New Politics: Australian Politics

New Politics

The best analysis and discussion about Australian politics. Presented by Eddy Jokovich and David Lewis, we go to all the places the mainstream media doesn't want to go.

All Episodes

The parliamentary year commenced with the revelations of a rape at Parliament House; it ended with a report into sexual harassment at parliamentary workplaces… and a federal minister stepping aside after he was accused of physically abusing a staffer he was having an affair with. When will parliamentarians learn their lessons?And with so many government MPs and Ministers resigning, is it a sign of panic? No, it’s quite normal for MPs to retire and they can’t stay in politics forever. But it certainly doesn’t help the cause of the Liberal–National Coalition. And Anthony Albanese has announced a 43% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2030, and the sky hasn’t fallen in. Not yet, but Scott Morrison is certain to find a way of misrepresenting the policy, because that’s what he does best. Actually governing can wait for another day.And a Labor–Greens coalition? The Liberal Party and National Party have one, so why not? It’s a little bit more complicated but it comes down to two factors: the Liberal and National parties need each other to form government, while the Labor Party can form government by itself. And the other reason? The need has never arisen (except for 2010). And it won’t arise until we get a repeat of 2010: a hung parliament.

Dec 3

27 min 10 sec

It’s the final week of Parliament for 2021 and it’s much the same as all the other ones in recent weeks: chaos and dysfunction, and a peculiar interest in all of the issues that don’t really matter too much. This week’s interest? The anti-troll social media legislation which no one has ever asked for, would be ineffective (in the unlikely event that it was ever actually made into law) – but at least it took up two full days of national debate. Anything to avoid working on the issues that really matter: climate change, an anti-corruption commission, health, education… who knows, maybe even the economy? These are all critical issues, but what does the Morrison government want to focus on? Picking a fight with Mark Zuckerberg. Another act from a lazy government, which seems to always be on holidays, even when Parliament is sitting.And there are a number of community grassroots campaigns in the seat of Deakin, with the main aim of removing the sitting member, Michael Sukkar. We speak to Kieran Simpson from the Shady Sukkar campaign, and they are totally unimpressed with Sukkar and want to see him go. And as Kieran suggests, if Michael Sukkar puts himself first, it’s up the electorate to put him and the Liberal Party last. And that might end up being the result at the next federal election, and not just in the seat of Deakin.

Nov 30

37 min 50 sec

This term of Parliament is descending into chaos, and it’s almost as though the anarchist society has taken over the Senate and House of Representatives. But it’s not the anarchist society: it’s the Liberal–National Coalition which is now resembling a thoroughly disorganised rabble. The Voter ID and Religious Discrimination Bills are in tatters – legislation that is not needed and no-one has asked for – and the national integrity commission is no closer to formation. A new Speaker was installed in the House, and it was almost like a day with the relief teacher – or the work experience kid in charge.Chaos, division, floor-crossing and a Prime Minister who manages to speak many words in Parliament, without offering very much meaning. There’s another week – the final week – of Parliament to round off 2021, but it’s unlikely to get any better. This government is in disarray and it’s a familiar stench of incompetence and corruption that surrounds the Morrison government, that same stench that surrounded the Abbott and Turnbull governments. Is this the end of the Liberal–National Coalition? No, not by a long shot. ‘Rabble’ is more than an adequate term to describe this government but it has to be remembered that this disorganised and disastrous troupe of under-performers won the 2016 and 2019 federal elections. All it needs is to spruce itself up for the final three months of this term and it should be in with a chance, but there are strong doubts about whether it even has this low-level ability, or the stamina, to do this. This is one very lazy government.It’s not very often Australia hears politicians openly calling for ‘civil disobedience’ or throwing around the names of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao to boost their arguments. But that’s exactly what the LNP member for Dawson, George Christensen, did during the week. It’s usually in the domain of right-wing or left-wing extremists or those unsophisticated countries which resort to violence to resolve their political differences. And that’s where we are heading: a dark place which had the same feeling as the months before the Capitol Hill insurrection in the United States, earlier this year. This is a very disturbing development: if only Australia had the political leadership to avert this impending disaster.

Nov 26

29 min 26 sec

It’s increasingly obvious the Prime Minister is using the final stages of this Parliament to roadtest a number of different election slogans. Last week it was ‘Australians taking back their lives’, followed by ‘Australians have had a gutful of being told what to do’, interspersed with ‘cost of living’ and ‘can-do capitalism’. This week it was ‘moving forward’. But where are we moving forward to? What’s the destination? What happens at this destination? Who’s going to be there when we get there? All of this is real-life mass focus group testing, to feed back into Liberal Party qualitative research, almost as blasé as the Colgate-Palmolive marketing division testing slogans for soap powder advertisements. That’s what politics has become for Scott Morrison: a marketing exercise and Parliament reduced to a forum to create political slogans and campaign marketing.It might not be politics as we know it, but it looks more like a Prime Minister at the last chance saloon: rolling two dice to try and reach 18, when we all know the maximum is 12. Also known as desperation. Of course, this may end up in an election victory for the Liberal–National Coalition, but it’s becoming increasingly unlikely.And in the psychological battle between the two leaders, Anthony Albanese laid a super-size bear trap for Scott Morrison, and he fell right into it. A normal leader would avoid a return to the scene of their biggest humiliation – in Morrison’s case, the holiday trip to Hawaii during the peak of the bushfire catastrophe in 2019 – but Morrison is no normal leader, and he has to win every single battle, even the ones not worth winning. He lied about providing the destination of his holiday to Albanese – easily refuted – when he should have just apologised (again), said that he will never do that again and he learned his lesson. And we all would have moved on. But it became the news of the day and magnified the issue Labor wanted to focus on: Morrison is a pathological liar and untrustworthy.Independents are likely to have a big influence in the 2022 election, and we speak with Hayden O’Connor from the Voices of Kooyong, a campaign which wants to unseat the Treasurer and current member for Kooyong, Josh Frydenberg. It’s a tough ask, but they have the determination to consign Frydenberg to the dustbin of history. And wouldn’t that be a sweet victory.

Nov 23

34 min 33 sec

Once again, the Liberal–National Coalition is attacking the ABC, and doing the bidding of News Corporation in its quest to remove the ABC from government ownership and sell if off to the highest bidder. And several state divisions of the Liberal Party – and all the Young Liberal branches – have already passed resolutions to privatise the ABC and it’s also one of the key objectives of the Institute of Public Affairs.Yes, the ABC needs to be reformed and it shouldn’t just try to replicate what the commercial media outlets are producing, but it’s a key cultural, educational and essential services media broadcast, and one of the best in the world. But the ABC has no political friends left – the Coalition wants to privatise it and Labor, which turns up to every election promising more funds for the ABC – only for the ABC to propagandise against the Labor Party – might decide that it always campaigns for the ABC, but never receives any electoral benefit from its efforts. So it might decide it’s just not worth it. Whoever wins the next election, the future is not looking bright for the ABC.It took five days for Scott Morrison to make his response to the Melbourne protests, and when it came, it seemed half-hearted and expressed sympathy for the protestors. Morrison just cannot find it within himself to castigate his key supporters, even when they’re calling for the assassination of the Premier of Victoria. And it’s unclear why Morrison would want to claim this right-wing rabble as his own – these extremists are hardly going to vote for left-of-centre parties and expressing a clear condemnation of these protestors and their actions would have been the right thing for a political leader to do.But Morrison is purely focused on votes. After all, that’s what wins elections for a politician: votes. But some votes are not worth chasing, and it would have better to let those voters float away, which surely would have boosted support from other areas in the electoral. Sometimes, Morrison cannot help himself, and this was one of those occasions. Australia needs leadership from the federal govenment, but that might need to be delivered by another government, and a different prime minister, at some point in the future.

Nov 19

31 min 16 sec

Australia is seeking national leadership at this point of time to ward off the threat of extremist behaviour in Melbourne but instead of trying to dampen the enthusiasm of QAnon, neo-Nazis, fascists, sovereign citizens and assorted fringe dwellers, Scott Morrison is hoping to hang onto their votes at the next federal election and he decided the best course of action is to just keep quiet, lest he upset his supporter base.The weekend protests in Melbourne attracted 5,000 people, primarily to voice their disapproval of the vaccine mandates – even though most of them won’t be affected by a mandate – but that wasn’t enough to stop them demanding the resignation of Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews, some actually calling for his assassination. And this wasn’t enough for Morrison to castigate their actions – these are his people, and it’s not up to him to say anything about it, or even lift a finger indirectly. For example, alerting the Australian Federal Police, or the Fixated Persons Unit. It’s not too much to ask, but Morrison is more interested in keeping votes, rather than acting in the interests of the community.And the latest round of polling is still pointing to an electoral demolition for the Liberal–National Coalition at the next federal election. That’s not to say Morrison can’t turn it around – after all, he was in exactly the same position in November 2018 and, six months later, he was on the victor’s podium on election night – but two elections in a row, while not impossible, is incredibly difficult.But one issue that won’t help is Morrison has decided to channel the 2004 election strategy used by John Howard – who do you trust?… But in typical Morrison fashion, he’s overpromised in areas that is almost impossible to keep a promise – the trifecta of low interest rates, low cost of living, and low petrol prices. We think it might be three lies too far and he’s foolish to make this promises.A one-off 0.25 interest rate hike, a CPI increase of 1%, or petrol prices going up by 5 cents per litre – any of these events will finish Scott Morrison off, especially if whatever he says isn’t matched by people’s lived experiences.He might be finished anyway, and we believe the only way Australia can move away from the current events in Melbourne is a change of government. It’s becoming more and more evident by the day.

Nov 16

34 min 21 sec

Paul Keating was a hit at the National Press Club address during the week, but members of the federal government were not so happy about this. Because he spoke positively and realistically about China and Australia’s place in the world: which rubs against the grain of the government’s narrative of depicting China as a massive threat to Australia. And the media is happy to jump in and offer their support, using every negative cliché about China in their reportage – falling short of using the “Yellow Peril” rhetoric from the 1900s, but coming close. Good things do come out of China, but you wouldn’t think so if you only listened to Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, and their friends in the mainstream media.And we’re finding out more about the Coalition’s re-election strategy: lie about the past, lie about the future, lie about the lies. There can be no end to this. And there are two new election slogans to add to Scott Morrison’s reductive lexicon. “Labor wants to tell you what to do”, which, at eight words, is a massive improvement on the three-word version – and supporters of the shorter version slogan will not be disappointed. “Can-do capitalism” is the latest revelation, and it’s as empty as all of the previous slogans. But that’s not the point: this is a government that governs for the politically disengaged. Or, if we want to be more sophisticated, it’s what Mark Twain would call a paralysis of intellect, a label he placed upon Australia when he visited in 1895, a country which, to him, seemed quite incurious. And, 126 years later, an incurious Prime Minister who is afflicted with a paralysis of intellect is gradually being exposed as a marketing trickster.Anthony Albanese is becoming more assertive in his attacks on Scott Morrison, and in his attacks on journalists. And these actions suggest Labor’s internal research is giving them a greater level of confidence that they can win the next federal election.

