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ReachTel/Murdoch Tasmanian Figures False, As Always

Cheating as always, ReachTel finds 47.4 percent of Tasmanians voting Liberal, 23.6 percent Labor, 18.2 percent Greens and 6.7 PUP. Machines rang landlines on Thursday, late shopping night, while the Debate was proceeding, and got those uninterested in it, and not on a mobile, and not preparing dinner, or still at work, or driving home, and, sure enough, these underoccupied nonagenarians favoured the Liberals.

Similar machine-Thursday-landline polling in August by Lonergan, ReachTel and Galaxy had Rudd, Swan, Clare, Burke, Bowen, Dreyfus and Albo losing their seats.

Adjusting accordingly, therefore, along lines of their past error, and noting how well Gidding did in the Debate, and her support last night for a reopened asylum seeker ‘facility’ in Tasmania, I predict the result next week will be Liberals 35.2, Labor 33.4, Greens 20.5 and PUP 10.9 and a Giddings-McKim government, commanding 14 seats, formed by April 10.

That the poll would be taken DURING the Debate is a measure of Skynews’ frantic mendacity. Any later and the one in four undecided would have begun to decide.

It is time, surely, time these criminals were charged with fraud, and Murdoch immured in Port Arthur for the term of his natural life.

Murdoch, Tottering

On Sky News tonight Abbott’s first six months was trenchantly assessed by…his sister. She said she couldn’t for the life of her think of anything he’d done wrong except, maybe…just maybe…not having enough women in his ministry. The host, Chris Kenny, said Scott Ludlam saying he was a racist (no, he didn’t) and a homophobe (doesn’t want gays to marry, looks like he is) and going after unions (always has) was wrong, and a scandalous way to talk of our Prime Minister, he should show more respect, we all should show more respect…

No Labor figure was invited onto this programme, this half-birthday party, only a glumly tongue-tied Jack The Insider, itching to say more, showing how scared Murdoch’s getting lately. He does not any more have a dissenting voice on this show lest the landslide rumbling down on the government this week turns into an avalanche. After NDIS, Gonski, Broadband, Holden, Ardmona, Manus, Qantas, and now the WorkChoices ghost who walks and, oh yes, the cold war with Indonesia, the audible contempt of China and the UN saying we’re like North Korea sometimes there is no, repeat no, Abbott good news and Rupert, fingers in ears, is going la, la, la as any cult leader tends to when archangels don’t front and the seas don’t part, on schedule.

It must be hard for PVO and Kieran Gilbert and Kenny, who are not without intelligence, to endure the contempt of their peers and look forward to gaol terms like Rebekah’s but they must, like Faust, I suppose, take the rough with the smooth.

It will take a while but Newscorp by 2050 will seem as ghastly and silly as the Ku Klux Klan.

And so it goes.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (13)

Morrison called ‘surrender monkeys’ those like Sarah Hanson Young who did not want, like him, to put fifty children on Nauru for eighty or ninety years and never let them leave it — to get an education, or a job, or a spouse, or visit relatives in India. He put them in the meantime into a desert concentration camp, soon to close, and wouldn’t let them see their lawyers, and called a ‘stunt’ Hanson Young’s plan to visit them and ask how they were doing. He welcomed, however, visits from Indian bureaucrats who might now separate thirty Indian-born children from their parents and take them ‘home’ to Pondicherry to become child whores or street beggars or small businesspersons far from their grieving mothers, fathers, and elder siblings. He did not say why he had burnt their boat, and would not compensate the owners for this bizarre piratical assault on voyagers threatening no-one, anywhere.

Peter Van Onselen said India was not a signatory to the UN Convention that one does not persecute refugees and logically the High Court must now stop them going there. What we must do therefore, said PVO, is withdraw from the UN Convention. He did this on his show, and was not arrested for advocating terrorism, an oversight perhaps.

Peter Slipper, the man whose vote elected Tony Abbott, was told he might get five years for spending nine hundred dollars on cabcharges to wineries. This was nine thousand less than Abbott illegally spent on air fares to book launches of Battlelines, his manifesto, in 2009. But he paid it back in time, or rather his publisher Louise Adler did, and grew very snaky with him when he did not pay her back, so that she lost money on the book. Though Abbott, Brough, Brandis and Pyne had wrongly called Slipper a ‘workplace sexual harasser’ of a trembling thirty-four year old male, James Ashby, and could be sued by him for 350 thousand each, as could eighteen Murdoch journalists and five or six shock jocks, Slipper, grown mad and suicidal, had shown mercy on them. It was remarked that Abbott wrongly spent six hundred dollars flying to Slipper’s wedding, and paid this back too, and so avoided five years in gaol.

Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph published a morphed photo of Slipper as a ‘dirty rat’ and a Newspoll alleging Abbott was now as popular as Shorten, and his government on 46. The Morgan poll, an honest one — it rings mobiles, and redistributes Palmer as its respondents want, not as they used to — had them on 45.5.

Warfare round the MH 17 crash site caused Australian police, again, not to go there. Their presence, and Julie Bishop’s, in the area, cost a quarter of a million dollars that day. Abetz meanwhile announced that anyone under fifty who lost their jobs would not get the dole for six months, a saving of fifty thousand dollars a day. So a search for bits of the dead in an area as big as Marrickville full of bits of other dead people was more important than the misery of living breadwinners and the welfare of their children in towns that were dying, as always.

The amount spent searching for MH 370 in an area as big as Queensland hit half a billion.

His Finest Hour

The ‘strong and admirable leadership’ Abbott and Bishop have shown, according to the smh editorial, begs the question, ‘against what opposition?’ Shorten has assonantly echoed their every press release. Obama has marched in lockstep with their paranoid bellicosity. Not even Jacqui Lambie has come out in favour of killing tourists in mid-air. They each have hinted Putin should be denied the joys of Brisbane if it proves he killed thirty-seven Australians with malice aforethought and then attempted an alibi. They have threatened with Commonwealth Police a war-zone raining bodies from the air. Joint funerals of promiscuously mingled body-parts have been attended by two of our foremost generals. There have been daily Prime Ministerial statements on how the body parts are doing and how soon, in calendar months, the bereaved might see and cremate them.

But they might be overdoing it, rather. Bishop, sensing the drift of the wind, last night asserted it might be ‘days, not years’ before the corpses are reassembled and flown home and ‘reunited’, whatever that means, with sad siblings and fiancees. And Abbott has backed away from his ‘persecuting Putin’ initiative of last Friday. He knows full well he will come willy-nilly to Brisbane, and shake Tony Abbott’s hand.

And this will show, as this last week has, that nothing like ‘the adults’ are in charge; a coven of squawking Chicken Littles seems nearer the mark. Tony Abbott, the Chicken Little-in-Chief, seems unable to get a corpse in a coffin, properly labelled, within three months of its murder. In this way, the Murdochists proclaim, he has shown himself a true world statesman.

It is to be wondered, however, how long this numbering and naming of corpses, their embalming, refabricating and searching for clues, and their scores of separate onerous funerals will stay interesting. The thirty-seven children whom Scott Morrison has lately driven mad may more intrigue the television audience hereafter. The living have a future, the dead, it has proved, a more limited one. Abbott’s obsession with the latter, after spending half a billion dollars on a passionate search through several oceans for MH 370, may with his morbid picking over of the broken bits of this latest ill-lost Boeing win fewer friends than he is counting on.

I may be wrong about this. The western suburbs mày hail him as a Churchill, come to judgment.

And we will see what we shall see.

MH17: An Exchange


It might turn out that the real meaning of ‘Called to account’ will constitute a similar consequence to the compensation paid by the Ukraine government to the families of 78 victims in the 2004 accidental downing of the Siberian Airlines flight by a Ukraine military missile over the Black Sea a fair distance from Ukrainian territory (airplane was closer to Turkey during peacetime.)

Also this meaning of “called to account” eventuated, after an indecently long delay, when America paid “ex gratia” funds to victims’ families for the USS Vincennes’ 1988 accidental downing of an Iranian Airbus. Despite attempts by Pres. Reagan to claim it was an act of self-defence, the 290 deaths were finally compensated for during Clinton’s presidency. Reading the Wikipedia summary, one is struck by how closely the current Machiavellian American and the current Murdochian Australian responses to the Malaysian Airlines tragedy is a grim echo of the USA’s over a quarter century ago:

“The Vincennes had entered Iranian territorial waters after one of its helicopters drew warning fire from Iranian speedboats operating within Iranian territorial limits, after the helicopter violated the Rules of Engagement by getting too close to the speedboats. The United States officially claimed that the Vincennes was acting in self-defense in international waters at the time of the incident; subsequent disclosures would show that the Vincennes had entered Iranian waters and then initiated a skirmish with the Iranian coastal patrol vessels which had posed no threat to it.”

“…….the airliner was making IFF squawks in Mode III (not Mode II used by Iranian military planes), a signal that identified it as a civilian craft, and operators of Vincennes mistook for Mode II. According to the United States Government, the crew incorrectly identified the Iranian Airbus A300 as an attacking F-14A Tomcat fighter, a plane made in the United States and operated at that time by only two forces worldwide, the United States Navy and the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force. The Iranian F-14s had been supplied by manufacturer Grumman in an air-to-air configuration only and had no known anti-ship capabilities.”

To quote Mark Twain yet again, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

Hugh Weiss

The day after the USS Vincennes’ downed the Iranian Airbus, Hem I was scrambling on to the then once weekly flight from BKK to Hanoi. The plane was an aged Tupolev TU34b still sporting the glass nose from its previous life as a Soviet maritime reconnaissance / bomber. In those days Hang Kong Vietnam didn’t allocate seats, so it was the quick & the dead. If you didn’t get one, wait until next week & run faster.

In the scrambled I ended up grabbing a seat beside a round faced bloke with an afro & a little pencil moustache. As I sat down, two big blokes in the seats behind jumped up to grab me but my new mate signalled them to sit back. My seat companion was apparently a VIP who’d been been boarded earlier. We started chatting about the news & story on the front page of the BKK Nation. Seemed a pretty decent, well educated, rational bloke. No political rhetoric or dogma.

As it happened John Button was leading the first trade mission to Vietnam & we all ended up in the Foreign Ministry guesthouse. Down in the foyer just before dinner, I was talking to a couple of Aussie when my flight mate & his entourage came down the steps & he came over for a chat. After a few minutes A convoy of bloody great Russian stretched limos turned up, one with a Libyan flag on its pole.

My little mate turned out to be the Libyan Defence Minister, in Vietnam to acquire a couple more plane loads of air defence weapons one of my Vietnamese contacts reported later. If you’ve worked out the timing, Hem, that’s about 18 months after Reagan sent the F-111s in to bombed Gaddafi’s palace after deciding he was behind that nightclub bombing in West Berlin.

These recurrent ‘incidents’ which end up being the basis for political hairy chestedness, accusation & counter accusation, followed by acts of knee-jerk retribution have a long history. The Yanks & Poms always claim to have definitive evidence. History usually ends up telling another story.

At least on this occasion, the US seems to be agreeing MH17 was an accidental shoot down & they’re indicating there was a basis for the error. That tells you a lot about how much the global power balance has changed since Iraq & the GFC. I get the feeling the last remaining war mongers are TAbbott & McCain.


I keep thinking about what a little old Ukrainian woman said to a sniffing reporter, after a corpse fell through her roof and landed in her lounge room.

“It was the day it began raining humans.” she was reported to have said.

Flat endless fields of sunflowers waving in the summer sky and above, quite suddenly, it began raining humans.

Richelieu II

A brilliant summation of Abbott’s and Liberals use of this event for their own propaganda and polling means. The ABC has run this propaganda line for the government for the past 7 days, yet the Liberals will still accuse of it left wing bias and call for its privatization. Good luck ABC it doesn’t matter what you do the Liberals will try to destroy you.


Sick making…


And now the Governor General Sir Peter is flying halfway around the world to greet a plane (hasnt it already arrived?) transporting the body remains to the morgue in Amsterdam.

At what stage does Abbott’s hunger for personal kudos and political shamanism become ghoulish abuse of his own people?

Will there be a funeral parade in each capital city, 21 gun salutes and Mayoral speeches, with special appearances of the weeping Abbettes wearing white with “It might have been me” in red across their not bad looking breasts.

Do these innocent people and their families deserve the added injury of being dragooned into the political service of a sinking politician’s final moments on stage? The line between dignity and respect on the one side, and pomp and pastiche on the other is not so fine that Abbott can get away with this sham.

Shame on him, and shame on his pitiless breed.

A12 yr old vision impaired girl wrote to him to plead that the $175k grant to paralymic sports be reinstated after Hockey cut it, got this response:

“”I congratulate you on taking an interest in your system of government,

“We are a great country and a great people. One day it will be the responsibility of you and your generation to lead our country.”

I guess he was busy rehearsing his grief, while the inner politician was whispering ‘i love the smell of napalm in the morning’

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (8)

Abbott was shown to have colluded with Murdoch, but hidden from his party, his catastrophic Millionairesses’ Pregnancy Bonus before he announced it without consulting them. ‘Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission,’ he chuckled pleasantly at the time. Its consequence, the likely destruction of his party and the axe murder of Joe’s Budget and career, he judged a small price to pay for his whimsy. It was approved after all by Credlin, who was keeping her eggs in his fridge, and that was enough for him. It would cost his party eighty seats, but hey ho, shit happens.

A report said all the children on Christmas Island were now mentally ill, and many mothers on suicide watch, in part because their babies had no floor space to crawl on. The children had been made mad by having no schooling whatever, and nothing to do. Widely called ‘child abuse’, these conditions were commanded by Morrison, our nation’s Child Abuser-in-Chief.

He was in India, where government officials responded with shock and loathing to his proposition that they take back from him the Tamils he had kidnapped on the high seas, and pay for their upbringing, care and old age. Morrison, amazed that he no longer has anyone to sell slaves to, may have to commit some sort of hari-kiri before the victims of his piracy arrive, acclaimed, in the High Court to testify against him.

Abbott meantime swore that he would leave no stone unturned until every sacred fingerbone of the Australian dead had been brought home for cremation. Two further planes were shot down over the crime scene, adding further dead to it, while his people dug up a field as big as Bathurst for vital clues, and Angus Houston earned five thousand dollars awaiting for two hours with sombre dignity whatever Australians had been thus far exhumed, though thirty were still missing.

It is not yet known what Abbott will do if any of his ‘diggers’ are killed by neighbouring gunfire. Declare war perhaps, on some country that is hopefully smaller than Russia.

MH 17: An Exchange

Klondike Rob

I am sure others* have picked up on some curious inconsistencies over the past few days in how the MH17 crash site story is being reported when one considers, without bias, what one can observe from afar.(*Some of the very observant folk who comment on this blog.)


1. Within a day or so of the crash, an operation is underway to locate and mark human remains with white flags on sticks. Commentary says much of this being done by volunteer off duty coal miners. It may be a crudely executed operation, but it looks to be both systematic and organised. And humanitarian. Few resources at hand. But something is happening. Who planned and ordered this? Who called out the miners?

2. The body hunt is followed, logically, a day or two later with a systematic, if clumsy, collection of human remains in plastic bags. Who organised this? Who provided the body bags? It looks – visually on TV – to be a combination of uniformed emergency workers, miners and civilian volunteers. Who recruited them? Did the local CWA provide lunch? No, that’s not a daft question – this is a large scale drafting of people in a war zone for a very unpleasant task. It doesn’t just happen. Willing people – caring people – need to be brought together.

3. The body bags seemingly immediately find their way to a waiting train of refrigerated vans. The bags are counted – presumably an inventory prepared – and loaded into the vans. Who provided this train and ensured its safe arrival and standing at the station? Can you imagine doing something like this in Australia – the bureaucracy, finding the rolling stock, etc etc? It doesn’t just happen.

Do you see what I am suggesting – a three tiered organised search, recovery and safe repository of the remains of several hundred people put together in a war zone by …. whom?

Don’t look to our media for an immediate answer. All of this happened while they were bleating on about … what?

Politicians, journalists, bureaucrats, et al. Blind as bloody bats, the lot of you.

There is another level to the events of the past few days we are not being told about. No conspiracy here, just mass incompetence of journalists and the usual self serving of politicians.


KR, we also forget that they are pretty poor over there…

Helping ,not accusing works better always.

