New Politics: Australian Politics
About this podcast
The best analysis and discussion about Australian politics. Presented by Eddy Jokovich and David Lewis, we go to all the places the mainstream media doesn't want to go.
About this podcast
The best analysis and discussion about Australian politics. Presented by Eddy Jokovich and David Lewis, we go to all the places the mainstream media doesn't want to go.
New Politics: Australian Politics
Quarantine Fiasco Continues, Media Clampdown, The Beast Of The NSW Labor Right
Victoria will complete a two-week lockdown soon but if the Morrison government had done its job properly on quarantine management and the vaccination rollout, the lockdown – which will cost around $2 billion in lost revenues and other expenses – may have been avoided. And it’s nobody’s fault, except for the fault of the Morrison government. And their performance has been so bad that it’s a performance that seems to have been directed by the Big Q. It’s frustratingly puzzling as to why they are refusing to build quarantine managements centres across Australia. Conservative governments are usually the advocates of free speech but in shades of the infamous East German Stasi secret service, the Liberal National government now wants to monitor the social media accounts of ABC journalists, publicly humiliate them, and sack them. The only parts that are missing are the megaphones shouting out “you know what you've done wrong” and the re-enactment of Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ will be complete. Of course, it's free speech for all, except for you, you, you and you, and anyone else the government disagrees with. The NSW Labor Right faction is an unusual beast in Australian politics, and in most cases is more concerned about its own influence, rather than the critical task of winning elections. They were the instigators of the resignation of NSW Labor leader, Jodi McKay, and now they have their man in the leadership, Chris Minns. And no-one should kid themselves that the Liberal Party is the only party that treats its women poorly: Labor has close to 50–50 gender equality within its ranks, but that doesn't stop it from undermining the women already in leadership positions, or making sure they don't get there in the first place.
The Budget Mirage And The Debts And Deficits Ruse
It’s Budget time and we've spent the last week analysing the third Budget announcement from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Our verdict? Don’t believe the hype: it's not a ‘big-spending’ Budget; and it’s not a Budget the Labor Party would have introduced. We think it's yet another lost opportunity for the Australian economy and the community – just like Peter Costello squandering the mining boom in the early 2000s, this could be another chance to make positive long-term changes to government spending that ends up being flushed down the drain. What would Labor do? We don't know: it's not the role of the Opposition of the day to provide itemised line items and specific policies the government and the media can then dissect and misrepresent – Albanese won't make the same mistakes Shorten made with the franking credits policy, where he allowed the Liberal Party too must scope to completely distort the intention of the scheme. Just the broad brush strokes of policy is all that's needed at the moment. Will the Budget swing the next election for the Liberal–National Coalition? Both the Budget and the Budget Reply will be forgotten at the time of the next election, and the verdict will still come down to competence and who the electorate will trust on debts and deficits.
Climate Change Action, Do We Need Religion In Politics, Vaccination Envy
The world is slowly moving towards climate change solutions and, once again, Australia is the laggard on the world stage but trying to tell everyone how well it's performing, even though no other world leader believes it. And this is the modus operandi of the Morrison government: lie, mispresent the data, gaslight, or divert the attention somewhere else. The US President, Joe Biden, might be an old man but he’s not a fool and knows a fool when he sees one. It’s obvious Morrison wants to lead a government that acts as the world’s double-exhaust pipes, and accede to the wishes of the many vested interests in the mining and oil sectors. But he’ll be in for a huge shock when he sees the size of the tariffs imposed on Australian goods and services exports. A milkshake video was released through a government-managed website – The Good Society – and if a casual viewer wasn't told about what the video was about, they'd be scratching their head trying to work out how smearing a milkshake in a man’s face relates to sexual consent and the serious issues of sexual harassment, rape and assault. But the content of these videos provides an insight into the mentality of the government that commissioned the videos in the first place: a government that wishes to impose its narrow-minded conservatism upon the community and searching for a teenage community that doesn't seem to exist anywhere in Australia. And its a conservatism based on the Pentecostal beliefs of the Prime Minister. Prime Ministers have the complete right to believe – or not believe – in any religion they choose, as long as it's a private matter. There is a church-state separation in modern democracies – for very good reasons – but Morrison wants the church to creep over in the political sphere. And it shouldn't be there. And the vaccination rollout keeps creating political problems for the federal government and they keep looking to apportion blame to everyone – except for themselves. Why did they take on the program in the first place? They provided massive amounts of stimulus funding to the state and territory governments and the states and territories ending up getting all the political credit, much to the chagrin of Morrison and Josh Frydenberg. They weren't going to allow that to happen again. So, they took on the implementation of the vaccination program, something the federal government has never done before, hoping to get all the political benefit, and a clear pathway to victory at the next federal election. And the pear-shaped result is exactly the result the federal government deserves.
