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Tag Archives: Turnbull

Pell Arrives Back; Turnbull Hitches A Ride And Jeff Spills The (Coffee) Beans!

The ABC news this morning told me that Cardinal Pell had arrived back in Australia to face “historical sexual assault charges”. Now, I’m not commenting on the veracity of those charges because – as many people have pointed out – it would be wrong to deny the man a fair trial. Commenting on trials in progress is something that’s reserved for terrorism offences, but it’s the use of the word “historical” that has me bemused.

historical
hɪˈstɒrɪk(ə)l/Submit
adjective
-of or concerning history or past events.
-belonging to the past.
-(especially of a novel or film) set in the past.

Assuming we can eliminate the idea that the ABC is trying to suggest that this whole thing is a novel or film, we are left with two definitions both of which suggest that these are charges concerned with events that happened in the past.

Which is, of course, only fair because I’m sure we’d all have concerns if anyone was being charged with events that were allegedly happening in the future.

So, given anyone with half a brain and even members of the right faction of Turnbull’s government would presume that these were charges relating to things that have happened in the past, one wonders why the ABC feels it necessary to emphasise the “historical” nature of the events.

Do we get that with any other news?

“Youths charged with causing historical damage at detention centre”
“Liberals announce historical policy on marriage equality”
“Man charged with historical murder”
“Turnbull gets historical ride with Donald Trump”

Which reminds me, I meant to spend this morning writing about the great example Turnbull has set for saving money.Yep, he’s learned from Bronwyn’s infamous helicopter ride, and not only did he hitch a ride with Donald Trump, but he managed to get Macron to take him in the French plane by suggesting that because of the parlous position of Australia’s finances, both he and Lucy would be walking unless they could raise bus fare by passing round the hat, at which point the French president told him that there was room for an extra couple of passengers so long as he didn’t tell the story about how his good mate Donald gave him a lift from the hotel because everyone at the G20 had heard it at least twice.

As for his time in “the Beast” (which is the nickname for the US President’s car and not some strange initiation ritual a la David Cameron), Malcolm tells us that it was a great opportunity for some private conversation. Of course, given the famous “private conversation” where Donald was caught on tape giving his advice on “pussy” grabbing, one wonders whether it’s a wise move to accept a lift from from the Trumpeter. However, I do appreciate that the journey from the hotel to the venue would be plenty of time for both men to share all they know and to talk about the principles that they both hold dear.

But I digress… I was speculating about the use of the word “historical”.

I wanted to make it clear that I didn’t see it as an attempt by the ABC to make the charges seem less significant. Just as I didn’t mean to suggest that Miranda Devine’s suggestion that the police had made the whole thing up to distract us from the fact that there are crimes being committed as we speak, and they’re failing to catch and charge people with these historical crimes. Similarly, Andrew Bolt’s defence of George as a top bloke who historically did a lot of good historical things like launch the historical Melbourne Response just because someone needed to do something.

Jeff Kennett had a few words to say about the Melbourne Response in his column, by the way. According to Jeff:

“When evidence of pedophilia within the Catholic Church was getting increasing publicity in the mid-1990s, I invited the then archbishop Pell to my office for a coffee. It might be said that two robust individuals had a robust discussion. I suggested to the archbishop that it would be advisable if, as head of the Catholic Church in Victoria, he addressed the charges of pedophilia in a public and vigorous way.

“If not, I told him, the state of Victoria would. I did not want to take that action because I thought the church should address its behaviour and assist those it had abused, and it was not an area I felt comfortable that politicians could address. Fortunately, Pell accepted my invitation, went away and delivered what was called the Melbourne Response.

“Whether those initiatives were as complete as required, I do not know. But Pell was the first leader of any church or organisation confronted by pedophilia charges to act and he did so quickly and firmly. George Pell is innocent until found guilty of any offence. Until then he has my support and friendship.”

Now one of my nasty left-wing friends – and let’s be clear here, as Andrew Bolt tells us all left-wing people are nasty – had the temerity to suggest that the sentence: “It might be said that two robust individuals had a robust discussion” suggests that the Melbourne Response wasn’t something that George was all that keen on and that it was only with pressure from Kennett that he instituted something.

However, I imagine that the conversation was robust because they were both such robust characters.

“George, I’ve invited you here for coffee because I want to discuss your response to the accusations!”
“Jeff, I want to discuss my response!”
“Good, you do that!”
“I will!”
“SO WILL I!”
“I intend to respond strongly.”
“OK, BUT I THINK YOU SHOULD RESPOND ROBUSTLY.”
“I ALWAYS respond ROBUSTLY!”
“Great! Now, MILK?”
“PLEASE!”
“Sugar?”
“Definitely not!”

Or something like that. Anyway, what does it matter whose idea it was. It’s all historical.

18C And Malcolm’s Return To The Left!

Early this week, we had Peter Dutton making his run for the leader’s job with his very effective slap-down of those business leaders who dared to express an opinion on marriage equality. Go for it, Peter, I say. I mean, what right to business leaders have to giving the government advice on something like same sex marriage. We should only listen to business leaders on things like whether climate change exists and only if they tell us that it’s a load of claptrap and scientists are far too insular to know which way the wind is blowing and hence they can’t advise us on climate, let alone whether. I mean, weather, or rather, whether or not we should be trying to increase our use of renewables.

No, no, no, business leaders should just quit their business and become a politician if they want to express an opinion. Or start a religion. If you’re a religious leader or head of the ACL it’s ok to have an opinion on marriage equality. But not if you’re a business man like Alan Joyce. I mean, what business is it of an openly gay business leader whether or not we have marriage equality. No, best leave that to white, heterosexual men who go to church. Like Peter. No, best that men like Mr Joyce do as our future PM suggested and stick to their knitting. Which shouldn’t offend Mr Joyce because clearly it wasn’t meant in a homophobic way and Mr Dutton was clearly referring to all business leaders and the Qantas leader shouldn’t feel singled out just because he was the one mentioned by name!

But just when I thought it was safe to go back to the Liberal Party, what do we have? That lefty, socialist Malcolm Turnbull ruining things again?

