Monthly Archives: July 2013

Boatwatch (3)

A boat with a hundred people on it has been detected near Christmas Island.

It is the first in a week.

Lines For Albo (33)

Is Joe Hockey saying I knew how many millions Ian was crookedly making, and had no share in them, and did not dob him in? That is bizarre. Either I was on the take or I wasn’t. If I wasn’t I cannot be tainted with anything Ian or Eddie did.

I invite him to pay me two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, plus legal costs, for even suggesting it.

Lines For Kevin Rudd (12)

I hereby announce an inquiry into the connection between the Liberal Party and Tollway, Newscorp, James Packer, Big Tobacco and, in 1999, Saddam Hussein. A separate inquiry will deal with Tony Abbott and those pederastic rapists he covered up for, or not, in St Barnabus’s when he was a trainee priest, as noted in his official biography, page 68.

It will be especially interesting to discover why Joe Hockey is keen to protect Big Tobacco, how much money he is being paid for this, if any, and how much money Nick Greiner earned in his eight years as a tobacco executive.

The Joe Hockey Factor

It is a truth universally accepted that it was mostly Gillard’s voice that cost her the leadership. Carking, drab, insecure and unconvincing, it added up, whatever the truth of it, to a Peter Principle Person unfit for the high, testing job of Prime Minister.

Hockey’s whingey voice gives the same impression. So does Milne’s whingey voice, as Brown’s calm baritone montone never did. Crean had a whinge in his voice. Pyne does, and Abbott. Costello never did. Bob Carr never, never did. Bob Menzies never did. Winners, old friend, are never whingers.

And Rudd does not. His Radio National Compere tone, whatever the truth of it, bespeaks a tranquillity of mind, and a capacity for hard-fought midnight moonlit decision that contrasts with Abbott’s ambitious frenzy, impatience and mendacity.

Abbott’s voice is not as bad, though, as Hockey’s. His you-wouldn’t-read-about-it expostulations bespeak a great Australian familiarity, the whingeing migrant. Nothing is good enough for him. On Tuesday he will greet the lowest interest rates in fifty years with pained, finger-spreading exasperation.

It’s a tone, and a voice, that becomes unbelievable after a while. Would you let this man buy you a second-hand car? It’s doubtful.

And it can’t be cured now, it’s affixed, it’s stitched in. It’s him. It’s in his DNA. Along with Morrison’s wild goose chases, it is the principal reason why the Liberals will not regain the high ground. They sound like chooks in the back yard, shrieking for a feed.

And are doomed, probably, as a party now.


Boatwatch (2)

No boats have set out for eight days now.

I doubt that any more will come.

Till Scott, their friend, is Minister.

Lines For Albo (32)

If Halliburton was flying me to Iraq to encourage me to go to war there in 2002 that would be corrupt, wouldn’t it? What else would you call it? And Tollway Holdings flying poor frantic Scott to Nauru? What else would you call it?

Lines For Paul Murray (1)

Where does this bloke get off? Who does he think he is? Just because he’s Deputy Prime Minister, and Scott Morrison is corruptly encouraging our nation’s enemies, doesn’t mean he can talk about it.

I mean, who does he think he is?


Great Scott

The bizarre Scott Morrison’s corrupt night flight to Nauru and what followed, an offer the smugglers couldn’t refuse, will be seen, in the twenty-two days before Parliament resumes, as a giant tapeworm devouring him and the Liberal Party.

For his offer is so good the smugglers, our enemies, will wait for him to become the Minister. He is offering, like Howard, a few months’ holiday in tents on Nauru and a life in Australia. Rudd and Burke and Clare and Carr are offering life in PNG among mosquitoes and rapists forever.  Of course our nation’s enemies will wait for their friend Morrison. And the boats, till then, will not come.

They have not come for a week now. They are waiting for Scott’s New Order.

But the more they do not come, the more it will seem that Rudd and Burke and Clare and Carr have stopped them. And that will be, by October 19, election day, the death of the Liberal Party.

For by then their gimcrack broadband, their sabotage of Gonski, their theft of the schoolkids’ money and their hundred billion black hole will be known and famed and execrated. And they will have nowhere to go. Yelling TPVs! and Toll Holdings forever! will not suffice.

And it will go hard with them. No seat in Queensland will be safe now from Katter, Palmer and Labor. Broadband will secure Tasmania for Labor and Wilkie. Bennelong will fall to Jason. And then where will they be?

It will be seen that Scott Morrison — his initials, S and M, suggestive of self-harm as never before — is the Doctor Evatt of the Liberal Party, its mad destroyer.

And the saviour of Labor.


Before The Towers Flamed: Flack and Kushner’s Angels In America

I remembered too late, and saw only the last half of Angels In America, from the middle of the front row. It was magnificent, of course. It remains the best American play and is far, far better than anything by Shakespeare, though it uses many of his techniques. There are soliloquies, dreams, ghosts, tortures, deathbeds and supernatural interlocutors. There is a son spurned by his mother, parted lovers, masques, songs, dances, and a busy, bustling Nurse. There is a Deus Ex Machina, a stumblefooted Angel let down by the heavenly bureaucracy. There are stolen potions, a king brought low, an executed innocent haunting his dreams.

And there is Plague. It begins in 1985 when AIDS was first named, and a proud, witty generation dying of it, and the scythe put through friendships, love and loyalty, and the families who found out simultaneously their son was gay, and also dying.

I report with abiding amazement how good the speeches are. One invokes and assesses Marxism in the twentieth century. One comes close to justifying the Mormons. Some occur in Heaven, which is like San Francisco. Some illuminate Roy Cohn, co-auteur of McCarthyism, as he wrenches himself towards a long death mitigated by drugs he corruptly bargains for.

