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Downfall. Bunker Boy starts his run for the big house.

By Grumpy Geezer  

No grace, no dignity, no humility, no magnanimity, no class, no morals, no empathy, no soul.

He has no friends, not even a dog.

His wife can’t bear his touch, his daughter can’t avoid it.

Devoid of humour he doesn’t make jokes, he doesn’t laugh. Not ever. An occasional dismal rictus, a necrotic gash in his ochre-lacquered face-bladder signifies nothing more than his satisfaction in transacting another con.

He’s a loathsome coagulation of every human failing with no compensating virtues.

A craven coward.

A sociopath.

A serial rapist.

A racist.

A quisling.

An opportunistic grifter.

An inveterate cheat.

A deceitful toad.

A chronic liar.

A shameless braggart.

An ignoramus who lacks curiosity. He doesn’t read, he doesn’t care.

Trump is a ridiculous, combed-over cartoon villain, a deranged clown with a face sprayed the colour of hang-over piss and toilet paper stuck to his shoe whose wits are defeated by an open umbrella. Rake the forests, nuke the hurricanes, inject the bleach, waterbomb Notre Dame cathedral, trade Greenland for Puerto Rico. Trump’s pompous idiocies are exceeded only by his appalling ignorance.

Crediting the British with the foresight to build airstrips in the war of independence 110 years before the Wright Brothers first took flight, revealing the hitherto unknown Himalayan countries of Nipple and Button, accusing Baltic leaders of starting Balkans wars! This clueless buffoon brags that he was able to keep the crayon inside the lines on his dementia test. Accusing Trump of a lack of self-awareness is like accusing Myra Hindley of poor child care standards.

The Grand Fubar of dysfunction, the maestro of petty vindictiveness, of malice and resentful belligerence is testing coup options yet America flatters itself as being “the world’s greatest democracy” much to the bemusement of observers here in Oz. It’s beyond our imagining that we’d ever have a bloated braggart, a liar, a hypocrite, a lazy shirker, a crony-stacking blame shifter at the helm filtering Murdoch’s kidney stones through his teeth while monetising a pandemic for the benefit of rich mates. Oh… what?

Trump, if he’d had the imagination, would’ve considered handing out small-pox infected blankets in Democrat-leaning districts but it’s too late now. A majority of Americans have said enough is enough. After 4 years of what-the-fuck-has-he-done-now, 46,123 tweets and 20,000 documented lies while in office to 9th July 2020 he’s been reduced to pathetic whimperings from his puckered-sphincter pout, playing his invisible accordion to an audience of gormless dullards, fellow hucksters and his retinue of fawning toadies, thralls, invertebrate lickspittles and hangers-on whose fealty is demanded but never reciprocated and who had neither the self-respect nor the courage to call out the capture of the US by an amoral, moronic lunatic.

We cannot know what tipped the scales against Trump.  

No lie has been too outrageous, bragging about sexual assault was just locker-room talk, five bankruptcies are apparently indicative of an astute businessman, stealing from a children’s cancer charity is fake news. Being laughed at by foreign leaders – meh, because y’all – “Merica!” Throwing meat to Boogaloos, Proud Boys, Klansmen and Call Of Duty cos-players was addressing his base. Perhaps it was inciting violence from uniformed goon squads sooled onto lawful BLM protesters that crossed the line. Perhaps it was the denigration of war dead and veterans as losers and suckers by a draft-dodging, yellow, mangy dog that did it.

More likely it was 11 million Covid-infected Americans, a quarter of a million who died while the orange blobulator ignored it, denied it, played it down, finger-pointed and then looked for ways to exploit it for his own advantage.

There is no excusing Trump, there is no sympathy that should be wasted on this pathetic parasite. History should not record him as some sort of tragic King Lear but as an effluvium, a discharge from the bowels of a diseased system; a funk that has now been sharted.

He had always exhibited the narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders of a lack of empathy, grandiosity, lying and deceit, indifference to conventional laws or rules or morality that characterise a despot. But he possessed none of the cunning, artifice, commitment to a cause beyond himself, the political skills of a Stalin or the oratory of a Mussolini. He had no ambition beyond the grift and the trappings – palaces awash with potentate kitsch, a yearning for military parades, a pneumatic wife and his narcissistic cult of personality. He has no talent beyond the con, he’s a schmuck with the dumb luck to be born into wealth that mestasised B-grade celebrity into A-grade larceny.

Fittingly, he’s spending his last days shaping his own humiliation. It’s an Armando Iannucci script playing out in real life. If Trump was to be found drooling in a pool of his own piss ala Stalin or dragged Sadam-like from his bolt-hole it would be the most metaphorically noteworthy achievement of his time in office.

Gone too will be his dreadful spawn. Ivanka’s in-it-up-to-her-nose-job reputation may limit her future career prospects to hand-job supervisor at a New York sperm bank while Uday and Qusay* could end up in Ryker’s Island trading sexual favours for lines.

Jared Kushner may get a gig at a Madame Tussaud exhibit of automatronic rent boys. Melania, no doubt, would enjoy the embrace of a Justin Trudeau look-alike cabana boy, chuckling at the thought that Trump has only Rudi Guiliani left to go through the pre-nup looking for loopholes.

The end of America’s nightmare is near. However it plays out over the next two months Trump is finished.

The irrelevant man.

A loser.

 

*Nod to Marina Hyde in the UK Guardian

 

 

This article was originally published on Grumpy Geezer.

 

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A Triumph Of Leadership

For the past 5 months or so, I have been engaged in debates on Facebook on the subject of Victoria’s second COVID-19 wave. Not surprisingly, the debates have been fierce, on several fronts and against some heavy-hitting conservatives who have demonstrated an unwillingness to understand, in any rational way, what happened.

Their intent has only been in favour of campaigning to have the Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews, strung up by a rope in a smokehouse

They have been relentless in their efforts to undermine the premier, spurred on, no doubt, by some appalling daily headlines in the Murdoch owned Herald-Sun.

The reality is, the government did not cause the second wave, anymore than it caused the first. As difficult as it is for some people to accept that, so hell-bent as they are, to bring down a premier, it is a matter of fact.

The second wave was caused by a succession of contracted infections which began with a night manager becoming infected by a returned traveller at the Rydges Hotel in Carlton. It spread like wildfire throughout the northern suburbs and into aged care facilities. That is how it happened, pure and simple.

Sadly, those with ulterior motives have been trying desperately to sheet home the blame to the government and Dan Andrews, in particular, citing failures in the provision of adequate security, provision of proper protective equipment for health care workers and the use of police and ADF personnel in quarantine.

But, thankfully, there have also been those with clearer heads and more convincing arguments who have tried to rationalise with them. Now that the lockdown is over and the rolling average daily cases have fallen to zero, something most conservatives argued was not possible, the antagonists are struggling to find a sustainable argument against the measures the government imposed.

Here is an example of one particularly belligerent conservative when replying to the suggestion that Dan Andrews’ lockdown was successful and that he should be congratulated for doing a great job…

Yes, his plan worked. But why should someone be congratulated for fixing a mistake that should never have happened in the first place ? Scenario : You hire me to do some kind of repair work on your home . Let’s say I botch it and reduce it to rubble .. In the meantime whilst rebuilding said home you are out of pocket and hardship .. Once it is rebuilt with all returned , are you going to congratulate me ? 

And here is the reply from one whose focus was more circumspect…..

Yeah except the scenario you are putting forward isn’t what happened. You hire me to do some work. Unknown to you, I breach my contract with you and hire untrained subcontractors, don’t provide them with the training that I agreed to in our contract. They reduce your home to rubble. If we then continue the argument being put forth about Dan Andrews, it’s not their fault, or my fault, it’s your fault for hiring me in the first place and not having a crystal ball and foreseeing that I would breach my contract.  If people are going to insist that Dan Andrews was responsible for the second wave and slam him on a daily basis, then he’s also responsible for the position we are now in with 14 consecutive days of no new cases and most importantly, no more deaths, so obviously, (he) should be congratulated. 

This is just one example across thousands that have flown to and fro on Facebook during the lockdown. In most cases, the antagonists have been far more acerbic, highly defamatory and more political than they were in addressing the issue at hand.

An inquiry, soon to be released, will not change this. Nor will it be as vitriolic and as savage in its report as those so filled with feigned and false outrage, would hope. But, I have no doubt they will continue.

In the meantime, the success of the state government’s lockdown has been hailed as a game changer by governments and medical experts around the world.

This fact must be utterly galling for those who want Dan Andrew’s head on a spike. But if one thing is certain, it is that this entire episode will go down in history as a triumph of leadership by a premier who simply did his job, no more, no less.

I stand with Dan.

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JobMaker backflip leaves older workers exposed, says ACTU

Workers over the age of 35 are now more likely to fall victim to an oncoming wave of institutionalised ageism in hiring and human resources practices brought on by the advent of an approved JobMaker scheme in the federal Parliament, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) warned on Thursday.

A backflip of Olympic-level proportions from One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts set the wheels in motion on Wednesday to leave workers in the over-35s age bracket exposed to the possibility of fewer hours, mass casualisation, and even job layoffs in favour of subsidised younger workers in the Morrison government’s JobMaker scheme.

Hanson and Roberts, just a day before, appeared to back amendments to the scheme which would have protected the job status of older workers, but their reversal meant that despite support from Labor and the Greens and also from Jacqui Lambie and Rex Patrick on the crossbench, older workers are now left vulnerable amid the hiring credit incentive capped at $200 per week given to employers for each new employee under the age of 35 which they can hire.

