Weekly salon 26/11

1. Scott Morrison perfects the art of hiding in plain sight

That’s according to Paula Matthewson at the New Daily. She says he’s doing fewer TV interviews and holding fewer media conferences than we’ve come to expect from a prime minister, but is bursting out all over on social media, where, she says, it will be almost impossible to enforce ‘truth’ online.

    No matter how welcome and overdue, imposing truth in advertising restrictions on Facebook will do nothing to staunch the flood of misdirections, deflections, mistruths and porkies that can flow through the other direct-to-voter channels.

    Mr Morrison is just one example of a politician hiding in plain sight, who avoids questions on the big stage, and uses social media to strike up unfiltered conversations with the voters in the stalls.

    This is the future of political and campaign communications, but it is already here.

2. Don’t panic!

Katherine Murphy reckons Morrison’s schtick is not panicking.

He understands voters anxiety, but directs it to his political opponents:

    Morrison often tells voters either directly or indirectly he knows they are anxious, and sick of the noise, and the political circus, but he wants them to direct their anxiety to his political opponents, not the government.

    Morrison, in different ways, but with great persistence, says I know you are worried, but you don’t have to worry, because Daddy is here, he won the election, and he’s Not Panicking. That’s the potency of “hello, I’m Scott, and I’m not panicking” – a declaration that in any other context would be either superfluous or stupid.

Murphy thinks the voters will turn on him if the economy goes bad. I’m not so sure.

By the way, I’ve stopped calling him ScoMo, because he likes it.

3. Kelly-Frydenberg love-in dupes viewers

Part of the problem is that senior government figures too often get a free run from the media which should hold them to account, as that link shows. Fran Kelly on Insiders asks Josh Frydenberg a question. More than six hypocrisies and falsehoods were embedded in his answer, but Kelly challenged none of them.

As Michael Pascoe said, there will be a “record number of jobs” for the same reason as there will be a record number of deaths – there are more Australians. Our record on unemployment is very average:

We’ve been champions in chalking up government debt:

    In response to a question about recent tax cuts, Frydenberg schmoozed that “We’ll always be the party of lower taxes.”

Here’s the truth:

Frydenberg burbles about international economic headwinds:

    There are no global headwinds. The world is in a strong upswing in jobs, economic growth, wages, corporate profits and government revenue.

    Here’s an illustration. What do these twenty countries have in common? Germany, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Netherlands, Hungary, Thailand, Taiwan, Israel, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Armenia, Vietnam, Philippines, Kazakhstan, Chile, Nigeria, Colombia and Peru.

    In the last few days, all have released figures on annual growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for the September quarter. The average is a healthy 3.19%. All recorded higher growth for September than for the June quarter. All but three have jobless rates lower than Australia’s.

Economic growth?

    Frydenberg: “We are growing faster, according to the OECD, in 2020 than the United States, than Canada, than Japan, than European countries.”

    This is a blatant, bare-faced, black-hearted lie straight to the camera.

The truth?

    Australia’s latest annual growth number is a puny 1.4%, a fact which Kelly actually read from one of her prepared questions. The United States is now at 2.0% and Canada at 1.6%, both higher than Australia. Japan is 1.3%, marginally lower.

    More than 30 European countries have higher growth than Australia’s. Cyprus, Macedonia, Latvia, Serbia, Romania, Montenegro are more than double at 2.8% or better. Ireland, Hungary, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova are more than triple.

John Menadue says We should stop pretending that the Coalition is a good economic or business manager:

    The Coalition, supported by our corporate media and billionaires like Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer, claims that it is the superior manager. This claim has become part of the public mindset. But the evidence shows that the Coalition is a very poor manager. Its priority is not to resolve problems or manage them well, but to play a political game to win votes. (Emphasis added)

4. Aged care hypocrisy

I’ve said elsewhere that what this government is really good at is pretending to do something when quite consciously and intentionally they are not.

Take 11:47 mins to listen to Government announces more than $500 million in funding for aged care sector on ABC RN Drive.

First you have Scott Morrison laying it on with a trowel, his voice almost breaking with emotion. He has, he tells us, the deep understanding to know how you are feeling about care for your loved ones. “This is hard.” He wants for your family the same as he wants for his. The word “deep” gets a second outing.

