Recommended Reading

Lenore Taylor in The Guardian today.

The Canning Countdown (6) The Caligula Factor

The world was made in seven days in 4004 BC, and a few years later dinosaurs sauntered between the pyramids. A man who believes this, and refuses to talk about it, is regarded as the dream candidate for Canning, though his company killed two shepherd boys and cut off the hands of some Taliban, and he believes as well that homosexuals, and Muslims, and Catholics will burn in Hell.

Andrew Hastie declares these chapters of his life and mind are none of our business, and bode no hint of what he would be like, and how well he will go, as MP for Canning, an area he has never lived in, and he has not released his biography, a first in political history.

He may be surprised when he fails in his high quest and returns to the murdering business, but few sensible people will.

A perfect storm in the past few days has been consuming the Abbott adventure, and, it well may be, the Liberal Party also.

The images from Hungary well illustrate our leader’s crazy cruelty, the nope, nope, nope response to the Rohingas, to the murdered Reza Barati, the raped and whored and waterboarded unfortunates of Nauru whom he is paying Transfield a billion dollars to persecute. And we remember too, as the little drowned boy on the beach and his brother and mother are buried in his war-smashed home town, how in 2011 Morrison said the funerals of the drowned of Christmas Island, and flying their children to those funerals, were a waste of money.

Crazy cruelty is what the Abbott bunch will be mostly remembered for, cutting the numbers of refugees we took in from twenty thousand to thirteen thousand in the worst year of the Syrian war, encouraging young women to abort the children who will never live in Australia, and cyberbullying rejected black African students into burning themselves to death in Geelong.

The events in Europe are not directly related to Abbott’s turn-back-the-boats madness, but they illustrate up close the kind of human suffering he has revelled in. Whatever he does now — bomb Syria, cancel the Pendleton passports, gaol those doctors who have reported rape on Nauru — will not reprieve him from the Caligula image he has arduously attained, nor save him from extinction after September 19.

And so it goes.

The Canning Countdown (5) The Hastie Nutter Factor

Andrew Hastie has refused to say if he agrees with his father, the Creationist, on whether the world was made in 4004 BC, or what his own beliefs are, but he is, he says, against gay marriage, unlike sixty-two percent of his electorate, and he is for the Free Trade Agreement with China, which will take away some Australian jobs but supply many, many others.

He may be in big, big trouble because of this latter view. Canning has ten thousand fly-in-fly-out workers in it, and this twelve percent of the votership is the same size as the swing Labor need to win the coming byelection. Another twelve percent will be the workers’ wives, and another ten percent their parents and parents-in-law.

This is thirty-four percent who will have been moved by the union ad, the best in Australian history, about how Tony Abbott made his choice, he just didn’t choose you.

The Liberals increasing frenzy over this ad, and the union, the CFMEU, that paid for it, and Shorten’s radiant calm when he refers to the issue, are indicative of how deep it’s biting.

It’s more than likely that Hastie will, in the fortnight to come, look spookier and spookier. If he won’t discuss his religion, or his father’s, or the war crimes his platoon committed, and he proves to be against abortion, and to think homosexuals burn in hell, he may, as the documentary on the SAS goes to air, come to look too barmy and twisted and secretive to trust.

There is also in Canning much loathing for Abbott, evident to both sides. This will not decrease when word gets round that he is trying to hobble NDIS, and refusing to take any more Syrians, though Angela Merkel is taking eight hundred thousand, that is fifty times the number per capita he is. The smell of barminess and cruelty is now very strong in any room Abbott enters, and there is no way back to normalcy for him any more, no way for him to dissipate the odour of militaristic dementia.

Will the dollar dive past 65 cents? Will the economy go into recession? Will Xenophon’s party in the polling look like winning three seats in South Australia? These things are pretty likely.

And when Canning falls, as it will, the disarray in Abbott’s party, whether they keep him on or not, may be irreparable.

And we will see what we shall see.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (161)

My most recent piece, The Strange Mind Of Peter Dutton, seems not to have been put up here but can be punched up on Google.

I will retrieve it when I have the technological advice.

Till then,on Google.

In Twenty-Five Words

What boats have we stopped?

There are more boats in frail tempestuous voyage than at any time in world history.

What boats have we stopped?

The Canning Countdown (4) The Latest Polling

The Reachtel and Essential polls of Monday night show Labor on 49 in Canning and the Liberals on 51. They also show more Canning people interested in, and moved by, renewable energy than national security.

The ReachTel method, machines ringing fifty thousand landlines and recording the fifteen hundred that take the call, has favoured the Liberals in the past. And, recorded on Monday night when most left-leaning voters would be watching Four Corners and Q&A, it probably betokens a Labor vote of 50.5 or 50.6 and a narrow Labor win.

This was on Monday night. Since then, we have seen Australia come near recession, the dollar under 70 cents, Abbott propose a GST on food, Hockey baying for a Republic, and Andrew Hastie implicated in the killing, perhaps, by some of his platoon of two shepherd boys in Afghanistan.

There seems little reason why the Liberals will win Canning, however inconvenient this might be to the present Labor leadership, who may then have to battle Robb or Turnbull or Smith as PM and Morrison as Treasurer.

I don’t think any commentator has realised yet how tremendously good the union ad about the Chinese taking our jobs is. It may be the best political advertisement in the entire history of television. It is beautifully acted and has the virtue of being absolutely true, and very scary. And the punchline — Tony Abbott made his choice, he just didn’t choose you — are the most eloquent nine words in our vulgar national politics in seventy or eighty years.

And in Canning, whose many carpenters, electricians, truck drivers, engineers and so on have lost their mining-boom jobs and fear they might never get another one, it is lethally eloquent.

And we will see what we shall see.

Managing the Stench

(First published by Independent Australia)

For a long, long time the Liberals have wreathed their enemies in the odour of criminality. Boat people have been called ‘illegals’. Union corruption’ is almost a single word, and ‘the friends of Eddie Obeid’ a definition of Labor in New South Wales.

The initials ‘CFMEU’ seem now, in themselves, defamatory. Shorten is routinely called a ‘two-time assassin’ though he did no more than Abbott did, in 2008 and 2009, to Nelson and then Turnbull. Craig Thomson’s vote in the House was ‘tainted’, Abbott told us, and should not be accepted by the Government or the Speaker, and his constituents thereby disfranchised. Because of one word in a private communication to a friend, Peter Slipper was said to be ‘unfit to be Speaker’, and was overthrown by the Abbott forces on account of it.

So…the odour of criminality served Abbott well in Opposition, and he prevailed, in part, and achieved the highest office, because of it.

But lately the same aroma is coming after him and his government, and may well, in Canning , bring on a result, at last, that is catastrophic to him.

Let me count the ways.

In the week when we learned of sexual abuse in Geelong, alma mater of Prince Charles and Packer and Murdoch, we were told by Dutton there is no sexual abuse on Nauru, though a Senate Committee has reported there was, and given instances. It’s a ‘Labor-Green fabrication’, Dutton protests. Sexual abuse of youth occurs in Catholic institutions, and Anglican institutions, and Salvation Army institutions, and state institutions, and foster homes, and orphanages, and reform schools, and juvenile prisons, but never, never, never on Nauru. Whoever says it does is lying.

