Image for NATION: It’s all about the people of Canning

*Pic, ABC of a bromance between Canning candidate Andrew Hastie and PM Abbott ...

Averting its eyes from a stock market bear rampaging in the China shop, turning its back on the Syrian refugee crisis but effectively planning to help Assad in his genocide by bombing his ISIS enemies for him, a narcissistic Abbott Government of secrets and lies turns inward to embrace its own feral inner Panda, spin its ChAFTA Free Trade Deal and claim the June Quarter ABS statistics vindicate its economic plan whereas to most other observers they reveal an economy standing still, living standards in decline and a nation increasingly out of work.

In Canning, however, it is ‘all about the people of Canning,’ proclaims Tony Abbott, fooling no-one. Should they lose the safe Liberal seat, Abbott is done for. Candidate Andrew Hastie,  a 32 year old former SAS soldier, parachuted in to win, grins nervously, vows to meet voters’ needs with a war on ice which he will fight with his bare hands and totally without funding.

A bromance breaks out instantly between Hastie and his PM and the candidate is able to turn away questions about his creationist theologian father, Peter Hastie and any other personal questions which might give the electorate some glimpse of his real identity and beliefs; humanise the military cipher; assure them that he is not some battle-scarred nutter.

It is all about being on message and on course for the incoherent and directionless government. ‘A bugger’s muddle,’ Trade Minister Robb, bravely reprising 1950s slang, tells ABC Insiders on Sunday, would result if government were duped into providing protection for Australian workers from cheaper Chinese workers on 457 Visas which Labor had invented anyway.

Robb’s case is seldom coherent enough to persuade let alone inform but he leaves viewers with the perfect collective noun for the bugger’s muddle that is his party’s policies.

...fear-mongering and self-delusion…

A buggered Abbott Government is on task, policy or not, pursuing its core business of displaying unity to the party room through infighting, finger-pointing, fear-mongering and self-delusion as MPs bicker, back-stab and pass the buck all week. Leaks continue. Labor, a jihadist ABC and Fairfax come in for a serve for failing to act like News Corp, the party’s propaganda arm. 

Yet not even News Corp can explain away the miraculous dirty, big re-fuelling port which has miraculously popped up on pristine Melville Island without so much as a Yakka Skink of an environmental study, acquired, it seems, like the British Empire in a fit of absence of mind.

Absent also is the PM’s MIA mind. Tony Abbott who himself sets the bar high in displaying moral leadership, enriches the national conversation, in his captain’s gaffe of the week by effortlessly offending the Jewish community and many others with his gratuitous nonsense about the Nazis being a class act in evil-doing because their shame dictated they kept their wicked deeds hidden.

‘I mean, the Nazis did terrible evil but they had a sufficient sense of shame to try to hide it,” he relaxes in the weekly hot tub and rub down offered him by his pal Alan Jones’, another popular historian and ethicist, thereby giving top ranking to the pure evil ISIS mob who flaunt their atrocities and also amply confirming that his grasp of history does not extend beyond yesterday.

Abbott’s idiotic comment play into the hands of the ISIS propaganda unit; guaranteeing more local recruits. At least the PM gives Alan Jones’ Sydney listeners plenty to talk about. He shows he can still insult, alienate and divide with the best of them, even if he is a dead man walking awaiting a rout in Canning.

...take any extra refugees…

For his next trick, our pocket moral philosopher PM explains that our nation should heed the plight of Syrian refugees because we have stopped the boats and prevented drownings. So far Abbott has dismissed suggestions that Australia make any provision to take any extra refugees saying that we already take more refugees than other countries, noting that last year we agreed to take 4,400 refugees from Northern Iraq and Eastern Syria areas where the death cult is active, glossing over the civil war which Assad wages on his own people, in favour of demonising ISIS.

Achieving its KPI of at least one major stuff up per day means the Abbott oxymoron meets its performance target In a star-studded, hotly contested field, Joe Hockey and Peter Dutton easily win a dead heat for best whinger because the Fairfax media and the ABC are always out to get them but best all round performance is Greg Hunt’s Tiwi Islands magical mystery port.

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*Pic, ABC of Hapless Mouth from the South Greg Hunt with his hapless leader Tony Abbott ...

Hunt narrowly defeats the PM and his Treasurer who call a midweek press conference to axe Labor’s bank deposit guarantee levy; to axe a tax which isn’t a tax and which doesn’t exist.

Every other MP seeks someone else to blame or frame for the mess they by and large, get themselves into, apart from our work experience boy the Environment Minister who discovers that a massive $130 million port has been built on Melville Island with no environmental oversight.

Even Hunt will have trouble blaming ‘vigilante lawfare,’ for his latest cockup but he’s sure to come up with something. Perhaps it will be Labor’s fault for getting into bed with the Greens to sabotage investment, development and progress. Or those Top End, bottom-feeding rednecks who go crazy over a barrel of pork. Or diesel.

A 2007 cyclone demolished a wharf intended to support a proposed forestry scheme on Melville, the biggest island in the Tiwis. Reconstruction started last year but mysteriously, magically, the project morphed into a major port designed to handle ships up to 200 metres, making fifty visits a month in a 24 hour re-fuelling operation.