Vaccination Fiasco, Feminising The Liberal Party, Labor On Your Side
The vaccination program is now officially in fiasco territory, with error after error and now another announcement of 20 million Pfizer doses "secured" after problems with the AstraZeneca vaccines. Which, of course, is not the same as actually having the doses in doctors’ surgeries all around Australia. We feel that it’s almost like the program has been designed to fail, because surely no government could handle such an important event so badly. If only Scott Morrison could stop overpromising and underdelivering, everything would be so much better for him. Is the feminisation of the Liberal Party actually taking place, or is it another case of window-dressing? It might be just another charade: it's not just a case of adding "women" into the titles of ministries, or the Prime Minister being photographed with more of the women who make up 51% of the population. Or deciding to wait four months for an urgent women’s safety summit. And after waiting 13 months to release a national sexual harassment report, Morrison’s behaviour shows that it's all about politics. The Labor National Conference was a virtual event this year, which means no backroom deals or incidental meetings to stitch up deals. Everything occurred online and in chatrooms rather than the backrooms, but a relatively sedate event suggests Labor believes it’s still likely that a federal election will be held this year. Otherwise, the conference would have seen old-school open brawls, hostilities between the factions, all of which would have been lapped up by the media. Best to wait for a non-election year. And most chatter in the media has been "who will Scott Morrison’s opponent be at the next election". But this might need to be switched around a little bit to suggest "who will Anthony Albanese’s opponent be at the next election". That’s how poorly Morrison is performing.
March 4 Justice, Vaccination Meltdown And A Thrashing In The West
The many women of Australia have said “enough is enough”, and said it loudly through the March 4 Justice campaign. But the Prime Minister is hard of hearing and wants it all to be on his terms, refusing to meet the organisers of the rally in public, wanting to meet behind closed doors and in private. Which is exactly what a rapist would do. And, of course, Attorney–General Christian Porter decided to launch his defamation case on the same day of the March 4 Justice rallies. Tone deaf! Vaccinations are another area which the federal government has totally mismanaged, and yet another example of incompetence which Scott Morrison, Greg Hunt and Chief Medical Officer are trying to spin their way through. The government promised the vaccination program would be completed by 31 October 2021, and have been using a megaphone to let everyone know. But now that the vaccination program is not going be completed by 31 October 2021, the government is adamant that they never actually said that. Apparently, everyone else in Australia has a collective case of mishearing and misinterpreting what Scott Morrison said, because he is always correct, even when he is wrong. One landslide election victory is rare; a second consecutive landslide victory has never happened before in Australian politics. Until the Western Australian election victory – a 9% swing in 2017, and a 13% swing in 2021. And the Liberal Party has been left with two seats in a chamber of 59 seats. That really is a wipeout – the Liberal Party also lost the seat of Nedlands, home of Gina Rinehart and Kerry Stokes. When the Liberal Party loses a seat like Nedlands, it really means the party might be over. The message? Competent governments are being rewarded at the ballot box. It will be interesting to see what the result will be for an incompetent government, which the federal government clearly is. Their time will come soon.
