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The real stitch-up

Tony Abbott has been sneeringly yelling at anyone who will listen, if there are any of those left, that the government has no confidence in Gillian Triggs because the timing of her report shows it is a “stitch up” designed to make him look bad, like he isn’t capable of doing that on his own.

I would like to point out that Ms Triggs told Senate estimates hearings in early 2013 of the HRC’s concern about children in detention and their ongoing investigation. She was slapped down by George Brandis who wasn’t interested.

In February 2013, some seven months after Ms Triggs had assumed her role at the Human Rights Commission, and seven months before the election, Senator Brandis grilled her unmercilessly about why the HRC was not spending more of their budget on defending free speech.

When she pointed out that the HRC receive about 17,500 inquiries a year of which approximately three concern political opinion “so it is a very tiny part, in answer to your question, of the complaints function of the commission”, Brandis refused to accept her explanation.

Senator BRANDIS: That may very well be so, Professor Triggs, but why has it taken people other than the Human Rights Commission to elevate this debate? Why has it taken people like my friends at the Institute of Public Affairs, some of my colleagues in the coalition, columnists, editorial writers and writers of letters to the editors of the newspapers to get a debate up and going in Australia about limitations on freedom, when we have an agency, your agency, whose explicit statutory charter is to promote and advance those rights?

Prof. Triggs: I wonder if I could take another point here. I accept your question. I think it is a valuable one, as I have said. But let us look at another element of this – that is, a great deal of my time as president and that of many members of our human rights law and policy group has been responding to our profound concerns about the mandatory detention of asylum seekers. I understand that at the moment we have many thousands – and I do not know the exact number, but let us say 6,000 people – in mandatory detention in Australia, including children. Many have been there for years. Babies have been born within that environment. They have been charged with no offence, and they have not yet had their claims to refugee status assessed. That is an area that I think is of fundamental importance to human rights.

Senator BRANDIS: Well, it is.

Prof. Triggs: It concerns arbitrary detention without trial. If I may say so, I went to an interesting lecture by the foreign minister the other day to celebrate the Magna Carta, quoting the fundamental principles of the Magna Carta that no man – or presumably woman – can be charged or held without a trial of their peers. It seems extraordinary.

Senator BRANDIS: I do not think the barons at Runnymede had friends like Mr Eddie Obeid and Mr Ian Macdonald, unlike our foreign minister, who speaks with eloquence about the Magna Carta, at least.

Brandis mentions several times his “friends at the IPA”

“Whereas your commission is a dedicated and committed advocate of antidiscrimination principles, I do not see the commission being a dedicated and committed advocate of freedom principles. You have think tanks, like in the Institute of Public Affairs, which has something called a ‘freedom project’. I do not see a freedom project in the Human Rights Commission.”

Senator Brandis finishes with what was no doubt his aim all along.

Senator BRANDIS: My last question. Your commission does seem to have a superabundance of discrimination commissioners in various areas. Should the Human Rights Commission have a freedom commissioner whose particular brief is to promote the kind of balance of which you speak so that within the commission there is a person whose particular job is to promote freedom, just as, within the commission at the moment, there are, I think, five commissioners whose particular job is to promote antidiscrimination? Would that not be a desirable balance – one freedom person versus five anti-discrimination people?

Come on down, Timmy!

A couple of months later, in April 2013, Brandis attended the IPA 70th birthday bash. He obviously enjoyed himself because he has been rewarding them ever since.

As soon as he assumed office, Brandis gifted to Tim Wilson a $400,000 a year job as a Human Rights Commissioner despite his “woefully inadequate” qualifications. It seems apparent that Wilson was appointed to destroy from within and, if worst comes to worst and he can’t abolish the HRC as he wants, then Tim will probably be offered the top job after the “anonymous” leaks about Triggs wanting to get out.

After the predictable backlash to this obvious act of cronyism, George wrote an article in The Australian condemning those who criticized his choice.

“But some things never change, like the reaction of the claque of bilious pseudo-intellectuals who constitute what passes for a left-wing commentariat in this country. Mike Carlton, Catherine Deveney, Van Badham and their ilk were nothing if not boorishly predictable. They and their followers unleashed a storm of hatred and bile against Wilson on social media, the like of which I have never seen.”

Or perhaps they just thought that sacking the Disability Commissioner to employ your unqualified inexperienced ideologically opposed little friend was a step too far? And is that any way for the highest legal officer in the land to speak?