We’ve already seen how he takes good Australian money and stops the millionaires here getting their fair share, by sending it to the Cayman Islands. And we’ve seen how, like all left-wing socialists, Malcolm is trying to redistribute wealth via tax cuts to the wealthy.Yeah, we all know how that’s going to end, don’t we?

Thanks to the trickle down effect, those tax cuts’ll end up in the hands of the unemployed and homeless because the businesses will start paying their workers more and the extra taxes will lead to an increase in the money going on welfare because that’s what people like Malcolm do – don’t you remember that picture of him putting five bucks in some homeless guy’s cup – and next thing you know, we’ll be some sort of Maoist state like China… well, maybe not China, it’s looking even more capitalist than Rupert Murdoch these days. Cuba?

Whatever, it wasn’t Comrade Turnbull’s position on wealth distribution that made me see red tonight. No, I don’t mean that I’m angry. I meant in the sense that I can see his left-wing, commo’ views are being forced upon us, whether we’re in favour or not!

For years, we’ve been concerned about how 18C has stopped me putting those races back in their place (and you’ll notice that just because of that 18C thing I didn’t call them “inferior” or “subhuman” or “unionists”) just because it “offends” or “humiliates” them when I place a cross on their front lawn. God, it’s got so we god-fearing Christians can’t even put up a cross in someone else’s front yard. Last night I was stopped before we’d even set it alight… Bloody police state!

And brave culture warriors like Andrew Bolt (who isn’t a business leader and therefore has a right to an opinion) and Cory Bernardi have long complained about how 18C is preventing them from saying those things which they’d like to say, but when they do, not only do they have the Left telling them that if they don’t like our values why don’t they go back where they came from, they also risk joining all the other people who’ve been jailed or fined after violating 18C. I’d give you some examples but none spring to mind…

But Turnbull has bowed to the left and after refusing for so long to amend 18C because it’s too restrictive has decided to strengthen it!

Well, that’s what he said:

 

“We are strengthening the race hate laws. These are stronger laws, more effective laws, because they are clearer laws!”

 

See, he’s just shown how much of a lefty he really is. He’s strengthening it by replacing “insult”, “offend” and “humiliate” with “harass”.

Whereas once you used to have to insult, offend or humiliate, now it’s enough to simply harass. And one of the definitions of “harass” is to “make repeated small-scale attacks on”. So now you don’t even have to offend them, it’s enough to make attacks, and small-scale ones at that.

Bring on the challenge, Peter! Quick, before that socialist, Scott Morrison, brings down his Robin Hood Budget where he uses populist measures like tax cuts to low-income earners between $100-200k! This may be you’re only chance before those communists running our companies try to impose gay marriage on us all.

Oh, please don’t think that I meant the Chinese there when I said “communists running our companies”. I don’t want anybody to call me racist!

Turnbull: From Diamond to Deviant. Oh! How He Has Fallen

I felt sick today. Truly sick. Malcolm Turnbull dangled people with disabilities as political pawns. He used vulnerable people as pawns to pressure Labor to support harsh cuts to welfare or he would hold off on the NDIS. Turnbull has now slid all the way from Diamond to Deviant. There is absolutely no coming back from this.

Tawdry Deals Between the Sheets

Before Turnbull had to whisper tawdry deals to Pauline Hanson between the sheets; he was so proud of the NDIS.  When he thought he was invincible in September, 2015 he said this about signing agreements for the NDIS.

This marks a huge milestone towards the delivery of one of the largest social policy reforms in our nation’s history.

Fast forward post the 2016 election, Turnbull returns by the skin of his teeth. No longer popular with the people. No longer popular with his party. A whipping boy for the rancid right and now plays kissing cousins for real with Pauline Hanson – the Jimmy Swaggart of the Racist Set.

All Hail Turnbull – A Diamond

In 2015, he was considered a diamond. Precious and rare. A Prime Minister who would never lose his sparkle. In that point in time, in all his verbose puffery, he wailed glorious over the benefits of the NDIS.

I am proud our Governments are securing a sustainable NDIS that will be available to all who need it and I want to thank all of those who have worked so hard to get us here.

All Hail Turnbull – A Deviant

Today, just 17 months later Turnbull dismissed the NDIS as a burdensome cost to the taxpayer. A shameful political defence that reduced some of our most vulnerable people, who need our support, love and pro-community solidarity, into nothing more than a stigmatising liability on the taxpayer.

He then drew the “Hanson card” and pitted the oppressed against the oppressed. A tactic normally reserved to pit the homeless against the refugees; he used this card to pit jobless youth living under the poverty line against people with a disability

In a dehumanising fashion that literally made my skin crawl and my stomach flop; he did something so abhorrently repulsive, I could not believe my ears.

What Was He Thinking

I know I have already expressed I was shocked. I still am, hours later. Listening to this today, I was appalled. I couldn’t imagine what sort of person I would have to become to do this.  How would I feel? What would I be thinking about? How could I look a person with a disability in the face again?

I really want to know what was going through his head.  What was he feeling. Not that he would reply but I just had to tweet him this.  If a journalist can ask him face to face that would be great.

Turnbull threatened to withhold assistance for people with a disability they have been waiting years for, unless Labor signed off on harsh reductions in welfare. This includes a reduction in payment for Newstart and withholding payment from new recipients for four weeks. Over 25% of people on Newstart also have a disability.

The choice Turnbull gave Labor is sickening and can be summed up as:

Sign up to push unemployed young people into more poverty and homelessness or the disabled kid gets it. 

 

How Far He Has Fallen

The Prime Minister is showing an obvious contempt for people with a disability. The tirade towards Bill Shorten calling Shorten a parasite; clearly shows this was a case of psychological projection where Turnbull was bellowing out his deepest feelings about himself. Today he was on display as a parasitic, loathsome creature.

I would not normally be so harsh; but his behaviour today was nothing short of contemptible. I have no other words. I’m sorry.

In 2017, the transition from diamond to deviant is complete. Turnbull now holds views that are incompatible with civil society. Oh! How he has fallen!

