Friday 21st of June 2019

garbage, rubbish, refuse, crap, waste, debris, detritus, litter, junk, scrap, discard, shit, scummo...


It's all too easy these days to talk about how the Government and the Parliament are dysfunctional.

So many prime ministers have come and gone. So many leadership coups that don't seem to resolve anything have occurred; so many politicians who seem happy to see their own government fall rather than rivals succeed; so little appearing to get done in the Parliament.

Thank heavens for the Brits really, who as the creators of the Westminster system, like to show the rest of us how it is really done, when you really set your mind to it.

We can only hope that this week's crisis around the Prime Ministership of Theresa May does not put any even sillier ideas into the heads of members of the Coalition here in Australia.

Just think about it: you call on a no-confidence motion in your leader, without having done the numbers to actually achieve anything.

You call a no-confidence motion that has the extraordinary outcome of making both your target — the Prime Minister — and yourselves — the hard Brexiteers — look weaker.

And it takes a particular level of weird to see a Prime Minister manage to rally a few votes in support for her continued leadership by promising she won't stay around to contest the next election.

The fact that no real leadership alternative exists, let alone a viable alternative to her proposals for Brexit, is just part of the nightmare that Britons wake up to each morning.

This is worth remarking upon if only to give us a little context, a little pick-me-up, to consider how our own politics is going.

Sure, the parliamentary year ended unattractively a week ago.

But the Prime Minister has been very busy this week announcing things, sometimes several things in one day.

While there have certainly been complaints aplenty in the last month or two about the Government grinding to a halt, this week has demonstrated what a Prime Minister in a hurry looks like.

And what it looks like is a Prime Minister with a list of things to tick off, but not necessarily in a way that sorts anything out.

The anti-corruption body you have when you don't want one 

The most splendid example of this is the Government's proposal for a national integrity commission.

The backdrop: widespread and growing calls for a federal anti-corruption commission, with the Opposition and more recently the crossbench, making it a bit embarrassing that the Government appeared to be resisting the idea, particularly after all that unfortunate pushback on a banking royal commission.

As the ABC reported a couple of months ago, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had changed his mind about a federal ICAC late last year and decided that it really should be something that was looked into.

But the Coalition has remained resistant to the idea of setting up a whole new body, given how many different arms of integrity officialdom already exist.

It may well have a point here.

But its track record on the banking royal commission, a sense of a stubborn refusal to do anything similar to the Opposition or crossbench, or to even really talk to them about it, weakens the Government's advocacy of the idea.

A tendency to over-egg their arguments — for example, the suggestion that ABC political editor Andrew Probyn would go to jail for criticising Tony Abbott — also doesn't help.

The political upshot of this is that, instead of either settling this issue down politically, and/or establishing the terms of the debate about what a national anti-corruption body should look like, the Government hasn't done either.

Let's face it, the push for a federal anti-corruption body is in part driven by a destruction of faith in our politicians and the potency of issues like rorted travel expenses.

So to announce a structure that conveniently happens to propose that investigations into politicians would remain behind closed doors, and simply be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, doesn't really cut the political mustard.

Some of the legal stars of our more famous anti-corruption bodies piled in. Geoffrey Watson SC, who had acted as counsel to ICAC in NSW noted it was "worse than having no commission, in my opinion".

Former NSW ICAC commissioner David Ipp told ABC radio that it was "the kind of integrity commission you'd want to have when you didn't want to have one".

This was a bit unfortunate when the Prime Minister opened his press conference announcing the move on Thursday as one of "two important decisions the Government has made that I believe are absolutely central, along with so many others, to the proper functioning of the successful modern democracy in which we live".

(The other was about religious freedom. But everyone seems a little confused about what the announcement actually was on that one).

Clearing the decks

On the same day, the Government announced a review into the "integration, employment and settlement outcomes for refugees and humanitarian entrants".

The Prime Minister said: "We want to make sure we are doing everything we can to help people get jobs, and integrate into the community".

These are really good things, of course. But there wasn't much else said about what this was all about and, sorry, that tends to leave it open to all the other context in which people discuss refugees and integration. Which is not universally very positive.

Finally, there were the signals that the Government will announce a stubborn decision to proceed with a policy to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. But not in a way which materially changes anything.

