Turnbull & Trump: Masters of depravity

6 Aug

“You’re worse than me” Trump tells Turnbull in leaked transcript


For those of you who haven’t read the full transcript of the phone call between US President Donald Trump and Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, here’s the link.

For the politically aware, the transcript serves to confirm what we’d long since concluded: the agreement by the US to take refugees from Manus Island and Nauru is entirely dependent on the outcome of an “extreme vetting” process which, as Turnbull reassures Trump, means the US doesn’t actually have to take anyone. Trump only has to be seen to follow the process.

Turnbull also reassures a skittish Trump, worried about the moral character of the refugees, that they are good people we have imprisoned only because they travelled to Australia by boat. Had they arrived by plane, Turnbull states, they would be living here now.

Turnbull has unwittingly impaled himself on the horns of a dilemma: in order to persuade Trump he isn’t sending him “the next Boston Bombers” the PM, no doubt unquestioning in his belief that the phone call will remain secret, goes to some lengths to convince Trump the refugees are of good character and not potential terrorists, but we have imprisoned them anyway, in horrendous circumstances, for the non-crime of having arrived in a boat.

Let this sink in. Australian politicians have imprisoned and tortured those now acknowledged by the Prime Minister to be good people, purely to gain political advantage. Australian politicians have spent billions of taxpayer dollars on the confinement and torture of good people, for political advantage.

In my understanding of the word, this is depraved.

Some mainstream media commentators have praised Turnbull’s demeanour during the phone call. Some have claimed that he “won.” This is how depravity is normalised. By media unquestioningly accepting the “normality” of depraved exchanges. There can be no “winner” in what amounts to a discussion on people trafficking by people traffickers, and I have yet to see this exchange between Turnbull and Trump named for what it is.

What Turnbull “won” is unclear, since at its most base, the negotiation concluded with Trump being reassured that he does not have to take anyone from Manus and Nauru as they can all fail his extreme vetting, that’s up to him, while Turnbull grovelingly agrees that we will take all those Trump “needs to move on, anyone. Anyone.”  Momentarily setting aside the depraved nature of the discussion, how can this possibly be a “win” for Turnbull and Australia?

It’s indicative of how normal depravity has become in Australian politics that much of the mainstream media is apparently entirely unaware of it: even the ABC’s Chris Uhlman described Turnbull as having “won.” Are commentators incapable of acknowledging the depravity of two excessively privileged men treating refugees as less than human?

The leaked transcript has revealed nothing new: it has confirmed what many of us already long believed: that refugees imprisoned by Australia in off-shore concentration camps have been stripped of all humanity, and reduced to political pawns in a depraved political game designed to appease the most ignorant, racist and base amongst us.

The question is, are we prepared to accept this depravity from our politicians? Because if we are, we enter into this depraved state alongside them and by our collusion, and the collusion of our media, normalise the persecution of innocent people for political gain.

You think this will stop with refugees? You’re dreaming.








56 Responses to “Turnbull & Trump: Masters of depravity”

  1. Arthur Baker August 6, 2017 at 8:45 am #

    And yet people still ask me why I refuse to vote either Liberal or Labor, since their policies on this matter are, by and large, identically depraved.

    There is also the question, almost always unaddressed in any discussion of this refugee swap deal, of what will happen to those not accepted by the USA? Even if Trump’s assessors do consent to take some from Nauru and Manus, there are bound to be hundreds (at the very least) left behind.

    What are we going to do with them? Pay Cambodia another $55 million to take them four at a time? Or make them sweat through another four years of hell-in-a-gulag?

    “Depraved” hardly scratches the surface.

    Oh, and welcome back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson August 6, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks Arthur.
      As we speak, power & water have been turned off in the Manus camps, and medical services withdrawn. All in an effort to force the men out into a community that is waiting for them with machetes.


      • Marilyn August 7, 2017 at 12:47 am #

        Truffles is a murderous monster, Trump was no where near as evil as Truffles no matter how the ridiculous media say otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson August 7, 2017 at 9:23 am #

          What a contest.


        • helvityni August 7, 2017 at 11:52 am #

          Marilyn, I have to agree with Don when he says to Mal: you are worse than I am.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. 8 Degrees of Latitude August 6, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    It’s an interesting transcript. It confirms Trump as a president who doesn’t read his briefs, or doesn’t even ask for them, and underlines the worrying fact that he’s a real estate shyster whom American voters have elected to an office that is far beyond his moral, ethical and administrative capacities. It shows that a phone conversation with him, leader to leader, isn’t necessarily one that will produce an effective outcome or indeed connect with rational thought.

