Rules are things you apply to other – lesser – people

Stalwart of The Pub, Aguirre, today ‘penned’ yet another of his exquisitely insightful comments. It was greeted with much acclaim, as post of the week, and I agree. So – with our guest author’s kind permission, the comment now morphs into our latest threadstarter. Thank you so much, Aguirre!

Photo credit: Alamy Stock Images

Looking around the discussion regarding MPs and citizenship, it seems to me a lot of people out there are still missing the point. It’s not really about how this government can or cannot hang on to power, or about whether the constitutional rules are arcane, or even about the timing of renunciations. It’s about something a lot larger than that, and something that strikes at the heart of everyone’s lived political experience.

It’s about short-cuts, privilege, and the idea within right-wing circles that rules are things you apply to other people. I think we’ve seen enough to know that a lot of MPs were aware all along that they had citizenship issues – they just didn’t care because they thought it would never come up. The key to this is that that is their attitude to everything. You do as little as you need in order to become an MP – that includes not only just ticking boxes on a form whether or not you’ve done your due diligence on them – but also trotting out whatever empty promises get you across the line, only considering what’s strategically effective as a message and not what’s practically effective as a policy, and just generally riding in on a tide of slurs, lies, and slogans. As a party, the Liberals also have that attitude to expense claims. Take, take, take, and justify later on – when and if necessary. It’s what got Bronwyn Bishop kicked out of her job.

Coalition MPs simply aren’t across the details on anything. They think things will work out in the end, but at that level they simply don’t. They spent a lot of time in opposition focusing on minor details, which gave the impression that they were into fine print, But that was just concentrating on gotchas, and even most of those were based on shonky information or misconstruing data – think of any of Hockey’s presentations as Shadow Treasurer: they were all based on distorted information made to look like real research.

What we’re seeing at the moment is a bizarre manifestation of that general laxity of discipline and accountability. It’s the same attitude that brought us the Census, the NBN, all of our policy-on-the-run asylum seeker bastardry, Robodebt, and pretty much everything they’ve touched since gaining power in 2013. Even their Royal Commissions were half-hearted and shoddily researched. Their Productivity Commission reports were constructed around … you couldn’t even call it ideology: mere assumptions, as was more or less admitted in the aftermath. Robodebt is almost the textbook case for their double-standard on accountability. Welfare recipients are held to the strictest standards based on data that’s wildly inaccurate, and designed to be that way. It was a rush job treated as a kind of economic gospel, and of course it ran into problems at once. The recent raid on the AWU is another good example of the Liberals’ holding somebody else to strict standards – an internal procedural issue from a decade ago? – while leaving themselves wide open to attack because their own organisation of the raid was so cack-handed. In fact, this pattern goes all the way back to Utegate.

And that’s what the citizenship mess is telling us. These guys don’t check anything beforehand. They guess at things, expect it all to go swimmingly because they’re Important People, and only energise themselves when it’s time to organise a cover-up to save their arses.


906 thoughts on “Rules are things you apply to other – lesser – people

  1. Also Tony Abbott’s father died today. May he rest in peace and my sympathies to Tony and Christine.

    I know I said very nasty things about Abbott in the past but I will not today.

  2. This should be bought up come the next election again and again.

    “You talk about a whole lot of things when you’re trying to convince people to do things,” she says. “But you don’t go back and honour every single one of those unless you have made a firm commitment about it and John wasn’t into making firm commitments.”

    Janet (I am entitled) Howard

    • Seems to me like Janet was a bit pee’d off at John for not giving her a “firm commitment” for quite some time up to the utterance of that comment.

  3. Well, my grammar may have been off, but I just had to remark on that Bolt article for 2 reasons.

    A) Bolt acknowledges Abbott’s downfall with the Australian electorate happened mostly from his own doing, not through treasonous betrayal.

    And B) He’s actually stating sound political facts (for these modern times) that unpopular politicians that break promises fall very fast, and that Shorten should be wary of that.

    Yes I know with someone like Bolt there’s probably an ulterior motive against Labor and progressives in his writing this, but, perhaps there’s a little hope deep down that this might be a turning point for the Conservatives in the press to stop defending the Coalition to the hilt and acknowledge that Labor will probably be the next government.

    • Bolt is just fed up with turnbull & Co killing off all chance of a Coalition government being re-elected.

