Tag Archives: Christopher Pyne

But he is an honourable man…

15 Aug

Dyson Heydon

What is notable in the impassioned defence of Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Attorney-General George Brandis, and Christopher Pyne (what’s he do again?) is the choice of descriptors such as eminent, esteemed, distinguished, above reproach, honourable…the list is long, you get the idea.

While Mr Heydon may well enjoy some or all of those qualities in certain aspects of his life and personality, we ought to know by now that such attributes in no way preclude their bearer from undesirable and even unethical actions, neither do they make those actions any the less heinous.

We know this from the frequent exposure of esteemed, respected, eminent, irreproachable, honourable men (sorry, but they are overwhelmingly men) who are publicly revealed to have a darker and more dangerous side, from the eminent legal and political members of pedophile rings, to the growing list of globally renowned entertainers who’ve sexually preyed on women and children, to the irreproachable religious leaders who’ve succumbed to worldly temptations. You think we’d know by now that the words eminent, irreproachable, distinguished, honourable and so on mean, unfortunately, absolutely nothing when used in defence of men of achievement who’ve been outed as alarmingly two-faced.

And yet Abbott et al seem to believe that the increasingly desperate enunciation of these linguistic accolades will put Dyson Heydon beyond accountability, in much the same way as Abbott’s description to the court of the convicted pedophile Father Nestor as a virtuous and upright man was intended to distract from, or at the very least ameliorate, his crimes. These blokes make mistakes but they are essentially honourable men, so come on.  Yes. Indeed.

It’s beyond belief that Dyson Heydon, given his experience and eminence in his profession, could be unaware that he is required to be free of all political allegiances. If by some oversight he was unaware of the nature of the Liberal Party invitation to give the Sir Garfield Barwick lecture, rumour has it that Attorney-General George Brandis was also invited to the same event some time back in April. Surely he noticed that looming conflict of interest? No?

Indeed, did no legal personage in the ranks of Liberal lawyers grasp the ethical implications of a Royal Commissioner heading an investigation into trade unions and the Labor party simultaneously giving the keynote address at a Liberal party fundraiser? Because if they are that thick, how are they making a living?

The collapse of institutions once respected and even revered has eroded popular faith in the perceived trustworthy and honourable nature of authority, simply because it is authority. Too often those who wield the power of authority have been shown to have abused that power and we are increasingly disillusioned. Or perhaps we’re on the road to a more healthy realism and self-responsibility. Like believing in the sky fairy, trusting a man because he is eminent in his profession, no matter what his field, is, sadly, a loony and outdated idea. It belongs in the era when a man’s word was binding: how many centuries ago was that?

Besides, if Abbott found Nestor virtuous and upright that tells us everything we need to know about his capacity for good judgement.

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The Pynes have never seen the fireworks. Right this wrong.

9 Aug

Fireworks NYE Sydney

 

In defending a $5000 cost for Christopher Pyne and three of his family members to fly to Sydney from Adelaide over the Christmas/New Year period, a spokesperson explained that Pyne did engage in work activities and he and his family had never seen the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks.

Either this spokesperson has a burning ambition to dump Pyne and the rest of the Coalition government even further in it, or he or she is so steeped in the tradition of political entitlement and privilege that they can see no downside to revealing that we, the hapless taxpayers, many of whom never have and never will see the fireworks in Sydney on New Year’s Eve except on the telly, paid for the Pyne family to enjoy this cultural privilege.

I have never subscribed to the belief that any one human being is of greater significance than any other so naturally, I don’t see why my tax dollars should fund the Pyne kids’ excursion to the fireworks just because they have Christopher for their father. Oh, but wait. They have Christopher for their father. I may need to rethink my position on their disadvantage.

It may be a glitch in my constitution, but I have never found reason to respect any individual simply because she or he holds a particular office. There are actually very few people I do respect, and none of them are politicians or public figures. If I was going to shout anyone a trip to the fireworks, it would be one of them. There is much codswallop bandied about with regard to respecting “the office,” but one cautious glimpse at the increasingly unhinged Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, ought to disabuse anyone of the notion of respecting an office, given the type of lunatic who can apparently hold it. An office, like an institution, is only as good as the human beings inhabiting it, and that can be very very bad indeed.