Michele O’Neil, the ACTU’s president, contends that the measures led by the consequence of the One Nation senators’ 180-degree turnabout on the issue may lead to greater rates of casualisation and under-employment for workers over the age of 35.

“The decision to reject these amendments is indefensible. This decision by the Government will directly lead to a higher rate of insecure work,” O’Neil said.

O’Neil added that the nature of the JobMaker legislation can only lead to the domino effect of institutionalising employer-based decisions leading to dire consequences for older workers.

“By opposing these amendments, the Government has made it clear that the aspects of the bill which will risk the jobs, hours and pay of working people are not bugs but features,” said O’Neil.

“This legislation is designed to allow businesses to bring in more insecure workers,” she added.

Hanson had initially claimed in the Senate that the JobMaker bill would have left older workers “overlooked and disadvantaged” and – ironically, when one takes the current ACTU’s views into account – “would encourage the loss of full-time jobs and reduce job security”.

Additionally, Roberts, her party mate in the Senate, admitted that One Nation had been coerced within Senate debates on the bill, with statistics that youth unemployment was currently standing at 14.5 per cent versus four percent for over-35s, verified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

So why the reversal?

“We were wrong on the amendments – we stand corrected,” said Roberts in defending the One Nation backspin thereby resulting in a 30-28 verdict in favour of the government’s original version of the JobMaker bill, adding that he and Hanson had “the courage and integrity to change our minds.”

Brendan O’Connor, the ALP’s shadow employment minister and a vocal critic of the JobMaker scheme (Photo from SBS via AAP)

As a result, the Morrison government also runs the risk of further polluting the waters of the JobMaker malaise, alleges Brendan O’Connor, the ALP’s shadow minister for employment, where arrangements may see large corporate entities who pay large executive bonuses receiving taxpayers’ money in the form of wage subsidies.

“Voting against Labor’s sensible amendment to ensure the JobMaker hiring credit only goes to firms not paying big executive bonuses is a slap in the face for the growing queues of unemployed Australians – many of whom are excluded from the scheme if they are aged over 35,” O’Connor said on Wednesday.

O’Connor also said that the JobMaker plan was an ill-advised scheme from the start.

“The Morrison government voted against every single improvement federal Labor proposed,” said O’Connor, “but if truth be told, no amount of amendments would fix this woefully inadequate proposed legislation, which will not deliver what was announced by the Prime Minister.”

O’Neil said that as the Morrison government’s practices of throwing money into ill-conceived programs, with treasurer Josh Frydenberg being complicit in these endeavours which now have JobMaker added into the fray alongside JobKeeper and JobSeeker, they continue to leave the considerations of all workers behind regardless of age or demographic categories.

“The Morrison government’s response to this crisis has been to pump billions of taxpayer dollars into businesses, often without adequate safeguards and protections for workers,” she said.

But O’Neil furthermore targets the government’s attack in this instance on older workers, who may be left as collateral damage in the wake of the subsidies within the JobMaker scheme.

“This scheme does nothing to protect or support the jobs of workers over the age of 35,” O’Neil said.

Moreover, O’Neil and the ACTU have vented their frustrations at the government for not accepting their National Economic Reconstruction Plan (NERP) blueprint on any of the various times it has been offered to them over the last several months during the pandemic and recession.

“We have been calling on the Morrison government for months to put forward a comprehensive plan to create secure jobs through government investment in sectors like early childhood education, construction, tourism and manufacturing – instead we get this,” said O’Neil.

“The refusal of this Government to invest in saving existing jobs or creating secure work will delay and extend the recovery and cause significant financial hardship for working people,” she added.

 

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For better or for worse, we are much like America

It was 2016 when the then Vice President of the United States of America Joe Biden last visited Australia. On that occasion I was fortunate to hear him speak twice. Both times the sincere love he has for our country hung on every word.

Australians have always had a sort of love-hate relationship with America. Whilst we come from an English heritage, it has been the United States that has had the most influence on our maturing.

You agree, guys?

We have followed America into wars that were none of our concern yet we did so because allies help each other. We jump at their command. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

We are in many ways just like them.

We have alliances that almost guarantee our national safety. Their culture has become ours much to the detriment of our own.

Our relationship with America under Biden will grow but at the same time China will be anxious about it, wanting Australia to respect its rise as a super power. We can and must do better.

At present Australia’s politics still exists behind the Trump brand with lies and falsehoods. For example, Scott Morrison is still insisting that we would reach our Kyoto targets. This is a blatant lie that he continues to tell.

We can met them if we use the credits we were given to make sure we joined Kyoto and to use them only says that we didn’t try nearly hard enough.

Australia is the only country that has said it intends to use carryover credits for its Paris target. In any case the Kyoto credits are likely to be withdrawn before the next meeting.

If Morrison continues with his own particular brand of Trump style politics, he too might suffer the same fate as Trump.

Whether or not the Democrats win the Senate, Biden has promised that his presidency will push allies to reduce emissions.

This has major repercussions for Australia. If Morrison stands his ground then tensions could rise. More possible is that we may have to take climate change seriously. Imagine if he got himself offside with both Biden and Xi Jinping.

After four years of Trump’s daily tweets Australians could be heard “shouting enough is enough.” Well at least half of us have been shouting..

We too have become partisan in our politics. Half of us seem to like the morose shouty, “look at me,” politics of the Trumpish Morrison. The other half like the calm body politic of the sage, old Joe Biden.

We have grown up with their music be it pop, jazz or theatre. Their television is over represented on our screens. The Americanisation of Australia is all but complete.

Their sports have become second nature to us as have the artistic creations of Hollywood. We have accepted the American inclination toward scandal and sleaze. We also suffer from both political and social narcissism.

Our natural inclination for technology has seen us take up their originations at unprecedented levels. It is said in economics that if America catches a cold then we get the flu.

Its endless unwinnable wars are bankrupting it but they don’t seem to care and go on spending more on defence than the rest of the world put together.

We have also suffered from Trumpism.

The science of climate change shows that we are looking at an impending environmental disaster of catastrophic proportions, but like many of us the US refuses, as they do with evolution, to believe it. Trump believes global warming to be a hoax stemming from China. Our government believes it to be a socialist plot.

Biden intends to reverse this travesty of human comprehension.

In the US 22 million people live in poverty. Inequality in both our countries is a problem with only the left of politics willing to address it.

Since its arrival on US shores COVID-19 – besides killing in excess of 230,000 people – it has sent many thousands more into poverty says a report from Columbia University.

The right didn’t give a damn.

Trickle-down economics and de-industrialisation are responsible but the right cling to the god of capitalism, that believes that making the rich even richer will solve the problem.

Religion has a rather odd hold on the most technologically advanced country in the world but we are more circumspect and Christianity is in decline and is likely to disappear in two or three decades. Church attendance in Australia has declined from 44% in 1950 to just 16% today.

The rich citizens and the big corporations of both countries seem to have ‘boycotted’ paying tax. Corruption reigns supreme and the conservatives dodge any move that might have its party investigated.

Corruption runs rampant in both countries. Both are loath to tackle political exploitation- afraid of what may be revealed. A move to have an oversight body in Australia is being hindered by a reluctant government that faces many scandals.

President Trump faces over 1,000 law suits as soon as he leaves office. What a circus that will be.

While in Australia we don’t have periodic mass killings of children at schools, malls, movie theatres and other public places, however there are those who would soften our gun laws.

Fortunately, we don’t have the problem of police committing public executions of black people in our streets but only a fool would deny that we have an element of racism.

Like America, the reality is that we have a media that produces an avalanche of political and cultural untruths. Stories are just made up. A petition of 500,000 signatures is being presented to the Australian Parliament this week for a Royal Commission into the bias of the Murdoch press. Its bias is based on the assumption that in a declining market it is legitimate to lie and disseminate political, intellectual and cultural discourse with a perverse sensationalism, emotionalism and pathetic dishonesty to arrest this declining market.

American and Australian media are saturated with highly-paid right-wing commentators whose job it is to titillate, gossip and contaminate the airwaves and television screens with nonsensical garbage where people talk up negative possibilities.

Selling advertising comes first and it’s done in any manner it can be. Mass entertainment, both violent and sexually explicit, contaminates the cultural life of both our countries.

American reality television conspired in Trump to produce a ‘reality’ presidential candidate. “There’s no business-like show business.”

Now that the “I know more about anything” President has been defeated by Biden there is a chance of returning to the sensible centre that once made American democracy a guiding light in a world looking for freedom.

”I will make America great again,” Trump shouted from the highest pillars of the mountain of illusion.

Millions of Americans have ‘woken up’. The dream has ended. The promise that everyone can be whoever they want to be and have whatever they want, if they would just work hard, and trust in God, is dying.

American exceptionalism, the land of milk and honey belongs to a bygone era. If it ever did.

In Australia we feel powerless to have any influence in what we thought was an inclusive democracy. We are just spectators, hostages to broken systems of government. Chaos abounds and the common good has been forgotten. The political, cultural and intellectual discourse of Australia has been effectively muted by the contamination of those who would seek power for power’s sake. It must be reversed.

Conservatives have successfully stifled the intellectual exchange of ideas. Australia has a compulsory voting system and America a non-compulsory one. Neither serves the people well.

In Australia, capitalistic neoliberal ideology has won the day and we must follow America’s example and give the other mob a go.

The lack of transparency, uncontrolled capitalism, corruption and the death of truth are of themselves cause for great concern.

Sure, both societies have advanced but the price is gauged by the exploitation of the poor and middle classes.

