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A Tinpot Dictator?

When Scott John Morrison takes his Sunday fly-drive to leafy Yarralumla to visit His Excellency, David Hurley, AO, a former NSW Governor and his “captain’s pick” for GG, the jig is up; now everyone knows a federal election will be held 21 May and, sadly, the guess-the date-games must end, despite Morrison’s addiction to secrecy, quibbling and game playing. Things that help him lord it over other people.

Morrison loves evading or concealing truth as much as lying. “I just don’t care,” he tells ABC’s Annabel Crabb. It shows. Politics is mostly just a game to him. At the hint of a threat to his power, however, his game morphs instantly into Mortal Kombat.

ADF crew salute him, a Morrison idea, as our malignant narcissist-in-Chief alights Shark One, the QANTAS A330 VIP executive jet, his favourite boy’s toy, a Big Dick clubhouse with wings, done up to look like a business executive’s office suite with $250 million of public money. It’s more than PR. He loves to pretend he’s not just a sad, gutless, gas industry puppet. He’d take his jet to fetch the girls from school if he could.

Following protocol, Morrison knocks up his vice-regal manservant, low profile Governor-General, Dave Hurley to kick-start the election. It won’t be about policy, or even playing the game, it will be a rabid hyper partisan attack on Labor, especially its leader, Anthony Albanese. And pork-barrelling. While Shark One may soar, Morrison’s politicking plumbs the depths of the lowest gutter.

In a damaging flashback, former rival for Cook, Michael Towke, pops up to accuse Morrison of racism. Towke accuses the PM of resorting to “racial vilification” to overturn the initial ballot which Towke won convincingly. Morrison allegedly insinuated that Cook’s voters wouldn’t accept a Lebanese Australian candidate.

“At the time [in 2007] he was desperate, and it suited him to play the race card,” Towke tells The Project’s Waleed Aly,

By remarkable coincidence, during the 2004 federal campaign, when Morrison was state director of the Liberal Party, racist tactics were used against Labor candidate for Greenway, Ed Husic, not a practising Muslim.

A day before the election, a fake ALP brochure was distributed in Greenaway. “Ed Husic is a devout Muslim. Ed is working hard to get a better deal for Islam.”

Morrison wins no friends by leaving his GG call to the last possible moment – but that’s his trademark. He’d be late to his own (political) funeral. As events may prove, given the way he’s alienated women across the nation and more than a few in the Liberal branch of NSW, once a powerhouse the Coalition hoped might counter losses in other states.

Then there’s the pandemic failure. Going AWOL during the bushfires. The submarine fiasco which cost us at least $5.5 billion. The trade war with China that’s helping ruin our export trade and a fair bit of tertiary education. Morrison’s list of failures is huge.

Loyal Deputy Barnaby Thomas Gerard Joyce keeps the faith, however, if only with his followers who count on him to pick a winner. In a sensational leaked text from the Nationals’ leader composed in March 2021, Joyce confides that he does not “get along” with Morrison.

“He is a hypocrite and a liar from my observations and that is over a long time. have never trusted him, and I dislike how earnestly [he] rearranges the truth to a lie.”

A High Court challenge mounted by Matthew Camenzuli, from Parramatta, an IT mogul from the NSW Liberal conservative faction, aligned with former Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells slows things up but, here, Morrison’s only himself to blame. Getting his envoy, Alex Hawke to stall and delay local pre-selection meetings until the Federal executive would have to step in has not endeared him to everyone in the NSW branch nor nationally. Hawke is widely reviled.

Many Liberals resent his high-handed intervention in branch pre-selection. Retiring senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, stiffed for a winnable place on the ticket, calls Morrison a tyrant and a fraud who hides behind the façade of his church-going.

Others accuse him of remaking the party in his own image. Departing NSW Liberal, Catherine Cusack, joins a swelling chorus of women in Liberal politics who call Morrison a bully. He’s “ruined” the Liberal party, she says. She will not vote for him or the party at the federal election.

If you can’t run a Liberal branch, how can you run the country?

But there’s a ray of hope for ScoMo. Camenzuli’s lawyers fail to overrule Morrison’s intervention to save Environment Minister Sussan Ley, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke and North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman from a local preselection battle that could threaten their political futures. Camenzuli sought an injunction to block the preselection of nine Liberal candidates which would bar the party from printing their names on the ballot paper.

Keeping everyone else waiting while he gets his act together gives Morrison time to win his high-stakes game. Pick his favourites. Remake the party in his own image. Above all it gets him attention. Forget the daggy dad act. This PM is a ruthless Machievallian.

Will he pull the fat out of the fire? Critics of our PM’s self-abrogating demeanour still decry the way Morrison hogged the show at last January’s Australia Day awards ceremony. Worse, Grace Tame was threatened by someone from the Office. Women vote. They won’t forgive or forget the Morrison government’s record of sexism and misogyny. Nor will they overlook the spate of Liberal women who have recently spoken out against him.

Former commercial rose-grower, Minister for Family Service and manager of government business in the senate, Anne Ruston, Minister for Women’s Safety, fails her first real test. Who threatened Grace Tame? The former Australian of the year used a Press Club Address to explain that someone from “a government-funded organisation” rang to tell Tame she must not say anything “damning” about Morrison so close to an election.

Mystified. Jane Hume adds a bit of hand-wringing. We don’t even know if it were a man or a woman, she wails. Clearly, no-one’s tried very hard to find out. Tame says that she’d prefer that the person who felt they needed to make the call should out themselves. An investigation into the call is “the very same embedded structural silencing culture that drove the call in the first place and misses the point entirely. It’s not about the person who made the call, it’s the fact that they felt like they had to do it,” Tame explains.

It’s sexism; the age-old gendered response of doubting and discrediting the victim’s story when the victim is a woman. But it’s no vote winner for over half the population.

Yet the PM seems happy. Morrison promotes Ruston to Liberal Campaign Spokeswoman. Her Labor counterpart, Katy Gallagher will not give up on women so readily.

But look over there – how good is our invisible Governor General? A big gig every three years, if only to help a PM call a fresh election or witness signatures whenever Ministers are appointed. Morrison loves pomp and ceremony. It adds a legitimacy he craves and a distraction he badly needs. Dave Hurley’s happy. He’s hoping to win a trifecta.

The Governor General’s hazy job profile makes Morrison appear almost industrious by contrast. Being GG, on the other hand, keeps you busier than “the arts” or in tertiary education, both spurned by Frydenberg in JobKeeper, despite his forty billion dollar (Joe Aston calculates) windfall, for businesses in profit despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Fan-boy Greg Jennett, a Tarzan of adulation, if not fatal attraction to the PM, and Jane Norman, the John and Betty of ABC afternoon political television, become a hot mess of running commentary on the twenty minute meeting, breathlessly spilling the beans on such essentials as Morrison’s coffee with the Governor General.

Greg and Jane kindly remind us that Yarralumla sits in 58 hectares of Canberra prime real estate, in case we miss how the trappings of office are lavished on our ruling class, while others die of malnourishment, neglect and the latest mutant strain of coronavirus in “aged care facilities” a gulag of misery where our poor, wretched, vulnerable elders pass their final days in a fog of antipsychotics in state subsidised granny farms staffed by some of the lowest paid, most highly casualised workers in Australia.

The Coalition’s Aged Care Act 1997, ushered in a flood of private investment in the exploitation and commodification of the elderly. Private equity firms, new foreign investors, superannuation and property real estate investment trusts “entered the residential aged care market.” Data on residents’ safety and wellbeing must be kept top secret.

Our current aged care crisis stems from Howard’s Aged Care Act, writes Dr Sarah Russell. His government subsidised private health insurance is still helping scupper Medicare.

Amazingly, Dave, a spry 68 year-old corporate state welfare beneficiary with all his own teeth, is at Yarralumla this weekend and not entertaining Prince Andrew, who’s been known to slip in, sans fanfare, for a quick visit, as he did in 2018, to promote Pitch@Palace, his matchmaking of investors and corporate partners with startup companies. Now it’s wound up after Andy’s misadventures with underage women abroad, stories which his mother, Queen Elizabeth II refuses to believe, preferring the much more plausible “I was at Beatrice’s Birthday at Woking Pizza Express” alibi.

Pitch generated £1.345 million in economic activity, 6,323 jobs and 39% of its winners were women. Andy did quite well, too. Pitch@Palace Global Ltd, the private company set up to run the events, had a clause in its terms and conditions about its entitlement to a 2% equity share for three years for any company that went through its program.

Other royals also are put up at Admiralty House, the GG’s other historic pad on Sydney harbour with ten bedrooms enjoying views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Hosting VIPs keeps the Hurleys busy. Then there’s Linda’s staff singalongs.

And her serenades. The Guardian Australia reports Hurley wandering betwixt tables of war widows (average age 81, according to Dave), microphone in hand, leading them in song over cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches. Bit of dill with that, dearie?

“You are my sunshine” is the unofficial vice-regal national anthem – but only the chorus. The verses are a bit downbeat if you Google them. Don’t try this at home.

A staff of seventy-six don’t just run themselves and there’s travel involved in GG. All adds up. Representing HM at home and Australia overseas costs a million a year.

But the nation has to look after its investment. Hurley’s annual salary is around half a million. Of course, a governor general does get a generous pension scheme with that.

