Note: If the title and the first part of this article looks eerily similar to yesterday’s article … it is because they are! A technical issue occurred. Yesterday’s article has been removed and here is the full article (as was intended for yesterday):
1 The heading refers to when one has spent a few hours writing what one thinks is a fairly decent piece for Saturday’s AIMN only to find that it didn’t save.
I had used the heading ‘A conga line of disasters.’ Diligently, I saved all my source material so that I could expand on each recent episode of bad government.
As much as I hate to admit it, I also deleted my source material so re writing is my only choice.
In my efforts to retrieve my work I stop and pause at the amount of stuff I have written over the past six years. It must run into thousands of articles.
If you add in all the other writers, it is no wonder our editor loses it from time to time.
As I recall I began with the fact that years ago in one of my many pieces on the destruction of our democracy by the conservatives that we should have a Ministry for the Future. (You can place any policy you like in it).
2 As we deal with the drought and find that the National Party’s answer to the problem is to build more dams.
Never mind that if it did rain and the mighty Murray flowed then 80% of the water would go to the irrigators.
Everyone has a plan, and everyone wants to release it. So characterless is the Nationals leader (what is his name again?) that it looks as though Barnaby has taken over again.
The problem is of course is how the water is dispensed. Who gets it, in other words?
Imagine if we had had a Ministry for the Future when all of the problems were first identified and forecast to grow inestimably into the future.
The ideas of today need to be honed with critical reason, factual evidence and scientific methods of enquiry so that they clearly articulate the currency of tomorrow.
Why is it we react to problems instead of being proactive? With this government now in power for going on 7 years we have made no progress on a national drought policy, energy or climate policy.
That is genuinely poor by any standard.
The problems didn’t just invent themselves here and now and to invite prayer as a remedy is an insult to our collective intelligence.
3 But reports coming out of Canberra suggest the Nationals are most upset at being pushed out of what should be their sacred domain; the bush. So while this drought has its way with the animals the people and growers of produce the Nationals and Conservatives decide to have a Donny Brook about who should take the credit for the latest hand out.
4 They will do anything they can to assist people who are in the most dire of circumstances so long as it doesn’t diminish the possibly of a surplus.
Maryanne Slattery’s article in The Guardian; “The only thing as certain as drought in Australia is the stupid call to build new dams“ makes clear sense:
“The reason politicians don’t like to talk about these dams is they do nothing for drought-stricken towns and struggling communities. Instead they are on private land for the exclusive use of corporate agribusiness.”
On the subject of dams, or more generally lying, Tony Burke gave an impressive speech in the House of Representatives last week in which he names four policies for which the government blatantly – and unapologetically even – incontrovertibly tells lies.
They were: a) that Labor never built a new dam during its term in office, b) has to do with paying down Labor’s debt, c) is about us meeting our emissions targets, and d) had to do with extinctions and. And we can add another: The government is lying in the house itself and how it weakens our democracy. I urge the reader to watch the video (in the link above) and see just how Burke pulls the Government apart.
5 But let’s move on, for the Conga line is long.
Never in my lifetime would I have envisaged all our major newspapers, including Murdoch’s mastheads, simultaneously appeal to our democratically elected government to be more transparent about the way it conducts our business.
It simply reinforces the public’s view that our Prime Minister lies at will, lies by omission, misleads by choice and is evasive when we have a right to know.
In a democracy the public’s right to know is sacrosanct.
6 Lying has become so ingrained in those in government that they treat it as a sort of divine right.
Journalism and press freedoms are an integral part of any democracy as is our right to know. Our government treats our right to know as a need to know. This is fundamentally wrong on many levels.
7 FOI applications are now almost impossible to obtain and when they are acquired, they are so redacted as to be useless.
8 This should not be taken as an endorsement of the behaviour of our news outlets, far from it. That is a different matter.
Lying in the media is wrong at any time however when they do it by deliberate omission it is even more so. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity.
9 Here is another example of non-transparency in government. Did you know that:
“Australia’s richest private schools – which charge students as much as an astonishing $70,000 a year for boarding and tuition – can access cash assistance from a new $1.2 billion taxpayer-funded slush fund.
Senate estimates heard evidence on Thursday that no private school would be banned from accessing the fund, which was established in 2018 as a sweetener to quell the concerns of Catholic and independent schools about a new funding model.
