Berejiklian, Morrison and Joyce mugged by reality.

“Money makes the world go around?”

As Gladys Berejiklian fronts the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, ICAC – only to be told to stop her pre-rehearsed pleas of innocence and virtue and just answer the question, taped phone calls reveal former love- buddy, Daryl Maguire, had a virtual key to the public treasure chest, along with a key to her home as part of her swinging “Love-circle” – as she fondly dubs her retinue of friends with benefits.

It’s going very badly for gold standard Gladys and mentor Scott Morrison. Especially Morrison, who’s betrayed by protégé Mathias Cormann whom the PM worked maniacally to make his OECD mole. Then the world mocks his absurd energy “Plan”.

Morrison also loses his pin-up girl to what sounds unmistakably like corruption on taped calls, allegedly between the ex-premier and her former paramour.

Worse, it’s an ill-timed reminder of the government’s promise of a federal ICAC, impotent, unworkable and now three years’ old.

The PM doesn’t want any type of ICAC at all, least of all one with teeth, Rachel Withers notes because most of his government’s ministers would be hauled in to answer to it. Like a squid squirting ink, the Coalition quickly exudes a noxious miasma of lies to discredit the state integrity body and to cloud our view of its own transgressions.  

It’s “a witch-hunt”, “the Crucible” and “a kangaroo court”.

Sleazy peas in a pod, Barnaby Joyce and Maguire chorus, “it’s the Spanish Inquisition” before disturbing the torpor of breakfast TV’s Sunrise, with the bombshell that MPs are “terrified to do their job” a brave, yet sadly gratuitous, attempt to normalize the endemic corruption that infects every level of our politics.

Above all, Gladys’ appearance at the ICAC hearing taints the Liberal brand, just when the PM and his minders least want the slightest whiff of corruption. His Crosby-Textor minders are already knee-deep in industrial strength turd polish over The Plan, a campaign pamphlet in search of a climate policy.

“The Plan”, a transparent attempt to pollute as usual, whilst hustling gas and coal, attracts hoots of derision from the Old Dart to New York. But it is meant to set up another miracle election win based on Clive Palmer’s money.

The campaign’s already begun. Expect heaps of steaming ordure about the Morrison government’s heroic victory over Covid, its net-zero agreement with the Nats and more lies about Labor’s yen to legislate our freedoms away. Raise our taxes.

As for carbon emissions – behold- not one but a herd of unicorns – New Technologies, as yet unborn, will gallop to our rescue, avoiding any need for a nasty, carbon tax – whatever Mathias Cormann reckons, now he’s gone all green outside and soft and pink inside, a Watermelon, Leftie Secretary-General of the OECD.

After Gladys, Cormann is a second unexploded bomb in the path of the Morrison campaign for re-election. Cormann makes out its always been his view.

“I have had a consistent view that in order to be generally effective and publicly supported over the long run you need a globally coordinated approach,” The Cormannator bullshits to Sky News in Rome.

Who would have thought? Cormann was once part of Tony Abbott’s “axe the tax” sabotage of Labor’s price on carbon emissions.

Since Abbott’s brief but disastrous reign, electricity bills continue to increase while carbon emissions climb. The worst thing is that he and Peta Credlin now admit the whole anti-carbon price campaign was based on the lie that it was a tax.

In 2011, Cormann called a carbon tax an expensive hoax. but that was then – this is now. Now he claims,

“A consistently applied price on carbon globally could be the most efficient.”

In the NSW ICAC hearing, meanwhile, things take a turn for the worse. Daryl is also a big picture man. Wagga’s population may be a mere 65,000. But, boy, can he talk it up.

“Wagga is the centre of the universe, I’ve always said it,” Walter Mitty Maguire tells Berejiklian.

“Wagga is going to be the best electorate in the world … keep listening to me and it will be the blazing star of the southern universe.

 … That’s why we need a stadium, that’s why we need a conservatorium, all the things that Sydney has got.”

Is his plan fair to other regional MPs?

“Fuck them,” he says, “Wagga’s where it’s going to happen.”

Revealing the rotten underbelly; the sheer venality of both Liberal and National politics, above all, WaggaGate, live, steamy, seamy and online, exposes Glad’s extraordinary power to oil the wheels of NSW state bureaucracy. Or strip its gears completely.

In two hours in 2018, a then Premier could get her puppet Dominic Perrottet, a treasurer who “just does what I ask him to do” to find $170 million to meet Maguire, her stud-muffin’s needs.  She even brags about her capacity to corrupt due process.

