Month: January 2016

Scott Morrison’s fantasy budget a path to recession.

it's a tough job morrison

In the 1990s, when Malcolm was still a merchant banker, the Turnbull family commissioned one of my father’s artists, Lewis Miller, to paint a portrait of Malcolm. Unhappy with the work, Turnbull confronted my father at a function and exclaimed: “That artist of yours is no good; he’s made me look like a big, fat, greedy cunt”, to which my father replied, “He is a realist painter, you know”. 

Malcolm Turnbull’s pillow-talk may be less public these days, but Evan Hughes’ recollection of his father Ray’s heart to heart with the younger Mal’s taste in art is a rare and precious jewel in a week of schlock from the publicists, hacks and spin-doctors who must toil heroically to put lipstick on pigs.

News that our own accomplished turd-polisher, political strategist, former tobacco lobbyist, Lynton Crosby has been knighted by grateful UK Tories, almost takes the gloss off the Turnbull anecdote.  Crosby pockets £ 2.4 million for his election-winning package after an election which was largely decided by non-conservative voters failing to vote.

So complete now is the average Brit’s exclusion from participation in politics and society, so bleak is their future, that the overwhelming response to both party campaigns was ‘why bother’?

Crosby has, nevertheless, helped the Tories set some sort of record. Not since universal suffrage in 1918 (for women over 30 but ten years later equally for both sexes) has any party with less than 37% of the popular vote gained an absolute majority in the UK parliament.

Least he be underwhelmed by his knighthood and fee, Crosby is hailed as ‘an inspirational role model’ by the Australia Day foundation who make him UK Australian of the Year. Perhaps his campaign against plain wrapping for tobacco products tipped the distinction in his favour.

Plain packaging discourage children from buying cigarettes, thereby denying an important market to tobacco companies whose products cause six million people to die each year. But bleeding heart liberals can butt out; spin-meisters rule the world OK?

Role models work best unfettered by scruples or ethics as the work of our own popular heroes in Border Protection, for example, or our Monkey Pod hoons, the Abbott government in exile, attests. Its suppository of wisdom is tapped by an anti-gay group in the US and fellow marriage guru, Kevin Andrews has taken leave of parliament to supply a similarly right-wing mob’s desire to have another Australian political failure on its speakers’ list. Abbott drops in on Rupert Murdoch and Jerry to offer some pre-nuptial counselling. It all spells trouble-making for Malcolm at home.

Tony Abbott, for whom ‘no’ is the new ‘yes’, is spurred to honour his pledge not to snipe or undermine Turnbull by doing precisely both. Is the portrait story a bit of monkey business? Imagine the outcry.

By Sir Lynton’s gong, no! By that new gold standard of ethics in public life, Sir Lynton’s knighthood, the reappearance of Turnbull the unhappy portrait subject an elderly story today, has nothing to do with Monkey Pod plotters.

Countless other scoundrels abound who would eagerly revive any story depicting his narcissism and foul mouth just to take him down a peg. Abbott’s anti-gay marriage speech and Kev’s mischief will help to wedge Mal if he doesn’t watch himself.

Just don’t expect him to revoke his exciting times marriage licence any time soon. Or counsel Tony Abbott with the pithy phrase used by Reserve Bank members on NPA’s Brian Hood tried to blow the whistle on corruption in 2007-8.

The director of Note Printing Australia who exposed alleged bribery in two Reserve Bank subsidiaries was told ‘you don’t fit in, f— off’. Similar advice may be invited by the antics of the Monkey Pod God.

The language may be a bit less blue when the RBA meets next Tuesday, to decide our futures as the tabloids would have it. Directors will prognosticate the unknowable, as distinguished economist Richard Denniss reminds us with his refreshing candour. Or just make stuff up. Expect fluffy coverage in MSM about interest rates, now a largely ineffectual lever being ‘on hold’.

The economy will be described as if it were a toddler taking its first steps. One thing is certain. On present trends, no-one will be high-fiving or punching the air. No-one will ask about the RBA’s reserves.

Equally certain is that no-one will vote to return to Treasury the $8.8 billion that Joe Hockey flicked its way, casually boosting the 2013 federal budget deficit to $40 billion, after years of screaming about deficits at Labor. It could be a deposit on repairing the $80 billion hole Joe made in health and education funding to the states.

Hockey’s expensive political statement, a way of dramatising Labor’s reckless debt and deficit disaster will continue to be paid for by cuts to health and welfare budgets. Ordinary Australians are stung for Hockey’s political stunt. Onya Joe! Is there an award for US Australian of the Year?

Australia’s growth in 2016 will be minimal, perhaps two per cent. Export earnings continue downward while domestic demand remains weak. Yet our PM just oozes excitement and wild optimism. He can’t think of any better time to be alive. It’s a disturbing take on leadership.

Dissent is unacceptable in the Turnbull Liberal government, as Glyn Davis of Melbourne University found early last November. Turnbull dismissed the Vice Chancellor’s real objections to his thought bubble tying university researchers with industry as ‘… running against the vibe.’

‘You haven’t got the new zeitgeist. The new zeitgeist, Glyn is to believe in yourself, is to have a go’. Davis simply told Turnbull that unlike Britain, for example, we don’t have industries big enough to fund university research.

A new zeitgeist, or a new despotism? Is his government so deluded it believes it can force us to agree against all evidence that we live in the best of all possible times? Of course it can. It works in North Korea, a totalitarian state, but it is ‘a hard ask’ as they say in sports journalism in Australia.

Far from offering hope, Turnbull is peddling denialism in a different package. And it’s the last thing worried investors and a cash-strapped general public want to hear. Record household debt suggests average Australians worry more about paying their bills; meeting their current financial commitments, than shopping the nation back into economic recovery. The true picture is sobering.

Sterling has collapsed 7% in two months, partly on rumours of an impending ‘Brexit’ from the EU, Australia’s third largest trading partner and its low interest rate forecast for 2016. Weak demand and overproduction continue to drive down commodity prices. Warren Hogan, ANZ Bank’s chief economist, foresees depression in China’s heavy industry. Will he, too, get a lecture from Turnbull on his need to get the new vibe?

Australian MSM, on the other hand, is rushing to fall in with our Dear Leader. His ABC new broom, Michelle Guthrie, is abuzz with the new zeitgeist. Sabra Lane recently gushed over Malcolm Turnbull’s interest in art and his love of Winston Churchill for seven minutes, as if nothing else in the world was more important. If only she could have asked him to recall his verdict on the Lewis portrait. Or what his government’s up to with the ABC?

Technology editor, Nick Ross quit the ABC because he has not been allowed to report on the NBN fiasco. His reports have the wrong vibe. Evidence that Turnbull has sabotaged the NBN is just not part of the new optimism.

Other commentators play down any sense of impending crisis by softening their language. TV news is of ‘stocks tumbling’, ‘investors jittery’ and the old chestnut ‘market volatility’ diminish a stark economic reality. The new vibe involves the old cultivation of diversion as well as evasion and denial.

Admiral Morrison continues to turns a blind eye to anything that’s not in his script of expenditure and income tax cuts.   And dumping on Labor. Will he also sling a few billion into the reserve bank’s reserves?

‘It will be a tight budget’ says the PM and his treasurer while busily waving fistfuls of dollars under the Adani Brothers’ noses.  Turnbull’s game plan is to entice the billionaires into fantasy coal mining, a type of reality TV show in which the contestants don’t have to do anything to get the money.  It parodies the ABC where it can do nothing under the current government to keep its funding.

The tight budget also tightens a noose. Investors are divesting from coal-mining shares as the world’s carbon budget tightens in the fight against climate change, and as renewable energy technologies fall in cost. Opinion polls, moreover, show Australian voters are less and less sold on industry subsidies.

Morrison spent much of his week pitching his leaner, fairer, smaller tax system. A GST rise will fund planned tax breaks.

Average families out of pocket $6000 a year as a result of a GST hike will welcome their chance of being a part of Turnbull’s campaign ‘to do something about the bottom line’.

Yet we are awash with buckets of money for the rich. A millionaire will get an extra $100, 000 a year under ScMo’s planned cuts. The rest of us get an extra $7.00 per week.  Employers can expect continued support in their bid to keep wages low. Working conditions must stay as they are for everyone’s good.

Turnbull warns his is not going to be a ‘fistful of dollars’ budget, unless of course, you exploit natural resources, endanger the environment or head up a wealthy corporation. High rollers, like Shenhua mining win the whole trifecta.

Sneering at Labor who promise this week to restore some of the education funding needed to address inequality of opportunity promised under Gonski and then some, Turnbull said this would not be a cash-splashing budget. ‘We all know, the PM said airily that it’s not just a matter of spending more money on the problem.’

