Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

NATION: There’s never been a more exciting time to be Malcolm Turnbull … MH17 …

*Pic: PM Turnbull … Sweet Custard Bun, as our dragon-bone divinating PM is known in China … very little yet to suggest that the Sweet Custard Bun is any more nourishing or sustaining to a nation hungry for real leadership in a time of critical international and domestic challenges than his predecessor the junkyard dog …

‘There’s never been a more exciting time to be an Australian’, a hot and bothered Malcolm Turnbull blushes.

Whatever he means to tell us, at least he reveals how he’s feeling. He’s picking up the good vibrations. We’re giving him the excitations. The PM is enjoying the longest political honeymoon since our love-fest with Kevin07. Malcolmania sweeps the nation. Opinion polls rank him the most popular PM in more than five years. But can he do the job?

Besotted by our good-looking, sweet-talking new PM, nothing else seems to matter to us. Assad’s ally Russia fires 26 medium-range cruise missiles into Syria from ships nearly 1000 miles away attacking anti-Assad insurgents and allowing ISIS to advance to 2km outside Aleppo. Twenty-two staff and patients, including women and children are killed in a US attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz while the West’s strategy in Afghanistan – if not across central Asia – is revealed to be a failure.

Nauru liberates all asylum seekers into ‘open detention’ with life-guards, saying it plans to process the lot in a week, a week in which the High Court hears legal challenges to offshore detention itself, only to withdraw its promise later. Doctors at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne refuse to release child patients back into detention. 400 sign a petition demanding the release of all children detained on Nauru and Manus Island, a stand backed by state Health Minister, Jill Hennessy, a move to which Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has no sensible response, although it is possible to make out the word ‘drowning’.

Australia is drowning by numbers. The IMF produces growth projections contradicting Hockey’s gonzo optimism and indicating steep economic challenges await us. A fifteen-year old shoots police employee Curtis Cheng, at Parramatta Police Station. None of this, however, puts comeback king Turnbull off his toe-tapping, show-stopping razzle-dazzle.

Oozing charisma and class, Turnbull is a born entertainer; an accomplished showman. He raps. He dances. He speaks in sentences. Can there be no end to his talents? The nation goes wild.

Things look crook for Labor …

Mark Kenny is smitten. Oldies fall back in love with the coalition, swelling its primary vote by 7% mainly at the expense of The Greens in a series of recent opinion polls. Things look crook for Labor which announces a ‘concrete bank’, a new plan to finance public works such as Tasmania’s Midland Highway. It is clever and is modelled on the CEFC but it is an ugly baby. It will be concrete boots for Shorten if the PM’s stocks continue to turn bullish.

Turnbull has a vision. He has seen the future and he is in it; ‘The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile … innovative … and … creative’, he raps. His all-female backing group, the Show Ponies led by Marise Payne and Kelly O’Dwyer, share his microphone: Innovation- e-Nation.-Job creation! E-lation!

There is no Coalition plan, however, to raise female pay rates, set quotas or targets to improve women’s participation in the workforce. Funding of measures to address a national epidemic of violence against women receives one hundred million back of a three million cut. It is a creative accountancy trick which fools no-one. The Turnbull cabinet may have a few more women in it but his government is as far away from gender equality as its predecessor.

In the crush of the national mosh-pit, moreover, Turnbull’s future clichés are mistaken for a type of benediction or prophecy rather than a warning based on our historical flat-footedness in responding to change. Ever suggestible, unused to criticism, we readily mistake reproach for flattery. Most of us miss the irony in Donald Horne’s The Lucky Country. If we were an agile, creative, innovative nation, we would not still be beholden to dying extractive industries for our income. We would understand that inequality is both morally wrong and economically counterproductive and address it. We would invest massively in renewables.

Luckily, our new PM has a silver tongue. Sweet Custard Bun, as our dragon-bone divinating PM is known in China, is delighted to woo us with his platitudes and beatitudes. He is happier than ever with himself. Betraying less small l Liberal than messiah complex, his mission is to reset the Australian zeitgeist from Nope to Hope, reinventing himself as a model of consensus and bearer of glad tidings. Bun is the one chosen to lead his people into a new dreamtime. He will save us from ourselves. Best of all, Bun is not Abbott.

…a more exciting time not to be Tony…

We feel better already. ‘Relief’ is felt by twenty five thousand readers currently polled by The Age on their ‘reactions to Malcolm Turnbull becoming Prime Minister’. Relief is four times more powerful than ‘Hope’ which earns a respectable second ranking. There has never been a more exciting time not to be Tony Abbott. The possibilities are positively intoxicating. Even the dinosaur of the Liberal party room appears eager to seize the day.

