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: Turnbull’s super-ministry …

*Pic: Asylum seeker protesters surround Peter Dutton …

Loud Hosannas, cheers, applause and dancing in the streets erupt across a grateful nation this week as our bravely innovative, PM, Malcolm Turnbull, proclaims Peter Dutton, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Dead-eye Dutton’s rise is but one sublime peak in a week action-packed with fear and surprise featuring a Turnbull presser at a military base, backed by a blackface troupe of armed commandos in balaclavas, keeping us all safe.

Meanwhile up the coast, intrigued by our amphibious landings and all agog at sundry other top-secret-state of the art, war games with the US, so cleverly filmed by our ABC, a Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army-navy spy ship is observed “aggressively” lurking off Queensland’s coast, within our Exclusive Economic Zone in the Coral Sea.

So much for Malcolm Turnbull’s 2016 ring of steel, encircling Australia’s northern waters, protecting our borders.

In NSW, Liberals savage each other before their national conference, a stoush billed as a clash between left and right factions in a fight for control of the party. The vote also is a proxy war between Abbott and Turnbull.

Abbott leads a push to include members in candidate pre-selection in a “democratic reform” move which will only lead to a return to right-wing branch-stacking. Above all, it will help ensure his own pre-selection, currently at risk.

His “Warringah motion”, for one member, one pre-selection vote which features speeches from windy, right-wing warrior, retired Major General Jim Molan receives 61% of the 1224 votes, taking NSW Liberals further to the right.

… a cynical, last-minute tactic …

Abbott’s eager contribution to political conflict also includes the gift that keeps on giving, the legacy of his plebiscite on same-sex marriage, a cynical, last-minute tactic to prevent a party conscience vote. A non-binding, non-compulsory, snap postal plebiscite, a Clayton’s plebiscite, “just to get a result” on same sex marriage, has been prepared by a secretive government keen to avoid having to take the issue to the next election.

Peter Dutton, an opponent of marriage equality, threw his extra-large hat into the postal vote ring last February, as did Matthias Cormann. If a postal vote can take place quickly, it will avoid the scenario where Liberal senator Dean Smith can bring his promised private member’s bill to his party room and to a parliamentary vote in August.

Gorgeous George Christensen is urging everyone to go postal, as is the Queensland Liberal National Party, which last week called upon the Coalition to conduct a mail-out plebiscite, a process which is predicted to favour the no case partly because young voters, who are more likely to vote yes, are believed to be less likely to return non-compulsory ballots.

A no vote is the outcome the party right, who run this government, prefers, despite it being a minority view in parliament and in the nation. Abbott may be long deposed, but his spirit of evasion, tactical subterfuge and reality denial lives on in Turnbull’s era. Dutton steps up to swing the vast bulk of Home Affairs behind a postal ballot.

Sunday, Dutton is right on song with the quick and dirty idea that a voluntary postal vote would be a “much cleaner process” than a private member or a Labor bill. Dispensing with pleasantries, early, in a Sunday interview, he quickly assumes his super minister bully role with a resounding rebuff to his imaginary enemy, a left-wing ABC.

In a twist on his 2015 denunciation of the national “Jihadist” broadcaster, in league with Fairfax to do the government down, the paranoid and autocratic Dutton, as befits a newly anointed super minister, now sees the ABC as a culturally-flawed “worker’s collective” that has deviated from its charter. Shades of Donald Trump.

Like any self-respecting Coalition heavy, Dutton puts pressure on ABC’s MD Michelle Guthrie to further diminish the possibility of objective commentary or factual reporting impeding the processes of government. No holding to account. It’s proved a devastatingly effective tactic when combined with budget cuts or chronic under-funding.

He also adds his signature dog-whistle …

“I hope that Michelle Guthrie can arrest some of that direction and bring it back to a more sensible position,” Dutton tells Sky News on Sunday. He also adds his signature dog-whistle, this time, to all of ABC’s right-wing critics.

“That’s been my long-held view of the ABC … and I haven’t seen anyone dispute that with any seriousness.”

No-one cares much any more about the ABC but Alex Greenwich, Australian Marriage Equality co-chair, a NSW independent MP, is quick to denounce Dutton’s call as a “political trick to override the role of parliament”.

