Month: November 2017

Turnbull hides but fails to avoid disaster.

turnbull looking exhausted


When the going gets tough, the tough burrow under the bed-covers.  Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, “a good man in a crisis”, and a “strong leader”, as he insists, scents a mutiny brewing over his indulgence of the banks. And runs away.

Or rather, he stays away – and makes sure no-one else turns up. Sensing dissent within his government, Mal delays resuming the lower house, depriving an avid nation of four days of Dorothy Dixers, Bill Shorten zingers and the cunning equal opportunity illusion of women arrayed behind the PM as the camera tracks him in television’s Question Time.

Perhaps Mal channels his inner Mugabe, a kindred strong man in a wind of change, a leader who’d prorogue parliament at the drop of a hat or another assassination attempt. Robert Mugabe, a Malcolm Fraser protégé, is feted all week by ABC spinners and other fascist apologists as a fun-loving, big, black Bwana revered by his smiling, grateful people.

Such is the power of our modern media that only a heretic dare suggest Zimbabwe’s story is of a military coup replacing one corrupt, brutal dictator with another. Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former deputy, enforcer, head of security and successor, dubbed “The Crocodile” for his survival skill, ordered the deaths of 20,000 civilians in the Matabeleland massacres of the 1980s.  All in the past? As William Faulkner observed the past is never dead; it’s not even past.

By contrast, the media is out of love with Turnbull. Mal’s call proves shockingly ill-judged. It may be a career worst judging by the hate mail it produces. Everything about its proclamation betrays fear and blind panic.

The Press is told first. 10:33am Monday, Christopher Pyne’s office emails media. Next, Party Whip, the sublimely named shepherdess, Nola Marino, (whom the High Court will show not to be a dual Italian citizen along with Canavan, insists the PM, in some two for one special he imagines), messages MPs almost an hour later. A riot of derision erupts.

“Malcolm Turnbull won’t come to Bennelong, won’t come to Queensland, won’t even come to Parliament”, taunts Bill Shorten, back in full zing all week. ” If you can’t run the parliament, you can’t run the country.”

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek says it’s “the sort of thing that happens in a dictatorship”.

Shorten vows to turn up, anyway, 27 November, bringing the entire Labor parliamentary party with him, a stunt Bob Katter wants in on, too. Later there is some demurring over billing the taxpayer for a political gesture.

“Turnbull must be the only employee in Australia trying to keep his job by not turning up to work”, tweets refugee advocate Julian Burnside, AO, QC, disgusted by the brutal, forced relocation of 300 terrorised men on Manus Island.

“Gutless”, Pauline Hanson, piles on. She’s up in Townsville autographing her nation’s flag but always ready to put the boot in when a man goes down. No time to contact the UK Home Office to check she’s not a dual citizen.

Happily for Hanson and others with similar issues over eligibility, the deadline for MPs declarations is extended four days to 8:00pm, Tuesday 5 December. The federal government’s oil-fired, ocean-going you beaut citizenship 2.0 is essentially a rebadged “as you were” or the old rules in a new spin, the quintessence of the Turnbullian revolution.

All MPs and senators must provide a declaration of their citizenship and details of any former and renounced citizenship within 21 days of election. Or else. Perhaps this is why the PHON leader accuses the PM of lack of intestinal fortitude.

Yeah, Nah. Pauline, it transpires, is blasting our fearless leader for failing to invade Syria to behead the ISIS hydra, before its “tentacles” spread worldwide. It’s a typical One Nation hallucination but, as always, it’s the vibe of the gibe that matters. She’s “bigged-up” by predictions her party will win ten seats in Queensland’s poll; hold the balance of power.

Critics like Pauline miss Mal’s strategic genius. Postponing the lower house of parliament helps avoid Nationals Senator Barry O’ Sullivan’s push for a Royal Commission into the banks. Bazza has the backing, he bluffs ABC radio, of “four other” nameless MPs, a theme taken up by hacks who call him a “power-broker”. No wonder Turnbull calls the week off.

