Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Many Pubsters are aware of John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations, which

… began as a blog in January 2013 because John Menadue was concerned about several important issues. The first was how good policy discussion was being crowded out by gamesmanship, personal gossip, faction fights devoid of content and a ‘gotcha’ media style. Second was the importance of political action which is so much discredited and derided by populists and conservatives.

Politics is about how power is exercised. It is a noble calling which must be restored in public estimation. The third was the preoccupation of Australian mainstream media with newsfeeds out of US and UK, to the neglect of media coverage and interest in our own region.

Those words “Politics … [i]s a noble calling which must be restored in public estimation” resonate strongly with me. The blatant venality and corruption so evident at every level of government in Australia is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I know many share my view. So I thought that it would be useful to make this new thread a tasting-plate of recent Pearls and Irritations articles that concern integrity (or lack thereof) in Australian governance.

See if budget creates a future, and beware of dirty tricks!
By JACK WATERFORD | On 6 October 2020

Close observers of Tuesday’s federal Budget will no doubt have their eyes out for evidence of the usual political chicanery towards political donors, lobbyists and friendly interests, as well as mates, cronies and relatives of senior members of government, this time in the alleged cause of stimulating demand and picking winners in the post-Covid economy.

That eye is more necessary than ever before, if only because government has become more shameless, with less and less respect for evidence, proper process and transparency. But it is not the main game. This time about, indeed, there is a risk more serious than of government shovelling money towards its friends and cronies. It is that it will be doing too little, too conservatively, and with too little imagination and open mind, with the result that economic and social recovery will be delayed. Those who will suffer most from this timidity will be disproportionately the usual suspects: low-paid workers, casual workers and people in part-time work, pensioners and welfare beneficiaries — including the young, the aged, the disabled, indigenous Australians and many temporary workers, including overseas students. But the fabled little capitalist in “small business” — the people that the coalition pretends it is all about — will probably suffer more than most as well.
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Sports rorts and muddy waters
By IAN CUNLIFFE | On 8 October 2020

Last summer, just like much of the country, the federal political landscape was ablaze.  Scott Morrison was caught out taking a secret holiday in Hawaii; and those who weren’t evacuating from bushfires were very angry about sports rorts. 

One of the cunning ways by which Morrison and his Attorney-General, Christian Porter, sought to lower the temperature on sports rorts was to muddy the waters as to whether the whole exercise was illegal.

Many observers expected that the scandal would have blown over by now.  Those observers seem to have underestimated the deep impact that sports rorts affair had on many of John Howard’s old “battlers”. They were angered that wealthy clubs of the rich and famous got the grants which, according to Sport Australia’s careful analysis, battling clubs in the suburbs and the regions should have got.  Bridget McKenzie telling us that one tennis club is just the same as another – White City of White Cliffs?  Kooyong or Quambatook? – was just petrol on the fire.  (The Quambatook tractor pull is certainly better than Kooyong’s).
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“Disgraceful” Tudge puts him self above the law
By IAN CUNLIFFE | On 9 October 2020

Late last month, the Federal Court’s found that Minister, Alan Tudge engaged in criminal conduct by keeping an asylum-seeker in detention and depriving of his liberty for five days in defiance of an order by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal that the man be released. 

The Court described Tudge’s decision to deprive the man of his liberty as “disgraceful”, and said: “The minister cannot place himself above the law”:  “The minister has acted unlawfully.  His actions have unlawfully deprived a person of his liberty.  His conduct exposes him to both civil and potentially criminal sanctions, not limited to a proceeding for contempt.”
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Michael Pascoe: Forget the ‘Daz and Glad Show’, this is the real political scandal (The New Daily Oct 15, 2020)
By MICHAEL PASCOE | On 16 October 2020

It’s the secret sexual relationship that sells the ‘Daz and Glad Show’ and elevates it from being merely yet another corrupt NSW politician before the ICAC, but it also distracts punters from the much bigger scandal.

Disgraced former National Party MP Daryl Maguire’s litany of rackets and wheezes are impressive for their breadth and, sometimes, shallowness.
Skimming the Wagga Wagga RSL’s spending on cutlery. Really, Daryl?

For all his efforts though, it’s small beer, the work of a wannabe grifting on the fringes of a vastly more professional and richer industry devoted to influence peddling, insider knowledge and structural corruption.

Actually, it’s more than that: It’s an industry steadily undermining our democracy, weakening our institutions, entrenching and reinforcing privilege.

Over time it perverts government and increases inequality. When insiders keep selling access and influence and the rich and powerful keep buying it and profiting from it, the citizens end up betrayed.