      There is an ulterior motive. He wants a change of PM,, he wants Turnbull gone. It was Bolt who broke the story about a government MP being ready to turn indie if Turnbull remains leader. (That story also reported on Julie Bishop’s unpopularity within the government ranks.)

      If Bolt is talking about the reasons for Abbott’s downfall then it’s because he doesn’t want Abbott, or any other replacement for Turnbull doing the same things again.

  4. Okay, I’ve had enough. I’d like to ask a question.

    How exactly can we as Australians help those on Manus? I honestly don’t know what there is that can be done.

    Personally I’d be delighted if Jacinda Adern engages some gunboat diplomacy and sends the NZ Navy in to forcibly pick them up, but, of course that can’t be a realistic option (or if it does end up being so it’d pretty much throw everything up in the air).

    Those on Manus have suffered enough, they don’t deserve this shit, but, what physically can be done with this government in executive control and is fully prepared to let them all die if it means vindication in their marginal electorates?

  5. KK I haven’t received any email from you with your name & address so I can send you the AC/DC photos.
    Not sure which email Fiona supplied, make sure you don’t have an “o” on the end of my email name

  6. Damn. I guess all I can hope from this is an end result where this government faces a royal commission with stakes as high as the Nuremberg trials.

    With the key difference of the death penalty (obviously, since that’s abolished), I’d rather those responsible not be killed but instead live through some kind of punishment.

    And if Labor individuals get caught up in it, so be it, if they acted against international law too then they would not be above punishment.

    • For that matter, the Greens who colluded with the then Opposition and voted down the Malaysian amendments should also be tried as accessories before the fact (at the very least).

  7. paywalled, google the URL. NT News came up in my google search, but its in the CM proper too. More in the article on regional differences in results apart from what I’ve copied below.

    Queensland Election 2017: Galaxy poll predicts win for Labor and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
    Steven Wardill, The Courier-Mail
    in 2 hours
    Subscriber only

    ANNASTACIA Palaszczuk is on the cusp of leading Labor to a historic election victory on Saturday, despite a deep chasm in voter sentiment that has divided Queensland.

    An exclusive Courier-Mail/Galaxy poll has revealed the Queensland Premier is poised to pick up enough southeast corner seats to replace losses in the regions where voters have turned against both major parties.

    Labor could snare the 47 electorates necessary to form a majority in the 93-seat State Parliament, with a win furthering Ms Palaszczuk’s record as the most successful female major party leader in Australian political history.

    However, the result hinges heavily on the unpredictable preference flows from One Nation supporters after Labor controversially ditched Queensland’s “Just Vote 1” laws.

    The poll of more than 1500 Queenslanders conducted this week found Labor leads the LNP 52 per cent to 48 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, the same result that was recorded in the days after Ms Palaszczuk pulled the trigger on the early election.

    One Nation’s vote has sunk from 18 per cent to 12 per cent statewide after Pauline Hanson’s gaffe-prone campaign that was repeatedly interrupted, where the party only managed to field candidates in 61 electorates.

    This has allowed Labor’s vote to inch forward over the past four weeks from 35 per cent to 37 per cent, almost mirroring the support Ms Palaszczuk received at her extraordinary 2015 victory over Campbell Newman.

    The LNP has also benefited, increasing from 32 per cent to 35 per cent, although this figure is well below the 41.3 per cent achieved three years ago.

    However, the more telling results are revealed in the divergence in voting patterns between the southeast corner, where there are 62 electorates, compared to the rest of the state, which has 31 seats.

    • FFS! Why?

      TAFE colleges are being closed across the state to save money. Public housing is being handed over to private providers to save money. And yet the state has plenty of cash to throw away on renovating stadiums?

      Gees, Gladys, what on earth are you thinking? Do you think at all?

  8. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    John Hewson reckons Turnbull’s only salvation will be tax reform.
    Mark Kenny reports on yet another derailment for Turnbull. He must be getting very close to earning “embattled” status!
    And he tells about the leak.
    Michelle Grattan says that discovering the identity of the cabinet leaker would present a bibber problem than the leak itself! What was Bishop thinking she asks?
    Waleed Aly says that the same-sex marriage debate could yet claim Malcolm Turnbull as a victim. He concludes with “What we’re seeing is the concept of religious freedom being invoked promiscuously, and then weaponised. Ultimately it won’t succeed. But there’s every chance in the meantime it will claim Turnbull as collateral damage.”
    David Wroe writes about the Foreign Affairs With Paper and reaction to it.
    China’s not impressed with it though.
    The SMH editorial has its say about the white paper.
    Peter Martin tells us how some of Australia’s most powerful corporate leaders have called on the country’s $2 trillion superannuation industry to become a major source of lending for local businesses in a move aimed at bypassing banks and stimulating investment.
    LNP senator Barry O’Sullivan will attempt to have MPs cross the floor to support a probe into financial services. Google.