Indeed, much would continue to be taken from the lives of ordinary folk who are said to be excited by the Turnbull government’s innovative ways of getting them to toughen up. Cuts to education, health and social services help us all develop resilience and independence.

Australians with disabilities are said to be liberated by the loss of their disability commissioner and those who are denied a fair go because of gender are raving about Turnbull’s decision to delay appointing a sex discrimination commissioner.

A ‘fistful of dollars’ would be the last thing anyone would wish upon poor innocent victims of misfortune. Government ministers, this week, extol a range of new numbers you can call to raise your awareness of your own poverty or your partner’s violence.

Kent, a homeless man, appears in Saturday’s The Age thanking Malcolm for his innovative government decision to put some of the money cut from refuge services into creating a website which offers the destitute something to click on.

Although Kent has no internet connection, our hearts swell with pride and hope in this ground-breaking step towards an inclusive compassionate society which will soon offer a website for everything.

Click on me will become the new national anthem in an innovative agile and high-tech savvy Australia. Lean on me will provide the melody.

Click on me when you’re not strong

And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on

For it won’t be long

‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to click on

Kent and others like him are happy to kip down in his local shopping centre. Spend $600 million on a wind commissioner. As long as David Leyonhjelm is happy.

David’s supporters were all over the news this week pointing up the oft-ignored link between Port Arthur massacre and domestic violence. The logic is now crystal-clear, thanks to the independent senator. Since women have struggled after Howard’s gun buy-back to get a good weapon, their menfolk have got away with murder.

Hitting women was being made out to be worse than it really is, anyway, by the feminists and those whose political correctness had gone berserk, said Mark Latham, whose Mr Punch role after politics gets him attention if nothing else in his splenetic outbursts.

Violence is just ‘a coping mechanism’ for men, he said on his debut on Triple M’s Lathamland a show tailored to the incorrigible attention-seeker’s need to be needlessly offensive.

‘How is the tax system actually stopping people who are actually out there backing themselves, achieving the goals they want to achieve?’ Scott Morrison, Sky News Monday 25 January.

‘Stopping people’ has an irresistible ring to Scott Morrison who put a stopper in Tony Abbott’s career by ‘running dead’ to ensure Malcolm Turnbull won the leadership spill four months ago.

Before that he was Abbott’s boat-stopper and Abbott’s ‘fixer,’ before fixing Abbott’s wagon in the spill. Now he’s on to a plan that will help ensure that the more you earn, the more you can keep. It’s part of his quest for a fairer system. And a smokescreen for a higher GST.

Morrison did not stop the boats, they stopped under Rudd, yet by dint of repetition he has most of us believing him. This week he’s hard at work inventing another bizarre fantasy. This time it’s about our tax system stopping us from working or achieving our goals. ‘Backing ourselves’ whatever that means. He just can’t just stop the whoppers.

Morrison pretends that a dollar or two more in tax incurred via bracket creep will cause workers not to go to work or cease to need schools, roads or hospitals. Yet he knows he’s got to pay for essentials such as our latest $400 million a year foreign adventure in Iraq. Border protection cost $2.9 billion and got a top up of $450 million in the MYEFO.

Then there’s parliamentary entitlements. Where are the cuts to pollies’ expenses? Barnaby cost the nation $ 1 million over six months last year in helicopter Joyce rides.

ScoMo’s happy to peddle the Tea Party lie that paying tax prevents us achieving our goals. Encourage wilful blindness as to the social benefits of an income tax system. He’s playing with fire.

A tax break would tie up more capital in Australia’s cash-strapped economy where private debt is at record levels while cuts to government spending could plunge us into a recession we need not have.

Predicted low commodity prices will in 2016 will mean our earnings will continue to decline, yet, at home, the forty per cent of companies who owe us billions in taxes they evade, are not, in Morrison’s view worth chasing. A fantasy, he says.  He would know.


GST: where the bloody hell are we? Morrison declares war on the poor.

morrison and turnbull


The Abbott-Turnbull government’s new, improved, ScoMo the soft and fluffy laundry product with added stain remover is attractively packaged, thank you ABC, and Annabel Crabb but, somehow, no-one is buying.

Could it be the price? Can he ever put Operation Sovereign Borders behind him? So far ScoMo’s even more of a liability than Joe Hockey.

Having buggered his credibility on Manus and Nauru Scott’s pitch is: ‘trust me, I’m not bringing in any changes to the GST’. But we need to find a way to get our tax rates lower’. He spouts word-perfect IPA drivel about how our tax system with its bracket creep is crippling our productivity. The crafty bastard needs a GST to pay for tax cuts.

ScoMo changes job as often as he changes his pitch. Yet one thing stands like stone. Morrison, former Tourism Oz professional bag-blower loves to withhold information. It’s part of his stand-up routine where he calls for a national conversation on taxation in which he says nothing and nothing we say matters.

Of course in saying nothing, Morrison says a lot. To paraphrase, ScoMo takes the line: ‘Bugger the Westminster doctrine of ministerial responsibility. Let me satisfy my pathological need to withhold from you what I owe you.’ Like the truth.

‘Things are not as they appear, they are as I tell you’. Commodity prices are crashing, export earnings are at an all-time low, many of our bigger businesses do not pay any tax and holler to pay even less, but we do not have a revenue problem; we have an expenditure problem. Because of Labor.

You don’t have to be a Freudian to sense the man’s not well. Just as well he’s not in charge of anything important.

Morrison, a flop in his previous jobs has been booted upstairs. Now he poses as our latest cute and fluffy Treasure- bunny, a stuffed toy in the window of Business As Usual the department store run by Adani, the IPA and Co.

Treasury does all the work. The minister takes all the credit and dodges all responsibility while focusing on the main task ahead. Sell a new version of himself.

Cue Annabel Crabb’s soft-soapie touchy-feely recent episode of Kitchen Cabinet. This is a ScoMo mark III commercial, a vehicle for reminiscing fondly how he and Jules were given the bum’s rush in Sri Lanka but how he just loves its curries. Annabel can’t shut the man up, he’s so pumped with his own promo. Put a V in the programme guide for Vomit bag warning alert.

‘Crabbers’ helps all she can but in the end KC is a tacky failure.  We are meant to see a wholesome, home loving, sweet and decent human being. But  behind the rimless glasses  lurks the monster of Manus Island, the man who had a go at Gillian Triggs for daring to question the detention of children. All we get is the feeling of being conned. And worse. Morrison will do anything to present the right image but the ScoMo promo demeans us all.

In 2010, Morrison took pains to condemn Labor when relatives of asylum seekers killed in a boat tragedy off Christmas Island were flown to attend their loved ones’ funerals in Sydney. Tax-payers should not be paying for this, he thundered. Later he would spend millions on turn-back boats.

As Minister of Immigration, Morrison ordered officers to intercepted terrified refugees, confiscate and destroy their boats before decanting men, women and children into dinky custom-built orange fibreglass craft with just enough fuel to get back into the hands of their tormentors and then consigned them to the high seas. Stop them drowning.

Morrison washed his hands of his ministerial responsibility to protect those seeking refuge and not wilfully endanger them. To say nothing of refoulement, another clause of the Geneva convention on refugees his government contests. As our Lord High Monkey Pod God and Suppository of Wisdom and fellow anal retentive Tony Abbott puts it :”Look, I think Australians are pretty sick of being lectured to,’ about what we do in our own prison camps.

It doesn’t have to. Anyone can see it’s wrong. The family of Reza Barati, the 23 year old Iranian bashed to death February 18 2014 on Manus by guards want answers. Others attempt suicide by ingesting laundry products and anything else toxic they can get their hands on. Every second day someone attempts self-harm.

Hamid Kehazaei, 24, dies of septicaemia from a cut three weeks because there’s so much paper work in the way of getting him to a Brisbane hospital. A 23 year old Somali refugee who is pregnant after being raped on Nauru suffers monumental obstructionism instead of timely access to a termination procedure and other relevant medical help.

Like Dutton, the Minister says he can’t comment on individual cases. Criticisms, Morrison tells us are ‘not based on any primary knowledge of the event or the circumstances’.  Dutton follows this dismissive line in his response to the preventable death of Fazel Chegeni in October 2015 or the Christmas Island riot which was direct result of his policy of mixing violent criminals, minor offenders and asylum seekers. Withholding is a gift which keeps on giving.

Nothing to see here. Australia is not responsible. Direct enquiries to PNG and Nauru whose sovereign territories we have built our detention centres in. But don’t go there and whinge about having a right to know what’s going on in Australia’s name. Don’t give us stories of death threats and being followed or any of that weird stuff. Or we’ll get Dutton to make fun of you. Give praise instead they are not drowning at sea. Penned up, desperate to end their lives instead. Hallelujah!

