1,086 thoughts on “Welcome to 2020 …

  1. Thank goodness!

    Incredible, secret firefighting mission saves famous ‘dinosaur trees’

    Desperate efforts by firefighters on the ground and in the air have saved the only known natural grove of the world-famous Wollemi pines from destruction during the record-breaking bushfires in NSW.

    The rescue mission involved water-bombing aircraft and large air tankers dropping fire retardant. Helicopters also winched specialist firefighters into the remote gorge to set up an irrigation system to increase the moisture content of the ground fuels to slow the advance of any fire.

    “It was like a military-style operation,” NSW Environment and Energy Minister Matt Kean told the Herald. “We just had to do everything.”

    While most of the Wollemi National Park has been burnt by the huge Gospers Mountain fire north-west of Sydney, specialist remote-area fire crews managed to ensure the so-called “dinosaur trees” survived.

    “Wollemi National Park is the only place in the world where these trees are found in the wild and, with less than 200 left, we knew we needed to do everything we could to save them,” Mr Kean said.

    The National Parks and Wildlife Service, backed by the Rural Fire Service, kept their efforts largely a secret to avoid revealing the location of the Wollemi pines


  2. BRILLIANT news!

    However, I’m concerned about the photos – will make it very easy for vandals to strike.

  3. I have not watched the video but suspect the supplied still photos from the air are actually taken well away from the site. After so much thought going into it you’d have to think someone would have taken ‘Google Earth” into account.

  4. The government minister who runs the NDIS has claimed no one has died waiting for the scheme, despite the agency saying more than 1,200 people have died before they received a scheme plan and the prime minister describing those same figures as “unacceptable”.

    In a response to a question on notice, the National Disability Insurance Agency told Senate estimates that between 2016 and 2019 1,279 people died “between submitting an access request and receiving supports under the National Disability Insurance Scheme”.

    But quizzed about the figures, which were first published by News Corp on Wednesday morning, Stuart Robert told 2GB they were “not even remotely correct” and that “no one has passed away waiting for the NDIS”.

    “The reporting today that people have tragically passed away, the fact that they’ve passed away of course is correct, but no one has passed away waiting for the NDIS,” Robert said.


    And said Mr Robert: “no one has passed away waiting for his Rolex.”

  5. More scary details about the Evangelical nutters in the WH.

    The Evangelicals Who Pray for War With Iran

    …..Pompeo and Pence reportedly were the top officials pushing Trump to kill Soleimani. They’re also devout evangelicals and major allies of CUFI. ………………….2006 book, Jerusalem Countdown, Hagee imagined an elaborate scenario in which a U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran would trigger an “inferno [that] will explode across the Middle East, plunging the world toward Armageddon.” Faced with scrutiny over his apocalyptic theology, he strained to create a discrete image for his new political organization, insisting that his extensive writings on biblical prophecy about the Rapture and Second Coming were distinct from CUFI’s lobbying agenda.


    • Kaffeeklatscher,

      One of the many things that really annoys me about evangelicals is that they are SO in favour of End Times. Because – if they are wrong – as they may well be, they are condemning a lot of us to purgatory. However – here’s a thought:

      IF the evangelicals get what they want, we eat them.

      Why let a well-fed source of protein go to waste?

    • Boris would know exactly what a bong is. He probably thinks he’s being funny.

      What Boris doesn’t seem to know – Big Ben is not affected by the restoration work and still rings on Remembrance Day and at New Year. So what was he planning to do with the money? Go on holiday to Hawaii?

