What’s the go, Albo? (Part 1)

OK, Albo’s no Italian stallion – despite the euphoria of love on the rebound –  especially after our abusive relationships with a series of cads, war criminal Howard, then “me myself and I”  -Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison-too much in love with themselves to brook any rival – whose neoliberal religion sees people as mere consumers; or commodities in a transaction.  So it’s not quite love at first sight yet and we’re not quite over the moon, however wonderful it is to see a normal human being become Prime Minister.

Barely a month has passed since amateur DJ, Albo moved his shaving kit into The Lodge bathroom and stashed his Midnight Oil, Spiderbait and Powderfinger amongst his trove of classic vinyl into the spare room yet we’re wondering about the new bloke. OK. He sounds decent, speaks sense and doesn’t lie his head off. That’s refreshing.

But is it enough? Did anyone expect Albo to be in such an oil-fired-nuclear-powered hurry to kiss Biden’s arse? Suck up to Soekarno puppet, Joko Widodo? Where in the pre-nups does it say that, We the People, agree to turn Darwin into a US Marine Base of over 2000 troops on a rotational basis?  Whatever that means. The Marines are part of a Top Secret Plan in which Australia helps the neo-con hawks in the Pentagon goad China into a nuclear war over Taiwan. Soon. What could possibly go wrong?

Madeleine King certainly strikes a bum note when she calls for coal to step up to fill the void to push power prices down. There is no void. But our generators can play funny buggers with the supply if they want to create a crisis. Hold a gun to our heads.  We know that Australia is a carbon capture state but King still shocks us.

Has Labor learned nothing from the Teals’ performance at the last election? Does it want to alienate the very MPs it will need to support its legislation in the Senate?

And who isn’t blind-sided when Albo dons the Morrison cloak of a secret National Cabinet – or COAG on stilts? Doesn’t he know that the cloak is a poisoned robe like the shirt of Nessus? Look what it did to Bulldozer Morrison.

COAG is a Keating stunt from 1992. It doesn’t need re-heating. There are already calls for local councils to participate. But why stop there? Those at home, such as age pensioners who must choose between paying the power bill and eating could join those who will now be sick with worry that they won’t even get Jobseeker.

All could rack up points just by logging in. Amazing Julie Bishop didn’t think of it. In 2015, her DFAT was gutted but she did get her hipster innovation Hub? A “gorgeous little funky, hipster, Googly, Facebooky-type place”  it was supposed to come up with clever ways to run foreign aid on no money. Yep. Look where we are now.

The poor and needy will just have to eat less. So the minimum wage is lifted by 5.2%. An extra $20 per week? Whoopie do. It won’t even cover the rise in the price of petrol. With inflation tipped to hit seven per cent by market whisperer, the superbly reserved, Phil Lowe, by this time next year, our lowest-paid workers will suffer a cut in their real wages. Phil’s the lad from the Reserve Bank, an outfit from 1960, who knows we’ve all forgotten that nowhere in its charter is the notion that it will control inflation.

It can’t. You can’t control inflation caused by external causes including Putin’s genocide in Ukraine and the global Covid pandemic that, with the blind eye of authorities, is on track to kill 15-18, 000 of us before the year ends. Our COVID case and death rates are one of the highest in the world. Super news, for all of us but Rupert who controls our mainstream news, seems to have kept the facts away from his newshounds.

You wouldn’t read about it any mainstream news, including our ABC, which Morrison’s captain’s pick, Ita Buttrose, decides needs an entirely redundant Ombudsman to report directly to its Liberal-stacked Board. It’s a slap in the face for hard-working investigative journalists such as Four Corners, even if they do get Matthew Carney to replace Sally Neighbour. OK. Joel Tozer from Sixty Minutes gets 7:30 but he’s ex-ABC.