Nov 12

36 min 6 sec

There won’t be a federal election in the short term, but that doesn’t mean campaigning can’t start early. It feels like the election campaign has already commenced, with Scott Morrison wanting to ‘move on’ from all the errors from the past and present his best face to the public.But this depends on the fine art of the political lie, of which Morrison is happy to contribute to. In 2004, John Howard opened his campaign with “who do you trust on the economy?”, flushing out memories of continuous ‘mean and tricky’ lies, and helping him to roll Mark Latham and the Labor Party on election day. Morrison will use this same strategy but he’s not as clever as Howard, and he’s not up against Latham. Will it work? He’ll certainly try it out.Two and half years after Anthony Albanese decreed ‘no Labor MP will use “liar” to describe their opponents’, the term has become very fashionable and Labor is now calling Morrison a liar at every opportunity. Which means its focus group testing is suggesting Morrison’s propensity to lie and misrepresent everything in sight is become a serious problem for him.Branch stacking occurs in all political parties but it seems that there are different media rules when it comes to reporting Liberal Party malfeasance. The Assistant Treasurer, Michael Sukkar has been accused of implementing a tax-payer funded system, where political staffers had the task of signing up Opus Dei, neo-Nazis and fascists as members of the Liberal Party, so Sukkar could hold control of the Victoria branch of the Liberal Party.The media has been reporting about these issues but, essentially, it’s just providing the facts without the running commentary which they always provide when the Labor Party is involved in branch stacking – ‘The MP needs to be expelled! Daniel Andrews needs to resign! Albanese too!’But they’ve been strangely quiet in creating a link with Scott Morrison, and when Josh Frydenberg suggested there was nothing to see here, they shrugged their shoulders and ‘moved on’. Which is just the way the Liberal Party would like it.And in keeping with the Liberal Party’s form in terrorising women of all persuasions, two Liberal Party MPs – Christian Porter and Andrew Laming – have threatened defamation action against the academic, Gemma Carey, who posted offensive Twitter messages about these men, who then removed those messages and publicly apologised for these messages.For most people, this would be enough, but these Liberal Party MPs are glass-jawed and their action is all about shutting up the people who criticise the government and members of this government. And we’re seeing why the Liberal Party encourages illiberal people such as right-wing religious fanatics, neo-Nazis and fascists to become a part of their membership. They’re very happy to dish out the abuse, but will ensure that when members of the public try to return serve, they’ll use laws inappropriately to crush dissent.

Nov 10

37 min 28 sec

The Prime Minister was reluctant to go to the COP26 climate change conference and it’s obvious to see why. To say it was a diplomatic disaster is an understatement and the more Scott Morrison makes politics all about him, the more he is exposed as an ineffective prime minister who appears to be severely out of his depth.It’s one thing to create a diplomatic problem with a long-term European ally, but it’s another issue entirely to start leaking private text messages received from the French President. And as if to outdo his own stupidity, Morrison decided it would be a good idea to leak a confidential 15-page communications document to embarrass the US President. It’s hard to know who’s advising Morrison – he might be following his own advice – but it was an incredibly foolish action, and it may take years for the relationships with France to be repaired.An impassioned speech at COP26 by the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, was received favourably by the world community – Morrison was in the audience but it’s hard to know if he actually listened: he ruled out supporting a 30% reduction of methane gases by 2030, and refused to join the 40 countries wanted to phase out coal production. Best to go off to the Australian pavilion at COP26 under the banner of “Positive Energy: The Australian Way” and view the Santos carbon capture to see how well they’re spending the $220 million credit they’ve received from the federal government’s $4.5 billion fund to pollute the environment.The former Premier of NSW – who we now believe is deserving of the moniker of “disgraced former Premier” – has provided all the evidence she needs to present to the NSW ICAC, and their findings will be presented in the early part of 2022. With Parliament no longer a forum for accountability and the media deciding to never hold conservative governments to account, the role of the NSW ICAC is becoming increasingly more important, and it’s a model which should be implemented at the federal level.And the release of these findings – which could be incredibly adverse for the NSW Liberal Party – could severely derail the next federal election. And there’s also a SA General Election to be held in March 2022, as well as five byelections for the NSW Parliament in the early part of the year. For the Morrison government to be re-elected at the next federal election, everything needs to start going right for them and everything is going in the opposite direction. It’s going to be a tough election to win.

Nov 5

29 min 29 sec

What is Scott Morrison? A brand name? A theme, a hologram, a Prime Minister, an advertisement, a football coach?… or just a person? It’s hard to know, because Morrison reveals so little of who he actually is. But does it really matter? We reveal all in a conversation with Sean Kelly, discussing his brand new book, “The Game: A Portrait of Scott Morrison”, published by Black Inc. Books.We try to pin Morrison down, but it’s so difficult. So, we start off with the “Where the Bloody Hell Are You?” campaign: was this the beginning of Morrison’s pitch to become Prime Minister? This advertisement was a segue from one disconnected idea to the next and, in hindsight, this is Morrison’s prime ministership in a nutshell: disconnected ideas, clichés, the good times, spin and marketing… and presenting the face of Australia that masks the unpalatable reality of life.Politics seems to be a game for Morrison but decisions made in Canberra have real-life consequences in the real world and affect millions of people, not just in Australia, but all around the world. There are many serious issues facing Australia and during a time of pandemic and climate change, the electorate is looking to government to ameliorate these issues. It’s not a game. But will Morrison change his strategy (or his marketing plan)?The ‘selling of a prime minister’ got Morrison to the 2019 election and it may well get him through to the next election. But people have begun to ask questions about who Morrison is. And many in the electorate have begun to ask, ‘what else is there? Where is the real guy?’ That will be one of the interesting points in the lead up to the next election campaign.

Nov 2

36 min 52 sec

The Plan To Deliver Net Zero is much like the Morrison government: it’s insubstantial, inadequate, filled with political marketing and spin and, ultimately, does very little to act on climate change. It’s all about politics and directed at those people in the electorate who might be thinking about switching their vote away from the Liberal and National parties at the next election, of which there is a substantial number.Morrison lacks intellect and he’s incurious about the world. But he has rat cunning and will do anything to hold on to power and win the next federal election. This, of course, makes him a dangerous Prime Minister. For him, climate change is not an environmental issue, it’s a political issue that he wants to swat away with a 20-page glossy document. It’s far easier to tell the electorate what they want to hear, not what needs to be done to secure the future of Australia or take the opportunities climate change presents to the Australian economy and industry base.The Morrison government is now like a wounded beast, bearing its teeth at anything it thinks can provide it with advantage. And Voter ID legislation is one of those issues. It’s not an issue that has been on anyone’s agenda during this Parliamentary term, yet Scott Morrison wants to convince the public that voter fraud is a serious issue – it’s not – and present himself as someone who wants to address a major problem.Like the history and culture wars, this is a solution seeking a problem – not even the friends of the Liberal Party – the Institute of Public Affairs – has called for this, saying that it’s a regressive move. But if Morrison can find an advantage in voter suppression, he will go there. How else would the most corrupt and incompetent government in Australia’s history cling onto power if they only depended on legitimate efforts?One person who has had enough is Tony Smith, who has resigned as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. After the humiliation of been voted down by his own government, he had no choice. But there was only one more week of Parliamentary sittings for 2021: what could all this mean? He wanted do his Christmas shopping earlier? Send a message to the government? Or clear the decks for a December federal election?We think it could be all three.

Oct 29

29 min 51 sec

The latest opinions polls show Scott Morrison is still on the nose and might have reached the point of no return. It’s currently 46% to the LNP and 54% to Labor in the two-party preferred voting and while it’s always possible for governments to make up ground, it is a difficult task. Morrison is looking panicked and a panicked prime minister will always start rolling the dice more erratically, or look to filthy lucre to see if the election victory from May 2019 can be repeated.Lighting rarely strikes twice in the same location but that’s exactly what Morrison will be looking for. His opponent, Anthony Albanese, has a different set of issues. When he first became leader, in response to criticism that he wasn’t ‘taking it up to the government’, he suggested that in politics, you have to wait until the fourth quarter and then start kicking with the wind.We assume he’s talking AFL but in the football parlance, Labor has been ahead at three-quarter time by 10 goals in recent elections – and kicking with the wind – but has gone on to lose those elections. Albanese did suggest there’s a possibility of an election in December, so surely this must be the fourth quarter and the wind has started to blow. But where’s Albanese? Still in the changerooms, keeping his powder dry. It will be a pity if the final siren blows and Albanese remains in the changeroom still rehearsing his lines and warm-ups, because there’s the possibility Morrison may have completed his victory lap by then.And there’s a Coalition agreement for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050? Well, the media seems to think so, even though there is no change to policy, there is no detail, and there is no modelling. A sensible mainstream media would have picked up these anomalies, and quickly outlined the accommodation of the National Party into net-zero, is actually a net-zero scam, and all based around trying to win the next election.All Morrison had to do was wave a slick glossy brochure at the media, and they all seemed to agree that it’s all over: climate change is no longer a political problem for the federal government. Morrison decreed that he is the man of action on climate change, the ‘man with the plan’, and the media believed him. Will the electorate fall for it so easily? We don’t think so.

