Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (124)

Josh Frydenberg, a Liberal voter, said Tony Abbott was a ‘great communicator’ whose repeatedly asserted lies caused Labor to lose more seats last year than in any other election, and he was confident the million votes his exposed lies had lost the government since then would be ‘easily retrieved’. The co-payment, he said, was still ‘Liberal Party policy’, which they were ‘pursuing vigorously’, like smack addicts their next fix, or vampires virgin blood. Jeff Kennett, a Liberal-voting former sufferer of suicidal depression, gave the Napthine government eight out of twenty and the Abbott government five out of twenty and kicked the furniture audibly. Peter Costello, a Liberal voter, called the Abbott-Hockey Budget ‘toxic’.

Paul Kelly, a Liberal propagandist, agreed with PVO, a Liberal propagandist, that this was ‘Abbott’s worst week’, all its frantic, leprous damage ‘self-inflicted’, they agreed, and they fingered Credlin, not for the first time, as the problem. Denying the ABC cuts were cuts, he said, was ‘ludicrous’. Paul Sheehan, a Liberal voter, said Abbott, too, will be ‘thrown out of office after only one term’, since, as in Victoria, the polls are showing that federally.

Laura Tingle, an objective commentator, said ‘half the policies in the May budget…will have to be recast or replaced’, and Abbott ‘has no cunning plan in sight’.

Simon Benson, a Liberal propagandist, found comfort in the Andrews victory for Baird. Abbott was ‘nowhere near as toxic in his home state as in Victoria,’ he said, and Shorten risked ‘a bad Victorian government’ that would hurt him if it didn’t build the east-west link it was elected to not build, and build those things it was elected to build, with money Abbott would not give it. Andrews would be ‘a bad Premier,’ he said confidently, days before he was sworn in. Baird, in contrast, was a good Premier, though ten of his caucus were headed for gaol, and one poll showed even Robbo Rump Labor on 49, and winning office.

Baird can’t sell the poles and wires any more, now the Shooters’ Party won’t let him. This means he now can’t afford the infrastructure projects he is feverishly hawking after the election. A Galaxy showed Newman behind by the same margin Andrews won by. This means twenty-two million Australians will, or may, be under Labor rule by May Day.

Barnaby, blithering, said we can’t pass on our debts to our children, not adding these children will soon have, if Pyne and Hockey get their way, debts enough of their own, a quarter of a million for getting through uni and paying, with interest, for a two million dollar house; and a co-payment; and eking out a wage, in the army, that won’t keep up with inflation.

Pyne, alerted at last to the existence of the feminine gender, promised a ‘repayment pause’ to pregnant and child-rearing women so long as they forked over, eventually, a quarter of a million dollars for their degrees, at the age of sixty, perhaps, not forty-five, if they lived that long, poor loves, and kept working. Kim Carr told Fran the bill could not be hobbled at the margins and was ‘fundamentally flawed’, a vile thing that was grossly unfair at its heart that could not be ‘whittled’ into fairness.

Shorten and Lambie gave Abbott a day to restore the right wages to those in the army who risk their lives for their country. Abbott proposed they get one more day home at Christmas. An unusually trying Question Time awaited him. It was thought he would be overthrown by Friday if he snickered and havered and grovelled and sneered in his usual way.

And so it went.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (123)

Paul Kelly, a Liberal voter, said in The Australian, a Liberal organ of propaganda, that the ‘barnacle debacle’ had ‘stranded the government between two intractable positions’, and that it ‘looked a mess because of its self-inflicted blunders’. PVO, a Liberal voter, cursed Abbott’s ‘verbal gymnastics’ and said ‘the wheels are falling off his government’, which ‘more closely resembles the dysfunction of the Labor lineup he fought so hard to defeat’. Andrew Bolt, a Liberal voter, called Hockey ‘a weak Treasurer’. The Australian editorial called the Abbott government ‘hesitant, tongue-tied and confused’.

In the smh Abbott’s blond bromance Mark Kenny, noting his beloved’s description of 2014 as ‘a terrific year for the Coalition’, quoted an unnamed Liberal saying this judgment was ‘as bizarre as Star Trek’. Peter ‘Malvolio’ Hartcher, vainly yearning still for Julie Bishop’s caress, cursed ‘a highly ideological budget that sought to refashion Australian society’. No-one gets anything, he added, snippily, ‘without going through Peta.’

Phillip Coorey, an objective commentator, said the government was ‘all at sea’ and wondering ‘how it all went wrong so quickly’. One of the ‘barnacles’ Abbott spoke of was the co-payment, his office said, but Hockey bound it to his soul with hoops of steel. It was, some said, his ‘suicide vest’, an instrument common in his homeland, the Middle East.

Thirty-six Tamils were kidnapped by Morrison’s pirates and handed over to their pursuing torturers from Sri Lanka and ‘a fate,’ some said, ‘worse than death.’ A United Nations committee called ‘an international crime’ his torment of refugees and children, and the likely murder of those he sent back now to Columbo. This, he said, was ‘Australia’s business’, though it occurred in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and he would decide who should live or die in those troubled waters, and would give no reason, why should he, why this particular mother and child should live or die. Sarah Hanson-Young pointed out, with no satisfaction, that he hadn’t ‘stopped the boats’ after all.

Abbott stayed away, since he was ‘box office poison’, from the Victorian election. The Age, as always, recommended a vote for the Coalition. Fairfax had done this for centuries, though it once advised a vote for Arthur Calwell after Sir Robert Menzies had vigorously schtupped Lady Fairfax over a desk.

By 8 pm, the election was lost, and by 10 conceded, though Mary Wooldrige, a Liberal voter, kept saying the figures might morph into their opposite somehow, though Michael Kroger, a Liberal voter, called them ‘catastrophic’, explaining a ‘Sydney-centric ‘ Abbott government had ‘turned off’ many Melburnians. By night’s end Labor had, probably, 48 seats, the Greens 1 an Independent running against the money Hockey denied Ardmona, the lifeblood of Shepparton, 1., and the Coalition 37. Napthine resigned, gracefully, and Andrews looked a bit like Gough Whitlam when mildly asserting, ‘We won’t let you down.’

The vote, round 52 for Labor, was where it had been for two years, and where it was, indeed, for Labor federally all this year, leaving Abbott in the shallows, doldrums and miseries, scraping off barnacles, as if anybody cared. He was a man without a surplus, a Budget, a policy or friends. He snickered, havered, cringed and blithered, waiting for the axe to fall. It was thought his wild innumerate lunacies had added 4 percent to Labor’s vote.

And so it went.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (132)

My wife is okay. It was thought one of her retinas had detached, but this is not so. She needs to rest for three weeks, and will be thereafter, probably, fine.

It was her worst twenty-four hours and my worst ten.

I will wrote about this in Ellis Gold at some point soon.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (121)

David Johnston said the ASC ‘could not build a canoe’ and favoured, it was rumoured, our ‘traditional beheaders’ the Japanese building our submarines and wrecking thereby South Australia’s economy. Censured by the upper house and threatened by Cabinet with professional extermination he called his defamation ‘a rhetorical flourish’ and awaited, drinking whisky, his brutal usurpation by the foam-flecked Morrison who was watching Homeland and wanted a CIA of his own.

Various Abbottites claimed they were abandoning the co-payment, or they were keeping it, or they were ‘continuing to negotiate with the Senate’, or they would extract the money ‘in some other way’. It was agreed the Joe Hole was a ‘debt and deficit megadisaster’ and there might not be a surplus in the lifetime of his grandchildren. It was thought Turnbull would do things better than Joe, and do things better than Tony too, and plans for a coup next Friday gathered credibility. Abbott cursed the Labor Party for not wanting to enrich millionairesses while impoverishing ill old women and sulked in several media.

Gerard Henderson, a Liberal voter, again refused to say where his money came from, and seemed to be cheating his GST. Of the 902,000 his Sydney Institute ‘earned’ last year, membership subscribers paid only 74,643. He and his wife got more than half, probably, of the ‘management services’ payments of 407,262. Two big donors, Testra and Qantas, he had spoken up for in his columns, in what some might call a ‘cash-for-comment’ manner. He takes 40 days off a year.

it would be wrong of the ABC to continue to telecast one so evidently compromised, who once wanted the ABC privatised and twice called George W Bush ‘this millennium’s Winston Churchill’. There is no known prediction he ever made that proved true, and no opinion he held before 1999 that is not now thought laughable by the civilised world; like, say, that he , Henderson, ate ‘Christ’s living flesh’ on Sundays and drank his blood.

Janet Albrechtsen, a long-necked Liberal voter whom Rhys Muldoon, among thousands, is keen to fuck, wrote in The Australian, a Liberal propaganda organ, that the ‘government is still not learning from its mistakes’, and ‘Labor’s 10 percent lead should shame every member of the Abbott team’ which ‘keeps kicking own-goals’. She called for Hockey’s replacement by Scott Morrison, and poured herself a stiffening gin, and laughed out loud, girlishly, when reading Rhys’s latest filthy text.

Some bookies paid out on Andrews winning ahead of time. Abbott said Victorians wouldn’t get a billion dollars unless they voted Liberal. Napthine promised billions more than Labor on ‘infrastructure’, toll roads and the like. It was noted Abbott in Battlelines wanted to ‘abolish public transport’. John Howard campaigned unwelcomely, swearing Andrews could not be trusted and Abbott could. Abbott appeared only on Labor posters. The always accurate Morgan showed the numbers 50-50 — that is, 1.5 percent more for Labor than in 2010 when they lost by one seat.

Hockey openly contradicted Abbott, saying he would have his co-payment, by God, or drown in his own blood and faecal matter in the attempt. Different stories were told by different Ministers at different times about what would happen to the Budget from abandonment to tweaking to unconstitutional enactment and it it seemed Abbott might be shafted next week if Daniel Andrews won and only a rogue Napthine victory, not beyond the bounds of possibility, could now save him.

Phil Hughes died and it was noted a man called Abbott had killed him. The worst weather in Brisbane in eight thousand years attacked and smashed the new uprearing architecture of Abbott’s absurd G20 as it had, in former times for similar sins, the Tower of Babel. The Legend of King O’Malley opened in Sydney and contained, the aged co-author noted, in its 1970 text the Whitlam-foreboding phrase ‘It’s time’.

And so it went.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (132)

My wife has a major medical condition and I may not write this blog for a few days.

Etc is banned for life.

Red Alert, Queensland

More Australians have been killed on Australian soil in the last four days by Queensland police than by ‘terrorists’ in the last ninety-nine years. It is to be wondered if the half billion we spent on detecting and deterring ‘terrorists’ in Brisbane during the G20 (there weren’t any) and the four billion we will soon spend on ferreting out teenagers with bad thoughts is worth it.

More women have been beaten to death by ex-husbands in the last month than Australian citizens killed by ‘terrorists’ since the last raids of Ned Kelly. More Australians have died in car accidents in the last two days than were killed by ‘terrorists’ in a century. Forty-seven of us died from cigarettes today, none from terrorism.

What, then, one may ask, is all this shit?

It is a game as old as anti-Semitism that is now being played by our Government, who need, these days, an enemy that smells worse than they do. It is identical, pretty much, with anti-Semitism, since Arabs are a Semitic people, and, like Jews, monotheists, and territorial warriors. And the evil, predatory, hairy Jew of Goebbels’ propaganda has an equivalent now in the evil terrorist teen-seducing mastermind of Brandis’s foul fantasia. It has no more numerical presence than Satanists, or child-sacrificing Seventh-Day Adventists, or the disciples of Hannibal Lecter. But there you go. It is believed.

A war on the redback spider would save more lives. A war on backyard pool drownings. A war on alco-pops. One-punch assaults in Kings Cross have killed more Australians than ISIL thus far; or, if Phil Hughes dies, fast bowlers called Abbott.

I know this is not all that useful. It is what Waugh calls ‘expostulation that is futile’.

But I note it. I curse it, and sigh, and get on with other things.

And so it goes.

Turnbull’s Moment

It seems likely Andrews will win big on Saturday, and polls will show that Abbott was a large part of the reason for his victory. It is probable that, in the following week, no significant part of the Hockey Budget will get through.

It is likely that by then Malcolm Turnbull will have suggested a Budget the Senate might pass, and proposed that he be made Treasurer or Prime Minister. He may not achieve either office by Friday, December 5, but it is likely, not certain, he will by Australia Day.

The causes for this change are many, but most are to do with Abbott’s incompetence and lousy policies. He made a goose of himself whingeing to the world leaders about his fool co-payment. In order to save the taxpayer five dollars a year he trashed the ABC, an institution beloved here as Mother Church in Ireland for centuries. He proposed that our traditional beheaders, the Japanese, now build our submarines. He and his gang abused Obama, a US president more admired world wide than any since John F Kennedy. He said global warming was unproven and refused, calling it ‘disguised socialism’, to put any money at all into any fund that might end it. He excused the crimes against children of Scott Morrison and his covering up of a murder.

It is certain he cannot now achieve re-election, as no voter believes his word can be trusted, and most voters believe he does not know what he is doing. He has the nation still on Red Alert, though the G20, with the biggest turkey shoot of celebrity targets in world history, attracted not one act of terrorism, or an uncovered terrorist plot of any kind. He still claims Wayne Swan was a ‘debt and deficit disaster’, though he got more triple-A ratings than any Treasurer before him, and was acclaimed ‘the world’s best Treasurer’, and given a prize for it. His deficit is, currently, twice what Wayne’s was.

