Weekly salon 18/8

1. Fraser Anning pours fuel on the flames

And some would say, vomits on the body politic.

You would have to be living under a rock if you didn’t hear about Fraser Anning’s maiden parliamentary speech, wherein he called for a return the White Australia policy, excluding Muslims and returning to Europe as the main source. The holocaust was evoked by a call for a “final solution”, being a referendum on immigration policy. From his speech:

    We as a nation are entitled to insist that those who are allowed to come here predominantly reflect the historic European Christian composition of Australian society and embrace our language, culture and values as a people.

And:

    The final solution to the immigration problem is, of course, a popular vote. We don’t need a plebiscite to cut immigration numbers; we just need a government that is willing to institute a sustainable population policy, end Australian-job-stealing 457 visas and make student visas conditional on foreign students returning to the country they came from. What we do need a plebiscite for is to decide who comes here.

His list of wants include coal-fired power, the Bradfield Scheme of turning northern rivers inland, Galilee basin coal mining, a string of ports every 60 to 80 kilometres up the Queensland coast. Nation-building stuff that Bob Katter has been banging on about for ages.

However,

    More broadly…what we need is a cultural reconquest of our own country to take back Australia from Gramsci-inspired left-wing elites that have subverted the very basis of our society…

Seems it all went wrong with Whitlam, so he wants to turn back the clock to see

    the defeat of the cultural Marxists and their ilk and a rolling back of the subversion of Australian culture and values that they have wrought.

news.com.au did a factcheck on many of the claims, finding many false and identified the speech writer as Richard Howard who was a former staffer of One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts who says he was “fascinated with Nazi Germany and authoritarian ­approaches and decisive rulers”.

Paul Karp says the speech was straight from the Goebbels handbook, says Pauline Hanson reckons Richard Howard was a former military propaganda specialist. ON had sacked him and warned Anning about him. It may in fact be why she shut him out when he arrived in Canberra.

If Bob Katter didn’t approve the speech, he supported it 1000 per cent and claimed that 90% of Australians did too.

    “A magnificent speech! Solid gold!”

So what is going on?

It’s simple really. Bob Katter is 75, and is probably good for at least three more terms, if he’s upright. His party has little money, but picks its targets. Three KAP members now sit in the Queensland parliament to ON’s one. Katter wants to supplant One Nation in the Senate by harnessing the Hansonite sympathies across Queensland and perhaps jag an extra member or two in the Reps. He’s hoovering up One Nation votes, and Fraser Anning needed something dramatic for people to know that he was even there.

In provincial Queensland, expect the vote to be split four ways. The Greens are irrelevant, so it will be LNP, Labor, KAP and ON. In the end the battle is likely to be between Labor and KAP.

That is unless all parties conspire to preference KAP last after this little effort, and voters follow party preferences, which they well may not.

Katharine Murphy says The Coalition has been playing with fire on race, and this is their inferno.

A line has been crossed, but there has been plenty of dogwhistling from the Turnbull government’s front bench, which she details.

In Parliament Bill Shorten revived a Hawke-era motion condemning the White Australia Policy.

There you will see Anne Aly cry, and this:

It was Shorten who reached across the divide, and Turnbull responded. A political nanosecond later it was as though that moment never happened.

By the way, my wife and I shared what is a I think a common view that Katter was descended from an Afghan camel driver. Turns out not so, his grandad immigrated as a Lebanese Maronite Christian, and Katter was raised a Catholic. As Phillip Coorey pointed out on Insiders, Christian Lebs were not automatically seen as Australian back in the day.

2. Defending the banks

Unbelievably, one person stuck his head out last week and defended the banks. His name was Elmer Funke Kupper, who says that Happy bank customers will bear brunt of royal commission. He points out that the average Australian has two bank accounts (I have accounts with five) which makes 40 million accounts in all.