We do not have “politicians” anymore, in the sense of a class of people willing to give a period of their lives to the service and well-being of the citizenry and the country. We have instead ideologues, intent on pursuing their self-interested goals and taking every possible advantage of us while they do it. It matters little on which side of the House they plonk their narcissistic arses, as is evidenced in the uncharacteristic rush to defend one another’s expenses claims. Of course extravagance is in the rules: politicians wrote the rules and they may not know much about running a country, but they do know how to look after themselves.

Pyne says he will not be repaying the airfares we coughed up  for his family to see the fireworks. Why am I not surprised. Call me cynical, but if anything comes from Abbott’s apparent determination to address the “entitlement” rules I suspect it will be an amendment to permit taxpayer-funded travel to party fundraisers. The man who wrings his hands over the denial of coal supplies to poverty-stricken millions on the sub continent who will, he claims, suffer and possibly die because of the Federal Court decision on the Adani Carmichael coal mine, gives not a fig for the Australian taxpayer who, while increasingly unable to make ends meet, has to watch his or her tax dollars pay for the children of comfortable and privileged politicians to fly business class and see the spectacles.

Time to get out the metaphorical tumbrils.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pyne’s advertising campaign is long-term LNP propaganda

9 Dec

anti_public_education_propaganda_by_8manderz8-d5xz1cjOnly days after the education reform bill was defeated in the Senate, the government has launched what it describes as an “information” campaign, funded by tax payers, that claims to educate the public about the failed proposed reforms to higher education.

The campaign to promote understanding of the failed bill is funded by taxpayers. The Abbott government justifies this by claiming the campaign meets all necessary guide-lines to qualify not as political advertising, but as information that is in the public interest. Obviously, the campaign was prepared in anticipation of a Senate defeat.

Shadow Education Minister Kim Carr claimed this morning on ABC Radio National’s early AM program that the advertising is deliberately misleading, and falsely claims that the government will pay “around half of your undergraduate degree.” Carr has fact checked this claim with universities in Western Australia and Queensland and depending on the discipline, students will pay between 57% and 88% of the costs of their degrees.

This is a job for the ABC’s Fact Check unit, if it still exists.

The government’s goal is to create a narrative in which the LNP is struggling to introduce reforms that are positive for students financially (good) and is being thwarted in its efforts by an uncooperative opposition and minor parties (bad). In other words, the Abbott government is striving to gives us what’s best for us against a relentless opposition that doesn’t care about us.

Their goal, I imagine, is to ignite resentment and discontent in the electorate towards an obstructionist ALP and minor parties, a narrative we can expect to see strengthen in the next two years as we approach the next election.

The fact that this is a dud reform quite rightly prevented from realisation is irrelevant. There is also no mention of proposed cuts to universities in the campaign.

Tony Abbott, his ministers and backbenchers take every opportunity to persuade us that all their troubles are the responsibility of the previous Labor government. There is only so long a government can use this tactic to distract from its own incompetence. I’d suggest the Abbott government has long since passed that time limit.

The government is engaged in an ongoing election battle that began years ago when Abbott became LOTO. This most recent taxpayer-funded “information campaign” is yet another sign that Abbott is not so much concerned with good governance as he is with winning the next election. The education reform bill advertising is long-game propaganda, and contributes to Abbott’s over-arching narrative of governmental good intentions thwarted both by Labor’s legacy, and its alleged ongoing obstruction.

 

 

Pyne. Turnbull. Hubris.

20 Nov

christopher-pyne-1200-vertical

When the goddess of language came up with the word hubris meaning overconfident pride or arrogance that incurs the wrath of the gods who then punish the offender, mightily humiliating him, she had Christopher Pyne in mind. Look:

Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.

Yes, that could apply to most of the government. Sad, isn’t it?

Pyne’s latest caper is setting up an online petition to protest ABC production cuts  leading to the loss of jobs in his own electorate, as a consequence of budget restrictions imposed by his own government. His move has been described as hypocritical, but I think of it more as calculatedly provocative, designed to arouse precisely the reaction it has. Pyne loves above all things to cause outrage. It makes him feel powerful. He needs it like he needs the air he breathes. This is not a good characteristic for a politician in government.

