Arise Sir Tony!


At the risk of beating the same old drum, this current Government seems to be heading steadily down the ethical and moral drain, ever since the unexpected election win. So much of the country’s malaise, however, can be traced back to the ascension of one Tony Abbott, firstly as Opposition Leader, and then, unbelievably, as Prime Minister.

As Opposition Leader

He was a surprise, because no-one believed he would ever be elected to lead anything. He was almost universally derided for his open and unashamedly pugnacious Catholicism, and his awkwardness with language, and his seeming inability to move into the 21st century. He was the polar opposite of progressive, and seen as something of a likeable dinosaur.

He had an unexpected skill, however. This special skill lay in his ability to focus on a single, simplistic theme, and then to carry the fight on, daily, against both his own moderate fellow-Liberals, but also against Julia Gillard, until the death. This ‘theme’ was the carbon price, still the best and only successful mechanism so far tried in Australia, to combat climate change. So it became his mania, and we still suffer from his short-term-ism, his willingness to throw Australia under a bus, in pursuit of his own political advancement.

He came to embody opposition; he lived the dictum of the (British) Whig Mr Tierney, “the duty of an Opposition was very simple—it was to oppose everything and propose nothing.”

He was in the right place at the right time – Kevin Rudd and Abbott, between them, destroyed Gillard’s Government, and allowed the election of Abbott, as Prime Minister.

As Prime Minister

Tony Abbott set about dismantling Australia’s pact with its citizens, from day 1. Perhaps his most unpopular act was to break an election promise NOT to cut the funding to the ABC. Of course he did, because he had warned us, back in his Opposition Leader days, that he was somewhat flexible with the truth.

Now if there is one thing Australians hold dear – it is the ABC. If you want a simple test as to whether someone despises the people of Australia, see who wants to dismantle, or hobble, or sell, or just remove funding from, the ABC. Read more about their really reprehensible moral vacuity here https://askbucko.com/2020/04/29/the-abc-is-the-latest-target/

The reason is that we all value information, and we expect it to be delivered without bias, and we don’t want Rupert Murdoch https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch or Kerry Stokes to have had a say in what form, or how, it is delivered.

It is profoundly undemocratic to stifle the voice of the public broadcaster, and cutting its funding is just another way to bell the cat, to keep us all in ignorance. And it removes oversight; it allows the political class to escape scrutiny. Which in this country these days can mean all sorts of chicanery.

The list of assassins is long, and it includes people like Eric Abetz, Cory Bernardi, Simon Birmingham, Matt Canavan, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Mitch Fifield, Bridget McKenzie, James Patterson and Anne Ruston, to name a few.

Oddly, the names are eerily similar to the list of middle aged people, who are very angry with Greta Thunberg, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greta_Thunberg because she dares to have an opinion, and because she is a leader. And she is 17 years old.

Many of these ‘young fogies’ believe that schools are for learning only, and not about thinking. They also disapprove of same-sex marriage. One can only wonder at the double standards shown by the Nationals on the list, because they know full well how much regional Australians value their ABC.

As a backbencher

Of course we all rued the days of Abbott, and we were all desperate to escape him; we were all hugely relieved when someone apparently adult took over. But he never could, really. Abbott held Turnbull as a virtual prisoner, and he led his posse of wreckers on a kamikaze mission to destroy Turnbull, all the while trying to dismantle the renewable energy industry, and to hamstring Australia’s efforts to deal with climate change.

This was not necessarily because he did not believe, (although it is still impossible to know where he stands on the issue), but purely for reasons of personal vindication, and simple revenge. So much for service to the community.

His successor fought the good fight, for as long as he could, but a combination of his own political ineptitude, and his opponents’ bloody-mindedness, finally did him in. It appeared to be a coup, by Abbott’s supporters, at the expense of the Australian people. How depressing to discover that we had a choice between the devil, and the deep blue sea: Peter Dutton, or Scott Morrison.

Abbott had the gall to then state that he was finally satisfied, because Turnbull was no longer PM. He behaved as if removing Turnbull was a noteworthy achievement. Remember that Abbott had promised, “There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping.”

