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Not your average Aussie

Today marks the tenth anniversary of Julia Gillard becoming Australia’s first female Prime Minister. As an ‘insider’ (she was my boss) I can attest that she spent her time as Prime Minister – and as a Minister before that – working tirelessly for a better Australia, but more importantly, for the average Aussie.

Thus it was disheartening, disappointing and frustrating to see the picture of Julia Gillard painted by the Murdoch media and an opposition led by Tony Abbott. It was pure cruelty.

Two articles I wrote for the now defunct Cafe Whispers blog; Not your average Aussie and The shout heard ’round the world reflected her mistreatment. I would like to share those articles with you.

Not your average Aussie

In saying that ‘loudmouth mining magnates shouldn’t dominate public debate more than a nurse or a childcare worker’, Julia Gillard is telling Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer that they are just average Australians.  And in doing so she has shown that she herself is not an average Australian. She is better.

In her two years as Prime Minister, despite her red hair, long nose, big bum, Welsh accent, toxic government, battles with faceless men, unmarried status, daily media attacks, daily leadership speculation, bad polls, hatred inspired by the shock jocks, hatred inspired by Tony Abbott, witnessing the denigration of Parliament by the Opposition, countless cries that she should be kicked to death or tossed overboard, and despite placards littering the countryside that she’s a bitch, despite the money coming in from big business funding campaigns aimed at destroying her and the countless lies that condemn her – she has stood firm in the face of this onslaught. And in standing firm, to me, she is standing tall.

As far as having guts goes, she is better than the average Australian.

She stands by what she believes in and in two years her position hasn’t changed. She believes that something is happening to the climate and she wants to do something about it. She hasn’t ignored the overwhelming evidence from the climate scientists that something bad is happening and nor has she mocked the messengers. She’s listened. She’s learned. And she wants to do something about it. She will not change her stand to please big business or anybody else for that matter. Her heart is with the country, not the few that wish to destroy it or those politicians who prefer to brown-nose the likes of Gina or Clive.

As far as sticking to her beliefs and wanting to make this a better country, she is better than the average Australian.

That, briefly, is my opinion.

In Tony Abbott we have a politician who does not have any of the qualities I’ve mentioned that stand Julia Gillard out from the crowd.  To me, he is worse than the average Australian. There is not one belief he will stand by (except that he can stop the boats) but I won’t go into that. I’m sure you lot will.

The shout heard ’round the world

Julia Gillard might have stopped shouting at Tony Abbott but her words reverberated around the world.

Hence this post is not about the speech by Julia Gillard or about the man it was directed to, but briefly on the impact of it.

By now most of you would have digested some of the more celebrated responses – including those linked above – so I won’t cover old ground, however, one is worth mentioning; not for Julia Gillard’s stand against misogamy but for her often overlooked performances as a gutsy politician. The New Yorker wants performances like that to enter into American politics. They write:

So why is this among the most-shared videos [the Julia Gillard attack on Tony Abbott] by my American friends today? Purely as political theatre, it’s great fun. Americans used to flipping past the droning on in empty chambers that passes for legislative debate in this country are always taken in by the rowdiness of parliamentary skirmish. It could also be that the political dynamic depicted in the clip parallels the situation in the States: a chief executive who is a “first” took power after a long period of control from the right of center, and whose signature policy achievements have at times been overshadowed by personal vitriol. Or perhaps it’s that we are right now in one of the rare periods every four years where the American political process provides actual face-to-face debate between the leaders of the two parties. After his performance last week, supporters of President Obama, watching Gillard cut through the disingenuousness and feigned moral outrage of her opponent to call him out for his own personal prejudice, hypocrisy, and aversion to facts, might be wishing their man would take a lesson from Australia.

Similarities between our two political theatres abound. Julia Gillard has found a way to evolve from it.

But her attack on misogamy has attracted more responses than her parliamentary grunt. And oh how the responses differ. In one corner we have the international media, the social media and social analysts supporting her speech while in the other corner sits the Australian mainstream media going alone in its condemnation.

Yet in the Australian media all we hear about are the opinions of the Australian media. Elsewhere it is news. Here they are purely opinions.

To hear the praise coming from Australians one has to read an overseas newspaper. For example, the Irish Times provided a better and more balanced appraisal of Julia Gillard’s speech than that dished up locally. Where, in the Australian media, will you read such honesty as this?:

When Australia’s prime minister, Julia Gillard, told the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, this week that if he wanted to know what misogyny looked like he should pick up a mirror, it was seen by many women as a defining moment for feminism in the country.

“I almost had shivers down my spine,” said Sara Charlesworth, an associate professor at the University of South Australia. “I was so relieved that she had actually named what was happening. She was so angry, so coherent and able to register that enough is enough.”

It was the first time an Australian leader – and possibly any world leader – had delivered such a forthright attack on misogyny in public life.

Prof Barbara Pini, who teaches gender studies at Griffith University in Queensland, said it was a watershed moment. “It’s incredibly significant to have a prime minister powerfully state that she has experienced sexism and even more powerfully state that she will refuse to ignore it any longer,” Pini said.

“That the sexism which is so deeply embedded in the Australian body politic was named may give some women licence to express and seek to counter the sexism they have experienced in their working lives.”

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, one in five Australian women has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. A recent study by Monash University in Melbourne showed that 57 per cent of women who worked in the media had experienced sexual harassment. It said women were badly under-represented in top levels of media management, holding 10 per cent of positions, compared with an international average of 27 per cent.

The report’s author, Louise North, said her findings might go some way to explaining why much of Australia’s mainstream media concluded that Gillard’s speech was a political disaster. “PM will rue yet another bad call,” said one comment piece.

“Gillard’s judgment was flawed. All she achieved was a serious loss of credibility,” said another.

That response was in stark contrast to much of the commentary in social media and conversations between women around the country, which were alive with praise for the prime minister’s stance.

“Leader writers are generally white, middle-aged men and they have no perception of gender bias,” North said. “They don’t want to acknowledge that it happens within their newsrooms and they certainly wouldn’t be open to challenging some of those positions and changing the public discourse either.

Tim Dunlop, in his fabulous article on The Drum, The gatekeepers of news have lost their keys takes up the fight against the Australian media – one of the few in the media to do so – as he tackles the local bias:

The authority of the media – it’s ability to shape and frame events and then present them to us as “the” news – was built upon its privileged access to information and the ability to control distribution.

Collecting, collating, packaging and transmitting information – “news” – was expensive and thus the preserve of a small number of big companies, and we were pretty much bound by the choices they made.

But those days are gone. That model is a relic, though it still dominates the way the mainstream media goes about its business, and provides the template for how journalists think about their role as reporters.

When you have the likes of Michelle GrattanPeter HartcherPeter van Onselen (paywalled), Jennifer Hewett (paywalled), Geoff Kitney, Phillip Coorey, and Dennis Shanahan (paywalled) all spouting essentially the same line in attacking the Prime Minister – a line at odds with the many people’s own interpretation of events – people wonder what the point of such journalism is.

It bewilders me that our mainstream media is taking such a vociferous and concerted stand against public and international opinion. The impact of the speech is lost on them. One could be forgiven for thinking they have an agenda. Regardless of how much they condemn the Prime Minister, the world isn’t listening.

 

 

And finally …

Here I am with the ‘boss.’

It must have been a Friday as I was dressed casually, as Canberra public servants tended to do on that glorious last day of the week. Adding to the embarrassment I forget to take my reading glasses off! Maybe, just maybe … I was a tad excited.

Before becoming PM Ms Gillard was my Minister in the Rudd Government, a position she took over after Labor’s 2007 election victory. Prior to that, my Minister was Joe Hockey. What a breath of fresh air she was after Joe Hockey!

 

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The Morrison Government is bad, but is it that people don’t care anymore?

Prior to the last election I was of the view that the good folk of Australia had their cricket bats at the ready preparing to hook the LNP for six over square leg. And given their performance so far in their third term you would think I would be entitled to feel the same way again.

The latest NewsPoll shows the LNP leading Labor 51-49. Not much in it, you might say, and given at this stage of the cycle, polling can only ever tell you what people are thinking at the time might I suggest another close call.

The Prime Minister enjoys a lead as preferred prime minister of 56-26 over Anthony Albanese. It seems that no matter how many stuff ups the government makes they can do no wrong.

The NewsPoll doesn’t reflect the truth of what is actually taking place. The truth is that Morrison and his government are performing just as appallingly as they did when Tony Abbot won government.

You don’t believe me? Well, let me see if I can make a case. Currently, I am inclined to the view that there are those, in the majority, who think that things are so bad that they have given up caring.

They would rather stick with the devil they know than the one they don’t. Otherwise you would think NewsPoll would reflect their dissatisfaction.

Conversely, the poll tells us that a majority of voters at this time are happy with the way they are being governed and if an election were held today the LNP would probably win.

Or if you’re an optimist you might say that 51/49 Morrison’s performance “hasn’t shifted anyone’s votes.”

Sure there is a sizeable proportion of the population who protest the government’s incompetence but under the circumstances, given all the governments ineffectiveness, one would expect the opposition to hold, at the very least, a 3 point lead over the government.

Let’s take a look at some performance examples before analysing why this is so.

1 The Guardian reports that:

Only one of the six commissioners (former Union man Greg Combet) on Scott Morrison’s COVID-19 commission has volunteered to release their conflicts of interest agreements, prompting calls for greater transparency from the publicly funded body.

The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) is a prominent advisory body put together by Morrison to shape non-health aspects of Australia’s COVID-19 strategy. Most are ex mining executives.

2 In Parliament last Wednesday Brendan O’Connor – the Shadow Industry Minister – revealed that, “prior to the last election, the Coalition had awarded 97 per cent of first-round funding for the Export Hubs Initiative to Liberal or National seats.” Another sports rorts affair, perhaps?

Despite a sordid whiff of sleaze and corruption hanging over it the government has all but admitted that it has no intention of introducing legislation for a Federal Integrity commission. Mark Dreyfus for the ALP said in a statement:

“The truth is that the Morrison government is trying to delay this debate for as long as possible because it does not want a national integrity commission.”

The government also gave every indication that it will be sticking to its six-month timetable for the withdrawal of Job Keeper, and all signs suggest there is “zero appetite for the scheme to be extended.”

3 Following on from #BlackLivesMatter the Prime Minister rather stupidly said; “there was no slavery in Australia.”

He was of course wrong. It is a case of the way middle-aged white men think on the subject. Howard was the same. Morrison needs to take a course in Australian history.

The fact is that “Australia still turns a blind eye to Aboriginal people dying in police custody.” (More on that later). As for any inclusion in the constitution you can forget it. The remnant of racism still resides in the houses of the haves.

Never allow racism to disguise itself in the cloak of nationalism.

4 Finance Minister Mathias Cormann is expressing his usual “inequality” views saying that those attending the demonstrations that are on Newstart might have their payments taken away.

“Finance Minister Mathias Cormann threatens to pull welfare payments to punish protesters,” the headline read.

Surely in a democracy such as ours your right to protest shouldn’t be dependant upon where you derive your income so long as it is legal.

5 Employment Minister Michaelia Cash has also announced that the government plans to return to the mutual obligation system which forces unemployed people receiving benefits to show proof of their job seeking efforts to continue receiving their payments.

In other words, applying for jobs that simply don’t exist. Then they will argue that the jobs are there but the unemployed aren’t trying hard enough.

Not trying to be funny but there are tens of thousands of jobs in renewable energy. Why not invest in that Scotty.

12 pm Thursday 18 June the PM announces the latest unemployment figures.

  • Unemployment reaches a 19-year high in May after loss of 227,000 jobs
  • 835,000 have lost their jobs he didn’t dispute it when a journalist suggested a jobless rate of 11% was nearer the mark.
  • 1 in 5 Australians are looking for work or wanting more work and it will get worse.
  • Youth unemployment figure comes in at 16%.

Do you have confidence in a party who continuously denied the existence of the Global Financial Crisis to address this disaster?

6 The Attorney General has admitted that the Robodebt scheme was illegal and “plans to refund victims – now 460,000 debts at a cost of $720m – would only include those targeted after 2015.”

This has proven to be extremely embarrassing for the government. And very costly.

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

“Energy Minister Angus Taylor will fast-track changes to a $2 billion climate fund as he rejects furious criticism of a new plan to spend its cash on carbon capture and storage projects.

Mr Taylor called on the government’s critics to give up their “ideology” in opposing the controversial projects and said he would consider putting changes to the Parliament to overcome their objections.”

Corruption at its very worst.

