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You can imagine the uproar if this happened under a Labor government

Just imagine for one moment that the identity of Christian Porter was transformed into that of a Labor Minister. How do you think the Murdoch media would react?

Well, let me tell you. The Australian, Sky News, The Herald Sun and other news outlets (where the truth goes to die) are completely ignoring the issue of where the money come from to pay Porter’s bills, and that parliamentary standards are worsening under this Government.

It is like they take delight in the destruction of those things necessary to make our democracy work.

After seeing Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce speak to the press yesterday, I can only say that his predecessor, as forgettable as he was, at least spoke English. At this press conference, he seemed overly intent on reminding people that he was the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. That he was unintelligible at times seemed to escape him, as did his case for forgiving Christian Porter and reinstating him in the ministry after a short period in purgatory.

How ridiculous is his argument when the man faces accusations of rape? (He firmly denies this). Porter, according to Joyce, hadn’t broken any laws and deserves a place in the ministry because he has a brain. As if conscience, ethics and morality have no place in a person’s character. Efforts to set up a Senate inquiry into Porter’s fitness for office have been frequently blocked by the Coalition and One Nation.

As we all know, the best way to bury a report is to hand ball it to the head of the Prime Ministers Department and Cabinet, Phil Gaetjens who has proven to be remarkably successful on buying time or taking the heat off (think Sports Rorts and Brittany Higgins).

The government seems to think that this notation to the current rules gives them an out. They exploit this loophole:

“No form can cover all possible circumstances, and members should consequently bear in mind the purpose and spirit of the return in deciding which matters should be registered.”

After all, Joyce himself declared a private charter flight in May of this year, and he didn’t report who provided the gift. There are many such examples.

However, one must wonder if Joyce learned anything from his time in the sinner’s dwelling. That being that there may be ways around rules but getting past public opinion is another thing.

Those in the middle of the two parties who are “pub test” types; the twenty or so per cent who decide an election… well, they are demanding politicians have a modem of transparency, honesty, trustworthiness and accountability. They don’t forgive easily.

In an article for The Guardian written by Paul Karp, he quotes Barrister Anthony Whealy QC, of the Centre for Public Integrity chair and former assistant commissioner to ICAC. He told Guardian Australia the view that details of the donor were not required for the register of interests is “not justifiable.”

The rules seem to be about as ambiguous as those for Aussie rules football.

“The purpose of the requirement is transparency: to ensure there is not a conflict of interest or the possibility of a perception of a conflict,” he said.

“Unless you know the source of the gift or money that’s been received you can’t possibly form an opinion about it.

“Once you have that purpose in your mind it is clear that it is never sufficient to say ”I did receive money, but I won’t won’t say how much or who from”. That cannot possibly satisfy the criterion of transparency or revealing the conflict.”

Are the public now expected to believe that because of these words (repeat), all parliamentarians have a way out of not revealing sensitive information that the public has a right to know about? If Porter can get away with this, what sort of precedent does it set for the future.

Karp continues:

“No form can cover all possible circumstances, and members should consequently bear in mind the purpose and spirit of the return in deciding which matters should be registered.”

The public’s right to know is sacrosanct, or should be. When a political party deliberately withholds information, the voter needs to make an informed, balanced and reasoned assessment about its being governed. It is lying by omission, and it is also equivalent to the manipulation of our democracy.

By the end of its third term, the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison Governments will have provided enough scandal to keep a form of National ICAC in business for another three.

Those in the front bar at your local pub – after a few quiet ales – would be pondering such things as:

  • The public is entitled to know where this money comes from, and if he doesn’t disclose it, he is deliberately concealing the source from us.
  • Most reasonable people condone this sort of behaviour by politicians. Porter, unless he hands the money back, can only be judged to be a shyster.
  • He still has to answer questions like when and how did he first learn about the money. Where did it appear, who gave the trust his bank details, and of course has he taken any steps to find out about its origins. Why is he taking the money with such little knowledge of who the donor is? Is he certain there are no strings attached? Can he be sure the money isn’t from a foreign government?