This was all the more hypocritical considering Brandis, in opposition, had previously taken to the Australian to excoriate the appointment by Mark Dreyfus of Labor staffer-turned-intellectual Tim Soutphommasane as Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, a role for which he was eminently qualified, labelling him as “yet another partisan of the Left”.

Dr Soutphommasane graduated from the University of Sydney with a first-class honours degree. He was then a Commonwealth Scholar and Jowett Senior Scholar at Balliol College of the University of Oxford where he completed a Master of Philosophy with distinction and a Doctor of Philosophy in political theory.

From 2010 to 2012 he was a Lecturer in Australian Studies and a Research Fellow at the National Centre for Australian Studies of Monash University.

Soutphommasane is the author of three books: The Virtuous Citizen: Patriotism in a Multicultural Society (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Don’t Go Back To Where You Came From: Why Multiculturalism Works (New South Books, 2012) which in 2013 won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award in the ‘Community Relations Commission Award’ section, and Reclaiming Patriotism: Nation-Building for Australian Progressives (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

By contrast, Wilson has a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Diplomacy and Trade from Monash University. He worked at the Institute of Public Affairs for seven years. He was a vocal critic of the Human Rights Commission and during his time there the IPA called for the abolition of the commission.

After his “surprise”appointment, Wilson wrote that:

“Attorney-General George Brandis has asked me, as Australia’s next human rights commissioner, to focus on traditional liberal democratic and common law rights, particularly article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

All rights should be defended, but the human right most being neglected is free speech. Arguably freedom of speech is the most important human right. It is the human right necessary to protect and defend all other human rights.

Article 19 of the covenant states: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

Article 19 ought to be the human rights community’s starting point. But at the moment it seems more like a footnote.

Increasingly free speech has been pushed aside in favour of laws and regulations designed to stop people being offensive to each other, a steadily expanding corpus of anti-discrimination and defamation law, and the growing momentum towards restrictions on speech online.”

Whilst the Attorney General may appoint people to the HRC, I am not sure he has the power to direct them then what to say and do, and I am wondering how Tim feels about George’s recent announcement of devoting $17 million to monitor social media to take down terrorist propaganda

When the two Tims attended Senate estimates hearings in May 2014 to discuss proposed changes to Section 18C of the racial discrimination act, George Brandis objected to Tim Soutphommasane giving his opinion even though he is the Racial Discrimination Commissioner. Ian Macdonald, coincidentally, was also chairing this meeting as he was with the recent meeting with Gillian Triggs and he upheld Senator Brandis’ objection saying his opinion had no place in the discussion (see video here).

But later in the hearing, Tim Wilson was allowed to re-state, at length, his clear support for changing the Act.

After the hearing, Senator Singh said Dr Soutphommasane ”was gagged, in complete contradiction to Tim Wilson who was able to share his views on the RDA. Senator Brandis initially stopped me from asking the question and accused me of being dishonest in asking for Dr Soutphommasane’s views. This is a man who stands for freedom of speech yet won’t allow a witness at the table to speak.”

This absolute championing of freedom of speech seems very much at odds with Tony Abbott’s stand against Hizb ut-Tahrir, taken after Alan Jones urged him to “proscribe the movement”.

“We are changing the law that will make it easier to ban organisations like Hizb ut-Tahrir. But before that even we should have a system in place which red cards these hate preachers and stops them coming to Australia.”

The response from our “Freedom Commissioner” was totally devoid of any legal facts, or gumption for that matter, as reported by Michelle Grattan in October:

“Wilson fears florid talk about “hate speech” can “justify censorship all over the place”. He is considering putting in a personal submission to the current parliamentary inquiry into the legislation, urging a tighter definition of the advocacy of terrorism. Wilson says it is unclear where the line would be between the advocacy of terrorism and for example attacking the coalition’s air strikes in the Middle East.”

Apparently, he either didn’t get around to his “personal submission” or it was ignored.

Abbott is right…this has been a stitch-up – one that began well before George Brandis was in a position to reward his “friends at the IPA” and, with the help of Senator Macdonald, take his revenge on that pesky woman.


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  1. DanDark

    Excellent article Kaye,
    All those photo ops around the table working hard on the budget was a con, cigars and champagne after the budget
    What a pack of frauds and conmene and women, that need to be kicked to the curb ASAP

    We don’t have a Liberal Gov we have an IPA Gov run by faceless men, they have morphed into one.


  2. mars08

    There’s something that confuses the bejeezuzz out of me….

    Given that nobody I know (except my 21yo daughter) has expreseed even the slightest concern about the children in detention…. and that it’s not exactly a fashionable discussion topic… why did this govt decide to attack Gillian Triggs and her report?

    Surely they’ve just drawn attention to something that would have vanished from the media within days… and make complete asses of themselves in the process. The media (and most of the electorate) doesn’t give a shit about the plight of asylum seekers… but they do loves their political melodrama.

  3. Garth

    I have truthfully never been more disgusted and angry with another person as I am now with brandis (and Abbott as well). What does brandis think his job is? To denigrate and demolish this country’s legal institutions? Because from the day he took on the AG role that’s all he has done. This latest disgraceful episode with Prof Triggs is the culmination of a long history of similar behaviour. How he can claim to be a champion of free speech and keep a straight face mystifies me.

  4. Kaye Lee

    It is also worth noting that Minister for the Arts, George Brandis, whilst cutting $100 million over the next four years from the Arts budget, including Screen Australia cut by $25.1 million and the Australia Council by $28.2 million, found $1 million to put towards a $5 million mansion bought by the Australian School of Ballet. They have 28 students. The chairman of the Institute of Public Affairs (Rod Kemp’s) wife is on the Ballet School’s board.

  5. Phi

    My draw dropped so many times reading Brandis’s words in this report – I cannot understand how such a stand-over thug gained the highest law office in this sad, sad land. Brandis has such pent up hatred for his opponents that he should be locked away for his and for our own safety.

    Brand Liberal is filth personified.

  6. DanDark

    In this article from loonpond has Brandis’s reaction to Ms Triggs in the Australian who would of guessed,
    they are so predictable now, its beyond comprehension what goes on in their damn heads.
    Brandis’s “opinion piece” dated the 27/2/2015 but not on his official gov page as pointed out by loon pond
    its an “opinion piece”, yes if we need more of his twisted “opinions”, but no he is going to get the last word “opinion in.
    He is a total moron Brandis and way out of his depth, he is a nasty blight on society and humanity…

  7. DanDark

    Mars I reckon why they went on full attack with Ms Triggs is because they didn’t with closing the gap report
    and when Bill Shorton stood up and had a go at them, they had to sit there and take it, it was embarrassing and humiliating
    so much so a few of the bastards ran for the doors, they couldn’t listen to the the truth and how our first peoples are suffering
    and it is going to get worse now with this gov it already has, and as we know they are dismantling Australia bit by bit now
    Soooo hence they went for the attack first, not really thinking through the consequences, and the backlash it would cause
    It was all about them not being attacked by Labor again…

  8. Annie B

    Way past time that Brandis was pensioned off. …… invited to join a delightful ( up market though ) retirement village where he could do cross-words and read books – and maybe find himself a new older chick ?

    He’s divorced and perhaps ( probably ) without a partner – – – aww diddums. … I have no sympathy for him or his ilk.

    Brandis lost the plot years ago … but is a handy bad-mouth mouthpiece for Abbott. ……… that is until Abbott stabs him in the back too – like he did Philip Ruddock.

    Oh what a jolly lot we have !!! …….. !!

  9. Paul G. Dellit

    They hate people who are better qualified than they are because, strangely, such people present facts to support their case rather than self-seving ideology. As true acolytes of Tea Party Neoconism, it is unsurprising that the best they could come up with is the eminently biddable and easily buyable Tim Wilson. Where else is a person of his slight qualifications and scant achievements going to get a job on that kind of money

  10. kmatilda2013

    That last comment of yours Kaye, about the Aus School of Ballet, was jaw dropping. I noticed that donation at the time and wondered why it was made, you have just answered my feeble question to myself. Thankyou

  11. Matters Not

    A great article Kaye Lee, and at so many levels.

    In the reading of yours, my thoughts turned to a piece written recently by Tim Dunlop where he ‘argued’

    Abbott’s comments did not occur in a vacuum. They came on the back of massive leadership tensions over his position and ongoing instability within the Government. They dropped into an environment where the Prime Minister was trying desperately to shore up his own position and were offered in such a way as to play upon the fears of the electorate.

    Further, he argues:

    The new-media environment of engagement with the audience makes it easier than ever for journalists to take readers into their confidence and explain the reasoning behind a given article. Or to defend it, if necessary.

