Wages remain frozen at 2013 levels, according to ABS data published in April. Workers and their families are suffering while others prosper.  Our top 20 per cent of households’ average net worth is over 93 times that of the lowest 20 per cent — some $3.2 million compared to just $35,200.

Yet workers are never valorised by this government the way it makes saints of farmers and small business owners, both groups prominent in recent wage theft cases.

“I don’t know why you’re yelling. The Member for Hunter. It’s time you came to the table and just behaved yourself occasionally,” Mick-Mack yells at shadow agriculture minister, Joel Fitzgibbon. There are country people doing it tough. You won’t ever stop yelling out. You should behave yourself. You are a disgrace. You know you are!”

Yet what Fitzgibbon has to say encapsulates the Coalition crisis and its dire need to seek diversion in the Gladys Liu soap opera and the up and coming return of the living dead drug tests for welfare cheats and useless, cashless credit cards.

“We’ve had the drought coordinator, the drought envoy, the drought task force, the drought summit. Now we have a drought minister …. (but) what hope does the Australian community have when their drought minister denies the connection between our activity and what is happening in our natural environment and with our climate?”

So much to evade; so little time. ScoMo & Co have economised on parliamentary sittings to save face.

Peak stupidity is reached when the Nationals’ leader Mick-Mack claims new dams would improve things for farmers. It’s a response to a typically tedious “Dorothy Dixer” which elicits the climate change denier’s default evasion.

“That is Australia – a land of droughts and flooding rains,” the Deputy PM says. Profound. Literary. Urbane. Or so he believes.

Fitzgibbon interjects to ask what the government is doing to help country people. ScoMo doesn’t blink.  But things go bad for the PM when Andrew Bolt gives him an earful in his Thursday morning sermon from Sky’s moral high ground.

Morrison is forced to pause his crusade to wedge Labor by legislation or “wedgislation” as Albanese wittily puts it, abusing parliament with a series of bull-shit bills such as reviving yet another trial of the cashless debit card, the war on vegan terror, which would outlaw on-farm protests by animal liberationists, drug-testing dole bludgers and the populists’ perennial -mandatory sentencing of child sex offenders  – all designed solely to give Labor an atomic wedgie.

No chance of ScoMo & Co tackling real issues; our “existential environmental crisis” or our incipient economic downturn. New Matilda’s Ben Eltham notes, “if the climate is heating the economy is cooling; the jobless are obviously to blame.”

Digging deep into his shallow but well-exercised desperate tactical response lobe, Trumpista ScoMo chooses to impugn Labor’s motives in holding Gladys Liu to account. ScoMo’s dud political judgement rivals that of his predecessor.

Morrison denies the allegations. Calls Labor racists. His mentor, Trump, whose latest claim to victimhood, is to claim his fake orange tan, is due to low-energy lightbulbs- deployed by Greens’ traitors everywhere, would be proud of him.

ScoMo! There’s flies in the buttermilk. What will you do? Liu, Liu, skip to Ms Liu. Skip to Ms Liu my darling.

ScoMo barely has time to take visiting Fijian PM pal Frank Bainimarama, another big fan of guided democracy, for a happy-clap and a singalong at Horizon. Horizon, which, oddly, shares its name with an Imperial Tobacco cigarette brand.

Horizon must be rapt when a PM deploys his prosperity gospel church; his religiosity, as a multipurpose political tool. But no sign so far of rapture from fellow evangelical Bainimarama. In fact, Frank seems to be inwardly seething.

Climate change advocate Frank’s no fan of Australia’s coal baron government. He sees our PM’s Pacific Island Forum refusal to agree to phase out coal-fired power as “insulting and condescending.” Yet a puff piece from the ABC’s Michael Walsh, helps us all to forgot human rights’ abuse in Fiji. Frank is a noble reformer who is restoring Fiji to democracy.

Big Frank’s glad to get out of Suva after being captured on camera assaulting Opposition leader Pio Tikoduadua in what is loosely known as the Fijian parliament’s car park; breaking Pio’s spectacles. Incredibly, local police make no inquiries. Pio, on the other hand, gets suspended from parliament for bad-mouthing his Prime Minister. ScoMo is inspired.

Bronte’s brontosaurus, (thunder lizard) the small-headed, whip-tailed, political dinosaur, Morrison goes in low. Our nation’s top grub, owes his own 2009 pre-selection, solely to a smear campaign. In 2009, The Daily Telegraph published four stories about the successfully pre-selected Liberal candidate for Cook, Michael Towke which defamed him, destroyed his political career, caused untold stress to his family and led to his dis-endorsement and ScoMo’s free walk.

”These stories sent my mother to hospital. They demonised me. I wanted to confront them in court,” Towke explains.

ScoMo’s smear’s a silencing tactic; the very tactic used by The Chinese Embassy, notes Charles Sturt’s Clive Hamilton.

Critics of the Hong Kong-born MP are guilty of filthy racist slurs, ScoMo howls. It’s an outrage. Morrison follows his parliamentary gutter politics – (“disgusting”, Mark Dreyfus dubs them), with Standing Up for All Chinese Australians, a video he releases on Chinese social media, WeChat, now a Coalition propaganda, go-to. It’s a sequel to his April love-in, when after years of failed attempts, but vast increases in donations, Liu was finally pre-selected for Chisholm in Victoria.

“How good is Gladys Liu? Gladys Liu is a force of nature.” ScoMo crowed in April at her pre-selection. And he’s right. And she may have a right to be a bigot provided she doesn’t harm children who need safe schools. Or if she stays away from promulgating lurid lies and fantasies on social media which impede the voters’ right to make up their own mind.

But it’s fair to ask who her political mates are. Her connections. What are her links to United Front Work Department’s Guangdong provincial branch of the China Overseas Exchange Association, an overseas propaganda and influence outfit headed by high-ranking party officials? Documents show that Liu has been a council member of this outfit.

Liu also confirms she was honorary president of the United Chinese Commerce Association of Australia. All done and dusted? Not yet. There’s a torrent of abuse from what is mysteriously called the other side of politics. Bolt’s side.

Bolt goes nuts. “The way that the Prime Minister played that race card five times this morning, well I can only say the Chinese regime should be sending him a thank you card,” he says in his opening harangue on Thursday. Classy irony.

“Prime Minister why was it racist to question Gladys Liu’s connections to China but it wasn’t racist to call Sam Dastyari ‘Shanghai Sam’?” asks a Ten Reporter. Liar from the Shire, ScoMo denies using the phrase but social media lights up with evidence to the contrary. Hansard also records Morrison stooping to racist taunting of Dastyari on several occasions.

So who is being racist? “Questioning by Labor and the crossbench members of Parliament on this is legitimate and reasonable,” Australia’s former Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, tells The Sydney Morning Herald; Nine Newspaper’s Peter Hartcher. Hartcher dismisses suggestions ASIO warned his paper’s Liberal Party pals ScoMo or Fizza Turnbull. So neither PM or their departments could join the guest list warning dots? We are in trouble.

In trouble also are Chinese communities, here and in other nations. Already under-represented in parliaments, they must now suffer being represented by MPs of dubious loyalty, observes Clive Hamilton.

And how fares our democracy where pre-selection is determined, at least in the Liberal Party, by how much money you can raise? Your ability to chat up rich-listers – and not by the calibre of your thinking, your humanity, or dare it be said, your capacity to contribute honest, constructive, socially cohesive ideas to policy or your demonstration of good faith.

A bit of concern for the planet doesn’t go astray either. Does our nation really needs another climate change sceptic?

The Liu case is far from closed. Word is that Gladys will be minded by the PMC – reduced to another bot from head office. The well-oiled, back-biting, faction-riven fossils in the Victorian Liberal Party will fall over themselves to help.

Micro-managed, scripted, she will win more time to be a WeChat warrior. But there are still few wild cards to be played. Her bully-PM has the diplomatic skills of a demented warthog and a hide to match. No patience for high maintenance.

If, on the other hand, it turns out that Gladys is of no further use to the United Front Work Department they may cut her loose. Beat ScoMo to it. Recall her. Some irregularity with her residency. Before even Morrison’s office works out that she’s more a political liability than an asset. A conga-line of suitable replacements will already be putting itself forward.

Or the High Court may be pleased to find her election invalid. But don’t hold your breath.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button

Pell appeal verdict unleashes a perfect storm for our Tory ruling class

Head bowed, a manacled cardinal is led hobbling out of court into a prison van, a shocking image calculated to rock our nation’s Tories to the core, last Wednesday, as Victoria’s Court of Appeal upholds Cardinal George Pell’s conviction on five counts of child sexual assault, for offences committed against two thirteen year-old altar-boys in a priest’s sacristy at St Patrick’s Church, in 1996 and 1997, whilst Pell was still Archbishop of Melbourne.

By Sunday, thank God and Rupert Murdoch, it’s all OK – at least, in Australia’s News Corp-led “mainstream media” as our corporate, oligarchical, media tribe is typically misnamed, whose stories quickly turn a convicted predator into an innocent victim. OK, too, in our progressive, post-modern, post fact, Trumpian universe of discourse, our collective, international pandemic of unreason led by lords of misrule from Boris to Bolsonaro to The Donald.

Bugger the facts, it’s the vibe that counts. As former PM Turnbull, pre-knifing by Scott Morrison, told Glyn Davis, Vice Chancellor of The University of Melbourne when Davis challenged Turnbull’s spin that all was rosy between town and gown. Davis dared air his heretical view that collaboration between business and university was crap.

“This is, by the way, you running against the vibe. You haven’t got the new zeitgeist. The new zeitgeist, Glyn, is to believe in yourself, is to have a go.”  Did Mal’s liberating ideology help spawn ScoMo’s “have a go to get a go”?