If there is an individual who bears responsibility for Australia’s recent ‘fall from grace’, it is Abbott. He is shameless, a self-confessed liar and a man who seems to have jumped on the gravy train early, and who continues to ride it. He lacks the personal insight to reflect on his legacy, which is threadbare at best. Many struggle to find a single achievement to honour him for.

He was removed from his leadership role, and coincidentally the Prime Ministership in 2015, and then he got the ‘bum’s rush’ from his own electorate in 2018. He did manage to get back onto the public payroll in October 2019, when he was appointed to the council of the Australian War Memorial.

Post politics

In an attempt to retain some sort of relevance he has continued to travel the world, making speeches to anyone who will listen. Recently he has excelled, giving support to reactionary and oafish world leaders, including Boris Johnson and Viktor Orbán of Hungary, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/sep/13/tony-abbott-doubles-down-on-praise-for-hungarys-far-right-pm-viktor-orban.

He also believes that the world is in the grip of a climate cult https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/australia-wildfires-bushfires-latest-tony-abbott-climate-change-scott-morrison-a9268801.html.

He has stated that he remains ready to serve. Today Tony Abbott was made a Companion of the Order of Australia. Some may remember the public outrage when he awarded a knighthood to Prince Philip on Australia Day in 2015. What irony that he is awarded a gong, on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, five years later. Could it be a ‘quid pro quo’?

This article has been updated to include changes, including the awarding of the AC to Tony Abbott in the Queens Birthday 2020 Honours List

Scomo wrote us a letter of regret


Why did he write the letter?

I dreamed that Scott Morrison woke up one day, very recently, and was filled with regret. He was so overcome with regret that he wrote a letter of apology to the people of Australia. The gist of his imaginary letter went something like this:

It is clear that the country needs to be re-set. We have at last done something right, and I feel a sense of pride, and achievement, as I have never felt before. We have flattened the curve of the virus. The people have banded together, and helped us through this turbulent time. They are chafing at the bit now, but we are confident we have done the best we could.

There are many areas that, on reflection, I should work on, though. Firstly, I need to stop thinking like my great friends, Donald and Boris. They both took a holiday when the virus arrived, and look where that took them. Thousands of unnecessary deaths.

I remember my own holiday. It did not turn out well. It seems that this is a full-time job. And I DO hold a hose, if required.

Education often appears, alongside health, as the biggest issue in people’s minds. I must remember that! My education was provided to me by the state. It was free, and secular. It was excellent, and I cannot imagine why I persist in funding wealthy private schools more generously than the state sector schools. It seems so counter-intuitive, to give taxpayers’ funds to people who choose to sequester their children, away from the common herd. Sydney High had it all, though. Free, but selective. Elitism, without the price. Anyway, I must have a word to Dan (Tehan). Maybe we can try to govern for all in the future.

I actually have a science degree, with honours. So the ‘daggy dad’ persona is a crock, or to put it in more seemly terms, a construct. I do feel great shame about the position my Government takes on climate change, because I know I have further enabled the terrible degradation of this beautiful country, and even its international reputation.

My area of expertise is in economic geography, but a science degree is built on the scientific method, and I know that I can, and I should, trust the scientists, when they tell us we are wrecking the planet. It is just that once I tasted success, and power, I lost my head. I felt that if I did the right thing, it might cost me the big job, but it is not too late. I must sack Angus, and put someone else in the job; someone who actually wants to help us save the earth.

Of course there are the refugees. Wow. What was I thinking? To demonise a thousand people, and to then torture them for years. I can’t even remember what it was I was trying to fix. I do remember saying something about keeping the sugar off the table. That was a reference to gaining entry to Australia through Indonesia. Considering my own family’s arrival here, it was really lacking in insight. But, it’s never too late to change. I sometimes look back on statements like that, and I cringe.

It can’t have been to save lives at sea, by ruining lives on land. That sounds like a false equivalence. What would my tutor in Economic Geography think? Perhaps it was to save money? But then, look at the money I wasted on ‘sports rorts’. We could have slung some of that money at the refugees. We could have put them up at the Hilton for the last seven years, and saved plenty.