    In other words, engagement with the audience is the new objectivity, and any decent journalist should cultivate that approach

    The ‘context’ you provide here is far superior than anything I’ve read to date. And it follows that, by providing accurate and relevant ‘context’ and linking to same, you really engage with the reader.

    This piece deserves a much wider readership.

  12. Garth

    I posted the following comment on an article in the Guardian the other day on this topic, thought it worth repeating here :

    If any of them seriously thought that a person of Prof Triggs character and strength would give in to their inept advances and threats then they are bigger fools than I thought.

    Correct that… my previous opinion has no scope left for ‘bigger’. They are clearly a pack of thuggish drongos.

    Especially given she’s smart enough to have worked out that if she did resign, Wilson would have been earmarked to replace her and completely undermine the purpose of the HRC. As if she would have let that happen. Seriously, drongos!! Just keep digging, idiots.

  13. Garth

    @DanDark, thank you for that link. I wasn’t familiar with the Loon Pond but it’s a great blog. Thanks again.

  14. Kaye Lee

    And whilst on the topic of Brandis,

    His approval/instigation of the raids to seize evidence pertinent to a case in the International Court regarding corrupt surveillance by our government/intelligence agencies in Timor l’Este is astonishing. That was the FIRST passport they confiscated – that of the whistleblower.

    The fact that Alexander Downer got a job as a consultant to the company for whom he approved industrial espionage under the guise of foreign aid no doubt makes it too hot to allow scrutiny.

    And this is the man who is supposed to protect the judiciary, protect statutory bodies, protect the rule of law….what a f’ing joke!

  15. DanDark

    Garth no probs, you have been missing out on some good reading and bloody funny sometimes
    But not all is lost, you have been “enlightened” enjoy…. 🙂

  16. Matters Not

    It would seem, based on the latest MSM reports, that Abbott is on the run. Away from anything that might be unpopular.

    The IPA ‘common sense’ has been thrown overboard apparently. Now it’s all hands to the political pumps. Whatever it takes.

    No co-payment being the shining example.

    But never fear, because it’s the fear card that will continue to be played. It’s all he has left.

  17. stephentardrew

    Great article Kaye:

    If it wans’t apparent to people that Brandis is a viscous bully and lying manipulative troglodyte before the election then heavens help you. I had no doubt whatever that this is exactly how Brandis was going to tarnish the position of Attorney General. I am no longer angry just slowly boiling waiting for the day he falls into total disrepute. It cannot come quick enough. As for that intellectual whip Tim Wilson what a total non-entity completely out of his depth.

    This period of governance will go down as the absolute worst in the history of this country. A good case for prison for the pair of them.


    It is obvious their hate of anything progressive drives their bile which is, in fact, their nemesis. They have absolutely no subtlety or style simply because they are mindless compulsively driven ideologues. Talk about falling on your own sword. You see hate eventually eats at you until you lose all perspective. Dear Leader is the perfect example.

    As for the gutless MSM boy have they got a lot to answer for.

    Yet they will play their smooth talking claim to equal representation while they send this country into the arms of John Fraser and more poverty and inequality.

    I am truly disgusted.

  18. Sir Ossis

    Nice Kaye,

    If Tony get’s the Khyber Tuesday 3/3/15 as suggested, what do you think he would do? Back-bench white-anting? Immediate retirement and back to the old dart? Malcolm’s defence minister? (all those photo ops!)

    The humiliation would be unbearable for such a narcissist. Oooh yeah.

    Or DD Monday 2/3/15 ??

  19. Kaye Lee

    And since we are “shining a light on dark places” ( a favourite saying of Brandis and boy wonder), our Attorney General has made the headlines more often than any I can recall in the past – and for all the wrong reasons.

    Like attending the wedding of shock jock Michael Smith and charging the taxpayer. When busted he said he “used the wedding as an opportunity to collaborate with Smith over his work covering the Health Services Union scandal involving former MP Craig Thomson.” At his wedding??????

    Or when he racked up a $1100 dinner bill on taxpayers for him and three guests in London, or hit us for $15,000 to fund a second custom-built bookshelf for his personal library which cost us $13,000 to stock with trashy books.

    Or when Barrie Cassidy resigned from his chairman position on the Old Parliament House Advisory Council after being asked by Attorney-General George Brandis to stand down.

