Political Infamy

A little earlier this evening there was a short debate that seemed to have at its core the origins of the worst ever Australian politicians.

This is my contribution.

State and Territory rivalry when it comes to appalling politicians?

Nah, every, but every, bit of Oz has produced them.

Queensland? “Sir” Joh has to take the pumpkin scone,


but he may even have been excelled by Sir Russ Hinze,


not to mention Candont:

Gladly, the Cross-eyed Bear

New South Wales? Ladies and gentleplums, I gives ya The Rum Corps in all its manifold manifestations up to the present day.


Especially Robert Robin Askin.


Victoria? Bolte goes without saying (pity he didn’t go without hanging someone else).

Australian Screen



The so appropriately-named Sir Thomas Bent?

Kingston Historical Website

Mania? The prize pig at the moment is obviously Erica, but


Andrew Nikolic

Launceston Examiner

and possibly Joe Lyons

Australian Prime Ministers

should get a mention. Or a guernsey. Or a life.

South Oz? Laydees and Gemmum, I gives ya Corgi Bernardi.

Daily Mail

Enuff said (but sure, there’s more – XXXXX).

Sandgropers? Brian Burke


Noel Crichton-Brown:


Ross Lightfoot (and light other things):

Penny Bradfield; Fairfax

Don Randall:

Perth Now

. . . need I continue?

ACT? Kate Carnell,

Harm Reduction Australia

Zed Seselja,

Canberra Times

but in spite of everything I adored Gus Petersilka (yeah, well, once upon a time self-government seemed to be a good idea):

Libraries ACT

Northern Territory? Hard to know where to start, given the astonishing fluidity of politics there.

Of course my bias is showing. I would be delighted if you would share your own particular biases with The Pub!

288 thoughts on “Political Infamy

  1. Arthur Rylah of Victoria should always get a mention if we are talking crass politicians. Don Lane of Queensland for corruption would be hard to go past.
    There are plenty of candidates in NSW for corruption kings who would leave Eddie Obeid and MacDonald well in the shade but as some are still alive and most are unconvicted I won;t name them now.

    • The yanks make pumpking beer, roasting pumpkin with pumpkin spices (some use canned pumpkin) then adding the pumpkin scooped from the skin to the mash tun containing malted grains and hot water. The enzymes in the malt convert the starch in the pumpkins to sugar.

      All a bit of a waste of time, all you really taste are the pumpkin spices (so I gather from my reading of seppo brewing sites.)

      I can’t stand pumpkin, legacy I guess of being fed trombone (cheap veg) after our arrival in Australia.

    • Trombone – a variety of gramma. You don’t eat it as a vegetable, no matter what all those gardening sites might say, it’s too sweet, but it makes a nice dessert pie. It’s considered old-fashioned now, the sort of thing only old people (like me) know how to make. It’s pioneer food. My family likes it, probably something inherited from our earl;y ancestors on the Hawkesbury. My recipe is less spicy than my mother’s was, but without any spice it’s pretty ordinary.

      I once (only once, never again) tasted pumpkin soup made with gramma. A friend who was not familiar with gramma used it by mistake. It was horrible.

      Look up ‘gramma pie’ for more.

  2. Malcolm Fraser broke my heart when he executed his coup and repealed Medibank
    Agree Kennett was very destructive and was appalled when he was made head of BeyondBlue

  3. Of course a pair of red bu dogie smugglers is like a red rag to a bull, another bully – Minister for Women current and former

    • Bu dogie = budgie

      Can’t lie in bed typing without predictive texting showing me up, it’s cold all through the south of the continent this morning ie 7 5 9

  4. why not include the lying rodent his legacy is still with us with those immortal words ” we will decide who comes to this country etc” IMHO it outshines “don’t you worry about that and Life was not ment to be easy”

  5. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. Another latish start for which I apologise.

