Just before the Audit Office released its scathing indictment of the commuter car parks program, Australia quietly added the auditing profession to our skills shortage list. These two events really sum up the Morrison government – an outfit obsessed with tactical politics, wholly uninterested in governing, and contemptuous when it comes to governance. That we are running out of auditors shouldn’t be such a surprise. Sports rorts, female change room rorts, safer communities rorts – the sorry list goes on and on. But the commuter car parks program sets a new standard – a new low.
Governance experts fear Australia is sliding down the “slippery slope” of corruption, calling on the federal government to overhaul its planned integrity commission in the wake of an auditor-general report into a program funnelling hundreds of millions of dollars into Coalition-held seats.
However, for the past 13 years, only one party has been in control of the situation no matter the sentiments of the electorate. It s point of political difference as they believe ‘fear’ wins them the power game. Forget the service.
Neither side of politics can honestly claim to be above blame here. Both the Coalition and the Labor Party have played their part in the increasingly inhumane immigration and welfare practices imposed in the name of ‘compassion’. Both side of politics have weaponised human lives. It needs to stop.
A Liberal Party Senator has launched an attack on the ABC, branding it as a left-wing activist group undermining our society, writes Steve Bishop. A SENATOR from the Christian Right wing of the Liberal Party is “fabricating outrage” to foment division, paint mainstream Australia as radicals and suggest his extreme views are actually representative of Alex Antic‘middle Australia’. ASIO has warned about extreme right-wing threats but Senator Alex Antic has identified a “taxpayer-funded left-wing activist group at war with mainstream Australian values”. He says it’s also the most “virulent haven of taxpayer-funded identity politics in the country”. Alex has launched a petition to curb the excesses of this organisation which he accuses of undermining our society. A clue: it purveys such subversive programs as The Religion and Ethics Report, Country Hour and Bananas in Pyjamas. Yes, it’s the ABC.
As the US continues its slide toward cold war with China, pressure on Australia to maintain its dominance in the South Pacific has only grown. Ever the dutiful ally of the US, Australia is now earning accusations of imperialism from its Pacific neighbors.
This was and still is Phase 1 one of the Morrison Government Plan
Just when you thought it couldn’t, political integrity has dropped another notch. I thought we reached the low point in our rorting degradation last year when Gladys Berejiklian was metaphorically caught with her fingers in the paper shredder over $252 million worth of politicised council grants. The NSW Premier effectively said: ‘Yeah, it’s crook, you might not like it, but that’s the way it is, so too bad’. But on Sunday federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham went further when confronted with the Morrison government’s $660 million #carparkrorts. According to the leader of the government in the Senate, it’s all our fault, “it’s what electorates expect”. At least Ms Berejiklian was capable of admitting to the pork barrelling.
In his address to the Australian Business Economists on Tuesday 18 May, Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy said (page 1): “Australia’s economic recovery from the pandemic has been… ahead of any major advanced economy as at the end of 2020.” In fact, Australia is badly lagging many advanced nations on the critical indicators, as analyses of comparable economies have proven. Independent Australia asked Dr Kennedy: ‘Do you accept that South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Denmark, Israel, Norway and New Zealand are major advanced economies comparable with Australia and all had stronger or similar annual GDP growth and lower jobless rates at the end of 2020?’ His office replied: ‘The Secretary’s ABE speech was rigorously checked beforehand and is based on the latest available data and Treasury’s most recent forecasts.’ Australia’s post-COVID economic recovery lags behind comparable nations Australia’s post-COVID economic recovery lags behind comparable nations It is not just Scott Morrison and his ministers disseminating dubious data. The head of at least one federal department is making factually questionable assertions of a political nature, writes Alan Austin. Ken
Already, Kennedy’s incorrect assertions are being used for tawdry party political purposes. It also now appears Treasury is the source of many of the Treasurer’s false assertions. This really should stop.
A secret marketing strategy to convince Australians to support a controversial overhaul of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) says the federal government must be “seen” to have listened to concerns of disability groups, who will be targeted with an extensive campaign. A leaked communications and engagement strategy from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which administers the $26 billion scheme, reveals an aim to announce a legislation date in late August. It also aims to combat any backlash from the disability community through what Labor calls an “expensive multi-media spin campaign”.
