Weekly salon 1/12

1. ScoMo shows how not to govern

Couldn’t resist this Mark David cartoon:

According to Tony Bourke:

    it’s almost impossible [for Labor] to get a criticism of the Government into newspaper articles when you are competing with all the Liberal and National MPs and Senators who want to get stuck into each other. And truth be told, they’re really good at it. It was Scott Morrison himself who said they were a “Muppet Show”, a Liberal Senator who described the Environment Minister as being on L-plates. It was the Liberal Treasurer who mocked Christopher Pyne as “a legend in his own lunch time”, and it was the Liberal Minister for Women who this week said the Liberal Part was widely seen as “homophobic, anti-women, climate change deniers”.

Then they voted in favour of an integrity commission, but against doing anything to set one up, and voted against an amendment to increase the penalties for white collar crime.

Meanwhile in far off Buenos Aires at the G20 meeting Trump asks, what happened to Malcolm? Here’s Alex Ellinghausen capturing the mood of the moment:

Back home a poll shows the voters have suddenly gone sour on Gladys Berejiklian’s NSW Liberal Government but somehow 52-48 to Labor only gets a hung parliament.

2. ScoMo and Dutton show their form on encryption laws

Bipartisanship has broken down on the new encryption laws, as the Coalition walks away in a ‘take it or leave it’ stance.

This will be reported by some as Labor putting our security in jeopardy by refusing the access our spooks have asked for. The New Daily has a fair account from what I can see.

It seems that by opening a door for the spooks also creates a weakness that can then be accessed by spies and other scoundrels.

    Mr Dreyfus wrote that the committee had also only recently become aware of concerns the bill could jeopardise security cooperation with key ally the United States because of potential problems it causes for compliance with the US CLOUD Act.

    “This is clearly very serious,” he said.

    Earlier on Friday, members of the Australian technology industry also slammed the Government’s encryption bill, warning it would devastate their reputation and trigger job losses and reduced exports.

    Under its proposed powers, the Assistance and Access Bill could require a company to create a new mechanism for law enforcement to access encrypted communications while also demanding it keep the capability a secret.

See also Patricia Karvelas’s interview with Labor Senator Jenny McAllister, member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security.

McAllister said that under Abbott and Turnbull such issues were worked through and resolved. Under ScoMo the proposed bill has been taken off the table and will be presented to parliament unaltered. McAllister was quite specific that the spooks were happy to wait for the issue to be sorted.

3. Will Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez make a difference?

Conservatives are terrified of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And so they should be.

She copped some flack over her nice dress. Her response:

    “If I walked into Congress wearing a sack, they would laugh and take a picture of my backside. If I walk in with my best sale-rack clothes, they laugh and take a picture of my backside.”

It’s how the conservatives try to put her in her place and remind her she may be a congresswoman but, to them, she’s just a “girl”.

    Ultimately, of course, conservatives don’t really care about what Ocasio-Cortez is wearing. They care that she is so comfortable in her own skin. It terrifies them. And it should. Ocasio-Cortez represents the changing face of America. She represents a new generation of diverse American women who will wear what they like and say what they like. And that leaves people like Scarry quaking in their Brooks Brothers boots.

However, she disappointed some as she backed Nancy Pelosi for speaker. There was no real alternative, and Pelosi knows her way around.

Perry Bacon Jr at FiveThirtyEight explains how the House Progressives Are Set To Wield A Lot Of Power In 2019. Organised progressive and conservative groups exist within the Democratic Party as the Progressive Caucus and the Blue Dogs. The progressives are on the ascendency:

    …in 2010, there were about 1.5 progressives for every Blue Dog in the House. In 2019, progressives will have a 4-to-1 advantage. This is the biggest the Progressive Caucus has ever been, according to a spokesperson for the group.

That matters, not just for how the party operates in the current term, but for the future of the Democratic Party and its legislative program, should it win in 2020. Arguably what matters most is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal shows the radical choice facing the Democrats:

    This programme – a huge, co-ordinated programme of public investment aimed at decarbonising growth – would be the most radical and transformative economic proposal put forward by any US party since Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency.

4. Theresa May survives, but Brexit dead in the water

You can take your pick between Peter Oborne talking to Tom Switzer on why Theresa May is a political Houdini or Ian Dunt’s more pungent view. If you Google ‘Brexit news’ you’ll get a flood of commentary.

The EU has now “endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the future EU-UK relations” which sets the stage for Britain exit on March 29. However, only then can the EU start to negotiate with Britain as an external state on a trade deal and matters such as access to Britain’s fisheries. All of Britain’s current trade arrangements then fall in a heap, as they are EU-dependent. It took the EU seven years to negotiate an agreement with Canada – they don’t move fast.

