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Turnbull government loses plot in worst week of its life

“Is ‘e an Aussie, Lizzie, is ‘e? Is ‘e an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?”, a catchy 1930s hit, could be the theme song of the entire 45th Parliament this week as three more MPs are exposed as dodgy double-dipping dual nationals under their Akubras, their RM Williams and their Drizabones. It’s like a masked ball. No-one is who they seem.

Barnaby Joyce, Fiona Nash and Nick Xenophon are all, in quick succession, revealed to hold dual citizenship.

It’s a shocking predicament. A government so over-invested on prizing citizenship, a government which has even added tough language tests and waiting periods in order to “accept the right people” as soon-to-be-Super Minister Dutton puts it, a government which fetishises the “priceless gift of citizenship” (akin to Tony Abbott’s “precious gift of virginity”) may be utterly undone by alien MPs who appear lax; blasé, even, over their own nationality.

Of course it’s all Labor’s fault, at least in the case of our iconic Deputy PM, bow-yang Barnaby, as Aussie as a dog on a tucker-box, last glimpsed succumbing to the spell of the water naiads of the Murray Darling Basin.

Barnaby goes to water. Panic grips the entire front bench. Pyne is petrified. What if the truth about Fiona Nash leaks? A fool-proof diversion is called for. A red kiwi conspiracy? Brilliant!

Turning crisis into catastrophe, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Turnbull government sheds any last vestige of credibility with a Kiwis-under-the-bed witch hunt.

Labor is colluding with “a foreign power” to out Barnaby Joyce as a New Zealander. It’s a stroke of genius.

Our Foreign Minister channels her inner Trump. Bugger diplomacy: a stunt is much more fun. Reason flies out the window. Julie Bishop denounces Wellington, now the Pyongyang of the South Pacific. Howls down the Pig Islanders. She feigns paranoid madness in a cunning ploy to divert everyone from the Barnaby Joyce disaster.

Clearly there’s a conspiracy between the Bolshevik parties on both sides of the Tasman, she implies. Demon Bill Shorten’s “sneakiness, dishonesty and disloyalty” pipes up her PM, adding his own ostinato to the Kill Bill theme, make him the cause of every self-inflicted government catastrophe, ever. Heads nod. Sinodinos applauds.

“The Australian people elected the government,” Turnbull tells Coalition MPs on Tuesday. Applause. “Bill Shorten wants to steal government by entering into a conspiracy with a foreign power.” How low can he go?

Adding a clever bit of cold war era top spin, the PM claims ALP fifth columnists are “conspiring with the NZ Labour Party to undermine the position of the deputy prime minister and the government of Australia.”

Really? So the proper, patriotic thing to do would have been to collude to cover up Barnaby’s Kiwi paternity? It’s unclear how checking the facts could “undermine” the government unless it wanted to hide its illegitimacy.

The charge is as dishonest as it is absurd. How could Joyce’s “position” which stems from his own false declaration of nationality be further undermined? Could he be more compromised? Inquiries, moreover, were not made by Labor but by a reporter working for The Australian. Fairfax journalist Adam Gartrell was also asking questions.

Yet for Bishop, a class act, who shows no signs of snubbing mass-murderer Duterte, payback doesn’t stop there.

“I would find it very difficult to build trust with members of a political party that had been used by the Australian Labor Party to seek to undermine the Australian government,” Bishop sniffs Tuesday, upping the ante; clearly aiming to make a full-blown diplomatic incident out of her government’s desperately lame strategy.

“Forget the trans-Tasman friendship in 2017 – Australia is basically a bully,” says Jesse Mulligan, host of New Zealand’s The Project.

“Julie Bishop – when you say you’ll find it hard to work with New Zealand, what exactly do you mean? How much worse could it possibly get?”

Bishop has touched a raw nerve with New Zealanders who view the relationship as one-sided and who find it difficult to overlook evidence that access to citizenship and social security entitlements for Australians in New Zealand are not reciprocated in the treatment of Kiwis in Australia – before anyone brings up the summary deportation via Christmas Islands of Kiwis in Australia whom Peter Dutton doesn’t like the look of.

Trans-Tasman relations aside, for Laura Tingle, of The Australian Financial Review Bishop descends into a “whirlpool of hysteria and conspiracy theories that would do Donald Trump proud”. It’s disturbing.

Yet Bishop’s done the government a favour. Her stunt is more than enough to dispel any delusion that she might, somehow, be a “safe pair of hands’ or a potential replacement for a dead man walking at the head of a mortally wounded government, Malcolm Turnbull. Even the smitten Peter Hartcher says she’s “over-cooked” her bid.

Deputy PM Barnaby “Bow-yang” Joyce outs himself in the House of Reps. He has to. Labor asks a leading question. Media hacks are shocked. Not Ocker Barnaby, our best retail politician? A Kiwi dual national who has, for years, been impersonating a true blue, bush Aussie? No half measures either. Hands down, he’s got the part off pat.

Just listen to him some time. The Barnaby garble is New England’s – New Zealand’s answer to Bob Katter’s rant.

Baa-narby. Stop bleating about your Tamworth mother and grandmother, Baa-narby. You’re busted. On cue, a mob of MPs rushes to point the finger and snigger. Baa-Baa-arnby sheep noises erupt from Labor benches.

Yet things are so crook in the 45th parliament that even a ribbing is risky. Never know who’ll be next.

“Things are looking baaaaaaaa-d for Barnaby Joyce” tweets a snickering Nick Xenophon in RM Williams boot in mouth Schadenfreude of the week “that’s why an independent audit of all MPs citizenship urgently needed.”

Xenophon is visibly dismayed to learn he is a UK citizen and while he goes to some length to point out it’s through his father and a very rare blink- and- you’d- miss- it type of citizenship, his special pleading sits oddly with his decision not to resign.

He refers himself to a High Court which may not make a decision until October, a High Court which staffed by conservative black-letter judges which Turnbull oddly seems to believe will suddenly become progressives to suit his government. Joyce, similarly, seems unable to countenance anything but a favourable High Court decision.