It's the time of year, and the time of the election cycle when governments are seen to "clear the decks" for an election by dealing with troublesome issues, or alternatively "put out the rubbish" by putting out all the messy announcements it knows it has to get out of the way, but which aren't particularly helpful.

The Government wants to focus the electorate's minds on national security and the economy, and it will do that again on Monday with the release of the mid-year review of the budget.

And whether it is clearing the decks or putting out the rubbish, a prime minister in a hurry may well have set up his battlefield by the end of January if he wants to go to the polls in March, rather than face a Theresa May-like humiliation in Parliament in February.

But being in a hurry, doesn't necessarily mean you know where you are trying to go. And this remains the problem for the current Government: giving the rest of us an idea where it is trying to lead us.

Labor, meanwhile, will spend the weekend in Adelaide trying to do just that.

Laura Tingle is 7.30's chief political correspondent.




sold out, but not sold out...

Sydney Theatre Company presents


Written and created by Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe

The punchlines keep rolling in

The Wharf might be needing a facelift, but The Wharf Revue is looking as young and gleeful as ever.

Those indefatigable kings of comedy, sorcerers of satire and masters of mockery, Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe, are back in the saddle and gearing up for another glorious year of political satire – this time in the Roslyn Packer Theatre. The stage will be bigger and so will the laughs. We like to think of it as continuity with change.

So, politicians take cover and pundits stand back, because there will be songs, there will be dance, and there will be some very funny impressions.

Join us as we sort the wets from the dries, the leaks from the fakes, and the factions from the fictions in this bigger, better and wharfier Revue than The Wharf could ever handle.

“Frequently dark, sophisticated and as well as being awfully clever it’s also totally idiotic and hilarious."

Stage Noise

Duration 1hr 30mins (no interval)
Content warning Strong language, strobe lighting effects, theatrical haze
New venue for 2018 Please note this production is playing at Roslyn Packer Theatre, not at The Wharf Theatre.

The performances are sold out, but the political satire is cutting and not sold out... 


The latte-sipping snowflakes are having a good time...

So how do you make theatre meaningful in a comfortable society like Australia?

"I think it is difficult to find a combative style in a relaxed and comfortable Australia," says Jane Montgomery Griffiths, a professor of theatre and performance at Monash University.

"We are all latte-sipping, avocado-eating snowflakes ... and that's a real problem."

Professor Griffiths says political apathy has, in part, led to an indifference to political theatre.

It's also suffering, she says, because audiences are increasingly attracted to high-budget musicals and lavish operas.

"The audience that goes to the theatre tends to be privileged, tends to be white, tends to be of high socio-economic and educated background. And so really where is the political content anymore?" she says.

"Predominately theatre is run by educated, privileged, white men, and they are the gatekeepers."


Read more:

santa bombardier scummo brings bombs and footballs...

Australia has for years employed a deterrence policy to disincentivize refugees from reaching its shores. However, a new report has found Canberra has played a major hand in creating the very asylum-seekers it despises.

Just last week, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) released a bombshell report that showed the Australian government had approved the export of dozens of shipments of military equipment to the Saudi-led coalition, currently wreaking a deadly war of aggression in Yemen, the poorest, most impoverished nation in the Arab world.

According to the report, Internal Defence Department documents, obtained under Freedom of information (FOI) requests, and from parliamentary hearings, have revealed that the government granted at least 37 export permits for military equipment to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and 20 to Saudi Arabia.

In January this year, Canberra also announced it was seeking to become one of the world’s top ten arms exporters, unveiling a new loan scheme for defence companies who are willing to sell Australian products overseas. Before this, Australian defense exports amounted to about $2 billion a year, apparently a figure too low for the government as it is presently only the world’s 20th largest arms exporter.

Australia projects it will spend $200 million between now and 2028 in order to reach that goal. At the time of its announcement, Australia’s Defence Industry Minister said that Australia would focus on boosting exports to its allies within the Five Eyes Alliance which includes New Zealand, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

If ABC’s recent report is anything to go by, however, it appears that Australia has found a much more lucrative arms market in the Middle East.

