Tasmanian Times

Featured - Row 1

Will Shorten Blow It … ?

Bill Shorten with Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, Julia Gillard ... 'Most Australians don’t want Morrison and his lump of coal.  Most Australians don’t want cruelty to vulnerable people.  But they don’t want an alternative Labor government which caves in either ... '

If anything was demonstrated by the last day of federal parliament this year – apart from the truth of Morrison’s promise that he would do anything in his power, and use any tool or tactic, to prevent doctors deciding if people needed effective and rapid access to medical treatment in Australia – it was that Bill Shorten looked increasingly like Kim Beazley in 2001.

Back in 2001 the federal election was there to be won by Labor until Tampa and 9/11 blew Beazley’s ‘small target’ strategy into oblivion.  John Howard successfully labelled Beazley as having ‘no ticker’, and Beazley responded by meekly following the Howard agenda, thereby convincing a majority of voters that he was weak and vacillating.

Ever since Beazley’s failure the story has been repeated by Labor even when they have won elections.  Both Rudd and Gillard competed with the hard-Right in a race to play tweedle-dum to their tweedle-dee on asylum seekers, climate change, Iraq and Afghanistan, taxation, housing affordability, and even education.

After the election of Kerryn Phelps in Wentworth, not insignificantly due to her promises to tackle climate change and the indefinite detention of refugees in offshore detention, and the clear rejection of the politics of fear and division in the Victorian state election, the obvious course for federal Labor was to show some real ‘ticker’ on issues like climate change, Adani, refugees and the encryption legislation.

At long last, after many years, it appeared that Labor would put some space between them and the completely morally bankrupt illiberal Liberals, but any gains they made in supporting Phelps on attempting to change the law on asylum seekers’ access to medical treatment was undermined by Shorten’s cave-in on the flawed encryption legislation.

It was a major victory for Morrison in several ways.  It placed at front and centre the question of whether Shorten was just another weak and vacillating Labor leader who would crumble at the first hurdle as prime minister.  It also demonstrated to Morrison that his ‘tools and tactics’ were immediately effective in the personal battle he has publicly declared to wage to wreck Shorten’s credibility.

Given the dysfunctionality of the Morrison government, its hypocrisy, dishonesty, inhumanity, Machiavellianism and cynicism, one would expect that any ‘drover’s dog’ would outpoll Morrison as preferred prime minister, but Shorten doesn’t.

Even with the horrendous farce which now masquerades as proper governance in Australia, where all the protocols, conventions, procedures and processes developed over time into parliamentary practices are now regarded by our current prime minister as ‘tools and tactics’ to serve his own personal position, there remains the possibility that Labor’s inability to take the high road rather than the timid road will bring them undone, as it has done repeatedly this century.

Furthermore, if Shorten’s decisions on the last day of parliament were not a good sign at all, things were not improved by the recent Labor conference.  The small target syndrome was everywhere to be seen, with mere gestures in relation to fairness, asylum seeker policy, climate change and energy policy, trade policy and tackling socio-economic inequality.

Everything was about throwing a blanket across anything which might seem to be much different from the standard neoliberalism which has wreaked so much havoc and wasted so much time.

If anything can be told of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison years since 2013 it is that Australia has gone backwards on most indicators of socio-economic-environmental standards, and that all those governments failed the public interest and the national interest by creating division, fear and policy inertia.

2018 for Australia was another wasted year.  So much so that a generation of school students finally took to the streets to challenge the ignorance, myopia and lack of courage of the federal government.  State governments are starting to realise that they might have to take the lead on major issues, much as is now happening in the United States as Trumpism undermines federal authority.

Maybe Shorten and his equally quake-like colleagues should listen to the kids, and actually give them a louder voice.  Surely ‘It’s Time’, to mention the Labor campaign theme of 1972.  Most Australians don’t want Morrison and his lump of coal.  Most Australians don’t want cruelty to vulnerable people.  But they don’t want an alternative Labor government which caves in either.

This is not the time for Labor to do something like support the horribly flawed encryption legislation.  This is not the time for Shorten to be equivocal about Adani or about how Australia’s energy future relies on transformation rather than fiddling.  Nor is it the time to be equivocal about human rights.

It won’t do Shorten any good in 2019 to play the Kim Beazley ‘small target’ policy ambiguity of 2001.  If that’s his inclination – which many suspect is the case – he’ll lead a one term government, or maybe not even beat a Nixon-like salesman like Trump admirer Morrison.

Instead of channelling Beazley, Labor has to channel John Curtin, and have the guts to do so.  If not, we will have more wasted years, more division, more inequality and less time to deal with the big issues confronting the future of our nation’s youth and their children.

Peter Henning has written extensively on Tasmanian history and politics.  His latest books, published in 2018, are No Chains to Rust:  Bob McMahon: Memories of His Journey, and No Chains in the Sky:  Alan Bowman Tasmania War Pilot.

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


  1. max

    January 16, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    MJF … You claim that I “make a failed attempt to admire and preserve an outdated, out of touch, inefficient, corrupt and self indulgent trade union model. You belong in the 19th century my friend, when 8 year old children, blind ponies and canaries frequented underground collieries, and people emptied their bed pots out the window. I’m certainly not walking past your joint in the mornings.”

    This small tirade shows how little you understand history, or the future.

    Mesopotamia was perhaps the first civilisation and it had a class system, priests, nobility, lower class and slaves. This was how civilisations operated, with only slight deviations until the advent of unions.

    The use of press-gangs was a common means of obtaining forced labour on ships. Press-gangs, and the Royal Navy. Imagine that your beloved husband or son suddenly disappeared after meeting friends at a neighbourhood bar, and that you would not know for months what had happened to them.

    Unions changed civilisation, and the brief interlude of our present working conditions was forced on the aristocracy, or the ruling class. They were forced by the unions to relinquish their power and give better working conditions because for the first time in 6,000 years the work force could withhold labour. This is no longer the case and the working conditions are heading back to what was the norm.

    Yes, there was corruption. Sometimes it is the scum that rise to the top, not only in unions but in governments, businesses and anywhere the scum can rise to the top.

    MJF, do you honestly believe that governments and big business, which are now the ruling class, will freely deliver the Utopia that we had for just a brief moment in history?

    Will Shorten blow it? This is the topic, not the possible failings of the unions.

    Bill has joined the ranks of the LibLabs, and unless he has the guts to change present policies, for me he will blow it.

    • MJF

      January 16, 2019 at 8:20 pm

      “This is no longer the case and the working conditions are heading back to what was the norm.”

      Well, that certainly appears to be the case max, in terms of the MUA inactions. Clearly, even you can’t find it within yourself to defend their inactions. Of course Shorten will cock it up as he can’t exist without union donations and influence, the very same unions that you claim have no authority, no membership base and no coercive powers. I think they’re doing very well despite your tales of woe.

      • max

        January 17, 2019 at 8:31 am

        MJF … you are like a dog with a bone.

        I am not defending the MUA’s inaction, but I have repeatedly pointed out why. The unions have been stripped of the power to stand up for its remaining members. Reread why, or do some research.

        At the present moment The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has accused large multinational companies BHP and BlueScope Steel of using the January holiday period to quietly sack nearly 80 Australian seafarers and replacing them with $2 an hour exploited foreign labour on the Australian coast.

        Negotiations over a new workplace agreement covering Hutchison Ports workers in Sydney and Brisbane reached a stalemate after the company refused to back away from plans to slash wages and conditions, along with automating some roles and outsourcing other jobs.

        The Maritime Union of Australia said the company’s demands include: a 2.5 per cent cut to superannuation; reductions to sick and parental leave; cuts to redundancy and long service leave; removal of income protection; wage cuts of up to $10 per hour followed by a wage freeze .. and reductions to safety standards, including the loss of full-time first-aiders and the removal of personal protective equipment.

        This war against Australian workers is happening because the union’ powers have been lost.

        MJF .. I ask you again, do you honestly believe that governments and Big Business, which are now the ruling class, will freely deliver the Utopia that we had for just a brief moment in history?

        • William Boeder

          January 17, 2019 at 11:39 am

          MJF … why must the people of Australia keep fighting to retain their basic living standards, their human rights and their values to protect their personal dignity from State and Federal governments and former friendly (or even if now altered and no longer neutral) institutions?

          In support of the opinions expressed by max, you speak as though, in your estimation, he is less intelligent than yourself .. when the facts of this matter tend to reveal the reverse.

          MJF, you have clearly failed to understand the timeliness and relevancy to the standards of living, and of the way we in Australia have had to identify the negative changes now occurring in our lives that are not being necessarily broadcast or published.

          For all those persons who attempt to support or even to identify with the scourge of the corporate entities that have since become the hallmark of this current Liberal government, the consequence is that all those pro-today’s leadership government twits are effectively acting against their own.

          Full marks to Peter Henning who, along with his wisdom gained over the years, has sought to inform we the people of the current state of play via the aegis of this popular Tasmanian discussion forum.

          • MjF

            January 18, 2019 at 9:56 pm

            Hi William. Your comment seems to me to be of no substance or particular relevance .. other than to simply indulge your fellow backslappers. I think really it’s just an offering from someone desperate to post something just to be seen, to be part of the action, so to speak. Am I right ?

            I will say this .. I certainly don’t perceive Max’s intelligence as less than mine. On the contrary, I think that Max is very intelligent, and that he is at times seemingly well researched, but at other times, not so much.