“Any attempt to hold a non-binding and voluntary postal plebiscite will be seen as a pointless political trick to override the role of parliament and delay the settled will of the Australian people.”

Luckily Alan Tudge is on hand to advance the national conversation from political chicanery to statistical duplicity. Taking time out from extorting “overpayments” from innocent and often helpless Centrelink victims to provide tax cuts to the rich, while unemployment benefits stay unchanged since 1994, the Minister for Social Services and Neoliberal nurturing, declares poverty is all your own fault.

Time again to blame the victim

More welfare, he tells the tough-luvvies of the hard right CIS think-tank in Sydney, will do nothing to alleviate what is simply the result of your own dysfunctional family. He echoes Jeremy Sammut’s remarkable piece in The Australian last year when he identified “bad parenting” as the real dysfunction. Helping only makes this worse.

“Long-term welfare dependence is a poison on the individual, it reduces people’s ability, it reduces people’s confidence,” Tudge tut-tuts. CIS members whose think tank enjoys long-term tax-free status as a charity, cheer.

Some Indigenous communities, he blusters, before singling out Wilcannia NSW, are at “saturation level” of funding. In an echo of the Coalition argument for reducing our investment in education by billions, he contends that more money won’t fix the problem. What’s needed is to address the causes, he reckons.

Tudge’s list of causes …reads suspiciously like effects.

Yet Tudge’s list of causes or “pathways to poverty” reads suspiciously like effects. He cites welfare dependency, drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown and poor education standards. More self-righteous victim blaming.

But there’s more. A late ray of sunshine across a wintry national stage, littered with the corpses of dud ideas, Tudge has a magic formula of “absolute deprivation” to redefine poverty as your ability to afford, food, clothing, education – compared with say, thirty years ago when even a neoliberal Hawke was vowing to end child poverty.

Calculating poverty from average household earnings, taking, for example, the OECD’s benchmark of 50% of median income, puts 3 million Australians, including 731,000 children, below the poverty line, is so passe.

Instead, argues Tudge, go back thirty years. Apply an absolute deprivation filter. Presto. A single unemployed person on $38 per day, today, is ten per cent better off than in the past. People with children are even wealthier.

It’s a cruel statistical hoax, of course. The reality is that poverty is increasing as shown by a range of reputable researchers such as ACOSS. At least of third of those receiving social security live below the poverty line. It is highly likely, moreover, that poverty is under-reported but for this government, if you are poor, it is your own fault.

Tudge could go back to 1890 and find figures to prove that today’s poor are fat cats relatively speaking. But only if we accept a ludicrous formula which, among other flaws, ignores the soaring costs of accommodation and energy.

Blaming the victim and demonising the poor are not new trends. Nor is sophistry and wilful ignorance.

“People who have secure accommodation, decent food on the table, access to medical care and whose children go to school are not poor”, thundered The Australian in 2004, denouncing “the welfare lobby”‘s attempt to define poverty as earnings less than average weekly income. No matter that no such definition has ever been ventured.

Spurious statistics are adduced to persuade us …

Tudge continues to argue against increasing government spending on welfare. Spurious statistics are adduced to persuade us that a married couple on welfare now enjoys 38% greater benefit that a couple thirty years ago. Benefits have increased, he claims in real terms by 10% for a single person. It’s dangerous nonsense.

Tudge and his government are reviving a culture of cruelty, a mean-spiritedness which speaks against a culture of compassion or solidarity in favour of division and an ethos of competitive rivalry, a survival of the fittest in a type of neoliberal authoritarianism which threatens the very fundamentals of our welfare state and our civil society.

Aside from the cheer squaddies, others see Turnbull as a forlorn Theresa May figure, a PM in title only, cynically embracing fear-mongering and in no position to refuse his right-wing rival in a last-ditch bid to stay in power.

Butch Dutton’s elevation comes a day after the PM stages his weirdly dystopian press-terror show. It’s an ironic over the top homage to military fetishist Tony Abbott who followed his mentor Howard, in politicising the military.

A beached assault vessel lurks behind masked ADF soldiers in camouflage gear who brandish automatic weapons to help the PM explain the ADF’s need for greater powers; expanding into domestic terror attacks.

