Certain Housekeping Matters (160)

Havana Liedown, George Theo and Double Dissolution are banned for life. Havana Liedown spoke of my rectal polyps, unfeelingly. I need no medical advice from him.

What Happened In New South Wales

Some thoughts about last night, which I will add to as they come to me in the next hours and days.

Luke Foley was elected by the Lindt Cafe siege, and the coincidence that Robbo had spoken up for Man Monis, a constituent. This was a few days before Christmas. Had Luke arrived in August, there would have been time for us to have got to know him, and to have been attracted by his incisive and plausible way of speaking in rivetting, cogent sentences persuasively.

Why Labor stuck so long with Robbo baffles me. Why they elected Robbo astounds me. He both looks and sounds like a small-time gangster.

On top of this Luke lost a week of his mere twelve weeks as Leader to the dual distractions of Malcolm Fraser and another weird air crash, and it was the last week of the campaign. It was the week when Baird’s connection to a crooked Chinese company should have been the big recurring headline, or his friend Abbott’s theft of billions from New South Wales which he gave to Western Australia.

Stategically, Labor erred in following the focus groups and asserting, like them, that Baird was a ‘good bloke’. He could have been portrayed as a lethal incompetent whose goons shot Katrina Dawson thirty-two times, a bumbling klutz who wouldn’t let Man Monis talk to the Prime Minister, and come out, sated, with his hands up. They could have emphasised his opposition to gay marriage, his years as an inflamed fundamentalist preacher in America, his obliteration of TAFE and his lame pathetic echoing, in all things but border protection, of the punishing policies of his constituent, friend, fellow Christian and fellow Manly beach-jogging fascist athlete, Abbott.

They erred in not using the true argument against privatisation, which is that you pay your electricity bill, and the money comes back to you, in nurses and schoolteachers and ambulance drivers and firemen. Your money comes back to you. But if you privatise the electricity your money goes to China, and you never see it again. They could have said simply also, ‘In the next ninety-nine years, the poles and wires would have earned a hundred and twenty billion dollars. And these dumb clucks are leasing them for twenty.’

They could have answered the ‘L-plate Luke’ charge — that he was inexperienced in government — with the simple answer, ‘So was Barry O’Farrell’. Or ‘So was Nick Greiner.’ Or ‘So, when he became Treasurer, was Mike Baird.’

It wasn’t all their fault, of course. Luke was deliberately sabotaged by the ABC, who lit him like Vincent Price in The House of Wax in the crucial encounter in the parliamentary library (Why the parliamentary library? Why not a studio?) and by Chris Uhlmann who kept interrupting him. On the day before the election, he was shot side on and given two minutes, and Baird was shot front on, and given four. You could not see Luke’s eyes, a classic trick of diminishment known to every film school student. You saw Baird’s eyes, his best feature, very prominently.

The assault on him by the Murdoch papers needs no reiteration. At one point he was pictured greenface in a koala suit, and Baird in a racing driver’s glamorous costume, for the day when it was proposed he would bid for the Grand Prix, before it was discovered he couldn’t. At all times by all the media Labor’s anti-privatisation reasoning was denounced as ‘the biggest scare campaign in Australia’s history’. So the fairly mild-mannered statement, ‘If you vote Liberal, your electricity prices go up’, outclassed and outweighed, apparently, ‘the downward thrust of China’ and ‘Russia’s finger on the nuclear button.’

Labor is currently seven seats away from government, if you assume the Greens and the Independents would come in with them ,and of course they would. They will pick up two more on the pre-polls, East Hills and Monaro. That will leave them five seats away.

They could have got these five seats, probably, had they heeded some of the ideas I sent to them. Foley’s office assured me were being passed on, but they probably weren’t.

One was a TAFE lottery; easy enough to understand. It would have awarded a half-million dollar first prize now and then, and banked ten million that funded new TAFE courses and kept the fees low.

One was putting back the Casino-to-Murwillumbah rail line. This would have won Tweed Heads.

One was putting a dining car on each of two trains from Katoomba to Central, one on each of two trains from Wolongong to Central, and one on each of two trains from Newcastle to Central, and charging ten percent more for the tickets in those trains. This would have taken hundreds of commuter cars off the road, and with ‘Breakfast Special’ and ‘Cocktailo Hour Special’ and ‘Late Supper Special’ journeys brought more people back to public transport.

Another was threatening to pass a law that would bring down all rents on all small businesses by one third; ten percent this year, ten percent next year, ten percent the year after. This would be favoured by ninety-eight percent of the voters, and release tens of billions into other parts of the economy, employing more young people and keeping more small businesses open, like the shoe shop in Avalon that was being charged, before it closed, three thousand dollars a week.

Another was adding Verity Firth, not yet in parliament, to the Shadow Ministry, as Jodie McKay was, and Luke Foley. This would have won Balmain.

Would these ideas have won five more seats in the commuter suburbs and the Far North Coast? Of course they would.

The difficulty with Labor is, as always, limited ambition, hypochondria, and stinginess. Government is always four years away, and we shouldn’t rush, and we shouldn’t spend too much on advertising lest we waste it. Five hundred dollars more would have kept Verity Firth in Balmain in 2011, and we lost Balmain. But hell, we saved five hundred dollars.It’s a two term strategy, comrade. Best wait a bit. Best wait a bit.

How did we get here from there? Most of the blame lies with the Obeid-Tripodi-Roozendahl faction, who sacked Rees when Labor was on 45 percent and made sure that, under Keneally, we lost with 36 percent. A fair bit lies with Martin Ferguson, who, like Obeid, Tripodi and Roozendahl should now be expelled and shamed. He was in a Liberal Party ad, for fuck’s sake, and was a lobbyist for coal seam gas. He has no place in the Labor Party, any more.

Some of the blame lies with Rees, who could have displaced Robbo in the last year and, as a former Premier and a cleanskin, cut Baird to ribbons after ten of his MPs resigned under clouds of corruption. He could like Foley have found another seat, and returned to power universally applauded.

And a lot lies, of course, with Kevin Rudd. Had he merely consulted, and not been a nit, and let the factions choose, in the Labor Party way, who would be in the ministry, and had he taken advice from some Labor Party seniors and grandees — McMullan, Debus, Faulkner, Kerr, Carr, Beattie, Wran, Keating, Whitlam — and some of the bright new ministers and parliamentary secretaries — Combet, Roxon, Plibersek, Shorten, Clare — he would now be in his ninth year of power. He chose instead to act like a frivolous, sneering tyrant, and here we are.

And so it goes.

And here we are.

Ellis Journal: Election Night

4.42 pm

I vote, and hear word that Labor is looking good in the West and the Central Coast. It was agreed that the Newspoll score, 48, bodes well. Some younger voters, unpolled because they have no landlines, should put that over 49. Carr won outright with 48.8.

Be still, my heart.

Fifteen more minutes — is it? — to the Skynews exit poll.

4.53 pm

Kieran Gilbert predicts an ‘emphatic’ Baird win, with 55 or 57 seats. Speers wonders if they will all have ‘red faces’ by the evening’s end.

5.34 pm

A Galaxy exit poll has a 9 percent swing to Labor in the city, and 11 percent in the country. This puts Labor, two party preferred, on 46 percent and falling short. There will be, however, many prepoll votes electronically achieved, eighty thousand of them, by young people who favour Labor hugely, and other prepolls that will favour Labor slightly.

Not over yet.

Kerry Chikarovski says the 55-45 score is wrong because it is based on 2013 when the Geens preferenced nibody and most ‘exhausted’.

We shall see what we shall see.

6.22 pm

If we fall short it will be in part because Malcolm Fraser died and was mourned, and this took the air out of three days of the campaigning; and a plane went down in the Alps and took out two more. These were five days of the ‘getting to know Luke’ process we could not get back. And also, I think, the failure of Labor to challenge the ‘good guy’ image of Baird, a wittering klutz whose tactics killed Katrina Dawson for sure and, probably, Tori Johnson.

Labor never had the luck. It scored two World Wars, a Depression, a world recession and the GFC. And so it goes,

6.38 pm

We seem to have won Goulburn, with a swing of 27 percent, from Pru Goward, and the Greens will take Lismore.

Twenty-five to go.

Richo seems to be dying.

6.44 pm

The Nationals retain Cootamundra, and Bathurst.

The Greens or Labor are going to take Ballina.

6.50 pm

We seem to have won Wyong, Terrigal, Swansea, Tweed, Oatley. May not win Coogee.

Nineteen to go.

6.58 pm

Prospect, Blue Mountains.

Seventeen.

7.03 pm

Pru Goward back ahead.

Eighteen.

7.10 pm

I THINK we’ve just won Penrith.

Seventeen.

7.46 pm

Antony Green has awarded the Coalition fifty-one seats.

Oh dear.

7.58 pm

The Coalition went up to fifty-three, then back to fifty-one.

I hold out hope that the pre-polls, two million of them, may change things.

Dunno.

8.41 pm

This is horrible, and I’m going to bed.

It’s very like 1998, when Labor got more votes than Howard, and lost narrowly. In this case Labor, two party preferred, will be on about 49 percent, with too much of its vote tied up in its own safe seats that could have been used in others.

I will make a list tomorrow of those ideas of mine that Labor didn’t take up, or weren’t passed on.

I will not be surprised if the pre-polls give Labor forty seats, but it will not be enough.

And so it goes.

9.51 pm

Foley’s speech to the faithful was very fine, and I’m sure he wrote it all himself. He paid tribute to Baird, who had called his anti-privatisation rhetoric ‘the worst scare campaign in Australia’s history ‘, as a healer and a navigator of stormy waters, said he liked him, and ‘it was never personal between us’.

It fucking should have been.

We might have won if it had been.

And so it goes.

A Second Prediction, The Same Day

I have not changed my view.

It may be that Foley/Labor will win outright, or not. But Luke will form a government, with or without partners.

Many, many Nationals seats will go.

Kelly will win Penrith, after perhaps two weeks of recounts.

A Prediction

Luke Foley will form a government by mid-April after a deal is done with some Greens and Independents.

I divine this from today’s Newspoll, which has Labor on 48, two party preferred, and will have underestimated by 1 or 1.5 percent the vote of the younger people who do not have landlines, or do but were out of the house when the researchers rang. Young people favour Labor, federally, by over 60 percent. Bob Carr won outright with 48.8 percent.

Many, many country seats will fall to Labor, the Greens, or anti-coal seam gas Independents, in part because of Alan Jones, in part because of Luke’s good friends the koalas. Some close-fought city seats, like East Hills, will stay with Baird. It is likely Jackie Kelly will win Penrith with Labor preferences.

I estimate that Labor will gain twenty-one or twenty-two seats, the Greens two or three, the Independents two, and Kelly win Penrith.

The later polling suggests that the ‘Reds under the Baird’ wheeze worked.

I will put up another prediction this afternoon.

The Twenty-Four Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (232)

Cheating, a Liberal-voting ABC producer filmed Foley in profile and Baird looking down the barrel in their final interviews on an hour-long election special, giving Baird three minutes and Foley two. You could not see Foley’s eyes, and of Baird you could see little else. This was followed by a panel of a Green, a Shooter and Fred Nile doubting Baird would have the numbers to sell the electricity and fund his policies, after which he had no Plan B. The ABC called this ‘winning’.

Cheating, Newspoll claimed Labor would get only 45 percent two party preferred, then in a footnote admitted it was actually 48 percent, that is, 0.8 percent less than Carr won with in 1995. ReachTEL’s polling suggested Labor would win every country seat which the Greens or Independents did not win with Labor’s preferences.

Cheating, the NSW Electoral Commission announced that 60,000 votes could have been hacked by ‘Chinese spies’ (you can’t make this stuff up), then let them through. This followed their omission of two candidates from 19,000 ballots, which they also let through.

After an amateur drab State Funeral with the most ramshackle rendition of ‘I Vow To Thee, My Country’ in a century of sluggardly church choirs, Malcolm Fraser’s coffin slowly followed a single bagpiper through his unbeloved Melbourne, whose Melbourne Club had taken a while to admit him, a Jew, to its numbers, and whose Robert Menzies had kept him on the backbench for thirteen years. No Liberal grandee spoke from the pulpit, only the aged Country Party scoundrel Peter Nixon, who wheezily praised John Kerr’s criminality at some length, a granddaughter who taught the great man tweeting, another granddaughter who sang a tuneful, stupid song of her own composition, and a bearded Scot who alleged he was now in heaven. The political party he was to have founded next month was apparently cancelled. It sounded like a good idea.

So unanimous was the verdict that Baird had won already, that it looked more and more like Foley might have, to those who read the final poll figures. Fifteen percent of the voters, it seemed, had not yet made up their minds, and eighty percent of them were young ones, who preferred in most surveys Labor or the Greens by a two-thirds margin. It was by no means over yet.

Lying, Mark Coultan under a headline BAIRD SET TO WIN AS LABOR FALLS FLAT gloated a good deal though Newspoll’s accompanying figures showed a swing to Labor of 12.2 percent, that is 0.2 more than was required for a hung parliament. His trial for fraud, some lawyers claimed, would occur in May, and that of his headline writer and Col Allen, his obergruppenfuhrer.

Laurie Oakes warned Shorten that ‘Australians prefer leaders who stand for something.’ By this he meant Abbott, who had backflipped on rewarding knocked-up millionairesses, on starving cripples, on persecuting Muslims, on gaoling trainee teenage terrorists, on awarding after a handshake all our submarines to our ‘traditional beheaders’ the Japanese, on sending bashed wives back to their bloody-fisted husbands. He commended Tony Nutt, who had lost Baird twenty-seven seats (some pollsters now assessed) for going now to Abbott’s office and losing forty more. He said Shorten had ‘no policy guts’, the Paliamentary Secretary whose NDIS was hailed world wide aas the last great Civil Rights victory, comparable with Martin Luther King getting Negroes in the front of the bus and voting. He should mend his ways, the fat fool said, and join Abbott in persecuting the sick, the young and the old.

Some former pupils of Sydney Boys High cursed Scott Morrison, who was to address an Old Boys gathering there on ‘how this great school formed my soul.’ A more eminent graduate, John Pilger, called him a ‘war criminal’ and said ‘He should be taken from the building in shackles.’

Baird ‘won’ the election with fewer votes than Labor, the Greens and the Independents and so claimed a ‘mandate’ for what he did not have, yet, the numbers for in the Upper House, and nobody wanted, the sell-off to China of the poles and wires, and a hundred billion going out of the country that could have stayed here.

A million pre-poll votes yet to be counted might add a few seats to Labor — East Hills, Tweed Heads, Monaro, Penrith, Coogee and Myall Lakes among them — and bring the Opposition total, maddeningly, up to forty-five but not the number, forty-seven, it needed to form government.

And so it went.

And so, a thousand curses, it went.

Today’s Morgan

A Morgan just out has Labor on 42.5 percent two party preferred and losing.

There were 1,078 voters responding on SMS and it’s hard not to think that Morgan, dead right in all recent elections, has greatly erred.

It was on SMS, which favours the Coalition by about 1 percent, and on Late Shopping Night, which may have altered the age group contacted, and be worth another 1 percent, and there may be a sampling error of another 1 percent, but it doesn’t help that much.

I’m pretty worried. It was an error, I think, to let Baird get away with two preventable deaths in the Lindt Cafe. Some hostages should have been unleashed to bucket him. But there you go.

You don’t stay teflon with blood on your hands. But there you go.

I suspect, but I do not know, that seven or nine percent of the voters will make up their minds in the polling booth, and that late suspicious gloominess may get Labor to 37, the Greens to 11, the ‘others’ to 10, and Labor, two party preferred, to 49 or 51, and winning.

Foley just won on Channel 9 an edgy dual interview with Baird, not by much, and a Channel 2 News Special will pit them once more against one another.

Fingers crossed.

I will make a prediction tomorrow morning, and another tomorrow afternoon.

I alone in the nation was right about Queensland. And Victoria, 1999. And South Australia, 2014.

And we will see what we shall see.

Rare Tidings In A Discontented Winter

Some of the best news in the last five hundred years is that Benedict Cumberbatch is the third cousin, sixteen times removed, of Richard III, and spoke a poem at his tardy funeral yesterday.

The resemblance, once you think of it, and you picture him, and you picture both of them, is eerie.

By an even more startling coincidence, he is playing him on television this year, in the Shakespeare Plantagenet compendium The Hollow Crown, on BBC.

The Myth Of ‘Two Party Preferred’

In 2013 a government was elected with a vote of 53.49 percent, two party preferred. It has since been unable to get most of its legislation through.

This is because ‘two party preferred’ means nothing. It was not two parties that were elected in 2013, it was fifteen. Labor, Liberal, National, LNP, CLP, PUP, KAP, DLP, Motoring Enthusiasts, Liberal Democrats, Family First, Glenn Lazarus, Nick Xenophon, and Jacqui Lambie; and, oh yes, the Greens. To this you could plausibly add Left Labor and the Turnbull Liberals, making seventeen.

And yet we are told there is a ‘two party preferred’ result, as if one party out of two won each election and formed, unfettered, each government. Gillard in 2013 showed this was wrong. So, in a different way, did John Howard in 1998, when he won only 49.02 percent of the two party preferred vote and yet formed government, and Bob Carr in 1995 with 48.8 percent.

This is why Mike Baird, on 55 percent two party preferred, is really scared now. He knows this is actually, with a simple shift in preferences and fewer ‘exhausts’, 51 percent; and, with a sample that included mobile phones, 50. And he loses.

