Morrison is a dangerous fanatic


Scott Morrison is dangerous because he is driven by a fantastically flawed personality, mixed with a deranged political ideology, with the added bonus of crazy end-of-times religious lunacy.

In Australia we presume the good faith of our political leaders. It has held to be true for over a century, but Morrison has picked up certain traits from his role models overseas, which are foreign to us.

The predominant trait I speak of is shamelessness, and an ability to instantly forget anything politically adverse; to instantly move on, in the naïve belief that we have no memories.

We have always looked at the authoritarian leaders of other countries as a strange breed, which would struggle in the Australian environment.

We characterise the victims of such leaders as strangely passive, helpless in the face of ruthless ambition, and though we pity their fate, we know it could never happen here.

We have deluded ourselves into believing that we are a nation of freedom-loving, individualistic larrikins, unable to be cowed into submission.

The perfect storm is here, and we should be on our guard. We should have noticed the changes to the political environment brought on by the never-ending pandemic, where in Australia we arguably gave up many of our rights, in the cause of public health.

There was a pay-off, which included a very low death rate, and pandemic financial support. Many of us thought that Morrison had grown into the role of leader. Of course Genghis Khan would have looked good when compared to some of the overseas leaders in power back in 2020. Trump, Bolsonaro and Johnson were so hopeless that they made even Morrison look good.

It is impossible to detect a precise moment when Morrison abandoned Australians, and any semblance of answering to ‘the people’. He lives in a parallel universe, where he is, in his own mind, on a mission from his god, to lead Australia until the ‘end times’.

We can all see the results. The death toll throughout the chaos of the Omicron variant was suddenly unimportant. Morrison and his faceless minions in cabinet pushed the fiction that hospitalisations were more important than deaths, which is like something out of George Orwell’s 1984. Reminder to all: When death occurs, the health system is irrelevant. Untimely deaths are the absolute failure of public health.

We then had the farce of debating whether people who died did so from Covid-19, or with it. Ageing white men are familiar with the analogy – it relates to prostate cancer. The only problem is that Covid-19 is a novel, preventable way to die, and semantics merely indicates an empathy failure. This government minimises it, or parses the cause of death.

That was a pivotal moment in Australia, when we discovered that the Morrison Government had decided the pursuit of economic recovery was more important than the public’s health.

Shamefully, the premiers followed suit. They enabled his sociopathic path out of the pandemic. Morrison threw the dice, betting that the election would be held before the results of his negligence became evident. The mainstream media was complicit.

Many Australians believed them when they said it was now no more dangerous than the seasonal flu. Well, look around you. Over a half million active cases. If you read figures better than words, that is 500,000 + active cases, with a death count of over 6,000 and rising.

Recent elections in Hungary have shown us how a persistent and underhanded campaign can undermine democracy. Viktor Orban has allies in almost complete control of the media. He has a security apparatus which is reminiscent of Putin’s in Russia.

In Australia we have the shameful and sycophantic Murdoch Media, 7 West Media, and 9 Entertainment Media. Social media such as twitter, and the ‘ratbag independent media’ are the only outlets which dare to criticise Morrison and his government.

There is a groundswell of raw visceral loathing for Scott Morrison, but no-one dares to write him off yet. That is because he was able to pull off the 2019 ‘miracle win’.

This time around, his numbers are even worse than in 2019, many of his troops are accused of vile behaviour, many from his own party are either deserting the ship, or are voicing their resentment against his “egotism and bullying nature”.

He has just announced another round of appointments, to mates of the government, for six years, no less, to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), a sore point from 2019. But can it be seen as hubris, to do it so boldly, again, on the eve of an election campaign his party is expected to lose?

It seems every day we are privy to more shameful and embarrassing failures of public administration by this government. The latest is an expose which refers to three parliamentarians having been investigated, by the Australian Federal Police, for meeting in the Parliament House Prayer Room, with sex-workers, for sexual purposes.

The questions raised by this episode includes the time, the place, the age of the sex-workers, their safety, the slackness of the security, the national security aspects, the possibility of blackmail, the moral dimension of using taxpayers’ funds, or at best the tax-payers’ funds used to pay them for having sex at work.

This appears to have occurred in our national showpiece, the new(ish) and grandiose Parliament House. If true, it points to the moral bankruptcy of the current government, and the steady decline of standards since Mr Morrison became Prime Minister.

Mr Morrison is expected to call the election inside a week. Expect lots of rorting, no accountability, and no peace.

A government which could not lie straight in bed


When we look at the individual Morrison Government members we see very few who distinguish themselves from their peers. What we see is a collection of odd, socially awkward people, thrown together by a strange ideology which really sets them apart from our society. Birds of a feather really do flock together.

For convenience sake we can call it the anti-social cabal. They all seem to share certain ‘core beliefs’, which can be condensed into a single word – greed. Greedy for advancement, for money, for power, for success. They trust that the majority of our people share that basic belief, and they are callously indifferent to the inequity that is inevitably unleashed by unfettered venality. It invites us all to get in while the getting is good. Morrison has even given it a catchy theme – “You’ll get a go, if you have a go.”

