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Australian Drug Policy: ‘hypocrisy’ is not a strong enough word

By James Moylan

The 3.6 million dollar study testing the sewage in our capital cities for illegal drugs is simply more disinformation and bullshit. Let’s revisit the results from this study and consider them rationally.

The study indicates that in Australia the use of alcohol is equivalent to 1.2 drinks PER PERSON per day. Yet since this level of use is ‘at the lower Mediterranean end of consumption in Europe’ it is proposed that the levels of alcohol use in our society are not only entirely acceptable, but to be applauded. Yet the use of meth by 0.4% of the population is invariably described as being of significant concern.

What are the relative harms inflicted upon individuals and our society by the use of these two drugs?

Today the abuse of alcohol will cause 15 deaths and 430 hospitalisations. Same as yesterday. Same as tomorrow.

In 2010 (the last year there is collated information regarding these matters) there were 5,554 deaths and 157,132 hospitalisations which were directly attributable to alcohol abuse. We can assume that the statistics for death and disease have not changed much in the seven years since.

In 2011 there were 101 methamphetamine-related deaths in Australia. In other words; one death from the abuse of methamphetamine for every 55 deaths from the use of alcohol.

When you add to the death rate caused by alcohol abuse, those deaths that are caused by the abuse of tobacco products, then it can be demonstrated that the death rate from legal drugs in our society is at least 53 times more than the deaths caused by illegal drugs. How often do you see this fact being reported as part of a banner headline in our press?

The cost of alcohol-related harm in Australia, including harms caused by someone else’s drinking, is estimated to be $36 billion a year. One in five Australians aged 14 years and above drink at a level that puts them at risk of harm. Yet alcohol companies in Australia will nonetheless be allowed to spend an estimated $125 million this year on advertising.

So; today 15 people will die from abusing alcohol. Today the alcohol industry will spend $350,000.00 on advertising. Yet today the public will also pick up a bill for alcohol treatment, abuse, and harm, that will cost us all $9.8 million dollars. Just today. Same as yesterday. Same as tomorrow.

It is apparent that the drug war has failed the public. But, nonetheless, it has been, and continues to be, a runaway success for the alcohol and pharmaceutical companies, the media corporations, and organised crime.

By continuing to focus on the tiny percentage of deaths caused by illegal drugs our government enables the legal drug pushers in our society to remain respectable. By continuing to demonise illegal drugs the government enables the legal drug pushers to push the massive ongoing costs of dealing with the death and disease caused by their products onto the public purse. By continuing to demonise illegal drugs the mainstream media outlets can continue to pocket vast amounts of blood money without ever having to account for their actions. The public continues to pay the costs and the corporations and the media continue to pocket the profits.

Today nobody will die from abusing cannabis. However our courts will see more than sixty individuals charged with using, growing, or selling weed. This will destroy many otherwise law abiding lives.

Today there will be 15 deaths and 430 hospitalisations caused by the use of alcohol and at least 40 people will die from the use of tobacco products. However our courts will penalise nobody for these shattered lives, deaths, the resultant social destruction and the huge sums of public money that it will cost to sweep up all this wreckage.

Today there will be 55 deaths from alcohol and tobacco in our society and at least 3 deaths from the abuse of prescription drugs. However our media will continue to focus on reporting on a survey concentrating on the content of our sewage.

Illicit drugs kill almost 400 Aussies per year. Yes this is a tragedy for those involved.  However legal drugs kill at least 406 Aussies per week.

In other words; there is one illicit drug death for every 53 deaths caused by the legal use of legal drugs.

None of these facts are difficult to uncover. This accurate and authorised information is available to every journalist and politician in the country simply by plugging some information into the Google machine.

So why do we continue to see headlines that decry the massive impact of illicit drug use on our society? Why do our press outlets continue to peddle misinformation? Why do our politicians continue talk rot and fund ridiculous studies to examine and identify the cause of one in 53 of the deaths caused by drugs in our society? Even though the cause of the vast majority of drug deaths is apparent and obvious to anyone with eyes to see and a brain in their heads?

The simple answer is that our politicians and our media outlets are the recipients of vast amounts of blood money that is paid to enable the legal drug pushers to continue to trade in misery and despair and depend on the public purse to mop up the carnage caused by their products.

I don’t drink. It is a dangerous drug. It kills thousands of people every year. Yet I am not allowed to smoke weed? Yet weed has never been shown to have killed a single person in the entire history of our civilisation. What is wrong with this story?

Until we move to policing drug use in our society in a manner that is based on an assessment of the actual danger and harm associated with each individual drug then we will continue to see a spiralling death rate from drugs in our society and we will continue to see the vast majority of those deaths being completely ignored by  our politicians and media. Apparently, as far as our politicians and mainstream media are concerned, 406 deaths from legal drugs every week is entirely unremarkable, yet 400 deaths from illicit drugs in a year requires constant, ongoing, coverage.

‘Hypocrisy’ is not a strong enough word. ‘Hypocrisy’ implies just an intellectual deceit. Whereas, the reality is that the wanton disregard for the truth being engaged in by our politicians and media is actively contributing to costing our society at least $9.8 million dollars a day as well as leading to the continued deaths of at least 58 citizens every day; today, tomorrow, and the next day (ad infinitum).

Not only that – this evil and deliberately fostered ignorance is being masked by the continued scapegoating and demonization of anyone who might want to use an illegal drug which – when the facts are considered in the clear light of reason and reality – are undoubtedly far less dangerous and cause far fewer deaths and social dislocation and cost than do the drugs that are being manufactured by legal pushers, advertised by the media, and are being pushed across the counters of legal establishments all across our society. Drugs that are being advertised to adults and children in an almost unregulated fashion.

So ‘hypocrisy’ is not a strong enough word. In its place we might instead substitute the sentence; ‘deliberate propaganda on behalf of vested interests who have absolutely no regard for public health, social well-being, truth, or the many deaths being caused by these toxic yet legal substances.’

More people will die this year from the abuse of paracetamol and aspirin than will die from the abuse of methamphetamine – but don’t hold your breath waiting for either our press or our politicians to inform you of this fact.

 

Dutton stigmatises CEOs as no better than women. Wow.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton inexplicably stepped out of his portfolio last week to make commentary on CEOs with an opinion on marriage equality that does not coincide with his own.

Dutton singled out Qantas CEO Alan Joyce for particular attention, presumably because Mr Joyce is gay.

In a final flourish, Dutton advised CEOs to “stick with their knitting” and in so doing revealed the putrid depths of his masculinist contempt not only for gay men and marriage equality advocates, but also for women.

Knitting is largely (though not entirely) a female occupation. It has long been the practice of hegemonic masculinity to “feminise” and therefore devalue gay men through the conflation of homosexuality with effeminacy.

Heterosexual masculinists such as Dutton work to denigrate homosexuals and their CEO supporters as undesirably  “female” by suggesting that their expertise is not in the world of business, opinion and commentary, but rather in a confined domestic environment where they are powerless, voiceless, and, knitting.

The denigration works only if Dutton (and heterosexual masculinists of both genders who agree with his point of view) believes women are inferior, and uses the recommendation to “stick to your knitting” as a profoundly unpleasant, homophobic and sexist insult.

The Minister is actually saying: you have no place and no power in the world of “real” men like me, because if you are a man who supports marriage equality you are inevitably effeminate.

Dutton devalues the male CEOs by attributing to them the “feminine” activity of knitting, and simultaneously devalues women. Our real place is not, in his opinion, in the public space advocating marriage equality, but in a domestic life removed from concerns best left to masculinist politicians.

In Dutton’s view, gay men and male supporters lack masculinity, evidenced by their subversive refusal to unquestioningly support the hegemonic masculinity Dutton represents.

Indeed, Dutton’s masculinity is, like the Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton, defined by his heterosexuality. I recall Shelton’s plaintive tweet that if we allow marriage equality, no one will know he is straight.

Feminising gay men and supporters, stigmatising them as no better and no more relevant in the world than women, is an abject attempt to differentiate the heterosexual masculinist from his greatest perceived threat: a man who loves another man and in so doing becomes, oh dear god no, feminised.

In the world of heterosexual masculinists opposites attract, therefore, if you’re a man who loves a man, you must be a woman.

That this is employed as an insult by Dutton should give us significant pause.

Knitting is generally regarded as a harmless occupation, however, Dutton should note that knitters are not necessarily quite so bland. Madame Defarge, for example, knits contentedly on through the Revolution as the despised ruling heads of France fall one by one into the basket under the guillotine, their names stitched into her patterns.

Dutton has managed, in one short phrase, to cast a thoroughly offensive slur upon gay men and all women. Actually, there aren’t many human beings Dutton likes. This nasty piece of work does not belong in our government. Let’s hope his electorate see it that way.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

Sally McManus, the hero

Sally McManus is the hero of workers. Turnbull is welcome to try to villainise her, but in doing so, he’s only making himself the enemy.

In her first television interview as head representative of people who work, McManus was involved in what media-insiders call a ‘gotcha moment’. Courtesy of the get-me-a-gotcha-moment-in-place-of-any-useful-political-analysis-queen, Leigh Sales. In their version of events, McManus was in hot water for backing the safety of workers at any cost, even if that cost is breaking laws designed to help employers shirk any responsibility for protecting people who work for them.

Right wingers squealed in delight when Sales drew supposably controversial comments out of McManus so early in the piece. The attacks came thick and fast from all the obvious places, including many journalists, who tut-tutted about law-breaking as if the law-breaking in question was home invasion or carjacking. Even those from Fairfax, who were more than happy to illegally strike in protest at their own colleagues being sacked, apparently can’t see the irony of criticising workers who do the same thing when a colleague is killed. Christopher Pyne, jumping on McManus like a seagull on a chip, called on her to resign. Turnbull, grasping for something to divert from his own failures, said he couldn’t work with her.

