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Tim Wilson epitomises so many things that are wrong with the Morrison government

Two photographs taken by Alex Ellinghausen last week pretty much sum up Liberal Member for Goldstein, Tim Wilson.

The first shows Tim joining the Parliamentary Friends of Running (yes, there is such a thing) and the Indigenous Marathon Foundation members as they head off together on a four-kilometre jog to promote active lifestyles in Indigenous communities.

Tim, clutching his mobile phone, is wearing a Liberal-blue t-shirt, jogging shorts, and what appears to be some sort of compression skins underneath the shorts. I am assuming that was to protect his groin when he did a rapid u-turn when the cameras stopped filming. Tim only ran 100 metres before Ellinghausen snapped him returning alone to the warmth of parliament house.

It’s all about self-promotion as Tim freely admitted in a 2014 interview.

He became heavily involved with student politics, eventually becoming president of the Student Union in 2001, thanks in part to his talent for favour-trading – plying opponents with “a whole bunch of delegateships” in return for their support. He also had “this really clever little trick”, using a digital camera, “which very few people had back then”, to take photos of himself at university club functions, several of which he would attend in a single night. He would then send the photos to the club magazines the next morning. “They didn’t have any photos, certainly not that immediately. So they’d run them, and of course I was in half of them, and it made me look as if I was the centre of everything.”

How very Morrison-style Liberal of him. It’s all about the photo ops and trading favours.

It’s not just running where Tim does his rapid back-flips.

After years campaigning for the Australian Human Rights Commission to be abolished during his time at the Institute of Public Affairs, he was chuffed to immediately accept a very high-paying job with them when, after a pleasant evening spent together at the IPA’s 70th birthday bash, George Brandis rang out of the blue to offer Tim a job that didn’t exist.

And Wilson wasted no time taking advantage of his new role, spending $77,763 in expenses in his first year on the job in addition to his $332,000 salary package and $40,000 accommodation allowance. Unfortunately, this came at the expense of the extremely competent Disability Commissioner, Graeme Innes, as Tim’s new job didn’t come attached with any new funding, so someone had to go.

But Tim was just marking time, waiting for another IPA party-goer, Andrew Robb, to retire from his plum Liberal seat of Goldstein, at which time Tim very quickly resigned from his sinecure at the Human Rights Commission which had only ever been to give him something to put on his CV. Tim was now a Member of Parliament in a seat that has always voted Liberal – barring disaster, a lifetime gig (unless a better offer comes along as it did for his predecessor).

In his previous life at the IPA, Wilson had also spent his time writing witty bon mots ridiculing those who urged action on climate change.

The success of Kerryn Phelps at the Wentworth by-election caused Tim to do another spectacular u-turn when he realised his Inner-city Melbourne constituents were possibly more concerned about climate change than coal-mining jobs. So obvious was Tim’s about-face, the Quadrant magazine labelled him Tim ‘Windvane’ Wilson.

Wilson’s very public championing of freedom of speech is also inconsistent.

During the Occupy Melbourne protests in 2011, he tweeted “all people who think freedom of speech = freedom 2 b heard, time wasters … send in the water cannons”. Yet, in 2019, he was tweeting selfies taken at democracy protests in Hong Kong, extolling the importance of their voices being heard.

During his IPA days, Wilson was a constant panellist on the ABC whilst his organisation was calling for its privatisation. Use it to raise your profile and then demand it be sold off to appease the doyen of the IPA, Rupert Murdoch.

Tim Wilson, as chair of the parliament’s economics committee, collaborated with a relative and investment partner to use publicly funded hearings to attack Labor’s franking credits policy, co-ordinate protests with committee meetings, use a petition to collect signatories contact details, and enlist new members to the Liberal Party.

The Liberal Speaker of the House, Tony Smith, expressed his concern about Wilson’s actions which he said could be “seen to have caused damage to the committee’s reputation and damage to the house committee system more generally”.

Wilson was bemused. ‘What did I do wrong?’

I can understand his confusion.

Tim is the archetypal Liberal. No expertise other than self-promotion, jobs for the boys, rapid u-turns for political expediency, maximise your expense claims, deals for mates, feather your financial nest, and get your photo taken a lot. He will probably go far.

And isn’t that … so disappointingly inadequate?


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  1. Phil Pryor

    The pudgy, pusillanimous, prancing parliamentary pox known as T Wilson is a disgrace to his party, to Parliament, to the community of Australia and to civilised decency, but, being a PPPPP, he does nor recognise, register, respect or remember much. A bowelful of beastliness…

  2. Michael Taylor

    I’ve never seen a government so besotted with propaganda. What’s next? A photo of Wilson on the moon? Morrison winning an Olympic marathon? Oi oi oi.