As Guy Rundle writes, “up pops Malcolm, to announce a vast centralisation of state power in one department, and a weakening of the barrier between military and police operations in domestic matters.”

Dutton grins. Becoming super powerful is something he and his Immigration and Border Protection secretary, Mike Pezzullo, have been working on for some time, despite enjoying very mixed success with their day jobs.

Is it another of the PM’s cunning plans, a Turnbullian tactic which flouts all expert advice, common sense and the mind-numbing dullness of collegiate decision-making to buy off a right-wing challenge? Or is it capitulation?

… a junkyard dog of opposition promoted out of his depth …

Certainly, it’s another fracture in the image of reasoned collaboration and consensus-seeking. A day after deposing Tony Abbott, a junkyard dog of opposition promoted out of his depth, who sensibly left all big decisions to his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, Turnbull declared he was a Prime Minister who would listen to his peers.

“We need to restore traditional cabinet government. There must be an end to policy on the run and captain’s calls,” he said, in what proved to just the first step to becoming an answering-machine of high-sounding, crowd-pleasing promises he had no intention of keeping. And even less capacity. Now, even Greg Sheridan protests:

“The decision … to establish an omnibus, security-focused department of home affairs, with Peter Dutton leading the new ministry, changes the Prime Minister has ¬described as the most important to the organisation of national ¬security in 40 years, never once went to a full cabinet meeting for consideration.”

Nor was it taken to the cabinet national security committee for any deliberation or evaluation. “The Ayatollah”, as Turnbull was known in merchant banking, has returned with a vengeance. He’ll do anything to stay in power – he’ll even over-promote Peter Dutton, a Minister with a record of manifest serial incompetence .

Dutto’s promotion makes the former Queensland drug squad policeman, aka J. Edgar Tuber, the most powerful man in Australia. He’s now way above the PM atop a brand-new, instant, Super-Ministry of Home Affairs, a press-ganged crew of ASIO spooks, Border Force cowboys, our AFP and many others, none of whom were consulted and all of whom may be counted on to resist the amalgamation, especially when it comes to co-operation and sharing.

For all his high-sounding embrace of “the sensible centre”, a posturing which involved the reinvention of Menzies during his speech in London, Malcolm Turnbull has taken the Liberal Party and his government hard right. In this he may, indeed, prove tactically agile, moving to a position where Abbott’s attacks are unable to find him out. He may also, as Guy Rundle suggests, move closer than he knows to Ming’s reactionary and ruthless pragmatism.

In the process of shoring up his leadership, however, Turnbull has created a monster which is far more likely to prove a major liability rather than any streamlined, linked-up, co-ordinated, up to the minute anti-terror fighting machine or super ministry. Even the one voice in cabinet promise sounds like a problem. One voice three times?

The PM’s ignored good advice; a review of the intelligence system by two top mandarins, Michael L’Estrange and Stephen Merchant commissioned last November. These senior bureaucrats were advised by former senior British spook Sir Iain Lobban. Nowhere does their report propose an amalgamated Home Affairs ministry.

“a major, perhaps spectacular, missed opportunity …”

Not that it’s more than a bureaucratic exercise. For Bernard Keane, the review of Australia’s intelligence community is superficial; “a major, perhaps spectacular, missed opportunity, [which] skips critical thinking for bureaucratic insularity, empire-building and a bizarre indifference to the key issues of intelligence and national security.

Lots of new high-ranking bureaucratic positions will be created, however, in a process of systemic self-perpetuation. Naturally, both Turnbull and Morrison are pretending all will be cost-neutral.

Turnbull was not seeking depth or objectivity; rather a box to tick. In the process, however, he appears overly receptive to Peter Dutton whose secretary Mike Pezzullo is the architect of the Home Affairs concept in a process which rewards naked empire building at the expense of any wider, objective or detailed view.

Home Affairs is what Dutton wants and what Turnbull thinks he could use; a recipe for disaster from day one. Then there are practical issues such as ASIO issuing warrants which will have to be signed off on by Brandis.

Apart from unease over the process, strains will naturally quickly appear in Home Affairs, a forced menage a trois of three separate government bodies, none of whom favour amalgamation – and with key issues unresolved – let alone under Dutton, a Minister who has struggled to administer the unhappy merger of Immigration and Customs.

