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Tag Archives: Mainstream media

Day to Day Politics. The heat’s on in Paris.


2 December

1 Malcolm Turnbull in his address the Paris Climate Conference said:

‘We do not doubt the implication of the science, or the scale of the challenge’.

I found that a bit rich given that many of his Cabinet and back bench MPs are known deniers.

Added to that, the latest research shows that barely one in four Coalition voters accepts climate change is mostly caused by humans, with more than half of Liberal voters believing changes to global temperatures are natural, according to a CSIRO survey.

However, there are a number of initiatives taking place. Australia has committed to doubling the government’s $100-million-a-year commitment to clean technology research and development as part of a global innovation project spearheaded by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whom Mr Turnbull met on the sidelines of the event.

Mr Turnbull also said Australia would commit $1 billion over five years to helping developing countries – especially those in the Pacific – to build resilience against climate change and to cut emissions.

And where is all this money coming from? Well the Foreign Aid budget of course. And not a whimper from Julie Bishop.

He said the country would “meet and beat” its 2020 emissions reduction goal – a reduction of 5 per cent compared with 2000 levels.

Now that shouldn’t be so difficult given that Australia was given at the first Kyoto meeting, the ok to raise its emissions by 8%, as an incentive to sign the agreement.

The fact is that our target is too low and at some point, Turnbull will have to convince his party that Australia must lift its climate ambitions if it’s to do its fair share to keep global warming to less than two degrees – a case that will be easier to make if Paris produces a credible pathway to such an outcome.

He also flagged increasing the target when a review is conducted in five years’ time.

But of course the task will be made tougher without a broad-based carbon price, an approach Turnbull himself once championed – and may yet to do so again.

He also flagged increasing the target when a review is conducted in five years’ time.

But Liberal MP Dennis Jensen said the Prime Minister should stick with the position of the party room.

The back bencher said discussion about increasing the target was “a joke”.

“I will certainly be very strong on the fact that we should not change those targets and that we stick with what we agreed [in] the party room and we don’t change,” he said.

“If there’s discussion about it a couple of years’ in the future, don’t change it again.”

It is difficult to believe that Hunt and Turnbull are actually getting away with the flattering, self-ingratiating bullshit they are delivering in Paris. And the compliancy of the mainstreammedia is equally dim-witted and lacks scrutiny. But I suppose it’s what Rupert wants.

They are both slaves to the hard right conservative wing of the Coalition. After all, delivering what he is now doing in Paris, was a condition of his employment.

Finally, Australia refused to sign with 43 other countries an agreement eliminate coal subsidies. In doing so they have now admitted that they do subsidise coal. Even if under another name. (Rebates).

2 Tuesday’s Essential Poll tightens with Labor on 49% and the Coalition on 51%. Bit of a surprise that one.

3 Special Minister of State Mal Brough has made a significant comment in relation to a key admission he made on Channel Nine over his dealings with James Ashby.

‘What was put to air was not the full question’.

Really. I suggest you watch the video.

4 I won’t beg or do an Abbott arse joke but could we please have a national ICAC.

One in six exempt companies exempted from reporting from reporting financial details to Asic are political donors or government contractors.

What was that you said?

5 Tony Abbott accusing Julie Bishop of telling lies. Well I never. Well I never.


“If we do not take action on the environment and there is no disaster the outcome will be due to luck alone, like someone winning tattslotto” Average odds 58 million to one.

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.


The Right Wing Horror Story

Before, during and after the implosion of the Abbott government, commentators have blamed this political failure on a ‘lack of narrative’. The media’s narrative of this ‘lack of narrative’ is a story about a good government who has many great ideas, but just can’t sell them to the untrusting, fickle, inattentive electorate. As someone who is studying political narrative, I can assure you these commentators have got it all wrong. The Abbott government, and the right-wing political class including the right-wing media, have a very obvious narrative to those who know what they’re looking for. Their narrative clearly describes their policies. Their narrative has been consistent across many generations of right-wingers. The snake-oil-salesmen in the Liberal Party are coherently telling this story. The problem is not, therefore, a missing narrative. The problem for the government is that voters, in the majority, do not like the story they are trying to sell. Turnbull is now trying to polish the same story, covering it in glitter. But we all know turds can’t be polished, and under eye-catching-glitter they’re still stinky turds.

Perhaps rather than telling us the Abbott government lacked a narrative, journalists could have done a better job of scrutinising the Abbott government narrative. It would have been really helpful if this had happened BEFORE ABBOTT WAS ELECTED. Anyhow, just like one of those brain twister images where you think you’re looking at a black and white twirl, but when you squint you can see a monster staring back at you, once you see the right-wing narrative, you can’t un-see it. Once you know the story, you see it everywhere. It haunts you. The right-wing story is scary. In fact, I would go as far as saying it’s a horror story.

The right wing narrative can fittingly be summed up with the tag line of a BMW advertisement: Life is not a race… said those who lost. In this narrative, the hero are those who in their mind have won the race. The race to get wealthy. The race to inherit wealth. The race for power. The race to afford a BMW. The race to climb the ladder and the race to kick the ladder away so other racers can’t climb up behind. These people live their life by the concept of dog eat dog. They see themselves as heroes for eating a dog before it eats them. No matter how advantaged they are in the race before the starting gun goes off, these right-wingers always see their own success as something they have won through merit. Not luck. Not privilege. Just because they’re born winners. And they are therefore the heroes in their right-wing narrative. But they are also the victims. Because in their scary little minds, and their narrow little worlds, they think they’re being dragged down in their quest to win the race of life by their story’s villain. I think by now you can guess who the villain is. Yep, you’ve guessed it. The weak. The poor. The sick. The uneducated. The vulnerable. The ones who think life isn’t a race because they lost. And of course, left-wingers who want to help these ‘losers’ are also part of the problem. Right-wingers think they’re the victims of these do-gooder-lefties who believe everyone in a community has a responsibility to care for everyone else. So in a nutshell the story is about right-wing heroes defending their victimised selves against the villainous losers and the losers who want to help the losers who don’t realise life is a race and that right-wingers have won the race. Get it?

Now you see the story, you realise how worn out it is. The Abbott/Hockey budget told this story, with the winners nicknamed the ‘lifters’ and of course the losers the ‘leaners’. Abbott and his government colleagues all share the values in this story. Turnbull, a filthy rich merchant banker who believes in the power of a free market to ensure the heroes keep getting richer and aren’t made into victims by villainous governments and their un-free redistribution of wealth to weak losers. Workers organising into unions to demand a fair share of capitalist profit are, in the right-wing narrative, the villains who should just shut up and worship the heroes who gave them a job in the first place. Miranda Devine has told the same story when this weekend she victim-blamed ‘unsuitable women’ for the abuse they suffer since they choose to have relationships with ‘feckless men’. Everything is the fault of the weak. The abused. The ones asking for help. You see the same story in this article describing the behaviour of Conservative politicians in the UK who join clubs of rich young men who burn money in front of homeless people.

The right wing narrative is a scary story about a community I would never choose to live in. I was not brought up to blame the disadvantaged for their predicament. And nor will I bring up my child to think our societies’ problems are the fault of the vulnerable, the disabled, the sick, the mentally ill, the poor and the abused. The rejection of the Abbott government has, I hope, proved that the majority of Australians, like me, reject this story and don’t believe that life is a race. I hope so. But either way, next time someone says the Liberal government is missing a narrative, just remember the narrative is there. It’s just not a very nice story and they know this so they do their best to keep it hidden. Don’t let them get away with it. You know the story. Call it out whenever you see it.


Who provides the news: Journalists or Twitter?

I’ve noticed recently that a number of articles in the mainstream media revolve around what people are saying on Twitter.

I settle into any particular article before the journalist announces that “Twitter went into meltdown”, or “it created a Twitter storm”.

Two articles over the weekend (about the only two I read) proved my point.

The first was from the Fremantle versus Hawthorn game on Friday night: a game I cared little about but the headline sounded interesting: Hawthorn vs Fremantle, talking points from AFL preliminary final.

“Worth a look” I thought.

The second paragraph of the article ends with ‘Social media agreed’ before giving us screen shots of a number of tweets from nobody in particular.

A paragraph later – which was about a lout in the crowd – was concluded with ‘The spectator was widely condemned on social media’.

A string of more tweets.

Further down the article we are treated to tweets about the umpiring before this announcement: ‘Even Shane Warne didn’t like what he was seeing’.

Was he interviewed? No. There was a screenshot of his tweet.

Truly pathetic journalism.

The second article was more up my ally: Is it aliens? NASA sends space fans into frenzy with news of a “major announcement”.

As with the football article it turned out to be little more than collection of tweets from a bunch of nobodies. How’s this one, for example:

Wow! Can’t believe that our mainstream media even bothered with that.
I’ve only picked two articles from the weekend but it’s a trend I’m seeing more and more in the media – even in political articles. Has anybody else noticed?

Political Realities, Leadership Change and why Democracy won

Democracy There are those on the left who desperately wanted Tony Abbott to be Prime Minister at the next election. They rightly saw his unpopularity as Labor’s best asset. I thought that there was a greater imperative. As a believer in representative democracy first and foremost I felt that our political system would be better served if he was given the boot.

There is no individual in Australian political history who has done more to damage the conventions and institutions of our democracy, and indeed the Parliament itself, than the former Prime Minister. Personally, I hope he leaves politics altogether and takes the stench of his confrontational politics with him.

Abbott in both his tenure as Opposition Leader and Prime Minister had a breathtaking, pungent absurdity about him. A Christian man of unchristian demeanor.

Australia has never elected a person more unsuited to the highest office. He was a Luddite with little appreciation of science, the needs of women, and was out of touch with a modern pluralist society.

In hindsight the Australian people have learnt a valuable lesson. In future they should check out the credentials and character of the leader of the party they support. It was an experiment we cannot afford to have again.

The election of Malcolm Turnbull provides an opportunity to wipe the plate of democracy clean. Debate will now be able to take place without the negative pugilistic dog eat dog style of Abbott. It can still be assertive and robust but at the same time conducted with intellect and decorum. Given his sense of superiority (already displayed during question time) and ego don’t inhibit him perhaps his panache and wit might insinuate itself on the house and generally raise the standard of discourse.

Whatever you think of Turnbull’s policies, and he has many detractors in his own ranks, there is no doubt that he is a tough competitor with a formidable mind. One who can debate with true elasticity of intelligence and skill.

He will be a daunting opponent for Shorten and Labor. It is, however, an opportunity for Shorten to rise to the occasion and Labor supporters should challenge the party to also rise above itself.

Already the early polls are suggesting a resurgence of Coalition support. If Turnbull plays his cards correctly he will take many advantages into the next election campaign.

A ministerial reshuffle that rids itself of ministers with a perception of nastiness like Dutton should go over well with the public. As will a more refined and decent political language that no longer reflects Abbott’s crassness and sneering sloganeering.

Unlike Abbott who thought he was above the independent senators and the Greens, I believe Turnbull will seek to take them into his confidence to get legislation passed.

A major advantage he has is that the public are sick and tired of revolving door leadership. If my calculations or indeed my memory serve me correctly we haven’t elected a PM who has served a full term since 2004. That’s about a decade ago.

Unless he stuffs up in a major way the electorate will be reluctant to change again. Continuity of governance with the pursuit of ideology for the sake of it is not what the people want. Added to that is the fact that Turnbull is not beholding to the media. He has in the past told Murdoch, Bolt and Jones where to go.

During the Republic Referendum I worked assiduously for the Australian Republic Movement. I came to admire Turnbull’s capacity to present his case in the face of Howard’s rat pack that included Tony Abbott and Nick Minchen. Turnbull’s account of the The Reluctant Republic still resonates with me.

But if there is much to like about Turnbull there is equally as much to dislike. There can be no doubt that he has prostituted himself to gain power. All of those things that set him apart from the conservative wing of his party he seems to have been willing to capitulate on, and in so doing displayed an hypocrisy unworthy of him. He has spent the first week defending Abbott’s policies.

“No more Captains calls” he said. Then without even swearing a new Cabinet, he prostitutes himself (again) by reneging on his previously respected and long held beliefs on climate change. He then does a deal worth $4 billion with the Nationals and at the same time outrageously sells out the Murray Darling Scheme.

In his initial comments after becoming PM he made a big pitch about the future of innovation, science and technology. He would therefore know that a large part of our future is tied up in renewable energy. That the jobs of the future are in the technology sector, as is our economic future which makes his decision to stick with Abbott’s policy on climate change all the more disappointing. Conservatives around the world acknowledge these points, why can’t ours.

He has at this early stage left himself open to the charge that he is not his own man but rather a captive of the conservative right. It can arguably be said that the policies remain the same and an abrasive Prime Minister has been replaced with an eloquent but no less deceptive one. How he will prosecute the case for a Republic is unknown. It will be odd that we have a Monarchist Government led by a Republican Prime Minister.

Even the hypocrisy he shows on same-sex marriage has the smell of betrayal.

It is of course far too early to judge him but based on his immediate decisions it is obvious that he had to do deals to get the job.