Covid is your own responsibility now, kids. Inflation? Think of the economy, (amen) as The Australia Institute’s Richard Denniss reminds us, “while high inflation is bad news for the budgets of 10 million Australian households, it’s good news for the bottom line of the commonwealth budget. While rapidly rising prices for groceries, coffee, petrol and building supplies mean tough choices are being made around Australia’s kitchen tables, those same price rises mean government revenue from the GST are set to surge.”

Those left jobless, by the recession we’re rushing into, carrying a trillion dollars in debt – thank-you Josh Frydenberg – will be further pilloried by the seven billion dollar Morrison scheme of requiring job seekers to rack up points before getting forty dollars a day to live on or $200 a fortnight below the Henderson Poverty Line.

Can’t be fixed now. Tony Burke tells us he’s inherited a war on the poor that’s too late to end. Far too hard to raise Jobseeker above the poverty line? What’s the go, Albo?Unfixable is the Morrison-Taylor energy crisis. He may sound a bit dim but don’t be deceived. Angus Taylor’s a smart cookie. There’s not only the family firm that former Water Minister, Barnaby Joyce gave $80 million to in the Watergate scandal, involving the Taylor family’s East Australian Agriculture with an HQ in the Caymans. Plus another firm which sprayed Roundup on endangered native grassland that he has to manage. With a bit of help from a mate.  Cayman Islands? It’s all a mystery, but as Gus assures sticky-beaks, such as Fran Kelly, all the best companies do it.

Thank goodness newly appointed US Trade and Investment Commissioner Giovanni Pork Barilaro is able to draft Taylor’s family firm a cool $130,000 in 2018 for a project to prove that it wasn’t poison. Grass has its bad days, too, you know. Best of all, Gus Taylor is able to keep the lights on just until Labor won the election. Doubtless Gus will be cheered to learn that a federal ICAC, an election promise, the PM is determined to keep, will be set up by December.

Well done, Albo – and Attorney General Mark Dreyfus QC. But The Greens want the ICAC up and running before the October Budget. Helen Haines, they argue, already has a model ready to go. And the cross bench will have the power.

So what’s the go with Coal-Keeper, Albo? The Energy Security Board (ESB) is one of a bevy of at least half a dozen, vital to ensuring that coal remains king, while government subsidises the massive profits of largely private companies which don’t pay tax – with the exception of Queensland whose state generators are into profiteering anyway. The ESB claims in its newest report that it isn’t a coal-keeper at all, yet the fine print admits that keeping the coal fires burning – using public funds to subsidise a few fabulously wealth multinational corporations  – just might happen anyway.

The wonderfully named Anna Collyer, chair of the ESB, is in The AFR, Monday, 20 June

“in the past, the concept of a capacity mechanism has been dubbed ‘coal-keeper’. It is a catchy line, but it is not the intent. The intent is to design a tool that provides more certainty around dispatchable capacity — that is capacity that can respond to a dispatch signal on demand.”

Yet as Crikey’s Bernard Keane notes, the ESB admits that, in the fine print, “a capacity provider may decide to factor in refurbishment or retrofitting costs into their bid and if this is cost-competitive against new capacity, then customers receive the reliability benefit of this asset remaining in the market.”

Now Chris Bowen is shovelling money into the off-shore accounts of our nation’s energy racketeers, paying generators to keep the lights on in a system rigged to reward the big investor while it leaves families in the cold and dark. We’ve shacked up with Labor for at least three years? Single term governments are rare in Australian politics.

Of course it’s early days. Of course we’re jumpy. Years of suffering abuse, neglect and gaslighting in a serial relationship based on lies, the demeaning cruelty of coercive control and gaslighting is enough to give anybody PTSD.

And when the wide boys in power have been milking the till, fiddling the books and colluding in the game of mates behind a thick veil of secrecy – all to enrich the top end of town, almost anyone honest, decent or fair would be better.

Yes. We know Albo’s got to keep his head down. But is it small Target Strategy or no bottle? Labor won the election. It now holds seventy-seven seats in the lower house and the senate has enough Greens and Independents to be workable. Even with one UAP senator in the upper house. If they don’t stick their heads up soon, the ruling Murdoch-Stokes-Costello-ABC media oligopoly will destroy Labor.

It’s a relief not to see a PM giving out ukuleles to Pacific leaders. But Albo has to be decisive. He is. But it’s all a bit frantic. Nine years too late to put the dumpster fire that the LNP made of our financial aid to our Pacific neighbours.

ScoMo didn’t carry a hose. Albo’s dashing all over our the Pasifika dousing embers. Our formidable Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, is run ragged. But it’s been nine years since Abbott and Hockey slashed $4.5 billion from Foreign Aid, a move they followed up in their second budget raid on Julie Bishop’s kitty with another $3.5 billion “efficiency dividend” of a billion dollars a year over three years.

Much as he may and try to please our US masters who fear that Pacific Islands nations now turn to China after being given the cold shoulder by Australia, it’s a bit late. China has outbid us in the battle for hearts and minds. The China-Pacific Island Countries Common Development Vision is a plan extended to at least a dozen Pacific states.

Granted, Penny Wong is on to it. She says “China has made its intentions clear. So too are the intentions of the new Australian government. We want to help build a stronger Pacific family,” she says. Is the language right? It’s dangerously close to the patronising duplicity the previous regime. Island leaders scorn “boomerang” aid that largely benefits the Australian donor. But there’s more, Wong touts more of Kanaka 2.0 where Pasifika workers fly in and pick our fruit, tend our vines and labour in our vegetable market gardens but she’s got to combat the lived experience of workers who have made the long trip, worked all season only to return out of pocket to their labour contractor.

In a desperate pitch, along with “our Pacific labour programs” a modern form of slavery for many, she offers new permanent migration opportunities.” The last bit’s tricky. It may, sadly, be just practical given the rate at which our heavily subsidised fossil-fuel industry contributes to rising sea levels through exported coal and gas. Emissions rise as other countries burn our exported fossil fuels. They are now more than double Australia’s domestic emissions.

But won’t The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and The Herald Sun have fun with the permanent migration. Morrison used to go off his chops about “sugar on the table”. Pull factors only in the Murdoch-approved Coalition fiction of events. No hint that people get into leaky boats to escape hell on earth at home.

Rudd stopped the boats, by declaring that no-one arriving by boats would be settled in Australia in his flawed, 2013 Pacific Solution. But expect a re-run of the lie. Already there are images of boats of asylum-seekers from Sri Lanka appearing in Murdoch’s gutter press. The implication that boats are arriving because Labor is soft on borders ignores the worst economic crisis to ravage the nation since 1949, forcing the nation to default on its loans and creating grave political and social unrest.

And as we love-bomb bemused Pacific Islanders, we are doing very little for Sri Lanka, save turning back at least three boats in violation of UN law on refoulement and in repudiation of our obligations under international law.

Hockey and Abbott hollered for years about a debt and deficit disaster and how there was a budget emergency. Then Hockey went on The Nation in New Zealand in July 2014 and admitted he’d been making it all up. Luckily our ABC did the right thing and no-one else in the mainstream media picked it up either. In case you missed it, here’s what he said.

“The Australian economy is not in trouble…. “There’s no crisis at all in the Australian economy.”

Of course, Sleepy Joe Biden’s got Albo on the hop. The big shock is not that Labor’s all the way with the USA. That’s the Labor path, not that history exists any more given the eternal present bestowed upon us by Odin’s Eye, our MSM Cyclops, working tirelessly around the clock to produce a virtual national frontal lobotomy. If the past and its study were permitted to exist, we’d know that Labor is very much in favour of the alliance. Or we’d form the foolish notion, even after the publication of Jenny Hocking’s research in the Palace letters, that we are in charge of our own destiny.