That Abbott is our worst Prime Minister is now a given. That he is a creepy liar who denies what he was televised saying is a widespread belief among most Australians, and foreign ambassadors. That he cannot get any legislation through is a known fact.

It is likely, therefore, though not certain, that Turnbull will move soon.

And, perhaps, prevail.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (120)

Noting that fifteen governments had fallen, thus far, because they had privatised things, Baird proposed to privatise the poles and wires, put up electricity prices and add more buses, not trains, to the Western Suburbs, thus increasing traffic snarls. He was acclaimed by the smh for his wisdom, though an Ipsos poll showed him losing, narrowly, to Robbo, Labor’s least attractive leader since Arthur Calwell, because of the Liberal vote ‘locked up’ in the North Shore, who with a close-run 49 percent would get over the line.

Pyne stared down the loss of his seat because of Scott’s excision of the Adelaide studios from the ABC; because, it was thought, he, Scott, was from Hillsong, and for that religious cause loathed Pyne, the shrieking Papist drama queen. Several National MPs cursed Scott for erasing some country services. None asked that a levy of five dollars per taxpayer per year be imposed to save all threatened services, as this was a ‘cappuccino too far’.

Abbott kept denying ‘No cuts to the ABC or SBS’ meant what it said, believing, perhaps, in the power of prayer. The noise around him in the House reminded some observers of a bear-baiting in the Middle Ages. Corporate money swarmed towards Labor in Victoria.

The notion that ‘bad policies lose votes’, first propounded by Bob Ellis on the night Jeff Kennett lost in 1999, was not yet clear to many Liberals. They thought that starving the old, the young, the soldiers’ orphans, the Indigenous, and the ABC, an institution as well-beloved as Mother Church in Ireland in the 19th century, would be, for some reason, popular with voters. They thought Joe Hockey’s cigar and Abbott’s koala-hug alongside Putin the prominent mass-murderer were images that posed no political difficulty.

They imagined that 1.3 million voters they had lost would soon come back to them, eagerly and fondly. They did not understand John Howard lost on the numbers in 1998, and it took 9/11 and a World War to sustain him narrowly in 2001, and Mark Latham’s demented pugnacity in 2004. They did not understand there are no ‘rusted-on’ Liberal voters any more, apart from the Menzies Reds-under-the-bed generation, two of whom died while you were reading this, and 68 percent of the under-25s are voting, or preferring Labor.

Noel Pearson, a Liberal voter, acclaimed Rupert Murdoch for having helped Aboriginal causes and cursed the ABC, despite Away and Redfern Now and Black Humour and three hundred Four Corners and Australian Stories, for having neglected, or under-explored, those causes. A number of white girls then sang fragments of his Whitlam speech, albeit not mentioning Whitlam’s name, while he beamed avuncularly and misted up a bit. Though Murdoch, his employer, had brought down Whitlam, his hero, and indeed spent billions trying to bring down America’s Whitlam, Obama, he did not see the contradiction.

Freya Newman did not go to gaol for having revealed a scholarship corruptly given to Abbott’s daughter. Craig Thomson would go to gaol, the judge said, if he could not prove his sentence for misusing 26,000 dollars, less than Abbott had in the same years, wrong in law. Abbott said wife-beating was ‘wrong’, though he did not say how it was that fifty-two women were killed by wife-beaters each year and by terrorists, not one. He spent half a billlion dollars looking for terrorists durng the G20, found not one, nor even the suspicion of one, and removed that amount from the ABC, and spent a similar amount looking for skerricks of MH 370 in three oceans. Turnbull said it was good he, Abbott, had admitted he was a liar in Question Time and he, Turnbull, seemed ready to take over, within a week, the top job if need be.

And so it went..

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (119)

Murdoch’s poll Galaxy showed 67 percent wanted ‘a fresh election’ to ‘get a workable Senate’. This was a criticism of PUP, Galaxy said. The ‘fresh election’ option, however, could also be read as people wanting Abbott gone, which all polls — and most showed him trailing Shorten, a result unprecedented in world history — lately indicated. The voters were ‘tired of the soap opera’, Galaxy declared. You bet you am.

The handsome Dutchman Andrew Bolt, a Liberal voter, became confused when alleging that Margaret Thatcher, once an ‘alarmist’ on global warming, later changed her mind; and those Tories — Gummer, Deben, Yeo — who had lately called Abbott an ‘eccentric, baffling flat-earther’ were mere left-over midgets from her era and not worth listening to. ‘The earth’s atmosphere hasn’t warmed for 16 years,’ he declaimed, in the hottest Queensland November in eighteen thousand years, and the science, though all but unanimous across the globe, was ‘very uncertain indeed’.

He said ‘Malvolio’ Hartcher was wrong to speak of ‘a towering international indignation’ at Abbott’s eccentric belief that Christ, not global warming, would ‘burn up the earth in the latter day’, and charged that the ‘adolescent country’ gibe in the LA Times was by ‘a former Fairfax colleague of Hartcher’s from Melbourne’ — a fact which outweighed, of course, of course, the opinion of four billion Chinese, Americans, Indians and Europeans, and rendered the whole lot of them ‘foolish and misguided’. That’s telling ‘em, Andrew.

He also branded as ‘Lefties and luvvies…of the Socialist Alliance’ those speakers — Ludlam, Dempster, Plibersek — who defended the ABC at the Sydney demonstration. These, however, were three of ten people most favoured to be Prime Minister, each outscoring Tony Abbott — as Palmer did, and the Malcolms Turnbull and Fraser, Bill Shorten and Bob Carr — speaking up for an institution most voters, and most Liberal voters, wanted unchanged; wanted, indeed, more money for. ‘Lefties and luvvies’ he called them. That’s telling ‘em, Andrew.

An Ipsos Poll showed selling the poles and wires was opposed by 64 percent and Baird, who wanted to do this, favoured by 57 percent and his party by 54 percent. The poll, however, was taken in part on Saturday, when many landline respondents were at the ABC demonstration, and showed Labor, which wins in NSW with 48 percent, within two points of seizing power. It was also taken, in part, on Thursday and Friday, when Obeid and McDonald were charged with corruption, and ten Liberals not yet had been.

This result, though, was achieved by allocating preferences as they did in 2011. When asked what their actual preferences were, this year, Labor got 49 percent, and won outright by four seats.

Mark Scott, a Liberal voter, decimated the ABC (‘decimate’ means ‘kill one soldier in ten’) instead of asking from each taxpayer five dollars to keep it going the way it was. Among those liquidated was Quentin Dempster, destroyer of Bjelke-Petersen and fearless foe of corruption in any jurisdiction. The ABC Adelaide production house, one arm of Don Dunstan’s dream, was mulched, thus ensuring Pyne would lose his seat, and some Victorian facilities, thus ensuring Napthine would be immolated on Saturday.

Question Time occurred. In a ferocious attack, Bill Shorten accused Abbott of lying about cuts to the ABC and Abbott said they were not cuts they were ‘efficiency measures’. Jason Clare, quoting Charles Laughton, asked him, ‘Were you lying then, are you lying now, or are you just a chronic and habitual LIAR?’

Gina Rinehart, a Liberal voter, cursed her children for wanting some of her five hundred hundred billion dollars. She had ‘worked hard’, she said to earn her fifty thousand dollars an hour, and they had not. Few photos exist of her working underground with a pick, and it is widely thought the she lives luxuriously drinking cocktails by the swmming pool and there accepting, occasionally, a million dollar cheque from her grateful shareholders.

Andrew Robb insulted Obama also. It is to be wondered if America would send in troops now to assist us against, say, an Indonesian invasion.

And so it went.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (118)

Abbott was told he was ‘toxic’ and mustn’t come near Victoria, and Julie Bishop (aka ‘Princess Mesothelioma’) was beseeched to campaign in his place. It was thought her love affair with a Victorian property developer would help in this cause, though her fervent advocacy of bleeding-lung-death-disease from asbestos mining might not. Napthine meanwhile refused to go on the ABC after cursing Abbott for trying to abolish it. The bookies had Labor on 1.20 and the Coalition on 4.50 and it was thought a substantial Andrews triumph would presage narrower victories for Robbo and Palasczczuk next year, and Shorten the year after.

Nikki Savva, a Liberal voter, cursed Abbott for lying about the ABC, and Turnbull and Cormann for ‘lying about a lie’. She said the Government should get back to talking about how castrating the ABC was a good way of saving the taxpayer five dollars a year. ‘The Australian Broadcorping Castration,’ Cassidy whooped, mildly.

The esteemed Christ-eating beauty Miranda Devine, a Liberal voter, cursed Obama’s ‘rude anti-Abbott climate alarm speech’ to the students a week ago in Brisbane, and praised Julie Bishop’s ‘slapdown’ of this international minnow. ‘He reportedly ignored the advice of his embassy in Canberra not to be seen to criticise the Abbott government’s desire to hasten the end of the world,’ she fumed, ‘an insult that won’t be forgotten soon.’ It was believed Obama was quaking and smarting at her next charge, that he was ‘the Al Capone of climate’ because he had given China permission to ‘keep on polluting till 2030.’

The toad-like squat Dutchman Piers Akerman, a Liberal voter, called the ABC ‘a bloated workers collective’ that did not deserve the ‘more than a billion of taxpayers funds’ it used to ‘steal the hard-earned audiences’ of the commercial stations. He did not mention these stations were subsidised in turn, by hundreds of billions more money spent on sponsors’ products to pay for their advertising. He did not mention either that nineteen million Australians thought the ABC did a good job and was ‘worth the money.’

Clive Palmer, a former Liberal voter, accused Jacqui Lambie, a former Liberal voter — and, he said, ‘Labor staffer’ — of being a ‘secret agent’ sent to bust up his promising new party. Liberal backroomers begged her to stay with him, so they could get more of their bad laws through. The latest, denying help to the motor industry and ruining a quarter million more lives a couple of years before it was due to happen anyway, due to Hockey bidding that industry ‘piss off’ last year and destroying the economy of South Australia, would not, without her help, get through now, and nine hundred more million of their calculations, now defunct, were currently prefiguring the worst deficit in Australian history, which Joe was nonetheless still proud of. Nor would Pyne’s bill raising to a quarter of a million dollars the price of degrees most women would henceforth pay back, over forty years of principal and interest between babies, since they were a gender Pyne thought should be ‘barefoot, pregnant and washing dishes’ as their Catholic creator intended.

And so it went.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (117)

Julie Bishop said Obama should not have mentioned ‘our’ Barrier Reef as it was none of his business, and, though it was daily dwindling, ‘our’ efforts to save it, though utterly unsuccessful, were ‘state of the art’. ‘We have one of the jewels of the planet,’ she said, ‘and what we do with it is none of the planet’s business.’

A mild-mannered Saudi megabillionaire who favours beheading female motorists, Prince Alaweel bin Talal, withdrew his boardroom support from Rupert Murdoch, a Liberal voter, after his Australian operation’s profits fell by 21 percent and foreboded the end, perhaps of all his newspaper titles in ‘that benighted continent’, as the Prince described it. It also seemed Rupert, now well into his ninth decade and running out of food-tasters and grateful children, might be asked to take his pistol to the billiard room and ‘do the right thing’ very soon by shareholders utterly sick of him.

In response to this he commanded his editorialists Australia-wide to call for the end of the ABC. Though 82 percent of Australians thought it should get more money, the editorialists thought, or were commanded to think, it a heinous waste of billions, unlike the search for MH 370 which had the same budget, and the five dollars a year each taxpayer forked over for the services now to to be abolished was ‘a cappuccino too far’; though the gutting of the Adelaide ABC was thought by Christopher Pyne, a Liberal voter, ‘a bit much, my mentally challenged children need it.’ Hockey told him to go fuck himself.

The greatest orator in history, Barack Obama, was criticised by Gerard Henderson, a craven Papist early dementia sufferer grovelling under the dictates of Murdoch spin-blitherers, for his already immortal speech, in Brisbane, to some students on the world’s future. ‘This celebrity President,’ he sneered, had got an ‘unjust standing ovation’ for his premonitions of planetary disaster ‘though the world’s temperatures had not risen for two decades’ in a speech he gave on Brisbane’s hottest November 16 in eighteen thousand years. The President should have showed ‘better manners,’ he added, and not mentioned the world calamity of the Barrier Reef as it was ‘none of his business.’ Gerard Henderson is an angry, forgetful old man still working for the CIA or some adjacent subfascist entity who eats the living Christ on Sundays and refuses to say where his money comes from.

Three thousand ageing humanists gathered in Sydney to protest the crippling of ‘our spare university’, the ABC. One of Scott’s proposed assassinees, Quentin Dempster, listed the news programmes, along with his, which would be throttled on Monday. Geoff Morell named the dramas — Redfern Now, The Slap, Grass Roots — now outside the bounds of ‘Team Australia’ which would have no artistic descendants. Little Pattie spoke of the stories which would not now, after Monday, be told. Denis Napthine, a Liberal voter, cursed Abbott for what he was doing to regional broadcasting. Christopher Pyne sobbed into his red-spotted handkerchief. ‘If ah’d known it invahlved this,’ he said, ‘ah’d never have gone into politics.’