The price we have paid for our progress is measured in wars and seductive illusions about our culture. Our quality of life has become a perception. Not ‘what is’ but what we perceive it to be.

And in our powerlessness, we listen to the voices of the absurd, to the promises of demigods and racists in the absence of ideas about how to fix our comparative democracies.

It’s called long-suffering irrationalism. We no longer have the patience or desire to soberly examine policies that effect our lives and politics has been relegated by the media to a 24/7 sideshow.

In America the voice of Trump was heard by those who cannot see that the great American dream has ended and those who have lost faith in institutionalised politics see no future.

In Australia the voice of the far right has gained a foothold because people have become dissatisfied with our institutionalised democracy. Our government produces slogans and promises repetitively until the people are conned into believing them. They deal in the illusions of social progress and prosperity. They refuse to acknowledge any reality that might concern us about the future.

The people either don’t vote or think they gain a voice by voting for extremists. Few people trust our politicians or have faith in our system of government.

We live a life of permanent malaise and think little about what makes our nation work until the next election come around. Chris Hedges spelt it out this way:

”Life is lived in an eternal present. How we got here, where we came from, what shaped us as a society, in short, the continuum of history that gives us an identity, are eradicated.”

What Australians dislike about Americans is their pomposity and self-righteousness, their know-all attitude and belief in their own self-importance, for which we have a saying: “They think their shit doesn’t stink.” Some would say that they are the only people in the world that believe their own bullshit.

Whatever happens in America (apart from frequent mass murders), usually reinvents itself in Australia. Greed is now God. Paying tax has become a sport with no rules. Narcissism is rampart and religion has more to say than it should.

How did it come to this?

It did so because we allowed ourselves to believe the lies. We fell for the mantra of hatred and fear they so delicately indoctrinated us with.

We allowed ourselves to be conned into believing that poverty is the fault of the victim but wealth comes from virtue and both are the natural order of things.

Good democracies can only deliver good government and outcomes if the electorate demands it. Unfortunately, we have forgotten just what that means.

The United States of America has cleaned up its act. So, should we.

They had their say after four years of a cringeworthy leader.

 

“End of an error” by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

 

My thought for the day

The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you.

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Integrity is dead, buried and cremated

We are doomed to an uphill battle of trying to rid this country of all the morons who have manoeuvred their way into government – and some into opposition – and who consequently have the ability to determine our fate.

On 9/11/20, the ABC ran an exposé – Inside the Canberra Bubble on Four Corners – which raised serious and legitimate concerns over national security, when it revealed the less than savoury proclivity of the current Attorney General for extramarital sexual relations, and an equally unsavoury attitude towards the status of women.

This is the man who ignored the decision of the previous AG, then Senator Brandis, and decided to proceed with prosecution, in secret, of Witness K and his lawyer, the former ACT AG, Bernard Collaery.

The ‘crime’ for which they have been indicted is is less important than the reason he has taken this action.

Few in Australia would be unaware that the Australian government acted illegally while negotiating the boundary lines between Timor Leste and Australia, the purpose being to gain a commercial advantage.

No issue of national security was involved, but the embarrassment of government Ministers for being caught out has smouldered and finally burst into flames, at least in the mind of our rather grubby AG.

Witness K is a genuine patriot. Bernard Collaery is, appropriately, a highly regarded lawyer. Both men are ones to whom all Australians can look up with pride.

The current AG is altogether something else.

A hypocritical sleaze only touches the surface of his undesirable nature.

Today, when the issue was raised with the PM, we were regaled with the advice that we should make allowance for human frailties, or words to that effect!

And AG Christian Porter was not the only Minister in the headlights. Minister Tudge, another spokesperson for the sanctity of marriage – as long as it is between a man and a woman – has also totally ignored the strictures of the ‘bonking ban’.

Pathetic!

We already know that the PM’s religion is not allowed to influence his duties as PM.

We also know that he is very closely connected to a Hillsong Pastor who failed to report his own father’s paedophile activities.

This ability to believe that integrity and a moral compass can be ignored at will is more than disturbing.

We already knew that the Integrity Commission which was being promoted by the AG was going to give parliamentarians total freedom from any investigation into corrupt behaviour – unless they dobbed themselves in!

The flying pigs are becoming an aviation hazard!

How long are we prepared to be treated as gullible fools?

And as if it was not enough to have a government in power which is totally untrustworthy, we have a self-serving member of the Opposition who claims the limelight by refusing to accept party policy and forcing the opposition to rearrange its front bench, competing for headlines over the Four Corners revelations.

Sorry, Albo – but until you sack Fitzgibbon from the ALP (he cannot challenge for the leadership if he is not even a member!) and prove to the Australian people that you can offer government free of corruption and in-fighting, you will be doomed to stay in Opposition.

We deserve better – when will we get it????

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Without transparency, corruption flourishes

Scott Morrison played on the general ignorance, as regards politics, of many members of the public, when he performed a one-man-band election campaign in 2019.

A closer inspection of his message would have revealed no policy promises, except for cutting taxes. For the unthinking, that sounds like a good idea.

For the more thoughtful, it raises questions as to which services will be no longer available if the government has insufficient income – from taxes – to fund them?

By contrast, the ALP had developed a whole series of policies, some of which were well thought-out and worthwhile, but most of which were quite complex, and were largely aimed at restoring some semblance of equality to the general population.

It cannot have gone unnoticed, that the gap between the rich and the poor has become a chasm. Regular use of ‘average’ incomes instead of ‘median’ incomes has blurred the picture and created a totally false picture of the extent to which the rich are getting richer.

Check this out! Given the Prime Minister’s situation, how well to you think he understands what the people for whom he governs have to cope with?

And that was before COVID-19 and the massive range of job losses and consequent loss of income.

When I studied law, late in life, I was advised that, if I planned to engage in criminal law, it was important to work both as a prosecutor and for the defence.

That way, I was advised, I would learn to predict the arguments which would be raised by the other side, and be prepared with a stronger case for my side.

The same message would, no doubt, apply to members of a debating team, because your opponents will wax as eloquent as your team for their side of the argument, so you must be prepared to pre-empt and counter their arguments.

Like law, our political system is adversarial.

The ALP was too certain that its policies had merit, and failed to prepare for the extent to which they would be subjected to criticism – and was even less well prepared to counter the lies.

Unless you have a population which is well-educated in political theories – which Australia, and most other so-called democracies, are not – then a scare campaign is pretty certain to be effective.

One exception is possibly when it is run by Clive Palmer at a State level!

His ‘death taxes’ stunt in 2019 did a lot of damage to Labor at a Federal level, but he was ill-advised to think it would work again in Queensland, in the just-run October state election, and he has paid the price for his poor judgment.

The level of support for Daniel Andrews in Victoria, and for Annastacia Pałaszczuk in Queensland, has highlighted the desperate need for people to feel that their leaders in a crisis need to have their best interests at heart.

And, as a broad generalisation, Labor governments are more likely to be perceived as being there for the have-nots

Just as strict parents are often later thanked by their post-teenage children, so voters can recognise when unpleasant policies are actually being developed in their best interests.

The USA, Brazil, India and now Europe, are demonstrating clearly that premature efforts to get ‘back’ to what used to be normal commerce, is liable to be totally counterproductive.

Possibly linked to his ability to be an ardent adherent of a very un-Christian cult, Morrison is blindly addicted to worshipping the ‘economy’ and subjugating the needs of members of the population to those of the leaders of business and industry.

Yes – people need jobs – and many are now out of work because of government policies, designed to reduce the spreading of infection. The concept was good, but the range and duration of support has been woefully lacking.

And in all this, evidence of corruption and lack of transparency keeps raising its ugly head!

Before the pandemic took hold, Morrison was fighting accusations that he had colluded with Bridget McKenzie in the Sports Rorts affair.

 

Image from Independent Australia (Via YouTube)

 

Even greater discrimination in selecting recipients for the award of community development grants has also been exposed.

Regular audit reports of Border Force have noted an alarming level of failure to apply correct procedures and contain costs.

Just recently, senior personnel in ASIC have resigned or stood aside over expenses claims which have not stood the test of scrutiny.

And of course there was that land which might be needed for the extensions of Sydney airport – assuming planes will be flying in sufficient numbers in some distant future!

When you add that the Audit Office is being subject to reduction in funding, one is left wondering what other evidence of lack of transparency, maladministration or outright corruption is being concealed from view because of ANAO’s lack of funds to audit departments thoroughly.

I know, from living through all the rationing and restrictions imposed on UK citizens to support the war effort in WWII, that if there is a serious national threat, people will accept limitations on their behaviour in order to ensure the threat is properly dealt with.

Pressure from Morrison, for restrictions to be lifted as soon as possible, to enable the economy to recover ASAP, were very ill-judged.

We only now have to look at those countries mentioned earlier to realise that responding to that pressure merely delays the desired outcome, putting lives at risk in the process.

Many of the Australian deaths have been of elderly people who were supposed to be being cared for in their twilight years – only it turns out that the conditions which should have applied to their circumstances were ignored under the Coalition government.

Many Aged Care Homes employed no trained nurses.

Care staff, trained to a very basic level, were so poorly paid that they needed at least two jobs to get a sufficient income.

Ratios of staff to residents were not defined for the most part and certainly were not appropriate.

Decisions about sending residents to hospital were not made appropriately.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg of problems.

Running a caring service will never be cheap, and if it is run by a for profit body, funds that should go into the caring service will, inevitably, go instead into the pockets of the shareholders. In fact there is evidence that extra monies given by the Commonwealth government to aged care homes were immediately diverted into increased dividends.

