Monthly Archives: May 2014

Abbott’s End (41): The Last Five Days: A Failed Recrossing Of The Rubicon

Looking well-dressed, haggard, sombre and almost stoic in this, the week of his probable extinguishment, Abbott is now seeking ‘refinements’, he says, to his plans to thieve hundreds of millions from the CSIRO and give twenty billions to Liberal donors (probably) for ‘medical researches’ unspecified, ten years from now. In this way he hopes to win Senate cross-benchers across to his universally reviled co-payment, imagining there is any cause for which such people would vote for any measure that swindles any ordinary Australian of any money at all.

Pyne has meantime said how fond he was of private schools and how much he wants to help them out, thus adamantly shrieking, the way he does, his fondness for Class War on the lower creatures, atheists, and heathens. And Morrison seems to be protecting at least ten murderers from PNG police who are under the impression that he, Morrison, is trying to frame at least ten other people with a killing, and an adjacent near-massacre, they were not involved in. This is a major crime and would see him in gaol, eventually, for quite a while if he is guilty of it.

All over the nation MPs will have heard face to face from their constituents these last two days how poisonous the GP co-payment and the lifelong impoverishment of students irreducibly, implacably are. They will have heard that a student paying 120 thousand for a degree, 120 thousand in interest for that degree, plus 1.1 million for a house, plus 1.1 million in interest for that house will be much, much worse off than, say, Joe Hockey, who got his degree for a thousand dollars, and bought his first house for 180 thousand dollars and paid it off, probably, with his wife’s help, in three years. They will have heard how hollow is the cry ‘we must not burden our kids with our debts’ when those kids will be up for 2.3 million for an education and a dwelling. They will have been told how murderous these kids’ parents are feeling, and how there will be 30 percent at best voting Liberal this weekend, and 5 or 6 percent National, and four million newly swinging voters looking at Clive Palmer with interest.

This is the Palmer who told Parliament on Wednesday there was no economic emergency and all education should be free.

Abbott will have heard these things and in panic decided he is leaving the country before D-Day the sixth of June, abandoning his Budget negotiations and gazing at some war graves and promising hundreds of millions more to redecorate them.

It is unlikely he will come back Prime Minister, or with the numbers to stay Prime Minister.

And so it goes.

Ellis, The False Prophet Of Palm Beach: An Exchange

I received this letter from a respondent called Tamara, a follower of the Gerard Henderson line that all my predictions are notoriously wrong, and fatuous.

How on earth were you the “only person in the nation” to predict (Abbott’s) arrival????????? Seems a bit of an arrogant and incorrect statement there!

…To her I submit this report by David Marr, written a few hours after, on how it was on the fatal day, December 2, 2009.

Long practice makes Tony Abbott good at confession. It’s in his blood. At his sombre victory conference, he apologised for all his past errors. Details were absent. Contrition was at a minimum. But with a self-effacing smile, he added: “I believe that when you become leader, you make a fresh start.”

The Liberals’ party room was not crowded. A moderate turnout of press was joined by a knot of Abbott supporters. They had the shattered look of people given what they’d wished for. As their leader pledged to turn the Coalition into “an alternative, not an echo” of the Rudd Government, their half a dozen voices echoed: “Hear, hear.”

A new face will now join the black-and-white portraits of Liberal leaders staring down the room. So many hopeful new starts: a dozen leaders from Bob Menzies to Malcolm Turnbull, most of them torn down by their party colleagues. The photographer shouldn’t tarry.

The day began quite cheerfully with Kochie’s Sunrise tent out the front, giving Parliament an almost Melbourne Cup feel. Sky News and ABC television staked out corners of the garden. Shade was at a premium.

Bronwyn Bishop arrived ready, as always, for her close-up. Bob Ellis arrived predicting an Abbott victory. He was scoffed at. After yesterday’s naughtiness, the press was herded behind ropes. Security guards staked out the long corridors. Members of the press gallery passed the time teaching each other Twitter.

Nearby, the Reverend Peter Rose sat all alone reading the Bible in front of a blank television screen. “Did your prayers do us any good?” I asked him afterwards. “There was no rancour in there,” the priest replied. “That’s what I was praying for.”

Parliament was a palace of rancour. Taped to a bright rug showing the floral emblems of all the states was a scrap of paper that read: “Stand here.” The Liberal whip, Alex Somlyay, did what he was told and announced Abbott’s victory without a trace of pleasure.

Once the cameras stopped rolling, the press swore, hit the phones, clumped and scattered. Out in the garden, pundits jawed for the cameras. There was little evidence of jubilation in the corridors. Doors were closed. With shared disbelief, Abbott and the press faced each other 40 minutes later. He frankly admitted his surprise: “It is the last thing that I would have expected a week ago.” But the boy Churchill of Manly-Warringah never doubted the leadership would be his one day. It’s just so soon.

Julie Bishop stood there smiling, smiling. It’s a pleasure to reflect that among the few people in that room old enough to remember Dolly Dyer of Pick a Box are the deputy, the leader and most of his followers up the back.

As the voltage of Bishop’s smile dimmed, you could see her will it back to life. At times she turned to Abbott with a look of coquettish amusement. But her eyes were dazed.

Malcolm Turnbull had left the building too soon to hear her commend him for the “style and flair and colour” he brought to public debate. Abbott and John Howard were at one in expressing carefully crafted hopes for Turnbull’s future in “public life”.

There was no mention at all of Parliament.

Early in the day I found myself wandering down a corridor behind a National Party senator talking on his mobile phone. “Tony may get up, which personally pleases me,” he said. “But even my mother won’t vote for him.”

The Jet Lag Monologues: Diary of a Foreign Minister by Bob Carr

(Reviewed by David Holloway)

Everyone has their mental picture of Bob Carr. For me he was the animated Premier with the great speaking voice (a strength Mr Carr acknowledges repeatedly throughout the book). For others he was the guy who looked like Ginger Meggs’ dad. For anyone, he should be at least acknowledged as one of the most significant ALP figures of the past forty years. And it’s from that perspective that Diary of a Foreign Minister is written.

This doesn’t mean it’s an egotistical perspective – although some in the mainstream media have painted it that way. It’s more that Mr Carr has a highly developed self-awareness of his place within the ALP and the then Government – and that he sees that place as involving a full and frank account of his time as Foreign Minister. That account covers a huge range of issues, which for sake of simplicity I’ll split it into three main areas: foreign affairs, domestic politics and personal observations.

Even a more casual observer of politics tends to know Bob Carr had always had an ambition to be Foreign Minister, which he’d put aside when called to lead the ALP in Opposition in 1988. When he was parachuted into Mark Arbib’s casual Senate vacancy, the realisation of that ambition was understandably savoured by Carr. That said, his initial learning curve and fear of a misstep are documented clearly – again someone aware of their stature but not assuming that it’s enough to get through those first few months.

The starkest image to come out of this book is the relentless pace the role of Foreign Minister involves. It’s difficult to gauge if Carr was travelling at the level expected as Minister or whether he had stepped the pace up a notch given his awareness of how brief his role was likely to be given the ALP’s electoral fortunes. Either way, it’s revelatory as to how a person tries to perform optimally within some of the timetables discussed in the book. If he’s stayed honest as a diarist, it appears Carr does perform and covers the gamut of issues presented to the “Foreign Ministers Club” that he enjoyed being a member of so thoroughly. Whether it’s China – US relations, the emergence of Myanmar from an era of secrecy and sanctions, the relationship with Indonesia, or making progress in the Middle East, there’s detailed insights into current thinking internationally and a nuanced approach to each issue as it arises. There’s plenty of sources cited directly, which provides some further meat to the narrative.

