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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998 thoughts on “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  1. Stephen Colbert –

    Jimmy Kimmel –

    Brian Tyler Cohen –

    Chris Hayes –

    Rachel Maddow –

  2. Gutless, that’s all I can say.

    She disagrees with the cashless debit card but will still not vote against the bill currently before parliament that will make the card a permanent program and pave the way for wider use. She lacks the courage to abstain, let alone cross the floor.

    Liberal MP Bridget Archer has given a passionate speech against her own government’s policy on the cashless debit card.

    Archer argued that the measure increases the stigma felt by welfare recipients, as they are forced to stand in separate lines in supermarkets or are unable to shop at some stores at all.

    “If that doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, it should,” she said. “Applying a broad brush to all recipients in the sites, no matter the circumstances, is unhelpful.”

    Archer said she is approached by concerned members of her community, including pensioners, who worry whether they will be put on income management.

    Archer said income management is an “anathema to me” and will “never be accepted by my community” in Northern Tasmania. Although she will not vote against the bill, she warned any future expansion of the cashless debit card “will not have my support”.

    The contribution also had a swipe at the government for its delay in reform pay-day lending, arguing that it is a “complete contradiction and a damaging one at that” to seek to manage people’s incomes while allowing payday lenders to prey on them on the other


    This bill –
    Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Continuation of Cashless Welfare) Bill 2020

  3. And yet there are people on JobSeeker who will vote Liberal or Nats come the next election because that’s what they always do. Just as there are parents of adults with intellectual disabilities who have voted conservative for ever and will never change.

  4. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Ninefax tells us that WeChat has censored the Prime Minister’s message to Chinese-Australians, while Josh Frydenberg has warned the dispute between Australia and China is having a serious economic effect.
    John Hewson gives us the benefit of his opinion on re-establishing relations with China.
    The nation has saved an extra $200 billion over the past year. That money will need to flow back into shop registers to get the economy growing, says Shane Wright.
    At 12.30pm yesterday, an hour after the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed the economy was no longer in recession, both ends of the political spectrum delivered their verdicts, writes Phil Coorey who says saving the economy was a joint effort.
    But Greg Jericho says that all the recent growth can’t hide the fact that Australia remains in a deep recession.
    The recovery has arrived, but plenty could still go wrong, warns Jennifer Hewett.
    The Australian says that Clive Palmer’s massive advertising blitz before the Queensland election in October will face scrut­iny in a Queensland Sup­reme Court action to determine if the billionaire is a prohibited polit­ical donor.
    People in Sydney’s north-west are being urged to get tested for COVID-19 after the state’s sewage surveillance program found traces of the virus in a Riverstone sewage treatment plant.
    David Crowe reports that the retail and hospitality industries have been named as priorities for looming workplace relations laws that aim to help employers adjust working hours, as the union movement offers a “qualified yes” to potential changes.
    John Kehoe writes that Australia is digging out of the huge COVID-19 recession hole much faster than anticipated and if the economy can remain relatively open from here, the country will enter 2021 with a recovery tailwind.
    Bevan Shields reports that the first phase of an “unprecedented” mass vaccination program in Britain will target nine groups of vulnerable people who represent up to 99 per cent of preventable deaths from COVID-19, with the first jab to be delivered early next week.
    According to David Crowe and Rob Harris, sweeping new laws to declare a national state of emergency will go to Federal Parliament within days after Coalition MPs negotiated last-minute changes to narrow the grounds for triggering the extraordinary powers.
    Anthony Galloway explains how federal police will be able to take over the online accounts of international paedophile rings, terrorists and drug-traffickers operating on the “dark web” under new laws.
    In a pretty good read, Jess Irvine tells us why trade wars are dumb, and we don’t need one with China.
    Patrick Hatch writes that Virgin Australia boss Jayne Hrdlicka has hammered out in-principle agreements with four major unions to freeze workers’ wages in return for job security.
    Now, says Charlotte Grieve, market operator ASX is facing a potentially damaging class action lawsuit over a trading outage last month that left investors sidelined for a full day and put trades worth billions of dollars in limbo.
    The $1.2 billion settlement of the Centrelink robodebt class action should have been seen as another stumble in a Government display marked by flailing and floundering. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison remains located in a polling stratosphere, certainly relative to his Labor counterpart, Anthony Albanese, who increasingly resembles a caretaker leader awaiting quick dispatch, says Bioy Kampmark.
    Andy Marks springs to the defence of the ABC following Fletcher’s letter of complaint.
    The ABC’s Four Corners episode exposing misogyny in Parliament was not biased against the Liberal Party, writes Chris Haviland.
    Michael Pascoe examines the fairness surrounding the distribution of billions of dollars of drought relief.
    It’s a great pity that the banks are weighing in so publicly to support the rollback of our responsible lending laws, just when they’ve done so much during the pandemic to rebuild trust, says Consumer Action Law Centre CEO, Gerard Brody.
    Authors Paola Totaro and Robert Wainwright explain why they say the Port Arthur massacre a story that must be told, not buried.
    Cait Kelly reveals that the government is pushing job seekers and students into farm work with the launch of a sweeping social media campaign – but there’s still no assurances workers will be paid a fair wage.
    Australia is the world’s third largest exporter of fossil fuels, and according to a new report released today by the United Nations Environment Program and leading international research organisations, Australia’s contribution to the world’s production of coal, oil and gas is only growing.
    The editorial in The Canberra Times begins with, “The Morrison government’s refusal to commit to zero net emissions by 2050 is as inherently absurd as Donald Trump’s insistence he didn’t lose the presidential election. Both epitomise the proverb “there are none so blind as those who will not see”. And it gets worse for the Coalition from there!
    And Malcolm Turnbull writes that the Coalition will lose more former heartland seats to independents without a climate plan.
    Governments should be incentivising the purchase of electric vehicles, not stifling it. But even EV owners, as future road users, will need to pay their fair share, urges the editorial in the SMH.
    Australia’s latest emissions data, released this week, contained one particularly startling, and unjustifiable, fact. Against all odds, in a year when emissions fell in almost every sector, Australia’s export gas industry still managed to do more climate damage, writes researcher Tim Baxter.
    The proposed restructuring of Telstra is an exciting new challenge for the company. It will now all depend on the direction the execution will take, writes Paul Budde.
    Matt Johnson writes that the Adelaide Hills is prime real estate for those aspiring to make a tree change, according to a new report that analysed the most idyllic rural towns for first-home buyers.
    Controversial litigation funding rules covering, in part, class actions will remain in place after One Nation backed down at the 11th hour on its threat to vote them down unless the government supported proposed changes.
    Accounting experts say auditing firm Deloitte should explain why it signed off on an accounting strategy that treated substantial expenditures incurred by Freedom Foods as capital assets, enabling the cereal maker to report steadily growing profits instead of huge losses.
    Commanders who failed to stop special forces soldiers drinking alcohol from a dead Taliban fighter’s prosthetic leg should be held to account, federal senator and former navy submariner Rex Patrick has said.
    Police will not charge the pizza bar worker whose alleged lie led to the statewide lockdown in SA – but he is still considering defamation action, his lawyer says.
    Paddy Gourley pours scorn over the government’s APS wage setting policy.
    The Lawyer X royal commission has referred Victoria Police’s most senior lawyer to the legal regulator over his handling of the scandal.
    The acerbic John Crace has another entertaining critique of Boris Johnson and Brexit.