As Morrison arrives, his white BMW 7 Series Prime Ministerial limousine with AFP escort ghosting up the long drive, Dave’s lurking purposefully near the entrance to Yarralumla, a “colonial revival” pile set in what remains of an historic sheep station.

The property retains the original shearing shed atop a tumulus of a century and a half of merino droppings. A heritage overlay of decaying sheep shit is a fitting tribute to the types who led the colonial frontier wars waged by European imperial invaders on indigenous Australians in the name of the same British Crown that Governor-General Hurley represents.

The GG has his Mont Blanc Meisterstück Gold-Coated Fountain Pen uncapped, ready to sign a chit to let Morrison dissolve parliament and call a federal general election, a minefield of lies, furphies, turpitude and gratuitous character assassination which our GG can avoid entirely by express permission of the electoral commission. But he does get to look on.

A federal election campaign is a made for TV event just like Master Chef or Hard Quiz or The Melbourne Cup and corporate media regale us with the day’s political stunts.

There’s a scorecard on performance in The Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph and The Australian as in any horse race commentary. Tallying up the pratfalls displaces any more insightful commentary on commercial TV – Buckminster Fuller’s “bubblegum for the eyes.”

Analysis of issues and policies is supplanted by spectacle and mindless Vox Pops. In a rare departure, this year, however, the Sydney Morning Herald takes Morrison to task for his broken promise over a federal ICAC. Attempting to blame Labor doesn’t pass the pub test.

Imagine if Dave Hurley were to put his mouth where his money is. Our GG, would refuse Morrison permission to hold an election. Nope, ScoMo you’ve abused the trust of the Australian people. Piss off back to Bronte and stop wasting my time.

If only. A relic of colonial rule, a GG hasn’t colluded with the judiciary and The Palace to remove a PM since Whitlam, but it pays to keep him on side and avoid bagging Pine Gap, 16 km south west of Alice Springs, the eyes and ears of the US military, since it went on line in 1969. One of its uses is to provide information to aim drones.

If there’s a moral problem with hosting an outfit which is staffed largely by employees of Boeing Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics – along with niche companies that work exclusively for the CIA and NRO, such as Leidos, Scitor and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) our government doesn’t see it. Put simply, we host companies who profit from war and enable them to collect the data they need to make war.

In fascinating technological updates the satellites have multiplied to at least thirty-eight, which have the capacity to monitor everything from your text message to Dominos to thermal evidence of Chinese hypersonic missile launches. All of this vastly increases our value as a nuclear target. It could give us leverage in a more equal relationship with the US but given our lickspittle foreign policy don’t hold your breath.

Above all, Pine Gap makes Australia complicit in war crimes. Last December, the New York Times lists over 1300 reports of civilian casualties since 2014. Many are children, in wars that the US portrays as being waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs.

Yet, “American air wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have been plagued by deeply flawed intelligence, rushed and often imprecise targeting, thousands of civilian deaths – with scant accountability.”

But does our GG task our PM with this problem? Nope. Dave’s famous for his saying “the standard we walk by is the standard we accept.” He’s a big fan of ethical leadership, a political oxymoron “borrowed” by David Morrison in a sermon on another unicorn, gender equality in the army. Dave M later confesses on Q&A he’s “pinched” the line.

The PM just loves Dave H and the whole vibe of the ethical leader thing, which like cleanliness, is next to godliness and getting professionally photographed at a Hillsong service, eyes wide shut. Photographed? At least one former member of the parliament has read her King James Bible,

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites. are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and. in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.”

“His actions conflict with his portrayal as a man of faith; he has used his so-called faith as a marketing advantage,” says senator Concetta Fieravanti-Wells.

Federal Election 2022 is to be a forty-one day endurance event, not simply in order to dazzles us with hi-viz photo-opportunities, vapid talking points, or disgruntled punters in pubs, but to buy time, a gamble given incumbents generally decline in popularity over a long campaign. Opinion polls predict a Coalition defeat, Liberal/National 34%, ALP 36%. -7% swing against the Coalition but just a 2.6% swing in favour of the ALP

Perhaps, like Mr Micawber, Morrison is hoping something will turn up. As it does. Albo doesn’t know what the cash rate is and he can’t recite the official unemployment rate.

Of course there’s outcry from the usual suspects, “Unfit to be PM,” decrees Murdoch’s top toadie, Terry McCrann in the expatriate billionaire’s Australian, while AFR, shocker, Phil Coorey gasps “A horror,” leaving Professor Judith Sloan, alone, to hype the Labor leader’s howler into his “Party’s complete misunderstanding of the jobs figures.”

Seriously? Even John Howard who failed the same gotcha in ‘07 is underwhelmed. Babies Overboard Howard bobs up in WA to spare Morrison getting the bum’s rush. Again. Abbott has Covid. Or he’d be there with (bicycle) bells on. Don’t discount a late showing.

True, the Man of Steel’s got other things on his mind like minding Ken Wyatt in Hasluck – it’s not so long ago that Joe Aston had word Kenneth might defect to Labor.

And Swan’s Kristy McSweeney is busted misquoting herself on how if you can’t tell a bloke from a sheila just walking down the street, you probably shouldn’t be aiming for Canberra.

Is that a serious question? Okay, well Anthony Albanese didn’t know the unemployment rate. So what?”

Morrison’s first gaffe is a big one. He fudges when asked whether Alan Tudge, guardian of the curriculum from the left-wing, is currently education minister – (a Tudge of class?)

His reply that Al is “technically” still in cabinet is at odds with earlier assurances that he’d resigned. Of course, this could be merely another Morrison lie, but it does seem to be a clumsy attempt to divert press from a half million payout to former staffer Rachelle Miller which fails to keep the (unconsummated) affair off the front page.

First up, Tudge claims, “we never had sex.” They were “intimate” four times; sleeping naked together but there was no funny business. Sounds very plausible.

The minister without portfolio may be inspired by Gandhi’s tales of sleeping naked with young women who also took their clothes off just to test his chastity.

With Tudge mounting such an impregnable defence, it is little wonder that Morrison has had to pivot on his earlier version of events in which the Education Minister had surrendered his portfolio for his own sake.

No point asking why Miller was paid “well over $500,000”, if nothing untoward transpired between minister and media adviser. $500,000 is the sum whispered to have been his payout when Morrison himself was sacked as head of Tourism Australia citing irreconcilable differences with boss, Fran Bailey amidst claims tendering processes were not adhered to.

As for any ministerial code violation, the non-bonking occurred before the advent of Morrison’s code. Yet Miller was promoted while in an intimate relationship with her boss. The PM is OK with that. Yet Miller wants the details released. Samantha Maiden reports that legal costs in six figures are also to be paid by the Morrison government.

“He has chosen for the sake of his health and his family for a period of time to stand aside from the ministry,” Morrison claims.

“But here’s been no other education minister sworn in, no-one went out to the Governor-General, we’re very transparent about all of that.”

Morrison is creating an issue for himself in refusing Miller’s request that he release details. Unwisely.

Moonlighting as Education Minister, albeit unsworn, is Stuart “Rolex” Robert, the PM’s prayer partner, a tricky phrase now, given recent whistle-blower revelations that senior Liberal Party figures abuse the parliamentary prayer room for congress of a baser nature.

None of the parties implicated: MP Tim Wilson, former defence minister Christopher Pyne and others, or the investigating law firm Sparke Helmore, even try to rebut the story, notes Michael West. Give it time.

More of a problem to his own side than any scandal involving rent boys plying their trade in consecrated space within the House is Mendacity Morrison’s contempt for democracy and his addiction to micromanagement.

Notorious for his pledges that never eventuate, the PM is now hated by NSW Liberals for being too “hands on”.

Former Cook MP, Stephen Mutch, a self-styled moderate who credits himself with inventing the term if not founding the group, calls Scotty a “tinpot dictator” for riding rough-shod over democratic local branch pre-selection processes, to choose his own candidates for key NSW seats. Mutch is shocked at the way the moderate minority now runs the branch.

“Over decades … I saw how the faction changed from a relatively informal group of friends with a fair degree of collective decision-making into a more formalised operation run by politicians, staffers and some party activists,” Mutch tells The Saturday Paper.

As the former moderate explains, the moderates became more high-handed, serving the personalised agendas of a few at the top. Later, the faction morphed into “a professionalised, essentially privatised operation, run by a small coterie of business lobbyists.”

Which is where we are today.

All is not lost, however. Scotty is still a useful tool to the fossil fuel lobby, an old mate of Big Mining and our media oligopoly, Rupert, Kerry and tagalong Peter along with other shonks, shills and big-shots in Australia’s oligarchy.

But just to nip it in the bud, a few of his man-servants in the PMO, big up Morrison with Bushmasters and coal, while Rio shows it hasn’t blown up all its moral high ground along with the 46,000-year-old rock shelters at Juukan Gorge, by taking over RUSAL’s twenty per cent share in QAL’s aluminium smelter, in response to Russia’s attempt to obliterate Ukraine. That’s fixed Putin’s wagon.

How good is a Morrison government which struts the world like a colossus, punching above its weight? Shirt-fronting Putin. “Keeping Australia Safe” is not just hairy-chested electioneering or the Crosby-Textor textbook stunt of creating an external threat tactic.

