Saturday salon 11/2

1. Royal commission into child sexual abuse

I haven’t been able to bring myself to post anything on the Royal commission into child sexual abuse so far. The sheer horror if it has been too much for words.

Now we have some numbers in relation to the Catholic Church.

    In her opening address, Gail Furness SC said a survey revealed 4,444 allegations of incidents of abuse between January 1980 and February 2015 were made to Catholic Church authorities.

    Ms Furness said 60 per cent of all abuse survivors attending private royal commission sessions reported sexual abuse at faith-based institutions.

    Of those, almost two-thirds reported abuse in Catholic institutions.

1,880 alleged perpetrators. Astonishing in some orders. Schools as a young Lutheran I played rugby against – Christian Brothers 22%, Marist Brothers 20.4%, De La Salle Brothers 13.4%. Then Brothers of St John of God 40.4%.

From The Guardian, overall, seven per cent of Australia’s Catholic priests. The average age of alleged victims was 10.5 for girls and just over 11.5 for boys.

I think setting up the commission was one of the best things Julia Gillard did while PM, and I think the future will be different.

2. Turnbull’s rant

I’m not a great fan of Van Badham, but I think she was close to the mark in her take Turnbull’s classist spray against Shorten just highlights his elitism. When you are in a club of privilege, it is important that you keep riff raff out.

It won’t go down as one of Australia’s great speeches, which Gillard’s ‘misogyny speech’ will. It looked like confected rage that he had practiced in front of the mirror. Gillard’s was off the cuff, with only a few facts on a piece of paper.

Even Bernard Keane said it was Keatingesque. Rubbish, I say. Keating’s were barbs rather than speeches.

Keane was right to ask why it should be inappropriate for a union leader to talk to company bosses. When you think about it, Turnbull would truly rather that unions did not exist.

3. Laurie Oakes nails it

This morning Laurie Oakes has the best piece of all in Courier Mail with the title Flogged with wet lettuce.

[Paywalled. Google Laurie Oakes MALCOLM Turnbull’s massive Parliamentary bollocking of Bill Shorten came in the nick of time. His party was on the point of giving up on him.]

He gives the whole background, and says Turnbull is nothing like Keating. Compare “Can a souffle rise twice?” as a comment when Andrew Peacock returned to the Liberal leadership, or his describing Peter Costello as “All tip and no iceberg”.

Problem, is, says Oakes:

    the point Shorten was making before Turnbull erupted will not go away — namely, that the government is using legislation to boost childcare as cover for making cuts to family payments and paid parental leave.

    And, more broadly, that a wealthy Prime Minister out of touch with people at the lower end of the income scale is presiding over policies that help the rich and hurt the less privileged. One intensely personal speech bagging the Opposition Leader might take the heat off Turnbull for a while, but it will not solve the problem for the PM in the longer term.

    He needs to apply the same passion and rhetorical skill to explaining his policies and disproving Labor’s case.

4. Giant sink hole

I can’t resist, as reported by John D, a giant sinkhole opened up near Turnbull’s home:

Sinkholes can swallow the rich as well as the poor.

Here’s an article on Sinkholes explained: How are they caused and what are the warning signs?

5. Trump toes the line on ‘One China’

Seems Trump has decided Taiwan should not get in the way of doing business with China, so the leaders are now talking. President Xi Jinping had previously sent Trump a letter of congratulation on his 20 January inauguration, to which Trump responded. However, it seems that through the back channel Xi had made it clear that there would be no talking unless Trump respected the ‘One China’ policy.

6. George Christiansen headed for One Nation

From the Courier Mail George Christensen: MP could quit LNP for One Nation after issuing ultimatum over sugar deal (paywalled).

    GEORGE Christensen has told Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce he is uncertain about his future with the LNP and has refused to rule out joining One Nation.

    The thorn in the side of Malcolm Turnbull has used his strongest language to date about his future with the LNP amid an ongoing bitter war ­between cane growers and international agribusiness ­Wilmar Sugar Australia.

    A frustrated Mr Christensen said if the Turnbull Government failed to act in the interests of cane growers, he would be politically “dead” in his electorate – and “I might not as well bother running at the next election under the LNP banner”.

    Asked what banner he would run under, he would not say but did not rule out defecting to One Nation.

He wants a code of conduct for negotiations, with the ACCC as umpire.

I think Christiansen will jump ship sooner or later. He’s only there because ON didn’t run against him last time.

7. One Nation stunning surge in Queensland

In late breaking news:

    Today’s Courier-Mail carries a Galaxy poll of state voting intention of Queensland, the most eye-catching result of which is that One Nation is at 23% of the primary vote, up seven points on the last such poll in early November. Both major parties are down four points, Labor to 31% and the Liberal National Party to 33%, with the Greens on 8% and Katter’s Australian Party on 3%. Labor maintains its lead of 51-49 on two-party preferred, but such numbers have to be regarded as suspect with the non-major party vote as high as it is.

There’s more at the Courier Mail and the ABC.

The situation is probably that the LNP can’t win in its own right, and even though Labor is 52 TPP in the poll, its chances are not great either.

One expert this morning said ON might be good for 27 seats. It occurs to me that ON might wipe out the former Nationals seats to become the major conservative party.

Introduction to Saturday salon

Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

    The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

71 thoughts on “Saturday salon 11/2”

  1. My computer is running hot in this weather, so I’ve published this.

    I’ll go have a lunch break, and proof-read it later.

  2. Geez I’d love a National Journalists Party (NJP) to form, I doubt they’d win one seat.
    Van Badham could lead them with Oakes as deputy.
    But who’d take the Treasurer spot ?

    On the up side, for them, the polls would be over flattering.

  3. Well it’s true that politicians are in low public esteem, and from memory journalists are a tad lower.

  4. If you look at this weeks Essential Report it had a total of 41% supporting a similar ban on Muslims coming to Australia to Trump’s blocked plan. (Oppose 46%). This makes it hardly surprising that a party like ON whose main plank is opposition to outsiders is doing well. with 10% nationally. In Qld there are additional factors like the decline in the coal industry, the shutting down of the Townsville nickel plant and problems in other regional areas.
    It is a bit hard to say what the situation will be when the state election is run. My guess is that if Trump goes badly this could hurt ON because ON was so happy with the Trump win. It is also possible that some people will see the conflict in a party that claims to be about helping the little man while talking about concessions for the rich.

  5. Re the giant sink-hole. Obviously Trump has instructed the CIA to make it clear to Malcolm that he won’t put up with any nonsense.

  6. Thanks a lot for putting up a post about the damning report on the Catholic Church (it is certainly not the only organization in which such crimes were committed and the perpetrators protected).

    This whole scandal has done a lot of grievous harm to good priests, good brothers, good nuns and good lay members of the church – as well as to the victims themselves and their families.

    There is a way forward from this disgrace but to take it means summoning up the moral courage and the wisdom that has been manifestly lacking for decades.

    My own suggestions are:

    First and foremost: At least a month of very public and sincere atonement – the real thing and not a mere show. A period of admitting guilt or neglect or inattention. A period of seeking redemption for the whole church: all the laity and all the clergy alike. A period of penitence.

    Second: Reform. Thorough reform. Unsparing reform. Starting immediately. I don’t have to spell out where the reform is needed: all the priests and members of religious orders who have abandoned the cloth and their heart-felt vows can tell exactly where such reform is needed. Likewise, the victims of abuse as well of the surviving family of those driven to suicide can tell exactly where such reform is needed. All reform must start with the vital question, “What would Jesus Himself do in this specific situation?” It is a question that will make those who allowed these atrocities to happen and continue very, very uncomfortable.

    Thirdly: These evils have happened; we cannot make them unhappen. Remembrance of them and the victims of them must be included in the prayers of the liturgy so that good Catholics can never, never, never forget that they did happen.

    Fourthly: (and here I will upset everyone) The perpetrators must be studied thoroughly with a view to preventing these abominations happening again. Also, since Redemption is a corner-stone of Christianity, every effort must be made to redeem their souls – their bodies can be locked up for ever and a day but it would be hypocritical if the church abandoned their duty to redeem their souls. (If you want to burn me as a heretic, don’t worry about bringing any firewood; there’s plenty just over in the bush just now.).

  7. Graham, I’m not going to attack you. I always think we need to understand why bad stuff happens, and fix the perpetrators, not just punish them.

    John D, Newspoll also did a poll on Oz views of the Trump-like ban on Muslims. It was 45% against and 44% in favour, but 52-39 in favour for LNP voters.