“Just put 140 in the budget” she hears herself on ICAC playback saying airily to a petulant Dazza who pouts most unattractively. He says he’ll need $170 million dollars for Wagga Hospital to sweeten his appeal to voters. His tone is peremptory, hectoring, more coercive control than kiss-kiss. Of course, there’s more.

Maguire is insatiable. Demands include $50 million for a Wagga Wagga music conservatorium and the spiking of the guns of the Shooters and Fishers, to the tune of $5.5 million for the already well-heeled members of Wagga’s clay target fraternity, surely the beating heart of every regional community.

All grist to ScoMo’s mill. Robbing the poor to give to the rich is increasingly The Australian Way.

Michael West reports that ACTA, the Australian Clay Target Association, which runs the Wagga club already has $1.4 million, “in the tin”. Daryl’s clearly helping those who have a go to get a go, especially given the club got $162,00 from JobKeeper and a lazy $100,000 from Cashflow Boost. It’s funding for those who least need it syndrome. And it’s the signature of Liberal governments, especially in collusion with Nat$.

As for the poor, Foodbank provides food to more than a million Australians each month.

Maguire redefines altruism, community spirit and next-gen welfare. In other evidence, he’s asked by Scott Robertson, counsel assisting ICAC, if the former member for Wagga received a benefit through G8way International, a company linked to Maguire, from a furniture purchase for the Wagga gun club. 

“No one works for nothing, Mr Robertson,” Maguire says.

Tell that to charities like Foodbank. Across Australia nearly six million of us volunteer each year. It’s the Australian way to cut back on government services, while expecting charities with armies of volunteers to fill the gap, unpaid of course.

Perrottet’s pliancy is only possible, of course, with a tame bureaucracy. Is Perrottet in trouble? In rushes stout defender of the public good, The Daily Telegraph, NSW Liberal Party hand sanitizer, to turn the stench of effortless, utter corruption into a funny who-wears-the-pants-chez-Perrottet family story.

“My wife messaged me this morning and said ’why do you do what Gladys tells you to do and not what I tell you to do?”

Or so Dom tells Daily Tele deputy editor Anna Caldwell, in a timely corrective to any wimp-Dom canard.

“My wife” is Helen Perrottet, a senior associate at Bicknell Law and Consulting. At least Helen seems to have a successful career, despite the Tele’s hokey, blokey story.

Such a relief. The former treasurer may have been Gladys’s lapdog but he’s top dog at home. As it should be. Perrottet can’t betray the Liberal Party’s rich tradition of male chauvinist leaders. Voters love a bloke who’s a top not a bottom. Which is why the federal scene is a bit of a worry, recently.

The tail wags the shaggy dog in the hermit kingdom of Australia, “a land of spivs, shonks and charlatans” (and that’s just the politicians, warns Bernard Keane), in Roll out the Barrel, another episode in the long-running Coalition soap opera based on the pursuit of power for its own sake.

It’s a prequel to A lump of coal in his sporran: Scotty goes to Glasgow. In Roll out the Barrel, Morrison is haunted by the hungry ghosts of the National Country Party, The Nat$, a steadily dwindling rural rump of grifters, neo-con-artists and David Littleproud. Many are clearly past their use-by date. 

And then there’s barking Barnaby Joyce, hell-bent on doing his best. Anthony Albanese calls him the whoopee cushion of Australian politics. You know you shouldn’t, but you can’t help laughing at him. Note to Albo: Joyce will do anything to stay in power. He is not some sort of harmless buffoon, however much he may clown around.

It’s a fight to the death with the National Party. Out of nowhere, an all-in brawl erupts. Mixed martial arts are a love-in compared to a Nat$’ barney.

The monkeys take on the organ-grinder, The Federal Liberal Party. The Libs, a mob of increasingly nervous Nellies, incompetents and other non-entities, largely run by the PM’s Office are under fire from their junior partner over climate, but media leaks assert that Scotty will triumph. Forge consensus in a weasel word salad sandwich.

Word salad? It’s never easy to follow the Nationals, but in a brief respite from fighting amongst themselves, or against science and the dictates of reason and commonsense, the backstabbing, bitching and bullying Nationals pick a fight with the PM.

The PM vs Nat$’, is an all-in wrestling sideshow, which ill-disguises an ugly brawl in the Coalition that Scotty has neither the wit nor the will to heal; a naked bid for political power that results in bitter, internal division.