In a week when Dyson Heydon declared himself innocent of bias, and gamely awarded himself eleven thousand eight hundred dollars a day for six more months of just and thoughtful deliberation, we hear of a Liberal official who took 1.3 million dollars from his party. We hear, too, of Abbott’s ‘union hero’, Kathy Jackson, embezzling 1.3 million dollars, somehow undetected by Heydon’s Royal Commission into union corruption, and of some hitherto unindicted 7/11 bosses exploiting foreign students, paying them half what they were owed and working them, illegally, round the clock, and getting away with this modern, secret slavery for years.

We have learned as well in the past few months that Morrison paid people smugglers to return, illegally, refugees to Indonesia, which did not want them, and Dutton took back, illegally, refugees to persecution, and possibly imprisonment, in Vietnam. We have seen no-one arrested for the murder of Reza Barati, though it is known which twelve people did it, and we have heard a Wilson guard declaring that there was waterboarding, or something like it, on Nauru.

The taint of Liberal criminality has grown too as we hear more and more of Man Monis and the Lindt Café siege. Why did Abbott not take the hostages’ calls? Why did he say he was ‘too busy’? Why did Baird not accept Mamdouh Habib’s offer to go in and talk his old friend Monis ‘out of this nonsense’? Why were so many bullets fired after Monis was clearly dead? Why did twenty-three of them, if that is the figure, hit Katrina Dawson? Why was so little money offered in compensation to a siege survivor, fifteen hundred dollars, and not the seventy thousand dollars survivors get from sieges overseas? Why does Dyson Heydon earn almost that much every hour? How much will the other survivors get? How much will go to Katrina’s family, since it was the police, not Monis, who killed her? Has an offer even been made? What was it?

Bronwyn Bishop’s expenses have deepened this taint also. So has the three hundred and twenty dollars a night Joe Hockey pays, as rent, to his wife when he is in Canberra, sleeping in a house co-owned by her and his father. So does the billion dollars Transfield was given on Tuesday for impounding and tormenting women and children, and covering up what is done to them on Nauru.

In Western Australia, it transpires that Andrew Hastie has been investigated for his complicity, if any, in two war crimes, the shooting of two shepherd boys (how much was their family paid? anything?) and the bizarre posthumous mutilation of three Taliban. So questionable is his war record, it seems, that no campaign biography of him has yet appeared on the hustings, a world first, probably, in elective politics in the past twelve hundred years.

Abbott, we learn, got a Rhodes Scholarship from a committee on which Dyson Heydon sat. And he may have got it before he was an Australian citizen, before he was eligible for it. We are told he may not be an Australian citizen even now, and be holding his office, Prime Minister, illegally.

It seems to me wrong that the Labor Party has not emphasised some of these things in its daily round of propaganda. How Man Monis asked Brandis’s office how he could contact DAESH, and no bells rang, and so Tori and Katrina died. How agents of Dutton spied on Hanson Young in her motel room, in the shower perhaps. When one considers how much was made of nine hundred dollars misused by Slipper, and five thousand by Craig Thomson, on wine and cigaretes, one wishes Labor, frankly, tried harder.

The Abbott aroma has been worsened, lately, by international events. The great migration of fugitive Syrians, of which Merkel will take eight hundred thousand in the next year, and Abbott none, and Julie Bishop’s bizarre view that ‘these people’ can be made to go back to Syria if we bomb that country a bit more, show some of us how crazy and rattled and cruel this government is, and, in their defense of Bronwyn Bishop and Dyson Heydon, how unfair. The aroma around them is deepening as we speak.

And the result in Canning will show, soon, how foul the abiding stench of Liberal criminality has come to be.

The Dyson Countdown

Dyson Heydon has earned, if I’ve got this right, 33,600 dollars since he pronounced himself innocent of all bias on Monday.

He will earn 11,200 tomorrow and 11,200 on Friday.

This sum, spent elsewhere, might have saved another Luke Batty from being murdered. Or two Aboriginal teenagers from suiciding in prison.

Dysons need is greater, however. And the 140,000 he has earned since he was accused of bias was much, much better spent.

If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

Our Leader

Angela Merkel will take in eight hundred thousand Syrian refugees next year.

Tony Abbott — nope, nope, nope — will take none.

Abbott will sort this problem — the greatest mass movement of peoples since World War 2 — by bombing them in Syria, and thus encouraging them to stay there.

Abbott, who refused to take any Rohingas –nope, nope, nope — is despised throughout South East Asia.

He is despised too, after yesterday, for having given a billion more dollars to Transfield, though its subcontractor Wilson Security has been allowing child rape, whoring, self-mutilation and, in one case, murder in its facilities and not prosecuting anyone for these transgressions.

And he has been cursed by Obama for not accepting climate change as the biggest crisis, thus far, in the story of humankind.

I was visited yesterday by a former Riverview student who knew Abbott while he was there in 1972 and 73. His picture of a militaristic bully tormenting his fellow cadets and loathed by younger pupils, fits well the current Border Force obergruppenfuhrer and sponsor of Hastie, twice investigated for war crimes in Afghanistan. His love of war and bombing swarthy people and burning sodomites for a billion years in Hell is indicative of, well, the selfsame fascist tendency he displayed at Riverview some forty years ago.

I’m not sure yet if the numbers in Canning will be such as to secure his ruin. But it will be close. Andrew Hastie doesn’t want him anywhere near him, and his own track record — he may be implicated in the shooting by men in his company of two Afghan shepherd boys, or not — may do him further harm. His official biography has not yet appeared, and he must be hiding something.

And we will see what we shall see.

Propaganda Studies (9) The Biggest Lie

Most Liberal ministers in the past few days have said when interviewed that the Abbott government had stopped the boats.

What boats are these?

There are more frail boats in perilous voyage than at any time in world history.

What boats are these?

In the annals of the Big Lie this must rank with reds under the bed and the downward thrust of China.

What boats are these?

Abetz Mad Again

Eric Abetz this morning said that if the Senate asks the Governor-General to remove Dyson Heydon he cannot do so. This is because he must act on the advice of his Prime Minister, or his Government, and nobody else.

This is a pretty ignorant statement. It’s the equivalent of saying Whitlam was sacked by Kerr on Whitlam’s advice, when it was Fraser’s advice, back when Fraser was Leader of the Opposition, and the Senate had held up Whitlam’s legislation. And after Garfield Barwick, of the High Court, a Liberal hero, told Kerr yes, he could.

This means that in the current situation Shorten, if backed by the Senate, could advise the G-G to sack Heydon and he might then choose to do so.