  6. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    In a scathing report the Australian National Audit Office has found that the government used sporting grants as slush fund for re-election campaign. Not at all surprising with this mob!
    Katie Burgess explains how the big novelty cheque from Georgina Downer sparked the ANAO investigation.
    And in similar vein the government is refusing to release documents relating to its trouble-plagued $200m regional grants program, claiming release would not inform debate on a “matter of public importance”.
    John Hewson gives Morrison some sage advice over managing climate change.
    The Grattan Institute says that the bushfire crisis might be the turning point on climate politics that Australian needs.
    The Coalition’s decision to axe funding to a climate change adaptation research body in 2017 has left Australia “not well positioned” to deal with fires, the “silent killer” of drought and other global heating impacts, its director has said.
    David Crowe tells us that Liberal backbenchers have stepped up calls for greater action on climate change ahead of talks of new policy measures within weeks, backing a blunt warning from a senior minister to “move on” from arguments about whether global warming is real.
    Amy Remeikis tells us what certain Coalition trogs have to say on the matter.
    The outpouring of assistance from both domestic and overseas volunteers in fighting our bushfires has shown more spirit than our nation’s leaders, writes Noely Neate.
    The bushfires make fiscal stimulus an even more urgent task for the Morrison government puts Greg Jericho.
    Economic estimates don’t account for tragic bushfire toll explains John Quiggin.
    An exasperated John Birmingham debunks the rubbish arguments being put forward in support of not responding to climate change.
    Peter Lewis reckons the poll surprise is that Scott Morrison’s popularity hasn’t taken an even bigger hit.
    Australia can no longer afford to have such an incompetent and disgraceful Federal Government writes Peter Henning.
    Tomago Aluminium has told the state government that rising energy prices could have a significant impact on its NSW operations, which uses 10 per cent of the state’s power.
    Australia’s remarkable prosperity rests on a balancing act. It mines coal, natural gas and iron ore from a vulnerable landscape. It takes ever more money from China while allied with the U.S. military. The New Daily examines our balancing act.
    Andrew Galloway explains how tourism hot spots unaffected by the bushfire crisis have been hit with cancellation rates of more than 60 per cent as Australians decide to stay at home.
    Morrison is still defying the tide of external forces against thermal coal.
    Following on from the rather direct comments from the Aged Care Royal Commissioner, state health and aged care ministers say they are concerned by the federal government “rushing to privatise” aged care assessments for elderly Australians.
    James Murdoch’s frustration at News Corp’s climate coverage reflects how peripheral he has become to the media empire he once seemed destined to control says Matthew Knott.
    The SMH editorial is concerned about what might happen in the West as a result of Trump’s action on Iran.
    Paul Haywood rites that staging tennis matches on a day when Victoria’s state Environment Protection Authority advised people to stay indoors and “avoid exercise” was not the smartest move Tennis Australia has made.
    The letters to the SMH editor make for interesting reading as they see through Morrison so clearly.
    John Warhurst opines that the Catholic Church has learned very few lessons when it comes to secrecy.
    Meanwhile Brisbane’s Catholic Archbishop has hit out at proposed laws that would compel Queensland priests to report the confessions of child abusers.
    Melissa Cunningham outlines how a syphilis epidemic is hitting parts of Melbourne.
    Matthew Knott reports that the US and China have declared an official truce in their two-year long trade war, signing a “phase one” trade deal at the White House.
    I think Stuart Robert has done more than enough to qualify him for nomination for “Arsehole of the Week”.

    Cartoon Corner

    Andrew Dyson

    Matt Golding

    Alan Moir

    Cathy Wilcox

    David Pope

    Four posters for some great analogies to Morrison’s climate change pronouncements.

    Leak puts the boot into Turnbull.

    From the US

  7. Finally tuned out of the 24 hour emergency fire watch for the last couple of days, although I am keeping an eye on things. Tuned into abc/rn and have been impressed with Tom Tilley and his excellent handling of the so called government ministers that try to spin and crap on.

  8. I fear the latest letter from current emergency chiefs to the government will be ignored, just like all the other letters, requests for meetings and warnings about the catastrophic fire season we would face this summer were ignored.

    Firefighters say bushfire budget cuts cost lives and homes

    Firefighters say they are becoming more traumatised on the frontline of the bushfire crisis knowing they could have saved more lives and homes had they been properly resourced.

    In a letter to the Morrison government, emergency chiefs claim some fire preparation works were being performed by crews two-thirds of the size smaller than usual.

    The six emergency union chiefs who signed the letter have called on the bushfires to be considered a “national problem” as they urge a full inquiry into how states and territories budgeted for the season


  9. Bridget has no concept of morality

    Bridget McKenzie has refused to rule out using publicly funded grants programs to target marginal electorates as she defends her decision to favour Coalition-held and target marginal seats for $100m of sports grants.

    The deputy Nationals leader and former sports minister has also suggested that Coalition seats could gain more again in future funding rounds, after a spike in applications from those seats.


  10. Another Australian retailer goes into administration.

    Jeanswest collapses into administration putting nearly 1,000 jobs at risk
    The clothing retailer is the latest Australian brand to succumb in recent weeks to low consumer spending

    When is this government going to join a few dots and work out keeping wages low is killing more than just retail sales?

    Remember Cormann admitting low wages were deliberate policy?
    Low wages: ‘A deliberate design feature’

  11. Who stole our rain? Went to bed around 9pm hoping to wake up to the sound of rain on the roof. Nothing. Hope the areas that got it make good use of it.