In her final address to the UN Security Council from the chair of that august international entity, Julie Bishop inadvertently cursed Australia for immuring ebola sufferers in their own infectious countries and not letting them come to Australia. The auteur of this fool policy, Scott Morrison, fell foaming and speaking in tongues while upbraiding her for thus upbraiding him before a global audience.

It was thought she was not in her perfect mind. She had since her promotion to Foreign Minister scolded the Chinese, the Indonesians, the Liberians, Doctors Without Borders, the East Timorese, the Russians and, lately, Barack Obama for not doing what she told them to. It was hoped her latest lover, the ‘property investor’, was not putting something in her drink, or her first lover Lightfoot, the prominent thundering racist, wreaking chemical vengeance on her for leaving him, or her constant poignant wooer ‘Malvolio’ Hartcher, whose praise for her in his column had lately cooled a little. For she was behaving very oddly. ‘It is good, when you are Foreign Minister,’ said Plibersek, her opposite number, ‘to remember what your foreign policy is.’ And then she fell about laughing attractively.

And so concluded another day in the life of the worst free-elected government in history, since Democracy’s invention in 934 in Iceland.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (116)

Julie Bishop attacked Obama for liking the Barrier Reef and wanting his daughters and granddaughters to go there. Its destruction was none of his business, she said, and he was lucky people of ‘his uncertain skin tone’ were allowed to go there. A UK Tory Minister for Energy called Abbott a ‘flat earther’ on climate change. Mark Scott said he would decimate the ABC and might close down some country services and lose the Nationals some seats. Abbott promised to revive his struck-down laws that allowed financial advisors to swindle and bankrupt their customers.

The price of iron went down, and sent Joe’s deficit up to fifty billion dollars, near twice Wayne Swan’s. Denis Shanahan, a Liberal voter, said he understood everyone’s ‘fury’ at Obama liking the Barrier Reef. Simon Benson called Obama’s speech to the uni students a ‘stunt’. Abbott appeared with Hollande and said exultantly, ‘Global warming is real, and we will give not a penny to its mitigation.’

Tens of thousands planned to protest, in city parks, the bollocking of the ABC. Dempster, who assisted in the destruction of Bjelke-Petersen, and Margaret Throsby, host of the best radio programme in the world, seemed to be in the cross-hairs of the New Cromwellian Committee Of Public Safety, and a ‘rethinking’ of 7.30 along lines of A Current Affair. Amazed that much of the Adelaide ABC might be erased from world memory Christopher Pyne, already ‘cruising for a bruising’ in his ‘swinging’ seat in the Hills, where vacuous bisexuals watched Micalleff chuckling with incomprehension, beseeched Mark Scott, who detested him, to save Adelaide, and redemptively decimate Ultimo, where simmering Trotskyists like Tony Jones infected with their marinating Marxist ebola semi-comatose Baby Boomers.

Scott appeared before the Senate, murmuring sacrifices had to be made, and he like Abraham would slaughter his firstborn if need be in suburbs and towns where Liberals would lose many seats in the backwash of national rage. Jason Clare appeared now and then, looking honourable and charismatic, and said Abbott had lied about cuts while Cormann said ‘Zey wair nert certs, zay wair mere adjewstments to ze bertterm line.’ Revulsion grew across the nation. A moment seemed to have arrived when we, the people, became like Howard Beale ‘mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any more.’

Colin Barnett said he was ethnic cleansing a hundred Aboriginal communities, or perhaps a hundred andfifty, but wouldn’t say which hundred, or hundred and fifty. People whose relatives had been in the same place for fifty-five thousand years were afraid they would be ‘relocated’, like weeping Vietnamese once were, to the outskirts of hostile towns and begged for mercy. Barnett said he wasn’t sure how many peoples he would drive to grief, death and extinction, or when he would say whch ones he had thus pricked down, but he blamed Abbott for the whole thing, saying it was his tyrannous parsimony that was to blame for this ‘needless extinguishment of suffering people’, and he hoped he would ‘fry in hell’ for it.

Julie Bishop said Obama was lying, and we were looking after our Reef very well, and he should apologising for having thus deceived impressionable undergraduates, who did he think he was? Told he was our most powerful ally, she said, ‘Don’t make me laugh’, and beamed at the yellow-stockinged and cross-gartered ‘Malvolio’ Hartcher, whose heart surged with new love, and drank another thin glass of champagne. ‘Who does he think he is? ‘ she repeated. Uppity half-breed.

Morgan showed Andrews-Labor going up to 55, though Murdoch’s Galaxy showed it coming down to 52. In the Morgan, Andrews led Napthine as preferred Premier for the first time. His victory would mean 41 percent of Australians lived under Labor rule, and Palaczsczuk’s victory, now certain, would make that 51 percent. In each state, the swinging voters would say it was Abbott that turned them to Labor.

And so it went.

Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols was a cabaret performer before he became, successfully, a stage director of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple and other Broadway comedies, and then a film director of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Burton and Taylor, a startling success in black and white. The Graduate followed, and few now young can imagine the excitement it engendered, or the impact of the first arrival in human thought of ‘Mrs Robinson’, or the Simon and Garfunkel sound track, or the quirky, glitched young actor Dustin Hoffman.

Nichols’ later works varied. Postcards From The Edge was excellent, Catch-22 too clever by half. Carnal Knowledge a quiet classic, The Fortune imperfect, Closer superb, Angels In America (with Streep, in whiskers, as a Rabbi and Pacino as an AIDS-riddled Roy Cohn) a television masterpiece, from the best American play ever written.

In all of his films, there was clarity and intimacy and the primacy of the actor in shots that sometimes lasted eight minutes. In all, he served the text.

He and Elaine May, jointly interviewed last year, promised to act together again, and never did.

And so it goes.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (115)

Albrechtsen said the man who adjusted her microphone was a ‘waste of money’ and should be sacked, and the ‘nation was angry’ about the ABC. They wanted their money better spent, the people did, she said, and fools like Christopher Pyne who wanted the Adelaide ABC still doing things were ‘mindless left-wing layabouts’. She was told that 82 percent of Australians thought the ABC should get more money not less, and she said there were ‘not informed of what is really going on’.

Jacqui Lambie contrived with some cross-bench Senators to vote down a government bill that said ‘financial advisors need not give a hoot if their customers were ruined by their advice or not, they had a higher calling, to make money for themselves.’ Cormann, abashed and simmering, said, ‘Thees ees wery baird for Horstreyelia. Fair sweeg of the serce-bertle, meet!’ He swore he would restore unfairness to customers ‘een serm uzzair wye.’

The Coalition’s vote in Newspoll, always tweaked to favour it, fell to 45 percent, lower than any score at any election since 1943. Andrew Bolt beseeched Abbott to ‘do better’. This focus on ‘foreign affairs,’ he asserted, searching for bodies in oceans and sunflower fields was doing Abbott harm, and he would better attend to persecuting young jobless people, suicidal Aborigines and sick old women, in which there were ‘tens of votes’ that might return to him, out of the 1.3 million that had melted away.

Abbott was amazed to find that abolishing ABC studios in the regions might lose him votes in ‘ninety percent of the country’. The ABC’s information on flood levels, fire danger, dust-storms, cicada plagues and local entertainments was apparently appreciated, and ‘Nobody ever told me that,’ he said.

Julie Bishop deplored the United Nations for not caring as much as she did about ‘terrorist attack’. Australia was still on Red Alert, she explained, though APEC had provided a ‘shooting gallery of likely targets’ more tempting than any since the funeral of Edward VII and no-one had striven or planned to shoot any of them in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, or Melbourne, or kidnap and behead them on Central Station, or anything. Asked where the terrorist menace in Australia was, she said, ‘It’s trying to leave for Syria, and we’re keeping it here.’ This imminent menace, which had not killed an Australian in Australia for ninety-nine years and nine months, was ‘far greater than global warming,’ she told the baffled UN, ‘or even’ — and here she beamed prettily -’ the ABC.’

Sam Dastayari called Abbott ‘the village idiot’, and Paul Murray, aghast, criticised Sam for his means of ascent to his preselection at the early age of seventeen. ‘He didn’t have to face the electors,’ he shouted, ‘and he gets 240 thousand dollars a year, nearly as much as my good self.’ Asked what electors he had to face, Murray said, ‘Go root your boot.’

Joko Widodo cursed Morrison for lumbering him with all of Asia’s genuine refugees and threatening to send more back at gunpoint in ‘a naked act of war and piracy.’ Morrison said he was ‘feeling unloved, and I had to get back in the headlines somehow.’ It was thought he would try to seize the Prime Ministership by Christmas, and so would Bishop and Turnbull, and, in an act of poignant nostalgia, Bronwyn Bishop.

And so it went.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (114)

Fearing that history was overtaking him, Morrison decreed that no true refugee ‘in the queue’ in Indonesia would ever be let into Australia. Like Churchill saying all escaped Jews who had made it to Dunkirk would be sent back to Bergen-Belsen, it was thought unusually cruel for even Morrison, since it meant there would be more boat-voyages now, probably to New Zealand, through perilous seas and more children drowned on the way. Asked if he was doing this ‘to seize the centre-stage again’ pending his trial for piracy, kidnap and child slavery, Morrison said,’ ‘These are on-water matters and only my man Angus can comment on them, and I have ordered him not to.’ More to come.


Propaganda Studies (9): The Moment

A Jason Clare press conference, when he reminded reporters how many lies Abbott has told, struck an iron gong of inevitability an hour ago.

He said it was wrong the ABC should be cut back, ‘an institution far more loved than this government’, and, unusually, prescribed where the money might come from that replenished its bottom line. In the Paid Parental Leave scheme, of course, in the taxes on overseas corporations, in a tax on moneys earned by the interest on superannuation greater than two million dollars, he said hundreds of millions could be found which the ABC and SBS could keep, and one sensed how resonant this was with even Liberal voters; with National voters, even.

It now seems likely Abbott’s fate is sealed; and it is worth asking when the tipping-point came, the moment after which there was, for him, no way back.

Was it the ‘whinge’ to the world’s leaders about his thwarted desire to take sick old women’s money away? Probably not. Was it the threat to ‘shirtfront’ Putin? Was it his attempt to make a sort of joke of this odd word, though it dealt with the wrongful death of 298 people? Probably not. Was it when he asked Putin for blood money in Beijing? Maybe; maybe not.

It’s more likely that it was, I think, when he posed with a cuddly koala with Putin, who cuddled a koala also, beside him. Do you treat an accused mass murderer so affectionately after saying he had killed Australians, and swearing to ‘bring him to justice’?

That was the moment, probably.

He is now seen as a whack-head as well as a sneaking liar, and he can’t, for long, survive in his present position.

And it seems to me Turnbull now has twice the numbers he had a week ago. He can say he was always on the side of an emissions trading scheme, which Xi Linping and Barack Obama have made into a global quest. He can say he is economically numerate, having made his own fortune, in hundreds of millions. He can pose as a friend of the ABC, who was only doing his whack-head master’s bidding and loathing it. He can end, as a millionaire, the millionairesses’ baby fund. He could sell, with plausibility, an alteration to the GST.

It is his moment, probably, and I predict he will move before Christmas.

Today’s Newspoll

Murdoch’s p2 Newspoll, distributing Palmer’s preferences as if he still favoured the Liberals, and ringing only landlines, showed Abbott nine hundred thousand votes behind Shorten as preferred Prime Minister, a margin without precedent in Australian history, and the Coalition 1.4 million behind Labor federally.

These numbers, so disastrous they are not reprinted in The Daily Telegraph, can only mean that Abbott will be overthrown by a Global Warming True Believer, Turnbull or Dutton, or Robb perhaps, in the near future. The Obama speech to the uni students blew Abbott out of the water, and his plea for coal made him a global laughing-stock, and even Alan Jones cursed him for the half billion he spent on a copper-thronged conference in which he scrubbed up not as a maestro but a whack-head and a clown.

I could be wrong, but his fate is surely sealed. He has no credibility any more, in any room he is in, and several conspirators are busily at work on his extinction, and there may, just may be, a new Prime Minister by Australia Day.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (113)

Turnbull, jumping the gun, said he would cut the ABC’s funding by fifty-nine or sixty million a year on Friday but seemed reluctant to do so. Ben Elton urged him to seize the Prime Ministership, and so did most of the audience. He spoke ‘in defence of Tony’ as if he were a mentally challenged toddler. Abbott mixed up China and Tasmania in a speech to, oops, the Chinese President Xi Jinping, an evident Hodgman lookalike. Shorten came in ahead of him in the latest Newspoll as preferred Prime Minister by nine hundred thousand votes, and Labor 1.5 million votes ahead of the Coalition, two party preferred.

Alan Jones’ disgust with him ‘selling off the farm to Communist China’ echoed, some thought, a good deal of patriotic disquiet in Tasmania and Queensland, whose farmers were lately selling up, going bankrupt or suiciding. His ‘whinge’ to the world’s leaders about the money he couldn’t seize from old, sick women went viral, and the ‘Loaded Dog’ nickname (you can’t take him anywhere) adhered to him unpleasantly as the days went by. He seemed bereft of the most minimal ‘people skills’, a subject of national derision when he pulled out of the leadership contest in 2007, giving way to the charismatic Brendan Nelson. He ‘shouldn’t be left alone with his mouth,’ Malcolm Farr guffawed on Insiders.

