358 thoughts on “America’s Midterm Elections 2018

  1. Despite/because of last week’s charm offensive in Queensland, Scott Morrison’s personal ratings continue to deteriorate, being down two on approval to 39% and up three on disapproval to 47%.

  2. PPM numbers were invented so the MSM would have something positive to say about failing governments. The numbers allow them to ignore things like a government losing every single Newspoll and every other poll for over two years. Instead of talking about failure they can go with some spin – “But hey, look over there! He’s still way ahead as preferred PM”.

    The prime minister of the day SHOULD be the preferred PM. If he/she isn’t then he/she and their government are in big trouble.

  3. Yeah, that’s some terrible, terrible polling for Morrison. Compounded by the fact that he has already pulled out just about every trick in his playbook. The only one he has left to call on is to shut up and lie low, and I don’t think he does that.

    Doesn’t matter when they call the election now. The baseball bats are out. Nobody has any goodwill for the Coalition any more. Morrison may as well actually get on that bus and have himself a holiday.

  4. The Crikey article is free

  5. One thing that might be lost in the Newspoll result is that the figures are a condemnation of the Liberal-National parties as a whole, not just of the PM. They may consider changing leaders again, I suppose. But it won’t solve anything. The direction the Liberal Party is taking has to change. Their ideology is completely out of step with the needs of the electorate, and the electorate has been telling them that since 2014. They can’t arrest the slide unless and until they address the fundamental position of the party. That would be a painful and difficult process for them, but not as traumatic as the kind of election wipeout they’re now looking at.

    They can start by not listening to One Nation any more. That’d be a good start for them. They also need to make a few hard decisions regarding their mates in the coal industry. That relationship is killing them.

    You can’t tell them that though. It’d fall on deaf ears.

  6. Truth usually slips out, like in the past:

    Mike Pompeo, Psychopath

    During an interview with BBC Persia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States will starve millions of Iranians to death if the country’s leadership doesn’t bend to its will.

    Pompeo said Iran’s “leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat.”

    This is siege warfare. It is illegal under the Geneva Conventions, in particular the protocol relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Article 53: Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited).

    But then neocons don’t do international law.

    John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser and a neocon’s neocon, recently said the US will “use any means necessary” to push back against the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its commitment to punish war crimes. Bolton warned the US will sanction and arrest individuals investigating war crimes and the torture of detainees, the latter conducted by “patriots,” according to Bolton. He added that frustrating prosecution of war crimes “remains one of my proudest achievements.”



  7. Costs Of War
    Human Cost of the Post – 9/11 Wars
    Lethality and the Need for Transparency
    November 2018
    Neta C. Crawford

    All told, between 480,000 and 507,000 people have been killed in the United States’ post – 9/11 wars in Iraq,
    Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This tally of the counts and estimates of direct deaths caused by war violence does not include the more than 500,000 deaths from the war in Syria, raging since 2011, which the US joined in August 2014.

    Click to access Human%20Costs,%20Nov%208%202018%20CoW.pdf

  8. A Celebration of Killing and Dying

    I have realized that I and many others who claim the title of Marine have had our selflessness, dedication, and patriotism exploited; asked, better compelled, to make sacrifices fighting in wars that were (are) ill-conceived, unnecessary, unjust, and immoral.
    Camillo Mac Bica, Ph.D. –
    November 10, 2018

    November 10th is the 242nd birthday of the United State Marine Corps. It is a time of celebration during which current and former Marines acknowledge the storied history and glorious traditions of the branch of the military in which they so proudly served. I, however, am torn.

    As a former Marine Corps officer with service during the Vietnam War, I still occasionally admit to having been a Marine, perhaps also with a measure of pride, Yet, I have realized that this admission encompasses more than the pomp and pageantry that we celebrate each year on November 10th.

    I realized what being a Marine actually entails, that as a young man I underwent, perhaps endured is better, a profound life-altering experience, Marine Boot Camp, during which everything I was, embraced, stood for, and held sacred, was brutally and methodically destroyed, with the resultant void filled with the values, “virtues,” and abilities appropriate to the role I was about to assume.


  9. Israeli forces detain 8-year-old Palestinian child near Hebron


    HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained an eight-year-old Palestinian child, on Friday afternoon, near the entrance of the town of Beit Ummar, north of the southern occupied West bank district of Hebron.

    Local sources said that Israeli forces targeted eight-year-old Omar Rabie Abu Ayyash and detained him near the entrance to the town of Beit Ummar.

    The reason for Ayyash’s detention remained unknown.

    Defense for Children International reported that since 2000, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been detained and prosecuted in an Israeli military detention system infamous for the systematic mistreatment and torture of Palestinian children.

    The Palestinian Authority (PA) Prisoners and Former Prisoners’ Affairs Committee reported, earlier in October, that Israel had detained 35 Palestinian minors during September 2018.

    The committee’s August report documented testimonies from a number of Palestinian children during their detention by Israeli forces and revealed that the children were subjected to systematic beatings and torture during and after their detention.

    According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 270 Palestinian child prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 50 are under the age of 16.