  9. Section 2 . . .

    Ken Henry has issued an extraordinary attack on the RBA’s framework for setting rates. Google.
    On the NT royal commission this human rights fellow says time is running out for Turnbull on youth justice.
    Bennelong by the numbers: The voters who could decide Malcolm Turnbull’s fate.
    Public service heads have pledged to confront domestic violence.
    Two psychologists reveal that the catastrophic effect of the postal vote process on the LGBTQIA+ community has been well documented, with a sharp increase in demand for mental health services within the community during that process. The battle has just started they say.
    Dennis Shanahan writes that John Howard has debunked ¬Malcolm Turnbull’s argument that religious freedoms will lead to sharia law in Australia and ¬declared he fears the fight for protections in the same-sex marriage debate will “die in the sand”. Google.
    Meanwhile Labor has rejected demands for amendments to the cross-party same-sex marriage bill, with Mark Dreyfus saying the bill is already a compromise and Louise Pratt warning MPs on both sides to respect the postal survey result.
    The world’s largest lithium-ion battery, which is being built in South Australia by Tesla to store renewable energy, is about to enter final testing. Jay Weatherill said Elon Musk’s Tesla company had finished installing the battery powerpacks at Jamestown, in the state’s mid-north, where they are linked to an adjacent windfarm. He said the 100-megawatt battery will now be energised and tested to ensure it meets all energy market and state government regulatory requirements.
    Barnaby Joyce clearly talks the agriculture talk and walks the mining walk as he receives the inaugural Gina Rinehart prize for even worse judgement than Turnbull, writes Ingrid Matthews.,10959
    Madonna King gives us the tale of two Queenslands – and One Nation.–and-of-one-nation-20171122-gzr53i.html

  10. Section 3 . . .

    The Guardian in the UK is pissed off that despite having given Teresa May clear evidence of rampant tax avoidance she still hasn’t acted.
    A dishonest culture still runs deep at Uber.
    Adam Gartrell tell us how the High Court has both the “power and duty” to rule on a challenge that could disqualify a Turnbull government minister – further threatening the Coalition’s tenuous grip on power – even though the case was brought by a private citizen rather than referred by Parliament.
    Climate change is creating a disaster on Australia’s doorstep, with environmental degradation and the demand for sustainable sources of food undermining stability in some countries, especially “fragile states”, according to the Australian government’s first foreign policy white paper in more than a decade. Hang on!
    Liberal Party officials in SA have cleared Christopher Pyne of any misconduct before the 2013 election. That won’t please Bernardi. Google.
    Turnbull has declared he “won’t be pressured” by the ongoing standoff on Manus Island after a seismic day in which police stormed the camp, destroyed property and appeared to make an arrest.
    The Department of Social Services has written to 8,500 current and former employees warning them their personal data held by a contractor has been breached. Under this government Centrelink has really covered itself with glory!
    Woolworths will open as many as four new so-called “dark stores” used to pack and ship online orders by the end of next year as Australia’s largest supermarket prepares to defend itself from Amazon.
    And in a move to counter the imminent launch of Amazon Bunnings Warehouse has unveiled plans to allow customers to shop online, ending a long-standing strategy of only selling products in its stores. But it’s quite a limited offering by the look of it.

  11. Section 4 . . . with Cartoon Corner Part 1

    Two of Sydney’s major sports stadiums will be demolished and rebuilt at a cost of $2 billion after state cabinet signed off on an expensive conclusion to the long-running saga on Thursday. But this is only the beginning it seems.
    On this subject Clover Moore explain how power works in NSW.

    David Rowe goes to Moby Dick to show the government’s woes. Who is the seal representing I wonder?

    A disgusted David Pope has his say about Manus Island.
    Matt Golding and the cabinet leek.

    Two more from Golding.

