Tag Archives: Angus Taylor

Angus Taylor – running dead, or not as bright as we thought?


Angus Taylor was the previous Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, and he is arguably one of the best educated people in our parliament, with degrees in Economics, and Law, and a Master of Philosophy (Economics) from Oxford. Each of these degrees is necessarily reliant on the use of facts, and figures, real evidence, and mature reasoning.

There is nothing as disappointing as the failure of clever people, because it signals one of two possible reasons for the failure: An inability to handle really difficult tasks because they are ‘clever’ in a bookish way, but when the going gets hard, they squib it, and come up short.

The other reason is when they are captured by ideology, and/or ambition, and they tailor their contribution so that they fail in their allotted task. This is a form of intellectual self-sabotage, for personal gain.

Morrison’s cabinet was grossly under-resourced, staffed by drones valued for their loyalty to Morrison, rather than for their ability. However, individuals like Greg Hunt, and Angus Taylor stood out, at first glance, as genuinely talented, and yet they both failed in their allotted tasks. Sadly they failed our climate, which later generations will not forgive.

Greg Hunt co-wrote a thesis at Yale titled “A Tax to Make the Polluter Pay“. It was apparently brilliant, and it made a very strong case for a ‘carbon tax’. I could not get past the first page, but it had a catchy message: “it (a carbon tax) better ensures that the polluter bears full responsibility for the cost of his or her conduct”. It seems that as soon as cabinet preferment beckoned, he threw his thesis out with the bathwater.

Similarly, Angus Taylor’s abject failure on reducing emissions came after a stellar education, “the best part of two decades in management consulting”, and yet on reaching parliament he devoted three years to undermining and (pardon the pun) gaslighting Australians on our progress to carbon neutrality.

He even stated, at a rally against wind power in 2013, “I am not a climate sceptic. For 25 years, I have been concerned about how rising carbon dioxide emissions might have an impact on our climate. It remains a concern of mine today. I do not have a vendetta against renewables.”

His failure is so mysterious. Ben Potter from the Financial Review believes his opposition to wind power dates from when a wind farm was built next door to his family’s property in Cooma.

I can understand that may have annoyed the family, but this is a past Minister of the Crown with such an illogical and unreasoning hatred for a form of power generation that perhaps, instead of continuing to vandalise Australia’s response to climate heating, he should have engaged the services of a competent psychiatrist, or even a life coach.

The least he should have done was to step aside from his portfolio, and allow a competent person to step up and actually ‘do the job’. I know, we are talking about the former Coalition government, and there was not one competent person to put up.

Which brings us to his new job. He is now the Treasury spokesman. Considering his demonstrated difficulties with numbers, one wonders how competent he can be in such a position. The botched stitch-up on Clover Moore sends a message that he struggles with the basics, and he looks to be a poor match for Jim Chalmers.

On the matter of trust, in March 2022 Roy Morgan published the results on polling undertaken that placed Angus Taylor as the 7th least trusted politician in Australia, placing behind Dominic Perrottet (6th), Craig Kelly (5th), Pauline Hanson (4th), Barnaby Joyce (3rd), Peter Dutton (2nd) and Scott Morrison (1st).

He has struggled with public perceptions that he has put his own, and his family’s, interests before the public interest. We all know that Morrison has damaged the Liberal brand, possibly irrevocably. We know that Peter Dutton had a limited field from which to choose when allocating shadow portfolios.

That does not make Angus Taylor a hopeless choice, but it illustrates the lack of front bench talent, and the question to ask is, is Angus Taylor up to the task? Did he lack the ability to do his last job properly, or was he running dead, to sabotage the transition to renewables? That is the question we must ask ourselves.

As to the Coalition attempting to put together an alternative government, I would question whether Peter Dutton as alternative prime minister, and Angus Taylor as the alternative treasurer, really cuts it. I wouldn’t vote for them in a fit.

