I told a friend the other day I was to be speaking here in Canberra today and she told me a joke. A man is doubled over at the front of Parliament House throwing up. A stranger comes up and puts an arm around the vomiting man. I know how you feel, the stranger says.
It’s not a bad joke. But it felt familiar. I went searching my book shelves, and finally found a variation of it in Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, set in communist Czechoslovakia in the dark years after the Prague Spring. In Kundera’s version the two men are standing in Wenceslas Square.
In a finding that will give nervous Liberal and Nationals MPs pause for thought, support for allowing a prime minister to serve a full-term leaps to 80 per cent among Coalition voters.
I guess the fairest thing to do would be to simply press ahead and introduce the legislation allowing marriage equality and we could have a referendum or survey about what rights to discriminate that Australians will allow. I guess some would wonder: “Why should religious people have to wait till someone else decides when they want to discriminate now?”, but I say that they should just be patient because, with a big change like this, we really need to get it right!
As the Turnbull government struggles to convince internal dissenters of the need for tougher carbon reduction measures, forces on the green energy side are positioning for a renewed climate change debate in coming months.
The parliamentary report into s18C of the RDA is bad news for racists and Malcolm Turnbull.
Source: Ron Tandberg
Source: Ron Tandberg
A look at the follies, foibles and joys of the human race through the eyes of cartoonist Michael Leunig.
Source: Cartoons by Michael Leunig
Gallery of opinion illustrations and cartoons by Sydney Morning Herald artist, John Shakespeare.
Treasurer Scott Morrison used a speech today to warn of a growing culture of dependence on Government handouts in some pockets of the country.
Mr Morrison – who worked at Tourism Australia before becoming an MP – said many Australians had grown up not knowing what it was like to live without Government assistance.
“Their transport, their holidays, the sporting events they attend, even the charity events they participate in, are so often funded by the Government.
“It’s a vicious cycle, sometimes stretching back generations,” Mr Morrison said.
Comparing a harmless salad item to the Deputy Prime Minister – as actor Johnny Depp did last night – is both unwarranted and unfair.
It has led to an understandable outcry from the tomato community, who feel vilified and belittled. As one tomato said today, “What the fuck”.
It may have been a throwaway line from the Pirates Of The Caribbean star, but the damage has been done. How you would feel if you had been likened to a man who can hardly string together a sentence, much less provide a tasty complement to a pasta dish or antipasto plate?
It is unfair to compare the two. As one food expert said today, “I don’t see the resemblance. One is a plump, red vegetable. The other is a tomato”.
But it’s the word ‘inbred’ that hurt the most. To think that a tomato would … well, you get the drift.
Mr Depp has used his position of power to slander all tomatoes. The comments are hurtful and irresponsible. He should apologise.
[Editor’s note: in an earlier version of this article we said Barnaby Joyce was ‘as mad as a cut snake’. We apologise unreservedly to the cut snake community].
Saying it was important to maintain a common thread with the previous Abbott Government while at the same time looking ahead to what the Abbott Government would have done if it were still in power, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today described his tenure as a sensible balance of continuity and continuity.
“Some things we’ve kept from the Abbott era, other things we’ve maintained. So I think that’s the right balance,” he told the ABC last night.
“When I came to office, there was a real sense that people wanted a fresh start. But they didn’t necessarily want to throw everything out either. So we’ve delivered on that. The second bit.
“The bottom line is, it would be bad governance to all of a sudden undo all of the work of the previous Government. But equally it would be reckless to change anything,” he said.
Allen Key, departmental head, IKEA.
It seems like breaking into the property market is tougher than ever. But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull believes the Australian dream of owning your own place isn’t quite over yet. Here, he shares his tips for saving up for a deposit and getting the keys to your very first home.
1. Cut down on small luxuries
Having a glass of Grange on a Tuesday night is lovely. But do you really need to open the Hill of Grace too? Of course there’s no need to cut back right to the bone, but a little trim here and there could be the difference between a tennis court, and a tennis court with lights.
2. Be rich
This is a great little tip, and one that people often overlook when saving for a deposit. Just by being really rich, you can quickly cut down your mortgage almost to nothing, making the repayments really quite manageable. If you can’t be rich, make sure your parents are.
3. Get your salary paid straight into your bank account
Just tick the box on your employment form that says ‘Cayman Islands’. Also, while you’re saving up for a home, put the $270-a-night travelling away from home allowance to good use. By staying at a hotel, or even better, your wife’s investment property, you’ll be able to put extra money aside for your own place.
