Tasmanian Times

Political Analysis

NATION: Don’t lose sight of the fair go, Bill …

Australians are spoilt for choice this week in politics. On the far right is Scott John Morrison who is determined to improve on his last week’s Slow-Mo filibuster fiasco by pretending that religious freedom is the biggest issue facing the nation along with encryption-busting and stopping kids needing medical treatment off Nauru.

Not only that, he’s a Walter-Mitty-Henry Kissinger style negotiator who can kick-start the Arab-Israeli peace process by offending both parties and sundry nearby Muslim nations such as Indonesia and Malaysia, whom our governments are always on the verge of cracking amazing free trade deals, that somehow never eventuate.

ScoMo’s got both hands full in his pre-MYEFO clean-up as he checks the fudged figures and shoves a whole lot of other stuff off into a review, while, over on the left, in Adelaide, city of churches, Labor holds its annual conference, an event which somehow shrinks in ABC TV coverage to recurring images of Stop Adani protestors.

Bill’s got the fair-go theme happening; great shots of the most photogenic family in Australian politics and a beaut re-run of a plan to subsidise housing for developers who’ll charge rents low enough for underemployed workers to afford, despite their flat-lining wages, soaring utilities and jobs that are increasingly underpaid and insecure.

Yet developers and loans all take time. Sadly for those three million Australians, the OECD tells us we are living on the poverty line, there is no hope that Labor will lift Newstart. Guardian Australia reports the conference will wimp out with promises to review Newstart within 18 months if Labor wins in May or whenever. Insult the poor.

The Guardian’s Katharine Murphy who clearly knows her onions reports “senior figures are reluctant to sign up to a concrete commitment to increase Newstart because of the fiscal impact”. The fiscal impact? The triumph of Neoliberalism is complete when Labor apparatchiks talk of “fiscal impact” when they won’t pony up the money.

Where is the Labor Party that stood by the battler? The party that fought for a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay?

Stage right there’s a banner showing some poor sods being evicted for upstaging Mr Shorten with a message about getting kids out of detention. Labor’s lock-step with Liberal on “off-shore detention” doesn’t offer much hope but you can’t fault the demonstrators for gate-crashing the Labor love-fest with a heartfelt plea to help the suffering.

Over in Morrison’s sordid corner, the work experience PM is riffing with his powerful fellow religious cranks.

We have more than enough religious freedom in Australia but, like John Howard, ScoMo knows – or hopes – there’s votes in even the most fatuous, confected, totally futile crusade.  Besides, he believes this stuff. You can tell.

When he declared religious freedom his number one priority back last August it was more than a broad hint. Back then, he spoke of “preventative regulation and legislation to ensure your religious freedom in this country. In other words, it didn’t have to exist but if it did we’d have the laws on the books to stop it in its tracks.

“What you believe should always be a matter for you … Anti-discrimination is an important principle in a modern democracy and so it is important that that principle of anti-discrimination and the protection of people’s religious liberty are addressed in this country. And there is some unfinished business that we are seeking to address in the announcements that we’re making today.” Morrison stutters at his Thursday presser. Yet he moves fast.

Sleeves rolled-up, “getting on and doing – and listening”, ScoMo sets a cracking change of pace as he dashes into a series of pressers. Last week’s slow bicycle race is over.

Now he’s waving a Christmas check-list. Busy-dizzy. The futuristic white tubular podiums, which wouldn’t be out of place on the bridge of a spaceship get a fair workout from the daggy dad, the everyman PM who vows to be a man of the people. Fat chance. Morrison loves only to preach.

Call it his post-modern sermon on the dismount or his own “unfinished business”, ScoMo battles to clear the decks and appease Abbott and the lads, a scurvy crew who’ll mutiny at any hint of a Federal ICAC or any sell-out of the right over religious freedoms, a long-promised sop to homophobes for losing the marriage equality plebiscite.

Morrison has a lot to tick off. None of it is easy, but top of the list is taking his foot out of his mouth over his Wentworth by-election stunt. Foreign policy is not his forte. Who’d be so silly as to bid for “the Jewish vote” by moving the Australia embassy to East Jerusalem?

Why follow the United States’ and Guatemala’s lead and flout international consensus? It’s the thought-bubble debacle of his political career, against some strong contenders.