  10. Washington Post Publishes Article of Yemen’s Houthi Leader

    he Washington Post published on Friday the first article of the head of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammad Ali Al-Houthi.

    “Houthi leader: We Want Peace for Yemen, But Saudi Airstrikes Must Stop”

    The continued escalation of attacks against the port city of Hodeida in Yemen by the U.S.-Saudi-Emirati coalition confirms that the American calls for a cease-fire are nothing but empty talk. The recent statements are trying to mislead the world. Saudi leaders are reckless and have no interest in diplomacy. The United States has the clout to bring an end to the conflict — but it has decided to protect a corrupt ally.

    Any observer of the crimes committed in Yemen by Saudi Arabia — a campaign that has been accompanied by disinformation and a blockade of journalists trying to cover the war — can offer an account of the indiscriminate killing thousands of civilians, mostly through airstrikes. Their attacks have led to the greatest humanitarian crisis on earth.

    The brutality of the Saudi regime was reflected in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And it can be seen in the military escalation and airstrikes in Hodeida and other cities, in defiance of all international warnings.

    The blockade of the port city is meant to bring the Yemeni people to their knees. The coalition is using famine and cholera as weapons of war. It is also extorting the United Nations by threatening to cut their funds, as if it were a charity and not a responsibility required under international law and Security Council resolutions.

    The United States wants to be viewed as an honest mediator — but it is in fact participating and sometimes leading the aggression on Yemen.


  11. The reality is that the US and UK could end the war tomorrow, simply by threatening to cut off military supplies, intelligence, and training to the Saudis until the airstrikes stop, a point made by Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council to a UK Parliamentary Select Committee earlier this week.

    US Calls for a Yemen Ceasefire is a Cynical Piece of Political Theatre
    by Dan Glazebrook

    The UK appears now to be gearing up towards authoring a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Yemen, following years of blocking any resolutions on the issue. The UK has been the official ‘penholder’ on Yemen, meaning that it has been up to the UK to table resolutions, which it has steadfastly refused to do, whilst simultaneously blocking anyone else’s attempts to do so. The apparent about-turn is a response to last week’s statements from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis calling for a ceasefire in Yemen within 30 days, to be followed up with UN-facilitated peace talks. The UK dutifully followed suit shortly afterwards, expressing their support for the initiative. This was somewhat ironic given that minister Alistair Burt, obviously not privy to the seeming about-turn, had just spent the day providing MPs with excruciatingly contorted explanations of why calling for a ceasefire was not a good idea in the circumstances. “Passing a ceasefire resolution risks undercutting the UN envoy’s efforts to reach a political deal and undermining the credibility of the Council” he told the House of Commons at midday; yet within 36 hours, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was telling Newsnight that the US call for a ceasefire was “an extremely welcome announcement because we have been working towards a cessation of hostilities in Yemen for a long time.” In the parallel universe of British double-speak, it is of course natural that unrelenting support for what is fast turning into a war of national annihilation gets recast as “working towards a cessation of hostilities”.


  12. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. Well it seem obvious that Australians aren’t too keen on having a hyperactive show pony as PM.