  12. She wants to screw the APS now

    The former foreign minister Julie Bishop has taken a job with financing group Greensill, which specialises in the controversial practice of reverse factoring.

    Reverse factoring, also known as supply chain finance, is a practice where suppliers to big business can get paid early by a company such as Greensill in return for a fee.

    The Greensill founder, Lex Greensill, would like to expand the idea to take in wages, and in November met with the prime minister, Scott Morrison, to suggest it could be applied to the 150,000 people working for the commonwealth public service.


    • So if FauxMo likes the idea a fee will have to be paid to this shonky company which sounds like a pay-day loan shark for big business. That fee will have to be paid for by sacking public servants or by refusing the next pay increase.

      Just the sort of shonkery I’d expect Jules to go for. She’s just a high-priced business tart, selling her dubious services to the highest bidder. Doesn’t she have enough money already? She gets a lavish parliamentary pension now as well as whatever she has stashed in her superannuation and her family trust, and yet she wants more.

      Jules was useless as foreign affairs minister, her staff and speech writers created an illusion of competence and the media promoted her shamelessly simply because of her wardrobe.

      There was never any ability there to justify her lavish ministerial salary and all those perks including VIP jets across Australia to attend Liberal Party dinners, trips around the country following her favourite football team and romantic weekends at the polo and the races, all with The Handbag. And yet now she’s in demand because of her links to the government.

      I believe Bishop hired a stylist around 2013 and re-created herself from a daggy member of the opposition with a truly awful haircut to a very glamorous fashion plate minister. You can tell when this new look started – Jules started wearing dangly over-sized pearl earrings instead of more discreet studs.

      Notice the difference?
      Before the makeover –

      Since leaving parliament –

      An awful lot of work has been done on that face, and I’m not talking about makeup artists.

  13. I think this article about the funeral of Wilson Gavin is very good. Appropriately respectful, and shows pretty clear indications of how his family feels without bringing about further pain.


    In the end, I hope that this story can provide a lesson that would prevent other young people like him from going down the same path to a long premature death. Namely that hatred politics is not worth it.

    • “Conservative family in denial, damage control after son’s embarrassing suicide”
      (Written, spoken and authorised by the LNP, Brisbane.)

      Student’s family writes of his ‘desire to make the world better’ and acknowledges he occasionally got his approach ‘wrong’

      Yep, the LNP are renowned for their “desire to make the world better”, “compassion”, “sense of justice” etc.
      Pull the other one!

      (Also, “The Member for Manila flees Taal volcano, deletes Twitter account”.)

    • No-one likes to hear about young people committing suicide, it always brings up too many awful questions, too many “if only he had ….” thoughts. But I really have to question the things said by Wilson Gavin’s parents who seemed very keen to make out none of their son’s problems were in any way their fault.

      The family implied he had been lured into party activities by older political “mentors” and then dumped when he was no longer of use, and implied that’s why he committed suicide.

      I think their whole spiel was intended to make themselves feel better about this sad death. I understand why they would do that, i understand how devastated they must be by their son’s death, but I also know denial when I see it.

      The young man joined the UQ Liberal National Club. No-one joins a group like that – too appalling even for the LNP, who disaffiliated it last month – if they are compassionate, have a kind heart and want to make the world a better place. No-one joins a group like that if they are having huge problems dealing with their own sexuality. Young people join because they are hate-filled bigots who want to force their opinions on everyone else.

      Wilson Gavin was an associate of Barclay McGain, former Gold Coast Young LNP chair, who was suspended last month by the LNP for making a racist video.


      Here’s a photo of Barclay and Wilson, taken on the Gold Coast on the night that video was made.

      And here’s Wilson abusing a drag queen just days ago – it’s not the photo the media are using in their kind “he was such a lovely young man” stories. That photo shows a younger Wilson taken during his 2017 campaign against same sex marriage. It makes him look lie a nice private school student, not an older LNP thug with a passing resemblance to FauxMo.

      Obviously the Gavin parents did not try to dissuade their son from his Young LNP actions, I’d say they fully supported him. Now they are trying to make us believe it was all someone else’s fault he was so conflicted.

      A bit of honesty would have been nice, but they even had a go at his aunt, the woman who posted about this death on Twitter before the media got hold of the story.

      The family also took aim at people who had described Gavin as a “deeply troubled young man”, stating those people never knew him

      I’d say his aunt knew him well and maybe understood him more than his parents ever did. Now she gets her reward – public castigation. What charming parents!

