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I dunno about you but I felt a whole lot safer when we had an atheist in charge

It is no accident that, despite declining religiosity in Australia, our parliament is going in the opposite direction.  It’s no coincidence that we are hearing calls for religious freedom and seeing high profile court cases.  It’s all part of a long-term plan.

In November 2003, the National Alliance of Christian Leaders (NACL) held a summit to “develop a strategic blueprint for a discipled Australia.” According to Helen Woodall, the editor of New Life Christian Newspaper, the goals agreed upon included:

“… unity in truth; recognition of Christ’s authority in the church, family, individual and government; … legislature to force Christian values; … the kingdom permeating the structures of society; biblical government.”

As Sara Diamond, author of Roads to Dominion explains, this religious philosophy holds “that Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns.” Indeed, dominionists believe that achieving this aim is a prerequisite for the second coming of Christ.

From local parents and citizens associations to regional councils, from our previously secular state schools to state government departments and even within Parliament House, Canberra, this particular clique of evangelical Christian extremists is working quietly but assiduously to tear down the division between church and state, subvert secularism and reclaim this nation for Jesus.

In order to achieve their aim, dominionists plan to infiltrate, influence and eventually take over seven key spheres of society: business, government (including the military and the law), media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.

Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition wrote:

“There will never be world peace until God’s house and God’s people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world. How can there be peace when drunkards, drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age worshippers of Satan, secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy moneychangers, revolutionary assassins, adulterers and homosexuals are on top?”

Sound familiar?

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) runs a program called Compass Australia which identifies young evangelicals in schools and universities and mentors them into positions of influence.

In conceiving the idea for the Compass program, says former chief of staff David Yates, the ACL was “thinking about 15 to 20 years down the track, who will be in the media, education, politics, law, and history?”

“If you can get through government and policy makers then it can influence laws and it can have a disproportionate effect within the culture,” he explains.

It was David Yates who led the 2003 National Association of Christian Leaders (NACL) summit which set about developing a strategy to realise a “Biblical government” with a mandate to “force Christian values” on the Australian public through legislation.

In November 2016, the NACL reprinted an article by Dr Francis A. Schaeffer titled The Price We Pay for Negligence.  The timing of the reprint is interesting considering it was written in 1983.  Perhaps the introduction of the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill by Malcolm Turnbull in September had them searching for their clarions.

“Christians are paying for their negligence. We have permitted the dominance of a philosophy that sanctions the killing of an unborn child for the mother’s convenience. A philosophy that deems it acceptable for parents to allow a “less than perfect” newborn child to die -again, because it is convenient. A philosophy that can talk of euthanasia of the aged and a general devaluation of all human life. A philosophy that has euphemized a wrong and self-destructive sexuality into “alternative life styles.” A philosophy that drives its proponents to unashamedly seek the banishment of all religious influence from the stream of public life, leaving a totally relativistic value system and law.

This secularistic worldview has engulfed every area of society which Christians have chosen to ignore – the government, the courts, education, the media.  It is not too late to change this destructive situation, but it is too late for mere words. It is time for Christians to fight this materialistic, humanistic tide and provide Christian alternatives. It is time that we came out of our cloistered, compartmentalized existence and took our place in the political and legal arenas.

We must use the law effectively in the coming years if we are to see any positive change. Our system of law has veered so far from its original mooring that it is going to take aggressive challenges in the courts to thwart the destructive trends. We cannot afford to sit back and allow humanism to increasingly roll over us.”

After Scott Morrison took over as leader, Pentecostal leaders warned their congregation that “darkness” would spread across Australia and Christians would be persecuted if he did not win the next election.

Pastor Adam F Thompson from Voice of Fire Ministries made a video saying:

“This is a crucial time right now … In the next six months it’s time for the body of Christ [the Christian church] to put its differences aside … and come together and agree that Jesus is the Messiah and start praying together and calling it in and praying for our prime minister right now, and for our government.

I really see that the body of Christ is going to have influence in the arena of – the political arena of this nation.

[But] if the prime minister right now doesn’t get elected in this next election there’s going to be darkness coming. And I’m not being negative. The laws are going to change where darkness is going to come and there will be persecution on the church.”

I dunno about you but I felt a whole lot safer when we had an atheist in charge.

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The Australian Goes into Bat for Folau: A Response

I thought I was done with this Folau nonsense, but the Un-Australian has printed a piece of breathtaking propaganda which screams out for a dissection. The source piece is long, so this will likely be a monster. Perhaps put on a pot of tea?

Part One: Not a Good Start 

Even the headline of this piece is a cracker:

No forgiveness for Folau’s sins against the PC church

Sigh. Folau did not ‘sin’ against ‘political correctness’. The company for whom he worked responded to his bigoted views (as they would have to anyone else) and sacked him. That is what happened. Nothing more. This explains the financial action against him by Rugby Australia. As for the blasting he received from the general public, this is called free speech. Contrary to recent conservative orthodoxy, free speech does not mean you say whatever you want and everyone else has to STFU.

The opening lines of the piece is not much better

The take-home message of the Israel Folau scandal is as clear as it is terrifying: Christians are no longer welcome in public life. If you adhere to core Christian beliefs about sin, hell and damnation, you will be purged from polite society

The Prime Minister of the nation is a pentecostal christian who recently attended a religious conference and actually said ‘Australia needs more prayer’. Mr Morrison is, to the best of my knowledge, still welcome in public life. The first claim is a demonstrable lie. As for ‘adhering to core christian beliefs about sin, hell and damnation’, these people are not purged from society by any means. Mr. Folau was not fired out of a cannon to the other side of the country for what he said. Rather, he was simply held to account for views which, in light of recent social progress, are now not as accepted as they once were. Christians who say bigoted things using your precious ‘free speech’ being responded to by others using free speech? The cheek! The outrage! The gall!

Part Two: Religious Misinterpretation and False Equivalence

The author continues with one of the more popular anti-gay passages from the christian new testament, that of Romans 1:26-7. He misinterprets it by ignoring the context that it was the christian god himself who forced the people to behave as they did. Compounding this gross misinterpretation is the suggestion that the men had been turned away from ‘the natural use of the female’ – seriously. Barbaric nonsense.

The author’s point here is that if you hold to what the hebrew and greek bibles say about homosexuality, you are ‘branded a moral transgressor’. No, you are not branded as a moral transgressor. You are simply called out for the unevolved, bigoted clown that you are. Your morals are, quite literally, not from this millenium (or the previous one for that matter). Society has moved on. We no longer burn witches, stone or burn heretics or keep slaves. This idiot then adds

critics of christianity now use the tactics that christianity itself once used in its darker moments in history

Unless and until ‘critics of christianity’ are burning people alive for the crime of public disagreement, or perpetrating other acts of violence against ‘transgressors’, you can leave the room and not come back. The very idea that the tactics of modern society in not allowing hate-speech because book are comparable to those of the church itself in medieval times is laughable, and offensive to all the victims of actual violence carried out by the medieval church. Get off my lawn you intellectual midget.

Part Three: False Persecution

In what is fast becoming a tired aspect of this narrative, the author turns to the persecution card. They believe this is a trump card, since disagreement with the premise is evidence for it. So they believe. But like any other form of begging the question (which this is), you did not prove the premise from which you are extrapolating. Back to the piece though. This next part has to be quoted in full to be believed. The author says


Yet I find the persecution of Folau repulsive and an alarming sign of the times. It demonstrates how far PC intolerance has gone and how thoroughly anyone who doesn’t slavishly subscribe to contemporary orthodoxy can expect to be punished.

The crap is strong in this one. He is not, as I just said, being persecuted for his beliefs. He is subject to responses, both rhetorical and financial, because he said bigoted things with which people, including the company for whom he works, disagree. Now, the fact that his religion motivated him to say said bigoted things is not relevant. Linking the action taken against Folau to his religion is a non-sequitur and a red herring.

Let us translate the phrase ‘slavishly subscribe to contemporary orthodoxy’, for this is a doozy. Contemporary orthodoxy is conservative code for social progress, otherwise known as living in the modern age. Contemporary orthodoxy is a world that has evolved morally from the teaching of a bronze age book. This is a world where gays are accepted, blacks are not kept in chains and women are not property. In short? A world where christians no longer rule. Clinging petulantly to your beliefs as the world moves on is the equivalent of standing on the platform as the train leaves the station. You get left behind.

Part Four: Doubling Down

The author then recaps the facts in the Folau case (suitably spun). He then proceeds to double down on the persecution narrative. Rugby Australia had, in the name of tolerance, ‘vilified Folau because of his religion’. See above. Sigh.

Referring to the statement put forward by Rugby Australia which effectively said Folau’s bigoted views were at odds with their desire to be inclusive and welcoming of everyone, the author said this

This Orwellian statement translates as follows: “We will not tolerate vilification on the basis of religion — unless your religion is traditional Christianity, in which case we will vilify you.

Once more for the impregnably dense: the responses which Folau has received have nothing to do with the brand of BS in which he believes. It is fair to say that anyone who behaved as he did, regardless of why, would have been treated the same way. If it seems like you have read this before in my earlier articles on this topic, I apologise. They make the same tired arguments, I wield the axe in the same way. Like sands through the hourglass.

The use of George Orwell, to describe the response from Folau’s detractors is a new one. However, the irony does appear lost on this author. The ‘religious freedom bill’ is the ultimate example of Orwellian language. Now, all legislation to some extent is Orwellian: the title either means nothing or is framed in such a way as to be politically expedient. Examples include the infamous PATRIOT Act in the US. Who was going to vote against that? But back to the point. This author bitches about Orwellian language in the age of the ‘Religious Discrimination Act’? Seriously!

Part Five (a): The First ‘Lesson’ of the Folau Scandal

This clown extracts three lessons from this Folau nonsense, and it is on these that I want to end

First, it confirms that PC is the new religion. Political correctness now does what pointy-hatted priests used to do: seeks out thought criminals and moral transgressors and punishes them for their wicked beliefs

Ah yes, political correctness, the go to buzzword of the right that describes social progress made since Patrick Troughton was The Doctor. What this Australian propagandist calls ‘political correctness’ is essentially society-wide politeness. This we often express as tolerance and acceptance of those who are different. Well that is way too christ-like for these modern christians, so screw that.

Part Five (b): The Second ‘Lesson’

His second ‘lesson’ is

The left will turn a blind eye to the use and abuse of capitalist power if it serves their purposes. So, just as leftists have cheered Silicon Valley oligarchs as they have expelled from social media anyone who has an anti-PC point of view, so they have applauded GoFundMe’s shunning of Folau.

Complaining about the use and abuse of corporate power when you write for Rupert Murdoch is the height of lack of self-awareness! SERIOUSLY! You work for Rupert Murdoch! What he means, of course, is that corporate power was used to target someone on his team. The issue is not the use of corporate power itself, but rather who the targets are. THis fact exposes the author as an unprincipled hack!

Also, anti-PC advocates are expelled from social media? Donald Trump, Paul Joseph Watson and Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad) all remain on social media. Next. Also, while the left may have applauded GoFundMe’s decision to close Folau’s campaign, that does not change the fact that it was the right decision. If their platform was the basis for a bigot defending himself against legitimate employer reaction to breach of contract, their reputation would have tanked. This was an act of financial self-preservation.

