Category: Satire

Abbott rolled by Brough in back bench revolt over Health flip-flop flapdoodle.

1 an aghast sussan ley

Caught like a bunny in a spotlight, Australia’s own Darwin Award contender, Prime Minister Tony Abbott froze in the cold unblinking stares of a posse of hostile men and three women who told him they’d had enough and were not taking any more. Abbott was shirt-fronted by rebels in his own backbench, a backbench fit to kill or hang the PM out to dry.

In politics backbenchers can be like canaries in a mine. They know how much a government is on the nose and often well before.  To be fair, Tony Abbott was not exactly in top form, not that he ever was what you might call on top of his game. Opinion polls were still in free fall and had been, basically, since he took office. The budget was buggered. Morrison was about to drop a grenade into welfare, Andrews could barely keep awake when anything military came up and Dutton was a dud he’d had to shift sideways. He wished he had never allowed Peta to talk him into a reshuffle even if it meant Sussan Ley could carry the can for him.

In truth there was a lot more to regret in the lame duck PM’s self-inflicted crisis than mere feet of clay. Autocratic by nature, his Chief of Staff Peta Credlin, took her quasi-military title very seriously and was causing him all kinds of grief. It wasn’t just the way she bossed everyone around mercilessly, or merely her narcissistic personality disorder, it was her hard-line approach and the feeling people had that she could cheerfully kill them because of their insufferable congenital idiocy or just because she could. That and the fact that she rivalled Kevin Rudd in achieving a complete stranglehold on decision-making in her total control of government. And in her leaking to the media. Oh, and that the whole of Australia could see she had him by the balls.

Peta Credlin, loosened Abbott’s tie, placed calls for him and then massaged his temples, propping the PM’s head on a handy copy of Battlelines while he lay flat on his back, arms outstretched, cruciform at her feet and thought of England, cursing himself soundly for not having got around to renouncing his citizenship.

Peta read a few passages from BA Santamaria and dusted her boss’s signed photograph of George Pell in her own little revival ritual before checking her online salary deposit details. That usually did the trick. Comforted, she put her Blackberry on speaker phone.

The air was blue; some of the language would have made a bullocky blush. Never put a disgruntled punter on hold or on speaker phone. An ear-bashing from a furious, toey back bench later confirmed the worst: rebellion was raging. He’d have to backflip. Their backs were up well and truly. Their noses were out of joint. Blue ties were awry all over the shop. Even Abbott knew he had to back down.

Abbott was thus forced to rescind his hard-fought in cabinet decision to reduce the Medicare rebate for a short consultation to $20 leaving new Health minister and licensed pilot Sussan Ley to fly solo. Looks like you had to sell your arse after all, Credlin taunted. They both knew she was the author of the proposed changes which had been developed by the Prime Minister’s Office and then costed by the Department of Finance and Health. And they both knew she’d been leaking to News Corp about how Turnbull would make a better Treasurer than Hockey, another reason he had become more than a little unreasonable lately, such as the last cabinet meeting.

They both knew the bruising fight that had erupted between Hockey who had cut up ugly about keeping the $7 co-payment and the PM who had gone into bat for Peta’s rebate reduction and had stuck to his crease although it had cost him dearly. It was toe to toe.

Now Abbott was shirt-fronted by Mal Brough and Campbell Newman who had ganged up against the PM. Brough read the riot act. He began by quoting from the Fairfax Press, one of the ‘against us’ newspapers Abbott cannot bear to read reminding the PM.

The Coalition is “not a happy family” and there is a “shitload of room for improvement.” You leave us in the dark over everything your GP co-payment, your cabinet re-shuffle. Why? Because it’s all up to you and Credlin. Everything is centralised in your office. We don’t get a look in.

“We are not all a happy family … You have to ask people outside the backbench what’s happening with the policy decisions, because we are left right out.”

What are you gunna do? Brough bellowed. Now we all know Newman’s been on the blower so you can take it from the both us.  Your health policy is gunna destroy us all. And only you can’t see it.

The two blue-tied boys from the deep North demanded that the PM back down there and then or Broughie would go public. He would tell all of Australia exactly what he thought of Abbott and his flip-flop, flapdoodle Health policy.

(A staffer suggested ‘flapdoodle.’ It fits a lot of things from foreign policy to our home grown jihadist alerts, our metadata gathering war on terror, and his government’s notoriously abortive failure to negotiate its ‘user pays more’ model health policy.) It may even enter the vernacular lexicon as in: is that government policy or just an Abbott flapdoodle? It is on a par with: ‘is that the truth or did you read in the Daily Telegraph?’

Brough said that he might even get a staffer to go on TV and fake news of a palace revolution as he did with his paedophile accusations when he was Minister for allegations of rorting, misappropriating and Aboriginal Affairs under Howard.

Maaate, there is all sorts of stuff I could go public on and you know it, he said. All sorts of stuff.

Abbott shivered and cursed the name of Peter Slipper. He wished he’d never been best man at Peter Slipper’s wedding.

Brough had been a bit out of the public eye for two years ever since he conspired with James Ashby former speaker Peter Slipper’s staffer, to bring down the most senior elected official in the Parliament but he always was a loose cannon. And when the going gets Brough, the Brough gets going.

Brough dug up further chutzpah from his own limitless resources. He knew he had nothing to lose and that Abbott was a dead man walking. He squared off against the PM as old mates so often do.  Don’t expect this to be fair, he bellowed. He would spill his guts about Christopher Pyne’s real role in Ashbygate. There was no end of such handy trump cards. Of course Brough had made a few calls to the backbench. All his mates were behind him one hundred per cent, at least, for as long as it all went their way.

Newman who will possibly lose his seat anyway, did not want another albatross around his neck, getting in the way of all the kissing as in his Hillside revivalist meeting cum campaign launch in his snap election. The quickie election was a desperate move by a conservative politician whose vision is so limited he is politically legally blind, Newman is still a politician, nevertheless, and even he can see the clock ticking down on his political career.

It was a tough call for Abbott. The sight of his former mate Mal’s ugly mug twisting defiantly and threatening to do his career grievous bodily harm sent him further into shock.

Brough’s rebellion was a crisis for the conflicted PM who has good reason not to alienate Brough but better reasons to show leadership. Capitulation would be costly. There may even still be some of his supporters still waiting for Abbott to make sound policy and stick to it. His career was on the line.

‘Bagging Labor doesn’t cut it anymore. We’ve all had more than a gutsful of that. Pretending to have a plan when you chop and change all the time only draws attention to the fact that you can’t make your mind up or else you lie about it when you do. You need to lead from the front. Piss or get off the pot.’

Strapped for time, courage, support, advice or any other form of ready wherewithal, smarting from his hiding at the hands of those he thought he could safely Abbott could take no public part in announcing his latest humiliating backdown. Demure debutante Health Minister, Sussan Ley, a lass with a lovely smile and the political instincts of who could have counted on a few points just for not being Dutton, was forced to make her maiden policy statement all on her own. And it wasn’t a policy, it was a reversal, a humiliating and damaging backdown.

Sussan Ley’s words sounded as false as a Royal Commission into Trade Unions and convinced no-one of anything except she was now the bunny.

“I’ve heard, I’ve listened and I’m deciding to take this action now. It’s off the table and I stand ready to engage, to consult, and to talk to the sector,” she said ignoring the fact that the change by regulation was hardly ‘on the table’ if we allow the phrase its normal meaning of ‘up for negotiation.’

Of course, she could be referring to another table, a more arcane reference to a mythic table that Scott Morrison referred to so often when he told us he would take the sugar off the table when he was our Minister of Immigration.  The poor, the sick, the elderly and the infirm would not find a place at such a table. They would instead by hounded down like some low borer or form of woodworm whose needs just cannot be met without bringing the whole table down.

This table is our low table of shame: all the sugar in the world on all the tables in creation could ever sweeten his regime of indefinite detention, death by bashing, death by neglect, rape and forcible relocation into the hands of your tormentors.

Abbott’s unsweetened, bitter political reality is that he no longer has any kind of table reservation, especially in Health, a ministry which every day looks less like a government department helping sick people get well than a money changer’s table in the temple of public health. No-one is game to set a place for him at any other table either because of all his baggage; all his minders and toxic hangers-on be they IPA, Commission of Audit, or CIA, a dead set worry the lot of them.