We should stop this nonsense. It is said the ‘Coalition’s’ base vote is 45 percent. But this means, at best, the Liberals are on 36 percent and the Nationals on 9. And Labor likewise is on 36 and the Greens on 10.

And we should think on these things in this way hereafter,

Let us have done with this nonsense. And merely count the votes.

Numerates, arise.

The Palaszczuk Punchline, Possibly

Interesting to look at the final results in Queensland. Labor got 37.5 percent, the Greens 8.4, PUP 5.1, KAP 1.9, One Nation 0.9, Family First 1.2, Others 3.6. And LNP 41.5.

This is very close to how it is in New South Wales, with Galaxy showing for all of this year till yesterday Labor on 36, Greens on 10, and ‘others’ (including the Fred Nile party, and some Tony Windsor Independents) on 9. And the Coalition on 45.

So, of the 19 percent that are Greens and ‘Others’, Labor has only to get 12.5 to win. They will get 95 percent of the Greens, and many of the ‘others’ are Alan Jonesite opponents of coal seam gas who may not this time ‘exhaust’ but prefer Labor, as they clearly do in Ballina and Goulburn.

It may well be close, as Queensland was. But the ‘reds under the Baird’ last paranoid surge may get us, comrades, over the line.

Today’s Galaxy

Galaxy is usually accurate in the last days of a campaign. And it has Labor on 45, two party preferred, this morning.

But its presentation is different this time. It gives no ‘refused’ or ‘undecided’ figures. It does not say if its preference flows are as they were in 2011 or as they were yesterday. It does not say who the ‘others’ are, how many are PUP, how many are Christian Democrats, how many what might be called Windsor Independents, and so on. It does not factor in most Independents’ opposition to coal seam gas, or the sale/rent of the poles and wires, or Fred Niles’ opposition to the above.

It does not say, crucially, what difference ringing on landlines means. It usually favours the Liberals by 1 or 1.5 percent, because nobody under twenty-five has one, and most people under forty are out of the house.

So it’s not hard to see Labor’s base vote being 36 percent, and to add to that, as preferences, 10.5 of the Greens’ 11 percent, not 8.2 percent as they would have have been in 2011. That gets Labor up to 46.5 percent, two party preferred. And there are 10 percent more ‘others’ after that. A mere 2.5 of that 10 percent would show Labor winning.

We are told that Baird is on 53 percent as ‘preferred Premier’. And he may well be on that; Campbell Newman was on 49. It may be so. But we are not told why that figure is 10 percent less than it was a month ago and why his popularity continues to go south.

It may well be that Galaxy is right, and Labor will pick up only 15 or 16 seats and Baird’s teflon popularity will conquer all, in even those ten seats his corrupt MPs resigned last year.

But no party has ever won an election after privatising anything (Keating, Kennett, Kerin, Keneally, Bligh) nor promising to privatise anything (Napthine, Newman). And it may just be that the ‘mother of all scare campaigns’ has worked, and people don’t want their money going to China instead of staying here and buying hospitals and schools.

I find Foley’s optimism infectious. A lot of Independents will defeat a lot of Nationals, and there may be a hung parliament, and interesting times ahead.

Or…the Murdoch entity Galaxy may be lying in its teeth.

Quiz Time (128)

What cricket film starred Len Hutton, Keith Miller, Dennis Compton, Jack Warner and Robert Morley? Who wrote it? Who directed it? What were the particular, unusual circumstances of its making?

Lines For Mike Baird (1)

Trust me, trust me, trust me. The price of electricity will come down, and stay down. For ninety-nine years.

The Dead Perrett Scratch

Janine Perrett revealed on Skynews two nights ago how Malcolm Fraser groped, importuned and sexually assaulted her in and outside a cab in New York in 1986.

He was not around to deny it, though his wife Tamie was, and will be aggrieved I think to be told about it twenty-nine years later, just before the State Funeral, where friends will either ask her about it, or not ask her about it, and turn their eyes away in geriatric, womanly, mortified sympathy.

It is possible, just possible, that it did not happen, or what did happen was malignantly magnified. It is not likely a world leader would grope so unattractive a girl.

It is entirely possible he had a drink with her, and saw her protectively to a taxi, and kissed her cheek. It is very, very unlikely he would have gone further.

There is for a start the cultural thing. In Memphis, the girl was an American, and would not have known who he was. Would he so expose himself (as it were) to a media-savvy ambitious Australian ugly bitch who could ruin his middle-fifties and his marriage with a squib in the smh or a published story in The Nation Review? It is very much to be doubted.

What is more likely, I think, is a Murdoch plot to shrink the great man’s reputation posthumously, and so head off the allegations, soon to surface in Fraser’s interviews with Robyn Hughes, embargoed until after his death, of Murdoch’s central part in the Dismissal.

And so it goes.

The Thirty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (231)

Sounding frantic, Mike Baird told Fran Kelly that ‘Labor’s biggest scare campaign, ever’ had accused him of talking to GridCorp, China when he was in Beijing, about selling them the poles and wires. Asked if he had indeed talked to them, he said he had, but it was very scary of Labor to say he had done so. Asked what, if the Upper House didn’t let the sale through, he proposed to use for money he said, ‘Trust me.’

In the meantime news came through that GridCorp were under investigation for corruption — in China, where they shoot corrupt officials — and Baird began to sweat. ‘Trust me,’ he whimpered. ‘Trust me.’  Fran said his predecessor, O’Farrell, and ten of his MPs had resigned their seats after ICAC tainted them with corruption, and he sniffled, ‘Trust me. We will get through this. We will get through this.’ Then he wept into his morning hot chocolate in the Lindt Cafe. One tourist, seeing him there, ducked for cover.

Lonergan Polling, which had got Queensland wrong by 4 percent, and the various federal seats it measured in 2013 by 6 percent, put Labor on 43 percent after ringing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night 80,000 octogenarians with landlines and talking to 3,251 of those keen to confide in a machine. This criminally incompetent method had seen Lonergan get wrong every seat it had predicted, in the past, would fall to the Liberals and it was likely a Foley government would investigate it, and put its CEO, Lonergan, in the slammer and throw away the key.

Essential Polling, which was 3 percent wrong in Queensland, had Labor on 47 percent. This figure, deciphered, meant Labor, on 50, should win handily.

Tony Windsor revealed in a book that he might have awarded government to the Liberals had Julie Bishop not Abbott been their leader. Abbott’s offer of his arse, he said, was ‘unattractive to me’. Turnbull and Frydenberg said they favoured gay marriage. They could not explain why it was not discussed at the party meeting, as arranged, nor a conscience vote considered. Hockey stole two hundred million dollars from New South Wales and gave it to Western Australia. He did this on the eve of an election in New South Wales. Baird put his head in his hands and sobbed, ‘We will get through this. We will get through this.’

Brandis cancelled his cancellation of money to domestic violence victims. Sussan Ley, beside him, noted that a hundred times as many humans, most of them women, died from domestic violence in a year in Australia as died in a hundred years from terrorism. She could not explain why five hundred times as much money was annually spent on preventing or punishing terrorism as was annually spent on preventing or punishing wife-murder. It was noted by one amused and numerate observer that red-back spiders had thus far killed two hundred times as many Australians on home ground as terrorists had, and backyard pool drownings fifty times as many. Cigarettes, by contrast, had killed two million times as many Australians, in Australia, as terrorism and yet were available everywhere.

A champion of free speech, Peter Greste, was acclaimed for an hour at the Press Club over lunchtime. An hour later, the free speech of Shorten and Burke was cancelled by Pyne who moved that they be no longer heard, Burke only fifteen syllables into his contribution, and by Abbott who closed down Question Time forty minutes early. Bronwyn Bishop, who looked again demented, disallowed a question that argued Abbott was incompetent. You could no longer say that of a Prime Minister, she ruled, though it had been said of every Prime Minister since the invention of that office in the 1760s. It would no longer be suggested, she railed. Those days were over. Je ne suis Charlie.

Abbott’s phone calls continued to be refused by Widodo, who was ‘too busy’ to talk to him. The length of his refusal was already a world record, and hour by hour he kept setting longer and longer Guinness Book records of ever more protracted ill-feeling between allegedly ‘friendly’ countries.

It was proved Michaelia Cash illegally altered the rules that let in cheap foreign workers and underpaid them on oil rigs after the MUA took her to court and showed her and the judge it was wrong, and a kind of slavery, to do this. In the Senate she screeched at the Green and Labor members, swearing she would have her revenge, and ‘your union mates won’t know what hit them.’ She was, some said, in contempt of court, and might be soon imprisoned, if she repeated outside of parliament the vile threats to other citizens’ liberties she had lately made.

Peter Greste cursed his determined snake-eyed saviour Julie Bishop for being part of a government that wouldn’t let journalists like him, investigative journalists, visit Nauru and talk to rape victims and torture victims and ‘get the truth out.’ His own parents were asylum seekers, he explained, and he added that nearly all Australians’ ancestors were except the Indigines, and all, all Australians had ‘the democratic right to know what was going on’. And no politician, since all politicians were by definition ‘servants of the people, not their masters’, had any right to conceal anything.

The final Galaxy, which was 3 percent wrong in Queensland, had Labor on 45 two party preferred. It achieved this by ringing only landlines, half of them on Late Shopping Night, and redistributing preferences and ‘exhausts’ the way they were in 2011 and not as they are now, leaning more to Labor, especially the country Indeoendents. The likely result is Labor on 48.5 and a hung parliament, or 49 and a narrow Labor win. It is hard in view of Ballina, Lismore, Tweed and Goulburn to see the Nationals winning anywhere.

And so it went.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (160)

I have added a paragraph to The Worst Things (229) about Janine Perrett and Malcolm Fraser, and I invite you to go back and look at it.

The Thirty-Six Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (230)

Jackie Kelly, a former Liberal minister and Howard protegee, was portrayed as a crazed kamikaze pilot on the front page of The Daily Telegraph after she preferred Labor in a pivotal seat, Penrith, and opposed a threatened airport at Badgery’s Creek. TREACHEROUS EX-LIB MINISTER PREFERENCES LABOR IN CRAZY BID TO BLOCK BADGERY’S AIRPORT: KAMIKAZE KELLY, the headline ran, and a Warren Brown cartoon pictured her as a ‘turncoat’ and an editorial accused her of ‘disloyalty, treachery and vengeance’.

This emphasised, some said, the affrighted Murdochists’ rising Foley-panic in the home stretch of what seemed now like his unexpected win or near-win in New South Wales after Baird was caught red-fingered in the bed of Communist China, to whom he had promised control, for a century, of our electricity. He called Foley’s mention of this ‘a desperate distraction’ and, over his usual hot chocolate in the Lindt Cafe wept, ‘We will get through this. We will get through this.’

No such front page berated Martin Ferguson, the Labor Iscariot who attacked in Baird commercials Foley’s mild-mannered view that our electricity money should stay in Australia and be spent here on teachers and nurses. He was ‘to be praised,’ the Telegraph said, ‘for so gravely hurting his party; to wit, the Labor Party.’

In the smh, Tim Dick asked Bronwyn Bishop to resign. She was tremendously unfair, he noted, having booted out 319 Labor members and only 5 Liberal or National members, and having yesterday called a question on the debt-to-GDP ratio ‘not much of a question’ before disallowing it. To this Burke, objecting, said, ‘It is a brand new precedent if answering questions is now optional for ministers.’ It was, in fact, the first such ruling in a house of parliament in over a thousand years of democracy and a symptom of her burgeoning condition, dementia.

Geoff Winestock, a Liberal voter, called ‘racist’ Foley’s opposition to the Chinese, the Russians, the French or the Irish owning our electricity, and approvingly as well quoted Andrew Constance’s harsher judgment that it was ‘a racist rant’. AC did not go so far as as to call Foley a ‘self-loathing Paddy’ or ‘a bog Mick fathead’ or ‘a Papist pig’, though Luke, his wife and children were of Irish descent, but he came close. He bayed as well for laws banning unions from taking out advertisements in a democracy. ‘That,’ he grouched, ‘is taking freedom too far.’ He then after two whiskies abruptly bellowed ‘Je ne suis Charlie!’ and was assisted from the room.

Shorten asked Abbott to join his plan to build our next flotilla of submarines in South Australia in collaboration with whatever foreign company supplied the best deal and the best design. Abbott, who had last year voiced his admiration for the ‘skill’ and ‘honour’ with which the Japanese had sunk the Manly Ferry in 1942 (you can’t make this stuff up) was having none of this. He said, or hinted, he had already a handshake deal with our traditional beheaders, the Japanese, and Shorten was a fool to imagine he would change his mind. Thousands of jobs would go, and South Australia’s economy be ruined, but he would stand by this handshake, he implied, lest he suffer dishonour and be obliged to commit hari-kiri, as decent men must when placed in such a position.

Many thousands of those who were sexually abused as children were assured by the Abbott government they would not get any money, ever. It would involve too much complicated investigation, it was explained to them, of, say, how much a cheap feel was worth, and how much repeated buggery, and how much a year of enforced blow-jobs occasioning later suicide, or a life of drug addiction and early death. And besides, Abbott’s old school Riverview might not have the spare money to pay for lawyers for fifteen years, nor the tens of millions in compensation the traumatised litigants might then be awarded. And that would never do. ‘It’s important St Ignatius be spared the expense,’ Abbott is said to have said, ‘and Christian forgiveness go first, as Our Lord requires, to the vilest of men. These are my old acquaintance, and they deserve my careful attention, lest their evidence incriminate any more of my old acquaintance. This I believe.’

Andrew Laming brought flammable black liquid into the Federation Chamber, thereby making nonsense of the hundreds of millions expended on parliament ‘security’, and rubbing it between his hands appeared about to daub it on his face and, in the manner of Al Jolson, sing ‘Mammie’ blackface and then explode. Bronwyn Bishop made him say sorry, and suspended him from the House for twenty-four hours. He was the only Liberal thus treated under her tyrannous rule, though ten or twenty or thirty Labor members had been so shamed. News of her habitual injustice became known across the world, and her desire to resemble Margaret Thatcher, thought further evidence of her senility.

A plane crashed in the French Alps after nine minutes of radio silence, killing everyone on board, including two Australians. Abbott for some reason did not accuse Putin of blowing it up, nor threaten to ‘shirtfront’ anyone who might have blown it up, nor divert Australian soldiers from Syria to search precipitous mountains for two blackened Australian corpses, nor announce an interdenominational State Funeral in a Melbourne Cathedral nor a National Day of Mourning for these glorious dead. He did, however, continue to spend tens of thousands of dollars a day on a search in three oceans for MH 370, to find the which might take as long as the fifty years he was now prepared to take to get us back into Surplus.

He didn’t care. He wasn’t there to save money any more, he had gamely announced this a week ago. He was there to proudly run up bills and borrow money from the Chinese to pay their enemies the Japanese to build a new harbour and then twenty submarines with specifications they would keep from us lest we were ever in a shooting war on China’s side and they needed to capture and brandish the weaponry. He was there to proudly run up bills on social services likewise, as his mentor BA Santamaria would have wanted. ‘Seven acres and a mule!’ he began to shout randomly, and was quickly assisted from the chamber by two big Maoris and given by Credlin her ‘special tea’ and ‘settled down’.

And it was Turnbull’s voice not his that was on the final robocalls to undecided voters in New South Wales, lest voters recall who, amazingly, was indeed Prime Minister.

Other robocalls began to popularise a new pun, ‘Reds under the Baird’, referring to Baird’s unadmitted Communist Chinese connections.

And so it went.

The Forty-Two Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (229)

Abbott’s old school Riverview proved to have been, in the past, a hive of pederasts. Pederasty in Nauru, and forced whoredom, and midnight harrassment, and bathroom filth, and cannabis traded for blow-jobs were to be investigated by the Senate if Labor voted for such an investigation. Abbott was proved to have spent about thirty thousand dollars flying VIP to a wedding, a party donor’s wedding, and Hockey to have thrown a twenty thousand dollar breakfast bash days after telling Australians to ‘tighten their belts’. Baird wouldn’t say if he’d talked to State Grid, a Chinese government corporation, about selling them our electricity. A Chinese online paper said he had, and he gulped, and blinked, and muttered, ‘We will get through this, we will get through this’, then implied that, yes, he might have. He might have.

And that was just for starters. Abbott in Question Time denied there were imminent cuts in the money coming to the states for health and higher education or any alterations in old age pensions or any emotional problems that needed to be dealt with among the children on Nauru including, apparently, those recently raped or moved to try suicide or traumatised by seeing their mothers raped or trying suicide. He said what he needed was the Labor Party’s congratulations for stopping the boats and thus reducing the numbers of children raped or bashed or moved to suicide, ‘under two hundred, currently,’ he boasted, beaming. Pyne screeched that there were no reductions, no reductions at all, in the money coming to schools for children with disabilities, though the Education Department budget showed there were, and the very idea, he screeched, was ‘a union fantasy’. Abbott got up and snickered, in his attractive way, and told an Irish joke, and among dissenting howls apologised for it.

Bronwyn Bishop disallowed a question from Shorten on why the Prime Minister was doing what he was doing, the first occasion in over a thousand years of western elective democracy that such a question had been forbidden. She then threw out a Labor member for asking why she never threw out Liberal members, a similar trail-blazing first, bound soon, it was thought, for The Guinness Book of Records. Evidence of her dementia, some feared, was growing daily. At one point she even stopped the fervid Pyne from defending her, and sat him down. She was becoming, a colleague said, ‘a bit of a worry’.

