A tale of two Commissions

Shut the gate, the chutzpah has bolted…

“I am not prepared to allow this to become a distraction for the party or the government,” Baird said in a statement.

This is the NSW Premier talking, on the day that he lost his 10th Liberal MP for dodgy dealings. There they are. One more and we can have a cricket match: Barbarians v. NSW.

Perennial Liberal drinks waiter, Arthur Sinodinos, seems chuffed to think that because Geoffrey Watson didn’t fly across the lectern and strangle him on the spot and that he left on his own two feet and not in a paddy wagon, he’s been cleared by ICAC. But however confident his kerbside doorstops make Arthur out to be, Howard’s bovver boy, the standover man who terrified half a generation of Public Servants, is now finding out what the blowtorch feels like, when applied to his own belly.

He teamed up with a bunch of Catholics from St. Pat’s, Strathfield, in the form of the Sinodinos clan, and that other St. Pat’s boy, Nick di Girolamo, only to be put on the skewer by yet another SPC Old Boy, Geoffrey Watson SC, Counsel Assisting ICAC. Arthur is only just starting to find out that a Greek lad from Newcastle went to all the wrong schools (and came from the wrong town) for the Liberals to offer him anything more than the odd bone from High Table. He was never really one of them. Useful, true. Feared, certainly… but never part of the inner Liberal “Our Thing”.

Arthur should have listened to another St. Pat’s Old Boy, School Captain emeritus Rod de Aboitiz, when he complained to Arthur that something was crook with AWH, and in particular with his large investment in the aforementioned firm. Arthur should have realized a lot of things, like you don’t get paid $200,000 and get to hold lofty Party positions given as Liberal favours just because you’re a good bloke.

In short, there is a difference between giving evidence, smugly denying everything, and the judge believing you.

To be fair, Julia Gillard is technically in the same holding pen. The media has cleared her, but not Dyson Heydon… yet.

Some of the (now) “Nothing to see here” press brigade weren’t so charitable back in 2013, when they wrote up the AWU business as Labor’s “darkest hour”. But swift and seemingly random changes in direction and focus are what you expect from a herd. The Press Gallery’s new-found decency and committment to fairness is just a passing fad for them. Like yo-yos, or hula hoops, facts for the hacks will end up in the back of the media garage with all the rest of the fetishes, crackpot ideas and issues-of-the-hour they told us they were experts on.

The difference between Gillard’s “I can’t recall” and Sinodinos’ was a case of chalk and cheese: Gillard couldn’t remember whether she had the meat or the fish at a dinner on a Wednesday night in 1992.

Arthur couldn’t remember whether he noticed that $700,000 dollars had passed through his own finance committee just a couple of years ago. Even if it had, Arthur boldly asserted, it wasn’t his problem. He was only Chairman of the Finance Committee.

But of course that leads to Arthur’s REAL problem. Can you imagine him in charge of billions of dollars, not just hundreds of thousands?

“Oh, I dunno. Yeah, there was some money went in and out of the Reserve bank, but I wrote a letter to someone, so it’s none of my concern that it disappeared.”

I guess it all boils down to how you define “stupid”.

To put a guy like this in charge of a large swathe of the nation’s finances would be a very stupid mistake. He seems to think his various job descriptions, for which he naturally expects to be paid a very large salary, are primarily ceremonial. No question of them being hands-on, or anything coalfacey like that. Arthur “has people” who look after the details.

He’s read Management For Dummies, where it specifically states that the job of The Manager is to pick the best people, and then let them get on with their job. The only problem is that Arthur seems to have dredged his own people from direct descendants of the Rum Corps.

I’ve heard of “delegation” but to make Arthur Sinodinos the Assistant Treasure for the Commonwealth of Australia would be an insult to the voters. Especially when his boss, Joe Hockey, is floundering at the next level up as well, and the Finance Minister struggles with an uncannily box-headed resemblance to Boris Karloff. All they need now is the Eager Boy from the ranks, fresh from a round of self-delusion at ICAC (and the delusion that Tony Abbott is his friend), who sheds memories and responsibilities like confetti brushed from a shoulder at a big fat Greek wedding.

Forget the multiculturalism. There’s an old Aussie phrase for Arthur: “Tell him he’s dreaming.”

Baird must be amazed that the polls haven’t tanked as far as they might have, yet. That’s why he still thinks his government has spare capacity to be further distracted by the ICAC findings. It’s distracted alright. Has been for months now, as a conga line of developers, lurk merchants, sleeve tuggers, commission agents and dodgy MPs do the Walk Of Shame onto the Castlereagh St. footpath outside ICAC.