  14. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    David Crowe reckons Australians are losing their patience with Morrison over climate change.
    Former News Corp executive Bruce Dover writes about James Murdoch proving a “Prince Harry” moment for the Murdoch family. He concludes with, “If only James had prevailed in the dynastic competition with his eldest brother, the editorial line adopted by the myriad entities that still compromise the Murdoch empire might be very different.”
    Alexandra Smith reports that Bega MP Andrew Constance is pleading for cash donations and government hand-outs to start flowing to devastated bushfire communities. He says aid is coming too slowly.
    Tony Akhurst opines that the fires could melt the PM’s anti-establishment vote back into the earth.
    Financial counselling representative Elizabeth Minter tells us how some of the most predatory companies thrive in times of disaster. She singles out insurance claims management services (not the insurers) and payday loan companies.
    In a long assessment Zoe Samios contends that while some readers may share the views of denialist columnists, businesses including advertising clients of News Corp are now being hurt financially by perceptions the company has not evolved with the times.
    Samantha Dick writes that as Australia burns, speculation is growing that the sheer scale of the disaster might be the push News Corp needs to renounce denialism and change its partisan coverage of climate change.
    Professor of Politics John Keane has penned an essay on bushfires, Scott Morrison and the decline of democracy.
    And she writes that Australia’s media regulator has raised concerns about the disclosure of commercial deals on television and radio after finding eight out of 10 Australians are worried about the influence of advertisers on news.
    Investment in large-scale clean energy projects plunged 56 per cent in Australia last year, dropping to their lowest level since 2016 amid renewed uncertainty over the industry’s future. Thanks for this go to the cabal of Coalition troglodytes wielding their influence.
    At least 80% of the Blue Mountains world heritage area and more than 50% of the Gondwana world heritage rainforests have burned in Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis.
    The hopeless Bridget McKenzie is still defending her sports cash splash in marginal seats.
    The SMH editorial piles into McKenzie and her sports grants.
    Katie Burgess reports that a former director of public prosecutions says McKenzie’s misuse of sports grants highlights the need for a federal integrity commission.
    Labor MP Graham Perrett has complained about the politicisation of the Coalition’s controversial $100m community sport infrastructure grant program after he was excluded from the announcement of a local grant he’d lobbied for while his Liberal opponent was invited for a photo opportunity.
    Michael Pascoe says that Minister McKenzie spits in the face of decency, ethics and every decent Australian. Ouch!
    Nine Media’s staff reporters have put together a piece explain what real action against climate change is.
    The Business Council of Australia is having trouble holding on to some of its big members as a result of its stance on climate change.
    According to Tony Burke arguing against the science of climate change is similar to not accepting the merit of vaccinations.
    Peter Hannam writes that record levels of renewable energy have driven the first drop in Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions since 2015 but if maintained the rate of decline would mean the country’s Paris pledge would be met 68 years late.
    Associate Professor in Disaster and Emergency Response Erin Smith explains why to improve firefighters’ mental health, we can’t wait for them to reach out – we need to ‘reach in’.
    Euan Black sees no end – and little hope – in sight for retailing’s massive bloodbath.
    Adelaide’s In Daily reveals that when the State Government selected KordaMentha to overhaul Adelaide’s central health system, it chose the only tender applicant that offered no economic benefit to South Australia, InDaily can reveal.
    The business model for most electricity suppliers is becoming outdated with advancements in smart technology, writes Paul Budde.
    NSW’s ICAC has written to Berejiklian government ministers requiring them to disclose details about how they interact with paid political lobbyists. Stand by for some weasel words!
    According to Mike Foley Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are likely to rise if there is a break in the intense drought in eastern Australia, sinking the Morrison government’s goal of lowering emissions in the short term.
    Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has defended his decision to start qualifying rounds on Tuesday when Melbourne was blanketed with thick smoke.
    Our government’s military spending and waste of money are under scrutiny at a time when our bushfire crisis requires financial resources, writes Tarric Brooker pointing at the EA-18G Growler as a prime example,
    Hockey’s welcome to stay in Trump’s America AFAIAC!
    Westpac has been linked to an international paedophilia case following the arrest of a notorious Australian sex offender who is suspected of using the bank’s transfer system to pay for live-streamed child abuse videos in south-east Asia.
    Washington: The White House violated federal law by withholding security aid approved by lawmakers for Ukraine, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog said yesterday, in a blow for US Trump as the Senate prepared to hold a trial on whether to remove him from office.
    Right on cue as the impeachment proceedings kick off Ukrainian authorities have announced a probe into possible surveillance of US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch before she was dismissed from her post by the Trump administration.
    The Guardian says that the Republican campaign against Sanders would be gruesome. The likely result would look like Labour’s defeat under Corbyn.
    Simply by defying the tabloids, Meghan has already beaten them writes Zoe Williams.