Barnaby Joyce’s father, James Joyce – no less, hails from Dunedin, Edinburgh of New Zealand’s South, technically making his son a dour Kiwi by descent, a fact Joyce could easily have checked for himself but didn’t. It’s odd that he was never even curious. The complacency and the sense of entitlement is all his own – and his undoing.

Yet Joyce’s not the only 45th Parliamentarian whose inner voice told him not to bother. Fiona Nash can’t even bring herself to confess until the last-minute before the senate rises. Three Nats out of a total of 20 is a lot.

Is it chutzpah? Arrogance? Agrarian socialists never read the fine print? Something tells him he’s above all that?

Joyce receives a box of finest kiwi-fruit from gal-pal, puppy-lover, Amber Heard who tweets

‘When Barnaby Joyce said ‘no one is above the law’ I didn’t realise he meant New Zealand law.’

Yet Joyce won’t stand down. That’s something for others – such as his hated Greens to do. Listen to them moaning about how billions of litres of Murray-Darling water is rorted by big cotton irrigators and other National Party pals in direct contravention of the $13 billion Murray Darling Basin plan, a boondoggle which means that water paid for by taxpayers to protect the river ecosystem is, instead, subsidising local billion-dollar agricultural firms.

The notion of a Kiwi fifth column is no more absurd than the idea of leaving Barnaby Joyce in charge next week when the PM attends the Pacific Islands forum in Samoa, 4-7 September a nation with a history of resistance to European rule. Labor says leaving Joyce in charge is untenable and that it will not grant a pair for Turnbull.

But it’s about more than Barnaby. Into its regular, heady mix of state sponsored intolerance and paranoia, the government blends a swift Kiwi-kicking, a bagging of our ANZAC partners and post-colonial cousins-the soul mates we love to hate.

It’s a ritual attack, born of a complex mutual self-loathing, the cultural-cringing, sibling rivalry of two small nations upside down at the bottom of the world whose complex history is inextricably interwoven.

“Is ‘e an Aussie, Lizzie, is ‘e? Is ‘e an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?

Not only are we close, we may all now be Kiwi-aliens. According to the letter of section 44 of the Australian Constitution, no Australian is entitled to sit in Australian Parliament, given recent changes in New Zealand law.

As Sydney barrister Robert Angyal reminds us, Section 44 (i) of the constitution bars anyone “under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power” from serving in federal parliament.

“Under recent and little-noticed changes to New Zealand law, however, Australian citizens now don’t need a visa to live, study or work in NZ. Any Australian citizen is entitled to live, study and work there,” he says. All are thereby entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power.

“New Zealand law has made every Australian citizen incapable of being elected to, or serving in, the Australian Parliament. It’s not just Barnaby Joyce: It’s everyone,” he adds.

Doubtless this is something for The High Court to take into consideration. Lighten things up a bit. Certainly it will have to screen out the comments made by the Prime Minister that “it will find” that Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash can remain in parliament, an extraordinary prompting from the PM in parliament. Even if he is merely reflecting the Solicitor General’s view, it appears as if he is directing the judges to a favourable outcome.

The government redoubles its efforts to keep us in a state of perpetual hysteria; alert but no alarmed. There’s always pressing national security news on hand to divert us; feed our anxiety. By Sunday, the PM is talking up bollards and other anti-terror attack preparations while praising police for arresting three men who are currently in custody over an alleged arson attack on an Islamic Centre a year ago. Cutting edge anti-terror stuff.

It’s one of the weekly terror announceables which Laura Tingle recently warned us the government has put by.

Turnbull’s backing group is a nod squad of heavily-braided, shoulder-patched anti-terror cops, a riot of silver frogging and rank insignia all over the collars and the epaulettes of their black shirts and braid on the peaks of their caps. They are on hand to add laconic gravitas. Praise policing. They also update us on their bust.

One speaks of “male individuals” with that agonisingly indirect death-in-life depersonalisation so beloved by authorities, together with an arch coyness that is practically an anti-terror weapon in itself.

Not that the names are secret. Ever helpful, Murdoch’s Herald Sun published them in a law and order piece last year complete with illustrations of the Fawkner mosque which bears graffiti reading The Islamic State.

The definite article is troubling. Islamic State would look more less like a fit-up.

Everything is not what it seems, another cop not beating things up, tells us earnestly. “This is a really complex investigation.” “These are not just arson attacks – what we are going to allege is that these were Islamic State inspired arson attacks.” “… Designed to put fear into a particular group in the community.”

“It interferes with the whole process of social cohesion that we so heavily promote,” he adds, straight-faced.”

In reality, the Coalition continues to divide the body politic with its war on terror, its rabid nationalism and its cynical manipulation of our fear of the other. Elevating citizenship into a “cherished prize” also stokes division.

By week’s end “all bets are off” in “light of the deputy prime minister’s citizenship situation” declares a shattered Bob Katter. He will no longer guarantee Coalition support on supply and confidence. He’s offended, above all, by Turnbull’s failure to even adequately consult with him, as promised, let alone meet Katter’s needs.

“I wanted and need certain things. I wasn’t delivered certain things,” he says. By this, presumably, a cryptic Katter means The Hell’s Gate Dam on the Upper Burdekin river, Indigenous land title, and the Galilee rail project. He also wins Golden Litotes for incisive political understatement of the week when he says of the PM,

“This is not a decision-maker who has a lot of political acumen.”

Failing to deliver justice also is a government which clearly expects other dual nationals to step aside or resign while its own MPs may stay on while their cases are referred to the High Court. Turnbull’s own crowing over the “remarkable” failure of The Greens’ Scott Ludlum to check his dual citizenship hasn’t helped.

The hypocrisy and injustice of preferential treatment rankles cross-benchers.

An outraged Katter protests to Paul Bongiorno at “two sets of rules at work here: one for Matt Canavan, a less senior minister in the Nationals, and one for the number two in the Coalition government, Joyce.”

“I am quite frustrated with the Prime Minister” for retaining in cabinet Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash, adds Rebekah Sharkie.

Now Turnbull’s government risks losing its majority. Nick Xenophon Team MP, Rebekah Sharkie, MP for Mayo, also withdraws her support for the government, saying the PM needs to stand aside two of his team while The High Court deliberates on the eligibility of dual citizens Fiona Nash and Barnaby Joyce to be in parliament.

