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?