How dare the Minister lie about this? Under the Constitution the Senate can, as it did in 1975, refuse Supply and force the G-G to call an election. Under the Constitution the Senate can advise the arrest of Peter Dutton for child abuse uninvestigated on his watch, of the children who are legally his wards, and the arrest of Morrison for piracy and people smuggling he ordered on the high seas when he was Minister. The Senate can accuse Brandis of letting Man Monis get on with his crazy wickedness, after he asked the office of the Attorney-General to put him in touch with DAESH, which nobody in that office found unusual, or suspicious, as a result of Katrina and Tori died.

The Senate is a House of Review, and legislation is altered routinely to assure its progress through that upper chamber, amended clause by clause along lines recommended by Nick Xenophon, Clive Palmer, Jacqui Lambie. Senate inquiries have power and force (watch Sam Dastiyari any week) as they do in the United States.

And it would be a fool Governor-General who did not take note of its recommendations.

The Heydon Decision

The gall of Dyson Heydon will be long remembered.

He said no reasonable person would think he was biased towards the Liberal Party though he agreed to speak at a Garfield Barwick function — Barwick the destroyer, in court, of Chifley and the co-dismisser, with Kerr, of Whitlam.

But then he changed his mind. And he said he would not speak there after all, BECAUSE, he said, a reasonable person who heard he had done so might then think he was biased toward the Liberal Party. And he did not turn up at the function to give the speech, for this reason, for this stated reason, that he might seem to be pro-Liberal if he did.

What gall. What cheek. What brazen, arrogant folly.

Like Abbott with his Duke of Edinburgh appointment, he showed by this brazen self-contradiction a mind so suffused with superiority, with self-belief, with born-to-rule smugness, with lofty self-love that he believed he could get away with anything.

What gall. What haughty Turramurra narcissistic cheek.

He continues to earn twelve hundred dollars an hour, lying in this manner to himself and the Australian people.

It is money that might be better used elsewhere.

Ken Burns Revisited

Being ill with a small computer has allowed me, through long nights, to see again Ken Burns’s The Civil War and The War and Prohibition. All are astonishingly good, and I will see The West and Jazz and Baseball, if I live, and catch up on the works of a master.

Burns’s limits are his strength. He does no reinactments and because there is sometimes only one wide shot for him to drift across — a ragged army assembled for battle, a congregation in a church — his primary narrative weapon is the human voice. And the words written or spoken at the time — by Lincoln, Roosevelt, the doomed soldiers in their letters home — and the amused murmurings of eminent historians like Shelby Foote and Pete Hamill whose retrieved knowledge of certain moments of past time is delicate and intimate as that of a witness, with minimal accompanying music, mostly a single piano, cello or guitar, and the odd bursts of distant gunfire, the overall effect, radio with pictures, is closer to the fireside chats of cavemen returned from the hunt than anything we see now in the elaborate big-screen imaginings of the epic cinema of the Russians, Americans and Chinese.

We are in there, somehow, among the events themselves. And, when photos are used, the real people. Looking at at Lincoln’s face, his real face, and being told he is ‘very intelligent’, is somehow very different from seeing Dan Day Lewis enact and portray this fact. We are up close. We know him.

Prohibition shows us a lot of bottles being smashed and flowing like rivers away from grim-faced men in hats and suits, and we wonder at the lunacy of Americans and understand the dark, fundamentalist furies that move them still. How amazing to think that men earning ten dollars a week would not steal some of the confiscated grog and sell it on to a family acquaintance. How obvious that families like the Kennedys would be made from this process, and that families so placed would seek the White House, and alter history with their ill-gotten gains and Irish-Catholic ideals.

Burns has the scope of Tolstoy and Hugo and the plain, flat clarity of Sinclair Lewis and Richard Ford. You see how it was, and what became of the people who made it the way it was. There is none like him, none. And he shows us the fullness of things and its enormity like Attenborough, and, a great teacher like him, helps us know our species better.

Hurry, Hurry, Last Days

It’s getting worse and and worse for the Liberals, and more and more likely they’ll be extinguished as a party by 2020. They’re cactus already in Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, Queensland, and the ACT, and they’ll be cactus in the Northern Territory and New South Wales in six years’ time.

The Border Force fiasco yesterday lost them half the ‘undecided’ ethnic vote in Victoria. The Duke of Edinburgh appointment lost them three quarters of the undecided vote in Australia. Abbott’s speech to the world leaders lost a quarter of a million votes, irretrievably, on its own.

In Canning, they’re running a man suspected of war crimes against a lifelong , beloved local. In South Australia, they’ve ended all car manufacturing and will soon abolish submarines. In Western Australia, they’re abolishing a hundred and fifty remote communities. All over Australia, they’ll abolish state schooling if they get the chance. They’ve defunded the entity that builds wind farms, demanded prime agricultural land surrender its lush territories to coal mines, cried ‘coal is the future’ and are letting Chinese cheap labour on half our wages thieve our jobs. Brandis has declared that he, not others, will decide what art is. Abbott believes his sister will burn in hell. No-one can name a worse government in our history.

It may be worth listing the ‘crazy moments’ that showed the voters this bunch were really, truly barking mad. There was Abbott’s ‘shirtfront’ threat and his boast to the world leaders that he had stopped the carbon tax’, something they all wanted. There was the Duke of Edinburgh appointment. There was his defence, for seventeen days, of Bronwyn Bishop; and, for twelve days thus far, of Dyson Heydon. There was the Barnaby threat to put down the Depp dog. There was the Abetz warning that gay marriage would lead to the fucking of marsupials. And there was the Border Force farce yesterday.

If I’ve got the numbers right, 480 million is to be spent on Border Force, and loads of money filched from remote communities, accommodation for the disabled, comfort for suicidal teenage Aborigines, endangered wives and kids like Rosie and Luke Batty, and so on, and twenty-four billion, at the last count, on a plane that won’t fly. Eighty million was to be spent harassing the unions and enriching Dyson Heydon. A hundred and twenty million has been spent, and fifty more million will be spent, looking for MH 370, although it has already been found.

This, apart from the useless fighter-bomber, is two thirds of a billion dollars, this money not spent on things we need. Add the twenty billion that goes to the Japanese to build our submarines no penny of which will come back to Australia ever, and we’re looking at two thousand dollars per taxpayer that might be better invested, on the common good.

Abbott’s response to the Border Force foolery this afternoon, that things like this will never, never happen in a democracy I run, and they didn’t this time, and that Border Force are ‘doing a fine job’, whatever that is, in our seas and airports, followed Shorten’s best speech thus far in Western Australia, and a very, very good press conference in Canning, in which his vivid amusement came close to schadenfreude. For another day, the campaign biography of Hastie has not appeared. There seems little chance, as of today, of the Liberals retaining Canning, and, after that, of Abbott surviving.

And after that, what? Who? Robb? Smith? Frydenberg? Briggs? A Turnbull sworn to traditional marriage? It’s hard to imagine any of it.

And we will see what we shall see.

Omens, Portents, Predictions

Abbott’s Border Force will be on Swanston Street this weekend, asking dark-skinned tourists to prove they’re not in Australia illegally. He tries on something new every couple of days. The polls get worse, and each of his brash new ideas — Heydon, Hastie — blows up in his face.