Is the PM tongue in cheek when he praises the new model’s superior communication and collaboration potential? Peter Dutton is typically evasive, non-communicative or hostile. Of all ministers, he is the least responsive.

He has yet to explain why he misled the parliament and the Australian public when he asserted that shots were fired upon Manus Island Detention Centre on Good Friday this year in retaliation over the refugees’ suspected paedophile activity, an unsubstantiated slur. Greens Senator Nick McKim reports that after visiting Manus, he found that Dutton’s account was not supported on the ground.

… puts the lie to Peter Dutton’s version of events …

“What I can say is that both the PNG police and Ronny Knight, and all of the detainees … are consistent in their positions, and that is that an event involving a small child had nothing whatsoever to do with the attack and the shooting, which obviously puts the lie to Peter Dutton’s version of events,” he says.

The super ministry is likely to get in its own way; confuse the allocation of counter-terrorism roles and responsibilities. Yet the elephant in the room is the over-hyped terror threat which is its reason for being. Seriously. Despite Abbott’s rhetoric, Australia does not pose an existential threat from ISIS or any other group.

Talk it up all you will, Prime Minister, our nation’s terrorist experience is tiny – mercifully.

As Mehdi Hasan writes, “there have been zero mass-casualty terror attacks on Australian soil since September 11, 2001.”

Or as Greg Austin, international security expert at the University of NSW, observed last October:

“More Australians have died at the hands of police (lawfully or unlawfully) in 10 years (50 at least from 2006 to 2015) or from domestic violence in just two years (more than 318 in 2014 and 2015) than from terrorist attacks in Australia in the last 20 years.”

The threat our nation faces from the right-wing of the Liberal Party and the puppet Turnbull government it runs is immeasurably greater than any external threat it must conjure in order to boost its dwindling authority.

While the super-ministry fiasco, a giant bureaucracy no-one except the PM needs and no-one except Peter Dutton and Mike Pezullo want, reflects its manifestly inept decision-making, the Coalition’s fixation with neoliberal ideology is more pernicious and far more pervasive than any possible external terror threat.

A PM who truly cares about national security would look within. The war on terror is a hoax. The government’s capture by business, mining and banking has led it to inflict injustice and indignity including the cruel trickle-down fraud of $65 billion dollar tax breaks for business in the pretence of prosperity for all.

Forget the war on terror, Prime Minister. Spare us the weird theatricals. Look at rampant inequality fostered by your neoliberal economic policies. If you want better security, cease your war on the poor and the vulnerable, the cutting benefits and penalty rates. Address underemployment. Get real about enforcing working conditions and pay rates. Ensure that businesses pay a fair rate of tax.

Stop the demonising of the poor. Take the $65 billion you were going to give to the rich and boost pensions and benefits. Set an adequate minimum wage for the average worker. Invest in education. Health. Boosting living standards and reducing inequality will foster social cohesion. Real national security needs no super ministry.

*David Tyler (AKA Urban Wronski) was born in England, raised in New Zealand and an Australian resident since 1979. Urban Wronski grew up conflicted about his own national identity and continues to be deeply mistrustful of all nationalism, chauvinism, flags, politicians and everything else which divides and obscures our common humanity. He has always been enchanted by nature and by the extraordinary brilliance of ordinary men and women and the genius, the power and the poetry that is their vernacular. Wronski is now a fulltime freelance writer who lives with his partner and editor Shay and their chooks, near the Grampians in rural Victoria and he counts himself the luckiest man alive. A former teacher of all ages and stages, from Tertiary to Primary, for nearly forty years, he enjoyed contesting the corporatisation of schooling to follow his own natural instinct for undifferentiated affection, approval and compassion for the young.

Guardian: Alan Tudge waves his wand – and turns welfare debate upside down

Ross Gittins, Fairfax: Big business influence wanes as public rejects ‘bizonomics’

Guardian: Burst your bubble Australia: conservatives struggle with disunity

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Lynne Newington

    August 2, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    @ 25 RCH. Being a sandgroper myself I can assure you it will a great experience. Don’t forget the historical goldfields…..Coolgardie for instance if time allows and further down Rottnest Island [the quokka’s]….great beaches and coast lines, the South West is the wonderland of wildflowers ….Kings Park is a must [with the wishing well where many a dream was pondered] the Narrows Bridge.. it’s hard to imagine the waterline once virtually at the bottle of the hill.
    The people are friendly too…
    Safe travelling.

