Taken at the Flood?

Urban Wronski has again agreed to be The Pub’s Guest Author with, once more, an incisive analysis of the week that was. Many thanks!

Wading around deep water in Launceston last Thursday were Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman and federal Liberal MPs Andrew Nikolic, Brett Whiteley and Eric Hutchinson, who turned up to ensure that the PM did not spoil his visit to the Onion Isle by getting out his depth on climate change and rashly linking global warming with the devastating floods.

Turnbull rebuffed Bill Shorten’s shrewd offer of a bipartisan visit. Launceston was thus blessed with two successive media circuses, although they visited different flood-struck areas. Yet, despite the mud and the wheel-churning, it was spared the impression that Shorten was Turnbull’s equal. Or an alternative Prime Minister.

The PM was resolute. Bugger the pre-election caretaker convention of equal access to information and consultation on important decisions. It was only day 34. There was an election dance marathon to be won. Policy to be got out.


As both major parties waltzed around the elephant in the room of the coalition’s bogus climate policy, the PM spoke up to stop anyone joining any dots between the disaster and climate change, before anyone brought up the clear global trend of increased Intensity of rainfall with climate change.

They were too late. In response to one journalist’s question that we would see more storms of this nature with climate change, Turnbull generalised and obscured the link. “Larger and more frequent storms are one of the consequences that the climate models and climate scientists predict from global warming.”

If only we could get rid of those models and those scientists, we’d be OK. (The Coalition’s working on it.)

“. . . you cannot attribute any particular storm to global warming,” the PM continued arrestingly, obscuring the point the reporter was making, “so let’s be quite clear about that. And the same scientists would agree with that.”

Encouraged by his PM’s form of words, but picking up on only some of them, embattled member for Bass, Andrew Nikolic, a highly vocal climate sceptic in parliament who enjoyed a key role in the slashing of our Renewable Energy Target (RET) went further. No-one would be “silly enough to try and link a single event to climate change.”
No-one is arguing for simple causation

Of course they are linked. No-one is arguing for simple causation. Climate Change Council scientists warn that global warming and rising sea levels are major contributing factors to the kinds of storms that recently caused so much damage to the East coast of Australia.

All extreme weather events have a climate component. A warming atmosphere has a greater capacity for carrying more moisture resulting in more intense rainfall and floods. Accelerating sea level rise also increases the impact of storms in coastal areas as witnessed recently at Collaroy.

Professor Lesley Hughes explains the heavier rainfall. “These east coast lows, while they’ve also been around for some time and often deliver intense rainfall, are occurring in an atmosphere that has about 7% more water vapour than it did fifty years ago. This increases the risk of more intense rainfall.”

What should be bipartisan is an understanding that our only choice is to stop burning coal and embrace renewable energy. This election is the last chance we have to get serious about our climate change policy. Yet there is nothing to see here from either major party in this Clayton’s election campaign, despite some urging from the sidelines.

The Frog That Jumped

Some ratbags will got to any lengths to spoil a disaster zone media opportunity even with our beefed up national security and metadata retention laws, including the Border Protection Act 2015 which makes it illegal for professionals to speak out about conditions in detention centres, a law which some doctors have chosen to defy.

And so it proved in Sydney later that day. A British television crew ambushed the PM as he left the American and Australian US Studies Centre tenth annual benefit dinner, a black-tie function in Sydney where Turnbull had been insulting the intelligence of his audience by repeating the lie that he had to call the election because of vital ABCC legislation blocked by the senate which his government needs to restore the rule of law.

“Australia’s actions were illegal..”

Jonathan Miller, Channel Four Foreign Correspondent, wanted to know if the PM was alarmed by the recent spate of self-immolations by asylum-seekers on Nauru and whether he agreed with observers that Australia’s actions were illegal under international law. The PM is reported to have stone-walled the BBC reporter.

