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


NATION: ‘One way or another, Barnaby’s cactus’ and Turnbull’s gov’t may be …

*Pic: Image from HERE

First published February 19

Barnaby bunny blinks in the spotlight centre stage in our national political show, this week, as our Deputy PM shrewdly plays the victim in his marriage break-up while he muffs his special pleading self-defence for begging his Tamworth mogul pal, Greg Maguire, to be allowed to crash for six months at his millionaire mate’s luxury pad at mates’ rates.

So wrong; so unfair, Joyce pleads, leading his supporters in hand-wringing over how his private life is his own business, hoping the rest of us will miss bigger issues such as alleged abuses of public funds for travel and accommodation. He’s also punting on our confusing workplace exploitation and his abuse of power with an innocent, mutual, private affair.

It’s a captivating performance which helps divert the nation from the Turnbull government’s response to the Closing the Gap steering committee’s finding that the programme, launched after Kevin Rudd’s apology was effectively killed when Abbott ripped over half a billion in funding out of it in 2004 – and cancelled an Aboriginal housing programme.

The policy, they report, has been “effectively abandoned” by extensive budget cuts since 2014. Turnbull’s response echoes his initial response to Don Dale; he fobs off the nation with another select joint committee inquiry which will seek how to “refresh the policy”; while holding a new inquiry into the issue of constitutional recognition.

As Jack Waterford, former editor of The Canberra Times writes, “The government has never narrowed the gap. At present rates, Aboriginals will remain the poorest, sickest, least employed and least educated group in the community 80 years from now – and still without a plan, as opposed to a vague hope and intention, to make it different.”

Happily for the PM, there is a distraction. Poor, rich, white, boy, Barnaby, a lad who enjoyed a privileged upbringing, a St Ignatius College Riverview private school boy, – one of Sydney’s most expensive schools – who at home could roam Rutherglen an 1821 hectare farm estate, a New England University accountancy graduate who loves to play the battler from the bush is now acting hard done by. It’s all about soliciting free accommodation; favours from a mate.

Not only is BJ the victim of a marriage break-up, he hasn’t broken any rules, he wails. He didn’t ask to be put up free, he claims, contradicting the story his millionaire mate Greg has given The Daily Telegraph and put about the town.

“a hard pooch to keep on the porch”

Ex-wife Natalie dents BJ’s victimhood a tad revealing to Miranda Devine that her former husband is a serial philanderer. Whilst he may be “a hard pooch to keep on the porch”, to quote Hillary Clinton, he “always comes back”. Worse, he told the nation of his separation four days before he could face his wife. And he has to tell her Vikki is expecting a boy.

Not all of Joyce’s mail is from fans either. “Somebody sent this letter to my office today,” he guffaws to Fairfax’s David Robson last year. “It ran like this: ‘I don’t know who’s a bigger c…, you or Trump. But I think you win.’ And that was it!”

Nat’s no longer a fan either. Neither are many Nationals, including Veteran Affairs Minister, Michael McCormack who may have a crack at the leadership himself at Monday week’s party room meeting. Iain Macdonald, The Nationals’ attack dog in Senate committees, an easy rival for Joyce’s fan mail award, tells Barnaby to take a backbench seat.

Liberals call for Joyce to resign, while Labor’s leader, Bill Shorten, says neither Joyce nor Turnbull are fit to hold power.

“One way or another, Barnaby’s cactus. It’s just a matter of when.” says a senior National who tells The Saturday Paper’s Karen Middleton that traditional National Party supporters are likely to be “extremely unhappy” – especially women.

A third of those who backed Joyce in December’s by-election no longer support him, according to a ReachTel poll last Tuesday night; fifty per cent believe that he should resign either from parliament or go to the backbench. A petition to demand his removal from his New England seat has received almost 7000 votes in five days, says The Herald Sun.

Happily, despite polls which suggest his electoral popularity is now down from 65% of the primary vote to 43%, a quarter say they’d be more likely to support him after his affair. Clearly, Barnaby still has a few mates left around the place.

Mates? ‘Mates don’t pay for things when they’re helping other mates out,’ Barney gargles in Question Time. And they return favours. In a moving mateship tribute, the nation learns that Greg also does very well out of putting up public servants as Pork-barrel Barnaby moves a whole government department to New England to boost his local vote.