  2. Robin Charles Halton

    August 2, 2017 at 7:20 am

    #25 Claire, Mr Abetz does not particularly concern me in the case of his citizenship pose, that is best left to Mr Hawkins!
    Many others seem to have become embroiled in the process recently too!

    I dont like the man, Abetz I mean, he is an extreme Christian, his view on sex is that of a strict wartime German view as a mortal sin and for those who dare practise without his authority would be condemned to the fires of hell so to speak!

    The Liberal party fears him, Turnbull needs to throw a Party surprise act soon and allow the Parliament to decide on the same sex marriage and allow Eric his prayer time!

    Even our Pauline is tolerant of SSM and I am sure that she will gain a high approval rating from our friends in Qld given the many issues affecting the daily life of the genuine Oz citizen such as myself.

    Agree that airline ground staff need to be zapped each day on arrival for duty, that should include security staff as well!

    Big problem, as Lakemba and Sunnyvale are the likely recruitment areas for such nasty and aggressive acts by disenfranchised Muslims who have been allowed to dwell among us as Isis reachs out across the globe for its dedicated brotherhood!

    Airports, often its a case of spot the Aussie who you can trust who may be checking you in, for those few minutes you are vulnerable to all of the goings on at the airport.

    More caution with carry on luggage will be the main issue, keep it simple to avoid ups, no more cans of beer or Coke which show up as evil looking canisters on the X ray! which I can carry on board!

    We will be flying Melb- Perth, September for up to one month, specifically for wildflowers and nature SW corner of the State.
    Our first trip to WA, good to escape Tas as it is a depressing hole during winter, to cold for camping but plenty on the homefront to do.

    Not so sure about international travel at our stage in life with long hauls, but domestic air travel anywhere in Oz or NZ should be OK.

  3. Claire Gilmour

    August 1, 2017 at 12:23 am

    Ps In the meantime … before enlightenment … chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment … chop wood, carry water …

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/airport-ground-staff-pose-greatest-risk-to-passenger-safety-20170403-gvc78r.html

    Look forward to your response re …

    http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/nation-mr-abetz-…-and-the-anomaly-of-citizenship-/

  4. Claire Gilmour

    August 1, 2017 at 12:22 am

    #23 Seemingly some new meanings to ‘bush wacked’ and ‘logged in’ Robin. A bush shack in the middle of nowhere? Is that actually true? No! Where is ‘nowhere’ exactly? I could ask the question … how did you learn to fly? are you on speed dial to government/media spin? Do you have decent internet access or still on a string with a couple of hollow tin cans?

    Enjoy your bi-annual frisking Robin … or would you prefer it daily – in and out of the supermarket?

    Robin, I repeat what I said on FB last Sunday …

    Wow, how instantly the new, days old, SS troupe – the Liberals home office super security – has brought together intel and found a way to scare the public.

    What a week long, mass media hyped/helped government inspired con job.

    One wonders why the domestic violence, the climate change, the fire services, the drug lords in Australia and the ATO and the Australian census groups fall so flat when we apparently have such an instant SS group to bring together online services.

    What happens when the people lose trust in politicians and government?

    The plotaticians/government tries to scare them into a vote …

    Somewhat reminiscent of blazing saddles.

    Now the simon says government says … repeat after me … put your right hand in and your left foot out and roll over ….

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-31/sydney-terror-raids-airport-security-measures-expert/8759152

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-01/ground-staff-should-have-same-screening-as-air-crew-pilots-say/8760646

  5. Robin Charles Halton

    July 30, 2017 at 2:32 am

    #21 Claire, absolutely correct, the new Super Security Portfolio is necessary as terrorists are a threat to our daily way of life!

    On Friday police foiled a terror plot to bomb a plane as raids were carried out on four houses in Sydney yesterday.

