Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Forty-Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (209)

Newspoll, the inaccurate one, showed Labor on 46 in New South Wales. Redistributing Green preferences and Independents and Christian Democrats as they were in 2011 and not as they are now, leaning more Labor’s way, and ringing only landlines though no-one under thirty has one, and cravenly obeying Murdoch’s fumed commands on Skype, Newspoll reduced an election-winning 49 to 46, and did so before the Debate, in which Baird said there was ‘no Plan B’ for finding the money the Upper House won’t give him, and their permission to sell the poles and wires. The accurate poll Morgan showed Labor 0.6 percent away from winning only four hours before.

No apology for the headline ‘WE NEED YOU, TONY!’ appeared in the Daily Telegraph. There occurred instead in The Australian an editorial demanding Abbott stay on. ‘He can change for the better,’ it explained (you can’t make this stuff up), though ‘his personal flaws are at the centre of the present dysfunction.’ The ‘aggressive, tight, commando-style approach’ that worked well in Opposition was now at the heart of the Government’s ‘crumbling’, it went on, ‘and if he cannot fathom the true nature of his problem, he is doomed.’ Time was running out for him, it concluded, and ‘gestures just won’t cut it.’ He must sever himself from Credlin, sack Hockey, make Turnbull Treasurer, give up ‘three word slogans’, have a ‘mature debate on economic reform’, and ‘make a better fist of basic politics.’ If he does all that, he can stay on forever, and be Prime Minister in 2031.

You can’t make this stuff up. PVO (the Choirboy) advised in detail Malcolm Turnbull, his enemy, on what he must now do: give up gay marriage, embrace the Monarchy, develop the North, befriend his assassin Andrew Robb, make S&M Treasurer, keep Julie Bishop though she ratted on him last time as Deputy, make Craig Laundy Chief Whip, and put the accused embezzling bribe-taker $inodino$ in charge of policy. Turnbull must listen to this fine man, the Choirboy blithered, and accompany him, if need be, to gaol and share his cell.

You can’t make this stuff up.

S&M called ‘political bed-wetting’ his allies’ efforts to make him Treasurer, and a Daily Telegraph editorial bade them leave ‘the bickering and backstabbing to Labor’; then, in what I suppose was a farewell bicker and backstab, swore Triggs was ‘partisan’ and she must ‘walk the plank’. Please, please, don’t let Bambi lose, it gloomily, soulfully added. Don’t shoot Bambi. Please.

Jokowi said Abbott had lied about their conversation, and he he was not ‘carefully considering’ a pardon for the drug dealers. Abbott went to the cricket in Auckland and watched Australia being ignominiously beaten by New Zealand. Abbott’s Confessor Pell, a Liberal voter, was upbraided by the Pope for ‘extravagance’. Abbott hinted he might drop the GP co-payment altogether, and planned with Keys a war with a foe that might crucify and behead a good few Diggers, and mightily lose any battle they fought without a million US grunts at their back.

Baird said Abbott would be ‘welcome’ in his campaign, though internal Federal ructions were ‘never helpful’.

Abbott lost 120 votes an hour through Saturday, and Baird in osmotic sympathy lost 80 of them also, Antony Green calculated. ‘Labor has no Plan A,’ Bambi bleated; though ‘not privatising anything’ might count as one, some said, and restoring TAFE, and health funding, and universities. Like Abbott he did not realise the Liberals’ adventure was ending, and, like the UAP and the Democrats, was already pretty much in history’s dustbin with its feet sticking up, and would never be seen again, like Nooman’s LNP, and the Katter Party.

And PVO (the Choirboy) who a year ago said the Australian map would be soon ‘all blue’ was looking now at a red Queensland, a red New South Wales, a red Victoria and a red South Australia and considering the hourly shrinking limits of his future. He might serve, perhaps, more fruitfully hereinafter, as a disc jockey in Broome. Or a born-again junior cleric in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the faith he came from.

Time slowed down, and the nation went into a stretched long moment of suspense, as it did in the last three overs of the cricket in Auckland, and for once the sluggardly epithet ‘slow-motion train wreck’ seemed appropriate.

And the questions multiplied. What would Joe Hockey, backbencher, do? What would Bronwyn Bishop, backbencher, do? With what unctious, lavish, dim-witted kindnesses would Morrison, Treasurer, strive to woo the Senate? How would Julie Bishop like her demotion to Minister for Women, and the mutinous, ropeable Turnbullite Wyatt Roy his sudden ascension to Foreign Affairs? Would Bronwyn get her own show on Skynews, alongside Hinch? Would Abbott upgrade himself, at the last moment, while resigning, to the House of Lords?

Or would he call a Double Dissolution, and like Samson bring down the whole shebang on his own head?

What would become of us all?

And so it went.

The Twenty-Nine Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (208)

Ray Hadley, a Liberal voter, cursed Gillian Triggs for ‘getting political’. On the same page Simon Benson, a Liberal voter, said ‘everything is political’, including, it seemed, the repeated anal rape of children undefended by their Minister and guardian, Scott Morrison. On this one page we saw an instance of the swelling moral confusion of the Liberal Party.

Joe Hockey, the Liberals’ lame-duck Treasurer, foreboded a ‘good news Budget’, which would miraculously emerge, he said, from the addled egg of a ‘debt and deficit disaster’ and ‘the mess Labor left us’, made worse by the Senate’s intransigence; a good news Budget, he said, poof, shazam, out of nowhere.

Tony Abbott, the Liberals’ lame-duck Prime Minister, proposed a ‘new ANZAC force’ instructing in Iraq a few hundred fearful Shi-ites how to take Mosul, a great city, in the biggest battle since Berlin ’45, which it took in that year five million Russians to subdue, against an enemy that would behead and crucify them and reduce with jackhammers to chunks of marble the beautiful winged lions of Assyrian antiquity. Paul Murray agreed with Abbott that this was a good idea, though eighty percent of Australians were revolted by it, and several Anzac miniseries, about a campaign in which more men died than in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Dresden put together, suggested they were right to be.

Abbott would be out of the country for the weekend, during which it was predicted his vote would drop to ten.

The Liberals’ lame-duck Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, told Albo, who laughed uproariously, that next Tuesday’s Spill would not take place. Fran Kelly, a Liberal voter, agreed with him, it was a ‘media-driven beat-up’, she insisted, and it would not take place. Laura Tingle, an objective commentator, said no, it was voter-driven; on doorsteps they were railing against Tony Abbott, lividly. There was a ‘policy debacle’ every other day, she added, and the leadership issue was ‘almost incidental’ to the rage across the continent against a man most thought ‘a mad, forgetful cunt’.

Michelle Grattan, a Liberal voter, said Julie Bishop had ‘fucked up’, or words to that effect, by first denying an offer had been made to Triggs and then telling the House one had. This under Westminster rules should occasion her resignation, but we were, as one wag said, ‘under Mugabe rules now’; and it seemed that she, not Turnbull, might be herself PM by Tuesday afternoon.

Luke Foley debated Mike Baird in the Olympic Stadium, and was doing so well that the broadcaster, Skynews, pasted over his face a wide shot of Maoris dancing in a threatening manner at a tired and blinking Prime Minister in another latitude and country, an image that persisted for seven minutes; Murdoch cheats, discuss, he knows no other way. Despite this, Foley routed the apelike, twitching, gloomy Baird, who amazed his minders by admitting he had ‘no Plan B’, and he did not have the numbers to get his privatisation through the Upper House, and without his privatisation he had ‘no money’. He would not be drawn on whom he favoured, his good friend Abbott or his testy acquaintance Turnbull, as the nation’s next leader, or whom he was betting on. He was incensed with Abbott, he blithered, for cutting twenty-one billion out of health and education in New South Wales, and said he was ‘trying every day’ to make him change his mind. Good luck with that, Foley said.

Channel 7 revealed there were now ten Ministers who wanted Abbott to go. Julie Bishop called any rumoured plan to disgorge him from the leadership, like a bad oyster, ‘a hypothetical question’. She seemed narked that it was Turnbull, not she, that had the numbers. All observers agreed that he would be rolled, and possibly she, on Tuesday morning, if he did not step down by then.

A Morgan Poll (the accurate one) came out showing Labor within 0.6 percent of winning New South Wales. This was taken before Foley creamed Baird (Mr No Plan B) in the first of two debates. It showed Baird had lost 140,000 votes in the previous two weeks, and, hour by hour, while Abbott stayed in office, was losing more.

In New Zealand Abbott was asked if this was his last overseas tour as Prime Minister. He looked wistful, and said the Prime Ministership was the gift of the people AND the party room, and for as long as that glad gift was his, for as long as he was possessed of it, he was ‘getting on with the job’.

And so it went.

Nauru Futures

(First published by Independent Australia)

A girl who jumped off a balcony, attempting suicide, in Darwin because, she said, she would rather die than go back to detention in Nauru was told, soothingly, she wouldn’t be in detention for long.

But she would be in Nauru for ninety years.

Far from a man she might marry; far from a university education; probably jobless; for ninety years. Dutton has said she will ‘never be allowed to settle in Australia’ and that, it seems, is her lot. Her destiny. Her destination.

Or have I got that wrong? Is there some other place she might be allowed to live, and marry, and raise a family, or pursue a career?

Doesn’t seem so.

In a disgraceful performance yesterday, attacking Triggs (‘It was like shooting Bambi,’ an aghast backbencher said) and quoting the numbers of children in detention under Labor and under the Coalition, a hydrophobic Abbott reminded us — and Malcolm Turnbull also — what the issue is.

It is not how many children are in detention, or out of it. It is how they are doing; in either place.

A child of twelve who has been raped in detention is not cured if she is ‘released into the community’. She needs counselling, medical care if she has been infected or impregnated or vaginally bruised and a family support group — grandmothers, uncles, older sisters — she may not have. And she needs somewhere better to live, and see out her years, than Nauru.

Because, for one thing, her assailant still lives there, and it’s a very small island. He is still on the loose — of course he is — and he may come after her on any night, for a ‘re-match’, or to kill her perhaps, to smother her or knife her, and thereby shut her up.

And it does not matter even if there were more children abused under Labor than under the Coalition. What matters is how they are now. Are they living with their parents in Australia? Is there father able to work? Are they able to work? Are they in Villawood, or Curtin, or Baxter? What is the food like there? What psychological counselling are they getting? What language is it in? Have their assailants been imprisoned? Why not?

There is a distinct similarity between what we have learned this week about abuse at Knox, and what we have known, for a while now, of abuse on Nauru. In each case, it was known, and well known, by the designated authorities, tolerated, and covered up. Even Peter Fitzsimons, a noisy, agitating fellow, did not raise his big voice, and so let a pervert continue his ministrations for thirty years.

Many, many Liberals have been abused in boarding school and for a lifetime covered it up. And in the Triggs revelations we see other cases of child abuse covered up by Liberals, denied by Liberals, derided by Liberals, boarding school Liberals, most noisily Abbott, who, the Duffy book Latham And Abbott suggests, is covering up still the rapes of ‘younger seminarians’ in St Stephens, where he trained to be a priest.

Is there a connection between his rage yesterday, in a performance that has surely cost him his Prime Ministership, and the sexual abuse in the seminary that shaped his soul? Just asking.

In the meantime, there are children and young people nearing suicide because Abbott is trying to bully and shame their protector, Triggs, into resignation. Will they get counselling? Of course not. Will they see their extended family again? Of course not. Will Triggs be allowed to see them again? Of course not.

This is one of the worst elected governments in the history of the world, and it seems now a madman is running it.

Does anybody not believe this?

Hands up.

A Lost Generation?: Dean Bryant’s Gaybies

Gaybies is ‘documentary theatre’, I suppose, with some added songs, six young actors and one middle-aged one speaking to the audience, and sometimes each other, about their varied experience of being raised by ‘two moms’ or ‘two dads’, sometimes after failed conventional marriages in which they were engendered, sometimes after long years on IVF, sometimes after a friend became a sperm donor, or a womb donor, sometimes happily, sometimes confusedly…

But…the effect is…overwhelming. Like the stage version of The Canterbury Tales, or Cloudstreet, or Angels In America, it envelops us in human variety and upstirred intellectual relish and compassionate sympathy like almost no other evening of theatre. We learn so much. We laugh so sadly. We know, at the end, so many new people — some actors play three roles — decent people, lovely people, bitchy people, a new minority, admired and persecuted, as Negroes were, in equal measure, getting through it, getting through it somehow, copping sweet a disturbing, metropolitan destiny no embryo would put up their hand for.

Dean Bryant the director searched Australia for as many authentic ‘gaybies’ as there were in our capital cities and out of their disparate, engaging utterances contrived this lively, arousing, sad-sweet show. Mickey Bee did the music, which was very fine. And the actors, Cooper George, Ross Graham, Sheridan Harbridge, Rhys Keir, Angarad Lindley, Olivia Rose, Georgia Scott (who also, like her father, plays piano) and the slightly famous Steve Le Marquand, here cast as a gruff, butch half-bearded man much like Nathan Rees, or the Bill Hunter character in Priscilla, mesmerise in short speeches and marvelous brief stirring songs an audience unprepared for excellence on this level.

Like the original cast of King O’Malley, this mob could take over Australian theatre; and Dean Bryant, who directed Sweet Charity, in a sense already has. The simplicity of its momentum, as the cast move from the auditorium floor to the stage and then front-curtain and then the back wall, is tremendously satisfying.

If ever there was an argument for gay marriage, this is it. If ever there was a bevy of talent as good as this, I would be surprised.

The Thirty-Seven Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (207)

Nikki Savva, a Liberal voter, said Credlin had threatened Ministers with the sack, an outcome she could — you better believe it, buster — deliver.

Paul Sheehan, a Liberal voter, called Triggs a friend of murderers bent on ‘self-martyrdom’ who ‘was never asked to resign’, though the man who asked her to resign had testified he had.

Andrew Bolt, a Liberal voter, said Triggs had made ‘wild, wild claims’ that detention centre guards were ‘armed’.  It was to be wondered how gunshot wounds were inflicted on Manus, and a man beaten to death, and another throat-cut, without those weapons one might normally call ‘arms’. It WAS about the children, he added, ‘but it always was. Labor gaoled thousands of them. The government is freeing them.’ He did not say that ‘freedom’ in this case was ninety years on Nauru.

Abbott’s hydrophobic rant against Triggs was called by some Liberals who spoke to Paul Bongiorno ‘the last straw’. It was amazing, PB said, that a macho male bully verbally abusing a well-spoken, elderly woman whose job it was to defend children was not thought to be ‘not a good look’ by his dominatrix, Credlin, who might have ‘reined him in’, if that is the phrase I want. It was possible he had gone mad, or had lost his temper when hearing Turnbull had the numbers and was therefore openly defying him. Coming out for the protectress of innocent children, the wily bastard. I’ll show him. He will rue the day he was born.

He gifted his bike to a museum, like a man retiring. Shorten called him ‘Australia’s worst Prime Minister’. No-one in the chamber howled ‘No!’ or ‘Withdraw!’ And no-one could think of a worse one.

John Dowd, a former Liberal leader, was forced to resign as chairman of the board of a company that had bribed, with millions, some corrupt Iraqi businessmen. This made him the third New South Wales state leader of the Liberals to stand down from his position because of corruption rumours in twenty-two years, on top of ten other MPs brought low by like sins in the past year.

Abbott, a lame-duck Liberal leader, proposed to send forces to train forces to fight DAISH, in conjunction with New Zealand. Its leader, John Keys, refused to let him call this joint force ANZACs. ‘Whut kind of udiut dew yew thunk I em?’ he enquired, genially.

Peter Hartcher, a Liberal voter, compared Abbott with ‘a punch-drunk, right-wing pugilist, furiously attacking the Human Rights Commissioner and disparaging Australian Muslim leaders.’ It was ‘no accident’, he added; he wanted to keep the Feral Right in his party on his side, lest Turnbull, of ‘the sensible centre’, displace him. He was right to say Triggs timed her report to help Labor, Malvolio added, but…’so what?’ It said what it said, and what it said was true, and Abbott, Dutton and Morrison did nothing to assist imperilled children out of suicidal insanity, or lock up their serial abusers, or even fire them from their present positions, on a taxpayer-funded payroll. These children, already depressed, were sliding into self-harm while Abbott waged war on their protectress and one of them, it was likely, would die soon, from having drunk poison, probably.

Peter Slipper, whose vote elected Abbott leader and whom Abbott, Pyne, Brough and Ashby then drove close to madness with false, malicious, obscene and slimy accusations, was found innocent of everything he was accused of, that is misspending nine hundred dollars on cabs to a winery and some wine. And he was able now, if he wished, to sue his parliamentary persecutors, plus Paul Murray, Laurie Oakes, Andrew Bolt, and the Evil Sisters Devine and Albrechtsen, for three hundred and forty thousand dollars each. Abbott, who had misspent more money than he — ten times as much, as it turned out — on his book tour, a private expense he was arraigned, accused and upbraided for by a parliamentary committee, refused, of course, to apologise to him.

Julie Bishop in Question Time said Triggs had not been offered a ‘job’, but she had been offered a ‘role’. Quoting her accurately, Shorten asked Abbott what that role was. Abbott shrieked that his Minister had been ‘verballed’ and anyway he didn’t care, he was ‘getting on with the job’ of ‘stopping the boats’ and releasing children out of detention into a lifetime of impoverishment and sexual danger on Nauru. He seemed unwell in his mind. The familiar dismay on the faces behind him foreboded his imminent political end, and the outside possibility that he just might arrive on the floor of the House with a pump-action shotgun, blamming away. He looked as daft as that.

Mark Riley, the dumfound sluggard at whom Abbott had ‘nodded’ for twenty-seven seconds, or was it seventy-two, in a former wave of insanity, said Turnbull now had the numbers but the Ministers, not the backbenchers, must do the hard yards and ask him soon, or now, to go quietly, and Julie Bishop would stand also. It was his foam-flecked attacks on Triggs that moved the final numbers across to the Turnbull column, Riley assessed, and the axe would fall soon.