‘Nor do you have any strategy,’ Brough reminded the mortally wounded PM. You whinge and cringe and then blame Labor. You’re full of it. It’s futile, wrong-headed and hypocritical to suggest that if Labor continues to block these measures in the Senate, it should propose an alternative. I am here to tell you, Prime Minister, once and for all: the Labor Party is the alternative. Besides, when you tell Labor to put up or shut up; when you call for their alternative, you make us sound like we don’t have ideas of our own.

Big Mal, a former Howard rising star member of his inner cabinet, put forward by some wilfully deluded Liberals as a leadership contender, is like so many Liberal Party aspirants and incumbents, a man with a past so chequered you could play drafts on it. Brough, for example, made much of the running in the Liberals’ sleazy plot to get Peter Slipper, a scheme which to this day reverberates with unanswered questions if not potential legal issues. He was judged to have conspired against the Speaker of the House, resulting in an abuse of The Federal Court.

It has been alleged, moreover, that Slipper’s young staffer Ashby was put up to make a charge of sexual harassment against Peter Slipper, the former speaker and bon viveur, whom it was true had the odd issue including an infatuation with regalia and according to the emails to Ashby, an Oliver Sacks-like cognitive impairment, apparently mistaking his wife for a fish shop.

Brough issued an ultimatum; either Abbott back-flipped or Brough went public. Abbott complied with such alacrity that he is a stand out candidate for a coaching job at the Fruit Fly Circus should all his après politics leads for jobs on boards of directors in commerce and industry go bad on him.

It was a sudden decision, catching Bruce Billson like a stranded guppy, eyes bulging and gills flapping maintaining that there was no change to policy. Billson, doubtless, had an out of date set of talking points. He should hang on to these because whatever goes around comes around and who knows his government may have changed its mind again tomorrow. Or its leader.

Direct Action: all bets are off.

Greg hunt with flag looking mad

Pity poor Greg Hunt. Abbott’s Minister for the Environment, aka the work experience boy, may well be chuffed to have the PUP on board his DAP (Direct Action Policy) but there is precious little to make anyone else happy. Unless you count Hunt’s certain political oblivion as cause to throw a party. Some unkind souls might. Here at the Wronski institute we are more charitable. We feel for the man. But we feel for our country and our planet and our children’s children rather more.

Hunt is on a hiding to nothing. He’s the fall guy, the unwary lightweight apprentice hoop saddled up with the donkey. It is a dark horse. Direct Action, a dodgy nag out of Do Nothing and Deny You Need To, is a donkey out of IPA’s stable of mystery imports with shadowy connections rumoured to be worth squillions. The nag has no form whatsoever and is completely untested over the distance. The most likely result will be that the gelding will break poorly, pull up at the first hurdle and break down well before the end of the race. A few punters think it will run backwards given the jockey’s previous form on ETS.

In another bizarre twist in the tale, trackside touts report recent workouts in which jockey Hunt appeared to be attempting to ride while be facing the rear of his mount. He’s a brave boy. Turning mid race is extremely hazardous to say nothing of what it does to your chances of finishing the race.

Justice will be done and seen on TV starring men with hats several sizes too small. There’ll be a steward’s inquiry as to why the horse did not run on its merits. Metabolite of testosterone test results will be instanced. A strikingly smaller man out of the saddle, jockey Hunt will appear, completely buggered, on camera squeaking up in defence of his riding but the result will be a foregone conclusion. Finito. He’ll be sent packing. A disqualified person.

It won’t be easy. Hunt’s put everything on his riding a winner. It won’t be any small step down. Never short of a word, or shy of a wager, he’s wind-bagged to journalists that he’ s staking his reputation on DAP giving a good account of itself. True enough. In fact, in the event, he’ll be lucky to get a job riding track work. Or in the knackery.

Direct action is a dud. It has no body of evidence to support it and a Melbourne Cup field of experts who warn us it’s a fraud. It’s a handout to polluters, and a nag that failed in the past, when it pulled up lame and had to be put down when it ran for the Gillard stable.

The $5.5 billion Contracts for Closure fund under the Gillard Government’s Clean Energy Futures legislation failed to bring about any reduction in Victoria’s polluting brown coal fired power generation and was abandoned by the government.   Moreover, it is an expensive fraud. It is unlikely to meet the emissions reduction target, and it will cost billions of dollars. Indeed, experts predict an ever expanding cost as it fails to deliver.

A key part of the DAP involves burying carbon. ‘Dappers’ claim that soil carbon storage and $3 billion in funding for emissions reduction projects will achieve a 5 per cent reduction in emissions. It is a long shot. No scientific evidence exists to show it could reduce Australia’s carbon emissions at all, as the CSIRO’s review into soil carbon storage  concludes. CSIRO warns that despite its theoretical potential, storing carbon in agricultural soils is untried, un-researched and impossible to measure.

Even if it did reduce emissions, 5% by 2020 is far too low a target to do us any good. As the Climate Change Authority concluded in its Final Report in February, we need to aim much higher. 15% below 2000 levels should be our the minimum target.  We could get 5% by doing nothing, as the economic slowdown and the rising price of electricity and gas curbs output. Some sceptics suggest that the very modest 5% target is a cunning ploy, a figure that its authors know will be reached without doing anything and then used to justify the DAP.

The DAP has no teeth. They say that if you are a polluter and you put your hand up for the money, that’s it.  You don’t even have to prove you have cut emissions at the end of your five years. In a process Abbott and Hunt poetically describe as a ‘reverse auction’, (in reality polluters are chosen by the government), you won’t have any penalty if you don’t make your target. You can take the money and run. The taxpayer’s money. A look at the fine print suggests that this is not strictly true but two thirds of industries are exempt from any expectation to show results.

Not only is direct action on the nose in the real world; in the world of those who know and care about climate change, it has its open critics even within Liberal ranks.

In 2009, Malcolm Turnbull described the policy as bullshit:

…the fact is that Tony and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change. They do not believe in human caused global warming. As Tony observed on one occasion “climate change is crap” or if you consider his mentor, Senator Minchin, the world is not warming, it’s cooling and the climate change issue is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to de-industrialise the world.

The Liberal Party is currently led by people whose conviction on climate change is that it is ‘crap’ and you don’t need to do anything about it. Any policy that is announced will simply be a con, an environmental fig leaf to cover a determination to do nothing.

Direct action was dreamed up by Alan Moran director of the Deregulation unit in  the Institute of Public Affairs as part of IPA’s standing brief to lobby for traditional industries and generally keeping things as they are. Direct action was invented by elements of the far-right and is backed financially by those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo. It is designed to buy time. No one really expects it work. It is and always was a ‘Clayton’s’ policy. And it was eagerly embraced by an expedient Tony Abbott as the policy you have when you are not having a climate change policy. Abbott doesn’t believe in it. He has thrown Hunt 3.2 billion and told him to go away and play with his model. There won’t be any more money. Get back to me when you can show it works.

Greg Hunt is a dead man walking with his DAP. His integrity has already been seriously compromised by his flip flop conversion from passionate ETS advocate in Howard’s government to the mouthpiece of direct action under Abbott. Now he is headed for ignominy and almost certain political oblivion. He has staked his reputation on proving a type of alchemy. And his cynical boss, Abbott, has been happy to send him on this fool’s errand.

Greg Hunt can look to his ambition to work out what went wrong.. For all other Australians, Direct Action will cost us dear in the billions we pay polluters and the damage it will permit to be caused to our environment. And if it seems cruel of Abbott to exploit the callow Hunt, what are we to make of a government that is prepared not only to shirk its obligations to the rest of the world but which is prepared to trade its children’s futures for its own selfish short term gain?