He would have been just as forthcoming had he been asked about the government’s position on PNG, a failed state whose PM enjoys our loyal support despite evidence of considerable popular unrest and unconfirmed reports of police shooting protestors. The ugly spectacle of our support for a corrupt regime because our government needs desperately for Manus Island detention centre to at least remain open is one which with bipartisan agreement seems to be swept to one side. Just as with the gulag on Nauru.

Nothing to see here. As in the days of the Tampa crisis, when John Howard refused point blank at a press conference to reveal the source of his categorical assurances to the Australian people that SIEV-X sank in Indonesian waters and that the drowning of 353 people was somehow someone else’s responsibility.


Turnbull had just come from praising John Howard as the gold standard in his own cabinet government and singled out Arthur (Amnesiac) Sinodinos for his architectural virtues in two governments. A pillar of the Howard government, Sinodinos, he said is “a flying buttress in mine.”

Perhaps this curiously phrased praise will cause a restorative flow of blood to Arthur’s head and enable him to recall the answers he was unable to provide the ICAC concerning his role in setting up The Free Enterprise Foundation which was established to permit property developers to make illegal donations to NSW Liberal Party funds.

The NSW Electoral Commission continues to withhold $4.4 million in public funding from the NSW Liberals until it formally discloses who donated $693,000 to the party via the Free Enterprise Foundation before the 2011 election. If Sinodinis is Turnbull’s flying buttress, however, in foreign policy the US is Australia’s anchor, the caretaker PM declared dipping into maritime analogies on Thursday, despite Malcolm Fraser’s view that it was a ball and chain.

…a strategic captive of the US…

John Howard, set up the US Studies Centre, according to Turnbull on Thursday because he ‘…understood that the United States is the irreplaceable anchor to the global rules-based order, an order built upon shared political values and common economic and security interests.’ Yet for Malcolm Fraser in his book Dangerous Allies, ours is more of Stockholm syndrome relationship. Australia is “a compliant partner, a strategic captive of the US,” in Fraser’s view.

To those perverse few who still see Malcolm Turnbull as a type of enlightened and progressive rationalist, a “small l” Liberal, his sycophantic embrace of Howard and the US Alliance in Sydney this week may be a rude shock. On the other hand, the latest Reach-Tel suggests a 2 point increase in Turnbull’s popularity which will, no doubt, be taken as a vindication for his release last Sunday of a brief Facebook video which asks us to accept him, perhaps even to let him lead us, because of his poor, deprived childhood.


“How poor was my childhood” could be the start of some competitive bidding from other political hopefuls and millionaires although it could be argued that Gina Rinehart, a major backer of the IPA which is enjoys an extraordinary influence over Liberal politicians both in and out of parliament, has already set the gold standard.

Her ABC Australian Story documentary appearance in 2015 reinvents her father, Lang Hancock, as a noble and heroic Aussie battler and devoted father. His stoic and selfless determination to fly out on endless self-punishing mineral prospecting odysseys over the Pilbara enabled him to reap obscenely large profits from the sale of minerals extracted from lands far below which did not belong to him, as if this were somehow his just reward. It was an astonishing piece of hagiography even from a loving daughter.

Similarly, the Turnbull video is ostensibly a tribute to Bruce, a father to whom he owes everything. Yet below and even on top (- a part of the surface gloss) is a calculated bid for our sympathy from a politician whose ruthless ambition is well documented.

… see the mythic reinvention as a quest…

The spin is defended by Karen Middleton and others who see the mythic reinvention as a quest to present a more authentic Malcolm to his adoring fans. Besides, her argument goes, Bill is doing the same type of thing.

True, there are images of Shorten’s mother, a former teacher, in some publicity material canvassing us to vote Labor because education matters but it is a long way from the PM’s recent desperate pitch in which he reinvents himself as some sort of ordinary battler. It’s an ill-judged bid for sympathy and the women’s vote which Turnbull’s been advised he will need.

Some offer a blunter appraisal; if you have to make a video like that, you are admitting you are in serious trouble. The feminist bid just smacks of desperation and will backfire when it is measured against the poverty of the PM’s achievement on behalf of women.