May needs 326 votes to pass the agreement. The current state of the parties sees her with 315 seats, but there are about 80 rebels who oppose the deal. The extra votes can’t be found elsewhere, and the 10 member Irish Democratic Union Party say that if the parliament does pass the agreement their support for May’s government will be reviewed.

At this point everyone should consider What will happen if MPs reject Theresa May’s deal? No doubt they are, and some are talking of a Plan B where the best on offer may be a ‘Norway deal’ where the Brits continue to trade and people also have free movement, except it will happen by EU rules with Britain having no say.

Surely not. May herself is rabidly anti-immigration, according to Dunt. However, she may have little say in how it all turns out. The situation is volatile.

Meanwhile Laura Tingle takes a look from the other side of the Channel. With Britain gone Macron’s vision of a more integrated Europe looks more doable. Macron and May present two very different visions of Europe:

No love there.

The latest is that May has ruled out a Norway-style Brexit compromise with Labour, she rejects all alternatives to her EU exit deal and is focused on the Brexit deal, not plan B.

Now treasury analysis shows that the UK is going to be worse of in the next 15 years under all scenarios, somewhere between 0.6 and 10.7% of GDP.

Self-inflicted pain.

5. Di Natale gets very angry to make the point

Greens leader Richard Di Natale was suspended from parliament after refusing to withdraw calling Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan “a pig”, who he accused of sprouting sexist filth.

Senator Hanson-Young fingered O’Sullivan, Fraser Anning, Cory Bernardi and David Leyonhjelm as serial verbal abusers who were not fit to be parliamentarians, or even men.

When Di Natale explained next day why he took a stand O’Sullivan, Anning and Leyonhjelm walked out.

Usually I’m not in favour of anger as it has unintended consequences. On this occasion it does seem to have led to some reflection on the standards of uncivility prevailing in the senate.

25 thoughts on “Weekly salon 1/12”

  1. I love that shot of ScoMo and Trump,…”who is this guy, again???”.

    Disposing of Trump is going to be a long drawn out, but absolutely certain, process. Here is why…


    Watch the whole Trump treason spelled out info scape.

    Disposing of ScoMo, on the other hand, is a case of standing back a safe distance for his self immolation process, the poisoned hand shake of the highly compromised and failing Trump being an integral part.

  2. When Gladys Berejiklian is ousted she will be remembered for doing one thing that years of labour never achieved,…the cash for plastic bottles (this was Mark Speakman’s initiative I believe [and I thank him for it]) program which I hope will soon be increased to 20c per bottle, and extended.

    Of course an incoming other government will have no money to spend on anything for some years as Berejiklian has emptied the piggy bank with her 80 billion dollar infrastructure spend up. Infrastructure spending can be good, but this was entirely “hub and spoke” structured rather than “reinforced regional integrated community” structured (which would have been much more cost effective and more properly future proofed).

  3. Mr Trump’s disdain for other governments and their leaders is by now well-known.

    Though some leaders are still irritated by it.

    No particular significance in that encounter between the current PM and their President, as far as I can see.

  4. I think Trump has disdain, or rather a high scepticism, for pretty much all governments and institutions even his own.
    It’s not as if he hasn’t interacted with lots of them when he was a Democrat.
    Like all other politicians it doesn’t matter what they say.

  5. I understand Angela Merkel had to consult her notes to check Morrison’s name.

    On Trump, I gather Manafort is relying on Trump to pardon him. And I wouldn’t hold my breath on impeachment, no matter what Trump has been found to have done, or does.

  6. From Andrew Welder on ScoMo:

      At the APEC summit Morrison sat there without headphones: leaders of mighty nations tuned into translators to hear from other leaders, but not our current Prime Minister. They must know he won’t be at the next one, he does too and doesn’t give a damn, so how many opportunities go begging for the nation as a result is hard to quantify – but it is probably more than the bugger-all assessed by the Prime Minister. At the G20 he is a tourist, not building in any way on recent low-profile work by Julie Bishop and DFAT in improving relations with Latin America.
  7. The key thing for the next election is that Toxic Abbott is dumped and is out of direct politics. He has single handedly crippled all concerted effort to properly address climate change, and done this purely out of self interest. He has also trashed the Liberal party in the process.

    With Abbott gone the Liberals will return slowly to being a more rational political force.

  8. Drama, drama! Hot news flush….”Malcolm Turnbull intervenes to kill Craig Kelly peace deal” SMH

    …and Morrison is out of range,..but will certainly know. So now both Trump and Morrison will be stewing over their personal affairs.

