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Ask Bucko is conceived and written by Mark Buckley.

Born and educated in Melbourne, Australia, Mark now lives in regional Victoria.

askbucko.com attempts to present a balanced view of the world; one in which reason prevails over ignorance.

If you are after bigoted or ‘hairy-chested’ opinion, step away now. You will only be disappointed.

In the immortal words of Mark Twain, “when in doubt, tell the truth”.

A quick grab for power?


As we have been detained, reluctantly, at the late Queen’s bereavement party in the United Kingdom, the Heir Apparent has been staking out his own territory.

If you feel there has been an indecent rush to proclaim the new king, you are right. There are no pretenders to the throne; the lesser heirs have maintained an orderly procession, there are no ‘smokies’ hiding in the wings, neither in Scotland nor in France.

The various announcements and proclamations have continued apace since the Queen died. The scene setting and the execution of the ceremonies have gone without a hitch.

Considering it has been seventy years since any of these events were last performed, it becomes clear there had been significant planning, and almost certainly rehearsals. That is why it is probable that the Queen was party to the preparations, even as she soldiered on.

Why hurry?

So why the haste? At first glance the Queen was always a constitutional monarch. As such her powers were strictly limited, and if we are to be brutally honest, she was always restrained by those limits. Part of her impeccable reputation rests on her willingness to act within those limits.

She was tasked with receiving advice from her prime minister(s). This in itself would be crushingly difficult, considering the quality of advisors. Listening to David Cameron, or Boris Johnson, sounds like slow torture. Her greatest victories seem to have been in the area of protecting her own vast wealth from tax.

Her will is forever unavailable to be seen by the public, so the wash-up is that what was hers becomes the new king’s; what was his, in his role as Prince of Wales, now becomes the property of his son and heir, Prince William.

Continue, until you run out of heirs. Be assured that the family will continue to advocate on behalf of minimal taxes for them, and an ongoing lack of accountability to the state, which nurtures them.

Building on the legacy

So the inescapable conclusion is that Queen Elizabeth the Second was a ruler without practical political power, who was nevertheless able, through a lifetime of ‘service’ and exemplary behaviour, to develop a huge, and deeply personal following amongst her subjects.

She has no legislative triumphs, because she has no power to legislate. She has, through dint of many years of dedication, developed a network of people whose lives have been enriched, sometimes by virtue of something as transitory as their having attended a street walk fifty years ago, or by the purchase of a commemorative item, which serves as a marker of time passed.

She has been invaluable at opening anything, from a bridge in Scotland, to the London Olympics, but if you study her achievements they are precisely those of an enabler, one who graces political decisions, no matter how damaging they might be, because that is her role.

We are surprised at the depth of feeling that her death has released, and the intense feelings of attachment to the Queen, are being translated into renewed support, perhaps even fervour, for the institution of the British Monarchy.

The grab for power and legitimacy seems to have been hatched long ago. Both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles must have been acutely aware that the very notion of a hereditary monarchy is completely incompatible with a modern democratic state, and so the moment to declare the continuation of the royal line would naturally be when the nation is consumed with emotion.

That would explain the unseemly haste with which Charles has had himself proclaimed King. The use of ceremony, of gorgeous costumes, the seamless call-up of notables and rarely seen archaic practices, including the use of the ancient language appropriate to mediaeval successions has us all shocked and awed by the mysterious power of the crown.

The new King will, no matter how powerful the assembled courtiers and the nominal military decorations worn so devilishly, equate to virtually no power. The Queen mastered the skill of quieting her own inner voice, and King Charles has already promised to follow her lead.

So forget about the time for reflection, the possibility of making the monarchy more democrat friendly. You have been awe-bombed by a family which relies 100% on our ability to quiet our inner voices, which naturally know the absurdity of a ruling family placed above the populace.

If we ask why do they continue to ‘serve’ we note their lack of political weight, their potential capture by those lucky enough, or devious enough to hold prime ministerial power.

The only ‘sweetener’ in this for a British sovereign seems to lie in the need to satisfy the personal mission of service, and the vast wealth and prestige attached to the office. In a month or so, as the novelty of a new king wears off, he will probably tail off in his relentless efforts to legitimise the existence of a hereditary monarchy, and simply continue the family tradition of opening things.

If the cap fits?


I’d probably lay off the dunces’ caps, but couldn’t agree more. Anyway, by the time the next election rolls along, the LNP will be even more unelectable than they are today, so a broken promise, for good reasons, sound eminently sensible.

The Bug Online

So, the question on everyone’s lips – everyone’s chapped lips – is this: should those dunce caps shown hovering above be lowered firmly and stuck on permanently on our beloved Prime Minister and his Treasurer?

In this ranter’s opinion, BRING ‘EM DOWN! GLUE THEM ON!

It’s now 78 days since the election – a good two-and-a-half-months since Labor took over and found out just how woeful the books were under Morrison and his ministry of morons – and the two men above are steadfastly refusing to axe those disgraceful third-stage personal income tax cuts that largely favour the well-off.

Repeat: the cuts are about as un-Labor as any policy could possibly be.

Albanese and Chalmers might be less offensive if they moved and seconded that the Tree of Knowledge be turned into matchsticks and sold as a local party fundraiser.

The third-stage tax cuts have four-fifths of six-eighths of fuck…

View original post 230 more words

Is Dutton Labor’s secret weapon?


Peter Dutton has finally become the leader of something. It is a disorganised rabble, but I am sure he is thrilled. Opposition Leader, and he is already talking about swooping in and fixing Labor’s “inevitable mess” in 2025. This is truly delusional, and uncoupled from reality.

It is as if the last nine years never happened. Labor has been in government for a couple of weeks, and they better fix whatever has gone wrong, and quickly. Memo to the Libs: Be ashamed at where a once great party has ended up, with life-long Liberals voting “anything but Liberals”.