It’s a cheap pork-barrel at a mere $26 million …

In true Nationals’ fashion, a mob of rugged if not roughshod individuals, whose contempt for bureaucracy matches its war with science and the environment, Barnaby decided to relocate the Australian Pests and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) from Canberra to Tamworth. It’s a cheap pork-barrel at a mere $26 million when you compare it with $10 billion for Joyce’s Inland Rail boondoggle which will never turn a profit either but which is also a nifty source of pork.

Joyce’s plan lacks cost-benefit analysis and is entirely off his own bat. Most of his work is like that. The Inland Rail, is really not that much of an exception. It’s all going brilliantly, of course, apart from those who work in the APVMA, including scientists who can’t or won’t leave Canberra. One in five positions are still unfilled.

Twenty regulatory scientists plus 28 staff members, with a total of 204 years’ service, left the agency between July and February, Fairfax reports in a staff exodus which has halved the authority’s approval rate for new products meeting. “Required timeframes” plummeted from 83 per cent in the September quarter to 42 per cent in March 2017.

It’s the worst rate in history says Monsanto pesticide industry leader, CropLife’s CEO, Matthew Cossey who warns of billions of dollars of lost farming revenue. He urges a return to Canberra. But he’s just a key corporate stakeholder.

At least APVMA boffins can count on food and shelter. Enter Barney’s flash mate Greg with his modestly named Quality Hotel Powerhouse, a pub which gratefully receives $14,700 spent by the APVMA relocation fund, money it controls to accommodate the wayfaring strangers whose business will help turn Tamworth’s (and Greg’s) fortunes around.

The APVMA invites an advisory committee of 20 odd to stay, reports ABC Saturday AM. Of course, as public servants, all are parched and on the tooth and primed for wining and dining. My, how they enjoy a welcome dinner of prawns with kimchi, truffle oil risotto, New England lamb and sticky date sponge; great value at $80 per head. Our shout.

The APVMA won’t divulge the total bill. Could it be an on-water-into-wine matter? Greg’s joint is only one of several Armidale accommodation providers used by the regulator, a APVMA spokesman sniffs. “We don’t have a preferred provider”. The Neoliberal “provider” tag went feral long ago; instead of community support we buy and sell each other.

In a reverse planning move akin to putting the wings on an aircraft as it taxies down the runway, the committee, made up of APVMA and department of agriculture staff, as well as peak industry bodies, meet to work on the relocation plan.

… “a great retail politician” …

The mad monk, Tony Abbott once buttered up Barnaby as “a great retail politician”, an MP who ranted about $100 lamb roasts resulting from a price on carbon. The term means a politician whose strength lies in cultivating his own popularity with his electorate. Coming from fellow egomaniac and walking three-word slogan, it means nothing but, alas, it’s stuck.

Every talked-up populist-capitalist running dog has his day, however, and Turnbull almost steals Barnaby’s thunder in a show-stopping finger-wagging in a new role as parliament’s head prefect or moral policeman on Thursday. The PM holds a special presser to scold Barnaby for leading a fluffy young bunny astray and to ask him to consider his position.

During intermission, Turnbull censors the ABC again – but no biggie. Happens all the time. The Guardian Australia reports “ABC News management has been in crisis meetings for two days” after the PM courageously attacks the articles in question time before getting Fifield and Morrison to join him in penning formal letters of complaint to management.

The Ayatollah, as he was mocked at Goldman Sachs, the PM succeeds in suppressing Chief Economics Correspondent Emma Alberici’s heretical analysis of how tax cuts to business don’t stimulate jobs or growth. One in five don’t pay tax for the past three years at least. Those who do, moreover, pay a seventeen per cent tax rate, on average.

Naturally, Qantas CEO, the silver-tongued leprechaun, Alan Joyce, is quick to grab ABC Radio’s ruling class megaphone to defend his company’s non-payment of corporate tax for nine years. He argues it is legitimate under rules that allowed it to carry forward losses from previous years. His words immensely cheer our aged pensioners on $671 a fortnight.