In this role Marcus Graham is both Lear and Faustus, dispossessed, dishonoured (he is in his last hours disbarred as a lawyer), bound for Hades and dogged by Ethel Rosenberg (Robyn Nevin), who sits at his bed-end, unspeaking. He sent her to the electric chair, and she took three big shocks to die, her hair on fire, and he remembers this.

Nevin appears also, bearded, as a Jewish rabbi, and an undying centenarian Soviet revolutionary, and, moustached, as a gruff Bronx doctor, and other people I missed in the first half. Like Alec Guinness she is unrecognisable from one role to the next. It is astounding what she effortlessly manages, even to me, who have watched her these forty-three years since O’Malley, conquering all.

America, the idea, is explored as never before. It is a test, a religion, a prison, a torment, a sustaining fantasy, an anthem slowing down. In it, a bisexual Mormon Republican lawyer and husband working for Cohn, Joseph Porter Pitt, appears nude before his vacillating lover, Louis Ironson, who has deserted his HIV-afflicted beloved, Prior Walter, and begs him to return. His nurse, Belize, big black camp night orderly, administrates with rough and flouncing kindness a dying empire of interrupted souls. In these roles, Ashley Zukerman, Mitchell Butel, Luke Mullins and Deobia Oparei are astounding; and, even more so, in a way, Amber McMahon as Harper Amaty Pitt, a renegade Mormon wife looking for action in New York and rarely wearing more than a shirt. And Nevin, as a Mormon mother-in-law and pilgrim, both nag and saint, confronting a post-Joseph-Smith reality off- Broadway. And Paula Arundel, unbelievably good, as the rattled, piss-off, wrestled-with, overworked Angel. And the director, of course, Eamon Flack, whose ferocious intimacy rivals that of Sidney Lumet.

I hope this is getting through to you. The Mike Nichols miniseries, with Streep and Pacino, is great, of course, but it is as a show, with musical, balletic, poetic, and audience-insulting components, that it demands to be seen on stage. And you missed it. And I almost did, or half did. And so it goes.

In Thirty-One Words

Unlike Morgan, which rings mobiles and asks its respondents who their second preferences will go to, Newspoll, Galaxy, ReachTEL and Essential do not.

I ask that they be put in gaol.

The Pope’s Forgiveness

Will all those burning in Hell for sodomy get out now? Will they get compensation? Will they go to heaven?

Please explain.

Boatwatch (1)

No boats have set out since Tuesday of last week

When one does, I will let you know.

Lines For Tony Abbott (2)

I ask John Howard to apologise to Xiao Aiyung, whom he sent back to China where she was held down, shackled and aborted in her ninth month and her little son thereby extracted, butchered and burnt. If he doesn’t, I will.

I don’t believe in abortion, as you know, and I should have spoken up before.

With apologies, I do so now.

Shame, 7.30, Shame

Strange to see Leigh Sales libelling a whole nation in what seems, on the face of it, a racially prejudiced way. On a night when two young men were shot dead in Sydney and none on Manus Island, we were told that Manus was a murderous hell-hole with vistas as beautiful as Byron Bay and no child should grow up there, though hundreds of happy hymn-singing children are clearly doing so.

A place as lush and green and warm and beach-fringed as, oh, Brunswick Heads in 1952 is too horrible to contemplate, we were told — look, there are flies on the rubbish-dump — and it is hard not to see a racist component in what we were shown, and told.

How many murders were there in Sydney last year? How many on Manus Island? How much would it cost to build a good high school there, and staff it with genial Australians, Maoris and East Timorese?

It looks like paradise to me. Coconuts, parrots, oysters, market gardens, swimming holes, everything. Why is it okay for local children, and not Iranian ones?

Well, Iranians are white people, I guess, or they nearly are.

Can there be any other reason? What is it?

Saying women will be unsafe there is like saying ‘Don’t send me to the Adelaide Hills, women are assaulted in Redfern.’ Or, ‘Don’t send me to Bangalow, I hear the men are ill-mannered in Mount Isa.’

Manus is not Moresby. It is pretty calm and safe there. With money added, it affords a good life, up to the end of one’s teen years anyway.

It was amazing to see 7.30 espousing the arguments used in Ipswich and Penrith against boat people and taking them seriously. We don’t want Muslims here. They are not of our culture. They bring flies, disease, unease. It is hard to see how the Taliban shooting your girls in the head for going to school and burning your farm down is preferable. Or being sent back to China, held down and aborted.

It is racist to say all parts of PNG are equally dangerous. Moresby is doubtless a bit scary but, in a country as big as Tasmania, there are other places, or there could be other places, built and secured and civilised.

Manus is one of them, and there are others, doubtless, on the six or seven hundred smaller islands of that nearby country.

You can tell racial prejudice when it occurs. ‘It is impossible to build a house there,’ says racial prejudice, ‘these people do not know how. It is impossible to ship in caravans, or prefabricated huts, it is too remote. No good school teacher will go there, it is too “unsafe”.

‘Don’t go to Manus, don’t go to Manus, don’t go to Manus, it’s full of niggers.’

Well said, 7.30, well said.

Abbott’s End (80): The Ellis Curse

Cult Murdoch’s new position is ‘Sure you’ll stop the boats but how much will it cost us?’ — and David Speers ran it round the block on Agenda this afternoon.

As if any price would lose Labor one vote if the boats stop coming. Any price at all. Two billion. Five. Ten.