Coming out as a feminist is not a new thing in recent Liberal prime ministers, but it still has some novelty value. Turnbull the feminist was unleased on an unwary electorate this week, raising some very awkward questions about a Liberal Party leadership which as Annabel Crabb notes, only the men are feminists, because the women don’t want any label which might get some of the unreconstructed males still left on front and back bench offside.

…where there is a war on women…

Al Jazeera

The nation now awaits Turnbull to respond to the promptings of his feminist sensibility and release all those women imprisoned on Nauru where there is a war on women. If he really wants to be a leader, he will bring home all the asylum seekers and refugees immediately. At home, he will pushing for equality in workplaces. The gender pay gap of $277 per week between women and men’s average weekly earnings will vanish at one stroke.

What is increasingly apparent, however, at least to some in the Labor camp, is that the caretaker PM is content to “run down the clock” to the election. He is just playing a dead bat, happy to sacrifice ten marginal seats if it brings him the office of elected Prime Minister that he covets. Or that Bruce would have wanted for him. Certainly his failure to turn up at a Sky News Peoples’ Forum debate on Wednesday, a “long-standing invitation” made him look flaky. Or scared. Or both. Or perhaps, he just couldn’t be bothered.

Sky News showed its displeasure sending presenters Paul Murray and Andrew Bolt out to condemn Turnbull for his snub. Sky is, however, getting great value out of the Liberals and ought not to be so churlish, especially when recent recruit, Tony Abbott’s former boss Peta Credlin’s stellar performance is taken into account.

Voters don’t like Bill Shorten and don’t trust Malcolm Turnbull according to Credlin’s piece in The Herald Sun on Saturday. Abbott’s former chief of staff has let the nation know that Turnbull is not doing enough to win over uncommitted voters and that the result could be chaos in the senate.


Credlin has a way with words and her freely dispensed advice is doubtless as powerfully motivating to the PM as any desire to prove worthy of the memory of his father’s sacrifice. She has homed in on an arrogance which is perhaps a key part of the caretaker PM’s campaign strategy so far. In her view, Turnbull’s “superannuation changes still tell the Liberal base you don’t really matter because you have nowhere else to go.”

In the campaign so far, the PM has avoided anything of substance while challenges that clamour for real leadership, such as climate change, closing the gulags that are our offshore detention centres, or providing a fair and just society for all Australians, issues which might truly define a worthy political leader lie well beyond his grasp.

His opponent, for all his affinity with the workers and all his rhetoric appears just as imprisoned by the corporate state – a compliant partner, as Fraser would have it, in an abusive and mutually demeaning relationship.


490 thoughts on “Taken at the Flood?

    • That would have been much better without the four metres of fabric hanging from her neck.

      Does the woman not own a full-length mirror?

  1. Oh dear oh dear!

    Just how much foot-shooting can you pack into 15 words?

    Arthur Sinodinos is asked about Parakeelia, which has now been referred to the auditor general by Labor.

    Q: You don’t think it looks bad?

    On the basis of the info provided to me, I don’t think it does.


  2. Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten puchases socks while on a street walk at Midland Centrepoint Shopping Centre. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

    Would you ever see a photo of Waffles buying a pair of socks? I don’t think so!

  3. Kambah Mick… I did but see Roger passing by… but you met him and his mates.

    As a moderator, I hereby order you to tell all.

  4. How come no msm have asked the obvious ?
    If Sinodinos mind is so feeble he connot remember details from not that long ago, how can he be a competent senior member of the lib Government?

  5. Joe6pack,

    Hear hear!
    How can someone described as a senior cabinet minister be taken seriously with such a faulty memory.

    Could you imagine if a labor frontbencher was in an identical position?
    The media would be sneering and all agreeing that it was an untenable position and why hasn’t Shorten showed leadership and dumped him etc

    The media in this country are a joke.

    • And why is someone with such a corrupt background given so much prominence in the election campaign? They might as well ditch the name ‘Liberal Party’ and call themselves ‘Crooks’R Us’.

