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Whither Constitutional Change?

Within a very short space of time, we are going to be embroiled in a national discussion on constitutional change: namely, we are going to be asked if we favour First Nations people having a voice to our national parliament enshrined in our Constitution. The purpose of this article is not to take sides or to push one argument over another. Rather, it is to explore the options and the processes that contribute to a national constitutional referendum and to generate discussion.

Constitutional change in this country is fraught as the Constitution can only be amended by referendum, through the procedure set out in section 128. A successful referendum requires a `double majority’: a national majority of voters plus a federal majority of states (i.e. four of the six states).

The votes of those living in the ACT, the NT and any of Australia’s external territories count towards the national majority only.

Since 1901 there have been 19 referendums but of the forty-four referendum questions posed only eight have passed: The last constitutional referendum was for an Australian Republic held on 6 November 1999 – it failed. Usually, there are multiple questions to be resolved at each referendum – this time it appears there will only be one although it could be argued that there is some serious housekeeping necessary to tidy up our Constitution – perhaps that’s a question for another day.

Timing for a referendum is critical as is political consensus. Labor have already said that they favour a referendum in their first term and Pat Dodson, the special envoy for reconciliation and implementation of the Uluru Statement from the heart, favours a referendum on 27 May, 2023 – that is the 56th anniversary of the successful 1967 referendum allowing the commonwealth to make laws for Indigenous people and count them in the census, and the sixth anniversary of the Uluru statement.

So far the coalition has only said that it is open to supporting a referendum but wants to see more detail and the model to be put to the Australian people. This is a change in the position of the Morrison government. Indeed, Morrison ruled out a referendum quite specifically in the lead-up to the 2022 election; “It’s not our policy to have a referendum on the Voice” he told us. His minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, had favoured legislation for a voice and intimated that this would go before the parliament prior to the 2022 election but clearly, this didn’t occur as there was limited interest from coalition members and the then leadership.

The suggestion by Wyatt that a legislated voice, even as an interim measure, was shouted down by Aboriginal groups who generally considered that legislation was unsatisfactory and could be changed at a political whim and only an entrenchment in our Constitution would give any long-term certainty and continuity.

The road to constitutional change is not an easy one and the enabling legislation for a referendum has first to be passed by both houses of our parliament to set the process in motion. Already there are fears that not all parties are on the same page. Newly elected Country Liberal Party senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price a self-described Warlpiri-Celtic woman is suggesting caution on what she considers to be Labor’s policy on the Voice. She said recently that she was taking a cautious approach :

“We’ve got to understand what Labor proposes through this Voice process, and we’ve got to take a look at that before we take a clearer position on it, but I would certainly urge my colleagues to prioritise [more critical] issues,” she said.

“[The Voice] she said doesn’t clearly outline how in fact we’re going to solve some of our really critical issues, issues that I’ve been very much campaigning on for many years around family and domestic violence, around child sexual abuse, around education.”

The Greens are also taking a wait-and-see attitude and are suggesting that they would prefer to see “a truth-telling and treaty process begin before action on an Indigenous Voice”.

There has been considerable consultation over the past five years since the Uluru statement and this has produced the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process report.

This report recommends that the Voice should comprise 24 elected members, with two drawn from each of the states and territories, two from the Torres Strait Islands, five additional remote representatives drawn from the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales, and one member representing Torres Strait Islanders on the mainland.

How much power, influence or authority this group would have on our government and parliament is not yet established but it is an advisory body and would not have a veto on our legislative process and would not be an additional chamber to our parliament as suggested by Malcolm Turnbull initially.

The Turnbull and Morrison governments demonstrated their then objection to a constitutional voice in saying :

“Our democracy is built on the foundation of all Australian citizens having equal civic rights … a constitutionally enshrined additional representative assembly for which only Indigenous Australians could vote for or serve in is inconsistent with this fundamental principle.”

If the Dutton opposition were to maintain this fundamental argument then, the referendum would have little chance of passing.

The form of question to be put to the Australian people will obviously be critical to the success of the referendum but it seems probable that the question will be posed in general terms with the detail and structure to follow in the form of legislation enacted through the parliament: ideally, this draft legislation would be available prior to the referendum so, there is a lot of work to be done if the May 2023 date it to be met.

The legislation governing the process for referendums in Australia is laid down in the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1994. Among other provisions, this legislation, by section 8, sets out the procedure for presenting the ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments which need to be communicated to each elector prior to the referendum

There are, of course, political risks for the Albanese government in the whole process and already some in the opposition are labelling the process as ‘Labor’s referendum’ which, of course, it isn’t. However, if the referendum were to fail or not receive bipartisan support the political fallout for the Albanese government could be damaging in its first term.

We shall see !

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George Pell ‘Devil Incarnate’ is dead

In what she shamelessly and deliberately calls her ‘Obitchuary’ of Cardinal George Pell, guest columnist Tess Lawrence, longtime advocate for sex abuse victims who has spent decades investigating the crimes of the Catholic Church and George Pell shares inside intelligence on ‘Big George’ that will shock you more than any of Prince Harry’s tame scribblings. She has written fearlessly about Pell and the Catholic Church, famously exposing Pell’s lie that he was exonerated by a church appointed so-called ‘independent’ Queens Counsel from sexually abusing a boy. She has worked for the Christian Brothers and advises readers to keep a sick bag at the ready and to have a cleansing shower after reading this article.

Content warning: this article discusses rape, sexual abuse and violence.
* Support phone numbers at end of this article. Reach out, please.

George Pell ‘Devil Incarnate’ is dead

May he rot in the same living hell he personally facilitated and enabled for the tens of thousands of clergy child sex abuse victims in Australia alone.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to bulldust.

The earthly hell that Pell commandeered, nurtured and oversaw in his various leadership roles, was ordained by him, his cronies and perpetrators to restrain and silence powerless and vulnerable children.

The brutalism he and the church fostered, the wholesale industrial strength pedophilia, merciless cruelty, salacious, venal and carnal pursuits are so prolific in number that they surely must impact upon the collective psyche of this country alone.

Victim says Pell is ‘Devil Incarnate’

Upon hearing of Pell’s death, a dear friend of mine, a sex abuse survivor, said of Pell:

“… he was the devil incarnate…

“I can’t feel any sympathy – I’m just thinking of my schoolmates who killed themselves (because they were sexually abused by Catholic clergy), or who died from an overdose, who died a little bit, day by day.

“As far as I’m concerned it was murder. Murder by degree. Murder by stealth, a slow death, a painful death. The dicks those bastards raped my mates with, me, might as well have been a knife. Those dicks are a murder weapon.

“I’m lucky that I’m still standing; even if it is just standing at times. But I can’t promise what I might do to myself tomorrow because of those cunts and people like Pell who protected them.”

Pell died at Rome’s private Salvator Mundi International Hospital.

Writing for the Vatican’s website, journalist Salvatore Cernuzio confirmed:

“Australian Cardinal George Pell, prefect emeritus of the Secretariat for the Economy, died Tuesday evening, around 9 pm, in Rome. He was 81 years old. The Cardinal died following heart complications that arose after a long-planned hip operation. A few days ago he had concelebrated Benedict XVI’s funeral in St Peter’s Square.”

George Pell, ashes to ashes. Dust to bulldust

Injustice lurks like a malevolent bacterium wherever two or more profess to gather in His sullied name.

Many young victims of sex abuse by clergy have grown into wounded, broken and fragile adults who for decades have fought for justice. They still fight for justice.

But how can they fight God? Mammon? The Holy See? Jesus raping you? For that is what it is when a priest rapes you and you are a child.

Theirs is often a living hell of suicides, suicide attempts, self-harm and ritual mutilation, drug and alcohol addiction, crime, homelessness, fractured relationships with family and friends, an inability to sustain sexual and intimate liaisons. To feel joy. Happiness. Unable to imagine the future. Without ambition. Without aspiration. Without hope.

Victims of Pell’s church emotionally ringbarked for life

They are sometimes unable even to love. Imagine that.

Sometimes they feel unloved. Sometimes they seem unloveable, feel unworthy of love.

Sometimes they/we/us are unable to trust individuals, institutions, authority. Fearful of motives, suspicious, emotionally ringbarked throughout life, feeling diseased with stunted personal growth, sometimes they are unable to hold down jobs and feel discarded by the rest of us.

These are just some of the feelings ’they’ have told me in the many hours of conversations. But they are us. We are one. You. Me. We. Ours. They. Us.

These are just some of the feelings ’they’ have told me in the many hours of conversations. But they are us. We are one. You. Me. We. Ours. They. Us.

Victims deemed guilty

Everything is a hard slog for them. Nothing comes easy. So many obstacles are placed on the dirt path of justice. Endless paperwork. Endless questions. Few answers.

More is stacked against alleged victims than alleged perpetrators. Victims seem to be deemed guilty until proven otherwise.

Pell’s church says it has changed its ways. It hasn’t. We know this. Lawyers know this. The judiciary knows it. Governments know it. Institutions know it.

‘Big George’ Pell noted for the size of his penis

Big George was noted for his formidable presence as well as for the size of his penis.

That was the real reason for his nickname ‘big George.’ He was also known as ‘the big fella.’ Same reason.

Obviously proud of his manhood, he was a habitual exhibitionist in the shower locker/change rooms whilst a schoolboy, adolescent and trainee priest.

He was later ‘sprung’ as a grown man in a well-documented, notorious incident revealed in July 2016 on ABC television’s 7.30 program (since removed from the ABC website).

Pell exposed himself to boys at Torquay Life Saving Club – told to “piss off” by club member

Club member Les Tyack, who had kids at the club, claimed Pell exposed his genitals to a group of young boys at the Torquay Life Saving Club in the 1980s.

Tyack claims he confronted Pell:

“I said; ‘I know what you’re up to.

Get dressed and piss off, and don’t come back to the surf club.
If I see you here again, I’ll call the police.”

Of course, Pell denied Tyack’s public testimony. He has always denied any and all sexual allegations. His cock crowed more than thrice with such denials, I’ve no doubt. Even St Peter’s tally is no match. Both men betrayed Jesus.

Pell was a big boy in more ways than one and he grew into a hulking adult.

He took up a lot of room in restaurants, theatres, even first-class airline seats. In churches, cathedrals, auditoria, behind the pulpit, on the altar and in the media Big George always loomed large. He was theatrical.

Pell and his disciples held lavish supper parties. Dressed in full regalia. Called themselves ‘The Spice Girls’

He presided over lavish supper parties with his adoring disciples. They dressed up in full regalia and were commonly known as ‘The Spice Girls.’ I’m not the only one who wrote about it.

He vacuumed up space with his regal presence and aura of elite entitlement. He scared people. There was reason to be scared.

He gorged on the fear and intimidation he provoked in underlings and those who opposed his far-right ultra-conservatism. Likewise, he enjoyed the adoration and sycophancy of acolytes.

Pell was a power slut and a media whore. The latter was to prove his undoing in public fora over which he had no control.

Pell ruled with arrogance, iron will – and his fists

He ruled with an arrogance and iron will and on occasion, his fists. Stay with me.

Whether he held dominion over a team, a school, a parish, a diocese, archdiocese, cardinalate or curia, Catholic canon was replaced with Pell’s intransigent dogma.

With Pell it was his way, not the Appian Way.

He presided not only over his patch in the church of Rome but lorded over The Church of Pell. A church within a church, almost.

He was adept at poisoning the wells of human kindness and social justice. Time and again he and his propagandists and legal henchmen put the kibosh on attempts to conclude compensation settlements; squeezing stone out of blood.

His misogyny too was palpable. He loathed strong women in particular. He was frightened of us, if he couldn’t order us about. He could not tolerate being challenged in particular by women.

Pell thought vaginas were dirty

He thought vaginas were dirty and claimed he had no interest in a conjugal relationship with a woman/women. How do I know? Because I know several people who were in his inner circle. He was once heard saying one of the reasons he did not find celibacy difficult or a temptation, was because vaginas were unhygienic.

His fear and loathing of vaginas was also one of the reasons why Pell couldn’t fathom why some priests might wish to marry; women that is.

Seemingly sticking your penis in a vagina was dirty whereas sticking it in the anus of a child was presumably acceptable.

Pell had a foul mouth and temper to match.

He was intransigent when it came to homosexuality, same sex/all sex marriage, the ordination of women, married clergy and abortion rights. He was a fundamentalist, and his religious views were more akin to the Taliban than progressive Catholicism.

Listening to and watching footage of him comment about homosexuality, his sheer hypocrisy and attempts to display naivete about it, is galling and irritating. Pathetic.

As were his constant assertions that he/the church didn’t know that technically, raping children was a crime, trying to promulgate the view that sexually abusing children was regarded more as succumbing to temptations of the flesh and breaking the vow of celibacy. Why was the Catholic Church allowed to get away with such lies for so long? The church constantly lied about knowing that sexual abuse was taking place.

The Vatican was rightly proud of the beautiful voices of their Castrati, never mind that the children were sexually mutilated to achieve the higher notes of that heavenly the chorus.

Wikipedia has an excellent report on this not so ancient practice.

Pell answered to a higher authority – himself

We so often saw for ourselves during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, court appearances, parliamentary and other inquiries, how Pell often blamed others for his own failings and grew impatient and even angry when questioned.

Clearly, he was a man used to answering only to a higher authority: himself.

He courted the rich, the powerful, political leaders, diplomats and the influential. In truth some of them courted him. He was after all, religious royalty. A Prince. God’s man. A man god.

He enjoyed the good life, luxury, top shelf wines and spirits, accommodation, travel, clothes, vestments, shoes and a bespoke form of Catholicism that he tailored himself.

He presided not over the Church of Rome but lorded over The Church of Pell, a cult of his own making. In his own image and likeness.

Pell’s weekly expenditure greater than Pope Francis

His extravagance belied his vows and role as Vatican financial watchdog.

His venality and hypocrisy incurred both wrath and ridicule not only in Australia but also in Rome and elsewhere.

At one stage, his weekly expenditure was reputed to be greater than that of Pope Francis.

He fancied himself as Australia’s first Pope. So did others.

Pell: If Francis resigned he’d throw Zucchetto into ring

Vatican sources told The AIM Network that even as the late emeritus Pope Benedict XVI lay drawing his last breath the other week, Pell openly discussed the possibility that if Pope Francis did a Ratzinger and resigned because of ill health, Pell would throw his zucchetto into the ring.