8 Talking about corruption, both Sports Rorts and Branch Stackers prove beyond doubt that now more than ever we need an independent federal corruption watchdog:

“Then the “sports rorts” affair highlighted the government’s fast and loose approach to spending taxpayer money to win an election.”

The media has hammered Labor mercilessly over the member stacking scandal but not a word about how refreshing it is to witness a party taking action when it finds rotten apples in its team. It takes a strong leader with integrity to do it.

9 Anyone who says that racism isn’t alive and well in Australia is kidding themselves. It has taken a flood of 24/7 coverage of the death of an African American to highlight the fact. Our government turns a blind eye to it but one cannot deny that Aboriginal people are the most incarcerated race of people on the planet.

Not to mention the asylum seekers who have been detained on Manus and Nauru for almost 7 years having never committed a crime.

We are racist despite being told by the government that we are the most wonderful country on earth.

10 With hand on heart we like to think we are but when we bash and murder and murder our women on a regular basis we cannot, in all honesty accept the title.

11 We have a government who acted quickly on the science of a bug that turned into a pandemic, but for a decade has denied the science of climate change. People in other countries see us as simpletons in the same vain as they do the American President.

From the WWF:

“Australia faces a public health emergency with immediate economic impacts as well as longer-lasting global economic pain. Beyond the pandemic, Australian prosperity also depends on dealing with other long-term challenges, including the transition to net zero emissions.”

In our apathy we swat the flies away and reach for another stubby.

12 We cannot get our diplomacy right with China with whom our prosperity depends.

13 The stench of corruption seems to permeate its way down every corridor, into every office in Parliament House yet no doubt through the fear of being drawn into it the LNP refuse to any thought of implementation of a national corruption body.

No doubt there are some good and honourable people in our parliament but I’m ready to concede that many are just crooks.

It does make one wonder why is it that politicians are given the title “the honourable.” There is nothing honourable about illegal donations and shonky expenses claims.

No one resigns for misleading parliament anymore. It’s just another example of the declining standards of political integrity in this country.

Conclusion

The year just past since the election shows the government on the basis of performance has little to be excited about.

Sure, it has done a reasonable job with COVID-19 but its performance was patchy before the pandemic. We were heading for a recession with very poor economic management and record debt.

I often speculate about how much better a society we would be if people took the risk of thinking for themselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the Murdoch media and other vested interests.

We have even reached a point in our history where we are trying people in camera whereas we should be giving them medals for service to there country.

On top of that the Minister for Everything Peter Dutton risks “being jailed or fined if the home affairs minister is found to be in contempt of court for failing to comply with the law in an immigration case.”

Australians, however, don’t seem to have the stomach for voting out mediocrity let alone downright incompetence. The opposition leader may not have the charisma of a Hawke or Whitlam, but he is fair dinkum honest politician.

The Prime Minister who got his job by cleverly manipulating others in his party is, despite his pretence of being a Christian, nothing more than a charlatan on steroids.

When one looks at the enormity of the problems confronting this government and compare them with the Coalition’s past actions we are not left with any overwhelming sense of confidence.

My thought for the day

I found it impossible to imagine that the Australian people could be so gullible as to elect for a third term a government that has performed so miserably in the first two and has amongst its members some of the most devious, suspicious and corrupt men and women but they did.

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PM Scotty Joins The Commentary Team!

I heard something interesting today. Scott Morrison was on 2GB telling voters:

“Anthony Albanese has been totally burned by this scandal. We’re fighting for jobs, they’re fighting each other.”

Yes, it’s a fairly unremarkable statement were it not for the number of times I heard him tell interviewers that he wasn’t a commentator when asked about such things  poor opinion poll numbers. It’s been a fairly consistent line from a lot of politicians when they can’t simply “reject the premise of the question”.

So one must presume that from this moment on, Mr Morrison is a commentator and will be doing a running commentary on a whole range of topics. For example, if Judge Flick finds Peter Dutton guilty of contempt of court just because he’s that the judge’s ruling is wrong and treating with contempt, will Commentator Morrison tell us:

“This is outrageous. We can’t have a duly elected member of the government being asked to comply with the law. If this becomes a precedent there’s no telling where this will end up. You’ll have the AEC telling people to take down signs just because they’re purple and containing misinformation. We’ll have employers going to jail just because they’ve deliberately held back money from their workers in order to buy a ticket to a Liberal fundraiser. This is the end of democracy as we know it.”

Instead of getting on with the job of creating jobs, will he instead devote his time to telling us all what a great job his government is doing at the business of announcing really, really good policies and how good they are and how Labor are the party of negativity because they see it as a bad thing that almost none of the announcements are leading to actual money being spent? Will he tell us that – in spite of the worst unemployment figures in years, the highest debt ever, their inability to actually deliver a surplus and a massive costing mistake – the current government is a great economic manager because it would be worse if it wasn’t for their skill at making announcements.

Oh wait, that one already happens.

Perhaps he’ll begin to comment on the election chances of Donald Trump and say that his idea of solving the Covid-19 problem in the US by not testing is a sure vote winner and it’s something that could be used in Australia with the same likelihood of success.

Or maybe he’ll tell us what a great job Boris has done with Brexit and what a good idea it is for a country to close its borders…

Actually, don’t get me wrong. I think Brexit is a damn fine thing, albeit too little, too late. I mean, the idea that the British people want to exit from the EU is a fine thing, but many, many countries in the world probably wish that Britain had exited from their country before they even got there.

Take India.

Yes, that’s what somebody told the British generals and so they did. And there they stayed until the Indians kicked them out.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Any minute now, Alexander Downer is going to Tweet that you should think yourself lucky that the British were the ones to not invade Australia because if it was the French then you’d all be in trouble because nobody much speaks French. “I mean,” Alex will tell us, “I can, so I’d be ok, but the rest of you would just grow frustrated and need to be put out of your misery like all those aboriginal people who didn’t respect my grandfather’s property rights. Probably because the law was written in a language which they couldn’t read. And you’d be just like them if it laws were written in French…”

Anyway, it’s good to know that Scotty will be providing commentary from now on. I look forward to his take on such things as how the Liberals manage branch stacking when they don’t – as Malcolm told us – have factions. Or perhaps commentary on Bridget McKenzie’s skill that enables her to criticise Labor for inappropriateness, while keeping a straight face. I look forward to him providing a running commentary on exactly why he rejects the premise of any question that doesn’t suit him.

And I particularly look forward to his commentary when told about an upcoming leadership challenge or Liberal Party scandal…

No, I don’t know anything but it’s been over eighteen months since the last change of PM, so surely someone must start spreading rumours soon. And it’s been over a week since the last suggestion of Liberal Party corruption… Or clever politics, as the MSM refer to it.

Surely something must be about to happen.

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US Goes Full Fascist: Trump and The Floyd Protests

Disclaimer:

As an historian, I do not throw around the word fascist lightly. It has a very precise meaning but is so often used to describe anyone to the right of you. I am not using it in that sense. Fascism, as I am using it here, refers to an authoritarian and repressive government using military force to enforce its will domestically.

Background: The Protests Around the Death of George Floyd 

Protests have erupted across America in response to the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota. The protests have been largely peaceful, but there has also been some violence, looting and property destruction. The latter is obviously to be condemned, but we cannot ignore the wider systemic issues to which these protests are responding. Consider the following brief list. The blatant use of excessive force by the police. Systemic wealth and income inequality. Political corruption and the government’s pathetic response to COVID-19. Rank corporatism in the government. The death of Mr Floyd may have been the spark for these protests, but the powderkeg has been there for a long time.

What was the response from the police, you may ask? Violence, in a word. Jimmy Dore has covered multiple instances of police violence throughout these protests. The police have become a militarised force who are not to be questioned, just ask them (or maybe not). The issue here is not about responding to the issues the protesters are upset about. This is about maintaining and exercising power and control. The Mayors of many of the towns have backed the actions of the police, despite the violence. This should not surprise anyone: a unified front in response to criticism is a common political trick.

Fascism, USA, Part One: The Framework

In a speech from the White House, President Trump declared that

In recent days our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, rioters, criminals, ANTIFA and others.

He then described acts of violence against the police while omitting any mention of acts of violence by the police. He added this little gem too

These are not acts of peaceful protest. These are acts of domestic terror.

While the claim about violence being anathema to peaceful protest is true, domestic terror Mr President? Recall his false equivalence of ‘very fine people on both sides’ in reference to Charlottesville and the infamous ‘Jews will not replace us’ clowns? No such claim here. What could it be that is different about this situation? I cannot seem to put my finger on it. Somone will work it out I am sure.

Fascism, USA, Part Two: Martial Law?

He then gets to the point of the speech that is garnering the most attention. Having outlined (in suitably propagandistic terms) the nature of the situation, the President said this

I am taking immediate Presidential action to stop the violence and restore safety and security in America. I am mobilising all available federal resources (civlian and military) to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruciton and arson and to protect the rights of law-abaiding Americans including your Second Amendment Rights

Yes, Mr President, because the protesters were coming for people’s guns. That man is an idiot. He lives in a reality completely of his own creation. But more to the point, mobilising federal troops (that’s what federal military resources means)?

As if this point were not explicit enough, he added this

I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets. Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled. If a city or state refuses to take the steps that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them

That last clause is decisive: sending the military into states to quell protests. The President has now gone full fascist. To deploy the military against unruly citizens is the height of tyranny. It is the very definition of a dictatorship; the very form of government America claims to oppose.

Cease Quoting the Laws to Us, For We Carry Guns, Part One: The First Amendment

The title of this section is a modernisation of a line from the ancient biographer Plutarch in his life of Pompey the Great. It refers to the fact that when you have troops at your command, the law means nothing. Well, I am going to do it anyway. This blatant violation of at least two laws that I can think of off the top of my head must be called out. Trump’s claim to be able to deploy the armed forces against American citizens contravenes many laws (the First Amendment chief among them). Now before anyone tries to strawman me and say that the First Amendment does not protect rioting, I never said it did. But Trump has conflated the issue of rioting with protest broadly defined, which is protected by the ‘beautiful law’ to quote him. The text of the much-vaunted First Amendment says (in full)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

Note the word ‘peaceably’ in that quote. It is perfectly legal to assemble (gather and protest) and to petition for redress of grievances (cry out for change in some form). You can, indeed you must, arrest the rioters and criminals and leave the non-violent protesters alone. Trump’s conflation of non-violent, civil protest with the rioters, intentional or otherwise, allows him to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Nuance never was his strong suit however, so the precedent is set: protest is bad. Any other rights you would like to curtail, you fascist?

Cease Quoting the Laws to Us, for We Carry Guns, Part Two: Posse Comitatus

Of greater interest than the First Amendment violation, however, (where the hell are you constructionist and states’ rights conservatives?) is the violation of Posse Comitatus. Under this 1878 law, it is illegal for active duty (federal) soldiers to perform law enforcement functions inside US borders. In other words, federal troops cannot be used as a make-shift police force. Note that this only applied to federal troops. The state governors are Commanders in Chief of their respective National Guard regiments and can deploy them to supplement existing law enforcement. The prohibition is on using federal troops for law enforcement purposes inside US borders. The problem is clear enough: state governors have no authority over federal troops.

Trump’s policy of deploying the military to quell the violence (and by extension the protests) by definition means he intends to have the soldiers shoot people. They cannot enforce the law, so what other purpose do they serve? This is truly dangerous and must be opposed with all possible (non-violent) force.

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Frydenberg: Best Economic Manager Ever Improves Budget By $60 Billion Overnight!

It’s been quite a week for the Coalition government what with China calling us a joke after cancelling some of our exports, Peter “He Who Must Not Be Named” Dutton calling for the opening of borders, and Stuart Robert trying to shut down the Abbotsford Centrelink office. In the case of the Centrelink office, it was announced that they were being evicted the next day because of an inability to reach agreement with the landlord who – according to reports – had offered them an extension of the lease at the same rent. Evidently, the people in charge of Centrelink hadn’t heard that the Morrison government had announced a six months freeze on evictions.

Of course all that fades into insignificance when it’s put beside Josh Frydenberg’s remarkable achievement. He has improved the Budget bottom line by $60,000,000,000 in just twenty four hours. To give you some perspective, this is more than Rudd spent in total on his stimulus package. It’s ten times more than the entire federal Arts budget. Why it’s even more than Bridget McKenzie spent on girls’ change rooms prior to the last election.

While many people are asking how this could happen, I don’t think it’s the time for laying blame or contributing to the GoFundMe campaign to buy Josh a calculator, I think we should all just be happy that we’ve managed to save so much money… Of course, when I say “save” I don’t really mean save because after all, as our great Treasurer pointed out, “This is all borrowed money.”