A gap week helps skip the dip in Coalition numbers in the House of Reps now The High Court is forcing  jokester John Alexander, former national tennis champ to recontest his seat, a fate which also befalls an outraged Barnaby.

So unfair. Barnaby harps on the injustice. He even tours the family plot at Tamworth cemetery for TV in a rip-off of Who Do You Think You Are in a bid to help show his family goes back to the First Fleet. Apart from his Kiwi father.

Joyce just doesn’t get it. Nor is he helped by an indulgent PM who claims “you couldn’t be more Australian than Barnaby Joyce”, a dangerously facile assertion in times when national stereotypes help populist bigots demand cultural assimilation and decry diversity. No, Mr Turnbull. Barnaby is a ham’s caricature of a true-blue Aussie – that’s his shtick.

By 1 December, Barnaby “Bowyangs” Joyce, a dinky-di Aussie production from his Akubra to his RM Williams boots, will be back on the Coalition front bench as MP for New England by acclamation and will be caught on camera struggling to stay awake. Or at the dispatch box ranting incoherently. Yet the mail is not good from his New England electorate

Rum doings feed bush rumour mills. BJ’s campaign ute is commandeered by a family member who tools up and down the main drag of Tamworth urging people not to vote for him. Like his PM, Barney wisely stays home under a doona.

Ironies abound. Joyce’s campaign may well be enriched by his non-appearance on the hustings, his refusal to appear in any New England public forum and an embarrassing moment when Gina Rinehart presents the Santos fracking spruiker with $40,000 and award for being “a champion of farming”. It’s something she’s whipped up at home.

The National War Memorial is a top setting for the tireless agricultural warrior and son of the soil. And it’s a perfect excuse for Barnaby to skip another local public forum with the other 17, hopelessly outclassed New England candidates.

But is it wise to be seen as The Rinehart Cowboy? Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon tells ABC people have “long been concerned” about the “undue influence” of Mrs Rinehart over the former deputy PM. Worse, The National Farmers’ Federation, says it was not consulted. Tempers fray but our bullish PM, oddly, does not buy in.

Nor is Turnbull  prepared to do much about his deputy’s comments condoning water rorting.

“Water theft is a crime – pure and simple. All Australians need confidence the rules governing water use are applied fairly, without fear or favour,” says the PM. But no-one expects him to do anything about it.  He makes it clear that it’s all the responsibility of states. It is left to SA Premier, Jay Weatherill to call a Royal Commission, this week.

Discretion is the better part of Malcolm’s valour. Staying in bed not only prolongs his survival, it allows the PM to build up his strength. Denial is so tiring. As with any form of lying you have to remember what you’ve said – for starters.  Then it needs tedious repetition. The LNP fails again in Queensland, its first foray into compulsory, preferential voting.

Disunity is palpable. Many Queensland Nationals blame Malcolm Turnbull for Saturday’s loss. Barry O’Sullivan says the result has strengthened his resolve to push ahead with his private member’s bill calling for a banking royal commission.

Some mutter about the wisdom of the 2008 experiment, when progressive Liberals of the south-east joined conservative Nationals of the north and centre to form the LNP. Others see One Nation as poaching conservative votes. LNP leader Tim Nicholls blames One Nation for preferencing sitting members last.

The LNP suffers an 8% slump in the primary vote, and is headed for defeat on the state-wide two-party vote which Labor should win 52-48 or better. But the loss can’t possibly be Turnbull’s fault, however much the deep North belly-aches.

George Brandis, whose unfailingly dud judgement rivals his PM’s, helps Turnbull by repeating that the result has nothing to do with a Turnbull government whose unpopularity is in free fall and a PM who is now less popular than Bill Shorten.

Has the PM forgiven Brandis for his embarrassingly dud advice that the High Court would exonerate Barnaby Joyce?

Brandis ignores all evidence. Getup!’s exit polls, for example, suggest the Adani overture stinks. Queensland voters are miffed that government should lend a billion of our dollars to speculators who have no money of their own to invest.

