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The Obvious Thing That Everyone Is Missing With The Governor-General…

“Mr Smedley, do you know Joan Citizen?”

“Not really, we had a passing acquaintance…”

“Weren’t you married to her a few years ago?”

“Well yes, but I didn’t really know her… That’s probably why the marriage didn’t last.”

There has been some discussion on Twitter about how well the Governor-General knew Chris Hartley with Ronni Salt and others suggesting that there is evidence that – in spite of what the Governor-General’s secretary, Paul Singer, told Senate estimates – the pair had met on a number of occasions and that the description of “tangential, peripheral relationship” may have been slightly misleading.

Of course, this led to some arguing that just because there are photos of the two sitting next to each other at the odd dinner or two doesn’t mean that they were friends and anyway, who really knows another person? I mean, don’t we all feel that nobody really knows us and that…

Anyway, I’ve always been an odd sort of chap. Reading De Bono’s book on lateral thinking, I couldn’t understand what he was talking about: it seemed to me that he was just describing thinking, but then when he went on to describe how people usually thought. I went, “Really?”

For example, there was a headline about the Chris Dawson verdict which read “Dawson’s infatuation with babysitter led to the murder of his wife.” There were lots of comments about how it was outrageous to call it an infatuation when it was an exploitive older male taking advantage of a young girl. Now, I get that, but what seemed to me more outrageous was the idea that the inappropriate relationship led to the murder. It seems to me that even if one is inappropriately obsessed with another persons, there are many alternatives that don’t involve killing one’s partner..

And so with David Hurley the thing that strikes me isn’t that he knew Chris Hartley well, but that the claim is that he didn’t.

Now I’m not Governor-General so I don’t get to meet with important people every day, but if I happen to be talking to Dan Andrews I can’t imagine that I’d be doing the following:

  • Mr Premier, have you got $18 million to spare for a charity?
  • What’s the charity?
  • It’s a leadership thing to develop the leadership potential of young leaders?
  • Sounds good but where is it based?
  • It doesn’t have an office yet.
  • Well, what’s its charter. How is it going to use the money?
  • That’s being worked out by the people setting it up.
  • Oh. Well, who’s setting it up?
  • A guy called John Smith.
  • Right, and you think he’s worth risking $18 million on a charity that’s yet to be set up?
  • Definitely!
  • You must know him pretty well then?
  • No, I only met him at a party and you’d call it a tangential, peripheral relationship.
  • I see. Well, maybe get back to me when it’s actually up and running.
  • But it’s an election year!

Yes, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be doing that.

And let me make it clear that I’m not suggesting that there’s anything dodgy about the charity or the Governor-General. I’m just saying that it seems a little careless for the government to hand over money on the basis that David Hurley says it looks like a worthwhile project. After all, the spokesman for the Governor-General told us that he didn’t “lobby” for this charity; he merely mentioned it in conversation with Scott Morrison.

But then we are talking about the same government that awarded $423 million to a company whose head office was a beach shack on Kangaroo Island. To be fair, when the Liberal government handed over the half billion dollars to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Scott Morrison wasn’t PM, so that one isn’t his fault, but it does seem that the previous government did believe that it had to stop all the damage that Robin Hood had done by taking from the rich and giving to the poor.


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  1. Phil Pryor

    I would abandon reserve, politeness, restraint, manners and decorum, if only Morrison joined Charles I, Nicholas II, Louis XVI as quickly, certainly, irreversibly as is possible. His executive orders, manners, policies, plolttings, scheming and actions have led to death, agony, misery, injury, humiliation, unfairness. Hurley is a tiny part of this rotten picture.

  2. andy56

    sorry, i must be stupid. The GG has all these perks but at the end of the day he just follows the instructions of the government of the day. Does anyone else want to ask the obvious question? WTF do we have a GG. A rubber stamp that costs us millions.
    You want efficiency of government, here is a few dollars that doesnt need to be spent.