While by Sunday, nifty Nick the crypto-Liberal appears to tone down Sharkie’s threat, the Coalition’s majority is still uncertain. Even if it retains its dual citizens, can it stumble along all the way to October?

The path to this impasse reveals a government whose ineptitude is surpassed only by its gift for self-sabotage.

Along with its bungling of who should stay and who should stand down, must go its mismanagement of dual-Scot, Fiona-food-label Nash who is permitted to deploy delaying tactics which only further damage the government.

“As Senator Nash admitted, she has known since Monday that she was a dual citizen, yet waited until one minute before the Senate rose for a two-week break to inform the Parliament,” protests Labor Senator Katy Gallagher .

Labor is not bluffed. “We’ve never had a government before, ever since Federation, that has had to go to the High Court because they just weren’t sure if they had a majority,” says Tony Burke, in the best zinger of the week.

It’s a line which highlights how the reality of the government’s one seat majority dictates its special treatment of Joyce.

Not to be upstaged, professional attention-seeker, Pauline Hanson stages her own bizarre performance theatre by wearing a burqa to the senate, an act which earns her a powerful serve from Senate Leader AG George Brandis but which achieves her attention-seeking, anti-Muslim dog-whistling objective.

Brandis is open to criticism with his solely pragmatic concern that Hanson may alienate the Muslim community a first line of defence – “vital to law enforcement agencies”, although he does protest at her intent saying “to ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments, is an appalling thing to do.”

Typically, Hanson dresses up her stunt in ways which further discredit her motives. “They’re spending $16m to put in more security because they’re worried about terrorism,” she smirks, ever eager to conflate burqa and terror.

Yet this is a misrepresentation. There was no security slip. She wears her senate pin. Hanson’s identity is checked by officials; she is granted access to her Senate seat because of who she is not what she was wearing. Whether or not she should have been permitted to take her seat given her clear intention to use the burqa as a cheap stunt is another matter. The same indulgence is not granted to other members who seek to bring in props.

Hanson’s not concerned with security, moreover, despite being happy to imply that Muslims are women-oppressing potential terrorists, a line not too far from some of Peter Dutton’s own remarks. Nor is she prompted to protest at any perceived subjugation of women by the garment. Rather, she is content to promote her own brand of toxic, mindless bigotry in the knowledge that any media attention at all can only help her publicity.

Never shy of publicity and not to be outbid by the crazy desperation manifest elsewhere in his government, Treasurer Scott Morrison makes his own magnificent contribution or debit entry, as Greg Jericho notes, by beginning the week accusing Labor of raising taxes and ending it with a bill to raise taxes.

Monday’s News Corp papers all obligingly relay his scaremongering that Labor’s taxes would cost the economy $167 billion based on Parliamentary Budget Office modelling, or so it seems, until Monday lunchtime.

“References in the media this morning to modelling being released today by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) are incorrect. The analysis reported in the media this morning was not conducted by the PBO”, ” the PBO’s Jenny Wilkinson says in a rare slapdown of the Treasurer.

As Chris Bowen notes ScoMo’s modelling fails to take into account Labor plans to cut income taxes for low and middle-income earners. Instead it is the quick and dirty scare campaign figuring favoured by Morrison in election mode. Could his attack of madness be taken as a sign an early election is being prepared?

Whatever his motive, the Treasurer ignores the electorate’s interest in reducing income inequality in Australia. Morrison remains fixated on the same shonky formulaic debt and deficit nonsense of the Abbott years.

Team Turnbull members may well now rue their Schadenfreude, their jeering and sanctimonious hypocrisy at the time yet The Greens did resign on discovering their dual citizenship. Set a benchmark. As the week concludes, the Coalition has succeeded only in conveying its desperation, its poor judgement and lack of moral compass.

Even should the High Court, somehow, decide to permit Joyce to remain, saving the Coalition its wafer-thin majority the verdict may not be known until October and in the meantime it has done itself irreparable harm both to its legitimacy and to its credibility.

And just how long can a nation can be distracted with national security announceables on bollard placement and breathless details of new charges being laid on last year’s arsonists?


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  1. wakeupandsmellthehumans

    It seems fairly obvious that the LIB/NP Coalition want to destroy the senate. Their born-to-rule sociopathy demands full and complete control of government.

    It all started this time with the double dissolution. That pesky cross bench had to get its comeuppance – didn’t it?

    When that failed the legitimacy of cross benchers – and anyone else in their way – came under scrutiny. The government referred Bob Day to the High Court, even the fact that he voted with the government was not reason enough to hold off the wrecking party. Then Culleton, then the Greens senators. Does anybody really buy the story that barrister Dr John Cameron acted simply as a curious individual with no political agenda when he acquired documents [supposedly unavailable to the public] to investigate the citizenship status of both Scott Ludlum and Derryn Hinch?

    When you play with fire you can get burnt. The fire in the senate not only singed one of their own – Matt Canavan – but it defied the laws of physics and jumped downstairs to the lower house, Barnaby Joyce must have been doused in an accelerant for that to have happened.

    Am I wrong in thinking that this whole citizenship debacle was started by the LIB/NP soon after the double dissolution election failed to give them supreme power?

  2. havanaliedown

    Not only wrong, but demented. Turnbull is politically stupid – why would he endanger an already precipitous position into fatal collapse of his government? The good news is that he will realise, finally, that the certainty of being swept from office by the zero Bill Shorten will cost him another $1,750,000 to replace another shortfall of small donations to the LNP. He’ll step down citing family or health reasons – who cares – for Julie Bishop who will smash the hapless Bill who up to this point was content to happily coast to a victory.

  3. Michael Taylor

    You clearly overestimate Julie Bishop’s popularity.

  4. townsvilleblog

    Last week was undoubtedly the worst week the Turnbull government has seen. The “Dual citizenship Affair” has seen the Coalition National Party leadership fall foul of Section 44 of Australia’s Constitution which has thrown the government into absolute bedlam:
    Section 44 of the Constitution states:

    44. Any person who -

    (i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or
    (ii.) Is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer: or
    (iii.) Is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent: or
    (iv.) Holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth: or
    (v.) Has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons:

    shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

    The Australian Electoral Commission reproduces the section in its Candidates Handbook, where it draws particular attention to s 44(i) and (iv).[2] As to the nomination form, it advises that to give “false or misleading information”, or to “omit any information if omitting that information would be misleading”, is a criminal offence and that the “maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 12 months”.[3] It does not spell out that such a conviction could result in disqualification under s 44(ii).