    Cartoon Corner

    Cathy Wilcox

    Alan Moir

    David Rowe

    John Shakespeare

    Andrew Dyson

    Matt Golding

    Glen Le Lievre

    Mark Knight

    Johannes Leak

    From the US

  5. What a difference a day makes. High Pants ,Wednesday

    China relationship will not derail Australia’s economic recovery: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg

    High Pants Thursday

    Josh Frydenberg has warned the dispute between Australia and China is having a serious economic effect.

  6. Koala count is futile: conservationists

    More than 20 conservation groups have blasted the federal government’s proposed koala census as a pointless smokescreen in an open letter demanding better habitat protection.

    The letter to Environment Minister Sussan Ley sent on Thursday calls for her to instead overturn development approvals on sites with koala habitat and refuse any future applications.

    It also asks Ms Ley to apply pressure on the states to halt native forest logging and fund new national parks containing important koala habitat.

    “Degradation of koala habitat has increased under your government, and continues right now,” the letter reads.

    “Koalas cannot wait for a national count to reveal their numbers. They’re on a knife-edge now.”


    Why would this farce of a government care about koalas? They don’t vote so they cannot be bribed to vote Coalition. Let’s just chop down all their trees and get the economy moving!

  7. Why would our government care about world heritage sites? They cannot be mined or fracked, they just sit there doing nothing.

    Let’s destroy them and get the economy moving!

    Great Barrier Reef outlook ‘critical’ as climate change called number one threat to world heritage
    The outlook for Australian sites including the Blue Mountains and the Gondwana rainforests has deteriorated, report says

    The outlook for five Australian world heritage sites including the Great Barrier Reef, the Blue Mountains and the Gondwana rainforests, has deteriorated, according to a global report that finds climate change is now the number one threat to the planet’s natural world heritage.

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature, the official advisory body on nature to the Unesco world heritage committee, has found in its world heritage outlook that climate change threatens a third of the world’s natural heritage sites. The outlook has been published every three years since 2014.

    It finds the conservation outlook for the Great Barrier Reef has worsened from “significant concern” to “critical” – the most urgent status under the IUCN system. The reef suffered its third mass coral bleaching in five years during the 2019-20 summer


  8. Does anyone really believe this useless, financially illiterate government has somehow pulled off an economic recovery after at least twelve months in a recession brought on by their own incompetence?