That’s right, the money we haven’t spent isn’t saved, it’s just not borrowed from wherever it is that government’s borrow money. Some of it comes from bonds where the government borrow money from people who want to put their money somewhere secure. For example, your superannuation fund might be buying it up if you hadn’t just accessed your super because the government said you were allowed to. Now if you’re one of the the people who hasn’t done that then there’s a very good chance that you’re getting interest from the government bonds and you’re the sort of capitalist bastard who’s squeezing money out of the taxpayer.

For those of you who still insist on holding someone to account, let me quickly explain what happened. When the government announced that JobKeeper would cost $130 billion, they were working on a figure of $1500 per fortnight multiple by thirteen fortnights for the six months multiplied by six million workers. The only mistake they made was the assumption that six million workers would be on JobKeepeer. Now, in hindsight, it’s easy to say that six million workers is a rather large number to be on JobKeeper given that Australia’s entire workforce was only about twelve million, that some of them would be put on JobSeeker, that, not only would some businesses not be eligible or fail to apply, but some people would be essential workers who didn’t lose their jobs, that some of them were casuals who didn’t fit the criteria, that some of them worked for universities and didn’t deserve money because they think they’re too clever by half, that others worked in the Arts industry and still others had decided to jump on a cruise ship and take their chances rather than stay in the country. However, like I said, who could have predicted all these things unless they looked up the statistics on the ABS website and tried to make a more accurate estimate. I mean time was of the essence and slowing down to look up numbers and calculate a more realistic figure would have delayed the announcement to the next news bulletin.

And then, of course, there’s the fact that it was the businesses themselves couldn’t understand that how many employees do you have meant exactly that and not how much do you expect to get. I mean, who hasn’t made a simple mistake like that. When I’m filling out a form which asks how many children I have, I frequently write the cost of raising him rather than “1”. One could blame the people designing the form for not stressing that number of employees meant exactly what it said. Fortunately though, nobody who wrote 1500 was actually sent the $2 million plus in that first week, because we were told that there were no overpayments.

Clearly this is nobody’s fault – apart from the aforementioned business people and the people who designed the form and they’re not really to blame – so we should all just congratulate the Liberals and say that thank god the adults are in charge because there’s no way Labor would have done anything like this.

Yes, Josh Frydenberg is right. Liberals are there to take the credit but never the blame.

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Slippery Scotty and the Corona agenda

By Grumpy Geezer  

Scott Morrison is not my favourite person. I’m not alone:

“Mathias (Cormann) regarded Scott (Morrison) as emotional, narcissistic and untrustworthy” – Malcolm Turnbull.

“An absolute arsehole” – former Justice Minister Michael Keenan describes Morrison.

* * * * *

One year after Scott Morrison’s purchase of the election with hundreds of millions of dollars of quietly-found money Australia’s COVID-19 death toll hit 100 when great-grandmother Fay Rendoth succumbed to the virus at the Newmarch Home For Sitting Ducks. Did any Tories celebrating the anniversary of Smuggo’s election artifice give Fay a second thought over their celebratory flutes of Pol Roger Brut and mascarpone sprout canapes with black truffles, smoked sesame seeds and wine salt? How many dead grannies and nurses does it take to dampen the self-congratulatory party mood of born-to-rule Tories? I suspect it is many, many multiples of 100.

Over in the RWNJ’s Randesque nirvana of neo-liberalism, the USA, the death toll is quickly heading to 100,000.

On a per capita basis that is:

Aus: 1 person in 260,000 has died.

USA: 1 person in 3,280 has died.

At this point in time an American resident has 80x the chance of dying from the virus as does a resident of Australia. Eighty times!

While Australia’s infection rate has trended downwards the rate of infection in the US continues to climb so that inevitably the contrast will become even starker.

There are, of course, many variables that account for the stunning contrast – not least being the bloated, syphilitic, dysfunctional, gibbering rapist and crime boss that is the US’s Individual 1 (Septic Tank 1, if you prefer).

Despite superficialities and our embrace of much of their culture we’re not like Americans, and so we’re not in thrall to a discoloured, deranged degenerate – a soulless sinkhole of avarice, a mangy, yellow cur, a cartoonish effluvium of every flaw and vice whose positives are limited to his syphilis test results, a globular travesty so ridiculous as to be unimaginable as a fictional life form.

In Oz we’re lucky that our government is merely corrupt, incompetent and ideologically bankrupt. Our own imbecilic madman Friar Abbott and his personal monkey trainer Cruella DeVil had their Trumpish attempts to fuck over the country rudely interrupted by the realisation that no, we are not as susceptible to blatant fuckwittery as are the Yanks. And so by happenstance we now find ourselves with a smug, Machiavelian liar and charlatan at the helm, someone who cannot default to an insanity plea should karma prevail and he finds himself fronting a corruption enquiry.

Smuggo’s standing on the shoulders of far more capable state leaders as he struggles with concepts that are typically anathema to himself, his party and their paymasters – the helping hand, social cohesion and looking after everybody is what has saved us from the  worst affects of the contagion and the worst excesses of the herd-thinners. Could it be that while Flim Flam Man seeks to hide his true self from scrutiny he is capable of self-reflection and understands his own significant limitations and unpalatability after his contemptible behaviour during the fires? It seems that the public is prepared, so far, to give him a pass on that basis.

In the face of a crisis that cannot be dismissed with spin, a slogan or a smirk and that cannot be lamely blamed on Labor has Smuggo changed? Has the L/NP? The new and improved ScoMo, wartime leader? FFS! And lonely Jen, sans her self-pity coach, locked away in iso at The Lodge where the butlers and the maids can’t hand deliver the hot towels. Behind the media puffpieces they’re all still there – complaining about the bald kids in wheelchairs getting priority in the queue at SeaWorld, the seal clubbers, the granny killers, the grifters and the shonks.

The cult of the profit t/a the Coalition have been as busy as Barking Barmy Joyce’s designated driver – there’s a national crisis to monetise. The Tories are not returning to type. They never changed, as evidenced herewith.

* * * * *

The worthy unemployed and the unworthy unemployed – JobKeeper and JobFinder. Only the twisted brain of a Tory could conceive such punitive poppycock.

* * * * *

Snapback – the return to a trajectory that flew us into this building in the first place. “There’s not enough money – people will have to starve” so that the money can still be shovelled to the mates, the family interests and themselves. Why shouldn’t nurses cop a pay cut to cover the cost of the L/NP cronies’ lobster lunches?

* * * * *

CO2 is good for you. Senator Concertina Ferrari-Wheels is the homophobic Duttonista from Wollongong who uses her tits as a travel pillow and who was barred from her pilates class when the other members kept checking the velcro on their gym shoes every time she did a squat. But you can’t keep a good nutter down – Connie has been speculating on how more verdant her coriander, bok choi and lemon basil would be if we pumped even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Perhaps she was chosen to be the champion of CO2 by her fellow vegetation.

* * * * *

It’s always a crowded field when it comes to nominating Tory whack-job of the month and always in contention are fellow yokels Barking Barmy Joyce and Gorgeous George Christensen, both opining on the appropriate ways to keep China in line. No doubt Gorgeous thinks that his familiarity with the seedy dives of dodgy Filipino neighbourhoods equips him with the diplomatic skills necessary to bloody the noses of the Chinese Communist Party but his belief that Lapland and Poland are S.E. Asian nudie bars probably disqualifies him from further consideration as our next Minister for Foreign Affairs.

* * * * *

The ability to fuck up everything you touch seems to be one of those Essential Skills on many a Tory MP’s job description. So, step forward Stuart Robert, Minister assisting the Pime Minister for fusterclucks. Robodebt fiasco – check. MyGov DDoS attack that wasn’t – check. Autistic kids waiting hundreds of days to access NDIS – check. Outrageous home internet bill – check.  Shares in a trust linked to the mining company of a Liberal donor – check. Gold Rolex – check. Sacked from the ministry for dodgy Chinese trip – check.

Brother Smuggo: “Brother Stuart, praise the Lord – how’s the rollout of the BigBrother app going? Spud wants to know when he can get to insert a backdoor so he can track those lefty journalists and the 14 y.o. terrorists from Extinction Rebellion.”

Stuie: “FUBAR!” (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition).

What Stuie needs is a different app – let’s call it e.coli. To tell him how shit he is.

* * * * *

These are but random examples of recent Tory dysfunction and nastiness that come readily to mind. We could fill a book if we tracked every example – including such disasters as Greg Yorrick Hunt ordering huge batches of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment following Deranged Donny’s grasping at poisonous straws and the millions of wasted dollars paid to Lib pal Twiggy Forrest for useless PPE.

It’s the standard, expensive Tory farces from the “better managers.”

Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

Much of this will be forgotten, as Smuggo believes it will. The lumpy carpet in the PMO covers Fingers Taylor and his #grassgate, #watergate and the doctored documents scandal, Bam Bam McKenzie and the sports rorts scandal and the PMO’s piracy of Malcolm Turnbull’s book etc etc etc.

We’ve been lucky with the coronavirus so far and we’ve seen some sterling leadership from the state premiers. Smuggo is back to his smirking self, fronting the media with his freshly crafted persona of man-in-charge while stealing the limelight but pirouetting and exiting stage left when subjected to uncomfortable questions.

We are confronting a climate catastrophe of far greater consequences than COVID-19 yet we have a collection of disaster capitalists who seem determined to accelerate it. Smuggo hasn’t changed, the Tories haven’t changed and the RWFWs of the IPA monkey typing pool, the Murdoch propaganda machine, the MCA and the BCA haven’t changed. They are using the cover of COVID-19 to sneak through climate wrecking legislation, worker exploitation, evasion of scrutiny and accountability and erosions of our freedoms.

The main thing that is changing is the climate – polluted and vandalised and monetised by the Tories who are not a part of the cure. They are the disease.

This article was originally published on The Grumpy Geezer.

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Alan Jones: A rat from the feral right

People like Alan Jones, Ray Hadley and Andrew Bolt worked out long ago that there is money in hate-filled rants.

They are the peddlers of verbal violence and dishonesty and the most vigorous defenders of free speech because it gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy.

With the use of free speech, the bigots and hate-mongers such as these seek to influence those in the community who are susceptible or like-minded.

It says something about the moral sickness of a supposed enlightened society when people like Jones and Bolt et al – members of the exclusive Rats of the Feral Right Club – want the right to abuse each other, in the name of free speech, enshrined in law.

To make big money in NSW talk back radio one has to be more outlandish, more tantalising, more seductive, more flirtatious, more provocative, more outrageous and more offensive than your opponent and have a desire to maintain a brutal dominance.

That’s exactly what Jones has done for 35 years. He would not have survived in Melbourne. We are not easy victims of filth.

Bolt can only maintain a small television audience and without The Herald Sun and his syndications he would be little known. Jones has also been a flop in the medium of TV.

I often speculate about how much better a society we would be if people took the risk of thinking for themselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the Murdoch media and its money for outlandish comment spewing from the mouths of men like Jones.

All they do is politically prostitute themselves in the forlorn hope of being relevant.

Let’s have a brief look at some of Jones’ history.

Thirteen years ago the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that the broadcaster 2GB and Jones had broadcast material (specifically comments made by Jones between 5–9 December 2005) that were “likely to encourage violence or brutality and to vilify people of Lebanese and Middle-Eastern backgrounds on the basis of ethnicity.” They were talking about the Cronulla riots.

Yet our Prime Minister said this of him:

“You’ve always spoken your mind to everyone, including me, and we’ve had one or two disagreements, but you’ve always done the right thing for your country.”

To hear our leaders from the Prime Minister down give such effusive praise to a man so divisive that he would set Australian against Australian – and not give it a second thought – was sickening.

Later, Jones was “convicted of breaching the Children’s (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW), by broadcasting the suppressed name of a juvenile witness in a murder trial.”

It didn’t stop Tony Abbott from gushingly tweeting this when learning of Jones’ retirement from radio:

 

We continue …

In 1998, Jones claimed on-air that rugby league referee Bill Harrigan was biased. Harrigan sued Jones for defamation and, in 2001, was awarded damages of $90,000.

Yet Nine chairman Peter Costello said Jones had a “unique” place in Australian media.

He is guilty of lying about climate change “…human beings produce 0.001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” he said.

Yet according to advertising guru John Singleton, Alan Jones is the “best broadcaster in the world.”

He has retired suitably, on another lie, perhaps? That being that ill health has forced him out. The truth is that his advertisers had had enough. They deserted him in there droves. The SMH reported that after:

“He was forced to apologise after telling a Sydney Young Liberal fundraiser in 2012 that Ms Gillard’s father “died of shame”, commentary which caused the broadcaster to temporarily suspend advertising after more than 70 companies walked away from the breakfast show.