    During 2017, an exceptional number of cases have arisen under s 44. Most have arisen in the Senate, where the government does not have a majority, and two non-government senators have resigned. A few cases have arisen in the House of Representatives, threatening the government’s one-seat majority. A rash of cases, mostly concerning s 44(i), have emerged during July and August and with all-party support they are being referred by the Parliament to the High Court of Australia as Court of Disputed Returns. One challenged minister has stood aside from ministerial duties and will not vote before the High Court decision in his case; others, including ministers, are refusing to step aside pending a High Court decision.

    In view of the number of eligibility cases that have been or may be identified, on 17 August 2017 Senator Cory Bernardi of the Australian Conservatives called for the Parliament to be prorogued (suspended) until the High Court has clarified the situation and any by-elections required have taken place.[6]

    On 18 August, the Labor Opposition proposed to the Prime Minister that the challenged ministers who have not stepped aside from their position must do so owing to Constitution s 64, which requires that nobody can serve as a minister for more than three months unless they are a member of the parliament; ministerial decisions taken by somebody who was not validly occupying ministerial office would themselves be invalid.[7]
    (i) Allegiance to a foreign power

    Subsection 44(i) has generally been interpreted by the High Court of Australia as meaning that persons with dual citizenship are not permitted to stand for election and that a person must take “reasonable steps” to renounce their citizenship of the other country.[8] Its interpretation has been difficult.[9] There is the preliminary awkwardness that the Constitution itself does not require a member of the Parliament to be an Australian Citizen,[10][11] although Constitution s 42 does require members to swear an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the monarch; however, Australian citizenship has been made a statutory condition of eligibility for election.[12]

    During 2017 there have arisen several cases of possible breach of s 44(i), and in two cases, Australian Greens Senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, the member has resigned from the Parliament.[27][28][29] Many members, including those who have been referred to the High Court – Liberal National Party Senator Matthew Canavan,[30] One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts,[31][32][33] Deputy leader of the Nationals and Senator Fiona Nash,[34][35] and Nick Xenophon Team leader and Senator Nick Xenophon.[36] – have had their cases referred to the High Court of Australia, through the Court of Disputed Returns. Nationals leader and MP Barnaby Joyce was also been referred to the High Court after the New Zealand Government confirmed that he was a citizen of the country.[37][38][39][40] Every reference to the High Court, both those by the Senate and that by the House of Representatives, has had all-party support.
    Howard government Minister Jackie Kelly also fell afoul of Section 44 in 1996 so the coalition should have been aware, perhaps the “born to rule” arrogance of the LNP has made them lazy, too lazy to check their candidates, and now the question must be asked if the legislation they have collectively passed is invalid, depending on the decision of the High Court? A joint parliamentary committee should be immediately formed to review all past legislation, especially under the Turnbull government to decide whether or not it will remain valid.

  5. havanaliedown

    Julie Bishop is popular in Western Sydney – which is where elections are won (or lost). Unlike Turnbull, Julie Bishop isn’t terrified of anyone living West of Double Bay.

    She’s tough, articulate, physically fit, energetic, has a good sense of humour, a good international profile – plus, dare I say it… has more than a bit of sex appeal.

  6. Michael Taylor

    Like I said, you clearly overestimate her popularity.

  7. Carol Taylor

    Havanaliedown, however a contra opinion might be J. Bishop..stuffed up numerous times on the international stage such being called in for a “please explain” by the Indonesian High Commissioner, seems clueless about diplomacy preferring to try to bully rather than negotiate. And of course sex appeal is so very important for women to possess, after all it’s MEN who are going to judge you. However, since you’re judging female politicians by this criteria my husband’s opinion is, “She has all the sex appeal of a roofing nail”. I personally find J. Bishop, arrogant, completely lacking in skills necessary for international diplomacy, thinking instead that The Frock and being able to wiggle her rear end in a tight Amani skirt is all that it takes. Always the bridesmaid never the bride, don’t expect any more of Bishop, she peaked long ago.

  8. Dave

    BREAKING NEWS: It’s official! The LNP will now and forever be known as The Liberal Multinational Party: or The LIMP party for short!

  9. Zathras

    I recall a Canberra journalist saying how Bishop (formerly known as Julia Gillon) , behind her tough political persona was in fact incredibly stupid and ill-informed.

    Some have not forgotten her compassionate legal advice to the asbestos industry to stall proceedings until suffering miners die.

    Her main problem is that when she’s mounting an argument she doesn’t know when to stop and eventually goes over the top, as well as her blatant hypocrisy when making personal attacks.

    She’s known as “the cockroach” within her party because she has survived a number of party leaders and remained deputy.
    I doubt she will ever become leader because she will be a constant reminder of past failed governments.

  10. Michael Taylor

    Carol, let’s not forget how she upset China and her latest effort in damaging our relationship with NZ.

    Not even her sex appeal could save her.

  11. Matters Not

    Re Bishop:

    proclaimed, in some detail, the extraordinary achievements and virtues of Julie Bishop as Foreign Minister.. (Sarcasm)

    on her watch, DFAT had been marginalized from any serious foreign policy determination within the government and Australia’s contribution to development assistance had suffered an unprecedented decline. She seems satisfied to play the role of chief consular officer, because of the media exposure it affords her.

    … Bishop has been given an extraordinarily uncritical treatment in Australian media. There has been an indulgence of her, including of her celebritist ventures to which she seems attached, whether in Melbourne at Flemington or the Polo, or in Hollywood with the Aussie stars, and no serious questioning of her role in forming and guiding Australian foreign policy.

    There’s more here.

    RICHARD BUTLER. Has Bishop’s time come?

  12. Carol Taylor

    Indeed Michael, it takes a rare talent to create an international incident with New Zealand.