Workers on the minimum wage of $18.29 per hour are also heartened to learn that they’ve helped QANTAS to clock up its tenth tax-free year while Joyce’s salary nearly doubled in one year to reach $24.6 million in 2017. Can we afford the $65 billion, Alberici asks cheekily. Or could it be better spent on health, education and pensions?

She dare not mention raising the minimum wage or putting some of the money back into Aboriginal housing.

Above all, Alberici joins other economics writers in putting the lie to Treasurer’s Scott Morrison’s hoax that lowering tax rates makes us more internationally competitive when it comes to attracting investment. Now he and Matthias Cormann are promoting the falsehood that company taxes have to be cut or workers won’t get wage rises.

… many factors beyond tax rates guide investment

Before Trump cut US corporate tax earlier this year, the rate was 5 to 9 percentage points higher than our own. Yet Australian companies still preferred to invest in the US rather than Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is less than half ours (12.5 per cent), or Singapore (17 per cent). The truth is that many factors beyond tax rates guide investment.

Alberici’s piece is pulled because ABC management says it doesn’t meet editorial standards. Whilst ABC finds no inaccuracies in the articles, in the opinion of Director of News, Gaven Morris, “it sounds too much like opinion”.

Did Morris miss Chris Uhlmann’s opinionated reporting of SA’s power blackouts, wrongly blaming the Labor government’s reliance on renewables? The same lie is reprised this week in ABC previews of its SA election coverage.

All of Uhlmann’s factually incorrect SA blackout articles remain up, moreover, but, amazingly, it takes the ABC only 48 hours to remove accurate and factually correct reporting because it is unpalatable to the government of the day.

Alberici’s views are in line with leading economists including at The Australia Institute and at Treasury. Greg Jericho in The Guardian protests that she’s said nothing that many other writers haven’t been saying regularly. But as Mal’s new pal Donald Trump would say, a leader doesn’t need fake news or expert opinion to spoil his policy-making.

A calculated strategy of funding cuts, a constant stream of derogatory remarks from Liberal attack dogs, has crippled the ABC’s independence. Lest we forget, these attacks include Home Affairs Protector, Peter Dutton, and his “one down many to go” gibe at ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s dismissal.

Gibes and taunts add to the pressure of direct protests whenever the ABC holds government too much to account. Now Turnbull’s virtual appointment to Managing Director pal Michelle Guthrie, who says her former 14 years career with Rupert Murdoch does not make her a hatchet woman, the national broadcaster has become a Liberal trumpet.

endless relaying of superficial USA political news

Soon we will have a tabloid ABC with commercials, devoted to car crashes, stabbings, how hot or how cold the weather is for the year and endless relaying of superficial USA political news and shootings, which can then be knocked down to the highest bidder as requested by the Liberal Party’s key think tank and policy unit, The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA).

Turnbull, like his predecessor, aims his performances to the tabloid media. We saw Turnbull play huckster and shyster early. Now he adds his strait-laced Presbyterian minister routine knowing it will get full coverage in The Daily Telegraph. The moralising, holier-than-thou Reverend Mal (Turnbull 2.0) emerges this week in the midst of the Barnaby barn dance.

Thursday, Mal swoops right after Barnaby’s Aint nobody’s business to ban all Canberra office Rock ‘n Roll, along with jiving and swiving. Canute-like, he vetoes all sideways samba, jazz or jelly roll; sex between all ministers and staffers.

“Turnbull bans sex”, MSM wags say. No more fornicating, fraternising or horizontal folk-dancing between ministers of the crown and their underlings. Loins are to be girded at all times. To show he’s serious about ending the funny business, he’s put his bonking prohibition into the Ministerial Code of Conduct, every Cabinet Minister’s bible.

It’s risible but then it’s meant as a show of authority. Nobody in Canberra believes that the Code of Conduct carries any weight. Shorten says it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Perhaps it will work if staffers keep it between their knees.

Fawning is still in, of course, as is flattery and obsequious devotion; essential to any staffer’s tenure. These are transferrable skills. Moguls, miners, anything in uniform, bankers, think tankers and lobbyists are still to be lusted after.

Equally, business big and small – like the US Alliance – is there to be serviced. But ministers and minions must, at once, stop bonking each other, especially “that stubborn bastard with rhinoceros hide”, as a senior Liberal calls Barnaby.