Oct 26

32 min 12 sec

Recent events in NSW have shown that its Independent Commission Against Corruption is doing its job, despite the protests of Scott Morrison: the Obeids and Ian Macdonald have been sentenced to jail for attempting to embezzle $100 million through a coal mine lease licence between 2007-2009. It was the NSW ICAC which commenced proceedings against these former NSW Labor MPs; and it’s the same NSW ICAC which is currently investigating the arrangements between former NSW Liberal Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and former Wagga Wagga MP, Daryl Maguire – who decided that getting a cut from a corrupt land deal wasn’t enough; he just had to get his hands on a corrupt cash-for-visa scheme through a 10% commission. And Maguire was also running this scheme through his Parliamentary office.Dispatching visas is the responsibility of the Department of Immigration. And who was the Minister of Immigration during the time Maguire was operating his cash-for-visa scheme? None other than Scott Morrison who, of course, has denied any involvement with the scheme. But Morrison is a pathological liar and it’s in his interests to deny any involvement. Perhaps this is an issue a federal ICAC could investigate… if only we had one. It gives us an insight into why Morrison isn’t keen on establishing a federal ICAC and confirms our suspicions that a prime minister who does everything possible to deter a body that investigates corruption in federal politics, is more likely than not, corrupt.The federal parliament saw one the most egregious acts committed against the Spreaker of the House of Representatives: the Morrison government ignored a ruling by the Speaker, which has never happened in the 120-year history of federation. We now have a federal government which ignores Parliament, it ignores convention, it ignores the Constitution, it now ignores the rulings of the Speaker – which is akin to a criminal ignoring the findings of the judge. It’s contempt, and it’s the reason why corruption is allowed to fester. And a complicit media who were happy to ignore one of the most scandalous incidents ever in federal Parliament.It seems a November election is out of the question… but December? We always felt Morrison would call the election for May 2022 because, as a procrastinator, holding the election on the last possible date on May 22 means the decision will be made for him. Or, at least, that’s what our theory was.Why December? It’s obvious: the success of Scott Morrison depends on distraction. NSW and Victoria are coming out of lockdown, it will be close to Christmas; people will be thinking about the end of year, Christmas shopping and everything else… except for politics. It’s a perfect remedy for Morrison: a seal of approval because the electorate is too distracted to carefully scrutinise his poor performance over the past three years. It’s cynical, but that’s Scott Morrison. And it might just work.

Oct 22

36 min 48 sec

Scott Morrison has changed his mind and will now attend the COP26 climate change forum in Glasgow. It was obvious Morrison didn’t want to got to COP26 for a number of reasons: it’s all about climate change action, which is anathema to the Liberal–National Coalition; it’s an international meeting where Australia’s embarrassingly poor policies on climate change action – among the worst in the OECD community – will be the focus; it’s the first encounter with the French Prime Minister after the cancellation of the $90 billion submarine contract; and attending the meeting rules out the possibility of a November election.But Prince Charles said he would “be shocked” if Morrison didn’t attend and Queen Elizabeth II announced she was irritated about inaction on climate change and instructed leaders to not “just talk, act on climate”.Morrison is a monarchist – not as staunch as Tony Abbott, but a monarchist nevertheless. And if the Queen and the British Royal Family are showing their displeasure, then Morrison had to act. He’s in a bind: we’re still not sure if he will go to Glasgow, and we will only believe it is happening once the prime ministerial plane touches down on the tarmac at Glasgow International Airport.But Morrison is an opportunist and has skill in being able to manipulate any situation towards his advantage. Humiliation at COP26? ‘How dare the unrepresentative officials at the United Nations tell Australia what to do.’Billboards at Glasgow and Times Square in New York shaming Australia on climate change inaction? ‘Those inner city socialists are trying to embarrass our national pride.’Carbon tariffs that will crucify the Australian economy? ‘We will decide which products come into this country and the circumstances in which they arrive.’The Bob Brown-led anti-Adani campaign in Queensland during the 2019 federal election campaign shamed the Australian government, but backfired when locals felt they were being told what to do by outsiders and interstaters, didn’t like being told what to do, and decided to show their displeasure by giving many seats in regional Queensland a 15% swing towards the government. Morrison would be looking at this to see if can swing things his way again.The direction for both parties in the lead up to the next election? If it is based on climate change issues, Labor will keep it simple: if you want action on climate change, vote Labor.The Coalition will do the opposite, and will try to make climate change action as complex as possible, distort as many issues as possible and then declare: if you don’t understand it, don’t vote for it. It worked for Paul Keating in the 1993 GST-influenced election; it could work for Morrison now.So, we’re headed for another climate change election – following on the election of 1990, where Labor slid back into government on environment preferences, and the 2007 election, which according to Kevin Rudd, was the issue that was the “greatest moral challenge of our times”. And if it is another climate change election, it could just be the issue that sweeps Scott Morrison out to electoral oblivion.

Oct 19

27 min 7 sec

How many times have we been told by conservative business groups in Australia that minimum wages need to be kept low so businesses have more finances to employ more people? And not just minimum wages, but all wages? The only problem is this erstwhile neoliberal pipedream doesn’t actually work and there’s a recent Nobel Prize for Economics out there to prove it’s absolutely false.Since 2013, wages in Australia have stagnated – coinciding with the time of the Liberal–National Coalition government – and in 2018, the Turnbull government reduced penalty rates based on old economic orthodoxy. These were real-life experiments and the promised increases in job numbers never actually occurred – and corporate profits went up, while wages went down. It was a false elixir, and help to move Australia towards a recession in early 2020. New economic thinking is needed at this time, and the Coalition seems to hold onto old economic ideas, even when there’s new research to prove them wrong.And if new thinking is needed on economics, there’s certainly a need for new thinking on climate change in Australia – or at least, any kind of thinking because, there’s been a paucity of intellect on developing good policy for the environment in Australia. And the latest roadblock on climate change and sensible environmental policy? The National Party, whose intransigence has been like anarchic nihilists who aren’t quite sure about why they’re resisting so much, until we explore that link between National Party MPs, mineral and gas resource companies, and the mining industry.The National Party claims to act in the interest of regional Australia. If this was true, they would be at the forefront of climate change action and management of the environment, because it’s the people in the regions that will suffer the most through water supply issues, rising temperatures and drought. But they’re not: the National Party is the party of corruption and vested interests and are holding the country to ransom, even though only 4 per cent of the electorate voted for them.If the electorate really does want effective action on climate change and the environment, it won’t be provided by the National Party, or by the Liberal Party. It’s best if these people are voted out of office; that’s becoming more obvious by the day.

Oct 15

28 min 59 sec

The most surprising part of News Corporation’s greenwashing of the Liberal Party is not so much that it’s occurring right now, but the fact that it’s happening so quickly. The Liberal Party – working hand in glove with the Business Council of Australia, and their erstwhile friends at News Corporation – has resisted all action on climate change ever since they returned to government in 2013: they repealed the carbon price scheme, abolished the Climate Commission, reduced funding programs for renewable energy, used funding allocated for renewable energy programs… for fossil fuel programs. And claimed that electric cars were the death of the weekend.Can eight years of climate change denialism – or 25 years if we include the Howard years that commenced in 1996 – be overturned within a few months before the next election? Obviously, the Liberal National Coalition believes all of this is possible and the public will believe that the party that brought coal into the chambers of Parliament is the new champion of climate change action, and is the best friend of the environment. It’s a big ask, but let’s see if there’s enough collective amnesia within the electorate to accept the biggest greenwash and about-face in Australian history.NSW has ended its lockdowns and is promoting itself as the Australian leader out of the pandemic and providing direction to all the other states and territories around the nation for how to ‘live with COVID’. This is a surprise to the people of Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory, who have living without lockdowns, curfews and restrictions for most of the past 15 months, and have only had a handful of COVID cases during that time, compared to the 69,552 cases in NSW.And why were so many politicians of all persuasions so adamant about going to a pub to celebrate the first day of the lifting of restrictions? It’s like Australia is a nation of alcoholics: NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and senior ministers in the front bar of a pub (sans women); Anthony Albanese sucking on a schooner at another bar; Dave Sharma toasting with a middie – and with another bloke. It looks like it’s just a pathetic blokes’ world until you realise the Australian Hotels Association donates substantial amounts of money to the Liberal Party and the Labor Party. And they’ve been actively promoting the end of lockdowns.And this is all neatly dovetailing into the divisive message the federal government wants to promote in the lead up to the next election: the Liberal Party is the party of freedoms, the breaker of lockdowns, the opener of the economy. The fun guys. Whereas Labor is the dull party of further restrictions, lockdowns at the sneeze of half a COVID nostril, and the denier of business and the economy.Labor has to keep focusing on the eight years of poor government and incompetence provided by the Liberal–National Coalition while, of course, the Coalition wants us all to forget about this and focus on freedoms. Does Labor have the skill to prosecute the case for change or will collective amnesia win out again?

Oct 12

30 min 6 sec

There’s continuing fallout from the broken French submarines deal, and a humiliated country will seek retribution in other ways. Australia didn’t learn the lessons given by China, where the Australian government pressured the WHO to investigate the origins of coronavirus and Defence Minister, Peter Dutton, decided to directly blame China for releasing the virus to the rest of the world. The result: China placed tariffs and sanctions on Australian exports and caused billions of dollars of damage to the local economy. The French government has instructed its diplomats to ‘go hard’ on Australia in the upcoming free trade negotiations with the European Union, and to go even harder when it comes to the imposition of carbon tariffs. Australia is going to be whipped at the upcoming COP26 climate change meetings, and it’s probably wise for Scott Morrison to not attend. It’s going to be a humiliation like no other.And if diplomacy on the international stage is not the Morrison government’s forte, it displays even less on the national stage. Instead of making soothing tones to try an appease difficult negotiations on GST reform and increased hospital funding, Scott Morrison’s natural reaction is to create division and seek opportunities. The ‘divide and rule’ philosophy worked very well for the Roman Empire – until it no longer worked and caused a long-term force in Europe to crumble. And it happened relatively quickly. This might a portent for the Morrison government: the pandemic has been a time for unity, whereas all they’ve provided is division and argument at every turn. It’s almost as though their willing on their own demise.Attacking the governments of Western Australia and Queensland is not a vote-winner for the federal government; in fact, it works in reverse. It’s easy for Western Australia and Queensland to whip up a frenzy against the federal government – and perhaps it only the residents of those states who can understand this phenomenon. And it’s a whole lot easier when the national leader is seen as the ‘Prime Minister of New South Wales’.The state and territory governments have requested more funding for hospitals – $8 billion each year until the end of 2023. But Morrison and Josh Frydenberg say ‘no’, even though they gave $21 billion in JobKeeper support to corporations who made profits and increased their bottom line during the pandemic. It’s always a question of priorities but this federal government always seems to choose the wrong ones.Another piece of advice for Morrison: stop attacking state governments. It might appeal to the base of the Liberal Party and the conspiracy theorists in the community that despise all governments (but might be partial to a Prime Minister who kicks into regimes he doesn’t like) but, overall, it’s a net vote losing act. And it might provide Morrison a massive loss at the next federal election.