Miranda Devine said it was ‘too late now’ to sack Credlin, or any of that. Abbott himself had to go, and go very soon, in days, that is, not months, or the ‘brand name damage’ he would do to the Liberal Party would be ‘permanent’. She knew, but did not say, that all the Liberal policies were now, like Putin’s rouble, junk currency, and like John Howard’s belief through 2007 in the WMD, without moral authority, and like Prince Phillip’s knighthood, without a defender or a friend.

Joe Hockey said he had a ‘good news Budget’, the debt-and-deficit-disaster and fiscal-crisis he had bellowed about for a year being now inoperative. He looked like a deflated whoopee cushion and sounded like what he was, a man with five or six more days to go before he lost his job.

And so it went.

The Thirty-Four Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (206)

Morrison, a Liberal voter, said he would for six months deny the dole to young people under thirty who did not seek work as whores in other towns, or accept that work if it was offered. Asked if this was fair, he said don’t worry about it, it won’t get through the Senate anyway.

Abbott said he would send ‘new Anzacs’ to train Shi-ite conscripts to fight DAISH, which they seemed not to want to, despite the threat of crucifixion, beheading or being buried alive, or their familes being beheaded, crucified or buried alive. Hockey said he would fine Chinese property developers five thousand dollars if they dared buy a house here worth two million, and that, he was convinced, would stop them buying it. Of course it would. The seventy thousand millionaires of China rocked with unsuppressed laughter.

Julie Bishop said Triggs had not been offered another job. This was despite Chris Moratis, of the Attorney General’s office, saying on oath she had been, and Brandis implying she had been. Under the Westminster system she, Julie Bishop, would have to resign for having lied to the House; but this, of course, was no longer the Westminster system; it was another system, under Abbott and Brandis and Morrison; the Visigoth System perhaps. It certainly had no other precedent in post-Roman history, except perhaps in the court of Richard III, or the mad King Ludwig of Bavaria.

Abbott then screeched, again, that the 232 abused children should be disregarded, and Triggs humiliated, and called ‘a friend of murderers’, and hounded from office, for having brought to public notice their unjust suffering and imminent attempted suicides, in 2014, not 2013. It was fine they should be beaten and raped, he said. It was fine that many were now mad. It was good that they would spend the next ninety years on Nauru, not far from their assailants, without hope of an education or an ordinary life. It was fine their assailants should go free. But it was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong that Triggs should mention it, or call for help for them. It’s nothing to do with the children, he screeched. It’s to do with this vile woman’s character.

Turnbull said it was everything to do with the children, and Triggs, whom he knew, was a fine person, a notable citizen, a good law teacher he had studied under. To some it seemed he had thus flung down his gauge, and Abbott’s deranged, hydrophobic rant on the floor of the House was in blithering, panicked response to this new, calm threat to his leadership. It was clear that Turnbull had the numbers now, or he would not have said what he said, and Abbott had days, not weeks.

Pyne, a Liberal voter, said Labor had ‘put their head in a chum-bucket’, whatever that means, and Abbott called ‘dangerous nitpicking’, whatever that means, Labor’s concern for 232 brutalised children. One had jumped off a balcony in Darwin, preferring to die to being sent back to Nauru to spend ninety years in close proximity to her rapist without hope of any sort of life she might like in a better country. Dutton shouted that she would ‘never, ever’ be settled in Australia. She would have to get used to frequent rape and no schooling in her new address, which we, not she, would choose as her destination. ‘We will decide!’ he blubbered, hysterically, despondently, wishing he had some other job.

Fran Kelly, a Liberal voter, concealed a Morgan Poll showing Labor on 56 percent and the Coalition losing fifty-five seats. Of course she did. She had similarly concealed a Morgan Poll showing Rudd Labor, in July 2013, on 54 percent, publishing only Newspoll’s 50-50. She knew if she let the 54 figure be known it was possible Rudd Labor would gain momentum and win; and that would never do.

John Lyons, a Liberal voter, called Credlin ‘our unelected co-Prime Minister’ and noted what a terrible bitch she was. Mike Baird, a Liberal voter, was told he had to apologise to his police chief, and wouldn’t. He knew if he did he would lose even more votes in the coming election, which even the The Daily Telegraph noted he was likely to lose. ‘We will get through this,’ he wept over a hot chocolate in the Lindt Cafe. ‘We will get through this.’

Knox, a hive of Liberal voters, was shown to have been swarming with aggressive paedophiles for fifty years. A headmaster, Ian Paterson, had reappointed one of them, Craig Treloar, in 1987 when AIDS was incurable, after he showed him his stash of child pornography, and grandly forgave him for touching boys’ penises in that era. It was not known how many of these boys went on to become Liberal MPs but it was thought to be ‘a tidy few’.

And so it went.

Lines For Penny Wong (5)

Mr President, I move that in view of the fact that the Prime Minister plainly lied to the House of Representatives, and when asked to amend his utterance lied again, that this House asks him to resign.

The Thirty-Four Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (205)

Phillip Higginson, a Liberal voter, said his party should ‘hang in its head in shame’, and Abbott called him both ‘a storm in a teacup’ and part of a conspiracy to ‘damage and destroy me’. He varied in his view as to which it was, depending, he said ‘on my medication. Terminal crisis? Storm in a teacup? Who knows?’ Credlin, behind him, brewed his ‘special tea’.

Gillian Triggs said Brandis, who was sitting near her, had asked her to resign and said she might get another nameless, harmless, overpaid job doing nothing. Brandis said he had no confidence in her any more, and she had to go, though she wouldn’t go, and, to his amazement, he couldn’t force her to go.

Rowan Ramsey, a Liberal voter, said if the submarine hulls weren’t built in South Australia, they would lose all their seats there. Abbott said, ‘Get used to it, they’re being built in Japan — by the capable grandchildren of gallant men whose skill and honour when they sank the Manly ferry I admire to the point of idolatry.’ (You can’t make this stuff up.) Many members present looked like they would commit hari-kiri then and there.

At Question Time, shrieking, Abbott called ‘a political stitch-up’ Gillian Triggs’s revelation of two hundred children physically abused on Gillard’s, Rudd’s and Abbott’s watch, and thirty-two children sexually abused and still suicidal. She should never have revealed this, he shrieked, and she no longer had his confidence and he wanted her to leave her job. The faces behind him were dismayed at this latest symptom of his growing dementia; they included those of Bishop, Morrison, Robb and Pyne.

Shorten asked him if Triggs no longer had his confidence, why she was offered by him or his people another job. Shrieking, he called her ‘a friend of murderers!’ and ‘no friend of drowning children!’, and therefore very suitable for employment by members of his party; and it seemed unlikely he would last the week as Prime Minister. The fifty-second vote clicked over as he spoke.

Plibersek asked him if he would sack those Ministers lately leaking against him, and Bronwyn Bishop, a Liberal voter, ruled the question out of order. Though it was to do with the future composition of the government, BB told her, ‘it’s none of your business’. Jenny Macklin asked him if he went against his ministers’ advice to cut pensions, and he said, ‘The decisions of the Expenditure Review Commission are unanimous.’ There was humorous uproar on both sides of the House. The fifty-fifth vote clicked over.

In the Northern Territory, a motion of no confidence in Adam Giles got warm support fom his own people. In Canberra, Wong called a ‘bribe’ the offer by Brandis, or his people, of another high-paid job to Triggs, ‘in whom they had ‘no confidence’. On 7.30, the Higginson letter was judged a game-changer as big as the ‘mean and tricky’ letter by Shane Stone against Howard. In Sydney, Abbott was accused of having perverted the course of justice by shrieking in the House that police had thwarted ‘a planned beheading’ by a particular young man who may have had no such intention.

Chris Uhlmann and Fran Kelly, Liberal voters both, effusively welcomed with whoops a Newspoll that showed the Coalition had picked up half a million votes in a fortnight, and needed only a million more to get the result they got in 2013. ‘They’re on the way back,’ they whooped. ‘Hurrah! Hurrah!’

Then a Morgan Poll came out — the accurate one — showing the Coalition with four hundred thousand fewer votes than Newspoll, the inaccurate one, said it had, would lose fifty -five seats in any election held this week, and sixty, probably, next week. Fran and Chris made fucking sure they made no mention of this, as it ‘might harm the Liberal cause; and ‘that would never do.’

Abbott flailed and shrieked and cursed his enemies, the way he does these days, and looked more and more like one of the stars of Chicken Run. It was revealed he had made the Duke of Edinburgh a knight sometime before Christmas, and concealed it not just from his ministers — ‘It’s a captain’s call,’ he insisted, ‘or it was then, and it isn’t any more’ — but from Loughnane and Credlin also, lest they, republicans both, try to talk him out of it.

It seemed unlikely he would last another day. But then…it seemed that way last week as well. And the week before.

And so concluded another day of the worst free-elected government in world history, since the invention of democracy in Iceland in AD 924.

And so it went.

Today’s Newspoll

We are told by this Newspoll that four hundred thousand Labor voters went over to the Liberals in the last fortnight. Do you know any of these people? Can you name, dear reader, even one?

This was the fortnight when Abbott attacked Gillian Triggs and threatened the Indonesians, when he was cursed by the Lindt hostages for not taking their calls, when Baird’s vote fell sharply and Palaszczuk was sworn in as Premier of Queensland, a state that Labor was expected not to hold again till 2025.

Do you know any of these people? Can you name even one? The reason you don’t, and can’t, is that poll, that Newspoll, has been…oh yes…contrived. Let me, wearily, once again, tell you why.

It was taken on landlines, which twenty percent of all voters don’t have any more, on a hot weekend, when only octogenarians were home. It rang no mobiles, and texted none. Fewer and fewer people under forty have landlines. Even fewer use them. The difference, according to Morgan, which gets elections right, is about 1.2 percent more seeming votes to the Liberals than actual votes. Morgan got Queensland right. Newspoll got it wrong.

Next, it redistributes Palmer’s, and Katter’s, and what might be called the Windsor Independents’ preferences the way they were in 2013. Katter and Palmer now favour the ALP. The Windsor Independents now favour them a little more. This difference adds 1.5 more percent to Labor’s numbers.

These two factors mean Labor’s primary vote goes up to 41, and the Coalition’s down to 35. And this means in turn the Liberals’ vote is about 28. This is very low.

On top of this is the ‘sampling error’ of 3 percent. Let us imagine that this was 1.8 percent the Liberals’ way. This puts the Liberals’ vote down to, probably, 26.3 percent.

These figures, though, depend on those phone calls made on a hot weekend to octogenarians by Newspoll, Murdoch’s engine of measurement. These craven statisticians said the LNP was ‘bound to win, with a reduced majority’ in Queensland; and the Liberals out right in South Australia. It is now saying, not that it matters, that Abbott is ‘arrogant’ (77 percent) and trails Shorten by 30 to 62 on health and 33 to 53 on education, yet ‘cares for people’ (55 percent). Arrogant, hopeless on health, yet ‘cares for people’. Really?

These figures make no sense at all. And it is wrong for Fran Kelly to quote them, though they got Queensland wrong, and never quote Morgan, which got it right, every fortnight of her life, and never, ever question them.

It is time she were investigated for bias, and, if guilty, replaced by Jonathan Green or James Carleton.

She would be sure to get a place on Skynews the day after.

Birdman: A Dissenting View

(From Dali)

I knew very little about the director when I saw Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). I knew nothing of the plot. I probably had Birdy rattling round in my cultural roadmap.

I just paid my dime and go in the gondola, I never felt like getting off, and the constant getting lost, and finding my place, teetering on the wire and straightening up just made me enjoy the ride more, as illusions and allusions shot past.

At times it was like watching a rubik’s cube being worked on at speed and from the inside, at others like you were a pinball ricocheting round the inner machinery of an idea that hasn’t formed yet, like Being John Malkovich, or even an episode of 24, or even a visual ride through Billy Connelly’s long circuitous stories which somehow make it back to the ranch in time for the shootout.

The script too left me breathlessly and tautologically exhilarated. The structure was familiarly like Raymond Carver’s writing. The plot could even be the Hamlet Shakespeare would have quilled if he’d rolled a few spliffes.

The only surprise for me was the last minute or two – deliberately or not, it seemed like your gondola had been rocketed back into the funpark daylight, and while you were adjusting to the glare, your date walked off.

But, better for the human species had it never been fucking made? Perhaps the title’s bracketed extension is a nod to the twenty percent grateful for the thrill of taking part in daring disorienting and dumbfounding sprint through a mind about to escape its tether.

It’s why I hoped it would win, but thought that it might not.

The film which actually deserves the dismissal you write is, in my opinion, American Sniper.

I am back in Acland street Danube café full of film festival refugees arguing loudly about what they’ve just seen at the Palais midwinter, smell of coffee and schnitzel, damp greatcoats and galois cigarettes, and the occasional threat from Polish Angela to kick us all out, which she never did, her first husband having been an actor in Hungary.

The Oscars, Afterwards

I got only eight of my fourteen Oscar predictions right, and I apologise for any inconvenience.

The Best Film award to Birdman not Boyhood — or The Imitation Game or The Theory of Everything or Into The Woods or Whiplash or Selma or Still Alice or American Sniper or The Grand Budapest Hotel or Mr Turner — was a disgrace. It is an awful film, through brilliantly acted and superbly written, and yes, yes, yes, very cleverly shot, but it is, I would guess, already hated by eighty percent of those who have seen it, secretly or openly, and it were better I think for the human species had it never been fucking made.

The Twenty Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (204)

In Question Time Abbott said, or rather shouted, ‘You just can’t trust Labor with Australia’s defences!’ He had repressed, it seemed, or in boxing-induced brain damage omitted to remember, that Labor had won World War 1, and World War 2, and the Gulf War, while the Liberals had lost the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the twin debacles Iraq and Afghanistan where the killing continues today at a rate that outscores, even now, those wars’ beginnings and had never won a war in their history. They had also, lately, failed to find, at a cost of a half billion dollars, MH 370 in three oceans or to drive the Russians out of the Ukraine or stop a hundred DAISH jihadists raised here from continuing to collect, while over there, beheading infidels, our social services. He was cutting these social services off very soon, he assured us. Very, very soon. Trust me. Very, very soon. It was wrong, he added, that our tax dollars funded terrorism. You bet it am.

Earlier in the day, he had called a press conference. And at this press conference he said, in effect, ‘In the past hundred years, one Australian has died on our soil from terrorist activity. This is one four thousandth of the number of women and children killed by violent ex-husbands and brutal fathers in that same period of time, and it is a number we will not tolerate. We will spend a billion dollars, or more, making sure this number does not, ever — never ever — swell to two. And we will cut by half the miserable pittance we have already foolishly spent on failing to help Luke Batty, and his mother Rosie, the Australian of the Year, and four thousand like them, avoid murder at the hands of their close relatives, their life partners, their one-night stands. We’ve got our priorities right! And so have the New South Wales Police, who have killed, in the past three months, four times the number terrorists have killed in a hundred years! Let’s hear it for the New South Wales Police! Hip hip!’

Seven ministers who voted for Abbott in the Spill said they wouldn’t vote for him now. This if added to the South Australians he betrayed with the submarines meant the anti-Abbott vote was 49, three short of overthrowing him and putting Turnbull in. The Liberal Party Treasurer, Phil Higginson, said he would resign if either Credlin or Loughnane — who, he had just discovered, were married to each other — did not pack up and leave, and he did resign. Abbott called him ‘a storm in a teacup’ and Paul Bongiorno said, ‘Well, it’s a pretty big teacup’.

Newspoll, fraudulently, said the Coalition had picked up four hundred thousand Labor votes in Abbott’s worst fortnight, though no-one could name even one of these changelings, and it seemed, once again, that Murdoch, once again, had done what he always does, to wit, give the Liberals ‘paradoxical’ good figures (Simon Benson in The Daily Telegraph called them ‘miraculous’) when they seemed to be going down for the third time.

Fran Kelly, a Liberal voter, rejoiced at the good Newspoll, and effusively told Plibersek, in her liveliest champagne-breakfast manner, that Shorten was doing it all, all wrong, though he still led Abbott by 43 to 38 as better Prime Minister and had led him for a year, a world record. Some thought it was time Fran’s sanity was investigated but others said, ‘Nah. She’s just keeping her job.’

Keeping up his New Year Resolution of ‘one goof, at least, a day’, Abbott cursed most Muslim leaders for ‘not being anti-Muslim enough’ in his National Security speech while praising Assissi, who had locked up Greste, and Abdul Razak, who favoured Sharia Law, as ‘freedom lovers, my kind of heathen, good Muslims, hip hip’; and later, in Question Time, admitted he had indeed planned a shooting war with Russia, the country which had won World War 2 by killing in pitched battle twelve million of its own folk and burning Germany to the ground, in order to retrieve some corpses whom the, oops, Ukrainians had shot down in a wheat field near Donetsk. This raised the number of goofs, this day, to four, which his party room, head in hands, called ‘about average’.

TONY BACK IN THE GAME, The Daily Telegraph said, in the font in which it had bayed WE NEED YOU, TONY eighteen months ago.

And so it went.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (154)

My speech about Tiberius, drawing heavily from Robert Graves’s I, Claudius, is up on Ellis Gold.

To this, I will add further pieces every three days or so.

Today’s Galaxy In New South Wales

It seems that Labor is already winning in New South Wales.

The details of the latest Galaxy have been excised from The Daily Telegraph, but the summary on page 2 shows the Coalition’s vote on 43 percent, much of it locked up in Sydney’s North Shore, Labor on 36 percent, the Greens on 10 percent and ‘other parties and independents’ on 11 percent, Baird better Premier on 46, Foley on 22 but 32 percent, presumably, ‘don’t knows’ or ‘uncommitted’.