“If you want to be in power, you can’t afford to fuck around,” is how a real PM once put it. Sadly, Mal is no PJ Keating.

… the PM makes himself look even more inept, ineffectual, absurd …

Compounding his ludicrous finger-wagging, the PM makes himself look even more inept, ineffectual, absurd, by calling out Joyce publicly for his predatory behaviour as well as his poor decision-making in his affair with Vikki Campion, his staffer. Worse, the lubricious leader of The Nationals, “the family values party” has got Ms Campion in the family way.

By Thursday, after trying a Kamasutra of new positions on the Joyce affair, Turnbull turns chaos into catastrophe when he blasts Barnaby with both barrels in a public bollocking of his own deputy, unique in Australian politics.

After the “private matter” position; the even trickier “not his partner” defence. Not his partner?

Women across the nation, including Campion, who is carrying Joyce’s fifth child, are cheered to hear her status reduced to a casual shag, a quick roll in the hay; as meaningless and ephemeral as a politician’s promise. Even Playboy bunnies had contracts. But what “those women” of Australia will hear from the PM on Thursday is even more alarming.

“My wife ironed my shirts this week … does that make her staff?” responds deep Andrew Broad, Nationals MP for Mallee.

Vikki and Barney are split up because of their madly passionate affair and she is promoted out of his office, twice, but they were not partners because they were not living together. Turnbull expects us to accept that?

Ducking and weaving, a desperate PM channels his inner Bill Clinton, (aka Slick Willie), to redefine a dangerous liaison to save his own bacon. Barnaby, he argues, did not have a partnership with that woman, his former staffer, Vikki Campion.

The PM needs to dodge responsibility for breaking the Ministerial Code of Conduct in promoting Campion, Joyce’s paramour to a couple of plum jobs to get her out of Joyce’s office to hide a rapidly all-consuming scandal.

Advisers are thus both partisan and beholden to their bosses …

Someone clearly thought a tricky definition was a winner. At least the Joyce debacle has helped expose the process by which Ministerial assistants are appointed and promoted out of fealty, fear and favour rather than any qualification for the job. Advisers are thus both partisan and beholden to their bosses. You see it in the quality of their advice.

Monday’s circus establishes a catchy reality TV show format: “So you think you’re a partner?” Will Team Malcolm’s cunning plan to unhook Vikki and Barney get the PM and his government off the hook? By Thursday, Newspoll will need something stronger. Cue strong leader, moral guardian of the national flock: Turnbull lowers the boom.

“Barnaby made a shocking error of judgement in having an affair with a young woman working in his office,” the PM scolds. “In doing so he has set off a world of woe for those women, and appalled all of us. Our hearts go out to them,”

So sayeth The Reverend Mal, at a special Barnaby-barrelling press conference, Coalition shotgun divorce combo.

The PM’s excoriating sermon; his moralising, judgemental excommunication is too little, too late and too low. He stops short of dismissing him as deputy which ABC News 24 reminds us is something he cannot do. Secret agreement stuff.

At least Joyce’s had his bat and ball taken off him before he’s sent home. Barnaby won’t be acting PM when Turnbull treats coal-mining, non-tax-paying – at least for the last ten years – CEO of multinational Glencore to a five-day junket to the US. Joyce will take a week’s leave “to consider his position”.

Considering her position also will be Julie Bishop who is abroad at the moment but who has sent messages letting it be known that she could fly home at once if need be. Perhaps she could console Barnaby; coach Cormann by emoji?

… even Kenny concedes Mal’s ban is empty posturing

Hearts do go out but not all, like the PM’s, appear to be worn on sleeves. Consternation erupts. Mark Kenny and other Turnbull toadies rush to praise the new, resolute and decisive PM but even Kenny concedes Mal’s ban is empty posturing.

Barnaby Joyce calls an extraordinary conference to call out his boss for his “inept and unnecessary” attack on Friday.

Unnecessary? Paul Bongiorno notes, wryly, the PM gifts Joyce with a unique opportunity to show who is truly in charge.

Turnbull’s public rebuke and call for Barnaby to resign helps highlight the Nationals’ power. The Turnbull government’s subservience, if not its impotence, lie in its 2015 secret Coalition Agreement, whereby Turnbull secured the Prime Ministership by capitulating his own political ideals in favour of Joyce’s right-wing Abbott political agenda.