That is the core of the lobbying industry – selling access to politicians and senior bureaucrats, bending outcomes to their paymasters’ benefit. Those with the money get the inside run and the rest can go whistle, all the more so as the public service is intentionally run down.
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Morrison Government is running scared of a federal integrity body
By DAVID SOLOMON | On 16 October 2020

This week’s trials of Gladys Berejiklian only confirm the Morrison Government’s largely unspoken fears that a federal ICAC would do the government a lot more harm than good.

The Morrison Government, in theory, supports the creation of a federal version of NSW’s Independent Commission Against Commission. The proposal has been on the table for two years, following the belated (and agonised) decision of Labor nationally to include a federal ICAC among its policy objectives.

The political manoeuvrings over its creation demonstrate how resistant the Morrison Government really is to having a federal body with the powers of the NSW ICAC or Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission. Attorney-General Christian Porter is supposedly negotiating with cross-bench senators about the proposal – not with the ALP or the Greens, who have had their own legislative proposals for a strong ICAC-like body on the books for the past three Parliaments. But the cross-bench senators haven’t heard from the Attorney-General since he said he would begin talks with them.
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Why the resistance to a national anti-corruption commission?
By IAN CUNLIFFE | On 16 October 2020

Scott Morrison and Christian Porter are insisting that a new federal integrity body could not look at old corruption. What is that about? Is it because there are skeletons in too many people’s closet? Is it the extent to which Alexander Downer and other senior officials benefitted financially from their activities during the Australian Government’s shenanigans on behalf of Woodside and others over oil and helium, which should always have been Timor-Leste’s, in the Timor Sea?

Preposing the case for the commission feels like pushing against one of those beautifully crafted doors that will open to the slightest touch. Everyone supports a federal anti-corruption commission, including 85% of the population. Federal Labor came out in support in January 2018.

In December that year, Prime Minister Morrison, with Attorney-General Christian Porter at his side, announced he would move to establish one. An appropriate discount needs to be made for propensity of this Government to announce many more things than it ever gets around to doing. Indeed, the Big Announcement seemed to be a cunning ploy to buy time and do nothing. That seems a likely story with what Morrison and Porter called the Commonwealth Integrity Commission.
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The Gladys and Daryl Show. Having to squirm in open hearings acts as a disincentive to venality
By JACK WATERFORD | On 20 October 2020

If Gladys Berejiklian, and her ludicrous consort, have to take one for the team, let it not be for tiny misdemeanours but for being parties to a corrupted mindset of the spoils of public office.

One has only to look at the daily papers to see constant reminders of how the system is broke. There is a fresh scandal every other day. Beyond the Maguire (and Berejiklian) inquiry, or Hayne, we have seen in recent weeks a tribunal considering whether Crown Casino, and owners associated with it, such as James Packer, “are fit and proper people” to be allowed to operate in Sydney.
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Gladys’ arrogance paves the way for Federal ICAC
By MUNGO MACCALLUM | On 20 October 2020

The most remarkable thing about the revelation of Gladys Berejiklian’s love life was that it was remarkable at all.

It is quite incredible that every person in the Macquarie Street bubble – government, opposition, staff, journalists, lobbyists, innocent bystanders – was completely oblivious to the fact that once the day’s work was over, the premier and her paramour would regularly go off for a bit of bonking in the background.
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853 thoughts on “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  1. These journalists at the Dan Andrews briefing are idiots. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, as they’re serving a dual purpose, informing the public as to the finer points of the latest updates and, ahem, ‘scrutinising’ the Victorian government. But today has been ridiculous. They spent 20 minutes or so drilling down on the northern suburbs clusters, as to how specific and careful the health department are being in isolating cases and contacts; they were looking for any one specific thing that might have gone wrong in the interests of completeness and, for want of a better word, perfection in dealing with the breakout.

    Ok, fine. They expect a very high standard of care and accuracy. But they went straight from that to the decision on the Cox Plate. Basically, they tried to leverage the original decision to allow up to 1000 people to attend the event – not punters, I believe, but those associated with the event – into an argument for everywhere else to open up, “for fairness sake”. That original decision was reversed, but they continued to argue the point as if it still stood, or as if it was the relevant one to proceed from. In other words, because that was the original idea, “surely you can also allow…” Three points at least on that:

    1. Based on their previous interest in whether the Vic Govt were keeping the northern suburbs safe, I would have thought they’d have been more interested in preserving restrictions around groups gathering, and have approached the Cox Plate in that way. But they were clamouring for re-opening for other gatherings instead. It’s contradictory.

    2. The decision was reversed. The reason it was reversed was not that it was the wrong one from a health perspective (although I note Andrews is calling it the ‘wrong’ decision when he refers to it). It was all based around public expectations. They decided it was the wrong ‘look’ and possibly that it would encourage people to flout the rules in other areas. There was never any chance of those 1000 gathering at the same time; it was over the course of the day, in different areas of the racecourse. I can’t imagine it’s much different to 1000 people passing through a shopping area over a few hours.