How desperate they sound.

Abbott keeps saying it’s not real, he doesn’t mean it, PNG won’t take you, they’ll never take you, come, keep coming, it’s okay, keep coming, keep coming to Australia. And treasonously encouraging our enemies the smugglers to keep putting children in sinking boats, the way he does. The way he did when he voted down the Malaysia Solution. He’d rather let children drown, and Slipper suicide, and Zoe Thomson miscarry.

Fuck him.

I detest him now, and I used to like him a lot.

My curse upon him, finally.

May he never have a day’s luck.

How To Fix The Budget

Put a three percent tariff on everything, a five percent GST on food and bring down all rents on small businesses by a third. Take off the tariffs and the GST in eighteen months, and at that point bring down the rents on houses and flats by a third.

Let Briggs Not Hold His Peace

Briggs of Galaxy has not yet said which party was ahead in his impossible ‘fifty-fifty’ poll, and I ask him to do so soon.

He knows the answer, and he is concealing it.

It is almost certainly Labor 515, Coalition 500. Or similar.

I ask him to deny this.

And supply the real figures.

Galaxy Fraud Exposed, Chapter Two

If evidence were needed that Briggs of Galaxy was crookedly colluding with his client Murdoch to do Rudd harm it can be found in the Sunday and Daily Telegraph of yesterday and today.

Under the headline Rudd Urged To Man Up And Face Voters, no figures were shown to support this, and no mention made of it in the story below it. No mention moreover was made of the Katter or Palmer parties, and how they were doing. No mention was made of the DLP, or Family First, or the LNP, or the Independents, or the Greens. No mention was made of the Undecided or Refused. No penetration of Queensland was attempted, though that is where it will be decided. And the sample, 1,015 voters, is split half-and-half, which is impossible. One party had to be one vote ahead, and the other one behind.

Today, a headline, Rudd Fails To Earn Our Economic Trust, shows Rudd and Abbott tied on 41 percent, but does not say who was, numerically, ahead. With 1,015 votes, one had to be. It does not say either if Rudd had better figures as an economic manager than a month ago, and of course he had. It showed Rudd ahead of Abbott as Preferred Prime Minister by two million votes, and he probably is, and Turnbull ahead of Rudd as Preferred Prime Minister by a million votes, and he well may be, but it did not, in the latter instance, tell us the number of the ‘Uncommitted’, which was two million votes. It left two million voters off the page.

The poll appears below a photo of Rudd, looking rubicund and fat, and Therese, looking deranged and obese, in Afghanistan. It is clear this photo is meant, like the poll, and the headline, to harm Labor’s chances.

It is wrong that Briggs should conceal from the public numbers that may alter the nation’s future, or ‘tweak’ them, and it may be a crime.

I ask the Attorney-General to look into any wrongdoing he may have committed, and seek his arrest and imprisonment.

The Coming Rudd Landslide Explained: The Story So Far

(First published by Independent Australia)

What happened was this.

Keating, because of ‘the recession we had to have’, a bullying parliamentary style, and a belief that mild-mannered Howard would change nothing but govern more ably, lost power in 1996. Howard then changed everything and in 1998 scored 400,000 less votes than Beazley. Bound for a drubbing in 2001, he was saved by 9/11 and a world war and the myth of ‘the Taliban on the Tampa’ and narrowly survived. Latham’s violent history, bullying style and firm handshake, and a timber workers’ rally saved him again in 2004. In 2007 his underlying unattractiveness and sneaky unfairness did for him, and he lost his seat. Rudd, winning, seized more power than Labor liked, and, after ill-treating his ministry and caucus, was, in a bad patch, after the roof batts, and a baseless panic by the jumpy Middle Easterners Arbib and Bitar, overthrown.

Gillard, believing assassins have honeymoons, went too early to an election. Of the votes she had on the date of her swearing-in she lost 2 percent by saying she was an atheist, 1 percent by shafting a Queenslander, 1 percent by being an unmarried woman, and 1 percent by saying ‘the real Julia’. She then with skilled negotiation retained government but lost credibility by some undertakings, necessitating broken promises, that secured her numbers. Abbott then sought those numbers by trying to drive Slipper and Thomson to suicide, expulsion or resignation, and, with Murdoch’s daily help, and his fabricated polling, attacking the character of Gillard and her sexual history.

Her vote never fell below 45.5 percent 2PP, but Newspoll, ringing geriatrics on landlines and redistributing Katter preferences as if they were Family First, said it did, sometimes as far down as 41.

Three-quarters of a million Labor voters had meantime, however, become ‘undecided’. This was because of ethnic men who resented a powerful woman, ethnic women who disliked an adulteress, religious people who hated an atheist, and shotgun-wed women who envied and cursed a woman who lauded abortion. This accounted for the Labor vote of, occasionally, 45.5.

But Abbott’s macho shiftiness and ceaseless whingeing and his reputation for physical violence repelled many women, and he began to be unelectable when his policies – on broadband, on Gonski, on the very fast train, on a Budget surplus – proved to be idiotic. He was propped up, however, by Gillard’s speaking style, which was ugly and unconvincing, and Newspoll’s deliberate fraudulent exaggerations of his party’s vote, which, after five million voters ceased to use landlines, grew huge.

Gillard was on 48 or 48.5 when she was removed.

Rudd then regained the Labor ‘undecideds’ and hit 52.8, the number he was first elected by, and has been there ever since.

It is likely, however, that his handling of boat people, and Morrison’s madness, and Abbott’s increasingly amazing refusal to debate, will win him half a million more votes by October, and he will win, as I predicted, by 56.8 percent, and end the Liberal Party as a force in history.