Mark Kenny detects an Oz-Glasnost as MPs rattle off new ideas and ‘think outside the box’, freed from the iron hand of Peta Kremlin’s PMO. Fortress Abbott is under demolition. An invisible Liberal MP, David Coleman, has an idea. Business ‘start-ups’ could be encouraged by exempting their initial costs from capital gains tax liabilities they might otherwise incur. On Tuesday, moreover, Liberal backbenchers chorus for a review of weekend penalty rates.

This is heady stuff. Perestroika must surely follow. Yet a few bum notes mar the orchestration of the Turnbull New World Symphony.

Toadying to the NSW Liberal Party State Council in Sydney on Saturday, Turnbull is clearly rattled when his audience laughs at his claim that the Liberal party is not run by factions. Nor are we run by big business, he says with a straight face. Liberal circles continue to be in denial about their very real factions and Abbott’s dismissal still rankles, especially with the Liberal hard right. Turnbull ends up looking like a tosser. Despite his threats, however, Cory Bernardi has yet to found his own party.

Bernardi cannot find a new party which would have him as its founder. He bounces back like a dud cheque with ‘colourful’ international Islamophobe Geert Wilders in tow. Scott Morrison proposes to privatise hospitals and schools, a bad old idea whose time has come and gone.

… leprous penalty rates …

Unclean! Unclean! The ubiquitous Kate Carnell rings another cracked bell with her delusion that leprous penalty rates will destroy all private enterprise as we know it. Brian Loughnane, husband of Peta Credlin, the man the Liberals call Federal Director resigns with a parting shot at the PM’s crowd-pulling, crowd pleasing shtick.

‘We see Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and I don’t think Australia should think we’re immune to these trends,’ he says in a predictably petty swipe at Turnbull’s popularity.

All this is water off a toad’s back to the all-singing, all-dancing PM who belts out the retro Minder theme song. ‘I could be so good for you’ when rabid fellow admirer Victorian Liberal Director, ‘Dollar Sweetie’, Michael Kroger meets him Thursday. You could win us five Victorian seats, just by not being Tony Abbott, blowhard Kroger sucks up to his new idol.

‘I know what Tony is going through, Michael,’ grins Turnbull, revealing dentition the envy of a Patagonian tooth-fish. He savours the budgie-smuggler’s suffering. PM Bun is engorged with a transcendent optimism. He is buoyed by the omnipotence and superiority known to every narcissist when a plum job falls at last into his lap.

Turnbull’s leadership plum is all the sweeter for having been so painfully surrendered by his detested nemesis, Tony Abbott darling of all right-wing nut-jobs everywhere and Rupert Murdoch’s stooge, the man who beat him for leader five years ago by one vote. Even more satisfying, Abbott is a sore loser, suggesting he was taken by surprise. The Manly skeghead continues to give interviews which reveal his bewilderment, vitriol and a bit of surfer’s rash. He is suffering. There has never been a better time to be Malcolm Turnbull.

… nothing personal, just business…

A gifted orator and former Communications Minister, Sweet Custard Bun tells 3AW’s Neil Mitchell Tuesday that he has not spoken to Abbott since deposing him. Will he and Abbott ever make up? The Godfather Turnbull replies, ‘There’s nothing personal, just business.’ At a NSW Liberal function on Saturday, however, he gushes such patently insincere, fulsome praise of Abbott that not even Abbott could take him at face value. It is their first public meeting together since the coup and from the body language argues against any rapprochement.

‘Tony Abbott has held firm to those Liberal values throughout his career and public life. He held true to them as an opposition leader, he held true to them as prime minister…He took us out of the wilderness of opposition and took us back into government and achieved great things, great reforms, great commitments.’

‘Seize the day’, is the best Liberal value our opportunistic PM cum National Cheer-leader can muster. He busts his promise not to sloganeer. Pundits puzzle the conundrum. A slogan is kosher when it is a Latin tag, or when it popularises privilege, elitism and fascism, as in Dead Poets Society? When it is his captain’s call? Keating’s young acolytes might have marched to the beat of a different drum in Dead Poet’s Society but it was Keating’s drum.

‘We need advocacy, not slogans. We need to respect the intelligence of the Australian people.’

‘Seize the day’ suggests we should not expect Bun to take too far the need to respect his audience’s intelligence. Or respect its interests. ‘Always back self-interest in the race of life’, Jack Lang said – ‘at least with self-interest, you know it is trying’.