    That, economic issues and other factors like being fed up with politics as usual have given them some traction.

  8. Jumpy, your comment about a National Journalists Party (NJP) with Van Badham and Oakes in leadership roles was just an ad hom attack.

    It’s what they said we have to respond to, not who they are.

    Van Badham touched on the essential elitism of many Liberals. They don’t think it is possible or acceptable for a party born out of the workers’ movement to govern for all of Australia.

    Laurie Oakes pointed to Turnbull’s need to save his own skin, only just in time, and also that Shorten had a point in saying that a wealthy leader is presiding over policies that help the rich and take from those not so privileged.

    Argue with that if you will.

  9. It’s just a continuation of an Obama policy.
    More than 2 million people were people were deported under Obama, most of any POTUS.
    No ” demonstrations ” ,riots or law suits though, funny that.

  10. Jumpy, your comment about a National Journalists Party (NJP) with Van Badham and Oakes in leadership roles was just an ad hom attack.

    There was no attack, ad hom or otherwise.

  11. OK, jumpy, “ban on Muslims” was shorthand, and was meant to point you in the direction. I admit it was less than that.

    For the record, Newspoll asked:

    Donald Trump has introduced changes that make it harder for citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries to enter the US. Would you be in favour or opposed to Australia taking similar measures?

    As I said 45% against and 44% in favour, but 52-39 in favour for LNP voters.

    Essential Report asked three related questions, but I think John D was referring to this one:

    Would you support or oppose the Australian Government instituting a similar ban on people from Muslim countries from entering Australia?

    Which was a follow up to this one:

    The US President Donald Trump has temporarily banned people from 7 Muslim countries from entering the United States. Do you approve or disapprove of this ban?

    So do you want to comment on the substantive issue?

  12. These countries were identified by the Intelligence Community ( that just days ago folks here were backing in the Russia hack thang ) as security risks to the US. Obama acted ( good on him )just as Trump has ( good on him).

  13. G’day Paul Burns. You are spot on!

    Serves Turnbull right for speaking impolitely on the phone to Trump. This sink-hole is a swift and pointed message to all other national leaders around the world that they must speak politely to the President of the USA.

  14. but, but, …. them spooks missed !!

    Jeez, I like a spook story as much as the next bloke, but…..

  15. Perhaps Trump was right, militarily, in halting immigration from high-risk countries. An unpleasant but necessary move.

    However, the implementation of it was downright crazy. Saudi Arabia was off the list. Why??? And yes, we have all heard the fairy-stories about how Saudi Arabia is America’s bestest friend and ally, its nicest investor, its greatest customer for Made in the USA war-toys. But again, why??? If Trump wants to stop terrorist threats, why did he not move against a proven source of such threats.

    Maybe its time The Donald handed over the Commander-in-Chief hat to someone who can do the job.

  16. Ambigulous: No, no, they didn’t miss. This sink-hole was a warning; Malcolm will behave himself from now on. Besides, if they had hit the house and Malcolm, they might then have to deal with Prime Minister Morrison or Prime Minister Joyce or even Prime Minister Hanson.

  17. Yeah OK, warning shot across the footpath.
    Damn cunning.

    It’s a worry when spooks go underground though, isn’t it?

    Next, they’ll operate in complete secrecy!

  18. To all my fans : 🙂
    Though I note some people are trying to blame Tony Abbott for the sink-hole.

  19. Never mind the sinkhole, the ground on same-sex marriage issue has just been surveyed and it is not looking good for LNP stability.

    Voters across a swathe of Coalition seats believe federal government MPs should be given a free vote on same-sex marriage, according to new polling that will embolden Liberal moderates who want Malcolm Turnbull to stare down the party’s conservatives and ditch Tony Abbott’s plebiscite policy.

    As the Prime Minister comes under renewed internal pressure over the issue ahead of Parliament’s return on Tuesday, new ReachTEL polling shows nearly 62 per cent of people in seven Liberal and National seats across the country want Coalition MPs to have a conscience vote this year.
    Backbenchers, including Dean Smith, Tim Wilson, Warren Entsch, Trent Zimmerman and Trevor Evans, are among the MPs arguing for the free vote. But it’s understood there is also solid support for a free vote inside Mr Turnbull’s cabinet.