Many are unhappy that the vast Carmichael Mine will create a toxic hotspot on the environment which will also boost global warming; bugger the Great Barrier Reef, despite Greg Hunt’s claim that coal burnt in India doesn’t count.

Most Australians polled can see renewables as the way of the future. Christiana Figueres, former executive director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, says the world is at the Kodak moment for coal. The

Palaszczuk government will retain the state’s 50 per cent renewables target.

In panic at the backlash to cancelling parliament, the federal government rushes to announce tax cuts, or “free beer tomorrow”, as Bill Shorten zings. Such haste and lack of detail give the cuts all the substance of “a thought bubble about a thought bubble” says Bernard Kean. How will they be funded? Further cuts to services must, inevitably, follow.

Alarmingly, the PM parrots pernicious Tea Party slogans of reducing “the burden” of tax, a phrase based on the popular lie that we all resent paying our fair share of the cost of hospitals, schools and welfare and other community essentials.

By Wednesday, former Attorney General Philip Ruddock, the MP whom Amnesty forbade to wear his badge at work, as so much of what he did demeaned human rights, is hailed as the arbiter of a brewing Liberal stoush over how best to amend Dean Smith’s Marriage Act amendment bill to enshrine new forms of discrimination against marriage equality.

Many SSM supporters fear amendments in the name of “religious freedoms” already proposed to be later withdrawn by the IPA’s pallid Aryan Ubermensch, James Paterson, are stalking horses for No-Posters to allow celebrants the legal right to refuse to marry gay couples, for example, a right which celebrants themselves say they don’t want.

IPA shill Chris Berg appears on ABC’s The Drum to voice the spurious case that the nation has granted “massive freedoms” to same sex couples in allowing them to marry. It’s only reasonable that they forgo a few freedoms in the interest of balance.

It’s a pernicious argument which overlooks the case that in legitimising equal marriage, the state is merely restoring a right that has wrongfully been denied but the line of thinking is popular amongst those such as Tony Abbott or Lyle Shelton who mounted scare campaigns to distort SSM into a threat to the well-being of children.

Turnbull’s pick is ominous. Bloodless Philip Ruddock, architect of the Pacific Solution, an MP disowned by his own daughter,  introduced legislation to ban same-sex marriage in 2004 to “protect the institution of marriage” and “the stability of our society”, in order to help John Howard build up a religious right for his own political advantage.

Ruddock, it is announced, will help the PM review religious freedoms. Marriage equality supporters are dumbfounded. As one tweets, “I voted for marriage equality in the postal plebiscite. I end up with Ruddock”. Others ponder what would have become of the whole exercise if the nation had known that the process would be given over to Philip Ruddock.

On Thursday, the government releases Australia’s first foreign policy white paper in 14 years. It’s a fizzer. It brims with wishful thinking unsullied by any merely practical strategy, beyond its alliance with Vietnam which Damien Kingsbury notes would be better if it were more independent of the US alliance with the same country.

Vietnam, he notes appears to resist China’s strategic advances while building diplomatic ties. Australia needs to learn how to achieve this.

The paper worries about change and of course the growth of China; the need to build regional alliances but in failing to propose much in the way of solutions it is, in its own way, an extension of Turnbull’s ostrich Prime Ministership. It is, moreover, as Kingsbury points out, vital to our democracy that a bipartisan approach to foreign policy be restored.

A meeting of state and federal energy ministers Friday agrees to keep working on Malcolm Turnbull’s proposed National Energy Guarantee, NEG an agreement which includes the Victorian Labor government. Alan Finkel helpfully points out however that all is not what it seems. The NEG may just be a way of funding Turnbull’s vanity Snowy Hydro 2 project.

An attractive acronym as it may be, the NEG will not achieve any emissions reductions beyond doing nothing; it will rely almost entirely on the renewable energy target for the assumed reductions in consumer bills and it is unlikely to encourage any new renewable energy investment, argues Giles Parkinson.