    Raids at Surry Hills, Lakemba (nothing unusual about this hot spot), Punchbowl and Wiley Park as several people were taken into custody with an alleged plot to bring down an aircraft with a device.

    PM Turnbull confirmed major Joint Counter Terrorism team operations by the AFP, ASIO and NSW police are currently taking place.

    Its for real Claire, no time to disregard the events facing the nation, for you living in a bush shack in the middle of nowhere is not to disregard the step up in procedures to protect all of us against acts that place our lives at risk.

    My wife and I fly regularly, at least twice annually within Australia and we welcome proper airport security, to the hilt when necessary.

  6. phill Parsons

    July 26, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    #9. I enjoyed Fawlty Towers so another comedy may keep me riveted as the current one starring silver tongue does.

    How Canavan blew up in his face with the carelessness handling of his secret citizenship. It may have been secret from him too but nevertheless, it was sloppy, he should have checked.

  7. Claire Gilmour

    July 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Australian’s are told terrorists are a huge threat to our daily way of life, hence the new Super Security Portfolio. Our very own SS – troop !

    With a world-wide history of genocide, from killing to starvation one could suggest ‘economic genocide’ is the new modern weapon of choice in a first world country.

    With the growing disparity and dissatisfaction of wealth distribution comes the threat of bigger rallies, people pleading for fairness and equality, pretty handy for the government to have its own SS troop on hand to keep the people under the thumb.

    As a nation with a dark history of genocide (Tasmanian Aborigines), will Australian leaders tackle the purpose built inequality or be part of yet another dark history chapter … ?

    http://www.msn.com/en-au/money/personalfinance/rba-governor-says-inequality-is-increasing-in-australia/ar-AAoQZGg?li=AAabC8j&ocid=spartanntp

  8. Lynne Newington

    July 25, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    17. I find it very difficult to accept his personal signature wasn’t required…. all being said, there’s some things mothers can and can’t do, not much mind you but certainly this is one of them.

  9. Leonard Colquhoun

    July 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Who to ask about Comment 17’s question about why Resource Minister Matt Canavan was gifted with italian citizenship? His mother, maybe?

    As for his bad dad, relevance?

    Some posters are asking ‘Why the fuss?’ How sad. How dumb. How ignorant.

  10. mike seabrook

    July 25, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    lord protector or lord high executioner

  11. john hayward

    July 25, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    So when will Mal explain why Resource Minister Matt Canavan was gifted with italian citizenship? His mother was never Italian, but how about dad, who was revealed in Barnaby’s press conference as having ended up in the slammer long-term for financial crimes involving something around $1.7m?

    Are our Libs showing they are worthy junior partners to the Trumsky Republicans? Proud.

    John Hayward

  12. Lynne Newington

    July 24, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    15. #13 “So that means there are 2 Australians who are not fans off TA- the number’s rising”…
    That Dark Moon has already risen; As to the NBN? -“it probably hasn’t occured to #13 that TA isn’t rolling out the NBN – some extremely highly paid technos are- highly paid- over a million bucks a year”.
    The observation was by Brian Coyne if you read it properly. I’m not getting involved with the NBN until next year when all the problems [hopefully] have been sorted out.

  13. TGC

    July 24, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    #13 So that means there are 2 Australians who are not fans off TA- the number’s rising.
    As to the NBN – it probably hasn’t occured to #13 that TA isn’t rolling out the NBN – some extremely highly paid technos are- highly paid- over a million bucks a year.
    Get onto them #13 and tell-em- ‘I want to be able to download a 3hour movie in the blink of an eye- I am an impatient gal and can’t be bothered sitting around all day waiting for things to happen’
    You tell’em #13
    Mind you, you could be doing a lot more sitting around after the Comic Opera of a Lbor Government gets in- there’ll be stuff all else to do after we’ve been taxed into penury.

  14. Leonard Colquhoun

    July 24, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    “The idea of fixed four-year parliamentary terms at the national level is a con job. Like most bad ideas it resurfaces every 15 or 20 years and the Prime Minister is wrong to say it should be considered — it needs to be thrown into the dustbin and forgotten.

    “This proposal is a sham. It means:
    ~ more power for politicians and less for the people;
    ~ less accountability for governments and politicians and less democracy;
    ~ bad governments spend longer in office doing more damage and denying the public the chance to remove them.