Part Five (c): The Final ‘Lesson’

The third and final ‘lesson’ from this flaming garbage is

that Christianity is one religion it is acceptable to mock and persecute these days. If you were to criticise Islam, you would be branded an “Islamophobe”. You would be accused of stirring up racist sentiment. You would be denounced and harassed and censured.

Any and all religions are subject to mockery by those who do not believe them. The christian faith is subject to greater mockery in Australia because it is more prevalent. It also takes itself way too seriously, and Australians are always up for a good laugh at anything that does that. But even so, it is not mockery to which Folau and his not-so-merry band of bigots have faced. It is scorn! It is outrage! He is being treated like the hateful, intolerant religious zealot he is. That he and his fellow conservatives do not like the fact that you can’t use religion as a sword and shield anymore is not my problem.

As for the suggestion that criticism of islam is called islamophobic, this is limited to the authoritarian left; the so-called purple hair brigade. Frequently, when the mainstream left uses the term, it is in response to claims that all muslims be banned from entering the US, or all muslims are terrorists. These are bigoted generalisations that do, in fact, suggest an irrational fear of muslims.


Let us hope this is the last time we have to deal with this nonsense (unlikely). The christian community needs to learn and accept that speech has consequences, particularly when you work for a company that values its reputation.

The final, and most important actual lessons from this are as follows

  1. Society has evolved past the point where they require a book to tell them how to act.
  2. Disagreeing with, and legislating away, your ability to discriminate against people is not discrimination against you!
  3. As Anita Sarkeesian said ‘When you are used to privilege, equality seems like oppression’

The batshit crazy ramblings of Barnaby Joyce

Two days ago, the drunken adulterer who used to occasionally fill the role of leader of our country posted this on Facebook:

Warning:  The following post was written by Barnaby Joyce and contains no commentary or analysis by me.  If you don’t want to waste time reading his ramblings, this isn’t for you.

“The very idea that we can stop climate change is barking mad. Climate change is inevitable, as geology has always shown.” These are the views of New Zealand lecturer of geology, David Shelley. A person vastly more competent than me and the flotilla of others telling the kids the world is going to end from global warming.

The central theme of David Shelley’s analysis is that sea levels are rising and have been for thousands of years and will fall during the next ice age which is expected about now, give or take a thousand years.

When the ice age does arrive temperatures will drop around ten degrees. A warmer planet will be a disconsolate chronicle and many, maybe most, will die from starvation as is the usual experience of man or beast in previous ice ages.

The weather is going to brutally win the population problem and the parliament of Australia has no power against it. One may suggest that warmer weather is the better problem of the two.

One of the few graces of being on the backbench is you can be honest with what your views really are. I believe this is one of the greatest policy phantoms, the misguided and quite ludicrous proposition that Australia can have any affect on the climate. If we could we should be the first to make it rain and, more importantly, stop the recurrence of an ice age anytime in the coming millennium.

Politics takes politics to the absurd. We have to absolutely affirm that our domestic settings can deal with a proposition which is stated quite clearly by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that: “In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

You don’t get the feeling when you listen to the political propaganda or the supporting lobbyists that there is any doubt about their capacity to “fix the climate problem” I do get the feeling that you will be tried for heresy if you dare question the zeitgeist so you basically have to lie about your honest assessment of what the hell we are doing to our economy, standard of living, our basic rights and the real future of our children.

Today, more than in the past, the political debate is set within a predetermined paradigm. Participants can not ague outside these preset boundaries. Maybe it is over cynical but I believe the promotion of the primacy of the state over the individual is very well served by the apparent necessity of climate policy.

Private property rights are removed, by the implementation of vegetation laws, because of “climate action”. The state will limit your access to electricity because of “climate action”. You will drive an electric car because of “climate action”. You will divest the nation of its largest export because of “climate action”. Rather than state there is no prospect whatsoever that any action of ours, and most likely of anyone else, will have any affect whatsoever on the trajectory climate is on.

We have instead the congenial narrative that we are all trying to make the world get cooler, but one path or the other path is the better alternative of cooling policies . We will do this by shutting down all our power stations, replacing them with windmills and rejiggering our nation away from our largest exports of mining and agricultural resources to carbon neutral tourism and the knowledge economy. Australia will be the catalyst to a global epiphany and the totalitarian Chinese regime will follow our lead because of our righteousness followed by India and the United States.

No, I don’t think that will happen. I hate to say it but I doubt the majority of people on the planet, give a toss about the Paris Agreement. I would be amazed if one percent of the planet could competently explain it.

I will make one prediction; after this is published it will be promptly followed by the remnants of the traditional media in furious pursuit of my heresy. Questions will be asked by the fourth estate and high octane derision will issue forth from the climate change actionistas.

No doubt I will be accused of not knowing what I am talking about, and when it comes to predicting the weather more than a fortnight or so out, that is true. But of those who ask the questions, will any of them truly understand what on earth are they are talking about.”

Barnaby, you are the last person anyone would bother asking about climate change.

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Lying does work: Just ask any Liberal Prime Minister

Sometimes I allow myself the indulgence of thinking I know a lot. Then I realise that in the totality of things, I know little. One thing I am certain of however, is that there are known facts in the world because science proves them to be so. That is the truth of it.

I also know that humility is the basis of all intellectual advancement but it is truth that enables human progress. Can you imagine a world without truth? I cannot.

That is why I question everything. What I see, what I feel, what I hear and what I am being told until I understand the truth of it.

But the recent past election showed the power of using lying as a political tool. How destructive it can be. How damaging to a fragile multicultural pluralist society. Indeed, how easy it is to adopt the art of lying as a habit.

Central to the art of lying is that it has become so commonplace, so easy to justify.

Society, or sections of it, has so lowered the bar for the need for, truth or fact, that they require little of it.

Now, I would be less than honest if I didn’t illustrate some dishonest examples within the Coalition. The avalanche of lies started with John Howard and the now disgraced former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Climate change, according to Abbott was crap and a socialist plot. He denigrated renewable energy. His Chief of Staff Peta Credlin later confessed that it was all just a political ploy.

Conservatives were found out telling lies about the cause of climate change but it made little difference. Even the cause of the South Australian blackouts became a target for lying. They categorically stated that it was caused by the introduction of renewable energy, where as it was as simple as towers collapsing during a major storm.

Then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sought to lie about the value of his donation to the Liberal Party. Who cared?

When did all this lying start? Well I could go back to Reagan and his decision to allow the fundamentalist churches into politics and perhaps bring it up to date with the ascension of Trump.

We have inherited it from US politics that “The press are the enemy of the people.”

Lying in Australian politics has reached an unprecedented level. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet took lying to such depths in this election that it is not disingenuous to suggest that government under Morrision no longer has a moral compass or understanding of truth.

Undoubtedly the rise of the right, imported from the United States, has been the major and most worrisome aspect in the decline of the Liberal and National Parties where once small ‘l’ Liberals had residence, but have now been purged.

Neo-liberalism/Conservatism – aided by an inheritance of lying as a political weapon from the US – infiltrated the Coalition and gave birth to extremism.

Lying has and will probably always exist but it reached its zenith during the 2012 Presidential Debates. I watched all of the debates and in the first I agreed that Obama underperformed and was underprepared.

But in the background of that first debate I had the sneaking suspicion that he was rocked by all the lies Romney was telling. He recovered in the other debates and won them easily.

In that campaign Romney told an astonishing 2000 provable lies and lying has now become part and parcel of American politics.

Whilst I would credit John Howard with modern political lying, people of my vintage could easily take it back to Robert Menzies’ “Reds under your beds.”

This scare campaign was used endlessly during his tenure of office with much success even though there was no grounding in fact but it was enough to keep him in office.

The trams and buses I frequented as a young boy had posters from one end to the other depicting the communist hordes invading our country. Our newspapers were a flood of the worst of communism. Our picture theatres carried western propaganda on there silver screens.

Using vigorous anti-communist slurs and scare campaigns the prime targets for Menzies unashamed propaganda were the powerful trade unions and Labor itself.

It went on for decade after decade.

In the modern era Tony Abbott blatantly and dishonestly sought to convince the population that we were under the threat of terrorism and through both legislation and mouth tried to corner us into believing it was the truth.

Daily he made pre planned visits to compliant businesses to spread his lies about the carbon tax.

Barnaby Joyce then in the Zenith of his oral exaggeration suggested that a Sunday roast was going to cost $100.

Pitifully, without fact evidence or reason he relentlessly attacked, the “carbon tax”.

After all it was going to wreck the Australian economy. We now know that it was all part of his plan to become Prime Minister.

When talking about terrorism he always tried to personalise it. His gutter tactics were never further than a heartbeat away.

“ISIS is coming to get us. And you personally,” he would proclaim.

Tony liked to frighten friend and foe alike. His life records his aggro. Frightening the shit out of people was bread and butter to him. He held the country on permanent alert and revelled in it.

He believed in lying and fear as legitimate political weapons and wielded it unapologetically.

Amidst all this fear he managed to create an untrue budget crisis. One where all hell was going to break loose and destroy the country, as we knew it.

Everything is Labor’s fault became the catchcry for all that ever went wrong.

When he attained the Prime Ministership there was no budget and Joe Hockey soon after was telling the country how he had saved us from disaster. It was nothing but shrill politics from Abbott’s demented mind. The 2014 budget proved it beyond doubt.

Now let us outspread our thoughts to earlier times. To a time when Philip Ruddock as Immigration Minister decided that those seeking asylum weren’t actually doing so because he classed them as “illegals”.

Never in their entire term in office have they had the courage, or the dignity to call these people seekers of asylum

Indeed, never at any time in their scare mongering did they have the dignity to treat these folk as human beings because they wanted to use them as examples.

They we so bad, so inhuman, so violent that they would deliberately throw their own children overboard if it meant saving their own lives.

They made up their own truth and left nothing for one’s imagination when describing these people.

And brutal has been the way in which they have managed asylum seekers. From Ruddock to Morrison and now Dutton they have lied, vilified and demonised asylum seekers. Morrison has even encouraged his party to be more destructive with their damnation. “Praise the Lord.” He denied the claim but members of his own party recall it.

If they murdered truth along the way, who cared?

I have every right to call them the masters of scare. The longevity of the one against asylum continues today even though many have become fine citizens.

We cannot erase from our history the fact that John Howard, together with Bush and Blair used barefaced lies and tricked the world into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

And the whole world knows the consequences of that scare campaign.

In Australia we are frequently reminded by the right about terrorists and of course Muslims. They hate them.

Anything warrants a scare.

In more recent times Liberal “anti everything backbenchers” conducted a scare campaign against the “Safe Schools” legislation.

We have been told that Labor’s negative gearing proposal would wreck the property market and during the election campaign told that a Labor/Green alliance would be one of chaos. Yes, it’s true.

In 2019 we have had Tim Wilson’s scare about franking credits. Negative gearing, death taxes, and many more.

At the very core of conservative capitalistic individualism screams the rights of the individual. Yes, at a time when what the world needs most are collective approaches to solve our problems, people they still proclaim individualism an the answer.