For me his willingness to betray long held beliefs and principles has been nothing short of pathetic. I predict however that the general public will overlook it for what they will perceive as better attention to the economy.

As for the Leader of the Opposition. well according to the polls Bill Shorten is about as popular as Abbott was. He carts a lot of baggage that he will carry into the next election.

There is now no point in holding back on policies and allowing Turnbull to make all the running. He should in some way adopt the Whitlam approach, create a narrative, and release policy showing an innovative futuristic approach to economic issues and government. But above all Labor must attract the younger generations. It is the under 50s that will determine who governs.

Having said all that, if the polls continue in an upward trajectory Turnbull would be well justified in going to an early election. The next month will see Turnbull stamping his authority on the party and his leadership. He has the charisma to sell them and the public is in a buying mood. I can only hope that Bill also has something to sell.


My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday 29 August

1 I have reluctantly taken the decision to no longer refer to Tony Abbott as “Prime Minister” in my writing. I say reluctant because I generally believe in respect for the position itself. However the performance of this excuse for a national leader is so appallingly bad that I refuse to acknowledge his prime minister ship. I shall in future refer to him as Abbott.

2 Friday’s Reachtel poll has Labor on 53 and the Coalition on 47. Shorten 10 points ahead as preferred PM.

3 As of 9pm Friday night the Australian Border Force story had not made an appearance on the Herald Sun’s online edition. And little coverage in Saturday’s Australian. You have to love the Murdoch Press.

Midday Thoughts

I still can’t get it out of my head that a Liberal, or any other Government for that matter, would deliberately try to bring about circumstances specifically designed to cower people for political purposes. But then it is the same mob who were trying to bring about the downfall of the democratically elected Gillard Government by blackmailing the speaker of the house.

Tony Windsor is correct:

“I’ve got no doubt that some of these people in Abbott’s government hope that something goes wrong domestically. That they can taunt a Muslim into doing something so that they can say that we’re the only ones that can protect you, the Labor party are too weak to protect you, vote for us,” he said, adding, “I think that’s an extraordinary agenda to go to an election on.”

John Barker said:

When asked to explain the Australian Border Force’s (intended) actions in Melbourne yesterday, Minister Dutton responded that he did not comment on “on-street operations”.

I replied:

“Was he in the gutter when he said it”.

abf Sunday 30 August

1 “Obviously it was a mistake” Abbott dismissively said about Operation Fortitude. Not a word of regret. On the contrary he reckons us critics should be ashamed of ourselves. We are all just hyperventilating. If he thinks Australia will accept his explanation he is sadly mistaken. And like the ABC I thought heads might roll. And why hasn’t Dutton made a statement.

2 People really do need to understand this. Abbott is governing not for the electorate that installed him as prime minister but for the far-right numbers that installed him as party leader.

3 When next you hear Abbott, Hockey, Hunt and others claim that every Australian received $550 of their Electricity bill as a result of the abolition of the carbon tax read this.

The claim: Treasurer Joe Hockey says that Treasury documents show “that electricity prices have come down $550 per household as a result of us abolishing the carbon tax”.

The verdict: The documents, dated up to February 2015, contain predictions that household savings – not electricity savings – will be $550 over 2014-15. The ACCC’s most recent estimates for annual savings on electricity bills – which are based on the actual savings passed on by companies to consumers – range between $100 and $200 depending on which state or territory the household is located. Hockey’s claim is wrong.

They are lying.

An observation:

“People often argue from within the limitations of their understanding and when their factual evidence is scant, they revert to an expression of their feelings”.

Monday 31 August

1 Will Commissioner Heydon recuse himself today? I think on the evidence available he should. Should the Commission be wound up? Yes it should because it and the others were witch hunts in the first place. However I believe that all incriminating evidence should be handed to the AFP, ASIC, the Fair Work Commission and the Australian Crime Commission. They should have handled any allegations in the first place.

bolt report 2 I forced myself to watch the “Bolt Report” for its entirety yesterday. I learnt a number of things: 1) Tony Windsor said something he didn’t. 2) The Border police did nothing wrong. 3) The ABC deliberately placed on screen an offending tweet. 4) The ABC is biased and he isn’t. 5) Abbott’s office did not request that the U.S. Request our involvement in Syria. 6) Abbott is doing a wonderful job although he may be sacked if they don’t retain Canning. 7) I got a lesson in the art of misrepresentation. 8) Unions have no right to protect the jobs of its members. 9) Everyone else is wrong and he is right. Just ask him. Conclusion: Thank God he rates so poorly.

It’s interesting what can be learnt from a man who was leaked classified information by the Howard Government and then proceeded to do a hatchet job on Andrew Wilkie during the Iraq War.

3 Two comments from Insiders: Firstly from Lenore Taylor; “20 Years on we will look at today’s policy making and ‘say How could they have gotten it so horribly wrong?'” And two, Philip Coorey related the following from a Government Minister: “We can hide the PM in Canning but not in a general election”.

4 Minister Dutton refusing to comment on “operational street matters”. He was in the gutter when he said it. He was sacked as Heath Minister for incompetence and is proving to be just as incompetent in Immigration. And you can add the following to his performance.

5 Cambodia will not take any more refugees from Nauru other than the four agreed too at a cost $10 million each. Yet another example of the incompetence of Abbott and his Ministers.

An observation:

“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”

An Afternoon Thought:

Heydon has considered all the submissions and has dismissed them. Notwithstanding the implications immediately and the legalities to follow it has to be said that whatever the outcome the RC will be forever tarnished with a perception of bias.

Tuesday 1 September

Dyson Heydon in making a decision on the man/women in the street, perception of bias has handed down a decision that actually ignores it, and instead focuses on his own character. On that point he may in fact be correct. I for one would not doubt his integrity. Nor do I for one minute believe that people who have committed a crime shouldn’t be prosecuted.

But in making his decision he has chosen to ignore the perception of bias”. Surely, as a man interested in public life he would have been aware that there had been much criticism surrounding Abbott instigating Royal Commissions that had been described as highly political in all sections of the media.

He would even have been aware that the Royal Commission into Pink Bats was preceded by 13 others and the findings it concluded were little different, and that the conclusion most people reached was that it was activated for political reasons.

He would also be aware that a very lengthy cross examination of Julia Gillard yielded nothing after a witch hunt by the Liberal Party and the Murdoch Press lasting 20 years.

It must also have entered his mind that the allegations against Craig Thompson and Cathy Jackson came about, not from Royal Commissions, but normal law enforcement agencies.

Additionally, it must have also occurred to him that the matters being handled by him could easily have been handled by the same agencies.

So the point I am making is that with all this information it had to be apparent to him that his was not a normal RC but a highly sensitive politically charged one. Surely he couldn’t have been blind to all this. The accusations that Abbott had initiated the commission for his own political gain were widespread.

As I see it he has made a judgement on his own reputation and character rather than one that addressed the perception of bias” which it fundamentally should have.

Wednesday 1 September

1 Abbott is now openly saying that the Royal Commission is an inquiry into the Labor Party. Unnamed Ministers are calling for Hockey’s head. Sinodinos is giving lectures about loyalty and Dutton who apparently was ill over the weekend and couldn’t talk to the media about Border Farce is whipping the troops into line.

He reckons Fairfax is carrying out a Jihad (notice the use of terrorist language) against the Government which prompted me to wonder how he would describe the Murdoch Presses attacks on Labor. It would be funny if it were not so serious. No wonder only 16% of the population have any faith in politicians.

2 The best friend the Workers ever had seem to have little to say on the 711 slave wage scandal. Abbott and Small Business Minister, Bruce Billson should be deploring this revelation but I suspect they think it’s an ABC plot to destroy the Government.

3 Speaking of the Governor General, Peter Cosgrove must be the most inactive publicly shy one we have ever had.

4 I wonder if those who supported the abolition of the Carbon Tax actually understand that whereas polluters were paying to fix the problem it’s now their taxes that are.

5 It has been asked of me. Why didn’t you (particularly when I was younger) get into politics? My answer is simple. I don’t do the porkies thing very well.

6 You have to be a bit desperate when you need to hold a press conference to axe a non-existent tax.

7 Tuesdays Essential Poll has Labor back on 52% and the Coalition on 48 %

Thursday 3 September

1 I turned on News 24 to find Hockey doing a press conference on the latest GDP figures. I quickly assumed, the way Hockey was speaking, that they must have come in at market expectations. Further on the language wasn’t right and I realised he was spinning. Fancy allowing myself to fall for that I thought.

In fact the figure of 0.2 per cent showed a marked deterioration from the 0.9 in the March quarter. The market expected 0.4.

Along with the first quarter GDP in 2013, it was the weakest growth since early 2011, which was affected by the severe floods in Queensland, and the equal second weakest since the Global Financial Crisis-affected contraction in December 2008.

In nominal terms — with the effects of inflation excluded — GDP growth was 1.8 per cent, the weakest figure since 1962.

In other words this is a disaster. It makes Hockey’s projected growth figures in the budget look silly. Which is what they were in the first place.

Ask Costello and Howard. They thought so. “There is no risk of recession in Australia,” Hockey said. Time will tell.

2 A cruise line is standing by accusations it was advised to sack Australian staff because they were too expensive. Abbott says the company is telling lies. The spokesman for the company says “I don’t tell lies” Should make for an interesting Senate Inquiry. As to the lying. Well who would you believe?

Friday 4 September

1 How were you governed in August?

A Wastes $55 million including $15 million on relocating four refugees to Cambodia before the deal to resettle refugees from Nauru collapses – 30 August 2015

B. Oversees botched Border Force announcement that they would stopping people for visa checks in the Melbourne CBD – 28 August 2015

C. Splurges $10 million to rename Border Force – 26 August 2015

D Cuts $10 million from a grant to support sufferers of an incurable disease – 26 August 2015

E Breaks an election promise to “make no changes to the GST” by extending it to purchases made online – 21 August 2015

F Spends over $20 million on an advertising campaign to sell it’s free trade agreement with China – 19 August 2015

G Tries to introduce laws to stop citizens exercising their legal rights to stop big developments that damage the environment – 19 August 2015

2 Abbott suffers yet another foot in mouth moment comparing ISIS with the Nazis. They might be cruel bastards but if I were Jewish I would feel insulted by his words. But I wouldn’t be the least surprised. It was a poor comparison both in scale and sensibility.

3 What will our answer be when called upon to assist a growing refugee problem greater than our own? I fear our captain has already spoken.

An observation:

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

Midday thoughts

1 The New York Times today got stuck into Australia’s Asylum Seeker Policy calling it unconscionable”. It urged European nations struggling with a tide of migrants not to follow suit.

2 Murdoch spends a month in Australia and decides the best remedy for what ails the nation is a snap poll that would reinforce Abbott’s right to govern. Have a majority in the Senate and get on with his policies to make Australia a better place.

I’ll leave you to ponder that one.

the week that was

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday August 22

1 The process is more important than the individual. That is why Dyson Heydon must step down. When arguing that it puts the future of the commission in doubt people forget that the findings to date could have always been pursued through existing law enforcement bodies. That’s what made it a political witch hunt in the first place. Abbott wanted a show trial and wasn’t concerned with the cost.

After watching the proceedings yesterday, and if I were a betting man I would take odds on him stepping down. The loser in the public eye will be the PM for appointing him. And the pity is that the CFMEU might escape the justice it deserves.

2 So it now looks as though Abbott has conceded to a plebiscite for Marriage Equality. He can still delay it, if he wins, for his full term. And of course it’s non-binding. What if it were closer than expected? I can hear the words now. Well, er, um.

3 It is an endless source of fascination to me just how “terrorism” raises its ugly head when the Abbott Government is in trouble.

Midday thoughts

1 The former SAS soldier standing as the Liberal Party’s prize recruit in the key federal by-election for Canning was the officer in command of a troop being investigated for chopping the hands off dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The investigation is ongoing so people should not draw any conclusions. It has been said that Captain Hastie was elsewhere on the battlefield when the incident happened and therefore was not responsible.

backflip 2 There are a lot of captain’s calls, much backpedaling, substantial lying, many backflips with lots of catchphrases and slogans but there is little substance and absolutely no leadership.

3 Which leads me into what former colleagues think. John Howard said “My concern is growth is not picking up quite as much in Australia”. He feared the country had entered a “new paradigm” of “sub-par growth. Peter Costello agreed: “Our economy is growing slower than the long- term average. Letting these average tax rates ratchet up higher and higher is not helping it”. Peter Reith named the solution, and the problem: “Of course the only real answer is bold economic reform but as the party room meets this week, whether spoken or not, the issue on the minds of MPs will be leadership“.

Sunday 23 August

What is Ideology?

Ideology is a word that seems to get tossed around a lot. But what exactly does it mean? Let’s stop for a moment and see if we can’t put some substance to this rhetoric, starting with a few possible definitions:

  1. The body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.
  2. Such a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation.
  3. Philosophy: The study of the nature and origin of ideas.
  4. Theorising of a visionary or impractical nature.