They remind me of a man who has been on an alcohol and drug fuelled bender and wakes up in an opium den. The years of Liberal National Party domination of Australian politics has been like a gigantic bender, where decency, fairness and even care has been really, visibly absent.

We are all watching as the nine year ‘party’ ends. So when we speak of distinguishing themselves from the rest, has anyone called time on the excesses, the disrespect toward the Australian people, and the trashing of our international reputation?

Julia Banks did, and she has written about the experience. In her words “the Liberal Party has reached the point of no return for its self-described “broad church”. The moderate voice has been drowned out and the party is firmly a Christian, conservative, right-wing party.”

That is true. But what shocks us is the “Carry on and keep lying, and the party might never end.” The LNP’s collection of greedy hedonists is now drawing the wagons into a circle, and lying about every issue we find important, and using our money to broadcast their lies. Their terrified leader refuses to call the election, which means their so-called “public announcements” are being paid for out of consolidated revenue, rather than their own LNP funds.

Has any of us been spared those ads concerning Net Zero by 2050? Lies and more lies. The terms “clean hydrogen” and “carbon capture and storage” are lies. Morrison rather outperformed himself this week, when he managed to outrage those of us who care about global heating, with his stupid and embarrassing promise to send 70,000 tonnes of coal to Poland, for eventual use in Ukraine. Wow, we can’t send drinking water to Tonga, and we are going to send 70,000 tons of coal to Poland? I hope it arrives before winter.

When the Secretary-General of the United Nations called Australia out, by name, as a “hold-out” against climate action, Paul Fletcher dismissed the comments as being made by the “chattering classes”. This government is intent on reducing trust, not only in Australian democracy, but in the institutions we trust.

It is not just that they lie daily, but they actually persist in the belief that Australians are terminally stupid. Simon Birmingham, the inoffensive looking one, is regularly wheeled out for public appearances, because if they use any of their other leaders, there is an unseemly rush to turn the TV off. ‘Good ol Birmo’ seems to enrage us less than the others do.

Anyway, during The Insiders show this week, which actually had three Murdoch proxies (two as guests, the other the host) banging on about how the Labor Party’s “mean girls” had not actually murdered Kimberley Kitching, but had somehow ’caused’ her death. Perhaps Katie Allen, who is a real doctor, might be able to explain to anyone who cares to know, that heart attacks usually happen due to a range of underlying cardiac conditions.

The list of women, and men, Morrison has bullied personally, or has back-grounded against, is long. That is why it is so infuriating when he gets on his high horse about Albanese ‘hiding’ from scrutiny. Julia Banks, Bridget Archer, Christine Holgate, the entire NSW Liberal Party, Gladys Berejiklian, Brittany Higgins have all been in his sights at some time.

But it is the ‘jobs for the boys’ that is so tiresome. Stuart Robert should not be in Cabinet. Every area he is appointed to suffers. Richard Colbeck has failed our elderly in Aged Care for as long as Covid has lasted. Sussan Ley has presided over green-lighting coal mines, the continuing destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, and land clearing that is leading to the demise of the koala. That is some collection of failures. Thank God she won her case against those pesky children who dared to believe a Minister in an Australian government had a duty of care to them.

Matthias Cormann is now Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Wow. His friend Mr Morrison ‘loaned’ him a VIP jet so he could travel the world and lobby for the job. He already had one. It even included free holidays, did it not? Courtesy of Helloworld. In March 2021, 29 Australian and global humanitarian and environmental organisations wrote to the OECD, citing “grave concerns” and asking that Cormann be disqualified due to his record of “thwarting effective climate action”. Wikipedia

Morrison has a unique campaigning method. Death by boring repetition, and a boundless lack of shame. Only today he was upset that Lismore residents are not more grateful for Government assistance.

He also broke old ground today, informing us that if we vote for Labor, we will get Labor. That is something of a compliment to the Australian Electoral Commission, and a huge relief. He sees no warning in the South Australian election debacle. So, call the election. We know you now.

Are we in election mode yet?


Locally …

Australia is heading into an election. The Prime Minister has contracted the coronavirus, with some of his cabinet designated as close contacts. Unbelievably, Barnaby Joyce, as Deputy Prime Minister, is nominally in charge of the country.

Scott Morrison has been running an undeclared election campaign since ? (we’re not sure when it started). It has involved a lot of dressing up, a few industrial accidents, and a lot of owlish looking at maps. Several old map-shots have been re-purposed and used again. The best is from 2019 where he was photographed looking at a map of Kangaroo Island. The pic has been cropped to remove the map’s title, so that we can’t see it’s an old shot. Ah, such is a marketer’s life.

His attempt to pull off another miraculous election victory this time around seems to be on a knife’s edge. He does have a large ‘slush fund’ of “decisions taken but not announced” with which to buy votes. With this government there is no certainty they will lose. They might discover that Anthony Albanese is a long-time Russian sleeper agent. Perhaps his father was Chinese. Who knows what a fevered imagination can concoct.