Are government Ministers really so stupid as to not see this?

On another front, in families with children, it is most often the mothers who have to make suitable arrangements for childcare if they are going to be able to work.

For a short time, early in the pandemic, the government provided free childcare.

But that was the first benefit to go in the Coalition’s drive to ‘snap back’, and the situation as regards childcare accessibility has spiralled downwards ever since.

Morrison’s wife has choices which the majority of mothers do not share.

I wonder if she has made any attempt to explain to her husband the desperate plight of many working mothers – always assuming she has any understanding of their situation.

He seems to be totally blinded by ideology, and gets photo ops showing him building a cubby house or a chicken coop, in order to prove that he is a just an ordinary, down to earth Daggy Dad who understands what life is like for the rest of us.

I wonder how much time Daniel Andrews had for family matters over these last few months?

From what I have seen and heard of her, he is blessed with a wife who truly understands the mammoth task her partner had to shoulder, and she provided him with all the support he needed to cope.

In fact – what the hell was the PM doing, getting up to these antics, when there were still desperately important issues to be resolved?

Looking back at Morrison’s early career clarifies his desire for power doing whatever it takes. If you missed this, read it and ask – who who would have been the more honourable candidate?

We should not take it for granted that politicians cannot be trusted!

In fact it says little for us that we let it continue.

Incidentally – who owns Australia Post?

We do – and its employees are Public Servants, bound by Public Service rules!

We need to rid the governments of this country of corruption – which will not be an overnight task!

As individuals, there are clear limits to what we can achieve.

As a group, we have power – which we must use!

What do we want?

ICAC!!

How do we want it!

With real teeth!

When do we want it?

NOW!!

 

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Murdoch and Morrison – partners in grime

By Grump Geezer  

If asked to nominate a politician with a penchant for titty bars I suspect most people could name the distended Member for Manila and ping-pong ball fieldsman Gorgeous George Christensen. Gorgeous G, a devout Christian, is somewhat sensitive about the curiosity aroused by his frequent perver points at iffy Filipino dives where the sticky carpets are not solely a consequence of spilled beer. Press reports of his 28 trips and almost 300 days spent hanging out in the Philippines were vile smears according to our travelling vagophile. To be fair there should be some sympathy reserved for a bloke who can’t see his own genitals without the use of a Blu Tacked mirror on a selfie stick – there’s the deprivation factor to consider. And we should stop fat shaming Jiggle-O George. He already has enough on his plate.

Then there’s Kevin Rudd, the heedless man in topless bar and another conspicuously pious Christian who famously detoured into a Manhattan “gentlemen’s’ club” that traded in overpriced booze and the display of ladies’ pink bits. Apparently Kev was taken by surprise when confronted by a pert pair of areolae and a freshly-shaved flange and legged it for the exit. (After surviving FBI raids and ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s crusade against smut, Scores nightclub is now closed. foxnews.com.)

Kev, a practicing, purse-lipped Miss Prissy was duly mortified after the local Murdoch mulch fortuitously published the story when, as Opposition leader the bible-toting Rudd was favoured to win the 2007 election. What Kev and News failed to anticipate was his popularity increasing as a consequence. What Kev also seemingly failed to realise at the time was that the bloke who’d steered him into the strip joint was not his pal.

Col Allan was Murdoch’s New York Post’s editor, the longest-serving editor at News Corp and a “Dubbo boy with a fondness for beer, women” and peeing into the office sink. Rudd was then Opposition foreign affairs spokesman. Whatever bonhomie that may have existed between the two at the time was not to last.

The scrotum squeezed through a shirt collar that is Rupert Murdoch lauded Allan as “one of the most outstanding editors of his generation.” Murdoch also stated, without irony or the hint of a piss-take that “Col has sought…to hold the powerful accountable, to assail corruption and to have a positive impact in New York and beyond.” Integrity, truth and decency earning Rupert’s respect? Apparently it’s revenue that does it. “I’ll get fired not because Rupert doesn’t like the stories I put in the paper. I’ll get fired because we don’t sell newspapers” Allan told Lloyd Grove in a 2007 New York magazine profile.

Allen is the Murdoch myrmidon responsible for the crude front page splashes and blatant propaganda in News Corp’s Daily Guano denigrating Rudd and the Labor government. You have to question the standards of sleazy New York nudie bars when this is the type of trough snorkeler they allow onto the premises.

 

 

Murdoch is the price we pay for a free press. The dullards, bigots, RWNJs, offence seekers, non-registrants on the IQ bell curve, the perpetually confused, car crash spectators, the venal and the lazy have a right to have their opinions formed for them. The Murdoch manure machine’s usefulness is otherwise limited to teaching dogs to read or for prepatory hygiene in proctologists’ waiting rooms. Unless of course you’re an otherwise unemployable hack or a Tory politician.

The bile and merde produced by the monkey’s typing pool of Murdoch wazzocks, pizzle ninjas, racists, planks and coprophiliacs could be mostly ignored if it wasn’t for its ubiquity and dominance and it’s hands-down-each-others’-trousers relationship with an outrageously corrupt, punitive L/NP kakocracy.

This is taking liberties with the concept of a free press. It is not holding power to account – it’s a protection racket for gangsters and their cronies.

Criminals don’t like scrutiny. SchMo’s tactics for avoiding a federal integrity commission include everything short of calling in a bomb threat – it’s a guilty plea by default. After exposing Sports Rorts the national audit office had its budget cut at a time when unprecedented government largesse is being distributed. SchMo’s national cabinet is run in secret with fossil fuel mates being granted open slather to salt the earth and poison the atmosphere regardless of dodgy return on investment or a rooted planet. Tertiary education is being dumbed down and kept out of financial reach of enquiring minds. Various #gates bubble away. Promised millions in disaster relief goes undistributed while a bloated, smirking practitioner of POETS day cooks curries and assembles flat-pack cubbies and chook pens for the cameras.

The list is long, ignored or spun by the Goebbels and Riefenstahls of News Corp.

Prominant amongst Murdoch’s bilious minions we have:

Queen of confected outrage, Alan Jones, safely isolated in his Southern Highlands luxury estate from whence he broadcasts for Sky News and writes columns for News Corp, telling us now there is no pandemic despite earlier stating that “We are living in the world of coronavirus and the most repeated statement we hear is, we must listen to the experts”. When you’re an opinionated blow-hard consistency is entirely dispensable and hypocrisy a tool of trade.

Miranda Devine (aka Marge – I can’t believe she’s not better) piled on Quaden Bayles, the Indigenous kid with achondroplasia dwarfism who was being bullied at school, claiming it was a scam to make money. What sort of broken individual does that? Apparently it’s OK with the Rupester, as she’s now spewing her poison for his New York Post. If hacking a dead kid’s voicemail is OK then…meh!

The Cruella DeVile of politics, Peta Credlin, found herself at a loose end after steering feral friar Abbott’s government into the blackhole of public opprobrium. Apparently self-immolation sits well on a CV when submitted to News Corp, so long as you’ve acquired the requisite RWFW credentials where Pete scores an A+, offsetting the F she received at a road-side breath test. Pete’s now desperately trying to raise her miserable ratings on Sky News by grandstanding at Dan Andrews’ Covid press conferences where, much to her chagrin, she simply comes across as a tragic, look-at-me shrew.

Melbourne’s village idiot Andrew Bolt has the coherence of a drunk on a bus shaken awake by a pot hole. When Ivan Milat died Bolt’s position on the list of Australia’s worst people went up one place. In a battle of ideas he’s holding the beers.

Murdoch himself was deemed ‘not a fit person’ to run an international company by the UK’s Leveson enquiry. The stench goes all the way to the top and sets a standard for the bag carriers and apple polishers who work for the wizened old bastard.

Murdoch apologists suggest that his political influence is over-stated. It’s surely coincidence that three western democracies being pillaged by governments-by-brown-paper-bag are Murdoch’s markets.

King Conkers, the apricot nut in hi-viz makeup of orange spackle topped by mangy, yellowed road kill can retain office only because of the Fox News cheer squad of blonde barbies who’ve discovered that pneumatic boobs and good teeth can get them a better paying gig than blowing quarterbacks under the bleachers ever could.

The UK has a wardrobe malfunction as Prime Minister – who let the boob out? A bloke who sees a challenge in outdoing Trump in the I’m so incompetent I’ll kill thousands of my constituents stakes. Murdoch boosted Boris’s Brexit because, in his own words, 10 Downing St does as he tells them while Brussels tells him to fuck off.

SchMo and Co will ignore Kevin Rudd’s petition for a Royal Commission into Australian media diversity even though it has 368,000+ signatures.

Big Big George and the Reverend Kev both found out that Rupert will throw anybody under the bus. In George’s case it was for titillation, in Rudd’s it was mendacity and self-interest – Abbott could be trusted to obey orders and blow up the NBN to protect FoxTel’s revenues. Morrison will be aware that Murdoch can turn, so pending a heart attack or Jerry speeding up the inheritance by sitting on his face a tad too long, there will be no Royal Commission.

* * * * *

Supplement – Fun with anagrams

Bridget McKenzie – begrimed neck zit

Peter Spud Dutton – doped nut sputter

Scomo Morrison – SOS micro-moron

Michael McCormack – Cecil Cram-Hammock, chemical crack mom, Micmac – clam choker.

Josh Friedenberg – John Beefgirders, John Edger-Fibres, Jib Dogfreshner, Jobs Fingeredher

* * * * *

References

Col Pot’s war on Rudd: how the tabloids turned under Allan. Crikey.