The polling, however, was done on landlines on Wednesday and Thursday (or late shopping) night, when only octogenarians were home and possessed of a landline, and its preferences redistributed as they were in 2011, with more Greens and independents going to the Coalition, or ‘exhausting’, than would now.

No mobiles were rung, or texted; and this, as Morgan shows, adds about 1.2 percent to the Coalition vote.

The Galaxy CEO David Briggs’s refusal to put up the details, moreover, or Les Allen’s hasty airbrush of them, may mean some more disturbing figures have been hidden: a 5 percent Palmer vote perhaps, or a big swing to Independents in regions fearful of coal seam gas, or a big swing  against the Coalition, following local scandals, in the Central Coast.

It is likely, then, that the ‘teflon’ Mike Baird’s popularity fell suddenly after the Lindt Cafe documentaries (why did he let the cops shoot Katrina six times? why did the PM not take the frantic hostages’ phonecalls?) and the Labor vote, two party preferred, is now 48.6 percent, more than Carr needed to win with in 1995. One could comfortably add to this one more percent, following a Greens deal on preferences with Labor, that would in other years have been ‘exhausted’.

Some paragraphs in the report are pretty interesting, after the Queensland result. 35 percent would prefer raised taxes to privatisation to pay for infrastructure. 16 percent said would prefer ‘more debt, even if we lose our triple-A rating.’ 26 percent said lease/privatise. And 23 percent were ‘uncommitted’. Add all of the latter to ‘lease/privatise’ and you still get only 49 percent — and, by the look of it, a certain, largeish, Labor victory.

I am therefore now moving my prediction to a ‘certain’ Labor victory in New South Wales. The Liberals’ ten sacked MPs, their Deputy Leader’s involvement with the greyhound ‘bloodsport’ scandal, the privatisations, always toxic in all the states in which it has been tried, and the failure of Baird to send experts, not mad-dog rogue blam-blamming fuckheads, into the Lindt Cafe, and his Attorney-General’s failure to put Monis in gaol for suspected murder and forty-eight sexual offences, will be, I think, decisive.

Fifty Shades: Another View

(From Sharon Rigby)

This movie has, in most cases, been misconceived by the general public. It has been hyped by the media into something it is not. I have only read half of the book, which was of course, much more detailed, and developed the storyline and characters to a greater extent, and I was interested to see how the movie compared.

I found it to be a worthwhile movie which held my attention, and provided the material for a good couple of hours of discussion afterward, of the plot and characters. It made me consider it worth reviewing.

I think the best way to start is to tell you what it’s not .

It’s not romantic. It’s not erotic. It’s not sensual or sexy.

It is an insight into the mind of an attractive, clever, manipulative man who suffers from psychological problems resulting from being sexually and emotionally abused as a very young child, and from being in a controlling relationship with a much older woman as an impressionable young teenager .

Jamie Dornan who plays Christian, is good looking; but in a slightly creepy way, which is perfect for the character. Dakota Johnson who plays Anastasia, is naive , innocent, vulnerable and impressionable, but reveals an unexpected strength of character when she needs to.

The relationship that Christian wants is a controlling one where he is not questioned; along the lines of Jerry Lee Lewis and his 14 year old bride. Anastasia is an English Literature major looking for her Mr Darcy out of a Jane Austen novel.
Not a match made in heaven. ….

Without giving away the storyline , there’s not much more I can say. It is not a classic. There are no memorable, heart stopping moments. I wouldn’t watch it again. But I’m glad I did see it. Verdict: I enjoyed it and it held my attention for the 125 minute running time. It gave me food for thought about all of the different lives people lead under the cover of what is perceived by society as respectability and normality.

‘Every kind of People’ make up our world; whether it be in our street, our workplace , or our online community.

Oh… and the soundtrack wasn’t a standout for me, except for ‘Witchcraft’ by Frank Sinatra .

My Rating 6/10.

The Ellis Oscar Predictions

Best Film: Richard Linklater and Catherine Sutton, Boyhood.

Best Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman.

Best Screenplay: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore, The Imitation Game.

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory Of Everything.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Julianne Moore, Still Alice.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Robert Duvall, The Judge.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood.

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman.

Best Editing: William Goldenberg, The Imitation Game.

Best Visual Effects: Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.

Best Production Design: Adam Stockhausen and Aaron Dinnock, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Fifty Shades Revisited

(From Doug Quixote)

Some say the end negates all that went before, and is not believable.

Not so, because as presented to us in this film, Anastasia is never fully committed to the BDSM desires that drive Christian Grey.

I would instead take issue with the beginning, with an actress who is unbelievable as a student of Literature who is about to graduate, and an actor who is unbelievable as a billionaire, and one who if he is 27 years old has had a very hard life indeed. Dornan is 32 and he looks it. Dakota Johnson is just too dopey for the part of Anastasia, and unbelievable when she claims to identify First Editions of ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ and other Hardy novels, seconds after seeing them.

But enough of that, the “eat me” ,“drink me”cards allusion to Alice In Wonderland is a nice touch and the film improves as we get past the unbelievable poor girl meets rich boy crap.

The sex scenes are fairly tastefully done and the approach/rejection/approach scenes are well handled. Dornan shows her his apparatus (no, not just that, his toys!) and she gives in fairly easily to a bit of S & M lite. We see Ana getting considerable pleasure; we see no evidence of any pleasure for Grey. Dornan is wooden, deliberately so at first, but later…supposedly this is what gives him his jollies, after all.

Jennifer Ehle plays Ana’s mum in a cameo I would have liked to have seen more of, if only it added anything to the film. Perhaps the editing was less than marvellous.

Ana deliberately allows Grey to whip her beyond her pleasure zone and into serious pain, to my mind so that she can find the courage to end the relationship. The ending is excellent and entirely consistent with her lack of commitment to the BDSM.

Is it a good film? I suppose it all depends on your point of view. Should you see it? Yes, because it may assist your education in life. We all need new experiences, and we will never know what we like if we do not experience new things.

Friday’s Morgan

Morgan is usually accurate, and it showed Labor on 44.5 in New South Wales. And this was a worry.

But there were some unusual things about it. All the responses were on SMS, over last weekend, And they showed, everywhere, swings to the Liberals and the LNP.

In Queensland, implausibly, there was a swing of 2.5 percent to the Springborg LNP — on the very day Palaszczuk was sworn in, and the day after. There was a swing to the Liberals of 4.5 in Victoria, that’s three hundred thousand changed votes. And, in South Australia, a swing of only one percent to Labor when there should have been, because of the submarine betrayal, a bigger one I think.

So it’s likely the sampling was wrong; and wrong, if Queensland is any indication, by 2.5 percent.

This puts Labor in New South Wales on 47, one percent away from the 48 percent Bob Carr won with narrowly in 1995.

This seems to me to be about right.

It was taken as well before the dog racing scandal broke and befouled Baird’s Deputy, Troy Grant. And before it was revealed Abbott proposed unilateral war on Assad’s side in Syria.

This would put Labor in New South Wales on or near 48, with a whole campaign to go.

The Twenty-Five Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (203)

Miranda Devine, a Liberal voter, wrote ‘Baird makes me go weak at the knees’ and quoted a female colleague who said, ‘He’s cool, like Bill Clinton without the sleaze.’ He was utterly different from ‘the Abbott-Newman model,’ Devine insisted, ‘he wants to privatise everything, oops.’

She added, lying, that Hicks was ‘guarding a tank for the Taliban when Australian soldiers were heading into combat.’ (No he wasn’t, and no, they weren’t, we weren’t even at war yet, with anyone. Lies upon lies upon lies.)

‘He owes us an apology,’ she insisted. ‘We tortured him and took away his toothbrush for five years, and we could not have been more merciful. He should apologise to us, not we to him, for alleging what we did to him was wrong. It was only three and a half years of solitary confinement, for fuck’s sake, in a room about the size of a cupboard, in which he was able to read one religious book a year, over and over, in a blazing bright, freezing cold kennel in which he wasn’t allowed, for months on end, to sleep for more than an hour. What did he expect, room service?’

Abbott praised the NSW police for killing Katrina with six bullets and excused himself for not having taken the hostages’ calls when he was ‘otherwise engaged’ in planning, with maps, the invasion of Syria. It had been a ‘perfect operation’, he said, and the Special Forces at nearby Holdsworthy who were trained to deal with exactly this sort of thing would have killed Katrina too, he assessed, of course they would, and the tall, handsome, doe-eyed Premier, Bambi, should be therefore praised for not having called them in while seventeen hours passed and the hostages begged him to.

It was, admittedly, wrong, though, Bambi added edgily, that Monis had a passport, a gun, the dole and bail though he had assisted in the murder of his former wife and sexually monstered forty-eight young women while posing as their guru and masseur; but he wouldn’t be allowed to do this again, he insisted, you mark my words. ‘Re-elect me!’ he suddenly screamed, ‘and I’ll put a stake through his heart!’ It was suggested Katrina’s family should get as much money as the witnesses made from appearing on Channel 7 and he said with narrowed eyes, ‘No way. Go fuck yourself. Do you think I am made of money? Oops.’

Hinch, a Liberal voter, said he would back John Lyons’ word against Abbott’s havering untruths anytime, and, on the same panel, Miranda Devine , a Liberal voter, defended Abbott but called Credlin ‘the author of all evil in our society’ for whom hanging, drawing and quartering was too gentle a punishment. Hinch said Abbott and Credlin were inseparable and would ‘go down together’ and thus in his dotage conjured up a kama sutra image of his own wedding night with Jackie Weaver, in a better age than this, when he still had his own liver, and his beard was a natural colour. John Lyons, it was revealed, had ‘spent two hours with Peta Credlin’ in a doubtless upright position, and would be writing about this wonder, very soon.

Campbell Newman cursed his ill fortune when the floods came, and Palaszczuk was able to impersonate Mother Queensland among the cyclone-smitten wrack and pillage, and he realised with a sinking heart and bitter howls in the night that if he had merely called the election when he was constitutionally supposed to, in March, April, May or June, he would have in the meantime among the present catastrophes of wind and water behaved in a commendable heroic, disciplined, military, Generalissimo-of-the-Northern-Regions manner and won that election handily, keeping his own seat, and have ruled thereafter Paradise with a rod of iron for twenty or thirty years.

And so it went.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (153)

(152) is wrong. Something wrong with the technology has prevented the putting up of the Graves/Tiberius lecture.

It will go up soon, I hope, when my son Jack wakes up in Marrickville and has a cup of coffee.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (152)

On Ellis Gold is the lecture I gave last night to the Julius Didianus Society on the Emperor Tiberius, as portrayed by Robert Graves in I, Claudius.

I will put up some other things this week, and hereafter.

The Twelve Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (202)

It was revealed that Abbott had tried to go to war with the ‘death cult’ Daish, deploying 3,500 New Anzacs and assisting no ally but Assad, the unpopular killer of 200,000 of his own people; ‘even,’ he said’ ‘if the US doesn’t want us to.’ Abbott denied this report, by the eminent prizewinning journalist John Lyons, and said he had made no ‘formal’ approach to the appropriate army general, but it seemed he might have raised it with Angus, who laughed uproariously and kept quiet about it in return for a knighthood.

This was a ‘captain’s call’ indeed; approved, it seemed, by Credlin, called now ‘his co-Prime Minister’ (Livia to his Augustus) in other parts of The Australian, a Liberal-hailing paper. ‘How long past Monday would Abbott last?’ some of the more sluggardly pundits wondered. ‘Three days, maximum,’ some stirred insiders ventured, and odds began to be laid, bets taken.

Paul Murray said two simultaneous cyclones, the first such twin catastrophes in Australian history, had ‘nothing to do’ with Climate Change. He had this ‘on the good authority,’ he said, of Lord Monckton, his fellow wall-eyed raving wacko; it was just a coincidence, he said. He also said that David Hicks, though ‘technically innocent of any crime’, was ‘guilty as sin’ and would now, if he had his druthers, be in the slammer for twenty-five years for doing what he did, oppose American policy and write home about it, fight on the right side in Kosovo and harm no-one there, or anywhere else. ‘Just like all those ex-Viet Cong in Cabramatta we gaoled and tortured for five years; oops,’ this hairy-nosed numbnut continued. On the same programme Sharri Markson said Hicks ‘should go to gaol for the rest of his life,’ for, she said, ‘thinking bad thoughts about Israel, like Jimmy Carter and Bob Carr. Oops.’ Hyperboles greeted this forthright opinion. ‘She is the world’s most beautiful commentator,’ one roused observer grieved, ‘and brandishes, alas, its most diseased mind.’

Paul Kelly, a Liberal voter, said ‘As long as Tony Abbott is Prime Minister, no submarines will be built in South Australia.’ With his usual lip-smacking ill-humour, he added that the government had had a ‘good week’, apart from ‘the catastrophic turbulence round its leadership’.

Gerard Henderson said Abbott was ‘highly respected around the world; by, especially, the Obama administration after Tony Abbott rightly reproved that uppity mulatto for interfering in our sovereign waters round the Barrier Reef.’ Barrie Cassidy contained an impulse to laugh out loud, and David Marr sighed with world weariness and shook his head.

GH then grew hectic in his utterance and claimed the Howard Government had ‘tried, many, many times’, to bring Hicks back, ‘but his lawyers wouldn’t let him come’, and when Hicks on Wednesday joked that he was ‘on holiday’ in Afghanistan, ‘he wasn’t joking, he was trying to conceal his many, many secret meetings with Osama Bin Laden!’. His demented certitude grew visibly through the hour, and Security were advised to ‘keep an eye on him’, lest he attempt self-harm or masturbation in the elevator.

Hicks’s lawyers watched his protracted outburst with contained astonishment, then after some exuberant high-fives added his name to their list of eighty-eight others, including Abbott, Howard, Brandis, Downer, Steve Kenny and Paul Murray, whom they could sue for three hundred and forty thousand dollars each, plus costs.

And so it went.

The Twenty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (201)

Seemingly unable to grasp what ‘innocent under the law’ meant, Piers Akerman, a Liberal voter, called Hicks a ‘foul piece of scum’ who ‘ticked all the boxes for the latte lovers in need of a frisson of danger’, and ‘an avowed anti-Semite too’, and that ‘innocence’ was not ‘true innocence’ in his deep Christian view. He, Akerman, thus exposed himself as a serial cyberbully liable to five years’ imprisonment under a Foley or an Andrews government, and a widely detested serial slanderer who owed Hicks three hundred and forty thousand dollars, plus costs, that Murdoch might not, in his dotage, be any longer keen to pay.

Julie Bishop, a Liberal voter, told Abbott he had ‘fucked up her chances’ of saving Chan and Sukumaran by threatening Widodo with ‘retribution’ if they died. She had nearly organised a trade of ten people smugglers for two drug smugglers, certain insiders whispered, when Abbott, aka The Loaded Dog, said what he said.

Morrison, aka Mr Cuddles, proposed a great proportion of baby sitting costs would be paid by the government to those who needed this, but said it would ‘have to come out of other things.’ Labor said he had better give back the billion dollars they had cut from child care first. It was possible, however, that a deal might arrived at, and Hockey would have to resign. But…he was going anyway.

Abbott, hearing their were storms and floods in Queensland and the Northern Territory, flew immediately to Tasmania, where there weren’t, and there, on a hillside, said we were being ‘played for mugs’ by terrorists, whom he would combat henceforth with fiercer and fiercer laws. Reminded that beheading people was already against the law, and so was blowing them up, and holding them hostage, and speaking harshly against another group of people, he said, ‘Go fuck yourself.’

On Skynews, Cameron and Keneally asked Sam Maiden, a Liberal voter, if Abbott would survive until the next election. She frowned and opened her mouth, and the studio director immediately cut to storm news in the Northern Territory, and she was never able to answer. ‘A little voice in my head,’ Cameron explained, ‘said I mustn’t ask that.’

Andrews announced that the Swedes, who had offered to build the whole thing for twenty billion in Adelaide, would not be allowed to make an offer, but the Japanese, who would charge twice as much and build the submarines elsewhere, yet allow some spare parts to be made here, were ‘on the list’. It was essential, he implied, that our ‘traditional beheaders’ get all our money and spend it in countries other than our own, because of the ‘skill’ and ‘honour’ with which they had sunk the Manly Ferry in 1942, an achievement close to Abbott’s heart. It was the biggest contract in our history, and a nod and a wink and a lie was the appropriate way to deal with it, Abbott decided. ‘What is needed now,’ he said, nodding and winking, ‘is a captain’s call.’

Sharri Markson, a Liberal voter, said Hicks ‘should spend the rest of his life in gaol’ and what he went through in Guantanamo was ‘nothing like torture’. He had ‘trained with an army that wants to kill us,’ she fumed, and he deserves everything he gets. Her rule of thumb would put away for life most of the original winegrowers of South Australia, and many an elderly Japanesre restaurateur, and many a Cabramatta Vietnamese. Hicks’s lawyers added her name to their list of those he could sue for three hundred and forty thousand dollars, plus costs. And Chris Kenny, who egged her on.

And so it went.

In Sixteen Words

What did Troy Grant know of live bait greyhound racing and when did he know it?

Certain Housekeeping Matters (151)

Would anyone who wishes to do so, review Still Alice, Selma, The Theory Of Everything, The Imitation Game, Boyhood, or Fifty Shades Of Grey, and I will put up your offering here.

All deal with an absorbing subject, and all are good, well-made, Oscar-worthy films, and should I think be discussed more.

Boyhood will get Best Film, The Theory of Everything Best Male Lead, Still Alice Best Female Lead, Boyhood Best Original Screenplay, The Imitation Game Best Adapted Screenplay, and I will put up my other predictions in a day or so.