Nor is this self-interested opportunism by Morrison’s omnishambles of a government plumbing record lows in all the opinion polls. Throw another dead cat on the table. We are the hawks of AUKUS keepers of the sacred flame of the temple of the rules-based order to which Australia, as US deputy Marshall, is so solemnly and selflessly pledged.

Not only does ScoMo continue to wow the international community with his statesmanship, he buys seventy thousand tonnes of Whitehaven coal which the big Liberal donor can’t sell, it’s still sitting in Newcastle until a hapless crew is press ganged into taking it to Odessa, currently in range of Russian rocketry, and on to Ukraine.

True, he’s copped a few shockers recently, including that’s just the price of decisive leadership. OK he may be “a complete psycho”, a “hypocrite and a liar “a fraud” to his own team, but a clutch of Liberal women, his “crumb maidens” as Amy Remeikis calls the women who support Morrison’s patriarchy for scant reward, step forward to back up his latest claim that his high-handed intervention in NSW politics stems from his unbridled feminism and his need to step in to protect a few good women.

It’s farcical, writes The Monthly’s Rachel Withers that Morrison can claim that he stood up for women in an intervention intended to save the seats of two men and woman.

Is he all fake religion and no moral compass? Morrison simply cannot be trusted, warns Fierravanti-Wells who is dropped to an unelectable spot on the Liberal senate ticket in favour of party apparatchik, Marise Payne, in number one spot for time-serving, with another former army officer, Jim Molan, butcher of Fallujah, in at number three.

It’s already turning nasty: in second spot is Nationals’ top NSW Senate candidate, Ross Cadell, another Nat in a hat, who threatens to “drop shit” on the party’s Hunter candidate James Thomson in a public row at Warners Bay Hippo Espresso cafe 20km south of Newcastle, if Thommo does not redistribute $120,000 in donations.

You can see why Cadell has beaten the venerable, born-again John Anderson, Joyce’s mentor, a man with a Big Mining background as well as a former Nationals leader.

“While professing to be a man of faith,” the retiring senator says, sporting a huge crucifix in her bitter Goodbye To All That speech, he is “adept at running with the foxes and hunting with the hounds, lacking a moral compass and having no conscience.”

Don’t hold yourself back, Connie. (As Morrison and his team insist on belittling the former Liberal senator, much as the PM does with “Grace” and “Brittany”.)

Team Morrison rushes to point out that hell hath no fury like a NSW senator relegated on the ballot paper. Connie’s just disappointed. A pile-on of other furious colleagues ensues, including much of the NSW Liberal Party. But ScoMo, a work of performance art in progress, won’t let a few dud reviews put him off his game.

Good Friday, Morrison tells national media how Jen and the girls go to church at Easter. Albo, Tony Abbott and 5000 others also attend Sydney’s Maronite Christian Mass. Easter is a time of hope he says, while claiming on national TV, religion is such a personal thing for him.

But there’s revived interest in how the PM deposed Lebanese-Australian and Maronite Christian Michael Towke in a dirty bid for pre-selection in Cook in 2007. So Morrison chooses a service in Victoria at Syndal Baptist Church with Gladys Liu MP, who failed to disclose her links with the Chinese government before preselection in Chisholm, a marginal Liberal seat.

There were also issues with an undisclosed donation to the Liberals of $37,000, together with questions as to how exactly the MP raised a million dollars for the party.

But Easter is a time of hope. No doubt Dave gives Scott a few pointers on the PM’s integrity commission model. Its architect, former Attorney-General, Christian Porter resigned over an anonymous donation or blind trust he’d accepted to pay his legal fees in a defamation case against ABC investigative journalist, Louise Milligan, a case he abandoned.

Ethical leadership is costly. The PM spends big money to get his own way in a high stakes poker game which goes right to the High Court over whether he can override local branches’ preferences in Liberal preselection in NSW. Chief Justice, Susan Kiefel says he can.

Not that Morrison gives a toss. It’s our money he’s spending. Has there ever been a bigger spending, higher taxing government? But the political cost of alienating so many NSW Liberals is huge. It’s already undone him in Warringah where his transphobic captain’s pick, Katharine Deves, proves a dud, with her social media post about “surgical mutilation”.

Having the arrogance to believe you know best and bypassing the local democratic process (with a bit of help from Premier Perrottet) leads to a poor choice?

Who’d have known?

Anti-trans activism could derail the Coalition’s election campaign. It triggers a pivot. Morrison backflips on his plan to dog whistle prejudice, intolerance and ignorance. He withdraws his support from Tassie Senator Claire Chandler’s bill banning transgender women from playing women’s sports, after he cops flak from Liberal “moderates” and independents.

Incredibly, the PM lies about why he pulls rank on NSW pre-selectors. The “menacing controlling wall-paper”, as former Liberal MP Julia Banks calls him, pretends to ABC 7:30 he’s a knight in shining armour rescuing women from “factions” whom he leaves unnamed, as if he’s just being protective; one of his most outrageous lies to date.

“Sussan Ley, one of my finest cabinet ministers and one of our most successful women members of parliament, was under threat. She was under threat from factions within the Liberal Party and I decided to stand up to it,” Morrison says.

“I’m very serious about having great women in my ranks…Fiona Martin was another.”

But Julia Banks tells a different story. “It was the three months of Morrison’s leadership that … was definitely the most gut-wrenching, distressing period of my entire career.”

Morrison an advocate for women? It’s risible and – as The Monthly’s Rachel Withers notes, it’s insulting to women.

“The claim is laughable. If there’s anyone Morrison was trying to save it was factional consigliore Alex Hawke in the seat of Mitchell, and his overarching aim was to maintain control of the numbers in the party. At the end of the day, the only person Scott Morrison truly stands up for is Scott Morrison.”

 

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Labor, Schrodinger’s Cat And The Amazing Disappearing Man…

It’s quite interesting to examine the contradictions as politicians face the coming election.

Take Labor. We’re told that Labor are captive of the unions, that they spend too much and that they tax too highly, However, as the campaign begins we are also hearing that we have no idea about Labor in government and that they aren’t putting their policies out there. The political equivalent of Schrodinger’s Cat.

Schrodinger’s Cat for those of you who haven’t either read up on Quantum physics or watched “The Big Bang Theory” wasn’t an actual cat, but a thought experiment where Schrodinger’ theorised about a cat trapped in a box with a vial of poison which may or may not have been opened. Therefore, Schrodinger argued that until we open the box, the cat can be considered both alive and dead, which I’d argue that after a few days with no food or water the cat can pretty much be considered dead, but for the purposes of Schrodinger’s thought experiment, the fact of the cat being both alive and dead was central to some point he was trying to make about the problems with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics…

The best way to understand it, is to think of Alan Tudge. He was cleared of breaching ministerial standards by an investigation which didn’t speak to his accuser and then he stood down from his ministerial role, but – according to Mr Morrison yesterday – Tudge is still in the Cabinet. Like the cat, Mr Tudge is in a sealed space and we have no way of knowing whether he’s actually going to be a minister or not until the Cabinet is opened after the election.

Anyway, the Coalition and some of the media have found their own version of Schrodinger’s cat when it comes to the Labor Party: We don’t know enough about them and, rather than take a chance on the unknown, we should stick with Scot Morrison because we know what he’s like and it’s better to stick with a lying, cheating, bullying, rorting incompetent who makes curries every time something bad happens in the hope that people will mock his curry making and forget whatever disaster happened in the precious week. On the other hand, Labor is clearly the party that can’t be trusted with the economy because well, it’s in a difficult position at the moment and you don’t want to hand it over to someone else because the Liberals were the ones who’ve presided over the first recession in Australia for nearly thirty years, but now everything’s ok again, and we’ll drag out the Back In Black mugs to show just how well, we would have done if only we hadn’t had things go wrong which -even though it was under our watch – it was nothing to do with us because who can control the economy? Until we open the box, Labor is both a mystery with no policies and also the party who has all the wrong policies.

The Liberals also understand about cost of living pressures. The Budget included measures to help with these: If you’re on a welfare payment you get $250 which should tide you over for the next three years. However, if you’re a low-income worker, you’ll get (up to) an extra $450 when you do your tax return which is a one-off measure to help with your decision to vote for the Coalition.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks, this election will be all about character. Again we’ll be given the choice between a STRONG leader who stands up to people and how some people call it bullying just because he calls people into a room and threatens them with consequences over their recent behaviour, and an Opposition leader who is too weak to answer questions… Yes, I can see Anthony Albanese standing at a press conference being asked why he won’t appear at press conferences and answer questions about whatever it is that Scotty has told the press pack to ask, only to have Albo point out that he’s just answered the question without rejecting its premise even though the premise was completely rejectable… This will be followed by a question about why Labor is a policy-free zone, where he points out policies on Aged Care, Childcare, the environment, climate change and an integrity commission… Then he’ll be asked how he’s going to pay for the policies he doesn’t have.

Yes, one of the charges that will be levelled at our Prime Minister is that he has misunderstood the old saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get going,, and that it doesn’t actually mean that you’re meant to disappear in a crisis. However, calling the PM names like “The Invisible Man” and “The disappearing actor” or “That Cowardly POS” is not really fair, because, well, it’s Anthony Albanese who seems to have disappeared without trace.