Who can forget or forgive ScoMo’s $55 million 2014 Cambodian solution which resettled but two refugees, a decision which Peter Dutton, ever the master of Orwellian double-speak, calls “a good outcome”?

Morrison formally recognises West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Saturday, in a talk in Gerry and Anne Henderson’s cosy right wing, corporate-sponsored think tank, The Sydney Institute, which in 1989, former Howard adviser, Gerry lovingly fashioned out of the Sydney branch of the IPA with financial assistance from Philip Morris.

Two staff members only are employed, Gerard is Executive Director and Anne is Deputy Director.  You can see them both in homespun shot as they fiddle with microphones and fetch glasses of water for the useful idiot PM.

“Foreign policy must speak of our character and our values. What we stand for. What we believe in and, if need be, what we’ll defend,” oleaginous Trump toady Morrison bloviates in yet another pro-US foreign policy speech at the Henderson’s Sydney terrace home, otherwise, grandiosely known to the ATO, as The Sydney Institute.

It is not a good outcome for our international relations. Australia joins just three other nations; the Russian Federation, the Czech Republic and Panama. Since 2014, our international reputation’s copped a hammering.

We make the declaration, says Morrison from a desire to end a “rancid stalemate” in the peace process. It’s likely to have exactly the opposite effect. Could he be hoping that his mixed metaphor will achieve a breakthrough?

Neither side seems impressed. An Israeli official tells The Times of Israel “We’re disappointed with the Australian decision … Morrison only went half-way. It’s a step in the right direction, but we expected more.”

President of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, Bishop George Browning, calls Morrison’s announcement “a tortuous attempt to salvage himself from a pre-emptive thought bubble prior to the Wentworth by-election”.

That there is no city named West Jerusalem, according to the Israeli government, doesn’t seem to worry Morrison’s government. Yet, in international law and diplomacy, the status of Jerusalem has been a vexed question since Israel was created in 1948.

Fools rush in.

International law considers East Jerusalem to be Palestinian territory under illegal Israeli occupation. Since 1967, when Israeli troops drove Jordanian settlers out of East Jerusalem, expanding its borders, Israeli actions have been the subject of many UN Security Council resolutions calling upon Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories.

Australia will hold off moving its embassy, Morrison says, until a peace settlement is reached. But it’ll check out a site. Palestine will be recognised after a settlement has been reached on a two-state solution.

While Israel sees Australia’s stance as “a step in the right direction”, Palestine is incensed. Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, blasts the “irresponsible policies” that led to the recognition.

“The policies of this Australian administration have done nothing to advance the two-state solution,” Erekat says in a statement. “The holy city remains a final-status issue in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which have run aground.”

The Palestinian Liberation Organisation attacks Australia’s new policy for being contradictory. It violates our obligations under international law (namely UNSC 478, something Australia denies). Luckily a culture war breaks out at home. Morrison must stand up for what he believes in. Bugger the rest of us.

Ruddock is dudded. Blessed are the meek in spirit but pity the poor souls who are made to wait seven months to hear a peep from the PM on their report on the power of religious outfits to discriminate. Ruddock recommends that such organisations have their exemptions from discrimination laws abolished or at least reduced.

[The panel] could see no justification for exceptions in existing law relating to race, disability, pregnancy or intersex status,” the report says of the current religious anti-discrimination exemptions at the federal, state and territory level that differ across jurisdictions. “The panel is of the view that those jurisdictions retaining exceptions should review them having regard to community expectations.”

But ScoMo says no. “Pushes back” as they insist in modern commentary. The PM orders a review of the review.

Ruddock’s review has taken a full year since Turnbull lit the torch and seven months since it reported. It’s now likely to become an election issue and voters may not take kindly to the Coalition’s need to placate the far right over the right of all children (and teachers) to be spared discrimination regardless of what school they attend.

But ScoMo knows best. He rejects Ruddock’s findings in favour of his own surprise Christmas gift to the nation, a “freedom of religion commissioner”, to bulk up The Australian Human Rights Commission with a bit more rightist bias, as part of a culture war no-one needs or wants. Or can afford, financially or socially.

Not everything gets top air-play. Dud ideas, such as the Clayton’s Federal ICAC or ones that may cause trouble such as the promise to hold a Royal Commission into aged care are dumped in a quiet time-slot; “putting out the trash”. It’s as much a Coalition strength, as its fetish for secrecy or its unparalleled capacity to stall, flip-flop, flounder or nose-dive while preaching practicality and strong leadership.