Morning Thoughts

1 The word “lying” (in political terms) has been replaced with the more subtle reference of “overstatement”.

2 A Plebiscite on marriage equality at a cost of $100 million will be the most expensive exercise ever to confirm what current polling already tells us.

ml 3 Mark Latham is the Jekyll and Hyde of Australian politics. One day intellectually brilliant, the other a downright grubby individual.

4 To say that you have to live in the immediate proximity of a development that has environment implications you disagree with in order to protest it, is simply nonsensical.

5 The Government is having little success in getting its revised Paid Parental Scheme through the parliament. Has anyone considered the implication on the budget?

Monday 24 August

In proposing tax cuts at the next election Joe Hockey said:

“We are undeterred in our mission to pinpoint government waste; to stop spending money where it doesn’t need to be spent”.

Might I suggest that:

  1. He could save $100 million by doing away with a plebiscite on Marriage Equality and he dispose with the 15% tax discount on Superannuation for high income earners. There’s two for starters. Continuing on the subject of tax. So Hockey wants the rich to pay less tax at a time when revenues are declining. And he planes to offset them with spending cuts but won’t say where. Cuts in spending of the size required to fund tax cuts could only come from areas like health or education.
  2. Hockey’s second budget, delivered in May, predicted a deficit of $35.1bn this financial year. This would be followed by deficits of $25.8bn in 2016-17, $14.4bn in 2017-18 and $6.9bn in 2018-19, and these figures assume the passage of contentious budget savings that are stalled in the Senate and unlikely to pass. On top of that the growth projections in the budget are considered by both Howard and Costello to be fanciful .

The man’s bonkers. Whatever happened to the disastrous debt and deficit crisis? If it did exist why did he add $100 billion to it?

nbn Tuesday 25 August

1 The LNP continues to make a meal of the NBN rollout with a cost blowout of $15b since last estimate in December 2013.The budget had already blown out considerably (after having blown out to $41 billion, twice what the Coalition insisted their less-ambitious version of the NBN would cost before the 2013 election) and that NBN Co are going to have to find the money from either greater debt or private equity. Yes, they were telling lies all along.

And the revised rollout of the network will end up being 20 per cent fiber-to-the-premises, 38 per cent fiber-to-the-node, 34 per cent HFC, 5 per cent fixed wireless and 3 per cent satellite.

Fiber to the house is the rolled gold connection and MPs will have to explain to their electorates why some are getting it and some are not. Are you in a marginal seat?

Mr. Turnbull owns the problem.

2 This week’s Morgan Poll has Labor at 54.5 and the Coalition at 45.5 Newspoll today is 54/46 in favor of Labor with Shorten preferred PM 40/35

3 What is good Government? In my view:

“Good government is about making and implementing decisions that serve the common good. That give security to the people it governs. Follows the rule of law and is truthful about its intentions. When making decisions it must be responsive to the will of the people. It should allow its citizens to be participatory in the function of government. It should be inclusive, equitable and supportive of the people’s right to know. By equity I mean the people have a right to a fair ‘’reward for the fruits of their labour and the wealth of the country. And above all it should be answerable to the people”.

4 Wow, now we find the Ombudsman is about to investigate the AFP about their refusal to investigate Bronwyn Bishops expenses claims. And the CFMEU to face criminal charges. Truth and justice at work.

5 And to top it off Dyson Heydon has delayed his decision again.

Wednesday 26 August

1 Poor Aunty copping it again. Given the amount of tweets they show, weekly on the ABC I’m surprised they don’t fall foul more often. One of the downsides to new technology is that it gives license to the nutters. I should think that Turnbull would have more serious things to worry about. Like why are we getting inferior broadband technology? And the PM thinks Q&A is out of control. He should know.

2 Pauline Hansen endorsing Scott Morison for PM. Now why is anyone surprised? They have a lot in common, after all.

3 Police in three states are investigating the most senior leaders of the CFMEU for allegations ranging from receiving secret commissions to blackmail. GOOD.

4 Tuesday’s Essential Poll has Labor on 51% and the Coalition on 49%

5 After all the Government’s huffing and puffing over the Adani Mine failure the Government admits it stuffed up, was incompetent, and the court documents confirm it. Green vigilantes indeed. What an abysmal lot they are.

6 Another one of those unedifying Abbott statements.

“We all know back in the 60s Aboriginal people didn’t have much money, they didn’t always receive the respect they deserve but they were in the real economy and they did have pride”.

Fact is that most were virtual slave laborers and worked for food and lodging. “In the real economy”. Really!

7 The Prime Minister yesterday confirmed that everyone can expect a tax cut promise at the next election. Remember those promises at the last. No I won’t bore you. And the money is in the magician’s hat with the bunny.

8 Tony Abbott to keep low profile in Canning by-election. He should face up to it.

pf Thursday 27 August

1 Peter FitzSimons gave an excellent, even brilliant speech at the National Press Club. It was passionate, and at times hilariously funny. He did warn however that an Australian Republic with our own head of state would be impossible as long as Abbott was in power. Joe Hockey is also a supporter together with many other politicians on both sides of the ideological divide.

My piece on this subject for THE AIMN

Also posted my thoughts on how we are being governed.

2 Dyson Heydon will independently decide on his independence on Friday. No one independent of the commission of course will do so. The shit will hit the fan either way.

3 At the National Reform Summit former Treasury boss Martin Parkinson said we are “sleepwalking into a real mess”, a recession in fact. The way Hockey is handling things he is probably right. Why is it political parties cannot govern for the long term instead of prioritizing their own incumbency?

4 So now it appears Tony Abbott is cynically manipulating and misrepresenting the US alliance and increasing the risk to Australian military personnel with negligible strategic gain to create a political distraction to save himself. He says it was a request from Obama. Negative response from them. You be the judge.

5 Simply astonishing the way in which this Government conceals the truth. They released two reports late last Friday that were damaging to its Climate policy.

The two reports showed that the Prime Minister has misled the public on the cost of larger cuts to emissions and that the Government’s current direct action policy is a high cost alternative. They also showed electricity greenhouse emissions have once again started to rise.

6 A Reachtel poll published in the West Australian newspaper on Tuesday found the contest between Mr. Hastie and Labor candidate Matt Keogh was neck and neck, predicting a swing of nearly 12 percentage points to Labor in Canning.

The three pretenders to Abbott’s throne, Bishop, Turnbull and Morrison will appear in the electorate but because of his unpopularity he will not.

7 Greg Hunt is not far behind the PM when it comes to telling lies. Where he differs is that he uses omission to justify his untruths. Now he says the Q&A Abbott tweet wasn’t an accident. He reckons the ABC did it deliberately.

Midday thoughts

1 I don’t think there is any doubt that the PM’s Office underhandedly requested that Washington request an expanded role for us in Syria. He then acted as though they did so formerly, so as to make himself seem important. He won’t answer the question and Washington won’t confirm it. He really is just an out of touch man masquerading as a Prime Minister. Perhaps it’s more about a certain by-election.

2 I suspect Julia Gillard supported gay marriage all the time and was just cementing support from Catholic Union leader Joe de Bruyn who was very powerful at the time. He is vigorously anti-gay.

3 One of the follies of Australian Politics is that every time an issue arises that is a little controversial the reason put forward for not being able to deal with it is that there are always more pressing ones. Goodness, how did we ever raise our children?

Friday 28 August

1 Commissioner Heydon has delayed his decision on himself until Monday. New information has arisen suggesting that he may have been tipped off. I think he may be in trouble. It has now escalated into a problem of not only the commissioner’s credibility but the commission itself. Abbott needs to show some leadership. OMG, did I say that?

2 The decision by the ABS to place “No religion” at the top of the religious area on the census form is a good one. Having it at the bottom encouraged people to tick one of the above before getting to it. A change in holy orders as someone said.

3 Judith Sloan on The Drum last night was in one of her sarcastic negative moods about everything. Particularly on the subject of ethical investment. Like coal mines.

Midday thoughts

1 Goodness me. All Labor wants in the Free Trade Agreement with China is that Australians will be guaranteed first crack at the jobs. There are grave doubts that it does. If the PM is the best friend our workers have ever had then you would think he would give this guarantee.

2 While American politicians are in the pocket of the NRA gun law reform will never happen. They well may be the most technologically advanced country in the world, arguably they are the most morally backward.

3 Germany prepares to accept up to 800,000 refugees this year. Australia Australia . . . yes . . . well . . . um . . . er . . . we . . . Australia . . . we stopped the boats!

4 The PM holds a press conference and attributes high attendance at NT State School, Bamaga to the Governments “school attendance officers”. It was a highlight of the week and gained national coverage.

But the head of the school’s P&C and husband of the school’s principal, Richard McLean, said the remote attendance officers were not a key reason so many kids were coming to class. It was the community who put in the hard work and not the Government. They deserve the praise.

And this is the week that was. Leave you with this thought.

“Question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it. Thoughtlessness is the residue of things not understood and can never be a substitute for fact”

Just as I was about to post a headline this caught my eye and . . .


. . . I couldn’t believe it!

All that I have written this week about Tony Abbott and his obnoxious Government, means little when compared with this headline in the Melbourne Age:

“Australian Border Force to patrol Melbourne CBD as part of anti-social behavior operation’’… ‘’The center of Melbourne will be swamped with police on Friday and Saturday night”.

For the first time officers from the federal government’s new paramilitary unit will join transport officials and police to target crime among people “travelling to, from and around the CBD”, in a measure dubbed Operation Fortitude.

I was unaware that the city I grew up in and nominated as the best in the world had degenerated to the point that our existing crime authorities could not cope. Yes I am familiar with the problems of King Street and other Night Club areas but to have armed paramilitary personal patrolling our streets with dubious purpose is contrary to the society I grew up in.

The Australian Border Force was formed, contentiously to keep, unwanted arrivals from reaching our shores. Millions of dollars have been spent on it to create an image of additional authority and it has now taken to the streets in an effort to keep the population in a constant state of crisis. The Australian Border Force, officers have substantially greater powers than either customs or immigration officials. They are permitted to carry guns and have powers to detain.

“The benefit to society of these sorts of approaches seems to me to be much much less than the damage to which it does to a society by instilling fear, “I don’t want to live in a community where you walk around with the fear that people will stop you with a threat you’ll be jailed or mishandled if you don’t comply” (Julian Burnside).

There is only one person responsible for this. It is Tony Abbott. Since his rise to power he has systematically set about depriving us of freedom, our privacy and our right to know, He defaults to National Security whenever he is in trouble. Are my fellow citizens so gullible not to see his shock and awe tactics? His making you feel you are under threat when you are not. Dividing us rather than uniting us.

Malcolm Fraser said he was a dangerous man. He was right.

Consider this:

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

Adam Goodes: Free Speech Vs the Moral Authority to Express a View

Our Constitution does not guarantee free speech. It only implies that we have it. That being said, we assume that anyone has a right to express a view. There are some, like Andrew Bolt, who despite us supposedly living in an enlightened society want to enshrine in law the right to hate each other.

What I am getting at here is that having an opinion about booing Adam Goodes has turned into a national pastime. However, all this week, despite the right to free speech, I have been questioning the moral right of some to do so.

Let me make it absolutely clear: I abhor racism with all the intellectual and moral righteousness that has been bequeathed to me by good people. Something unexplainable within me has its way when I am confronted by nefariousness and I speak out.

Adam Goodes is a victim of racism for two reasons. Firstly, because he was named Australian of the Year which obligated him, or gave him license to speak on issues concerning Aboriginality. Secondly, he confronted a young girl who called him an ape. This is the most rancid racist thing you can call any dark skinned person.

He was no longer a champion footballer. He had crossed the line that former Collingwood Football Club President Alan McAlister so ludicrously expressed so many years ago:

“… as long as they behave like white people, well, off the field, everyone will admire and respect them.”

Yes, people have a right to free speech but when there is an absence of truth, a distortion calculated to inflame or just common bigotry I unleash my right to question their motives. When there is a racist element in what they are saying I feel duty bound to question their moral authority to opine. Often it simply displays their hypocrisy so this is where I shall start.

Shane Warne in my view is the greatest bowler to ever roll his arm over. As an individual, throughout his career he has been involved in scandal after scandal displaying pathetic social behavior. What sort of role model has he been? He even started a charity as a PR exercise at the height of his misconduct. You be the judge. Mine is that his comments show the intellectual depth of a flea. And that’s being kind.

“If the public don’t like a sportsman because of the way they play the game, they boo, if they like them they cheer, nothing to do re racism”.

Last September after a Swans game against Richmond, Warne said he was:

“shocked” Goodes had been named Australian of the Year.

Adam Goodes points the finger after being called an 'ape' by a young Collingwood supporter (image from theage.com.au)

Adam Goodes points the finger after being called an ‘ape’ by a young Collingwood supporter (image from theage.com.au)

Alan Jones, the sanctimonious self-righteous biased shock jock habitual liar from Sydney accused Goodes of ‘playing the victim’. Jones was once arrested in a London toilet and faced two charges of outrageous public indecency while behaving in an indecent manner, said he was affronted that Goodes would challenge a 13 year old girl. Jones completely ignored the facts of the events that unfolded, overlooked Goodes’ efforts to meet with and counsel the girl, and portrayed the girl as the victim. As for the girl’s obviously inherited morality from the mother, what can one say other than feel pity. I have two grandsons aged 9 and 11 who think the treatment of Goodes is terrible and fully understand that racism is inherently a bad thing. They have needed little instruction on the subject. Should I go on about Jones incitement of the Cronulla riots or his proven history of prostituting his ‘opinions’ and repeatedly disseminating falsehoods as well as having publicly endorsed the idea of murdering our then PM by drowning at sea?