Klondike Rob


Would it not be a very nice, and a try Australian, gesture if our Prime Minister, or our foreign Minister, said, “We don’t know who organised the search, recovery and safe care of the remains of our fellow Australians, but we would like to say, “Thank you”. We know it would have been done with few resources, perhaps with little prior experience, and it was undertaken in an unsafe war zone in the face of an angry world, but that makes what was done all that much more appreciated. Thank you to all those who did this and arranged for it to be done. We don’t fully understand how it happened, but it happened. Thank you.”

But, you and I know Tony and Julie won’t say anything like this.” Nor will Bill Shorten or any of our so-called leaders. No, this is an opportunity for political advantage taking and world stage strutting.


Thanks for your post that has exceptional cogency and common sense.

The pathetic excuse for analysis we are getting from the so-called professional journalists is life imitating art – specifically, the brilliant Australian TV satire of current affairs programs, “Frontline” (1994-1997), with Rob Stitch playing the presenter and character, Mike Moore. An episode in which he reports from PNG for a week is the most apposite of all, but one of the sharpest was titled “Heroes and Villains”. That’s what the MSM wants and is going to create come Hades or high water. Our PM is the Aussie Winston Churchill and and Putin is another Stalin.

Alas, after copping a half-dozen variations of Mike on commercial channels and ABC, I just can’t stand to watch anymore and now sticking to Table Talk and a couple USA progressive blogs.

The Murdoch/Rinehart, ABC Copycatters have already set in concrete the Hero/Villain paradigm for this tragedy, and within a month we’ll see the polling (bogus or not, doesn’t matter) which saves Tony’s bacon and in two years sweeps him through a triumphant re-election campaign.

Poor fellow, our country.

Florence nee Fedup

I wonder with all this talk of tainted evidence, are some trying to discredit the evidence that might emerge.

We know the bodies where falling from that plane long before it hit the ground. One came through the roof of a near house.

No one has said what Putin has to gain, from this plane falling from the sky.

Florence nee Fedup

I always like a cool head, in any time of crisis. The cool head is more likely to get it right.

I have the feeling, that while Abbott is ranting and raving, Malaysia have been talking to the people that count, the so called Separatists.


Yes, the Malaysians seem to have their heads together this time around. They are keeping clear of Abbott and Bishop, I see.

You’re right! cool heads are far preferable. Am not seeing Abbott nor Bishop as being cool headed. They’re a worry.

Bodies falling from the sky, with debris spread over 12 km, is horrific.

It’s getting to the truth of it all, which is going to be the problem.


As can be seen by the Unanimous UNSC Resolution, just this once it appears Tony Abbott is on the side of the angels & so you need to pull your head in Mr Ellis, pronto. Nobody knows how to do bloodless internal coups (& counter-coups)like The Australian Labor Party. With any luck Dimtri Medvedev will follow Julia Gillard’s lead & swiftly destroy Vladimir Putin. Or that’s what I’m hoping, praying, twittering & wishing for anyway. But as you say ‘we shall see what we shall see’ won’t we? Regards, ~IMC..:)



Of course they should stop all domestic and cargo flights over war zones, or places of unrest where lots of war equipment is being used.

However with the antics of Abbott and Bishop, it is pretty obvious the neocons are baying for WW3. With these, more fear = more control.

Peter X

You are right Heather about the neocons, “We must have that war with Oceania (or is it Eurasia?) soon”.

Peter X

Abbott’s obsession with dead bodies and little respect for the living suggests he has missed his calling and should have been an undertaker. He actually looks like one. My apologies to any undertakers reading this for reinforcing a stereotype.

Today’s Nielsen

One shouldn’t be ungrateful I know but today’s Age/Nielsen Poll, with Labor on 54 two party preferred, understates its actual support by 3 or 4 percent.

This is because of an extinct technology, landlines, which no-one under thirty much uses, being rung on those nights, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, when few people under fifty are at home, and the redistributing of Palmer preferences, which used to go to the Liberals, and now go mostly to Labor, as if they still went to the Liberals.

This brings Labor up to 57 or 58, where Morgan mostly has it, Morgan which rings mobiles, a good thing to do, and asks people what their preferences actually are. And it means the Liberals lose fifty seats to Labor or PUP or the Greens, and, to judge by recent polling in Pyne’s electorate, Abbott’s, Pyne’s, Hockey’s and Morrison’s too.

This is if the voting isn’t like that in Stafford on Saturday, two days ago, which if duplicated federally would mean the Coalition loses eighty-seven seats and keeps three.

It is wrong for Nielsen to not ring mobiles, and to follow the creepy, fraudulent, unconvicted global criminal Murdoch in misallocating preferences.

I beseech them to follow their honest intentions, and tell it like it is.

Ferguson Versus Abbott: An Exchange

chris hunter

Well Abbott didn’t pay for his own education in Australia or England. He didn’t even have to put money towards at least one of his children’s education, as the vast majority of us did and do.

What else did Abbott not pay for that he expects all of us to stump up for? He’s a race apart. An alien.

Screw Pulls

He didn’t pay tax?


So if you pay tax things should be free? I think Health and Education should be. How about you?

chris hunter

Screwy, did Abbott not win a law suit against Bob Ellis’s publisher for defamation – something about his political career being damaged? I seem to remember reading that it was enough to buy a house with – at that time?

Bob Ellis

He was 22 and had never had a job. How did he pay tax?

He and his wife got about 130,000 from the lawsuit. A house in Forestville at that time cost about 200,000.


So slippery! Sarah did her best but he is becoming more skilled by the day in appealing to the simple minded!
Like Helvi and others, I have a sinking feeling about the chasm of corruption we are now plummeting into. Alas, Murdoch still seems to hold the ultimate control, and looks set to be after even more! There surely has to be some natural justice soon.


You can take the boy out of the seminary, Soucieuse, but you cant take the seminary out of the boy.

Abbott is an injection moulded piece of jesuit plastic. Not a theologian but a shallow whiskey priest with a worn out copy of Gibbons Decline and Fall, and parroting platitudes in the celestial fog of his own indoctrination.

He is kind and avuncular to his wards, and as long as they accept his “well, that’s a mystery, boys, and we have to believe even if we dont quite understand or even agree” , he wont get out his strap and beat the bejesus out of you.

When he said genteelly, ” And plainly, Sarah, you obviously have a perspective which you are doing your best to prosecute.” that was his last warning.

When he went into that 20 second vibrating silence with Mark Riley, he was about to bring down the fucking wrath of god on your fucking head you insolent little shit with your artysmarty clever little fucking questions rot in the flames of hell I’ll shove that fucking mic up your rectum in a minute if you dont get the fuck out of my face you miserable prick.

Ecce Homo.

It felt quite bizarre!
An outabody experience.

One knew very well that the interview with that man would be exasperating yet one still watched; and one was stunned by the slow, slithering utterances that man made, utterances which were utterly expected yet which still mesmerised one!

One felt like chucking most violently, a boot at the telly, as one could hear more loudly the badly engineered cogs in his brain, then his words and tongue smacks.

t was an incredible twilight zone-type moment and it would have hurt a lot more than it did, were it not for the lovely, knowing, sly smiles on Fergie’s face as she let him grind away those cogs into a seizure.

Gruesome but lovely.

Whatever oil that man is using to move those cogs, it ain’t oil!


“One felt like chucking most violently, a boot at the telly…”

Every time Tony uttered the word ‘well’, I felt unwell..


Off topic Helvi but have a look at this about Australians and Asylum seekers. I posted this link in a previous blog for you. I have doubted this presumption of our racism for some time.


You did better than me. I couldn’t bring myself to watch.


And I meant to add, Dali, I so love it when you talk dirty!

It’s not just dirty, it’s like – shit, I don’t know what simile to use here… perhaps it’s like the icing on those Greek crescent cookies. It adds a very welcoming sweetness to your prose. Probably because they are attached to meaningful insults. Probably, I don’t fucking know.
I am drooling over your last paragraph!
Quite a surprising, most gratifying experience!


Soucieuse, you can kinda understand why his minders don’t let him to have interviews more often, (Alan and Andrew don’t count,)every reply starts with ‘well’… Back to the broom cupboard.

According to Tony, Labor has initiated or done everything what has ever happened in Oz, Labor is almost god-like..

You make me proud Tony, but what about you Liberals, still busy with the secret on-water-matters. :mad:

“There surely has to be some natural justice soon”, one hopes…

chris hunter July 18, 2014 at 8:53 am

Natural justice? As this slippery eel Abbott tightens the noose on free speech there will be no natural justice.

Blogs like this may well be ‘silenced’. To talk about ‘on water matters’ for example – a breach of security and therefore liable to prosecution, that is, you can be ‘disappeared’ for a few weeks without your relatives being notified.

Where are we heading with all this childish security nonsense?

Mal Kukura

The ugly intellectual dwarf and spiritually bankrupt traitor was on display for all to see as Sarah Ferguson lifted up his scanty disguises one by one to give us a peep at the vile barbarian behind the superficial appearances.

Tony Abbott’s performance one on one with Sarah Ferguson last night demonstrates decisively how utterly dependent he is on the powerful Murdoch dominated media hegemon that protects and defends him to present him as a totally artificial entity that exists only as a virtual image electronically magnified to try to hide the lies as is typical of the most extreme human predators roaming the Earth.

The timing of this appearance after so long absent following his two pathetic exposures by Kerry O’Brien and Leigh Sales – says everything about why he was installed by the investors who have hijacked the LNP coalition and are converting it into a fascist instrument to achieve the thousand year reich they fantasize.

It says everything about how much of a threat they perceive there is to their private interests – represented by the sustainable geo-culture that must come.

A house divided will not stand. It cannot go on half sustainable and half-poisoned. It cannot go on half slave and half free.


a running commentary on operational matters gives aid and comfort to the people smugglers

Blatant, stare at the judge and lie, bullshit. You KNOW that decent Australians would recoil from your savagery and attack you. Bullshit Tony, and your daughters KNOW their father is a liar.


From memory there were NO people smugglers on the Sri Lankan boat. It was PURCHASED BY THE ASYLUM SEEKERS. No smugglers involved. I am fairly sure that fact is established. Next lying excuse Tony?

chris hunter

Yes, that was something I picked up on.


Your memory serves you well. A very important fact that has slipped past unnoticed. Lets remind people of that.


All asylum seekers have mobile phones and instantly notify their smuggling agents and families about the success or otherwise of their voyage. Most times the people smugglers have a paid captain on the boat. So, quite obviously, people smugglers are totally and instantly informed about Aust govt interceptions and tactics.

The target of Morrison’s secrecy is the Australian voter (you and me) lest we become too disgusted by what Morrison is doing.


Thank you for putting this transcript up.

It serves as an important historical record, for now, and in the future.

Being able to scrutinise the print form of the interview is also a necessary strategy for countering a Prime Minister whose use of language is post-modern in the extreme …… that is, something like, ” I will give generally agreed language my very own meaning whenever I choose to do so, at whim, and depending on the time, the context, who I am talk at, and whatever political advantage it might bring to me. ”

Thus in the post-carbon tax era, Abbott is now calling himself a ‘conservationist.’ There is no evidence that I am aware of to support this extraordinary piece of political speak.

On the contrary, his political performance in the past four years, has demonstrated an exquisite narrow self-serving machiavellianism par excellence. In a rare statement of political honesty made to Tony Windsor, in 2010, Abbott shared that he would …’ give his arse to be Prime Minister.’
That says it all for this ‘ suppository of wisdom’ language postmodernist.

Last night on the 7.30 Report, using her incisive, persistent and ever respectful questioning, Sarah Ferguson, almost checkmated this linguistically slippery Prime Minister, such that he looked like ‘ Mr Rabbit. ‘ caught in the uncomfortable glare of inquisitorial headlights.

Can’t see him fronting up again on this program any time soon.


Michael, after repealing the carbon tax, he felt cocky and confident, brave enough to front up Sarah; it was going to his moment in the sun, how wrong he was…


He has the most unconvincing voice in Australian politics at the moment. It’s neither fish nor fowl. It never lands anywhere, it’s always on its toes, never plants a fully loaded footfall, he confuses repetition with conviction.


Despite Sarah’s best efforts Abbott managed to stick to the pre-prepared script and repeated the same old cliched lines each time.

In doing so he demonstrated what an automaton he really is plus his inability for free thought.

It’s when he strays from the script that he really falls apart and it’s just a matter of time before he loses control.

Nevertheless it was enjoyable to see him squirm over his growing legacy of blunders.

Sarah, I want to have your babies.


She’d have to ask Tony Jones wouldnt she?


Sarah is her own woman,I feel.

Wood + Stone
TONY ABBOTT: My position is that climate change is real, humanity does make a contribution and it’s important to have strong and effective policies to deal with it and that’s exactly what the Coalition’s Direct Action policy is.

Looked at from any angle that single sentence is going to cause so much confusion and pain.
Best of all it will produce back tracking, fumbled excuses, and so much laughter.


Andrew Bolt must feel a little anxious, either his friend is a liar, or his friend thinks Bolt is an idiot.

Wood + Stone

It gets better allthumbs.

This from IPA Obersturmführer Sinclair Davidson in yesterday’s Drum – his penultimate sentence reads:
“Australia should fully commit to participating in a global solution to global warming…”.

I’d say that everyone in the Conservative/Denialist camp is getting a little nervous; one minute it’s crap the next it’s “humanity does make a contribution”, and “[we should] fully commit”.

It’s difficult to describe my contempt at the hypocrisy.


“It’s difficult to describe my contempt at the hypocrisy.”

You should have a go W+S, it is cleansing for the soul.

Although Whyalla with a population of around 20K souls, is still on the map, the PM decided to wipe out the car industry and associated suppliers with many more people affected.

Did, he not say to them the Carbon Tax will be gone, hang on till then, we will be building the roads of the future for your cars, hang on till then?

Whaylla, pfft!

chris hunter

As we speak the coal fired power stations around Australia have been given carte blanche.

They are now ramping up the pollution as we speak, hammer and tongs.

Where and when did Abbott learn to lie so conclusively?

chris hunter July 18, 2014 at 9:14 am

It’s curious, how in this interview, Abbott is now “stopping the boats”, when prior to this exchange he has always claimed to have “stopped the boats”.

The circling prison ship of shame is getting to him. His legal briefs are having trouble formulating a language that makes piracy legal. And Burnside and co are waiting.

I guess I’ll be disappeared now for breaching security matters?

If you are reading this now I could be dead. :mrgreen:


What worries me about the circling prison ship of shame is the number on its side:



Trivial? I would like to see the PM or any other dignitaries address the interviewer as Mr, Ms, Mrs, to attempt to equalise status.

Today’s Newspoll

In yet another bizarre muddleheaded Newspoll (we see two columns saying ‘Rudd’s/Abbott’s Performance’ and ‘Abbott’s/Shorten’s Performance’ and thus indicating, wrongly I would think, that each man led at different times the same party and Gillard led no party at all) we learn, or we think we learn, or I guess we learn, that the Coalition are, on AVERAGE, over three months, that is April through June, on only 37 percent, down from the 40 percent they were on in January through March.

But this means, surely, that the Coalition vote is 35 now, since the overall trend is down, down, down, and was 36 in March.

That’s of course if you believe an extinct technology, landlines, rung on nights when no-one under forty was home, and you believe redistributed preferences continue now the way they were in September, when Abbott was lying in his teeth, and Palmer voters trusted him to do what he said he would.

Morgan, who rings mobiles as well as landlines and asks respondents what their preferences are NOW and has got the last three elections dead right, puts Labor lately on 57.5, and the Coalition, trailing them by two MILLION votes, on 42.5, two party preferred.

It is also nonetheless crystal clear though, from this published poll, and the Choirboy’s feverish Abbott-mulching piece in Saturday’s Australian, and the headline today, ‘Prime Minister losing favour in former strongholds’, that Murdoch wants Abbott gone and Turnbull, probably, back.

And that he came to this decision pretty suddenly. The idiocy of the Abbott/Shorten figures bespeaks an O’Shannessy minion caught on the hop round midnight, and too drunk to remember what party Shorten was in, if any.

Stormy Murdoch waters ahead, as he changes flagships midstream.

And so it goes.

The Choirboy’s Conversion

Read The Weekend Australian Commentary section, p22, in which PVO, also known as the Choirboy, buckets Tony Abbott and calls him a fool and a failure bound for an electoral calamity worse than Whitlam’s in 1975.