Baird emailed a banned donor, a property developer, asking him for money. Over the signature ‘Mike’ he asked for cash in thousands to ‘get us over the line at this crucial time’. A Liberal candidate, Joe Sidoti, had already accepted a thousand dollars from Joss Construction, a developer in Albury.

John Howard begged voters not to elect Foley ‘by a fluke’, punning on the good man’s Christian name, in a letter yet to appear. It was also signed by another leader who lost an election, though not his seat, John Fahey, and one who was forced to resign after ICAC found him to have a ‘propensity for corruption’, Nick Greiner. He was found to be in that condition several times after 1991, and was facing charges currently.

Barry O’Farrell, another Liberal Premier whom ICAC thought corrupt, or tending that way, issued a public apology for having accused NuCoal Resources of a criminal arrangement with Ian McDonald, a disgraced Labor Minister, and paid them about 35,000 dollars in court costs. It was noted that of recent Liberal Premiers Askin, Lewis, Greiner and O’Farrell had been found to be, most likely, corrupt, and only Fahey and Baird, who’d had little time in power, were yet to be thought in any way criminal. Ten of Baird’s MPs, however, had been, and, though all the evidence was not yet in, his fellow North Shore MP Joe Hockey, and his former Party Treasurer $inidino$.

Baird’s Treasurer Andrew Constance in a tremendous gaffe while overtired said, ‘Local government’s terrible. This city should have five councils at best. We’ve offered up the carrot first, and we’re going to have to pull out the stick.’ He thus proposed, in this ugly sadistic image of upturned bare bottoms thwacked by a cane, many, many, many forced amalgamations. Ipsos reckoned 54 percent of Sydneysiders were against this nonsense, and only 40 percent in favour. Constance hastily added it was ‘only my personal opinion’, though it was of course his party’s policy. He was amazed to find that his plan to drive thousands of successful, ramshackle, good-hearted ‘Grass Roots’ and ‘Rats In The Ranks’ local councillors out of politics was unpopular with their families, their neighbours, their fellow church members, and those who had voted them in.

Foley seemed to be doing well in the campaign’s last week, and winning the battle of the headlines in the smh if not The Daily Telegraph. He was called ‘racist’ by his fearful opponents for saying, correctly, that Baird and Constance were planning to sell the electricity to the Communist Chinese and this posed a ‘security risk’ to Australia in the event of China, whom we are still at war with in Korea, deciding to disable our defence capability in a future global conflict by turning out the lights.

An Ipsos Poll suggested Labor might win, if that poll was as wrong as it was in Queensland. Morgan, however, which was right in Queensland, suggested it still had a way to go.

This impression was rapidly corrected when it was suddenly revealed, by Sam Dastayari in the Senate, that Baird had flown to China, where he probably sorted the electricity sale, and had airbrushed, erased, concealed those Communist fixers he had met on that journey from his parliamentary diary, a breach of the law.

This added him to the list of criminal Liberal Premiers of New South Wales, a total at last count, on going to press, of five out of seven.

Janine Perrett, a Liberal voter, said Malcolm Fraser groped, pushed, importuned and sexually assaulted her in a club, a street and a taxi in New York in 1986 a week before ‘the Memphis incident’, which, she said, didn’t surprise her, on Skynews four days after his death. She was gleefully aware what this would do to Tamie Fraser but, well, Fraser was a Liberal traitor, wasn’t he, and deserved every posthumous attack, every piss on his grave, he had coming to him.

And so it went.

Newspoll Versus Morgan: The Criminal Tendency Of Murdoch’s Numbers

In its most audacious fraud in many a long year Murdoch’s Newspoll showed Abbott’s government gaining half a million votes in a fortnight, the fortnight when he insulted the Irish, the Jews, the Aborigines, the United States and the Senate, backflipped on auto manufacturing and lied about submarines, and Pyne in a crazy shrieking outburst swore he’d sack seventeen hundred scientists if the Senate did not agree to pauperise all future students by Tuesday, and when they wouldn’t do that weirdly chirped, ‘I fixed it.’

A simultaneous poll by Morgan had Labor with seven hundred thousand more votes, on 56 percent, than Newspoll’s 51 percent. When Paul Bongiorno noted this contrast, Fran Kelly threw him out of the studio.

Morgan always gets it right; in Queensland, it said, correctly, 49.5 for Labor and ‘too close to call’. And, however Newspoll dresses up its mendacity — preference flow as in 2013; numbers ‘weighted’ to reflect the population distribution; 9 percent ‘refused’ or ‘undecided’ excluded — it can only be guilty, this week and often, of criminal fraud.

For it is not likely that the Coalition gained half a million votes while Pyne behaved as madly as he did last week; while Abbott said Shorten was like Goebbels and deficits for sixty years were ‘not so bad, considering’; while the Moss Report revealed that blow-jobs for marihuana had become the currency of Nauru and children were suiciding the, and S&M told pensioners they would get less money hereafter, and for the rest of their lives, precisely when they needed more.

But, like the Emperor’s new clothes, we are told by Col Allen there was no harm done Abbott that week, that fortnight, and the preposterous headline, TURNAROUND TONY, was thereby improbably, miraculously affirmed. And Abbott won back half a million votes. Does anybody believe that? Of course not. The emperor, O’Shannessy, is naked.

And the fact, pretty much, is what the Morgan Poll said it was: that the Coalition, in Pyne’s daftest week, and Abbott’s and Hockey’s most shamed one, lost three hundred thousand votes which it might not get back. And, were an election held on Saturday, Labor would gain fifty or fifty-two seats, and the Greens two or three. And no amount of shonky twisting and wrestling and mangling of numbers will get those lost votes back.

And so it goes.

A Prediction

It is reasonably clear now that Foley will win on Saturday. I base this view on the Ipsos Fairfax Poll, as detailed in the The Financial Review.

Machines rang homeloving octogenarians on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, when most younger people were out of the house, or unpossessed of landlines if they were under twenty-five. This flawed sampling, as the flawed sampling did in Queensland, underestimated the Labor vote by about 2.9 percent.

This would put Labor, two party preferred, on 48.9 percent and winning, with some difficulty, a tight contest.

Other parts of the survey, however, showed Labor likely to do better than that. This is especially so after the Parliamentary Budget Office declared Foley’s figures better than Baird’s.

The big issues, Ipsos found, were, number one, health and hospitals, 24 percent, and Abbott had cut money to hospitals, and Baird cursed him for it. Number two, ‘managing the state’s finances’, 19 percent, was up from 10 percent in November. It was up from 10 percent because it now includes the poles and wires, which 62 percent are against selling. This figure shrinks to 47 percent if it is explained the funds from the sale are used to build infrastructure, which 48 percent are in favour of. It is likely that this one percent difference echoes the way the vote will go, which means Labor, one percent down, wins.

Coal seam gas is 8 percent, meaning 8 percent are against it passionately. This is enough to change most of the seats in the country. Roads, the main thing Baird is running on, is only 5 percent. The environment is 6 percent, mostly Greens preferencing Labor.

Education is 16 percent, which always favours Labor, which brought in Gonski, and hurts the Liberals, who cancelled it. Pyne’s antics last week, threatening all our scientists if degrees were not made unaffordable, will not have helped.

Foley has been skillfuly targeting particular seats — a bike track here, a koala reserve there — and has achieved, it seems, a swing of 28 percent in Ballina. Foley’s approval rating, 37 percent, with 33 percent uncommitted, is pretty healthy. The ‘uncommitted’ are the ones who don’t mind him. The total, 69 percent, is not far behind Baird’s total, 82 percent, among octogenarians on landlines at home on Late Shopping Night, Friday night, and Saturday night. Adjusted for age, they would be I think about even.

Foley, a Catholic, has the Irish and Italian vote. Baird, a Protestant failed priest, seems now and then like a nutter, as when he opposes gay marriage, abortion and Sunday penalty rates, and hugs Tony Abbott, the equivalent of a brown snake in our politics, and then John Howard, the equivalent of a python.

The Labor ads will emphasise the poles and wires, and the Parliamentary Budget Office figures, and Baird’s complicity in the concealment, the suppressing, the criminal erasure, the airbrushing of a headline that favoured Labor.

They will get, I believe, their Leader across the line.

A Note On Malcolm Fraser

(First published by Independent Australia)

It has been famously said that the Liberal Party is just a phase that good men go through before they turn sixty-five and attain wisdom. Some, like Sir Robert Menzies, take longer. Some, like John Hewson, get there sooner. Some, like John Gorton, and his nemesis Malcolm Fraser, and dare I say Fred Chaney, arrive on schedule.

It was Malcolm Fraser’s moral pilgrimage that was the most remarkable of all. He administrated the Birthday Ballot, sending choiceless, voteless teenagers off to death and genetic distortion under Agent Orange in Vietnam. He divided the nation when seizing power improperly, using a dead Senator’s vote, in a constitutional coup that brought his native land the closest it has been to civil war. He connived with other Commonwealth leaders in the bringing to power of Robert Mugabe. He abolished what was then called Medibank, and campaigned against its successor, Medicare. He called Gough Whitlam’s government the worst since Federation. He kept Australia locked up in the protectionist fantasia whose end was long overdue. He was wrong on many, many things when young, and was only fifty-two when he was wrenched from power, and only once in his public life was seen to almost break down and weep, but not quite.

He was too proud and shy a man for that.

But then he grew older, and in the next decades a great change came in him. He saw the party whose glad birth he had witnessed body-snatched by a rabid, venomous lynch mob very like the Tea Party. He saw his meek disciple John Howard embrace the dark side of public policy, and go towards the crazy xenophobia of Pauline Hanson further, and more vigorously, than anyone had thought politically possible. He watched, in grief, that kind of rabid fury prevail, and a needless war that it conjured up obliterate in firestorm and street-fighting the cradle of western civilisation. He hated what his people had become, and he grieved for their better angels, lost to him now, and took thought, and broke with them.

But he had never, I think, been truly one of them. They had been white man’s burden imperialists, and there was never a racist bone in his body. They believed in the exploitation of the lower orders and he in a civilisation. More than anyone in his party, he believed in a fair go: for refugees, for the Indigenes, for the multiculture which was in a great part, through SBS, his creation.

He opposed Apartheid, sided with the Taliban against the Soviet Union, advocated a Republic, proposed our not going to the Moscow Olympics, detested the storming of the Tampa, believed the big lie of the children overboard, saying parents will do what they can to save their children, and showed in all things a huge intellect, an earnest purpose and a great heart.

He will be sorely missed.

The Twenty-Seven Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (228)

Cheating, Skynews showed only part of the ‘Star Wars’ Pyne sketch, omitting his beaming pleasure in the garrotting of a rival by the iron grasp of Darth Vader. Cheating, Murdoch published only the notional ‘two party preferred’ of a Galaxy Poll of some suburban seats, omitting the raw votes achieved by Labor, the Greens, the Independents, the Christian Democrats and PUP, lest they show Foley nearing, or nudging, power. BY A BAIRD MARGIN was the Daily Telegraph headline, showing Labor gaining ‘only’ 10 percent, not the 12 percent they might win with, forgetting thus the great Fred Daley nostrum, ‘When the swing is on, it’s on.’

Howard called Abbott ‘the comeback kid’, believing he would he would win back the 1.3 million voters he had lost, a world record, in only four months of power, and failed to win back thereafter.

Cheating, Ipsos-Fairfax rang octogenarians on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, and asked them to talk to garrulous machines. Eighty thousand of them did not, 1223 did, and they preferred Baird to Foley by 56 to 27, and the Coalition to Labor by 54 to 46. Those under forty were not contacted, being out of the house or on mobiles. Its margin of error of 3.1 percent, would see Foley Labor on 49.1 percent in a hung parliament, or winning narrowly. The Foley mantra, ‘Sack Baird, and sack Abbott free of charge’, might put him over the line.

Morrison restored the money he had taken from Rosie Batty and her kind, which housed and assisted women fleeing the violence of an angry husband or a mad ex-boyfriend. He refused to apologise for the violence, on his watch, against other women on the island of Nauru, and those on Christmas Island he had cyberbullied into aborting their children by shrieking ‘You will never live in Australia!’ on their radios and televisions till they booked the operation. He was sure none of this ever happened, and put his face in his hands.

He spoke in tongues on Sunday as usual, and came out of his prayers refreshed by a new, uplifting rush of Christian kindness. He resolved to kill fewer people this year than last, and even fewer next year. Another battered wife died while he prayed. He babbling beseeched the Deity to reduce by days, even months, her imminent millennia in hellfire. He had changed, he had changed, he was a good man now, and hour by hour he was proving it.

Hockey indicated he would cut money for the battered wives of the Solomon Islands, and Julie Bishop slumped in her seat and pulled a foul face that was emphasised and magnified in replays in the following hours. She was ropeable, and Cormann swore there were ‘noa sach plarns, or if zere were zey occurred ven I vos nert avike.’

A Morgan Poll came out indicating a 2.5 percent swing, federally, to Labor. It was almost certainly to do with Pyne, again, attacking the future of smart skint students and threatening to abolish scientific enquiry in Australia and sack all our Nobel Prize winners if he did not get his way. If the swing were duplicated in New South Wales, it might put Labor on 50 percent, and winning easily on Saturday.

It proved that Andrew Constance was trying to sell the electricity to China, or to a big billionaire of that nationality. This outraged what might be called the Hanson Cluster in the Western Suburbs and would, it was thought, if emphasised in television advertisements in the next two days, ensure Luke Foley was elected on Saturday. It seemed more and more that ‘Bambi’ Baird had run out of luck and his dad Bruce was dead right when he warned him, ‘Stay out of politics, son, you’re too dumb for it.’

Q&A came on, and a question about coal seam gas achieved such vast applause from an Easter Show crowd that it soon became very clear that every seat now held by the Nationals was likely to be lost on Saturday, and the 28 percent swing in Ballina was probably typical, not exceptional, because of a farm-gouging and water-fouling issue that was primal, frightening, basic and blood-deep. And it may well soon be so that the party of Sir Earl Page and the party of Sir Robert Menzies might both be extinguished soon, and the future of the bush belong more, in times to come, to men like Tony Windsor than singed bluenosed bandicoots like his loathesome successor, Barnaby.ll

Headlines emphasised the hatred of Julie Bishop for Hockey, the fat and greasy conniver of the increased persecution of the bashed women of the South Pacific. She pondered a Spill at tomorrow’s party meeting. As Deputy Leader she could bring on a Spill unassisted, and be, she imagined, she dared to imagine, Prime Minister by noon. She could then sack Joe and make Frydenberg Treasurer; and Abbott Ambassador to Kazakhstan, where his Borat-like behaviour would go unremarked. She could banish Pyne and Bronwyn to the back bench, make Turnbull Speaker…These heady thoughts overwhelmed her. She had a steadying gin. And then she had another. Immortal longings flowed in her. She began to make phone calls.

And so it went.

Today’s Galaxy And ReachTEL

As I suspected, a fairly honest Galaxy due out yesterday was held up, tweaked and fudged, and then revised and, let’s put a name to it, forged. Its actual figures were erased (Labor?  Greens? Independents? Nationals? Christian Democrats?), which may be a world first, and a figure, 54 percent to the Coalition, plucked — you might say — out of thin air.

An honest poll would say how many respondents there were, and what age groups and genders voted which way. An honest poll would say how many Greens and Independents there were, and how many of these groups this year were likely to ‘exhaust’, how many prefer the Liberals compared with 2011, how many go again to Fred Nile. An honest poll would say how many of the respondents were over sixty — only landlines were rung, amazingly, on, amazingly, Cheap Movie Night, Late Shopping Night, and Wednesday — and how many voters, those under thirty for instance, did not have a landline, and never would.

An honest poll with those figures would be on the front page, not page 4 beside a vast headline, LIBERALS REVEAL BIG PLAN TO SAVE THE SICK. It would say who the preferred Premier was, and by what margin, compared with a month ago, he was preferred, and how many this month approved his performance, and how many disapproved.

This Galaxy does nothing like that, nothing that is normally done when a poll is published; because, perhaps, the CEO David Briggs refused to put his name to it in fear of a shaming public trial and eventual imprisonment by Foley, Palasczuk, Andrews or Weatherill or their Attorneys-General for criminal fraud after he, or a Telegraph employee, or Col Allen maybe, changed the sample from, say, 925 to, say, 825, eliminating 70 Labor voters, the way you do.

It does show, however, that ‘over 40 percent’ (43? 45? 48?) don’t want privatisation; that is, ‘over 40 percent’ of them who are on landlines and are home on Late Shopping Night, and Cheap Movie Night; and 35 percent are less likely to go to the Liberals because of Abbott being a cunt, however likeable his beaming beach buddy Baird seems to be.

The figure which Murdoch’s man Col Allen is frantically concealing is, I would guess, 49 percent to Labor, or 50.

…In another part of the forest, ReachTEL, which always favours the Liberals by 3 or 4 percent (its method — of making octogenarians talk at length to machines instead of watching Micalleff — had Rudd, Swan, Clare, Burke, Bowen and Dreyfus losing their seats in 2013) shows, nonetheless, Labor on 52.2 percent, two party prefered, in Ballina after a 28 percent swing to it, because of its policy of opposition to coal-seam gas (43 percent of the electorate oppose it, 29 percent would like to see the farmlands gouged, and 17.6 percent are ‘undecided’); Labor winning Newtown comfortably with 56.5 percent against the Greens, on Liberal preferences; and Strathfield narrowly, with 50.8 percent.

Adjusted in the usual way, the Strathfield figure would give Labor about 54 percent, and that same swing elsewhere would threaten, this week, all the Liberal gains in the Western Suburbs. This narrow lead may then well widen, or not, after Pyne’s war on science becomes more execrated, and Morrison’s approval of the rape of children in his care more loathed, and Abbott’s boast of no more surpluses for forty years more ludicrous; and so on.