They will pile on to the “burn Morrison at the stake” moment, but Morrison led a party of men, and women, who had abrogated their sacred duty to serve the people of Australia.

Instead they indulged in class politics, climate vandalism, social regression, barely concealed racism, transphobic vilification, anti-intellectualism, and conspicuous corruption. The environment is reeling, the word “green” had become a term of abuse, the disabled and the poor have been routinely pursued through the courts.

The tragedy for Australia is that Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is led by a person who has built his entire reputation on just such a public persona.

Everything Morrison, Joyce, Dutton and Frydenberg did for the last period of government has been either shoddy, dishonest, socially regressive, elitist and or reactionary. I cannot think of one (positive) achievement they could boast of. There are plenty of negatives, but as they say, the vibe has changed.

They tortured the refugees until it became politically embarrassing to keep them locked up, and they were secretly released, with no supports in place.

The Biloela family have finally been repatriated home, and we can blame Morrison, Dutton and Alex Hawke in equal parts for their misery. All duck-shovers and gas lighters. Memo: the reason everyone loathed your time in office was because of such tactics.

Peter Dutton has had a variable time this year. His win in a defamation case, against Shane Bazzi, an unemployed refugee advocate, was set aside by appeal. Bazzi had called Dutton a “rape apologist”.

Mr Bazzi was responding to a statement Mr Dutton had made in 2019. His tweet linked to a Guardian article where Dutton made the claim that rape victims on Nauru were fabricating their claims.

Mr Bazzi used Twitter to make his comment. I suspect that many Twitter readers agreed with his comment, but that is not a defence. It depends on what you feel the word “apologist” means.

And then there is the flawed Australian Defamation Law, where the judge decides what the reader probably imputed from your statement. So you are not judged on what you said, but on what someone else decided you meant to say.

Even Christian Porter wanted to change that aspect of the law, before commencing on his own doomed legal adventures. What can you expect from a government which refused to cease the incarceration of children as young as ten, and which allowed a whistleblower’s lawyer to be tried secretly, because he acted on behalf of the man who blew the whistle on Australia’s security services, for acting unlawfully.

Although it is clear no-one in the coalition has ever heard of Franz Kafka, it should be government policy to only employ people who have read “The Trial.”

“Some people are trying it on,” he said. “Let’s be serious about this. There are people who have claimed that they’ve been raped and came to Australia to seek an abortion because they couldn’t get an abortion on Nauru.

They arrived in Australia and then decided they were not going to have an abortion. They have the baby here and the moment they step off the plane their lawyers lodge papers in the federal court, which injuncts us from sending them back.”

The same day the tweet was posted, Mr Dutton had said he was unaware of the “she said, he said” details of Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations.

Ms Higgins was claiming she had been raped. Her alleged assailant was not claiming to have been raped, and so there was no moral equivalence.

Those words are ‘police-speak’; formulaic, dismissive and designed to cast equal weight onto the male-female narrative scales. So you would have to be pre-literate to miss the misogynistic framing of that disclaimer. His language speaks to a generation of men who are not interested in fairness, or change.

Peter Dutton was a Minister in Scott Morrison’s Government. Shane Bazzi is unemployed, and his defamation defence was crowd funded. He advocates for refugees. In an ironic sense, Shane Bazzi’s family has itself been ‘defamed’ by Dutton, as he is descended from the Lebanese migrants who arrived in the 1970s. Dutton has pronounced them as irretrievably criminal, and he has the computations to ‘prove’ it.

The problem with Dutton’s public pronouncements is that so many of them are just wrong, or without evidence, or just another way of drawing attention to himself. Many of them are offensive, and many set up ‘straw men’ for the public to fear and loathe.

Paedophiles and pacifists are two groups he targets, and the Chinese Communists are an old standby. “Lefties and greenies’, possibly transgender folk, it is not too hard to fall foul of this man.

He voted against same sex marriage, and he did walk out of the Stolen Generations apology, so he has many unpopular and reactionary opinions, publicly stated, which he will need to reverse, if he is to reinvent himself.

Some can be interpreted as ‘dog whistling’, such as when he demonises refugees, or Muslims, even African gangs. On a more absurd note, he did want to assist white South African farmers in fleeing their own country, because of perceived racial prejudice against them. You cannot make that stuff up.

Dutton, now that he is the leader, will presumably want to project a friendlier face, but his appearances so far suggest that he is incapable, or merely unwilling, to work for Australia, rather than fighting to tear down a Labor government, which has had exactly zero time to settle in.

I think he will find inner Sydney and Melbourne harder to convince of his bona fides. He didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when his first thought, upon taking over Defence, was to cancel funding for “woke morning teas”, where defence force members dress in rainbow colours to signal the department is welcoming towards LGBT members, and possible recruits.

Peter Dutton has recently floated the idea of taxpayers bearing the cost of politicians’ defamation cases, seeing it as a ‘workplace entitlement’. We must remember he is the minister who gave a half billion dollars to Paladin, a company with a shed on a beach for an office. Dutton has got a long row to hoe, if anyone is ever going to like him, let alone vote for him. His wife said recently, “He is not a monster.” Let’s go with that thought.

Time for a re-build


John Curtin is best remembered as a war-time Prime Minister. He is routinely described as Australia’s greatest prime minister. His policy work, alongside that of his Treasurer, Ben Chifley, was crucial in establishing a welfare state, on Australian lines, designed for Australian conditions.

Curtin was influenced by the economic theories of Keynes, and he had long wanted to transform life for Australians. He had seen the real and lasting damage caused by the Great Depression of the 1930s, and took the opportunity offered by wartime conditions to transform the nation.

In 1942 he imposed uniform taxation on the states, which changed the financial relationship between the two levels of government forever. It also allowed him to increase the revenue.

The removal of the states’ individual rights to levy their own income taxes was to be compensated, by the Commonwealth ‘picking up’ their liability for social programs. This was the ‘great bargain’ he made.