    John Shakespeare intimates that Turnbull’s done.

    Matt Davidson uses AC/DC to give Turnbull a reminder.
    Paul Zanetti and assisted dying of another sort.

  12. Section 5 . . . Cartoon Corner Part 2

    Mark Knight and some welcome triumphalism.

    Glen Le Lievre with a beauty,

    Another from Le Lievre where he suggests it’s over for Turnbull.

    What a cracker for Alan Moir. And how true!

    Another Beauty from Moir.

    Jon Kudelka and more cabinet leaks.
    Simon Letch and the religious right. Quite telling!

  13. Turnbull’s ’embattled’ status –

    He hit ’embattled’ status almost a year ago, back in January, with this headline –
    Expenses scandal an embarrassing start to 2017 for Australia’s embattled PM

    Since then there have been many sightings of the ‘e’ word but since the end of October things have really escalated.

  14. Behrouz is tweeting comments about the situation on Manus, right now. Twitter users might like to take a look.

    From vile comments I’ve seen on Facebook under articles on Manus posted by SBS, Dutton’s hate campaign is working. I think these people are trolls, going by the things they say, they seem to be copying Dutton’s comments. I doubt any of them would ever go anywhere near SBS unless they were told to make revolting online comments. None of them are commenting on the many posts by refugee organisations like ASRC and Dassan though, which tells me there is an orchestrated hate campaign aimed at SBS underway. Would Hanson know anything about that, I wonder?

  15. Bill Shorten is campaigning in Bennelong today with Tanya Plibersek and Doug Cameron, all there to support Kristina Keneally. Bill has been there with Kristina since they announced she would be the candidate. Labor is throwing everything at this by-election.

    Turnbull has not been near Bennelong.
    The Oz is talking about now that other by-election that finished off a PM.

    A by-election finished off last leader, remember?

    Malcolm Turnbull has entered the danger zone, with every utterance from cabinet colleagues being viewed through a prism of leadership and positioning.

    This is unsustainable and almost impossible to reverse for a leader whose authority is being openly challenged.

    The risk for the Prime Minister is that if this is allowed to become the prevailing perception it can have only one outcome.

    Julie Bishop’s intervention yesterday into supposed cabinet leaks — denying she was a leak and calling for an inquiry — was almost without precedent for a deputy leader. It was bizarre and rightly observed by colleagues as deliberate posturing. The insinuation was that Turnbull has lost control of his cabinet.

    The apparent schism between Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison over religious protections has been no less subtle. The feud over same-sex marriage and the apparent divisions within cabinet over the threat of a banking inquiry have now become the proxy wars for the leadership.

    There are those in cabinet and the broader ministry who have come to their own individual conclusions that it’s over for Turnbull.

    There is no collusion or conspiracy, no fix on numbers and certainly no assigned candidate, despite red herring tickets being floated, such as a Bishop-Morrison combination (which wrongly assumes Morrison would be interested in being a deputy).

    There is now a more serious tone to the chatter that began two weeks ago. The view among the senior ranks of government is that the Bennelong by-election could become the catalyst.

    In the unlikely, but possible, event that the seat is lost, Turnbull’s survival becomes deeply questionable.

    Even so, with only one party room meeting left this year — the week before the by-election — the likelihood is Turnbull’s leadership woes will remain confined to chatter until at least the new year and until the citizenship crisis is resolved.

    This means the government will continue to bumble along, with little prospect of clean air to resurrect an agenda let alone prosecute it with any effect.

    “It’s stating the obvious but unless he can turn things around, you’d have to say it’s over,” another senior minister told The Australian.

    “Bennelong is becoming increasingly likely to become a trigger if we lose it, or even if there is a swing of even 8 or 9 per cent.”

    The irony would not be lost on Tony Abbott, who was toppled as leader the week of the Canning by-election.

    Any objective assessment of the situation, considering the febrile nature of the party room, can only conclude that there are a growing number of MPs and senators who have given up on Turnbull but perhaps an equal number who hold out hope that things will change.

    What will determine Turnbull’s survivability will ultimately come down to whether a left-wing Liberal leader can win seats in NSW and Queensland — rather than lose them — and not his failure to live up to the metrics he set for his own leadership.

    It would be naive to suggest any Coalition member would willingly go into opposition in the belief it was more noble or virtuous than changing leader


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