This is the story so far. ‘Brand Labor’ was never in trouble, but several of Gillard’s qualities made it seem so when these were exaggerated by Murdoch pollsters and believed by Labor backroomers. There is no Howard nostalgia, no Downer nostalgia, no Hewson, Peacock, Fraser, Snedden, McMahon, Gorton, or Holt nostalgia for Abbott to draw on, and only the Menzies voters, dying as we speak, will stay with him in any numbers.

The Liberals are headed for an historic defeat, and oblivion thereafter.

And so it goes.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (50)

Smithy has been banned for life.

Galaxy Fraud Exposed

Though the Galaxy Poll for the Murdoch papers that came out today was of 1,015 voters, the result was 50-50.

This is impossible.

It was 508 for one party and 507 for the other.

Which was it?

The way these things are done it could have 498 for one of them and 516 for the other — rounded out to the nearest percentage, as they say; which is, aha, 50-50, though one of them has an election-winning lead.

Was this the case? Was this indeed the case? And was it Labor that was, indeed, ahead?

If Labor was ahead, what was published today was a criminal falsehood; in my view.

I ask Galaxy to reply to this.

And do so soon.

Three Questions

What are the Liberals’ policies?

Are they any good?

Can we hear what they are soon please.

In Twenty-Four Words

So: it stands to reason you should pass judgment on a month-old government, and waiting any longer would be wrong.

It stands to reason.

Lines For Rupert Murdoch (1)

Stop grandstanding and call the election.

Who needs any more than a month to decide how a new government is doing?

Who needs any more than a week to see if the Niugini plan will work?

Call the election now.

Please. Pretty please.

A Question

What seats are the Liberals going to pick up?

Lines For The CEO Of ReachTEL

Ringing septuagenarians on landlines on Late Shopping Night with machines is a fair sample of the nation.

Trust us. Trust us.

Any other sample would be inaccurate.

Lines For Kevin Rudd (11)

I warn Scott Morrison that encouraging the enemy is treason, and he has been doing this all morning.

The Day It All Fell Down

It was a privilege to watch the actual fifteen minutes when the Liberal Party was destroyed forever as a political force.

It was when on Insiders the hydrophobic Scott Morrison repeatedly assured the people smugglers that Kevin Rudd didn’t mean it, he couldn’t run a chook raffle, he couldn’t put in a roof batt, and they should come in their thousands, their hundreds of thousands, they should come in their multitudes now and call this chaotic dimwit’s bluff.

The only thing that he could stop them, he raved, was an army general, a state of emergency and TPVs, and the PNG Solution will never happen, we couldn’t build the accommodation fast enough, though the Americans in 1942 built roads and airfields in the Pacific in a month and that was seventy years ago.

Barrie kept asking him to stop encouraging the enemy but he kept doing it. This was on a morning when Labor was ahead of the Liberals on who was better at border protection for the first time in our history.

Scott believed, in his addled way, that TPVs in Australia would deter the smugglers’ ‘customer base’, although it is clear that after last week they will never get here in the first place. He forgot they were going not to Australia but Papua New Guinea. It slipped his mind.

I am told it is treason to encourage the enemy and it seems he committed treason, unknowingly perhaps, this morning. I imagine he will not go to gaol for it, but he looked so mad, and thwarted, and reasonless, and clenched, and desperate, and scared, and shrunken, and frantic, that he cannot be any more thought by any reasoning person to be of sound mind, and must be thought unfit to command army generals and SAS troops and battleships in what he sees as a wartime confrontation with a neighbouring country of 230 million heathens he ardently believes to be bound for hell.

If there was a moment when all was lost for the Tories, it was 9.18 am this morning. The needle moved from ‘landslide’ to ‘massacre’, and will not move back; and I may stand against Bronwyn Bishop again, with an outside chance of winning.

This was the Liberals’ Pearl Harbour, or their 9/11, or their Fukushima, the day it all fell down.

And so it goes.

Quixote’s Complaint

Rocinante says he’s most upset,
A stallion is he, no teacher’s pet.
Dali has called me a unicorn!
He clearly covets Spleenbatt’s porn,
And writes as if he’s three not one;
Unholy Trinity should begone,
So go and leave this poor horse
To scan his verse - heroic couplets of course.

In Twenty-Four Words

Scott Morrison is the best friend the people smugglers ever had.

Keep coming, he’s telling them. He doesn’t mean it. He’ll let you in.

The Madness Of Barnaby Joyce (1)

Barnaby Joyce has just said Rudd can’t possibly organise, after roof-batts and school halls and obesity, ‘border protection’.

Does he say that of Tony Burke, Jason Clare, Bob Carr and Mike Kelly, the Ministers involved?

If he does not say that, why will it be a failure?

Just asking.

Hands up everyone who hates their new school halls.

Cult Murdoch Massages The Figures

Galaxy today has the parties 2PP on 50-50.

Wonderful how Rupert will not print 50.01- 49.99, the margin Gillard won by — or formed government with — lest it frighten the horses.

However many hundreds of thousands of votes the Morrison crack-up and the Abbott gibberings cost, it will always be no more than 50-50: so let it be written, so let it be done.

What a rancorous old cuckold he is turning out to be.

No bad news! No bad news! This is News International, and we will decide what the news is, and the manner in which it is dispersed, and nobody else.

The Rest Is Silence

There has been no poll published since Morgan on Monday gave Labor 52.5 and Newspoll on Tuesday gave them — a day late, after a frantic recount — 48, although a large wave of boat people in those four days and a likely election announcement this Monday or Tuesday should have occasioned some.