Col Allan is back to help figure out the post-Trump coverage – Vanity Fair

News Corp editor Col Allan retires – The Guardian

Kick this mob out’: The Murdoch media and the Australian Labor Government (2007 to 2013) – Global Media Journal

 

This article was originally published on Grumpy Geezer.

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Dan Andrews stares down the lynch mob

By Ad astra  

If you detest Dan Andrews and want him gone, stop reading now. What follows will not please you.

As a citizen of Victoria I am incensed by the continual attacks on our premier. It’s not surprising that the State Opposition leader, the hapless Michael O’Brien, attacks Andrews in his usual censorious manner. But why are so many others targeting Andrews, who tries so earnestly, day after day, to do his best for us, the people of Victoria? Notwithstanding the mistakes he concedes he has made, who could doubt his sincerity, his earnestness, his diligence and his devotion to his job?

His attackers resemble a lynch mob, determined to string him up. Who are they?

I’m referring to people who work in the media. Journalists, news editors of print and electronic outlets, proprietors, and the moguls who control the media; you know who they are.

To get the anti-Andrews drift, you have only to read the newspaper headlines, watch the top stories on TV, or listen to the comments of the political elite.

But for a daily dose of political aggression and arrogance, listen to Andrews’ daily briefings on COVID-19. Without fail, he turns up to update us and to answer questions. He stays at the lectern until those present have exhausted their questions. It is not the number of questions that are directed to him that best characterise lynch mob behaviour; it is the tone of them, the arrogance they portray.

Many of his interrogators seem angry with him, keen to trip him up, eager to embarrass him, hell bent on making him uncomfortable. His calm, measured responses annoy them, so they up the ante with more assertive questions that cast doubts about the veracity of his answers. Words such as ‘surely’, ‘wouldn’t you agree’, ‘you must admit’ embellish their questions. Those who lead the lynch mob ask the same questions over and again, Now they are asking: ”Will you now resign?” Every time he offers them the same answer.

Those of you who have chooks will be familiar with the ‘pecked chook’ syndrome, where one chook is set upon by the others, who will peck it to death unless it is separated from them. They attack the head of the hapless chook until it bleeds. The blood evokes more frenzied pecking, and so on it goes until the poor animal is dead. The lynch mob displays such behaviour.

The same mob is there day after day. Andrews knows them by name. Watch them. Listen to their words. Observe the tone of their questions. Note their persistence with the same line of questioning. You can’t miss the pleasure they display as they peck away, hoping they can upstage their colleagues by drawing the first blood.

One inquisitor appears every day to lead the mob. Her questions are always acerbic, aggressive and accusatory.

Andrews often points out that his inquisitors have asked the same question time and again, and that his answer is the same. Clearly, he becomes frustrated, tired of the repetitive questions. But he patiently stays at the lectern until they run dry. And returns the next day for another round. His patience seems to have no bounds.

Recently, he has wisely exposed some of his team to the questioning ordeal. It has taken some heat off him, but has not tempered the questions.

Never willing to miss an opportunity, Morrison government ministers wait in the wings ready to take peck at him. Greg Hunt and Josh Frydenberg, and now Alan Tudge, acting immigration minister, have relished being a proxy for PM Morrison, who has chosen to keep his nose clean by hiding in the background. In the past few days, they have chosen to provoke Andrews by enabling arrivals in Victoria without notice. These people have simply appeared without proper documentation and some have on-travelled elsewhere, leaving Andrews astonished and angry. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that they were trying deliberately to provoke him.

Perhaps though, what has annoyed the lynch mob most is that Andrews’ strategy for controlling the spread of COVID-19 in Victoria has worked. The number of cases has been falling steadily. This past weekend, record low figures were achieved. As a result, restrictions have been eased, as promised, with more to come next weekend.

Whatever he does though, it will never be right, never enough for his detractors.

The painful reality for the lynch mob though is that Andrews has stared them down, and they don’t like it.

This daily inquisition is demeaning, unnecessary, unbecoming, and a pox on our politics. It must now stop.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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

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Another week in a government going from bad to worse

A short time ago I wrote these words: “The worse they govern the more popular they become.” This week’s post budget Newspoll confirms it to be so.

Mind you, it might also be an indication of the lack of interest we Aussies show in our national affairs.

That Newspoll would reveal such a commanding lead by the government after nearly three full terms of continuing scandals, bad policy, bad implementation, unfairness, shocking leadership and an assault on the very sustainability of planet earth is a scandal of enormous importance.

The latest Newspoll in The Australian has the Coalition leading 52-48, out from 51-49 last time, from primary votes of Coalition 44% (up one), Labor 34% (steady), Greens 11% (down one) and One Nation 3% (steady). Scott Morrison’s personal ratings are unchanged at 65% approval and 31% disapproval, while Anthony Albanese is steady on 39% approval and up three on disapproval to 43%. Morrison’s lead on preferred prime minister nonetheless narrows slightly, from 59-27 to 57-28.

They would win in a canter if an election were held today.

Anyone who follows my arguments will find an incessant trail of words that point to the unscrupulous lying of our Prime Minister and his ministers.

People need to wake up to the fact that government affects every part of their life and should be more interested. But there is a political malaise that is deep seated.

1 But let’s start with the story of former NSW MP Daryl Maguire’s litany of rackets and on-the-side business arrangements that for a price could get you an appointment with any one you wanted.

It is corruption of the worst kind because it’s done on the inside. Although peculiar to NSW, it is a typically pathetic lobbyists-scandal that includes Ministers who retire and immediately become employees of businesses pertaining to their former portfolio.

The stench of this pitiful racket has been waffling down the corridors of the Federal and State Parliaments for years.

People don’t want an appointment with a Minister just to tell him/her what a fine job they are doing. They want to extract an advantage be it financial or otherwise.

Lobbying interests represent millions of dollars in fees that in turn represent billions for companies or individuals who get what they want.

There is hardly an area of government be it, defence, housing, climate, education, industry policy that are not subjected to the persistent knock of the lobbyist at the ministers door and one has to wonder how many over the years have yielded not only to the knock but also the palm of the greased hand.

Less-informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths.

2 Today, I learn that private schools get $19 billion more than state run schools, while:

“Cash-starved universities will pocket $1 billion in bonus bucks, while private schools were handed a bigger slice of the funding pie than public ones in the Morrison Government’s Budget.”

Having already reaped millions from Jobkeeper, they include in NSW the King’s School, St Joseph’s College, Frensham and The Armidale School, as well as Geelong Grammar, Trinity Grammar, Wesley College and Bialik College in Victoria, and as reported in Michael West, the government is handing out even more.

As is usually the case it’s the wealthiest schools that reap the harvest of government largess. It’s just pampering to the rich. Another form of dishonest, sleazy governance.

So emboldened has the Prime Minister become and so used to getting away with increasing the riches of the privileged that he takes every chance to do so.

3 So arrogant has he become that he saw it fitting to close his eyes, play with his phone or turn his back on Albo during his Budget in Reply speech. Thinking you are superior to others in politics can get you into trouble.

So, let’s continue our meander though what’s been happening in the last week or so, so that we might better understand why it is that this government retains its popularity in spite of itself. Even taking into account the fact that people generally stick with who they know in a crisis is no excuse for the general public to close their eyes to the evil being perpetrated on them.

4 Scott Morrison continues to cop a blast from the Aged Care Royal Commission but he keeps up his pompous denial of any fault in spite of 20 reports saying the government was responsible for many mistakes, simply by not taking advice.

The Prime Minister’s condescending defence of his government wrongs are so superficial that even a blind man could see through them. Morrison is becoming more like Trump with every month that passes.

5 I also learnt that the company known as the NBN Co, the $51 billion taxpayer-funded organisation, is dodging a bit of flak for paying bonusus to its executive team during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Cop this; 110 of its workers are paid between $300,000 and $400,000 and 34 received base salaries above $400,000 before bonuses. Any wonder it is so expensive. This corruption spreads like rust throughout every facet of the community.

6 And now we have another slush fund giving money to another political party in One Nation to announce a policy in their name in return for their support for a yet unnamed bill.

How bloody scandalous.

On top of that the Auditors General’s Department who disclosed the “Sports rorts” in the first instance has had its budget decreased after asking for a top up.

And we call this democratic government.

7 Our conservative government wanted to ban those in immigration from having mobile phones. The reason, well the acting Immigration Minister, Alan Tudge, claimed the government needed the power to:

“… declare phones and other items “prohibited,” to stop the spread of drugs and contraband items in detention centres.”

Civil society organisations pointed out that any ban could prevent detainees speaking to their lawyers.

Jackie Lambie responded by saying that:

“Most of them are using their phones to text their friends and family. They’re using it to watch YouTube videos about cats or movie trailers or whatever. They’re not using it to organise bloody riots. They’re using it the same way I’ve been using mine through Covid – just to get through the day. I’m not going to stop someone calling their dad on his birthday.”

8 With her tail up, the sharp-edged voice of Lambie has warned the Prime Minister that she will reveal the details of a secret deal made in order to win her support for the repeal of the so-called medevac law if he does not do so himself by the end of the year.

“The medical evacuation law was passed against the Government’s will in the last sitting week of 2018.”

The Government has consistently denied that any deal was made however you might remember at the time she told the Senate that she had made a “really hard decision” to support the legislation’s repeal, but had done so because the Government had agreed to an “outcome” that would improve medical treatment for refugees held in offshore detention.

9 Australia Institute analysis finds the term ‘not for publication’ or ‘NFP’ appears 384 times in the budget. It is claimed to be the most secretive budget ever.