It only goes to show I think that as Honest Abe might have put it you can insult the intelligence of some of the people some of the time, insult the intelligence of some of the people all of the time, insult the intelligence of all of the people some of the time, but but you cannot, you cannot, you cannot, or you cannot any more, insult the intelligence of even the craven, slithering, sneering, smirking Murdoch lickspittle Peter Van Onselen, all of the time.

Canberra Dateline

Wednesday, 7.25 pm

It’s hard to imagine where Abbott can go now, after Clive and Al tonight foreboded, side by side, a Budget utterly, luridly, comprehensively smashed; that, and an early dinner. A senior, really senior, Cabinet Minister told me half an hour ago, while we stood together awaiting the lift, ‘Tony is unafraid of the polls, and he’s as likely as not to go to a Double Dissolution. He really is.’ I dare not think this is so. But…but…

Well…the only item they will get through now will INCREASE the deficit, and no cuts to pensions, the ABC, SBS, and CSIRO will be tolerated by Palmer, Labor, the DLP, the Greens… which leaves them, this year, the Truss-Abbott gang who can’t shoot straight, sixty billion in the hole, next year a hundred billion in the hole….and they have no Plan B…and they never had one…so…

And Morrison is planning war crimes at such a rate the GG will have to sack him. He now proposes sending genuine refugees and their children back to torture and death in Iraq, and paying their fare there, much as one might offer champagne and a chicken dinner in the dining car of a train to Auschwitz. The Senate might move he be psychiatrically investigated. He is certainly much, much crazier every day.

Thursday, 5.10 amp

Just saw Clive’s Lateline interview. A graceful rubicund wheezy fat man like Les Murray, Richard Griffiths, Nye Bevan, W.C. Fields, W.G. Grace, he deftly steers each googly to leg and beams at the bowler and dares you to classify him. And you can’t.

It’s a mistake I think to imagine that like, say, John Elliott he wants only money, more and more money as a constant, feverish, lifelong, punishing, lacerous pursuit. He’s been there, done that. His one billion personal fortune, put in a bank, would earn him 961,538 in interest every week. What he wants now, I think, is what Al Gore has, an Oscar and a Nobel Prize, or a seat in the House of Lords or a bronze statue, three times life size, in the foyer of the United Nations.

It’s a mistake too I think to equate him with one of the great benevolent American capitalists like Rockefeller or Sulzberger or Ted Turner, a wily, flush-faced vessel of nobless oblige. What he’s most like is one of those literary/political gadflies, GBS or Gore Vidal or P.J. O’Rourke or Denis Healey or Gerry Connolly, a maestro of what Shaw called ‘uncommon sense’, and the sudden, arresting phrase that seems — for the moment — eternally true.

It’s worthwhile too to try and find among his buoyant swift utterances (he speaks as fast as Ken Howard and uses verbs, waterfalls of verbs, where most politicians use elongated bureaucratic abstract nouns long leached of any meaning but procrastination), to try and find anything you disagree with. Are we all, like him and Al, citizens of the globe? Of course we are. Do we care about the planet? Of course we do. Do we want Tony Abbott to stop telling lies and degrading our politics? Absolutely.

In his speedy shuttlecock declamations he reminds us of Burke, of Bacon, of Demosthenes, of Socrates, men who thought from time to time about larger things and with their startling conclusions risked their careers and sometimes their lives. It has been the media’s biggest mistake to think him just another Queensland rogue like Hinze. He is more like the better Queenslanders Theodore, Killen, Katter, Beattie, Gerry Connolly, Bille Brown. Or, among citizens of the world, he’s more like… well…King O’Malley.

And so it goes.

10.10 am

Am yelped at by Pyne in the Senate courtyard. He is superbly dressed and very short and loud. Loudness is a tactic that compels agreement, obedience, craven compliance, grovelling. ‘Hi Bob! I saw you in the Gallery! What are you down for?!’ ‘For the overthrow, ‘I wheezed, ‘of Abbott, this afternoon.’ He yelps with seeming laughter and carries on. It is true what a respondent said: Rik Myall is the perfect casting.

A palpable jumpy turbulence in Aussie’s, not apparent yesterday. An appointment with a Shorten staffer has been delayed. Tactics, doubtless, are being discussed, closely. Is Abbott, as some say, crazy-brave? Will he bring on a Double Dissolution? He stuck, after all, to his PPL though it’s wrecking, currently, a ninety-year-old Coalition and losing five million FEMALE votes, a hundred more each week. What have he and Clive stitched up? I eat Weet-Bix, and wait with interest.

12.50 pm

Have a ticket to Question Time. The Palmer-Abbott shakedown inconclusive. Outside chance J.Bishop will force a spill when Abbott reveals to the Ministry the abject surrender he has in mind and her old ally Turnbull comes back as Prime Minister by Saturday.

Elsewhere, things more momentous are happening. Al-Maliki has refused to be, or even seem, collegiate, and thereby doomed himself to CIA assassination and Iraq to church-burning medieval madmen. Napthine’s government is on 41 percent, in large part because of the ‘rotten federal Budget’, and would lose most of its seats in an election held now. Murdoch is wanted for ‘a chat’ with British coppers appalled that Brookes and many of her lovers have got away with it. Brookes may be coming to Australia to manage, say, The Herald-Sun. Morrison has sworn that ‘even if there is 49 percent chance’ of Iraqi children being raped or murdered, he will send them back to Iraq, to teach them a lesson. This is kidnap and assisting murder in most jurisdictions but he, as usual, is proud of it. David Cameron has apologised for employing a criminal, sacked for bugging, in order to stay ‘close to Murdoch’, a necessary ally, and going on long horse rides in the woods with his comely neighbour Rebekah Brookes, with whom he was ‘very close’.

It is possible the Murdoch saga has reached its end, and my miniseries can at least begin to be made in my lifetime.

And so it goes.

4.25 pm

Abbott in Question Time seemed a thin-voiced querulous repetitive old man, no meat on his bones, wobbly on his pins, and I expected him to fall down dead for the first forty minutes though he warmed up later, as he again and again said ‘We were elected to clean up Labor’s debt-and-deficit-disaster,’ a focus-group-tested phrase he could be sued for — by Tanner, Gillard, Swan, Rudd. Morrison was the feeblest I’ve seen him, huskily ranting without much conviction about the ‘security threat’ of those Australians who go to Iraq and come back enflamed with the terrorist bacillus and will be gaoled for longer than mass murderers on their return. This means a young man goes to rescue his mother from a bombarded suburb in Damascus and comes home with her gets twenty-five years for it and so, no doubt, does she, after being osmotically ‘radicalised’ by seeing her neighbours murdered in hundreds by Assad, the good guy again, suddenly, as Orwell might have decreed: we are at war again with Eastasia; we were always at war with Eastasia.

Palmer left early, wearied with the government’s club-footed, stumbling mediocrity. Not by a big margin, the Opposition seemed more confident. The 59-41 figure, Labor’s way, in Victoria had energised them, perhaps, and dismayed the Liberals, as did their Leader’s dogged, repetitive, senile defence of his Billionairesses’ Fecundity Bonus: if public servants get it, if Opposition staffers get it, why can’t waitresses, nurses, cleaning ladies, call-girls? He never addresses the question, get how much?, deeming fifty thousand for some babies, and ten thousand for others, ‘fair and equitable’; some babies are more equal than others, as Orwell, ever present in this parliament, might have sneered.

6.50 pm

I eat a good roast lamb in the canteen and watch on television the ABC’s red-fanged Vampire Girl alleging the Government has an evident ‘spring in their step’ now Clive has given them cause for rejoicing. Back in Aussie’s, whose two TVs show only football, I encounter Doug Cameron, the world’s most unlikely teetotaller, and upbraid him for not having seen Sunshine On Leith. ‘But ay’ve hearrd the soond track!’ he whimpers, abjectly. Jim Chalmers says he’s enjoying frontline politics even more than he expected to, not least because of the lunacy of the worst bunch of head-kicking droogs in five decades.

I have my eighth coffee, and pace about the architecture. More and more it’s apparent what brain-scarring Abbott suffers from. It’s estrangement-related, and might be called the Existential Migrant Syndrome. By age twelve he was a day-boy with a funny accent failing to penetrate the citadel of the dorm-dwellers of Riverview and had to curry favour by feigning agreement with whatever fool Papist war-cry was placed before him lest his head by thrust down the toilet and his tiny testicles bootblacked in the dressing room. And he’s been like this ever since. Whatever audience he’s in front of, whatever company he’s in, he tells them, existentially, as a nervous migrant would, whatever they want to hear. If it’s no new taxes, no cuts to pensions, no cuts to education, a unity ticket on NDIS, a redefinition of Disability, or whatever, well, that’s what he tells them, imagining his every utterance is off-mike, nudge-nudge, in hugger-mugger, and is amazed when it makes the headline.

And he tells the big end of town he’s fixing up ‘Labor’s mess’ by cuts to education, cuts to pensions, and, alas, forgive me, sirs, a ‘temporary levy’ on people earning more than 150,000 a year. He has no emotional memory in one room of what he said in another. Truth to him is conditional, conditional on where you are. It’s a terrible sickness, one that brands him as a pathological fibber.

And it’s a pity.

8.10 pm

I encounter Morrison twice in the corridor; our eyes do not meet. He knows who I am, and wants — I think — to talk to me, and fears, or partly fears, he may have to eventually, soon; and I brush past him silently cursing his existence. He will have read my column calling him ‘evil’, or a sentence or two of it, and it will have troubled him. And he will have responded to it this morning by saying, bizarrely, this morning, that children with only a forty-nine percent chance of being executed on the tarmac, or raped and beheaded, will be sent back anyway to their country of origin.

Mike Kelly, who appears before me, having just reaffirmed after moral doubt and grim soul-searching his preselection for Eden Monaro, and buys me my ninth coffee in Aussie’s, agrees this would be a war crime, because you are obliged, you are truly obliged, and you have been since 1947, not to endanger a refugee, any refugee, by sending them into harm’s way. Morrison’s madness enlarges by the hour and it may be, it just may be, that ever since he denied a visa to the brother of a young man who burnt himself to death in fear of what Morrison might do to him, and so forebade him to come to Australia for just one day to attend his brother’s funeral, it just may be that word has got round, in Liberal circles as well, what a crazy monster he is. More to come.

The Return Of The Smirking Tapeworm

It is reasonably typical of the intermittently despicable Troy Bramston (whom I have elsewhere described as the ‘smirking tapeworm in the anus of the Labor Party’) that he should say Albo is undermining Shorten on the very day when it was revealed by Nielsen Polling in the Herald that Malcolm Turnbull was preferred as Prime Minister by 5.1 million people and Tony Abbott by only 2.55 million people.

What a loathesome snivelly little squeaky titmouse he is. He is adopting the Karl Rove method, ‘hit them at their strength’, on Murdoch instructions, the way the Dirty Digger’s mind-slaves do, and will till Friday when many of them go to gaol. Shorten unlike any Opposition Leader in our history is one million votes ahead of the Prime Minister of the day, after only eight months in the Leader’s job; nine months now; or, if you believe the always-more-accurate Morgan Poll, 1.2 million votes. Ahead. Of the Prime Minister of the day.

It is therefore asserted btpy Bramston that Shorten is failing; is faltering; is crumbling; is disliked; is detested; is being undermined; is in danger; in exactly the same way as the war hero John Kerry was once called a war criminal, and the smart cookie Hillary Clinton alleged to be ‘battling dementia’. It’s what the rabid bellowing Murdoch glove-puppets O’Reilly and Hannity do; and it’s therefore what the wittering midget Bramston does. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Three bags full, sir. Shorten is detested, and would win in a landslide any election called this week. Yes, sir.

Yes, sir.

What a slithery little vest-pocket Faust he is entirely.

My curse on him. May the gods give him wens.

May he never have a day’s luck.

Today’s Newspoll

O’Shannessy’s latest continuing Newspoll fraud, now in its eighth month, shows Labor today on only 53 two party preferred. It does this by hiding Palmer’s vote and giving his preferences not to Labor, where they go now, but to the Coalition, where they went last year. This flags, probably, a 2PP Labor vote of 57 percent and a loss of fifty-five Coalition seats including Abbott’s.

In place of a headline noting this, the Liberal Party’s utter destruction, we have a headline saying ‘Electorate casts a pox on both houses’ and a trembling hint that Shorten is doing very badly indeed. ‘Leaders lagging in voter appeal’, a further headline says.

But Shorten is preferred Prime Minister by 40 to 37, and his satisfied/dissatisfied/uncommitted numbers are 34/45/21. Abbott is 3 percent behind as PM, a margin unknown in world history for a political leader only eight months in, and has satisfied/dissatisfied/uncommitted numbers of 30/61/9.

A score of 61 dissatisfied means he would lose his own seat for certain. But no such headline appears in a paper published by his dinner host of last week, Rupert Murdoch.

Today in Question Time he kept saying ‘no promises were broken’ and the PPL is ‘fair’ and ‘equal’ though some women get fifty thousand for a baby, some get twenty thousand and some get nothing at all. The faces behind him were quietly aghast.

He will not last. He is gone already and though it may take till September — now – to evict him, he has no future in politics.

Or in jogging round Manly where some women will curse him on the Esplanade or spit on him as he dodders past unwept, unhonoured and unsung.

Joe And The Numeracy Gene

The increasing strangeness of Joe Hockey…

He’s now said — accurately, I’m sure — that each of us works a month each year to support another person, and it’s wrong we should do that.

But that person might be our mother-in-law. Or she might be our mother. Or she might be our disabled cousin. Or our daughter, qualifying for a music degree on a scholarship our taxes pay for. Or it might be our old demented dad in a state subsidised nursing home. It would be one of these, for sure.

And what is wrong with this? He thinks our relatives are undeserving, and his relatives, who get millions from his wife, are ‘entitled’.

Why is Joe so dumb? Some theorists believe anaesthetic brain damage during his stomach reduction, or during the fight, long ago, in which Tony Abbott broke his jaw. But others think he may simply lack the numeracy gene. Some do, it is a well-known medical fact, and he is showing the symptoms.
A numerate person would note as well, though Joe does not, that we work four months of the year to enrich our landlord; a fortnight each year to enrich, with Foxtel payments, newspaper subscriptions and tickets to Fox movies, Rupert Murdoch; ten days a year to pay the salaries of Liberal MPs we didn’t vote for. And he does not find this unfair. No: he calls this contributing to the good of our civilisation, as fair-go Australians do, and should.

But he seems, on the face of it, himself not to be a fair-go Australian. He is a dog-eat-dog eye-for-an-eye Middle Easterner, or so it would seem, and he does not understand the country he is in, the one where bushfire fighters risk their lives to save their neighbour’s property, and strangers donate their kidneys to people they have never met, as a nice woman did to Mark Colvin.

And, worse than that, he cannot even add.

He does not ‘get’ that refusing 150 million a year to the motor industry will cost him, in lost revenue after 2016, about two and a half billion a year; and, in unemployment benefits he must pay to half of the 250,000 workers in the car industry and in tributary industries he ruined by daring Holden to go away, a further one and a half billion a year. Which means no surplus before, oh, 2035, when I will be ninety-three.

Let me repeat that. To save himself 150 million a year, he has cost himself four billion a year.

And he doesn’t get any of that. He can’t add. He literally can’t add. He lacks the numeracy gene. He really does. And he should, along with Andrews — who thinks driving young people to suicide is good economics — be psychiatrically tested.

Perhaps the Senate could move he be sent away for those tests.

He is now whingeing about the Budget not getting through. He didn’t see this coming. He thought his unAustralian budget would be embraced by Australians. He’s as dumb as that.

He’s as dumb as that.

And it’s a pity.

Abbott’s End (46): The Final Hours

I watched last night three shows — 7.30, Richo, Paul Murray Live — which between them ensured the death, burial and cremation of the Hockey Budget and the cutting down of Tony Abbott in June, July or August.

Richo in a fulminous dialogue with Michele Rowland showed the Liberals had no way back now from oblivion, so enflamed was the fury in the streets of ordinary people who felt ‘betrayed’ and so huge were the numbers (49 percent) of voters who wanted to block Supply.

Sarah Ferguson so goaded Clive Palmer to apologise now, now, for his insult to Peta Credlin (he said he didn’t know she was on IVF and couldn’t see how this made her wealth-rewarding policy a good one) that no deal between him and the Credlinites is now possible and ninety percent of the Budget therefore doomed. And Paul Murray…

Well, Murray called Clive a blowhard, a buffoon, and a worthless, exploded person and a four-ton whinger who ‘played the victim’, an extraordinary allegation, and, while he was up, confessed that he, too, had agonised through IVF and what a terrible thing this was.