He certainly shouldn’t rely on his ‘troops’. It can seem cruel to judge a book by its cover, but we can only comment on what we see.

So our Prime Minister is caught up in a whirlwind of performance art. He does go missing whenever there is a crisis, and he is keen to dodge responsibility. This week he commented on the New South Wales floods by prefacing his remarks with the line that the NSW government would have the “lead” on the response. He gave up that one without a fight, didn’t he?

Our Treasurer has wasted a lot of our taxes on supporting his mates at the big end of town. He has attempted to remove consumer protections against the finance sector, and worst of all, he seemingly cannot count. He is also against any more “free stuff” for the free-loading public.

Our Defence Minister has managed to put us in a position where we have no practically usable naval ships, no submarines and lots of imaginary tanks. We recently bought 127 tanks and armoured vehicles, but it is fair to ask why, as we are surrounded by several wide oceans. Tanks are usually deployed against an enemy who is invading our territory. They are due by 2025, but expect delays, probably measured in years.

Mr Dutton also has an unhealthy obsession with our largest trading partner. He continually attacks China with every breath. His latest, out of left field brain-wave was to start a GoFundMe page to support Australians through the floods, as long as they are restricted to Queensland.

He wants to be Prime Minister one day. He should read up on the taxation system. It is like a giant GoFundMe page, and people pay into it even when they don’t want to. The taxation system includes Queensland, both in collections, but also disbursements.

We have an Emergency Minister who is reluctant to spend the disaster relief fund, an Environment Minister who actively undermines the country’s actions against climate change, and who continues to incidentally facilitate extinctions.

Our Emissions Reduction Minister wants us to use gas and coal to achieve our net zero goals, and he is convinced that selling fossil fuels into the distant future will assist greatly.

No collection of the lost would be complete without the Aged Care Minister, who prefers the cricket. He is unaware if the Aged Care residents have seen any improvement in their meals since the for-profits were allocated an extra $460 million to improve nutrition.

His boss, our Health Minister, has seemingly begun packing up his office. We have no protections, no policies in place, and we have suffered 1540 recent deaths. That is 1540. A number which would be a cause of national shame, except for the fact that the government seems packed with soul-less apparatchiks. There have also been 135,861 Covid infections in the past week, but the figure is known to be low (ie incorrect), because of the haphazard nature of our testing regime.

There are really no words to describe how the Liberal Party has lowered the standard of Australian life. Their names are enough: Howard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison. Even dyed in the wool Libs are abandoning them. You can’t blame them.



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Is Morrison losing his electoral sheen?


Scott Morrison is struggling every day with how quickly the Australian electorate has changed its opinion of him. That is because we have gotten to know him. Although the good folk at Hillsong Church probably find him perfectly acceptable as a modern leader, most of us live in the 21st century.

When he claimed that God had handed him victory in the 2019 election, most of us sort of suspected that Bill Shorten had a say in who won and who lost, and it wasn’t God. Hearing him say that he would burn for us was obvious hogwash, but we overlooked it. He was obviously caught in the moment. He had pulled off a remarkable win.

Morrison has immense confidence in his ability to again lead his troops to victory, and the quality of his team is so sketchy that he will probably carry most of the burden of campaigning in 2022. That does not augur well for the Coalition, because the electorate is tired of Morrison, and they see his ministers as ciphers, parrotting Morrison’s talking points.

The last two weeks of parliament were revealing, and it was all bad. Morrison showed his true colours. He has form as an anti-Muslim, he is beholden to the Australian Christian Lobby, and he is at best a homophobe. He is no strategist when it comes to parliamentary procedure, as he was easily outwitted by Albanese on the Religious Discrimination Bill.

He is afraid of a real Integrity Commission, because he knows that probably half of his front bench would be investigated. He raises the defence that Labor does not support his bill, so Labor must be to blame for it sitting unloved on a shelf, for three years.

So he went to where his instincts tell him to go. Can we describe his orchestrated attacks on Anthony Albanese as being vintage 1950s? To watch Morrison and Dutton frothing at the mouth as they accuse him of treachery, was obviously the stuff of panic. If a couple of negative polls are able to loose these sorts of attacks, it can only get worse. How can we respect a Prime Minister, and a Defence Minister, when they are so easily spooked?

The Treasurer is still reasonably popular. Not for his economic policies, nor his membership of the Reagan-Thatcher fan club, but because he seems a little bit less crazy than the rest of them. How surprising to see young Josh launching his own attack on Albanese, for not having served in an economic portfolio. As many have pointed out, neither had Robert Menzies, John Gorton, Malcolm Fraser, Tony Abbott, or Malcolm Turnbull.

Of course members of parliament are flighty creatures, when they see their gilded lifestyle threatened. So Frydenberg and Dutton were seen to be jockeying for position, should their leader stumble. This has had a galvanising effect on Morrison. He decided to out-crazy both of them. Washing an apprentice hairdresser’s hair, welding so badly we all feared for his eyesight, engaging in shameless cosplay daily was part of the action. Where is the dignity of the office? The gravitas of a leader?