A year ago, this whole episode would have been yet another predictable, not worth mentioning, union bashing media-beat-up. But things have changed in the past few months. People have woken up to wealth inequality. Australia saw this wake up contribute to Brexit and the election of Trump. Closer to home, we’ve had One Nation pop up in Turnbull’s double dissolution, only to be over-egged and come crashing back down in the WA election, where, lo and behold, Labor achieved an 8% swing in their primary vote without any help from minors.

Throughout this time, Turnbull’s government continues to be a mixture of insipid do-nothing indecision, scandal and destruction, infighting and chaos, ideological bastardy and economic incompetence while they sidestep from one policy disaster to the next. Amongst the attacks to Medicare, the undermining of welfare through the Centrelink debacle, the failure on energy policy, the distractions from fringe fundamentalists such as anti-marriage-equality and repealing hate-speech laws, there is one policy which stands shiny and red as the most detestable, a pimple on a bum of failure: an attack to wages through a cut to penalty rates. This decision was the nail in Turnbull’s coffin. Commentators and Federal Liberals can claim all they like that the electoral result in WA was a result of local issues. But there is absolutely no doubting that a cut to wages saw voters melting off Liberals like sweat from Turnbull’s, and Hanson’s brow.

Let’s get something clear. Wages are the central concern of the electorate. Yes, most of us have other concerns, including climate change, education, healthcare, infrastructure, housing affordability, energy policy, immigration, just to name a few. But first on Maslow’s Hierarchy of political needs for left-wing and right-wing voters alike is an economic indicator which is being felt personally in homes from Broome to Launceston, from Townsville to Bankstown: record low wage growth. To put it bluntly, workers aren’t paid enough for the productive labour they contribute to the economy. There is plenty of money being made. It’s just not reaching those who create it.

The electorate knows this. They might not be able to pinpoint exactly what the problem is, but they feel the anxiety of having to do more with less. They are working harder. They are paying more for housing, groceries, petrol, energy bills, healthcare and education. But they are not getting the hours they need to cover these costs, nor the pay-rises they deserve, to show how their contribution to profit is valued. Their jobs are too often casual and insecure, their wages stagnant and their lives feel stationary.

This tension and anxiety means the relationship between worker and employer, between labour and capital, is fraught. In turn, the relationship between those who represent workers – unions – in this case – Sally McManus, and those who represent capital – Turnbull, Pyne, big business, business lobbyists, Liberal donors, is more-than-usually-difficult.

When Turnbull said he can’t work with McManus, he was admitting he can’t work with workers. This isn’t a new state of affairs. Turnbull has never done anything positive for workers. Instead, he defends the employers who, as well as preferring to reward shareholders instead of workers, constantly fight for lower wages and less protections for workers. The penalty rate cut was just the latest in a long line of anti-worker policies rolled out by the Liberal government, including cuts to social and environmental policies which hurt all of us, worker or not.

When Sally McManus explained to Sales that her priority is to defend workers rather than defending laws designed to hurt workers, she wasn’t being caught in a trap. She was doing her job. Whether the media and right wing elite recognise it or not, we, workers, applaud Sally McManus for her principles. In that 730 interview, we saw a union leader standing up for us when our employers refuse to do the same. We saw a union leader standing up for us where the Liberal government refuse to do the same.

The political environment has changed in the last 12 months. Unions have been framed as the enemy for so long that the Turnbull government think they’re on a winner when they find a stick to beat unions with. What they’ve neglected to realise is that when they bash unions, they bash workers. Workers are sick of being the victim of Liberal governments. Workers are sick of being the victim of big business lobbying, which results in them taking home a shrinking share of the profits from their work. When Liberal governments bash unions, workers don’t see a hero fighting against a villain. They see a villain threatening their hero. With wage growth at record lows, workers need a hero. They have one in Sally McManus. Anyone stupid enough to fight the hero of workers, better be ready for an army poised to join their hero into battle.

I’m a politician and you’re not so shut up – the weirdness of Peter Dutton

It takes a pretty screwed up world for there to even be rumours of Peter Dutton being touted as a future leader.

We could talk about his dismal failure as a Health Minister, rated by the industry as the worst ever, or his failure as Immigration Minister to find any solution for the poor souls stuck on Manus and Nauru.

We could talk about his many gaffes, joking about islands being inundated or misdirecting a profane text supporting a disgraced minister to the journalist he was abusing.

We could talk about him sending a pregnant rape victim back to Nauru without counselling.

We could talk about his abuse of Sarah Hansen-Young about her claim that she was spied on, which turned out to be true, or his vilification of Gillian Triggs for doing her job.

We could talk about his statement that “Illiterate and innumerate” refugees would take Australian jobs at the same time as saying they would “languish” on the dole and use free health services provided by Medicare.

Or how he told parliament that Fraser made a mistake allowing Lebanese people to come here in the 70s as most terrorist-related offences are committed by their kids and grandkids.

We could talk about how he walked out of the chamber during the Stolen Generations Apology.

But today, I want to discuss his views on political correctness.

Dutton, like so many others of his ilk, talks repeatedly about “political correctness gone mad”.  He seems to feel that people’s right to be critical is being curtailed, but only if they agree with him.  People who disagree should hush.

As part of his annual pre-Christmas rant about carols being banned in schools – they haven’t been – he lambasted the political correctness of “left wing teachers.”

When teachers in NSW and Victoria wore t-shirts protesting Australia’s offshore detention camps for asylum seekers, Dutton said “If they want to conduct these sort of campaigns, do it online or do it in your spare time. Don’t bring these sort of views into the minds of young kids.”

A teacher’s job is to foster critical thinking.  It is crucial that the next generation be encouraged to consider the issues that they will soon be facing both as voters and as our future leaders.  To suggest that political issues should never be discussed is ridiculous.  I am certain Dutton would be more than happy for us to spend months talking about Menzies.

Teachers see first-hand the damage done by the divisive rhetoric of politicians like Dutton, Hanson and Christensen.  They understand the importance of inclusion and a feeling of self-worth, of safety, of hope for the future.  If Dutton thinks his words and actions, and the hatred they have unleashed, aren’t already in “the minds of young kids”, he is badly mistaken.

The same applies to the marriage equality debate and the Safe Schools program.

The message being sent to young people is that homosexuality is perverted.

The hysteria about the Safe Schools anti-bullying program sent a clear message that gender and sexuality are not issues that should ever be discussed in schools and anyone who did not conform with the “traditional” norms was indulging in deviant thoughts and behaviour which must be ignored.

This ostrich approach completely ignores the bullying and terrible suicide rate of young people which led teachers to ask for resources to be developed to help them deal with the tragedy they were witnessing.

The debate about marriage equality has hit the farcical position where Peter Dutton, that warrior against political correctness, is now telling us that, if we want to express a view about marriage equality, we should go into politics.

When more than 30 high-profile company executives joined together to sign a letter publicly urging the government to legislate for same-sex marriage, Dutton responded by saying publicly listed companies shouldn’t take political stances and business leaders should not prioritise debating moral issues over running their companies.

He said if chief executives want to debate moral issues they should quit business and seek election.

“If you want to become a politician, resign your job at $5 million a year, come on to $250,000, if they can tolerate that, and enter the political debate.”

“Become a politician.”

“This is a big problem for our country because if you have people who are afraid to speak out or afraid to remain neutral and I suspect some of these business leaders… are in that category,” Mr Dutton said.

The executives who signed the letter included Business Council of Australia chair Jennifer Westacott, Qantas boss Alan Joyce, Deloitte’s Cindy Hook, Commonwealth Bank chief Ian Narev, Australian Super chair Heather Ridout and KPMG’s Peter Nash.  Somehow I doubt these people have been intimidated into expressing their view.

“Some of these businesses are concerned that if they don’t sign up that they will be subject to a campaign which will be run online by GetUp! and others… and that is going to impact on their business.  I don’t know how we can tolerate that position.”

Or perhaps they think that this discrimination is detrimental to their employees and business.  Or maybe they are using their public profile to right a wrong.  Did that ever occur to you Peter?

According to Dutton, anyone who disagrees with his opinion must have been coerced, or, at the very least, they should just keep their opinions to themselves because they aren’t politicians.

See you Jay and raise you a fluoro vest

It was with great gusto and fanfare that our previously ineffectual Prime Minister announced his game-changing solution for energy security in Australia.

We will have, in a year or two…..drum roll please….a feasibility study!

Don’t get me wrong – when you are messing with river flows and drilling into mountains, a feasibility study is a good idea.

The thing I don’t understand is how you can announce the cost, the employment it will provide, the power it will generate, and a completion date, before you have even started the study.

The Victorian government, who are part owners of the Snowy Hydro scheme, only heard about the idea in the media – the Telegraph knew about it before they did.  And the NSW government, who are the majority shareholders, got a phone call the day before the announcement.

Frontier Economics managing director Danny Price said “At this stage I would regard the Snowy proposal as a ‘thought bubble’.  It’s not a quick fix. The problem we face now is immediate.”

Turnbull and Frydenberg would have us believe the project will be finished in four years.

Dr Mark Diesendorf of the University of NSW said he thought the project would take at least 10 years because they would have to tunnel through the Great Dividing Range and also build new transmission lines to handle the higher electricity capacity, which actually takes longer than building a new power station.

Dr Roger Dargaville of the Melbourne Energy Institute said pumped hydro needed the right mix of water and geography to make it work.