It’s likely, not certain, that if he goes anywhere near Canning he’ll lose it and be overthrown. It’s likely, not certain, that something ghastly is going on there. Did the mutilated Taliban have their hands cut off while they were still alive? Were their hands sent, as a warning, to their families? Why else is the inquiry ‘ongoing’? Why is Hastie demanding it be ended? Is he still a suspect of something? Why then has his campaign biography not appeared?

Even without this war-crimes factor, however, it’s possible, not certain, Canning can be lost. The union ads about the Chinese taking our jobs are lethal. The end of the Schoolkids’ Money is fast approaching. The betrayal of NDIS and Gonski is vivid. Pyne’s two hundred thousand dollar degrees scare the hell out of everyone. The unemployment, the highest in twenty years, scares the Christ out of everyone. Ice is a plague in the West and only Labor is promising an all-night police station in Armadale.

And Abbott is really, really disliked in the West. His cancellation of money to the remote communities — 150 of them — means exiled Indigenous people begging, now, in the suburbs and larger towns. His refusal to fund any trains or road widenings means traffic jams all the way to central Perth. His refusal to give WA a disproportionate share of the GST has eroded their schools and hospitals. His promise to cut all money to all state schools scares the hell out of them. His arrogation to himself and the Canberra bureaucracy of the Anzac legend, largely a West Australian expeditionary force, has thieved their glory. And his idiotic new title for the Duke of Edinburgh and his cancellation, today, of any hope of a Republic offends a people who, in 1927, voted to go independent and leave Australia.

On top of this, he has imposed a blow-in with a record, perhaps, of war crime on Canning, a captain’s pick of a New South Welshman nobody knows.

It’s hard to see that Canning will not go.

It will be like Queensland in January.

Or am I wrong?

The Ellis Death-Bed Zingers (1)

I’m exactly the same age as Stephen Hawking. Were I to predecease him it would look like I wasn’t trying.

The Canning Countdown (3)

Another day and no biography of Andrew Hastie.

It is hard to find, or imagine, an explanation for this.

It must be that he is under investigation for something.

It is probable it is to do with the severed hands.

Was there another incident, under his command, of this or something like it happening?

Does it have a punitive dimension, as DAESH’s crucifixions and beheadings do? Here are your father’s hands. If you resist our new rule in this district, this will happen to you.

The amputations make no sense in any other context.. Ink on a thumb, and a thumbprint on a piece of paper, would identify any person, living or dead.

But ten fingers? Of one man? What is this?

It would be good if the SAS cleared this up. Is Hastie still under investigation or nor?

It would be good if the authorities revealed what his story was.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (166)

After many, many exiles and redemptions, and too much forgiveness, Havana Liedown is banned for life. And will never, never be allowed back.

Morgan, Newspoll, ReachTel

Morgan has Labor on 54.5, two party preferred, Newspoll 54 and ReachTel 51 in Canning.

Morgan, the accurate one, has Labor on 67 among those aged 18-24,on 65.5 .among those aged 25-34, on 57 among those aged 35-50, on 51 among those aged 50-64, and on 41 among those older than 65.

53.5 percent of men vote Labor, and 55 percent of women.

Labor is on 57 in Victoria, on 55.5 in Queensland, on 55 in Tasmania, on 54.5 in South Australia, only 48.5 in New South Wales, but…57.5 in Western Australia..

ReachTel in Canning has Labor on 51.

ReachTel is tremendously inaccurate — its method had Rudd, Swan, Burke, Bowen, Clare and Dreyfus losing their seats in 2013 — but usually biased the Coalition’s way. The swing in WA in Morgan, around 15 percent, suggests Labor will win Canning easily.

For another day, no biography of Has tie has appeared. It is likely he is still under investigation for his part, if any, of the cutting off of the hands of three Taliban corpses. Were these hands sent to their relatives, as a warning, for instance? Did he approve this? Did something similar happen earlier, with his connivance? We ought to know.

This lack of a campaign biography is the first in the history of democracy.

It is probable this is another Credlin/Abbott/Loughnane ‘captain’s pick that has imploded.

And we will see what we shall see.

Dyson In The Dock (2)

By Friday, when he makes his announcement, Dyson Heydon will have earned 112,000 dollars in the time it will have taken to decide if or not he will sack himself.

This is about 150 percent of the average wage for a year.

It is hard to see how money is not important to this man.

There is no way, no way, no way, he will sack himself.

Ellis Cancer Update

I had a chemo session yesterday for two hours and there will be two or three more in the next six weeks. I’ve cancelled the performance next Sunday of Orators, and we will do it instead on Sunday, October 11, at 4.30 for 5, and An Evening Without Clive James, featuring Michael Kirby, me, Terry Clarke, Andrew Sharp and Kate Reid on keyboard on Friday October 23 at 6 for 6.30. Both shows will be at Gleebooks.

I’m doing well, and much, much better than the doctor, Stephen Clarke, initially imagined I would. The crucial blood reading, which five weeks ago was 320, is down to 60 . 20 or under is normal. I can leave the house, go to the movies, dine out with friends. Any infection I might get will be self-generated — a cut, a bedsore, or a sudden rebellion of a maltreated organ — which can however be rapidly treated if detected.

I walk about a mile a day. I can get up off my mattress on the floor without assistance. My need for sudden, engulfing sleeps has abated. My high-protein diet — pork pies, weetbix, beetroot, spinach, chicken, fish, rump steak — leaves me free of nausea and hungry to eat more. My Burton voice, my Gielgud voice, my Churchill voice, are tested each day and by the afternoon are as strong as they’ve ever been.

It is possible the primary cancer, whatever it is — liver cancer is always a secondary — has been pissed out. It was not brain or bone or lung. It is possible it is still there, and will need further treatment.

I am about six weeks from full remission, and will need to be frequently checked after that for any recurrence, which can then be treated at, this time, an earlier stage.

The initial chemo was two days earlier than it might have been. Four days after that, and I would have been dead in a week.

I have slight memory lapses, usually surnames or the names of 1950s British comedies. I do not yet have the energy or humour to write as well I did The 38 Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday, or similar. A two hundred page version of the best of that long experiment will be on sale in about a month, as a book, and an e-book, for ten and five dollars, or similar.

It seems the chemo I am on is better ‘targeted’ for this cancer’s particularities than any before 2013. These things are improving every year. Clive James is on a leukemia retardant that may give him two more years. My current spin-line is I have either fifteen months or fifteen years.

I hope in that time to put together out of my essays and poems about nine archive projects — Ellis On Film, Ellis On Theatre, Ellis Overseas, The Best Of The Ellis Obituaries, some play texts, about fifty unmade screenplays, a book of the better speeches, a book of humorous verse, a book of serious verse, a correspondence with Les Murray, and so on.

And I hope to write some more.

A Modest Proposal

<>One of the benefits of my present, unsleeping, mortal condition is I get to hear a lot of Radio National.

One programme, about the growing number, and the growing proportion, of Australians with dementia in their eighties and nineties led me to the following thought, about country towns, and immigrants, and that curiously good man Mike Baird.