With a uniform income tax he was then in a position to expand his vision of a socially activist Commonwealth Government. The states, especially New South Wales and Victoria, had been adding elements of a social safety net since the beginning of the century.

He and Chifley, the treasurer at the time, between them, completed it. Early examples were the Widow’s Pension Act, and the Unemployment and Sickness Benefits Act.

By the end of that same year (1942) he had set up a Department of Postwar Reconstruction, which laid the groundwork for establishing a Commonwealth Housing Commission, the postwar Rural Reconstruction Commission, the Secondary Industries Commission and the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme. Many of these programs were designed to assist in re-building Australia, after the war ended.

In 1944 he set up the Department of Immigration which was to be responsible for organising postwar immigration to Australia. These changes were the basis for the enormous growth of the Australian economy in the postwar years.

John Curtin was a believer and a doer. He was lucky to be succeeded as prime mininster by Chifley, who carried on their joint project.

Their aim was nothing less than the dynamic re-construction of Australia, post-war. Curtin and Chifley both maintained that the key principle of a successful re-construction was full employment.

Robert Menzies was of a similar mind. He defeated Chifley in the election of 1949, and won seven elections in a row, on a platform which included full employment.

In 1961, he was lucky to be re-elected, because the unemployment rate had ‘blown out’ to 2.1%. He won that election by just one seat.

The welfare state in Australia is under constant threat, by both sides of parliament. This is counter to the wishes of a great proportion of the population, and it is driven by a political class who, especially in recent times, look after only themselves.

They rely on the apathy of the people, who do not inspect governments closely, and who are disengaged from the political process. Politics and society are of no interest to most voters – a sad fact of life.

The “teal wave” of the 2022 election has shown a new, invigorated voting bloc, and it will play merry hell with political orthodoxy. Educated women have decided that they are not “soccer mums” or “doctors’ wives” any longer, if they ever were. They have asserted their right to be heard, and I suspect politics will be changed forever.

The Liberal Party has been infiltrated by many IPA-type neoliberals, whose political mantra can be simplified to a “survival of the fittest” trope. The Labor Party, although not yet as badly infested with IPA ideas, is slightly less crass, paying lip service to an egalitarian ethic, while rubber-stamping much neo-liberal legislation. It leaves voters stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Watch as Anthony Albanese moves, probably slowly, to incorporate many more woman and family friendly policies. Now is the time, when the blokes of the Liberal Party are bereft of numbers, and importantly, their macho confidence.

Where to from here?

In the Age of Coronavirus, food insecurity, the Ukraine War and the seemingly inevitable devastation even limited climate warming will cause, we need the utmost in inclusive government, and a government released from the ideological shackles of the neo-liberal movement.

Scott Morrison was a man tied to his party, by his own strange, anti-science ideologies, and his limitless ambition. He could have formed a National Government in order to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, but in his blinkered and political way he excluded the Opposition.

So we never had any sort of national anything. Instead we had premiers of states saving their people, while the Federal Liberals worked to pry the gates open. We had economics before people, and look at where that has landed us.

Instead of subsidising fossil fuel companies, and handing out money to billionaires, and private schools which don’t need it, try employing people. Try luring car manufacturers back to Australia, and electrify everything, including the cars we make.

Stop picking fights with China. Anyone with an elementary education is aware that China has had a short, but vexed relationship with the West. The Opium Wars, invasions, the unequal treaties imposed by Western nations, the theft of Hong Kong; all these are like burrs under China’s saddle, and pesky states like Australia would do better than try to rile them, in pursuit of political gain. Morrison sucking up to Trump was the reason behind our current difficulties.

Stop throwing cash at multinational consultancies, and pay aged care staff and health care workers enough to live on. Stop our brightest and best scientists from leaving our barbarian land, and embrace the arts and the universities again. Build lots of housing. It is not clever to strangle supply, because all you do is drive up demand, and prices.

That is probably enough to begin with. But if you look around you, people look happier, and it has been less than a week since we delivered ourselves from Morrison’s rule.

Let us give Albanese the opportunity to be a real leader. He could really lean into the task of re-building the country, from the ground up, after the laying waste of the economy, and our society, caused by the pandemic, and the LNP vandals.

It just takes character, and a commitment to Australia’s real needs. That is why we call it the Commonwealth of Australia. Could this be his moment? We will see.

Morrison reaped what he had sown


Writing this a couple of days after the most important election in Australian history, Australians did finally find their voices, and in no uncertain manner told the neo-liberal jackals who had come storming into public life that they were finished.

Why the most important election? Because Morrison was on a path to Trumpian glory. Surrounded by white evangelicals and emboldened by the sound of acquiescence from his front benchers, he was on a path to immortality. He had no reason to listen, he suffered no self-doubt.

His disdain for conventional behaviour, his seeming inability to act respectfully toward anyone he encountered, his feigned religious conviction all pointed to something deeply wrong about this man, and his government.

He was trashing our institutions daily. He had devalued the truth. He had signed an infernal bargain with his party-room members, whereby even the most hard headed had handed over their autonomy to him. They had sold their souls in the hope that he would lead them to the promised election victory.

I can find no sadness, no sympathy for this man, who has had the grandfather of hidings handed to him. He has been publicly humiliated, and there are no tears for his loss. Morrison is seen as being devoid of feeling, as being so devious and calculating that any instinct for sharing a moment of kindness with him is impossible.

But beyond the human failings, he was on the track to autocracy. He bullied those around him. Julia Banks described him as “menacing, controlling wallpaper”, and it is clear to see in his body language. Images of him leaning forward, fists clenched, jaw jutting conveyed something more than tension.

Cast your minds back to the election campaign. His jeering references to Anthony Albanese’s upbringing, his newly lost weight, his likeability, his new glasses, were all deemed fair game by Morrison.