  3. Gangey1959

    Was that the same conversation in which it was mentioned to the gg that a signed blank charter for miniterial appointment would be a really handy thing to have in a pm’s back pocket in case said pm needed to appoint himself god, or award the sharks the nrl cup, or declare the next election invalid, or…, or……?
    Once upon a time the gg was a rubber stamp for the sitting monarch of the realm, and would jump onto the gold-plated battenburg-phone at the drop of a hat whenever a real decision was required, as in should I put the bins out early cos it’s going to rain, what colour should the new drapes be in the downstairs dining room, I’m going to boot out the elected government because it wants to help the poor, but I will cause national upheaval and put your position here at risk is that ok with you?
    Nowadays the gg’s position seems more like a popularity competition, or even a “Summarised Proust Competition.
    Is the position relevent in a modern Australia ? Probably not.
    Is it worth the shekels involved in “keeping up appearances” and accomodation, and general looking after some plonker who really contributes very little to society ? No bloody way.
    Even some of the staunch Non-Republicans can’t see the point in the current position, they just see the only alternative as being a US style of government, and no-one wants that either.
    I don’t know exactly what the solution is, but what we have currently is not it.

  4. New England Cocky

    I will bet ”London to a brick on” that that gg David Hurley DID NOT contact Betty Windsor about the Australian Future leaders Foundation Ltd, a ”charity’ without any publicly known assets and a constitution that allows Board Members to unanimously asset strip the entity for their own benefit.

    Check out this excellent investigation report from Karen Middleton of the Saturday Paper.


  5. Canguro

    Hurley-Hartley… anybody else see a weird conjunction between these two names?

    So, a monarchist loyalist thinks it’s a good idea to invest a sum of taxpayer’s money in ‘future leaders’, (because the term has an anodyne sense of correct & right about it, despite a total lack of particular or clarity) licks a finger and holds it in the air for a moment or two, and then says to himself, ‘$18 million, sounds about right.’ Rubs shoulders with his nearly-the-same namesake at a snobfest rowing regatta and says ‘Whadda-ya-reckon Dave?’, to which Dave replies, ‘Sounds good. Scotty’ll be happy to pony up the moolah; he’s good like that,’ and hey presto!, it’s a done deal.

    Well, almost. Apart from the inconvenience of the LNP losing the election and a newly-invigorated ALP government determined to examine probity in public affairs.

    It’ll be interesting to see the details, should they ever emerge. Just what sort of arrogant presumption was behind the brainfart that sought justification for $18M of taxpayer’s money to be pissed up against the wall; a large part of which was no doubt destined to be spent on caterers, expensive wines and canapes and mutual circle-jerking by the sorts of cliquey upper-crustians who fancy that they and they alone have the social and intellectual wherewithal to determine the direction that this country should take. (and London to a brick it wouldn’t be in a direction that was guaranteed to be in the best interests of all Australians.)

    The lack of anything that smacks of transparency or normalcy has this whole affair reeking of dead fish; and that’s before it has even gotten off the ground. It must be cancelled, and all involved censured.

  6. Terence Mills

    Morrison had the GG secretly appoint him to administer the Department of Health on 14 March 2020, and the Department of Finance on 30 March 2020.

    On 15 April 2021, he had the GG appoint him to administer the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources; then on 6 May 2021, Morrison had himself appointed to run the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Treasury.

    On each occasion Morrison went to Yarralumla to be secretly sworn in by the GG.

    All of this was done with the full acquiescence and compliance of the Queen’s representative in Australia – the Queen would have been asking questions had she known – and was done in extreme secrecy without even the ministerial incumbents or the people of Australia being informed.

    It now seems that Morrison didn’t trust these ministers and wanted, at a moments notice to assume their portfolios should they go against his wishes : these were the acts of a megalomaniac, a person of unsound mind.

    This behaviour is exceptional and the fact that the GG just went along with it is deeply troubling.