I know that the big banks are proud of their customer satisfaction ratings, which stand at around 80 per cent, a fact confirmed by Roy Morgan research. So 15 million Australians are satisfied with the service they are getting. Kupper says:

    The major banks employ more than 150,000 people. The vast majority do a good job serving customers. Anyone who has ever dealt with banks overseas knows that we are relatively well served.

Kupper does not deny the bad behaviour uncovered by the Commission, but he says it is mainly in pockets related to wealth management. He says;

    The decisions that affect large groups of customers are made by relatively few senior executives. Perhaps a few hundred individuals. They decide things such as product design, pricing, incentive structures and credit policies.

    These executives should be held to account in ways they have not been before. Fix their behaviour through a much tighter accountability process, and simplify their remuneration and we are 80 per cent there.

I would highlight incentive structures which seem to me have been designed to encourage bad behaviour.

In general I supported the royal commission, because it was the only way the truth would come out. I’m not optimistic about embedding watchdogs, but the gubblement claims such schemes have worked overseas.

Meanwhile the banks face headwinds, including requirements to keep more capital, which will cost them. They also face disruption from other lenders. I look at this prospect like the opportunity to self-manage superannuation. The best of luck, but no sympathy from me if you get burnt.

3. Germany and Spain reach a deal on migrants

According to Al Jazeera:

    Spain this year has become the main destination for refugees and migrants trying to reach Europe from Africa, amid a crackdown by Libyan authorities and a more hardline approach to immigration in Italy since the inauguration of its new government.

    Last week, the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, said 23,500 people had arrived in Spain by sea, compared to about 18,500 in Italy and 16,000 in Greece.

Under the deal between Germany and Spain, according to Deutsche Welle:

    people arriving from Spain can be returned there within 48 hours of arrival at the German border.

The CDU/CSU and the SPD are currently governing Germany in a grand coalition. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is a leading a member of the conservative Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and has been at variance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Seehofer wanted immigrants turned back at the border. Seehofer now says he wants to draw up similar arrangements with other European countries. Negotiations are underway with Greece and Italy.

Merkel and Spanish leader Pedro Sanchez are on a unity ticket within Europe, urging other countries to take their fair share from the initial contact points, and strengthening Morocco’s ability to deal with the issue before the immigrants get on a boat. Only 14 km of sea separates Morocco and Spain.

4. How Australian politics got into a mess

Chris Uhlmann gave this year’s Manning Clark Lecture Secret City: Fact, fiction and Australian politicsreplayed on Big Ideas. I’d agree with the blurb:

    Chris Uhlmann offers exceptional insights into what’s going on behind the scene in Canberra – and he says that we have to find a piece of common ground again.

Except the last part. Not sure the main thing ios finding common ground. It’s more about our political leaders behaving decently – addressing policy rather than personalities and political gain, treating each other and the people with respect.

Uhlmann does an excellent job detailing how politics went wrong, beginning with Turnbull getting rolled by Abbott over climate change, Rudd just waliking away from the moral challenge of our generation, the knifing of Rudd by Gillard, the white-anting of Gillard by Rudd, the ostensible betrayal involved in introducing a carbon tax, the negativity of Abbott and breaking a string of promises in the disastrous 2014 budget, the ludicrous knighthood for Prince Phillip, the return of Turnbull, who promised a return to decency and honesty but disappointed.

That doesn’t do it justice. I recommend spending the time to listen to Uhlmann’s exposition.

On radio the one-hour time-slot was then filled by Laura Tingle, who pointed out that Turnbull was always a lousy politician – think of Gordon Grech. Why would people think he would be better the second time around?

She was just warming up when the time ran out, and they suggested we listen to the rest on the podcast.

Problem is there is nothing there on the site. I think it may have been an excerpt of her November 2016 piece, Do we expect too much from governments? a broadcast of her Politics, memory, and the Good Society, part of the 2016 Cranlana Programme Alumni Speakers Series, 4 October 2016. I haven’t had time to listen to it all, but the point she begins with is that after the deregulation of the 1980s and 1990s governments are no longer able to do what the once did, but our expectations remain that they can. John Howard, the apologist for small government, ironically assumed he could make a difference, and did so by spreading middle class welfare hither and yon.

