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Tag Archives: Julia Gillard

Morrison’s monumental dysfunctional Pacific “family” failure

No matter how much money you put on the table it doesn’t give you the excuse not to do the right thing, which is cutting down your emissions, including not opening your coalmines.” (Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, 14 August 2019).

“Shove a sock down the throat of Jacinda Ardern” – urges Alan Bedford Jones, 2GB Sydney’s sock-shock jock, another former, failed, Liberal Party candidate and inveterate misogynist,Thursday, as New Zealand’s PM supports Pacific Islanders’ global warming concerns, endorsing the resolutions of all but one of the eighteen countries and territories of this week’s 50th Pacific Islands Forum, (PIF) meeting in Tuvalu’s capital, Funafuti.

Left on its own, promoting global warming is Australia. Ms Ardern says, diplomatically, that our land down-under can answer to the Pacific for itself. New Zealand, or Aotearoa, as its Maori people named it, commonly translated as land of the long white cloud, or, continuously clear light is doing what it can to limit its carbon emissions to 1.5C.

Ms Ardern expects all nations to make a similar commitment but will not lecture others.

Rabid climate change denier Jones turns puce. He rants; spits foam at the microphone. Does ScoMo’s office tell Jones to put the boot in? For Jones and his audience – and, indeed, for much of Morrison’s government, global warming, is a hoax. And an aberration, a perversion of reason. The notion is an unnatural hoax, as is the monstrous regiment of women who dare to demand their fair share of political power from blokes.

“Here she is preaching on global warming and saying that we’ve got to do something about climate change,” Jones harangues listeners from his bully pulpit. His signature outbursts of outrage, his demonising and his scapegoating are his own take on Orwell’s two-minute hate. Jones down low may be heard playing daily in all the best dementia wards in hospitals all over Sydney. Thursday, Jones goes off like a frog in a sock.

Preaching? It’s precisely what the Kiwi PM takes pains to avoid, but Jones rarely lets fact spoil his argument.

New Zealand has cows that burp and fart, he sneers, in a rare, brief, departure into scientific truth.

Jones role has little to do with reporting and even less with respecting fact. In the 1990 cash for comment scandal, where he and John Laws were found to have accepted money from a slew of corporations, QANTA, Optus, Foxtel, Mirvac and big banks, the jocks’ defence was that they were not employed as journalists, but as “entertainers” and thus had no duty of disclosure or of journalistic integrity. Yet Jones hopes the PM is briefed,

“I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat.”

Outraged by Ardern’s audacity – as much as the fact that she’s a Jezebel – a woman brazenly asserting authority, independence and leadership, Jones works up a lather. Arden’s an impudent hypocrite, he squawks. Australia act responsibly or answer to the Pacific on policy? Accountability is heresy in ScoMo’s government. Perhaps Jones hopes that his “sock it to her” will be an Aussie form of “send her back”.

Sending Kiwis home, if Peter Dutton doesn’t like the look of them, is at least one Morrison government policy that’s coherent. Repatriation on “character” grounds saw a thousand forcible deportations between 2016-2018. Under Morrison as Immigration Minister in 2014, the policy was expanded to include all those Kiwi-born residents who’d been sentenced to twelve months or more in prison.

Many of those deported under the “character test” have no family or friends in New Zealand; have extensive family ties in Australia and have spent very little time in New Zealand, having arrived in Australia as children.

It’s another source of friction between Australia, its major trading partner, despite China (NZ$15.3bn) now having eclipsed Australia (NZ$13.9bn) as New Zealand’s biggest export market.

Friday, Jones’ sock-jock mockery continues. “The parrot” ridicules one of New Zealand’s most popular and effective Prime Ministers; alleging Ms Ardern is “a clown” and a “joke” for “preaching about climate change”, claiming, falsely, that New Zealand’s carbon dioxide has increased per capita more than Australia’s since 1990.

The Parrot’s problems with women in power, rival those of the Liberal Party itself. Worrying aloud in 2012 about our Pacific policy and how “women were wrecking the joint” during Gillard’s highly successful minority government, Jones said he was “putting Julia Gillard into a chaff bag and hoisting her into the Tasman Sea”.

Gillard’s government invested $320 million in promoting Pacific Island women’s role in business and politics.

“She said that we know societies only reach their full potential if women are politically participating,” he shrieked in utter disbelief to listeners during an on-air hate update from Barnaby Joyce about the sale of Cubbie Station to a Chinese-led consortium.

“$320 million could have bought the 93,000 hectare Cubbie Station and its water rights, he reckoned. Kept it in Australian hands. There’s no chaff bag big enough for these people.”

“Women are destroying the joint – Christine Nixon in Melbourne, Clover Moore here. Honestly.”

Gillard’s father John a former psychiatric nurse who passed away at 83, “died of shame”, he added in 2012, “To think that he has a daughter who told lies every time she stood for Parliament.”

Also socking it to Jacinda, Jones is joined in combat by another Liberal supporter and climate denialist, One Nation’s resident empiricist, Malcolm Roberts, who knows how much Kiwis love sheep jokes.

“New Zealand has over 60 million sheep. Sheep produce about 30 litres of methane a day. If Ardern was serious about addressing ‘climate change’ shouldn’t she start by culling the entire sheep population of NZ? Or is she just climate gesturing?”

Roberts is wrong in several respects as an AAP fact check demonstrates. He can’t count sheep. New Zealand’s official data agency, Stats NZ, reports the most recent farm census, conducted in 2017, records 27.5 million sheep in the country. A 2018 provisional update reports a drop to 27.3 million.

Nor are sheep the major culprits. New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory for 2017, released in April 2019, shows sheep produced 12.7 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Dairy cattle accounted for 22.5 per cent, while electricity generation created 4.4 per cent.

Above all, this year, New Zealand introduced a bill to reduce emissions of methane by animals to 10 per cent below 2017 levels by 2030, and between 24 and 47 per cent below 2017 levels by 2050.

Fellow climate science denier, Mick-Mack, as Coach ScoMo calls our deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, must grab a headline to delay being deposed by Barnaby Joyce. Mick-Mack chimes in with a killer argument. Lenore Taylor says on ABC Insiders Sunday, that he couldn’t be more “offensive or paternalistic” if he tried. Itinerant Pacific Islander fruit-pickers, he says, should thank their lucky Aussie stars.

“They will continue to survive,” the part-time Elvis impersonator says in his most tone-deaf, judgemental manner. “There’s no question they’ll continue to survive and they’ll continue to survive on large aid assistance from Australia. They’ll continue to survive because many of their workers come here and pick our fruit.”

And our tomatoes – for eight dollars an hour, as reported in the recent settlement of a case on behalf of fifty workers from Vanuatu, who suffered bleeding from the nose and ears after exposure to chemicals at a farm near Shepparton under the government’s seasonal worker programme.

Brisbane based Agri Labour Australia refuses to admit liability, even after being taken to court and even after agreeing to an undisclosed financial settlement. The Fair Work Ombudsman takes separate legal action. This results in nineteen workers being compensated $50,283 for wage theft – a crime rife in our migrant workforce be it in horticulture or in hospitality. No records were kept of the workers’ labour over six months.

Seasonal worker and father of six ,Silas Aru, worked for six months, yet was paid a mere $150 in total in farms across Queensland – also as part of a government seasonal workers’ or slave labour scheme. Federal Circuit Court Justice, Michael Jarratt​ struggled to imagine a “more egregious” case of worker exploitation.

Exploited to the point of criminal neglect or abuse, men and women from the Pacific Islands are often the slaves in our nation’s overworked, underpaid, casual or part-time workforce. Mick-Mack knows how to pick ’em. Rip off the vulnerable. Trick them. Rob them blind. Then remind them what a favour you are doing them.

As the bullying of the Pacific Island leaders rapidly turns into an unmitigated disaster, something must be done. ScoMo’s staff work long and hard to orchestrate a shit-storm in response. It’s specialised work. Howard allegedly had an operative in his office solely working on “Alan Jones issues” throughout his term in office, former 2UE Jones colleague and big critic Mike Carlton tells The Saturday Paper’s Martin McKenzie-Murray.

Jones’s confected outrage is a tactical dead cat thrown on the table; distracting media from ScoMo & Co’s default policy of bullying and duplicity. Con-man Morrison promises $500 million over five years for “climate and disaster resilience” but it’s an accounting trick; a shonky repackaging of existing aid. No-one falls for it.

Pacific leaders are insulted, alienated by Morrison’s attempt to con them with a fake bribe. Our PM adds injury to insult by adding a bit of emotional blackmail. Fijian PM, Frank Bainimarama explains.

“The PM … apparently [backed] into a corner by the leaders, came up with how much money Australia have been giving to the Pacific.” He said: “I want that stated. I want that on the record.’ Very insulting.”

Bainimarama is ropeable. By Saturday, he is all over the media after phoning Guardian Australia. ScoMo’s “condescending” diplomacy is as much of a massive fail as his government’s energy or environment policy or overseas aid abroad vacuums. The Fijian PM is clear that by alienating and insulting Pacific Islanders, ScoMo is helping drive the leaders into the arms of the Chinese. In other words, Morrison’s mission is a total failure.