Enthused by the excitement of his own ascendancy, Bun is happy to resort to spin to win over others. He embraces the newly signed TPP, describing it as a ‘giant foundation stone of our future prosperity’ when it is a mill-stone. The secret treaty cedes our sovereignty to US-based multinational corporations, allowing foreign firms to use ISDS to sue our government if we change our laws and diminish their profits.

… the treaty crushes innovation …

Not only will the TPP undermine our environmental protection, it will restrict how we address climate change. Above all, for a nation which has to be agile and creative, the treaty crushes innovation by transforming intellectual property into a way of protecting big corporations’ investment in culture, advertising and medicine. There has never been a more exciting time to be a US-based multinational in Australia.

In essence the TPP is less about free trade than US power. Confronted by the rise of China the US has created a twelve-nation trading bloc to boost its waning international authority and to provide access for US-based multi-national corporations to raw materials at the lowest possible cost.

Given that even bilateral trade has seldom if ever been a success to both parties, the chances of a workable twelve-nation agreement are not high. Even if it were to sail through the US Congress, it is likely to prove an expensive source of frustration to its smaller members than any instant passport to prosperity. Our own Productivity Commission reports

‘The increase in national income from preferential agreements is likely to be modest. The Commission has received little evidence from business to indicate that bilateral agreements to date have provided substantial commercial benefits.’

A TPP which truly aimed at improving its members’ prosperity instead of US security would include China. Indeed, the exclusion of China puts the lie to the snake-oil salesmen who are promoting the deal as a way to promote growth, improve living standards or any other economic benefit. So far, however, Sweet Custard Bun has failed to live up to his promise to respect the nation’s intelligence.

…the PM who sold Australia into multi-national corporate servitude…

If there is any advocacy being exercised by our PM in the TPP fiasco it is all on behalf of the multi-nationals and our great and powerful friend the US. Although the TPP was a good eight years in the making, a done deal when he came to power, Turnbull will be remembered as the PM who sold Australia into multi-national corporate servitude. Unless, of course, the US Congress fails to ratify the TPP. Or our Senate remembers that it is never a good plan to buy anything, not even a recycled, replacement, remade PM, sight unseen. Nor embrace one in too much of a hurry. Caveat Emptor not Carpe Diem, works better for our nation, regardless of what’s best for you, Mr Turnbull.

Malcolm Turnbull strikes a positive note when he contacts Muslim leaders after the shooting in Parramatta. There is every reason to believe he understands complexity and respects other cultural perspectives. In style, he is a totally different performer to his abrasive, fear-mongering sloganeering predecessor. Yet beyond his superior performance values there is very little yet to suggest that the Sweet Custard Bun is any more nourishing or sustaining to a nation hungry for real leadership in a time of critical international and domestic challenges than his predecessor the junkyard dog.

SkyNews: Turnbull’s approval soars in Newspoll, but its Lib-Lab neck-and-neck

The Australian: Nats put Turnbull to water test Malcolm Turnbull faces rising tensions with the Nationals over a key plank of the written Coalition agreement and deep divisions in the NSW branch of the Liberal Party in his first internal political tests as Prime Minister. Nationals MPs have told The Australian Mr Turnbull risks undermining his working relationship with his junior Coalition partner unless he honours the spirit of his deal with them over the return of water to the agriculture portfolio. Mr Turnbull is also facing threats of “civil war’’ in his home state of NSW unless members get more say in the selection of candidates after he was publicly derided on Saturday for saying factions did not run the Liberal Party.

Guardian: Malcolm Turnbull backs public transport with $95m for Gold Coast light rail

The New Daily: MH17 hit by Russian-made missile: final report

• Use the TT NEWS Dropdown Menu (top nav bar) to stay abreast of breaking news/comment … we’ve just added Radio National – which has been running a superb series on mental illness – to the Dropdown …

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Guardian: Liberal MP Russell Broadbent calls for an end to children in detention – politics live Parliament resumes with Malcolm Turnbull’s new ministry facing their first questions as Newspoll shows Labor and the Coalition on 50-50. Tony Abbott will sit on the backbench for the first time since 1995. Follow the day’s news live

• John Hayward in Comments: Malcolm certainly put the kybosh to any messianic expectations people might have held for him with his panegyric to Tony at the Lib Party fundraiser. He even tossed his dignity and integrity into that sacrificial fire of self-abasement.