It seems likely, though not certain, that Labor will win on Saturday, with 46 or 47 seats.

And so it goes.

The Twenty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (227)

Abbott, echoing the last lines of Some Like It Hot, said ‘Institutions aren’t perfect’ in response to a report revealing harassment, abuse, a form of prostitution and child rape on Nauru, and he shrugged as he added, ‘Things happen’, much as he once said ‘Shit happens’ of green-on-blue murders in Afghanistan. It differed, though, from his previous assessment, ‘Another Labor stitch-up’, when Gillian Triggs had reported similar deeds and his call for her to resign for having brought the matter up.

Of the trade of marihuana for blow-jobs, breast-exposure for longer showers, the buggery of children and the certainty that none of the culpable men would go to gaol he said, ‘I have complete confidence in the service provider, Transfield’, and was initially pleased that the death of his enemy Malcolm Fraser and the subsequent nationwide tsunami of praise for him had overwhelmed these awful crimes for a day or so. But he was thereafter annoyed to find that the headline scandals recurred, and people still found rape of children interesting though it happened offshore.

A ReachTEL poll showed a 28 percent swing to Labor in Ballina, where coal-seam gas was unpopular, and a tweaked and massaged Galaxy poll, the Murdoch-funded survey that was 3 percent wrong in Queensland, showed Labor on 46 but actually, after deciphering, on 49, probably, and winning, probably, though not certainly, government on Saturday. Foley announced interest-free loans for community housing, a popular idea, and another poll showed Jodi McKay, a corruption fighter, narrowly ahead in Strathfield. On average there was an 11 percent swing to Labor across the state, and despite the Murdoch ‘hate koalas, hate them’ front pages, it seemed Foley’s desire to prevent their extermination was winning some supporters. People were voting early in great numbers, indicating a Labor win.

Baird continued to call ‘a stunt’ Labor’s revelation of his crime of altering a report disfavouring privatisation to one approving it. He thus joined $inodino$ and Hockey and ten sacked Liberal MPs in the dock defending in the court of public opinion an impression of corruption, and he looked increasingly frantic, like a Peking Duck observing the chef’s approaching cleaver, as the big day neared. ‘We will get through this,’ he sobbed in the Lindt Cafe. ‘We will get through this.’

John Howard, a Liberal voter, said Bill Shorten, the auteur of NDIS, and the chief salesman of Gonski, ‘stands for nothing’. Nikki Savva, a Liberal voter, said all that people wanted to talk about on their doorsteps was what a cunt Abbott was, and how dearly they hated privatisation, and Baird was probably therefore likely to lose at least twenty seats, if not twenty-five, and government. Malcolm Farr, a Liberal voter, called Pyne a ‘nut’. A ‘Star Wars’ Pyne sketch occurred on Insiders, the funniest, some averred, in world history thus far. Farr said Pyne’s wild cry ‘I fixed it!’ was like Napoleon calling his retreat from Moscow ‘a slap in the face for the Czar’.

Baird at his launch hugged Abbott, and lost twenty thousand votes. He then hugged Howard, and lost twenty thousand more. Foley, enjoying himself, offered ‘two for the price of one’: if you overthrow Baird on Saturday, you automatically lose Abbott also on Monday free of charge. Octogenarians talking to ReachTEL machines, however, gave Baird a 54 to 46 lead in Monday’s Ipsos the same as Newspoll, a bit of a worry. It was possible, just possible, that Foley was not yet quite well known enough, and he would score only 48, and narrowly lose, and so it goes.

Pyne with a smug look told Chris Kenny (who does not fuck goats unless it is safe to do so) that he would continue, yes continue, to bring before the recalcitrant Senate his deranged policy of student daylight-robbery, and he would talk to the ‘ferals’ nicely about it, and he would buy them cups of tea, and he would send them chocolates and roses, and he would threaten them with the loss of their seats, and he would win them over somehow, and make them, somehow, embrace his wild, fuck-headed notion like a teddy bear in Brideshead. He looked, for a while, pretty mad. He then for some reason violently denied that he had said ‘I’m a fixer’, and immediately after he had done so watched with a dazed smile himself up on screen saying it, in the now viral item on Insiders, as famed already and as widely beloved as the parrot sketch from Monty Python.

It was entirely possible, some worried medicos assessed, that Pyne had early Alzheimer’s. The fury, the venom, the rage, the denial, were as much part of that sad ailment as the beaming, cloth-headed, oblivious forgetting.

It was further believed by many observers, though of course not all, that the Pyne university ‘cunning plan’, outscoring all others, was what the Abbott government was now most hated for: the Little Fixer’s bizarre desire to pass on to each member of the next generation not thirty thousand dollars of our debt, as Hockey charged, but a quarter of a million dollars of our debt, and the threatening of all scientific enquiry should the next generation not fork over that vast amount. This, above all, it was thought, was the smile on the face of the jackal, the drool of the rabid dog, the munch of the Pyne-faced tapeworm, which they had of late most come to abhor.

And so it goes, and went.

The Horror, The Horror: Kip And Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer

Kip Williams appears to have invented a new medium, in which big moving images of actors in live performance hover over them as they enact scenes on stage, and we see them sometimes from four angles as they speak the words of a modern classic, and sometimes the images take them off stage and pursue them through the bowels of the theatre. The stage revolves, and we see the ‘real’ people entering from one angle, and their images on screen making the same entrance from another. It is scored like a film, and live-edited like a Philco Playhouse in 1954.

It may have been done before, by the Royal National Theatre or wherever, but I cannot imagine a more powerful intermingling of the actual, the closely observed and the ‘dreamed’, which serves to invigorate a play which has for decades now seemed forced, overheated, pretentious, and, dare one say it, hollow.

It begins like an episode of Poirot. A death has occurred, and the young Doctor Cukrowicz — translation, ‘Sugar’ and thereafter known as ‘Dr Sugar’ — a pioneer lobotomist, feeling his way, uncertain of his craft — warily investigates, in a New Orleans mansion, thick with imported jungle vegetation and commanded by an imperious old bitch, Violet Venables, whose spoiled son, Sebastian, named for the Saint, a ‘poet’, his mother claims, and a predatory dilettante, suddenly, last summer, died on a beach in South America, in circumstances that seem improbable. Did homeless urchins pursue and eat him? Or is his cousin, Catherine, his consort that summer, making it up? And if she is making it up, is she mad? And if she is mad, will the good Dr Sugar please lobotomise her? Violet will endow his needy hospital with a fortune if he does. And Dr Sugar is conscience torn.

Violet and Sebastian have travelled together, a celebrity couple, mother and son, but more like rich honeymooners (Scott and Zelda, Wallis and Edward), for twenty-five years. And only once, this year, has he embraced another companion, his ‘kissing cousin’ Catherine, famously neurotic, and abjectly devoted to him, whom Violet blames for his death. The implication of incest, or its emotional equivalent, could not be clearer, or more common, in these and other days, in the upper classes. Katherine has twice stolen her son from her, and Violet will have her revenge.

In his notes Kip says that Tennessee’s work is not ‘realistic’, despite its convincing dialogue, but more ‘operatic’, somewhere between Checkhov and Bizet.

After tnis version, it is hard to imagine a ‘normal’ production of SLS ever again. Kip’s technique, with lots of split screen, and hand-held roving long shots, and live predatory vegetables on screen and stage, counteracts the tedium of Catherine’s long narrative speech, interrupted only now and then, whose suspenseful climactic horror is not as great (a rich gay pederast eaten by street boys resentful of his colonial exploitation of their poverty) as it would have been in 1958. It seems, indeed, a perfect way to do Shakespeare, O’Neill, Miller, Sondheim and Kushner, and there will be more of it, I imagine, coming soon.

Robyn Nevin is, as always, pitch-perfect as the jealous, incestuous wealthy tyrant Violet, one more image of Tennessee’s mother Rose, awaking from a lifelong lurid fantasy of consummated mother-love and requiring bloody revenge. Eryn Jean Norvill is very fine, but not quite in her league, as Catherine. Mark Leonard Winter is superb as Dr Sugar, outclassing even Montgomery Clift in the movie. Paula Arundel, Susan Prior and Brandon McClelland are excellent in under-written small roles, and the sub-Hitchcock score by Stefan Gregory is sometimes very fine and spot on but now and then purposelessly pingy, scatty and irritating.

Some version of this production, if it is legally possible, should be issued as a cinema film. It is a work of a very high order, at times as thrilling as the Blanchett Hedda Gabler, and the Blanchett Streetcar, and it should be widely seen.

The Twenty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (226)

Having in three days alienated the Irish, the Jews, and the ‘ferals’ of the Senate whom he later called fine fellows, Abbott finished the week by alienating a larger group, the United States. He sided with the Chinese against them, in a bank to which he would contribute ‘two or three billion dollars’ of a deficit now likely to last ‘eighty or ninety years’, he calculated, proudly. It was a deal Julie Bishop opposed, and would cancel, it was rumoured, on or after her elevation to the Prime Ministership on Tuesday or Thursday or Friday of next week.

Baird proposed to castrate paedophiles if elected, including, he supposed, those his close friend Abbott had covered up for in his college days, and in the thirty years that followed, as page 68 of the Duffy book unmysteriously attests. This story appeared in the bottom right hand corner of page 4 of The Daily Telegraph under a tiny headline invisible to most readers lest it offend those fans of Rolf Harris, and the former Governor-General Peter Hollingworth, who formed a goodly number of its readership. They would also get twenty-five years, the great man added, including, if he could catch him, Sir Cliff Richard and (oh dear) Sir Paul McCartney, whose fourteen year old groupies in Adelaide were now more likely to come forward and speak to Sixty Minutes. Had he the power in earlier days he would have likewise castrated Leonardo, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Byron, Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Tiny Tim, Errol Flynn and Sir Charles Chaplin, all of them ‘guilty as charged’. He looked around, and wondered why the room was emptying. Castration? Unpopular? What kind of country was this?

A film showing Alan Turing, who saved the world, being castrated, and thereafter suiciding, continued to be seen throughout New South Wales. Few of the audience approved the idea of his castration, even though that man of genius was a proven, predatory homosexual. But Baird was eagerly ‘up for it’, being in this, as in most things, a duck-faced neo-medieval dickhead keen on mutilating sinners prior to watching them burn in Hell.

Malcolm Fraser, a Labor voter, died and those who remembered him showed Abbott how a good leader ‘stopped the boats’ in ages past: by allowing refugees from torn countries in their tens of thousands to come to Australia rapidly, and supplying air flights on which they made the journey. He called the storming of the Tampa ‘the most harmful thing ever to happen to Australia’s reputation overseas,’ or words to that effect, was the first Australian politician to use the word ‘multiculturalism’, called SBS ‘my proudest achievement’, and was lately grieved when Abbott hacked into its funding after having sworn he wouldn’t do that. The third of three physical and moral giants to have died in five months, he underlined the dwarfism of the ‘Liberals’, a party and a government unworthy of the name.

The report showing Morrison had lied when he said aid workers had ‘encouraged’ children to attempt suicide on Nauru was brought out hastily under cover of Fraser’s death and acclamation. It showed as well that sexual abuse of children had indeed occurred, and the culprits, unpunished — and uncastrated — were probably still at it, day and night, this being part of the ‘deterrence’ of ‘illegal arrivals’ that ‘stopped the boats’, there being no other way of doing it any more. Widodo would fire on any Australian vessel in his waters bringing ‘illegals’ back. Morrison’s protection of the murderers of Reza Barati continued. There were twelve of them, and many were still employed, and officially approved in that capacity by Peter Dutton, a more compassionate person who was beginning to hate his work.

Foley said he would compensate no-one for his cancellation of the Pilliga coal seam gas gouge of good farming land. Steve Cartwright said the cancellation would cost jobs in New South Wales. The company he worked for, Santos, were ropeable and soon downgraded their stake from 808 million to 543 million. Its Hong Kong partner CLP reduced its stake from 250 million to zero.

The Lindt Cafe reopened, reminding the public how Baird’s rogue cops had needlessly killed Katrina Dawson in a hail of redundant gunfire after the terrorist was dead, and had moreover forbidden the then Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to speak to Man Monis and thus with his legendary ‘people skills’ save lives, including Katrina’s. Labor failed to raise this fairly flammable issue, and so sacrificed, it was thought, a couple of seats they could have done with on March the 28th.

It seemed, nonetheless, that Foley might be winning. Antony Green said the deal with the Greens gave Labor an extra 1.7 percent, and the coal seam gas gouge issue was ‘bad for the National Party, and good for local Independents’ who would support (the small but perfectly formed statistician then added) a Foley administration in a hung parliament. A promised Galaxy Poll did not appear on Saturday, meaning it must have shown Labor to be in reach of power, and worth suppressing therefore.

And so it went.

Lines For Luke Foley (1)

When you pay your electricity bill, the money comes back to you in government services. If Mike Baird privatises the poles and wires, it will go to an overseas businessman, and you will never see it again.

The Twenty-Nine Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (225)

Keeping up his New Year Resolution of ‘a goof, at least, a day’, Abbott compared the most pro-Israel Opposition Leader in thirty years, Bill Shorten, to Josef Goebbels, a Nazi propagandist who favoured killing every Jew in Europe, with bullets, gas, enslavement, or starvation. Abbott’s love-mother Bronwyn Bishop ejected a Jew, Mark Dreyfus, from the chamber for protesting this, and another Jew, Michael Danby, walked out with him. The Liberals looked desolate and seemed, for a minute, likely to move against Abbott again on Tuesday, with Julie Bishop the narrow favourite, and turf out Bronwyn Bishop while they were at it.

Pyne threatened David Leyonhjelm, whose vote he wanted, with a Double Dissolution if he rejected, again, his limitlessly expensive university degrees, knowing such a move would probably cost Leyonhjelm his seat. But it would also cost Pyne his, and every Liberal member in South Australia. A minister leaked that Cabinet had considered this option and rejected it, on the grounds that it would ’cause the extinction of the Liberal Party’, and Cormann, loyally, said it had never been discussed at all, ‘et laist nert ven I vos in ze rerm, or nert vile I vos avike.’

Barnett addressed a crowd of angry Aborigines outside Parliament House but failed to convince them that his plan for their ethnic cleansing was a good thing for them and their country. They would not be ‘forcibly removed,’ he said, from land they had been on for thirty thousand years, but they would get no schools or medical help if they stayed there. One black man tried to dong him, and he was àssisted inside by Security.

Abbott spoke up against cyberbullying. It was a broadcast aimed at children, and did not mention Morrison, who cyberbullied three young men into burning themselves to death, one unsuccessfully, in Geelong, and seven young women to abort their longed-for children by saying, ‘You will never live in Australia!’ in an oft-repeated broadcast with which he terrorised Christmas Island. He did not mention Andrews either, who in many a broadcast bullied the newly unemployed, swearing they would get no money, no money at all, for six months and would have to suck off truck drivers in lay-offs outside country towns or become drug mules in other countries. Nor did he mention Andrew Bolt who had said some recipients of scholarships ‘weren’t black enough’, nor Cory Bernardi for implying homosexuals were ‘lower than the beasts’, and would copulate with beasts if they could catch them and hold them down.

Cyberbullying, indeed, was what Liberals did best: Newman outlawing bikies, Brandis seeking to empower bigots to yell at young women in hijabs on suburban buses, Pyne threatening a generation with a lifetime of debt if they dared get above themselves and go to university. He himself had that very day screeched across the chamber, while the nation watched amazed, that Shorten was a prominent Nazi, and Bronwyn had thrown out a Jew who protested. Once again, as it had when he knighted the Duke of Edinburgh, many decent Australians were offended by his tactlessness. Once again, it seemed he had only days of his leadership left.

Abbott’s on-again, off-again blond bromance, the small but perfectly-formed opinion leader Mark Kenny, under a headline saying Tony Abbott’s Nazi Taunt Backfired, Sparking Questions Over His Judgment, noted ‘a rancorous final day of the sitting week’ — forgetting, apparently, that there was another week to come, and a party meeting on Tuesday wherein he, Abbott, might be overthrown. He quoted one Liberal who said, ‘No-one doubts Tony’s ability to fight Labor. It’s just that he can’t help himself and he doesn’t know how to stop.’

Baird was proven to have interfered with the wording of an assessment by a bank, UBS, of his privatisation policy, and Michael Daley, the Labor Shadow Treasurer, wrote to the regulator asking that he, Baird, and his office be investigated for this, ‘a serious breach of the law.’ Baird called this ‘a pathetic stunt’, though it blew out of the water his pro-privatisation campaign eight days before the election. Questioned by the media, he would not say who in his office had made the call, or if, indeed, he had made the call himself. Foley asked if inducements were offered, or ‘pressure brought to bear’.

A Galaxy due out on Saturday would show, some feared, Labor on 48 percent — which would mean, with reapportioned Green preferences and no Green ‘exhausts’, Labor on 50 and winning handily, and Foley Premier by April Fool’s Day.

Pre-empting this, The Daily Telegraph ran a giant front-page headline, LABOR’S BIG LIE, over the mentally unstable thug Michael Costa’s view that leasing for ninety-nine years an entity that would in that time pay nurses, teachers and firemen one hundred and twenty billion dollars, and leasing that entity for ninety-nine years for only eleven million dollars, was a ‘sensible and moderate proposal,’ and not a betrayal of three generations of taxpayers who had bought it, and hoped to benefit from their sacrifice in their old age.