5. Speaking of no regulations

Take a look at Vietnamese traffic:

Apparently if you want to cross by foot, it’s best you close your eyes and just walk.

53 thoughts on “Weekly salon 18/8”

  1. On Fraser Anning, I was careful not to accuse him of racism myself in the post, but there is little doubt he is hunting the racist vote. Other than that his speech reveals trying to build a future that yearns for yesteryear culturally and in terms of imagined values.

    Also I would point out that Queensland looks different according to where you stand when you are looking.

  2. Heard someone say today that “they used to think of Katter as an eccentric old uncle” and preferenced him accordingly. After that sneering, bullying defence of what Anning said the Katter party will move down my Senate preference list.

  3. AFR headline today is:

      Coalition support crumbles

    Fairfax Media/Ipsos poll has Labor ahead 55-45, with Turnbull’s approval slipping 9 points.

    Nats leaders pissed because the heard of changes to the NEG from the media.

    Barnaby wants the sexual harassment charge against him dealt with and cleared away. If he succeeds, he’ll almost certainly want his old job back, the argument being that the present leadership isn’t taken seriously within the Coalition.

  4. Could our Qld posters please explain to non-Qlders why Minister Dutton is being touted as a possible replacement for Mr Turnbull, in the Lodge and Kirribilli House????

    Or alternatively, why he should be retired swiftly to a small Police Station……

    (nothing against policemen, young Jimmy Cairns was in the police force before he took up left wing economics, etc. Perhaps he should have stuck to policing too?)

  5. Typos again!

    Ambi, if the poll is right Dutton is toast. Even if it isn’t Getup, the unions and Labor, who have quite a good candidate, will probably get him.

    Dutton has the same problem as the LNP found in the state election. he may have appeal in the provinces, but in Greater Brisbane they were almost wiped out. His ‘appeal’ is based on the false ‘lunge to the right’ theory of saving the LNP.

  6. So, if elected Leader, he would be likely to join Stanley Melbourne Bruce and John Winston Howard, in a very special category of

    * former Prime Ministers*

    at the next Federal election?

    Deary me!

  7. Ambi: There is a strong sense of chip on the shoulder in Qld stirred along by the Courier Mail. Didn’t help Gillard after she dumped Qld boy Rudd. I remember the first time I visited Qld being a bit startled when a Q’lander gave me a long speech about how unfair it was that Slasher Mackay didn’t get picked for more cricket tests followed by a whinge about southern states not allowing kids to go to school bare footed.
    At one stage we got a lot of hard core Nth Qld workers on Groote. After talking to these workers finally began to understand how Joh stayed in power.
    I was used to multicultural mining towns before we moved to Central Qld where most of the workers came from Central Qld or Ipswich. Found it a bit of a culture shock. Probably should have been a bit more sympathetic when they wanted to describe a largish town 200km from the coast as a hardship post.

  8. SMH says Network 10 says Minister Dutton may be ineligible to sit on Parlt. (supposedly a child care company he owns with his missus receives Commonwealth subsidies, like thousands of other centres).

    But who would refer him to the High Court??

  9. Vietnam intersection is fascinating. Seems to be a set of rules combined with courtesy and common sense that makes this work. Noticed similar in Seoul and Jakarta.
    Can in be fitted in to autonomous vehicles?

  10. In Fairfax online, Catherine McGregor argues that only ex-PM Abbott is fit to lead the Liberals.

    (She finishes with a portion of a MacBeth soliloquy on assassination, which is marred by a typo. Someone thought “It” must be preceded by a full stop, which in this case it is not.)

    Federal Pedantry Bureau

  11. Fun fact: many of the citizens of Ho Chi Minh City prefer to call it Saigon. Some acquaintances of mine visited and returned with stories of the traffic.
    Apparently the way to cross the road is to start walking at a steady pace and continue without pausing until you reach the other side. The traffic will avoid you if you follow this rule.
    One of my informants hesitated in the middle of the road and was bawled out by the locals who were showing him around.