His dismissal of Albanese as “weak, not up to the job, inexperienced” were classic signs of a bully, which would have had him sacked from any other workplace in Australia. There was an unmistakeable hint of Morrison projecting menace toward a smaller man, but not necessarily a weaker one.

Perhaps it is the missing piece of the puzzle as to why he has been moved on from so many positions in the past. His plan to take over our country was hatched back in 2000. As State Director of the Liberal Party from 2000 – 2004 Morrison put in place the building blocks for his eventual takeover of the Liberals, and he has in the process weakened the party until it is an empty, hollowed-out IPA shell.

Ask yourself why Rupert Murdoch is such a supporter. Ask why John Howard is the talisman of the modern party. Lastly, where would the Petro Georgios and the Ian Macphees of yesteryear fit within this ruin?

Why Katherine Deves? Because he saw it as the wedge which would empower all the narrow-minded bigots he was trawling for, to speak out in support of his grubby tactic. The only problem was that apart from the crazy anti-everythings no-one was interested.

How did all the other captain’s picks perform? Made by Captain Morrison and his wild-eyed offsider Alex Hawke, they performed as expected – they lost. Morrison’s behaviour in the New South Wales pre-selections was a handy reminder of what we could expect if he won this election.

Morrison’s reputation as a master campaigner and strategist has been blown apart. The best thing is that we woke up in time. The worst is that the entire Liberal Party hierarchy was blind to the totality of the takeover.

The women of the party deserted, because enough of them recognise toxic masculinity when they see it. . They read the body language, and they remembered the talking over of Liberal women, the refusal to engage with them, on any meaningful level. Possibly the pivotal moment was when he put on the ‘big baby performance’, when he wasn’t sure if rape was wrong, and he had to check with Jen first.

Women will not be ignored, nor made to feel powerless. His statement that “SHE CAN GO” about Christine Holgate was a message that, no matter how successful a woman is, he remained in charge. It was a dog-whistle to every inadequate man in the country that, when the rubber hits the road, men are still in charge. Wrong.

The patriarch and his fellows have been thrown out of the temple. What irony that Tudge and Sukkar might be the last men standing in the suburban Melbourne landscape. Porter gone, Tudge disgraced, Dutton their last remaining hope.

The climate is descending into hell territory. We need a timely intervention, and along comes Albanese, who will be goaded along by a newly invigorated Green Party. Labor kept the seat of Hunter, because the coal industry has read the writing on the wall, and it says “renew now”.

Did no-one ever explain how governments work? How did Morrison spend four years in the highest office in the land, and not know that he and his party, as the government, had sole responsibility for introducing legislation to the parliament? Why did he persist in excusing his failure to deliver a National Integrity Commission as being Labor’s fault? Labor was not the government. Not for nine years.

Many of us felt that there was no escape from the megalomaniac in the Lodge. The opinion polls were sowing doubt, his teflon coating made every day a bright, new day. His promises of billions of dollars, daily, had sapped our ability to resist. His insane energy and imperviousness to shame, had us all bluffed.

People have been dying in record numbers from the pandemic, and yet all Morrison and his group of zombie ministers could talk about was the economy. Memo to the Liberal Party: Put people first.

He and Dutton promised all sorts of lethal weapons for war, while demanding Albanese justify paying aged care workers a living wage. He was also criticised for promising to feed the aged adequately, and asked by the feral media how Labor would pay for it. So it was as if we were living in a parallel universe, where white was black, and vice versa.

So it is with a huge sigh of relief that I laud the Australian sense of right, their internal ability to finally wake up to a charlatan, and hopefully a return to decent, caring government. I couldn’t be more proud of the Australian way, today.

Team Australia – a sporting analysis


2022 has been a tough year. Let us take a look at Scott Morrison’s Team Australia – a major player in 2022 – where they are at, what they have produced recently, and take a look at what we can expect if they are returned at the looming Federal Election.

I want to take a look at the players first, and leave the evaluation of the coach to last. Obviously he has a huge impact on the players, and as a playing coach, there are questions about his ability to coach, and also his ability to play. Has he been trying to do too much?

Barnaby Joyce – re-elevated to vice-captain last year. A real ‘smokey’ from the bush. Appears to lack much in the way of natural ability, but is a great advocate for team spirit. Many struggle to understand why he is even in the team.

He struggles with self-discipline, and has been rumoured to be battling internal demons. Incoherent on most occasions, but he does bring a certain rawness to post-match press conferences. Yet to prove himself as a player of any quality whatsoever. Will probably stay, and play in the back pocket. A leader of sorts – of a small group of players who are known as a rebellious rump for the team. Needs to work on his fitness.

Josh Frydenberg – a flashy forward type, he started the season strongly, very confident, much hype about him being a ‘leader in waiting’. Has a tendency to ‘mouth off’ early, and often, in games, and to rue his words later. Has had a couple of real shockers during this season, especially when he came up against credible opposition.

Dan Andrews seems to spook him, causing some unnecessary own-goals. Recently Monique Ryan has also shown Josh to be suspect under pressure. Josh follows the game plan to the letter; which can cause a lack of creativity. Could lose his place in the squad if no improvement.

Peter Dutton – the enforcer of the team. A towering, cadaverous type. Learnt most of his moves in the Queensland Police Force, so no stranger to questionable tactics. Is known to absolutely detest communists, and others who disagree with his simple game-plan. Does not share the ball at all.

Rumoured to still harbour leadership aspirations, after an unsuccessful tilt back in 2018. Also known as a very keen sledger. Has stated that if offered a leadership role, he would be prepared to soften his stance on team membership, and his open hostility to opponents. Still able to unsettle the opposition. Dutton will continue to project menace.

Greg Hunt – small, rover type, light and quick on his feet. Quick to pile in on opponents, if someone else starts it. Involved in an unseemly mass attack on Dan Andrews, when he was down, earlier in the pandemic.