    Mr Wilson told ABC television on Sunday that when a senate committee examining same-sex marriage laws reports, “when that inquiry is concluded, obviously there is going to have to be a discussion”.

  20. Paul Burns,

    I think you are mistaken.

    Mr Rabbit has been the very model of a loyal backbencher.
    You can take his word for it: he promised on a fateful day, not to snipe or undermine. He has been true to his word in every regard, including self-regard.

    He has restrained his former Credlinator, from adverse remarks of any kind: no snide comments, no pointed references to the PM and the wonderful job he’s doing. The very model of a loyal and shrinking violet. I think I may have misspelt her title: the Credulator (credlin where credlin is due….) She will be doing more TV appearances this year; we may all look forward to further tact and soothing of troubled waters. As we should.

    So to suggest Mr Rabbit might be interfering with suburban strata in a way calculated to make the Prime Minister’s life difficult…?? Sir, I am astounded. Shocked and horrified.

  21. I have read through the Laurie Oakes interview and I am not impressed. There is nothing of substance in it, apart from the financial mess the Liberal Party itself is in, which I did not know.

    If you want to see a systematic take down, then look at Lenore Taylor’s Hard facts unmask the fiction behind Coalition’s ‘coal comeback’

    There’s a long list of blame and shame for Australia’s threadbare climate and energy policy, and the failure to plan for an energy market crisis that experts have warned about for years. But Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition takes out first place.

    Renewable energy is not “causing” blackouts. They’re primarily due to the (incredibly complicated) energy market that wasn’t designed or isn’t being run to cope with a higher proportion of renewables, and is throwing up perverse incentives that mean South Australia can have a blackout while generators are sitting idle. It would seem obvious that the answer to this problem is not to abandon all incentives for renewable energy but rather to fix the market and the rules

    Renewables cannot take the blame for the recent rise in prices. Queensland, which also has a tiny proportion of renewable energy, has had price spikes that added an astounding $1bn to wholesale power prices just since the beginning of this year. South Australia, cited by the federal Coalition as the terrible case study of what Labor’s renewable energy policies might do, has had just a few. The Queensland price spikes are also vastly higher than those felt in South Australia last July, which were described as an emergency, according to an analysis by Dylan McConnell from Melbourne University.
    New coal-fired power stations are not going to be built. You don’t have to go to greenies for that assessment – it is also coming from the AI Group, which represents Australia’s manufacturers, and from the Australian Energy Council, which represents the big electricity and gas businesses that generate and supply most of our energy, as well as from the head of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation – who has expert knowledge of lending to the energy sector. Business knows climate change is a thing, and that locking in emissions from a new coal-fired power station for 50 years, no matter how efficient it is and how lovingly the current ministry can carry around lumps of coal, is incompatible with our long-term climate commitment and therefore an unacceptable investment risk.
    Even if they were built, power from new highly-efficient coal-fired power stations would not be cheaper. In fact, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has calculated that they would be the most expensive, and dirtiest, form of power available, costing more than solar, wind and gas-fired power.

    Governments could always reduce the strain on the system and help avoid blackouts by reducing energy demand but schemes to reduce demand at times of peak power usage (such as, say, heatwaves) were shelved after the Abbott government was elected, while programs for minimum energy performance standards seem to have been burned in Tony Abbott’s bonfire of red tape.

    And finally, as business and industry and environmentalists and pretty much everyone who looks at the evidence (including, a while back, Turnbull) have been saying for years, the very best thing governments could do to encourage investment and a sensible low-cost transition to cleaner generation is come up with a bipartisan policy, such as the energy-intensity carbon scheme that had bipartisan political support, the backing of industry and could have reduced power prices while also bringing emissions down. But the Turnbull government jettisoned any consideration of that in less than 24 hours, apparently fearing the response of right wingers such as Cory Bernardi. He’s now left the Coalition anyway, and it still has no climate policy.

    We’ve been enduring this climate war nonsense for more than a decade and now we’re wearing the consequences – rising prices, unreliable power supply and increasing emissions. Responding with a parliamentary pantomime to try to shift the blame to a fictitious renewable industry bad guy is true ideological idiocy and also negligent, because it puts the shallowest, shortest-term and most opportunistic strategy for political survival ahead of households, investors and future generations.