Disunity could wreck his plans for a third term. A large part of this is his own doing in electing not to lead or negotiate but to leave it the Nationals to make up what will be our energy policy. This may play well in a few Queensland seats but it’s more likely to be a disaster across the whole nation. Above all it signals a lily-livered leader.

Then there’s the baggage of bad decisions. Barnaby 2.0, alone, even repentant, re-made as he claims, is an electoral liability outside New England.

The Nat$, collectively, are disunity itself and merrily snipe at each other about net zero emissions by 2050, a state of affairs which putative leader, Barnaby Joyce, says is none of his business. He takes the same stance over George Christensen’s incitement to riot and other social media support for anti-vaxxers. Talk about abdication of leadership.

But Joyce has a vested interest in prolonging dissent on the issue of net zero because he knows he has the PM over a pork barrel. It’s about tactical delaying. A decision has to be made before Glasgow, an expensive extended indulgent photo shoot which Morrison’s set up as a prelude to his government’s reelection. 

Joyce knows if he stalls and throws up his hands, Morrison will throw $billions his way.

Ultimately the net zero pledge Morrison makes gives Joyce what he wants, notes Crikey’s Kishor Napier-Raman: “a plan without detail that leaves the fossil-fuel sector untouched and avoids a more ambitious short-term emissions target while pouring billions into regional infrastructure projects.” 

In the end, Barney dissents from his own party over net zero by 2050, a nonsense given that it’s far too little and way too late and we’re more likely heading for a three degree rise in temperature, according to scientists at the Australian Academy of Science.

 Even if governments meet their current Paris pledges on time, Earth is likely to reach average global surface temperatures of 3 degrees C above pre-industrial times during this century, with catastrophic consequences. Rupert Murdoch helps us to blame this on China and Russia who won’t be at COP26. 

ICAC provides a convenient distraction from Morrison’s capitulation to the mining oligarchy disguised as a Plan. But it is also, somehow, at fault for picking on Gladys and generally exceeding its remit – The Spanish Inquisition – in the wide eyes of former member for Wagga, NSW National Daryl Maguire. Morrison praises Berejiklian; hints archly of a further role for his gold standard premier in public life.

Perhaps Scotty’s already promised Berejiklian a governor-general gig somewhere. It’s pushback against ICAC least the idea take hold at a federal level. The Coalition promises a totally ineffectual two-tier model which Christian Porter whipped up before being stripped of his Attorney-General job over rape allegations he vehemently denies, the reporting of which saw him sue the ABC for defamation.

And fail.

As luck would have it, a group of civic-minded mystery donors club together to chip in a million dollars to a blind trust, a parody of transparency, accountability and justice to ensure Porter is not out of pocket over his legal costs.

The Morrison government, a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, upsets speaker, Tony Smith by trashing the tradition – observed since 1901- of respecting the speaker’s casting vote – opposing a motion to refer Porter to the privileges committee.

Why the secrecy? No-one must ever know the names of Porter’s donors. Smith resigns as speaker to join the back bench. When the house resumes, a new speaker will be elected.

In a brave, but late, attempt to show who really wears the moleskins, the deputy PM who always sounds like he’s off a farm, or out of a dud Dickens novel, but who is, in fact, a silver-spooner and Riverview Old Boy, gets partner and former staffer, Vicki Campion, to bag royalty in The Daily Telegraph.

“Prince Charles lectured Australia on climate change this week,” Campion carps when -as the AFR’s ever-savvy Joe Aston notes -the Prince does nothing of the sort.

“The Queen has never let her private views be known in the course of her duty, yet her son does not follow suit,” Campion boldly claims barely a day after Her Majesty is caught on hot-mic having a tight-lipped, but right royal whinge, about world leaders who will wag the Glasgow climate talkathon, sniping:

“It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.”

Expert Morrison-watchers are convinced that this tidbit gets our own vacillating PM on board. It must be very difficult for the closet monarchist to conceal his shame.

But let’s be fair. HRH the Prince of Wales, heir to the throne of a post Brexit Little Britain, whose rivers are filling with raw effluent and whose Mama is showing signs of increasing frailty, even to the extent of “not going to church”, something she does religiously, as befits her role, is a model of studied indirection.

“You gently try to suggest there may be other ways of doing things, in my case anyway; otherwise, you lot accuse me of interfering and meddling, don’t you?”

You lot is Charles’ way of bundling media into yet another hazard after the untreated sewage, one’s ailing mother and the difficulty of being organic and green as well as the heir to the throne, which, of course, he could pass up to keep his new age credibility in favour of eldest son, William.