Oddly, none of this bubbles up through the KC froth. But Morrison is not to be held to account for his past portfolios, he’s been granted immunity by dint of his elevation to Treasurer-Poo Bah and Lord High Everything Else. He stopped the boats. Amen. Rudd just halted them. Besides Liberal treasurers don’t do questions. They rant about Labor’s wasteful failure while blithely creating a debt and deficit mess  of their own.

To be fair to the treasurer, even if he did reinvent himself again there are just too many questions to answer, not even counting those from previous jobs he’s walked away from. Here’s a few for starters.

  • Where’s the eighty billion of school and hospital funding your government took from the states?
  • What is your government doing about the forty per cent of companies in Australia who were revealed recently to be paying no income tax at all?
  • Can you really expect to sell a GST rise that will hit poor and needy people hardest when nearly half of the top end of town get away – ahem – Scott free?
  • And how is a 15 per cent GST, which takes money out of circulation and your promise to cut spending such a wise idea when heading into recession?
  • Why is the government ignoring record private debt?

As John Kelly points out average Australians are strapped for cash. Currently private debt, comprising business borrowings, home mortgages, other loans and credit cards accounts for $2.5 trillion (AUD), or 156% ratio to GDP.

Unlike public debt, private sector debt could bring everything to a grinding halt. Why is our treasurer pretending it doesn’t exist; doesn’t matter?

Why is it OK to take money from women’s refuges? In an innovative calculation Malcolm Malaprop’s outrageous explanation, reported on his ABC Sunday night, is that costs are down because we are ‘having a deeper conversation’ about domestic violence now? We are? Tell that to the women desperate to find shelter. 423 people are turned away from homeless shelters every night. And you cut funding.

Domestic violence? Try men’s violence towards women. So much for all the awareness raising, Mr Turnbull we’ve been hearing about from you. Just repay the money. $38 million would be a start. It’s a pittance when you put it alongside your tax evaders. Take Shell, for example, which you’ve allowed to pay no company tax although it has pumped $60 billion from us over the past three years.

Clearly the Treasurer is withholding a wool sack filled to bursting of information. Either that or he hasn’t got the foggiest idea of what he’s doing and is desperately trying to stall until he can run the budget the IPA prepared in their kitchen at home earlier. He can hope that a tax cut bribe for some of us will fool us into buying a GST hike for everyone which will have double the real cost on lower income earners than on the well-heeled.  ScoMo’s saying nothing.

Instead he offers a replay of his calming mantra: We don’t have a revenue problem, we have an expenditure problem.

Don’t rule out something colourful; some more high camp performance art.  Tax accountants may be decorated for their courage in collecting more from the poor while the rich get rewarded for evasion?

Will ScoMo match the sheer Dadaist brilliance of his ‘on water’ denial of ministerial responsibility? Will we suddenly be at war with the demonised, desperate poor who like our asylum seekers have done everything to deserve our compassion and absolutely nothing to incur our bizarrely inappropriate show of brute force and hostility?

Suddenly? Aren’t we there already?



The right boots on the right ground fools nobody Mr Turnbull.

turnbull in Iraq

Turnbull gives an unconditional definite maybe to put more boots on the ground in Iraq.


A man in love with himself may have no rival, but it doesn’t stop him seeking approval. Our emotionally needy political parvenu PM’s own self-promotion and arrogance has cost him undying enmity in his own party. Yet he’s conned the public. Revered simply for not being Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull is a people’s messiah. So far. Perhaps that’s why he is a  wanton in Washington. It’s his endless quest for love. He cannot trust the public crush on him.

A stage-struck Turnbull is so taken with his US reception that he goes Monkey Pod himself- insanely reckless in praise of brute force and ignorance. His US foreign policy salute is so embarrassingly overboard that listeners wonder what’s next. A rap for Vlad Putin’s gift to world peace?

To be fair, someone important is listening to Mal, the Centre for Strategic and International studies, a leading think tank whose Facebook page asks: ‘This Sunday marks 25 years of America bombing Iraq. What has it achieved?’

Has Turnbull researched his audience? A CSIS do is no ordinary wank fest. He appears unsure. Like Jay Gatsby, he has to flash a pedigree to win acceptance. He reaches for the classics, like every futurologist.

Our love-hungry stray from down under is desperate to impress overseas. He hefts his Thucydides. He shares a bit about how when nations see a new head; they rush to kick it. He winces. Abbott ‘s Monkey Pod does him over regularly.

MT’s message is ‘lay off China’. For Thucydides, self-control is key to self-respect; self-respect is vital to courage. Our PM may struggle with some of this. But too much of the little Aussie China plate, will upset Washington. Turners quickly goes red, white and blue in the face in rapturous praise of US boots on the ground. Who needs Bolivian marching powder?

Skipping his party’s creed in which the US, an empire ordained by God for all eternity won all major modern wars for Hollywood and today is beloved unconditionally; revered by peoples worldwide for dispensing peace and democracy, often from the same troop-carrier, Mr Turnbull pulls out Pax Americana!

the greatest period of prosperity and peace on earth – including China’s rise – was due to post World War II stability that had been forged by the United States.

Mal follows John Howard’s nauseating fawning. Fraser’s sweet surrender: All the way with LBJ? Yet hapless blatherskite Mal has gone beyond the traditional, full Aussie grovel. Mal confuses brave with foolhardy. Someone needs to brief the PM that even Americans know bullshit when they hear it. As do Australians.

Onan The Barbarian does not need any bull from vassals seeking to excuse themselves their military duty of committing more troops to Iraq. Let the US do its own smoke-blowing. Chomsky neatly notes:

‘Powerful states have quite typically considered themselves to be exceptionally magnificent and the United States is no exception to that. The basis for it is not very substantial, to put it politely.’

Turnbull has to refuse Washington’s request but a clear no is too negative. He searches out words to make his weasel into a war horse. A public liberty fondle? That’d do it. No groping – even between mutually consenting freedom lovers.

Mal of the Never-never praises America the land of the free, white rich male. He flaps his Yankee doodle. Pays tribute but drops a clanger. Despite his protestations of love for liberty, his government is hell-bent on taking it away at home.

His government’s victory over freedom in its wholesale meta-data retention is disturbing. State surveillance powers have massively increased. Being stripped of your nationality if you are a suspected terrorist or mischief-maker is a bit of side-show but it reveals the complexion of the beast. Cuts to education and childcare help perpetuate an elite. Turnbull’s Australia entails a systematic disenfranchisement of minorities and disadvantaged groups.

Intolerance and mutual suspicion are ratcheted upwards in the cause of anti-terrorism. Make our nation safe!  Australian Muslims feel far less than free or respected. Human rights advocacy has been steadily dismantled.

For four months, Australia has had no commissioner for sex discrimination. The Chris Gayle or the Briggs-Dutton fiasco alone, are evidence we can’t afford to do without one.

Disabled Australians lost their commissioner, Graeme Innes, a fearless advocate and a giant in compassion and courage. Frightened that our human rights commissioner, Gillian Triggs might indict it for putting asylum-seekers and refugee children into indefinite off-shore detention, or for covering up abuse including medical neglect and beating to death, the Abbott government appointed IPA toy boy Tim Wilson to negate any malign influence of the UN and to ride Triggs until she resigned and right-wing Tim got the job. The plot misfired when Triggs stuck to her guns.

But we do have a wind-farm commissioner, an absolute bargain at $600,000 when you consider the absurdity of his role; the impossibility his commission. Newly appointed Andrew Dyer will have his work cut out for him according to the Liberal Party’s environmental intellectual and protector of fauna he doesn’t forget, Greg Hunt who puts it:

‘His role will be to facilitate resolution of complaints from concerned community residents about, and to provide greater transparency on the operations of, wind farms.’  Transparency? What are they hiding in those rotating blades? Dervish technology?

‘The right boots on the right ground’ is a cute slogan for Malcolm Turnbull to offer in his fearless recent posturing as the good friend who turns you down But what exactly does it mean?

Like a Point Piper Pavlova, Turnbull is soft and light inside a crisp crust. He  says what he thinks we want to hear. ‘The right boots’ is a sop to his party’s right-wing bullies who have him muzzled after his written guarantee to seize power nicely. No policy change. For their love, he poses as a hawk, or discerning buzzard, ready to put the boots in only if and when he absolutely has to. You can walk a mile in another man’s boots, if you want to, but his own will fit him better.

It sounds profound and lofty, ‘the right boots’ is an echo of the right stuff. Mal is the sort of world statesman who can elevate platitude into profundity by just adjusting the settings. The discerning use of force never hurt anybody. It beats the dangerous ranting of his bellicose predecessor; the hairy-chested empty shirt-front threat. (Yet how he must wish he could manage a swift judicious kick to get the junk-yard dog from under his heels and out of the house).