Truth has become a rare commodity. I am talking about a truth based on factual evidence and sound arguments.

Politicians now say that only what they say is the truth when Blind Freddy knows it isn’t. Yet many fall into the cesspool of fallacy.

Some people now factor in what they believe to be untrue. Others because of allegiance accept in blind loyalty. Yet others reject it because they know what they are being told is untrue.

However, the acceptance of lying in society generally is of great concern and shows that our standards are badly slipping.

Ministers in the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments also seemed to have carte blanche to tell as many as they like. Peter Dutton and others to this day continue to lie with monotonous regularity.

Truth is the victim. In the first instance the best way to turn the profession of politics on its head in this country and create a new democracy would be to demand that politicians and the media tell the truth.

“Honesty isn’t popular anymore. It doesn’t carry the weight of society’s approval it once did”.

In politics, truth is something that gives policy and ideology a foundation.

Something upon one can rest one’s argument. If the words you use to substantiate your argument are lined with truth then it is more difficult to argue against it.

You can still be wrong but be satisfied that truth was at the core of what you were saying.

Words of course, are the same. They also require truth otherwise they are without meaning. Without truth hey shape no discourse, no truth, and no debate.

Without truth in words the ability to communicate the seemingly endless aspects of human emotion successfully is taken from us.

That’s why I conclude that words are at their best when they are accompanied by a factual truth of what they want to convey.

As I have said in the past, the rise of the right has brought with it a new political language. One that has not yet been classified because it defies any normal understanding of whether truth has a place in it.

Just listen to Trump’s midweek rally speech and you will hear the truth of everything I have said.

But let’s pause for a moment and take a look at the broader picture and ask ourselves what is a lie in general and what constitutes political lying.

Many would say that lying is just a normal part of society’s intercourse. The lies I’m talking about, the blatant ones like when the liar intends to deceive or mislead or the liar believes that what they are ‘saying’ is not true. We call people who use these three principles blatant liars.

Lies, when it comes to the manipulation of the population have proven to be the most advanced tool we have.

You see, one way or another we all live by belief and it can be manipulated.

I’m not talking here about white lies nor any other category except the lie constructed to deliberately hurt others or manipulate society for nefarious reasons.

When politicians collectively or individually over a long period seek lie for their own individual benefit or that of their parties then the lie only serves to denigrate the liar, and show contempt for the voter’s intelligence.

Sir Walter Scott said this about lying:

”Lying is probably one of the most common wrong acts that we carry out (one researcher has said ‘lying is an unavoidable part of human nature’), so it’s worth spending time thinking about it.

Why is lying wrong?

There are many reasons why people think lying is wrong; which ones resonate best with you will depend on the way you think about ethics.

Lying is bad because a generally truthful world is a good thing: lying diminishes trust between human beings: if people generally didn’t tell the truth, life would become very difficult, as nobody could be trusted and nothing you heard or read could be trusted – you would have to find everything out for yourself and an untrusting world is also bad for liars – lying isn’t much use if everyone is doing it.”

When it was revealed that the Coalition knew that a report would say that renewables were not the cause of the SA blackouts the conservatives had to tell lies on top of lies to justify the first one.

My thought for the day

Despite a tendency inherited biologically by all to lie. Truth in politics and society in general matters enormously.

It is not a trivial matter in any democracy.


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Bridget McKenzie revealed the Adani jobs lie and no-one noticed

Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie made an amazing admission in an interview on Sky but nobody (except The Australia Institute) seemed to notice.

“[Adani will] be employing 1500 through the construction phase and around about 100 ongoing.”

Just to emphasise, that’s 100 ongoing jobs – not 10,000, not 1500 – ONE HUNDRED.

Considering Ms McKenzie is an avid Adani fan girl, the “around about” makes even the 100 jobs dubious.  After all, Adani told investors the whole project would be automated from mine to port (meaning driverless trucks and trains to reduce on labour costs i.e. jobs)

Compare that to Queensland’s renewable energy projects committed since 2015: 5687 construction jobs & 273 ongoing. Projects proposed: 33975 construction jobs & 1,562 ongoing.

The Australia Institute points out how comparatively insignificant coal-mining is as an employer.

Across Australia, coal mining accounts for half of one percent of all jobs (0.5%)

In Queensland, coal mining is just 1.1% of all Queensland jobs. Coal mining comes in far behind far bigger employers like health, education, retail, agriculture, public administration, construction, as well as accommodation and food services, which is heavily linked to tourism, and manufacturing.

In North Queensland, coal mining is the eleventh biggest industry, accounting for 4% of jobs, meaning 96% of North Queenslanders do not work in coal mining.

There are around 40,000 jobs in tourism in reef regions on the North Queensland coast — twice as many as in coal mining, according to ABS data. Other estimates put the number higher at 59,000.

If the infrastructure for Adani is built, it is likely that the rest of the Galilee will be developed.  Putting millions of tonnes of new coal into a stagnant and falling market will drive down the price of coal and put existing coal-mining jobs at risk – an estimated 13,000 according to TAI.

Aside from the jobs discussion, climate change must be a consideration not just on environmental grounds but on economic ones too.

According to TAI, inaction on climate change could cost Australia $131 billion per year, excluding natural disasters that already cost Australia over $18 billion per year.

Under the carbon price period, Australia successfully reduced emissions by 2% while the economy grew by 5% showing the economic impacts of taking action are minor compared to the catastrophic consequences of inaction.

Before the Queensland government caves in to bullying to approve a groundwater management plan that the experts have told them is inadequate, they must come clean about the real job opportunities for a handful of people in NQ coal-mining vs the job losses in other mines and industries and the effect more coal will have on the existing market.

For the sake of “around about 100 jobs” are we really prepared to cook the planet?

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Feline Metathesiophobia

By Grumpy Geezer  

Congratulations, Australia! You cowering clowder of fraidy cats have capitulated in the face of a blatant fear campaign and negative, deceitful sloganeering from Smirker and his coprolytic Luddites and drongos. Frightened? Now you should be; we face three more years of regressive zealotry, incompetence and appalling behaviour because you voters have endorsed it all as being acceptable. Deplorable!

We’ve had six years of a grim regime of cranks, liars, humbugs, religious nutters, bellicose bullies, autocrats and self-interested, dodgy carpet-baggers. Tumult reigned, idiocy prevailed over logic and reason, sabotage and wrecking substituted for policy vision and yet they were returned to wreak further havoc. WTF, Australia? Seriously, WTF?

The Lying Nasty Party implemented a scare campaign for the 2019 election given they could not run on their abysmal track record and are bereft of plans, imagination and ideas. Their intention to play their cherished terrorism scare card was kyboshed by events in Christchurch – you could read the disappointment on ScoMo’s face as he pretended to care about the brownish victims. Ersatzgruppenfuhrer Dutton didn’t pretend at all – empathy not being characteristic of psychopaths.

So, Kill Bill and the Lib mythology of better economic management was overlaid on Chicken Little panic marketing of lies and distortions on tax. And it worked. Ironically the facile spruiking by Morrison the failed marketing man finally succeeded.

No-one ever lost an election by underestimating the intelligence of the general public was FauxMo’s effective take on the old H L Mencken aphorism.

So what are we in for?

The conservatives believe they now have a licence from the electorate to ramp up their belligerence and artiface. Self-satisfied, smug arrogance was on full display as Scotty FauxMo Morrison assembled his grinning claque of second-raters slathering and cheering with relief that their FUD campaign has them delivered three more years in control of the hen house.

That salty, yellow trickle-down will be the effluent from the affluent as FauxMo and Co pass more of the tax burden across to those least able to afford it. The Slogan Bogan’s “a fair go for those who have a go” is an opaque variation of Sloppy Joe Hockey’s “lifters and leaners” and his advice to first home hopefuls to “get a good job that pays good money.” What they really mean of course is that they’ll look after the wealthy and comfortable at the expense of the undeserving “others”. The wealthy bankers have already broken out the Krug and Cubans to celebrate the likely resurrection of $billions in tax breaks and rising share values as self-funded retirees jump aboard the now loudly advertised gravy train of franking credits. “The Bill You Can’t Afford”? You bet they can’t, you bet you can’t.

The “poverty is a choice, winner takes all, for some to win others have to lose” mindset of the mammon-worshipping neo-liberals was grafted into the Liberal Party’s genes by the mean and tricky government of John The Lying Rodent Howard and nurtured by Abbott the egregious ecclesiastic and his supercilious sidekick Hockey. A glimmer of hope in a top hat was brutally extinguished with the political assassination of Malcolm Turnbull as the knuckle-draggers returned to BAU via the connivance of Spud-Dutton and his goon squad whose innumeracy played into the hands of the manufactured guilelessness of FauxMo, their default right-wing saviour.

Dr Heckle and Mr Edward ‘Shouty’ Hyde

The hectoring Mr Shouty, disguised as Mr Fair Dinkum Geniality during the election campaign, will return. That condescending, trademark smirk will be on full display as his pea-and-thimble responses to scrutiny get a full workout. Scotty will be answerable to no-one other than his personal, negatively geared, Mercedes-driving Jesus.

Shouty’s many co-religionists (sans the feral friar from Warringah) have been given licence to reopen the throttle on science-denial, bigotry and dogma. Fear and loathing of “the others” will be encouraged, enthusiastically megaphoned by the Murdoch propaganda machine. The nutters will demand their god-given right to discriminate and stigmatise in the cause of freedom of religion and in service to their homophobic, omnipotent invisible friend in the sky.

And, when you have a friend in Jesus you don’t want evidence, facts and proofs to interfere with your superstitions. Science is just a belief system to be ignored and denigrated. The planet was gifted to these folk by their deity for them to exploit. Climate emergency, mass extinctions? Phhhht!

Our secular democracy has endorsed a creationist – a man with a literal belief in hell, Armageddon and the imminent end of times. Our man in charge thinks it’s all going to end soon and that he and his prosperity-gospelling freaky friends will ascend to the heavens while the rest of us burn for eternity. Good call, Australia.

(I wonder whether the brethren of Horizon Church sign up for extended warranties on their new Beemer SUVs).

Calling in the favours

Clive Palmer did not spend $60 million on his campaign thinking he’d pick up a swathe of seats for the UAP. The blobulous Clive spent that dough to further his interests in opening up the Galilee Basin for his coal mine aspirations via tax-payer funded rail and infrastructure. He’ll be calling in the L/NP IOU that the coal adulators will enthusiastically pay. The deplorable Matt King Coal Canavan and dodgy Well Done Angus Tayor took to the streets almost  immediately to trash the ideological foundations of their free enterprise party by insisting we all underwrite the grifters and shonks like Palmer and Adani to further pollute our planet.

The scrotum-headed Rupert Murdoch will expect his flagrant anti-Labor propaganda to be paid for through continuing undermining of the ABC because rampaging free-marketeers hate competition. And the Libs hate scrutiny, seeing any questioning of their dogma or behaviour as some sort of lefty-conspiracy. These are the freaks who voted 2:1 to sell off the ABC at the party’s 2018 annual council. Expect three more years of attacks and undermining of our nation’s most trusted institution.