There seems no acknowledgement of his twenty-six years in Parliament, his campaign against nuclear energy, his role as manager of Opposition business, his ministerial roles as in Infrastructure & Transport and in Regional Development, or even his role as Deputy PM. Although the role of Deputy PM is clearly not a very important one because the Liberals allow the Nationals to pick it. It’s rather like when you let your children decide what they’ll have for dinner because it’s their birthday. It may be a shocking choice in the healthy eating department but it’s not like you’re going to let them have their choice about anything that has long term consequences.

Yes, it seems that Anthony Albanese is the one who’s disappeared and not Scott Morrison… although we never seem to hear about why he was sacked by Fran Bailey when he was at Tourism Australia.

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Election 2019 in Canada: A Change Agenda Protected by Minority Government?

By Denis Bright

Canadians voted to continue a reformist agenda with a minority Liberal Government that can still draw upon future negotiated support from both the Bloc Quebecois (BQ) and the New Democratic Party (NPD). The Liberal vote held up well in Ontario and Eastern Atlantic provinces outside Quebec itself.

The urban population centres of Ontario delivered almost half of Liberal Party members (79) in the House of Commons where the Conservatives had a net gain of just three seats. Adjacent Quebec still delivered another 35 electoral districts to the Liberals despite a net gain of 22 seats by BQ. The Atlantic Provinces of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick continued their strong mandate for Liberal members.

The net loss of 29 electoral districts across Canada deprived the Liberals of their majority in the House of Commons from the landslide results of 2015. The Conservatives ended ahead of the overall national vote (34.4 per cent) compared with 33.1 per cent for the Liberals.

The Liberal Party’s primary vote was down by 6.4 per cent with a net loss of 29 seats. The more detailed break-down of voting patterns is readily available from the web sites of Canada Votes (CBC) and The Star (Toronto):

Justin Trudeau’s popular appeal was tarnished throughout 2019 by several administrative irregularities. The first was from the SNC-Lavalin Affair in February 2019 (BBC News 28 February 2019):

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has denied wrongdoing after he tried to shield one of the country’s biggest firms from a corruption trial.

Mr Trudeau said any lobbying by him or his inner circle for engineering giant SNC-Lavalin was done to protect jobs.

In explosive testimony, ex-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said she faced “sustained” pressure to abandon prosecution of the Quebec-based firm.

Another outrage for environmentalists was the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline (France 24 20 October 2019):

The Liberal government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline, which links Alberta to British Columbia, from the American energy giant Kinder Morgan for Can$4.5 billion ($2.7 billion, 2.4 billion euros).

The goal was to speed up the export of oil from Alberta to new foreign markets. In exchange, the Canadian government promised to invest the profits in green technology.

Many Canadian environmentalists viewed Trudeau’s move as a betrayal. For activists, Trudeau, who was a symbol of hope when he took office in 2015, is no longer a change agent but the man who didn’t do enough for the environment.

Faced with the demands of delivering military commitments to NATO, urban infrastructure and the services demands by large urban populations in the Great Lakes Lowlands, Canada is rarely able to deliver a balanced budget as a percentage of GDP. Only the energy rich and grain producing prairie provinces warmed to the campaign from Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer for an end to Canada’s version of a carbon tax in a more pro-business society.

Canada’s Tolerance of Budget Deficits as a Percentage of GDP

Canada’s government debt to GDP level is running at about twice the Australian level. Higher Canadian levels of government intervention in service delivery have kept the unemployment rate in the 5.4-5.8 range over the past twelve months. Voters east of the prairie provinces did not want to risk a return to the economic austerity of the previous conservative governments in the post-GFC era.

The conventional and highly polarising campaign in Canada largely by-passed the problems associated with a shortage of private sector capital investment.

Canada’s pension funds at national and provincial levels have been a success story.

Having survived into a second term Justin Trudeau can look to support from BQ and NPD for such alternative investment agendas in a middle-sized social market economy with almost half the economic output of France or Britain.

The strains of delivering economic growth and employment show up in middle-sized economies like Canada and Australia in quarterly economic indicators during 2019 without a more diversified financial sector. Trading Economics offers the quarterly GDP percentages for 2019 in context:

Canada

Australia

From the minority government mix just delivered in Canada, there is a slight possibility that policy initiatives might address these investment shortfalls without drifting further towards the more corporatised society that would be welcomed by US Republicans south of the 49th parallel where tariffs of 25 per cent were imposed on Canadian steel exports to the US and 10 per cent on aluminium ingots by the Trump Administration in 2018 in protest against Canada’s more interventionist economic model.

Tough negotiations in defence of Canadian jobs of these tariff issues in heavy industrial areas of Southern Ontario minimised the appeal of Andrew Scheer’s appeals to blue-collar voters to vote against a continuation of the carbon tax.

Canada’s change agenda was saved on 21 October 2019 even at the expense of continued majority government.

Denis Bright (pictured) is a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to citizens’ journalism from a critical structuralist perspective. Comments from Insiders with a specialist knowledge of the topics covered are particularly welcome.

 

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Can the Federal LNP deliver its Flatter Taxation Scales in a Slowing Economy?

By Denis Bright

Just four months out from the federal election, current indicators do suggest that the federal LNP is fumbling the future of the investment sector of the Australian economy to achieve its short-medium term budget projections and to appease the erratic policies of the Trump Administration.

The IMF data on economic growth trends in Australia confirms the state of flux relating to federal budget projections and delivery of planned tax cuts for higher income earners. These trends will not be unscrambled until the release of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) by early December 2019.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann is still optimistic about future delivery of a fiscal balance for 2019-2020 without depressing economic growth projections or causing unemployment levels to rise further.

A key variable in this balancing act is the strength of the public sector spending at both state and federal levels as well as positive trend-lines for commodity and service exports. This favourable mix is marred by data for private sector capital investment over the last two quarters. Release of the September Quarter data on 28 November 2019 will be eagerly awaited. A continuation of the negative trends will be bad news for budget strategies for 2020-21, rather than in the current financial year.

Australia Private Capital Expenditure

To meet its budget targets, the federal LNP is now reigning in the growth in public sector. Probono Australia has revealed the benefits of under-spending on National Disability Insurance (NDIS) to the federal LNP’s efforts to maintain current budget surplus projections for 2019-20 (Luke Michael, ‘NDIS underspend helps return budget to the brink of surplus‘, 20 September 2019):

The federal government spent $4.6 billion less on the National Disability Insurance Scheme than expected because of delays getting people into the program, new budget figures reveal.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Thursday announced the final budget outcome for 2018-19, showing a deficit of $690 million – $13.8 billion less than what the 2018 budget predicted.

This improved financial position ­– which leaves the budget on the brink of surplus for the first time since 2007-08 – was built on the back of underspending in areas including the NDIS.

The government says this underspend is a result of a slower than expected transition of people into the NDIS, but critics argue the money should be spent fixing various problems plaguing the scheme.

Frydenberg said the NDIS was a “demand driven system”, meaning that a slower uptake of the scheme resulted in less money being spent.

“This is in part because of the delays in some of the states coming on board, and also because it’s taken a bit more time for the service provider market to develop sufficiently to meet the available demand,” Frydenberg said.

 

Caution with the delivery of future Newstart increases and the delivery of NDIS will assist in the extension of taxation relief that is skewed to middle- and upper-income households as promised in the 2019-2020 federal budget.

Support for market-oriented strategies of the federal LNP came from the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on his Australian visit with one important policy recommendation (The Australian, Geoff Chambers, ‘Tax cuts key to driving revival, says Wilbur Ross’, 10 October 2019):

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has suggested Australia could increase its global competitiveness and attract direct foreign investment if it replicated Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts.

Speaking to The Australian on Wednesday, Mr Ross — one of Mr Trump’s closest advisers — said the US company tax cuts combined with regulatory reform had worked “very, very well”.

Wilbur Ross should have added a note of caution to his Aussie Allies Down Under as shown by the latest data from his own Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in his own US Department of Commerce as released on 24 July 2019:

Direct Investment by Country and Industry, 2018

The U.S. direct investment abroad position, or cumulative level of investment, decreased $62.3 billion to $5.95 trillion at the end of 2018 from $6.01 trillion at the end of 2017, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The decrease was due to the repatriation of accumulated prior earnings by U.S. multinationals from their foreign affiliates, largely in response to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The decrease reflected a $75.8 billion decrease in the position in Latin America and Other Western Hemisphere locations, primarily in Bermuda. By industry, holding company affiliates owned by U.S. manufacturers accounted for most of the decrease.

The foreign direct investment in the United States position increased $319.1 billion to $4.34 trillion at the end of 2018 from $4.03 trillion at the end of 2017. The increase mainly reflected a $226.1 billion increase in the position from Europe, primarily the Netherlands and Ireland. By industry, affiliates in manufacturing, retail trade, and real estate accounted for the largest increases.

US Investment plays a relatively minor role in the Asia Pacific Region compared with commercial interactions with Britain and Europe as well as countries in the American Hemisphere from Canada to Central and South America:

Making America Great Strategies have resulted in a decline in US Capital Flows across the Asia Pacific Region between 2017 and 2018. Australia is an exception to the regional trends and provides the US with highly favourable surpluses for trade in commodities and services as well as capital flows.

Days after this visit to Australia by Wilbur Ross, President Trump announced new compromises in his trade and investment war with China that undercut our own export gains in the Asia Pacific Region in favour of new export incentives from the US farm lobby.