Make-believe is the life-blood of all political scoundrels. Let’s pretend-along-with-Mal of the Never-Never. Our boys in Iraq are really training brave Iraqis to fight better. Understand their own local situation.

We all learn how to fight better when it’s all explained by a complete outsider. Especially  one who wants your oil supply. Or comes looking for your approval. Or who just trashed your place the last time he came looking to restore freedom.

The right boots on the right ground is boxing clever when what is needed is some plain old fashioned simple honesty. We failed in Iraq last time. Badly. Turnbull’s faking a perhaps maybe case for war does nothing to comfort his own or his nation’s insecurity. Faking a concern for freedom and democracy into the bargain does nothing for the PM’s credibility.


Turnbull’s silly season provides many clues to his commitment to elitism and keeping men in power.

tunrbull and women in cabinet

Turnbull is happy to pose with the few women he’s put in his cabinet; resolutely opposed to making the changes which will enable all women greater access to power.

Widely dismissed or derided as some sort of wacky, tacky political wasteland, The Silly Season is a series of brilliantly improvised theatre events enacted during our pollies’ summer holidays – full of surprises and novel events but packed with all kinds of significance about the direction of politics when parliament resumes in February.

Putting Out the Garbage performed on 29 December, for example, saw the unbeloved Mal Brough and the equally creepy, a-kissing and a-hugging, Jamie Briggs relegated to the back bench recycling centre, via a wheelie bin dump. Little Jimmy had gone bonkers in Honkers before Christmas but a delay was required for him to ‘inform his family’. If you require a little more honesty in government than this, expect to be disappointed in 2016.

Labor saw the Briggs-Brough dump as a West Wing style ‘take out the trash day’ a tactical dumping of several bad news items at once in order to blur the information and soften its impact ahead of a possible early election in March.

Garbage deserves to become a classic in transparency and government efficiency, a human resource meets waste management fusion routine with a dash of victim bashing thrown in to help gender inequality. Briggs’ apologists in the Murdoch papers described him as ‘decent’ and ‘a good man’ thereby invalidating both complaint and complainant.

If the anonymous female victim, a woman in her twenties, copped a bashing from News Corp reporters, Briggs, on the other hand, The Australian assured readers, would have the support of his colleagues who had pledged to use the Christmas break to reach out to their mate and try to find out where it had all gone wrong.’

Innovative paradigm shifters, it seems will have to sit this one out. As will the optimists. Women voters, on the other hand, continue to fall out of love with Turnbull and his government as its boys’ club rules are revealed to be entrenched.

A Liberal Party report to the federal executive, leaked on 27 December warns Liberals will lose relevance if the party doesn’t include more women. Yet if finds many barriers to women within Liberal ranks such as a ‘boys’ club’ culture; occasional chauvinistic behaviour from men; and exclusivity. Party processes are designed to ‘keep outsiders out’ and ‘perpetuate the power of those who hold political positions’. In brief, the Liberal Party works to keep men on top.

Nowhere is gender inequality more entrenched, than in the Turnbull government’s policy decision to make childcare more expensive by instituting 4.8 billion of cuts to family payments. Not only will this be devastating to single income and low income families, it perpetuates further inequalities. Unequal access to high quality, affordable childcare is a recipe for further income, gender, and social inequalities. Why would any intelligent woman vote for this mob?

In place of information, the PM offers glossy cameos showing ‘average families earning $115,000 and with two kids in childcare will be nearly $4000-a-year better off under a new Robin Hood childcare policy that will slash rebates for the rich to 20 per cent’, says Daily Telegraph national political editor and Liberal spin maven Samantha Maiden.

Withheld, however, as Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS points out, is separate modelling of the impacts of family payments and childcare packages and cohort analysis of impacts on single parent and couple families with children of different ages. ACOSS analysis presented to a recent Senate Committee Inquiry shows that a low income single parent family with two children would lose more than $60 per week or $3000 per year once their youngest child turns 13.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister’s radical new policy direction of doing whatever will work is a big hit. Rave reviews are rolling in from the meeja, that is to say the PM’s vast personal army of hacks, backers and craven Press Corp lackeys and Sam Maiden. Minister Christian Porter is moved to announce a thought bubble about innovative ways to reduce housing inequality which are sure to come about if he commissions a report. Two years in government and a report is the best he can come up with? It’s a ruse of course – a commitment to nothing but to be seen to be busy.

Turnbull’s veneer of optimism belies a hardened conservative intent on preserving privilege. He is breeding a dilettante government which wants to play like Christian Porter at making trendy, innovative changes urged on by a claque of supporters. Otherwise they’re pretty happy with the way things are.

Not all observers are overwhelmed. Some are rude enough to tell the emperor he’s wearing no clothes. Glyn Davis, Chancellor of Monash refuted Turnbull’s thought bubble that universities could be funded by business by observing that we lack the businesses to do that. Turnbull told him he was lacking in optimism and thereby letting his students down! (Working) class act Dave Oliver won’t have a bar of the new soap either. What about the workers?

Noting the employers’ views were more than adequately represented, the ACTU head noted that employees didn’t get a look in. ‘The workers pivotal to these new industries were barely mentioned’.

The current glut of business advocacy groups clogging our airwaves is less upbeat about innovation than they might be but as Dame-in-waiting Kate Carnell, herself, has noted massive support will flow once businessmen and some women hear their favourite buzz words tax reform and flexibility, code for cutting workers’ wages while lowering their own tax rates.

A possible snag here is that the forty per cent who paid no tax last financial year can hardly pay less but surely the spin-meisters come up with something else to ‘boost productivity’.

Nevertheless, we are in a new era. ‘Turners’ is seeking to ‘change the old politics’, he says. ‘No longer will politicians feel they have to guarantee that every policy will work’. Instead we’ll just suck it and see in a revolutionary trial and error process which is just so totally innovative and Facebooky and Googly it may well please even Ms Julie.

‘Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Just like start-ups’, he adds helpfully, not adding that ninety per cent of these fail. ‘We are to be driven by an ideas boom’ he said optimistically casting around for new policies, although he still can’t get the old ones to work. Who would have thought our biggest businesses pay so little tax.

Yet more is to follow. The show, which features a Where’s Wally segment for keen-eyed kiddies to search out a well-concealed Prime Minister, has two whole weeks left to run. No time at all for the air to be clear of the stench of rotting fish. And the smell of fear in the face of danger. Questions are as thick and fast as flies to an outback dunny door.

Who leaked Brigg’s victim’s photo? Who quietly released data revealing 40% of Australian companies pay no tax? Who delayed publication of the failure of Tony Abbott’s lavish $40 million dollar witch-hunt to get Bill Shorten? Who thought it good value to spend $100 million on consultants to show the Department of Defence how to save money?

Is Tony Abbott really pleading Mr Peta Credlin, Brian Loughnane’s case to replace Tim Fischer in the Holy See or is he just testing the water? Will Malcolm Turnbull ever show his face in public again or will he retreat like Howard Hughes to obsess over other people’s uncleanliness whilst he is consumed by counting his vast wealth in private?

Such are but some of the torrent of pre-season teasers, that fans of our national political virtual reality series remain glued to their screens. Audiences can barely make tea or put out the cat least they miss something. Will Malcolm Turnbull come out of hiding with his hands up?

On Monday, local shares may shed a further 1.8 per cent. The Australian dollar has plunged 1.7 per cent.  Oil is down 6.2 per cent while global equities from China to Europe to Wall Street are falling. If he knows anything, he’s not saying. For a PM who boosted his coup prospects by boasting that he was a better economic leader than Abbott, he is certainly not choosing to lead from the front. Or is he reluctant to baffle us with his expertise? Scared he’ll frighten the horses?

Perhaps it has all got to him. Not only is the world economy on the skids he can do nothing to halt the slide at home. There are no interest rates worth cutting or any other levers to pull to help us weather an ever more likely recession. All you can really do at such times is create distractions and diversions.

Abbott camp-followers from the First Reich the veteran war horse Kevin Andrews and his World Family Congress pal Erich Abetz, a pair of dreadful old stagers are briefly hawking themselves around in a naughty naked self-interest duet. Boots on the ground , a call for universal military conscription to Iraq, is a toe tapper, to be sure, but unlikely to stop the show. Urging war can work to glue us together, true but their tacky performances are so clearly, shamelessly calculated to salvage their own miserable careers that even the Monkey Pod God Tony Abbott must surely be blushing.

With each surreal and fantastical twist, our national political drama fires our imagination. Is blinky Bill Shorten finished? Or is he merely winged by the rusty blunderbuss of the Royal Commission? Or will it take more than flat-lining in public opinion polls to kill him?

It’s hard to land a punch on Cap’n Catspaw, Shorten’s invisible adversary in The Lodge. An oily phantasm and hero of greed, the toast of coal-miners and global capital investment houses with addresses in the Bahamas, our current PM may be little more than a figment of our vain imaginations.

