“It’s a very pleasant island”

I thought we could take a close look at Nauru and totally destroy Abbott’s fantasy image of this hell-hole.

Abbott, unlike most politicians, has been to Nauru, in 2011. He knows exactly what it’s like, although how much he actually noticed while he was there is debatable. He certainly did not seem to notice the old Howard-era camp had become a primary school.

On a lightning trip to Nauru to inspect the detention facilities set up by the Howard government, Mr Abbott said the camp structures were ”sound” and a processing centre ”could be reopened within weeks”.

Last night Sam Dastyari explained the reason Nauru was chosen for off-shore detention – it’s about the worst place you could be.

Let’s see why.

First – the climate. 

Nauru is just a bit over 40 km from the Equator, so its very hot and humid. Right now, as I write, it’s 3.00 pm on Nauru, it’s 31C, the humidity is 68%.  It’s also raining. Daytime temperatures are usually in the 30C to 35C range, at night the temperature seldom drops below 25C.

When I got out of the plane, the hot weather slapped my face. I had this sinking feeling: “Oh, it’s the end the world and maybe the end of my world, too.”

Try living in a tent with 17 other people in weather like that, with only a fan to keep everyone cool. No wonder black mould is a big problem on the island.


There are no seasons, just a monsoon season from November to February with the rest of the year usually dry. Droughts are frequent.


There are no flowing streams on Nauru to provide fresh water. There’s just a polluted freshwater lagoon, too contaminated for swimming let alone drinking,  and groundwater accessed by wells. Most of the groundwater is contaminated by seepage from the island’s septic tanks (there is no sewerage treatment facility) and by mining run-off.

The National Assessment Report (Republic of Nauru, 2004) identified the following threats to the quality of groundwater resources, including contamination by cadmium, leachate from rubbish dumps and sewage. Contaminants of concern include:

• Faecal coliforms and E.coli in soil / groundwater from septic tank overflow and soakage pits;

• Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) associated with the power station; • Metals (lead, zinc) associated with blasting / mining;

• Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) associated with storage and disposal of fuels;

Asbestos associated with building materials; • Ordinance compounds and heavy metals associated with historical bombing;

• A broad range of contaminants associated with fill materials of unknown origins;

• Cadmium from disposal of cadmium sludge associated with mining activities; and

• Leachate from uncontrolled landfill practices.

(If you have time, look through that entire report and see all the problems known to our government when they decided to re-open the detention centre. Further proof Nauru was chosen because it really is a hell hole.)

The rest is too salty to be drinkable. Locals rely on tank water. There are some desalination plants, but they are unreliable, expensive to run and eat into the island’s limited, imported fuel supplies. In the dry part of the year water restrictions are the norm and that applies to the camp as well. Mosquitoes breed in the swampy places and plague those in the camps.

In the camp water collected from roofs is used for washing clothes and flushing toilets. Drinking water is brought in by tanker from the desalination plants.


Food supplies are a problem. Mention a Pacific island and you immediately imagine plentiful tropical fruit, loads of seafood, feasts starring meats and vegetables cooked in an underground oven like a hangi or an imu,  chickens, eggs, taro, and more. Well, Nauru isn’t like that. The island is mostly barren rock, as a result of mining. Food is imported and is mostly canned or processed. Fresh food is restricted to limited amounts of fish and, very rarely, fresh beef. All other fresh food needs to be flown in or brought by ship on weekly supply runs from Australia and is very expensive.

Recent surveys have highlighted the difficulty of growing fruit and vegetables, and the high cost of importing nutritious, fresh food aboard Nauru Airlines planes. “We have WHO standards like ‘are there servings of fruit and vegetable in the diet?’” Auto said. “But 95 per cent of Nauruans in that survey reported not having the recommended amount of vegetables and fruits.”


You think of a “pleasant island” in the tropics and you imagine beautiful beaches with crystal water, clean sand and probably some palm trees.

Not on Nauru.

Yes, there is white sand, and yes, there are palm trees, but the beaches are rocky and footwear is needed for safety. Anibare Bay is advised as the best beach for swimming,  it has fewer rocks than the others, it is not as safe as it looks. The water at the beaches is contaminated by E-coli. Locals become immune to this as children, but tourists and refugees just get sick. The most popular swimming spot seems to be the boat harbour, which is mostly enclosed, making sure those friendly bacteria get a better chance of breeding and getting inside you. Some beaches are decorated with rusting, discarded bits of machinery left over from the now all but defunct phosphate mining.

Health care. 

The Australian government has spent millions on upgrading the Republic of Nauru (RON)  Hospital on Nauru. We were shown photos of a new ward with a row of new beds, and told this is “state of the art”. Both Dutton and Abbott have told us facilities on Nauru are better than facilities in some regional Australian towns. This reflects poorly on both men. Facilities are nowhere near those in regional Australia, they are vastly inferior. There’s another issue with these lies. If they are allegedly “better” then what the hell has this government been doing for the last five years, to make our facilities worse than those on a rotting, corrupt Pacific island where anyone with anything worse than a stubbed toe needs to be flown to Port Moresby for treatment?