The Twenty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (200)

David Hicks was found innocent of everything, and John Howard, who caused him to be tortured for five and a half years, did not apologise to him. Nor did another Liberal voter, Alexander Downer, who called him ‘a trained killer’ when he was Foreign Minister. Downer was not sacked as UK High Commissioner, nor was Phillip Ruddock investigated by a Senate committee for colluding in the unjust encarceration, for a crime that did not exist, in a famous hell-hole, Guantanamo, of an innocent man when he was Attorney-General. No money was offered Hicks for the ruin of a decade of his life, no sum comparable with the two million Cornelia Rau got for six months wrongful detention in Villawood.

No money at all. Nor will there be. The Liberals are like that. But you knew that already.

Nikki Savva praised Warren Entsch for seizing with his big hands Julie Bishop’s bum and said she should be Prime Minister. ‘She’s a good sport,’ Savva noted in justification of her choice. ‘She has a giggle, and keeps going.’ (You can’t make this stuff up.)

Savva wanted very much to see a new Prime Minister quickly installed and didn’t really care, she said, if it was Turnbull, Bishop, Robb or Morrison. Even those ‘caffeine-deficient fumblers’ like Palaszczuk, she judged, or Chris Bowen, who get the figures wrong, ‘will beat governments that have broken promises, stayed low in polls for long periods and are led by a deeply unpopular leader.’

Keeping up his New Year Resolution of ‘one goof, at least, a day’, Abbott got up early to say Hicks was ‘up to no good in Afghanistan’ and he would not apologise for the Australian government having done ‘what it had to do, to protect us from terrorists, like Hicks, Hanouf and Habib.’ He had more important things on his plate anyway, he said, like getting drug dealers out of a gaol more comfortable than Hicks’s, men more guilty than he, and guilty of an actual crime with lethal results. ‘He is not near my conscience,’ he said, of Hicks, unflinching, quoting Antony as he ‘prick’d down’ his nephew Publius for execution in Act IV of Julius Caesar.

Hicks’s lawyers were glad to hear the phrase ‘up to no good’ uttered out of doors in Tasmania. It meant they could sue Abbott for three hundred and forty thousand dollars plus costs. Or settle, publicly and loudly and shamingly, for five hundred thousand dollars, two days after Abbott, smashed and broken, became a backbencher.

John Howard said Hicks deserved to be tortured for five and a half years. This was because of his ‘Thoughtcrime’ of wanting to defend a duly constituted government — one recognised by the United Nations — from an illegal, insurgent, brutal army in a civil war, as Hemingway, Koestler and Orwell did in 1936 in Spain. Though he had committed no crime, and hurt nobody, and was a danger to nobody, and is no danger to anybody, he deserved to have his limbs crushed, his sleep invaded, his teeth eroded and his mind maddened with unknown injections, Howard said, in five years of solitary confienement and Neil James agreed with him. Hicks could still be arrested, he said, because of the anti-Australian beliefs he might now be suspected of having, because of two Prime Ministers not helping him escape from pain and madness unjustly endured.

He could go to gaol for bad thoughts, James, a Liberal voter, said. He could still have bad thoughts, and go to gaol.

Baird’s Deputy Troy Grant, the Minister For Racing, said he was ‘completely surprised’ to learn, on Monday night when watching, by chance, Four Corners, that dog racing was a crooked, bungled, bloodstained business and he, as its responsible minister, should now call for his own arrest, handcuff himself, and resign his office as the Westminster system demanded. He sacked the Board, and hoped to Christ that none of them revealed how much he knew — everything, some punters thought — and forced Baird to sack him, after sacking eleven others, a mere thirty-five days before an election that was already going wobbly.

This was because Luke Foley, Labor’s new leader, had released that morning a series of costed policies that made sense, and did not sell off the electricity as Baird threatened to do now, though this fool plan had cost the crazed, unmourned, foam-flecked, ‘little sarmajor’ Nooman thirty-six seats and government eighteen days ago.

These policies were suppressed by all the broadcast media, who talked instead of Hicks, and cyclones.

Miranda Devine, lying, said Hicks had after 9/11 gone Sfghanistan to fight for al-Qaeda against Australia; he had in fact, in fear, gone there, a journey of less than a hundred miles, to get his passport and leave the region quick smart. Paul Murray, lying, said Hick’s book, twice nominated for a Premier’s Award, was not worth wiping his fat arse on, a judgment he made without reading a page of it. Both said, lying, that Hicks was demanding an apology, though he was not; he ‘was over all that’, he said, and just wanted to get on with his diminished, crippled life.

Paul Murray said ‘polls had showed’ that no-one thought he deserved an apology, though the only one taken so far, by the ABC, found two thirds of those contacted thought he did.

Christine Milne called for a Senate inquiry into why John Howard had let Hicks be imprisoned, and tortured, for four and a half years without him being charged with anything, when he could have had him brought home at any time, as Blair did with his ‘terrorists’, found innocent also and let free.

And so it went.

The Twenty-Four Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (199)

Barnaby Joyce, an LNP voter, cursed those Greens and ‘animal activists’ and ABC reporters who filmed rabbits, piglets and a baby possum being pursued and eaten by greyhounds owned by criminals and so trained, illegally, and so used, illegally, in their loathesome, bloodstained quest for tens of millions of dollars. The rabbit-abusers were lawless men, he admitted, but so were their pursuers, exposers and whistle-blowers, and they should be ‘ashamed of themselves’. It was Barnaby who in similar vein cursed Sarah Ferguson for her documentary on the cruel cattle-slaughterers of Indonesia, whose ‘privacy’, he said, had been ‘violated’.

Morrison swore, and swore, and swore again that the government were not putting the family home in the assets test of people who sought the old age pension. This was after Hockey’s office admitted they were ‘considering it’. It would mean that those who had bought in Paddington, say, for three thousand pounds in 1963 a tenement now worth 1.7 million dollars would never, never get the old age pension though they had worked as a nurse and a brickie for forty-five years and put their two kids through university. This was ‘not on our agenda’, said the man who said he had ‘stopped the boats’ though two had set out in December, ‘trust me.’

‘He’s lying,’ said Hockey, ‘trust me.’

Miranda Devine, a Liberal voter, accused of ‘flagrant self-promotion’ Malcolm Turnbull, a Liberal voter, who ‘shot himself in the foot,’ she hissed, ‘with self-love’ and ‘lost it’ on Q&A on Monday. This followed her previous attack on Abbott and an email, probably, from her evil, crumbling, senile guru Murdoch threatening to halve her wage. Though Abbott had lost the affection of three million Liberal voters he retained that of Murdoch, it seemed, for at least a few more days, and he would gain a well-paid gig on Skynews when he was overthrown on Thursday next, or probably Monday, by a party room now heartily sick of his ‘goof a day’.

His new nickname, ‘The Loaded Dog’, took hold.

It used to be ‘Mr People Skills’.

Tim Wilson, a Liberal voter, said Gillian Triggs had written an excellent report on the buggering of children on Manus Island. Asked if he agreed with his Prime Minister that it was a ‘blatantly political stitch-up’, he said he would not say what private discussions he’d conducted with his committee or his leader. Asked how thirty-two cases of child sex abuse was a matter for ‘private discussion’, he smiled broadly and said, ‘Go fuck yourself.’

It was revealed that Jamie Briggs, a Liberal voter, planned soon to overthrow the government of Norfolk Island, and deprive its two thousand people of their democratic independence much like General Galtieri with a like-sized population in the Falkland Islands in 1981 prior to a shooting war between Britain and Argentina on Goose Green and other sacred killing fields. There were protests from its one hundred and forty-years old government, which predated Australia’s, and had been the first on earth to give women the vote, in 1898, and had only sometimes been part of the Australian Federation, belonging at different times to the United Kingdom, New South Wales and a fiend called Turton.

‘A state of war now exists between us,’ said a member of that government, Alice Adams, on Radio National at 3.40 pm. Abbott replied that he ‘had no more territorial demands’, and ordered our gunships prepare for ‘on-water matters’ which he was ‘powerless to detail’; and referred our nation’s defence to ‘Sir’ Angus Houston, presently celebrating his ‘knighthood’ in an Amsterdam cathouse where, at an earlier hour, he had called Tony Abbott a ‘fucking idiot’ for ‘making me invade Indonesia.’

Sussan ‘Bubbles’ Ley said she was contemplating a ‘multi-tiered co-payment system’ for doctors’ visits, then hiccupped, wriggled her nose and said she wasn’t. ‘Excuse me, won’t you,’ she added, ‘I just need a teensy-weensy little…lie-down,’ and began to snore. The widespread rumours of ‘magnum champagne breakfasts’ for this new Minister were, her office, hiccupping, claimed, ‘exaggerated’. She drank two bottles of Veuve Clicquot a day, they admitted, plus ‘assorted cocktails, spirits and vintage white wines with meals’, but ‘nothing before 9 am.’

Abbott reminded Widodo of the billion our country had given his country at the time of the tsunami, and his office, bridling, said he ‘didn’t respond well to threats’ and it was said he had put his navy on Red Alert. Abbott’s ‘one goof, at least, a day’ New Year Resolution had once again been affirmed.

His second goof, in Queensland, where he was extremely unwelcome, and citizens turned away and vomited at his approach, was to announce he would charge the nation four hundred million dollars to spy on it, recording its ‘metadata’ but not reading its private emails. This sum would keep fifty small theatres going for a thousand years on the interest alone, or build eight hundred special dwellings for the disabled every year, or keep Holden in the country, and therefore every auto company, for the next ten years. ‘It’s worth it,’ said Abbott. ‘It’s worth it. We spy on you, and you pay. And you pay up big. We spy. You pay.’

And so it went.

Lines For Tony Abbott (19)

For too long we have given the New South Wales Police the benefit of the doubt. They killed a young Brazilian for stealing a biscuit, and got off scot free. They killed a young, drugged Bowral resident for stealing a pizza, and were only lightly reprimanded. They ran over and killed a baby in her own back yard while in hot pursuit of a car thief and were said to have acted correctly. They shot and killed a young woman who was drinking a milk shake outside of a Hungry Jacks for no good reason and suffered no fine or reprimand. They shot and killed with six bullets Katrina Johnson and were, somehow, acclaimed for it.

We have given these uniformed rogue offenders the benefit of the doubt, and a licence to kill, for far too long. And new laws will be enacted, as soon as I sort out Turnbull, to deal with these serial wrongdoers who, for each offence, will be put away for twenty years.

Lest we forget.

The Twenty-Nine Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (198)

Barry O’Farrell, a Liberal voter, proved to have received an 1195 dollar Montblanc pen he ‘couldn’t remember’ from a company desirous of attaining lavish contracts from his government. Another company persuaded his government to spend a hundred million dollars more than was needed on a midtown light rail that advantaged developers and frustrated commuters into Newcastle. The MP for Newcastle, Tim Owen, got ten thousand dollars from the Newcastle Mayor in connection with this and lied to ICAC about it.

These matters ill-suited Baird, already shown by two Lindt Cafe documentaries to have acted like a fumbling klutz, at the start of his election campaign. Abbott announced he would reveal, next week, what went wrong with the siege, and why he refused to take the hostages’ calls, being, he said, ‘too busy’ at the time, ‘the Prime Minister is a busy man’, just when it was feared fresh polls would show Labor, in New South Wales, now in with a chance, and gaining.

No-one could find anything that Gillian Triggs had said about tortured children that was wrong, and Brandis did not deny he had asked for her resignation. Nor did any Liberal deny what Abbott had said, that she was a conniving harridan who should be ashamed of herself, and ‘grateful’, moreover, to Morrison who had stopped the boats. The ruin of children’s emotional lives were ‘irrelevant’, the Prime Minister insisted, and for this he felt ‘no guilt whatsoever’. Gillian Triggs told him to go fuck himself.

Turnbull was invited to criticise her, but after his great ‘The quality of mercy is not strained’ soliloquy, aimed, it was thought, not just at Widodo but Hockey, seemed disinclined, in the present circumstance, to speak ill of a lady. She was a fine public servant, he said, like Phillip Ruddock, whose knighthood, surely, was long overdue.

He, Turnbull, unlike his leader Abbott (lately nicknamed ‘the Loaded Dog’, because of his daily tendency to blow himself up), felt torturing children was inappropriate, or, let’s face it, wrong. He felt Abbott, perhaps, had misjudged his lurch to the Right, when everyone knew the ‘rational centre’ was where most elections were won, under unifying calm figures like himself. He seemed serene, secure in his elevation to the Prime Ministership by Thursday week, and the Q&A audience grovelled around his genial, amused charisma.

Colleen Ryan, a Liberal voter, claimed Sarah Ferguson should not, in a prizewinning interview, have shown Joe Hockey to be a fool. Though SF had said, correctly, that Joe thought ‘election promises don’t matter’, she had done so with insufficient ‘civility and respect’ such as one might properly show to a liar and wrecker of civilisations. The ABC budget coverage was ‘excellent overall’, Ryan added, but Joe should not have been thus criticised for his many, many crimes against his adopted country and the world economy. And the next time Ferguson did ‘that sort of thing’ she might go to gaol.

Abbott joined with five former Prime Ministers and a future one, Turnbull, in asking Widodo to spare Chan and Sukumaran. He did not offer ten people smugglers in return. In doing this he made sure that any boats turned back into Indonesian waters would incur a state of war and a likelihood that Widodo would soon expel all ‘asylum seekers’ from his country and point them in the direction of Christmas Island, and accompany them there in warships, guns blazing. This would mean in turn that he, Abbott, had not, in fact, ‘stopped the boats’ as he had promised and should therefore, logically, resign.

It was revealed that many greyhounds had savaged and rended and sometimes eaten small animals before illegally winning races and enriching Liberal-voting punters and dog owners with ill-gotten millions. Various government bodies meant to prevent this had looked, it seemed, the other way. No-one, however, was gaoled or fined or retrospectively taxed by Baird, a friend of cheats, with blood on his hands as usual. It was thought future dog-races should be cancelled, at least for a while, and punters given back the money they had lost in wagers against these ‘supermutts’ which, logically, some thought, should be now ‘put down’. ‘We will get through this,’ Baird wept. ‘We will get through this.’ Fields of flowers appeared miraculously behind him, in which rabbits, piglets and possums frolicked, and greyhounds lay down with them, breathing calmly.

For the ninth month Abbott, having spent on the search five hundred million dollars, failed to find a skerrick of MH 370. It was money well spent, he insisted, which might else have been wasted on schools for the disabled or child care. There were other oceans the drowned plane might be in, he added, and the odd strapped-in skeleton that might, at a cost of an extra billion, be brought home to his grieving parents in China at our expense. Nearly all the money expended on this noble quest would go, in accordance with Abbott-Hockey-Robb trade policy, overseas. It was important we exported our money, they insisted, so that more deserving people than Australians might have it hereinafter and forever.

And so it went.

Sir, You Go Too Far: James’s, Marcel’s, Taylor-Johnson’s, Dornan’s And Johnson’s Fifty Shades Of Grey

Fifty Shades Of Grey is a considerable cinematic work, well-designed, well-edited, and directed, by Sam Taylor-Johnson, who gave us Nowhere Boy, with a skill that might be compared with the scene in Modern Times where Charlie Chaplin skates backward blindfold over an abyss. And it introduces two young actors of great subtle skill who will play, I imagine, the next James Bond and the next Brigid Jones should those roles become soon available. The dialogue, by Kelly Marcel, who wrote Saving Mr Banks, is excellent (somewhere between Hare and Curtis) and the premise — somewhere between Pretty Woman, Pride And Prejudice and One Hundred Days Of Sodom — absorbing, arousing and plausible.

We want her to submit, and sign his many-claused contract. We want to know him better. We would like to see what she is to be paid — he is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire after all — in the agreement which she delays, delays, delays signing while in his sadomasochistic laboratory progressively experiencing, with stirred, unshamed surprise at varying leather and feather textures, what he wants of her. Every ingredient, including the nudity, pleasingly delayed and pleasingly revealed, is about as good as this kind of thing can be without deviating, if that is the word I want, beyond the present decorous borderlands of middle-class expectation any further than, say, Love, Actually or 500 Days Of Summer.

But…but…but…the ending, and only the ending, lets it down, and, with the equivalent of the Victorian ladylike riposte, ‘Sir, you go too far!’, makes nonsense, or near-nonsense, of all that has preceded it. ‘Is that…it?’ was the wounded groan of the worldwide audience, of which there was, by 2 pm on Monday in the Warriewood cinema, almost none remaining. It needed a happier, or a perhaps more gruesome ending, which made of Christian Grey a Bateman, a Lecter or a Jeckyll, or of Ana Steele a Lara Croft, Tomb Raider.

Though it is just possible, that after this ending, and this audience thwarting, and this worldwide hunger for more, more, more, there will be a sequel.

Otherwise it is a serious fault, and may confine its profit margin to a mere nine hundred million dollars.

And what a sadness that would be.

The Thirty-One Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (197)

Fran Kelly returned to RN Breakfast and many a Liberal sighed with relief. They knew she would quote, henceforth, only the inaccurate polls Galaxy and Newspoll and suppress Morgan, the accurate one — which alone got Queensland right, and her home state South Australia — and give respectful, affectionate, wifely attention to their more fascist and crazed MPs.

The first of these, Andrew Nikolic, said those who think terrorist thoughts and serve gaol-time for having thought them should thereafter be cast out stateless into starved oblivion and those who do us harm like Monis should be treated more severely. He did not say why those who do even more harm — like, say, the New South Wales Police who have killed four times as many innocents as terrorists in the past three months — should go unpunished and be decorated for their murderous, mad-dog zeal and promoted to higher office. That was not his area of interest.