10 When the Federal Coalition was last in opposition, during the global financial crisis, its political strategy was to demonise the Rudd Labor government’s deficit spending. It told voters Labor’s spending had created a “debt and deficit disaster.” The strategy was effective and it romped home in the 2013 election.

11 Kevin Rudd’s attempt to force a Royal Commission into the media bias and influence of Rupert Murdoch in Australia, although the government isn’t compelled to implement, is racking up the signatures with over 250,000 thus far.

This includes a very important Former Liberal leader Dr John Hewson who has also added his name to the growing list.

12 News Corp publish seven of the 10 top Australian newspapers and own 65% of metropolitan newspapers by circulation. To quote their own figures:

“… more than 16 million Australians consume news and information across News Corp Australia’s suite of products per month.”

13 An ABC Factcheck tells us the Prime Minister was lying when he said that:

“There are 40 ships, and I’m told there’s some 90,000 containers out there. That includes medical supplies,” Mr Morrison told reporters on September 29, referring to a pay dispute between the Maritime Union of Australia and port terminal operator Patrick.

“You can go down to Port Botany or down to Kurnell and have a look out there and you can see them lining up, and every single one of them lining up is being held back from Australians getting what they need.”

However, according to the ABC fact check:

“… the data shows just seven container ships arriving or waiting off the coast over the 24 hours to Mr Morrison’s news conference.

Four of the seven ships were yet to dock when Mr Morrison made his claim, with three of them ultimately waiting between two and five days.”

If we are to save our democracy, we might begin by asking that at the very least our politicians should tell the truth.

14 Leaked talking points from the Prime Minister’s office last Thursday, tell Coalition MPs to yet again recommit to create a Commonwealth Integrity Commission and to promise it will come “as soon as possible” after COVID-19 recovery efforts.

It won’t be anything like what the public wants or is expecting.

* * * * *

Since Tony Abbott became the leader of the opposition – and in the years following – our politics has declined morally and any character in conservative leadership has been missing. It is corrupt to the core.

I have written a piece along these lines at least once a month for 7 years, however as l said at the beginning of this piece: “The worse they govern the more popular they become.”

My thought for the day

Have we reached the point in politics where TRUTH is something that politicians have persuaded us to believe is, “Like alternative facts” rather than TRUTH based on factual evidence, arguments and assertions?

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Bad form, old chap

Scott Morrison’s arrogance was badly showing while Anthony Albanese was delivering his reply to the budget on Wednesday.

Sometimes turning his back or preoccupied with his phone, but mostly with eyes closed, and a bored expression that could have been interpreted as being asleep. It was not a good look.

In fact, the only one to show any dignity at all was the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg who at least had enough self-esteem to look at Albanese.

However, it must also be said that the same disinterest and disrespect was shown by all government members. Morrison is known for his impatience with those who have an opposite point of view and it shows up when he is being interviewed.

When it reaches optimum annoyance, he begins to lecture and then his self-righteousness comes to the fore. Those who recall his interview with Waleed Aly will know what l’m talking about.

It is this “born to rule” attitude that gets up people’s noses, this “know your place” we are superior air of the toff that is so out of place in a modern pluralist society.

Morrison’s display of the petulant schoolboy was so Trumpish in its execution. It was the sort of thing one might expect from The Donald but not from a man allegedly well-versed in the techniques of marketing.

In short, it was just bad manners by these ostensibly, belligerent and condescending conservative megalomaniacs.

Of course, I wasn’t the only one to notice this appalling behaviour. Prominent barrister Julian Burnside was among many to criticise the PM’s deportment calling him a “disgrace.”

 

 

Journalist Troy Bramston also called him out and shared a photo which showed that only Frydenberg was looking at Albo:

 

 

Writer Van Badham said that Scott Morrison was “conspicuously posing like a petulant sook for the budget reply speech and it was an ugly look for Australian politics.”

Deputy Opposition Leader of the Legislative Council Penny Sharpe also said that the look on Scott Morrison’s face was “just awful”:

 

 

Among many to tweet their disapproval were the following:

 

 

 

 

What did you think?

My thought for the day

If you have a point you want to make then feel free to express it. However, do so with civility. Then your point of view is laced with a degree of dignity.

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Religious profit: Expanding the cashless welfare card ties in with Morrison’s beliefs

The philosophy of the cashless welfare card is the perfect marriage of neoliberal ideology and evangelical Christianity, both of which pathologise, criminalise and individualise poverty as a lifestyle choice.

The concept of the Cashless Debit Card, known as the “Indue” card after the company that oversees its administration, was brought to us by the obsessive efforts of mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest who decided that the solution to what he perceived as the “welfare dependency” of Indigenous Australians was income management. The Australian government agreed with him and in 2014 legislation to implement the card in selected communities for a trial period passed federal parliament.

The stated purpose of the card was to prevent Centrelink recipients spending money on drugs, alcohol and gambling. However, whether you engage in those activities or not is irrelevant: if you live in a trial site, eighty per cent of your government payment is quarantined and you are permitted access to only twenty per cent of your money as cash.

There are now four trial sites: Ceduna in South Australia, East Kimberley, the West Australian towns of Kununurra and Wyndham, and most recently, the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region of Queensland.

The so-called “trials” are now entering their fourth year, and in 2018 were extended into June 2021, despite there being little satisfactory data available on their success. While the trials now include non-Indigenous groups, they are still the majority of cardholders.

In 2019 the LNP government decided to extend the Indue card to every person already on income management in the Northern Territory from January 2020, by moving those already using the marginally less onerous BasicsCard onto Indue. There is considerable chatter on social media that the government’s endgame is to extend the card to aged pensioners and veterans, as well as everyone on Newstart, and that the roll-out will be national. Legislation is already in place for this roll-out.

Indue receives some $10,000 per annum per person from the government, for what is claimed to be “administrative costs.” 

The demeaning assumption by the privileged that people living in poverty are incapable of managing meagre government handouts and so must be infantalised, is but one aspect of this class war. Another paternalistic assumption is that anyone in receipt of government assistance is a “welfare cheat” or a “dole bludger,” and their spending habits must, therefore, be surveilled and controlled in an effort to protect “worthy” taxpayers from exploitation.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in a visit to the Yalata community, described the card as an exercise in “practical love”, a variation on the concept of “hard love” once advocated as a means of dealing with people addicted to substances.

The implication that the poor are morally inadequate while the wealthy are, solely by virtue of their wealth, morally superior, nicely intersects with the beliefs of Pentecostal Christian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s prosperity theology, which understands God’s love and favour to be primarily expressed in wealth and material comforts. If you are poor, God doesn’t love you, and you haven’t loved him enough either.

The philosophy of the Indue card is the perfect marriage of neoliberal ideology and evangelical Christianity, both of which pathologise, criminalise and individualise poverty as a lifestyle choice, with nary a thought for underlying structural causes. Poverty becomes a question of character, rather than a consequence of capitalist social organisation.

The card is stigmatising. Whenever you produce it to buy food, for example, everyone who sees it is aware that you’re being managed as if you have a problem with gambling, alcohol or drug consumption, all addictions that are concealable if you’re middle or upper class, but highly visible if you’re poor and receiving income support. The card is punitive. It is intended to be, at the very least, a powerful and humiliating reproach to people who receive government assistance.

The shame it evokes only demonises Centrelink recipients.

If the card is rolled out to everyone on income assistance, the division of society into the comfortable worthy and undeserving unworthy will be stark. It is a profoundly troubling backward step to a time when poverty was widely held to be a moral failing.

At the same time, Indue receives some $10,000 per annum per person from the government, for what is claimed to be “administrative costs.” Were the card to be rolled out to every recipient of Centrelink assistance, including all pensioners and veterans, Indue earnings would be considerable, and the cost to the government equally considerable. It is reasonable to question whether these funds could not be better spent in disadvantaged communities, rather than channelled to Indue Ltd and its shareholders.

Then there are the National Party connections with the company. Former National Party MP and Party President, Larry Anthony, was deputy chairman of Indue until 2013.

Nationals MPs are pushing for the widespread roll-out of the card, as are Liberals. The ALP appears, at first blush, to be more reluctant to both continue and broaden the card’s distribution, however, we are fast approaching the point where it is becoming necessary for Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese to clarify his party’s stance on the issue.

This piece was originally published on The Big Smoke. You can find them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheBigSmokeAU/) and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/TheBigSmokeAU).

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‘Emotional Labor’: Are we expecting too much from Dan Andrews?

By Mikayla Chadwick  

Today, Dan Andrews fronted the media for the 94th day in a row. But, while we expect him to show compassion and take the blame, are we asking too much?

In today’s political landscape, we force our politicians to be emotional: we want their compassion, we need to see them suffer as we do, we need to see them happy for our nation’s successes. So, what does this mean for Daniel Andrews?

What does it mean when we expect him to be civil, calm and collected when answering questions from a reporter for the 94th day in a row, when he knows they will publish yet another article asking him to take personal responsibility, or label him a dictator? How much can we ask of our leaders, emotionally, before it becomes too much?

Politicians, like waiters and retail staff, are service workers. Their employment depends upon their service to others: their role is to represent us. According to studies, politicians experience emotional burnout and depersonalisation in their jobs, as much as any other service worker. The pain a waiter goes to when he smiles with a ‘customer’s always right’ attitude, is likened by academics to the burden on a politician to smile and respond graciously to a reporter who publishes attacking and victimising articles about them. When the currency of today’s crisis is emotion, be it the fear of contagion or frustration about being in lockdown, how much emotional outpour can we expect from our leaders?