    Sean Kelly reckons Morrison should wake up to himself and face reality.
    The Australian’s Simon Benson sums it up by saying the Coalition continues to slide down the slippery poll.
    Sam Maiden says that the horror Newspoll proves Turnbull right.
    The WSU’s V-C Andy Marks says it’s time for politicians to get off the buses.
    And Greg Jericho tells us how a tetchy Scott Morrison still can’t explain why he’s in the job.
    Emmanuel Macron has let fly at nationalism at the 100th anniversary of the armistice. All world leaders were there – mot Morrison though.
    Chris Bowen has written a piece for The Australian in which he explains that while the Liberals argue blindly they have the best plan, it is the Labor Party that has the best offering for business.
    Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins writes about the shocking treatment women involved in sexual harassment cases have had. She is calling on employers with non-disclosure agreements in place in relation to sexual harassment complaints to suspend these for the purpose of allowing all parties to those agreements to contribute to our National Inquiry.
    Latika Bourke tells us how Roman Quaedvlieg is using Twitter and other forms of the media to great effect.
    Australian police should adopt a British model of taking down terrorists, according to an international security expert who also said Australian police were yet to learn the lessons from Sydney’s Lindt cafe siege four years ago.
    John McDuling explains how Nine-Fairfax could make ‘Jonestown’ a very different place.
    Meanwhile Alan Jones has been sensationally disciplined by the board and management of Macquarie Media, which refuses to confirm or deny if it has forced its star breakfast presenter to pay some of the costs of the multi-million defamation action brought against the company by the Wagner brothers.
    Adele Ferguson reports that the Consumer Action Law Centre told a Senate inquiry an explosion of buy-now-pay-later services comes when Australians hold record levels of household debt. She says the inquiry, whose report is set down for next Fevruary, will no doubt be used as part of an election campaign by the ALP to continue to prosecute for reforms of the country’s financial system. We certainly need them.
    Linda Morris writes about the pushback against the Anglican school principles’ letter about gay students and teachers.
    We are still making many mistakes with recycling.
    Alison Brown writes that the federal government (ie Spud) has struggled to explain why despite cancelling the passport of the Bourke Street attacker in 2015 it failed to trigger further monitoring of his activities by the intelligence agencies and possibly prevent Friday’s tragedy.
    And Michael Koziol tells us about Dutton’s rather intemperate presser on the subject yesterday.
    As does a more forthright Amy Remeikis.
    More than $90000 has been raised for the homeless “Trolley Man” via GoFundMe.
    Paul Daley writes that Australia has reached peak Anzac – and not before time!
    Sydney’s auction clearance rate is heading towards a 30-year low after hitting 41 per cent on preliminary figures over the past week.
    Australia’s largest food charity has called out the government for slashing its funding for a key program by almost half just six weeks from Christmas, a situation it says “beggars belief”.
    Ross Gittins wants the G20 to keep going.
    Lyn Bender tells us why we should no longer accept substandard aged care. Soon enough, we’ll need it, too.
    The Democrat likely to lead the House intelligence committee next year said Congress would investigate whether Donald Trump used “the instruments of state power to punish the press” in at least two alleged instances.
    Some MPs are saying that behaviour in the NSW bear pit is ‘a disgrace and an embarrassment’.
    The Queensland freight rail operator Aurizon is understood to be in discussions with Adani that will hinge on who pays for upgrades to the existing rail network, as the Indian mining company tries to resolve significant elements of its scaled-down plans.
    Soon-to-be-published research will show roughly 22 per cent of China’s urban housing stock is unoccupied, according to Professor Gan Li, who runs the main nationwide study. That adds up to more than 50 million empty homes, he said.
    Top Democrats have demanded that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker recuse himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, citing hostile statements toward the probe and alleging he has multiple conflicts of interest.
    Matthew Coscia provides an insider’s view on the deceptive ways of the gaming industry.
    The administrators of now-collapsed Foodora Australia have admitted it is “more likely than not” their food delivery riders were employees rather than independent contractors – and are owed more than $5m in unpaid wages.
    Are single-sex public schools on the nose?
    Today’s nomination for “Arsehole of the Week”.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe with Trump in France for 11/11.

    From Mark David.

    Glen Le Lievre and the blue bus.

    Just a few more in here.

  13. Hallelujah!

    A journalist finally gets it!

    Samantha Maiden, in The New Daily (BK’s links) –

    It’s always worth remembering in any Newspoll analysis that the preferred PM figures are largely a waste of time. It favours the incumbent.

    What matters is the primary vote – how people are going to actually vote

  14. Instead of writing crap about what FauxMo needs to do to win the election it would be good if certain journalists actually looked at the reasons the government is failing.

    Things like this latest act of bastardry. (First thing in my email in-box this morning, and it has made me way beyond cranky.)

    How Dare They!!!!

    It’s not just a cut, it’s happening because where there were two charities using this funding the ATM government has decided to admit another organisation – OzHarvest – to the mix. Instead of increasing the available funding to accommodate the new addition they have decided to divide the existing (already slashed twice during the life of this rotten ATM government) funding three ways.

    I’m now wondering what connections OzHarvest has to the government. This sort of thing doesn’t happen out of the blue.

    Coalition cuts funding for Foodbank charity by $323,000 a year
    Foodbank chief executive says she can’t understand the move, which she says will harm drought affected families relying on the charity

    Foodbank helps provide pantry essentials to more than 710,000 Australians impacted by natural disasters or economic hardships through its Key Staples program, which sees the organisation work with manufacturers, suppliers and transporters to provide rice, flour, cereals and canned goods to 2,600 charities and 1,750 schools around the country.

    But in the third cut to its federal funding since 2014, Foodbank chief executive Brianna Casey said the government was now asking the organisation to absorb another cut, which would leave it with less than $430,000 a year. Three years ago, the organisation received $1.5m a year to do the same job.

    The latest cut, which works out to about $323,000 a year, comes into effect from January 2019, impacting contracts and arrangements the organisation already had in place.

    “I just cannot fathom why this is happening at all, let alone at one of the most challenging times of year for vulnerable Australians and our drought affected communities,” Casey said in a statement


    More details here –

    It’s shameful that this wealthy country needs to support so many in this way. It’s a damning indication of just how inadequate wages and Centrelink payments have become thanks to this government’s policies.

  15. Jobs for the Liberal Boys.

    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has reappointed his mentor and former treasurer Peter Costello as chairman of the Future Fund for another five years.

    He has also appointed former Treasury secretary John Fraser to the board for five years from 12 November 2018 until 2023, and reappointed Perth businessman John Poynton to the board for another five years from 4 February 2019 until 2024.

    The move has angered Labor.

    Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says the government’s made the decision just months away from the election and without any consultation with the opposition


    Let’s not mention Costello was first appointed to the board of the Future Fund by Krudd, in 2009, back when he was very busy handing out appointments to Liberal has-beens.

    • Rudd has a lot to answer for, especially giving plum jobs to incompetent Liberals. Labor people cannot get a look in when the Coalition is in power, and not when Rudd was in power either. Stupid, stupid man. You get nothing from cuddling up to the Coalition.