“It’s not cheap to do … and by most accounts the potential of the Snowy Hydro has already been tapped,” he said.

ARENA have been asked to do the feasibility study.  That’s the same ARENA that Tony Abbott tried to abolish and that Morrison’s Omnibus Bill proposed cutting $1.3 billion in funding from.  They succeeded in cutting $500 million, leaving them with $800 million over the next five years to fund renewable research, development and innovation.

Call me overly cautious, but I wouldn’t be making announcements and promises before the study is even begun.  Batteries could be a whole lot cheaper and definitely quicker option.

Call me overly cynical, but I wonder if this announcement would have been made if Jay Weatherill hadn’t gotten the ball rolling by taking control and action in SA.

Brandis must GO!

By Ross Hamilton

The Attorney General is the nation’s first law officer. That makes her or him our highest law officer in the nation. So it is not unreasonable to expect our Federal Attorney General to be a paragon of legal virtue. However our Attorney General, Senator George Brandis, is anything but.

There are plenty of matters which call the integrity of Brandis into question. For example there is the ongoing matter of just what his knowledge of and involvement in the Bell Resources liquidation in WA has been. However a seemingly much smaller matter shows just how disgraceful and unsuited to any form of legal office George Brandis actually is.

Back in 2014, one of the hot issues was looking at fallout from the first  Budget of the Abbott government. One cutback was removing funding from community legal centres. The Labor Opposition, specifically the Shadow Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, started looking into that decision. Dreyfuss lodged a Freedom of Information request for access to parts of the Brandis diary, concerned about just who Brandis had been meeting with in the lead-up to that budgetary decision.

Brandis refused to process the request. Note that this was not a refusal to provide the requested information but refusing to even process the request. The justification was that processing the request would take too long and also had some sort of security concerns.

Dreyfuss took the matter to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The AAT had no problems finding that Brandis did indeed have to process the request – not necessarily handing over the requested doco, but simply process the request in the proper, formal manner. The Tribunal’s finding was that there was no practical reason for refusing to process the request and therefore Brandis’ staff had to examine the request and commence processing.

Brandis took the matter to court, appealing to the Federal Court. Last September, the Full Court of the Federal Court threw out the Brandis objection, finding that he and his staff did indeed have to properly consider the FOI request. And again, this was not a direction to hand over the requested documentation, just to properly consider the request for it. A sense of just what the members of the Court really felt about the matter is perhaps reflected in how quick they were to make Brandis pay all costs.

To help place this in context, is it really that big a deal to make the diary available? And the answer is ‘No’. For example, Julia Gillard routinely published her diary contents. When a journalist requested access to the diary of Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, the Minister had no problems in publishing her diary. But Brandis refuses to even properly process a request for access to his diary’s contents.

It is now some six months since the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia, directed the Attorney General, Senator George Brandis QC, to properly  consider the request. And HE STILL HASN’T DONE IT.

The Attorney General is NOT above the law. The Attorney General does NOT get to pick and choose what court directions he will abide by. What makes this matter even more ludicrous is that Brandis is not just any old mug playing games. Brandis was a lawyer before entering the Senate. Not any old lawyer, Brandis was, and still is, a Queens Counsel.

Shadow Attorney Dreyfuss now has to go back to the courts, yet again, to ask the courts to put a final date by which Brandis should have processed the request. And in so doing, the Dreyfuss team is pushing for Brandis to be found in contempt of court. And that is exactly what Attorney General, Senator George Brandis, is – he has shown utter contempt for the law of our nation, deeming himself to be beyond it.

Enough is enough. There are three acceptable actions that must be taken:

  1. Brandis must be found in contempt of court and face all consequences including all legal penalties and parliamentary sanctions;
  2. Brandis must be made personally accountable for ALL costs, not passing them back on the taxpayer;
  3. Prime Minister Turnbull must immediately dismiss Brandis from all offices as someone who acts in this manner is not fit to even be in parliament, let alone holding such senior offices as Attorney General.

If you agree with me, then I strongly encourage you to contact the Prime Minister and demand the immediate sacking of Brandis. You may also wish to sign and distribute my petition calling for the Prime Minister to immediately remove Senator Brandis from the office of Attorney General.

This article was originally published on Ross’s Rant.

 

WA Liberal landslide buries Turnbull and Hanson.

It’s a Labor landslide in WA. Mark McGowan’s party may end up with 41 seats as the Liberal primary vote collapses 15% , and it’s all over bar the infighting and the recriminations. Yet one thing is sure. The fall of “Emperor” Colin Barnett can have nothing to do with Malcolm Turnbull; no blame no responsibility is accepted. Nothing to do with Turnbull’s support for the One Nation preference deal or his government’s dud policies. Instead the WA Premier invokes Whitlam.

It’s an overwhelming “it’s time factor”, Colin Barnett lies as WA Liberals openly wish they’d dumped him. Shit happens.

The ineluctable truth of Turnbull’s blamelessness emerges on ABC Insiders as “How the West Was Lost”, a gripping media mystery drama, reveals a mob of scapegoats for Liberal failure in a week of dodgy deals and reversals in which our anti-scare tactic PM’s Great Big Energy Crisis is gazumped by electron-magnate Elon Musk who offers a stack of Tesla batteries to keep the lights on in South Australia, a rashly wind and sun powered renewable rogue state.

Peter Georgiou, who takes his brother-in-law Rod Culleton’s senate spot, catches measles, a setback concealed during the campaign lest anyone laugh; or cast nasturtiums at One Nation’s crusade against childhood vaccination. There is no hope Georgiou can match the gifted buffoonery or performance art of his bankrupt predecessor but he is already off to a brilliant start not only with the measles but with his all-in-the-family route to power.  One Nation is a one-ring circus.

Not to be outdone, moreover, La Hanson suddenly falls arse over tit. Everything is going so well, too. She’s set to be crowned Queen of WA by an adoring media, when she inexplicably trips over her lip; declares herself both a Putinista and a passionate anti-vaxxer. Naturally. All Trump torch carriers are virulently anti-jab and pro Putin, too.

Hanson’s revelations cause a stir. Some PHON dingbats flee the belfry. Brazen hussy. Traitor. What became of Pauline’s Celebrity Apprentice bikini-bottoms with the Australian flag on? Worse, she self-aborts her mission. Her WA Liberals’ preference deal reveals to even One Nation voters that Pauline is just another conniving politician. It’s a fatal error. Half her predicted supporters turn against her. Beliefs, Peter Ustinov said, are what divide people. Doubts unite them.

Not that Hanson is wearing any of it. Quickly, the Liberal’s senate stooge finds a handy scapegoat for her failure.

“I don’t think it was the Liberal Party, I think it was Colin Barnett. The people here did not want Colin Barnett — he should have stepped aside.” Or thrown out. Like milk in your fridge that’s started to go sour, she says. It’s easy to see why Turnbull confidante and inner cabinet member Arthur Sinodinos praised One Nation’s sophistication recently.

The truth is voters have stepped aside – and not only from Colin Barnett. They’re not that sweet on Pauline either.

Not only does Pauline’s pixie dust suddenly wear off, however, lame duck Turnbull’s fate is sealed by the sand-gropers’ no-vote, based in real fear that the Coalition is just an ill-disguised front for business, bankers and miners with its coal-war on the climate and environment and its class-war on the poor.  Turnbull’s leadership is terminal. No ABC-led defence can help him now. He is a dead man walking even if he dare not show his face before noon.

The PM goes into witness protection, yet a piece by a Malcolm Turnbull appears 9:00 am in The Sunday Telegraph with the Dubai World’s Best Minister Greg Hunt threatening to bar unvaccinated kids from childcare and preschools. “No jab no pay will be matched by no jab no play.” Mal’s even written a letter commending his idea to state and territory leaders.

Sky News calls it the PM’s “hard stance on vaccinations”. Hunt repeats the word “tough” twice. It must be a stiff letter. The Liberal party’s storm-troopers are scrambled to put Humpty Dumpty back together again starting from the tough up. Sturmmann Matthias Stormin’ Cormann is despatched to stonewall on ABC TV. He belabours the Liberals’ preference deal’s impeccable logic.  It would put a floor under a declining primary vote of 29%, he repeats ad nauseam.

Cormann’s the Liberals’ master tactician and powerbroker. His recent master stroke was to be seen walking out with Peter Dutton recently. Dutton wants to head up a new uber-department of Homeland Security an idea which many of his colleagues dismiss as a naked power grab by the Border Enforcer and his boss Mike Pezullo who amalgamated Customs and Border Protection without over troubling to get them working together properly. Or communicating.

Some see Dutton keenly building a power base from which to challenge Turnbull. Homeland Security would take what is laughably called oversight of ASIO from Attorney General. Others see Turnbull so beholden to the right and so keen to be free of Brandis that he will agree. It will not be a path to the top but to the bottom. Dutton struggled to run Health. He is overwhelmed by the tasks of winding up Manus and running down Nauru. His refugee deal with Trump is stalled.

Out of his stall and a law unto himself as ever, deputy leader Barnaby Joyce calls the preference deal “a mistake” before offering some colourful opinions on ABC Radio about One Nation’s senate candidates. “Mad”, he says.” Lucky this is not being broadcast.” Labor simply replies swiftly that Fizza Turnbull failed to act on his power to veto the deal.

Of course there are local factors. Barnett’s switched-on plan to privatise state electricity in WA seems a turn off for voters. It’s worked so well in other states. In Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, prices soar as systems become less reliable. The “Junior, sweaty, Navy Lawyer” attack on McGowan by the typically sensitive Minister for Welfare Extortion and sandgroper, Christian Porter may have not struck the right note early in the campaign.