Kick Australia out of the PIF, calls Anote Tong, former president of Kiribati, and veteran advocate for nations battling rising sea-levels caused by global warming. Australia’s membership of the Pacific Island Forum should be “urgently reviewed” for possible sanctions or suspension over the Morrison government’s pro-coal stance, he says. There’s a precedent. Fiji was barred until recently in a move to censure its departure from democracy.

(PIF) … is supposed to be about the well-being of the members,” Tong tells The Sun-Herald and Sunday Age. “If one country causes harm to other nations, such as by fuelling climate change, “there should be sanctions”.

“Pacific people see through this facade. We won’t solve the climate crisis by just adapting to it – we solve it by mitigating it, reducing emissions, investing and transitioning to renewables, not shirking our moral duty to fight,” Greenpeace’s Head of Pacific Joseph Moeono-Kolio says. But our federal government just doesn’t get it.

ScoMo started badly by opting for antagonism and insult. Sending junior minister, coal lobby shill, Alex Hawke on ahead to set up talks did not go over well. Hawke recycles denialist garbage. Human influence on global warming is “overblown” he reckons, while in Tuvalu, he peddles the lie that our economy depends on coal.

In reality, the Morrison government’s dance to the tune of the coal barons costs us a fortune. Avoiding climate change reduces our GDP, by $130 billion a year, reports The Australia Institute, citing calculations by government consultant, Brian Fisher. Yet in the reporting of the Forum, our media helpfully relay the government’s re-framing of our global warming crisis into a choice between jobs or a few more emissions.

We are “family” insists Great White Bwana Morrison. A dysfunctional family where a crafty Father Morrison tells the younger fry lies. The Greens Adam Bandt puts his finger on it. Our wretched carry-over Kyoto credits are yet another shonky accounting trick to allow ScoMo to continue his hollow boast that “we’ll meet and beat” our Paris emissions reduction targets. The stunt certainly does not impress beleaguered Pacific leaders.

“At the moment we are not on track to meet the Paris targets. No one in the world is. We are on track to exceed 3.5 degrees of global warming, which will be a catastrophe. The Pacific Island leaders know this.”

Exploiting “a pollution loophole” is how The Australia Institute (TAI) describes Australia’s bad faith. The “pollution loophole” amounts to about eight years of fossil-fuel emissions from the Pacific and New Zealand combined, calculates, TAI, in a research paper it helpfully makes available to leaders before the Forum. The paper pulls no punches from its title onward: How Australia is robbing the Pacific of its climate change efforts.

Worse, it spells out how Islanders are paying for our denialism. Australia intends to use 367 Mt of carbon credits to avoid the majority of emission reductions pledged under its Paris Agreement target. Meanwhile, the entire annual emissions from the Pacific Islands Forum members, excluding Australia, is only about 45 Mt.

The bad faith continues. ScoMo & Co coerce Island leaders into watering down the text of their draft declaration. Or so it seems, unless you are tuned to Radio New Zealand. Local reports have it that after twelve hours, the PIF comes up with a hollow text that mimics the Coalition’s own climate change denialism.

Pacific leaders released a draft declaration in Tuvalu, Tuesday, calling for “an immediate global ban on the construction of new coal-fired power plants and coalmines” and for all countries “to rapidly phase out their use of coal in the power sector”. It echoes the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call last May.

All references to coal go from the forum communique and climate change statement. Expunged also, are any aims to limit warming to less than 1.5C or any commitment to a plan for net zero emissions by 2050.

Naturally, the Pacific leaders have the nous to issue their own separate declaration with targets which echo its draft statement and which follow the lead of the United Nations, sadly, a body increasingly ignored – if not ridiculed – by our own government and that of its great and powerful friend the US, among a host of others.

By Saturday, Morrison’s stunt with grateful fruit-picker and sock back-up is unravelling badly. Promising to be “a good friend, partner and brother of Pacific Island countries” is China’s special envoy to the Pacific, ambassador Wang Xuefeng, who is quick to exploit the rift between Australia and its Pacific neighbours.

Morrison insists the Forum is a “family gathering” and that “when families come together they talk about the stuff that matters, that’s most important to them. Over the next few days that’s exactly what we’ll do.” It’s ScoMo code, Newspeak for insulting, alienating and bullying the leaders; trashing their hopes and aspirations.

Let the Pacific Islanders worry about rising sea levels and increasing salinity which is rapidly making their homes uninhabitable. In Australia, government energy policy is dictated by a powerful coal lobby – with powerful allies in the media. The PM who brings a lump of coal into parliament also has an assistant recruited from Peabody Coal and has his fossil-fuel lobby and a daft hard right with the upper hand in mind all week.

The Prime Minister’s performance at the Pacific Islands Forum is a monumental failure. Even if his bullying, his intransigence, his inhumanity and chicanery do impress a few one-eyed partisans at home it has dealt irreparable damage to our goodwill in the Pacific, which has not really recovered since the Abbott government cut $11bn from overseas aid in 2015, a cut which the budgie-smuggler insisted was “modest”.

Fears that China will exploit Australia’s neglectful – if not abusive – relationship with its Pacific neighbours are aired all week but the Morrison government isn’t listening. It does everything in its power to offend and alienate Pacific leaders as it clings to its ideological fixation with supporting a moribund coal industry at home.

Above all, enlisting or inspiring the support of Alan Jones, aka The Parrot, has helped the Morrison government shine a light on the unreason, the bullying, the racism and the misogyny which lie at its heart.

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Ms Gillard’s sickening hypocrisy laid bare

It was with disbelief, and finally contempt, that I watched excerpts of the Al Jazeera interview with former Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the topic of her government’s treatment of waterborne asylum seekers, particularly women and children.

Gillard, now a global advocate for the education of girls and women, employed what has disturbingly become a normalised justification for Australian governments’ increasingly callous torment of women and girls in off-shore detention: we do it to stop people drowning at sea.

I have yet to get my head around the psychopathology of those who believe the torment of one group is justified in order to discourage another group from undertaking a particular action. I think such justifications are teetering precariously on just about every ethical and moral ground I can think of, beginning with the Kantian argument that it is reprehensible to use people as a means to an end, and that people are an end in themselves. To treat them in any other way is to dehumanise them, and ultimately, ourselves.

However, Gillard, Rudd, Abbott and now Turnbull apparently have no difficulty with treating waterborne asylum seekers as a means to an end, and justifying their hideous treatment of them as a necessary deterrent in order to save the lives of others.

It has been said more than a million times: arriving in this country by boat, seeking asylum, is not a crime. Indeed, as we are signatories to the UN Refugee Convention, we actively invite people to arrive here by whatever means they manage to employ.

If we want to save people from drowning at sea, and if we care about the humanity of those we already have in detention, we would cease to use the detained as scapegoats, and as examples of what will happen if you legitimately arrive here by boat. We would instead withdraw from the Refugee Convention. People come to Australia because we invite them, through our participation in the Convention, and our agreement with its principles.

Of course, we aren’t about to take that step. So instead we will continue to ill-treat asylum seekers in off-shore detention. We will continue to justify this crime against humanity by claiming it’s done to save lives.

And Ms Gillard will continue to strut the world stage advocating for the education of women and children but not, regrettably, those she imprisoned in mandatory indefinite dentition in tropical hell holes where they are abused, raped and made mad.

Women for Gillard? Non, merci.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

Labor’s Scare Campaign . . .

“This morning, we’ll be talking to prominent Coalition supporter, Mr Con Server-Tiff. Good morning.”

“Now, if I can just correct you, I’m not a Coalition supporter, I’m an independent commentator.”

“Yes, but you have been supporting Coalition policies, haven’t you? I mean it would be accurate to describe you as Right wing, wouldn’t it?”

“No, that’s the sort of bigotry that you people on the ABC indulge in!”

“But this isn’t the ABC!”

“Well, it might as well be if you’re going to attack people and suggest that they’re political views are irrelevant just because you don’t agree with them.”

“I wasn’t actually attacking your political views, I was just attempting to describe them.”

“This is the sort of stuff that the Christian Right have to put up with all the time! People describing them as the Christian Right, you don’t have the left wing described like that.”

“What about references to the ‘loony left’?”

“What about them?”

“Well, isn’t that an attack on them?”

“Go on, defend your left wing mates!”

“Can we get back to the purpose of this interview – the proposed rise in the GST?”

“An excellent idea.”

“But isn’t the Liberal Party supposed to be opposed to raising taxes, I mean, don’t they always spruik themselves as the party of lower tax?”

“Well, the important thing here is to ignore Labor’s scare campaign. This won’t be increasing taxes because the overall tax take will be the same. We have Scott Morrison’s word on that and if you can’t trust the word of a Liberal minister then they might as well be Julia Gillard who promised us that there’d be no carbon tax!”

“If you’re not increasing the overall tax take, then why is it necessary to make any changes at all?”

“To make it fairer, of course!”

“And how will raising the GST make the system fairer?”

“Well, for one thing, the government will be able to do what the Business Council asked last week and use the money to reduce company tax.”

“How is that fairer?”

“Companies will be paying less tax. You don’t get much fairer than that.”

“Yes, but how does that benefit the man in the street?”

“Well, nothing can really be done to help the homeless. If people want to sleep in the street, that’s their choice.”

“I meant the average family man. How does increasing the GST help the average family man?”