…I should tread carefully here. My wife, too, had two healthy children and a lot of miscarriages at 38 and 39 and tried IVF and after more miscarriages had Tom and then more miscarriages and I feel for this wall-eyed unfecund fascist as my fellow-traveller in gynaecological infirmity, I guess, in some part of me. But in another part I see what his inner trouble is. He is, or was for a long time, childless, and he feared, or fears, he’s the last of his line, and this has made him a verbally violent neocon ranter who should adopt an African or seek psychiatric help.

It has been the Murdoch method for half a century now to uplift into media influence life-damaged second-raters (Bramston, Beck, Bolt, Akerman, Albrechtsen, Allen, Palin) whom he gratifies with uncommon wealth and keeps grovellingly thankful and prattling Tea Party vileness by rote and niggerising their enemies, and among their numbers Murray is by far, I think, the most trenchantly mediocre. And it is good that I know there’s an adequate reason for this. It is a terrible thing to lose baby after baby, and, progressively, your balance of mind.

I have been there, Paul. I feel for you.

And I had thought, and I was wrong, that a backbench putsch would have got rid of Abbott this morning, or tonight. I had not calculated on him flying out, in a dodgy plane, and frantically averting this, and to that extent I was wrong, in my counting down of the days.

But the numbers are there now to usurp him, and Turnbull, the people’s choice, will move against him soon. I’ve known Malcolm since he was eighteen, and he did not, and he does not, suffer fools. And he is entangled now with a Bedlam-load of sniggering fools and whooping mutants and not liking it.

Soon or late, the hour will come. This winter or this spring.

And so it goes.

After Leo

You need not be a trained logician to connect Scott Morrison to the death in petrol flames of Leo Seemanpillai. He was a twenty-nine-year-old Tamil desperately, achingly afraid he would be killed, or die under torture, if sent back — by Morrison — to Sri Lanka, where his people had lately lost a civil war. He asked that his organs be donated, and they were. Their removal hastened his death by an hour or so.

S&M has expressed his regrets, but he did not also confess that he, like a cyber-bully, was the probable or contributing cause of this awful end, in screaming pain and shredded hope, of an innocent young man, and I ask my friend Kamahl, a Tamil who was for a long time here illegally, to add to his own sincere regrets an account of what it’s like to be a Tamil scared shitless of being sent back, away from Australia, into an uncertain, tyrannous, terrified future.

We have seen over this weekend the true vile face of the Liberals, a Dracula glimpse from which it is likely now they will not recover. Andrews claimed kids with a drug record would be denied the dole. Pyne said allowing universities to charge, with no limits, any price they liked for degrees would mean that price for degrees…went down. Abbott said he had ‘no plans’ to deny to drug users any fraction of the dole though he had already decreed that every other six months they would not get the dole at all. He added that Malcolm Turnbull, having lately eaten Peking Duck with Clive Palmer, was not after his job.

This confused, hectic mixture of mendacity, neurosis and cruelty underlines, in my view, the avoidable suicide of a young man who must now be called, must he not, a ‘genuine refugee’ and will hang henceforth round Morrison’s neck like a mouldering albatross. It is to be hoped that a Daniel Andrews government will, on gaining office, arrest him for cyber-bullying if he has not been extradited to PNG by then, on the orders of the Governor-General to face questions over his actions before and after Reza Barati’s death, and why he allowed violent men to continue to bully those prisoners they had not killed or attempted to kill.

(Is this an Australia you recognise? Just asking.)

What will happen now, no doubt, is the suppression of polls that show Labor ahead by 16 or 20 percent, and Shorten ahead by 20 or 22 percent, until Abbott is safely in France inspecting war graves and announcing big sums of money, in tens of millions, to upgrade them. There will then appear a cobbled-up Newspoll, embraced by Fran Kelly, showing Abbott neck and neck with Shorten and his government on 47.

This is what happens in a guided democracy, one remotely steered by Murdoch, the sleepless architect of our minds.

We are in uncharted waters here. Deaths are occurring, and a mentally unstable Minister covering up murders and attempted murders on his watch, refusing still to release the names of suspects, as has never happened for this length of time before in world history. It is as if the name Lee Harvey Oswald were not known for six months after John Kennedy’s murder. It is as weird as that.

Abbott should have stood him down, as he did Sinodinos, five months ago, pending investigation into his part in forty attempted murders. But it was not to be, and Leo Seemanpillai now has died also. Abbott regarded Morrison as his ‘most successful Minister’, and kept him on. And so it goes.

The levels of recent madness displayed by Pyne, Andrews, Hockey and Morrison are unprecedented in our politics, and make Abbott seem lately a fair bit more sensible than they are each time he stomps on their sadistic idiocies with evident perspiring regret.

But Abbott is not that well in his mind either. He keeps saying money for education is going up, not down, though his Budget papers confirm it will go down, by thirty or forty billion, and the states will have to go busk for it. He keeps saying Turnbull does not, cannot, want his job though Turnbull had it once and clearly, humanly wants it back. And he keeps imagining he can persuade Clive Palmer to let a Budget through that not only Clive, but all Australians, despise, abhor, curse openly and fear.

He is not well in his mind. And he should have gone, as I urged him, to my chiropractor, and got, as I urged him, a lot more sleep. We were friends once, or affectionate acquaintances, and that is gone.

And it’s a pity.

The Bad News Polls

(First published by Independent Australia)

The change in Abbott’s and Hockey’s fortunes (it’s likely now that they won’t be both in the same job in September) is a measure of how influential two sets of numbers – Newspoll and Nielsen – have lately been. Talk of displacing one or both of them is on the rise, and forty or fifty Liberal and National members are worried about losing their seats, frantically in some cases, especially in Queensland.

These polls are very influential. Many people, having read them, change their voting intention; to keep up with the crowd, the fashion, the zeitgeist, the prevailing winds. They are, perhaps, the most potent weapon in the arsenal of politics.

And so it was last August when ReachTel’s and Lonergan’s machines, ringing on Thursday night eighty people for every one that took the robocall, found Rudd, Swan, Clare, Burke, Bowen, Murphy, Melham, Dreyfus and Bradbury would lose their seats, and a younger generation of Labor leaders be swept out of history. Murphy, Melham and Bradbury did lose their seats, but the others did not, and the confected panic about them consumed, in many headlines, the wave of confidence Rudd’s return had momentarily stirred, and made the idea of him losing, Rudd losing, Rudd the unbeatable, in the public mind a certitude.

ReachTel and Lonergan were thus propaganda bunker-busters and big lies – or premeditated inexactitudes – and their publication lost Labor four or five seats, one of them certainly Forde, which Beattie with better initial published polling might well have picked up.

ReachTel and Lonergan ring landlines when no young people are at home, and so were able to exaggerate the anti-Labor swing last year. This year, however, the old people are voting Labor too, and the news on the landlines is nearly as dire as it would have been on the mobile phones of the under-forties rung in the pub or the mall or the car driving home on Thursday night.

Nearly as dire. But not quite. Morgan, ringing mobiles, last weekend found Labor on 57.5 percent, numbers that would lose Pyne, Hockey, Cormann, and, probably, Abbott their seats. And a momentum like the Rudd-Swan-Burke-Bowen-Dreyfus figures of last year gives, this year, the present government no great hope of re-election.

Re-election this September, probably. Abbott’s cowardice (he now foresees assassination in Deakin University) in the Senate will not save him. Palmer will keep upping the ante till he calls an election.

Palmer will even vote to uphold the carbon tax. He has said he will do so if Abbott does not cancel a lot of things, and he will keep his word. An election would give him three or four seats in the House, and ten in the Senate, and there is no point, any more, in Palmer waiting two and a half years to overthrow a gang he so detests, who misspent the millions he gave them, and now deride him as a drongo.

The Newspoll-Nielsen Effect will put Abbott, next week, sixteen points behind Shorten as preferred Prime Minister. There is no precedent for this in countries that do not, usually, change government by army coup. Once the Prime Minister begins to refuse to go to public meetings (Abbott is famous for his feisty defiance of bellicose crowds in the past; no more, it seems), we will truly have a government ‘in the bunker’ as few Down Under have been before.

And all because Murdoch couldn’t control Nielsen, and had to supply, with gritted teeth, a plausible Newspoll, showing Abbott losing forty seats.

And so it goes.

The Post-Human Economy: An Exchange


The whole reason as I understood it was to work not quite until you dropped dead but close enough so, that a small window of opportunity opened up and allowed you to enjoy the fruits of your labor and be freed from the shackles of for what most of us is a meaningless, daily grind at the service of the Economy.

We were promised if we dismantled the Economy and welcomed innovation and privatization and added competition, then the Economy would reward us with a better, longer life full of health and vitality, a vast range of new products and lower prices, a whole new range of vocations, knowledge beyond greatest imagination, a sparkling future, one where our jobs would define and reflect our personalities, where we could bring “passion” to our workplace, be “passionate” about what we do, share the “passion” with others, the Economy would provide. We would all have a million or two at retirement and travel the world.

We fell in love with Economy, the girlfriend you always wanted, yearned and lusted for, she always looked great no matter what time of day or night, vivacious, lovely, intelligent, smiling, serious minded, thinking, intelligent, demanding of your presence but ready to give you what you needed at any time.

But one morning you woke up and she was gone, she blames you, you weren’t able to fulfill her, you let her down. Lord knows you tried to keep up with her, tried to dress better, read the right books, see the right films, take her to the clubs, bought her gifts, ditched your old mates, made new friends, tried to understand her.

But no, she says she will always remember you and it was a great time but now she was off to Africa, because things were happening there.
She took the books, the records, the car, emptied the bank account and left you with the bills and the mortgage.

She was a gold digger, you always suspected it but ignored it she was so damn pretty.

You look in the mirror and see how tired you look, worn out, ageing by the minute by trying to have kept up with her but that’s the way it goes. You notice a slight rash and an itching sensation and ring for an appointment at the Doctor’s that very morning.


I read a book around 15 years ago that explained all of this. From memory it was called First Abolish The Customer. I must try and remember the author’s name so I can recommend it to others. :wink:

Doug Quixote

A Fairy Story (history?) from 2100 :

“Retirement : an interesting concept. Used to exist only for the very wealthy as they were usually also the long-lived.

The hoi polloi were supposed to work until they dropped. But in the 1900s people started to live longer, such that between being useless for work and dropping dead, there was an hiatus. This hiatus grew steadily larger during the 20th century as irresponsible medical advances and things such as antibiotics and surgery that actually worked allowed the decrepit to live into their 80s and 90s.

This of course meant that the ones who were supposed to work until they dropped dead at 60 or so were now required to be kept, life supported and medicated beyond all reason, on welfare until they dropped dead, finally, aged 90 or so.

Needless to say the crippling burden this imposed on the taxpayers led to a revolution and and a culling, between 2020 and 2030.(text breaks up at this point) . . . economic rationalists were hailed as saving the nation . . . genocide . . .
(to be continued)


Given Allthumbs posting such a startling extended metaphor, I’ll stick with my favourite quote from Dr. John Kenneth Galbraith, which fits the Quixotic quest of Abbott, Hockey and Cormann as, like enormously proud peacocks, they light up cigars which would equal the cost of a family dinner.

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
J. K. Galbraith, F. D. Roosevelt’s economic adviser/administrator




” A Youth Orchestra in every country town, paid muso’s minimum wages. An acting school in every country city.”
Yes,yes…but it will never happen.

I worry about our kids and grand children. The Liberals don’t care what will happen to our poor public schools, what will happen the kids, who hardly have had a chance to learn how to read and write. Will there be any jobs for them, will they be the shopping mall cleaners, the trolley boys, will the girls became the baby-sitters for the well-to-do ladies…



Can’t help worrying that the popularity of TV fantasies like “Downton Abbey” plus all our media fawning over royal family celebs has the impact of propagandising younger generations to accept a return of a 19th century economy with a significant % of our workforce abjectly servile to obscenely rich “superiors”.

Abbott’s return of dubbing Sirs and Dames and the Coalooters Party’s unbounded fear and loathing of unions fits in with this reactionary longing to create a new “Bunyip Aristocracy.”


But Big Joe says the age of entitlement is over.

Al Berzins

Bob. Your disertation is a fabulous vision of a better Australia. Heaven on Earth. Whilst its implementation seems impossible, the fall of Communism and the Arab Spring gives me some small hope. The trigger towards the right direction could be small, subtle, sudden, unpredictable (a Black Swan Event)

Peter X

The Liberals/Tories/Conservatives are un-Australian.


We were descensitized living through and accepting the kick(worker) ass Horrid Howard Years

So much so– the Australian voting public did not recognise the nasty onslaught of the murdochracy trash press.

That at the time declared war on the fair play policy makers that had control of the treasury benches

So according Rupe — they had to be thrown out– because– well because Rupert did not accept it was fair play for him ($800mil settled in credit to him not long after Abbott was installed as head honcho in charge of the treasury benches –so much for the end of the age of entitlement

Prepare for scene two of the Horrid Howard Years as the curtain draws back on parliament on budget night —the horror —the horror


Oh, Lance, if this nastiness keeps keeping on, I’ll be dreaming of the dreadful Howard Years.

Wake up Australia, all of you.

And for Labor: stop being so bloody nice :!:


My favourite two lines this week both from Cormann:

“we’re not doing this for fun”

“Trust us”

Two lines that in eight words refute all argument, all difference of opinion, all doubt.

Peter X

Yesterday I saw a futurist on the ABC who said that the machines are coming after the service economy next and he meant lawyers, teachers, doctors etc. Soon we will have the completely automated shop with no humans in sight (except customers, if there are any people with money), shelves stacked by robots and so on. What will we do for jobs? The mines are already going to driver-less trucks, not that they employ many people anyway. Will we have unfeeling automatons for politicians, wait, we do already.


I heard a similar story on Radio National recently, possibly from Mark Pesce. There is now an automated barista with a memory capable of storing up to 120 (or was that 1200?) ways to make a cup of coffee.


After my little break, I stayed away from news and eased into real life by watching Eurovision on SBS, I put my money on my ex-neighbours, the Swede and the Russian girls…
Sorry Table Talk’s Big Brother/Sister, the Dutchies were not bad either :oops:


Peter X, if and when all the Chinese start earning better wages, our made-in China stuff is not going to be so cheap anymore, so the automated shops will not have any customers either.


Bob, you still seem to have a residual feeling of wanting to save Tony Abbott from himself and in turn from the rest of us, as if it is just a temporary kink in his personality that could be ironed out perhaps by your chiropractor.

Richelieu II

Yes agree with any and all of these suggestions. Unfortunately the disease, the cancer of Thatcherism still infects policy and economics in this country and the sooner we can find some policy cures or vaccine to defeat it the better. It will probably have to reach some massive social and economic crisis before anyone does anything though. Over and over again as with Rudd and Obama using Keynsianism to save the economies after the George Bush created financial disaster GFC, Clinton the same after the Reagan/ Bush years destroyed the US economy and of course FDR after the disastrous years of Republican Presidents Coolidge and Harding, we’ve allowed the disastrous policies of right wing political parties destroy the economies that they so love and worship and then have to use Keynsianism procedures to save them.


Cogently expressed. RII!

My hero, Dr. Galbraith was one of the first advocates of Keynesian policies in the USA. Reagan’s and Thatcher’s Voodoo, Vulture Economics have failed miserably, yet the Conservatives worship of them is more fanatical than ever.

Today’s Newspoll

It shows, of course, Labor on 56.5 and Abbott losing forty-eight or fifty seats. But it isn’t presented that way.

‘Based on preference flow at September, 2013,’ it says. But that was when Palmer voters, for instance, thought Abbott might keep his word. Morgan shows, each fortnight, that this ‘preference flow’ has gone up, by 1 percent, to Labor.

’6 percent uncommitted and 1 percent refused.’ Three and a half of these seven would go to Labor.

‘Better Prime Minister Abbott 40, 38 percent Shorten, 22 percent uncommitted.’ That would shake down, probably, as Shorten 52, Abbott 48.

’1134 interviews with voters.’ Yeah, that’s voters with landlines, an almost extinct technology. Most of them are over eighty. 1 more percent to Labor.

‘Margin of error 3 percent.’ No doubt, no doubt. 1.5 more percent to Labor.

Plus the 53 percent they’re admitting to.

56.5 percent. Wipeout.

It would be nice if they were honest about it.

