The gambler in The Lodge is gambling with our lives


“As a politician, my instincts and passions have always been domestic,” the prime minister said. “Despite my activity of the past year, I am not one who naturally seeks out summits and international platforms. But as prime minister you must always be directed by the national interest. As has been the case for prime ministers past, so much of Australia’s future right now is being shaped by events and relationships beyond our borders”.

There is not enough time left this year, or next, to analyse the sheer emptiness and fatuousness contained in the statement above. Where would one start? Like everything he says, if you pay attention you realise that you are reading strategically placed little lies, sprinkled like fool’s gold through the serious words.

Verbal fairy floss, spun out of a desperate search for respect, and plausible deniability. Of course there is a percentage of the electorate which automatically respects the office of Prime Minister, no matter the quality of the incumbent. But even those trusting souls who believe in the institution of government are about to be betrayed.

Morrison and his lieutenants, Frydenberg and Dutton, are betting the house on the Omicron variant being little more than a cold. They have created such a climate of faux “freedom from government” that the premiers of New South Wales and Victoria have blindly followed the flawed rhetoric. By the 10th of January we could reap the reward from ignoring scientific advice, and common sense. Our hospitals could be bursting at the seams.

Andrews and Perrotet have been shamed into putting the economy ahead of lives, with their own versions of betraying their own populations, by going along with the most dishonest government ever seen in this country.

Morrison is always scheming for political advantage, and he rode the wave of anti-vax and anti-lockdown rebellion cynically, until Omicron hit us. He dared the premiers to open up, too early, and he has them backed into a game of chicken. Who will blink first?

The Astra-Zeneca vaccine is about to lose its efficacy against the new variant. The other vaccines are marginally better, but not enough to protect the community. So boosters are strongly recommended.

There are a couple of problems with boosters. The first is that there is a limited supply available, and no adequate supply will arrive in Australia until after the New Year. Considering the monumental mess created by the first (st)rollout, who has faith we will have adequate supplies this time around?

By shortening the time gap between second and third (booster) shots, the number required by eligible people by December 31, rose from 2.3 million to 3.8 million. There are less than 1 million doses in the country now, and going by the empty shelves in most stores, international logistical problems will play a big part in whether we get our boosters in time, or not. Put an executive from Toll in charge, or at least someone who knows about logistics. Not a lightweight politician!

Secondly, Morrison, or Hunt perhaps, has reduced the fee payable to pharmacists for delivering vaccines into arms. Pharmacists received $16 per jab when administering the first dose, $26 for the second, and will now drop back to $16 per booster, which is less than the $24 paid to GPs. So pharmacists, who run businesses, not rorts, are pulling out of the program. So we have a shortage of doses, and a shortage of those prepared to deliver them. Some of the squandered cash from JobKeeper might have encouraged the pharmacists.

Morrison in campaign mode is different to Morrison the bad tempered and ‘shoot from the mouth’ leader of the country. When he sniffs an election he morphs into the ‘miracle worker’ he thought he was in 2019. He plays in the moment, there is no past, just the news cycle and the headlines, day after day after day, until he falls over the line.

This time around you can almost script his response. It will be the fault of logistics organisations, or overseas countries, or the Omicron variant was nastier than he thought, or the AdBlue diesel additive supply ran out, or people were reluctant …

The vulnerable were left till last during the last rollout. Aboriginal communities are even now still getting their first or second doses. Nursing homes and disability residential services have also missed out, as have many of their staff. Imagine what it will be like for them, adding another five months onto their already ridiculous waiting times.

A sobering thought – even if Omicron proves to be mild, its ferocious transmissibility will probably overwhelm our hospitals, and all classes of patients will be exposed to further delays in their medical treatment. The death toll will rise, and we will have our leaders to blame.

As we head into Christmas it is clear that no mainland Australian politician has the guts or the integrity to tighten up the rules, and to impose whatever limits it takes to keep us all safe. And we will be forced to watch their disgraceful attempts to shift culpability.

Dutton has been deeply offended


Peter Dutton has had a rough few weeks. Firstly he was “deeply offended” when he was called a rape apologist. He said so in court, where he was suing Shane Bazzi, an unemployed refugee advocate.

Mr Bazzi used Twitter to make his comment. I suspect that many Twitter readers agreed with him, 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 legal adventures.

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.
“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. These words can be construed as “police-speak”; formulaic, dismissive and designed to cast equal weight on the male-female narrative scales.

Ms Higgins was claiming she had been raped. Her alleged assailant was not claiming to have been raped, and so the formula is all wrong. There is no moral equivalence.

The problem with Dutton’s public pronouncements is that so many of them are 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.

Some can be interpreted as ‘dog whistling’, such as when he demonises refugees, or Muslims, even African gangs. On a lighter note, he did want to assist white South African farmers in fleeing their own country, because of perceived racial prejudice.

There is always a whiff of lingering leadership tensions about Dutton, and he obviously thinks that what works for him in his electorate of Dickson works everywhere. It does not. How about his deciding to end ‘wokeism’ in the Defence Forces? Who was he trying to dog whistle that day? Who in Australia does not have a member of his or her family, or friendship group, who is non-binary, or a member of the LGBT community?

Peter Dutton is 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 been ‘defamed’ by Dutton, as he is descended from the Lebanese migrants who arrived in the 1970s.

In 2016, while Immigration Minister, Dutton stated that Malcolm Fraser had made a mistake by letting in Lebanese-Muslim migrants in the 1970s. His reasoning is, as we have come to expect from Mr Dutton, shallow, misleading and discriminatory, both racially and religiously.

He believes that, no matter how long these people are in Australia, they, and their descendants, are more likely to commit criminal offences. While mathematically totally impossible to prove, or to disprove, when queried on his statement, he responded that the figures supported him, and that he would not be intimidated into re-considering his stance.

I have been deeply offended by many of Dutton’s statements, but to this stage I have not sued Mr Dutton for offending me. There are many pithy comments which describe this situation, but my favourite is “the pot calling the kettle black.” Second favourite was “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

And if he truly believes in free speech, he could stop trying to silence people who object to his simplistic world view. If it begins to look like we are being dragged into a war on China, he will be the culprit, and the reason will be cheap political advantage.

Peter Dutton has recently floated the idea of taxpayers bearing the cost of politicians’ defamation cases, seeing it as a ‘workplace entitlement’. If you cannot have a diversity morning tea, forget the public funding for defamation proceedings.

The state of our democracy


In general, there is still overwhelming support for representative democracy but with a focus on making the representative system of government more representative of the people they serve, and accountable and responsive to their constituents underpinned by integrity politics which are “cleaner”, “collaborative” and “evidence-based”.

Mark Evans, Director, Democracy 2025


Terrifying, really. If those qualities are important to us, why do we accept less from our governments? We like to comfort ourselves with tales of how bad Abbott was, and then how ‘adult’ Turnbull was, and then, as if to excuse ourselves for voting for him, how awful and deceptive Morrison is. But we need to lose that version of history, because, notwithstanding how many of our fellow citizens voted for, or used to vote for, the Liberal Party, the Liberals continue to win elections, notwithstanding their insoluble problems.


The first hurdle is their pack mentality when it comes to belief systems. If you want to belong, you must believe in neo-liberalism. There is no longer any room for dissent in Menzies’ party. You believe fully, no reservations, or you are out. No problem, although the neo-libs policies are anti-democratic, bloody minded, inhumane and innately illogical. One can only wonder how they can form a government, whilst believing in diminishing the role of government.


Neo-liberalism is an odd system, which was resurrected after the Second World War, and it is essentially a quest to return to dog eat dog capitalism. Worse, it wishes to return to the economics of the 17th and 18th Centuries, and is a fevered response to the values of social democracy, and the economic theories of Keynes. So it is reactionary, in the worst way.

They also call it market capitalism, because it hides the regressive nature of the system, but they cannot hide the central tenet that economic performance is measured by the performance of the market, hence Trump’s fatuous bragging when the Dow Jones was flying, even as hundreds of thousands of Americans either lost their jobs, or died, during the pandemic.


Forget measuring economic or governmental performance on human happiness, or levels of education, or even self-determination. They stress the importance of individual freedom, which under neo-liberalism presumably includes the right to die from hunger or neglect.


The Liberals’ second ‘disability’ is to be shackled to the National Party. Now we all understand the wonders of modern Australian agriculture, but the National Party is no longer representative of farmers; it seems to have hitched its wagon to miners. It is, however, crucial to the Liberals gaining, and holding onto, power. Without the Nationals the Liberals are a small, urban, middle class party, with delusions of grandeur. Having lost the collective conscience of their ‘soft’ or ‘wet’ members, they have coalesced around a rump of born again Christians, and economic fundamentalists.


The Labor Party has traditionally been the party of the working class, and the party of reform. Extended periods in the political wilderness has de-fanged the Labor Party, which now has a political philosophy of presenting a ‘small target’. Sadly, being a small target projects a message that the party stands for nothing.


The reason for this is that it relies on factions to elect its leaders. These leaders of factions are just that – leaders of splinter groups, unsuited to the macro levels of leadership required by actual governments. As the case of Bill Shorten illustrates, good policies must be sensible, defensible, and saleable. Morrison tore them apart and shredded them in 2019, characterised as economy-wrecking and frightening. Shorten lacked the wit to counter Morrison’s energy and sloganeering. Since Kevin Rudd, the party has not had an effective salesman type representing it, and so it has been out-manoeuvred, and out-sold.


Morrison has always been a marketing man, and he is blessed with an ability to live so ‘in the moment’ that he is able to present himself differently, according to the moment, and the need. In the bush he will appear in immaculate moleskins and a high-vis vest, in the city electorates as a ‘plain aspirational man with worthy values’.


