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.
- 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
- 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.
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.