“Well, it won’t be just companies that pay lower taxes, I’m sure that Mr Morrison can find an extra billion or so to cut everyone’s tax.”

“What about the unemployed?”

“They’ll have an incentive to get a job now.”

“But if they don’t get a job, won’t the increase in the GST hit them harder than anyone?”

“Yes, but if they don’t get a job its their own fault. I mean it’s easy to get a job. Even a dud like Amanda Vanstone found work writing a column for Fairfax. And Joe’s going to be ambassador to the US. You just have to look.”

“With respect, I don’t think that the average unemployed person would find it as easy as those two to get that sort of job.”

“I was just using them as examples. Obviously not everyone can become an ambassador but there are plenty of jobs about. Why just the other day I saw a help wanted in a shop window.”

“You said something before about a scare campaign, but didn’t your side of politics run a scare campaign about the carbon tax and how Whyalla would be wiped off the map and lamb roasts would be $100 each?”

“That wasn’t a scare campaign, that was just a series of possible scenarios under the GST.”

“Rather far-fetched ones I might suggest.”

“Hey, are you here to ask questions or commentate?”

“Do you concede that those were rather far-fetched?”

“Not at all. The Liberal Party had already started printing maps with no mention of Whyalla and sooner or later lamb roasts would have got to $100.”

“Yes, how is it reasonable for you to say that the carbon tax was a great big tax on everything and not to expect that Labor would try the same tactic with the GST?”

“There’s a fundamental difference there!”

“Yes, what is it?”

“Well, Labor started running a scare campaign before the last election suggesting that if we got in we’d raise the GST.”

“But you are planning to raise the GST!”

“No, we’ve simply put it on the table. We need to have a clear, level-headed discussion without the hysterical commentary from the opposition saying that when it was first introduced Howard promised that it could never go up. That was last century and as if ‘never’ refers to a new century.”

“I think you’ll find that ‘never’ means ‘not ever’, in much the same way that ‘no’ means ‘none’ when someone says ‘no cuts’ to things.”

“If you’re refering to the so-called “no cuts to pensions, health and education” comments that Tony Abbott was alleged to have made.”

“There is film of him saying it right before the election.”

“Allegedly.”

“Are you denying that there’s film of it?”

“Look we can get bogged down by what people did or didn’t say and whether the film’s clear, but I think that it’s more important to look to the future rather than argue about a leader who’s long gone.”

“It’s only been two months!”

“Allegedly.”

“Are you saying that you don’t believe that Mr Turnbull only became PM two months ago?”

“No, I’m saying that Tony Abbott was gone a long time ago. After that Prince Sir Duke thing, nobody let him make any decisions.But let’s not talk about Mr Abbott he did some excellent things while he was PM and I’m sure that history will judge him much more kindly than many other leaders.”

“What are his achievements?”

“Well … um, he stopped the boats, and … um, he introduced knights and dames and even though, that’s been thrown out, there are a number of people who wouldn’t be knights or dames if it wasn’t for him… and… ah, he got rid of the mining and carbon taxes … and he … um, he stood up to Putin and told him that we were really cross … and did I mention stopping the boats?”

“But he didn’t get the ‘budget emergency’ under control!”

“Ah, yes, he produced a chart showing us that by 2050 Labor’s debt would be twice that of Liberal’s debt!”

“That’s all we have time for. Thank you.”

“Typical! Cut me off just when I start to talk about this government’s achievements!”

 

I hope Rupert is happy

There was a time not so long ago when Australia’s future looked bright.

In 2008, Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generation and COAG agreed to a definitive strategy to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage.

We had successfully negotiated the global financial crisis with continued growth and relatively low unemployment.

We were world leaders in putting a price on carbon. We were addressing water issues with the Murray-Darling buyback scheme and extending marine parks. We had introduced water trigger legislation giving the federal government the right to oppose mining in sensitive areas.

We had expanded the Renewable Energy Target and established the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Wind capacity trebled and Labor supported the installation of more than 1 million solar panels.

Needs based funding for school education was underway, tertiary education had been expanded, and we had an agreement with the states on hospital funding.

The rollout of a world class fast NBN was underway.

We had a mechanism for deriving some income from the mining of our natural resources which was just about to start earning some money as they moved into production phase and had used up their accelerated depreciation.

We had introduced paid parental leave and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

There was a Royal Commission into child sex abuse instigated.

Our troops had finally come home from Afghanistan.

We had our first female Prime Minister who was admired around the world who looked on bemusedly at the vilification she received at home.

But Rupert Murdoch wasn’t happy.

We had a debt and deficit disaster, which is now much larger.

They were a dysfunctional illegitimate government who knifed their own leader, just like the Libs have done.

We had to get rid of the carbon and mining taxes to improve investment and employment, both of which have gone backwards after the repeal.

And Juliar told us there would be no carbon tax, just like Tony said there would be no cuts to health, education or the ABC.

So what do we have to look forward to now?

Another war in the Middle East.

Paying hundreds of billions for war toys.

Paying hundreds of millions for political witch hunts aka Royal Commissions designed to demonise Labor and the union movement.

Becoming a toxic dump for the world’s nuclear waste.

A great big new tax on everything you buy.

Paying billions to polluters.

Forking out millions to try and keep Telstra’s copper network working so we can have really slow broadband.

Lots of big new coal mines and CSG mines dotting our prime farmland.

Getting sued by global corporations if our laws interfere with their profits.

An influx of 457 visa workers.

Condemnation by the world for torturing asylum seekers.

The selling off of all our assets.

Working till we are 70.

The removal of penalty rates.

Being told that government spending on everything to do with society is unsustainable because we need more money for security.

I sure hope Rupert is happy because we have paid a hell of a price for him to get his way.

 

Squeaky Clean

Rat with a gold tooth Putting aside the fact that Julia Gillard was treated as a back-stabbing-murderess after she replaced Kevin Rudd as PM. Putting aside that she was labelled ‘the illegitimate PM’ even after she went straight to an election to let the ‘people decide’ and then won, but for some reason was then even more ‘illegitimate’ presumably because she led a minority government and it suited Abbott’s Liberals and their mates in the media to paint this as unstable when really it was the most productive government Australia has ever had. Putting aside the grand hypocrisy of none of these labels ever being assigned to Malcolm Turnbull when he plotted and schemed and white anted and undermined and destabilized and finally got what we all knew he wanted because he was quite openly campaigning for it: Abbott’s job. Putting aside that he hasn’t gone straight to an election and is instead intent of pretending he was legitimately chosen by the people to be PM when he quite clearly was not. Putting aside all these things which really make me so mad I could lose my mind, except that I won’t because it’s all so predictable that the Liberals would have their own leadership spill and it goes completely unnoticed by the mainstream media like a massive ‘meh’, when Labor’s leadership spill was the only thing the media wanted to talk about. For 5 years. What I really want to discuss today is the fascinating situation of Turnbull’s Prime Ministership where he can do NO WRONG, according to the mainstream media, and anything that does go wrong in his government is, incredibly, coincidentally, conveniently, somehow painted as still the last guy’s problem. Still Abbott’s fault. Except Abbott isn’t the PM anymore. Turnbull is. How the hell does Turnbull get away with this bullshit? He reminds me of the classic quote from the classic movie, Shawshank Redemption, but replace ‘Andy Dufresne’ with ‘Malcolm Turnbull’: Malcolm Turnbull – who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side. How? How is Turnbull squeaky clean after all the crawling through shit he’s been up to?

Take, for instance, the horrific and tragic case of rape victim and asylum seeker, ‘Abyan’. Dutton is in a bit of hot water over this. That’s not to say Dutton is in as much hot water as an Immigration Minister should be who has denied an asylum seeker, a frightened young woman, the dignity and human rights any human being deserves, for political gain. But there is some criticism of the way Dutton has handled this situation, such as here, here and here. And you will notice in this Dutton-criticism, Turnbull is either given a cursory mention, or not mentioned at all. As if he’s somehow not involved in this situation. As if he’s floating situation, detached, uninvolved, an innocent bystander. As if somehow Dutton wasn’t chosen to continue in his evil role of Immigration Minister in the new Turnbull government, and therefore doesn’t report to Turnbull like an employee reports to an employer, where the employer is ultimately responsible for the decisions made by that employee and liable for any damage done by that employee. Why is Turnbull not being held liable? How is he coming out of this squeaky clean?

Another example is the news this week that the rolling ball which Abbott started rolling in his ideological quest to eat away at the public’s ownership of Medicare by privatising some parts of it, with the ultimate goal of privatising all of it, is still rolling forward. I’m really glad there are news outlets letting us know about this treachery because it’s a really seriously important news story that all Australians would be interested in. But I don’t understand why articles about this news story, such as this one, fail to even mention the word ‘Turnbull’. Turnbull, who we all knows likes to talk, and likes to explain, and is even well known for his particularly patronising ‘mansplaining’ tone, which he no doubt uses because he looks down on all of us since we’re all poorer than he is, is completely silent on this issue. He’s had plenty of time to comment and as far as I can tell he’s made no comment. It’s really not hard to guess why he’s made no comment. There are two reasons: a) because he doesn’t want to be splattered in the dirt of this issue, having to explain why his government is considering turning our universal health sector into a profit making machine for potentially international companies who would then ‘own’ our health records and eventually may own our entire health system. And b) Turnbull loves this idea, and hopes if he keeps his mouth shut it will more likely slip through unscrutinised. Which it possibly will. Turnbull loves this idea both for ideological reasons and perhaps because he has money invested in the companies who will make billions out of taking over Australia’s Medicare system, money which will be filtered through the Cayman Islands, un-taxed and back into Malcolm’s pocket which is bulging with cash. Of course there is a class-war, and Malcolm’s pocket is winning.