    In no sense can this enquiry be called a witch hunt, this needs to be brought out into the open as it is fundamental to our system of government and democracy.

    It is good that we have a former High Court Judge looking into this.

  7. Lawriejay

    From: The Saturday Paper
    “New contentious issues are now emerging around the government’s grant process, with an explanatory memorandum to the regulation suggesting the Morrison government planned to directly control the manner of choosing candidates for the leadership program and deciding what they would learn.

    “The Commonwealth is uniquely placed to determine the selection process for participants and the composition of any selection panel,” the memorandum says. It continues that this should be done “in line with the Commonwealth’s perception of in line with the Commonwealth’s perception of who is suited to be a future national leader, as well as to identify the topics of national importance to be addressed through the program”.”

    This has all the hallmarks of the US Federalist Society and the tobacco loyalist aligned The Australian Institute of Public Affairs.

    Slam dunk that one !

  8. Diane

    Not just $18 million either, but apparently $14million then $4million a year into perpetuity…. Nice work, if you can get it!

  9. New England Cocky

    @ Diane: Well at the risk of being labelled (incorrectly) a conspiracy theorist, given the track record for corruption from the Member for Cook in his previous incarnations, THAT should be sufficient ”circumstantial” evidence to conduct a full enquiry into the Australian Future leaders Ltd ”charity” matter involving the representative of England’s most dysfunctional family, the anti-democratic Windsor Mountbattens.

    There are more evidence and ”coincidences” given by Karen Middleton in her Saturday Paper article that I listed above.

  10. Roswell

    Rossleigh, you never fail to give me a smile.

    Decades ago I heard that the producers of the Bugs Bunny Show would put the writers in a room, shut the door, and leave them alone while they wrote their hilarious scripts.

    We should do the same with you and Grumpy Geezer together.

  11. wam

    come on boys the queen has no part to play in aussie politics the gg has more power than any queen since the constitution was written.
    The service culture is no questions, no thinking just hate, kill and obey your superiors,
    Hurley did as he was told and when he signed it was finished.

  12. Fred

    Wam: Surely the GG gets legal advice on his/her role and the glaring issue is that of “if a minister is sworn-in in secret who is responsible and how do you contact the ‘secret’ minister?” I may not be the smartest person in Oz, but if I was the GG I would have asked questions of the legal gurus after the first event and then of ScuMo on the second and subsequent swearings.

    Given it is accepted the GG’s position: “can help ensure that those who conduct the affairs of the nation do so strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Commonwealth and with due regard to the PUBLIC INTEREST”.

    Ref: https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/House_of_Representatives/Powers_practice_and_procedure/Practice7/HTML/Chapter1/Powers_and_Functions_of_the_Governor-General

    I fail to see how keeping it secret was in anybody’s interest other than of the low life member … for Cook. The GG does have something to answer for.

  13. Florence E Howarth

    It is a registered charity I believe,

  14. Bert

    “To be fair, when the Liberal government handed over the half billion dollars to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Scott Morrison wasn’t PM, so that one isn’t his fault”

    Wasn’t he treasurer at the time?

  15. Charles

    Very telling that the Greens and Jacki Lambie have taken a stance on the grant but Labor is waiting for its balls to drop?

  16. GL


    I have a feeling that Labor will dodge and weave as they try to figure a way to weasel out of avoiding the ditching of the Morriscum bribe to Hurley. I might be wrong but I’m keeping a cylinder of oxygen handy just in I pass out from holding my breath for too long.

  17. Charles

    GL, in other words Labor is owned by the same dregs as the LNP?

  18. GL


    They aren’t utterly beholden lock, stock and barrel to the dregs as you termed it like the LNP but like most of the parties they they do circle around them for any crumbs that are dropped.

  19. wam

    Thanks Fred
    In my inane style I was merely trying to point out that the GG is a service man with the culture of service men of the past who were also chosen for their ‘rightwing reliability’.
    Both cosgrove and hurley have the extremist baggage of the right wing army culture and catholicism
    In Hurley’s case he had the extra experience as Gov of NSW behind him.
    Even with all that he cannot overcome his conditioned omerta nor his duty of service to superiors on earth and in heaven??