Putin calls Abbott


PUTIN: Is that you, Anton? Listen to me, Anton Antonovich, you piss-weak coward. You cloth-eared, rat-faced little arse-wipe.
ABBOTT: I am busy, Vladimir. This is not a good time for me.
PUTIN: Busy? Don’t shit me. Don’t make me laugh. Making me laugh is bad for you, believe me. Bad for other people seeing me laughing. Hearing me laughing.
ABBOTT: Look, Putin, if you have just called me just to indulge your sick sense of humour, you can think again. The joke is on you, pal. You are out on your own like a country dunny. You are on the nose. You have no friends. No one likes you. No one respects you, pal. No-one wants to answer your calls. You are as lonely as a bastard on father’s day.
PUTIN: Projecting your own problems, Anton? You would not dare abuse Putin. Abusing Putin not smart move. Many in Russia have found this out. Found out hard way. But, then, perhaps you are not smart man. Maybe you have trouble getting all four paws on the mouse. Of course, you know all about unpopular, Mr negative approval rating. You and your government are creating an Australian record for being on the nose. You popular as polly waffle in public pool. If you become funeral director, people stop dying.
ABBOTT: Jesus wept! So you’re a smartarse, too now are you? Are you looking for a knuckle sandwich?
PUTIN: Laughing for me is when I am enjoying killing only. When I am hurting another creature only. Always laughing when killing rats on Stalingrad apartment landing as young boy. Killing rats with bare hands. I crush skulls. Love to see them twitch and scream. And the blood. Makes me feel good to feel my own power over life and death. No-one pushes me around, knuckle-head.
ABBOTT: You sick bastard. It’s true what they say about you. You are a psychopath. You need psychiatric care. Committal to a psychiatric ward. For ever. No discharge. Throw away the key. Can you ring me back later. Like never again? Or when you want to tell me who downed MH17? Or is that why you have rung me?
PUTIN: No. Putin never rings back. You can’t put me off, Antonovich. MH17 is Ukraine business. Red herring. Not even side issue. As we say in Russian: elder-berry is in the kitchen-garden, and the uncle is in Kiev.
But nobody pushes Putin aside. Pushes Putin around. Many have tried. Sadly they are no longer with us, Anton. If they are not dead, they are in exile. Fearing death.
ABBOTT: You eliminate your rivals. Your opponents are either killed, disappear or emigrate in a hurry. You then get your hands on their property. You have risen to power by every foul means in the book. You are a real piece of work.
PUTIN: Thank, you. Anton. Takes one to know one. Let me tell you Russian proverb: man who steals 3 kopecks is hung as thief, but man who steals 50 kopecks is hero. Disappearing? Of course, every barber knows in politics there is danger. In life there is death.

ABBOTT: Look, Putin. No time for folklore, right now.
PUTIN: You make time for Putin. For Putin, always make time. Especially if planning to have next birthday. Planning future. Staying well. Insurance policy. No nasty accidents. No bad happenings to your family. Of course. I have advice. Advice I make free for you, now, Anton. Road test bicycle before every polly pedal. Before setting out on weekly ride. Lycra caucus, I am reading, it is called. Nothing is certain, my friend. Fate is written with pitchfork on flowing water.
ABBOTT: You threatening me, Putin?
PUTIN: No. Not threat. Not threatening. Warning. Due notice. Caution words. For years Russia makes for KGB special instructions. Special brief to exterminate enemies. Eliminate individuals who make enemies of Russian state. Russia creates special terrorist units for these special operations. Best in world. Ask your ASIO. They should know. Even your ASIO Keystone Cops. Clowns. Everybody knows Sheraton hotel bungle. Makes me laugh. Stupid stuffing up. Now I am reading yesterday ASIO is bugging itself. Makes me laugh. Whole world laughing.
ABBOTT: Your visa will be cancelled if you have terrorist connections. My government has just improved security.
PUTIN: You full of piss and wind, Abbott. All froth and no beer. All mouth and no trousers. Political-girly man who sits down to wee. You love to make the threats, yourself. Can only make threats. You making me laugh more. Is like hunting. Hunting makes me laugh, also. Also hunting and killing. Always. Makes much laughing matters for me. Bringing tears to my eyes, I laugh so much.
Maybe bear. Maybe smaller prey. Maybe wretched little rodent like you, Mr Rabbit. With bare hands I break neck of rabbit by twisting. Also pain making. Suffering. When I make enemy to be in pain. I laugh also. Much laughing. When hearing enemy scream for mercy.
ABBOTT: You watch your language. We have secret agents with vastly increased powers. Our own secret agents. I have seen to this personally. Everything you say is recorded and reviewed by our anti-terror people.
PUTIN: Please not interrupt, Anton, I make serious point. Death or pain making very funny to me always. And now you and your pain. Own political suicide. At you, I am now laughing, Mr Rabbit. Very much enjoying laughing. Whole world is laughing at you now. Very funny when you make yourself total joke, Anton. Complete cock-head. Laughing stock of diplomatic world. Kill all hope of your own re-election with one stupid comment. Destroy your own political career. About me is stupid comment. Very expensive stupid comment. Your minders stupid? Stupid? Doing nothing? Ah … but, then is Russian saying you get the minders you deserve in politics, Anton.
ABBOTT: Look, Putin, I am busy. Too busy to waste time talking to you …you never listen to a word I say. Anyone says. You listen only to your ego. Your own evil monster ego. Your twisted sadistic heart of mindless cruelty. Your heart of pure evil. Look, tell you what. Hang up and find me the criminals responsible for MH17.
PUTIN: Ego? Evil? Thank you. With fear comes respect, Anton. Only with fear. I am telling you this and only this Abbott: no-one pushes Putin around. No. Not expecting you talk… just shut up and listen. Listen! If you have courage. Guts to stand up and blow off is easy; real guts is what it takes to sit down and listen. I have things you need to hear, gutless wonder. Need to hear. Believe me. Hear from me. Trust me. Before you hear them from someone who really doesn’t like you. Or your family hears from someone unfriendly as me. Or maybe just drop out of sky one day. Or when drinking cup of tea, just drop dead. Pfft! Gone.
ABBOTT: Like Alexander Litvinenko? Litvinenko wrote two books, Blowing up Russia: Terror from within and Lubyanka Criminal Group, where he accused your Russian secret services of staging Russian apartment bombingsand other terrorism acts to bring you to power. I know. Peta read them both. Briefed me.
PUTIN: Litvinenko was deluded. Paranoid. I fired Litvinenko. Personally. Disbanded whole unit …FSB officers holding press conferences? Not on my watch! Not job for FSB. Not to air dirty laundry, either. Not make internal scandals public. Litvinenko was deluded. Paranoid. Thought himself safe in London. No-one safe from Russian agents of justice, Anton. No-one!
ABBOTT: You trying to tell me something?
PUTIN: Listen to me, Anton. Easy for you make threats when you so far away. Shirtfront me. Whatever that is meaning. Illegal in your football, I understand. Easy for you accuse me of murder. Trot out US lies about Ukraine, you craven bootlicking lickspittle of American capitalists. You have no self-respect. No independence. Disgusting little sock puppet. Abbott.
Listen to me now you slavering suck-hole. Just for one time make effort. Everyone is entitled to be stupid but you abuse the privilege.
ABBOTT: Spare the insults, Putin. Read those in Pravda. Cut to the chase. Your point is?
PUTIN: Anton, none of these things would you say to my face. You little wiener, you little prick, you vainglorious cockalorum. You need to remember no-one pushes Putin around. No one.
I am Putin. Putin. Most powerful man in world. Russia number five economy in whole world. After Ukraine maybe number four. Australia may be thirteenth if lucky.
ABBOTT: You are an amoral, unprincipled, opportunist, lying, thieving, murdering bastard.
PUTIN: You are losing plot, Anton. Foaming from mouth. My record is spotless. I am Putin. Strong man. Russian bear. Man of principle. Russia has strong principles.
ABBOTT: Principles? You mean you tap power of ignorance, prejudice and superstition.
PUTIN: Greed and bullying makes world go round. In Russia just like in Australia.
ABBOTT: My government?
PUTIN: In your dreams! You are merely caretaker. Current incumbent puppet of capitalist interests. You can do as you like as long as you let them pull your strings. Walk all over you. PFFT! Throw out when they are through with you.
ABBOTT: Through with me?
PUTIN: When you are bad for business. When you get in the way of greatest profit for your oligarchy. When you make country into international laughter stock!
ABBOTT: Hypocrite! You are an oligarch, yourself.
PUTIN: Thank you for compliment. Is international best practice in capitalist business management. Putin richest man in Russia as result of clever oil investment.
ABBOTT: You mean you put your biggest oil oligarch in jail and then stole his billions. Putin, I need to go. I have a G20 briefing.
PUTIN: Of course you do.
ABBOTT: What do you mean by that?
PUTIN: You have to check all strings for puppet masters.
ABBOTT: You are still attending?
PUTIN: Of course. You have no power to stop me. G20 is run by consensus. A clown like you is just there to make sure the catering is up to scratch and to twitch when the US pulls your strings. Brown-nose. Lick arse.
ABBOTT: You need a security detail…
PUTIN: Of course. But I will bring my own. Not meaning to offend but your keystone cops don’t cut it. Except maybe as human shields. Crash test dummies. Speed humps. I will see you in Brisbane next month.
ABBOTT: Assuming you are still President.
PUTIN: Assuming your good health continues. And no nasty accidents or bad luck. Assuming you are still Australian Prime Minister, Anton. I am Russian President for life.