Collecting one’s tenants’ rentals in one’s duchy can also be a risk to one’s health.

Britain is hosting a climate summit. Yet “its governing party just voted to allow water firms to keep discharging raw sewage into the nation’s rivers and seas, a practice they indulged in just the 400,000 times last year. Time to add irony to the extinction watchlist, observes the incomparable Marina Hyde in The Guardian.

Our lot makes much of the spectacle of the Nat$’ demands; their posturing as the saviours of the bush while shying from actually reporting any details of the deal.

By Sunday after Morrison’s lambasting by Lord Deben, Climate Change Committee chair, who tells the BBC, Saturday there is “no indication” that the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has a plan to deliver on the commitment to net zero despite being pressured into a public statement.

In the wake of freakish, East Coast climate change storms, Barney promises that the regions will be safe.

Much of the Nat$ scrapping, like professional wrestling, is all for show, while Barnaby battles to save his hide as leader. He’s been anxious to honour his pledge to return to cabinet one extra, but entirely superfluous, Nat$ member to a group of like-minded cronies that Morrison ear-bashes but seldom if ever consults on anything.

It’s enough to give you the Keith Pitts.

Climate dinosaur and rhyming slang, Keith Pitt was demoted in June, after Barnaby’s knifing of Michael McCormack, a bloody spill campaign built on Joyce’s vow of one more Nat in cabinet and other empty promises including that his charisma, oratory and capacity to cut through are way better than what’s-is-name’s.

Yet times have changed. There’s no tumult of approbation. Joyce narrowly persuades his tiny party of 21 to give him the edge over a homophobic Elvis impersonator.

Minister for Resources and Water, Pitt is back? How good is giving Nat$ control of nature’s bounty? You only have to look at Barnaby Joyce’s fabulous work as Water Minister, or his spruiking Santos coal seam gas on radio, to shudder in disbelief. But it’s a shotgun marriage because – Glasgow beckons and with it the photo-shoot.

Yes. There’s billions in federal government hush money in a secret deal. A Murdoch-led press is too highly invested in the deal to investigate its details. But it will be a first, if Morrison honours his pledges. Don’t hold your breath.

For at least a week, the nation is diverted by the fable of the virtuous little National Party, all 21 members locked in a deal over the federal government’s outrageous demands they fall into line over the Liberals’ net zero emissions by 2050, an accounting trick to permit a net increase in carbon emissions.

It’s a typical Clayton’s commitment. Morrison’s government is not even prepared to make “net zero emissions by 2050” into legislation.  

The Nationals are beholden to their mining backers. Santos, for example, struggles to pay any tax but finds $900,000 over the last twelve years to donate to the Coalition’s war chest.

The Nat$’ posturing as champions of graziers, farmers or folk on struggle street among the gum trees of regional and rural Australia is a brazen, calculated, act of wholesale betrayal.

Their claims to represent farmers is false. Clive Hamilton highlights the gap between the Nationals’ collective, irresponsible and wilful ignorance of climate science and farmers. The abyss between the Nat$ and the NFF, the National Farmers’ Federation, for example, has never been larger.

Behind the scenes, Nat$ resort to stand-over tactics. Demand details of costs to communities before they can possibly sign up to a net zero before 2050, a hoax that Scott, “Honest John”, Morrison, our fabulist PM, a rusted-on mining shill, vainly hopes will fool Glasgow. Until he reads the world press. Or sees the billboards.

Net Zero to Morrison’s government, means increasing carbon emissions while pledging carbon capture to soak it all up. Except it doesn’t work.

“(CCS) … is neither practical nor economic,” US coal giant Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray confesses. “It is just cover for the politicians, both Republicans and Democrats that say, ‘Look what I did for coal,’ knowing all the time that it doesn’t help coal at all.”

The Nats’ assent is pure theatre. Cabinet will make the call. The PM has a majority there. As is net zero. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an industry scam. Australia has pumped at least a billion dollars in public funds in subsidies to operators such as Glencore who just can’t get it to work. Like Abbott’s ill-fated Direct Action, his soil magic, however, polluters stand to do very well out of it.

Adding to the theatre of the absurd is the decline in the primary vote, which The Nationals command today – from a whopping 11.5 of first preferences in 1987 under the charismatic Ian Sinclair to a record low of 4.5 per cent under the hapless Michael McCormack, a former rural newspaper hack.