It is probable some were taken — ReachTEL, Galaxy, Essential — and then suppressed, after showing Labor on 54 or 55.

If this is true, it means we are getting more like other, lesser countries — Malaysia , for instance — in which one party wins the election, and another wins the count.

I ask, again: Is it a crime? Has Newspoll committed it? Should O’Shannessy go to gaol?

Certain Housekeeping Matters (49)

Kurisu Shimei is banned for life.

Any one of his responses was reason enough, and there were scores of them.

You do not call other respondents paedophiles without evidence, nor sacks of shit, nor wantonly misspell their names.

Ellis’s List

Hockey a Maronite, Morrison a Pentecostal, Abbott a fanatical Catholic, Turnbull a converted Catholic, Jamie Packer a Scientologist and Van Onselen a Jehovah’s Witness.

Much is explained by this.

A Night At The Theatre With Craig

At The Hansard Monologues with Craig Thomson in the York Theatre in Chippendale I watched my famed friend flinch, and then become silently stirred as his hour-long parliamentary speech, condensed, ocurred again on stage, and the audience grew quiet, and their quietness tightened into guilt. They had forgotten he was innocent, you see; the body language experts had said so on the day, he could not be otherwise; and now, reminded of this, they began to see him again as a sort of mini-martyr; a vest-pocket Dreyfus; a watch-fob Wilde. In the Q&A afterwards he said he had never watched his own performances in replay, and commended David Roberts, his impersonator, on the edgy tenderness of his transformation.

In the bar after that, David Borger, MP, whose maiden speech I had written, and whom I had cursed in print more than once for having unknowingly aborted the career of Verity Firth, who might else have become Prime Minister, bet me with beaming peasant confidence that Abbott would win. I first proposed a thousand dollars, then settled on a good red wine. We drank some more, and argued a bit, and paced about, and ate peanuts; and I grew progressively enraged, comrades, at what I suppose I must call the ‘gleeful despondency’ shown by this kind of ambitious young Labor klutz. Craig said a similar sort of person had bet he would lose Dobell in 2010, and he half believed him; but his numbers on the night went up, against the national swing to the Coalition.

Why are these young fools like this? I decided it was because a ‘period in the wilderness’ was deeply attractive to them. At the end of it, they believed, there would be safe seats for them, and ministries, and white cars, and trips overseas, and the Old Order, their predecessors, would be washed away.

Tony Llewellyn-Jones at last came came down to join us, and we tried to get the director, xxx, to take the show to the Central Coast and put it on as a benefit night for Craig; but he said the ‘technical challenges were too great’ in such a move of personnel and stage machinery — though not in taking it to Canberra in early August: that, happily, could be managed — and we plotted to put on instead a differerent sort of benefit, The Word Before Shakespeare perhaps, or an evening of Clive James, or Mike Carlton, between August 9 and 22.

It may boost, or not, the impression that Craig is innocent, and ill-used, if a few esteemed actors are in it, and a famed non-actor, like, say, Michael Kirby, who has suffered, lately, similar persecution.

We will see what we shall see. The election will not now occur before October 19, I suspect, because of Yom Kippur, Rudd’s birthday and the football finals, and because Rudd and Shorten will take a while to to sign the states up to Gonski, which they can’t do if they’re in Caretaker Mode and Abbott forbids it, as he can, and would, and there is no Labor candidate as yet in Dobell. It is possible, just possible, they are planning not to have one, as they did not in Mackellar when I first ran against Bronwyn Bishop, and let Craig, who is locally popular, and widely trusted, win ‘accidentally’ a seat he has scored well in before, rather than be seen to be part of his persecution and lose to the Liberals.

I am told now a lot of the things he is said to have bought on his Union Visa Card were cigarettes.

And he does not smoke.

Oh boy.

And so it goes.

The Madness Of Peter Van Onselen (10): The Tipping Point Of A Sad And Troubled Mind

The Choirboy’s assertions are becoming daily more addled and he should seek help, not urgently, but in the next week or so.

He says this morning, for instance, that Dietrich Bonhoeffer would not have sent asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea, which ‘in security terms compares unfavourably with Baghdad and Kabul’. It is possible there are more suicide bombings, embassy attacks and prison breakouts per month in Moresby than in Baghdad but they are not widely publicised. Can he tell us where we might read of them? Can he say how many there are? Can he say where on You-tube we might find them?

What a big lie that is. How many people in PNG were murdered last month? How many in Iraq?

Bonhoeffer, moreover, did not oppose, as I understand it, Hitler’s First Solution, that of the sending of all Jews to Madagascar; or there is no recorded sermon or published treatise in which he did so. Madagascar then was much like Moresby now, and was preferable even then, I am told, to being starved and gassed and burnt in Belsen, as Moresby is these days preferable to torture and decapitation before a roaring soccer crowd in Kabul. Perhaps the Choirboy can find an instance of Bonhoeffer saying ‘Madagascar? Never!’, but I cannot.

He calls Rudd ‘sanctimonious’ for ‘making asylum seekers an issue in the first place’, as if he had a choice. People fleeing death squads and drowning as they swim toward you is an issue. If they are coming your way it is your issue. What are the methods by which you can make it a non-issue? If he knows how this wonder can be wrought perhaps he can, in a debate with me, say how it is done.