And our great and powerful friend, Washington, has never upped the peppercorn rent that we charge for its bases at Nurrungar and Pine Gap that are so handy in guiding its missiles and drones. If we’re squaring off to go to war with China, Pine Gap is critical, according to a couple of high-ranking military types who fired a shot over our bows down under, ahead of the Morrison’s government’s massive loss on 21 May.

Admiral John “Lung” Aquilino, boss of the US Indo-Pacific Command, last year declared that war against China was “much closer than most think,” described Australia as an “extremely high-end partner.”

“Lung” is a hawk and was Trump’s pick for the job in December but after Biden’s victory, he needed to be reviewed. Nice work, Biden.

On back-up vocals during the visit, is General James Dickinson, another hawk, head of US Space Command.  Australia is a “critical partner” in space warfare, including to monitor Chinese space operations, he gushes – guardedly.

“This is the perfect location for a lot of things we need to do,” he tells London’s The Financial Times. “Things” include going to war with China over Taiwan, another military adventure in which Australia will  tag along without any tedious parliamentary debate. Or gesture towards democratic process.

Even Little Britain goes through the process of parliamentary debate. (Not that it stopped Thatcher’s madness in The Falklands, another coup for Rupert’s press. “Stick it up the argies” one tasteful banner screamed. Nor did it impede the neocon New Labour’s Tony Blair from war crimes in Iraq.)

Shooting down China’s hypersonic missiles is also on Aquilino’s list whilst – another “thing”-  the US expands its base in Darwin to accommodate storage of 300 million litres of fuel.

Third, what is described as “over two thousand Marines” are now deployed in Marine Rotational Force-Darwin. Could be two hundred thousand as far as we know.

“Marry in haste repent at leisure” my Dad, a Royal Navy veteran, used to say, in that way he had of firing bits of folk wisdom, wise old saws and music hall ditties into the void between us; along with shafts of rebarbative dockside-matey’s wit that you suspected were aimed at you. “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes, son.”

Not that we’re married to Albo or his Labor government. Indeed The Narrative, aka “The National Conversation” on vacuous chat shows like The Drum, refreshed each morning by The Australian, the Pravda of a uniquely concentrated, inbred and incestuous Australian mainstream media oligopoly, says no. Our MEDIUM says we’re having a fling and the Coalition is still the government in exile and eternally newsworthy.

Insiders features serial failure, Spud the dud, Peter Dutton while Dave Littleproud bones Barnaby Thomas Gerard Barnaby Joyce, the knight in shining armour and Riverview Old Boy, a loving silver-spoonful, who brags that his parents are “quite rich” is on Sky in his heroic fight for the Weatherboard Nine of Warwick and the shareholders in Santos.

“I didn’t give a toss for where power comes from, but one of the greatest afflictions for people in the weatherboard and iron is they can’t afford power,” he says in 2018. That’s working well for BJ at present, as the other remarkable cartel in all our lives, the electricity generators get the red card from the regulator for withholding supply to bid the spot price up.  an industry allowed to set its own regulations by captive politicians

Abusive relationships seldom end well. There are the highs; elation when you discover that your new partner seems to care, like when the Biloela family is allowed to come home. We hope it’s not just a token. Or joy when you see he can lead a team; delegating to capable ministers instead of overshadowing, upstaging, micromanaging and having an affair with his own image in the lens of his personal photographer.

But then there are the lows. Julian Assange? Letting Jobseekers suffer a new set of petty cruelties? Keeping Morrison’s National Cabinet – and keeping it top secret? An energy Minister sucking up to the mining oligarchy? Madeleine King, a coal shill?

When Employment Minister Tony Burke says it’s too late to abandon the Morrison misgovernment’s $7bn point system Pbas to qualify for a jobseeker payment that is well below the Henderson Poverty Line, it’s a worry. Burke says contracts have been awarded. But try telling that to Emanuel Macron. Burke is saying all the right things but it does seem as if the Coalition has booby-trapped the incoming government; poisoned the chalice of electoral victory.