    Matt Wade tells us to be aware, very aware, of China’s debt. The crisis would be bigger than Brexit he says.
    Paul Bongiorno tells us that Arthur Sinodinos is out to prove to us that crass politics Trumps all.
    What a Trump election loss would mean to Trump Inc.
    Obama tells Trump to stop whining about mythical voter fraud.
    The strict rules of doing business in China. Break them and they bite.
    This new drug “flakka” that has hit the streets looks like it’s extremely dangerous.
    Katherine Murphy analyses Turnbull’s communication problems.
    Amy Remeikis writes on Penny Wong’s Senate Estimates prowess.
    This article talks about how so-called Twitterbots work, using Trump as an example.
    Paul McGeogh wonders how Trump will behave on election day. It may not be pretty.

  6. Section 2 . . .

    Trumpism? We ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!
    Why do people dislike Hillary Clinton?
    Peter Lewis says, “Sorry shock jocks but the public isn’t buying into a renewable energy panic”.
    The Adler shotgun is opening up some wounds without a shot being fired.
    Mark Kenny on how Turnbull’s been caught in the Adler crossfire.
    Michelle Grattan writes that again Labor shows itself to be more agile that the government in tactical battle.
    According to James Massola the issue has put Turnbull on the back foot as he tries to get the ABCC legislation through.
    This UN special rapporteur has slammed Australia’s human rights record.
    Looks like UKIP’s stuffed.
    Phil Coroey on how NXT has nixed the government’s plan to reduce tax on companies with annual turnovers of greater than $10m. Google.
    There’s a lot of factional issues in NSW for the party that according to Turnbull has no factions. And this is written by Barry O’Farrell.

  7. Section 3 . . .

    The ABCC legislation debate will surely bring out the issue of how punishments for unions just don’t stack up against the meagre penalties for workplace deaths (of which there are too many).
    Alan Austin – Australia’s debt mismanagement under Turnbull is worse than you think.
    Is there a fissure beginning to open with housing investment? The rate of non-payment of council rates is soaring.
    Ben Eltham writes that now the plebiscite is lost Turnbull is now free to look even more lost at sea.
    South Australian MPs are preparing a Plan B in front of the imminent voluntary euthanasia legislation debate. I wish them luck. Google.
    Greg Jericho, as usual, goes to the evidence to prosecute his argument over the Gen Y/millennial war.
    Susie O’Brien piles into Bob Day here. Google.
    This High Court case could influence the future of investigative journalism – what’s left of it!
    This SMH editorial puts it to us that pollies’ perks don’t pass the pub test.
    Is something funny going on here? Turnbull’s office refuses to release under FOI five letters between him and Clive Palmer before and after the collapse of Queensland Nickel. Gogle.
    Senate Estimates reveal that on one year the operation of the Adani coal mine would wipe out the gains from four years of the Direct Action auctions. Stand by for the denialists to come out swinging.

  8. Section 4 . . . Cartoon Corner pt 1

    WOW! Ron Tandberg hits hard with this one.
    Ron Tandberg on the Adler issue.

    Mark Knight neatly sums up Turnbull’s ABCC/Adler problems.
    What a classic from David Rowe!

    Ron Tandberg enters Trump’s argument for drug testing for the US election debates.

    Alan Moir brings us a beauty with Toad’s day at Estimates.
    A disturbing image from Sean Leahy.

    Paul Zanetti with Malice in Wonderland.

    More on Hanson from Ron Tandberg.

  9. Section 5 . . . Cartoon Corner pt 2

    Peter Broelman on the exit of Bob the Builder.

    David Pope really hit the mark on children living below the poverty line.
    A haunting image from Andrew Dyson.
    Clever work from Simon Letch on the state of Chinese debt.
    John Shakespeare and locker room talk.
    Bill Leak just can’t help himself can he?

  10. The NE/Truffles era should destroy any notion that the LNP have superior economic skills.

    Australia’s debt mismanagement under Turnbull: It’s worse than you think

    The Turnbull Government has just set several new records in economic mismanagement — each of them points to a dismal future. Alan Austin reports.

    DOCUMENTS released late last Friday night show the country’s finances are now much worse than when Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison replaced Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey.

    They are poorer than the most pessimistic pundits could have predicted.


  11. This Adler business has made Fizza look ridiculous – if that’s even possible.

    He says the ban is set in stone – unless it is amended. How fracking weak is that? Then he flicks it to the states by saying the states can decide how the damn gun should be classified.