  3. Regional Elder

    Thanks Kaye for this article.
    Tim Wilson is almost a parody of the contemporary male Liberal parliamentarian, except that in his sanctimoniousness and his avarice, he is for real.
    There seems to be nothing he won’t do for publicity or to ingratiate himself to be first in line for a very well paid sinecure position.
    During the marriage equality debate, he proposed to his partner during his speech in the House of Reps.

  4. Andrew J. Smith

    Good overview of Wilson, recently described as having ‘the most punchable face in Australian politics’ or could be described as a freelance ‘grifter’ and/or ‘foreign agent’ like Abbott et al. in that LNP, IPA and NewsCorp eco-system, promoting the classical or libertarian economic myths, masquerading as empirical science e.g. the ‘trickle down effect’.

    Wilson is complicit, via the IPA (AtlasNetwork), like in the UK (the IEA led by an Australian Hedge Fund owner, Hintze), importing electorally divisive Koch linked agitprop in sociocultural issues inc. economics, and science denial/avoidance on climate and/or environment, designed for the GOP to maintain power to serve corporate sponsors, or for ‘anywhere’ corporates to promote Brexit against the interests of UK ‘somewhere’ SME businesses…… even if it means voter suppression (recent promotion in the Queen’s Speech of imported Koch/ALEC ‘Voter ID’ laws for a non existent problem) ….

    This is exemplified by targeted attacks on universities, education, science, youth, immigrants, public broadcasters, women/gender, unionists, lefties etc. to nudge voters back to the right of the 19th century attitudes…. gay marriage issue should have simply been a quiet constitutional amendment but the modus operandi precludes this, and requires much ‘noise’ to fill up media and divide ageing electorates…..

    When push comes to shove, where do Wilson’s loyalties lie Adam Smith, IPA/AtlasNetwork, NewsCorp, the Liberal Party or least of all, Australian voters and parliamentary democracy?

  5. wam

    A great read, Kaye, as usual.
    This loathsome hypocrite has developed the ability to ooze the big three, honesty, sincerity and empathy, without actually having any of them.
    Fortunately he has the filau-flaw and, as an edge of the bed atheist, will have to do his damage from the minister level.

  6. Henry Rodrigues

    This guy or person, is the arch typical product resulting from in-breeding deep in the cesspit of liberal/self satisfaction politics. He has no allegiances or honest beliefs or discernible principles, except anything that promotes himself and his ambitions. Liberal material to the core with a face that’s just begging to have shit poured over it.

    The voters of Goldstein must be similar to those who kept electing jug ears for so many years.

  7. RomeoCharlie29

    That pair of photos absolutely exposes Wilson for what he is, an opportunistic imposter. Well spotted Kaye. Like so many of his fellow Libs he’s all show and no substance,I think weathervane is a good description. I note too that according to Newspoll (only) 44% think the budget was good. As the inspection/ analysis gets deeper people will realise that the goodies won’t actually appear until next year, as in the childcare. Typical Liberal, talk big but the fine print shows little action. When workers realise that their wages are not going anywhere but people like Gery Harvey, twiggy Forrest, Gina Reinhardt and the people who also stand to benefit most from promised tax cuts have also done better than the workers over the past year, they will, or should, be outraged at the con job being perpetrated on them. As for us pensioners and the unemployed, the usual SFA. Bring on the election Scotty so we can consign you to your rightful place as the (former) holder of the record of worst PM ever.

  8. Canguro

    And speaking of Gina…

    From this morning’s Guardian:

    Rinehart remains Australia’s richest individual, with an estimated net worth of $36.38bn, according to the Australian. Her wealth reportedly increased by $20bn in the last year, with Hancock Prospecting posting a record net profit of $4bn in the 2020 financial year.

    Her wealth increased by twenty billion dollars in twelve months… that’s… a staggering $54,794,520 per day, or $2,283,105 per hour, or $38,052 per minute.

    How much tax does this unaccountably rich woman pay? And why should should she be permitted to accumulate more wealth than the pharaohs or the vaults of Fort Knox when there are people just as worthy as her struggling to meet their daily needs?

    Doesn’t seem right, does it? By dint of being the daughter of a racist eugenically inclined cranky old coot who happened to luck on to a career that enabled him to identify certain mineral strata in the back-blocks of remote WA, and hence paved the way for a lucrative enterprise hoiking ore from the earth, material that, by natural rights, ought to have been a sovereign asset for the benefit of all Australians. I seem to recall back in the days of The Rodent’s reign over the land, that a sizeable war chest of taxation revenue accrued from the so-called ‘mining boom’, but that that war chest was ultimately pissed up against the wall by the LNP in a raft of socially unprofitable expenditures.