For Carr, the variety of policy challenges to tackle is savoured, and he’s also surprised at what turns out to be one of his biggest foreign policy passions in the job – and it’s not any of the ones mentioned in this review. One of many interesting themes throughout is that of relationships and their importance. As you’d expect, the rapport built with Ministers from other countries, ambassadors, NGOs and key interest groups are critical to dealing with new challenges. Carr repeatedly illustrates how regular contact with his contemporaries on the foreign policy playing field delivered results. One specific point worth mentioning here: Carr’s mentions of the ‘Melbourne-based Israel lobby’ that received so much attention on the book’s release, are marginal and primarily used as a contrast on wider opinions about settlements and Palestinian status in the Middle East.

The book covers the last fourteen months of Julia Gillard’s Prime Ministership and the dozen or so weeks of Kevin Rudd’s return. As you’d expect from a diary with a focus predominantly on the world stage, Carr paints a picture of himself as senior ALP statesmen floating above the majority of the leadership tensions and day-to-day grind of party machinations. There are regular interactions with Sam Dastyari from the party machine, and less frequent meetings with key Rudd agitators, but it’s all portrayed as a frustrating process taking away from precious time in achieving goals in the job itself.

What’s more interesting is Carr’s relationship with both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. Nearly all the interactions mentioned are in context of foreign policy, and in the case of both Prime Ministers it appears Carr perceived a decent working relationship albeit with a number of respective frustrations. He’s measured in his criticisms of both individuals but they’re still forcefully put and you’d be a little naïve to think that there weren’t deeper concerns that haven’t made the book. There’s a handful of mentions of how better judgement calls may have been made by Carr if he’d been sitting in the PM’s chair. Given the history of the ALP over the past five years or so, it’s a claim that’d be hard to refute.

Carr’s relationship with the ALP is painted very much in context of the stump speaker still engaged with branches, with much more reluctant interactions with the ALP machine. There’s some understandable self-interest in that portrayal in a book designed for general consumption, as every politician lives or dies by the public’s judgement on their accessibility. I have some doubts that the ratio of local campaigning versus internal party discussions would be the same if it were a diary written for a select few. That said, it’s still one of the most forthright discussions on the internal workings of the ALP I’ve seen from a political diarist, particularly given the focus of the book is on the Foreign Minister role.

Any diary or political memoir needs to illustrate the personality of the subject as much as the outcomes of their endeavours, and in this regard the book deserves acclaim. Sure, a non-smoking happily married man with an obsession about keeping healthy eliminates a lot of the awkward disclosures that other politicians might agonise over when debating what makes the cut or not. Even so, we get a well fleshed out view of Mr Carr’s passions for food, culture and friends.

The mentions of exercise routines and the seeking of ‘edible’ food are constant companions throughout, but not to the extent of being irritating. There’s certainly some scathing criticisms of the Australian Parliament House (its food, design, social amenity and location) and no shortage of biting comments on a range of accommodation, bureaucrats and functions. It’s done in a way that mostly avoids coming across as prepossessed and provides some humour as well.

The most interesting section of personal observations not surprisingly falls around friends and contemporaries. The relationship with the Kissingers in referred to repeatedly and appears a mutual source of enjoyment. There’s high regard for Indonesia’s Marty Natalegawa and the US’ Hilary Clinton and John Kerry. With the focus of the book being so broad, there’s not a lot of insight into Carr’s close friends, although this could also have been a direct side effect of the constant travel. Even so, the level of personal observation of the role, life and politics is of a standard to keep the book fresh throughout.

I want to throw in two key quotes that I particularly enjoyed. The first occurs in the last
days of the second Rudd Government, where Carr is representing the Prime Minister at the G20 in St Petersburg. On looking around at those assembled, Carr has judged the contributions overall as pedestrian, and he makes some observations on getting to this level of influence:

‘The Australian Foreign Minister in his navy-blue tailored suit and his Hermès tie – he grew up in a fibro house on a sandhill where bare feet wore out old lino and fried eggs on fried bread would pass as Sunday-night dinner. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of Australia is like all his ilk: making it up as he goes along, improvising and thinking out loud and hoping it all hangs together.’

The second quote is aimed at those seeking a career in politics. Carr has a pretty succinct message on how to do it well:

‘That’s all. Look them in the eye. Fling the words out in an energised voice. Make connection. Personalise. I know this community, I know this crowd; it’s confidence that lends resonance. Fling the ideas out like an athlete throwing a discus; don’t mumble apologetically.In the end, psychology shapes the message – do you like your audience, like your story, like yourself in the role? Sometimes the medium is the message.’

Diary of a Foreign Minister is a readable, entertaining and substantive look at a fascinating period in Australian and international politics. Bob Carr as a diarist manages to tease out somewhat complex foreign policy issues in a way that makes them both digestible and interesting. Like any diary it provides as many questions as answers, but Mr Carr’s level of disclosure is enough to be able to finish the book satisfied that any omissions haven’t fundamentally undermined the intent of the book.

If you struggle with well developed egos, you may find the book a challenge, but a challenge worth taking all the same. Anyone looking for some useful insights on the foreign policy challenges facing Australia over the coming decades could do a lot worse than reading this book. I found it an absorbing read from an experienced diarist with little to gain from airbrushing key events, and that in the end is the sign of a good diary.

Quiz Time (81)

Why did Grace Kelly not marry William Holden? Whom, among her leading men Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and James Stewart, did she not have sex with? What was the joke she played on the apparently dying Jack Kennedy? How old was she when she made her last Hollywood film? How old was she when she died? What did she really die of?

The Incredible Shrivelling Joe Hockey

(First published by Independent Australia)

One thing we won’t see this weekend is a poll of any kind, especially a Preferred Prime Minister one because it would have had Shorten 14 or 16 percent ahead, and Skynews doesn’t want us to know that. Abbott still deludedly carries on as if the Budget has a raindrop’s chance in Hell of getting through, and Palmer can be persuaded to vote for nine tenths of it and he, Palmer, is not serious about free universities and giving money back to the old.

Across the nation, the news gets worse for this bunch of weirdos posing as a government. The students who finished their university course five years ago will now pay three to seven thousand more. Morrison has cancelled 140,000 dollars, a sum as small as that, for the refugee advocates because of Labor’s ‘failed economic management’ though Abbott promises half a billion more to search for a plane in the sea that might have gone to schoolkids’ texts, uniforms and outings, and Turnbull is publicly chiding him now for sneering at Palmer, whose goodwill they need most.

The penny may have dropped for Abbott, I think, since the desolation in his bare, blank smiles and shrieky voice is vivid now.

But Hockey thinks he still has power and influence. That he is the least successful Treasurer in our history has not dawned on him. He has got the deficit levy through, enraging his party’s backers; he will drive, by killing off their languages, a few dozen more Aborigines to suicide; and he will get, probably, the reward-for-pregnant millionaires bonanza through, enraging eight million lesser, older women. But everywhere else he looks, as his Palestinian forebears might have reckoned, is a valley of dry bones.