Nor will it address the issue of reliability, although the slogan will not get any less of a workout. The NEG, it turns out is an entirely futile exercise, which like Turnbull’s own prime ministership may even be worse than useless because it displaces useful policy – or in our leader’s case the capacity to shape useful policy.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance is scathing it is appraisal of the Coalition’s proposed National Energy Guarantee. It is akin, they say, to signing up to a gym membership, but not lifting any weights. Like Coalition banking reforms.

Something dressed up as “the next stage of banking reforms” is foreshadowed Friday, perpetuating the spin that the Turnbull government has any intention of holding banks to account. Again there is a parallel.

Our all-powerful banking oligopoly continues to alienate voters. The Big Four banks’ collusion over fixing interest rates, their usurious money lending practices  and their undue political influence with politicians of all stripes have made banks as unpopular the Turnbull government. By the end of the week, desperation is evident in the embattled PM.

Friday, campaigning for Bennelong MP, John Alexander, a parliamentary seat-warmer who failed to renounce his dual citizenship and who now has to apologise for making “crude and inappropriate” rape jokes in the 1990s, the PM warns Bennelong voters that Labor’s Kristina Keneally will “bring all those asylum seekers from Manus to Australia”.

He also blames Muslims for the No vote in the marriage equality postal survey. “The numbers speak for themselves, and you can see the biggest No votes were in electorates with a large migrant population, and in particular with a large Muslim population, like several of the seats in western Sydney and in Melbourne,” says Turnbull in a radio interview.

“In some of those seats you’ve got a very big Muslim community who are very conservative on issues like this and very little support for same-sex marriage.”

The PM’s xenophobic dog-whistling comes amidst disturbing reports of brutality on Manus Island where Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s duty of care sees refugees and asylum-seekers finally forced to leave the detention centre.

Despite Dutton’s assurances it is clear that at least one of the transit centres is still under construction. Even if it were a genuine alternative accommodation centre, it is impossible to see any long term plan. New Zealand’s offer to take 150 men has been spurned and their attempts to negotiate directly are met with threats from Dutton.

“New Zealand,” he warns, ‘would have to think about their relationship with Australia and what impact it would have’. ‘They’d have to think that through, and we’d have to think that through.’

In the meantime, reports alleging sexual impropriety by the Manus refugees have recently appeared in NZ media via the Australian press. These include claims of paedophile behaviour; men luring ten year old girls for sex. The reports are said to be based on a leaked diplomatic cable and further verification of the cable’s contents is not possible.

The timing of the leak and several others in Australian publications suggest Turnbull government frustration at Jacinda Ardern’s intervention. If reports of the violent eviction of the men were not shameful enough, the attempt to smear the reputation of those men whom New Zealanders would seek to help is despicable.

Yet the PM and his Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop repeat the mindless mantra that the refugees “have options” when clearly they cannot return home nor can they settle on Manus.  Human Rights Watch warns that refugees face “unchecked violence” from locals.

Force is supplied by thugs in PNG’s Mobile Squad, a notorious paramilitary group responsible for rape and murder, who are also deployed as private armies by logging firms and other extractive industries. The Mobile Squad is condemned by Amnesty and Human Rights watch for serious human rights abuses.

Squad members wield steel batons as PNG police finally forcibly evict 350 terrified refugees, who are afraid to leave the gulag to which they have been confined – many for over four years for fear of what will become of them.

What is happening on Manus offers a disturbing glimpse into a government which is prepared to descend into overt violence and beyond in its desperation to maintain its pledge that no refugee will be settled in Australia.  Yet there is no sign of any solution to the problem of finding suitable long term accommodation whilst the barbaric cruelty of the brutal treatment meted out to the refugees is in direct contravention of international law including UN refugee conventions.

Worse, Peter Dutton’s gibes at Labor’s leader make it clear that the government is attempting to politicise the Manus Island refugees’ plight. Use it in for the short term gain of helping it win a byelection in Bennelong – so desperate is it to cling to its one seat majority.

“Mr Shorten has not sought any briefings on the government’s work to clean up Labor’s Manus legacy,” Dutton says.

“It is … a reminder to Australians that Labor under Bill Shorten would fold to internal pressure once again and it would be a green light for people-smugglers.”

