Month: June 2018

Can Trump and Kim’s Singapore Summit farce alert us to the dangers facing our own democracy?

trump and kim summit

 

“A new story, a new beginning, one of peace. Two men, two leaders, one destiny. A story in a special moment in time. When a man is presented with one chance that may never be repeated, what will he choose?”

High-tech-sci-fi labs, fast trains and a slam-dunking basketballer flit across the screen as a bizarre, four minute US mobile-propaganda-video, set to a dramatic musical score, fires our national and international imagination this week.

Fox & Friends host, Abby Huntsman, almost steals the show with a Freudian slip, however, when images of Trump, disembarking Air Force One, en route to his date with destiny at Paya Lebar Air Base, in Singapore, appear on screen.

Regardless of what happens in that meeting between the two dictators, what we are seeing right now, this is history,”

Two dictators? Single-handedly, deal-maker Donald Trump wrangles North Korea to the negotiating table. So he says. It must be a master of the art of the deal thing. Details are hazy and scant, but a brace of Norwegian anti-immigration politicians want give The Donald a Nobel Peace prize for his promo alone. Even Australia’s PM says he’s dead impressed.

“Well look, [he] gave it a red hot go”, Trump’s lackey, Malcolm Turnbull, tells Hobart Radio. Mal’s in Tassie, the apple (and other fruit machine) isle, boring Braddon voters rigid before the by-election.

“Red hot go” is a cliché the PM stole from ScoMo. It rivals “hard-working Australians” who, amazingly, are always virtuously succeeding in small businesses.

Yet ScoMo’s quick to call out our welfare bludgers who are a burden on the economy. As are our oldies. Low wage earners  – if not all – workers are shirkers. Poverty is God’s way to punish the lazy. Expect a national basics’ card soon.

Scott’s been cocking up the economy. The MP for Cook has also been cooking the books.  He rants about how his government has created a million jobs since it came to power. It’s a hoax. No-one counters his claim with the fact that the population grew by 1.6 million in the same period. His assurance of prosperity is based on a lie.

For the first time in history, says The Australia Institute, more than half of our workforce do not have secure full-time employment. Insecure work, with no holidays, super, or sick leave, is rising dramatically.

31.7 per cent of employment is now part time, the highest percentage to date, while the rest of our increasingly marginalised, alienated workforce is made up of self-employed, casual and underemployed workers.

Morrison crows about our 3.1% GDP; says we’re on the global leaderboard. It’s sheer nonsense. As Alan Austin notes, in Crikey, 3.1% in the current global environment is a fail. APEC economies, the 21 countries sharing Australia’s Pacific rim region, average GDP growth of 3.8% or more. Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Chile all exceed 4.0%. Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia top 5.0%. Vietnam, China and the Philippines are over 6.0%. Australia is lagging in the bottom half.

Being a Coalition Treasurer, however, and backed by the Howard era myth of better economic managers, Morrison can say what he likes. Our media lap it up.

His leaderboard nonsense is a complete falsehood. “Australia has climbed back to the top of the global leaderboard”? Not remotely true. Current GDP growth figures for 185 economies, published by Trading Economics, show Australia’s 3.1% ranks equal 96th. We are in the bottom half of the leaderboard, nowhere near the top. Yet there are no questions for the PM on ScoMo or Trump.

No Hobartian challenges Mal’s wilful mis-reading of Trump’s stunt either. Yet he’s at odds with Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, whose diplomacy owes much to The Godfather. She keeps her friends close and her enemies closer.

“I would not be taking my foot off the throat of North Korea until I saw very concrete steps that this time they were genuine.” Military exercises? Bishop hisses. “I think the United States needs to clarify what was actually meant.”

What was meant? Trump rashly promises he will suspend Ulchi-Freedom Guardian” eight days of massive, land, sea and air live fire military exercises between the US and South Korea. Each year, tens of thousands of American forces augment its 32,000-strong garrison, America’s third-largest, after Japan and Germany. Yet Trump’s consulted no-one.