But in a post truth, fake news Trumpocene age, personal abuse beats rational argument any day. Besides, didja hear what Turnbull called Shorten?

Like their federal counterpart, the WA Liberals are lean on policy.  Astonishingly, also, Colin Barnett fails to convince anyone that he should waste a third term pretending to be an effective State Premier after blowing the proceeds of the mining boom, driving up the state debt and causing credit ratings and property prices to fall.

The Department’s pre-election budget update forecast total public sector debt will reach $41.1 billion by mid-2020.

Then there’s the elephant in the room of WA’s dodgy queue-jumping tax grab. Barnett’s government passed legislation in late 2015 to seize control of the $1.8 billion assets from the Bell liquidation — potentially jumping ahead of the ATO and other creditors. Somehow Joe Hockey and Attorney General George Brandis led them to believe that the federal government backed WA’s strategy. The High Court threw out the legislation on appeal, humiliating the WA government.

Sadly, Brandis’ inability to recall the nature or the precise date of his involvement may have misled parliament over the issue. The AG seems to have confused everyone. The case may also have cast a cloud over the Barnett regime. Certainly it has led to calls for Brandis to resign. Whatever else may be said, however, the Premier is clearly not short of big ideas.

You can’t fault Barnett for innovative policy. He’s out there doing the hard yards promising ripper statues of sporting heroes at the new Perth Stadium, not just a digital tribute, but a whole new statue every two years, plus a whole bunch of other stuff in aquaculture, Aboriginal rock art and tourism along with a pledge to see the federal government’s wonderful new Sunday penalty rate cuts translated into state awards, too. Plucky? “You bet you are. You bet I am.”

But you can’t fight city hall. Barnett is blown away by the Tsunami of unpopularity that is the Turnbull government.

Despite all the spin, the WA result is clearly a rejection of the Turnbull government’s Centrelink Robo-debt extortion of the poor and its equally cruel penalty-rate cuts. The state with 6.5% unemployed and rising, the nation’s highest, even measured by the government’s rubbery figures, also smarts over the barefaced robbery of Coalition tax cuts for the wealthy, while International Women’s Day this week reminds us that we remain one nation divided by entrenched gender inequality.  It’s even more keenly experienced in the new mining industrial rustbelt of WA.

Women with children, workers least equipped to find childcare other days in the week, suffer the most from the government’s cutting Sunday penalty rates. They bear a disproportionate part of the social, emotional and economic brunt of the government’s push to have more Australians under-employed in an increasingly part-time casualised workforce where hours may grow, wages are stagnant and penalty rate cuts increasingly undermine household budgets.

Things are likely to get worse. Legal opinion for the ACTU released Friday by lawyers Maurice Blackburn finds that the Fair Work Commission case to consider consumer expectations and not to actively deter weekend work could be used to reduce awards in nursing and health care, transport, security, cleaning services, construction, clerical workers, laundry services, hair and beauty industries, trainers, mining and factories.

Employment Minister and Minister for Women, avid part-time property investor and lip readers’ gift, Michaelia Cash says it’s all a Labor lie but since her claim to have overlooked registering her 1.5 million property investment next door, no-one can believe a word she says.  She’s a big fan of penalty cuts but you’d never know it – now. She’s in witness protection for the duration. Or at least until there’s no risk of being questioned about her property management skills.

At least Pauline tells it like it is. Even if the big ideas don’t always fit the sentence. Hanson’s support for penalty rate cuts goes back to running the Ipswich fish shop. Labor’s to blame. McDonald’s undercut her minimum wage. She had to pay eight dollars an hour more. EBA’s are to blame. It’s not the sort of pitch the average WA worker can relate to.

Yet the jabs break through. Not every mother owns a small business but all mothers know what is to have sick children.

Along with her dangerous advice to parents to make up their own minds on vaccinating their children, a song from Donald Trump’s hymnbook, she professes love for Russian despot Vladimir Putin, whom she naively praises as “a strong leader” who “stands up for his country” – not one who invades others to seize lands where ethnic Russians may live  – as indicated by his incursion into Georgia, his seizure of Crimea and his role in the “frozen conflict” in eastern Ukraine.

28 Australians were among the 298 passengers killed when MH17 a Boeing 777 flying civilians was blasted out of the sky over Ukraine by a Russian missile, an act for which Hanson’s beloved strong leader, Vladimir Putin, refuses to take responsibility.

The media turn. Even ABC Insiders Barrie Cassidy can’t let her ignorance go unchallenged. Turnbull himself weighs in later and has another dab Sunday while Bill Shorten makes a bipartisan show of support for a factually based public health policy. It’s the high point of the political week – if you don’t count Colin Barnett’s comeuppance. Or Georgiou.

A concerted stand against Hanson may be good news for the nation this week even if the ABC gets its nose rubbed in its mess. In retaliation for holding Australia’s Trumpista to account, the ABC is barred access to her WA election wake where party members console themselves that their dismal showing was all the fault of Barrie Cassidy. Doubtless the banks and those international financiers who created the climate change hoax for profit have a hand in it, too.

Hanson’s “humilating flop” as Malcolm Farr calls it in WA parallells her failure to coordinate a handful of senators and makes a complete mockery of her leadership pretensions. But it’s not what people are telling her she says. It’s not what she hears from the voters. Like Corey Bernardi, she claims a type of clairaudience. She intuits the people’s will. Incredibly, no-one else can do this.  Amazingly, ordinary people who lack her access to the media always agree with her.

No rebuke will easily dint Hanson’s rock-star popularity. Like her idol Trump, her fans are nurtured more by mutual ignorance, fear and hatred than petty details such as factual accuracy. Yet  the preference deal with the Liberals, goes badly. She admits as much Saturday as she acknowledges PHON has won less than five per cent of the lower house vote and seven per cent in the upper.

Gone is any hope of the swag of seats predicted earlier. Gone is the prospect of holding the balance of power. PHON will be lucky to get one or two seats in a big Senate cross bench. Yet straight-faced she blames the Liberal Party.

Hanson, Labor helpfully reminds voters, is supposed to be above preference deals; that type of politics.  No-one says that her WA bid is preposterous; no-one whispers she is utterly, ludicrously out of her depth; not waving but drowning.  Luckily, however, there are others competing for Australian politics Darwin Award for individuals who contribute to improving the evolution of our national politics by selecting themselves out of the gene pool by self-destruction.

Perennial Darwin Award contender and sole survivor over his 2016 how to vote Liberal in the Senate fiasco plucky Tassie Senator Erich Abetz jostles to the front of the pack this week with some beaut new views on how women win respect.

“Queen Elizabeth II has demonstrated that hard work and commitment earn you far more respect than demanding that people make way and artificially promote you simply because of your sex,” tweets the budding local female emancipist, pocket philosopher and inveterate attention seeker Abetz who trips badly in his run-up to achieving his own unique insight into International Women’s Day. Abetz succeeds once again only in putting both feet into his mouth.

Last October, Abetz was berating the media for bias in failing to celebrate those who come out straight.  “Ever thought why there is no celebration for those that decide to go from the homosexual to heterosexual lifestyle? Are they not honest? Are they not coming out as well? … just one of the examples of the one-way traffic and bias from the media.”

HRH, one hopes, will overlook Eric’s slight on her inherited privilege, status and wealth – just as women whose hard work and commitment has not yet made them members of the royal family may now safely overlook anything the senator says as the blathering of a manifest idiot who has no clue about gender inequality and less about gender politics.

Media bias, however, to be fair to Eric, is firmly entrenched although the traffic follows the money; flows Eric’s way.

An ally, of sorts, for example, in Abetz’ quest to misrepresent, dismiss or deny the gravity of gender inequality is to be found on what Peter Dutton sees as the jihadist conspirators’ ABC’s The Drum where one of a panel of “successful businesswomen” points out that the surest path to equal opportunity is to have your stockbroker gal pal on your speed dial. She’ll be the one with the best baby-sitting contacts. Abetz is right about the bias; The Drum is an exclusive club where success talks to itself in public.

In the same way, politicians talk to themselves in the media, or over each other or the interviewer, a process they fondly describe as “having a national conversation”.

None of these token successes have anything remotely useful to offer ordinary women whose lives in their own ways deserve every bit as much celebration and affirmation. Their presence is a reproach to all those who are trying to run a home and a family on a hopelessly inadequate and shrinking part-time wage.

Our media promotes inequality in privileging the discourse of the successful as it does by ensuring the dominance of a white male middle-class elite. If you are a woman, for example, you have a one per cent chance of being interviewed in a newspaper, on TV or radio or any other form of media. And in news coverage, three quarters of all women are invisible. Only about 24% of all people seen, heard or read about in the news are female.

Although women make up 46 per cent of all employees in Australia, they take home on average $283.20 less than men each week (full-time adult ordinary time earnings). The national gender “pay gap” is 18.2 per cent and it has remained stuck between 15 per cent and 18 per cent for the past two decades.

The PM honours International Women’s day with community legal centres in Australia, facing a 30% funding cut from the federal government next financial year. Tasmania’s state government recently announced they would make up the difference.

Nothing is heard from Minister for women Michaelia Cash about penalty rate cuts which hurt women the most. Nor does the government express any compassion or concern for the consequences of Robo debt clawback – although the ten per cent debt recovery surcharge may well be illegal – as too are its methods of discouraging protest.

News comes this week that the department pulls the files of those who make a fuss and sends their personal details to the Minister, who then may pass them on to be used against the ungrateful welfare recipient. It’s an extraordinary admission of another step towards a totalitarian state. It fits with Brandis’ recent admission that the AFP accesses certain journalists’ meta-data in order to hunt down whistle-blowers.

