The IPA has captured our government


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

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

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

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

Current or ex-members in Parliament

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of their policies

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

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

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

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

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

So why would Australia want such policies?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just two weeks to go.


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

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

The Leaders

Scott Morrison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anthony Albanese

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Into the third week, what’s up?


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

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

Climate Action

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

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

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

A fair go, for whom?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The transphobia outbreak

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

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

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

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

Cost of living pressures

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

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

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

Bring on the election, I say.

As if we needed another crazed dictator to emerge


The most disturbing feature of the war in Ukraine is the currency of the action, the actual real-time evidence of the destruction, and the sheer number of civilian deaths.

If you have read history, especially the history of the Second World War, you will have seen pictures of dead bodies on streets, and concrete buildings reduced to rubble. Mostly in black and white, they are frozen in time. They are real, and the people are really dead.

The images speak of the unenlightened ‘then’, before mankind’s embrace of globalism, the European Union, the United Nations, trading blocs and global co-operation. Even Russia is a member of the United Nations, and until the February 2022 invasion Russia was seen as a global citizen, paying some of its share, and enjoying a limited post-Soviet rehabilitation.

It was a false dawn. Putin has been building his own version of the Gulag, and his experience as a member of the KGB has informed the structuring of an efficient police state. He has also continued in the bloody tradition of the czars, and the later communist leaders of the Soviet Union.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 Chechnya was ready for post-Soviet life. So was Ukraine. But the new Russia was not. It would attempt to hold on to its past geopolitical primacy, and the battle for Ukraine is yet another episode in Russia’s attempt to recapture lost territory.

If we want to see the dress rehearsal for the war against Ukraine, we need only go back to Boris Yeltsin’s First Chechen War, where for the period 1994 – 1996 Russia ignored the will of the Chechens, and in the process destroyed Grozny and the surrounding countryside.

The reason the West was taken by surprise when Putin invaded Ukraine was that the international media treated the Chechen Wars as internal affairs, rather than attacks on a sovereign state, by another sovereign state, looking to retain territory they had lost, due to a treaty.

Chechen public opinion in 1991 was strongly for independence from Russia. With a turnout of 72%, 90.1% voted for the Chechen leader, Dudayev. Russia began a campaign of harassment and supplied Russian separatists with money, weapons and troops.

It was never anything but the pursuit of territory by force, although the Chechens had voted overwhelmingly for separation. By 1994 President Yeltsin issued an ultimatum to all warring factions in Chechnya, ordering them to disarm and surrender. When the government in Grozny refused, Yeltsin ordered the Russian army to “restore constitutional order” by force.

When the Russians besieged the Chechen capital, thousands of civilians died from a week-long series of air raids and artillery bombardments in the heaviest bombing campaign in Europe since the destruction of Dresden. Williams, Bryan Glyn (2001)

Fast forward to Ukraine. Similar tactics, similar disregard of humanitarian principles, similar spurious reasons given for the invasion.

There is one crucial difference, however. Putin’s rigid control of state media in Russia, and his rock solid use of a punitive police presence has kept the Russian public’s support for the war high.

The barrage of misinformation has seen a weakening in the West’s resolve. Hungary has made a virtue of not criticising Russia’s war, and the Republicans, led by Trump, have questioned the general moral outrage.

It is lucky that summer is coming to Europe, otherwise Russia’s gas supplies would have been a necessity for many European countries. The reality appears to be that Russia and Putin will not be shamed into a withdrawal, and we might be stuck with a highly dangerous situation for years to come.

It can safely be said that whenever a dictator is supplied with the means for war, and the requisite power, that the fate of the rest of us depends on our being prepared for the worst, because it can sometimes be as simple as a madman’s whim which causes the boat to capsize.

The Russians will not thank him for destroying their economy, the Russian troops’ parents and families will not thank him for killing their sons, and the Ukrainian people will never accept the reason for the invasion, or its apparent objective: The subjugation of its identity and status as a sovereign nation. The death and destruction means there will never be reconciliation between Russia and Ukraine.

Putin’s war is a grave mistake, and hundreds of thousands will pay the price. The greatest threat comes from Putin, and his absolute hold on power. He, if cornered, might pull out all the stops, and attempt to bluff the Unites States and Europe with the threat of nuclear war.

The possibility is there, and it looks to be Putin’s last card.

Why is our government so hopeless?


