Saturday salon 4/2

1. Julia Gillard gets a gong

It was a bit of a surprise, but congratulations to Julia Gillard, who was appointed a Companion in the General Division (AC) of the Order of Australia:

    for her “contributions to economic and social development, particularly policy reform in the areas of education, disability care, workplace relations, health, foreign affairs and the environment, and as a role model to women”.

    Having retired from politics in 2013, Ms Gillard is chairwoman of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) – a body bringing together governments, the private sector, philanthropists, teachers and students to improve education in some of the world’s poorest nations.

    On Australia Day, she is with a delegation travelling through the southeast African nation discussing how $90 million will be spent supporting 80,000 students and 24,000 teachers.

From the ABC, she said:

    “The uncomfortable statistic is that with current rates of change, it won’t be for another 100 years that we universally around the world see girls get to go to primary and the first few years of secondary school,” she said.

    “I’m putting my energy into how we equalise that and make sure every child gets a great education.”

2. Culleton gone

The High Court has ended the short and colourful career of Rodney Culleton.

At the time he was elected he was convicted for a crime which carried a sentence of more than a year, rendering him ineligible to serve in parliament. It involved stealing a set of car keys, worth $7.50. The conviction was later annulled, but that is irrelevant, according to the Court.

Now there will be a recount, and it looks as though Culleton’s brother-in-law, Peter Georgiou, will be welcomed by Pauline as the ON senator for WA. Culleton has previously said that he will be Georgiou’s chief of staff in that eventuality. Last night the word was that he was going to write a book.

3. One Nation fruit cakes

ON does attract some fruitcakes, including David Archibald, a candidate from WA who said the government could save funds by not supporting the expensive “lifestyle choices” of certain minority groups, like remote Indigenous communities. Then he took aim at single mothers, saying:

    “These are women too lazy to attract and hold a mate, undoing the work of possibly three million years of evolutionary pressure. This will result in a rapid rise in the portion of the population that is lazy and ugly.”

Patricia Karvelas asked Barnaby Joyce about this. Barnaby said he couldn’t walk in someone else’s shoes, suggesting a bit of empathy might be in order. Listen, he said, and then see if you can help.

I was proud of our Deputy PM!

4. Shoalwater Bay land grab

Back in May, during the election campaign, we heard the exciting news that $1 billion was to be spent in upgrading defence facilities at Shoalwater Bay, near Rockhampton. It’s about army training facilities for Singapore, who no doubt pay.

Now the locals have woken up in fright with the news that around 50 grazing properties are to be resumed. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the existing grounds are big enough, and she will talk to Malcolm Turnbull. Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls weighed in, saying he’s already spoken to his mate Malcolm, and Malcolm has directed Defence to see whether an alternative can be found. Barnaby almost said it won’t happen, but the final word is that Malcolm said he hoped all land purchases would be consensual, and compulsory resumption would be a last resort.

Words, words!

5. Trump

I can’t be bothered finding the links, but last night the American reporter the ABC’s talks to late at night said that Trump had conducted a Twitter exchange with Arnold Schwarzenegger during a prayer breakfast. Arnold had replaced Donald in his reality TV gig, and the ratings had plunged. Trump couldn’t help crowing about it.

Arnold suggested they swap jobs so everyone could again sleep in peace.

Then Trump went on to conduct his foreign relations with Iran via Twitter. Iran had conducted a ballistic missile test, and Trump told them they had better watch out.

72 thoughts on “Saturday salon 4/2”

  1. Gloated about someone else’s low ratings?
    The maturity, ah the maturity.

    BTW, of all our politicians, Mr Trunbull was a good choice to take the phone call from The Donald. Mr Trunbull has plenty of experience in keeping cool on his feet (courtroom exchanges, working for Mr Packer).

    My only question is this: what kind of bull is Trunbull??
    A nation awaits the answer…..

  2. Englishman and women prefer Marmite.
    Can we please not ignore that salient fact?

    Going on and on and on and on about one’s inauguration crowd size……

    Can we have policy discussions please? Looking at you too, Democrats.