Despite the promise that the royal commission would start this year, its first directions hearing has been postponed from December 7 to January 18. As Laura Tingle points out, hearings proper begin in February.

It gives little time for public submissions, nor for the commissioners to adequately prepare themselves.

Not so our new Governor General, who will – gasp – be another old digger, David Hurley, a former defence chief and current NSW Governor. The Coalition has pointedly ignored Labor’s request to make the appointment after the proposed May 2019 election.

Cosgrove will stay on until the end of June when Hurley officially takes over. As Paul Karp notes this gives Morrison his pick of governor as well as keeping his election options open. Tellingly, Morrison announces the appointment with another homily.

“It was General Hurley who first spoke the words, ‘The standard you walk past, is the standard you accept’. That is a lesson to all of us. It is a phrase that embodies what Australian leadership is all about and it is a phrase that has embodied the service of General Hurley.”

Yet as Chris Bowen notes, the timing suggests a government blithely unconcerned about standards of fair play.

“Do we really believe that a governor general, who will be taking up his post in the middle of next year, had to be announced today while the leader of the opposition was making an important speech at the very same time? What a coincidence.”

Yet Hurley is the very model of a modern governor general, whose heart of faith helps him lead and whose wife Linda inspires by sharing details of her daily spiritual spin, a rare double act with Eternity News

“I hula-hoop every morning and I like to read the Bible or a devotional book while I’m doing that.”

Who doesn’t? Onward Christian soldiers.

Curiously, Morrison’s presser proclaiming his redundant religious freedom commission segues into his announcing his utterly unrelated Commonwealth Integrity Commission, (CIC) a Clayton’s federal ICAC, a totally toothless tiger which would have allowed even Eddie Obeid or Eric Roozendaal to evade justice, experts warn.

Geoffrey Watson SC, who had acted as counsel to ICAC in NSW opines it’s “worse than having no commission, in my opinion” while former NSW ICAC commissioner David Ipp tells ABC radio that it’s “the kind of integrity commission you’d want to have when you didn’t want to have one”.

For Crikey’s Bernard Keane, there is a wider significance in the paper tiger. “Scott Morrison’s joke of federal anti-corruption body simply confirms everything voters hate about politics in Australia.”

It’s crippled by having no public hearings; the public won’t even know who is under investigation, let alone why. Herein lies a key problem.  Keane believes “that’s exactly one of the key problems voters perceive with our current political system: that so much is hidden from citizens. Donations. Meetings. Lobbying. And corrupt conduct. The exercise of power in Australia is hidden, confirming the sense that it is exercised by and for the powerful only.”

Nor will justice be seen to be done if the only recourse the CIC has is to refer a matter where a public servant has acted inappropriately to the DPP, who is chosen by the Attorney-General of the day.

Perhaps the greatest flaw in the Morrison proposal is that the public will not be able to dob in a delinquent official – or one they suspect may have broken the law.

“The CIC will not investigate direct complaints about ministers, members of Parliament or their staff received from the public at large,” the government says.

Typically, Pastor ScoMo doesn’t help his cause by calling NSW ICAC a “kangaroo court”, while, equally out of order, Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter accuses it of “show-trials”.

For Morrison’s government to cynically insult the integrity of a real commission against corruption diminishes any further confidence in their proposal.

Some see the CIC as a pre-emptive strike by a Morrison minority government to dodge a tougher ICAC forced on them by independent Cathy McGowan, Labor and an uppity crossbench. Yet it could filibuster or close up shop early. Parliament will sit only ten days in the first eight months of 2019 as it. Would a few less days matter?

Even if the election were to be brought forward, it should not distract us.  Just how have we been gifted with a religious discrimination commissioner when Ruddock’s review panel specifically recommends against it – and what does it say about the Morrison government’s religious pre-occupation?

Freedom For Faith, a group which describes itself as a “Christian, legal, think tank” in its submission, has persuaded the Morrison government to create a religious freedom commissioner, a bargain at $1.25m-$1.5m. Beyond the fee, however, is the incalculable social cost of granting religious groups new authority to discriminate.