  12. Good to hear that Saigon is still called Saigon.
    I met a young bloke from that town decades ago who called it ‘Saigon’, but he was from a refugee family, so I thought it might be a political statement. Maybe it was,

    Politicians/Kings name a city after themselves at their peril. Farewell Stalingrad, bye bye Leningrad.
    Hmmm, Washington remains.

  13. MT calls spill.
    MT wins 48 to 35 after PD puts his hand up.

    Julie B is returned as Deputy, unopposed.

    That Party room victory on energy policy of lastTuesday 14th is looking even better, now that the polish has been applied.

    Now, onwards and ever upwards to improved opinion poll figures!! //sarc

    Cheerio

  14. Just a sideline.

    Some folk expressed deep concern when the responsibilities and powers of Minister Dutton were expanded by Cabinet – last summer, was it?

    Today: problem solved!!

    Yours truly,
    Pollyanna

  15. Oh wait.

    Now some journos reckon there may be another leadership contest, even as soon as Thursday this week.

    I don’t understand why the Press gets sucked into this endless, feverish “leadership speculation” which is quite obviously a figment of their overheated imaginations.

    Everyone: please calm down…..

  16. I had my 6-monthly glaucoma check at the Qld Eye Institute today. Vision is splendid, but they put pupil dilation drops in my eyes and the screen is still blurry.

    Ambi, I know the media gets sucked in, but this time it’s for real.

    Turnbull tried a pre-emptive strike, and all it showed was that Dutton came within 7 votes of topping him without really trying. Last count five ministers have offered their resignation.

    Dutton has no traction south of the northern edge of Brisbane (maybe a bit on the Gold Coast, which BTW has 7 seats compared to 5 in Tasmania and 10 in SA).

    The climate deniers amongst the Liberal ministry have declared for Dutton. Darren Chester has said, no way with Dutton.

    So they truly are a house divided.

    Labor after the Gillard/Bob Brown nexus has said they can’t be friends and enemies with the Greens at the same time, so that are enemies, although Di Natale hasn’t yet cottoned on to what that means.

    The Libs have to do the same thing with ON and the right wing of their own mob. Where the cleaver will cut through has yet to be determined, but until they realise that compromise with the right is a contradiction in terms, they’ll be unfit for government.

    They are saying it’s about personality and Abbott’s revenge. They are wrong. It’s about right wing ideology that takes no prisoners.

  17. Eyes are still crook.

    On Vietnamese intersection, I imagine it is pretty much how things would work with autonomous vehicles. It seems the most efficient way of handling intersections, provided everyone has the requisite skill.

    No place for the faint hearted!

  18. Darren Chester seems to be his own man.
    It seems Barnaby had him tossed out last summer.

    For once, the “leadership story” in the Press can’t be dismissed as fantasy. Knives are drawn, and the contestants aren’t in any hurry to pop them back in their sheaths.

  19. Chester may sit on the crossbench if Dutton is leader.

    10 ministers have offered their resignations.

    Way back Menzies united liberal and conservative parties under the rubric of “Liberal”. The glue is coming unstuck and the conservatives are separating out. The seeds were sown back in Howard’s day, when conservative candidates were favoured over liberal ‘wets’..

    There are now five politically right groupings – centre-right liberals, moderate conservatives, Nationals, One Nation, others right-wing protest parties, like KAP.

    The ‘broad church’ is splintering. What a schemozzle.

    On talkback radio last night older people, normally a bit conservative, were pissing themselves laughing and making jokes about the whole thing.

    The only possible way to salvage something is for a third candidate to come through – the smiling assassin Julie Bishop (unlikely, I don’t think she wants it) or ScoMo, he of the flapping mouth. He’s actually not stupid, and I’d have a bit of money on him.

    Meanwhile business and industry reps are looking haunted, realising that Australia is now a sovereign risk investment environment across the board, not just in energy.