            It’s just a pity that Max is regularly misdirected and disproportionately one-eyed. The views held by this person in extolling the values and importance of unions are a case in point as symptomatic of being an old, dyed-in-the-wool ticket holder who refuses to embrace a new, more cost efficient business world.

        • MJF

          January 18, 2019 at 9:33 pm

          Well, well max. The MUA is actually engaging in their members’ interests and revealing what some major principals are attempting to pull off, when it suits them, but the union is happy to ignore the pleas of persecuted members over working conditions on the ferries. It sounds and looks rather inconsistent, and agenda driven to me.

          This Utopia you speak of that we briefly had – what and when was that exactly ?

          Oh, and there’s a planned cut to super of 2.5%. Considering 9.5% is currently federally legislated with a forecast of step-ups to come, one can only wonder what the current exorbitant, price gouging contribution rate is that’s enjoyed by overpaid, under-worked maritime workers in their current EBA with Hutchison Ports.

          Good on the operator for trying to get spiralling and uncompetitive costs under control. I wish them every success.

  2. John Hawkins

    January 16, 2019 at 11:38 am

    As of this exact moment the British pound is appreciating against the A$.

    The Brexit vote is lost. The Conservative forces in Britain are routed, and still the world considers Morrison and his merry men in Australia to be the weaker rather than the stronger of the two nations.

    The US is in turmoil as the Trumper, who is yet another lying, cheating dishonourable pollie, is running a country whose currency has, and still is, appreciating against ours.

    How can this be?

    The answer is debt!

    The Liberals have nearly doubled the National Debt since they came to power. The Australian banks will be wiped out in the impending property crash.

    Well done, all.

    No more donations to buy influence. A straight race with expenses capped.

    The world is beginning to spin out of control.

  3. Joanna

    January 10, 2019 at 7:22 am

    In my opinion Bill Shorten is not PM material, but if he can stand up to Beijing then that will be enough for me.

    As for transforming our energy market – not a chance. I have given up on climate change. It’s all too little too late. There will be some tinkering with carbon trading schemes etc, but with India and China powering ahead with coal we will see little change here so there really is no point.

    The young people protesting against climate change should have been protesting outside the Indian and Chinese embassies because it’s these two countries which drive climate change.

    • benny

      January 12, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      You would have to admit that Shorten is a whole lot more credible than than the lying, grinning, baseball-cap wearing Morrison, though.

      Why have you omitted the USA from your tiny list of carbon polluting nations ?

      • Joanna

        January 18, 2019 at 9:31 pm

        No – I don’t believe Shorten has any greater credibility than Morrison – both of them would sell their own first born to get elected.

        After decades of buying off the electorate with endless carrots and fear-mongering no-one who should be in running for the country will bother standing for election. People will not vote for anyone who isn’t bearing gifts, either ideological or financial.

        We have well and truly ended up with the government we deserve. The “what’s in it for me?” or the my ‘team’ mentality has won – objective assessment of what is best for the nation is not even on the agenda.

        I never said it was a list of carbon polluting nations. However, most of the West used coal long before the danger of carbon pollution was identified. I know the Left is obsessed with the evil US, but it seems the US is actually shutting down coal fired generators.

        Not so everywhere else. From Africa to Asia it’s full steam ahead for coal, even though we now know the danger, in fact even Germany is building new coal generators.

        China and India are the main drivers purely on a population basis. Millions and millions of people are rushing to become middle class. The urbanisation and industrialisation of these two countries alone will require massive amount of energy – cheap energy – but then the same goes for Bangladesh, Vietnam, Korea, and various countries in Africa.

        So while we in the West are told how evil coal is, the UN is happy for the rest of the world to use coal because it’s their “turn” now, and we just have to suck it up and pay.

        The Paris agreement will do nothing meaningful to reduce carbon as it is just another form of foreign aid where developed nations are told to cough up, and don’t ask too many questions as to how the donations are spent.

    • Russell

      January 17, 2019 at 8:59 am

      “The young people protesting against climate change should have been protesting outside the Indian and Chinese embassies because it’s these two countries which drive climate change.”

      Don’t blame them. We are the ones digging up and selling the planet-killing stuff.

      “But with India and China powering ahead with coal we will see little change here so there really is no point.”

      Typical of today’s society. Too lazy and irresponsible to be bothered doing anything themselves. Always waiting for someone else to nanny them.

      • Joanna

        January 18, 2019 at 9:37 pm

        Don’t be so naïve. If they don’t buy from us they will get it elsewhere.

        I do blame them – they are building coal-fired generators knowing that the pollution (not just carbon) will destroy our planet. In the rush to urbanise and industrialise they will do whatever it takes, and the UN thinks that is OK because we did it once and now it’s their turn.

        In reality I don’t think either of them give a stuff what the UN thinks as both countries have millions of people who want to be middle class as soon as possible, and neither government wants to lose control through internal discontent. Neither country is going to let environmental issues get in the way of economic growth. The sheer size of these two countries make this a huge issue.

        I can’t argue with your second point. Despite all the talk about recycling reuse, climate change etc etc, many of my friends and colleagues: can’t even be bothered to put a drink can in the recycling bin; continue to use plastic bags; have every energy sucking appliance known to man; and refuse to use public transport.

        What really astounds me is that young people (under 30 or so) seems to be the worst offenders, and it fills me with despair. here’s a lot of talk and action on social media, but when push comes to shove they do precious little.

  4. max

    January 9, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    MjF … It is a sad day for Australia when people like you cannot, or will not, look at the big picture, and only think of their own gratification.

    It appears you have no concerns if the skills and experience of our trades people can be lost to Australia to the benefit of third world countries. I am not being discriminative if I have concerns, but apparently you are happy to have the temporary benefits of cheap labour.

    “If the employer has the right to hire non-union labour then the unions have only themselves to blame.” I can only ask – why?

    There has been a long, skilful, malicious attack on the unions and the workers they represent, and the eventual outcome, when unions are finally subdued, is the loss of working condition and a return to the deplorable days that created the need for unions. Virtual slave labour, child labour, unsafe working conditions, no health benefits and even no jobs or unemployment benefits. This is why unions developed and why revolutions occurred.

    If you still think that I haven’t addressed the MUA situation for failing its direct members’ interests then you cannot read, or if you can then you have no comprehension of what you read.

    All unions have been stripped of their powers to act for their members by a concerted effort by the LibLabs.

    Perhaps after the coming election it will be the LabLibs, and unless Bill and his party have the guts to break away from their coalition with the Liberal Party and neoliberalism, then the long term outlook for the workers of Australia will continue to decline, along with anything unions can do for their declining members.

    • MJF

      January 16, 2019 at 7:23 am

      “If you still think that I haven’t addressed the MUA situation for failing its direct members’ interests then you cannot read, or if you can, then you have no comprehension of what you read.”

      No max, you have not. All you’ve done is skirt around this issue of appalling union conduct, in terms of abandonment of their members, by lambasting and trying to blame past and present governments on what is union self destruction. Trade union implosion largely driven by disgruntled members and a modern labour force that have finally woken up to the trickery, deception and laziness of their formerly revered and protected bastions of brotherhood. You make a failed attempt to admire and preserve an outdated, out of touch, inefficient, corrupt and self indulgent trade union model. You belong in the 19th century my friend, when 8 year old children, blind ponies and canaries frequented underground collieries, and people emptied their bed pots out the window. I’m certainly not walking past your joint in the mornings.

      Have you ever heard of Craig Thompson and Kathy Jackson, unbelievably from the one union? Fine upstanding officials if I ever heard of any. Union history is littered with the likes of these two corrupt former officials.. or maybe they were just stitched up by Liberal governments, max.

      Step into the 21st century while you still draw breath, and enlighten yourself.

  5. max

    January 9, 2019 at 9:07 am

    MjF … This points out how far the Labor Party has colluded with the Liberal Party with neoliberalism, and even if elected Bill will blow it by giving us more of the same Liberal policies.

    As I stated, the only power a union has is to threaten or withdraw labour. This no longer applies as employers can and do hire non union labour. The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and a national labour-hire company have been ordered to pay $802,500 in fines and compensation for their part in denying employment to non-union members.

    Under our laws, strikes can only happen during bargaining. At all other times they are unlawful.

    Even during bargaining there are too many hurdles. Before workers can take a bargaining strike they must:
    • Not be covered by a current enterprise agreement.
    • Be in the process of bargaining for an enterprise agreement.
    • Not be making claims for others by pattern bargaining.
    • Prove that they are genuinely trying to reach agreement.
    • Hold a secret ballot.
    • Give their employer three clear days notice of the strike.
    • And if workers make it that far, employers can retaliate by locking them out without giving notice and for as long as they want.
    • If a strike happens outside of bargaining, then workers and their unions face dire consequences.
    The employer can:
    • Get an automatic order from the Fair Work Commission (FWC) requiring a return to work. 
    • Get injunctions from Federal and State Courts.
    • Discipline workers or sack them.
    • Sue unions and workers for Contempt of Court if orders or injunctions are not followed to the letter.
    • Sue the workers and their union under various laws for fines up to $10,800 for workers and $54,000 for unions.
    • Seek compensation against workers and their unions for lost revenue.
    Even if the employer doesn’t want to take legal action, government agencies, such as the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), can.

    Unions have been crippled and any powers they had has been nullified by our government using the claim that militant union have to be stamped out.

    Here’s an example: The 1989 Australian pilots’ dispute was one of the most expensive and dramatic industrial disputes in Australia’s history. The dispute severely disrupted domestic air travel in Australia and had a major detrimental impact on the tourism industry and many other businesses. Bob Hawke declared a national emergency and allowed our air force planes and pilots and overseas aircraft and pilots to provide services. The dispute was superficially resolved after the mass resignation of a significant number of domestic airline pilots to avoid litigation from the employers.

    This was seen as a victory for Bob Hawke, but it also allowed the deregulation of the airlines and the servicing and maintenance to be done out of Australia and out of the controls of unions and their concerns about safety. Think of this when you fly.

    But what about the MUA abandoning its members over safe working conditions? Our government, the LibLabs, have taken away its power.

    I did say the power of a union lies in its membership numbers, and indeed this is the case, but the right to replace union members with non-union members has taken away that power.

    • MjF

      January 9, 2019 at 1:18 pm

      I have no issue with any of your dot-points and definitely no problem with now affordable airline travel as a result of deregulation and moving of maintenance offshore where applicable.

      I think the safety records of carriers servicing Australia still speak for themselves and particularly where bruk missiles or renegade pilots aren’t involved. Why are offshore maintenance engineers any less skilful than Australia’s? I hope you’re not being discriminatory there, max.

      Affordable air travel is one of the the greatest leaps forward to happen to this country. I’m happy that Australia’s previously out of control and dictating unions have been reined in, but you still haven’t addressed the MUA situation for failing their direct members’ interests.

      If the employer has the right to hire non-union labour then the unions have only themselves to blame.

  6. max

    January 8, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    MjF … It has been a long and bitter fight by the LibLabs to destroy the unions and their power, and they have almost succeeded.

    The only power of unions was in membership numbers, and their right to withdraw labour.

    Australia’s laws against industrial action are not only in breach of international law, but are without peer, amongst advanced economies with a tradition of civil liberty, in oppressing the right to strike.

    The liberal Party has embraced neoliberalism. It is their doctrine, and the Labor Party is too frightened to move far from the Liberals.

    The major thrust of neoliberalism has been to safeguard the profits of the capitalists. Broadly speaking, the neoliberal policy framework included privatisation, liberalisation and flexibility of labour, and drastic reductions in the welfare expenditure in order to cut down on wages and other worker benefits.

    The rights of the workers (including their right to organisation and collective bargaining) and the living conditions of the common people and their democratic rights have come under severe attack. The working class being generally in the forefront of the struggles against such attacks, weakening the organised strength of their unions, and of working class resistance to the employers’ offensive, was one of the major objectives of neoliberalism.

    According to the neoliberal ideology, market economy functions in a most efficient manner without any State intervention. But in practice, what is done is not non-intervention of the State, but its open intervention in favour of the employers to enable the transfer of wealth and resources from the people to the capitalist class. This has now assumed the nature of primitive accumulation.

    Here we will confine the discussion to the impact of neoliberalism on the workers and the organised trade union movement, particularly the class-based trade unions.

    In all the countries that have embraced neoliberalism, serious and determined attempts are made to weaken the organised working class movement. Labour laws are amended in favour of the employers to snatch away the hard won rights of the workers. The employers are given a free hand to increase their attacks on workers and their working conditions in various ways.

    There has been vast increase in what are called ‘non standard work arrangements’ or ‘precarious’ or ‘vulnerable’ employment across the world, including the advanced capitalist countries. The number of permanent employees is drastically brought down, and the number of workers who are working in irregular forms of employment like part time, temporary, casual, fixed term, and zero hour contracts, rises.

    • MjF

      January 9, 2019 at 6:44 am

      Thank you for the neoliberalism lesson, max. Funny how any badly needed, long overdue workplace reforms due to uncompetitive labour, and graft through union domination and corruption, are simply labelled as the work of the devil neoliberals.

      But what about the MUA abandoning its members over safe working conditions? No comment?

      You did say the power of a union lies in its membership numbers.

  7. MjF

    January 8, 2019 at 10:18 am

    ‘People are happy to forget unions were, and still are, the main reason we have safer working conditions. Without unions who fought for better working conditions for workers they would have been left to die.’

    This is an interesting observation by max, but I can’t help but wonder how he justifies these plaudits after reading the first hand accounts of Kevin Moylan and Torren McMasters in terms of the MUA’s conduct and the conditions on the Spirits of Tasmania.

    For example

    “It can and will be argued, the impotent Maritime Union Australia, Vic and Tas branches, were alerted from 2010 to 2018 that exposure to diesel fume emissions and diesel particulate matter and ‘hazardous substances’ in ‘enclosed spaces’ exceeded national minimum standards of 400 ppm to 1,000 ppm.
    The trouble is, The ACTU, CFMEU-FFPD-MUA will not accept and recognise, then act upon, Mr McMaster’s witness and evidence; not only to safe livestock travel, but the public health cluster of 10 deaths in 7 years, and chronic illness and premature death to TT LINE and QUBE stevedores.
    Conflict of interest(s) Unions and Government Business Enterprises (a shipping company) means the sick and dying workers have no-one to fight for their health and welfare”

    — Kevin Moylan, TT, 2/9/18

    Chronic illness and premature deaths? If correct, this doesn’t sound like a union fighting for better working conditions.

  8. max

    January 7, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    “Will Bill Shorten Blow It?”

    This is possibly the wrong question. The question should be .. is he the man of the moment? He certainly was at Beaconsfield.

    People are happy to forget unions were, and still are, the main reason we have safer working conditions. Without unions who fought for better working conditions for workers they would have been left to die.

    But now Bill is a leader of a political party, and the question is (or should be) is he the man of the moment now?

    Australia is now facing the most critical event in the world’s history, climate change. The book by Neville Shute, “On The Beach”, was a fictional book that showed the end of mankind through nuclear war. Well, now it’s not fiction that we are facing but the end of mankind, by mankind.

    Kevin Rudd was elected on a platform of sustainability, and the efforts to find clean sources of power. In an unsubtle reference to Prime Minister John Howard’s alleged climate change skepticism, he said “The world can’t stand idly by and debate the science or play party politics with the future. I don’t doubt that climate change is real, and nor do the vast majority of Australians.” So what happened?

    The elected government faced an opposition party who had nothing but slogans, and this is still the case. Remember the “Captain Chaos” ad which stated “It’s a Ruddy Mess .. “Imagine three more years of Labor Failure”, and then “Ditch the Witch,” “Carbon Tax” and now “Kill Bill”.

    The Labor Party under Rudd and Gillard tried to do what was (and still is) necessary, but it crumbled under a barrage of slogans. We got Abbott, then Turnbull, now Morrison .. and no policies.

    Billions are to be spent on subs and planes for attack when we really need defence. Drone subs, drone planes and guided missiles can be built in Australia at a fraction of the cost and would give us a new industry that will give us a solid defence. Who should we attack with our subs and planes .. or are they so we can keep aiding America with its continuous wars?

    Can Bill Shorten weather the storm of stupid climate change denial, cheap power from coal, tax breaks for everyone leaving no money in the bank for hospitals, or schools, or aged care, or anything else we expect from our government?

    Labor has a long history of trying to look after the people of Australia, but time and again we voted in a neoliberalism party which squandered our mineral boom, sold off our power utilities .. and who then wonder why power prices have gone up. They tell us of trickle-down policies, but all we get is a drip from big business.

    If Bill blows it, the people who voted for empty slogans, climate change denial and Big Business will be the cause, and not the solution, for our looming bleak future.

    • Rob Halton

      January 8, 2019 at 4:19 am

      Max, I note that your skepticism about Shorten remains, yes unions did help the Australian workers a great deal as I recall Tom Lynch did a great job for supporting our forestry staff within the change over framework from FC to a corporate model of FT at the time during the mid 1990’s!

      I do believe at present here in Tasmania the State PS would do better to accept the 2% pa offer instead of holding back when actual growth is slowing, Unfortunately it is now a fact of life in a globalised environment we have a lot work harder, the key is for the government employ more people on a moderate wage to spread the work load so there is more full time employment available!

      Unless Shorten becoming more convincing with his approach then he is clearly not the Labor leader to vote for as a future PM. As I have always said Albanese would have been the better Labor leader, probably too late now for the wake up call, you may dispute that!

      No doubt there will plenty of debates to look foward to with the two potential PM’s pitting against each other to excite our interest to establish who is worthy, the current PM or another change of PM.

  9. John Hawkins

    January 7, 2019 at 10:01 am

    The background for this photograph is Labor to its boot straps, but I doubt if it was stage managed.

    Cheap, nasty, badly laid and pointed Besser concrete blocks, a chipboard door in a steel frame, a public toilet block built by the maaaates to a price in a city park or beach approved by the local Labor council?

    Keating, as ever, immaculately dressed with a proper knot to his tie.

    Hawke correctly knotted.

    Gillard, a genuine and pleasant person, destroyed by the misogynist.

    Compare this to the budding Prime Minister with his downmarket Windsor knot and particularly ill fitting suit sporting the obligatory red tie!

    All those advisers .. and not a skerrick of style probably wears white shoes. Still, it’s one up on the lycra and the budgie smugglers .. for which this background would be tailor made.

    • MJF

      January 7, 2019 at 12:32 pm

      Hawkins, Hawke may be correctly knotted but tie length is excessive with the tip way below his belt buckle midpoint. Etiquette determines that too long a tip draws attention to the wearer’s crotch area (a la Trump). Perhaps this was Hawke’s desired effect, especially being in mixed company.

      BTW, Keating’s length looks about right.

      • John Hawkins

        January 10, 2019 at 10:58 am

        Mr Fitch … these questions are easily answered by a gentleman’s tailor.

        My Regimental tailor, John Jones & Co (now Connock & Lockie) would never expect one to ask for a pair of trousers with a belt, and so the matter would never arise.

        That is as maybe.

        Braces were the order of the day, or trousers so beautifully fitted they did not need a belt.

        The tie length was of no consequence as it was hidden by the waistcoat and the high-waisted trousers. God forbid that the tie would ever show!

        As for a Zip…

        Harvie and Hudson, my shirt maker for over 60 years, ensures that the double cuff is of the correct length, and they would never sell you anything but a silk woven tie with a matching coloured silk handkerchief for the breast pocket.

        Paul Keating has his shirts correctly made. Note the cuff length.

        Then you had to know which side to thread the two-colour platinum and gold watch chain.

        White handkerchiefs, printed silk ties, Zips and buttoned single shirt cuffs were worn by people who spoke no known language.

        I have the distinct feeling that I would be unable to read your lips.

        See: J. B. Hawkins “A Sartorial Tale, Evening Wear for Men, The Art Deco Dress Watch.” Published The World of Antiques and Art 2013 -14.

    • Trevor Burdon

      January 7, 2019 at 5:56 pm

      John, building and sartorial observations aside, the metaphor is that Bill Shorten is the last to come through the open door to join the cadre of Prime Ministers!

  10. Rob Halton

    January 7, 2019 at 4:58 am

    Multiple off topic generalisations deleted.


    “In Internet slang, a troll is a person who starts quarrels or upsets people on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses and normalising tangential discussion, whether for the troll’s amusement or a specific gain.”

    — Moderator

    • Rob Halton

      January 7, 2019 at 8:47 am

      Editor, you are absolutely wrong, and so is Henning who is only producing his own personal brand of hatred for free speech because he hates Morrison and anyone who shows support for him as an ongoing PM! There was no trolling in this instance. I only produced awareness and facts!

      By the way Henning, TT needs to continue to attract whistle blowers who may not use their own name but are willing to disclose increasing public concerns that needs a sense of public knowledge.

      My points about China are relevant. The facts are that China is ready to take Taiwan by force and that will reflect on where democracy ends as China advances to squeeze the rest of us into a corner.


      Robin, your innumerable contributions to Tasmanian Times are consistently way off topic and overloaded with your own wholly unrelated personal views and social philosophies. Tasmanian Times is not ‘social media’ like Facebook and suchlike, and it never set out to be.

      Mr Henning made it plain in his unwarranted diatribe that he understands the right of whistleblowers to access Tasmanian Times and present their views anonymously. Every person of goodwill supports that.

      “Pen names: As far as possible, we prefer people to contribute comments under their own real name. Tasmanian Times accepts that some good-faith contributors prefer to use a pen name.”

      Your warnings about China may sometimes be justifiable, but using nearly every post to present them, totally out of context, is an abuse of this free facility.

      “When reviewing comments, Tasmanian Times editors scan to see whether they are off-topic, legally risky or breach the Code of Conduct provisions. TT’s default operating procedure is that — if in doubt, delete.

      The quotes above are from https://tasmaniantimes.com/the-legal-bits/

      Note: The Editor processes and presents Articles for publication and the Moderators edit readers’ Comments on them.

      — Moderator

      • Ted Mead

        January 7, 2019 at 5:23 pm

        If you are so obsessed with speculation about China then why don’t you write an article and let everyone criticise it for what it’s worth?

        We all know that you can’t string comprehensive argument together without going off in multiple irrelevant tangents!

  11. peter henning

    January 4, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    One of the issues which has plagued this site for years is its willingness to allow trolls to nitpick the articles of people who write under their own names.

    I have written about this matter before on several occasions over the years, especially during the pulp mill years, and have been castigated by people who even accused me of using my own name as a pseudonym .. comments which have been allowed to be aired even though the TT editors knew them to be false. I guess they reckon that freedom of speech means that anonymity must be protected while people who write under their own names can be deliberately misrepresented by commentators who cannot be held accountable for what they say.

    One of the problems for people who write under their own names is that by responding to trolls they give them a form of legitimacy, but at the same time have no idea who they represent. On occasions I have responded to anonymous trolls when they have deliberately misrepresented my views .. but this was always a mistake on my part because it lent credibility to the role they were playing.

    However, giving voice to trolls, as this site does, might have had its positives in terms of increasing the volume of commentary in the past, but it has done little to encourage people to contribute articles, except for the most hardened, and most of that has now gone.

    In the years since 2007 in particular, TT welcomed local writers, but also exposed them to vilification. It was a double-edged sword which was never going to appeal to a younger demographic and which ultimately lost local contributors, both article writers and non-troll commentary. TT now focuses on content aka mainstream media.

    Changing format and upgrading technology might be necessary, but if that is to continue past practice in a changing world, how is that different from continuing to advocate Morrison’s lump of coal?

    Back in 2009, TT initiated its Award of the Year, much valued at the time, which continued for several years and was then closed down. None of those worthy recipients write on TT now, as far as I know, which tells its own story.


    Peter, your points are valid. Thank you for offering them.

    Respected readers who are similarly minded don’t see the comments of trolls whose contributions have been spiked. These are irretrievable.

    Trolling content will be deleted more often, especially those persistent offerings from contributors who habitually ignore valid requests from annoyed commenters to desist.

    Free speech is priceless. TT offers it generously. Editors and Moderators do not want to use their Delete tabs, but …

    — Moderator

    • peter henning

      January 6, 2019 at 6:51 pm

      No. You miss the point entirely. You say ‘Free speech is priceless. TT offers it generously’, but free speech in any proper interpretation of the term has always been regarded as a right of people to speak under their own names.

      Free speech within the terms of your definition is entirely different. It is the antithesis of free speech. It is a corruption of free speech. You deliberately choose to ignore that the proper and legitimate claims to anonymity, which apply logically to whistleblowers whose identification could lead to their destruction, should not be extended beyond those parameters.

      Your terms of reference re anonymity have no standards at all. Absolutely none. By removing those standards you undermine free speech, you demean free speech and then you try to justify the integrity of anonymity for its own sake.

      What’s so difficult? There are no anon comments in the Age unless its absolutely obvious why that is the case. Why don’t you adopt that model?

      There is always a case for anonymity but your use of it is entirely self-serving and to be deplored.

  12. mick

    January 4, 2019 at 8:46 am

    When I started to read the story I thought ‘Murdoch publication’ as all the one-sided vitriol came to mind.

    I support neither side of politics, but having sat out 6 years of the current crop I cannot see how anybody can vote LNP other than those rusted on and those who are mentally challenged. Having said that I do not see Shorten as other than a wimp who cannot make the hard decisions, and who is coming after low earning self-funded retirees who are not a burden on taxpayers.

    A few home truths:

    Coal does make this country a heck of a lot of money, but all the money in the world counts for nix if you destroy what sustains you.

    Our government is a classic ‘flog it off’ vandal, and the problem we have is that EVERYTHING which requires hard work and thought is too hard for our politicians to consider and so they flog it off and the wealth goes offshore. LNG was one such industry (now we get bombarded about fracking) and now lithium mines are the same, let alone prime farming land being sold to foreigners as freehold title. Don’t get me started!

    The debt: I heard a lot about that when the big end of town wanted to get rid of Labor, but not a peep during the last 6 years. What the media is hiding is that Labor left a post GFC debt of $580 billion, and the current government has run this up to $513 billion, although the debt clock says it is $675 billion.

    Tax cuts for the rich and Royal Commissions into Labor and the unions were the only focus of the current government. More debt to come!

    Where was the investment into renewable (the future!) technology? Nowhere to be seen other than Turnbull’s Snowy 2 .. which was a small start. The only thing this lot have done is to try everything to kill off renewable energy, fund the Adani rail link and build a whole host of coal fired generators to prop up a financier of the Liberal Party.

    What the author of this article conveniently fails to confront is what’s above, and the toxic nature of the current government and the betrayal of the nation that’s taking place. I’ll stop short on betting my house on the fact that the government’s final act of betrayal will be to sign contracts for a large number of coal-fired power generators as it is heading out the door.

    Please discuss all of the above. This is what a real journalist should be doing, not writing political nonsense intended to massage opinion and get the worst government in living history back into office to cause even more damage than it has already done.

    God help this country if we cannot get politicians to work for Australians rather than play games as the country burns and its riches are taken from us by pseudo-colonial superpowers.

  13. max

    January 4, 2019 at 7:28 am

    MjF… As a proven defender of the indefensible, give us your insights.

    (1) Is man-made climate change BS or fact?
    (2) If you are a climate change denier then do not answer the questions.
    (3) Can we survive if we continue to burn fossil fuels?
    (4) if your answer to 3 is yes then give us an answer on how as CO2 levels are above the survival point.
    (5) Have we already passed the tipping point and have no choice other than to go with the flow and accept extinction?