  20. New England Cocky

    070922: The hunt gets warmed as more Independent journalists recognise that there is more to this Australian Future Leaders Foundation Ltd ”charity” than a lack of any assets joined with Directors who may asset strip the entity by mutual resolution for their own benefit interest.

    This matter will make the Dismissal look like the CIA overthrow by the CIA aided by Betty Windsor and a couple of High Court judges.

    Royal Favours: pipe and slippers time for David Hurley and Scott Morrison

  21. Canguro

    Thank you Cocky, for the Royal Favours link, and from there, the Ronnie Salt Twitter thread; just damning… these born to rule types and their farrago of lies to save their scrawny arses… the now utterly-disgraced Governor-General must go. Just go! Quit! Don’t wait to be fired! You’re a disgrace, Hurley.

    Bring on the republic… enough of this anachronistic forelock-tugging to a doddery old gal in far away Pommeyland, herself a lineage beneficiary with a heritage of blood-soaked butchery and court coups… how dare we at this point in the march of mankind continue to give credence to this ridiculous pomp and ceremony. Wake up Australia!. We’re a multicultural nation… the monarchists are now in a distinct minority; wake up, move on. We don’t believe in the centrality of the earth in the universe, we don’t believe the moon’s made of green cheese, and we should no longer believe in assigning primacy to a friggin’ insignificant northern hemisphere island that historically saw our continent as merely a dumping ground for their crims and crooks, the forebears of Morrison et al. What in the hell is wrong with us that we have so much inertia on this subject.

    Republic now! You’d think we would have learned after the John Kerr fiasco. FMD!

  22. GL

    “I have a feeling that Labor will dodge and weave as they try to figure a way to weasel out of avoiding the ditching of the Morriscum bribe to Hurley.”

    I have my biigg chunk of humble pie on a plate in front of me.

  23. Charles

    GL, me too, and don’t it taste good. Loving humble pie because that means Labor got off its arse and acted in good faith.
    Also agree with Canguro: time for dodgy GG to retire. He was the latest front for a foreign toffs club Aus no longer needs.
    Next for Labor in proving it can adjust to the situation at hand is to halt their proposed First Home Buyers scheme (Jan 2023).
    Pretending in a climate of escalating interest rates that the gov should go guarantor for 15% of BANKERS loans is wreckless.
    Watch the RE lobby scream at that idea.

  24. Kathryn

    Fortunately, one of the first things the foresightful Albanese has achieved since the huge majority of Australians kicked the deceitful autocratic fascist, Morrison, to the kerb was to CANCEL this disgusting, long-term commitment of countless MILLIONS of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to some unknown dubious charity invented by the highly unpopular, self-serving, duplicit Governor General, David Hurley! Clearly, this fiscal donation of OUR taxpayer funds to a blatantly biased LNP-supporting representative of a foreign power within our shores was, for no other reason, than due PAYMENT FOR SERVICES RENDERED, ie Hurley’s secretive signing-off on Morrison’s undemocratic move for fascist power in taking over the portfolios of at least five (or more) members of his own repugnant cabinet! WOW! Once again, we have yet ANOTHER discredited, thoroughly undemocratic, deceitful and depraved alliance between a power-obsessed megalomaniacal LNP PM and yet ANOTHER loathsome, right-wing GG whom, history has proven, to be nothing more than a kowtowing LNP lap dog!


    If Australia becomes a Democratic Republic, we can STILL be part of the Commonwealth, it just means we can get rid of the autocratic Governor General. Getting rid of the role of Governor General is essential to our democracy. The draconian Governor General is an Imperialistic and anachronistic role that costs Australians million$ every single year and reeks of British styled snobbery, classism, elitism and born-to-rule entitlement!

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