    The recession was here well before The Plague and it will continue for a long time because this government’s Trump-like policies benefit only those who already have far too much while punishing the most disadvantaged for daring to be old, sick, disabled, unmarried parents or unemployed.

    I’m already sick of the media gushing about this alleged recovery. I’m more than sick of the government trumpeting the word “comeback” every few seconds in parliament. If things are so dire that the CrimeMinister has had to come up with yet another marketing campaign to tell us how well he and his government have done then you know for sure things are actually desperate.

  9. Any Australians wanting a COVID vaccine look like being trampled by the CrimeMinister, Grunt and assorted other pollies rushing to get there first.

    Federal politicians could receive a coronavirus vaccine to shore up public confidence in its safety once the medicines regulator approves one.

    Health minister Greg Hunt has discussed the issue with his opposite number, Labor’s Chris Bowen.

    Hunt told reporters in Canberra:

    “None of us want to be jumping the queue, we’re quite acutely aware of that. But nor do we want to show any lack of confidence.

    Hunt said a group of MPs and senators from all side of politics could be put forward on a voluntary basis as a demonstration of the vaccine’s safety. He said:

    I would be very happy to take any vaccine that the medical regulators deemed safe for Australia.”

    Prime minister Scott Morrison said he was keen to see federal parliament function normally. He said:

    “Obviously immunisations can assist that but all through this we have been very disciplined in hearing the medical advice, listening to it very carefully and evaluating that.

    He said that once the head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, John Skerritt, approved a vaccine, he would be happy to receive it. Morrison said:

    If Professor Skerritt gives it the tick, then I’m happy to take the jab.”


    Said by the same CrimeMinister who has made many announcements about his government’s alleged purchases of vaccines but has quite a reputation for not following up those announcements with action. Has anyone really ordered those doses? Can we see the receipts?

    “None of us want to be jumping the queue”. Yeah, sure, some might believe that. For me it’s just another lie. So is the nonsense about wanting to shore up confidence in whatever vaccine is on offer. They just want to get first dibs on it.

  10. Sorry for the late posting, had a busy day with SWMBO and shops.

    Caveats apply –

    Stephen Colbert –

    Jimmy Kimmel –

    Brian Tyler Cohen –

    Chris Hayes-

    Rachel Maddow –

  11. How are things going,Gladys?

    Thousands of people who caught trains between south-west Sydney and the CBD last week have been asked to self-isolate on Thursday after a worker at a quarantine hotel tested positive.

    A woman who worked at two connected CBD hotels ended the state’s 26-day streak of no locally acquired cases and pushed NSW’s hopes of “eliminating” the virus into the new year. No coronavirus cases detected within the community for 28 days is seen as elimination of the virus.

    The woman caught the train from Minto to Central, before catching light rail services to Darling Harbour.

    Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the case was “very dangerous” and an evolving situation, but the health advice was that further easing of restrictions could proceed on Monday.


  12. The Nats never forgive anyone who dares take one of their seats, so they really have it in for the NSW SFF people who have won two of what they see as “their” seats – Murray and Barwon. .

    Their solution? Redraw the boundaries of those seats and abolish others to create two gigantic electorates which the Nats fondly believe will be theirs.

