1. Is the taxpayer funding Treasurer Joe Hockey’s defamation case against Fairfax Press?
Nobody seems to be able to get a satisfactory answer to this question, so this morning I sent Mr Hockey a tweet:
If the taxpayer is not funding Mr Hockey’s action, why doesn’t the government simply come out and say so, thus laying the speculation to rest? Things are bad enough for them, one imagines, without further unnecessary public grumblings.
I do hope the Treasurer has time to spend on the budget, given his preoccupation with savaging Fairfax in court for allegedly making him look “odious.” Fairfax also allegedly made Hockey’s dad cry, and caused his daughter to ask him if people were trying to buy him.
Just as well Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd never took up arms against the Murdoch Press, otherwise they’d have spent their entire political careers in court. The idea of politicians suing media for defamation is mind-bogglingly stupid but as Treasurer Hockey claims as justification: “The only thing you walk out of politics with is your reputation.”
Ummmm….. He was being ironic, right? Right?
2. With the next budget due in about eight weeks, why is Prime Minister Tony Abbott still reassuring us that he is “listening” to our concerns about the last one, rather than looking to the future and giving us some indication of what is in store? Instead he seems intent on adding to the list of “backflips” he’s had to make since last May, and once again we find ourselves in country that has become all too familiar since Abbott took leadership of the LNP, the Land of Unrelenting Negativity. Is there anything more negative than backflips?
I was right yesterday and today I have totally changed my mind and I am still right, otherwise known as the Christopher Pyne patented olympic gold backflip, heralds a new low in egregious LNP spin. The Education Minister was forced to de-link higher education reforms from the funding of scientific research, an abhorrent linkage that should never, in anybody’s wildest dreams, have existed in the first place. Somewhere in all the sound and fury Pyne managed to add that it is all Labor’s fault.
The explanations and excuses for this spectacularly bizarre method of governance are that it continues to be the fault of Labor, that Abbott is “learning” from his mistakes, that Abbott is “listening” to the people’s discontent, and that everything jaw-droppingly frightful he says is taken out of context, nevertheless he stands by it and if he doesn’t, everyone makes mistakes and anyway, anyway, it’s all Labor’s fault.
A Prime Minister still in the potty-training phase is a frightening prospect for a country. Abbott has been in politics for decades, served as a Minister in the Howard government, and as Leader of the Opposition. He is by no means a political novice, and yet we are being asked, almost daily, to give him another chance to adapt to his new responsibilities.
If he is still attempting to grasp the nature of his job by now, he needs to resign from it, because no country can afford a leader who this far into his first term still has no idea what he’s doing and where he is going.
If, like me, you are finding it difficult to keep up with Abbott’s horrible mangling of just about everything, Sally McManus has thoughtfully set up a “Tracking Abbott’s Wreckage” page right here.
3. In case you are confused by Senator George Brandis’s tumultuous, some might even allege abusive relationship with the proposed metadata laws, here’s what he said this morning. Bloggers, he declares, are not journalists, so we are not covered by the amendments that will protect those who are “journalists by profession.”
The debate over whether or not bloggers are journalists continues to exercise legal and media minds in Australia, while the issue is far more clear-cut in the US and New Zealand. Essentially in Australia bloggers will not be protected by the same metadata amendments as are professional journalists, in that we have to reveal our sources whilst they do not. This would likely affect a blogger such as the indefatigable Wixxyleaks, who continues to do a sterling job exposing the HSU/Kathy Jackson shenanigans.
Essentially, metadata retention laws create a situation in which we are all assumed to be guilty of something in our online lives. The ramifications of the state taking such an attitude towards its citizens are many, and I don’t believe it’s what governments are designed to do in a liberal democracy. The utter spinelessness of the ALP on this matter ought to make us vote for anyone but the major parties, because there’s not, as I might have said before, a bee’s dick of difference in their policies on this. Governments are not granted power in order to turn it against citizens, en masse and if they do, they can expect that one day the citizens will, en masse, turn against them.