Pyne’s move is also an example of conservatives adopting left-wing methods of protest in a “look, we can do this too” attempt to undermine those methods with ridicule, and it is a co-option that is intended to render them puny and ineffective.  However, as the tactic is blatant, hypocritical and just plain stupid, all it succeeds in achieving is a few laughs for the in-group and in this case, Pyne momentarily in the spotlight where he most loves to be.

Like his leader and many of his colleagues, Pyne has all the substance of a stick of fairy floss, or cotton candy as our friends in the US like to call it. I am struggling to find any sign of vision, or genuine concern for anything other than their own power in the government, no matter at what cost to the country and its citizens. This consuming self-interest  is destroying them, individually and collectively, as consuming self-interest always will eventually. Hubris.

Malcolm Turnbull for example used to have some authority in the world, a short term in the Abbott government has transformed him into the most hollow of hollow men, as if the virus of ambition has worked on him like psychic Ebola, leaching out of him all his vital fluids and leaving him dry as a bone in the Western Desert. The man is pathetic and utterly dismissible. He was not always thus.

A good leader inspires and embiggens her or his followers. Abbott is slowly but surely destroying every decent thing there might once have been in the members of his government. The man is satanic in his talent for destruction. In opposition he was very noisy about it. As Prime Minister he is far more stealthy, and even more lethal.

Kathy Jackson. Journos as cannibals. Investigative bloggers. Leonard Cohen.

30 May

I’m reading a novel by Lionel Shriver ( of We need to Talk about Kevin fame) titled The New Republic. The blurb on the back claims the novel is about terrorism and personal magnetism. It does indeed deal with both, in that bitingly humorous fashion usually fuelled by deep anger, and contempt for the subjects. I won’t attempt to describe the convoluted plot, for to do so would be to ruin the story.

However, to my reader’s mind this novel is all about journalists and mainstream media, especially those who venture into theatres of conflict, and Shriver has not one good thing to say about them. For example:

“I’m a journalist,” she has a lead character, Barrington Saddler,  explain, “and journalists need news. Deprive them of it, and they go a bit barking. Deprive  them of news long enough, and they’ll make their own – much the way the starving will eventually turn to cannibalism.”

And this from his editor: “Journalists are parasites…on everyone else’s events. The worst thing that can happen to a correspondent is to start thinking of himself as a player. The hack who fancies himself a mover-and-shaker gets slipshod – thinks he’s covering his own story. Reporting is a humble profession, Mr Kellogg. Journalists -” Wallasek shrugged – “are History’s secretaries…a reporter’s not supposed to chip in his two cents.”

I find it significant that this novel is all about journalists, with terrorism and personal magnetism employed merely as vehicles to cynically explore the bleak terrain of mainstream media, but there’s no mention at all of this on the cover. Oh, BTW. It’s published by Harper Collins Fourth Estate.

And so to Peter Wicks’ latest expose of Kathy Jackson, her partner Michael Lawler, the HSU & FWA. Wixxy is doing an extraordinary job of investigative blogging without any of the resources or protections afforded to mainstream journalists. As Peter points out, with such limited resources he’s still been able to access flammable information about payments made by the HSU to Kathy Jackson, payments that beggar belief. These include over half a million dollars invoiced as “Key Management Personnel Compensation,” itemised only as “Employee benefits.” Kathy Jackson is the sole recipient.

Don’t miss reading Wixxy’s piece, published today in Independent Australia. Wicks provides all kinds of interesting links, including the connection between Jackson, FWA boss Michael Lawler, and Christopher Pyne, who were all spotted enjoying coffee together just last week. Why aren’t these matters receiving anything like the intense scrutiny given to Craig Thomson’s affairs? Why aren’t journos lurking beneath Jackson’s bathroom window while she takes a shower? How come the msm aren’t asking why Jackson’s child care centre whose staff do not wear uniforms, received money for their non-existent uniforms from the HSU? Are child care centres even in the HSU?

Why the mainstream media haven’t bothered to investigate these matters any further is a mystery. Idleness? Political pressure to refrain?

With a few outstanding exceptions, we don’t generally have investigative journalists, just an excess of self-regarding opinionistas. Thank god we do have bloggers.