    • MjF

      January 4, 2019 at 6:14 pm

      Best to reflect on my facts, max. Also Cyclone Penny .. annual storm season or now extreme weather ?

      What about the last living, breathing tree ? Are we getting any closer ?

  14. max

    January 2, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Rob, I refuse to believe that you are not aware that there is a world wide movement of the world’s youth against climate change.

    They have seen the writing on the wall and know that they will have no future in a runaway climate, and that no-one will.

    You would have to be living in a cave to be a climate change denier, as there is so much self evident proof that we have polluted our world, possibly beyond the point of no return, by burning fossil fuels.

    Unfortunately I can’t fault the figures you give on coal, but this is why with the present mentality of our leaders and the totally ignorant followers of these leaders, the world as we have known it since we climbed down from the trees is coming to a rapid end.

    Heat waves are sweeping the world, and some places are now no longer liveable.

    Because of this heat our atmosphere now holds more water until there is a rain bomb with torrential rain, flooding, mud slides, death and destruction.

    Get on your computer and look up ‘arctic ice melt 2018’. The poles are melting, the seas are rising, and world cities on the coastlines will be flooded.

    The result of this frightening scenario is mass migration and desperate wars to prevent it. It’s not a pretty picture, so why support the end of our world?

    Morrison has a King Canute mentality. I don’t think he believes what comes out of his own mouth. I think he is a snollygoster who would destroy the world for one more term in government.


    a shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.
    “snollygosters must be thrown out of political office and other positions of power”

  15. Rob Halton

    January 1, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    max, then what do our youth have in mind for change! I’ve heard a few snippets about Adani, coal with links to climate change recently and that is about it!

    Around 75% of our electricity is generated from coal locally and our coal exports are forecasted to produce $58bn during 2018-19, so how does the youth mindset propose to change established practices and trade in relation to global climate change concerns!

    Forcing a rapid transition into lower output producing expensive Renewables and blocking coal export facilities from around the nation!

    Its all talk, as there isnt an immediate answer to sustain reliable and affordable electricity nor an alternative to produce national royalties other than to export high grade coal and iron ore at a forecasted combined value in the order of $115bn for 2018-19, what do you think about that

    Morrison had the idea of cutting migration numbers recently, but the States dont want it, too bad but eventually it will happen and should help sustain population growth and give existing local youth better opportunities!

  16. Rob Halton

    January 1, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Hawkins, you have completely lost it. “Labor first rate”? Seek help!

    At least have a go at the dart board to see if you can still shoot straight!

    I hope that you manage to regain yourself by March!

  17. max

    January 1, 2019 at 11:43 am

    Sorry Rob, but you just continue to see the Liberal Party through your blinkered vision.

    So Morrison has focused on the economy and jobs, has he? The Youth Unemployment Rate in Australia increased to 11.5 % in November from 11.3 % in October, 2018, but these figures are false because now we keep our youth in detention, called ‘Earn or Learn’ and they don’t count. Nearly all our youths are doing year 11 and 12, but they don’t count either. Youth unemployment is possibly over 20 %.

    Low wages and high personal debt is a sign that our economy is bad. To our shame, we now have the working poor.

    OK, we stopped the boats and imprisoned an unlucky few, but we threw the gates wide open to millions. Is allowing millions of people to fly over our borders, the same type of people who tried to get here by boat, really border protection?

    What has Morrison or the Liberal party done to keep industry in Australia? Out of control power prices were a result of the Liberal’s longstanding policies. Our high power prices drive industry off shore. Free trade deals put Australia’s industries at a disadvantage, and drive them off shore for cheaper labour.

    We built the Hydro, and it was great at the time. Well, now is the time for Renewables and Morrison is asleep at the wheel .. in fact he is in the back seat looking out the window.

    Morrison stumbles from fumble to bungle on a daily basis. He is a capering Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde .. and no one knows who he really is.

    Shorten is a plodder. He lacks the charisma of some of the past labor leaders, but do we want a show pony without substance .. or someone who stops to think?

    We are now in possibly the most dangerous time in Australia’s history, and now is not the time to vote for a leader. Now is the time to study the policies that will take us into a safer future.

    In my opinion we should be listening to our youth, because it is youth’s future we will be deciding at the coming election. Youth has spoken loud and clear world wide, and with more sense than current world leaders.

    If Bill Shorten blows it, it will because his party is too close to the disastrous policies of the Liberals.

    Labor has to step away from being the LabLibs.

  18. Rob Halton

    January 1, 2019 at 7:19 am

    Once again max “who ever he is”, Hawkins and Henning all fail to get to the point of who should lead our nation come the Federal election, at least I have provided the best answer to maintain stability by allowing Morrison and most of his Coalition partners to make up for the inability of both the deposed Turnbull and stage actor Shorten along with some pseudo Independent/Greens to tag along!

    Morrison has focused on economy, jobs, national security and border protection, fair enough without those basics then we would be in deep trouble to maintain a sustainable population with attributes of a peaceful culture, something that the current riots in France are pointing to is exactly what we dont want to happen in Australia.

    As the “triad of the unclear ” has pointed out many of the younger generation will vote this time around!
    Fine, if they fully understand what Morrison is trying to do but there is no immediate magic wand to alleviate Climate Change “el pronto”!

    Energy generation is a complex issue whether it be the use of oil / petroleum, coal, gas, wind ,solar, batteries or hydro, I think Morrison has some pretty tough home work to do before presenting an energy plan to the public but be WARNED the Opposition(s) will do nothing more than stage one up manship tactics each and every time Morrison/Fryenberg could up with something that is actually achievable!

    One can bet on that, and that is a warning for the younger generation that if too harsh(Green) an energy policy gets the vote then the follow on would lead to overly expensive rush by the “hustlers in waiting” for government subsidies into Renewables which will further push up power prices for minimum gain in output!

    Keeping local industry going remains as an important move, especially as China’s “soft” political/ business power could turn quite nasty as Australia resists their insatiable demands on our economy and taking up our real estate ultimately for their own gain.

    Selling out Australia must slow down and ultimately stop!

    Morrison has already made some inroads when in August 2016 treasurer Scott Morrison decided on the basis of security advice to prevent a Chinese state owned enterprise buying the NSW electricity distributor Ausgrid.

    That was basically the start of Morrison’s wise up to protect Australia from ongoing foreign interests, while there is still a long way to go Morrison has definitely the intention to take the country in the right direction as he as already indicated at a recent COAG meeting in PNG whereas Australaia will form an alliance with the US and PNG to prevent China from occupying strategic land assets closer to Australian waters.

    • John Hawkins

      January 1, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Halton, you continually bag Shorten as being sixth-rate, but Morrison, the current captain of the Liberal Ship, is a serious clown with no concept as to how to behave.

      For your interest, Ships-of-the-line were rated first, second and third. These were the heavy hitters with three continuous decks of cannon to blow you out of the water.

      Fourth, fifth and sixth raters were lesser mortals with fewer cannon, and were for the light skirmish.

      Currently, I would grade Labor as first rate.

      The Liberals, once first rate, have run out of balls and are holed below the waterline.

      The rest are 6th rate.

      How say you, sir?

  19. John Hawkins

    December 31, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    It is a great tragedy that Dutton cannot count, hence he was unable to reinstate to Cabinet firstly the Bonker, then past his use-by date, Abbott, and finally with a flourish of teeth, the Hammer Head Shark .. one Erich Abetz.

    Having grabbed the reins, they would have created a right-wing Holy Trinity of Fascists that would have seen them all out of Parliament’s revolving door after the next election.

    However, I suggest there is still hope.

    This delightful threesome, backed by the Green hating, coal and oil-loving, no Royal Commission, nothing-to-see here, clean as a whistle banks .. so appreciated by the all American, Kill Bill, News of the World and Murdoch Press, might still hit the skids.

    The 2019 Second Series starts tomorrow.

    It will be a Real Ripper.

    Here’s my prediction for the first Murdoch News Poll of 2019: Morrison will be more popular than God and Shorten only slightly more popular than the Devil, to whom he is closely related.

    Murdoch changes sides before the Second Murdoch News Poll of 2019 with Shorten more popular than God and Morrison gone to the Devil.

    Halton, Jack Lumber and MjF … all wetting their pants!

    • peter henning

      December 31, 2018 at 7:28 pm

      Great comment.

      I reckon Morrison thinks he has a couple of things going for him in the popularity stakes. One is his belief that saying he’s a Christian who prays for rain and is a regular church-goer means that people don’t see his total opposition to Christian values in practice. Another is his conviction that support of Trumpism, in its various manifestations, is a sure winner.

      Morrison has been inspired by Trump’s contempt for anything and everything .. except his own ignorance. Making policy on the run, on a whim, without seeking advice or considering the consequences (as in the Israeli embassy decision) to playing the populist baseball-cap bus-tour caper and the sexist joker, like getting his mates to ‘sort out’ Pamela Anderson, is Morrison’s attempt at being the world’s best ‘Trump-lookalike’.

      Morrison, a marketing man for horse race ads covering the Sydney Opera House, a narcissist showman, who sees Trump as a ‘leadership’ role model not only in style, but in policy direction as well, wants to be seen as a science-denying friend of the people, a flat-earther myth-monger, selling the past as the future …

      One interesting characteristic of the recent Victorian election was the determined effort by News Corp, through its stable of hard-right commentary, to destroy the Andrews government. The Sun-Herald is read widely in Victoria, but it is clear that its political message had no impact, or if it did the result would have been even more disastrous for the Liberals.