Oct 8

31 min 40 sec

There’s been far too much adulation from the media for the former Premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, who took the decision to resign from Parliament, after the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption declared she is a person of interest in a corruption investigation. Politicians are not rock stars, and journalists are not their groupies, even though that’s how they behave: too close to action; too close to the people they seem to love. And too close to report and analyze without fear or favour. And their love of Berejiklian means that they mourn her resignation like the loss of a close friend, rather than focusing on the allegations of corruption.As Paul Keating once said, if you want a friend in politics, get a dog. Politicians are not rock stars; they are there to do a job in the interests of the public, and we want them to be competent. Leave the rock star business (and the song and dance) to the real rock stars, and then the media can investigate what political leaders get up to behind the scenes. And it’s an untidy and messy sight.Perhaps if the mainstream media performed the job they are supposed to do – make powerful people accountable to the public – Berejiklian might have thought twice about engaging in activities that are now the focus of the NSW ICAC.And all of this has resulted in a new Premier in NSW, Dominic Perrottet. We’re not sure how long he’ll last – because he might also be receiving a few phone calls from the NSW ICAC over the iCare state insurance scandal – and NSW might be looking for another Premier before the next NSW election, due in March 2023.And why is the federal government so fearful of a federal commission against corruption? We’ve estimated that if a federal ICAC was created according to existing state and territory guidelines, at least 11 sitting government Members of Parliament would be the subject of inquiries – and that’s just based on the information that’s publicly available. So, it’s obvious why they’re not introducing a federal ICAC – they’d be the first ones to appear in dock. That’s the only reason they’ve been so reluctant to create a federal ICAC with retrospective powers.It might be up to Labor to introduce such a body – but only if they’re sure that none of their MPs will be dragged into such a commission – and, obviously, a federal ICAC can only happen if they win the next federal election. It will never occur under a Liberal–National Coalition, they have too much to lose.

Oct 5

33 min 21 sec

It happened quickly but it wasn’t really a shock when the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, resigned after it was revealed that the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption was commenced proceedings to investigate whether she acted corruptly in the award of community grants between 2012 and 2018. There were many tears and Berejiklian resigned reluctantly, giving the impressive that the ICAC was just a minor irritant that shouldn’t be standing in her way. Her greatest supporters – the mainstream media – have been reporting her departure as though she is resigning because of family circumstances, or some other misfortune, and completely neglecting the fact that there are serious allegations of her behaviour as Treasurer and Premier. Perhaps it’s a sign of how low the threshold has become within Australian politics: a Premier resigning under the shadow of corruption is lauded as “one of the greatest Premiers ever”. It’s almost as absurd as suggesting the disgraced Labor MP, Eddie Obeid, is one of the greatest Minister for Resources ever (if only we can ignore the $100 million worth of corruption).There is no fury greater than a Prime Minister ousted in a leadership challenge, and Malcolm Turnbull has arrived on the public stage with a vast array of verbal artillery to fire off at the incumbent: Scott Morrison. The botched French submarines deal; the poor vaccination rollout; inaction on climate change: everything is a target. On the day before Morrison ousted Turnbull, he said that he was “ambitious for my leader”. It seems Turnbull won’t be reciprocating, is totally unambitious for his leader and doing his best to repay the humiliation Morrison afforded to him on that fateful day in August 2018. This will be a story that has some way to play.Several weeks ago, Kristina Keneally was inserted as a preselection candidate in the South-West Sydney seat of Fowler. It’s better for candidates to be preselected by the local membership but, sometimes, it‘s better to choose the best person, even if they are from outside of the area. This is an issue within politics, but all political parties do it: nevertheless, we assumed the issue would blow over, but the mainstream media has decided to revisit the seat of Fowler, no doubt to create problems for the Labor Party in the lead up to the next federal election.Adrian Boothman was a long-time resident in the seat of Fowler and a former Labor Party staffer and advisor – we spoke to Adrian to see if there’s a different perspective to the one presented in the mainstream media. And – can you believe it – yes, there is perspective that is closer to the facts on the ground.

Oct 1

35 min 20 sec

The United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP26 – is coming up soon, but Scott Morrison is toying with the idea of not attending the event in Glasgow. This is the most important climate change conference since 2015 – and possibly ever – but Morrison isn’t interested, too busy fondling the lump of coal he dragged into federal Parliament, a rock which has become symbolic of his prime ministership. Or too busy remembering his trip last week to New York – a UN meeting that he really didn’t need to be at, but did allow him to meet with the bosses of News Corporation. Why bother about rescuing the planet when there is an election to be won?And politics is never too far from COVID – the Victoria and NSW governments have almost identical roadmaps out of COVID, but it’s the Victoria government Morrison is taking aim at. And while he’s at it, the Western Australian and Queensland government on borders. Morrison thrives on division and chaos for two reasons – because he does not have a bone of decency in him and knows no other way, and it helps to mask his mismanagement of COVID during 2021 and the corruption and incompetence that has riddled his government since he became Prime Minister in 2018.But the independents may have a say in this: they’re coming for the Liberal Party, they mean business and they’ve had enough of a lack of action on climate change, and they’ve had enough of incompetency, corruption and indecency. The next federal election might end up being Independents Day.

Sep 29

30 min 18 sec

Melbourne has had a big week: it’s long suffering populace had to put up with a barrage of abuse from the Melbourne conservative media, a rent-a-crowd protest dressed up like union members and 74-year-old grandmothers attacked the city and, to top that off, they also had a 5.8 Richter magnitude earthquake. Of course, there were union members within the rent-a-crowd but it wasn’t an event organised, promoted or condoned by the CFMEU: real unionists wouldn’t protest on the West Gate Bridge – a site where 35 union died when a slab fell from the bridge in 1970; real unionists wouldn't desecrate the Shrine of Remembrance; and real unionists certainly wouldn’t cross-dress and wear wigs to try and trick and police into thinking they’re a 74-year-old grandmother.But it’s a handy lever for the Morrison government to pull in the lead up to the next federal election, happy to create a link between the riots, unions – even though they had nothing to with the riots – and, of course, the Labor leader: Anthony Albanese.And you just know that an election is coming up soon: Scott Morrison went to New York and it wasn’t clear why, until we checked his itinerary and found out he was meeting with the head of News Corporation – Robert Thomson. Not quite Rupert Murdoch, but Murdoch is over 90 years old, so perhaps not up to anointing Morrison as his chosen leader and allowing him to kiss the ring of approval.Every Prime Minister does this in the lead up to an election, and Murdoch has such a hold over Australian politics that it’s now a ritual. Bill Shorten didn’t travel to New York before the 2019 federal election, and he paid the price: he didn’t become Prime Minister. Whether he likes it or not, Albanese should head over to New York as soon as possible to kiss that ring: in Australian politics, it’s the only way to become Prime Minister.The latest Newspoll – yes, it does show that Labor is ahead in the polls, and has been ahead in all polls since October 2020. But we’ve seen this story before: 2019 – Labor ahead in every poll for three years. 2016, just before the election, and especially during the time of Tony Abbott’s prime ministership. Before that: 1998, 2001. Labor had massive leads in all of those Parliamentary periods but ended up being empty handed on election day.So, put away that champagne, stop imagining Albanese living in The Lodge and leading the Labor Party to an election victory in the next federal election. The only poll that counts, is the one held on the election day (and the preceding two-week early voting period).It’s a cliche, but it’s the truest cliche in politics. These polls mean absolutely nothing.

Sep 24

44 min 28 sec

The Labor factions are at it again, this time creating a preselection problem in South West Sydney. Kristina Keneally is a former NSW Premier and sits in the Senate, but if she wanted to continue in politics, she had to be parachuted into the seat of Fowler, which is specifically a back-up-seat when preselection problems arise. It means whoever has been preselected in the seat of Fowler has to stand aside, because whatever the Labor factions want, they are provided with it. They are hungry beasts. So a good local community candidate has been dumped. Is it terrible? Yes, of course it is. But it’s the way all political parties operate, if they decide they want someone to enter parliament. Scott Morrison, for example.It was like the final show on Broadway: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian decided the 11am media conferences were going to end, because she didn’t want to give the COVID outbreak the gravity it deserves. And a few journalists were starting to ask difficult questions about corruption and her involvement in a $5 million grant in Wagga Wagga. But then Berejiklian uncancelled her cancellation, and much to the bemusement of the citizens of NSW, she appeared in a media conference at 11am on Monday, the day after she said they wouldn’t proceed any further. And the NSW Labor leader, Chris Minns held his own media conference at the same time to highlight all the problems with the management of COVID by the NSW Government. Any relationship between these two events would surely be co-incidental. Wouldn’t they?A $90 billion deal with a French submarine company to provide 12 submarines had been scuppered and the Australian Government has signed a tripartite deal with the UK and US to purchase shiny new nuclear-powered submarines – in the year 2040. So, in one fell swoop, we managed to annoy the French and Chinese governments, and send a message to the rest of the world community that Australia is a friend which cannot be trusted. But this is all about politics and the bigger question keeps being ignored: why does Australia need nuclear-powered submarines at a cost of over $100 billion?And Christian Porter is in trouble again, this time, a blind trust has been created to cover his legal costs from a defamation which was settled before it reached trial. But why would a blind trust be created in this way? What does Porter have to hide? The error-prone Porter is likely to keep making mistakes and Morrison is likely to sack him from the frontbench. And if he had any political sense, this would be his first course of action on Monday morning: Porter is now a serious political liability.

Sep 17

45 min 56 sec

It has been confirmed that the federal government was contacted by Pfizer in June 2020 to provide Australia with 40 million doses – which wasn’t taken up by the government – after months of denying the story and suggesting that everyone else was wrong. There’s two issues here: the constant denials – which continue to be provided by Scott Morrison and the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt – and a deal which could have delivered the Pfizer vaccines to Australia in early 2021, offered protection to the community and avoided the current lockdowns, was squandered by the federal government.And this has become critical: on a day when NSW recorded 1542 new cases of coronavirus and nine deaths, it’s a issue the federal government wants the public to forget. And those merchants of collective amnesia, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the NSW Government, have decided to cancel daily media conferences, even though the number of cases is going to peak in a few weeks’ time. It’s an abrogation of responsibility and is a tactic to avoid scrutiny and accountability. It’s going to backfire.The National Summit on Women’s Safety was held during the week, but it was hard not to think that the event was all about the Prime Minister and his desire to resolve the politics of the issue, rather than the issue itself. Sexual harassment, sexual violence and domestic violence perpetrated against women are serious issues in Australia – and costs the economy around $26 billion per year – but that’s not enough for the Liberal Party to take enough notice of these issues and the Summit was a missed opportunity.We have been criticised for being too Sydney-centric but we have news from Victoria! – a state which has a new (but recycled) Leader of the Opposition – Matthew Guy. He was the leader of the Liberal Party at the 2018 Victoria election and lost 11 seats – leaders can become more successful when they return to the leadership a second time: Winston Churchill, John Howard, Jeff Kennett – but the successes of recycled leaders are few and far between. It’s going to be hard road ahead.And the “you only had two jobs” message is starting to get through to the electorate. It’s a message pushed through by federal Labor and it relates to the poor vaccination rollout, and the bungles in hotel quarantine. It’s a message that can only be sustained during this current lockdown period and if NSW and Victoria ever do come out of their respective lockdowns before the next election, a new election message will need to be developed. But the Liberal–National government has had close to eight years of mismanagement and left behind a trail of incompetence. Labor shouldn’t have too many problems finding other issues to campaign on.