Untenable Porter, Aged Care Fiasco, Media Code Not In The Public Interest
Christian Porter’s political career is over. There won't be any legal proceedings arising from an allegation of rape in 1988 but the political repercussions will be far-reaching. And as long as the Prime Minister keeps resisting a call for a public inquiry into these events, this issue will keep burning in the background: for sure, there is a presumption of innocence within Australia’s legal system, but there also has to be a presumption of justice. Justice not only needs to be done, but it has to be seen to be done: and as it had been for many women in Australia for too long, justice has been left out of the equation. The Royal Commission for Aged Care Quality and Safety has released its report and it has outlined a 25-year disaster that started off when Prime Minister John Howard reformed the sector in 1997 to create business opportunities for Liberal Party donors and the involvement of the private and corporatised sector into social services. And it's a mixture that simply does not work. For-profit thinking shouldn't be anywhere near the provision of aged care services. The Media Bargaining Code is just one short step away from being law but, already, Google has signed deals with News Corporation, Nine Network, Seven West Media, The Guardian, and deals coming up soon for the ABC and SBS: $100 million from Google and another motza being delivered by FaceBook! And is this good for public interest journalism? Absolutely not, it's not even mentioned in the legislation. This is all about the government placing the media in its pocket in the lead-up to the next federal election. And a bucketload of money for legacy media, it's money for jam. It's actually a sad day for journalism and for the taxpayer.
A Rape At Parliament House, The Eagle Hasn't Landed, $20 Billion Tax Lies
It seems like there was a grand cover-up of a serious sexual assault of a female staffer in March 2019 at Parliament House, but who’s got time for that sort of wimmen’s business when there's an election to be won. If the allegations of rape had been revealed at that time, Scott Morrison would have lost that election, there's no question about this. A political decision was made to keep quiet about the incident but even then, the Liberal Party didn’t even have the decency to offer support to Brittany Higgins at the time. And now, they’ve started backgrounding the media that Higgin’s partner has a grudge against the government. So, it's all his fault. But she also happened to “find herself in this situation”, so it must be her fault. And “Jenny and the girls” seem to be offering Morrison all the advice he'll ever need about rape and serious sexual abuse. The Liberal Party is not just a threat to women, it's a threat to all of humanity. “The Eagle Had Landed”? The federal government has no shame when it comes to making announcements, and judging by the amount of announcements the government has made, Australia has one billion vaccines, or around 50 per person. But it's all a lie: the first batch arrived in Sydney a few days ago – 140,000, or 0.1 per cent of what the government has actually promised – and zero have been administered, compared to 190 million doses administered around the world. The vaccine rollout is going to be a political exercise – and a painfully partisan affair. The Labor Party has released policies which offer protection for workers in the gig economy, to guarantee superannuation payments, sick leave and holiday pay, and portable entitlements. Sounds very good for workers and a sensible reform. But that didn't stop Christian Porter from completely misrepresenting the policy as a $20 billion tax on business – which, conversely, means that keeping the existing arrangements is a $20 billion tax on workers, which no-one in the media decided to talk about. Can't stand in the way of a cheap and fast meal delivered to head office by a migrant riding dangerously through peak-hour traffic.
Not So Flash: Australia Day Hijacked, A New US President And An Early Election
Australia Day has been hijacked by the conservative side of politics. Which means that it's a day of vainglorious nationalism, jingoism, white imperialism and forgetting about the events of 1788, when an entire continent was stolen from Indigenous people, setting off 233 years of racism, oppression and subjugation: all at the stroke of a pen. Should the date be changed? Absolutely. There is a new US President and while there was a massive amount of grandstanding from Donald Trump about vote-rigging and gaslighting that the election was stolen, there was never any doubt that Joe Biden was going be inaugurated as President. There was an insurrection at Capitol Hill – even though the ABC initially refused to use the word, and the Australian media generally underreported the event. One of the biggest events in US history, but nothing to see here. Scott Morrison has lost a “friend” at the White House, although Harry Truman did once say, “if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”. What will a Biden presidency mean for Australian politics? What will it mean for world politics? An early election is being pushed by the media, and the first available date for a half-Senate election is 7 August 2021. Will Morrison go early? Will he face Anthony Albanese? Or someone else? There has been speculation that Albanese might be replaced unless he seriously lifts his game: we believe if Labor can resolve this leadership issue – whether Albanese becomes a more substantial leader or a new leader is installed – the Liberal-National Coalition will be removed at the next election. It’s a government that waiting to be thrown out of office, and deservedly so.