Refugees are treated differently to the local population. They are denied proper medical care. Many articles have been written about this, especially over the last few weeks. Look them up, I’ve already taken up far too much space to detail all the problems with health care.

And finally –

The government of Nauru, dependent on Australian funding, seems determined to cut off as much medical help as possible. This is beyond my understanding. Nauru depends on Australian money to keep the island going. Without the steady stream of funding the refugees bring the island would be unable to survive. It has no other means of support. There is no tourism, the place really is a hell hole. There’s no industry, no fuel to support any. There’s no water supply. There’s no food. Without help from the outside world Nauru would revert to a barren rock within weeks.It seems odd to me that the dictatorship masquerading as a government seems intent on killing off all the remaining refugees as fast as they can.






192 thoughts on ““It’s a very pleasant island”

  1. About 800 Centrelink call centre jobs will be outsourced in Brisbane as new figures show 48m calls to the agency went unanswered last financial year.

    Announcing the move on Tuesday the human services minister, Michael Keenan, cited a report by accounting firm KPMG that the government says found outsourced staff performed better than full-time public servants. The government refused to release the report.

    The 800 jobs in Brisbane have been contracted to Concentrix Services and bring the total number of outsourced call centre staff to 2,750.


  2. These Liberal MPs really know how to find a bargain – speind over $9000 on multiple copies of a book that is available FREE online.

    Is donating Liberal Party propaganda to school libraries really a good idea? How many copies went straight into the bin after the MP had left?

    Why Liberal MPs bought 614 copies of one book for $9000

    Boothby MP Nicolle Flint, who bought 400 copies of the book for $5818 last year, spent more than any other politician on publications between July 2017 and June 2018 – $8443 in total.

    Ms Flint said it was a “one-off cost that has helped support many community groups and schools” in her electorate.

    “I proudly donate these books to local community groups, schools and students to support their events and achievements,” Ms Flint said


    Ms Flint’s seat became more marginal in the latest redistribution, which is why she is now the only female in the noddy seats right behind the dispatch box.

  3. As Matt says in a follow up tweet “The Oz & Sky trade on their perceived power & influence. Interesting that they’re obviously struggling against a few twitter users who make a spreadsheet while watching Sky After Dark.”

  4. ===The Senate in seven, Penny Wong.===

    What a fortnight it’s been in federal politics!

    The ongoing chaos and division of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government caused the Liberals to lose the Wentworth by-election, the first time the seat has been held by a non-conservative since federation.

    Last week Labor Senators exposed some of the worst examples of this government’s policy through Senate Estimates.

    Here’s my list of the top seven moments in Senate Estimates that you might have missed.

    1. Israel Embassy

    Only days before the by-election in Malcolm Turnbull’s old seat of Wentworth the current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, abandoned decades of bipartisan foreign policy by declaring he would consider moving the Australian Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    We had already called out Morrison for using foreign policy for domestic political purposes and for putting the interests of the Liberal Party ahead of the national interest, but last week we learned just how damaging this announcement really was.

    The Foreign Minister, Senator Payne, only found out about the decision 48 hours before she announced it alongside the Prime Minister. There was no cabinet decision, no cabinet process, with the decision made in a series of phone calls between senior ministers and without advice from departments.

    Worst of all, the Prime Minister’s office felt it was more important to brief the media than to let our defence commanders know, with the Chief of Defence finding out about the decision after the media had been briefed.

    2. Treasury Sec Job

    It is fair to assume that if you were applying for a job that you might be expected to at least provide your CV. Well, not if you’re in with the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison crew.

    In Treasury estimates, Senator Kristina Keneally uncovered that Scott Morrison’s former Chief of Staff landed the $874,000 a year job as Treasury Secretary without even providing his CV… #jobsformates

    3. Who’s in charge of Scott Morrison’s plan to rip money from public schools?

    As if it wasn’t bad enough that Scott Morrison wanted to cut $14 billion out of public schools across the country, chaos now reigns supreme internally over exactly which minister is responsible for making sure the unfair cuts are made.

    Under questioning from Senators Jacinta Collins, Deb O’Neill and Louise Pratt, it was revealed the Education Minister has been sidelined and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has now been charged with the job title of chief schools cutter.

    This is confirmation the Liberals are only interested in cutting schools and fighting each other, not ensuring every Australian kid gets a quality education.

    4. The Charities Commissioner doubles down on some pretty unpalatable views on, well charities and those who rely on them!

    On Wednesday NSW Senator Jenny McAllister gave the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commissioner, Gary Johns a chance to dump some of his views like – ‘people on government allowances should be on contraception’, that Indigenous mothers are ‘cash cows’ and his criticism of several charities which he now oversees, even BeyondBlue.

    This is the very disappointing response from Mr Johns to Senator McAllister’s offer…

    5. Stuart Robert is being investigated by ASIC

    Remember Stuart Robert? He was the Turnbull minister dumped because he owned shares linked to a Chinese company that he personally signed a mining deal with (and who also happens to be a major Liberal Party donor).

    Well, it seems that Stuart Robert hasn’t learned from his mistakes.