  22. Ootz: If that is the Liberal Party’s own finances you are talking about, that is a real worry – because the time before last they were broke (Fraser-Anthony era) they put Australia’s immigration policy into the pawn-brokers. Wonder what they will hock this time? NBN? The ADF? Reserve Bank? Centrelink?

    By the way, I spoke too soon about the internet working again here. The next day, local businesses had their own internet-free day, (though, strangely, I was not affected when I tried to go online).).

  23. These countries were identified by the Intelligence Community ( that just days ago folks here were backing in the Russia hack thang ) as security risks to the US.

    Really? Everything I’ve read has pointed out that the countries affected posed no risk at all. The proven risks were associated with countries, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which were unaffected by the Executive Order.

  24. Graham, from Laurie Oakes interview with Turnbull:

    Final quick issue. Your $1.75 million election donation to the Liberal Party. I mean, I see nothing wrong with it, it’s your money. But what I wonder about is why the Liberal Party was so broke. What was wrong? Two Liberal Party treasurers had resigned in recent years and a lot of internal argy barby over money. Why was the Liberal Party in such a deep hole financially?

    At the end of 2015 when Tony Nutt became the Director of the Liberal Party, the Party had so little money he had to work for several months without any pay. So the Party was very short of money.


    It’s a big challenge that we face. The corporate sector, particularly public companies are much, much more reluctant to make political donations, to anybody. We face enormous financial resources from the unions and Labor, so there is no question, we are at a massive disadvantage financially nowadays. It has big implications for our democracy.

    Apparently Abbott hit back, that

    Due to the good work of the director and office-bearers, the party was always able to meet its costs in my time as leader.

  25. Ootz, the question from Bill Shorten that got Turnbull so angry was not about energy or blackouts, it was about the omnibus bill to change welfare arrangements, dating from the zombie measures proposed by Hockey in 2014. Shorten was saying that Mr Harbourside Mansions was taking from money out of the pockets of a million households (I think it’s actually 1.5 million) while proposing policies (eg. corporate tax cuts) that help the wealthy.

    But there were two reasons for the outburst. The first is that Turnbull is sensitive about his wealth, and if Shorten is going to go on about it, then he is going to get personal also.

    Secondly, he needed to show his own party that he had some balls.

    That leads to the “kill Bill” strategy.

    However his main political strategy this year is to make a scare campaign about renewables and high power prices etc, probably from now to the next election.

    He’s trying to bring both together, so the next day when Shorten again asked about the omnibus bill hurting families, the answer was “I’ll tell you about what’s hurting families”, and then went into a rave about Bill, renewable energy, blackouts, ideological frolics etc.

    Just to remind people, I did a post Electricity prices: Turnbull’s central policy scare campaign and one on Gas, pumped storage and energy futures, which so far has attracted no comment.

    If my computer doesn’t fry in this heat I’ll finish one tonight on blackouts, the current heat wave etc .

  26. Also my commiserations Graham re the internet. It is another massive infrastructure stuff up by the Liberal party, just like the failure to implement a decent policy to transition electricity, and manufacturing in general with their incessant and self serving political games on vital national infrastructure.

    We had to pay three times now for Telstra’s copper cables as in late last year,

    the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has had to bail out NBN Co to the tune of $19.5 billion to shore up the worst infrastructure disaster in the nation’s history.

    What is irreconcilable is why the National Party continues to support the Liberal’s failed NBN policy, especially given that the worst affected areas are regional centres where the National Party is struggling to remain relevant.

  27. Cheers Brian, yeah I was in two minds where to post Lenore Taylor’s hard facts on the governments electricity lies. But my emphasis on all this is not on electricity and renewables or the NBN for that matter, but the utter and deliberate failure by the government to implement policies which will assure us to be a first order nation. Fancy that, our government is not even capable to tally it’s payment system without putting the onus on it’s clients. Which business can do that and survive?

    Given the desperate push for ‘clean coal’ and the financial trouble the Liberal Party is in, one can not help to ask wether the free market party has been bought out by the mineral council and the fossil fuel barons.

    Banana republic here we come, or should I say cowboy dominion there we go?

  28. Ootz, on the NBN, it’s a bit of a conundrum as to which LNP luminary has done the most to wreck Australia’s future. Turnbull has to be up there.