Abbott signed a trade deal with Xi Jinping, saying how much he trusted him, but refused to go into a bank with him. Hockey said China’s climate change deal with the US was a ‘mirage’ and Xi Jinping was ‘not to be trusted’ when it came to ‘deals done with other countries’. His party’s founder, Menzies, had feared, or said he feared, ‘the downward thrust of China’, Joe gingerly admitted, but his leader Abbott now said, cracking hardy, ‘we should lie back and enjoy it’. Several sugar producers made preparations to shoot themselves, or Barnaby Joyce perhaps, when they heard they would be cut out of the deal, a manouevre that would doom to extinction all Queensland conservatives to the right of Clive Palmer, the LNP especially, a ferocious home brew of cockamamie subfascist peasants and racetrack urgers that would now lose office because of it after only one term, like the O’Farrell/Baird Liberals of New South Wales, on the Morgan figures lately bound to lose in a landslide to even Robbo.

Janet Albrechtsen, a Liberal voter, swore she would no longer appear on Q&A since ‘it is not my custom to be disagreed with.’ It was thought she would soon replace Mark Scott as CEO of that iconic broadcaster, since both Amanda Vanstone and Peter Reith were ‘too left wing’ for that influential position. She had, Abbott said, ‘not only the correct Santamaria-like take on things, but sex appeal.’

A former Liberal leader, John Hewson, said Abbott should apologise for being wrong about climate change, and his refusal to do so was like John Howard’s refusal to apologise to the Stolen Children, which, in Howard’s case helped him lose not just power but his seat. Another former leader, Turnbull, with some guile averred that when Abbott said there would be no cuts to health, no cuts to education , no cuts to NDIS, SBS or the ABC, he was being ‘quoted out of context’, and only a moron would have said those things if he meant them, a klutz, a dingbat, a poor sad fuckwit who needed psychiatric help, and, since Abbott was of sound mind a year ago if not lately, he must have been ‘quoted out of context.’ He must have.

And so concluded another day of the worst free-elected government in the history of democracy since that system’s invention in 934 AD.

Yesterday’s Morgan

Yesterday’s Morgan showed what one might call ‘the Whitlam after-effect’.

Abbott, in what might else have been his finest hour as host, in Brisbane, of the world’s leaders, lost a hundred and forty thousand votes in a week and left Labor way ahead in even Queensland, where, on 53 percent, they would gain fifty seats, and thereby shrivel the LNP, a new party, into vengeful bitterness and self-immolation.

Of the 55.5 percent that now voted or preferred Labor, 66 percent of the 18-24  year olds did, 65.5 percent of the 25-34 year olds, 57 percent of the 35-49 year olds, 53.5 percent of the 50-64 year olds, and only 43 percent of the oldies, two of whom died while you were reading this. 57.5 percent of women favoured Labor, and 53 percent of men.

In Queensland the loss of Goss and Gough and the triggering of the memory of their reforms (and, among the younger, the discovery of those reforms) put Labor back in front; in New South Wales the loss of Wran and Gough in a year did likewise. Abbott is battling great ghosts now, plus large, live superstars like Obama and Pearson, and cannot prevail anymore, though Turnbull might.

And Q&A last night showed Turnbull was up for it.

It will be, I predict, after Andrews’ landslide, a very interesting December.

The Loaded Dog

(First published by Independent Australia)

It is certain Abbott will not survive, politically, his Brisbane weekend among the world’s leaders. It is not certain when he will be overthrown. But there is no other probability, any more.

His whinge about his domestic troubles in his opening statement; his attempt, for months, to keep Climate Change off the agenda; his physical threat to Putin and his demand, in Beijing, that Putin give him blood money; his genial handshake with the Evil One, at last, in Brisbane; his weird joke that he was on a ‘Unity Ticket’ with him, and his rallying cry on behalf of coal: these mistakes, plus Hockey’s bizarre assertion that Climate Change and the economy were ‘not connected’, have made him seem an innumerate and a diplomatic disaster, like Borat or Billy MacMahon, and an embarrassment for us, his people.

Nothing much will happen to him before November 29. But if, then, that night, Daniel Andrews’ victory is considerable, and Palmer gains control of the Upper House, it is possible he will fall in the following fortnight, and Bishop, Turnbull, Dutton, Robb or Hunt replace him. It is no longer acceptable that he represent us, or speak for us, in the counsels of the world. He seems a whack-head, a sort of Loaded Dog, and too big a risk to our economy, and our security, in every direction.

On his watch, the deficit has doubled. Our military have been insulted. Our old people betrayed. Our young people threatened with a quarter of a million dollar bill for their degree, and a two million dollar bill for their dwelling. He and Morrison have threatened children with a hundred years’ imprisonment on Nauru, covered up a murder, and collaborated in the kidnap and torment of some innocents, and the sending back of some others to torture, squalor and death. He has proposed some children go to Cambodia, where they may become child whores to sustain their families. He has proposed young people seasonally sacked from fast food cafes get no money for six months while seeking other, similar work in shrinking country towns. He has committed us to a twenty year war we will not win against crucifying terrorists now occupying oil-rich land the size of Britain. He is spending billions on a twilight war with ‘dickheads’, who still seem able to get to Syria and fight there. He is ethnic cleansing a hundred Aboriginal communities from the map of Western Australia.

By these and other means he has made ten million Australians ashamed of their nationality.

He may survive a few more months, but the weight of his accumulated dunderheadedness has ensured he will topple and fall, unpleasantly, before the end of 2015.

And so it goes.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (112)

Abbott became known as ‘the Loaded Dog’ after he said he was ‘on a Unity Ticket’ with Putin and he would ‘keep coal going’ against the threat of solar power in the coming years. ‘Malvolio’ Hartcher, baying as always for Bishop, his beloved, as PM, wrote of the ‘towering international indignation at Abbott’s suspected climate change denialism’ and quoted the LA Times writer Robyn Dixon who cursed him for being ‘the one willing to reverse progress on climate change’ and Australia for being ‘an adolescent country’. His koala-cuddling pic beside the mass-murderer of Australians, Putin, seemed to some Liberal backroomers ‘ill-judged’; and his arrival, fifty minutes late, for ‘the most tedious press conference since Neolithic times’ annoyed Obama, who therefore started half an hour late, overlapping Cameron, who was speaking simultaneously and cut off soon by the BBC, who cursing crossed to Obama. Both were brilliant, belated, and by hundreds of millions unseen.

Abbott seemed more punch-drunk than usual. He seemed not to understand that his anthem for coal, the planet’s enemy, was ill-timed on Brisbane’s hottest day in millennia, or that boasting his thwarted plans to starve old women might repel, say, Angela Merkel. He was ‘in a world of his own’, some swore, like Billy Liar glorying in a fanfaring, goosestepping Reich of his own imagination prefatory to masturbation in a small, grimy room. ‘Adolescent’ was a fair description. Also ‘out of his depth’. World leaders looked round for Bob Carr, dismayed. He was, of course, uninvited. And Abbott was still blithering of how he stopped the boats, and the carbon tax, and beseeching the world’s subtlest manouevrers to ‘speak from the heart’. Wayne Swan, who had secured the Conference, was uninvited to it though seven thousand others were admitted. So was Tania Plibersek, who had good reason to be there. It was feared, perhaps, she might ‘speak from the heart’ and be listened to.

Greg Sheridan, a Liberal voter, thought Obama’s speech at the university, already numbered among the finest in human history, ‘capricious, inconsequential…moonshine’, and called the 2.11 percent target ‘baloney’. Dennis Shanahan, a Liberal voter, said on the previous page the 2.1 was real, and Joe Hockey, a good man, was to be thanked for it. Campbell Newman poured in billions to mine coal in the Galilee Basin. Corporate Australia shovelled money in great amounts towards Daniel Andrews, the first of a series of Labor winners whose victories would bring Abbott down. Colin Barnett, a Liberal voter, cursed Abbott’s ‘medieval priorities’ and urged Australians to go with Obama, who, though a lame duck, stood for the future, not the past.

Alan Jones, a Liberal voter, upbraided Abbott to his face for selling out his country to Red China. His vile betrayal of the cotton, wheat, rice and sugar industries, he added, ‘did not pass the pub test’ and his failure to tell the Nationals what he was up to was a ‘contemptible backstab of his Coalition partners’ worthy, in other decades, of the firing squad. Later in the day, while welcoming Xi jinping, the Communist leader, to Australia, Abbott failed to reveal his first political affiliation was with the, quote, Anti-Communist Labor Party and his mentor Santamaria had fought ‘that evil doctrine’ to his last breath; and his present party’s founder, Menzies, had fought a war with China and then refused to acknowledge it existed. He probably did not know we were still at war with China and thus impressed Xi mightily with his vacuity. Barnaby Joyce, his face an attractive puce, praised Abbott’s ‘trade coup’ effusively while planning, privately, to murder him.

And so concluded another day of the worst free-elected government in the history of democracy, a system invented in AD 934, in Iceland.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (134)

I wrote the beginning of The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (111) yesterday morning, and did not notice until yesterday afternoon it had not gone up, after a computer malfunction, when it was written. The Ellis Laws launch then took place, and some carousing after, and history had moved on before I woke and partially dealt with it at 3 am, and I apologise for any inconvenience.

There is a theatre review on Ellis Gold, and there will be more reviews up there tomorrow.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (111)

Abbott amazed the nations by saying nothing happened here before the white man came, and Putin, a cradle Communist, ‘pined for the glories of Czarist Russia’, with its illiterate peasantry, vapid aristocracy and ‘holy fool’ religiosity. He thus showed himself to be more ignorant than any ruler since Idi Amin, who fed some members of his Ministry to the palace crocodiles and ate at least one of them himself. Barnett echoed his foolishness by closing down a hundred Aboriginal communities and craftily blaming him for it. It was expected hundreds of Indigenous children would die prematurely because of this cruel fresh act of ethnic cleansing, and this, on top of the children sentenced to Nauru for a hundred years by Morrison made the Abbott Government a subject of appalled concern to the UN and a hissing and a byword among the civilised nations.

These nations then arrived in Brisbane, and began to humiliate Abbott with planned efficiency. Obama cursed him before an audience of billions, claiming he ‘produced a lot of carbon’, was not doing his bit in the fight against ebola, and wasn’t employing enough women. Abbott responding said carbon was a very, very good thing, so good he had abolished a tax on it, and appalled his international guests by whingeing that his efforts to punish sick old women for getting sick were not being applauded through the Senate by his enemies, nor were his plans to punish with lifelong debt poor uni students for seeking an education. Their aghast expressions indicated they thought he had become insane, and Milne said he had ‘made a fool of himself’ and so did the panellists on Agenda and Insiders.

It was feared there would be big, horrid headlines about this, and a rumour was confected by the Murdochists that Putin was in a snit and leaving early which they hoped would overwhelm the story of Abbott’s evident nervous breakdown.This almost worked, and was by dawn ferociously denied. Plibersek was not allowed to go to the G20, though thousands were, ‘gender, and politics’ being the actual, though not the stated reason. Sensing he was now the Prime Minister-in-waiting, Skynews Agenda gave Shorten a warm, attentive interview in which he genially and gracefully called Abbott ‘weird’.

Hockey said the US-China deal was a ‘mirage’. Mike Seccombe said California had already got its emissions down by 20 percent and would have them down by 50 percent in 2030, and that it wasn’t a mirage, it could be done. Hockey said climate change would have no effect on any economy, not even when bushfires immolated entire states and coastal suburbs were submerged, and Cassidy’s jaw dropped to his knee. The hottest November 16 in Brisbane’s history underlined, among other things, that Abbott had run out of luck.

A Liberal candidate thought to have beaten his wife in Pennsylvania, John Varano, resigned his candidacy in a safe Labor seat in Victoria, two weeks before an election Labor was already judged ikely to win. Though said by a court to be innocent as charged the Murdochists, now favouring Labor, printed the rumour anyway.

Julian Burnside, interviewed on RN, said witnesses of the murder of Reza Berati had been promised residence on mainland Australia if they ‘withdrew their evidence’. Though twelve men had a part in the murder of this large, kindly homosexual university graduate, no-one was currently on trial for it, or in gaol for it, And Morrison said Burnside, a Peace Prize winner, was ‘lying’.

And so it went.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (110)

Greg Hunt acclaimed the US-China deal on climate change. Julie Bishop said she knew it was coming. Joe Hockey said it was an ‘acceptable item for discussion’ within a larger topic, the world economy. Abbott said, quote, ‘We are talking about the practical. We are talking about the real. We are not talking about what may hypothetically happen in fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty years down the track. We are talking about what what we will do and are doing right now, and that is what the Australian people expect of us. I’m focusing not on what might happen in sixteen years’ time. I’m focusing on what we’re doing now, and we’re not talking, we’re actng.’ It was thought he might soon be taken into care.

Napthine fell below Andrews as preferred Premier, the first time a sitting Premier had done so in Victorian history. Labor, on 56 two party preferred, seemed likely to decimate the Liberals’ numbers on November 29. One quarter of all voters blamed Abbott for their disillusion. This disillusion worsened when a neo-Nazi, who had called the Port Arthur massacre a ‘Jewish conspiracy’, proved to be working for the Liberals in a ‘safe Labor seat’. Called Harrison, he claimed he ‘no longer had ties to the white supremacist Church of Creativity.’