Sep 10

43 min 27 sec

he politics of the COVID pandemic are still being played as hard as possible – at a time when the public craves unity and expecting governments to manage the crisis in the best way possible. It would seem that the Queensland and Western Australian Governments are doing well – case numbers are zero – but they are the governments the media are attacking (as is the federal Liberal Party), while ignoring the problems in NSW, where 1431 cases were recorded yesterday. It doesn’t make sense, until you realise who owns most the media.Tribal partisanship is perhaps at its worst level ever in Australian history, as is the partisanship within the media, which is keen to see a return of this federal government at the next election. And the election may be with us early than we think: the theory is that NSW will open up in late October – irrespective of how high the daily case numbers are – and hold an election in November. It’s a radical plan, as is the radical belief of the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, to allow as many deaths as the coronavirus will accept, all for the sake of a sacrifice to the altar of rampant capitalism. And for the NSW Liberal Party. It will be a day of shame, not a day of celebration.Are we seeing the end of the Liberal Party? It’s not the party of Robert Menzies, but more like the party of John Howard: it’s illiberal, it’s intolerant, it neglects the people on the periphery. The modern Liberal Party is a conservative outfit which has adopted the worst traits of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. Political parties need to be relevant to the needs of the community, but as the world makes a turn to more communitarian values, Australia is stuck with a reactionary group of extremists who are increasingly out of touch. This doesn’t mean the Labor Party will automatically win the next federal election: they have their own problems, and will still need to convince the electorate that they can be a viable government. But they have a better chance of winning the election than they did at the beginning of 2021.The report into “who knew what” about the sexual assault of Brittany Higgins at Parliament House in 2019 was meant to have been completed several months ago – but how can a report be released if it doesn’t exist? We doubt that it will ever be released – and if it is, that’s the end of Scott Morrison – and the Liberal Party, and possibly for a long time.

Sep 3

45 min 38 sec

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, now wants Australia to “live with the virus” and “get out of the cave”. But why the big rush? Essentially, it’s to cover over the mistakes of the NSW Government during this wave of the Delta outbreak, and remove himself of political problems in the lead up to the next federal election.And “live with the virus” is a mantra also picked up by the mainstream media, keen to let everyone know that now is the time to open up, because the vaccine is here to protect everyone. But is vaccination the only pathway out of this pandemic?What is ignored by the media is 94% of the 14,000 active coronavirus cases across Australia are in New South Wales – Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania did not record a single case today. Why should they open up their communities and let the virus spread, just because of the serious mistakes of one state government, and be part of a process that is more about securing the next election for the Liberal Party than anything else?And on a day of a record 1029 COVID cases in NSW, three deaths, entire families with infections in south-west Sydney, the first question asked of the NSW Premier by the media was: “do we need to wear a mask in outdoor environments” when the family picnics become available on September 13, a public relations exercise thrown at the families of south-west Sydney for achieving 6 million vaccinations, a number which has no epidemiological relevance or medical sense.A NSW Government more intent on spin and deception, in conjunction with the mainstream media, continuing the dissonance between this right-wing cabal, and the public. It’s not going to end well. And it’s also a part of the federal government’s narrative to return to the ways of the past, the economy of the past, and the society of the past. But history has shown that the countries that embrace innovation and forward-thinking during a time of crisis are the ones that succeed. Looking to the future at this stage can’t be coupled with an obsession to a world that we might never be able to return to: new thinking is required, but we are stuck with government that hasn’t got the creativity to imagine what Australia could be, once the pandemic is over – if it ever gets to that.The health outcomes for Indigenous Australian are the poorest in the country, and it’s a shocking shame that this is still the case. And they were promised that they would be the first to be vaccinated, because of their vulnerabilities. The small remote town of Wilcannia has a disaster unfolding there because of a break of promise by the federal government, and the negligence of the NSW Government to allow the Delta outbreak to spread to vulnerable communities. And all they’re receiving is blame from the government, even though the community of Wilcannia has been warning them about this possibility for 18 months. Once again, people on the margins have been forgotten by government.

Aug 27

46 min 57 sec

The Delta version of coronavirus has taken hold in Sydney and if the NSW Government doesn’t take action to reverse the tide, the daily case numbers are going to reach 2,000 and it’s an number that is unlikely to be palatable to the electorate. And if it continues to spiral out of control, it’s likely to take hold of the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, who is now facing pressure to resign.Every historian for perhaps the past two hundred years would recommend that Afghanistan is a difficult country to invade, and best left alone: its terrain is difficult to navigate, and there are many hills for local armies to hide and launch attacks against unwanted imperialist forces. But successive empires have ignored history: the British Empire waged three wars during the 18th and 19th centuries and retreated in each war (they are slow learners); the Soviet Union between 1979-1989; and the United States during 2001-2021 (slow learners, but over a longer period). And each of these empires has left behind humiliating defeats.The Taliban has returned and will retaliate against the Afghan interpreters who assisted Australian forces in Afghanistan. Morally, the Australian Government has an obligation to support these Afghan interpreters, but this is a government without morals or ethics. Best to whip up a frenzy against these people, lest they seek asylum in our land of milk and honey (sans ethics), and even make the claim that these people – who risked their lives and the lives of their families to assist Australian forces – are now a national security threat to Australia.One war ends, but another war continues – Australia’s longest running war, the culture and history war. The Minister for Education, Alan Tudge, has decided that he won’t approve the new national curriculum because it’s “warped” and “neo-Marxist rubbish”. A well-read Minister for Education would understand that Marx said history repeats first as tragedy, the second time as farce, but it seems Tudge has repeated history as a calamity and disaster in his own mind.

Aug 20

39 min 46 sec

This is one of the worst public health and economic disasters ever in Sydney but what is even worse, is the entire crisis could have been avoided. Why would the NSW Government avoid implementing the plans that were so successful in every other state and territory across Australia – hard, fast and early lockdowns – when it was obvious that this is what was needed to avert the Delta outbreak? Does the NSW Government have health officers and epidemiologists who have trained at unusually different universities? Or is the Delta virus behaving differently within the borders of NSW?When governments act in a way that’s different to the prevailing orthodoxy, it’s best to look behind the scenes to see what’s really going on. The NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, was going to be rolled by her Liberal Party Cabinet if she implemented a hard lockdown – it’s a divided Cabinet comprising a relatively palatable right wing, and a hard-right wing religious faction that wants to flex it’s muscle and show the Premier who’s really got all the control.So, a factional backroom brawl manifests itself in public in the worst way possible: an out-of -control Delta outbreak with a record 390 cases daily, deaths and economic chaos. Politics played in a way that damages the public and the economy.The climate change wars continue and the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, repeated his three-word slogan – technology, not taxes – and thundered that he’s not prepared to sign a blank cheque for unknown targets in 2050. It’s in response to the latest climate change report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is no longer a “wake-up call”: it’s too late for that, this is a red code for humanity.And the federal government’s response to the IPCC report? Gas, more gas, and even more gas. Gas is the solution to everything for this government – the pandemic? Gas. The economy? Gas. Climate change? Again, it’s gas. There have been climate change solutions on offer for well over 50 years; even US President Richard Nixon was considering radical climate change options in 1968. UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher also wanted to adopt climate change remediation in 1987. And the rejection of all of these solutions over the past 50 years makes for depressing reading.And the wrap of the week in federal politics. But at a time when a Delta strain is ruining the state of NSW, and a planet that’s warming so far so it might be uninhabitable by the end of this century, perhaps it’s not such a critical time to report on these matters…

Aug 13

41 min 52 sec

The federal government and its best friend – the NSW Government – are sinking in the polls because of one key issue: the mismanagement of the pandemic. Qualitative and quantitative research is showing a rapid decline in the support of both of these governments and their efforts to spin, manipulate and gaslight the public are falling on deaf ears.Both Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian have lost the trust of the electorate and the rhetoric behind the gold standard management of the pandemic has turned to ersatz, and a far more inferior standard. They are now tied together and they will either rise or fall in unison: and it seems it’s going to be a fall, rather than a rise. And the vaccine rollout has really become like the Hunger Games, all controlled by an incompetent federal government.Is offering incentives to encourage vaccinations ethical? Economists believe if it results in good public health outcomes, then it will result in good economic outcomes. So, Anthony Albanese’s proposal to offer $300 for each vaccination completed by December 31 receives the thumbs up from economists and the electorate, but not from Morrison, who must be fuming that he didn’t think of this idea first. And is this is all sounding like a medical games show? Yes it is, and if the price is right, people will “come on down”.And a return of federal Parliament has seen a return of Barnaby Joyce’s alcohol issues. But he’s not a Les-Paterson-type of maverick backbencher MP – he’s actually the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. Drinking in Parliament? Perhaps it’s time to remove alcohol from Parliament House because there are too many MPs with drinking problems.Christian Porter is acting Leader of the House of Parliament and for Morrison to install a man who has serious sexual assault allegations hovering over him, its a slap in the face for women of Australia, according to Australian of The Year, Grace Tame. And it’s hard not to disagree.Closing the Gap is only reaching three of the 16 progress targets, and it’s still a massive stain on the psyche of the Australian society. But, it’s all OK: Morrison wore an Indigenous tie for the entire day, and said “more needs to be done”.And Brian Houston has been charged for failing to report allegations of sexual abuse. This is Morrison’s mentor and close friend and, as someone who surrounds himself with good news, it will be interesting to see if Morrison decides to cut him lose once Houston becomes an inconvenience for him.