The new HECS arrangements will not get through, for the dead or the living. The GP co-payment will fail, and 50 percent of the Liberal vote in the over-fifties go to Palmer or Labor. The cuts to the ABC will not get through, nor the cuts to the CSIRO, which is defiantly curing cancer already. The eight billion gone from health and education, already toxic, will lose the Liberals government in Victoria, Queensland and, maybe, just maybe, New South Wales. He will have to explain why his bottom line is twenty billion sandwiches short of a picnic, yet not serious enough to have a Double Dissolution over.

Joe is in deep trouble, and in normal circumstances would fall on his sword to placate Palmer, but this will not occur. He’s in deep trouble not just because his Budget is arse-backwards, punishing success in the ABC and CSIRO while rewarding failure in Manus and Nauru and jet fighter bombers that will not fly: and not just because he killed, with a jeer, car manufacturing in this country and a quarter of a million tributary jobs; and not just because his younger self, demanding free universities, shows how smugly wrong he can be in both youth and age. It’s because he showed, when saying dead students’ pregnant widows should be made to pay for unfinished courses no-one now will benefit by, he showed himself to be a hateful person, and a snake-oil merchant who says, hey, get sick now, old girl, die now, old girl, but give us your money and with it we’ll cure cancer after you’re dead.

He also said ‘the Federation is broken’, which is effectively saying ‘Australia is broken’, though many of us thought it had a future. He showed our national concepts, like the bush fire brigade and the surf life saver and the mutual society, are foreign to his Middle Eastern dog-eat-dog way of thinking and ethic of revenge. He calls it an Age of Entitlement; we call it a Fair Go. He owns two farms and four houses and calls on us to ‘sacrifice’ our health and our children’s education so he can keep them. And he hopes this call will be convincing.

It is a Treasurer’s job to be disliked, but this is different. Old women want to spit on him, and this is rare.

Abbott has 1.5 million votes less than he won with in September and it is unlikely he will get any more than two or three hundred of them back. It is more likely he will lose ten thousand more. This means his own seat will go, Hockey’s, Morrison’s, Dutton’s, Pyne’s, Julie Bishop’s, Malcolm Turnbull’s and forty others, and Philip Ruddock be the only significant Liberal left standing after the cataclysm that will come if Abbott is not replaced in the next few days or, at worst, by September.

And I am not betting money on it, and I might be wrong, but I think it’s extremely likely he will be gone by Friday, and his successor Dutton sacking Joe by Monday week.

And so it goes. Maybe.

A Word From S&M

Our respondent Chris sent us this. It’s from Scott Morrison’s maiden speech.

From my faith I derive the values of loving kindness, justice and righteousness, to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of others; to fight for a fair go for everyone to fulfil their human potential and to remove whatever unjust obstacles stand in their way.

Goldwatch (8)

I recommend on Ellis Gold two retrieved essays, Beaconsfield, 2007 and Adelaide Interlude, 2008, the latter of which deals with the last, defiant, self-punishing days of John Howard, PM, which were much like Abbott’s now.

Some of the great swarm of readers in the last few days, the population of a federal electoral seat, might like to sign up and keep reading.

Lines For Sarah Hanson-Young (2)

Scott Morrison is covering up a murder and forty attempted murders and I ask the Attorney-General of the Australian Capital Territory to arrest him and extradite him to PNG where he is wanted, or I believe he is wanted, for attempting to impede the course of justice.

It would be also good if, before then, the Prime Minister sacked him or said why covering up the murder of a young architect by a Salvation Army worker and nine accomplices one of whom slashed a man’s throat and the refusal of witness access to the PNG police is a good look in the South Pacific.

Lines For Joe Hockey (13)

The Age of Entitlement is over for the dead as well as the living. Why should these uppity cadavers think they can dud us of tens of thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars, for courses they didn’t, owing to death, complete? We’ll get back every farthing and shekel, from their old grieving parents and young pregnant wives if need be. I mean, sheesh, this is our money, and we want it back. We can cure cancer with it. You wait and see.

Abbott’s End (40): The Last Six Days: The Momentum Builds

Abbott’s wild ping chase through the wrong ocean has cost us a hundred million dollars thus far and the next two hundred million will go to ‘private contractors’, that is, Liberal mates. The three hundred million thus wasted might have given the schoolkids’ money to 180,000 families for a year or funded a million disabled carers. It is strange that our Prime Minister thinks this ‘mission failed’ is any more our business and worth spending hundreds of millions more on but he does, he’s like that, he sticks to his guns.

That’s why he’ll name some Queen’s Birthday knights and dames very, very soon. Well, won’t he?

Reports have come in from Manus, and it sounds like Morrison has been protecting murderers by not letting PNG police interview their victims, for which he should go to gaol for impeding the course of justice. At the very least Abbott should sack him if this is right, but he won’t.

Morgan is accurate, it rings mobile phones and was dead right in 2013 and 2010, and it shows Abbott losing fifty seats including his own, Hockey’s, Dutton’s, Pyne’s and Morrison’s, and there seems no way he can win back even ten of them, though another leader might.

MPs will be in their electorates today explaining that no, the parents of dead students won’t be charged for their uncompleted courses and no, the co-payment doesn’t kick in right away though the Medicare phones declared it was a done deal. They will know full well by noon that their seats are in danger and will be conspiring jadedly in phone hook-ups wondering who the fuck to replace Abbott with and how fast.

They will agree it will have to be done next week, and will move against him.

Abbott’s End (39): The Last Seven Days

The mistakes keep mounting, and three that might have brought down Gillard occurred today.

Abbott when asked why the Medicare phones were already, wrongly, prefiguring the seven-dollar co-payment said the seven dollars would help pay Labor’s ‘debt and deficit disaster’, though that money was earmarked for a twenty billion dollar cancer-curing fund, a fact he had somehow forgotten. He also said there was no way dead students — those killed ski-ing, say, or by drug misadventure — would be posthumously tomb-robbed of the money they owed for their uncompleted courses though his Treasurer and Education Minister said they would be.

This was followed by Clive Palmer saying that the average OECD deficit was was 70 percent of national outlay and ours was 12.1 percent so there was no financial emergency, and to call it that was a lie; and preceded by Clive Palmer calling the Budget ‘rape’.

Abbott bizarrely believes he can get Clive to vote for it, though all Clive wants is a Double Dissolution he can win ten seats in.

Kroger on Agenda said they should drop the co-payment, and Turnbull dining with Clive last night behaved like it is he, not Abbott, who Clive will deal with if Prime Minister.

Seven days, and counting.

The Logic Of The Shirelive Tongue-Speaker Morrison (1)

S&M says there has been no successful people-smuggling venture in the past five months.

It is hard to see how he would know if there was.

‘Successful’ means they got here. It is like Ernie Bevin assuring the Commons in 1950 there had been no infiltration by the Soviets of MI5. He knew nothing of it, but there had been; and Philby, Burgess, MacLean and Blunt, the infiltrators, had caused, by then, a lot of deaths in Albania, and elsewhere, unknown to Bevin, and Cabinet.

A successful venture gets through. It may be by submarine, parachute-drop, false passports, penetration via Thursday Island, or by moonlit pearling lugger south of Broome, but a successful venture gets here. Men smarter than he may have put one over him. He has been, after all, preoccupied with the covering-up of a murder, a throat-slashing and forty grave injuries by people he continues to employ and hides the name of.