He calls Rudd’s policies ‘harsher than those Howard adopted’. He knows full well that Howard’s policy was the SIEV-X Solution — and it worked — and there is nothing harsher than that, than watching a battleship watch you and your babies drown at sea. He also sent a nine-month-pregnant woman off to be held down and aborted in China, though she begged him to allow her to have her baby here and leave it behind, allowed an old man to burn himself to death in Parliament House rather than let him see his granddaughter again, and routinely drove children to attempt to hang themselves in the hot, blank featureless desert dog-kennels he put them in, where the guards smashed their televisions and stomped on their toys.

He says that Christ said you must do good but you must do it secretly, and not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing, and Rudd, now, in an age of total information, must somehow manage this. That is, save hundreds of thousands of people from drowning, and find them a place to live, but do it secretly.

WHAT is he talking about?

Is he entirely, fucking, mad?

He should seek, soon, suitable pills.

Or debate me on why he does not need them.

How To Fix The New Budget Blow-out

Put a five percent GST on food for eighteen months and then take it off.

Lines For Tony Burke (5)

Sure they’re still coming.

But they’re not coming here.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (48)

Craig Thomson is coming to The Hansard Monologues tonight and may, on a future night, perform his own speech at the start of the Second Act.

I will organise, if I can, a performance of it in the Central Coast as a benefit for him.

The Innocence Of Craig Thomson (69): The Ellis Oration, 25/7/13


The Hansard Monologues, playing up the road, shows us the enormity of the forty-third parliament, the most significant, and successful, and nation-changing, since the second Chifley government, and parliament, of 1946 to 49; and it is not over yet.

I have tried in my writing, and I am not just a humourist but a historian, to deal with this in several ways. There was rhymed verse, there were anguished, farcical Canberra diaries, tracking hour by hour the various aborted Rudd mutinies and Gillard cat-fights with the lesser gender, there was a famous false friendship with Tony Abbott, which some thought homoerotic, but I knew better; and there was, as well, a rediscovery of the deductive art of Sherlock Holmes, and a way of writing about our troubled times in the Conan Doyle style short stories that some found amusing, and, indeed, informative. One concerned Craig, and was perhaps a little coarse for present company, and available on the blog if you care to look it up, but another, concerning Peter Slipper, is fit, I think, to be here performed, in two of the party-trick voices I still have at my command, and … it goes like this:

( I at this point read out Holmes And The Difficult Case Of Ashby’s Arse, printed first in this blog on December 23rd of last year. I then went on:)

It is easy to laugh, but when considers how vile a thing was done to a man who spent perhaps a thousand dollars illegally crossing the ACT border to buy fine wine in Queanbeyan — and nothing more — for which he lost his career, his ambition, his title, and his good name, one gets a sense of the wickedness — and the word is not overstated — of Pyne and Abbott and Ashby and Brough in the targeted killing of a man who used a word well known to us in a private communication to a friend; and which of us has not? It is, I believe, construable as treason — conspiring in wartime to overthrow the second highest official in the land, the penalty for which is death by firing squad or hanging. And … I oppose both those penalties, but I note the crime.

In Craig’s case it is a libel by a series of politicians and journalists, and the world’s worst snoop, Kate McClymont, that could, if he were enthusiastic in his pursuit of them, accrue him ten or twenty million dollars, because they said, unfairly, and wrongly, that he stole half a million dollars and spent them unsuitably on choc-tops and cab rides and cigarettes and the rent of movies of the sort I see every year at th film festival, and do not much enjoy, and … as well, of course … that of which we should not speak, of which of course he is innocent, and framed, by political enemies of a not uncommon sort, which you will find in most unions and most houses of parliament of the past and the present, in the thousand years of democracy thus far on this planet, since Greenland first had its bright idea.

What is unusual is that never before in these thousand years has a duly elected politician been threatened by the loss of his vote, and his constituency’s vote, not because of a conviction, or a malfeasance, or a misdemeanour, or a parking offence, but because, not of a crime, and a sentence for that crime, but of a rumour of how some money was spent, legally, on an activity of which most men, at some point — me certainly — have been guilty.

What Abbott and Pyne did, in their jack-rabbit scuttle from democracy and the reasons they gave for it was like … for instance .. Craig Thomson, the Member for Dobell, getting up and saying, under privilege, of the Member for Warringah:

‘This man, Madam Speaker, should not be allowed to vote in this House, and I will tell you why.

‘When he was nineteen, a fair while back now, he thought he had knocked up his girlfriend, and proposed to marry her. The church was booked, and the guests invited, and, a week before the ceremony, he had second thoughts. He thought he should not marry her.

‘And he did not go and tell her so. He did not ring her up and tell her so. He did not, initially, write to her. He got his mother to ring her up and tell her so. The wedding, the baby, were on the back-burner. Her surname would not change.

‘The church service was cancelled, her life ruined. She had the baby, a boy, and on her former fiance’s insistence, he was drop-kicked out of their lives, exported, banished, outsourced, to Perth, and she did not see this briefly beloved baby again for twenty-six years.

‘And when she was dying, and slowly dying, two years ago this month, he, the Member for Warringah, did not visit her, did not write her a letter, this innocent woman, whose life he had wrecked or at least distorted, who had a later baby and raised it alone, in a time when ni Catholic woman dud that, he did not make a phone call, and he did not, or has not so far, visited her grave.

‘Can you accept, Madam Speaker, the vote of this man? Can anyone in this House do that?

‘Well … I can. He has been elected by his constituents, and he has committed no illegality for which he might be expelled from the service and proceedings of this democratic chamber, because democracy trumps all, and no-one may deny it to any citizen, however vile his deeds, if his voters choose him, and send him here, to speak for them, and serve them.’