I argue, we can’t possibly expect as much as we do.

A simple scroll down Daniel Andrews Instagram feed will find a plethora of abuse scattered in comments on family photos.

Admittedly, Andrews’ is likely posting photos of his family in an attempt to humanise himself to the public – reminders of ‘I’m suffering too’ and ‘we’re all in this together’. Yet, the act of posting a photo of your family, while expecting to be called a paedophile, a dictator and a villain, requires some emotional work in and of itself. Andrews is experiencing daily something called ‘emotional labour’.

Coined by an American sociologist, ‘emotional labour’ is the effort one endures to act out an expected emotion, while genuinely feeling an entirely different emotion. The classic example usually given is that of an air hostess smiling at her passengers, despite her inner exhaustion. Her employment requires her to smile, even when she really doesn’t feel like it. Though it may be onerous to feel sympathy for our leaders, it can be suggested that Daniel Andrews is suffering the same burden as the air hostess.

Rachel Baxendale, in particular, not only writes incredibly confrontational and scathing accounts of the MP, but is standing in front of him at every press conference with questions ready to be fired. These include hypotheticals that he couldn’t possibly be expected to realistically entertain.

Here, Andrews must maintain a calm and respectful manner, despite what could all well be his true feelings of anger or resentment towards her as a reporter. Statements, even from fellow politicians such as Tony Abbott, saying we are in the harshest lockdown in the world, are found inaccurate by institutions such as Oxford University, who indicated that 13 other countries have achieved the maximum possible score for the overall severity of their lockdowns – Victoria is not alone. Yet, Andrews must keep it together in front of the press. This is a requirement of his job.

Other studies suggest that the role of the politician is to personalise the political – to make his moral integrity and familial accountability political fodder. Leading in a time of crisis embeds you in Australian households – press conferences and decisions made by Andrews affect us in an unprecedented way.

His position on COVID is as much up for ridicule as his personal life. People feel justified in attacking his family on Instagram, because they feel as though Andrews has personally victimised them; as if our leader has personally locked their doors and thrown away the key. Yet, if we saw no photos of his family, if we saw him react with anger to a journalist, he would also be ridiculed.

His position on COVID is as much up for ridicule as his personal life. People feel justified in attacking his family on Instagram, because they feel as though Andrews has personally victimised them; as if our leader has personally locked their doors and thrown away the key.

What Andrews is confronted with as a service worker is indicative of a wider, systemic problem that neoliberalism confronts us with. Our personal lives now are our professional lives. Personal attributes, such as optimism and confidence, are now listed as requirements in job descriptions. Emotion is okay, only when it fits the company well.

For instance, the ill-conceived campaign #GiveDanTheBoot, escalated to boots being hung on Andrews’ father’s grave as a sign of discontentment with Andrews’ leadership. In response to this, Andrews commented “Shame, shame on him, shame”.

Given, shaming the man who hung the boots consequently shames the entire campaign. However, when The Age deemed Andrews as ‘emotional’ in a headline, it was okay because it reflected the family values, we expect of him. Here we can see that he was allowed to be emotional because it served his party’s purpose. Again, the employer (us) set the rules for how and when he is allowed to respond emotionally to an ongoing string of events shaping his life.

If we are to hold Daniel Andrews personally accountable for every decision made during the COVID crisis, then we do not understand the complexity of working in politics.

This is not to argue that Andrews should be void of responsibility. Rather, he should be cut some slack, for prioritising the people over the economy, as opposed to Trump’s prioritisation of the economy over the people. And, to clear this up now, yes, if the economy collapses many people will suffer, but it is the people who sustain the economy. If we all die, so shall the economy.

Let’s give Andrews some credit for keeping us alive and undertaking the burdensome task of managing his emotions day-in-day-out.

This piece was originally published on The Big Smoke. You can find them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheBigSmokeAU/) and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/TheBigSmokeAU).

Mikayla Chadwick is a Melbourne-based freelance writer, focused on human and legal rights, global affairs and popular culture. Mikayla holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and is currently completing a research degree in sex work policy reform. To read more from Mikayla, check out her website: mikaylachadwick.com.

 

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Murdoch: forever brutal

There is much to read and know about Rupert Murdoch but there is nothing more provocative than the book by current Media Watch host Paul Barry; Breaking News: Sex, lies and the Murdoch succession, first published in 2013.

Since then we all know how his media empire is on the point of collapse, the disagreement with his youngest son over the immoral standards of his print, online media and in particular the lies it prints about climate change.

Then there is his misreading of the future of the internet and the future of Foxtel.

His bias is beyond words and his ongoing attempts to assassinate the character of Victorian Premier Dan Andrews where his publications have substituted journalism for opinion has provoked public opinion and left Victorians aghast.

Of Murdoch himself, Wikipedia tells us that he is:

“… an Australian-born American media mogul. Through his company News Corp, he is the owner of hundreds of local, national, and international publishing outlets around the world, including The Sun and The Times in the UK, The Daily Telegraph and The Australian in Australia, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post in the US, book publisher HarperCollins, and the television broadcasting channels Sky News Australia and Fox News.”

Even at the age of 89 he still brandishes power as though he owns it. The ABC’s current three-part series; The Rise Of The Murdoch Dynasty has sparked public interest in the man and his empire. I posted this review of Barry’s book in 2014 and believe it pertinent to repost because it gives those with little insight into the man a clearer understanding of just how brutal he is.


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

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

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

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

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

On three occasions I had to put the book down, so affronted was I by this vile nefarious excuse for humanity. One time was when one of his tabloid editors described the reason for his papers existence by saying: “The reason we exist is to destroy people’s lives.”

I imagine writing a book about Murdoch would be challenging. One would be tempted to be caught between his remarkable business success and the corrupt means by which he has made his fortune. Page after page is filled with carefully worded analysis of Murdoch’s business methodology. How he courted favour with the highest echelons of business and government. How he implies his instructions to his editors with a nod and a wink.

In the main Barry confines himself largely to the family machinations, succession, his longevity and the British hacking scandals.

As Barry points out, while Murdoch is alive, he could definitively resolve which of his children succeed him. But to do that he would have to step down and he almost certainly won’t, which gives the process the appearance of a slow-motion traffic accident. So much so that if he retains his health, he could be running his split empires, News Corporation and 21st Century Fox, in 2033. By then he will be 102, a year younger than his mother, Dame Elisabeth, at her death last year.

The Murdoch succession represents one of the great transfers of wealth and power of our times. And it is of course, by virtue of a rigged shareholding. Set up to his family’s advantage.

There are some telling revelations detailing his relationship with his children that give insight into the indifference he shows to outsiders. The discarding of loyal business associates of many years standing if it suited his purpose. His disregard for the feelings of others bleeds its way from one chapter to another and one is left with an impression of a man without an altruistic bone in his body. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in his capacity to end relationships on a whim. He discards marriages as if by decree leaving emotional wreckage scattered around him.

But the main thrust of this book is in Barry’s reading of the testimony before the Leveson Inquiry. It well may be that the revelations that emerge from the inquiry and the ensuing trials might to some degree change or rewrite some of Barry’s assertions. But it won’t change public perception.

Barry begins with Murdoch telling the British culture committee at the height of the hacking inquiry: “This is the humblest day of my life.”

“Is it rehearsed? Probably not.”  My view is Murdoch was on message: the line appears in his prepared statement, which he tried to table and, when this was refused, he blurted it out twice.

Thereafter Barry takes the reader on a journey that gives telling glimpses into the psychopathology that infested Rupert Murdoch’s power house tabloid; News of the World.

Murdoch was, and is, so unbelievably powerful that all he had to do was crook his finger and Tony Blair instantly jumped on a jet and flew halfway across the world to attend on him and to beg assurances of his support at the height of the 1995 U.K. General Election campaign.

Barry forensically dissects the evidence with page turning urgency and tells the whole story, or stories of people whose lives have been wrecked by the tabloid malevolence of Murdoch’s slime infested world. He alludes to many of the individual hacking instances but none are more compelling than when he asks Counsel to the Inquiry, Robert jay QC, “could I test that?” and proceeds to skilfully and deftly draw (News of the World editor) McMullan out. The gist of the questions that follow is “What about Jennifer Elliott?”

In the mid-1990s, Jennifer Elliott, daughter of famous actor Denholm Elliott, was homeless and occasionally used sex work to finance her heroin addiction. McMullan bribed a police officer for information about her whereabouts. He tracked her down, and over the following months, befriended her. He then betrayed their friendship by using it as the basis is for a series of articles in (News of the World) about her situation, ‘golden girl on the red carpet as her dad goes to pick up a Golden Globe … and here she is with dreadlocks covered in dirt … offering passers-by sex in return for money.’

Think of it. A vulnerable young woman in the thrall of addiction is living on the streets. A corrupt copper tips an opportunistic reporter off as to her whereabouts. She becomes a headline. A few years later, the cumulative effect of everything shitful in her life, including, in McMullan’s words, the fact that his media exposure had ‘absolutely humiliated’ her, takes its toll and she hangs herself.

Of all the stories of the hacking scandal victims, that of Jennifer Elliott haunts me the most.

The phrase ‘destroyed lives’ has been repeatedly used in reference to the News Corporation hacking scandal. But it did exactly that. The hacking scandal was lethal. Alexander Mosley, son of Max Mosley (who testified at the Leveson Inquiry on 24 November), escalated his drug abuse and eventually died of an overdose, unable to bear the shame of having his father reported by NOTW as having Nazi-themed sex with prostitutes (heavily emphasising the fact that Mosley’s father was British fascist leader Oswald Mosley).