Nikolic, born in Serbia, a terrorist state, and for thirty years in the Australian Army, a rigidly disciplined killing machine, said it was none of his business, as Deputy Whip, why Abbott had sacked the Chief Whip, Ruddock. ‘There are only two offices that the Party Room vote on,’ he said, cravenly, ‘the Leader and the Deputy Leader. All other offices are are the gift of the Leader, peace be unto him, Abbott is great, and Ruddock is his prophet; sorry, was.’

Abbott said he would ‘crack down’ on terrorists, who have killed one person on Australian soil in a hundred years, and ‘empower police’ who have killed four in the last three months, including a mother of three, a baby, and a girl drinking a milkshake outside a Hungry Jack’s. The police were to be ‘congratulated’, he said, for their ‘vigilant rapid response’ to biscuit and pizza thieves and ‘provocative pedestrians’ waving soft drinks defiantly. He became excited, and was taken away and ‘settled down’ by his giant Nubian body-servant Credlin with her special tea and a ‘deep massage’.

Greiner, Baird and Fraser said children should not be locked up, and it was ‘shameful’ Australia was the only OECD country that encarcerated them in spaces unfit for chickens. Baird beseeched his ‘old friend’ and ‘fellow Christian’ Abbott to let some children fleeing torture come to Australia and live here. Abbott claimed that tortured children ‘are not near my conscience; prick them down, prick them down, prick down a hundred more’. He became excited; and was taken away and ‘settled down’. His popularity among women fell to 38 percent.

Abbott called Ruddock ‘a terrible mistake’. Ruddock said this was the first complaint he had received from him. Tim Blair said it was fine to call ‘a holocaust’ Labor’s jobs policy. ‘Work shall make you free,’ he said, quoting the sign over Auschwitz, ‘and Labor by definition believes in work, ho ho.’ A gathering of cartoonists around him stared at him disbelievingly.

In The Daily Telegraph, Andrew Bolt, lying, said Gillian Triggs conducted ‘no inquiry when Labor destroyed our our border defences, lured over 50,000 boat people and filled our detention centres to bursting.’ In the smh, Gillian Triggs, responding, said the great surge in the numbers was to do with the Arab Spring, and ‘within eight weeks of commencing as president in July 2012 I was at Villawood Detention Centre interviewing children and other detainees. Four weeks later I was in Christmas Island.

‘Between January, 2009 and September, 2014, the commission received 159 complaints in relation to children in immigration detention — each of which is separately investigated by the commission.

‘So where was I and the commission in 2013? We were addressing the longstanding and ongoing concerns about the treatment of asylum-seejer children. We were in detention centres, publishing reports and investigating complaints. Consistently, we were highlighting the collateral damage to children of maintaining a mandatory immigration detention policy.’

For eight months of that year, she might have added, Labor was in power, and for four months the Coalition; and Bolt’s unfeeling slanders were untrue, malicious and legally actionable — by, perhaps, a hundred serving officers, nurses, doctors and bureaucrats, each of whom he might soon owe three hundred and fifty thousand dollars plus costs, a total of thirty-eight million dollars, and a thousand or so detainees.

Bolt also claimed that there were ‘not even ten’ Aboriginal children stolen from their parents in the early and mid-twentieth century. He is deluded, fork-tongued, foam-flecked, Dutch and mad as that.

Ruddock said he voted for Abbott in the Spill, but refused to say if he would now. Turnbull on Q&A praised Ruddock to the skies, and called his removal a ‘captain’s pick’. Abbott ‘flicked the switch to terrorism’, wanting no more talk about how many people hated him. He was appalled to learn, he said, that terrorists, in the last ten years, had killed one thousandth as many people on our soil as brutal husbands, and he was changing many, many laws to ‘nip them in the bud’. ‘One death in a hundred years,’ he is said to have said, ‘is one too many. It’s a national emergency. You mark my words.

PVO (the Choirboy) said Palaszczuk was ‘already in trouble’ because her ministry of thirteen was ‘soooo inexperienced’. Only three of them had been ministers before, he noted. This compared with Hawke’s ministry of twenty-three, only three of whom had been ministers before, and was thought within weeks the best in our history. And Whitlam’s, which had none. And Goss’s, which had none. And Martin’s, which had none. And Gallop’s, which had none. And it did not occur to him that these ministers if uncertain could seek advice — from Swan, Beattie, Bligh, Andrew Fraser, Kevin Rudd. The Choirboy, shaking his head, said Palaszczuk would be within eighteen months in such big, big trouble that Abbott would storm back into government at the next election; then, faltering, said he meant Malcolm Turnbull would storm back into government, Abbott was an idiot, oops, let me read that again, and fell to a drunken snoring under the table.

Recalling his New Year Resolution of ‘one goof, at least, a day’, Abbott called a press conference. ‘It makes me sick to my stomach,’ he said, ‘when I think of what will happen to two drug dealers, but when I think of thirty.two children sexually molested on my watch, and two hundred children driven by my government’s policies to attempt self-harm or suicide, I feel no guilt, no guilt at all, and I sleep, I sleep, you mark my words, very soundly.’

And so it went.

Remembered Foes And Comrades: David Bradbury’s The Crater

In the difficult ‘History Channel’ genre of a documentary with occasional reinactments, David Bradbury has made a masterpiece. It is about war guilt, survivor’s guilt, the agonised reaching across the trenches, and No Man’s Land, for the extended hand of one’s wounded foe, and one man’s quest for the bodies of men killed in a long-ago night battle he feels he must reunite with their still-grieving widows and families, as the Vietnamese culture demands, and yearns for: the household ghost who must be brought home to his people.

The ‘dig’, in a jungle area he and some veteran comrades half-remember, where, in a crater, they threw, in scores, their enemies’ wrecked bodies, is interspersed with reinacted flashbacks of his life as a soldier, and truly horrific scenes of night-battle, as good as any equivalent in Spielberg. The young actors are perfect younger versions of the older, scarred narrators, all of them traumatised. One shared the war with his brother who came home, and, though married, with children, suicided. One refused to have children lest they be mutants, after his exposure to Agent Orange. Post traumatic stress disorder, ten thousand years old already, was not well known or named then, but it came into public view soon after, when fifty-eight thousand Americans died in Vietnam, and fifty thousands veterans, in due course, killed themselves after failing to ‘readjust’ to civilian life.

Rarely has there been a better war documentary; only Restrepo comes to mind. Bradbury, lately, has become a director of world rank. His Paul Cox film is as good as a Bergman. His lifelong ‘left wing’ tendency has, I guess, diminished him in our shallow, sneering, jocular culture, as Ken Loach’s never was in Britain’s. It is time to acclaim him, and include him in our canon; and all who see this film will begin, at last, this long-delayed, eulogistic affirmation of a master of cinema.

Abbott and Ruddock: An Exchange

Hugh Weiss

Bob, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other politician, so wantonly destructive of all he’s supposedly stood for, for so long.

The nearest leader Labor had was Mark Latham. But Latham didn’t really turn on some in Labor until after he left parliament.

With out doubt, Abbott is a narcissist, a destructive force now intent on destroying anyone who he perceives has crossed him, within the Liberal Party. Nobody should be surprised, least of all members of the Liberal Party. Abbott has been a wrecking ball of destruction all his life. I suspect he has benefited throughout his privileged life from the fact people have been pleased to be rid of him, facilitating his entry into other places, as far from them as possible. His entry to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, sponsored by Jesuit benefactors, may well have been such a case of them ridding themselves of a problem child, after the disaster of his seminary years.

The Liberal Party prides itself on the claim of it being a ‘broad church’, of being the home of professional & corporate leaders. They pretend they are the intelligentsia, but the rise of Abbott reveals them to be simply the rich & greedy. Otherwise, one would think ‘intelligent’ professionals within the ranks of the Liberal party would have being ringing alarm bells long ago about the serious & destructive personality flaws within Anthony John Abbott.

Members of the Labor Party, notably Paul Keating, TTers, and many others, including John Hewson, a small ‘l’ liberal, have been warning anyone who listened for years. But the Liberal powerbrokers have remained as tin eared as Abbott himself.
Abbott the Destroyer. He may well have destroyed Rudd, Gillard & good government. It is little wonder having also destroyed the Australian economy, he now seeks to destroy the very foundations of his own party & supporters.

The parallels between Abbott & Hitler, are obvious.


Excellent post, HW.


Beauty Hugh

Dr Liz

Yes. Hitler ended up railing against his own people, blaming them for the losses etc.

I have been thinking this for ages, very fascistic, everything he does, right down to impoverished vocabulary, and dislike of anything that might look like intellectual debate or introspection.

It could never have ended any other way, and the Liberal Party itself is now the party of the crazies, ably led by Cedlin and her husband, Loughnane.

They no doubt saw themselves as the brains and Abbott the brawn.

The “First triumvirate” as per the Caesars.

A quick knifing would be the most merciful thing that could happen now to Abbott. Knifing and removal, a good reference – the Vatican awaits.

Dr Liz

Hitler also wanted to be a priest. . .

“Although Hitler did not practice religion in a churchly sense, he certainly believed in the Bible’s God. Raised as Catholic he went to a monastery school and, interestingly, walked everyday past a stone arch which was carved the monastery’s coat of arms which included a swastika.

As a young boy, Hitler’s most ardent goal was to become a priest.

Much of his philosophy came from the Bible, and more influentially, from the Christian Social movement. (The German Christian Social movement, remarkably, resembles the Christian Right movement in America today.)

Many have questioned Hitler’s stand on Christianity. Although he fought against certain Catholic priests who opposed him for political reasons, his belief in God and country never left him.

Nor did the Vatican’s Pope & bishops ever disown him; in fact they blessed him! As evidence to his claimed Christianity, he said:
“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews [substitute Labor Party, Muslims, refugees, back benchers. Ruddocks etc] for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. [from Mein Kampf]

Tony Abbott, like Hitler, a self declared fighter.

paul walter

Thing is, Christ fought FOR the poor, not against them.

Dr Liz

That’s right Paul, and was himself killed by the Romans, if I’m not mistaken.

Abbott *uses* Christ in a very similar way that extremists of any ilk use a cause to confuse others, and themselves, that they are on the side of good.

Abbott is no more a Christian than Hitler was, with his crusading and death culting.

paul walter

Dr Liz, thanks for an adult comment.

DQ, we have discussed this many times.

I am not an Xtian; a deist at best, but I believe the guts of the Gospels has an underlying element of truth: to whit, a common story through humanity, of an activist with opposing values to the establishment, eliminated for threatening cosy graft and for political reasons that threaten the interests of a hegemon.

Doug Quixote

So the Christians would have us believe. The Gospels were written between 30 and 70 years after the crucifixion, a very safe lapse of time in an era without reliable records except for those of Rome, which notably make no mention of any Jesus of Nazareth.

Yet another myth, since expanded upon in 700CE or so to create an even worse myth.


And to control the hoi polloi.

Hugh Weiss

Thanks, for that detail, Dr Liz.

They share the same trait for impulsive, radical, illogical decisions when confronted with problems. Hitler’s refusal to accept the council of his Generals cost millions of lives. Abbott’s ‘captain’s calls’ may not be of the same magnitude, but they are certainly the same type of determined, pig headed, reckless response to any challenge to their authority.
I suspect Abbott, when confronted by Ruddock with a few home truths, has reacted exactly as Hitler did, when Rommel dared to question his strategies on return from the front.

Rommel left Berlin convinced of Hitler’s madness. Ruddock may well have known of Abbott’s for sometime, but he’s now seen the wrath of a man who considers himself beyond questioning.

The Loughnane-Credlin empire with the Liberal party will die with Abbott. Many liberals will blame them, rather than accept their own role in foisting the mad monk on all of Australia & beyond.

Jennifer Meyer-Smith

It’s up to us informed voters (political junkies) to remind the poor deluded sods that they backed the wrong horse with Rabid and they will not be exonerated.

paul walter



Stalin also began as a trainee priest. He too was a great believer in the captain’s pick. It didn’t pay to disagree.

Dr Liz

Thanks Hugh and Veronica, a pattern seems to be emerging. . .

Hugh Weiss

Indeed Veronica. We have the parallel between Abbott’s sacking of the ever loyal Ruddock, with Stalin’s show trial & execution of Nikolai Bukharin, his own loyal lieutenant over many years.

Bukharin was accused, with others, of seeking to assassinate Lenin and Stalin from 1918, poison Maxim Gorky, breaking up the USSR for the benefit of Germany, Japan, Great Britain.

The charges of disloyalty, as absurd as those Abbott has levelled at Ruddock, for not knowing the numbers, before the vote.

What an accusation for a liar, in a party of liars, to level at the party’s most loyal stalwart.
Abbott, Hitler & Stalin; all frustrated or failed, would be priests. It must be something in the teachings of their earlier years.

Next week, I expect the Liberal’s version of both von Stauffenberg & Rudolph Hess, to emerge.
(Fitroy McLean’s book, ‘Eastern Approaches’ is a great read about Bukharin’s trial in 1938 & other great events of the time.)


Please let us not waste any sympathy on Philip Ruddock. As Immigration Minister and then AG, over many, far too many years, he was responsible for more suffering, and told more lies than Scott Morrison ever dreamed of.

He was also responsible for the payments of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money in compensation to people, including Australian citizens, who were wrongly imprisoned, thanks to his stubborn ignorant incompetence. There were also questions about hugely extravagant overseas travel costs. Good riddance and a fitting end to a sordid career. Father of the House? Good God.

Hugh Weiss

No sympathy for Ruddock, Veronica.

My words above just putting him the terms the Liberal faithful see him.

In many ways, he was the Morrison & Brandis of his day. He attacked civil liberties & gaoled the innocent.
The way he & Andrews treated Doctor Haneef was disgraceful. In Haneef’s case, they destroyed a man’s career for selfish political reason. A concocted terrorist threat.

Let me also mention, he & Howard standing side by side & telling Australia they would not bend to pressure from the US & Israel & accept more of the murderous South Lebanese Army. He then covertly used his ministerial powers to grant early Australian citizenship & passports to hundreds of them & their families.


And an avid practitioner of the purge.

Chris O’Neill
They pretend they are the intelligentsia, but the rise of Abbott reveals them to be simply the rich & greedy.

For what it’s worth, my view is that the choice of Abbott was a gambit by a party that was in desperate circumstances, unable to see any other way they could possibly win government in the foreseeable future. They suspected Abbott would make a rubbish Prime Minister but chose him for his attack dog skills over everything else.

So they won government and now they have to deal with the consequences of their choice.

Glow Worm

Chris O’Neill – I just don’t think they are that clever.
There’s an old Greek proverb: if a blind chook pecks around diligently enough, it will find a grain.

No plan. No strategy. No future.

Chris O’Neill

I don’t think I implied their choice of Abbott was clever in any way at all. Being desperate is not being clever.

The Thirty-One Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (196)

Piers Akerman, a Liberal voter, said Baird might lose his election or come close and Abbott would be blamed for it either way. Miranda Devine, a Liberal voter, said Abbott ‘should have known’ how putrid his public odour was, and he did not need Ruddock to tell him the awful news. Coining the phrase perhaps, she called Gillian Triggs a ‘compassionista’, and people like her and Julian Burnside ‘full of moral flatulence’, for not wanting children tortured, though torturing them was a worthy act that saved other children from drowning at sea. Samantha Maiden, a Liberal voter, called Credlin ‘the nation’s first female Liberal Prime Minister — unelected, mind you — that we never knew we had.’

Credlin, a leak revealed, was the co-auteur, with Abbott, of the ‘starve the bastards for six months’ policy for newly unemployed kids, and Andrews and Abetz were against it. They pointed out that kids thus punished — high school graduates, retrenched auto workers with wives and two children — had five million relatives and friends possessed of the vote and she said, ‘Those figures are irrelevant’, and Abbott said proudly, ‘That’s my girl.’

The Liberals continued to condemn those who thought two hundred instances of child abuse worth talking about, and thirty instances of rape or lesser sexual tampering those fools thought should be investigated. What they should be talking about, they raged, was children drowned at sea, like the hundred on SIEV-X, oops, when Howard, oops, let me read that again. Like the Catholic Church, they regarded child abuse as an ‘irrelevance’ when much worse things were done to children, like being made to accompany their parents on a search for a better life — or like, say, the Children of Israel being put at risk of drowning in the parted, collapsing and engulfing Red Sea, oops, let me read that again.

It was not revealed why children who had not been drowned must serve a hundred years of jobless, wifeless, childless imprisonment on Nauru; or, if not that long, how long, or where. ‘We don’t think that far ahead,’ the unelected Prime Minister, Credlin, is said to have said. ‘It’s hard enough wrestling my hair into shape each morning.’

Paul Kelly, a Liberal urger, with his usual delphic tedium revealed that Abbott had had, indeed, a bad Monday. He was told by his ministers, the sage revealed, that he had six months, or maybe twelve, to improve his polling numbers or he would be cactus ‘by the September equinox, or possibly Christmas’, and Turnbull, indeed, had played his hand ‘shrewdly’.

But luckily for Abbott, the grand old fool went on, the polling had showed Liberal voters wanted him, Abbott, more than Turnbull, and these numbers, nineteen percent of the total electorate, assured ‘the Abbott-Credlin operation’ of survival, acclaim and knighthoods well into the 2030s. Asked who if Turnbull were made leader the Abbott fans would vote for instead, the great man showed genuine, dare one say senile, puzzlement. The Greens? he wondered. The Christian Democrats? He smacked his lips a lot, and cleared his throat, and looked sometimes knowing, and sometimes confused, like an old, old man.

Andrew Bolt, a Liberal urger, asked Abbott why he didn’t see the Spill numbers coming. ‘I was too distracted by the good of the nation,’ Abbott said, ‘and my need to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, an outcome I was, and still am, very, very passionate about, Andrew.’ Asked if Ruddock had skulduggerously concealed the backbenchers’ murderous fury from him or stirred that fury up, perhaps, he said, ‘No, he just didn’t notice. Like most left-wing Liberals his age, he lives in a world of his own.’ Asked if Credlin, too, lived in a world of her own, he said, ‘That’s an impertinent question,’ and, getting his old friend by the throat, banged his handsome head on the console till Security parted them.