Terror on cue

Police say raids involving more than 800 officers have disrupted a terror plot to inflict violence on a random member of the public.

The operation, involving NSW police, the Australian Federal Police and ASIO targeting various Sydney suburbs, resulted in 15 arrests and one Omarjan Azari, a twenty-two year old Sydney man of Afghan origin, ‘with a full facial beard’ arrested and charged during the biggest counter-terror raids in Australia’s history.

Azari, whose appearance and demographic fits the public stereotype of a terrorist so well that he could have auditioned for the part with central casting is being charged with serious terrorism-related offences. The key reason for the raid, however, was a single twenty minute phone call from an Australian ISIS operative and former actor who rang him from Iraq where there are no laws prohibiting the sale or consumption of marijuana.

Azari will appear in court today, when it’s expected police will reveal an alleged plot to behead a member of the public on camera.


“We all grew up on the street together,” Saudoba Afzal-Shanasa told 7News. “My mum knows his mother, we never thought anything like that.”

“He’s great, he’s always been friendly to us, he’s a great guy. I don’t understand how this all happened”.


Australians awoke yesterday in stunned disbelief to news that Federal police had foiled a deadly local Jihadist plot in a raid on a Sydney house early this morning. Allegedly dictated by a high-ranking Australian in the service of ISIS in Syria, the plot was to wrap a random Australian in the ISIS flag and decapitate the victim on camera. It was maintained that the images would be used to boost propaganda for the ISIS cause. It would be a ‘demonstration’ killing.

Little of this made any sense at all to thoughtful Australians. Federal Police are not generally renowned for busting Jihadists or plots or anything else, really, for that matter since their formation in 1979. Nor, as yet, have so many of them been mobilised on the basis of a single, twenty-minute mobile phone call.

There are 6,500 Federal Police, each of whom receives at least three months special training in hand to hand combat and other martial arts. They can be impressively well-armed. Federal Police can carry Glock pistols and other lethal weapons but generally they are deployed overseas or on duty guarding VIPs in Canberra, escorting Prime Ministers out jogging and the like. They don’t normally bust into migrant housing fully armed and with sniffer dogs while helicopters circle overhead in the early hours of the morning or dig up other people’s gardens. Nor do they tip off The Daily Telegraph and 2GB.

If the raid is out of character for the Federal Police, the timing also raises eyebrows. Today’s events play into the hands of the Abbott government’s desire to create a heightened state of terror alert, anxiety, xenophobia and paranoia in its citizenry.

The arrest is also so close to the PM’s terror script that it is uncanny. It’s almost as if he could have scripted it himself. And as clumsy. Our intervention in Iraq and Syria but not yet Iran has been justified by the need to protect us from home- grown Jihadis in league with ISIS, the need to support the Iraqi government and other far-fetched rationalisation.

It is so neatly scripted it beggars belief.  Just a few days after the Prime Minister Tony Abbott had issued warnings of such a plot, such a plot is, indeed, conveniently discovered.  Right on cue. Slick.

Receiving news that most Australians were too frightened to leave their homes and that some had taken to their beds or under their beds, gibbering in fear, heads under their doonas whilst watching daytime television, Prime Minister Tony Abbott is reported to have placed his fingertips together intoning:

Excellent. Excellent. People of Australia are to go about their daily lives without alarm, just that extra degree of heightened awareness that the situation requires.

Mr Abbott confirmed raids were sparked by intelligence ISIL was planning public executions in Australia. He said direct instructions on beheadings were coming from an Australian overseas. He did not explain how the perpetrators intended to escape justice, given the somewhat lower degree of lawlessness in Sydney when compared to Iraq or Syria. Nor did he explain why the raid had taken place in September when authorities had known of the plot since May. Nor did he spell out just how such an act could work as propaganda for ISIL.

Immaculately timed to meet breakfast television deadlines, the event caught the imagination of the nation. Australians marvelled at the incredible coincidences: a home-grown Jihadist plot was discovered just days after official warnings, the week after our terrorist alert was moved to high and on the very day that six hundred of our boys were being farewelled for their tour of duty in Iraq or wherever.

Court documents are expected to reveal the terror plan involved draping a random Sydney person in an Islamic State flag and beheading the victim on camera. It was to be a demonstration killing. Court documents would reveal nothing that might explain the uncanny coincidence that such a plot be discovered at such a convenient time for the beleaguered PM.

Attorney General (Mr Magoo) George Brandis appears to have typically wandered off message a little again in declaring that authorities had known of the plot since May. We had just been saving it up for the right time, he beamed. What Brandis didn’t explain is why in that case we had been told that there was no current threat under investigation when the terror alarm was raised to ‘High’ last week. Nor did he elaborate on how just one intercepted twenty minute phone call from a mentally unstable Australian serving with ISIS to a similar candidate at home was sufficient evidence to mobilise the entire AFP across two states. Nor has he fully explained the workings of his forensic mind to the conundrum of guilt by intention as articulated by his PM but we will learn more as the anti-terror legislation is rushed through parliament next week. Doubtless the new laws will be retrospective. Or made to measure.

For Abbott:

“This is not just suspicion, this is intent,” he said.

“… The events this morning were based on specific intelligence that people weren’t just preparing an attack, but had the intent to mount one.”

Doubtless also, the Abbott government will need to explain how alienating and marginalising elements of Australian Muslim communities in such spectacular fashion can do anything but increase local Islamic extremism. Reaction from local Muslim communities has been swift to denounce the government’s motivation. At a protest in Lakemba last night Uthman Badar from Hizb ut-Tahrir said it was no coincidence that the raids had occurred just before the latest terrorism laws were to be introduced into parliament next week.

“They are creating fear and hysteria to justify the unjustifiable,” he said

“Enough of scapegoating the Muslim community.”

Ultimately, the fear-mongering and war-mongering has precisely the opposite effect to the official justification. Clearly, the existence of the plot suggests greater danger to Australians at home is a result of our involvement in Iraq and Syria and whatever other undeclared war zone the US commands us into. Whatever the stated motives for sending troops to the latest Middle East disaster zones, keeping the streets of Sydney safer is not one of them. And whatever the official justification of yesterday’s raids, their effect can only add to factors already radicalising the thoughts of young men attracted to extremist thoughts and deeds.

Modern terrorism doesn’t work that way. We keep killing “senior figures” in terrorist groups – indeed, it’s more than three years since we killed the most senior of them all – and nothing substantive changes.

This yields a devilish problem: namely, that we are trying to confront a threat that exists nowhere in particular, and anywhere in theory. We can’t destroy that.

There is one very clear way in which this alleged plot can succeed, even if it is never carried out: that we become so emotionally manipulated, so provoked, that we end up helplessly polarised. That becomes a problem because a symbol as ghastly as ISIL can only prosper in a febrile atmosphere. Waleed Ali

Theatres of War


TONY Abbott has committed RAAF combat aircraft and army special forces advisers to join the fight in Iraq against the Islamic State terrorist group, in an operation that could last for “many months”.

Eleven years after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Prime Minister announced today that within days, the RAAF would send to the United Arab Emirates up to eight Royal Australian Air Force F/A18 Super Hornet or “classic” Hornet combat aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft; and a KC-30A multi-role tanker and transport aircraft.

With them will go about 600 Australian Defence Force personnel — 400 from the RAAF and 200 from the Army. The Australian

Flanked by a human shield of top to bottom military brass including yet another war dork, Prime Minister Anthony Battlelines Abbott confirmed yesterday that he would be sending Australian troops to Iraq – if the country still exists by next Monday. And if anyone can discover a safe air route over a battle zone.   His uniformed ‘rent a regular’ nodded for the camera. The PM nodded back, training his eyes on his guest, a frisson of wild excitement barely concealed beneath his funereal suit and manner.

Details of the ‘mission’ were as we have come to expect in border protection classified unavailable and none of your business as befits ‘up in the air matters’. Mr Abbott, however, made it clear several times that no Australian would be doing any fighting. No-one. No combat. Their role, it seems, would be confined to the odd bit of air-striking, military advising, looting and trading recreational marijuana.