    “The idea that four-year terms deliver good government is a joke; good government is about character. If you don’t possess it for three-year terms [and did not before entering Parliament], it won’t materialise over four. Check our state government performances to prove the point.

    “Even worse is the likely linked notion of an eight-year Senate term. That would be an anti-democratic travesty. . . . There should be zero tolerance of this notion, advanced under the fraudulent cover it would lead to better government. The idea of four-year terms has been kicked around for decades — its appeal, superficial at first consideration, inevitably dies at second consideration. In 1988 the Hawke government put a referendum for four-year terms for both Houses and lost every state with a dismal 32.9 per cent of the vote. The public will never buy it.

    “That Turnbull told Shorten on Sunday morning he was open to further discussion on four-year terms is abject [and, as we’ve learned to our cost, typical Turnbull] folly.

    “[This] proposal is phony because it doesn’t address the problems in our system and actually makes them worse. Anybody who thinks the dysfunction of our national politics [during 2007-2017] is about the absence of four-year terms needs [severe counselling with extreme prejudice]. Do you really think Rudd, Gillard and Abbott would have been different in office and saved from chaos by having a four-year term?

    “. . . In our Constitution, part two concerns the Senate and part three concerns the House of Representatives. You cannot consider changes to the House without considering changes to the Senate. In creating the Senate as a house of review, the founding fathers provided for a long, six-year Senate term and also provided for the rotation of senators — with half the Senate facing an election each three years. . . . The principle of equal state representation will not change and nor should it change. What should change is the [Senate] voting system [with some reduction of its powers].”

    Link – http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/paul-kelly/con-job-fouryear-terms-good-only-for-pollies/news-story/ae4045577d16f2f9405ca3532a70cbd6 – with some editing and reformatting.

  15. Lynne Newington

    July 24, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Someone else’s views on Tony Abbott albeit not quite as explicit as mine…by Brian Coyne , LINDEN, NSW, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 10:30 (16 minutes ago)Catholica…Is anyone else in the community connected to the NBN and have you been experiencing speed problems also? We’re still on ADSL at home and I’ve long been waiting for the arrival of the NBN but after the experience of the last few days I’m more inclined to hope that it never comes. Tony Abbott, in throwing out the original fibre-to-the-home NBN suggested he wasn’t a “tech-head” and the entire scheme was replaced with this abortion of a compromise. He’s certainly not a “tech-head” but more like a “dick head” for that decision.

  16. Lynne Newington

    July 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Reflecting on the overall link to Abbott and Bob Santamaria is an insult in my opinion and I wouldn’t want any impression given on my part there is.

    Abbott’s a twit in the highest degree who can’t even recall where he’s spread his seed, jumping in to claim an offspring by woman who gave him horns ….. http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Abbott-finds-a-longlost-son/2005/02/20/1108834659720.html

    Whereas Bob Santanaria, through not fault of his own, [like many other families] had his face dirtied in the worst possible way by members of the church he gave his last breath to.

  17. Mark Temby

    July 24, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Who owns Australia’s current Border Security program? Is it Rudd who initiated the PNG solution? Is it Abbott who continued Rudd’s initiatives? Is it Morrison who “stopped the rumours?” Is it Dutton whose posterior now occupies the office with the view?

    Dutton is just an ex Queensland cop who would have struggled managing the gun register. However, he has built considerable personal wealth from investing in real estate benefiting from generous NG and CGT concessions while paid generous accommodation allowances. Dutton’s rise is due to factional political support and not some fanciful super performance within his portfolio. Those seeking to worship a hero say more about their own bigotry than any reflection on Dutton’s perceived attributes. Dutton’s appointment is all about the politics – nothing more and nothing less.

  18. Robin Charles Halton

    July 24, 2017 at 2:27 am

    Peter Dutton is not meant to be a charming populist figure in government.
    Grizzle all you like folks but the job requires some one with the ability to maintain a tough stance with Border security so prospective abusers are sent a clear message “dont mess with us”.

    It seems to me the National interest will also be better served by the new establishment!