Morrison’s relentless messaging is tiring. His politicisation of absolutely every incident in Australia invites an attack on Albanese, or the Labor Party. Thank God he doesn’t comment on the weather-he would probably blame Labor. It is as if he only has two gears; one is where he goes missing, waiting for situations to drift until they become crises; two he is like the Energiser bunny, chasing down every opportunity to bag the opposition.

Although the quality of his team has, if anything, been reduced by the retirement of several senior members last time around, the remainder are stepping up into positions which are too big for their abilities.

It does start at the top, though. Morrison not really cutting it, falling back on tired routines of abuse, and dismissive press conferences. Recently he made an announcement on Antarctic funding, and offered to take questions. When asked about “other issues’ he replied that he wanted to stay on the Antarctic funding issue. He treats the press as if they are his servants, and he fails to realise the press are asking questions on our behalf.

The ‘team’ is falling apart. In an attempt to abandon transgender kids to their fate, he had five backbenchers cross the floor. They were trying to differentiate themselves from the rednecks who hold sway in the coalition. They are being challenged in their inner urban seats by canny independents.

The other stress point on the coalition is directed by the likes of Barnaby Joyce, George Christensen, Craig Kelly and Matt Canavan. These men all seem to share a significant rebellious spirit, which could be said to channel some of the excesses of Trump supporters in the U.S.

Morrison has supreme self confidence, until he is caught in the headlights. His success in handling the pandemic has turned to failure. We all know why Greg Hunt is getting out. His performance in the last six months has hit new depths, since we found out he didn’t buy any vaccine until it was too late. But he was great at announcing new drugs going onto the PBS.

Boris Johnson, Morrison’s great mate, has decided to throw caution to the winds, re. Covid-19. He has even stopped the U.K. Government paying for testing. They are currently bearing 100 deaths daily. Watch Morrison do the same in the next few days. To add to his and Dominic Perrottet’s catastrophic decision to ‘open up’ the country. When the next variant hits, who will we blame?

His attacks on Labor vilify about 35% of the population. Has it never occurred to him and the team that he is meant to govern for all of us? No, because we are stuck in a retro anti-left mindset, which divides the country. By accusing Albanese of being pro-China, he is accusing Labor voters of being traitors.

We know Morrison’s flaws, but what is worse, we have lost patience because he leads a government of such astounding incompetence that we cannot bear to watch the next instalment.

Can Morrison be saved?


February was the time for the big re-set. National Press Club address, assorted ministers as support, Murdoch journalists at the ready. He was welcomed by Laura Tingle. That was probably his last moment of tranquility. She opened proceedings by asking him if he would like to take the opportunity to apologise for his and his government’s performance. She included the bushfires, and the trip to Hawaii. A tough start.

Then after a typical speech where he invoked the curious amnesiac defence, he re-wrote recent Australian history; the bushfires, the pandemic, the vaccine strollout, the opening up of the borders, the lack of RATs, were all roaring successes. If anything ruined his perfect memories, it was his delay in using the military to deliver the vaccines. But Australians were resilient. Even his being surprised by the Omicron strain was just the nature of the virus. Anyone could have been caught wrong-footed.

Except he had had the advantage of watching its devastating advance through the northern hemisphere. He opened up in a massive gamble which has caused more deaths than the previous two years, and rising. His greatest strength, of having ‘handled’ the pandemic has turned into a failure. He can’t shift blame on the aged care crisis, because the electorate has finally understood it is a federal responsibility.

Peter van Onselen then got up and blew his efforts at rehabilitation out of the water. Peter is a conservative journalist, and he can be relied on to usually normalise most of the government’s shoddy performance, but this time he had different intentions. He demolished Morrison, personally, by quoting a couple of texts to him, on national TV. A reset, perhaps, but in the wrong direction.

Gladys Berejiklian had called him a “horrible, horrible person”. An unnamed Liberal cabinet minister had labelled him a “psycho”. The journalist did not identify the source. This was the stuff usually discussed in a closed room of huddled advisers. It was riveting TV, with Morrison unable to attack back, or to deny the substance. He couldn’t even reject the premise of the question. The journalist had become the story, with Morrison the collateral damage.

By the end of the week, most of the cabinet had handed in their denials of being ‘the leaker’. Canberra was lit up by the drama. The culprit has not been hunted down yet, but he was about to be up-staged by the one and only Barnaby Joyce.

By the end of the week, Barnaby Joyce was warned that one of his own texts, sent via a third party, to Brittany Higgins, was about to be leaked. As he invariably does, Barnaby took the bull by the horns, and confessed to his own disloyal text, and enjoyed a small victory of beating ‘the Barnaby leaker’. He had called Morrison a “liar and a hypocrite” amongst other things. To a third party, of all people, from an MP, and ex Deputy Prime Minister. How secure was that text chain?

The National Press Club was booked, the next week, to host an appearance by two of the most popular young women in Australia – Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins. The problem for Morrison is that not only are these women joined by a common goal, of making women safe, but they also openly jeer at his lack of action to protect women, both in the parliament, and in society at large.

