Of COURSE it’s wrong! Abbott’s involved.

At last one newspaper gets it.

The Courier-Mail’s headline is blunt:

“Every single thing you have ever heard about MH-370 has been wrong.”

I’ve just been listening to a discussion on ABC-24, where one side says this headline is awful, goes too far, and the other says it reflects the truth, especially the subjective truth for the families. It seems that even the bare truth is being resisted. The families, their hopes raised, should be let down more lightly. To what end?

It is hard to get past the enormity of this debacle.

Other searches were conducted and failed. That’s OK, searches DO fail.

But no search was spruiked as much as the Australian-led version.

Despite Angus Houston’s best efforts it was taken out of his hands by a Prime Minister, hungry for publicity and a boost in his poll ratings, in cahoots with a media looking for an excuse to use the description “Prime Ministerial”.

Abbott had not been in Japan for more than a day before those “Prime Ministerial” tags started to flow. You’d have thought he’d negotiated Peace In Our Time the way the press gaggle along for the ride praised his every diplomatic step.

The Japanese “Free Trade” agreement was a triumph, “historic”. This was despite the fact that rumblings back home made it plain it was anything but. On all the major aspects of the deal Japan got exactly what it wanted, conceding very little and gaining a lot. This was certainly true regarding agricultural products.

But the likes of Mark Simkin and others waxed lyrical about Abbott’s near genius. He had learned so much, had not put a foot wrong, had the Asians swooning with admiration and awe at his talents for negotiation.

What seems to have really happened was that Abbott had declared his hand too early. He set a timeline for the conclusions of negotiations and the Japs played him like a kokoyu. They waited until he had nowhere to go and no time left. They knew that by this time Abbott would have signed anything they put in front of him, so much was at stake.

And so he did. Let us just note that the “Free” Trade deal did not go necessarily to Australia’s advantage.

Next was Korea. Abbott was barnstorming the mysterious East, wrapping those little yellow men around his pinky finger. With his suave new hairdo and his furrowless brow, he presented as the very model of a proper Aussie PM.

The media went wild: two down, one to go!

Then came China, our most important trading partner. Abbott had one big card to play: MH-370. He’d already put Perth on the map, conveniently during a Senate by-election, and now he was about to wow the Chinese Premier.

He went public, telling the world that the search was narrowing. He had information that could only be shared with the Chinese Premier.

Back home, story after story appeared about it. Abbott’s name started creeping closer to the top of the articles, with Houston’s contrasting sobriety sinking deeper and deeper into the body of text.

Abbott Biggles 450

Eventually it had to happen: the search for MH-370 became all Abbott’s, and Houston’s name disappeared altogether. It was as if these stories were written by Abbott’s PR unit, topped and tailed, the by-line changed and then just issued through the various Australian media organs otherwise unedited. Which is probably the case.

So now today comes the admission that we know as much about the disappearance of MH-370 as we knew on day #3 or #4… which is practically nothing.

Abbott, up against his blurted-out ambitions on Free Trade, and unable to announce progress in the search for MH-370, signed the agreements anyway and then made out – falsely – that success in the search too, was imminent.

The hopes of the relatives had been raised to new heights. Abbott’s statements were not those of some cloud-dwelling blogger. He wasn’t a lonely oil rig worker seeing lights in the sky. Nor was he an out-of-work oceanographer seeking publicity by claiming to have “found” the aircraft.

Abbott was the Prime Minister of Australia and (I am sure despite the warnings of Houston) did what he always does: acted first, got himself through the day in Beijing, and the rest can sort itself out later.

Sometimes it’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.

But I fear it will be Houston who is seeking forgiveness, not Abbott. Already Truss had been trundled out to front Parliament with the bad news. There is no sign of Abbott. No sign of the man with the condolence motion in his pocket, or the glad handing arm wrestler of Beijing.

We, the public got done over by the media and by the government. What had started out as a serious search, developed – as it always does when Abbott is involved – into a publicity stunt and a bullshit parade.

And increasingly, like other Abbott stunts, it’s fallen as flat as a SAO.