It’s not about jobs either. Coal mining employs fewer workers in Australia than McDonald’s, as The Australia Institute notes, while Barnaby Joyce’s speeches, sheep farts and other noxious farm emissions speed up global heating, a conundrum, the Nats will fix by feeding stock low flatulence feed, whilst demanding billions to compensate for a few lost jobs and other costs they can’t and won’t calculate.  

Already agreed is a $3 billion subsidy to extend the Inland Rail boondoggle, a white elephant that will never pay for itself because of moves to deregulate Australia’s shipping industry.

Taking the rail to the port of Gladstone in North Queensland is futile, if there’s no freight on the trains. Should deregulation proceed, it will be cheaper to move goods around the nation by sea using foreign crews and ships, at slave labour rates in “ships of shame” as the former Maritime workers’ union calls them.

As for king coal, National Party MPs from die-hard climate deniers such as Keith Pitt or Matt Canavan whose brother, John, until recently owned a controlling minority share before the Rolleston thermal coalmine went bust, all want fossil fuels to “stay in the mix” to ensure the party gets the corporate donations which make them so attractive to their coalition bedfellows.

Without such donors, the marriage of convenience would fail completely.

As Bernard Keane argues, the Nationals have a vested interest – if not an addiction – to serving their corporate donors rather than the marginalized rural or regional electorate they forever bleat on about.

If they ever actually delivered for those communities, they’d lose their primary tool for leveraging taxpayer dollars out of their Liberal colleagues. They have a vested interest in, even an addiction to, keeping their communities poorer, worse educated and in poorer health.

By all key indicators, voters in Nationals’ electorates have gone backwards in health, education, employment, despite Nats’ holding office for the last eight years and for nineteen of the last twenty-five. Long-term unemployment has doubled, for example, between 2006 and 2013 in inner and outer regional communities, according to a data set compiled by Torrens University. 

Coal, especially, may help the Nationals stay relevant, but it does little for our GDP. Big Coal employs less than 0.4% of our workforce. Coal’s royalties add only 2% to revenue in NSW and Queensland’s budgets. And Governments have already given approval for coal mining to continue for decades. The tears shed over lost jobs, moreover, are crocodile tears. 99.6 per cent of us do not work in coal mining.

Above the ovine, methane and ammonia scents wafting across from the sale-yards is the rank stench of hypocrisy; The Nationals want untold billions they can’t and won’t put a figure on for boondoggles, subsidies and other barrels of pork they have haven’t thought of yet.

But Barnaby insists that the Liberals produce a detailed plan of the cost of carbon abatement, something it can’t produce, given that its net zero by 2050 is a ruse to produce even more emissions while pretending it can capture and store them.  

Joyce even lies that his party has been given only four hours to think about working towards net zero. Madonna King and others point out, his party is part of the government. It has been for 48 of the past 70 years.

That 70 years has seen the people they represent shrink into electoral insignificance as the towns and cities they live in largely decline.

A lead role in spruiking the deal goes to daggy Dave Littleproud, whose meteoric rise to deputy has been made possible by the untimely, but brief, setback to Bridget McKenzie’s career which helped popularize colour-coding Sports Rorts.

MP for the vast, largely empty, gerrymandered Queensland electorate of Maranoa, which is three times the area of Victoria, with an estimated resident population of 12,600, a place where One Nation gets about as much of the primary vote as Labor, David Littleproud, a dorky, horn-rimmed grifter, a former NAB hired gun, would sit around the kitchen table with farmers to talk about cashflow, as he tells it.

Then the bank would foreclose, unlike its rival ANZ which had a moratorium on foreclosure. Dave could talk about money until the cows came home. 

Dave’s all over the airwaves with his case to hold the PM to ransom over carbon emissions, a nifty distraction from the fact that Morrison’s net zero by 2050 is a hollow slogan which will see carbon emissions increase, gas fracking and coal mining expand because carbon capture and storage and soil magic and other schemes which simply don’t work are sold to the nation as some solution.  

Dave’s Dad, Brian, a teacher and a farmer, was a Queensland LNP Education and Environment Minister. Yet Dave votes against spending more on university education. Dave talks as if he’s had the Nationals’ quadruple bypass, irony, self-awareness, self-parody and accountability.

Littleproud wants more money for the Nationals to bribe voters so the Coalition can actually increase carbon emissions, the cunning stunt of net zero by 2050?

Its just more National Party talking points. More, self-interested, rorty, pork-barreling, corporate boondoggling pretending to represent the battlers in the bush.