Bugger “police, the prosecutors, the courts, the jury system, the burden of proof and the entire rule of law. In its place is the new primacy of feelings: they feel Pell must not be guilty, therefore he is innocent. All else — most significantly, the fully tested testimony of the victim that they have never seen — gives way before their emotional need.” writes Crikey’s legal beagle, Michael Bradley. Above all, our establishment must protect one of its own.

Pell can’t be guilty: he’s part of the power elite, as untouchable as Casino King, James Murdoch. Pell’s protection is necessary to preserve the power of our monocultural bunyip aristocracy. However, it’s a secular crusade now, David Marr reflects. “Rome somewhere in the past few years lost the power” to protect men like Pell.

Above all, however, is the political purpose served by the all-consuming pseudo-debate over Pell’s innocence, a diversion adroitly exploited by a Coalition keen to soft-pedal its announcement that it is eagerly doing the US bidding; taking up gunboat diplomacy in the Persian Gulf because this will help “de-escalate tensions”.

Foreign Minister, Marise Payne keeps a straight face on ABC Insiders, Sunday; farcically claiming we are part of an “international mission” which is “modest, meaningful and time-limited”. In reality, we are offering Trump a blank cheque. It’s all about restoring “rules-based order and the rule of law”. No-one mentions the fact that we are about to break international law. Trump’s administration clearly hankers for the good old days when it ran Iran.

With British help, America overthrew Iran’s democratically elected conservative Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh’s nationalist parliamentary government, in 1953, to install Shah Reza Pahlavi, a dictator who gave 40% of Iran’s oil concessions to US oil companies. America supported the corrupt dictator until his overthrow by a popular mass movement in 1979. As punishment, the US backed Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in the Iran–Iraq War, 22 September 1980- 20 August 1988.

It is estimated one million Iranians died defending their country. Up to half a million Iraqis also lost their lives.

The international team comprises ourselves, the Great Satan, as Iran once called the US, Little Britain under Boris Johnson, a professional clown, now playing Albion’s accidental PM and Human Rights Watch pin-up, Bahrain, a state of unabated repression whose rulers’ crack-down on dissent has eliminated all opposition banned independent media and peaceful dissidents are roughed up, arrested, prosecuted and stripped of their citizenship.

Clearly, there’s a bit our government could yet learn from Bahrain and embedding our troops with theirs is a move guaranteed to bring mutual enlightenment, the rule of law and stability to a region where eighty million Iranians are starved of daily necessities from food to medicines as a result of forty years of US sanctions.

It’s possible, of course, that the sudden appearance of an Australian cruiser in January 2020 “for six months” or a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft to the Middle East for one month “before the end of 2019” will prove immensely re-assuring to Iran’s government and cause citizens to hi-five and hug each other in sheer relief.

Aussie diggers posted to Bahrain, super-charged with ANZAC can-do, could repair the nation’s moral high ground.

Luckily for Morrison’s government, the Cardinal Pell in the Pokey show is the perfect distractor; a timely bit of cultural warfare guaranteed to upstage any grovelling capitulation to the whims of hawks such as Bolton or Pompeo who run demented Donald Trump and his mad, neo-con, anti-Iranian, administration.

Hard right hacks, Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, Bettina Arndt rush to defend Pell. Left out of the moral outrage are the 1900 child sex-offenders, identified in Australian Catholic churches, whose 4,444 victims were on average under twelve years old, according to the 2016 Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to child sexual abuse. Eclipsed almost entirely, is the suffering of thousands of abused children; or how their lives were ruined.

And who knows how many victims there are in the sexual abuse of nuns by priests, abuse which Pope Francis acknowledged last February? Catholic women are speaking out, too, under the #NunsToo hashtag. In the meantime, a sanctification of Pell proceeds, by some of our best and finest reactionary media mavens.

Poor George, whose Dad, a Ballarat publican, David Marr reports, ran an SP book from the public bar of The Royal Oak, from 1953 to 1976, becomes, by mythic invention, an icon of apostolic poverty, humility, chastity and saintly compassion who will appeal to The High Court. The magical thinking of his backers has him acquitted already.

A man of such grace and standing (Peter Kidd, Chief Judge at his sentencing commented on his “staggering arrogance”, in committing crimes he thought he could get away with), will automatically be granted leave to appeal. But in the eternal interim, the very idea of a fallen Pell is a monstrous offence against nature.

Worse, the appeal judgement is a heresy right up there with Aurecon’s shunning of Adani, a move which resources High Priest, Matt Canavan says is as “weak as piss” before calling on the energy oligopoly to shun and shame Aurecon. The Australian and others in the stable eagerly recycle the lie of Pell’s unblemished record.

Yet there is no question that Pell is the reactionaries’ reactionary, a one-stop shop for any crusade against change.

Pell held that abortion was “a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people.” is Papal-royalty. Boys driven to take their own lives through homophobia only had themselves to blame, Pell maintained;

It is another reason to be discouraging people going in that direction. Homosexual activity is a much greater health hazard than smoking.”

Pell denounces concern about climate change as “a symptom of pagan emptiness” The Greens? “Anti-Christian”.

Pell’s perspective on accountability is clear in his view, given in 2014, that “the church’s responsibility to those abused by priests is comparable to the responsibility of a trucking company to a hitchhiker raped by a trucker.”

Monday, Pell’s media acquittal continues. The Australian’s Mirko Bagaric blusters… it debases the legal and democratic process for anyone to insist — as a few prominent commentators have in recent days — that it is impertinent to believe that Cardinal George Pell is innocent despite losing his case in the Victorian Court of Appeal.

News Corp’s contempt for the rule of law is as staggering as the propaganda it peddles to buy its monstrous power. Its defence of St George, moreover, reveals Australia’s follow-the-leader-media rushing pell-mell to fall in behind Papal knight Sir Rupert’s News Corp’s Cardinal-as-Victim story-tellers.

Part of this narrative involves appeals to sympathy for “an old sick man” “who might well die in gaol” as the current Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter Comensoli tells 3AW’s Neil Mitchell. Bizarrely, Comensoli maintains Pell is innocent – and the victim is telling the truth too. It was another priest who committed the sexual abuse.

Easy for a thirteen year-old altar boy to get one 190 cm priest mixed up with another.

The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and the odd guest on The Drum hold that Judge Weinberg’s dissenting view is the only one that matters or proof that our legal system is broken and or grounds for High Court appeal.

Paradoxically, another part of the story is that Pell is Australia’s most senior cleric, internationally renowned, a pal of Rupert Murdoch’s, a tall poppy cut down in his prime. The facts suggest otherwise.

At the end, Pell’s power in the Vatican rapidly waned, despite a promising start in modelling austerity by big spending. Outrage broke out over his choice of a 5100 euro a month apartment requiring he spend 87,000 on new furniture; employing an assistant on a 21,600 a month salary and even 6,650 euros on kitchen sink fittings.

Somehow word got out to Italy’s L’Espresso weekly of detailed opposition to Pell’s financial reform; not helped by his Secretariat for the Economy racking up a half-million dollars in expenditures in the last six months.

True, Pell rose to become Cardinal, but Francis, shrewdly diverted the ambitious antipodean prelate into the Sisyphean labour of draining the swamp of the Vatican’s scandalous financial mess, an impossible task – and one fraught with peril, for anyone, let alone a boy from Ballarat, who knew neither Vatican culture nor the rudiments of diplomacy or tact, author of The Melbourne Response, another monumental failure of Christian charity and human compassion which capped compensation clerical sexual abuse victims at $50,000.

They saw him coming, a retired priest says on The Drum. Rubbed them up the wrong way say Vatican insiders. Francis himself believes “Behind rigidity something always lies hidden,” he says. “In many cases, a double life.”

But nothing may detract from the Tory postmodern narrative of St George The Martyr. A man as powerful as Pell, a priest who could command a character reference from a former Prime Minister, (gasp) just cannot be guilty. The Pell pillar must be protected or the entire edifice of conservatism may be revealed to be rotten to the core.

It’s a monstrous spectacle made all the more shocking, somehow, by technical glitches which cause the live broadcast to freeze, the court website to crash and by appellant judge, Chief Justice, Anne Ferguson’s funereal delivery which brings “all the drama of a dead wombat to reading a summary of one of the most important criminal judgments of the year”, reports seasoned legal commentator, lawyer and writer, Richard Ackland.

The Tory world is in turmoil. Right-wing hacks and flacks led by News Corp, nutcase Andrew Bolt, thresh about protesting victim Pell’s innocence, slagging off Victoria’s judiciary and declaring war on the rule of law.

“Never any hope of justice for George Pell. He was too big a scalp for the howling mob,” tweets Bettina Arndt.

Could a Cardinal be so publicly undone? Could a high priest of our ruling elite, a fully-paid member of the board of Reactionary Australia Inc. be brought to heel? Could our rulers be held accountable? Perish the thought. Look at Crown.

The kid gloves are on in the federal government’s treatment of St James Packer’s Crown Casino where there is report from a whistle-blower that ought to be hair-raising. It’s a whale of a tale of high-rollers being fast-tracked through immigration, equipped with escorts before a restorative punt is followed up by a refreshing wildlife shoot.

Crown is a cathedral to our new age of mad depravity, infinitely more popular than any offering of the Catholic Church and more powerful. Crown’s backers rule our politics as the gun lobby does America’s, as former Victorian Premier John Cain observes.

Cain, whose government decided as early as 1983 that to build a casino would be to invite organised crime, warned of the power, grace and charm of casino lobbyists in 1990,  “Within three weeks of me going in August 1990, they had not only battered the doors down, but they were in the lounge room pissing on the furniture.”