A jacket made from chaff bags and signed by Mr Jones was also auctioned at the event. Mr Jones had previously said on air that Ms Gillard should be “put into a chaff bag and thrown into the sea.”

Then there were the comments made by Jones about New Zealand’s Prime Minister Ms Ardern last year when he said that Prime Minister Scott Morrison should “shove a sock down her throat” following Ms Ardern’s warning at a Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu that Australia “will have to answer to the Pacific” on climate change.

And let’s not forget his aggressive treatment of Opera House chief executive Louise Herron telling her she should resign.

A fair dose of misogyny, I should think.

He lied about the Grantham floods. In doing so he defamed many ordinary people especially members of the Queensland-based Wagner family. They received 2.7 million in damages.

He has the dubious record of having had more complaints upheld by the communications watchdog than any other radio presenter. He has had to make more apologies for his lying and insults than John Farnham has made comebacks. Each time his audience has increased.

He leaves a litany of lying as long as Tony Abbott’s.

It includes lying about the NBN roll out and police blockading truckies during his infamous and failed Convoy of No Confidence in 2011.

Other than the 35 years he has spent in radio he has been a teacher where his apparent liking for teenage boys has been well-documented, as has the notorious moment in a London toilet.

He has been a speechwriter for Malcolm Fraser, a political candidate and coach of the Australian national rugby team for which he was awarded an Order of Australia in 1988.

Also well documented was the cash for comment revelation in 1999 that he sold his opinions for millions. He should have been sacked on the spot. But he was protected by those that he made millions for and by an audience with short memories

But what is it that occupies the minds of men that they need be so malevolent in their thinking? That the power of persuasion with reasoned thought and debate no longer suffices.

What is it in the backgrounds of people that causes their narcissism and their inability to accommodate difference or equality?

Is it the sins of the fathers that invite their racism? In the media, is it loyalty to the despot?

Why is it that the megalomaniac Alan Jones with his vile gutter speech attracts a huge listing audience?

Why is there this preponderance of right-wing attitude? This alignment to neo-conservatism and nationalism? Why have we allowed ourselves to be saturated by extremism? Why do those who feel unrepresented and unheard think their problems will be reconciled by the likes of Jones?

Perhaps the answer can be found in materialism. Or in an entitlement society. Maybe it’s those elements of Christianity who believe in a gospel of wealth.

Perhaps the deliberate assassination by the political and religious right of science has something to do with it. Maybe it’s the death of truth, as we know it. Jones, after all,  thought climate change was a hoax.

Maybe it’s the preponderance of right-wing propaganda in our media. There are, to my knowledge, no left wing shock jocks. Whatever it is why are they so feral about it? Well I’ll have a bit of a stab.

With the media I believe it is the threat of annihilation and in turn, profit. Social media and the advent of bloggers are now threatening their power and influence.

But the mystery to me is why the middle and the deprived classes of society think their lot will be improved by listening to the vile thoughts of Alan Jones.

I’ll leave this with you. Do watch:

My thought for the day

The original intent of free speech was to give a voice to the oppressed and to keep governments honest. In the United States, the first amendment is now used as a justification to incite racism, validate hatred and promote both religious and political bigotry.

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Aussie Politics in 2022

As one speculates on the deteriorating trajectory of the Australian economy under the stranglehold of COVID-19, it’s not hard to see the gradual demise of the Morrison government as we limp toward 2022, despite the perception that they have managed the whole health crisis reasonably well.

With an election not due until mid-2022, something Labor can count as a blessing, the Coalition will be hard pressed to explain to an impatient electorate as to why things are taking so long to improve.

By 2022, the economy will still be very fragile, with unemployment likely to remain high, perhaps as much as 8% without JobKeeper and a new improved JobSeeker. Combine that with outstanding bond issues close to, or in excess of, $1 trillion dollars and a government ideologically committed to reducing this fake debt and its deficit spending, a prolonged period of low wage growth and rising inflation will persist.

By that time, however, the patience of the Australian voter will have run out. No longer will they believe the rhetoric, the mantras or the likely dire predictions of the Murdoch media that an incoming Labor government would be worse.

It will become apparent to those middle-class swinging voters who view themselves as little capitalists, that a marked decline in living standards has occurred for which the Conservatives have failed to adequately respond to, or appear to be able to remedy.

It’s a scenario similar to 1983 when we saw the Hawke Labor government elected following a period of high unemployment and economic mismanagement under the Fraser government….the one where John Howard was Treasurer.

Labor went on to lead the country for the next 13 years. They introduced several major economic reforms that fundamentally changed and elevated the Australian economy to a point, somewhat ironically, where conditions in a growing world economy enabled the very same, Lazarus performing John Howard to subsequently govern and to be seen to be so successful.

Ironic because, if a conservative Government had remained in power during that time, they would never have had the vision necessary to enact those reforms themselves.

By 2022, with much of the world still struggling under the weight of post-Covid mismanagement and conservative governments under increasing pressure to perform better, time will have run out for Scotty from Marketing, assuming of course, that he is still there.

That does not assume either, that Anthony Albanese will still be there. Bright minds with more charismatic appeal and a flair for theatre are already waiting in the wings establishing their credentials. Just as Labor’s Bill Hayden was convinced to stand aside in 1983, so too might Albanese. If events become such that a quick leadership change may be seen as a pragmatic, if not irresistible opportunity, it could happen.

The Morrison Government, however, will be on a hiding to nothing. They have only ever looked good when the economy was on auto-pilot. Their lack of vision has always been their undoing. Once events transpire to challenge their capacity to be innovative and creative, they collapse in a clumsy heap of confusion and dysfunction.

There will be a lot of challenges for the Coalition over the next 18 months; challenges they will struggle with, ideologically. History tells us that it won’t end well.

Over time, history has a habit of repeating itself politically and such a time, for Australian politics, is less than two years from now. So let the games begin.

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Dial M for Monster

By Kathryn  

Murdoch cares nothing about Australia or Australians. It was Murdoch who tossed his Australian citizenship in the garbage all those years ago when he wanted to spread his tentacles throughout the USA and could not do so with dual citizenship! All Murdoch cares about is himself and the fascist, neoliberal agenda of his IPA!

It was the Murdoch press that annihilated Julia Gillard in an avalanche of vindictive, misogynistic attacks and false character assassinations that continue today; it was the Murdoch press that propped up the vicious, serial liar, Abbott, on a pedestal and pulled him across the electoral line on a platform of incessant lies and broken promises; it was the Murdoch press whose malignant malicious propaganda and distortions of the truth ensured the horrific manipulation of its dumbed down readers. It was Murdoch who gave us the worst PM in our history, the non-achieving vindictive hate-filled Abbott into power and now it is the Murdoch press, again, who are promoting the diabolical, callously inhumane attack dog, Morrison! Murdoch is a megalomaniacal monster who thinks the Australian public are going to forget and forgive that diabolical intrusion into our political affairs. Not likely!

Murdoch fancies himself as a political Bobby Fisher “playing” our politicians like pieces on a chess board! At 89 years of age, it is a tragedy that the only things that motivate this ageing predator are all-consuming power and political influence. Instead of using his influence to benefit the world, Murdoch enjoys playing the role of Puppet Master to the whimpering members of the LNP and other right-wing neoliberal politicians around the world. His control over others is like sport to this ruthless old narcissist who has not achieved a single thing to benefit the lives of ordinary people.

The people of Australia should absolutely refuse to purchase or read anything that is pushed out by the worst, most discredited media predator the world has ever seen. Nothing, absolutely nothing is beneath Murdoch … even criminal behaviour (as witnessed when he and his notorious newspapers were taken to court for phone hacking which bought down the closure of the infamous Murdoch rag, News of the World in the UK in 2011).

Murdoch has proven that he will swim through any sewer, bug people’s phones, destroy lives, spy, lie … crawl through any gutter to get what he wants! I refuse to buy Murdoch papers, Murdoch magazines and will never connect with Foxtel or listen to the verbal diarrhoea on Sky News. Murdoch is behind the LNP/IPA alliance push to destroy the ABC and SBS (through lack of funding). Ever since Turnbull ensconced the ex-Murdoch sycophant, Michelle Guthrie, as GM on the Board of the ABC and then placed the then placed the Murdoch lacky, Janet Albrechsten (who just once happened to be a Director on Murdoch’s IPA) on the Board of the ABC, this once unbiased, public owned media station has become totally prejudiced towards right-wing ideology with a softly-softly approach to the never-ending chaos of the LNP. Now the LNP/Murdoch/IPA alliance have parachuted Sky News sycophants, like David Speers, into influential positions overseeing biased panels on programs such as Insiders and Q&A. Why? Because the LNP/Murdoch/IPA alliance only want the Australian public to see and hear what they want us to see and hear. Now that just about every media station and form of news in the country (excluding The Guardian and Crikey) are now infiltrated and manipulated by Murdoch, we are now living in a parallel universe and faced with a twisted, depraved scenario akin to “The World According to Garp”.

The current government (under Murdoch’s control) will voice nothing but Murdoch’s opinions and Murdoch’s agenda. The ABC and SBS are the stations that Australian taxpayers own – it is these stations that are the only form of media that should represent the people of Australia (who are paying for them). The ABC/SBS are the stations that belong to the Australian taxpayers and not to the self-serving politicians who are supposed to represent us (and never do)! The ABC and SBS are public-owned media stations that are supposed to be the ones asking the hard questions, they have a responsibility – indeed, the moral obligation – to challenge the sitting government (no matter who is in power) and provide an alternate view. This is not happening now because the LNP/Murdoch/IPA have undue influence over our public-owned media. Once they are completely defunded and muzzled, they are gone forever. Now we have Murdoch’s cancerous influence over every single media station in our country who are muzzling free speech, shutting down democratic debate against the LNP’s rising fascist ideology, openly denigrating and attacking anyone and everyone with a left-wing or socialist view. Murdoch’s megalomaniacal control over every media outlet in Australia is now a sad, undemocratic actuality with a level of ownership and control unequal to any form of media in the world. The sad fact is that the LNP (under Abbott, Turnbull and, now Morrison and Dutton) allow this to happen because the unholy LNP/Murdoch/IPA alliance is mutually beneficial to them all … but will be absolutely catastrophic to free speech and devastating to our democracy!

Murdoch employs Z-rated hacks, like the appalling xenophobic racist, Andrew Bolt, the ex-Abbott staffer Peta Credlin, and the hysterical harridan, Miranda Devine, who are nothing more than vacuous mouthpieces for his own hollow Machiavellian narcissism.

The malignant, pervasive Murdoch press are as guilty for what they don’t print as they are for the vindictive, totally biased lies and character-assassinating slander that they do print:

  • No mention of the catastrophic waste of billions of dollars by this spendthrift LNP (on unwanted memorials to Captain Cook, $80 million on a needless,unwanted plebiscite for same-sex marriage, and more than $444 million to ‘mates’ to ‘care’ for the Great Barrier;
  • No mention that this epic failure of a government has increased our national deficit to a whopping half-a-trillion dollars in less than seven years of epic waste, bogus accommodation/travel rorts, unbridled nepotism and ceaseless corruption;
  • No mention of the LNP’s constant vindictive divisiveness and the fact that they have now surpassed the ALP playing the game of Prime Minister Roulette!
  • No mention of the staggering corruption and self-serving rorts by just about every “entitled” member of the LNP (at federal and State level);
  • No mention that this pathetic, do-nothing Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison regime have achieved absolutely nothing in seven years of the worst governance in our history!
  • No mention how this elitist government are making countless billions in handouts and tax rebates to their rich cronies (Murdoch included who was the recipient of nearly $1 billion tax rebate under Abbott) whilst they defunded billions from our children’s education, Medicare, hospitals, health and defunded millions more from foreign aid, charities (who are now begging for money) resulting in a horrendous spike in homelessness all around the country (with families and children as young a 10 on the streets)!
  • No mention how the LNP have never ceased their vicious campaign of non-stop attacks against the most vulnerable people in our society: the unemployed, the sick, the homeless, the mentally ill, the pensioners – with the Murdoch papers steering and publishing the campaign of hate with gusto!
  • No mention of the delegated torture, savage brutality and criminal neglect (causing the death and mental anguish) of over 1,350 asylum seekers (including little suicidal children) who are illegally locked up on Morrison’s and Dutton’s ill-equipped gulags on Nauru – a brutal criminal action that has been decried and condemned by every recognised humanitarian group around the world!