    Cartoon Corner

    Mark David

    David Pope

    Andrew Dyson

    Matt Golding

    Johannes Leak just won’t let up!

    From the US

  15. Lenore is not letting go

    The Coalition cabal who apparently still call the shots thinks climate science is “voodoo”. They’re impervious to facts. They are already threatening, via anonymous quotes to the Australian, to “blow the place up”. Again. Just like they’ve been blowing up national climate action for more than a decade.


  16. Kirsdarke at 9.58 last night.

    Respect – very well observed and well written.

    It would be a significant improvement to ‘society’ in general if everyone, particularly vulnerable people of all ages, could understand that “… hatred politics is not worth it.”

  17. HoJo wants to stay in the US – Good!

    They are welcome to him. He will be living off his wife’s money anyway, so who cares where he does it. (Apart from the generous pension we pay him for sitting in parliament doing bugger all for almost 20 years, of course, but that is hardly adequate for HoJo’s now Trumpian tastes.)

    “This is the modern Rome,” Hockey said of the US capital. “We’re going through a tumultuous period and I want to be in the thick of it.”

    That shows how little he knows his ancient history.

    Rome was a mess from start to finish, a rotten, corrupt place relying on slavery to get things done, ruled by an upper class famous for their lunacy.

    Is HoJo likening the clearly insane or senile (possibly both) Trump to a Roman emperor? If so, which one?

    The insane Caligula, maybe, who wanted to make his horse a consul, thought he was a god and demanded his people worship him?

    Or maybe HoJo means Commodus, also notoriously insane, who also thought he was a god and took great delight in entertaining the plebs by spending his mornings killing animals and his afternoons fighting gladiators. Eventually his insanity became too much for his prefects to bear and they had him strangled in his bath,

    Maybe HoJo is thinking of that other famous wall-builder, Hadrian, who, like Trump, built a wall to keep foreign barbarians out. The difference there is Hadrian finished his wall and did such a great job that parts of it are still standing, unlike Trump’s incomplete wall that has already been hacked to pieces.

    Or does HoJo have someone else in mind? Julius Caesar, maybe, not an emperor, just a dictator, who became so hated his own senate did him in. I definitely see a Trump parallel there.

    I see many more similarities between present-day Washington and ancient Rome, none of them reassuring and nothing that would ever make me want to live there. But HoJo has never been known for his intelligence, has he.

    And what will HoJo do if Trump is not re-elected? He’s not going to want to live in a USA with a Democrat for a president, is he. Maybe he will move to the UK and suck up to BoJo, but only if She Who Controls The Money agrees, of course. I suspect she is the real reason HoJo is staying in the US. She doesn’t want to leave Washington.

    Here’s the tightly-corseted and rather orange-looking HoJo and his freshly spray-tanned wife Melisa Babbage arriving at the White House for the State Dinner Trump held for FauxMo.

    • HoJo was a pig in shit in Washington. His current job of earning lots pf money while drinking free booze, eating free food and talking bullshit would be a dream job for a lazy bugger like him. A career in lobbying in Washington will see him able to continue that lifestyle.

    • Living high on the hog –

      Joe Hockey hits taxpayers with $45,000 garden party bill – but we aren’t allowed to know who went

      It was modestly billed as “a barbecue and a few drinks among friends”, though it was hardly just a slab of VB and a few snags in the backyard.

      As part of Scott Morrison’s US State visit in September last year, Australia’s ambassador Joe Hockey laid on an afternoon garden party at his Washington residence for 350 VIPs representing business, politics and showbiz across both nations.

      Now documents obtained by The New Daily reveal Australian taxpayers picked up the full $45,650 tab for the event, including $7690 for “entertainment” and another $25,469 for catering and security. The bill also includes around $13,000 in set-up costs.

      But the guest list is being kept secret


  18. Look at the date this was tweeted – right in the middle of the last election campaign.

    We all know why that money was given but it was wasted, not even lavish pork barrelling could save Abbott.

  19. The Morrison government has missed its own deadline to release its integrity commission legislation for consultation, with Christian Porter refusing to commit to a timeline for its passage.

    The independent crossbencher Zali Steggall said the McKenzie sports grant revelations were further proof of the “urgent need” for a federal body capable of investigating the actions of commonwealth MPs and ministers.

    However, the attorney general held firm to the need for “extensive consultation”, declaring it will “take as long as necessary”, dashing hopes the Morrison government will move quickly to establish the body, despite Porter’s promise to release the draft bill before the end of last year.