You be the judge.

Andrew Bolt, convicted ‘racist’ and all round appalling paid for controversial opinion journalist – individual who demanded the PM give him more free speech to vilify without constraint also expressed his horror at Goodes confronting the girl:

“Singling out a girl for public humiliation, like that, I thought was wrong and if Adam Goodes said it was wrong, I think he’d be a superstar; all people from either sides would rush to embrace him.”

In doing so he too gave a completely false account of the events that took place. You be the judge. If it were my daughter I would embrace Goodes and say “thank you”. As for the mother’s contribution I can only say she needs a lesson or two in parenthood.

Tony Abbot, a leader with little capacity for it offers lukewarm “we should show more respect” support but when it suits his political needs displays racist overtones against Muslims.

Ross Greenwood, economics commentator, said about his booing of Goodes: “There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s got nothing to do with his race, it’s got nothing to do with me being racist”. He didn’t stop to consider that by contributing to the booing himself, he was legitimizing the real racists.

Sam Newman, the resident ageing buffoon and perpetual aficionado of crassness on the Footy Show; the man who bared his genitals on television and who has affronted many with his sexism and disgusting behavior. The man who painted his face black after Nicky Winmar didn’t appear on the show in 1999 opined that “People aren’t booing you [Goodes] because you’re Aboriginal, they’re booing you because you’re acting like a jerk”. (Only he would know).

He went on to state that Goodes’ celebration only served to provoke fans and should have been reprimanded by the AFL. Newman further said:

“As Australian of the year, you should know that- you should be trying to unite people instead of trying to divide them”. (Isn’t that what he has been doing by speaking about the problems facing Indigenous people?)

You be the judge but for me Newman and other white men like him who have made fortunes out of thoughtlessness have not the remotest capacity to understand the emotional torment that racial abuse might incur. He is one of those many men who have never really grown up and his antics prove it.

Jason Ackermanis, former champion and perennial bad boy of the Brisbane Lions parroted the remarks of Alan Jones and in doing so showed little empathy or understanding of the broader picture. He said that Goodes was “playing the victim”. Something that Akermanis made a career of doing. In 2010 he said that gay footy players should “stay in the closet”. In 2005 Akermanis sparked racial controversy when he used his radio program (the Aker and Macca Show) on Brisbane’s 98.9 FM to describe his employers as “monkeys”. It was an Aboriginal community owned station run by the legendary Tiga.

You be the judge but have any of these people made the slightest attempt to comprehend emotionally what it must be like to be being booed by thousands of people every time you go near the ball and not comprehend why they are doing it or conversely believe they are doing it because of the colour of your skin? I can feel it as I write but I bet my feelings are unworthy of his. Does he hear in the raised hiss of intolerance the eco of the wounds from the racism he experienced as a child? Or does he hear in the booing crescendo a symphony of humiliation from the white bastards he seeks to befriend.

The problem here is that the people aforementioned have a common thread. They all are paid huge amounts to be controversial. They are all media tarts with dubious moral standards that brings into question their moral authority to make judgement on their fellow humans. Rather they are insisting on the right to tell them how to behave. And do so while theirs goes unquestioned. What two-faced hypocrisy it is.

These people aside the media generally speaking have made some worthwhile contributions to the issue of race in Australia.

As much as it offends my pride of country I have to admit that the tide of racism flows down the streets of our cities, and through the veins of our culture. And it waters the fields of our play.

As a citizen of the state of Queensland said:

“Let me get this straight … If Adam Goodes stands up against racism that makes him a racist? And if someone makes racial slurs towards him and he doesn’t just “cop it” like all the rednecks want him to, then he’s a sook and a troublemaker?”

These are my thoughts. You be the judge.

More by me. Put Andrew Bolt in the Headline and Anyone will read it. John Lord.


My Thoughts on the Week That Was

w2 1 It’s difficult to criticise Labor’s proposal to impose the so called Buffet Tax on the rich when the Australian Taxation Office had found that in 2011-12 75 Australians earning more than $1 million a year had paid no tax at all. In fact combined annual incomes of those millionaires was $195 million, but through elaborate accounting tricks, the super-rich 75 had been required to stump up just $82 in total.

2 Research shows that Federal Coalition member’s annual expenses are on average $90,000 per head more than Labor MPs. Even allowing for the higher costs of incumbency it is an astonishing figure. No one doubts the validity of claiming expenses but this really has to be sorted out. Joe makes thirteen trips to his farm and Bronwyn attends Mirabella’s wedding all on the pretext that they were on government business. “The age of privilege is over” said Joe. “Crap” said Tony.

3 One of the regrets of my life is that in all probability Australia will not become a Republic in my lifetime. But Shorten is right to aim for 2025. And if you could make it sooner I would be immensely happy.

4 Bill Shorten is planning equal representation of the sexes in Parliament. Did he consult with the Minister for Women?

Sunday 26 August.

An observation:

“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”

w5 1 Last week at the Premier’s retreat the PM appealed for a calm measured debate on the GST without any scaremongering. Sounds reasonable except he continued his scare campaigns on Asylum Seekers and Climate Change.

An example of this is Dutton’s announcement that if Labor won the next election hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers would invade our shores. We deserve better than these fools.

2 Australia remains the only developed country yet to announce what plan it will take to the global climate summit in Paris. So let’s not have any of these ridiculous scare campaigns. It should be pointed out that Labor has not actually announced a Climate policy and that despite criticising Labor for not modelling its policy-in-progress, the Coalition can’t point to any modelling of its own Direct Action policy because it has never done any – not when it was in opposition, nor when it was in government. During the last election, if I recall correctly, Abbott said he just wanted to have a crack

3 The cost advantage of non-polluting energy is rapidly increasing. Wind is already the cheapest, and solar PV [photovoltaic panels] will be cheaper than gas in around two years, in 2017. Wind will continue to decrease in cost but solar will become the dominant source in the longer term.

4 Speaking of leadership the latest Morgan survey reveals that Abbott is supported as Liberal Leader by only 13% and Shorten as ALP Leader by only 12%. The Libs prefer Turnbull by a whopping margin and Labor prefer Deputy ALP Leader Tanya Plibersek.

5 It just won’t go away. It has now been revealed that TAXPAYERS footed a more than $21,000 bill for Warren Truss to give a speech explaining the virtues of tightening the government belt and reducing expenditure after the controversial 2014 Federal Budget.

It’s our money, folks.

6 All things considered it’s been a good conference for the leader.

w6 Monday 26 July

A poem on the theme of domestic violence.

Maria, I called

I awoke with a throaty dankness Of alcohol overindulged Detestable stupidity And unmitigated sorrow

The why of it deserted me Memories vague but real I had committed a sin Of unforgiving evil

Then my conscience Spoke with morose meaning I had hit her a coward’s punch Destroying her exquisite smile

Maria I called to the silence But it prevailed God I said as if to mock my Self hatred

I pissed and staggered Through my regrets To the kitchen The stench of myself hit me

Where was she and The noise that children make Regret insinuated itself On the absence of love

She had written with miseries ink Just three words “The last time” on pristine white I cursed the grog but

Pathetically I sought the Next bottle of my degeneracy And took it to bed Contemplating the me I used to be

John Lord

1 Last week the PM was full of praise for a debate, without scaremongering, on the issue of the GST. It seems however that scaremongering is ok on climate change and it has begun already. An ETS is a tax he insists with the same enthusiasm he had for a leg of lamb or wiping towns off the map before the last election.

We all might ask though just what it is they are using to fund their nonsensical Direct Action plan. Answer: YOUR TAXES.

Then yesterday afternoon Malcolm Turnbull cut through Abbott’s slogans and semantics dominating the climate policy debate – pointing out that all policies to push low-emission electricity generation come at a cost to households, including the ones the government supports, and that the cost of renewables is falling. He went on to correctly talk about the costs of whatever scheme is adopted. The Coalition has never revealed its costings beyond its present scheme.

I repeat: “We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”.

Remember the “historic and ambitious” climate agreement between the US and China, when Tony Abbott was left out in the ‘coald’?

Asked where the deal left Australia’s climate change policy, the expert adviser to the former government Professor Ross Garnaut said: “Exactly where it was before the US-China announcement – up shit creek.”

2 I do wish someone amongst all those Labor supporters who so detest Bill Shorten and his Asylum Turn Back policy would show me their alternate so that I might gauge the difference. The question always arises. What would you do?

3 Morgan Poll: L-NP support has slumped 3% to 46% cf. ALP 54% (up 3%) on a two-party preferred basis as the travel expense ‘misconduct’ surrounding Parliamentary Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s incorrect use of taxpayer entitlements continued to impact negatively on the Government.

Tuesday 28 July

1 Bronwyn Bishop’s office claims she has to keep secret her meetings in Albury on the weekend she claimed travel expenses to attend Sophie Mirabella’s wedding. Sniff test, lie detector test, pub test. Take your pick.

2 Goodness, all the talk yesterday about more women in the Coalition ranks. Don’t they realise they have a minister for women and he also happens to be the Prime Minister. Why isn’t he taking some action?

3 This week’s Essential Poll and Survey sees Labor back on 53% and the Coalition on 47%. What can be read into it? Well this far out from the next election so many things can happen that you cannot view it as an indication of how people will vote. It’s only an insight into how people are thinking at the moment. It is a measure of this Governments unpopularity though that they have never headed the Opposition since the election.

This is what they thought of Bronwyn Bishop and the expenses saga.

25% think she should stand down while her expenses are being investigated, 19% think she should resign as Speaker and 24% think she should resign from Parliament.

34% of Liberal/National voters think she should remain as Speaker – 25% think she should resign as Speaker or from Parliament. A majority of Labor voters (59%) and Greens voters (55%) think she should resign as Speaker or from Parliament.

On Electricity costs

51% think their electricity bill over the last 12 months has increased, 33% think it has stayed about the same and 9% think it has decreased.

There were not substantial differences by voting intention or demographics – although Labor voters (58%) were a little more likely to think it had increased.

On the impact of the Carbon Tax.

More than 60% of voters think the former Labor government’s carbon price had no effect, or only a small effect, on electricity bills. Just as Abbott tries to rerun a cost of living scare campaign against Labor’s pledge to re-introduce an emissions trading scheme.

On Tax Reform

There was strong majority support for forcing multinational companies to pay a minimum tax rate on Australian earnings (79%), increasing income tax rate for high earners (63%) and removing superannuation tax concessions for high earners (59%).

There was strong majority opposition to increasing the GST (65%).

Wednesday 29 July

Posted my piece Where Did all his Readers Go?

1 Alan Jones opining about the character of Aussie rules player Adam Goodes. You have to put it in perspective of course. Goods is a champion player, champion human being who does a lot to further indigenous culture and represent his race. He is an ‘’Australian of the Year’’ and a fine one. On the other hand Alan Jones is a detestable human who delights in demining people. And he accepts paid millions to do so. How someone of such little character can judge someone with so much stretches my intellect somewhat.

2 Senior ministers, it seems, are ‘ropeable’ over the Bronwyn Bishop’s scandal saying it is damaging the Government.

Some charity should suggest an admission charge to the public gallery for the next Question Time to raise funds. Pressure is mounting on Bishop to resign but she won’t. Abbott is unlikely to force her instead relishing an all in brawl with the Opposition. In the meantime we can all sit and ponder just how it is we are being governed.

It would not surprise if today she says the dog ate her expenses homework-twice.

Who tweeted this?

After 2 interesting tram trips last night now on the 109 on Collins St to Sth Cross to get the train to Geelong to visit . . .

An observation:

“The simplest way to turn the profession of politics on its head would be to demand they tell the truth”

3 There is something cringe worthy about politicians delaying the inevitable. Abbott is doing everything possible to delay a vote on gay marriage. It’s not like it’s something new that requires more debate. The public has let the public know their feelings and they should act accordingly. All he is doing is making his Government more disliked than it already is.

Thursday 30 July

Bronwyn Bishop’s gratuitous empty apology to the Australian people on the Alan Jones (where else) program was too little too late. It does nothing for the public’s perception that politicians are openly rorting the system. She has further demeaned the position of speaker if indeed that is possible. Her bias as speaker is acknowledged by both sides of the political spectrum, as does all sections of the media. Her behaviour has reflected on all members of parliament and the Prime Ministers failure to dismiss her is yet another example of his lack of qualities as a leader.

Her credibility is now so tainted that she could not possible command the respect of the Parliament and its members.

The Leader of the House, Christopher Pyne, may well seek to protect her, particularly in question time, but an already tarnished, childish excuse for a demonstration of democracy will be further diminished.