When asked about his sex abuse conviction ultimately quashed by the High Court possibly being an impediment for a papal candidate, our source says Pell dismissed such a notion, claiming that the court’s decision was proof positive of his innocence and thus he was a proven “cleanskin.” Really?

From Whence did notion of Pell’s great intellect spring? From Pell himself, his acolytes and propagandists! Simples!

Said to be an intellectual heavyweight in fact his public appearances suggest otherwise. The notion is laughable. Who can forget his embarrassing infantile exchange with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins on ABC television’s QandA program in April, 2012, then hosted by Tony Jones.

Here’s an excerpt from the transcript to prove the case:

TONY JONES: George Pell, can I just come back to you on this question of the existence of God. Why would God randomly decide to provide proof of his existence to a small group of Jews 2,000 years ago and not subsequently provide any proof after that?

GEORGE PELL: Well, I don’t think there’s ever been any scientific proof.

I don’t believe God does anything randomly, although he might set up, he might set up a system which works, apparently through, you know, through chance, through random, but if you want something done, you’ve got to ask somebody.

It’s no good, say, my asking everyone in the congregation will you would do something.

Normally you go to a busy person because you know they’ll do it and so for some extraordinary reason God chose the Jews. They weren’t intellectually the equal of either the Egyptians or the…

TONY JONES: Intellectually?

GEORGE PELL: Intellectually, morally…

TONY JONES: How can you know intellectually?

GEORGE PELL: Because you see the fruits of their civilisation. Egypt was the great power for thousands of years before Christianity. Persia was a great power, Caldia.

The poor – the little Jewish people – they were originally shepherds. They were stuck.

They’re still stuck between these great powers.

TONY JONES: But that’s not a reflection of your intellectual capacity, is it, whether or not you’re a shepherd?

GEORGE PELL: Well, no it’s not but it is a recognition it is a reflection of your intellectual development, be it like many, many people are very, very clever and not highly intellectual but my point is…

TONY JONES: I’m sorry, can I just interrupt? Are you including Jesus in that, who was obviously Jewish and was of that community?


TONY JONES: So intellectually not up to it?

GEORGE PELL: Well, that’s a nice try, Tony.

The people, in terms of sophistication, the psalms are remarkable in terms of their buildings and that sort of thing. They don’t compare with the great powers.

But Jesus came not as a philosopher to the elite. He came to the poor and the battlers and for some reason he choose a very difficult but actually they are now an intellectually elite because over the centuries they have been pushed out of every other form of work.

They’re a – I mean Jesus, I think, is the greatest the son of God but, leaving that aside, the greatest man that ever lived so I’ve got a great admiration for the Jews but we don’t need to exaggerate their contribution in their early days.

And for your enjoyment, here is the program entire:



Sadly, the church of Pell was not recognizable to the general laity and clergy, nor a friend to justice, equity, love, humanity and humanism. Nor was it the church of the cherubim, or a church that is servant to the poor and disenfranchised, the marginalized, the sick, the hungry, the homeless.

Tony Abbott says Pell is saint and has been crucified. Pass the vomit bucket!

There is a miasma of hagiography that continues to fester around Pell’s death.

Nonsense and bilge that spills from the mouths of the likes of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is enough to curdle the milk of human kindness if read out aloud.

Abbott preposterously describes Pell as “…a saint for our times” going so far as to ludicrously state that Pell’s incarceration was “…a modern form of crucifixion.”

Don’t forget that the spineless Abbott ensured he was out of the chamber when the votes were counted on same sex marriage.

He didn’t have the courage to display his conviction in front of the Australian people. He ran away. It’s difficult to have respect for such a political and moral coward. Why on earth would one consider the tripe he’s written about Pell?

How many Pell hagiographers have mentioned victims?

There is little, if anything other than a cursory aside, about those victims who were crucified by what was indisputably an international gang of clergy pedophiles; a catholic mafia, almost a cult, a sect, a religion of another kind founded in international rampant, systemic and endemic pedophilia.

We haven’t even touched on child pornography trafficked amongst clergy, along with the liturgy of the day. It is all too overwhelming at times. If it is thus for those of us who merely write about, how horrible and catastrophic it must be for those who have suffered it and continue to endure it all.

What is more, the sexual abuse was commonly known in Australia and internationally. For years.

Let me tell you about the other Adam

One victim I interviewed whom I shall call Adam, had been an altar boy in regional Victoria. His parents were devout Catholics and close friends with the local parish priest.

Adam told me how a consecrated host was shoved up his anus by the priest and pushed in further by the priest’s fingers – the same fingers that earlier were placing holy hosts into the unwitting mouths of the congregation receiving Holy Communion, including Adam’s parents.

Remember, that in the miraculous sacrament of the eucharistic mass, Catholics believe that the host (hostia, a circular thin wafer, that tastes a bit like the thin wrapping around nougat) and the altar wine is transformed into the actual body and blood of Christ. Get that? Neither the host nor the wine are metaphors for Christ’s flesh and blood. They are the real deal.

Well, this priest shoved the holy host into this kid’s bum

The priest, who was naked from the waist down in this particular attack on Adam then “sort of sucked out broken pieces of the host using his tongue.”

In his article in The Catholic Weekly headlined Fragments of the host in Mass, Father John Flader reminds the reader that even minute particles of the host is part of the body of Jesus:

“Every particle of the host and every drop of the Precious Blood, no matter how small, is equally Jesus Christ.”

(* Remember, the criminal calumny of child sex abuse by clergy has unquestionably been enabled by the Catholic church and its ecclesiastical heirarchy, including George Pell).

The priest first anally raped Adam with his penis, then with his crucifix, the sodomy completing the blasphemy and unholy communion, leaving the boy torn and bleeding. Forever torn. Forever bleeding. Even unto this day.

For ever and ever. Amen.

This is my body. This is my blood.

Such sexual abuse has been a gross rite of anal passage, not just for Adam, but for so many boys, girls too and the vulnerable as well, who have been groomed and harvested by priests, brothers and lay people connected with the Catholic church.

The psychosexual violence implications of such behavior is surely important in the unfinished business of redress.

The rapes in Adam’s case invariably took place on the altar, sometimes in the sacristy. Sometimes elsewhere.

Adam, like so many other kids, held hostage by priest

Adam, who had to stay back after mass to ‘help’ the priest, like so many others in similar circumstances, was held hostage to the serial rapist priest.

Adam says from the first time he was “initiated” as the priest called it, he started to die a slow death. He didn’t see it then, but he sees it now.

“I could feel something inside me die that day. Mum and Dad were such good friends with the priest…after he finished with me, he used to drive me home and more often than not he would stay at our place for lunch.

“I tried to tell them (parents) quite a few times, but as soon as I mentioned his name, off they’d go, saying what a top bloke he was. They were very proud of the fact that he (the priest) used to visit our place for lunch and come around for drinks. Like, it was an honour. It made Mum and Dad feel important, like they were pillars of the community.”

Adam told Mum, who told Dad and Adam got a belting

“Finally, one day I just blurted it all out to Mum and she was just so angry and disgusted with me and told me I was a liar. She sent me to my room. When Dad got home she told him what I said and he came in and gave me a belting.

“He really knocked me about. After he’d finished he told me if I ever mentioned the subject again, he would knock the living daylights out of me. But he’d already done that.

“My Dad broke my heart that night. I reckon that hurt even more than what the priest had done to me.”

Years ago, Adam approached the Catholic Church for help – not money. “I got knocked back. They didn’t wan’t a bar of me, like me Mum and Dad. I just didn’t have it in me to fight them.

George Pell knew what the priest had done to me

“But I can tell you this, Tess, George Pell knew everything about the priest and what he’d done to me, his name, the church, everything. How do I know that? Because I phoned him and spoke with him. And after that I sent him a letter. And another letter. And another letter. I never got one back, because I didn’t have a bloody lawyer, did I? But I still have copies of those letters!”

I am certainly not the only journalist advocate who has taken such testimony.

There is a propensity for some priest abusers to deliberately defile the sanctity of the church. They get their rocks off raping kids in the House of the Lord.

For some priests, raping children on altar is like fucking Jesus

Some forensic psychologists believe that priests get heightened sexual pleasure and excitement by raping children in a church, on the altar. And using a crucifix to rape a child is certainly not unknown. For some priests, it’s like they are fucking Jesus.

Victims have told me how priests would place the host in their mouths and then force them to suck their penises or masturbate the priest so that he comes in the victim’s mouth on top of Jesus; in fact, mounting Jesus and jerking off on him. Plain and simple. Let us not beat about the burning bush.

Consider the homo erotica associated with religious statues, icons and artifacts and the perpetual violent image of the crucified near naked Christ, his bloody body pierced by a sword and nails, dripping blood from the crown of thorns.

But still today, so-called true believers in the catholic faith do not believe what they consider to be unbelievable testimony from victims, survivors, families and friends.

Child within old Adam trapped like embryo of dead twin

Adam is now a torn and broken old man who has never recovered from being repeatedly raped by this priest and other priests.

The child within his wrinkled outer shell is still trapped inside him, a kind of living corpse, like the remnants of an embryo of a never vanishing twin; a cadaver within a cadaver, mummified in a time warp whose umbilical cord is forever pegged to his horrible childhood abuse.

He crawls, literally sometimes on all fours, through a darkened tunnel of a daily hell.

There is no light at the end of Adam’s tunnel. An alcoholic addicted to hard drugs, he is resigned to dying alone and considers himself a “worthless piece of shit.”

He says no-one will lament his passing. Not his estranged children, partners nor his longtime alienated siblings. His parents have since died. But they still live in Adam’s other world. The world of the voiceless and the unbelieved. He has a series of criminal convictions and been imprisoned for them.

We meet and talk every now and again for a cuppa or a drink if he’s really edgy. Or I am.

Of course, I’ve got his blessing to write about his circumstances, without identifying him. He’s kind and compassionate. He knows about some sadness in my life.

“The buggers have made my life hell,” says Adam. “Not a hell like in the bible, I could cop that. Nah, mate, this is worse. They wouldn’t believe me. They treated me like dirt. They made my life hell. Right here on earth. I was a happy little kid, until that bloody fuckin’ bastard raped me.”

Big dick priests, big dick gods, big dick Catholic Church

Adam lives in a mortal hell, fashioned by heavenly big dick priestly creatures, preachers of the Gospels, messengers of their biggest dick God, who proclaim themselves created in His own image and likeness.

When I first met Adam, years ago, I wrote to then Archbishop Pell on his behalf.

All Adam wanted was to talk with Pell face to face. To be heard. To be treated as an equal. To have a voice. To be believed.

George Pell was a thug and a liar

Pell was a thug and a liar. Several years ago I published an article about one of Pell’s more blatant oft repeated lies.

Time and again, Pell would lie to the media and claim that he’d been “exonerated” from particular child sex abuse allegations.

It was a load of bollocks.

He was never exonerated. At a given point, I’d had a gut full of Pell dismissing sex abuse allegations against him by falsely claiming that the findings of a so-called ‘independent’ report by AJ Southwell QC had exonerated him of sex abuse allegations.

Pell said he was exonerated of particular sex abuse charges – bt he wasn’t and we have proof he was lying

There were two lies at least in Pell’s protestations. Pell and his propagandists knew it. I knew it. Firstly, Southwell was appointed by the catholic church to conduct the report, so it was an inside appointment and most certainly not independent.

Secondly, Southwell did not exonerate Pell. It now became a matter of speaking truth to power. And make no mistake, Pell was among Australia’s more powerful men.

Moreover, he was protected and feted by an elite army of praetorian guards that consisted not only of some of Australia’s rich, powerful and influential – but also their counterparts on the international stage.

For me there was no other choice but to call out Pell and his lies.

I knew only too well that Pell was a corrupt and corrupting figure who by any measure was a religious fraud, a sociopath and narcissist, drunk on power and a man who enjoyed intimidating people with his imposing presence and physique.

But I was and am able to draw strength not from the powerful and rich, but from the unadulterated courage and honesty of victims/survivors, their families, friends, supporters and advocates, legal and otherwise.

There is power in the truth. And sometimes there is justice. Especially if we band together and help and support one another.

We disgorged the truth in my exclusive article published in the brave Independent Australia on February 29, 2016 headlined, Southwell Report: The truth about the so-called ‘exoneration’ of George Pell.

Cardinal George Pell was not “exonerated” of claims of child sexual abuse, as has been claimed, by an independent investigation, writes contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence. Here, Independent Australia, republishes the Southwell Report in full.

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL WAS NOT “EXONERATED” of sex abuse allegations in the 2002 report by AJ Southwell QC.

If Pell and the Catholic Church had enough moral and legal fortitude or any sense of justice and fair play, it would immediately repost Southwell’s findings in full.

But some time ago, Southwell’s report was surreptitiously removed from various church websites.


Even the Wikipedia link to the report is dead.

Listen up, brethren.

Nowhere did Southwell’s report state that Pell had been “exonerated”.

Yet Pell himself and his 24/7 spin machine continue to force feed the media with a pate de faux gross claiming he was exonerated.

He was not.

What part of he was not exonerated, doesn’t the Pell propaganda unit and the Vatican get?

There was clearly a campaign by Pell to rid the world and internet of the Southwell Report. And here’s a shoutout to the diligent Broken Rites Australia team from the article:

“Fortunately, the support group Broken Rites Australia, known for its conscientious research and archival postings, published most of Southwell’s report and we republish that text in full to counteract the sophisticated planting of disinformation and redacting by Camp Pell’s “black ops” division and also to facilitate access to the wider community.

Southwell Report: The truth about the so-called ‘exoneration’ of George Pell, by Tess

Southwell Report: The truth about the so-called ‘exoneration’ of George Pell.

Cardinal George Pell was not ‘exonerated’ of claims of child sexual abuse, as has been claimed, by an independent investigation, writes Tess Lawrence.”

Is it gross to speak ill of the dead? Speaking the truth does not constitute speaking ill.

Pell is alive and thriving in the evil he has done. Pellinism is trending, even as I write. Moreover, although Pell’s corpse is still warm, my journalism portfolio will attest that I did not wait until Pell’s death to criticize him or call him out. I have called him out for years.

George Pell a thug, just ask warrior Mum, Eileen Piper

I described Pell as a thug. I was being polite. He had a foul mouth and a foul temper.