If Turnbull’s week begins badly, it ends in unmitigated disaster.

Turnbull’s worst week ever.

turnbull and netanyahu jerusalem


Warwick: See how the pangs of death doth make him grin. William Shakespeare, Henry IV Part 2, Act iii.

Our PM and Opposition leader start their week with a flying visit to Israel to commemorate the Battle of Beersheba, a joyous trip into history and myth. Time to salute again the legendary, bronzed, invincible Digger, fearless in his duty to his King, his country and British Empire. Keeping Australia white. Inspiring. But somehow Mal can’t stay focused.

It’s a battle for Turnbull just to leave home. All hell is breaking loose. A Beersheba centenary bash doesn’t happen every year. But his sinking Prime Ministership needs him. The dual citizenship debacle is destroying his government.

Labor maintains an election-winning lead in opinion polls.  Essential Research has Labor’s two-party lead bouncing back to 54-46, a result which mirrors this week’s Newspoll.  A leadership spill is imminent, surely.

Meanwhile insurrection rears its neatly tonsured head. Kevin Andrews, Abbott ally and fellow-travelling malcontent, “father of the house”, suddenly has his Tintoretto head on all channels. Mal’s “the leader at the moment”, he snipes. “Voters are unhappy with inadequate leadership.”  Is he echoing Turnbull’s rationale for toppling Abbott?

Kev’s not advocating (much) for a change of leader but Australians want clear, decisive, stable leadership. Not a fizza.

Above all, is the issue of Mal’s accursed poor judgement even if Father Kev is too kind to spell it out. Another day, another dud call is the Turnbull story so far. But all duds are not equal. His spectacularly bad call on The High Court’s dual citizenship of his deputy, in particular, is causing his prime ministership to explode in his face like a trick cigar.

Choosing to tough it out with Joyce’s eligibility in doubt is the PM’s most costly misjudgement yet. Some, at least, of his deputy’s decisions are now open to challenge, especially his casting vote for cutting penalty rates for some workers.

Penalty rates are part of his government’s war on workers. And unions. After creating her own credibility crisis, anti-worker, anti-union Employment Minister, Michaelia Cash, has yet to come out of witness protection after misleading parliament about her registered organisation commission (ROC)’s illicit AFP raid on AWU offices seeking documents already tendered to Abbott’s witch hunt on Shorten, the $61m Trade Union Royal Commission.

The AFP were seeking the minutes of an AWU meeting 12 years ago when Shorten was boss. The AWU voted to give $100,000 to what was then a brand-new progressive activist outfit calling itself Getup! It was a legitimate donation. No law was broken. Instead the ROC – AFP raid itself was illegal and clearly nothing more than an ugly, political stunt.

If the botched AFP raid is not enough, add Nigel Hadgkiss. The rule of law clearly didn’t trouble Cash or the government when appointing Hadgkiss to head the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), the “new tough cop on the block” to keep workers honest. Hadgkiss had broken the Fair Work Act himself. And Cash knew.

Some good has been done. Cash has helped spotlight the injustice of the Coalition’s war on workers. Since 2013, it has used politicised commissions and investigations to pursue its sworn enemy the unions and The Australian Labor Party, with extreme prejudice toward Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten, in show trials assisted and amplified by a tame MSM.

Cash may well have done her dash. Certainly she has put her government and her PM between a ROC and a hard place. She is one of the few cabinet ministers who don’t show up in Jerusalem – apart from Turnbull who misses the start.

Dithering only for a couple of days, agonising whom to leave minding the red teapot, Turnbull opts to put Ms Julie Bishop in charge. It’s no easy delegation. The Foreign Minister’s diary is already chockers with work-related Flemington Spring carnival engagements. Still, Julie will read out the day’s talking points and evade any ABC questions splendidly.

At last! Mal makes his mad dash to Jerusalem, where he buddies up with his bestie, Bibi, the terminally scandal-ridden Israeli PM who needs him in his quest to recruit history to the Zionist cause while he continues Israel’s war on Palestine.