Soon this may all be under the aegis of Peter Dutton. What could possibly go wrong?

WA is at the very least a slap in the face for the federal government. It is almost certainly the end of Malcolm Turnbull. It may well be, also, that it is the beginning of the end for Pauline Hanson whose attempt to make it on the national stage has not got much beyond a seat on the cross-bench.

Or is it the end of the beginning? Certainly the curbing of the mainstream media’s fawning indulgence of a celebrity politician with some dangerously false ideas is a welcome corrective against infectious ignorance and division.

Now the same process needs to be sustained on the wilful disinformation of those in the major parties who would divide and dupe us for their ends and their backers’ profits.

Why The WA Result Has Absolutely No Implications For Turnbull

While Pauline has decided to emulate her hero, Donald Trump, and ban a certain news organisation from her post-election party because she can, I hear from other outlets that she thought that One Nation had a great result in the WA election. Yes, one poll told us that they were likely to get twenty percent, and most polls suggested a vote as high as ten, Pauline isn’t greedy and was happy with almost five. After all, they really weren’t ready and they weren’t very organised and they had to rush everything, so all things considered, it was a very good result and if it wasn’t for the media stoking controversy by reporting what she actually said, then it would have been a great result. Yes, she did talk about Putin and vaccinations but these things weren’t the things that mattered and people were drawn to her because she spoke about Important Issues that Mattered to People. And yes, the preference deal was a mistake, but they wouldn’t rule out doing it again. Similarly, the Liberals weren’t ready to concede that it was a mistake, even though they were acknowledging that maybe it hadn’t worked as well as they’d hoped.

Basically they sounded like a couple who’d hooked up online, had a quickie before they’d finished their first drink together, felt a sense of embarrassment when telling their respective friends, but neither was prepared to rule out a repeat, because they both suspected that they’d soon be desperate enough to do it again.

It seems that both parties overlooked the simple fact that the exchange of presences doesn’t work that well, unless the other party is actually getting votes. To be fair, they did both get votes. Just not enough to actually help each other actually win any seats. Although as one brave Liberal suggested, there were still a couple of lower house seats where One Nation preferences might get them over the line. If that happens that should give the Liberals bragging rights over the Nationals. “See, we still won twice as many seats as you did!” Sort of makes the deal worth it!

Predictably, there were no Federal Implications in this election. As Matt-Finish Cormann told us, this election was fought on State Issues, and when asked about Shorten’s comments that penalty rates had been a factor, the Terminated told us that Bill Shorten was irrelevant and he only came over to bask in the glory of Labor’s win. Now, I know that some Labor supporters will want to point out that Shorten went over several times to campaign, while Turnbull only went once, told WA not to expect anything to be done about the GST carve-up until after the next Federal election but he did feel their pain and he intended to do something about someday and jobs and growth, innovation, innovation, Labor bad, jobs and growth, aren’t I handsome, vote for whatsisname and yeah, Pauline isn’t a bad sort is she, jobs and growth, thank you linesman, thank you ball-boys, let’s get out of here before I have to take some of the blame, and who are those villagers circling with torches and pitchforks, before disappearing back to Canberra as fast as his little jet would take him.

So, all things considered, it seems exactly as I wrote yesterday, that Malcolm will be completely safe and that nobody will see this as something that could reflect on the current Canberra mob in any way. I’m also expecting that Tony Abbott will appear sometime today and express his belief that now is not the time to change leaders, Andrew Bolt will write a column on what a great job Turnbull is doing, Malcolm will talk about his great working relationship with Scott Morrison and Cory Bernardi will ask to rejoin the Party. because, well, this was all about State Issues!

They only got the job because they wear headscarves – Bolt’s bombastic bullshit

To Andrew Bolt

What a condescending twat you are.  You, who have no qualifications and no experience outside being a media whore, dare to criticise two admirable women, who are far more educated, credible and informative than you, just because they are speaking out.

For the vast majority of you who will not be aware of the Dolt’s latest offering, he wrote an article in the Telegraph titled “Fledgling Pundit is in over her headscarf.”

It begins…

“Why does the ABC hire and promote Muslim women in headscarfs, but not ones with hair free?  And why is it exploiting Yasmin Abdel-Magied, who is surely too young for this?”

He suggests that Susan Carland and Yasmin Abdel-Magied are “vocal apologists for Islam and dress as identifiably Muslim, covering their hair in elaborate scarfs and turbans.”

“It seems to me like the ABC is using Carland and Abdel-Magied to proselytise for Islam – and for a conservative version.  After all, in my view neither is particularly good as a presenter, yet is has showered both with opportunities.

But is the ABC unfairly exploiting Abdel-Magied to push its agenda?  She is only 26.  At that age, I’d just worked on a Labor election campaign and was about to start another.  I was passionately for legal euthanasia.

Since then, with time, thought, and sometimes hard experience, I’ve changed those sympathies.  I’ve grown.

I expect Abdel-Magied will too.

Will she even keep believing in Islam, with its apparent Jew hatred, rants against unbelievers and tales of Mohammed riding a horse to heaven from the top of Temple Mount?

Maybe yes, maybe no.  But a woman of only 26 should be free to change.

Abdel-Magied must know that all of this – the money, applause – might go if she renounced her faith or the symbol of her submission.”

Where to begin with that patronising, jealousy-laden, bunch of crap.

How do you know there are no Muslim women with hair free at the ABC?

Perhaps Muslim women have felt it necessary to seek a platform in the media to counter the irrational hatred that is being spread by people like you, Hanson and Lambie – to show that not all Muslims are machete-wielding terrorists and that not all Muslim women are subservient victims of patriarchal abuse.

To trivialise these women, to suggest they have only been employed because of their headgear, is exactly the same as when you suggested that people were given jobs because they were Aboriginal.  I hope they are consulting their lawyers.

Susan Carland completed a Bachelor of Arts and Science at Monash University. Her Honours thesis looked at women’s access to the mosque.

Susan teaches gender studies, politics, and sociology at Monash University, with a special focus on Muslim women and Muslims in Australia.  She received a scholarship to do her PhD in politics and sociology, looking at the way Western Muslim women fight sexism within their own traditions and communities.

In 2004, she was named Australian Muslim of the Year. Susan is also listed as one of the international ‘Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow’ by the UN Alliance of Civilisations.  She is the co-creator of the Victorian Convert Support Service, and has managed the Islamic Council of Victoria’s youth wing, Grassroots.

In 2003, she gave the International Women’s Day address at Parliament House in Victoria. She has also spoken at Chatham House in London, the Muslim Professionals Forum in Malaysia, and has been a panelist for Issues Deliberation Australia, a public policy think-tank.

Yasmin Abdel-Magied attained a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) from the University of Queensland in 2011, receiving First Class Honours.  She was a member of the board of Queensland Museum from 2008 – 2012 and is currently an ambassador for the museum. In August 2011, she was appointed to the Council for Multicultural Australia. She was part of the organising committee for the 2014 G20 Summit in Brisbane. In November 2014, she became a board member of ChildFund Australia.

In November 2015, she was appointed to the board of directors of OurWatch, an organisation for the prevention of domestic violence. In October 2016 the ABC program Australia Wide was recommissioned and is now presented by Abdel-Magied. In 2016, she was named an academic fellow of Trinity College in the University of Melbourne. She is currently a member of the board of the Council for Australian-Arab Relations. and a director of Youth Without Borders.

In 2016 the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), sent Abdel-Magied to the Middle East to promote Australia. She visited Riyadh Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi UAE, Dubai UAE, Doha Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Ramallah Palestine, Israel, Cairo Egypt and Sudan.

Abdel-Magied was named as one of the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence 2012. She was awarded Young Australian of the Year for Queensland in 2015. She was named in the top 100 most influential engineers in Australia by Engineers Australia in 2015.

But maybe she’ll grow up to be a pretentious puppet of the IPA just like you Andrew, a champion of ignorance and bigotry, a conservative pretender and paid mouthpiece for corporate greed and pious hypocrisy.

Somehow I doubt it though,  These women have already contributed a great deal more to our country than you ever have or ever will.

Day to Day Politics: John Howard’s a bloody old Luddite.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

1 I think John Howard and I are almost the same age. We are both residents of the same country. It’s there that the similarities end. He is a Nationalist, I am an Internationalist.

“I was delighted with the result of the Brexit referendum,” he told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia forum in Sydney on Friday last. “The British people made the right decision. I saw that decision as being very much a cry for national sovereignty and control of their own affairs.”

He tried to deny that immigration was at the voter’s centre of attention.

“That wasn’t in my view a fundamental reason.”

He was no stranger to stoking the fires of nationalist hatred. His speech told us that he still has interest in the cultural wars being waged by his remaining acolytes.

“I think political correctness has become a problem in Western societies, we’ve become far too apologetic about our Western identity and anything that’s a sense of some kind of defence of cultural traditionalism or national identity is in many ways frowned upon.”

Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war. Taking the fight up to the social progressives. Rallying the troops for another assault on marriage equality, climate change and a host of other things.

At a time when the world is screaming out for leaders like Angela Merkel or the suave modernity of Canada’s Justin Trudeau, we are instead having nationalists like Trump thrust upon us. In Australia it’s the likes of Pauline Hansen who trumpet the simplistic but popular nationalist theme, or the unadulterated hypocrisy of Malcolm Turnbull.

If John Howard had taken an in-depth look at the Brexit polling results he would have found that overwhelmingly the young voted to stay. The young look forward into a time that the leaders of today will never occupy and see things that our ageing leaders don’t.