However, public schools are not eligible to apply.”
10 And here is but another example of the Government’s complete lack of transparency:
“It pays to be in power. Especially if you’re one of the 52 people in Scott Morrison’s so-called “Star Chamber” lucky enough to score a secret taxpayer-funded pay rise.
According to the Department of Finance, as of October 1 the Prime Minister has signed off on 52 “personal staff” in his ministerial wing being paid a “salary that is above the top of the range of their classification”, adding an extra $1,414,272 a year to the budget.”
11 But no need to worry. There are some MPs in Canberra who have promised to campaign for more transparency.
The only trouble is that they are opposition members.
12 The mystery around an invitation to the White House for Pastor Brian Houston continues to amuse everyone except for the more seriously-minded political nerd such as myself. Well you see, the man in question went on radio Thursday to raise the question of his own importance but instead created another question.
Why is the Prime Minister going through this charade of not answering questions about the invite? The Pastor thinks it’s much to do about nothing so what does the PM know that we cannot? Ha Ha, is the CIA involved?
On the subject of Hillsong, in 2006 the church secured funds for:
“Indigenous development grants. Hillsong‘s benevolent arm got the money, which went almost entirely to employing and providing offices for church staff, with only a trickle-reaching Aborigines.
In one case, Hillsong Emerge spent $315,000 in federal funds employing seven of its own staff in Sydney to administer a “micro-credit” project that made only six loans to Aborigines worth an average of $2856 each.
Hillsong also failed to enable a single Aborigine to become self-employed under a $610,968 federal grant to encourage indigenous entrepreneurship.”
13 Did you know that the Morrison Government spent $170 thousand on empathy experts for advice on how to deal with drought stricken communities?
They couldn’t find it in their own hearts.
14 And you can add to that $20 million for Christmas Island to remain open with eight cleaners and six gardeners at the detention center for a family of four Sri Lankans and of course, to keep the island on alert for a flood of asylum seekers.
15 Now talking about extinctions we find, as reported in The Guardian that hundreds of Australian academics have endorsed this view:
“The science is clear the facts are incontrovertible.
We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, with about 200 species becoming extinct each day. This includes many species of insects, some of which are essential to our food systems. Many people around the world have already died or been displaced from the effects of a rapidly warming climate.
July 2019 was the Earth’s hottest on record. Arctic peat is burning and ice is melting at rates far beyond even the most radical scientific predictions. The Amazon is burning at an alarming rate. All are creating devastating feedback loops, releasing more CO2 and reducing the Earth’s heat reflecting capacities.”
16 It’s hard to imagine a week passing without Angus Taylor finding himself in trouble. Besides him not being able to find solutions to our power problems and looking after his own self interests, he is now allegedly being accused of falsifying documents.
All the Minister is doing is showing contempt for accountability.
The Guardian reports that:
“Sydney’s Lord Mayor has categorically rejected Angus Taylor’s version of how he came to rely on inaccurate figures of the council’s travel spending to attack her, saying “there were no alternative versions of the document” on the council’s website at any time.”
Labor has asked the NSW to investigate a possible breach in the law, however, I have about as much trust in them as the AFP to find anything against the Coalition.
Any wonder only 13% of us trust politicians.
To say that we are ambivalent about our politicians is an understatement. Now we are ashamed.
17 Did you know that the Prime Minister banned Craig Kelly from appearing on Q&A in case he made matters worse on climate change?
Any half-decent PM would have done the same. The man is a disgrace.
18 I think I will finish with the Prime Minister. Michael Pascoe in the The New Daily asks if the Prime Minister is a nutter. (By that he means in the Donald Trump mould).
Remember that no matter what the portfolio, Morrison was always loath to answer questions.
He was always evasive, and everything was on a ‘need to know basis.’ As Albanese said last week, he is loose with the truth.
“They’re “gossip”, “bubble”, and “family privacy”. Running away from what should be simple matters creates fears about how bad the answers might be.”
The refusal to answer questions in Senate Estimates last week was unprecedented.
Telling the truth should not be delayed simply because we are not sure how people might react to it.
My thought for the day
Finding the truth and reporting it is more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more.
PS: Our intention of a voice for our First Nations People is becoming a bit of a whisper.
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