Others sniff hypocrisy. Others deplore the public blaming and shaming. Imagine if Goldman Sachs were to call out Turnbull for the $500 million it is reported to have cost the banking firm to settle out of court in 2009 after HIH collapsed taking many small investors with it after buying an overvalued FAI due in no small part to Turnbull’s dud advice.

Some may even ask if Turnbull still has no knowledge of logging when he was chairman of a company in the early 1990s whose Solomon Islands’ subsidiary was described as having some of the worst logging practices in the world.

Turnbull flits to Tasmania; seeks the high moral ground by going to water. He appears later on ABC energetically talking up the twelve great projects of the Tamar Estuary Water Management Task Force. Pity BJ is no longer water minister.

A nation is caught on the hop. For three years, our carefree, sun-drenched continental island home has thrilled to the rhythms of Flash Mal ‘n Barnaby bulldust’s bush-bash band. They do all the old Tony Abbott standards as laid down in their secret coalition agreement but, suddenly, something’s up. Mal thinks he can pick a fight with Bulldust and win?

Is the band breaking up just over Barney’s latest dancing partner, Vikki? Slugging wildly at each other out the back of the outback country hall that is our national parliament, Mal and Barney our two Coalition band-leaders trade haymakers. Neither is in what you could call tip-top condition. Neither could fight his way out of wet paper bag.

The stoush lasts three days. Then a press release of a kiss and make-up saturates media mid-Saturday. Ominously, Scott Morrison, who couldn’t tell the truth about Reza Berati’s 2014 murder on Manus Island is sent on to ABC Insiders, Sunday to proclaim a “frank” clearing of the air but the PM has not walked away from his earlier comments. Nor has Barnaby Joyce who is quoted later in media reports saying he has nothing to apologise for.

Why the big bust up? The boys got the band back together in Tamworth only last December. New hats and boots, too. Will Barnaby Joyce survive a Nationals’ leadership spill. The signs are ominous. Yet, even worse are the portents for a Turnbull government which has been unable to deal with a matter it knew was coming at least six months ago.

The spectacle of the public spat; the utterly inept handling of Joyce’s affair with a staffer and of Turnbull’s moral denunciation and his patently impractical ban on sex between minister and staffer can only serve to highlight how rapidly his government is unravelling.

The PM is taking twenty Aussie tycoons to the US for five days. They can talk rich man’s stuff; Cayman Islands; investment portfolios; things he’s really into. Not politics; certainly not people.

Perhaps they will also form a cheer squad while he begs Rupert Murdoch to give him one more chance. One thing is certain. The Barnaby brouhaha will not have died down on his return and the damage it has caused will be permanent.

*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.

Richard Ackland, Guardian: Michelle Guthrie, the ABC and the turning of a once-shining jewel into mainstream sludge All public broadcasters are engaged in a constant process of chopping, slicing and reinventing, and every boss spreads his or her own brand of unhappiness

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. philll Parsons

    February 22, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    #12 … Not really. He may be dodging trousering a lot of cash he is not entitled to.

  2. Russell

    February 22, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Ban sex between staffers! Yeah right, that’s enforceable.

    About as good a measure as putting wheelie bins on the roadside to stop fruit fly in Tasmania. Signs at the Vic/NSW border never worked and wheelie bins have even less hope. The only way to stop them is at the mainland end. It’s too late by the time they get to Tassie.

    Another case of Dumb and Dumber.

  3. TGC

    February 22, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    With Barnaby now indicating “I will step down on Monday” – let’s find another target- that one’s run its course.

  4. Wining Pom

    February 21, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    The thing that annoys me is that now we are ineligible to laugh at the Trumpanzee.

  5. Leonard Colquhoun

    February 21, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    One of our leading conservative libertarian media commentators slams both Turnbull and Joyce: “One [of them] must go.

    “Normally, in a brawl between a boss and his deputy, it’s the deputy who walks. But here’s the problem. Each man is right about the other.

    “Of course, Joyce’s behaviour was shocking. This campaigner for family values and the sanctity of traditional marriage didn’t just have an affair with his media adviser, Vikki Campion, who is now pregnant.

