Weekly salon 31/5

1. Robodebt extortion racket finally conceded as “unlawful”

The word should be ‘criminal’. Scotty from Marketing has clever wordsmiths who have invented the euphemism “not sufficient under law”. Christian Porter was suggesting on Insiders today that the scheme was basically normal, just didn’t quite scrub up under the law. Nothing to see here.

There were a few little problems with the scheme.

    • The underlying mathematics were so bad that an average child completing compulsory education could have spotted the problem.
    • When the demand was made people were held as guilty unless they could prove innocence.
    • Unless people paid on demand, the debt was handed over to debt collectors.

Prof terry Carney from Sydney Law School put the mathematics this way:

    “It was a really primary school mathematical error in assuming that because Bradman had an average of 99.94 that every time he went out to bat he made 99.94 runs,” Professor Carney said.

Many of the victims of this criminal racket were vulnerable people unable to defend themselves. Real damage was done. Some committed suicide.

On 200 occasions in a row when the targets took the claims to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal the Commonwealth folded and paid the claim – a certain sign they knew they had no legal case.

Jacqueline Phillips, acting CEO of Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) is eloquent in Robodebt was a flagrant abuse of government power. It should never have seen the light of day.

Katharine Murphy last September relates how Bill Shorten rustled up the class action in Robodebt class action: Shorten unveils ‘David and Goliath’ legal battle into Centrelink scheme.

Murphy also tells how Shorten last November asked the simple question in parliament, Who is responsible for this mess? in The robodebt horror was all about boosting the budget. That’s the brutal truth.

Bill Shorten tells Patricia Karvelas last Friday that he is still asking the same question without reply. He says that an announcement came through last Monday that there would be a court hearing in the case on 20 July. Ministers were facing the real prospect of being dragged before the court.

Shorten has done well on this one. The matter has not ended, because the case is seeking damages for the harm done.

The Government made the announcement via Stuart Robert announced the government’s action to a dog and cat on the Gold Coast on Friday afternoon 15 minutes after our fearless PM had just explained how he was going to reorganise the way federation works. If anyone asks him about Robodebt, I’m betting he will say nothing.

Meticulous in their cynicism.

2. Alan Jones is mortal

He hasn’t been put in a chaff bag and dumped in the sea, but he’s finally finished at 2GB.

If you scroll to the end, advertisers had drifted back after he said Gillard’s father “died of shame”. However, after his comments on NZ PM Jacinda Adern they stayed away. After the exodus of 110 brands Nine Entertainment promised changes. They didn’t work, and:

    Appalled by the slur on Ardern, a Facebook group called Mad Fucking Witches, and activist group Sleeping Giants on Twitter, hammered Jones’s advertisers through emails and on social media every time they spent money placing an ad on his breakfast show.


    The companies which pulled out late last year include RSL Art Unions, Bing Lee, Snooze, Bunnings, Volkswagen, Koala Mattresses, Anytime Fitness, Total Tools, AVEO, Lowes, Chemist Warehouse, Red Cross, OMG Mattresses, Hyundai, Sleeping Duck and Scali.

    The station, now under the control of Nine Entertainment, was losing so much money they chose to pay out Jones’s contract to the tune of $4m rather than have him hang around.

    Nine newspapers have reported the show lost as much as 50% of its revenue from the commercial backlash.

    If Jones’s rhetoric was poison to the advertisers who pulled out of 2GB it didn’t seem to bother the celebrities who turned up to praise him on the way out.

You’d expect Peta Credlin, Tony Abbott, Pauline Hanson and Mark Latham to praise him, but Roger Federer, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman?

    Others included Dame Edna, Elizabeth Hurley, Rod Stewart, Michael Buble, Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton-John and Delta Goodrem.

Actually he was a late entrant to radio. He emanated, of course, from Queensland, grew up on a dairy farm near Oakey. When he was on staff at Brisbane Grammar Jones coached Drew Hutton in athletics (Greens political aspirant and Lock the Gate founder, where they linked again in opposition to coal seam gas).

He was Australian rugby union coach in the time of Mark Ella, Peter FitzSimons and Nick Farr-Jones. Won 23 of 30 tests, including a grand slam in the UK.

There’s more from Don Woolford at The voice heard from Struggle Street to Kirribilli House. Jones always picked favourites and was divisive. He was essentially sacked from King’s College, Sydney after moving there. His career meandered until he got involved in rugby, from whence he jumped to radio. His stellar ratings put him on $4 million a year, plus there was cash for comment.

Quietly, he helped a lot of people, and channeled money into charities, all of which earned him an Order of Australia in 2004 for his service to the media, sports administration and charity work.

Woolford says Jones has been called a bully, a bigot, a misogynist and worse. No-one sits on the fence about Alan Jones.

Margaret Simons in Alan Jones: end for the shock-jock whose views on women, race and climate pandered to his tiny audience suggests his influence was over-rated, his audience was small, even in Sydney:

    A study by the Australia Institute in 2006 found that Jones listeners were older, more conservative, more authoritarian and more fearful than most Australians.

His real contribution was to pioneer “vengeful campaigning” which has been taken up with enthusiasm by others in the media.

3. Annika Smethurst charges dropped

    News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst will not be charged over stories she published that relied on classified intelligence documents, police have announced, prompting the Attorney-General to label the length of the investigation “frustrating”.

Key points:

    • The AFP says “no one will be prosecuted” over the leaking of documents to Ms Smethurst
    • Police say after reviewing material seized during raids on her home, they have decided not to lay charges
    • Attorney-General Christian Porter says he is “frustrated” by the time it has taken to finalise the case

What Porter has to do is to change the law, not just sigh pathetically. Smethurst only got off on a technicality. Meanwhile two ABC reporters wait to see whether they will be charged over their reporting on war crimes allegedly committed in Afghanistan.

4. News Corp carnage

News Corp have taken a cleaver to their suburban and regional newspapers.

    Of the 112 printed newspapers shut down by News Corp this week, 76 will survive as digital-only publications but the devil is in the detail.

Suburban and regional papers won’t have standalone websites and will sit behind a paywall.

    The company also declined to confirm how many people were made redundant by the restructure this week but Weekly Beast understands there are at least 150 journalists, photographers and designers affected and the number is 500 overall when you include all the managers, advertising, circulation, payroll and administration staff.

    But the toll may he higher. The executive editor of News Corp digital, Bryce Johns, told the ABC up to half of regional journalists at the company would lose their jobs.

News Corp say they will still have 300 regional reporters, so perhaps the carnage is 300 to go.

I think about 30 per cent of older folk don’t have a computer. By contrast younger people tend to only watch screens.

5. Journalism in crisis

All this is part of a larger story where heritage mastheads are under threat as advertising moves to digital platforms and the space is invaded by foreign social media giants. Indeed, Margaret Simons wrote a book in 2012 Journalism at the crossroads. Last year in Consumer watchdog: journalism is in crisis and only more public funding can help she reviewed an ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry.

Would you believe, the ACCC takes the view that journalism is a public good, and important for democracy. Citizens need to know from reliable sources what is happening around them.

Already then the number of journalists employed in print and online businesses had dropped by 20 per cent from 2014 to 2018:

    More than 100 local and regional newspapers have closed over the past ten years, and as a result, 21 local government areas have no coverage by local newspapers. Swathes of suburban and regional Australia are now news deserts. The digital news business models reward those who provide international and national news. Local news falls through the cracks.

    In other words, it’s now probably easier to find out what US President Donald Trump did last night than it is to find out what’s happening at your local school, why a local property development has been approved or what the story is behind that column of smoke on the horizon.

At the time there was an:

    existing under-subscribed and politically tainted Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package, which was established as a sop to then Senator Nick Xenophon in return for voting through the last round of media ownership deregulation.

That scheme didn’t work – partly because the eligibility criteria were designed to exclude certain publishers. Publishers like Guardian Australia.

When the News Corp carnage was raised with Scotty from Marketing Scott Morrison, PM of our ailing country the other day, he palmed it off as just another regrettable incident of jobs lost, in the belief that if you repeat “jobs and growth” on short rotation, that will magically happen, and the market will look after what succeeds and what doesn’t.

6. Now for something completely ridiculous

Clementine Ford cancels application for council grant in wake of controversial tweet.

    The City of Melbourne will not be issuing controversial commentator Clementine Ford with a $2800 writing grant.

    Lord Mayor Sally Capp revealed on Friday night that Ford, who has come under fierce criticism over a tweet in which she wrote the coronavirus “wasn’t killing men fast enough”, had cancelled her application.

Then we have Joe Hildebrand: Why Clementine Ford shouldn’t be cancelled with the fable of the scorpion and the frog, where the scorpion promised not to sting the frog, but does so because that is simply what it does by nature, so both die:

    The same might be said of Clementine Ford, a firebrand feminist who seems programmed to self-destruct at every opportunity – usually in an attempt to destroy someone else in the process.

147 thoughts on “Weekly salon 31/5”

  1. I would have liked to include something about Trump’s battle with Twitter, Palaszczuk’s battle perhaps avoided with the tourist industry and Morrison’s attempt to reform federation and lead us all to the promised land.

    Failed again!

  2. Would you believe, the ACCC takes the view that journalism is a public good, and important for democracy. Citizens need to know from reliable sources what is happening around them.

    Sounds like an argument for increasing the ABC’s budget.
    At the very least there should be a local radio presence in every regional centre.

  3. Whats the point of local MP’s handing over sports rort cheques to local sporting clubs if there is no local paper to post a picture of the vote winning deed?
    My wife edited a local newspaper in one of her manifestations. Pollies were asked probing questions about the stuff they wanted her to print. Campaigns were run that often managed to get things fixed that needed fixing. Kids had the pleasure of getting their pictures in the paper.
    She was an ABC country correspondent in another of her manifestations. Gave her an excuse to ask all sorts of people all sorts of questions and tell people what both sides were saying during things like industrial disputes.
    Taught me how powerful the media can be.

  4. John D, that is very telling.

    However, what disappoints me is that this government seems to have little grasp on what is important in Australian communities. I believe that Joel Fitzgibbon is the only Labor member occupying a regional seat. Apart from one indy in Victoria I think the Libs and Nats occupy the rest. Yet they don’t seem to be capable of grasping an issue like regional newspapers, let alone do something about it.

  5. Yes John,

    In addition, important matters seem to be aired first in the “Letters” section of our local, regional paper. Sometimes about Shire responsibilities, at other times somewhat wider.

    Jeepers your missus has had an active life and has been very socially connected!!

    Just another point on the local paper: before we started subscribing we were missing many performance and other events, for which the local paper is the main publicity forum.

  6. Ambi: “Jeepers your missus has had an active life and has been very socially connected!!” Yep. I encourage it. While she is sorting out the world I am left in my unorganizable peace.

  7. Well, you may very well say that, John, but you don’t appear unorganised.

  8. Ambi: “Well, you may very well say that, John, but you don’t appear unorganized.”
    Thanks for the flattery but I tend to be a good organizer of organizers, a different skill than detailed organizing at which i am not much good. Organizing organizers is about understanding what you are trying to do, what general structure is required to make it happen and the strengths and limitations of the people doing things for you.
    Our marriage is based on the idea that I am so hard to organize that it is not worth trying.
    John D marriage advisory service.

  9. Ah, the path of least resistance, or path of least difficulty.

    This could be a salient feature of marriage guidance.

    As I see it, many couples who stick it out reach a modus vivendi in their {ahem} more mature years, way past the median year of divorce (counting from the wedding day) in the wider community.

  10. I wonder if our Yankee cousins are tired of winning yet.
    It appears that the word “de-escalation” does not appear in the administration’s lexicon and POTUS’s inner fascist is going to be given free rein. So sad.

  11. Interesting, Trump is both a absent, do nothing President and an ever-escalating fascist having a free rein, all at the same time.

    Not too far back he was going the start a war with Russia and Putin’s puppet, all at the same time.

    All the while the non-city folk, with guns, that voted for him aren’t experiencing riots and have been lightly touched by covid19.

  12. Still waiting for you to tell us what the unrest is all about.

    (My guess is Brian was right and it’s an uninformed opinion)

  13. Oh it’s informed alright, I just don’t care be the only one here that must provide sources and data for every utterance.
    Am I demanding evidence from you that Trump is a fascist, ever escalating in free rein ?
    Am I demanding Brian provide evidence that Trump is doing nothing?
    No, I’m not.

    I just put it down to two different versions of contradicting blind hate.

  14. I just don’t care be the only one here that must provide sources and data for every utterance.

    Stop playing the victim, in this case nobody is asking for proof. You stated that the demonstrations weren’t about racism or George Floyd.
    We simply want to know what you say they are about.

  15. The peace marches may be about George Floyd and justice is in most part being done. Charges against the other 3 police ( one being Asian ) should eventuate as due process continues.

    But not the “ looting for George” or “ arson of innocent business owners property for justice “ or “ shit in our own Democrat nest area “. Those folk are just plain criminals not protesters.

  16. Other contributing factors may be Dems governments releasing thousands of criminals from jail ( covid excuse #1 ) into these city areas and Dem Governments ordering police to enforce draconian, subjective, unconstitutional, freedom crushing laws of late ( covid excuse #2 ).

    [ not Trumps doing ]

  17. The Mayor of Seattle (D) has said most of the troubles are started by white males, presumably not trump supporters.

    Reminds me of what Malcolm X said “””The white liberal is the worst enemy to America, and the worst enemy to the black man. Let me explain……”””

  18. Ambi: “This could be a salient feature of marriage guidance.” The Davidson’s have been happily married for 55 yrs. My take is that my wife needed to marry someone she couldn’t organize and we both needed someone we could argue flat chat with about the meaning of life and everything without having to worry about self esteem issues.
    Not sure how much the above would help other marriages.

  19. Jumpy: Fascist whites and anti-fascist whites seem to be part, but only part, of the mix in the US riots. The riots seem to be about far more than the killing of non-whites by the police.
    Your mate Trump seems to be throwing petrol on the fires.

  20. What, did he say George could look like his son.

    One hint that this is not a political protest is that there are zero counter protesters.

    Everyone, Republican and Democrat, are on the same page that what those ex-police officers did was wrong.

  21. Here’s a slightly more nuanced look at part of what’s going on.

    [Trigger warning: Jumpy don’t read the link, it will make your blood pressure explode]

  22. If by “ nuanced “ you mean “ far left rubbish salad “, then yeh, it is.

    Typical Guardian fodder for the sheep.

  23. Jumpy, I can’t recall saying Trump was doing nothing. Sometimes when he should he doesn’t, but zoot’s link to the Robert Reich article was about him not doing his proper job, the presidency.

    That’s bad enough, but he fires and hires people constantly, tweets, boasts, insults people at home and abroad, boasts, brags and threatens, he threatens quite a lot.

    And more, but very little of it for the common (or uncommon) good.

  24. Bruce Shapiro on LNL last night provided a good analysis of what the protests are about.

    [spoiler: he doesn’t cite whether people vote Republican or Democratic as a contributory factor]

  25. Only a couple of minutes in and the Bishop was not shocked and appalled that his church was set on fire, no no, trump held a bible….

    Ok, back to it…

  26. …on to agent provocateurs, no mention of antifart…

    Also Trayvon killed in self defence by a Latino that wasn’t a police officer…

    On on..

  27. Meanwhile.

    BTW daily tracking polls show Trump’s approval rating dropping sharply over the last few days. Pity he hasn’t enfranchised the residents of Mackay.

  28. …this Presidential power of using the Military, used to uphold laws against Democrat segregation in schools = ok.
    Not needed at all when Democrat cities are unable to stop their voters from burning it to the ground…

    Ok, that’s enough,this Bloke and Adams have a false narrative they’re selling but I’m not buying.

    To praise that biased shit is to display zero critical thinking in the face of easily accessible factual information to contrary.

    Unless of course it’s just music to your ears and you don’t care if it’s accurate and even a tiny bit balanced at all.

    Fine, you do you.

  29. Bishop Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, talks with Rachel Maddow about Donald Trump’s use of St. John’s Episcopal Church and a Bible as props for a publicity stunt, and where Americans can find hope in these troubled times.

  30. Mr J

    George F. Will would generally be considered conservative: look at his history.

    What about George Dubya Bush? Conservative?? Well then, please read his considered statement on the murder and subsequent demonstrations, and their place in recent history (the US since 1960, say).

    And BTW, why quote Malcolm X? Are you now a revolutionist Mr J? (A faction of American Trostskyites claimed Malcom X as a fellow traveller after he was killed.) Have you gone Fourth International on us??

  31. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F Kennedy

    (Yeah, I know. Another f*king white librul. So sue me.)

  32. I just thought those here would trust a Marxist like Malcolm X tis all.

    Ok, let my put it simply,
    Murder of George Floyd = bad.
    Protests and marching = good.
    Rioting, looting and bashing = bad.

    Any questions on that ?

  33. No John that’s never been what I’ve been talking about. I’ve be talking about police being asked to stop people burning down a hair salon, not arresting her for trying to operate one to feed her kids.

  34. All of a sudden covid authoritarianism is disappeared for rioting rights.
    Thanks media for being incendiary in every situation.

  35. On the subject of Malcolm X, Netflix has an excellent series “Who Killed Malcolm X?” I recommend it.
    Made me realise how the media (and the FBI) ensured I did not get an accurate idea of what he was about at the time.

  36. All of a sudden covid authoritarianism is disappeared

    Covid? Is that still a thing?
    Surely it evaporated in the April sunshine? The fifteen cases must have reached zero months ago.

  37. Jumpy: What do you recommend when the saloon is burning down because of anger driven by police actions and the systematic bias in the treatment of different groups by the police?
    Sometimes asking extreme questions like: “What a World Without Cops Would Look Like?” encourages a hard look at what the police are doing and what they actually should and shouldn’t be looking after.
    It may also lead to questions like: “Apart from making some criminals very rich and providing jobs for prison workers and some police what have anti drug laws achieved?
    Personally I suspect that a world completely without cops will create opportunities for the mafia. This doesn’t mean that quite a bit of trimming back of both laws and what cops do may be appropriate.

  38. Jumpy, you should google ‘Antifa’. It’s a word, not an organisation, it’s a meme or a slogan. It goes back to anti-fascist groups in Germany in the 1920s. Small, secretive, anti-capitalist and anti-state, with a flavour anarchism.

    An investigative piece in the Washington Post said there weren’t enough of them by any stretch to account for what is going on.

    Probably less of a factor than far right groups, opportunists, looters and sundry armed nutter groups in the US.

  39. This doesn’t mean that quite a bit of trimming back of both laws and what cops do may be appropriate.

    John D, further to your Mother Jones link Phillip Adams the other night talked to Alex Vitale in Why U.S. police reform failed.

    Vitale is Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College and a Visiting Professor at London Southbank University. He’s studied police reform for nearly 30 years and has written two books about it.

    He says the police have had ‘reform’ programs by the truckload, especially during the Obama years. They’ve been given de-escalation programs, mindfulness training and body cams. They have even tried ethnic diversification of personnel, and research has shown that it doesn’t work.

    He says governments are trying to correct what they see as bad behaviour by using the law and the police. So the police are given diverse missions with a ‘war’ on whatever it is -drugs, terror or whatever. he recommends cutting their funds as the only language they will understand.

    I don’t think that explains all of what happened to Floyd.

    Meanwhile people may be interested in CNN’s release of the phone call that brought the cops.

    He was accused of giving a “counterfeit bill” for some cigarettes in a convenience store, and was identified as male, tall, black and drunk or something.

    Apparently Floyd was in Minneapolis with his girlfriend to attend a religious discipleship program.

    Just what required a knee on the back of the neck for 8 mins and 45 seconds? Was police officer Derek Chauvin trying to kill him, or did Chauvin get pleasure from what he was doing?

  40. John F Kennedy expressed frustration with Congressional (Democratic Party) “liberals” at the beginning of his Presidency. He was trying to steady the ship and felt they were pushing too hard for ‘progressive’ policies.

    Funny that.
    Remember those old far off times when a President would try to steer a “middle” course?

    And the irony of its turning out to be the quintessential Southern Democrat LBJ who pushed the “Great Society” (more liberal) programme through to legislation…..

  41. Yes, Ambi, and LBJ knew that politically that what he was doing was to the disadvantage of the Democrats.

    The US constitution was never designed to be fully democratic. Democracy was still in the making in the 18th century and distrusted, so the electoral college was set up to review the voting for the president and make sure the voters (mainly white male property owners) didn’t do something stupid.

    The US needs, at a bare minimum, to establish a body like the Australian Electoral Commission to decide electoral boundaries and run elections, and then dump the first past the post for some preferential scheme which allows new parties to emerge.

    That would get them part way there in terms of democracy.

  42. I found this interesting. In 1967, less than a year before his assassination Martin Luther King Jr said this in a speech.

    “Urban riots must now be recognized as durable social phenomena,” he told the assembled crowd of mostly white doctors and academics. “They may be deplored, but they are there and should be understood. Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. They are a distorted form of social protest. The looting which is their principal feature serves many functions. It enables the most enraged and deprived Negro to take hold of consumer goods with the ease the white man does by using his purse. Often the Negro does not even want what he takes; he wants the experience of taking.”

  43. Brian: “And the irony of its turning out to be the quintessential Southern Democrat LBJ who pushed the “Great Society” (more liberal) programme through to legislation…..”
    It is what I call the Nixon effect. Nixon had the cold war creds to make peace with China. Hawke had the union creds to reform the economy.
    LBJ (not Kennedy) had the Southern Democrat creds to progress dramatic civil liberty reforms.
    Not sure who has the creds to fix the US. Biden doesn’t seem like the man to me.

  44. “Not sure who has the creds to fix the US. Biden doesn’t seem like the man to me.”
    What strikes me is that riots aren’t going to make much difference. What will make a difference is non-whites getting out and voting in a disciplined way. Massive challenges when voters are denied their right to vote.

  45. Amazing quote from Dr King, zoot.
    Profound observation.

    It’s symptomatic of media shallowness that we get colourful, kinetic displays – fire, smoke, noise, confrontation, tear gas, on our screens when most likely the vast majority of protestors were calm, and simply walking.

    Similarly here decades ago: there might be 20,000 marching quietly, but the over excited young bloke with the splintered flag stick or the clown throwing a rock got the coverage.

    In the Melbourne Moratorium march of May 1970, the organisers took a lot of care – with march “marshalls” no less, attempting to restrain or quell any fisticuffs (or worse).
    Meanwhile Dr Cairns was guarded by burly unionists; there had been threats to shoot him.

    That’s a good point about Richard Nixon and LBJ, John.

    BTW, those who were considered Democrat ‘liberals’ in the US in 1961 might scarcely be recognisable now.

  46. John

    This looks like a small bonus for well off folks.
    Combined income below 200k per annum.
    House value below 1 million.

    Renovation costing between
    150k and 750k.

    Them are big renovations.
    (Round here you could build a house for a lot less than 750k.)

    My prediction: a sudden skewing of the quotes graph to have a new peak just above 150k.

    Investment properties excluded?

  47. Ambi: “This looks like a small bonus for well off folks.
    Combined income below 200k per annum.
    House value below 1 million.
    Renovation costing between
    150k and 750k.
    Them are big renovations.”
    Morris has a talent for looking after those well off folks.
    The money should have gone towards building low cost public housing but I guess Morrison doesn’t give a stuff about the sort of people who need low cost public housing.

  48. On the home grant, someone pointed out that this condition means you will have to look lively with your plans and council approvals:

      Before the end of the year, you need to enter a contract to renovate or build your main place of residence, with construction to begin within three months of the contract date (no investment properties)

    • What strikes me is that riots aren’t going to make much difference.

    That’s been troubling me too, John.

    Floyd’s brother urged people to vote, and Obama was basically saying the same.

    If Trump is re-elected the US will be wrecked. There already are global implications of what he’s doing.

    There are only two realistic choices, and I can’t see Biden doing what Alex Vitale says they should do in zoot’s link.

  49. Some brave people in Hong Kong ignored the local and central Govts. They held a candle light vigil to remember the military massacre of civilians in Tiananmen Square at the heart of Beijing, in June 1989.

    A year of miracles, a year of blood.

  50. Yes, John.

    It occurs to me that there is a stark contrast to be drawn between the house& reno scheme, and the “school halls” programme of Rudd/Gillard.

    School halls benefit hundreds of students and scores of teachers each year that they stand. Their building enables builders and subdues to work.

    Then many school halls are used by community groups, out of school hours.

    I believe that kind of economic activity is termed “a public good”.

    (Sections of the commentariat mocked the school halls programme endlessly, as I recall.)

  51. Ever since 2008, whenever I’ve gone to vote I’ve done it in a school hall.

    Heard a pathetic excuse from the relevant minister that social housing is a state matter, and they’ve done heaps.

    Any excuse will do.

    Activity from this scheme will be pretty much confined to the first half of next year. On the radio this morning apprenticeships down 40% and this housing bonus will do nothing to improve that situation.

  52. From zoot’s link:

      Video by the Citizen Times shows Asheville police officers in riot gear and holding shields forming a protective circle around officers stomping and stabbing water bottles. Other officers destroyed medical supplies such as bandages and saline solution.


      Grant said officers “hit them with shields” and took several people to the ground.

      “We had eye wash, sutures, EMTs and doctors,” Grant said. “They threw several people to the ground. We were thrown, shouted at, screamed at and treated like criminals. No one resisted.”

  53. I think the grant scheme will be taken up by first home buyers mostly.
    It’ll take an extra $25K off a new home and a doer upper, on top of existing State and Federal grant schemes.

    They’ll end up paying it back though higher taxes for the rest of their lives and so will taxpayer that didn’t benefit.

    There’s no money tree, despite Adam Bandt insisting there is.

  54. I think the grant scheme will be taken up by first home buyers mostly.

    So a few builders will benefit, as the price of first homes increases by $25,000.

    There’s no money tree, despite Adam Bandt insisting there is.

    I must have missed the news. When did Adam Bandt join the government?

  55. Jumpy: “There’s no money tree, despite Adam Bandt insisting there is.”
    Government is not a small business. Sometimes governments can “print money” and actually help the economy. This occurs when inflation is very low and the economy going backwards.
    “Print money” disaster stories had governments like the Wiemar republic continuing to print money when inflation was very very high.
    Right now limited “money printing” actually makes sense for Australia. Much better than Morrison’s love of welfare for the better off.

  56. I think Mr J is probably right that most of the assistance will go to new houses.

    Wouldn’t be surprised were the $668 million allocated for expensive renos is not all spent.

    Govt For The Few
    Not The Many

    Coalition of the Willing to Help Well Off Well Deserving Home Owners.

    Renters? Jolly bad luck.


    PS as you likely guessed “subdues” was meant to be “subbies”. Thank you ball boys, thank you SpellCock.

  57. Premier Gladys says NO

    to a proposed demonstration in Sydney.

    *On public health grounds.*

    (Very similar advice from the Vic Govt about a planned demo in Melbourne.)

  58. John, you know that “ printing money “ isn’t actually printing money right ?
    In any event, quantitative easing serves to provide banks with more liquidity, which they don’t need, the banks are fine.
    And lastly, it is useless when interest rate are at or near zero, which they are.

    Please stop with this idea, you don’t understand it even a little bit.

  59. Mr A, BLM will march, in violation the laws everyone has followed overwhelmingly, and zero arrests will be made.

    Why, because the media will scream “ RACIST POLICE !!!”

  60. Well, we shall see, Jumpy.

    On a different matter, I understand that Kohn Bolton’s book “The Room Where It Happened” to be published by Simon and Schuster is due out on 23rd June.

    The President will by then have had plenty of time, should he feel the need to rebut any assertions by Mr Bolton.

  61. SA ( obviously) have given BLM an exemption.

    They can kill Grandma, but nobody else.

  62. John, you know that “ printing money “ isn’t actually printing money right

    I doubt I’ll get it but I would really appreciate an explanation of how fiat money works. (The gold standard I understand but this modern stuff is beyond my comprehension so far.)

  63. Mr A, BLM will march, in violation the laws everyone has followed overwhelmingly, and zero arrests will be made.
    Why, because the media will scream “ RACIST POLICE !!!”

    Hundreds arrested in Houston and Phoenix at George Floyd protests. No mention of racist police in either report.
    (Limited to two cities because I can only post two links before being moderated. There are more.)

  64. Jumpy: “John, you know that “ printing money “ isn’t actually printing money right ?” Yep. And what I am talking about is governments spending money without raising taxes or borrowing money from someone. I am not talking about raising bank liquidity. Problem is that many people won’t borrow money when it doesn’t make sense.

  65. NSW Supreme Court has blocked the Sydney rally.

    Organisers in Melb say they will ignore pleas to call theirs off: from Premier, Chief Medical officer, police.

    Vic COVID regulations egulations say groups of less than 20 can gather.

    Organisers advise that their marchers will gather in grouplets of 20 (keeping 1.5m apart within each grouplet), and grouplets should keep apart from other grouplets. Doesn’t sound like any protest march I’ve ever seen.

    Police warn that “deliberate” flouting of the COVID regs can attract a $1600 fine.

    Police also say it’s not practical to fine every person who shows up.

    But if Nine newspapers estimate of 20,000 marchers were borne out, and all could be fined, that’d be a nice little earner for Vic Govt .

    20,000 X 1600 = 32 million AUD.

  66. Ambi, new Salon up in an hour or so, with an item on the Black Lives Matter protests.

    I admire the pungency of your writing!

  67. How many unarmed white folk were killed by police in America last year ?
    ( hint, it’s more than black folk )

    Can you name any one of them, just one ?
    And why might that be ?

  68. I read Derek Chauvin had a list of brutality claims, including shooting 3 people, on his record but the Police Union got him off everything.

    Please check your own “ trusted information outlets “ to verify that.

  69. America really is a strange place.
    You know all those far right white supremacists rioting and looting. Well the Bernie Sanders loving Hollywood liberals are bailing them out !!

    Crazy right ?

  70. Jumpy: “You know all those far right white supremacists rioting and looting. Well the Bernie Sanders loving Hollywood liberals are bailing them out !!”

  71. Details ?
    What sheltered media are you watching John. It’s common knowledge, they’re boasting about it.

  72. Brian, google “ celebrities bail out rioters “
    If you still get nothing, try a different search engine, google suppresses heaps of stuff.

  73. Jumpy, you’re being remarkably evasive, even for you.
    I used DuckDuckGo and got maybe three different sites (with multiple hits). Looks like a total non-event to me.
    Of course the frothing at the mouth alt.rights may be having a field day (which would explain the smugness of your original troll.)

  74. The real question at the heart of the matter is what agenda motivates so many folk to blatantly lie about it ?


  75. Zoot lies, naturally.

    Talk about anal.
    So full disclosure: I didn’t use your search terms (but I did find out what you were bloviating about). I was actually addressing your foolish (and paranoid) notion that Google “suppresses” anything.
    But a question remains – Why play so coy when John asked you to explain? Waiting for Mr D’Arcy?

    Oh, and it still looks like a total non-event to me. But fine, if you’re into celebrity gossip knock yourself out.

  76. Anyhoot, has any got numbers of BLM marchers arrested for breaking covid laws ?


  77. Haha, that old tactic.
    Jumpy likes dogs, Hitler liked dogs, jumpy must be like Hitler.

    Please stop zoot, the cringe embarrassment for you is getting excruciating, for what’s left of your tattered reputation.

  78. Jumpy likes dogs, Hitler liked dogs, jumpy must be like Hitler.
    You’re shit at analogies.
    Try Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf”, Jumpy promoted it instead.
    Carlson is the source for your ludicrous trolling. You may have got the story from one of your fetid alt.right sources, but it originated in the colon of one of Murdoch’s menagerie.

  79. Jumpy: Your link seemed to be endlessly repeating itself. But yes I can imagine people contributing to bail because they don’t trust the police and their claims.

  80. Here’s something else to twist Tucker Carlson’s knickers. Mitt Romney (with a group of evangelicals) marching for Black Lives Matter.

  81. zoot, Tim Costello said the other day that he had been talking to the leader of 14 million southern Baptists. They were appalled at Trump using God and religion as a political stunt.

    Tim C says other evangelicals were similarly offended.

    Whether this means anything in terms of votes remains to be seen.

  82. Well I’ll be blowed.
    I thought Billy Graham made a career out of using religion to wield political influence…

    I suppose there was a different method however. Large crowds used to flock to see Billy Graham.

    The President had Lafayette Square cleared of crowds by teargas, before strolling peaceably across to a place of worship and quiet meditation.

    “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s; render unto God that which is God’s.”

  83. And to think, Joe Biden said that Mitt Romney wanted to put blacks back in chains.

    Joe’s probably forgotten, there’s a lot of that going on.

  84. The Minneapolis Council ( 12 Democrats and a green ) are going to dismantle the police force.

    Interesting experiment.

    I wonder how many 911 calls there are a day there.

  85. In Victoria, Jumpy, various Police Commissioners in recent decades have axed particular squads (e.g. Drug Squad) when they had decided a completely fresh start was needed.

    But never the entire force (including their own position).

    This will be interesting to observe.
    Has that city’s Police Force been behaving badly, would you say? Was there another ploy the Council could have attempted instead?

  86. Mr A, I only know that 1 policeman, with a terrible record did a terrible thing ( obviously but still allegedly)
    And in that jurisdiction the other 3 police could be charged with the same offence. Just like if 4 gang bangers in a car are driving along and one decides to shoot someone then they’re all equally charged.

    On what to do, perhaps the Supreme Court could revisit Qualified Immunity for policefolk for a start.
    Perhaps ask the media not to relentlessly enflame issues for ratings.

    Perhaps revisit the media’s Qualified immunity. They don’t shoulder anywhere near enough responsibility for the harm the promote and create. They are screaming fire in the US theatre.

    That’s about as honest as I can put it.

  87. They’re not abolishing policing.

    Nine members of the 13-person Minneapolis City Council pledged on Sunday to do away with the police department in favor of a community-led safety model, a step that would have seemed unthinkable just two weeks ago.


  88. I realise your Drug Squad mention was an aside but my opinion is that all drugs should be legal.
    The only reason some drugs are illegal is because Governments haven’t worked out a way to license and tax them in the conventional way.
    Feel free to take anything you want, but accept responsibility for the results of taking it.

  89. Forgive my stupidity if you will, but it’s not clear to me what “a community-led safety model” might be.

    I note that they say they are not immediately abolishing the Police Dept.

    Mr J, the question of legalising drugs is way above my pay grade. The only joint in this joint is the roast leg of lamb.

  90. it’s not clear to me what “a community-led safety model” might be

    Not clear to me either, but I’m fairly sure it will involve a reversal of the militarization of the police which has snowballed since 911 (i.e. under both administrations).
    Not my circus, but I will watch developments with interest.

  91. I’d put the militarisation of police since 911 squarely at Bush Jr and the scum that voted for the so called Patriot Act, including Obama
    Obama only exploited some of it as President.

  92. Jumpy: “I’d put the militarisation of police since 911 squarely at Bush Jr and the scum that voted for the so called Patriot Act,”
    It is a pretty scary act and the sunset clauses should have been respected. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Act
    “Defenders of freedom” should be treated with suspicion, especially when they want to defend freedom by reducing checks and balances.

  93. John Oliver answers some of the questions raised in this thread re US police.
    I had to use a VPN to view it but it was well worth the effort.

  94. Hey Oliver, you know Chicago, the place Obama represented at a community organiser, Senator and US President ?

    Yeah, well last weekend there were 85 people shot and 24 killed.
    Almost exclusively the victims and perpetrators were black.

    Perhaps convincing black folk that black lives matter first.

  95. What was the point zoot ?
    Him virtue signaling for ratings.
    After all, he self describes himself as English from England.

  96. That’s a great article Brian and the comments are particularly enlightening. There’s a lot of Jumpys out there.

  97. US President Donald Trump has Tweeted a conspiracy theory that seriously injured 75-year-old Martin Gugino pushed to the ground by Buffalo police could be “an Antifa provocateur”.

      “Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur,” Mr Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday (US time).

      “75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than he was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

    This is stupid, even by Trump’s standards. Meanwhile:

      The FBI has said there is no evidence the widespread protest movement has been hijacked by Antifa or any other “extremist” group.

  98. Brian, I think you may want to look into Guginos online history and boasting about such devices.

    Some media outlets are betting on you and millions of others not doing that.

  99. Anyway, there far less active cases of covid now than on March 28th when, presumably, medical experts said we were fine to go to the polls.
    And many thousands gathered last weekend ignoring the rules, including ALP/green politicians, without any repercussions.

    Time to get sports back up, local and National, crowds and all.

  100. Jumpy: Sporting crowds are a particular problem because there is a lot of loud cheering, abusing etc. going on. This is going to pump more viruses into the air in a similar way that choirs have been particular problem. Loud protests could be a problem too.

  101. Brian, I think you may want to look into Guginos online history and boasting about such devices.

    Stop being so coy. If you have evidence give us the links.

    Or did this one start as another Tucker Carlson brainfart?

  102. Everything is a potential problem John.
    Hundreds of thousands of kids not play sports are a problem too, health problems.
    Lots of kids in organised sports at the start of the year won’t play again this year or next year or again.
    Many millions of $$$ have been pumped into promoting sport for kids by the Health Department for a reason.

  103. Zoot, I’m sure Brian will tut tut you for not making a point and the ad hom.

    Naa, just kidding, he applies different standards for you.

  104. Jumpy: “Hundreds of thousands of kids not play sports are a problem too, health problems.”
    I was talking about crowds sitting on their behinds pumping potentially infected air over others as they cheer and carry on. All for healthy exercise where people are far enough apart.

  105. Naa, just kidding, he applies different standards for you.

    So the accusations made by POTUS against Martin Gugino have absolutely no substance. Thank you for the confirmation.

    PS: You keep using that term (ad hom) inappropriately – it doesn’t mean what you appear to think it means.

  106. Jumpy, did you see the Gugino incident? Did he look as though he threw himself backwards onto the pavement?

  107. Brian, I think you may want to look into Guginos online history and boasting about such devices.

    This is the evidence (no, really) our poor victim of discrimination was unable to supply.
    As expected it is undiluted horse manure, and it makes no mention of Gugino “boasting about such devices”.

  108. Meanwhile,
    In the State of High Drays (Victoria, bless the Queen and long may she reign)

    Minister Somyurek has attracted some unfair and unflattering attention from the scribblers of the Press, over a matter of “branch stacking “. For those who live in purer States, this sordid matter involves banknotes and petty fraud in the Working Men’s Party.

    Unfortunately there are reports of very bad language – but what else would you expect from senior figurines in the Working Men’s Party?

    “Cluck the Premier!” (Not sure how hens got into this.) “I basically run this State” etc.

    Perhaps Mr Plod the policeman will have to take a bit of a look.

    Unfortunately Mr Plod is busy appearing at a Royal Commission (bless Victoria Regina) where tales of serious misbehaviour regarding Lawyer X are being tittle – tattled.

    Only recently Mr Plod’s efforts in a case if cardinal importance were expunged in a 7-nil result at the High Court.

    Please note: Victorians will effortlessly continue to assume our superiority in all relevant spheres, while this caravanserai of feeble frailty parades across the public square.

  109. One hour is a long time in Victorian politics.

    Mr Somyurek is now a former Minister.
    He met with the Premier this morning, to be sacked.
    The Premier will ask the National Executive to expel Mr Somyurek from the Working Men’s Party.
    A Minister is not permitted to use vulgar language about a lady Minister (and be overheard doing so) in Victoria; oh my goodness, no.

    God Save The Queen!

  110. John Ferguson, in “The Australian”, writes:

    Even outside the party, Somyurek would be able to marshall significant numbers and influence the thinking of potentially dozens of state and federal MPs who have relied on his support for election.

    Financial support???

  111. Another Victorian Minister has gone, this one merely “stepping aside” while an investigation occurs. He resigned hus commission.

    In his statement he pointed out that he holds the values of the Victorian Working Men’s Party “particularly dearly”, which will be an enormous reassurance for all citizens.

    Just how dearly, we are yet to find out.

    Thousands of $ dearly? Or only hundreds?

  112. Sacked, Ambi, sacked. His behaviour is being called disgusting and vile. Dan the man says he wasn’t given the opportunity of resigning.

    Guilty of saying bad things about women, really bad, and involved in industrial-scale branch stacking.

  113. In further news from The Garden State*, Minister Marlene Kairouz is recorded in detailed discussions of large-scale branch stacking, with her chief of staff and other staff in key roles. (The disgraced ex-Minister Somyurek complains that junior staff make errors, leading him to be drawn into the stacking at an administrative/clerical level. To the extent that he almost makes Ministerial blunders. [Note: his official salary is paid for work as a Minister, not for branch-stacking duties. ])

    Goodbye Minister Kairouz.

    * Garden State will NOT be renamed The Grubby State.
    It’s well understood that to be a thorough gardener one must get one’s hands dirty.

  114. Meanwhile, in a jurisdiction far, far away a senior Prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman, announced that he will not quit. Though the Federal Attorney-General thinks he should.
    (And goes so far as to name the successor, a guy with no prosecutorial experience).

    According to the Guardian Mr Berman’s resolve to stay is relevant to the investigation of Prince Andrew of Britain.

    According to Nine newspapers it is relevant to the investigation of Mr Giuliani, the artist formerly known as Mayor of Manhattan.

    Subtle differences there.
    Cake news? See the Cooking page of the Ladies Section of the paper, pp. 61-64.

  115. Interesting news, Mr A.

    But in more recent developments, Mr Berman has now agreed to stand down, and his deputy will temporarily fill the role.

    (Not the inexperienced guy.)

    News reports have Mr Barr saying it was Mr Trump’s decision, while Mr Trump says, no it’s definitely Mr Barr’s department, not the President’s.

    Good to have all of that clarified.

Comments are closed.