1. Life in paradise
My GP said to me the other day, this is it – heaven! Life right here is as good as it gets, so we need to make the most of it!
Well, I’ve had a few experiences lately that I could have done without. Like last Sunday week ago. Here is the scene (photo from November 2017):
I had just spent about an hour with my son on the deck tranferring all the data to my new phone, getting it all set up and sorted.
The next job was to help my wife put the pool cover on for the winter. So I slipped my phone into my back pocket, where it couldn’t fall out.
The pool cover was stored in a large roll, over a metre wide, which had to be rolled out on the pool side of that umbrella pole and pot plant. So rolling it out walking backwards, you know what’s coming next. No sane person would take a new phone and then go for a dip in a pool fully clothed with the phone in his pocket a few minutes later!
My wife says I was thrashing like I couldn’t swim! I can say I was thinking desperately about the phone. Last time I fell into a pool with a phone it was underwater about 2 seconds, and the phone was dead. This time I was in deep water and away from the edge, so I guess it took 10 seconds.
My wife says if she did that she would be very hard on herself. I thought it was funny – afterall it wasn’t as serious as this:
Serious enough, though. After 10 seconds inundation the phone was dead.
Luckily, so I thought, I was prudent enough to take out a comprehensive insurance policy for a year, which included drowning the thing. Turns put the excess for replacing the phone is more than the cost of the policy, and together they amounted to about half the cost of the phone. If I’d known that I probably would not have bought the insurance, so lucky I didn’t. It’s still a rip off.
The phone has now been sent to Melbourne as instructed, where it will no doubt officially be deemed dead. The SIM card was OK, so the old phone will have to do another round while all this is sorted.
2. Albo makes a call on Setka
Last Tuesday Labor leader Anthony Albanese told Leigh Sales on the 7.30 Report that he had formally requested that John Setka, Victorian Secretary of the CFMMEU, be expelled from the Labor Party. Albanese made clear that he wasn’t acting in relation to charges currently before the courts, where Setka has apparently admitted guilt in using a ‘carriage service’ to harass a woman:
- my actions don’t relate to anything that is before the courts. What they relate to is the views that Mr Setka has put forward on a range of issues that are, frankly, out of line, not just with the Labor Party, but out of line with mainstream Australian views.
In doing so he was demonstrating that he owed the CFMMEU nothing, and that he wasn’t Bill Shorten.
David Speers in the Courier Mail says Albo has ended up in the weeds over whether Setka actually denigrated the work of Rosie Batty as a campaigner against domestic violence, saying her work has limited the rights of men. Phillip Coorey in the AFR says Albanese was informed by people in the room who heard what was said. It wasn’t an aside. Setka was explaining his current legal issues.
At first we heard that Setka said his remarks were taken out of context, then came an outright denial, supported by the likes of Christy Cain, the national president of the Maritime Union, who said that suggestions Mr Setka had denigrated anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty at a CFMMEU meeting were false, calling for Albanese himself to consider resigning.
Someone is telling porkies. It seems to me inherently unlikely that anyone would be game enough to try to stitch up Setka. As Chris Kenny pointed out on Insiders, Setka waited a few days, probably to see whether any stray audio of what he actually said would turn up.
Sally McManus of the ACTU buys Setka’s story, but says Setka should step down from his union position because his other deeds give unionism a bad name.
Setka, according to Speers, is also being supported by the left-wing Electrical Trades Union.
Unions that want him to step down include the shoppies union, United Voice, the teachers union, the Australian Services Union and the CPSU.
The typical union member these days is a 45 year-old female, who works as a nurse, a teacher or care worker. Unionism is now down to about 14% of the workforce. Albanese knows that dinosaurs like Setka will inhibit the union movement from growing, and damage the Labor brand generally.
Coorey says that Shorten owed the CFMMEU because without their support on asylum seeker policy at the 2015 ALP conference, Shorten’s stance on turning back the boats would have failed.
Speers says that Albo did the right thing, but went too early and ended up stuck in the weeds over whether Setka said what was reported.
I think it’s exactly the other way around. Albo’s best strategy was to go hard and go early. He lined up his support before he said anything. Moreover, there is zero sympathy in the public for thugs like Setka. It is Setka who is stuck in the weeds.
See also Paul Karp in Anthony Albanese insists John Setka will be expelled from Labor despite impasse, Joe Hildebrand in How Anthony Albanese used John Setka to send a message to Labor and the nation, Phillip Coorey in Albanese stamps his authority with Setka ousting and Ray Markey in Setka furore opens division within the labour movement – and there is no easy solution.
I think Hildebrand goes too far in saying that Albanese’s action had nothing to do with what Setka said. Markey has a lot of history and context, but is over-thinking the current situation. IMO.
3. ALP meeting tonight
This evening the Ryan ALP branches (note the plural) are meeting to review the election. I’ve no idea what happens at these meeting, but my wife and I are going, plus possibly my younger brother, who also lives in the electorate.
4. The puttering, stuttering Australian economy
I don’t have time for analysis, but here’s a couple of links on our economic situation, which is less than glorious:
Feelings of troubles times ahead, and total denigration of Labor and Shorten in this environment make up a large part of the story as to why Labor lost. The next day my wife had her hair done in a salon near the heart of the Ryan electorate. The women there were sharing their joy that they had just escaped Shorten, who was going to take all their money!