    Kim Beazley, former ambassador and former winner-of-the-popular-vote, said on radio that “robust arguments” are part and parcel of US/Australian govt relations. Please get over it. I’m astonished that some Aussies are suggesting one shouty phone call means we have to reassess the alliance. Didn’t they read the frank, insulting, rude, impolite, shouty emails released by Wikileaks a few years ago??

    Surely we haven’t been taken in by the smooth spin and anodyne PR stories? Aren’t we smarter than that?

    Policies, policies, my kingdom for some policies.

  3. Someone pointed out that there is ample precedent for less than silky smooth interactions between our PMs and US presidents. Whitlam and Nixon were not bosom buddies, and Clinton made Howard wait in the snow while he chatted with the PM from Israel, from memory, and then gave him pretty short shrift.

    Beazley made the point that the US-Australia relationship was broader and deeper than the leaders.

    Peta Credlin reckons Turnbull blundered into the phone call with no plan B, and Bishop should have been in Washington rather than in LA. Still Hockey seems to have done well in patching things up

  4. Thanks for that link John, hilarious take on the situation. It is healthy to see so much humour and send ups in reaction to ‘The Apprentice President’. The Dutch were first to troll Trump with a video about “making the Nederlands second”, and a whole raft of European countries followed.

    The Swedish deputy PM trolling Trump with all-female photo signing a climate bill, “binding all future (Swedish) governments to net zero emissions by 2045. For a safer and better future”.

    While the German ‘Der Spiegel’ magazine probably takes it probably too far with it’s shocking front page of the orange man beheading Liberty jihadi style.

  5. Brian, Peter Hartcher in SMH calls for “Wake up Australia: the US alliance has never been our security ‘guarantee” He starts by quoting Sydney University’s alliance historian, James Curran.

    “It’s about the reliability of the US alliance. “It’s not unprecedented for the leaders of the US and Australia to have a tough, difficult, robust conversation.
    … I’m not sure the Trump administration gives a crap about the Australian alliance.

    Hartcher makes the point

    “… it is unprecedented for this sort of private conversation to be leaked. And it was a leak, according to Turnbull, that leaves him feeling “very disappointed”.

    James Curban asks the question

    If you have this sort of tension this early in the life of the administration over relatively small beer, what will happen in the event of a major crisis?

    Hartcher finishes off with

    This is not an argument for dumping the alliance. It’s still a valuable asset. It benefits Australia and complicates the calculus of any potential enemy.

    But unless you think we can bet the country on Donald Trump suddenly developing steady judgement and firm goodwill, this is a time for what Professor Curran calls “greater Australian self-reliance within the alliance.”

    Malcolm Turnbull has been acting as if nothing has changed. This is Trump time. A great deal has changed. Wake up, Australia!”

    In other news, some liberal MPs are agitating again for the same sex bill to go through parliament. On queue Abbott and co jumping up and down. Pass the popcorn please.

  6. I wake up every morning wondering what atrocity that mad man Trump has perpetrated overnight.

  7. 8 more years folks, settle in.
    You can’t dial up or down Government power depending your personal preference.

  8. 8 more years folks, settle in.

    I don’t think Trump can put up with eight years ridicule. I give him two years tops.

  9. I suspect that he is in breach of property related conflict of interest problems that may simply lead to him resigning or suffering impeachment before his first year is up. However, predicting what will happen to Trump has been a bit difficult in the past.

  10. Donald Trump’s travel ban appeal has been denied by the US appeals court. The ruling said that

    “Appellants’ request for an immediate administrative stay pending full consideration of the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal is denied,”

    The legal battle is expected to continue for days at least.

    Acting solicitor-general Noel Francisco forcefully argued Saturday night (local time) that the President alone had the power to decide who could enter or stay in the United States — an assertion that invokes the wider battle to come over illegal immigration.

    “The power to expel or exclude aliens is a fundamental sovereign attribute, delegated by Congress to the executive branch of government and largely immune from judicial control,” the brief said.