Just ask the indomitable warrior mother, Eileen Piper, who celebrates her 98th birthday this Tuesday, January 17th.

As Fate would have it, Eileen’s birthday is just two days before the 29th anniversary of the suicide of her beloved daughter Stephanie, who gassed herself in her car after years of being repeatedly raped, harassed, kidnapped and tortured, mentally and physically by Pallottine priest Father Gerard Joseph Mulvale.

Church slut-shamed Eileen’s daughter Stephanie

Throughout, the Catholic church slut-shamed Stephanie, spreading vile rumours, that she was promiscuous, begging for it, spread her legs for anyone, for drinks, for drugs – all the usual filth that those of us who have experience of the tactics of these creeps can attest.

The Pallottines Order has, I recall, the dubious distinction of being the fourth most prolific gang of sex abusers within the Catholic church in Australia.

Eileen endured full-frontal assault by Catholic Church

In her protracted fight for justice for Stephanie, Eileen found herself under a full-frontal assault by the Catholic church.

She was treated with disrespect, as if she were a stupid old woman. As if she were delusional. As if she had no rights.

Her dealings with the church were protracted and again the path to justice was littered with legal mines to delay due process and fuel their notorious obfuscation.

Church obfuscated, hoping Eileen would die in the meantime

They strung things out, hoping she would die in the meantime and thus they wouldn’t have to pay compensation.

This is a common legal tactic of course and one that the Catholic church, bulging with wealth, shamelessly adopts. There are more money men in their temples today than ever there were in the New Testament. And there is no Jesus to turf them out.

But you don’t mess with Eileen Piper. Forget about her age. Like the justice she seeks, she is ageless. She is a champion. A warrior woman. If I had a quarter of Eileen’s spunk and courage, I would lay down my pen and do something useful.

She is a mentor and a marvel. And not just to me. Luckily, in crusading lawyer Judy Courtin, Eileen found an indefatigable compatriot. Together they took on the Pallottines and the catholic mafia. And in the end they won their case.

Pell was a bully and a coward

But there is unfinished business for Eileen. And that unfinished business is George Pell. And it involves his thuggery. His bullying. And his cowardice.

Pell went to Kevin’s house whilst Eileen was there, and shoved her brother, the much loved and respected Monsignor Kevin Toomey against the wall, thumping him in the chest time and again, poking him in the chest time again until finally, Monsignor Toomey slid to the ground, defeated and hurt. Defeated physically.

Big George might as well have been a Mafia don

Big George might as well have been a mafia Don. He warned Eileen’s brother not to give evidence against the church or support Eileen in her fight against her daughter’s rapist, Father Gerard Mulvale and the Pallottines Order, to seek justice for her daughter, Stephanie.

Pell had phoned Kevin and told him he was on his way to see him. Pell phoned from (they think) a phone box to say he was minutes away. Monsignor Toomey then warned Eileen that the ‘Big fella’ was on his way.

Eileen knew what that meant. Pell barged his way uninvited into the house – there was no ringing of the doorbell.

Pell, who clearly held Eileen in utter contempt, gesticulated to her to get out of the room. Eileen retreated to the bathroom, but remained not only in earshot but importantly, had a full view of what went on. What she saw that day continues to traumatise her.

Pell attacked Eileen’s brother, Monsignor Kevin Toomy warning him not to support her in court as she fought for justice for her daughter Stephanie – his niece – who had been repeatedly raped by Fr Gerard Mulvale

It scars her to this day and she has constant flashbacks of Pell’s attack on her brother.

Kevin was a loyal Monsignor to the church but he was also a loyal brother to Eileen and was loyal to the truth. After the assault by Pell he assured Eileen he would not desert her and that he would continue to support her, in court and everywhere else.

Pell had underestimated them both.

Eileen had already intended taking out a new action against Pell and the Catholic Church over this assault and the awful legacy it left upon her and her close sibling. She discussed this with me weeks ago.

Eileen Piper to sue Catholic Church over Pell attack

Despite Pell’s death, Eileen told The AIMN she still intends taking action against the Catholic Church over the traumatic incident. Clearly.

The episode was an indicator of the lengths that Pell was prepared to go to enforce his will and protect the church and his mates.

(* Who can forget Pell supporting his former Ballarat flatmate and serial rapist Father Gerald Ridsdale to court? It is believed that Ridsdale blackmailed Pell into supporting him in public, otherwise he would reveal that Pell has witness him (Ridsdale) raping a child in his (Ridsdale’s) bedroom. For more information, please click onto The *uck stops with Cardinal George Pell.

Of course, it was an ugly unambiguous warning to Eileen. It also reflected Pell’s sense of absolute power, that he could do anything he wanted with church members and get away with it.

On April 6, 2020, I published an exclusive story in Independent Australia about Pell’s physical assault on Monsignor Toomey.

(Here, I must acknowledge the courage of Independent Australia’s founder, the then Managing Editor, David Donovan).

There was no doubt in my mind that Eileen Piper was telling the truth. I trust her and I knew Pell was both a liar and a coward. Eileen was also prepared to testify in court on my behalf to confirm the Pell assault should he serve me with a writ. She is a formidable witness.

Moreover, I had taken statements from others about Pell’s thuggery and his penchant for physical violence.

If other journalists knew of Pell’s attack upon Monsignor Toomey, they did not dare to publish details.

From my article I acknowledged that:

“Whilst an incident has been referred to in Louise Milligan’s compelling book, Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, there is no mention of an assault.”

Here is the pertinent extract:

“At that time, Pell was based in Mentone, about half an hour from her brother’s home, but she says he seemed to arrive very quickly at Toomey’s door. “And I saw George Pell beckon with his hand, to tell me to go out, to get out of the room.”

Eileen did what she was told.

“I sort of skittled into the bathroom, which was the adjoining room.” She was shocked by what happened next. “I heard George Pell say to my brother, ‘Don’t you dare have anything to do with your sister’s case, now that’s an order’.”

I thought it disappointing when told that Milligan asserted we could not claim an exclusive about Pell’s attack, because she’d already written about it in her book.

As you can see from her book extract that we actually published in Independent Australia to back our exclusive, she had not.

Here are more quotes from my/IA article:


Piper told me that in fact, Pell had her brother Kevin against the wall, had grabbed him by the shoulders, repeatedly slamming him against the wall, thumping him and poking him in the chest, Kevin’s head banging against the wall.

She said it was a terrible sight, made her sick in the stomach and made her cry uncontrollably. It also made her feel guilty that her beloved brother, who died in 1999, was bearing the brute force and unambiguous threat manifest in Pell’s visit. Eileen had always known what she had been up against insofar as the church’s intransigence to admit liability for their crimes perpetrated upon her daughter, but Pell’s conduct shook her to the core.


This was the Catholic church at its worst best; no less. This was the Catholic mafia at play. This was George Pell as the equivalent and more of both a bikie gang’s sergeant-at-arms and enforcer.

Pell may not have tattoos, but he bears the stigmata of a Jesus he crucified and he believes in a vengeful god, that is clear.

Earlier today, I spoke with a lifelong family friend of Eileen’s who saw her soon after the Pell attack. “She was so very distraught and upset – the church protected these bastards and just moved them on when they were found out.”

When I spoke with Eileen shortly after Pell’s death was announced, she made it clear that his demise would not deter her from seeking justice from the Catholic Church for the Pell attack.

She had always wanted a personal apology from him.

She assured me she would not give up on now getting an apology from the church for what Pell did. Not now. Not ever.

If God indeed made Woman in her own image and likeness, then her name is Eileen Piper.

Hallowed be her name.


Please reach out, you are not alone.

Broken Rites
Phone: Broken Rites Australia national hotline: (03) 9457 4999
Mail: Broken Rites (Australia) Collective Inc. PO Box 163, ROSANNA, Victoria 3084, Australia

Royal Commission
Phone: 1800 Respect or 1800 737 732

Phone: 13 11 14

Blue Knot Foundation
Counselling and support for survivors
Phone: 1300 657 380

Bravehearts Inc
Counselling and support for survivors, child protection advocacy
Phone: 1800 272 831

Care Leavers Australasia Network
Support and advocacy for Forgotten Australians
Phone: 1800 008 774

Child Migrants Trust
Social work services for Former Child Migrants, including counselling and support for family reunions
Phone: 1800 040 509

Child Wise
The Trauma-informed telephone and online counselling for childhood abuse. Training and organisational capacity building on child abuse prevention
Phone: 1800 991 099

Children and Young People with Disability Australia
The national peak body for children and young people with disability. Provides information and systemic representation
Phone: 1800 222 660 / 03 9417 1025

The Healing Foundation
Service to help build the capacity of Indigenous organisations and support the development of the Link Up network
There is no phone number to contact the Healing Council — please contact using their website:

In Good Faith Foundation
Independent advocacy, casework, referral and support to aid recovery for survivors, their families and communities responding to religious institutional abuses
Phone: 03 9326 1190

MensLine Australia
National telephone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns
Phone: 1300 78 99

Sexual Assault Counselling Australia

National telephone counselling service for people who have experienced abuse. Face-to-face counselling is available in New South Wales

Phone: 1800 211 028

Advocacy, referrals and support services to people who have experienced religious/clergy abuse, with a focus on the Jewish community
Phone: 1300 893 335

Blue Knot Foundation
Counselling and support for survivors
Phone: 1300 657 380

Bravehearts Inc
Counselling and support for survivors, child protection advocacy
Phone: 1800 272 831

Care Leavers Australasia Network
Support and advocacy for Forgotten Australians
Phone: 1800 008 774

Child Migrants Trust
Social work services for Former Child Migrants, including counselling and support for family reunions
Phone: 1800 040 509

Child Wise
The Trauma-informed telephone and online counselling for childhood abuse. Training and organisational capacity building on child abuse prevention
Phone: 1800 991 099

Children and Young People with Disability Australia
The national peak body for children and young people with disability. Provides information and systemic representation
Phone: 1800 222 660 / 03 9417 1025

The Healing Foundation
Service to help build the capacity of Indigenous organisations and support the development of the Link Up network
There is no phone number to contact the Healing Council — please contact using their website:

In Good Faith Foundation
Independent advocacy, casework, referral and support to aid recovery for survivors, their families and communities responding to religious institutional abuses.
Phone: 03 9326 1190

MensLine Australia
National telephone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns
Phone: 1300 78 99 78

People with Disability Australia
The national telephone line to provide information and referrals to people with disabilities
Phone: 1800 422 015 / TTY: 1800 422 016

Tess Lawrence is Contributing editor-at-large for Independent Australia and her most recent article is The night Porter and allegation of rape.






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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt !

The jury of eight women and four men have retired to consider their verdict in the Lehrmann trial : there had been sixteen jurors empanelled (ten women and six men) who attended throughout the trial just in case any were ‘sin-binned’ or otherwise indisposed and unable to participate – as it turned out none were, so four had to be dropped by drawing lots.

The jurors, individually, have to deduce from the evidence a conclusion based on their own life experience as to whether a sexual assault involving actual penetration occurred and if it did that it was without consent. The law can be quite clinical about what must have occurred and consent cannot be considered as given whilst unconscious, under the influence of drugs or alcohol or whilst asleep.

The jury will have to be unanimous (the judge has already ruled out a majority decision) in their finding and it must be to the standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. On the balance of probabilities is not good enough, that is a civil standard and this is a criminal trial. Their determination of what occurred in the early hours in a minister’s office in 2019 and the evidence presented has to convince each of them individually that the alleged crime took place.

The judge will not explain what ‘a reasonable doubt’ means or why they must go ‘beyond’ that standard to reach their conclusion.

Those twelve citizens need to understand individually what is meant, based on their life experience and their comprehension of the English language. Therein lies a fundamental problem as in this multicultural society we don’t require prospective jurors to demonstrate their proficiency with the English language.

The accused, of course, has remained silent throughout and beyond maintaining that nothing actually happened has relied on the ‘presumption of his innocence’, the right that extends to us all if accused of a crime.

His defence counsel and the judge reminded the jury he was within his rights to stay silent, and that they should draw no inferences from the fact that he chose not to give evidence in the trial.

It is for those making the accusations and bringing the charges to provide evidence and prove every element of the alleged crime, to a standard that is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ and, if a doubt reasonably based, exists in the mind of any one of them, then the accused must be acquitted : that’s how the system works.

This is a file note and not a commentary on this trial or the evidence or the culpability of the accused or the veracity of the complainants evidence, that comes later. At the present time the jury are considering their verdict and we must await that outcome.


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Fact hunt – the worst person of 2022

The End of an Error

Nominating those most worthy of their fall under the 2022 karma bus provides both a shortlist for fuck-knuckle of the year (FOTY) and solid evidence that the human species is at an evolutionary dead end when such bilge is the best we can come up with to run the world. It’s also a somewhat cathartic end to the year to call out these cockwombles, and it holds out some small hope for a better 2023.

I’ve pruned back a long list and may have overlooked some strong contenders – if you think someone truly worthwhile has not got a mention then please nominate them in the comments.

The Liberal Party. One of the great oxymorons of Oz politics, the Liberal (sic) Party is a collective noun for losers.

Corrupt by inclination, incompetent through habit, mean and nasty by nature there is no con they’re incapable of in any attempt to recapture the graft.

Kicked in the nuts at state, territory and federal levels, 2022 may have been the beginning of the end of this cabal of dolts, vandals and thieves.

Their dissolution can’t come soon enough – replaced by sensible independents and Greens with a few harmless nutters like Bob The Mad Hatted Katter retained as a repository for the irredeemable RWNJ vote and as occasional comedy relief – it can only be a good thing.


Image from Twitter (@TomRed43)


Spud and Suss – the meritocracy that is the “natural party of government” threw up the tuberesque undertater and his whiney sidekick. Bubba and Squeak are the best that Schrödinger’s opposition has to offer. These two are so ineffectual they barely even register as bad guys.

Liz Truss may have survived longer if she’d also gone that extra consonant – “Liz Trusss” has a certain multi-dimensional, reptilian cold bloodedness that could’ve keep the warm & fuzzy milquetoasts of the British financial establishment at bay until she fully sank the economy.