Or no less. Is the light on the hill the bonfire of all our vanities? A riddle wrapped in a mystery, swallowed whole by a mob desperate to unseat Abbott is hard to see as any sort of enduring national leader. Adani may love him as their mascot, yet do we want or need a PM more like Jay Gatsby than someone just a little more real? A lonely, frightened figurehead of a Government by a ruling class of unctuous superiority and privileged rapacity?

Will the finale feature a ‘gross-out’, an attack of projectile vomiting in a cheeky reference to Another Bucket for Monsieur in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life? Just don’t ask Peter Dutton. Or anyone else in a government machine whose sole achievement is to become so well-drilled in obstruction and evasion that it will only do Dorothy Dixers.

To be fair, any question with Abbott in it is bound to be a doozy. One thing, however, is certain. Expect further dirty tricks and the rattle of some very loose cannons as a zealous Monkey Pod room crew pursue their cargo cult aim of restoring their Dear Leader, top banana and suppository of all wisdom.  For thereby lies their own redemption and even better superannuation.

The Monkey Pod Bruvvas hunker down every Thursday parliament is in to chew over their fate and ingest Chinese takeaway. The malcontents share little else beyond their hatred for Turnbull for overlooking them in his new cabinet.

Currently the group is said to be led by the untouchable Peter Dutton but the conch gets passed to others with axes to grind, including bottle black, red-blooded alpha silverback Berlusconi, World Family Congress, Mr Natural Family Man 2014, Kev Andrews who is currently that we’re all up shit creek in the Middle East unless we get into a real man’s fight.

Despite being dumped after a brief tour of duty in 2014-15, as Defence Minister, Andrews has lost no time in publicly putting his successor Marise Payne right. Fearlessly outspoken, his capacity for loyalty and self-sacrifice have doubtless assisted his parliamentary career. Five teams in the last fifteen years have been blessed with Andrews as Minister.

Clearly, noble Kev is keen to rescue Payne and her PM from accusations of incompetence or being soft on terror only hours after the government said it had ‘formally declined’ a US invitation ‘increase its contribution’ in Iraq.

‘It’s quite clear from the advice I received, and I was aware of what the American military personnel and defence leaders were suggesting, and that was for months they were suggesting that we needed forces on the ground in order to defeat ISIL.’

Andrews, further wished to make it clear that what was misreported as a jeer of ‘Ya ‘big girl’s blouse’ heard in the vicinity of the Monkey Pod Room was one of the boys letting off steam after a bit of ironing. Nothing to do with anyone’s view of the PM.

Andrews’ fearless and heroic call to give malingerers a boot up the date in Iraq will strike fear into the heart of evil-doers everywhere – except that part of Syria which is the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. There our own Dirty Digger Rupert Murdoch is on Dick Cheney’s team to prospect for oil.

Our boys must take the fight up to the evil death-worshipping, public-decapitating ISIS, thunders Kev. Tony Abbott’s clique has gone completely bananas with relevance deprivation disorder amongst other serious pathological conditions including putting Peter Dutton in charge.

Multinationals are up in arms over paying any tax at all as our national political theatre, pretends to be closed over the holidays. Sadly the true picture of tax evasion is unable to be revealed because we’ve just discovered that Indonesia is about to become an ISIS caliphate. If only they had got themselves good anti-terror laws like ours. Expect a lot more of this sort of diversion.

The fiction, that nothing is happening and that the nation needs to move along sonny, nothing to see here will be rivalled in the Turnbull government’s epic theatre of absurdity only when early in February its closed shop puts on a show of being open for business.

The Turnbull curse of living in interesting times may be the end of his career.

turnbull and joyce

Liberal Clown Prince Mal and National Party heir apparent Barney make their way to greet the people with lashings of positivity and even more good news.


‘May you live in interesting times,’ is an ironic malediction which Malcolm Turnbull has now had ample opportunity to discover as his Prime Ministership is rocked by local scandals which daily expose his weakness as a leader and by more bad news abroad which he appears eager to deny.

The world economy is tanking. War displaces so many people that millions are dispossessed, homeless refugees. Climate change conspires to bring disaster. Yet Malcolm Turnbull’s take on all of this is to declare that there has ‘never been a more exciting time to be alive.’ Is he serious? Or has his sense of irony gone – as they say -viral?

It’s a palpable lie, Turnbull is telling, of course and against all reasonable evidence. Psychologist Lissa Johnson sees Turnbull’s ‘exciting times’ as yet another expression of the denialism in climate change, science and so much else which has made the Liberal party in power so unfit to rule. What makes things worse for Turnbull is that it is wrapped in the bigger lie of his own political emasculation.

‘Interesting times’ for Turnbull evoke his own squalid Faustian fiction, his hollow Prime Ministership. His bargain with the Nats to gain power has cost him the very autonomy and authority he needs to wield or enjoy it.

Naturally, the PM is as pleased to strut the world stage as any narcissist but darkening clouds of war and famine and religious bigotry conspire to spoil his enjoyment of his newfound undeserved role as world leader and his latest VIP selfie with his latest VIP bestie for a day.

Nowhere is he seen engaging in any of the acts of leadership which might lessen suffering, ease distress, improve mutual understanding. Instead his ministers can joke about rising sea levels while his foreign minister slashes aid spending to establish an innovation centre. Interesting times at home and abroad reveal a hollow man who is happier talking about innovation than ever doing anything new to reach out to help others.

The hapless Malcolm Turnbull is now so deeply beset with interesting times, his predicament may become known as The Turnbull Curse. So excited is he currently with his interesting times, the PM can’t even holiday at Christmas. It takes real dedication to maintain the facade.

Hard yards must be put in on the damage control phone to the ABC and the Daily Telegraph. No-one is to go on Q&A. Everyone, is forbidden, a la Credlin, to speak to anyone about anything, especially anyone in the meeja.  Our Great Communicator, naturally, manfully hangs up on any national conversation he can’t handle. But some he can’t just ignore. if he does, he will plunge headlong into the dustbin of history before you can say a minerals bust always follows a boom.

Yesterday’s economic miracle, tomorrow’s noodle basket, China leads the world dip into recession with its own, interestingly rubbery figures on productivity and its unique approach to state-sponsored crony capitalism and corruption while a table-topping Jamie Briggs, a hard act to follow at any time, hots up a Honkers night spot with his interesting interpretation of ministerial responsibility.

Hong Kong, ‘one party two systems’, Briggs, a happily married man, takes no prisoners with his hands-on approach to foreign affairs and respect for cultural sensitivities. Yet the ugly Australian raises more than a few questions about his party’s treatment of women – questions that could spell an end to Turnbull’s fairy-tale electoral honeymoon.

Brushing these questions aside makes him seem even more supercilious, detached and uncaring. His support among women voters will fall.

Happily, in national politics, especially in a misinformation age of sensation and fractured attention spans, good scandals drive out bad a la Gresham’s Law. Here Turnbull is spoilt for choice. Peter Dutton’s Monkey Pod pretenders are an interesting push to get Tony Abbott back on top but their deeper wish is to take Australia back another fifty years.

The Monkey Pod boy band enjoys a Chinese meal together once a week where it is all Dim Sum, wit and scintillating discourse. Crazy fucking witch. Dutton has become untouchable, such is the power of the pod and the legacy of Malcolm’s  pledge not to alter any red-neck policy after his coup. The times are already so interesting for the PM recently that he has struggled to hose it all down; tell us how dull things really are. Or he’d like them to be.

For a man who relishes excitement or who wishes it to be publicly known he is happy with his available testosterone, Turnbull spends a lot his time acting dull, being dull and speaking dull of the world. He can’t help it. Dullness occupies him constantly. It defines him and surrounds him. If only he had Byron’s wit. Or his way with words.

‘There is no such thing as a life of passion any more than a continuous earthquake, or an eternal fever. Besides, who would ever shave themselves in such a state?’

However priapic he may find himself personally with innovation, disruption, or Julie Bishop’s hackathons and her push to make politics a ‘gorgeous little funky, hipster, Googly, Facebooky-type place’, however exciting the vibe of the times, the PM must take a cold shower; don his public habit of dullness.

Nothing’s happening. There’d be no point in holding any inquiry. Just ask the Royal Commissioner. You’d never discover who leaked Jamie Briggs’ photographs which The Daily Telegraph just had to publish which Jamie Briggs just had to take and pass around of the ‘staffer’ who spurned his attentions in a late night moment of madness in Hong Kong.

It’s all very dull, really. Run along, sonny. ‘Nothing to see here.’ Forget leadership and policy, Turnbull, is too busy hosing down commotion; damping down discontent. Consequently he is beset by more ‘interesting’ leadership opportunities than you can shake a stick at. An ever-helpful Barnaby Joyce throws him a typically contentious bone of his own.

