Sunday 27th of May 2018



Here we are when we thought it was safe to go back in the water, Annabel springs an analysis of democrasea upon us. Those murky waters need not to be disturbed, unless we recall the joyful Whitlam years:

"I shall continue to accept the advice that I and my predecessors have accepted — that in the interests of security I should travel by Royal Australian Airforce aircraft. In this context I want to assure honourable gentlemen that the body guards they see accompanying the Leader of the Opposition are not to prevent other people from shooting him but to prevent him from shooting himself."

                       Gough Whitlam




About two years ago, Queensland paramedics stopped asking patients, "Who is the prime minister?" to establish their degree of mental acuity.

It was getting too difficult to distinguish between the genuinely befuddled and the geezer who simply hadn't caught the news that day.

Now they just go for, "What did you have for lunch?" instead.

Other things about our democracy have changed over that time, too; not just the drapes in the prime ministerial suite.

One of the most confronting changes is the level of faith Australians have in our democratic system.

According to research commissioned by the Museum of Australian Democracy and spliced into ongoing trends from the always-interesting Australian Election Study, satisfaction with democracy has halved over the past decade. Halved!

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a penny is worth ten julies...

The Coalition has unsuccessfully tried to censure Labor's Penny Wong as the citizenship row escalates further into a brawl over the relationship with New Zealand.

Key Points:
  • The Coalition questions Senator Penny Wong's fitness for office
  • Senator Wong denies news of Deputy Leader Barnaby Joyce's citizenship was prompted by her COS
  • A—G George Brandis tried to move a censure motion accusing Senator Wong of "engaging in inappropriate conduct"


Foreign Minister Julie Bishop accused Senator Wong of using a New Zealand Labour MP to ask questions in his Parliament in a way that was clearly designed to undermine Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Mr Joyce has asked the High Court to rule on whether he is eligible to remain in Parliament after discovering he was a dual citizen with New Zealand.

He has now renounced his Kiwi citizenship.

Senator Wong said her chief of staff Marcus Ganley had informal discussions with New Zealand friends about Australian political issues including citizenship.

But she insisted that the news about Mr Joyce's citizenship broke because of questions from Fairfax journalists — it was not prompted by her chief of staff.

Despite that, Attorney-General George Brandis tried to move a censure motion accusing Senator Wong of "engaging in conduct which makes her unfit to ever hold the office of Foreign Minister".

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Look. Penny Wong is a fine politician, mostly ten times more trustworthy than Julie Bishop. This said of my chest, revising the joyful Whitlam years:

"Mr Menzies is a Prince among performers but a pauper in performance..."  Gough Whitlam

two-bob bob and a mediocre lawyer...


Former prime ministers John Howard and Bob Hawke have warned that career politicians without enough life experience are letting the public down.

Both men were asked to reflect on the state of Australian democracy in a discussion with Annabel Crabb on Wednesday night at the National Press Club, where they said both major parties were becoming less representative of the people who usually voted for them.

"My advice consistently to every young person who comes and asks me about [entering politics] is to make a life first," Mr Hawke said.

"I detest seeing a young bloke or lady go into a trade union office, or a politician's office, and spending a good deal of their time organising numbers in the branches."

Mr Howard said all political parties needed to do a better job "filtering" candidates to make sure they were from diverse backgrounds.

"We have too many people who enter Parliament now, particularly at state level, who have had no experience in life other than politics," he said.

"They've gone from school to university to the trade union, then to a politician's office.

"If you're on my side, they skip the trade union and they go to the politicians.

"We have too many now and I think it's part of the problem we face."

Mr Howard worked as a solicitor at law firm Clayton Utz for 12 years before entering Federal Parliament, while Mr Hawke was president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Identity politics 'poison in a democracy': Howard

Mr Howard said one of the problems with politics was that too many people were preoccupied with identity politics, which he described as "poison" in a democracy

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The real poison in a democracy are the lies coming from the leaders to score points on their nemesis and the lies such as "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction" to go into an illegal war, bypassing parliamentary debate and informed public. On this score alone John Howard should be behind bars.

The real poison in democracy is the mediocre mass media de mierda that promotes ruthless right wing ideals and falsities such as "global warming is crap" without scientific proofs.

The real poison in democracy are old kooks like John Howard and Bob Hawke who managed to get away with distorting reality and now telling us how to do it again with their old dunny-view wisdom. One of them was an average grocer in a law firm with a skilled bentology for telling platituded porkies and the other had a private life that would make the bickering roman gods blush. Both were manipulative and abused the goodwill of the Australian people — a goodwill which other liars like Tony Abbott and Turnbull have eroded thinner than a blistering fair skin that has seen too much sun. 

Time to retire to the village.




democracy in private hands...


Every week, the most fundamental mechanics of how law is made, or of democratic theory, or the values of liberalism, are misstated by those who are entrusted with law-making power in a sovereign parliament. These are broadcast far and wide, as the pronouncements of a prime minister or minister (or former prime minister) are inevitably deemed worthy of prominent coverage.

Apart from trashing public debate, this produces cumulative inefficiencies. Every week, I have to allocate class time to debunking ideological nonsense, and economic illiteracy and historical revisionism before we can continue with the core task of learning how the Australian legal system and its law-making arm (the legislature) works.

A sample of the offerings from this week includes Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull equating vandalism with Stalinism and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg complaining that power companies are "gaming the system" by maximising profits in a system designed for profit maximisation. It includes serial misinformation offender Peter Dutton, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, telling a Sydney shock jock that Government policy goals are "frustrated" by the Australian Constitution.

Because of the moral measure of these terrible people, the smog of these filthy falsehoods clouds our public debate like the disgraceful inaction on coal-fired emissions and nobody in public life has the capacity or political will to shut it down.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg admits there's 'no silver bullet' to the nation's power crisis ahead of meetings with retail

— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) August 29, 2017


Take the idea that corporations pursuing profit maximisation are "gaming the system". That a minister in a neoliberal government is willing to pretend ignorance of how capitalism works is presumably a mark of desperation. Or maybe Frydenberg genuinely does not understand what privatisation entails. If so, he is hardly the right person to be tasked with addressing the inevitable profit maximisation which follows from selling public utilities to private interests.

Government hand-wringing on power prices is likely mere populism anyway, given that residential usage is less than 10 per cent of total energy consumption. The real issues are our dismal record on climate policy, and the urgency of shifting to renewables, but this government is beholden to climate denialists and, as such, can not and will not be honest or competent on climate mitigation.

Nor can it genuinely engage with the realities of Australian history.

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democracy alla completely weirdo...

Richard Glover is an Australian writer and broadcaster.

How should a country decide the issue of same-sex marriage? Most hold a referendum (Ireland, for example) or they leave it to a vote of their elected leaders (such as Germany).

In Australia, though, we’ve developed our own peculiar process. We’re going for a nonbinding, non-compulsory postal vote, which — for legal reasons — has to be dressed up as a survey.

People are now busy campaigning on both sides, with television commercials and heated arguments. The voting forms — sorry, survey inquiries — are due to arrive in our mailboxes in a couple of weeks. And yet the whole project may well be illegal: Australia’s High Court this week is hearing submissions as to whether the whole caper is unconstitutional.

Even if the High Court gives approval, the postal vote will still be a peculiar piece of policy. It will cost nearly $100 million (U.S.), even though its result can be ignored by Parliament, and — in terms of statistical accuracy — could be better achieved by a polling company at the cost of a few thousand dollars.

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