      There is now overwhelming evidence that the political power of ‘old media’ is broken, in newsprint, online and TV. 2019 will see that accelerate. No-one will write kindly of Abetz or Abbott or Turnbull or Morrison. Their interest was in corporate profiteering and rent seeking at the expense of Australians’ future.

      The next Australian generation will decide whether the current system of partisan politics is irrelevant, as well as whether the current political system itself, styled dishonestly as ‘representative democracy’, is obsolete.

      I reckon they will say that since 1945 we have failed in our responsibilities to future generations.

  20. max

    December 30, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Rob … your Liberal party backed the banks and fought against a royal commission, and look at what has come out of the woodwork!

    Morrison is still fighting against a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC)

    The Prime Minister has urged his parliamentary colleagues, and to a lesser extent the nation, to consider what would become of the country’s coal industry should a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) be established.

    Scott Morrison said that corruption is at the heart of that industry, and taking steps to dismantle that will put jobs at risk.

    “I want all Australians to look at this properly,” he said. “What is the lesser evil? Aging public servants taking enormous kickbacks at the expense of the environment and the future of the planet? Or jobs?”

    So the corruption and the collapse of our environment under Morrison’s leadership is a small price to pay, as said straight from the horse’s mouth.

    The Labor party forced the Royal Commission into the banks and it is fighting Morrison for a fair and just Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption .. but Morrison is scared of one.

    Shorten may well blow it, but what have you got against the man other than that he was a union boss and fought for the working conditions that you enjoyed?

    What have the Liberals ever done for you? They squander the biggest economic boom in Australia’s history.

  21. Rob Halton

    December 30, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Max once again I am right on the mark especially now as Peter Dutton in good public faith has revealed the reasoning behind Malcolm Turnbull’s failure as PM, dont we deserve to know now to be able to judge for the best way foward but it still leaves Morrison ahead of Shorten as leader doesnt it!

    Enjoy reading all of the media reports that you wish, I am not going to waste my valuable time arguing with you on the ifs buts, there is no way Shorten could possibly measure up to become PM!

    Turnbull in hindsight was a mistake , I now admire Dutton for putting there record straight, I most wisely have always reserved my judgement of Mr Dutton and held out as he is not a populist figure by any means but his no nonsense approach to come foward and clear the decks over the leadership issues shows that the Liberals can continue to maintain public trust with Morrison as PM.

    Its been a steep learning curve for all but there is always life thereafter most definitely without Shorten as the Labor executive will learn the hard way after the next Federal election!

    Morrison has established strengths as an economic manager, and strong on border protection and national security so far that good enough for me!

  22. max

    December 30, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Rob … I, for one, am sick and tired of your rambling defence of Morrison. The man is a loud-mouthed buffoon whom you strenuously defend by casting aspersions on others without giving reasons. Why you had to bring poor old Bob into your meandering dialog is in you own mind.

    Since seizing the reins, Scott Morrison has demonstrated the most appalling judgement on pretty much everything.

    Businesses are loudly expressing their despair about the lack of any policy on climate change and energy, and we are hardly likely to get one with the people he chose for Environment and Energy Minsters. We now talk about “fair dinkum power”, “big sticks”, and meeting emissions reduction “in a canter”.

    The Indigenous community has expressed its disgust at having Tony Abbott thrust upon it. This is the man who slashed half a billion dollars from funding for Indigenous support services, and who described living in remote communities as a “lifestyle choice”.

    The ‘captain’s pick’ to announce publicly that the government was going to “discuss” moving our embassy to Jerusalem and pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal was a foreign policy disaster which Malcolm Turnbull was sent to Indonesia to smooth over.  Morrison was forced to admit that Turnbull had been briefed on handling the embassy matter, and any ensuing threats to trade negotiations.

    Scott doesn’t seem to let competence, or lack thereof, influence his choices.  Stuart Robert was Scott’s ‘numbers man’ who, despite multitudinous scandals surrounding him (including the awarding of millions of dollars in government contracts to a company that Mr Robert’s elderly parents didn’t know they were directors of) has been rewarded with the Assistant Treasurer’s job.

    Morrison has announced a royal commission into aged care in response to the worsening level of care over the last 2 years. He is asking us to forget that as treasurer in 2016 he cut $1.2 billion from aged care and created the problem.

    It appears that Morrison thinks that if he yells loud enough, often enough and indignant enough, the voters will believe black is white.

  23. Rob Halton

    December 30, 2018 at 3:53 am

    Colquhoun has nailed it early on into the messy process that awaits us before the anti Morrison media camp get to far ahead of itself leading voters further astray!
    Bob Hawke has publicly made a shocking revelation that Labor would win the next election and that he wont be around to see it!

    It does not speak well of Hawke himself who led us on a modern economic path during the “pragmatic” Hawke/ Keating era- that Shorten will be our next PM! Hells bells Bob where are you!

    Hawke, despite his wobbles and terrible health should not leave us with that sort of “death wish” to bestow on all Australians going to the polls early next year!

    Unfortunately for Australians unless they suddenly sharpen their ways will find themselves sucked into voting for “straw man” Shorten &/ or a confounded mess of minor parties thus creating another revolving door of PM’s who wont last till the day after their election!

    Its time to move on and get over the Turnbull, Bishop era, selling us to China was part of their problem, the childish sulking has to stop now, yes Banks abandoned ship which in hindsight for her was a poor decision and Broad was an idiot, too bad, tough, that life!

    Morrison wields a big stick and is not a soft touch operator, a matter of fact, no nonsense military style commander, exactly the sort of leader who deserves to be reelected as Australia more than ever needs a firm hand on the helm and not a repeat of stage acts that has plagued our political system since the days of the overly zealous stage acts of control freak Rudd!

    In my opinion it would be best to see Morrison reelected as PM despite the “warts” among the Coalition partnerships!

    A Labor/ Green/ Independent cause would see our Federal system becoming further removed to the Left, a recipe for an over reaching socio/economic disaster for which to date has been avoided since Morrison has taken the reins.

    Rising above the dependence on China syndrome, staying away from Brexit tactics and out of the way of Trump’s personal ambitions, there is absolutely no reason why Australia has to fall under the false belief of the land of lost souls.

    Morrison has provided us the best opportunity to stay above the political mess of recent times!

  24. Leonard Colquhoun

    December 29, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Aren’t there several reasons for “Bill Shorten (not looking) increasingly like Kim Beazley in 2001” such as Beazley being in essence a man of principle, but (as far as we can tell) minus the grandiose delusions of the ‘certain grandeur’ of Whitlam, and without the pragmatist in the Hawke / Keating tradition? Shorten doesn’t get to within a country mile of Crean’s grasp of his Party’s heritage.

    Shorten is a straw man, a tool of some big union bosses, and one who piggy-backed to public notice by his ‘look-at-me’ media cavorting in the Beaconsfield mine crisis.

    He’s not an Octavian, but he could have made a passable Agrippa (if no real one was available) but could not possibly turn out as pathetic as Turnbull (where was the longboat, without the navigational equipment and the sea chart to Batavia, when it was needed?). Well, he couldn’t, could he?

  25. Rob Halton

    December 23, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    Totally wrong there Peter, better to retain the devil we know than the one we dont know! By creating another PM would be a bad signal for our stable democracy and weaken our international standing as a nation.

    If anyone as a leader of a Western democracy needs to be kicked out, then it is Donald Trump, the sooner the better for the US and for us as an ANZUS partner.

  26. peter henning

    December 23, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks for the comments.

    It is important that the Morrison government be tossed out, and the sooner the better.

    It is of concern that the Labor alternative lacks guts to deal with the issues, as indeed it has for many years.

    Labor must be forced to deal with the issues. It must be convinced to deal with the issues, for if it doesn’t deal with the issues, a return to the Liberals will be a betrayal of hope .. a betrayal beyond repair. The end of the matter.

    Anything else except a Labor leadership is too late. If it fails, then it is finished .. and deservedly so.

    • Claire Gilmour

      December 23, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      I think a new world order is suggestive of people nominating their own people for a vote, rather than voting for a given person by a party.

      • Henning

        December 24, 2018 at 7:09 pm

        The role of direct participatory involvement in politics can be very important, and the importance of TAP in stopping Gunns’ pulp mill is a good example. Direct action by unions during the 20th century were important in fighting inequality. Inequality has increased since the unions caved in.

        But direct action is only effective through commitment over time, and this requires resources, organisation and ethical leadership. Where direct action is successful it often sits outside the political system while having key support within it. This was true of the opposition to the Vietnam War. It was also true of the anti-pulp mill movement, the Franklin dam and other issues.

        Where direct public participation comes unstuck is in its lack of continuity.

        Strikes have been disastrous at various times in Australian history. The popular reform movements against tyrannical regimes in north Africa have been extinguished. ‘Occupy’ movements were fleeting wherever they occurred. Demonstrations against free trade agreements because of their socio-economic-environmental destruction have achieved nothing.