Turnbull Holds the NDIS Hostage. Please sign the petition below.

Click to Sign the Petition Below

petition

Originally Published on The Red Window Blog

The Phone Call – Turnbull Is Assured Or So I’m Led To Believe By Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless!

From “The Sydney Morning Herald:

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has received Donald Trump’s personal assurance that a deal for the US to resettle refugees from Nauru and Manus Island will go ahead, despite the US President’s harsh immigration policies sending shockwaves around the world…

Mr Turnbull’s office declined to comment on the 25-minute phone call with Mr Trump. Fairfax Media has been told the President confirmed his administration would honour last year’s agreement, though it remains unclear how many of the roughly 2000 asylum-seekers held on Nauru and Manus Island will be resettled in the US.
Under the Obama deal, final details, including the number to be resettled, were not expected to be nailed down until the second half of this year, after US officials scrutinised applications and carried out security checks.”

Ok, now I really hope I’m wrong, but it does strike me that this is one of those ones where you say something’s happening and if we all go, “That’s good,” and forget about it then there’s really no problem. However, being a cynical sort of chap, I do have to wonder about three things in the SMH report.

1. Why, if the deal is going ahead, did Mr Turnbull’s office decline to comment?
2. “Fairfax media has been told that the President confirmed his administration would honour last year’s agreement…” BY WHOM? Turnbull’s office is declining to comment about the phone call, Trump’s press release merely said that they were happy that Australia is happy to do whatever the US wants in return for having its tummy-tickled while the President says, “Who’s a good boy then!”, so who was this anonymous person who told Fairfax about the agreement? Was it the same person who led the ABC and The Australian to “understand” that the deal was going ahead?
3. How on earth does it take the USA nearly a year to check out people who’ve had Australia checking them out for the past four years? Do they have to check everything again? And then check the people doing the checking?

Of course, if someone connected to the government was briefing journalists “off the record”, then why is it off the record? And if it’s on the record, why not say a spokesman for Mr Turnbull or the Minister for Information and Newspeak told us the Mr Trump said such and such. Surely, journalists would ask why they’re being briefed off the record, why this isn’t official statement! Surely, they wouldn’t just report someone saying, “Look, I can’t tell you this officially but Mr Trump said that he was totally ok with the deal, but we just have to say nothing for now, but you can report that it’s on. Trust me, I’m saying this on behalf of the people who are declining to comment. Yes, the deal is going ahead and the US will take some of the people on Manus and Nauru. No, we don’t know how many. No, we don’t know when. But it’s definite. No problem. Rock solid guarantee. Trump said he’ll take any that fit the criteria. What criteria is that? Not sure, it was a quick phone call and Malcolm only had time to ask how he was doing and to make a couple of jokes and to say that he was hoping that the TPP wasn’t dead yet, but if it is, well, that’s ok, because the USA has no truer friend than Australia even if, Mr President, I had to spend the first five minutes on of the call waiting while you found it on a map. We still love you, even if you love another more. Well, the criteria might be that they’re not Muslims. Or from Syria or Iran. Or any one of a number of other countries. And, of course, they can’t be law-breakers. No, being an “illegal immigrant” doesn’t count. Why not? Um, look, I’m just speaking of the record here so I don’t have any actual information, but you can just write that it’s going ahead, ok, and we can all get back to worrying about Jobs and Growth… Sorry, don’t mention growth. Jobs and innovation.”

For the sake of those on Manus and Nauru, I really hope I’m wrong. I really hope we see something official in the next few days, but given this government’s lack of follow-through with even the things they’ve announced, I have to wonder when Turnbull’s office is declining to comment. But hey, Mr Turnbull is probably preparing a press release as I write this and there’ll be a big announcement and a timetable for when the people on Nauru will be re-settled. And even a timetable for the ones on Manus who were found to be being held “illegally”. Yeah, all ok now. We can go back to sleep.

P.S. I’ve started tagging a lot of my posts “climate change” in order to waste the time of paid climate change deniers who’ll read the whole thing and then wonder why there’s nothing they can be commenting on. Alternatively, they may comment anyway, which’ll just prove that they’re not really interested in “discussing the science”. My apologies if you read it because you feel that you desperately needed to be informed about the topic and haven’t realised that you’ve probably read enough things that should prompt you to actually start doing something to counter the misinformation out there!

Labor’s Scurrilous Lie On Medicare!

Ok, we all know that if Labor is elected that our borders will be weaker, the deficit will blow out, the tax cuts for companies won’t go through, it’ll rain all day except in drought areas and the chooks will stop laying. Not only that, we won’t have the stability that we now have because Labor changed Prime Minister twice in six years and the Liberal have only done it once in three years.

However, it’s the Labor Party who are running a scare campaign on Medicare. The Liberals have no plan to privatise it. Didn’t Malcolm say “never ever” and while some people are reminded of John Howard’s “never ever” on the GST or Tony Abbott’s “ironclad guarantee” on the Medicare safety net before the 2004 election, that’s rather unfair on Mr Turbull. He’s not the sort of man to say one thing one moment, and another the next. He said that he supports same sex marriage and the Republic and action on climate change, and he still supports all those things. Ok, he may not do anything about them but that’s because he’s been busy with the job of being PM. It’s a big job which involves working very, very hard to ensure that Labor isn’t elected because they’ve promised action on all the things that Turnbull supports, and if that happened there’d be nothing left for Turnbull to do if he ever actually gets into power instead of just being the figurehead.

Some people have unkindly suggested that the Brexit vote should be good for Labor because it should show the people the consequences of not thinking before you vote and just blindly taking your lead from the Murdoch papers. Only after the vote to leave the EU, the argument goes, did Rupert’s papers start to explain what the consequences of leaving would be. Surely it should be a wakeup call to the people of Australia. However, this overlooks the fact that most people who read Andrew Bolt will hardly be aware that the vote took place, let alone the fact that many of the “Leave” voters are rather unhappy now that they’re discovering that it may have consequences that they hadn’t considered. Not only that, but the leaders of the “Leave” campaign, such as UKIP’s Nigel Farrage now saying that they never promised that there’d be oodles of extra cash for spending on Health… Somebody else painted that “promise” on the side of buses.