WEDNESDAY, October 14 …

SMH:Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 shot down by Buk missile, investigation finds Gilze-Rijen air force base: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed last year after it was hit by a Russian-made Buk surface to air missile, an air safety investigation has found, which killed the pilots immediately but may have left passengers alive for up to a full minute and a half. A report by the Dutch Safety Board, released on Tuesday in the Netherlands, found that a Russian-made Buk missile exploded just a few metres above and to the left of the plane’s cockpit. “(The) impact (of the missile shrapnel) was only instantly fatal to the occupants of the cockpit,” the report found.
Within a second the plane began to break up, exposing other crew and passengers to deafening noise, “abrupt deceleration, decompression, reduced oxygen level, extreme cold, powerful airflow (and) objects flying around”. “Some occupants suffered serious injuries that probably caused their death. In others, the exposure led to reduced awareness or unconsciousness in a very short space of time.”

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. phill Parsons

    October 11, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Coalition used to mean the Liberals and the Country Party.

    Now it is the factions of the Liberal Party, the Institute of Public Affairs, Murdoch, Rhinehardt, Forrest and the miners party aka the Nationals.

    Without a traditional home are small business, farmers and the people of the Menzies era, the little people.

    Howard was from that milieu but soon realized where power lay and how to get it. Manipulate the dreams of many so the pockets of the few could be filled.

    It is unlikely Bun will go to an early election, unless he wishes to show his call for confidence is just that, a call.

    His problem lies with the global economy as it did for Abbott. At least Bun can see that.

    So we will have less austerity, some social change and a nation building program, a government with some Labor and some Green features but really on that ensures Bun can lead for the benefit of Business.

    Labor has a challenge which is assisted by the struggle of the factions of the conservative side. The Greens are better off in that they are likely to have actual policy wins as Bun tries neutralization to end their rise.

    Bailleau tried this in Victoria and the Greens have even lore lower house seats. Bun will have to be very clever and hope we do not tire of whole sentences without outcome.

    Outcomes are his only way to being re-elected. The electorate wants results.

  2. Chris

    October 11, 2015 at 10:27 am

    The cream in the bun has gone off, its turned sour and News poll, a Murdock unbiased creation, has reported that its even stevens.
    The pastry on the top of the bun is the same size as the bottom.
    Whats in the middle is very quickly tasting off.
    Will Mr Empty buy a new bun or renovate the old one.

  3. john hayward

    October 11, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Malcolm certainly put the kybosh to any messianic expectations people might have held for him with his panegyric to Tony at the Lib Party fund raiser.

    He even tossed his dignity and integrity into that sacrificial fire of self-abasement.

    “I’m only a man” he seemed to be saying, ” and maybe even less than that”.

    John Hayward

  4. Russell

    October 11, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    It wouldn’t take much to be more popular than any PM of the last 5 years.

    Regarding the Murray-Darling water issue, I was recently surprised to see the irrigation channels in the Cohuna-Echuca region to be brimming with water and the paddocks as green as Tassie.

    On Landline, the farmers opinion of the 5 year Murray-Darling Basin buy-back and efficiency measures depended on where along the river system they were situated. In the upper reaches of Queensland and northern NSW the cotton growers would say there was never enough water to open flood irrigate their thristy crops, while those drip-feeding citrus trees in north western Victoria and South Australia say not enough has been done for water efficiency or water returned to the system.

    The reality is that the mouth of the Murray in South Australia is closing and constantly being dredged again.

    In 2002, Richard Pratt offered John Howard’s government $100million to pipe the irrigation channels. Howard knocked it back. This would save 80% of the water lost in these channels to evaporation and seepage. 13 years of water savings have been lost and we are now facing another drought period.

    The irrigation channels must be piped. Not only would this save 80% of the water used to irrigate, but it would mean farmers pay only for the amount they use metered from the pipes, and the rivers and wetlands we depend upon would be so much healthier.

    Surely government departments could be proactive and forward thinking enough to use their allocated public monies to invest in pipe manufacturing businesses selling to the public (and providing jobs), then use the profits to finance the channel piping.

  5. mr t

    October 11, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    #4, the green paddocks along the Murray from Hay to Echuca are usually rice fields. The paddocks will have a low dam wall to flood the rice paddies. The Australian rice industry is arguably worse than the cotton industry for waste through evaporation. Sunrice is an active lobbyist behind the family orchards and vineyards.

    Throw all the irrigators into one room and get them to divide the bucket of water and not just whinge the bucket isn’t big enough or has a hole. The Hay district used to be dry floodplains for wheat and sheep.

  6. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 11, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    REALITY CHECK: all groups have ‘factions’, even a group like your suburban footy club or CWA branch, and even – Oh My Gaia! – The Greens.