  16. Victorian Politics Comment:

    Last week I noticed a billboard that appeared to be non-politically-aligned, proclaiming “Not Happy Dan”, with a website promoted on it. Angry faces and something about how we shouldn’t have to put up with Daniel Andrews’ incompetence or something. About two minutes of idle research this morning taught me that the campaign is closely associated with both Shooters (I assume gun rights people?) and the National Party. Bit dodgy that, posing as a public campaign while having close political associations.

  17. Here’s Morrison doing his “facts, schmacts!” routine:


    Mr Morrison rejected the idea that the Bourke Street attacker had mental health issues and was not “really a terrorist” and should be treated with some sympathy.

    “I think that’s an excuse. This bloke, radicalised here in Australia with extreme Islam, took a knife and cut down a fellow Australian in Bourke Street,” Mr Morrison told the Ten Network.

    If you read through the whole article, you can see Morrison backflipping all over the place. One minute is saying it’s purely terrorism, the next he’s saying we should take mental health issues seriously. Then he’s at the radicalisation of Muslims and saying their community leaders need to do more to help prevent it, then he’s saying that he’s sure that’s what they already do. Then he’s back saying Muslims are radicalised, then he’s saying that most of them aren’t. He’s ended up saying nothing.

    I doubt that greater ‘leadership’ from Muslim leaders is going to prevent incidents like these. It doesn’t appear they’re coming from sleeper cells or anything like that. It’s individuals taking it upon themselves to do something horrific, for reasons that we can’t fully comprehend.

    The lesson we should be learning from this, and likely last year’s incident, and certainly the Lindt siege, is that mental health issues need to be detected and handled much, much better in this country. There’s a definite sense that the people committing these terrible acts were already known to police and other authorities, and simply aren’t getting the care or attention they need. And in a time where funding is routinely being cut to the kinds of services that can possibly handle these issues, our federal government needs to shoulder some of the blame.

  18. Prepare for an embarrassment marathon – FauxMo is off overseas.

    He leaves for Singapore for Asean tomorrow.

    Then it’s PNG.

    Then Argentina.

    Summit season is a slog


    And if that isn’t embarrassing enough, there’s this added extra –

    Scott Morrison says he’ll be hosting a BBQ in PNG “very much a family event”.

    That’s because, in case you missed it, Morrison would like us to view our Pacific neighbours as “family”

    The same “family” Dutton is trying to deport because he says they are not Australian citizens? (Referring here to the children of John Bird, brother of Nancy Bird Walton, who have Australian citizenship, grew up here, but are so browner than Dutton likes and have to be kicked out.)

    Stand by for a whole wardrobe of new caps, a lot more beer guzzling and happy snaps of the interim PM poking at sausages on a barbeque.

    • Thanks for posting that. Every time I hear Bill Shorten I am confident I will prosper under his government as will 99% of Australians. When Tony Abbott became Prime Minister the refrain from a certain anthem kept buzzing in my head

      We’re not going to sit in silence
      We’re not going to live with fear

  19. Tried to post this earlier WRT Foodbank having its funding halved. Like Leonie I am disgusted by yet another example of the high handedness of this government who expect housing coops, foodbanks and other charities to be able to spin on a dime

    Foodbank operates in Victoria and seems to have maximized the benefit of their $750,000 funding to deliver $8million of food retail to 715,000 people

    Being a cynic I wonder who is personal friends of which minister
    As Victoria is now a Labor stronghold (only 1 seat majority) the state is being punished for voting the wrong way

    • Have just written to my Federal member (LNP, of course) to ask him to ask either the PM or Mr Frydenberg why Foodbank has been deprived of funding. I have so far received a ‘received your email’ back, but somehow I don’t expect to get much of a reply.
      I’m hoping that the ALP and some of the cross-benchers will pick up the question and ask about it too.

      Shame that parliament doesn’t sit until next week!

    • It got a lot of coverage in the Senate this afternoon.

      The minister responsible, Paul Fletcher (Who? Never heard of him) is making soothing noises about maybe giving Foodbank some extra funds to tide them over until the “transition” takes place at the beginning of January next year.

      Not good enough!

  20. Been driving for 8 hours with the ABC for company for 6 hours (2 hours no coverage) and have heard ScoMo call the Sudanese born car bomber in Bourke Street a terrorist
    The next item on the news was the court appearance of the madman who killed 6 people and injured another 17
    So in ScoMo’s world
    Muslim ==> terrorist
    Christian ==> madman

    After saying the car bomber had had his Australian passport confiscated in 2015 on ASIO advice Scomo said that “Authorities” had not kept tabs on the man. Would these “Authorities” be ASIO, ASIS, AFP, Immigration in the Department of Home Affairs, Peter Dutton’s ministry.

    Doesn’t this failure to keep track of a Muslim who kills christians in a public place remind you of the Lindt Cafe Siege where Man Monis was known to ASIO who had infiltrated him into groups, provided new identities and kept him out of gaol when he faced court on murder and rape charges.