But let me be quite clear here. Labor’s suggestion that just because the Liberals have a Medicare Privatisation unit set up is no reason to think that Medicare would ever be privatised. If you’ve still got doubts I suggest that you read this article from “The Guardian” written last year:

There now, what could be clearer than that. They don’t want to privatise anything. They just think it would be better if the whole thing were opened up to competition from the private sector. I mean, look how long you spend waiting to speak to someone at Centrelink, whereas when you ring any private company, your call is answered by the next available operator.

No, there’s no doubt at all. The Government has given us their assurance and they know that if they lied to us, there’d be consequences. Why just remember how people over-reacted when Tony Abbott’s “No cuts” statements were misinterpreted as meaning that they wouldn’t cut spending. People got very cross and they had to change Prime Ministers. If Turnbull was lying, why the Liberals would just have to change leaders again to appease people. And Malcolm certainly doesn’t want that. As he keeps saying, “It’s a very exciting time to be Australian now that I’m PM and anybody who isn’t saying how lucky they are is just an ungrateful whinger!”

So vote Liberal this Saturday. You know that Medicare is safe and will “never ever” be privatised and that the plan to let Telstra manage the data has been shelved and was never a real plan like the one where they support jobs and growth. You know the one; if we create enough jobs at $4 an hour then there’ll be a really big growth in the bank balances of the people employing them.

The Marriage Plebiscite, Brexit and What The Question Will Be…

Q: What’s the difference between a referendum and a plebiscite?

A: A referedum usually refers to amendments to the Constitution. In the case of Same Sex Marriage, there’s no need for a referendum as the High Court has already ruled that the Federal Government has the power to make laws on marriage. A plebiscite, on the other hand, allows the politicians to ignore the outcome and just vote the way they would have if we hadn’t spent $160 million getting everyone to vote.

Ok, I don’t know how many of you got a shock when Britain voted to leave the EU. Apparently many of the people who voted to leave were quite surprised and expressed quite a lot of anger that their vote would be taken seriously when all they were doing was declaring their love of Enid Blyton and the right to be a soccer hooligan without a lot of Europeans complaining that they were worse than the Russians. Not only that, but many of the politicians who backed it were quick to point out that their promises about the benefits to Britain were only theoretical and now that things were actually happening we had to look carefully at the nuances of what they’d said. For example, when we said no more immigration, we didn’t mean no more foreign workers, we just meant we didn’t want them to have any legal rights, so no don’t expect that you’ll get a job soon.

So, because of the surprise result in Britain, many people have expressed concern over the upcoming same sex marriage plebiscite which Turnbull has suggested could be held as early as the end of the year. Or next year. Or whenever they work out the question.

Now, some of you are probably cynically suggesting that our plebiscite is a bit like the vote in Britain. We’re holding it, but the people who called don’t really think it will happen, and, in our case, it’s just a delaying tactic to avoid the question till after the election when Tony Abbott will again be PM and Sir Malcolm will move to New York. (Ok, take it as satire, but go ahead and read some of my pieces from 2013 and 2014 and you’ll see that I have a better predictive record than most political commentators!)

And I’ve heard some of the media, left wingers that they are, wonder why don’t even have the question yet.

Anyway, I have it on good authority that this is because the Liberals are working hard on getting the question for the plebiscite just right. Or should that be Just Right, as in making sure that those Just and Right will prevail!

For example, these a few of the possibilities they’re considering:

1. Would you like to see the marriage act amended so that marriage is no longer a sacred thing?
2. Would you like to began our slippery slope to destruction?
3. Are you concerned that an amendment to the marriage act would send the wrong signal to people smugglers?
4. As Britain is finding after their “Yes” vote, are you concerned that Australis could damage our AAA credit rating with a hasty decision?
5. Do you consider that marriage is a sacred union of a man and a woman ordained by God or are you a heathen who will burn in Hell?
6. Aren’t you worried that if a child is brought up without a father and a mother, they could turn out like Malcolm? (vetoed by Turnbull)
7. Should parliament concern itself with more important things and not waste time debating marriage equality?
And finally, the one that’s winning at the moment:
8. Do you just want to vote and let us decide the question later?

As for the final one, there’s a bit of discussion about whether it is an actual question or a rhetorical and, if it’s the former, does that mean that the question on same sex marriage will already be decided by a “YES” vote and there’s no need for a parliamentary debate. Then there’s the question of whether a “YES” vote will mean that the Liberals can just insert any question they like at a later date in much the same way that they claim a mandate for all their policies whether mentioned in before the election or not once they win. So you can see that it’s not as simple as asking do you think that gay people should be allowed to marry the person that they love!

Of course, all this is contigent on the Abbott/Turnbull/Abbott government being returned next week. If Shorten gets in, we’d have the terrible circumstance that an issue like this would be decided by the unions, because that’s where the Labor policy of a conscience vote, followed by support of SSM in future years, has been decided.

If that happens, there’ll be no support for a conscience vote from the Liberals. And that’s the thing about a conscience vote. You can only have a conscience when your party says so!

Why Turnbull Is So Much Better Than Tony Abbott!

“G’day. Beer?”

“Chardonnay. You know I don’t drink beer.”

“That’s right. Sorry I forgot, you’re one of those socialists like Malcolm Turnbull!”

“How can you call Turnbull a socialist? He’s a multimillionaire. He hardly believes in the redistribution of wealth.”

“Redistribution of wealth? What’s that got to do with socialism? I mean, we Liberals all support the redistribution of wealth from those lazy bastards who haven’t got off their backsides and started a business to those who’ve actually made something of themselves. I thought socialists just wanted to keep the status quo.”

“Whatever, Turnbull’s no socialist.”

“What about his views on the Republic and gay marriage and all those other ridiculous idea that you radicals believe in?”

“Well, he certainly hasn’t done much about them. I mean, he’s no different from Tony Abbott if you ask me.”

“He’s very different!”

“How?”

“Well, he has shinier shoes for a start… And he knows how to take a selfie, or whatever they’re called. When did you ever see Tony Abbott take a selfie?”