There was a time when our Parliament exhibited some collective dignity and personal integrity. Abbott seems to have so trashed the conventions and principles of our Parliament that it no longer conforms to the traditions of the Westminster system.

A midday thought:

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

Friday 31 July

1 Has Mike Baird become our de facto PM. Firstly he makes the running on a debate for an increase on the GST. Something you would expect an incumbent PM to do. And yesterday he took on a plea for people to stop booing footballer Adam Goodes. In the meantime the leader of the nation remains silent on the issue.

Midday thoughts

1 Two issues dominated the week. Firstly the Adam Goodes’ saga occupied all genres of the media and many morally unqualified commentators opined their ignorance. It will be the subject of my next piece for THE AIMN.

2 Bronwyn Bishop continued to dominate the headlines and this morning Gerard Henderson was on News24 defending her. The point is this. Her performance as Speaker on any level of judgement has been abysmal. The expenses issue is simple the catalyst in calling for her resignation.

My view hasn’t changed. Bishop should resign and write her memoirs. I’m sure somebody MIGHT be interested.

Even today the PM said this:

“She is obviously deeply remorseful, anyone who saw her on television yesterday would know that she is a very, very chastened person indeed”.

Can someone tell me the medical term for delayed reaction?

And this is the week that was.

Malcolm Turnbull had the last word without saying a thing.



My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday July 18

This is not going to go away. The revelation that Bishop wasn’t prepared to pay back the money for her helicopter flight until the Prime Minister intervened is particular damming.


There is still the question of the $88,000 two week trip to Europe. Even if she can justify it under the existing rules she is still guilty of extravagance that should not be tolerated. If it cannot be justified, her position is untenable.

And of course she still has to explain how she thought the trip was consistent with her duties as Speaker, an office that requires detachment from partisan politics.

Sunday July 19


Prince Philip is back in the headlines with another “gaffe”. This time, he asked a group of East End women: “Who do you sponge off?” People just dismiss it as another regrettable thought from a man of few redeeming features. If fact a man who has sponged of the public purse all his life. A snob in the true meaning of the word. (Look it up).

Bronwyn Bishop sponges of the taxpayer by using a helicopter to attend a fundraiser for her own her own party and thinks she has done nothing wrong. She will repay the money, reluctantly, under the Minchin protocol which is nothing more than a mechanism to get away with cheating and will probably continue to treat Members of the House of Reps as her subservient beings and humiliate as many of them as possible.

George Christenson will address a Reclaim Australia rally proclaiming his racist white superiority whilst being cheered on by the Prime Minister under the guise of free speech.

Although isolated these three instances have one thing in common. They are each born of a deep sense of establishment where the incumbents believe that a certain right of entitlement has been bestowed upon them and that all others are beneath or subservient to those of privilege.

Monday July 20

If as the Prime Minister says the pursuit of Bishop is a beat up. What was his pursuit of Slipper? A beating?

1 As a well-read lover of language and its power to persuade I intently dislike those who prostitute its meaning. Watching Greg Hunt on Insiders yesterday was an agonising exercise in the destruction of the English language. By that I mean this, when lies are used so blatantly to construct the basis of what seems a reasoned truth and sentences mangled to the point where they become deliberately indecipherable I am appalled. Such was the case yesterday. I said to my wife after the interview. “Do you have any idea what he was talking about? She answered “Why? did you?”


2 And on the same program Gerrard Henderson’s feeble, flippant attempt to dismiss Speaker Bishop’s misdemeanors as uneventful and unworthy of serious discussion were so typical of someone so biased as to not be able to see the wood from the trees.

To quote John Hewson:

“I just think its pretty bad short-term politics and it’ll end in tears for a lot of people.”

And Peter Costello says:

“Bronwyn Bishop’s interpretation of her parliamentary entitlements, arguing the Speaker can claim taxpayer benefits for attending any function where she speaks about parliament is wrong.”

Who said this I wonder:

“I love her but her bias as a Speaker has made Parliament almost unworkable” one backbench MP said.

3 And before anyone accuses me of bias let me say that in my many years of following politics we have never had a worse bunch morons who seemingly don’t want to govern for the common good. Only for themselves. All of them.

4 An example of 3. Tony Abbott thinks Bronwyn is doing a really good job. That proves it.

5 Organisers of the Reclaim Australia event in Brisbane have announced their split from the organisation to join an explicitly anti-Islam group. That’s what they really are so I salute their honesty if nothing else.


A Midday thought

I don’t think anyone has ever uttered words like these that better describe everything that is bad and wrong about the governance of our nation. We have a rotten government and a rotten leader in Prime Minister Abbott. Who else would react to a great wrong by a rotten Speaker by saying this?

“She has been a strong Speaker…she has been a strong servant of our country, she has been a good servant of the Coalition and so she does have my confidence but like everyone who has done something like this, inevitably, for a period of time, they are on probation.

Tuesday July 21


The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia is ON PROBATION. I really struggle to get my head around the implication of that. Has any other Speaker in Australia’s history ever been “ON PROBATION?

Let me repeat this less the ramification of the statement escapes you. The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia is ON PROBATION.

Could the PM tell the public the duration of the PROBATION, its conditions, the consequences of the Speaker breaching any of the conditions of the PROBATION, how any breaches of the PROBATION will be reported to the Australian public and how the status of the PROBATION could be affected by any investigation conducted by the Department of Finance or indeed the Federal Police.

Since Tony Abbott became leader of the Liberal Party and in turn the Prime Minister of Australia he has been responsible for the disintegration of many of the institutions and standards of conduct that used to cement our democracy. He is a disgrace to the very principles that we once thought were necessary for robust, transparent, open and truthful government.

Wednesday 22 July

Posted my short story Confession of an Honest Conservative.

1 This week’s Essential Poll again has Labor in the lead, 52/48.

2 Today in Sydney the PM is having a retreat with the State Premiers to discuss the vexed issue of tax. The premiers will rule out anything that is detrimental to their own state. In the meantime the Federal Government is conducting a tax inquiry but has ruled out any major tax reforms (those that could make any difference) because it might affect its chances of reelection.

Then he says: “We are doing what’s best for all Australians”


Or to borrow a comment by Stephen Tardrew:

“We are meeting to discuss what we are not going to do just to make it look like we are doing something about nothing. Brilliant act of circular escapism.”

Thursday 23 July

1 Renewable energy: Labor puts forward 50 per cent target by 2030; pledges to introduce emissions trading scheme. This will give the voter a stark contrast from which to choose. It could be described as bold and visionary. The difference is simply that one party is for the future and one the past or that one believes the science and one doesn’t.

2 During the “Copter Crisis” Mrs Bishop said that as Speaker: “I speak to community groups, I’ll speak to Liberal groups, I’ll even speak to Labor groups”.

Well it seems one Labor Branch has taken her at her word and issued an official invitation to speak at a seminar.

“We would like to invite you to be our guest speaker on the topic ‘what role will the Westminster system play in an Australian Republic?”

3 The bye election for Don Randall’s seat will be an interesting test for the Abbott Government particularly as it is in WA. The seat was won by the Liberal Party 52.2 to Labor 47.8. The earliest date it could be held is 29 July. The average swing is 5%.

4 It seems our Speaker has been ripping off the taxpayer for years. Fairfax has disclosed that the taxpayer has even funded her trips to the Opera. I’m guessing she would have seen Call Me Madam, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Beggars Opera, Madam Butterfly, The Cunning Little Vixen, The Taming of the Screw and Carmen of course.

5 Just a reminder to those familiar with the life and work of the person known as Jesus. Yes he was the world’s first socialist.

6 A rarity for me to agree with Janet Albrechtsen but she is correct. “MPs can’t hope to end the age of entitlement and exempt themselves.”

7 “It’s astonishing that the Liberal party can campaign against a carbon tax because it raises the cost of living – and then advocate a tax, the GST, that literally raises the cost of living.”

Friday 24 July


I found myself without any Internet for most of Thursday and it wasn’t reconnected until around midday today. Even in that short space of time I was reminded of just how much the internet had become part of my life. It is somewhat of a shock when the instantaneousness of information (and many other things) is taken away. I recalled the time when of habit I would venture to the front gate to collect the daily newspaper. The Melbourne Age was my source of news. It had sustained me all my life.

Now at 6am every morning I go on line and suck in the news of the day from as many and varied outlets as time allows. Surely the advent of the internet and social media sites has changed the way we communicate and opine our thoughts irreversibly. Take Facebook for example.

Social media of course receives its share of criticism but I have found it rewarding in the sense that it has given me the opportunity to express my thoughts in a forum that is at times robustly disagreeable but always enlightening. It makes you dive into humanity, hear things you do not want to hear, and defend what you have to say .It is for those with opinions or for those without the courage to share them. And fence-sitters of course. It attracts the reasoned the unreasoned the civil and the uncivil. The biased and the unbiased. It is for people with ideas and sadly those without any. It whispers or shouts dissent. But mostly it’s a society of our own creation. It is also a technology that has given licence to the nutters of society or conversely you could say that it has identified and exposed them.

2 We have had the usual post Premier’s self-praise of their retreat and without wishing to sound negative they made what, in a flourishing progressive democracy should be normal and ongoing attention to reform, sound like for the first time in human history, they had discovered the benefits of civil discourse.

Recommend you read Kaye Lee’s article on this subject.

3 Bill Shorten addressed the issue of that most vexed issue of Asylum Seekers at the National Conference.

John Kelly restated the obvious in his piece for The AIMN.

“The Liberal party hit upon a winner with John Howard sensing and playing to the national mood with the Tampa affair back in 2001. It was never in the national interest to refuse to help destitute people seeking asylum. But he did it anyway.”

“The decision he made on the Tampa was very much in the interest of his party winning the next election. That’s why that he acted the way he did. And suddenly we learned that wedging was the new political game in town.”

Then Philip Ruddock started calling them illegals and Tony Abbott disgracefully demonized them in order to wedge Labor. Clever politics but morally sick. But that’s our Prime Minister.

A pox on both your houses.

And this is the week that was.

Oh, and by the way we did find out that Joe had charged the taxpayer $20,000 dollars to visit his farm 13 times. The expenses saga came and went and by the end of the week we were back to normal.

Was our Democracy advanced? No, not one iota.


My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday 4 July

1 Andrew Robb in response to a question about the Coalition’s attitude to the co-sponsored Private Members Bill on same sex marriage said:

“None of the millions of families out there who are concerned about their jobs and paying the bills will thank us for being preoccupied for weeks and weeks with this issue”.

Conveniently, it seems, forgetting the inconvenient truth that some of those families might – in fact, wait, definitely do – including same-sex couples. And to think he negotiated three international trade deals.


2 Jacqui Lambie’s (the terror from Tassie) comparison of the Greens to Islamic military extremists has left them demanding an apology.

Addressing a mining conference in her home state of Tasmania on Friday, Senator Lambie opened her speech with ‘a little joke’.

“What’s the difference between the Greens and ISIS?” she asked an audience gathered for the third and final day of the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council annual conference.

“Not very much. They both want to take us back into the dark ages.”

It seems she is not only unintelligent with a big mouth she also tells jokes in poor taste.

Midday thoughts.

It seems, according to the Fairfax press, that Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s office knew Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had misled Parliament about Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis three days before the government eventually owned up to the mistake.

The delay in correcting the parliamentary record until the end of a sitting fortnight meant the government faced no scrutiny in question time over its handling of the case.

A Senate probe into the blunder had already discovered Senator Brandis knew about the letter late on. However, it has now emerged Mr Abbott’s office also knew about Ms Bishop’s false evidence that same day.

It was a cover up of the highest order.

Misleading Parliament is a grave offence and usually means someone gets sacked. ‘Heads should roll’ as the PM is fond of saying.

An observation:

“When a political party deliberately withholds information that the voter needs to make an informed, balanced and reasoned assessment of how it is being governed. It is lying by omission. It is also tantamount to the manipulation of our democracy.”

Sunday July 5

1 Keep this in mind when the PM is forcing National Security down your throat: Sure there are people in our midst who would do us harm, who despise who and what we are, but the threat they pose, statistically, is far less than any of us being involved in a road accident.

And ask yourself “why it is that The Border Force Act is targeting doctors, nurses, teachers and aid workers employed in our detention centers?” They face a two-year jail term if they disclose whatt is happening in these places.

And while you’re at it ask yourself why Asylum seekers must always be seen as threats, queue jumpers and illegals, and never as desperate human beings, men, women and children.

Ask yourself “why it is under Abbott’s tenure Ministers who mislead the Parliament don’t resign?” It used to be that way when we had a democracy.

When you have thought about this and the many other issues facing the nation ask yourself why he’s been so busy scaring the nation with an overblown terror threats he can’t find time to address them.


The most pressing issue I see into the future is the shortage of material for the production of flags. Our manufacturing industry is under threat. At the least he should attend to this.


2 Not on my usual topic but it claws my gut. I just wish some of our young sportspeople would show respect for the sport they play, their peers, its history and its capacity to make them very wealthy. Young intelligent people by comparison in the sciences and many other career pursuits will never earn what they do but do it none the less. Pampered petulant full of their own importance with an expectation that the world owes them.