Wagering a crafty each-way bet that no-one in his audience was smart enough or old enough to see through his tired euphemisms and unsubtle double talk, fawning lickspittle and capitalist-imperialist lackey and running dog Abbott’s use of the phrases air strikes and military advisors was typically fearless . It pumped him up. It pumped his audience to see him pumped. And fearless with other peoples’ lives and futures.

What war-monger Abbott really meant was immediately clear to all viewers over ten years old. Australian forces would be fighting on the ground in Iraq or Syria or wherever for as long as it took. Or as long as the US required. For oil and multinational capitalism, amen. All Australians were committed without consultation. Dissenters would be thrown into prison under the newly formulated anti-terror laws that Attorney General Mr ‘Magoo’ George Brandis would rush through parliament immediately. Detention centres with surplus capacity had been placed on standby. Prison is too good for those who by their actions show they are not part of Team Australia, Mr Abbott said slowly. There need be no further discussion. The nation would be on standby for conscription when it became necessary.

Our commitment has been scaled back a bit. Abbott originally volunteered Australia’s entire armed forces, the reserves, school cadets and anyone on Centrelink benefits under 65. Lame Duck Obama, however kindly hosed the PM down in private, after a long jacuzzi and personal rubdown by young Maria one of the White House’s multinational personal staff, the President thanking him kindly but adding that this would not be necessary. Yet.

Digger Abbott’s bombshell was of course in some ways a fizzer. An anti-climax. After all, Mr Abbott had long treated the Australian people playfully to a cheeky sort of strip tease routine in which he gradually bared his intentions. All 37 members of the Turd Polishing communications unit had been working overtime for three months to put together this strategic product delivery. At last it all made sense. All we had witnessed prior from the PM were not so much premature ejaculations but a carefully planned softening up process in an orchestrated campaign of lies and tergiversation.

Naturally, to add to the arresting sense of deja vu, Mr Abbott was upstaged by the presence of yet another unknown War Dork an Air-vice Marshall  Bin liner, according to programme notes.

Despite looking like your local taxi-driver, Air-Vice Marshall Bearskin held the attention of the entire gathering effortlessly. Armed forces do that to an audience. Especially to the PM. Say what you will about natural leadership and authority you can’t beat a soft-spoken chap in khaki with a pistol in his pocket. Or eight Hornets in his carport. You could tell Bats-wing was used to captive audiences. You could tell he would take no prisoners. And he had to be more interesting than Abbott himself. And so it proved.

Telegenic Air Vice Marshall Blinky Bill was intelligible, coherent, measured, credible. And lethal. By the end of his softly spoken chat to the nation, ten chaps had perished in the UAE as they encountered friendly fire from Kurds, Sunni tribesmen, Peshmerga and other colourful local groups united by the presence of further western blood sport. They had spared a few other Australians to be passed over to ISIS for decapitation on social media. At the same time all terrorists in the Middle East had added Australia and Australians to their list of future targets.

It was a polished performance. Top marks must go to the Turd Polishers and to PMC on this pilot programme for what will inevitably be a very long running and highly successful reality TV series scheduled to run on all channels. The pilot show proved compelling viewing and, as befits reality TV, was in its own way both nauseating and grotesquely fascinating at the same time. At no time did it underestimate the intelligence of its spectators. Expect a lot more where this came from.

Sporting his latest ‘Gravitas’ aftershave, another Macy’s product from an admirer in the White House, and borrowing for the occasion Joe Hockey’s industrial strength deodorant, his Teflon coated comb-over dusted down for the lights, the Prime Minister affected a sombre bearing as befits one who must pretend to reluctantly bring such solemn news to a nation so far completely unused to seeing him do anything remotely decisive or wise or in the national interest. In anyone else’s interest.

Abbott’s awkward bearing resembled that of a school prefect, voted in because he was popular for being one of the lads who having just received his prefect’s badge, now for the first time in his life was expected to make a speech showing his leadership.  The effort was grotesquely fascinating, compelling and disturbing at the same time. The effect was unsettling. Even Abbott’s close friend Greg Craven has described the new pose as resembling a funeral director at a chancy funeral.

Yet birth rather than death and romance were the dominant subtexts of Abbott’s performance. Craven no doubt has yet to be informed of the budding bromance between Abbott and Obama. As revealed recently in The Herald Sun, the PM has disclosed a long-standing secret and unlikely admiration for the world’s most powerful leader, describing Barack Obama as an “extraordinarily gifted man” and a potential friend to rival past ­presidents. The spin unit, Mr Abbott’s strategic communications unit were still working on a catchy slogan. All the way with LBJ worked for the Vietnam War. Gung ho with B.O., on the other hand, was proving a little trickier to work with.

Viewers are settling in for a feast of quality viewing as more televised beheadings are scheduled in future episodes of the new big budget reality TV show which is provisionally entitled, Fools Rush in.

Terror Alert

Australia’s least popular and most incompetent Prime Minister of all time, ‘Mad Monk’ Tony Abbott has once again alarmed the entire nation today with a bizarre outburst of rabid ranting and incoherent, irrational paranoid drivel. Indeed, so lacking in reason, decorum and any other apparent foundation, was his behaviour that many took his appearance to be an early Liberal Party sponsored election advertisement. Others believed they detected the effects of too much time in the company of attack dog Morrison given the Minister’s propensity for speaking in tongues and his notorious random outbursts of mindless fury. Fox and other purveyors of overpriced cable and satellite TV were swamped with calls from new subscribers determined to switch off their free to air TV for good. I don’t care if it’s the Discovery Channel 24/7 one woman explained, as long as I never have to look at that lunatic again.

Interrupting daytime television news broadcasts, Abbott’s grotesquely distorted face and hysterical gibbering terrified women and children forced to stay at home alone clustered together for protection in front of their plasma or LCD TV whilst their menfolk suddenly headed for local parks to commence Tai Chi, origami, Feng Shui and other martial arts training.

The Prime Minister’s broadcast is reported to have also caused dole bludgers in Balmain and other home grown radical Islamists to rush chemists, supermarkets and convenience stores to buy heavy duty shaving gear and exfoliation equipment and to burn their brothers’ passports lest they be apprehended trying to leave the country.

Looking grave with a capital G and no Abu, Abbott babbled insanely and volubly warning as behoves his new role as Napoleon Cockatoo. We must share with everyone of you today, the high, huge, and extreme risk facing every Australian citizen from evil, sinful Jihadist terrorists abroad whose wanton depravity knows no boundaries. They hate our way of life he added, twitching. Our values. They love falafel.

Looking ever more like Dicky Knee, Dick the dentist’s son, Tony was supported on camera by retiring ASIO Chief, David Irvine who looked to be playing Daryl Somers judging by the hand up Abbott’s back. Irvine, aka Colonel Codswallop, who was played by Barry Humphries with a bad hangover slowly mumbled the same paranoid fantasies that got him the ASIO job in the first place and waved an elderly service revolver off camera for rhetorical emphasis. Codswallop who looks as if he could smother a tactical nuclear device simply by covering it with his vast, rumpled doughy face was holding Abbott’s hand and other parts of his anatomy as they came into his camera shot.

Regrettably the broadcast was abruptly terminated when an explosion off screen appeared to deprive the studio of electricity. A clearly terrified Abbott was witnessed leaping across the studio into Irvine’s arms and calling for his mother. Both men appeared to be in a state of mutual terror or on the verge of a complete breakdown.

Slippery Slope

Christopher Pyne is not one of Australia’s most popular politicians. Opinion polls show he hovers either just above Joe Hockey or just under him at the bottom of the nation’s esteem. Say what you like, it can’t be easy being Christopher. Some of, the Member for Sturt brings on himself with displays of spectacular ineptitude as Education Minister, (he makes State Education Ministers look good) or in his behaviour in the house. Calling Shorten a c**t in parliament and then lamely denying it does not endear you to the electorate. His personal manner and bearing do not help his cause. He’s been called prissy and precious and precocious and other ‘p’ words. And it is true that his style does not help his own cause. His parliamentary and press performances are almost a form of self-parodying performance art, a campy caricature of the consummate politician, now complete with new, enhanced technology: Pyne on line. Or an overcharged Energiser Bunny. It would be amusing if he did not demean himself, his audience and all other interested parties. For even as Pyne performance art, audience members are being short-changed.