This year, Australia has contributed a mere $23 million in humanitarian assistance to Yemen. This is in comparison to more than $33 million in performance bonds that the government’s export credit agency has provided Electro Optic Systems (EOS), a rising Australian defence and space technology company. EOS is allegedly selling high-powered weapons systems to the UAE, a country whose role in the Yemen war has largely been masked by the mainstream media.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s long list of war crimes in Yemen has been public information for years. Almost two years ago, Reuters obtained a report written by a panel of UN experts who advised the UN Security Council that a number of the Saudi-led coalition’s attacks in Yemen “may amount to war crimes.” The experts investigated ten coalition air strikes between March and October in 2016 which killed over 292 civilians, including some 100 women and children.


Read more:




Prime Minister Scott Morrison has visited Australian troops in Iraq, thanking them for their service ahead of the festive season.

Key points:
  • Scott Morrison makes his first visit to Australian troops overseas as Prime Minister
  • The avid NRL supporter brought rugby league and Australian rules footballs
  • The PM also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi during the trip


Mr Morrison met with around 800 Australian servicemen and women in the region, many helping to train Iraqi security forces in the troubled country.

"Whether it's what we're doing now or what I know many of you have been doing for many, many years now, the Government thanks you, the Parliament thanks you and the other thing is the country does," Mr Morrison told the troops at the Task Force Taji base.

The avid Cronulla Sharks supporter brought gifts of rugby league and Australian rules footballs.


Read more:


Please read : the WW1 conspiracy...

rowing backwards with forks...

When Scott Morrison first became Prime Minister — 12 long weeks ago, when Wentworth was still the jewel in the crown of the Liberal Party, Julia Banks was still a Liberal MP and Andrew Broad still lounged jauntily athwart the marital moral high-ground — he asked his colleagues to think twice before airing their views.

Before stepping in front of a camera they should, he suggested, ask themselves: "Does this make the boat go faster?"

It should be noted that the PM is a man who can incorporate a nautical reference into just about any discussion. A man to whom the phrase "back when I was stopping the boats" is as appropriate for inclusion in a casual exchange with a beleaguered strawberry picker as it is in a Force 10 gesticulatory cyclone of agreement with Ray Hadley.

Not that Mr Morrison was the first prime minister to adopt the language of the sea when thinking out loud about how to manage his own government's seemingly inexhaustible gift for tripping over its own tackle.

It was only four years ago (that's about 36 in Australian prime minister years) that a penitent Tony Abbott, heading for the summer break, vowed to his punch-drunk colleagues that he would spend it "knocking one or two barnacles off the ship".

Mr Abbott's subsequent decision to strip down to his budgie-smugglers and slip below the waterline to affix a Prince Philip-shaped limpet mine to the hull of the HMAS Coalition — with pyrotechnically memorable results — is a matter of historical record.

So nautically flavoured strategic advice four years later from Mr Morrison, a leadership figure who is literally only there because Peter Dutton cannot count, was always going to be ingested with a grain of salt.

(We shouldn't judge, really. Political leaders propelled to temporary greatness by the innumeracy of their peers are as common as cats, and as unreliable of temperament. Some of them, like Mr Morrison, are eager to please but prone to coughing up unexpected hairballs. Some, like Mr Abbott, are better sent to a nice farm. And some, like Mark Latham, could probably have been judiciously euthanased before escaping to interbreed with Pauline Hanson.)

The ignominious end of Andrew Broad 

But enough of history. The present is alarming enough; something else we've soundly established in this crappy, crappy year.

Did you know, by the way, that "Canberra Bubble" has been named the Australian National Dictionary Centre's 2018 Word of the Year? 

The term was popularised by the Prime Minister, who is always looking for punchy ways to let broader Australia know that he's just as wrenchingly disappointed with everything as we are.

When Mr Morrison started out in late August, he was full of ambition and high expectations of his colleagues, who he hoped would go quietly and virtuously about the task of assisting their communities, pausing only to ask themselves, with monastic fervour: "Does this make the boat go faster?"


Read more:


Spending more times with real comedians on Tomorrow-Yesterday, it seems that Annabel is learning to be more incisively funny... Good one Crabb,

except for the conclusion:

"And while the recent decision of the Liberal party room to adopt similar rule changes was Peak Canberra Bubble news, it provides a flicker of hope that 2019 may be less stupid than the year we've just endured."

which is as pissy as usual.


Read from top.