    Back up thread Jumpy posted this link which purports to show that Trump in 2017 only did what Obama did in 2011 in restricting immigration from certain Muslim countries.

    I’m not across the detail of this, but I heard an expert explain that Obama’s order was to exclude crooks. Trump used a broad brush and caught people who had a visa to work and live in the US, even people with dual citizenship who had just gone back to a Muslim country for a visit. And scientists who had won a position to come and do research in the US.

    Apparently it was drafted by two Steves in Trump’s office and had not been run past the stakeholder departments. It seems to have offended a lot of Republicans who support human rights.

  29. Jumpy’s link is oversimplified and inaccurate, as explained in The New Yorker.

    In its furious efforts to spin a defense, the Trump Administration has argued that it was just building on Obama Administration policy after the Paris attacks. This is a slightly complicated form of nonsense. To understand the scale of Trump’s departure from past policy, however, requires a short tour through recent visa-policy history.

  30. Former Aussie Ambassador Beazeley was scathing about the order, interviewed on RN, ABC News Radio last Saturday.

    This was after the appeals court had upheld the stay.
    His basic conclusion was that the order was illegal, hastily drafted, hence incompetent.

    He said a President was permitted to ban a much more narrowly specified group. He said the judge and court were only upholding US law.
    I would like to reiterate that the US system is designed to apply checks and balances to every authority. Let’s see how that operates over the next months.

  31. On item 7, One Nation…..

    Why Qld?
    Why WA?

    I’m interested to understand the social bases of voter preferences. Qld had Joh, later One Nation in State Parliament.

    I don’t suggest Victoria is immune to electing very conservative reps; we were a stronghold of DLP for decades.

    Something else going on….. I don’t think a term such as “rural idiocy” explains anything. Have observed “metropolitan idiocy” aplenty.

    Over to you.

  32. Ambiguous: Both Qld and WA have been affected by the mining boom contraction and have chips on their shoulders about rude remarks from the South East states.

  33. Fair points, but the first incarnation of One Nation was well before the mining boom contraction.

    I don’t think “voter disenchantment” is sufficient to explain it either. Pundits have been talking about that ever since 1980, at least…

    I really am puzzled, not seeking to disdain or be rude.
    (No point in disdaining the Trump voters either; more productive to seek to understand their choices.)

  34. I think there is a certain leaning toward a ” non politician ” that keeps getting kicked by the political elites ( both sides ) and relentlessly mocked by and ever increasingly distrusted media, for some people. Maybe the neglect felt by Non-metripolitan folk is feel more strongly.

  35. Ambigulous: Just on One Nation. There are a lot of former rock-solid Liberals, Labor and Nationals voters in rural and remote Queensland who have drifted to One Nation. They’ve had a real gutfull of the major parties: they include former Nationals who think combining with the Liberals to form the LNP in Queensland was the stupidest thing they ever did.

    The mainstream news media has given a lot of publicity to Pauline Hanson and One Nation over the past few years, whilst, with the exception of quite scornful items, it has given relatively little publicity to Bob Katter Jr. and his party. The Greens get a bit more publicity that does Katter but usually not good publicity. It seems that One Nation is the decision- makers’ and the opinion-formers’ reliable party-in-reserve.

    it seems One Nation is being presented to us by the mainstream media as the safe party for the politically homeless and the angry. Rather all these people be attracted to a party that listens to them – than have them radicalized and causing a national security problem. Some aspects of Howard’s gun-buyback fiasco could come back to bite us, not that a bunch of inadequately trained Rambos would stand a chance of changing anything but they could do serious harm to a dozen or two people in a hare-brained attempt to do so.

    I don’t think the Chinese are particularly worried about Hanson this time around. Nowadays, they can get whatever they want without having to worry about Australian politicians . Though they are likely to make a few strident anti-racism statements just for fun and for old-times sake.

  36. Brian and zoot, I can do no more than post the Act Obama put in.

    I’m sure you can do a lot more Jumpy, I have confidence in you.

  37. Jumpy at 3.50pm
    That is likely part of it.
    Senator Hinch was a widely-known radio presenter for decades, nicknamed “The Human Headline”.

    Mostly known for his pursuit of convicted pedophiles, a very emotional issue for most.

    Enough support to be elected Senator in the DD.