They see a time when Climate Change will change the way society functions. They concern themselves with how jobs will be found for everyone. How water will be distributed and who will grow the food for an ever-increasing world population. They are more empathetic toward others and see a global world.  They don’t see the answers in a closed shop mentality of Trumpish nationalism. They see solutions to complex problems coming from cooperative internationalism.

The profile of Pauline Hansen supporters in Australia isn’t in the under 40s. It’s the elderly longing for an Australia that has passed them by. Protesting the changes that oddly have made our nation the success it is.

Allow me to digress. Last year I visited Melbourne to have lunch with a friend. When it became time to depart I had some time to spare so I purchased a bag of chips and a cup of coffee from a fast food outlet on Flinders Street station.

”Do you mind if I sit here I said to a young man with deep black purplish skin.”

I initiated conversation. He was a little reluctant at first but conversation soon flowed. He was from Somalia, learnt English here and had a familiar Aussie Accent. He was doing an Arts degree at Melbourne University. When he left to catch his train I sat and pondered the flowing mass of humanity that occupied the collective stations of Flinders street. Observation tells us much.

Sitting in my seat on the train the  station gradually disappeared and I contemplated the Flinders Street Station I remembered as a young boy working in Central Melbourne. You never saw a black face then. In fact it was a bland community compared to today’s diversity. My country has changed in many ways and I have been a recipient of all that so my cultures have deposited in our country.

When I think about Australian culture or values I am at a loss to explain. In what decade I think to myself. I would say that Australian culture cannot be described without using the word diversity. As to our values, well I guess they are the same as many other countries, freedom security and peace are universal. I am yet to hear the likes of Hansen adequately explain just what Australian culture is.

Our Culture has changed progressively since I was a lad. Some of my vintage have adapted and appreciated why change is necessary and we  are still true blue Aussies in every sense of the word.

With so many cultures we will increasingly become a melting pot of vast ethnic diversity. It will and is constantly changing. My belief is that new migrants can only be expected to meet the same standards that apply to the rest of us, obey the laws of the land and try to be good citizens. To be expected to replace one’s ethnicity with another overnight is simply unreasonable.

Young people know the issues, if not the politics, and the way forward is not by closing our doors with Nationalistic fever, but by being more open to the problems of the future, by being an open society.

Unlike me John Howard never learnt how to use a computer or the value of the internet. Still a Luddite.

”John Howard said Donald Trump’s election and Britain’s decision to quit the European Union demonstrated a global push for greater ”national sovereignty” that’s also affecting Australian politics.”

Two observations.

In terms of social activism. The word wait should never mean never.”

“A commitment to love and social justice demands the transformation of social structures as well as our hearts and minds'”

The push for “National Sovereignty” as Howard puts it, in large part, can be put down to the inequality he and other conservatives saw fit to impose on us.

2 Essential Media this week still has Labor 6 Points clear of the Coalition.

They have some interesting observations in the weekly surveys.

A Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to reduce current Sunday penalty rates paid in retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy industries?

32% approve of the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to reduce current Sunday penalty rates and 56% disapprove.

Those most likely to approve were Liberal National voters (55%), men (40%) and aged 65+ (49%).

Those most likely to disapprove were Labor voters (74%), Greens voters (73%), women (63%) and aged 18-24 (64%).

B Q. What do you think will be the more likely result of cutting penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers?

57% think that the most likely result of cutting penalty rates will be that businesses will make bigger profits. 24% think businesses will employ more workers.

Those most likely to think businesses will make more profits were Labor voters (73%) and Greens voters (66%).

Those most likely to think businesses will employ more workers were Liberal National voters (42%) and aged 65+ (41%).

More interesting questions here.

3 I had an email from a friend

”I’ve a neighbour who supports Hansen.  He’s not a fool.  He knows he’s being fu%ked by the system and he’s angry.  His anger distorts his common sense.’’

On this day in 2016 I wrote the following (I was tempted to post the whole article):

Traditionally two-thirds of the American economy has relied on consumerism. Wages are still at levels they were 30 years ago. Even people on average wages require food stamps to survive. People no longer have disposable income to feed the hungry giant of consumerism.

In Australia a similar situation is developing. Wages growth is at an all-time low and the government seems intent on keeping them so. The problem though is that without wages growth consumers don’t have expendable income sufficient to meet consumer demand for goods and services. America has found that out. Conservatives don’t seem to comprehend that you may be able to obtain growth on the back of low wages but if the low wages prevent people from buying what you produce. You have defeated your purpose.

Revolutionised morally regulated capitalism could, if legislated and controlled enable everyone an equitable opportunity for economic success. With equality of opportunity being the benchmark of all economic aspiration and legislation. In America 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined?

None Union wages are also affected by the decline of unions. Tax cuts to the wealthiest have not improved the economy or created more jobs.

The incomes of the top 1% have increased exponentially since the GFC.

Conservative Republicans couldn’t care less.

The problem is the politics.

In Australia, although not yet at the same level as the US, inequality is manifesting itself in a similar fashion. At the end of Peter Costello’s tenure as treasurer he was asked why the rich had become 7% richer. His answer was to say that at least the poor had not become poorer. Joe Hockey said that:

“The bottom line is we have to lift the tide so that all boats rise.”

This is akin to Thatcher’s:

“The poor will be looked after by the drip down effect from the rich’.”Time has proven this a nonsense. So will Hockey’s.

The government’s actions since the 2013 election have been anything but an attempt to bridge the gap. To the contrary there has been an unashamedly concerted effort to take from those less well of (there is no need for me to list them) and give to the rich. And all indications suggest that this will continue with unabated irrationally.

 My thought for the day.

”The ideas of today need to be honed with critical reason, factual evidence and scientific methods of enquiry so that they clearly articulate the currency of tomorrow.”

 

Tudge releases unauthorised documents, and where are the “leading” feminists?

Please feel free to email, phone or visit this man with your opinions.

The Guardian has this afternoon reported that Human Services Minister Alan Tudge “accidentally” authorised the sending of confidential internal briefings concerning Centrelink complainant Andie Fox and marked “official use only,” to Fairfax journalist Paul Malone for publication.

The documents included information about Ms Fox from the Australian Tax Office. It’s unclear whether or not DHS has notified the ATO of this data breach.

The Guardian became aware of the “mistake” when the same documents were sent to that publication after journalists requested further information from DHS on the Tudge debacle.

Tudge has assured parliament that he lawfully authorised the release of Fox’s information to Malone. However, given he now claims some of those documents were “accidentally” released, he could not also have authorised them unless he authorised an accident, which is entirely possible and if so, situates us in even more bizarre territory than we found ourselves in yesterday.

It was also revealed today that Alan Tudge requires regular updates from his staff, gleaned from social media, on which Centrelink users are complaining about their experiences with that department.

Centrelink is stalking customers who publicly complain about their services.

Any Centrelink employee who released documents marked “for official use only” to the media would be sacked and prosecuted. I expect the same treatment for Minister Tudge. Don’t you?

Andie Fox is a single mother, chosen by Tudge as a scapegoat to distract from his astronomical incompetency. As I’ve noted in earlier posts, the power imbalance between Alan Tudge, Paul Malone of Fairfax, and Andie Fox is incalculable. As I’ve also noted before, there are thousands of complainants Tudge could have chosen to attack, however, he chose a single mother, one woman because, I suggest, he imagined her to be an easy target, and we know how the LNP feel about single mothers.

And yet not one leading feminist has seen fit to speak out about Ms Fox’s plight. Not one feminist with a platform has chosen to use it to discuss this situation. Not one leading feminist has got Ms Fox’s back, not one has questioned Tudge’s persecution of a single mother, not one has questioned the injustice of Ms Fox being in this situation in the first place because of her ex partner’s actions. A woman is under unprecedented attack by the Australian LNP government, and not one public feminist has said a word about it. WHY NOT?

To be continued. 

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

The LNP Welfare Card: the true facts exposed. Corruption disguised as philanthropy!

By Michael Griffin

The Liberal National Party (‘LNP’) Welfare Card programme is really a LNP rort for the benefit of the Liberal and National Parties and their members, donors and supporters. Indue Pty Ltd, the corporation awarded the contract to manage the Welfare Card programme and to operate its underlying systems, is a corporation owned by Liberal and National Party members and that donates to various Liberal and National Party branches around Australia. The former chairman of Indue is none other than former LNP MP Larry Anthony who is the son of former Liberal Country Party Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony. Anthony now holds his shares in Indue in his corporate family trust managed by Illalangi Pty Ltd. Other companies now owned by Larry Anthony, or by the corporate trustee of his family trust, Illalangi Pty Ltd, work under ‘sub’ contracts for Indue itself and make their profits from dealings with Indue in the course of Indue performing its contracts with the LNP Government. These corporations are SAS Consulting Group Pty Ltd – a political lobbying group that counts Indue as a client – and Unidap Solutions Pty Ltd – a digital IT services corporation that provides Indue, as well as the current LNP Government directly, with various IT services. Larry Anthony is also current president of the National Party of Australia, that is, the ‘N’ in ‘LNP’.

Setting up networks of corporations and trusts is standard practice for those wishing to conceal their involvement in an enterprise or operation and is often engaged to shield the identity of those involvement in that enterprise.