Not to mention what Paladin has made from us over the journey. We don’t even check their invoices, so you know they have made a motza. Which brings me to Pete (Dutton). I keep buying him off, by increasing his powers, but nothing works. He craves more, and more. I never sanction him, I allow him to run his own line on Foreign Affairs.

He insults Lebanese-Australians by suggesting that they are more prone to committing crimes. He believes there is a criminal gene, I suppose. Doesn’t he even know that my great great grandfather was on the First Fleet, a convicted criminal. He might as well accuse me of having the same criminal gene. I think it is time I stopped Pete’s reign of terror, and put someone in who likes people. I will probably dismantle his department, while I think of it. It is one of Malcolm’s dopiest errors, and then I made it worse, by keeping Pete on.

I really need to apologise for that statement “A fair go for those who have a go”, which even I know is one of the most divisive phrases ever uttered in Australian history. I know better now that I am in this position. It is not a contest. We’re all in this together. Life is not a game, with winners and losers.

If I am going to stop Pete torturing refugees, I must stop torturing the poor. I want to ‘man up’, swallow the fact that I was wrong all along, and acknowledge that Newstart was degradingly low, and that the majority of Australians support it being substantially raised, permanently. So when the time comes to reduce it, I will remember that I serve the people. And I will leave it where it is.

That would not only make moral sense, but it would serve as a continuing economic stimulus. And while I am here, I would like to unreservedly apologise for ‘robodebt‘, which we know was unlawful and unenforceable for years. Again, what were we thinking? It has been suggested that that scheme may have caused between 800, and 2000 deaths.

Wow, deaths caused by a Government’s deliberate cruelty. Again, while I am seeking redemption, perhaps we could abolish the dreaded ‘cashless card’ for those who are already struggling. That is the one where we assumed that everyone on Newstart was buying grog, cigarettes and maybe even porn with their $290 a week. Now that it has been temporarily doubled, I can only hope that their lives have been improved. After all, that is supposed to be my main aim.

I am beginning to see the benefits of confession. It really does lighten the load. With such a brilliant population to work with, we can actually do anything. I think the extra $60 billion that Josh just ‘found’ could come in handy. I know, I will include the visa holders, and the artists, the performers, the casuals and anyone else excluded from JobKeeper. Let’s actually treat them with dignity, rather than sending them to food-banks. Food-banks, in Australia! What were we thinking?

Then I woke up.

Scott Morrison Should Resign and Call an Early Election


Looking for a renewed mandate has been done before

It has become clear that this Government is illegitimate. The stench of corruption is overwhelming, and any decent Prime Minister should acknowledge that fact. In order to re-establish his relationship with the people of Australia, Morrison should resign, and call a general election.

It has been done before, and it can actually re-invigorate the political environment. In 1963 the then Liberal Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, called an early election for the House of Representatives because the government were struggling to govern with their narrow 2-seat majority in the chamber. The government succeeded in gaining an extra 10 seats. There was no discernible sense that the Prime Minister of the time was corrupt.

What is so wrong now?

The situation is vastly different now, in that there is almost a complete lack of trust in this Government. The personnel, from the very top, are so far outside the expectations of rational and honest voters that many of us feel we deserve some sort of refund, if not of our time then of our taxes.

How should the election be conducted?

If Morrison was able to conduct the election campaign as convention dictates, he would serve as a caretaker, and he would not spend millions of taxpayers’ funds on advertising his party’s policies; he would not bribe seemingly every coalition seat with unnecessary and cynical ‘grants’, and he might even stop lying about his climate policies. He should stop claiming illusory climate and emissions achievements, to appease his backbench rump. And additionally, he should allow the people to pre-select their own candidates, rather than intervene. This might lead to the omission of knuckle-draggers like Craig Kelly from the parliament. This would be a win for everyone.

If no election, what could change?

Further immediate improvements to consider include answering legitimate questions from the press, being open and transparent enough to release suppressed reports on ministers, and to promise not to protect those in his party room who have lost the trust of the Australian people. Imagine if he had actual standards which included not handing power to racists, to homophobes, or to those who have put personal advancement above the country’s interests. We know who they are, but he merely closes ranks when questioned. Sometimes he “rejects the premise of the question”.