Turnbull plunges into a speech mangling history; heavy on the brotherhood of battle between Israel and Australia and our two nations’ shared values. The Turnbull government’s commitment to the rule of law also cops a lot of repetition.

Reporters fidget with phones and microphones. The PM’s speech-making so often mires itself in the no man’s land between homily and harangue. He’s sonorous but sincerity and conviction suffer. At the end he takes media questions.

“Do you ever feel you’ve had enough? You’d just like to — it’s all been too much?”  I’ve never had more fun in my life, he replies. A cheeky scribe wants to know why the PM hasn’t just resigned, given his record of epic, inglorious failure. Why, like disgraced employment minister Michaelia Cash, doesn’t he just lie down and pull the doona up over his head?

Mal puts on his brave smile, something Katharine Murphy calls a rictus, – an allusion to the death rictus. A harsh Jerusalem sun which somehow finds the gaps between the olive leaves at The Grove of Nations reveals too much ugly sinew. His thin, dry, skin puckers at the cheekbone betraying a face ravaged by age and the vicissitudes of fate.

He flashes a shit-eating grin, so brightly polished it could light up the entire east coast of Australia. It’s his cue to stride away manfully. End the presser in a triumphant display of strong and resolute leadership.  Another shutdown.

But the PM makes a gaffe. Is it jet lag or just poor judgement? Somehow he thinks it would be a top occasion for a prank. The PM pretends, puckishly, to confuse Bill Shorten with “Bill the Bastard”, a notorious old war horse.

“Bill the Bastard – that was a horse, that was a horse, I hasten to add – he was un-rideable. He was a rogue“, he sniggers.

Yet Bill the Bastard was fractious, fierce and built like a rhinoceros. Turnbull’s ironic insult won’t harm Shorten.

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag. Smile boys that’s the style. No festering enmity while paying respects.

Mal and Bill are at war with history in Jerusalem, helping war criminal Israeli PM, Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu pretend that the 1917 Australian Light Horse charge on Beersheba struck a blow for Israel, a state created 31 years later.

Turnbull will pose as a patriot, this time in a vote-winning re-creation of the Battle of Beersheba as an Australian-led victory, a version of events which discounts the heavy and decisive fighting of British infantry and artillery and other colonial forces. To be fair, he does also briefly mention New Zealand but it won’t please our ANZAC partners.

The Australian raid was made possible only when the Kiwi Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment enabled Auckland Mounted Rifles to capture of Tel el Saba, a Turkish fortified hill overlooking the plain 3.2 kms north-east of Beersheba.

“It was a great victory, a great charge, the last successful cavalry charge in military history, and certainly one that rings through the ages, profoundly Australian in every respect, deeply etched in our national psyche,” Turnbull claims.

Military historians cringe. The Fourth Light Horse Brigade, confused on Channel 7 with the Light Brigade were not cavalry but rather, mounted infantry who would ride into battle; dismount and fight on foot. Other errors are legion.

It’s the last successful cavalry charge apart from all those which came after it. These include the 18th Pomeranian Uhlans, a Polish cavalry charged charge against a German infantry regiment at Krojanty, routing a larger force with lance & sabre. Or the Battle of Schoenfeld, March 1945 when Polish cavalry overran German antitank gun positions.

Beersheba would have fallen anyway. Yet the PM takes another vital step in the long march of what Henry Reynolds describes as “the progressive militarisation of Australian history”. He declares open the ANZAC history museum endowed by the Pratt family monopolists and others, who also set up the 2008, (theme) Park of the Australian Soldier.

Yet it’s not just a fake history excursion. Big-note club veteran, Turnbull “beefs up our defence and security ties with Israel” which involves signing a memorandum of understanding on defence industry co-operation. Dan Tehan looks on.

Any excuse to use the word cyber and to parade danger mouse, Dan Tehan, The Minister for Anzackery and cyber security amongst other portfolios. Dan heads a Melbourne Cup field of MPs on the junket.  Frydenberg is even sighted.