If the Baird government offered each country town four strong refugee young men, who would work as carers for the old, and guaranteed them jobs in that capacity for twenty years in that town, and allowed them to bring their young wives with them, this would be a benefit for country towns in general.

If each group of four were of the same ethnicity — Sudanese, Hazaras, Tamils, — others of that ethnicity might join them when, progressively children are released from Nauru, and young men from Villawood and Manus, and allowed to come to Australia.
One of the looming horrors of the the Anglo Baby Boomer generation — who, as a rule, do not come from big families, as many migrants do — is looking after a demented parent resident with them, or paying for them in a nursing home,

If their male parents had occasional help, a few hours a day, in their washing and wheelchair-walks and chess games, from a strong young man….

This would be a help in general to Australia also. If you do not have country towns you do not have a civilization, The children of those young men would grow up locally, play cricket, open stores, drive trucks, become doctors, nurses, teachers, and come back to live there and marry and have further children, and so on, as nearly happened once among Kosovans in Wodonga, and Hazaras in Young, and happened, successfully, among Italians, Ukrainians and Greeks in Adelaide.

Twenty country towns with eighty initial young men, and a caravan or granny-flat each, would cost, initially, thirty-five million dollars a year, or four dollars a year per New South Wales taxpayer.

it wouldn’t be that onerous, and is worth a try.

The Canning Countdown (2)

No Andrew Hastie biography out yet, anywhere.

What are they hiding?

Andrew Hastie: Some Questions

Has he ever been under fire?

Has he ever been in physical danger as a soldier?

What part did he play in Operation Sovereign Borders? Did he ever harass small children on their way to New Zealand onto a boat that took them illegally, and against their will, to Christmas Island or Nauru?

Is his father the eminent Presbyterian climate-change denying parson Peter Hastie? Will he take any part in the campaign?

When will we see a campaign biography? Why has it not already appeared?

Is there something we don’t know about him? Is he still,for instance, under investigation for something?

What do the comrades he dobbed in for mutilating three dead Taliban think of him now?


Piece Of Filth (1): An Occasional Series About Peter Van Onselen

Peter Van Onselen, that piece of filth, asked Ed Husic how big a swing in Canning would be needed to ‘save Bill Shorten’s leadership.

The Canning Countdown (1)

No biography of Andrew Hastie out yet, anywhere.

What are they hiding?

The Mystery Candidate For Canning

Fran Kelly and others have said Andrew Hastie is doing very well and will win more votes in Canning than another Liberal might have done.

It’s hard, though, for some of us to see him as anything more than a disaster. Some Liberals must think this also, since they’re hiding everything they know about him.

There is no Wikipedia biography of him. There is no campaign biography. We learn from his speech that his father was a recruiter for a new religion, but we do not know, or we haven’t been told yet, what that religion was. We do not know if his father is still alive, a practising parson, or a backslider. We do not know what church Andrew goes to.

Nor do we know if he is the subject still of an army investigation. The army will not say. He says h.e ‘reported’ the ‘incident’ of the chopped hands early and fearlessly,, but has now spoken up for the man he dobbed in who has waited too long’, he says, to be told if he is a war criminal or not.’ To be thus speaking up for a suspected war criminal is a bit like Governor-General Hollingworth speaking up for a paedophile bishop, but there you go.

We are not told if, in fact, chopping the hands off corpses was, or is, or has ever been, a war crime. We should know that. We should know if he thought it was a war crime when he reported it.

We are not told why a simple ink-pad was not used, or available for use, to record the fingerprints of the deceased.

We are not told if the mutilated corpses were returned go their families, or if they were buried, or burned in the spot. We are not told why both hands were cut off three corpses, not just one, or not just a thumb for the prints on it.

It would be nice to know some of these basic facts about this quiet Australian hero. What other officers he dobbed in, and then defended. What his superior officers now think of him, now he has attacked their way f doing things, one day after he quit their employ..

These are things we should know, some basic facts we have a right to know. What other battles he was in. Whether he was ever, in fact, under fire. Or whether, like Kathy Jackson, he was mistaken for a hero early on, and proved, in the end, to be a fraud and a dud.

Things we should really, really know.


In Six Words

Why not air strikes against Assad?

The Canning Test

It will be hard after yesterday for Abbott or his party to retain Canning. Their candidate Hastie left the SAS the day before, then cursed the army for tormenting his friend, the mutilator of corpses, with too long a trial for his war crimes, a trial he judged unduly cruel, protracted and wasteful.

He has never lived in the electorate, though his opponent Keogh has worked, and served, all his life there. And there is something else.

He belongs to some sort of nut religion. His father crisscrossed Victoria converting people throughout his childhood, and he tracked around with him, inspired by his holy work. Is it some branch of Hillsong? We were not told. Where is his father now? What is the state of his faith?

Defending a man who cuts off corpses’ hands may not, I think, attract many female voters. He says it was to do with fingerprinting, and there is doubt that it is a war crime or not. A pad of ink and a few sheets of paper would have done the job as well.

And this, not Canning, is the cause that now consumes him, getting his mate out of the slammer, his comrade-warrior the mutilator, whom he swears must be treated better. He has abruptly meanwhile bought a house in Canning, and will be, overnight he asserts, a member of the community. If he lives there for a year it will be the longest he has lived anywhere.

I saw all his speech, and it was impressive, but in an American way. He was proud of his many tours of Afghanistan, a war we have lost. He assisted in the stopping of the boats, but there are now more frail boats in perilous voyage than at any time since Dunkirk. He assisted in the war with DAESH, which holds more ground than any conquering army since Franco’s.

What use will this loser be to Canning, where a ten percent swing is already in train, and Don Randall, an anti-Abbott conspirator, acclaimed and mourned? DWhat use will he be to Abbott? What appeal will he have to voters who already dislike be headings and mutilated bodies? Where will he go to church?

I predict he will not win the seat, and precipitate Abbott into the void.

The Thirty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (299)

Andrew Hastie said he thought his troops had ‘behaved appropriately’ when cutting off the hands of three dead Taliban. Abbott thought it might be a good idea to wage illegal war in Syria on the side of the monster Assad, ‘my kind of guy’, who had killed, sometimes with gas, a quarter of a million of his own people. ‘Who cares where the border theoretically is?’ he asked. ‘Our evil opponents, and boy are they evil, will cross it, and so should we. If they can be evil, so can we.’ Asked if the UN forbids this, what we then should do, he said, ‘The UN, and Gillian Triggs, should shut their fucking mouths.’

Another of his ‘captain’s picks, Michael Lawler, proved to be a dodgy person, and his wife Kathy Jackson, whom Abbott praised as a revolutionary saint of the unions, to have thieved 1.4 million from those unions and spent them on personal frivolities. Craig Thomson, whom he harassed and jeered near suicide, proved to be innocent of everything. Mantach, the captain’s pick of Loughnane, was shown to have embezzled 1.3 million dollars from the Liberal Party. Asked if a Royal Commission should investigate that corrupted, greedy party, Abbott said, ‘Are you kidding?’