He sees no contradictions in his ‘dressing up’ efforts, and the electorate will tire of it before he will. He is essentially a one man Government, because he has so commanded, and diminished his Cabinet, that there is no-one who stands out. He has no challengers. They are all less energetic than he is, and so they owe him everything. He campaigns for them all, and he stands to gain all, should the voters remain apathetic.


Although we seem to want representative, accountable, fair government, we wouldn’t know it if we fell over it. Like all electorates, we get the governments we deserve, because we are too lazy to listen, too disengaged to take note of what is said, and because the essential elements of our institutions continue to be eaten away by the corrosive nature of neo-liberalism.


Who would knowingly vote for a Government which promotes wanton cruelty to welfare recipients, continues to sell our public service functions to multinational contractors, picks fights with emerging superpowers, treats our money as their own, refuses to regulate the behaviour of our representatives, embarrasses us on international obligations, and is prepared to let the planet burn for the sake of political preferment? With their Trumpian idea of limiting the vote, they are putting lead in the Labor Party’s saddle bags. So, who, in his or her right mind, would vote for a repressive, authoritarian government, which has failed for more than eight years?

Below is a graph showing our faith in democracy since 1996, with a huge drop around the time Tony Abbott’s short time in power began to take shape. So Australians are not entirely stupid, but we certainly ignore hard evidence.

Would you like voter suppression with that?


Many Australians are still mightily impressed with the state of our nation, especially when we compare it with our rich and powerful ally, the USA. We have managed to somehow avoid the utter chaos and devastation, which they have endured now, for close to two years, during a once in a century pandemic.

Our Government(s) made plenty of mistakes in handling the pandemic, but nothing on the scale of the criminal negligence President Trump and his Republican Party allies were guilty of. Even now, with Joe Biden attempting to salvage the situation, vaccination appears to be the only way out.

But there are gathering signs that we have a particularly immature, and sadly ill-informed set of ‘parliamentarians’, and their fellow travellers, mainly from the loony-right think tanks, who are keen to import some really bad American ideas. Of course the loony-right think tanks are another import we could do without, but that is another matter entirely; suffice to say we are stuck with them.

One reason the American system has faltered recently is that the traditions and the myths of their origin story have been hi-jacked, and politicised, and the myths have won out, over common sense.

Some bad American ideas

Some examples include the notion of personal liberty outweighing the public good, the belief  that public health systems are socialist, the idea that education is not a basic human right, but something to be purchased.

Other caustic ideas include the notion that imposing regulations and limits on the private sector are always bad, that global warming is rubbish, that welfare paid is money wasted, that citizens should have the right to bear arms, that any relationship, or family, based on anything other than the classic nuclear family is immoral, that reducing taxes on the rich does nothing other than to increase inequality, and that poverty is a sign that a vengeful god is punishing the poor.

There are many other silly ideas, but I want to highlight the matter of voter ID, aka voter suppression, which is definitely on the radar for our very own Trumpist Government.

Voter suppression is a first step to authoritarianism

Voter suppression is an ancient, and honoured tradition in America, and it continues today. Since 1870, when the Fifteenth Amendment was passed, all men (later broadened to include women) were guaranteed the right to vote. This included men of all races, and specifically former slaves. Southern states, still smarting from their loss in the Civil War, set about limiting black access to the vote. These methods included a poll tax, which charged a fee to lodge a vote. Poor whites could gain an exemption from paying the fee, but not poor blacks.

Literacy tests were also routinely applied, with many more black Americans being excluded than white Americans. This often related to the level of education achieved by black Americans, which was in most cases inferior, if it was even available. But in other cases, the tests applied were selective, with African-Americans often receiving more difficult tests. These measures were gradually phased out during the 1960s, but not before they had disenfranchised generations of otherwise entitled voters.

More recently the Republican Party has refined its methods, to suit the times. In Florida, for example, until recently convicted felons were ineligible to vote. Many with similar names to felons were wrongly purged from the electoral rolls.

That law was reversed in 2018, but the Republican State Government managed to circumvent the intention of the statute, known as Amendment 4, by making restoration of the right to vote almost impossible. In the election of 2000, George W Bush won the country by less than a thousand votes, while convicted felons, and some of those with similar names, were purged from the electoral rolls. Convicted felons were, by a huge margin, more likely to be black, and to vote Democrat.

Although the election last year was not decided by a tiny number of votes, Florida voted for Trump. As many as 1.4 million voters were eligible to be restored to the rolls, but only 300,000 were allowed to register. That is 1.1 million voters disenfranchised. That would make a difference to the result.

That couldn’t happen here

Of course that could never happen here, or could it? We have no voter fraud here, so there could be no reason to change the voting rules. Well, yes it could happen here. As Caitlin Fitzsimmons reported in the Herald Sun in January this year, the federal government’s joint standing committee on electoral matters recently included a recommendation to require ID to vote, and another recommendation to require ID to enrol or change address. The chair of the committee is Senator James Paterson, an ex-IPA director. He thinks if he has to show ID in a club, why not when voting?