* * * * *

Pandering to venality, looking the other way on dodgy practices, further privatisation of government to squeeze private profits from essential services, accelerated politicisation and evisceration of the public service, uncontested government contracts handed to mates, stripping assets and outsourcing facilities to opaque Cayman Islands entities, avoidance of scrutiny with a toothless integrity commission, conflicts of interest, in-fighting and backstabbing … all this and more from a cabal of crooks, short-bus passengers, grifters and poltroons. All of it OK’d by an apathetic/ignorant/selfish/scared public who, despite six years warning, decided this rabble was the safest option.

I fucking despair, yet every cloud etc. The village idiot Abbott is gone, defrocked in his Liberal stronghold and providing a glimmer of hope when even the rusted-ons show that they are not prepared to tolerate the climate crazies.

The puce goose from New England has been stripped of any authority and is likely now to remain in his rightful place, if not a jail cell, then as a backbench laughing stock.

An Indigenous Australian has been given ministerial responsibility for Aboriginal Affairs.

Science and the marketplace will by-pass the climate-denial idiocy as renewables continue their inexorable rise in energy generation. The Canavans and Taylors in this government will be sidelined by circumstances.

“Unfortunately today there is no carbon price. And unfortunately it is free to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It doesn’t feel right and it shouldn’t be like that. There needs to be a cost to change people’s behaviour.” (BP’s global head of carbon management Gardiner Hill, on the sidelines of the APPEA oil and gas conference, defying calls from Resources Minister Matt Canavan for industry to abandon support for a carbon price).

And just as the Coalition government ramps up its efforts to push through the Adani coal mine, and potentially new investments in coal generation, BHP has declared that thermal coal is likely to make a quicker exit than most people expect, and it is getting ready for a decarbonised economy.

BHP’s landmark strategy briefing, delivered by CEO Peter Beaven to analysts … highlights the growing gulf between what individual companies see as the future of renewables and electric vehicles, and the self-interested rhetoric of the business lobbies that represent them and the Coalition government that slavishly adheres to conservative nay-sayers. (reneweconomy.com.au; ‘BHP sees early end for thermal coal, plugs in to electric future‘).

Frightened? I’m not frightened, just disgusted and deeply disappointed. You’ve got three years, Australia. Wake up!

A typical LNP voter, maybe? (Image from thestar.com)

See also:

Five aspects of Pentecostalism that shed light on Scott Morrison’s politics – The Conversation

The ‘prosperity doctrine’ and neoliberal Jesusing, Scott Morrison-style – The Guardian

The myth of Coalition economic management – The Drum, ABC

Investigation: Barnaby’s gas bonanza and the pervading influence of the gas lobby – Michael West

Scott Morrison, the opportunist – Mungo MacCallum

Scott Morrison is not an ‘accidental’ Prime Minister – Peter Hartcher


This article was originally published on The Grumpy Geezer (www.geezerspot.com).


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Dismantling Australia’s Decency

By Loz Lawrey  

In 2014, some six months after the Abbott Coalition government came to power, a wave of community outrage found expression in the March in March rallies.

Some 100,000 Australians took part in protest marches at 29 locations nationwide to decry the new government’s right-wing policies and neoliberal agenda.

Organised on social media, March in March was in a sense a pop-up people’s movement, a grassroots response to a government which many progressive Australians perceived to be toxic to the common good.

As its online organisers sought to articulate and define what drove the collective outrage, the catchphrase “the people, united for better government” emerged as a war cry for the March in March movement.

One word which kept reappearing in those discussions, however (and later on placards at the rallies), was “decency”.

There was a prevailing sense that our national character had always been imbued with decency and that decency should always inform the policies enacted by our governments.

It was equally clear that our new government had little concept or understanding of the word, dismissing it as just another leftie snowflakey term like “empathy”.

Where had Australian decency gone?

Many progressives believe that decency in our country has been eroded and diminished over time and that its devaluation began in 2001 with the Tampa affair, a shameful episode in Australian history in which the Howard government abrogated its responsibilities to the United Nations under international law.

Several weeks later the Children Overboard affair served to normalise the demonisation of asylum seekers who, overnight it seemed, went from being innocent refugees in the public mind to “illegals” invading our borders.

Poorer, disadvantaged Australians, like asylum seekers, also became targets of ever-increasing government mistreatment (think cashless “welfare” cards and Newstart payment rates frozen since the 1990’s).

Meanwhile, the (mainly Murdoch) media worked tirelessly to reinforce the public’s contempt, using the well-worn tropes of “dole bludgers” and “lazy welfare cheats”.

In 2001, in response to a question from an ABC journalist on a Four Corners program about Australia’s working poor (who, despite being in full time employment, struggled to pay their bills and meet the cost of living), then Education Minister Tony Abbott planted a seed of contempt for the poor with this statement:

“Poverty is, in part, a function of individual behaviour. We can’t stop people drinking, we can’t stop people gambling, we can’t stop people having substance problems, um… we can’t stop people making mistakes, ah… that cause them to be less well off than they might otherwise be”.

Thus spoke the same Tony Abbott who in 2014 so contemptuously dismissed the concerns of the 100,000 Australians who marched in March.

His statement caused such outrage in Australia’s social services community that it can still be heard on YouTube today:


There it is – the old subtext of contempt for the less well-off that has underpinned the Coalition’s approach to governance throughout the Howard years and which truly found its champions in the right wing Coalition government Australians have been enduring since September 2013.

I once heard it expressed as an adage in a speech by a conservative accountant, who put it this way: “no one enjoys poverty more than the poor themselves”.

As with Abbott’s statement, the implication is that poverty is a choice, and that if you find yourself in dire financial straits, you have no one to blame but yourself.

This article, published in response to Abbott’s Four Corners statement, highlights some of the toxic fallacies that, to this day, inform Coalition ideology.

Abbott led a hollowman government, one without empathy or consideration for those it considered to be not “having a go”.

It was clear to many that Abbott came to power and immediately set about implementing the antisocial free market libertarian agenda of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA): business and profit first, the people and their needs last.

The common good? The public interest? Thrown overboard, for greed and profit.

The conservative agenda drives our nation relentlessly towards becoming more and more like Trump’s America where the rich are “winners” and the poor are “losers”.

In a land where the “winner takes all”, our poor find themselves excluded from enjoying the tiniest share of the wealth of our nation, a share to which, as citizens, they are surely entitled.

In Australia, our “social security” safety net has morphed into “welfare”, U.S. style. We’ve gone from “social safety net” to “alms for the poor”.

Public health and education are under constant attack as the Morrison government prioritises huge tax cuts to business while disenfranchising our needy and de-funding the NGOs that assist them.

Environmental protection? Addressing climate change? Let’s not go there.

This Coalition government, which treats human rights as an inconvenience, maintains a world view underpinned by an ideological disregard and contempt for marginalised and disadvantaged Australians.

Sadly, the citizens of our first world nation can no longer depend upon human rights remaining an essential foundation stone in our social democracy.

It could be said that like human rights, decency has also been under constant attack these past twenty years.

Lies and misrepresentation have been blatantly deployed with ever-increasing arrogance by successive Liberal/National Coalition governments, from Howard’s “children overboard” (2001), to his “which party do you trust to keep interest rates down?” (2004) (nb. governments have no control over interest rates), to Abbott’s “no cuts to the ABC or SBS” (election eve 2013) to Morrison’s “Labor death tax” (2019).

This disregard for truth, for decency, for empathy, for social inclusion and equity is still evident in the strident shoutings of the now re-elected PM Morrison and the Trumpian rhetoric of so many of his ministers.

Could there be a more cruel and divisive slogan than Morrison’s mantra “a fair go for those who have a go”?

Organisers of the March in March 2014 rallies were amazed at the variety of messages and slogans on the placards of participants.

They knew thinking Australians were unhappy and angry at the Abbott government’s direction, but what took them by surprise was the variety of issues being raised.

It seemed as though people across the board from all social sectors felt negatively impacted by many of Abbott’s policies.

They felt personally affronted by what they saw as the contemptuous de-funding of so many public services that Australians have always held dear, in areas such as science, education, health, social security, environmental protection… even our own ABC.

They felt disgust at the shameful normalisation of cruelty which underpinned Abbott’s regime of inhumane detention in offshore gulags, a regime of which our current PM “On-Water-Matters” Morrison was so proudly an architect.

They knew that this was the thin end of a very thick wedge and they sensed that the hammering-in had only just begun…

For six years since then Australia has become ever more a floundering nation of diminishing empathy, leaving so many of its own behind.

And yet we still have both government and media telling us that that’s acceptable, that it’s quite OK to throw a percentage of us under a bus.

Why? Because some of us are unworthy, apparently.

The seed of contempt Tony Abbott planted in 2001 is now a tree.

And now, it seems, decency is lost.

Have so many Australians really forgotten what the word “decency” means?

Are we really now a decency-free Australia?

Nearly half the nation wonders: Why, Australia? Why the selfishness? Why the contempt for your fellows? Why the hatred of others? Why the increasing bigotry? Why did you re-elect this government without decency?


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Trying to juggle religion with politics in Australia

Wednesday 29 May 2019

1 It must be very difficult for men like Prime Minister Scott Morrison, when, like love, truth is a central tenant to the Christian faith he follows but is not part of his politics.

Particularly when he wants to form a special bond between what he believes in and the Christianity he follows. More so when the adherents of his religion insist on a literal interpretation of it.

In recent times the subject of religion and its relationship to politics has become a talking point in the media, mainly due to the fact that the Prime Minister is a Pentecostal Christian.

The problem here is that he and others like him, if they want Christianity to have a greater influence on our politics and society, have to admit that their particular offspring of it believes in a literal interpretation of everything the Bible says.

That being that every word is the absolute truth; the word of God. Unlike his politics where lying is very acceptable.

Having had experience in both mainstream and Evangelical churches, I can tell you that the Uniting Church, for example, long ago cast away any vision of hell but fundamentalist churches insist it’s real.

Unquestioning literal interpretation of the ancient scriptures leads to opinions like those of champion footballer Gary Ablett to confirm champion rugby player Israel Folau’s view that homosexuals belong in hell.

Opinions seem to bounce from one side of the net to the other, clipping the net cord without ever conceding a point, or indeed missing the point that in Australia the “Christian church is fighting for its very survival.”

It is impossible to estimate the damage done to the Catholic Church by the abuse of children. Talk to a priest and he will tell you of the diminishing congregation. I have.

Now the Catholic Church is more interested in saving the institution than attending its flock.

Despite some growth in charismatic churches, mainstream churches are declining rapidly.

However, when one sees or listens to religious discussion one would think they are humming along splendidly. They are not. Get into a religious discussion and you will quickly find that Christianity is on the nose. Toxically so.

In his engaging and most thoughtful book “Losing My Religion” Bishop Tom Frame (he is the Priest that conducted the services after the Bali bombings) concludes that:

“Unless there is a turnaround in the fortunes of all community organizations by 2025 the Christian Church will be a marginal player in Australian life with only a few remaining remnants.

When the Christian affiliation of the population drops below 50 per cent, projected to happen around 2030, those identifying, as Christians will be found in four main clusters.