Murdoch is quick to stab his LNP allies (like Abbott) in the back if he suspects that they are starting to lose public opinion because the traitorous Murdoch is not beneath currying favour with the rising tsunami of anti-Abbott or anti-Turnbull feeling out there. However, once the tide changes and it is election time, you will soon see Murdoch revert back to his conservative line because it is the wrecking Troglodytes, Abbott, Dutton, Morrison and the lunatic right-wing fringe of the LNP, who are in his pocket. Murdoch owned Abbott’s LNP and an ultra-conservative LNP (now under Morrison) is going to aid and abet the horrific agenda of Murdoch’s IPA.

Never forget that Murdoch tried to corrupt Whitlam all those years ago and when Whitlam refused (because Whitlam was one of the most honorable and honest politicians in our history), Murdoch swaggered into News Limited with the instructions: “Kill Whitlam!” … and that’s exactly what the fascist Murdoch papers did! Murdoch was the one who helped bring down the democratically elected Whitlam government and the manipulated, gormless idiots out there in the Australian public hung on to every word, believed his lies and followed his agenda. Murdoch did it all again with Gillard and Rudd and, trust me, he will do it again at the next election!

You can never, ever underestimate the demonic, malignancy of Murdoch and you can never underestimate the number of manipulated fools out there who will, once again, play right into his hands!

This article was originally published as a comment on The Mongrel that is Rupert Murdoch.

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The Mongrel that is Rupert Murdoch

In an effort to deflect some recent criticism from former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull, and former Opposition Leader Bill Shorten about his media empire, while addressing News Corp’s December 2019 annual general meeting Rupert Murdoch assured all that:

“There are no climate change deniers around I can assure you” after he was asked at the corporation’s AGM why his company gives them “so much airtime” in Australia.

Unfortunately for Murdoch, Guardian Australia’s Amy Remeikis exposed the lie that this was in her article Rupert Murdoch says ‘no climate change deniers around’ – but his writers prove him wrong.

On April 25, 2014, I wrote a review of the Paul Barry book; Breaking News: Sex, Lies and the Murdoch Succession. Here is a short extract:

Depressingly readable is the best way to describe Paul Barry’s revealing biography of Rupert Murdoch. I placed the word mongrel in the title of this piece but it could just as easily used scumbag, which means a contemptible or objectionable person.

It is a story about one man. A man with a love for money, power, influence, acquisitions, wives, children and even scandal. Scandal makes money.

Covering much of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, it is fluent yet comprehensive, with a not-too-much-not-too-little approach to Murdoch’s life.

It is brilliantly written. Barry has a rare talent for the exposure of things complex and how to unravel them.

What was depressing for me was the uncouthness of the man in question. He has obtained a vast fortune by printing smut and conditioning people to reading it and in doing so has displayed a complete disregard for the lives of others. His obsession with profit over anything else, even people’s privacy, is staggering. His business and personal moral corruption stands out larger than the worst of his tabloid headlines.

Having the power to elect governments is the ultimate power that carries with it the highest rewards that corruption can bring.

On three occasions I had to put the book down, so affronted was I by this vile nefarious excuse for humanity. One time was when one of his tabloid editors described the reason for his papers existence by saying:

“The reason we exist is to destroy peoples lives.”

On 7 September 2017, I wrote another piece titled about Murdoch, pondering whether he will again tell us how to vote, pointing out that his influence in the distribution of print media had waned but they were still the go-to news for the right-wing.

Again, here is a short extract:

So in terms of political influence Labor has little to fear from the nefarious front pages and slanted editorials of his tabloids. The Labor victories in both Queensland and Victoria have highlighted News Limited’s growing irrelevance to the electoral process.

Last year, the total daily circulation of all Australian daily newspapers was a little over 2.1 million; fully one million lower than it was at the turn of the century. When you take into account the growth in population post Second World War the decline is even more spectacular.

In 1947 two copies of daily newspapers were sold for every five people. In 2014 the figure was 1-14. So now, Murdoch with a 60% share of the Australian circulation can only attract 4% of the population to buy his rags.

I went on to say that:

So, if all the research is correct, Murdoch only reaches less than 10% of the voting population which is about half the reach they had when they so blatantly supported Howard in 2001.

There are a couple of things to remember when discussing Murdoch’s political influence. The first is the flow on effect.

The Australian is the shock jocks first point of call every morning and the presenters of untruth quickly absorb whatever bias is on for the day.

Putting Julia Gillard aside those who feel most aggrieved, Shorten, Rudd and Turnbull have every right to feel so.

That one man through his power of opinion can make or break governments and individuals is just demonstrably and democratically wrong.

During the last election, Bill Shorten copped scathing headlines and opinions from the Murdoch stable of filthy headlines as to his character and anything else they could attack, which I covered in my Election Diary:

With an ever-increasing hostility from the Newscorp tabloids and The Australian Shorten at a press conference on Thursday decided to hit back.

I suggest you read this piece from Paddy Manning in which he says that:

Shorten let rip: “First of all, it is just a nonsense claim,” he said of the suggestion that Labor’s carbon reduction policy could cost business $25 billion. He continued: “It is built upon the back of a big lie. It says somehow that using international offsets to help abate carbon is a bad thing.” In terms of the costs, Shorten said that the Labor plan relied on the same public modeling as the government.

Shorten continued: “The News Corp climate change deniers and their ally, the prime minister – a coal-wielding, climate-denying cave-dweller on this issue – they all say, ‘Look at the cost,’ but never mention the cost of extreme weather events, do they? They never mention the cost of not getting into renewables, and they never mention energy prices, do they?”

The Daily Telegraph has been vomiting out its usual front pages. The Australian is in a battle with itself to see how many anti Labor headlines it can fit on its front pages. After dark Sky News is so partisan it only has comedic value.

One cannot begin to discuss the decline of Australian democracy without at the same time aligning it to the collapse in journalistic standards and its conversion from reporting to opinion.

Murdoch and his majority owned newspapers with blatant support for right-wing politics have done nothing to advance Australia as a modern enlightened democratic society. On the contrary it has damaged it, perhaps irreparably.

They even promote free speech as if they are the sole custodians of it.

I don’t think anyone could deny Newscorp’s bias and their capacity to influence the character assassination of any individual should they want to.

However, as I said earlier given the declining influence of its mastheads the question is how much influence does he really have?

The outspoken former head of News Corp Kim Williams reckons Malcolm Turnbull has overstated the Murdoch press’s ability to influence elections because News Corp is “old media” with dwindling power.

He described Newspapers as a “terminating technology” and would soon disappear.

“I am surprised at the severity of Malcolm Turnbull’s comments because it attributes a level of power to old media that I don’t think they have any longer… ”

Conversely, Turnbull’s view was that:

“Media barons, and many other billionaires, like politicians who are dependent on them…

So, while it’s easy to say that the Murdoch’s thought I was too liberal, at the heart of it was the fact that they knew I was my own man, and had seen that up close many times over 40 years.

With Abbott they had a deferential prime minister they thought they controlled.

A similar assessment can be made of Alan Jones, Ray Hadley and their colleagues at 2GB – in their vanity and megalomania, Jones and Hadley berate and bully politicians who don’t kowtow to them.”

Sometimes it is good to stop, think, evaluate and formulate one’s own opinion instead of being influenced by the media and other vested interests.

In a no holds barred piece for The Guardian late last year Kevin Rudd went on the attack:

“And for those who think it will all expire when Rupert dies, there’s another Murdoch in waiting. Lachlan is every bit as conservative as his father, including being a climate change denier. Murdoch has cultivated an atmosphere of fear in Australia.

Debating Murdoch’s power has long been effectively off-limits. Politicians, academics, corporates, even journalists and commentators from other news organisations are fearful for their own reputations, because they know from experience that Murdoch’s editorial henchmen will come after anyone who attacks them, with a view to shredding the offender’s reputation.

Murdoch editors see no need to correct the record when they print inaccuracies or just make stories up. After all, who is going to have the guts to challenge them? Which is why we have such a deafening national silence in this country on the problem, which dare not speak its name: Murdoch.”

A Death Certificate might show proof of death but the legacy you leave behind will demonstrate how you lived.

A Royal Commission is long overdue into the nefarious working of Murdoch and his mafia-like behaviour.

It is well known that Murdoch’s media outlets in Australia lose millions of dollars every year, so why does a man who luxuriates in the making of it allow this?

It can only be for the power and influence it gives him. At nearly 90 one might question its importance, but then, old habits die-hard.

My thought for the day

There are those who make money but are never remembered. There are others who do great deeds and are.

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It’s more than just a virus: there are culture wounds and abscesses of leadership

So submersed have we become with all the consequences and complications of COVID-19 that it has preoccupied our minds as if nothing else exists.

And rightly so, given the deathly possibilities this virus insinuates upon society.

Like rust this deadly virus, without instruction, without fear or favour, spreads itself throughout the community; the wealthy and the poor die. The aged and not so aged.

Its side effects include the wrecking of lives, families, and the devastation of economies and cultures with the possibility of a world recession.

Without a cure our only defence is isolation and some meaningful rules that – if followed – suffice as effective and efficient weapons.

The rich with a negative worldview see the gloom as a reason to protect themselves and their wealth. The poor with no recourse to health insurance die because Trump hates the word Obama. But the rich do too because of an unpreparedness to combat this killer.

Some, like President Trump, arguably the biggest political liar in history, have likened it to a war and as we know truth is the first fatality of any conflict. He is well suited to the title, king liar.

He advocates – against the best health advice – a return to business as usual, taking the risk that the vicious virus might restart again even encouraging people in certain states to protest against their state governors.

Without even a thought for those who might die because of such a premature decision Trump urges these protests as if he is the sole dictator over life and death.

His mental deficiency also prompted a bad decision to withdraw money from the World Health Organization at a most precarious time in the spread of the pandemic. A decision that has faced condemnation around the world, and at home, and will end the lives of many in Africa where most of the money was spent combating Ebola, HIV and other diseases.

As is his habit, Trump seeks to blame others. Maybe the silence of the cash registers in his resorts has been a price t0o much to pay.

In Australia our Prime Minister is of the same ilk as Trump. His lying, although just as notorious as Trump’s, doesn’t have the same chilling, life-ending, effect. He is, however, a politician so arrogant as to believe that he is beyond the inconvenient nuisance of being questioned. How detestable is the hypocrisy?

The US has a coronavirus death rate per million population of 114.14 compared to Australia 41.9.

Defending his poor handling of the pandemic, Donald Trump resorts to more lying:

 “We’ve handled the situation incredibly well … Everything is perfect … the United States has the most robust, advanced, and accurate testing system anywhere in the world … We’re now the king of ventilators … The research and development that we’ve done at the federal level has been absolutely incredible … Ultimate victory in this war will be made possible by America’s scientific brilliance.  There is nothing like us.  There is nobody like us.  Not even close … We did the right thing.”

Scott Morrison – like Trump – is devoid of trustworthiness. Although both profess by faith to be Christians any suggestion that trust would be a quality of leadership in them both needs to be ignored.

That aside, however, Australia it would seem is in a better position to resume business as usual ahead of most countries.

Most are predicting that four weeks will see us back to normal. Morrison is no longer talking about “snap back”, instead saying that we will be in:

“… a different world on the other side of the virus …

We’re going to have to have economic policy measures that are very pro-growth.”

That to me sends a message that a reliance on old style economics will be used to try and fix what is a crisis on two fronts. On the one hand the virus, and on the other hand the economy and all the agony that goes with it.

As we rush toward a recession and 10% unemployment I see no intention to reform the economy at all. I see no promise of a more equitable system that addresses fairness, the privileges of the rich, and all the subsidies to the mining companies.

Morrison says that he has a 3-point plan. The three priorities he outlined were to:

A: Protect the health of Australians

B: Secure their jobs and livelihoods.

[Note, some economists are predicting a jobless rate of up to 16%, which of course would be catastrophic].

C: Set Australia up to bounce back stronger.

And everything is on the table but I don’t see the evidence of it.

That sends shivers down my spine and the word ‘draconian’ enters my head as a descriptive for the next budget.

It is obvious to me that we are in a unique period of time where from these recent health, societal, economic, and environmental disasters there will evolve the opportunity to correct our course.

Now is the time and the opportunity for reform. Yes, real reform. Think health, social security, the aged, pensions, infrastructure, economics, government subsidies, taxes etc.

The peoples of all the nations of the world increasingly seem to be having less to say about their own destiny.

Dictatorships in the guise of democracies have grown their crooked influence and are more interested in power than people.

Morrison has stated that the parliament will sit on a trial basis for a two-week period. Now that’s democracy for you. It shouldn’t be on trial, it should just be.