  19. TGC

    July 24, 2017 at 12:19 am

    It is now certain the comedian Shorten will be the next PM
    It is likely that when this happens within a very few weeks contributors such as Parnoss at #1 will be leaving the country.

  20. Lynne Newington

    July 23, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    @7.I suppose you could connect the “milder version for more fastidious ideology” to this old article, http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/the-catholic-church-in-poland-the-battle-for-souls-a-458358.html
    They’ve even brought out the church’s favourite son Lech Wilesa who fell out of John Paul ll’s flavour for a while for upsetting some applecart.
    Personally, I believe we need to have a few humanist’s and atheist’s up for front for when we become a republic.

  21. john hayward

    July 23, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    The conservative hindbrain seems to need some kind of glowering warlord to give them a rudimentary sense of security, hence Dutton’s improbable ascent without the aid of talent, charm, or intelligence.

    At the same time, the adverse political responses to undiluted fascism, which Mal would have noticed in Turkey and Poland, have led him to offer a milder version for the ideologically more fastidious.

    Where they are as one is in their shared love of the millions both have acquired and both cherish more than the Barrier Reef and the Murray-Darling put together.

    John Hayward

  22. Lynne Newington

    July 23, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    In NSW, Liberals savage each other before their national conference, a stoush billed as a clash between left and right factions in a fight for control of the party……..cont.
    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2017/07/22/how-the-church-splitting-the-liberal-party/15006456004959

  23. Chris

    July 23, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Well what can I say about #2, little it seems, when one’s eyes are closed, population will not, is not growing, Dutton DOES NOT tell outright lies, Turnbull does not promote liars, nor bankers, insurance scams, profit taking clear felling in the Solomons, along with lies about Medicare and the profit driven privatisation of Health care for the aged, hospitals for the sick and other great ideals the man can manage to do.
    Lets go to the Menzies centre he stated as he promoted a right of right conservative to keep us safe.
    What a Fizza !

  24. Tim Thorne

    July 23, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    #2: I’ve been supporting the “spread of anti Christian slogans” all my adult life. Should I perhaps be deported? Is it a mitigating factor if I am equally opposed to Islam, Judaism and Hinduism?

    I agree that, as a planet, we are over-populated compared to the current immediate availability of resources, but I would contend that Australia is much better off in this respect than many other places. It is also true that many of the problems caused by over-population could be resolved with a more equitable distribution of wealth globally. Many so-called Third World problems are the legacy of colonialism or of more recent exploitation.

    I would also point out that, of the 70 million refugees in the world, only a tiny fraction have shown any interest in coming to Australia. It really isn’t an issue of any significance.

  25. John Biggs

    July 23, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    #2 You miss the real point, which is that a huge unaccountable and necessary ministry as been placed in the hands of one person. That is bad enough, but the fact that this person is Peter Dutton, a sadistic power-freak, makes it immeasurably worse. .

  26. Robin Charles Halton

    July 23, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    I am more than happy to see Immigration become a Border Security issue, its been to open to abuse in the past and probably still is!
    Every man and his dog wants to come to Australia to either genuinely start a new life or abuse it with our generous welfare and spread of anti Christian slogans.

    Open handed Australian citizenship must become thing of the past!
    Major Australian cities are bursting at the seams to absorb newcomers from overly populated countries, we must be cautious and encourage limitations on population growth in order to maintain sustainable levels of compatible population.

    A worthwhile right wing move by the Turnbull government to bring about a more secure Australian way of life.

  27. philll Parsons

    July 23, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Shorten, interviewed on Insiders on the 23rd, was asked about the Turdbull government. His reply dismissed them as irrelevant.

    At war with themselves, disinterested in the voters without real money and focussed on entrenching unfairness.

    Today ScoMo attempts the scare campaign, confirming all that’s wrong with the conservatives by attacking the very idea of reforming the system that ensures social cohesion and if properly set up will stimulate the economy.

    Instead he defends the wrought just like the Lieberals defended the banks until the weight of popular opinion caused them to wheel in a mirror and make smoke with a series of Canberra meetings.

    A send up of reform that has seen the delcons in the UK and USA end up in difficulties like Turdbull managed to manoeuvre the Lieberals into last election.

    Next time the silver tongue will not be their cannons at Austerlitz if it still remains at the front of their act.

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