    Porter admitted the government had missed its self-imposed deadline, as it faces a fight winning over members of its own backbench who remain concerned the two-tier proposal won’t hold ministers and MPs to account.


  20. FMD.


    …………………….We should definitely consider the possibility that the neocons don’t know what they’re talking about. And yet, here we are, with those self-same neocons again helping shape our foreign policy in delusional and dangerous ways.

    THE CONTINUED SELF-CONFIDENCE of neoconservatives like Wurmser is particularly odd given how all their beliefs were proven disastrously wrong in Iraq.


  21. Another day another “HoJo the Trump Whisperer” puff piece in ‘Fairfax” papers. You’d almost think he’d hired them as a PR agent to launch a career in the ‘new Rome’ as a consultant/lobbyist.

  22. Who to Blame for Australia’s Bullshit Approach to Climate Change.

    As the smoke begins to clear on 10.3 million hectares of charred earth, many Australians have started asking questions. The largest natural disaster in the country’s history has left over two dozen people dead; over a billion native animals dead or dying, along with tens of thousands of livestock; and some species pushed to the point of extinction.

    Now people are asking: “Why?”


  23. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Laura Tingle questions the competence of Morrison’s government and throws in the disgraceful saga of Bridget McKenzie.
    Those who lost homes during the state’s ravaging bushfires may face higher than expected re-building costs because of the need to comply with tougher standards, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has warned.
    Lisa Visentin reports that the Berejiklian government is embroiled in a sporting grants slush fund controversy, with figures showing it splashed the bulk of its $33.4 million program on Liberal electorates. Seems to be de riguer these days.
    Bridget McKenzie is poised to face fresh parliamentary scrutiny over her role in administering a $100 million government “slush fund”, amid growing calls for the Nationals deputy leader to stand down. There’s one particular spreadsheet that she’s going to have trouble from hiding from.
    Michael Pascoe poses a pertinent question which is, “What did Morrison know about the sports funding scandal?” He says senior Coalition figures had to be involved, had to approve, have to be in this muck up to their corrupt eyeballs.
    Peter FitzSimons says Bridget should get the red card.
    The Canberra Times says that a brazen offence like McKenzie’s is deserving of action.
    Angus Livingston tells us that Zali Steggall wants to push ahead with a national anti-corruption body after comparing the Morrison government’s $100 million sports grants scandal to the Australian cricket team’s ball-tampering disgrace.
    On this subject Amy Remeikis reports that the Morrison government has missed its own deadline to release its integrity commission legislation for consultation, with Christian Porter refusing to commit to a timeline for its passage.
    Katie Burgess reports that Pressure grows on Bridget McKenzie over sports grants as more footage appears of candidates offering giant cheques.
    The Guardian reveals that the Morrison government awarded a $500,000 sports grant in the rural Victorian seat of Mallee a year and a half after it was first rejected – when the seat became hotly contested due to the resignation of Nationals MP Andrew Broad.
    Senior lecturer in law Maria O’Sullivan examines the ramifications of the ANAO report into McKenzie’s sports grants.
    The SMH editorial says that speed is critical in supporting bushfire victims.
    Matthew Knott lets us know about something useful Joe Hockey did in the US.
    Rob Harris has some thoughts on whether Morrison can seize the opportunity to do something positive about climate change,
    Ross Garnaut provides Morrison with a path to zero emissions.
    Crispin Hull agitates for a decent royal commission into Australia’s climate change policy.
    John McDuling is concerned that corporate Australia looks vulnerable to a global climate backlash.
    Professor of Ecology David Watson tells climate change denialists to get on board, stop fiddling and start fixing.
    Lenore Taylor has had enough and writes that if the bushfires won’t force climate policy change, we need to circumvent Scott Morrison.
    Mark Zanker looks at the effects of ignorance towards climate change and what we can possibly do to stop destroying the planet.
    The PM has let the climate cat out of the bag – and there’s no putting it back says Paula Matthewson who thinks Morrison is too clever by half.
    While Australia clings to coal, global investors are moving to abandon it – not necessarily for ethical reasons, but because of the risk writes Nick O’Malley.
    Mungo MacCallum thinks Morrison has turned his back on the surplus.
    Eryk Bagshaw reports that Liberal Party members now face being hauled before third-party investigators and committees for sexual harassment, insults, or posts on social media under the first national code of conduct in the party’s history.
    Ross Gittins explores the rumblings of change within the economics community.
    Cara Waters and Emma Koehn explain how, fed up with government inaction, companies are trying to lead Australia to a greener future.
    The secondary ecological damage from the bushfires is illustrated by what is happening to the Macleay River.
    Tim Soutphommasane explains how the law against racial hatred can’t be used to stop the advocacy of Nazism.
    Greg Baum laments that there is no sport like tennis for selling its soul.
    New Zealand voters must prepare for an ugly culture war this election writes Bryce Edwards.
    According to Jonathan Freedland Trump’s is the third impeachment in US history and no case has been stronger.
    Oh no! Matthew Knott reports that Donald Trump will make visiting Australia one of his top priorities if he wins re-election in November, according to one of the US President’s most senior advisers.