This is the real purpose of the LNP determination to adopt and expand the Welfare Card programme, that is, to obtain donations for the financially stressed LNP and to aid its supporters, donors and members. Donations to the Nationals have been waning over the last few years and the Liberals had significant amounts withheld from them by various Australian electoral commissions in 2016 due to their failure to properly report the political donations they received. The Liberals have shown a propensity to manipulate electoral donation laws as their recent dealings with the various electoral commissions in ‘the Arthur Sinodinos Affair’ and Joe Hockey’s ‘North Sydney Forum Affair’ indicate. Likewise, previous Liberal scandals involving the use of tax payers money to attract donations to the party and its candidates include Turnbull’s $10 million tax payer funded grant in the Rainmaker deal to a supporter who donated to Turnbull’s personal Wentworth Forum and John Howard’s and Julie Bishop’s involvement with the Austrade grant for donations deal in the Firepower affair. More recently we have seen the Liberals embroiled in electoral allowance scams which evinces a flagrant disregard for proper management of, and accountability for, public financial resources under their stewardship. Moreover, it is common knowledge that the Liberals also need to repay their current parliamentary leader, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the $1.8 million he loaned to them for the 2016 election campaign – not to mention other loan amounts he has advanced to them in the past. The Liberal Party is reported to be in debt to the tune of approximately $39 million.

Consider these facts.

  1. The Welfare Card programme does not produce savings for the government but adds another level of administrative bureaucracy and cost on top of the current welfare payments system. In fact, the new look Welfare Card, which is a revamp of the former Basics Card, costs upwards of $4,000 person to implement and manage and the previous Basics Card cost $6000 per person. That is, for every person compelled to use the card the Government will also pay Indue upward of $4,000 each. That’s $4,000 that could have been spent on that person directly or as a contribution toward the provision of services to communities with health, educational and employment needs or on reducing the alleged government debt. If every person receiving unemployment benefits were placed on the Welfare Card the cost to the tax payer of the administration of the card alone, not including the actual welfare payments made, would be approximately $3.2 billion more than the cost of the current welfare payment system. That money will be paid to Indue, or to any other private card provider or crony of the LNP Government that it wants to lavish with public funds, but not to those in need. That is $3.2 billion that could have been used to reduce the budget deficit or spent on health, education and work programmes for all Australians. If the recipients of other types of benefits, such as pensioners and family tax benefit recipients, are also compelled to participate in the card programme, then the cost to the taxpayer and Government coffers would be billions more again. Remember, these are additional administrative amounts on top of the welfare payments that need to be made to recipients and that these additional administrative amounts per person are paid to Indue as the manager and operator of the Welfare Card system and not as income support or on services to those who need it.
  2. While incurring these additional costs, the card programme does not displace any existing welfare costs to the Government or taxpayers because Centrelink and Department of Human Services staff, who are responsible for welfare payments, were retrenched en mass years before the Welfare Card was introduced. Despite having this reduced staff, the Department still managed to maintain welfare services and payments without the need for intervention by a private operator such as Indue. On that basis, the card programme is more costly than the current system it is intended to supersede and replace as it requires the Government to pay high per person administration fees to the private operator Indue without displacing any existing costs sustained by the Government. Rather than reducing the alleged budgetary deficit, the card programme in itself worsens the budget deficit and creates no savings for the government at all. With this in mind, it is now clear that the true purpose of the $4.5 billion amount that the LNP Centrelink ‘Robo-Debt’ claw back campaign is targeted to recover from welfare recipients is the cost of implementing the Welfare Card across the whole country to recipients of welfare of all forms and not just to the unemployed. The cost of implementing the card nationwide is more or less proportional to the estimated savings generated by the ‘Robo-Debt’ claw back.  This clawback would enable the Department of Human Services to balance its departmental budget by offsetting the increased outgoing administrative costs of the Welfare Card paid to Indue with reductions in outgoing payments to welfare recipients. These administrative costs are funds from the Department of Human Services and welfare budget that were obtained from Government coffers for the purpose of providing income support to the people who need it and not for the purpose of passing those public funds on as profits and fees to private corporations and individuals with close connections to the LNP.
  3. Under the LNP, Government contracts are now being awarded on a ‘limited tender basis’ at a frequency greater than they have ever been in history. This enables the LNP to award Government contracts to their crony mates on ‘commercial in confidence’ terms, and, thus, with an immunity from freedom of information laws, who then donate some of the profits earned from those Government contracts back to the LNP as tax deductible donations. The multinational KPMG is a major beneficiary of public funds under Government contracts, a major donor to the LNP and is also involved in the Welfare Card programme. The latest Government contract to Indue was with the Department of Human Service for $850,000 worth of ‘benefit cards’ for the whole of 2017. This is an amount of money that could produce cards for all unemployment benefit recipients with some left over. The latest contract between the Department of Human Services and Indue was awarded on a ‘limited tender basis’ sometime before 1 January 2017, that is, before the trials for the card had concluded and been assessed. In fact, it was awarded without any tendering at all.
  4. The contract for the issuing and management of the card was awarded before the trials for the card programme’s operation were completed and before the merits and outcomes of the card programme were assessed. Hence, if the real objects and purposes of the welfare card programme were positive health and social outcomes as claimed, then the trials would necessarily need to have been completed and their health and social outcomes assessed before the recent contracts to Indue could be awarded. This is not what occurred. Rather, the contracts were awarded to Indue before the trials had even been completed, let alone before their outcomes were assessed. It is open to conclude from this that the Government contracts were going to be awarded to Indue regardless of whether the purported health and social outcomes and objectives of the card programme were achieved. This indicates that the positive health and social outcomes stated for the card programme are not, and could never have been, the actual purpose of the card programme nor the reasons why a Ministerial decision was made in late 2016 to award contracts to Indue for 2017.
  5. There is no evidence that the health and social outcomes claimed for the welfare card have been achieved. Despite touting cherry picked colloquial ‘evidence’ about declines in poker machine use and alcohol sales in areas where the card programme has been tested, reports of increases in other serious crimes in those areas, where robberies, break ‘n enters and assaults have increased by up to 200%, have been ignored and gone unreported as desperate people seek cash or valuables, such as jewellery and electrical goods that can be traded for cash, to make necessary purchases.

In the light of the facts raised above, the question is then, ‘what is the real purpose of the Welfare Card programme?’ There can be little doubt that the answer to this is the provision of donations to the LNP and to benefit its members, donors and supporters.  Larry Anthony continues to benefit from the Government contracts with Indue even though he is no longer its chairman as he shares in the profits earned by it and other companies that he has interests in, SAS and UniDap, by way of their dealings with Indue.

In effect, LNP members and supporters are obtaining benefits from government funds that are intended for the welfare of Australian citizens. Public money is being transferred to private individuals and corporations with deep connections with the LNP in exchange for no apparent benefit to the public and in exchange for donations to the LNP. Given that the legal definition of corruption includes the conduct of a public official who uses his position to procure some benefit for himself or for another person, contrary to his duty and to the rights of others, and that may involve collusion, it is open to conclude that the LNP Welfare Card programme is little more than that. That is, corruption.

Unfortunately, with the very weak democracy we have in Australia, there is no way to hold those involved in this scam to account or to have any corruption independently investigated or prosecuted at a federal level. No federal ICAC or anti-corruption body exists. Only the Federal Police can investigate corruption as the criminal offence of defrauding the Commonwealth. Given that the Federal Police are controlled by the LNP Government and beholding to the LNP Government for their funding, and given the LNP and its cronies are the beneficiaries of the card programme, any such investigation by the Federal Police is unlikely to ever occur.

However, the Ministerial decision to award the contract to Indue is not excluded from review under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth). It may be possible to challenge the award of the contract to Indue under that Act on grounds of ‘unreasonableness’ and, perhaps, ‘bias’. The decision was ‘unreasonable’ on the basis that the trials were not completed or their outcomes assessed before the contract was awarded to Indue. This means that the decision to award any contract to Indue at the time it was awarded had no factual basis or evidence to support the alleged purpose for the card programme or, hence, to provide any reason to award a contract. That is, no reason existed or relevant facts regarding the appropriateness of the card programme were known by the decision maker when awarding the contract to Indue. On that basis, the Minister’s decision to award the contracts to Indue was ‘unreasonable’ at the time the Minister made it and, on that basis, that decision should be reversed. The decision was ‘bias’ because no open tender was used to award the contracts and because Indue is a donor of the Liberal Party and its members are LNP members or supporters. Hence, when awarding the contracts for the issue, implementation and management of the welfare card programme, the Ministerial decision-maker preferred Indue to other possible suppliers due to the association of Indue with the LNP, that is, the political party in which the Minister for Human Services, Allan Tudge, who made the decision to award the contract to Indue, is also, necessarily, a member. As is Larry Anthony one of the beneficiaries of these contracts.

This is not a proper use of Commonwealth revenue and the Australian people would not support such conduct. IT IS CORRUPTION DISGUISED AS PHILANTHROPY!

Michael Griffin

2017 ©

 

Dysfunction and Disunity: The End is Nigh

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” is a near perfect description of what is going on inside the Liberal party right now. They don’t just appear to be disunited and dysfunctional, in reality, they are all of that.

No matter how hard Malcolm Turnbull tries to convince us that he is succeeding where Tony Abbott failed, the truth is otherwise. He is proving to be as big a failure as Abbott was, the only exception being that he is able to articulate his failures.

Who would have thought after the debacle that was the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd dysfunction, that this government would be journeying down the same path? Yet here we are, witnessing an internal donnybrook every bit as fierce as that which brought an end to the Labor government in 2013.

What is it about politics that lets this happen? What is it about politicians? What is it about us as a people, that we breed such mongrels? We shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose; it has been going on since Adam and Eve. Never though, has it been so open.

The Turnbull government is in deep trouble and they know it. Their policies are shallow, their vision is non-existent, their judgement is pathetic, their inability to deal with relatively simple issues like marriage equality, climate change, the economy, education, health and welfare is indefensible and the polls show the electorate has lost confidence in them.