And so it went.

The Twenty-Nine Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (224)

Abbott said Labor would have got Australia to ‘Greek levels of debt’ if they had won the elections of 2013, 2016, 2019, 2022, 2026, 2029, 2032, 2035, 2038, 2041, 2044, 2047 and 2050 despite their manifest economic incompetence over those thirty-five years — during which they did not, for some reason, change their policies, and were somehow re-elected anyway. He then said the Budget would be back in surplus ‘in five years’ (Joe put his fat face in his fat hands) and the next one would be ‘dull and boring’ and contain further attacks on the universities, the old, the jobless young, the boat people and the next four generations paying three million dollars, including interest, for their houses. ‘And if that’s not dull enough for you,’ he shrieked, ‘watch out for 2016.’

He called the Senate crossbench ‘ferals’, then said he actually meant Labor and the Greens. Jacqui Lambie called on Pyne to resign from the Abbott ministry. Aware that he would utterly kibosh Baird by saying it, Pyne promised he would ‘try again’ to impoverish future generations with his infamous unregulated ever-inflating fees for university courses. The Sydney Western Suburbs were amazed to hear it, as they were to hear he would sack, if he found himself again in a steaming snit, seventeen hundred scientists, including some Nobel Prize winners.

Baird admitted changing a bank’s report from privatisation being ‘bad for the state’ to privatisation being ‘good for the state’ and thereby committing a fraud on the electorate of Madoff proportions he could go to gaol for. Pyne, hoping to do Baird even more damage, said he would fine all universities millions if their graduate students didn’t pay their HECS loans back, even if those graduates didn’t have a job — in the arts, for instance, or in the CSIRO which Abbott was bent on abolishing — to pay their loans back with. It began to be rumoured that Murdoch, who started out in Adelaide, had in those far-off days recruited the high school student Pyne as a midget Soviet spy, and he was striving still to bring down capitalism by doing the most unpopular things he could think of, every day.

Abbott abolished the parliament of Norfolk Island, whose democratic rule since 1792 had been, he said, ‘a failed experiment, like democracy everywhere’. This measure was compared to Yeltsin burning down parliament in 1993, and shooting the duly elected parliamentary representatives as they staggered out of the flames. He protested in his defense that it was ‘the only election promise I have kept’, but this caveat was not appreciated by the disfranchised peasant residents, many of them descendants of Fletcher Christian, who in an emergency meeting of their crumbling parliament called for his guillotining, in their quaint, old fashioned, eighteenth century way.

Morrison tried to lower pensions, and every three years decide by how much, but the ‘feral’ Senate crossbench wouldn’t let him. Lazarus said traumatising old people every three years was cruel, but he guessed Morrison, torturer of children and pregnant women and everywhere nicknamed ‘S&M’, was used to that. It was the twelfth major Budget policy to go up in smoke since May last year, but Abbott, who said, ‘What would you do?’ at Question Time to Shorten, flagged they would all be back next May, distressing the nation, and losing even more votes for the Coalition. This was if Abbott lasted that long, and was not ‘guillotined’ on April Fool’s Day after a Foley victory.

Abbott let it be known that if moves were made against his leadership he would call a Double Dissolution as a result of which sixty-five MPs and twenty Senators would lose theit seats and leave the Liberal Party ‘in the dumpster of history’. Some, however, thought they had an ‘outside chance’ of winning with such a counterpunch, others that those who predicted such an outcome ‘had to be on crack’. A third group feared that if, indeed, a DD worked, and Abbott like Netanyahu pulled off a surprise result, ‘we would still have Tony as our Prime Minister, and Credlin as our Perpetual Horsewoman of the Apocalypse, and the very thought of such an outcome was too, too hard to bear.’

An Australian, Sulman Rahman, was killed fighting the ‘Death Cult’ ISIS, on the same side as the Australian soldiers there, assisting the Kurds, who gave him a hero’s funeral.

Julie Bishop let it be known that if he had come home alive, he would have got twenty years.

By midnight, Abbott was pleased to learn an Australian had been killed in a terrorist act in Tunisia, and he now had grounds to send, on April 25th, an ANZAC force to war in that country.

And call a Double Dissolution.

He rubbed his hands together, chuckling.

And so it went.

And so it went

The Thirty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (223)

Abbott was called a ‘focking eedjut’ by the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, in what Tom Keneally called ‘the least friendly message from Ireland on St Patrick’s Day in world history.’ Abbott, said Enda, had wrongly alleged the Irish got on the piss, wore green, and sang ribald songs in mid-March, ‘an unspeakable calumny’ for which he should be, Enda added, tottering a little, ‘thumped’. It was a measure, some said, of how closely Abbott was observed these days, and vigilantly excoriated whatever the fock he did.

Showing signs of hydrophobic madness, Pyne, his face puce, acclaimed himself as ‘the fixer’, though Shorten, asking what he had fixed, achieved no answer from him. Lazarus, ‘the brick with eyes’, threatened to ‘break him like a twig’ if he ever sent him chocolates or flowers again. Asked by reporters if he would take his policy of ‘university degrees at infinitely increasing prices, forever’ to a Double Dissolution, he blinked, and blanched, and said no, no, no, no way, no way, he had all his life ‘depended on the kindness of stangers’ and he was ‘sure there was one out there somewhere, someday, somewhere’, and batted his eyelids attractively. Plans were rapidly hatched to take the crazed little ponce into care, and a veteran butterfly-catcher was hired to entrap him at midnight and take him struggling away.

Julie Bishop announced she would spend billions ‘deradicalising’ Muslim youth in the next two decades, a much more urgent priority than rescuing and feeding the smashed and grieving survivors of the Vanuatu tempest, for which she had set aside ‘thirty-eight cents per Australian taxpayer, no more than that,’ she proudly announced. ‘It’s important we get ‘these things in perspective,’ she told the House. ‘By spending five billion deradicalising Muslim youth we may prevent four white Australians being blown up in Martin Place. By spending five million assisting presently starving Vanuatuans, we will ensure three hundred of them die, or perhaps five hundred, and this will in turn ensure the next generation despise us, as colonial oppressors, or bad neighbours. It is important we put what Ross Lightfoot might call the nignogs in their place. We have to look after our own people. Those lesser breeds whom God has chosen to obliterate, we should help on their way.’

Jacqui Lambie hobbled out of her sickbed and voted against Pyne’s bill, and ‘the little fixer’, as he affectionately dubbed himself, did a goosestepping tapdance round her as she hobbled out, and later shrieked a rap-song of his own composition to the parliamentary parking station, where Kim Carr threatened to run him over. It was thought by some he had become insane, though others more intimate with him explained, ‘He’s always like this, in these mad March days.’ Fran Kelly, a Liberal voter, warmly supported his deranged position, yelling at Kim Carr that ‘tomorrow belongs to him!’ till James Carleton, a good man, took her away and gave her a cup of tea. The butterfly-catcher stalked Pyne in the predawn hours while he took his run, and as he skipped by planned his next pursuant move, breathing calmly.

The Daily Telegraph wittily nicknamed ‘Luke Foliage’ the New South Wales Labor leader who, they warned, might actually win, and thereafter advantage koalas and native forests, a terrible thing to do. ‘LOONEY ALLIANCE!’, cried a front page headline beside a fabricated photo of Foley greenface in a koala suit and, on page 13, an Andrew Clennell story, Koala-Cuddler Foley Finds It’s Easy Being In Bed With The Greens. Luke Foley Turns Himself Green For St Paddy’s Day, he added winningly, on page 5. Greens are bad people, said the editorial. They are against uranium mining, think Fukushima a misfortune, oppose like 87 percent of Australians privatising electricity and ‘want to flood Campbelltown with koalas’.

This redefinition of koalas as ‘vermin’ was thought by some of the Murdoch insiders a ‘courageous’ editorial line and not necessarily a wise one but…’Gee, well, oh boy, what Rupert wants, Rupert gets’, glum, overworked Col Allen muttered, shaking his head, ‘even in his present, drooling dotage.’ Some thought his Chinese wife’s affair with Tony Blair, a two-faced mad-eyed Labour turncoat, had unhinged the poor old man. Others thought it was the revelation, lately suppressed by his fairweather ally Cameron, that he had been lifelong, inadvertently, a Soviet spy. Mere senility was not, it appeared, the actual explanation. It might be to do with the imminent centenary of his father’s greatest scoop, Gallipoli, The Fuckup. What had he done to equal this? The Hitler Diaries? Squidgiegate? The gulling of Bush, Howard and Blair into a calamitous lost war in Iraq? His fifty-five year service to the Soviet Union? His uplifting, in this cause, of the crazed hellcat, Thatcher? He wasn’t happy, that was certain. And he was taking it out on koalas.

Miranda Devine, a Liberal voter, said in her column that an atheist upbringing led children to jihad and suicide bombing. She was thereafter surprised to receive from some of her readership dissenting tweets and rancorous fulminations against her Christian faith. ‘Belief in God is an admission of mental incompetence,’ one said. ‘Religion is an illness,’ said another, ‘get well soon.’

Religion was a very good thing, Devine insisted, and almost any kind of religious impulse ‘on the side of the angels’. She made no connection between, say, a Catholic upbringing and pederastic priests who bugger children who later suicide after men like Archbishop Wilson refuse to believe their stories and empower the buggers to go forth and bugger again. It was atheists who were the evil ones, she insisted, atheists, who were, as a rule, the cause world-wide of terrorism. Not religious folk at all.

This woman gets in excess of three hundred thousand dollars a year, or one hundred and fifty dollars a word, from the koala-hater, Rupert Murdoch, who thinks her beauteous, Godbothering fascism ‘worth every penny’.

And so it goes.

Today’s Morgan

Morgan is usually right, and this is a worry. It shows Labor on 44.5 percent, two party preferred, and the Coalition on 55.5 percent. This contrasts with two weeks ago, when Labor was on 47.5 percent, and, federally, on 55 percent in New South Wales.

It is possibly explained in this way. It was on SMS, which advantages the Coalition by about one percent. It was taken partly on the day of the St Patrick’s Day parade, which would have distracted a few Labor Party voters in Sydney and Melbourne, and Guinness-affected some of their misspelled SMS’s. And….the distribution of preferences seem, in this case, wrong.

Let’s add them up, if we can.

The Coalition’s primary vote is 46.5, the ALP 33.5 percent, the Greens 11.5, the Christian Democrats 1.5, and the ‘others’ 7.7 percent. A goodly number of the ‘others’, this year, will be Independents opposing coal seam gas. It is unlikely any Green will ‘exhaust’, which Morgan may be factoring in, or any Independent either.

33.5 plus 11.5 is 45 (no Green will ever again preference the Liberals), and it is likely the ‘others’ will, this year, give Labor 4 more percent, and get them thus to 49, which is enough to win with. It is also likely Labor will pick up about 0.75 from Fred Nile’s party, because of coal seam gas, and privatisation, which Fred opposes, and TAFE, which he is fond of. This puts the Labor score at about 49.75, which is enough to win by easily.

And…if the sampling was one percent wrong, this puts Labor, then, on 51 percent, and landsliding in.

I may be overstating this, and Morgan may be, as it was in Queensland, only 1.5 percent wrong, and Labor on only 46, and gaining; and, though gaining, still likely to lose. And this is a worry.

It is a worry.

My feeling, though, and I was right about Queensland, and all the bookies were wrong, and I was right about Victoria in 1999, and all the bookies were wrong, is Labor will get there, after recounts, on about April 13, with 46 or 47 seats, on April 13, as Bob Carr did in 1995. Or at worst form a coalition with the Greens.

And we will see what we shall see.

A Prediction

Luke Foley will win government, with an absolute majority, in New South Wales.

It will take a couple of weeks of preference distribution and recounts but he will be Premier by April 13 or 14, this year.

The Forty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (222)

Pyne after saying he would sack seventeen hundred scientists if he didn’t get his way said suddenly he wouldn’t, and scientific enquiry could now continue in Australia, albeit for only another year. Though any other Minister in the Westminster system would at this point have resigned, he was made of stiffer stuff, and he turned up jovially at Question Time and with beaming pink face acclaimed his own ‘deft manoeuvre’ and compared himself with Attaturk and Winston Churchill, two Gallipoli monsters he rather admired, a mere month from the centenary. Speers and The Choirboy covered their faces with their hands.

Abbott agreed to exempt journalists from his latest assault on free speech. Brandis implied this meant only ‘Murdoch journalists’ and others, like bloggers, would suffer the magnificent fury of the law. Credlin’s new nickname, ‘the Horsewoman of the Apocalypse’, was quoted a few times prior to the Four Corners program, House of Cards, which revealed it was the Liberal Party Treasurer Phil Higginson, a witty sackee, who had coined it. Julie Bishop, in her current radiant Joan of Arc mode, took credit for there being no Australians killed in the Great Vanuatu Storm, and promised five million dollars, less than the price of Malcolm Turnbull’s house, to that wrecked wet roofless archipelago in its worst wild weather extremity in a thousand years.

A Galaxy showing the Baird Coalition on 54 proved to have been half taken on Thursday night, when nobody young was home, on landlines which nobody young has, and to have redistributed all the Independents’ preferences to the Liberals, including those who lately voted for Windsor and Oakeshott, and those who listened to the furious anti-fracking Labor voter Alan Jones. The actual count, the expert Bob Ellis calculated, was Labor on 49, and winning narrowly, and Baird with his feet sticking backwards out of a glad-bag muttering, ‘We will get through this. We will get through this.’

Widodo continued to refuse to take Abbott’s calls. Word was out that Abbott’s people had been bugging him, as they had his predecessor, and were now blackmailing him, and this was why the drug dealers Chan and Sukumaran were still alive. He had been instructed to keep them alive, it was guessed by the smh, ‘until Abbott’s popularity improved.’ If they died before then, Abbott would reveal what he knew, or cause others to reveal it, and thereby ruin his political career. It was a plausible theory, given what Abbott, the dirt-filer, had done to Hanson, Kernot, Slipper, Thomson, Ettridge, Oldfield and Gillard. He was, it had been long known, a filth-sniffer from way back, and Widodo had lately discovered how diligent his lip-smacking prurience and burrowing nose had been.

The Four Corners revealed that it was Bob Santamaria’s Orwellian espionage unit the NCC that had written and posted the tsunami of affectionate letters in support of Abbott that had engulfed the Liberal MPs’ offices after the Spill, the ‘near-death experience’ that had pretty well cornholed his leadership. The NCC said he was worth preserving because he had ‘stood up for’ traditional marriage, and would not permit a conscience vote on gay marriage in the parliament. The NCC had served in the 1950s as a kind of secret police, and Abbott was once a supporter of their political wing, the DLP, and seemed at times to be that still; and to be, if the Widodo story was true, still practising their skulduggery, in the manner of their eminent predecessors, the Spanish Inquisition.

On Q&A Joe Hockey said, amid national derision, that he was ‘very reluctant to take money away from people’. A roar from the audience reminded him he had taken money, in hundreds of millions, from the ABC and SBS. But he had tried as well, of course, to take tens of billions from unemployed youth, scientists, teachers, nurses, doctors, old women going to the doctor and old age pensioners who owned houses in Sydney; and, more successfully, from tens of thousands of public servants he had caused to be sacked in every capital city. He seemed at a loss to explain how he had forgotten all this, upstirring old rumours that a maladministered anaesthetic during his stomach stapling had injured his brain.

He defended negative gearing, which had tripled house prices and ruined the economy because, he said, ‘if you do away with it, rents go up’. This proved to be wrong in every town but Sydney in 1986 and invited the simple solution of rent controls which he would not consider, this being ‘too easy’. He smiled a lot, and was charming, and his famous golden complexion was flawless, but he ended the evening with no credibility left. His case against Fairfax was going badly too. It now seemed the judge might agree that he was corrupt on the day, or very near the day, when he brought down his Budget.

Pyne was called ‘the incredible shrinking Minister’ by the Liberal voter, Fran Kelly; and Abbott, on the Four Corners report, ‘the worst Prime Minister in our history’, cravenly submissive to his gargantuan dominatrix Credlin, who seemed as vengeful and power-mad as the late Augustus’s consort Livia. He was thought by many a focus group member, the smh glumly reported, ‘an incompetent idiot’.

The Greens signed a preference deal with Labor in New South Wales, making it likely that no Green voters would ‘exhaust’ as they had last time, and swings of 25 percent on the North and Central Coast and the Armidale-Tamworth area were now on the cards, as never before, and a Foley victory near certain.

And so concluded another day of the worst free-elected government in the history of democracy since its invention, in Iceland, in 934 A.D.

Today’s Galaxy

Galaxy, which was 3 percent wrong in Queensland, today predicts that Labor will get 46 percent, two party preferred, in New South Wales.

46 plus 3 is 49, and 49 is enough for Labor to win with, in New South Wales where much of the Liberal vote is tied up in the northern suburbs, and the northern beaches, of Sydney.

Galaxy is wrong for the usual reasons. It rings no mobile phones, only landlines, though many, many people under thirty do not have landlines. It rings on nights when few people under forty are at home. It rings at hours when older people are more likely than younger people, or young parents, or middle aged people, to be home in any numbers. It redistributes Independent preferences, and ‘exhausts’ them, as they were in 2012 before Abbott had trashed the brand name and ten Liberal MPs were forced to resign their seats by ICAC snoopers and prodders. It does not, like Morgan, simply ask what those preferences are.