Baird only got his job because his erstwhile boss, Barry O’Farrell, crashed and burned after “misleading” ICAC.

That’s not a bad basis for distraction, right there. While Barry was pontificating about how naughty Labor was, and about how he was going to clean up NSW, he and his troops had their snouts in the trough so deep that pigs gave them standing ovations.

As Mike Seccombe posits: why did they bother? They were going to win in a canter.

Mike then answered his own question: greed.

It’s what they do.

In this tale of two Commissions – and the two slush funds they are investigating – we have one that was run by a couple of union chancers who couldn’t believe their luck, and another, from the other end of town, that shovelled hundreds of thousands of dollars through an elaborate conduit of trusts, dodgy companies, false invoices, and a spivocracy that reaches to the heart of the Liberal Party.

No-one in either case is accepting responsibility for the ultimate results of their actions, but we have already seen how one of the slushy scandals broke a government, even though the case is at heart circumstantial. In between various scraps of paper, documents with faded signatures and the equally faded memories of those alleged to be involved over two decades ago, a snail’s trail of inference and innuendo has been drawn that might add up to something.

Whether it does – or does not – is up to Dyson Heydon. But even Julia’s enemies are conceding it’s not looking good for their own demented wet dream of Jail Time For Julia (or should that be “Jail-iar”? You wouldn’t put it past them). They had their chance, several of them. The “Who? Us?” media joined in the kicking. Each time they ended up claiming that there were more questions that needed to be answered they only highlighted their own inability to ask them. Hedley Thomas, Ace Investigative Reporter for The Australian was a no-show on both occasions. He had to resort to texting Sid Maher the questions. You can see why The Oz is losing so much money now, can’t you?

However lazy and unprepared the Press Gallery has been, however aggressive and now sympathetic their hive mind ever was, the time for “more questions needing to be answered” is past. They’ve had their go at getting the facts and they botched it each time. Pub talk and Photoshop isn’t enough anymore. The time for answers needing to be printed, and for this issue to be put to bed, once and for all, is nigh.

Baird, on the other hand, has yet to see his own government fall. So far it’s only lost some skin in the polls (not counting the Terrible 10 languishing in the Sin Bin).

Unfortunately for Baird, the trail of documentation that might lead in a more downhill direction is better decribed as “superhighway” than as “snail’s trail”. The unlawful funding of a simultaneously morals-campaigning and money-grubbing Liberal Party by avaricious developers and polluters with Bentleys and helicopters gives the phrase “Public-Private Partnership” a whole new meaning. The superhighway has been well and truly funded, complete with credibility by-pass.

The difference between the two Commissions is this: call it the ubiquity of email, or just changing times… the Liberal rorters couldn’t resist not only bragging about their exploits, but bragging in writing… electronically, archived and precisely dated.

Wilson and Blewitt were far more discreet. The chain of evidence in their case is a lot more uncertain and open to doubt. Compared to your average Milennium Foundation or Eight-by-Five email saying “Here’s another $50k from a property developer. Who-hoo!”, Wilson and Blewitt are the ones who look like the professionals, with the Liberal Party’s wide boys showing up as rank amateurs. Wilson and Blewitt kept their heads down, while the Liberals have been yodelling from the rooftops. That’s what I mean by “chutzpah”.

We are yet to see how much of a distraction ICAC will ultimately be to Baird’s, and even Abbott’s re-election chances if there’s any justce, but if we’re talking “distraction”, I get the feeling the Born To Rule gang ain’t seen nuttin’ yet.

Advertisements

673 thoughts on “A tale of two Commissions

  1. Maybe I read too much in this. But when I watched Leigh Sales last night, I was struck by her red top. Nothing wrong with a red top. But it evoked blood-stains. It was the way she was talking about the violence and beheading with such delirium that made me see splashed blood on her.

  2. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    It’s wall to wall terrorism starkly inflamed by the front pages of the Murdoch tabloids.