        The answer is not in thinking that ‘delegated’ independent representatives will be any better than those currently ‘delegated’ by party affiliation in a parliament. Some might be, but their time is fleeting and their impact is small. The answer is increasing direct participation, and/or relegating the system to irrelevance by taking local and regional and even state action. I would argue that that is already taking place in many ways as people come to realise that Canberra is akin to 18th century Versailles.

        Sure, Shorten is weak. I wish he wasn’t. I think his entire front bench is weak. I wish it wasn’t.

        At the same time it is imperative that the Morrison government be turfed out.

        Anyway, you surely know my views about all this from years past …

        • Claire Gilmour

          December 26, 2018 at 3:02 pm

          We are on the same team.

          I just need to know how to help sell the concept of ‘people helping the people for the long term’.

    • Leonard Colquhoun

      December 29, 2018 at 11:51 am

      As they (used to) say on NY’s Lower East Side, issues-shmissues*.

      To parallel the advice ‘Get real!’ Anyone who prattles on with ‘issues’ need to ‘Get specific!’ (Or get thee to a real teacher of English. And surely nobody wants to be like today’s politicians always driveling on about ‘issues’?)

      * recommended reference: Leo Rosten’s “The Joys of Yiddish.”

  27. Rob Halton

    December 23, 2018 at 5:21 am

    Despite the warning of potential population overload is already showing its drawbacks, Morrison was outgunned by the States re immigration at the recent COAG meeting in Adelaide.

    State Premiers believing and supporting that a COAG mother statement “Population growth is an important driver and contributes to a dynamic and diverse society that is culturally rich!”

    True Australians are kidding themselves, the continued multicultural experiment within Australia is showing signs of failure as more effort is now needed to be placed on growth of infrastructure to cope or better still slow down migration to sustainable levels in order to cope with as a part of addressing the impending climate change issues!

    The problem I see for PM Morrison to win the Federal election has a lot to do with existing migrant groups calling the shots within Australian society who only wish to see more of their brothers and sisters to be resettled here, many on compassionate grounds escaping the rat race/political tensions arising from both poor government administration and over population in their countries of origin.

    By effectively forcing more immigration on the government by way of inter racial voting to support further alienation of the nation by overseas immigration will fail and needs to be eventually brought under control before it is too late.

    Shorten has an easy hand to be elected as PM by the support base of ethnic groups, whereas for Morrison who is interested in reducing migration levels to cope with current unsustainable conditions within the nations economy is seen as racially motivated, pity really as Morrison is the realist!

    All political affiliation within the Parliament must see a more responsible population growth pattern emerging otherwise governments at all levels are going to dealing with coping at unsustainable levels of financing housing, education and medical services, not mentioning attaining useful employment and settled lifestyle.

    On top of that jobs do not come easily to many new immigrants who possess indifference to Western culture and find themselves isolated within their own ethnic enclaves often resorting to living off generous government handouts and continuing their lives waning for more of their brothers and sisters instead of making better efforts to integrate among us.

    Australia needs to be careful about who comes here as it seems we are looking more like an offshore version of ones former homeland.

    The open ended racial argument will emerge as while the nation has been compassionate in most respects to resettle immigrants, they need to adjust towards creating a better society overall, adversity to the Australian way of life never works and leads to crime and continued isolation.

    All levels of government need to totally overhaul multiculturism policy during their terms in office, no ifs and buts as the experiment is over, sustainable levels of manageable of useful and engaged migrants need to be achieved during the next term of Federal Government by leading the way

    Multiculturism/ Immigration at current and forecasted levels has the potential to destroy our way of life!



    Please stick to comment on each article’s topic, and with less off-topic philosophising.

    — Moderator

  28. max

    December 22, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    At the moment it is the LibLabs, but if the trend continues after the election it will be the LabLibs. They are two parties in a three-legged race with the same finishing line in sight. What neither party seems to understand is that for all intents and purpose they are the same .. as neither party is game to stray too far off the same path.

    If Bill Shorten and the Labor party had the guts to guarantee a confrontation on climate change, bring in an integrity commission with teeth and stop the incarceration of people on offshore detention, then even if they lost the election they would have done the right thing.

    At the moment we have the revolving door of two parties with almost identical policies spinning round and round .. and so who will be flung out? Who knows, or cares .. as nothing will really change for the better.

  29. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    December 22, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Wouldn’t it be lovely if the world were made of chocolate, and Mr Sugar Shortening could turn socio-economic-environmental politics into a 1970s fondue of ideological soundnesses where all the guideline boxes had golden caramel ticks in them,and which all of us could eat and be satisfied that all was well with the world?

    The only trouble is that one side’s ticks and sweetnesses are the other side’s crosses and bitternesses, and vice versa, which is made more complicated by the fact that both sides share the same commons damning deregulatory and privatisation agenda which they apply with exactly the same ruthlessness in their own areas of regime purview .. and do exactly the same sort of policy and infrastructure damage. Both see themselves as benign, which neither of them are whether we are talking environmental, economic or social governance, or whether we are talking energy policy or border protection, taxation, prison ‘reform’, gender politics or aboriginal affairs.

    The problem is that the libertarian deregulators and privatisers on both the social and commercial sides of indulgence capitalism have an equal tendency to trash the commons they are supposed to be stewarding. And both sides quite correctly point the other side’s blindness to, and denialism about, their own unsustainable, irresponsible and immoral deregulatory behavior in pursuit of indulgent production, consumption and social behavioral parameters.

    The social libertarians quite rightly point to the corporate trashing of economic and ecological governance and the abuse of those infrastructures in the pursuit of indulgent overproduction and consumption and the self blinding of narcissistic adolescent egoism and exceptionalism, ie, that the traditional rules of prudent and trustworthy stewardship no longer apply in a world which no longer tolerates rules, boundaries .. or even science that would limit ‘progress’.

    On the other hand, the market libertarians and their traditionalist hangers on quite rightly point to the indulgent social humanist trashing of ‘repressive’ (no excuses) and ‘authoritarian’ (firm) social governance, abuse of what is left of our social infrastructure to the point of adolescent egoism and exceptionalist incoherence entrenched into adulthood, which is a product of deregulation posing as liberty and rights as consumer entitlement, deprived of moral training, agency or stewardship.

    It makes no difference whether the social garbage being produced is the kind of CEO material now infecting financial institutions, or out-of-control/un-potty trained young thugs coming into youth detention centres out of the welfare sector. Their mummies and daddies didn’t socialise them because indulgence rather than rules-based behavior with some boundaries has been the order of the day for the last 50-60 years. And while early on that seemed cool and ‘liberated’ while there was lots of slack to be cut, in the end the boundaries and rules have gone .. and we have the same sort of mess in the governance sector that we have in the environmental one.

    Indulgence corrupts the very best of intentions into slack-arsed inconsequentiality that further disempowers and corrupts the disempowered every bit as much as it empowers and corrupts the already empowered. If all you can see are the disadvantaged poor things .. if all you can see is the empathy and compassion overriding ‘all else’, including respect for rules based behaviour and boundaries whether we are talking multinational corporations or refugees, than you just completely miss ‘the all else’ in exactly the same way that the corporates can only see increased productivity and wealth accumulation ‘above all else’.

    The economy, the society and the environment have all equally been taken down by the economics, politics and culture of indulgence. It eats and asset strips everything.

    Declaring open borders for commercial asylum seekers is as much unconscionable betrayal as doing the same for capital that doesn’t want to pay tax! Playing the poor kiddies card on Nauru and Manus is morally the same as deciding that shareholder value overrides the rights of customers because it isn’t just about the kiddies. It is also about the viability and legitimacy of consent to an ongoing peaceful, but terribly vulnerable multicultural experiment in a sea of similar experiments that have failed .. sometimes spectacularly!

    Anyone for a little Myanmar? And wasn’t Sri Lanka a real inter-ethnic beauty? Brexit anybody? What about a bit of European Identitarian neo fascism? Who wants to see hundreds of Chinese properties burning in Indonesia next time it has a recession? And don’t the Indians and ethnic Fijians get on so well now that the latter have excluded the former from political power .. like the Malays do with the Chinese in Malaysia?

    What indulgence does is give inconsequential thinking the boost it needs to really screw the common weal.

    Mr Henning thinks he has the moral high ground covered. He doesn’t. He is deluding himself in exactly the same way as the corporates do when they assert that they have the economic productivity, efficiency and profit high ground covered. They don’t. They are delivering us a ten thousand year killer environmental migraine.

    Failed multicultural experiments might not last that long, which I suppose is a mercy.

    • William Boeder

      January 9, 2019 at 2:49 pm

      Christopher, having seen you enter into this skirmish I note that you have touched upon one very important issue. The evil of corporatism is a blatant threat to mankind in that it is little more than a resource devouring gorgon seeking nought else but to amass profits without responsibility for the damage created in pursuing its wealth agenda at the expense of the people and resources of Australia.

      Corporations have their very own rules (Australian Corporations Law Act 2001) but they think that they can flout them with immunity whenever they choose to. The royal Commission into Australia’s Corporate Financial Services Sector is an example of corporate control that did little for Australians. The Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison Liberal Federal government are guilty as charged with supporting corporations above the concerns of all else.

      The ignorance of climate change demonstrated by the corporate sector is plain for everyone to see, the same as had become the filching of monies from customer accounts by the thieving corporate Financial Sector as so recently revealed, yet still our banks et al remain a major enemy of every Australian.