Team Australia – a sporting analysis


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another farcical week in Australian politics


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

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

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

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

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

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

Submarine diplomacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lucky country, run by second rate people


“Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second rate people who share its luck. It lives on other people’s ideas, and, although its ordinary people are adaptable, most of its leaders (in all fields) so lack curiosity about the events that surround them that they are often taken by surprise.”
That is a quote taken directly from Donald Horne’s The Lucky Country. It was published in 1964.

Is that still true? The short answer is of course yes. Let me count the ways our lucky country is led by second rate people, and some of their signature ‘tunes’.

Morrison is like a bull in a china shop

In December 2010, the shadow cabinet were asked to bring three ideas each, to a tactics meeting, for attacking the Gillard Government. One of Mr Morrison’s ideas was to use an anti-Muslim campaign, as he thought it might be effective, and popular. He was dissuaded by colleagues, who thought it a step too far.

In February 2011, he objected to the cost of flying grieving relatives to Sydney, for the funerals of their loved ones, who had died in the Christmas Island boat disaster. After much criticism, he apologised for the timing of the statement, but not the substance. He made the statement on the actual day of the funerals.

He repeatedly referred to “illegal arrivals” and “illegal boats,” when discussing asylum seekers. He was eventually elevated to Immigration Minister in 2013, when Abbott came to power. He takes particular pride in having ‘stopped the boats’. He was widely criticised for his refusal to discuss “on water matters”. He has a basic disregard towards the public’s right to know what the Government does, on our behalf.

In November 2014 the Australian Human Rights Commission found that he had violated the rights of children in his care, and of breaching Australia’s international obligations. Tony Abbott was concerned that the report was politically motivated. No remorse, from either of them.

In the five years to 2019, more than 95,000 asylum seekers arrived in Australia by plane, causing a huge backlog of unsuccessful applicants, all waiting to be deported. Critics say that many are the victims of people smugglers, using the other, acceptable gateway, the airport. Many are vulnerable to exploitation, and possibly slavery. It is possible that Morrison has thought about this, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

In 2019 he went to Hawaii while Sydney was on fire, because he had promised his kids. He doesn’t hold a hose, because he is more of an office type of guy. He was busy, he said, and he deserved a holiday, like every other husband and father. This was the beginning of the ‘daggy dad’ routine. Beers at the footy, visits to Bunnings, silly hats. All part of a campaign to humanise him, to try and remove the ‘big end of town’ focus of his policies. Tax cuts for the rich, Robodebt for the poor. He has a mortgage, like everybody else, except he gets paid over half a million dollars a year.

The pandemic saved him, because he has so little regard for following process that he, and his Government, were in danger of being hounded out of office. It is still amazing how little he expected to be found out, with firstly his sports rorts affair, and now the supercharged car-parks scheme. He is like a burglar who thinks no-one can see him, as he breaks and enters, misusing taxpayers’ funds as if they were his own.

The vaccine rollout has been a disaster, because the daggy leader didn’t understand that he had only done the first part of his job. He was happy to coast on our low deaths and infection rates, without any curiosity as to what might come next. Second and third waves have been a part of pandemics since at least 1919 and the Spanish flu, but it was, in his mind, definitely not a race! More of a victory lap.

If we were to study Morrison’s response to gender issues this year, his calling in of his wife to advise him on an appropriate response to Brittany Higgins was a particular lowlight. He seems to be afraid of those pesky women, and their demands for, at the very least, a safe place to work. Again, his tone-deaf support of Christian Porter highlighted his inability to read the signs of change.

Ditto for global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered its Sixth Assessment Report this week, and the usual suspects fronted up to gaslight the Australian public. Morrison again stated that he supported the science, and his Emissions Reduction Minister, Angus Taylor, repeated the line that we are on target to “meet and beat” the Paris target. The climate crisis, for it really is one, was visible to scientists thirty years ago, and yet the Liberals think they can still fob us off with tales of “technology not taxes”.

In this instance we are going it alone. We are not even borrowing ideas from overseas; the rest of the world knows Climate Change is happening, but our leaders have stuck their heads in the sand. Like ostriches, or was that emus? How embarrassing, and ultimately dangerous. Clearly, we are led by second rate politicians, who hope their luck never ends.