    Looks like Trump may be heading for a conflict with both the Judiciary and Congress.

    Trump has referred to the judge who made the ruling as a “so called Judge”.

    For Mr Trump’s order to be constitutional, Judge Robart said, it had to be “based in fact, as opposed to fiction”.

    Trump will have to change if if he is not to fall foul of the “based in fact, as opposed to fiction”.
    BTW, Judge Robart is a conservative judge with a respected legal mind.

  11. Looks like Trump may be heading for a conflict with both the Judiciary and Congress.

    He’s got Congress and about to have the SCOTUS,
    The right gave Obama only 2 years. ( no violent riots like now back then though )

  12. Yeah, almost compelling or captivating viewing, this curious play unfolding in the US, A nation being the captive of this archetypal trickster, in a plot resembling a mixture of Roman empire ca AD161 and a Ben Elton novel, “STARK” comes to mind.

    After Trump got elected, I reacquainted my with Reagan and revisited Hunter S Thompson on Nixon. I also remembered the shockwave that went through the community when Kennedy got assassinated and his brother later too. Anything is possible in America –“that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone.” hitting a bump in the road.

  13. Apropos Reagan, one of the best analysis of Trump’s raison d’être i have read, “From Goldwater to Reagan and now Trump” makes that connection well. She also makes a very good argument why “Americans will fight this latest brand of cartoon conservatism”.

    This professor of history at Boston College paints it as a quasi corporate takeover of US with a contemporary Gordon Gecko as CEO, enabled by a self serving republican majority and guided by people like Steve Bannon. There are important reasons why everybody should be informed about about that man. A bloody minded revolutionary and brilliant tactician who has compared himself to Lenin.

    Oh and sorry, I got my Emperors mixed up in my comment above. I did not mean Marcus Aurelius but his son.

  14. Order more popcorn, Bernardi’s phone is running hot! I knew that something was up when I mentioned the new same sex marriage ructions in the government. It would appear some tectonic event is occurring under content Broad Church. Just a slight tremor or is a tsunami watch warranted, what yous think?

    It would very hard to beat the rating of the rebranded Cartoon Conservative Road Show at present, some emerging good comedy is giving it go. Particularly Melissa McCarthy with a searingly sharp impersonation of Sean M. Spicer on Saturday Night Live is brilliant in making us laugh while at the same time see the stark tragedy of the real situation. Apparently Trumbles phone call from ‘The Donald’ on the same show is also good, but apparently they did not get Truffles accent right.

    Never mind comedy, wait for sport to compete for ratings. And apparently it is not popcorn for this show, but kick back, and crack a beer.

  15. Buongiorno, Signor Bernardi!
    Como sta?

    Mille grazie, Senator
    for a lovely start to the Year of the Rooster.


    but remember, today’s Rooster is tomorrow’s Feather Duster.
    Do I hear a cock call?
    A cocks comb?
    A cock jock?
    Cock corn, anyone?

    Cock and Bull.

  16. Now that the adults are back in charge, I still can’t see Mr Trunbull being replaced by Mr Rabbit.

    It would be too copy-cat of Labor’s: R -> G -> R

    Moreover, Mr Rabbit has pretty much sunk without a trace, faithfully keeping to his pledge not to undermine or backstab. Not like horrid Mr R who undermined Ms G at every opportunity, and even demanded a Ministry!!

    No, I think it would be
    Scott, Scott, Morrison, Morrison

    or the other Ms Bishop, not the helicopter one.

  17. If the government doesn’t want negotiate with Labor or the Greens, they must get Xenephon, ON and bits and pieces on side. I think Xenephon is and will remain the most influential, and does the most policy work. Bernardi will just be one of the bits and pieces.

  18. Fairfax online headline says “Cory goes out swinging.”

    1. Who observed him partying?
    2. Why are we being told about his private life?

  19. I must admit it’s courageous, crazy brave maybe.
    Like Penny I admire him being true to his long held and current convictions.
    He won’t be a darling of the media, but them being so much less relevant to his target voters, it shouldn’t matter much.