    “He didn’t just betray and humiliate the wife who, for two decades, put her own career on hold to help her husband soar, only to see him leave her at the peak of their joint success to share it with another woman. Joyce also used taxpayers’ money to give his lover two jobs with other Nationals MPs when it got too hot for her in his office.

    “But Joyce, too, is right. Turnbull is so inept that he has now turned a story about Joyce’s bonking into one about his own weakness and hypocrisy . . Turnbull actually knew of Joyce’s affair with Campion last year, yet never said then that his deputy’s behaviour was so shocking that he should perhaps resign.

    Instead, during the by-election for Joyce’s seat last December, he lauded Joyce as a ‘great friend, great partner’ and a ‘hero’.

    “Back then he wasn’t trying to get his deputy sacked, but re-elected. So no wonder Joyce was stunned last Thursday when — without warning — Turnbull publicly lit into him, announcing he was so ‘appalled’ by Joyce’s ‘shocking’ affair that he was banning ministers from sleeping with their staff. This was a double betrayal.

    “Joyce had only just convinced his 20 Nationals MPs not to sack him, by arguing that the media would soon get bored with the scandal. Yet Turnbull had blown that strategy to bits by playing the outraged moralist and trying to force Joyce into quitting by means of a public shaming.

    “He’d advertised his weakness, and also made himself seem a hypocrite by damning Joyce today for what he had himself covered up last year.

    “How that backfired. Not only did Turnbull fail to blast out his deputy, he turned himself into the target. [Cue cute one-liners like ‘Ban the Bonk!’ and ‘Wanted – a Royal Commission into Bonking”.]

    “No surprise, then, that Mr Weak and Mr Selfish now agree to stop brawling. Turnbull can’t sack Joyce anyway, but Joyce can sure sink Turnbull. So, yes, normally Joyce should resign to save Turnbull’s government. But why sacrifice himself to save a government led by a Prime Minister too inept to save himself?”

    Is – as climate catastrophists keep saying in another sense – the science of who’s our worst PM since, say, 1919, now ‘in’?

  6. philll Parsons

    February 21, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Who knows if Joyce will stay leader of the Nats and Deputy PM, but for each day he stays the chance of the Coalition being returned to government at the next election diminishes as the questions about his probity and fitness to manage the taxpayers’ funds on himself and the nation grows.

    The Lieberals know they have an albatross and a millstone in Joyce, and the tension will only grow as people see his clay feet and laugh like kookaburras at the jackass from New England.

  7. Tim Thorne

    February 21, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    The Libs are warning of the dangers of minority government. That is exactly what they are delivering federally. The minority partner keeping them in office is proving difficult to control.

    Why is this not presented as a problem federally, but as a potential disaster at a state level?

    Turnbull should tear up the agreement with the Nats and, if he has to, face the electorate as a consequence.

  8. john hayward

    February 20, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    With all the talk about replacing Barnaby, the question arises about who could possibly fill his shoes. Only one person comes to mind, but he has even worse citizenship problems – Borat.

    John Hayward

  9. Lynne Newington

    February 20, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    This was time the Malcolm Turnbull I respected stood up to be counted, and speaking volumes for his wife the friend to lean on….
    It appears Fr Frank Brennan OAM didn’t help much.


  10. Christopher Nagle

    February 20, 2018 at 7:40 am

    The trouble with subjecting Wronski’s work to any sort of meaningful criticism is that there are always more moving targets available to have a go at than a fairground shooting gallery. And the result is that one ends up shooting at none of them…..which is perhaps just as well.

    But connecting the admittedly hideous personal hypocrisy of our ‘Coalface’ Barnaby Rubble to every other issue from aboriginals to government office relocations proved a bit much, so aboriginals got the guernsey for a bit of ‘further discussion’, but not before acknowledging the following…..

    I am a hardline fundamentalist. If a married man does not have the integrity of character to be a domestically responsible adult within his family, he doesn’t have the right to be a responsible agent in public office anywhere else.

    If we want to stop the chaos that is descending onto and eviscerating our domestic infrastructure, we have to stop tolerating domestic malfeasance and making lame excuses for it by separating the realms of the domestic and the public, as if these things had nothing to do with each other. They plainly do and to pretend that married males are intrinsically helpless before the demands of their uncontrollable sexual fantasies/wants/needs/rights, and must therefore be forgiven their moral ‘peccadillos’, is the same sort of moral bollocks that senior executives used to justify Commonwealth bank ‘peccadillos’.