    I feel confident that if VicPol had slipped up, ScoMo would have been quick to blame them

    • The blame rests with Dutton, if what we have been told is true.. He has been negligent in failing to make sure this man was not under survelliance. The rest of us can’t even have a phone conversation to make a doctor’s appointment or play Solitaire online without Dutton’s mega-department knowing about it, but it was apparently too difficult for them to keep an eye on someone they thought might be dangerous.

      The Lindt siege was not an act of terrorism, it was a lone wolf nutter trying to get attention for imagined grievances with the Family Court. Friday’s incident wasn’t a terrorist attack either, it was the action of a mentally ill man who had made his condition worse with drug use.

      When white, Australian men run amok and kill their families we never hear all this blathering about terrorism, there are never accusations made about their churches (if they attend) and no-one ever suggests limiting immigration.

      The real terrorists in this country are the men who abuse their women and children. Last time I checked we were up to 60 women killed by mostly male family members or partners. The year still has almost two months to go. The PM reuses to talk about domestic abuse or the frequent attacks on women.

      I cringe whenever I hear him go into one of his anti-Muslim rants.

      FauxMo himself belongs to a fundamentalist Christianist church which brainwashes its members and could be accused of radicalising them. The “evangelical” fundamentalist churches are high on the list for domestic abuse, men who belong to these fake churches are more likely to be abusers, and I’m not just talking about physical abuse.

  21. When the strawberry scare happened, I said it was probably a disgruntled employee being treated like a p.o.s. by the farm sector employers. ‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap’, comes to mind,

    Low and behold:

    “A Queensland strawberry farm supervisor seeking revenge over a workplace grievance sparked a nationwide crisis by planting needles in fruit, a court has heard.”

  22. An excellent question. What happened to the “Peoples Panelist” thing?

  23. The beautiful Chloe Shorten on breakfast TV today. Normally I would not post anything from The Morning Show, but this is different. Chloe is discussing her role as an Ambassador of the Gidget Foundation and the great work they are doing raising awareness for perinatal depression and anxiety.

  24. Update on uncalled midterm contests

    Arizona Senate

    Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has a lead of about 30,000 votes with about 250,000 votes left to be counted, mostly from Maricopa (Phoenix) and Pima (Tucson) Counties.

    Florida Senate

    Republican Rick Scott is about 12,000 votes ahead and a machine recount has been ordered. If the gap between the two candidates is less than 0.25% after the machine recount then a hand recount will be conducted.

    California’s 39th and 45th districts

    Republicans are currently leading by 1.4% and 1% respectively however there are a large number of mail in ballots still to be counted and these tend to favour democrats.

    Georgia’s 7th District

    The Republican incumbent is ahead by about 900 vote with about 1500 votes left to count.

    Maine’s 2nd District

    The Republican incumbent leads the Democrat 46.2% to 45.5% however Maine now uses preferential voting for federal elections and exit polls that have been conducted suggest that voters for the two independents running will direct preferences to the Democrat. Preferences will be distributed on Friday. If the cut up of preferences does put the Democrat ahead, the Republican has floated the possibility of challenging the result in court.

    • Correction to the bit on Maine’s 2nd district

      The result of preference distribution is expected by the middle of the week.