    What PM Turnbull might have intended (and was let down by inaccurate wording) was that in the Liberal Party, their factions (though real) are not institutionalised and formalised as they are in the ALP (where each main faction has its sub-factions – as this nursery rhyme says about fleas:

    “Big fleas have little fleas,
    Upon their backs to bite ’em,
    And little fleas have lesser fleas,
    and so, ad infinitum”).

  7. Lynne Newington

    October 11, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Good on you for acknowledging Richard Pratt on this issue Russell. Sometime ago [The Herald Sun] you also mentioned Richard was an environmentalist and a visionary, now proven right.
    He also was a man who was big enough to admit his mistakes……Which politician can honestly boast the same?
    Remember?

  8. Russell

    October 11, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Re #6
    I used to shoot in the Hay area many years ago and even then it was dry and desolate. Rice and cotton shouldn’t be grown in Australia.

    The channels must be piped for farmers, the environment and the Murray/Darling Basin to have any realistic sustainable chance.

  9. Lynne Newington

    October 12, 2015 at 10:00 am

    #3 I hope Malcolm doesn’t get caught up with new powers pressing to lower the age to fourteen in relation to the terrorist label, Brandis will certainly be flexing his muscles in favour, a stalwart of Abbott’s divisiveness and scare mongering.

  10. Chris

    October 12, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    By the way remember vote Singh 1
    Abetz last on any ticket.

  11. Lynne Newington

    October 12, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    #11 Whether valid or not, now I understand where he got his abortion connection to breast from.
    Endeavour Forum have quite a few politicians on side, including Kevin Andrews and Cory Bernardi.

  12. Richard Browne

    October 12, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Same puppet,different mask,manipulated by the same master..

  13. O'brien

    October 13, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Re: # 11; When voting for the Senate many people start with the most odious, putting them last and working up from there, as opposed from putting someone first and working down. Quite frankly you would be better off putting any independent ahead of anyone from one of the two major dichotomous parties.

    Why contributors insist on spruiking for Senator Singh is beyond me.. When approached for assistance with serious corrupt conduct within the Tasmanian State Service Senator Singh’s office reverted to type and did everything possible to avoid dealing with the issue. ‘Terriers’ is the term given to political staffers who chase away potentially troublesome issues before they are made manifest, thereby allowing the elected representative to deny all knowledge, should it come to that. Definitely better off putting Senators Singh/Abetz last and working up from there. After all is said and done they are both different cogs in the same machine and have more in common than they have differences. In fact Senator Abetz has probably achieved more for Tasmania in real terms than many inert Labour/labor Senators.

  14. Claire Gilmour

    October 13, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    The Cayman vs the cavewoman! Politics of envy indeed. Who is dragging who by the hair of their chinny chin chin?

    Big boys club says … we have millions … we hide. Little girls club says … I wanna sell/trade something for 10 bucks … gov says you screwed!

  15. Lynne Newington

    October 13, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    #11, I’d be more inclined to research the politicians influencing the decisions for running the country and see their affiliations…Abetz is a good example with his connection to Endeavour Forum [abortion and breast cancer]and protesting outside clinics intimidating women already traumatized with the decision they made to terminate a pregnancy whatever reason. Google up the three names mentioned and see for yourself.

    I recall I once asked the christian, pro-family, pro life co-ordinator and NGO, as mothers, why she and her group didn’t stand out in front of Parliament House and flag their support for the mothers whose children survived the womb only to become victims of clergy many paying the ultimate price committing suicide….

  16. Chris

    October 14, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    #11
    Remember Liza Singh and her untiring efforts in regard to eradicating asbestos and opposing a Pulp Mill, could not put Bishop First could you?

  17. Robin Charles Halton

    October 14, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    #14 O’brien I ask the same what has Senator Singh achieved for Tasmnaia.

    She is nothing more than a fashion statement that traipses back and fowards to Canberra to meet for own ends.
    A bit of a snob really and does not fit in very well over the wider social arena in Denison

    Wilkie is a more approachable person who is not afraid of conversation with anyone as is apparent with his regular visits to Northgate Shopping Centre.

    I may not agree with him on everything but being a pretty smart Independent he has got a good grip on a wide range of issues.

    #17 Chris, As I clearly recall Singh abstained on the Pulp Mill vote.

    Singh is on the Greener side of Labor nothing wrong with that but her main problem is lack of personal communication with the electorate especially in West Denison where one would think it should be a Labor stronghold, but it isnt anymore.

    Overall, Labor is a failed entity in Tasmania and recovery is unlikely.

    Senator Lambie is the one that fits in well with Tasmania’s overall position in the nation and she has achieved much more than Senator Singh would in a life time.

    Also forget Labor Senators Urqhuart and Brown, too old for the job and out of touch with societies needs.

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