An observation:

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

Monday 6 July

It’s only Monday but I can already hear the sound of heavy journalistic breathing at the Murdoch press. By Wednesday Bill Shorten’s appearance at the RC might bring on a serious case of exaggerated bullshit.


“If a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements then dismiss the article as having no cogency”.


Three observations:

“In terms of the environment, I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today”.

“If we’re not raising new generations to be better stewards of the environment, what’s the point?”

“We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”.

4 What was I saying most of last week? Well just to confirm my thoughts:

“Poll reveals 76% think family violence is as big or bigger threat than terrorism and advocates call for it to be funded in proportion to the scale of the problem”.

Tuesday July 6

1 The captain of team Australia has chucked a wobbly and decided that its members are unable to play with Q&A anymore. Yes, in a display of childish petulance tough Tony has taken his bat and ball and gone home. Barnaby Joyce was heard to say something like: “Can’t bat. can’t bowl, can’t field, but excellent at sledging”.

The big test will come next week. Will he allow Malcolm Turnbull time at the crease, on a sticky wicket, or indeed, will the ever popular Communications Minister be forced to play with a dead bat? He will need balls though. Either way someone should tell the Captain that one side is playing cricket, the other isn’t.

Anyway, Barnaby Joyce’s appearance on ABC Insiders yesterday confirmed one thing in my mind. When it comes to matters of deep human consideration, matters pertaining to life and relationship he is like so many of the Coalition, simply out of his depth.

Some parts of south-east Asia could view Australia embracing same-sex marriage as “decadence”, the deputy Nationals leader, and possible future deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, has said.

What more can one say except “he is a buffoon of the first order”?

2 Today’s polls confirm that both Shorten and Abbott are on the nose with the electorate. Abbott because he always has been and Shorten because the punters are unsure of him. Wednesday may very well decide for them.

Fairfax has Labor on 53/47 and Newspoll 52/48. A clear lead to Labor.

Things that go unnoticed:

3 The Climate Council tells us that electricity emissions have jumped since the repeal of the carbon tax. The increase of 4.3% has undone part of an 11% fall in emissions during the two years the tax was in place.

“The news that emissions have gone up in Australia will do little to counter the impression that Australia is acting as a ‘free rider’ on the back of other countries’ efforts” the Climate Council chief executive, Amanda McKenzie, said in a statement on Sunday.


Wednesday 7 July

1 Do you ever wonder who appears the most on Q&A and how the figures stack up? Well prominent Coalition politicians have appeared 139 times to March this year and Labor 110.

Prominent left leaning journalists 9. The right, 23

Bias anyone?

And might I add that on The Drum one would have to be forgiven for thinking that the IPA has a permanent chair at the desk.

2 New emails show Prime Minister Tony Abbott may have known Parliament had been misled about the Sydney siege gunman three days before the government corrected the record. Is there a smoking gun?

3 It looks like Barnaby was not too happy with the Captains call. Will Turnbull have the guts to hit him to square leg? But look, the fact is that a reasonable captain would just get on with the game. A reasonable leader, however, our PM is not. He hates better than most.

4 At least our two leaders presented a united front at the meeting on Indigenous recognition in the Constitution. Unfortunately it might all come to a sudden end with Indigenous leaders demanding protection against racial abuse together with anti-discrimination protection. Symbolic recognition might be one thing but can you imagine journalists like Bolt having their right to abuse taken away?

Midday thoughts:

1 Amanda Vanstone’s rant on ABC 24 this morning was hogwash. Current affairs programs will always be confronted with accusations of bias if only because they are confrontational. For Amanda to say she couldn’t get a word in belies her capacity to do just that.

Often what influence you have on these panels is dependent on one’s media savvy, quickness of mind and an ability to speak better than others. Some are just better at it than others regardless of ideology.

Hawke and Keating always thought the ABC were biased against Labor.

2 In addition it’s interesting to note that almost universally the PM has been condemned, even by people on the right, for banning appearances.

A thought:

“The exchange and intellectual debate of ideas needs to be re energised and it is incumbent on the young to become involved”.

Thursday 8 July

1 Did you know that the Abbott government ministry is one of the worst in the developed world for gender balance?

Well I expect you did. It’s fairly obvious. A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development says the gap between women and men in ministerial positions in Australia has actually worsened since 2012, despite the government’s reshuffle in December. It says Australia now has fewer women in its highest ranks of government than every OECD country except for Greece, Korea, Turkey, Hungary and the Slovak Republic.

An observation:

“At some time in the human narrative…..in our history, man declared himself superior to women. It must have been an accident, or at least an act of gross stupidity. But that’s men for you”.

3 This week’s Essential Poll has Labor 52 and LNP 48.

4 Nothing gives me greater pleasure than when our young people achieve success on the international stage be it in sport, entertainment, the arts and sciences. Nothing offends me more than when their petulant behavior misrepresents our sense of fair play and societal decency.

Friday 9 July

1 Politicians frequently update things undeclared. Commercial interests etc. Hockey recently did. Abbott is guilty of doing so. Political donations are dodgy on both sides. ICAC in NSW showed that. Everyone would agree that it needs to be cleaned up. But a Royal Commission costing $80 million. Strewth.

2 “The idea that Malcolm Turnbull should not be allowed to appear next Monday night is too ludicrous to believe” (Paul Kelly, The Australian).

Malcolm Turnbull still has views that spring from old Liberalism. In his address to the Sydney Institute all he was doing was expressing them. I could not imagine any other leader, other than Abbott, talking about terrorism in the way he does. Leadership requires character. Politicians on both sides of the divide could do with an injection of it.

“Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics, but unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibers from which it is woven”.

3 Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says “the world has gone mad” after his own government approved the highly contentious Shenhua Watermark coal mine in his NSW electorate, despite his vehement protests.

“I think it is ridiculous that you would have a major mine in the midst of Australia’s best agricultural land” Joyce said. He obviously doesn’t appreciate coal as much as the PM. They are becoming more laughable by the day.

Midday thoughts:

1 The Royal Commission into Unions that the Prime Minister orchestrated for no other reason than to embarrass Bill Shorten has achieved its aim. But that is all. There has been no knockout punch. However the residue of of mud thrown will hang around until the next election. Its report might conveniently come in at a time beneficial to the Government. The pity is that if Labor had a squeaky clean leader victory would be assured.

2 Tony Windsor, the maverick rural MP who helped Labor keep office during the last parliament, says he is considering running again for the seat of New England after the Abbott government gave its approval for a huge open-cut coal mine on the Liverpool Plains.

I am currently reading Windsor’s book “Windsor’s Way” and I hope he does return. He decides issues on what is best for the common good.

3 Combined polling for the week has 52.2-47.8 to Labor. Primary votes for both major parties have fallen. Both leaders have disastrous ratings. The big winner was the Greens.

4 The collapse in the iron ore price will almost certainly mean a collapse in the budget forecasts. Surely Hockey would have taken this into consideration.

This is the week that was.

Two final thoughts:

1 “The most simple way to turn the profession of politics on its head would be to demand they tell the truth”.

2 Wouldn’t it be nice if Mr. Abbott, instead of spending an estimated 200 million on three Royal Commissions to damage his opponents, spent it on reducing domestic violence?



My thoughts on the Week that Was

Saturday June 13

1 I am an artist with a Dip of Fine Arts. How anyone could say that Wind Farms are a blot on the landscape is beyond me. Thank God our PM didn’t pursue a career in industrial design.

The Prime Minister’s scathing comments on wind-farms and renewable energy put him out of step with the way the world is moving.

2 It would be remarkable, if true, that a Government so intent on destroying people smugglers, actually paid them to turn boats around so as to protect its own reputation of “stopping the boats”. Absolutely incredible but I suspect most Australians won’t give it much thought. Such is their apathy.

Sunday June 14

1 Hockey’s advice to first home buyers looking to get into the housing market may have been self-evidently correct but on top of his other gaffes and those of the Prime Minister’s one wonders how around 48% of the population would willingly still vote for them.

2 The polls next week will be revealing.

3 “Given her own story and connection, I had hoped to see a more courageous and compassionate response.”

These are the words of the brother of Nats Senator Bridget McKenzie, Alastair who is gay. It seems the Senator is committed to traditional marriage but not the conservative rights of individuals and the voice of equality.

4 Bill Shorten has agreed to appear at the Royal Commission into Unions. John Howard felt that Royal Commission witch hunts were a bad idea and usually came back to haunt you.

Given no evidence has come forward, at this time, of any wrong doing on his part I shall not comment further other than to say I hope the companies involved had a very good reason for not reporting to the police, any alleged bribe.

An observation: Saturday night 10 News leads with Shorten dragged into appearance before Union Royal Commission. At the end of the news service there is a short prom for the Bolt Report asking the question “Did Shorten break the law?” Talk about media manipulation. Conversely 7 opens with a story on Abbott’s refusal to come clean on payments to people smugglers.

5 From the “US Catholics” blog:

As Catholics, we believe that housing is a human right, and that society has a shared obligation to ensure that individuals and families have access to safe and affordable housing. We see firsthand in our communities and in our parishes, the pain and suffering caused by homelessness and the lack of affordable housing”.

And we have a Catholic Prime Minister who supposedly follows his faith.


Monday 15 June

1 To think that an “Australian Government” who has so demonised both asylum seekers and the people who smuggle them, now openly pays them to turn boats around, is insulting the very people who elected them. This act of consorting with criminals to achieve a political purpose is reprehensible. If the Australian people condones its government doing deals with known criminals then they are as stupid as the government they elected. And flippantly avoiding the people’s right to know further insults every citizen’s intelligence.

2 Happened to catch the Bolt Report on Ten Sunday afternoon.

Bolt climate

Peter Costello is a panelist and I cannot help but make a comparison with the ABC’s Insider program on which the panelists were measured and factual. His program simple caters for conservative rednecks and displays no objectivity. In fact the panel seemed to approve the alleged payments to people smugglers.

Piers Ackerman the discredited duplicate of Bolt in Sydney appeared giving his OK to the behavior of Joe Hockey. Every guest reinforces conservative values with vigorous, loud enthusiasm. Not one difficult question from the host.

Christopher Pyne, the mouth that roared, astonishingly admitted that he doesn’t trust his colleagues in cabinet.

Chris pyne

“No fears no favors” he signs off with. Please explain.

3 Todays IPSOS Fairfax poll has Labor 53 with the LNP on 47. Bill Shorten has regained his lead as preferred PM.

Tuesday 16 June

1 The IPSOS poll has now fallen into line with all the other published polls to indicate the government has not achieved a budget bounce. (It must be said that governments only gets budget bounces on very rare occasions. However, this one was deliberately framed to do so. It confirms my previously stated view that the budget did nothing for the Government. Following them Morgan Poll has Labor at 54.5 and LNP 45.5

2 Last week both the Foreign Minister and the Immigration Minister said in public interviews that the Government didn’t pay criminals to turn boats around. In parliament they couldn’t answer the same question because of security reasons.

And the PM’s failure to answer the question for the same reason leaves the Australian public with no other option than to conclude that it is yet another lie. Or a lie about a lie. But then he told us he was a liar before we elected him so we shouldn’t be at all surprised. He may think he is on safe ground because he is pumping up his security measures but breaking the law to do so is beyond the public’s acceptance.

It raises the question, have they really stopped the boats, or have they just been paying to have them turned around?

Conversation pieces:

“We asked the Minister if he agreed with himself and he wasn’t able to answer” (Tony Burke).

“1942 John Curtin stood against the might of the Japanese empire. 2015 Tony Abbott wants to terrify you about a few loopy kids from Lakemba” (Mike Carlton).

“I wonder if in Tony Abbott’s war on ice he would be willing to bribe drug dealers” (Richard Dennis).

“Who would have thought that Tony Abbott would get to a point where he can’t say NO” (Tony Burke).

“Bit messy in Parliament House, and it’s not just because the cleaners are on strike” (Tony Burke).

8 “Paying off people smugglers would save money” (Philip Ruddock).

Tuesday 17 June

1 Is it really possible, as some commentators are suggesting, that the PM is deliberately using the boat bribery accusation as a diversion? If the results of the Lowy Institute poll are correct the public are shit scared of terrorism and why are the media not reporting on government negotiations with Senate independents regarding important budget legislation?

This PM, If he hasn’t already, is dragging this country’s international reputation through the mud.

Who is drawing attention to the ABC’s Four Corners program on coal or the Pope’s speaking out on the dangers of Climate Change? Both an embarrassment to the LNP.

2 When I finished writing this I watched an interview with Abbott in which he said for the millionth time “we have stopped the boats” and we have done so within the law. Now I ask myself: “It’s illegal to bribe people and given he has said they have acted within the law hasn’t he answered the question with a NO”. I believe he has implied that.

Maybe it is just a diversion but gee, can our politics get any lower?

3 Bronwyn Bishops performance on Q&A did nothing to enhance the dignity of the office of the Speaker. I think the audience said more than I can say in words

4 The final result for Newspoll-as-we-know-it is much better for the Coalition than IPSOS or Morgan, 51/49 to Labor. It’s the last Newspoll before it switches to Galaxy.