Liberal members of the committee made similar recommendations in their reports on the 2013 and 2016 elections as well. They quoted several submissions in support, from the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), and others. Labor and the Greens opposed the recommendations, but they were outvoted.

There is a cynical reason for such a simple rule. The more disadvantaged you are, the more difficult it is to conform to what look like petty requirements. And the ID of choice for the majority of Australians is the driver’s licence. Petty for you, and me, but not if you have insecure housing, or are forced to live on the starvation line, or if you are fleeing domestic violence. And many disadvantaged people do not own, or drive, a car. That means they probably don’t own a licence, and yet they may need to buy some form of photo ID, in order simply to vote.

The Liberals think that the disadvantaged are more inclined to vote for Labor, so any measure which makes voting or registering to vote more difficult, is a good thing. There is a reason why most Australians despise the IPA and its ilk. They appear to be staffed by strangely inadequate individuals who dream of making life difficult, in a range of petty ways, for the vulnerable.  

In the case of instituting Voter ID for Australia, we would need to accommodate Australia’s system of compulsory voting, and compulsory enrolment to vote. That would arguably force the Electoral Commissions, state and federal, to implement inclusion measures such as provision of regulated photo ID for anyone who needs it. Obviously that would send the cost of elections through the roof. This is another example of unintended consequences, caused by allowing inexperienced, or simply shallow twits, to write policy.

Scott puts in a Barry Crocker (shocker) in Glasgow


Scott Morrison has somehow imposed himself on the Australian consciousness like an annoying jingle, or even like that awful and embarrassing uncle who continues to turn up at family gatherings. We can now include Rome and Glasgow amongst the places where he has purported to represent us, so that most of the thinking universe now sees Australians as of a kind, throwbacks to the types of characters made ‘famous’ in the Adventures of Barry McKenzie era, of our cultural cringe.


His personality is endlessly grating, like the boy with a chip on his shoulder; he is always looking for the verbal trap, and his pugnacity is more suited to a rugby field than to a conference. Talk about being labelled by how you look, and by how you speak. Many of us expected him to grow into the job, as some have in the past, but he is permanently stuck in a battle to the death, with the forces of liberality, of reason, of social and political progress.


We are endlessly naive in Australia, in that we believe in the inherent fitness for purpose of our institutions, and the innate moral character of our representatives. Morrison has upended our moral certainties, because he is without conscience, without memory, and without a policy purpose. He also lacks a stabilising presence in his life.


His friends include Brian Houston, who is under investigation, and sidelined from leadership of his father’s church, for allegedly covering up his father’s sexual abuse of children; Stuart Robert, who has seen time on the sidelines himself, because of his own problems with record-keeping and conflicts of interest; and Alex Hawke, a man who believes that “The two greatest forces for good in human history are capitalism and Christianity, and when they’re blended it’s a very powerful duo.” (Sydney Morning Herald)

The Cabinet

We have all heard about Scott Morrison’s Cabinet, mostly because they are almost invisible, they are constantly changing roles, and also because the Cabinet seems to have no coherence, no sense of passion for governing, and only one defining rule – follow Morrison, and repeat his talking points, until your voice hurts. So no Minister is respected, no Minister is seen as being on top of his or her portfolio, no Minister is seen as a rival to Morrison, and the Agenda is virtually non-existent.


Cut the public service to the bone, sling cash at the world’s largest consultancies, privatise every possible service and watch it slide into decay and despair, look after your mates. Never apologise, if in doubt call an enquiry, ignore the vast majority of recommendations from the myriad Royal Commissions afoot, and for God’s sake do not introduce a Federal Integrity Commission.

Never admit that you once knew Christian Porter, but defend to the death his right to accept large amounts of money from anyone, as long as he promised to not divulge. Continue to demonise all refugees, except possibly white farmers from South Africa.

The Glasgow performance


Morrison’s performance in Glasgow and Rome was pathetic. He behaved like a thug, first of all by arriving in both cities, with nothing to show the other leaders, for the six long years since we signed up to Paris. As unashamedly as he had presented us with empty brochures, he did the same to them. Like us, they were underwhelmed, but too polite to really say so. Take it as read that our country has taken another reputational hit.


And never forget Angus Taylor. He delivers misleading statistics and rubbish conclusions with a passionate fervour. His background as a management consultant sees him with only one forward gear – manic, and no reverse gear. He was actually in Glasgow dealing with the other rogue nations, promoting fossil fuels, far into the future. It is totally amazing that Morrison and Taylor were running this scam, even as the world watched.

The French fiasco


Emmanuel Macron is still reeling from Morrison’s clumsy lack of style. First he meets with the French, and deceives them until, at the last moment, he dumps them for the Americans and the British. So, knowing how the French feel personally about him, he takes the first opportunity to speak to Macron, by sneaking up behind the French President, and touching him from behind, unannounced. Very like that annoying uncle I mentioned earlier. And laying on of hands? Not cool, Scott. We generally seek consent before touching one another.