With a stone face Ruddock said of his sudden sacking that he would have thought if the Prime Minister had had a problem with the way he was doing his job he would have spoken to him about it. He used no words of criticism but implied that his leader, the choice of both party and country, was an impulsive, dim-witted, hag-ridden cunt. He was calm and lucid and seemed, for his fifteen minutes, less senile than Kelly, Andrews, Johnston, Brandis, Abetz or Abbott; the latter especially, whose gait was that of a ninety-year old and whose grammar, wierd smiles and sudden contradictions were symptomatic of Alzheimer’s or Touretz.

Peter Fitzsimons, by his own admission a ‘lifelong Liberal voter’, said in his weekly column of the Monday spill vote that it showed that Abbott had ‘lost the confidence of two thirds of the backbench. I am reminded of the first ALP spill in June 1991. The final margin margin was 66/44 in favour of Prime Minister Bob Hawke, over Paul Keating. “Not close,” a journalist commented straight afterwards to Keating numbers man Senator Graham Richardson. “No,” Richardson replied with a grim smile. “But close enough.” And so it proved, with the mortally wounded Hawke falling to Keating six months later.’

Abbott stood in a paddock, and, keeping up his New Year Resolution of ‘one goof, at least, a day’, said that he didn’t knight Prince Phillip because he thought it would be a popular choice. He did it in order to answer the question, ‘What is the most appropriate reward for this tactless, racist, oaf-witted, doddering social-climber with, for thirty-five years, a mistress in Australia?’ And the answer came from, it seems, the Deity: a meaningless English gong on Australia Day.

And so it went.

Abbott: The Termination

(First published by Independent Australia)

In his film of Richard III Laurence Olivier, felled by arrows, writhes and twitches on the ground while Richmond’s soldiers jeer at him. Tony Abbott is now in a similar twitching and writhing.

The numbers on Monday doomed him, but the Ruddock sacking brought forward the day of his execution. It may occur, now, before Chan and Sukumaran’s, in ten or eleven days’ time.

What is going on in the Prime Minister’s head? If the sneered response ‘brain damage’ can be discarded, and maybe it can’t, it has to be to do with his Catholic upbringing, and the consequent abiding habits of mind.

Under Catholicism, you ‘wipe the slate clean’ by Confession, and a number of Hail Marys, and all is well. You admit, with words, your sin, and expiate your sin with words, and are then, being cleansed, allowed to sin again.

And to Tony Abbott the words matter, only the words matter, and the deeds that follow the words can contradict them. ‘There will be no more captain’s picks’; yet the meeting was brought forward, Credlin retained, and Ruddock removed. ‘Good government starts today’, and a shambles ensues. It is revealed that child abuse occurred on Christmas Island, and like the Catholic church, he denies it, says he feels ‘no guilt whatsoever’ and proposes to martyr Triggs for unveiling the truth: suicidal children, buggered by their guardians, and bashed for talking about it.

And now we see Ruddock, past hero of ‘border protection’, auteur of the 2001 win, sacked. It was almost certainly to do with his expression, and body language, when he revealed on Sunday it was Abbott, not he, who had brought the meeting forward, and it was, though he did not say it, a ‘captain’s call’.

It is likely now that Turnbull has about forty-seven votes, and five or six more will come across by the middle of next week.

And another spill vote will be put the following Monday, or Tuesday, or Thursday.

And Abbott and Hockey will go to the back bench, and an early election occur, if the poll numbers surge, and they will, towards Turnbull, around Anzac Day, on April 30 perhaps; or soon after a well-crafted Budget comes down, and the Coalition’s numbers reach 49.

It is certain now Abbott has weeks, not months. He has tried the patience again of those who doubted him already, and lost their regard forever. And now he is done and finished.

And writhing on the battleground.

To Finally Discover The Mind Of God: Marsh, McCarter, Wilde, Redmayne, Jones And Hawking’s A Theory Of Everything

It is likely Eddie Redmayne will win an Oscar for his portrayal, this year, of Stephen Hawking — on , I guess, the ‘Elephant Man Principle’ that freaks, madmen and monsters, well played, always have the inside track. But he absolutely deserves it.

Behind a fixed smile, and ever-varying wily eyes he gives us, at every stage of his physical crumbling, a magnificent, judgmental, self-mocking mind at work. His mouth twists up, and he drools, but the smile remains. While he still can speak, we somehow understand his crisp, wry sentences through the glitched, adenoidal blurring, and we inhabit, with him, his increasingly caged mind.

Directed by James Marsh and written by Anthony McCarter from Jane Wilde Hawking’s memoir Travelling To Infinity, it deals with that most difficult of subjects, a menage a trois, one participant of which is a cripple. Felicity Jones as Jane shows both the pain and the inevitability of her choice: of a furtive, inconsummate dalliance that becomes, with Stephen’s permission — he gives it in a single sentence — an ‘arrangement’; and then, after some years, a crisis; and then, when he finds at last an exciting Irish nurse, Elaine (Maxine Peake), an affectionate, enduring divorce.

No summary of all this can can properly convey how involvingly and warmly and generously this grave tale of slow loss is told, nor the dignity and tenderness with which Emily Jones (she was Dickens’ teenage wax-doll mistress in The Invisible Woman), and Charlie Cox as her shy handsome choirmaster, wooer and lover Jonathan, softly portray, as in watercolours, their Anglican middle-class difficulties, like those of Celia and Trevor in Brief Encounter. No sex scenes, thank God, are in it; it is a drama whose characters are more inclined to discuss religion, the roots of the universe, and the mind of God. Asked it he can still ‘make it’ sexually, Stephen says, in his blurred speech, ‘Absolutely; it’s a different system’. Or words to that effect. This explains to those who care (and I, alack, am among them) how FDR ‘did it’ also, in the front seat of his car, with his kissing cousin Daisy.

Like its gently jostling rival The Imitation Game it is a very British film; a sort of updated Reach For The Sky, in the same way as the Turing movie might be thought by some an updated Dam Busters. It is a story of willed and sore-sworn English sacrifice; a lifetime of aching womanly sacrifice; a sacrificial act of both holding on and letting go that is, for Jane Wilde Hawking, not that very far from masochism.

Its English vistas and architecture and furniture are as green and dreaming and sandstone and dusklit as those in Chariots of Fire. The casting is remarkable: Simon McBurney, as Stephen’s realistic father Frank, looks exactly like him; so likewise does Emily Watson as Jane’s worried mother Beryl.  David Thewlis as the gentle, Godlike professor Dennis Sciama is remarkable; and so is Christian McKay — lately Orson Welles — as the perky egoist Roger Penrose.

It is matchless; and the best argument for NDIS, and its co-auteur Bill Shorten, you will see in a lifetime.

The Thirty-Five Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (195)

Lying, Mark Coultan, a Liberal voter, said Baird was ‘safe’ on 55 percent two party preferred, though an accompanying Ipsos showed him on 53, that is, one percent away from a Foley-Labor victory, like Carr’s in 1995. Lying, Denis Shanahan, a Liberal propagandist, said there was ‘an outside chance Abbott can survive for months and even go on to prosper.’ Several adjacent cartoonists held their sides and wept with laughter.

Telling the truth, PVO (the Choirboy) said Abbott was now too weak to do anything but splash cash around and hobble the economy. ‘He is no longer able to give the budget the attention it requires.’

Backbenchers already narked at Abbott’s recent narrow victory — ‘over an empty chair’, as one wag put it — grew furious when he sacked not his giant Nubian body-servant Credlin (‘my one unmoveable chess piece,’ he called her, ‘Fay Wray to my King Kong’) but Phillip Ruddock, the second longest-serving Australian member of parliament after Billy Hughes, for ‘not whipping hard enough’. The numbers favouring a spill grew to 46 and a Turnbull declaration, some thought, would increase them to 52 or 53.

Peter ‘Malvolio’ Hartcher, deserting his dream-girl Bishop (‘O mistress mine,’ he would sing in yellow stockings under her window at midnight, ‘where are you roaming?’), said all Turnbull had to do was ‘wait patiently’ and the prime ministership would come to him. ‘Hyperpartisan pugilism,’ he said of the Abbott style, ‘is destroying the country’, and what was needed was ‘the politics of problem solving’; though when Shorten tried it on Wednesday Coalition MPs walked out on him. PMH then quoted Teresa Gambaro as having said, courageously, ‘It is not enough for leaders to listen: they must also hear. And, finally, a leader should not lie — to their colleagues or to the Australian people.’

For the hundredth day, no apology from Col Allen appeared on the front page of The Daily Telegraph for his deranged headline WE NEED YOU, TONY! in September 2013; it was thought best not to remind dim readers of this calamitous misjudgment lest they read, instead, henceforth, Quentin Dempster in the Herald and learn, alas, what was true and fair.

Paul de Jersey, a Liberal voter, swore in Anna Palaszczuk as Premier of Queensland, and she and her Deputy, Jackie Trad, by their joint elevation secured the women’s vote in that wife-battered State for perhaps a hundred years. Laurence Springborg, a man, who had now lost as leader four elections, a record bettered only by Shimon Peres, threatened to take this one to court and by legalistic sliminess drag her out of the Premier’s Residence and thus ensured a female vote for Labor for two hundred years. Andrew Laming, a Liberal voter from Queensland, called Abbott’s removal of Ruddock ‘scapegoating of Godzilla proportions’. Abbott said Ruddock remained his ‘dear, good friend’; Ruddock spat on his photo; the bookies altered their view of when Abbott would self-immolate to ‘within two months’.

Abbott called a press conference. And, in the cadences of Winston Churchill and the voice of Alvin Purple, urged Widodo to ‘let my people go’. He did not offer, as people do in these circumstances, to release in return ten people smugglers, or twenty, from our excellent, merciful prison system. He did not offer to give back, or pay for, the five hundred boats we have stolen from his people. He merely asked him to be a good fellow.

Widodo, well aware that he, Abbott, his beloved buccaneer Morrison and their dozen predecessors had been sending back unwanted human refuse to Indonesia for thirteen years, pondered reversing the traffic, and bringing, in battleships, every asylum seeker fetched up in his country, guns blazing, to Christmas Island, Darwin or Cape York. He had called a meeting of regional foreign ministers on Monday, it was reported, to reveal it.

Abbott did not realise either that by calling a ‘death cult’ one branch of the Muslim faith he was insulting the whole Muslim faith, probably, as Charlie Hebdo did, and Indonesia was the biggest Muslim nation. And by cursing and mocking Indonesia for ‘hypocrisy’ in wanting their drug dealers alive and our drug dealers dead he was taking sides in a new Crusade, unfolding in the Middle East and Pakistan and other places, on, as usual, the Christian side — as he did, and Howard did, when thirty-two Christian nations invaded a Muslim one in 2003.

He did not ‘get’ any of this. He had not given it, lately, any serious thought. He was too busy seeking ‘the enemy within’, those thirty eight friends of the vile traitor Phillip Ruddock, who soon, like him, would have to be dealt with.

Rosie Batty, the Australian of the Year, cursed Abbott, Hockey, Cormann and Morrison for cancelling those social services that might have saved her son Luke’s life. She laid on them, with justice, the needless death of children, past and future. Hockey responding said he would not relent, no way would he relent, in any of his cost-cutting austerities, the age of entitlement was over. His timing was as good as that.

Baird’s cops broke up a demonstration protesting the death, in hot pursuit, of TJ Hickey ten years ago, and set the dead boy’s mother screaming at them, and sobbing of her loss. It was wrong, they said, to allege cops kill people, and they tore down the accusatory signs, and forbade the angry grieving Blacks, who looked like the cast of Redfern Now, to march in an orderly way through the city to Parliament House.

And so it went.

The Forty-One Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (194)

Chris Kenny, a Liberal voter, said Gillian Triggs was a bad person, and her finding that 232 children had been abused, 32 of them sexually, and 102 had hurt themselves or contemplated suicide, was worthless. This was because she had started her inquiry in 2013, not 2012. Though she looked at nine months of the Labor government, and nine months of the Coalition government, and found abuse in both administrations, what she had done, he said, was a ‘stitch-up’, aimed at harming Morrison, a blameless person whose torture of children was in the national interest.

For some reason Kenny thought the number of children imprisoned was the salient thing, not what was done to them in prison. Two thousand treated well outweighed two hundred treated badly. And cases of child-rape should not be investigated, he emphasised. It seemed to some that Kenny was a friend of pederasts, like Peter Hollingworth, the sacked Governor-General, and he should likewise be sacked for defending, however cunningly, perverts.

Baird, who lately said all the children should be let out, was in a fix. Would he support his constituent and fellow muscular Christian Manly beach-jogger Abbott in calling for Triggs, a merciful women worried about self-harming infants, to be sacked, or not? Liberal MPs were cursing Abbott all over. His goofs were up to four a day.

Richo, a Murdoch employee, said Abbott was ‘heavily into self-delusion. He believes in his own perfection. He believes that, along with the Pope, he has been divinely invested with infallibility. When you are that good it is impossible to be a liar and break promises: this is the real explanation for why it has taken so long for the PM to utter a syllable of contrition to a nation well aware of his failures.

‘Abbott is addicted to his belief in his own perfection so much that, like other addicts, he can’t admit to the basic problem and thus can’t take remedial action. Now his mates are readying themselves to do some remedying of their own.’

Like Murdoch, he said Credlin must go, ‘and she must go now — Murdoch or no Murdoch. Her position is now untenable.’

Piers Akerman said too that 32 cases of the sexual abuse of children should be ignored. This was because there were fewer children in prison now, ‘fewer than 200′. He said Triggs, who herself had a mortally ill daughter who took a while to die, was ‘a laughing stock. She should resign.’ The children she advocated help for should, he reckoned, ‘go to buggery’; or words to that effect.

Following his New Year Resolution of ‘one goof, at least, a day’, Abbott, catching up late Friday, sacked Phillip Ruddock, forty-one years an MP, from his role as Chief Whip. This followed Ruddock with his expression and body-language hinting that Abbott should not have brought the party meeting forward by a day to save his skin. He did not sack Peta Credlin, and it was thought he would follow his recent bad Churchill imitations with an imitation of Edward VIII abdicating, and speaking in a poignant broadcast of ‘the help and comfort of the woman I love’.

Springborg asked if he could be Acting Premier till Ferny Grove was decided, and the Governor, Paul De Jersey, told him to go fuck himself. He then asked Palaszczuk to form a government, the first female state leader to do so from opposition. No apology was forthcoming from Newspoll for saying the LNP would win easily, despite figures in front of them saying the opposite, and showing Palaszczuk to be the preferred premier. Though the disputed candidate’s numbers in Ferny Grove would have made no difference, Springborg, now a four-time loser, considered challenging the result, and the two Katter Boys, promised big things, urged him on.

Baird, looking fraught — because, perhaps, his police in two months had killed four times as many innocent people as terrorists — appeared beside Abbott, also looking fraught, and not too matey, at a Sydney function. Rudd, also present, was more popular than both of them.

Hockey kept saying there would ‘never, ever’ be a surplus in his lifetime, not even if he lived to be 150, the way people do these days, or so his research informed him. We would owe a trillion dollars by 2037, he said, hoping thus to engender hope in a tottering economy. Asked about the worst employment figures in thirteen years, he said they would have been even more dire under Labor.

Pyne tried to sell his punishingly expensive university degrees in a public meeting. Protesting students were pepper-sprayed in the eyes, and screamed a good deal, and poured milk on their faces. He was on their side, Pyne beamed, unconvincingly.

It was revealed that Brandis’s people had asked Gillian Triggs to resign, the first such unconstitutional persecution of a human rights leader in the Free World since J. Edgar Hoover went after Martin Luther King in the 60s. She told them to go fuck themselves.

Julie Bishop threatened to remove our ambassador from Indonesia if the boys were executed. This was a probably foolish move. By making it shè risked provoking Widodo to expel all the asylum seekers presently festering in his country, and in gunships and battleships and ocean-going ferries deliver them, guns blazing, to Christmas Island.

And so it went.

How To Save Chan And Sukumaran

Swap ten people smugglers in our gaols for them.

A Dream Deferred: Webb and DuVernay’s Selma

It should be said at the outset that Selma is nothing like the film that Oliver Stone would have made of it. It is quieter, more interior, more reflective, and involves many tactical discussions in motel rooms between King and his confederates, ardent moderates who do not wish to be thought ‘Uncle Toms’ and are convinced of ‘the middle way’. It comes from a Black sensibility, and is nothing like a Hollywood film. It is very convincing, and very upsetting.

It reveals, but does not delve into, King’s many adulteries, what we in later years came to speak of as ‘campaign fucking’, a necessary prelude to sleep for the warrior when out of town. It presents a man not wholly likeable, a man more courageous than brilliant, more Christian than, say, the Black Baptist fellow-traveller Obama, more certain of God’s purpose and his own imminent, necessary martyrdom.

The scriptwriter Paul Webb faced the difficulty of not being able to quote the original’s words; these are held in copyright by Steven Spielberg who is planning, no doubt, an epic blood-steeped exorcism like Lincoln; but his paraphrases are very good, and the ‘Lord, let this cup pass from me’ reluctance, guilt and sadness of its central character; most remarkably when he halts the climactic March in the middle of the bridge, and turns the quiet, obedient multitude back, after dropping to his knees and beseeching God’s guidance, and being told, like Abraham, ‘not yet’.

He is also confined by time, as he would not have been in a miniseries. We do not get to know Ralph Abernathy well, nor Malcolm X, nor John Lewis (a congressman still), nor the shamed Coretta who widowed in her thirties never married another, nor his father, a preacher too, nor his mother, assassinated like him while playing the church organ.