The Roman Catholic Church will continue to exercise sufficient discipline among its people to resist the mutating of popular culture.

The Pentecostal/Charismatic churches will flourish in the larger cities, form communities within communities and become more sect like.”

The conclusions he draws would appear to be backed up by the results of the last five, five yearly Australian censuses.

The last one showed a remarkable increase of 30 per cent in unbelief.

In fact, five of the eight states and territories now have more unbelievers than believers. In country areas, Christian churches are closing at a rapid rate and this is attributable to a number of factors including an ageing population.

Much research has been done over many years into the decline of belief and church attendance in Australia.

Today only around 7 per cent of the population regularly attends Sunday services. Of these many are what I call cultural or recreational churchgoers who don’t have a particularly strong belief, but attend because it forms part of their social circle.

When these people are deducted from the 7% there is probably very little real belief.

However, the main reason for the decline in belief I would suggest is the fact that children are now better educated than their parents. Today’s generation questions everything. They have an excess of information.

With access to information on the Internet it is now easy to reason and question traditional problematic belief.

The young have also become impatient with religions inability or failure to remedy human suffering and put an end to social inequality. If anything, it tends to exacerbate these problems.

Moreover, of course the young find it difficult to fathom how the ethical problems of today can be solved by referring to a moral landscape thousands of years old, and written by humans with intellectually inferior minds than the advanced scientific ones of today.

They are being asked to accept a set of rules and values that assume that the world they live in has never progressed scientifically, morally or socially.

Many conclude that religion (and its God) is a man-made concept and has been a monumental failure.

So in Australia given that the census (taken every five years) continues on its downward spiral and Bishop Frame is correct in his assumptions we could expect that within 15 or 20 years the Christian church will no longer exist.

Although this piece focuses on Australian faith it is worth noting that recent surveys in the US see for the first time a decline in belief in people under 30.

This also backs up my reasoning on the impact of education outside of traditional sources. Most major social problems in the US occur in the most Pentecostal/ charasmatic and under educated states.

Note: This link is a summary of the Australian 2016 Census. It doesn’t paint a very rosary picture for faith in Australia.

No matter what spin may be placed on the census results, the one thing that stands out is that the young have little interest in religion. Diversity and what happens around it may very well hold the key to Australia’s future thoughts on ethics, values and social structures.

2 Another area in which the Prime Minister will find himself at odds with his faith is when the clergy remind him of what the scripture tells us.

On 23 May 60 Christian leaders representing eight denominations and twelve organisations from across five states in Australia sent a letter to Scott Morrison, telling him to get his act together regarding climate change.

One signatory Rev Dr Michael Frost of Baptist Churches of NSW, published the letter online and candidly told him by quoting biblical scripture to be aware of his responsibility as Prime Minister:

“The bible both begins and ends with God’s presence on Earth overseeing the wise stewardship of all of nature,” the letter reads. “Until that time, our responsibility is to manage it for the benefit of all creation and not just with the short term in mind.”

The question obviously arises as to whether the Prime Minister should obey the scriptures or follow his political instincts.

”Science has made in my lifetime, the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and enjoyed by all sections of society.” (John Lord).

“The only areas that I can think of where science is questioned are in the religious fever of climate change doubters, conservative politics and unconventional religious belief.” (John Lord).

3 A journalist put the following question to Mr Morrison: “What’s your belief, do gay people go to hell?” Mr. Morrison replied:

“I support the law of the country and I always don’t mix my religion with politics and my faith with politics.”

And there is the conflict of interest. If he were true to his faith then he would have answered; “Well of course. That’s what the Bible says”

Australian Pentecostals in my experience take a dangerous literal, approach to the Bible, (or cherry pick when they want too) believing that if speaking in tongues and miracles happened in New Testament, times then they should happen today.

“A commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, is the best way of providing solutions to human problems.“ (John Lord).

They are generally very conservative, totality against same sex marriage, which is consistent with Morrison’s stance together with his views on greater religious freedoms.

4 If as I do, you believe that Jesus was the world’s first socialist then you would find it extremely difficult to accept the Pentecostal/charismatic church’s adoption of conservative political and social values.

In particular its adherence to “prosperity theology“, which links any scripture that suggests that God wants the very best financial success for his followers to you personally.

The Prime Minister will be taking a great risk if he chooses to unite his Christian beliefs with his political philosophy. Australians have never liked “Bible Bashers.”

“If you read the Bible with literalist intent it becomes the only text book on living never updated but if you read it with logical reasoning and an exploratory mind all manner of things are revealed.” (John Lord).

My thought for the day

When asked as to my belief or otherwise in religion, or indeed my tendency toward a continuous search for truth. I can only say that I am in a perpetual state of observation which is the very basis of science or fact.

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You can’t have a mandate for a lie

Energy (and emissions reduction) Minister Angus Taylor has categorically stated that there will be no more discussion about emissions reduction.  We are stuck with the (lack of) policy we’ve got.

“We’re firmly committed to the policies we took to the election. We now have a clear mandate to implement those policies and we’ll be doing so,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday.

An indignant Tim Wilson echoed that line on Q&A on Monday, claiming to have “smashed the Kyoto targets” and to have put us well further down the track for our Paris target which we will “meet in a canter”.

Except the department’s own documents show these claims are bald-faced lies and that, without serious intervention, we have no chance of meeting even our inadequate emissions reduction targets.

By 2020, we are supposed to have reduced emissions by 5% on 2000 levels.

The latest Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory states that emissions for the year to September 2018 were 2.6% below emissions in 2000.

As they have been rising every year since the abolition of the carbon price, we have zero chance of meeting our target honestly.

In fact, Australia’s emissions projections 2018, published by the Department of the Environment and Energy, states that Australia’s emissions are projected to grow 1 per cent above current levels to 2020.

By 2030, we are supposed to have achieved emissions reduction of 26-28% below 2005 levels.  (Note the change of base year to make the target even easier – 2005 was a very high emissions year).

But the department projects emissions to 2030 will grow 4% above 2020 levels, driven by higher emissions from LNG production, increased transport activity, a declining forest sink in the LULUCF sector, and growth in agricultural activity after a return to average seasonal conditions.

Adding to the concern, the release of information is being delayed.

The date of publication of the December 2018 Quarterly Update is a matter for consideration by the Minister, once Cabinet has been sworn in.

The annual National Inventory Report was due for submission to the UN by April 15.  There is a six-week grace period to comply.  That ran out on Monday.

The following list is the annual national emissions inventory totals from 2000 to 2019.

2000       547.0

2001       567.4

2002       567.9

2003       572.0

2004       577.0

2005       604.7

2006       614.9

2007       616.7

2008       588.1

2009       578.2

2010       561.9

2011       550.3

2012       524.6

2013       514.1

2014       521.0

2015       517.2

2016       525.0

2017       532.0

2018       534.7

2019       536.0

As is plain to see, emissions go down under a Labor government and up under a Coalition government.

Labor’s short-lived carbon price raised $15.4 billion in revenue from polluters which was passed on to the public via a large increase in the tax-free threshold and additional payments to welfare recipients and families with school-aged children.  Trade-exposed industries also received assistance to transition and had incentive to invest in more sustainable practice.

Conversely, the Coalition have spent billions of public money on their Direct Action strategy only to see emissions rise again.

When more people voted for Labor and the Greens, to claim a mandate for the Coalition’s inaction on climate change is beyond despicable.

You can’t have a mandate for a lie.

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Morrison’s munificence starts early

Several political commentators – the ones who failed to hold the government to account and who failed to see where that would lead – have opined that Scott Morrison’s victory will give him the ability to bestow positions on merit, choosing the best person for the job.

Except that’s not how Scott rolls.

Even before the writs have been issued, Morrison is rewarding his backers and clearing out anyone who may question his supreme authority.

Arthur Sinodinis was a Turnbull stalwart.  He also suggested that the Coalition look at some of Labor’s policies.  He had to go.

IPA member Mitch Fifield is to be sent off to the UN where he will no doubt further undermine any action on climate change or human rights for refugees.

This opens the door for Morrison to appoint two Senators of his liking who will no doubt be extremely grateful for the largesse showered on them, not by the public at an election, but by their leader at his whim.  Jim Molan is no doubt hoping for the nod the voters refused to give him.

Morrison’s former flatmate and numbers man, Stuart Robert, has been promoted to take over the NDIS and “drive efficiencies in the public sector”.

This is the same person who charged taxpayers $38,000 for his home internet service.

He’s the guy who had financial ties to a company, the GMT Group, which was awarded millions of dollars’ worth of government contracts.  He apparently neglected to inform his octogenarian parents that they were now the directors.

He also had to appear before the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission for bankrolling two of his former employees to run in local government elections as supposed independents.

He was sacked from his ministerial role by Malcolm Turnbull after he accompanied a Liberal Party donor to China to secure a mining deal for a company in which Robert had shares.

He accepted Rolex watches for he and his wife from “instant noodle billionaire” Li Ruipeng, the chair of the Li Guancheng Investment Management Group.

In 2012, Robert delivered a speech to Parliament that had sections of it written by a lobbyist for Gold Coast property developer Sunland.

And then there is his involvement with the Australian Ibero-American Business Council which has been described as “an exercise in astroturfing, where business interests are trying to create what looks like a broad-based community organisation but actually they control it”.

Robert is a Pentecostal Christian, who, along with his wife, was to co-host a “Treasures of Grace” tour of Israel this year organised by the Gold Coast-based Metro Church. Interested travellers could pay $5600 to join the “trip of a lifetime.”

Morrison’s other numbers man, Alex Hawke, has been promoted to International Development Minister and assistant Defence Minister.

He is also a Pentacostal, and a member of the Hillsong Church, who strongly supported new rules to allow religious schools to expel students who are gay, bisexual or transgender, warning that people of faith were under attack in Australia: “I don’t think it’s controversial in Australia that people expect religious schools to teach the practice of their faith and their religion […] We’re mostly talking about the primary system and very very young people who are below the age of consent. So this is a manufactured issue that the left is raising to try and circumvent religious freedom”.

Aside from working part-time at Woolworths while he was studying, his only job has been as an electorate officer and political adviser for conservative politicians, starting with Ross Cameron after graduation.

After his preselection in 2007 amidst claims of rampant branch-stacking, he said he believes that Australia will move increasingly towards an American model of conservatism and that “The two greatest forces for good in human history are capitalism and Christianity, and when they’re blended it’s a very powerful duo.”

One week into the reign of Scott the Messiah and the message is clear.  Rewards will follow for true believers.  It’s a grand time to be a Pentacostal sycophant.

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Who Needs Policies ?

If you were an aspiring political leader with ambitions to lead the nation and you had a suite of well-developed progressive policies which you hope will capture the imagination of the electorate, would you tell them in advance ?

If you answer Yes : you are a loser !

You might as well join a barbers’ shop quartet because your political career isn’t going anywhere.