    The NSW Nationals suggest a ‘Murray-Darling’ seat

  13. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Rob Harris writes that leading Labor figures are warning the party will again fail at the next federal election unless it reflects on why it lost its once-reliable voter base, drops its left-wing populism, reconnects with the suburbs and stops scoffing at parents who choose to send their children to faith-based schools.
    And David Crowe chimes in, saying that Albanese leads an anxious caucus that knows it is struggling but cannot agree on what it does next. Potential leaders watch each other out of the corners of their eyes after the departure of Joel Fitzgibbon from the shadow cabinet four weeks ago.
    John Warhurst advises Labor to not panic, rather it should seek and listen to sound advice. A very good read.
    Katharine Murphy tells us that Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia will attend the virtual “climate ambition summit” on 12 December to “correct mistruths” about the government’s heavily criticised record on emissions reduction.
    Waleed Aly argues why Australia must balance its dependence on China with its need to trade.
    Scott Morrison is determined to show Australia has no choice but to deal with China’s aggressive moves in the way it has. The iron ore price is helping disguise the economic cost, writes Jennifer Hewett who cannot see a reset for this relationship.
    In the moment, Scott Morrison’s angry denunciation of the offensive Chinese tweet about alleged Australian war crimes seemed a reasonable response. In retrospect, it was probably ill-judged. This is so even though the response had bipartisan support, says Michelle Grattan.
    Lucky indeed is the country whose diplomatic enemies are delivering the growth that their own domestic politics won’t grapple with. But we can’t rely on our luck holding without reform, says the editorial in the AFR.
    Backpackers working in the fruit-picking industry are being paid as little as $3 an hour, with a three-month investigation into conditions in the Coffs Harbour region concluding there was widespread exploitation of workers on holiday visas, writes The Australian’s Ewin Hannan.
    Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg billed taxpayers almost $5,000 to take the prime minister’s private jet on a whirlwind trip to Sydney on the night of Lachlan Murdoch’s Christmas party, leaving Canberra after 6pm, attending the Bellevue Hill soiree and then returning to the capital before 9am the next morning, reveals Christopher Knaus. Affairs of state?
    Liberal MP Andrew Hastie has lashed the Australian Defence Force for releasing allegations that special forces soldiers murdered children in Afghanistan, saying it has allowed China to malign Australian troops.
    Liberal backbenchers from Tasmania have fired a warning shot over the cashless debit card for welfare recipients in an apparent bid to make sure it isn’t brought to their communities. But, writes Katina Curtis, Morrison has cautioned MPs they can air grievances but ultimately have a responsibility to make sure the government achieves its agenda.
    John Lord begins his review of 2020, the year that was.
    Just a week after the New South Wales corruption watchdog concluded that the state’s water bureaucrats had an “entrenched irrigator focus” that made “policy making vulnerable to improper favouritism”, the same division has been caught singling out sympathetic irrigator groups and discussing how to sideline critics, reports Anne Davies.
    Thousands of people who caught trains between south-west Sydney and the CBD last week have been asked to self-isolate on Thursday after a worker at a quarantine hotel tested positive.
    Epidemiologist, Professor Michael Toole, writes that the spotlight is falling yet again on hotel quarantine. He points to the sound recommendations of Jane Halton’s review and that of the Victorian inquiry.
    Michael Fowler tells us that Victoria’s Health Department has developed in-house contact tracing technology that it says will help draw links between coronavirus cases and save epidemiologists hours of work.
    Cait Kelly reports that healthcare workers have reacted with both caution and excitement at the news that they could soon be among the first Australians to receive a coronavirus vaccine.
    The federal Health Department has learnt a thing or two from Scotty from Marketing. It has just announced version seven of the aged care pandemic plan. Never mind that the previous six versions never existed. Expecting accountability from the Coalition government is mere tilting at windmills, writes Dr Sarah Russell.
    The enormous economic and health crisis brought on by the pandemic may have overshadowed the tragedy of last season’s bushfires but the recent spate of hot weather is a stark reminder of the potential dangers Australia faces once again this summer warns the SMH editorial.
    Will the findings of the Bushfire Royal Commission create much-needed change, or is the Morrison Government just “polly waffling” until the next disaster strikes, asks Michelle Pini.
    Andrew Giles has warned Australia not to forget about people living with the long-term effects of COVID-19 as the country works towards a recovery from the pandemic.
    Should Australians be worried about waiting for a COVID vaccine when the UK has just approved Pfizer’s? The Conversation addresses this question.
    Australia’s oil and gas companies are appealing to the Morrison government to take a cautious approach as it begins assessing plans for a domestic gas-reservation scheme, pointing to new research suggesting such interventions discourage investment and don’t guarantee lower prices, explains Nick Toscano.
    Andrew Leigh celebrates volunteerism in Australia and calls upon the 71% of us who are not currently volunteering to consider stepping up.
    The former head of the Productivity Commission has warned that the Morrison government is failing to sell the need for industrial relations reforms, explains Paul Karp.
    Gladys Berejiklian oversaw a fund that set aside $5.5 million for a project championed by her then secret partner Daryl Maguire and that he allegedly later tried to profit from. Carrie Fellner digs into Gladys’s latest problem.
    John Kehoe reports that, in a finding sure to reignite calls for tax reform, new analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggests Australia is overly dependent on personal and corporate income taxes and does not make enough use of the more efficient GST.
    Professor Alison Ritter prosecutes her position that courts are the wrong place to tackle drug use.
    Trustees of super funds run only for the profit of members have raised concerns the largest retirement income sector has been left out of new laws designed to get rid of Australia’s worst super funds, explains Ben Butler.
    Researcher Abigail Lewis opines that we should not waste this opportunity to have a lasting impact on homelessness.
    Liquor store retailers say prices of bottled Australian wine are likely to fall over time, as about 800 wine producers who had been exporting a combined $1.3 billion in wine to China scramble to redirect a large chunk back into the local market.
    Matthew Knott reports that one of US President-elect Joe Biden’s most senior advisers has declared that the United States will continue to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Australia in an apparent response to China’s increasingly hostile actions towards the country.
    More than 3100 Americans died of COVID-19 in a single day, eclipsing the record set at the start of the pandemic, as the country slips deeper into crisis.
    Facebook says it will start removing false claims about COVID-19 vaccines, in its latest move to counter a tide of coronavirus-related online misinformation.
    Donald Trump believes in clemency and mercy. But only for his friends and family, writes Jill Filipovic. She says this president’s use of his clemency power is not about justice or fairness or law or order; it’s about protecting criminals who work in his service, and it’s about as venal, depraved, and corrupt as it gets.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    David Pope

