Saturday 8 June 2019
1) I had intended concluding my remarks from last Wednesday’s piece on the character of Coalition MPs in the House of Representatives with an analysis of Coalition Senators but seeing as the numbers are not yet finalised I shall confine myself to a few general remarks.
The new group of Senators will take their seats on July 1. At this stage, it looks as though they will be a little more accommodating to the Morrison government than the previous misfits.
It appears the government will need the support of five, maybe 6, conservative crossbenchers to pass legislation.
Labor’s Katy Gallagher, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts in Queensland and Jacqui Lambie in Tasmania look as though they will get another go in the house of bribery.
“Ten sitting senators have lost out including Lisa Singh and Gavin Marshall (Labor), Ian Macdonald, Jim Molan, Lucy Gichuhi (Liberals), Steve Martin (Nationals), Peter Georgiou (One Nation), Derryn Hinch (Justice Party), Fraser Anning (Conservative Nationals) and Duncan Spender (Liberal Democrats) will exit the chamber.”
The Greens, with a seat in every state, will keep their representation at 9 and the existing non-Greens crossbench cut from 10 to six.
Labor seems to have won 13 seats.
Despite what appears to be a spend of $60 million Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party failed to win a seat.
Maybe he can claim to have lost the fight but won the war.
What was it Keating called them, ah yes, “unrepresentative swill.” Well, that they still remain.
“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that, the vast majority take very little interest. Why is it so?” (John Lord)
2) “Mr Morrison refused to comment on whether he supported the proposal Home Affairs and Defence bureaucrats were alleged to be discussing in Smethurst’s story. He said he supported the free press and argued the raid was not an attack on that.”
So said the Australian Prime Minister in response to a police raid on a News Corp journalist’s home more than a year after a story she reported.
It seems to me that the more power you give them the more reasons they will find to use it.
The Government puts forward arguments for increasing the powers and the budget of AFP while those opposed are too feeble to dissent lest they are shamed for being insincere about national security.
They are given everything they want and the public put up with more and more secrecy and a lack of transparency that has become a hallmark of the cloud of clandestineness under which this government seems to operate.
As if that incident wasn’t enough a day later they raided the offices of the ABC regarding the Afghan files.
I am really bewildered that this warrant allows the AFP to “add, copy, delete or alter” material in the ABC’s computers.
Does it mean that the AFP could change as little or as much as it decided in order to falsify evidence or indeed create it?
All Australians should think about that: the AFP has the power to delete material in the ABC’s computers. Is this Australia 2019?
This is an unprecedented violation of the independence of the press and coming so soon after the election carries with it an implicit message that the government and its agencies have the power to shut you up and that they intend to use it.
It’s aimed at intimidating whistleblowers that have revealed information that the people have a right to know. It’s aimed at shutting down journalists and frightening ‘the you know what’ out of those contemplating spilling the beans.
So here we are three weeks after the election having been assured during the campaign that the economy was the best in the world, but now we have a crisis created by the same party and only they can fix it. No change really. Just lie some more.
“Surely an incoming government who doubles the countries debt cannot then claim to have inherited a debt problem that amounts to a budget crisis.” (John Lord)
For their part, the fourth estate as the custodians of the public’s right to know is obliged to act responsibly and report facts.
Clearly, Peter Dutton needs to fess up as to the point of raiding Smethurst’s home and not her office and he also needs to explain why the raid was necessary in the first place.
He wanted more power than any person in Australian political history has ever had. He now has it but is he the right man to be in charge of the most secret democracy.
Then on Thursday 6 May the AFP more or less admitted that journalists from both the Newscorp and the ABC stables are now likely to be charged with publishing protected information.
The raids provoked outrage and drew international attention to Australia’s draconian secrecy laws. Which, by the way, are supported by both major parties.
The combined raids are so full of coincidences as to make me wonder what side of my mouth I should laugh from.
3) It hasn’t taken long. And you can put aside the excuse that the new minister, Angus Taylor, is new to the job and is still settling in. Transparency is something this government tried to destroy in its previous two terms.
In yet another example of Coalition clandestineness, or secrecy plotting.
This time the Energy Minister has failed to release our emissions data for the December quarter as mandated by the Senate. And there can be no excuse.
Labor’s climate and energy spokesman, Mark Butler, responded saying that Taylor “must immediately release the latest emissions data.”
“Angus Taylor has failed his first task as new emissions reduction minister,” Butler said. “This is a disgrace and shows total disregard to the Australian people and the Senate process.”
“But really it’s no surprise considering Angus Taylor has continually argued against climate action and is part of a government that has incessantly lied about what their emissions data actually shows, which is that emissions are rising and we’re not on track to meet our international climate commitments.”
In 2018 the Senate passed an order that the data be released no later than 5 months after being determined.
The government has been under pressure because its climate policy has been failing to stall Australia’s emissions, which have been increasing every year for the past four years.
They have lied and lied and lied about the figures. Particularly the Prime Minister and the Minister. They should immediately stop doing so.
“If a political party is not transparent in supplying all the information necessary to form a judgement, it is destroying the democracy that enables it to exist.” (John Lord)
Then out of the blue on Thursday 6 June what should be released into the public domain as a matter of course, is done so in an interview with “The Australian“ newspaper. Now, how classy is that?
The figures show emissions rose by 3.5m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or 0.7%, in the year to December 2018 thus continuing a steady climb since the abolition of Labor’s carbon tax.
4) On World Environment Day 5/6/2015, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Australia was not taking credible action on Climate Change and called us a free rider. What has changed?
My thought for the day
“To my friends who keep insisting that we are guaranteed free speech, please listen. The Australian constitution does not guarantee it. It only implies it.”
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