When he launched his defamation action against the ABC over an article reporting a claim of historical rape against him, Christian Porter boldly indicated he looked forward to going into the witness box to clear his name. His lawyers said: “Mr Porter will have and will exercise the opportunity to give evidence denying these false allegations on oath”. In the event, he never got near the witness box. On Monday Porter settled for an ABC acknowledgement it hadn’t intended to suggest he was guilty, regretted some had read its article that way, and did not contend the accusations against him could be substantiated to a legal standard.
The ABC has doubled down on its defence of the Four Corners article at the centre of a now-defunct defamation case brought by Christian Porter, with the public broadcaster stating it does not regret its reporting and stands by the story. The former attorney general on Monday dropped his high-stakes defamation bid against the ABC, holding a press conference in which he sought to claim he had forced the broadcaster to back down, despite not securing an apology or retraction. Far from ending hostilities between the parties, the deal to drop the case has sparked a fierce war of words between Porter, the ABC and the Four Corners journalist Louise Milligan, who broke the original story. After the ABC agreed to add an editor’s note on its story saying it “regretted” that some readers had “misinterpreted” the article “as an accusation of guilt against Mr Porter”, the former attorney general insisted the public broadcaster had been forced into a “humiliating backdown” and had admitted to regretting the “sensationalist” article. But the ABC hit back, saying it “has not said that it regrets the article” and “stands by the importance of the article”.
The Morrison government has come under attack over “failed” quarantine arrangements and the sluggish pace of the national vaccine rollout as Victoria enters a seven-day “circuit breaker” lockdown. There is mounting concern the latest virus wave could have become “uncontrollable” with almost 30 cases in the Melbourne-based cluster. The acting Victorian premier, James Merlino, on Thursday pointed to vaccine delays and “aged care facilities where not one person has been vaccinated” as practical problems in managing the response. Both are the responsibility of the federal government. His Labor colleagues in Canberra declared the situation could have been avoided.
The ABC reported this week the Senate inquiry found “government agencies should have to prove ‘real and serious’ harm caused by the publication of classified intelligence and information before a criminal investigation can be launched”. Donate today and support non-profit news. The Senate inquiry’s report said: Without such a requirement, the provisions would be susceptible to overuse, misuse or even abuse. In particular, the absence of an express harm requirement can lead to circumstances where a journalist is prosecuted for a very minor or trivial ‘dealing’ with classified information. When giving evidence to the inquiry, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was asked to provide any examples of when a publication had demonstrably harmed Australian national security. ASIO could not produce a single example.
Morrison has repeatedly said he’s a “full termer” and has no plans of calling an election any time soon. It may be one of the few pledges he can keep.
A drop in the polls – largely due to the government’s manmade “women issues” combined with backbencher woes – had already left the Coalition teetering on the edge of minority government, making many MPs nervous.
The Online Safety Bill, if passed in its current form, could further undermine political accountability by ensuring footage of police violence or human rights abuses, for example, is taken down. That the government is not listening to concerns about the bill’s wide powers suggests some of the consequences may be intended. Samantha Floreani reports.
Political bias and the lack of diversity in Australia’s media have received increased attention since former PM Kevin Rudd began a petition for an inquiry regarding these issues. Australia’s media is the most concentrated of any democracy in the world. The largest stakeholders (and chairpersons) of the three largest media companies in Australia – News Corp, Nine Entertainment Co and Seven West Media – all have known links to the Liberal Party. The ABC is also chaired by Ita Buttrose, another person with links to the Liberal Party. This overwhelming ownership (and management) of Liberal-aligned persons in Australian media has resulted in obvious bias in Australia’s media content, which is hindering democracy.
Scott Morrison’s dirt unit – the one that briefs the Prime Minister on gossip about press gallery bureaux but apparently not about alleged rape in a minister’s office down the hall – is worse than it seemed last week.