    Waleed Aly writes a superb piece on it.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/seeking-calm-amid-violence-fear-and-outrage-20140918-10iwud.html
    Mark Kenny also has a pretty good article.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/prime-minister-tony-abbotts-unique-challenge-as-threat-exposes-divisions-20140918-10iprf.html
    What’s this war all about?
    http://www.theage.com.au/comment/iraq-and-syria-whats-this-war-really-about-20140918-10ik2b.html
    Abbott ended aid to Iraq just months before calling for the “humanitarian intervention”.
    https://newmatilda.com/2014/09/18/tony-abbott-ended-aid-iraq-months-calling-humanitarian-intervention
    Idiot Bernardi doesn’t help things.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/stupid-and-ignorant-cory-bernardis-comments-linking-terrorism-raids-with-a-push-to-ban-burqa-slammed-20140918-10iltb.html
    Nothing like talk of a war to silence a small target opposition leader.
    https://newmatilda.com/2014/09/18/nothing-talk-war-silence-small-target-opposition-leader
    Nice types.
    http://www.smh.com.au/act-news/drunk-rude-speeding-diplomats-maintain-privacy-20140918-10i19t.html
    Australia’s new Pell. And he gives Pell a bit of a slap about how child abuse has been handled here.
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/catholic-church-names-bishop-anthony-fisher-as-cardinal-george-pells-successor-20140918-10j15o.html
    I agree with this. Many beer ads are disgusting in the way in which selfish “blokey” losers are glorified.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/safe-drinking-campaign-prompts-calls-for-sober-rethink-of-alcoholrelated-advertising-during-football-games-20140918-10ino3.html
    A top Victorian policeman lifts the lid on the “corrupt building industry”.
    http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/top-cop-stephen-fontana-testifies-that-building-industry-and-cfmeu-corrupt-stand-over-witnesses-20140918-10iui8.html

  3. It doesn’t matter what Jones says to his shrinking audience, he is just preaching to the converted.

    Why Jones is thought to be powerful and why the MSM pay so much attention to the ravings of a Liberal-voting, woman-hating old nutter who is too scared to admit his own sexual orientation is beyond my understanding. Nor do I understand why he is paid millions to spray his demented bile around the airwaves.

  4. Seems there’s some exit polls coming out of Scotland now.

    YouGov has it as 54-46 to No, so that seems about right. I expect the results will narrow, but not enough to give Yes a surprise victory.

  5. Was out all day till the evening yesterday ..out all day in the hills with the horses..all peace and quiet and then I come home to this!!…..Listening to George stumble through HIS version of events leads me to opine that they did it better back in the days of “The Bill” on the tele’…wnere you had THAT Tony sayin’..: “I’ll sort it “.

  6. Abbott upgrades the security of Parliament house..: “In future all exit doors from the floor of The House will be kept open so if one was to run to them , one would not be stopped by a closed door!”

  7. I suspect that those Irishmen, suspected and hunted in the days of the IRA. are now settling into the bar of the Irish clubs around Australia, reminiscing on how exciting it was to be “under surveillance” .

  8. …and the same for the Slvas, the Italians, the Vietnamese and the Chinese and the Russians and the…

    NEXT!!!

  9. Even the flamin’ Latvians back in the eighties had a “cultural teaching centre” in the hills above Normanville, to “inculcate their youth in the Latvian way of life”..became somewhat redundant after Gorbachev’s “glasnost”.

  10. Isn’t it somewhat ironic that all those ethnic groups with even the slightest suspicion of “conspiracy to…” have been placed under surveillance andf trawled through EXCEPT the Anglos’..and it has been that group that has spawned the most atrocities against Australian citizens.

  11. Aguirre

    Back to our little chat yesterday. You mentioned they’ll attack Labor pollies, and given this latest ‘shock horror’ campaign, I would suggest that Ed Husic will be in their sights.

  12. I coulda’ trawled through the front bar of the Seacliff Hotel thirty years ago and uncovered two conspirators to commit a crime against the cars of ” those bloody coppers!”..a couple of SP,. bookies…several illegal raw fish sellers, a chronic bullshit artist at least a dozen “home-growers” at least two dozen “home-grown-sellers” and a legion of useless drunken bums with their car outside just waiting for them to get behind the wheel and perhaps the worst joke teller this side of Adam Hills..and what does Brandis get..?..: One wannabe terrist!……he’s a useless bald man.

  13. Putting the AFP in charge of security at Parliament House – now what could possibly go wrong with that.

    Just last week there was a major scare caused by the AFP ‘accidentally’ leaving a suitcase containing plastic explosives at Sydney Airport after a sniffer dog training exercise. The incompetent fools didn’t even notice the explosives were missing. A whole month later – after the suitcase had been sitting in the airport in storage somewhere – a woman was given the bag as a replacement after her own luggage was damaged. She found the explosives.