    We shouldn’t feel the need to go any further in wanting the guy gone. His hypocrisy merely adds schadenfreude to the outrage at his faithless betrayal of his family and his dishonest failure to disclose what had happened with his political ‘adviser’ to the electors until after they elected him.

    His hateful position as a pimp for the coal industry is one that can only be resolved by unelecting him and enough of his peers to get a government which is serious about leaving something for our grandchildren to live on, on a still habitable planet. But in a democracy, if he gets elected on the strength of an ecological suicide note, he has the numbers, at least until things get so desperate we have to shoot it out.

    As to our aboriginal brothers and sisters, it is equally intolerable that we keep indulging the self serving excuse making libertarian humanists who have had government and bureaucratic carriage of indigenous affairs over the last fifty years.

    Their libertarianism stripped of responsible moral agency (just like the Commonwealth Bank and Old Coalface Barnaby) is as much at the heart of the cultural paralysis within indigenous communities as their own foot dragging inertia and unwillingness to accept that the hunter gatherer economy and culture was rendered instantly obsolete the moment someone rudely broke the spell after a swimmingly pleasant ten thousand year holiday from the rest of the world.

    The libertarian agenda and subsequent loss of any social coherence and discipline within aboriginal communities has compounded all the previous issues caused by colonial occupation and lack of adaptation to it. It has reduced them to even deeper denial about their real position by appealing to their most disabling atavistic reaction to modernism, further locking in not just their supine helplessness, resentment, and unwillingness to learn new ways, but the disempowering and vicelike myths of welfarist victimhood.

    This thoroughly vicious system has provided post-missionary secular do gooders with rich stipends that will keep them and their descendants in the aboriginal industry and its wretched ‘clients’ exactly where they presently are, indefinitely, replete with more excuses than a bankruptcy court hearing!

    All that hand wringing apologetics, empathetic breast beating, moral exceptionalism and sectional interest special pleading about lack of aboriginal ‘progress’ has all the same rancidly sanctimonious hallmarks of rationalization by comfortably stipended church clerics about the need to tend to the seemingly helpless poverty that applied to most of the social system and their congregations under feudalism.

  11. Emmanuel Goldstein

    February 19, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. (Aesop)

  12. john hayward

    February 19, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    If I have my semiotics right, a “retail politician” is, like “stable genius”, a recently developed super-euphemism.

    “Retail” indicates something for sale, such as Barnaby, while the noun “politician” reinforces the disingenuous and mercenary qualities of such an individual.

    John Hayward

  13. Robin Charles Halton

    February 19, 2018 at 1:08 am

    Up to date Newspoll data suggest that the Turnbull govt has lost its electoral support that it had gained over summer which is now lost due to lack of strong action by National MP’s to intensify action to force Barnaby Joyce to either resign or face the back bench.
    Feb14 Feb 15/18
    Lib 38 36
    Lab 37 37

    Two party preferred
    Coal 48 47
    Lib 52 53

    Better PM
    Turnbull 45 40
    Shorten 31 33

    Joyces future
    Remain 23
    Step down 65
    Uncommitted 12

    In my opinion:
    PM Turnbull needs to take serious action upon his return to Aust from his US trip.
    Nationals need to step up to the fact that Joyce is now a liability to the existence of the Coalition to remain in government.
    Clearly Joyce represents his own interests, not the party’s, the government or the voters.
    Joyce must go.

  14. John Biggs

    February 18, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Great work Urban,

    You have covered just about everything here. Turnbull first vigorously defended Barnaby’s right to privacy, but when public opinion became outraged over BJ’s misuse of public money in creating two highly paid jobs for Ms Campion, and possibly in travel and accommodation expenses for 50 unaccounted nights spent in Canberra, and whatever else we don’t yet know about, Turnbull couldn’t act on these grounds as it would incriminate himself and others, he suddenly became shocked and horrified at Barney’s immorality.

    The fact is that whatever the Nats rationalise, Barnaby was either incompetent or corrupt with his encouraging his mates up river to take more water than was allowed, for instance. He was an embarrassing buffoon.

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