    Late on Wednesday night the corporate watchdog, ASIC, confirmed it would launch a series of inquiries into Mr Roberts and his directorships.

    The inquiries follow media reports that Minister Robert only resigned as a director of Cryo Australia after media inquiries, which is inconsistent with the story he told Parliament – that he had resigned as a director of Cryo when he returned to the ministry.

    Australians should be able to trust that the minister responsible for overseeing the corporate sector isn’t in breach of the laws he’s supposed to administer!

    Watch this space!

    6. AWU Raid – One Year On

    Last week marked one year since Minister Cash misled the Senate on five occasions about her office’s involvement in leaks about AFP raids of the Australian Workers Union.

    With Senator Cameron leading the charge, we on the Labor side have been trying to get to the bottom of this leak, what Minister Cash knew and what her involvement was.

    But a year on, the cover up continues and we’re still waiting to hear if the AFP is going to lay any charges.

    7. Are the Nationals hiding their smoking gun?

    QLD Senator Murray Watt was quizzing the Leader of the Nationals in the Senate, Nigel Scullion about the high smoking rates in the Northern Territory and whether his party was still collecting donations from tobacco companies.

    I don’t know about you, but this answer doesn’t really wash with me!

    While there was a lot of back and forth in Senate Estimates, there was an important bipartisan and historic moment in the Parliament last week.

    Last week the Government and Parliament apologised to the victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. Both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition made moving speeches in the House of Representatives saying sorry for the pain, suffering and trauma to victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse and their families. The apology is an important step in the nation’s healing from these past wrongs. The Senate will mark the apology in the upcoming Senate only sitting week.

    Thanks for reading this edition of ‘The Senate in Seven’.

    Penny Wong

  5. Offshore detention: Horrors being deliberately hidden from us
    IF AUSSIES could see the suffering being inflicted in our name, we’d be appalled. And that’s exactly why it’s being hidden from us.
    Daniel Webb and Natasha Blucher

    Mr Dutton is out spouting old stats about boats. But it’s been five years. And the only stat people care about right now is that one-quarter of the children still imprisoned on Nauru actively want to take their own lives.

    Mr Morrison is pointing to the children already here in Australia for medical care — as if their evacuation from Nauru was some kind of humanitarian gesture on his part. It’s a breathtaking deceit. We have watched in shock and outrage as the government’s lawyers have fought in court to prevent these transfers. The government has lost every single one of these court cases, and only then have these desperately frail kids been evacuated, often by air ambulance with drips in their arms, and been rushed straight to hospital for emergency treatment as soon as they land


    Daniel Webb is the director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre: @DanielHRLC

    Natasha Blucher is the detention advocacy manager at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and worked on Nauru with Save the Children in 2014: @ASRC1

  6. ‘Reinforcing defeat’: Scott Morrison is becoming a dead weight

    The Prime Minister was a conspicuous absentee at the weekend campaign launch by would-be premier Matthew Guy. He spent a quiet day off with the family at Kirribilli House in Sydney.

    On the other hand, at Labor’s launch, Bill Shorten was cheered as Australia’s “next Prime Minister” and was the warm up act to Daniel Andrews’ re-election pitch


  7. “You forgot free labor, free land, and free resources. More commonly known as slavery of Africans and robbing & murdering the Indigenous people of North America. But do go on,” one unpersuaded Twitter user replied

  8. God morning Dawn Patrollers. It’s good to be back even though overnight I came down overnight with a throat infection that knocked Mrs BK around while we were away.