    Cathy Wilcox

    Jim Pavlidis

    Andrew Dyson

    Matt Golding

    Mark Knight

    Johannes Leak

    Alan Moir

    From the US

  14. I hope no-one minds, but I’m not at all interested in anything Rob Harris or Peter Hartcher write on Labor, especially not on leadership.These two have form, they have been trashing Labor for years, especially Hartcher. These days they are being fed “news” by the PMO and dutifully reproduce it.

    Harris was the journalist (so-called) who produced the garbage that caused Christine Holgate’s resignation. Where do you think that insider information came from?

    A month ago he was churning out rubbish saying Labor needed to listen to Joel Fitzgibbon. Seriously? I wonder where that came from. As always in these works of fantasy he referred to unnamed Labor sources, this time “right-faction sources”. Like Hartcher he has been desperately producing leadershit nonsense for ages. Should Labor ever take any notice of his wafflings and replace Albo he will then start churning out rubbish about whoever replaces him.

    It’s the tried and tested Nine/Fairfax method. Hartcher did it to Julia Gillard, now Harris is trying the same thing with Albo.

    If I want to read about Labor leadership struggles I’ll go somewhere more trustworthy than the scribble from Nine.

  15. About the CrimeMinister and Fraudenberg’s little jaunt to Sydney for that Lachlan Murdoch Christmas party –

    This was Sydney on the afternoon of Thursday 5 December 2019, the day of the party.

    Obviously the uber-rich don’t have to worry about bushfires or smoke affecting their parties.

    On 16 December we learned the CrimeMinister had left that morning for a holiday in Hawaii with his family. They were not alone. As it turned out also enjoying the smokefree air were his close QAnon friends Tim and Lynelle Stewart and his senior adviser Nico Louw, plus who knows how many other staffers and hangers-on.

  16. But Mr Littleproud has now told 7.30 that he will support any proposals from the nation’s fire chiefs for a national sovereign fleet.

    “We’re happy to have a sovereign fleet but we want the fire commissioners to tell us,” he said.

    “We’ll support anything that the fire commissioners come back with in terms of their determination about what that fleet of aircraft needs to be. They are the professionals.”


    How many times …?!

  17. No paywall on the Crikey article, worth a read just for the description of Somers, where Bolt has moved.

  18. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. We have a Super Saturday editon!