  20. Thanks Brian

    There are as many tiny groupings on the far right now, as the Aussie left had in the 70s and 80s

    In those days, out in the fringes there were (probably at least) four brands of Trot, then the ‘Eurocommunist’ CPA, the CPA (ML) = Maoists, the Socialist Party of Australia = Moscow-line commos, the Nuclear Disarmament Party; then more moderate ALP factions, with labyrinthine union links; the Fabian Society, Tassie Greens, and centrist Democrats.

    On the far right: the National Civic Council, the League of Rights, anti-fluoridation groups, etc.

    After Gorbachev was swept aside and the DDR gave up, most of the far left dissolved or dwindled rapidly.

    After that, the ferment of radical activism was more evident pn the right, with Fundamentalist churches and Coalsheviks rising.

    Fascinating changes…..

    ****
    Some commentators claim Labor has now won the contest of ideas and deserves to govern in Canberra. Amazingly, their disciplined and comprehensive release of policies has not allowed the Coalition to get in a knock-out punch.

    Apart from simple-minded partisanship, is the Coalition Ministers’ habit of swiftly moving any interview across to ALP policies, partly because on that turf there is more to talk about??

  21. ****
    Gone very quiet around here….
    ***
    Folk waiting to see a definite outcome?
    *****
    Folk doubled up in helpless derision??
    ****
    Folk worried about our democracy?

    Awfully quiet. ……

    Anyone scared of the dark?

    *********** ^^^^^^^ “”””””””

  22. The problem of putting a centre-left person like Turncoat as leader of a centre right party is now bearing rotten fruit.

    The Libs are supposed to be economically liberal, smaller government and socially conservative.
    The “ spineless jellyfish of an artist formally known as “ is socially liberal, big Government and economically conservative.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Turdball is visiting Sir Peter the GG as we speak to close Parliament for an election.
    What’s left of his “ colleagues “ can suffer.

  23. Sir Peter might not grant an election.
    He might wait until a PM had lost the confidence of the House.

    GGs are not rubber stamps.
    The GG who delayed PM Fraser (who wanted to catch out the ALP when leaderless) and an earlier GG, ummmm what was his name? Sir John… ?? have shown that, in living memory.

  24. I believe it’s a mistake to call the likes of Abbott, Abetz, Bernardi etc conservatives. They’re radicals.
    I also believe Lenore Taylor sums up the Libs’ situation quite accurately.

    Stay tuned for the next episode of “This I Believe” brought to you by Bonnington’s Irish Moss, now with added carrageen.

  25. Zoot

    I believe it’s a mistake to call the likes of Abbott, Abetz, Bernardi etc conservatives. They’re radicals.

    I believe you are mistaken.
    Is there anyone in politics that you think is too far left?

    I only ask so that we can establish what the centre is.

  26. “radical” – wishing to change fundamentals, going to the roots
    “conservative” – wishing to maintain existing institutions, practices, arrangements, while allowing for minor changes.

    These terms may be more useful than ‘left’, ‘right’, Mr J.

    Examples:
    Karl Marx – radical – advocating the overthrow of “capitalism”, a system benefitting big capitalists and supported by their lickspittle bourgeois minions

    Green Parties – radical – advocating complete re-think and re-engineering of mass production, consumption, mechanised agriculture, the despoiling of wilderness, and polluting the atmosphere, rivers and seas.

    Menzies Liberal Party – conservative – advocating small and large business enterprise and traditional values, rooting out Communism, expanding universities; supporting protectionist trade and agricultural policies

    Pro-Life Groups – radical – advocating closure of abortion clinics, abolition of Medicare subsidies for terminations, contraception; persuading Govts to stop foreign aid support for ‘family planning’ education

    Nuclear Disarmament Party – radical – advocating the abolition of perfectly sensible and humane Weapons of Mass Destruction (nothing inhumane about vaporisation: instant, painless death)

    Suffragettes – radical – advanced the ridiculous notion that Women could Vote, some took direct action in public

    Anti-suffragettes – conservative – wanted Voting to remain Male, preferably with a property qualification

    get the idea?
    root-and-branch change: radical
    no-major-change: conservative

    If zoot accepts my rough schema, he may explain why Messrs Abbott, Bernardi et al are radicals.