Sensibly, heeding their mandate from silent Australians to leave no depth unplumbed, the Morrison government summons a toothless watchdog, no-one’s ever heard of.

Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI), a Clayton’s investigator, is agreed upon by both major parties, to allow our gambling lobby to continue to uplift the moral tone of the nation, growing jobs and building wealth, especially in the off-shore bank accounts of Crown Casino and its coterie of money-launderers.

Conspiracy theorists swarm to depict poor, vulnerable Georgie Boy as the innocent victim of a Gillard-leftist-Victoria Police-Nine News plot. In the midst of this fertile, national conversation, Scott Morrison shrewdly chooses to announce he’s just engulfed us in another US oil war which his BFF, another vainglorious lout, the dangerously demented Donald Trump is brewing up against arch-fiend Iran in the Straits of Hormuz.

“200 troops”, he says out of the corner of his mouth. “Limited to six months,” he says. “Or longer, as the case may be” he says, skipping away.  Marise Payne, repeats his de-escalation double-speak, almost word-perfect as so sundry other MPs as interviews are merely an excuse for the re-iteration of central minders’ talking points.

Happily, the week brings the anniversary of Scott Morrison’s hugely undistinguished year in office, after knifing Malcolm Turnbull in a double, double-cross. His government has no energy, no environment, no economic or climate change policies, no vision and no shame. But it’s cranking up Robo-debt to go after elderly age pensioners. That blessed surplus won’t accrue all by itself.

No-one in government fusses over the two thousand who die after receiving Robo-debt letters between July 2016 and October 2018.  It’s not difficult to envisage a link between their deaths and the debt letters.

Yet Morrison is now the best PM ever, according to the worst, “lying rodent” John Howard, the PM who did most to unpick the threads of a prosperous, progressive, cosmopolitan and egalitarian society and who lied to parliament and people that he had legal opinion to join the illegal US war in Iraq.

Howard also wrote a glowing reference for George Pell.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button

 

 

The List Of Strange Bedfellows – If You’ll Pardon The Expression.

Sorry, but I’m off to New Zealand in a couple of days and this may be my last post for a couple of weeks. The trouble is that I’m having difficulty working out which of the interesting potential targets to write about. I’ve started to compile a list.

  1. Peter Dutton calls asylum seekers, “Armani refugees” and tells us all that they’re not fleeing war but are, in fact, economic refugees. How then have they been judged to be worthy of asylum? Surely this is a failure of his government to identify them and send them back.
  2. The “No” Campaign expresses outrage that people are being sent one text message urging them to vote “Yes”, labelling it an invasion of privacy. Cory Bernardi announces his intention to robocall a million homes with a two-minute recording of him speaking, which he then follows with a survey of voting intentions. I suspect that he’ll achieve a 100% “No” vote with his survey, as nobody else would listen to him for three minutes. Actually I suspect that he’d get close to 100% if the question was are you my wife or a paid supporter?
  3. Tony Abbott has a column in the paper telling us that Australians don’t like being told what to do and think and the fact that the “Yes” campaign is trying to influence us could backfire. Leaving aside the obvious point that the “No” campaign is also telling us what to think, this could be a valid point. Abbott follows it up, however, by telling the NRL that they shouldn’t have Macklemore at the Grand Final. Apparently, only ex-PMs are allowed to tell us what to do… And only if they aren’t members of the Labor Party.
  4. Malcolm Turnbull goes on “The Project” and gloats that Waleed Aly was wrong about suggesting that Australians couldn’t conduct a civil debate on marriage equality. When Waleed says hang on and points out that there’s been violence and bullying and some really nasty comments, Turnbull bristles and tells him that this has only been from a minority and most people have been ok. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think that anybody was suggesting that the majority of people would conduct themselves badly; it was always about the minority.
  5. Tony Abbott, a free enterprise champion, suggests bringing in the army to take over gas supplies.
  6. Malcolm Roberts argues that a) he believed that he was never a British citizen and b) that he attempted to renounce any claim by sending of an email headed “Am I Still A British Citizen?” This is akin to arguing that I’m not guilty of bigamy because I never believed that I was married and sending off an email with the words, “Has the divorce come through yet?”
  7. Andrew Bolt. Almost anything he says about the Liberal Party/Churches/big companies when compared to anything he says about the Left/Bill Shorten/The Greens/companies that aren’t doing what he thinks that they should.
  8. Turnbull tells us we have a gas problem. Then he tells us it’s Labor’s fault because they should have done something about it four years ago even though, nobody in his government has done anything about it in the past four years. Then he tells us that it’s worse than he thought. Then he tells us he’s solved it becasue the gas supplies have agreed to sell to Australian companies for only a little bit more than what they’re selling to overseas companies.

The list goes on…

I have a plane to catch.

See you in a week or so!

Pell Arrives Back; Turnbull Hitches A Ride And Jeff Spills The (Coffee) Beans!

The ABC news this morning told me that Cardinal Pell had arrived back in Australia to face “historical sexual assault charges”. Now, I’m not commenting on the veracity of those charges because – as many people have pointed out – it would be wrong to deny the man a fair trial. Commenting on trials in progress is something that’s reserved for terrorism offences, but it’s the use of the word “historical” that has me bemused.

historical
hɪˈstɒrɪk(ə)l/Submit
adjective
-of or concerning history or past events.
-belonging to the past.
-(especially of a novel or film) set in the past.

Assuming we can eliminate the idea that the ABC is trying to suggest that this whole thing is a novel or film, we are left with two definitions both of which suggest that these are charges concerned with events that happened in the past.

Which is, of course, only fair because I’m sure we’d all have concerns if anyone was being charged with events that were allegedly happening in the future.

So, given anyone with half a brain and even members of the right faction of Turnbull’s government would presume that these were charges relating to things that have happened in the past, one wonders why the ABC feels it necessary to emphasise the “historical” nature of the events.

Do we get that with any other news?

“Youths charged with causing historical damage at detention centre”
“Liberals announce historical policy on marriage equality”
“Man charged with historical murder”
“Turnbull gets historical ride with Donald Trump”

Which reminds me, I meant to spend this morning writing about the great example Turnbull has set for saving money.Yep, he’s learned from Bronwyn’s infamous helicopter ride, and not only did he hitch a ride with Donald Trump, but he managed to get Macron to take him in the French plane by suggesting that because of the parlous position of Australia’s finances, both he and Lucy would be walking unless they could raise bus fare by passing round the hat, at which point the French president told him that there was room for an extra couple of passengers so long as he didn’t tell the story about how his good mate Donald gave him a lift from the hotel because everyone at the G20 had heard it at least twice.

As for his time in “the Beast” (which is the nickname for the US President’s car and not some strange initiation ritual a la David Cameron), Malcolm tells us that it was a great opportunity for some private conversation. Of course, given the famous “private conversation” where Donald was caught on tape giving his advice on “pussy” grabbing, one wonders whether it’s a wise move to accept a lift from from the Trumpeter. However, I do appreciate that the journey from the hotel to the venue would be plenty of time for both men to share all they know and to talk about the principles that they both hold dear.

But I digress… I was speculating about the use of the word “historical”.

I wanted to make it clear that I didn’t see it as an attempt by the ABC to make the charges seem less significant. Just as I didn’t mean to suggest that Miranda Devine’s suggestion that the police had made the whole thing up to distract us from the fact that there are crimes being committed as we speak, and they’re failing to catch and charge people with these historical crimes. Similarly, Andrew Bolt’s defence of George as a top bloke who historically did a lot of good historical things like launch the historical Melbourne Response just because someone needed to do something.

Jeff Kennett had a few words to say about the Melbourne Response in his column, by the way. According to Jeff:

“When evidence of pedophilia within the Catholic Church was getting increasing publicity in the mid-1990s, I invited the then archbishop Pell to my office for a coffee. It might be said that two robust individuals had a robust discussion. I suggested to the archbishop that it would be advisable if, as head of the Catholic Church in Victoria, he addressed the charges of pedophilia in a public and vigorous way.

“If not, I told him, the state of Victoria would. I did not want to take that action because I thought the church should address its behaviour and assist those it had abused, and it was not an area I felt comfortable that politicians could address. Fortunately, Pell accepted my invitation, went away and delivered what was called the Melbourne Response.

“Whether those initiatives were as complete as required, I do not know. But Pell was the first leader of any church or organisation confronted by pedophilia charges to act and he did so quickly and firmly. George Pell is innocent until found guilty of any offence. Until then he has my support and friendship.”

Now one of my nasty left-wing friends – and let’s be clear here, as Andrew Bolt tells us all left-wing people are nasty – had the temerity to suggest that the sentence: “It might be said that two robust individuals had a robust discussion” suggests that the Melbourne Response wasn’t something that George was all that keen on and that it was only with pressure from Kennett that he instituted something.

However, I imagine that the conversation was robust because they were both such robust characters.

“George, I’ve invited you here for coffee because I want to discuss your response to the accusations!”
“Jeff, I want to discuss my response!”
“Good, you do that!”
“I will!”
“SO WILL I!”
“I intend to respond strongly.”
“OK, BUT I THINK YOU SHOULD RESPOND ROBUSTLY.”
“I ALWAYS respond ROBUSTLY!”
“Great! Now, MILK?”
“PLEASE!”
“Sugar?”
“Definitely not!”

Or something like that. Anyway, what does it matter whose idea it was. It’s all historical.

Abbott Supporters Still Pyning Away!

Well, thank god those days of dysfunctional government are over and the adults are back in charge. No, really, they’ve told us many, many times that they’re the awesomest government and they’re really good and besides Bill smells and has no friends and nobody likes him and we’re going to call him names until he cries because that’s the way adults do things…

Anyway, I must say that the events of the past few days remind me yet again of why people are rather cynical of politicians. For those of you who haven’t followed the events surrounding Christopher “The Fixer” Pyne, it goes something like this.