We do, however, get a good look at Lyndon Johnson. Played by Tom Wilkinson (who has thus far played Ben Franklin, Joe Kennedy and James Baker), as a man who must cast out of the Democrat Party its hitherto dominant racist Southern wing, and, on this matter of conscience, lose office himself in the dread process, and yet not seem, in J. Edgar Hoover’s eyes, a ‘friend of terrorists’, nor a high-placed Communist dupe. When he uses the words ‘We shall overcome’ after passing the bill which at last, a hundred years after Lincoln’s murder, enfranchises the Negro, it is as moving on screen as it must have been on the day, when most of Black America wept in gratified surprise to hear him say it.

David Oyelowa is excellent as Martin, but not ‘sexy’, and his womanising and rabble-rousing seem less likely than if, say, Will Smith had played the role; Carmen Ejogo superb as Coretta, fearful for her children and loyal, in the Black way, to her straying, impelled and endangered man. In one of her better interventions into recent history (she was very good too in The Butler) Oprah Winfrey, as Annie Cooper, cannot be faulted: angry, intelligent, running to fat, brimming with righteousness and the bitterness of thwarted years. Very fine too are Cuba Gooding Jnr, Alessandro Nivola and Giovanni Ribisi, and about thirty others. The cast is crowded and their separate identities hard to sort.

This is a fine film that might have won Oscars had not two glowing British biopics, on Turing and Hawking, been in the mix.

And it should be seen.

The Forty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (193)

A report found 105 children on suicide watch, ten of them under the age of ten, among those detained under Morrison, and still detained under Dutton, in the hellholes Nauru and Christmas Island. Brandis found this report, by Gillian Triggs, ‘political’. ‘Calling child abuse child abuse is unfair,’ he protested, ‘and, in this case, taken out of context. It is better they be buggered on shore than drown at sea.’ He thought all calls for a Royal Commission, after twenty years and hundreds of children driven insane, ‘premature’, and had a scotch.

Some Liberal MPs walked out when Shorten suggested Indigenous people be treated better. ‘It was unparliamentary of him to imply,’ one said, ‘that our Closing the Gap policies were less than perfect. Though the gap has widened, it was improper of him to mention it, on this, a day of reverent celebration, especially in parliament, where the truth on such days is never told.’

Hockey continued to assert that he was the Treasurer, and he would bring down the next Budget, and it would be based on cruelty, not, as his Prime Minister now wanted, craven splashes of Christian kindness. ‘Without cruelty,’ he is said to have said, ‘the Greek economy would not be the triumph it is. Look at what kindness has done to the US, whose unemployment rate is lower than ours. Oops.’

Theories that a maladministered anaesthetic during his recent stomach stapling had injured his brain engaged the commentariat, who watched amazed as he strapped on his mental suicide vest and went, once more, on radio. ‘If we don’t punish everyone now,’ he claimed, his lip sweating, ‘we won’t be in surplus by 2090; and I may not by then be Treasurer.’ Asked if he was Treasurer now he said, ‘I don’t answer hypothetical questions.’

Abbott continued to hide the ‘handshake deal’ which gave fifty billion of our taxpayers’ money to our ‘traditional beheaders’, the Japanese, when it could be kept at home and reduce our deficit here. ‘Local shipbuilders will be considered,’ he proclaimed, ‘and rejected; and bankrupted; and our promise to use them not kept. It is appropriate in the present context that we break all promises indiscriminately, without fear or favour, to everyone. That is only fair, Madam Speaker. Only fair.’

Morrison, outraged when Uhlmann said if it was right a Royal Commission look into child abuse by church bodies another Royal Commission should look into abuse of children he was once guardian of, and said it was better they be buggered on land than drown at sea. He added that though Gillian Triggs recorded nine months of child abuse under Labor and nine months of it under himself this was an ‘unfair proportion,’ he raged. ‘It should have been six years under Labor.’ He denied that that the United Nations was against child abuse, this was just a rumour. He then prayed in tongues for the soul of Uhlmann, a Liberal voter and a sinner.

Two young men who lived in a granny flat proved to be terrorists keen to behead commuters yesterday and were not on any police watch list; like Monis, a jobless wife-murderer on forty-eight rape charges who was preaching revolution and had somehow escaped their notice. ‘We were too busy bugging each other to notice,’ the police explained. Brandis swore he would ‘choke off all funds that paid rents on granny granny-flats for home-grown terrorists, including those already grannies.’

Nikki Savva, a Liberal voter, said Abbott was destroying himself daily with his every foot-in-mouth utterance, but Tudge and Andrews, bless them, were helping him along. Tudge said the co-payment was gone, Hockey said it was still there, and Andrews, ‘who has boobed or bombed in every portfolio he has held’ had made it massively uncertain that any submarine builder in South Australia would ever work again.

Wyatt Roy, moreover, his balls having recently dropped, manned up and bade the PM ‘do a Beattie’ and swim in a tank of sharks and then apologise for his broken promises and move on; and Abbott had screamed at him there were no fucking broken promises and no useless prepubescent whinger should say there were if he wanted a ministry in the present century or before 2139 when Wyatt would be 150.

Greg Sheridan, a Liberal voter, said the Liberal Party ‘ached’ for Peta Credlin to go away and jump, perhaps, in the Lake. ‘She has failed utterly in her core task of managing relations within the government and within and between the government and the business community’ and keeping her on was a ‘self-indulgent folly’. Of the submarines he said ‘Surely by now Abbott realises he cannot break any more promises.’ Building the submarines at half the cost in Adelaide with German money he should, at the very least, ‘please consider’.

Observing his New Year Resolution of ‘a goof, at least, a day’, Abbott said Gillian Triggs should be ‘ashamed of herself’ and he felt ‘no guilt whatsover’ over the the 233 children abused on his, Rudd’s and Gillard’s watch, thirty-two of them sexually. ‘She should have investigated the hundred children drowned on John Howrd’s watch, on the SIEV-X whom the navy did not rescue, oops, I mean, let me read that again.’

Asked why four electrocuted young men were more worth a Royal Commission than 233 abused and suicidal children, he said, ‘Go fuck yourself; and fuck Wyatt Roy while you’re at it, he’s young enough.’ Some observers thought it was about time his own cover-up of adolescent homosexual rape in his college by black-frocked friends of his, on page 68 of his undenied, official Duffy biography, should be investigated. He and his Confessor Pell seemed, on the face of it, similarly prone to, well, airbrushed memory when it came to reports of buggered children, or under-age youth.

‘She should be sending a note of congratulation to my friend S&M,’ he added, a little frantically, some thought, ‘for stopping the boats, and sending the children on them back to their torturers in Sri Lanka. What a great humanitarian outcome! A Solomon, a Solomon come to judgment!’ His giant Nubian body-servant Credlin dragged him away, and ‘settled him down’ as the saying is, with her special tea and massage.

In a Question Time as tempestuous as that which preceded the elevation of Winston Churchill, Abbott screamed at Shorten that it was Labor, Labor, Labor, that had locked up a lot of children, and refused to say how badly they were treated, and how this compared with the suicide-inducing conditions S&M had put them under. He then accused Labor of trying to stir up ‘bad blood’ between us and our traditional beheaders the Japanese, whose ‘skill and honour’ when they sank the Manly Ferry was undeniable, he shrieked, and praiseworthy.

‘What have the Japanese ever done to us?’ he cried, in imitation of Monty Python. ‘Tortured, starved, decapitated us and enslaved and whored our women!’ came the unheard cry of dead millions.’ ‘Speak up,’ said Abbott, ‘I can’t hear you. Madam Speaker, I can’t hear what these ghosts are saying.’

Abbott then upped his daily quota of goofs to three, calling ‘Labor’s holocaust’ the jobs lost in the GFC, and a ‘transparent stitch-up’ the UN report of child abuse under nine months of Labor and nine months of the Coalition.

And then to four, when he prejudiced the fair trial of a ‘terrorist’ by revealing, on the floor of the House, that he had knelt in front of an ISIL flag and sworn, while a camera rolled, to behead someone with a scimitar he held in his hand. Though a trained lawyer he, Abbott, had thus made it likely this young fool would be set free because he, Abbott, had interfered with the course of justice.

Figures came in showing the worst unemployment, at 6.6 percent, in thirteen years, since Abbott was last Minister for Industrial Relations , and a hundred thousand lost jobs since he was first PM. Joe said he didn’t understand it. Kroger got, without a rival, the ‘crown of thorns’ of the Liberal Party presidency in Victoria — in a time, he said, of ‘political catastrophe’.

Asked how he greeted the UN report, he said, wearily and gamely,’Better they be buggered on land than drown at sea.’

And so it went.

The Thirty-Seven Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (192)

In an utterance as asinine as ‘the real Julia’ Abbott proclaimed, ‘Good government starts today!’ — in contrast, it now seemed, with the quarrelsome shambles of the last five hundred and twenty days, a period longer than the Dictatorship of Julius Caesar. In an already legendary interview with Leigh Sales, about six of him evaded the difficult question, ‘Who ARE you?’, licking dry lips and winking, about, oh, eleven times.

He then lied about the submarines, whose building he had pledged to our ‘traditional beheaders’, the Japanese, and used the word ‘socialised’ to describe his dealings, in future, with his mutinous backbench. He would consult with them, he said, he would listen, he said, and he would learn. And he winked again. I’m a good socialist, trust me.

Cheekily, Tony Wright aimed at him the serpentine metaphor of ‘a national headmaster, who is also, as it turns out, self-confessed recalcitrant head boy…a caught-out adolescent, abashed and calling it chastened. The class clown magically revealed, confessing and promising to be better. Everyone would be better, including his dorm mistress, Peta Credlin.’ It was the first time the words ‘mistress’ and ‘Peta Credlin’ had occurred adjacently in the mainstream media.

Lying, the smh again said Foley Labor was on 44 in the Ipsos Poll, which had said, in fact, after preferences were accurately allocated, Foley Labor was on 47, one percent from the narrow victory Bob Carr managed in 1995. It added, though, that 67 percent were against Baird’s plans to sell off the electricity, more than in Queensland. Baird issued no apology for the police tactics that killed Katrina Dawson with six police bullets, nor no explanation for why the army was not called in to deal with it, as they were trained to. Nor why the Prime Minister had not taken the hostages’ call. ‘The Prime Minister is busy,’ they were told. ‘He’s a busy man.’

In Queensland, Nooman, who had lost his seat, made plans to stay in power. Though Ferny Grove had been won, and won fair and square by Labor, one of the losing candidates was an undischarged bankrupt, so its electors, he reasoned, must be disfranchised pending the necessary byelection, and the twice-sacked Little Sarmajor must stay reluctantly in office and continue to fling bags of money at his mates and plan with his army cronies a coup like the one in Goodbye Paradise. It was possible his appointee the Governor would let him do this; it was possible he had the goods on him.

Leaks suggested six federal ministers had voted for the Spill. Asked if these traitors should reveal themselves, Julie Bishop said the word ‘secret’ in ‘secret ballot’ had meaning. The Defence Minister, Andrews, had no idea what fool deal Abbott had concocted with the Japanese, whom he had last year praised for the ‘skill’ and ‘honour’ with which they had sunk the Manly Ferry. (You can’t make this stuff up.) ‘Long live the Prime Minister,’ wrote Miranda Devine, ‘for six more months’. PVO said we must prepare ourselves for a ‘post-Abbott world’.

Conroy called ‘his latest captain’s pick’ the fool deal Abbott had with the Japanese, and noted that the Swedes would charge much less, and build the submarines in Adelaide. It was pretty certain that if they were built elsewhere every Liberal seat in South Australia would fall to Labor or Independents, and the Liberals not hold power there for a couple of centuries.

Julie Bishop said it was up to Abbott if he sacked her black-hearted foe Peta Credlin or not. He is a ‘smart man’, she said, and he ‘must respond to backbench concerns if they are valid concerns’ about his eight-foot crazy Nubian senior adviser. ‘She’s strong, she has a lot of opinions, and she is very…protective of the Prime Minister,’ Julie twinkled through small, crossed, heavily mascaraed lizard eyes. She and Cormann then swore he wasn’t planning to sack Joe Hockey, ‘at least not presently, not before Friday.’

Shorten gave a tremendous speech to his caucus in the morning, and was a hundred words into another tremendous speech in the afternoon when Pyne, interrupting , moved he be no longer heard, and half an hour of parliament was ill-used closing him down. He wanted merely to say that this first day of ‘good government’ had exactly the same dud policies as the previous five hundred days of ‘bad government’ and they should acknowledge that they weren’t changing anything. But this thought was unworthy of the House, and so he was closed down.

In Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim was closed down too, and sent away for life, for the sin of sodomy. Saying the obvious is hard in authoritarian countries like his, and ours. And so it goes.

Senator Edwards swore Abbott had promised that South Australian companies could ‘tender’ for contracts to build submarines. Abbott said he merely said they could be part of a ‘competitive evaluation’ process, a very different thing. Edwards said he was ‘extremely satisfied’ with the resemblance between his story and Abbott’s, once he had been to talked to severely, and his preselection threatened.

NSW police shot dead a twenty-two tear old woman outside a Hungry Jack’s and were ‘distraught’ they had done so. This was the third innocent they had killed in six weeks, though only the second woman, the other being Katrina Johnson, by six police bullets in the Lindt Cafe. Like the fools who tasered Roberto Curti to death for stealing a biscuit, and the fools who ran over a little girl while chasing a car thief they will suffer no time in gaol, nor no interruption to their careers, nor even a week’s docked pay.

Baird wept, as usual, and proposed a memorial plaque. ‘We will get through this,’ he blubbered. ‘We will get through this.’ Acres and acres of flowers miraculously appeared around him.

And so it went.

Ipsos Uber Alles

Interesting what lies Fairfax tells. After embedding the truth in page 6, that Labor was on 47, it says on page 7 that it was on 43.

‘When voters were asked who they would give their preferences to,’ they admit on page 6, it’s 47. When the preferences are allotted the way they went in 2011, when the Independents favoured the Liberals, it’s 43.

But no. No. No. It’s 47. And Bob Carr won with 48.1, by one seat, in 1995, after ten days of close counting.

Can Foley, a cleanskin, facing a party of which eleven MPs fell after ICAC came sniffing round them, win 1.1 percent more of the vote?

Of course he can.

But no, Sean Nicholls writes, this poll is ‘bad news for Labor’. The swing will go just so far, but no further. 8.2 percent, not 10.

As in Queensland, where this was shown to be nonsense, and the vote was fifty-fifty, this will occur in New South Wales too, where Baird, like Newman, is running on privatisation, and Foley like Palaszczuk is running against it.

When the swing is on, Fred Daley used to say, it’s on.

Canberra Diary: Monday

6.50 am

Waiting to be signed in. I’m told there are no Unaccompanied Visitors, and I must be policed at all times, so I cannot, as is my wont, sit in Aussie’s all day, any more. Abbott has won back one vote by letting, after all, the South Australians vie for a contract to build submarines. He broke a promise, then unbroke it, or half-unbroke it, and so it goes.

7.03 am

One argument Labor hasn’t used is where the money goes to; where it ends up. Thirty billion goes overseas to build submarines that should be spent here, on Australian families. He gives your tax money to foreigners.

A nice tall man shakes my hand and says he’s always been an admirer. I ask him if he’ll sign me in. ‘I can’t,’ he says. ‘I work for the Prime Minister.’

7.10 am

Andrew Laming gives a doorstop saying he’ll change his vote and he favours a spill now. His motion to abolish knighthoods was attacked by the Prime Minister’s office, and he’s narked.

Bernardi on RN says Turnbull nearly destroyed the Liberal Party last time and he doesn’t want that kind of destructiveness back. Jonathan Green on RN says the last time the Coalition vote was on 43 — as low as that — was when Turnbull last was leader.

Gambaro denounces Abbott’s rule as ‘an atmosphere of fear and intimidation’.

7.18 am

A restlessness of camera crews in the slanting light outside the entrance. Staffers in track suits come in. Bronwyn Bishop goes by smiling, pretending not to see me.

7.43 am

Cory Bernardi says the Liberal Party may lose its moral core. If Turnbull comes, gay marriage may follow. And, I guess, bestiality.

7.50 am

Pyne speaks of the future, of what the party must do, but won’t say if he favours a spill. Grattan says the Newspoll reinforces the ‘doldrums’ the government is in. Bongiorno says Turnbull has forty, Abbott forty, and there’s a group of twenty or so in the middle who’ll give Abbott ‘one last chance’ to improve himself.

8.30 am

I am shown to a big, bare office with no television. I wait a bit, then tiptoe out; get lost; make my way to to the big area with the paintings of Prime Ministers and a fountain, near Aussie’s. There I am arrested, and guided back to my place of origin by an old, regretful, corpulent security man who knows who I am and recalls, like me, better days. Turnbull will ‘not quite make it,’ he avers, and I tend to agree.

8.43 am

On Skynews Chris Kenny says the Liberal base wants Abbott, the electorate Turnbull and this is a worry. Peter Reith says bringing the vote forward ‘wasn’t such a good idea’ and ‘it may not be resolved today.’

8.49 am

PVO says the business community want a change. He marvels at the speed of it, and thinks some waverers may ‘vote to wait’; wait, perhaps, for Julie Bishop.

8.58 am

Bronwyn Bishop walks in alone. Turnbull walks in alone, carrying his phone, and looking at it. Saying not a word.

8.59 am

Abbott with a great phalanx of supporters comes down the corridor, like a Roman emperor ahead of his triumph. Thirty votes, maybe, thirty-five.

9.07 am

Kroger won’t say who he’s for. Speers assesses the Turnbullites may be in the forties.

9.10 am

The critical moment is 9.17, I think. If they don’t come out then, they’ll be accepting nominations for the leadership, and making speeches.