In Western Australia, the Liberal Party heard him out in seared silence. He claimed his government had been a success, and West Australia’s adjacent ruin ‘a minor setback.’ Polls showed Shorten picking up all of Tasmania, where the NDIS was not occurring, and cripples in tears beseeching passers-by for food and cast-off crutches.

An old man who had run out of the Lindt Cafe and had suffered, thereafter, nightmares, forebodings and chronic sleeplessness was given as compensation fifteen hundred dollars by Baird on the understanding that he would get another eighty thousand from Abbott who paid, as a rule, that sum to the Australian survivors of sieges and shoot-outs overseas. But he was told by the federal bureaucrats he would get nothing. ‘Eighty thousand is far too much,’ one of them is said to have explained. ‘It is what Bronwyn got for her trip to Rome. It is what Dyson Heydon will earn on Tuesday. If we give him that, there will be no stopping others — the baby children of Katrina Dawson, the shocked partner of Tory Johnson — demanding similar lavish sums for their bereavement, the kin of Katrina especially, whom we shot with twenty-two bullets after Monis was already dead. And this is money we cannot, in the present straitened circumstances, afford. Abbott and Bishop, for instance, are spending forty thousand dollars a day on the search for MH 370 on top of the one hundred and twenty million they have spent already, and we have to get our priorities right.’

Andrew Hastie resigned from the SAS on Friday and on Saturday abused them for treating his friend, the body-mutilator, unfairly. Abbott besidde him, licking his lips, uneasily called him a ‘good, loyal soldier, except when he isn’t.’ Hastie told him to watch it, sunshine, or he like his predecessor Don Randall would move against his leadership, the way West Australians do. Abbott smiled goofily, and snickered a bit, and thanked him profusely for ‘putting his hand up, oops.’ All the media rated his visit to Perth a tremendous success except the gloomy Malvolio,, Peter Hartcher, who beseeched in a sonnet his fragrant, coquettish beloved Julie Bishop to make her move and seize the crown.

Sharks continued to eat Australians, and ruin all coastal tourist economies.

And so it went.

The Innocence Of Craig Thomson (72)

I wrote of the innocence of Craig Thomson for a long, long time and it seems now I was right to. His accuser, Kathy Jackson, has been shown to have misused on personal frivolities 1.3 million of the union’s money, her bloke Michael Lawler, head of Fair Work Australia, his principal persecutor, to have been her accomplice, and Craig…

Well, he was accused by Laurie Oakes of spending four hundred thousand dollars of union money on hookers, but after many a summer the amount he was thought to have misused came down to four thousand dollars, a bit less than Bronwyn’s helicopter and one third of Abbott’s book tour,and he was expelled, disgraced, deprived of his pre selection, denounced by big Labor figures, driven near suicide and bankrupted, and can not now earn any money, though (as I have said repeatedly) innocent as charged.

You only had to meet him. You only had to meet him. I played pool with him a few times, visited his office, had a couple of lunches. And I watched him speak to Parliament, a great speech, which Gillard had ‘tactically’ delayed for a year. Had she let him speak right away he would never have been in trouble in the first place.

Is it worth noting nonetheless that his card, in those early days, had no limit on what it could be used for and spent on? That its forbidden fruit, firewood and cigarettes, were permissible also? And that his enemy’s threat in the corridor, we’ll set you up with some hookers,’ was precisely what happened?

Abbott was keen for power back then, and if Slipper or Thomson had to be driven to suicide to get him the extra vote he needed for that power, well, shit happens. Abbott praised Kathy Jackson and Lawler as heroes then. This is how loathsome he can be.

we will see, though, no apology from him for either misjudgment, nor to Craig for his ruin. He’s just ‘collateral damage’ in the Great Game Abbott waged in those years, and it mattered little whether or not it was true.

Does it matter? Of course it does. Craig might be Attorney-General in now, in an unfallen Gillard government. But she, as usual, got the timing wrong.

it matters. It matters. And you just had to meet him.

Dyson In The Dock

Dyson Heydon earned 1,400 dollars an hour while listening to the evidence against him, and gave himself 12,400 dollars a day for three more days to consider it. The 50,000 he will earn in those four days, a year’s wage for most people, will be followed by six hundred thousand more dollars he will earn while the Royal Commission continues and racks up further evidence, and curses Bill Shorten for conniving with an employer sixty thousand spare dollars for his 2007 campaign..

This is much less than the 1.3 million stolen from the Liberal Party in the last three years, a crime he will not enquire into. His task after all is to expose union corruption, not party corruption. Party corruption, or this party’s corruption, is off limits.

It has long been noted in these columns that the Liberal Party, aka the Looters’ Party, is and has always been about the amount of money you can get away with nicking at the one time.. There are Liberal donors like Wilson Security who supply child-torturing services to the government. There are others who spend 120 million dollars searching for MH370 in the wrong three oceans. There are those who take honoured guests on tours of Gallipoli. And those who, like Dyson Heydon, chase ferrets down rabbit holes for twelve thousand dollars a day.

It is worth asking how many Luke Battys might have been saved by the money paid to Dyson, around 2.5 million, and his associates, round 75 million, for this ferret down the rabbit-hole exercise that would turn up no more crimes than an ordinary police investigation would. It is worth asking how many distressed Aboriginal teenagers would have been saved from suicide. Or remote Aboriginal communities from Barnett’s proposed ethnic cleansing.

It is worth noting too how evil this cheated exercise has been, how much it has cost the civilisation, and how many Liberals should go to gaol for it.

The Forty-Two Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (298)

Abbott saw the union ads were working and, shrieking ‘racists!’ and ‘xenophobes!’ told the House of Representatives they ‘signalled a return, in the Labor Party, to the ‘White Australia policy of 1899!’ Bewhispered by the agitated adjacent Pyne that Labor’s leader in the Senate, Penny Wong, was Chinese, and he should at his earliest convenience apologise to her, he cried why are you all against me?’ and sobbed and kicked his legs like a kindergarten infant, his usual posture these days. This response was then leaked to the Labor Party by five of the usual suspects, having fun.,

Dyson Heydon meanwhile prepared to hear evidence against himself and judge himself innocent of all wrongdoing and continue to pay himself three thousand dollars an hour for persecuting the Labor Party. It was simultaneously announced by Michael Kroger that his predecessor Damien Mantach had stolen 1.3 million dollars from the Liberal Party and some thought Heydon’s Royal commission should investigate corruption in that vile entity also. Abbott , weeping and kicking his legs, said this was an utterly different matter. When we went after Craig Thomson it was for misspending four thousand dollars. When we went after Peter Slipper it was for misspending nine hundred dollars. 1.3 millio;n dollars is a sum far, far out of Dyson’s pay rate, and we would need, for that job, someone much, much, more corrupt.

A backbencher thought we might go to war in Syria now, where victory would be ours in a hundred years, it was confidently predicted, and Julie Bishop, treading softly, thought so too. This would add, she admitted, to the twenty thousand dollars a day she was continuing to spend on her search for MH 370 though it already been found..’We must find out what was on the pilot’s mind,’ she insisted, ‘and we have already spent one hundred and twenty million on that worthy quest, and we should spend a hundred million more.’