    A similar figure in Victoria is the former independent MHR for Wills, who after his time in Canberra campaigned against family violence for years, after his sister’s murder, and before the publicity of the tragic Rosie Batty case.

  38. zoot, did you read the ” Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015″ that i posted the both US Houses passed ?

  39. Jumpy, did you read the ”Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015″ that you posted?
    Are you aware of how it differs from Trump’s Executive Order?
    To start you off, here’s one difference – Trump’s is illegal.

  40. In case people missed it Graham’s comment has just appeared here upthread.

    Graham, you changed your moniker, so the algorithm thinks you are a newbie, and plonks you in moderation as a first commenter.

  41. Thanks Graham.

    Specific local detail is what I’m interested in.
    I probably didn’t phrase my first question very well, but.

  42. Thanks Brian. No so new – but it looks as though some of my ‘delete and retype’ got in front of my name. 🙂

    Ambigulous: Can’t tell you Why W.A.?, Why Qld?

    Can only tell you that at the public meeting for younger war veterans (at Emu Park – a beach in central Queensland) not long ago, Pauline Hanson and two One Nation senators treated the audience with respect, kept their mouths shut and listened intently to what the audience had to say, actively encouraged members of the audience to speak up, mingled well before and after (and not “speed dating” either). It was quite a change from the usual politicians’ arrogance. Similarly, Pauline Hanson spoke well at the protest meeting held at Marlborough, in January, against the expansion of Shoalwater Bay Training Area – she was a good speaker but a far, far better listener.

    Maybe it’s more than just disillusionment with the “Two Party Preferred” gangs of unconvicted crooks and fakes. Maybe it’s more than just protest against manifest incompetence and unintentional cruelty. Maybe it is the sheer novelty of actually being treated with respect and being listened to by someone in power.

  43. Thanks.
    Some cruel wit once said, “If you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made.”

    So I’d usually be suspicious that a professional pollie would learn to pretend to listen. But you observed three of them together; they listened.

    If on both occasions they really listened, well, good on them.

    There are few political sins worse than condescension and being blinded by ideological preconceptions.

  44. So I’d usually be suspicious that a professional pollie would learn to pretend to listen.

    I think that’s the point, she’s not, or at least wasn’t indoctrinated at Uni.

  45. Jumpy, it’s anti-intellectualism now is it?

    I came off a farm, was one of the first, if not the first to go to uni from the district. I kinda know about that.

    Graham, if she listens, does it show in her policies? Or does she just listen and do what she wanted to do anyway?

    My elder bro was in National Party politics for many years. As it happens he had a property near Marlborough. He used to say that in the good old days you could sit on the verandah with other farm folk, and if you had a good idea, you passed it on to Sir Robert Sparkes, who would pass it along to Sir Joh. Nine months later, if it was a good idea, it would actually happen.

    That was great, and I’m sure many are yearning for the good old days, but voting for Pauline is not going to bring them back.

    At the same time I was working in the big smoke in the Education department. I used to go out and listen too. You had to be able to hold your beer and remember in the morning what was said the night before.

    But to be frank it actually wasn’t fun that the place was run by a bunch of bushies. And what was said by the good folks at Marlborough didn’t much connect with what was needed in the latte-sipping leafy suburbs, let alone Inala where the poor and dispossessed were more or less housed.

    So I dunno, but I think getting rid of the states and having larger regions where there was a genuine community of interest with just two layers of government would be worth considering. Only then we wouldn’t have “State of Origin” rugby league!

    Pauline came out of an Inala-like suburb and seems to go well with the regions, but for the nation, just no.

  46. I don’t think it’s Uni that’s the main problem, Jumpy.

    Hothouse political party environments; previous work as advisor, union official, or for a business pressure group; relatively closed workplaces devoted to gaining political advantage and/or patronage; narrow focus, combative habits.

    Then subscribing to the current paradigm where: focus groups, targeted advertising, cunning talking points, disdain for expert knowledge; and disdain for genuine debates or long, hard policy development; I reckon these lead to the impasse the major parties face. No doubt many other factors are working too.

    “Spin”, etc.
    Not pretty, not helpful, not consonant with good decision-making or long-term national policies.

  47. Good points, Brian.

    My Dad in suburban Melbourne had a moment he treasured. At a friend’s BBQ years ago, the State Opposition Leader was present. Dad talked to him about a particular feature he had valued in public transport systems in two cities overseas. The bloke listened and asked questions.