Yet we must not be dazzled by the spectacle that is Christopher Pyne. We must look past the performance art. Indeed, his own razzle-dazzle can function as a strategic distraction, just as Liberace’s costume hid more than the occasional bum note. Let’s not be fooled by Abbott’s Fool. Let us put public spectacle to one side. The critical issue is what Christopher achieved when he set out to sink Peter Slipper. For whatever his motives, he has succeeded in diminishing all of us. He may also have further undermined, mired and befouled his own government.

What was he thinking at the time? Doubtless, his stiff the Slipper strategy appealed on many levels. In a sort of Black Ops way, attack dog Pyne could fetch his master’s Slipper, bring down the Gillard government, advance his own career and extend a bit of camaraderie, counselling and beer support to an attractive young staffer who was clearly in need of a mentor. And at first blush, it seemed to go off so very well. Judging by Pyne’s own après schmooze text message to James Ashby, he very much enjoyed their meeting. And Ashby appears to have been gladdened by the prospect of a political job after Slipper’s office and the knowledge his legal fees would be taken care of.

Today, however, Christopher’s plan has unravelled. And as it unravels it threatens to take its conspirators with it. First, the full bench of the Federal Court in February of this year found that in essence Ashby’s case was politically motivated, vexatious, and an abuse of process. It was effectively an attempt to bring down the speaker and damage his reputation. Then Pyne, of course, never kept his promises to James Ashby. There has been no job in politics and no payment of the staffer’s legal fees. Ashby will no longer have the costs of his sexual harassment suit against Peter Slipper paid for by the former speaker because his decision to drop the case robbed Mr Slipper of the opportunity to contest the allegations. In the Federal Court on Thursday, Justice Geoffrey Flick vacated a costs order made in August 2012 that would have required Mr Slipper to pay Mr Ashby’s considerable lawyers’ fees on an indemnity basis. Ashby has had to resort to Sixty Minutes to recoup some of the costs. And to get his revenge.

The circumstantial evidence is damning. Pyne conspires with Ashby to end former Speaker of the House of Representatives Peter Slipper’s political career. He induces the young staffer in Slipper’s office, to bring a sexual harassment case against his boss. Slipper resigns after indelicate misogynistic text messages to Ashby are made public. Pyne disavows any wrong-doing. And of course he claims to be unaware of any involvement by Tony Abbott and Mal Brough who both had their own good reasons to sink the boot into Slipper. And, of course, neither Abbott nor Brough know anything although Mal Brough does concede publicly that if the public thinks that he got rid of Slipper because he was after Slipper’s seat then that must be what happened.

After 60 Minutes goes to air. Pyne goes into damage control. For Pyne this is an especially risky manoeuvre. The more he protests, the more he indicts himself. His denials are evasive, wordy and completely unconvincing. Even for Christopher Pyne. He is in it over his head.

With barefaced audacity, he fronts cameras in a Colourbond fenced suburban backyard somewhere, Chateau Pyne sur Sturt, perhaps, and makes an embarrassingly lame attempt to divert the heat on to the previous Labor government. It is farcical, consummate Pyne performance art. Then he sings the set piece from the libretto to his comic opera. It is typically, tortuous, wordy, hair-splitting and evasive:

‘I had a brief meeting, we discussed the fact the Queensland state election was coming very soon, he indicated he was uncomfortable in Mr Slipper’s office and I indicated to him that if we won the Queensland state election that would be a chance potentially for him to get out of Mr Slipper’s office but the fact is there was no job ever provided for Mr Ashby,’ Mr Pyne said.

‘My intention was never to lead him to believe that a job would be provided to him but obviously if we won the Queensland state election and then subsequently the federal election, when you are in government there are a lot more jobs available than when you are in opposition and that if he felt uncomfortable in Mr Slipper’s office, that would be an opportunity for him to get out of the office.’

Get him out of the office is a key phrase. Freudian, perhaps. Pyne did not counsel the troubled staffer to follow normal procedures in such cases. Canberra public service protocols provide a framework and an expectation that such matters are resolved by other means and that legal action be considered only as a last resort. The “Genuine Steps Rule”, a procedure introduced in 2011 requires parties to try and resolve their disputes before taking court action. In Ashby’s case, the Judge questioned why a relatively minor matter like sexual harassment claims could not have been settled another way. Clearly by his own admission, here, Pyne has at best been a false friend. He has counselled courtroom conflagration and led the young staffer on to play with fire.

It matters not that Ashby did not proceed to take up a position in politics or government. What matters a great deal is that all evidence points to Pyne’s complicity in a plot to remove a member of parliament, a plot that surely Abbott and others in the then opposition knew about. Furthermore, Pyne seems to have been rewarded with a cabinet position. For fifteen long years no Liberal leader would even give him the time of day, let alone a portfolio.

Yet Abbott maintains he was unaware of the machinations surrounding Ashby’s complaint against the speaker, or the support of the Daily Telegraph. Astonishingly, Abbott’s press release calling for Slipper’s resignation was ready to print the moment the Telegraph went to press with the story. It may even have been prepared before the Slipper story broke.

Pyne encouraged Ashby to lay charges against Peter Slipper with two inducements.  He offered to pay Ashby’s legal fees. He promised him a job afterwards. Ashby agreed to help Pyne ‘get’ Slipper. He was to lay a claim of sexual harassment against former Speaker of the House. Pyne says he knew that Ashby had been ‘uncomfortable’ with Slipper’s behaviour. He took the opportunity to exploit the situation.

Peter, “Salty cunts in brine” Slipper is himself an odd fish. And certainly, James Ashby also appears to be an unusual sort of chap. You wonder what was in it for him. What sort of job was he likely to get when it transpired that he had acted illegally? What was it that caused him to overlook his responsibility towards the ‘Genuine Steps’ process of conflict resolution in favour of a high stakes gamble with Pyne as banker? Why has he changed his testimony now? In court documents filed in 2012, Mr Ashby said he was not offered or did not receive any inducements or rewards for making the high-profile sexual harassment claims against Mr Slipper. Or could he simply have given up on his erstwhile Liberal mentor and supporters and elected to tell the truth. Is it coincidental that he was recently accused of having sexual relations with underage boys?

Above all, why, on 17 June did Ashby drop the case against Peter Slipper?

He gave these reasons:

Mr Ashby said he was aware of reports Mr Slipper was mentally unwell and he did not want to continue lengthy proceedings that could cause further harm.

“After deep reflection and consultation with those close to me, I now have decided to seek leave to discontinue my Federal Court action against Peter Slipper,” he said in a statement. “This has been an intense and emotionally draining time for me and my family, taking its toll on us all.”

Or perhaps, the more plausible explanation is that he was paid to shut up. The LNP fearing scandal paid him to drop the case.

Delegated or self-appointed agent provocateur, Pyne, would no doubt have leapt eagerly at the chance to help his master and his own career advancement.  Doubtless there was more than a nod and a wink from his boss. Abbott’s ambition to win power at any price combined with his desire to wreak revenge on Peter Slipper for leaving the party and becoming speaker, allowing Labor government to remain in power.

Others on Team Abbott did their bit. Mal Brough, who would step into Slipper’s electorate at the following election, appears to have leapt at the chance to ask Ashby to download Slipper’s diary, a diary which was later leaked to News Corp. David Marr writes:

“Tony Abbott also has a stake in the appeal. He has stood by Brough despite his friend being caught trying to hide his role in the campaign to destroy Slipper. Abbott has never criticised his part in the operation. Despite Brough’s lies, he praises his candour: “I want to make it clear that Mal has been very upfront about his involvement in this”.

Since the 60 Minutes programme was broadcast there has been an unnatural silence.

Christopher Pyne prides himself on the correspondence he has with his constituents in the Blue Ribbon seat of Sturt. He sends constituents birthday cards on their 21st and significant birthdays. They love him, he says. He tells them he signs every card. By hand. They feel relaxed and comfortable with him. He believes.