Abbott’s mental confusion engaged the attention of certain psychiatrists. Some of them attributed it to brain damage, while amateur boxing in Oxford, becoming apparent in his late middle age, as occurred in the case of Muhammad Ali. Some thought it was, or could be, the ‘What Happens In Vegas Syndrome’, the belief that no-one is listening to what you say to a particular audience, except the members of that audience, which allows you say the opposite to another audience the following morning, when all memory will be erased of what you said the night before. Some attributed it to the trauma of his cuckolding, late-discovered in 2003, when it proved his only-begotten and longed-for son was fathered by his girlfriend’s landlord, and how this had engendered in him a universal mistrust for all humankind, whom he resolved to lie to with his every breath. It was difficult to discover a true thing he had said in the past five years, apart from, ‘Don’t believe a word I say unless I put it in writing’.

It was known both Costellos thought him ‘a catastrophe waiting to happen’, and his bizarre Christ-eating Iron-Man beach-jogging lifestyle, and obsessive rereading of Brideshead Revisited, and the desertion of his pregnant bride, made him a bit of a worry to Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, atheists, global warmists, Napthinists, Bairdites, Newmanists and RN listeners alike. It was certain, at any rate, that he was no longer well in his mind, and, as in the last, whirling days of the mad, sleepless Kevin Rudd, he might have to be cruelly disposed of, and the climate-conscious Turnbull put in his place, by Christmas, probably, or Anzac Day which Jacqui Lambie was planning to disrupt by ‘mooning’ Abbott on Gallipoli at dawn.

Standing beside Abbott, David Cameron sounded a good deal like his relative Doug Cameron when he attacked ‘Authoritarian Capitalism’, a system adopted by ‘the tyrants Putin, Cormann and Hockadoodledoonie, men who will stop at nothing to destroy small business and abolish honest jobs and thereby uplift ugly, overweight exploiters of th miserable working class like Palmer and Rinehart, whose names are a hissing and a byword in the civilised world.’ Cameron then said Australia was ‘failing in its duty in the great fight against ebola’ and it should ‘truly, truly, lift its game.’ He was only the second British Prime Minister to address Australia’s parliament, and by the look of Abbott beside him, thunderstruck, abashed, goanna-tonguing dry lips and laughing tonelessly, he would be the last.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (109)

Obama and Xi Jinping’s announcement left Abbott with nothing to do much hereinafter but resign. He had abolished, after all, an emissions trading scheme and they had foreboded three hundred of them. They had encouraged the ‘nations of the world’ to clean up their skies at six times the rate he was now reducing. Obama and Xi Jinping had called climate change ‘humankind’s overriding priority’ and he had banned it from discussion in Brisbane, as ‘irrelevant to the larger question of the world economy’. He had moreover just abolished the Carbon Tax, thus adding to the gaping Joe Hole nine billion dollars of a total, thus far, of 51 billion dollars of deficit, nearly twice Labor’s 27 billion, making Joe’s a ‘debt and deficit double disaster’. Milne called Abbott a ‘pariah among the nations of the world’ not for the first time but this time with force, and truth, and unanimous, world-wide applause.

On top of this Putin, incensed at Abbott’s feeble demand for blood money, summoned his Navy to menace Australia’s coast, in boats no Angus Houston dared board, command, and point toward Indonesia. This ominous, fulminating armada proceeded south, brandishing sufficient firepower to nuke five cities, and pleas to Morrison from the affrighted back bench to ‘turn back the boats’ were answered curtly, in tongues, by a man who felt himself lately accurst by a surly divinity. The answer, he said, was ‘No. The Russians are coming. We welcome their arrival. They will get automatic TPVs. I am not a fucking fool.’ And the he spoke in tongues again. One commentator thought Putin inspired in this manouevre by Crocodile Dundee. ‘Call that a shirtfont? THIS is a shirtfront. Ha, ha.’

Obama asked that a roundabout near a grassy knoll be removed on the motorcade route that the corrupt, unhinged sarmajor Newman, whose role model was Jack D. Ripper, was planning for him. It was feared a general massacre of the world’s leaders, followed by a Russian invasion, expected in these parts since 1851, would lessen Queensland’s tourism earnings in the coming decades, and Canberra might be frowned upon for not having prevented global nuclear war.

Abbott was having a hard day. In a hectic press conference he tried without great success to explain that an assembly of the world’s leaders was no place to discuss the saving of the world. No such discussion would take place, he shrieked, on his watch, never ever. The world was doomed, he shrieked, and Christ returning would burn it, and ‘I don’t want to discuss things that might happen in thirteen years’ time. That is called planning, and it is something I never do. I never discuss the future. I prefer to discuss what happened six months ago, like the downing of MH 17; discuss it endlessly with swine like Putin, who say they know nothing about it. But I know better. Ah yes, I know better. He knows. He knows. And if he thinks he can silence me with a naval blockade off Surfer’s Paradise, and a nuclear attack on the Big Banana, he’s got another think coming.’ His performance convinced millions he was insane, and Hockey, sensing his chance, said of course we should mention the end of the world in round-table discussions at the G20, as ‘the immolation of the planet affected the economy in measurable ways. It is a bit like bankruptcy. Bankruptcy for all. And, if for no other reason, the end of the world should be avoided.’

Putin’s people flew in, and one of them got lost in a prohibited park, ‘looking for a bottle shop’, he alleged in slurred locution, his minibar already exhausted, and when challenged by Brisbane coppers for being in an area they had designated ‘the grassy knoll’, reached for his Kalaszhnikov, realised he had left it in his room and fell to sobbing, and cursing ‘Mother Russia’ and quoting Pushkin bitterly by heart. Another, larger Battle of Brisbane, it was feared, was imminent; that, or a sort of Cuban Missile Crisis, centred on WMD uncovered in a Logan out-house and Putin beseiged in his hotel room drinking mere Warrington Vodka and cursing ‘pissant koala-eating sado-nudists’ and doing one-arm push-ups while rockets flew overhead.

A rocket was alleged to have landed on a comet, but Abbott would not believe it. ‘Nothing that is planned sixteen years ahead ever occurs,’ he said. ‘I always plan for the past. Let’s talk about the past. Incessantly. Not the Rosetta! The Endeavour! Ha ha.’

And so it went.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (108)

Abbott’s blond bromance Mark Kenny acclaimed his hairy beloved for asking from Russia blood-money for 190 dead Dutchmen, something Mark Ruttie, a sane man of that ethnicity, had not done. Unaware that ‘blood-money’, a Muslim concept, was not awarded much in the civilised world these days, Abbott bizarrely demanded about seventeen million from Putin who, puzzled, said it was not he but some Ukranians who had accidentally shot down a plane unwisely over a war zone in a ‘genuine mistake’ and considered suing Abbott when in Brisbane for a similar sum to that which he, Abbott, got from Bob Ellis for alleging, wrongly, he had sexual relations premaritally, something his pregnant abandoned bride also wrongly thought at the time. His motorcade rolled meanwhile out of big planes in Brisbane where it was hoped the shrieking lunatic Newman would protect him from assassination.

Abbott announced the ‘boots-on-the-ground’ of Diggers would soon touch down in Baghdad, though the Iraqi ambassador said they weren’t wanted there, and their visas might be ‘perpetually pending’. Paul McGeough said he was blessed if he could see what good they would do. The Iraqi army bizarrely feared crucifixion and were hiding under their beds in their barracks and were not likely, he said, to be easily ‘encouraged’ by white Christians who had killed thus far six hundred thousand of their children to fight for a government, and a series of generals, corrupt to the back teeth and growing very rich on the money they did not pay to soldiers who did not exist and kept for themselves, which the Americans generously supplied in billions. Abbott said he would send even more Aussie Diggers into this turdbursting cesspool. He was paying them so little now he could afford four hundred more.

Joe Hockey said the 51 billion dollar ‘Joe Hole’ in his Budget was ‘incorrect’ but would not say how big it was or how vast, after Christmas, his cuts to Australian’s gross happiness would be. ‘Iron ore prices are between thirty and forty percent less than they were when we first made our forecasts in the Budget,’ he grumbled, ‘which means the national equivalent of a stomach-staple will have to be applied, but not before Christmas, which should be a merry occasion. On New Year’s Day, however, or Australia Day at the latest, the various sackings, evictions and slumside impoverishments should commence, in tens of thousands, across the nation. Till then, don’t worry; be happy.’

Abbott, who had spent by now half a billion dollars looking for MH 370 without aim or purpose or result or, thus far, a single clue, said 200 or 300 million will come out of the ABC and SBS to pay for it, for ‘this noble odyssey in three oceans’. Quentin Dempster would have to go, he determined, and Big Ideas. ‘The last thing this nation needs,’ Abbott said, proudly, ‘is big ideas.’

The esteemed Christ-eating beauty Miranda Devine called for the end of ‘this taxpayer-funded behemoth’, the ABC, after it showed Abbott and Putin shirtless in a boxing ring. Though perhaps a hundred cartoonists had already done this, she said there was ‘no excuse’ for this ‘insensitive crassness’ and ‘freedom of opinion can only go so far’. It was noted that the last time she laughed was when Whitlam was sacked.  ‘I was overjoyed,’ she said at the time, ‘that this big haughty godless Maoist had got his just comeuppance and I just…gurgled with pleasure.’

Putin’s ambassador said he would not apologise or ‘pay a kopek’ for a lethal event accidentally caused by someone who was not a Russian, and wondered by what lunatic process this ‘holy fool’ Abbott had come to the conclusion that he, Putin, had anything to do with it. ‘A vision in St Barnabus’s chapel, perhaps? A head-nodding, lip-licking, blank-eyed seizure, like one we have seen before?’ It seemed to most diplomats that Abbott was ‘hotting up’ the new Cold War, to the brink of a nuclear exchange.

Six hours after Labor pulled out of talks about a carbon emissions target with the Liberals, Obama and Xi Jinping announced, side by side, a historic deal which brought down US emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2030 and encouraged ‘the nations of the world’ to set similar high targets for themselves. Abbott, who had ruled a discussion of climate change as ‘irrelevant’ in Brisbane, was now looking twice a goose in the one day before six billion people, and his position as Prime Minister was now seriously, seriously in doubt.

Turnbull moved swiftly, and began gathering numbers.

The Shirtfront Chronicles

(First published by Independent Australia)

It is worth noting how big a fool Abbott has made of himself with his ‘shirtfront’ threats, and the harm he has done to his country.

He has accused a world leader of complicity in a mass murder and asked him for money in recompense for it. Though it is unlikely Putin knew of the incident before it happened, he has asked him to take responsibility for it, and, in effect, pay a fine — if he is a good fellow — though he has not spoken of any consequences if he does not.

This was after he threatened to ‘shirtfront him’; then, backing off a bit, ‘have a robust conversation with him’, and then sat beside him for an hour avoiding his eyes and not saying a word to him, showing palpable fear of one who is, after all, the most powerful man in the world.

If the ‘compensation’ he has asked for each dead Australian, or Australian resident, was, say, four hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the money that Putin would be then said to owe the two hundred and ninety-eight victims’ families is 134,100, 000 dollars. This is greatly in excess of the eight hundred dollars Austra
lia pays for a wrongly killed child in Afghanistan, but let us imagine this is the total owed.

But is it Putin that owes it? He supplied weapons to an insurgent force, as America did to the Contras in Nicaragua, who killed, inadvertently, some innocent people in the path of their advance, just as they supplied weapons to the secret force that killed Che Guevara, but they have not yet paid a fine for this wrongdoing to anybody.

And Abbott wants not only money but an apology. He asks no apology from the Malaysian airline official, and the EU official, who guided the plane into a war zone, but he wants an apology from Putin, who had nothing to do with the accident that followed.

And if he doesn’t get the apology, he will do…nothing.

‘Laughing stock’ does not come near the way he is thought of by the wide, wide world this morning. He has accused a powerful man of being an accomplice in mass murder and asked seventeen million one hundred thousand for it, and an apology, and threatened him, if he does not comply, with..nothing.

This after showing palpable cowardice in his presence.

It is likely, though not certain, that Putin will have a press conference, or issue a statement. He will say he has evidence the Ukrainians did it. He may cut off trade with Australia. He may forbid Qantas to fly over Russia. He may ask Abbott to apologise for so accusing him. It is certain he will not ask him to pay a fine.

How serious a blunder is this? Well, it has shown that, after the acclaimed majestic tact of Bob Carr, our foreign policy has been executed by boofheads. Bishop railed, on camera, at the Chinese. Morrison dumped refugees on Indonesia, invading their territory. Abbott said the Scots were unworthy of the freedom Australians have. Hunt refused qualified doctors who wanted to go there, to the ebola-stricken countries of Africa.

And now this. It gets worse, of course.

Putin, next week, will be in Brisbane, imperfectly protected, and journalists will come after him. And he will, at some point, say something. He will accuse Abbott, humorously perhaps, of being ‘not the full quid’.

And the wide, wide world will agree.

And so it will go.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (106)

Hockey’s fifty-one billion dollar deficit proved worse, by twenty-four billion dollars, than Swan’s and Bowen’s. Abbott, in a silly shirt, failed to shirtfront Putin but stood behind him in the photo shoot beaming meekly in his direction. He claimed our troops were ‘going’ to Baghdad but not, for some reason, quite there yet. It was thought they would helpfully ‘train’ the Iraqis to fight ISIL whom they had helpfully trained in an earlier decade, but could not, perhaps, encourage them into a hail of bullets, which they unaccountably feared, or a long avenue of crucifixions across the former Mesopotamia. No photos of the arriving Diggers were published. It was possible they had not turned up, or were on strike for more pay.