    In 2 years we will see.

  20. Jumpy, I don’t think we’ll see much in two years, and Cory of course has another five and a half.

  21. Ah yes, 5.5.

    You remind us all he was a top Lib Senate pick rather than a half termer, thanks.

    Half a decade to build a Party from launch , less than Pauline but more than Nick.

    Should be able to vet ( properly ) a viable candidate in each State for the next ( half Senate ) election though, no rush.

  22. Jumpy: It helps for a Senate campaign to have local candidates and booth workers, campaigners etc.
    Is he merely going to compete for far right voters that would currently supporting ON or is he going to to attract more people to the conservative right in general?

  23. Hard to work out, John.

    Doesn’t he claim to have about 50,000 following his website?
    The questions then are, how many of those will donate cash, how many would be prepared to stand at a polling booth for a few hours; and how many were just gawking at the website?

    Very much “a work in progress” and “part of the national conversation”, as we say these days.

  24. Bill Shorten has said he Labor might be willing to support a move to allow the deportation of children who commit serious crimes.

    Mr Shorten told Sydney radio station 2GB there may be merit in the change.

    “You’ve got to have an honest discussion about what is the best message to send every other person,” he said.

    “If someone was sent back to the old country, I reckon that would straighten out a few people.”

    A number of overseas-born children who have committed serious crimes in Victoria have been referred to Border Force for potential deportation.

    The Joint Standing Committee on Migration is currently examining the screening process when people are given Australian visas, support services when they arrive in Australia, and whether the visa can be revoked if migrants become involved in gangs.

    The inquiry’s chairman, Liberal MP Jason Wood, last year expressed concerns regarding gang violence in his Melbourne electorate, saying young people were getting involved with the Apex gang.

    Wikipedia says that the Apex gang is a

    is primarily composed of young Sudanese men and boys.[24][26] It also has a number of members from Somali and Pacific Islander backgrounds, particularly from its merger with the YCW gang, as well as minority amounts of members from Caucasian, Pakistani and Afghan descent.[3][27]

    Returning minors (and adults) to places like Southern Sudan and Somalia could end up being defacto death sentences.
    Hope Shorten thinks his way through this proposal before supporting it.

  25. John, and Bill, knowing you can be deported would be a massive disincentive to do wrong, right ?
    And what obligation of the Parents of these ” children ” ?

  26. Na, the “Young Crucified Warriors” (YCW), nice try.
    The Mongols MC too apparently.

    A smarter version of Candos VLAD Laws ( that Palacechook promised to remove but didn’t ) may be the tonic. IF (big if ) the Boys in Blue can enforce it properly without breaching regular folks Civil Liberties.

  27. Jumpy: Some refugees come as unaccompanied minors because they have been separated from family, their families have been killed or they have been kidnapped and made to serve as child soldiers.
    My wife had quite a bit to do with South Sudanese communities when she was preparing English/Nuer and similar picture dictionaries. She was impressed by the effort put in by these communities to keep their youth headed in the right direction. Not sure what the issue is in Vic.

  28. John, yeah, Ive met a couple of Suddies through Footy, shyer than most.

    Id love a breakdown on unaccompanied minor migrants ( State parental ) v accompanied minor migrant ( alleged natural parents ) crime stats.
    Don’t think we can compile them though, icky area for some.

  29. A word of advice, Jumpy.
    Never visit Africa!

    The ultimate indignity is to be impaled by an impala.

    Victims turn a paler shade of white


  30. John Davidson: Kind regards to your wife for her efforts on an English-Nuer picture dictionary. That’s the sort of thing that does more for real inter-community harmony than does all the media-grandstanding in the world. 🙂

  31. I second that Graham, dinkum grassroots action – the stuff that glues our nation together. Indeed a pleasant change from all this etherial FEAR and BUY stuff everywhere.