Then listen to Ian Henschke, National Seniors Chief Advocate, tell you what the package amounts to. For home care, less the a 10th of the places required. 10,000 places when there are 120,000 on the waiting list. For training, $10 million. Sounds a lot, but there are 360,000 people involved. Do the sums, and it’s an average of just $27.70.

As Henschke says, you don’t balance your budget on the back of broken lives. When a judge says that what we have is “neglect”, “cruel” and “unacceptable” we should be looking at charging people with industrial manslaughter.

5. Now for something completely ridiculous

Shape-shifting reptilian overlords distance themselves from Prince Andrew

In The Post Truth Post:

    Zelos, the earthly spokes-lizard for the Anunnaki, told The Post Truth Post that the prince’s behaviour “did not align with the Babylonian Brotherhood’s core values.”

    “A requirement of our sponsorship of the ruling global elite is that its members engage in acts that generate negative energy and human suffering for us to feed on.

    “Having conclusively established that his contribution to the sum of all human suffering amounts to nothing more than allegedly failing to tip a waiter at a Pizza Express in Woking, it is with regret that we will no longer be able to sponsor the mammal-form you call Prince Andrew.”

    Zelos was keen to reassure the sheeple of Britain that the inactions of the Duke of York were his and his alone, and did not diminish the royal family’s senior position within the ranks of the Red Dresses.

Except that he did do harm, and it’s not funny.

Any way Charles is furious and some Brits are saying, Let’s get off our knees and abolish the monarchy:


    Andrew wasn’t just a bad apple: he comes from a royal orchard of them. It’s time Britain matured as a republic

6. Vale Clive and Sam

One of Australia’s most acclaimed cultural exports, Clive James, has died in England aged 80.


    The ‘Kid from Kogarah’, a prolific wordsmith with an acerbic intellect, colossal vocabulary and passion for poetry, always retained a fondness for his Australian heritage, despite five decades of British residency.

Closer to home Vale Sam Watson Snr:

    Queensland and Australia have lost a fearless, tireless fighter for the rights of indigenous Australians.

    Sam Watson Snr was a proud member of the Munnenjarl and Biri Gubba Juru tribal nations, with blood ties to the Yuggera, Kalkadoon and Noonuccal peoples.

    A lifelong activist, community leader, author, academic and filmmaker, Sam was a passionate advocate for his people.

    Across more than half a century, he made an indelible contribution to the advancement of the rights of Indigenous Australians.

39 thoughts on “Weekly salon 26/11”

  1. Yeah, Clive James, I enjoyed all of the stuff I saw of him.
    That cheeky bugger essence and a way to convey dry humour to tribulations and trivialise conquest in a single sentence.
    And the next sentence convey defeat as harrowing and victory sweet.

    Special Bloke was Clive.

  2. I’ve been perusing the some right wing blogs too and every one has a tributary thread to Clive James.

    Whatever Clive had that bridged that divide is worth identifying and replicating I recon.

  3. Whatever Clive had that bridged that divide is worth identifying …

    I think that divide is of your own making. To my knowledge James never expressed any political leanings (just an unfortunate denial of climate change) and was known mainly for his wit and talents as a writer, to which you refer. I formed the impression he leaned ever so slightly to the right, but it never got in the way of his talent. His fame was based largely on his excellence as a TV critic.
    Whatever Clive had that bridged the divide between left and right he shared with Pavarotti, Miles Davis, TS Eliot, WB Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Aretha Franklin and literally thousands of others who were celebrated artists admired by people of all political persuasions.

  4. I stand in awe of Mr James’s wit, learning and literary output.

    His massive book “Cultural Amnesia” could sustain a reader for years Christopher Hitchens had a similar breadth and polished prose.

    And both wickedly funny.

  5. Mr A
    He was a genuine thinker with highly advanced elocution.
    A true, and probably Australias last, fair dinkum intellectual.

    He most certainly delved heavily into the mass body politic and individual politic yet never following a tribe that belittled the another tribe.

    I saw him as a neutral inquisitive observer and honest commentator.

    That’d be the foremost quality I can see to bridge the media compounded gap between left and right.