Long-time readers of my blog will recognise that the longer my sentences, the angrier I am. My keyboard will also tell you that the intensity of my fingers hitting the keyboard is a fair indication of the level of blood boil going on. So yes, I’m angry about this ‘Turnbull getting away with swimming in shit, yet still being treated like the beloved-shiny-sparkling-glistening-in-the-sun-squeeky-clean-brand-new Prime Minister who can do no wrong’. I’m terrified the squeaky cleanliness will get Turnbull another Liberal term of government and all the horrors of his political agenda will come about, unabated by any real scrutiny, just like the media did when they betrayed the country by giving Abbott such a free pass. It’s not just News Ltd this time either. It’s also Fairfax, the ABC and even, inexplicably, the Guardian. I’m not asking for these media outlets to do anything except their job and their job is not to let Turnbull get away with zero scrutiny on issues damaging to Australians. Just do your jobs people. For the love of dog, just do your jobs.

 

Am I not pretty enough?

When I recently saw a photograph of Julie Bishop’s boyfriend David Panton sitting next to her in the official delegates section on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly, I wondered what the reaction would have been if that was Tim Mathieson sitting next to Julia Gillard. Imagine the outrage, the questions, the accusations.

For some reason, Julie Bishop has been treated entirely differently to Julia Gillard in so many ways.

When Ms Gillard did a photo shoot for an article in the Weekend Australian, Julie Bishop accused her of behaving like a “fashion model or TV star” rather than a politician, adding that posing for magazine covers was “not my style”.

who weekly In the last two years, Bishop has appeared in Who Weekly, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire talking about her portfolio as well as fashion and fitness.

Unlike Gillard she has not been criticised for her magazine profile or her cultivation of social media and the blogosphere.

When Scott Morrison talks about childcare funding there is no Sophie Mirabella screeching from the other side to the childless Bishop “You won’t need his taxpayer-funded nanny, will you?”

There is no Bill Heffernan suggesting she is unfit to lead Australia because she is “deliberately barren” or George Brandis labelling her as “one-dimensional” because of her decision not to have children.

Bishop has largely avoided scrutiny of her time as a lawyer and her treatment of dying litigants as well as her very brief tenure as shadow treasurer.

She has never been grilled by radio shock jocks on the private lives and business dealings of her various partners.

Rather than having Germaine Greer telling her she has a fat ass and Anita Quigley telling her to “get a stylist her own age”, Bishop is always described as “stylish”.

Julie-Bishop-5

 

When, as deputy, Julie Bishop stabbed a first-term sitting Prime Minister in the back she was just doing her duty. Perhaps it was acceptable because she didn’t have the temerity to think she could be leader. Why would she when she is “living the dream” as Foreign Minister.

 

Did Julia Gillard cop the abuse because she was the first female PM? Was it because of the nastiness of the Abbott era unleashing the hounds? Was it due to the vitriolic campaign by conservative commentators and the Murdoch press?

Or was she just not pretty enough?

julia

The same but different . . .

When Turnbull ‘knifed’ Abbott a week ago after publically shaming Abbott’s terrible government on national television while announcing his intent-to-knife, I wondered how the mainstream media would treat this story. I couldn’t help but worry this would be yet another example of a Liberal story being treated with a completely different narrative to the same Labor story. A sitting PM is replaced by a member of their own cabinet. A late night coup. A first term Prime Minister. Abbott lasted a shorter time than Rudd and had already been challenged 6 months earlier. By my reasoning, the white-anting, destabilising activities of Turnbull and his supporters over the last 6 months was far more bloody and underhanded than Gillard taking the opportunity to lead the Labor government when it was offered to her within hours of her colleagues’ decision that Rudd’s chaotic leadership was not going to improve, second chances or not. However you argue it, overall a fair observer would see great similarities in the two situations. But these similarities are clearly ignored by the media and it turns out my worry was well founded. Low and behold, the Turnbull/Abbott story is being treated completely differently to Gillard/Rudd. Of course everyone in the mainstream media is very busy mansplaining to little-old-us the voters why the two situations are apparently completely different. But I don’t need this situation explained for me, because I can see with my own eyes that Turnbull just did to Abbott the same, if not worse, thing Gillard did to Rudd.

If you haven’t already noticed for yourself the differing tone of the stories about new-PM-Gillard with new-PM-Turnbull, take a look at this apple-with-apples comparison.

Here is a transcript of Gillard’s ABC 730 interview with Kerry O’Brien the evening she became PM on 24 June 2010 and Turnbull’s ABC 730 PR campaign interview with Leigh Sales a week after he became PM, which aired this evening.

If you can’t be bothered reading these transcripts, take it from me that Gillard was interrogated about her ‘knifing’ of Rudd for the entire interview, and framed as the ‘villain’ who couldn’t be trusted, a tone which continued throughout her time as PM. Gillard was also hectored about what she would do about the mining tax policy, not forgetting she had become PM that day. Turnbull, on the other hand, was treated like a ‘hero’ and provided with the invaluable opportunity to outline his vision for the country on an unchallenged soap box where he was allowed to sell his government’s refreshed credentials. He wasn’t even tested when he claimed Direct Action was working to reduce emissions when there was no evidence backing this claim. Two interviews in similar political circumstances, yet chalk and cheese in their treatment and tone.

A simple word count showed Gillard spoke for 65% of her interview with O’Brien. Turnbull spoke for 77% of his interview with Sales. Sales even apologised for asking a question Turnbull might ‘find offensive’ and then again said sorry for cutting him off. Soft doesn’t even come close to describing this cringe-worthy excuse for journalism. But it gets worse. Check out the word clouds of both interviews and see if you notice the same thing I did.

Here is Gillard’s interview, where the most used words were obviously Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. So the main topic of the interview were Gillard’s villainous replacement of Rudd.

Gillard Wordle

Now here is Turnbull’s interview.

Turnbull Wordle

Can you see what is missing amongst all the positive words? Yep, that’s right. The word Abbott. You can do a Where’s Wally search for it if you like, but I’ll save you the trouble and tell you it appeared twice in the interview. Hardly there at all. Abbott’s already gone and the media aren’t dwelling on the part Turnbull played in his demise. Unlike Gillard, who had to put up with the media’s obsession with the Rudd leadership spill throughout her entire tenure as Prime Minister, even after she went straight to an election to prove her legitimacy in the role. Yet Abbott has been erased and shiny-Turnbull-with-a-sly-grin has got off scot-free. See what I mean about same story but very different treatment? How do you even begin to explain this other than to say Labor is always bashed by the media, and the Liberals always excused? Sadly this is the only explanation that makes sense.

Pave paradise, put up a parking lot

When Julia Gillard left office we had a carbon price in place, a burgeoning renewable energy industry, and the respect of the world as leaders in taking action on climate change. The system had not been perfected but it was underway and open to refinement with expert bodies set up to advise us on the best way forward.

Now we are advised on climate change by Maurice Newman and Dick Warburton. Billions of investment dollars have been lost due to the abandonment of the Renewable Energy Target. Instead, we are pinning our economic future on coal whilst killing our natural wonders and tourism industry. Instead of collecting $10 billion from polluters, encouraging them to move to clean practices, we will give them $3 billion to do their upgrades while we pay for the research – a $13 billion turnaround in revenue.

When Julia Gillard left office, we had a mIning tax that paid us a small but growing dividend for the huge profits being made by selling our resources. Once again, it was not ideal but at least it was in place and the original concessions like accelerated depreciation were running out.

Now we have no mining tax which, even according to Hockey’s pessimistic outlook, will cost the budget about $5.5 billion in foregone revenue.

When Julia Gillard left office, we had signed agreements with most states and territories for hospital and school funding. To get the federal funding, the states had agreed to matching proportional funding, locking both parties in, and to accountability reviews where standards had to be achieved to maintain funding support.

Now we have reneged on those agreements, cut $80 billion in funding from health and education, released states from their obligation to direct set amounts into these areas and from accountability goals, and seem on the road to privatising both sectors and increasing the GST.

When Julia Gillard left office, the rollout of a world class National Broadband network was underway where over 90% of us would have fibre to the premises. There were teething problems as there would be with any such undertaking, but the contracts were signed, the plan was made, and premises were being connected at an increasing rate.

Now the rollout has slowed down while Malcolm Turnbull conducts three reviews into why Labor was bad. In the meantime we have no contract with Telstra, who are in a monopoly situation, who can hold out for the best deal for their shareholders (note the dividends this year were higher?). We will now get some mix of technology sometime, maybe, but certainly not soon and definitely more expensive in the long run.

When Julia Gillard left office, the orders had been given to bring home our troops from Afghanistan.

Now we are sending them back to Iraq and farewelling them with a wage cut.

[And before anyone mentions the one year freezing of politicians’ wages, could I point out that in the 16 months leading to July last year, they received three payrises, delivering a salary boost of $54,220 or more than $1000 a week since March the previous year.]