Wednesday 17 June

1 The shenanigans of the last couple of days is but an illustration of the depths our political system has slipped. Labor might be able to claim the slightly higher ground in that they may not have paid to have boats turned around whereas the Liberals very well may have.

The biggest loser, however, is the state of our democracy. Politics must be the only institution that never seeks to improve itself.


Here is just one example: Bronwyn Bishop appears on Q&A and totality trashes the traditions of the position of Speaker by making political comments about issues that could appear before the Parliament. Speakers simply don’t go into the media to talk about the current political debate.

The state of our democracy is badly in need of repair.

2 This week’s Essential Poll comes in with Labor leading 52/48. The more interesting part of it was the status of institutions. On the question of who do you trust political parties came last at 12%.

Thursday 18 June

1 An observation:

“Why is it politicians are given the title ‘the honourable'”?

2 Addressing pension sustainability without addressing superannuation tax concessions is futile and will achieve very little. That is why Labor was saying “no”. They were trying to force Abbott into addressing the problem. The Greens have made a naive decision.

3 I have written much on the subject of the state of our democracy and I don’t think I have ever been in such despair about it. Whilst I am tempted to repost my previous post I will leave it to those wishing to read it to do so. Does Aussie Democracy Exist Anymore?

4 George Brandis is in a bit of trouble with all eight crossbenchers voting with Labor and the Greens to establish two Senate inquiries. Both will scrutinise the actions of the Attorney-General.

The legal and constitutional affairs references committee will now review the handling of the letter sent by Martin Place siege gunman Man Haron Monis to the Attorney-General and, separately, Senator Brandis’ decision to divert $105 million from the Australia Council to a new program that has been branded by Labor as his own “arts slush fund”, the National Program for Excellence in the Arts.

abbott liar

5 At the risk of repeating myself, when the PM says he has stopped the boats and has done so legally he is in effect saying that they have not paid people smugglers. How about a question beginning with “given that you have said you don’t pay people smugglers … ” Abbott interrupts “but but but”. Journalist: well you said you did everything legally.

6 LNP branches using the ABC’s The Killing Fields for fund-raisers is yet another example of the decline in respect and civility between political parties.

Friday 19 June

1 Tony Abbott has accused the ALP of “rolling out the red carpet” for terrorists to come back to Australia because it is questioning whether a decision to strip citizenship from foreign fighters should be made by a Minister without the involvement of the courts.

terror law trap

That of course is another lie. For a PM seeking bipartisanship on these matters to say such things is reprehensible. It’s just that they are opposed to legislation that was not informed by any documentation, cabinet submission or legal advice. Legislation that would enable an incapable Minister like Dutton to decide on the citizenship of anyone. In other words they want us to respect the law of the land.

They want to keep the Australian people safe, they say. I hope that includes victims of child abuse, domestic violence, those contemplating suicide etc etc. and I hope they put in equal resources.

2 Australian politics has degenerated into a daily dose of conservative negativity. Every day we are subjected to the drug of Tony Abbott’s morose personality of shock and awe politics. Thrust upon us is a constant stream of we “know what’s best for everyone” that disregards the common good with a determination to govern for those who have and ignore those who have not.

3 By the way. The Killing Fields rated abysmally.

4 Bill Shorten is again accused of another dodgy union deal but former chairman of toll road operator ConnectEast Tony Shepherd, who recently led the Federal Government’s Commission of Audit, at the time congratulated Thiess John Holland, the AWU and construction union on the industrial agreements reached.

“It’s a unique outcome for a massive and unique project and it will provide the contractor with the flexibility required to achieve completion on time and on budget” , Mr Shepherd said.

It’s important to point out that this is exactly what the Prime Minister wanted when he announced the Trade Union Royal Commission. While there may (may) be other, worthwhile things that spring from the Commission, I doubt anyone really doubts that Tony Abbott’s aim all along was to drag Labor figures onto the stand, and thus through the inevitable media storm that accompanies such events.

Midday thoughts:

1 Can we please also have a Coal Commissioner? I for one have many complaints to register. A wind farm commissioner represents a new low in Abbott’s relentless anti-renewables campaign”. Anyone who thinks he is remotely interested in Climate Change has rocks in their head.

2 The Pope has said nothing factually on the state of our planet that is not already known. The force of his argument however is in the moral position he puts to his millions of followers. But of course the moral argument is always confronted by the evils of capitalism, greed, power and privilege.

3 In yet another example of the PM telling blatant lies: Former national security law watchdog Bret Walker, SC, has launched a blistering attack on the government’s “absurd” handling of the citizenship debate’’ and demanded Prime Minister Tony Abbott apologise.

4 Bill Shorten today gets another drubbing from the MSM. This time about campaign funds. Of course they don’t mention Hockey’s dubious funding or Reinhart funding Joyce. Have any laws been broken? I’m waiting for some facts.

Having said that, wouldn’t it be nice to have some squeaky clean leaders?


There have been four polls released this week. The IPSOS and Morgan polls both showed a substantial increase in the Labor vote share, but Newspoll and Essential have not supported this trend to Labor. Here is this week’s poll table. Note that Morgan leans to Labor by about one point, while IPSOS leans to the Coalition by a similar margin. The last Ipsos was the 50-50 tie following the budget, while the other polls are weekly or fortnightly.

Newspoll 51/49 for ALP, Essential 52/48 for ALP, Morgan 54.5/45.5 for ALP, IPSOS 53/47 for ALP.

And this is the week that was.


My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday June 6

1 The Prime Minister’s and Minister Dutton’s responses to Senator Hanson Young’s objection to allegedly being spied on in Nauru was appallingly sexist and political overreach of the worst kind. For the PM to say she was “looked after” was insultingly gratuitous and condescending regardless of the rights or wrongs of the situation. And Dutton’s childish temperamental outburst was a reflection on his inadequacy as a politician. He should have stayed in the Police Force. Creepy indeed.

2 It has always fascinated me that unions can be so maligned for the slightest whiff of wrong doing yet business criminals like Bond, Skase, Elliott and others are considered by many to be folk heroes.

Sunday June 7

Did I see last night an advertisement promoting the budget? Is it taxpayer-funded? That would be a first.

Monday June 8

Peter Dutton’s inability to get his facts right on the statement by Human Rights commissioner Gillian Triggs about Ministerial powers suggests that he is the last person to decide on one’s citizenship. Or anything else for that matter

1 As if to demonstrate, yet again, he and his government’s apathetic out of touch governess, Joe Hockey, the treasurer of Team Australia, in answer to a question about housing affordability said: “The starting point for first home buyers is to get a good job that pays good money”.


I would have thought it’s a problem easily solved. All they have to do is produce all the jobs they said they were going too. (Sarcasm intended)

2 The Abbott government appears to be running an orchestrated campaign to “destabilise or even destroy” the Australian Human Rights Commission, according to the nation’s first federal human rights commissioner Brian Burdekin.

They are at war with everyone who disagrees with them. Vindictive bastards.


3 Scott Morrison said: “If you say that you don’t get on board with the same-sex marriage bandwagon, then somehow you’re a homophobe or something like that – I don’t think that’s very helpful”.

“I think it’s time for people to have a bit of a breather about this and consider what the other options are.”

Could someone tell me what the options are to inequality?

Tuesday June 9


1 In NSW it seems Rev Nile is doing a deal with Premier Baird to get his Power legislation passed. It’s a sneaky Religious one of course. Parents of public school children will only be offered the Ethics course for their children AFTER they have turned down Religious Education courses. They won’t be told they are available on the course curriculum. Now that’s Christian transparency. Lying by omission.

2 “I’m for individual freedom … to the max. So you can imagine my profound disappointment, bordering on despair, when I see some on ‘my team’ thinking it is OK for a minister alone to take away a citizen’s rights – indeed, take away citizenship – in the blink of an eye. No appeal, no judicial process, just a ministerial decision. What were they thinking?” (Amanda Vanstone).

3 The conservative Christian forces in the Coalition are gathering their forces to confront Abbott on marriage equality. Extremists like George Christensen are determined to go against public opinion and govern for the minority.

4 NBN have let contracts to try and speed up its implementation.

An observation:

On the NBN: “The problem with designing a network to meet the needs of today is that it denies you the ability to meet the needs of tomorrow”.

5 Now hear this: Labor put in place laws that guaranteed 700 companies (including Packer, Reinhardt etc) would be more transparent in terms of tax liability. They respond by saying it would make them more susceptible to kidnapping, privacy, personal security and extortion. Without any evidence from any law enforcement agency to back up this assertion, the government decided to shield these companies from any disclosure. Rotten to the core.

Wednesday June 10

1 “Even as a cabinet minister, sometimes it’s hard to pay a Sydney mortgage and I know over the years I’ve earned a lot more than the average person” (Tony Abbott).

If he finds it hard, what hope the average wage earner? Just as well he got free education and didn’t have to pay University fees. Gee you have to feel for his hardship being the world’s highest paid politician can’t be easy.

Meanwhile Treasurer Joe Hockey is selling his $1.5 million farm. Umm, it all reeks of privilege and elitism. And Glen Stephens thinks the housing market is crazy.

2 Scott Morisson said yesterday: “The institution of marriage came from religion. It was adopted by the state and I have always been a firm believer in the separation of church and state and the main reason for that is it protects the church – and I think the church’s institutions do need to be protected”.

He is factually wrong on the first count and on the second I am wondering what it is the church needs protection from.

3 Bill Shorten has moved to make the gender gap an issue for the ALP’s July national conference and for Labor more widely.

“Wanted: more female politicians”

An observation:

“At some time in the human narrative . . . in our history, man declared himself superior to women. It must have been an accident, or at least an act of gross stupidity. But that’s men for you”

Thursday June 11

Wind farms

1 The PM was certainly out and about yesterday. He described wind farms as visually awful and a danger to people’s health. Of course there is no scientific evidence to say people’s health is effected and no doubt he finds the sight of coal stations spewing their filth more aesthetically pleasing.

Coal mines

I am an artist with a Diploma of Fine Arts. How anyone could say that Wind Farms are a blot on the landscape is beyond me. Thank God he didn’t pursue a career in industrial design.

A study conducted by the government’s own National Health and Medical Research Council recently found that there is no “consistent evidence” that wind farms damage human health.

On top of that he wishes a RET had never been implemented.


His ignorance of the way the world is headed in terms of renewable energy is breathtaking in its arrogance.

His new-found frankness contradicts claims he and his ministers made before and after the election about how committed they were to renewable energy.

2 Good to see the Member for Gippsland (my electorate) Darren Chester has become the first National’s MP to openly throw his support behind same-sex marriage. Not much we would agree on but on this one yes.

3 Labor is considering changes to capital gains tax rules as well as negative gearing if elected, but remains tight-lipped about the policy it will adopt before the next election.

The PM responded by saying:

“If you look at what the Labor Party is proposing at the moment they want to hit your super with more tax, they apparently want to drive down the value of your existing home and now it seems they want to put rent up by fiddling with negative gearing”.

He neglected to say they plan to raid your bank accounts.

4 It seems AMEX has not paid tax in Australia for 7 years on a turnover of 8 billion. How is that possible? I wonder if Hockey might know.

5 This week’s Essential Poll is unchanged with Labor leading 52/48.

6 Abbott’s terrorist language is becoming more alarmist and sensational every day. The adults are still yet to take charge.

Friday June 12

1 In denying to answer a question as to whether Australia paid people smugglers to turn boats back Tony Abbott has more or less confessed that we did. He just doesn’t like telling the truth. Does it then mean that we were complicit in people trafficking?

2 What a thoroughly detestable grub of a Prime Minister he is. A liar who will do or say anything that suits him at the time. His comments about wind farms are implausible. The one he referred to was on Rottnest Island, funded by the Howard Government, supplies 40% of the Islands power, and is perfectly acceptable to the residents. To say that they are ugly and noisy based on an experience some years ago is ridiculous. Any wonder international leaders call him a fool.

3 Speaking of political grubbiness. Radio shock jock Ray Hadley and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton have been accused of “sexist claptrap” after playing a song labelling Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young as the “Dumbest Politician in Australia”.

Must be Christopher’s turn next.

And this is the week that was. Well except that Bill Shorten made yet another speech about Australia becoming a republic. Perhaps he should just say that if elected a plebiscite is assured.

And I won’t comment on the Murdoch accession plan because its as clear as mud as to who is actually in charge.


My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday May 30

1 I put on the telly this Morning to find Greg Hunt giving a press conference self-congratulating himself on the UNs decision to not place the Great Barrier Reef on the endangered list. Then a half hour later a Greenpeace spokesperson explains that we are only on probation for 18 months and that the effect of future climate change had not been taken into account, nor the proposed coal mine.

What a snake oil salesman he is.

2 Sepp Blatter wins another term as boss of FIFA and gives corruption a serious boost.

3 It comes out that our Prime Minister and the Emigration Minister tried to put one over on the Cabinet and we’re suitably chastised. Abbott had even tipped off The Daily Telegraph without any Cabinet discussion.