We have leaders like Trump and Morrison who cannot comprehend the importance of truth as being fundamental to the democratic process yet they make the most contribution to its demise. And of course, there are many others.

Before the last Australian election I found it impossible to imagine that the people could be so gullible as to elect for a third term a government that has performed so miserably in the first two, and has amongst its members some of the most devious, suspicious and corrupt men and women, but they did. And might I add extremely well-educated.

But as I have diligently argued many times previously, Conservatives cannot do reform of the nature I speak of. It goes against their philosophy.

I’m afraid the only plan our Prime Minister has is to return us to where we were.

We must fight against this Government’s return at the next election with everything we have, and more.

My thought for the day

This Government’s performance over its time in office has been like a daily shower of offensiveness raining down on society.

Surely performance or lack of it must mean something.

 

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Questions about Hillsong, Alex Hawke, and the coronavirus

On March 5, Hillsong began its twenty-fourth Colour Conference at the First State Theatre at ICC, Sydney, with a “capacity crowd” – which is around 9,000 according to the theatre website.  Other reports put the crowd at somewhat less than this.

After scheduled gatherings on Thurs-Sat at the theatre, and then Thurs-Sat the following week at the Hills Campus, the formal conference activities concluded on Saturday, March 14.

The day before, Scott Morrison had assured us all that he would be going to the football on Saturday.  No need to cancel mass gatherings that weekend.  Leave it till later…maybe Monday?

That same day, Friday March 13, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued a warning via its Smartraveller website, stating that the travel advice for every nation had now been elevated to “Level 3 – Reconsider Your Need to Travel”.

Five days later, that changed to “We now advise all Australians: do not travel overseas at this time. This is our highest advice level (level 4 of 4).  If you are already overseas and wish to return to Australia, we recommend you do so as soon as possible by commercial means.”

Back to Hillsong’s Colour Conference, promoted as a “global women’s gathering” which “has inspired women around the world to rise up [and] champion womanhood in all its magnificence.”

Looking at the advertisements for this year’s conference, “Irresistable”, and next year’s, “Kiss”, I felt like I was looking at either a perfume ad or some sort of flirty dating site.

This is the promo for next year.

“Have you ever felt the power of a kiss.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN MOVED BY
THE TENDERNESS AND EFFECT,
THE HEART-FLUTTER AND EMOTION,
THE SAFETY AND PROMISE.

I can hear you perhaps chuckling right now, or perhaps you are thinking, “Bobbie has lost it, what on earth is she thinking and where is she taking us?” To be honest, I find myself smiling as I write this, yet, I also sense it is direction that the Spirit of God desires.

A kiss is personal, provoking and compelling.
A kiss carries enormous emotion. It’s intimate and disarming. It can be as pure and perfect as new-fallen snow on a mountain peak, or it can be as dangerous and misleading as a dark shadow in a fallen valley. A kiss has the potential to set you on a pathway to life, or a path contrary to His heart.

Our world is magnificent, yet on so many fronts she is wrestling and in need of a humanity who exemplify the Kiss of Heaven… a kiss that is tender, divine and eternal; a kiss that carries no deception or despair, but only wholeness and life. A kiss that is trustworthy, with the promise of a future woven with hope.

I believe a personal and loving Heavenly Father… longs to kiss humanity with His Goodness.

I believe a tender and magnificent Son… longs to draw you near and kiss you with His Grace.

And I believe the Holy Spirit… longs to lead you into wide open spaces that not only bless you, but those you influence.

2021 is a milestone year, and I am believing that it will be strategic and signature in the journey; that girls and women will gather from far and wide, and that together, as a Movement, we will place another stake in the ground of what is miraculous and inspiring. With a remarkable team alongside, we are believing that nations, neighbourhoods and individual hearts will resonate with new vision and new possibilities; that not only will we have the best time ever, but that God’s Spirit will anoint afresh with new capacity to love, be loved, and be the change. I also sense that at the quarter-century mark, a new breed of world changers will be empowered for the days ahead.

I pray this invitation resonates. I pray that each and every one of us will be found in the embrace of Heaven going forward, and that like the legends of old, we will walk in our destiny and carve fabulous pathways for others to follow. Placing value upon womanhood remains the origin and essence of who we are, and we look forward to sharing the days ahead with you and those you love.

Love always,
Bobbie xoxo”

My reaction was … icky ticky wuck chuck.

According to Hillsong’s 2017 annual report, its total revenue was just shy of $110 million, around two thirds of which came from “tithes and offerings” with the rest coming from education, conferences, music and other resources.

All that income is tax free.  Any form of lockdown would be costing them big time.

Alex Hawke has been described as Scott Morrison’s “right hand man”, at least in the political assassination of Malcolm Turnbull, as reported by David Crowe.

“Morrison shut the door on the Canberra winter to join his two flatmates and fellow Liberal MPs, Steve Irons and Stuart Robert, and their tactical whiz Alex Hawke, the man they considered their “spear-thrower” because he was so brutally effective at marshalling numbers for a ballot.”

Hawke (along with Robert and Morrison) is a Pentacostal and the member for Mitchell which includes the Hills District, home of Hillsong, which he attends.

Hawke has said before that he would like us to be more like America.

“The two greatest forces for good in human history are capitalism and Christianity, and when they’re blended it’s a very powerful duo.”

No wonder he is attracted to Hillsong.

In 2007, Anthony Albanese described Hawke as a branch stacker extraordinaire, a political hack tainted by links to fascists and part of the mentality that had led the NSW Liberals “to being the extremist rump that it is today”.

There have been unsubstantiated rumours floating around that alleged the parents of Hawke’s wife Amelia were onboard the Ruby Princess along with some friends from the Hillsong Church.

Regardless, the growing influence of the Pentacostals in our government is of grave concern, as is their growing influence amongst our young people.

Why was the Colour Conference allowed to continue?  Have any cases of coronavirus been linked to it?  Who made phone calls to allow the Ruby Princess to dock after initially being refused permission?  What charitable works does Hillsong undertake to avoid paying tax?  And why are people like Alex Hawke and Stuart Robert Ministers?

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Resume democratic government, Morrison; recall parliament

The ritual killing of a water buffalo, by Ifugao villagers of northern Luzon, Philippines, the bloody, brutal slaughter of an innocent, sentient creature, a shocking intrusion of cinéma vérité (filmed by his Francis’ Ford’s wife Eleanor) spliced into the last, dark scenes of Coppola’s self-indulgent masterpiece Apocalypse Now presages the savaging of our body politic to keep us safe from COVID-19.

Premiers hack away at our civil liberties. Our pass-the-parcel federal government hands over its job to a congeries of police proto-states where democracy is hollowed out. Unlike their counterparts overseas, our Federal MPs take a break while the pandemic wreaks its havoc. Genius. Much as it suits Morrison’s secretive style to run a closed shop, someone has to turn up to work, along with teachers and healthcare workers.

To be fair to Scotty, being mugged by reality is a relief. His government has always lacked any agenda. Its dearth of policy ideas, programmes, principles is embarrassing. Forlornly, it kicks a busted legislative can or two down the road. Where is that Morrison priority, his tits-on-a-bull religious discrimination bill? All that seems still in play are its stage two and three tax cuts – cuts it can’t afford and can’t afford to give up on.

Bernie Fraser tells The Sydney Morning Herald that Team Morrison’s policies plus tax cuts face a “reckoning” as public sector debt reaches $1.5 trillion. Plus a potential budget deficit of $200 billion this year, reports The Saturday Paper‘s Max Opray. New company tax cuts for sprats – firms earning under $50 million start next in 2020-21. Personal income tax cuts further bleed the budget by $132 billion over ten years begin the following financial year. None of this will help our economy over-reliant on mining in deep recession.

As Frank Bongiorno puts it, Morrison has governed like a political billionaire yet without a hint of a policy agenda thanks to his vacuous, platform-free election campaign. The rest of his team are back-slapping and high-fiving on the close of parliament’s token day back, Wednesday – as if they had something to celebrate.

Other democracies aren’t shutting down. Peoples’ representatives in the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand will all return to parliament, later this April. Congress, on the other hand, hasn’t cut its schedule at all.

It’s not easy being Antony Albanese, you get bad press, cut off mid-sentence or mostly no press at all. Jokes about your combover? Yet Albo has it sussed. Parliament “wasn’t suspended during the Spanish flu, or World War I or World War II”.

Barry Jones argues cogently that it is precisely in times of crisis that we need our parliament the most. Without transparency and scrutiny, there is no democracy. He quotes lawyer and journo, David Allen Green.

“If it were not for this public health emergency, this situation would be the legal dream of the worst modern tyrant. Everybody under control, every social movement or association prohibited, every electronic communication subject to surveillance. This would be an unthinkable legal situation for any free society. Of course, the public health emergency takes absolute priority. But we also should not be blind to the costs.”

Who’s to help our Kangaroo National Cabinet and NCCC run the show? SA and WA adjourn their parliaments, mothball democracy, but for other states, it’s see you later (on the other side) and may the fuzz be with you.

“Don’t be surprised, this Easter, if you are stopped by the police and asked what you’re doing” warns Tasmanian Premier, party-pooper, Peter Gutwein who, at least, concedes that if “this were a game of football, we’re not yet halfway through the first quarter”. Apple Isle Peelers will be out in force over Easter. Anyone holing up in the shack; hunting eggs in holiday homes can expect a knock on the door. Or a boot.

Never one to be outdone, Victorian Premier, despotic Dan Andrews, in bed with Big Gas, suspends parliament indefinitely and  – unlike Gutwein – seriously contemplates a bonking ban on couples living apart. Andrews warns Victorians high-tailgating it out of Melbourne to caravan parks or already at it like rabbits in their holiday homes to expect an Easter visit from a flop-eared friend in uniform; “…it’s not an Airbnb weekend.”

You can holiday with your family only in a property you own, says Dan. Own? That’s around five per cent of the state’s population. But there’s always been a better set of rules for the ruling elite. Get used to it. Inequality’s only going to increase.

For SA Easter hot cross bunnies, first the good news. Steve Marshall who like climate giant, Craig Kelly, ran a family furniture business before getting into politics and middle-class welfare is giving $10,000 to 19000 gyms, hairdressers, beauty and nail salons, restaurants, cafes and cellar doors, who’ve had to close their doors or who’ve lost income because of the CoVID-19 lockdown. It’s a handout to help you through a crisis which News Corp’s flat-curvers tells us will be done and dusted soon. It’ll buy a lot of chocolate at least. But does trickle-down really work?

Trickle-down is a delusion conservative economist Arthur Laffer sketched on a napkin at a free lunch in 1974 to bullshit Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, two giants of US Republicanism, a once-proud party which now panders to demented despot, aspiring-president-for-life, Pussy-Grabber in Chief, Donald Trump.

A senile Ronald Reagan fell in love with trickle-down. If governments cut business taxes and ease up on the rich, (or, give hand-outs like Scotty’s (Keep my own) JobKeeper or Marshall’s cash splash,) they’ll invest that extra money in productive enterprise, which, in turn, creates more jobs and growth, which will ultimately maximise both the return on endeavour and government revenue. Fantastic? Literally. It hasn’t happened yet.

For Ron Reagan Sr, revenues fell, the deficit doubled and government debt tripled. The US turned from the world’s largest creditor to its biggest debtor. But the theory thrives.

A huge body of evidence exposing the trickle-down myth is probably all fake news. At least if you’ve shut up your SA nail salon, you can buy a few Easter eggs. The bad news? Going away is “completely and utterly off”.

As it is for those in Queensland or NSW. But cheer up Crow-eaters. If at home in SA, the two person rule is just a recommendation – you can have up to ten attending your Easter rave parade and you won’t be busted. But don’t be surprised when your local coppers drop by just to count heads. Human, that is. There’s a rogue virus to patrol.

Every day, we become a less democratic nation, warns lawyer Michael Bradley. The PM and Premiers lecture us with a heavy-handed paternalism. Leaders don’t make sense?  No. It’s the people who can’t be trusted to do the right thing.  A novel coronavirus brings a brave new world, Bradley writes in Crikey. It’s a world with,

” … police cars circling inside public parks, lights flashing, ordering stationary people to either get on with their exercise regime or go straight home. A tense debate on social media about whether visiting your boyfriend who lives in a different house qualifies as a “reasonable excuse” to leave yours.”

Follow our leaders’ authoritative, timely advice? Listen as they clearly explain restrictions to us? Impossible. They’re experts in equivocating, spin and bullshit.