    In a report that won’t make the government at all happy, Cole Latimer tells us that households and businesses face growing uncertainty over obtaining energy bill relief as wholesale power costs rise by as much as 26 per cent because of the drought, gas prices and policy uncertainty.
    David Wroe writes that Morrison’s brain fart (that he is still reinforcing) on a Jerusalem embassy could land Australia in the International Court of Justice.
    And Paul Kelly tells Morrison to scrap the idea. It really is a damning assessment of the Morrison government.
    But Greg Sheridan says that Turnbull made an astonishing decision as a prime ministerial envoy to oppose the policy direction of his own Prime Minister on the question of Australia potentially moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
    The Coalition continues to prioritise conservative ideology often in direct contradiction to the wishes of the Australian people, writes Tarric Brooker.
    Paul Bongiorno declares that Morrison is a “dead weight”.
    Here is a thoughtful article from Ross Gittins on the subject of droughts. Well worth reading.
    Nicholas Stuart examines how and why we support nasty regimes around the world. His ultimate paragraph I a beauty.
    Clancy Yeates explores if we are facing a full-blown credit crunch, or is it more of a sensible tightening up in what were sloppy processes.
    Career consultant Jim Bright ponders over whether or not changing leaders can actually improve organisational performance.
    Kate Aubusson writes on leading doctors have warned that a toxic culture of bullying and harassment among NSW public healthcare workers is threatening the welfare of patients.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz explains how the latest lurch downwards in the US stock market underscores the reality that, while the Trump administration may have an isolationist hue to it, the US isn’t isolated, even from the consequences of its own actions. It’s a huge own goal, he says.
    Dana McCauley writes that the former AMA president Michael Gannon has warned Labor against reviving its controversial Mediscare campaign, as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten signals the party’s intention to ramp up its attacks on the government’s health record in the lead-up to the federal election. His predecessor, Brian Owler, will stand as a Labor candidate in Bemelong.
    Richo tells us how the Berejiklian government in NSW is increasingly on the nose with the electorate and, as the March election draws nearer, its desperation is on show.
    What will happen in the EU when Angela Merkel is no longer there?
    Fergus Hunter reports that Labor is getting set to have increased unemployment allowances in its election manifesto.
    Nicole Hasham writes that climate change is firming as a deciding issue at the next federal election after conservationists launched a plan targeting three MPs in marginal seats and a leading ratings agency blamed energy policy uncertainty for hampering renewables investment.
    The Catholic Church is about to be inundated with Supreme Court writs from Victorian survivors of clerical abuse who previously received modest ex gratia payments and will now attempt to sue the church for further compensation.
    Michael Pascoe writes about how despite all the scary headlines, RBA sees our banks growing stronger for longer.
    Greg Jericho contrasts retail and industry super funds’ performances.
    This aggrieved professor has a big spit at Simon Birmingham over a vetoed research grant.
    Sarah Danckert reports on how Stuart Robert says he has started a sale process for his stake in a private Gold Coast company specialising in cryotherapy after only recently discovering the co-owner of the business was a convicted rapist. Yeah, pull the other one Robert!
    Stuart Robert is again being investigated by the corporate regulator but, as Assistant Treasurer, he is also responsible for the oversight of the corporate regulator. Asher Moses reports on the conflict of interest over the regulator and the Liberal Party’s controversial fund-raiser.
    Federal Labor will take a tougher approach to corporate mergers and the policing of anti-competitive behaviour if it wins power at the next election.
    And also Australians who are claiming tax deductions for travelling overseas to tax havens will find it much harder to do so under a future Labor government.
    Morrison has hinted at possible regulatory intervention to drive down the price of petrol but, behind the scenes, the government admits there is little it can do other than ensure oil companies are not colluding.
    David Wroe reports that the Australian Electoral Commission is embarking on a massive overhaul of its ageing computer systems amid a growing risk of cyber attacks and fears of the kind of election meddling carried out by Russia against the United States.
    Henrietta Cook tells us why Matthew Guy wanted to keep his religion in state schools plan quiet.
    The principals of some of Australia’s most famous Anglican schools are urging Scott Morrison and federal MPs to resist pressure to protect gay teachers by overhauling anti-discrimination laws, a move they warn would undermine their faith’s core “ethos and values”. This really is going to be an entertaining issue.
    The UK Guardian looks at the ramifications of a no-deal Brexit – and it’s not pretty.
    Greens branch members attempted to overturn Sarah Hanson-Young’s preselection to the Senate after learning she was pregnant, the South Australian senator says, in a speech detailing her decade-long battle against sexism in politics.
    A leading aviation expert says international budget airlines are plagued by safety issues and extreme staff training cost-cutting measures.
    Low-cost carrier Lion Air – whose new Boeing 737 crashed into the Java Sea on Monday, killing all 189 on board – has a history of serious safety incidents in its two-decade history.
    Quentin Dempster reports on the big stoush between NewsCorp and Google.
    A family law judge has hit out at “horribly aggressive lawyering’’ driven by profit that is driving up costs in divorce proceedings and fuelling conflict between parents.
    Institutional shareholders furious that AMP has tried to ram through a fire sale of its life insurance business are threatening to call an extraordinary general meeting and spill the board to stop the $3.4 billion transaction.
    Just to settle things down over there Trump is planning to sign an executive order that would seek to end the right to US citizenship for children of non-citizens born on American soil.
    He’s SUCH an inspiring leader. Well, in ONE sense!
    The Guardian editorialises that Trump is following a consistent strategy of creating crises over immigration and race to mobilise white support for Republicans in the midterm elections.
    America is now cowering to the power of a greedy, dishonest, immoral minority which is transforming it for years to come, writes Sue Arnold.
    Jewish leaders in Pittsburgh have called on President Donald Trump to condemn white nationalism unequivocally after he said he will visit the synagogue where a gunman killed 11 worshippers over the weekend.
    About 800 Centrelink call centre jobs will be outsourced in Brisbane as new figures show 48m calls to the agency went unanswered last financial year but Keenan won’t release the KPMG report that purportedly supports the move.
    Doug Dingwall has a good look at this change.
    Australia has a good health system by international standards, but it has to get better. Half of all patients across Australia wait more than a month for an elective hospital procedure, such as a hip replacement. This is in addition to waiting for an outpatient visit so they can be added to the elective procedure wait list.
    David Byrum adds to the chorus condemning Cricket Australia.
    And the SMH editorial also has a say on the matter.
    And for “Arsehole of the Week” we have . . .

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe with another diplomacy ace from Morrison.

    Fiona Katauskas excoriates Abbott here.

    As does Matt Golding.

    I love this effort of Golding’s after the synagogue mass murder event.