Aug 6

41 min 28 sec

There are too many vested interests in Sydney and it makes it difficult for the NSW Government to act in the public interest and, because of this, the city is now in a nine-week lockdown, with no end in sight. Gladys Berejiklian says “but there is no guidebook for a pandemic”. Actually, there is, and we provide a five-point plan, which would be obvious to anyone looking at what’s been happening all around the world, including Australia. But, evidently, it’s not obvious to the NSW Government, or to the Prime Minister. Western Sydney has been sacrificed and next on the block are Year 12 students, who are returning to schools in two weeks’ time: this is a precarious situation, but the private school lobby has decided expensive tuition must be delivered, and the high HSC results they’re expecting from exams much be fulfilled. And Berejiklian has agreed, because that’s how power in NSW works.The political theorist, Niccolò Machiavelli asked the question: “is it better for a leader to be loved or loathed”, before deciding leaders seeking the love and attention of the electorate are destined for failure. Scott Morrison is seeking tonsorial splendour and is far more focused on his appearances – and trying to make himself loved by the populace – rather than the needs of the electorate but he really needs to decide if he wants to be Prime Minister of Australia, or the next contestant on The Bachelor: he can’t be both.Prime ministers do need to worry about how they appear in public, but spending time during a pandemic to keep up their appearances? Morrison is fixated on the winning the next election and he’s going about it the wrong way about it. And qualitative research agrees.McKinsey & Company is a consulting firm with close ties to the Liberal Party and it has received a $2 million contract for [redacted] – no one knows what it is for and the government is not releasing any information about it. So we can only assume that it’s public money used for the benefit of Liberal Party. $108 million has been paid to McKinsey since 2018 – $36 million per year – and that’s a great business model, for McKinsey. But not for the public.And the Labor leader Anthony Albanese is offering support for the Stage 3 round of tax cuts, to be introduced in 2024. It mainly favours higher-income earners, costs the budget $18 billion each year, widens inequity within the community, is lousy policy, doesn’t even need Labor support to be implemented but yet… the Labor Party is supporting it anyway.Why? Because politicians should never stand between a bucket of money and the electorate, irrespective of how much it costs, or how inequitable the policy is. And Labor wants to win the next federal election, and one cannot be shot if they don’t have a target on their back. A win for politics, but a disaster for low-income earners, supposedly the supporter base of the Labor Party.

Jul 30

40 min 32 sec

Political games are never far away when it comes to COVID-19 management in Australia and, of course, it’s across the political divide: the Liberal Party of NSW and the federal government on one side, and Labor Premiers on the other. If only the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian had shown some sympathy to Victoria when they went through their lockdowns, perhaps that could have been repaid and requests to access more Pfizer vaccines would have been more receptive. Far from being a victim of success, the NSW Premier has been a victim of her own hubris.As for the Prime Minister, the mismanagement of the vaccination rollout is quickly becoming a political headache: corruption and mismanagement in other programs – sportsrorts or unwanted carparks in marginal seats, for example – don’t affect everyone, and governments can easily gloss over these problems. But COVID-19 affects every single person in Australia. Which means that it affects every person who votes at election time, and it’s not looking for Scott Morrison, or for the Liberal Party.Should Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have made the trip to Tokyo to receive the news of Brisbane becoming an Olympic city in 2032? Perhaps she should have stayed home, but if the media is going to attack her, where were the voices when Scott Morrison went overseas? Or Mathias Cormann? Or Adrian Shrinner? Or Sussan Ley? Never mind, they’re from the Liberal Party, so that’s all alright.Eddie Obeid, Moses Obeid and Ian McDonald have been found guilty of corruption and they are likely to end up in jail. And that’s good riddance to bad rubbish but 13 years after the corruption was committed in 2008? That’s too long for the wheels of justice to turn, but better late than never.And there are calls for the JobKeeper program to be reinstated but it needs to be reformed. $7 million went to the Perth private school, Hale School – after they made an $8 million surplus, and while universities across Australia received $0 – and $17 billion was paid to businesses that didn’t need JobKeeper support and didn’t qualify, including $21 million to Harvey Norman. But, all is well: the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg says – nudge nudge, wink wink – no need to pay it back. That energy will be spent chasing up overpayments to Centrelink recipients, where the real rorting is happening. Apparently.

Jul 23

41 min 50 sec

Australia has become lockdown central, with its two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, going into two different types of lockdowns – Sydney has a modified version where shops are still open and people seem to be able to freely move about (except for those migrant-working-class-Labor-voting-sub-classes in Fairfield), and Melbourne – a city which takes this process far more seriously – instigating a short sharp five-day lockdown. Professional. Not that it's a competition, but we suggest Melbourne will be the winner in this COVID battle because the NSW Government seems to be on the verge of a ‘live-with-the-virus’ anti-lockdown strategy. At least Sydney will be receiving the $500 million-per-week federal government support that was denied to Melbourne.And could the real Prime Minister please stand up? Business leaders, frustrated with the slow progress on the supply of vaccines, asked Kevin Rudd – out of office for eight years – to lobby Pfizer to fast-track the delivery of one million vaccines. Whether or not Rudd was responsible for this delivery is immaterial: the fact business leaders saw Rudd as someone who could get this done, rather than Scott Morrison, speaks volumes. But it does beg the question: aside from blaming everyone for his mistakes and faults, what exactly does Morrison do with this time?The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tony Smith, is retiring from politics. What does this mean? After 20 years in Parliament, he’s had enough? Does he believe he won't be able to retain his seat of Casey? Or that he believes the Liberal Party won't win the next federal election? Perhaps he reprimanded Morrison too many times during Parliament Question Time. And that might have been his biggest mistake.

Jul 16

41 min 20 sec

The Sydney lockdown continues into its third week and the Gladys Berejiklian show moves into the full public relations mode and spin cycle to get itself out of political trouble. It’s almost as though if the NSW Government put as much effort into managing the effects of COVID-19 as they put into media manipulation, there would be no lockdown to speak of. But where is the challenge in doing the right thing in the first place? The facade of “The Woman Who Saved Australia” so prominently promoted in the media just a few weeks ago has receded into the distance, and slowly being replaced with an understanding that Berejiklian is now the woman who let her ideology stand in the way of the public interest.And she was all on her own, as the Prime Minister for Sydney – who is also in the position of Prime Minister of Australia but that seems to be a lesser role – disappeared for five days. Strangely for a Prime Minister who loves to make announcements, there was no announcement of his whereabouts, but he did return with what appeared to be a new tonsure and extra hair implants.And what of the Liberal Party? Scott Morrison seems to be the end point of a lineage that commenced in the early 1990s, when the Liberal Party purged all of its moderates and turned itself into a fully-fledged conservative party, based on all the worst attributes of the US Republicans and the British Conservatives. And it's not a very good look, as can be attested by the former Liberal Party member for Chisholm, Julia Banks, who provides an excellent description of Scott Morrison: a menacing and controlling wallpaper. The Liberal Party needs to be reformed from the rank conservative party it has become, into a political party Menzies and Fraser could be proud of, but that may have to wait until it finds itself in opposition again. And after the mismanagement of vaccination, quarantine and now the Sydney lockdown that didn’t need to happen, that stint in opposition might not be too far away.

Jul 9

44 min 17 sec

The NSW Government’s ‘gold standard’ in COVID management has soured into a more tarnished puce colour, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s reluctance to shut down Sydney a week earlier, resulting in a more protracted lockdown than would otherwise have been required. Aside from the extra billions of dollars it will cost the NSW economy, it took a full 24 hours before Berejiklian could even mention the word that shall not be mentioned: LOCKDOWN – a dastardly word that fellow Liberals were ridiculing just the day before the lockdown was announced, and suggesting it was something only those lunatic states run by the Labor Party would think about doing. But we are all lockdowners now. And it’s a reflection of the national ‘debts and deficits’ argument: Liberal Party lockdowns, good; Labor Party lockdowns, bad. It’s beyond belief that conservative politics in Australia can be so infantile.We can debate the merits of lockdowns, but the recent spate in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane could have been avoided with a more competent federal government in office. The federal government just had two jobs for 2021: rollout the vaccination program across Australia effectively, and repair the hotel quarantine system. And a failure of leadership by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has assured that both of these critical issues have been poorly managed or non-existent.The disasters of the vaccination rollout and quarantine management cannot be underestimated: this was meant to be Australia’s pathway out of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as providing a pathway towards a victory for the Liberal Party at the next federal election. But it’s all gone to seed.Morrison has released a four-phase ‘plan’, but it seems like it's just another set of announcements: there are no targets, there are no definitions, there’s no guide for Australia to move through these four phases. But one aspect is becoming clear: Morrison might not be the Prime Minister to lead Australia through these stages. He’s had a go to have a go; and now, it might be time for him to go as well. It’s really had become that bad.

Jul 2

45 min 9 sec

Australia could have been close to reaching herd immunity but a poor Australian government decision to turn its back on an excellent Pfizer deal means the national level of vaccination is at 3%, one of the lowest rates in the world. The anger in the medical community is palpable, but will the electorate blame the government for this error? And, for a government that was so keen to open up the economy as soon as possible, this foolishness is difficult to understand.The mainstream media wanted to position Scott Morrison as a key member of the G7 meeting, but he was anything but: Australia is not a member of the G7, it only had observer status at this meeting and it seems the US President, Joe Biden, was keen to let Morrison know about this. It was a ‘much ado about nothing’ kind of meeting for Morrison, he signed a few long-term agreements which are not worth the pen and paper they were created with, and a free trade agreement with the UK – which will negotiated over the next 15 years. And a sideshow to explore his personal ancestry, a visit to a church, and drinks all round for his personal staff at a few drinking holes in Cornwall. Something had to be retrieved from the G7 meeting and this provided for excellent photo opportunities.The legal dispute between NSW National Leader, John Barilaro, and Jordan Shanks-Markovina (aka Friendly Jordies) has been ramped up and Barilaro has used anti-terrorism legislation to arrest the Friendly Jordies producer, Kristo Langker, all because he made a little bit of fun about him and exposed him for corruption. It’s so ‘New South Wales’ for a politician to want to lock up a journalist who gets in the way – but this is not just a battle between a politician and a journalist, it's a battle between legacy media and new media.Australia has a new Deputy Prime Minister, same as the old one: come on down, Barnaby Joyce, alleged sexual harasser of women, philanderer, drunk, morally bankrupt and possibly corrupt. Only in Australia (and Britain, US, Brazil, Hungary, Belarus) would the public accept this kind of politician as a leader. A retail politician who tells the electorate what they want to hear, not what needs to be done – the worst and most dangerous kind of politician.And it’s also so ‘New South Wales’ for the corruption of a Premier to be overlooked with soft media pampering and delicately placed stories about her new love life – who just happens to be the lawyer who represented her at the ICAC. COVID-19 cases are rising in Sydney and the NSW Government, far from the ‘gold standard’ we keep hearing about, has allowed complacency to set it and has mismanaged key aspects of this pandemic. Will it be as bad as the Ruby Princess disaster in 2020? But let’s not worry about that, all should be fine, because ‘Gladys is in love’.