… I said at the time that Craig’s speech was his Mr Smith Goes To Washington moment, and certainly the most persuasive plea for natural justice ever put before the Australian people since the broadcast judgment of Justice Barrett exculpating Lindy Chamberlain. I saw a man who could not be lying, whose clarity and plainness of utterance left no other alternative conclusion than that he was got at somehow, in the past, and was being misjudged now. He became a cause of one, for me, long before I knew him, and he still is.

A passing thought.

It is likely, I think, though not certain, that an October 19 election, after two months of no boats coming, will win Labor twenty more seats and begin what Brutus called a tide in the affairs of men that washes the Liberal Party, and the LNP, and its hydrophobic Morrisons, Cormans, Bernardis, Campbell Newmans, Mirabellas and Bronwyn Bishops out of the pages and footnotes and fish wrappings of international history, and their villainous methods and stern punishments into the legal textbooks of many nations; but it would be a pity if Craig, one of their more buoyant, longsuffering innocent victims, were to become a footnote also, not a Minister, or a Deputy Prime Minister, in a future Cabinet of decent, progressive, honourable souls.

I believe that if it is to be October 19, or September 21 or 28, there will be time, indeed there will be time, after his exculpation by an honest magistrate, for him to recoup, with your goodwill and energetic doorknocking, sufficient of the truant Labor vote to put him, with Green preferences, ahead of the field, and back where he deserves, in his parliamentary seat, as representative, duly elected, of his good people in one of the loveliest patches of earth and water, in this occasionally fair and comradely country.

It is not too much, I think, for our audacity of hope, for our great-hearted response to a good man ill-used by malicious enemies, in a time of trial in which many, because of Abbott and Pyne, and Bernardi and Corman, and Kathy Jackson and Laurie Oakes and Kate McClymont (who in another millennium sought with termagant vigour to ruin my life too), have wearied of a country some of us, on occasions, in the midnght hours, would like to be shot of.

It is possible that the boats will not come, and the Liberals, in a fratricidal shambles, gift us with another chance to implement the good, and make sure Gonski and NDIS and Broadband get through, and the soul of our people be patched together into a similitude of neighbourly, comradely goodness again.

And it is possible it will not be so.

But what is certain, I think, is the hearts in this room are large with optimistic possibility, and we all of us in the next few weeks will have a red-hot go at returning Craig in Dobell, and sed, after that, how far the nation goes, in a time of crushing uncertainty, in its quest for the good and the fair, and the light on the hill at the end of the tunnel, ever nearing, ever beckoning, as we raise our glasses to a good and decent, unflinching, high-spirited, never downcast man, Craig Thomson.

Abbott’s End (77): Pirates Of The Arafura

Is sending in the army to repel at gunpoint frail vessels owned and steered by Indonesian citizens an act of war, an overt act of war on Indonesia? It is hard to say it is not. It would be a crazy man, I think, who said it was not.

Scott Morrison has looked like a crazy man for many years now, babbling in tongues on Sundays and invoking the SAS on Sunday evenings; Tony Abbott since the seventy-second stare. And this proposed attack, by a uniformed Christian military, on a neighbouring country with two hundred and thirty million Muslims in it is wild-eyed and hydrophobic in the extreme.

‘Heathens’, of course, is how Abbott, a Catholic, and Morrison, a Hillsonger, think of Indonesians: beyond God’s charity; fit to drown; or shoot as they stuggle in lifebelts in a storm-tossed sea.  And it is showing on their fraught faces lately, and they look more and more unwell, splenetic, pallid, fanatical, and … well … by the sound of it, racist.

They suggested O’Neill was corrupt. They declared Yudhuyono would be an obedient darky. They foresaw applause for their tactic of machine-gunning brown babes in the sea.

It is hard to imagine they have a friend left in the region, or even a wary acquaintance. They are seen as white colonial oppressors, invaders, displacers, ethnic cleansers and cross-waving loons of the usual kind.

And it will go hard with them if they win, and then urge this blithering foam-flecked piracy on an army that will mutiny and thereafter, perhaps, overthrow them.

I suggest they submit to shock treatment urgently, and get thereby some dirty water off their chests.

In Five Words

Send the boats back where?

Lines For Kevin Rudd (10)

So: it’s all right for black Christian Niugini children to grow up in Moresby, but all wrong for brown Muslim Iranian children to do so.

This, it seems, is the Greens position.

And what a laughing-stock they are.

Tha Madness Of Peter Van Onselen (9)

It is certain that Peter Van Onselen is not mentally ill in the clinical sense, though his column this morning does show signs of what would otherwise be thought ‘psychotic denial’.

He says Katter would not back a Rudd government, though Katter has repeatedly said that he would, and lately swore fealty to his old, fond friend when Rudd launched his book a year ago at the Sydney Writers’ Festival and they joshed like a comedy team for an hour with ursine hugs and quaint provincial peasant humour. He says Rudd ‘cannot be trusted to run a competent government’, though Clare, Burke, Wong, Plibersek, Husic, Bradbury, Bob Carr, Kim Carr, Macklin, Bowen and Shorten are in it, all of them proven capable Ministers, and Kelly, a war hero, will soon be Minister of Defence.

Though Rudd has a net satisfaction rating of plus 1, and Abbott a net dissatisfaction rating of minus 21, he says, astoundingly, that Rudd ‘is no longer an asset.’ At this point I covered my eyes.

Craven falsehoods and ramshackle blitherings of this magnitude require, in some countries, punitive shock-treatment in mental asylums, and the Choirboy, lately, is sounding madder and madder.