The honeymoon after the last election may still be in session. As the rhetorical euphoria continues, it is time for Aussies to do a fact check of our unfavourable commercial relations with the USA. The Trump Administration has left Australians high and dry in a slowing global economy as the Trade and Investment War is replaced by a new Lovefest with China to the cheers from the US farm and resource sector lobbies which are our real competitors on the world market.

It’s surely time for our federal LNP leaders to show a spark of independence in defending Australia’s commercial sovereignty within the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement as President Trump focuses on his re-election strategies for November 2020.

Denis Bright (pictured) is a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to citizens’ journalism from a critical, structuralist perspective. Comments from Insiders with a specialist knowledge of the topics covered are particularly welcome.

 

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The election: hope versus fear

Hope Versus Fear

Abbott is gearing up for an election. First he wants to ensure he will be the leader who takes the Liberal National Coalition to an election, and this is by no means a done deal. And then he is convinced that he can sloganeer away the poll deficit he needs to win a second term. Or rather, his strategists are convinced they can come up with effective slogans to take Abbott to victory, and Abbott is happy to believe them.

As reported in the Guardian this week, Lynton Crosby of campaign strategist firm Crosby Textor, is confident he can use the Liberal staple of simplistic messaging around ‘economic competence’ to convince a not-very-interested-in-politics electorate to forgive everything Abbott’s wrecked with his wrecking ball, and to have permission to fire up an even bigger wrecking ball in a second term. But the question is, will the electorate fall for what basically comes down to a dirty, negative, fear campaign again? Because that’s what Crosby really means when he says Abbott needs to rely on a simple message focused on economic competence. He really means that Abbott needs to scare the electorate into thinking they’ll lose their jobs, they’ll lose their homes, they’ll be destitute and on the street if they don’t do what they’re told and vote for Abbott’s Liberals. It really is as simple as that apparently.

But are Australians going to fall for this again? Are the Turkeys really going to vote for Christmas? Will Australians again drink up ‘Great Big Tax’, ‘Axe the Tax’, ‘Stop The Boats’ and more recently ‘Jobs and Growth’ – the bogan slogans that make Abbott sound like a 2 year old whose just learned a new word and wants to wear it out on his parents?

This is where I pause from typing and I sit back and worry. It doesn’t make rational sense that Australia would be so gullible to fall hook-line-and-sinker for such an obvious, shallow, implausible slogan to scare them into making the second biggest mistake of their lives after their first mistake elected Abbott in the first place. But there is nothing rational about politics. Especially when you mix irrationality with fear, a fear that experts like Crosby and Textor are very good at whipping up. This is why the re-election of Cameron in the UK sent chills down my spine. Cameron was just as unpopular as Abbott and resided over just as big an austerity-caused-badly-managed-economy with high unemployment and barely any growth. Yet he still was given the keys to the country again to wreak more havoc on not just the UK economy, but also to hammer the UK health system, education and social welfare system. But Crosby and Textor helped the very-easily-frightened electorate to forget about all this havoc and they’ve given Cameron a mandate to make the situation even worse. Fear really does make people do stupid things.

It seems like a simple problem to solve, however, it’s not. If you were working as a campaign strategist for Labor, you would think you could just point out to voters how utterly hollow Abbott’s ‘economic competence’ slogan is, how unfounded in reality, and how dangerous it would be to let Abbott’s economic incompetence continue to hurt the economy and to destroy jobs. The statistics are easy to quote – Abbott’s unemployment rate of 6.34% is the highest in 13 years, growth is stagnant and even Abbott’s favourite stick to beat Labor with – government debt – is up $100 billion since Abbott took over the job. The ironic thing is that Australia’s debt and deficit wasn’t even a major problem when Abbott turned it into a vote-winning-slogan, and yet he’s gone on to make this debt even larger. Yet still his strategists feel confident that they can run a fear campaign based on the strongly held electoral perception that Liberal governments are better economic managers than Labor governments. Even after Labor saved the country from a recession during the GFC, a GFC the Liberals claimed never happened, which Labor says didn’t happen to Australia because of Labor’s good economic management, which the Liberals now say is the reason the Australian economy isn’t strong – because the world economy still hasn’t recovered. See how irrational politics is? Facts are irrelevant when it comes to emotional responses to fear campaigns. Labor strategists have hopefully worked this out.

But what’s the answer then? If you can’t convince the electorate that Abbott’s claims of economic competence are as baseless as all the promises he made during the election, which have now been broken, how does Labor ensure that Abbott doesn’t win a second term?

I suggest Labor should learn from Abbott’s success and forget about quoting facts. Facts are really good at convincing people they are right when they can use them to back up their own preconceived, emotional beliefs. For instance – I know Abbott’s the most incompetent and unproductive Prime Minister Australia has ever had, and this article gives me the facts to prove it. A swing voter, on the other hand, doesn’t care about such analysis. So what Labor needs to do is forget about facts and appeal to emotions. In doing so they have two options: the first is to use the dark-arts of Crosby and Textor by scaring people about the prospect of an Abbott second term. This should be relatively easy. The very thought of such a thing terrifies me and although I know I’m not your average swing voter, surely Abbott has done enough scary things in the last two years for Labor to be able to convincingly show how things could get much scarier if Abbott has another go? And surely he’s given enough hints about what he might do in a second term – such as his promise not to increase the GST this term or to make any industrial relations changes this term – to scare people off living this reality?

The second option is to rise above the negative fear campaign of what an Abbott second term would look like, and to appeal to a much more savoury emotion – hope. Labor’s ‘hope for the future’ campaign could focus on all the things Abbott is interested in wrecking that Labor wants to invest in. Jobs of the future. Technologies of the future. The educational needs for jobs of the future. A safer environment for the future. Energy needs and industries of the future. I love the idea of a ‘rise above’ campaign, but I also recognise it’s naïve to think the electorate is ready to put long term progress ahead of short term Abbott-opportunism. So really there is a third option; a little from column A and a little from column B. Simplistically it looks something like this – ‘Abbott will wreck everything, so vote Labor for a brighter future’. Sounds good doesn’t it. If only it was so simple.

 

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“1984” is dated, but “2084” is here for the reading . . . (apologies to George Orwell)

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him…

Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.”

Updated Version

Winston worked in the Ministry of Truth and had been working there since he left High School in 2015, back in the days when people used to wonder where alll the jobs would come from, back in the days when people would retire and spend their final years doing such unproductive things as travelling, gardening or filling the minds of their grandchildren with stories. Thankfully now there was plenty of work. At first, it had simply been correcting the mistakes from the speeches of the Prime Minister, but that had soon grown to correcting the mistakes of the whole government, as well as eliminating from public record things they wish they’d never said. And pretty soon, there was a whole army of people scouring the Internet for mistakes other people had made and correcting them as well.

Why just this week, Winston discovered someone of his age, writing that there had been a time when Melbourne hadn’t been a tropical climate and there were people living in Queensland. Queensland, Winston seemed to remember, had never been inhabited by actual people, and was just one of those mythical places like Atlantis. It was a place that people used as a setting for absurd stories to demonstrate why democracy was such an absurd system where people like the mythical “Campbell Newman” were elected. Using his powers under the law, Winston corrected this person’s recollections, and arranged for the person to be taken to the doctor’s for help.

Last year had been a particularly busy time for the Ministry of Truth, as it marked the seventieth anniversary of Abbott’s ascencion to the role of Imperial Ruler after being chosen by the great god, Rupert. To spoil the occsasion, various people had attempted to spread the idea that back in those days that people had been allowed to vote for their leaders. These anarchists had also suggested that Abbott’s decision to cease making public appearances was because of his refusal to stop writing his own speeches and that he’d been locked in a room, while a group of his associates made all the decisions. They attempted to argue that, if Abbott was actually still Imperial Ruler, he’d be well over a hundred years old. Why that was a problem, Winston couldn’t fathom, people in “The Party” often lived to be hundreds of years old – it was only the workers who died. Mostly, by making a mistake, and usually that meant a risky operation to try and put their brains back into the right position. Apparently an easy operation for qualified surgeons, but there were so few of them, and as this required an emergency procedure, the operations were usually carried out immediately by local managers and security guards, with limited success.

Once, someone had tested Winston by telling him that a “resistance” existed, but Winston wasn’t fooled. He knew this would be someone from “The Party” testing him. When this person suggested to Winston that surely he remembered a time before all this began, but Winston just shook his head, and sipped his drink. “Even if I did,” thought Winston, “I’d be a fool to say anything because, at 86, I’m only fourteen years off my retirement age and Chairman Abbott has issued a decree promising that they won’t be raising it again, and all those who reach it will be sent to any of the twelve inhabitable places in the world with enough food to last them a year.”

Winston smiled, remembering how when his memory was questioned, he could assure the person that he remembered everything clearly. How he’d decided against university because of the cost, and how he’d been offered this job after telling the police about a plan to wear unapproved t-shirts prior to the elections of 2015.

“Elections?” the person interjected, “You remember the elections?”

“What elections,” replied Winston, “I was talking about t-shirts. Nobody said anything about elections.”

“You can trust me,” said the person.

“Of course,” said Winston, making a note to erase all records of this conversation just as soon as went to work, and just to be on the safe side, he decided to erase all records of the person to whom he was conversing…

To Be Discontinued, Owing To Unauthorised Use Of Irony.