Both dog-catcher Barnaby Joyce’s rise to the top of the Liberal-National dung-heap and Jamie Brigg’s notorious Honkers-bonkers carry-on spell trouble for Malcolm, while each in its own way is interesting enough to be the plot of a Working Dog episode of Utopia.

Jamie Briggs’ disgrace is an unhelpful reminder of the misogyny, sexism and arrogance that infests his party while Barnaby ‘loose cannon’ Joyce is top junkyard dog after blowing the whistle on two illegal immigrants, namely Johnny Depp’s lap dogs, Boo and Pistol. Joyce is agile, too.

The Shenhua Mine was a goer, he said, before he’d even looked at its impact on the local water. Perhaps he could replace Briggs in cities, a subsidiary of Greg Hunt’s portfolio, another fictive entity, which in itself has as much to do with the environment as Joyce knows or cares about agrarian futures. Tony Windsor could write him a reference.

The Nats may yet have the last word on who will become Deputy PM when Wokka Truss retires or is pushed out by Joyce. Already an ‘anyone but Barnaby’ campaign is lumbering around the Nationals’ pre-selection casting paddock in a brave but vain attempt to head off Joyce, as much for his own sake, as for the sake of the nation. They say he is too pushy for his own good – or the good of the party.

The boys will be hard pressed to find anyone interested amongst their mob of twenty endangered species let alone one up to the task. Or one who isn’t Iain McFarlane who so badly wanted to jump the fence before Malcolm had it shifted. Sometimes the fence is just too big for the man.

Gravel guts Macca’s done his dash now, of course. Roughie Mal Brough, the Liberal National Member for Fisher is a late scratching on veterinarian advice. The nation needs, it is said, a safe pair hands, a steady deputy to take the reins when the PM’s OS, as he is often. Joyce needs to take a long, hard look at himself before he leaps into the ring. If only Malcolm had taken the same advice.

Jamie Briggs is not only a disgrace to himself and his party, he is causing women to question good old Ozzie misogyny and our prevailing gender oppression while the Chinese, who sensibly hold their New Year later than everyone else and who advocate the regular cessation of trading in their unique approach to share marketing are prudently sampling everybody else’s special fried rice before they order their own banquet, allowing ample time to choose from festive or funerary dishes.

2016 is but a pup yet our professedly positive and excited.  Tan Bao or Sweet Custard Bun as Turnbull is known in China faces a world recession triggered in no small part by the Chinese tradition of over-reporting good fortune, a practice not unfamiliar to our PM who has declared that he, himself, can conceive of no more exciting time to be alive.

Sussan Ley who still purports to be Health Minister, against the best medical advice, is making it more and more expensive for old and poor folk to even find out what is wrong with them, let alone get it fixed. But to hear her talk, you would think, she’s simplified everything in an heroic attempt to get the right tourniquet bandage on the right person at the right time.

What she means is that she’s put back the old GP co-payment but hidden it away to confuse the elderly, the mentally challenged and most of the rest of us. Expect Health to make Mr Turnbull’s government unwell in 2016.

National spin-meister, our self-inflating air-bag, ‘Mr Positivity’ Malcolm Turnbull is already struggling to keep on top of events, let alone look excited by the times. China is embracing recession, the Nationals have him by the short and curlies and his positivity is revealed for all to see as a cheap, hokey script he has written for himself. Optimism as one writer has noted is his party’s new denialism. It also cloaks his own wanton disengagement from reality.

The times are less exciting personally for Big Mal than when he got the top job by knifing his Prime Minister. Once a glass half-full sort of bloke, he’s now, clearly having trouble seeing any drinking vessel in front of him at all. Apart, that is, from the poisoned chalice of the gift of his Prime Ministership. 2016 is so far one endless massive hangover headache for the PM, and like all hangovers, he has only himself to blame for it.

Unmade, unmanned, made impotent by his own pact with the Nats, our PM is, for all his silvered tongue, a castrato in a cat-house. He’s all mouth and no trousers. Meanwhile, the lunatics have overrun the asylum. Again, he can only blame himself and his permissive, if not indulgent regime. He is paying the price of his pact with the Nationals.

‘Seize the day’ is right, he mutters when he thinks Lucy is asleep.  Part of the problem. Some of them don’t know how to keep their hands to themselves.’ Or when to let go. But then, the Liberals have every been the party of the tight-fisted.

You can always count on a former QLD copper to help out in a crisis. Climate change comedian Pete Dutton’s timely tweet calling Sam Maiden a mad, fucking witch’, was all a mistake, he says. Funny that. Sam even came on TV to have a bit of a laugh but Mal still can’t see the funny side. It’s as funny to him as the revelation that Australia has a massive revenue problem in that 40% of companies pay no tax at all. And we have Scott Morrison as our Federal Treasurer.

Marry in haste, repent at leisure! Silver-tongued Turnbull can now only curse himself for his Faustian pact with the Nationals. Their support would require he deny his progressive ideas. Everything really. Cause him to run dead. Behave like a redneck in a suit he borrowed from a flash cockie to go to a funeral. In this case it could be his own.

Of course, it’s never been a more exciting time to be alive for Turnbull. Especially, as Maurice Chevalier, quipped, when you consider the alternative. This year the alternative is staring Malcolm Turnbull in the face.

Malcolm Turnbull’s own Tokyo Shock Boys threaten to disrupt everything.

Tokyo Shock Boys


Tokyo Shock Boys, eat your hearts out; you have nothing on our Liberal boys when it comes to performing dumb stunts, like abusing a reporter and sending her your text. Sooling a squad of Border forcers on unwary Melbourne pedestrians whose biggest crime is to fail to buy fair trade coffee beans.

Or joking about how climate change will drown out our little pacific whingers – with your microphone on.  Dutton – Briggs – What a crack up!

Of course, as with all talent, our boys have to work at it. Make sacrifices. Some even forego their traditional R&R (rest and re-tool) Christmas break, courtesy of our taxes. While their colleagues plus WAGs (and the odd former staffer) diligently beaver away on business-class OS junkets aka ‘fact-finding tours’, our own TSB’s are hard at it.

It’s not easy being a shocker. Our boys must punish themselves regularly to stay relevant and useful. You’ve noticed? Some see them as vital. After all geese were type of ancient early warning system for the Romans.

We’ve seen some beautiful shows lately. Eric Abetz’ wrenches himself away from his thesis on the link between abortion and cancer to campaign for an Abbott comeback.  Abbott sets himself up, a sad capuchin, high above the others in his monkey pod cell, a leader in exile.

Built Environment Minister, Jamie Briggs channels his inner ornamental snake to escape his minder, wild-life protector and ‘climate intellectual’ Greg Hunt’s watchful eye, in the Ministry for Coal. Off the leash, Briggs drops a turd in Malcom Turnbull’s honeymoon punchbowl.

Honkers Bonkers Briggs sets off the rest. Top end trouper Nutso Dutton goes ape trying to protect all borders and ends up biting himself in the arse.

We can’t blame Nutso Dutton. Decency and common-sense are raised in ‘Ethics and Decorum for the Banana Bender’ a brief, optional module in QLD Police training. Nutso Dutton may have easily missed it.

Or else he talked his way through it. Nutso has such a way with words that surely he will now be fast-tracked into Foreign Affairs – if Briggs will let anyone else get a look in. Nutso calls a reporter ‘a fucking mad bitch’.

Way to go Pete. And, wow –  take a bow, Sam Maiden of the Daily Telegraph. We need more of your sort to keep sport and misogyny top of the flag pole. Bugger any other ‘national conversation’. Let tosser Turnbull and his conga-line of positivity embrace change all he likes. Just, for the nation’s sake, don’t let go of the real stuff.

Immigration Minister Dutton calls Maiden a `fucking mad witch’ not to her face, of course but in a manly, lovingly hand-thumbed and respectful text message. Wrong button Dutton says she got the message ‘by accident’. Dutton wants to be included in the national security boys’ club. Seriously.  This latest slip of the thumb will put his weights up.

Dutton’s off the hook, no question. But has he bowled his last maiden over? Sam helps out with the sight screen. It was, an indulgent if not forgiving Ms Maiden blushes, reaching for another cricket analogy, a ‘solid sledge’, but she has ‘accepted his apology’. Meaning she is happy to encourage more.

Boys will be boys. Shit happens. And – after all, Sam is only a woman, or as they like to say in the Queensland Police and too many places elsewhere, a ‘female’.

Of course, it’s the victim’s fault. She asked for it by knocking Jamie Briggs’ right to put the hard word on any sheila he chooses. Besides Jamie was ‘just paying her a compliment’. If he says she’s got a beautiful body, does she have to hold it against him?  Political correctness has gone mad.