    Bevan Shields and David Crowe tell us that Scott Morrison will no longer use Kyoto carryover credits to achieve emissions reduction targets, paving the way for a reset of his climate policies. A covid saviour?
    But Crowe adds that, after dropping Kyoto credits, Morrison’s next step is much riskier.
    Rick Morton uncovers the seven-year plot to undermine the NDIS. This is quite an exposé and Stuart Robert features prominently.
    John Hewson tells us how rorts, mates and marketing have taken over politics. This is a top read!
    Kevin Rudd has pointedly written that Morrison has gone “over the top” with China and, in doing so, has ignored one of the enduring truths in politics. Quite an interesting read.
    Peter Hartcher reckons Beijing set a trap for Scott Morrison and he walked right in. He goes into considerable detail to make his point.
    Paul Bongiorno reckons Morrison is looking rattled as he feeds the trolls.
    Laura Tingle says Morrison’s approach to China clearly isn’t working. She also has a go at the government about its attack on the ABC.
    The editorial in The Saturday Paper says that Australia faces an inevitable crisis, led by a government that couldn’t be less capable of its handling.
    Malcolm Turnbull in an op-ed explains how Australia landed in China’s crosshairs.
    The editorial in the SMH urges Morrison to tread carefully in dealing with a bellicose China.
    Forget the wolf warrior: Australia still needs to know the truth about Afghanistan, writes Katharine Murphy.
    According to Karen Middleton, defence experts are warning of a split between the government and the military after the prime minister intervened to override the chief of the Defence Force’s decision to revoke the meritorious unit citation awarded to Australian special forces who served in Afghanistan.
    Ross Gittins says we shouldn’t pop the champagne just yet on Australia’s economic recovery. He writes that once you look past the rebound in consumer spending, you don’t see much strength in the rest of the economy.
    Australia’s population growth is set to suffer a post-COVID crash as a once-in-a-century slowdown in migration leads to 1.1 million fewer people populating the nation­ at the end of the 2020s than originally forecast, writes Richard Ferguson in The Australian.
    But Stephen Saunders thinks that the Budget confirms Morrison wants to reboot mass migration.
    Michael Pascoe accuses the federal government of pocketing the interest on states’ debt.
    The economic rebound in the September quarter confirms the COVID-19 downturn is very different from previous recessions and that recovery can be better than in the past, opines John Kehoe.
    Despite howls from some of the loudest voices in the media and politics to ‘let it rip’ in response to Covid-19, the latest economic figures show Australia’s health-first approach saved lives and the country from a long and painful recession, explains Mike Seccombe.
    Peter van Onselen’s article today is worth a read. He urges Labor to step up its attack on Morrison over robodebt and he looks at the ministerial reshuffle due soon,
    Rob Harris reports that Albanese has dismissed suggestions the party has strayed from its core values to pursue niche interests amid growing concerns within his ranks that it is not doing enough to win back its traditional voter base.
    According to Katina Curtis, the head of the national security anti-corruption watchdog has defended her strategy for investigating suspected corruption in the Australian Border Force and said the ongoing matter has serious criminal proceedings in its sights.
    NSW Health will look at quarantine for overseas airline crews after testing indicated the latest coronavirus infection was acquired from US crew staying at the hotel where the woman was employed.
    Michael Fowler reports that the Andrews government has been forced into a last-minute revision of its request for Australian Defence Force assistance in its revamped hotel quarantine program after the ADF rejected their initial proposal.
    Meanwhile, Dan Andrews has hired Sabina Husic to be his new director of media just weeks after she quit her role as Anthony Albanese’s deputy chief of staff.
    A year after the medevac repeal, refugees brought here under the law are still in detention and say they are being punished by the government for speaking out, writes Karen Middleton.
    There is no active headcount going on. There are, however, quiet conversations being conducted about who has the numbers to topple Berejiklian, writes Peter FitzSimons who points out Attorney-General Mark Speakman as a smoky.
    Paul Daley reveals that an anti-war group has accused BAE Systems Australia of trying to sanitise its reputation through its ‘partnership’ with The Smith Family
    Martin McKenzie-Murray tells us that, as the royal commission into the handling of police informants releases its final report, it’s been revealed that Victoria Police’s use of gangland lawyer Nicola Gobbo as an informant may have contaminated more than 1000 convictions.
    The Australian’s Ewin Hanna reports that the Morrison government will propose laws to allow the break-up of the CFMEU in a new strategy designed to isolate the union’s militant construction division and its Victorian secretary, John Setka.
    And Pail Kelly gleefully adds to this story.
    Zoe Samios and Lisa Visentin write that ABC’s former editorial director Alan Sunderland has attacked the federal government for publishing a letter sent to chair Ita Buttrose about a controversial Four Corners episode, describing it as a deliberate attempt to undermine the national broadcaster and cast public doubt on its coverage.
    Jenna Price goes to town on the government, saying that the efforts of Fletcher and Henderson with their absurd questions to the ABC illustrate the ignorance that the modern Liberal Party has of ethical journalism. Ouch!
    Of course, culture warrior Gerard Henderson thinks otherwise!
    Jennifer Duke explains how the experts are grappling with the retirement income review.
    It’s difficult to decide which is more surprising: the revelation that someone put together a $US2 billion-plus bid for Foxtel; or that its two heavyweight shareholders rejected it, writes John McDuling.
    The court of public opinion has decreed a film about the Port Arthur shooter should not be made. But is that judgement right, ponders Karl Quinn.
    Dominic Powell tells us that Australian winemakers are staying positive on the prospects of selling their drops into growing markets such as Thailand and Vietnam after the Chinese market was declared “non-viable” owing to hefty tariffs being slapped on imports. (there will be hundreds of thousands of bottles of wine in the pipeline with Chinese labels and these will prove difficult to move.)
    What’s the point of lab-grown meat when we can simply eat more vegetables, asks Jenny Kleeman.
    Here’s Andrea Meade’s weekly column on the media. Andre Bolt gets some attention in it.
    Malcolm Knox says that beyond the NRL rape trials, the game still fails to tackle misogyny. He makes a fair point.
    It relates to sport, but this contribution from Peter FitzSimons is an excellent contribution.
    As the Vatican reckons with scandals involving hundreds of millions of euros, the Holy See’s former treasurer George Pell has given his first interview since returning to Rome. Peter Craven provides his account of it.
    Next year is shaping up to be a humanitarian catastrophe and rich countries must not trample poor countries in a “stampede for vaccines” to combat the coronavirus pandemic, top UN officials have told the 193-member UN General Assembly.
    Thomas Friedman tells us how Joe Biden plans to heal America and handle Iran and China.
    America’s failure to alleviate mass poverty during COVID-19 demonstrates the depths to which the country has sunk, writes Tarric Brooker.
    Republicans are standing up to Trump. Unfortunately, it’s too little, too late, says Rebecca Solnitt.
    Here’s a likely contender for “Arsehole of the Week”.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope

    Alan Moir

    Jon Judelka

    Mark David

    Glen Le Lievre

    Mark Knight

    David Rowe

    Matt Golding

    Jim Pavlidis

    Matt Davidson

    Andrew Dyson

    How many ideological stereotypes can Johannes Leak crowd into one cartoon?