Wayne Goss died, and his ending of Queensland corruption was praised by Campbell Newman, under Senate investigation for corruption himself, and it was thought he now could not win against Wayne’s Galahadish ghost an election fought on the many, many bribes his government was currently considering, or hiding.

Morgan showed Labor on 53.5 in Victoria, and Daniel Andrews level-pegging, almost, as preferred Premier, an unheard-of thing in the last hundred years of post-colonial Victorian history. If Andrews landslided in, it would be all up for Abbott, some thought, and Turnbull a likely resurrected saviour, like Napthine, Kennett, Howard, Peacock and Menzies in former glorious tory times. A picture of Napthine and Abbott in identical ties was denounced by Liberal Head Office as a ‘scare campaign’ and it was hoped that Putin would not break Abbott’s nose on camera though he had no strong reason not to. Abbott had after all accused him of a war crime without evidence, and threatened to rough him up in front of the known world despite his judo black belt and murderous bodyguard. A broken nose was the least he could pay for this act of crude, Bart Simpsonish diplomacy.

Abbott joyfully announced he would sign on Friday a ‘free trade’ deal with China, but Heffernan, the respected Liberal Party sheepshagging peasant thug, said China would dud us by manipulating their currency as the US had in the past. The deal would devastate the sugar industry, it was thought, and deliver a million mooing Aussies-on-the-hoof unto claustrophobic torture and mutilation far from the green, green grass of home for a price less than that now paid for diseased dog meat in ebola-afflicted countries.

Jacqui Lambie prepared herself for Remembrance Day.

Two Maxton brothers, heroes of World War 2, were invited to lunch at the Lodge but refused, by Abbott, their air fares from Perth or a hotel booking which they, in their nineties, could not now afford, Airlines, hotels and Canberra people offered them help worth forty thousand dollars after they on Canberra radio voiced their annoyance that ‘we got free air travel to World War 2 but not to its peacetime celebration. The risk to our lives was not worth two bob after the war was over.’ This minginess from Abbott, who hoped to give the Japanese billions to build our submarines, seemed to some commentators ‘hydrophobic in its craziness’ and, especially on Remembrance Day, excessively shameful. He meanwhile got to see Putin and was very, very polite, as cowards are.

With similar demented parsimony Hockey said he would he would ‘cut not even sixpence’ from the fifty-one billion dollar deficit his catastrophic Budget, the worst in hman history, was now in. The interest on this deficit mounted, at the rate of 5,059 dollars a minute, or 51 million dollars a week, or 235 million a month, in what could only be described by a mean-spirited commentator as a ‘debt and deficit disaster’.

And so concluded another day of the worst free-elected government in the history of democracy, a system invented in Iceland in AD 934.

Wayne Goss

Wayne Goss twice changed history; once by ridding Queensland of the stench of Hinze and Bjelke-Petersen and restoring democracy to that fouled paradise; and once by falling off his bike and, finding he had cancer, withdrawing from the 1998 election. He was to oppose Pauline Hanson in her seat, and his presence on Kim Beazley’s team and his shadow cabinet would have added, probably, four seats to the Queensland victories and made Kim Prime Minister. Kim won eighteen seats and needed twenty-one. And so it went.

He once accused me of ruining Australia; plausibly, I fear. Had I not wrecked Bronwyn Bishop, he told me at Mick Young’s wake, she would have led the Liberals to defeat in 1996 and there would have been no Howard era.

We did, by the look of it, comparable harm.

And so it goes. And went.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (105)

Julie Bishop said there was no glass ceiling and those fourteen-year-old girls raped and hanged from trees in Pakistan should ‘stop whingeing’ and ‘get on with it’. She thus enraged three hundred million progressive women in the Muslim world, and was hailed as a ‘great foreign minister’ by Harper’s Bazaar. This magazine predicted she could soon be the second childless unmarried female Prime Minister in Australia in two years, and her fervid fight for the cause of unrecompensed mesothelioma over ten years make her a ‘shoo-in’.

Andrew Bolt asked that Malcolm Turnbull be replaced by a ‘less Leftist’ Minister and named among the ‘Leftist’ ABC presenters the Liberal voters Tony Jones, Fran Kelly, Virginia Trioli, Leigh Sales and Jon Faine. ‘The ABC has only one former Minister, Amanda Vanstone, from the Liberals’ Left,’ he added with asperity, ‘with her own show on RN, and er, no former Labor Ministers whatever.’ Some Liberal Ministers defended the ABC, he added, because the ABC would then support them in the ‘coming leadership battle with Scott Morrison, oops, can we do that again.’ His big, handsome Aryan head was throbbing. He was not feeling well.

Jacqui Lambie had ruined her career, The Daily Telegraph editorial said, by wanting more pay for soldiers, and asking they be allowed to spend Christmas with their families. She is ‘not sustainable,’ the editorial roared. The soldiers had got ‘the best possible deal on the table’, that is, death by suicide after trauma in a fat-headed lost war and no money for their children, and ‘history would turn its back’ on ‘grandstanding’ Jacqui Lambie. This outraged a million survivors of World War 2 and cut by half the Liberal voters in that age group, plus one quarter of the current generation of army wives.

Abbott continued to amaze the civilised world by promising a ‘robust conversation’ with the world’s most powerful man, Putin, whom he would accuse of mass-murdering thirty-seven Australians and ask to come quietly, please, in these handcuffs, or apologise perhaps, for a vast and sordid war crime and give himself up to the ICC. Though warned that Putin would refuse to see him, or call a press conference denouncing him, or, worse, break his nose with his elbow in a rapid judo attack and kick him into the corridor, he persisted in this lunatic mission statement before leaving the country in a state of beaming sedation. He would also, he added, stop the world talking about Climate Change, since he alone chose what would be talked about in Brisbane, or anywhere. Many believed him to be off his tree and it was thought Julie Bishop would overthrow him by Christmas, until it was remembered she was an ally of mesothelioma, and a friend of ebola, and Ross Lightfoot, and the party began to ponder, unwillingly, going back to Malcolm Turnbull, a friend and business partner of the Whitlams, a well-loved brand-name of the recent week.

Napthine hoped to win young mothers’ votes by promising them a hundred dollars. This would make up for the extra money they spent on petrol in country towns, he reasoned, though not on the flow-on in grocery prices from what petrol cost in those same towns. Perhaps he should have promised them more. Then Julie Bishop said women should ‘stop whingeing and get on with it’ and become, like her, and Thatcher, the mistress of an aged millionaire, and Napthine put his face in his hands.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (104)

Miranda Devine, whom Noel Pearson attacked in his Whitlam speech, said in her column he was not as good as Martin Luther King, who invoked, unlike Pearson, our ‘better angels’. No, no, no, Miranda, it was Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, who, 102 years before Martin, coined that phrase. She said ‘Pearson’s gifts of oratory were like a balm’, but… he was ‘wrong about everything’. His claim to being badly treated as a poor black boy in Queensland in the 70s was nothing, she said, to the sorrows of  ‘a hesitant young woman in a room of VIPs’ like her good self in the same far-off era when she was barely thirty.

She said Pearson was wrong, really wrong, to praise Whitlam for anything, anything at all. He ‘symbolised,’ she said, ‘all the fakery and damaging illogic of the Australian left…If you believe in equality,’ she said, ‘you don’t tell Australians who weren’t in that hall, who voted Whitlam out of office in a historic landslide and who reject his myths that you doubt their empathy.’

This is true; she said that. There are grounds in her last two columns for her being taken into care. Likewise Piers Akerman, who alleged that Cate Blanchett’s uni education was not, as she thought, ‘free’, because he and other taxpayers had funded it. How did she come to think it was ‘free’?

…Well, she didn’t pay for it, Piers. That is the usual meaning of ‘free’. In the same way as those fed by the Salvation Army get ‘free lunches’, her NIDA training was free. It was free to her. Somebody paid for it, but it was free to her. And she in turn would pay taxes for another NIDA student’s free tuition in a later era. Got that ? This is how civilisation works. Got that? No? He went on to say that the ‘legends around Whitlam’…’had grown since he was sacked in 1975 and flowed freely since his death on October 21. Almost all of them untrue.’

The ending of the Vietnam War, that would be, wouldn’t it. Utterly untrue. The ending of conscription. Equal pay for women. Free medical care for everybody. The first recognition of China. Sewers to the western suburbs. Or perhaps he has another list. He can print it here, any time.

Fran Kelly, a Liberal voter, said Gerard Henderson, a Liberal voter, was right when he said David Marr, a Labor voter, was wrong when he said the Queen was not in danger. Her uncle Mountbatten had been blown up by the Irish, he shouted, as recently as 1979! A nation with which England, as any fool knows, is still at war! This was why she should have a guard on Remembrance Day! ‘She always has a guard on Remembrance Day, Gerard,’ Marr sighed, ‘or she has since 1936.’ ‘You don’t understand what I’m saying!’ Gerard shouted. ‘Men call me mad, but I know what I know!’

‘He’s right in every particular,’ Fran said, and…so is David.’ Cassidy, who worked for Hawke in better days, put his head in his hands.

‘I knew an Irishman once,’ Gerard sobbed. ‘His name… was Mannix… Oh God, this pain in my head.’

Andrew Bolt, a Liberal voter, said Mark Scott, a Liberal voter, was far too left-wing. This turncoat Howard appointee had turned the previously balanced ABC into ‘a hive of Trotskyists’, he said, who kept acclaiming former Labor Prime Ministers whom the voters loved, Keating, Hawke, Rudd, Gillard, and ignoring John Howard, so detested by humankind he lost his seat, though Albrechtsen, famed for her political balance, proposed to interview him for four hours uninterrupted. And…he had to be stopped. Scott, that was. Mark Scott.

This Scott had to go, averred Bolt, warmly, and a ‘more balanced’ CEO appointed, like Peter Reith or Ross Lightfoot, ‘or even, perhaps, my good self.’

‘You’d be IDEAL!’ squealed Sharri Markson, looking down her sleek nose-job at him with love, as Charlotte Rampling did at Dirk Bogarde in the famous sadomasochistic soft-porn movie about the former Nazi guard and his randy Jewish prisoner. The sexual tension built.

And so it went.

The Fading Down Of The Red Alert

I could be wrong about this, but it seems to me the ISIL-death-cult-red-alert-oh-my-God big scare of Abbott, Brandis, Bishop and Morrison isn’t working any more, and the homemade bombs found this morning in Queensland won’t be thought a danger to the G20 by anyone.

There are reasons for this. One was the Whitlam funeral, to which more likely ‘targets’ came than to any Australian event in in history. But there were no helicopter-gunships thumping overhead, no army snipers on adjacent roofs, no swarms of coppers in the Hall and a minimal search of luggage at the entrances. I got in with three objects — an ipad, a radio, a mobile — that could have been bombs, and seven Prime Ministers sat in the front rows without any bodyguards.

There was also the youth of the only two ‘terrorists’ we have been shown thus far: the ‘ginger jihadist’ and the boy we shot in the head in Victoria, both seventeen. And the plastic samurai sword captured by a seven-hundred-man helicopter raid predawn on an Arab suburb where nothing else was found, and no-one went to gaol.

On top of this, there’s been the ‘shirtfront’ matter, and Mark Rutte evincing doubt that the ‘act of evil’ was anything more than an accidental wartime shooting down by, perhaps, the Ukrainians.

And there is the demeanour of Abbott himself. Yesterday, near tears, his voice cracking, he said he would ‘do what any Australian would do’, which is, um, to ask, um, Putin to ‘co-operate in the investigation into the airline crash’, and ‘help us bring the culprits to justice’. Many Anzacs would have called it a pretty piss-weak call to arms. Not exactly our finest hour. Not exactly a charge on Lone Pine.

And it’s been a pretty piss-weak ‘red alert’ all up. The Muslim leaders on Q&A seemed very reasonable people, and more dignified and civilised and courteous than, say, Scott Morrison. And Abbott railing about apocalyptic death cults seems, sometimes, just mad. And Morrison seems mad all the time.

I don’t say all this is happening on a conscious level. But, underneath, underneath it all, the public is beginning, just beginning, to see the whole thing as a beat-up.

And Abbott as a shifty, lip-licking con-man.

Our Chicken Little-in-Chief.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (133)

I’m suspending ‘The Three Worst Things’ for a week or so and may do some reviews, and put up more things on Ellis Gold.

Anyone who wants to should do a review of The Ellis Laws. I will print the first five that come in.

The launch is on Saturday next at 3.30 for 4 by James Carleton at Gleebooks.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (103)

Dennis Shanahan, a Liberal voter, proposed that Abbott be replaced by Julie Bishop, a divorced, childless, asbestos-funded advocate of mesothelioma who would, he said, ‘bring back the women’s vote’ when it was revealed her first lover, Ross Lightfoot, was a racist ranting thicko. Mark Rutte, a Dutchman, claimed he now knew what ‘shirtfront’ meant, but did not know if the Russians or the Ukrainians shot down MH 17, and he would wait for the experts’ verdict. He’d had no trouble seeing Putin, but was humorously unsurprised to hear that Abbott ‘couldn’t get an appointment.’

All hope of Napthine winning vanished from the headlines. It was thought by Lonergan Polling that the Greens would pick up two Labor seats in Victoria. Lonergan last year predicted Rudd, Swan, Burke, Bowen, Clare and Dreyfus would lose their seats in landslides. They did it by ringing on Late Shopping Nights the landlines of the Menzies generation and the Liberals liked what these nonagenarians reported and were wrong in every case.