  1. Pyne was speaking to a group of like-minded Liberals. An amazing thing in itself. He not only mentioned that he and George had always voted for Malcolm the Magnificent, but that changes to the marriage laws may not be all that far away.
  2. Even though this was not a public forum somebody leaked it to Andrew Bolt.
  3. Tony Abbott immediately suggested that Pyne’s “confession that he has made to his close colleagues in the Left faction” demonstrated that he’d been disloyal while a member of his leadership team because, well, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote for someone else when you’re a member of Cabinet apparently. (Let’s leave aside the rather strange idea that there is a “left faction” in the Liberals. Ok, there may be some that are less right, but it’s a bit like talking about the intelligent faction of One Nation.)
  4. There are lots of anonymous sources suggesting that Pyne must be replaced because his comments suggested that he wanted to change government policy and that he should support government policy at all times.
  5. Turnbull and Pyne both come out and say that there’ll be no change to government policy, which is nicely ambiguous because the suggestion from some was that a couple of Liberals were going to introduce a private member’s bill and attempt to get legislation through with a few committed souls crossing the floor. That, of course, wouldn’t require a change to government policy.
  6. There is still anger towards Christopher Pyne for suggesting that he supported something that isn’t government policy.
  7. Tony Abbott puts aside his anger to publicly release a manifesto of exactly what the government should do, which is somehow different from Pyne’s sin of saying it behind closed doors, because nobody has a problem with this at all, even though, at face value, suggesting that the government policy needs to change doesn’t seem to be supporting current government policy.

That about catches you up. So now we can carefully examine Tony’s manifesto without being all caught up on whether Malcolm will sack Christopher or whether a whole bunch of Liberals will join Cory Bernardi’s party and bring down the government.

I did notice that the headline on one of the articles about Tony’s plan implied that it was a plan to help the Liberals get re-elected. Now, if he simply wants to help the Liberals get re-elected, I have a very simple one for him. It’s what they told the sheep farmer: “Just shut the flock up!”

However, I’m sure that Mr Abbott would argue that his ideas are not simply about being returned at the next ballot (whether that’s the ballot for Liberal leader or the next federal one), but that they’re real solutions that will take Australia back to its glory days when men were men, the Queen was beloved by all and we all rode on the sheep’s back… in a purely economic sense, of course, because nobody – not even Cory Bernardi – would have even thought to suggest that we were on a slippery slope toward bestiality.

Mr Abbott, as he usually does, covered a range of ideas. Yep, that is a euphemism for saying that the poor man is unable to stay on any given topic for more than a couple of minutes without exhausting his knowledge. Young Tony asserted the need to cut immigration before following up with complaints about political parties surrendering to populism. Now, I guess some will think that this is a bit hypocritical, but let me remind you that it’s only when somebody else does something that a lot of people agree with that it’s populism, when one does it oneself, it’s bowing to the will of the people in line with democratic principles. Along with Mr Abbott’s misgivings about populism and the whole political spectrum moving to the left, he was also concerned about school funding and energy targets. School funding, he speculated, had moved in the wrong direction, although he wasn’t clear about what he meant by that, although he has made it clear in the past that he thinks that private schools should be getting a lot more than they are. And the Senate shouldn’t be have so much power to block the government and he proposed measures that would enable a joint sitting without the need for a double dissolution. Nobody asked him why he tried to block so much government legislation when he was in Opposition, if he felt that the Senate was an unnecessary obstacle. Similarly, nobody suggested that this might be a problem when those silly Labor people get back in. Perhaps, Tony has a plan to ensure that only conservatives can be elected in future; perhaps he’s quite happy to allow Labor to introduce all those things that the Senate has rejected in the past. Whatever, it surely couldn’t be because a man who was once our PM wouldn’t have thought his idea through.

And then, there were his ideas on energy. Listening to Finkel – whom the current government commissioned to work out the best solutions, or at least some solutions, because we’ve already rejected some even if they are the best – would be a terrible mistake. No, it’s better just to make up your own mind because that way you don’t get confused by a lot of nasty facts. No, we should freeze the renewable target at 15% and stop any new wind farms because we may have an energy shortfall and building more wind farms would help reduce this shortfall, but not by using coal and so, therefore, it doesn’t fit the criteria of good energy policy. Let’s be quite clear here, renewables are being subsidised and we don’t like that. We think that the market should decide and if the market doesn’t want to build any new coal-fired power stations then the government should go it alone and build one itself. There now, that’s perfectly consistent, isn’t it?

A spokesman for Mr Turnbull said that he had no plans to change government policy. When asked if he had any plans at all, the spokesman said that he’d check with the PM but he was almost certain that he had been talking about his intention to develop a plan at the first available opportunity.

Labor’s Scurrilous Lie On Medicare!

Ok, we all know that if Labor is elected that our borders will be weaker, the deficit will blow out, the tax cuts for companies won’t go through, it’ll rain all day except in drought areas and the chooks will stop laying. Not only that, we won’t have the stability that we now have because Labor changed Prime Minister twice in six years and the Liberal have only done it once in three years.

However, it’s the Labor Party who are running a scare campaign on Medicare. The Liberals have no plan to privatise it. Didn’t Malcolm say “never ever” and while some people are reminded of John Howard’s “never ever” on the GST or Tony Abbott’s “ironclad guarantee” on the Medicare safety net before the 2004 election, that’s rather unfair on Mr Turbull. He’s not the sort of man to say one thing one moment, and another the next. He said that he supports same sex marriage and the Republic and action on climate change, and he still supports all those things. Ok, he may not do anything about them but that’s because he’s been busy with the job of being PM. It’s a big job which involves working very, very hard to ensure that Labor isn’t elected because they’ve promised action on all the things that Turnbull supports, and if that happened there’d be nothing left for Turnbull to do if he ever actually gets into power instead of just being the figurehead.

Some people have unkindly suggested that the Brexit vote should be good for Labor because it should show the people the consequences of not thinking before you vote and just blindly taking your lead from the Murdoch papers. Only after the vote to leave the EU, the argument goes, did Rupert’s papers start to explain what the consequences of leaving would be. Surely it should be a wakeup call to the people of Australia. However, this overlooks the fact that most people who read Andrew Bolt will hardly be aware that the vote took place, let alone the fact that many of the “Leave” voters are rather unhappy now that they’re discovering that it may have consequences that they hadn’t considered. Not only that, but the leaders of the “Leave” campaign, such as UKIP’s Nigel Farrage now saying that they never promised that there’d be oodles of extra cash for spending on Health… Somebody else painted that “promise” on the side of buses.

But let me be quite clear here. Labor’s suggestion that just because the Liberals have a Medicare Privatisation unit set up is no reason to think that Medicare would ever be privatised. If you’ve still got doubts I suggest that you read this article from “The Guardian” written last year:

There now, what could be clearer than that. They don’t want to privatise anything. They just think it would be better if the whole thing were opened up to competition from the private sector. I mean, look how long you spend waiting to speak to someone at Centrelink, whereas when you ring any private company, your call is answered by the next available operator.

No, there’s no doubt at all. The Government has given us their assurance and they know that if they lied to us, there’d be consequences. Why just remember how people over-reacted when Tony Abbott’s “No cuts” statements were misinterpreted as meaning that they wouldn’t cut spending. People got very cross and they had to change Prime Ministers. If Turnbull was lying, why the Liberals would just have to change leaders again to appease people. And Malcolm certainly doesn’t want that. As he keeps saying, “It’s a very exciting time to be Australian now that I’m PM and anybody who isn’t saying how lucky they are is just an ungrateful whinger!”

So vote Liberal this Saturday. You know that Medicare is safe and will “never ever” be privatised and that the plan to let Telstra manage the data has been shelved and was never a real plan like the one where they support jobs and growth. You know the one; if we create enough jobs at $4 an hour then there’ll be a really big growth in the bank balances of the people employing them.

Day to Day Politics: I have never done this before (quote Andrew Bolt)

Thursday 3 February 2016

1 Last Month, long-time admirer and defender of Cardinal George Pell said that Pell was a victim of ‘one of the most vicious witch hunts to disgrace this country. It is shameful. Disgusting. Frightening.’

‘People pretending to be moral have competed with each other to slime Pell as the defender of paedophiles, if not a paedophile himself.’

‘One would hope that this inquiry can go forward in the spirit of actually finding the truth, not being a witch hunt and perhaps giving George Pell more benefit of the doubt than a lot of media has given him.’

After listening to Pell’s evidence.

‘Those words about the Ridsdale case – where George Pell said that it was a sad story but it was not of interest to me – I just think those will be hung around his neck for the rest of his career.’

‘Whether or not he directly knew – and the case against him is circumstantial – did he actually do what was necessary for any moral person and pursue the interests of the children being abused? And on that ground I think the case against him is very damning.’

‘I think it’s a disaster I really do. I thought it was awful and in once sense it was so awful because it fit into the narrative but it also seems to confirm a pattern … that he hadn’t picked up hints.’

‘Either he is lying when he said he never knew … was never told or that he wasn’t diligent in following up the kind of clues that were picked up by a number of other people.’

‘Here is the question now for the royal commission into sex abuse of children: is the Vatican’s third-most powerful leader a liar when he says he never knew what Ridsdale, his colleague, was doing in Ballarat?’

‘Or was he just dangerously indifferent to his responsibilities and to the warning signs that children were being raped?’

Bolt wrote in his column that his evidence would:

‘Stain his reputation forever.’