    As you note, it also confirms the depravity (in the correct sense of the word) of Australian policy towards foreign people who have committed no crime. It is beyond me how a process that denies human rights to others – whoever they are – and detains them indefinitely in camps on islands in other countries can possibly be justified on the basis that it has “stopped the boats” and drownings at sea.

    It is simply a profane political process whose effectiveness (undeniable in the short term) is determined by refusing to recognise the real problem: an unstoppable global population movement. It screams “Australia’s for Australians” and wins votes for doing so. That’s an Australian problem. It mirrors Trump America’s mad Mexican Wall idea.

    Turnbull deserves some credit for talking to Trump in a mannered and diplomatic way: for not interjecting “WTF, Donald?” That’s the only creditable element in the event.

    These are sorry days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson August 6, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

      The are indeed sorry days, 8 degrees.


    • Marilyn August 7, 2017 at 12:49 am #

      Truffles gets no credit, he wasn’t polite, he was a grovelling lunatic and was way worse than Trump. Everything he said was a fucking lie.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson August 7, 2017 at 9:23 am #

        No argument from me on that summary, Marilyn.


      • 8 Degrees of Latitude August 12, 2017 at 9:05 pm #

        Well, no, it wasn’t. He set out the Australian position very well (repeatedly because Trump’s an idiot) and did so in diplomatic language, in the absence of which we’d have a lot more wars. I think the Australian policy is depraved (in the true sense of the word); but if you read my blog regularly, you’ll already know that.


  3. Barry Waters August 6, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

    Sometimes, like Oedipus, it’s better not to know. Malcolm Turnbull has now been revealed as a self-centred political charlatan, the man who can lie to his own people, show his contempt for refugees, and he can persuade Trump to be as devious as he is. The thought of Trump being coached by Turnbull is terrifying. And to think that.we Australians voted this fox to be in charge of our henhouse.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. doug quixote August 6, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

    Exactly so.

    The entire agreement with the US was intended to be window dressing. It may be that Obama intended to allow many of the refugees (for so they are, by definition) to be resettled by the US; the problem would be one for Hillary, if the American voters were half sane.

    But they elected a man of world class narcissism (and little else) –

    “I am the greatest man in the world”

    as he proclaims in the transcript.

    Turnbull tried to wrangle the beast. Now Turnbull himself has an enormous ego, but thankfully not to the pathological extent of Trump. Turnbull has the rocks and shoals left to him by Abbott, and he twists and turns as he seeks to navigate the murky waters.

    The transcript holds no surprises for me; I might have written the script as a satire, but these bastards are almost impossible to parody.

    They play with peoples’ lives like children with toy soldiers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote August 6, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

      “I am the world’s greatest person” hubris or what??

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arthur Baker August 7, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

        To be fair to Trump, you have quoted him out of context. The full sentence reads: “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country.”

        It’s clearly (for once in his life) not an attempt at self-aggrandisement. It’s just his inarticulate way of saying he’s a big supporter of keeping some people out of his country.

        Context is everything.

        Liked by 1 person

        • doug quixote August 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

          You reckon?

          It all depends on the phrasing. (I won’t argue that he isn’t inarticulate, if that is not too many negatives in one sentence. 🙂 )

          Liked by 1 person

        • paul walter August 9, 2017 at 3:52 pm #

          He does seem a bit crass, but.

          Who else might find some similarities between him and our former PM John Howard?


    • Jennifer Wilson August 7, 2017 at 9:25 am #

      They make me wish there was a hell or at least an uncomfortable after life.


  5. FA August 7, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    While I certainly agree that this conversation transcript shows that Turnbull is weak and more concerned by image rather than policy (no surprise), to me the moral corruption is in the idea, accepted here, that Australia has no choice over who can enter the country. I completely disagree with that idea and think it’s logical conclusion is that Australia is not a country. Non-citizens should have no rights, and just turning up is no reason to grant them residence in our country regardless of the mode of transport to get here. Frankly, John Howard had this exactly right: “[W]e will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”. That doesn’t mean we should indiscriminately slaughter or torture them, but we absolutely must be able to control our borders, and part of that is addressing the pull factors of immigration and not just the push ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • helvityni August 7, 2017 at 11:43 am #

      No worries FA, keep voting in Governments like this one, and even the Aussies going far back to the original convicts, might want to leave the place…

      If that does not happen, send everyone back where they came from, just keep the ones with Anglo heritage.

      Happy Howard Days are again…enjoy.