Known to go where he is sent, no real commitment to a particular position. Swapped his style of play in climate arena, when told to. Apparently an expert in mitigation, prior to being elevated to the Firsts. Retiring, promise unfulfilled. Real questions about his commitment to the game-plan.

Angus Taylor – a likely looking type, but given to unforced errors. Known to be extremely selfish around goals, and to play for his position, rather than the team. Came in as an early round pick, with a decorated early career, but he has consistently misfired in the big league.

Some think that he had it too easy, too early, and that he will improve when he acclimatises to the level of the competition. He seems to lack basic judgement, however. Does not read the ball well, and the fans have given up on him. Certainly sells his own version of the state of play.

Alan Tudge – an unassuming half-back flanker type, he has shown a real desire for the contest, but an unsettling level of aggression towards opponents. This can spill over to members of the crowd, and his outbursts of uncontrolled aggression have him in the umpires’ sights. He causes damage wherever he goes, and the coach must be careful where he plays him. Known to have serious off-field issues, but has a supporter in the coach. His position in the team appears to be safe. Would need to improve however.

Scott Morrison – Captain-Coach, centre half-forward. Looks more like a rugby player, but certainly an adaptable type. Many consider him to be an all-rounder, someone in the mould of a Ted Whitten, or a Ron Barassi. Unlike those legends of the game, however, he seems to have risen to leadership with not much to show us in the way of skills, strategy, or tactical nous. He has, however, been a tremendous survivor.

Traded out by several other teams previously, he landed with Team Australia, just as it began to disintegrate. He was a member of the leadership group under Captains Abbott and Turnbull, and was lucky to be ‘last man standing’ when the dust settled. He led the team into 2019, and won the flag, against all expectations.

Morrison is religious, and attributes his last win to a miracle. Most rational judges reckon it was lucky, and that the other team failed to show up on Grand Final day. Whatever the reason, Morrison’s team won, and he has been hailed as a genius ever since.

Anyway, he plays all over the ground, showing no particular level of skill, but a determination to dominate every aspect of every game. He is intensely tribal, and you know that he brings full commitment to winning.

He is known for his powers of evasion, and his slipperiness in a tackle. He seems to be able to change tactics at a moment’s notice, and to change the game plan to suit the mood of the day. He has been accused of debasing the game, and lowering standards. He refuses to name women in his best team, which dilutes the standard of player available.

At the moment he is unchallenged, however, because the team remains ‘in the mix’. He seems to be able to hang on, even when he personally puts in a shocker. He and his team have been accused of flouting the rules openly, but he has managed to evade being brought to account.

In today’s winner-take-all environment, he is leading a team of poorly performed players, almost single handedly, to what looks like another grand final. The press is very much in support of his leadership, and the commentary on all other teams is appallingly shallow.

One prominent ‘critic’ recently opined that “his wife is lovely”, which many in the press gallery found confusing, and wondered what the game had come to.

The coach has promised much recently, but his assurances and refusal to answer questions has many supporters looking for change. He is prone to using messianic language when discussing his, and the team’s approach, and seems unable to countenance defeat. Some see this as an inability to face facts.

The coach will presumably see an end to his career if the grand final does not go his way. Many expect the team will have to go into a re-build, as the personnel look tired, jaded, and in great need of credible leadership.

Does the Morrison government deserve another term?


So their term has crawled to a shouty close. Remember a few short years ago when Australian democracy was seen as having developed a uniquely Australian flavour. The respective leaders of the major parties were respectful toward each other, with the notable exception of Mark Latham and his unseemly hand-shake.

We believed in the fair go, we frowned on favouritism, we all had a sort of grudging regard for our leaders, but we held them to account. We definitely had no time for politicians who were in it for the money, or the post-political career. We thought they were on Australia’s side.

Well, cast aside any sense of false pride, because as the fish rots from the head, so has our form of democracy. We now have a leader who is regularly described as a noted liar. He engages in daily behaviour toward his opponent which would have him sacked from any other workplace in the country for bullying.

Our Deputy Prime Minister is a man that even his own party does not respect. He represents nothing that I can identify, beyond advancing his own pay packet. He is apparently afraid of his own backbenchers. The Nationals as a group are reviled everywhere outside their own party room.

The country is standing on the abyss as climate change moves into top gear. Our Minister for Reducing Emissions went to the Glasgow Climate Summit with the intention of spruiking for the fossil fuel industry, and the Prime Minister, representing Australia on the world stage, described our contribution to reducing emissions as being “uniquely Australian”.

To anyone with half a brain that meant using the old “the dog ate my homework” excuse, and they then came home and released a brochure which only met their own target by 85%. The other 15% was hoping for the best.

Most Australians do not read at all, because almost a half of them cannot read. That is because successive governments have so robbed the public education system that only those who attend private, heavily subsidised schools can read. Of course what they read is heavily monocultural. So if you wonder why all the private school educated boys and girls these days behave like entitled twits, that is why.

Our ex-Education Minister, Alan Tudge had a bee in his bonnet about children questioning the Anzac Day myth. Imagine putting a person in charge of education, in this country, who believes that history should be taught with an optimistic slant. Cue the Turkish Government: They imprison anyone mentioning the Armenian genocide (1915-16). Or Japan, which denies the use of Korean women as sex slaves during the Second War.

Many of those private schools are so-called Christian Schools, because our political class is unrepresentative of the population at large, and many of them profess fundamentalist religious beliefs, which are directly at odds with the values of our country.

I speak here of the prosperity gospel, which, allied to the idiotic neo-liberal policies of the IPA, sees the vulnerable as an unholy burden, sees pensioners as free-loaders, and the disabled and the aged as not worth their time, nor effort.

We do not like ‘bible bashers’, or wowsers. We are uncomfortable with people who wear their religiosity like a magic cloak, and I am personally distressed at the prospect of Scott Morrison laying his hands on me, or any one of my fellow citizens, in his inane search for godly connection.

