Weekly salon 10/5

1. Coalition chaos

On another thread Geoff Miell pointed to an article by Phillip Coorey’s comments in the AFR headlined Coalition chaos: Abbott backflips, Turnbull attacks, Barnaby Joyce sharpens knife, beginning with:

    Chaos is rife in the Coalition with Tony Abbott performing another climate change backflip, Malcolm Turnbull launching a fresh attack on those who dumped him, and Barnaby Joyce signalling he is ready to roll Nationals Leader Michael McCormack on the cusp of the election campaign.

    As Scott Morrison dismissed the eruptions of past animosities as “history”, discipline in and around the Coalition was unravelling.

Apart from a plausible threat to roll Mr McCormack when Parliament sits briefly in April for the budget and before the election is called, we are told ‘All hell will break loose’:

    Nationals MPs say that unless the government allows the lower house to vote on legislation enabling the forced divestment of energy companies, and that the government also commits before the election to underwriting a coal-fired power station, “all hell will break loose”.

Sounds ideal for the start of an election campaign. Here’s Mark David’s view of the Joyce reprise:

There’s more at the ABC.

2. Welcome to emoji politics

On Friday Coorey was again in fine form in Rapists, recessions and wages: welcome to emoji politics.

Politics for ScoMo is becoming very shouty, because he’s desperate and people are barely listening to headlines. To people who follow politics, read the AFR and watch ABC’s Insiders, what they hear sounds like blithering idiocy. Coorey reports on the experience of Bill Scales of JWS Reeach, who found only one bloke in a focus group knew enough to outline the arguments for and against Adani. A second knew little other than “it was bad”. The rest knew nothing at all about Adani.

How is it that so many photographers manage to make ScoMo look really silly?

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (right) talking to a worker during a visit to BAE Systems in Perth on Thursday, March 7. Richard Wainwright

3. Michael Daley threatens to sack Alan Jones if elected

Yes he did, to his face:

    NSW Opposition leader Michael Daley has threatened to sack Alan Jones in an explosive pre-election interview….

    Alan grilled the want-to-be premier over his promise not to rebuild Allianz Stadium, despite independent reports saying it’s not safe to continue as is.

    Mr Daley claims the SCG Trust, which runs the stadium, isn’t telling the truth about the risks.

    “That’s one of the reasons Alan why I’m going to sack the board,” he says.

    “If I’m elected, the board will go. I know you’ve been on that board for 30 years.”

The reason is simple. Now a lot more people will know who Michael Daley is. And politically, there is more to be gained than lost by telling Jones where to get off. A recent poll gives Labor a chance:

    A recent poll indicates Labor leads the coalition 51 to 49 per cent on a two-party preferred basis with Mr Daley ahead of Ms Berejiklian as preferred premier.

    The UComms/ReachTel poll, published in the Sun-Herald on Saturday, also shows the coalition’s primary vote has dropped to 28.7 per cent while Labor’s remains steady at 34.1 per cent.

As it happens, the celebrated architect behind the Sydney Football Stadium, Philip Cox:

    believes it is still “one of the great stadiums of the world” and considers plans to demolish it shows “a certain philistinism” in NSW.

4. Asylum seekers fly over ScoMo’s wall

Here’s Scott Morrison waving his arms around on Christmas Island, claiming to be the “brick wall” standing between Australians and those who would game our country’s immigration system:

Mike Seccombe has the story in The Saturday Paper:

    More than 64,000 people have claimed asylum in Australia over the past three years.

    In the most recent financial year alone, 27,931 applications for protection visas were made. That figure eclipsed the biggest year of arrivals under the previous Labor government – 26,845 in 2012–13.

    And the number of asylum seekers continues to grow. In just six months, up to the end of January this year, there were another 14,231 applications made.

    The people coming now, however, are not coming by boat. Instead, they are flying over the Great Wall of Morrison and landing at Australia’s airports.

Furthermore, most of the people landing are not legitimate asylum seekers. Senate estimates were told that 90 per cent of the new wave of asylum applicants have no legitimate claim:

    In reality, more asylum seekers are turning up under his government’s watch than ever did under Labor. And these people are rapidly becoming an underclass of cheap, exploited labour, hidden from view on farms, on construction sites and in the restaurants and other businesses across Australia.

Emma Germano, vice-president of the Victorian Farmers Federation, says the Sunraysia district’s horticulture industry essentially relies on illegal labour.

Of 65 growers they interviewed only one or two have said they have fully compliant labour. About half the labour is noncompliant. And she says that Border Force raids are just a PR exercise.

Abul Rizvi, a former deputy secretary of the immigration department, lifts the lid:

    Much of the issue goes back four years to a bureaucratic restructuring initiated by Morrison when he was immigration minister, says Rizvi.

