Averting its eyes from a stock market bear rampaging in the China shop, turning its back on the Syrian refugee crisis but effectively planning to help Assad in his genocide by bombing his ISIS enemies for him, a narcissistic Abbott Government of secrets and lies turned inward to embrace its own feral inner Panda, spin its ChAFTA Free Trade Deal and claim the June Quarter ABS statistics vindicate its economic plan whereas to most other observers they reveal an economy standing still, living standards in decline and a nation increasingly out of work.
In Canning, however, it was all about the people of Canning as Andrew Hastie, the Liberal candidate, a former SAS soldier promised to meet voters’ needs with a war on ice which he would fight with his bare hands and totally without funding.
A bromance broke out instantly between Hastie and his PM and the candidate was able to turn away questions about his creationist theologian father, Peter Hastie and any other personal questions which might give the electorate some glimpse of his real identity and beliefs.
It was all about being on message and on course for the incoherent and directionless government. ‘A bugger’s muddle,’ Trade Minister Robb, bravely reprising 1950s slang, told ABC Insiders on Sunday, would result if government were duped into providing protection for Australian workers from cheaper Chinese workers on 457 Visas which Labor had invented anyway.
Robb’s case was seldom clear enough to persuade let alone inform but he left viewers with the perfect collective noun for the bugger’s muddle that is his party’s policies.
A buggered Abbott Government was on task, policy or not, pursuing its core business of displaying unity to the party room through infighting, finger-pointing, fear-mongering and self-delusion as MPs bickered, back-stabbed and passed the buck all week. Labor, a jihadist ABC and Fairfax came in for a serve for failing to act like News Corp, the party’s propaganda arm.
Yet not even News Corp could explain away the miraculous dirty, big re-fuelling port which has miraculously popped up on pristine Melville Island without so much as a Yakka Skink of an environmental study, acquired, it seems, like the British Empire in a fit of absence of mind.
Absent also was the PM’s mind. Tony Abbott who himself sets the bar high in displaying moral leadership, enriched the national conversation, in his captain’s gaffe of the week by effortlessly offending the Jewish community and many others with his gratuitous nonsense about the Nazis being a class act in evil-doing because their shame dictated they kept their wicked deeds hidden.
‘I mean, the Nazis did terrible evil but they had a sufficient sense of shame to try to hide it,” he said relaxing in the weekly hot tub and rub down offered him by his pal Alan Jones’, another popular historian and ethicist, thereby giving top ranking to the pure evil ISIS mob who flaunt their atrocities and also amply confirming that his grasp of history does not extend beyond yesterday.
Abbott’s idiotic comment played into the hands of the ISIS propaganda unit; guaranteeing more local recruits. At least the PM gave Alan Jones’ listeners plenty to talk about. He showed he could still insult, alienate and divide with the best of them, even if he was a dead man walking awaiting the outcome in Canning.
Just to make this message crystal clear, however, our pocket moral philosopher PM explained that our nation should heed the plight of Syrian refugees because we have stopped the boats and prevented drownings. So far Abbott has dismissed suggestions that Australia make any provision to take any extra refugees saying that we already take more refugees than other countries, noting that last year we agreed to take 4,400 refugees from Northern Iraq and Eastern Syria areas where the death cult is active, glossing over the civil war which Assad wages on his own people, in favour of demonising ISIS.
Achieving its KPI of at least one major stuff up per day meant the Abbott oxymoron kept pace with its target In a star-studded, hotly contested field, Joe Hockey and Peter Dutton easily won a dead heat for best whinger because the Fairfax media and the ABC are always out to get them but best all round performance was Greg Hunt’s Tiwi Islands magical mystery port.
Hunt narrowly defeated the PM and his Treasurer who called a midweek press conference to axe Labor’s bank deposit guarantee levy; to axe a tax which wasn’t a tax and which didn’t exist.
Every other MP sought someone else to blame or frame for the mess they had, by and large, got themselves into, apart from our work experience boy the Environment Minister who discovered that a massive $130 million port has been built on Melville Island with no environmental oversight.
Even Hunt will have trouble blaming ‘vigilante lawfare,’ for his latest cockup but he’s sure to come up with something. Perhaps it will be Labor’s fault for getting into bed with the Greens to sabotage investment, development and progress. Or those Top End, bottom-feeding bastards who go crazy over a barrel of pork. Or diesel.
A 2007 cyclone demolished a wharf intended to support a proposed forestry scheme on Melville, the biggest island in the Tiwis. Reconstruction started last year but mysteriously, magically, the project morphed into a major port designed to handle ships up to 200 metres, making fifty visits a month in a 24 hour re-fuelling operation.
Port Melville will store 30 million litres of diesel or 15% of the entire NT fuel storage capacity according to NT Labor MP, Senator Nova Peris. Of course, no-one knows anything; no-one is talking, least of all, curiously, the mouth from the south, the wind-eating Gregory Hunt, MP.