Maiden is on ABC radio laughing it all off to show that she enjoyed it really. And the attention. It is the best damage control Turnbull can muster until he can find a wilted lettuce leaf to give his minister a public flogging.

Wyatt Roy will be deputed, meanwhile to message Julie Bishop to plan a hackathon on how this ‘change can be turned to advantage’.

Our political circus boasts more than a few foggy ideologues but not all of us are off with the pixies. Some question Briggs’ right to circulate ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs of a woman employee of our Hong Kong embassy, enabling meeja to republish the images. This reveals the victim’s identity and trashes her rights to privacy and safety at the very least.

With a ‘fucking mad witch’ here and a there, Pete Dutton and Jimmy Briggs toil selflessly night and day to discharge their public duty. They know their true function – their reason for being – is to remind us all how sexism and misogyny bubble along the below the brew that is our ‘multi-cultural society’, a shonky phrase Mal Fraser made up to cover people he said we were happy to have crash our BBQ.

Migrants could bring a plate. Or two. Just as long as they left religion and politics behind. Shut up and listen; immerse themselves in the great Australian spiritual quest  for ever more meaningless  talk about sport.

Equality? Respect? Wash your mouth out. Most blokes in politics are just footy club jocks with a tie on. And the Ming Dynasty, the great white male club of self-interest, boasts many performers eager to remind us all of what the bafflingly broad church of the Liberal Party stands for: a return to the days when men were men and women were handy making the sandwiches out in the kitchen, or knocking up a plate of scones for your mate to take to the national picnic.

Whatever Patti Menzies may have said to Robert Menzies in private, his Liberal Party was pretty much a blokes only do. It still is. But Ming would have had the balls to cull Dutton from the national conga line.

Ultimately, like the geese of ancient Rome, Briggs and the boys are a warning to all of us of the monumental injustice of our boys’ club’s claim to rule everything; of our political elite’s deeply rooted misogyny and how in 2016 it can still tap deep currents of Aussie blokes’ fear of women; hatred; how increasingly, alarmingly, The Boys are running amok in a way that makes the Tokyo Shock Boys look restrained, refined, even tasteful.


further reading: 

Let me pierce you with my eyes,  by Jennifer Wilson.

2016: Back to the future through Turnbull’s looking glass darkly.

briggs and brough


Happy New Year is so yesterday when you are into hackathons and technological disruption. Our trendy, ‘with-it’ innovative, PM, opts to demonstrate his positivity instead by ditching two of his more woeful cabinet members. Little Jimmy Briggs and Slipper conspirator Malvolio Brough get the flick, news of which is timed to be upstaged if not totally eclipsed by the sacred NYE fireworks show on Sydney Harbour.

No-one really gives a rat’s arse anyway, apart from the groped embassy staff member and Mrs Briggs but the PM’s move looks contrived; shifty and wimpy, timed, as it was, to be dumped out the back with the other trash such as Dyson Heydon’s failure of a TURC report. Cap’n Turnbull is in more trouble than you poke an ugly stick at. Wokka Truss is expected to retire before parliament sits in 2016 but two other holes to plug in the hull is harder for the PM to talk his way out of. Or fix.

2016 may well be the year of the shifty shaft as our wimpy con-man cum Liberal PM and his coal-powered cohorts, struggle to keep their heads above water, let alone get on with the real business of government such as union-bashing and courting the flat-earthers who want to cut wages.

Wages are healthy, however at our ABC, which, under its ‘million dollar Michelle’ Guthrie new leader facelift, is keeping even our downtime upbeat. During the daylight hours preceding Sydney’s planned pyrotechnics on 31 December, Aunty was priming her viewers with breathless ‘updates’ and in depth forecasts which were repeats of the same announcement.

There are going to be FIREWORKS. OMG! NYE is going to be bigger and better than ever. It all promises to go off with a bang. What did we do to deserve this meaningless drivel?

Turnbull’s official stage show, ‘Not with a bang but a whimper’, on the other hand, seems to be less and less of a slow burn and more and more of a fizzer as Turnbull reveals himself to be a virtual Abbott clone in a better sack of fruit.

A fish rots from the head down, they say and it shows at this stage of the Turnbull experiment. The much-hated by his party PM is struggling to keep his cabinet ministers out of trouble, let alone under control or ‘on message’ as they like to write in the press handouts. Little Jimmy Briggs’ excuse for his misbehaviour is that he did it. Being popular in Liberal ranks, on the other hand, is clearly no guarantee of any degree of merit.

National party members cheer the decision to demote Briggs, saying the departure of the arrogant and talentless turd might even raise the collective IQ in his ministry but we may be stuck with the stench in the punchbowl. Briggs was bivouacking down in Environment under climate intellectual Greg Hunt!

In the light of recent revelations of massive tax evasion by our biggest corporations, there has been not a peep out of the PM. Assistant Treasurer Kelly Oh Dear bravely ventured that ‘just because they did not pay tax did not mean that they were not paying tax’. Go figure, as they like to say in US sitcoms and bad comedies. The takeout New Year message from this government? You pay for everything. We get the tax breaks. ‘May the bird of paradise fly up your nose’.

For every agile, paid-up federal government pension-schemer staffing our national political circus – and for decent ordinary Australians who increasingly find themselves excluded from their rightful place at the national picnic table, 2016 promises to be quite a blast – from the past. Expect new lows in indifference, incompetence and exploitation.

In Canberra, our nation’s political theatre, it is war, as usual, on the weak, the elderly, the infirm while international bankers ensure the arms trade thrives and boost a war on terror as the tonic a sick world economy needs. Turnbull Inc. whose motto  bastardry as usual is becoming more familiar with every passing day and closure of every local manufacturing firm, has issued a personalised message of seasonal goodwill. ‘Let an elephant caress you with its toes.’

Screw the workers. ‘Don’t tell me they don’t like it- bring me good news’ stories; being me positivity on a stick; bellows Malcolm, the emperor of ice-cream. In a productivity-enhancing up-market, well-bred vowels and patronising cadences and figures of speech, Malcolm Turn-on tells everyone to like being done over. Bring on the innovation orgasmatron!

Now Abbott’s $40-80 million TURC, a simple but ineffective plot to kill Bill Shorten, has failed to achieve its objective, release of the TURC turkey’s red-bound report with extra, special X-rated appendix, has been relegated to the silly season where it is certain to be eclipsed by endless images of millionaires cracking hearty in sporting costumes which drip with expensive logos and their yachts which tend to do the same.

Memo to innovators. Can’t we just skip the sport and race the logos?

Oddly, few yacht owners seize the day to praise the workers whose productivity provided them with the means to buy their expensive toys which are viewed to advantage, with no expense spared, from every possible angle in living rooms across the nation, colourful reminders to every exploited wage-slave of our insignificance and servitude.

Nor is one boss-yachtie heard thanking Mr Turnbull for promising to do nothing whatsoever to change the fact that as was revealed recently, 38% of our corporate entities paid no tax at all in 2013-14. Or did we miss something?

To be fair, background noise at this time of year is deafening, even for a mob whose shtick is noise. Orchestrated calls for cuts to penalty rates, lower company taxes and an increase in GST from the usual suspects, such as Kate Carnell, the IPA, vie with business class demands wages be cut to incentivise the nation so every Ozzie can become an ocean-going yachtie.

Loose cannons are even noisier in the silly season. Beware yapping Tea Party running dogs such as TURC supporter and part-time union-basher David Leyonhjelm who get more attention than their small bore would ever warrant in season. Now he’s insanely calling for controls to be eased on the sale of fireworks because as he puts it adults have to be treated like adults. What is it about the fireworks with this mob?

Expect more of this hogwash as sundry nut jobs set out to convince us that we are in need of tuition from the likes of Donald Trump and other pseudo-down-home plain-speaking US republican candidates and other low-rent political vultures and carrion crows. David Leyonhjelm eagerly swoops on whatever remains of the Labor movement adding his own editorialising to the witch hunting happy as ever to get some attention.

Turkey it may be but the TURC’s carcase will provide rich pickings for low-flying buzzards on the lookout for a takeaway smear or a slur. ‘Although not mentioned by name’, slurs an ABC report, ‘Shorten has his work cut out for him’.

Bill is not dead but he’s looking very poorly and the prognosis is not good, thanks to Turnbull Inc. and puppet Dyson Heydon’s ‘guilty until he proves himself innocent’ witch hunt and the political freebooters at News Corp. what about a Roar-all commission as it is known, into corporate tax evasion?

The Abbott/Turnbull government will continue to cruel the fortunes of the poor and the vulnerable so it can boost the bank accounts of its rich pals and backers; ignore the top end of town’s tax evasion and in any other way it can find, look after the interests and the well-being of the top ‘one-per-centers’.