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Tony Abbott doesn’t want another election

Speaking on Adelaide radio yesterday Tony Abbott said that the last thing voters want is another election. Given the shocking polls, the shocking budget, and the shocking run the government is having, I’d say that the last thing Tony Abbott wants is an election. I’m sure that voters can make up their own minds.

Tony only likes elections when he calls for them, which reminded me of this little piece I wrote two years ago: ‘Guess what? The Liberals want an election’.

I never got around to updating it, however I’m sure that as it stands it might provide you with a bit of humour and more tellingly, trumpet loud and clear that Tony Abbott is only interested in elections when ‘he’ has a good chance of winning them. Some of the links have been removed as the sites they linked to are now ‘dead’ – most of them being to the Liberal Party’s own website, strangely.

So from the good ol’ days when Tony Abbott wasn’t the Prime Minister:

  1. Feb 26, 2011: Tony Abbott calls for election on carbon tax.
  2. March 9, 2011: From the Liberal Party website, Tony Abbott wants an election.
  3. March 18, 2011: Abbott mocks Labor over ties to climate ‘extremists’ (and wants another election).
  4. March 23, 2011: Abbott calls for new election on carbon tax.
  5. May 11, 2011: Joe Hockey says Coalition will try to force early election (surprise, surprise).
  6. May 12, 2011: Budget lacks legitimacy and integrity: Tony Abbott (and he demands an election).
  7. May 15, 2011: On ABC Insiders Abbott calls for an election.
  8. May 16, 2011: On Tony Abbott’s own web page . . . he calls for an election.
  9. May 30, 2011: Julia Gillard listens to actors but not voters on carbon tax, says Tony Abbott (who wants an election).
  10. May 30, 2011: Tony Abbott, Greg Hunt say Julia Gillard should go to election, avoid carbon tax ad campaign.
  11. June 6, 2011: Tony Abbott says PM doesn’t have mandate to introduce carbon tax (plus he wants an election).
  12. June 12, 2011: From the Liberal Party website, Tony Abbott wants an election.
  13. June 20, 2011: Abbott calls for people’s vote on carbon tax.
  14. June 30, 2011: Tony Abbott calls for an immediate election after ‘the experiment that failed’ (referring to a minority government).
  15. July 2, 2011: Abbott interviewed in Port Lincoln. He calls for an election.
  16. July 11, 2011: Pollution tax won’t cut emissions: Abbott (and he calls for an election).
  17. July 13, 2011: Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott face angry public in carbon tax pitch to the nation (and Abbott calls for an election).
  18. July 17, 2011: From the Liberal Party website, Tony Abbott wants an election.
  19. Aug 16, 2011: Tony Abbott joins carbon tax rally to call for fresh election.
  20. Sept 4, 2011: Abbott calls for election as PM digs in on leadership.
  21. Oct 13, 2011: Scott Morrison calls for an election because of the blocked Malaysia deal.
  22. Oct 16, 2011: A big week in politics (and Abbott wants an election).
  23. Nov 2, 2011: Abbott renews call for election on migration policy.
  24. Jan 24, 2012: Opposition frontbencher Christopher Pyne is urging Prime Minister Julia Gillard to call a federal election.
  25. Feb 3, 2012: Here’s something different: Joe Hockey says that Rudd will be the new PM and he’ll call an election.
  26. Feb 23, 2012: Opposition leader Tony Abbott says an election is the best way out of Labor leadership debacle.
  27. Feb 23, 2012: Abbott to call election if government falls. WTF!
  28. Feb 27, 2012: Vote a stay of execution for Julia Gillard, says Tony Abbott (and calls for an election).
  29. Feb 28, 2012: End of distraction praised as Abbott calls for election.
  30. April 23, 2012: Government pressured (by Christopher Pyne) to call election after Slipper steps aside as Speaker.
  31. April 30, 2012: Abbott pressures independents over Thomson affair (and calls for an election).
  32. May 25, 2012: In an interview with Neil Mitchell Joe Hockey says the people want an election (in other words, he does).
  33. June 21, 2012: In an interview on 2GB Scott Morrison calls for an election.
  34. July 16, 2012: Just had to put this one in. In reference to the Lib’s IR policy Hockey had this to say: We will release it well before the next election. The next election is scheduled for the 2nd half of next year. If we followed the lead of the Labor Party, we would be releasing our policy in the second half of next year. (But I thought they wanted an election now).
  35. July 17, 2012: Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne has laid out plans to move under-performing teachers out of the profession as part of its education policy (and calls for an election).
  36. July 18, 2012: Joe Hockey wants another Labor leadership spill or else they should call an election.
  37. July 20, 2012: According to Pyne, the Slipper scandal was yet another reason why the government should call an election.
  38. July 21, 2012: “If this Government cannot solve the crisis at our borders then they should call an election” (Michael Keenan, Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection).

And the above was only a sample! I’d not included YouTube videos of live interviews where there had been a call for an election and neither had I searched for statements from all the Liberal politicians. Who knows how many calls there might have been from Malcolm

He didn't mind having to vote in 2013 (image by ibnlive.in.com)

He didn’t mind having to vote in 2013 (image by ibnlive.in.com)

Turnbull or other prominent players. And neither had I bothered with the Nationals, of which I’m sure Barnaby Joyce would have raised the idea on numerous occasions.

We had calls for an election because of the carbon price, the Budget, The Slipper scandal, under-performing teachers, Nauru, border protection, migration, the Labor leadership challenge, Julia Gillard winning that challenge, no more distractions, the minority government, and Craig Thomson.

And on and on it went until the election was called. Until of course, when Rudd took over again and the calls resumed with vomitous regularity.

These days Tony must think the electorate is happy with the performance of both himself and his government, because, says he, it doesn’t want another election.

Truth is … Tony Abbott doesn’t want another election. Gosh, I wonder why.

 

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Breaking News – the Abbott Government has kept an election promise

There seemed to be some confusion about Abbott’s promise to spend his first week as PM in an Indigenous community. Some people were arguing that he’d broken an election promise in record time.

Others argued that he – in fact – promised to repeal the carbon tax “straight away”. I tried to point out that “straight away” meant as soon as possible, not literally straight away.

“But that’s what he said,” said Dave. “He shouldn’t have said it he couldn’t do it immediately.”

“I don’t really think you can consider these things broken promises,” I argued.

“Well, what about his promise on school funding that every single school would get the same funding,” said Jonno, “they broke that one.”

“No, they’ve said that the total funding will be the same,” I pointed out.

“Yeah, but that’s not every single school.”

“We don’t know that yet,” I insisted.

“Then there’s the money to the childcare workers,” said Dave.

“And Holden,” said someone else.

“Look,” I said, “before the election the Liberals were quite clear that they weren’t going to continue to throw money at the car industry.”

“I heard today that Turnbull’s announced that they’re going back on their NBN commitments,” said Jonno.

“This mob hasn’t kept a single promise,” said Dave.

“That’s just not true!” I insisted.

“Well, can you name one?” he asked.

Before I had a chance Barry spoke up.

“I can.”

We looked at Barry.

“Before the election, I got talking to the Liberal candidate in my area, and he told me that I shouldn’t believe Labor’s scare campaigns about Workchoices and raising the GST. He told me that if I voted for the Labor Party, I’d get the most incompetent, the most dishonest, the nastiest, stupidest government in the history of Australia.”

He sipped his beer.

“Well, I voted for the Labor Party, and I guess you’d have to say that they kept that promise!”

 

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 103 total views

Why I’m happy that Tony Abbott is PM!

Photo: ABC Net

Photo: abc.net.au

At various times over the past few years, I’ve felt enormously frustrated. Not just on social media and reading comments on some of Murdoch’s Media Sites, but listening to the garbage that people have written and said about the Labor Government.

I’m not a dyed-in-the-wool, Labor forever lefty as anyone who disagreed with me wanted to suggest – I even voted for Fraser in 1975 – so it’s wrong to dismiss me as someone who’d justify the ALP whatever they did. But that seemed to be what happened any time I defended anything that the Labor Government was doing.

Over the past few years, I’ve read such wonderful things as:

“It’s time we had something similar to Fox News in Australia to give the shameless ABC propaganda some balance”

And

“the labor morons have a complete disliking for any persons that have had success in their lives, they cannot understand that 1=1=3”.

One of the pages on Facebook was called “Direct Democracy” and was arguing that citizens should have the right to call an elected government back to the polls if 15,000 people signed a petition. This was particularly ironic given the fact that one of the site’s administrators was David Flint – a staunch monarchist. Another point of irony was that it used a drawing of senators in ancient Greece as its profile picture! Ancient Greece – where democracy was born, but women and slaves weren’t allowed to vote!

Naturally, its followers were of the opinion that not only had Gillard lied about the Carbon tax, but she was lying about the whole climate change thing. It was a UN conspiracy to enable world government AND Australia was going it alone and no other country was introducing a carbon tax AND the carbon taxes in other countries – which, in the space of two comments, now had them – were much lower than Australia’s. Lately, however, it seems to have dropped this concept of citizens being allowed to demand an election, preferring to complain about Paul Keating and suggesting that people want the cane reintroduced to Queensland schools. (Personally, I think that there’s a much better case to introduce it for Queensland voters! Although, it seems that many of them must enjoy that sort of thing given how overwhelmingly they voted for the Newman Government).