Jun 23

44 min 37 sec

Victoria will complete a two-week lockdown soon but if the Morrison government had done its job properly on quarantine management and the vaccination rollout, the lockdown – which will cost around $2 billion in lost revenues and other expenses – may have been avoided. And it’s nobody’s fault, except for the fault of the Morrison government. And their performance has been so bad that it’s a performance that seems to have been directed by the Big Q. It’s frustratingly puzzling as to why they are refusing to build quarantine managements centres across Australia.Conservative governments are usually the advocates of free speech but in shades of the infamous East German Stasi secret service, the Liberal National government now wants to monitor the social media accounts of ABC journalists, publicly humiliate them, and sack them. The only parts that are missing are the megaphones shouting out “you know what you've done wrong” and the re-enactment of Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ will be complete. Of course, it's free speech for all, except for you, you, you and you, and anyone else the government disagrees with.The NSW Labor Right faction is an unusual beast in Australian politics, and in most cases is more concerned about its own influence, rather than the critical task of winning elections. They were the instigators of the resignation of NSW Labor leader, Jodi McKay, and now they have their man in the leadership, Chris Minns. And no-one should kid themselves that the Liberal Party is the only party that treats its women poorly: Labor has close to 50–50 gender equality within its ranks, but that doesn't stop it from undermining the women already in leadership positions, or making sure they don't get there in the first place.

Jun 9

53 min 42 sec

It’s Budget time and we've spent the last week analysing the third Budget announcement from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Our verdict? Don’t believe the hype: it's not a ‘big-spending’ Budget; and it’s not a Budget the Labor Party would have introduced. We think it's yet another lost opportunity for the Australian economy and the community – just like Peter Costello squandering the mining boom in the early 2000s, this could be another chance to make positive long-term changes to government spending that ends up being flushed down the drain.What would Labor do? We don't know: it's not the role of the Opposition of the day to provide itemised line items and specific policies the government and the media can then dissect and misrepresent – Albanese won't make the same mistakes Shorten made with the franking credits policy, where he allowed the Liberal Party too must scope to completely distort the intention of the scheme. Just the broad brush strokes of policy is all that's needed at the moment.Will the Budget swing the next election for the Liberal–National Coalition? Both the Budget and the Budget Reply will be forgotten at the time of the next election, and the verdict will still come down to competence and who the electorate will trust on debts and deficits.

May 19

41 min 39 sec

The world is slowly moving towards climate change solutions and, once again, Australia is the laggard on the world stage but trying to tell everyone how well it's performing, even though no other world leader believes it. And this is the modus operandi of the Morrison government: lie, mispresent the data, gaslight, or divert the attention somewhere else. The US President, Joe Biden, might be an old man but he’s not a fool and knows a fool when he sees one. It’s obvious Morrison wants to lead a government that acts as the world’s double-exhaust pipes, and accede to the wishes of the many vested interests in the mining and oil sectors. But he’ll be in for a huge shock when he sees the size of the tariffs imposed on Australian goods and services exports.A milkshake video was released through a government-managed website – The Good Society – and if a casual viewer wasn't told about what the video was about, they'd be scratching their head trying to work out how smearing a milkshake in a man’s face relates to sexual consent and the serious issues of sexual harassment, rape and assault. But the content of these videos provides an insight into the mentality of the government that commissioned the videos in the first place: a government that wishes to impose its narrow-minded conservatism upon the community and searching for a teenage community that doesn't seem to exist anywhere in Australia. And its a conservatism based on the Pentecostal beliefs of the Prime Minister.Prime Ministers have the complete right to believe – or not believe – in any religion they choose, as long as it's a private matter. There is a church-state separation in modern democracies – for very good reasons – but Morrison wants the church to creep over in the political sphere. And it shouldn't be there.And the vaccination rollout keeps creating political problems for the federal government and they keep looking to apportion blame to everyone – except for themselves. Why did they take on the program in the first place? They provided massive amounts of stimulus funding to the state and territory governments and the states and territories ending up getting all the political credit, much to the chagrin of Morrison and Josh Frydenberg. They weren't going to allow that to happen again. So, they took on the implementation of the vaccination program, something the federal government has never done before, hoping to get all the political benefit, and a clear pathway to victory at the next federal election. And the pear-shaped result is exactly the result the federal government deserves.

Apr 27

55 min 44 sec

The vaccination program is now officially in fiasco territory, with error after error and now another announcement of 20 million Pfizer doses "secured" after problems with the AstraZeneca vaccines. Which, of course, is not the same as actually having the doses in doctors’ surgeries all around Australia. We feel that it’s almost like the program has been designed to fail, because surely no government could handle such an important event so badly. If only Scott Morrison could stop overpromising and underdelivering, everything would be so much better for him.Is the feminisation of the Liberal Party actually taking place, or is it another case of window-dressing? It might be just another charade: it's not just a case of adding "women" into the titles of ministries, or the Prime Minister being photographed with more of the women who make up 51% of the population. Or deciding to wait four months for an urgent women’s safety summit. And after waiting 13 months to release a national sexual harassment report, Morrison’s behaviour shows that it's all about politics.The Labor National Conference was a virtual event this year, which means no backroom deals or incidental meetings to stitch up deals. Everything occurred online and in chatrooms rather than the backrooms, but a relatively sedate event suggests Labor believes it’s still likely that a federal election will be held this year. Otherwise, the conference would have seen old-school open brawls, hostilities between the factions, all of which would have been lapped up by the media. Best to wait for a non-election year. And most chatter in the media has been "who will Scott Morrison’s opponent be at the next election". But this might need to be switched around a little bit to suggest "who will Anthony Albanese’s opponent be at the next election". That’s how poorly Morrison is performing.

Apr 10

42 min 17 sec

The many women of Australia have said “enough is enough”, and said it loudly through the March 4 Justice campaign. But the Prime Minister is hard of hearing and wants it all to be on his terms, refusing to meet the organisers of the rally in public, wanting to meet behind closed doors and in private. Which is exactly what a rapist would do. And, of course, Attorney–General Christian Porter decided to launch his defamation case on the same day of the March 4 Justice rallies. Tone deaf!Vaccinations are another area which the federal government has totally mismanaged, and yet another example of incompetence which Scott Morrison, Greg Hunt and Chief Medical Officer are trying to spin their way through. The government promised the vaccination program would be completed by 31 October 2021, and have been using a megaphone to let everyone know. But now that the vaccination program is not going be completed by 31 October 2021, the government is adamant that they never actually said that. Apparently, everyone else in Australia has a collective case of mishearing and misinterpreting what Scott Morrison said, because he is always correct, even when he is wrong.One landslide election victory is rare; a second consecutive landslide victory has never happened before in Australian politics. Until the Western Australian election victory – a 9% swing in 2017, and a 13% swing in 2021. And the Liberal Party has been left with two seats in a chamber of 59 seats. That really is a wipeout – the Liberal Party also lost the seat of Nedlands, home of Gina Rinehart and Kerry Stokes. When the Liberal Party loses a seat like Nedlands, it really means the party might be over. The message? Competent governments are being rewarded at the ballot box. It will be interesting to see what the result will be for an incompetent government, which the federal government clearly is. Their time will come soon.

Mar 19

46 min 25 sec

Christian Porter’s political career is over. There won't be any legal proceedings arising from an allegation of rape in 1988 but the political repercussions will be far-reaching. And as long as the Prime Minister keeps resisting a call for a public inquiry into these events, this issue will keep burning in the background: for sure, there is a presumption of innocence within Australia’s legal system, but there also has to be a presumption of justice. Justice not only needs to be done, but it has to be seen to be done: and as it had been for many women in Australia for too long, justice has been left out of the equation.The Royal Commission for Aged Care Quality and Safety has released its report and it has outlined a 25-year disaster that started off when Prime Minister John Howard reformed the sector in 1997 to create business opportunities for Liberal Party donors and the involvement of the private and corporatised sector into social services. And it's a mixture that simply does not work. For-profit thinking shouldn't be anywhere near the provision of aged care services.The Media Bargaining Code is just one short step away from being law but, already, Google has signed deals with News Corporation, Nine Network, Seven West Media, The Guardian, and deals coming up soon for the ABC and SBS: $100 million from Google and another motza being delivered by FaceBook! And is this good for public interest journalism? Absolutely not, it's not even mentioned in the legislation. This is all about the government placing the media in its pocket in the lead-up to the next federal election. And a bucketload of money for legacy media, it's money for jam. It's actually a sad day for journalism and for the taxpayer.

Mar 5

44 min 51 sec

It seems like there was a grand cover-up of a serious sexual assault of a female staffer in March 2019 at Parliament House, but who’s got time for that sort of wimmen’s business when there's an election to be won. If the allegations of rape had been revealed at that time, Scott Morrison would have lost that election, there's no question about this. A political decision was made to keep quiet about the incident but even then, the Liberal Party didn’t even have the decency to offer support to Brittany Higgins at the time. And now, they’ve started backgrounding the media that Higgin’s partner has a grudge against the government. So, it's all his fault. But she also happened to “find herself in this situation”, so it must be her fault. And “Jenny and the girls” seem to be offering Morrison all the advice he'll ever need about rape and serious sexual abuse. The Liberal Party is not just a threat to women, it's a threat to all of humanity.“The Eagle Had Landed”? The federal government has no shame when it comes to making announcements, and judging by the amount of announcements the government has made, Australia has one billion vaccines, or around 50 per person. But it's all a lie: the first batch arrived in Sydney a few days ago – 140,000, or 0.1 per cent of what the government has actually promised – and zero have been administered, compared to 190 million doses administered around the world. The vaccine rollout is going to be a political exercise – and a painfully partisan affair.The Labor Party has released policies which offer protection for workers in the gig economy, to guarantee superannuation payments, sick leave and holiday pay, and portable entitlements. Sounds very good for workers and a sensible reform. But that didn't stop Christian Porter from completely misrepresenting the policy as a $20 billion tax on business – which, conversely, means that keeping the existing arrangements is a $20 billion tax on workers, which no-one in the media decided to talk about. Can't stand in the way of a cheap and fast meal delivered to head office by a migrant riding dangerously through peak-hour traffic.

Feb 19

35 min 19 sec

Australia Day has been hijacked by the conservative side of politics. Which means that it's a day of vainglorious nationalism, jingoism, white imperialism and forgetting about the events of 1788, when an entire continent was stolen from Indigenous people, setting off 233 years of racism, oppression and subjugation: all at the stroke of a pen. Should the date be changed? Absolutely.There is a new US President and while there was a massive amount of grandstanding from Donald Trump about vote-rigging and gaslighting that the election was stolen, there was never any doubt that Joe Biden was going be inaugurated as President. There was an insurrection at Capitol Hill – even though the ABC initially refused to use the word, and the Australian media generally underreported the event. One of the biggest events in US history, but nothing to see here. Scott Morrison has lost a “friend” at the White House, although Harry Truman did once say, “if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”. What will a Biden presidency mean for Australian politics? What will it mean for world politics?An early election is being pushed by the media, and the first available date for a half-Senate election is 7 August 2021. Will Morrison go early? Will he face Anthony Albanese? Or someone else? There has been speculation that Albanese might be replaced unless he seriously lifts his game: we believe if Labor can resolve this leadership issue – whether Albanese becomes a more substantial leader or a new leader is installed – the Liberal-National Coalition will be removed at the next election. It’s a government that waiting to be thrown out of office, and deservedly so.