Decapitation strike drills  – aimed at Kim and his high command, oddly, lead Pyongyang to see the US-led exercises as rehearsals for pre-emptive war on the North. Already, Trump’s administration is walking away from his concessions.

Is the president is dismayed to read he’s been outsmarted by Kim? For that to happen he would have to read or pay attention during briefings. No. What does get him down is how “little rocket man” commands his people’s attention.

He speaks and his people sit up at attention,” Trump complains. “I want my people to do the same.

Trump’s Singapore summit is a superficial, publicity stunt; a quick and dirty diversion from domestic issues for both Kim and himself. The money from his tax cuts for example is going straight into the CEO’s wallet.

Like his robotic Finance Minister, tedious, Mathias Cormann, an energiser bunny who recycles the same trickle-down mantra endlessly, “lower taxes = higher profits = more jobs”, Turnbull, a hapless captive of his party’s right wing, is fated also to repeat his party’s clapped-out canard that tax cuts for US companies have created jobs. They haven’t. They won’t here, either.

In fact, while banks and companies have profited massively: US jobs are not growing; nor is investment in Wall Street. Fat bonuses are back. Profits are rocketing. Companies reinvest. Apple is able to make a $100 billion share buyback.

Share buybacks push up stock prices. They are immediately followed by company executives offloading some of their own stock to take advantage of rising prices, reports Bernard Keane. He quotes CNN,’s research “the report studied 385 buybacks in 2017 and during the first three months of 2018. Thanks to the reliable stock bounce, insiders gained a total of $75.1 million on their stock sales, the SEC researchers calculated”.

But peace is bad for business. What if peace breaks out between North and South Korea?  Wall Street worries itself sick. Luckily, it has more than enough to depress it in Trump’s trade wars with China and the rest of the world.

Trump’s tough-talking trade war has cost the stock market $1 trillion dollars, since March, according to JP Morgan’s Marko Kolanovic. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points, 6 June, following the president’s decision to include Canada, Mexico and the European Union in global steel and aluminium levies.

Yet further questions remain. Have South Korea, Japan and Australia – and even Trump’s off-White House been blindsided? Did Trump over-promise to stop the arms business-friendly military exercises over The Republic of Korea?

The video’s a White House media spin unit confection, cunningly credited to Destiny Productions. In case you miss its heavy-handed message, an incredible rewind sequence, a sort of reverse Indian rope trick, shows an array of missiles sliding back down their own vapour trails; resiling tidily into silos, denuclearising the world.

The video puff-piece is Donald Trump’s overture to a five hour speed-date with fellow enfant terrible Kim Jong-un in Singapore this week.

“One moment …” is the trailer for “A special bond” a new show in which the former reality TV boss, buddies up with paranoid narcissist confrere Kim Jong-un. It’s Trump’s East meets Western, a feelgood show which plays out at the Capella hotel, (from AU $659 per night), on Sentosa, Singapore’s Disneyland, off Singapore’s south coast Tuesday.

Madonna and Lady Gaga are known to stay at The Capella. The three bed colonial manor is a steal at AU$9946 per night.

Sentosa, as it is known nowadays, to celebrities, show-biz identities and presidents, is a former Japanese prisoner of war camp, now transformed for “high end” holiday-makers. An artificial paradise, its man-made beaches hide bodies of victims of past atrocities, Sentosa was formerly named “Pulau Belakang Mati”, (island of death from behind).

The old British coastal fort’s guns face out to sea but the Japanese invaded by land. It’s an ideal setting for Trump’s kiss and make up for the camera summit, a pact between two malignant psychopaths who only recently were vowing to annihilate each other. Their abiding mutual mistrust is suppressed as each seeks to profit personally from the PR.

“One moment…” could run for two and a half years, or until the end of Trump’s term, ABC seer, Andrew Probyn, warns Insiders Sunday. Bingo! In an uncanny coincidence, in Seoul on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explains “major disarmament” would take place over two-and-a-half years.

Buoyed by his ratings, his love of strong leaders – and mad keen to distract from Robert Mueller’s tightening net, Trump is already promising to broaden the plot to include a speed date with his BFF Vladimir Putin.