When Abbott was first elected, I was concerned. I was afraid that the Murdoch Press would continue to present his failings as insignificant, to magnify any minor achievement and to continue to present him as the strong man (as opposed to a “weak” woman, but then a “strong” woman is just unnatural, so ain’t it great that a real bloke is back in charge, but don’t call us sexist, you politically correct parrots!).

I imagined day after day when I’d have to listen to the gloating of Liberal lackeys who possessed less grace than the Australian Cricket Team after a night out celebrating. I worried about my blood pressure. I was concerned about keeping my temper in check.

But I’ve found the past few weeks surprisingly calming. Oh, for sure, there are things I find appalling. I worry for the future. And I’m sure that as time passes, I will start to shout at the TV again. However, so far, Abbott has given me more laughs than an episode of “The Chaser”. I’m finding it hard to actually believe that he’s PM – as I’m sure he does from time to time – and it’s like watching a re-write of “Yes, Prime Minister” with an Australian setting, and a less sympathetic main character.

Great comic moments include:

His trip to Indonesia, where he apologised for just about everything, followed a few weeks later with his lack of an apology, because we’re not admitting to tapping anyone’s phone and anyway, everyone does it.

Julie Bishop saying that she wasn’t commenting on anything that involved intelligence.

Hockey’s attempt to increase the debt limit by 66%.

Pyne – “We discovered that they didn’t sign anything, so we’re starting the education reforms from scratch”! Actually, just about anything Pyne does makes me laugh. Watching him with the sound down makes me think that I’m watching new episodes of Mr Bean.

Morrison – “There were no unaccompanied minors sent overseas because we thought they were older”! Try that one in court! (No, really, it deserves a trial).

Browyn Bishop – first the idea that she’d restore “dignity” to the role of Speaker, then her ruling that “Electricity Bill” wasn’t a nickname, it was a description.

Barnaby Joyce – our own Basil Fawlty.

So, it’s my turn when smug Liberals point out that they won the election to say, “No, you didn’t – you got less first preferences than Labor and it’s only when you add the National’s vote that you get there and we all know that parties shouldn’t form coalitions! And now, thanks to Tony, no objective person can say that the recent Labor was the worst government ever”.

 186 total views

“Anger Is An Energy” but as it’s renewable, I think the Liberals will ignore it!

“They put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
And made these feelings go away
Model citizen in every way

Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy

I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be right I could be wrong
I could be black I could be white

Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low
Walk through the valley

The written word is a lie”

Rise

Public Image Limited.

There’s a lot of anger in the air. Of course, many would suggest that Abbott’s opportunism in blaming Labor for anything that went wrong is the reason.

Others would blame the Labor Government itself. “It’s because of the incontinence of Labour that the country’s broke”. (Not sure about that, but I definitely nearly pissed myself after reading that.)

And I know that Abbott is going to make a lot of people angry over the next few years. People such as Andrew Blot and the shock jocks go out of their way to say things which seem perfectly reasonable to their fans, but likely to provoke an irate response from any thinking person.

Personally, I’ve decided to take Gandhi’s advice and “be the change you want to see in the world”. (It was Gandhi, wasn’t it? I’m sure if I’m wrong I’ll have some halfwit Abbott groupie writing in the comments that I’m a “moron” and that it was actually said by Bono.)

So, I have to say that it’s totally unfair to blame Tony for the asylum seeker boats still arriving. I mean, it’s the Indonesian Government’s fault for allowing them to leave, right?I’ve read this in many places today. It’s just not right to blame the Australian Government for boat arrivals. And while Tony did promise to “stop the boats”, he never put a timetable on that. In fact, I can’t find any quote that says exactly where he plans to stop them either. Stopping them at Christmas Island is one place. Stopping at the Australian coastline is another. We don’t want those boats sailing on past the coast and unto our highways. (See Fiona Scott) So long as they are stopped, he’s keeping his part of the deal.

Yes, I know that some of you will think that we shouldn’t be stopping boats at all, but look at the terrible record of boat people in Australia. For example, at the election, one of my local candidates had arrived by boat in the seventies, and now he was standing for the Liberal Party.

But it doesn’t just end there. Tony Abbott, for example, arrived by boat.

On 7 September 1960, Abbott and his family left the UK for Australia on the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme ship, Oronsay.

September 7th – a day that will live in infamy.

And, of course, we have all those other refugees who arrived by boat after World War 2. Plus the “economic migrants” from Greece and Italy throughout the 60’s. As for the Gold-diggers who rushed to Australia to dig up our gold in the 1850’s. Similarly, the First Fleet (and the Second and Third) was comprised mainly of criminals.

It’s probably too late to round them all up and send them back where they came from, so I guess we’re stuck with their descendants.

As for some of the other things that Abbott has done – like get rid of the Climate Commission – well, they were part of his election policy, so he can hardly be criticised for keeping his promise to remove everything that Labor did on Climate Change, and replace it with his Climate Change Reduction Action Program (or CCRAP, as it’ll soon be known).

Another thing that has made people angry is the story of George Brandis claiming travel expenses to attend Mike Smith’s wedding. People were furiously drawing comparisons between this and Peter Slipper. However, if one examines this more closely there is an enormous difference: Peter Slipper has been accused of deliberately misusing taxpayer funds, and George Brandis is a Liberal.

So, I’m breathing deeply, and remaining calm. And if anybody wants to bring up anything about the Labor Government, I’ll tell them to stop living in the past. If they want to do that, they may as well join Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party.

P.S. There some excitement when it was thought there’d been a rare sighting of an endangered Canberra species “The National Party Leader”, but it turned out to be a false alarm – it was merely a dodo.

 

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 119 total views

Just remember – we’re not independent and we’re all idiots

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of taking a class called “Oral English” which was one hour a week and in it Year 10 students were meant to improve their oral skills by short talks, debating and intelligent discussion of issues. The intelligent discussion of issues nearly always descended into them raising their voices and insulting each other at which point I’d bring a halt to proceedings and remind them of the rules of the class.

One day, instead of doing the same ineffective thing, I simply asked them, “When was the last time that someone changed your mind by yelling at you? Or by insulting you?” The general consensus was never. “Then why do you think it’ll work when you do it?’

“We don’t,” said one girl.

“Then why do you do it?” I asked

“Because it feels good.”

“Well, just so long as you’re not expecting to win the argument or change anyone’s mind.”

I sometimes think of this when I read long arguments in the comments section. Am I commenting to change people’s mind, or am I just doing it because it feels good?

On various sites, I’ve had exchanges with people that have started to resemble the Stockholm syndrome. I’ve gone missing for a few days and they comment that they were missing me when I return. On one site, I was accused of being “brainwashed by the (left-wing) mainstream media” (ha!) and told to think for myself. This was often followed by a link where someone would tell me how to think for myself. (One would alternate between links to show that Australia was the ONLY country taking action on climate change and links to show that action on climate change was part of a global conspiracy to establish world government because that’s what the left wing and rich people have conspired to do)

There’s quite an interesting little article that suggests that facts and figures don’t matter much. People’s interpretation will sway even simple mathematics. A good example of this is The Australian’s recent “leak” of the IPCC report which suggesting that warming was only 0.12C a decade not 0.2C. This is being reported as nothing to worry about, after all, rather than, thank god, we still might be able to do something about it. There’s no “it’s definitely warming so all that guff about the planet cooling is just wrong”. (Or, to put the figures in another context, would you be happy if you were told that a particular line in the supermarket was only responsible for 12 deaths in a thousand, instead of the reported 20?).

When I wrote “Dealing With Trolls and Liberals”, I had a couple of people attack me as suggesting that anyone who disagreed with me was a troll. They obviously didn’t get the irony of the title. It was actually suggesting that people needed to be careful about doing just that, but it was also suggesting that the Abbott led Liberal Party was behaving exactly like a troll.

The Urban Dictionary defines a troll thus:

1a. Noun One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

1b. Noun A person who, on a message forum of some type, attacks and flames other members of the forum for any of a number of reasons such as rank, previous disagreements, sex, status, etc.
A troll usually flames threads without staying on topic, unlike a “Flamer” who flames a thread because he/she disagrees with the content of the thread.

1c. Noun A member of an internet forum who continually harangues and harasses others. Someone with nothing worthwhile to add to a certain conversation, but rather continually threadjacks or changes the subject, as well as thinks every member of the forum is talking about them and only them. Trolls often go by multiple names to circumvent getting banned.

I’ve decided to adopt three rules for trolls:

  1. Be careful not to define every person who disagrees as a troll, but where the person simply starts with abuse and doesn’t actually mention any of the issues raised in the blog, it’s a fair bet.
  2. Don’t let them change the topic. If the blog was on the NDIS, for example, don’t enter into a discussion with them about the “School Hall fiasco”. I intend to calmly tell them that I talked about that on a different post, and their comment would be more relevant there, and give them a link to a post which has nothing to do with what they’re talking about. (One can continue to do this with every comment they make.)
  3. Remember what that girl in my Oral English class said about doing it because it feels good. If you find yourself getting upset or frustrated, it’s safer to ignore them. Or, if you can’t do that, refer to them by name and say something like, “It’s because of idiots like you that we’ve now got a Labor Government”. Confuses them no end, but it’ll also help them achieve their aim, which is to ensure that the comments AREN’T about the blog, or the information being presented. The other option if they bring up the Pink Batts is to ask them exactly what the GOVERNMENT did wrong, and refer them to the report by Alan Hawke, where it was found that the rate of problems was no higher than normal and that scale had more to do with the number of faulty installations.