“What the government’s designed, some of it’s more punitive than actually getting the job done. We want to make sure, and I’ll be changing it over the course of the next week, to make sure that we can have a system that’s designed to get people into work, rather than some media stunt to punish people.”

Burke needs to speak to a few job seekers. There’s enough of them around. Half don’t make it  into official statistics. They’ll tell you how demeaning it is to prove yourself  worthy of a pittance. It doesn’t matter how much you dress it up or claim you have a system up your sleeve, it’s completely irredeemable. Any civil society worth its salt knows that support for the needy and vulnerable should be unconditional. Scrap it. Put the money into fixing the NDIS which the Liberals have done their best to scupper.

But there are lows and lows, Albo. You dash off to Tokyo like Joe Biden’s bell hop. Far too keen to get your riding instructions as deputy sheriff of our bit of the Pacific.  You’d barely been sworn in? Putting Penny Wong on how many charm offensives to counter China’s designs? She’s barely time to re-pack her travel bag. What’s the go Albo?

Snap out of it. Yep We’ve all got PTSD thanks to being monstered by the fat controller Morrison and his gaslighting, happy clapping bullies, still feted and enabled by the gang of five led by Lizard of Oz.

We all get the face we deserve, but Murdoch’s wizened, fissured mug looks like an elephant’s scrotum, with apologies to David Hockney who on seeing WH Auden said if that’s his face, imagine what his scrotum must look like. One comfort is that having sunk half the family fortunes into Disney +, the patriarch has halved his family’s net worth. Another small consolation is that only about half the population “use news” on any given day. Then, there’s the tragic decline of print media. Rupert’s rags may have to fold. Or they may already be sold. Given News Corp’s secrecy, we’d never know.

Don’t let it spook you, Albo. The Pacific Islanders want us to commit to zero emissions. That’s better than your charm offensive. No matter how brilliant she is, Penny Wong will never match the Chinese budget for aid. War with China? Hold your nerve. Don’t fall for the cock and bull of neocon loonies in the Pentagon. Look where it’s got us in the past. A winnable nuclear war? Mutually assured destruction? MAD. Nah. Just madness.

Hold your fire. There’s heaps to do at home. A Voice to Parliament. Energy. Welfare. Education. Higher Eduction. Health. Wages. The Arts. Climate. Everthing worthwhile’s been neglected under the fossil fuel muppets of the last nine years.

And do bring on the Royal Commission into Murdoch. As soon as you can.

Morrison didn’t just drive the Liberal Party into a mountain. He and his predecessors dismantled our democratic, civil society.  You call yourself a builder in the election campaign. Let’s see some of that. So what’s the go Albo?

3 thoughts on “What’s the go, Albo? (Part 1)

  1. Indeed, what’s the go, Albo?

    I know there’s been a bit of water under the bridge since Albo was the minister for infrastructure, like about ten decades worth. Back then, we Albury and Wodonga residents saw the beginning of a disgraceful history of rail track quality, indeed track integrity, between Albury and Melbourne.

    When a colleague of mine, after the last election debacle, who knows Albo well, asked him about progress of the line’s repairs, he didn’t know anything about it! Doesn’t auger well, me thinks.

    Thanks for the wonderful truthful prose regarding Albo’s first month in the lodge, David.

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    1. Thanks for sharing what seems to be Albo’s poor track record up around your way, Jim. Whilst it’s wonderful to see the Coalition out of power and rapidly killing off any hope of ever being re-elected, there’s no cause to expect Labor to escape scrutiny. One of the side-effects of the hyper-partisanship of the right over the last government in particular is that its opponents develop a glass jaw. Sometimes the truth hurts but it can’t be suppressed out of fear of offending partisans prepared to abandon their critical faculties. We don’t want any more cults in politics.

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  2. Yes…….but does ALP have the bottle, lets see. ( eye watering mismanagement over 2 decades, and a media cowtowing to an American baron, it’s looking grim )

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