Or maybe too many of our journos, like Shriver’s morally corrupt hacks,  are far too busy trying to be players?

Oh, and this has just been brought to my attention. I don’t know how reliable this source is, but it alleges Lawler belongs or belonged to Opus Dei. The thlot pickens.

Finally I am seriously disappointed in Barack Obama who has just awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour to Bob Dylan WHEN IT SHOULD HAVE GONE TO LEONARD COHEN. And yes, the medal can be awarded to non US citizens. I still take my hat off to you Leonard. Dylan is good, but you are better. Plus you don’t look as drug-fucked.

Mr Rabbit takes his arse to London

13 Nov

In the absence of both Mr Rabbitt and Jemima Puddleduck a very bearable lightness of being has graced us at Hill Top Farm these last  weeks, disturbed only by the occasional dispatch from foreign countries that serves to remind us that this respite is indeed temporary, and things will return to acrimonious normality in the too-near future.

Mr Rabbit, having failed to find any takers for his rear end at home, has joined the arse drain and is busy flogging his wares in London among those traditional arse hounds the British conservatives. If he doesn’t succeed in selling it (the competition is fierce) he can at least rent it out for a flogging and earn a bit of spending money. He’ll have to be discreet, however, as BDSM is illegal between consenting adults in the UK , thereby proving beyond doubt the theory that we repress that which we most desire.

Meanwhile, Jemima has been busy making lots of very important new friends on her amazing adventures abroad. Who would have believed a humble duck from Wales could go so far in her adopted country, to which she fled seeking refuge from the harsh northern climate, and where her parents worked like dogs to establish themselves and give their daughter a real crack at life!  Oh, that many more would be given the opportunities granted Jemima, especially those hapless Middle Eastern people who keep fetching up in boats, fleeing for their lives, wanting only a future for their children!

Take note ducklings. You too can achieve like Jemima if you only put your minds to it, insist on hatching your own eggs no matter who tries to talk you out of it, make lasting connections with faceless men,and don’t get caught up in that bloody domesticity that brings so many good women undone. You know, the thing that starts off with gooey feelings and astonishing sex and ends up in sleep deprivation, homicidal fights about the washing up, months without sex, and your career down the drain because his job is more important than yours. Unless of course you’re lucky enough to land a stay-at- home drake, in which case, go girl duck.

In his leader’s absence, that suave and silver-tailed Mr Turn-Bull-Fox exchanged his old leather jacket for a brand new coat of exactly the same colour, sprucing himself up for an attack on Mr Rabbit’s arse when it gets home, flattened and vulnerable after hours of travel on a Qantas plane that hopefully won’t be grounded in Dubai. I believe the extraordinarily talented Stephen Fry is still in that city, trying to get home and not happy.

Qantas CEO The Iron Leprechaun, otherwise known as Alan Jones, oops, sorry, Joyce and shown here counting his pay rise, promised Mr Rabbit he’d leave his planes in the sky for the duration so Mr Rabbit would be able to get home to his wife and children and his important job in the vegetable patch. When asked about poor Mr Fry’s predicament the Leprechaun is reported to have retorted in his irresistible Irish lilt: “Feck that fecking tweeting rat fecker feck.” This in reference to the insulting tweets Mr Fry allegedly sent out to his 2+ million followers about his disappointing journey with Qantas. At least your plane didn’t run out of fuel like mine did, Stephen. And I bet you had all the food you wanted in business class while the economy people starved. Fecking class system. Fecking capitalists. Fecking flying animals.

The term “rat-fucker” caught on in Australia after Ms Puddleduck’s  Minister-at-large for Foreign Bodies Kep the Collie, made it popular when he used it to describe certain gentlemen from China whom he failed to charm one time in the wonderful (wonderful) fairy tale city of Copenhagen where, as you might recall, a humble Tasmanian girl, daughter of real estate agents, became a royal princess. Take note, girl ducklings. She doesn’t have a stay-at-home drake, but she does have lots of servants and bigger pots of gold than the Leprechaun that she can use for fabulous clothes. You could do worse.