An Evil Government, 2020 Political Wrap And A Crystal Ball For 2021
Just when we thought this federal government couldn't get any more evil, it goes out and tries to legislate the Indue card into permanance, enlists three debt recovery companies to chase down welfare recipients and creates workplace conditions that will be even worse than the WorkChoices policies that were too extreme for John Howard to introduce way back in 2005. But when your policies are guided by the ghosts of Margaret Thatcher, what more could we expect? Except for the end of society because, according to Thatcher, it doesn't exist. Out of sight, out of mind. 2020 will go down as one of the most dramatic years in human and political history, and we look at what went right, and what went wrong. Australia did manage the effects of the coronavirus well – despite the efforts of the federal government – but we could have done so much better on setting up the building blocks for a better and far more sustainable economy for the future. It was a lost opportunity. And it ended up being politics and business as per usual. As we move into 2021, what are the dangers for Scott Morrison? And what are the dangers for Anthony Albanese? Both need to be looking over their shoulder, but for different reasons. It’s going to be an exciting year and, with the possibility of a federal election, it’s going to be a very interesting one.
Mr Morrison Goes To Tokyo, Spin And The Cormann Con
Mr Morrison went to Tokyo and returned empty-handed. But the 24-hour trip was never about Japan, it was all about continuing to avoid scrutiny and land the Prime Minister into a two-week quarantine at the Lodge – just enough to avoid the final Question Time of the year. Very convenient. And, of course, two weeks with the official photographer, ready to snap every pair of board shorts, thongs, exercise bikes and COVID test. It's outright propaganda. Meanwhile, Mathias Cormann is using a taxpayer military jet (and eight government staff) to boost his chances of becoming the Secretary-General of the OECD. But when your chances were zero, any kind of support is not going to make too much difference and we suspect this is a gig Cormann will not get. But which Prime Minister is going to stand in the way of the ambition of someone who collated all the numbers to bring him the primeministership in the first place? How many pizzas are needed to lock down an entire city? No, it's not an Adelaidian joke, it's a serious concern in the City of Churches. But it wasn't the "pizza guy" who caused the lock-down, it was government incompetence. The Brereton Report outlined allegations of war crimes against Australian military personnel in Afghanistan, and we’re sure this is going to create a great amount of angst within the military community – as well as guaranteed to ensure Scott Morrison keeps aways from tanks at the next election campaign. And will the December “killing season” cause any problems for the Labor leader, Anthony Albanese? We think it could be on the cards.
The US Election, Sex In The Cities And Goodbye Joel
The 2020 US Election has brought in a new President (we think) and the key question will be how an incoming Democrats administration will affect political behaviour in Australia and whether the Morrison government feels the need to do anything at all on climate change. Or change its economic philosophy. Or even feel the need to be more truthful with the Australian public, but we feel this is most unlikely. And will the media turn down the volume on Scott Morrison, as they did with Donald Trump? We don't think so, their courage is in short supply. US elections are always big news around the globe but the news Trump was on the verge of eviction from the White House was blown away by the revelation Ministers Christian Porter and Alan Tudge were having affairs with their female staffers, smooching in late-night bars in Canberra, and then getting rid of these staffers when they no longer suited their purposes. If only these men in positions of power could keep their hands to themselves and understand that a workplace isn't a place where we all go to have sex and drink alcohol – the world would be a much better place. We also report on the Queensland election result, the likely outcome for the next series of Australian elections, the bizarre decision of the ALP’s Joel Fitzgibbons to announce his resignation just when the government was on the back foot with its sexual harassment scandals – maybe that's what his intention was all along. Also, it's NAIDOC week and the government refused to fly the Aboriginal flag at Parliament House. Because nothing upsets a conservative government more than ceding an inch to Aboriginal people or engaging in symbolism that would have cost absolutely nothing.
The Burning Ring Of Australian Corruption
There's far too much corruption in politics but what can be done about it? There's a compliant media that is always at hand to cover over any corruption performed by conservative governments, and they were at their best when it came to the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian. A high stinking pile of corruption is slowing being uncovered at the hearings held at the NSW ICAC but the media decided to ignore all of that, and go for the ‘girl-in-lurve-dudded-by-the-bad-man’ angle, so the allegations of corruption could be easily swept away. Who needs the years of progress of feminism when there's a damsel in distress who needs to be rescued? Kevin Rudd, the self-named ‘determined bastard’, has launched a petition for a Royal Commission into the Murdoch media empire. And it's something that's well overdue. Murdoch’s influence over the media in Australia is offensive, pervasive, and it's almost like The Joker is in charge of Gotham City. As Rudd says, News Corporation is a cancer on the Australian political landscape. A Royal Commission won't occur if a Liberal Government controls the levers, it will have to wait until a Labor Government comes into office. But Rudd might be the right person to make this happen. And why did the Prime Minister go for an all-out postal attack on Australia Post? Of course, it was all about the $20,000 spent on Cartier watches but it was more than that. Morrison is under pressure for not introducing a national corruption commission, and the attacks on Australia Post were all about creating a diversion. This Liberal–National Government is all about smokescreens, and this was another one. Government by smokescreen. It's a very apt title for this Morrison Government.