 You pity the poor hack who has to interview him on ABC’s News Breakfast. And his constituents. Not to mention the rest of us. Poor fellow my country, when a witless tool of Big Mining and his mates dictate the nation’s energy policy.

Deputy Dave’s all over News Breakfast with his “net zero by 2050”, as if it means something. (You get a lot of that on News Breakfast. Like working breakfasts, it’s a show that does justice to neither, by a cowed corporation, the last gasp of a once-proud, independent national broadcaster; now an emaciated Federal government lapdog, starved, bullied and having its board stacked with Liberal stooges.)   

Money makes the world go round.”

Dave says. Perhaps Cabaret and the decadence and corruption of the Weimar Germany, it exposes, is an instructional video for some Nationals.

Certainly its themes would resonate with the former Minister for Water’s own experience of the $20 million Murray Darling water fraud of his relative John Norman, a scandal featuring the incomparable, Barnaby Joyce and Angus Taylor.  

Were it not so apt, Money … could be the Nationals’ new anthem. Naturally, in case we’re slow on the uptake, Littleproud denies that The Nat$ are holding Scotty “hostage” over any target. Repeatedly.

He’s right. It’s far worse than that. Someone far more powerful has the PM trussed up like a Christmas turkey. Someone so powerful that Scott Morrison is prepared to demolish the speaker of the House over keeping secret the details Christian Porter’s secret benefactors, who club together to ensure that the poor former attorney-general can afford his legal catastrophe – his foolhardy attempt to sue the ABC for defamation over its account of an alleged rape.

A pregnant pause falls over a vexed nation as it watches in horror, the Nationals’ chokehold on the very air we breathe, the life that remains in our over cooked planet.

Minds boggle over their coercive tactics over climate policy.

“It will be ugly” if the prime minister, Scott Morrison, commits Australia to a net zero emissions target by 2050 without Nationals’ backing threatens Nationals Bridget McKenzie.  

What could be uglier, however, than a minority, gerrymandered party with a hand-tooled, RM Williams boot on the neck of battlers in the bush it pretends to represent when a quarter of its members own mining shares?

Or mines to be developed and land with gas to be fracked, such as Barnaby Joyce bought out at Narrabri. His career has been resurrected more often than Mel Brooks’.

All hat and no cattle, Barnaby Joyce, the mouth that roars, dictates Australia’s energy policy, despite the party’s laughably marginal stake at five percent of the primary vote.

Also tail wagging the dog, states and territories tell Scott Morrison who’s boss in a Commonwealth that Liberal Gerard Rennnick describes as eight different, totalitarian states. Try independent and self-reliant rather than totalitarian, Gerard.

Newly anointed NSW Premier, Opus Dei alumni, Dominic Francis Perrottet, announces his high-flying lawyer wife, Helen, is expecting a seventh child.

Her husband whose geeky Bill Gates- exterior belies a busy Mr Quiverfull, at heart can still find time to open NSW’s borders to international arrivals defying Morrison.

How dare Father Dom be eating ScoMo’s lunch? Because he can.

During ScoMo’s national cabinet fiasco, the Premiers got used to doing everything for themselves.  While the PM took credit for any success.

Dom’s doing the PM’s job for him on the open NSW border to International arrivals decision. Who decides who comes to this country and under what circumstances is a much-coveted element of the Liberal Party of Australia’s repudiation of its obligations to refugees under international law.

 Perhaps Perrottet will go all the way and close NSW’s borders to Shark One with its PM in name only aboard.

He might even see it as his public duty. An act of Christian charity, perhaps to both nation and failed, fraudulent PM who has caused Australia’s reputation great harm.

Or an act of revenge in the tradition of the best secret societies of which he is a member. Proclaim himself PM. King Dom has a certain ring about it.

Whatever Perrottet decides, it’s certain that Morrison’s return will bring only trouble.

And nothing that Morrison can ever do will restore a skerrick of trust or credibility. Not only has he burnt his bridges with the states over his failure to lead in vaccines, quarantine or in energy policy, he has been found out on the global stage as a charlatan, a poorly disguised mining corporation shill; neither a leader nor a Prime Minister.

At home and abroad, Morrison has been mugged by reality – just as surely as his former gold standard premier, Gladys Berejiklian and his deputy PM suffer the same ignominious defeat.

Denialism and self-interest have caught them out in an era which demands urgent, practical action to curb carbon emissions and selfless dedication to their duty of care in world wracked by global heating and ravaged by what is shaping to be the deadliest pandemic in world history.