It is known S&M speaks in tongues and his view of heathens and the hellfire they will end in is well known. But it is not known his logical cortex is null and void as this.

Successful ventures get here. They are not known, or not immediately known. They may be discovered, like Philby, after sixteen years. Or, like Blunt, after thirty-two. Therefore he cannot assert what he has asserted. He is deceiving parliament when he asserts it.

He should take thought, and consider his position.

Lines For Richard Marles (11)

Minister, you say there has been no successful people-smuggling venture in the past five months.

How would you know if there had been?

A Mild-Mannered Question

On the current polling Dutton, Morrison, Hockey, Pyne and Abbott would lose their seats, and there must be a reason for this.

What is it?

The Tolling Of The Bell

As always, South Australia leads the rest of us in the way we should go. In votes for women, land for Aboriginals, permission for homosexual practice, architectural preservation and a national film industry it was there first and everywhere defamed for its prescience and progressive legislation.

Two days ago it proclaimed the rack and ruin of the Liberal Party, a now semi-fascist organisation whose criminal culture is under investigation in three states and evident every hour that Hockey, Pyne and Brandis are on their feet in Canberra.

Hamilton-Smith, his office trashed and death threats bellowing down his phone, will soon, he says, reveal how wide that criminality spread.

Speed the Day.

In Fifty-Nine Words

The pings of MH370 prove to be something else and the 120 million we have thus far spent chasing them were wasted. That money could have gone to 150,000 schoolkids, under the Shorten scheme, for a year.

Abbott should say sorry for squandering so much of our money on a wild goose chase in a time of fiscal emergency.

Eleven Questions

Is this a better government than Julia Gillard’s?

Is this a better Treasurer than Wayne Swan?

Is this a better Foreign Minister than Bob Carr?

Is this a better Minister for Education than Bill Shorten?

Do we have a better motoring industry now than twelve months ago?

Are old people happier than they were twelve months ago?

Are young people happier than they were twelve months ago?

Are disabled people’s carers happier than they were twelve months ago?

Are the mothers of schoolkids more convinced they will be well taught and looked after and can get to uni in good order?

Are middle-aged breadwinners more certain they will own their own home and die in it?

Are ordinary Australians more proud of their country?

Abbott’s End (38): The Last Eight Days

Abbott was better today on his feet in Question Time, less hoarse and shrill and verbally useless, but the mess he was in had compounded overnight. Brandis had confessed in Estimates that he’d thieved, like a loon, or a pervert, millions intended to investigate the buggering of children and moved it across to another column, involving the investigation, throughout the coming decade, of Kevin Rudd for not having personally turned off the electricity in four houses in Queensland, his bounden duty as Prime Minister according to Brandis, an unusual idea.

Brandis took fright on Monday night and wouldn’t go to to the big Islamic gathering for fear they might curse him to his face for greenlighting the verbal abuse of their children and signalled he might ‘water down’ his new unleash-the-bigots law before Peta Credlin told him not to. He thus annoyed further a million Australians not born here and their four million children and grandchildren already aghast at having the schoolkids’ money cut and seeing rich women getting four times as much as them for having a baby.

Pyne worsened this by saying he would rob graves to get back the HECS money of youth suicides and charge their grieving parents the difference. It was wrong, he said, that some kids killed themselves, or inadvertently overdosed, or died bushwalking or in train accidents overseas without prearranging to pay him back the money they owed him for uncompleted courses. He thus made murderous five million people who already disliked him for cancelling classes for disabled and challenged kids — kids like his own — a move he hoped would be popular.

Abbott kept saying pensions were going up, not down. He’d forgotten his government policy was not to give any to to people whose home had, over time, grown valuable, thus scaring everybody over fifty who’d supported his party up till now.

He’d forgotten too how illogical his Budget was. You don’t proclaim a fiscal emergency and twenty billion to cure cancer in the same breath. You don’t spend two million a day looking for a downed plane you could spend on dead soldiers’ kids. You don’t make old women pay twenty-two dollars a week to go to the doctor after they’ve paid, in taxes, for a lifetime not to. You don’t pretend a wage freeze on politicians is an equal sacrifice.

Abbott’s great psychological difficulty is he can’t admit he’s a cheat. He cheated his girlfriend out of her baby and a white wedding and kept saying in his books and his speeches she ‘agreed’ to this. He cheated his friend Slipper, whose vote elected him, out of a fulfilling job and a glad retirement and can’t believe he won’t be forgiven for this. He wrongly put Pauline Hanson in gaol and thinks this is okay, he made a mistake and she won’t mind very much.

He likewise thinks cheating everybody over fifty of the pension they paid their taxes for is okay too. It isn’t cheating because I said so. I said so because of the following Jesuitical reasons.

He’s mad, or he’s probably mad, and it shows on the faces of those behind him.

And he’s got eight days to go.

Goldwatch (5)

On Ellis Gold are Sorry Day, 2008, September 11, 2003, Princess Di, 1997, Fraser at Walsh Bay, 2014, and thirty-eight other classic Ellis pieces past and present, for anyone who will pay a dollar, this week, to read them.

You press the yellow button saying ‘Subscribe’, or the red button saying ‘Subscribe’, in the adjacent column.

Baird The Wolverine Strikes

Baird is abolishing Screen New South Wales. This means the golden age of Rake and The Moodys, Devil’s Dust, Puberty Blues and The Sapphires is at an end. Oscar-winning actors will no longer appear on ABC or SBS. Brilliant new young directors will move offshore.

It is as great a blow to our culture as the blowing up of the giant Buddhas by the Taliban.

The subsidising of film in New South Wales began with The Picture Show Man, Newsfront, My Brilliant Career, Stir and Careful, He Might Hear You. These films, along with Breaker Morant and Gallipoli, originating in South Australia, made our industry famous across the world.

We have an identity and a profile and a tourist industry because of them.

The bunker-busting of the Opera House would be no less ill-judged.

What a terrible day for Australia.

Lines For Albo (87)

I move that the Prime Minister be psychiatrically assessed.

Abbott’s End (37): The Last Nine Days

It’s likely Abbott will be overthrown in the next nine days and his successor Dutton, Hunt or Turnbull rapidly and brutally excise Hockey from the Treasury; not certain, but likely.

Why do I say this? Well, in Question Time today he, Tony, was very strange indeed, his face calm but his voice arching upwards huskily into polecat soprano as he asserted repeatedly that ‘not one dollar’ had been cut from Health and Education, though Plibersek waved a government document saying eighty billion dollars had been, and his backbenchers’ faces behind him, and the Ministers’ faces beside him, were melancholy-dire. He seemed mad, and it was clear they’d given up on him, the worst policy-salesman in their history (he had lost, in seven months as PM, 1.3 million votes), and were making frantic plans in hugger-mugger to be rid of him.

A while ago, it was revealed in the Fairfax online papers that no AFP officer had advised him not to go to Deakin lest he be roughed up there; he had made that up; he had lied about it. And here he was, lying again, reconfiguring history as he has this last fortnight, pretending the eighty missing billions were never there in the first place; had never existed; were figments of Shorten’s crazed imagination. No eighty billion; never ever.