Abbott - MH370 annotated 550

Someone will have to pay for this, and it won’t be Abbott.

Houston may as well resign now.

The story that was woven – one of ever tightening circles, little clues here and there, random pings, obscure satellite data, a growing confidence, culminating in a summit meeting with the Chinese Premier – has been almost completely wrong.

The same technique used to run the “Budget Emergency” and “Labor Waste” lines – constant repetition until we’re nagged into submission – was used with MH-370. Even when the story turns out to be wrong, it has a momentum that is almost impossible to stop. Even to deny there is a “Budget emergency” you have to use the words “Budget Emergency”, and the meme is thus continued.

Talk about the “search” for MH-370 continues the myth that there is a “search” in progress. There isn’t. They’ve stopped looking. They might start again, but that won’t be for months. And it will probably be in a different place altogether.

However, once Abbott got a whiff of the potential for his involvement – the WA election, big-noting with the Chinese Premier, spivving for the Defence forces and the attention of the world’s media – the result was inevitable.

The punters want to believe, despite headlines like the one above, and despite the comprehensive rebuttal of just about all evidence. But, as Kerry Packer once famously put it, when asked about a near-death experience (did he see Heavenly lights?): “There’s nothing fucking there.”

They’re looking in the wrong place. They’ve admitted it.

There has been no progress since the plane first disappeared. It was all a media and spin charade. We weren’t close – “within days” as one spruiker told us – to finding “the final resting place” at all.

Most likely someone DOES know. Huge airliners just don’t disappear nowadays. But whoever that person is, it clearly isn’t Abbott, or sadly, Angus Houston.

Of the two, Houston is the disposable entity, drafted to add gravitas to Abbott’s relentless spin machine, and will soon be discarded, perhaps even in disgrace. A fine career ended ignominiously.

Another career will be saved, for the moment, on the back of Houston’s coming public humiliation, not only yesterday, but also while Abbott was grandstanding in China.

Then Houston will become the next person to learn the ugly truth about Abbott’s “legendary loyalty” to his mates. There’s nothing fucking there, either.



444 thoughts on “Of COURSE it’s wrong! Abbott’s involved.

  1. Although I’m pleased the boot’s on the other foot re. Leadershit, that has to be balanced against my distaste for Andrew Bolt.

    I feel a little sorry for Turnbull, just a little.

    Bolt has given up all pretence of being an objective journalist (we knew he wasn’t, but at least he pretended he was, sometimes) and has revealed himself publicly as a shill for the Liberals, more precisely a shill for the Abbott Liberals. He is doling out instructions to senior Cabinet members as if they were schoolboys being told to form straight lines in the playground.

    “Know them by their friends,” is a truism, and if Bernardi leaps to Bolt’s defence, saying that Turnbull’s comments were “inappropriate” – even in his own defence – then we know where Bolt’s coming from. Essentially Bernardi’s saying that Turnbull must man-up, and cop a Bolt haymaker on the chin. It’s up to Bolt to decide the lie of the land, and for Turnbull to accept the message without question: to politely shut up when Bolt tells him to.

    The tail is well and truly wagging the dog here. Pipsqueak journalists are arrogating to themselves the right to push senior ministers around, to give them their riding orders and to have those riding orders obeyed without demur.

    Labor asked a good question in QT yesterday, putting Abbott on the spot, asking him to choose between one of his top ministers and… a f**king tinpot journalist?!?!?!?! Luckily for Abbott he came down on the side of his minister, or else there would have been absolute hell to pay. Governance in Australia would have been farmed off to whatever Bolt thinks should be the agenda.

    I am comforted by the certain knowledge that the Bolt’s of this world always get too big for their boots. After lambasting the ABC, where did he go to have his Big Sook? Why, the ABC of course! Turnbull had been “hurtful” toward poor diddums Andrew. Bolt always personalizes it, then accuses other of doing the same thing. Eventually it all turns into a farce.

    The irony is that if Bolt hadn’t written up a random set of events, joining them together into some kind of leadership conspiracy, then none of this would have happened. There was still a chance to save the day from this petulant outburst if Turnbull just kept quiet. But asking Turnbull to be mute is bound to be fruitless on almost any issue, especially where his reputation is at stake.