A Religious Freedoms Act, a cruel parody of a charter of rights, which Ruddock’s panel does recommend, would codify and expand exemptions to anti-discrimination laws. These currently grant church groups the right to hire or fire those sympathetic to its ethos. Or not.

The act would limit and override the anti-discrimination laws of Australia’s states and territories and “further protections for people who don’t want to associate with same-sex marriages”.

But be of good cheer. “Christians are not into freedom to discriminate, they’re really into freedom to select,” explains author Patrick Parkinson, a professor of law at Sydney Uni and a Freedom for Faith board member.

Father knows best. Yet, like his patronising, patriarchal predecessor, ScoMo’s paternalism will prove his undoing.

But, my, such unity. Not a bum note is heard – for a whole 24 hours. Coalition MPs are all on song, a ragged paean to the policy-free politics of survival as they plot Bill Shorten’s death and hope, somehow to avoid electoral annihilation in May as Monday’s Newspoll confirms the Morrison government’s unique and abiding unpopularity.

It trails Labor 45-55, a record low in the poll’s history for a government five months out from an election. It’s the government’s third, ten point defeat in a row. The last time this happened, notes Paul Karp in The Guardian, Julia Gillard was replaced by Kevin Rudd. Political scientist, Kevin Bonham says history is not on Morrison’s side.

“No government has recovered from this far behind with this little time to go,” Bonham says. Yet The Daily Telegraph says Labor’s “softened border policy” invites shady types into Australia. “Foreign crims’ free pass,” screams the headline. The Australian obligingly runs a very similar scare campaign. An influx of terrorists, paedophiles and crime gangs will flood the nation as a result of Labor softening its border policy.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, however. Can Bill still stuff up? Enter Rupert the red-nose reindeer. National Affairs Editor, Simon Benson in The Australian, Friday, hyperventilates over Labor’s hubris, and lese majesté in “preparing to run union-backed election campaigns in once unassailable Victorian Liberal heartland — including Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s blue-ribbon Melbourne seat of Kooyong — with polling showing the Coalition risks losing the electorate once held by Australia’s longest-serving prime minister, Sir Robert Menzies.”

Back in the bosom of the Liberal Party’s broad church and even in the weatherboard and iron of the Nationals’ annexe, hearts swell as MPs rejoice in the hyper-partisan hypomania of the festive season; all noses are to the grindstone as the Coalition of the killing of Bill sharpen stilettos, rake muck and top up vast vats of vitriol.

The Coalition is obsessed by Shorten; they mention him by name in Question Time, this year, 1260 times.

Spoiler alert. Bill is to be killed during Labor’s annual conference 16-18 December. Labor will be attacked for being soft on borders, national security and refugee torture.

Frydenberg’s coup de grace, a MYEFO monstering, will follow on Monday. The cunning plan is to upstage day two of “A Fair Go for Australia” Labor’s gabfest.

A mid-year economic financial outlook in December? It’s a bit like July at Christmas. But it’s all amazingly good news. A temporary spike in the price of coal and iron ore and a boost from government spending on setting up its bastardised NDIS, helps to mask a stalling economy as wages remain frozen, profits soar. Morrison’s mob, however, will boast its superior economic management. It certainly won’t be telling the truth about infrastructure.

Public and private investment in engineering is dwindling, for the fourth time in five years, Alan Austin reports; all in the five years since the Abbott government was elected, according to ABS figures up to the end of September. It’s a decline not seen since ABS figures began in Whitlam’s era. The nation’s net worth is declining as a result.  Morrison will predict a budget surplus. Yet as economist Stephen Koukoulos warns, it won’t be until September.

2019’s final budget outcome that we will know if the surplus occurs, or if it’s just like Wayne Swan’s, as Paul Bongiorno notes, another in a series of disappearing desert mirages. Much like the Coalition itself and the neoliberalism on which it is founded.

Disappearing. It won’t be for lack of appeasing the right. Morrison has taken no chances there. It’s fitting to reflect on the PM’s inclusiveness and largeness of heart in the season of giving.

Even drones such as Craig Kelly, who sacrificed a career selling furniture for the politics of climate change denial to chair the committee for promoting coal are thoughtfully rescued from; returned to the fold by Pope Scott’s pre-selection bulk plenary indulgence that fits brilliantly the special religious if not entirely ecumenical and certainly not gender-equal character of the mates’ rates 45th parliament.