  13. guillotinesnow

    It’s pretty obvious what you’re doing while havanaliedown …

  14. helvityni

    Sex appeal…? Which Bishop? One is known for her whip, the other for her stare.. Passion for punishing, that’s more like it…

  15. Francesca

    Great piece. Love your work, David Tyler.

  16. wam

    it shows the power of media hype because it is ludicrous to put the slimy xenophou, joyce or nash onto the same page as ludlum and waters. The former are Australian born and, unless they have done a canavan, are not dual citizens whilst the latter were born overseas and needed to denounce birth and become Australian.
    The high court will decide that a foreign country cannot over rule australian birth and declare patrilineal descent the joke it is. Although. I love the thought that macho men in Australia could be dual citizens because of daddy’s birth.
    Barnaby being a bastard of a pollie makes me wonder if anyone is certain whether their dad was their dad?
    Julie want to do a julia and rid herself of a pm. She is nearly as nasty as michael-ia, Sophie and the rabbott. Unfortunately her affected stare is tto ridiculous.

  17. helvityni

    wam, Michaelia makes Margaret Thatcher to look like a seductress…

  18. Kaye Lee

    Julie Bishop is all facade and no substance. She swans her way around the world “living the dream”, having her photo taken at socialite events and doing magazine shoots. She has two approaches – dolly bird flirting or death stare.

    From February 2009,…..

    Julie Bishop stepped aside as shadow treasurer. She moved after losing the confidence of her colleagues in the treasury role. In return for stepping aside voluntarily, Ms Bishop will remain as the Liberal Party’s deputy leader.

    The change was revealed on Saturday by the Herald, which reported deep dissatisfaction in Liberal ranks with Ms Bishop’s performance.

    After resisting moves to oust her, Ms Bishop jumped before being pushed.

  19. Athena

    One must be a resident of New Zealand for 5 years to be eligible to apply for citizenship, so I think Robert Angyal is being a tad overdramatic.

  20. David Tyler

    Yes. There’s less to Julie Bishop than meets the eye – apart from her $600,000 Glorious Bishop -never ask where the money really came from -Chinese sponsorship – and the way as a lawyer she was able to protract legal cases so asbestosis claimants died before their cases were settled.
    A beacon of inhumanity, compassion-bypass, materialism and all the other loathesome, grasping, selfishness that Liberals value under the banner of individualism.

  21. tanginitoo

    Helvityni: So does ms Bishop! Even all the face lifts cannot make her look any less like a large block of aluminium!

  22. tanginitoo

    Michael Taylor: As always we agree!

  23. stephengb2014

    The cockroach with the sex appeal of a roofing nail.

    Gafaw, Gafaw, Gafaw

    S G B

    PS – sex appeal, haveanaliedown, have you gone blind, that woman makes me want to reach just looking at her. When she opens her mouth I expect to see bile coming out and giess what, I do.
    There is only one woman I can think of as worse and that is that Cash woman. Now theres a piece of work!

  24. Kaye Lee

    And let’s not forget, Julie appointed that charlatan Bjørn Lomborg to her foreign aid innovation group as well as the Abbott government giving him $4 million to set up some shonky climate change denying centre at UWA.

  25. Kaye Lee

    And she took her boyfriend to work to sit at the official Australian table at the UN summit in New York. Surely that spot could have been more productively filled by a diplomat or public servant?

  26. ceridwen66

    It is impossible for any moral person to either trivialise or ignore the pertinent fact that Bishop was once part of a legal team doing its utmost to prevent dying asbestos victims from receiving rightful and much needed compensation. Regardless of the professional irrelevancy of her highly debatable ‘sex appeal’ in performing her ‘political duties’ – most men and women I speak with liken her to a rapidly aging, overdone buzzard – she wholeheartedly subscribed to the inhumane stance of a company which in 1977 stated ‘even if the workers die like flies they will never be able to pin it on CSR’.”

    It says so much about Australia’s current political system that a toxic, malignantly pernicious cretin such as mesothelioma Julie would ever be seriously considered for the Prime Ministership let alone receive public support for such a travesty.

  27. David Tyler

    And how could anyone forget Bishop’s pet project – (we won’t talk about the massive cuts to Australia’s foreign aid-yet)

    (Drum roll) – Yes It’s her “gorgeous little funky, hipster, Googly, Facebooky-type place”.

    It even has a $6300 (bling?) ping-pong table and three bean bags costing $590 each. Absolute bargain. No-one ever regrets buying quality.

    It’s not an indulgent affectation – it’s a “$140 million agency with a brief to disrupt traditional aid processes and to identify inefficiencies and savings across the workforce.”


  28. diannaart

    An excellent article.

    Waiting on the High Court’s decision… should be interesting…

  29. jimhaz

    [has more than a bit of sex appeal]

    I’ve heard rumours that Abbott thought so to. Me – I’d one night stand her with enough alcohol.

    [She has two approaches – dolly bird flirting or death stare]

    That is remarkedly accurate.

  30. fa

    The list of felonies against Julie Bishop is as long as it is damning. Very well summarised on this thread by sharper minds than mine. Bishop is a gun for hire who will do and saying anything to help the LNP retain it’s currently tenuous grip on power. Her conduct deserves full condemnation. It’s disingenuous and hypocritical among other things.

    However, to stephenb2014, can I say does the critique need to descend into derogatory and quite vicious comments about Bishop’s appearance? There is a level of discourse targeting female politicians – irrespective of their political persuasion – that is undoubtedly vicious and sexist. It’s fuelled by and further fuels misogyny. We saw this ugliness in the days of the Gillard government when her appearance and gender were constantly under attack using a similarly ugly tone to the one being used here.

    Can we as intelligent people critique the poor performance, the ineffective policies based on self-interest, the utter hypocrisy and exploitation for nefarious purposes of our political system by LNP politicians such as Bishop without resorting to these below the belt, sexist attacks that are a particular brand of vilification reserved exclusively for women? Because I, for one, am tired of it.

  31. diannaart

    Men determining how f#ckable they find a woman – not exactly unusual. On another thread the word ‘bra’ was used which tied up a group of males competing for the best ‘boob’ pun.