‘Or was he just dangerously indifferent to his responsibilities and to the warning signs that children were being raped?’

‘But the devastating admission drawn from Pell by Gail Furness SC, counsel assisting the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, was that he never bothered to ask.’

‘Now a royal commission seems poised to consider whether this prince of the Catholic Church is a liar.’

Not surprisingly, Bolt has secured ‘an exclusive, one-on-one interview with Cardinal Pell’ which will air on Friday morning on 2GB and Sky News.

Leigh Sales tweeted: If Cardinal Pell decides he no longer wants to honour his interview with Andrew Bolt, I’d be delighted to welcome him on 7.30 for a chat.’

I make this point: What Bolt said in essence is correct. In Tuesday’s evidence Pell again blamed everybody else. He was the most uninformed man on the planet. Everyone was so afraid of him they wouldn’t tell him a thing. Everyone knew but it was all hidden from him.

The evidence has not surprised anyone who has followed his evidence and his character over a long period. Was Bolt that naive, that ignorant, that this all comes as a surprise to him? His obliviousness matches that of the Cardinal.

Did he go to Rome with the intent of defending his friend of the right only to be informed of his culpability?

Bolt’s posture of blind ignorance is as hard to believe as is the Cardinal’s. It’s the greatest backflip since I, as 8-year-old, accidentally fell from the high tower at the Brunswick baths in 1950.

2 So much happens on a day-to-day basis that it’s difficult at times to keep abreast of it all. For example, you will recall that Tony Abbott wanted to be rid of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The good news is that it is now not the Government’s agenda even though the Government could still call a double-dissolution election on the matter.

3 Speaking of Double Dissolutions the Senate Reform Bill now looks like being passed. Yes, a Bill that three days ago couldn’t possibly be changed, now with the support of the Greens has been amended in two significant ways. Yep we can move fast when it suits us. A 4 hour inquiry and a report 12 hours later did the trick.

Nothing like a quickie when you’re frustrated.

4 Now, more about that 50/50 Essential Poll. This Poll is important. A Facebook friend explains:

‘The thing about the Essential Poll is that it is a rolling poll it averages out over several polls. So the 50 – 50 result in this survey compares to the 52 – 48 to the LNP in the last one. Then that necessitates that the raw figures are a whole lot worse for the LNP than even these numbers suggest. I would love to see what those number are!!!!  So the Essential Research rolling aggregate records an unusually sharp move away from the Coalition, and finds strong support for Senate reform legislation.

The normally placid Essential Research fortnightly rolling average records a rare two-point shift on two-party preferred this week, which eliminates a settled 52-48 lead for the Coalition over previous weeks. Particularly remarkable is a three-point increase in the Labor primary vote, from 35% to 38%, although the Coalition is down only one to 43%, and the Greens are steady on 10%.’

5 Essential also features is a very detailed question on Senate reform, in which the legislation was explained to respondents in meticulous detail, producing a result of 53% approval and 16% disapproval.

6 A question on election timing finds 56% wanting the election held later this year versus 23% who want it called early, although the distinction is an increasingly fine one.

7 Also featured: most important election issues (health topping the list, followed by economic and cost-of-living concerns), best party to handle them (Labor for industrial relations and environment, Coalition for national security and the economy, although Labor has a slight lead on housing affordability) and perceptions of the parties as right or left-wing (indicating Labor is seen as more centrist than the Coalition, although there is little sense that this has changed in recent years).

Essential conducts it’s polling weekly and is accompanied by a survey. For me the stand out figure in its surveys is always the very high ‘Don’t know’ answers.

8 This month in 2013 the then Prime Minister said: ‘There is a budget emergency.’

Since then:

The deficit has doubled.

Net debt is up 59.8 billion.

Spending is at GFC levels.

Unemployment is up 74,500

Wages growth is at an all-time low.

9 There will be many in the Labor Party happy to see the back of the much hated Union backed Catholic Senator Joe Bullock. His replacement, ‘the father of reconciliation’ Pat Dobson is an excellent replacement. One MP summed up his feelings saying:

‘Good riddance to the big fat rat.’

Bullock got the Senator’s position with a factional stitch up mired in controversy at the time. He is well-known as being anti things not Catholic.

My thought for the day.

‘Leadership is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of life and grow over time. They govern moral choices and demonstrate empathy toward others. It is far better for those with these qualities to lead rather than follow. In fact it is incumbent on them.’

 

Day to Day Politics: Hunting with hypocrisy.

Thursday 11 February 2016

1 The news that Greg Hunt has received an award as ‘Best Minister in the World’ will be received with much scepticism by many Australians. Even hilarity.

Mr Hunt told Fairfax Media he was “genuinely humbled” by the prize, but noted “this is really an award for Australia”.

The criteria for winning the award, according to the organisers, is that the minister should lead quality successful initiatives that serve the needs of citizens.

Any economist, environmentalist or climate scientist or journalist specialising in the subject would be aghast that a person who has done so much harm to environmental policy could be honoured with an award.

Politics in this country is rapidly turning to farce. First we make Philip Ruddock our Human Rights Envoy, and now this!

Internationally, in environmental gatherings Hunt is referred to as the man for all seasons. He has long been admired for his ability to put the case for Direct Action without ever explaining exactly how it might work. Or how it might be paid for.

He gained a masters with honours in 1990 with a brilliantly argued thesis for a carbon tax to reduce carbon emissions. Then he did an about turn when Abbott gained power supporting Direct Action. It was then that he lost all credibility and has been ridiculed ever since.

There is an award at every climate summit called ‘The Fossil of the Day’. The award is given by the international Climate Action Network to the country which has done the most to block progress at the climate change negotiations.

We are a regular recipient of this award.

2 The Polls are beginning to reveal the electorate’s disapproval of the government’s pathetic handling of the GST proposal and general Tax Reform.

It has become so silly that the State Ministers and Chief Ministers had to recently cancel a meeting on tax reform because they had no idea what on earth they should be talking about.

Essential this week has the Coalition 51/49 and Morgan 52.5/47.5.

“Morgan finds serious slippage in support for the Coalition for the first time since Malcolm Turnbull became leader, bringing it more closely into line with Essential Research, which continues to find the Coalition with a narrow lead. Morgan also finds serious slippage in support for the Coalition for the first time since Malcolm Turnbull became leader, bringing it more closely into line with Essential Research, which continues to find the Coalition with a narrow lead.’’

An observation:

Is it morally sustainable that in order to protect our borders that we should allow the indefinite incarceration of people? The sexual abuse of children. The rape of women and the murder of men. If it is so then by any fair judgement we must be a decadent society.

3 Health Minister Susan Ley said her department may outsource Government healthcare payments using innovative high-tech methods. I’m ok with that provided substantial safeguards are built-in and the work is conducted within Australia.

But the continuous floating of thought bubbles on top of an as yet unexplained narrative of why all these changes are warranted, is disconcerting.

4 The Stuart Robert scandal is taking a highly familiar road to nowhere. We have to wait on yet another report. The AFP are still to report on Mal Brough. We are still waiting on the report on parliamentary expenses and ICACs ruling on Arthur Sinodinos. Mounting a paper bill that might yet keep the paper mill in Morwell open. It is struggling because the government won’t buy its Reflex copy paper.

That aside, with the imminent retirement of Nationals leader Truss and Trade Minister Andrew Robb, Turnbull faces a nightmare of a cabinet reshuffle.

5 The ABC made a mistake in falsely reporting that a 5-year-old had been raped on Nauru. When it confirmed an error had been made it apologised. And correctly so.

I made the following remark on a Facebook debating site:

It’s a pity other news sources didn’t apologise when they make mistakes.

The following transpired:

Jack: Perhaps you could lead by example, John.

Me: Healthy thing to do, Jack.

Jack: You would be busy for quite some time bringing things up to date.

Me: How long do you think it would take Bolt, Jack?

Jack: I don’t believe Bolt lies – in fact the press would rip into him if he did. And that is irrelevant. We are talking about you.

Me: Two court cases and the Press Council think he does, Jack.

Me again: It would be a good idea if all media outlets corrected their errors.

Jack: Well that means nothing until proven guilty and I know you’re spreading lies and bullshit every time you post.

Jack again: We are talking about you, John Lord. Like all lefties you love to deflect and not take responsibility for your own actions.

Me: Two courts found him guilty of lying and the press council asked him to retract.

Jack: We are talking about you, John Lord. Like all lefties you love to deflect and not take responsibility for your actions.

Me: Jack, you are talking about me. I am not.

Jack: Like I said you deflect and won’t take responsibility for your actions.

Me: What am I deflecting from, Jack? All I suggested that it was a good idea for media outlets to own up when they make a mistake.

Geoff: Send them a terse letter, John. Let us know the response.

Jack: You are deflecting from my comment you should lead by example.

Rohan: That’s the AIMN guy’s modus operandi. Call all the media liars and de-flectors, then double down on lying and deflecting. Shouldn’t be surprised, Jack. It’s the only way they can cobble together their contrarian views.

An observation:

Social media has opened the world to a new method of communication. Unfortunately it has also given a voice to the nutters.

I recalled some lines from an old West Indian folk song:

‘It was as clear as mud and it covered the ground. And the confusion made me brain go round.’

6 Former PM Tony Abbott has warned disenchanted voters may be tempted to “flirt” with extreme right-wing parties.

What was it he was leading?

7 Gillian Triggs is reported as saying that the PM reversed a decision to include her on the selection panel for the sex discrimination commissioner and was not consulted about Ruddock being appointed Human Rights envoy:

My Thought for the day:

Never be burdened by the negativity of others. Wear positively as if your life depended on it’.

 

Day to Day Politics. We have two Prime Ministers. Get used to it.