Later Mr Macron asserts that Morrison is a liar, and instead of turning the other cheek, (after all, Macron was speaking the truth) he argues the point, and then selectively leaks some texts, supposedly strengthening his position. So we are in Glasgow, with the world watching, and Morrison is behaving as if he is involved in a factional turf war in Sydney, back-grounding his opponent, who is, did I mention this already, the President of France.


Do not believe for a moment that Morrison has had a change of heart. He wants only one thing, and that is re-election. Nothing else matters, and he will subvert COP26, Parliament, his own Government, even Sky News if he has to. The climate change policies he has pretended to create are meaningless, and his Government knows it.

Australia’s lost decade on everything, including climate


Scott Morrison has had a tough few years. First there was The Great Bush-fire Debacle. He went on holiday in Hawaii. Nothing wrong with that, you might say. Except that he tried to hide the fact that he was away. When he was sprung, he made all sorts of excuses, but in his own special way he made a statement that we will always remember: “Mate, I don’t hold a hose.” That was exceptional in many ways. It showed his narrow, superficial mind, with all its smugness, and complete lack of self-awareness. During a catastrophic bushfire, everybody holds a hose.


The country then discovered that, just before the election, and possibly even after the election was called, he had been using our money to try and buy coalition seats, and also lots of marginal seats they wanted to win. Scott Morrison was caught in the headlights of the sports rorts affair, and in an act of utterly callous self preservation, he threw his Sports Minister, Briget McKenzie, under the proverbial bus. Considering his narrow win in the 2019 election, how many seats were retained, or won, because of the calculated misuse of taxpayers’ funds?


The global pandemic struck next. He talked a lot about following the scientific advice, but his resistance to lockdowns, and his reluctance to provide financial support proved very unpopular. Like a dog after a bone, he sniffed the electoral wind, calculated he was on a losing trajectory, and promptly changed direction. He then pinched Boris Johnson’s JobKeeper idea, at Labor’s suggestion.


None of us knew then that the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, would do such a lousy job on the program’s design. Ripped off by thousands of companies, many of which paid bonuses to their already overpaid executives. Some even used those taxpayers’ funds to pay dividends to shareholders. That is some form of middle class welfare! Frydenberg now says it would be unfair to ask for the money back. There is only one word necessary to explain this Government’s moral bankruptcy – Robodebt.


Robodebt, where the might of the Federal Government was turned against often helpless, certainly powerless, welfare recipients. Ten year old debts, calculated using a dodgy averaging algorithm, and subsequently found to have been unlawful. The Government denied wrong-doing, as Evangelical far-right governments always do.


In June 2021, Justice Bernard Murphy approved a settlement worth at least A$1.8 billion, payable to those who had been harassed and vilified by their government, calling it “a shameful chapter” and “massive failure in public administration” of Australia’s social security scheme. Wikipedia.


The Ministers who have had their hands on the program include Christian Porter, Scott Morrison, Alan Tudge, Stuart Robert, Marise Payne. There are very few geniuses in that little group. And so far, not a word of apology.


Of course after the horrors of the pandemic, there was great optimism about the arrival of the vaccines. Produced in record time, they did not appear in Australia, for several months. Outbreaks in Sydney, and then Melbourne, took hold. Hundreds of deaths followed, and Scott Morrison then made another of his astounding pronouncements: “It is not a race.” He repeated it, ad nauseum, many times over.


But it was a race, and Morrison and his hapless Health Minister, Greg Hunt, tried hard to cover up their sheer incompetence. But even Blind Freddie knows you don’t just buy one vaccine, when there is a worldwide shortage. And you don’t announce at a late night press conference, that the only vaccine you have on hand, is suspect. Morrison actually destroyed the AstraZeneca vaccine’s credibility, because he panicked. Lately he has been trumpeting how well he handled the vaccine rollout. Really.


Morrison is now on his way to attend the Glasgow climate summit, on our behalf, representing us on a world stage. He will smugly claim that he has an agreement in his back pocket, of net zero by 2050. The only problem is that up to a quarter of the Nationals do not agree, and he cannot legislate the target, because he will lose the vote in Parliament. So he is going with nothing in his pocket, except an unenforceable promise, redeemable in 29 years, by which time the whole Parliament will probably be retired, or dead.


He and the Coalition have been sabotaging our response to climate change since 2009. Morrison expects us to believe that he has done a complete U-turn, in a month, and to now put our faith in him. Sorry, not a believer, Scott. Up to a quarter of the junior Coalition partners, the National Party, does not agree, and have had to be bribed to stay silent. He has not lead anyone, anywhere. He was dictated to by the likes of Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan, the former Sports Minister Briget Mckenzie (she who went under the bus), and George Christensen.

We must also remember the sterling efforts of the Minister for Meaningless Climate Statements, Angus Taylor. Angus delivered his sales pitch with passionate fervour, but as we all know, Carbon Capture and Storage does not work, and most of us think bribing the Nationals is actually worse than a carbon tax, because it is using our tax money to support the coal and gas industries. We want to reduce our emissions, not increase them, Angus. Angus is going to Glasgow also, but he is going to spruik for the fossil fuel industry. They might as well take Tony Abbott along with them.