Jacqui Lambie, a famously battle-bruised military person, said she would vote down all Abbott-Hockey legislation till they stopped persecuting our Diggers, and asked all veterans to ‘turn their backs’ on Liberal speakers on Remembrance Day next week. This made her, not Palmer, the one whom Hockey must persuade, with free universities perhaps, to let his lunatic Budget, or parts of it, through the Senate and he didn’t see how he could do this. The RSL and everyone over seventy were on her side, and it now seemed he and Abbott might have to call a Double Dissolution they would certainly lose and ruin the Liberal Party forever since there was now no other option.

Soldiers continued to live well in Dubai and not to go to Iraq. It was hoped they would get there soon, before Baghdad fell to crucifying fanatics who might then behead them on YouTube. Abbott went to Beijing hoping to ‘shirtfront’ Putin who was contemptuously evading his advances.

Noel Pearson was compared to Martin Luther King for hailing Whitlam’s Indigenous policies in ‘the best Australian speech ever’. Andrew Bolt was denounced for denouncing Whitlam while he was still warm, Miranda Devine for alleging Whitlam had boasted he was ‘a Westie made good’, as grave a mistake as calling John F. Kennedy ‘a poor white Southern trailer-trash low-life loser’. She was never that good at fact-checking — believing, for instance, that Christ ‘rose from the dead’ — but very beautiful and consequently overpaid.

Gerard Henderson cursed the ABC for putting on men who ‘attacked the Liberal Party from the right’, Leyonhjelm and Berg. It was wrong, in his view, to attack the Liberal Party at all, on a ‘balanced’ broadcaster. The Liberal Party, after all, got almost 30 percent of the vote sometimes, and Labor and the Greens between them a mere 50 percent, which meant the Liberal Party, the underdog, on a ‘balanced’ broadcaster… Henderson found himself not wanted any more on Insiders after calling a fellow panellist corrupt, and his Newscorps pay packet shrinking weekly. ‘He’s always been an idiot,’ a Murdoch editor said, ‘but he used to conceal it better.’ More to come.

Propaganda Studies (8): Niggerising Muslims

America practised slavery for three hundred years and was nostalgic for it another fifty, and the habits of mind formed by that system are shaping the nation still. ‘We don’t negotiate with terrorists’ is much the same as ‘Up the back of the bus, Nigger,’ and a good example of the tendency.

They refused to negotiate with Hamas, though it won power democratically in an election Jimmy Carter observed and validated. They wouldn’t negotiate with the Taliban, though the Taliban rules great parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. And they won’t negotiate with Islamic State, which rules an area the size of Britain, including a lot of oil wells; in much the same way as they wouldn’t talk to Red China for twenty-three years, wouldn’t even agree it existed.

What does all this signify? Denial, certainty. A kind of childishness: take my bat and ball and go home. And an attitude of mind that licenses bad behaviour towards these low-lifes, these heathens, these…subhumans. They ‘target’ them (that is, assassinate them) by drone strikes in undeclared, illegal wars, bombing to bits their adjacent wives and children. They call them ‘not a nation, but a death-cult’, as they never did Hitler’s Germany or the Sun-King Hirohito’s Japan. They will never, they say, sit down and negotiate with them, even if they conquer, and hold Baghdad. We don’t negotiate with niggers. Of course we don’t.

What then are they going to do with them, if they win this war? If thy take back all of Mesopotamia? Nuke them? It’s a very petulant, very transient, very random frame of mind. They negotiate with Red China now, and owe it trillions of dollars; and with the crooked, cruel dictator Putin. They even talk, unofficially, to the Castros.

But not these fanatical Muslim heathens, no. They have the status of slaves. No rights, no defence, no basis for discussion. No grievances to redress, not even Abu Ghraib. Not even Shock and Awe. They are heathens, and we don’t talk to them.

It gets crazier and crazier, and it’s called foreign policy. It’s like the way the Tea Party treated Obama: up the back of the bus, Nigger. We don’t talk to your kind. On your knees. Hands on your head. Suck on this.

It’s actually psychotic; and we should have no part of it.

Or perhaps you disagree.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (102)

Abbott gave twenty-two million to foreigners to treat Ebola in Africa and made sure as little as possible of this money came back to Australia. It was ‘not desirable,’ he said, that our army deal with this world emergency, as our soldiers were needed in Iraq, which would not admit them, and those hundreds of Australians who had volunteered to beat back this humanity-risking pandemic could pay their own fares or otherwise go to buggery. It was now a private business’s private concern, and if they could hire cheaper doctors than Australian ones, in the pursuit of company profits, it was none of Australia’s business though it was Australia’s money. And if they chose to donate some of these profits to the Liberal Party, well, that was their own affair.

It was established it was safe a month ago for Australians to go to Liberia and Sierra Leone, where they would be looked after by the UK if they were infected, but Abbott said it wasn’t, it never was, it was perfectly untrue to say this. His habit of lying was thus affirmed, and so was Morrison’s when Julian Burnside said, correctly, before receiving his Peace Prize, that a murder had been covered up that two Australians and twelve others had been involved in, and some witnesses bribed to cover it up. Morrison said the Peace Prize winner ‘had form’ in opposing his ‘successful’ policy of turning back the boats, and shouldn’t be listened to, he was lying. Burnside considered suing him, then thought he might let him twist in the wind for a bit. He was widely known as a child tormentor, and mght, in the next few days, grow even madder.

Abbott went to Whitlam’s funeral, and was surprised to hear his friend Noel Pearson cursing him for going back on his promises to the ‘first Australians’, and greatly afeared when this speech was hailed as ‘the greatest in Australia’s history’. He was booed in the street, and soon told he mustn’t go anywhere near Victoria, where Napthine was denying corrupt arrangements in some Labor-held seats, which were much like those in New South Wales, where Joe ‘Chinese lunch’ Hockey held sway, and the coal-loving Tony Abbott, who had called that pollutant ‘humankind’s future’ and was thought by the civilised world an idiot for saying so. Newspaper stories kept appearing in which it was asserted he might soon ‘fall under a bus’ and people much older than he were his ‘natural successor’.

One of these candidates, Julie Bishop, who was fifty-eight, displayed her new boy-friend, David Panton, a ‘property investor’, at the Melbourne Cup. Another ‘property investor’, Neil Gillon, had been her husband for four years in the 1980s (when her name was, amusingly, ‘Julia Gillon’), in succession to her elderly, rancorous lover/mentorRoss Lightfoot, a semifascist bloody-minded West Australian Senator despised by much of the civilised world for his beastly, stupid and ofttimes racist opinions. It was hoped this new match with a heinous fertile capitalist multi-millionaire would humanise this woman as she made plans to become Prime Minister.

It was known, however, that she had defended, in her guise as The Mesothelioma Princess, James Hardie for many years, in the deathless noble cause of minimising payouts to those, like Bernie Banton, who were dying of this ghastly, coughing, asbestos-related lung-bleeding disease in the last years and months of their agonised lifetimes. And it was feared that this would be held against her when she strove to wield the dagger and supplant her Leader in the Liberals’ traditional, imminent ‘regicide season’ of December this year.

And so it went.

Recommended Reading

All the Whitlam funeral speeches yesterday, reprinted in the middle pages of the Sydney Morning Herald

‘This Old Man’

(First published by Independent Australia)

For a time it seemed Rudd must sit beside Gillard, but it was soon sorted, and they sat, eyes averted, two apart. Keating, entering, with Annita, got huge applause, Hawke with Blanche less so, Penny Wong and her ‘spouse’ a great deal, Garrett a little more, Gillard a vast, standing ovation. Silence greeted Howard and Janette. Abbott, unaccompanied, materialised in the front row, from, it seemed, a secret entrance, having been booed out on the street.

Jill Wran was there. Albo and Carmel, Deputy Premier and Deputy Prime Minister, man and wife. John Brown. Smith and Swan. Menadue. Spigelman. Two Fergusons. Les Johnson and Doug McClelland. Barry Jones, famous now since 1948, irrepressible, buoyant, grizzled. Phillip Adams, looking as he did since he was twenty-five. Bob Carr. Latham not there of course; of course. Like Hemingway, he never forgave a favour.

Huge pipe organ music as the tall Family entered, a ‘flotilla of Whitlams’ I used to call them, fewer now. From the upper level, near the front, I could see all the faces, like a perfect stained glass window of a gathering of sainted worthies, in a Labor sacred site, the Sydney Town Hall, where, six months ago, Nifty’s coffin had lain, and his daughter, now on a charge of murder, had spoken over him, quoting Shakespeare.

There was the national anthem and Kerry O’Brien came forward, tawny and mild-mannered, Steve McQueen-like, as always, and I remembered how, on the day of the Sacking, he, beside me in the Press Gallery, had said ‘Let slip the dogs of war’. He told of working on Gough’s last campaign, the energy, the detail, the generosity, the fury, the joy. And there was a welcome to country, and a potent didgeridoo, and then…Freudenberg.

The years melted away and I remembered Freudy in 1977 after Gough resigned saying, ‘I’m, what, forty-two, and my life is over. It ended tonight.’ I remembered how ten years ago, after a lunch with Geoff Shaw, Gough said, ‘Lend me a shoulder, comrade,’ and, leaning on Freudy, walked from the building, linked forever to his collaborator and chronicler, messiah and apostle hobbling together into the bright glow of history.

Freudy’s speech, and his delivery of it, showed the great orator the Legislative Assembly lost when the Labor Party, in its wisdom, nominated Eddie Obeid instead. Like his speech on getting Life Membership, in the same Town Hall, it was among the best ten of our nation. But there was more, and better, to come.

Across the world with perfect symmetry America’s Whitlam, Obama, was being ended by ebola and Fox News, the toy of Murdoch, who had ended Gough also, and the choir and the orchestra performed the St Matthew Passion final chorus by J.F. Bach.

Cate Blanchett came forward and spoke of how she, as a woman, was better able to explore what she could do in the world because of Whitlam’s free universities and Abbott, the Minister for Women, cringed in the front row. The choir sang the chorus of the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves by Verdi and things notched up a bit.

Fifteen years ago I called Noel Pearson ‘Australia’s best orator’ after sharing a stage with him in Mosman. He proved it again before a vaster audience in Town Hall with an oration rich in wile and fury, almost Elizabethan in its intimacy, clarity and beauty, in which, being now himself a man of no party, he extolled the ‘old man’ he, his people, and Australia, owed so much. Quickly hailed as the ‘best Australian speech, ever’, it became, like Lincoln’s second inaugural, a new benchmark of the language well used in a great cause on a high occasion. Kelly and Carmody then sang ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ in an atmosphere charged like none since wartime.

Faulkner’s tribute and Tony Whitlam’s thanks then swiftly followed and the first chords of ‘Jerusalem’, as always, had me in tears. I remembered Gough at Margaret’s funeral theatrically steering his wheelchair out of the church as the choir sang ‘I shall not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand’, and knowing, I think, precisely knowing, that this was the last that most of us would see of him, heroically engulfed in this great Labour anthem, tragically leaving, making his exit, the job unfinished. And here was the song again.

It was swiftly sung, and that was it. No coffin was carried out. There was silence. The orchestra conductor stood undecided. Would there be more? No. An inconclusive, shuffling silence. And that was it.

It was an occasion memorable for its reticence, proud good taste, and almost Anglican harmony of soul. No humorous montage of wacky television moments was projected. Gough’s own voice did not occur, though the imitations of others, on stage and at the party afterwards, were many and usually good, Mike Carlton’s, as always, the best. There was a feeling not so much of sadness, or even happiness at a great life well concluded, but of an enormous, high-vaulting life interrupted, diverted, dislocated, and of thirty-eight years then somewhat, though not altogether, hobbled or diminished in a sort of haughty nightclub act, of a stand-up elder statesman for a nation’s regretful posterity.

For language honours and forgives/Everyone by whom it lives, as Auden said of Yeats. Lincoln, Churchill, the Kennedys, Obama, had varying successes and great failures in war and peace, but their gift of language, of the smooth self-mocking utterance, of bringing the house down with gales of laughter, made up for their failings, while millions died.

Whitlam’s record was better than theirs. He embarked on no new war. He ended one. He uplifted three generations to a possibility of personal excellence like none before him, or after. He fought the good fight, he finished, or almost finished, the course. He kept the faith. Now there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness.

And so it goes.

The November Primates Poem

Beweep the loss of Whitlam, Gough.
Some thought him an arch, preening toff,
Some the nation’s lost messiah,
Or Labor’s towering pillar of fire.

He was more intricate than that,
Generous, testy, sly as a cat,
Prepared to tear the temple down
Like Samson, if denied the crown.

In his brief stormy thousand days
He strove to awe, delight, amaze
And build a new Jerusalem
For all, no longer us and them:

Suburban sewers, free degrees,
Black rights, Blue Poles, life drunk to the lees,
Art films, home brew, and drinking grants,
Feminism in hot pants,

Until an old, fat, jealous queen
Dismissed, Primates, what might have been
And reinstated greed and lies
As what on this earth makes men wise.

Gough goes tomorrow…nowhere much,
As we few left reach up to touch
His lofty unrepentant vision
Of good works, high wit, and curt derision.