  25. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    David Wroe tells us that ASIO would have to add at least 9000 staff – a six-fold expansion of its current size – at a cost of at least $1 billion a year to watch all potential terrorism suspects such as the Bourke Street killer round the clock, security experts and sources have said.
    And he reports that Scott Morrison is turning up the heat on Muslim leaders.
    An AFR contributor explains how the Liberals have been shooting themselves in the foot.
    Jennifer Duke reports on the 4 Corners exposé on the ABC debacle.
    Every day Trump demonstrates what an ignorant idiot he is!
    And stung by criticism for not attending an event honouring US military dead, the White House says President Donald Trump didn’t want to disrupt Paris roadways for a last-minute motorcade to a cemetery in northern France.
    Henry Olson explains how the midterm elections have revealed a starkly divided America.
    Peter Hartcher tells us Trump is not a bad dream and that we need to deal with his America. He says some experts have called for a “coalition of the responsible” to supply the leadership that the Trump administration will not.
    But Greg Sheridan writes that Morrison has mounted the strongest defence of any allied leader so far of Donald Trump’s trade policies, denying that Washington has turned protectionist because of its imposition of tariffs on China.
    It’s looking increasingly likely that Bill Shorten will become Australia’s next PM. That’s hardly a frightening prospect, writes Richard Tuffin.
    How can the Uber Tuber take issue with such a studied contribution as this one from Anne Aly?
    The spiritual leader of the Islamic youth centre where Bourke Street terrorist Hassan Khalif Shire Ali ­attended prayer sessions has ­accused Scott Morrison of making the Muslim community a scapegoat to distract from the failure of police and intelligence services to prevent Friday’s attack.
    Security expert Professor Clive Williams explains how our health system could be used to help fight terrorism. He says that if Australia wants to be better positioned to anticipate and prevent lone-actor attacks, we need to put more resources into our mental health management systems, particularly in Muslim migrant communities that may not trust security authorities.
    Morrison wants Muslim leaders to do more to prevent terrorism, but academic Greg Barton asks what more can they do.
    Gillian Triggs has criticised the PM’s comment that there can be no mental health excuse for a terrorist in the wake of the Bourke Street terror attack. The article also provides a good outline of what else was discussed on Q and A.
    Peter FitzSimons says that Morrison should have made the trip to France an heard Macron’s magnificent speech.
    And Paul Bongiorno says that Morrison’s absence shows he is a prime minister in caretaker mode.
    Nicole Hasham tells us that the economic viability of a multibillion-dollar infrastructure project supporting the Snowy 2.0 expansion should not be publicly tested because the project is nationally significant and the analysis might cause delays, Snowy Hydro says. Sounds a bit hubristic?
    Elizabeth Knight welcomes us to the post-royal commission era of borrowing. Heightened scrutiny by banks of the financial position of borrowers will be the new order and responsible lending will get a whole lot more responsible.
    Meanwhile mortgage borrowers unable to get a loan from a major bank were given clear instructions on how to take advantage of the soft underbelly of home loan regulation by a group of experts at the UBS Australasia Conference in Sydney on Monday.
    Housing experts say it’s a matter of time before regulators are forced to step in and take action as more first home buyers and investors desert the property market. As auction clearance rates fall toward historic lows, fears are growing a so-called ‘credit crunch’, as banks respond to the royal commission by tightening lending standards, is starting to bite.
    And Greg Jericho says that housing’s lost some heat – but first-time buyers will still get burned. As usual his contribution is laden with factual data.
    Michael Pascoe weighs in on the subject saying that what’s much less understood is that we’re being driven to the top of the debt pile by government policy. And, in the process, it is effectively government policy to make our housing among the world’s most expensive.
    Sally Whyte reports that outsourced call centre workers are telling Centrelink customers incorrect information, transferring calls unnecessarily and making errors, according to a union survey of Human Services workers. What a shambles!
    Michael Koziol writes that the country’s biggest universities say they are “under assault” and have launched an extraordinary attack on the Morrison government over a fresh round of cuts to academic research.
    The TWU’s Michael Kaine writes that the recent Foodora case demonstrates why government needs to regulate the on-demand economy so that the swindling of workers and tax revenues ends. But we must regulate it in the right way.
    Scott Morrison’s plan to divest the assets of electricity companies could face a High Court challenge. Major energy operators are threatening to adopt the legal defence used in the Australian film “The Castle”.
    Katharine Murphy also writes about the big energy companies pushing pack.
    The SMH editorial looks at the government’s handling of the My Health Record issue.
    Retired senior police officer Nick Kaldas warns citizens of the dangers of intervening in incidents such as what happened in Bourke Street.
    Energy users and the renewables industry said a Victorian Liberal Party plan to underwrite construction of 500 megawatts of “firm” power would likely lead to wind or solar energy backed by storage rather than coal or gas plant.
    Adam Morton writes that Australia’s carbon footprint has expanded for the last three years straight – and the coal industry is not to blame. The biggest driver has been liquefied natural gas, known as LNG.
    Global warming will fundamentally change the habitability of Earth. Steve Bishop tells us that a recent article in The Australian on climate change has many errors and misrepresentations. It continues to publish rubbish about global warming he says.
    The former head of safety at Dreamworld parent company Ardent Leisure told the inquiry that deficiencies in the park’s corporate structure was at the heart of its safety issues.
    Investors have deepened Lendlease’s rut bringing the total value destroyed at the building giant over the last two trading days to almost $2.2 billion as debate continued on whether it should ditch its troubled engineering division.
    And for “Arsehole of the Week” . . . .

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe and bellhop Morrison.

    Mark David with an inspired PM.

    Some perspective from Peter Broelman.

    Zanetti on the Bourke Street response.

    Johannes Leak needs to lift his game.
    David Pope with an awful looking Spud.
    More in here.

  26. Paul Bongiorno on the interim PM’s failure to travel to France last week for Remembrance Day ceremonies.

    We can all count ourselves lucky FauxMo didn’t bother going. He would have been a huge embarrassment to us all.

    Bongiorno said FauxMo made a “solemn and moving” speech at the Canberra ceremony. Sorry, but nothing that man says, not one word that comes from his mouth could ever be considered solemn or moving.

    I’m left wondering just what was so urgent that he had to stay home. “A spokesman said with little time to waste domestically ….. “. What was he doing? What was so urgent? His not-a-bus tour of Queensland could have happened at any time. Last week was chosen because obviously it was a dead spot, a blank space in the PM’s diary, filled only with an old bit of scribble left by Turnbull saying “travel to France for Remembrance Day”. Turnbull had been expected to attend.

    Ideally on such an important occasion we would have been represented by both the PM and the GG.

    FauxMo had nothing on his agenda last week. There have been no policy announcements for yonks, he had no pressing engagements, parliament wasn’t sitting, there were no domestic crises to handle, he could have gone.