When you try to dud your own Cabinet you cannot expect its respect.

4 Does the public realise that the Government has put a freeze on doctor’s fees which, in effect, is the same as applying a copayment because it will force the Doctors to raise fees to cover costs. Sneaky bastards aren’t they.

Sunday May 31

Australians were greeted yesterday with this headline in the Fairfax press.

“Deficit decade: Tony Abbott’s $100 billion black hole”.

black hole

Only weeks after presenting a budget based on pie in the sky predictions punctuated with so many ifs and crystal ball maybes, independent analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office suggests the economy is in dire straits.

It is not beyond repair. All it needs is a government prepared to forego its ideology and govern with fairness for the common good. Too much to ask you say. You’re probably right.

Monday 1 June

1 Labor’s offer for a Liberal to replace Tanya Plibersek as co-sponsor of its Marriage Equality Bill will be rejected and it will lapse. Abbott, who vehemently opposes gay marriage, will present a bill in his own time so as to get all the kudos. Ironically it may be the only legacy this out of touch Prime Minister will produce from his tenure of office.

Abbott lies

2 Another stunning example of his lying is when he says it’s only the States who can change the GST. In 2004 a number of items had their GST status changed. Guess who the Health Minister was at the time. Yes none other than TA himself.

Tuesday 2 June

House of cards

1 After three seasons of “House of Cards” I have concluded that it is the most compelling television show I have ever watched. A superb production on every level. Can’t wait for season four.

2 In my experience young people are fully conversant with the issues of the day if not political ideology. The worldwide move to lower the voting age to 16 is a good debate to have but equally so is the need for a form of Political Education in our teaching curriculum.

3 After listening to Abbott’s press conference this AM I am left with the undeniable conclusion that he is going to fight tooth and nail to destroy marriage equality. He won’t win of course.

4 Someone is lying about what happened in cabinet about withdrawing citizenship. I am under no illusions who that might be. And if 27 back benchers supported the proposition they are as stupid as those who proposed it. They have denigrated science now it’s the law’s turn.

An observation:

“The word “Frugality” is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying and a consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”

Therefore life is about doing things not having things.

Midday Thoughts

1 Interesting to see the Government Benches empty when Bill Shorten presented his Marriage Equality Bill. Although it’s not surprising when, if you recall, they were also absent when the NDIS was introduced.

2 “We are on a steady path back to surplus” The PM said in question time. The Independent Budgetary Office tells us the opposite.

Bishop b&w

3 What an embarrassment the Speaker of the House of Representatives is. She seems to have a rule book of her own. Tony Burke, yesterday showed up her bias in no uncertain manner.

4 Morgan Poll has Labor at 53/47. Returning to pre-budget figures further confirming my belief that the budget did nothing for the Coalition. Well other than not making it worse that it was.

Wednesday 3 June


1 After doing some research I can explain what the term “come to Jesus” means in the context of politics. It is an American Tea Party expression to describe the instant at which team members recommit to working in unison or pursue their own interests. You’re either on the team or you aren’t.”

How did this religious nut job ever become Prime Minister?

2 The third last poll we are likely get from Newspoll-as-we-know-it, has Labor’s two-party lead at 52-48, down from 53-47 a fortnight ago.

3 Essential follows with the same numbers. In addition their polling on Same Sex Marriage has yes 59% no 30% and undecided 11%. That’s an overwhelming YES I should think.

joan kirner

4 Joan Kirner was underestimated as a politician and her work for women and the advancement of education will not be forgotten.

Thursday 4 June

1 A reminder:

“It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.” (Tony Abbott).


2 There are that many Cabinet Ministers denying they leak that one might wonder if they use the bathroom at all. The journalist in question is a friend of the Foreign Minister. Leave it at that.

3 Yesterday in Question Time the PM responded to a question from Bill Shorten about violence against women in a very bi-partisan manner. He must be reformed I thought. Remember he was accused of assaulting a woman at University and later acquitted. He was defended by a QC and the girl defended herself. Another women accused him of throwing punches at her and hitting either side of a wall she was standing against. He says it never happened but others collaborate her story. The newspaper involved settled out of court.

Posted my thoughts on Australian democracy.

Friday June 5

1 The worst trade deficit ever.

There are people who say what they think and do the opposite of what they say! There are people who say the opposite of what they think and do what they say! Then there is the current LNP who don’t think, say the opposite of what everyone else thinks and does absolutely nothing! This has been coming for a while and no, it’s not this governments OR the last governments fault but most definitely the Howard Governments fault and the current and previous governments have stuck their heads in the sand. However, only the Abbott lot have made such a song and dance about how bad Labor were at economics while at the same time adding to the problem!

2 Its called an own goal or a self wedgie.

Treasurer Joe Hockey has again put himself at odds with Prime Minister Tony Abbott by failing to rule out reforms to superannuation if the government wins a second term.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said super will not change in this or future terms, despite calls for an end to retirement tax breaks for wealthy retirees.


3 Tony Abbott’s Reject Shop photo aptly highlights the political worth of our PM. Every picture tells a story.

3 No wonder Parliament House cleaners are asking for a pay rise. People are leaking everywhere. Peter Hartcher, the journalist who got the leak in the first place, makes it clear that the cabinet dispute may never have seen the light of day were it not for extreme frustration within cabinet, not so much over the proposal of the policy itself but over the poor excuse for a cabinet process it constituted.

5 On World Environment Day UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says Australia is not taking credible action on Climate Action and calls us a free rider.

Two observations:

In terms of the environment. I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today

“We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”

6 If the week in politics has revealed anything, it is that Tony Abbott is has never divorced himself from the negativity of opposition. He is continuously in electioneering mode. He told voters a Labor government posed a threat to their house prices and their superannuation.

“It is absolutely crystal clear what would happen if members opposite were ever to get back into government: the carbon tax would come back, the people smugglers would come back, the value of your house would go down – because hasn’t he been trying to talk down the economy for the last few days? And your superannuation is going to be raided again and again to try to get a Labor government out of trouble,” Abbott said.

He wants to pick fights with the opposition – even where there is agreement, or a strong prospect of it – and to deeply plumb populism. This maybe marginally helping in the polls, but it is degrading both policy and politics.

We are still waiting for the adults.

A final thought.

I am having trouble coming to terms with the unhinged nature of the rhetoric in which our Prime Minister now engages.

And this is the week that was.


My Thoughts on the Week That Was


Author’s note:

I have decided to convert what was my ‘A Month in Politics’ post into a weekly commentary: ‘My Thoughts on the Week That Was’.

Saturday 2 May

1. The Indonesian Government legally murders two Australian citizens and then apologises to the parents for their suffering. That’s strange diplomacy.

  1. The Royal Commission into Unions may get itself into murky waters if it extends its inquiries into the Labor Party when it is not part of its terms of reference. A future RC into Ashbygate might be a fair retort.
  2. Labors Justice Spokesperson, David Feeney asks a reasonable question “why the government’s opposition to the death penalty had been removed from the ministerial direction to the Australian Federal Police” He got the “How dare you” response from the Government. Sure his timing could have been better but it is a legitimate question deserving of an honest answer. And Feeney is right on the facts.

Sunday 3 May

  1. On the Royal Birth. Thousands of children are born every day. Some into privilege and some into poverty. Why can’t they all be born into a society of equal opportunity?

“Surely the Monarchy belongs to our past and not our future”.

2. Budget leaks are beginning to appear. There will be cuts to welfare. The question of fairness will be paramount. So how will the Coalition justify cuts to welfare for the poor and middle classes while not being willing to tackle the tax havens of the wealthy?

3. An observation. In the United States, the Republican mantra for cutting taxes for the rich and other policy initiatives seem to flow from their adoption of radical Christian fundamentalist belief. In fact the GOP seems to be the mouthpiece for the extremities of right wing Christian belief. When you set your principles and ideas on religious belief rather than reason then the politics of fear erode the common good.

Monday 4 May

1.The assumption by conservative economists that reducing the tax of the rich will reduce their desire to avoid it, ranks with Margaret Thatcher’s “The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich” as the two most proven failures of right wing economics.

  1. Whilst the government is sounding tuff on foreign housing investment it must be remembered that the new rules only apply to houses out of the reach of ordinary Australians.
  2. I am a fervent supporter of marriage equality but it is hard to argue that Labor should have a binding vote while at the same time insisting that the Coalition have a conscience one.
  3. I’m a little upset that high income earners (threshold of $250.000) will have the assistance of nannies. At a cost of course. Oh well I suppose my wife and I will, as grandparents, continue to do it for free

Tuesday 5 May

According to former Liberal Leader John Hewson the tax cuts Howard and Costello gave are now costing (the budget) about $30 billion a year, and the deficit’s $40 billion. . Without these cuts and the 9 billion Hockey gave – unasked for and against the will of treasury-to the reserve bank. The deficit problem wouldn’t exist. And that’s without including some $40 billion in tax concessions for superannuation, which accrue overwhelmingly to the wealthiest 20% of taxpayers. You can easily add it up to show that the deficit that exists today is a fake number, says Hewson. ‘’They’ve basically imposed it on themselves’’

Wednesday 6 May

  1. AFP said it did not have enough evidence to arrest the Bali 9 before they left for Indonesia. How much evidence do you need to prevent a crime from being committed? And why isn’t Mick Kelty answering the questions.
  2. Bill Shorten, I thought, made an impassioned speech at the McKell institute but I suspect those waiting for a Messiah will disagree.
  3. When asked about a date for a surplus the PM said he had never put a date on it. If my memory serves me correctly he said we could expect one in his first term……His lying knows no bounds.
  4. The Morgan pre Budget Poll has Labor at 53.5 and the Coalition at 46.5

5. Newspoll pre budget poll gives Labor a 52/48 lead over the Coalition. The Australian Newspaper announced that future Polls would be conducted by Galaxy. Could it be that they have finally woken to the fact that land lines, in an age of mobile telephony, do not give an accurate picture. Essential has Labor 53/47 Pre budget which suggests that Abbott’s budget would have to be exceptionally well accepted to get a bounce.

Thursday 7 May

  1. When asked about interest rate levels and his statement in 2012 that they had reached emergency levels Joe Hockey denied he had said it. In the Coalition fashion of blaming Labor for everything he said that it was Wayne Swan’s description. A utube clip clearly finds him guilty. Poor memories make for bad liars.
  2. wayne Swan

2 In keeping with Green’s resignation tradition Christine Milne choose a time of her own. The new leader Richard Di Natale gave a press conference that the leaders of the major parties should emulate, particularly the PM. It was impressive. It was no-nonsense. Just be honest for God sake.

3 Kevin Andrews commented on Twitter:

Does it really matter who will lead the freedom hating @Greens? Their anti-family & community destroying policies remain #greenspill #auspol”

4 Andrew Bolt’s latest rant on the same subject uses misogynist witch imagery to depict female politicians.

Andrew Bolt

5 The PM seems to be giving loads of advice to Europeans on their immigration problem saying there had been discussions. European Commission spokeswoman, Natasha Bertaud, denied there had been any official contact and said the “Australian model can never be a model for us”, because the policy involved the refoulement of people who could be genuine refugees.

Labor’s immigration spokesman, Richard Marles, said Abbott was using the boat crisis for political point scoring in Australia. “It’s the low-rent act of a snake-oil merchant and he should be called out as such.” He is probably correct.

Friday 8 May

1.The Government’s decision to revise pension eligibility is welcome. However it comes as a result of a lie. “There will be no changes to pensions” And of course their first option was to deliberately reduce the livelihoods of the least well off.

2 In a column in The Australian on Thursday, former Coalition adviser Nikki Savva reported that Mr Buchholz had told the Prime Minister’s office that Mr Abbott would have to dump his treasurer if the second budget went down badly.

Mr Abbott said he had spoken to Mr Hockey on Thursday to reassure him that the story was a “complete invention”. So Peter Costello’s former press secretary is telling lies.

  1. The federal government will move to impose the goods and services tax on services such as Netflix, music downloads etc., under new rules included in next week’s budget.

It’s a pity they don’t do something about the tax the same companies don’t pay.

  1. I think the spin the Coalition will endeavor to present following next Tuesday’s Budget will be that there’s no budget crisis even though it’s got far worse under their stewardship.

They will tell us that it is fair and blame Labor for their own mismanagement of the economy. They will say that no one needs to be hurt even though blind Freddy knows that some pain is required. They will leave in savings not yet passed in the Senate and spin that it is good accountancy to do so.

But big measures that offend large numbers of people will effectively be left off the table.

As Opposition Leader Tony Abbott convinced many that the GFC was only in people’s imagination. Now he will try to convince them that the budget crisis of gargantuan proportion that he and Joe Hockey manufactured wasn’t the crisis they thought. All smoke and mirrors.

  1. As negotiations between the Government and the Opposition reach a conclusion on the RET, the PM’s Chief business advisor (and climate nut job) on Climate Change says it’s all a ruse.

“This is not about facts or logic. It’s about a new world order under the control of the UN”

It all fits in with Abbott’s “socialist plot” statements which can only be taken as representative of the governments true position. What nutters they really are.

This is the week that was.