Little wonder they are fighting each other. Labor members watching from the sidelines can’t believe their good fortune. What they see is a mirror image of their own behaviour just three and a half years ago. But this one is nastier.

The government’s problems are clear to those of us watching from the balcony. Their inability to think for themselves has allowed outside forces, the ones that fill their coffers, to dictate the terms. These external forces want to maintain the status quo and continue to broaden the gap between them and the working man and woman.

Hence, there is no room to serve the people.

Winning a pay cut for the lowest paid in our society says it all. While politicians, state and federal, feather their nests, taking advantage of rules of their own making, that encourage them to bleed money from the system and while those in the corporate sector pay themselves obscene salaries, those that work on Sundays are being penalised to advance the cause of inequality.

Governments around the world have been dismissed for less. There’s not a spin doctor alive that can fix this.

It’s what happens when one loses control. Someone else steps in to fill the void. The federal government are just pawns playing out a script, backed into a corner with no means of escape. The plutocrats have taken over.

The Coalition will lose the next election by a landslide. Mind you, a landslide in Australian elections might be as little as 53%. For some reason, mostly to do with a flawed electoral system, it only takes a few percent to create a huge imbalance in party representation.

At least when Labor were defeated in 2013, they were governing well. But the electorate saw through the disunity and exacted a price. This time the electorate can see bad government in addition to disunity and the Coalition will suffer for it, big time.

When the level of despair and dysfunction has escalated to a point where Peter Dutton is being considered as prime ministerial material, you know the end is nigh. But changing governments every six years is not good for the country.

Labor needs to learn the lessons of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd disgrace. Sound leadership, sound economic policies, embracing equality and not being intimidated by the media or the plutocrats, will endure, provided the party, as a whole, works as well on the inside, as it does serving the people.

It’s Labor’s to lose.

Exposing Murdoch

By Christian Marx

Australia does not have a fair and free media. Anyone who believes this fallacy is grossly misinformed. In fact, almost 70% of media is owned and controlled by one individual.

That person is Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch has controlled the narrative of the political and social landscape since the early 1970s. It was Murdoch and his extreme propaganda campaign against the then Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam which saw the fall of that Labor government. Since this period, Rupert Murdoch has increasingly gained greater and greater control of the media landscape.

How did it come to this?

Unfortunately many, many people believe what they read in the trash tabloids. The three biggest in Australia are the Herald Sun in Victoria, Daily Telegraph in NSW and Courier Mail in Queensland. These papers push a hard right wing narrative. All three papers demonize minorities, attack unions, support ultra right Neoliberal economics, and create hatred and division throughout the community.

Just this week we had Murdoch sock puppet, Andrew Bolt praising Israel and attacking Labor for daring to question Netanyahu`s ethnic cleansing and extreme nationalism.

Why are all Murdoch rags so militantly anti Palestine and anti Muslim? Follow the money!

Murdoch and his company Geanie Energy have a vested financial interest in seeing the destruction of the Assad regime in Syria and also have drilling rights in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. This gross conflict of interest is at the very least unethical, at worst downright criminal.

How is it possible for one person who has vested corporate interests tied up in the Middle Eastern war machine to even be permitted to own one newspaper, let alone a near monopoly! The answer is very simple. Australia is run by gutless politicians on both sides of politics that refuse to take on this devil. Added to this is the ever increasing subservience to doing whatever Murdoch says.

Ironically it was Labor in the mid 1980s who first gave Murdoch more power by weakening the media ownership laws. Since that period this craven thug has been able to continue to buy up ever more media and manipulate a large portion of the public to support his grotesque ideology of bigotry, deregulation, smashing of unions and constant attacks on the working class.

How do many fall for this brainwashing? The answer is fear and manufacturing hatred. Murdoch`s newspapers and his television programs push extreme prejudice against minorities, most notably Muslims. Those who do not do their research will believe the rhetoric and fear mongering that Sharia Law or Immigrants are taking over the country. The reality is that Murdoch`s ideology of Neoliberalism and free trade have led to the demise of Australian jobs, not immigration. Added to this, if corporations didn`t constantly push governments to go to war and bomb other countries for resources, perhaps there would be less refugees and immigrants. People should be blaming Murdoch and his ilk for the loss of jobs and mass immigration.

No other country in the world apart from the United States and a few tin pot dictatorships allow this level of media monopolizing. Murdoch is the master at pushing misinformation and extreme bias, solely to suit his own warped ideology and to further his own business interests.

While this media monopoly exists Australia does not really have a democracy. Not only is our media completely corrupted and filled with false and destructive narratives, but both sides of politics are owned and controlled by Rupert Murdoch and a few other billionaires. Who was one of the first people Julia Gillard met with when her power was in the balance during the Rudd leadership challenge? It was mining magnate Twiggy Forrest.

Who was communicating social and economic policy to Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin during their infamous tenure in government? Yep, you guessed it, Rupert Murdoch.

Not only does Murdoch have huge power in parliament and control our media landscape, he also is one of the major supporters of the extremist right wing think tank, The Institute Of Public Affairs, which incidentally was co founded by his father. The IPA is a very insidious organization with deep connections to the Liberal National Party. Many of their key 75 policies on economic rationalism and attacks on social services were implemented under the Abbott LNP government.

How can the treachery of Murdoch be overcome? People must pull the curtain back behind the veil. Start critically thinking and know the evil that this man pushes for his own sick financial benefit. This one individual is arguably the greatest threat to the future of Australia and he is not even an Australian citizen. It is time the non Murdoch media exposed this parasite and long overdue for politicians to openly expose this threat.

Christian Marx is a political and social activist interested in making the world a fairer place. He has a Bachelor of Social Science and has a keen interest in Sociology, politics and history. He was one of the organizers of the March in March rallies in Melbourne and is the founder of the progressive news and information page, “Don`t Look At This Page”.

 

Why Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is doomed

By Ross Hamilton

There were many of us who thought Pauline Hanson’s departure from Federal Parliament in 1998 meant an end to her as a political force. And we were wrong. Yet the rise of Hanson and the emergence and re-emergence of One Nation ultimately lacks a key component for long-term survival in government. The question then becomes, just how much damage will be done before they collapse for good?

Government in Australia, like much of the world, is one of political parties where a political party is formed by those with a shared political ideology. While the ideological grounds have blurred considerably between say Labor and Liberal in Australia, the political parties are still a form of collective ideology. They also represent a fundamental aspect of the concept of democracy with members of those parties contributing to political thought and direction.

In contrast, One Nation was always less a formation of collective political ideology and more an autarky – a form of political entity where one person has complete power. It is that person’s intentions and desires that count and nobody else’s.

Hanson resigned her membership of One Nation in 2002, or was expelled, depending on which report you read. She formed Pauline’s United Australia Party in 2007 but following failure to win office, deregistered the party in 2010.

In 2013, Hanson re-joined One Nation and in late 2014 once more assumed the presidency of the party, later forcing a renaming to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (but for brevity’s sake I am just typing One Nation). It was that re-naming which emphasised an important point – only one member of One Nation really counts and that member is Pauline Hanson.

To the surprise of many, One Nation did quite well at the 2016 Federal election, with four candidates being elected to the Senate including Hanson herself. Yet trouble soon emerged with Rod Cullerton, the One Nation Senator from Western Australia, quitting his short-lived membership after falling out with Hanson. Many have also questioned Hanson’s political judgement with her appointment of James Ashby as a key advisor. But perhaps Hanson keeps a closer eye on her diary than did Peter Slipper. And rarely a week goes by without yet another sign of discontent in One Nation ranks appearing in the news.

Recent months have also seen a string of One Nation candidates for the next election getting into trouble for their behaviour and losing their candidacy. And Hanson has made it very clear that candidates must do what she wants or get out. This was made even more apparent following the recent announcement that One Nation was doing preference deals with the sitting Western Australian Liberal government for the forthcoming state election. One Nation candidates in WA have expressed concern, stating that the first they knew about this deal was when it was announced in the media.

Pauline Hanson’s response to that discontent was made clear in her interview with the ABC.

“They’ve joined Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and I’ve said right from the very beginning, I will run this party, meaning right from the top … who stands, policies, preferences.

” I am leader of this party. If they’re not happy with it, everyone has a choice, don’t stand under my name.”

One Nation has retreated to what it was in the beginning – an assembly which only reflects the political intentions of Pauline Hanson and to hell with what any of the members think.

The role of members within One Nation seems only to be to ensure sufficient numbers exist to qualify as a registered political party and to carry out the Hanson dictates. But unless Hanson can find enough clones to keep carrying out her wishes without question, that complete lack of shared political ideology will see the party inevitably collapse once more, hopefully for good.

In the meantime, the question becomes, just how much damage shall occur before that demise? As recently pointed out by Kim Beazley, the world’s largest Islamic nation–Indonesia–is right off Australia’s northern shores, so why set out to keep kicking it in the backside, rather than working with it? The Hanson-esque view would see diplomatic and economic ties to Indonesia torn to shreds. Then there is the matter of climate change. Hanson’s eager offsider in the Senate is Malcolm Roberts, a well-known climate change denier. He only received a total of 77 direct votes in Queensland, benefitting instead from party votes and preferences to get him a Senate seat. Yet he now has an eager climate-change-denying sycophancy in Hanson, with Pauline publicly complaining about all this money being given to scientists to pursue something that doesn’t even exist.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is doomed to fail. We can merely hope that it does so before their damage becomes irreparable.

Written by Ross Hamilton. You can follow his blog at: https://rossranting.com/