  6. joe6pack

    Dodgy memory is a key part of the job description in coalition circles.

  7. Gabrielle did OK reporting at The Guardian today.

    It was a case of “Just the facts, ma’am.” Something Katharine is totally incapable of.

    For Malanoma it was just another bad day.

  8. Oohmann is on Their ABC saying it’s a near certainty that mal will win. The Mark Kenny of Their ABC.

    I’m with Aguirre on his Pilgrim’s Progress through their Slough of Despond.

    • I was thinking more of Aguirre’s The Five Steps of Kenny.

      Mind you, I could see Dennis in what Ooh was saying tonight. Does it get more blatant than this?!

    • Mixed up local celebrity Rove McManus (always just referred to as ‘Rove’) with the Republican’s own Crosby Textor, Karl Rove, the Turd Blossom.

  9. And, now, It’s time for The Liberal Party Half-hour, brought by your money through Their ABC!

    • Good work, comrade!

      Are you a Christie fan? Or was the title Fiona’s?

  10. Uhlmann’s only giving the ALP the seats that even he can’t talk his way out of. So consider his ‘assessment’ as a worst-case scenario for the ALP.

    • His next will be “it’s a hung parliament and the independents will back turnbull.”

  11. The theme this week seems to be the Coalition wandering around projecting ‘confidence’ in name only, while large sections of the press gallery back them up with threadbare ‘predictions’ as to what’s going to happen. Considering:

    a. The press gallery generally get everything wrong
    b. The Coalition are still panicking at the least hint of a fact or a question

    I’d say this is all for show.

  12. Uhlmann still bitter and twisted over his fellow failed seminarian being played like a fish, scaled and gutted by Shorten and those eeeevil commie bastards in the Labor Party. Santamaria probably still whispering in his ear.

  13. Aguirre,

    The coverage today on The Guardian was so not Katharine.

    I’m loving Gabrielle Chan more and more. As for Calla …

  14. We’re probably not far now from media reportage sequeing from “The Coalition are going to win” to “THE COALITION ARE GOING TO WIN GODDAMN YOU!!”


  15. Next week, you’ll see the biggest pork-barrel ever from Malanoma

  16. BB
    My Rogerson and co story is an interesting one with several other “colourful racing identities” (now known as “colourful property developers close to the Liberal party”) wrapped into it including some who are alive and currently out of gaol. I don’t think it is in our best interests that I publish any details on here, but it would be a very interesting tale for 20 minutes at a PB gathering at Abduls. A handful of pollies from both sides would also get a mention.

  17. Anybody want to try and make sense of this?

    • PvO has been carrying on with the ‘they both do it so it’s OK’ rubbish all night. He can’t or won’t understand that there’s a difference, a big difference, between the Liberal Party owning Parakeelia and using it to launder money, and the Labor Party using an independent company, paying for the work it does for them, and not getting laundered donations.

    • What’s his game then? He reckons he’s been onto this for 12 years or something. Which I guess is his way of shutting down discussion – the old “I know more about this than you so don’t you come strolling in here with your unanswered questions” routine.

      Is he deliberately obfuscating the issue? I’m taking a very dim view of anyone who tries to restrict that to the “it’s only about who pays for data collection” angle. And that appears to be what PVO is doing.

      It seems a very obvious issue to me. Company is given taxpayers’ money (in the form of contributions deriving from MP allowances), then gives most of that money to the Liberal Party in the form of donations. That the company is run by Liberal figures compounds the issue, but it would be intolerable even without that extra ingredient.

    • Not only run by Liberal Party figures but wholly owned (and set in the first place) by the party.

  18. We have had Albo, Tanya, Andrew Leigh, Jason Clare, Anna Bligh, Jenny Macallister, Penny Sharpe, Peter Primrose, Steven Jones, Sharon Bird and others visiting and supporting Fiona Phillips in Gilmore in the last month. We are not being mentioned in the MSM, which is patently ridiculous. Gilmore will fall to the red shirts.