    3. The difference between this and, in the example they used, religious gatherings, is clear and obvious. As Andrews pointed out, the Cox Plate is a one-off event, and to the greater extent outdoors. Religious gatherings are not only weekly, but there are hundreds of them happening all over the city, and they occur indoors, where there’s a higher risk of infection. How are you going to monitor and regulate that?

    In sum: the journalists regularly switch from “You’re not being safe enough,” to “You’re not opening up fast enough,” and behave as if these logical inconsistencies are entirely appropriate. They also do this from a position of ‘uninformed punter’, regularly misconstruing or misinterpreting what they’ve already been told in great detail.

    To be clear – I’m all for a media presence at these briefings, and I think proper scrutiny of what’s going on is a good thing. We get that about a quarter of the time, by my reckoning, and I welcome it. The rest of it comprises inaccurate claims from reporters that Andrews and whoever is with him on the day have to put straight. My most common comment when watching is not, “Oh, what a gotcha question” but “He’s already said that, weren’t you listening?” Amplifying that somewhat is Andrews’ tendency to over-explain in the interest of completeness. When he re-answers a question, he re-answers ALL of it, not just the part that needs addressing. That requirement for repetition, often within one session but more commonly from day to day, is what’s most frustrating.

    • Razz and I could both probably rattle off everything Dan has said at most pressers because the others in the room don’t seem to listen the first time around. He has to repeat it many times over.

      We look forward to Sundays, usually has something new to announce. He has already fore warned the press that he’ll probably be only doing every second or third day soon, but I will bet our house on the fact that there will be uproar the day he doesn’t turn up as usual.

    • In other news, covid19 cases globally are still accelerating, and showing no signs of plateauing. There was 437,441 new cases yesterday. Europe seems to be doing the worst: 193K new cases alone came from there. Plus whatever Sweden had, as they don’t appear to be publishing daily cases at the moment for some reason. The Americas had about 140K. Asia was 98K, over half of which came from India alone. Africa are still fairly unaffected, with 10.5K cases all up yesterday. Deaths are steady. They bounce around between 4K and 6k per day, close to plateauing but no sign of reducing.

      49 countries world-wide registered more than a thousand new cases yesterday. That’s a lot. Another 51 countries on top of that had more than a hundred new cases.

      We really have been very lucky here in Australia. Our very, very worst day saw the same number of cases dozens of other countries are seeing every day. I honestly don’t think any government anywhere in the world ought to be criticised for a breakout of cases occurring; as should be obvious by now, it can get away from you very quickly. What they should be judged on is how they behave once it has happened. We’ve seen a stark difference from country to country as to how seriously they’ve taken the threat of coronavirus, and just how determined they were to control it once they realised they had an issue. That’s where Victoria really stepped up, as they’ve been the only Australian state so far to be seriously challenged with a breakout. I personally think that New South Wales will handle it just as well if it does happen; like us here in Victoria, if they start to see cases hitting 20/day (local transmission), that’s when they’ve got a situation. That’s when it gets out of control. Hopefully if that does happen they’ll go straight to closures, mandatory masks, restriction of movement and curfews. I think that’s the only way.

  2. For those asking, Christine Holgate did not receive one of the Cartier watches – they went to four senior managers who worked on a project which involved increasing the amount of banking people could do at post offices.

    It appears, at least from what I can see here, that Holgate is a Bvlgari fan


    Very cheap! Very cheap!


    • No wonder Scrott had a tanty – just think of all that luvvly moolah he *ahem* da gummint hasn’t received …

    • I wonder what the military are going to do about climate change, shoot at some clouds, bomb the sun, tilt at some windmills.

  3. Hurrah , End times be here !! FMD Scrott will be over the moon. This is straight from his flavour of god bothering nuttery.
    Pat Robertson reports that he has been told by God that Trump will win reelection … and it will bring about the beginning of the End Times.

  4. gawd, I am sick of these nutters twisting the basis of the Christian religion with this high-as-a-kite En Dov Daze nonsense. Being a Christion means trying, at least some of the time, to be like Jesus.

    You know, be nice to people, help out, don’t judge, befriend the outcasts, be a good guest ( water to wine) be a good host (loaves and fishes), confront corruption (kicking the moneychangers out of the Temple), share stuff with those in need, help refugees, provide healthcare, keep your nose out of other people’s bedroom activities (associating with a prostitute and not one word against homosexuality while 12 male disciples form strong bonds of love and telling them to ‘Love each other I have loved you.’) and don’t kill, maim, steal or treat people including women, like excrement.