Friday 11 December

1 Tony Abbott as opposition leader was considered by many commentators as the best ever. What criteria they used for making this judgement is beyond my comprehension. He was however, successful at grabbing headlines with slogans.

How anyone could be judged efficacious by being constantly negative, sexist, ill-mannered and devoid of any policies is difficult to understand.

For me his negativity and lying made him unfit for public service.

That said, he did become Prime Minister. Then something truly remarkable happened in Australian politics. The Australian Prime Minister who was as opposition leader a person devoid of character, attempted a personality conversion to rival nothing hitherto seen in an Australian leader.

During his tenure as opposition leader he used colourful aggressive language. He was bullish in his attitude to others, particularly to the female Prime Minister of the day. His negativity was legendary. He was a repetitive liar by evidence and by his own admission. He held in contempt procedures of the House of Representatives and the conventions it upheld.

Prior to becoming opposition leader his reputation was of someone with a gutter mentality determined to obtain power at any cost.

One month into his term of office we were expected to believe that he had transformed into a mild-mannered, cultured man of some distinction. Walking the global stage as a gentleman with noble intent.

We were expected to put to one side the old Tony Abbott and embrace the new one with unbridled fondness.

We now know the attempt was an abysmal failure.

So lacking in leadership skills was his performance that his party did something it had never done before. They sacked him.

In his farewell speech he indicated that there would be no recriminations, no back stabbing or gossip. In true Abbott style he was just telling more lies. Just laying the groundwork for a future comeback. Well in his eyes anyway.

Every utterance since gives every indication that rather than exit the door of public service with dignity and grace, he plans to hang around, write opinion pieces, make speeches and generally make life as hard for Turnbull as he possibly can.

He intends to be himself, offering an alternative, probably negative view on everything. It almost seems like he has elected himself as the de facto PM in waiting for a bunch of weird right-wing supporters whose world view is a relic of a time long past.

From now on we should become used to Turnbull promoting his and his government’s views followed by Abbott’s conservative version of the same thing.

And I don’t think it will be just the occasional comment. He will adopt his opposition style of gutterish, in your face politics. He will say that we play our politics hard and in his own deluded way pretend that in some strange way it is legitimate.

Should make for exciting times. Andrew Bolt will of course appoint himself to the position of media advisor.

2 Australia wins ‘fossil of the day’ for Julie Bishop’s coal speech at Paris climate talks.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has told a sideline event at the climate talks in Paris that there is a long future ahead for fossil fuels.

At an Indonesian event on transitioning to a low-carbon economy, Ms Bishop indicated long-term change would come not through immediate action, but through as-yet-undiscovered or undeveloped technologies.

Technological breakthroughs and innovation will drive much of the change that will underpin the transition to a low-carbon economy.

That means coal-fired power generation is here to stay,” she said.

Ms Bishop went on to underline the importance of fossil fuels for economic growth.

Fossil fuels will remain critical to promoting prosperity, growing economies, alleviating hunger for years to come,” she said.

It is a fact that energy is a mainstay of our respective countries’ export markets and underpins economic growth.

3 As if to empathise the so-called ‘Broad church’ absurdity of the Liberal Party,  Bronwyn Bishop says she will recontest her seat of Mackellar, telling Liberal Party supporters on Sydney’s northern beaches that the “threat of terrorism” had convinced her she needs to remain in Parliament.

The 73 year-old former Speaker told guests at a Christmas drinks party at her Newport home on Tuesday evening that she had been “exonerated” over the “choppergate” expenses scandal and was energised to serve another three-year term as an MP.

4 Diagnosed with early onset dementia young Wyatt Roy says he can’t recall asking Peter Slipper’s staffer James Ashby to illegally copy his official diaries.

5 In Victoria the acting Auditor-General Peter Frost found the business case for the East West Link:

. . . did not provide a sound basis for the government’s decision to commit to the investment.

Key decisions during the project’s planning, development and procurement phases were driven by an overriding sense of urgency to sign the contract before the November 2014 state election. Signing the contract in these circumstances was imprudent and exposed the state to significant cost and risk.

6 I quite liked these lines, amongst others from Bernard Keane on the Abbott prescription from Islam:

“Islam never had its own version of the Reformation and the Enlightenment,” Abbott wrote in the Telegraph.

“It’s commendably broad-minded of Abbott to suggest that the two signal anti-Catholic events of the last 500 years were such good things that Islam should ape them. But perhaps Muslims in the Mediaeval era were too busy developing algebra, inventing effective surgical techniques, revolutionising optical theory, understanding that the Earth revolved around the sun, trading with China, discovering coffee and keeping key classical texts that the West had lost so they could be rediscovered in later centuries, to fit in a Reformation.”

“Oh, and the Reformation had a death toll in the millions as Europe tore itself apart over nuances in superstition, including perhaps 11 million casualties in the Thirty Years’ War, during which the population of many German states was reduced by up to 40%. Is that what Abbott has in mind for Muslims?”

And on that subject the Grand Mufti says Tony Abbott’s call for Islamic Reformation plays into extremists’ hands by conflating Islam with terror. He is correct of course.

7 The unemployment rate fell to 5.8 per cent in November after the jobs market added another 71,400 positions to October’s extraordinary gain of almost 60,000.

The only negative is that the ABS is still working on its methodology. These don’t add up.

Read this summary by John Kelly.

MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

“Our lives should be subject to constant reflection, otherwise the way forward is locked into the constraints of today’s thoughts”.

PS: IT REALLY DOES HELP IF YOU SHARE. Thanks.

 

Day to Day Politics. Climate Change: A lay person’s dilemma

Wednesday 9 December.

1 The Paris Climate talks are now in their third week. The coverage of this most important and crucial event in the Australian media has been simply sickening. Only the ABC, The Guardian and Fairfax have given it the treatment it so earnestly deserves. Murdoch has given it little coverage.

In a piece for THE AIMN I said this:

“How does the layperson like me reach a view on such subjects without any formal training? It’s simple. There are many areas (medicine for example) that I don’t have a deep analytical grasp. Like many others I listen to experts, apply common sense, observation and what my life experience tells me. It is not difficult to understand a theory. Generally people assume that a theory (for example the theory of evolution) is something unproven”.

In the scientific world, a theory is something that has evolved to fit known facts.

Conversely, those who deny Climate Change and the overwhelming scientific consensus seek to justify their belief by attaching themselves to a minority of science deniers with obscure qualifications or worse, to right-wing shock jocks and journalists with no scientific training what so ever. These people have no way of evaluating the volume of data produced by the various scientific institutions. One of the most outspoken deniers (Andrew Bolt) has, in recent times, been found guilty of deceptive lying in that he defamed some white skinned aboriginals. The Press Council also made him correct misleading figures in one of his articles. One has to wonder how many he has told when writing about his favourite topic climate change.

So for the layperson the choice is to listen to the science or default to the opinions of the Bolts of this world.

And in Paris the latest news is that the world’s biggest climate polluters rallied around a stronger target for limiting warming on Monday, saying they were open to the 1.5C goal endorsed by the most vulnerable countries.

In the final push to a climate agreement, the US, Canada, China and the European Union declared they were now on board with demands from African countries to adopt an even more ambitious goal to limit warming.

Now they are taking it seriously. Julie Bishop must be wetting herself.

2 Guardian Australia has two years to prove itself commercially viable according to a headline in Tuesday’s Australian. Now that a bit of a shocker coming from a newspaper that loses 25 million annually. If fact the only reason it is still in business is because of the power it yields. It has very little public readership but is the go to source for every conservative commentator in the country. It will die with Murdoch.

An observation.

‘It is a pity that fact in journalism cannot be made compulsory and decency legislated’.

3 Joe Hockey has said if he did not retire from the Parliament he would have been focused on “getting even with people” who contributed to his downfall as treasurer. What a shocking indictment of politics in general and his party in particular.

4 Donald Trump wants to close the United States borders to Muslims.

“Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people who believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” the billionaire real estate developer said.

I wonder if that should also apply to adults entering schools. Maybe tattoos next.

5 The Vladimir Putin Shirtfront won the Insiders Matt Price award in 2014. This year it was given to Christopher Pyne for his ‘I’m a fixer’ comment. There were some excellent entries. Abbott got the most nominations with his onion eating (without tears) act. Knighthoods, Good government starts today and in my opinion he should have been on a winner when he outrageously said that his ministers were performing fantastically well and it was all due to his magnificent leadership. Oh I forgot one. ‘Good government starts today’ Others nominated were Hockey’s ‘Just get a job. ’Scott Morrison for ‘There’s a boom up there’ Bronwyn Bishop ‘It was within the guidelines’ Then there were mentions of ministers with large packages, even snakes. There were many others but for the breadth of its audacity I’ll stick with my choice.

6 Now here is a conspiracy theory to end them all. Tony Abbott was toppled by Malcolm Turnbull, not because of gross incompetence. According to climate sceptic Christopher Monckton it was the UN who brought down Tony Abbott because of his anti-global warming views.

Wrong of course but he tells the truth about Abbott’s denialism.

MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

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

PS. Early warning. Day to Day in Politics will be taking a break over the Christmas and New Year Periods. I will however be posting some of my short stories, poetry and other things of interest.

 

George Brandis obviously wants two laws

Oh, shoot me, please.

Attorney General George Brandis has:

. . . hit out at criticism of Tony Abbott’s religious beliefs, describing the “ridicule” to which the former prime minister was subjected as “bigotry at its most shameless”.

He is further quoted as saying:

“The incessant sneering and ridiculing of the former prime minister, Mr Abbott, on account of his religious faith was bigotry at its most shameless – made worse, if possible, by the added hypocrisy of the fact that many of those who engaged in that sneering were the very same people who like to pose as the enemies of bigotry.”