    Glen Le Lievre and US hate speech.

    Jon Kudelka and Morrison’s treatment of the NDIS.

    A catch up from Peter Broelman.

    And a couple from Paul Zanetti.

    Jon Kudelka with trick or treat.
    David Pope with some refreshing honesty from Turnbull in Indonesia.
    More in here.

  9. TLBD

    Thanks to Fox News a couple of months ago the world learnt that Denmark is a “socialist hellhole” . Well it looks like it has been conformed 🙂
    Just two months after trying to explain to a Fox Business anchor that, actually, they do not live in a “socialist hellhole”, Danish politicians are now figuring out how to address a report published by the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

    The 72-page document, titled The Opportunity Costs of Socialism, places Scandinavia in the same basket as Venezuela and argues that “the experiences of the Nordic countries also support the conclusion that socialism reduces living standards”.

    What’s more, “even poor American households have better living standards than the average person living in a Nordic country,” the report states.

    But seriously folks, what does Nobel winner Paul Krugman say ???????
    “Are the Danes Melancholy? Are the Swedes Sad?

    The recent report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers on the evils of socialism has drawn a great deal of ridicule, and rightly so. It boils down to something along the lines of “You want Medicare for All? But what about the terrible things that happened under Mao Zedong?” That’s barely a caricature.

  10. Fun fact the guy in charge of the White House Council of Economic Advisers wrote this book published in 1999 😆

    ‘Dow 36,000″
    they argued that stocks in 1999 were significantly undervalued and concluded that there would be a fourfold market increase with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rising to 36,000 by 2002 or 2004.[3][4] The Dow was pushed down by the bursting of the dot-com bubble as the NASDAQ peaked in 2000 and bottomed out in 2002, and by the September 11 attacks in 2001. The Dow fell below 8,000 in 2002 and remained below 12,000 until 2006.

  11. BK

    Sorry to hear you have both picked up some Canberra lurgy. Hope you both get well soon. Welcome back, you have been missed.

  12. We are being deluged with extreme right-wing hate speakers.

    Anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson joins Proud Boys founder’s Australian tour
    ANTI-ISLAM campaigner Tommy Robinson is coming to Australia, with critics saying his arrival is of “grave concern”.

    Hanson is an admirer of Robinson.

    She used a taxpayer funded parliamentary trip to London earlier this year to meet him. She campaigned for his release from prison.



  13. Experts proved Scummo’s electricity prices spiel was rubbish within minutes of his blathering so now the idiot is trying the same approach on petrol prices.

    He can’t do a thing about those prices, apart from cutting excise. He has no chance of ever bringing about a forced breakup of fuel companies, another brainfart from that idiot Craig Kelly.

    If Scummo goes for an excise cut then he further destroys his government’s budget. And, of course, he leaves another problem for an incoming Labor government to deal with.

    There are couple of other options he won’t talk about. One is reversing the Abbott government’s reinstatement of indexation of fuel excise, something Howard stopped when the GST was applied to petrol.

    In 2014 Abbott brought back twice yearly indexation, with Scummo supporting that move as a member of cabinet. Now the ATM government wants to cut the excise they themselves increased. Talk about a Looney Tunes government!

    Does Scummo even realise fuel excise is a tax?

    The other option is removing the GST from fuel. Scummo would never go there.

    Does he really believe a phoney campaign based on lies about bringing down petrol and electricity prices will get him and his farce of a government over the line come the election?

  14. I have a suspicion that certain right-wing media (*cough* murdoch *cough*) and fellow travellers will start to broadcast a lot of “fake news” to Australia as soon as the Federal election is declared.

    It’s tempting to tell “liberal” voters that I’ll be voting Labor because this current mob couldn’t organise (as the saying goes) a piss-up in a brewery. At least it would give the “Liberal” party a chance to get rid of its current deadwood and hopefully elect some real Liberals and not this current shower.
    (If folk won’t vote for something, there is a chance that they will vote against something else – isn’t that the way Mr Murdoch has managed things to his benefit all these years?)

  15. There are mates’ rates and then there is corruption

    Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion has given almost half a million dollars’ worth of funds earmarked for alleviating Indigenous disadvantage to fishing and cattlemen’s groups in the Northern Territory. The grants will go towards legal fees for the groups to argue how they might be negatively impacted by land rights claims, he told a Senate estimates hearing last week.

    The move has angered the opposition, who says the minister is treating the Indigenous advancement strategy (IAS) like his own “slush fund”.

    The $4.9bn IAS is designed to “improve the way the government does business with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to ensure funding actually achieves outcomes”, according to the government website.

    The minister approved grants of $150,000 to the NT seafood council, $170,000 to the NT amateur fishermen’s association, and $165,000 to the NT Cattlemen’s Association for “legal fees, effectively … to put forward a case of detriment to the land commissioner,” he told the estimates hearing.


  16. I had a brush with another poll last night. Asking about the Federal election. For some reason I think we will be getting a lot more of these as May gets closer.

    A suspicion was raised in our house last night that the worse the polls for the current government get, the harder they will try to hang onto power and the bigger mess they will leave behind for the ALP to clean up, so that next time they have the reins they can have an easy excuse for things not ‘going well’.