When Julia Gillard was in office, she was unable to get her media reform laws passed that would have protected against ownership monopoly, and against factually incorrect reporting. Who could forget the screams of censorship and the Murdoch photoshopping.

Now we have the possibility that the Attorney-General can decide to prosecute and incarcerate a journalist for ten years for telling the truth about what our government bodies are doing.

When Julia Gillard left office, pensions were indexed to rise with Average Male Weekly Earnings which kept their standard of living relative to the community.

Now pensions will be indexed to the Consumer Price Index. The proposal to change the indexation, due to commence in 2017, would cut the value of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Veterans’ pension and Carer Payment by an estimated $80 a week within ten years. Despite the anger the changes sparked, they raised a modest $449 million over five years.

When Julia Gillard left office, we had a universal health care system that was the envy of the world.

Now we will have to pay every time we see the doctor or have a test and our Pharmaceutical Benefits System will be at the mercy of free trade agreements.

When Julia Gillard left office, we finally had universal agreement for a National Disability Insurance Scheme funded by an increase to the Medicare levy, a move widely accepted by the population, even if the Opposition didn’t bother to turn up for the introduction of the legislation of this groundbreaking reform in Parliament.

Now we find Mitch Fifield tasked with the job of holding it up for as long as he can while he conducts….you guessed it… more reviews.

The third quarterly report on the NDIS, released in May, makes clear that there is no case for any cut, cap or delay to the NDIS but Tony wants a surplus so I guess he will collect our increased levy and sit on it while he pays consultant mates to recommend winding it back or leaving it to Labor to pay for.

“In response to the capability review, the Agency has developed an action plan and will provide further advice as to whether the current implementation timetable is consistent with a successful full scheme rollout.” – Mitch Fifield, March 2014

Senator Fifield’s comment echoes previous statements from senior Coalition figures that indicate the national start date of 2018-19 could be pushed back.

CEO of Carers Australia, Ara Creswell, said:

“The NDIS has an inbuilt review, a cost review at this point in time is both curious and concerning. Costs are right on track, package numbers are consistent and hopes are high. We need to move forward, not tread water while we undertake yet another review.”

[ARA CRESWELL, CARERS AUSTRALIA, 1 MAY 2014]

Kevin Stone, President of the National Council on Intellectual Disability said:

“…we expect the State and Territory Premiers and Treasurers to stand by people with disability and their families and stand firm against any attempts to change the agreements made”.

[KEVIN STONE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL COUNCIL ON INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY, 1 MAY 2014]

What will be next?

“Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.”

Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’

-Martin Niemoller

 

How about some other political witch hunts, Mr Abbott?

Malcolm Turnbull and John Howard (image from nws.com.au)

Malcolm Turnbull and John Howard (image from nws.com.au)

Tony Abbott promised to do many things if the LNP won the 2013 election. One of these, which was no doubt driven by populism and not policy (like everything else), was his promise to hold a judicial inquiry into Julia Gillard’s actions as a lawyer. He hammered this issue relentlessly during the campaign. Not content to simply ‘ditch the witch’ he wanted to conduct a political witch hunt of his own into irrelevant matters that were played out almost twenty years ago; matters that meant absolutely zero to the country. Most of us know of course that those matters mean absolutely zero in this present day as well, but that’s another story. Twenty years later, on this irrelevant issue:

Mr Abbott insisted again that Ms Gillard had committed a crime in her role of providing legal advice to incorporate an association for her then boyfriend and Australian Workers Union Victoria state secretary Bruce Wilson.

Abbott had no doubt been buoyed by poll after poll showing that voters questioned Ms Gillard’s explanation of the matter, hence his race towards tacky populism.

He of course ran the risk of being exposed as an utter fraud if the judicial inquiry turned up nothing to support his favoured exercise of fear and smear. But it would never deter him from practicing current day populism. History now shows – or is presently being played out – that the inquiry has turned into a ‘monumental failure’, as reported by Peter Wicks. It joins Abbott’s ‘own goal’ with his farcical Royal Commission into what he shrilly keeps calling the ‘pink batts fiasco’. He loves the smell of blood.

Given that he is keen to exert his time and money on judicial inquiries – witch hunts – I have a mere handful of instances of where he might want to hold witch hunts on whose episodes are more recent than Julia Gillard’s alleged criminal behaviour 20 years ago and whose outcomes would certainly be of national interest.

Below are some of the witch hunts Mr Abbott should take the time to pursue (as the man displays an obvious fetish with them). Long-term readers might recognise that I have raised these before, but given that witch hunts have been dominating the news over the last few days, raising them – and the manner in which they were quickly and conveniently swept under the carpet – further show that the current witch hunts are nothing but political opportunism.

So, Mr Abbott, what about these?

Our illegal war

Please take a look at John Howard’s lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. We entered into an illegal war based on that lie. We ordinary Australians are more interested in the lie that cost this country billions of dollars and the thrashing of our national pride. We, as a country, are still shadowed by that war, whereas Ms Gillard’s alleged actions were almost 20 years ago. Let’s have some priority.

AWB

The AWB Oil-for-Wheat Scandal refers to the payment of kickbacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein in contravention of the United Nations Oil-for-Food Humanitarian Program. AWB Limited is a major grain marketing organisation based in Australia. For much of the twentieth and early 21st century, it was an Australian Government entity operating a single desk regime over Australian wheat, meaning it alone could export Australian wheat, which it paid a single price for. In the mid-2000s, it was found to have been, through middlemen, paying kickbacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein in exchange for lucrative wheat contracts. This was in direct contradiction of United Nations Sanctions, and of Australian law. Mr Abbott, please take a look into how the Howard Government – of which you were a member – were entangled in this reprehensible act. Please also ask your former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who knew ‘nothing’ of the affair, if it is true that his staff removed 11 wheelie bins filled with shredded documents from his office the morning after losing the 2007 election. Perhaps you could put an end to the rumour that circulated Canberra about the contents of those mysterious bins.

Dodgy deals – Malcolm Turnbull

Mr Abbott, do you remember this?

In a speech that Mr Turnbull gave in Perth it was reported he “ . . . decried the state of political discourse in Australia, saying it had deteriorated to such an extent that the nation suffered “a deficit of trust” and there was an urgent need for honesty in politics.”

Despite all that preaching he then refused to answer a number of questions in relation to a grant he gave when he was Environment Minister in the Howard government to his friend Matt Handbury. Mr Hanbury, co-founder of the Australian Rain Corporation and nephew of the News Corporation chief, Rupert Murdoch, you might recall, contributed to Mr Turnbull’s electorate fund-raising machine (which was set up in 2007).

Mr Abbott, do you remember Mr Handbury’s company receiving a $10 million grant from Mr Turnbull when he was Environment Minister not long before the 2007 election? $10 million of tax payer’s money.

A witch hunt may jog your memory. And what an amazing coincidence that he is related to Rupert Murdoch.

Dodgy deals – John Howard

Mr Abbott, in 2000 your old boss decided to help the retrenched workers of National Textiles to recover their entitlements after the company, of which Mr Howard’s brother Stan was Chairman, was placed in the hands of an administrator.

It was reported at the time that it was Prime Minister Howard:

. . . who proudly announced that the cash-strapped National Textiles’ workers would receive their full entitlements. It was the Prime Minister who said they would be the first to recover wages, leave and a redundancy payout under a new National scheme and it was the Prime Minister who urged the creditors to accept a Deed of Arrangement so that the $6 million in State and Federal funds would flow.

. . . the Australian newspaper claimed that acceptance of the scheme would prevent an inquiry into National Textiles’ management and Directors, of which Mr Howard’s brother, Stan, is one. The editorial was scathing, raising questions about the government’s probity and calling the taxpayer funded bail-out improper, and policy on the run.

The then Opposition called for an inquiry but it went nowhere (naturally). Mr Abbott, given your carried-out promise of a witch hunt to dig up Julia Gillard’s past perhaps you’d be moral enough to do a bit of digging dig into this shady deal as well. Strike while the witch hunt iron is hot!

Future governments will no doubt be in overdrive holding Royal Commissions into the wealth of material this current government is providing us with – hopefully some of those might get to the truth behind Ashbygate or dodgy donations – but as I have pointed out, there is a lot of old stock to clear off the shelves first.

Mr Abbott is not the only one who smells blood; so do I. His. And his party.

Law & Order, Mars and Why Tony Abbott is Right To Put Science Under The Industry Portfolio.