9.17 am

Abbott has survived. Sixty-one to thirty-nine. Abbott is now addressing the meeting.

9.55 am

Kennett (looking, as always, like a mandrill’s penis) says Abbott should invite $inodino$ into his office, to serve as a ‘conduit’ of the discontments of the back bench of the party. Hawker says he was the co-ordinator of the spill motion, and might not be welcome by, say, Credlin there.

11.12 am

Abbott moves a motion, in thirteen parts, of condolence for the pained survivors of the Lindt Cafe and those bereaved by its blam-blamming upshot. He makes no apology for not taking one of the hostages’ calls: the Prime Minister is busy, she was told. He is fairly dull, a bit nervous, verges on the adequate. Shorten is very, very good, quoting Tennyson: O for the touch of a vanished hand/ And the sound of a voice that is still. He looks like a statesman, Abbott like an edgy nightclub urger.

1.45 pm

Abbott’s press conference begins. He seems to have said that he has dropped the knighthoods, but he may have meant only that he has dropped his ‘captain’s pick’ of the knighthoods. He may be removing, or diminishing the power of, Credlin and Loughnane. Queensland spooked him, he admits. And ‘good government starts today’, whatever that means. He said ‘I love my country’ pretty loudly and fraudulently and uncontextually though he hasn’t yet become a citizen of it yet, for some reason. He’s changed, he says, though he’s fifty-seven years old and still recognizeably the locker-room bully he was at twenty-five when he broke Joe Hockey’s jaw.

PVO says it was ‘rhetoric without real change’ from a man who continues to be doomed, and he ‘has not expressed confidence in Joe Hockey’. PVO thinks Joe Hockey a fine fellow, and the dumb Budget Abbott’s fault.

3.35 pm

For thirty-five minutes, great speeches, some by Abbott, about Uren, Fitzgibbon, Enderby and Colleen McCullough, all about Uren — by Abbott, Shorten, Albo and Plibersek — majestically good; a patch of human, graveside, leaf-shadowed quietude; and then the usual fury. Shorten asking Turnbull why he was still there. Bronwyn Bishop disallowing the question, though Turnbull wanted to answer it. Abbott reviling Shorten, backstabber of two Prime Ministers. Shorten in a magnificent speech, mostly off the cuff, saying in the name of God, go, and let us hear no more of you. The motion defeated on the numbers.

4.45 pm

After eight hours of what I call ‘situational claustrophobia’ I’m allowed out, and accompanied by a staffer to Aussie’s, where I buy two lattes and a banana. In the queue behind me is a young man who describes himself, as an ‘avid, daily reader’. Like the tall young man this morning, he works for Abbott also, he whispers, and Abbott is a ‘big fan’ too. What am I to make of this?

5.56 pm

Abbott apparently said, ‘I’ve listened, I’ve learned, I’ve changed.’ I learn this from The Drum. He’s older than Caesar or Lincoln or Hitler ever got to be and one imagines with difficulty any one of them, in the last year of his life, saying that and being believed. I no longer think the Jews are the root of all evil. I’ve changed. I am now in favour of slavery. I’ve changed. I believe Pompey is the more talented leader, and I’m standing down in favour of him. I’ve changed.

In my experience, nobody changes after the age of eleven, and whatever tendencies they have then grow stronger, more ardent, more determined, more compulsive, more addictive. I’ve known Turnbull since he was nineteen, and he’s exactly the same; Abbott since he was forty, and he’s exactly the same.

It’s an utterance reminiscent of an AA meeting, I’ve listened, I’ve learned, I’ve changed, or an Alabama Baptist born-again service yelled at by Billy Graham. I’ve listened. I’ve learned. I’ve changed. It’s the sentence of a liar, an urger, a snake oil salesman, or what we used to call a phoney. I’ve listened. I’ve learned. I’ve changed. Trust me, I’m the opposite of what I was last year. You know I’ve changed.

6.56 pm

Morgan is out, and has Labor on 57.5. This would lose Abbott forty-five seats. And it was taken before the vote of the party today.

And PVO’s assessment that ‘it’s only a matter of time’.

8.15 pm

An extraordinary Leigh Sales confrontation with Abbott on 7.30. ‘Are you a dead man walking?’ is her first question, ‘Who are you?’, repeatedly, a later one. Abbott winces and squirms like Woody Allen. Is there a leader less leaderly than he? Don’t think so. Has there been one? Billy MacMahon, perhaps. Edward II. Claudius.

And so it went.

The Thirty-Six Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (191): Restored

Turnbull stopped on his morning walk to subtly suggest he would seize the Prime Ministership if the party room was in the mood for him. Abbott had earlier, in predawn darkness, interrupted his jog to say he supported Joe Hockey, ‘of course I do’, and he had not connived, as the Murdoch papers reported, any compromise deal to make Malcolm Treasurer. Malcolm seemed to say he would vote against the spill but a certain glint in his eyes implied he was for it. He was against, though, a Monday caucus meeting; it would better serve his cause if Abbott were humiliated in Question Time — his last Question Time, it was now predicted — before the vote was taken.

Janet Albrechtsen said Abbott should stand down now, today. Abbott let it be known he would bring the meeting forward, to Monday, 9 am. Paul Kelly with his usual delphic tedium said the numbers were moving Abbott’s way. Josh Frydenberg claimed Abbott has a ‘people’s mandate’ to do the opposite of what he had promised, and should not now be criticised for not having done what he promised, and could he have a cup of coffee please.

Finding the exact wrong words and licking dry lips Abbott said, ‘We cannot reduce ourselves to the level of the Labor Party in dragging down a first-term Prime Minister’, not realising how piss-weak that gerund, ‘dragging down’, made him look. The Whip, Phillip Ruddock, said Abbott had abruptly and unconsultatively told him the meeting would be on Monday, not Tuesday, only minutes after Turnbull had praised him for holding it on Tuesday and giving thereby members more time to work out what they were thinking, and the vote would be taken, ‘with no discussion’, at 9.05 am. This demonstrated, the bitter old sell-out darkly hinted, the Prime Minister’s new ‘collegial’ modus operandi. Teresa Gambaro, bucketing the ‘new Abbott’, said ‘we cannot govern the country through belligerence and hubris.’

$inodino$ said the Monday meeting decision was ‘disappointing’. Off his meds, Andrew Robb averred that ‘We have the ideal unity ticket, Tony Abbott and Julie Gillard.’ In what may soon prove to be her last column, Miranda Devine called Turnbull ‘divisive arrogant, lacking judgment’, had a gin, and then proclaimed, of the man her guru Murdoch now most hates, ‘There’s nothing wrong with Abbott that a change of Treasurer, new confidantes, and an extra dose of humility can’t fix.’

Turnbull arrived at his charitable function and said, for the first time, the leadership was the gift of the party and if that leadership were vacant, he was up for it, and described Abbott’s date-change as ‘a captain’s call’. These three well-chosen words meant Abbott’s Prime Ministership had twenty-two hours to go and Hockey, Andrews, Cormann, Frydenberg, Robb and Bronwyn Bishop had, poor lambs, no future.

$inodino$ said he would vote for the spill. Hockey railed against his persecutors, and called on every Cabinet Minister who wanted a spill to resign. Brandis, near tears, begged everyone to come to their senses. Piers Akerman said a Malcolm Turnbull Prime Ministership would be ‘like a Kevin Rudd Mark II on steroids’.

In Queensland, Palaszczuk won her forty-fourth seat, and government, and the newly appointed, or reappointed, provincial drongo Springborg lost, as Leader, his fourth election on, this time, only his second day in office. Two Lindt Cafe documentaries showing how dishonourably Baird and his police behaved (they shot Katrina Dawson six times, and would not let Habib negotiate with his old friend Man Monis, nor Abbott speak to him on the phone) were seen by large, appalled audiences, many of them swinging voters. The bookies’ odds on Abbott fighting the next election as Prime Minister fell to 2.90, and Turnbull fighting the next election rose to 1.36.

An Ipsos poll showed Foley Labor on 47 percent, 1 percent less than Carr won with in 1995, a number that by a kind of magical realism was changed in the smh to 43 percent, and showed Labor in worsening trouble. In Bob Ellis’s view Foley Labor would win easily, after a campaign that emphasised the eleven Liberal MPs whom ICAC suspected of criminality, and the eighteen rounds Baird’s fool fuzz fired after Monis was dead. Abbott told Uhlmann he might lose his job tomorrow, and this, after only sixteen months of power, could be, ‘a chastening experience’.

By midnight Newspoll, showing the Coalition on 41 percent two party preferred, had sealed his fate.

He would not get even eighteen votes, and might not stand, as a consequence, for his own vacancy.

And so it went.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (138)

My latest Worst Things has been erased.

Did anyone preserve it, or transmit it?

If you did, couod you retransmit it to the letters page, and I can put it up again.

The Thirty-Six Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (191)

Turnbull stopped on his morning walk to subtly suggest he would seize the Prime Ministership if the party room was in the mood for him. Abbott had earlier, in predawn darkness, interrupted his jog to say he supported Joe Hockey, ‘of course I do’, and he had not contrived, as Murdoch reported, a compromise deal to make Malcolm Treasurer. Malcolm seemed to say he would vote against the spill but a certain glint in his eyes implied he was for it. He was against, though, a Monday caucus meeting; it would better serve his cause if Abbott were humiliated in Question Time — his last Question Time, it was now predicted — before the vote was taken.

Janet Albrechtsen said Abbott should stand down now, today. Abbott let it be known he would bring the meeting forward, to Monday, 9 am. Paul Kelly with his usual delphic tedium said the n….

It seems I’ve been sabotaged. If anyone has the other six hundred words, on Facebook or anything, could they post them in the letters page, so I can put them up again?

The Thirty-Eight Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (190)

Her face blank as a Trojan funeral mask, Julie Bishop heard Abbott, in front of her, declare their joint story was ‘no Game of Thrones’, having  with termagant fury ‘distanced’ herself from his proclamation of their ‘unity ticket’ the night before. He seemed a bit more fraught than he had on Monday when he told the Press Club ‘I’ve just broken two more promises; trust me.’ He even, with perspiring botox, claimed he would allow a secret ballot, in which he would get, at best, twenty votes.

Murdoch pundit after Murdoch pundit, Liberal voters all, bayed for his blood. PVO called him ‘a dead man walking’. Grace Collier compared him to the second, abusive husband of an already battered wife. Chris Kenny applied to the present crisis all of Dylan’s words in Desolation Row. ‘They’re selling postcards of the hanging, the circus is in town’. Gerard Henderson, amazingly, defending Abbott, said he had ‘stopped the boats’ though two came in December, and again attacked Cate Blanchett for thanking Whitlam for her education, something he swore she did not deserve. It was thought by his hospice nuns he ‘lived in a world of his own’, and was not now long for this one, in which they changed on the hour his rectal tubes and prayed for his soul.

Greg Sheridan, amazingly, said the Liberal Party had overthrown a leader in power only once, when Billy MacMahon displaced Gorton in 1971. He refused thereby to acknowledge Fadden replacing Menzies in 1941; Menzies replacing Hughes in 1944; Holt replacing Menzies in 1965; Gorton replacing McEwen in 1967; Willis replacing Lewis in 1975; Fahey replacing Greiner in 1992; Olsen replacing Brown in 1996; Kerin replacing Olsen in 2001, Napthine replacing Baillieu in 2013; Baird O’Farrell in 2014; Adam Giles Terry Mills in 2013 and Giles and Willem Westra van Holthe replacing each other in 2015 on one long silly Monday.  It was ‘not the Liberal way’, this bearded, fuming klutz went on. It was not the Liberal way. He had a scotch and thought about things.

He then declared it was the Liberal way after all, and it was time, high time, that a game of thrones of sorts at last occurred. He listed Abbott’s ‘five really fundamental mistakes’: broken promises, bullying dominatrix, media incompetence, self indulgence, and failure to listen humbly to advice. He urged on him ‘sincere repentance’ and said the three million former Liberal voters he had disgusted might swing back to him.

Paul Kelly said events overseas were killing osteo-Hockeynomics and threatening Australia with ‘a century of deficits’ and the ‘the Liberal Party are walking blindfold into the certainty of unknowing policy change’, meaning they would have to go back on everything they had promised or threatened in order to survive politically hereinafter. For this imminent Big Somersault, he mused, Turnbull would be a better advocate and persuader than his fellow lawyer and Oxford man, Abbott.

In a thoughtful afr piece Laura Tingle recalled Rod Cameron, the pollster, having said that Abbott was ‘unelectable’, in part because his passive aggressiveness put off women, in part because he was ‘extremely inconsistent’: you didn’t know what he was going to do next. This led, she said, to the ‘trust deficit’, which, after his many policy changes, was killing him of late politically. ‘He is the most centralised, least consultative leader ever,’ one of his colleagues said. ‘If he makes a political blunder, he doesn’t even clean up afterwards. If he makes a mistake, he just digs in.’

Lawrence Springborg became, again, Leader of the LNP in Queensland, a faraway country of which we know little.. Still only forty-six, he had lost, already, three state elections while in that accurst position, to Beatty, Beatty, and Bligh. His new Deputy, Langbroek, had been larely Leader also, and he, Springborg, had been his jealous Deputy, till Langbroek foolishly claimed he kept a teddy bear from his student days, ‘like Sebastian in Brideshead Revisited’, and Nooman was rapodly recruited to ‘man up’ their party’s limp image; and now their positions were, aha, reversed.

Nooman was in and out of Queensland state politics in a mere thousand days. He had been offered, however, it was revealed, the federal seat of Indi, in rural Victoria, which Mirabella lost after certain buffeting rumours that she had swindled a demented ex-lover out of his property, by guiding his hand as he signed his will, or signing it herself, in a scenario some said ‘rivalled Double Indemnity’. ‘It is important,’ local organisers are said to have said, ‘we return criminality to Indi, where it has been missing, sadly, for a whole sixteen months.’ Nooman was ‘flattered by the invitation,’ he said, and considering it.

No apology appeared on the front page of The Daily Telegraph for a previous front page, WE NEED YOU, TONY!, in September 2013, just an ABBOTT VS TURNBULL bare-chested boxing collage based on Rocky, using other people’s chests.

John Birmingham pursued the boxing metaphor (‘the blow landed, with a sickening wet crunch’) to the borderline of tedium, and concluded, ‘Abbott, like the vanquished Campbell Newman, is not just a bad leader. He leads a bad government.’

Abbott begged Bishop not to go to a long-arranged charity brunch with Turnbull on Sunday morning. She said she was going, and he could go fuck himself.

And so it went.

Vivat, Vivat, Gary Morgan

(First published by Independent Australia)

Ten days before the election, Gary Morgan said Labor was on 49.5, two party preferred, and the outcome ‘too close to call’.

On the morning of the election, Galaxy, Newspoll and ReachTEL all had Labor on 48, and losing — despite Palaszczuk being, in two of them, preferred Premier.

I wrote at the time of the flawed polling method of Galaxy and Newspoll (ringing the landlines of those at home on a summer night) and the total failure of the ReachTEL method (which predicted Swan, Rudd, Clare, Burke, Bowen and Dreyfus would lose their seats) in previous elections. To this I added the ‘as in 2012′ preferences of Katter and Palmer voters, figures no longer applicable, since they were being directed another way.

Gary Morgan weighed in at one point, and said when you ring mobiles you get a one percent better score for Labor; more young people vote Labor, or prefer it, and so it goes. And when you ask people, not guess, whom they will preference, you also get, on top of this, a 0.5 or 0.75 better vote for Labor.

This was why Morgan got the Federal 2013, and the South Australian, and the Victorian, and the Queensland elections dead right, and Newspoll and Galaxy got them, varyingly, wrong.

And this is why, once Labor is in, the responsible statisticians of Galaxy and Newspoll should be investigated for possible knowing fraud, and ReachTEL abolished for incompetence.

Did Newspoll and Galaxy know that the Katter, 2012, and the Katter, 2015, preferences went different ways? Of course they did. Did they ask the Katter voters what their preferences would be? No.

Nor did they ask if they would ‘exhaust’. They used the 2012 figures, knowing they would falsely minimise the Labor vote.

Did they know many people do not have a landline? Yes. Did they ring one mobile? No. Did they text mobile numbers, as Morgan does? No.

So they knowingly, it might be suggested, cheated the election, by a deliberate fraud of reconfigured counting.

Is this a crime in Queensland? I suggest it is.

Should they be arrested? Of course they should.

Not that it matters, but I predicted on the morning of the election, in my blog, that Labor would win 45 or 46 seats.

And I predicted in the afternoon they would win 42.

And I was, not for the first time (Victoria 1999, South Australia 2002, South Australia 2010, South Australia 2014), the only national commentator to get it right.

I did it by studying Morgan, and Morgan’s methods, and ‘deciphering’, like Alan Turing, the Enigma of Newspoll.

And so it went.

A Prediction

Abbott will resign on Tuesday, and Turnbull will be made, unanimously, Leader. Julie Bishop will stay Deputy and Foreign Minister. Andrew Robb will be Treasurer. Pyne, a Turnbull supporter, will be moved and replaced by a woman. Andrews and Bronwyn Bishop, opponents of Turnbull, will go to the back bench and resign within a year. Abbott will stay on as a Minister for six months, resign and yield up his seat to an Independent.

Foley will beat Baird, with only 49 percent of the vote, on March 28. Morrison will be charged with crimes against humanity after five Attorneys-General complain of his cover-up of a murder and fifty-nine cases of murderous assault on Nauru, and various instances of piracy, kidnap, false imprisonment, cyberbullying and child abuse.

The Coalition’s vote in the polls will go below 40, two party preferred. It will then go back up to 48. Resignations and criminal proceedings, in New South Wales and Queensland, will mar Turnbull’s attempts to regain the ‘radical centre’. He will try a Double Dissolution in March, 2016, and lose office narrowly.