    When Pat Robertson gets working on that list, he won’t have God/ess speaking to him because he will be too busy to take His/ Her call.

    • Totally agree.

      The Pentecostals and a lot of other so-called “evangelicals” jgnore Christ’s teaching and have only one aim – to get rich ASAP. They especially disregard Matthew 19:21 – “Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

  5. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. You have to say, Senate Estimates put Question Time to shame.

    In quite a worthwhile read, Waleed Aly questions if anybody cares about political integrity anymore.
    Morrison’s promised integrity commission can’t hide behind COVID much longer – or can it, asks Michelle Grattan.
    The same agency which shone a light on the Leppington Triangle dodgy land deal and the ‘sports rorts’ scandal is warning government budget cuts will make its job to uncover misbehaviour even harder. It’s a problem that threatens the integrity of the Australia’s public service, warns Josh Butler.
    An election-free period from March next year offers the Morrison government a rare opportunity to push on economic reform – if it’s brave enough to try says Phil Coorey.
    Julie Power and Rachel Clun outline what counsels assisting the aged care royal commission have recommended to the commissioners. IMHO, from a budgetary viewpoint, it is dynamite, but the government would find it hard to not accept most of the recommendations if that what the final report comes up with,
    The Australian’s Stephen Lunn summarises the submission by saying Australia’s aged care system needs to be torn up and rebuilt.
    While the world wrestles with a deadly pandemic and how to confront climate change, there’s another, long-term global challenge that no one really knows how to deal with and that is old age, writes Noah Smith.
    Lisa Visentin and Rob Harris write about the less than stellar day that Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate had yesterday. Morrison’s huffing and puffing may have had the effect of setting a low bar for future criticisms.
    The AFR’s Tom McIlroy writes that Holgate is facing an independent review into the purchase of luxury watches for four executives, which Scott Morrison has condemned as ‘disgraceful’.
    And Phil Coorey says Christine Holgate has experienced first-hand the dangers of bad political optics.
    If Labor needs someone to muscle up to Morrison in a few years’ time, the Victorian Premier has shown that he is up for the fight, says David Crowe who describes Dan Andrews as Morrison’s greatest threat.
    Charlotte Grieve and Nick McKenzie tells us how Integrity Commissioner Jaala Hinchcliffe has described the corruption investigation into the multimillion-dollar milestone payments approved by Australian Border Force to arms manufacturer Austal as serious and ongoing in a fiery exchange in a Senate estimates hearing.
    More from Estimates as Nick Bonyhady reports that Archives’ legal bill for the Palace Papers case could top $2 million.
    Berejiklian’s office has revealed it has no documents to show disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire disclosed any financial gain from his side businesses despite the Premier telling a corruption inquiry she assumed he had done so.
    For what it’s worth, in upper house question time yesterday Mark Latham said disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire had a key to Gladys Berejiklian’s north shore home for many years and accessed it as he pleased.
    In what is looking to be the NSW equivalent of the federal sports rorts scandal, senior ministerial staff will today front a parliamentary committee inquiring into the allocation of $252m under the Stronger Communities Fund.
    The war of words between NSW and Queensland has intensified, with Gladys Berejiklian issuing a stern message to Queensland over hotel quarantine expenses.
    Prominent law firm Minter Ellison and in-house lawyers at Victoria’s DHHS have been referred to Legal Services Commissioner over the failure to produce crucial emails to hotel quarantine inquiry.
    With no sign of a thaw in icy Sino-Australian relations, businesses dealing with China should be ready for further deterioration in the political and commercial relationship, warns the AFR’s Michael Smith.
    The SMH editorial says that Big Tech needs to get on board over security concerns.
    Mike Foley laments that while the world races to net-zero carbon, Australia is a non-starter.
    The outgoing finance minister, Mathias Cormann, has talked up the importance of pursuing “a green recovery with an increased reliance on renewables” in remarks to a business conference organised by the German government. True colours – or just a job application?
    Anthony Albanese celebrates Susan Ryan and her contributions.
    A mandatory English language test for new immigrants and their sponsors reflects racial attitudes of the 1930s, writes Bilal Cleland.
    Elizabeth Knight writes about yesterday’s eventful Annual General Meeting of Crown Casino.
    The AFR says that now Crown and Packer are trapped in a difficult marriage.
    Michael Pascoe declares that the Crown inquiry shows there are dunces aplenty at the top end of town.
    The coal miner Whitehaven has been grilled by climate activists at its annual general meeting about its resilience against forecasts of a downturn in coal demand by 2030.
    Mike Foley tells us that a battery worth $62 million is being installed in western Sydney as governments work with industry to help stabilise the electricity grid as the share of renewable energy grows.
    A bill being rushed through federal parliament is raising concerns that the Government is preparing for a militarised response to climate breakdown. Lawyer and human rights advocate Kellie Tranter reports.
    Eryk Bagshaw reports that Australia has appointed the former ambassador to China, Jan Adams, as its top envoy in Tokyo in a sign of Japan’s increasing strategic importance amid rising geopolitical tensions in the region.
    They may not be traditional rivals, but Facebook and Apple have been butting heads for years in their quest for tech dominance. And things are escalating, explains James Titcomb.
    The Czech prime minister has apologised five times as his country suffers one of the world’s worst infection rates after holding off from imposing a second lockdown. For weeks Prime Minister Andrej Babis refused to reintroduce restrictions in order to protect the economy, leading to the virus spreading out of control.
    A petulant Trump has walked away form a 60 Minutes interview, not liking the questions.
    Today’s “Arsehole of the Week” nomination.
    The above nomination has been eclipsed by this story. A massive police operation has busted an international paedophile ring sharing some of the most extreme child abuse material produced, resulting in charges against 44 Australian men and the rescue of 16 children.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope

    David Rowe

    Cathy Wilcox

    Alan Moir

    John Shakespeare

    Jim Pavlidis

    Mark David

    Matt Golding

    Simon Letch

    Johannes Leak

    Mark Knight

    From the US

  6. Press conference on now

  7. It seems idiotic to be protesting against restrictions just a couple of days before they are eased – unless these loons actually want a new outbreak.

    Not the big numbers the media would have us believe –

  8. Gladys has a new problem – official documents approving grants in the $252 million slush fund have been destroyed, paper copies thrown out, probably shredded, and electronic copies deleted.

    NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s documents approving of council grants were shredded by her office

    Documents which Premier Gladys Berejiklian signed to give her approval of millions of dollars in grants to local councils were later shredded, a NSW parliamentary inquiry has heard.

    One of the Premier’s senior policy advisers, Sarah Lau, told the inquiry she also deleted electronic copies of the notes.

    The inquiry is investigating the allocation of $250 million worth of grants under the Stronger Communities Fund amid accusations of pork-barrelling in the run-up to the 2019 NSW election.

    Nearly all the grants were awarded to local councils in Coalition-held seats


  9. Over the past week almost all media outlets have reported that Victoria’s chief health officer, Prof Brett Sutton, tried to prevent emails that appeared to contradict his sworn evidence from being given to the state’s inquiry into hotel quarantine.

    It has been made to appear that he was at the centre of an attempt to cover up.

    But a close reading of the documentary trail does not support the thrust of the reports.

    The key document – a letter from the Department of Health and Human Services’ lawyers, Minter Ellison – is at best ambiguous, and could be read to mean only that Sutton stood by his evidence.


  10. I don’t think the QAnon-fascist protesters in Melbourne did many favours for themselves today. My normally apolitical mother became absolutely livid when she heard that they struck a police horse on the head. She grew up on farms surrounded by horses and loves these animals,

    • I know they are all loons, but I saw a photo of them with a US flag. Why on earth would any rational person do that?

  11. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. Enjoy!