“I have a great idea for reducing the crime rate!”
“What is it?”
“Well, when someone is caught breaking the law, rather than wasting a lot of money on a trial and jailing them – which is also very expensive – we just give them a large amount of money and tell them not do it again!”
“But wouldn’t that lead to people breaking the law and handing themselves in, just to get the money?”
“Oh the money wouldn’t go to everyone. Just the big criminals.”
“All right, once they’ve got the money what’s the penalty if they break the law again?”
“None.”
“None?”
“Yep, we’re more into carrots than sticks.”
“That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard!”
“Ok, well what about my idea for reducing our carbon emissions?”
“You mean the one where you pay the biggest polluters to reduce their emissions and if they don’t you just say that’s ok?”
“Yep.”
“Oh, that’s fine. That sounds like an excellent idea.”
Mm, we don’t seem to be hearing a lot about Tony Abbott’s Direct Action Plan. You know, the one that’s supposed to replace the Carbon Tax. A Google search reveals several mentions but the only recent one is in an editorial from that foreign owned newspaper, “The Australian” which begins with the rather contradictory concept.
“AUSTRALIA’s ill-fated carbon tax has proved to be a more successful tool of political rather than carbon abatement, felling spectacularly the party leaderships of Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd, and Julia Gillard. Well intentioned in theory, it was in practice a hopelessly premature step for a country that emits around 1.5 per cent of global carbon dioxide and whose competitiveness had long rested on cheap energy. The tax boosted power prices for households and business without altering the carbon intensity of their energy supply. It has hastened the deindustrialisation of Australia’s economy, including the collapse of the aluminium and car industries, without a scintilla of verifiable impact on global carbon emissions, let alone the climate.”
I can’t see how the deindustrialisation of Australia’s economy hasn’t led to some fall in our emissions. And considering we were told by other members of Murdoch Misinformation Media about pensioners sitting in the dark with the heater off because they couldn’t afford electricity any more, it seems hard to believe that bigger users hadn’t found ways to improve their energy efficiency. But it’s good to know that our competitiveness rests on cheap energy and not cheap wages, as has been suggested by the IPA. (Or rather cheap minimum wages. I haven’t heard anyone from the IPA suggesting that Tim Wilson’s $300,000 is an excessive amount. Or even using it as example of a waste of taxpayers’ money.)
Still when the paper talks about “verifiable”, it’s important to remember that they’re not using that in a scientific way, because a debate like this is too important to be left to scientists. We need input from every day people. Like the Senator from Kentucky (Brandon Smith) that was suggesting that climate change wasn’t man-made because there are no coal mines on Mars, and:
“I don’t want to get into the debate about climate change. But I will just simply point out that I think that in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that.”
Well, a scientist might, but we know that they’re just a minority group and the silent majority are sick and tired of pandering to minority groups. So “verifiable” in this sense has nothing to do with science. It simply means that something can be found in one of their newspapers about a reduction in Australia’s emissions. And, of course, it can’t .
As for what the editorial said about Direct Action:
“And Environment Minister Greg Hunt has the hazardous task of overseeing its untried replacement, an unloved $2.5 billion direct action fund cobbled together to burnish the Coalition’s climate credentials in early 2010. Ensuring this money leads to genuine carbon abatement rather than becoming yet another form of industry assistance — subsidising green projects that would have proceeded anyway — will be challenging.”
So, even the usual cheerleaders of the Abbott Government are calling direct action “unloved”. Poor thing. We should remember it on Valentine’s Day and send it a card and some flowers.
And I would, except I don’t know where to send them because it doesn’t exist yet.
Ah well, maybe by 14th February!

Which way to look?

Ralph Blewitt. Photo: Herald Sun

Ralph Blewitt. Photo: Herald Sun

It is perhaps not surprising that the Royal Commission into union corruption is to begin the day before the budget is brought down. In a fortuitous coincidence, Ralph Blewitt happens to be in town, so they are going to begin with the AWU “slush fund”. That should have Larry Pickering and Michael Smith and their band of rabid followers all agog again…or should I say still. Agog enough to not notice they are getting screwed by the Budget? We shall see.

In November 2012 Ralph Blewitt turned up in Australia “courtesy of a man writing a book on the AWU in the late 1980s and early ’90s.”

He told 7.30 that he had provided Victoria Police with a dossier of files “which show documents that certainly connect Julia Gillard to having a hand in the establishment of the AWU Workplace Reform Association in WA, and other matters”. Mr Blewitt declined to outline those “other matters”. The documents relating to the period 1990 – 95 appear to have been provided to him to “refresh” his memory by ‘researcher’ Harry Nowicki.

Victoria Police detectives who have been running an 18-month investigation with Mr Blewitt’s co-operation, intend to charge him with fraud-related offences, to which he will plead guilty. He is expected to give evidence against others. It is understood that in return for his co-operation and guilty plea, police will make courtroom submissions that Mr Blewitt should not be sentenced to jail.

Mr Blewitt’s travel expenses for his current visit to Australia are being met by a private citizen who has wanted to see the slush fund issues properly investigated by police and the Royal Commission. This philanthropic champion of justice is no doubt hoping that Julia Gillard may be called though goodness knows what else they could ask her. She has answered every question put to her.

The Royal Commission will then move on to the HSU. It will be interesting to see their focus. No doubt Craig Thomson will be dragged through more proceedings for an amount which, to date, seems relatively trivial. One wonders if whistle blower Kathy Jackson has made a Blewitt type deal too.

The Health Services Union has launched a legal action against its own national secretary Kathy Jackson demanding she repay almost $250,000 paid into a slush fund.

Ms Jackson in return had launched a counter-claim seeking almost hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay. The HSU is now seeking to recover money paid to the National Health Development Account (NHDA) which was controlled by Ms Jackson.

In a statement to the ABC, Ms Jackson said all the allegations against her were “false and malicious” and accused “dark forces” of being behind them. Independent Australia has done a whole series of articles called Jacksonville with source documents that provide a rather damning picture

Investigating high profile union cases should defer attention from the high profile political money laundering and slush funds that are coming to light every day, they hope.

Which way to look?

Freedom to speak badly: one rule for protestors, another for Andrew Bolt?

Andrew Bolt’s racial vilification case and the government’s subsequent hasty threat to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act has placed ‘freedom of speech’ at the forefront of political debate. But its importance is always overlooked, or shunned, when it’s those of the Left side of politics who are exercising it. The media’s response to March in March rallies is an obvious case, writes Jennifer Wilson.

Image: heraldsun.com.au

Image: heraldsun.com.au

Peter van Onselen (pictured) devotes almost an entire page in the Australian this morning (paywalled. sorry) to complaining about the “unedifying” display of bad manners by some protestors who took part in the March in March rallies, comparing them with the infamously abusive banners held aloft by the three hundred or so activists who took part Alan Jones’s 2011 Convoy of no Confidence against Julia Gillard and her Labor government.

I would appreciate someone drawing up a comparison of the two situations, given my impression that the number of participants in the Jones rally carrying offensive placards constituted a far greater percentage of the whole than those in the March in March rallies.

As van Onselen concedes, in the Jones protest virulent expressions of rage and hatred were legitimised by the presence of leading politicians photographed under the placards. No such validation took place of the relatively few offensive banners on display during March in March.

“Calling a conservative a fascist and portraying his image to replicate Hitler is deliberately designed to undermine their ideological positioning in the same way that calling a woman a ‘bitch’ or ‘witch’ carries clear sexist intent,” van Onselen states, in his comparison of the two situations.

I would not so readily presume an equivalence between sexist intent, and the desire to critique, albeit with a degree of hyperbole, an ideology. Sexism attacks the woman for nothing other than being a woman. Describing Abbott as “fascist” in no way attacks his gender, and is merely commentary on the manner in which he is perceived to enact his conservatism.

Placards claiming that the Abbott government is “illegitimate” are not abusive, offensive or threatening, rather they are simply wrong, and likely being employed as payback for the years of the LNP opposition equally inaccurately describing the Gillard government as “illegitimate.” What is apparent is that there are hot heads and wrong heads on both the conservative and Labor side of politics. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.

Along with Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner for Freedom, (I’m sorry, I don’t know what that title means) van Onselen is disturbed not at the exercise of freedom of speech demonstrated by both rallies, but at the ill-mannered, impolite, potentially violent and “irresponsible” speech used by a small number of participants in their signage. A similar rabid element is guilty of foully derailing many otherwise useful Twitter discussions, claims van Onselen, quite rightly in some instances, though there are sensitive souls renowned for “rage quitting” Twitter when they confuse disagreement with abuse.

Van Onselen and Wilson’s desire to see public speech free from offensive, insulting and at times threatening expression is shared by many people, but quite how to achieve that remains a mystery. Bad speech must be countered by good speech, Wilson has asserted, however, taking the case of Andrew Bolt as an example, it’s difficult to see how someone with a large public platform such as Bolt, or fellow shock jocks Alan Jones, or Ray Hadley can be challenged by the people they offend and insult, who rarely have an equivalent public platform from which to counter their attacker’s bad speech with good. It is for this reason we have legislation intended to protect people from racial vilification, for example, the very legislation Mr Wilson is now intent on seeing repealed, as he believes it interferes with the absolute freedom of speech he appears to favour.

I can see Wilson’s point, however, as long as there are more powerful enunciators of bad speech with large platforms than there are good, perhaps we need other precautionary measures.

I couldn’t help but wonder, as I read the article, what van Onselen and Wilson would make of public demonstrations in other countries, Mexico perhaps, where I witnessed protests in which politicians were represented by enormous papier-mache figures with grossly exaggerated sexual organs, accompanied by banners that claimed they f*cked both dogs and their mothers and ate children. Nobody saw any cause for offence. Compared to such robust expression, the complaints seem rather prim.

Amusingly, van Onselen concludes his article with the reminder that “Protest is as an important part of democracy as are institutions designed to uphold democracy, but only when practised within the spirit of Australia’s well established political structure.” I am completely unable to see how any of the offensive signage fails to fit in with that spirit. Australian politics have, for the last few years and most certainly during Gillard’s entire term of office, been such that one would think twice before taking school children to witness Question Time, and I really don’t know who van Onselen thinks he is kidding.