The 2020 Budget And The Morrison Recession
It's that time of the year when we look at the federal Budget (seasonally adjusted), and the Treasurer has announced a $213 billion deficit. We have no complaints: Governments need to spend money according to the circumstances and with a national government debt reaching $944 billion, the main benefit the Australian electorate will receive is an end to the maniacal debates about “debts and deficits” and “how ya gonna pay for it”. Don't believe the neoliberalist tripe: governments can always pay for the things they need to pay for, austerity will never resolve economic problems. Anthony Albanese’s Budget Reply speech was regarded as “a line in the sand”, and a “make or break” moment by many in the media. Of course, a Leader of the Opposition is always going to be under pressure to perform, and this year is no different. His Budget Reply speech hit all the right points and focused on universal child care and early education and a streamlined national energy grid. But will it be enough to close down the background murmurings about his leadership? The COVID Recession, or the Morrison Recession? We suggest all the economic data and evidence points to the Morrison Recession, and we're surprised it has taken Labor so long to start using this well-deserved moniker. It's the result of seven years of poor economic management by the Liberal–National Government; the coronavirus sealed the deal. There is absolutley no question about this, despite the media arguing the opposite.
NBN And The Continuing Tales Of Corruption
The mainstream media and the federal government are still making their push to open borders, even though the continuing threat to public health is still there. Border closures are quite popular in the states and territories – 91 per cent support in Western Australia – and it's difficult to understand why vested interests are making this push, when the public support to open up borders is not there. But as we all know, anything is possible when vested interests hold hands with the Liberal government, which seems to be more often than not. The federal government is also in the habit of recycling, but not in the way we’d expect them to. Old programs, old ideas, old announcements are spruced up, polished and re-issued, sometimes the announcements contain exactly the same words as their previous announcements – coronavirus vaccines, "gas-led recoveries”, for example. It's a sign of a government that doesn't know what it's doing and doesn't have ideas. Problems in the National Party? Of course there are: it's a moribund organisation, and in such personality-based political party, it's always going to cause trouble for its Coalition partner. It's not a week in politics unless there's a report of more corruption in the federal government. A parcel of land worth $3 million was purchased by the government for $30 million. If only the government was able to purchase integrity, but how much would that cost? The NBN is supposedly going to be fibre-to-the-premises in three years time, but it's all smoke and mirrors, just to create a positive media message. Did anyone mention a ‘back-flip’.
Aged Care Disasters, Border Wars, Belting China Again
What does a government Minister have to do to lose their job? Losing control of aged care homes and allowing coronavirus to cause the death of over 400 people isn't enough these days. How we long for those good ol’ days when a Minister could be stood down for possessing a oversized teddy bear or filling out the wrong form. But that was so 1980s, and it's now the year of the pandemic: 2020. Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck still remains in his job, but we're really not sure why. The tedious and totally predictable border war continues, and while it's not quite like the Battle of Stalingrad, the federal government (Liberal, by the way) is taking aim at the governments of Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria (Labor, by the way) over border closures. But, apparently, “we're all in this together”, so (cynicism warning) it couldn't be anything to do with the Liberal Government playing base politics. And whenever this federal government is in trouble, it has two cards it can play: race and hate. This time around, it's all about China. The Belt and Road Initiative is a China investment program that Scott Morrison spoke glowingly about in June 2019 but has decided that he never said anything good about the program, never supported the Victoria–China deal in 2018 (yes, he did), and will now veto these projects. This all came out of the blue, and is all about ramping up pressure on Daniel Andrews and the Victoria Labor Government. Who’s got time for the national interest or eliminating coronavirus when there are political points to be scored by using the Royal Flush of race and hate cards? In shades of Orwell’s Animal Farm, Liberal Party foreign investment: good; Labor Party foreign investment: bad. It really is as simple and basic as this, a philosophy implemented by a government filled with simpletons. It’s like a Ship of Fools.