Of course he has been clueless in many of his interactions with them, but they are a generation prepared to throw away the etiquette book, and to demand change. Attacking them is risky, because they have captured the public imagination.

Their addresses were different, but shared a theme that the Morrison Government had talked the talk, but had not followed through with actions.

In the meantime, Peter Dutton and Josh Frydenberg have begun counting numbers, and attacking Anthony Albanese, because they feel the panic. Opinion polls have been disastrous. It is as if a dam has burst. Can Morrison retain the government’s leadership as we head into another election?

Dutton has engaged in scurrilous attacks accusing Albanese of being a communist China sympathiser, and casting Labor as weak on national security. This from a defence minister who appears way too nervous and frisky to handle any real dispute with China, and who scares all of us with his intemperate language.

Frydenberg continues to hysterically lambaste Albanese with the curious attack line that he has never had a Treasury portfolio. As many have pointed out, neither had Robert Menzies, John Gorton, Malcolm Fraser, Tony Abbott, or Malcolm Turnbull. It is presumed that Mr Albanese can count, which is a skill Frydenberg continues to search for.

The question is who do we think we can bear for the next three months of escalating personal attacks on the Opposition Leader? Scomo, Dutts or Joshie? May the lord save us all.

Bring out your dead


We are a polite lot in Australia. We do not like to rock the boat. The recent Omicron death toll here has effectively doubled the number of deaths we suffered in 2020 & 2021. We continue to listen to Scott Morrison and his team of incompetents, when they can be forced to appear in public; rolling out their excuses, and their selective, but non-specific comparisons with overseas countries. We live on an island, we care how WE are doing. We are now doing very badly, and it is still summer here. Imagine what winter will be like.

We have learned to decipher the weasel words, and to find the callous, and orchestrated, indifference behind them. When people die, and you could have prevented the deaths, then you might have a case to answer. It is more than a political problem – it is a question of humanity.

Of course Richard Colbeck’s decision to go to the cricket, for THREE DAYS, while Omicron was marching unimpeded through Aged Care facilities, is breathtaking, and insensitive. But he is merely a pawn. Last year he was already hopeless, and then they put Greg Hunt in to ‘oversee’ his work in the sector.

That was merely a cosmetic change, however, and an unsuccessful one, because if anything the sector struggled more, and learned absolutely nothing from mistakes of the past. This time around Morrison has defended him, by saying he has listened, and he would take it on the chin, and move on. That is not a response, it is empty and meaningless.

How do the aged care residents who have died move on? How do their grieving families move on? As Prime Minister, did Morrison not know his Minister for Sport was off to the cricket? Did Greg Hunt, his immediate boss, not know? Surely the team discussed his appearance before a Senate committee, to discuss his department’s response to the Omicron wave. If not, why not? Of 55 recent senate hearings into aged care, Colbeck has attended 2.

Morrison has never understood that he is responsible for every problem, he is expected to fix every problem, because he has the resources and the people to fix them. We gave the Prime Minister great powers for that reason. With great power come great responsibilities.

Of course Morrison does not have the personality or the sense of destiny to take control. He dithers, he deflects, he searches desperately for ways to elude responsibility. He has now become so predictable in his public appearances that we listen for the “we” instead of the “I” when it comes to accepting the Commonwealth’s major task, which can be condensed into three words: Keep Australians safe.

Attending the cricket is trivial however, when we look at the way the Prime Minister hi-jacked the pandemic response and opened up the country before it was ready. The incompetence and the hypocrisy of a fundamentalist Christian telling us all to throw off the shackles, and take back our lives is stunning. A man whose every aspect of life is controlled by his religion, telling us to live free, so the economy would kick back into life, and get him re-elected.

It was a gamble. Now he cries that Omicron was a surprise. No it wasn’t. It was decimating Europe and the U.S. and we were insulated from its damage. Until he opened the borders, we were safe, but grumbling. Now we are in mourning.

Morrison has proved himself to be a spectacularly poor planner. In the early days of the pandemic, he sometimes over-delivered. Much of his response was ‘reputation-repair’ after the Hawaii debacle, but it worked. Deaths were kept to a minimum, health advice was followed, and we felt that our government was putting people ahead of the economy.

Of course the lessons he learned in the first year and a half have been forgotten. Economists have almost universally supported leaving the Jobseeker payment where it was, because the poor spend their cash immediately. Not on paying down the mortgage, not buying a speed-boat. No, they buy food, and they pay their bills. But Morrison knew better. He reduced it back to starvation levels, and threw out the safeguards.

Morrison and Hunt told us to look at numbers in hospitals, not case numbers. Then, because they thought it was like a cold, they reduced support for testing. They did not buy Rapid Antigen Tests, although they were the only way for us to test ourselves. And so the inevitable happened. The sick were heading off to work, for two reasons.

First, they did not know if they were infected, or infectious, and second, the payments had either stopped, or been reduced, so people had no choice but to present for work. As more became ill, the supply chains collapsed. As the booster shots were certified and deemed essential, we didn’t have enough, in the right places.