      • FA August 7, 2017 at 11:50 am #

        I didn’t say no immigration at all, simply that Australia must be able to choose who it accepts.

        I live in an electorate where my only choices are Labor, Liberals or the Greens. I spoiled my ballot at the last election.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marilyn August 8, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

          We do choose who to accept, but FFS refugees have the right to come here under international and Australian law. What morons like you advocate with the we decide crap is fucking genocide.


    • Arthur Baker August 7, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

      FA, the idea that Australia has no choice over who can enter the country is disingenuous in the extreme. The fact that we are a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention is absolutely no threat to our border security. This whole border security scare, which the Liberals in particular have run for nearly two decades now, has been a misleading beat-up from day one.

      The whole purpose of the UN Refugee Convention was to prevent repetition of some events of the 1930s and 1940s, by removing the need for people genuinely fleeing persecution to obtain visas and other documentation. Their particular case is an exception to the general rule, which has always required documentation for everyone who does not claim to be seeking asylum, and still does.

      The UN Refugee Convention is an exception, allowing people to arrive by what would otherwise be illegal means, for the singular purpose of claiming asylum. When they do, their status is formally described as “unlawful non-citizen”. Note, NOT “illegal”, there’s a difference, in that “unlawful” has been ruled by an Australian court in 2002 NOT to denote any criminality. It simply means they happen to be here and have no visa.

      The UN Refugee Convention supposedly obliges us ONLY to consider their asylum case, and if proven, give them protection. Note, NOT necessarily to grant them permanent residence or citizenship or both. Just to protect them, for some unstated length of time. I say “supposedly” because recent governments seem to have chosen not to conform to the obligation – rather, they have simply ignored it while disingenuously pretending to conform. And if their claim is not proven, they have NO rights to stay at all, and have to bugger off.

      This whole business of people supposedly coming here and automatically getting residence and/or citizenship is a beat-up, which you have plainly fallen for.

      I point out that NO Australian Prime Minister, from Menzies, who signed us into the Convention in 1954, right through to Turnbull today, has ever suggested withdrawing from the Convention. Why did Howard, in particular, never suggest that, if he was so opposed to people turning up and exercising their right? I might leave you to try to work that out for yourself. Here’s a clue: it mightn’t have made him look real good in the history books of the future. Much better to continue with the pretence of facing up to our humanitarian obligations, while actually doing the opposite. Easy to fool most of the population, including you. Disingenuousness is endemic in this field of discussion.


      • FA August 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

        No, until recently I had direct connections to people who worked in the Department of Immigration. I’ve intimately known people who have worked in Immigration for over 40 years, much of that time in policy areas, and had many discussions about this. (They left recently after the merger with Customs because that was a royal cluster fuck – whose damage has yet to fully materialise, I’m sorry to say.)

        The fact is that it is next to impossible to remove someone who is found to not be a genuine asylum seeker if they have reached the main land. (It’s next to impossible to remove them if they’ve reached Nauru or Manus Island either, but that is less politically toxic, and it’s the primary reason there’s anyone still in offshore detention.) A large part of the problem is the appeal process (which has largely become politicised too) – and this is where the ‘99% of arrivals are genuine’ meme comes from. Like all of the public service, immigration has its bad apples and great people, but overall, it does a good job of determining who is genuine and who isn’t, but almost all of their decisions are overturned through the appeal process – even for people who pretty much everyone can agree we don’t want in Australia, like known domestic abusers or violent criminals.

        It is known that many ‘clients’, if we’re to use the Department’s nomenclature, are coached about the best way to game our appeal system, and will openly admit in interviews to destroying documents on advice that it will make it more likely they’ll get to stay permanently. Almost all immigration policy of the last two decades is based on these facts. No government has had the political will or capital to deal with the problem of the appeals process, and it has been far easier to not let the problem occur in the first place by ensuring that arrivals never reach the mainland in the first place.

        I’m also on the record for agreeing that Australia should withdraw from the UN Refugee Convention, but I think that’s a different matter, as Indonesia, a country through which they must travel to get here, is generally safe and a valid place to lodge an asylum request if they were genuine.

        Liked by 1 person

        • helvityni August 7, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

          Of course no more domestic abusers, we have plenty of home-grown ice and alcohol abusers to take care of that….we are not adverse to any crime, be it blue or white collar…

          My Aussie friend who works for Immigration, is still working there…


        • Arthur Baker August 7, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

          A few points.