But they’re Newspoll, from News Limited, and they work for Murdoch.

Why should they be.

Galaxy Deciphered: Labor To Win With Forty-Eight Seat Majority

I’m no longer that amazed, of course, by the twisting of truth in the Murdoch polls, but I was surprised by how much yesterday’s Galaxy, in The Sunday Telegraph, hid from view.

Labor was on 52 and the Coalition 48 two party preferred, and Labor primary vote was 37 and the Coalition 39.

But we weren’t told how well Palmer was doing, across the nation, and where his preferences were going.

It’s probable they were distributed as if it were 2013. But it’s no longer like that. It’s no longer anything of the sort.

If, as I suspect, the primary vote was Labor 37, Liberal 31, National 8, Green 10, Palmer 10, DLP, Family First and Independents 4, and 92 percent of the Green preferences, 55 percent of the Palmer preferences, and 40 percent of the others went to Labor, then Labor two party preferred was actually 53.3, somewhat larger than the Ruddslide of 2007.

…But this was only if the primary figures were accurate.

The poll was on landlines on Wednesday and Thursday, the first poll on those two days in a non-election context in world history. Why, one might ask, was it taken then?

Well, on both those days most people are working, and Thursday night is in most states Late Shopping Night, when many, many voters are still working, or driving home. It is likely that most of the respondents answering landlines, an almost extinct technology, were over eighty, an age group who voted for Menzies once and stayed for sixty years in the habit.

Let us imagine that these facts biased, or cheated, the sample by 1.5 percent, the Liberals’ way.

This would put the Labor vote, two party preferred, at 54.8, its highest since early 2001 when, pre-Tampa, Newpoll predicted Beazley winning by an avalanche.

But it would also show Palmer on 11, which is 3 percent ahead of the National Party and line-ball with the Greens, and altering the political map, if true, all over the continent.

And, oh yes, Shorten leading Abbott as preferred Prime Minister by 50 to 40.

All this The Sunday Telegraph sought, successfully, to cover up. Which allowed poor sad sack Gerard Henderson to say, on Insiders, ‘Well, 48 isn’t so bad. They can win with 49.’

The actual figure they are on is probably 45.2, and nobody wins from there.

For it loses Abbott, probably, thirty-eight seats and gives Labor a forty-eight seat majority.

As I say, I’m not surprised at the dishonesty of the Murdochists’ concealment of how the people are actually thinking, and voting.

But I am, for the moment, till Morgan comes out tomorrow, showing Labor on 56, disgusted by its blatancy.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (104)

I will put up, progressively, on Ellis Gold, a dozen or so of my pieces that show I am not a hater of women but something more like a fellow-travelling male feminist and thus persuade, if I can, the ignorant Murdoch blonde Sarrah Le Marquand to apologise and offer me a quarter of her next year’s salary lest I sue her, and the ABC, for rather more.

Watch them as they come out. They are fairly convincing.

An Open Letter To Mark Scott

Dear Mark,

A woman called Le Marquand on Q&A called me ‘anti-woman’ and said, in front of perhaps two million people, that the best thing to do about me and my vile misogynist opinions is not read me.

Can you or Tony Jones apologise to me publicly for this?

In the last eight weeks I have published essays in praise of Doris Day, of the wonderful feminist films Le Weekend, The Invisible Woman, and Tracks, the pro-woman series The Paradise and Downton Abbey, an essay on sexual love and, in the piece that inaugurated my new website, apologised on behalf my gender for how we treated women, and especially pregnant women, in the twentieth century. This first appeared a day ago.

In the year before that I praised in my columns without caveat the actresses Mia Wasikowska, Lindsay Duncan, Meryl Streep, Amanda Bishop, Essie Davis, Judy Davis, Cate Blanchett, Isabelle Huppert, Fannie Ardant, Lauren Bacall, Ava Gardner, Julia Moore, Kristin Scott Thomas, Robyn Nevin, Kate Fitzpatrick, Emily Blunt, Emily Mortimer, Emily Watson and the late Wendy Hughes, and the late Penne Hackforth-Jones, as well as the politicians Anna Bligh, Tanya Plibersek, Natasha Stott-Despoja (who launched two books of mine), Carmen Lawrence, Nicola Roxon, Jane Lomax-Smith, Vini Ciccarello, Penny Wong, Lara Gidding, Kristina Keneally, Shirley Williams, Glenda Jackson, Anna Lind, Clare Martin, Aung San Suu Kyi and Maxine McKew, and listed among my favourite authors Penelope Lively, Penelope Gilliatt, Joan Didion, Iris Murdoch, Olga Masters, Doris Lessing and Charmian Clift.

I have portrayed in my various dramas Rose Lindsay, Marilyn Monroe, Vivien Leigh, Bea Miles, Anna Murdoch, Edith Florey and the heroines of Newsfront, Goodbye Paradise, The Nostradamus Kid, Man of Flowers, My First Wife, Perhaps Love, Down Under, Neon Street, Fatty Finn, Opening Night and The Legend of King O’Malley and received not one complaint or request for rewrites from any of the actresses portraying them.

I have been with the same wife for forty-eight years and cannot, on most counts, I believe, be said to be ‘anti-woman’ or ‘misogynist’.

I ask that you, or Tony Jones or, preferably, Ms Le Marquand apologise in a public way, please, very soon.

It is only fair.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Ellis

Certain Housekeeping Matters (95)

I am banning for a month, for two months or for life a good few respondents who are alleging Bob Carr was a bad Premier but will not name any policies of his that were wrong policies and are joining the general smear that if Obeid and Carr were in the same party and in the same faction they were accomplices in everything. But Sinodinos was in the same party, and the same office, as John Howard and accepted an offer of twenty million dollars for fifty hours’ work, paid by taxpayers, to further the interests of a crooked water company, a crooked Obeid water company, so therefore he and Howard — and Abbott — were accomplices in significant acts of political corruption advantaging Obeid and compromising O’Farrell, and they should be gaoled and expelled, like Thomson and Williamson. Stands to reason, doesn’t it? Off with their heads.

I am depressed at how many of this readership have so meekly and flabbily copped the propaganda of Murdoch (Spoke uncivilly to a Woy Woy waiter, did she? Off with her head! Iguanagate! Iguanagate!) and disgusted at Uhlman’s interview an hour ago.

Fran Kelly’s was a lot better.

What I’m hearing in all of them, however, is that a reveal-all political memoir is utterly unacceptable, we need an airbrushed one, and it must be first censored by Julie Bishop, Andrew Bolt and Chris Uhlman.

Who believes this?


Gielgud Memoranda (2)

A nice nonagenarian woman said, ‘You’re the best Bottom I’ve seen, and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of them.’ And I said, ‘I was better in 1956, when I last gave my Bottom, in the Lismore High school hall.’

I then went on to say, ‘It was the last time I played Shakespeare on a stage.’ But I forgot the Fool I did in a reading to Dennis Carroll’s Lear and John Bell’s Edmund in the Philosophy Room of Sydney Uni, in, I think, 1962. Fifty-two years ago. The length of Shakespeare’s life.

A long time between classical roles. My Falstaff, hailed already as ‘better than Bell’s’ after only two days’ rehearsal is, after three, improving. It’s possible the ability to play Shakespeare well and in depth — play him, as we do, like jazz saxophonists improvising — comes late in life. ‘The first duty of an actor,’ Olivier said, ‘is to turn forty.’ Watching Firth, his successor, these days outclass the known world — in A Single Man, in The King’s Speech — moves me to think it is probably fifty. For me, a late developer, seventy.

It’s a good form of theatre: scripts on lecterns, three good voices, microphones, and some of the best dramatic writing in the language. The battle-eve scene of Henry V, with the campfirelit common soldiers cursing their King, half knowing it is him in disguise and answering them haughtily and guiltily back, comes across as fresh as The Black Watch or The War Horse or Parade’s End. The jealousy speech of Leontes (‘know’st thou my wife…is slippery?’) is as new and bitter and surprising and nasty as Murdoch’s recent cuckolding by Blair.

And…it may be the safest way to do Shakespeare now, as anthology rather than story. Since we know without a doubt what happens to Hamlet or Romeo, or Desdemona, or Cleopatra, what is the use of three hours’ wait for the sword-fight, the poison cup, the strangling, the asp? Better, surely, to imbibe the intervening music.

Burke, already the best Hamlet ever, the best Puck, and the best Dogberry, increases in reach every night. In the past, as a young man, he played only Curios and Salarios. He now deserves better, as the Wharf Revue showed; and this, and this.

The closest in spirit to John Gielgud in this show is Terry Clarke — lucid, precise, unwavering, accumulating power and solemn beauty as he goes. We are getting a guitarist in next time, and will be stirring, uplifting, as never before.

All those who wish to go on Sunday April 13 at 5 at the Ray Hughes Gallery can pledge, here, or on 0405965560, twenty-two dollars or fifty dollars for the show and a feast across the road at the Book Cafe and some adequate conversation afterward. And pay at the door.

You will not be sorry you did.

Newspoll’s Biggest Lies Thus Far, Shock Horror

You can usually tell when Newspoll’s being frantically rewritten at the last minute, and Rupert Murdoch shouting down the phone.

There are obvious mistakes. On page 2 of The Australian we see ‘Question: Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Julia Gillard is doing her job as Prime Minister?’; and also ‘Question: Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Tony Abbott/Bill Shorten is doing his job as Leader of the Opposition?’

The latter is really hard to fathom. So is the headline, which says ‘Liberals rebound in the West’ over numbers showing them down, from 51.2 to 46 in WA and 53.5 to 48 in mainland Australia. In raw figures Labor is up, not down — though only 0.2 percent — in WA, but the Greens, up from 8.7 to 12 percent, will surely drop-kick another 2.5 percent their way and give them one more seat than in September.

These figures aren’t last week’s, though, but those of ‘Jan-March’, meaning half were taken when anyone under sixty was out of the house and the Menzies generation answering the phone.

And Rupert still can’t make Abbott win. Overall, in Australia, Labor is on 52 and winning on these numbers and Shorten, yes, trailing Abbott by 5 percent, but with 25 percent ‘uncommitted’. And this, with a 2.5 percent margin of error, implies even-steven, pretty much; or, if somebody rings a mobile — ever — Shorten by now some 2 percent ahead. As preferred Prime Minister. Six months into the Prime Ministership of another.

The column ‘Abbott/Shorten’s Performance’ makes no sense. The 562 sample in WA is too small. Shorten by 42 to 36 is the Prime Minister preferred by Victorians and by 37 to 38 just misses in South Australia where the car job cuts hurt most. There’s a 4.2 margin of error in WA meaning Labor will pick up its second seat probably, and maybe, just maybe, after rancorous recounts, a third.

But…’Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Julia Gillard is doing her job as Prime Minister?’ And ‘Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Tony Abbott/Bill Shorten is doing his job as Leader of the Opposition?’ Really? Really? How can we take this poll seriously?

Maybe that last sentence is a cry for help from poor, drunk O’Shannessy: please get me out of here, I’ll do anything to get out of here. Another Guinness, for God’s sake, no, no, a barrel of Guinness, and a straw.

Let’s see what Morgan says today, if anything.

Morgan is the accurate one.

The Ellis Theory Of Partial Assassination

My friend Nathan Rees resigned yesterday. I had thought him a future Prime Minister and, in a book I wrote after his cutting down by Obeid’s allies, interviewed him searchingly. This chapter, and this assessment, will be in these columns tomorrow.

He is the sixth gifted politician brought down by ‘sexual scandal’ in the past five years. They were John Della Bosca, Mike Rann, David Campbell, Craig Thomson, Peter Slipper, and, up to a point, Julia Gillard (thuggish one-eyed former lover, dull-witted present one). Kevin Rudd survived a story involving him and a pole-dancer; several have been tried out on Bill Shorten. Rob Oakeshott’s marriage to an indigenous woman injured his voter base, and sped, perhaps, his decision to not stand again.

No such scandal attended the broken marriages of Greiner, Collins, Kennett, Olsen, Kerin, but they were Liberals and so, of course, above scrutiny. Troy Buswell was thrice forgiven and kiboshed eventually by drunkenness, a car crash and a mental breakdown

It is a Murdoch tactic, and it usually works. It ruined me as a politician in 1999. It has not been applied to Murdoch’s three marriage breakdowns and his cuckolding by, apparently, Tony Blair. It is a good trick, called ‘partial assassination’, and it brought down Teddy Kennedy, Gary Hart, John Edwards, and, for a time, Bill Clinton and his wife, and thus by transmitted odour his successor Al Gore. It did not afflict John McCain, who treated his first wife abominably and married his second for her money, nor Ronald Reagan, whose adulterous courtship of Nancy was a kind of rape, nor George HW Bush who flaunted his mistress when he was US Ambassador to China where she blatantly co-hosted his banquets. It did not trouble Eisenhower, whose wartime driver, played by Deborah Kerr in the movie, was his English mistress for two years before Roosevelt told him to stop it.

No, it is those on the Left who are ‘partially assassinated’, Hollande, Prescott, Robin Cook, Neville Wran, Paul Keating who was supposed to be gay, Cheryl Kernot and Gareth Evans who were sprung in an affair, Greg Combet who feared he would be, Paul Howes who was denied preselection in part, I hear, because of one. This is a lot of talent we are losing, and losing every year, to this righteous confected wowserism, these shock-horror headlines over private behaviour that since Caesar’s time (‘a husband to every wife, a wife to every husband’) has been a political commonplace.

And not just sex has been in the mix since Murdoch and Ailes and Brooks discovered almost anything would do. Belinda Neal was ruined for speaking sharply to a Liberal-affiliated Woy Woy waiter. Kevin Rudd was destroyed, probably, for NOT speaking to a makeup girl. Glen Campbell for being seen, once or twice, in a room with Brian Burke. Kelvin Thompson for writing a pro-forma reference for a man who, years later, turned out to be a gangster. Peter Debnam for appearing in a too-brief bathing suit. Kim Beazley for saying ‘Karl Rove’ instead of ‘Rove MacManus’, a shocking thing to do.

Most unforgiveably, Gordon Brown lost his Prime Ministership by describing, correctly, a bigoted woman as a ‘bigoted woman’ in a private conversation in a car that was bugged. Bigotgate! howled the Murdoch press for six of the eight days that led up to an election, an election in which Brown won three seats too few to form a stable coalition with the Lib-Dems and so let David Cameron in. Brandis would not, then, have defended his right to say ‘bigoted’. But he would now.

Partial assassination is what modern politics is all about. Bronwyn Bishop now disfranchises members for laughing. Christopher Pyne tells Shorten to ‘rise above his background as a unionist’, though John Curtin, Ben Chifley and Bob Hawke did not, and were acclaimed for not having done so. If you say something confidently, as Pyne always does, it becomes a piercing truth. Gillard was accused of breaking a promise when she negotiated a deal with Independents who demanded that broken promise. What was she supposed to do? Yield up her job to Aboott? Really? Christopher thought so, and said so often and piercingly; and, as it proved, effectively, destructively, as an assassin should.

Partial assassination depends, a good deal, on migrant voters unsure of their English hearing confident English-speakers calling this or that a bad thing, a shocking thing, an unforgiveable thing. Didn’t speak to a makeup girl? Throw him out of office.

The Prime Minister ‘melting down’ when he merely said ‘mate’ a bit severely, as if no Prime Minister had ever shown anger before; Howard did it all the time. Rudd saying ‘ratfuck’ in private when David Marr, alas, was listening. Gough Whitlam saying ‘maintain your rage and enthusiasm until election day’ and being imperfectly quoted, and out of context, as having said only ‘Maintain your rage’, which ended his career as well.

These are all examples of it, and it’s really unfair, and it’s ended a lot of fine careers.

It’s called ‘partial assassination’, and it should be noted.

And, by exposure, if possible, ended.

Or perhaps you disagree.

So Let It Be Written, So Let It Be Done: Moses’, Handel’s, Aronofky’s and Crowe’s Noah

I imagine you won’t agree with all of this sentence but Russell Crowe, the best actor in English-language cinema since the invention of sound, is compellingly good playing Noah as a genocidal cult-leader serving a hard God in the best Old Testament film yet made.

Some of you will disagree with this, I guess; I guess. But it’s a superbly worked-out and reimagined film that will equally appeal to the Taliban, the Mormons, the Southern Baptists, any surviving Unitarian, Orthodox Jews and those atheists who grew up like me in a fundamentalist religion and look back on it now anthropologically.