Eagerly, NSW, Victoria, SA and other tinpot dictatorships reach for the big stick; vying with each other to impose the strictest lockdown. NSW and SA put their top cops in charge. And they look the part. Overpower-dressing. Flaunt the braid; flash the badges, patches, epaulettes and the rest of their quasi-military rig. Inspire trust.

It’s not just the uniform. Our cops are increasingly militarised. Front-line officers in Queensland and Victoria, and specialist units across the country, are being trained in military-style tactics and thinking. Lawyer and former ADF officer, John Sutton warns of a slow and disturbing “convergence”. But is it a good fit?

“Typically, a close ideological and operational alliance between the police force and the military has always been associated with repressive regimes,” he says. Despite John Howard and Tony Abbott and other uniform-fetishists, “Australia has a very strong democracy and a very robust civic mindedness among its population.

Erik Jensen agrees. The Saturday Paper’s editor in chief, agrees that restrictive public health measures are vital. There’s just no evidence to justify any lurch to the right; any special powers of enforcement. “Australia is an exceptionally law-abiding country with a national character based on the false belief we are not.”

Nor is there any sign police have been trained to deal with the health measures detailed in the public health order. Worse, Bradley and others note, the “lockdown state” reverses the onus of proof fundamental to our legal system. In coronavirus times you need to prove you’re doing the right thing by others at all times.

To protect against wrongful convictions, the criminal law, ordinarily, requires proof “beyond reasonable doubt” and the onus of proof lies with the accuser. If there is no case to answer for, a defendant’s silence should be sufficient to render them innocent. Only after proof is brought, should the defendant need to present some defence to their supposed actions.

Old as the law itself, the presumption of innocence lies trampled underfoot. States vie on TV to signal their virtue as guardians of public health, a task neatly handballed, along with such responsibilities as the criminal investigation of the Ruby Princess by a Morrison government always happy to hand-ball trouble.

Are we flattening the curve or flattening freedom? Of course we need to self-isolate and observe other social distancing and health precautions. Self-quarantine is imperative in halting contagious disease. Surviving the coronavirus pandemic means following expert advice, but do we need to be coerced?

Michael Bradley  makes a case for a less arbitrary more workable system of policing lockdown.

“I wouldn’t object to a regime under which I was required by law to remain home, with the proviso that I was able to lawfully leave home and go outside if I had a legitimate reason for doing so, subject to all the rules of physical distancing. I also wouldn’t object if that regime gave the police power to reasonably determine that my reason was not legitimate and to order me to go home; or to fine or arrest me if I refused and they reasonably believed that I may be presenting a danger to public health by my actions.

No-one disputes the need for a lockdown. It is a reasonable and proportionate response to the threat of community infection but are we really that complacent or recalcitrant? Or is our allegedly wilful disobedience simply the result of our leaders’ mixed messaging? Confusion abounds. Just look at Victoria.

Not every couple lives together. Can you visit your partner at his or her home? No says Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton. State Police Minister, Lisa Neville also says it’s not on. Well mostly. Sort of. That’s a definite maybe, then.

“You cannot visit your partner for social reasons. There are select reasons you can go to the home of your partner.” Daniel Andrews, on the other hand, who knows a bit about public speaking goes off into a riff:

“That’s not work, that’s not caregiving, that’s not medical care, that’s not shopping for the things that you need when you need them. And you know, it does not comply with the rules. So people should not do that.”

Newsflash. The rules have been relaxed. It’s now OK. But there’s no guarantee things won’t change as the number of Victorians infected with COVID-19 continues to climb. And climb as they do when community transmission is under-reported thanks to a limited testing regime – (expanded since Monday).

Our leaders fail to communicate clearly; consistently. In part, they, themselves, are confused. Or prefer evasion. At the start, in his self-styled role as Bronte bogan, Ocker Morrison urged us to continue with our normal lives. He was off to watch his Cronulla Sharks, or so he planned. It’s vital to his self-marketing.

Being a macho Sharkies fan is vital to Morrison’s everyman branding – as Van Badham says, although he fools no-one, he’s a “fauxgan not a bogan” – a Sydney eastern suburbs spiv who needs the westie blue collar vote. Yet in February, there were echoes of his mentor Donald Trump in his message of business as usual.

“There is no need for us to be moving towards not having mass gatherings of people. You can still go to the football, you can still go to the cricket … You can go off to the concert, and you can go out for a Chinese meal. You can do all of these things because Australia has acted quickly.”

Yet there was a need. Morrison gave dud advice based on a lie. Australia did not act quickly, argues Bill Bowtell, adjunct professor at The Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of New South Wales and architect of Australia’s world-leading response to the AIDS epidemic several decades ago.

The federal Government knew about the severity of Coronavirus three months before it did anything. It should have accumulated testing kits, brought in necessary emergency equipment and medical supplies, provided money for science and vaccine research and immediately begun a public educational campaign.

Confusion from the top helps create a broader, underlying problem of vagueness at law. In the US a law can be unconstitutionally void for vagueness as former convenor of criminology, Deakin University’s Darren Palmer writes in The Conversation; a law becomes invalid because it is insufficiently clear.

People must have trust in any new powers given to authorities, he continues. New powers must be clear to all; applied consistently and transparently. Pandemic powers currently meet none of these criteria.

Pandemic powers are vague, inconsistent and opaque. A Victorian teenager is fined $1600 (later withdrawn by Victorian Police) for a driving lesson that is deemed non-essential travel yet NSW Police say the lesson would have been OK in NSW. Mick Fuller tells Fran Kelly that travel to a holiday home at Easter is not essential travel whereas in Victoria, it’s OK if quarantine is observed on arrival. And you own the home.

Do we really need to see soldiers in the street? Fine a man for eating a kebab? A homeless person is fined washing windscreens in south-west Sydney. Another man is pinged for drinking outside a closed pub. Exercise is OK but not elbow-raising.

But,sit on a park bench to catch your breath and you risk a fine in Victoria or NSW.

In SA, as in NSW, top cop, Police Commissioner, Grant Stevens, is the designated emergency co-ordinator. Accordingly, Stevens is practically licensed to kill.

He may use “such force as is reasonably necessary in the exercise or discharge of a power or function under this section or in ensuring compliance with a direction or requirement under this section.” 

Not only are you are expected to quietly obey the new laws in SA, you forfeit your right to remain silent. “No obligation to maintain secrecy or other restriction on the disclosure of information” when you are “ … required to disclose information by a direction or requirement” issued under the new powers. Experts in civil liberties warn that we’re on a bit of a slippery slope – and we’ve been on it for about twenty years.

“Australia is now the only democratic nation in the world without a national human rights law such as a human rights act or bill of rights,” warned UNSW Professor George Williams in 2011.

Williams calculates that between the September 11 terrorist attacks and Howard’s end in 2007, a new anti-terror law was enacted every 6.7 weeks. Since then, increasingly draconian – and often unworkable – legislation has ballooned out well beyond any sane or reasonable response to its original worthy aim. Coronavirus extends the trend.

“There’s been a massive amount of legislation passed that prior to [September 2001] would have been unthinkable”, Pauline Wright, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties says. “There have been incursions into freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of movement, right to protest, all basic legal rights that underpin our democracy”.

Luckily, we have a PM who is alert to creeping crypto-fascism. Scotty from marketing makes it clear he is sensitive to the term “lockdown”. He fears it may prompt panic buying of toilet rolls and hand sanitizer.

“I would actually caution the media against using the word ‘lockdown’ because I think it does create unnecessary anxiety because that is not an arrangement that is actually being considered in the way that term might suggest,” he says with typical laconic brevity. Yet Police Commissioner, Mick Fuller, who once took Morrison’s wheelie bin in for him, and is now the most powerful man in the state, begs to differ.

“You’re in a lockdown wherever you live,” Mick says last Tuesday after NSW announces its strict rules.

The latest lockdown laws in all states are rushed, unnecessary; “overzealous” writes ANU’s Peter Collignon, a professor of infectious disease. Not only do they seem a tad arbitrary and excessive, however, they are based on guesswork, extrapolation from extractions; cherry-picked, overseas data as Our Nation’s, Flat-Curve Saviour, Morrison confirms in his over-hyped, long-awaited, Release the Modelling show, Tuesday.

Asked whether the exotic modelling “indicated anything about the relative effectiveness of different measures” deployed in Australia. Chief Medical Officer Murphy replies: “It doesn’t, unfortunately.”

In brief, we’ve set up petty despots to protect us from spreading infection who don’t really know what they’re doing or why they are doing it. There is broad agreement on restricting movement but without any clear rationale to inform their arbitrary and inconsistent decrees to restrict the spread of the virus.

Duck-shoving responsibility to the states but taking all the credit for a flattening of the coronavirus pandemic curve, the federal government suspends parliament –

Even Jacqui Lambie’s not happy.

“This idea the government has of calling us in on a whim, whenever they feel they need, it’s not the most functional. They’re spending billions of dollars, so it’s time to apply a bit of scrutiny. We’ve been very nice to the government, we’ve played very nice. But with no parliament – is that a sustainable way for a democracy to go? No, it’s not.”  The Independent Tassie Senator,makes the right call this time.

The Morrison government continues to hack away at the practice of representative democracy. Adding insult to injury, Federal Parliament is recalled, Wednesday, to rubber-stamp Job-Keeper. Labor is asked endlessly if it’s going to block the legislation  – as if it has the numbers -when it’s already promised its support. The subtext in ABC news reports is that it would be heresy to challenge the Morrison government’s plan.

In fact, there’s a lot that needs challenging. Over a million Australians are ineligible. The Very Christian Porter doesn’t care. There has to be a line drawn somewhere he says. The Australian Bureau of Statistics report only 47% of businesses in the arts and recreation sector are still operating at the end of March.

But because short-term contract work is rampant in theatre, television, film, live shows and the wider arts sector of the economy, many of the 50,000 artists and 600,000 workers in the sector miss out on JobKeeper.

JobKeeper is touted as a $130 billion stimulus package, vital to Snap-Back, Morrison’s six-month miracle cure for our Coronavirus economic recession – which, amazingly, is yet another subsidy of the Liberal Party’s business pals. No-one asks where’s the money coming from; ask which spending will be cut or what additional revenue will pay for it. Few bother with the lack of any “mutual obligation” to bosses attached to it.

Yet the package will help Scotty counter toxic images of queues outside Centrelink offices, snaking along pavements and around the block. Not only will JobKeeper workers be kept out of unemployment queues, moreover, they won’t appear in statistics. Best of all, employers get to choose which workers to keep and which to lose. Workers’ gratitude will be lavished on big-hearted bosses, not endorse Big Government.

JobKeeper is yet another “package” – Morrison jargon to help evade accountability. Many drought relief packages, for example, are yet to materialise. JobKeeper subsidises six million workers’ wages to keep one million in work, as Richard Denniss observes, in a cunning transfer of wealth to prosperous business owners.

Expect little debate. The News-Corp-led media Hallelujah Chorus hails the PM as the Messiah. David Speers on ABC Insiders is full of applause. Others ask: how good is our socialist government? But both are lies. By pumping hundreds of billions into existing businesses, there’s little capital for investing in projects that actually create employment. And Morrison expects things to snap back, once we’re on the other side.

It cannot last. The PM is very keen to impress this on us. “There is a snap-back there, a snap-back to the previous existing arrangements on the other side of this,” Morrison warns Thursday. “There is an intensity of expenditure during this period. And then we have to get back to what it was like before.”

Except, he has no idea how to do this. Or when. Turning off the economic stimulus tap too soon, however badly it’s targeted, would deepen any recession – and it’s likely to be a deep one. It’s wildly optimistic to talk in terms of a six months’ cure.

Other problems are just as intractable. How it will be possible to snatch back JobKeeper or “free” childcare or the JobSeeker allowance, a doubling of the not so new Newstart and tacit admission that its forty dollars a day was woefully inadequate? Meanwhile, JobSeeker still promises punitive “mutual obligation” requirements after 27 April 2020 which force unemployed workers to look for jobs that simply won’t exist.

Greg Jericho reports that Callam Pickering, economist at global job site Indeed, estimates that currently job adverts are running about 33% below what they were last year. “It would actually be surprising if they don’t drop by more – during the 1990s recession they fell by half.”

Some prosperous businesses will receive a big boost from JobKeeper, notes Richard Denniss, The Australia Institute’s chief economist. For example, childcare which underpays and overworks its staff, exploiting a largely female workforce. But for many, it is no help at all. Worse it further divides the working poor.

A glance at current ABS statistics on businesses in the hospitality sector, already rife with wage theft and underemployment and now hit by the coronavirus social isolation decrees, reveals that seventy per cent are forced to further under-employ their workers, reduce the hours of their staff. Forty three percent are estimated, by ABS sampling, to have either laid off workers, or placed them on unpaid leave.