  6. Phillip Adams had a segment Remembering Clive James.

    Adams says James was conservative, like Barry Humphries and Bruce Beresford, and admits as much in the interview when he talks about John Howard.

    Adams said he had done a couple of interviews with James, but oddly could not remember a thing about them. Then played the interview from 2006, which sparkled with what you would think was memorable commentary. James’ account of his interview with Peter Sellers was priceless.

    There was a brilliant interview with Kerry O’Brien tonight on the ABC – The Kid from Kogarah. I can’t find it on free-to-air.

    Will future generations be reading TS Eliot?

    Definitely.

    Clive James?

    How can we know? Possibly his translation of Dante, which seems to have been creative. Possibly his autobiography as a record of our times.

    I really don’t have an opinion. Certainly the words flowed, and James himself said his verbal production required no effort. He just turned on the tap, as it were.

    With Adams’ probing he said, in effect, he liked to keep himself busy because he had to distract from the underlying melancholy which would otherwise take over. That’s sad.

  7. Brian:

    Morrison, in different ways, but with great persistence, says I know you are worried, but you don’t have to worry, because Daddy is here, he won the election, and he’s Not Panicking. That’s the potency of “hello, I’m Scott, and I’m not panicking” – a declaration that in any other context would be either superfluous or stupid.

    When Morrison was elected I described him as a shallow smart-arse. His behaviour since then reinforces my perception. Right now we need a thoughtful leader like Shorten who has a track record of making things that need to happen happen.
    Advertising man Morrison may have done a brilliant job at winning an election but he shows no signs of being a brilliant leader.

  8. As a young boy Clive James lost his father, when a plane crashed, flying back from WW2 service. Hard to imagine the shock:”War’s over, Dad’s coming home soon.”

    Then that.

    Tough life for a single war widow in 1940s Sydney.

    But you’re right Brian, melancholy is a bastard.

  9. I hope ABC TV will show again a two part BBC doco circa 2014 about Germsine Greer, Robert Hughes, Clive James and …..

    It was very well done.
    Aussie kids go over ter London, make good, and never forget Australia.

  10. Yes
    And Howard Jacobson as narrator is as good as the fab four. Apologies to Barry H for my failure to recall him.

  11. With Morrison and this government, I can’t believe how bad it is. I didn’t start on Angus Taylor, because words are simply inadequate. What did we do to be inflicted with this bunch of goons?

  12. What did we do to be inflicted with this bunch of goons?

    An election where the alternative was Shorten and his goons perhaps?

  13. Jumpy: An election where campaign expenditure was capped so that the likes of Palmer couldn’t buy an election?
    Something to stop the Murdoch empire from buying an election with services in kind?
    Truth in reporting laws?
    A failure of the Labor party to understand how easy it is to spook us oldies by changing the tax system?
    And……

  14. John
    Ok.
    So when the left win it’s a recognition of how smart the voters are.
    When the right win they were duped gullible fools.

    Got it, check, roger, understood.

  15. How quaint, believing that the ALP (which is to the right of Malcolm Fraser and Bob Menzies these days) is “the left”.
    I’d be pleased if either one of our duopoly moved back to the centre.

  16. Jumpy:

    Please enlighten the group with your idea of a current centrist politician zoot.
    Just a name or two.

    Richard DiNatali.

  17. I agree with John, and in the USA I would add Elizabeth Warren.
    That’s your two names. Face it Jumpy, your team has won. The Overton window has moved so far to the right it’s in danger of falling off.

  18. Zoot, my memory, which can be wrong, tells me that jumpy reckoned he’d never voted for the mob who have presently won.

    Given that he routinely mouths off about and dumps on Labor politicians, we are left with probably two main possibilities. The first is that he either isn’t on the roll or casts an invalid vote.

    The second is that he votes for one of the minor parties (Katter, ON, Palmer etc) or an independent. I’m betting, though, that if he does that he preferences Labor below the LNP.

    This would allow him to say that he didn’t vote for the member for Manila when in effect he did.

    I don’t care, really, but the default dumping on Labor is predictable and boring.

  19. It’s hot here, I keep having to work, and I’m stuck on a post about Westpac. I thought I could do it quickly, but it’s like quicksand. Problem is there is masses of commentary, but it’s mostly in ignorance of facts, wrong or hopelessly narrow in focus.