We’ll miss him more than we do now
As the planet warms and foul winds blow
And in his wake we too set sail
In fire. To Gough. Godspeed. Wassail.

Dorrigo’s Flaw: The Narrow Road to the Deep North, A Review

(From Rosemarie Gray)

I can say, with unfailing sincerity, that this has been the most profoundly moving book I’ve read in years. Flanagan seems to have dug deep and the result was it touched a part of me. His writing is poetic, observational, and deeply humane.

The novel is about life, death, despair, loneliness, love, connection, redemption. It’s a grim work, centred on the experiences of the Australian prisoners of war who were used as slave labour in the construction of the Thailand-Burma railway during World War II. In writing the novel, Flanagan drew on the experiences of his father, a survivor of that horrific ordeal, and the public life of his central protagonist is clearly inspired by that of Weary Dunlop.

Dorrigo Evans is a flawed, clever, charismatic man who never realised his potential even though he gathers around him, success, accolades for being brave, and an intact family. Still, the depths of him want other things. His great love, Amy, for a start, but the war interferes with everything.

Was Dorrigo flawed before the war? He was young and caught between two worlds, one of future societal success vs. Love. How many young people have to pick one or the other? It’s hard to know if the war changed Dorrigo, made him cut off from himself, lonely, a caricature, but it certainly enhanced his detachment.

Months and months of pointless cruelty in a jungle in Burma, cutting down bamboo, building a railway for the Japanese, doctoring to the dying, sick men who were POWs and slaves, makes Dorrigo into a man outside of himself, watching as he tries to be compassionate when there’s no point to it. He keeps playing a game he doesn’t believe in while wondering as to the why of it. Yes – why, 300 men against 3 Japanese guards - why did the masses put up with such cruelty during the war? Why are people cowed by so few? Why do we put up with things? Why not fight? Dorrigo didn’t fight, nor any of the POWs in camp. Darky Gardiner (my heart bled for Darky), Bigelow, even Amy, all allowed life to gobble them up.

I’ve read Frankl and Primo Levi, Anne Frank, and other books by survivors. Somehow Flanagan’s book has touched me more deeply than any others. Beneath the muck, the cruelty, the banality of war and love, there is the indomitability of carrying on, of continuing to weave a life from, at times, particles of glass. This is a grim tale, with few light moments. It’s not an enjoyable book to read, but it is a powerful one. For me, though, the emotional effect came not from developing a connection with the characters, from which I felt a certain distance, but from the situation they found themselves in.

The Man Booker judges said this book is a ‘masterpiece’.
I agree.

Flanagan’s Weary: The Narrow Road To The Deep North, A Review

(From Doug Quixote)

The Narrow Road to the Deep North is an exploration of human character and of human behaviour disguised as a novel set in wartime. Richard Flanagan uses as a main plot the heroic story of a Weary Dunlop clone (called Dorrigo Evans); for those who may not know the story, Dunlop was a medical doctor, a surgeon, who also happened also to be a colonel in World War II who was taken prisoner by the Japanese and after a time became the senior officer in a POW camp in Java, was briefly in Changi and then was set to work on the infamous Burma Railway. After the War he became famous as a surgeon and a celebrity in his own right.

Flanagan claims this novel to be a work of fiction, but Dunlop’s career is followed in significant detail. Naturally, the sometimes colourful personal life details are likely to be unwelcome to many of Dunlop’s relatives, hence the use of fiction.

But that is only the framework; the novel explores the character of Dorrigo Evans in great detail; and also the characters of Amy his mistress of the late 1930′s, who happened to be the wife of his uncle; the character of Ella his wife, a daughter of ‘polite society’ and just the sort of wife a young man with prospects will need. The tension Evans suffers as he is torn between the two is interesting and lends a human scale to the immensity to follow.

In parallel with these significant women we join Flanagan in examining the cast of characters in the prisoner of war camp, some of whom Dorrigo Evans knew from the years before they were captured by the Japanese. The prisoners suffer, as we may expect, from all the infections, cruelties and privations of a Japanese POW camp, and Evans struggles with the prison officers and guards to try to retain some semblance of decent treatment for his men. We agonise with him over his decisions, the conflict between what is best for his immediate patient and what is best for all his men (about 1000 early on), what he can get away with, what he can negotiate, what he cannot.

What he cannot is circumscribed by the Japanese guards and their attitude to their prisoners. Their view is that the right thing to do would have been to fight to the death or to commit suicide rather than be taken prisoner. Thus they view the prisoners as a whole as unworthy and men who should really be pleased to die as slaves for the Emperor, to expiate their guilt.

We are taken inside the minds of the prison commandant, a senior Japanese officer and one of the guards; the views of the officers and the view of a Korean peasant, caught up in the Japanese war machine.

The eventual fate of the three main Japanese characters is poignant – the senior officer is never pursued; the camp commandant fades his way into the general population and lives a long life; whilst the Korean guard is captured, tried and hanged. Still bewildered as to what he did wrong. The tragedy of the Nuremberg Defence (‘I was only following orders’) has rarely been more starkly evident.

Many men die in the course of Dorrigo Evans’ part of the war as the Japanese feverishly seek to complete the Thai-Burma Railway, ultimately futile and short lived, a tragic waste of men and > resources; no-one can tell how many thousand Siamese and Chinese died, perhaps hundreds of thousands; but many thousands of Australians died in the same endeavour.

Many men died; not always the right ones, as a Hollywood version would probably have us believe. Men we would consider ‘good’ died; men we would consider ‘evil’ survived, though Flanagan cannot resist having some of them suffer ends that restore our sense of karma.

The title The Narrow Road to the Deep North is derived from haibun, a seminal Japanese text. The ultimate distillation of the Narrow Road to the Deep North might be that the journey is the thing; that the intended destination is really only an incident along the path.

Flanagan uses some of the great haiku as sorbet to the tragic parts of his story. Or perhaps they are the real story:

In this world
we walk on the roof of hell
gazing at flowers.



A world of pain -
if the cherry blossoms,
it blossoms.


Similar sentiments are expressed in western thought, but seldom so concisely.

Like all novels regarded as great it can be read on different levels of meaning, different levels of sophistication. A great novel, worthy of its acclaim.

Read it for yourself; and for your own sake.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (101)

A UN report said the human race will end if we don’t stop using coal. This was two weeks after Abbott said ‘Coal is our future’. It was cheaper, he said, to abolish our species than save it and this was ‘the economically responsible thing to do’. Billions a year would therefore be given to coal producers not solar power engineers, or to householders wanting solar panels on their roofs. Humankind would end but this made ‘all the economic sense in the world’.

Morrison’s enemy Julian Burnside won the Sydney Peace Prize. It was expected he would be arrested soon and serve ten years for revealing ‘sensitive government operations’ on Manus and Nauru unless Brandis was a friend of his, but the Prize may delay for a while his ‘disappearing’. Morrison spoke in tongues at his Caringbah church and prayed for God’s guidance as to where to send the boats back to, now Widodo wouldn’t take them. God, to his amazement, spoke back to him in tongues and he couldn’t understand a word He said.

Howard cursed Abbott for annoying Indonesia. ‘Indonesians will work with you if you don’t embarrass them,’ he said — like declaring your sovereign right to bug the phone calls of their President’s wife.

Newspoll showed Labor picking up eight seats in Victoria and governing for forty years. Ipsos, ringing mobile phones, showed two thirds of voters revolted by Pyne’s quarter million dollar uni degrees, and Abbott, after his war on Putin, thought no better a PM than Shorten. It was believed these numbers would come down when Putin ‘shirtfronted’ him, told him the Ukrainians shot down MH 17 and refused his proffered hand. And when, of course, he said ‘Coal is our future’ to the assembled nations of the world.

As promised, Australian soldiers henceforth at risk of their lives would see their wages’ buying power shrivel in the next three years while our traditional beheaders, the Japanese, would make billions building our submarines, and a foreign corporation another billion looking for MH 370 in three oceans. Tens of millions continued to be spent on the hotel bills of soldiers ‘not yet invited’ to Iraq that could have been spent on, say, protecting battered wives from being murdered by their former husbands, and saving the next Luke Batty’s life.

Morgan showed the Coalition on 45.5 percent, with 59 percent of women hating Abbott, and Labor winnng South Australia by 63 percent, Victoria by 60.5 Tasmania by 57, NSW by 52, and getting 49 in WA and 49.5 in Queensland. Newspoll, a few hours later, showed much the same thing. These were worse figures than any scored by the Coalition in any election since 1946.

Brandis ‘faced down’ some dignified Arabs in Bankstown and couldn’t say when the ‘right to be bigoted’ crossed a line and became ‘abusing women in the street’. He would not say what sentence the seventeen-year-old ‘ginger jihadist’ would get if he came back — although he was still legally a child — or if he would be targeted for assassination in Syria by Americans informed of his whereabouts by ASIO. He swore the new powers he had to arrest any journalist he liked would be never, ever used.

A private jet in Indonesian air space was pursued by two air force fighter bombers and nearly shot down, an indication of what will happen to Morrison’s ‘orange lifeboats’ in the future. He now had nowhere to turn the boats back to, and a great armada would be coming soon.

And thus concluded another day of the worst free-elected government in the history of democracy, a system founded in Iceland in AD 934.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (100)

Great storms and bushfires afflicted Sydney and the Blue Mountains and Abbott refused to discuss Climate Change at the G20 — with Obama, Putin, or anybody. It would ‘go in a footnote’ he said, in ‘the final communique’. The ABC Board said two dollars thirty-five a week per household was a fair price for everything the broadcaster did — that is, four cents per person per day — and cursed him for eroding with cuts both blatant and sneaky the ‘nation’s spare university’.

A former Howard adviser, Geoff Cousins, called ‘a Mickey Mouse scheme’ Abbott’s plan to pay polluters millions not to pollute as much, including Palmer, who co-wrote it, or let them pollute as much as they liked unpenalised.

Bombing of Cobane continued. Two hundred thousand people had left it, and would have no shops or houses to come back to. The dead rotted in the streets. The refugees festered in Turkey, which did not want them. Australia was not involved in this battle, it was in Syria. For the fourteenth week, the war criminal Assad was not mentioned; we were on his side. Australian troops cooled their heels in Dubai, waiting to be called to a war which, already lost, they were not welcome in. Millions were spent on their waiting. ‘Plenty of time,’ one of them said. ‘This will be a hundred-year war, at the least.’

Further millions were spent on the search for skerricks of MH 370. These millions could have been spent on the ABC, which was now cancelling its Friday 7.30s, and sacking their staffs, including presumably, the hero Quentin Dempster.

Brandis called ‘perfectly justified’ the twenty million spent on hounding the innocent Julia Gillard. She could sue him now, for calling her ‘a criminal’, and sue as well about twenty of them for saying the same thing. She ordered a Guinness, and thought about it.

Morrison prayed in tongues for guidance on where, now, he could send the boats back to. There didn’t seem to be anywhere. The High Court considered putting him in gaol.

And so it went.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (99)

Growing madder by the day, Gerard Henderson cited ‘proof’ that the ABC was biased against the Coalition. ’46 percent of Coalition voters said it was,’ he proffered, fervidly, ‘Nielsen said so’. And, worse, ’36 percent of Coalition voters said it was, Newspoll said so.’ That the Newspoll figures mean 83 percent of the nation think the ABC is not biased, or biased towards the Coalition, he gamely concealed, or did not notice. He is, as is famously known, not well in his mind.

He said ‘no serious conservative commentator’ appears on the ABC, dismissing himself, it seems, or perhaps forgetting himself; as he does from time to time, It was noted that Switzer and Vanstone have their own shows, but they were ‘only on radio,’ he blithered, and Vanstone is ‘not a conservative’ — though she sent back the Bakhtiyaris to their murder by the Taliban when she was Minister. Not conservative enough for Gerard, it seems. Even Skynews, he railed, had as a television presenter Kristina Keneally, the blonde American fundamentalist Catholic, as ‘left-wing balance’ for its thirty-eight right-wing presenters, on a show nobody watches. The ABC was therefore much more biased than Skynews, he blithered, or the Daily Telegraph, or the Herald-Sun. Gerard’s wage was reduced once again, to his astonishment, and was less now than what a baby sitter earned in 1983. ‘Men call me mad,’ he howled at midnight on Macquarie Street, ‘but I know what I know! 36 percent! 36 percent!’

In the same paper Chris Kenny, who does not, I am told, fuck donkeys unless it is safe to do so, said Morrison’s turn-backs ‘had worked’ and there would be no more boats coming here, ever, because Morrison, who was ‘not for turning’, turned them back to Indonesia. He said this ten days after Widodo warned of war if any more boats came his way. ‘The policy was successful in the past,’ Kenny wrote. ‘We shouldn’t talk of the future. The past, ah yes, the past, the past is enough for me. No more boats! No more boats!’

Abbott flew to Albany to celebrate the departure a hundred years ago of 58,000 Australians who never came back and 450,000 who came back mutilated or traumatised, from a war that had no purpose or good result. They did the right thing, he swore, to thus destroy by volunteering for this global fiasco their communities and the lives of their widows, fiancees, little children and grieving parents, and shrinking by half the talent-base of their country’s future endeavour. He knew this praise for a national calamity was smart politics, like sending ‘boots on the ground’ to Iraq to fight an unwinnable war against teenage Australian jihadists he could blow to smithereens once ASIS found where they were. More to come.