So the sum total of the Government’s achievements on climate change is essentially in the eye of the Prime Minister – Government by press announcements, which are believed in by no-one, and which are as flimsy as feathers. You have to admire Morrison’s sublime disconnect from reality, and his faith in his own ability to gaslight world leaders, like he tries to gaslight us. Welcome back, Scotty from Marketing, and you, Angus. Top job on all your efforts. How embarrassing. People around the world might think he represents how we think and feel about the planet’s health.

Inequality leads to starving our children


Australia has had a chequered past, when it comes to looking after our most vulnerable. The history of our treatment of the First Australians is dark, and shameful. But in what could be an exercise in ‘black humour’, we now have a non-discriminatory policy towards all who are poor.

This means that we have Government policies which, either consciously or not, treat those who are of Aboriginal descent, the aged, those who are disabled, those who are addicted, those who suffer from mental illness, those who are homeless, and those who are either unemployed, or underemployed, as second class citizens. Now that is equal-opportunity discrimination. Consider the millions of Australians who fall into any of these categories.

The most recent example has been the vaccine rollout. Who missed out, from the beginning? All of the above. Aboriginal people are still lagging in the area of vaccine coverage, even after being identified as especially vulnerable. Catching up now, but an after-thought. The disabled? Forgotten, until now.

We are at close to 90% of first doses, and yet this Government has not bothered to include regional and remote communities. I live in a regional town, only 70 kms from Melbourne, and last Wednesday, October 13, we had a visit from a vaccine bus. The first visit, mind you. I don’t have the figures on car ownership where I live, but plenty of people did not, because they could not, travel to Kilmore for their first shots.

Many of the older residents were hesitant to get the jab, because the ‘communicator in chief’, aka Mr Morrison, an alleged marketer, stuffed up the rollout, by not buying enough supplies, and by then bad-mouthing the ‘product’ he was supposedly trying to sell to the public. No wonder he kept getting the sack from his previous jobs.

We will never know how many deaths were caused by his, and his Government’s, sheer incompetence, but we all know they got their shots first. We know that the recent lockdowns were caused by Government inaction on vaccines, because now that we have mostly caught up, state governments feel they can open up again. Cause and effect can be an elegant equation.

Let us move on, to hunger

As part of the Morrison Government’s response to the economic effects of Covid-19, we saw them respond, reluctantly and late, by providing economic support to those who needed help. They even doubled the unemployment benefit. This action saw millions of Australians able to pay their bills, able to find accommodation, even able to feed their children, and themselves.

Their additional spending helped to power the temporary economic revival. The majority of our economists applauded the targeted assistance. Of course they were unaware that the poor were not the only recipients of Government largesse. Billions of dollars also flowed to hundreds of ineligible companies, which, opportunistically and cynically, paid executive bonuses, and even dividends to shareholders with their ill-gotten gains.

But then, as expected, the Morrison Government’s bastardry and adolescent hubris kicked in. They sent the poor back to where they belong, poverty-stricken and abandoned. They sent Australian children into a situation where

“An estimated 1.2 million children in Australia went hungry in the past year, while one in six adults also faced severe food insecurity, a new report says.

Foodbank’s annual Hunger Report, released on Wednesday as part of Anti-Poverty Week, suggests the number of people going hungry in Australia has increased since the coronavirus welfare supplement and jobkeeper payments were withdrawn.” This report was cited by Luke Henrique-Gomes, in the Guardian Australia.

There are many solutions to reining in spending, especially if the Government you elected is stupid and venal, as this one is. But causing our children to starve is unforgiveable. This result is a direct consequence of neoliberal thought. Someone tell me where markets will fix food insecurity, when we export over half of what we grow. This Government needs to be replaced, at the ballot box, as soon as possible.

You can see how conflicted and useless they are. They cannot even agree on mitigating climate change. In the area of providing adequate nutrition for our future, aka our children, you would think they were at least able to see the harm they are doing. Starving children is very un-Australian. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Vote these idiots out, first chance you get. They are dangerous to us all.

The Pandemic Diaries-will he or won’t he?


October 12, 2021

The country is on a knife edge. We are all wondering if Scott Morrison will go to Glasgow, or will he not? He is presumably going through a long, dark night of the soul, deciding whether to represent Australia at this, the most important international conference, which just might light the way forward on Global Heating.

Does he hold a microphone? Should he put Australia’s future first, or should he stay behind and try and stitch up an election win, while the rest of the world is trying to save the planet? Australia, or Scott? Glasgow, or Sydney?

All his ‘close friends’ will be there, although Mr Macron will prove hard to pin down to a meeting.

Has Scott got the guts to attend? Or will his ‘leadership’ fail to deliver a credible pathway to emissions reduction? Will 2030 be the new normal target date? Will Scott continue with his nonsensical “technology not taxes” refrain?