Imagine if he apologised for the statement “A fair go for those who have a go”, which is one of the most divisive phrases ever uttered in Australian history. And imagine if his Government stopped torturing the poor. He could ‘man up’, swallow the fact that he has been wrong all along, and acknowledge that Newstart is degradingly low, and that the majority of Australians support it being substantially raised.

That would not only make moral sense, but it would serve as an immediate economic stimulus. And perhaps apologise for ‘robodebt‘, which we know was unlawful and unenforceable for years. Why don’t we rise up in revolt when it is suggested that between 800 and 2000 deaths have occurred because of that program. Who will take the responsibility for that?

Wow, death caused by a Government’s deliberate cruelty. That is to leave out the unimaginable monstrosity of our treatment of asylum seekers. Two names are enough. Scott Morrison, and Peter Dutton. A weeping sore for decent Australians.

As for other current issues, as an added latest twist of the knife, they want everyone who receives Newstart to have a cashless card, so that they have very limited access to cash. So firstly they assume everyone on Newstart is buying grog, cigarettes and maybe even porn with their $290 a week; after rent of course! Good luck with that. And secondly the idiots in charge of this have not even researched whether the card can be used in all parts of the country.

The main cause of the current dysfunction is Tony Abbott

How did it come to this? It is impossible to look at the decline of Australian democracy without looking at Tony Abbott. John Howard was mean and tricky, Kevin Rudd was a boring control freak, Julia Gillard was an effective legislator, but hopeless at presenting herself as a likeable achiever. And of course she encountered good old Aussie misogyny. Which brings us back to Abbott.

Serial liar, seemingly out to get the poor, hopelessly stuck in a misogynistic 1950s, elitist and yet so sloppy with language, so annoying and in the end so vengeful that we all knew he would take Australia down with him, if necessary, in his pursuit of Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull came to power as our saviour. Finally an adult in the room, urbane, sophisticated, he would treat us as adults. No more slogans, he would conduct a dialogue with us. But he turned out to have no convictions. He was over-turned, or actually complicit, on the issues of climate change, obstructing gay marriage, gutting the NBN, tax cuts for the rich (including himself), and even slogans – Jobs and Growth is notorious for its sheer meaninglessness, and he used it a lot. He also became very focused on National Security, and he was the fool who handed the keys of the ‘Interior Ministry’ to the most dangerous man in Australia, Peter Dutton.

Back to the re-set button

It is clear that the country needs to re-set, because this Government is NOT delivering on anything tangible, and there is a very strong argument that says it arrived in power by fraudulent means. It lied to every voter, and it bribed its way to a razor – slim majority.

The purpose of governments can be seen as being comparable with the underlying mission of families: To improve lives.

Governments are not elected to further their own interests, either politically, or materially. They are tasked with looking after the interests of their citizens, by advancing them along the road of progress.

So go on, Scott. Call an early election. See if God wants to reward you again, after all the shenanigans. I bet you don’t. But you should.

This Born-Again, No Plan Government

No Plan

Last year, and until the federal election this year, the Liberal National Coalition believed it was heading toward electoral oblivion, and some of the Government’s behaviour looked at best to be dodgy. They made sure they would reap the benefits of the last six years in power, I’m sure there was much shredding of documents, and many of them deserted the ship, entitlements intact.

As an example of their cynicism, and their outright perfidy, they stacked the Administrative Appeals Tribunal with time servers and Liberal mates, creating chaos for the incoming Labor Government. Of course the Labor Party lost, so all the rush was for nothing. They could have stacked it at will, drip fed over the next three years.

It is not possible to pinpoint why so many left, but it is reasonable to assume that the misery and the ignominy of opposition was not an attractive prospect; added to that, when one considers the quality of the company one would be forced to keep, in the meetings and the corridors even, who wouldn’t run for the exit?

The prospect of sitting in the opposition party room must have loomed as torture, like endlessly re-visiting gruesome family Christmases, with your worst relatives, and being forced to kiss Uncle Fester and Aunt Morticia, every week, until you feel like you have died and gone to hell.