    Or when he put Gerard Henderson in charge of the PM’s Literary Awards who then gave an award to a very dubious anti-union book.

    Or making himself sole arbiter of whether to refer a journalist for prosecution.

    (I am expecting the white van to turn up any moment…and hi to all those monitoring anyone who says Hizb ut-Tahrir)

  20. Kaye Lee

    I am also wondering how ‘whoever’ it was that decided it was good idea to refer Peter Slipper to the AFP over $900 worth of questionable cab charges, resulting in countless millions spent destroying a man who has now won his appeal, feels. I’m looking at you George.

  21. DanDark

    “In 2011 Brandis submitted specific accusations to NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione that sitting federal M.P. Craig Thomson committed larceny and fraud through misuse of a credit card in the Health Services Union expenses affair which in turn led to public concern about the separation of powers between legislature and the judiciary.[23]

    Brandis faced public scrutiny when it was revealed that in 2011 he had billed the taxpayer for attending the wedding ceremony of Sydney radio shock-jock Michael Smith, who had colluded with Brandis to publicise the Craig Thomson media saga. [24] [25]”

  22. Kaye Lee

    And considering the Royal Commission into getting Julia Gillard exonerated her, I think some defamation lawyers should be looking at this from George Brandis.

    REPORTER: Yesterday you told the Senate that the Labor Party is being led by a criminal. Outside of parliamentary privilege, do you say the Prime Minister is a criminal?

    BRANDIS: I’m saying that, on the documentary evidence and her own admissions, there appears to me, and appears to the Opposition, to have been a breach of the criminal and commercial laws of Western Australia – of the Criminal Code, section 170 in particular, and of the Association’s Incorporation Act. Now, on the question of what I said in the Senate, parliamentary privilege exists for a reason. Parliamentary privilege is actually part of the law. It’s been part of the law since 1689 and the bill of rights and the reason that is exists is that members of the Parliament are unconstrained in the chamber from saying what people are not at liberty to say outside the chamber at least without taking the risk of being sued. It’s a privilege that should be exercised judiciously, I, as a former chairman of the Privileges Committee, know that more than most.

    But it does exist so that when there are allegations of serious wrongdoing to be made against senior people or officials in government, they can be made free of constraint.

    REPORTER: You don’t allege anything, you actually said it.

    George Brandis Press Conference On Gillard AWU Allegations

  23. Kaye Lee

    Composing the Brandis files has worn me out…it is WAY past time to lay my little heady down so let me say goodnight with one of my favourites….

    “Peta Credlin, Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, avoids punishment on drink-driving charge

    Her lawyer also told the court that incoming Attorney-General George Brandis, had written to the court describing Ms Credlin’s exemplary character”

  24. Kaye Lee

    When the person who occupies the highest legal office in the land uses it to try to destroy people (Thomson, Slipper, Gillard, Triggs) it is time to question his suitability for the job.

    That’s what happens George when you try to bully people. You have made me angry.

  25. ianmac

    Kaye Lee!!! You wag!!
    Bless.. A(trocious) G(imp) began making my skin crawl over ten years ago when first sighted in QT and made me think was i witnessing jackboot johnnies acolyte in waiting…
    Little did I know..!
    The gut needs no convincing when it comes to malevolent throwbacks…
    Of course, the whole front bench emanate the same such vile mordoresque intimations of impending doom,so that our focus is diverted from their opposition’s bland presence on the stage of international activities which becomes invisibly concordant with the fascist wave of Pan/American corporate devastation of our Democratic idyl of equality or the hope thereof.
    Thanks Kaye Lee, for illustrating,so much, the stitch up by these lizard brained POLITICIANS.. 😉

  26. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    I worry about living in a country which has a sufficient number of people capable of giving power to such a despicable bunch as we have in government! And I worry even more that the current opposition does not seem to have the ability to put them in their place without having to resort to their unacceptably low standards.

  27. CMMC

    “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

    Hey, this Article 19 is good stuff, George. If you get caught downloading illegal content, just call George (or Timmy). Tell them its an Article 19 issue and they will defend you.

  28. Terry2

    Great research, Kaye : it’s there for all of us to find but you shine a light into in dark places, thank you.

    Something defective in our education system that allowed these people to become radicalised and now they are in power.