          Politicians politicised the whole issue of asylum claims, playing on Australians’ ludicrous endemic boat-phobia, then bleat like hell when asylum seekers start using the courts to fight back. Who can blame asylum seekers for that when their lives and futures are at stake? There used to be a time, I seem to recall, when Australia simply honoured its responsibilities and got on with the job. Then there was Howard. And Tampa. And Nauru. And Ruddock. And it all fell to pieces. The courts are often the only thing asylum seekers have left.

          “Indonesia, a country through which they must travel”. Not true. Many have arrived in the past without stopping off in Indonesia.

          “Indonesia … is generally safe”. Sorry, can’t go with that one. Your status in Indonesia as an asylum seeker is “illegal immigrant”, for which you can be locked up, in squalid conditions. There are vigilante gangs. And besides, Indonesia not being a signatory country, it doesn’t even approach being a permanent solution for you.

          Yeah, they can apply for UNHCR accreditation there. Fat lot of good that does. People have got their official UNHCR cards there, and a decade later they’re still there, unable to work, watching their children’s future go down the toilet. I know what I’d do, and it’s spelled B-O-A-T.


          • havanaliedown August 8, 2017 at 8:49 am #

            Arthur, you neglected to include Paul Keating in your list – he introduced mandatory detention by 1994 for those seeking to circumvent our immigration system.


            • Arthur Baker August 8, 2017 at 9:04 am #

              Actually it was the Hawke government in 1989. Keating hurriedly passed retrospective legislation to “legalise” it in 1992. And it’s got nothing to do with our immigration system. Asylum is an entirely separate consideration. Learn some history and polish up your legal terminology, why don’t you?


              • havanaliedown August 8, 2017 at 9:20 am #

                Indeed it was to protect our immigration system, our borders and our sovereignty. The boat arrivals were getting out of control way back then – some even reaching the mainland.


                • Arthur Baker August 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

                  Its primary purpose was to protect Gareth Evans’s ego.

                  Learn some history and polish up your legal terminology, why don’t you?


                • paul walter August 9, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

                  You have a point but so do they. The thing is, why seek a definition that discourages help when helping might not be a problem?


            • Marilyn August 8, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

              Seeking asylum does not circumvent our fucking immigration system, Keating did it to stop a few hundred Cambodians after making the dirty deal with the Khmer Rouge.


        • Marilyn August 8, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

          Talking to the criminals in the department is like asking the fox to keep charge of the hen house. They are proven liars. And why continue the lie that Indonesia is safe, it’s not safe for refugees and never has been.


    • Marilyn August 7, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

      Moronic fuckwit, they are refugees and being a non-citizen is not a fucking crime. Jesus you arseholes make me puke when we consider most of the refugees we torture and kill are from the three illegal wars we are waging. Now fuck off.

      Liked by 1 person

      • havanaliedown August 8, 2017 at 8:56 am #

        Iran aside (I can’t recall if we declared war there rendering it necessary for us to accept for any and every Iranian who wishes to fly to Indonesia then pay $10,000 passage aboard a rickety boat to Christmas Island), why would the victims of a vicious sustained attack seek refuge with the very racist alcoholic bigots with zincalume fences “who blew their countries to bits”?


        • Marilyn August 9, 2017 at 4:02 am #

          War is not a criteria for being a refugee, the word is persecution


    • Jennifer Wilson August 8, 2017 at 6:17 pm #

      We are signatories to the Refugee Convention, FA, which means we invite people to seek sanctuary here, regardless of their mode of transport. If we no longer wish to offer this hypocritical hospitality, we need to withdraw from the Convention. Otherwise, nobody who takes us up on the invitation should be refused sanctuary, and they certainly aren’t “illegal”


  6. allthumbs August 7, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

    It also exposes the lie of Turnbull’s priority for “jobs and growth”, when in his first phone call to the U.S. President he did not take the opportunity to lecture, lambast or threaten his fellow business mogul concerning Trump’s policy to withdraw from the TPP, a central tenet of Liberal policy (when one looks back to consider the accolades forced down our throats about the Andrew Robb).

    What a snivelling, arse licking, spittle dribbling self-aggrandizing lackey piece of shit the Australian Prime MInister is!

    Liked by 2 people

    • samjandwich August 7, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

      Yes that was my reaction too. Turnbull wasting the first phonecall he had with Trump (well, assuming this could ever be a productive exercise) to talk about the “deal” is quite the demonstration of what a desperate political ploy it is.

      … I must say though I enjoyed Trump’s musing on a particularly Australian issue: “What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats?” Quite a fair question really.

      Liked by 1 person

      • helvityni August 7, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

        …yes sam, it was a fair question, as was the other one , ‘ why don’t YOU take them in?’