Australia is a signatory to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) The Commonwealth of Australia was one of the 193 countries that adopted the 2030 Agenda in September 2015.

Implementation of the agenda is led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) with different federal government agencies responsible for each of the goals. Australia is not on-track to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

The 17 SDGs are:

(1) No Poverty, Anne Ruston. Clearly failing. In Australia, there are more than 3 million people or 13.2% of the population living below the poverty line. That includes 739,000 children or more than 1 in 6.

(2) Zero Hunger, Anne Ruston. Clearly failing. Refer (1) above

(3) Good Health and Well-being, Greg Hunt Anne Ruston? The country is in the grip of a wave of Covid deaths and infections, lingering but unaddressed “long-Covid”, no restrictions, all bull-dozed through by Scott Morrison.

(4) Quality Education, Alan Tudge Stuart Robert or Alan Tudge? If quality means private & expensive, terrific. Government funding for independent schools increased by $3338 a student over a decade, compared with $703 more per student for public schools. Trying to dumb us all down.

(5) Gender Equality, Marise Payne. Really? We have a minister. One woman a week murdered in Australia, by an intimate partner. And yet an alleged rapist and an alleged physical abuser of a female partner seemingly deemed suitable to continue their government employ. We’re even paying damages to one of the victims, but he’s still employable?

(6) Clean Water and Sanitation, Keith Pitt. When Keith puts his mind to it, it will be ok. Between him & Barnaby Joyce, buying groundwater and favouring mining interests, building dams; not much hope for dry Australia.

(7) Affordable and Clean Energy, Angus Taylor. What to say. He hates wind, he went to Glasgow COP26 to spruik fossil fuels. This minister is seemingly working against our interests.

(8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, Stuart Robert. Casualisation of the workforce, and pressure on employers to keep wages low has led to a surge in corporate profitability, and stagnant wages. Removal of penalty rates was a shocker.

(9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Barnaby Joyce or Angus Taylor? With these two sharing the responsibility, about the best they can think of is keeping coal power stations emitting, & building dams. Handy – NOT.

(10) Reduced Inequality, No-one appointed. They all take perverted pleasure in keeping the poor poor. The Labor Party has just trashed the hopes of millions of poor Australians, by promising to not review the JpbSeeker rate. So a pox on both your houses.

(11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, Paul Fletcher. Depends on where you live. If in Melbourne, bad luck. A marginal seat, Paul is your man. You might get a car-park, whether you need it or not.

(12) Responsible Consumption and Production, No-one appointed. Two examples – 1. VIP jet loaned to Matthias Cormann to fly around the world, seeking a job when he already had one. 2. $5.5 billion wasted on cancelling our submarine contract. Replacement – a drawing of a future nuclear sub.

(13) Climate Action, Angus Taylor. Refer to (7)

(14) Life Below Water, Sussan Ley. The Great Barrier Reef is now considered to be over half dead. She and her ministerial colleagues, but mainly Angus Taylor, have colluded to ignore climate change. A massive fail, on every front.

(15) Life On Land, Sussan Ley. Sussan Ley has overseen the approval of massive land clearing, for coal mining operations, leading to the koala being moved from “vulnerable to endangered.” One of many unique species under severe threat. She also went to court to appeal an earlier ruling that she owed a duty of care to future generations. Terrific win Sussan.

(16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, Christian Porter Michaelia Cash. Still allowing ‘secret’ trials of whistleblowers, who alerted us that Australia had broken the law in East Timor. Still locking up kids as young as ten. Still stacking the AAT with political hacks.

(17) Partnerships for the Goals. Well, they are colluding to deliver the worst results to the Aussie pleb, while feathering their own nests. DFAT and PM&C are the partners.

Just to be perfectly clear, Australia is failing on ALL 17 goals. Australia is wealthy, and Australia has a government which employs Ministers of the Crown to achieve these goals. I know that because one (not sure which PM) of the recent prime ministers signed us up.

The first of these goals is “No poverty”. Source – Wikipedia

However, Australia has the 16th highest poverty rate out of the 34 wealthiest countries in the OECD – higher than the average for the OECD; higher than the UK, Germany and New Zealand.

People living in poverty in Australia often miss out on essentials such as food or a roof over their heads. Children living in poverty often miss out on items such as school excursions.

If “no poverty” is the goal, why are we prepared to look the other way? We know that poverty exists, we know how to fix it, and yet we tolerate keeping people down. Why?

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.



1

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.

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