In this case, it claims that though Labor is on 36, and the Greens on 10, and the ‘Others’ on 10, there are none, absolutely none, of the ‘Others’ preferring Labor. It does not say how many of the ‘Others’ are PUP, how many Windsorite Independendents (there would be about a hundred thousand of these), how many Alan Jonesite anti-frackers, and so on. We are simply told that either all of the above prefer the anti-TAFEist, pro-fracking party, or twenty percent of the Greens do. Either of these propositions is ridiculous, but there is Andrew Clennell, proclaiming it gospel, the way he does.

In this way Galaxy gives what Murdoch, its principal customer, wants to receive. It uses the method which in 2012 saw Romney winning easily, and Newman’s LNP winning easily this year in Queensland, and the Liberal Opposition last year in South Australia winning office easily after twelve years of Labor. Its purpose is not prediction, but the creation of a feeling of ‘inevitability’ that gets the flaccid constituent wearily voting for the ‘winning team’.

The bookies, who are rarely wrong, were gulled by this method in Queensland, and were made to pay out at seven to one to those few who bet on a hung parliament, or Labor forming government. They are more wary this time, and in some scenarios are offering odds on Labor on five to one. This figure will come down in the next few days.

It goes without saying that Newspoll and Galaxy are occasionally dishonest — why else do they have CEOs? — and slavishly serve the will of Murdoch, even to the point of suggesting Campbell Newman ‘has a chance’ of retaining his seat.

And so it goes.

Why Nobody Likes Privatisation

Keating, Kennett, Kerin, Keneally, Bligh, Napthine and Newman all lost office because they privatised things, or proposed to, and it now seems Baird might do so too, if the recent polling is accurate. It is worth asking why this is so.

The answer is not hard to divine. Old people have with taxes all their lives bought and built and maintained entities – Qantas, the Commonwealth Bank, the Southern Aurora, the Sydney airport, the Opera House Lottery, the CSIRO – they are proud of. And these entities, in turn, have made money which comes back to them. It funds hospitals, roads, university courses, research into a cure for Alzheimers, and so on.

When the utility is sold, that money no longer comes back to them. It no longer funds poor students, or cures disease. It goes to a particular millionaire, often a foreign one, and his already wealthy shareholders. It no longer comes, in benefits, to the taxpayer who, over decades, bought it and maintained it. It goes to ‘other priorities’: new tollways to the western suburbs, whose daily tolls cost even more money; electricity bills enriching, as they did in South Australia, Chinese corporations; or invading strangers digging ancestral green acres for coal seam gas.

It doesn’t come to Australians any more. It goes to the Chinese, or similar.

It is precisely like ‘selling off the farm’, the farm whose cows and chickens fed your children, to a foreign rich man, who takes its produce overseas, and sells it there.

So xenophobia and socialism link hands on this issue, the Greens, the Nationals and Alan Jones. Not just ‘our ABC’ but ‘our electricity’ are defended at the barricades of the conservative tendency, not the revolutionary one.

Keating, Kennett, Kerin, Keneally, Napthine, Newman and Bligh have lost office because of this.

And Baird, almost certainly, is next.

The Thirty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (221)

Pyne said he would sack seventeen hundred scientists and so turn Australia into the Dayton, Tennessee of the present millennium if the Senate did not pass his plan of ‘limitless fees for universities, forever’. He told Cassidy he was proud of this ‘cunning plan’ and it was Labor’s ‘debt and deficit disaster’ that had made it necessary, alas and alack, to abolish all scientific enquiry in his native country until the end of time. A lifelong Catholic fundamentalist weirdo from what is widely recognized as ‘the Mel Gibson wing of the Church Militant’, he seemed again at one with Pope Urban VIII’s attack on Galileo Galilei, an earlier scientist whose views were inconvenient in the way that the climate-changers of the CSIRO today were inconvenient, and equally determined they be excommunicated from Abbott’s neo-medieval order of ‘seven acres, a mule, and Barnaby Joyce riding it, and yodelling, as Bob Santamaria, peace be unto him, decreed in his wisdom in 1952′, and thereafter sent into exile in ‘heathen America’ for the term of their natural lives.

Cassidy told him there was no way the Senate would let this nonsense through, and Phil Coorey said it would take ‘a stake through Pyne’s heart’ to stop him repeatedly trying to get it through. ‘He’s a determined little fucker,’ Coorey added, in his dry, rude way, ‘and mad as a cut snake.’

Baird was shown to have defrauded of their just compensations a number of female victims of crime, one who was gang-raped, and he slapped himself on the wrist and moistened his big brown eyes and swore it would never happen again. Hinch had invited on his new show the rape victim Katrina Keshishian and she did well, showing Baird to be a cruel untrustworthy swine. It was wondered how soon the Lindt Cafe hostages would say the same thing, after he refused to let Muslim negotiators in to beseech Man Monis to mercy, or to broadcast the small-time terrorist’s small-time demands and thereby calm him down, or let the Prime Minister talk to him and thereby calm him down. It was also wondered what he would pay Katrina Dawson’s family, given how niggardly he had been with Keshishian.

James Paterson, a Liberal voter with the blond, pale face of an adolescent Caligula, agreed with Albrechtsen and Chris Kenny that everyone should sell the family home and live in a lesser place in their seventies, eighties, nineties and noughties in a town far from their friends and never, never, never get a penny in old age pensions though they had paid taxes all their lives in the belief they were getting one. They should thus disinherit and impoverish their children, they eagerly went on, and learn to live on dog food in their late eighties, or work in Bunnings till they dropped. This was after Cormann had told them, ‘Dere eess noa vye, ebsolutelee nooa vye, we will mek oald parsonss sairl ze femmily homm, any moar then ve vill invade Mesopotamia, oops.’

Baird rang Kershishian late at night, said she was right and he was wrong, and scores of millions would go now to crime victims he had thieved it from, and after that fell to sobbing, ‘We will get through this; we will get through this,’ the way he does, checking his tears in the mirror, and refusing money to the Lindt Cafe hostages his rogue cops had shot with two hundred bullets inadvertently. A day later, an ABC news broadcast from Lismore Bowling Club showed he had lost three National seats he had planned to gouge for natural gas, and perhaps two million elderly persons who now believed, because of Cormann’s imperfect pronunciation, that they would have to sell the family home and live on dog food in cardboard boxes on Ballina Beach in their nineties. Baird was amazed to find, as Kennett, Keating, Kerin, Keneally, Howard, Bligh, Napthine, Abbott and Newman had before him, that ‘bad policies lose votes.’

The Murdoch papers concealed all polling of voter intention in New South Wales, the way they do, because, some said, that polling they had done showed, and massively emphasised, that following Hockey’s abject backdown on car manufacturing, Morrison’s brazen assault on the rate at which in future old age pensions would be upgraded, Abbott’s ‘lifestyle’ justification for ethnic cleansing and land theft in Western Australia, and the alliance of farmers, Nationals and Greenies on coal seam gas, Luke Foley was ‘winning in a walk.’

Murdoch proved to have been some sort of Soviet spy. The files on this were concealed by David Cameron, a Liberal supporter, and locked up in hugger-mugger for twenty more years. ‘In twenty more years,’ Cameron said, by way of explanation, ‘Rupert may be too old to put in gaol.’

And so it went.

Soldiers From The Wars Returning

(First published by Independent Australia)

It seems there are ‘accidental terrorists’ who want to come home. They have become disillusioned with the lifestyle of the ‘death cult’ ISIS and they want to come home. They are in Syria and Iraq and in fear of their lives. If they stay, they may be beheaded if they don’t volunteer to be, like Jake Bilardi, suicide bombers, and they want to come home. They went to fight Assad, and it all went wrong, they fell in with the wrong crowd, and they want to come home.

And Tony Abbott says if they do come they will go to gaol for twenty-five years. This is twice the minimum sentence of a man who rapes and strangles a child. They are much, much worse, Tony Abbott says, than he.

Like David Hicks, they have committed Thoughtcrime, and the level of their evil is not to be borne. David Hicks is an evil man, for the things he thought, and has since repented. There is no forgiveness for him, and no redemption, whatever he does. And not for them either.

There is not much sense, I think, in this vision of the world. Yet our Prime Minister espouses it. He is in a tremendous fight with a ‘death cult’, and he believes there is no other way. Though the parents of these young men and women will be devastated, and their siblings and nephews more likely to become jihadists, and those new jihadists more likely to behead pedestrians on Collins Street, or blow up a train coming in from Katoomba, he has made his ‘captain’s call’. And these young people will not come home, in one piece, as long as he is the captain of Team Australia, and as long as he has his way.

It is worth asking what would happen if they did come home, and were made to attend a prayer group of fellow Muslims whose minister tried to ‘de-programme’ them, to ‘de-radicalise’ them, whose schoolfriends involved them in an encounter group, a football team, a book club, a choir, whose parents were asked to watch out for them.

A device could be put on their arm that tracked their movements. They could be required, like Julian Assange, to report once a week to a local policeman. They could be offered apprenticeships, university courses, TAFE courses. They could, like anyone else, if they committed a crime of any sort, go to gaol, or do community service in lieu of gaol.

What would be wrong, my fellow citizens, with any of that? How would it harm Australia? But no, the Prime Minister says, and the Prime Minister is an honourable man, that it is better for us, and their families, that they be crucified and beheaded in Syria, and the family see online the fate he has condemned them to.

Is there any more short-sighted leader on earth? Is there any more careless of the consequences of what he says, and does? How long can a civilised people put up with him?

The answer may be ‘two more weeks’ if Luke Foley wins government in NSW, or wins over twenty more seats. It may, however, be ‘four more days’, till the party meeting on Tuesday March the 17th.

It is two days after the Ides, and it may be all the time he has.

The Twenty-Five Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (220)

The 7.30 Leaders Debate, visually cheated to assist ‘Bambi’ Baird, was nonetheless narrowly lost by him after he could not say where he would get his money from if the Upper House vetoed, as it was bound to, his sale of the poles and wires, or too low a price was offered for them. Peter ‘Malvolio’ Hartcher, besotted by Julie Bishop and girt in form-fitting yellow stockings, called Abbott ‘a continuingly dismaying symbol of disunity’, and ‘a demoniser in the service of the basest of politics’ who was ‘disqualifying himself from the leadership of a successful country of immigrants from every nation, race and religion whose future depends on unity and harmony.’

‘Bibi’ Netanyahu, a Liberal supporter, seemed set to lose power in the Holy Land. It was thought his murder of four hundred children last June had something to do with it, and the pulverising of a great, proud Biblical city which would take a hundred years to rebuild. It was guessed if he lost he would face the International Criminal Court and fume in the slammer for twenty years.

No picture of Baird, the racing driver, graced the front page of the Telegraph today like yesterday, his cunning plan to steal the Grand Prix from its rightful owners having exploded overnight.

Four ‘accidental terrorists’ who had gone to Syria to fight Assad and now feared ISIS would behead them and wanted to come home were told by Abbott that if they even thought of this they would get twenty-five years in Long Bay; better they be executed online, crucified perhaps, and their parents bewail them and their younger brothers blow up parts of Sydney in revenge.

The smh touted Foley as a man who might, now, displace Baird as Premier in two weeks, so well was he performing on the campaign trail with sensible, costed policies like more nurses, more paramedics, and a new underground railway to the imminent airport in Badgery’s Creek. The Liberals’ ad continued to attack him without showing his picture. If his face became known it was likely they would be ‘cactus’, or so their in-depth research revealed.

It was not known yet what damage Abbott’s plan to ‘ethnically cleanse’ remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia and seize their holy ground and their sacred sites and mine them for bauxite and aluminium and iron would do to their chances in the East but it was thought by some observers that this latest blithering idiocy rivalled ‘Sir’ Prince Philip and the selling off of the submarines to our traditional beheaders the Japanese and his fellow Godbothering Manly body-surfer Baird would suffer for it on March the 28th.

Abbott appeared on Skynews at 4.15 and submitted to an interrogation by an unfriendly Paul Kelly and Greg Sheridan, whom he was at uni with and who told him he was a ‘nice guy’ uneasily more than once. He looked edgier and creepier than usual, heavily made-up and rigorously hairdressed, apprehensive and apologetic (‘to the best of my human ability’, he said more than once) and unpleasantly smirking, as if he had just got wind of a Julie Bishop-led spill on Tuesday and feared his days were well and truly numbered, and the next one, tomorrow, was the Ides of March. He squirmed, he wriggled, he tried to be cute, he pleaded; it was a repellent, yet somehow disarming performance from what seemed a dying man. It was clear the whole thing had been got up at a moment’s notice at his behest by men who were well and truly sick of him and did not think him any more worth prime time, and so relegated him to ‘the Saturday matinee’ time slot like the Hollywood has-been he was fast becoming.

In The Australian, Pamela Williams wrote a piece on Credlin as damning, some said, as one of Demosthenes’ Philippics. ‘If she was Abbott’s Praetorian Guard,’ she wrote, pursuing a classical analogy, ‘she was also his Achilles heel.’ She wrote of Credlin upbraiding Cabinet ministers at one end of a long table while Abbott sat meekly silent at the other end of it, referring to her now and then as ‘the boss’. She was, Williams said, ‘a gatekeeper with a cleaver’.

There had not been in a Murdoch paper an assessment so contemptuous of a Liberal Party kingmaker since the last days of Billy MacMahon. ‘And so it goes,’ she concluded, in imitation of a past commentator. ‘If the narrative was about a new adult government, that message remains on hold.’

The Minister for Reconfigured Mercy, Scott Morrison, worked out a way of paying old age pensioners much, much less without upping the age at which they got the old age pension. It was adjusting the pension in line with inflation, an always dodgy calculation since it did not, for instance, include house prices or rents, and not, as now happened, adjusting it in line with the average male wage or the CPI, whichever was greater. Asked if he was indeed by this measure striving to pay pensioners much, much less, he denied it, the way he does, and fell to speaking in tongues and was thereafter difficult to comprehend.

And so it went.

The Thirty-Seven Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (219)

Abbott again begged Andrews to build the East-West, and take his money for it, a billion dollars, please. Andrews said he’d promised his voters he wouldn’t, and, in his view, a notable contrast with Abbott’s, he should keep his election promises. Andrew Constance, the New South Wales Treasurer, a Liberal voter, said electricity prices would come down for ninety-nine years, but after that ‘there was no guarantee’. That was if Fred Niles let him sell, or lease, the poles and wires. Fred said he wouldn’t, leaving Baird with no money to keep his promises with.

Baird said he’d snatch the Grand Prix from Andrews, and posed in a racing driver’s scarlet suit on the front page of The Daily Telegraph. Many pages of this organ featured Baird, and only a small sneaky sliver, at the bottom of page 2, the page nobody reads, Luke Foley. Luke was promising cheaper rego and five hundred dollars for tools to trainee tradies, the which if it were known would win him the Western Suburbs. But Murdoch made sure it was not seen. Les Allen kept it invisible on page 2. This is what the Murdoch people do. They cheat.

So did Chris Uhlmann, a Liberal voter, who in the Debate kept interrupting Foley and let Baird speak unencumbered. So did the studio director, a Liberal voter, who when Foley was doing well cut to a side shot of him, and made sure the front shot had a vertical bar beside his face, which diminished what he was saying. Foley nonetheless narrowly won because Baird couldn’t say why his friend Tony Abbott had taken away billions from health and education, and wasn’t friend enough to give any of it back.

Turnbull toured Queensland, and was there acclaimed by Andrew Laming and Wyatt Roy, likely voters for him in the leadership Spill on Tuesday. It seemed more and more likely that Bishop, the Deputy, would bring it on. Editorialists were still reeling at Abbott’s mistaken labelling as ‘lifestyle’ forty thousand years of occupying holy ground.

Jake Bilardi died on Wednesday in a suicide raid, a form of capital punishment Abbott had no problem with. Yet he waited, sleepless, in his lonely bedroom for Widodo to return his call. Widodo was not keen to do this, lest this hairy klutz then talk to him for more than twenty seconds. Widodo did not wish to spend three hundred million dollars feeding and accommodating two Australian heroin pushers for sixty years, nor did he wish to feed and accommodate three Indonesian heroin pushers for four hundred million dollars through a similar period, and this seven hundred billion dollar expense was not attractive to him.

Nor was Bishop’s offer of three hundred million dollars for the heroin pushers of the first part which a subsequent administration would cancel; by Wednesday, probably. And whatever Abbott said, in his hesitant, havering, lip-smacking, lunatic way, of what Allah might in this case have preferred, peace be unto him, and what Mahomet might in a Koran sub-clause have hinted, mate, Widodo took no pleasure imagining. He would rather, on balance, never talk to this wittering fool again. There would be another in his place on Tuesday, surely. And he, or she, might have a better offer. We will take ten thousand refugees, maybe, plus two Australian drug-runners, and send back the three hundred boats we have stolen from you, or pay to replace them.

Following his New Year Resolution of ‘one goof, at least, a day’, Abbott offended the entire Irish nation and its multiplying diaspora by raising a green tie and saying it was a tie, and it was green, and this was the one day of the year when it was okay to be Green, ho ho, my little joke, and saying he was sorry couldn’t be there, on St Patrick’s Day, in Sydney, where he lived, or entertain any Irish at Kirribilli, but he felt like a Guinness, he felt like a Guinness, he felt like a Guinness or two, or three, ho ho, in the patronising manner of his ancestors, the English, for seven oppressive centuries of persecution, exploitation, famine, slave wages, bad jokes and genocide. ‘He has made more enemies than Cromwell,’ said a staggering drunk at Circular Quay, ‘and eff oi get moi hands on his t’roat oi’ll focking morrder him.’