    I know it’s unworthy of me to feel sympathy for Turnbull – after what he did with Utegate, Pink Batts and the NBN – but up against Bolt it’s a photo finish. I ultimately come down on the side of elected officials, as opposed to unelected fops, so full of themselves they think they’re running the country and dictating policy.

    Apart from that I am thoroughly enjoying myself, as I rigorously explore the health benefits of eating bags of popcorn in the morning.

    What with Turnbull’s comments oabnout Bolt, and now Clive Palmers observations concerning Peta Credlin, Labor doesn’t have to do much, except stand to one side and let them go hammer-and-tongs at each other.

    The Right in Australia got into power by being a muckmenting rabble, destroying everything in their path, running vendettas and ruining reputations in order to win the day. They are continuing the same process, but this time it’s on themselves. They can’t help it, I know. I should feel sympathy, but I don’t, and I’m glad I don;t.

  2. Attack Shorten! Tell everyone the budget was well received! More Conrovia! Domestic slogans in official international business! Lie about everything!

    The current war is always fought with the last war’s tactics. They’re still thinking that what worked for them in Opposition will work for them in government.

    Spin, lies, exaggerations, bald assertions used to work, once. They tried to be “grown-ups”. Abbott even got a new hairdo to make himself look Prime Ministerial. But one by one the commentators are deserting them, leaving only idiots like Bolt to weave demented subplots in defence of the Fuhrer, Abbott.

    They are NOT running the country. They are squabbling over the spoils like gangsters after a bank robbery. Even Abbott is begging them to stop, but it’s gotten bigger than even him. The ferals are out of the paddock again.

    The delicious irony is that it was Bolt who opened the gate.

  3. Here’s a question – who tipped off the media about Palmer and Turnbull’s little tryst? The cameras were waiting outside as they left the restaurant. Surely management didn’t do it. I would imagine Canberra restaurants would be very discrete about who was dining with whom. So who had their staff make the phone call? This little dinner was a deliberate bit of mischief making and a lot of effort has gone into making sure all the participants, including Lucy Turnbull, who wasn’t there but can provide handy information, had the story straight. Just look at it, a carefully constructed but rather flawed plot.. Someone should make it into a movie. It could be called Wild Duck Soup.

    The story begins with Malcolm Turnbull. He has the flu and wants spicy soup. At 6 pm he makes sure he sends his wife a text explaining that. (Can we see the phone records, please?)

    In the Parliament House carpark (Malcolm drives himself around Canberra? He doesn’t have a comCar pick him up at the door?) Malcolm meets Mr Parkinson, who had, in an amazing coincidence, just concluded business at Parliament House that evening and in another amazing coincidence was not using a Comcar either.

    Mal and Mr P decide to go to the Wild Duck in search of spicy soup.

    They decide, on the spur of the moment, to invite Liberal Party vice-president Tom Harley and another chap who, in an amazing coincidence. are both miraculously free that evening and and can nip around to the Wild Duck on the spur of the moment. (Phone records again, please.)

    At the restaurant the four chaps are tucking into their entrees when who should wander in but Clive Palmer. It seems Palmer has been at the Australian Minerals Council Dinner at Parliament House, had eaten his entree but had decided to leave just before Tony Abbott gave his speech. That is the only part of this saga that I find believeable. I’d leave a dinner to avoid an Abbott speech too. Or perhaps Palmer found the entree disappointing, decided the rest of the dinner would be crap and wandered off in search of something better.

    No-one had any idea Mr Palmer would be at the restaurant that night, not a clue, never guessed anyone would walk out on an Abbott speech.

    The chaps spot the totally unexpected Palmer – he’s not hard to see in a crowd – wave him over and ask him to join them.

    Chicken, duck, fried rice and banana splits are consumed while the chaps chat about the food and their families – and maybe Malcom’s flu.