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has some questions of his own:

“Questions of how much money was put into this fund? How did people know to put money into this fund? Who was it who contributed funds for Christian Porter’s legal case? All of these questions remain outstanding,” he said.



And the Prime Minister needs to convince the public that there is no security risk. How will he do this? And most importantly, how are we to know that money given under these circumstances isn’t offered with ulterior motives.

Can he give these assurances despite having in his ministry some of the most devious, suspicious and corrupt men and women in Parliament?

When the Parliament resumes, it seems inevitable that Labor will refer the matter to the House of Representatives standing committee on privileges or potentially a censure motion.

We need to keep in mind here that it is no more acceptable for a member of Parliament to keep a donation secret than for a minister to keep a donation secret. That the Murdoch media could treat such damaging affronts to our democracy with such impertinence is appalling.

You can imagine the uproar if this happened under a Labor government.

My thought for the day

Lying in the media is wrong at any time; however, it is even more so when they do it by deliberate omission. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity.

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  1. Terence Mills

    From what we are now hearing, Porter didn’t have the available finances to take on a defamation action against the ABC and he sought financial backers setting up a deceptive legal charade to protect the identity of his backers. Bear in mind that this defamation action never actually went to court, it was resolved in mediation when Porter withdrew his claim and the ABC paid for the mediation. So, clearly had the issue gone to court it would have cost his backers a lot more.

    For reasons yet to be revealed it was important for Porter to keep the identity of the donor(s) secret. So important that these financial supporters remain anonymous that Porter chose to step aside from Cabinet rather than come clean – according to our acting prime minister, it’s the political equivalent under the Morrison regime of being sent to the sin-bin and he’ll be back soon.

    Interestingly, the spruikers on SKY are vigorously supporting Porter in his quest to keep the contributors names anonymous : they say that it’s just mums and dads who paid in a few dollars to support a man who they thought had been badly treated by the mainstream media and they are entitled to their privacy and to maintain their anonymity.

    Nonsense ! I don’t for a moment believe that : had Porter gone through crowdfunding as Sarah Hanson Young did when suing senator David Leyonhjelm all contributors would be fully disclosed online

    We need absolute transparency on this as it appears that it is a cynical attempt to manipulate parliamentary standards utilising extremely dodgy legal double-speak to hide the truth.

  2. Kathryn

    As long as the reprehensible LNP’s Propaganda Minister, Rupert Murdoch, controls just about every form of media in Australia – a country that is internationally notorious for having the worst, most right-wing-biased and monopolised media ownership in the world – we will NEVER get egalitarian, fair-minded reporting by The un-Australian, The Daily Terrorgraph or any of the other Z-rated garbage wrap owned by the undemocratic conglomeration known as the LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance! SkyNews is yet ANOTHER vile, undemocratic, totally biased mouthpiece for right-wing extremism, intolerance and callous inhumanity!

    Sadly, Murdoch goes on and on supporting a pack of misogynistic political parasites in the LNP which can only be described as the worst, most arrogant, self-serving, corrupt and devious pack of misogynistic sociopaths in our political history! NONE of the monstrous pathological liars and stone cold miscreants in the LNP are fit to be in politics let strutting around the halls of parliament house. As for the totally useless, yellow-bellied coward, Morrison – the same man who flees the nation the nano-second there is trouble brewing on the horizon; the same man who sat back lounging on a deck chair in Hawaii whilst his State of NSW just about burned to the ground; the same bible-thumping hypocrite who just so happens to be a signed-up member of the paedophile protecting CULT of Hillsong who is so callous, so un-Christian he is prepared to restrict the movements of an innocent little Tamil family indefinitely rather than allow them to return to the small town of Biloela who would welcome them back in a heart beat!

    Morrison is a hollow, shallow, arrogant smirking megalomaniac who, right now, has taken off to the USA to do a little bit more chest-beating self-promotion when, in fact, he has failed to achieve a single thing to benefit the lives of ordinary working- and middle-class Australians! His failure to deal effectively with the rise of Covid-19, the manner in which he prevented a whole shipment of Pfizer from reaching our shores, his short-sighted idiocy in telling Australians “don’t panic!” and “it’s not a race!” when, clearly, it was – reveals the unspeakable lack of foresight, integrity and credibility of the bone-idle Sloth Morrison who is right up there with Abbott and Howard as the worst, most inept PM in our history!