Feb 3

46 min 19 sec

Just when we thought this federal government couldn't get any more evil, it goes out and tries to legislate the Indue card into permanance, enlists three debt recovery companies to chase down welfare recipients and creates workplace conditions that will be even worse than the WorkChoices policies that were too extreme for John Howard to introduce way back in 2005. But when your policies are guided by the ghosts of Margaret Thatcher, what more could we expect? Except for the end of society because, according to Thatcher, it doesn't exist. Out of sight, out of mind.2020 will go down as one of the most dramatic years in human and political history, and we look at what went right, and what went wrong. Australia did manage the effects of the coronavirus well – despite the efforts of the federal government – but we could have done so much better on setting up the building blocks for a better and far more sustainable economy for the future. It was a lost opportunity. And it ended up being politics and business as per usual.As we move into 2021, what are the dangers for Scott Morrison? And what are the dangers for Anthony Albanese? Both need to be looking over their shoulder, but for different reasons. It’s going to be an exciting year and, with the possibility of a federal election, it’s going to be a very interesting one.

Dec 2020

52 min 48 sec

Mr Morrison went to Tokyo and returned empty-handed. But the 24-hour trip was never about Japan, it was all about continuing to avoid scrutiny and land the Prime Minister into a two-week quarantine at the Lodge – just enough to avoid the final Question Time of the year. Very convenient. And, of course, two weeks with the official photographer, ready to snap every pair of board shorts, thongs, exercise bikes and COVID test. It's outright propaganda.Meanwhile, Mathias Cormann is using a taxpayer military jet (and eight government staff) to boost his chances of becoming the Secretary-General of the OECD. But when your chances were zero, any kind of support is not going to make too much difference and we suspect this is a gig Cormann will not get. But which Prime Minister is going to stand in the way of the ambition of someone who collated all the numbers to bring him the primeministership in the first place?How many pizzas are needed to lock down an entire city? No, it's not an Adelaidian joke, it's a serious concern in the City of Churches. But it wasn't the "pizza guy" who caused the lock-down, it was government incompetence. The Brereton Report outlined allegations of war crimes against Australian military personnel in Afghanistan, and we’re sure this is going to create a great amount of angst within the military community – as well as guaranteed to ensure Scott Morrison keeps aways from tanks at the next election campaign.And will the December “killing season” cause any problems for the Labor leader, Anthony Albanese? We think it could be on the cards.

Nov 2020

48 min 21 sec

The 2020 US Election has brought in a new President (we think) and the key question will be how an incoming Democrats administration will affect political behaviour in Australia and whether the Morrison government feels the need to do anything at all on climate change. Or change its economic philosophy. Or even feel the need to be more truthful with the Australian public, but we feel this is most unlikely. And will the media turn down the volume on Scott Morrison, as they did with Donald Trump? We don't think so, their courage is in short supply.US elections are always big news around the globe but the news Trump was on the verge of eviction from the White House was blown away by the revelation Ministers Christian Porter and Alan Tudge were having affairs with their female staffers, smooching in late-night bars in Canberra, and then getting rid of these staffers when they no longer suited their purposes. If only these men in positions of power could keep their hands to themselves and understand that a workplace isn't a place where we all go to have sex and drink alcohol – the world would be a much better place.We also report on the Queensland election result, the likely outcome for the next series of Australian elections, the bizarre decision of the ALP’s Joel Fitzgibbons to announce his resignation just when the government was on the back foot with its sexual harassment scandals – maybe that's what his intention was all along.Also, it's NAIDOC week and the government refused to fly the Aboriginal flag at Parliament House. Because nothing upsets a conservative government more than ceding an inch to Aboriginal people or engaging in symbolism that would have cost absolutely nothing.

Nov 2020

48 min 6 sec

There's far too much corruption in politics but what can be done about it? There's a compliant media that is always at hand to cover over any corruption performed by conservative governments, and they were at their best when it came to the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian. A high stinking pile of corruption is slowing being uncovered at the hearings held at the NSW ICAC but the media decided to ignore all of that, and go for the ‘girl-in-lurve-dudded-by-the-bad-man’ angle, so the allegations of corruption could be easily swept away. Who needs the years of progress of feminism when there's a damsel in distress who needs to be rescued?Kevin Rudd, the self-named ‘determined bastard’, has launched a petition for a Royal Commission into the Murdoch media empire. And it's something that's well overdue. Murdoch’s influence over the media in Australia is offensive, pervasive, and it's almost like The Joker is in charge of Gotham City. As Rudd says, News Corporation is a cancer on the Australian political landscape. A Royal Commission won't occur if a Liberal Government controls the levers, it will have to wait until a Labor Government comes into office. But Rudd might be the right person to make this happen.And why did the Prime Minister go for an all-out postal attack on Australia Post? Of course, it was all about the $20,000 spent on Cartier watches but it was more than that. Morrison is under pressure for not introducing a national corruption commission, and the attacks on Australia Post were all about creating a diversion. This Liberal–National Government is all about smokescreens, and this was another one. Government by smokescreen. It's a very apt title for this Morrison Government.

Oct 2020

46 min 57 sec

It's that time of the year when we look at the federal Budget (seasonally adjusted), and the Treasurer has announced a $213 billion deficit. We have no complaints: Governments need to spend money according to the circumstances and with a national government debt reaching $944 billion, the main benefit the Australian electorate will receive is an end to the maniacal debates about “debts and deficits” and “how ya gonna pay for it”. Don't believe the neoliberalist tripe: governments can always pay for the things they need to pay for, austerity will never resolve economic problems.Anthony Albanese’s Budget Reply speech was regarded as “a line in the sand”, and a “make or break” moment by many in the media. Of course, a Leader of the Opposition is always going to be under pressure to perform, and this year is no different. His Budget Reply speech hit all the right points and focused on universal child care and early education and a streamlined national energy grid. But will it be enough to close down the background murmurings about his leadership?The COVID Recession, or the Morrison Recession? We suggest all the economic data and evidence points to the Morrison Recession, and we're surprised it has taken Labor so long to start using this well-deserved moniker. It's the result of seven years of poor economic management by the Liberal–National Government; the coronavirus sealed the deal. There is absolutley no question about this, despite the media arguing the opposite.

Oct 2020

42 min 26 sec

The mainstream media and the federal government are still making their push to open borders, even though the continuing threat to public health is still there. Border closures are quite popular in the states and territories – 91 per cent support in Western Australia – and it's difficult to understand why vested interests are making this push, when the public support to open up borders is not there. But as we all know, anything is possible when vested interests hold hands with the Liberal government, which seems to be more often than not.The federal government is also in the habit of recycling, but not in the way we’d expect them to. Old programs, old ideas, old announcements are spruced up, polished and re-issued, sometimes the announcements contain exactly the same words as their previous announcements – coronavirus vaccines, "gas-led recoveries”, for example. It's a sign of a government that doesn't know what it's doing and doesn't have ideas.Problems in the National Party? Of course there are: it's a moribund organisation, and in such personality-based political party, it's always going to cause trouble for its Coalition partner.It's not a week in politics unless there's a report of more corruption in the federal government. A parcel of land worth $3 million was purchased by the government for $30 million. If only the government was able to purchase integrity, but how much would that cost?The NBN is supposedly going to be fibre-to-the-premises in three years time, but it's all smoke and mirrors, just to create a positive media message. Did anyone mention a ‘back-flip’.

Sep 2020

45 min 49 sec

What does a government Minister have to do to lose their job? Losing control of aged care homes and allowing coronavirus to cause the death of over 400 people isn't enough these days. How we long for those good ol’ days when a Minister could be stood down for possessing a oversized teddy bear or filling out the wrong form. But that was so 1980s, and it's now the year of the pandemic: 2020. Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck still remains in his job, but we're really not sure why. The tedious and totally predictable border war continues, and while it's not quite like the Battle of Stalingrad, the federal government (Liberal, by the way) is taking aim at the governments of Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria (Labor, by the way) over border closures. But, apparently, “we're all in this together”, so (cynicism warning) it couldn't be anything to do with the Liberal Government playing base politics.And whenever this federal government is in trouble, it has two cards it can play: race and hate. This time around, it's all about China. The Belt and Road Initiative is a China investment program that Scott Morrison spoke glowingly about in June 2019 but has decided that he never said anything good about the program, never supported the Victoria–China deal in 2018 (yes, he did), and will now veto these projects. This all came out of the blue, and is all about ramping up pressure on Daniel Andrews and the Victoria Labor Government. Who’s got time for the national interest or eliminating coronavirus when there are political points to be scored by using the Royal Flush of race and hate cards? In shades of Orwell’s Animal Farm, Liberal Party foreign investment: good; Labor Party foreign investment: bad. It really is as simple and basic as this, a philosophy implemented by a government filled with simpletons. It’s like a Ship of Fools.

Sep 2020

35 min 10 sec

The public’s patience with Scott Morrison’s constant obfuscation, deflection and outright lies is starting to wear thin. As Abraham Lincoln said “you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”. And we think Morrison may have reached the point of no return: once the public image of serial lying is set in stone, there's no turning back. It might not be so evident right now, but this sentiment is starting to gain traction. And there’s no ‘Real Scott’ campaign to fall back on, because what the public sees with Scott Morrison is what they get. This is very real.We were surprised to hear the hardware giant Bunnings is receiving JobKeeper subsidy support, even through their turnover is up by 19 per cent this year. And we were also surprised to hear some high-end accounting firms are also receiving JobKeeper. It's the price to be paid for getting the stimulus funding out as soon as possible, but surely the government could have foreseen some of these inequities and cleaned up the system so at least those in the cultural industries and the university sector could receive some of this support. Apparently, we’re all in this together. Just not everybody.But we weren’t surprised to hear the Liberal Party is using Parliament House to hold three fundraising events and we think it's the only reason why Scott Morrison changed his mind about holding Parliament again: to raise money for the Liberal Party. Parliament House is not quite like a church or a sacred site, but there is something very off about using the seat of government to hold party-political fund raising events. It’s seedy.

Aug 2020

39 min 11 sec