    The budget is not mentioned, not a word, nothing. Neither are pensions, Newstart changes and other controversial measures for which the government is chasing support. That I find totally unbelieveable. Even at Maccas lately everyone is talking about the budget. In the queue at Subway total strangers start conversations with ‘This budget is a bit crook, isn’t it’ and the girls in the drive-through at Red Rooster hand you your chicken and say ‘Enjoy it while you can, no-one will be able to afford this soon’. Yet we are expected to believe two politicians, the head of Treasury a bloke from the Liberal Party and some other chap did not mention a word about the budget, the hot topic for discussion across the whole country, during a long dinner. Seriously?

    Next morning, at 6.30,Turnbull sends Lucy another text telling her Clive wandering in while he was having dinner. Just to make sure she has the entire story straight.

    How dumb do these men (and Lucy) think we are?

  4. Leone

    I think howard used to call it a b-b-q stopper or some such thing. Whilst no pollys are talking about the budget, everyone else is, is that what we are supposed to believe?

  5. Bill, I agree with most of what you say. but in this stoush I’m more in AB’s corner.

    If the Liberal Party turn to the peerless one, whom many on our side would accuse of being a pompous duplicitous snake who only wishes to hoodwink enough fools by softening the hard edges of the budget and generally offering enough token gestures as to pretend he’s taking his tea party abberrants back towards the centre, then surely this is to the great advantage of what our opponents would describe as a once great conservative institution.

    Now I know what you will say to this – that on the surface Malcolm is exactly what he is in the depths of his heart – a pompous self-serving Rudd-alike with a strong belief in the uniqueness of his own opinions. And to make it worse that he is insufferably long-winded and writes the poorest comedy lines in the business. For evidence of this you will no doubt post some links to youtube videos of Malcolm on any typical Parliamentary day twirling his spectacles with that unrehearsed panache of his while Conrovian one-liners and arcane allusions from previous ages pour effortlessy from his lips. Why, the man’s a complete star you will say in your attempt at satire, the wittiest and most erudite man ever to grace the halls of the new Parliament House, and little wonder therefore that the population to a man and woman is so impatient to have that other sideways-walking baboon displaced by a man of such unsurpassable sophistication, not to mention vast knowledge of digital technology.

    Well, you can never underestimate the gullibility of the public.

    So, Bill, for these and similar reasons, go the Bolter, I say!

  6. Is that cat hanging in the window of the Lame Duck restaurant a sly dig at Turnbull’s cat-murdering past?

  7. I find it amusing the outrage from the liberals re the Palmer “attack ” on Credlin.

    One of the lines going around is that wtte seeing Credlin is a staff member and not a pollie she should be off limits.

    Interesting that it seems the libs appear to have forgotten the attacks on PMJG’s chief of staff that ranged over any number of issues including his nationality. The libs and the OM seemed very happy then to include staff members in their political attacks.

    As well the attacks by the libs on Mike Quigley was a low act but hey, who cares about that.

    Credlin is the brains behind Abbott and was central to the game plan of the libs as they crawled on their bellies through the dirt and mud on their way to government.

    As Corporal Jones used to say “They don’t like it up them ”

    I will sit back and watch Palmer give the tories a sample of their own medicine.

    The coalition framed the rules 5 years ago. Let Clive play with them using their rules and labor can get on with the job.


  8. Reg Grundy linked to company behind mysterious $200,000 donation

    ustralian television legend Reg Grundy is firming as the likely person behind a mysterious $200,000 donation to the Free Enterprise Foundation, an entity closely linked to the Liberal and National parties.

    The donation was made last financial year by a company called Akira Investments Ltd, whose mailing address was listed with election funding authorities as the luxury Les Caravelles building overlooking Monte Carlo’s famous harbour, Port Hercules


  9. I don’t think we will ever need to worry about who pays Peta Credlin’s PPL. She will never need it.

  10. As the msm won’t give any Labor person airtime, we have to rely on Palmer to give Blood Oaf and the Oafs standing up to them. I say, go Clive, give them everything they have dished out the last five or six years.

  11. leone

    Thank you for the link. It is indeed a very strange story to say the least. Would we want a PM who has been cruel to animals?

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