The ongoing discourse about how we should conduct our discourse is unlikely to change anything. Van Onselen’s piece appears to make the claim that those who offend middle-class sensitivities undermine the more moderate message and concerns of mainstream protestors, and destroy their credibility. This may well be the case, but only because people such as van Onselen make it so, opportunistically denigrating the whole on the basis of the actions of a very few.

It is not possible to eradicate voices some consider undesirable from public expression. Otherwise we would not have to put up with the Bolts. A sign held aloft at a demonstration cannot do one tiny fraction of the harm done by Bolt, Jones and the like. If we are to conduct serious conversations about how public discourse influences attitudes and behaviours, surely we must start by interrogating the enunciations of those with the furthest reach.

This article was first published on Jennifer’s blog No Place For Sheep and has been reproduced with permission.

Enough is enough.

larry pickering

I am ashamed. I am ashamed of the appalling treatment handed out to our first female Prime Minister. I am ashamed of the inhumane treatment of traumatised people seeking sanctuary in our country. This is not the Australia I know or understand. This is not how the people I know think or behave. So where is this hatred coming from?

In a recent article, I pointed out the part Larry Pickering played in the harassment of Julia Gillard, bombarding politicians with hate filled emails about her accompanied by tasteless cartoons, and how it had been allowed to continue uncensured. Apparently his talent at drawing cartoons showing politicians’ penises makes him a formidable man to take on. After all, it’s better to pull your head in and say nothing than to have him draw you with a turtle dick.

Surprisingly, Pickering has some reach online with his facebook page and blog The Pickering Post. A quick visit to his page, which I don’t recommend for the faint-hearted, shows he is still fixated with all things Gillard, the more “scandalous” the better. It appears to be an obsession he cannot let go.

Unsurprisingly, he also hates Muslims – all 1.6 billion of them. Today he wrote of the story of a 26 year old man marrying a 13 year old girl in an Islamic ceremony in NSW. The man has been arrested because this is illegal in our country and not tolerated in our society (unlike some other societies) – a point that Pickering neglects.

He uses this incident to incite hatred towards all Muslims.

“Islam brandishes its endemic paedophelia as a badge of honour, but we try desperately to protect our children from sexual abuse while turning our backs on the Islamic outrage rather than risk the “racist” label.”

Has he not been following the Royal Commission? How many Muslims were there in the Catholic priesthood or the Salvation Army or YMCA or Scouts?

“Religion is about the power of numbers. Islam demands the ovarian cycle must be used to its maximum and at the earliest possible age. Catholicism merely bans condoms, but both edicts are designed to have the same effect… an increase in numbers!”

Pssst Larry – the Catholics WAY outnumber the Muslims in this country, and can you tell me which religions are looking for a decrease in numbers?

“Cannot one appreciate the incompatibility of the weak, compliant Christian to the person born to Islam?”

Ask the asylum seekers we have detained illegally about how weak and compliant we Christians are.

“If your parents tell you, when you are young, that the colour red is actually blue or the World is actually flat, you will believe everyone else is wrong. You will have no choice but to believe your parents. This is the power of religious indoctrination of a child.”

Larry I live with a man who was firmly indoctrinated into the Catholic faith until he was 18. It is amazing what safe haven, education, and love can do to overcome religious indoctrination.

“Therefore their base culture demands the total destruction of non-believers. The non-believers are dangerous apostates likely to convert others to their evils and must be eradicated at all cost. This is what they are taught from birth and this is what they believe with a passion that has no equal.”

There are no doubt some fundamentalist groups like the Taliban and Al Qaeda that may think this way. That is why moderate Muslims flee from places where these people carry out their reign of terror and oppression.

“The congregational togetherness (mosque) is designed to reinforce the disgusting policies of inhumanity toward anyone who is of a different faith. Christianity uses its congregational churches in the same way. There are many fiercely competitive Christian churches but there is only one Islamic mosque… can you see why we are losing?”

Losing our marbles from the sound of it. My local church does not want to “reinforce policies of inhumanity” any more than my Muslim friends want to. This is 21st century Australia Larry, not the Crusades.

“The Islamic preoccupation with decapitation is also clear! If you don’t believe what I believe, my prophet’s command is to behead you, that is my scriptural command. I am commanded by Allah and the Prophet Mohammed to do this! I cannot disobey, I am Muslim!

Islam is the only World religion to legitimise beheadings.”

Now you are getting seriously delusional. You seem to want to project the actions of individuals onto an entire religion. How many people have been beheaded in Australia Larry? Or even worldwide? You obviously have the stats at your fingertips. Or did you just see that Youtube clip?

“Islam is anything but a “religion of peace”. It is a way of life, a barbaric, base culture born of Mongolian inspired historic violence and inhumanity toward non-believers, and women.”

Gee I seem to remember something called the Spanish Inquisition not to mention the practice of burning witches. Does Joan of Arc ring any bells? The barbarism of history is a burden shared by us all Larry. Quoting things that may have happened in 768 or 1086 is hardly relevant to today’s society.

“The terms “extremist” and “fundamentalist” are misnomers of the weak apologists for Islam. There are no extremists, they don’t exist… just faithful, obedient, adherents to the one blind Islamic faith. The people next door who you would borrow a cup of sugar from (as the 9/11 bombers were described to be) have been ordered by Allah to kill you.”

Are you suggesting that my neighbours are Islamic jihadists who should not be kept behind a pool fence? Or that the kid that I gave a lift to to cricket all those years was just waiting for an opportunity to behead me? Get a grip man!

Far be it from me to make a psychiatric evaluation but can I assure you Larry, I do not lie awake at night expecting to be murdered in my bed. Such fears are often described as paranoia. I suggest you discuss them with someone more qualified than I.

I am not a lawyer but it is my understanding that the laws involving hate speech and discrimination towards a race or religion are similar.

The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 forbids hate speech on several grounds. The Act makes it “unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person, or of some or all of the people in the group”

The Racial Discrimination act states that racial hatred is against the law.

Racial hatred (sometimes referred to as vilification) is doing something in public based on the race, colour, national or ethnic origin of a person or group of people which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate.

Examples of racial hatred may include:

• racially offensive material on the internet, including eforums, blogs, social networking sites and video sharing sites

Few Australian jurisdictions prohibit religious vilification, but almost all prohibit racial vilification; if a complaint is made about conduct that was because of a person’s religion/race, it can be dealt with and recorded as a “racial vilification” complaint. In this way the abusive treatment of a Muslim can be addressed and resolved even if – as is usually the case in Australia – the law does not cover religious vilification.

I would call on Attorney General George Brandis to enforce the law and stop people like the odious Larry Pickering from spreading his hate-filled venom and religious vilification, and I would call on all Australians to say enough is enough – this has to stop!

Tony Abbott’s problem with the truth

Image courtesy of smh.com.au

Image courtesy of smh.com.au

People lie for a number of reasons: sometimes it is accidental that through the person’s own ignorance, statements are made which gives the appearance of being deliberate; the aim being to deceive. However, and of course, all is forgiven because it is abundantly clear to the reader/listener that the “lie” was purely accidental and its consequences unintended.

People also lie as a defence mechanism, that via that person’s emotional and mental immaturity they are incapable of providing an honest answer, but must resort to a simplistic lie. Ego also comes into play with the person incapable of accepting responsibility for the fact that they have made a mistake.

Revenge is also a motivator for lying.

However, with the exception of revenge, such behaviour can fall within the confines of what is considered normal. It is not a pattern of behaviour but something which occurs in response to exceptional circumstances. The abnormal is when lies are told by a person with a personality disorder, and an example is morbid narcissistic complex disorder whose traits include:

A sense of entitlement – an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable treatment or conditions. Good examples in Tony Abbott’s case being; “I was robbed of becoming Prime Minister”. “It’s all the Independents’ fault”. “I want another election, and I want it now!” Ad nauseum.

Blaming – the practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem. I have never known of Tony Abbott to do other than blame the person, using even formal occasions as an opportunity to attack others.

Impulsiveness – the tendency to act or speak based on current feelings rather than logical reasoning. This is known in some circles as Abbott “brain farts”.

Lack of conscience – individuals who suffer from Personality Disorders are often preoccupied with their own agendas, sometimes to the exclusion of the needs and concerns of others. This is sometimes interpreted by others as a lack of moral conscience. Turning to Tony Abbott, does he even recognise the hypocrisy of his alleged rorting of the travel allowance scheme, yet all the while expecting low paid child care workers to return money already paid to them?

Pathological Lying – persistent deception by an individual to serve their own interests and needs with little or no regard to the needs and concerns of others. A pathological liar is a person who habitually lies to serve their own needs.

Consider that in 2010 Tony Abbott said, “The statements that need to be taken absolutely as gospel truth are those carefully prepared, scripted remarks”. This was quite an extraordinary admission from Tony Abbott who was promptly dubbed “Phoney Tony”.

It is not the exaggerations which although not entirely acceptable, come under the general heading of “what else do you expect from a politician”, but rather the instances where Mr Abbott seems completely oblivious to the fact that he is telling an untruth.