There are several other issues bubbling away. New South Wales has just re-opened. Many say it is overdue, while many believe it was too early. Time will tell, but no matter which way the number of cases goes, Morrison will claim it as a victory for common sense.

Hospitals across the country are struggling. He believes that is a state responsibility, except that during a global pandemic it becomes everyone’s problem. And it is our money!

Victims of domestic violence have run out of funding. Again.

Parliament House in Canberra is still unsafe for women to work within.

We are failing to deliver on the challenges of loss of biodiversity. The Minister signed up to the latest UNESCO agreement, but 30% of the country is not included. How will that work? Should we say goodbye to the koala?

Luckily she saved the Great Barrier Reef. Sorry, she had its status upgraded from “in danger.” That didn’t actually help, because Matt Canavan and George Christensen are still reluctant to roll up their hi-vis sleeves, and help.

The country is drowning in malfeasance and public corruption. Three years later, they don’t want a real National Integrity Commission, because it might be too strict. Strict? They just want to be above the law.

Mr Morrison believes that Gladys Berejiklian’s resignation sent an alarming message. He saw it as unfair and an example of a kangaroo court, or of trial by media. Many saw it as “if you are a person of interest, we will investigate your behaviour.”

There was no trial, no verdict, no compulsion to resign. She resigned as a person of interest, which means she may have a case to answer. Not for being unlucky in love, but because she looked the other way when her boyfriend appeared to break the law. She had a positive duty to report the activity.

The Governments of Australia continue to lock up children who are ten years old. Our Attorneys General are paralysed by hand-wringing incompetence. They feel the need to publicly punish these children, somehow, which shines a ghastly light on the legal profession. If these are the brightest and the best the Law Schools have to offer, we might need to change the paradigm.

Barnaby Joyce wants to run another pork-barrel raffle. He thinks if it is fine in Sydney, why not in the regions?

Watching Barnaby speak about farmers and miners, and obtaining a price before you order a meal, rounding up his cattle, shutting down social media companies, though he was not too fussed by the lack of a price for submarines. A daily word salad from our Deputy Prime Minister.

Angus Taylor has claimed that the Business Council of Australia wants a carbon tax. He also wants to sequester carbon, which has been proved to be a dud technology, both expensive and useless. Even Twiggy Forrest agrees that it doesn’t work, but forge onward, Angus.

Matt Canavan and George Christensen continue their revolt against the science, and their own Government, which has tried to pivot away from its knuckle dragging climate ways.

On Scott Morrison’s tricky moral and social dilemmas, can he take Jenny with him? What if he meets up with Greta Thunberg, or some other difficult female? Greta is now 18, so she is becoming even more of a threat to the mental health of the world’s leaders, who are mostly middle aged and white.

So, plenty happening. Tune in for more news from Tiny-town next week.

The Aussie Pandemic Diaries


Date: October 6, 2021

Another week of cynicism, lies, prevarication and obfuscation. We should have a unique page in the thesaurus for the many ways we can label public discourse in Australian public life.

Today Dan Tehan arrived in Paris. Yes, slow talking Dan, who is our Trade Minister. He is going to try and arrange for someone in France to talk to him. His loner status was caused by the Prime Minister’s recent attempt at international diplomacy.

You might remember how the Prime Minister tore up a long-standing, large ($90 Billion) contract for submarines. If he worked for a corporation rather than a country, he’d be sacked on the spot. The damages will be substantial, as will the damage to our reputation for fair dealing. But then I cannot think of a corporation which would consider employing him.

He replaced the contract with the French with (drumroll) zero, zilch, nothing. A photo opportunity in Washington. But there was a result. The French are not taking our calls. They do sit on the Security Council of the United Nations, but who needs the French when you’ve got Boris on your team?

Remember the PM’s first foray into international affairs? He attempted to move our embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He was slavishly following Donald Trump’s lead. Remember how the Islamic world turned on him, (and us, by association) for his sheer naivety, and his stupidity. Who else would have joined with Trump, that well known career diplomat?

I have a theory that he heard the name “Jerusalem”, from those “end of world” lectures at that weird church he belongs to, and he thought “how good is Jerusalem?”

Angus Taylor has had a bad week. Firstly an American advisor to Joe Biden on climate change, asked whether he was an idiot, or an ideologue? Tough question, when you have listened to his nonsense about gas-led recoveries, and the end of the weekend. Then Ford announced they are releasing electric versions of the F150 ute. Thank God the weekend is safe.

This week Twiggy Forrest described Carbon Capture and Storage as useless. It doesn’t work. All Angus’ eggs are in that basket. What to do? Send some dodgy figures to a newspaper, Angus. Hopefully your goose is cooked, come election time.

New South Wales lost its Premier. There was a’moaning and a’groaning about what a great Premier she had been. Strangely forgotten was the reason for the loss of her career. She was being actively investigated for corrupt conduct. Or having bad taste in men? Possibly both.

With no hint of shame, several news organisations suggested that the Federal Liberals would use this event to further delay a National Integrity Commission, because it had ‘caught out’ a Liberal Premier, and such a result was regrettable, and a reason NOT to have a Federal watchdog. Very like abolishing the police, because they keep catching criminals.