The PM reminds everyone that we are already at war; brothers in arms with Israel. A band of brothers and sheilas.

“We are all fighting together against militant Islamist terrorism,” the PM says, relaying a cheap shot at the ethos of Islam, part of the obligatory public bellicosity or Trump-grovelling that being a US ally demands from this government.

“It’s a threat to Israel, it’s a threat to Australia and it’s a threat to all who value and cherish freedom.”

Demonising is a great way to alienate the 2 billion people of the world’s second largest religious faith. Most Muslims feel insulted, wronged, or angry at hearing expressions which seem to blame terrorism on Islam.

Keeping us safe, Turnbull helps terrorists by reinforcing the idea that the West sees Islam as a source of evil.

Of course there’s a lot of jaw-boning about our shared values. The f-word gets a huge work out.

Bibi knows his bestie will understand that for Israel, freedom is a relative term. A 2015 US Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, shows Israel faces significant human rights problems regarding institutional discrimination of Arab citizens of Israel, many of whom see themselves as Palestinian, a type of apartheid, Ethiopian Israelis, women, and the treatment of refugees and irregular migrants.

Non-Orthodox Jews face institutional discrimination as do intermarried families. Abuses of Labour rights are experienced by foreign workers.[3] Then there’s freedom of speech, a work in regress in Australia and in Israel.

On top of all is the elephant in the room, the Israeli dispossession of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Or the 2014 attack on Gaza, its offensive against Hamas, in which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis.

According to the UN, Israel conducted 6,000 airstrikes and fired over 50,000 tank and artillery shells in its war on Gaza.

Al Jazeera reports that the Israeli army indiscriminately and deliberately targeted civilians during a brutal 2014 assault known as “Black Friday”, according to a 2015 report on the Gaza war. Save the Children reports that in a survey of 300 families, 70% of children suffer post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Netanyahu banned Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau chief from a recent state-sponsored event on freedom of speech.

“Bibi”, as Turnbull and other big-shot Zionist pals call the Israeli PM, is at war with the free press in his own country. Last year, Freedom House, a US democracy advocacy organisation, downgraded Israel’s press freedom from free to partly free. Turnbull could proudly share how he allows only News Corp reporters on to Manus Island.

Or how he could brag how he and his ministers can ring up to roast the ABC if they see a dangerous Muslim like Zaky Mallah in the Q&A audience or when Four Corners reports the truth on Nauru without putting the other side.

Mal may even brag how soon to be Home Affairs Super-Minister, top dog, paranoid Peter Dutton accuses The Guardian of jihadist, left-wing conspiracy in his regular media bullying. How he can complain the “activists have taken over” at the ABC. But chin up Dutto. This week ABC screens a programme showing us how Border Force is keeping us all safe.

Beersheba’s commemoration is not only the culmination of our government’s three year, $600,000 commemoration of World War One, it is highly symbolic. Netanyahu knows his propaganda. When Israel bombarded Gaza, he said

“They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead, the better.”

There’s a parallel here with John Howard whose “babies overboard”, demonised asylum-seekers. An echo also of Josef Goebbels who wrote in 1941, “One suddenly has the impression that the Berlin Jewish population consists only of little babies whose childish helplessness might move us, or else fragile old ladies. The Jews send out the pitiable.”

Despite all his demonisation and his recent claims that refugees are wealthy Armani-wearing frauds or child abusers whom the locals quite rightfully want to kill, Dutton’s epic Manus Island failure is a humanitarian crisis, says the UN.

Sunday, the PM rebuffs Jacinda Ardern’s offer to take 150 refugees yet PNG tells Al Jazeera Australia ought accept it. Turnbull tries to make a case for his US deal taking priority, playing down the urgency of the situation. Is the government rejecting New Zealand’s offer, which Labor urges it to accept, just to paint the opposition as soft on border protection?

Manus represents Peter Dutton’s department’s total failure to plan for the needs of the 600 or so refugees and asylum seekers when there has been adequate warning that PNG was closing the centre. In April 2016, PNG’s Supreme Court ruled that the detention of refugees on Manus was illegal and in breach of fundamental human rights.