    • They are certainly trying to completely blow the budget deficit – more than they already have – by making ridiculous promises they have no idea about how to fund

      Latest example – how on earth does Scummo plan to pay for the billions a cut to petrol excise will cost? So far no-one seems to be asking how he plans to compensate for the lost revenue.

      Labor is meticulous about explaining how their proposed policies and promises will be funded.

  17. From Leone’s post above:

    Does he really believe a phoney campaign based on lies about bringing down petrol and electricity prices will get him and his farce of a government over the line come the election?

    This is the inherent problem of incumbency. The longer you’ve been in power, the heavier the toll of the terrible things you’ve done and the good things you haven’t done. People would reasonably say you’ve had your chance to do all these things, many times over; if you haven’t addressed these things by now, why would you expect us to trust that you’ll address them in the future?

    This far in, the only effective message a government has is to stand on its record. Turnbull got away with that Fake Tradie appeal – “let’s give this mob a go” or whatever it was – because he’d managed to differentiate himself sufficiently from Abbott in people’s minds. Now it’s three years later, and that won’t work again. They have to have successes to point to. The Coalition have no record to stand on, though. Everything they’ve done has been either heinous or a disaster. Morrison pretending that things will change if they’re re-elected has no basis in reality. That’s what he’s going with, though. Good luck to him, he’ll need it.

    • We saw some of this “standing on their record” this week, with Abbott repeating Dutton’s lies about the appalling medical facilities on Nauru being better than those in some parts of regional Australia.

      The obvious response to this was “You’ve had five years to fix things so why are regional hospitals worse than those in third world dictatorships?” They didn’t see the stupidity of their lies. Still don’t.

      Just for the record – the Gillard and Rudd governments poured money into regional hospitals and other regional health infrastructure. In NSW that was supported by the then Labor state government. My region in particular benefited from this funding with extensions and improvements in public hospitals in Kempsey, Taree, Wauchope and Port Macquarie.

      Here’s a list, from 2011.


      Of course, most of the bigger works were not completed until after Abbott became PM, so his government and his lazy, useless MPs got to open new facilities and of course they claimed all the credit.

      I can’t find a similar list for works initiated by the ATM government – probably because there isn’t one.

    • Read on Twitter that the Nauru refugees are in Brisbane in Quest motels with guards outside, so the kids can’t go to school

  18. I’ve been taking a bit of interest in the Geoffrey Rush defamation case. Seems to me pretty clear-cut, at least in terms of what his team are claiming. The accusations published by the Daily Telegraph in no way represent his behaviour as it’s being portrayed in the court case. He’s been misrepresented quite badly by them, I’d say. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a broader issue to address.

    The first thing to recognise is that Eryn Jean Norvill didn’t instigate this case in any way, and she didn’t come to it claiming that Rush had a case to answer. She’s telling her side of the story, and I have no doubt that was her experience of it. But it wasn’t her intention to castigate Rush. She reported the incidents off-the-record. There’s been a rush to characterise her one way or the other – either crusading heroine against harassment, or as self-interested finger-pointer. She’s likely neither of those.

    The second thing is that, if you follow her testimony, what she’s most uncomfortable about isn’t so much what happened as what surrounded it. She believes cast and crew operated to condone or promote what, for want of a better word, I’ll call ‘bloke culture’. She claims Rush did certain things, and that either his seniority or his theatre connections allowed him to get away with them. The other actors backed him up, or simply didn’t see any of what he did as wrong. I have theatre experience – not anywhere near that level, but the attitudes are the same all the way through from what I’ve seen and heard – and I’d say there’s something in that.

    From what I can tell, she’d formed a kind of ‘cast intimacy’ with Rush. One of those things that’s kind of required in theatre, where you have to display a lot of emotional vulnerability on stage and form close connections with fellow actors. It’s a way of bonding and also defusing the tension associated with performance. The text messages they exchanged, which look weirdly flirtatious to an outsider – are pretty standard in the context of a performing group. My guess (and this is only a guess) is that she misinterpreted some of what he did, possibly anticipated other things (I’m especially wary of the one where she was lying with her eyes closed, heard some laughing, and opened her eyes to see what she called Rush ‘making groping gestures’ – that could easily be her jumping to conclusions), and others may be a generational thing. Different generations of actors have different ideas about ‘boundaries’.

    This should all have been dealt with at the time, but it appears that didn’t happen for some reason, the channels of communication weren’t open. I’ll bet he liked her, but as to what that attraction represented to him, it’s anyone’s guess. There’s no evidence so far that he intended anything sexual, and she certainly hasn’t attested that he actually made any real advances. Maybe more will come of it as the trial continues.

    • A friend on Newstart says that mutual obligation work requirements have been increased by regulation
      Over 55 – 10 hours “volunteering”
      Over 45 – 20 hours work for mutual obligation
      Under 45 – 30 hours work for mutual obligation

  19. I suppose “due to unforeseen circumstances” translates as “only half a dozen tickets sold.

    Milo Yiannopoulos’ Australian Tour Has Been Cancelled And Fans Want Refunds

    You’d think Milo’s fans would be delighted to have their tickets transferred to Gavin McInnes’s performance. Maybe they have no idea who he is.