4. Sell off one of your investment properties
It’s a tough call, but if things are really dire it’s something to consider. Just keep in mind that it may increase your taxable income.
5. Readjust your expectations
We all go in with an idea in mind of where we’d ideally like to live. But do you really need to live right on the harbour? Yes, of course, bad example. But do you really need that second kitchen. Ok, sure, pretty tricky without it. But you get what I mean.
Bonus tip: Once you’ve bought a place, pay off a new mortgage once a fortnight, rather than once a month. That way you’ll accumulate twice as many properties.
There is no point in pussyfooting around. An election victory whereby Abbott remains capable of rallying his supporters and undermining Turnbull is no victory at all.
The Safe Schools program currently at the centre of right-wing LNP angst was functioning throughout failed Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s governance, yet not one voice was raised against it until Abbott was ousted, and Turnbull took his place. After capitulating to his party’s right-wing faction and instigating an inquiry into the program, Turnbull is now…
‘The way they were trying to run the government was very destructive and led to their downfall,’ says Niki Savva, author of new book, The Road to Ruin
Destabilisation, leaks, leader against ex leader, awkward photos and calls for unity. No, not the Gillard government circa 2012 but the Turnbull government today.
In the past 48 hours we seem to have been flooded with people desperate to compare Tony Abbott to Kevin Rudd. This is supposed to be an insult, a way of bringing home to Abbott just how gauche his undermining of Malcolm Turnbull has become. And it’s true that Rudd hurt himself in the eyes of many Australians, especially Labor voters, with his long campaign to destabilise Julia Gillard.
The disruption wreaked by Tony Abbott is an echo of the disruption that besets conservative parties worldwide.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull provided a sneak peek of his new cabinet to journalists today – a beautifully restored antiquity he bought at auction last week.
Mr Turnbull told reporters it was time to end the uncertainty. “There’s been a great deal of speculation about my new cabinet for some weeks. So I thought it appropriate to show the Australian people now,” the Prime Minister said today. “It’s a fine piece. It complements the Monet in the hallway so well”.
Mr Turnbull said he believed the new cabinet would serve him well for many years to come. “It has so much to offer. Until you’ve actually had a Ming to rest your coffee on or put your feet up on, it’s really hard to appreciate their beauty. Every home should have one.”
He said there were a few leaks and several weak spots in his cabinet, but that overall it was in good condition.
Labor senator Sam Dastyari has warned there is something “fundamentally wrong and rotten” with Australia’s entire political system, claiming there are 10 huge companies with so much power and influence they have killed proper democratic process at the federal level in this country.
Australians will no longer need to wait up to two years for bat-shit crazy ideas to hit our shores, with plans in place to fast-track Tea Party opinions to our living rooms just moments after they have been aired in the US.
Analyst Greg Fulcram said the new fast-track policy was an exciting development for Australians. “We’ve tended to be a couple of seasons behind here, but fast-tracking will dramatically close the gap. We’ll get to hear Cory Bernardi’s opinions on gay marriage here in Australia just hours after Ted Cruz has discussed the same opinions in the US”.
Consumers have welcomed the change, saying it was long overdue. “When Eric Abetz made a link between abortion and breast cancer a while back, I thought it was great. But then I found out that Americans saw that idea years ago. I felt a bit ripped off,” Perth resident John Opey said.
Melbourne woman Jennifer Ford agrees. “That idea about loosening gun laws in order to make people safer? Sure, David Leyonhjelm was talking about that just recently, but my American friends were telling me all about that ages ago”.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has moved to end confusion about whether Liberal MPs will be bound by a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, announcing an extra plebiscite later this year to resolve the issue.
The announcement comes after Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz seemed to indicate he would not be bound by the public vote on same-sex marriage.
Mr Turnbull said the new plebiscite was a common sense solution to the problem. “There are those who believe a plebiscite should be binding. And clearly there are those who believe it should not. It is right and proper that important decisions such as these are put to the Australian people, rather than left in the hands of politicians,” he said.
But there was growing speculation that the new plebiscite – which will cost approximately $160 million to run – may itself be non-binding.
“I would need to determine whether the plebiscite really is an accurate reflection of the national view. I wouldn’t necessarily be bound by it,” Mr Abetz said late this afternoon.
Mr Turnbull said he would consider the need for a third plebiscite to resolve the uncertain nature of the second plebiscite, but conceded it may not be popular. “Plebiscites are not for everyone,” he said.