The horseshit producers from the Murdoch stable are another collective nomination. The plagiarists, phone hackers, bin rummagers, fossil fuel boosters, airheads and entropied fuddy duddies from the outrage factory of a withered, tax avoiding sociopath were left sobbing into their Tanqueray London Drys as their best efforts to turn Oz into a neo-liberal hellscape came to nought. $40 million in Lib government grants provided some consolation. Phil Coorey from planet Costello is an honorary member of this shameless Tory cheer squad.

Vladimir Putin‘s award of murderous psychopath of the century is likely assured but karma won’t have finished with him until his bloodied corpse is pelted with potatoes as it’s dragged behind a tractor through Red Square. Next year maybe. In the interim Vlad will not be admiring the views from any high windows.

Elon Musk, the world’s richest shitposter torched US$44 billion for Twitter and tanked Tesla shares as a consequence simply to show the cool guys how funny he is. He’s just a gormless twat with inherited wealth and Saudi riyals to squander but it’s his now revealed autocratic RWFWery that earns him a place on any list of prominent arseholes.

Honourable mentions

Cookers. No crazy is crazy enough for these whackadoodle ‘sovereign citizens’. Nutters desperately seeking relevance and importance as revealers of great truths in their otherwise dreary, meaningless existence?

They could be laughed off except these are the same types of deluded beer belly putschers, gravy seals and ammosexuals who invaded Washington’s Capitol seeking to murder Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi and are of the type who did murder two young coppers and a neighbour in Queensland.

Barnaby Joyce. No list of fuckwits is complete without Baranaby’s name being included.

Matthew Guy. “Call me Matt” ex-Vic Lib leader and the loser of losers smashed by Dan Andrews at the last state election. Not the worst of the worst because he’s such a loser and so never achieved the level of prominence that would have allowed him to let loose his worst mobster instincts.

Brian Houston‘s invisible BFF rewards the worthy with riches so with the tithe taps turned off Brother Brian is learning what it’s like for those of us who are out of favour with the Big Guy in the sky. Karma ran over his prosperity dogma. Sad!

Katherine Deves. Apparently there’s blokes going about chopping off their cocks so they can win ribbons at women’s swimming carnivals but like most, I can spot a genuine minge a mile away.

The final contenders

The final three are possibly obvious – they have in common a natural affinity with lying, a talent for the grift, a narcissistic self-belief that goes beyond delusion and a physical presence that would make a cadaver dog gag. They are the smirking, prosperity god-fodder who disproved the Peter Principle six jobs ago, an adulterous £5 haircut on an unmade bed and an apricot-coloured fatsuit filled with congealed hamburger grease.

ScoMo, BoJo and Fuckhead.

After an uninterrupted run 2016-2020 Trump misses out this year, a has-been loser wandering the despot kitsch of Mar-a-lago accosting patrons with his tired schtick of the Big Lie as the walls close in on him.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson still maintains the collosal conceit of a Churchillian resurrection of his interrupted career as one of Britain’s great PMs. A dilettante, a wastrel, a shambolic opportunist and agent of chaos with no fixed principles he gave top spot as FOTY a good run but conceded the win to our very own Grange label on a goon bag – Smirko von Skidmark.

Purging Scott Morrison from our system requires that we be exposed to some bit more Scott Morrison. The brighter the light shone on the behaviour of Resting Smug Face, that reprehensible black hole of honesty where truth bends around him, the less likely it is that hypocritical God shoppers like him will ever again steal such high public office.

Smirko’s shortcomings are many, manifest and of consequence. A colourless non-entity who through happenstance, arrogance and a disdain for common courtesies and proprieties, whose abuse of trust and loyalty gained him a role for which he was entirely unfit. Devoid of decency this Jesus-espousing hypocrite bullied and hectored those least able to fight back. A mongrel; a coward loathed by those who know of him and those who know him.

The final, public humiliation of Scooter Morrison is a play in two parts – his parliamentary censure and his appearance at the Royal Commission into Robodebt.

His Scotty The Saviour-themed response to parliamentary censure included apocalyptic eschatology (“staring into the abyss”), blame-deflecting and, self-congratulatory claims to the efforts of others and wholly-invented assertions of heroism. His responses to questioning at the Royal Commission were a Morrisonian masterclass in deflection, avoidance and dissembling. If anyone was to blame it was those public servants, who upon his gaining office he instructed to do only what they were told and no more. What a gold-plated minger he is.

If justice prevails there will be part 3 – Smirko fronting the The National Anti-Corruption Commission. Perhaps there the dawning realisation that he is the most widely loathed politician in our history will elicit some <sarcasm> genuine contrition </sarcasm>.

*The End of an Error – from a sign held up at the inauguration of Joe Biden.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison does not intend to remain in parliament for the long term and is likely to start thinking about pursuing a business career in the new year, according to confidants. (Aaron Patrick, Australian Financial Review, 22/12/2022).

Who can imagine the standards of any organisation that would employ this POS?


This article was originally published on Grumpy Geezer.


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Morrison has poisoned the LNP well, possibly for generations

Even typing those words leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Will he attempt a come-back? Will his poisonous personality rear up out of the darkness? Or will he pull the pin on his parliamentary career, and move to the U.S., where nobody will know him, and he can make lots of money preaching to the terminally lost souls of the Trumpian world?

It is hard to put into words the dread that Morrison caused in many vulnerable Australians. There was something missing, something which suggested a break in the human connection between Morrison and the rest of us.

The single worst prime minister in our history, aided and abetted by the most aimless, and spineless collection of chancers and rent-seekers ever gathered. And yet he went close to setting up a government which was almost impossible to remove.

The power of the Murdoch press pack is still very much in evidence in Australia, but the rise of the independent media, and the very powerful effect of the twitter sphere, undermined what looked like a forever government.

Anthony Albanese’s day 1 failure to name the unemployment figure also gave rise to fears that Labor’s run would be sabotaged. The performance of the ABC and its political commentators was woeful, probably fuelled by the constant threats of funding cuts, and the intimidation by the Morrison ministry.

But failures in disaster management, naked vote-buying which favoured, as always, LNP electorates; the performance of electoral liabilities like Matt Canavan and George Christensen was a reminder of how low our democracy had fallen.

On any measure now the opposition will continue to be made up of the remnants of the shattered Liberal Party, and also by those in the National Party who escaped annihilation by the skin of their teeth, but are too stupid to know that their time must be nearly up.


Image from


Peter Dutton is so spectacularly unsuitable as a leader of anything, that it immediately forces one to cast around for something, anyone, to present an alternative government. Of course looking at Dutton’s performance since rising to the leadership could fill one with despair.

Instead of looking contrite and accepting the crushing verdict of the voters, his first words as opposition leader were to suggest that he would be ‘on hand’ to clean up Labor’s “inevitable mess” in 2025.

No sense of looking for redemption. No shame regarding his own failures, from his first days as a minister. No embarrassment regarding Australia’s fall from grace within the international community. No regrets about the fate of refugees, stranded and victimised by a series of contracted bullies, as Morrison allowed his cabinet to participate in some group cruelty.

Appointing Angus Taylor as the Treasury shadow serves to highlight the lack of able members to choose from. He has a proven difficulty with numbers, a la Clover Moore. He struggled to even pretend that he was committed to reducing carbon emissions.

He is vulnerable on questions of integrity. He has shown a chronic inability to meet deadlines when releasing data and commissioned reports. This all means that possibly the most important role in opposition is being filled by someone who will struggle, especially against such a polished performer as Jim Chalmers.

There was never any acknowledgement that the election was fought on climate action, fixing corruption and a demand for accountable and humane government. Every action the LNP took, from the botched pre-selections in New South Wales, to the last minute weaponisation of prejudice against trans-gender kids, to the excesses and cruelty of Robodebt, added up to a tone-deaf government which people did not just want gone, but one that many actually feared.

The only possible excuse for the conscious bastardry shown by the LNP through nine long years is that they were all struck with a group hysteria, in which they lost their minds, and their moral compasses, in the naked arrogance of never-ending power.

That is why so many in the community, with little or no interest in politics, finally woke up to the nasty excesses, the blame shifting and the outright theft, and mis-use of taxpayers’ funds.

How can we be expected to accept members of parliament with the obvious character flaws of some of the casualties of ‘the reckoning’? For such it was.

We woke up that the leader was from a religious cult, who only this year admitted, through a ‘sermon’ he gave at Margaret Court’s very own church, that he doesn’t believe in government, and thus does not believe in democracy.

As seems the case with the whole of the Pentecostal movement, it is their inability to understand the message of the New Testament which confuses us most.

Was Christ’s movement elitist, obsessed with money and material success, and a ‘closed door’ society? Could you be guaranteed a place in heaven, as long as you were baptised twice? The question must be asked: Do any of them actually read, and understand, the written word?

His beliefs are central to who he is, and they are incomprehensible. They have no connection to the Christianity most of us recognise, whether we believe or not.

The Prosperity Gospel is similarly impossible to reconcile with the ideas of Christ, who was apparently at pains to protect the meek from the powerful, and who espoused the virtue of spiritual grace above material wealth.

Morrison’s depiction of welfare as wrong-headed and immoral is further proof that he was always unsuitable for any position in government. He was, at the end of the day, unable to leave his self-affirming beliefs behind.

Even the Romans knew that at the least the people must be fed. Otherwise they will rise up, and the state will be consumed by revolution and turmoil. Morrison’s appearance at the Robodebt Royal Commission paid lip service to the notion of welfare, but he then had to be the ‘cop on the welfare beat’.

His playbook was spectacularly unsuited to Australian conditions. We are not a nation of religious bigots. We are not a nation of patriarchal misogynists. We are a nation which has always honoured the principles of fairness and justice before the law.

We have always believed that our representatives must act in a manner befitting their high status, and the rewards which accrue to politicians.

Morrison and his ‘vandals’ trashed the conventions, laying bare the lack of regulation and accountability, which had never been so nakedly exposed as it was by the behaviour of the LNP government.

If you are confronted by visions of Barnaby Joyce, apparently the worse for wear railing about whatever the issue of the day was, then Australia’s voters decided to disempower this collection of misfits, and to give the other team a go.

Anthony Albanese is not much of a speaker, and he can stumble on a simple answer, but he appears to be decent, caring, and competent. These qualities are in short supply, and especially on the opposition front bench.

Simon Birmingham is what I would call an old fashioned Liberal. He appears to be decent, caring, and competent. I expect that in the not too distant future, the LNP rump, following a couple more disastrous polls on Dutton and Ley, will decide the neo-liberal far right experiment has failed, and will attempt to reset the coalition.

Sadly the coalition parties have been stripped of talent, and so we could see a Labor government for years to come. That poses a series of future problems. A good government needs a good opposition. Morrison has pretty much made that impossible.

This article has been updated, to better reflect the writer’s current opinion.

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Please don’t ask the LNP about their future until they come out of denialism first

“Had I been asked about these matters at the time, I would have responded truthfully about the arrangements I had put in place.

“I have no intention of now submitting to the political intimidation of this government using its numbers to impose its retribution on its political opponents.” (Scott Morrison – a man loose with the truth – in Key quotes from Morrison censure motion, The Canberra Times.)

But truth tells us that for many, life is about perception. Not what it is but what we perceive it to be. In America and Australia, facing facts or the truth of facts has become outdated among those on the right.

Everyone has their version of reality. Facts and the truth within them are now unimportant to the conservative mind.

Why do they turn their backs on the truth? They are avoiding facts that would set them free from their own bullshit – the truth about themselves.

Morrison was a stupid fool who created a perception with every lie told that he was guilty of something, even if the public couldn’t put their finger on it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a vocal critic of Nazism) said this of stupidity:

“Against stupidity we have no defence. Neither protests nor force can touch it. Reasoning is of no use. Facts that contradict personal prejudices can simply be disbelieved. Indeed, the fool can counter by criticizing them, and if they are undeniable, they can just be pushed aside as trivial exceptions. So the fool, as distinct from the scoundrel, is completely self-satisfied. In fact, they can easily become dangerous, as it does not take much to make them aggressive. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.”

Having the capacity to admit that you are wrong is an absolute prerequisite to discernment and knowledge.

The former Prime Minister’s perception of himself was always one of his superiority of intellect over others with a God-given place in history where he believed he had the right to override parliamentary and democratic conventions in the name of his faith.

When l watched his response to the censure motion against him in the House of Representatives, I couldn’t help, as he was being congratulated by most of his colleagues, if what I was watching was the demise of a once great political party.

There is a theory that Scott believed he had a God-given ordination of predestination and that his history had already been written. In his response, he was in full-throttle Morrison mode, full of the lying hypocrisy of the past decade. He was not giving an inch in his self-righteousness, always creating the perception that he was right because God had given him his authority to be so, even if it meant telling lies.

He insisted that nobody had the standing to judge him.

Lying is wrong, but lying to defend a lie with another one is immoral.

Were all the men congratulating this stupid man just as complicit as he was in the downfall of Liberalism? Were they all equally in denial? Judging by the enthusiasm of their congratulations, one would have to think so.

Since May 21, when the conservatives suffered a terrible defeat, we have not heard a word from Peter Dutton about how he might reshape the party he now leads, even by putting his stamp on it. It might be because he has no plans to do so. His words and deeds thus far would suggest this is so.

There hasn’t been a hint of apology for the appalling governance we have endured for almost a decade. Indeed, it is hard to point to any rational explanations from any opposition member for the defeat. No backbench member has uttered the words, “we governed badly.”

Are they that bogged down in denial that even their leader cannot point to any need for redefining their doctrines?

So, what of their denialism? What a lot of watery human beings they are. None of them with even the intestinal fortitude of a dead rabbit. When l watched all those politicians shaking the hand of the former Prime Minister, the only one l saw with any integrity was Bridget Archer, who ignored the denialists and voted with the government. In parliament she admitted that:

“I do not accept any of the explanations put forward by the former prime minister for his actions, and I’m deeply disappointed by the lack of genuine apology or, more importantly, understanding of the impact of these decisions.”

Do you shape the truth for the sake of a good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down the view people may have of you.? Alternatively, do you use the contrivance of omission and create another lie? I can only conclude that there is always pain in truth, but there is no harm in it.

The questions the Opposition asks during Question Time are a strong indication that the arrogance of conservatism has defeated Liberalism, and all that’s left is a party of far-right Trumpists not sure of its present ideology or what it actually means except that it represents big business, the wealthy and the privileged. Understanding that which you genuinely represent requires a familiarity with the truth.