  29. Keith

    Amusing how Brandis brought up the matter of free speech; yet, at a later date has not been able to explain what it means. What is not amusing though, is the appalling attack on Gillian Triggs. Gillian Triggs had rightfully foreshadowed her concern about asylum seekers and their children to Brandis while Labor was in government.

    Brandis displays a complete lack of understanding of the role of the HRC ;as well as, the fact that he is incapable of fulfilling the role of AG in a responsible and considered way.

  30. roscoe

    a tweet from @timwilsoncomau
    Walked past Occupy Melbourne protest, all people who think freedom of speech = freedom 2 b heard, time wasters….send in the water canons

  31. paul walter

    The article is really getting to the nitty-gritty with Prof Trigg’s remark concerning Magna Carta ( thus of course Habeas Corpus) and the typically psychopathic response from Brandis, the Grand Inquisitor, flanked by that most detestable of individuals, IPA Tim Wilson.

    It shows the several purposes of the Asylum Seeker wedge, something intended to abnegate both refugee and dumbed down Australian citizens basic human rights through consent manufacture for the brutalising of refugees, driven here by Western genocidal behaviours elsewhere.

    “they came for the refugees,
    then they could come
    for the unemployed-
    who’s next”

    It’s amazing how nothing goes to waste from the Democratic carcass, with IPA inversioning.

  32. DanDark

    This is straight from The IPAs handy hints…

    “Take, for instance, the Gillard government’s National Curriculum. Opposing this policy ought to be a matter of faith for state Liberals. The National Curriculum centralises education power in Canberra, and will push a distinctly left-wing view of the world onto all Australian students. But it has been met with acceptance – even support – by the Coalition’s state education ministers. This is because a single National Curriculum has been an article of faith within the education bureaucracy for decades; an obsession of education unions and academics, who want education to ‘shape’ Australia’s future. (No prize for guessing what that shape might look like.) A small-target election strategy has the unfortunate side-effect of allowing ministerial aspirants to avoid thinking too deeply about major areas in their portfolio. So when, in the first week as minister, they are presented with a list of policy priorities by their department, it is easier to accept what the bureaucracy considers important, rather than what is right. The only way to avoid such departmental capture is to have a clear idea of what to do with government once you have it.”

  33. mars08

    One of the best (or maybe THE best) articles I’ve read on this forum. Bravo Kaye Lee!

    And thanks for all the amazing comments posted here. Wonderful to read the thoughts of some informed, caring, rational people… rather than the inane, ridiculous bullshit I’m confronted with every day.

    (Hizb ut-Tahrir)

  34. John Fraser


    Violence against women is being led from the top.

    Each and every day Abbott displays his misogynism.

  35. Kaye Lee

    Dear oh dear, I did go on a rant last night didn’t I. Researching George Brandis is not good for one’s equanimity.

  36. John Fraser


    Try researching something good about Brandis.

    That way madness lies.

  37. DanDark

    Brandis and good in the same sentence just dosnt gell
    Brandis = bigot, braindead, boring, bully, bad, bankrupt, backwards
    and needs to be booted back to the bile he came from…

  38. Kaye Lee

    “Try researching something good about Brandis.”

    While at the Bar he was a board member of UNICEF Australia for 10 years.

    Which makes it all the more unconscionable that he does not listen to them either….

    “Our question to governments has to be that if we acknowledge that serious harm, to continue this way with this policy approach means that we are choosing harm. We absolutely have to reconsider this approach,”

    When I was chair of the board for a homeless youth refuge we had several politicians over the years join the board. I had to sack most of them for failing to attend meetings. It looks good on the resume but don’t ask them to actually DO anything. It appears George’s involvement with UNICEF must have been for the look rather than any philosophical alignment.

  39. John Fraser


    "Soapy" Brandis has been busy reading and building up his taxpayer funded library since he first became a Senator in 2000.

    Any work he may or may not have done for UNICEF is likely to have been incidental to the above …. or contingent on whatever royalty was involved.

  40. Franny Priest (@Franny_Priest)

    From Facebook Page: Tony Abbott – Worst PM in Australian History
    February 25 at 4:29am ·

    Courtesy of Luke Knight

    Why is Abbott a Dead man Walking?