So winning government again must have seemed like a surprise Christmas, or even a miracle, if you are inclined to believe in flying teapots, and fairies. No opposition hardships, and at least Tony Abbott was gone, although there are still plenty of his elderly altar-boys and girls still getting a run. The photograph of the team captures the “how did we get out of that one” spirit, and for a moment one can almost identify with them, happy and hopeful, perhaps still wanting to ‘do good’ for the community.

Fast forward to now, and Morrison is still being treated as a modern political master. He believes it too. He won the ‘unwinnable’ election. He lied and obfuscated, he misrepresented Labor’s policies, he hid his front bench, he played the ‘daggy dad’ way better than poor, awkward Bill Shorten, and he even pretended to show us his spiritual side, with a photo opportunity inside a church. He continues his ‘dissing’ attitude to legitimate questions, because he has no plan, except to stay in power.

We should recall, however, that the ‘mandate’ he insists on calling the narrow win, saw the Coalition increase their Parliamentary numbers by one seat, and the Opposition lost one seat. It makes one wonder why he wears the never-fading smirk. That sort of majority can disappear in a heartbeat, and it does not constitute a mandate.

The longer we are exposed to his hand-picked rabble the shallower the talent pool looks. Peter Dutton is still the most powerful politician in the country, a de facto Prime Minister, calling the shots and seemingly immovable, bolstered by his posse of backbench trolls, who allow Morrison to continue as PM just as long as he continues along his Trump-lite path. In any other Government Dutton’s combination of personal toxicity, insensitivity, inflammatory language, and a spectacularly simplistic world view would trigger his urgent removal from office, but in this company he is a star. Consider this little gem: He recently described the two children of the Sri Lankan couple fighting deportation, as “anchor babies”, notwithstanding the fact that Australia does not confer citizenship on the children of refugee mothers. The term is considered racist in the US, and has been used by Donald Trump, when trying to demonise immigrants.

But enough. Picking the poor performers only serves to take us down the rabbit hole of despair. Let us look forward. When trying to understand this, or indeed any Government, it is simplest to just look at what it wants to achieve in this term.

It is desperate to repeal the Medevac laws, because it does not want to send sick detainees to the mainland for treatment. It thinks they will feign sickness, and overwhelm the Australian hospital system. If the ‘overwhelming’ does not occur, there is a catastrophe B – there will be a flood of new refugees rushing to Australia, because we have hung a sign up, stating we are ‘open for business’. These new refugees will arrive, be locked up for years, tortured mentally and physically, and then they will attempt to hoodwink Mr Dutton, by over-using the Medicare system, and or having an anchor baby or two.

The next priority is to make it all right to be a Christian, and if you want to be, you can also be a Christian ‘refusenik’. A Christian refusenik is someone who refuses to bake wedding cakes for gay couples, whereas a Christian is merely one who believes in Jesus. Both categories will be catered for.

The third priority appears to be plastic. They want to ban it, especially from oceans. They are fine with global warming, because it does not exist, although they believe in the science(?), but they draw the line at plastic. They also think that children should be at school, and that any protesting should happen on Saturdays. There has been talk of banning the use of cars to travel to the protests, and also the eating of meat, because in the hands of children these products cause global warm…

Most legislative programmes are restricted to actual legislation, however there is one other priority, which involves actively NOT legislating. This is to NOT increase the Newstart allowance. Now it sits at about $40 per day, and all parliamentarians are paid seven times that amount, every day they attend work. Yes, each and every day they go to work they receive seven times the daily Newstart allowance. This steadfast position is being held to, despite much community angst, because this Government believes that you only get a go, if you have a go. There does seem to be an undercurrent of dislike towards those who are not self-sufficient, but time will confirm, or not, that feeling.

I cannot think of anything else this Government wants to do for this term. They will bang on remorselessly about national security, Dutton will fixate on paedophiles, and Morrison will try to alleviate the anxiety of children, by ignoring climate change. Lots to look forward to.