For this is pretty much the way it was in the desert four thousand years ago, trying to work out what Old Thunderer was trying to signal in confusing dreams. He is a God that is unheard, but present in all things, and threatening, and petulant, and murderous — like, say, Rupert Murdoch. You’d better learn to decipher his code then obey Him. Or He’ll come after you.

As his messenger and master-carpenter Rusty converts you to a Cause like al-Qaeda’s, which requires the slaughter of unrepenting infidel humankind and a rebuilding post-deluvium of a Caliphate of the Just. And then he converts you again, after taking thought, to a second version of that Cause, which requires the extinction of all humankind, including himself and his imminent grandchildren, and the salvation of only the animals. In the pursuit of this heretical Bob Brownish mission he is truly terrifying. Mountaintops throng with wailing mothers and children who beseech a passage on his vessel in vain as the rain pelts down and the lightning shimmers in Bosch compositions and the earth quakes. He is unmoved; and he awaits the moment, like the Masada Jews, when he will extinguish his posterity. We hate him for this, but like his women, we obey him.

Why do the animals not eat each other? Well, he has a number of useful berries which, burnt, produce a kind of laughing gas that forces them into slumber, into hibernation. Who helps him build the Ark? Fallen angels, no less, lately dipped in lava and stumbling about like ill-wrought puppets of stone, bewailing their awesome fate but obeying, like Noah, the Deity’s new order.

It is very, very hard to convey what this film is like. It is not in 3D. There is no gorgeous jewelled costuming, mere dowdy Amish dungarees. The miracles, like the sudden upthrusting of an entire forest from a single seed, are more David Attenborough than Zack Snyder. The Ark is more an accumulation of logs, mud and reeds than a magnificently architectured proto-Titanic. It all feels very real. Osama, had he lived, would have loved it, identifying with its hero. And so would Ariel Sharon.

As always, Rusty does no tricks. His accent is pretty much Australian, his beard untinted, his pate unwigged. His voice is quiet. His authority comes from within. That we still like him after what he does to his women, which is Hitleric in its messianic fury, is a measure of his acting genius. No-one else, not even Depardieu, would dare attempt the enormity of this gig, let alone pull it off. He takes us into a former world convincingly. The cities are wicked, but here, in the wilderness, is righteousness and a cleansing, masochistic purity; and the necessary murders God has privileged us, his Chosen, to enact.

There a few caveats about the narrative, but solving them would have hurt its primal force, so they’re better left unrejiggered. Methusaleh (Anthony Hopkins), a nine-hundred-and-sixty-eight-year-old cave-dwelling grump, is not, though he is Noah’s grandfather, and a beneficent magician (he refertilises a barren virgin, the way you do), invited for some reason on the voyage. Tubal Cain (Ray Winstone), a villain of the order of Genghis Khan, stows away. Ham (Logan Lerman), unthinkably, ponders mutiny and father-murder after Noah left behind his beloved new girlfriend howling in a bear-trap whilst multitudes thundered over her, and he nearly carries it out. Ila (Emma Watson), Seth’s wife, submits herself to a terrible martyrdom. But women did, in those days; and, in Utah and Afghanistan, still do.

Though it murders a hundred million people, the whole then population of Earth, the film is very pro-life. I will leave you to discover how this is so when you see it. Darren Aronofsky, the director, and his co-writer Ari Handel, attain a form of dialogue (succinct, throwaway, Delphic) that is neither biblical rant nor jadedly ‘modern’ and prods us along though a story worthy of Aeschylus, Marlowe or Cormac McCarthy. Many of the credits suggest the participation, and fervour, of Israeli money. Jennifer Connelly, who stole Crowe’s Oscar in A Beautiful Mind, seems to have been forgiven and here plays his wife with poignant angry loyalty.

I am aware that none of the above is very convincing. But take my word for it, and see it. It’s very, very good.

Your Reason, Fair Knight, Your Reason

(First published by Independent Australia)

It may well be that no-one, not even Abbott, knew of the new knighthoods till 3.10 yesterday. Shocked by a Shorten motion on the money he was taking from the kids of dead soldiers, and wanting to avoid that headline, wanting also to punish and wrong-foot Shorten for so shaming him and shrinking him, he ennobled his mother-in-law.

A nice Jesuitical wriggle, he will have thought. But the results have been, already, calamitous.

For if Malcolm Fraser is not the next on the list, three million Liberals will be affronted. If Julie Gillard is not also, five million women will. If Hewson, Peacock, Kennett, Greiner get no gong, and Cathy Freeman, and Ricky Ponting, it will be noted.

It is reasonably clear Rupert Murdoch is on the list (the Queen, who hates him, has refused him two knighthoods thus far), and it is payment for past help. It is certain, as with Lloyd George, that some with billions will buy, with the odd stray million, knighthoods hereinafter.

It is certain Sir Alan Jones will be tapped on each shoulder with a boomerang, or whatever, by 2016. It is certain Sir Tom Uren will cast off his new ribbon with disgust.

We have seen these distractions before. Just as the Hobart Labor Conference unveiled its education policy, Howard said no lesbian could have children by IVF because it was better a child not be born than live without a father. Menzies, facing electoral slaughter, announced in parliament that Evatt’s secretary was a Russian spy. Abbott, facing electoral slaughter now in Western Australia, is pulling this headline rabbit out of his top hat, white tie and tails.

But what he doesn’t get, I think, is how much money this will cost him. Capitalists craving knighthoods will curse him for not ennobling them and minimise their donations. Singo, Hadley, Grattan, Clive James (dying, deserving, monarchist), John Bell, Ita Buttrose, Jamie Packer, Gina Rinehart, Jeannie Little, will be in a snit. Abbott’s confessor Pell will be enraged. Nick Greiner, twice accused of corruption, will see it as betrayal.

Friends of Victor Chang, Fred Hollows and Slim Dusty will demand it be posthumous. Friends of Cathy Freeman and Adam Goodes will want an Aboriginal quota. Janette Howard will be on the phone already. Philip Adams will be asking, on LNL, why Gough Whitlam, Noel Pearson, Germaine Greer weren’t made the offer. Les Murray, who launched Tony’s book on the monarchy, will be very puzzled.

All the Australian Nobel Prize winners will find it illogical they were not considered. All the VC winners. All successful paralympians. The four-a-year rule will seem more and more stupid.

Still, Tony got what he wanted: a headline that overwhelmed the news that he was thieving two hundred and fifty dollars a year from the kids of dead and mutilated soldiers. He managed that, at least. He seemed less like a persecutor of children.

And more like Don Quixote de la Mancha, the knight of the woeful countenance, off on a quest for past chivalry that never was.

And after this, the deluge.

After Brock, The Roadmap

(First published by Independent Australia)

It’s always different when it actually happens. After Brock’s decision, a narrow one, Weatherill will be Premier for six more years. Marshall will be overthrown next year. Labor will take Victoria in November; New South Wales in March; Queensland, probably, in April or May; and Abbott will be overthrown and replaced, by Hockey maybe, soon after our hundredth Anzac Day, and the Liberal Party disintegrate thereafter and the Katter-Palmer party replace it and the Joyce Nationals interbreed with it and become the second force.

Two hundred and sixty changed votes in Coulton might have prevented this, but there you go. The ‘Blue Continent’ scenario, so beloved of Kelly, Grattan, Uhlmann and two Joneses is now inoperative, defunct, redundant, and past caring; and our oldest, most resilient party is on the way back. It will be a red continent, probably, by 2017, with only a blue Tasmania.

This is because…well, it’s because the face of the Wolf has been shown protruding from the sheeps’ garb in every state; because Holden, Toyota, Qantas and Ardmona show they mean us ill; because Sinodinos shows how greedy they are; and Morrison how cruel. It is hard any more to find likeable, friendly qualities in them. They are the Looters Party, marauding like the SS through innocent suburbs, seeking whom they may devour. They do not care. They do not care. They want their pound of flesh. They do not care.

It is not the party any more of Hewson, Chaney, Peacock, Fraser, Collins, Hamer, Hasluck, Casey, Menzies, of Commonwealth Scholarships and a protected rural sector. It is not the party that, under Chipp, ceased censoring art films and under Holt enfranchised Aborigines and abolished White Australia; not the party that, under Fraser, protested an invasion by Soviet Russia of an adjacent country by seeking to boycott the Olympic Games, and welcomed boat-arriving refugees from a country we helped ravage in a losing war. It is a party more squalid, corrupt, small-minded and mingy than that. It is more like the party of Smith in Southern Rhodesia or Orval Faubus in Arkansas.

Yesterday Abbott applauded O’Neill for closing down an investigation into a murder, and the violent injury of sixty men by prison guards with clubs and knives. Yesterday Abbott spent another ten million looking for wreckage in an area of sea the size of Queensland, money that will now not be spent on the disabled, or dyslexic schoolchildren, or cancer research, or saving honourable industries. He will spend a hundred million, two hundred million, looking for bits of plane that could have been spent on flood relief, or a robotic cure for blindness, before someone tells him – Palmer, perhaps, Credlin, perhaps – that it is money wasted.

Figures like these, and figures like those attached to $inodino$, mean they have no credibility now, eight hundred million goes to Murdoch, but not one dollar to schoolkids buying text books. Billions in tax relief to Rinehart but not a dollar to Holden, or Toyota. Children’s lives are being smashed by the sacking of their father and their forced removal to a smaller dwelling in a distant town, away from their friends and their good school.

And the Wolves don’t care. These kids are fair game and fine feasting for some longtime party crony who puts another ten million in the bank and buys a chalet in Gstaadt. If ever there was a worship of the Golden Calf and a breaking of the Ten Commandments it is here, and now, by these awful, sabre-toothed people.

Killing. Stealing. Coveting. Dishonouring our parents’ generation. If it’s wrong, they’re up for it. If a dollar can be swindled out of the blameless and the needy, they will find a clause to extract it.

This is the worst bunch we have ever endured. They are worse than Askin. They are worse that Kennett. They are worse than Howard. They are what Shaw called, in words he gave his character Jesus of Nazareth, ‘the spirit of the wolf, striving to return’.

And it’s a pity.

And we will see what we shall see.

Today’s Newspolls

Newspoll shows a swing against Labor in South Australia of 1.4 percent, well within the margin of error, and the surrounding text shows the Murdochists getting worried. No mobiles were rung; a Festival, a bike race, a boat race and much hot weather kept respondents out of the house; no indication of how much Marshall trailed Weatherill by as preferred Premier was printed; nor of how many voters were Undecided.

If, as I suspect — and I alone got SA right last time within one seat — the ‘blooper’ Marshall ad on Wednesday worked as it ought, Labor should lose one seat, Hartley perhaps, and hold on to an absolute majority.

Tasmania looks worse; but my gut feeling is one of the fourteen seats Hodgman is ‘bound’ to pick up will go to Palmer and one, after many recounts, to Labor. This will leave a 12-6-6-1 situation, and a Grand Coalition, maybe, under Gidding or McKim, ruling the apple isle for a year or so, and then another election.

Today’s Newspoll

Using, as he tends to, the ‘funnily enough’ or ‘counterintuitively’ manoeuvre, poor drunk O’Shannessy shows Labor losing half a million votes in the fortnight Qantas sacked five thousand capable Australians, Hockey refused to give them any money, the UN compared us with North Korea and, in Queensland, Labor achieved a swing of 18 percent, which, if duplicated federally, would lose Abbott eighty seats.

It’s an old Murdoch technique. Pretend that whatever Labor is doing isn’t working, and there’ll be some Labor ditherers and tremblebums who’ll believe you, and sack Beazley, and put in Rudd; or sack Gillard, and put in Rudd.

As usual he samples only landline owners in the hottest weekend of the year and gets, correctly, 560 nonagenarians voting Liberal and 631 voting Labor, in avalanching numbers that would see Labor picking up twenty-five seats and government.

The headline was ‘Labor travelling backwards’. A million Australians are left out of thej sample (5 percent ‘uncommitted’ and 2 percent ‘refused’) of those few homebodies not at the beach or the pictures.

O’Shannessy, poor lamb, works hard to give Rupert pro-Liberal figures, and this week, as usual, fails. Addled as always, by drink perhaps, he has a column, ‘Abbott’s/Shorten’s Performance’, which makes no sense, and another one, under ‘Better Prime Minister’, saying ‘Rudd/Abbott 42′ and ‘Abbott/Shorten 36′.

It is hard to know what this means. Shorten seems to have succeeded Abbott as Labor leader, and in this finding poor pissed O’Shannessy is misinformed. As always the figures reek of having been altered late at night while Rupert shouted down the phone.

The likely true result, if you add the sampling error, is 54 to Labor; or, if you add the Qantas/Buswell/Manus Effect — temporary perhaps, and soon gone — 56.5 to Labor and a gain of fifty seats.

You can always tell when Newspoll is lying. It occurs on page 2, which few of us read because of the light shining through the single upheld page. They do not wish us to read it, lest we note how silly it is.

Morgan will have, I predict, Labor on 53, and Nielsen, if I live to see it come out again, 52.

PS. I was piteously wrong about Morgan. It was 53.5.

JH, Our Best Prime Minister, Down For The Count

Troy Bramston this morning said Howard was thought our best Prime Minister by 39 percent, Abbott and Fraser by 3. This, adding up to 45 percent, is unsurprising, as it equals the number, disastrously low, of older Australians now pleased by the Coalition, or willing to live with it.

What surprises is that all thousand respondents omitted Menzies, though eleven million of us recall his rule, in even this mere online poll of only 1007 people. People under fifty perhaps, that is 40 percent of those available and compos mentis, might explain this vast apparent act of national forgetting.

Older people interviewed face to face, as Morgan interviews them, would have given, I wager, a good bit more than 14 percent to Hawke, a good bit more than 7 percent to Keating, a fair bit more than 8 to Whitlam and Fraser, and somewhat more none to Holt, Gorton, McEwen, MacMahon, and Menzies. And Chifley.

Did they omit Menzies, Chifley, Curtin, Forde, Holt, McEwen, Gorton and MacMahon from their list of candidates? Did they? Why did they do that? To give Howard a bigger score? Would Essential crookedly do that? Would they? Heaven forbid.

A true poll would have given in my assessment Menzies 31, Gorton 3, Fraser 9, Howard 3 and Abbott 2; and, on the other side of the ledger, Curtin 9, Chifley 10, Hawke 14, Keating 5, Rudd 3 and Gillard 4; with 7 percent contrariously preferring also-rans, like Brown, Windsor, Katter, Peacock and Palmer.

But this was not a true poll, it was an online poll. It was, you might say, a waste of time.

How, pray, is an online poll useful? The four million alive in Chifley’s time and living still are clearly not in it. Nor is anyone under fifty without a tablet or SmartPhone.

It is very, very useful, though, I ween, to Bramston, the traitorous maggot. Though cravenly calling them ‘Mr Whitlam’ and ‘Mr Hawke’ and ‘Mr Rudd’ he seems to be trying to prove by these laughable figures that their party is dead and gone — cremated, you might say — as a carping, sneering, giggling traitor and Murdochist would.

But 41 percent wanted a Labor figure as leader, a mere six million Australian adults, and 13 percent, presumably, wanted Bob Brown or Bob Katter or Tony Windsor or Clive Palmer.

And the Coalition, outnumbered, as always, in even this fool count, and, under its 3 percent PM, is doomed, my comrades, everywhere.

The Lost Soul of Kieran Gilbert (1)

It is important I measure my disappointment in Kieran Gilbert.

He said Will Hodgman ‘won’ the debate last night, though 28 undecided voters preferred him and 62 Lara Giddings. He said Will ‘won’ it because he was way ahead in the polls and, though Lara was much, much better this didn’t matter. He ‘won’ because he was ahead already, and spoke in recogniseable sentences and did not spontaneously combust or vomit on the stage.

This is like saying the Wehrmacht won the Battle of Britain because, although they lost, they had been winning other battles up till then.

I used to value Keiran as one who, though a Murdoch foot-soldier, had a visible conscience, and telegraphed his unease.

After this, I denounce him as a cheat and a piece of Murdochist filth as loathesome, now, and beslimed with untruth as Hannity.

And so it goes.

Today’s Newspoll

It is possible O’Shannessy was fighting drunk when he put up 54 last night for Labor. He names, for instance, Rudd as leader of the Liberal Party, and Abbott of the Labor Party in one column, a culpable inaccuracy, and gives Shorten a ‘first time negative’ rating while claiming he would win forty seats.