    So as a result this morning we have Troy Grant urging for the ban to be lifted and other Nationals backing him.

    Adler shotgun: New South Wales deputy premier backs lifting ban on imports
    Troy Grant will ask state cabinet to back move to overturn ban on rapid-fire lever-action shotgun, which is at the centre of row in federal parliament

    Well of course he would say that. The NSW government is in thrall to the Shooters and Fishers Party, with the appalling Robert Borsak having a controlling vote in the Upper House.

    If you are not familiar with Borsak, he’s the idiot who likes to boast about shooting elephants during his African safaris. At home he likes to run around the bush shooting wildlife.

    • As there is a majority of Labor state/Ter govt, I would expect the Attorneys General to disallow the classification change, or they would not be able to reach consensus, stalling any change indefinitely.

  12. Cave art was mentioned a couple of days ago and here is an article with some good stuff from Sth Australia. Turns out those ‘cavemen’ had drawn the beasties accurately all along.

    Mystery beast in ice age cave art revealed

    Ancient European paintings depict two types of bison: one with long horns, a large hump and robust forequarters, and the other with short horns and a small hump. The former is more common in cave art painted more than 22,000 years ago, while the latter emerges about 17,000 years ago.

    Until recently, the two depictions were thought to reflect a change in art style

    Julien Soubrier at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and his colleagues analysed ancient bison DNA


  13. BK

    That article about the aftermath of the usa election has now got me worried for the yanks. Then my thoughts leapt ahead to what this mob here will try and do while the msm is doing usa trauma porn.

  14. Robin/Robert Askin.

    Born Robin, changed it to ‘Robert’ because he thought ‘Robin’ was too girlie. That alone tells you plenty about this corrupt old bastard.

    Fiona has very cleverly chosen the photo Akin hated, he thought it made him look like a gangster. Well, he pretty much was.

    No-one alive in NSW at the time is ever going to forget his ‘Run the bastards over’ remark. Here’s the story –

    There was a lovely little song about it. I can’t find a video, but here are the words, to be sung to the tune of ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’.
    In 1966, our friend and ally LBJ
    Came out to Sydney town from his great land of USA.
    Some students chose to demonstrate by lying in his way
    But my comment lingers on.
    Run, run, run the bastards over!
    Run, run, run the bastards over!
    Run, run, run the bastards over!
    As I said to LBJ!

    Ignore the comments on the Askin Wikipedia page that say claims of corruption have never been proved and are just gossip. He was rotten to the core, and then some.

  15. Last night I saw a reference to the AAT appointments than Brandis made just before caretaker, and it was revealed in Sen Est that there had been no selection process…(no surprise!) I’m not sure if it was just a tweet or an article as I can’t find it on fairfax or GA.

    • It was a tweet. The Hansard won’t be available for a while, but as it was tweeted by Senator Murray Watt who was tweeting proceedings as they happened I’m sure it’s reliable.

    • Thanks Leone, I’ll check Hansard in a couple days. It should have been a page 1 story today as the breadth of issues that AAT tribunals can deal with is significant.

  16. Senator Macdonald has been so appalling in the senate estimates that Crikey now has a ‘Macdonald Watch’ section.

    Macdonald Watch

    Senator Ian Macdonald asked for senators to repeat themselves multiple times and seemed to make up a career for a former Labor Senator.

    We weren’t going to make this into a thing, but LNP Senator Ian Macdonald embarrassed himself further in his estimates committee chairing yesterday. Again there were his requests for witnesses and even senators to repeat themselves — at one stage he asked Penny Wong to say something to him three times — and when Greens Senator Nick McKim moved a motion repeatedly (as in, 20 or 30 times) Macdonald claimed not to have heard him.

    But the senator’s befuddlement becomes ever clearer. When Wong and McKim spent a long period grilling Administrative Appeals Tribunal staff on why Liberal Party identities had been appointed by Attorney-General George Brandis to the AAT right before the election was called, a confused Macdonald apparently decided that Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson — whom Macdonald had repeatedly attacked last Friday in another committee — was on the AAT and repeatedly asked when Gleeson had been appointed by Labor. He then demanded of AAT staff when “Labor senator Ruth Walker” had been appointed to the AAT. There is no Labor senator called Ruth Walker; there was one called Ruth Webber, from WA, about a decade ago, but we can’t find any record Webber was ever appointed to the AAT. Maybe Macdonald knows something we don’t</blockquote.