      I do not see any point in arguing against the salient items in Peter Henning’s article. In fact it had created quite a lot of serious points prompting deeper discussion into properly recognising the reality and how that reality has impacted on the people of Australia.

      I am of the opinion that the illiberal Liberal party has done great harm to the nation of Australia in its pandering to the US propaganda and bullying antics they engage in across the entire World.

      Not forgetting that were America a business enterprise it would have already gone down the gurgler .. having been bankrupted beyond all precedent.

      One must realise that these Liberal tyrants have given their green light to each and every negative US interference in our nation. The fact is that America is the most war-crazed nation on the planet, and that America had spawned many new evils in support of corporate indulgence and wealth aggregation even to the point of not hounding them to pay their due tax obligations.

      I have made this same statement previously yet it bears repeating. Governance in Australia is on par with the era of our Australia during the 1830s, with much noise and fanfare .. yet little of material substance – as well as little of anything beneficial to the then newly emerging people of Australia.

  30. max

    December 22, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    At the moment it is the LibLabs. After the election, if the trend continues, it will be the LabLibs.

    They are two parties in a three-legged race with the same finishing line in sight. What neither party seems to understand, for all intents and purposes, is that they are the same, as neither party is game to stay too far off the same path.

    If Bill Shorten and the Labor party had the guts to guarantee a confrontation on climate change, bring in an integrity commission with teeth, and stop the incarceration of people in offshore detention, then even if they lost the election they would have done the right thing.

    At the moment we have the revolving door of two parties with almost identical policies spinning round and round .. and who will be flung out.

    Who knows, or who cares .. as nothing will really change for the better.

    • Simon Warriner

      December 24, 2018 at 7:30 am

      That can be changed by not electing either of those two parties into power.

      Rather than blather on about the two parties that are the problem, a hell of a lot more could be achieved by focusing the conversation on how to remove them from power, and the characteristics of those to put in power to replace them.

      THAT would be a hell of a lot more useful.

      This is not directed at Max specifically, but at the entire political discussion at present.

  31. philll Parsons

    December 22, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Labor could blow it and not be elected, but at this stage that seems unlikely. Were Morrison to be returned it would be on a fear campaign laced with tax cuts.

    The problem for progressive voters is ensuring Labor does what it promises, and the only way to do that is not more Independents. The potential for them to co-operate would be the same as predicting the behaviour of a herd of cats.

    In my view it is a strong Green presence in the Senate, and more Green MPs.

    One thing they will ensure is that Labor acts to limit global heating .. the existential threat that only the Australian Greens recognise as a real danger. Labor is, like with Rudd, just playing at the edges.

    Remember if you Vote 1 Green and then 2 Labor in the Federal lower house (single member seats) and if the Green candidate is not elected, then the full value of your Vote goes to Labor. Voting this way gives Labor a clear message.

  32. Ted Mead

    December 22, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Shorten won’t blow it. Australians will blow it by voting for him in their desperate hope that things in their lives may ameliorate.

    Personal debt in Australia is the highest in the world. Essentially, many Australians are unfortunately disadvantaged by circumstances, or living beyond their means by being mortgaged up to their eyeballs.

    All this doesn’t assist in Australians looking towards the bigger picture of health and happiness in a peaceful, sustainable world that is free from war, famine, ecological disasters and personal stress.

    Rest assure that Bill shorten does not have a sound vision for Australia, nor of the environment we live within.

    Prior to the election, B.S will tinker around the edges espousing a fair go for Australian workers and supporting family values, whilst continuing to let the country slide to rack and ruin.

    He and his Labor disciples don’t have what is needed to continue strongly into the 21st century as Labor has no convincing strategy on most national issues. Here’s to touch on a few –

    Addressing climate Change effectively.
    Resolving immigration and the refugee detention issues.
    Protecting our valuable marine and terrestrial environments from unsustainable practices.
    Rectifying corruption within all levels of governance.
    Supporting Australia’s interests over international interests.
    Protecting the Australian manufacturing industries.
    Prohibiting other nations from buying our land, public utilities, infrastructure and natural resources.
    Making Australia one of the world’s leaders in solar technology and renewable energy.
    Pursuing greater independence away from the likes of ANZUS treaty and British rule.

    Many more.

    Sure things will be better in Australia under Bill Shorten, but it will hardly be noticeable in such a politically dysfunctional climate where environmental and lifestyle stresses are forever increasing, and global peace and economic outlooks get grimmer by the day.

    Then again I could be wrong, but history shows us otherwise!

  33. Keith Antonysen

    December 22, 2018 at 10:10 am

    A question is .. how should people pressing against the science of climate change be dealt with ..

    As stated earlier the LNP has been careless with the truth .. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec

    Greenhouse gases are rising fast in 2018 .. https://medium.com/the-new-york-times/greenhouse-gas-emissions-rise-

    The BoM has a warning that an El Nino event has a high probability of occurring .. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/outlook/

    The LNP is really saying that lowering the cost of energy is far more important than people’s lives.

    Many people have already died through climate change.

  34. Keith Antonysen

    December 22, 2018 at 6:28 am

    Yale Climate Connections reports that 2018 will be the warmest La Nina year ever recorded since reliable temperature measure began.

    The LNP tell us that we will reach our Paris promise in a canter. But, as per usual, the claim doesn’t bear scrutiny.
    The LNP only talks about emissions from the Energy industry. Forestry, Transport, and Agriculture are not counted.
    Lying by omission. We need Ministers for the Environment and Energy rather than elected representatives of Industry trying to take on those roles. That’s what it appears like.

    In the last few weeks there have been reports on the state of the Cryosphere. Greenland and East Antarctica are melting fast. Apart from the Totten Glacier in East Antarctica, the area had been believed to be quite stable a few years ago.

    On climate change, the LNP have been useless. We cannot afford another three years of no action on climate change.

    Labor has better policies on renewable energy than the LNP, though should Adani and other coal mining developments be allowed to continue, the long term results will be much the same as the LNP non-policy stance on anthropogenic climate change.

    Labor does appear to be better at listening to constituents. We need to see very firm action.


  35. Jack

    December 21, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    He is small target because the ALP offer very small changes in reality; neoliberal-lite with a few fuzzy policies that are already starting to wobble. In being the least worst (like the last government at the start) the race to the bottom is well on its way. They have just waited for the LNP to implode. Once it’s their turn to implode the same will happen and the inheritors will swap jobs once more.

    Bill Shorten is 100% certain to disappoint as he has not been capable of establishing a comprehensive alternative national vision even when the politics of the government is broken. He’s your classic bloke who gets promoted because he turns up and comes to all the meetings. He’ll put a bandaid on here and will compromise and try not to rock the boat. That’s because he has no real conviction and the ALP is no longer a truly ‘left’ party. Its demigods (Hawke and Keating) invented neoliberalism as an ALP policy and the LNP just ran further to the Right with it.

    The ALP has no plan to address the loss of industry in Australia and the next wave of automation that will see much higher rates of unemployment become normalised in the near future. It is absolutely in favour of Big Australia, mass immigration and an ‘education industry’ that requires a visa scam to be run in concert with an OS student live cattle trade. Mass immigration will be stepped up under the ALP and their negative gearing reforms will assist the acceleration of the concrete dog-box construction industry that is keeping members of the CFMEU employed.

    The Greens have left the field when it comes to sustainability and the ALP has not sent strong signals in this respect as it is playing both sides. Tensions will rise quickly. Environment has been pushed into the background as The Greens are too busy trying to fend off the pox of the radical left to occupy this space. Another party ‘Sustainable Australia Party’ is about to eat into their base because it has sensible policies more akin to the party of Bob Brown.

    The lack of talent and leadership on big picture issues is frightening across all 4 major parties. The ‘Yellow Shirts’ in France are just the beginning. The stakes are high globally .. and we have Bill Shorten. Intellectually he ain’t Gough. Spiritually he isn’t Curtin. Bill is the political robot of our times made to work on the spin production line where zingers pass as policy.

    This may be the last duopoly election. The growing number of voters who will abandon the major parties is about to reshape Australian politics. When Robot Bill blows it big time the political landscape will shift as this will gather pace. This will not be a good thing in several respects but it might just be the muse to get Australian’s off their backsides and get our politics working for the nation rather than for elites.

    • Mike Seabrook

      December 22, 2018 at 12:13 am

      to ensure a oncer for the lab-greens before the next election
      1. appoint a couple of hawkes to the rba
      2. set up an enquiry into the energy monopolists and their dodgy market rigging before the election

  36. Claire Gilmour

    December 21, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Shorten is weak!
    Rebecca White would be better as the leader, if only she would stop standing for the ‘strange’ right wing Greens!

  37. Wining Pom

    December 21, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    Had Labor not done anything, and a terrorist attack occurred over the Christmas holidays, it would have been blamed.

    By allowing critically sick refugees to be brought to Australia for treatment, Labor, not the cross-bench, is being blamed for restarting an invasion of boat people. And nobody realises that far more are arriving by plane and clogging up the visa application system so a few years’ of exploitation can be harvested by the same sort of criminals as the people smugglers. But Labor says nothing about this either.

    Winning an election is all about having a pop star as a leader. On a bus with different caps seems to garner more ‘likes’ than boringly saying what needs to be done.

    Why do voters want a pop star as leader over a bureaucrat? America has a pop star as leader. Do we want that?

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