The ‘margin of error’, 3 percent, puts it where Morgan was yesterday, at 50.5 for Labor, and this is about right, I would guess, and O’Shannessy as usual planning to show a ‘massive swing’ the other way in the week of the SA and Tasmanian elections.

But there might be something in it. It was a landline poll of wrinklies after all, and they may have been gutted by the age at which the old age pension kicks in going up to seventy, and Joe’s proposed expatriation of Qantas, the wellbeloved Aussie brand-name, and the six dollars extra co-paid for each GP visit in their nineties, their imminently approaching nineties, and …

Reza Barati’s death may also have had some effect, not necessarily for nice reasons. He was a white man clubbed to death by black men; or stomped to death, or throat-cut, by coal-black descendants of cannibals, and S&M’s view that his death was his own fault may have been thought by some old girls, and doctors’ wives, and rural racists, unfair — and by every Middle Eastern fugitive, like him, and like Joe Hockey’s dad and uncles, from the Ayatollahs’ tyranny.

But … but … the movement of a million votes which these numbers indicate in the mere seven days since last week’s Nielsen put Labor on 48 seems to me to involve a fraud of some sort; or, to be kind, a tweaking.

It is also entirely possible Murdoch has flipped. He may now see the destruction of manufacturing in Australia, and the criminalisation by chronic unemployment of ten percent of our youth, and the rage against the dying of the light of four million oldies, as a hurdle too high for his propaganda. And he may have turned turtle, the way he does, despising Hockey’s innumeracy (you create more jobs by sacking a hundred thousand people? really?), and admiring Shorten’s cool.

Shanahan’s commentary this morning suggests this. ‘The Coalition is riding into the valley of electoral death,’ he cries, unusually, noting Abbott’s electoral standing ‘has sunk to its lowest since he was elected in September’, his disapproval ‘jumping seven points to 52 percent’.

The penny may have dropped, and the earth moved.

And we will see what we shall see.

Craig Thomson: An Exchange

Hugh Weiss February 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Fair & balanced reporting on 7:30 Report tonight Bob. Fair & Balanced in the manner of Murdoch’s Fox News.

They mentioned testimony from an escort based on reports in the MSM, yet we know from the court reporting carried in IA there was not such witness or evidence in court the day Murdoch’s papers carried reports that report.

And what a hide that Cathy Jackson has, to appear when she has told one story on TV & in the press & a completely opposite story when compelled to testify under oath. It is now widely known she is shacked up with Michael Lawler, the deputy Commisioner FWA who led the FWA investigation & prosecution of Thompson. One of the key charges Thomson has been convicted over is around $10,000 worth of cash withdrawals on HSU cards. Yet documentary evidence has been tabled showing Cathy Jackson has withdrawn CASH in excess $100,000 a year for a number of years, paid all her children’s childcare & invoiced the HSU regularly via various associated entities for services there is no evidence were ever delivered.

As far as I’m concerned, Craig Thomson has had his day in court & been found guilty on some charges. But the injustice in this is the some of the biggest offenders within the HSU are his key accusers. Jackson’s relationship with Michael Lawler should have immediately ruled him out of leading the investigation & prosecution of Thomson, particularly since she was chief accuser.

The Liberal Party & Cathy Jackson may live to regret calling a Royal Commission into unions corruption. I suspect all the evidence against her will be presented & she may well become one of the biggest targets.

Glow Worm at 9:17 pm

Hugh, is all this likely to come out at the appeal? I haven’t been following the minutiae of the trial, but if there are lapses in the performances of the defense lawyer, it would seem to be a major problem.

Guybrus at 7:31 pm

If union officials are framing people for serious fraud to avoid “increased transparency” as Craig said, that’s pretty disgusting. Perhaps a royal commission into unions is needed to expose these crimes?

Bob Ellis at 7:58 pm

Yeah, as much as a royal commission into the Salvation Army is needed to clarify pederasty.

Favour that, do you? You’re a Liberal spy and I hate you.

Guybrush at 9:05 pm

I’m not sure I understand. Are you advocating a royal commission into unions, disputing the royal commission’s findings regarding the Salvation Army, or just saying it would have been better not to have uncovered the crime?

With love,


Guybrush February 19, 2014 at 12:51 am

P.S. It looks as if the HSU has agreed with your estimate of the total misused amount at a bit over ten thousand dollars. Quite a bit.

Clearly the Liberals are behind this. Royal commission needed to examine the HSU’s links to the Liberal party!

Bob Ellis at 7:42 am

No, I’m saying the law deals with crime, and punishes, now and then, people like Hartcher, Obeid, Mirabella and Thomson. A Royal Commission does not punish anybody much and is there principally to smear adjacent organisations and give lawyers millions of dollars and governments useful headlines.

Sara February at 7:31 pm

It’s not the numbers, it’s the principle.

Bob Ellis at 8:01 pm

What principle is that? That heterosexual enjoyment is indefensible?

What are you talking about?

It’s the numbers, and the money, that could easily be paid back, like Abbott paid it back.

Sara February 18 at 8:10 pm

I’m apolitical on this one. I don’t care from which side of politics you’re on but if you get caught using money that you’re not entitled to use, even for a 10c bag of lollies, then you need to be held accountable.

For you to hold up that dickhead Abbott as a standard by which to measure one’s sense of right and wrong, then we’re in a lot more trouble than just poor Craig.

custard at 9:43 pm

Thanks for the endorsement on the need for a RC Sara.

Many others on these pages don’t see the need.

In regards to the AWB, no.

Could it be the Libs do RC’s better than your mob?

Sara at 9:00 pm

Look below to custard’s ridiculous post and then ask me ‘what principle is that?’

Bob Ellis February 19, 2014 at 7:48 am

Well, a Royal Commission into Howard’s part in fabricating the WMD War that killed or exiled six million innocents would gratify me. How about you?

Doug Quixote at 7:47 pm

Certainly it appears morally indefensible.

I think however that the magistrate got it wrong, and an appeal will overturn the convictions.

Sin does not equal crime, at least not since the Middle Ages.

custard at 8:53 pm

So does that make the turning back the boats policy morally indefensible but not a crime ……

So its alright too, just like Craig.

Will Julia be found guilty too?

Or is it just the side you barrack for?

Sara at 8:58 pm

Did you call for an RC into the AWB affair custard?

Or is it just the side you barrack for?

Doug Quixote at 9:36 pm

I don’t see the link between the two, custard. It is called a non sequitur.

Dan at 8:18 pm

So according to you Bob, if i interviewed someone for a job, and he suggested that he thought it was OK to take $10,000 out of the takings and spend it on heterosexual enjoyment, I should just go with it, and blame Tony Abbott when I’m ripped off?


Bob Ellis at 7:52 am

No, you would tell him what your view was, and ask him if he would obey your conditions, and then hire him or not, depending on his known abilities.

If he were Andrew Peacock, for instance, in spite of his affair with Shirley McLaine, you might hire him for his experience, intelligence or persuasive charm.

custard at 8:49 pm

Thomson was found guilty. $6000 on prostitutes alone.

Bob, seriously, how could you defend it?

Will you defend Williamson over his multi-million dollar fraud of the same union?

The RC into unions gets its green light here………

Jay Buoy at 9:26 pm

the dum dums need to realise that once unleashed a royal commission has a life of its own.. from Billy Longley to the Goanna.. ask Travers Duncan..

Umberto Ledfooti at 9:30 pm

As I wrote on Wixxy’s blog:

In my humble opinion, the difficulty for the defense was allowing certain facts to be admitted unchallenged, as this left the door wide open for the prosecution to draw inferences from those facts. For example:

ADMITTED FACT: His credit card statement shows a bill for an escort service.

INTERFERENCE #1: The credit card was in his possession at the time the escort service was charged to the card.

INTERFERENCE #2: He used the credit card to pay for an escort service.

Craig Thomson has claimed that he was set up. If that is so, it must have been the mother of all setups – but it’s not impossible that he was set up.

There is also the fact that Jeff Jackson, Cathy Jackson’s ex-husband, used an HSU credit card to pay at least one of the same escort companies allegedly used by Craig Thomson.

Isn’t that odd…

Until there is proof of who used the cards – and any omission to deny using them is NOT proof – a lot of reasonable doubt must hang over this matter.

Criminal law, people – proof talks; balance of probabilities walks

Doug Quixote at 9:39 pm

The defence hung its case upon the fairly reasonable peg that what he was alleged to have done may have been morally reprehensible, but not a crime.

And it will be borne out on appeal, IMHO.

Jay Buoy at 10:03 pm

I can’t see how his legal team arrived at the idea of not challenging the use of the card for whores on the basis that it was within the scope of his ambit.. if he didn’t

Umberto Ledfooti at 10:16 pm

Well, sort of. Actually, it was the peg of authorisation to use the cards, etc, upon which the defense hung its case.

If he had the authority to use the cards, then no fraud nor theft took place; thus the defense’s ‘no case to answer’ stance.

Agreed; it’s very appeal-able.

Doug Quixote February 19 at 6:12 am

Different ways of saying the same thing. Rather a dangerous tack at the magisterial level, but a good thing on appeal. (“Appellable”, surely?)

Mal Kukura at 4:44 am

Sixty years ago the American fascist New Right attempted to intimidate all New Deal progressives by a long series of show trials.

These Australian puppets controlled from New York and Connecticut recycle most of the political strategies used by the neo-conservative dominated Republican Party.

They had McCarthyism.

We have Abbottitis. Expect more show trials like this one and by the way guilt cannot be persuasively argued until all appeals have been concluded – but that is only if you value the principle of the rule of law.

The Tabbott led LNP has already demonstrated a flargrant disregard for the rule of law and have already embarked on an insane attack on two hundred years of constitutional democracy.

The Thomson show trial is but one small element of amuch larger assault of Australian civil society.

Under such conditions one must remain skeptical about a single magistrate’s weak opinions.


Mal Kukura at 4:46 am,6188

Gee Knows what I mean

Agent99 February 19, 2014 at 7:05 am

Thrice married Craig Thomson is only 49. He has degrees in commerce and law, suggesting he is smart and hardworking. He has three children and a deal of infamy to live down. He now faces prison, up to five years, after being found guilty of fraud and theft from the union.

Yes, he has suffered a lot while others who do far worse are never brought to account. Such is life. Never fair.

A pariah in the Parliament at the end, it must have been an agony for a once proud son of the Labour Movement to feel its cold shoulder. Albo was man enough to drink with him. I hope there are others.

But Craig has been both the author of his own downfall and a weapon in the hands of the Tories.

He’s now the poster boy for union sleaziness and has besmirched the good names of many honest union officials. He would feel that burden keenly, I believe.

I wish him all the best.

The Fairfax Fix Is In

Fran Kelly this morning told Scott Ludlum that ‘the polls were showing’ a swing back to the Coalition this week, after Abbott’s worst week as Prime Minister.

There was only one poll that did, with Labor on 49 and a margin of error of 2.6, Nielsen’s; Newspoll and Morgan showed Labor on 51 and 52.

For years now Murdoch has tried this on, the ‘counter-intuitive’ poll that spooks the parties of the Left. As the last election approached there were ReachTels and Lonergans and Galaxies that showed Rudd, Burke, Bowen and Albanese losing their seats that were, of course, technologically cheated and wickedly false and showed Rudd Labor being so comprehensively trashed that many middlebrow undecideds thought it silly to persist with them: why not have a member who has influence in the new, inevitable Abbott government?

It’s a pity Nielsen has gone down this road. But Rinehart, I would think, demands it.

The argument that Abbott is being ‘strong’ at last, and standing up against the greed of Ardmona and Toyota while feeling the pain of the Queensland farmers and the polluting industries is, of course, rubbish.

And the fourteen percent swing to Labor on Saturday in Redcliffe will show it.

Kerr Curries Favour Transparently

Christian Kerr called Shorten’s best speech in Parliament ‘inarticulate’, ‘jumbled’, and ‘serving neither his cause nor his constituency’ in The Sketch this morning, deciding like his master and commander Murdoch that when in doubt the Big Lie is best.

Punch it up and watch it if you can. No more devastating attack on a government has occurred since Ted St John’s maiden speech on the Voyager disaster, which left Holt yelping with dismay. In each case a PM foundered and started to sink, like Voyager, beneath the waves; in Holt’s case, literally.

Why does Christian tell such lies? He was made to, probably, after his first draft, praising Shorten, drew the ire of Col Allan and he or another rewrote it.

Yet some of the rush of praise pushed through, unaccountably, the pasted-on foul falsehoods of the final version. In the first draft he called Bill ‘smart; well-groomed, well-dressed — even well-pressed’; his thoughts ‘more organised’ and ‘well-prepared’, and delivered ‘minus the mumbling that frequently mars Shorten’s speech’; and shows ‘he may have spent summer in class in elocution lessons’.

He then, though, asserts, or his panicked rewriter asserts, that Bill ‘mumbled’, and Bill hoped, moreover, that ‘mumbles might mask the fact that he went to Melbourne’s Xavier College’.

Well, he either mumbled or he didn’t. He was either ‘well-prepared’ or ‘jumbled’. He either did well in a day of classic confrontation or, as Christian swears ‘never worsted Abbott’ and ‘no blood was drawn’.

It’s clear, I think, that this piece was hastily rewritten, by Kerr or another, to subserve the current Allan Big Lie (tickertaped all day under Sky News, Bill Shorten’s approval plummeting) that Shorten is losing somehow the nation’s affections, on a day when he did Abbott fatal damage, probably, by performing really, really well.

He should be ashamed. He is ashamed, I think. He was a good man in his time, a time alas now over.

I ask him to debate me any time, anywhere, on his moral collapse and what brought him to it.

Today’s Newspoll: As I Predicted, Old Friend, Yesterday

Under poor, harried Shanahan’s headline Honeymoon Over As Shorten And Labor Slide, we learn that Labor is on 51 and would win government were an election held today. And this was before the Toyota news came in.

Three Newspolls due on December 24, January 9 and January 23 were not published meanwhile (a world first); because, I guess, they showed Labor even further ahead than they did on December 10, a landslide 52, and if published would have boosted, probably, Terri Butler’s already winning numbers in Griffith on Saturday.

According to O’Shannessy’s always kooky statistics three million Australians are ‘uncommitted’ on Shorten versus Abbott as Prime Minister. I cannot imagine what ‘uncommitted’ means. It might mean, I guess, that some want Albo, or Turnbull, or Palmer, or Katter, or Bandt in the job. It can’t mean ‘undecided’ since seven million want Bill as Prime Minister and Abbott gone. It must mean ‘some other’. If so the labelling is false and possibly criminal; but with Murdoch minions’ babblings you never know what is true and what is confabulated, or speaking in tongues.

Bizarrely, Newspoll today has figures too on how many of us think the ABC is biased, but it doesn’t publish them. It publishes only what proportion of Labor, Green and Coalition voters (no Palmer, Katter, DLP or Independents) think it biased and which way; and what proportion think it ‘fair and balanced’, a description these days affixed, as a rule, to only Fox News and Bill O’Reilly.

Reading between the tweaks, though, I now assess that those who think the ABC ‘fair and balanced’ number 7,488,450, and those who think it biased towards Labor 1,208,250, and those who are ‘uncommitted’ (couldn’t give a stuff) 3,999,375.

And those who think it biased towards the Coalition 1,102,275; or 96 percent as many as think it biased the other way.

This makes the headline A Third Of Coalition Voters Believe ABC Coverage Is Biased a blithering untruth also. The figure in the Newspoll is 11 percent; or one third of one third of one half of the sample.

All these tweaks and frauds and omissions and censorings reflect, I think, poor sad drunk O’Shannessy’s gloomy moonlight war with Rupert (I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more), whom he will not lie for, ever again, lest he end up, as I have long recommended, in gaol for fraud, conspiracy, forgery or king-hitting while soused Col Allen and occasioning his death in Scores, the strip club, on a point of Irish difference one cold Friday in New York.

And we will see what we shall see.

O’Shannessy’s Blues (4): Tomorrow’s Newspoll

A Newspoll will appear tomorrow showing Labor behind again. ‘Union corruption’ caused this, we will be told, and the evidence from Griffith indicates no vote has changed since the election. The two suppressed Newspolls of January will not be mentioned. And Shorten, ‘because of his union connections’, will be shown way, way behind as preferred Prime Minister.