Locked into denialism, the Opposition cannot possibly seek forgiveness from a shocked electorate. Only “The truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32). The solution to the conservative dilemma lay at the heart of those six words.

My thought for the day

Presenting facts to people who have reasoned by their feelings that they are right is futile.

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Get out of the gutter

By 2353NM

You may not have heard of Mike Rinder. A Scientologist for most of his life, at the age of 52 he walked out, and as a result lost his family, friends, employment and pretty well everything else in his life. RInder has written a book on his time in Scientology, runs a website that questions Scientology beliefs and practices and was heavily involved in a TV Series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’ with Leah Remini, another former long-term Scientologist who was one of the stars of the TV sitcom ‘King of Queens’ from 1998 until 2007.

A recent review of Rinder’s book published in The Guardian discusses how he reached the highest levels of the organisation and then because of some claimed transgressions, the lowest of the lows. The moral of the story seems to be that to remain in Scientology, there is no dissent and you have to remain loyal to the cause, regardless of how much more extreme the cause becomes over the years.

As someone that lives outside Victoria, the coverage of the recent election was concerning and also seems to be an example of the expectation that you must remain loyal to the cause you choose to believe. Like Scientology where it seems there are only extremes, we have a Member of the Upper House in Victoria wishing the Premier disappear in a ‘red mist’ – apparently a dog whistle to ultra-conservatives and hunters that suggests that the intended victim should be killed by an extremely powerful gun. Of course, she later claimed it wasn’t what she meant. We also have ALP candidates calling other candidates ‘Nazis’ and ‘fascists’ with absolutely no evidence offered. The Victorian Opposition Leader in the weeks prior to the election was perhaps inadvertently publicly pointing out the errors in the Liberal Party selection process by stating that an Upper House candidate won’t be sitting in the Liberal Party meeting room because she is a member of fundamentalist religious church and

had been directed by its global leader to infiltrate Coalition politics, and is opposed to gay, trans and reproductive rights.

Neither major political party is blameless here

both sides have been rolling out the attack ads, including one from Labor focused on the behaviour of drunken Coalition MPs and the opposition labelling Andrews a “prick”.

As The Guardian questioned – what happened to the contest of ideas? Election campaigns are supposed to be a window to see how a political party operates. What initiatives do they propose to implement to make their community better than it is now? In addition, they should provide some evidence that they would have the physical stamina and mental capability to identify threats to their constituents’ way of life and implement actions to mitigate the threats as they arise. Attack advertising and name calling is the complete opposite and frankly if the current Victorian participants were 3-year-olds in a child care centre, they would be encouraged to behave with greater maturity. The extremists are apparently in charge. Since when did it have to be if you’re not for me, you are against me and accordingly you (and your opinion) are dead to me? Is it any wonder that a lot of Victorians probably went to vote last weekend with the figurative clothes peg firmly attached to their nose.

There is a better way.

During November, The Guardian compared the process used by Senators Jacqui Lambie and David Pocock in relation to the government’s Industrial Relations legislation

Pocock and Lambie actually have very similar concerns when it comes to the complexity of the bill.

But while Lambie’s instinct is to blow the debate up and make the government pay for pushing it through, Pocock is accumulating ideas for improvements and means to fortify his proposed settlement of splitting the bill.

Pocock’s actions in talking and negotiating, rather that the extremist response of Lambie is likely to achieve better results over time as compromise and consensus ensures that the decision reflects the views of different groups within the community. Being independents, both Lambie and Pocock have had the opportunity to listen and reflect on opinions that aren’t necessarily those of the party leadership, ‘dealmakers’ or members, inherent in the behaviour of Parliamentarians who belong to either of the two major political parties. With a recent survey suggesting that

Only 41 per cent of Australians believe the government can generally be trusted to do the right thing, down from 44 per cent last year and 56 per cent in November 2020.

You would think politicians would be attempting to create trust, rather that decide to reject plurality of opinion. In short, they should try to come to a consensus.

On a similar note, it’s interesting that not all political commentators in the USA were in the chorus predicting a ‘red tidal wave’ in the mid-term elections a month or so ago. Filmmaker and author Michael Moore was suggesting the opposite, as was the case on the day. The day after the election, Moore wrote in his election commentary mass email

“We were lied to for months by the pundits and pollsters and the media. Voters had not ‘moved on’ from the Supreme Court’s decision to debase and humiliate women by taking federal control over their reproductive organs. Crime was not at the forefront of the voters’ ‘simple’ minds. Neither was the price of milk. It was their democracy that they came to fight for yesterday,”

The report goes on to suggest

[Moore] wants a more positive message from the left, based less on scaring people and more on inspiring them. Already a self-defeating post-Trump narrative is taking shape, Moore believes, and it revolves mostly around Florida governor Ron DeSantis. “Oh, DeSantis is going to win because he’s like Trump but he’s smarter oooh, oooh”.

DeSantis does represent the kind of forceful, base-pleasing call-to-arms that Democrats fear. “He is clever to rent private jets and fly refugees up to Martha’s Vineyard,” Moore says. “Do you know the sort of orgasmic feeling that happens inside a right-winger when they see him doing something wonderful and crazy like that, slamming it right in the liberals face.”

The left can learn a lesson from that playbook: get creative, though not cruel. He points out that wasn’t until 10pm the night before the vote that Democrats finally put up a campaign ad featuring LeBron James, the most popular basketball player in America, asking voters in Georgia to vote against Herschel Walker in Georgia.

“Why didn’t they do that months ago? They wait until the last night to put up one of great African American sports stars?”

It’s fair to suggest that the US Democrats are not the only left leaning political party in the world that practices self-defeating behaviour – the Australian Labor Party is a very capable practitioner of self-defeatism. If the Victorian ALP has a plan for the future, policy to implement and a belief that they are the better option for the future of Victoria, why get down in the gutter with the Liberals? After all, if you allow someone to take you down to their level, they will normally beat you with experience.

The US mid-term elections have proven the Albanese Government’s election policy of maintaining the higher ground wasn’t a fluke result. The majority of Australians don’t belong to political parties and don’t care about point scoring across political lines and trivialities like how Dan Andrews fell down some stairs or if a Liberal Party MP was convicted of drink driving (and in the eyes of the law paid the penalty).

Mike Rinder seems to have escaped (to an extent) the extremism of Scientology, Senator Pocock seems to be capable of looking for the best outcome rather than the evident extremism of Senator Lambie and the voters in the USA definitely made their opinions known in respect to the extremist conservative moral values promoted by a number of the Republicans that were almost expected to take seats in the US Congress.

So a note to Australian politicians – get out of the gutter, discuss your policies and plans for the future then genuinely accept and act on ideas that come from others outside your tent if you are fortunate enough to win power. We’re all fed up to the back teeth with character assassination, put downs for the sake of putting someone down and not genuinely considering advice.

What do you think?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

For Facebook users, The Political Sword has a Facebook page:
Putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword

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Greed is the problem, not workers

Of course, The Australian republished Andy Kessler’s ridiculous Wall Street Journal column, “The decline of work in a spoiled society.” Those News Corp bedfellows continue to miss that they are at the core of the problem.

The pandemic drew back the curtain for the workers of the West, casting a glaring spotlight on the fact that they were cogs in a machine churning profit for the power brokers. Billionaires took off on joyrides to space, in rockets built of the workers’ stolen wages. Emergency workers received mere thanks for dying in excessive numbers to keep the upper echelons safely serviced in their beach home escapes. Nurses saw that their dedication had been exploited for unfair pay as their shifts ballooned. Teachers learnt they were actually childminders to allow capitalism untrammelled access to parent workers.

This edifying revelation only built on the growing crisis of 2008’s financial crash. Taxpayers’ money was demanded to refund the financial sector that had gambled away its wealth. In the US, 10 million Americans lost their homes, mostly left sitting empty. In the UK, bankers got their bonuses back as austerity policy savaged the lives and communities of the taxpayers who’d funded their bailouts.

Over the Cold War, a combination of factors kept the gap between rich and poor narrow. Partly the financial circumstances of the era; partly a society that required a large educated and healthy workforce to maintain mass-employing sectors. Partly, though, it was the bowel-clenching fear of the rich and powerful that their own masses could revolt to seize the means of production.

The resultant conditions meant that unionised workers could support their families with some spending money on the side. After capitalism’s collapse in the Great Depression and the nightmare of two World Wars, the bargain seemed worthy.

In the wake of the Cold War, neoliberal ideologues and extremists won the battle for understanding how the economy should operate. Milton Friedman’s diktat that the shareholder was the corporation’s only responsibility became the operating principle. Maggie Thatcher killed “society.” The workers were to be recognised as inanimate parts of the machine. The threat of starvation would keep them obediently clocking in, clocking out, clocking in.

Meanwhile, the Cold War reticence about ostentatiously displaying wealth with the prospect of revolution to chill the peacock urge, was replaced by reality TV where everyone could see just how stupid and venal the wealthy actually can be.

In America, the social contract is broken. The poorest workers slog between several jobs, often on poorly maintained public transport, without healthcare. Teachers drive Uber after hours to pay the rent. In the UK, private school alumni threw the country’s well-being off the Cliffs of Dover in pursuit of defunct imperial grandeur. Both countries’ discontent was channelled against people with a different skin colour, seeking safety. The “revolution” to date has taken the form of electing populist-nativist clowns who made all their problems worse.

Liz Truss was the final straw in this revelation of the cold calculations underlying neoliberalism. There would be unaffordable tax cuts for the rich and further austerity for the rest.

In Australia, the crisis of worker investment is different. Rising prices creating rising profits eat into the wages of those previously getting by. The Reserve Bank is driving up interest rates, again eating into survival funds, instead of begging profiteers to cap their greed. Policy promoting property as an investment rather than a necessity is robbing the next generation of the chance to join in that mode of securing their future. Landlords increase rent because that is “the market,” and renters become desperate.

Australia’s workers are, on the whole, better paid than our American parallels but the same pressures that the neoliberal ideologues have imposed on that nation are grinding away at the readiness of workers to give over most of their working hours to employers.

Signs of poverty are becoming more overt in Australia. The recent story about a mother wanting to keep a pot of yoghurt as a Christmas treat went viral, shocking to a complacent population.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has taken some steps in his election promises to address the implications of these factors. One that drew howls of outrage from the Murdoch Dog Line was the promise to make menstrual products available in places where people might not be able to afford them. To any person willing to take a moment, it is clear that being forced to choose between food and sanitary products is a crippling decision.

To the Murdoch commentators, Andrews’ decision was an outrage. Regular Murdoch columnist Gemma Tognini fulminated that the promise was, bizarrely, “sexist” as well as “shallow, populist, cosmetic and desperate.” Then again, she is the columnist that equated accepting Dan Andrews to Chamberlain “attempting to appease a monster.”

In the worldview of the News Corp columnist, and their ultra-free market ideology, anyone not working hard enough is choosing to be unable to afford menstrual products. Pandering to this laziness encourages the slacker life.

Andy Kessler argued that what workers get from the ever-more poisonous bargain is “human capital” which he decodes “as what workers learn on the job is theirs to keep.” But too many jobs now, like the grinding immiseration of Amazon warehouse workers, grant little in the way of skills or satisfaction.

He demanded the American government “please stop paying people not to work.” At a moment in employment history where too many people are working in jobs that barely pay survival salaries because human labour remains cheaper or more precise than automation, the only way to get people to work at all is to starve them thoroughly rather than slowly.

A better option might be to abandon ultra-free market ideology as the destroyer of systems it has proven to be. Clearly, workers need to be and feel valued to sign over their lives to the awful jobs we need done. America’s extremes illustrate the utter failure of their neoliberal religion.

Removing obscene profits for executives and shareholders as the driving force of corporations would be a start. A fairer division of the spoils is necessary to keep society functioning. This might need to be achieved by higher taxes on the top tier, since they don’t seem to understand the crisis their never-sated greed has created.

This was originally published at Pearls and Irritations as Greed and a spoiled society: workers are not the problem

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Vote for Newscorp !

I don’t live in Victoria and I don’t vote in Victoria but from a distance it appears to me that the two main contestants in the upcoming state election are the current Premier representing the ALP, Dan Andrews and Newscorp although, in the latter case it is not clear if it is the dirty digger himself standing or the prodigal son who may be living on his yacht in Port Phillip Bay – but is he on the Victorian electoral roll ?

Truth is it’s neither and they don’t seem all that fussed about the Liberal Party but they both dearly want to destroy the ALP.

At the weekend Newscorp’s Herald Sun had an exclusive on the ‘steps’ that the unfortunate Premier slipped on in March 2021 – senior reporters (I can’t use the term journalists as that would imply that they were purveyors of news and this is certainly not news) had hastened to a holiday home on the Mornington Peninsula to photograph the steps and interview surrounding neighbours. Evidently they had been instructed to rekindle the conspiracy theories that something untoward had happened all those months ago. It was, their editor thought, worthy of a front page and they reported exclusively that the holiday home and the offending steps had – wait for it – a new coat of paint. Clearly, there was nothing happening in the state of Victoria warranting attention on the front page of this right-wing tabloid.

What are we to make of this nonsense ? Has Roop lost his marbles or is there something more sinister afoot ? We do know that the Victorian Liberals tried, at the time of the unfortunate accident, to conjure up social media conspiracies suggesting that the Premier was drunk or had been beaten up. Then the appalling Louise Staley, opposition treasury spokeswoman, gave new impetus to the complicated web of conspiracy theories by demanding that Andrews come clean and answer questions about the conspiracy theories that she and her colleagues had been spreading.

With all the misinformation and disinformation swirling Ambulance Victoria, whose crew had taken Andrews to hospital, and the chief commissioner of police both felt it necessary to take the unprecedented action of issuing statements setting out the facts.

In the meantime SKY News seem to have got the same memo about the Andrews onslaught with fake journalist Peta Credlin producing an exclusive exposé on the Cult of Daniel Andrews : I haven’t seen this effort by Credlin and probably won’t go out of my way to watch it. Suffice to say that l anticipate that it will be another hit job on the Premier of Victoria.

Two former prime ministers, Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd have called for an enquiry into media diversity in Australia which, if adopted by the new Labor government will obviously take a close look at the dominance of Newscorp in the press and increasingly on television where they now dominate payTV and are demanding exclusivity of many sporting codes. They are also increasingly penetrating free to air television in regional areas where Sky after Dark is becoming a FOX News surrogate peddling extreme far right dissension and climate change denial and misinformation.