How did we come to a position where the only item on the National Agenda is a Religious Freedom Bill? The only people in Australia with an agenda against the right to practise your own personal religion is the Coalition.

Alan Tudge is a family values politician. He is the ex-Minister because his ex-mistress has accused him of emotional and physical abuse. Which brings us to the thorny question of women.

Morrison and his Ministry have constantly sidelined women, and even his female ministers are not safe from Scott. Scott interrupts them, he counsels them, he ‘supports’ them, he volunteers them (Gladys for Warringah), and he uses his wife as some form of validating tool.

Remember his response to Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape. He consulted his wife, who told him to behave like a father. We would prefer he acted like a competent, fully formed adult, who has been elected leader of a vibrant nation of men, and women.

Of course he has also, aided and abetted by Peter Dutton, vilified China, the Chinese political system, and Chinese culture. Seemingly unaware of China’s history, or its size and power, he seems to be rattling his tiny sabre, and hitching our wagon to the USA.

Recently we discovered that over the last four years the Coalition Government has spent three times as much on Liberal electorates, when compared to Labor-held seats. This proves that we should move house if we want some of our taxes to come back to us, or maybe just vote them out.

Which brings us to accountability. No bill has been seen. Morrison blames Labor because he cannot get his own pathetic version of an integrity commission past his own backbenchers. Ask yourself why he won’t legislate a National Integrity Commission. Ask yourself why he vilifies the NSW ICAC every second day. You know the old saying – if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.

This year has seen the worst floods we have ever experienced. Morrison essentially went into hiding as the devastation became clear, and he now claims that ‘his’ defence force was winching people off their rooves in Lismore. Sadly, another lie.

The people of Lismore are only now beginning to re-build, after months of neglect and minimal help. Just another in a long line of failures. You know them: Bushfires, pandemic, vaccines, JobKeeper, RAT’s, the environment, the climate, the culture wars, the throwing of children back into poverty, even watching his ceaseless attacks on the opposition.

The verdict is that, for me, the current Coalition Government is the single worst government in living memory, possibly in our history of representative government.

From the top to the bottom they shred convention, they outsource our governing functions to multinationals, they have starved our elderly in Aged Care, they keep the unemployed poverty stricken, they are fanning the flames of conflict with China, they have destroyed our social fabric, and they run kangaroo courts. They have devalued our Australian identity, by flouting international standards of behaviour, and by trying to be the Trumpian nightmare of the Pacific. There’s not a lot to like.

The IPA has captured our government


The name of the organisation is preposterous in itself. The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) was originally set up in 1943, as a response to the rise of Social Democratic parties in general, and the Australian Labor Party in particular. The founders included Rupert Murdoch’s father, and G.J. Coles. There is a reason it is so against the interests of ordinary citizens.

The history of the IPA is curious. Many of the key players in its early years are either still around, or their children are. Its ideas haven’t really evolved much, but if you want to characterise them, they are crudely elitist, ideologically stunted, narrow minded, science-phobic, greedy and in most cases, fully imported. For a charity which pays no tax, they have very few clients in need.

The only reason they are of any interest to anyone is that they have captured the Federal Government, by stealth, and their inane policies are the reason this country is so conspicuously under-achieving.

There is not one thinker of note amongst its membership. Some of the current members appear to be the offspring of former members; a sort of self-replicating supply of not-so-bright apparatchiks. If you are searching for the reason behind the diminishing sense of pride attached to being Australian, the IPA is to blame.

Current or ex-members in Parliament

For a roll-call, these are some of the current members of the IPA, or their affiliates; Institute for Progress (AIP), Australian Taxation Alliance (ATA), who are current, or recent members of the current Parliament: Abetz, Birmingham, Cash, Christensen, Cormann, Evans, Fletcher, Frydenberg, Hawke, Hunt, McGrath, Morrison, Paterson, Porter, Roberts, Ryan, Stoker, Dean Smith, Tony Smith, Tehan, Tudge, and Tim Wilson.

All part of the Global Atlas Network. That would be where we get the passion for no minimum wage, and no health care. Past members include Abbott, Howard, and let us never forget that our current PM is a fervent member.

They have been effectively bought by a handful of robber barons, who pay no taxes, and have no commitment to what was, twenty years ago, a democracy to be proud of.

They gaslight the entire community, with double-speak which would make George Orwell blush. As an example, in 2003 John Howard hired a conservative think tank (the IPA) to investigate NGO influence on some government agencies. The circularity of that sentence is dazzling.

“NGOs are becoming very influential today – they sit on various committees and are seen to influence governments and big business. As global players they need to be more transparent,” says Mike Nahan, executive director of the IPA. The lack of self-awareness in that statement is also noteworthy. Like appointing Mr Fox to investigate security at the chicken coop. 

“IPA is unfit to conduct the study due to its demonstrated bias and ongoing vilification of organisations that campaign for human rights, corporate social responsibility and environmental protection,” Oxfam said in a media release.

Who better than an NGO on the lunatic right (IPA) to investigate the NGOs represented by such bodies as Oxfam and Catholic Health Australia?

When dealing with the IPA one is assailed by the extreme seriousness with which they promote their truly stupid, and truly callous policies.

Some of their policies

They do not like welfare. They have a history of being supported by Big Tobacco. They want to sell the ABC, possibly to Rupert, at a discount. They want to lower the tax rate to companies and millionaires, as they starve the unemployed, and continue to dismantle the NDIS.

They caused the destruction of the Aged Care System, and they continue to support the fossil fuel industry while paying lip service to climate change action. They wanted us to abandon the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, but were momentarily shamed into making some concessions in Glasgow. Matt Canavan might be the most honest member of the coalition, in that even he admits their commitment to saving the planet is nonsense.

They want the Racial Discrimination Act to remove the ban on offensive speech. They want the Fair Work Act repealed, which means the ten minimum employment standards will disappear. Who knows, maybe we can get to see adult Australians working for $7 per hour, plus tips.