“That’s just because he doesn’t know how to use a smart phone!”

“Now you’re just being unfair. Turnbull’s very different. I mean, he’s electable. That’s another point of difference.”

“I’m not so sure about that. Have you seen the latest opinion polls?”

“I never look at polls apart from the one that counts.”

“But weren’t you talking about them last week when you were telling me how hopeless Labor were?”

“That was different.”

“How?”

“We were in front.”

“And this latest thing…”

“You mean the fact that he gives ideas about tax reform at least two days thought before ruling it out if there’s any negative feedback, or if the Labor Party say it’s a good idea. Well, that’s just politics like Scott Morrison said when he was asked about where the budget emergency had gone.”

“No, I mean Turnbull launching an investigation into the Safe Schools project just to keep the bigots in your party happy.”

“People have a right to be bigots you know!”

“That’s not what you said when the CFMEU launched that ad campaign about foreign workers…”

“That was different. They’re a union and unions don’t have the right to be bigots.”

“But the Safe Schools project is about trying to ensure that all people felt safe at school and free from bullying!”

“Yes, it sounds all right, but it’s a bit like the whole Baby Asha thing.”

“What!”

“We’d like to be able to help everyone but if you let people stay then it’d just encourage the people smugglers and then we’d have more deaths at sea.”

“What’s that got to do with the Safe Schools thing?”

“Well, from what I understand it was telling all those gay and lesbian and transgender people that they’re allowed to express who they are, and if they do that then it’ll just encourage other students to bully them, so it’s really helping them by giving them a deterrent against coming out.”

“But they should be allowed to come out! And they shouldn’t be bullied for it!”

“It’s all very well for you to say that, but look at how you lefties bullied that poor Freedom Commissioner bloke, and imagine what you’d say if any of our front bench came out. Look at how you abandoned Peter Slipper when it came out that he was sending suggestive messages to his staffer….”

“Just a minute, weren’t you critical of Julia Gillard for not abandoning Peter Slipper? And we never attacked Wilson because he was gay – we were just annoyed that instead of appointing a new Disability Commissioner that you appointed a card carrying Liberal member who was on record as saying that he thought that Human Commission should be abolished!”

“He resigned from the Liberal Party as soon as he was appointed, so I don’t think you could suggest that he was partisan. Unlike Gillian Triggs who never resigned as Human Rights Commissioner, which just shows how hostile to the Liberal Party she was.”

“How do you figure that?”

“Anyone openly supporting human rights like that is clearly hostile to many of our policies!”

“Anyway, as for Turnbull, I can’t think of anything where he’s actually stood up and said this is where I differ from Tony Abbott and this latest attack on the Safe Schools is exactly the sort of thing that Abbott would have done.”

“Yes, but he’s not fooling us, you know. We know that deep, deep down Malcolm has certain principles that he’s not prepared to compromise on.”

“What are they?”

“The idea that he should be leader. Once you tell him he’s in charge, he’d sell his own grandmother.”

“Does he have a grandmother?”

“What are you implying?”

“Nothing, I just thought that she’d have to be a fair age and…”

“Just so long as you’re not implying that he sold her. I mean that’s the sort of nasty innuendo that you lefties resort to…

“But you were the one who said…”

“I don’t even know why I drink with you. Your hypocricy just makes me angry.”

“But I just asked…”

“Right, that’s it. If all you can do is try to assassinate Turnbull’s character the way you did Tony Abbott….I don’t know whether I can be bothered setting you straight any more. As Greg Sheridan said, no PM had ever been subject to the sort of media hatred that poor Tony experienced.”

“What about Julia Gillard?”

“That was different, she deserved it.”

“What? What did she do to deserve it?”

“She appointed Peter Slipper as Speaker. How could anyone appoint someone like that to such a position?”

“But didn’t the Liberals appoint him as Deputy Speaker. I don’t see much difference.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. The Speaker is The Speaker and The Deputy Speaker is the Deputy. I mean, we’re happy to have Barnaby Joyce as Deputy PM, but the idea of making him PM is more worrying than Trump/Sanders joint ticket for The Whitehorse.”

“But surely if he was considered fit and proper to be Deputy, he was fit to be Speaker. After all, even Barnaby will get to be acting PM on occasions.”

“Yes, but he’ll be told to sit in his office and if the phone rings his secretary will answer it and ask the person to ring back in a couple of days when the communication systems are working again.”

“What if it’s an emergency, like a disaster or a terrorist attack or something?”

“Then the secretary will just have to deal with it herself.”

“Ok then. So, the Beudget is under control even though the deficit is as big as it ever was, the government isn’t going to make any announcements on tax until it’s closer to the election because in nearly three years they haven’t worked out a policy, you’re worried that the Safe Schools Coalition will just lead to more gay people feeling comfortable and that’s a bad thing, and you got rid of a sitting PM just because you thought Turnbull was more popular and you still think that you should be elected.”

“Hang on, we didn’t get rid of Abbott because Turnbull was more popular!”

“Why did you then?”

“I told you: He has much shinier shoes!”

Greece – And Someone Should Tell The Europeans That “No Country Ever Taxed Its Way To Prosperity”

If the phrase “No Country Ever Taxed Its Way To Prosperity” seems familiar, it’s probably because a number of Liberals have used it over the past couple of years. Mind you, like most of their policies – they did borrow it from the Tea Party in the USA. I’m not sure who the Tea Party borrowed it from but I’m sure someone will enlighten me.

Of course, Paul Krugman had a different version of this in an article on Greece where he suggested that “no country ever cut its way prosperity”. Krugman is a rather interesting economist in that he seems to actually be aware when things aren’t working, whereas many economists have a particular theory, and, when real world events contradict that theory, they either explain how the real world got it wrong by not behaving as it should, or suggest that their theory wasn’t applied as vigorously as it should have been. You can probably think of plenty of cases of the latter, but the “trickle-down effect” is probably my favourite: “We cut taxes to the rich and that hasn’t reduced unemployment so obviously we didn’t cut them by enough. In fact, it’d probably be good if the government paid people earning more than a million dollars a year a bonus to give those on the bottom an incentive not to be homeless!”