Do you remember Liberal leader and aspiring prime minister John Hewson, who was taking on incumbent prime minister Paul Keating in the 1993 election and who brought a package of policies to the electorate under the banner of Fightback. One such policy was a tax on consumption in the form of a Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Liberals saw this as progressive taxation reform as it would include the abolition of a range of other taxes such as sales tax, state stamp duties, deep cuts in income tax for the middle and upper-middle classes, and increases in pensions and other benefits to compensate the poor for the inevitable rise in prices flowing from the GST. Labor played on the complexity of the tax and Hewson didn’t help himself by bungling an explanation of how the tax would apply to a birthday cake. In the event Hewson lost the unloseable election and we lost the prospect of having a very reasonable and thoughtful man as our prime minister.

Instead we got John Howard as the next Liberal leader and he knew full well that you don’t take major policy changes to an election, you introduce them when you secure office and in the meantime you tell lies for all you are worth : and to John Howard, as we were to learn, truth is a strange, unknown and unexplored continent, terra nullius you might say.

Howard was desperate to knock-off Keating so in May 1995, eight months before the general election of March 1996, he started to – in Liberal party parlance – crab walk away from a GST even though it was Liberal party policy. In true biblical fashion, before the cock crowed three times John Howard would deny that the GST formed part of a Liberal policy.

At a Sydney bankers’ lunch, Howard referred briefly to John Hewson’s losing GST policy in the 1993 election and how “nothing remotely resembling it” would be Coalition policy in the 1996 campaign. When questioned further he said that ” the fact is the last election was a referendum on the GST. There is no way we can have it as part of our policy for the next election. As to what happens some years in the future, I don’t know. But the GST cause was lost in the last election …”

The mainstream media noted that final sentence and reported that ” Howard had left open the possibility of the Coalition reconsidering a GST some years in the future.”

Howard instantly issued an unequivocal statement saying ” suggestions I have left open the possibility of a GST are completely wrong. A GST or anything resembling it is no longer Coalition policy. Nor will it be policy at any time in the future. It is completely off the political agenda in Australia.”

When further questioned and with an ear open for that crowing cock he told reporters ” There’s no way a GST will ever be part of our policy.” When a journalist pressed him on the point : “Never ever, Mr Howard?” he replied with that now infamous pledge : “Never ever. It’s dead. It was killed by voters at the last election.”

So, that was alright wasn’t it ? He went on to win the election that made him prime minister and some 27 months later, in August 1997, less than 18 months after becoming Prime Minister, Howard told the truth by telling yet more lies. He announced a “great adventure” in tax reform he wanted to “share with the Australian people” : this great adventure we were later to learn was to be the  introduction of a GST.

By April 1998 Howard was well ensconced in the Lodge and he told parliament : “I went to the 1996 election saying there would not be a GST in our first term. I go to the coming election saying we are going to reform the tax system … The Australian public are entitled to be told before an election what a government will do after the election. They do not deserve to be misled. They do not deserve to be deceived.”

So, a grateful nation re-elected him and he gave us a GST and an alternative  definition for never ever.

From there on it’s been down hill

So, when Shorten and Bowen announced their detailed policies in the lead up to the 2019 election, they told us how they would focus on health and bring dental care into Medicare and ease the burden on cancer sufferers and out of pocket expenses and they would reinvigorate TAFE, apprenticeships and our education system and they would eliminate distortions in our taxation system. In particular they would eliminate negative gearing on existing housing purchases to create a level playing field between investors and first home buyers and owner occupiers ; they would correct an anomaly that was allowing self-funded retirees to claim cash refunds from the tax office on franked share dividends which in turn meant that no tax was being paid on that component of a company’s profits. In other words they took the high road, and bared their souls with costings and modelling : the Liberal party were ecstatic.

The coalition’s only real election policy was to provide tax breaks for more than 10 million Australians well into the future and in so doing try to bind any future government to adopt the same policy. These measures they reluctantly conceded would cost Treasury over $158 billion over 10 years in forgone revenue and, of course, they insist there won’t be any cuts to essential services .

Perhaps Bob Hawke was right in 1983, when his campaign was built around  Reconciliation, Recovery and Reconstruction; his and Keating’s subsequent achievements in  government were developed and implemented later, when in office. Hawke is later reported to have said to John Hewson “You should have put the GST stuff in your bottom drawer, and not pulled it out till after the election.”

Sadly, the lesson for Labor is that policy formulation in advance of an election is a recipe for failure and it seems that the road to electoral success in this country is a bit like reality show, Married at First Sight ; you scheme, tell lies, defame and revile your opposition and pout a lot. If you can also rely on organised persuasive communication from a compliant media you are almost home. But, under our preferential system, you also need as many dodgy preference swap deals as your conscience will permit.

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Who voted for them?

Knowing, as we do, the dishonest campaign employed by No-Policy Morrison, the question must be asked – who was sucked in?

And the answer is not what you would expect.

It wasn’t rich people seeking to protect the advantage they know they receive through overly generous tax concessions or seeking to have their taxes cut even further.

It wasn’t the people who actually know what franking credits and negative gearing mean.

It wasn’t migrants protecting their children from moral decay.

It wasn’t old people scared of change and longing for the golden days of the past.

An analysis by Nick Evershed at the Guardian shows some very interesting results that should inform future campaigns.

“Electorates that swung harder to the Liberal and National parties are more likely to have higher unemployment, lower income, lower levels of education and fewer migrants”, whereas “electorates that swung to Labor were more likely to have higher levels of education, more young people, more people in work or study, and more people over the age of 80.”

As Labor fell into the trap of talking about the minutiae of unsustainable tax concessions, they failed to sell their message to the very people they would have helped the most.

Those with higher education qualifications, or more political and economic engagement, were able to see through the razzamatazz of the ProMo show.

Those who are concerned about the environment, young and old, recognised the danger.

But those who just want someone to look after them without them having to be involved in thought or deed, handed the reins to Scott the Messiah who tells us that everything is just fine and dandy – don’t you worry about that you people.

The interference run by Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer was also influential in directing preferences to the Coalition.  Some of the biggest swings to the government came in coal-mining regions but often via a primary vote for one of the fringe parties.

Labor must change the way they communicate – less about the how and more about the why, less about the numbers and more about the benefits.

None of the current crop of politicians could be genuinely called inspirational so, in the absence of a real visionary leader, it must be a team effort by all of us to identify the challenges we face, to better communicate the needs of our society, to hold our politicians to account, and to explain more simply the path to a better future.

As Bill said, we cannot change the past, but it is our duty to do the best we can for the future.

Maintain the rage and keep the bastards honest.

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Hello ScoMo. Goodbye democracy

“How good is Australia? How good are Australians? … an amazing country of amazing people.” ScoMo manages to amaze himself -shades of Trump – by the Coalition’s shock election results. How good is change that stays the same?

How good are Queenslanders? One in eight votes for Pauline Hanson or Clive Palmer; deliver the Coalition its big win. Of course, it helps that, unlike 2016’s campaign, News Corp now has a monopoly over news in the Banana-benders’ state.

Banana-bender Kevin Rudd’s former campaign manager Bruce Hawker sees News Corp as “easily the most powerful political force in Australia, bigger than the major parties or the combined weight of the unions … I saw how, on a daily basis, the storm of negative stories that emanated from News Corp papers blew our campaign off course.”

Helping “Foxify” Queensland, Win TV last year began broadcasting Sky News, including the right-wing nutters’ “Sky After Dark” free-to-air through its network across regional Queensland and NSW. It’s helping create two nations as in the US.

On the other hand, as Crikey’s Guy Rundle argues, Labor made itself a big ticket, big target without articulating a vision; making a compelling case about what it was all for, what sort of society it wished to create.

Its failure left it wide open to scare campaigns about death duties which didn’t exist. Its franking credits reform ended up worrying a third of voters. Such was the rabid fear-mongering. It didn’t matter that only a tiny percentage of Australians would be affected. It was an election decided by fear and lies. For Rundle, Labor has only itself to blame,

“They bore the cost of their big-ticket strategy” whilst gaining “none of the benefits from a more comprehensive vision”.

Lord of the flies, Morrison seems elated; euphoric. Or is he just grinning with relief?  Abbott’s squirrel grip on Liberal policy is at last released. The budgie smuggler is trounced by Zali Steggall in Warringah – not because of GetUp! –  but because Abbott’s worked so hard to make himself irrelevant to his electorate. He’s had a fair go; now he has to go.

As Niki Savva puts it, on ABC Insiders, Sunday, Abbott’s resignation is six years’ too late. “I’d rather be a loser than a quitter”, says the suppository of all wisdom. Relax, Tony. Like your predecessor, Howard, you’ve never troubled the nation with any big ideas. But your seventeen plus different positions on climate change will take some beating. As will your craven sycophancy towards the IPA, your policy HQ.

Similarly, your toxic legacy of negativity, hyper-partisanship and your brazen politicisation of the public service lives on. And you can be sure, for all the talk of this being a climate change election, your climate change denial will still thrive. Above all, your contempt for UN conventions regarding refugees’ rights to seek asylum is now a core Liberal value. Arbitrary, indefinite detention? It’s in the Liberals’ DNA.

As is your war on the poor, the crusade your austerity budgeting Treasurer, Joe Hockey portrayed as “lifters” against “leaners”. Expect Centrelink’s extortion via Robo-debt to ramp up. Expect even fewer disabled Australians to qualify for the NDIS.

And now that the ABC board is stacked with Liberal and pro-government appointees, expect the next scheduled $84 million cut in funds to sail through. It may even be time to further delight the IPA by privatising Aunty.

Morrison has nothing to crow about. There is nothing decisive about his “victory” nor can he claim any mandate having taken no policies to the people beyond a tax cut for the rich and a less progressive, more unfair tax system. His thought bubble of a first home buyers’ housing loan deposit guarantee capped at 10,000 borrowers is not a costed policy. Nor does it amount to anything in our vast home lending market.

UBS senior economist George Tharenou scoffs at ScoMo’s stunt. “It’s far too small to change the nature of the property market.  It is a tiny 1 per cent share of annual total home loans of $227 billion,” he says.

The world’s most expensive tax cuts will mean cuts to funds for hospitals and schools and welfare but since the $80 billion cost was never taken to the electorate, you have no real mandate, ScoMo. Instead, you will need to cut into funds for the disabled, for hospitals and schools, the things you told voters were ring-fenced with our strong economy – an economy, in fact, which is tanking, before Trump’s trade war with China, further shrinks our export earnings, especially in coal and iron ore.

A quarter of votes cast in pre-poll or postal remain uncounted. A one or two seat majority may well be the future of the Coalition, the marriage of convenience between the Nationals and the Liberals – a coalition of secrets and lies, not to mention chaos, ineptitude, bullying, misogyny, corruption, racism and paternalistic arrogance.

Two cheers for the scare-mongering, dog-whistling ScoMo-government of the top end, for the top end, by the top end of town. A government playing the game of mates has no time at all for environment or climate or lifting wages or ensuring workplace equality.

Oddly Scott Morrison alludes to none of this in his vainglorious victory speech.

You can tell ScoMo’s got no victory speech prepared. No notes. How good is ScoMo? The presumptive Prime Minister, crows and struts on stage at Sydney’s Wentworth Hotel, named after explorer, lawyer, entrepreneur, author, William Charles Wentworth’s original inn, Saturday. Good? A quarter of us put minor parties as our first preferences.