Morgan showed the Coalition on 42.5 and losing sixty seats. There was no chance, Frydenberg said, of Abbott being replaced. He was, as a leader, a ‘total success. A poll in Western Australia showed a swing in Canning of 10 percent, 1.8 percent short of what the SAS hero standing for the Liberals needed to retain it.

Joe Hockey said the Government should ‘stick to its main task, which was all about jobs.’ Reminded that he had abolished two hundred thousand of them when he abolished , in a listless sentence, two hundred and fifty thousand of them in the car industry and its tributary services, and more would go when Abbott announced all submarines would be built henceforth in Japan, he began to weep and kick his legs like his employer, and do did Christopher Pyne, who was likely to lose his seat to Xenophon’s new Submarines Now! party. It was hard to think of any seat, apart from Ruddock’s, the Libs would easily retain..

Preparations began for the overthrow of Abbott and Hockey. Wyatt Roy was soon firming as the favourite, the only candidate likely to be still in parliament when the Liberals regained popular favour in 2045.

And so it went.

Terrorism Scorecard, Latest

No Australians have been killed by terrorism in Australia for one hundred years, and two hundred and and thirty-nine days.

Dyson’s Choice

(First published by Independent Australia)

After Dyson Heydon, intervening, warned Shorten that he was at risk of being seen to be lacking ‘credibility as a witness’, I asked him thereafter day after day in my blog to say which of Shorten’s statements were incredible, or withdraw his assertion, or resign.

He did not, of course. He was aware that Shorten had performed very well, succinctly answering 902 questions in perhaps 5000 words, with a clarity and wit that had helped his cause. So an impression of long-winded vapidity had to be manufactured, and Heydon manufactured it, in an interruption to proceedings one might expect in a trial of an Underbelly figure. Shorten had to be seen to be mendacious, fudging, untruthful, and to imply this without evidence, of course, was bias.

It was bias that could be seen to have been purchasedat at a very high price, by Howard, who had made him a High Court Judge, and he had lived well on a high wage; and by Abbott, who gave him three million or so to be a Royal Commissioner; that sum is in the vicinity of twenty-eight thousand dollars a week.

It is known he identified as a Liberal, and that the Garfield Barwick Lecture had a resonance to it, Barwick having directly advised John Kerr that he could, if he wanted, sack Gough Whitlam, and to have run the case that ended Chifley’s bank nationalisation, and brought down by this tactic a great Labor government. It was not yet known what he might have said at the lecture in praise of Barwick that was not contemptuous of Labor, or of Labor’s affiliate, the union movement, now that his Commission had so brazenly gone after Julia Gillard, and had megaphoned charges that yet might be brought against Shorten, that party’s present leader.

There was also his early connection with Tony Abbott, whom he was said to have assisted to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, though his qualifications for that honour were flimsy, and leaned heavily on his record as a sportsman and athlete. Abbott might have felt the need to reward him with six thousand dollars a day; or he may not.

It is likelHayden will declare himself to be blameless, and money will be spent by unions appealing to a higher court, a good deal of money. There is no way he will say of himself that he even gave the impression of bias, by agreeing to speak at a function at which money was to have been solicited that would fund Liberal Party campaigns.

He has been a waste of public money, and his appointment has been a scandal, and Abbott’s failure to sack him as grave an error as his delay in removing Bronwyn Bishop.

The government will fall because of it, after an eight or ten percent swing at the Canning byelection and the Abbott Experiment come to an end, be labelled by some historians ‘Amateur Hour’.

Things will move quickly from now on, and there will be, I would guess, a Turnbull, Robbie or Smith government by September.

Things will move

The Sweet Sad Ballad Of PVO

One the privileges of my illness is the time it has allowed me to watch, day after day, and night after night, the moral immolation of Peter Van Onselen.

A rural Jehovah’s Witness who fought his way out of that blood-refusing madness into university and intellectual respectability and a much-praised history of the Liberal Party; and then a whole lot of money in a Faustian bond with Murdoch, he has now, head in hands, called on Dyson Heydon to resign or be sacked, and will echo soon his own pleas, in February, for Abbott to go away, go anywhere, but please, please go away.

Van Onselen (whom I have nicknamed The Choirboy) is the worst of men, brilliant but wedded by greed and ambition to the Sean Hannity-Karl Rove-Tea Party agenda, and personally charming enough to dine out with Crabb and Muldoon and Richo.

In the next weeks, as his handsome features alter into the picture of Dorian Gray, and then a homeless person, and then an Ice addict, it will be interesting to see who still talks to him.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses will, of course, and at some point he may go home, and become a preacher for them, and wonder if, indeed, all this was a dream.

Abbott Dwindling: The Final Days (1)

Morrison in a press conference this morning said gay marriage was a peripheral issue and the Coalition would concentrate on the things the people judged important: jobs, domestic violence, Ice, and stimulating the economy.

He made no mention of the new war on DAESH in Syria, the war on those agents of DAESH who were perverting Muslim teenagers, the war on Zaky Mallah, or those ABC executives who were not on ‘Team Australia’.

He seemed to have abolished National Security as an issue, though a billion more dollars were to be spent on it, and embraced domestic violence, though money had been cut from it.

There is a truly significant alteration of emphasis in government policy and shows a rejection, with Abbott, of the Abbott paranoid agenda, which is not, clearly, getting through to the suburbs where boat people and Ice score big among the ignorant punters.

Today’s Ipsos

The Ipsos actually shows Labor on 56 and Abbott needing to win back a million votes to survive wth a 2 majority. This is the worst result for any party since Federation, and would lose Abbott his own seat.

As with Newspoll, the Ipsos headline is a cheat. 46 is what the Coalition would get if those who vote Independent dispersed their preferences as they did in 2013 when they thought Abbott was telling the truth on his policies. Asked how they would disperse them now they gave him 44. Why the 2013 figure is used by anyone is a good question. The only answer is ‘to have a headline better for Abbott’.

Morgan has Labor on 57.5 and is in agreement, pretty much, with Ipsos. It is a result that would lose Abbott 50 or 55 seats, including his own.

Will he be overthrown this week? Well, it’s possible. Robb or Smith may replace him, or maybe Turnbull’s hour has come.

The Heydon Upshot

The unfairness of Dyson Heydon is best shown by the transcript of the Shorten interrogation by himself and his dutiful researcher. Bill answered 902 questions in about five thousand words, and was cool and crisp in his responses and sometimes very funny. Heydon’s own long winded intervention, unprecedented in our legal history, in which he, the investigator, asserted that the witness appeared to him to no longer have any credibility, was an improper impertinence he should go to gaol for.

I am putting up the transcript of about five hundred of these questions and answers on Ellis Gold this afternoon. They are well worth the dollar they will cost you to read them..

My Fellow Patient Alan Bugden, R.I.P

After my seventeen hours covered in my own blood from a nosebleed and the staff refusing to wash me, I can imagine Alan Bugden, a few doors down, dying unregarded in a Royal North Shore toilet for twenty hours.