Some of this will be lies (in my view) and some of it sampling. No allowance will have been made for the tens of thousands of people dislocated by bushfires and away from their landlines. No allowance will have been made for the millions of young people and young parents away from their landlines at the beach. No allowance will have been made for the million young people without landlines. The Morgan Poll, the accurate one, will show Labor, correctly, on 53.5, with a hundred thousand more votes than Rudd won with in ’07. But Newspoll will be heeded, and — by some — believed.

What will give it credence is the Griffith by-election. But in the Griffith by-election Bill Glasson got ten thousand fewer votes than he did in September; and this makes it I think a very, very poor sample. It may be due to disillusion with Abbott, or summer apathy, or students absent from the electorate on holiday or in holiday work elsewhere. But it will be enough for O’Shannessy to work on, cravenly supplying (in my view) tweaked figures to Murdoch, his employer, as required.

What Newspoll has become is what Tony Abbott might call ‘a protection racket for the protection racket that is the Liberal Party’. And its principals must be investigated for fraud and forgery, soon; perhaps by Premier Andrews after Napthine falls, or is voted out in November.

We should ‘shine a spotlight’ on its dark corners, comrades, and see what squealing rodents scurry out.

Words That Have No Meaning (1): Politicise

When Holden bailed out on Thursday Abbott said it was ‘a shattering blow’ that ‘should not be politicised’. It was, however, the result of a political act the day before, when Joe challenged Holden to ‘piss in the pot, or get off’, or words to that effect, on the floor of Parliament, a political venue.

When an issue might harm the Liberals, Murdoch says it must not be politicised. When it might harm Labor — like, say, Rudd not speaking to a makeup girl in the most crucial hour of his life — of course it is politically relevant, and a national scandal. He said nothing to a makeup girl, he did not insult her, he just said nothing: vote him out.

The truth is, everything is political, because, in a democracy, everything you do or say affects the vote. Abbott’s bare hairy chest is political. His sister’s undaunted love of a woman is political. Gillard’s poor choice of past lovers is political. Clinton’s twelve blow-jobs were political, once revealed; and they ended, probably, life on this planet, by electing Bush the denier not Gore the climate expert.

You cannot say ‘politicise’ or ‘playing politics’ is wrong, in any context. It is what politicians are paid to do. Bronwyn Bishop’s refusal to lower the flag for Mandela (if it was she that forbade it), Nelson Mandela, a man she previously wanted hanged, is political. Of course it is political. Abbott’s refusal to apologise for peeking at Bambang’s wife was political. Of course it was political.

We now hear people say we must not ‘politicise’ the massacre of Sandy Hook although it was politics that caused it, nor the shooting of Gabby Giffords though it was politics that caused it, and we must not ‘politicise’ the drownings off Christmas Island in plain sight of shocked witnesses although it was politics that sent them on that voyage into ocean peril and needless doom.

So the word ‘politicise’ is useless. It means ‘to speak of things that happen in life’. Of course we can speak of these things. We have the freedom to do so, the freedom of speech. Our elected members have a duty to do so, it is what we pay them for.

Let us have done with this verb. It is null and void.

Or perhaps you disagree.

Shock Horror

I note that Murdoch is incensed at his wife’s ‘friendship’ with Tony Blair and their several overnight ‘meetings’ without his knowledge. The old man will never speak, the smh alleges, with Blair again.

Sexual McCarthyism (1)

It is hard to think of a man of my generation who had a university degree and did not have an extramarital ‘fling’, or ‘affair’, sometimes overseas or out of town. Of the generations previous to me Menzies, Holt, Gorton, Killen, John Kennedy, Eisenhower, Johnson, Eden, Macmillan, Mitterrand, Churchill, Roosevelt, Harding, Lloyd George, Grover Cleveland, Disraeli, Lincoln, Melbourne, Jefferson were known to have had affairs and none of them lost his position because of it. Nor did Greiner or Kennett who left their wives and went back to them.

Yet lately Clinton, Edwards, Spitzer, Della Bosca, Rann, Assange and four or five Englishmen (one of them blind) were ruined or stained by it, and considerable talent ripped out of politics not by a change in public sentiment (88 percent of respondents still acclaim John Kennedy in spite of it) but by Murdoch, an adulterer himself, targeting politicians of the Left with peepshows of their bedrooms and the accused politicians panicking.

The latest of these was Nathan Rees, a Labor hero and potential great Prime Minister I have known for eleven years and worked with, and for, when he was backroomer, Minister and Premier. A more eloquent on-his-feet performer in Question Time I have not seen. A more impelled politician of the Left I have not known. A man more likely to win, as Leader, the State election of 2015 I do not know. He was, after all, the one who sought to excise the Obeid Faction from New South Wales and was brought down by them.

And it is now unlikely he will have a seat to contest. His seat was effectively abolished, and the Party was to find him a new one, and now — perhaps — will not.

And this because of a Murdoch-published ‘affair’.

It was not thought Murdoch should resign because of his affair with Wendi Deng during his marriage to Anna. Nor that Geoffrey Robertson should be disbarred for stealing Kathy Lette from Kim Williams. Nor that Paul McCartney should be made to stop composing songs because he deflowered and then discarded Jane Asher in 1964.

Yet it is thought Rees should never again be Premier because of an episode not hard to imagine, a rule that did not apply to Greiner, Kennett, Olsen, Wran or Dunstan.

Why is this? Well, it relates to Murdoch’s Fox News method, feigning shock and horror at what in fact surprises no-one (‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,’ the unshocked Nazarene said of adultery nineteen hundred years ago), a method that might be labelled ‘Sexual McCarthyism’. If a man of the Left is talented, well, you poke around in his soiled bed-linen, and see what you can find. It should be thought a crime as heinous as skyping acts of copulation in Duntroon, but it is not.

If ‘privacy’ means anything, it means this. Not many pictures of the Queen on the toilet are published these days, but if they were it would undermine her dignity, like the pictures of Diana horizontal wiith eyes closed in the gymnasium, or Fergie having her toes sucked, or Harry in a Nazi uniform. It is thought wrong to publish such pictures, but right it would seem to photograph Kate Middleton’s nipples when the opportunity affords. And reporting any instance of an ‘affair’ of anyone with anyone. Especially if, like Juni Morosi, she is mysterious and Asian.

‘Affairs’, or repeated sexual encounters, or bits on the side, are ofttimes quite complex disappointing things (as most men of my generation with a degree found out in their twenties) and should stay private if no crime is involved, and the word ‘unconsensual’ never published without proof, especially if it is later retracted.

I mourn the second Premiership of Nathan Rees, who had greatness in him.

And so it goes.

Assange Unveiled

The Assange film The Fifth Estate lured few Australians to it but seems to me — a likewise grimy, surly, cult-bred near-Queenslander with a similar propensity to bastard children, broken partnerships, rancorous barroom rhetoric and resistance to good advice — an excellent, well-crafted work as important as The Social Network, Wall Street, Margin Call or Platoon.

It shows us, among a number of other things, the present age. Assange, forever on planes, jet-lagged, impatiently ironic, unwashed and fearful for his life, is a very Australian, far-flung, self-doubting, Hamlettish figure, restless, roving, unsanitary and horny, mistrustful as a longtime religious fugitive would be (and I am one) of all friendship, discipleship and partnership, wanting to hog all the praise and the limelight — like Rudd, like Luhrman, like Andrews, Kosky, Murdoch, Simon Stone, Peter Weir, Paul Cox — and I begin to wonder if the Assange Syndrome (autistic? artistic? Asperger’s? manic-depressive?) is more widespread than we thought. Orson Welles had it; Howard Hughes; Lord Olivier; Lord Florey; John Lennon. It certainly afflicts those who dice with power and feel the ‘rush’ which power brings to their gonads and cerebella, however fleetingly. It shows us a good flawed man blundering into danger and egomania, careless of innocent lives but not as careless (of course, of course) as the Pentagon, Mossad, the CIA and the Global Free Market which kills with bad water twenty thousand children a day. Julian saved tens of thousands of lives, of course he did, and should be more acclaimed for it.

Why then did this fine film fail? The title, a distant echo of The Social Network, was part of the reason, I think. To leave the most famous surname of 2010 off it was like leaving ‘Ned Kelly’, ‘Capote’, ‘Ray’, ‘Che’ and ‘Robin Hood’ off their biopics and foolhardy. It was also unwise to ‘boost’ the story with computer tricks: a multiplicity of typing Julians at an infinitude of desks, and so on. A film about the unveiling of reality should have stayed real itself, not mucked about with it, as one might in a film about LSD.

Cumberbatch nonetheless shapes up, as he did in Parade’s End, as an astounding English talent as good, it now seems, as Gielgud, Olivier, Richardson and Guinness (like the dour Sir Alec, he has no face) put together, playing with our hopes, affections and primal guilts with the sinuousness of a Mata Hari. He leaves us, correctly, unsure of Assange and rattled by him. His motive, his mad childhood, his methodology, his puritan conscience, his masochistic lifestyle, his importance in history we must judge for ourselves as we do Liberace in Under The Candelabra and Che in Che, since he is far beyond simplicities and we must ponder his meaning, as it were, unassisted.

The script, by Josh Singer of The West Wing, from the aggrieved disciple Dan Berg’s memoir and two other books, is excellent, and all the performances first rate (the cast a cattle-call of co-stars from the better recent films and miniseries A Royal Affair, The Thick Of It, Anonymous, Rush, John Adams and Julie/Julia. Laura Linney and Stanley Tucci are especially good as two State Department backroomers (Linney standing in, I suspect, for Hillary Clinton), Dan Stevens (Matthew in Downton Abbey) unrecogniseable in mere slick black hair as a Guardian subeditor and Alicia Vikander (from A Royal Affair) delectable as Audrey Hepburn as Dan Berg’s tetchy gorgeous girlfriend Anke Domscheit. The director, Bill Condon, however should not have pushed his luck. He had a story as interesting as Dreyfus or Ellsberg and, curiously, did not tell it. The two girls in Sweden do not come into it — for legal reasons, perhaps — and it’s a pity.

Orwellian Manoeuvres In Katoomba And Kabul

My lunch a couple of weeks back with Ian Masters has been much on my mind. The brother of Roy, Chris, Quentin, Sue and Deb and the son of Olga, he does a radio show in LA, syndicated across the US, that looks into politics. I shared a room with him in 1962.

He says when the the planes hit the towers it was not just Bush who dodged out of sight, went into hiding, it was Rumsfeld and Cheney and Condaleezza too. They all of them thought they might be disgraced and shamed and, maybe, imprisoned for failing to protect their fellow citizens from lethal attack by men the FBI knew were taking flying lessons, but not landing lessons. As the officers responsible, they might go to gaol.

So they hid for a while, till their spinmen worked out a plan and told them what to do. This was to turn the whole thing into a religious occasion, with a black female choir singing America, America and Billy Graham praying at Gound Zero, a sacred site thereafter and a national anniversary.

And they got away with it.

It was around then the word ‘politicise’ came into abundant use. We were told that politics had no place in a discussion of al-Qaeda blowing up America. That was too ‘serious’ for politics.

Lately, when the Australian Army burnt a lot of the Blue Mountains down, we were told it shouldn’t be ‘politicised’. An act of national destruction by the nation’s official protectors must not be looked into, we were told, that was ‘politics’, and politics had no place in a question of political failure, of catastrophic political failure, costing billions. No place at all.

One by one, good neutral words are soiled and slimed. Communist. Socialist. Liberal. Left-leaning. Political. One by one these words are targeted and made to look evil by the Right. We are told we can’t say it was wrong to go to Afghanistan, and lose a war there. We are told it was ‘bittersweet’. Wasting seven billion dollars, forty lives, levelling mud villages, killing children, immolating crops, killing goats, and enriching Karzai’s drug-dealing brothers was not wrong, it was ‘bittersweet’.

We should, because of this word ‘politicise’, and its kissing cousin, ‘playing politics’, not call it ‘wrong’ for us to be in Afghanistan, we are told. But it was wrong. And it is not wrong, therefore, surely, to politicise it. In a democracy we elect politicians to sort out things. It is not wrong for them to do their job. And to call it ‘playing politics’ is to attack democracy itself. We shouldn’t do that.

We shouldn’t say some things are ‘above politics’. Nothing is. It was politics that got us into World War One, and out of it. It was politics that got us to the Moon. It was politics that funded penicillin, and the saving of a billion lives. It was politics that obliterated Hiroshima.

‘Politics’ is not a separate thing from life, it is life itself, life in action, discussion, legislation, ratiinal debate. It is taking responsibility for how a nation behaves. To demean it as Abbott does, and Murdoch does, is a form of treason. And in wartime they would go to gaol for it, And this was wartime until Monday.

Confucius said the first duty of government was to ‘rectify the language’. Orwell explored this in Nineteen Eighty-four. Fox News rectifies the language every day, as when they turned ‘suicide bombers’ into ‘homicide bombers’.

And so it was that 9/11 became not an avoidable military defeat with investigation, impeachment, court martial and public trial of Condaleezza in its wake, it became a religious occasion, celebrated yearly, like Thanksgiving.

And so will these bushfires too, ‘depoliticised’ into a welter of national pride and hymn-singing grief, when major generals should be court-martialled for it, and the Army fined a billion dollars. There should be a Senate inquiry into it, and army generals publicly stripped of their medals before the Cenotaph and sent to gaol for ‘accidental terrorism’ and schoolkids publicly shamed as ‘deliberate terrorists, however ignorant’, the product of a bad bringing up, and put in gaol for a couple of years.

We would save a lot of property if we ‘politicised’ bushfires, and linked them to global warming. We would save lives, and lessen trauma like my children’s when our house burned down.

Let’s hear it for ‘politicisation’. Of everything.

That way democracy lies.

And the pursuit, old friend, of happiness.

Ellis Observed

Somebody called Derek Parker has reviewed The Year It All Fell Down for The Spectator and finds nothing good in it. He says I ‘bizarrely’ quote myself, though my two co-authors, Ramsey and Spruce, do likewise and are not cursed for it. It is what you do in a book with three authors; how else would he do it?

He thinks I am wrong to criticise Rupert Murdoch. Billions do; he did not say why we should not. He believes the imprisonment of Strauss-Kahn did nothing to endanger the world economy, which he was in part in charge of, in the crucial seventeen days he was out of action, and he says I cursed Gabby Giffords, to whom the book is paradoxically dedicated. I of course did not. He says I connected her shooting with Sarah Palin. Well, so did the world, and she lost the Presidency because of it. He says I believe 9/11 was conspired by Bush and Cheney. I of course do not. There are lots and lots of lies in his review. I wonder why he told them.

One is I made my name as ‘a speechwriter for various Labor people.’ No, it was by co-writing King O’Malley, Newsfront, Goodbye Paradise, Fatty Finn, The True Believers, Man of Flowers, My First Wife, A Local Man, Autopsy On A Dream and Bastards From The Bush, and writing and directing Unfinished Business, The Nostradamus Kid and Run, Rabbit, Run, and winning many prizes with them. About one fiftieth of my writing has been for politicians. There are twenty-two books as well, three thousand uncontentious film reviews, two hundred songs, a hundred broadcasts, and sixty-eight unpolitical screenplays. How dare he. Who is he?

He says I detest all Americans. No, three thousand words of the book are in praise of Obama, and quotes from him; a chapter wryly admires Arnold Schwarzenegger, others praise Tony Bennett, Aaron Sorkin, John McCain, Mark Kelly, Danny Strong, Julianne Moore, Jon Stewart, Woody Harrelson, Steve Jobs. He says my writing is famously nasty and snide. A thousand actors, directors and authors disagree with this, cherishing my acclamations. He seems to think my opinions are ‘typical of the Left,’ though I oppose abortion, favour the Monarchy, abhor Kevin Rudd and famously once praised a book by Tony Abbott, who called me ‘Australia’s best writer’ in a phone message I by mistake alas erased. I furthermore style myself a Katterite Protectionist’ and have co-authored a film with Sir James Killen, a book with Bob Brown, and several speeches by Kamahl. He says I ‘have no evidence’ the SEALS who killed Bin Laden ‘detested Obama.’ I got it from Time Magazine. He says I weirdly allege Anders Breivik was ‘inspired by John Howard.’ Well, the selfsame mass murderer said so in his diaries and he ought to know.

Who is this lying piece of filth? He says there is ‘nothing new’ in the book, and professes shock at eighty of its revelations. He says there is no left-wing conspiracy theory I do not believe. Well, I don’t think Oswald acted alone, and neither does he. It would be good to know which ones he disbelieves. Perhaps he could list them. More to come.