    Most of the commentary doesn’t deal with why Westpac can’t fix computer programs that don’t do what they are supposed to do.

  20. I don’t care, really, but the default dumping on Labor is predictable and boring.

    I didn’t call ALP right wingers Brian, that’d be zoot and JD. They probably also think there are right winger in the greens that need purging ffs.
    The truth is that creeping socialism throughout our institutions has pushed Australia to the left. Just not fast enough for them because, basically, a Marxist at heart prefers revolution over incremental improvements.

    About your memory, I said I’ve never voted Liberal party, and, I have voted ALP. It’s not tribal with me, I allow myself to weigh each candidate on policy’s, track record and ability.
    Their leader is a 3rd or 4th order issue.

    You on the other hand have joined a tribe.
    I’m sure if that bumbling idiot James Bidgood ran for ALP again in your electorate you’d be at a booth with his red shirt on handing out pieces of dead tree.

    I do however allow myself to be tribal with sport, to a certain degree, because it doesn’t really matter.

  21. I didn’t call ALP right wingers Brian

    Of course you didn’t. You implied the ALP are left wingers when you wrote in answer to JD

    So when the left win it’s a recognition of how smart the voters are.
    When the right win they were duped gullible fools.

    John’s comment was about Australia where the only two “winners” are the ALP or the Coalition leading us as competent English speakers to interpret your term “the left” to mean the ALP.
    Now you claim we were wrong. Who were you referring to?

  22. I used to support the country party when I was in primary school. That was when I thought that they were Australia’s only true socialist party, at least where small farmers welfare and protecting Australian business and jobs was an issue. Then I grew up or was it that the Country party morphed into a National party with leaders like Joh not helping their reputation.

  23. Jumpy, I’ve joined a party, not a tribe.

    For me the policy package is more important than the people, though people do matter, especially leader and local member.

    Beneath all that lies a set of values. And then we have to deal with what we’ve got here and now and what it may become in the flow of time.

    At present there is very little that is at all acceptable about the Liberals, the Nationals, or as we have in Qld, the LNP.

  24. John, it’s an interesting link from Don Watson, but he goes out of his way to be critical of Labor, I think because it’s the fashion with some of the left-leaning intelligentsia. See also Quiggin.

    So he says Labor:

    having lost the election, they renounce the policies on which they ran and the beliefs underlying them.

    Albanese and co have gone out of their way to say the beliefs and values remain the same, indeed may be emphasised more, but actual policies must be up for a rethink. That does not mean that any specific former policies will be rejected, but you can bet that Labor will not have 250 concrete costed policies next time to put before the people.

  25. You on the other hand have joined a tribe.

    Quoth the correspondent whose automatic response to the mere words Wayne Swan or Julia Gillard is splenetic; who adores Donald J Trump from afar, telling us he despises #45 while repeating the latest memes du jour in his favour from the bowels of the alt.right cesspit.
    Yes Jumpy, it’s blindingly obvious you’re not tribal.

  26. Don Watson is a wonderful writer on Gippsland and Mirboo North and Poowong, which he knows well. His speeches for Mr Keating were very good.

    In my view he overemphasises the importance of writers and speechwriters in national life. Perhaps that’s understandable.

    His partner Chloe Hooper has published a fascinating book “The Arsonist” about the Churchill/Jeeralang fires on Black Saturday and the arsonist convicted of starting them.

    Partly she muses on the unpredictable nature of the crime of arson. (In some ways analogous to single-perpetrator acts of terrorism : how may we spot any warning signs so as to nip criminality in the bud before murders are committed?)

    A wicked problem for firefighters, police and the general public.

  27. On Parliamentary representation of segments of a national population, just saw figures claiming that in the 120 member NZ Parlt, Maori have 27 seats, or 23%.

    Maori make up 16% of the population.

    They have higher unemployment (double the national rate) and in prison populations they “punch above their weight” – an unfortunate phrase, indeed.

  28. I always seem to be a couple hours short of finishing the Westpac post. Probably should have let it go through to the keeper.

    I’m in the home straight but have to let it go until tonight.

  29. Better quieter than silent.

    The word used in the video I linked to is quiet (not quieter) and it’s about people being silenced by the Australian government, something I thought might concern even you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *