Weekly salon 8/4

1. The PM has a problem or three

Grattan on Friday says Prime Minister Scott Morrison has three pressing problems:

  • the COVID vaccine rollout
  • the budget
  • the issue of women.

Bernard Keane at Crikey says Morrison continues to see everything as a political problem to manage away. Keane was referring to his tearful mea culpa and apparent change of heart on the issue of women and the intemperate attack on Sky journalist Andrew Clennell, claiming that in Clennell’s own organisation there was an incident of harassment of a woman in a women’s toilet being pursued by their own HR department.

There wasn’t.

Keane said it was a lie, that the PM has a “reflexive instinct to lie”, linking to Dennis Atkins’ article, All politicians lie, but Scott Morrison’s untruths transcend the usual.

Actually Morrison may have had something very real in mind. See Aaron Patrick at item 4 below.

In any case Keane sees Morrison as completely incapable of leading cultural change.

2. Could the Morrison government’s response to sexual assault claims cost it the next election?

Sarah Cameron cites information from the Australian Election Study of the 2019 election, which identifies a further drift away from the Liberals by women in a longer term trend:

According to Essential poll Morrison’s personal approval with women voters:

    is now down 16 points since the Higgins story broke in February, the prime minister’s standing with male voters has remained unchanged through the fracas.

Personal approval ratings are not strong indicators of electoral success, but Morrison should worry.

The Greens are distinctly feminised, with 67% more women than men voting Green.

3. Grace Tame blasts Scott Morrison, and Amanda Stoker

Samantha Maiden details how newly minted Australian of the Year Grace Tame blasts Scott Morrison’s Assistant Minister for Women Amanda Stoker.

According to Katharine Murphy:

    Tame said it was possible to respond to a pandemic with funding “but we can’t fix morals with money and masking [and] we can’t boost humanity with stunts and stimulus packages.

    “Now that our collective focus has extended beyond economic disruption to issues of morality, we are seeing leaders for who they really are.”

And:

    Tame said on social media that Morrison appointing Stoker to the position demonstrated he either was “ignorant of the cultural issues at hand, or he understands them completely, and is making calculated moves to perpetrate them.

    “If the latter is true, then what we are seeing is further abuse of power, masterfully disguised as progress – the very same psychological manipulation at the heart of these recently exposed evils.”

I’d suggest incapable of understanding rather than ‘ignorant’.

In the Courier Mail Kylie Lang writes Petty snipe at PM does Grace Tame no favours:

    Since when did the Australian of the Year honour come with a licence to personally attack our nation’s leader?

Lang then says:

    Ms Tame, a rape survivor, was awarded her 2021 title because she is an agent of change, particularly in regards to women who’ve been sexually assaulted.

Yet Lang thinks it unseemly if she expresses an opinion about persons in high places.

4. A shift in the centre of gravity of political journalism from the male perspective to the female?

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reacts during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, March 23, 2021. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING

Here is a straight factual account of what happened that day when Morrison did his mea culpa:

It happens to be by a man, Matt Coughlan, in InQueensland.

Aaron Patrick in an AFR article PM caught in crusade of women journos makes the claim that reporting on the Brittany Higgins and Charles Porter stories:

    cleaved a schism through political journalism, exposing a shift in the centre of gravity from the male perspective to the female.

He begins by highlighting the role of Samantha Maiden (the article is mostly about her) in holding the government and Morrison in particular to account on sexual harrassment. He says:

    Samantha Maiden’s run of scoops had left Morrison’s government, and the Prime Minister, in disarray.

And:

    In taking up the stories – and causes – of women who believed they were abused by entitled men, Maiden may have done more than any other individual, journalist or otherwise, to define the Morrison government as indifferent to sexual harassment, assault and rape.

Then, about other journalists:

    Angry coverage that often strayed into unapologetic activism came forth from a new, female media leadership: Laura Tingle and Louise Milligan on the ABC, Katharine Murphy and Amy Remeikis at The Guardian, Lisa Wilkinson on Channel Ten, Karen Middleton in The Saturday Paper and a cameo by Jessica Irvine on the Nine Network.

    Maiden was probably the most influential, and restrained. Based on copious facts, rather than opinion, her copy was devastating. At every step, as the government tried to staunch the stories, it seemed Maiden was there with a new angle to propel them along.

I’d gathered a few strong commentary pieces by women in the media, such as:

Summers’ piece is particularly powerful. She runs through the record of all PMs from Whitlam up to Malcolm Turnbull, an avowed feminist, who championed women’s equality and invested in a $100 million Women’s Safety Package.

    Morrison, by contrast, utterly refuses to engage and his instinctual hostility when challenged is evidently deeply ingrained. I will leave it to the political psychologists to ponder why he is like this but the rest of us, the women who marched on Monday especially, need to understand the old rules and expectations no longer apply.

    Morrison has clearly signalled that women will get nothing from him. He needs to be told he will get nothing in return.

He:

    routinely turns his back in Parliament when Tanya Plibersek rises to speak; he infamously said on International Women’s Day last year that he did not “want women to rise only on the basis of others doing worse”, and his office last year monstered women who dared criticise the federal budget’s ignoring of them.

    That it is hostility rather than, say, just a tin ear was indisputable on Monday.

That was when he refused to meet the thousands of women who had marched, and would not permit his Minister for Women to show her face, then gagged debate, and told the protesters, ‘At least we didn’t shoot you’.

Not surprising therefore that Patrick’s article evoked a ferocious response from Katharine Murphy in Women are not fighting a culture war when it comes to alleged rape and harassment. It’s about time some men realised this.

It’s gold, and includes this:

    If you are reading Aaron, just a few thoughts.

    Rape is a crime, and a heinous one.

    Sexual harassment is completely unacceptable.

    I don’t make these statements because I have a “female perspective”. I make them because they are factual.

And:

    Women don’t want rape or harassment to be categorised as a matter of female perspective. We aren’t prosecuting a new front in a culture war. Women need the support of men to fix this problem. We need this to be what it is: a human problem, one we all own.

It seems to me that we would want to hear from these senior women in the media, and when we do it doesn’t mean they are taking over the joint.

Men have also been severe on Morrison. I cited Bernard Keane above. Most acerbic, I think, was Dennis Atkins in Never mind the doghouse roses, PM must do more to show women he gets it:

    Morrison’s brain, which he boasts is equal to any challenge he faces, has neural roadblocks in the pathways usually used for empathy and cultural appreciation.

    As a leader, he’s like the bloke who rolls into the local servo on the way home to buy some doghouse roses in the hope of forgiveness and redemption.

And:

    In the longer train of events, women have been appalled and were, from the time Brittany Higgins bravely exposed the way she says she was raped in a ministerial office by a staffer colleague, hoping to hear something that would at least assuage their deep anxiety and concerns.

    They heard a tick-a-box answer, that list of what we’ve done for you and as much blather as could be mustered in the hope that political management would out run the swirling crisis.

    When women gathered in Canberra and around the country, Morrison didn’t go to meet them or listen but rather stayed in the relative safety of Parliament House.

    Even then he fumbled his lines suggesting those at the rally were lucky they weren’t shot at like people in Myanmar. It was his worst moment since he told Australia he didn’t hold a hose as fire rages along the east coast.

Atkins says:

    If he remains genuinely incapable of hearing or understanding, he will pay a heavy price at the ballot box.

He might. A week is a long time in politics, as they say. Morrison is beavering away, has just hosted the first meeting of his cabinet’s women’s taskforce as his government gears up to respond to a landmark harassment report, so we shall see.

5. What’s with Sam?

As I said, Patrick’s article was mainly about Samantha Maiden. There is a considerable back story about Maiden; she has had some bumpy patches in her life, from when her father committed suicide when she was three. In my opinion Patrick went beyond what he needed to in setting up the story.

The first point is, Morrison got his facts muddled. There was no harassment of a woman in a women’s toilet. There was a meeting in a corridor between Maiden and Jade Gailberger, a young News Corp journalist, who was running for election to the federal parliamentary press gallery committee, which liaises with Parliament House bureaucrats on behalf of journalists who work in the building.

Another News Corp journalist, Tamsin Rose, was also running. Maiden was campaigning for Rose and suggested to Gailberger that she pull out, so as not to split the New Corp vote.

The word is that Maiden came on rather strongly. Patrick says:

    Gailberger was so shaken that she felt unable to attend work for several days afterward, according to a Press Gallery source.

It is open to interpretation that Morrison was so annoyed by Maiden’s strong but accurate and fair journalism that he sought to threaten her with skeletons in her own cupboard.

You can read an account of the Maiden/Gailberger incident in the SMH if you scroll down to Water Cooler.

If it’s not pay-walled you can read AFR editor Michael Stutchberry’s defensive reply to a letter to the editor about Patrick’s article. I agree with Amanda Meade in AFR hit job on Samantha Maiden backfires spectacularly. Patrick’s article was ill-judged, and said more than it needed to about Samantha Maiden which distracted from the real story – what did the PM think he was doing, and why did he do it?

6. The real Scott Morrison

Carol Johnson compares Scott Morrison and John Howard, also asking Have the times suited them? I find this worrying:

    Morrison’s attitudes also reflect the apparent influence of the “prosperity gospel,” an American version of Christianity that sees wealth as a God-given reward and poverty as a penalty for the less deserving. Under Morrison, Howard’s mutual obligation requirements for unemployment benefit recipients have been reinforced by a “fair go for those who have a go” mantra. Morrison’s relatively early winding back of more generous Covid-19 related JobKeeper and JobSeeker benefits, along with the small size of the permanent increase to JobSeeker and its strict job search requirements, suggests that he retains his previous views.

The link is to Philip C Almond’s piece Five aspects of Pentecostalism that shed light on Scott Morrison’s politics.

Morrison truly does believe that God is on his side, that miracles happen, that only born-again Christians will gain salvation; other Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists will spend an eternity in the torments of hell.

No need to worry about the world frying with global warming. Jesus will come again and all will be well.

Specifically on Prosperity theology:

    In keeping with his theology, Morrison appears to see himself as chosen by God to lead us all towards his understanding of the promised land, which as we know means, “If you have a go, you get a go”.

    This “have a go” philosophy sits squarely within Pentecostal prosperity theology. This is the view that belief in God leads to material wealth. Salvation too has a connection to material wealth – “Jesus saves those who save”. So the godly become wealthy and the wealthy are godly. And, unfortunately, the ungodly become poor and the poor are ungodly.

    This theology aligns perfectly with the neo-liberal economic views espoused by Morrison. The consequence is that it becomes a God-given task to liberate people from reliance on the welfare state.

Sorry, Jesus is not on the side of the poor and oppressed, and the rich will be welcomed with open arms as long as they are born again and believe with all their hearts.

7. Newspoll

The latest Newspoll has Labor ahead in TPP 52-48, same as the previous one, so perhaps a Labor lead consolidating.

The extended analysis (pay-walled) consolidates the last three months of polling, allowing the finer-grained demographic information to be studied.

Big surprise, there was no significant difference between male and female voting.

Young voters (18-34) were 27/43/22 for Coalition/Labor/Greens. Please note Labor is way ahead of the Greens.

The Coalition gets in front with the 50-64 group, and more so with 65+. Old Greens are rare with only 3%.

With Christians its 49/35/5, whereas with ‘no religion’ it’s 33/40/15.

The remaining important demographic is where people speak another language. They brank36/44/13, whereas English only is 36/44/13.

In terms of states (and important fore the senate) in TPP terms NSW is 50/50, Qld 53/47, WA and Victoria 47/53, and SA 45/55. So the Coalition has tanked in SA, but in Qld we might still get one each of Labor, Green and One Nation plus three LNP.

Anthony Albanese says he will have the wind behind him in the final quarter, so we’ll see.

8. Industry may give Porter a swerve

Many in industry will not comment, but some have indicated that the appointment of Christian Porter as Industry, Science and Technology is unacceptable to them. An article ‘Not prepared to meet with him’: Tech industry on Porter’s appointment appeared on the front page of the AFR on Tuesday.

    The tech sector’s engagement with the federal government may nosedive thanks to former Attorney-General Christian Porter’s appointment to the portfolio, with industry leaders saying they believe he would be unwelcome by some at events, and organisations would have to “bargain” with themselves about accepting government funding.

    Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, Microsoft director of start-ups for the Asia-Pacific, Emily Rich, said she believed Mr Porter’s appointment would deter some people in the sector from engaging with the government, “and it should”.

    Ms Rich’s comments come at a time when Australia is sliding down the rankings in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index. Last week Australia placed 50 on the index – six places lower than 2020 and down from 24 in 2014.

    Australia plummeted to 70th place from No. 12 in women’s economic participation.

    Ms Rich’s concerns were shared by technology angel investor Alan Jones, who said there would be people in the sector, including himself, who would now stop engaging with the government.

    “We’re all passionate advocates for gender diversity,” he said. “We’re not going to take calls from his advisers or be prepared to meet with him, and we won’t be getting roundtables together.

    Sarah Moran says her business will continue without government grants, but for others it’s a complicated decision. Chris Hopkins

    “We’re taking concrete steps together on gender, cognitive and age diversity and we can’t be associated with this dark cloud.”

To me this is an extraordinary development. Time we took a deep breath and thought about who we want leading us, and, well, Australian values.

9. Australian values

There is plenty more I could have included, like a discussion of the CEO of Australia Post, Christine Holgate, who, apart from being monstered by her board chair accuses Scott Morrison of ‘humiliating’ her.

However, I’ve got to go, so I’ll leave with Juice Media’s Honest Government Ad on Australian values as promulgated by the Australien Government.

84 thoughts on “Weekly salon 8/4”

  1. Old Greens are rare I see – my experience as someone who is not a party member but has helped out Greens candidates at elections is that old Greens might be rare but that till recently they tend to be disproportionately active in the campaign

  2. Doug: I am the resident old Green on this blog. However, too old to be a reliable spokesperson for Green orthodoxy.

  3. Brian: Interesting bar chart in your post. Has:
    Female vote split 52/38 in favour of Lab+Grn= female 2PP 58/42 in favour of Lab+Grns
    Male 48/43 split in favour of the conservatives= male 2PP 52.7/47.3 in favour of conservatives.
    Others got 10% of male and female.
    Other interesting item was Newspoll 2PP 52/48 in favour of Labor. Not real encouraging for Labor given all the fuss at the moment. They need to think about building up male votes.
    I am sure I am not the only grumpy old man who is sick of the current volume of female criticisms of males in general.

  4. Doug, I think you might be right. Oldies always seem to be quite noticeable in group photos.

    John, I’m afraid it’s not going away. I found what Kate Ellis had to say alarming (Australian story and a newspaper piece, I’ll try to find links) and Michelle O’Neill was just now on RN Drive saying that sexual harassment in the workplace was endemic, and that the Government had in fact only ‘noted’ some of the more important recommendations of the report they have been sitting on for over a year.

  5. Doug: “I am the resident old Green on this blog.” This wasn’t meant to come across as a statement of territory. Some more old Greenish men might lift the tone of the place.

  6. “Scott Morrison finds strong women can be tough players” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-09/scott-morrison-strong-women-tough-players/100057276
    The article starts with reminding us that “Scott Morrison is inclined to underestimate tough women.
    He’s done this in the past, to his detriment. In 2006, when he was managing director of Tourism Australia, Morrison was sacked after falling out with the board and federal Liberal tourism minister, Fran Bailey.
    Years later, in 2018, the Australian Financial Review quoted Tim Fischer, who’d chaired Tourism Australia at the time, saying “a lot of us could see it coming as relations between Scott and Fran Bailey had deteriorated over a range of issues. But Scott didn’t seem to see it.”
    Morrison was close to then prime minister John Howard and he thought — erroneously — Howard would step in and save him from Bailey. But Howard supported his minister. ”
    The article goes on to give other examples including dumb things he has done during the current crisis.
    My take is that his problems are not limited to handling women.
    Basically he is a rather shallow autocrat who wants things done his way. An autocrat inclined to bully people who question what he is doing.

  7. Brian: Where I live our state member, federal member, premier and leader of the opposition are all women. In the party to which I belong a small majority of both federal and NSW state MP’s are women. It is also a place where some women are still demanding affirmative action in favour of women
    This doesn’t mean that there are not other places in Australia where there is a bias in favour of men. However, what it does mean is that it is time both women and men should be thinking about how we move to something that protects the interests of both women and men and does a reasonable job of sharing the power.
    A few figures on the gender voting patterns in the article:
    % of votes coming from women:
    Libs: 44%
    Nationals: 50%
    Labor: 52%
    Greens: 63%
    Are the Nationals doing something right?
    Are the Greens doing something wrong?

  8. Two news items last night.

    First, Prince Philip died, just two months short of when he would have gotten a letter from the queen, congratulating him on achieving a century.

    When they married in 1947, I thought (and I was old enough to think) that the family had scoured Europe to find a royal who wasn’t too closely related because of the inbreeding over the centuries.

    Apparently she was really smitten with him and it was a genuine love match.

    I thought he was a relatively useless appendage, given to making embarrassing remarks from time to time.

    Apparently he was central to modernising the role of the British royals and the Duke of Edinburgh Award seems worthwhile. Over 250,000 Australians have achieved the award.

    The second was that rogue Liberal pollie Andrew Laming is being investigated for setting up setting up over 30 Facebook pages.

    Seems he really is sick, and at over age 50 has not yet learnt how to be a human being.

  9. John, shallow autocrat, inclined to bully people is about right, I think.

    Plus a strange mix of religious fundamentalism, political pragmatism and advertising speak.

    Imprinted on his face most of the time is a strange mix of smile and smirk, which can morph into all sorts of emotional presentations including the angry bully.

    You can see I don’t like him.

  10. All I can say is that these days it looks like the LNP may actually be able to organize an orgy in a brothel. Still pretty doubtful for things that may help make Aus a better, fairer country.

  11. zoot, that’s why Birmingham earns the big bucks. He can write stuff.

    The end bit where he quotes Chamorro-Premuzic is worth thinking about:

      The paradoxical implication is that the same psychological characteristics that enable male managers to rise to the top of the corporate or political ladder are actually responsible for their downfall. In other words, what it takes to get the job is not just different from, but also the reverse of, what it takes to do the job well. As a result, too many incompetent people are promoted to management jobs, and promoted over more competent people.

      People like this guy.

    Laura Tingle’s article for the ABC and the AFR this week is one of the best I’ve seen from her. She gets on to bullies in newsrooms:

      This is that male journalists who behave badly, say, by bullying their junior colleagues, more often than not get promoted to solve the problem, while women who might behave that way are left to their own devices.

      Some male journalists, in fact, get promoted because they face bullying complaints in one section of a newspaper, only to be moved to a position where they could bully even more of their colleagues.

      Bullying complaints are dealt with by management as a problem that must be made to go away rather than actually dealt with, leaving career paths, often of women journalists, wrecked, while the bullies are protected and found safe harbours.

  12. Good on you, Brian. You are emerging into the light where it is understood that some people just plain lie because that is there nature, and that nature is really about power over people for power’s sake.

    The worst thing about liars is not so much the lies, but what the lies are intended to hide. Sociopaths love to control others with their lies but the lies run out when there is no purpose to them. Give a sociopath a hidden agenda and he becomes more far more dangerous. That is where Morrison is. Since his Trump boot licking visit where he kissed the ring and gave Trump the notion of separating kids and turning back immigrants, he became part of the big global “ring of liars” for Global Conservative domination, the out loud secret agenda.

    This isn’t the article about a secret meeting of power brokers buit it is from around the same time and it spells out the hidden agenda. https://www.mlive.com/politics/2010/09/glenn_beck_rupert_murdoch_and.html

    For so long it was considered “improper”, even uncouth to call politicians Narcissists and Sociopaths. It took Trump’s 31,000 proven bare faced lies to get past that hang up.

    So good on you for calling Morrison out for the low grade barely human piece of trash that he is. So now what are we going to do about it.

  13. I would suggest that Morrison’s main point of credibility was preventing large groups of illegal migrants and refugees from being smashed to death on the rocks of Xmas Island or drowning at sea which ALP/greens and the media ( BIRM ) said was impossible. Whether he did out of religious empathy or political motivation, I don’t know or care.

    There is no doubt in my mind that he will “ market” the idea that had Shorten not lost that “ unlosable election “ or if Albo wins the next that the same sort of pull factors that Biden has given will result in the same sort of unprecedented misery, murder, rape and death that the US Southern boarder is seeing right now.

    And he should, it’s the humanitarian thing to do.

  14. So good on you for calling Morrison out for the low grade barely human piece of trash that he is. So now what are we going to do about it.

    Bilb, the dilemma as I see it, is if we manage to rid ourselves of Mr Market Failure we’ll probably end up with Obergruppenfuehrer Potato Head nominally running the show.
    Our biggest problem is the descent into madness of the parties on the right and I despair of us ever reversing that.

  15. Bilb, good to see a writer who thinks a Libertarian is scarier than a right-wing Republican.

    So what are we going to do?

    Yesterday I joined a Qld LEAN meeting, which was talking about how to get their resolutions through to ALP state conference. They can lob them in directly, but they were trying to get the overt support of the ALP branches.

    Did you know that there are around 100 ALP branches in Qld?

    Democracy is hard work.

    Today I attended just one of those branch meetings.

    Tonight I have to send some emails as a result to further the message, pay some bills and then get back here.

    In the ALP we have to seriously contest most of the 151 seats at the next election, whereas the Greens have the luxury of concentrating on a handful.

    But there won’t be any ‘balance of power’ for them to gain unless the ALP does a job on Scotty’s mob across the board.

  16. jumpy, it’s refugees and asylum seekers, not illegal migrants and refugees.

    The term ‘illegal’ is offensive. How does a human being become ‘illegal’.

    That said, the problem of refugees and asylum seekers is a ‘wicked’ problem, meaning there is no good solution. And it’s going to get worse.

    I was not happy with Labor signing up to turning the boats back. I haven’t checked the platform approved a few days ago, because I can’t run down every rabbit hole.

    Today at our branch we put forward a motion for a human right bill and the prohibition of torture.

    It seems every state and territory regularly engages in practices most of which are legal, but amount to torture according to a strict definition.

    And the ALP in all its history has never considered a policy to eliminate torture and adopt human rights per se.

  17. And FWIW when Scotty gave himself a trophy it was a cut out boat with “I stopped these” written on it, not silhouettes of desperate people emblazoned with “I saved their lives”.

  18. Brian: “In the ALP we have to seriously contest most of the 151 seats at the next election, whereas the Greens have the luxury of concentrating on a handful.”
    Most Greens I know would love to have a real chance in 151 seats.

  19. zoot I think young Josh would like to be Führer.

    I thought he blew his credibility when Jay Weatherill had a piece of him.

    Please note the American AGL CEO Andrew Vesey nodding as Weatherill spoke.

    Vesey went home I think because he couldn’t do anything useful here.

    AGL is pretty much down the crapper, because electricity companies can’t operate in the commercial environment plagued with federal government interference.

    zoot, I agree with your:

      Our biggest problem is the descent into madness of the parties on the right and I despair of us ever reversing that.
    • Most Greens I know would love to have a real chance in 151 seats.

    John, it has kind of happened in much of Germany, where the major centre/right parties have moved a bit left under Mutti Merkel, and perhaps the multi-party voting system also helped.

  20. Thanks Brian. That really wasn’t a personal challenge to you as you do so so much already, it was really a cry of despair much as was zoot’s conservative’s descent into madness fear. And, yes, that Jay Weatherill rebuke was one of the best political moments of recent time, which highlights how few great moments there are in Australian politics.

    It is that thought that frames Australia’s real problem. Australia as a nation has no aspirational identity. The Netherlands has “keep the water out”, China has “raise the living standard of the regional poor”, the US has the (as with everything over-looted to the point of destruction) “American Dream”, Japan has “being a good citizen, honor, and building the nation”, What has Australia got? “Fair go mate”?? I think John Howard killed that several decades ago with the death of unions, wealth of the lucky through property value escalation, and … just so many other exploitation’s of the national wealth for the benefit of a few.

    Australians are not manufacturers any more, Australians are not farmers any more (we’d rather by milk and potatoes from NZ and no one really wants to do harvesting work). The only things Australians really do are repair smashed cars and Build houses for property investors. I’m not sure how to frame that into a National Aspirational Identity.

    When it comes to government there is more structural integrity and performance in a single human cell than there is in the entire Australian government

    https://youtu.be/WFCvkkDSfIU

    …. go to 2:54 for the organization of government and 5:10 for the election process.

    Industry …..

    https://youtu.be/B_zD3NxSsD8

    ….. and you will have to look up mitochondrial molecular engines your self to see how the Treasury, the energy power house of government, works.

    My point is, what is Australia’s identity now. It’s been smashed to pieces, and it is this failure to have of just 0.3% of the Earth’s population aimlessly occupying 5% of the Earth’s land area, that makes Australia so totally vulnerable to a walk-in by some other more populous nation. And Australia doesn’t have a government with enough national determination and gravitas to prevent that. The Liberals are desperate to give away the nations mineral wealth as fast as possible as long as they get enough of a kick back to win elections, and Labour are permanently either navel gazing or too high handed to talk to actual Australians to develop any real identity after the Union whipping they got from Howard 20 years ago.

    It’s a mess. And worst of all nobody wants to actually talk to any one else in any other way than “fill out this pre defined survey”.

  21. BilB, no problems.

    Unfortunately I think you might be close to the Mark.

    I remember being proud of Australia when my sister came to visit in 1993. It’s been hard since Howard came to power.

  22. Bilb: “Australia as a nation has no aspirational identity.” What you don’t understand is that federation is a relatively new system lumbered on the states.
    If you want aspirational identity you have to look at the states to find aspirational identity.
    Since growing up and being married in NSW we have lived as family in every state except Tas and SA and I have worked in every state except Tas. All of the states except NSW are xenophobic. In the NT and Nth Qld there is a lot of xenophobia directed at people from “down south” with nth Qld actually measuring worth in terms of how far Nth you live.
    In WA you learn quickly that the logical crime suspects are “criminals from the Eastern states.”
    In their last state elections Qld and WA incumbents won on the back of their xenophobic lockdowns during the covid crisis. The WA Labor government did well enough in recent elections for the Libs to be reduced to two lower house members on the basis of the lock them out policy of the WA gov.
    Ask Brian how important winning state of origin is where he comes from.

  23. Good point, JohnD. Of all states to my mind Tasmania has the closest to an aspiration, to being the Greenest. And NT carries pride for surviving environmental hardship, “you’ve got to be tough to live here”. It’s still all relatively aimless, though.

    Australia had the opportunity to become the Golden Solar Nation, but Liberals shot that one down in preference to being a, now cancelled by China, Coal Nation, which probably sums up Australia as being an Exploiter Nation, a land of sweeping plains, … full of holes and poisoned rivers.

  24. Brian,

    jumpy, it’s refugees and asylum seekers, not illegal migrants and refugees.

    Nope. Refugees and asylum seekers are the same thing. One who migrates illegally is an illegal migrant, wether it be illegal overstaying a visa or breaching terms of a visa or indeed not even getting a visa and not fleeing specific types of persecution.

    I’m not going to stop being accurate just to fit a leftist narrative or protect someone’s feelings.

  25. jumpy, my feeling are not in play. Just so you know.

    I’m not going to spend time splitting hairs. I thought we were talking about stopping the boats, not all that other stuff.

  26. Splitting hairs was your idea Brian. Me, I’ll go with long held definitions. And yes, you’re definitionally not a refugee is you go to countries of non persecution and leave that to come here illegally by boat.

    You’re a professional librarian, definitions of words should matter to you of all people.

  27. One who migrates illegally is an illegal migrant, wether it be illegal overstaying a visa or breaching terms of a visa or indeed not even getting a visa

    I would suggest that Morrison’s main point of credibility was preventing large groups of illegal migrants … from being smashed to death on the rocks of Xmas Island or drowning at sea

    Huh?? All those people who overstayed their visa were in danger of drowning at sea?

  28. To clarify: by Jumpy’s own definition no illegal migrants were saved from drowning or being smashed on the rocks of Xmas Island.
    After all, definitions of words should matter.

  29. Zoot,

    Libertarian’s attitudes to asylum seekers has nothing to do with migration legal or otherwise. It purely to do with their preconception that such people will become to their mind “dole bludgeons” or dependents of the state.

    If such people arrived with bags full of money then Libertarians, the bastians of “freedom” (and what expresses freedom more than choosing where one wishes to live), would be “fighting” for their rights to stay.

  30. jumpy, just to remind you, what you said was this:

      I would suggest that Morrison’s main point of credibility was preventing large groups of illegal migrants and refugees from being smashed to death on the rocks of Xmas Island or drowning at sea which ALP/greens and the media ( BIRM ) said was impossible.

    Later in rebutting me you introduced new categories of people.

    That’s not how a proper debate works.

    BTW it’s not clear to me just what you claim the “ALP/greens and the media ( BIRM )” said was impossible.

  31. John, I’ll say it again.

    NSW people seem to think the rest of Australia is like them. When people from other parts point out that conditions, mores or something is different here, then they call us provincial.

    That’s why our locking of state borders was not “xenophobic”. NZ did well because they locked everyone out. They did that because there were hardly any ICUs in the country and their health system was fragile.

    Queensland does not have the same health infrastructure as NSW. We have greater distances and the ‘provincial’ population is bigger than both NSW’s and Victoria’s (separately).

    We couldn’t test and trace at the speed NSW did, even in Brisbane. We certainly couldn’t in Cains, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, the Sunny Coast etc.

    And we had some places that acted like super-spreaders, like the Gold Coast. I don’t know why people go there, I don’t, but they do. When NSW restricted movement to and from the Northern Beaches near Christmas, there was an astonishing number of them already here.

    We are better at health retrieval than NSW, people get medevacced to Brisbane quite efficiently, but that didn’t help in this case.

    We are set up differently, with different strengths and weaknesses, so our strategy needs to take account of that.

    Not treating people in northern NSW and meeting their needs was a mistake. I don’t know why, but it wasn’t xenophobia.

    Just saying, no sweat.

  32. bilb, I’ll let that go through to the keeper 🙂
    I could write heaps but it would just be another “look at me” moment for our Mackay correspondent.
    He knows nobody here agrees with his nonsensical characterisations of asylum seekers which is why he adopts his racist troll persona when the subject arises.
    It’s all rather sad really.

  33. Of interest, I found this article on how many watched State of Origin on the tellie.

    I’m not sure how they count Brisbane, but 670,000 is well under half.

    Many of the rest could not give a damn.

    Many of us do enjoy beating them for two main reasons. First, they have three times as many NRL players to pick from, so we expect them to win.

    Secondly, what they say about us from time to time, so a bit of Schadenfreude is the order of the day.

    Here’s an article of the four football codes in Oz from 2014.

    Rugby league does better than expected against AFL in terms of followership.

  34. Brian: “That’s why our locking of state borders was not “xenophobic”. NZ did well because they locked everyone out. They did that because there were hardly any ICUs in the country and their health system was fragile.” I rest my case.
    BTW I have lived more of my adult yrs (26) in Qld than any other state including NSW. Also had chances to study
    People from NSW tend to think of themselves as Australians and don’t have this obsession with the state they grew up in and comparison’s with other states.
    The places where I worked in WA and NT were multicultural communities with very few people who actually came from the state.
    Central Qld was a shock to us. Definitely not multicultural but lots from Central Qld. That is why Jumpy doesn’t surprise me.

  35. In my previous comment I may have traduced our Mackay correspondent by asserting he adopts a racist troll persona on occasion.
    Upon reflection I have realised that the persona he projects is actually that of a xenophobic troll. Therefore I offer Jumpy a full apology for any distress I may have caused him (and the observation that xenophobia is built on implicit racial bias).

  36. And what should it be that injects race into the thread, again ?
    The admitted racist of course.

    It can’t conceive that most folk don’t see everything through a racial lens.

    Immune to chiding, evidently, I assume it’ll continue.

  37. The admitted racist

    Wrong again. I admitted to implicit racial bias.
    At the time I didn’t know the term but I’m sure everybody here understood the nuance of what I was explaining – except you.
    The first obstacle was your inability to understand any but the simplest of English phrases, probably due to your preference for monstering the school teacher over learning the language.
    The second obstacle was your reliance on name calling in the apparent belief that it represents debate in some form.
    Whatever, your failure to engage in constructive discussion here has demonstrated over and over again that you only come here to pwn the libs, a task at which you have failed again and again and again.
    It’s all a bit sad really.

  38. Hahaha, the nasty flailing is amusing.
    You didn’t admit to a term you’d never known, you admitted to racism. Given your subsequent comments prove that admission and no amount of bluff, bluster or Brian running interference changes that.

    Clean up your own filthy room first would be my genuine advice.
    Confront your racism and bigotry.
    I’ve heard magic mushrooms can help dull a racist, bigoted ego but I’m not completely sure. Probably worth a try in your extreme case.

    All the best, get well.

  39. Anyone explain the real reason behind Hunt nixing the Johnson & Johnson vax ?

    That was the one I was hoping to get.

  40. Anyone explain the real reason behind Hunt nixing the Johnson & Johnson vax ?

    There’s this thing called the World Wide Web. It has billions of pages of information and a number of very good search engines to help you find the answers to questions like this.
    You should try it some day.

  41. Ouch, it’s butt hurt now.
    So much tolerance, empathy and kindness from the left….

  42. You didn’t admit to a term you’d never known,

    Two sayings spring to mind:
    1 What we have here is a failure to communicate.
    2 None so deaf as those who will not hear.

  43. So much tolerance, empathy and kindness from the left….

    So much name calling from the right….
    If you want to be spoon-fed with information I suggest an obscure corner of the blogosphere is not the place to do it.

  44. Jumpy: I take notice when you are talking about things that I think you might know something about. (Like the industry you work in.)
    By and large I ignore stuff you find in some of the crazy right blogs floating around the world these days.

  45. For example:

    Anyone explain the real reason behind Hunt nixing the Johnson & Johnson vax ?

    The obvious answer is, “The real reason is the reason Hunt gave”, however you appear to be hinting you have information which contradicts this.
    Either share it with us or shut up.

  46. John, I’ve lived in Adelaide, Brisbane and Downfall Creek (near Guluguba, between Miles and Wandoan on the Leichhardt Highway), and importantly north of the Great Dividing Range.

    However, for work and and leisure I’ve been to a lot of places, except Darwin. Furthest north was Thursday Island, where, because I was white, I was the last person the taxi driver drove from the wharf to the hotel.

    There are cultural differences all over. I have a different view of the world when I step off the plane in Rockhampton, Sydney or wherever. In Qld country I was always interested in the weather, rural produce prices, how the season was going etc.

    However, when I studied sociology I learnt that you can’t understand cultural differences unless you change somewhat your self by engaging.

    For Jumpy, in philosophy I learnt that there is not a one-to-one correspondence between words, truth and reality. Language is a social construct, generated by human beings. As such, much is reflected in language, including race. Can’t be otherwise.

    As we grow we develop our perspectives, meanings, behaviour, appearance etc affected by those around us.

    I think what zoot was saying was along those lines.

    For yourself, I suggest you contemplate your own racism and bigotry and see where change may be appropriate. None of us is perfect.

  47. Brian

    The answer is in the heading, you don’t need to read the article.

    Haha, I don’t work that way, I’d rather find the truth.
    And the truth is more blood clotting per capita is found with the Pill. I’m sure the researching genius of both zoot and yourself can confirm that.

  48. Haha, I don’t work that way, I’d rather find the truth.

    Translation: You automatically look for conspiracies.
    Don’t be coy. Tell us what the real truth is behind Australia’s and the USA’s caution towards the J & J vaccine.
    As an aside I, for one, have no intention of taking the pill instead of one of the Covid vaccines

  49. Jumpy, the title I cited was the truth. Are you saying it was wrong?

    That was the short story. If you want more, then read it and all the other article.

    The fact that the pill also causes clotting is no doubt also true.

    I think the truth is that you enjoy taking the p*ss.

  50. Like our PM I’ve been having a problem or three.

    Lost a ladder, bought a new one after a week, then found the other one two hours later.

    Any way, the new one is about 200% better.

    Mower stopped, the mechanic said it had water in the petrol.

    Happens if you are mowing in the rain.

    They fixed it up, serviced it and sent it back.

    Got three seconds out of it.

    Took it back, they said water again. So the water was in my can. Except I tipped it into a bucket and there wasn’t, and two other machines were using that petrol.

    Anyway all good now.

    Tomorrow I have to get early up in the morning to have my AstraZeneca COVID shot. I’ll tell you if I’m dead.

    The consent form was four pages. No, I’m not pregnant or breastfeeding.

  51. Here is the other molecular engine that makes our bodies work. This is one of a set of five machines embedded in the wall of Mitochondria. The full set are the sugar molecule that is the fuel that powers our cells and our muscles. This is the ATP engine, a true working machine which spins at up to 2000 revolutions per minute. As the shaft spins the five molecules at the top rock in and out to position the catalyst molecules around in the right relationship to the ADP molecule (which becomes the ATP) to cause the modification of the sugar molecule.

    https://youtu.be/kXpzp4RDGJI

    In each mitochondrial cell the ar hundreds of these molecule sets, and there are many mitochondria to a basic cell.

    Isn’t that just totally awesome?

  52. Google it yourself BilB, how dare you pose a matter of interest that others may know but you haven’t taken hours to thoroughly and forensically study ?

    Any hoot, blood clots prevalence isn’t the reason the AZ or J&J vaxs are questionable due to other approved medications having higher prevalence.

    So my original question remains got a group of “ I dunno “ effectively.

    Thanks, could’ve just said that without all the bullshit malice .

  53. Any hoot, blood clots prevalence isn’t the reason the AZ or J&J vaxs are questionable due to other approved medications having higher prevalence.

    That doesn’t follow. It isn’t that simple.

    So my original question remains got a group of “ I dunno “ effectively.

    No it didn’t. It got a group “because of the reasons they’re giving”.

    Thanks, could’ve just said that without all the bullshit malice .

    Pretty rich coming from the only contributor to this forum who has ever suggested another contributor f*** themself.
    If you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen.

  54. Mind you, the conspiracy theorists are on Jumpy’s side.
    But they’re upfront about it (the pandemic is a cover for government (every government of course) control), none of this vague question followed by hurt feelings when it fails to get a response deemed acceptable.

  55. Well gollee! there’s a wealth of information out there on the intertubes, most of it clear and believable.
    Or you could align yourself with Republicans like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz who seem to be intent on killing as many of their constituents as possible, or even loony Tuckkker Carlson who straight up lies about the efficacy of any of the vaccines, if you really want to. Your choice Jumpy.

    • Any hoot, blood clots prevalence isn’t the reason the AZ or J&J vaxs are questionable due to other approved medications having higher prevalence.

    If you know, Jumpy, why don’t you tell us or give us a link? You have at times provided interesting and useful links.

    Bilb, I’ll have a geek at the Aust Electoral Study, when I get a moment.

    Had COVID shot today. No effect so far. I’m told it often happens on the second day.

  56. If you know, Jumpy, why don’t you tell us or give us a link?

    A straight answer? From Jumpy?
    Not his style. He’d rather tone troll.
    It always amazes me that these independent, self sufficient, “screw your feelings” libertarians are such delicate flowers when they’re challenged

  57. zoot, they know the truth, and are not open to anything else.

    Knowing the truth binds them, so it’s not just intellectual, there is an empathy bypass.

  58. Thanks, Brian. I get very frustrated with those government layout websites. But I think the age breakup will be fairly telling. I’m curious as to which age group fell for Palmer’s flood of lies.

  59. Brian,

    If you know, Jumpy, why don’t you tell us or give us a link?

    I don’t know, that’s why I asked.

    The facts are that out of 6.8 million vaccinations only 1 has died. If a hand full of peanuts was a cure more would die, it doesn’t add up to reason. I don’t trust Hunt ( or any political actor) to tell the truth, especially when it doesn’t make sense to ban statistically harmless vaccines in a pandemic.

    Tell me how banning anything in an emergency with a failure rate of 1/6,800,00 is rational unless other things besides that are at play.

    ( stand by for 2 or 3 zoot trolls that I’ll ignore)

  60. Tell me how banning anything in an emergency with a failure rate of 1/6,800,00 is rational unless other things besides that are at play.

    Yes, there are other things in play.
    Fauci and the Surgeon General explained them rather well and they include countering the vaccine hesitancy inspired by the Republican fearmongers, a determination to ensure all doctors were made aware of the possible danger, confirming that the thrombosis was actually related to the vaccination, determining if there were any more cases which hadn’t been linked t o the vaccine etc, etc, etc.
    The fact that your mistrust of Hunt outweighs the opinions of experts speaks volumes.
    You’re welcome to your conspiracy theory but don’t get your knickers in a twist just because we disagree with you.

  61. BTW the J&J vaccine has not been “banned”.
    It’s distribution has been paused, a very common occurrence with new medications which show potential problems.

  62. Jumpy, we found with the pink batts that you couldn’t have people dying on a government-funded program.

    Prof Mary -Louise McLaws said that road deaths were 44 per million pa in Australia.

    I’ve checked and that seems to be right. We tolerate different levels of dying in different contexts.

    I believe there are many varieties of blood clotting and the one produced by the COVID vaccine is apparently not pretty.

  63. Another PSA.
    Planet America covers the pause in the J&J rollout.
    There’s a rebuttal of Tukkker Carlson’s nonsense at 22:50 and at 26:39 they interview an expert who covers pretty much all of the bases.

  64. Thanks, bilb.

    BTW here’s the ANU Election Study 2019. From page 18:

    That should gladden John’s heart, as should these two graphs:

    Not so much the older voters.

    Labor is at best flatlining this century, while the Greens seem to be on the upper, largely at the expense of the of the Liberals.

    However, the Greens vote hasn’t changed much in the last decade, so I’m not sure what is going on.

  65. On another reading, you can see how special ‘Kevin 07’ was for Labor. Even the oldies voted for him.

  66. bilb, I agree that “health and education” won’t do it.

    New thinking will produce ridicule and scare campaigns, like electric vehicles stealing your weekend, but I agree that is where they need to go.

    The only alternative is for the Morrison government to self-destruct. However, now that he has enlisted the states to help in the COVID vaccine rollout, it’s you do the work and then I’ll tell everyone “we” did it.

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