A love-in with Putin will also help draw attention away from Trump’s being sued by New York state which is taking the Trump mafia, (Trump and his three eldest children, Donald Jnr, Eric and Ivanka and the board of his charity, to court for “an alleged pattern of persistent illegal behaviour.”

Barbara D. Underwood, NY State Attorney-General, alleges Trump’s charity is just a shell for payments that benefit Trump or his businesses. She describes the Trump foundation as “little more than a cheque-book for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to non-profits, regardless of their purpose or legality.”

Trump’s Kiss me Kim propaganda video is fashionably crass and a typically unsubtle attempt at coercion and diversion.

“What will he choose?” It’s a Zen riddle, a sly tribute – surely- to Iron Chef’s Kitchen Stadium, a campy Japanese cooking cult classic: “Whose cuisine will reign supreme?”  Kim doesn’t have to choose. He’s already being treated as an equal.

Trump and Kim’s love-in receives rapturous self-applause which resounds around the world courtesy of such US sycophants as Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is still forlornly hoping Trump will honour his weasel word to take “up to 1250” refugees, including 29 children, in indefinite detention in our illegal offshore gulags on Manus and Nauru off our hands before Mal calls a snap election on national security and tax cuts in September.

The movie trailer and the man-made beach are also a perfect setting for a president who is artifice personified. Trump has the reality TV show host’s whitened teeth, big hair and witless patter; diplomacy effortlessly morphs into game show. Can diplotainment make America great again? Save the world from nuclear annihilation?

The president echoes the fortune-cookie platitudes of his trailer: sententious clichés will ensure lasting world peace.

“The past does not have to define the future,” he declares. “Yesterday’s conflict does not have to be tomorrow’s war. As history has proved over and over, adversaries can become friends.”

After five hours, including a sequence where Trump shows a keenly interested Kim the features of his bullet-proof limousine, the two get around to signing a document. Wait. It’s an historic agreement. Hold the front page.

Hold the fire and fury. All you need is gloves. A gloved official checks Kim’s pen to see it’s free of nerve agent poison. A microphone picks up Kim’s quip: “Many people in the world will think this is a scene from science fiction, from fantasy.”

The Singapore Sting is a breakthrough for North Korea. It may even usher in a brave new era of international diplomacy as diplotainment. The perpetually unprepared Donald J Trump defies all protocol to wing a summit with the North Korean dictator he calls “little rocket man”. Kim Jong-un outfoxes his woefully ill-briefed detractor.

But the show’s the thing. Donald Trump, a type of Reagan 2.0, is a mythomaniac who believes that he not Tony Schwarz wrote The Art of the Deal – just as Reagan came to confuse his acting in war movies with war service.

Of course, if no one is allowed to say the emperor has lost his marbles, as in the Trump administration, or in Peter Dutton’s Home Affairs super ministry, we are all in serious trouble but that is the trend which the Turnbull government favours with its draft Foreign Espionage and Foreign interference bill.

It is not reassuring that the draft bill has bipartisan support. Nor the nonsense that we face unprecedented threats from foreign espionage, even greater than the cold war.

One authority is uniformly cited, ASIO, but no further evidence is disclosed. Why? To do so would further imperil the national interest? It’s a beat up; an excuse to further curtail civil liberties. Media outfits and civil society groups such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace Change.org and GetUp! are alarmed at the way Turnbull’s government wants to rush the legislation through before the July by-elections

Nor is it encouraging when, all week, the Coalition rails against foreign interference but is willing to do nothing to curb foreign donations, especially so close to a snap election which looks as if it may be time for September.

“In an open democracy such as Australia, limiting free speech and the contestability of ideas is to destroy the very essence of our polity,” says GetUp!’s national director, Paul Oosting.

Advocacy group GetUp! publishes research to show this is precisely what the Turnbull government is doing.  Yet it’s backfiring. GetUp’s Paul Oosting, argues: “The Turnbull government’s attack on democracy and free speech is absolutely unprecedented, so it’s not surprising it has energised GetUp members like little else before.”

Trump’s erratic, attention-seeking, grandstanding with his fake treaty with North Korea this week is alarming for its sheer chicanery. Like Kim he is in it simply for his own selfish reasons, be it diversion, ego, or greater kudos at home.

Even more alarming is his abandonment of accepted protocols of accountability and consultation. Much is made of the threat of the terror cell or of the lone wolf terrorist but Trump’s impulsive, egocentric, ill-informed and entirely ill-advised upstaging of diplomacy and international relations poses a far more tangible threat to world stability.

Trump’s bluster over tariff barriers alone can only feed global economic instability and fuel increasing tension between US and China, a conflict that affects our national interest rather more directly than any foreign spy or terror bogeyman.

In such times, it is vital that we continue to demand honesty and accountability from our government; from all politicians. Above all, we must resist current Coalition attempts to curb our democratic right to free speech.

Similarly we have a right to expect representative government to respect due process. The Foreign Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill must not be rushed because of some spurious “urgency” of the government’s own making.

As Sunita Bose of Change.org writes,

People power should not fall casualty to restricting foreign influence over parliament. Our laws must be better than this. They must protect the important role Australians play in shaping policy from the ground up. The government and Labor need to urgently introduce stronger safeguards for campaigning in these bills, or risk silencing Australians who participate in our democracy.

 

Just effing get over it: Hunt’s new motto for a caring, new age, Turnbull government.

cash quotes

“Fucking get over it”, is Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt’s uplifting advice to 71 year old Fay Miller, Mayor of Katherine, who dared front Hunt in Canberra last December, to lobby him for more local resources to clean up contamination, a multi-billion dollar operation, from toxic fire-fighting foam used at RAAF Bases in Darwin and Tindal.

Hunt doesn’t give a toss about the environment, either. His PM is due to tell us the Coalition has squandered $2.3 billion on Direct Action, Hunt’s emissions reduction fund boondoggle.

As a back-bencher, Turnbull had the guts to predict Direct Action would waste billions of taxpayers’ dollars paying farmers to plant trees so industry could freely pollute, a scam he denounced as “a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale”– akin to his current unfunded corporate tax cuts.

“F…get over it” could be The Liberal Party’s motto if it had one. So much better than “Our Plan will deliver a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.”

“F… get over it” would also be fair warning of the Libs’ abandoning any pretension to be a party of individual freedom when as coalition partner they constantly extend state power over us, be it beefing up surveillance, (Home Affairs plans to expand the Australian Signals Directorate to spy on all citizens), retaining data, censorship, human rights abuse, compulsory ID checks at airports for all, or violating our right to privacy.

Privacy? Personal information may be leaked to damage your reputation or discredit your case – as Alan Tudge, or his department, did to Andie Fox who dared criticise the DHS’ Robodebt reversal of onus of proof extortion racket.

In Paul Malone’s Fairfax article in February 2017, a Centrelink spokesman, General Manager Hank Jongen, commented on Ms Fox’s personal information including her history of claiming the Family Tax Benefit and relationship circumstances.

Acting Privacy Commissioner, Angelene Falk, declares this week it’s OK for Social Welfare Dictator Alan Tudge and his band of bureaucrats, to use private information “if the individual would reasonably expect it to do so.” 

Her deliberations have taken a year but her verdict boils down to this. So you think you have a right to privacy? Get over it.

The Mayor of Katherine does not like being told to “fucking get over it” – and let’s face it, who does? – even if Hunt “may reasonably be expected” to model himself on his PM.

“Fuck off and get out of my way,”  Malcolm Turnbull once told Peter King, his rival for Wentworth, in 2004. Ironically, in an aside to a scrum of reporters, King declared.

Bullying is “abhorred by everybody and true liberal values are contrary to that approach.” My, how times have changed.

Twice, Miller writes the minister, Dear Greg, you owe me an apology for your abusive outburst. But it’s more than abuse. Hunt, who, in January, vowed he was an advocate for mental health because his late mother, Kathinka Hunt, suffered bouts of bipolar disorder, was “rude, disrespectful, misogynist, boorish; arrogant“, Miller tells our ABC.

A former NT MP, Miller says she was “probably in the biggest boy’s club in Australian politics” as a Country Liberal Parliamentary Party member, but claims she has never been as insulted as she was by Hunt — who called her “feisty”.

“He went off like a light switch,” she explains. As mayor, she “believes in fairness” she adds and being an advocate for her community. “Sometimes people in parliament are seduced, so it’s important that they remember how they got there”.

Hunt counter attacks in February, bagging Miller’s own behaviour. Only last Wednesday does he offer an apology – and only then, when –News Limited claims The Herald Sun submits questions to Hunt and his PM, does Hunt phone Miller.

What a mensch! Greg’s tender, bedside manner and what the former Environment Minister tries to kid us is just “strong language” vividly evoke his government’s contempt for the welfare of working Australians, everywhere, especially those who may be over 70, female and refractory. Or regional.

Hunt’s class act, moreover, sets the tone of the week’s political theatre.

By Thursday, Labor’s Catherine King confronts Hunt in Question Time; asking whether he had been involved in any other instances “involving inappropriate behaviour towards stakeholders, public servants or staff”. King later tells Sky News Hunt appears to have “an anger problem” and his PM “had to decide whether it was befitting a minister”.

Yet Hunt is prepared to divulge only that “one case has been raised with him”.

This again concerns “strong language”, his euphemism for abusing Martin Bowles, his own department head, who has since resigned. Hunt’s defence is to claim dramatically that it was a matter of life and death: the progress of screenings for cervical cancer.

Of course the ends always justifies the means for Hunt and his party. “I think in that situation, while it was a strong discussion, it resulted in the right outcome, the program was able to be continued and I have utmost respect for the (now Head of Calvary Health) public servant involved,” Hunt bull-shits Parliament. It’s not what happened.

Martin Bowles, a highly regarded senior bureaucrat, seems to have been bullied into resigning as Head of the Department of Health, 1 September last year, after “rumours of tensions” between himself and Hunt. Bowles was tipped to become defence secretary but was overlooked in favour of Greg Moriarty, Malcolm Turnbull’s former chief of staff.

Bowles’s fraught, if not downright unhealthy, ­relationship with Hunt was a major factor in his ­decision to “abruptly end his distinguished 40-year career of public service last August”, contends The Herald Sun, Friday. The Australian claims “government MPs have privately expressed concerns there could be further tales of temper tantrums.”

Temper tantrums? Why infantilise an abuser? Bullying or silencing dissenters is not, of course, confined to the Coalition’s approach to inclusive, democratic leadership.

When the arse falls out of One Nation, this week, no-one is surprised.  But it’s as almost as comical as bankrupt Rod Culleton and his tea cup juggling. Or as farcical as Mal Roberts’ attempt to explain his citizenship.

The back end of Hanson’s One Nation panto horse departs the front. Brian Burston, backs out, mid-performance. Rips asunder the patched, well-worn costume.

Pauline’s panto horse party, her mythic white charger, ever rescuing battlers in distress or offering hope to an entire nation of deadbeat dads who hate the family court for having to pay maintenance, now lies in shreds downstage.

Can it ever be repaired? Is there a panto horse vet in the house? Hanson rushes to be comforted on the Bolt Report. Weeps buckets. “Burston’s a backstabber”, says the betrayer of her entire electorate of battlers. Backstabber Burston accuses Pauline of “a massive dummy spit” and “running a dictatorship”; both of which are fair comment.

But unwise. Pauline orchestrates a very public falling out with the NSW senator over Burston’s baffling decision to keep his promise to vote for the Coalition’s corporate tax cuts, just as she decides One Nation will renege on its deal.

It’s only the fourth or fifth change of position which the party has taken on the company tax cuts but Brian refuses to budge. Some scurrilous scuttlebutt has it that the PM wants an excuse not to proceed with the unpopular tax measure.

A high-handed Hanson kindly writes to Burston to give him his marching orders. Quit the party. Leave the senate. Now.

She’ll have to expel him from the party. Burston won’t budge. He won’t resign from One Nation, he declares. Let Pauline expel me. And he has no intention of leaving the senate.  He’ll become an independent who’ll vote with the government in the One Nation tradition.

Rumours abound that he touts himself around to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers but it’s all the fault of a matchmaking mate who didn’t tell small bore Brian that he was pleading his case. Mates go off half-cocked like that all the time.

AAP reports that the Shooters reject Burston like a shot. A spokesperson says it is not a lengthy decision.

Mad Mark Latham is now being touted as a possible recruit for the One Nation parliamentary micro-party which will soon be able to meet in the cabin of the Jabiru 230-D two-seater aircraft, bought for it by property speculator Bill McNee, a political donation which the AFP reports breaks no Commonwealth legislation. Who needs law courts?

Latham refuses to confirm or deny any overture from One Nation but he’s probably only waiting for Burston to bail out. Time is on the wing for Pauline’s vanity political party, along with La Hanson, hersel.

The consummate drama queen with a nose for trouble, flies to the UK Saturday with a parliamentary delegation. She’s hell-bent on bonding with fellow alt-right martyr Christopher Yaxley-Lennon alias Tommy Robinson, a football hooligan turned anti-Muslim rabble-rouser who is in stir for contempt of court.

Founder of the (now defunct) far right, English Defence League, banned from Twitter under its “hateful conduct” policy, yobbo Robbo is sentenced to do thirteen months’ porridge for live-streaming outside a continuing court case; a practice which could have prejudiced a fair trial.

He pleads guilty. He knows it will make an iconic free speech warrior of him.

The Drudge Report, which has 1.3 million followers, and other alt-right disinformation sites already hail Robbo as a fearless citizen journalist silenced Soviet-style by British justice. Roseanne Barr and Donald Trump tweet their support.

There’s heaps to talk about should Hanson make contact. She’ll boast how she’s closed down the Australian family court thereby advancing men’s rights, when in fact she has just made it much harder for women victims of male violence to gain legal help. Horse-trader Cormann and his party are, of course, complicit in the secret deal.

Closed down? The government’s announcement that it will “merge” the Family Court of Australia (FCA) with the Federal Circuit Court (FCC) will affect tens of thousands each year. Even the super court’s not so super jaw-breaker of a title gives a hint of the troubles which lie in store for the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA).

The changes will affect a great many of us each year. We average 47,000 divorces annually, while thousands of de facto relationships also wind up in the courts. In 2016-2017, we made 106,000 applications for family law determinations.

Naturally former failed WA treasurer, Christian Porter our current Attorney-General, is raving about the savings which the new merger will bestow upon all of us. Of course it will save confusion as well as “address costly inefficiencies” which is government jargon for providing fewer services and having to make do with fewer funds.

Porter does stop short at the Coalition favourite neoliberal weasel phrase, the “one-stop shop” but there’s no evidence at all that the merger will be any less inconvenient or any less expensive overall to families than its predecessor. It’s billed instead as “saving time and money”. Clearly, that doublespeak means government time and money. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” Tolstoy observed. Families have complex and unique problems. They need specialised help – not speed and efficiency.

Jane Wangmann and Miranda Kaye of the Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney list issues of family violence, child sexual abuse, alcohol issues, mental health concerns, and questions of parenting capacity. Time to be listened to properly and at length vastly outweighs any fast-tracking.

Fast-tracking? Was the merger rushed through to help secure One Nation’s vote on tax cuts for companies?

Why is the Turnbull government so keen to pre-empt the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC)’s review due March next year? It’s  the first comprehensive review of the family law system since the Family Law Act was passed in 1975.

There are certainly challenges in our current system. 87% of Family Law matters are heard by the non-specialist FCC leaving only 13% to the specialists at the FCA. Yet the “reforms” extend the non-specialist FCC. Cheaper, faster, better.

Faster decisions do not necessarily lead to better judgements, however, and the merger appears not only over-hasty and premature but lacking in consultation. Again, these are the hallmarks of a Turn-bull in a china shop government.

The Burston bust-up briefly upstages the Joyce soap opera when father of the year, Barnaby breaks down with stage fright, exacerbated by a shocking case of self-righteous indignation.

He cannot go on. Medicos immediately triage him on to sick leave – with a medical certificate, vouches Leader of the House, the Mouth That Roars, Christopher Pyne.

On the set of Love Among the Cinders, (a working title for what may well become a mini-series or blossom into a full-blown soap opera, Joyce is badly hurt by cruel if not outright vicious criticism of his decision to flog for $150,000 to a voyeuristic, tabloid TV show the right to publicise everything about how he and Vicky Campion found true love, a modern maid-servant swept off her feet by her Prince Charming and vice versa; a fairy tale romance come true. And, of course, the miracle of a male heir at last.

But – sheesh – just look how the media puts them all through living hell; ruins his privacy; spoils their intimacy.

Revealed in the caring and sharing spotlight is Brian Burston who vows he’ll keep his word to support his party’s Aussie battlers by voting with the government on an unfunded tax cut for big business which will go straight into company profits and do less than nothing for workers who will end up paying for it in higher taxes.

Finally, even a nation accustomed to its lunatic fringe regularly being eclipsed by its government’s own spectacular random acts of madness, is astonished to hear how Scott Morrison gets his little hands on our piggy banks.

Hardworking Australians, who mostly now delight in the riotous freedom and flexibility of casual work; liberated from such encumbrances as sick leave, holiday pay, regular hours or a living wage, thrill to learn that a public-spirited Turnbull government has just vacuumed up $2 billion of their unclaimed super.

Less than half of Australia’s workers hold a permanent full-time paid job with leave entitlements. Insecure, inadequate, underpaid work is the new normal, for the first time on record, reports, The Australia Institute‘s Centre for Future Work.

For our government, the super windfall is a win-win. Not only will the cash come in handy in fudging a return to surplus, it also helps its false narrative that union super funds are shonky – despite the Productivity Commission’s findings.

Because it doesn’t trust our super funds with our money, the Coalition argues, it sensibly pockets the money itself. A lot of money. The ATOs been swooping on 4.1 million “lost” super accounts.

Of course, the money will still be able to be claimed should its owners realise it’s theirs to claim – and provided the government passes measures in its May Budget. Pigs might fly. In the meantime, it’s a boon to its budget bottom line.

The $2 billion unclaimed super grab is “factored in”, as Treasurer ScoMo is desperate to tot up even the miserable $2.2 billion fantasy surplus, which the government bullshits it will deliver in 2019-20. It’s a promise which beggars belief and defies even its own expectation that most new found lost super funds will flow back into the active funds of workers.

The median income for all workers – that is, the amount at which half earn more and half earn less – is just $52,988. Most of us on these rates will save bugger all in super.

It would be cheaper and a far better investment of time and effort to cancel the $11 billion a year which the government spends subsidising private health insurance funds whose operations directly undermine a successful Medicare system. Put half of that into health and put the rest into boosting age pensions and welfare payments.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation and ripping off workers, Michaelia Cash gives a bravura performance this week of not answering any questions to do with anything. In frustration, Senator Murray Watt asks her if she knows the time. She has no intention of explaining how she got the AFP on to the AWU, despite there being no law broken.

She called the media to the AWU raid in a stunt to embarrass Bill Shorten. It may backfire. Sooner or later she needs to explain as to how she misled a senate inquiry on the matter. But it’s all Bill Shorten’s fault because he just can’t be trusted.

In the meantime, let us count our blessings, Cash never fails to sound as if she’s auditioning for Kath or Kim or Upper Middle Bogan. Bugger the workers. Stuff the injustice. The Coalition show must go on. And on. And on.

What’s that? You’ve got serious issues with the performance? The narrative? No. Just take a hint from the sensitive new age Mr Hunt: “fucking get over it.”