  20. Second part of the Victorian state Newspoll

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/newspoll-victorian-voters-cool-on-liberals-tough-line-on-crime/news-story/36fd50d844f2df406805554709dd0ed8 paywalled

    https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/03a060175332a7200f994cba157811ea table here, no paywall

    Newspoll: Victorian voters cool on Liberals’ tough line on crime
    Samantha Hutchinson Victorian State Political Writer
    Rachel Baxendale Victorian Political Reporter
    12:00AM October 31, 2018

    Matthew Guy’s tough line on crime and youth gangs appears to be falling flat with voters, who are split on which party is best at handling law-and-order issues.

    Despite a slogan promising to “Get back in control” and a platform pledging sentencing reforms ensuring “jail means jail”, a Newspoll survey for The Australian found voters less convinced of the Liberal Party’s ability to handle crime than they were April.

    Thirty-nine per cent of respondents said they believed the Liberals would be best at managing law and order, while 38 per cent thought Labor would be better.

    This is a fall of seven percentage points for the Liberals since April, while Labor gained a point.

    Voters’ views on which party is best able to handle energy and the economy will also be of concern to the Coalition. When asked which of the two major parties was best at maintaining Victoria’s energy supply and keeping power prices lower, 43 per cent of voters backed Labor and 32 per cent picked Liberal, while 25 per cent were undecided.

    That is a fall of eight points for the Liberals from April, when 40 per cent of responders said they were better placed to handle the energy supply and 42 per cent chose Labor.

    Of the undecided group, 20 per cent were Coalition voters.

    When asked which of the two major parties would be best at managing Victoria’s economy, 45 per cent backed Labor and 37 per cent backed Liberal, while 18 per cent were uncommitted.

    • When you drive along Dandenong Rd from Chadstone towards the city, as you pass Koornang Road and Officeworks avert your eyes left to the billboard with Matthew Guy saying “END TRAFFIC CHAOS” then focus on the newly operational sky rail

  21. A group of about 15 Nationals members have resigned amid an investigation into their alleged ties to neo-Nazi and fascist groups.

    The party is investigating up to 35 NSW members for links to alt-right, white supremacist and other radical groups, in what federal leader Michael McCormack described as an intolerable situation.

    The cohort under investigation represents a sizeable chunk of the youth wing’s membership in NSW, which is understood to number about 300.


    If they get rid of all the right-wingers there’ll be no one left.

  22. Shaun Micallef really got stuck into the government and the Daily Telegraph tonight.

    One of the milder lines was “Australia now has the most living ex-Prime Ministers: seven. Shortly to be eight.”

    • Yep, the quintessential Malcolm.

      I’ve always wondered what he has on his feet in that photo. Is it just his socks, with a white line across the toes? Is it slippers, with a diamante bar across the toes? What the hell is it?

      And I’ve always wondered what on earth possessed an allegedly sane, straight man to pose like that? What the hell was he thinking?

  23. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Jess Irvine calls BS on the scare tactics being used against Labor’s investment property taxation treatment policy.
    Michael Koziol explains how the National Party is investigating up to 35 NSW members for links to alt-right, white supremacist and other radical groups, in what federal leader Michael McCormack described as an intolerable situation.
    Michelle Grattan tells us how Turnbull has highlighted that his successor is expedient and a foreign affairs amateur.
    Mungo MacCallum writes that Morrison is ploughing on regardless — business as usual. There is no need to change direction. Rather the imperative is to go on pretty much with what we are doing, but more aggressively.
    Matthew Knott goes into why next week’s US mid-term elections are so important.
    This law professor says we need more people like Brian Owler in parliament but the vagueness of section 44 is something that may prevent it.
    This is why.
    More like resistance to blatant rip-off than fraud one could think.
    In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting Trump seems to be really on the nose there. No-one wants to be seen with him.
    Dropkick Greg Sheridan blames the left for the violent schisms in the US – and here.
    The office of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has asked the FBI to investigate what appears to be an effort to smear him, stemming from suspicious emails offering women money in exchange for fabricating sexual misconduct claims against him. Hardly a surprising development!
    Kim Carr wonders what Simon Birmingham was thinking when he put the kybosh on a number of university grants.
    Do we really want to follow the U.S. down the big data path of privacy-breaching voter profiling? It would appear that the Liberal Party is harnessing i360 big data in time for the 2019 election.
    Peter FitzSimons gets stuck into Cricket Australia over what he describes as a fuster-cluck and calls for its chairman to stand down.
    Sam Maiden reports that Nationals MP Trevor Khan has slammed the Anglican school he attended as a child for demanding the right to sack gay staff, in a moving open letter.
    The fallout from the banking royal commission is forcing three financial services giants, ANZ, CBA and AMP, to accelerate the simplification of their business models.
    A new independent body has been established to help consumers seek justice if they believe they have been treated unfairly by banks, insurers and other financial services providers. Today marks the launch of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), a new “one-stop shop” for Australian consumers to resolve problems with various providers.
    The SMH editorial looks at the excoriating report on the management of the live export trade. The paper gives the Nats and Joyce a justified serve.
    And crossbench MPs have seized on this damning review of the government’s handling of live sheep exports and are reviving efforts to abolish the trade.
    AFL clubs are getting out, Coles too. Woolies would love to get out, but for Queensland liquor laws. Yet there is a new player bursting onto the pokies scene today with a $100 million book-build ahead of a stock-market float. Michael West reports.
    During an explosive cross-examination in the Federal Court in Brisbane Clive Palmer has again denied knowing the whereabouts of his wanted nephew even though he had dinner with him in Bulgaria a few weeks ago.
    The recent NDA Conference suggested a global urgency to repair our planet, one that our Government seems eager to ignore, writes John Haly.
    Kate McClymont writes about how a prominent Sydney barrister has been reprimanded for unsatisfactory professional conduct during a Supreme Court case in which he acted for the family of the now jailed former state minister Eddie Obeid.
    Alexandra Smith prepares voters for an ugly NSW election next year.
    Did this idiot seek guidance from Alexander Downer?
    Stephen Bartholomeusz tells us about the panic searing through AMP.
    Food fraud, the centuries-old problem that won’t go away.
    Trump is really ramping up fear and hatred as the elections near.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe with Trump’s motives and tactics.