I believe an enquiry is overdue, what do you think ?

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Zombie Policy Apocalypse Part 2: Cruel Britannia

Continued from Part 1

From Cruel Britannia, Land of Grope and Tory – a scandal-ridden post Brexit economic basket-case, The Sick Man of Europe, or gaga but stable as described in Colin Hay’s “catastrophic equilibrium”, a simultaneous failure and stability, comes news of a new probe into old allegations against former party Whip, Chris Pincher, MP for Tamworth, who now sits as an independent while The Australian Solution to asylum-seekers offers no quick fix at a time when City puppet Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is preparing another set of cuts to spending and tax increases which will do nothing to ease stagflation or the long-term damage caused by George Osborne’s austerity measures in his first budget in 2010.

Chris Pincher is to be investigated. Revisiting “Pestminster” is the last thing Rishi Sunak needs. The oxymoronic office of the UK Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone OBE, opens the investigation on 20 October, into “actions causing significant damage to the reputation of the House as a whole, or of its members generally”.

There’d be a horde of Tories ducking for cover under this rubric – notorious serial sex pest, Chris Pincher is the fifth in three months – but Johnson whose regime is a string of scandals since 2019, promotes a known abuser, normalising abuse by describing Pincher as “handsy” and referring to him as “Pincher by name and Pincher by nature”.

All of which speaks volumes about Tory sleaze-baggery and locker room culture; while for Johnson, his trivialising of Pincher’s sexual offending means his lies must find him out.

Pincher allegedly, sexually assaulted two men at the elite, members-only, Carlton Club, a Tory political incubator. Battling to keep the lid on the Tory dumpster-fire, is poor little rich kid, billionaire PM Rishi Sunak, another City of London catspaw, who rues the day he re-instated failed Home Secretary, Cruella Braverman, rewarding her support in his bid to be PM.

Crazy Braverman breaks Home Office security rules six times, whilst ignoring legal advice on catastrophic overcrowding in Manton, a former RAF base in Kent, where four thousand men, women and children are crammed into a facility designed for a thousand.

Children’s hands reach out through chain mesh and tarpaulin covers. Hungry youngsters huddle together under a thin blanket on the plywood floor of a marquee. Such highly visible reminders of policy failure and the public spectacle of an ineffectual and rogue Home Secretary, are already casting doubt on Sunak’s political judgement.

There’s a fabulous plan to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda but that’s run into a legal hitch.

Johnson’s government cancels its first deportation flight in June when the European Court of Human Rights rules that the stunt carries “a real risk of irreversible harm.”

The scheme is now being tried in the UK’s High Court. But there’s no shortage of support from the arse-end of the earth from a former Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister who tells The Weekend Australian,[paywalled] he’s set his sights on becoming the next Lord Mayor of Adelaide.

“Put them onto stable craft and drive them back to France – that’s the simple solution and would destroy the smugglers’ business model in a week,” Alexander Downer chortles.

“Short of that, [make] sure they can’t settle in the UK under any circumstances – the [agreement the] government negotiated with Rwanda – is a good solution as well.”

Sound familiar? The eternally vigilant Liberal Party’s elder statesmen never sleep.

“Suppository of all wisdom”, Tony Abbott hawked his boat-stopping to former Tory governments, even though asylum seekers boats had stopped under his predecessor, Labor’s Kevin Rudd, 19 July 2013, two months before the election.. It’s become Liberal Party dogma; a xenophobic, cynically opportunistic, contempt for international law and human decency, not merely inhumane but gratuitously cruel. When you sell someone else your barbarism, it makes your own monstrous indifference to others; your squalid moral bankruptcy; your poverty of mind and spirit seem less abhorrent.


Downer always seems to be able to go lower. In February, former Johnson regime unparalleled failure, Home Secretary Priti Patel invited him on to her Rwanda committee – bugger-human-rights-and-international-convention-send-them-on a one way journey to a Central African nation with a bad human rights record. He’s into it like a rat up a drainpipe.

Now Big Al or Bunty as he’s fondly known at home, a patrician fop with a lordly sense of entitlement honks out the heartless xenophobia that has worked so well for MPs here.

Drive asylum seekers back to France from whence they come like moths to a flame? Or shivering from hypothermia, drenched to the bone, exhausted, in leaky, overloaded rowboats, navigating only by eye toward the white chalk cliffs of Dover.

Over 35,500 asylum-seekers cross the channel this year; up from 28,000 in 2021.

Dozens have drowned in the attempt.

All hands to the bilge pump to dispel the “southern invasion” of Albanian economic migrants as asylum-seekers in small boats are misrepresented in The Daily Fail and by Home Secretary, raving Cruella Braverman.

The Home Office worries that the make-up of people on small boats is changing. From January 2018 to June 2022, it claims that Iranian (28%) and Iraqi (20%) nationals represented nearly half of all small boat arrivals. In the first six months of 2022, over half (51%) of small boat arrivals were from three nationalities – Albanian (18%), Afghan (18%) and Iranian (15%). These figures are unverified.

From May to September 2022 Albanian nationals alone comprised 42% of small boat crossings, with 11,102 Albanians arriving by small boat in those five months.

The Home Office claims that Albanians don’t need asylum because they come from a “safe” country. The data suggests otherwise. In the year ending this June, 53% of Albanian claimants were granted asylum, or other forms of leave to stay in the UK, on first decision, and a higher proportion on appeal.

Dressed to kill, in Top Gun pilot’s helmet and flak jacket, Braverman commandeers a Chinook military helicopter which “can lift anything and go anywhere” to travel thirty kilometres from Dover to an overcrowded migrant gulag at Manston. Is Suella morphing into android or super hero mode? What’s clear is she will fight them on the beaches in her own chauvinistic Churchillian movie, acting her socks off as a loyal defender of the realm.

But don’t sell her short. Ruthless Rishi’s record sprint to the top job means he’s done deals all over the shop. Crazy Ms Braverman who is unlikely to outlast a Tesco tomato, owes her unholy resurrection to a Sunak deal. Who knows whom else he owes? Virtual political Mayfly, Truss, a fifty-one day dud, is a well-grubbed Tufton Street mole.

Is the fast-tracked Sunak human? A bot, programmed, like the Tory Party itself, to self-extinguish? The political knackers’ yard beckons the new PM, even without his Infosys slave-trading gig or his “brave” deal to reinstate Leaky Sue, (Send them) Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Tory arch bigot and anti-immigration dog-whistling xenophobe.

“Either he appointed a home secretary with a vicious demagogic streak knowing she is useless, in which case he has wilfully sabotaged one of the most important departments in Whitehall for no obvious gain, or he did it because he is blind to Braverman’s deficiencies, in which case he shares them,” writes The Guardian UK’s Rafael Behr.

On the third hand, it’s certain that the tabloid-orchestrated chorus of xenophobia – an “invasion on our southern coast” according to Sue, is the Sun and others running distraction for a Tory regime that’s a vortex of ineptitude, bad policy and worse PR.

What possessed Sunak to boast to Tunbridge Wells’ Tories he was Robin Hood in reverse; that he had diverted public funds from “deprived urban areas” to “areas like this”?

Sunak has blood on his hands. As BoJo’s Chancellor, Sunak’s £850 million “eat out to help out” meal and drink subsidy stunt drove new COVID-19 infections up by between 8 and 17% in the second wave of the pandemic in 2020.

Sunak, like BoJo or our ScoMo, doesn’t consult any experts.

It’s all part of our postmodern, post truth, faux-populist, global right-wing politics’ anti-intellectualism. Why would Chancellor Rishi Sunak consult public health experts before inflicting his ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ stunt in the UK Summer of 2020?

What would they know about a healthy economy? The £10 discount scheme, which provides cheaper meals to diners going out to their local curry house, restaurant or Pizza Express, (plus a bonus free COVID exposure), is “epidemiologically illiterate” sniff experts interviewed by The Institute for Government (IfG) for its report – a formal indictment of the cloud of unknowing at the heart of Torydom from BoJo to ScoMo.

“At times it was very unclear, outside the inner circles, just who would be involved, how decisions were taken and on what basis.”

Similarly self-harming are Sunak’s vows to stop crops of solar panels popping up in fields; or halt onshore wind farms, pledges aimed to attract party carbonari during his summer campaign failure to outbid Tufton Street muppet, Libertarian crash test dummy Liz Truss.

His emotional bypass may suggest Rishi’s a robot – as with Liz, but it’s not true. They’re zombie economics fanatics who will do whatever it takes to make the rich even richer.

So, too will LNP serial dud, Peter Dutton, another political Loaded Dog who claims “tax cuts boost economic activity” but who shows he doesn’t know his Yeppen from his Yeppoon, a gaffe which Coalition women try to bury by accusing Albo of bullying Michelle Landry.

Truss believes that if you just make the rich richer, (an imperative in an era of record profit, off-shoring and price-gouging), through tax cuts, subsidies and deregulation, it creates a virtual Niagara Falls of wealth for everyone else.

Oddly, no-one has ever seen it. In reality, wealth tends to trickle-up. Yet this is to miss its true function. Richard Denniss, The Australia Institute’s Chief Economist explains,

“The power of trickle-down economics has never been its economic logic but rather its political logic. Thatcher created a suite of rhetorical and policy tools that consistently united middle-class and high-income voters in the belief that the lower their taxes, the better their country would be.

The genius wasn’t selling the direct benefits of tax cuts to those who would get the cash, it was arguing that helping the rich was actually the best way to help the poor. And so “compassionate conservatism” was born.”

Truss is a rusted-on devotee of the IEA, a “”cell of Libertarian extremists which styles itself as “an educational research group which furthers the dissemination of free-market thinking” but like our IPA, won’t disclose its donors.

What you don’t know can’t hurt you? Spoiler alert, ExxonMobil gave Policy Exchange $30,000 in 2017.

The “think tank” went on to recommend the creation of a new anti-protest law targeting the likes of Extinction Rebellion, which led to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022. Protesters can be banned from future protest, be fitted with tracking devices and worse.

Labour peer Lord Hain sees the law as “the biggest threat to the right to dissent and the right to protest in my lifetime.” It would have “throttled” protests by the suffragettes, he adds. Suella Braverman says it is not a human right to vandalise property.

Or not pay their power bills. E.ON, a German-owned energy giant which forecasts a profit of £3.6bn in global pre-tax earnings for 2022 spent its last summer lobbying Kwasi Karteng against capping of energy bills and also warning about what it sees as an “existential” risk posed by campaigners who threaten to stop paying their gas and power.

Also clear is the link between fossil fuel industries and the IEA; Truss’ mother-ship. The American Friends of the IEA pocketed a $50,000 gift from ExxonMobil in 2004, while the UK branch HQ of the IEA has received donations from BP every year since 1967.

OpenDemocracy reports, ‘Truss is particularly close to the IEA, having founded its parliamentary wing FREER in 2011 and hired its former communications director Ruth Porter to run her campaign, later rewarding her by making her deputy chief of staff’.

Tim Montgomerie, a former Johnson advisor, tells Twitter the Truss budget is a “massive moment for the IEA”. “They’ve been advocating these policies for years. They incubated Truss and Kwarteng during their early years as MPs. Britain is now their laboratory.” Director General Mark Littlewood is said to be distraught over how the market repudiated his group’s free-market experiment.

Some Trickle-downers trace their faith to a Will Rogers joke or a sketch on the back of a table napkin in the 1980s, the Laffer Curve, drawn by Reagan era economist Arthur Laffer, who also argues that government spending depresses the economy.

In reality, cutting taxes to increase prosperity is David Hume’s idea in his 1756 essay Of Taxes, as University of Newcastle economist Professor Bill Mitchell patiently points out.

It defies all evidence. Especially historical. In the 1940s and the 1970s in the US top rates were anywhere between seventy and ninety-four percent, yet the nation posted record growth in GDP. After the 1980s, top rates began to come down yet GDP never recovered Iits post war boom. In reality, the rich tend to hang on to a tax windfall or spend extra funds buying back shares in their own company boosting its market value.

Zombie economics get another run in the UK. Coined by economist and Nobel Laureate, Paul Krugman it’s the free market gospel that somehow comes back from the dead to despatch the hapless Truss. It helped turn the US into the world’s biggest creditor nation into the world’s biggest debtor nation in Reagan’s two terms in office.

Frydenberg’s stage three tax cuts are a brazen, unfunded, unnecessary bribe to its donor class to vote for the Liberal Party, wrecking a progressive tax system and promoting inequality.

Labor promises to keep the cuts – who wants to get wedged in an election campaign? -but now Lucky Jim Chalmers calculates that the cuts will cost $254 billion over ten years, meaning so much less to spend on schools, hospitals, or the NDIS just to benefit a wealthy elite who already have the means to access tax minimisation schemes and don’t need it baked into the system.

Bank CEOs, surgeons, and federal politicians will get a windfall tax cut of $9075, while aged care workers, disability carers and those on minimum wages will get nothing.

Despite all her policy nonsense, it is chilling just how quickly Truss is trounced, bounced and hounded into resignation by the 1922 committee of hacks or backbenchers the Conservative Party keeps under the counter for just such emergencies.

It was only yesterday that Tory “grandees” were praising the new PM for her refreshing iconoclasm. Her show of blithe unconcern as to where the money was coming from? Too much. A volatile market was spooked and it cost the Bank of England at least $65 billion in a bond buy- back as it frantically- and far from convincingly – tried to calm the farm.

Her resignation speech mirrors her premiership or footage of Truss being received by the Queen at Windsor “haphazard, uncomfortable to watch, and almost comically short.”

Will the myth of trickle-down also be laid to rest? Not with Jeremy Hunt at the helm. Brought on by Truss to replace Chancellor Kwasi Karteng, with just a little prompting from Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, who hints of a glass of whisky and a revolver, is Jeremy Hunt who caused a stir when he set up arms sales to the Saudis, worth at least $20 billion since 2015.

The issue is not how quickly Truss is undone but how she became PM at all. And how quickly and cruelly she is disabused of her delusions. Johnson’s, prank candidate, Libertarian free-marketeer and Maths whiz, Liz- as she prefers to be known-goes into a dizzy downward spiral of U-turn after U-turn, desperately trying to dodge a barrage of opposition to her mini-budget’s rejection by the market – only to be bullied into resignation. Humiliated as Jeremy Hunt publicly, sadistically, undoes every strand of her £460 billion bold new plan.