How good? Mark Kenny appears on ABC TV News 24, Sunday, rebuking Labor for its low primary vote of 26% in Queensland, while Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, a stalking horse to lower Labor’s vote, earns no censure. One Nation can do what it likes to subvert our gun laws with secret NRA funding providing its preferences go to LNP. Its followers show a Trump-like immunity to any evidence of corruption or ineptitude.

How good is Australia? A mining billionaire can buy the government that suits his business interests; field a party with instant candidates in every seat; bombard us with anti-Labor ads with the sole aim of lowering the Labor primary vote. Few seem even mildly perturbed that Palmer may have bought the political result that his business needs. Except for the retiring Wayne Swan.

Something is rotten at the heart of our politics Wayne Swan protests, “A $60 million spend by a conservative-aligned billionaire in a preference recycling scheme for the Liberal and National Party cannot be allowed to stand.”

No leveller, no democrat, Wentworth, like ScoMo held that men must be free, but free to rise—and his own family especially. In charcoal, Canali lounge suit and powder blue Hermes tie, ScoMo radiates aspirational prosperity and the cachet bestowed by a good label.

You’d never guess he’s only there, by and large, thanks to the power of negative thinking. Commentators and politicians tut-tut. Negative campaigns are deplorable but they do work a treat.

What doesn’t work is Labor’s big target, or actually having costed policies to put to the electorate. News Corp has helped abolish all of that. But there has never been a government campaign so devoid of policy; so full of lies and slurs.

In the Labor camp, the knives are out for Party National Secretary, Noah Carroll, reports The Guardian’s Katharine Murphy and Sarah Martin. Carroll is bagged for not telling Shorten his tax agenda is electoral suicide. If only Bill had got the memo Noah couldn’t bring himself to send. Labor’s much-vaunted discipline and team-work takes a beating.

Back at the Wentworth oasis, a Liberal mob cheers as ScoMo pitches a few easy clichés about how great we are. Voting for a pig in a poke. Then it’s into the schmaltz-pot; how his family deserves thanks. Next ScoMo bullshits about how his own disciplined team’s hard work helped win it for the “Quiet Australians”.

Team? Everyone knows he did it almost entirely on his own, jawboning others out of the spotlight; gagging others; hiding MPs such as anti-Environment Minister Melissa Price.

Bear-like ScoMo stoops to a group-hug; proprietorially paws Jenny and the girls, a public paterfamilias, publicly fondling his family and electoral asset; his living CV. It’s an American import, this showing off the trophy family as political accessory, testament to paternalism, a suburban hetero-normality presentation of credentials. And it shows.

The Morrisons look as if they’re about to start a family game of Twister. But let’s stay on message. Who needs daycare? Here’s living proof that even a daggy dad can breed like a cabbage aphid and still get to run the show.

Blokes rule, OK. Father ScoMo knows best.  Yet even Morrison’s surprised by his win.

“It’s a miracle”, he says, Trump-like, he ignores the main force in conservative politics, News Corp, with its long-running Kill Bill defamation campaign, an unceasing demonising and character assassination boosted by Clive Palmer and his UAP’s saturation Labor-bashing ad campaign. A chipper Palmer is upbeat about his own party’s loss and upfront about his main aim being to trash Labor.

Advance Australia, the Tory anti-get up group pitches in with “Wake up to GetUp!” episode 2, a second video showing how GetUp! is a gateway drug to world socialism; repeating the lie that GetUp supports Labor, despite GetUp! being found by the AEC in February not to be affiliated with any political body.

How good is the repeated lie, ScoMo? Goebbels knew. How good are citizens who know their place? Know to shut up?

“Quiet Australians” make their debut. “Quiet Australians” echoes Nixon’s “silent majority”. It’s the populists’ conceit that ScoMo, somehow, mystically, intuits the will of a muted majority. A dog-whistle to those who believe the myth that we are muzzled by “political correctness”. Pauline Hanson makes the same claim. If this were true, Morrison would have a bit to say about raising wages or leading on carbon abatement, not a toxic, policy-less campaign based on fear and hate and lies.

“Quiet Australians” also evokes a government which has kept itself in shape by limiting whistle-blowers” rights and increasing ways the state may legally intrude on our Facebook and Twitter, for example, all in the interests of protecting us from terrorists, of course.  Quiet Australians are trained not to question as Bernard Keane observes.

“… we are becoming a specific kind of police state, in which the government hands itself ever more power to prevent scrutiny, deter and punish whistle-blowers, smear opponents and hide its wrongdoing, using legal framework justified in the name of national security. We’re becoming a nation where embarrassing the government, or revealing its misconduct, has become a dangerous occupation. Perhaps police state is less accurate than an anti-dissent state.”

ScoMo shrewdly credits his victims for his extraordinary election heist, a win which defies fifty consecutive negative opinion polls for the Abbott-Turnbull- Morrison puppet government and its backers. a policy-free zone where chaos is coaxed into catastrophe but whatever he says, (I’m-a-billionaire-and-I-don’t-give-a-shit), Clive Palmer has the last word.

“It’s clear Scott Morrison has been returned as Prime Minister and he’s only done so because of the 3.5 percent of the vote of the United Australia Party,” his overweening modesty and generosity of spirit prompts Palmer to point out.

Palmer drops a lazy $80million into creating his own party and anti-Labor trojan horse. It doesn’t net a single seat in the lower house, nor in the Senate – but for a man who boasts he’s worth $4 billion dollars – it’s a shrewd investment should tax rates be eased; a tax system flattened.

Or a coal mine or a coal-fired power station project need permission to proceed. Palmer has both on the drawing board. Or beyond. He boasts he’s got environmental approval and he’s already advertising for workers for his coal mine.

Clive’s help in bashing Labor through relentless anti-Shorten ads in his election campaign will give him leverage in negotiating further approval for his massive Alpha North Coal Project, right next door to Adani’s stake in the Galilee Basin – but a third bigger. It is capable of producing 80 million tonnes of coal a year, enough to put a swag of other mines out of business overnight.

Palmer’s Alpha North Coal Mine Project, adjacent to Adani, would be a series of open-cut and underground mines covering an area of 144,000 hectares, according to documents submitted to the federal Department of Environment and Energy by Mr Palmer’s Waratah Coal, reports the ABC.

Waratah Coal chairman Palmer even has a 700MW coal-fired power plant planned to help power the mine.

Scott Morrison may kid himself he’s won victory all he likes, but, in reality, it’s as much Rupert Murdoch’s win – a victory of fear and loathing over reason supercharged by Clive Palmer’s anti-Labor propaganda. It is a victory no-one could see coming but that says more about our pollster’s outmoded polling techniques than it does about our political landscape or our capacity to be hoodwinked by a biased right-wing media.

Scott Morrison calls it a “miracle” but his victory is very much business as usual. Dirty business. Morrison, to adapt, Churchill, may be a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is how a negative campaign and an appeal to self-interest can combine with a reactionary media monopoly to re-elect a PM who has offered us nothing in the way in policy to earn a single vote.

If it’s a vote for more of the same, Morrison’s record – carefully airbrushed out of his campaign – gives cause for alarm. Although it’s presented as ScoMo’s “superior reading of The Australian character” by Father Paul Kelly in The Australian, the Coalition victory is more of the ScoMo show combined with Kill Bill, a campaign started by Abbott and happily amplified ever since by News Corp media.

Kill Bill is a theme eagerly taken up, sadly, by Nine News and even our ABC, too cowed by budget cuts and calls to the top floor to dare not to follow the pack.

Saturday sees the finale of the one-month ScoMo Unplugged solo tour. Our narcissist-in-chief, benches the rest of his team to perform a solo populist parody: a beer-chugging, footy-kicking, basketballing, bingo-calling, razzle-dazzle hoopla-variety show while he repeatedly puts the boot into Bill Shorten. Pure vaudeville.

Look out! He’s behind you! Shifty Bill’s after your savings. Hell-bent on raising massive taxes. Look out. He’ll “take money from your pocket.”

Is it a spin-off from the Trump beats Clinton Show; the same franchise that brought us fake news and alternative facts? There are many alarming parallels. What is certain is that whilst Scott Morrison’s Coalition may get the votes he needs to form government, he has neither the statesmanship, nor the policies, nor the record of success to inspire any form of confidence. History suggests the very opposite; government by SNAFU.

Expect instead, a continuation of the ScoMo circus, lurching from chaos to catastrophe with nothing but the prompting of its sponsors and its mining, banking and other corporate lobby groups to guide it, – forever reacting to self-inflicted disaster – a vitiated democratic state that rules by force and fear and favour; not a democracy nor a meritocracy but a one-man band and his cronies, The ScoMo oligarchy.

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ScoMo’s campaign launch flops ending a week of catastrophic failure.

Scott Morrison’s Liberal campaign flop at the Melbourne Convention Sunday may be a teensy setback but at least he gets to talk for 55 minutes. Jim Jones would harangue The Peoples’ Temple for hours. Fidel Castro bored on at the UN for four hours, 29 minutes. Ted Cruz ranted against Obamacare for 21 hours 19 minutes. ScoMo’s clearly working up to that.

“I believe that Australia is a promise to everyone who has the great privilege to call themselves an Australian. It’s the promise that allows Australians quietly going about their lives to realise their simple, honest and decent aspirations,” 

ScoMo’s clearly been influenced by Robert Lee James Hawke who invoked the same promise in a real speech in 1987.

“This is the promise of Australia. This is the Australian vision. This is the reality of the Australian dream. Together, let us begin a new century of Australian achievement.”

But even a train-wreck of a campaign launch may have a silver lining. It’s great to hear Sarah Henderson run through stale talking points about how we can’t afford Bill Shorten, framing the election to be about who you would pick to be PM.

And how good is Michael McCormack? His own campaign itself is tanking. He may well lose his seat. He changes the topic if you mention climate change. But what guts.

The Morrison government appears to be in a spot of bother. MPs are rushing to save the furniture polishing cloth. “Senior cabinet ministers are panicking and drawing in resources to protect their own seats,” reports ABC’s Laura Tingle.

But all is well. The nation is all aflutter this week with a confirmed sighting of “invisible” Melissa Price, our reclusive environment minister. No-one expects Mel to campaign or anything – she’s refused umpteen invitations to appear on ABC 7:30 alone – not that anyone could blame her.

So one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction? Dire are the implications for human survival, the United Nations warns Monday, reports The Washington Post. The work doesn’t rate a mention in ScoMo’s speech.

Seven lead co-authors from universities across the world compile a ground-breaking report which directly links the loss of species to human activity. It also reveals how those losses undermine food, water security and human health.

“150 authors from 50 nations labour for three years to compile the report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services — a panel with 132 member nations, including the United States. Representatives of each member nation signed off on the findings.”

In most countries, in most parties, the environment minister would reply promptly. Mel doesn’t even go “meh”.

Morrison backs her up. “I don’t want to see the Labor Party get to office where they tie businesses up with all sorts of union red tape and all sorts of the Greens’ green tape, which would just cost people jobs,” he says.

It takes a special kind of PM to call to reduce environmental protection at the time of such a report. And facing an election where pollsters find addressing climate change and preserving the environment top Australian citizens’ concerns. But Mel says Meh.