    On a day like today when a large part of the nation is going through it’s third extreme heatwave, to parade a lump of coal through parliament? An equal act to Abbots “blood oath”, Morrison will inherit that curse.

    Apropos “blood oath”, I had to pinch myself when I first read that headline and I still can’t believe what I read.

    Senior Republican statesmen propose replacing Obama’s climate policies with a carbon tax

  32. Oh Ootz, why the surprise at a lump of coal being paraded?

    There should be no surprises since so many believe that the physical laws of the universe can be suspended so that the Holy Market [here, all genuflect] can be worshipped – or believe that making a concoction from part of a rhinoceros’ face can restore youthful virility to impotent old men.

    By the way, after a few months of unreliability, the internet here seems to be working every day now.

  33. Graham, sorry for being ambiguous, I am surprised about the quoted and linked headline at the bottom of my comment 🙂

    On the lump of coal, well the government must be absolutely desperate in holding on to their toey rwn backbenchers and dwindling clean coal clan or maybe it is party funds from mineral council.

  34. There should be no surprises since so many believe that the physical laws of the universe can be suspended so that the Holy Market [here, all genuflect] can be worshipped – or believe that making a concoction from part of a rhinoceros’ face can restore youthful virility to impotent old men.

    The Free Market is the antidote to mystical thinking.

  35. In other news,
    “In the last year there has been an almost 100% spike in complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman about the NBN’s slow download speeds.

    Australia has fallen from 30th to 57th in the world for average peak internet speeds behind New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia over the past three years.”

    But NBN CEO says Aussies Don’t Want Super-Fast Internet And Wouldn’t Use It Even If It Was Free,

    There is a special place in history for political opportunists who kneecap the nation which they were in charge to govern.

  36. Sorry I’ve been missing for a couple of days. On Wednesday I was on a job, and was treated as less than fully human in my perception. On Thursday I kept thinking about it and feeling a bit miserable. It may happen again, but if it does that will be the last time.

    On Friday morning I had a phone call. I’d missed going out on a job on Thursday. Clean forgot about it. No harm done, except lost earnings.

    I’ve been pretty OK on the outside but I think a bit chewed up inside. Anyway there’s a lot worse happening just about everywhere every day.

    I think I’ll be late with SS and am working on a post on blackouts and the energy wars. And we are being promised three days of furnace-like weather, so I think we’ll be at the movies if we can find a seat!

  37. Jumpy: The free market must rank near the top of mystical beliefs that are doing damage to our world.

    No, corruption of the Free Market and Open Competition is what does the harm.
    Having free, uncorrupted, voluntary transaction between two consenting adults is a win/win.

    Centrally planned price fixing is immoral and destructive.

  38. Having free, uncorrupted, voluntary transaction between two consenting adults is a win/win.

    That’s a perfect example of a mystical belief, unless you have some examples of it happening in the real world (as opposed to your imagination).

  39. Of course, but better still, go to a small farmers markets tomorrow an see for yourself.
    Plenty of untaxed, unregulated, consensual trades. Seller is happy or he wouldn’t sell, buyer is happy or he wouldn’t buy.

    Age, gender, Nationality, race, class or religion is ignored.
    It’s a beautiful thing.

  40. Brian
    The Robber Barons were NOT free traders, used illegal means to crush competition, did not respect property rights and couldn’t have gotten what they did without corrupt Government officials.

    Pretty much like the uber-wealthy in socialist countries.

    They did not conduct free and consensual trade and are condemned by Libertarians.

  41. Jumpy, it was not meant to be a barb.

    The world you described thus:

    Plenty of untaxed, unregulated, consensual trades. Seller is happy or he wouldn’t sell, buyer is happy or he wouldn’t buy.

    can only exist where everyone has equal power, everyone respects everyone else, will not manipulate them or harm them in any way.

    That only exists in mystical dreaming, and a few unusual places like small farmers markets, which operate within a broader regulated environment.

    Even property rights do not exist in a vacuum, but have to exist in a regulated environment, where an entity like the state has to have the overriding power.