    Peter Hartcher concludes this good contribution saying that a Trump victory would not be the end of history; but it might be the end of American democracy.
    After saying that Melbourne is the only city of its size in the world to successfully suppress a second wave of the virus and, In any other setting, we might have celebrated that achievement, George Megalogenis explains why Australia needs a Biden White House. George is always worth reading.
    Ross Gittins opines that the budget’s infrastructure spend is more about sex appeal than jobs.
    Jenna Prices accuses this government of having narrow priorities and using ideological warriors to do its work.
    Paul Bongiorno wonders if Morrison will go the full term.
    The Australian’s Paul Kelly and Troy Bramston tells us that Prince Charles, the future king of Australia, told John Kerr in March 1976 that he supported his dismissal of the Whitlam government — the first known statement of support for the governor-general’s intervention by a member of the royal family.
    According to Jennifer Duke, top government executives face a sweeping inquiry into their pay and bonuses after the chairman of the corporate watchdog and boss of Australia Post stood aside in an extraordinary week of public sector expenses scandals. Morrison, it seems, is very sensitive to bad optics.
    Rob Harris tells us that Morrison “blew up” when he was told of Christine Holgate’s now infamous Cartier confession.
    Rick Morton examines what went wrong inside Australia Post.
    Sidelined Australia Post boss Christine Holgate’s spending on corporate credit cards could be scrutinised as part of a wider probe into her expenses after she spent $19,950 on Cartier watches for employees, reports Lisa Visentin.
    Former Australia Post chairman John Stanhope will tell Scott Morrison’s inquiry into the Cartier watch scandal the board approved a plan by CEO Christine Holgate for gifts to senior executives, but it did not sign off on luxury timepieces – which are now believed to have cost $19,950, not $12,000 as told to Senate estimates.
    Nick Bonyhady outlines how a string of controversies has put a national anti-corruption body back in focus.
    Peter van Onselen lets fly at Morrison for delaying the introduction of a federal ICAC.
    John Lord begins this contribution with, “The Prime Minister is never short on confidence, but mostly it borders on arrogance. This was on display in Question Time this week when Scott Morrison tried to defend his lack of progress on a Federal Integrity Commission. “Where the bloody hell is it?“ boomed Albo’s voice last Wednesday during question time.”
    Dennis Atkins describes Scott Morrison as the master of the dark political arts. He says that as long as Morrison continues to use them almost unchallenged, his political supremacy will prevail.
    Karen Middleton digs into the controversial Western Sydney airport land deal.
    Land deals near Sydney’s second airport have embroiled the NSW and federal governments in separate scandals, feeding perceptions of favouritism explains The Guardian.
    An unimpressed Adele Ferguson explains why the ASIC expense scandal puts its chairman and deputy in the gun.
    Phil Coorey sees a certain irony that the two operatives handpicked by the government to clean up the banks are now mired in a mess of their own, their futures uncertain.
    Deborah Snow infers that the ice Berejiklian is skating on is getting thinner.
    Lucy Cormack reports that Gladys Berejiklian has told the upper house she won’t respond to questions about whether her former partner Daryl Maguire had a key to her house while a corruption inquiry into him is ongoing.
    Berejiklian may have let her standards drop – but we can’t drop ours, writes Tim Soutphommasane.
    Elizabeth Farrelly looks at influence peddlers and how they operate.
    Angus Thomson writes that Gladys Berejiklian gave her lover Daryl Maguire’s Wagga Wagga electorate six grants totalling $40,000 from her discretionary fund, while an inquiry heard one of her advisers shredded documents showing the Premier’s approval of projects under another scheme.
    The AFR’s health writer, Jill Margo, wonders if Australia been too successful in combating COVID-19.
    As Victoria finally emerges from its long pandemic winter there are calls for a new national road map to guide how we live with COVID-19 in 2021, writes the AFR’s Tom Burton.
    Victoria’s head of contact tracing says workplaces are best placed to identify close contacts, but some health experts doubt the approach.
    While Victoria’s hotel quarantine inquiry has been marked by the poor recall of some politicians and senior bureaucrats, the seeds of disaster were likely sown several governments ago, suggests The Saturday Paper’s Royce Kurmelovs.
    Margaret Simons says that the documentary trail does not back a sinister reading of the Victorian chief health officer’s actions around his evidence to the quarantine hotels inquiry.
    Mathias Cormann wants to be a chameleon on climate change when we’ve got a bin fire instead of a plan, says Katharine Murphy who wonders if a late conversion somehow voids the finance minister’s previous statements and the Coalition’s decade of shame.
    The leader of a major church group says it is disingenuous to portray Australian Christians as victims of persecution in his criticism of a NSW religious freedom bill spurred by the Israel Folau controversy.
    As politicians play a tough-on-crime game to win votes, pushing Australia’s incarceration rates ever upwards, an initiative led by high-profile patrons aims to reform the justice system and end a narrow-minded reliance on prison sentences, writes Mike Seccombe. He says, even by the usual standards of populist campaigning, Queensland Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington’s policy announcement this week was stunningly unsubtle.
    Luke Henriques-Gomes tells us that Centrelink has been criticised for pursuing a disability pensioner living with a cognitive impairment over a $2,000 welfare debt he did not understand and that was caused by the agency’s own mistakes.
    Bevan Shields writes that Victoria Police says there is no evidence to warrant an investigation into allegations that Vatican funds were used in an attempt to secure the conviction of Cardinal George Pell.
    The compensation scheme for Victoria Police officers sexually harassed, assaulted or discriminated against at work has received 250 claims since it was launched less than a year ago, writes Henrietta Cook.
    Dominic Powell reports that Premier Investments chief executive Mark McInnes has pocketed $5.4 million in pay for the past financial year despite the retailer claiming tens of millions in JobKeeper subsidies. How’s THAT for optics, Scomo?
    The Saturday Paper explains how research citing damage to the Great Barrier Reef to the Adani Carmichael mine is central to a legal request for the Environment minister to revoke approval of the mine.
    The arms company at the centre of a deadly criminal saga and numerous global corruption scandals, Naval Group, was selected by the Australian government to build our new fleet of submarines – a deal heralded as ‘one of the world’s most lucrative defence contracts.’ How did this happen? In this special investigation Michelle Fahy discovers significant gaps in anti-bribery and corruption measures on this massive procurement project. The message communicated far and wide is that our standards are lax; grey areas are tolerated; and we’ll bend the rules and look the other way.
    Katie Burgess reports that public sector contracting has blown out to $4.8 billion in the last five years.
    Australia’s LNP Government has developed a reliance on the Right-wing Trump Administration as a political model, writes Peter Henning.
    More than a half a million people in the US could die from COVID-19 by the end of February, but about 130,000 of those lives could be saved if everybody wore masks, according to estimates from a new modelling study.
    And the coronavirus is in resurgence all over Europe, where daily reported cases have more than doubled in 10 days, crossing 200,000 daily infections for the first time this week.
    Marcello Antonini looks at the reasons behind Europe’s COVID-19 second wave inconsistencies.
    Matthew Knott says Trump learned from his mistakes but Biden hag the last word in yesterday’s debate.
    The cosmic chasm between the president’s self-regard and how he comes across was on full display in a performance unlikely to halt his tailspin, opines Richard Wolffe.
    This is a moment of truth for right wing populists – but don’t celebrate yet, warns Andy Beckett.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope

    Alan Moir

    David Rowe

    John Shakespeare

    Andrew Dyson.

    Jon Kudelka

    Tom Jellett

    Jim Pavlidis

    Matt Golding

    Johannes Leak

    Mark Knight

    Joe Benke

    Michael Leunig.

    From the US

  12. I agree.

    • “The concept was first presented as a corollary of his broader “Parkinson’s law” spoof of management. He dramatizes this “law of triviality” with the example of a committee’s deliberations on an atomic reactor, contrasting it to deliberations on a bicycle shed. As he put it: “The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum [of money] involved.” A reactor is so vastly expensive and complicated that an average person cannot understand it, so one assumes that those who work on it understand it. On the other hand, everyone can visualize a cheap, simple bicycle shed, so planning one can result in endless discussions because everyone involved wants to add a touch and show personal contribution.”

  13. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/oct/23/victoria-police-wont-investigate-claims-of-vatican-money-transfers-to-australia-linked-to-pell-case

  14. Well worth a read.When I first got Foxtel in the late 90’s those first two guys mentioned and a fleet of other think tankers were on high rotation pushing their idea. After 9/11 they were wall to wall and the nuttery they had been expousing a few years before started being rolled out by Dubya,Cheyney and Rummy. Looong essay
    FOREIGN AFFAIRS › Annotations
    U.S. Foreign Policy Never Recovered From the War on Terror

    In a 1996 essay in Foreign Affairs, the conservative authors William Kristol and Robert Kagan proposed a U.S. foreign policy of “benevolent global hegemony.” Scoffing at former President John Quincy Adams’s maxim that America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy,” they asked, “But why not? ……………………………..the last two decades have revealed the folly of this hubris. With the declaration of its global “war on terror” after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States went abroad in search of monsters and ended up midwifing new ones—from terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (or ISIS), born in the prisons of U.S.-occupied Iraq; to destabilization and deepening sectarianism across the Middle East; to racist authoritarian movements in Europe and in the United States that feed—and feed off of—the fear of refugees fleeing those regional conflicts. Advocates of the war on terror believed that nationalist chauvinism, which sometimes travels under the name “American exceptionalism,” could be stoked at a controlled burn to sustain American hegemony. Instead, and predictably, toxic ultranationalism burned out of control. Today, the greatest security threat to the United States comes not from any terrorist group, or from any great power, but from domestic political dysfunction. The election of Donald Trump as president was a product and accelerant of that dysfunction—but not its cause. The environment for his political rise was prepared over a decade and a half of xenophobic, messianic Washington warmongering, with roots going back into centuries of white supremacist politics……