The vulnerable groups remained the same that they had been in the first waves. Indigenous communities, those covered by the NDIS, the regions, the economically disadvantaged were all exposed, again. They continue to bear the burden of infections, hospitalisations, lack of testing, lack of boosters.

Amidst the rising infection rates, Morrison and Frydenberg were taking the time to boast about the economy. Stunning. Take a walk along any shopping strip, and see the shuttered shops. Take a look at supermarkets, look at the empty shelves. Ironically, as Morrison lifted restrictions, many self-imposed them. Someone had to do it, because the government went missing.

Morrison’s triumphal progress to another term is looking pretty sick, because he became tangled up in stupid plans to “push through”. This was part of his re-branding as a freedom fighter. And we are paying the price.

Their characterisation of the deaths in Aged Care this year has sunk to levels of infamy not seen in Australia before. They now regularly insert the false narrative that most (60%) of the elderly Australians dying of neglect in Aged Care facilities were ‘at death’s door already, so no harm done’ is the implication.

No, their deaths are not able to be dismissed. That is why we call the facilities “nursing homes”. Not dying homes. People who have lived lives, paid taxes, brought up children, built this country, so the spivs in the Morrison Government can write off their deaths as incidental.

1519 people have died in Australia with or from the coronavirus so far this year. I can’t put a date on that figure, because it is going up at around 80 – 100 each day. The Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer expects more variants, a flu season, and winter to present many more deaths in 2022.

Now would be a good time to quote our retiring Minister for Health: Greg Hunt, “Aged-care facilities have been required to implement infection control training and it is encouraging that despite the increase in cases, there has not been the same level of increase in illness or loss of life, with most facilities indicating that the cases have been more mild at this stage.”

It might be time to retire the lot of them, and see if there is a way to prosecute those who failed us.

Did the parliamentary cat forget to order the RATs


You know something is awry when they roll out Simon Birmingham. That is because he is the only remaining member of Morrison’s Government who is not openly despised by the vast majority of people in Australia.

He took over the role after Matthias Cormann got his big job. It is hard to say who is more dedicated to talking points, but Birmingham is growing into the role. He makes the relentless spinning, no matter how dire the situation, appear normal. He would make a jolly good grief counsellor, post politics.

Today he was sent out to defend the so-called “push-through” that Morrison, and his fellow Christian fundamentalist Perrottet, have forced on an unwilling populace. Lost amongst the blather and the word salads look at the deaths recorded every single day, mainly restricted in these early days of Omicron, to Sydney and Melbourne.

How many deaths from this ‘mild’ variant are they prepared to wear? Do five figures mean they made a mistake? What about the next variant? Will we have the same magical thinkers still trying to manage this outbreak? Will they have an adviser explain that without healthy workers we cannot have a healthy economy?

Birmingham spent five minutes telling ABC morning television that the Omicron variant is mild, and that the government is on top of it, that RATs are on their way, and that there is no problem sending close contacts back to work, and school-kids back to school, because one it is mild, and two, the RATs are on their way. The fact that GPs all over the country are being forced to cancel their appointments to vaccinate schoolkids is merely a matter of people talking to their GP. Incorrect. There are not enough vaccines for the 5-11 year olds, and if there are they are not where they are needed.

Responding to questions as to why there are no RATs to be found, he responds that there is a world-wide shortage. There isn’t, because the other countries with which these people compare Australia, ordered theirs, in quantity, and in time. So there you have the complete picture. Morrison, or Hunt, or maybe the parliamentary cat, forgot to order any, until they lost the advantage of being able to observe the wave spread throughout the northern hemisphere.

They saw that hospitals became choked with desperate patients, looked after by exhausted medical staff. They were able to see the importance of RATs in controlling the ability of the workforces to be at least protected from infectious colleagues.

So, Morrison is embarrassed, again, by another crucial failure. Don’t they add up, though? The bushfires, the vaccine strollout, the fiasco in Glasgow, his failure to protect women in the workplace, in the home, and in the streets.

Now we are facing shortages of food, shortages of medical care, shortages of vaccines again, his re-deployment of the general to hide behind, and a new catch-cry, “push through”. He defends his inability to plan by the diversion of telling us we cannot be trusted not to hoard non-available RATs, and that as a responsible money manager, no free tests. We then had the outgoing Health Minister join in, telling us we can’t have any more free stuff. Let me assure my fellow Australians that Greg Hunt will retire this year, with lots and lots of our money, packaged into a super account which would make your eyes water.

But wait, there is more! Old freedom loving Morrison tells us to exercise our Australian larrikin spirit, by getting governments out of our lives. Remember who is speaking here; this freedom fighter is a devotee of a church which believes the bible is literal truth, and who will not be guaranteed a place in heaven unless he is publicly baptised. A man who voted against same-sex marriage, because he believes so strongly in freedom.

And yet we are continuing to die, at a steady rate, and rising. Sydney and Melbourne today, total deaths 50. Not so mild, if it has the ability to regularly take our lives. Remember his executive action when someone was putting pins in strawberries? Very strict laws, his most rewarding legislative triumph, we presume.