    He’s making a habit of not attending international meetings. First he sent Turnbull to take his place in Indonesia for the Our Ocean Conference, then he sent Darren Chester to France in his place. Will he actually get to all these summit meetings he’s supposed to attend, or will he call in sick and decide to spend the time hiding in his hotel room?

    We dodged a bullet with FauxMo deciding to stay home and inflict his Ocker carrying-on on Queenslanders. . We should be glad of that.


    • Probably frightened of a coup d’etat occuring in his absence
      Does he refuse to wear the government issue Akubra with felted french bunny pelts

  27. I don’t think Morrison understands that the problem is his government coming up with these ideas in the first place. The impression created is of a ruling party continually coming up with ways to shaft us, and only backing down if the outcry is loud enough.

    I’ve long been convinced that the guiding principle at work within the Liberal Party is ‘savings’. Not economic responsibility, but just a general directive to every department to cost-cut wherever they can get away with it, so that they can as a party crow about efficiency. There’s no understanding (or interest, I suppose) in supply and demand, social responsibility, or how any of the economic levers actually work. it doesn’t even matter much to them if the individual departments operate properly. It just has to look good on a piece of A4. Meanwhile, they continue to tip money toward anything and anyone that might support them as a political party – or in the case of homeland security/border control, things that might facilitate messaging in areas they can exploit politically.

    It’s a mercenary way to run things, and relies continually on controlling the narrative. The problem they’ve run into is that the reality has now swamped the narrative, and none of their messaging cuts through. The wheels still grind on though – they’ll keep on cutting funds to vital services, attempting to sell off what they can, and overfunding pet projects. But now they’re doing it just because that’s what they do, they don’t know any different. Really, we can’t be rid of these pack of pricks quickly enough. All they can do from here is cause more damage.

    • With the Foodbank thing they ripped $350,000 out of Foodbank and sent $150,000 to Ozharvest

      My impression is that someone thinks beggars must only eat food that is past its Use By date

      The Foodbank program that manufactures bread, cereal fresh vegies of first quality is the program that faced the chop


  28. The Four Corners thing on the ABC (or at least what I’ve heard about it, having not watched it),underlines another thing I’ve been noticing for a while. We’re being run by a combination of the undergraduate politics of the 1980s (where many of our current politicians cut their teeth) and the worst aspects of inefficient bureaucracy. One aspect of it is the obsession with one-up-manship and quashing political opponents, at the expense of responsible governance (which helps to explain this constant harping on Shorten, as if his removal from the ALP leadership could somehow magically restore the Liberals to supremacy). The other is concentration on installing malleable yes men and women on every board so as to remove impediments to political manipulation of our institutions. The ABC sure looks like something that’s been deliberately nobbled.

    • It’s not just the ABC that has been nobbled. For sometime the aTM government has been renewing appointments and making new ones, setting things up so an incoming Labor government will have to deal with Liberal appointments for the duration of its first three years in office, and then some.

      FauxMo will get to choose the next GG. We will have to put up with his choice for four or so years, and it’s likely to be a disastrous pick.

      It’s deliberate sabotage,but there’s more to it than that. The current government is said to be willing to lose the next election, giving them time to regroup under a better leader than FauxMo, and then return to government in 2022.

      Voters might have other ideas.

    • As the ALP has publicly complained about the Liberals not consulting them on appointments and we have seen Howard and Abbott fire public servants they don’t like I expect the incoming government of any colour will be expected to fire the partisan hacks, or will be able to claim Coalition precedence

  29. FauxMo’s reversal of the Foodbank cuts is just a blatant attempt to win back some of the votes his government lost yesterday.

    No-one has a good word to say about the cut, it seemed the whole country had yelled “They can’t do that” in unison.

    It’s something that should never have happened in the first place, but it did, this government wanted it. The same man who as Treasurer thought it was OK to hand half a billion dollars to a small, unknown foundation without the usual submission for funding process being necessary also tried to tell us the Foodbank cut was all above board because it had gone through a submission process. Try and work that out.

    The worst part of the whole debacle was the minister responsible, Paul Fletcher, trying to pretend he knew nothing about it and it was all the fault of underlings in the public service.

    This comment was in this morning’s edition of The Saturday Paper’s “The Briefing” email. It says it all.

    Is money so tight that the government needs to cut funding to food charities?

    “A charity feeding 710,000 Australians every month says the federal government has cut its budget almost in half just weeks before Christmas. Foodbank says funding for its Key Staples program, which makes sure essential supplies like rice, bread and vegetables get to hungry people, will drop from $750,000 to $427,000. ‘We are dumbfounded’, Foodbank chief executive Brianna Casey said.”


    Tax breaks to the wealthy don’t grow on trees.

    “Using Treasury data, as well as various ABS figures and the University of Melbourne’s HILDA survey, Per Capita calculated that major tax concessions totalling $135 billion per year were costing the budget more than the four main welfare payments – the aged pension, family assistance payments, disability benefits and Newstart – combined.”


  30. I’ve been worried about the government’s plans for children and their families brought to Australia from Nauru for medical treatment. I’ve wondered if the government planned to send them back to Nauru once their health was deemed OK. This is something the refugee support organisations have not wanted to talk about. No-one wanted to ask what will happen next year, when all the kids have been brought here, checked out and are considered well enough to be sent back.