  42. Yep:

    No, corruption of the Free Market and Open Competition is what does the harm.
    Having free, uncorrupted, voluntary transaction between two consenting adults is a win/win.

    When people’s mystical beliefs are challenged by the facts they often say that the thing was not done properly.
    I have spent a lot of time tuning coal washery control systems. One of the more basic things you learn is if the control system responds too fast the system becomes unstable and the plant may bog completely or send slurry all over the floor. You have to get the response just right and use some more advanced controls to get a system that has the optimum reaction to changes.
    Look at what goes on with things like the value of currencies and the politest thing you could say about the economic control systems is that they have plenty of scope for improvement.

  43. No-one is advocating anarchy Brian.
    If Governments was confined to protection of rights and defence they just may succeed in not stuffing us around, and far more economically prudent.

  44. Problem is, Jumpy, that governments, even in a democracy don’t work perfectly, nor does the justice system, so you live in a corrupted system where power and privilege will always distort what happens.

    Your ideals may be good and pure, Jumpy, but in the real world they remain mystical dreaming. Mine too, for that matter.

    It’s what we can best make out of the realities given that matters.

  45. I never expect perfection given humans are involved but I’m for reducing corruption and coercion from all sides, and Governments are the most coercive entity we have, thus more open to corruption.

  46. Seller is happy or he wouldn’t sell, …

    Another mystical belief.
    In a farmer’s market the seller is selling produce which must be sold within a certain time because it has a limited shelf life.
    If within that time they cannot find a buyer prepared to pay more than the cost of production they will lose money – either the produce is unsold or sold at less than the cost of production. I know of no sellers who are happy under in that situation.
    A similar argument applies to the buyer who may feel obliged to buy, but is unhappy with the price paid.

  47. If the producer is smart he estimates the demand and has alternatives, e.g. tomatoes unsold can be made into long life tomato paste.

    Buyer that are unhappy are idiots, just walk away.

  48. Buyer that are unhappy are idiots, just walk away.

    Parents who want fruit and veg for their children are idiots because they are unhappy when unseasonal weather takes out the crops and the price soars?
    If you ever want to get out of construction I’ve got a unicorn stable I can let you have really cheap.

  49. Do your unicorns have a flexible if diet, if not I’ll have to walk away from that transaction.
    I have other options.

  50. Jumpey: Now that we have had plenty of time to reflect on the after-effects of having Thatcher, Bush Senior (the puppeteer of Reagan), Yeltsin, Berlesconi, Hawke, Bush The Born-Loser, the Economic Rationalists and the Neo-Cons in power, what is laughingly called Capitalism or the Free Market looks remarkably like Communism, Mark II.

    The names and badges are a bit different but the similarities stare you in the face. The Free Market is chock-a-block full of superstitions and blatant defiance of the physical laws of the universe too.

    Yes. It is grossly corrupted, just as Christianity was corrupted, and Islam and Buddhism were corrupted too.

    The best thing we can all do is ignore the “Free Market’s” equivalent of the calls to prayer, laugh at its holy texts, poke fun at its sainted celebrities and say “No!!” to its electronic opium of the people. Instead, we can just work things out for ourselves, pay for what we must – and dodge paying the levies the robber-barons of keep inflicting on us.

  51. Anyone that think Trump is a free marketeer doesn’t know what a free market is.
    He’s more like the Nats and ALP on trade.

  52. Who can forget this Liberal party free market unicorn?

    The first thing any student of basic economics learns is that a free market is the most efficient method to allocate resources. And this is where Direct Action gets it all wrong, writes Ian Verrender.

    It was a throwaway line over lunch.

    Back when the Coalition was in opposition, a former senior party adviser, chortling at the incongruous nature of the fight over climate change, couldn’t help himself.

    “You know what the main difference is between us?” he asked. “The (Labor) government wants to take money from polluters and give it to taxpayers while the Coalition wants to take money from taxpayers and give it to polluters.”

    If it wasn’t so serious, it’d be hilarious.

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