    I cannot know for sure, but I am willing to bet that Julie Bishop wouldn’t go near JimHaz et al, drunk or sober…


  32. stephengb2014

    fa, et al

    My unreserved appology, I had not seen it as mysogenistic, but now it has been exposed,

    I am sorry

    S G B

  33. fa

    I take your point. This attitude may not be unusual but it doesn’t make it any less okay. If we’re ever going to change the prevailing sexist culture in this country we have to start challenging the ‘usual’ and saying not any more.

    I’ve seen women reduced to sexual stereotypes all my life. Every woman has felt the reductionist effect of being objectified. And how quickly that can turn to aggression and abuse when she fails to come across. I don’t like that feeling and I don’t like what it says about a woman’s place in society. If we’re ever going to change this we need to start with the language used when talking about socially prominent women no matter the field of endeavour, no matter how we feel about them personally, including women whose behaviour is unconscionable, i.e. Julie Bishop, Cash, other women in the LNP some of whom have been given their marching orders such as Sussan Ley and Bronwyn Bishop. My attitude has always been critique the behaviour rather than the gender.

    diannaart, I do have a sense of humour, just not on this particular topic. I didn’t see the ‘bra’ thread and maybe that’s a good thing. ?

    I will stop hijacking this thread now because the conversation was about David Tyler’s brilliant article on the egregious conduct of Julie Bishop, Barnacle Joyce et al.

  34. fa

    stephengb2014 Thank you. Accepted.

  35. fa

    Just saw comment by jimhaz after posting my last comment. Exhibit A. The defence rests.

  36. diannaart


    Thank you for your replies.

    I try to be patient, as I have learned and been burned before, but Jimhaz’s comment was the final straw for me. No woman, not even the Julie Bishops of this world deserve that sort of claptrap. There is enough, already, upon which to judge this woman;does it have to be because she happens to be a woman as well?

  37. Rhonda

    You’re good value David Tyler

  38. helvityni

    Do we have a new moderator at AIMN?

  39. jimhaz

    [Just saw comment by jimhaz after posting my last comment. Exhibit A. The defence rests]

    Groan. I try not to let the Thought Police types bother me.

    They are the bane of the Left. No apologies from me.

  40. Michael Taylor

    I was meant to be the person today, helvityni, but I fell asleep (for three hours).

  41. fa

    That type of response is predictable from someone who has zero respect for women. I doubt you’ve ever apologised for anything in your life. Nor do I care. Women can survive perfectly well without apologies from misogynists. And we have, for centuries. And we will continue to succeed in this world despite the best efforts of Neanderthals to disempower us. Fortunately your type is in the minority. Many good men out there who ‘get’ it.

  42. helvityni

    Michael, you are a good and fair moderator, no complaints… It’s just that some people here have started casting aspersions on innocent well-meaning commenters, and also commentators, like Rossleigh.

    It will drive people away from AIMN, what on earth has stephengb2014 ever said to be reprimanded by another blogger…Even friendly humorous banter seems to be out of bounds…what next…straight jackets…?

    If we can criticize male politicians, why not females in same positions,,

  43. diannaart

    We can and do criticise male politicians for their failures, and we should be able to do the same with female politicians without discussing their “f#ckability”, helvityni.

  44. fa

    helvitnyni – Is that a thinly veiled attack on women commenting here who don’t appreciate sexist remarks? stephengb2014’s remarks – for which he’s apologised – were mild compared to lowbrow comments posted by jimhaz. Yet you seem okay with those comments. Are you?

    Here is a sample:

    “The cockroach with the sex appeal of a roofing nail.”

    “… that woman makes me want to reach (sic) just looking at her.”

    “[has more than a bit of sex appeal]
    I’ve heard rumours that Abbott thought so to. Me – I’d one night stand her with enough alcohol.
    [She has two approaches – dolly bird flirting or death stare]
    That is remarkedly accurate.”

    And I notice your comment earlier also comes under the heading of sexist:

    “Michaelia makes Margaret Thatcher to look like a seductress…”

    helyitnyi – When was the last time you compared two male politicians unfavourably in the context of seduction?

    As a woman I am not okay with these comments, even if I despise Julie Bishop’s behaviour, which I do.

    Your attempts at excusing sexism are what will drive people away from this forum, not women standing up against critical, vicious comments based on looks and sexuality that are worlds apart from the way we critique male politicians.

    And perhaps you can fight your own battles rather than enlisting the help of moderators. Calling out sexism and misogyny is not grounds to censor a person, although perfectly legitimate according to the prevailing Australian culture of course.

    Because there’s nothing worse than a woman who stands up against this type of behaviour, right? Loud-mouthed ball-breaking Feminazis need to be silenced at all costs, right?

  45. Michael Taylor

    helvityni, thank you for your lovely compliment.

    This sort of behaviour can also drive people away if we over-moderate. It’s one of those things that puts us in ‘no win’ situation. Sometimes when we have stepped in, it has only served to add fire to the situation and has made it worse.

    The best form of moderation is self-moderation. In that regards we are lucky here. Top marks to our commenters for that.

  46. Matters Not

    There’s words, meanings – both intended by the writer and then given by the reader – and often there’s lots of slippage. But it can even cause wars. And at many levels.

  47. Roswell

    fa, your point has been made. We can all move on.

  48. fa

    diannaart: I agree with what you’ve said.

    “We can and do criticise male politicians for their failures, and we should be able to do the same with female politicians without discussing their “f*ckability”, helvityni.”

    But we don’t. And that’s the difference.

    Roswell: is that your way of telling me to be quiet and go away? I am responding to a comment that was directly having a go at my contributions here today.

    I rarely comment on this forum. It’s the case that every single time Julie Bishop or MIchaelia Cash hit the headlines these type of vicious comments emerge. Without fail. And as a woman I am tired of them.

    Yet I need to “move on”? Nothing to say about the sexist comments here? They’re okay by you, are they?

  49. Roswell

    fa, I didn’t say that you need to move on. I said we can all move on.

    Everybody else has.

  50. fa

    Not entirely true. I moved on at 2.30pm. But others have since responded addressing me directly. The conversation about sexism in the way we critique our female politicians has officially ended. How unusual. Congratulations to those offended. Another successful shut down.