    From the US

  19. Rick Morton on the NDIS –

    Once again Morton proves he is one of the best investigative journalists in Australia. This is a cracker of an article.

    The crux of the matter is the ATM government never wanted the NDIS and have been working hard to destroy it. They are using the usual Liberal technique, also currently being inflicted on the ABC and to a lesser extent on Medicare.

    First cut funding, then cut again, and again, and again. (For Medicare it’s a funding freeze, designed to force doctors to bill their patients and abandon bulk billing.)

    While slashing funding use the ever-willing MSM to demonise the institution/scheme by alleging fraud, misrepresentation, misuse of funds, budget blowouts etc.

    Finally when the target is in its death throes, hopelessly crippled by underfunding and with its reputation in tatters, flog it off to a willing buyer at a bargain price, while providing millions, maybe billions of dollars of undercover funding to the buyer to get things sorted.

    That’s it – another pesky Labor burden on the budget dead.

    The key word is “Labor”. The NDIS is a Labor initiative and under the ATM dictatorship Australians are not permitted to enjoy the benefits of anything Labor brought in.

    Here’s the House of Representatives during Julia Gillard’s introduction of the NDIS – as you can see just six members of the then Opposition bothered to turn up.

    They say they have supported the NDIS “every step of the way” in Abbott’s words, but they have actually done all they can to destroy it right from the start in 2012. Abbott, with the willing help of the MSM, painted it as a massive tax grab, as summarised here by Margo Kingston –

    The thought of Stuart Robert, surely the most incompetent and corrupt minister in an unbelievably corrupt and incompetent ministry being in charge of every decision on the NDIS is terrifying. This is a man who believes disability results from sin and can be cured by prayer, tithing, being “saved” and baptised in a Pentecostal church and ultimately by the laying on of hands. He is so “devout” he baptised members of his church during a holiday in Israel a year ago. And this is the man the CrimeMinister (who shares the same loopy beliefs) wants to have ultimate control of the NDIS!

    The really sad thing is it all comes down to the votes of the Senate crossbench. Hanson and Roberts loathe the very thought of any government funding going to people with disabilities and are sure to vote for whatever changes the government wants. It then comes down to Lambie, Griff and Partiick and all three have shown they can be bribed by a government offering trashy trinkets in exchange for votes that will affect the lives of around 400,000 (and growing) Australians.

  20. A good summary

    But having choreographed the prelude the week before, on the day the report was actually released, the government staged an on-brand retreat. Senior figures vamooshed, leaving the chief of the defence force, Angus Campbell, to own the devastating findings in all the television news packages.

    Campbell, during his solo performance, flagged a number of measures in response to Brereton, including stripping SAS soldiers of medals. The meritorious unit citation awarded to Special Operations Task Group rotations serving in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2013 would be revoked.

    Outrage from some veterans and some in the general community ensued. The first line of outrage was the top brass seemed inclined to censure soldiers in the field while casting themselves as innocents. The second fracas was around the recognition: why should everyone lose their medals because of the bad behaviour of the few?

    Fearing a brewing political disaster, the government reappeared as quickly as it had vanished, and began micromanaging, first quietly, then noisily.

    Late last week, Morrison told a radio station no decisions had been made about stripping the medals. By last Sunday, the ABC’s Insiders program was reportedly given a statement from the Department of Defence saying the final decision about the citations would be a matter for the government. By Monday night, Campbell confirmed he was no longer driving the Brereton bus.


  21. Labor says Scott Morrison’s dropping of Kyoto credits to meet climate targets is ‘pathetic’
    Labor leader says Australia needs to pledge to deliver net-zero emissions by 2050

    The Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, said on Saturday the government was not doing enough to tackle climate change and should pledge to deliver net-zero emissions by 2050.

    “The rather pathetic announcement by Scott Morrison that he won’t pull an accounting trick over Kyoto credits as if that’s a positive when it is a fact that the rest of the world rejected that as an accounting trick, that’s not a plus for the government,” Albanese said.

    “What we need is a to reduce emissions, not a plan for accounting tricks.”


    All well and good, but this is the same Albo who supports gas drilling and coal mining. He cannot have it both ways. Either he wants net zero emissions by 2050 or he wants coal and gas.

    And 2050 is too late for a target. We need it done by 2030, if not before.