    A beauty from Peter Broelman.

    Paul Zanetti and envoy Turnbull.

    Matt Golding and Halloween.

    Alan Moir and drought funding.

    David Pope gets into Birmingham and Tehan.
    Jon Kudelka prepares Turnbull for his special Q and A appearance.
    More in here.

  24. To be totally ignored by the COALition

    Economists are predicting Australia’s thermal coal exports to plummet faster than expected due to falling demand across Asia that appears permanent and irreversible.

    A study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) found Australia’s top four export markets — China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea — were shifting rapidly to renewables.

    The study found New South Wales, the source of nearly 70 per cent of thermal coal exports, should brace for disruption in energy markets.

    IEEFA is a not-for-profit institute, funded through philanthropy, with a focus on green technologies and renewable energy.

    An analysis of international data in the report found global demand for thermal coal would drop 28 per cent by 2025.

    The decline will continue, and be 59 per cent by 2040, the report says.


  25. More Magic Pudding promises.

    Coalition to spend half a billion dollars on Australian War Memorial project
    Scott Morrison to announce spending but critics say money could be better spent on veterans’ services

    Once again ScumMo has forgotten to explain how this brainfart will be paid for. Cuts to veterans services? Repurposing funds from the NDIS again? Cuts to welfare? Who knows?

  26. I’m wondering what happened to that prediction about Jewellery Blingshop meeting Murdoch at his Yass property, getting his blessing (allegedly) and definitely challenging for the leadership Tuesday last week.

    Obviously it didn’t happen.

    So much for this person’s “they’ve never let me down” sources.

    Just for a laugh –

    Rupert wasn’t even in Australia at the time of the alleged visit from Jewellery. Before spreading wild rumours make sure to check facts first.

    If Ms Blingshop wants to be PM then she’s going to wait until after the election to put her hand up. She’s not going to lead her party to a thumping huge election loss.

    • I shouldn’t keep on being stunned by how gullible so many Tweeters are, but I do.They have their own little group, they tweet rubbish back and forth constantly, they seem to be online 24/7, they fall for every rumour and every bit of gossip. Worst of all they are Labor voters and Labor supporters.They don’t do Labor any favours by tweeting crap. It discredits the cause.

  27. ScumMo sent Turnbull because he said he was unable to attend himself. Why? He’s the PM, this visit was known about well in advance, PMs can take international trips like this one whenever they want. Was he too scared to go?

  28. The Geoffrey Rush case rolls on. Today we heard from a fellow actor regarding the breast-touching and the gestures over Norvill’s body. He didn’t present anything too compelling. Regarding the first of them, he says it was Rush’s right hand, whereas previously it was claimed that it was his left. And with the second, he says he wasn’t really watching, but that it came across as a ‘Three Stooges’ type routine with what looked like cupped hands at the end.

    I think both of those more or less corroborate what Norvill has claimed, though they’re a bit inconsistent. But none of this goes to the central point of the hearing. It can definitely be argued at this stage that Norvill’s claims can be believed and the DT are in the wrong – their reports described Rush’s actions as far more damning than anything we’ve heard about in the hearing.

  29. As with all allegations about sexual misbehaviour made by women about prominent men the usual response is “she’s lying”. Even if she’s telling the truth she still isn’t believed because fans want Geoffrey Rush to be exonerated.

    Rush’s defenders say he was just joking around. Eryn Jean Norvill says it was ongoing harassment, even when she asked him to stop it he ignored her and kept going. It doesn’t matter if it was backstage or a rehearsal, if you are asked to stop inappropriate behaviour then you stop, you don’t ramp it up because you are older, famous and powerful and she is just a young, hopeful actress.

    Richard Ackland, who tweets as “Justinian” has made some relevant tweets.

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