  9. Wayne Bennett has been sacked by the Broncos. Far more important in cane toad land that the impending collapse of the Morrison of the empty bus Government.

  10. That’s serious, John.
    Over here the radio was stuck on the latest Point Piper Proclamation, this morning.

  11. The media is very quiet about Frances ( Eureka Revolt style ) anti-overtaxation riots that have been happening for the last 2 weeks.

    Could that be because the media is in favour of overtaxation?

  12. The media is very quiet about Frances ( Eureka Revolt style ) blah blah blah

    Not the media I read.

  13. eg The Graudian.
    Yeah, I know, cesspool of leftwing culture warriors not worth the time of good solid centrists who prefer the Daily Stormer (is that its name?) for an unbiased read. (So sue me)

  14. Thanks zoot, your resourcefulness is matched only by your polite demeanour.

    Here’s another from ABC tucked down in “ to low to scroll to for most “ territory.

    Interesting the French reaction to a carbon tax compared to the Australian.

  15. Could that be because the media is in favour of overtaxation?

    Pray tell kind sir, to which media are you referring?
    I already know it’s the media which is being very quiet about the unrest in France, but I humbly request your forbearance in identifying precisely which media brands you are accusing of this lack of coverage. Gadzooks, it couldn’t possibly be the Murdoch outlets … could it?

  16. Jumpy, that was a good explainer. Here’s another:

      The “yellow vests” — so-called because they wear high-visibility jackets — are part of a grassroots movement that began as a fuel tax revolt but now encompasses broader grievances over the high cost of living.

      Mr Macron justifies the tax increases, which have caused diesel prices to rise by 23 per cent over the past 12 months, as an anti-pollution measure. Only about a third of Parisians own cars, but the hikes have provoked fury in rural areas and smaller towns less well served by public transport.

    By law, I gather French vehicle owners are required to carry a high-vis vest so they can wear it if they have a breakdown, or something.

    I don’t understand the French, but they seem to mix the highly rational and the emotional.

    BTW I have just recovered from a 20-hour electricity outage of the circuits that include my computer. I thought much of the wiring in our house had been replaced, but apparently not all.

  17. I wouldn’t say that the French are rational about carbon taxes but what is happening in France highlights the unfairness of the whole thing since it taxes much harder those who don’t have a choice about needing to use a car or travel longer distances every day. It may actually tax the poor more harshly.

  18. Jumpy

    Perhaps you never hear Phillip Adams on his late night RN show, 10.05pm? We sometimes listen to the replay at 4.05pm the next day.

    Late last week he devoted a whole segment to a discussion of French popular rebellions during recent decades. Poujadist, late 1950s; up to these yellow vest chappies.

    He actually found a foreign academic to interview who specialises in – would you believe – French social protests.

    Phillip, being an old Comm, kept using the term “revolution”. I thought he was getting over-excited…..

    John: most flat taxes hit the poorest people hardest (e.g. arguments against the GST in Australia.) If you’re a full time driver of a diesel truck in France, the impact of a higher tax on diesel would be clear.

  19. Poll misreporting alert.

    Guardian says the ALP 2PP vote has risen from 52% to 54% in a fortnight (Essential poll).

    It may well have. But the sample size N was just above 1000 voters. Using the
    “1 divided by the square root of N” formula for the margin of sampling error, I think the inherent error is
    Plus or Minus 3%

    so the observed change from 52% to 54% is
    within the margin of error, as they say.

    No trend can be asserted on the basis of that poll alone.

    On the othet hand, anyone is free to judge that the Morrison Govt has had a poor fortnight.

  20. Got rained out today which is good and bad for a number of reasons.
    One good point is the Adelaide Test.
    I’m testing to see if my cricket mojo will come back after the “ incident “ and I’m pleased to say Channel 7 commentary is allowing that to happen nicely.
    I abandoned 9 commentary years ago so the change is a pleasant on for me.

    Having India 6 down and potentially more on Day 1 in Adelaide is also a pleasant surprise 🙂

  21. All the Greens talk of “precious wilderness”, “magnificent wilderness”, “too precious to lose” indicates an unhinged, almost cult-like fanaticism. They also claim in a media release that “all of Tasmania” supports the Greens in opposing the construction of infrastructure to facilitate tourists who are not bushwalking nerds from enjoying wilderness areas. That is an outright lie as the highest the Greens have ever gotten at a national level is 11.8 percent, so nearly 90 percent of voters dislike them, actively oppose them or hate them.

  22. Scott, I take your point, but while I disagree with a fair bit of what the Greens say and do that doesn’t mean I actively dislike them.

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