A plan not to raise corporation tax, and a plan to cap energy bills without resorting to a windfall tax on energy company profits. It ends with us having none of these things, writes Loughborough University, London’s Dr Gerhard Schnyder who notes that the battle was not between good and bad economics but which bad prevailed over worse.

Luckily, austerity is well in hand. In two weeks, rhyming slang Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and his PM will collude in ruining the lower orders with “fiscal tightening”, a fertile formula for the ruling elite, which involves cutting government services for the masses, raising interest rates, just as gas and electricity corporations price three quarters of households out of the market while a quarter must buy groceries on their credit cards.

Austerity is calculated to line the pockets of pawnbrokers, loan sharks, usurers, banks and other money lenders while energy corporations jack up the price of gas and electricity (elevenfold since 2019), leaving the poor to starve in the cold and dark as winter approaches. UK natural gas prices rose nearly 96% in the year to July.

The Conservative Party itself is riddled with corruption far more toxic beyond Johnson’s faux populism, his vainglorious loutishness or his malignant narcissism, making it more of a push of spivs than an outfit seeking to revive life as it was in 1922, only with a personal hedge fund manager, a peerage for beer money and a personally curated concierge service.

Revelations of dark money contributions and paid lobbying abound in conservative parties worldwide, although UK Tories have an edge. Even its honours system is up for sale.

Fifteen out of 16 Tory party treasurers in the past seven years donated £3 million to the Tory party. Every one of them is offered a peerage. The sublimely named Peter Cruddas, a former Conservative Party treasurer, donated £30 million over ten years only to give the Tories £500,000 three days after taking his seat in the House of Lords in February 2021. Cruddas was busted soliciting cash for access to David Cameron, ten years earlier, a process now streamlined into a club named The Advisory Board run by Tory entrepreneur Ben Elliott.

Elliot, who sees himself as a “willing slave to the stars”, a luxury lifestyle consultant made his name running Quintessentially, a “concierge” company and aristocrat life support ecosystem that caters to the caprices of the rich, from shipping a dozen albino peacocks to a party for Jennifer Lopez to airlifting elm tea bags to Madonna.

All in a day’s work, the 45-year-old Etonian and son-in-law of rock star Steve Winwood tells the Financial Times in 2011. Securing services for his wealthy clients is all about knowing the right people to contact for the right favour.”

Elliot has the right connections. The nephew of Camilla, he was once accused of offering access to then Prince Charles in exchange for a lucrative Quintessentially membership.

But there’s more. With wealth comes power and with both comes The Advisory Board. Businessman and Tory donor, Mohamed Amersi tells The Guardian that Elliott’s Advisory Board Conservative club is “like the very elite Quintessentially clients’ membership: one needs to cough up £250,000 per annum or be a friend of Ben.”

Elliot has made the Advisory Board the number one club in the Conservative Party. Members got monthly access to Johnson or then chancellor Rishi Sunak, say insiders.

Tory Warlords claim the Advisory Board evolved before Boris took power, but won’t say when. Nor is it named in any party literature. A senior minister in David Cameron’s administration says: “I’ve never heard of it.”

Interviewed by The Guardian UK, Labour party chair Anneliese Dodds is blunt:

“This appears to be less of an advisory board than a means for a select group of elite donors to gain privileged access to the prime minister and the chancellor.”

Above all, the seeds of Brexit bear bitter fruit. Leaving the EU helps create division and instability while conferring none of the riches its advocates promised. Gone is instant EU access, exporters now face thirty days’ delay. The bureaucracy of the EU is now replaced by UK officialdom. Trickle-down Trussonomics builds on Brexiteers’ magical thinking; blending a defiance of expert consensus and the market with contempt for Britain’s partners.

Brexit has proved an unmitigated disaster to the UK economy, according to a wide range of commentators from academics and left-leaning journalists to growing numbers of bankers such as Citibank’s Chief Economist, Benjamin Nabarro.

But rotten as it may be, the party has its elite stormtroopers who move like a wolf on the fold when self interest is at stake. The party that pays lip service to liberty calls in its own Bank of England stooge, Jeremy Hunt, when the market panics at rising interest rates fuelled by a Trussian October Revolution of unfunded tax cuts, fuel subsidies and state spending.

Truss’ vision of an agile, lightly-regulated, innovative, entrepreneurial Britain with a Melbourne Cup field of “investment zones” where can-do capitalism can knock itself out free of red tape (or green) would not be out of place in a Malcolm Turnbull speech and is cut from the same international think-tank boiler plate. Build it and they will come. Especially with favourable tax and planning approval. It is more Singapore on Thames, critics sniff, than a practical solution to Britain’s real economic challenges of under investment, inflation, spiralling inequality and recession.

Others point out that it’s handing a blank cheque to businesses who’d have to force themselves to have a ten year tax holiday at the government’s expense. In the meantime, the government still has to pay to keep its projects afloat.

Pet projects grow into white elephants. Turnbull’s Snowy 2.0 pumped Hydro pipe dream with subsidies boondoggle – a bargain at $2 billion in its initial “under-cooked” quote – is now estimated to cost at least $10 billion and could be on stream by 2028 at the earliest.

It’s a snip compared with Inland Rail, the Nationals holy grail, which experts advise the Senate will cost at least $20 billion and counting.

Lean green machines, they are not. Utopia’s Rob Sitch, says the grid as it stands means that “pumped hydro is like trying to charge a Tesla with a diesel generator.”

Liz is a fizza but shadow lenders, unregulated, unaccountable and untouchable, increasingly deal themselves into the high-stakes poker of the biggest game in town.

The Tory Party’s abrupt reversion to orthodox, austerity economics is testament to the power of the old guard at the City of London to dictate economic policy.

Or is it a last-ditch attempt to dictate government economic policy by the unelected BoE board? As our Reserve Bank is currently making. Unfortunately, full steam astern will only lead the nation deeper into recession.

But it will be cruel Britannia all the way with all the help that tabloid media can supply about the need for a nation to take its medicine – and not to fuss itself over the prescription. The Bank of England Bank Governor and his pliant board will raise interest rates on household mortgages to halt inflation caused by corporate price gouging at the supermarket, the privatised supply of gas and electricity and the economic disruption of Russia’s War on Ukraine.

If that sounds like our own charismatic dynamo, Philip Lowe that ‘s because he’s reading from the same zombie apocalypse script. It will help protect the fortunes of the ruling elite but it will be the average wage earner who is forced to pay for it all.


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Peter Dutton Reduced To Tears After He Realises That Albanese Was Mocking Him…

Ok, this is one of those times when people are going to say that I just don’t get it!

They’re probably right. But if men like me don’t keep saying things that are wrong, who will be left to disagree with?

Anyway, I suddenly had this thought about the whole Michelle Landry and all those who marched out to support her after she was so upset that she left the chamber in tears.

Now, people who watched the interaction seemed a little confused because the footage seemed to show her laughing. And it was clear that Anthony Albanese was responding to Peter Dutton’s interjection and that he even said that he was sure that the Member for Capricornia (Landry) would know that there’s a difference between Yeppoon and Yeppen.

So we’re left wondering – given that this shouting and mocking was enough to reduce someone to tears – how we’d have reacted if it were Peter Dutton who left and said that he was reduced to tears.

Now, I want to make it quite clear that I’m not mocking a man who’s reduced to tears over something…

And I also want to make it quite clear that I’m not supporting the bullying of women…

So what am I left with?

The whole episode raises two important questions. The first relates to the idea that we’d be pretty shocked if Peter Dutton did tell us that the “bullying” by Anthony Albanese was so bad he was reduced to tears…

“Reduced to tears”. That’s a pretty interesting phrase when you think about it. It suggests that somehow tears reduce us to something lesser than we are.

Anyway, we’d be pretty surprised that what Albanese said was enough to have the Opposition leader in tears and we’d think that it was well a bit weak and we’d wonder about his fitness for the role. I mean compared to some of the actual behind the scenes bullying of Bridget Archer and others, Albanese’s mocking was fairly consistent with what’s considered robust debate. Maybe we should have less robust debate and more intelligent discussion, but if – for example – we compare it to Josh (Who?) Frydenberg’s attack on Jim Chalmers for suggesting a wellbeing measure, it was fairly mild.

So that raises the first question: Do we just accept that women should be treated differently because they’re women? Nobody said, “Harden up, princess!” which I’m sure would have been the response if Dutton had called the press conference to tell us all how upset he was…

Like I said, as a male, I’m not going to be able to understand what it’s like to be a woman in her position, and I certainly don’t support the bullying of women. But I don’t support the bullying of men either, so I’m just putting it out there that it’s strange that the issue was all around whether Albo was talking to Landry or Dutton and that nobody pointed out that mocking an inaccurate interjection was hardly the stuff that makes the public go, “Wow, this is far worse than Morrison getting stuck into Christina Holgate, or the way the Liberals attacked Gillian Triggs. We certainly understand why all the Coalition came out to condemn this after being silent so many other times.”

But there’s a second question that this whole issue raises:

Is the Opposition working on the theory that what worked in the past should be the template for the future?

It seems that they’ve taken a pinch of Tony Abbott where they blame Labor for everything and do as much as possible to make things worse so that everyone else will blame Labor too. When the Coalition say that if they were in government, they’d cut spending, but interviewers rarely ask them where exactly they’d do that. And when Labor does actually cut some, LNP MPs like Michelle Landry ask accusatory questions in Question Time that educate us all on the difference between Yeppen and Yeppoon.

Then they’ve looked at what worked for Labor so they’ve added the tactics that were employed against Scott Morrison:

  1. The PM is big on announcements but poor on delivery. (A little early in the term to try this on Labor. Even the $275 reduction in energy prices was by 2025. Ok, there’s probably no way they’ll get there, but it’s a bit early to be calling it a broken promise!)
  2. He always goes missing in a crisis. (Again, a bit hard to make this one stick because there’s a difference between taking Jenandthegirls on a Hawaiian holiday and attending the funerals of world leaders and attending conferences.)
  3. He doesn’t have a good understanding of the issues affecting women and there’s a culture of bullying in Parliament which he’s doing nothing to fix.

They might be tactics that eventually work but at the moment it seems like it’ll need more than fine-tuning. I mean, it could work to attack Kevin Rudd as a nerdy, academic type who’s spent too much time in Canberra, but I don’t think the same attack would work on Pauline Hanson… although she has spent a large part of her life in Canberra and I’d actually suggest that any time she’s spent in Canberra is too much!

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Newscorp polishes the knob

The tattered remnants of the “natural party of government” experienced a collective bout of the vapours when their keys to the nation’s treasure were confiscated and the very real prospect arose that some of their most egregious persons of interest would be held accountable for the boondoggles, daily scandal and general douchebaggery. They are now re-grouping under new management to reactivate the fear and loathing that is their brand.

The Game Of Mates is the Tories’ raison d’être – it gives the tawdry existence of their party some meaning, it puts the ‘dicks’ in Big Swinging Dicks®, it’s their viagra, their self-esteem. It’s the foundations of the Tory ecosystem, it’s the glue that binds their warring gangs who otherwise despise each other. The Thatcherites, cutpurses, chancers and urgers and glory holers, the bible-bending mammonites and the poofter bashers that make up their number were all collectively bereft that the grift without access to our money is unworkable.

Now no lie is too outrageous, no sanctimony is too hypocritical to facilitate the big con, to once again seek to serve their neo-liberal instincts for national asset stripping and stealing our money to gift to their pals. Their big problem as they arise from the fainting couch and straighten their hair is how to sell their shitfuckery anew to punters who had abandoned them due to that very same shitfuckery.

You can accuse the Tories of many things and if any of those things is derogatory then there’s a fair chance it will be true. Like herd stupidity. Thinning this herd by taking out the lame and the dimwitted is futile if the objective is to improve the breed. These dullards actively disenfranchise their best and brightest (i.e. the less repulsive) leaving a shallow gene pool that has an animatronic legume as its figurehead and as 2IC a befuddled ditz who’s out of her depth at the wading end. What these clowns in their wisdom seem to have decided upon is a threefold strategy:

After moderate electors abandoned their party the worst-of-the-worst are pushing further right and doubling down on the issues that saw them thrown from office. Yet unless they win back the seats lost to independents they’ll need an unrealistic 54% of the 2PP for majority government.

Then also they adopt the blanket negativism of the rabid Abbott’s clownship regardless of the harm to the national interest. After being laughed from office Abbott’s been haunting the periphery with delusions of a Churchilian return, reminding voters of the Christo-Taliban who infect the Tories yet the modus operandi of a bloke whose term as PM was shorter than the shelf-life of Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriends still inspires the surviving Tory by-catch.

They will politicise every issue ala Punchable McSmirkFace. Morrison personified the most soporifric, contemptible, mercenary government in our history, yet the Libs have never seen a bad idea that they aren’t prepared to repeat. The stage 3 tax cuts being a perfect example – they are salivating at the prospect of a political wedge. What’s best for the country is entirely irrelevant in the pursuit of political point scoring.

Lessons learned? These idiots keep pressing the close button on the elevator doors that their heads are trapped in. Their attempts at reputational recovery are at Sideshow Bob level.

If you’ve ever peed on an electric fence you’ll recognise the presentation skills of Lib deputy douche, the Tories’ head tosser Sussan Ley. Bed hair, rapid eye blinks and facial tics suggest the speaking points on her whine list are being transmitted via vibrating anal beads. Suss elicits an image not so much of windswept, womanly intuition, more a blancmange in a wind tunnel; barely holding together a coherent sentence in her stream of contrived outrage at whatever the Tory spin machine has nominated as the deflection du jour. Bluster serves as camouflage, shame and embarrassment ooze from her pores as <head toss> she snivels her self-pity <head toss> where, after 9 years of neglect, incompetence and criminality everything is the fault of someone else <head toss>.

Trotting out LeyZ to front the media highlights at least some instinct within the party that the big tuber, Spud Supreme, was not yet ready for full, uncensored public consumption. Unfortunately for them most people know exactly who he is and so the Cuddly Pete treatment will be trowelled on by the pamphleteers at News Corp as cover for his innate, menacing, deadpan shtick on the occasions he escapes his keepers.