They also have absolutely no plans for a national integrity commission. There is a lot of speculation about the reasons for this position, but the history of rorts and inappropriate ‘jobs for the boys’, the slipping of millions of our dollars into dodgy land and water deals, all add up. A proper integrity commission could send many government members either into retirement, or even jail.

What does this ragbag of policies remind you of? Donald Trump’s America is the right answer. Of course they also want to abolish Medicare, probably because it reminds them of Obamacare. Their policies are imported. Considering most of the current Cabinet are members, how sincere can they be in governing for the good of all Australians?

So why would Australia want such policies?

The people in the IPA, and their affiliates, all think in Social Darwinism terms. So they think society is not meant to be inclusive, and caring for the least among us, but a contest.

The Tim Wilsons and James Patersons of this world actually think that if we were all transported to an unruly savannah, crawling with sabre-toothed tigers and snarling hyenas, that they would prosper. Reflecting on the personnel, my money is on the sabre-toothed tigers.

IPA types are secretly longing for the Call of the Wild. It is an adolescent fantasy, where if the going gets tough, the tough get going. Many of these intellectual giants wield real power in our federal parliament. All I can say is, be afraid. Be very afraid!

As John Roskam recently said: To control a virus that as yet has infected 5000 Australians, the response of doctors and politicians to this serious health crisis was to create also a humanitarian and an economic crisis. In the years to come Australians will quite rightly question whether there could have been a better way.”

Sometimes you need to let libertarians speak freely. They do a better job of exposing themselves as empty vessels than any commentator could.

Lincoln Steffens studied corruption and malfeasance in American states in the 1890s. His unwavering opinion was that it was not the fault of the crooked politicians, nor the business people who corrupted them, but the apathy and the supine nature of the citizens.

As citizens of a once great democracy, we need to be vigilant, and to take care of what they are trying to unravel – our unique, caring society, free of Christian right wing nut jobs, with no knowledge of something known as social justice. Exercise your rights, before you lose them. Vote them out.

Just two weeks to go.


It is time to ask yourself who you want to wake up with, again. Three years ago, we faced this decision with the disastrous reigns of Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull still fresh in our memories.

While our elections are about individual members in individual electorates, the system has gradually become more presidential. The result may be that people vote for the local candidate if they like the leader of his or her party.

The Leaders

Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison was relatively new then, known to us only through his leadership of the Immigration portfolio. He had set off some red flags through his refusal to account for his department’s actions at sea, and his propensity for using men and women dressed in military uniforms as props. This was the first indication of his ‘Scotty from Marketing’ persona.

He is damaged goods now, seen as a pathological liar by many, but he does have the advantage of being the incumbent. That still carries a lot of weight in this country. Some older voters, and many in regional areas, still innately respect the office of prime minister.

This is a valuable asset to hold, because it is only in more recent years that institutions and titles, world-wide, have become more ‘democratised’, so that ordinary citizens have felt more freedom in questioning power.  

If you are unfortunate enough to live in an area with a heavy Murdoch media presence, you may not have even heard about his problems with the truth. His main strength has been his ability to come back, day after day, from drubbings to embarrassments, with a fresh re-set, and a new attack line.

Instead of setting out policies, he appears to be entirely reactive, struck silent unless he can find a perceived gaffe, or a mis-spoken opinion, on which to pounce. When Anthony Albanese was isolating because he had Covid-19, Morrison was reduced to accusing the opposition leader of working less hard than he did, during his enforced break from campaigning.

Morrison has a series of spectacular fails on his cv; we know them all, but he has moved on. The big question about this election is, has the electorate moved on?

Each failure during a natural disaster has been exceeded by the next. The “holiday in Hawaii” while the country burned, to his abject failure on Lismore and the floods affected northern rivers. Of course that brings to mind the people of Mallacoota, and his “I brought in the Navy to help you”  rhetoric. These are now the stuff of popular myth, with “I don’t hold a hose” perhaps the most memorable.

His next task was to combat the pandemic. He was relatively successful in the first phase, although his eagerness to re-open the economy was kept in check by the state premiers. His failure was in the initial lack of vaccines, and once ordered, their chaotic rollout to the country.

He was seen as being  unable to organise anything properly, and his “it is not a race” remark, followed by vehement denials he ever said it, was both inaccurate and proof he could not be trusted.  

Morrison compounds his failures by deflecting blame, usually to a state premier, or by lying outright to cover himself. His propensity for claiming innocence is often easily overturned by video evidence, and yet his ability to re-set his world on a daily basis speaks to some form of neurological quirk.

The list of failures is long. Women feel let down by him, and his government. Christine Holgate, Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins are conspicuous victims of his seemingly unconscious misogyny.

His standing by his disgraced ministers, with never a question that he believes the men every time, has led to a $500,000 settlement to Rachelle Miller. She has accused a Liberal minister of physical abuse, and Morrison has still denied any wrong-doing on the part of Alan Tudge. There is another un-named current minister who is also a part of the compensation.

Hardly appropriate that there is a settlement, and yet no adverse finding against Tudge, or the other minister. Morrison has invited Tudge to resume as Education Minister, which puts him in charge of educational and cultural standards in our country. That means a person who has had a half million dollars in compensation paid to his alleged victim. A smoking gun?

Anthony Albanese

The worst thing Morrison has said about Albanese is that he is unknown, and rather interestingly, inexperienced. He has been in parliament since 1996, so he has been in a variety of senior positions, in government and in opposition, for 26 years.

He has obviously learned from the 2019 election loss, and so, to the dismay of many Labor voters, he is presenting a ‘small target’. This strategy has worked a treat so far, and it does serve to de-fang Morrison, who needs someone, or something, to attack.