    • I’m no doctor, but these sound like classic dementia/alzhiemers symptoms (combined with incipient bloviating ignorance).

      And that is obviously the discussion that Murray Watt tweeted about last night re the AAT appointments.

  17. Kate Ellis is giving an excellent presentation on Early Childhood Education at the National Press Club. She is challenging the fee and subsidy system which has ignored the needs of children and parents (in favour of money-driven investors!) Ellis quotes numerous countries which hold ECE as a right, and approach it as a vital part of childhood development.


    HI’s oppressive boss – the person who has brought all the charges, made all the allegations, and caused so much misery to us – has resigned, reportedly, in her own admission, due to “pressure from above”.

    Not retrenchment, voluntary or otherwise, but resignation.

    We await further developments…


    Update: One manager has been seen to be dancing in the corridors and singing:

    “Congrat-ul-ations, and celebrations…”

    Other staff have been skipping around from office to office, with un-erasable grins on their faces.

    Update 2: The soon to be ex-boss has stated that she wishes to set up her own practice. One wag is reported as saying it would be worth $100 to force her to sit down and cop just what just what he really thought of her for an hour.

  19. This makes it 2 HR Managers who conducted investigations, the HR consultant who ratted on HI, one senior executive who found HI “guilty” on no evidence, and now the chief complainant out the door with boot marks on their arses, either looking for other jobs, watering their gardens, or wondering why the hell they are now on potato-peeling duty.

  20. HI and I feel like we’re in that last scene from Zulu when the Rorke’s Drift redcoats hear more chanting from the hills. Weary, they know they have hope of repelling another attack, but when they rise to face the enemy, the Zulus are only waving goodbye.

    Of course, the Big Boss where she works could could get bloody-minded and still sack HI, out of spite. Or put such onerous restrictions on her return that we’d have to take it to a higher level on appeal. Then again, we’ve notched up some scalps along the way: two HR managers, two HR consultants, one senior exec and one service director. Maybe they’d be wary of taking us on again.

    In any case, it ain’t over till it’s over.

    HI dreads having to go back to work, if that’s what happens. The long holiday would be over.

  21. And this, of course, is nothing to do with the Fizza government, nothing at all.
    Doctor fees set to rise in November

    The cost of seeing a doctor is about to go up but the federal government insists it has nothing to do with its extended freeze on Medicare rebates.
    The Australian Medical Association has blamed the freeze on its recommendation that GPs lift fees for a standard consultation by $2 to $78 from November.
    Medicare rebates will be frozen at $37 until 2020, saving the government nearly $1 billion.
    “The freeze is an enormous burden on hardworking GPs,” AMA vice-president Tony Bartone said on Wednesday.
    “Practices cannot continue absorbing the increasing costs of providing quality care year after year


  22. And this, of course, is nothing to do with the Fizza government, nothing at all.

    According to Katherine Murphy Turnbull is a brilliant man who would be a great leader were it not for those he leads, and those on the other side of politics who keep pulling the rug out from under him.

    If only those pesky Monkey Pod types would go away, and Bill Shorten would shut up. We’d really see Malcolm shine if that happened.


  23. BK, they might appoint HI new head of the Service. After all she’s the only one that gets anything done, and she does it all working from her home office!

    • The end game is near. I suspect those that remain will try to find a way to allow the issue to “disappear”.

  24. its a protection racket for Brandis.. shows how badly the ‘westminster’ system of ministerial accountability has been trashed

    Turnbull backs Brandis’ election-eve AAT appointments

    Burke to Turnbull: Just days before caretaker, the attorney-general [George Brandis] announced 37 new appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. During Senate Estimates last night it was revealed none of these positions were advertised, there was no merit based selection process or departmental advice. None of the candidates were recommended by department. There was no consideration of any conflicts of interest. Given the 37 jobs have a salary of up to $370,000 each year, does the PM consider this process acceptable?