Federal Parliament is suspended until 11 August at least, although as government leader in the House of Reps, Attorney-General Christian Porter makes clear, it’s not due to resume until September. The recession-busting brains trust running the joint has “better things to do” than sit in parliament.

Non-essential outings are banned in NSW and Victoria in a zealous interpretation of a recommendation by Morrison’s oxymoronic adhocracy, his National Cabinet; a marvel of self-promotion and self-preservation by a PM who’d struggle to raffle a duck in a pub but who is a past master of the duck-shoving of responsibility.

Scotty grandstands, whilst ensuring responsibility for containing the coronavirus pandemic lies with the states. But it will all be OK because he’s agreed to a senate committee which will provide oversight. Seriously.

We’ve seen too much already of the contempt for democracy and transparency displayed by his government and senior public servants called before senate committees – including the ADF’s top cop, Reece Kershaw, whose boast was that he’d set a record for taking questions on notice. In other words, avoid answering.

Nowhere is Scotty’s buck-passing more apparent than in the five star scandal of the monster cruise ship Ruby Princess, our Typhoid Mary, an eighteen deck behemoth linked to over a dozen deaths and up to a thousand cases of infection.

Is it a cop-out by federal government as NSW Senator, Kristina Kenneally alleges? She’s being diplomatic about dereliction of duty compounded by a very clumsy cover up of Dutton’s Home Affairs failure to stop the one boat that mattered.

The shadow minister for Immigration and Home Affairs, accuses the Coalition of ducking its responsibility by expecting the states to take the lead – albeit in co-operation with federal Border Force officers. The federal government’s “dragged its feet” on crucial border protection measures, such as temperature checks at airports or mandatory quarantine for cruise ship arrivals.

“The wider Australian community is now seeing the calamitous results of their decision to allow the Ruby Princess to dock in Sydney,” Kristina Keneally says, “a moment we have quickly realised was a tipping point in the spread of coronavirus in Australia.”

This will be regarded as the worst public health disaster in America in a century,” says Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research in San Diego. “The root cause of the disaster was the lack of readiness to understand where, how and when the disease was spreading.” 

It’s been much the same in Australia but now with Carnival and other companies’ ships of shame no longer visiting, there’s been a drop in our statistics. Whether we are flattening the curve, it is too early to tell but there are encouraging signs of a decline in reported cases although community transmission continues to be a major concern.

Finally Morrison’s snapback is an illusion. Many who lost their jobs in past recessions never found another another, even years later.

In the recession of the early 1980s the unemployment rate almost doubled, increasing from 5.5% to 10.5% in two years. The number of unemployed Australians increased by 330,000. An equivalent proportion of today’s workforce would be about 650,000. It took six and a half years, to the end of the 1980s, for the unemployment rate to claw its way back to somewhere close to where it started.

And there were other, deeper, consequences. During the recession of the early 1980s, the proportion of Australian males with a job fell by about 7%. Only half of that fall was reversed in the ensuing recovery.  Then workers were hit with the recession of the early 1990s. In the following three years, the proportion of males with a job fell by a further 10%, Macrobusiness’ David Lewellyn Smith reminds us.

Morrison needs to step up, however much he fears accountability. Parliament needs to be recalled immediately. The nation deserves no less. Our public health and the health of our body politic, our democracy depends upon it.

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COVID-19 child care crisis

By Melissa Underwood  

I am writing to request your urgent assistance to ensure child care remains viable and means tested. Families that continue to earn an income should pay a fee proportionate to their income.

Educators are on the front-line in this war against COVID-19. We are being asked to risk our lives every day to stay open to support the children of essential workers. I am one of them. Any minister that supports a policy that takes money from front-line soldiers in this war on COVID-19 is un-Australian.

On the 1st April Scott Morrison announced that all child care would be free from Monday 6th April. This is a lie. More accurately, Mr Morrison announced that he was going to take money from the service I am employed by to pay the parent child care levies.

I can tell you with absolute certainty that transferring money from the bank account of my employer’s service to the parents is not free. This policy is not targeted, appropriate or equitable. It is a poorly thought out reaction to gain popularity amongst working families.

I understand that the policy was written without any consultation with the operators of our sector.

Under the announced model, services will receive 50% of their income revenue (that is child-care centres and family fees) based on the last two weeks of February, and families will receive free child care. Our service is expected to take on new enrolments and additional days that families require yet our revenue is capped at 50% of our February income.

The reality of this package is that we have essential workers seeking care for their children and we will have to turn them away. We also cannot provide extra days for our existing families because we cannot afford to take them on for free. These families have nowhere else to turn and so cannot engage with their employment. Our employer is already financially struggling to provide adequate care for our existing families while receiving only 50% of our daily revenue.

Every extra child in care increases a services expense.

If services do take extra children on from Monday and receive $0 for them this is a massive economic saving to the government at the expense of services and educators, like myself, who will be basically providing charity. The government is already saving money from reducing all their current child care centres funding to 50% so this is a double saving for them. They have omitted the truth with this announcement.

This will have tragic consequences for services.

The Government believe that this, along with the proposed wage subsidies will allow services to operate viably, but they have it very wrong.

The wage subsidy is flawed. Every worker, regardless of what their wage is will receive a $750 per week subsidy. Those who earned less than this such as part time and casuals will receive the full subsidy, whilst those who earned more will receive this whilst my employer has to still make up the shortfall.

So, we receive 50% of our revenue and services have to foot the bill for the balance of wages and the full cost of salary on-costs.

I face having to reduce my working hours, or worse still, losing my job altogether. This will have a huge effect on my colleagues and I economically and forces a predominantly female workforce to provide charitable work.

Myself, like many others in this sector are highly qualified and this system exploits us economically and socially. Our working families are in shock and want to pay for their child’s right to adequate and quality care. They want a fair remuneration system in place for all essential workers during this pandemic.

Again, I want to reiterate this system is disturbingly flawed, and not only did our sector not have a say, our employer does not even have an option as to whether to opt in or out of this new system. It places services on the brink of closure.

I understand that we are living in extraordinary times and that I am being called into service and will need to make sacrifices to support the battle against COVID-19. I am ready, willing and able to do so, and am already doing everything possible to provide care to the children within our service whilst maintaining a healthy and safe environment for myself, my colleagues and children.

If this policy is allowed to pass parliament and our service has to subsidise the care for families that we know are earning sufficient money to afford our fees, then this will have a significant financial impact on my employer and the ability to remain operational. This will ultimately mean my job!

Please make sure that any child care fees paid by families continue to be means tested. Families that continue to work from home and earn an income should pay a fee proportionate to their income, and those who choose to remain at home to keep their family isolated should still be entitled to child care centres but to have their gap fee waived.

To expect services to operate on half their revenue, to continue to provide child care to families and keep their staff in work, under this new scheme is outrageous, and will result in the demise of many services, including ours.

I implore you to reconsider this package. It is not the solution that services were looking for in these unprecedented circumstances and it will have the opposite effect that the Government was looking for.

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Dud’s Army

By Grumpy Geezer  

The make-over of FauxMo, a disaster recovery project, has been overtaken by circumstance. After his facile daggy dad routine was found to be not fit for purpose in the face of a crisis a revised personal brand was no doubt being worked on by the empathy consultants and image managers.

But a comprehensive and coherent national response to a virulent pandemic leaves no time for a re-branding. Or does it?

Wait, there it is … the practised choke in the voice, the wiping away of a tear. Unfunded empathy, albeit feigned, has been plucked from the disposable principles bin to serve the greater good – the resurrection of Scotty PM, V5.0.

Unfair? Too cynical? If it was anybody but Morrison perhaps so, but we have here the master cynic and spinmeister, the leader of a cynical party that divides through invented fears to rule as they see fit. Now that we are confronted by a valid fear, one not of their own fabrication, FauxMo and the Tories were caught flat-footed. Weeks of denial, prevarication and incompetence left the country exposed.

Panicked into action, FauxMo and Co. have seen their beloved lifters-and-leaners feudalistic #Mefirst ideology founder, as useful as a concrete lifejacket. I won’t lie – the schadenfreude of watching the rampaging, free-marketeers scramble for the sanctuary of the socialist life boat has brightened the gloom a tad and there’s some small promise of a better society and a greener planet once the pandemic has passed.

But through it all Brother Scotty has maintained his Mammonite’s faith in his elitist god, the dispenser of wealth and privilege to the deserving. He’s spent time on his knees and on Zoom to check in with the Big Guy; he’s not surrendered his core beliefs. Is the Corona virus his god’s test for him and his like to rebuild new and improved means to serve the interests of the righteous rich?

Should this be so he’ll need a marketing strategy and Flim-Flam Man will need a new persona to pull it off. Chubby, pie-stained, smirking dickhead won’t cut the mustard.

There’s BroSco’s role model, Deranged Donny, who in his lucid moments is merely moronic. Mr Tangerine Man could blame syphilitic dementia or hairspray poisoning for his current psychopathy but his criminality and greed are life-long characteristics. Rumpled Thin Skin, a 150kg freezerpack of congealed hamburger grease with a spray-painted complexion applied from the exhaust fan of a Cheetos factory is a joyless, friendless, habitual liar and monosyllabic goon who, with his demon spawn, has never seen a grift he shouldn’t graft, a charity he shouldn’t steal from nor a child labour force he shouldn’t exploit.

Trump’s cloistered privilege manifests itself in a weakness for ostentatious, gold-plated, dictator kitsch as narcissistic displays of wealth and power, his fawning obsequiousness to despots is paired with a disdain for the disenfranchised and powerless yet there is a real prospect that, heart attack or criminal charges aside, he’ll get a second term. Fat Donny and his crime spree is looked upon admiringly by many of our RWNJs – they see a test case for their own proclivities. FauxMo sees a populist hero. Despite Morrison’s fawning even he will see the lack of appeal of a Trump-lite in the face of a crisis.

Boris Johnson, the rumpled defective currently squatting at 10 Downing Street, may get into knife fights for the cheap haircuts but he does have the toff background and scholarly knowledge to lend a jot of credibility to the Churchillian delusions he’d adopted with his treatment of Brexit as his Battle Of Britain, but it’s a bridge too far from The Shire to the war rooms of Whitehall for our second rate ad man. Gravitas to BroSco is what he puts on his chips at Maccas so the British Bulldog theme is not credible.

So, another bespoke personal brand is called for.

Serious, take charge leader seems like the appropriate option for FauxMo to recover from the poor look of his cowardly Hawaiian decamping holiday, his partying at Kirribilli to a backdrop of bushfire smoke and his embarrassingly risible photo ops amidst the charred remains of people’s lives.

Despite the new found, if belated, solemnity with the virus’s arrival, the real Morrison is still there. The facile slogans (“Australians being Australian”, “the Anzac spirit”), the hokey homilies, the condescending tone, the avoidance of scrutiny, the religiosity. The smirk still breaks through to remind us of the arrogance of this prick who’s more Captain Mainwaring than Winston Churchill.

FauxMo hasn’t changed, his elitist right-wing ideology has not changed and neither has that of the crime cartel working undercover as Tory MPs. Morrison’s capture by the mining lobby is complete with his call to Nev Power, ex-CEO of Fortescue Metals Group to head a Corona virus task force  (“I said Nev, I said love, I said pet”). Nev has no knowledge of epidemiology; his expertise is digging huge holes in the ground and sacking people.

The institutions that underpin a fair and functioning democracy are still on their shit list – unions, the ABC, the CSIRO, Medicare and Centrelink have all demonstrated their value during the pandemic. The Tory attacks upon them will be resumed over time if we allow it – FauxMo has said he wants things to return things to “normal”. The Lib’s agenda has been put on hold, it will be resumed camouflaged as recovering from the crisis.

Climate change, a greater threat than the virus, will be sacrificed in the name of “economic recovery”. Mining will be accelerated, safeguards dispensed with, the environment will be exploited as never before. Democratic oversight will not be fully restored. Rules limiting the number of people allowed to gather will be used to silence dissent. The sports rorts crimes will be brushed aside as unimportant. Accountability for the Ruby Princess debacle will be dodged. The incompetence of Stewart Robert and the dodginess of Angus Taylor will be swept under the carpet. Franking credits and tax cuts have already been ruled as sacrosanct. The spivs and grifters are working on their disaster capitalism business plans as we speak.

The positive steps that have been taken have a lifespan of 6 months, yet the negative aspects have no sunset clauses. Drought, fires, the virus and next up … a plague of profiteering locusts.

I hope I’m wrong. I fear I’m not.

This article was originally published on The Grumpy Geezer.

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