The Liberal Party continued to put to air an ‘L-plate Luke’ ad against Foley, modelled on the ‘L-plate Latham’ ad of ten years ago which included, however, no photo or drawing or animation of Luke Foley. It was said their research showed that every time Luke’s face was seen, he won more votes. So they did the first ad of its kind in world history, of the ‘invisible enemy’. It was voted by experts ‘the worst advertisement, thus far, in human history, a Louis the Fly commercial which concealed the existence, and the appearance, of Louis the Fly.’

Baird’s bid for the Grand Prix was shown after five hours to be a hopeless idea, after Eccleston’s people said Victoria had it until 2020, and, if they wanted it, until 2025. Baird, who had already promised millions for a glamorous hot-shot campaign committee who would plan the brazen theft, was regarded by all who heard of it, including the entire Western Suburbs, whom it was aimed at, a fucking fool.

Lots of ‘accidental terrorists’ who had gone to Syria, become disillusioned by the lifestyle of the Death Cult and wanted to come home and be normal Aussie kids again were told by Abbott that if they did they would go to gaol for twenty-five years, that is three times as long as the rapist-murderer of a child. Please let us come home, they begged, or ISIS will behead us. No way, said Abbott, no way.

And so it went.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (159)

Claire is no longer banned for life. I have been persuaded by good people she was being ‘ironic’, or something, and does not believe Germaine is ‘irrelevant’, and is, in fact, like all sane persons, an admirer of her.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (158)

Claire is banned for life. She said Germaine ‘had nothing more to contribute.’

She is banned because she has breached the Table Talk rule of not criticising what she has not read, or seen.

Anyone who has witnessed any of Germaine’s one-woman shows in Town Halls, a lecture followed by questions from the audience, in which she shows herself to be the best such public intellectual performer since George Bernard Shaw, would agree that she adds more new thoughts to the world, every minute or so, than any other thinker, probably, now living.

It is clear that Claire has never been to such a show, or read right through any of Germaine’s books, or even her review if Baz’s Australia, one of the best such essays in world literature.

And she is banned  for life, with extreme prejudice.

And she will never darken these doors again.

The Twenty-Six Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (218)

Andrew Bolt, a Liberal voter, said Abbott’s call for the removal of small communities who had been for thirty thousand years at the same address in Western Australia wasn’t ‘racist’. Nobody said it was, of course, merely tactless, or, in Noel Pearson’s adjective, ‘deranged’. Though Adam Giles, a Liberal voter, said Territorians had no trouble funding and feeding and schooling similar communities, Abbott had cut off the money with which Barnett had lately, unplaintively, done this, and proposed the doleful, ancient locals now leave their sacred sites, their homeland, their heartland, after arriving there twenty thousand years before Moses on the advice of a burning bush invaded the land of Canaan. They would not miss it, he said. They would go on to better lives, sniffing petrol and drinking port wine on the outskirts of Broome and Albany.

Bolt praised him for saying this. He went on to curse Germaine for bidding Julie Bishop ‘flash’ to save Chan and Sukumaran’s lives (too great a sacrifice, he huffed, though many a Calendar Girl had done as much for charities less urgent in centuries past, including Her Majesty Helen Mirren — and, let’s face it, Lady Godiva) and to praise Bill Heffernan for calling Julia Gillard ‘deliberately barren’ and Alan Jones for screeching that her father had ‘died of shame’. It was protested by his few supporters that Bolt, a Dutchman, habitually thought in this twisted way (the Dutch are famed as a race for their thickwitted hypocrisy), but the general mass of humankind thought him a huffing dumb-bum. He had, for instance, called Abbott ‘terminal’, and was now defending him.

His organ The Daily Telegraph had a front page headline, IN THEIR POCKET, under a ramshackle photo montage of Luke Foley brandishing banknotes from a swag of money given by unions as wicked as the nurses’, the teachers’, and the parampedics’. This was after Col Allen became aware that he was winning, and winning big, in most constituencies and set to be Premier by April Fool’s Day. Foley meantime promised a bigger Muswellbrook hospital, a new Maitland high school, a new Medowie primary school, and better roads in the Upper Hunter.

It was thought that in the Newcastle region, where nine of Baird’s MPs were found to have smelt…pretty corrupt, and made to resign the Party Whip, Labor was ‘in with a chance’ to win back seats they had held there previously for over a hundred years. Foley was not asked if he would sue, or if his father had cried when he read the paper. The Foleys, Labor knew, were more grown-up than that.

Julie Bishop found Widodo would be spending about three thousand dollars to house and execute Chan and Sukumaran in the next two weeks, and she took thought and shrewdly offered him three hundred million dollars if he would house and feed them for the next fifty years, and not execute them. Unfortunately, she also offered him three Indonesian drug runners, who would cost him four hundred million dollars to house and feed for fifty more years.

This offer, of a bill of a hundred million dollars in place of a bill of three thousand dollars, plus five more drug runners than he has at present, who might escape and sell more drugs and kill more people, was rejected out of hand. And Julie, in a ‘My dear Retno’ note, she told her opposite number, Ms Retno Marsudi, she wanted ‘to maintain the close bonds between our two great nations’ and this was worth a three hundred million dollar bribe, surely it was, though Indonesia would lose a hundred million in the shakedown, but only a hundred million. It was for unmathematical idiocy like this that the Abbott government was lately derided through South-East Asia, and Bishop was now thought ‘the worst foreign minister thus far in world history’.

Julie then called what happened to Jake Bilardi ‘tragic’. He went overseas, and she cancelled his passport, and said if he came back home he’d go to gaol for twenty-five years; and, with no chance of seeing his family again, or like Chan and Sukumaran repenting his past, he strapped on a bomb and died in a raid on Wednesday, at age eighteen. Asked if he should have been allowed to come back, and be ‘re-educated’, and become, if he could, a normal Aussie kid, she is said to have said, ‘Are you joking?’ She had cancelled another hundred and fifty passports, she boasted, thus ensuring Australian jihadis would practise terrorism here, not there, and behead more people in Collins Street, the way they do.

Researchers cured Alzheimer’s and dementia in Brisbane. Pyne continued to threaten to cut off all money to scientific research.

Julie Bishop ‘distanced’ herself from Hockey’s ‘thought bubble’ on super. This indicated that she, too, was, like Turnbull, close to tilting at the leadership.’ Even the Hockey loyalist Frydenberg did also. Joe was being, as the saying round the smh is, ‘nailed to the cross’.

It was increasingly thought by observers that Abbott had early Alzheimer’s, as Evatt at the same age, fifty-seven, did. And it might just be cured by the Brisbane researchers, if Pyne didn’t cut off the money.

And so it went.

In Twenty-Four Words

There is only one way of describing what Abbott and Barnett propose to do with the remote Aboriginal communities of Western Australia.

Ethnic cleansing.

The Twenty-Seven Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (217)

Abbott’s two most esteemed Aboriginal supporters, Warren Mundine and Noel Pearson, called him an idiot and bade him go fuck himself. Pearson did so at rather more length, in two thousand words as eloquent as those with which he praised Gough Whitlam.

The smh listed ten of Abbott’s vilest gaffes, and asked its readers to vote on which was the worst of them. In early counting, the knighting of Prince Phillip led with 22 percent, his attack on Bernie Banton in the last week of his life came in second with 14 percent, and his reference to women ‘doing the ironing’ more cheaply after the repeal of the Carbon Tax, came in third with 13 percent. The phrase ‘the loaded dog’ to describe him gained currency, and Baird’s bus, daubed by graffitists with the words ‘not welcome’ gave evidence, in the conservative Blue Mountains, of how toxic his fellow-Godbotherer, beach-jogger and foot-in-mouther Abbott was to his campaign.

The board of Greyhound Racing Victoria, Liberal voters all, declared themselves innocent of any knowledge of the torture and killing of piglets and baby possums by ravenous dogs on their watch, and resigned in unison. This indicated that millions of bets had been won unfairly by punters complicit in brutality and dog race results for twenty years would have to be revised. A similar scandal would suffuse New South Wales, it was predicted, very soon, and Baird, if re-elected, would have to arrest and interrogate a goodly number of his donors.

Miranda Devine, a Liberal voter, said the UN were ‘utopian socialists’ who were ‘always wrong, on every issue’, and that they had savaged Abbott for ‘his greatest feat of competence so far’. This was stopping the boats. What these left-wing dunderheads wanted, she said, was to ‘open the floodgates, and invigorate the people smugglers’. And when Purdijatno suggested he would do this, and in an armada of battleships bring ten thousand asylum seekers to Broome and Christmas Island, thus proving Abbott hadn’t ‘stopped the boats’ at all, she did not flinch in her enflamed upbraiding of the world body. ‘The UN is not interested in helping needy people,’ she wrote. ‘It just wants to slag off good people.’ (You can’t make this stuff up.) The UN, which had reorganised Europe after World War 2, and saved there and in other theatres tens of millions of lives, considered suing the silly bitch, then decided she wasn’t fucking worth it.

Her colleague PVO (‘the Choirboy’), a Liberal voter, had less praise for Abbott. There was still, he said, on average, a ten-point gap between the Coalition and Labor, that is 1.3 million people, and ‘the long-predicted “stunning comeback” was yet to materialise.’ He persisted quietly in his view that Turnbull, once he became a gay-basher and Monarchist, would seize the leadership and prevail.

Adam Giles, a Liberal voter, cursed Abbott and Barnett for persecuting his people, the Aborigines, in Western Australia, a faraway country he didn’t any more much like or wish to visit. In his native country, the Northern Territory, his people dwelt where they liked and got what they needed from his government to live at a level of comfort that was at least minimally acceptable. Shorten called his attitude ‘colonial’ and ‘anchored in the 1950s’ and asked him to apologise for it.

Turnbull, a Liberal voter, did not deny he wanted to be Prime Minister and called Hockey a fool for suggesting young people should raid their superannuation to pay off their homes. This was not what super was for, he complained. To some it seemed he had now declared himself a candidate for the leadership. To all it was clear he was very pissed off.

Boats the government had built to send asylum seekers back to Indonesia (if Indonesia would take them) were unsafe, it was revealed, and likely to sink on the way. They were to replace the ‘orange lifeboats’ that could be only used once, and were costing ten thousand a month to moor in Darwin at the Spot On Marina from which they might never, it now seemed, set out. ‘My feeling,’ said a government expert, ‘is that it wasn’t ethical to put people on these boats. You wouldn’t do it to Australian citizens.’

Paul Sheehan, a Liberal voter, used the nickname ‘Bambi’ on Baird and wittily added that he was like ‘a deer in the headlights’. He then denounced him for wanting to privatise things. This had never worked and was always resented, the bombastic weekly fascist monster unexpectedly asserted. He cursed the privatising of Sydney Airport and various Sydney roads that gave, as monopolies, billions to shareholders, not the ‘common people’. The common people have had ‘a gutful’, he fumed, of this betrayal of their needs by short-sighted fuckwits who sold off, for instance, the Commonwealth Bank, and ‘Bambi’ would be gravely damaged, or possibly defeated, at the election.

Further typhoons threatened Queensland, and great storms trashed Sydney. The Grand Mufti landed in Djakarta.

And so it went.

The Day It All Fell Down

(First published by Independent Australia)

Yesterday was a ‘tipping point moment’ in Tony Abbott’s career, and in Joe Hockey’s also, compounded by a Newspoll prefiguring a loss of forty or forty-two seats next year, and this month, probably, New South Wales.

Joe is suing Fairfax for noting the obvious: that property developers paying twenty-two thousand to eat with him want something back from him he probably, one way or another, will consider, only consider, giving to them.

Tony is in an area of craziness all his own.

He is asking that the United Nations praise him for ‘stopping the boats’ and not go on, the way they do (and did yesterday), about it being wrong to torment, imprison, or ‘torture’ children.

It is worth looking into the logic behind this argument, which is being tirelessly repeated by his awed assistant ministers on Sky News and commercial radio today.

He, and they, are saying that by torturing some children we save other children from drowning. We traumatise toddlers with confinement, and eight-year-olds with anal rape, in order that other children, whom they will never meet (and we will never meet), be deterred from taking the voyage they have survived, and drowning on it.

What he, and they, have failed to note is what the ‘saved’ children are going back to. In Sri Lanka, some may be killed; others may have a life of limited opportunity, or whoredom, or drug dealing, ending in early death. Some may become Test cricketers; or suicide bombers. The Tamil Tigers invented suicide bombing; it is for them a proud tradition.

But it is a life in their ‘home country’ that many would gladly risk drowning to avoid.

Abbott has further, it appears, refused to investigate the murders, beatings, trade in sexual favours, years of delay and buggery of children the UN hints at in its report. Reza Barati’s twelve murderers are still free. Some may be still employed, and menacing witnesses of his murder. The three young men cyber-bullied by Morison into burning themselves to death, one unsuccessfully, will achieve no ‘closure’ either.

Nor will the ninety years the children ‘freed from detention’ will hereafter spend on Nauru be investigated for its justice as a punishment for getting on the wrong boat in the wrong year. Is being ‘no longer in detention’ freedom if it is spent, exclusively, on Nauru? Is this ‘freedom’? Is this ninety year sentence a child saved from torture? Really?

Four Corners last night showed what battle trauma does to a human soul. Fear and confinement has a similar effect on children, and a ship sinking, and seeing one’s father attempting to hang himself in a grimy dwelling in a strange country.

Yet Abbott says we Australians are ‘sick and tired’ of hearing about these things, and want the UN, the world body, to pull its head in.

He is increasingly, as the saying has it, ‘in a world of his own’. He seems crazier and crazier, and enjoying, by the look of him yesterday, some form of medication.

There is actually no precedent for this ‘tipping point’ in our history. Our leader seems more and more like a South American dictator, wanting to hear only good news, and garrotting his critics and those bureaucrats who speak to him uncivilly. Tiberius in his last years behaved similarly. So did Herbert Vere Evatt, who had early Alzheimers.

In other nations what happened yesterday could presage an army coup. It is hard to imagine what will happen here, where that is less likely.

A Foley victory in New South Wales, probably, and then a federal Spill, and Morrison or Bishop or Turnbull elected by acclamation after Abbott agrees to ‘spend more time with his family’; or go, perhaps, to the House of Lords.

That, at any rate, is the least frightening option.

What else he and Credlin have in store for us is, at the moment, beyond imagining.

The Twenty-Seven Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (216)

Abbott gave back to the car industry the billion that would have kept it here till 2025 — a year and a half too late, alas. He did this in order, he said, to ensure that it stayed here till 2017. This meant, it soon proved, that it would leave even earlier, when the various auto moguls ‘grab the money and run’, the way they do, and thereby ruin or disrupt or traumatise about two hundred and fifty thousand lives, and do this a few weeks before election day next year, a few days maybe.

MacFarlane, who proposed fifteen months ago the industry be saved, in his gruff burnt-out monotone wearily said the belated money was to ‘ensure certainty’ to the industry and its workers, though it made that industry, of course, and its workers, even more uncertain, panicked and suicidal. The backbenchers Abbott promised to consult before he did this sort of thing were not consulted, and talk started up of another Spill. It was clear their leader had become insane, and, as $inodino$ last night told Alberici, ‘insanity is a worry.’

The United Nations answered Abbott back, to his surprise. Juan Mendez, a torture expert who himself was tortured with electric shocks and a gun in his mouth said the UN wasn’t picking on the Australian government in particular, just any administration that tortured people, which was against the law. He said our new legislation that allowed piracy, kidnap and lifelong imprisonment were wrong and ‘should be corrected’, and the ‘mistreatment’ of two whistle-blowing asylum seekers on Manus ‘should be investigated’. He said the United Nations, the world-governing body, ‘deserved a little respect’, and he himself was available at any time for a ‘constructive conversation’.

In this, he was a contrast with Widido who for six days refused to take any of Abbott’s calls. Abbott complained about this in the Australian media, an undiplomatic thing to do, and by this tactic so aggravated the Indonesians that one of them, Tedgion Edhy Purdijatno, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, threatened a ‘human tsunami’ of ‘ten thousand refugees’ escorted by his naval ships into Australian waters with guns blazing and dumped in orange liferafts on Christmas Island. This would restore boat people arrival numbers, he said, to ‘Rudd-like levels’ and make Abbott, Morrison, Dutton and Bishop look like fucking fools and ‘abject failures’ in what they laughingly called ‘border protection’, and ‘introduce a war-like situation’ into the Arafura that might ‘persist for decades’.

Hockey, suing Fairfax, lied a few times to the court, the way he does. He said he himself was ‘at arm’s length’ from the North Sydney Forum, though its pamphlet invited ‘donations to assist Joe Hockey’ — from thousands of prospective members including a poker machine manufacturer, the Australian Hotels Association, the Financial Services Council, a goodly number of property developers keen to build in the area, and, oh yes, Eddie Obeid and his dodgy sewerage entity. Joe’s Chief-of-Staff ‘instructed’ that the Obeid money go back to Eddie and his many sons, who sorely needed it, but Joe said his Chief-of-Staff had ‘no authority’ to so instruct the NSF’, and he shouldn’t have done it, but he didn’t fire him for doing it. It looked to some like Joe was perjuring himself from every orifice, and would be spending a good deal of his wife’s money to stay out of gaol.

Abbott defended Joe for being in court and not preparing a Budget and thus ‘getting in with the job’ of saving the country from fiscal disaster in a time of national emergency. He did that on the weekend, Abbott insisted. On the week days he was ‘entitled to a little time off’ — such as he, Abbott, had once enjoyed when suing Bob Ellis for alleging he’d had premarital sex, ‘a charge no man would let would let pass through to the keeper unlitigated.’ He had bought a house with the money he made, he noted, and a very good house it was too, and later greeted what he thought was his illegitimate son, a product, he then admitted, of premarital sex, on national television, and went to tears when he found out he was someone else’s.