    Cartoon Corner

    Alan Moir

    Matt Golding

    Simon Letch

    Matt Davidson

    Andrew Dyson

    Mark David

    Sean Leahy

    From the US

  24. Anyone who hangs out here would know I have no time for professional sports of any kind, I loathe the whole thing, from football to cricket to swimming and international athletics carnivals. I’d like to see the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games ditched, they serve no purpose except to foster jingoism and are a huge drain on the economies of the host nations. We should be over 19th century bread and circuses distractions by now.

    But –

    This special report from the Daily Telegraph is damning of the government’s priorities for sports spending and of FauxMo’s carefully cultivated and very fake image as a sports lover, and is well worth a read.

    FauxMo, before the last election, insisted the money needed for elite sports was not there, but that did not stop him giving Bridget McKenzie bags of cash to shower on marginal electorates. Now it’s all coming back to bite him on his bum, with even the raggiest of the Murdoch rags getting irate.

    Tokyo Olympics 2020: Cash-strapped Aussie athletes shocked by government funding revelations
    Julian Linden, The Daily Telegraph
    January 17, 2020 7:44pm
    Subscriber only

    When he’s having the Test cricket team over for dinner at Kirribilli House or running the water bottles for the national rugby league side or sitting in the stands at Shark Park with his jersey on, Scott Morrison looks every inch the cheerleading captain that the Australian sporting public expects from a Prime Minister.

    That’s what Australia’s cash-strapped Olympians thought, too, before they finally got to meet him behind closed doors when the cameras weren’t rolling.

    Facing financial ruin and the real threat of depression just for the chance of representing their country, around 300 of Australia’s greatest Olympians and Paralympians signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to reverse the funding cuts that are strangling high-performance sport.

    With the Federal Election looming, the two athlete representatives – former Wallabies captain Phil Kearns and Olympic gold medallist Kim Brennan – were both genuinely hopeful, but they left the meeting disappointed.

    Morrison listened to the harrowing tales they told him about the day-to-day struggles Australia’s athletes face but he told them there just wasn’t enough spare cash around to help them and high-performance sport just wasn’t a high priority.

    This week Australians found out exactly what those priorities were with the release of a damning report by the auditor-general.

    It revealed the former federal sports minister Bridget McKenzie had splashed out millions of dollars on sports grants in targeted marginal seats after rejecting hundreds of recommendations from Sport Australia on other programs that needed funding.

    As shocking as the revelations were, no one in Australian sport was the least bit shocked because they’d seen this coming a long time ago and have been shouted down as overpaid, pampered puppies every time they’ve dared to stick their hand out.

    “A lot of athletes out there should feel really disappointed in what this Government’s done,” Kearns told The Saturday Telegraph.

    “It’s not surprising because it was clear when we first started this campaign that the Morrison Government didn’t give two hoots, really, about sport unless it was going to be advantageous to them politically,” he claimed. “This is another slap in the face to all genuine athletes who have the potential to go to the Olympics and be future Olympians.”

    The Government’s done a slick job ignoring pleas from athletes for help and showing bias when it comes to where sports funding needs to go.

    But ordinary Australians know the problems struggling athletes face are real and crippling for them and their families.

    Sport is part of Australia’s DNA yet a special investigation by The Daily Telegraph revealed our best athletes are battling serious mental health issues, uncertain futures and major financial problems because they’ve been left to pick up the bill because of the Government’s funding cuts.

    The Daily Telegraph has spoken to dozens of Australian athletes who hardly have enough money left over to feed themselves or are sleeping on lounges and having to walk to training because they can’t afford to pay for transport.

    Many are missing out on sleep because they’re working part-time jobs around the clock while shooter James Willett’s parents sold their family farm in the midst of one of the worst droughts in years to fund their son’s sporting dreams.

    “There are a lot of stories out there,” Kearns said.