    Thank you and goodnight.

  51. ceridwen66

    Well some of us do discuss their ‘f*ckability’ fa, as a woman, I certainly have felt my skin crawl and my stomach heave at certain photos of Abbott – especially those of him wearing nothing but his budgie smugglers which clearly outline his less than impressive wang. The way he licks his lips – seriously creepy. I have always equated Abbott with his sleazy, creepy personal looks and demeanour, and believe that a lot of his failures are directly linked to his lack of sex appeal.

    And believe me, he’s not the only male politician which leaves a nasty image in my mind. The thought of getting down and dirty with Brandis makes me want to take a very long, very hot antiseptic shower, let alone having any erotic inklings towards the equally non lust inspiring, unattractive, sweaty, badger faced Christensen.

    Bishop – with much help from strategists and publicists – has attempted to reinvent herself as uber stylish, alluring and sleek. There is absolutely no harm in seeing through that obvious ploy and commenting upon it.

    It is human nature to check those in public office out, and in doing so, my friends and I have enjoyed many a laugh.

  52. Roswell

    By the way, David, an outstanding article.

  53. fa


    I don’t think in those terms when discussing politics. Full stop. It’s counterproductive. Being a woman or a man makes no difference. It’s still counterproductive.

    As Roswell suggested I am moving on. Because this vein of discussion just detracts from the substance of this article, which was sharp and informative. And that’s the point rather than the “f#ckability” of our politicians.

  54. diannaart

    Thanks fa

    I had to leave for a while – might’ve said a few home-truths and that will never do. It is bad when some males feel they can say, do and behave how they want without any respect for the feelings of other men and women. And of course they do not ever apologise – why should they? That’s life, right?

    At least we can recognise the men from the males and the women from the females, truth may not solve anything, but it is better than ignorance.

    Michael I do not have the luxury of good enough health to continue to fight.

    Jimhaz – you win.

  55. Matters Not

    It is human nature to …

    So behaviour (broadly defined) is completely out of one’s control? Nothing to do with one’s socialisation? Nothing to do with choices made? It’s behaviour found across all societies and cultures? And therefore we are all simply prisoners of human nature? Just askin ..

  56. S Ford

    There as so much more going with this article that hasn’t been discussed. Somehow it’s been hijacked by issues regarding Julie Bishop. I regard myself as a feminist. I have always fought for feminist ideals and I might add that one of my ancestors was Emmeline Pankhurst and she would have been horrified by Julie Bishop. She would have thought the whole mesothelioma horrid debacle was a complete anathema to the values that feminism holds.
    This article is not about the Bishop’s gender but it is about her agenda but so much more as well.

    Also this article, brilliantly written, explores how this govt cannot and will never succeed. It’s another demonstration of chaos. It’s about how this govt seeks to boost the terrorist propoganda. It’s about the govt caught up in its own arrogance is unable to see what the people really think.

  57. ceridwen66

    Human behaviour regarding the sociological effects of clinical sexual objectification is a huge issue which I have neither the time nor inclination to discuss in any real detail here.

    Yet, I will say that it is an insipidly banal but seldom asserted fact that we human beings are in fact objects. Men and women both! True story. Admittedly, humans belong to a subcategory of objects that are also subjects, but that does not contradict the fact that we humans are objects and if you are in any doubt, please get up, go into your bathroom and look into the mirror. Therefore, if we treat someone as an object, we are not treating them as something that they are not; we are treating them in accordance with just one of their aspects.

    As always the great middle class remains the last citadel of toxic traditionalism, and disappointingly it is here that the double standard of morality shows itself most prominently.

  58. Matters Not

    ceridwen66 re the nature of your specific response. Your choice? Or that of someone who was bound by human nature?

    (Much I could respond to. But perhaps we might start with the basics – as advanced by you re human nature.)

  59. Matters Not

    ceridwen66, I note from your profile that you claim to be an anarchist? A result of human nature or a free choice you made? And if you claim that it’s a result of human nature, then why are there so few anarchists?

  60. ceridwen66

    You do realise that human nature is a universal concept in which there is a set of characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and behaving, that all human beings have in common right? Although we exhibit myriad individual and cultural variations, humans possess idiosyncrasies, quirks and characteristics that distinguish and categorise us as a species. At the risk of being labelled a hard determinist, I believe the search for freedom itself – individual and collective – is an intrinsically human endeavour.

    Tom Wolfe penned a piece called “Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died”, in which he wrote: “since consciousness and thought are the entirely physical products of your brain and nervous system, what makes you think you have free will? Where is it going to come from?” For many people, the concept of free will is simply a social construct, a matrix if you will. The great anarchist Bakunin went further saying that natural laws constitute our being, our whole being, physically, intellectually, and morally: we live, we breathe, we act, we think, we wish only through these laws.

    Just for the record, I don’t ‘claim to be’ an anarchist. I AM an anarchist. Most people with an inherent interest in peace studies and social justice issues possess a desire to see the destruction of corrupt, grasping governmental and authoritarian systems. Actually, we’re not really rare at all.

  61. fa

    To get back to the article I pose a question regarding the resignations of Ludlum and Waters, who did the honourable thing without hesitation. If Joyce, Canavan and the latest casualty Xenophon are somehow given a free pass to stay on in their respective Parliamentary positions what happens to Scott Ludlum and Larissa Waters? Because it seems highly unfair to Australians that we lose two talented Senators yet others clearly motivated by self-interest rather than what’s appropriate according to law are permitted to stay. If anything this debacle clearly shows who the honest and honourable politicians are as opposed to those motivated by self-interest and a sense of entitlement.

  62. havanaliedown

    If successful in their aims, will anarchists use a sewerage system? Electricity? Anarchy baby!!!

    The man who put the word “anarchy” on the popular culture map, through a jaunty little ditty – John Lydon – is now a property developer and Brexit and Trump supporter… when he’s not doing butter adverts

    God bless ‘im

  63. stephengb2014


    I apologised for seeming to be a misogynist.

    I did not apologise so that you could keep using me, as a kicking board.

    I did not say sorry only to be quoted, by you to score points, which actually has embarrassed me again.