Krugman takes the rather unusual view that “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity”. (A quote often attributed to Einstein, but was in fact, first said by Benjamin Franklin). As Krugman writes:

“Yes, the Greek government was spending beyond its means in the late 2000s. But since then it has repeatedly slashed spending and raised taxes. Government employment has fallen more than 25 percent, and pensions (which were indeed much too generous) have been cut sharply. If you add up all the austerity measures, they have been more than enough to eliminate the original deficit and turn it into a large surplus.

“So why didn’t this happen? Because the Greek economy collapsed, largely as a result of those very austerity measures, dragging revenues down with it.”

And there’s the basic problem. The austerity path which is demanded of Greece doesn’t actually contain a plan for the turnaround of the Greek economy.

I could make the cheap point that the Europeans have demanded that Greece raise taxes and “no country ever taxed its way to prosperity”. Just ask genius Joe and the Tea Party. (I can say “genius Joe” because irony hasn’t been declared illegal… yet! Besides,the judge only found the headline and tweets were defamatory, not the story itself.)

Yes, austerity sounds like a good idea when times are tough. It appeals to our sense of morality. You’re in trouble because you’ve been bad, now you need to go without. And, up to a point, there’s some sense in working out if some spending can be cut. However, an economy is not a household. It’s not even a business. In terms of analogies, it’s just as reasonable to compare it to a human body. It may be ok to apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding but one has to be selective and make sure that the tourniquet isn’t applied to the the neck.

With Greece, of course, simply taking up a collection from the rest of the world and paying off their debt would be the most sensible thing to do. Yes, yes, I know that offends our sense of right and wrong. Why should they get off like that? What about other countries with debt? Well, there’s two points here:

  1. Concern about the Greek default took $40 billion of the Australian sharemarket last Friday. That’s just Australia, and that was before any decision was made. So if everyone share transaction was charged a tenth of one percent for a week throughout the world, we’d certainly be able give Greece the money to make the next few repayments. And those with shares wouldn’t actually lose because the shares wouldn’t be dropping in value by so much, making the small surcharge irrelevant. (Yes, I know logic like that was almost as bad as Abbott’s the PPL won’t cost anything because we’re adding a one percent surcharge to Big Business and as we’re dropping company tax by the same amount it won’t cost them a thing…)
  2. Countries default frequently. For example, Pakistan defaulted in 1999 and Ecuador in 2008.  It’s not just third world countries either.  Russia partially defaulted in the 1990’s. While it has a history of defaults going back to the the nineteenth century, Argentina most recently defaulted in 1989 and again in 2001. Economically speaking, it’s not the end of the world.

So this is where we move from the economics to the morality of the situation. Economically speaking, the Greek default is merely a hiccup. The threat of the default will cause more money to be wiped off sharemarkets worldwide than Greece actually owes. No, it’s the idea that the Greeks shouldn’t away with it that’s the problem. Their pensions were too generous, not enough tax was collected, they weren’t austere enough! They need to take their medicine.

But, perhaps, it’s time that they left the Euro and had a fresh start with the capacity to devalue the drachma or dollar or whatever their new currency is. In spite of the panic in the stock markets, this shouldn’t be another GFC. Certainly, one could argue that it’s reached the point where it’s worth trying something new. As I quoted earlier, doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

Mm, why do I suddenly think of the Abbott Government at this point?

*               *                *

On a side issue, it’s interesting that activities in Bill Shorten’s union – albeit after he’d left in some cases – were enough for a few front page stories with Shorten’s photo in the Murdoch press, while concerns about organised crime figures connections with politicians hasn’t been regarded with the same importance. Still as failed Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull said the other day, private media organisations “an be as opinionated as they like”. No need for the objective reporting of events. Let me remind Malcolm what “opinionated” means:

Opinionated
əˈpɪnjəneɪtɪd/
adjective

characterized by conceited assertiveness and dogmatism.

I wonder if he’s aware of the Press Council’s Statement of Principles, particularly points 3 and 4:

The Statement of General Principles

THE FOLLOWING GENERAL PRINCIPLES APPLY TO MATERIAL PUBLISHED ON OR AFTER 1 AUGUST 2014.

Publications are free to publish as they wish by reporting facts and expressing opinions, provided they take reasonable steps to comply with the following Principles and the Council’s other Standards of Practice:

Accuracy and clarity

1. Ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion.

2. Provide a correction or other adequate remedial action if published material is significantly inaccurate or misleading.

Fairness and balance

3. Ensure that factual material is presented with reasonable fairness and balance, and that writers’ expressions of opinion are not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of key facts.

4. Ensure that where material refers adversely to a person, a fair opportunity is given for subsequent publication of a reply if that is reasonably necessary to address a possible breach of General Principle 3.

Privacy and avoidance of harm

5. Avoid intruding on a person’s reasonable expectations of privacy, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

6. Avoid causing or contributing materially to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

Integrity and transparency

7. Avoid publishing material which has been gathered by deceptive or unfair means, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

8. Ensure that conflicts of interests are avoided or adequately disclosed, and that they do not influence published material.

 

Nah, Turnbull’s Minister for Communications! Why would he know anything about this? Besides it’s only a guideline, isn’t it? It’s a free country and we should be free to ignore it. The ABC, on the other hand, has a “higher duty” and should be impartial at all times, which means that putting on people that the government would prefer to send out of the country demonstrates that they’re not on “Team Australia”.

Let’s ignore the polls for now.

Just in case you missed this, the latest Roy Morgan opinion poll puts Labor ahead 51.5% to 48.5% two party prefered.

Now, I know it could be argued that a poll this far out from the possible election is hardly worth commenting on. This seems to be the view of much of the mainstream media, because I certainly haven’t heard much about it. Last week we had the Nielsen poll putting Labor in front one day, but Newspoll the next day, supposedly affirming that voters hadn’t changed the election. A couple of feature writers went as far as suggesting that the Neilsen poll was an outlier.