Real power in Sturt even more than anywhere else in the country has little to do with politics. You would think you could win this wealthy, leafy Liberal seat just by putting on a blue tie. Over the years, however, Pyne has seen his majority decline to the point where Sturt is regarded as the most marginal seat in the country. Now that’s quite an achievement. No doubt changing demographics, as they say, have contributed to marginalising Sturt. Pyne cannot take all the blame. Ultimately, perhaps, as in parliament, to be an effective MP, you really do have to more than act like a politician. Pyne needs to heed the message his electorate is sending him. He needs to get relevant. Get real. Given the length of his career, however, he is either a slow learner or he just doesn’t have it in him. What is likely to happen is events will conspire to take the decision away from him. In a process of natural selection, he stands to lose his own seat at the next election.

In the meantime, Pyne needs to remember his place and station. He is pre-eminently Sturt’s Louis Vuitton manbag. He is Abbott’s fool in the House. He needs to give up the hanky panky and the covert ops. In his misguided zeal he stepped out of role as agent provocateur for Abbott and other like-minded Liberals and LNP members. Now lap-dog Pyne has ensured that his master, Tony Abbott has further tricky questions to answer. Questions that may well prove to be his undoing. Be that as it may, Abbott can now be assured of a place in history for his agency in the Peter Slipper scandal — a covert political conspiracy by the Coalition to bring down the Parliamentary Speaker, Peter Slipper, and through him the Federal Government of Australia.

Abbott takes the (yellow) cake.

Fresh back from Delhi, globe-trotting, Tony Abbott has achieved another personal milestone. He has now racked up the same number of frequent flyer points as Kevin Rudd. He will no doubt apologise to the former PM for his vacuous, annoyingly mindless criticism of him when as leader of the opposition he wasted everyone’s time and tried everyone’s patience pouring scorn on everything Mr Rudd did including daring to travel overseas and exercising diplomacy.

Unapologetic about his past and his fast track world statesman trajectory, Abbott has been spruiking India’s “impeccable credentials” in nuclear non-proliferation. It’s nonsense but it’s what you say when you are between a rock of yellowcake and a hard political place. 

Fortunately Abbott was able to do something useful while he was in the subcontinent. He repatriated a looted statue of Shiva which some Australian had “lifted” and flogged to a major Australian gallery. “Leaner” Bruce Billson and who until recently was widely believed to be Australia’s Minister for Small Business was despatched in search of some signed cricket bats to oil the wheels of future diplomatic initiatives such as asking India to repatriate asylum seekers from Sri Lanka.

Billson, who bears an uncanny resemblance to a well-filled but undercooked Samosa with eyes was last sighted negotiating a film project with a major Bollywood producer for a suitable product to replace Question Time.

“Of course there will be time for any number of Dorothy Dixers, in the new format but they will danced and sung by professional actors. It is just another way the Coalition demonstrates its relevance”, he said.

Making diplomatic inroads into a Rogan Josh, the North Frankston MP, was attended by a bevy of starlets who were keen to be signed up on 457 working visas as personal research assistants. All present fell silent, however, when Mr Abbott took to his feet, proudly wearing a pair of Jaipur Jodphurs. Very practical, he said, flashing his ankle. No need for bicycle clips.        

Returning Shiva to his country of origin brought a winking man’s smile to Mr Abbott’s lips. If you enter Australia illegally, you can expect to be sent back to where you came from.

Others in his entourage and around the table flashed their gold teeth, ivory cufflinks and blackberries, shook hands with each other and agreed that putting Shiva back in his rightful place was a diplomatic coup and a living testimony to the fact that Australia and India has so much in common beyond the game of cricket.

Now I’ve got a bit of a surprise for you, Mr Abbott whispered in Narenda Modi’s ear as he grasped his host around the shoulders in a rugby embrace. It’s not just a stolen statue I have in my suitcase. I’ve brought a bit of hot yellowcake with me. Well, not exactly stolen, he winked, but negotiated by BHP from its traditional owners for a good price.

My God, man, the Indian PM expostulated, wincing at the force of Abbott’s embrace and a blast of Lynx aftershave. His Cartier watch, a gift from Putin, slipped off his fine wrist into his dahl.

We are having Uranium imports from countries all over the world. Even Kazahkstan can’t wait to get into bed with us on uranium sales. But you can never have too much.  The extra could always be put to good use making bombs to aim at China or Pakistan or sent on down the line to Tamil Nadu to even up the imbalance in their war with Sri Lanka. In the meantime it could be stored on a shelf in a local food supply facility because in India we have very flexible working practises. And very many entrepreneurs. Yes. Mr Abbott, we are open for business. It is true we have had a run of nasty accidents with our reactors but the early Russian ones were not very well made. And no cities have been destroyed. We are thinking very positive on the outcomes, Mr Tony.

Abbott’s spin team high fived each other and the wait staff and emailed all Australian media outlets with a release they had prepared earlier. News Limited ran a front page which had Mr Abbot’s photo in cycling helmet on it and the headline: our radioactive PM out for a spin on his nuclear cycle.

Uranium sales to India an amazing achievement, trumpeted the seventy per cent of Australian press owned by Murdoch. On page three, a photo of a topless Bollywood starlet carried a detailed report of a thirty word speech in which Mr Abbott praised India for being a model citizen in nuclear non-proliferation.

“Utter nonsense” commented another nutter on the ABC (probably an intellectual or a scientist) who went on to explain that India, Abbott’s ‘model citizen’ refuses to sign the non-proliferation treaty. It has moreover gone on to develop nuclear weapons outside the non-proliferation treaty. And it is refining Uranium at a pace which is double that required for its nuclear submarines and other peaceful uses. They have no independent nuclear watchdog. Their nuclear industry is run by the state. And monitored by the state. And their new PM is a hawk.

Bruce Billson who appeared unfit for duty was not available for comment but the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement that the Abbott deal was a bold step towards greater prosperity for Australia by an enterprising and fearless leader. Forget the nabobs of negativity in the communist ABC. They know they’ve got funding savings to look forward to. 

ABC news reported that sales will be one billion dollars. No big win for average Australians.

Profits from uranium sales go to the Big Australian, BHP which despite its slogan is a multinational company. The Australian government stands to gain incidental taxes no greater than 100 million dollars. It’s a tiny return on a risky venture. In essence, Abbott has flown to Dehli at our expense to trade a lethal substance to a dodgy customer for the benefit of a multinational. But that’s Bollywood. And Shiva has been returned. Bruce is still missing.

Scott Almighty

The claims for more 30,000 asylum seekers and children will not be processed until a controversial temporary visa is allowed through the Senate, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has told an inquiry.

During a sometimes fiery hearing of the Australian Human Rights Commission inquiry into children in detention, Mr Morrison said the asylum seekers would not have their asylum claims processed until he could offer a “visa product” that only offered temporary residency. The group includes more than 712 children and who arrived to Australia after July 19 last year.

Mr Morrison acknowledged the extended time children were spending in detention, but blamed the Labor Party and the Greens for not allowing the temporary protection visas (TVPs) into the Senate.

Scott Morrison is a religious man. Most mornings he wakes up believing he is God. Only more powerful. And smarter. He’s not alone in this. Others in Federal Cabinet seem similarly deluded. It’s almost a prerequisite for office.  Yet no other clever-dick Liberal comes close to Scott, the abominable boatman for arrogance, pig-ignorance and inhumanity. Not a nautical mile. 

Morrison plumbed new depths in his appearance before the AHRC (Australian Human Rights Commission), National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention hearing in Canberra last week.

Clearly pumped to appear before a big audience, his overweening ego stoked by the formality of the proceedings, Morrison outdid himself in hitting new lows in accountability, irresponsibility and unseemly behaviour. It was an alarming performance even for a Minister of the Abbott government. Morrison’s conduct did grave disservice to all asylum seekers and their children in his care, the hearing, the Australian Public.  

Any reasonable, decent human being called before the hearing would have shown due deference and respect. Not Scott Morrison. He likes to set his own rules. Rather than assist the hearing, his function in being there, he sets out instead to show AHRC President, Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs who is boss. Interrupting, cavilling, talking over the top of her. Impoverished, morally, intellectually and in every other way, his performance was a disgraceful display of politicking, evasion and self-aggrandisement. 

The lowest point was when Triggs was subjected to Secretary Martin Bowles twitting her as to whether detention centre guards carried arms. Morrison chimed in. Their clear intent was to discredit Triggs. They succeeded in making themselves into petty point scoring bullies.

It’s not my fault, is Morrison’s key defence. Bizarrely, he blames his keeping children of asylum seekers in detention on The Labor Party and The Greens for blocking legislation in the Senate. His political enemies are blocking temporary protection visas. And as only Morrison could, he adds a cunning twist of coercion. Children under ten might get out when Labor and the Greens come to their senses.