    “I know families who have had to sell their car to be able to send their kids off to sporting events. I know the girls in the boxing team who are selling T-shirts on Facebook to try and get enough funding to try and get to the Olympics.

    “These athletes are not wealthy. Most of them are living hand to mouth and it’s not fair that we don’t treat our athletes with the respect that we deserve. So many people give up a whole lot of money to ensure their kids can achieve their dreams, and the Government just putting (funding) into where it doesn’t really need to go is just a slap in the face for people who are really struggling.”

    The Australian Olympic Committee says funding has been slashed by 20 per cent in real terms over the past eight years, which has resulted in a sharp decline in Australia’s performance at the Olympics.

    After finishing fourth on the medals table at Athens in 2004, Australia plummeted to 10th at Rio in 2016 while other nations are laughing in our faces and increasing their funding levels because of the community benefits sport provides.

    The AOC asked the Government for a comparatively modest $60 million extra per year to get back to previous levels — not just for elite athletes but also to increase community participation and reduce obesity levels. It was told there just wasn’t any extra dough to go around.

    Then they had their noses publicly rubbed in when the Government unveiled a $385 million sports package in the pre-election budget.

    That included around $100 million to feather the nests of the most popular professional sports already backed by billion dollar broadcast deals and $100 million for “grassroots” sports, which the Opposition now claims was used for cynical “pork-barrelling”.

    A two-time Rugby World Cup winner who has experienced first-hand the positive impact sporting success has on Australians, Kearns said he fears the Government won’t loosen the purse strings unless there’s a political advantage to be gained.

    That will come just before the next election — with Southeast Queensland bidding to host the 2032 Olympics — but Kearns said it could backfire much sooner if Australia bombs out at this year’s Tokyo Olympics and the Government once again did not act after being warned in advance.

    “Maybe at the next Olympics if we see the results and they’re disappointing, Scott Morrison might wake up then to how important sport is to this country,” Kearns said


  25. Your nasty government at work

    An Australian mother of five held in the deteriorating al-Hawl camp of northern Syria has been stripped of her citizenship – retroactive by three years – leaving two of her children potentially stateless and potentially permanently splitting her family.

    The woman, who held Australian and Lebanese citizenship, was informed by letter this week her citizenship has been extinguished, backdated more than three years.

    Three of her children were born in Australia and retain Australian citizenship: her two youngest children, born in Syria, are not able to claim Lebanese citizenship (which is passed through paternity) and have no documents to prove their nationality.

    Under international law, it is illegal for Australia, or any country, to make any person stateless.


  26. He’s ba-ack – (with the usual caveats)

    New rules 45:40

    Overtime – (geddit while it’s hot)

    Bryan Tyler Cohen –

  27. More words of wisdom from Elvis McWhatsisname –

    This time he tells us driving slower will reduce emissions.

    He said that the consultation draft called for a maximum 30km/h speed limit in “areas where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix in a frequen­t and planned manner” but allowed for higher speeds where there was evidence it would be safe.

    “Lower travel speeds can result­ in lower emissions from vehicles­ but only if traffic-slowing measures maintain smooth drivin­g and do not result in more ­acceleration,” Mr McCormack said


    The draft he refers to is a road safety agreement he is supposed to be signing in Stockholm (if he can find his way there without ending up in Saudi Arabia or Siberia) at the Global Ministerial Con­ference on Road Safety on February 19 and 20. He says his government had no part in creating the agreement.

    He’s sort of right – “experts” say slower, calmer driving will produce lower emissions, but the reasoning falls apart when you realise the slower you go the less emissions your vehicle produces so the way to produce the lowest emissions is to sit in your motionless car with the engine running. Or better still stay at home and don’t use the car.

    Wouldn’t it be better to demand an immediate phase-in of EVs instead of pursuing this nonsense about crawling down the highway to lower emissions?

    But wait – Elvis gets even more ridiculous.

    Just three weeks ago he had this to say about the very same agreement and its demand for slower speeds –

    “We don’t want to get into a nanny state situation where we are crawling around in cars at 30km/h when 50km/h is probably a more appropriate speed limit,” Mr McCormack said.

    “That’s the speed limit that Australian Ministers at a state level have agreed upon. That’s the level I think is a good speed limit. I mean the fact is, in some high streets, in some main streets, 40km/h would probably be applicable but 30km/h is a crawl.”


    So three weeks ago driving slower was a ridiculous, nanny-state idea and now it’s a wonderful idea because it will lower emissions. And this from a man who does not even believe emissions cause climate change, which he says is only something “woke capital city greenies” believe.

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