1. Political follies
Phillip Coorey in the AFR had it about right when he said four days of Parliament this week felt like standing in a wind tunnel.
- Scandals, failures and blow-ups, each of which, in isolation, would have once occupied a week or more of the Parliament’s and the public’s attention, and possibly ended in someone losing their job, all came and went in a rush.
Labor won and lost on asylum seekers, Matthias Cormann and Joe Hockey (remember him?) became implicated in the HelloWorld travelgate affair, then there was:
a $423 million contract for Paladin to run Manus Island and confirmation that Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash declined to be interviewed by the Australian Federal Police who were investigating the bungled raid on AWU offices in 2017.
The police also told Senate Estimates they believed evidence may have been destroyed. Mere bagatelle.
Plus ongoing fallout from the banks and finance inquiry and Labor got wedged on coal when shadow minister Richard Marles welcomed the demise of the thermal coal export industry.
Laura Tingle tells us that Scott Morrison raged at Labor that it had “gone to the bottom of the chum bucket” in its HelloWorld attack.
Chum buckets, for those who don’t know, contain fish guts and heads and other smelly stuff thrown into the water by fishermen.
Actually the story offered:
- all the best ingredients: special deals and politicians’ privileges; the suggestions of politically compromised government contracts.
Micahel Pezzullo, who heads up the huge national security empire, was displeased with political antics, He:
- made it very clear – as did ASIO head Duncan Lewis — that he didn’t appreciate the Government leaking his department’s classified advice for political purposes, he also made it known that the Government’s central attack on the medical evacuation legislation was wrong; that the amendments would not prompt a flood of new boat arrivals.
Here’s Pezzullo looking very grumpy:
It also became clear that the re-opening of Christmas Island was to neuter the parliament’s will, by transferring sick asylum seekers found to a place where the law does not apply.
Today we find Newspoll with Labor ahead at 53-47, the same result for that poll three times in a row, which indicates perhaps two things. Firstly, for the punters nothing has changed. Secondly, Ipsos-Fairfax may be having some problems with their methodology.
All praise is no doubt due, but I can’t forgive her for her ruthless pursuit of Julia Gillard over the AWU matter, which she knew had no substance.
Jennifer Hewett in today’s AFR says that the outcome Shorten most feared after Turnbull got the flick was to face an immediate election with Bishop as leader.
2. The truth about Jeremy Corbyn
As a rule of thumb, you won’t get it from the media. A must-read:
- Three-quarters of newspaper stories about Jeremy Corbyn fail to accurately report his views, LSE study finds
LSE researchers analysed coverage in eight national dailies.
- The media researchers found that in 52 per cent of articles about the Labour leader, his own views were not included – while in a further 22 per cent they were “present but taken out of context” or otherwise distorted.
In just 15 per cent of 812 articles analysed, Mr Corbyn’s views were present but challenged, and in only 11 per cent were they present without alteration.
- “Our analysis shows that Corbyn was thoroughly delegitimised as a political actor from the moment he became a prominent candidate and even more so after he was elected as party leader,” Dr Bart Cammaerts, the project director concluded.
This one is also a must-read:
Seems Corbyn’s sin is that he does not like what the current Israeli state is doing to Palestinians. The issue of anti-semitism has been investigated and found not to have substance.
Beyond that the self-named The Independent Group are seen by their erstwhile colleagues as Blairite has-beens or people who never were, united by being anti-Brexit, disliking Corbyn, but beyond that not an idea to bless themselves with. Here’s a bunch of articles:
- Why the Independent Group is the antithesis of democracy
3. Is there any hope of redemption for the Catholic Church?
The question has been examined, how gay is the Vatican?
The article is pay-walled, but we are told of an “extremely high level of practising gays within the Vatican.” Which apparently matches their homophobia.
Not strictly relevant to their summit on sexual abuse, but does not simplify matters.
Solving the problem of sexual abuse, according to Peter Stanford,
Pope Francis’s comments linking church critics to the devil criticised by abuse victims “will involve rethinking an entire approach to sexuality that is peculiar, punitive and often plain perverse”.
Meanwhile Pope Francis has labelled the church’s critics as “friends of the devil”, so I’ll play safe and say no more.
Just that today’s CM tells us that in his final speech abusers would be confronted with “the wrath of God”.
4. More expensive milk won’t help the farmers much
Woolworths have recently announced that they will terminate their $1 milk, a loss-leader scheme that was started by Coles in 20011.
The biggest determinant of farm gate prices in Australia is not what the major supermarkets do, but world dairy prices.
The Department of Agriculture says 37% of Australian milk production is exported.
Add to that the roughly 35% that goes into locally consumed butter, cheese and milk powder that is subject to competition from imports. You can quickly see the prices of nearly three-quarters of the milk produced in Australia are set globally.
Dairy Australia has a higher estimate. Because even fresh milk is subject to foreign competition, it believes 90% of the annual movement in farm-gate prices comes from changes in international prices.
Those changes are beyond the effective control of Australian farmers and regulators.
Many of them are the result of changes in the exchange rate.
The biggest factor is said to be the $US exchange rate.
We could do what other countries do and subsidise their farmers, or retain tariffs. Under WTO rules you are allowed to take action to prevent the destruction of your industries.
It’s just that we don’t. We are among the purest in adhering to free trade ideology. So if we end up with imported powdered milk on our weeties, we’ll just have to suck it up and thank our political class, or switch to soy milk which would be better for the environment.