It’s also interesting that any criticism of Tony Abbott and company is quickly turned into a demand that people writing on this site, justify everything that the Labor government did. As I’ve pointed out on many occasions, I am not a member of the Labor Party or the Greens, and don’t feel the need to apologise for time these parties have got it wrong. For some of you, that may be different and you may feel a compelling need, but try not to let the topic be changed by people who’s main aim is to disrupt. (If the discussion is about whose turn it is do the dishes, don’t let it get sidetracked to how you left the margarine out of the fridge last week.) The Labor Government has been voted out of office. I accept the “will of the people”. If the discussion is about the current government, trolls bringing up Kevin, Julia, Pink Batts, School Halls or debt should get their own blog, or stick to what’s being discussed.

And no, that’s not stifling your “free speech”, any more than the fact “The Age” doesn’t always publish my letters or when the commercial channel’s decided not run GetUp!’s ads. (If you want to argue about the free speech issue, your comments would be welcome here.)

 

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 123 total views

The Cassandra Effect, Abbott and Boiling a Frog. Dr Who?

I step out of the phone box. I look around. Picking up a paper, I see the date September 16th, 2009. Either the time travel has worked or this newsstand is selling very old newspapers. Rudd is enormously popular. There is a headline that the latest polling has Labor ahead 60.5 to 39.5 two party preferred. It’s not too late. I need to warn people. Perhaps we can stop this happening.

I make my way to the pub opposite Trades Hall. I stick my head in. “I’ve come from the future to warn you all.” A couple of people look up, but most people go on drinking. “I come from the Year 2013 and Tony Abbott is PRIME MINISTER.” A couple of people look up and laugh.

“Have another drink,” shouts somebody. There is more laughter.

Obviously, this is not an effective way to communicate. I go to the bar and order a scotch. One of the men smiles and says, “Good one!”

I shake my head. “I know it must seem incredible, but it’s all true.”

“So just four years after Labor save us from the GFC, we elect the Liberals. And not just the Liberals, Tony Abbott?”

“Yes,” I say, gulping my drink quickly.

“Fascinating, so why do we elect him?”

“Because the economy’s a mess and the borders are weak,” I repeat the Abbott mantras.

“Oh, inflation get’s out of control and interest rates soar?”

“No.”

“Unemployment goes through the roof.”

“No, um, it’s lower than it is now, I think.”

“We’re invaded by a foreign power?”

“No, there a lot of asylum seeker boats. Well, a few anyway.”

“That’s no reason to vote out a government.”

“Well, it happens. Shortly after Rudd is returned to the Leadership.”

“Returned?”

“Yes, Julia Gillard replaces him, because he becomes very unpopular after Abbott becomes Leader of the Liberals and the Senate block the ETS.”

“So why does he become unpopular if it’s Abbott that blocks the ETS?”

“Um, I don’t know. Anyway, all this is unimportant, I’m here to try and stop it happening!”

“Sort of like Arnie!” I look blank. “In The Terminator,” he explains.

“Sort of.” I remember the instructions for boiling a frog. If you do it slowly, the frog doesn’t notice.

“Ok, so what’s he like? As PM.”

I can tell that he’s humouring me, but I continue. “Well, one of his first acts is to abolish the Ministry for Climate Change.”

“I suppose that he incorporates it into one of the other departments like Science.”

“Oh, there’s no Ministry for Science, that becomes part of Industry.”

He smiles, “Next you’ll be saying he gets rid of all the women in the Cabinet.”

“He does. Well, Julie Bishop’s still there. She’s in charge of Foreign Affairs.”

“I see,” he smirks.

“It’s all true. And Abbott takes over as the Minister for Women’s Affairs.”

“You’re from the future, you say?”

“Yep.”

“And I suppose that you’ve got some explanation for how you got here?”

“Yes, Dr Who lent me his TARDIS. How else?”

“Ah,” he says, “at last you’re telling me something I can believe.”

 

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 176 total views

Whose fault is it?

I once observed that it’d benefit a lot of organizations if someone was paid to take the blame when things go wrong.

“We’ve overestimated/underestimated/overspent/missed the deadline/blah/blah/etc.”

“Oh, sorry, that was my fault.”

“Well, we’re in terrible trouble, what are you going to do about it?”

“Nothing. I’m not paid to solve problems – I’m just paid to take the blame, now I’ve done that the rest of you can work out what to do instead of spending all that time justifying yourselves.”

I think of this now, because I can’t help but feel we’re going to be spending a disproportionate amount of time talking about “blame” in the next year or so.

Reflection and working out what went wrong has its merits, but “blame” is something else altogether.

For example, I notice various letters in the papers blaming Bill Shorten for backing Gillard, for changing back to Rudd, for being a “faceless” man and for being too ambitious. (I still maintain that a Minister cannot be “one of Labor’s faceless men” no matter how much he wheels and deals; it’s an oxymoron.)

Whatever your views on Bill Shorten, I suspect that the more he’s blamed, the more he’ll seek to deflect blame, so while it may feel good to find a villain or a scapegoat, things are rarely one person’s fault.

However, I don’t want to concentrate on Labor’s soul-searching. My purpose here is to look to the future and to remind everyone that Abbott was elected to deal with the Labor Government’s perceived shortcomings.

I use the word “perceived” not to suggest that they had none, but because, clearly, no-one voted for Tony Abbott because of a problem that Labor had, but no-one was aware of.

For the past few years, Abbott has been an attack dog. Laying the blame, always, squarely at Labor’s door. Never mind that some of his complaints lacked any rational arguments to back them up.

Never mind that sometimes future events justified what Labor did, rather than what Liberals suggested. (“We’re spending too much stimulus money now, we need to save some for when we go into recession, which is inevitable!” became “We didn’t go into recession, so we didn’t need to spend any money at all.”)

Never mind the times – as with the Carbon Tax – where Labor were doing what the Liberals suggested. (“If you want to put a price on carbon, why not just do it with a simple tax?” Tony Abbott in 2009). He’s been relentless. And the temptation is to give him a taste of his own medicine. “Let’s make it hard for him. Let’s be negative about everything he does.”

Instead, let’s claim the high moral ground here. Let’s not – as some on social media have done – rejoice in Mirabella’s potential defeat using words like “bitch” and making nasty comments on her personal life.

Let’s not indulge in rumours about Abbott, which even if true, do not diminish his capacity as leader. After all, people objected to such things when the Jones, the Bolts, the Liberals trolls, the Limited Media of Murdoch, all did it.

Let’s not let such people get us on the ropes, where the head-kickers and the body punchers are at their best. Let’s instead hold Abbott to this one standard: “We don’t care who’s to blame, you were elected to fix it! If you can’t do that, you’d better step aside and let someone who can. After all, we have a contract.”

“Yeah but unemployment’s rising/there’s no surplus/we’re in recession because of Labor!!!”

“We don’t care who’s to blame, you were elected to fix it! What’s your answer?”

I suspect that it may be far more effective to do that than to let them deflect blame.

Not to mention, more satisfying!

 

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 151 total views

Usually, they wait till you’ve signed the contract before revealing the fine print!

Who else received a Contract from Tony Abbott? Just wondering, because I misplaced mine and I’ve been searching for it on the internet, and I can’t seem to find it there either. Perhaps, it was an individual contract…

”You’ll notice we haven’t said we’re going to get to a surplus by a particular date.” Tony Abbott

“But missing from the independent costings will be the analysis on three of the Coalition’s key policies: broadband, Direct Action and the plan to stop asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat.” The Sydney Morning Herald

Anyway, I was searching for it, because I couldn’t remember if it said anything about surpluses, but as I can’t find it, I guess he’s off the hook.

Still, I wonder whether it was such a good idea to send me a contract at all. I mean, I hadn’t asked for one. And if I was going to ask for one, I’d expect that I would be consulted as to what I wanted in the contract.

But I guess that was the idea behind WorkChoices – people being given contracts and told that was what they were getting.

And I wanted to check that it said that it was “A” contract, because if it was a verb and not a noun at the top of the page, it may have been what they expect to happen to the Australian Economy.

But I can’t seem to find the document anywhere. I did tell my wife that I wanted to keep it so that I could keep the Liberals to their promise to build “Modern” Roads, as opposed to the ones we’ve built in the past. And they intend to build more of them.

It’s unclear whether that’s more than we have now or more than are usually built in a given period. Or indeed, more roads than we actually need.

Likewise, it promised a “stronger” economy. Stronger than what? I would have like that cleared up before the contract was signed. Nietsche’s, “That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” comes to mind, for some reason.

The contract didn’t actually indicate what penalties would apply should Tony Abbott fail to live up to his end of the bargain.

Samuel Goldwyn is alleged to have said that a verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

I’m left wondering the point of giving someone a contract when all you can do is say that they broke a promise that they wrote down as opposed to something that was just said…

Oh, that’s right:

”I know politicians are going to be judged on everything they say but sometimes in the heat of discussion you go a little bit further than you would if it was an absolutely calm, considered, prepared, scripted remark,” Mr Abbott said. ”Which is one of the reasons why the statements that need to be taken absolutely as gospel truth [are] those carefully prepared, scripted remarks.”

If someone finds the Contract on the internet can they post a link in the comments?
I’d like to sign a copy and send it back to him.

 

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 111 total views