...the incredible mouth from the south…

Port Melville will store 30 million litres of diesel or 15% of the entire NT fuel storage capacity according to NT Labor MP, Senator Nova Peris. Of course, no-one knows anything; no-one is talking, least of all, curiously, the incredible mouth from the south, Gregory Hunt, MP.

Using documents obtained under FOI, New Matilda reports that ‘… in partnership with the local Tiwi Land Council, the original developers of the expansion - a Singapore-based company called Ezion Holdings - hoped to use the port to service the growing Timor Strait oil and gas industry.’ 

Hunt seems to have been too busy looking up Wikipedia to notice while a major offshore oil and gas supply base was constructed, a port which now stands poised to pollute a pristine Top End waterway, to say nothing of the thirty-eight endangered species in the area which its construction and operation threaten.

In May, the NT Environment Minister, Gary Higgins and former planning Minister, Peter Chandler, channel Clark and Dawe as they have a lend of Greg, telling the ABC that a loophole in environmental legislation has rendered them powerless to stop the development. Besides, proper processes were followed.

Higgins says developers were supposed to submit to him environmental impact statements if required by the NT Environmental Protection Agency (NTEPA), and Mr Higgins would then pass on those statements to the responsible minister. His explanation deserves a place in history alongside the Nuremberg as the Melville Defence.

‘The responsible minister for port development is a loophole in the legislation,’ Mr Higgins tells reporters.

‘There is no responsible minister for signing off on a port development.’

Mr Chandler says it is the responsibility of the EPA and the Federal Government to step in if they believe a development is not fit for approval.

...‘false and misleading information’...

So how and why did the Federal government fail to act? The Department of the Environment blames overworked staff, and claims they had been conned. Potentially ‘false and misleading information’ has been provided to investigators. A bit like the Minister’s emissions targets he plans to take to Paris at the end of the year.

Hunt seems to have shut up about Port Melville in the hope that it will all go away. Mainstream media have been helpfully silent. Expect federal government spin doctors to have a (well-fertilised) field day. They certainly got into gear on economic news this week.

While ABS figures for the June quarter show Australia’s economic growth stalling with falls in construction, mining and living standards, our own Dr Pangloss, Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey is typically upbeat, claiming his ‘plan’ is working and that something he calls ‘our over-arching goals’ will be met.

That he doesn’t seem to have much of a plan does not deter his optimism although he does concede that he ‘wouldn’t get too complacent,’ carefully choosing words associated with a positive set of figures.

If Hockey’s promise not to break out the champagne just yet does not pass the sniff test for most ordinary punters, it certainly inflames his fiercest critics, most of whom are in his own party.  Julie Bishop does not deny she barrelled the PM about Joe’s vote-losing manifest incompetence six months.

‘Joe must go.’ 

Of course she would not be drawn into speculation over the identity of the phantom cabinet leaker. Besides, she has enough on her hands supporting her vice captain’s pick, former SAS Captain Andrew Hastie, as they patrol the malls of Canning, while Labor runs dead.

Or so she claims, implying that Labor would rather keep the incumbent incompetent whom they could easily beat next election. Some take this as a swipe at her PM. 

...scapegoating of the hapless Hockey…

The noise is deafening, even for the Liberals. Already razor-sharpened knives are honed for the scapegoating of the hapless Hockey schlockmeister, who despite outperforming all others bar his boss and cabin boy Hunt in the bullshit stakes, is far and away Australia’s worst treasurer.

Hockey who has helped bring the Australian economy to a full stop and who has boosted real unemployment towards ten per cent does not miss a beat.

The Treasurer accuses the media, once again, of undermining government, while bagging ‘fringe whingers’ in Federal Cabinet for telling the press, the PM should sack him.

One of the Tony Abbotts claiming to be the PM tells reporters ‘no one had raised it with him,’ possibly because he is part of the plan.

Arthur Sinodinis, the unimpeachable, calls for Abbott to sack the rats; especially the leakers. Peter ‘Chucky’ Dutton sees a Jihadist anti-government conspiracy being plotted by the ABC in cahoots with Fairfax.

Yet all is not lost, papyrus-faced Dyson Dinosaur Heydon applies his best solipsistic black letter vision to adjudge himself fit to proceed in a legalistic clean bill of health which will satisfy neither the community nor the trade unions but which does his robust ego a power of good.

In a ruling which is guaranteed to create further trouble for the government, Heydon dices definitions of perceived bias wafer thin and on Monday at 2:02pm, serves up his meagre but adequate offering with a judicious sprinkling of precedent, as you might expect from a learned black letter jurist.

Should they not boycott the commission, expect unionists to plead in their defence that they ‘overlooked’ key details and that they don’t even plan to own a computer.

Abbott’s expansion of his humanitarian bombing into Syria will be announced soon in timing which has nothing to do with the Canning by-election but which reflects the need for careful consideration by the government’s intelligence and security committee which will have to factor in how long it takes to procure the necessary extra bunting for what is sure to be a twelve flag announcement.

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