It is an awful place and it killed, this week, more Australians here than have died from ‘terrorism’ in the last hundred years.

Kyrgios’s Complaint

A twenty-year old man called Kyrgios has been fined fifteen thousand dollars for saying something rude to a teammate.

Similar things happened in the 1960s and 70s. The entire cast of the travelling productions of Rooted and Don’s Party were arrested for swearing on stage. Portnoy’s Complaint was banned here because it dealt with masturbation; Ulysses (eventually read aloud on Bloomsday by me and Bob Carr and Whitlam) because it was full of impure thoughts and bad language; the film Night Of The Hunter because it showed a Christian preacher as a murderer, thief and kidnapper.

In that era too Gore Vidal’s The City And The Pillar was banned because it portrayed homosexual activity; and, in most nations, Nabokov’s Lolita because it was told from the point of view of a pederast; and Peter Ryan’s Spycatcher banned because it revealed an MI5 plot to overthrow Harold Wilson and replace him with Lord Mountbatten. Malcolm Turnbull, happily, was there to fight for its publication, and, after two cases, allow it to go through the presses as a bestseller.

Are we back in that repressed, repressive era? It seems we are. Zaky Mallah can’t ask a simple, reasonable question.The ABC is threatened with extinction if they broadcast it, or broadcast it more than once. A sporting commentator can’t compare a sporting star’s looks to those of King Kong. Abusive dialogue common in The Thick Of It and Veep and The Trip — and the monologues of Robin Williams an Steve Coogan and Billy Connolly.

Where does this wave of wowserism come from? Why is Donald Trump being asked to resign his career and a race in which he is way ahead for calling an awful mendacious Fox woman an awful mendacious Fox woman? How much malice is involved in it, and how much right-wing religiosity?

Just asking.

New Dutton War Crimes On Nauru

After the murder of Reza Berati, and the twelve men who got away with it, and after the blowjobs-for showers trade on Nauru, and the little girl who mimicked being buggered at age five, and after the pregnant women who were encouraged by Morrison to have abortions because they would never, never, nearer live in Australai’, it should have been easy enough to accept the criminality of the Immigration Department and Dutton and Morrison and Wilson Security.

But the waterboarding, reported last night, was a bit of a shock.

It means Dutton can be arrested by the Commonwealth Police and tried at The Hague for crimes against humanity. It means our Cabinet Ministers are now on a level with Rumsfeld and. Cheney and their deeds comparable with those committed in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo..

But what has happened to the story? It was there overnight, denied as ‘implausible’ by Sutton, insisted it was true by a Wilson guard, and we do not hear it any more.

No doubt it will be back, along with photos of Sarah Hanson Young, in the toilet, in the shower, and meeting proscribed refugees , and agents of Gillian Trig gs, and another cover-up, and another revelation.

And we will see what we shall see.

On Ellis Gold

My famous long chapter on John Clayton dying will be up on Ellis Gold this afternoon. Worth subscribing for. More on Monday.m

Next Cab Off The Rank

The time has come to speak of who will be Prime Minister by September 1st.

Abbott will defend Dyson Heydon as he did Bronwyn Bishop for the next week, and lose office.

Turnbull does not have the numbers — and, to judge by what he said on Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon will never have them — and Julie Bishop, aka princess Mesothelioma’, is widely thought mad for her unceasing war upon Putin, who seems to have had nothing to do with the shooting down of MH 15, and her bizarre determination to spend 150 million looking for MH 370, although it has already been found.

This leaves us with the only senior candidate still credible, Andrew Robb and some younger men: Frydenberg, Ciobo, Tudge, and…Tony Smith.

Tony Smith, I think.

He was extremely popular in the lead-up to the Speaker vote, and has shown himself very able since.

A new face, untainted.

Smith for me.

Recommended Viewing

Tony Burke’s speech yesterday is one of the great opportunistic tactical orations of our day.

The Loneliness Of The Long-Distance Prime Minister

Matthew Guy saying this is not the Liberal Party I joined, and Turnbull’s warning that gay marriage will dominate the next year if it is not dealt with soon, plus Abbott’s wild successive ‘captain’s picks’ throughout the day — he went from the Parliament should decide to the party room should decide to the joint party room should decide’ went from Parliament ‘ to the party room should decide ‘ to the joint party room should decide –spelt another leadership crisis, another ‘near-death experience, in the coming days.

Morgan showed him losing fifty or fifty-five seats before this, his Longest Day, and his two Question Times thus far were debacles. It seems now improbable the Entsch-Butler motion will.not be considered by the House. It seems likely, indeed, the new Speaker will insist it be tabled.

What we are seeing is an equivalent of what happened to Campbell Newman: a crazy man out of touch with voters doing more and more crack-pated things on a twice-weekly basis to the amazement nd disgust of the media and commentariat. He

He’s abolished one ‘Ghan out of two a week. He has abolished a hundred and fifty remote ‘lifestyle’ Aboriginal settlements. He has canceled the comfort-calls to suicidal teenage Aborigines in gaol. He’s not given given money to the bashed and beaten wives that might have saved Luke Batty. And he’s spent 120 million looking for MH370 and wants to spend fifty million n more. He has to find out what happened, it seems. Why does that outweigh the good society he is cancelling to pay for it.? A pilot may have gone mad, some do. Why is this so important?

We are looking at a fully-fledged nutter here, and his wild changes of tactic and policy yesterday showed it. He,s spending a billion dollars rooting out terrorists in Australia, though no terrorists have killed an Australian here in a hundred years, and he’s abolished wind farms and called renewable energy the last thing we want if it clobbers the economy. He seems to think his abolition of the carbon tax saved each family five hundred dollars a year, though his his cancellation of the Schoolkids’ Money and other things has cost them five thousand dollars.

This is crazy stuff, hourly panicked and wild-hearted and almost everyone sees this in him now.

H may have days in the job, or a month or two. But he will not be there this time nest year.

Abbott’s Gethsemane

Waiting for the end of the joint party meeting for six hours last night, and then watching Abbott’s late-night press conference, with unbelief and amazement, the country got some sense of how bad a tactical player, a tactical politician, the present Prime. Minister is.

The fifteen days he defended Bronwyn Bishop was, oh, thirteen too many, and his party lost all credibility on all issues while those days went by. And every hour after the first hour last night was even worse. It was an unplanned, unexpected meeting., and it seemed after the first hour that Abbott was being overthrown.

It was I suppose like the election of the Pope — black smoke, black smoke, white smoke — and the infinite patience of the cardinals.

There are a good few things to say here, about captains , picks, and Pyne’s fury, and Abbott’s receding sanity. We must also look at the Morgan figures, always accurate, that show Labor on 57 and the Coalition on 43 two party preferred, a larger majority for a winning party than any since Federation.

These figures were published before the six-hour meeting. And Abbott seems not realise how serious this is.. He could lose his seat, and Hockey his, and Barnaby Joyce It is gets worse and worse, and he does not see it.