This was familiar. This was the Tony who had attempted a punch-up on the floor of the House, and sneered at Bernie Banton in his last week of life, run out on his pregnant bride and broken Joe Hockey’s jaw. He had ‘gone rogue’, as the saying is, perhaps because of some back-pain-relieving drug, or simple angry sleeplessness, or some private crisis, or his Catholic conscience plaguing his dreams. But he was bonkers, innumerate, glitched, crinkle-eyed and repetitive (he urged Labor to ‘axe the Carbon Tax’) as Peter Costello predicted he would be. He had forgotten already the knighthoods due on the Queen’s Birthday. He was on some other planet. He was floating.

I predicted his arrival, and I was alone in doing so, correctly doing so; alone in the nation. I now predict his going.

Thursday or Friday next week.

After Hamilton-Smith

Hamilton-Smith joining Weatherill is big news, as big as Peacock joining Keating would have been, or Turnbull joining Rudd 2, or Hewson joining Rudd 1, or Menzies joining Chifley, and it means the Liberals will never again hold power in South Australia and Palmer’s party, or some variant on Xenophon’s, or Stott-Despoja’s, will replace them.

Rann had three ex-Liberals and a National in his various ministries and it is not uncommon, in that genial, wife-swapping, claret-bibbing city-state, for intra-party alliances and forgivenesses and jobs-for-the-foes after former leaders left parliament.

But for an ex-Leader to join while still a member the cabinet of his lifelong bogeymen is unusual, and summons up Churchill in 1906 or 1924, or the many shifts, betrayals, rattings and haverings of Winston Peters in New Zealand.

It means a crash in the SA Liberal vote and Pyne, for certain, losing his seat.


Lines For Adam Bandt (1)

Minister, why are you assisting in the coverup of a murder?

If you are not, can you now name the ten suspects, and say which one is the white Australian?

Lines For Sarah Hanson-Young (1)

What we have here is the coverup of a murder, of one man by ten men, and the attempted murder, by cut throat, of one man by another man, and eleven murderers not yet named, by a Minister keen to cover up everything (when, in history, has a murder suspect not been named, in the last thousand years?), and still not sacked or even stood down by his leader, for this considerable and vividly evident crime.

I ask the Governor-General to sack him, and order his trial.

Or say why he will not.

Lines for Sarah Ferguson (1)

Minister, ten people were involved in the murder of Reza Barati. Where are they now? Are they in custody? Are they still on your payroll? How long after the murder were they on your payroll? Is one of them a white Australian? Will he hang, as murderers do in PNG? Do you think he deserves to?

An Iranian murdered is not the same, is it? Not to you.

Heffernan, Mad Bomber

I smuggled my Swiss Army Knife into Parliament House twenty-one times, was caught only twice, and told Bill Heffernan, whom I address to his delight as ‘cunt’, about my level of success as a sly and skulking trainee assassin. Stirred and competitive, he lately smuggled in a pipe bomb.

Between us, we will have soon made Canberra unliveable.

I am obscurely proud of this.

The Madness Of Scott Morrison (12): The Biggest Lie, Perhaps

The wild-eyed foam-flecked sado-heathenist Scott Morrison’s contention that he has stopped the boats needs examination. He’s certainly stopped some boats, though he won’t say how many. He’s certainly people-smuggled some weeping mothers and their newborn babies and shocked young husbands and mothers-in-law back to Indonesia which doesn’t want them, and has done this illegally, offending the UN and all the nations in our region.

But has he stopped other boats, that go by a different route, into beaches north or south of Broome? I ask this because of the failure of many countries, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, to find a big plane in the same obscure dark lightning-smitten seas in three long months. I doubt if the Border Protection mercenaries even look there.

S&M dare not not admit of this possibility, but the people smugglers may not have gone away. They may by now be forging passports, visas and TPVs, bribing customs officers, or parachute-dropping young men by night into Carpentaria, or bringing women and children by submarine up the Diamantina. They might be acting like resourceful small businessmen, not jabbering warpainted savages with bones in their noses confused by the musket-fire of colonial marauders. They may be as intelligent as their rabid nemesis Morrison and may by other means in the past four months have got thousands of refugees in.

I ask him now who killed Reza Barati, and how long he reported for work after dropping a rock on his head,, and how long Morrison paid him, and if he is now in custody, and if he will, according to local custom, suffer capital punishment and when.

One More Time

I emphasise what I said below: there are only Liberal senators afraid of a new election. Therefore the Budget will not pass, and Abbott and Hockey will have to go.

Or advise a Double Dissolution which they will lose.

A Note To Joe

(First published by Independent Australia)

Joe won the race to Evil in about sixty hours. He passed Affable Smiling Boofhead and Misguided Market Fundamentalist and Courageous World Statesman in the first day and by the time he said ‘one-third of a packet of cigarettes’ and was seen smoking a cigar with Dracula he’d usurped Satan himself. There’s no way back from Evil, as Richard Nixon found, and Rolf Harris will soon. It’s a line you should not cross. There is no way back from Evil, Joe. Trust me.

Some tips for your next life. If you’re hurting everybody at a time of semi-wartime emergency don’t smile as you say you are. Churchill saying ‘Blood, sweat, and tears’ was not wreathed in smiles. If you are calling for sacrifice, do not charge anybody twenty thousand dollars to hear you talk about it, and not spend the money on healing lepers. If you own two farms and four houses, do not talk about ‘the age of entitlement’ applying to old sick women seeing a doctor for free. Sell one of the houses, and donate the money to diabetes research, and say you are doing this.

Another good idea would be not to massacre the CSIRO, which wins Nobel Prizes, and give twenty billion dollars for ‘medical research’ to your dodgy mates. The CSIRO and the universities are finding a cure for cancer already, and should be given more, not less, billions to achieve that end. Don’t say to an old woman, ‘You’ll be paying up big every time you get sick, but, hey, fifteen years after you’re dead there’ll be a cure for cancer thanks to your sacrifice.’

The last tip for Joe is next time round study up on Australia. Learn why to Australians Holden and Qantas and the Goulburn Valley and the Tasmanian forests mean something, and your Middle Eastern dog-eat-dog philosophy means less to them than it does to you. Learn that changing a whole society’s way of thinking needs more than the will to do it. Learn that a society built on land grants for convicted criminals and the phrase ‘a fair go’ is different from one whose guiding rule is ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ and fire-bombing your rivals’ kindergartens. Learn how foreign you are in your thinking.

Above all, do not smile while ordering young people to leave their home towns and clean city lavatories or do phone sex for fifty cents a minute or else. Realise how evil you look. Next time round.

In the meantime, enjoy your over-entitled retirement and its millions, and man up for your trial by ICAC.

Try to remember while testifying, don’t smile.

Joe On Life Support

It’s turned around pretty fast — the Hockey Budget is doomed, and Joe will have to resign — but not unpredictably. Cruelty needs cheerleaders as well as victims and, in the Senate, there aren’t any, and not many in even the Liberal Party.

What Joe needed was ten Independent, Green, PUP or DLP senators with a political need to pass his Budget, and there were no such people. If not passing it brought on a Double Dissolution, they would (except perhaps for the ever-absent Liberal Democrat) do well in it, and Abbott and Hockey lose office. Why would they vote for it therefore? Why? It’s not as though there’s anything in it that enthuses trade or entrepreneurial creativity. It only encourages the old to get fatally sick and youth to whoredom and suicide.

Joe applies the word ‘must’ to the wrong country, Australia. Australia is built on the resistance to ‘must’, to saluting officers, to lowered wages for shearing sheep, to submitting to the fondlings of priests. We do not take kindly to being made to lie down and be whipped, and being told ‘entitlement’, i.e. the fair go, is over.