    Sure I am not as articulate as you seem to be and yes my forefinger can’t spell either but I feel you have taken advantage of my apology and my ignorance to apply, what seems to me to be nothing more than a hatred of men.

    Yes I am still sorry for my comment but I believe that in accepting an apology you are obligated to really accept not just pretend.

    Now if you want to take of piece of me – go ahead – but I think you have busted your credibility.

    Yes I am no longer embarrased – I’m hoppin mad (sic) yes I know what sic means

    S G B

  64. ceridwen66

    Oh my! The statist refrain! All together now! Who will build the roads if we don’t have government?!?

    The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle. Johnny Rotten was as much anarchist as Muddy Waters was punk.

    Pretty vacant alright.

  65. Roswell

    It’s OK, SGB. We all know that you never intended to offend anybody. You apologised, nonetheless, which is an admirable thing to do. It takes guts.

  66. diannaart


    I concur with Roswell – it takes guts to apologise.

    For the record, criticising some men does not mean the critic hates all men.

    Moving on.

    I agree with fa – what will happen to Waters and Ludlum if those who refused to step down are found by the High Court to be “innocent” and permitted to remain in office?

    If the two admirable Greens cannot return to their jobs – does this mean the double standard, employed by the dominant, wins yet again?

  67. ceridwen66

    SGB – Never be embarrassed by what makes you inherently you or about the things which you think, say or write. Some paragons of self proclaimed morality and virtue will judge/complain/whinge to and about you no matter what.

    Overturn those barrels of tar and kick aside the sacks of feathers, if one must be embarrassed, it is far better to be embarrassed about the things we don’t say and of not being who we actually are!

    Enjoy your day


  68. Matters Not

    regarding the resignations of Ludlum and Waters, who did the honourable thing without hesitation.

    As I understand it, Ludlum and Waters sought legal advice. Apparently, the opinion provided was that they were in breech of the relevant section and presumably not eligible to be Senators. They apparently accepted that legal opinion and resigned without waiting for the High Court to make a ruling. That might have been a mistake. Legal opinions are just that – legal opinions. Nothing more, nothing less. And while it seems to me that the opinion provided is sound it’s not to be equated or confused with a decision made by the High Court.

    On the other hand, Joyce et al received a different opinion (from the Solicitor General) and are prepared to wait and see what the High Court rules. History shows that High Courts (in Australia and elsewhere), with fresh faces, made different rulings over time. Indeed, sometimes they overturn completely, the rulings made in an earlier era. That’s what Turnbull and Joyce et al are hoping for.

  69. diannaart

    OK MN

    If Turnbull and Joyce are granted their wishes by the High Court, where does that leave the Greens senators? Or is this not about justice but, more simply, winners are grinners?

  70. Matters Not

    diannaart, I don’t think that the High Court will be kind to Turnbull and Joyce – why should it? Can’t see that favours are owed.

    The Separation of Powers concept is generally not held in high regard in Australia – what with the same actors being both members of the Legislature and of the Executive. Yet the Judiciary is not so inclined. Judges can become quite precious if the other powers attempt to play on their turf. And some do make that effort. Take Dutton as an example. He has nothing but contempt for the judiciary and is unrelenting in his pursuit for more powers that properly lie with the judicial arm.

    Recently, there were other Ministers who made derogatory remarks and only backed down at the last minute. Judges have long memories when is comes to ‘slights’ – real or imagined. And most importantly, they tend to hold politicians in very low regard. Thus politicians begin with a significant handicap. Turnbull’s prediction of how this would end, won’t help either. That Joyce et all are trying to tough it out and seem to be defying previous decisions won’t go down too well either. But who knows

    That The Greens were somewhat circumspect will only add to the limits the Judges will feel. Also. so members of the High Court have reputations for being conservative. They are not judicial activists. Strict, narrow interpretations please.

  71. diannaart

    Matters Not

    You make sense, but we both know “sense” need not apply in the post-truth age.

    Be interesting to know the verdict. Either way, I suspect the Greens resignation will be allowed to stand… Waters and Ludlum are gone.

  72. fa


    I suggest you take it up with agitator helvityni.

    I did accept your apology. I am not a pretender.

    However, what I don’t accept is the attempt to shoot the messenger because the message is distasteful. The comments I reproduced were to illustrate what the inappropriate sexist comments were and the reason why several women in this group found them inappropriate. I didn’t name names, I merely reproduced the comments in inverted commas.

    The person agitating and trying to enlist help of admins to silence legitimate commentary was helvityni. So again I suggest you take it up with him/her.

    If someone is having a go at me I have every right to defend myself, unless I’ve done something wrong, in which case I will apologise.

    I have done nothing wrong. Pointing out sexism is not wrong. I hope that more people have the courage to start doing this without fear of retribution because it’s what the world needs. We need to call it out so that we can change the prevailing culture which is a toxic one for women in a myriad of ways. And if someone crosses a boundary in this or any forum then it’s to be expected that one or more people will point that out. I did and other women here did also.

    I suggest it’s a lesson in thinking carefully before hitting the ‘post comment’ button.

    I hope this is an end to the matter. Because I will not be responding on this topic again.

  73. fa

    And a note to admins. Despite greatly appreciating the AIMN I find this forum aggressive and unwelcoming, in particular to women. There are people commenting here that feel it’s legitimate to steer the discussion off on completely unrelated tangents that have zero to do with the actual article, make lowbrow offensive comments that they believe they shouldn’t be challenged on, and then attack repeatedly the people who call them out on their poor behaviour. And I’m not referring particularly to stephengb2014 when I say this.

    Not kosher.

    As a result I am going to limit my participation here. Because life is too short for this type of ugliness. I’ve personally had enough. Because it is BS. Congratulations to the agent provocateurs. Mission accomplished.

  74. Matters Not

    diannaart, if you get a traffic ticket and pay the fine – (usually) it’s all over. In a sense you’ve pled guilty. If you want to reject an initial accusation, it’s best not to agree and then attempt to disagree sometime later. But we are not talking about traffic tickets. There’s much more important principles involved. Decisions that will, in all probability, last for a very long time.

    But I can’t see how the two Greens will come back anytime soon. More’s the pity.

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