… they could be living in the community on temporary protection visas with work rights and parity of benefits today. The reason they are not is because of the Labor Party and the Greens who blocked that measure in the Senate.

It is a painful spectacle. Morrison is embarrassing, boorish and completely out of order. A bully. Once again, you find yourself wondering, has this man no standards? No sense at all of propriety and decorum?   No shame? No empathy, compassion, decency or even self-awareness.

It hurts to witness this man who was elected to represent us. And if his behaviour is excoriating, even more punishing is his logic. Morrison takes no prisoners as he blasts all within earshot with his own contorted blend of special pleading, posturing, tortured logic, wilful evasion and deception.  As we have come to expect, he needs to talk about himself. Warn us he is no push over. It’s all about him.

Morrison wants us to know he is a parent. It does not make him a soft touch. Parenthood may bring emotional challenges yet it doesn’t stop him doing his duty:

As parent of two young children, the emotional challenges of working in this portfolio are just as real and just as great as they would be for any other parent in my position. But sentiment cannot be indulged at the expense of effective policy that is saving lives and ending the chaos and tragedy that was occurring that many thought could never be turned around and that is my duty.

The Minister of Immigration and Border Security wants us to see him as an emotionally challenged parent who cannot afford to be sentimental if he is to do his duty. Morrison’s understanding of the word duty in this usage is limited. Tellingly Morrison excludes any duty of care or understanding of his duty to respect the human rights of incarcerated children. What he is saying is akin to the Nuremburg defence. His duty is to follow orders. The electoral mandate. Abbott’s trite slogan. The Australian people have voted to stop the boats. Toughen up. Can’t feel empathy. That’s just sentimental indulgence. Besides, anyone can see, cruelty and inhumanity are a real deterrence.

Besides, the real suffering is borne stoically by Minister Morrison and his staff. Morrison blows us out of the water with a sentimental indulgence of his own: 

After becoming a Minister I have sat with the men and women who work as part of our border protection command, who have to deal with the horrible legacy of looking into the face of a child corpse in the water.

Morrison has got the spotlight where he believes it belongs. Back on himself. When Triggs correctly tries to refocus back on the children in detention, Morrison picks a fight over terms. A place of detention is not to his way of thinking, a prison. To prove it he wants to challenge Triggs to a quibble

“Madam President, I’ve just asked you, you’ve said that these places are prisons, now you’ve been in prisons, so you’re telling me that the Phosphate Hill Compound on Christmas Island is the same as Long Bay Gaol?”

Stop the boats? Stop the bullshit, Morrison. You are in charge of detention camps. You know what you are doing. Border Security is a new term, a newspeak term for cruelty and inhumanity no matter how grandiose it may sound to your ears. You run internment camps which are prisons for men, women and children who have been charged with no offence. Guilty of no crime. Desperately fleeing persecution, they find themselves held hostage to your whim.  Many play a waiting game in 42 degree heat.

 Thousands of men, women and children are clearly suffering physically and psychologically from the conditions of prolonged detention. Many have been detained for over a year. No wonder so many attempt self-harm or attempt to kill themselves. Yet you want to pretend they are not prisons.

Immigration Detention Centres are brutal places, overcrowded and badly run, living hell for those trapped in them yet you are keen to keep them that way. Content to let the children suffer. Why? Because Labor and The Greens will not support your TPV? No. You could release those children tomorrow if you had the will. You prefer to hold them hostage.

Why do you refuse to exercise compassion? Because you can’t afford to get sentimental? Spare us. Because you have to do your duty? Snap out of it. Your duty is to respect human rights. Australia’s mandatory detention policy sets us apart from any other country that signs the United Nations Conventions – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). In your tiny moral and intellectual universe, you may have convinced yourself that indefinite detention in extreme hardship is an effective and acceptable deterrent. To the rest of the world it looks like a monstrous abuse of human rights.   

Federal Cabinet, a sheltered workshop.

Lifters and leaners are terms in vogue lately, thanks to Joe Hockey who proceeds to dazzle the nation with his spell-binding oratory. Are you a Lifter or leaner?  is but one of the Federal Treasurer’s many formulations to prove of inestimable service to the public good as he goes about his mission of a meaner, leaner government.

 Lifters and leaners illuminates Hockey’s profound grasp of the social contract. As true leaders must, he shows a rare capacity for incisive thinking.  In two words, he’s illuminated our national discourse. It’s all about ourselves, of course. And it’s us and them. Us versus them. And we love it.

 Pitting lifter against leaner has helped inspire so many ordinary Australians to feel good about themselves. To be more selfish. Intolerant. Resentful of any social responsibility. And to point the finger at others who, invariably, have only themselves to blame. Fully costed and self-funded, this direction is guaranteed to be borne by others.

 In a breath-takingly benign controlled climate, thrives a hitherto unsung mutual support group of disadvantaged Australians which carries on bravely, battling all kinds of adversity. We refer to the sheltered workshop that is the Federal Cabinet. They lean inwards lifting themselves by their bootstraps, pausing only to get the nation to pay their expenses.

 Benevolence flowers rarely in the ordure of the modern world. Incredible as it may seem then, in our dog eat dog, look out for yourself, you bastard, society where markets rule supreme, and men and women count for so little, we can still look after some top dogs. These are a rare group of men (and one woman) who through no fault of their own prove incompetent in their chosen professions and often as people.  They rise to the top like turds in a sewage treatment plant.

 Federal Cabinet enables us to help out those who may face grave personal, social and emotional challenges. Time to take a closer look at a few examples of those we support, those whom we encourage and subsidise to develop vital on the job skills which enable and empower. Those we sponsor to develop vital workplace skills such as lying, denying and putting the boot into other battlers.

 Let’s begin with the runt of the litter, Tony Abbott. Battling a range of disorders including ODD, (oppositional defiance disorder), ADD, (attention deficit disorder), Narcissistic Personality Disorder, anger management issues and many others, little Tone is up against so much that he has been assigned his own integration aide, Peta Credlin.

 Along with being our unelected Prime Minister, running Cabinet, keeping the boys and Julie out of the public eye as much as possible and the odd phone call to Russia, Peta has a special way with this highly challenged individual and has been granted extensive powers of supervision. In particular she manages his delusional states most capably, even allowing him to pose in public as Prime Minister in his favourite dress ups. 

 Tony is, however, a demanding case and left to his own devices has been known to punch holes in walls. A failed seminarian who dabbled unsuccessfully in journalism, before qualifying for cabinet workshop, Tony’s case is under permanent review, given the propensity for other members to band against him behind his back, or say hurtful things about his intelligence, his temper and his lack of coordination to his face.

 The member for Wide Bay, Kingaroy born, Queensland farmer, Warren Truss, is widely held to be Abbott’s deputy leader. A member of the endangered National Party species, sixty-five year old Truss appears headed for extinction. He recently alienated his own generation with his claim that pensioners blow their savings on world cruises and then have to bludge off the rest of us. He also enraged his own constituency when eagerly spruiking Abbott’s PPL. Truss’ claims that the PPL had been shaped by consultation were disproved when both CWA and NFF leaders angrily pointed out that no-one from government had ever consulted either rural association. Severely afflicted with logorrhoea, echolalia, and the capacity to induce sleep in any animal or agricultural worker within earshot, long-winded Wokka is kept safely away from any livestock in Cabinet and is rumoured to be working on his memoir ‘Talk to the animals.’    

 Like Wokka, George Brandis is in the public eye for the wrong reasons. Clearly Brandis is a battler on so many fronts. Consider the damage he might do if he were permitted to practise law again. Or practise any form of public service. Helping others? You wouldn’t even want him anywhere near a computer. The thought of anything more technologically advanced than a fountain pen makes him ill. Defamation cases? Forget it. Unless you are looking to settle out of court. George could be of service in patting plaintiffs on the head and counselling that we all have a right to be a bigot.

 Our survey is limited only by time, space and decency. Many other cases clamour for attention. All are deserving causes worth of future attention. In the meantime, the nation can relax in the sure knowledge that the key decisions affecting our nation are taken by those outside cabinet. Indeed, they are outside politics. Australia is a nominal constitutional democracy ruled by an oligarchy whose power is greatly assisted, if not nurtured by the sheltered workshop of Prime Minister in Cabinet.