There is a valid argument that getting into power is the main game, and worry about reform once you have got your hands on the levers of power. Morrison has run the line that we don’t know Albanese, so don’t take the risk. This makes it difficult to portray Albanese in any depth, because if he is unknown, we know nothing ill of him. Morrison is asking us to vote for him, because he is not Albanese.

Morrison’s campaign rests on Morrison, bright and relentless every day. He appears to be waiting for the fatal mishap from Albanese, but the press pack is so ill-disciplined, and light on knowledge, that such a moment is unlikely. Many are armed with lists of ‘gotcha’ questions, which merely highlight the vacuous nature of the pack.

Morrison’s team has been reduced to Simon Birmingham, the only Liberal who does not invite drawn pitchforks, and Darren Chester in Victoria. The rest are either invisible, in hiding, or in protective custody.

Morrison has made the pitch – trust me, I will lead you to victory. He has also effectively dumped his inner city ‘wets’, so they are relying on distancing themselves from the Liberals. His choice of candidates in N.S.W. is imploding, as he is suspected of pursuing the transphobic vote. Some think he is trying to re-create the Liberals as the light version of the (U.S.) Republicans.

As for Labor, there is a powerful team. The likes of Penny Wong, Jim Chalmers, Kristina Keneally, Tanya Plibersek, and the find of the election, Jason Clare are all showing what they can do. It appears impressive.

On current tracking, Labor seem to have this in the bag. They must not choke, but nor must they be  triumphalist. As many have said in the past, elections change the country. The current government has had close to ten years. Time’s up, perhaps?

Into the third week, what’s up?


Let’s start with the environment and the issues which we supposedly put at the top of our agendas. As a side note, Anthony Albanese caught Covid-19, so he is on the sidelines for at least a week. That would be the pandemic which we have apparently dodged, as thousands die every month.

Labor’s team has performed well, but circumstances have left the LNP exposed. Matt Canavan, inflation figures, News Corp’s bias, Malcolm Turnbull, the Teal Independents, Katherine Deves; lots going on. Peter Dutton’s comment that to preserve peace, we must prepare for war might be the quote of the year.

Climate Action

The floods began in Queensland in 2021, and they persisted. They then crossed the border, but continued to re-visit Queensland, and are about to soak Far North Queensland again. La Nina is expected to peter out soon, but the damage has been done.

Once we were able to write off such happenings as Mother Nature flexing her muscles. Not anymore. We know the reason why the floods are a metre or so higher than the last one – climate change.

Northern New South Wales has never recovered from the first round of floods, and the situation remains hazardous. Some areas have only had a month between drenchings, and every time it rains the residents fear the worst.

A fair go, for whom?

The situation in Lismore and the surrounding areas was doubly hurtful to the residents, and their families and friends, when it was discovered that the Federal Government had passed responsibility onto the states, and was even playing politics with the level of financial assistance available to those worst affected.

If you need evidence of Morrison’s innate stupidity when it comes to the issue of fairness, look no further. If you were in a Coalition seat you were entitled to three times the assistance available to those in Labor seats. He actually thought no-one would notice, until the entire country did.

Once upon a time, in a fairer and better Australia, such naked and shameless favouritism would have been exposed by every media outlet, and the guilty party would have been totally shamed and disgraced, and driven from office.

There are NO empty houses or flats to rent, so many are forced to sleep on couches, or in their vehicles. At one pathetic but revealing moment Morrison announced that the government could not be relied on to help in every natural disaster.

Of course we know that governments are not all powerful. But we also know that this government has been found to have wasted billions of dollars on trifles – cancelling submarine contracts, overpaying companies who unjustly enriched themselves at the expense of JobKeeper, subsidies to fossil fuel corporations.

Private schools received an extra $10bn funding in Coalition ‘special deals’, study finds. Public schools underfunded by at least $6.5bn a year. Paul Karp in The Guardian today. Of course it looks like Morrison will sail through all of these, unscathed. But there is a change in the air, at this stage of the campaign.

When the Nationals’ Matt Canavan called the government’s “agreed position” on Net Zero by 2050 dead in the water, he renewed the climate wars. Morrison hit him with a wet lettuce leaf, and effectively abandoned his so-called “Moderate Liberals” to the Teal Independents.

The transphobia outbreak

The “Teal Independents” as they are known are challenging in several inner urban Liberal seats. The LNP has flip-flopped between accusing them of being Labor stooges, and agents of parliamentary chaos. They are neither.

They have been drawn into a loose confederation by Simon Holmes A’ Court, whose Climate 200 has partially funded their endeavours. Their motivation appears to be action on Climate Change, and equally importantly, a National Integrity Commission.

Morrison has personally chosen a candidate, Katherine Deves, to contest Warringah, a New South Wales seat. His ‘captain’s pick’ appears to be a raging transphobe, and many see Morrison’s sticking with her candidacy as a backdoor effort to win seats in the regions and outer suburban areas, at the cost of losing several of his inner urban seats.

The conspiracy theorists believe it is Morrison’s plan to divest himself of the last remaining vestiges of John Howard’s broad church, because the Modern Liberals are the last of the ‘wets’. After the election, the Liberal Party will be stacked with far right religious zealots, and whether in government or opposition, Morrison will be more ‘at home’.

Cost of living pressures

The inflation figures came out and they were a shock. Annually the figure was 5.1%, which is an easy number to remember. I am sure Albanese will be all over it.

Footage emerged of Matthias Cormann claiming that “low wages” were a part of the government’s “economic architecture”. So the gap between wages and inflation was not something the LNP could abandon. It is essentially the price they pay for neo-liberalism, and its assorted evils.

The government sent $250 to every welfare recipient and pensioner today. On Twitter it is a popular meme, where the homeless and the destitute will be ‘saved’ by such generosity. Note that it is less than the ‘bribe’ Albanese was accused of offering, to drive faster take up of vaccinations. It is also less than the daily travel allowance paid to MPs who go to work in Canberra. That is $288 per day, paid on top of their salaries.

Bring on the election, I say.

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