The net result will be his resignation anyway, because Palmer will cop only free universities or a Double Dissolution he will do well in, and Joe thinks no-one is ‘entitled’ to free universities and that will be that.

I give him twelve days.

The Stupidity Of Joe Hockey, An Occasional Series (9): The Dying Of The Light

Hockey cannot now survive as Treasurer. It is certain will be gone by August and likely Cormann will be Treasurer and Hunt Prime Minister.

This is because Joe has no way back from his cruelty to the old and the young, the mothers of schoolkids and the sons of dead or maddened heroes. And Palmer will not abide his continuance unless he cancels the levy and abolishes all fees for students, the which he cannot logically do. We are either in a financial crisis or, as Palmer asserts, we are not. He has to stick with his analysis or quit.

Not that it matters. But he, Joseph Benedict Hockey, whom some have paid twenty thousand dollars to dine with, who banks three million a year, calls for universal sacrifice and smokes a cigar, is the stupidest, most malignant and strategy-free federal dunderhead since Billy Snedden, and one of the least persuasive.

And when he is gone, who will mourn for him?

Lines For Chris Bowen (15)

A question to the Treasurer. What do you estimate will be your family income in the next financial year? What proportion of this will be sacrificed, in your estimation, by the dictates of this Budget to the nation’s good? How does your level of sacrifice compare with Gloria’s?

Walsh Bay Autumn Thoughts (1): The Decline Of Good Speech Thus Far In Our Time

Malcolm Fraser and Bob Carr talked learnedly of our foreign policy options at the Sydney Writers Festival yesterday in spoken prose that was exact, succinct, persuasive, magnanimous and moving (they belonged, I told Annie, to ‘the aristocracy of dignified speech’, along with Kirby, Beazley, Throsby, Colvin, Combet, Whitlam, Carmen Lawrence and Barry Jones), and the audience felt, with me, that measured eloquence had gone, or nearly gone, from our federal orators and commentators, and I began to wonder when it was it had started to do so.

Costello’s chiacking sneers (‘oh, Possum, I’m home!’), and their success, did a lot of harm. Abbott’s relentless foam-flecked hyberbole (he once called Beazley ‘Australia’s worst Defence Minister’ on the floor of the House, winking at me as he did), and Pyne’s infantile puns (‘Electricity Bill’) did much to speed the avalanche of brainless, unjust negativity the Howard era, post 9/11, unshackled. But there was a moment, a particular moment, a tipping-point, when inane, philistine untruthfulmess became the rule.

It was, I fear, when a new Prime Minister called herself ‘the real Julia’, and thus yielded up the lineaments of our democracy to tabloid cliche. Thereafter the Tea Party language and emphasis were let rip.

It is impossible to imagine a moment in, say, a 2020 writers’ festival when Julie Bishop and David Johnston each launched a book on foreign affairs and spoke learnedly, or even grammatically, on that range of testing topics (Ukraine, tomorrow; the Tamil Tigers’ invention of suicide bombing; Abbott’s bizarre embrace of ‘our closest ally, Japan’) which Carr and Fraser, like tightrope walkers over Niagara, or Olympic pole-vaulting finalists, were able to manage with effortless mannerly guile and grace. It is unlikely Johnston can spell most of the countries his policy it is to bomb when necessary, nor that Bishop would know who fought the Crimean War, and over what.

Eloquence derives from knowledge and precision of thought, and the recent Liberals (I exempt Collins, Puplick, Hamer, MacPhee, Chaney, Moylan, Killen) are not, as rule, book-reading folk (Heffernan has not read a book since high school, that’s fifty-three years, and is, he tells me loudly over iced tea, proud of it) and their sentences falter and their reasoning tangles from time to time. Vanstone can get through a sentence, Minchin, Baird the Elder, Brandis, and, in his neo-Dracula manner, Cormann. But Abbott, Bishop, Hockey and Pyne cannot, and show sharp evidence of educational insufficiency, or brain damage perhaps by maladministered anaesthetic during cosmetic surgery or lap-banding, and the English language is no longer for them, if it ever was, a splendid flowered valley they can skip in. They can barely put two sentences together without getting some fact seriously wrong.

It is good Malcolm Fraser votes Labor now. He is a man of troubled conscience and searching intellect who has, like Bob Carr, changed his mind, after copious thought, on vast matters of public policy. I commend their meditative duologue to all who can, in the broadband-free regions, access it, and relish it, and ponder it, as I and two thousand awed witnesses did yesterday.

Lines For Robbo (1)

I ask the Premier are we in a War on Terror, or is that phase of history over?

If it is still on, why was nobody searched when they entered the Sydney Theatre in order to witness, on stage, a conversation between a former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, and a former Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, both of whom were known from their books to be critical of Israel and contemptuous of the United States of America?

Why did you think there was no chance their lives might be in danger, and the lives of two thousand people in the theatre? Will the Premier now apologise and resign?

Or will he justify his bizarre apparent opinon that all threat of terror has vanished from the earth? Will he do so on television?

Fixing Our Basic Problem, Very Easily

Strange how all our thinking is around a particular problem — that there aren’t enough young to support the old any more — that is so easily soluble.

There are countries — Cambodia, Gaza, Turkey — where half the population is under twenty-five. Why not admit on top of our usual quarter-million migrant intake a hundred thousand of these young people a year for ten years? Some of them would be refugees. Some of them would be ten years old. They could go to work building the new ‘infrastructure’, the superhighways, the housing estates of the satellite cities, the very fast trains, mind babies, set up small businesses and soccer teams, have new families, and get on with it. In ten years there would be two million more Australians under twenty five.

That would sort it.

Why not do it?

Hating Jon Faine, An Occasional Diatribe (1)

I last enraged Jon Faine in 1999 when on election night I predicted a Steve Bracks win, snarling ‘Bad policies lose votes!’ and he adjudged me insane and said so, but every two years or so since then while driving to Adelaide for the Festival I would hear his petulant soprano righteously shrieking at some poor sluggish Labor politician and be reminded of how much I depise him, and beseech the heavens to reach down and put a sock in him; in vain, alas, in vain. This came back to me yesterday when he harried and bullied Shorten, in his rising castrato bellow, to say what his Budget figures would be; now, now.

He was doing this because Shorten was leading the Prime Minister by ten points, a margin unheard of since Federation, after only eight months of an administration more cataclysmically oafish and corrupt and lice-ridden than even that of Mayor Quimby, and letting that gang of pratfalling thieves do maximum damage to themselves while he lay low and chuckled a bit. Faine did not, of course, so monster Abbott after the first Swan-Gillard Budget, preferring to let that ramshackle arsonists’s negativity rip. That would be too much like a fair thing.

The truth is Faine, like most of the blue-tie shysters lately funded by that prominent shimmering Melbourne mafia boss, or so I hear, is terrified that the Liberals last week with a single act of fiscal hari-kiri cut themselves out of world history and let Clive Palmer effortlessly fall kerplump into the smoking shell-hole they once, very lately, stood in, waving bayonets and yelling class war-cries at the young, the crippled and the old. He is intelligent enough to see his allies are history, and has no other star, in his greybeard early senescence, to hitch his wagon to. And he took it out on Shorten yesterday.

I would give him some tips.