Her replacement was a staunch and rigid Catholic, who looks to have close to zero life experience, but he likes straight marriage, lots of kids, and presumably doesn’t mind people like George Pell. He is against abortion in all cases. He has also something of a chequered career as Treasurer, but he is white, straight, male and religious. What could go wrong?

He wants to open up the economy, like Scott Morrison does, when they hit the bare minimum of vaccinations, no matter the number of cases. We will remember if they cause unnecessary deaths, and the thinking electorate is already stocking up on baseball bats.

Morrison has also just accused the Queensland Premier of attempting to extort money from the Commonwealth, because she fears an overload on their hospital system, and she wants to be prepared for the rush of cases when we do inevitably open up.

Now his chronic inability to actually deliver a reasonable sentence, has him accusing a Labor Premier of a criminal offence, for trying to cushion what will be an outburst of new infections, once those borders come down.

If nothing else, his statement was tone deaf, stupid, defamatory, demeaning, meaningless. She wasn’t trying to buy herself a condo in the Gold Coast, she was asking for health funding in the midst of a pandemic which has seen the deaths of nearly five million people. Classy, Scotty. Even your mates from the Gas Industry would call that a step too far.

Finally, will he, or won’t he, go to Glasgow? Too chicken to go, too chicken to not go. Decisions, decisions. Man up, Scott.

I can’t wait for another week to pass. Reminder! I am not making this up.

Another farcical week in Australian politics


The last week has thrown up some thorny political issues. Firstly there was Christian Porter, thinking it was okay to accept bucket loads of cash, from anonymous donors, to pay a personal account.

As the previous Minister in charge of drafting the National Integrity Commission bill, one would hope that he would understand what those words actually meant. He delayed that bill for over one thousand days; it was never finished. And now we are relying on Michaelia Cash to step up. Good luck with that!

Porter sued the ABC for defamation. When the ABC presented its defence, Porter then went to court to suppress that defence. That cost even more money. I’m sure most of us would have the native common sense to find out what the costs would be, before engaging two teams of fancy lawyers. There is an old saying that if you have to ask what something costs, you probably can’t afford it, anyway.

We were then exposed to one of the biggest cop-outs in our history. We heard the Prime Minister’s pathetic approach to accountability, and leadership. Morrison stated that Porter “upheld the Ministerial code of conduct” by breaking it, and then by resigning, because he broke it.

He then went on to say that he wasn’t the boss of parliament, but only the boss of the Ministry. That would be news to every other PM in history. It is an excellent reason why the current PM should actually call an election, and see how we feel about him, and his team of clowns.

Porter is to be replaced in the portfolio of Industry, Innovation and Science by Angus Taylor. Taylor is the Minister who has a pathological aversion to wind-farms, and he also believes that the ute is about to be made illegal. The Chaser website says that Taylor is the least qualified Minister for Science, since the last Minister, Porter. We should tell him the new submarines are powered by gas.

Submarine diplomacy

Then we had the submarines controversy. We broke a huge contract with a close ally, but we didn’t bother to tell them beforehand. Mr Morrison said there was no way Australia could have been more transparent with the French, without potentially derailing the highly sensitive deal with the US and Britain. But do not despair-he did try to ring them, the night before the announcement, but he couldn’t get through. Oh well. There goes a century of good relations with the French. We should remind Morrison that it was our choice to order the submarines. We were not hoodwinked into it.

So Morrison said we had to be sneaky, but the Defence Minister, Peter Dutton, who will be an old man when the first nuclear submarine arrives in Australia, stated that Australia had been “open and honest” with the French about its concerns with the project, which had been beset by cost blow-outs and delays.

This is a tricky situation. Morrison’s word v Dutton’s word. This was a $90 billion contract, and we have already spent $2.4 billion on it, now down the drain. There will also be huge break fees, a broken relationship, the possible loss of a free trade agreement with the EU, but Morrison gets to boast about being America’s deputy again. We could have bought lots of hospitals, but hey. Everyone loves a nuclear sub.

He also committed us to nuclear power, with no debate in Parliament. We decided that we were possibly going to war against China, if Washington says so. We will not see a submarine until at least 2040. So we have gone from having no modern submarines, to having no nuclear submarines. We do not yet know the price. At all.

Someone should explain to Morrison that when you buy expensive military hardware, you are not buying them from our so-called ‘friends’, the Americans, but from a multi-national arms dealer.

In 2002, the Howard government ignored military advice that it was too soon to join the F-35 program, and directed the “Air 6000” program to settle on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The expected cost was $28 million per fighter in 1994 US dollars. Imagine what inflation has done to those prices already. Imagine the price for submarines in twenty years. Food for thought. Our Liberal Prime Ministers seem to have a bit of a thing for American weapons. Maybe they should just grow up. This was just a clumsy attempt to look busy, and important, in the lead-up to a looming election. Strewth!

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