Spud is sticking with his greatest hits – fear, uncertainty and doubt; Spud’s FUD. Brownish toddlers threatening our way of life by inspiring invading hordes of suicide bombers, fearful Melbournians seeking refuge from dark rampagers, union thugs, indigenous Australians, the gay and trans communities, “an over-tolerant society”, dirty lefties, climate protesters, refugee advocates and rude Tweeters besmirching his reputation.

RWNJs always need an enemy on whom to project their own worst instincts and Spud’s marked his territory. If you’re of “the other” you will be demonised. The flaw in all of this of course is that when you add up all the others you have a majority – hence, the Tories and their News Corp muck-spreaders will prosecute the culture wars to divide and conquer.

Venality unites the Tories. What they cannot understand is that empathy, the fair go, the helping hand unites the rest of us and so they will fail. Big time.


Cartoon by Cathy Wilcox


This article was originally published on Grumpy Geezer.

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Voting Liberal is neither liberal nor conservative

The parties of the right in Australia are changing faster than their voters might recognise. It is increasingly the case that a vote for the “conservatives” is a vote for the radical or religious right.

No doubt the leaders of the Liberal Party of Victoria are disturbed by the fact that Moira Deeming, their candidate for the Western Metropolitan Region seat is closely connected to an anti-choice rally set for this weekend, six weeks before the state goes to the polls.

The party has indicated that it wants to “pursue progressive social and environmental policies.” For a state that, as they acknowledge, would require a “genuine, modern alternative” government, this is likely to be imperative.

The Victorian Liberals expelled Bernie Finn, Deeming’s predecessor and mentor, to signal that they would not stand for the radical right populism he aims to foment, in particular anti-abortion comments. Awkwardly for them, the branch selected Deeming, noted for her anti-abortion and TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism, more accurately depicted as Feminism-Appropriating Radical Transphobe or FART) statements.

Finn and Deeming are intimately connected with the organisation. He founded it five years after abortion was decriminalised in Victoria, aiming to recriminalise it, with his organisation at the forefront of the battle. Deeming stepped down as secretary last year, but was previously prominent, and continues her activism post-preselection. Amongst the key statements on the march’s Facebook page are claims that it is “never ok to slaughter a child” and “Let’s make Victoria like Arizona” after that US state made the medical procedure illegal. The implication can only be that this group aims ultimately to plant the most extreme Christian Nationalist abortion bans from American states in Australia’s civil soil.

Not only is “March for the Babies” intending to strip women of our bodily autonomy, but it is also closely connected to far-right and white supremacist activists. They are on film attending the marches, but in 2018 Finn even hired these notorious figures as his bodyguards* for the event. Deeming’s connection to the extreme anti-abortion movement, as well as her activism against Safe Schools and writing in support of Conversion Therapy, reinforces that her transphobic activism is based in extremist Christianity, not feminism. This movement aims to erase LGBTQI people from the public space. The coordination of oppressive Christianity with its western chauvinist cultural deployment is a common pairing in the international religious right.

Denominational branch-stacking is an old tradition in Australia, but as the religious right problem around the world becomes more extreme, the attack on “conservative” branches here grows more concerted. Nondenominational Christian lobby groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby illustrate how radical the positions are becoming. International experience shows that these forces are content to work with cultural conservatives such as transphobes in order to broaden their appeal.

Becoming a target for motivated religious groups, pushing preselection of less moderate candidates is only half the problem for the Victorian party in making sure that it can be a genuine “modern” option.

The other is that the radical right nature of the Liberal Party – and its National Party colleagues – around the nation is functioning as an employment ad to people driven by immoderate goals.

Brian Klaas has spent years interviewing and researching the personality type of people who misuse power from the petty tyrant in the office to nations’ authoritarian leaders. His book Corruptible is well worth reading for an insight into the proposition that the LNP, the Republicans and the Tories have declined beyond redemption.

One powerful example that Klaas uses to illustrate the impact of a literal professional advertisement is the police force. Naturally, this job wrongly done can be much bloodier than a politician’s, so the similarities are not equivalent.

Klaas contrasts two extreme examples of police career advertising to make his point. On one hand, New Zealand aimed to address the problem of the wrong people choosing a police career by creating a campaign that featured humour, a diverse array of backgrounds and a focus on a job as a support to the community. The campaign was a huge success, attracting women, Maori and people from other non-white groups to join in substantial numbers. Now the police are much more likely to look like the people they are policing, and the outcomes are similarly better.

The most extreme American ad came from Georgia. A small town website posted a recruitment video that began with the Punisher logo (a violent vigilante figure beloved on the extreme right) and continued with military vehicles, smoke grenades and firing with military-style weapons to the soundtrack of “Die MF die.”

The people who self-select for this police force are not the same people who select for the NZ version where people who return dogs to grateful owners or help hungry street kids are the personalities celebrated.

This is clearly a much more extreme career path than politics. The people harmed by politicians are usually separated by many layers of public service and are much harder to link causally to parliamentary and administrative decisions.

But the echo of the lesson remains: when a coalition of parties advertises itself as the home of self-interest and the celebration of prejudice and cruelty, who is likely to self-select? Klaas’s study suggests it is more likely to be people belonging to the “dark triad personality” type, already drawn to power.

The dark triad personality illustrates elements of the overlapping narcissistic, Machiavellian and sociopathic personalities. The impact is described thus: “People with these traits tend to be callous and manipulative, willing to do or say practically anything to get their way. They have an inflated view of themselves and are often shameless about self-promotion. These individuals are likely to be impulsive and may engage in dangerous behaviour—in some cases, even committing crimes—without any regard for how their actions affect others.”

The treatment of Australians in scandals such as the Robodebt trial; our First Nations people in general; and the extremity of cruelty meted out to asylum-seeking refugees over the last decade all illustrate decisions that might have been made by people acting out of these personality traits. The fact that the scarifying treatment of refugees was the point, and that rotten publicity was welcomed for its deterrent effect, underlines the distorted thinking at work. We were intended to be – and be famous for being – worse than the Taliban, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the genocidal Burmese and Sri Lankan armies.

It is hard to imagine wholesome people wanting to ally themselves with this brand. It is also hard to imagine them wanting to immerse themselves in a workplace filled with people happy to harm others.

This is not to argue that any other party is free of these characters, but all the rational parties do not market themselves as the party of cruelty, greed and memelord trolling of the vulnerable.

Most of the decent Liberals have left after failing to prevent the descent into radicalism. Indeed, their federal vice-president celebrated their departure as a cleansing of so-called “lefties” within the party at CPAC Australia recently. Their coalition partners have not shown such caution, maybe hoping that they can rescue their party from the trolls yet.

It is hard to know how Australia’s “conservative” parties can rescue themselves from this spiral of awfulness. In the meantime, their voters must know what is at stake.

*One of those “bodyguards” is alleged to have been amongst the group of Neo Nazis throwing the Hitler salute while protesting a youth LGBTQI gathering in a Moonee Ponds, Melbourne park. This is an echo of the Christian Fascist/Nationalist intimidation of many LGBTQI events around America in Pride Month 2022.

This was first published on Pearls and Irritations as Liberal candidate supports US-style abortion ban ahead of state poll

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Why Peter Dutton Is Such A Cuddly Koala…

Interviewer: I’ve been told Dinsdale Piranha nailed your head to the floor.

Stig: No. Never. He was a smashing bloke. He used to buy his mother flowers and that. He was like a brother to me.

Interviewer: But the police have film of Dinsdale actually nailing your head to the floor.

Stig: (pause) Oh yeah, he did that.

Interviewer: Why?

Stig: Well he had to, didn’t he? I mean there was nothing else he could do, be fair. I had transgressed the unwritten law.

Interviewer: What had you done?

Stig: Er… well he didn’t tell me that, but he gave me his word that it was the case, and that’s good enough for me with old Dinsy. I mean, he didn’t *want* to nail my head to the floor. I had to insist. He wanted to let me off. He’d do anything for you, Dinsdale would.

Interviewer: And you don’t bear him a grudge?

Stig: A grudge! Old Dinsy. He was a real darling.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus

You may have noticed that we’ve been seeing quite a few profiles explaining how we’ve got Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton all wrong.

It seems that he’s a smashing bloke and as his wife said, he’s not a monster. No, he has friends and everything so we should rethink the impression we’ve got from his public behaviour. In private, he’s quite pleasant and charming and…

Now I can hear some of you mumbling that Hitler loved his dogs, so I’m going to have to remind you about Godwin’s Law that asserts that the longer an online argument continues, the greater the likelihood of someone invoking the Nazis for comparison. Of course, Godwin himself said that comparing our treatment of asylum seekers with the Nazis was completely fair and not at all what he was talking about.

Anyway, I’d just like to stop you all in your tracks and say that comparisons with Hitler are completely unfair and, no, not because Hitler is dead and can’t defend himself.

Come on, people, this is exactly why the media need to explain that Dutton is such a nice bloke. What’s he done that’s so bad?

All right, I admit that there are one or two things on the list that seem to be completely lacking in human empathy but to be fair, he was never the leader of the party before and he was probably just following orders.

And yes, it is true that his colleagues who knew him better than the public decided that Scott Morrison would make a better PM, but this is just because they thought that they were going to lose the election and wanted to spare Peter the pain of leading that loss.

No, thanks to the media, I’ve completely rethought my position on Mr Dutton. He’s just a cuddly koala once you get to know him.

Of course, this has nothing to do with his capacity to be an effective Prime Minister. I mean, we don’t elect governments because they’re composed of nice guys and gals. We elect them to have the ability to show foresight, communicate their vision and make the tough decisions when necessary.

So, all this stuff I’ve heard lately about Peter Dutton being such a great fellow just makes me think that he’s too nice to ever be a good leader.

By the way, in case you’re not aware, you should only try to cuddle a koala under strict supervision. In their natural state they can scratch and piss on you.


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“I Do Not Think I Know”: Scott Morrison’s Submarine Deception

When it was revealed that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had not only shown contempt for his own government in secretly appointing himself, via the Governor-General’s approval, to five portfolios, the depths of deception seemed to be boundless. His tenure had already been marked by a spectacular, habitual tendency to conceal matters. What else would come out?

The latest revelation in the Morrison Mendacity Roadshow came in a leaked document authored by a former Department of Defence deputy secretary, Kim Gillis, a key figure in submarine contract negotiations with the French Naval Group. The contract to build twelve French-made diesel-powered Attack class submarines was spectacularly scuppered by the Morrison government with the announcement last September of the AUKUS security pact. A key provision of that agreement between Canberra, Washington and London was that Australia would be acquiring nuclear-propulsion technology for submarines sourced from either the United Kingdom or the United States.

France was kept in the dark of both the AUKUS negotiations and the fact that their treasured, lucrative submarine contract would cease to exist after September. It ruined, for a time, the relationship between Australia and France, and led President Emmanuel Macron to publicly accuse Morrison of lying. “I don’t think,” he memorably responded to a journalist’s question when asked about the conduct of Australia’s prime minister, “I know.”

Morrison, in a poisonous spirit of retaliation, proceeded to leak the content of private text conversations conducted with the French president. The selective leaking purportedly showed Macron asking a mere two days before the AUKUS announcement whether he should “expect good or bad news for our joint submarines ambitions.” As ever, Australia’s duplicitous leader was attempting to restore his own tattered credibility by claiming that Macron should have had an inkling that something was rotten in the submarine project.

The 10-page document by Gillies, designed as an explainer to staff, is something of a tell-all about a gross failure of planning and vision. He is understandably defensive about his pet project, insisting, from the outset, that the “cost and schedule blow outs” noted in the media were “wrong and devalues the achievements and the tremendous work by our teams in Australia and France.” Estimates, for instance, that the submarine program would cost A$50 billion were deemed reasonable at the time, given inflation projects from the Department of Finance (2.5% to 3%).

Confusion on this point arose because of 2016 testimony given by Program Manager Rear Admiral Greg Sammut to Senate estimates, whose figure of $A50 billion was arrived at in constant dollars. This was largely due to the fact that the production schedule had yet to be concretely ascertained, though the first class of submarine was intended to be delivered in 2032, and the last in the 2050s. The larger sum of A$90 billion generated by the Department of Finance in 2017, because it incorporated inflation over the course of 35 years, was then misrepresented by both parliamentarians and the media as “cost blow out”. This was, Gillis mockingly wrote, nothing more than a “factoid”, “an item of unreliable information that is reported and reported so often that it becomes accepted as fact.”

Despite scepticism about a nuclear submarine model being retooled and adjusted to conventional parameters, Gillis was all praise for a design that “would be the most advanced lethal conventionally powered submarine ever built.” Even “my American submariner colleagues who assisted in the evaluation concluded that the new Attack class would provide capabilities in a range of operational environments that would exceed some of the capabilities of the US nuclear boats.”

The note also extols the merits of the Australian Defence Department’s own Project Team. There is almost star struck admiration for the ability of the Naval Group Australia section (NGA) “to develop the company, including all its policies, systems and processes, whilst executing one of the most complex and demanding programs in Australian Defence procurement history.” There was little doubt, in the mind of this particularly dedicated public servant, that moves were being made to create “a truly sovereign capability to design, build and operate submarines” in Australia.

While Gillis may be straying from hard-nosed reality into the realm of streaky hope, he is adamant that the behaviour of the Morrison government in ending the contract without the awareness of those intimately connected with the process was unpardonable.

Special reference is made to the side-lined role of the Commonwealth contract manager, who was, at the time, Admiral Sammut. “I believe it is totally unacceptable when the Commonwealth contract manager is excluded from discussions regarding the termination of the contract for what now appears to be six or more months.” Critically, “there was an alternate strategy being developed behind closed doors and outside the accepted contractual processes.”

On September 15, 2021, the day of the AUKUS announcement, the Naval Group Australia Board had received a letter from the Defence Project Office informing them that they “had met the final exit point to move on to the next phase of the project.” There was no inkling on what would happen next. Had it been otherwise, no agreements would have been reached to send staff to France the week prior to the “fateful decision”, nor enter into more subcontracts with new Australian companies.

The calamitous episode prompted Gillis to come up with his own assessment about bureaucratic machinations. While not quite in the same league of tormented language as the “known unknowns” of the late former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, the Naval Group submarine fiasco had given us a new argot: “[T]he phrase ‘I do not think I know’ will now become an integral part of the Australian vernacular. It will relate to a lie or to a mistruth told by someone in high office.”


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