  3. New England Cocky

    John Lord, you are an optimist to expect Barnyard Beetrooter to know anything except adultery, alcoholism, misogyny (from hard experience) and how to scalp the Parliamentary Allowances Scheme for the maximum personal benefits.

    As for coherent thinking, intelligible speech or critical thinking skills these were left on the maternity ward floor.

    The saddest part is that there are many Tamworth ladies who support the Nazional$ and these above ”family values” and are happy to live in relative penury to maintain the 19th century social status quo. And it gets worse the further you go into North-West NSW.

    Meanwhile quietly slipping under the radar is the extension to the Northern Inland Railway picadillo of Number 2 Senate candidate for the NSW Nazional$ John Anderson, whic appears to take the cost to Australian taxpayers for this unfortunate project to about $1,200 MILLION.h

  4. Geoff Andrews

    Of course there would have been an outcry if the boot was on the other foot & a Labor minister was involved. We DEMAND moral behaviour from Labor ministers whereas we are not surprised when anyone from the right acts according to type.

  5. Keitha Granville

    Looks like something out of the Godfather’s playbook, in fact it COULD be out of any godfather’s playbook.
    We’ll give you the cash, sure, but be ready to do anything that may be asked of you in the future.


  6. leefe

    “Porter, according to Joyce, hadn’t broken any laws and deserves a place in the ministry because he has a brain.”

    So, remind me again why Joyce is there?


    Of course the barnyard rooter, procreator of illegitimate offspring, has sympathy for the alleged rapist, In both cases their dicks being the dominant part of their anatomy. And Murdoch and his stinking maggots smile approvingly as if that is the natural way Australians should react, this after all, is the manly world of the male and his appendage. Just as the knobs on Sky and Hadley etc react whenever such an incident happens. But Scummo has Jen to remind him that she and her daughters are female too.

    Alan J is not bothered at all because he gets his jollies in other salubriously settings after dark.

  8. Ross

    You can see why this coalition government will never ever have a feral ICAC with teeth.
    Most of them would end up spending time in one of her majesties harsher penal establishments.

  9. ajogrady

    Democracy is being gamed by big media and played to benefit big business. If businesses pay large amounts of money to “influencers” to gain advantage over their competition then how much is the influence of the media outlets of Murdoch, 7 and 9 worth to the L/NP? The Main Stream Media have been a life support system and cheer squad for a side of politics that has decimated Democracy. The MSM is the problem not the solution. Advertising with these media outlets should be counted as political donations to the L/NP.

  10. DrakeN

    “Democracy is being gamed by big media and played to benefit big business.”

    SItuation normal, then aj ?!

  11. Pete Petrass

    I think we all know what would have happened had PantsDown been a Labor minister, we saw exactly that with Sam Dastyari. Coincidentally that occasion also saw Morriscum yet again putting his foot in his mouth

    I have to wonder just why Labor is now not flogging this to death, particularly since Morriscum is now the Prime Muppet

  12. BB

    “You can imagine the uproar if this happened under a Labor government”

    Labor politicians don’t have to do anything to be vilified by Murdoch’s MSM.

    News Corpse, where truth dies, don’t give a rat’s about honesty or integrity!

  13. Ricky Bobby

    Well, having a squiz through SHY’s gofundme donors, it seems at least 25% were Anonymous, including one “A Non”. So how do we know that any of the names listed were actually real and identifiable people? Did SHY vet each donor? I wouldn’t think so.

    So what is the real difference between the blind trust for CP and the gofundme for SHY? Did AIMN rail against SHY crowdfunding her costs from unknown donors?

  14. Michael Taylor

    Ricky, I wouldn’t have a clue. You’ll have to Google it.

    Someone might have. I don’t know. We don’t tell our authors what to write about. They’re all independent.