  27. Mr A
    If I accept your opening definitions

    “radical” – wishing to change fundamentals, going to the roots
    “conservative” – wishing to maintain existing institutions, practices, arrangements, while allowing for minor changes.

    then you also disagree with zoot.

    Your following interpretations I have some disagreement with, particularly Pro-life folk.

  28. then you also disagree with zoot

    No he doesn’t. The words you have quoted are precisely my point.
    What bizarre misinterpretation of my comment have you come up with this time?

  29. Ah well, not to worry.
    Mr A

    Sleep well Mr J.
    Tomorrow is another day.
    We shall see what we shall see.

  30. Throw in the word ‘reactionary’.

    In the Oz today they said that if Dutton became leader Julie Bishop would retire from parliament, which would probably precipitate an election.

    That would be fun!

  31. The Greens are the most conservative party in Australia. They want to conserve the planet, reef, Murray darling and….
    Labor is pretty conservative too and wants to drag us back to a world of the fair go when, unbelievably, workers were paid award rates!
    Abbott and his faction are the most radical faction with their obsession about destroying both the future and what was good about the past.
    Dutton’s faction appears to want to take us back to a dark past where, amongst other problems, Australian skin cancer per capita rates will increase.
    The AI system doing this analysis is having trouble with the Malcolm faction. The AI keeps on saying that they believe in nothing but surely this cannot be true?

  32. It seems to me we are copying the US experience, but in reverse.
    Abbott as PM was our Trump as POTUS moment.
    We are now going through our Tea Party moment.
    I shudder to think what our G W Bush moment is going to be like.

  33. Liberal Party members meet tomorrow.
    Mr Turnbull is still PM.
    Govt awaits advice from Solicitor-General on Mr Dutton’s eligibility to be a MHR.
    House adjourned just after midday.

    I didn’t hear it, but reportedly Mr Turnbull will leave Parlt if he loses the PMship.

    Thus a new member for Wentworth would be decided at a by-election or in a general election.

    PM termed the recent internal attacks on him “an insurrection”, and said such a tactic is very hard to counter.

    Ambi of the Underflow

  34. Sorry,

    I missed the bit where Mr Turnbull demanded that a challenger needed to provide written proof that he has enough Parliamentarians asking for a spill.

    Guardian Australia calls this PM digs in.

    Now I see why he didn’t sound contrite or sad.

  35. Dutton’s problem or non problem, as proclaimed by Mallbull Turncome is Section 44(v) of the Constitution.
    The exact wording is,

    “” Has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons “”
    Not a Constitutional lawyer but it looks like the change in the child care funding from parent pay to Feds pay may have him done in.

    How ironic would it be if he himself voted for that change ?

  36. Fun fact,

    In 1987, Turnbull established an investment banking firm, Whitlam Turnbull & Co Ltd, in partnership with Neville Wran, the former Labor Premier of New South Wales, and Nicholas Whitlam, the former Chief Executive of the State Bank of New South Wales and the son of former Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam

  37. I have to go out this afternoon for a couple of hours, but am working on a post looking at where we are now with climate and energy policy with the new Liberal Party team.

    It’s not pretty.

    Then with a bit of luck new Weekly Salon tonight after the Broncos-Roosters match.

  38. Nice win for the Broncs last night.
    Getting a bit of momentum going into the finals beating #2 and #3 on the ladder in the last two weeks.
    Mathematically they could finish as high as 4th with a big win over Manly ( spit!) next Sunday.

    Or not make the finals at all with a loss.

    There’s a stack of teams on 30 points.
    And given the entire spread of the top 8 is only 4 points shows what a tough season it’s been for everyone.

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