  22. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Are we seeing the setting of another “gold standard” here?
    Matt Wade explains how, as a legacy of the pandemic, wage earners have never collected a smaller share of the economy.
    Greg Jericho writes that the government wants the recession to be over to justify winding back stimulus measures. He says they want to return to where things were heading before the pandemic: lower wages growth and greater company profits.
    Lucy Cormack tells us that the city-country divide is again causing tension in the Coalition, with National Party MPs accusing city Liberals of failing to appreciate the full extent of the ice epidemic in regional NSW.
    Farrah Tomalin writes that a Victorian government plan to crack down on churches using prayer to change LGBTI people has been branded as the biggest threat to religious freedom in years, placing Premier Daniel Andrews on a collision course with the nation’s faith groups. Bring it on!
    Australians who are stuck overseas have hit out at the government for taking them off a register of expats wanting to return home, despite them saying they still want to get home. Surely the government is not cooking the books!
    Human rights offenders will be banned from entering the country and have their assets seized under new laws to be introduced to federal Parliament next year, reports Anthony Galloway who says the move will place pressure on the government to consider imposing sanctions on Chinese government officials who are responsible for human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region.
    The editorial in the SMH expresses concern that uncertainty will plague our road to recovery.
    According to Michael Koziol, the federal government is poised to ban the “outrageous” fees sometimes charged by barristers when family law cases are unexpectedly settled early, which can be as high as $12,000 a day and are particularly common in Sydney.
    Nick O’Malley and Rob Harris write that Angus Taylor said during a conference in which the government was criticised for not setting its own fixed targets, the federal government will track the emissions reductions targets set by some of Australia’s largest companies,
    Jacqui Maley writes about what she describes as a new high-water mark of hostility between this government and the ABC.
    The SA government is facing calls to publicly explain why almost 100 medi-hotel security guards have been sacked or disciplined.
    James Massola explains why Indonesia is losing the COVID fight while neighbours are crushing the virus.
    Sydney’s Georges River Council has voted to refer allegations to the corruption watchdog after a series of stories by the Sydney Morning Herald last year. And would you believe a developer is involved in it?
    San Francisco’s The Bay Area city has had America’s best track record for managing coronavirus, but it now faces a surge in cases that could overrun its hospitals by Christmas.
    A judge hearing Donald Trump’s federal lawsuit seeking to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s win in Wisconsin says the US president’s request to “remand” the case to the GOP-controlled Legislature to pick new electors was “bizarre”.

    Cartoon Corner

    Reg Lynch

    Matt Davidson

    Glen Le Lievre

    Mark Knight

    From the US

  23. Yesterday I was collected by my sister in Albury for her to drive me home

    The XPT was replaced by a bus. The Melbourne passengers got out looking very uptight and frazzled to our livin’ in the country eyes.
    I have a photo of the maskless XPT conductors standing beside a masked VLine conductor holding a supply of masks

    Re the 2 travellers from Germany that were caught in Melbourne
    Their boarding passes were printed in Germany
    They transited through New Zealand to Sydney
    They boarded a domestic flight to Melbourne where the 5th person they talked to dobbed them in

    1. How can you still print boarding passes overseas, normally boarding pass printing opens 36 hours before take off
    2. How can have mix of New Zealand residents and hot overseas travellers cheek by jowl on Trans Tasman flight ie should be quarantining the Trans Tasman flight as well as the Virgin Syd –> Melb flight
    3. Why has Qantas fired all its ground staff? you must now print your boarding pass yourself
    4. Why does airline booking software currently allow onward flights within Australia

    And the SMH asks if they lied to officials
    FFS their itinerary was planned to avoid hotel quarantine

    • NSW has quite the reputation for being careless with travellers, starting with the daft decision to allow passengers off the Ruby Princess without any screening, thus spreading The Plague across Australia. Then came the 17 NZ travellers who managed to fly into Sydney and immediately board a flight to Melbourne. Now this latest debacle. All because the NSW authorities do not take their duties seriously.

      You would think after the first flight connection scandal protocols would have been established to make sure it never happened again, but no, nothing seems to have been done.

      We need a proper quarantine facility in each state, outside major cities, the more remote the better. Christmas Island would be ideal (not for those who live there though) but sits empty except for one family locked up in one little corner of the place.

      We also need security guards and staff at these facilities to be full-time workers and to live in, so any risk of outside spreading of infection is minimal.

      The federal government won’t do a thing, despite quarantine being their responsibility. They prefer the current knee-jerk reaction system.

  24. Have been told that hotel quarantine in Sydney is the luck of the draw.
    You pay your $3000 quarantine or not
    You may be in a plush room in the Hyatt without windows that open
    you may be allocated a dark dinghy room with no sunlight or fresh air for 14 days

    Even prisoners get a hour of outside exercise each day

    We should be using existing federal facilities like Learmonth, Singleton, Richmond, Puckapunyal

  25. Yes, why don’t they ……

    Qantas A380 jumbos sent to Mojave desert in California for deep storage; Boeing 747s retired immediately

  26. More lies –

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