  15. Terence Mills

    Ricky Bobby

    The points you’ve made are probably not valid for the following reasons.

    Sarah Hanson Young sought crowd funding for her action against Leyonhjelm : the funding was through the platform, Gofundme and she raised $62,458 mainly in small donations and yes, some were anonymous, not because SHY wanted to keep their names secret as Porter has chosen to do but because some individual donors chose to do so.

    Porter chose a cynical legal veil to shield the identity of his donors, Hanson Young did not.

    Of the hundreds of donors to Hanson-Young the largest individual donor was $1000 (from Julia Zemiro, Kevin Rudd gave $100) both of these are real and identifiable people

    Now, back to Porter, can you find a list of his donors and as the former chief law officer of Australia and up until last week a minister in our federal government should it be so secretive particularly as the amount involved is said to total between half a million and a million dollars ?

    Clearly, none of the donors to Hanson-Young are going to seek to influence her decisions in the senate but as John Hewson in The Saturday Paper notes, the same cannot be said of Porter :

    “The issue is that the funding process, as it currently stands, is corruptible. Voters need to know whether it is possible for private interests to buy influence, such as could result in governments taking initiatives and introducing policies to the particular benefit of those who have supported them financially.

    It is critical that donors and supporters are named and the amount they have paid is declared, in as close to real time as possible, so that decisions can be made about their likely influence on government”.

  16. Ricky Bobby

    Terence Mills

    SHY could have made it clear that donors were to provide their real names. I don’t believe she did so. Other than JZ and KR, how do we know any of the other 1,800 names were real anyway?

    You are either in favour of anonymous donations to support politicians’ personal (and others) expenses or you are not. On principle, I am not. Now there may be a reasonable limit below which the donor doesn’t have to provide identifying details (name, address, contact number, bank account etc), but i am not sure what that should be – $50 or $100 maybe. Or maybe less.

    I am not saying that Porter shouldn’t have to make public the names behind the Blind Trust – he should. And if he can’t, then he should return the money.

    I just find it amusing that anonymous donations are apparently okay if they are directed to the ideologically correct politicians.

  17. Roswell

    Ricky Bobby,

    Perhaps you could confirm your neutrality by providing a link to a right-wing site where you’ve raised similar questions about Porter’s funding.

    I’m guessing there isn’t one, but I’m happy to be proved wrong.

  18. !

    Ricky Bobby re:

    … anonymous donations are apparently okay if they are directed to the ideologically correct politicians.

    Indeed! But not of course for those who appreciate Kant’s First Moral Principle.

    As for the comment immediately above @ 6:57 pm, one can only be puzzled as to its potential for universality. Or not.

  19. Ricky Bobby


    You either believe, as I do, that all Politicians be barred from accepting anonymous donations, or you do not.

    As to my “neutrality” on this matter and whether I have raised similar questions on right wing sites about Porter’s funding, well, I really don’t see what that has to do with my stance on this particular matter. But to satisfy your clearly good faith request, yes, on The Australian I have taken the same view – that Porter, or any politician, cannot accept donations from anonymous benefactors.

    So, Roswell, what is your view? Should the rules apply to all, or not?

  20. Roswell

    !, what’s your point?

  21. Roswell

    Ricky Bobby,

    Despite being a Labor voter, I’m actually quite neutral when it comes to political analysis.

    I once put up a post here criticising of Bill Shorten. I’ve also put up posts praising Bill Shorten.

  22. Ricky Bobby


    Must confess I am not a great fan of Kant – he was too unstable and a bit of a pissant for my taste.

    I find that Descartes philosophy was much more akin to mine.

  23. Ricky Bobby


    I note that you didn’t address my question – should the disclosure rules apply to all, or should they not?

  24. Michael Taylor

    Ah, René Descartes. Such a powerful thinker.

    Here’s some trivia:

    His “I think, therefore I am” was borrowed by Apple who used “I think, therefore I Mac”. From that grew the iMac, iPhone and iPad.

  25. Roswell

    Ricky, the same rules should apply to all parties. Sadly, the LNP flaunt as many rules as they can.

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