British High Court Judge Eady found the Nazi theme of the reports had ‘no genuine basis at all’, when Mosley sued NOTW for breach of privacy and said ‘no amount of damage can fully compensate the claimant for the damage done. He is hardly exaggerating when he says his life is ruined’.

Then there was Charlotte Church, who after years of NOTW reports about her, including her family and her mother’s mental health issues, settled her legal action against News Group newspapers in February 2012, out of concern for what a protracted court battle was going to do to everyone’s health and well-being.

Mosley and Church’s stories get the space they deserve in Paul Barry’s book.

(Note: The aforementioned is quoted from another review and I have not been able to trace its originality.)

Primarily though, this book is about a man at the zenith of his power. A man with money but no character, no decency, no morality, no ethics and one who will die with ‘the king smut’ as his legacy. A despicable man who traded in human vulnerability for profit.

But he is good at it if nothing else.

Paul Barry has done the world a favour by writing this book but I was left at the end with the puzzling question:

How is this man fit to manage any business?

My thought for the day

Murdoch Publications: Where the truth goes to die.

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Now the blame game

By Ad astra    

Do you, like me, bristle as you hear the political class playing the blame game?

Seldom have we been so inundated with such a plethora of reports, inquiries, Royal Commissions and sundry investigations into past blunders. The Ruby Princess episode springs to mind, but there are many others. They all have something in common. They address the same question: ‘What happened?’ The oft-repeated rationale for the question is that we need to know this so that we can avoid it happening again. That is nonsense. What has happened is usually patently obvious to anyone reading the report of the event, and how to avoid a recurrence equally obvious. While how to avoid a repetition sounds a reasonable aim, the actual motivation is to apportion blame.

The political class revels in the blame game. It is another form of adversarial behaviour masquerading as legitimate discourse. We wrote about this in Is adversarial behaviour damaging our democracy?

As soon as a report is released, politicians do not ask how ‘How did we mess up so badly’. Instead, they first seek to find someone or some body to blame. They usually begin by asserting: ‘It wasn’t us’. Political opponents are then targeted with vigour. Even-handedness in apportioning blame is not an option. Scoring political points and damaging the reputation of opponents, is all that counts.

We are surprised when a politician concedes an error; we expect that such a concession will be accompanied by ‘Our opponents did the same’. When a minister makes a blunder, no matter how monumental, colleagues spring to his defence. We saw this recently when minister Colbeck showed his ineptitude so starkly. Yet he was defended by his colleagues and his spineless ‘leader’ did not sack him, as he should have.

I won’t burden you with a long recital of examples of the blame game. Just think of Donald Trump.

When did you ever hear him accept blame for anything?

When challenged with America’s surging unemployment, he insists that, rather than being to blame, he is tackling it with outstanding success. When challenged with America’s faltering economy, he not only refuses to accept blame, but asserts that it is booming as never before due to his superior management.

When asked about the wild spread of COVID-19, he insists he’s not to blame, refuses to accept that his unpreparedness is responsible and even disputes the extent of the epidemic in the US, and the hundreds of thousands of deaths that have already occurred. Who will forget the interview he had with aspiring journalist Jonathan Swan, who challenged him so stylishly with a set of uncomfortable facts that laid the blame at his feet. He was not about to accept Swan’s assertions; he had alternative facts of his own, which he lamely offered on pieces of paper. When Swan retorted: ‘You can’t do that’, Trump looked astonished. In his world, he can do or assert whatever he likes.

In our own country the blame game is in full swing. Who is to blame from the spread of the virus in Victoria? Dan Andrews is the prime target of his opponents, but the ‘bungled’ hotel security arrangements comes a close second; again Chairman Dan the culprit. Opposition leader O’Brien has his daily whinge about Andrews’ ‘bungles’, laying the blame heavily on the Premier for anything that is not going well.

Do politicians realise how much voters despise them when they play the blame game? They seem oblivious to the disdain they attract, as they do in so many other instances. They live in their Canberra bubble disconnected from the real world outside. They are elected to understand the issues that affect us and the problems that beset us, yet how often do they offer us understanding, comfort, reassurance and advice. They let us down collectively, and often individually as well.

When politicians play the blame game, they demean themselves. Yet they seem oblivious to the harm they do to the political class, and the disdain they evoke. Will they ever wake up? I doubt it.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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

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Tony Abbott still makes me feel sick in the pit of my stomach

1 Sir Robert Menzies and Tony Abbott remain the only two Prime Ministers who one could argue were more British than the British.

Menzies adoration of The Queen was so over the top as to be an embarrassment. Abbott’s love for the Monarchy showed up when he championed its side during the 2019 referendum.

Now we find that Abbott, who was so despised as Australian Prime Minister, that his colleagues got rid of him. Then to make matters worse his constituents voted him out of his seat.

My view of him when he was elected Prime Minister in 2013 was this:

Has Australia ever so blindly elected a man so negatively characterless?

So ignorant of truth and transparency.

So willing to endorse and foster inequality,

So insensitive to those who cannot help themselves.

So illiterate of technology and science.

So oblivious to the needs of women and the aged.

So inept at policy formation and its implementation,

So prone to the language of absurdity.

So pugnacious so confrontational, so self-righteous, in his attitude toward others.

So dismissive of those wanting equality and so out of touch with a modern pluralist society.

A man so unsophisticated in deep wordily acumen or discernment, yet so religiously motivated.

Yet here he bobs up, being proposed as a British trade envoy to do all the necessary Brexit trade deals.

Tony Abbott as a British trade envoy is not quite comedy but it will do for a serious giggle.

If all they expect of him is the repetitious shaking of hands and gratis smiles at garden parties then he is probably their man.

I expect that the job would demand all the attributes of a leader he never showed as Australia’s number one man.

In that role he was about as useless as an ashtray on a motor bike.

Of course, he was born in England in 1957 and later attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. So draped, was he in his Englishness, that he even, as prime minister, gave the Duke of Edinburgh an Australian knighthood.

The sheilas and blokes of good old Oz were completely gobsmacked with the decision, at the time, and demanded he get a new manager. He has been handling himself for far to0 long was the word from the main bar at Young & Jackson.

Nobody could see what services the Prince had done for us that might justify us giving the wanka a title that we couldn’t receive ourselves. I hope that makes sense.

Well unless you were still a British citizen, you were still eligible for a knighthood. Perhaps a discreet meeting had taken place with Sir Lynton Crosby. Do you get my drift?

There is nothing in Abbott’s background that suggests he is remotely qualified for this job. I mean, one wouldn’t dare put the mother country through such an ordeal.

The UK’s shadow trade secretary, Emily Thornberry was aghast at the appointment, saying:

“I just find this appointment absolutely staggering,” Thornberry said. “On a personal level, I am disgusted that Boris Johnson thinks this offensive, leering, cantankerous, climate change-denying, Trump-worshipping misogynist is the right person to represent our country overseas.”

 

 

In fresh news The Guardian reports that Abbott had admitted that in signing trade deals while he was Prime Minister he never allowed himself to become “side-tracked by peripheral issues such as labour and environmental standards.”

Which is of course in direct opposition to Boris Johnson’s insistence that “workers’ rights and environmental standards would be maintained once Britain leaves the single market and customs union.”

Just to finish off the former Prime Minister put the throttle down. In a speech to the Policy Exchange think tank he said that the economic cost of lockdowns meant families should be allowed to consider letting elderly relatives with the coronavirus die by letting nature take its course.

“Letting nature take its course.” Those words make me feel sick in the labyrinth of my guts.

Abbott claimed it was costing the Australian government as much as $200,000 (£110,000) to give an elderly person an extra year’s life, substantially beyond what governments would usually pay for life-saving drugs.

Abbott said not enough politicians were “thinking like health economists trained to pose uncomfortable questions about the level of deaths we might have to live with.”

That the man could have been a priest is beyond my physical and mental capacity to cope with as I try to manage my way through this crisis.

This conservative thinking of money before lives makes … me want to vomit.

But Abbott’s proposed appointment hasn’t been the only controversy of late.

2 Last Monday, in a bid to redirect attention from the economic bad news he is about to deliver, the treasurer chucked the greatest political hissy-fit since Pauline Hanson objected to vaccinations.

“The biggest policy failure in living memory” so said the Australian Treasurer referring to Victoria’s perceived lack of a COVID-19 plan.

That is the greatest load of hogwash l have ever heard. Menzies got us involved in Vietnam. It cost our country 500 young lives and millions of dollars. Then there was Iraq.

That’s what I call policy failures.

3 Unless there is something I’m missing, I fail to understand all the goings on about Facebook and free news.

It seems to me that If I share something from a Murdoch newspaper on Facebook is it news or free advertising? A link to the newspaper ensures that you are directed away from Facebook to the newspaper in question.

Perhaps they should be paying Facebook. What am I missing?

4 Now let me move onto that never-ending question as to when we might get an anti-corruption bill. Well on Tuesday Paddy Manning wrote in The Monthly that Helen Haines, the independent member for the regional Victorian seat of Indi, put two new bills on notice in the lower house: the Australian Federal Integrity Commission Bill 2020 and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Standards Bill 2020.

It is said that the decisions our politicians make now and upon the ending of this pandemic will shape our future for decades to come.

Therefore, we must rise to the occasion and install an integrity commission. After two years it is obvious the government has no intention of doing so.

I wish the Member for Indi all the very best.

My thought for the day

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

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