Morrison’s Blame Shifting, JobKeeper Rorts, Fundraising Scandals
The public’s patience with Scott Morrison’s constant obfuscation, deflection and outright lies is starting to wear thin. As Abraham Lincoln said “you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”. And we think Morrison may have reached the point of no return: once the public image of serial lying is set in stone, there's no turning back. It might not be so evident right now, but this sentiment is starting to gain traction. And there’s no ‘Real Scott’ campaign to fall back on, because what the public sees with Scott Morrison is what they get. This is very real. We were surprised to hear the hardware giant Bunnings is receiving JobKeeper subsidy support, even through their turnover is up by 19 per cent this year. And we were also surprised to hear some high-end accounting firms are also receiving JobKeeper. It's the price to be paid for getting the stimulus funding out as soon as possible, but surely the government could have foreseen some of these inequities and cleaned up the system so at least those in the cultural industries and the university sector could receive some of this support. Apparently, we’re all in this together. Just not everybody. But we weren’t surprised to hear the Liberal Party is using Parliament House to hold three fundraising events and we think it's the only reason why Scott Morrison changed his mind about holding Parliament again: to raise money for the Liberal Party. Parliament House is not quite like a church or a sacred site, but there is something very off about using the seat of government to hold party-political fund raising events. It’s seedy.
Maggie Thatcher Cradle Snatcher And More COVID-19 Corruption
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan instigated a brand of neoliberal economics and politics that affected the world for almost four decades. They left the political scene over 30 years ago, and whatever people think about their economic practices and policies – we think they were an absolute disaster for the world – they were major political figures of history steeped in the politics of the Cold War. But they were people of the 1980s and 1990s, and their policies are not the right policies to even remotely think about if we're looking at resolving all the economic issues of the 2020s. New thinking is required but is the Liberal–National Party the party that has the right ideas? Is Josh Frydenberg the right Treasurer for the times? We don’t think so. And the politics of COVID-19 continues, and it seems to be business as usual. Whatever people might think about the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, he turns up every single day of the week, delivering all the bad news about increasing numbers of coronavirus cases, facing the pressure forced upon him by the media and his many political opponents. And this is what the electoral expects from our leaders. Face the music. And lead. But where is the Prime Minister? As far away as possible from the problems, campaigning in Queensland, inspecting tuna fish at a Liberal–National Party donor’s seafood company, and heaping more political pressure on Andrews from a far-away distance, and supporting Clive Palmer’s High Court case to re-open the Western Australian borders. This is not the right leadership for the times. Just when we might think corruption might be over in government corporations, or directors might be more circumspect after all the focus on financial services and a Royal Commission into the sector, there's another large scale scandal occurring in iCare, the worker’s compensation scheme managed by the NSW Government. Or mismanaged. But whichever way, at least Eddie Obeid can longer be blamed for corruption: this is all on the heads of the NSW Liberal–National Government.
Eden-Monaro Wrap, Palace Letters And The New Republic, The Prime Minister For Football
It's a by-election the Liberal Party should have won, but didn't. Eden-Monaro. Despite all the resources put into the campaign, the Government nudged the margin by just 0.45% – not much and certainly not the massive swing and "brutal lesson to Labor" the New Corporation reported with glowing headlines in their local versions of Pravda and The North Korea Times. For all the glowing support provided to Scott Morrison by the mainstream media, there's an underbelly of electoral negativity that will come back to haunt this Government. The electorate is in a holding pattern to see how the Government responds in the long-term to COVID-19 and the downturn in the economy: if they mess this up, they can expect to be defeated at the next federal election in 2022. That's the main message from the Eden-Monaro by-election. And choosing strong local candidates is another key message. The Palace Letters were always going to be controversial, irrespective of their content: did they reveal too much about the 1975 Dismissal? Or too little? Either way, the release of the Letters will bring up the inevitable debates about should Australia become a republic. The British Monarch had too much influence in 1975, but 45 years later, it's a constitutional appendix that has no need and is an irritant on our political system. And, like an appendix, it's an operation that needs to be performed sooner rather than later. Hold the crisis: it's really time for the football. And for the Prime Minister, that really means going to the corporate box at Kogarah Oval to watch some grown men kick an oval-shaped pig-skin on grass, schmooze with business leaders and a former Liberal Party director, the one who somehow forgot he had donated $165,000 to the Liberal Party. That tends to happen to a political party that represents capital interests and big business. And that Liberal Party donor – also known as Scott Briggs – is someone who is keen to snatch the business of a privatised Australian visa processing system. Anyway, who's got time for a national crime and corruption commission to look into something like this. Don’t interrupt: there is a football game to watch, schooners to sip from, sponsors and donors to meet and greet. The wife and daughters are away too, so, it's time to drink up. The national interest can wait.