To quote “Australia’s most read columnist”, He Who Must Not Be Named, (Boltemort)”:

Which polls? The Newspoll which has the Government 52 to 48 ahead of “Labor? Or the Essential Media poll which has it ahead by even more – 53 to 47?

Oh, let’s base this analysis on the one clear outlier with suspicious results particularly in Queensland – the only poll which has Labor ahead.”

Strangely though, there doesn’t seem to be seem to be much comment on the second “outlier”.  I certainly haven’t noticed anything about it in today’s “Herald-Sun”, but maybe I was too busy looking at their letters page, where I discovered this gem:

Image

In fact, the poll doesn’t seem to have been mentioned in any of the other papers I’ve read today. Neither have I heard it mentioned on the ABC.

Although, I did read that Malcolm Turnbull was giving the ABC a “lashing”:
Malcolm Turnbull accuses ABC of shocking error of judgment on spy story
Interesting that the Murdoch press who were say scathing about the need for any controls on the freedom of the press, now have no problem with the Communications Minister telling the ABC what they shouldn’t be publishing.

Perhaps that’s why there’s so little about the Morgan poll – it’s been deemed an operational matter and therefore it would be an aid to terrorists and/or people smugglers if it were published.

Malcolm in a Muddle

Malcolm Turnbull (image from abc.net.au)

Malcolm Turnbull (image from abc.net.au)

By Dan Rowden

Back in 1993 Malcolm Turnbull, a highly successful businessman and politically engaged lawyer, became chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, a position he held until 2000.  During this tumultuous period for the Nation, Turnbull gained a significant public profile and considerable personal support from within the ranks of Republic sympathisers of every political stripe.  It was a neat segue into a political career.

After an abortive attempt at a life in politics in 1981 during which he failed to win pre-selection for the Liberals in the Seat of Wentworth, he made a second attempt in the 2004 election and was successful, beating the sitting Liberal member Peter King for pre-selection.  King subsequently stood as an independent for Wentworth and helped Turnbull to victory on the basis of his preferences.

Despite having famously described John Howard as the man who “broke this nation’s heart” following the defeated Republic Referendum, Turnbull was elevated to the position of Parliamentary Secretary for Water as part of a 2006 Howard Cabinet reshuffle.  He was further promoted to Environment Minister in 2007, during the tenure of which he controversially approved the $1.7 billion Bell Bay Pulp Mill in Tasmania’s north.

After the defeat of the Coalition in the 2007 election, an invigorated and ambitious Turnbull challenged Brendon Nelson for the Liberal Leadership.  Turnbull lost 45 to 42.  In a politically generous but possibly naïve move, Nelson subsequently appointed Turnbull Shadow Treasurer.  Perhaps Nelson was operating under the principle of, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”  Whatever the case, in September 2008 Turnbull was elected Party Leader 45 votes to 41.

From that day large amounts of fecal matter began finding its way into nearby rotary cooling devices.

On November 24 2009, the Liberals discussed the Labor Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. Turnbull called on his party to support the scheme.   Much political turmoil ensued and the Australian voters gained an important insight into a strong trend in the Conservative view on Climate Change.  The following day, the Conservative’s intellectual giants, Wilson Tuckey and Dennis Jensen (who along with Sophie Mirabella, Wilson Tuckey, Don Randall and Alby Schultz had boycotted the Parliament on the day of the apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008) forced a spill motion that failed 48 votes to 35.

I offer the following text from a subsequent press conference to demonstrate just how far above his Coalition counterparts Turnbull was in terms of vision and character.

Thursday, November 26, 2009 7:30 pm press conference:

Malcolm Turnbull:
Now I think we all recognise that most Australians expect their political leaders and their political parties to take effective action on climate change. This is about the future of our planet and the future of our children and their children. It is one of the great challenges of our time. Now I know there are many people, including many people who are supporters of my own party, who have doubts about the science and grave reservations about it. I understand that and I respect it. But as Margaret Thatcher said, right back nearly 20 years ago in 1990, this is about risk management. Or as Rupert Murdoch said, we have to give the planet the benefit of the doubt. Matt Franklin smiles, from The Australian. He is very pleased when I quote his boss.

But the fact is we have to take a prudent approach to this. Saying that we are not going to do anything about climate change is irresponsible, and no credible, responsible political party can have a ‘no action on climate change’ policy. It is as simple as that.

Now the Liberal party room meeting here, Coalition party room in fact, meeting here and, of course, the shadow cabinet asked Ian Macfarlane and I to negotiate a package with the Government, to take amendments approved by the party room to improve the Government’s emissions trading scheme. And we did that with the full, the overwhelming authority in fact, of the Coalition party room. And it was a set of amendments that were designed to make the scheme more environmentally effective and to save tens of thousands of jobs.

We achieved enormous concessions from the Government and indeed when they were announced many of you wrote it up as an enormous win for the Coalition. Many of you were surprised that the Government made such big concessions as they did, and those concessions, those improvements will save tens of thousands of jobs and, in addition, make the scheme more environmentally effective. Then the shadow cabinet endorsed that deal, the party room endorsed that deal.

Now this has now become a question not simply of the environmental responsibility of the Liberal Party but of its integrity. We agreed with the Government on this deal. We must retain our credibility of taking action on climate change. We cannot be seen as a party of climate sceptics, of do nothings on climate change. That is absolutely fatal. And we also must be seen as men and women of our word. We entered into a bargain. There was offer and there was acceptance….

Now I know, and I just repeat this, this is a difficult issue for many Liberals, many Australians. But I repeat most people who doubt the science also know that it makes sense to take out insurance, to manage the risk, to give the planet the benefit of the doubt. Now at the moment, as you know, some of my colleagues have found it necessary to resign from ministerial positions so they can cross the floor on the issue. That is their right and I respect it. But I believe we must maintain this course of action. It is the responsible thing to do. It is the honourable thing to do.

Australians expect their political leaders to act responsibly, to take action on climate change, to protect and safeguard the future of our planet, the future of our children. That is the challenge for us now and I am committed to it. We must be a party committed to action on climate change. Anything else is irresponsible.