As we face a mounting ecological crisis, combined with racism and violence against First Nations people and refugees, Australia’s state and federal governments are ramping up anti-protest laws and even harassing the media. We need an organized fightback.
With a federal election due this year or early next, the misinformation from Australia’s mainstream media is ramping up. Alan Austin reports. COALITION PARTIES and the pro-Coalition media already spreading the falsehoods they hope will dupe enough voters. The upcoming election is already being influenced by these elements.
Scott Morrison has taken another, albeit very small, step towards endorsing a target of net zero emissions by 2050. He told the National Press Club on Monday: “Our goal is to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible, and preferably by 2050”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison swung the spotlight away from the mounting evidence of the misuse of taxpayer funds and on to AusPost’s CEO Christine Holgate. The media was only too happy to oblige. Michael Tanner reports.
Morrison who has no faith in science and readily cuts back on research prefers to get his political advice from God and his only son Lachlan. which miraculously appears on the front pages of Australia’s media. Wh would anyone intentionally sabotage Victoria’s lock-downs by sending 55 NZers across the border to simply flout the States efforts to save lives and then blame the State? Simply because he can and has Ruperts blessing (ODT)
The frosty relations between the federal government and Mr Andrews continued on Sunday, with Mr Morrison and his two most senior Victorian ministers – treasurer Josh Frydenberg and health minister Greg Hunt – saying the easing of rules needed to go further.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has refused to say when he will release the Productivity Commission’s report on mental health, despite growing calls to make it public before the October 6 federal budget.
Claims that the release of information poses a risk to national security can be used to avoid legitimate scrutiny of conduct. If ever there were reasons to suspect a cover-up by this government, the Bernard Collaery and Witness K court cases are prime examples, writes Ian Cunliffe.
The LNP since the 50’s have assisted in the deaths of 1 million Indonesians morally supporting the downfall of the Soekarno Government. Followed the US blindly into Vietnam to kill and to lose and stop nothing. Now they are sabre rattling again. Can they only rule by fear paranoia division and social control? Morrison on about National Security ” Cant’ talk about that” secrecy and Australia First. They know how to bully and fight but not how to govern. They’ll readily share their fuck ups like aged care and the take the generosity. But deny that their Branch Stacking was the same . Social investment and progress have largely been seen only at the hands of the ALP. Health, Education and Social Welfare would have remained a backwater if left to god bothering Christians like Kevin Andrews and Tony Abbott now it’s in the hands of an evangelical like Morrison. Does Australia really need another war for the sake of their political must win at all cost game. We pay them for service not to service us. (ODT)
Liberal Party elder and former defence minister Kevin Andrews has launched a savage attack on the Chinese government in a private party forum, saying President Xi Jinping was running “the most complete totalitarian regime that we’ve seen probably on the face of this earth”.
Our Democracy hinged on the ABC and it’s been eroded from outside and in and little is done about it, This alone is a reason to vote the LNP out. (ODT)
For those who watch the affairs of the ABC through the eyes of a critical friend, the removal of Emma Alberici, made public on August 21, is deeply disturbing. It is the climax to a destructive series of events that began more than two years ago and once again draws attention to two serious weaknesses in the ABC’s management arrangements.
When Politics is reduced to a game it can’t and wont ever happen. (ODT)
Roosevelt took advantage of a crisis to make a better USA. You would hope Morrison and those that support him can live with the realisation that they could have made a better Australia for the next 50 to 70 years — and blew it. What do you think?
The Attorney General is waging war against lawyer Bernard Collaery and his client in pushing the line that the sky will fall in if the Commonwealth has to admit in open court that ASIS bugged Timor-Leste. Yet the allegation has been widely noted in hundreds of reports over many years, including by the International Court of Justice, and nobody seems in any doubt it is true. Lawyer Ian Cunliffe reports on the latest judgment in the saga that has cost taxpayers nearly $2.5 million before the trial has even started.
Scott Morrison has no power to extend cabinet confidentiality to his national cabinet meetings with state premiers, Senator Rex Patrick has charged in a first-of-its-kind challenge of the intergovernmental body.