The men on Manus have no facilities; no power, water or food. Attempts by others to bring food and water have been rebuffed by a government prepared to adopt the heartless and inhumane expedient of starving the men out.

The men are terrified to leave the centre. They fear for their safety in the unfinished camp the Australian government is building at Lorengau, after no consultation with local people as part of a process of moving them into a hostile PNG community with which they have no ties. Lives are at risk. The suffering has gone on too long.

As Tim Costello argues, after four years no other solution has been found. The government needs to come to its sense and  bring the refugees and asylum seekers to Australia. There is no other option than to resettle the men here.

The PM seems unmoved. He does makes an emotive appeal on behalf of Josh Frydenberg who may be Hungarian.  His rhetoric seems designed to distract from the fact that in 2011, Hungary’s new constitution restored citizenship stripped from Jewish people by the Nazis. It also conferred nationality on their children.

“We must not allow ourselves to be dragged into a sort of lynch mob, witch-hunt, trial by innuendo and denunciation,” the prime minister rants from Perth forsaking all outward sign of sobriety and rationality himself. It’s unfortunate that AWU witch hunt organised by Michaelia Cash and her ROC is fresh in the nation’s memory.

Yet the genie is out of the bottle. “Business as usual” will see other dual citizen MPs pressed to confess to lying low while the High Court got it sorted. Or somehow the dogs are called off.

Ma’s just mad about Parry.  Stephen Parry, former undertaker by trade, and now ex-Liberal Senate leader kept a long time mum about his English dad. Parry clearly punted on the High Court voting the way his PM tipped it. And lost.

Turnbull publicly laments Parry’s delay. It’s a lame leadership strategy from a lame leader. Parry tries to justify himself.

The High Court’s decision on Friday had provided, he says in a statement, “absolute clarity about the application of section 44 of the Australian constitution” and that he had written to the British Home Office to clarify his status.

Assistant Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke is the latest MP to face calls to prove he is not a dual Greek-Australian citizen. There is also chatter about MP Ann Sudmalis not having renounced her British citizenship. Yet whilst Labor has better procedures, neither major party wants to take up The Greens  audit proposal. There is clearly too much to lose.

The Turnbull government is one by-election in a marginal away from political extinction. Astrophysicist Colin Jacobs calculates the mathematical probability of additional “dual” citizens in 150-member lower house as 99.96 per cent.

The Australian an anti-Turnbull journal which counts Tony Abbott amongst its contributors, helpfully concludes that his Prime Ministership is built on pillars of sand and “can no longer be assured” and gives the nod to Turnbull party room loyalists such as Scott Ryan and James McGrath who are beginning to “crab-walk” away from their leader.

Julie Bishop’s leadership chances get yet another spin while there is talk of Dutton-Hunt ticket. (To be fair several “senior Liberals” – say they would rather go into Opposition than serve under Julie Bishop.)

Worms will turn. Barnaby Joyce now says he knew in his gut he was done for. But the Solicitor General, (read PM) made him stay. Why, if it’d been up to him, he’d have done the decent thing. Got this by-election over with months ago.

Joyce is openly disloyal to Turnbull. Already a stink is brewing over who gets to replace Fiona Nash. Joyce also bleats about how the Nationals won the last election and how somehow that makes them dominant partner in the Coalition why, they ought to be leading the senate, now that Tassie Senator Parry’s come out as a Pom.

Turnbull’s Battle of Beersheba excursion may prove a costly diversion from his local problems. Without any strategy in place to stem the dual citizenship catastrophe and without any plan to acknowledge, let alone end the humanitarian crisis on Manus and his anti-union witch-hunt unravelling, he has just given opportunity to his opponents to lead a movement against him.

Whatever they may achieve now, his enemies certainly have plans to stall any change to the Marriage Act when the postal survey result is known.  Given that he has nothing whatsoever to lose, Turnbull should bring those on 600 or so suffering acutely now on Manus Island home to Australia immediately.