Using documents obtained under FOI, New Matilda reports that ‘… in partnership with the local Tiwi Land Council, the original developers of the expansion – a Singapore-based company called Ezion Holdings – hoped to use the port to service the growing Timor Strait oil and gas industry.’
Hunt seems to have either fallen asleep at the wheel or been too busy looking up Wikipedia to notice while a major offshore oil and gas supply base was constructed, a port which now stands poised to pollute a pristine Top End waterway, to say nothing of the thirty-eight endangered species in the area which its construction and operation threaten.
In May, the NT Environment Minister, Gary Higgins and former planning Minister, channelling Clark and Dawe in a script worthy of Utopia appeared to have a lend of Greg when they told the ABC that a loophole in environmental legislation had rendered them powerless to stop the development. Besides, proper processes were followed.
Mr Higgins said developers were supposed to submit to him environmental impact statements if required by the NT Environmental Protection Agency (NTEPA), and Mr Higgins would then pass on those statements to the responsible minister. His explanation deserves a place in history alongside the Nuremberg as the Melville Defence.
‘The responsible minister for port development is a loophole in the legislation,’ Mr Higgins told reporters.
‘There is no responsible minister for signing off on a port development.’
Mr Chandler said it was the responsibility of the EPA and the Federal Government to step in if they believed a development was not fit for approval.
So how and why did the Federal government fail to act? The Department of the Environment blames overworked staff, and claims they had been conned. Potentially ‘false and misleading information’ has been provided to investigators. A bit like the Minister’s emissions targets he plans to take to Paris at the end of the year.
Hunt seems to have shut up about Port Melville in the hope that it will all go away. Mainstream media have been helpfully silent. Expect federal government spin doctors to have a (well-fertilised) field day. They certainly got into gear on economic news this week.
While ABS figures for the June quarter showed Australia’s economic growth stalling with falls in construction, mining and living standards, our own Dr Pangloss, Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey was typically upbeat, claiming his ‘plan’ is working and that something he calls ‘our over-arching goals’ will be met.
The fact that he doesn’t seem to have much of a plan did not deter his optimism although he did concede that he ‘wouldn’t get too complacent,’ carefully choosing words associated with a positive set of figures.
If Hockey’s promise not to break out the champagne just yet did not pass the sniff test for most ordinary punters, it certainly inflamed his fiercest critics, most of whom are in his own party. Julie Bishop did not deny she had barrelled the PM about Joe’s vote-losing manifest incompetence six months ago but of course she would not be drawn into any speculation over the identity of the phantom cabinet leaker. Besides, she had enough on her hands supporting her vice captain’s pick, former SAS Captain Andrew Hastie, as they patrolled the malls of Canning, while those Labor traitors ran dead.
Or so she claimed, implying that Labor would rather keep the incumbent incompetent whom they could easily beat next election. Some took this as a swipe at her PM.
The noise was deafening, even for the Liberals. Already razor-sharpened knives were honed for the scapegoating of the hapless Hockey schlockmeister, who despite outperforming all others bar his boss and cabin boy Hunt in the bullshit stakes, is far and away Australia’s worst treasurer. Hockey who has helped bring the Australian economy to a full stop and who has boosted real unemployment towards ten per cent did not miss a beat.
The Treasurer immediately accused the media, once again, of undermining government, while bagging ‘fringe whingers’ in Federal Cabinet for telling the press, the PM should sack him.
One of the Tony Abbotts claiming to be the PM told reporters ‘no one had raised it with him,’ possibly because he is part of the plan. Arthur Sinodinis, the unimpeachable, called for Abbott to sack the rats; especially the leakers. Peter ‘Chucky’ Dutton saw a Jihadist anti-government conspiracy being plotted by the ABC in cahoots with Fairfax. Yet all was not lost, papyrus-faced Dyson Dinosaur Heydon applied his best solipsistic black letter vision to adjudge himself fit to proceed in a legalistic clean bill of health which will satisfy neither the community nor the trade unions but which did his own ego a power of good.
In a ruling which is guaranteed to create further trouble for the government, Heydon diced definitions of perceived bias in his own case wafer thin and on Monday at 2:02pm, served up his meagre but adequate offering with a judicious sprinkling of precedent, as you might expect from a learned black letter jurist. Should they not boycott the commission, expect unionists to plead in their defence that they ‘overlooked’ key details and that they don’t even plan to own a computer.
Abbott’s expansion of his humanitarian bombing into Syria will be announced soon in timing which has nothing to do with the Canning by-election but which reflects the need for careful consideration by the government’s intelligence and security committee which will have to factor in how long it takes to procure the necessary extra bunting for what is sure to be a twelve flag announcement.