What about ensuring we have the necessary testing equipment before throwing the old and the sick to the wolves? How about telling the truth when asked about the kids’ vaccinations? What about the matter of free RATs, for everyone. Because it works. Even his role model, Boris the party boy, gives RATs away.

He is still pushing the Religious Discrimination Bill, which is so important that no-one in the country cares. Oh, except for the homophobes and the Christian lobby, who want to be able to discriminate against Muslims and gay school kids. And gay teachers, or even teachers who don’t see anything wrong with being gay.

He won’t even introduce his Federal Integrity Bill, though. It is interesting to watch the goings on inside this man’s head, even as the death toll mounts, and he continues to go missing when the going gets tough. Is this a good time to say, God help us! But no more tennis players, please.

The Morrison Government has just given up


When you live in Australia these days you immediately become aware of the total lack of competent leadership, and the endless self-promotion of the Prime Minister. Talk of his personal photographer, tales of photo-shopping his image to show more hair on that head, and less fat in the face. His staff rolling out red carpets for when he leaves an aircraft. The man is a walking joke.

Watch a press conference from Morrison, and wait for the inevitable fact checking which follows; it always shows lies, half-truths, evasions, blame shifting. Of course if you have any brains, you know it’s happening before the fact-checkers verify it. He cannot help himself. Watch for the first difficult question, and watch him scamper away.

At the moment, in early January 2022, the country has descended into chaos. And yet you have the spectacle of the Prime Minister, and his boy treasurer asserting the recovery is on track. A walk through Ivanhoe shopping centre last Saturday showed more than half the shopfronts empty, and for lease. If that is a recovery, I will eat my baseball cap.

Every state except Western Australia, going from handfuls of cases, to thousands, every day. Hospitals filling up, staff becoming ill, or just plain overworked to exhaustion. Supermarket shelves are emptying, shops can’t get stock, or staff.

In Melbourne we have an informal, self-imposed lockdown. That is because we have been here before, and the Commonwealth Government is more interested in semantics, defining, and re-defining the meaning of words we all understand. Testing, isolation, quarantine, case numbers are all in the firing line. They are trying out the meaning of the word “death”, by planting the notion of “dying with covid” as somehow different from “dying of covid”.

Economists and health professionals are united in pushing for free Rapid Antigen Tests, (RAT) as being in the national interest, both from a health perspective, but economically as well. That is because if you suspect you have symptoms you can self-test and isolate at home. That way you don’t infect everyone you meet on the way to work, or at work. Simple really.

To say he wants to protect the private companies who would sell the test kits is false, and stupid. Harvey Norman and Chemist Warehouse are doing ok already, they don’t need a leg up from a person who has never worked in the private sector, and couldn’t organise a trip to the toilet on his own.

Of course switching over to RATs was suggested by epidemiologists as far back as February 2021, and again by the AMA in September 2021. But the gambler in the Lodge didn’t want to spend the money, which was of course a false economy, as so much of his penny-pinching (with our money) is.

Morrison denies being unprepared, even as our case numbers approach 100,000 a day, notwithstanding the lack of testing. So using Trump’s logic, his first act is to suspend testing, by not supporting the testing regime in the states. He exhibits a mixture of blind arrogance, and a total lack of planning.

He tells us not to look at the case numbers, look at hospitalisations. All right, look at hospitalisations. Going through the roof. So Morrison and his willing accomplice Perrottet have managed to upend our entire covid response, and to throw public health care back on to individuals.

That is not why we elect governments, and it is not the reason we pay these clowns. Part of modern governments’ remit is to keep their people safe. It is difficult to comprehend, but there is no responsible adult available to help. Greg Hunt is a cipher, toeing the party line, until he retires. It will be interesting to see who employs him post-parliament.

The medical officials have also been side-lined by the clowns, and the country is going to the dogs. In this free for all, the states are as guilty as the feds. All we can hope for is that the states step up, and take over. They are showing signs of panic, so maybe the ‘let it rip’ philosophy is going to change.

The latest diversion from our dire straits is a tennis player. Even then, Morrison cannot tell the tale without lies, half-truths, and blaming. The federal government issues visas, not the Victorian Government. Not Tennis Australia, but like he did with Christine Holgate, throw a tantrum, stand up for the ‘little man’ and throw someone under the public outrage bus. If he thinks this will save his bacon in Victoria come election day, think again. Most of us cannot stand the sight of you, and the quicker we can consign you back to obscurity, the better.

Norman Swan raised the issue of ‘acceptable number of deaths’ today. We accept 1000 road deaths a year, 1000 flu deaths. What will we consider an acceptable number of deaths a year from covid? And if you can provide a number, are you prepared to lose your grandmother, or a sibling who is immuno-compromised? An old friend with a dodgy ticker?

Considering the success we enjoyed over the last couple of pandemic years, we must demand a return to intelligent public health measures, and stop the steady creep down the path of allowing our vulnerable to die, because of the ideological preferences of narrow, unfit for public service, religious zealots and neoliberals.