SBS: ‘Recognise State of Palestine’: Indonesia on PM’s west Jerusalem decision

The Conversation, Michelle Grattan: View from The Hill: Morrison goes a bridge too far to outsmart Shorten

Fairfax: Critics take aim at ‘rookie’ call after PM confirms Israel policy tilt

Fairfax: Yes, PM, people of faith fret, but your law can’t fix that

RT Question More: ‘We expected more’: Israelis & Palestinians upset by Australia’s recognition of W. Jerusalem only

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.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Rob Halton

    December 22, 2018 at 6:38 am

    After listening to Shortens recent erratic operatic failure at the Labor faithful gathering, that was enough to indicate that before us is the greatest failure of all time reaching out to be PM.

    A lovee dovee with former political arch enemy, “fair suck of the sauce bottle” Kevin Rudd bestowed in greatness by Shorten as life membership of Labor make them all look like a bunch of wierdo’s!

    The entire sham show was quite bizarre with Shorten making promises that he has no hope of delivering in redefining workplace bargaining laws in which his old union mates will want to dominate the showdown creating hybrid policies by creating a warning system for all employers to be on notice as we approach the next election! Very unsettling news!

    While our hard working PM Morrison is in Iraq visiting our troops before Christmas the Opposition leader plays as a Star trek actor here at home.

    Shorten has now created his own theatre of belief with his recent antics which should not impress the Australian public. I have always said the old union boss who tried to make his name an instant hit with the Beaconsfield mine rescue in fact has continually failed all the way as leader while decent potential leaders such as Tony Albanese can only wallow in the background.

    Hopefully Chloe will divorce him as much as the Australian public will grow to dislike him as we enter the pre Federal election period,

    • max

      December 22, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Rob … I have to give you full marks for your ability to regurgitate your ideology for a backstabbing religious nutter. I will kindly put it down to overindulgence in Christmas tipple.

      Scott Morrison: “Only two out of 10 people increase in our population levels relates to the permanent immigration intake. Only 2 out of 10. So, the permanent immigration intake is not a big factor when it comes to population growth. Natural increase and temporary immigration accounts for 80% of population increase”.

      Morrison’s claim that permanent migration is only a minor player in Australia’s population growth is patently false and actually a bare-faced lie.

      The 2016 Census revealed that Australia’s population increased by a whopping 1.9 million people (+8.8%) in the five years to 2016, driven by a 1.3 million increase in new migrants.

      I’m not a fan of Shorten. I think he lacks the guts to stand up for what is a crime against humanity. Refugee incarceration to stop the fallacy of boat people is something Howard dreamed up to frighten the gullible.

  2. Rob Halton

    December 19, 2018 at 3:42 am

    Max, I agree Energy policy is a big ask, in fact for either of the major parties when the nagging climate change advocates continue to knock back the rate of advancement by the nation fro the uptake of less reliable and compatible Renewables sector!

    We also need to factor in with a rethink on our position with China, Chinese investment in our energy industry will taper off given trust and confidence when dealing with the perceived future outfall of overreaching details of Chinese government owned business joint venture arrangements! My estimate is we cannot trust Chinese involvement in our everyday business arrangements with our essential public utilities!

    Advancement into Renewables will only occur in leaps and bounds. The only hope may come from Indian British investor Gupta in SA who is currently restructuring the steelworks at Whyalla may be able to follow on with a massive solar farm nearby in the foreseeable future to power the city once his steelworks turn a profit!

    It is more likely investment in Renewables, wind and solar backed by storage batteries will have to be borne by government providing heavy subsidies for intending trustworthy private business enterprise.
    Pumped Hydro has created more talk than action, Turnbull repeatedly spoke of it but still no action no doubts continue to exist!

    My gut feeling is there may be a lot of talk coming from both parties but at the end of the day the preference is to ensure the “lights stay on”, despite all of the duck diving to arrest climate change issues, existing coal and gas will continue to keep the electricity networks alive with a slow uptake of “expensive” Renewables.
    The public should not expect either electricity prices or for that matter gas prices to fall, they will only increase in line with upkeep/ upgrading of power plants and company profits.

    There is no doubt in my mind Morrison has a basic bottom line approach to energy policy, who will have to cope with Shortens upstaging antics prompted by the Greens sliding into an unaffordable fairy land of promises!