  15. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Jacqui Maley compares Morrison’s public attitude to Australia Post largesse to how he is handling all of the other much more outrageous issues floating around.
    Jack Waterford concludes this excellent contribution by saying, “It’s not my point here that the notion of agents of influence is a joke. There are all sort of agents working on the minds of this government, seeking, sometimes buying, favours for themselves, dispensations, public money and public rights. Their influence is too pervasive. No one is watching to prevent plunder of the public purse. That plunder is happening.”
    Isabelle Lane is less than impressed with Morrison’s tough talk on Australia Post being at odds with the government’s record.
    The Coalition is spooked by Australia’s credit rating when it should be scared of recession opines Greg Jericho. He says any government worth its salt should tell Standard & Poor’s to take its warning about stimulus spending and shove it
    The SMH editorial says that as Victoria moves out of crisis mode, with infection numbers dropping to single digits, the focus shifts to the long term – how we, as a nation, live with this virus for possibly years to come.
    Matt Wade posits that adjustments made to sustain the economy during the pandemic have altered the behaviour of businesses, workers and consumers – forever.
    Michael Koziol tells us that ABC news boss Gaven Morris told staff they were too focused on the interests of “inner city left-wing elites” and linked his concerns about editorial coverage to the national broadcaster’s ongoing funding from taxpayers.
    Peter FitzSimons urges Berejiklian to pick a story; ideally one that’s real! He also follows through on his call last week for a federal ICAC.
    Michelle Pini writes that in a recent ABC piece, Insiders host David Speers opined that, while the details may differ, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews were somehow facing similar crises of confidence.
    The role of think tanks and lobby groups in the political landscape is one of the most underestimated in shaping the decision making of leaders and the wider population, explains Tim Crnwall.
    Gay Alcorn writes that this has been the year when our states have reasserted their importance to the federation.
    Crown profits from the hardship of problem gamblers, the banks refuse to stop credit cards for problem gamblers. Helen Coonan is chair of both Crown and bank ombudsman AFCA (Australian Financial Complaints Authority). It is a conflict which makes her position untenable writes Elizabeth Minter.
    Michael Koziol examines the developers’ gold mine on Sydney’s fringe.
    Eryk Bagshaw writes that Liberal and Labor MPs have condemned the corporate rewards culture and service failure at two of the government’s top agencies after Australia Post and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission became mired in scandal over executive bonuses and concessions.
    This is an interesting thing that Cait Kelly. She tells us that many fit Aussies are finding it difficult to land jobs as farmhands because they are not as exploitable as foreign workers.
    Anthony Galloway looks at what divisions stances on China are causing within the major political parties.
    Peter Hannam reports that the cost of raising the wall of Sydney’s biggest dam will triple to more than $2 billion unless the Berejiklian government can avoid paying for environment damage in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains area.
    Caitlin Fitzsimmons says that, depending on your point of view, Mark Latham’s Parental Rights Education Bill is either plain common sense or an extreme attack on the transgender community that will endanger vulnerable children.
    South Australia’s top law maker has called for calm over abortion reform debate as the battle for the conscience vote of local MPs starts to intensify.
    The Pope is understood to have believed in Cardinal George Pell’s innocence of child sexual abuse charges. But their different visions of the Catholic church puts a limit of their alliance, writes Andrew West.
    Helen Pitt uses her time in the US to express her disdain for the US gun culture.
    The final stretch of the US election campaign is colliding with a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations, even as President Donald Trump insists the country is “rounding the corner” on the virus, writes Matthew Knott.

    Cartoon Corner

    Reg Lynch

    Peter Broelman

    Mark David

    Matt Golding

    Glen Le Lievre

    Mark Knight

    From the US

  16. From the “German have a word for everything file……

    Drachenfutter. Dragon Food………….used to describe the chocolate, flowers, or other treats that one might pick up on the way home from the bar when he or she starts to feel guilty about the one beer with friends that turned into an entire night out. The Drachenfutter is a treat meant to mitigate the angry reaction from your dragon, er, beloved.

    Schokolade ist bei weitem das beste Drachenfutter.

    Chocolate is by far the best dragon food.


  17. Great and detailed thread from @RonniSalt on how Christine Holgate is being set up by the CrimeMinister, his office and the Liberal Party HQ – the leaking against her started months ago.

    I was right, he wants her gone and replaced by a male Liberal mate. The question – who does he have in mind?

    In case you are wondering – the John Stanhope mentioned is this chap –

    Not to be confused with Jon Stanhope, former Labor Chief Minister of the ACT.

  18. Science Minister Karen Andrews on Insiders this morning has admitted a vaccine for The Plague is nine months or a year away.

    She has just destroyed the budget, not even three weeks after it was handed down, by confirming what we all knew – it is built on a lie.

    The whole thing was built on the false assumption a vaccine would be widely distributed within months.

    The budget is now confirmed as a financial black hole.

    The CrimeMinister will not be pleased. Stand by for leaking about Ms Andrews to commence.

    Here she is, on 7 September, with the CrimeMinister, pushing the government line about a vaccine being distributed “throughout 2021” –

    A free COVID-19 vaccine will be available progressively throughout 2021 in Australia, if promising trials prove successful, following a $1.7 billion supply and production agreement between the Australian Government and pharmaceutical companies


  19. As expected the CrimeMinister and his henchgoons are not at all happy with Dan’s decision –

    They really, really want Victoria open, not for the good of “the economy” but so they can blame Dan for another outbreak, which they expect to happen if Dan obeys their orders. The CrimeMinister is so transparent on this he’s pretty much see-through, but his manipulations, despite the willing assistance of Nine and the Murdoch media, are not working. He must be about ready to explode with frustration.


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