How they vote says a lot-Barnaby Joyce


Some LNP coalition members want to close down the “They Vote For You” website, because they feel it shines a light on how they vote on individual matters of policy. They appear to misunderstand the very nature of parliamentary democracy, which is no longer conducted in smoke-filled rooms, but in full public view. How they vote is thus in the public domain, and if they are ashamed of how they vote, they should change their position, or resign.

I live in the part of Australia described as “rural and regional”, so Mr Joyce, as the responsible minister, and an avowed champion of the regions, represents my interests. I am sure he thinks so. My house is coincidentally made of weatherboard and iron, which is the title of a book Mr Joyce once wrote. I am sure it can be obtained very cheaply these days, although his struggles with the spoken language would suggest his writing would be similarly ‘all over the shop’. I read a lot, but I admit I could not bring myself to sample his writing style.

His voting record is fairly consistent, and it could be inferred that he votes with his ‘heart, rather than his head’. But let us proceed to some of those votes.

On reducing inequality?

He strongly supports tightening the screws on welfare recipients. He voted to drug-test them, to pay their entitlements into a cashless debit card, and to limit the availability of payments to them. Clearly he believes that they cannot be trusted with money.

While many of his constituents in the regions rely on Social Security to live, he did vote for increasing the price of subsidised medicines, tighter means testing of family payments, and oddly, he voted for increasing parliamentary entitlements for current MPs and Senators.

He also voted against increasing consumer protections, against removing children from immigration detention, against increasing federal support for childcare, against closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. He is definitely not a “leveller”.

He represents New England. Perhaps he lives in the ritzier part of the electorate, which might explain his disconnect between how the majority of his constituents live, and their needs, and his own. He received six months free accommodation after his marriage breakdown, so he is not averse to a freebie or two. We just have to trust the donor was not paying for access.

On education

His position on education seems to be about making it hard for the disadvantaged to get into university, because he voted to deregulate undergraduate university fees, and to increase indexing on HECS/HELP debts. He also voted against increasing funding for university education.

He supports charging postgraduate research students fees, as well as political interference in funding research. He voted to increase fees for humanities degrees. He did support a national school chaplaincy program, though.

On marriage equality

He voted for a plebiscite. He also voted to support civil celebrants’ right to refuse to marry same-sex couples. He voted against equal treatment for all couples, and against same-sex marriage equality. He could be credibly described as not being in favour of same-sex relationships.

On science & the environment

Mr Joyce is the leader of the National Party, which is the party for farmers and agriculture. His voting record on protecting the environment is spectacularly negative.

Here is a list of the policies he has voted AGAINST:

  • Government action on animal & plant extinctions
  • increasing investment in renewable energy
  • increasing protection of Aboriginal heritage sites
  • local community consultation on infrastructure projects
  • protecting threatened forest and bushland habitats
  • a carbon price
  • a fast transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy
  • a minerals resource rent tax
  • increasing fishing restrictions
  • increasing protection of Australia’s fresh water
  • maintaining or increasing CSIRO funding
  • protecting the Great Barrier Reef
  • restricting foreign ownership
  • the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme
  • treating government action on climate change as urgent
  • ending illegal logging

This short retelling of Barnaby Joyce’s parliamentary votes is illuminating, and depressing. While strictly factual, it shows a disturbing pattern. His character has received much criticism over the years, exacerbated by his seeming shamelessness, and a singular lack of contrition. If we were to place him on a sort of political spectrum, he seems to embody eighteenth century social libertarianism, wilful blindness, proud anti-intellectualism, disregard for the poor, and a pumped up sense of achievement.

His attitudes expressly make it hard for his constituents to achieve social or economic mobility, and show an insensitivity to the needs of those less fortunate than himself, a complete disconnect between his role and the responsibilities inherent in it, and a drunken sailor’s lack of care toward the environment. For example, in 2017 he floated a plan to log old growth forests in Victoria, because of a couple of reported sightings of Leadbeater’s possum. Mr Joyce decided that it no longer needed to be protected from extinction.

He wears a floppy hat, and talks about shooting his cattle to stop them emitting methane, as if that makes him a farmer. He denigrates the latte sippers in the cities, accusing them of knowing nothing about the bush, but he has no concept of the duty to protect and nurture the land, as practised first by the Aborigines, and more recently by many of our farmers. He treats our natural environment as if it is a car-park, and our waterways as if they are solely for the use of multi-national cotton farmers.

He has been dubbed the Minister for Mining, and his record shows a total disregard for the future of life on earth, which borders on the sociopathic. He really appears to disrespect us all, and to treat the office of Deputy Prime Minister as a personal trinket.

As he said in his maiden speech in the House of Representatives, “Romans understood that political stability came from a public that was fed and, on a future stage, the British borrowed from this lesson and China is living it in a vastly more sanitised and politically correct form today. The basic rule remains the same; look after your own.”

Sadly, he appears to be conflicted as to who constitutes ‘his own’. Is it the people of Australia, or Gina Rinehart?

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.

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