Tony Abbott obviously feels he has to save the nation from his successor Malcolm Turnbull, with a five point plan. Here’s four:
- The policy manifesto, which was splashed across the front page of Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph on Friday morning, included freezing the renewable energy target, slashing immigration numbers to improve housing affordability, cutting government spending and abolishing the Human Rights Commission.
Sorry, he wants to abolish the Renewable Energy Target and let the market do whatever it does. James Massola at the SMH has the fifth:
- He called to stop all new federal spending and reduce the power of the Senate crossbench and legislative “gridlock”, by altering section 57 of the constitution via a referendum. This will allow laws that have been twice rejected by the upper house to go directly to a joint sitting, without a double dissolution election.
Someone on the radio called it “premeditated, deliberate and desperate”.
Matthias Cormann called it “sad” and “self indulgent”.
- “I was flabbergasted by Tony Abbott’s interview last night,” Cormann told Sky News. “I was watching live from my office in Perth. There’s nothing good that comes from an interview like that.
“It was deliberately destructive. It was completely unhelpful. It was not designed to be helpful. He was not trying to help our cause or help our country.”
Turnbull said “he knows exactly what he’s doing”.
Tony, it seems, really hates Malcolm and would regard it a success if both were destroyed, leaving us with someone else. Peter Dutton? I’m inclined to think Tones has just pointlessly blown himself up.
Less than 10% of Australians believe people should have the freedom to “insult” and “offend” people on the basis of race, culture or religion. Around 80% are opposed.
That was the finding of Prof Andrew Jakubowicz and others at UTS through a poll conducted by Essential.
A Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia is due to report on 28 February.
Jakubowicz et al also say this:
- In our other surveys over the past decade, we have found that about the same proportion of Australians (one in ten) hold negative views about diversity and “races”. For example, around 10-12% believe that some races are superior to others, and that groups should not intermarry. These are indicators of racial supremacism and racial separatism.
3. Netball fires up
As a sports nut I’ve always thought netball was one of the best spectator sports, with fierce contestability every second of the game. The Australian Diamonds vs the NZ Silver Ferns has been one of the great sporting rivalries, almost up there with State of Origin in rugby league. At a club level it was the Queensland Firebirds and the Sydney Swifts.
The sport has been re-organised, revamped, and Australia only, with new clubs sponsored by established football teams. The Lightning has now been set up on the Sunshine Coast under the aegis of the Melbourne Storm. Here’s Cameron Smith with Lightning goalie Caitlin Bassett, recruited from the Sydney Swifts:
Believe it or not, Smith is 6″ 1′ on the old scale. Bassett is 6 feet, 5 and a half, or 197cm. A monster!
Anyway, the Firebirds have lost a few stars, and the first outing yielded a 56-all draw, after the Lightning held a 7-point lead during the fourth quarter. A great new rivalry may have been born. It’s very watchable.
- Trump and Chomsky are in basic agreement that the U.S. often does terrible things for amoral reasons. Both are skeptical of claims made by mainstream liberals and conservatives that America has any special moral status. The crucial difference is that Chomsky wants the U.S. to stop behaving in this manner, while Trump promises to be more effective in his brutality and looting. Trump, then, is a kind of Bizarro Chomsky—one bereft of a conscience, of any sense of right and wrong.
5. Penalty rates cut
Sunday and public holiday penalty rates will be reduced for full-time and part-time workers in the hospitality, retail and fast-food industries, the Fair Work Commission has ruled.
Some of the lowest paid workers will lose up to $6,000 per year. Proponents say workers will be offered more hours. Some workers say, they can shove it, they won’t give up their Sundays for less. Research done by Serena Yu and David Peetz found that increasing penalty rates had no significant effect on employment over a five-year period.
The issue has definitely started a political fight between Labor and the LNP, which will no doubt continue until the next election.