    “I believe the change started with the marriage of customs and immigration,” he says.

    “The Border Force function – essentially the people with the uniforms and guns – got a higher priority than the public servants at desks, who process visas in the first place.

    “Two things happened: morale declined among visa processing staff and we had less resources, relative to the number of applications. So, processing times blew out.”

    That had an impact on visas of all types. In response, says Rizvi, more people began coming into the country as visitors and applying onshore. This applied to spouses, business-sponsored migrants and, particularly asylum seekers.

So the offshore backlog became an onshore backlog, which now extends to nearly 200,000.

People smugglers saw that paralysis onshore, and spotted an opportunity.

    “What was in the first instance a bureaucratic problem is becoming a national security problem, in that the vast majority of these people entered Australia on a visitor visa.”

Only limited background checks are done.

    “We now have a very large number of people who have entered Australia essentially on the basis of telling us they have no criminal record, and we believe them.

More importantly, for 30 to 40 years Australia has avoided the problems that have plagued countries in Europe and North America, which is the creation of a large, permanent underclass of failed asylum seekers in the country.

    “What has happened in the last three years is unprecedented,” Rizvi says. “If the government doesn’t act quickly, the problem will just keep growing, and eventually reach a point where, similar to the US and Europe, you just can’t do anything about it.”

He calls it a “shit sandwich” no-one wants to bite into before the election.

The Coalition has now extended 18 categories of visas to four years.

Farmers are still complaining about access to labour, The Victorian Farmers Federation says the latest moves don’t change anything that matters, so I’m assuming the Mike Seccombe is right, the people-smugglers are flying people far above Morrison’s ‘wall’.

Makes what he’s doing on Christmas Island sick joke, surely.

5. Shorten flags ‘living wage’ to replace minimum wage

Business is alarmed as Shorten flags a ‘living wage’ to replace the minimum wage.

Business seems to want the right to pay people less than they need to live on, lest the whole capitalist edifice crumbles.

The Greens want to back the proposal first pushed by ACTU secretary Sally McManus in late 2017.

    At the time, her proposal for a living wage equal to 60 per cent of the median wage, would have seen the then-minimum wage of $695 a week jump to $852.


    told the business audience he wanted to work with business, not engage in business bashing, but there would need to be levels of cooperation akin to those of the Accord era during the Hawke-Keating government.

Shorten said:

    “We need a renewed spirit of co-operation, a renewed willingness on all sides to sit down and negotiate.”

    He has already promised to restore weekend penalty rates, crack down on sham contracting and labour hire, and he left on the table on Wednesday the reintroduction of pattern bargaining in low-paid sectors such as cleaning and childcare.

Patricia Karvelas in talking to Brendan O’Connor, Shadow Employment and Workplace Relations Minister, did not understand that Labor in government would not be making decisions on wages. Firstly, they would talk to everyone, including the Greens. Then https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drive/a-living-wage-the-slowing-economy-coal-power-electricity-prices/10881106″>talking to Brendan O’Connor spoke about giving the Fair Work Commission new tools and new parameters. He said it was unacceptable for full-time workers to be working in poverty. In 1983 the minimum wage was 70% of the average wage. Now it is 55%. In the last year profits had grown by 11%, wages only by 1.7%.

He also talked of criminal penalties for systemic underpayment and what is effectively “modern slavery”.

6. Newspoll

It’s 54-46 to Labor and the pattern looks stubborn for the LNP:

In the Oz they are saying the point of no return is nigh, so what happens when the people in power become really desperate?

22 thoughts on “Weekly salon 10/5”

  1. Re: 1. Coalition chaos

    “all hell will break loose”.
    Sounds ideal for the start of an election campaign.

    Posted midnight today at the SMH is an article by Nicole Hasham headlined Coal or renewables: Which is cheaper? It begins with:

    As you unplug your iPhone and turn on your kettle each morning, the complexities of Australia’s energy market probably aren’t high on your mind. But at this year’s federal election more than any other, voters are being asked to think about where their electricity comes from, how much it costs and whether it will help make the planet too hot to live on.

    Perhaps we are talking about hell emerging on this planet – that is: “hot as hell”.

    And 24 hours before that, Nicole Hasham’s SMH article headlined Pro-coal Nationals hold electorates most at risk from climate change was posted. It begins with:

    Five federal seats where climate change is set to wreak the worst damage are held by Nationals MPs whose party colleagues want the government to finance new carbon-emitting coal plants, new analysis has revealed.

    Research by the Australian National University, commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, has determined how climate change is likely to affect 4000 locations around Australia including each federal electorate. It shows that winter as Australians know it will virtually disappear by 2050 unless greenhouse gas emissions are radically curbed.