    Yesterday we had confirmation from FauxMo that this is exactly what he plans. He’s right in saying HE never made any formal announcement about all kids being off Nauru by Christmas. He got Brandis to do that, from London. Some of us wondered why Bookshelves was making a government announcement. Here’s why – when the shit eventually hits the fan, when people begin to ask why families are being sent back to Nauru, FauxMo and his ministers will be in the clear, the misapprehension can be blamed on a former government minister now living on the other side of the planet. Clever, isn’t it.

    Yesterday he did an interview for Sky News. (He did lots of interviews yesterday, he was all over everywhere, trying to look busy, probably to head off criticism about his no-show in France.)

    Here’s a bit of that interview.

    Despicable behaviour, but Labor would do exactly the same thing. Labor’s policy on this is pretty much identical to the government’s and Shorten won’t change it. The issue will come up at the Labor conference next month. Labor is going to have to deal with a few truckloads of “Labor disunity” from the MSM as a result. The best idea would be for Labor to change policy. I just can’t see that happening, although I’d love to be proved wrong.

  31. She is about to make a statement in NSW Parliament

  32. Bill Shorten does it again – looks and acts like a prime minister.

    The presser was to announce more funding for Paralympic training. Skip to the halfway mark for the questions on the ABC and more.

    One little niggle – Shorten asked businesses to employ paralympians. He should be encouraging businesses to employ people with disabilities, not just paralympians. Not everyone wants to or can become a sports superstar. I get really sick and tired of well-meaning people trying to push people, especially kids with disabilities into sport when really, they have little interest. Sport isn’t everything.

  33. harking back to Foodbank, again . .

    FB knows how many people it feeds per month
    FB knows that the program the government targeted to stop was the program that ordered rice, bread, cereals and staples directly from manufacturers
    FB lost its funding to OzHarvest and SecondBite both organisations collect old food from retailers then redistribute

    The government does not have such tight command of operational figures
    Someone doesn’t think Foodbank should give away food that they have had manufactured. Is it a supermarket chain or a “give to the deserving poor” mentality that says the poor should be grateful for whatever crumbs they get.
    Why should SecondBite get Foodbank’s funding – who have they schmoozed?

    All in all it’s the contrast between charity being dispensed by the entrenched privileged elite and an efficiently run process driven organisation that respects its clientele

    • It’s more “who have OzHarvest schmoozed”. That was the group that was added to the mix, causing the Foodbank to have its funding cut in half It’s not the first time Foodbank had been subjected to cuts by the ATM government. Second Bite hasn’t said much, they seemed to approve of the original decision, probably because they lost nothing.

      Whatever submission process was used in determining who would get funding has to be deeply flawed if the available amount was to be split three ways instead of two, with the cuts hitting Foodbank.

      Ronni Kahn, founder of OzHarvest, has been all over everywhere lately, maybe that was part of her campaign to get government funding. She says she’s a Greens/Labor voter, so that makes me wonder even more who got into Paul Fletcher’s ear.

      There are no “deserving” poor in this government’s Australia, there are only undeserving bludgers and free-loaders and if they could this government would allow the most needy to starve to death. That’s why funding is now given to two organisations that recycle left-overs from commercial kitchens and supermarkets. Those they feed are getting scraps, items well past their use-by date, stale fruit and vegies and leftovers from catering companies who may have made too much say, lasagne or salmon mousse for a function and then donate the excess to “the poor”. The poor and disadvantaged are then supposed to be grateful for these crumbs from the tables of the better-off. It’s all dolled up as “reducing food wastage”.

      If I needed help with food I’d much prefer a box of groceries that I could use to make meals for myself than recycled leftovers.

  34. These people don’t have to be told by the government: they know what the government wants

    ABC management has reversed its ban on ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, entering the broadcaster’s Ultimo headquarters to address staff on editorial independence at an end-of-year union meeting on Wednesday.

    Earlier McManus said the ABC was the first employer in the country to deny her entry, which she said conveyed “a lot about the culture and attitude of some in management”.

    Delegates from the Community and Public Sector Union and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance had written to ABC management to request a room for an end-of-year meeting with McManus.

    But in a letter to the delegates, the ABC’s director of people and community, Rebekah Donaldson, said it was “inappropriate” for McManus to hold a meeting inside the ABC, so organisers planned to hold the lunchtime meeting outside, at the back of the building.


    • It was a stunt by FauxMo. How dare he use a tragic death for political campaigning!

      Today the PMO tweeted FauxMo’s insincere scrawl in the condolence book. Being a cynic I have to mention that he has not tweeted via @thepmo for a month, which has been noticed in the Twitterverse, but he or his minders just had to do it today. Despicable!

      I’m wondering if FauxMo had ever been to Pellegrini’s before. I’d say not. (Me? Yes, I have, years ago, last time I was in Melbourne.)

  35. Home safe after our round trip to Geelong. Exhausted. Razz just went to sleep at the kitchen table. Early night tonight. Thanks for all the info we missed out on while away.

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