    A few years later that feature was implemented by the (new Premier’s) govt. Who knows? It may have been someone in the transport Dept. who suggested it….. or maybe the Premier had followed up on the chat. He was a serious Premier, thoughtful and modest.

  48. Now that Malcolm Turnbull had the full conversion, the Treasurer peddling coal and Liberal Party preferencing “a more sophisticated” One Nation, could we have Malcolm Roberts as science minister, Pauline Hanson as foreign minister and Jacqui Lambie minister for war? I mean, if you’r keen to rock the boat in a storm, no matter what, you may as well go down with glamour.

    For awhile now I have been contemplating whether the new conservatives are the old anarchists. Just as the replacement of science and critical thinking with new ‘sophistication’ is really old style fascism.

  49. Jumpy, stunningly bad memory there on your part.

    Does Maxine McKew not come to mind as a seat winning Journalist? Took out John Howard? Can’t remember that? Bob Carr doesn’t come to mind either I suppose!

    Which Journalist might make a good treasurer? Well my pick would be Ross Gittins.

    In fact there is a long list of some 69 Journos who have become politicians

    But for some I do agree with you. There are a few Journalists who in my opinion and hind sight should never have been pre-selected by any political party, notably Tony Abbott, Eddie Obeid and Malcolm Turnbull.

  50. Jumpy, stunningly bad memory there on your part.

    BilB, stunningly bad comprehention there on your part.
    I said Form a Party ” National Journalists Party (NJP)” of journalists.
    Considering how many people have run, both successfully and unsuccessfully, for State and Federal office over the last 116 years , 69 seems vanishingly small.

  51. Jumpy, your comment was that Journos would be unelectable. The fact is that they achieve better than two wins out of three tries.

    Derogatory attempt busted!

  52. BilB,

    Journalists seem to do better than hairdressers, taxi drivers, postmen and nurses.

    Now, why would that be??

  53. Brian: Your comment back on 14th at 10:12pm brought back memories.

    Sir Robert Sparkes was a clever and powerful man; too clever to go into parliament; he knew where power lay and it wasn’t in the parliament itself.

    Pauline Hanson may indeed be successful in having people believe she will bring back the good old days. Trouble is, this is 2017 and we are facing a lot of new perils and potential perils from which we will be lucky to survive – bringing back the good old days will only increase our chances of being annihilated. By the way, I never did fall for the fully-imported malarkey that she was a “racist”; she was a plain ordinary nationalist then and she is just a traditional conservative now.

    There is much wisdom when you get a bunch of primary producers talking together but, sadly, a lot of nonsense, ignorance and short-term self-serving too. That’s why I think of some of them as closet socialists: spruiking all the “free-enterprise” in the world but ready to grab any government handout they can; I still laugh when I think of one very wealthy cane-farmer, with flats and shops in a couple of southern capitals, shares in casinos and major mines said, “It’s pretty tough Joh, but $50 000 might see us through to the next season” – his fellow wealthy cane-farmers (the struggling cane farmers missed out on being invited), could hardly contain their giggles.

    You are right about one sector of society not understanding the other. When I lived in Rockhampton and was on the committee of a major – at the time – not-for-profit organization, an executive in a southern capital rang, “Can you drive up to Cairns this afternoon and sort out (a quite minor bureaucratic problem)”. He was quite peeved when I declined to do so; suggested he sort out his own annoyances himself in two phone calls – then posted him a road map of Queensland and a plastic ruler. He seemed to think Cairns was merely a couple of suburbs away!!! 🙂

  54. Yes Graham, I’m in Mackay, I grew up listening to Agrarian Socialists battling Metro Socialists.
    Committed NIMBY and DOPM adherents both.

  55. Graham, that problem of southerners not understanding the map was very real in my day. My elder brother says it was (not so long ago) a problem with Telstra technicians being schedules to fix fauls by someone in an office in Melbourne.

  56. Brian: How true! Don’t despair though, some of the technology used on New Horizon might yet seep into Telstra’s byzantine bureaucracy. 🙂 (Sorry, can’t find the emoticon for roaring with laughter).

    Jumpy: Socialists all – no matter what slogans they chant. (b.t.w, what’s DOPM?)

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