Self-righteousness, to succeed, requires a plausible cause. No-one out there is more angry about Shorten’s lack of numbers than Hockey’s visible, evil, misremembered and obfuscated numbers which burrow into the hopes and happiness of every non-millionaire. So you do not, when confronted with a Liberal financial tornado, say, ‘Yeah, but you Labor blokes once took Treasury advice and misspent five dollars, I have the figures in my hand.’ You keep your outrage in proportion. You do not bag Craig Thomson for misspending five thousand in union fees legally on hookers while commending Tony Abbott for misspending twelve thousand in taxpayers’ money illegally on a book tour and not paying it back.

You calm down, and do some adding. You think things through.

…Ah, what’s the point of this. He’s a testy tory hyperbolist with a high voice, and my voice is better and I want his job.

Abbott In Tasmania

No sign of competence has been visible in Tony Abbott lately. Yesterday, when he urged young Tasmanians to live somewhere else, he gutted his party’s chances on that proud, eccentric island for a generation.

For Tasmania, to its people, and its yearning, nostalgic diaspora,is a kind of spare religion. It is a declaration that green spaces, old sandstone buildings, salmon-thronged rivers, cheese farms and local beer, chiropractic, hang-gliding, mountain views and painting watercolours is a good way to live and well worth subsidising, if need be, by the Mainland, and any counter-declaration, like his, that this whole way of being should be allowed to die out, is heathen heresy.

Not a big deal, he said, if they all moved out. Oh really. Well, a mother watching her daughter sail out on The Princess Of Tasmania to become a hooker in Geelong does not think this. Nor a father watching his son fly out to war in Afghanistan, or to mining coal in the Pilbara. Parents like to see their children now and then. If they get sick, they like them to be nearby. Tony keeps his in the Lodge, and would not be pleased if they all moved to Tokyo, to train as geishas, Godzilla puppeteers and bar-girls.

For the cost of the search for MH 370 he could offer 170,000 free car-ferry trips to Tasmania and two nights’ lodging there. But he didn’t think of that. Better, he believes,, to search three years for corpses in the Indian Ocean, or bits of floating metal in the Bay of Bengal. Much better use of 120 million. Of course it is. For the price of one year of his billionaires’ baby bonus, he could offer seven million free trips to Tasmania. But that is out of the ambit of his thinking, which is self-flagellation, dawn jogging, confession, eating Christ’s body, acclaiming virginity and counting Mary-beads and the purity of soul this brings.

There has not been a less competent Prime Minister, I think, in our history, nor one more damaging to our national gladness since Billy Hughes, who sought to conscript a hundred thousand of our able-bodied forefathers to die on the Somme. He does not understand, he does not actually understand, that Tasmanians are humans too, who have made a life-choice, as priests do, and athletes, and musicians, and body-surfers, of how and where they should live.

If he doesn’t know that, he doesn’t know anything.

And he should be dragged, bag and baggage, kicking and fighting like a sack of cats, from office. Urgently.


Deconstructing The Wink

Historians looking back at the decisive thirty-second tipping point of Tony Abbott’s career may decide the wink was the fatal ingredient of it. But it was not, of course. It was when the life-worn caller Gloria said, ‘You don’t give a stuff, do you?’ and the grovelling castrato John Faine said, ‘Keep it nice, Gloria, keep it nice. This is the Prime Minister you’re talking to’ — thus asserting, or implying, that an elderly cankered strumpet had no right to address His Mightiness in this way.

This brought back in the national memory spotlit glimpses of Pyne  and Abbott running from the chamber lest they share a vote of a whoremonger — keep it nice, keep it nice, keep the chamber nice, keep it Persil-white — and, of course, of Abbott not wishing to kiss in church his teenage pregnant bride, keep it nice, keep it nice, and abolishing the boy-child off to Western Australia.

These things flooded back into the national uneasiness, along with Gillard calling him ‘this man’, and his praise of the ‘sex appeal’ of one of his candidates, his desire that his daughters retain till marriage their Catholic virginity, and so on.

Should a Prime Minister lose his position for sneering at, or smirking at, or smirking distantly at, a sexagenarian hooker? Well, Belinda Neal lost hers for sneering at a Woy Woy waiter. And Kevin Rudd, it can be argued, lost his for sneering at a makeup girl.

Sneering at a dying hooker? As he sneered at the dying Bernie Banton? How serious is that? Not too serious, probably. If he were a Labor Prime Minister of course, Paul Murray, the Herald Sun and Sixty Minutes would be all over the issue like crablice, offering Gloria tens of thousands to tell all, to show the viewers how she soothes her gasping and puffing masturbators to climax. We would know by Sunday what drove her to it, and where she learned her technique. And we would hear from John Faine what look, in his view, crossed the Prime Minister’s face.

It may be he was not sneering, and the drooly, sagging, lip-forked, sweaty leer on his handsome face in the next twenty seconds till he realised the camera was on him derived from cerebral haemmorhage, or hangover, or crack cocaine. But…it avails him little now. He has lost 60 or 59 percent of the female vote already (see Monday’s Morgan), and will be brought down at a convenient moment by his harried caucus, sixty of them already frantically afraid of losing their seats.

The Wink, looked at correctly, was in fact his Nemesis come for him, and a coup de grace for a liar so shocked by lying, a deficit-sweller so shocked by deficits, a rat with women so shocked by how they sussed him out for a villain and are voting against him now.

There will be other females driven to whoredom by his cruel, sado-narcissist, class-warring dimwittedness, and like Rolf Harris’s victims will soon come out of the shadows to say, at the ballot-box, and on Sixty Minutes, what they think of him.

And so it goes.

The Wink Revisited

It would be good if Jon Faine said what happened.

Why does he not?

A Summing Up

‘Retrospective obligation’ is the phrase I’m looking for. It means, I think, that if a man pays taxes for thirty-five years in the sure and certain expectation he will get a pension at sixty-five, the government has an obligation to give it to him. He has bought and paid for it.

But if, as happened last week, he is told, at fifty, that he won’t get one till he is seventy, that retrospective obligation has been breached, that contract broken, that ‘fair go’ denied. He’s been defrauded of the money promised him. If he had known what was coming, he might have chosen another career path — bookmaking rather than bricklaying, busking rather than landscape gardening — and so have been better placed when, at fifty eight, his back gave out, and the bills kept coming in regardless of his capacity to earn.

Retrospective obligation is what a civilisation is built on. It is why, as Walter Lippman said, ‘Young men dream dreams, and old men plant trees they will never sit under.’

It is the ‘fair go’. It is our system, our national system, which the foreigners Cormann, Hockey and Abbott have trashed.

And it’s a pity.

The Calamitous Abbott Wink

I urge all who can to punch up on ABC the wink Abbott gave when he heard a dying 67-year-old woman was a phone sex worker. Though unremarkable as a reaction — he forgot the camera was on, and he was looking at Jon Faine — it is politically indefensible, and, like General Patton slapping a sick soldier, will bring him down. No more than 41 percent of women will vote for him after this, ever, and he will have to resign.

I give him thirty days.

Why The Liberals Are Awful People

Askin sacked Utzon. Menzies brought in the Birthday Ballot. Fraser privatised Medibank, and strove to stop Australia attending the 1980 Olympics. Howard refused to meet Princess Di and joined a war that shamed the West and tortured, killed or displaced six million innocents. Abbott deceived and ruined his pregnant fiance, wrecked the CSIRO and reduced to weeping despair two million Australian youth who had hoped to better themselves and must now flog Ice or suck off truck drivers to make ends meet.