  19. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/15/nbn-co-executive-likely-to-be-called-as-witness-after-us-utility-disaster






    • Parkinson can’t act against Ziggy because it’s only “convention”.

      Well, then let’s hear no about it (ABC et al)!

  20. Last evening with Hindmarsh prepoll. Lots of young people including uni students helping out. I a left a lot of messages as people were out, and spoke with some undecideds.

    This really is a knife edge seat. It could go any way at all.

    Lots of energy and enthusiasm in the room and the post shift pizza went down very well.

  21. Puffy

    You certainly are pulling your weight, your good deeds in the last couple of days hopefully will be richly rewarded.

  22. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. Breaking news: The wreckage of the Egypt Air plane has been located in the Mediterranean.

    Here is a very long discussion on the life and motives of the Orlando shooter. Quite interesting.
    Understanding radical Islam’s pathological obsession with sex.
    Remember the missing Madeleine McCann? Here’s an interesting connection that may or may not lead somewhere.
    Stephen Colbert takes to the blackboard to explain Trump’s comments on the Orlando shooting.
    The east coast is set for another pummelling this weekend.
    Urban Wronski writes that Turnbull has sided with Trump over the Orlando shootings.
    Today’s young people are over-qualified, unemployed and swimming in debt.
    The insurance we may need to strongly consider for the future.
    Throw the book at these bastards!
    So Ziggy has been found to have breached the rules of the caretaker convention. If Labor gets up Ziggy’s all set for immediate defenestration.

  23. Section 2 . . .

    Yes, Turnbull picked some great types to run the NBN.
    Is there a middle path to addressing our asylum seeker dilemma?
    Idiot Morrison’s attack ad has hit an embarrassing snag.
    Lenore Taylor says Morrison has taken things to the edge of parody. She has detected signs of panic.
    The Liberals will “fully cooperate” with an inquiry into the operation of Parakeelia. It would be no use talking to Arfur – he wouldn’t remember anything about it!
    Why minority rule is better for the majority.
    You’d have to say Roger Rogerson is a colourful character!
    Peter Martin reckons there is surprising consensus under the surface between the major parties on climate change.
    It looks like Pruneface is under serious threat from Rob Oakeshott’s 11th hour entry.
    Here are the things that the ATO will be looking at closely this year.

  24. Section 3 . . . with Cartoon Corner

    How can Australia countenance such disgusting abuse of workers?
    “View from the Street” opines that the hype over preference deals is “largely bullshit”.
    It’s a pity that Abbott and Hockey are not around to shitcan this decision of the Catholic church to divest itself of investments in fossil fuels.
    American slaughter – It’s the politics and the gun lobby, stupid!
    Are unpaid internships lawful?

    Alan Moir has the US sleepwalking into gun crazy mayhem.

    Ron Tandberg on the HTV card issue.

    David Pope eavesdrops on Turnbull’s performance review.

    David Rowe has some fun in the Political Spin Laundry.

    Mark Knight on the new AFL women’s league.

  25. Dame Edna sticks her nose into a big election issue in Sydney. This should lose her husband a stack more votes in Western Sydney.

    It’s worth mentioning Lucy will not be affected by WestConnex at all. She’s safe in her Point Piper enclave, just a short drive to the CBD, no hours spent getting to and from work, no property resumptions to worry about, no noisy traffic past the front door. And, of course, she never uses public transport, unless it’s for a photo op, so why would it ever occur to her that the solution is not more freeways.

  26. Rob Oakeshott –

    There’s no need for a Reachtel poll to tell us Rob is in with a chance. He would not have decided to run unless he thought he had a good chance of winning. Unlike party candidates, indies have to pay for their own campaigns and do not get allocated workers flown in from safe party seats to help. Indies risk everything to run.

    Going by what I know of past independent campaigns for both Rob and the man who is now our mayor, there would have been a lot of support and encouragement from local business, big business especially, ahead of the announcement of being a candidate. They saw the value of Rob’s achievements in both state and federal parliament, have seen how inept the current Nats replacements are, and want change.