      • Jennifer Wilson August 8, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

        I found that highly amusing, Sam. And a very fair question.


  7. havanaliedown August 8, 2017 at 8:51 am #

    Yep, there’s no such thing as an illegal immigrant. Borders? Nup. Immigration System? Sorry. Sovereignty? Can’t help you there.


    • allthumbs August 8, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

      I’d hazard a guess Havana that you have a genuine piece of the Berlin wall on display in your lounge room you picked up on a trip to Europe.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Arthur Baker August 8, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

      Actually, there is such a thing as an illegal immigrant. And borders. And an immigration system. And sovereignty. Right here in Australia. None of them are threatened in the least degree by the non-illegal arrival of an asylum seeker.

      But you knew that. Because you’re endemically disingenuous, just like the Liberal/National politicians who probably pay you, and the IPA whose doctrine you slavishly follow. That’s the way trolls like you roll.

      If you can muster even the vaguest spark of intelligence, take a look at this: http://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/2014-01-24/tony-abbott-incorrect-on-asylum-seekers-breaking-australian-law/5214802

      It’s a fact-check, Havana. You’ve never heard of them, have you? But if you try really hard, even you may be able to get your head around it. Although I doubt it, given your track record. Never mind, at least give it a go.

      Not illegal, Havana. Let me run that past you again, in case you were unable to comprehend. Not illegal. Not, buddy, illegal.

      Remember all those times Tony Abbott and Scomo and P.Duddy uttered that phrase “arriving illegally by boat” or “illegal arrivals”? I remember thousands of such instances. They’re still doing it, every chance they get. And every one of them was a DDDL: a downright deliberate disingenuous LIE.

      Now sod off.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson August 8, 2017 at 6:19 pm #

      They are refugees, havana.


    • Marilyn August 8, 2017 at 7:31 pm #

      Under Australian law there is literally and factually no such person as an illegal immigrant and there is on offence in entering and staying without a visa. As for fucking sovereignty, it does not over ride human rights.


  8. allthumbs August 8, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

    “Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.”

    Malcolm Turnbull to Donald Trump, just recently,on the blower.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. doug quixote August 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

    If anyone would like the accurate statistics on our asylum seekers –


    To date we (Australia) have spent nearly $5 billion on Manus and Nauru detention. Forgive me if my maths are approximate, but that would be $2.5 million per refugee, allowing for 2,000 of them (some going back ‘voluntarily’ over the years).

    By the way, and by comparison, to keep a person in prison in Australia costs about $110,000 per year.

    $5,000,000,000 in about five or six years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson August 8, 2017 at 6:20 pm #

      That is so depressing DQ


      • Marilyn August 8, 2017 at 7:34 pm #

        Put another way, the $122 million for Truffles silly postal plebiscite would house 488 ple, the actual figure of $12 billion all up for Nauru and Manus would house 48,800 homeless families and bring in 400,000 refugees to safety


    • Arthur Baker August 8, 2017 at 9:15 pm #

      That doesn’t even include the Border Farce funding to turn boats around and put people in yellow lifeboats. Five billion is just the starter. The total spend is around five billion total PER YEAR. They don’t give a flying fuck how much of our taxpayer dollars they spend on this.


  10. Arthur Baker August 9, 2017 at 11:19 am #


    Now we’ve got the fucking Labor Party hypocrite Wong on her hind legs in the Senate telling the world how much she loves children.

    Shame about the children her fucking party’s policy condemns to imprisonment without trial on fucking Nauru. Hypocritical bastard.


  11. paul walter August 9, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

    Two things.

    Firstly, this:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-08/manus-island-asylum-seeker-death-not-suspicious-police/8786304

    Apparently all the lumps on his face are just part of his complexion?

    Secondly, on crassness, those who watched the Drum last night would have astonished at the coordinated mugging of Ellen Fanning by Nick Cater, the vile Annabel Crabb and some conservative gay guy more interested in protecting the government than gays themselves re the faux plebiscite.

    We all once smiled at the thought of the end of Alberici and Sales, but watch and see if they are not replaced by IPA Murdoch types, or in Latteline’s case nothing at all, eg some cooking program, and discover how much worse it can get even than now.


  12. paul walter August 9, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

    This, too.


    Havanna, surely no one could object to this, especially when an autopsy would surely vindicate the security folk?


  13. paul walter August 10, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

    How about this for conservative authoritarian arrogance?


    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson August 11, 2017 at 8:47 am #

      I can’t for the life of me understand this, PW. It’s the equality bit that disturbs them so, obviously.



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