Greiner ended the great Sydney-Melbourne and Sydney-Brisbane trains, with dining cars, club cars and carriages you put your auto in. Olsen sold off the Lottery for one and a half times as much as it made in a year, and the electricity to China for a pittance. Kennett closed 210 schools and sold off the buildings and land to mates like Baillieu. Hockey charged you twenty thousand dollars to dine with him. Pyne, who has intellectually challenged sons, closed special classes for similar children all over Australia.

Julie Bishop defended asbestos industries in court. Mirabella swindled an addled lover’s children, after his death, of their just inheritance. Bronwyn Bishop gave old women kerosene baths.

Phillip Ruddock caused an old man to burn himself to death in a forecourt of Parliament House. Amanda Vanstone sent back my friends the Bakhtiyaris to their deaths in Afghanistan.

These people are awful shits. There will be six Hockey-led youth suicides soon, and girl students whoring themselves or drug-muling to pay their bills. Two hundred and fifty thousand car workers and the tributary component makers and their families will have lost by 2018 their livelihood and lifestyle and self-esteem. They don’t care about these people, not one of them. And they never will.

The reason may lie in their childhood. Howard was a disabled, ugly, small, over-mothered near deaf fourth son with a speech impediment. Abbott was a day-boy in a boarding school, feeling himself ever out of the loop. Costello came from a teetotal fundamentalist pinched religion, and was thought a mad wowser by adjacent Monash Marxist radicals and boozers. Greiner was a Jewish Catholic Transylvanian with a voice like fly-spray who sold, after politics, cigarettes to children. Askin was a Sydney gangster with gambling dens and private, lawless millions who made the police his corrupt confederates and bodyguards. Menzies in 1914 avoided a war that killed two brothers, and took to drinking martinis, and snuffling up to the Queen.

It’s hard to find many good guys among them. Collins, Killen, Chaney, two Hamers, Wooldridge, Georgiou, Baird the elder, Chikarovski, Brogden, O’Farrell, Turnbull, pass muster. But they were nipped in the bud by the Howard-Reith coups of the eighties and nineties and never won potent leadership or showed their mettle in high office. Turnbull came close, but Slipper’s vote overthrew him and denied him greatness.

This is only a partial list, of course, of the Liberal Character Issue. I invite others to contribute.

In Twelve Words

Joe Hockey is one youth suicide note away from political extinction. Discuss.

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.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (107)

I have completed with difficulty my new classic piece, Barraba Dreaming, which is in part about the sexual effect of good male voices, and worth reading.

Yesterday’s Polls

Though both were bad for the Coalition and showed them losing forty or fifty seats, both Nielsen and Newspoll underestimated Labor’s vote. Both were ‘based on preference flow at September 2013 election’ when Palmer voters preferred the Liberals by about 70 percent and would by 40 percent now, and both came from landlines, an extinct technology, on Friday nights when no-one young was home.

Nielsen moreover concealed what women thought of Abbott versus Shorten as preferred Prime Minister, and how city people and country people thought of this, and people under twenty-four, people under thirty-nine, under fifty-five, and over fifty-five.

Morgan, which rings mobile phones, was nearer the mark (and the most accurate in 2013 and 2010), and shows the ALP on 57.5 and the Coalition losing seventy seats including Hockey’s, Pyne’s, and Abbott’s. It has Labor on 58.5 percent in NSW, 59.5 in Victoria, 55 in Queensland, 53.5 in South Australia, 53 in Tasmania, and presages Labor winning government, probably, in all states too.

Joe performed well on Q&A last night, but his rueful smiles at questioners whose own lives he had smashed were a tactical mistake, and Tony Jones’ disgust was palpable.

It is thought they can come back from here. But they won’t get the Budget through. Palmer won’t let it through. And what they’re proposing is to wreck the Federation. And a case can be made that the Governor-General, in defence of that Federation (which he is pledged to defend) can call an election off his own bat and sort it.

In such an election, they would lose seventy seats.

And so it goes.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (106)

I stuffed up, and put on Ellis Gold a response to yesterday’s polls, and it should be here.

My son will sort it in the next hour, and I’m sorry.

The Stupidity Of Joe Hockey, An Occasional Series (8)

The obvious happens, mostly.

Joe thought he’d be thanked for rewarding the few and punishing the many, who (amazingly) outnumbered the few and punished him, in his turn, instead. They did this partly because he smoked a cigar and smiled too much while ruining millions of lives, but mostly because, I think, of other things. The main ones were these..

He made sure sacked waitresses in country towns would be evicted from their lodgings and have to seek food from the Salvation Army, a hive of perverts, or from parents they maybe weren’t on good terms with, and would have to consider, at least consider, whoring to make ends meet, or become, like Schapelle, a drug mule.

He didn’t realise everyone fears getting sacked by employers whose business has gone wobbly, and nobody thinks they deserve to be sacked, anywhere, any time, ever, from anything. And he lost, forever, a million votes that way. You don’t punish the victims of incompetent businessmen, or good businessmen, in a time of Hockey-led recession, or Costello prosperity. You don’t punish anyone. You look after them. That’s what governments are for.

He didn’t realise why young people suicide, and how much he would help them in that direction if he did what he did to their self-esteem. They couldn’t work in the car industry any more, or make things that go in cars, because Joe scared all car makers out of the country. They couldn’t work on farms any more because Joe, and Abbott, and Morrison, were letting cheap foreign workers in. They couldn’t deliver telegrams, work in a soft drink bottling factory, or at fifteen join a bank and work there fifty years. And, having taken all this away from them, and making it really hard to go to university, Joe left them with a choice of suicide, crime, whoredom or making Ice in a garage with friends and selling it, at risk, to addicts and wild rich boys. Joe didn’t realise that four young people, two of them Indigenous, would suicide because of what the government did to their hopes, by the end of the financial year. On this I will lay money.

And he didn’t realise what one suicide does to a hundred, two hundred adjacent people. Parents are never the same again. Siblings are traumatised, schoolmates, girlfriends, fellow choir members, social workers, fellow footballers, feel it keenly. My sister was killed when she was twenty-two in 1953 and I think about her every day.

Nor did he realise what this would do to him politically. Rudd was brought down by four youth deaths in electrified roofs. Six youth suicides attributable to him (and one suicide note that names him, and there will be one) will end his career. Abbott will have to sack him, and give the youth allowance back, and apologise, and grovel, and smirk. Joe will have to leave Parliament, and face bribe charges in ICAC, and he’ll be jeered wherever he goes, including, probably, gaol.

God, how thick he is. It may be a result of the anaesthetic-prodded brain damage during his stomach-stapling, it’s now known anaesthetic causes dementia, or the anaesthetic after Abbott broke his jaw. Whatever the cause, his IQ is down around 90, and he can’t join dots any more.

He thinks that though ‘the age of entitlement is over’ he is still entitled to the three million a year his wife brings home, and Peter Cosgrove is entitled to the TITLE that makes him larger and more royal than other men. He expects a knighthood himself, a title, on the Queen’s Birthday, this year or next. That’s how thick he is.

He keeps saying, ‘Look, it’s just so SIMPLE!’

It’s not, Joe. You are.

Lines For Gary Morgan (1)

I am asking a question of three thousand respondents.

It is: ‘Does this bunch deserve three years?’