But those operating from within an alternate political universe were not done trying to break through the dimensional vortex.  Turnbull’s frontbench was revolting, but not as revolting as we subsequently learned them to be.  Just five days later on December 1, 2009, another spill motion saw Turnbull defeated by 42 votes to 41 after a fascinating vote.  Tony Abbott was the new leader of the Liberals, rather ironically achieved with the vote of a chap by the name of Peter Slipper.

After vacillating about his future, Turnbull was re-elected in the seat of Wentworth in 2010 with a significant swing in his favour, proving his personal popularity in the electorate had remained throughout all of the tumult.  He was appointed Shadow Communications Minister.  The erudite and outwardly socially concerned Turnbull continued to behave like a man with political energy and ambition, speaking his mind and solidifying his regard in the electorate.  His personal gravitas remained untouched.

The following indicative quotes are from speeches made in the later part of 2012 in Western Australia and Queensland and other times:

The only reason to be in politics is public service. There’s no other reason. Frankly, if that’s the best job you can get in terms of money, that’s too bad, you know. Because frankly, it’s not well paid, everyone knows that. So for most people it’s a big sacrifice.

It’s not a 24-hour news cycle, it’s a 60-second news cycle now, it’s instantaneous. It has never been easier to get away with telling lies. It has never been easier to get away with the glib one liner.

There is a tendency to try to dumb everything down and turn everything into a one-paragraph press release or even less, just a slogan.

Broadcasters or politicians or writers who think that they are respecting Struggle Street, the battlers, by dumbing things down into one-line sound bites are not respecting them, they are treating them with contempt. Because it is our job, above all in politics, to tackle the big issues, and to explain them and have the honesty to say to people, ‘there are no easy solutions here’. If the answer to global warming was obvious and simple, we’d have it licked by now.

When politicians offer you something for nothing, or something that sounds too good to be true, it’s always worth taking a careful second look.

Climate change is a global problem. The planet is warming because of the growing level of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. If this trend continues, truly catastrophic consequences are likely to ensue from rising sea levels, to reduced water availability, to more heat waves and fires.

But who knows, some years from now if there’s a global emissions trading scheme agreement, as many have hoped for, then I’m sure Australia would be part of it.

I do not believe we can effectively move Australia to a lower emission economy, which is what we need to do if we’re going to make a contribution to a global reduction in greenhouse gases, without putting a price on carbon. 2010

Then came 2013. The Turnbull we had known and many had come to “love” seemed to disappear.   The erudite raconteur and outspoken visionary just seemed to vanish.  Instead we saw a man who danced to the Coalition’s Choreography, never putting a foot wrong, never missing a beat.   Apart from a brief appearance in June with Wayne Swan to help launch a series of essays about the Republic – Project Republic: Plans and Arguments For a New Australia – for which both had written Forwards, Turnbull has given the appearance of a man being stage-managed in much the same way as Tony Abbott.  The difference was Turnbull looked and sounded extremely uncomfortable.  One does not have to be a trained psychologist or an expert in body language to have seen a seemingly broken man delivering the Coalition’s Broadband Policy to the electorate.  This was not a man convinced of the veracity and allure of his words.  Since 2012 Turnbull seems to have aged suddenly.  It’s not just that his hair went thoroughly grey; that can happen in a short period of time.  It’s his overall demeanour, his carriage and the manner of his speech.  Perhaps he is simply unwell and hasn’t declared it, but he looks like a broken mustang – bereft of life, energy and spirit – or a dog that’s been beaten into submission by its owner.   I think there’s no doubt whatsoever that at the very least he’s been told by the power brokers in his party to shut the hell up on a number of fronts.

But this leads to some serious and intriguing questions.  Why does he persist?  What does he now stand to gain from a continued presence in this particular Party and Government?  He has been hog-tied in respect to almost everything he went into politics to do.  This particular Coalition Caucus isn’t going to provide him with any sublimation at all with respect to his pet issues:  The Republic and Climate Change.

Is Turnbull simply biding his time, waiting for the political cycle to turn and the current Christian Conservative faction of the Liberal Party to step aside?   I suspect he’ll be waiting an awfully long time for that.  Is he just waiting for Tony Abbott to fail so he can step into the role himself?  That would be naive, given the faction that is currently in control of the Liberal party.  It’s not even close to a fait accompli that they would elect a classic small “l” Liberal as their leader, regardless of his popularity in the electorate.  Witness Abbott himself as proof of that.  Why does Turnbull persist in the face of forces and events that clearly frustrate and embarrass him?  What has he been promised?  Certainly not the leadership, but what?  You would be forgiven for thinking it must be something.  It’s not like he needs the money.  His Government salary would be little more than an annoyance on his Tax Return.  Maybe there’s the traditional envelope with incriminating photographs in Tony Abbott’s top drawer.  But then, these are not British Tories, so perhaps not.

Is it that he just wants to serve the community?  But serve it how?  By helping to peddle policies that he not only knows to be garbage but in some cases directly contrary to what he believes in?  How is that service to the community?  Or, has the unthinkable happened?  Has he been beaten into intellectual and moral submission by the forces that surround and support Tony Abbott?  Has he sipped too much of the Party Tea?  Have we lost Malcolm?

In July 2013, a mere 3 months ago, an Australian Financial Review/Nielsen Poll showed Malcolm Turnbull had increased his lead over Tony Abbott with 62 per cent of voters preferring him as leader compared with 32 per cent for Abbott.   In the same month a ReachTel poll showed the Coalition leading Labor 58 to 42 per cent, on a two-party preferred basis, if Turnbull were leader.  With Abbott as Leader, the figures were 51 to 49 per cent.  The poll also showed Turnbull leading Kevin Rudd as preferred prime minister 65 to 35 per cent.

Turnbull’s popularity with the electorate remains strong, largely untouched by Utegate and other controversies, and possibly even by an ignorance of some of his less desirable political views.  But that popularity amounts to nothing but empty numbers if he cannot and will not do anything about it.  Could it possibly be the case that in the same manner that the current Coalition Cartel set out to destroy their political opposition without, they are willing to destroy their political opposition within?

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