Examples of Tony Abbott’s failure to be able to address the truth are numerous and no doubt inspired by any of the motivators provided above. Here are but a few of the much publicised instances which come to mind:

The Indonesian government consistently told both Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop that should the Coalition be elected and if they persisted with their Turn Back The Boats policy, that they, the Indonesian government would find this unacceptable. Abbott went to the election promising the authenticity of his statements and with the blatant lie that he had the full support of the Indonesia government.

In August 2012 Laurie Oakes wrote:

Abbott’s own truthfulness came under the microscope, however, after a blundering performance in an interview on ABC TV’s 7.30 program on Wednesday evening.

Earlier that day he had claimed BHP’s decision to put the Olympic Dam mining project in South Australia on hold was partly due to the Federal Government’s carbon and mining taxes.

That was porkie number one. BHP CEO Marius Kloppers had blamed such factors as the eurozone financial crisis, the slowdown of growth in China and weakness in commodity markets.

And:

When Abbott stuck to his claim despite what Kloppers had said, interviewer Leigh Sales asked: “Have you actually read BHP’s statements?”

Abbott replied: “No.” The next day he claimed he had read the BHP announcement after all – soon after it was made.

He attributed the damaging answer in the 7.30 interview to a misunderstanding of what Sales had asked him. But her meaning could hardly have been clearer.

Just in case there was any doubt, she had gone on to say in her next question: “You haven’t read their statements today but you’re commenting about what they’ve announced.”

The conclusion is inescapable that, in trying to explain away a dreadful gaffe, Abbott resorted to another falsehood.

Tony Abbott lies about the impact of the Carbon Price on a new car:

During a doorstop interview in Geelong on April 11, 2013, Tony Abbott claimed:

First and foremost we are not going to hit the motor industry with a carbon tax and the carbon tax is adding $400 to the cost of every car manufactured in Australia.

Where was the evidence that the carbon tax added $400 to the cost of the car? And if the carbon tax was such a killer, why is he not blaming it as one of the reasons behind Holden’s closure?

Tony Abbott lies on Radio about not doing deals:

On February 20, 2013, Tony Abbott was interviewed by Neil Mitchell in the studio of 3AW.

Neil Mitchell: Will you talk to the Greens about cooperating with you?

Tony Abbott: Look, I think that’s been part of Julia Gillard’s problem. She embraced the Greens. This turned out to be a fatal embrace and I don’t do these sorts of deals with people. I mean, I wasn’t prepared to give the independents, I wasn’t prepared to give the Greens what they wanted. Julia Gillard was and I think her government, from the beginning, has been fatally compromised.

Neil Mitchell: So no deals to get into power?

Tony Abbott: I don’t do deals, Neil.

Neil Mitchell: You tried to.

Wednesday, 11th December 2013:

Holden did not make a bid to replace Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s “C1” car and the existing eight-year-old fleet of nine armour-plate caprices for the government, The Daily Telegraph reported. According to the report, it was only Audi and Mercedes and two other car companies with submitted bids.

And today:

Holden angered by media reports it did not submit bid to supply ‘blast-proof’ vehicles for Australian government VIPs.

The revelation appears to contradict reported Abbott government sources as saying Holden had not even submitted a bid in the tender because the car maker simply ”was not interested”.

These extraordinary events give every indication the government pursued a vendetta against Holden

Kim Carr

Holden viewed that claim – which appeared in a News Corporation newspaper on Wednesday, just hours before the car maker announced its withdrawal – as part of a deliberate negative backgrounding campaign by Coalition ministers designed to make the company look uncommitted to Australia.

Tony Abbott will continue to say anything and do anything regardless of whether he believes his statements to be true or not. Why in this instance did Tony Abbott simply not tell the truth, that BMW were given the tender as the Holden model was not up to the standard expected, and for security reasons? As reported by news.com:

The only options of a semi-local built car was believed to be a newer version of the retrofitted Holden Caprice offered by British Aerospace at a cost of $800,000 each, or a “ground up” model based on a Holden chassis, which cost $1.2 million for just one vehicle.

However, neither option is believed to have been able to meet international standards for protection against attacks.

The Federal Government is now expected to sign a contract to buy cheaper, off-the shelf BMW High Security 7-series vehicles, at a cost of $525,000 each, which meet higher international standards of protection against ballistic and gas attacks – and which can be serviced in Australia.

When lying becomes a compulsion (and a pointless exercise) one must consider that the person should not be in any position of authority or where they might do harm to others. A compulsive liar is defined as someone who lies out of habit who will bend the truth about everything large and small. For the compulsive liar, telling the truth feels awkward and uncomfortable while lying sits well, giving the person a sense of empowerment and confidence. Often when confronted with the absolute necessity to tell the truth, the person will enter into a state of panic, perhaps unable to speak, or physically fleeing.

Does this perhaps offer us an insight into Tony Abbott’s problem with the truth?

Letter to the Editor: “Morrie Hits Back”

LETTERS

Image by Keybridge Communications

Editor’s note:

Last week, with my permission John Lord published a letter from Morrie Moneyworthy. It is fair to say that it drew a number of derogatory remarks. Again in the interest of balance I thought we should give Morrie a right of reply.

A letter to the editor.

All those comments were just what I would have expected from the left wing latte sipping loonies of the proletariat. The chardonnay drinking Bolsheviks without any intelligence. All they could do was criticise a few grammamatical errors. Nothing better to do.

The thing is, you commies don’t understand the fundamentals of conservatism. The free market and capitalism. Conservatives (LNP) believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty and traditional values. We believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals unhindered by government regulations. Just before I go on. I read that piece by John Lord: “Why are the Right so Feral”. (https://theaimn.com/2013/05/21/why-are-theright-so-feral/).

Fair dinkum. He wouldn’t know shit from clay. I’d suggest he gets himself a manager. It’s obvious he’s been handing himself too long.

Surely it’s clear to everyone that we need to be free to pursue wealth. I mean I needed the freedom to accept my inheritance. The same with Gina. There will always be haves and have nots. Even Jesus said that. And Ronald Regan said. If we keep giving more money to the rich, everyone will have more money. It’s called tickle down economics. The poor will just have to wait a little longer to see it work.

Conservatives were born to control capitol. Labour comes after capital. Not everyone can be effluent. Had we had less regulation and let market forces have their way we wouldn’t have had a Global Financial Crisis. Now look at the mess Tony has to get the world out of

Oh and another thing.

I didn’t appreciate all the sarcastic remarks from that women Kaye Lee. I can only say that good manners is a basic tenant of conservatism. So she needn’t worry about what people think of her if she only knew how little they did.

Now where was I? Yes? There is no inequity in society. It’s just that some deserve more than others. We were born to rule. If we don’t have poor people who’s going to do the work.

That’s why I admire Christopher Pyne. It talks a lot of courage to change one’s mind and do what’s best for the country. The audacity to suggest that he told a lie before the election is ludicrous. I mean two many educated people can be dangerous for society. They might all want to be wealthy.

Well I don’t mind wealthy people so long as they aren’t as wealthy as me. If that makes sense.

It’s like my friend Wyatt Roy (I’ve always loved his name. It gives me the erps) said. ‘’Baby Boomers should stay in work longer. We are sick and tired of our generation propping them up’’

In Tony Abbott we have just what this country needs. An undoer. And there’s so much to undo that there will be little time left for doing anything else. That’s what conservatives value most. At this point in time we need an undoer, not a doer. That’s what Tony is.

And while it’s on my mind. I do hope Tony has the good sense to appoint a man as our next Governor General. I mean, fair dinkum, that sheila should resign now. Fancy supporting gay marriage and and a republic. Its bad enough being overrun by Asians and Muslims without giving in to poofters and Republicans. I truly don’t know what’s become of the Lucky Country.

He should appoint John Howard. He would make an excellent GG. Someone needs to saddle up against all these things. Just think, I mean really think about the contribution the Queen has made to our country. And I’m sure Charles will keep up the good work. When we see him.

I will finish with a few comments about the nasty things said with regard to my last letter.

I wont be writing again because I get the impression I am not welcome on this blog. I am at a loss to understand why because all I bring is wisdom and unbiased opinion.

carol sheridan

Surely that is not someone’s REAL thoughts???

I can only speak the truth Carol. There is no need to be so bloody cruel. I have feelings you know. Even if I am wealthy. I think you are so mean that if I paid you a compliment you would probably ask for a receipt.

Jessica

Hilarious! So terrifying that this is how some people actually think – and that they’re running the joint! ‘Morrie’ should post this as a note of support on some LNP Facebook pages and see how many likes and ‘hear, hear’s and ‘bravo, old chap’s he can get!

You’re disrespect is just revolting.

I think you’re that dumb that you must be three bricks short of a load or not the full two bobs worth. Either that or your three sanwhiches short of a picnic.


mludowyk

This has to be a joke – no-one can be that stupid and arrogant, unless they are members of the Liberal Party.

Well, whatever your name is. I could describe you as a pain in the neck but I have a much lower opinion of you.

There were over seventy comments regarding my letter on this blog last week. All of them in such poor taste that I feel I cannot avail myself to share my wisdom with you again. I can only hope and pray that someday the working classes will come to their senses and show their appreciation for the effluence we share.

Morrie Moneyworthy. Malvern.