    Further along:

    The 20 most vulnerable electorates are expected to see an increase in average maximum temperatures of between 4.77 degrees (Groom) and 3.81 degrees (Hume).

    And yet the Nationals want more coal-fired power to make it worse for their constituents – go figure.

  2. Thanks, GM. I did hear on ABC RN about the Nat Coalsheviks being most affected. However, I think you’ll find that most of them acknowledge climate change (“The climate has always been changing”) but would still deny the connection with coal.

  3. Yesterday evening, posted at The Age is Michael Kozoil’s article headlined ‘Lonely minority whistling Dixie’: Liberals ridicule Nationals over coal power. It begins with:

    Liberal MPs have spoken out en masse to ridicule their Nationals colleagues over a push for a government-backed coal power station in Queensland, blasting the idea as unworkable and economically illiterate.

    The drive for a new coal-fired power station – led by National Party leader-in-exile Barnaby Joyce – has exposed a damaging divide in the Coalition just two months before the election.

    It doesn’t look like a happy marriage COALition between the Nats and the Libs at the moment.

  4. Meanwhile in today’s SMH paper edition, front page, is an article about climate change as a key NSW election issue. The Alexandra Smith online article is headlined Climate change top of voters’ minds in NSW election. It begins with:

    Climate change is a key election issue for most people in NSW, polling shows, as the environment emerges as a more pressing concern for voters than hospitals, schools and public transport.

    Exclusive Herald polling shows that 57.5 per cent of voters say they will be swayed by climate change and environmental protection when deciding who to vote for on March 23.

    It’s a UComms/ReachTEL poll.

    The poll of 1019 voters across NSW on Thursday night also showed Labor ahead of the Coalition 51:49 on a two-party preferred basis and had Labor leader Michael Daley as preferred premier.

  5. I understand Daley was preferred leader 53-47, which is pretty stunning, but is perhaps a comment on the negativity around Gladys B.

  6. Stories are circulating that NSW Nationals have asked Mr B. Joyce if he’d mind pulling his head in. Apparently they are under the impression that there’s going to be a NSW election very soon.

    And I hear that Mr Joyce has now apologised or something. Perhaps the Nationals “have a men problem”??

    Then there’s a Mr Turnbull (who he?) bobbing up to say that the Liberal Party “has a women problem”.

    Go, Gladys!!

  7. Yeah, ALP are way more disciplined to run Dear Leaders line without a brain of their own.

    Remember Bills “ I don’t know what she ( Gillard ) said but I agree… “.
    And who could forget Penny Wong stating marriage should be between a man and a woman.

    You cross the floor, even in an interview, you’re politically dead in the ALP.

  8. And what of the voters?
    Do they tend to support a disciplined group, or a fractious rabble?
    Or neither large Party?

    We shall see, Mr Jumpy.

  9. You know, Gladys would probable make a better Governor-General/President than the usual run of ex-military and ex-judiciary seat-warmers and rubber-stamps.

  10. Horrific, murderous attack(s) in Christchurch; to add to the horror, apparently live streamed by a gunman. An Aussie in custody. And three other people? A long “manifesto” written by one of the murderers.

    Police armed all over Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud.

    Cry, the beloved country.

  11. Ambi:

    Go, Gladys!!

    Sounds like a plan if you think rebuilding an old stadium as demanded by a soon to be retired Mr A Jones is high priority and kids who protest about lack of climate action should be disciplined.

  12. Interesting little competition to keep an eye on.
    The BOM predicts a cyclone forming in the Gulf by about Thursday and Windy.com it forming off the East coast.

    I’m assuming they both use the same BOM data but use different forecasting computer software.

    Let’s see who wins this little crystal ball battle.

  13. Posted late Thursday in the SMH by Michael Koziol and Alexandra Smith is an article headlined Malcolm Turnbull warns ‘idiocy’ of federal colleagues is damaging Gladys Berejiklian. It begins with:

    Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has warned the “idiocy” of a renewed fight over coal-fired power among federal MPs is damaging the chances of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as she fights the knife-edge state election.

    Several NSW ministers, including the leader and deputy leader of the Nationals, also blamed ongoing instability in Canberra for undermining the state campaign at a critical time.

    We shall see – only a week to go for the NSW state election.

  14. Geoff Miell: It looks like Gladys Berejiklian has two opponents to fight in the NSW election: the minor one is Labor; the major opponent is Liberals

  15. “The opposition occupies the benches in front of you, but the enemy sits behind you.”
    – Winston Churchill

  16. And Malcolm too will write several books, I predict. Though perhaps not as polished as Winston’s?

  17. Today I went to work for Denise, the denizen from Spring Hill I mentioned a couple of years ago. Hadn’t heard from her for yonks.

    Good to see she was still flourishing, and moving and shaking.

    New Salon nearly done.

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