Peter Dutton Brings Us All Down (To His Level)


Just when you thought that Tony Abbott’s being dumped from the nation’s parliament was going to necessarily lift standards, Peter Dutton picked up his baton and ran with it.

Let us backtrack a week however. If you can bear it, watch this interview with Annabelle Crabb, on ABC’s Insiders programme, to be seen here: https://iview.abc.net.au/show/insiders

It is there for all to see, seemingly set in stone, at about 10 minutes, 30 seconds into the show. It may be available for all eternity, although I hope not. Imagine you are one of his electors, from Queensland’s seat of Dickson. He arrives, bright eyed and bushy tailed, almost charming. You could almost forgive yourself for electing this person, he looks so nice.

And then he stonewalls every single question, returning to his talking points relentlessly. No, he ignores the suggestion that the Australian Federal Police has become a political player in prosecuting selected journalists, he dismisses any feeling that sham security concerns are driving a militarised, spying agenda against Australians, he ignores the huge, wasted expenditure of re-opening Christmas Island for nothing, he states that he does not want anyone on Manus or Nauru, but stops short of actually addressing the ongoing suffering of everyone still there. The rolling over of the contract, again without a tender process, is probably going to happen, though he’s not sure, it is in the hands of the department … He seems not to understand that ‘the department’ operates under his direction.

He goes on to deny that the Americans sent anyone here in exchange for our own refugees, oh, except for two mass murderers, who somehow slipped in, no need to worry about them, he is not sure where they live. We should however be worried about alleged rapists, paedophiles and murderers who might become sick, and while being treated for their illness, will present an unacceptable danger to us all.

He implied that killing western tourists using a machete is not as heinous a crime as a more recent rape on Nauru, as if the timing of a crime is important in establishing its seriousness. And he is not sure that those facts (the machete murders) have been proved, notwithstanding the men pleaded guilty in the US.

It is difficult to judge whether he is simply dodging questions for political gain, or is he ‘just not very good on his feet’, a bit of a plodder, although when searching for political targets he appears competent. Whatever the question, he fails to answer even one of Ms Crabb’s questions. If it is not paedophiles and murderers it is Labor we should be afraid of.

But herein lies our dilemma. This is only one interview. It lasted ten minutes, and it was what I would call a ‘train wreck’. It was excruciating, and a waste of time, and it revealed the state of decay of our democracy. An interview like this would have once meant the end of a ministerial career, but his career didn’t finish, it soared. He was emboldened.

Later in the week he made the claim that rape victims on Nauru were fabricating their claims. “Some people are trying it on,” he said. “Let’s be serious about this. There are people who have claimed that they’ve been raped and came to Australia to seek an abortion because they couldn’t get an abortion on Nauru. They arrived in Australia and then decided they were not going to have an abortion. They have the baby here and the moment they step off the plane their lawyers lodge papers in the federal court, which injuncts us from sending them back.” When Dutton speaks someone suffers; his words need no embellishment. And Peter Dutton worked for the Queensland Police in the area of sex crimes.

But there’s more. Peter Dutton denies that there is a single child in detention in Australia. But we have evidence of at least two; a four year old and a two year old, siblings living in the Melbourne detention centre. I cannot imagine how he is able to explain to himself how they got there, and secondly why the little one was denied a birthday cake when she recently turned two. Additionally this child has serious dental issues, caused by a lack of sunshine during her formative years, which were spent ‘in detention’, and also a lack of remedial dental care, within our very own gulag.

Where was the Prime Minister when this week unfolded? Did he feel he should censure his minister? Did he flinch when he heard the insensitive comments about victims of sexual violence? Did he gulp with sympathy for the little girl living in pain and misery, denied even a token celebration? (Child Protection practitioners in Australia describe denying children the opportunity to celebrate significant milestones, such as birthdays, as child abuse.)

I’m not sure how Mr Morrison responded, but his stand-in, Michael McCormack, had no comment to make. So the Australian government stood idly by, during a week when a senior government minister so under-performed that he has become a by-word for insensitivity, if not downright crassness and casual cruelty. Mr Morrison wants to govern humbly, in his own words.

You can almost hear him asking, “How good’s Dutto?”