    The appointment of Australians to offices of this kind is a very important responsibility of government. The government takes that responsibility very seriously. The Attorney-General is an officeholder of considerable discernment. I have no doubt that all the persons appointed were excellently qualified for the position that they have been selected for.

    Makes me wonder if the QLD LNP have already suggested a replacement should Turdball sack Brandis, and its someone worse… so Turdball prefers to keep the devil he knows…

    • Reading back though that statement of Mr Turnbull’s, one could presume that all those sentences make internal sense (as in, are grammatically correct) but as a paragraph on a page or an actual answer look more like they have been cut and pasted from a variety of documents that may or may not have been in front of the poor gentleman at the time and visible through his waving spectacles (presuming he was in his usual spectacle waving stance).

  25. BB and HI,

    congratulations to both of you on reaching this very significant milestone – it takes guts, determination, strategic thinking, teamwork and an almost inexhaustible supply of stubbornness to get this far.


  26. I did put in a ‘like’ to your story BB, but I must also congratulate you and HI on this significant win against the odds. HI always showed great integrity through the ordeal, but your love and support mattered as much.

    It’s so rare to win one of these, even when all the evidence is on your side, that we cannot but share your joy in seeing them off.

    Goodness knows what it will mean when they finally get around to doing a reckoning. However that rolls out, you have still had the sweetest victory of them all!

  27. Leigh Sales will interview PM-in-waiting Tony Abbott tonight. Tony has taken a brief break from knife-sharpening and target practice to record the interview.

  28. Thanks to all the back-slappers above. Those congratulatory comments are well-appreciated. Back when all this started, I think it was Kambah Mick who said that whatever we did, “DON’T RESIGN!!!”. That was excellent advice.

    Helen has been a great support too, as well as the delightful Fiona, who has proof-read much of our submitted material (she’s a terrier on typos). As for those not named here, youse all know who you are. Also my distant thanks to Geoffrey Robertson, QC, who wrote a book called The Justice Game which can be summarized as: “You never know when you might just beat the bastards at their own game.”

    The fight is not over yet of course. We still have to either get our job back (WITH apology and guarantee of no more harassment), or be offered the payout, which by now is a VERY substantial number of $$$ in the hand, especially given the concessional tax rate these payouts attract. IF we get sacked, there is still some satisfaction in having taken down a few heavy heads, but it’d still only be a Phyrric victory.

    Of course, if HI gets the job back, she can take an immediate 11 weeks’ leave, because that’s what she’s accumulated in the past year. Some of it has to be either taken, or paid out in cash on the spot. Both nice options.

    I have a spreadsheet that calculates back pay, allocated days off owed, holiday pay, voluntary and forced redundancy payouts etc. on a daily basis. The formulas are all available on the Departmental web site for spreadsheet savvy obsessives like me to tot up expenses. It’s a lot of money for HI in one lump sum.

    But let’s not get too cocky… They can still do a rat act, although it’s hard to see how you can sack an employee who is the subject of a management complaint, if the complaining manager has gone to the Big Executive Shithouse In The Sky, and when the software package they claimed HI made so many mistakes in has been replaced since she was put on suspension because it was so hideously top-heavy, complex, bewildering for everyone, and error-prone. They only singled HI out on that because it was like shooting fish in a barrel. But everyone was complaining about it. So, rat acts are possible and they might decide to clean out the entire stables and put chickens in instead of horses.

  29. Congratulations BB and HI on the current workplace developments

    Listening to the wireless this morning a former Australian Army sniper said that lever action shotguns were developed for crowd control in riots and prisons

    You use a rifle to hunt vermin

    None of the radio commentators mentioned the ease with which the weapon can be modified from 7 rounds to ?? Rounds

  30. The last $10,000 of finance for my George Town, Tas block has come through. So that is good!

  31. How about a fund to help all those families left with half-built, uninhabitable homes by this shark.

    The money collected would go to them anyway. A non-bankrupt bob Day is better than one who’s broke and doesn’t have to pay anything much.

  32. Jason

    You’re kidding. People are actually parting with good money on someone who has ripped heaps of families off. That is disgusting.

    • Speaking of infamy, it is certain that the most disgusting member of her majesty’s Australian government is their chief torturer and potty-mouth.

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