Foley proposed there be more emergency nurses, and a nurse-to-patient ratio, the first of its kind in Australia, which would, he said, ‘save lives’. Baird and Gillian Skinner called this concept ‘rubbish’ and ‘the worst kind of Luke Foley thought-bubble’ which ‘put politics before patients’ and was in the end no more than ‘a stitch-up with his union mates’. (You can’t make this stuff up.) Foley’s voting numbers impoved, thereafter, by the hour.

Abbott said he was glad Barnett would soon close down a number of native communities in Western Australia after forty thousand years of what he described as a ‘lifestyle choice’, one he said should be now ‘wound up’ in favour of a better ‘lifestyle choice’, that of begging on the streets of Perth and Broome. One hundred and fifty of these communities would go, he said, and thus ‘save a lot of money I can thereafter spend looking for MH 370 in the adjacent oceanic vicinity, a much more urgent priority for humankind.’ A black Labor MP, Ben Wyatt, said he, Abbott, was calling ‘a mere sea-change of location’ what had been home country and heartland and sacred site for millennia, and it looked a fair bit like ethnic cleansing to him.

You can’t make this stuff up.

A Newspoll came out showing the Abbott-Truss Coalition, on 45 percent two party preferred, would lose forty-two or forty-five seats, and a Morgan showing them on 46.5 and losing only thirty-five or thirty-seven seats, a double death-knell, most experts agreed, for this Mad Monk and his ‘excellent adventure’, which would surely, surely, surely, end in screams and flames and a barrage of hectic knighthoods late next week, and a seat in the House of Lords for him, and oblivion for his Party.

And so it went.

And thus concluded another day, a long day this time, of the worst free-elected government since the creation of the present form of democracy in Iceland in AD 934.

The Twenty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (215)

Poll Puts Baird Ahead Two-To-One, a mendacious Telegraph headline asserted, over news that Channel 7 viewers called the debate 56-44 for Foley, and a ReachTEL showed Baird winning with 53, a figure which, deciphered, would put Foley, probably, line-ball on 48.5. The two-to-one was a vote of the ‘undecided’ audience, chosen by Murdoch’s grovelling pollster Galaxy, which gave fifty votes to Baird, twenty-five to Foley and twenty-five to ‘undecided’; a nice way of saying ‘a tie’.

Foley said if the poles and wires were sold off, electricity prices would go up, but Baird swore they wouldn’t. ‘I’ll put in a clause,’ he said, ‘requiring the purchaser not to put up the prices. For ninety-nine years. And I’ll send him a stiff note if he does.’ Much of the audience held their sides and rocked with unstifled laughter.

Abbott cursed the United Nations for saying we tortured people. ‘They should praise us,’ he railed, ‘for sending people back into torture who might otherwise have drowned — as hundreds did under John Howard while the Navy watched regretfully the SIEV-X sinking with all hands. Any level of torture is worth it, here or in Sri Lanka, to avoid those horrific drownings.’ Asked if that included the torture of children, including midnight buggery, he said, ‘Of course. Of course. You bet it am. Better some be buggered on land than others drown at sea. You bet it am.’

Joe Hockey, suing Fairfax, said his father had ‘cried’ when he saw a headline, ‘TREASURER FOR SALE’, which he had feared, poor man, was accurate ‘after fifty years’ acquaintance with my creepy fat cheating dumb son,’ the old man grieved. It wasn’t true, Joe whined. It wasn’t true. There was a perfectly logical explanation why Sydney property developers would pay twenty-four thousand dollars to eat yum cha with the current serving Federal Treasurer, some of them more than once, ‘but I can’t think, just for the moment, what it is.’

It was believed by some backroomers that the court case was an ‘inconvenience’, nineteen days out from an election, for Premier Baird, eleven of whose MPs had been forced to resign their seats and resign, sometimes, from their party, apologising tearfully, after ICAC had loftily accused them of ‘corruption unequalled since the days of the latterday Borgias’; one of them his former leader O’Farrell over a pen he didn’t use, and a bottle of wine he couldn’t remember drinking.

Abbott encouraged Muslim women to dob in their sons and send them to gaol for twenty-five years if they found them dabbling, online, in ‘the wrong religion’. ‘Every honest mother in Team Australia would unhesitatingly do this to her son,’ he said, his eyes growing wild, and his locution hectic, to an audience in Perth now fearful of their lives, or his. Reminded we were on the side of Charlie Hebdo, and free speech, and free speech included religious doubt in adolescence, he became suffused with an uplifted inner light and abruptly shouted, ‘We will now have The Two Minutes Of Hate!’ He was quickly taken away and ‘settled down’ with Credlin’s ‘special tea’.

He then came back shouting, ‘Block your ears! Just block your ears! Don’t listen to the Death Cult! Don’t listen!’

You can’t make this stuff up.

Peter Dutton said everyone in Goulburn Prison should speak only English hereinafter. This meant Arab grandmothers unversed in that language could not speak to their grandsons at all, after travelling hundreds of miles down to see them, but only, presumably, wave at them. Asked why the fuck this was, Dutton said, ‘The grandmother might be communicating terrorist plans to her jihadist grandson, or he his to her.’ Asked why the conversations could not be recorded, and translated later, Dutton shrieked, aghast, ‘By then it might be too late!’ Asked how this rule could be enforced, he said, ‘We seize the grandmother, and beat her, if she does not comply.’

Voted ‘The Worst Health Minister In World History’ by the AMA, he was now thought by experts the second worst Immigration Minister in world history, and gaining on Morrison fast.

Julie Bishop told Germaine Greer she was unwise to bare her nipples in her earlier years, and seemed glad she had no children, who might else hinder her mobility as Foreign Minister, ‘like,’ she implied, ‘the fecund, housebound, lactating incompetent, Plibersek.’

Marcia Mikhael, a Lindt siege survivor, cursed Baird’s rogue cops for shooting her two hundred times, and said the army would have handled the whole thing better, and faster. She thought of suicide a good deal now, after nightmares in which she was paid less money. She awaited, she said, with interest, the Coroner’s final assessment of Baird’s incompetence, due out a few days before the election, in which Foley was leading narrowly already, and gaining by the hour.

$inodino$ told Alberici he had voted in the Spill to get rid of Abbott, but since then he was ‘listening more’ to his backbench, who were likelier now to interrupt him in flagrante and tell him what a lying shit he was. He would probably last, the old sly numbers man assessed, as long as his poll numbers were okay for him. A Newspoll came out immediately showing him losing fifty seats.

And so it went.

The Thirty-Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (214)

On Skynews Joe Hockey showed evidence of brain damage by maladministered anaesthetic during the recent removal of ninety percent of his stomach, some doctors agreed. He said by 2050 ‘we would be all better off’. This included the one quarter of youth now unemployed, and probably unemployed then. It included those still paying off their 1.5 million dollar mortgages. It included those, in millions, replaced by a machine. It included women denied help by the government and murdered by their husbands.  He further added that Labor’s ‘debt and deficit disaster’ had not stalled Australia’s ‘record growth’, the second highest such growth in world history, ‘a record we should be proud of.’ He changed ‘debt and deficit disaster’ to ‘debt and deficit legacy’, to be on the safe side.

His policies, now on hold, could have balanced the Budget by 2020, he swore, but he was maybe ‘moving too fast’ and maybe 2050 was a better date. ‘In that year,’ he seemed to be saying, ‘I will be only eighty-five, and still Treasurer.’ Paul ‘Mogadon’ Kelly and Peter ‘the Choirboy’ Van Onselen looked upon his beaming daft sweaty fat visage amazed at his fucking cheek.

‘Bambi’ Baird said he would sell off the poles and wires only if Alan Fels said he could. It was entirely up to Alan, he added, to forego a huge wage and resign if he didn’t. He refusedto say if a subsequent Premier could sell the other half. It would depend on who it was, he said. He seemed surprised to hear that Keating, Kerin, Kennett, Keneally, Bligh and Newman had all lost office after privatising things, or saying they would, and that he might also suffer this common Australian comeuppance on March 28. He took thought, and changed the name of his planned crime to ‘asset recycling’ and, because it was only 49 percent, said he would ‘only put it in a little way’. Power bills would come down if he just did this little weenie sell-off, he promised, though in South Australia they doubled.

Foley promised to give back the money Abbott had taken off bruised women like Rosie Batty, the Australian of the Year. Bambi blinked, and went near tears. ‘We will get through this,’ he blubbered. ‘We will get through this.’

Claire Harvey, a Liberal voter, said she refused a kiss to a pederast when young but was ‘flattered’ to be offered it. She said, though, that Ian Paterson, a Liberal voter, was wrong to cover these things up in Knox for thirty years. Children have rights these days, she asserted, ‘and it’s a better time to be a child’ — looking forward to Pyne’s quarter million dollar degrees and paying three million including interest for a barely adequate house with wages from a job that he or she could lose at any time.

Abbott promised Bambi two billion dollars if he sold off the poles and wires. This equalled the two billion he wasn’t giving Daniel Andrews any more to build the East-West Freeway. When Foley won, and refused it also, he could spend it on looking for MH 370.

He continued to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a day looking for MH 370 in a deep, tossing ocean the size of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia put together. ‘It might take centuries,’ he is said to have boasted, ‘but it’s important we cover up for our ally, the US, who inadvertently shot it down off Diego Garcia. Billions are needed, I know, but they can be found — by denying the dole to teenagers for six months and forcing them to accept work fellating truck drivers parked in petrol stations outside of country towns. MH 370 forever!’ he shouted, ‘and I mean forever!’ He had to be ‘settled down’, by Credlin’s special tea and ‘deep massage’.

Baird was utterly defeated in a debate with Foley which Les Allen had stacked with ‘undecideds’ chosen by roving thugs from Galaxy, a loyal Murdoch entity. During the proceedings two Daily Telegraph propagandists, Devine and Clennell, accused the Opposition Leader of ‘sixteen years of corruption’ though he had entered Parliament only six years ago and immediately sought the expulsion of the criminal Ian McDonald. Every exchange went badly for Baird, a Worm showing Foley gaining on most issues crawled across the bottom of his face, and a vote, somewhere, was taken. The compere told the TV audience that Baird had won, but it soon proved Foley had, and the numbers were not revealed at the time, nor published anywhere for a day thereafter. Murdoch, bellowing down the phone, sacked seven persons, and the Ipsos ReachTEL poll of eighty thousand New South Welshpersons of whom a thousand took the call showed, after it was deciphered by the expert analyst Bob Ellis, Labor winning in a walk.

And so it went.

Sad Clown: Peter Ackroyd’s Charlie Chaplin

Peter Ackroyd is the greatest living Man of Letters, and has belatedly produced a small book on Sir Charles Chaplin written as well, and this is praise indeed, as his ongoing ‘Foundation’ series on English history.

I read it all in a day on a single train journey from Melbourne and was moved and upset by how much more I now know of a man whom, since I was ten and was given an 8mm projector and ran a cinema in our garage, I have admired intensely.

His Dickensian London childhood, with and without his mad mother, of midnight flits and begging in pubs and sleeping in alleys and brief stays in orphanages and the Workhouse, is tracked week by week and sometimes day by day and explains his later stinginess, not wanting to die in the impoverishment, shame and grime he was raised in. His later treatment of his frequently aborted girlfriends, one of whom he grumpily married when she was fifteen and pregnant to avoid twenty years in the slammer, only to bury their deformed baby a week after his birth, is harder to explain; and so is his treatment of his own children, whom he tyrannised in Switzerland like Baron Von Trapp, marching them up and down and smacking them and forbiddng them television and not letting them, for instance, see any movies but his own.

His unreliability (he was to be Alistair Cooke’s Best Man and didn’t turn up at the wedding), sexual appetite (six times a night), petulance, bullying, indecision, egomania, ignorance, haughtiness, ideological shallowness, fights with his musical collaborators and (of course) his ongoing pederasty seem at odds with his great works, and it is a pity his ‘straight’ film, A Woman In Paris, which pioneered naturalistic acting in cinema, did not do better at the box office (it was because he himself was not in it) and broke his relationship with the thrice-aborted Edna Purviance, who seems a good patient woman, and his nicest Muse.

Ackroyd describes each of his eighty-four films wonderfully, making you somehow see them all. It is a fine, fine book, and should be read by everyone over sixty.

The Fifty-Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (213)

Rejoicing suffused most Labor insiders when Malcolm MacKerras predicted a Baird victory. Wrong 92 percent of the time, the daft old popinjay had this time failed to note that Tweed Heads, Ballina and Lismore were gone already though on margins of over 20 percent, and National seats were at risk everywhere because of coal seam gas plus Alan Jones plus poles and wires, and Abbott was killing the Liberal brand in the western suburbs.

Baird wept a good deal in public, the way he does, and switched his emphasis to law and order, then found Knox when run by his fellow Christian Ian Paterson was a nest of pederasts he might now have to imprison, and some of his own teachers at Kings were on a further suspect list he might have to testify against, including in a former generation Alan Jones. Nobody moreover much liked his part in the shooting with six bullets of Katrina Dawson, now a national saint, and the involvement of eleven of his MPs including O’Farrell in various levels of heinous corruption, and the many, many greyhounds being executed weekly for not being fast enough. It seemed likely, though not certain, that the Liberals, the Nationals, the LNP and the CLP were now doomed to extinction and many of their rising stars like $inodino$, Abbott, Hockey, Morrison, Brough and Pyne bound soon for gaol after Premiers Foley, Palaszczuk, Andrews and Weatherill set up Royal Commissions to probe their various local iniquities.

Desperately, the Murdochists tried to pretend Abbott, now 57, was a changed man who, after going back on the co-payment, the Billionairesses’ Baby Bonus, the submarines, the ABC, SBS and his reduced assistance to Aborigines and battered wives like Rosie Batty could be trusted never to change his mind again. ‘He’s changed,’ they asserted. ‘Though older than Julius Caesar ever got to be, he’s beginning to learn the rudiments. He’s learned his lesson. He’s changed. And he’ll never change again.’

He will however ‘have to persuade the public,’ Paul Kelly droned, that ‘our best days are ahead of us’ if we ‘live within our means’; that is he can get us back into surplus in the lifetime of Wyatt Roy’s great-grandchildren if the weather doesn’t get any worse and ISIL doesn’t buy any long range drones and blow up Martin Place and St Mary’s Cathedral and Kirribili House and Joe stays in office till he’s a hundred and fifty and no-one gets the old age pension till they’re ninety. The political alternative, that taxes go up by two percent, and five percent for the very rich, and interest made from superannuation isn’t tax-deductible would be, the old bore continued, ‘disastrous’.

On the same page Dennis Shanahan praised Abbott for going back on thirty of his broken promises including sending the New Anzacs off to conquer Mesopotamia on reduced pay and calling Peter Dutton ‘dead, buried and cremated’ and thus showing he was ‘less dogged’ and ‘more flexible’; a year, perhaps, too late. The senile Gerard Henderson did not appear in his usual space and it was rumoured that ‘a disgusted nun’ at St Vincent’s had turned off his life-support after he had, for the fifth night, confessed in a groaning dream his oft-consummated love for ‘Bob’ and ‘Dan’ and their frequent threesomes in the 1950s and there would be ‘a quiet cremation’ attended by ‘his three friends’.

…This rumour proved false. Gerard turned up alive on page 17 accusing Mark Scott of being a board member of Knox and there concealing ‘a nest of pederasty’ whilst his heathen organisation, the ABC, had gone after George Pell, ‘one of the best known Australians’, for concealing pederasty in scores of Catholic buildings in Australia over two millennia. ‘This is a double standard,’ he railed. ‘Pederasty has been covered up for thirteen hundred years in various Catholic institutions but in Knox, alas, for only thirty. I call on Chairman Jim Spigelman to apologise for this disproportion in his predecessors and yes, yes, yes, overthrow the Protestant slimeball Scott at the next board meeting.’ Spigelman, a Jew, answered wittily that ‘Mine is not an Apostolic succession.’ It is rumoured that Gerard had at this point a ‘small but significant cardiac episode’ and the nuns thereafter had been ‘doing our best to keep the poor man comfortable, but ah, begorrah, he’s fading fast.’

Warren Truss denied his government was calling off the search for MH 370 after not finding anything in three oceans in a year of relentless underwater probing and shovelling. ‘The half billion we’ve spent was worth it,’ he said, ‘and we hope, in the next year, to spend half a billion more.’ Asked if he believed that it was in fact a US fuckwit on Diego Garcia who had shot it down in mistake for a Russian missile, he said, ‘Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of it. But Tony never tells me anything. Excuse me, won’t you, I do believe that it’s time for my afternoon lie down.’

Laurie Oakes, destroyer of Whitlam and Gillard, said leaks like the ones that he had been for fifty years famed for must now stop and Abbott must be given ‘several months at least’ to regain the two million voters who hated his big lies, policy twitches, needless wars, apparent ongoing adultery and patches — like Prince Phillip’s new title — of stark lunacy. He then praised Hockey for dumping those policies that would have got us back into surplus in two decades, not five, at the same party meeting where he conclusively proved the need for them, and cursed as ‘fiscal suicide bombers’ Howard and Costello for squandering on tax cuts for the middle class good money when we had it which we could surely use now, and spend on maintaining a civilisation.

ReachTEL showed a swing to Labor of 18 percent in the Northern Territory.

And so it went.