    The AFP can’t keep accurate records of what dangerous materials are in their possession, they don’t make sure all materials used in training exercises are accounted for before they leave the scene, and yet this bunch of incompetent nincompoops are now going to ‘protect’ our politicians and Parliament House staff. I’d be very worried if I worked there – not worried about a terrorist attack, worried about what sort of havoc might be wreaked by the Keystone Kops.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-19/afp-to-take-over-parliament-house-security/5754718

    http://www.news.com.au/national/afp-accidentally-leaves-explosives-at-sydney-airport-force-to-apologise-to-public/story-fncynjr2-1227055375797

  14. http://www.hawkerbritton.com/hawker-britton-media/federal-act/738/how-the-senate-has-voted.htm

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/18/world-population-new-study-11bn-2100

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/vulnerable-children-abuse-continues-to-rise-new-report-reveals-20140918-10ivai.html

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/robertcolvile/100286508/dont-despair-there-may-be-life-in-the-union-yet/

    http://catholicweekly.com.au/article.php?classID=1&subclassID=2&articleID=13775

  15. REPORT FROM BEECROFT NSW 2119 HOME FRONT IN WAR AGAINST ZOMBIE JIHADIST DEATH CULT TERRORISTS STOP TOM PIPER BRAISED SAUSAGES WITH VEGGIES TERRIBLE BUT NOURISHING STOP ATTACK SHI-TZU PATROLLING DECK STOP SAND BAGS IN PLACE STOP LAST REDOUBT HAS BEEN SET AS MY OFFICE STOP PHOTO OF TONY ABBOTT LOOKING MANLY AND PRIME MINISTERIAL FIXED TO WALL WITH TEK SCREWS IN CASE OF EXPLOSION STOP WILL ATTEMPT RECONNOITRE TO LIMITS OF MISSION PERIMETER 1300 HOURS STOP NEXT SCHEDULED MESSAGE WHEN I RETURN STOP WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR A SQUADRON OF F18S STOP BREAK BREAK BREAK

  16. Warning! Warning..1st. squad. Beecroft redoubt…DON’T EAT THE “TOM PIPER”.. have security details from AFP…..it is contaminated w/ Fatwa!…repeat..: Don’t eat the “Tom Piper”…; Fatwa saturated!

  17. YOU SIR!…in 1st. Beecroft redoubt….I must inform you the AFP. dog-squad is on it’s way…(sans dogs..it being breeding season, they are restricted to barracks, under the supervision of “dog husbandryman in charge” : Mr. M. Kenny.)..but will be accompanied by many members of the MSM. who will stand-in for the barking dogs…a Mr. T. Buswell will assume the roll of “sniffer dog”…and Mr. C. Pyne will act as “attack poodle”….you have been warned!…..you know the drill..; up against the wall, buddy, and spread’em!….

  18. I’m just about to go for a walk up Pitt Street and I’m concerned. It just doesn’t feel right. I don’t like the look of those beggars. Why do their cardboard signs all say the same thing? Why are they all hairy and why do they – even the women – all have beards? Why are their dogs agitated? At least I can take some comfort in the sirens Papa Howard installed on street corners for the last emergency. Hopefully he’ll be looking over my shoulder as I cross the Park Street DMZ. I’ll need him. I don’t think Abbott has it in him to keep my fear levels up.

    First checkpoint is making it past the kebab shop in the food court downstairs. I’m leaving now. I may be gone some time…

  19. Submarine activity detected in Devlins Creek.

    TRIBUTARY OF DEVILNS CREEK NEARBY 1 MIN WALK STOP CAN SEE PERISCOPE STOP BELIEVE FLYING ISIS FLAG STOP WE ARE PREPARED STOP ZOMBIE JIHADISTS NOW IN SIGHT STOP THIS IS IT STO—————————————-

  20. Coincidence all the ‘terror’ stuff just before News poll?
    Have been reading Greg Combet’s The Fights of My Life- Waterfront, Ansett and James Hardie- what an impressive record- shame we lost him from political life.

  21. There is definitely an unsettling atmosphere on this blog today. Maybe I should start being concerned too. I’ve never been worried much in my little town. Alby Schutz, and now Taylor, has always protected me.

  22. Seems that it’s likely to be a “No” vote. It’s at around 55-45 at the moment, and unless there’s massive results for Yes in the remaining big cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’ll probably be just the status quo for now.

Comments are closed.