  9. Canguro

    @Michael Taylor, you ask “I’ve never seen a government so besotted with propaganda. What’s next? A photo of Wilson on the moon? Morrison winning an Olympic marathon?”

    Not quite winning an Olympic marathon – it begs the question, in what field? – but Morrison getting the red-carpet treatment on an airbase visit ranks pretty highly as another shameless effort at self-promotion. I mean, who the fuck does he think he his? Someone special?

    Kind of makes me gag, the banality of his behaviour.

  10. Harry Lime

    Thanks for that Kaye Lee,although I didn’t really need a reminder of the fools we’ve managed to survive.As for Wilson,what a regrettable, repulsive little turd, given form in the bowels of the IPA,and like so many others in that cesspit of toxic infection,poisoning the body politic.

  11. Henry Rodrigues

    Canguro…… Who does he think he is ? Whatever he thinks of himself, I along with many, consider him to be the lowest form of slimy lifeforms slithering through the filth at the bottom of the stinking barrell of bullshit that is the Liberal/National parties.

    The IPA and Murdoch and his maggots are the ones who nurture and sustain these creeps.

  12. Henry Rodrigues

    Yes Mike Taylor, Howard was the original creep and all the rotters came after him.

  13. John OCallaghan

    Tim Wilson should be tarred and feathered, and hog tied to a mechanical bull for 24 hours at full throttle!

  14. leefe

    ” .. Wilson, recently described as having ‘the most punchable face in Australian politics’ … ”

    Highly debatable when there are so many candidates.

  15. Kaye Lee

    The most punchable face comment conceded it was a tough field.

    “On Sunday one of the most punchable faces in a party made up exclusively of punchable faces made a brilliant tweet. Not brilliant in the sense that his argument holds weight (Liberal arguments rarely do) but brilliant in the sense that it is a stellar example of how Liberals have gone from strength to strength by convincing poor, working, and middle class people to vote against their own interests.”

    It came from an article where “Tim Wilson is trying to argue that superannuation, and not absurdly unaffordable prices and suppressed wages, is the thing that’s stopping you from buying a house.”

  16. Michael Taylor

    (Thanks to Luis Neto), I think Tim has started a bit of a craze:

  17. leefe


    “Who has the most punchable face in Australian politics?”

    That would make for a far more interesting poll than the usual Preferred Prime Minister rubbish.

  18. Kaye Lee

    I don’t like punching. I would prefer to just let people know what these guys are really like. I hesitate to use the word ridicule…just observation about how utterly ridiculous they make themselves. Mind you, I am sure that Tim would fight for my right to humiliate, insult and offend him…he seems to think that’s what freedom is all about.

  19. totaram

    “I am sure that Tim would fight for my right to humiliate, insult and offend him…”

    You are so mistaken Kaye Lee (or was that satire?). He fights for the right to humiliate, insult and offend only for certain persons who follow his ideology. Others are not entitled. Check all the legal cases being filed for defamation by Coalition politicians, and/or threats of legal action for defamation.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Good point totaram. It’s always different when the shoe is on the other foot. Conservatives do NOT like being challenged.

  21. GL

    Maybe “Who has the most custard pie mashed in the face face in Australian politics?” instead.

  22. leefe

    GL Or we take a leaf out of egg-boy’s book. Both, however, are a waste of good food.


    I was not advocating actually punching anyone. Just finding out who Australia thinks is the one most worthy.
    Before his resignation, my vote would probably have gone to Christiansen, but with him leaving the fray it’s a harder question to resolve.

  23. totaram

    leefe: There is a queue of competitors I know, but perhaps we could put them in alphabetical order and solve the problem?

  24. leefe

    “Crucifixion? Good. Out of the door. Line on the left. One cross each.”

  25. Consume Less

    Good article Kaye. Nothing more to say, disgusted as usual by the antics of these people.

  26. Kaye Lee

    adding to the gallery…

  27. Michael Taylor

    It’s gonna be hard to top that one, Kaye.

    Dang I can’t wait for our web developers to put up a new ‘Recent Comments’ section. Hopefully Monday.

  28. Michael Taylor

    This one looks sinister. It probably was.

  29. Kaye Lee

    I still think the red carpet with ceremonial swords still takes the cake. Peter Dutton issued orders that events “where personnel are encouraged to wear particular clothes” must “cease”. I’m pretty sure that’s not what ADF personnel normally wear???

    He’s been there a nansecond and Dutton is issuing orders and overruling the head of defence decisions (and making sure the media hears about it). They must find him VERY annoying.

  30. Dave G.

    I am in my late eighties with failing health so I will not be around for it but I would put $100 down on Wilson being ambassador to theU.S.A. or Britain in ten years time. The Conservatives are repulsive but the vote most times goes their way,I have never been able to fathom this.

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