Hypocrisy! Oh dear.

This is the same George Brandis who in 2014 (in defence of Andrew Bolt, one assumes) declared that:

”People do have a right to be bigots, you know,” Senator Brandis said.

“People have the right to say things that other people would find insulting, offensive or bigoted.”

So who is the hypocrite, George?

It seems that there are two laws in this country: one for ‘them’ and one for ‘us’.

You can count me as one of ‘us’.

Bill Shorten takes climate change seriously, so guess who isn’t happy with him?

‘The frontline of climate change’ was the appealing subject of the email I received from Labor this morning. It read:

We often talk about what effects climate change will have on our economy, or on agricultural land, or how many more natural disasters we’re likely to suffer.

What we talk about less is how climate change is affecting some of our closest neighbours right now. And it’s devastating. The Papua New Guinea and island nations in the pacific are facing real, existential threats from climate change.

Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek and Richard Marles are visiting these islands this week and talking to people about life at the frontline of climate change.

This is an issue that isn’t going to go away – we’re likely to see and hear a lot more about it as the International Climate Change Conference in Paris approaches at the end of this month. We’ll keep you informed as much as we can.

Now you’d think that’d be a good thing. Here we have a group of politicians and a political party taking climate change seriously and placing it front and centre on the table. And added to that, they are engaging with counties that are most likely to be the first victims of rapid change.

In most countries this concern and their initiative would be applauded. But they might just happen to be countries where the Murdoch media doesn’t have the same influence as it does here. Instead of it being applauded, we see it derided. Andrew Bolt of The Herald Sun led the way:

LABOR leader Bill Shorten will test the honesty of journalists this week when he tours Pacific Islands he claims are drowning.

Will they dare report that most of the islands are in fact growing or stable? Or will they again prove they cannot be trusted to tell the truth about the global warming scare?

Shorten and deputy Tanya Plibersek plan to visit Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

As the gullible Sydney Morning Herald announced: “Labor wants to put climate change at the centre of public debate in the run-up to a major United Nations summit in Paris later this year.

Sister paper The Daily Telegraph could only feature the story as one that will see ‘Bill Shorten . . . fly 16,000km on a private jet . . .’ and mock him with the image above with the caption ‘Labor overboard with private jet tour‘, while all that news.com.au wanted to tell us was that Bill Shorten danced awkwardly while in Kiribati with suggestions that it might give us a good reason to laugh at him.

One would think that the Murdoch media don’t like the idea of someone taking climate change seriously.

Personally, I’ve had it up to my teeth with the Murdoch media. How can any important issue or any non-Coalition politician get a fair run in this country while the Murdoch media has so much power and so many right-wing fanatics spreading the Murdoch gospel?

Abbott To Be Next High Commissioner To The United Kingdom?

Image from smh.com.au

Image from smh.com.au

OK, early last year when I told you that Malcolm Turnbull would be Prime Minister and lead the Liberals to the next election, I doubt that anybody believed me.

So when I tell you that Tony Abbott will be the next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, I suspect that many of you will find it difficult to believe.

“Tony?” you’ll be saying. “Our Tony giving up all that volunteer work with the fire brigade when he’s wanted to play fireman since he was a little boy? And leaving Australia for Britain where he’ll have precious few chances to wear his speedos? Impossible.”

“Besides,” you say. “He’s planning to come back. He’s probably gathering his storm troopers, putting on his Darth Vader mask and re-watching ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, all the while thinking that he can rid Australia once and for all of that troublesome republican if he can just master the Jedi mindtrick of making us all forget anything he’s ever said, like no cuts to health or education.”

“And,” you add, “what about poor Andrew Bolt. If he was heartbroken when Tony was dumped as PM, how will he cope if Mr Abbott leaves the country. His column will lose its edge and he’ll just become a blubbering, pathetic crybaby who won’t have the strength to continue his difficult juggling act of supporting Aussie values like a fair go for everyone and free speech, while arguing that anyone who disagrees with him shouldn’t be heard at all and that they’ve forfeited any rights by their refusal to join Team Australia.”

Yes, I understand. All true.

But just wait. The good wishes extended to Joe have mellowed our Tony. Even though he wasn’t there to see his old buddy’s farewell speech. Yep. Mr Abbott’s moving on to the next stage of grief – acceptance. He’s thinking how pleasant it is not to have your every move criticised. Time to lead a more sedate life as a High Commissioner.

Of course, how this will affect Margie’s business operations is a minor problem. Perhaps she can stay in Australia and he can stay in some police barracks in London. Or perhaps, Sir Philip of Edinburgh can put him up in one of the spare palaces … Whatever … Not important.

The important thing is that Abbott is going back to the mother country. As he said about his time over there in ‘Battlelines’, it’s like a homecoming.

Yes, just like with Mr Turnbull, I’m making it up.

And when it happens, it was just coincidence.

 

Why don’t they just go back to where they came from?

There was a protest against the proposed mosque in Bendigo.

I know this because, not only was it front page news this morning, but for the past few days various news sites -including the ABC – have been telling me that a protest was planned.

Well, estimates put the total number of protesters at about 600. And that includes the anti-racism protesters who went to protest the protest.

What other protest could get all that free lead-up publicity? Some of you lefties probably remember March in March and how extensively that was covered by the mainstream media. One can’t help but wonder why the Repulsive Right are given free advertising in the lead up to the event.

And, it’s not as though the organisers of the mosque protest were simply wishing to rid Australia of mosques. If they left their demands at “We can’t have Muslims in this country because they’re too intolerant”, I could simply say: So far, so hypocritical. But they want to silence lefties, greenies, Malcolm Turnbull and pretty much anyone who disagrees with them.

Racists we’re not racists, we hate everybody who isn’t part of our group … And even some of them are looking a bit dodgy lately. 

I could say that if they don’t like Bendigo’s laws – which after due process including an appeal to VCAT – allow a mosque to be built, why don’t these people go back where they came from? But I would never say such a thing because then I’d be a hypocryte.

And speaking of hypocrites. Do you remember the whole 18C thing? At least, I think it was 18C, it was a long time ago and like most people I’ve forgotten all about it. Now what was the problem?

That’s right. Andrew Bolt had been told that just because he wrote for a newspaper, he wasn’t allowed to make inaccurate claims when suggesting that people were claiming to be black for their own advantage. Or something like that. If I’ve got that wrong, I’m sure that I’ll have the same people springing to my defence saying that any attempt to demand accuracy is a flagrant violation of my first amendment right. (OK, I know we don’t have a first amendment right – or indeed any specific rights – in this country, but if Abbott can tell listeners that he’s taking the fifth amendment on Ray Hadley the other day, then what’s a little Americanisation between friends?)

Wasn’t the basic concern with 18C? Something like, if people (even people with a Dutch heritage) had to be concerned about whether their comment was racist – or accurate – then we were shutting down free speech. And remember the eloquent George Brandis when he reminded us:

“People do have a right to be bigots you know, In a free country people do have rights to say things that other people find offensive or insulting or bigoted.”

Mm, so I guess that’s why George Christensen felt it prudent to address a Reclaim Australia rally a few months ago. To reassure them that, even though the Liberals have gone cold on the whole repeal 18C thing, they still support people’s rights to be bigots.

But not everyone has the right to be a bigot or racist it seems. According to Tony Abbott in August, Bill Shorten shouldn’t be silent where racism is apparently present.

“This Leader of the Opposition is silent in the face of racism,” Abbott told us.

And according to a leaked copy of the script we’ll be seeing this ad from the Liberals:

The couple are watching the union attack ads on TV with the man’s parents.

Father: They’re at it again

Son: Who?

Father: A ratbag union in the building industry is running racist TV ads against the Chinese. Last year Bill Shorten was attacking the Japanese

Girlfriend: I thought Australia wasn’t like that?

Mother: Most Australians aren’t, love

Father: But some unions have been running racist campaigns for years

Son: Why doesn’t someone stop them?

Father: Bill Shorten should stop them.

Yep, that’s something that a lot of people agree on. Everything’s Bill’s fault… Although, I’m having trouble remembering Shorten attacking the Japanese. He did make reference to the fact that the last time we had Japs subs they were in Sydney Harbour which sounds more like one of his famous zingers than anything. I mean, it’s not as if he was actually critical of the Japanese for their attempted World War Two invasion, it was just an observation. He may have actually been praising them for their “skill and honour”, as the then PM, Tony Abbott did.

Ah, “as the then PM, Tony Abbott”. >Sigh<  Can’t wait to write “ex-PM” a few more times. By the way, did you see where he got a standing ovation from the NSW Liberals and Turnbull was heckled. And they mocked Labor, who only had Rudd working for his reinstatement. The Liberals seem to have a whole group who think that Shorten would be preferable to Turnbull.

But I digress …

Maybe instead of running a $25 million ad campaign, they should just invoke good ole 18C. Or would that be just too much of an about face?

Or is that if you tried to pin an actual racism charge on the CFMEU, you might find that trying to ensure that there’s adequate testing to make sure that jobs just don’t simply go to overseas workers has nothing to do with the race of the workers, and that the CFMEU would be attempting to ensure that they’re members were the ones getting the work even if the suggestion was that it would go to other Australians.

Whatever, I’d like someone to ask Mr Brandis whether the CFMEU have the right to be bigots or is it only Reclaim Australia and newspaper columnists?

 

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday 3 October

1 An observation:

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

2 Tony Abbott is the worst liar to ever have led our nation. His current round of radio interviews serves only to reinforce the public’s view of his lack of character, judgment and leadership.

3 Turnbull’s accession as Prime Minister seems to have cut the supply of crap to the shock jocks and other associated feral right wing commentators. It would be a shame if they went out of business altogether.