    • max

      December 19, 2018 at 8:36 am

      Rob … There is a worldwide race for a better battery, and it’s not going to stop.

      Graphene ultra-capacitors breakthroughs will possibly run your car and your house in the very near future. But as I said there is a race for a better way of storing electricity and the prize is so great that it is causing a revolution that will change the world as we know it.

      Your concerns on China are well known, but Chinese investment in our energy industry will not taper off. China is an economic powerhouse and is the main producer of solar cells, and will possibly build our future battery alternatives.
      If I can power my house and my car from the roof of my house, what hope is there for a coal-fired power station?

      The Liberals are pathologically incapable of delivering the country an energy policy. They were the cause of all the problems we now face with energy, and they steadfastly refuse to face up to the fact.

      The real question is can Morrison, a confirmed Pentecostal devotee, deal with other faiths and beliefs that go against his belief and run the country.

      The best Morrison can do is run a scare campaign designed to convince the Australian public that it has to choose between the environment it wants for its kids, and the jobs they want for them. The whole world will condemn him for this and the voters will send him into the wilderness.

  3. Rob Halton

    December 18, 2018 at 3:07 am

    One does not have to look far to realise why Scott Morrison is PM and not Malcolm Turnbull!

    Of cause most of it is involvement with the Chinese that is the answer, interesting that some of our politicians positioned themselves with Huawei.
    Former Labor premier John Brumby and former Federal Liberal leader Alexander Downer joined the board of Huawei Australia.

    Some credit goes back to the Gillard labor government in 2012 banned Huawei from the NBN rebuild. At the time the Liberals were much more open to building a relationship.

    Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop and Andrew Robb all visited Huawei’s China HQ while in opposition.
    Andrew Robb said the company had a big future in Australia. In 2013, as communications Minister, Turnbull described Huawei as a “very credible business’ and said he would review Labor’s ban. “even if you accept the premise that Huawei would be an accessory to espionage- I’M just saying that’s the premise- if yuo accept that, then you will have to ask yourself, does the equipment that they would propose to sell have the capacity?”

    On advice, however Turnbull quickly answered the question in the affirmative and didnt alter the ban. Huawei has built 3G and 4G networks for businesses including Vodaphone and Santos in Australia but the advent of 5G occured just as security concerns flared among the Five Eyes.

    In August, Turnbulls penultimate day as prime minister, Huawei was officially banned from 5G in Australia.

    Ref extract from Tiggy Fullerton’s article ” Huawei’s drama signals state of play in West’s China tussle” the Weekend Australian December 15-16, 2018.

    This should concern those who see Scott Morrison as a more reliable leader as PM who has taken on a MORE SPECIFIC ROLE to protect the national interest which was foundering under former PM Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who got too close to China!

    The basic problem was always evident with Turnbull too slow to react to the national interest for which Morrison has already taken up immediately after his rise to PM.

    Remember that Morrison is not there as a part of “popularity” contest as Turnbull appeared to be during his reign!

    • max

      December 18, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Rob … once again you show your faith in a man and political party that are carrying a lot of baggage.

      The reality is that the Liberal brand is damaged. The party is now characterised by disunity, disloyalty and tribalism, and not by principle or policy but rather by personal interests .. not even party interests and certainly not the national interest.

      The science of climate change indicates the economic risks posed to Australia are both materially significant and proportionally higher than for most other countries, so global carbon pricing is inevitable.

      The Liberals are pathologically incapable of delivering the country an energy policy.

      As with the failed campaign for company tax cuts, the nation’s prime minister is getting his talking points from the nation’s biggest lobbyists. Morrison had a thought bubble on Jerusalem and upset more than half of the world. He’s the bloke who fell into the job after the most cack-handed leadership coup in memory and got rid of the elected PM and now he is running a scare campaign designed to convince the Australian public that it has to choose between the environment it wants for its kids, and the jobs they want for them.

      Some political operatives trying to repair the government’s deeply damaged public image are quietly concerned about Scott Morrison. Their worry is that this Pentecostal devotee, who attends a congregation where worshipers can be so overcome they start to ‘speak in tongues’ has a brand of faith that could become unpalatable for the mainstream public.

      The real question is, can Morrison, a confirmed Pentecostal devotee, deal with other faiths and beliefs that go against his own beliefs?