    I haven’t spoken to many people about this yet, but No 1 son has a wide social circle, people varying in age from early 20s to late 50s, and widely varying in their political views, and he reports every single person he has spoken to has said something like ‘Thank goodness! Now I have someone to vote for’. That’s encouraging.

    Judging by the number of trolls suddenly appearing to deluge every article and social media post about or by Rob with nasty comments, the Nats are scared witless and have really been caught out.

    In the past week Pruneface has promised over $500,000 in election bribes, he had promised nothing at all until Rob announced he was running,

    And there’s the point – every time I go out I see something Rob Oakeshott won or helped get funding for. A GP Super Clinic. Huge extensions to the local hospital (ditto Kempsey). Pacific Highway works recently completed or still in progress, all funded by the Gillard/Rudd government. (This should be a vote winner up north, the Coffs Harbour area is the last part of the highway to be upgraded and Pruneface has done nothing.) The Charles Sturt full uni campus, now up and running, but not due to be complete until next year. (Every time I shop I park next to that, it’s quite the reminder of the power one independent MP can have.) A legal aid centre, now facing closure thanks to Fizza’s budget cuts. A rehab unit at the local private hospital.I could gop on, but you get the idea. We had become used to an Action Man MP who worked incredibly hard for his electorate, then he was gone and we were left with a useless clod who has more than earned his nickname ‘Dr Dolittle’.

  27. There was much screaming in the MSM when the Libs cut funding to the Arts, took $ from Australia Council for Brandis’ special excellence fund etc, but when Labor commit to restoring Arts funding and the independance of the Australia Council, barely a mention..

    Hopefully the national campaign launch will get more “balanced’ coverage this weekend

    This today, is in the APS news section, low on the page of the CT, nothing in SMH or Guardian.


    Like Trove is purely a Canberra issue.. I’m not really surprised I guess, just having a vent!

    Leone, I’ve been meaning to ask you how Dr DoNothing (as my Sister calls him) is going with his re-jigged electorate?

    • I don’t know how he’s going, probably because he never does anything, so we don’t hear about him. He will win, he doesn’t really need to campaign. the rejigged electorate is pretty much National heartland.

  28. I don’t know whether to laugh or build a bomb shelter, probably both!

    Tony Abbott, defence minister. What could go wrong?

    Never mind my sleeping dragon. Tony Abbott awakes.

    Phil Coorey reports that Malcolm Turnbull is facing pressure from within Coalition ranks to put Abbott back in the ministry. Not any ministry mind you. Defence.


  29. Fippity-Flabbity Malcolm has just told us all
    “Shortly we will be setting out a full-blown “tell us once” application which will enable you when you change your address to change it once and, if you choose for that change of address to be given automatically to other institutions in government, other agencies in government and indeed other perhaps your bank, your insurance company and so forth, we want to make the government so accessible that you feel, Australians feel their government is as easy to deal with as the most efficient private sector or online business. That is our goal. A lot of cultural challenges there. ”

    Any of us with experience dealing with Centrelink will be delighted with that news,

    • He can get stuffed. So can that brain fart. What else will be passed around as well as your address?

  30. I’ve been thinking about how important this election is to the Liberals. I mean, every election is important etc etc. But what do they do if the guy they installed specifically to capitalise on his popularity fails to hang on to government? Where do they go from there? It’s not like they can look to a more palatable option. There aren’t any of those.

    I’ve often thought that Turnbull was the last card they had left to play, the one they would only use reluctantly, and only if in real strife as they were last September. They’ve got the air of a party with a lot to lose. Win and they can continue with the compromised arrangements and papering over the cracks. Lose and there’s nothing left for them but to reform.

    Personally, I can’t see how they’re even going to get close to a Senate majority in this election. Not on the current polling figures. So their best-case scenario is three more years of blaming Labor and getting nothing done.

    And that’s their best-case scenario.

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