Earlier this month, there were media reports that Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly had posted to Facebook advocating the anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a treatment for COVID-19.
Kelly went so far as to suggest Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews might have to do some solid prison time after blocking its use. It might be recalled that Kelly’s preselection for the federal seat of Hughes had been in some difficulty before the last election, until he was reputedly saved by his leader, Scott Morrison.
Education and Music and the Arts all export industries have been left to go it alone during COVID. Is it because of their tendancy not to be LNP voters but more critically thinkng Australians. The 1 million temorary visa holders certainly aren’t voters and they are trapped here without support and the government simply doesn’t care. 450 applicant foe a job no Australians applied for shows theis governments compassion.(ODT)
At a pragmatic level, the Government will also not view universities as the powerhouse of one of our most successful export industries, that therefore might be worth supporting, let alone investing in through some sort of strategy to bring them back from the abyss?
And it will not do anything serious about another major export earner, contemporary music.
The Morrison government’s “take the credit/deflect blame’ shtick is wearing thin. After all, the Commonwealth has ultimate responsibility for Australia’s border security – spelt out in the constitution, Quarantine Act (1908) and Biosecurity Act (2015).
RUBY PRINCESS -PETER DUTTON
A global pandemic ought to have demanded hyper-stringent oversight of returning citizens – especially once COVID became a ‘known event’ – and a far lengthier period of quarantine. Divisive rhetoric aside, Morrison’s political hero, John Howard, was right to assert in 2001 that “we decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”. It begs the question, however: why didn’t this rule apply to infected returnees or stopping that one, all-important boat?
COMMONWEALTH AGED-CARE RESPONSIBILITY
Then there is private aged care – unquestionably the regulatory domain of the Commonwealth. The crisis playing out in the sector is the direct result of operators prioritising profits ahead of health and safety – of elderly residents and staff. Here and across our economy the chickens of insecure employment have come home to roost. Possibly contagious casual workers are going to work because, in the absence of sick leave, they believe there is no other choice for their families. COVID is many things, yet with workplace transmissions accounting for 80 per cent of all cases, this pandemic is a workplace virus, hurting the poor, especially migrants.
WORK PLACE DEREGULATION
Again, this is a Commonwealth responsibility. It is jarring to hear Frydenberg talk up workplace deregulation as “first cab off the rank”, while the health and economic imperative of paid pandemic leave for isolating workers sits in the too hard basket. By contrast, the Victorian government is providing payments to insecurely employed workers forced to self-quarantine after testing positive for COVID or close contacts of a confirmed case, and workers awaiting results without access to paid leave.
Morrison Government kowtows to the Murdoch global Dynasty (ODT)
Opposition communications ministers have called out the Morrison government’s continued hypocrisy in its funding of its broadcast interests – granting $10 million of public to Fox Sports, weeks after revelations of continued cutting millions of dollars in funding to the ABC.
“The ABC has suffered from repeated budget cuts under the Coalition Government, some $783 million since 2014, and is now cutting jobs and news services to stay afloat. If there is money to go around for broadcasting, it should go to the ABC and SBS.
“The PM needs to reverse the funding cuts to the ABC. He can easily find the first $10 million by taking it back from Murdoch and putting it where it will be the most benefit to broadcasting and promoting women’s sport and where fans can actually watch it without forking out more money,” Hanson-Young said.
Fears of China buying up the country run deep, with opportunistic politicians and commentators long showing a willingness to not let “facts” get in the way of the truth. And the facts are that: China’s land interests are predominantly leasehold, it owns just 2% of foreign investment stock and is subject to a much lower threshold test. With the Australia-China relationship at a low ebb, it is time to call out this destructive tactic, writes James Laurenceson.
Carbon capture and storage, the prohibitively expensive climate mitigation strategy, is back on the Coalition’s agenda. Yet the facts speak for themselves. Of Shell’s total emissions of 656 million tonnes a year, its two CCS plants remove just 5 million tonnes a year from the atmosphere; the few plants in the world only exist because of huge government subsidies; while European oil companies use CCS primarily as a “feel-good” marketing message. Tim Buckley and Clark Butler report.