It has ripped $80 billion out of Health and Education in order to extort the states into complying with ‘tax reform’.  Let hospitals and schools hold chook raffles to fund themselves! Idea! Get Julie Bishop and Wyatt Roy to help them run a hackathon.

Hackathons will be big in 2016. Our nation’s unelected fearless leader, Cap’n Tosser Turnbull, can’t get his hands off his new orgasmatron and its cost-free trendy image. Expect more slogans as you ‘work, save and invest’ at your job if you are lucky enough to have one.

Wages are stagnant but expect ‘your ABC’ to include bogus news items purporting to show ‘business confidence’ flooding the marketplace as ‘productivity sky-rockets’ after Turnbull’s visionary rhetoric. Don’t expect any help with the rising cost of looking after elderly family members or childcare.

Turnbull seizes the day with a thought bubble for every occasion. He should relax. The verdict is in. Since seizing power, the only difference between himself and Abbott is that Turnbull uses nicer words to promote our war on terror.

Turnbull is hell-bent on winning Mr Positivity for 2016 – the man positively oozes positivity from every oleaginous pore. Positivity could become the new national religion after sport and talkback radio. Expect lashings of left-over ham to be dished up with cringing servitude by our nation’s hacks and lackeys in the meeja. And from those in the PM’s own expensive and hugely over-staffed press unit. Objective reporting is so yesterday. Critical analysis and dissent are heresy.

‘There has never been a more exciting time to be alive than today … never been a more exciting time to be an Australian’, Malcolmtake your hand off it’ Turnbull vigorously snake-oils the body politic.  Posing as a conservative ’embracing change’ he is really only an arm’s length away from being an agile and disruptive Jamie Briggs.

Our 2016 national conversation as the PM and his team love to call their windy monologues, will be filled with pseudo-Dude-speak. Silicon start-up up-starts will star in hackathon-led disruptive innovation. In brief, we will be fed meaningless, start-up jargon, silicon-valley snake oil, while our exports shrink, our island continent overheats and our industry disappears via the ideological disaster that has allowed them to fall into ruin in the name of free trade, (amen).

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has captured the new zeitgeist effortlessly with costly new furnishings even if she did have to fold a few DFAT programs to pay for it.  Explaining how she blew the DFAT budget; money meant to help drowning pacific villagers and other humanitarian obligations, Bishop dilated on the $600 bean-bags bought for her Innovation Xchange, an idea and a name she took from something fifteen years ago with the same name. For Bishop, the Innovation Xchange is a metaphor for the new Australia, a ‘gorgeous little funky, hipster, Googly, Facebooky-type place’.

2016 will see Australians from all works of life being jam-packed like Japanese commuters at a bullet train station into the pews; to worship at the altar of the new bogus religion of ‘disruptive’ technology, an idea which flourishes despite any historical foundation and against the most rudimentary common sense.

‘Change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it,’ says the PM who promised not to insult the intelligence of the electorate. Someone needs to ask him about how climate change is our friend.

Traditional Liberal delights and amuses bouches such as cold pay cuts, GP co-payments by stealth are on the menu by popular demand from the top end of town as the Business Council of Australia flatters itself along with the thousand and one tin pot generals of commerce and industry who claim to be a representative voice but who in fact merely echo the IPA. Or outdo it for neo-liberal economic delusion that wage cuts are anything but a disaster for The Economy (amen).

Someone should hold a royal commission into the obscene number of ’employer-representative bodies’ that have pullulated overnight like mushrooms to beg government to cut workers’ wages and conditions while begging extra for themselves; tax relief for an elect group in which almost every other corporation represented pays no tax at all.

Also planned is a smorgasbord of warmed up left-overs including an IR law to beef up union surveillance which the senate has already sensibly rejected. Trigger-happy NRA nut-job and professional loose cannon David Leyonhjelm who is all in favour of small government reckons another layer of federal jurisprudence to cover anything which workers might get up to is highly desirable, just like big corporations, he says with a straight face, who are constantly monitored for compliance and  transparency. Just not for paying tax.

Multicultural novelties include a penalty rates piñata featuring Michaelia Cash who will smash a life size effigy of Bob Hawke, including ego, to release countless thousands of gaily multi-coloured 457 VISAs representing the innovative migrant work force which will disrupt our more traditional, stuffy workforce by putting locals out of jobs.

Accompanying on harp will be Kate Carnell who will lead a Business Council of Australia choral arrangement in a rendition of the specially commissioned ‘Yeah, Nah’ a toe-tapping hum-along which will add a fresh breath of yesteryear and the Norman Luboff choir.

‘Yeah, nah, we’re not touching penalty rates’ promises to be a show stealer and rests on hours of hard graft and sheer perseverance. Expect to be fed an endless, self-saucing magic Christmas pudding, doused in over-proof positivity and dotted with the odd promissory note which now officially replaces the traditional three-penny bit or small silver coin,  until February.

As soon as the Murdoch press has done enough convincing the nation that Labor is a gang of union thugs out to wreck the country, contortionist and master illusionist, Malcolm, ‘Mr Magic’ Turnbull, will surprise no-one by going to the polls early. Austerity will, then, rain down upon us like a bullocky’s whip, should, – as is expected the party of the right be re-elected.

2016 will be quite a blast;  a long siesta-inducing fiesta of positivity, dodgy opinion polls and the best entertainment your taxes can buy. Prepare to be diverted by the spectacle of war on the unions. Expect no firm commitment to anything apart from glossing over the fact that a big part of the hole in the federal finances comes from companies paying no tax.

For diversion, terror can’t be beat. Expect a gusher of dinkum oil on the need to invade Syria and any other place the US and Haliburton wants to overwhelm with humanitarian bombing from the air by a failed PM backed by his enthusiastic but barking mad monkey pod musos, ‘Abbott and the pedal pushers’ – showing the nation how easy it is to transition from junkyard dog to cracker dog to mad dog. The Daily Telegraph can’t get enough of the little urger. Just don’t let him near any flags. Eric Abetz will again propose that his mate Abbott be part of Mal’s new cabinet. A dumb waiter, perhaps.

The economy show is sticking to its rehearsal schedule thanks to Scott Morrison putting everything on the table and never suggesting putting up the GST in order to bribe the big end of town with tax cuts. Or that poor people need ‘welfare cops’ set on them but if you are a rich business, tax-paying is an optional extra.

A credible path to surplus is set to become an avant-avant-garde art installation, a new surrealist drama, with more than a nod to Waiting for Godot in which much is promised but nothing is ever delivered in an incoherent, surreal and absurdist but menacing environment.

Tables are groaning with epicurean delights such as longer working lives seasoned with a good old dollop of a drop in the standard of living. Not that you’d know. Chef Morrison has whipped up a whopping GST increase to allow him to lower taxes for the wealthy, while helping Sussan Ley to introduce another co-payment by stealth via a change to Medicare incentives.

How do they do it?  Heaven only knows they have enough on their plate with poisoning the atmosphere and trashing the environment down at Abbott Point, for a coal industry unlikely ever to pay its way if it ever eventuates;

Our Environment Minister and minister for Adani boasts a new heritage listed post-industrial port has been secretly prepared to tempt the nation’s appetite for intrigue and betrayal and to satisfy the need for curators of the future should they need an example of stranded economic asset or a national economic basket case.

No expense has been spared by our coal-industry puppets, their National Party hangers-on and a myriad assorted camp followers. Spoiler alert. 2016 will contain a charm offensive in the form of tax cuts. Then everything will be obliterated as the Adani-sponsored Turnbull juggernaut wipes out everything in its path.

The tables, which, as you recall still have everything on them now bear an embarrassment of riches a veritable feast of evidence that there has never been a more exciting time to be alive. Especially if you are Malcolm Turnbull and not a poor, ordinary person who needs decent wages, a union to protect their conditions or any form of Medicare health treatment.

Turnbull, a former merchant banker and rhyming slang, is so increasingly besotted by the sound of his own voice and his own reflection in a thought bubble that he can make no sense at all of his PM gig. Turners struggles with actually getting stuff done or asserting his authority. It would help if he knew what to do. Or could take advice.

Authority is built on respect but Turnbull has instead channelled his energies and talents into a lifetime of building other things, like the mare’s nest of the NBN, amassing a personal fortune and not putting a foot wrong in the collapse of HIH.

Although he’s had a long honeymoon with the country his tax accountants are shagging, Turnbull’s not so attractive to the all the chaps at the office. True, the chapesses all have an emoji crush on him, judging Julie Bishop’s flirting although her follow-the leader-support doesn’t really count.

Turnbull struggles with the notion that being PM involves leadership and leadership involves the judicious exercise of power as authority. It’s a bit more than a vanity mirror and already there are serious flaws in the glass.