He says, amazingly, that Newspoll, which rings in the main septuagenarians on landlines and had Romney winning, is to be trusted. He makes no mention of Morgan, ever. He believes, astoundingly, that an Opposition Leader trailing in popularity a sitting Prime Minister by two millin votes is very, very likely to win; and he believes this for reasons he will not, cannot, state.

If this is not madness it approaches criminality, the wilful concealment of relevant evidence on a matter of national importance.

(Like lying to the House of Commons.)

I will enjoy attending his trial, if it occurs, and jeering when he is encarcerated, sobbing and kneeling and pleading for mercy.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (46)

Louis Phillips was asked to provide before midnight one wrong thing Bill Shorten had done in forty-six years, and the names of five people who thought him a ‘hollow man’.

He failed both of these challenges, and is now banned for life.

Paradise Revisited: Oosterman Sums Up

Of course, for those sick and tired of the Greek Parthenon with the heiße Wurste vans parked outside, there is always this experience!

Travelling in PNG can be challenging. With almost no tourism infrastructure and limited information available in books and on websites, it can feel like you’re stepping into the great unknown. But this is exactly why travellers find this country so compelling. Nothing is contrived for tourists and every experience is authentic – even the main island of Bougainville is a largely DIY travel experience. The striking natural beauty and myriad complex cultures offer some riveting and truly life-affirming experiences. The island of New Guinea, of which Papua New Guinea is the eastern part, is only one-ninth as big as Australia, yet it has just as many mammal species, and more kinds of birds and frogs. PNG is Australia’s biological mirror-world. Both places share a common history going back tens of millions of years, but Australia is flat and has dried out, while PNG is wet and has become mountainous. As a result, Australian kangaroos bound across the plains, while in PNG they climb in the rainforest canopy.

For a glimpse into PNG’s fascinating tribal cultures, the Highlands is where you should head (the town of Tari is a good place to see traditional Huli wigmen), while the Central, Oro & Milne Bay Provinces are home to gorgeous reefs and historic wartime sites – including the country’s foremost attraction, the Kokoda Track. Also part of these eastern provinces, and about as far off the beaten track as you can get, the D’Entrecasteaux Islands are like the land that time forgot, mountainous, jungly and totally undeveloped. The gritty capital Port Moresby, on the other hand, is big and sprawling and even a bit intimidating until you get under its skin and see past the bad press.

PNG is one of earth’s megadiverse regions, and it owes much of its diversity to its topography. The mountainous terrain has spawned diversity in two ways: isolated mountain ranges are often home to unique fauna and flora found nowhere else, while within any one mountain range you will find different species as you go higher. In the lowlands are jungles whose trees are not that different from those of Southeast Asia. Yet the animals are often startlingly different – cassowaries instead of tapirs, and marsupial cuscus instead of monkeys.

The greatest diversity of animal life occurs at around 1500m above sea level. The ancestors of many of the marsupials found in these forests were derived from Australia some five million years ago. As Australia dried out they vanished from that continent, but they continued to thrive and evolve in New Guinea, producing a highly distinctive fauna. Birds of paradise and bowerbirds also abound there, and the forest has many trees typical of the forests of ancient Gondwana. As you go higher the forests get mossier and the air colder. By the time you have reached 3000m above sea level the forests are stunted and wreathed in epiphytes. It’s a formation known as elfin woodland, and in it one finds many bright honeyeaters, native rodents and some unique relics of prehistory, such as the giant long-beaked echidna. Above the elfin woodland the trees drop out, and a wonderland of alpine grassland and herbfield dominates, where wallabies and tiny birds, like the alpine robin, can often be seen. It is a place where snow can fall and where early morning ice coats the puddles.

Lines For Fran Kelly (1)

Why did Newspoll come out a day late? Were the figures tweaked on Monday? Did Rupert Murdoch demand that numbers favouring Labor were altered?

Martin O’Shannessy, the CEO of Newspoll, this morning confronts his harshest critic Bob Ellis on RN Breakfast and explains why his methodology omits five million Australian voters, and rings only old ones, and why his numbers are to be trusted. Listen in after 8 this morning on RN.

The Lost Honour Of Mark Kenny

It was wrong of Mark Kenny, whom I had thought better of, to say in the smh this morning that ‘the odds and raw numbers’ are against Rudd and ‘the election will be hard-fought, and the result inevitably close.’

For Rudd is only one seat away from victory, and he already has it, in Chinese-heavy, Mandarin-speaking Bennelong, now contested by a Chinese-Australian hero.

Rudd has seventy-one seats plus Dobell, which Thomson or Labor on our polling will win by  twenty percent. He has also, effectively, Melbourne, which Bandt will retain, or Labor at worst regain. He has Denison which Wilkie or Labor (after Broadband) will get. And he has Bob Katter, his greatest friend in politics. That is seventy-five. And he has Bennelong.

It is likely he will pick up three seats, furthermore, in Queensland; one in Western Australia; one in South Australia;  and one more, Macquarie, in New South Wales; and lose no more than one in Victoria. That is eighty-one seats.

How then will it be close? Why is Kenny, of all people, lying?

Morgan, which rings mobile phones and asks people their actual preferences, has Labor steady on 52.5. That is six hundred thousand votes more than the Coalition. Newspoll, whose landlines-only methodology had Romney ahead, or competitive, all last year, puts it on 48, and Abbott has just riled PNG with lies about O’Neill that will go down badly in Western Sydney. Why would it be close?

I ask Mark Kenny, a hitherto honourable man, to gratify this readership with a response.

Lines For Kevin Rudd (10)

Though it’s the most urgent issue of our time, he can’t possibly debate it.