Is she OK? Mad-dog McGrath said he’d get her dumped. Call publicly for her to resign. Yet all Pricey has to do is pick up her pen. Sign on the dotted line. OK, Adani’s water and conservation plans for ecology. Flawed? So what if Adani’s a $60,000 party sponsor? It’s just due process. No bullying. ScoMo’s fixed all that Liberal bully culture stuff.

Last September, Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi threatened to name and shame the bullies. But she’s withdrawn all that. After a chat with ScoMo, where he appealed to her as “a good Christian woman”, Lucy came to her senses and decided to give ScoMo a fair go to assert his authority; fix party discipline. You can tell it’s working by the tiny turnout at the campaign launch Sunday. Only a strong leader could persuade so many party members to stay away. Lucy’s there, though, hoping for censure of Safe Schools.

Will Mel and her Yeelirrie, WA uranium mine approval earn her a guest role in the next instalment of Kill Bill? “Pretty big decision. A lot of money at stake. Made in the dead of night, the day before the election’s called.” What’s he insinuating? There’s a glut of Uranium. It could be years before the mine is built – if ever. But it’s an announceable. And it’s in Durack, her electorate. But News Corp will get Bill back.

OK, even The Australian states that Yeelirrie’s unlikely to be built this decade. Claims “Senior mining industry ­sources” tell The Weekend Australian that large sections of the industry are fuming at the timing of Price’s Yeelirrie decision. It could have been made well before the election. Price’s latest calls are a “desk-clearing” exercise that makes the industry look dodgy.

Make the uranium industry look dodgy. You’d have to go a long way for someone to rival that achievement. As you’d have to go a long way to see an election turn on an attack on a leader’s recount of his mother’s career.

The latest episode of Kill Bill, sees Bill pilloried yet again in The Daily Telegraph, for not telling the whole truth about his mother Ann’s brilliant career. On Q&A, Shorten shares the fact that like so many intelligent women of her generation, Ann was forced by family circumstances to forgo her dream of a law career and take a teaching scholarship instead.

Anna Caldwell’s story, sensitively timed for the week before Mother’s Day, bears the banner, Mother of Invention.  

Shifty Bill leaves out the bit where, in her late fifties, Ann did qualify as a lawyer only to suffer the age and gender discrimination which still flourishes in our “fair go if you have a go” workplace. Later, Shorten explains that his mother,

“… got about nine briefs in her time. It was actually a bit dispiriting. She had wanted to do law when she was 17, she didn’t get that chance, she raised kids, and at 50, she backed herself. But she discovered in her mid-50s that sometimes, you’re just too old, and you shouldn’t be too old, but she discovered the discrimination against older women.”

The Kill Bill Show is one of many ways our ruling oligarchy of Murdoch, Mining and Banks supports its Coalition puppet government, while, in return, the great string-puller gets away with paying no tax. News Corp’s creative reportage also leads the Australian media pack in cheering us on in our triennial ritual hunt for the elusive democracy sausage.

False narratives abound. We hang on MPs every word, in one myth, weighing up policy and promise as if our lives depend on it. Or the campaign’s the thing! We dismiss all recall of a government’s actual performance in office in favour of their carefully costed promises and that unicorn of contemporary politics, their policy platform. Myths both of them.

For Waleed Aly, our myopia is alarming. “The whole neo-liberal economic world view is being called into question; “the benefits of trickle-down economics don’t trickle down much at all; politics is a game geared to the benefit of an elite. … the British Parliament – under conservative control – has just declared a state of emergency on climate change in line with countless warnings from scientists.  Yet our federal general election may turn on Bill’s mother’s work history?

Yet three-quarters of us are naughty, report researchers. We forgo the democracy sausage. Make up our own minds – and before the campaign even begins. Worse, 2.2 million have already voted. By Polling Day, next Saturday, millions will have already voted. A huge Eurovision Song Contest legitimising Palestinian oppression will upstage televised tally rooms, screens of polling results booth by booth.

Happily, Rupe provides us with countless ripping yarns, diversions and false narratives. These include, ScoMo imagines he is Prime Minister an illusionist masterpiece which prefigures the Liberals’ anti-campaign launch, Sunday where their leader talks to himself alone on stage after being photographed, US-style, hugging his daughters, Abbey and Lily. Wife, Jenny has to stretch her arm to stroke his shoulder. It’s a non-launch, a radically post-modern event for a Bronte bogan.

“It’s not going to be a party hoopla event,” Mr Morrison tells Leigh Sales on 7.30 Monday. “It’s not about the Liberal Party and it’s not about the National Party … It’s not about who is coming, it’s about who will be listening.”

Motor-mouth Morrison is never sure who is listening. Or when he’s made his point. When to stop. Earlier in the week, he pioneers the killer comeback with a two-day delay.

“Who remembers PAC-MAN? That little thing that goes around gobbling up like that?” ScoMo shows and tells. Moves hand. Imagine a snapping turtle sock puppet without the sock.  “That’s Bill Shorten’s tax policy. And you know how it chases people around, in the maze? That’s Bill Shorten’s tax policy. The only space he’s going to invade is your wallet.”

Hilarious. Not. A smart comeback is ruined if you have to explain it. Or it takes two days to think up. But ScoMo just loves a bit of panto. Almost as much as refusing to answer questions.  Or monstering opponents. Suddenly he springs a surprise puppet show. How funny am I? Who remembers PAC-MAN? Melissa Price? The environment? Policy?

We may not have an environment, energy, education or arts policy from this government., but at least we’ve got ScoMo’s magic Muppet-Show to win our hearts and minds; lift our GDP; save our koalas and Reef. But PAC-MAN?

Get a grip, ScoMo. PAC-MAN isn’t the bad guy. PAC-MAN’s a hero; a digital Odysseus. You help PAC-MAN through a maze full of hungry ghosts. Think Banquo. Or Turnbull.

ScoMo muffs his riposte to Bill’s withering “Space Invaders” slap-down in the second leaders’ debate. Bill wins easily. Goes on to trounce his opponent 3:0 in the series. Commentators turn absurdly to body language to explain how ScoMo actually won on confidence. Or body language. Or sock puppetry.

Graham Freudenberg warns Morrison will flop. “Because … he does take people at the lowest common denominator.”

Sean Kelly sees something of the Kinder teacher in him. Always gesturing. Talking down. Question Time, he’ll ask MPs to put their hands up. If Morrison is elected, Saturday, a lucky nation can expect further infantilising. More vapid, saccharine banter. More beers with the boys. More footy-kicking. Picking up fallen women and other CWA heroics.

Expect more banal, populist, faux-patriotic bull-shit. “Who loves Australia? Everyone. We all love Australia. Of course we do. But do we love all Australians? That’s a different question, isn’t it? Do we love all Australians? We’ve got to.” 

Beneath this sanctimonious veneer lurks a monster at war with the poor via Centrelink’s Robo-debt, a man who sees nothing wrong with freezing wages, cutting penalty rates or locking up men women and children on island prisons indefinitely, with no charge, driving them mad as a deterrent to others. Others whose only fault is to throw themselves on our compassion. There is no compassion for our refugees in his speech.

No reference either to the Islamophobia and the misogyny spread by his own government ministers – all the interests of “loving all Australians”.

Daggy dad, deadbeat or dinosaur? Fossil Morrison, Paul Keating calls him at the Labor launch. “There’s the prime minister walking around with a lump of coal. Coal is a fossil. The prime minister is a fossil himself – a fossil with a baseball cap, but a fossil.”

A federal election is not a presidential contest, despite Murdoch’s urging and the Mexican wave of independent MSM. Yet fewer and fewer of us take them seriously these days. Nor do we believe ScoMo who endlessly, witlessly, insists it’s “a choice between Bill and me”.

The punters are not always right, as William Bowe reminds us; take the Victorian election for example. But Betfair odds on Labor victory shorten to $1.13 while the Coalition eases to $6.00. One punter bets a million dollars on Bill.

It’s a record for a political bet in Australia but it’s barely half what Mal paid to win his one-seat majority in 2016.

Coalition MPs panic. Stampede wild-eyed, out of Canberra, hell-bent on saving their own seats. Laura Tingle reports Liberal insiders writing off Abbott in Warringah while in NSW, Gilmore and Reid are gone. Labor may even snatch Lindsay. Cowper may go to Rob Oakeshott, & Farrer, despite Sussan Ley’s 20% margin, may go to a local mayor.”

But it’s the Daily Tele’s attack on Shorten’s story of his mother, a whopper that he’s laundered her story shopped around Canberra Tuesday, which backfires horribly on Gotcha Morrison. The low blow gives Labor’s leader an opportunity to cut through the fog of cockamamie economics, dog-whistling, scaremongering, falsehood, fabrication, distortion, outright lies, character assassination and personal abuse that is the News Corp Trumpery integral to Coalition campaigning.

“An absolute gift to Bill Shorten”, says a back-handed, Barrie Cassidy on Friday’s ABC Breakfast News, “it humanised him in a way he hasn’t been able to do so far. One hell of an own goal; a very nasty story and it backfired”.News Corp sources say the Daily Telegraph has another story in their dirt file to throw at Shorten, writes Paul Bongiorno. “It is highly defamatory and legally dubious. The desperation that led to the attack on Shorten and his mother’s memory may give them pause to think about running it. As one Labor campaign worker says, “It’s difficult to know where the government ends and News Corp begins.”

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Stay tuned – Breaking story about Angus Taylor, Barnaby Joyce and water buybacks

Over the last week or so, an important story has been doing the rounds about water buybacks.

The woman who broke the story had her twitter account disabled though the story is still available. (Not linking to it in order to avoid similar legal threats).

Investigative journalists Michael West, who has added to the story, and Margot Kingston, whose twitter feed automatically retweeted the story, have received legal threats.

Yesterday, Michael West tweeted “Update #Watergate: have found extra stuff, still working through accounts, need to get it right due to legal threats, will publish late today.”  I am still waiting to read his update.

The Guardian wrote a story titled “Questions over companies chosen for $200m of Murray-Darling water buybacks” on Wednesday.

Today, the ABC’s Laura Tingle, wrote under the heading “Watergate resurfaces, Joyce and Taylor scrutinised”:

“A story about water buybacks that has been floating around since 2017 in various forms threatens to do that to the Coalition after both the Guardian and The Project’s Hamish McDonald and business writer Michael West brought it to the mainstream media this week.

It centres on two water licences bought by the government for a total of $80 million in 2017 from a company once associated with Energy Minister Angus Taylor, Eastern Australia Agriculture, in a deal signed off by the then Water Minister Barnaby Joyce.”

McDonald’s report on The Project is compulsory viewing.

On Thursday, Tony Burke issued a media release with questions for Scott Morrison though I cannot find a copy of it other than as a screenshot – not sure if it has been removed?

On Good Friday, the Department of Agriculture issued a media statement in response to the information hitting the public domain.  That in itself is extraordinary.

Let me take this opportunity to say of course Angus and Barnaby have done nothing wrong.  Who would ever imply such a thing?  But perhaps it’s that very thing, that this deal was all legal, that raises more questions than anything else.

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