    • Keith Antonysen

      December 18, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Rob,

      There was a speech by Greta Thunberg, the young lass who began the worldwide student strike in relation to climate change .. https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/16/world/greta-thunberg-cop24/index.html

      Greta gave her speech to members of COP24 in Poland. She provided a stinging rebuke to the adults present. It can also be applied to adults generally, and members of your LNP particularly.

      Clearly, Greta is much smarter than your Prime Minister.

  4. max

    December 17, 2018 at 9:08 am

    It should be a sobering thought that we are governed by someone who believes in fairies the bottom of the garden. All over the world since recorded history, nations have gone to war to fight for their version of an invisible god who lives in an invisible place in the sky.

    We stopped the boats at an estimated cost of $9.6 billion. We did this to stop paedophiles, criminals and terrorists who could have come here safely on visas. We had boat people who came here on leaky boats from Vietnam and were accepted, so what is the difference?

    Over 250,000 arrive on planes each year, so what guarantee is there that they will all be good outstanding citizens? Just in one year, more come by plane than ever came by a leaky dangerous boat.

    Howard criminalised the boat people and was elected on the fear of terrorists .. and no one since has been game enough to come out and say There must be a better way.

    I personally think we should curtail, or slow immigration.

    We could spend some of the billions we spend on locking up boat people and on migration to repair their lands that we helped to destroy. That’s what caused the refugee problem in the first place.

    • Russell

      December 17, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Absolutely correct, Max.

  5. Keith Antonysen

    December 17, 2018 at 8:28 am

    The noise coming from the LNP is proportional to its lack of policies.

    Once the LNP is voted out, the Integrity Commission will need to be re-jigged, as it is the Clayton’s version that is being presented.

    The LNP seems to have a view that its people know better than others .. the potential move of the Australian Embassy being a
    prime example. It was a bit like pouring petrol on a fire, with a predictable backlash from other countries. It is poison to follow the example of Trump.

    On climate change the LNP is downright recklessly dangerous. It pushes the danger aspect of terrorists, but the warnings from the IPCC and other researchers suggest that the dangers are far greater from climate change. It is a display of couldn’t care less about the future for young people.

    Kevin Trenberth explains a number of aspects of climate change .. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQnqfaVWPNM

    The level of CO2 emissions have been going up since the first COP meeting in Rio de Janeiro ..

    https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/12/12/analysis/co2-vs-cops?fbclid=IwAR31UFUctx1UiX4HZ2d00k1oRw4nLBH0S

  6. John Biggs

    December 17, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Urban, I can’t disagree with your take on the ALP Conference, but my God better the hypocritical and so easily bullied Bill Shorten than ScoMo (or any on the mad right) winning the next election.

    ScoMo is every bit as authoritarian and warped as you make him. He would do more damage to Australia with his Pentecostal-driven certainties barked out ad lib than even Abbott would, or did.

    • John Biggs

      December 17, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      An addendum, not a reply. Re anyone who believes Labor is a shoo-in for the next election might think again.

      I have just read Kerry O’Brien’s terrific memoir, and in his chapter “2001 – not a great vintage” he recalls that people were fed up with Howard over the GST and other things .. and Labor was 10% ahead in the polls, just like now in fact.

      Then came the Tampa, and Howard used every dirty trick in the book to bring back the 10% who had deserted him for Hanson . He was also in the US on 9/11. Essentially, like what he did or not, Howard was calling the shots and Beazley was vacillating, finally tamely agreeing with Howard on the above.

      Even when senior military personnel and public servants told Reith and Howard that there was no evidence at all that asylum seekers (aka “illegal immigrants” to Howard) had thrown their children overboard, and that the videos and photos supporting that did not exist, and that Howard was a blatant liar, the public still voted Howard back. Beazley had indeed demonstrated that he didn’t have the ticker.

      The circumstances are different today of course, but Morrison is the sort of lying rodent who would make up anything to get votes, and the shock jocks and Murdoch Press would of course support him.

      Shorten, like Beazley, is easily panicked and bullied .. as we saw on the last day of Parliament.

      In short, Labor’s current 10% lead could vanish as it did in 2001, because although the ALP does have policies unlike Beazley, the psychology of the contenders won’t be working for an easy Labor victory. It really pains me to write this, but …

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