The New McCarthyism, Arts Attack, The Politics Of COVID-19
McCarthyism was that awful US syndrome from the 1950s, where the mention of ‘communism’ was like a combination of the bubonic plague, 1918 virus and COVID-19. It was a virus we thought the world might have rid itself of, but it's alive and well in 2020. It's no longer the Soviet Union causing all the trouble, but the Chinese Government, and the conservatives have a problem with them. And the politicised Australian Federal Police is always going to play its part, helping to stitch up a NSW Labor politician who mentioned a few nice words about the Chinese President. And, in case you missed, that's a NSW Labor politician, announced with a large megaphone. Are the Barbarians at the gate, and do they raise their guns at the mention of culture? It seems they do, with their constant attacks on the ABC and a meagre $250 million rescue package for the arts, screen and entertainment industry that's likely to kill it off, rather than save it. $783 million of funding has been cut from the ABC since 2014 and the government keeps saying “there is no cut to the ABC”. But, as George Constanza loves to say: it's not a lie if you truly believe it. And the politics of COVID-19 continues. Far from being the time where, as Scott Morrison said, “politics are to be left at the door”, this has been a time of more political ideology, more unhinged attacks, blame-shifting and targeting of the poor. One gets the feeling the government is getting a little bit inebriated on the Prime Minister’s high approval ratings and picking up that tried and tested attribute that accompanies political arrogance: tone-deafness. Will there be a political price to pay? We'll find out after the Eden-Monaro byelection.
A Tale Of Two Protests, Branch Stacking, An Open Economy, Insiders, JobKeeper Rorts
The Prime Minister supported radical anti-vaxer/5G/anti-lockdown/Bill Gates protests, saying people have a right to express themselves, but wanted to lockdown the Black Lives Matter and deaths in custody rallies. It’s an obvious duplicity but no one in the media pointed out this discrepancy. Perhaps it's a case where for the Prime Minister – and many in the media – black lives don't really matter that much. After all, Rio Tinto detonated Aboriginal heritage in the Juukan Gorge but police decided to set up a 24-hour guard on the statue of Captain James Cook. There's a history war that needs to be won. Branch stacking hasn't got anything to do with trees, but it's also not the sole domain of the Labor Party. The past two Liberal Party Prime Ministers have entered parliament on the back of “industrial-scale branch stacking”: Malcolm Turnbull in the seat of Wentworth; Scott Morrison in the seat of Cook. Branch stacking isn't illegal, but it corrupts the democratic process. Labor has acted to remove the stackers in Victoria. Will the Liberal Party also clean out their substantial mess? Are the economy and society opening up too quickly? Or too slowly? There's a second wave of coronavirus developing in northern China – Australia is managing the infection rate very well but the maniacal calls to open up the borders are falling along political lines. These calls are becoming quite predictable and quite boring, but it's best to show ‘abundance of caution’, as the Prime Minister keeps saying. The ABC’s Insiders program has been broadcasting since 2001 and screened almost 800 episodes. That's 20 years, and they’ve never invited an Indigenous journalist as a panelist until last weekend. 20 years. What is important now is how long it will be before the second Indigenous journalist appears, and whether they'll be asked to discuss general political issues, not just Indigenous issues. The government wants to end the JobKeeper support as soon as possible but will wait until after the 4 July byelection in Eden-Monaro. Why? Because ending JobKeeper will be unpopular and they want to win the seat. Cynical, yes. But if JobKeeper is removed, it will create an economic calamity. Watch this space. It's going to be fun.