Turnbull’s focus on rhetoric at this early point is a sign only of a government acting carefully and slowly, as it should. It is no reason to be cynical. And his words are the right words, mostly; they give some reason for hope that Australian politics might be reinvented. I hope my side of politics is up to the challenge.

4 The news that Malcolm Turnbull plans to ditch Abbott’s harsh tone toward Muslims is to be welcomed. Abbott with disguised propaganda baited them at every opportunity.

5 Rosie Batty takes on Malcolm Turnbull over detention centers: “They must be shut down” she says. Of course she is right but he won’t act.

obama

6 I have never seen President Obama so angry. If ten people were killed in Australia, it would consume national attention for weeks. In America, the news cycle is likely to move on within days because fatal shootings have become almost routine. And that, in turn, is due to a complete failure by the political classes to change gun laws, even in the face of frequent tragedies and overwhelming evidence that gun restrictions work. The US might be the most technologically advanced country in the world but they are morally bankrupt.

Sunday 4 October

1 The most damaging indictment of Abbott’s post Prime Ministership comments so far is that he still believes his 2014 Budget was a fair one. He may have pledged there would be “no sniping” in his final prime ministerial conference. But he didn’t say anything about self-serving interviews, did he?

2 If Tony Abbott could justify having a Royal Commission into Unions for no other reason than political vindictiveness then surely Malcolm Turnbull should commence one into the Financial Planning of banks. How many lives have they destroyed as a result of bank corruption it makes Unions almost saintly?

3 Malcolm Turnbull’s managed to call a terrorist act by a 15 year off boy for what it was without vilifying Muslims and creating racist I’ll feeling. What a stark contrast to the manner in which Tony Abbott would have reacted.

4 Economic summits, Green papers, white papers, dunny papers, meetings, conferences, inquiries, advice, lobbyists, vested interests, ideology, budgets etc etc etc. Come on, Malcolm, it’s time for some action.

jeb5 Jeb Bush responds to Oregon mass shooting by saying “stuff happens“.

“Look, stuff happens. There’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not always the right thing to do”.

Bad stuff happened in the Bush family. That’s for sure.

6 It looks like only two refugees will now be settled in Cambodia at a cost of $55 million. Your taxes at work.

Monday 4 October

1 Dick Smith says Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be “ratting on typical Australians who pay their tax” if the Coalition goes through with plans to shield large private companies from having to disclose how much tax they pay. Their excuse is that disclosing their tax affairs would place them at risk of kidnapping and ransom attempts. What bull.

2 A phone hook up with Muslim leaders the PM and other concerned parties following the shooting by a 15 year… old boy has impressed the Muslim community. A bit different to Tony’s approach.

3 Switching from Insiders to The Bolt Report on Sunday was an experience. Mind you, I only lasted five minutes. It has transformed into the anti-Muslim anti-Turnbull hour. I think he realises Turnbull’s natural inclination toward thoughtful intellectualism and reason will be unsuited to his particular audience.

4 An observation:

“We expect democracy but we don’t demand it”.

5 State governments are being encouraged by Morrison and Coreman to open up the delivery of health and education services to the private sector. Private enterprise might do a lot of things better than government but it should never be let near health and education. When profit becomes the sole motivator the system fails everyone. They adhere to the privatisation of everything.

Tuesday 6 October

1 Andrew Bolt is reported to have said. “I have never understood why Rosie Battie is an oracle on violence against Women”. Invites a rhetorical question doesn’t it? Anyone dare me.

2 Water has been discovered on Mars. The bigger question however, given the way the affairs of life are conducted is – is there any intelligence on earth?

3 Isn’t it a pity that Peter Dutton couldn’t pursue the perpetrators of violence against asylum seekers on Nauru with the same vigor he shows for whistle blowers.

And now we are told that the Nauru government says 600 refugee claims to be processed in a week. Really, how is that possible? Does that mean that they will become permanent residents of Nauru? They won’t be settled in Australia. Where else could they go? What an immoral cop-out by an immoral Government. A life sentence on an island that has no future.

4 Tony Abbott didn’t lose the leadership of the Liberal Party because he was a failure or because he was “a woman hater” or a “crash-through insensitive bully with no people skills” or “too loyal” or “a homophobe”.

The real reason was because he listened to people like, Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Janet Albrechtson, Miranda Devine, Dennis Shanahan, Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny, Tom Switzer, Gerard Henderson, Paul Sheehan, News Corp editor Col Allan, The Australian editor-in-chief Steve Lewis, Michael Smith and Maurice Newman. Whoops, I nearly left out Rubert and the IPA?

Then he wondered why middle Australia could only conclude that he was the weirdo they always suspected he was. That’s why Abbott failed, and you don’t have to be a leftie – not even a little bit – to think so.

5 Morgan Polling has the LNP a mile in front of Labor at 56/44.

Wednesday 7 October

1 Hate to be cynical but the US has never signed a Trade Agreement that hasn’t in the first instance advantaged them. All the countries involved have said that they are winners which of course by definition is impossible. It is said that the agreement captures 40% of world GDP but no one mentions that 25% of that belongs to the US. Looking forward to the fine print. And because no independent assessment has been made how do we know the truth of its supposed benefits? As the saying goes; Look for the devil in the detail.

2 It seems Tony offered Malcolm the US Ambassadorship earlier this year. So he knew he was in danger only a year into his term.

3 The Prime Minister says it is inevitable that Sunday penalty rates will have to be cut. Why? The tourist sector has grown by 13%. Someone’s doing something right.

4 To those who have interpreted my support of the change in Government as pro Turnbull let me say this: My personal political philosophy is and has always been centred on the common good. I am particularly adhered to the following: “each according to her/his ability, to each according to her/his need”. Only the Left can deliver on that.

5 A billion dollars on armored combat vehicles. I thought we had a spending problem. Oh, I see; it’s just on things like education and health.

6 Tuesday’s weekly Essential Poll has the LNP 52% and Labor 48%.

Thursday 8 October

1 Malcolm Turnbull has always been a user of public transport. It is hoped that this form of mass transport might get a higher priority by his government than the silly conservative ideology that only supports roads.

2 Tony Abbott confident his time as PM will be ‘well appreciated’ as time goes by. We might need a search party though.

3 Liberal MPs believe the party’s federal director Brian Loughnane is set to resign in the wake of the recent leadership spill. Mr Loughnane is married to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s chief of staff Peta Credlin. Given her performance I suppose his position also had to become untenable. A Nutt job is set to replace him.

4 America spends more on defence than the rest of the world combined and is the largest manufacturer and supplier of arms. At the same time it is expected to act as the world’s policeman. How is it possible?

5 Clean energy investment has risen by 8 per cent in the US, 12 per cent in Japan, and 35 per cent in China last year alone. In Australia, however, under the Abbott Government’s overtly pro-fossil fuel/anti-renewables stance, it went backwards by 35 per cent.

Investment in large-scale renewable projects fell by a staggering 88 per cent. Two million jobs were created in the renewable sector globally while Australia’s clean energy sector contracted over the same period, shedding 2300 full-time positions.

An observation:

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

6 on the same subject. Rival banks are under pressure to match the ANZs tough new lending policy on coal.

An observation:

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

7 I read this morning that gay marriage would deliver a boost to the national economy worth at least $500 million a year in additional weddings alone, a major bank has calculated. Perhaps Conservatives should treat it as an economic issue. Then they might pass it.

Friday 9 October

1 Three weeks into a change of leader and the angst has gone out of Australian politics. My anxiety level has decreased. The shock jocks have so far lost their absurdity and a quieter discourse has developed. The Labor Party is even announcing policy.

2 Bill Shorten unveils an ambitious well-thought out plan to turbo-charge major public works infrastructure projects. These will include such contested developments as the $11 billion Melbourne Metro urban rail project – to which federal Labor had already committed – and Sydney’s Airport to Badgerys Creek line.

The full list:

Brisbane’s Cross River Rail Light Rail on the Gold Coast The planning work on the Ipswich Motorway, from Darra to Rocklea Fast-tracking the Pacific and Bruce Highway packages Airport Rail for Badgerys Creek, connecting the Western and South lines The Melbourne Metro Upgrading Tasmania’s Midland Highway Investing in public transport in Perth, such as the Metronet plan The Gawler Line electrification.

3 Hillary Clinton now opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership. Something she was instrumental in setting up. It’s the drugs component that concerns her. It concerns me also and it’s about bloody time the Government let us in on what’s in this contentious deal.

4 Turnbull is still in trouble on the Climate front. Hunt and Abbott wanted to get rid of the Climate Change Authority altogether but now it seems it may get a reprieve. Only problem is that they are stacking the board with members sympathetic to the Coalition. The authority’s former chair, Bernie Fraser resigned last month and had described the government’s post-2020 carbon reduction efforts – a pledge to cut 2005-level carbon emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 – as putting the country “at or near the bottom” of comparable countries.

An observation:

“Personally, I find the most objectionable feature of conservative attitude is its propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge, science in other words, because it dislikes some of the consequences which follow from it”.

5 The Smorgon family has topped the 2015 “BRW Rich Families List”, with estimated wealth of $A2.74bn. The combined fortunes of the 50 families on the 2015 list is $A41.18bn, compared with $A40.1bn in 2014. Many families on the list are expanding into the property development sector, after making their fortunes in other industries.

There are families and then there are families.

6 Could it be that Asylum Seekers on Nauru will end up in the Philippines?

7 Murdoch suggests US President Barack Obama is not a ‘real black person’. That’s not bad coming from someone you would hardly describe as really human.

the week that was

And this is the week that was.

Scroll Up