    Was it justice, was it Karma?
    Was it Murdoch, was it Palmer?
    Was it lying and conceit?
    Was it backbenchers fear of defeat?
    Was it Mathias and Joe’s cigars?
    Was it because we’ve stopped making cars?
    Was it climate change denial?
    Was it putting Julia on trial?
    Was it the daughter’s scholarship prize?
    Was it debt and deficit lies?
    Was it removing the Carbon Tax?
    Was it trying to give the RET the axe?
    Was it cutting Foreign aid?
    Was it being so retrograde?
    Was it the Minister for Women joke?
    Was it all the promises broke?
    Was it Brandis’s bigots rights?
    Was it prancing around in lycra tights?
    Was it cutting the SBS and the ABC?
    Was it costing more for university?
    Was it imposing a GP tax?
    Was it the disregard of facts?
    Was it the ridiculous Dames and Knights?
    Was it the threats and talk of fights?
    Was it Joe’s “lifters and leaners”?
    Was it cutting the pay of parliament’s cleaners?
    Was it punishing pensioners and the unemployed?
    Was it the total moral void?
    Was it the embarrassing G20 address?
    Was it the ongoing budget mess?
    Was it the book-launch travel rort?
    Was it knighting the Queen’s consort?
    Was it use of the sham inquiry stunt?
    Was it the weasel words of Hunt?
    Was it the 800 Million given to News?
    Was it longer unemployment queues?
    Was it a budget most unfair?
    Was it too much body hair?
    Was it nobbling the NBN?
    Was it lying again and again?
    Was it exploiting terrorist threats?
    Was it job applications of Eric Abetz?
    Was it the sex worker wink?
    Was it being too slow to think?
    Was it the surprises and constant excuses?
    Was it asylum seeker abuses?
    Was it the work of Peta and the IPA?
    Was it repeating slogans day after day?
    Was it the dog whistle of “Team Australia”?
    Was it the pungent smell of failure?
    Was it wimping Putin’s shirt front?
    Was it because Christopher Pyne is a pain?
    Was it Arthur’s memory at ICAC?
    Was it giving Mr Burns the sack?
    Was it ever declining polls?
    Was it funding Internet trolls?
    Was it Newman’s election loss?
    Was it the submarine double cross?
    Was it the whole damn useless crew?
    Was it the ties of bogus blue?
    Was it the hubris and the swagger?
    Was it Malcolm and Julie’s dagger?
    Why will Abbott get the shove?
    The answer is, all of the above.

  41. A

    Great article! I was wondering about the ballet donation as well…looks like my question was answered.

  42. Kaye Lee

    I should also have mentioned George’s unilateral decision to rename the Occupied Territories which heralded their decision to vote no to the proposal in the United Nations Security Council demanding Israel end the occupation of Palestinian territories condemning them to more years of hatred and violence

  43. Kaye Lee

    Brandis gets censured today and his reposnse was that he lost faith in Gillian Triggs in November 2014 when she couldn’t explain why she didn’t start her inquiry until after the election. Perhaps he couldn’t remember back as far as February 2013 when he castigated her for wasting her time and resources on children in detention.

  44. Win jeavons

    If you stop the boats, but won’t do anything to stop the reason for the boats, you don’t solve any problem, just dump it elsewhere. Where are the boats fro Myanmar finishing up ? are these people drowning at sea and we just aren’t told?

  45. Kaye Lee

    And in more good news for the IPA, former director John Lloyd was appointed as our new public service commissioner in December. No wonder they look like going on strike – no wage rises for you lot!

    For a group that want smaller government, a hell of a lot of IPA people seem to be getting government jobs.

  46. Terry2

    Well, well , having asked the opposition to come up with measures that may help the economy, Labor proposes cracking down on multi-national tax avoidance but Hockey sneeringly dismisses any such attempts as being too hard to administer, impacting on investment and jobs growth.
    So, multi-nationals are off the hook ?

    When asked whether the government would rein in generous tax concessions on superannuation contributions as a budget measure, Hockey said that pre-election the government had promised not to fiddle with superannuation so the answer is no.
    So, now they start keeping promises ?

  47. abbienoiraude

    Thank you Kaye for this well researched and shocking piece.

    Where IS the MSM? Why isn’t some little upstart new graduate Journalist champing at the bit to expose this. How long would it take Four Corners to expose the full extent of the IPA and Brandis? Why don’t they? They have just destroyed ( we hope) the Greyhound business, why not that other dog of a disgrace the manipulation and immoral degradation being steered by the pathetic ideology of the IPA?

    Your work Kaye, and the commentators on this site makes me despair, but hope all at once.
    Thank you.

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