Unfortunately,  as I mentioned in my last letter from the Farm, Jeremy Fisher (AKA Christopher Pyne) was regurgitated by the trout that swallowed him, owing to the bad taste he caused in the fish’s mouth. Mr Jeremy, now fully recovered  and cleansed of fish spittle, has returned to his seat in the House of Representatives with his prissy missy Chrissy voice restored to its previous shrilly Millie tones of highly wiley indignation. I have no news of the trout.

I am myself personally taking my own arse on a journey for the next week. Thankfully unlike Mr Rabbit I’m not obliged to offer it up for sale, and thankfully I’m not relying on Qantas to get me where I want to go. Actually I’m driving. But quite frankly that fecking Alan Joyce has forced me to re-assess my loyalties, divest myself of my frequent flyer points, and in future, ride the Virgin. Fortunately I was able to purchase almost all my Christmas presents at the Qantas Frequent Flyer Shop with my accumulated points, including a marvelous thingy that will teach the newest baby in our family all about symphony orchestras. So suck it up Joycie. You’ll never ground me again, you Celtic plank.

The Iron Leprechaun grounds the Flying Kangaroo

1 Nov

I realise I’m probably in the minority but I can’t dredge up any over-heated feelings about Alan Joyce the person, of the kind that arise in me unbidden about the likes of, say, Tony Abbott, Christopher Pyne, Alan Jones, Julia Gillard, Julie Bishop, et al. The man seems like such a merry little fellow with his guile-less schoolboy eyes wide  behind glasses that look a little too small, and as if they were chosen for him by his mother.

Then there’s his enchanting Irish lilt in which he can announce events set to cause serious upheaval and deep offense to thousands and thousands of human beings who are just trying to live their lives, and make the offenses sound quite benign. No, the fellow does not provoke strong feelings in me, rather I’m bemused by the dissonance between Joyce’s immense power, and his inoffensive persona. If I was to accuse him of anything it would be a mild capacity for mischief. Just like the leprechaun who makes his mischief for the delight of watching what happens next. Of course, one can underestimate the intentions behind gleeful disruption. It is one of the many guises used by the devil to sow doubt and misery amongst humans.

I’ve had my fair share of minor disruption as a Qantas passenger. Last November returning from LA we didn’t have enough fuel to reach Brisbane and diverted to Noumea to top up. I found that interesting. They don’t know how much fuel they need to get from LA to Brisbane? Oh, it was the headwinds. OK. Then, finally on our way again after hours on the tarmac bitching and moaning we ran out of food, and most of us got no breakfast.

Then there was the time en route to Mexico when a couple of hours into the flight we ran out of water, forcing us to retain our intimate wastes if we possibly could as they had to be flushed away by bottles of water if we didn’t, an inefficient system to say the least. We didn’t get any breakfast then either, on the grounds that if they didn’t feed us we wouldn’t produce as many intimate wastes. I arrived in Mexico dehydrated, hungry and, well, I won’t spell it out for you.

At least I never got stranded in Los Angeles, which is probably the last place on earth anyone would choose to get stranded outside of Bangkok, where they have the coldest terminal in the world, furnished entirely with metal chairs that freeze your arse after five minutes and leave deep impressions in the flesh of your upper thighs. I once slept on the floor of that terminal waiting for a flight to somewhere that would eventually get me to Vientiane. It was unspeakably horrible but I can’t blame Qantas for that.

As things stand today the Iron Leprechaun has temporarily triumphed, both parties have been forced to suspend industrial action and enter into couple counseling. Many times have I sworn that I will never fly Qantas again. They have me in their power because of my frequent flyer points. But I plan to use them all up. I plan never to acquire anymore. I plan to switch my allegiances because enough is enough.

I loved Qantas, as much as one can love a commercial concept. The idea the Qantas brand successfully marketed for a long time was the idea of home. I will always remember once boarding a Qantas flight in Tokyo when the steward at the door said with a kind smile and a thrillingly familiar accent: “Welcome home, Dr Wilson.” Tired and emotional after many upheavals and weeks of  unrelenting travel, I found my seat and had a little cry. Now I was safe. Now I was home.

This is what I mean about mischief. It might not look too bad on the surface of it but it can carry a terrible punch.

PS I am not talking about horses today. No horses. However, if you choose to make an imaginative link between the picture below and the individual mentioned in this post, knock yourself out.

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