Sunday 20th of June 2021

debate and the gadflies...


"The law is an arse" said the ass (donkey) of the fable. “An ASS!” said Diogenes… 

But the expression came from the 17th century:

"Ere he shall lose an eye for such a trifle... For doing deeds of nature! I'm ashamed. The law is such an ass." (C. 1620)

Here comes some more trifle from an expert on the manufacture of fudge...

Graham Hryce, an Australian journalist and former media lawyer, whose work has been published in The Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, the Sunday Mail, the Spectator and Quadrant.


Graham writes:

The Australian government may fall because of unproven and extremely dodgy 30-year-old rape allegations against a cabinet minister – the unchecked power of the #MeToo movement and its woke media allies is destroying our society.

The dramatic #MeToo sex scandal involving the Australian attorney general, Christian Porter, has gathered serious momentum over the past week, destroying careers, trampling over the rule of law and plunging Australian politics into complete and utter disarray.
This will come as no surprise to those who understand the fundamentally irrational and purely destructive nature of the modern #MeToo movement and its woke media advocates.

I believe Graham Hryce is a right wing commentator and a white-washer/polisher of goody right-wingers — and he will use any tricks in the book to blame the #MeToo movement and "its woke media allies" for destroying "our society”.
It’s a bit glib — and totally lacking compassion towards victims of rape — as if rape was imagined by the person claiming it happened, even a long time ago and destroyed this person’s life. 

So what is “our society”? Easy... In "our society” the only dirty linen is on the left, the mob of the unwashed, the hippies of the green movements — while the moral strength of "our society" relies, of course, on rightwing politicians being models of examplary conduct who never lie and act with godly uprightness and charity. Well done Aristotototle:

From Jack Waterford:
Scott Morrison has suggested that the police having spoken, any investigation into Porter’s behaviour would involve succumbing to “mob rule”, or being voted off the island.

[Morrison says]:
“That’s not how we run the rule of law in Australia. We run the rule of law based on the police. On courts. On judicial systems. On rules of evidence. On presumption of innocence. That’s how liberal democracies function.”

“And we have to be very careful even in traumatic and sensitive issues like this that we do not fundamentally undermine that principle. Because upon that, our entire system is built.”

Morrison, Porter, and/or the Morrison government have, over the years, violated every single one of these fundamental principles. Regardless of their complete hypocrisy, we should respect (in a way they often do not) the principles of fair and public trials, based on evidence able to be seen and cross-examined on both sides, guided by the rules of evidence (including exceptions provided for) and on a fundamental presumption of innocence.————————

Yes, we know that, despite being as white as snow, politicians lie, fudge, obfuscate, twist reality’s nipples and are well versed in the “Socrates method” (not Arse-totle’s) of “debating”. Thus, should we trust politicians at their own words when they say they did not do it (whatever — from sports rorts, toilet breaks in the wrong cubicle to rape) and cry in their acrid soup. 

Often, the problem is not evidence or lack of it, but the laws themselves AND who decides to apply them in what circumstances — and the tyranny of time… In the case of Porter and his innocence, it could seem to some people that “the police did not do their job”... As soon as the “woman” came to them (2019?) with allegations of rape (1988) with 30 pages of her grievances, the wheel of justice, including the presumption of innocence, should have been put in motion forthwith. It seems that the “investigation” dragged a bit as if the process was not properly looked at, unless there is a full police record that shows otherwise. Nothing to do with #Woke or #Metoo or #Dickheads… All to do with lack of “evidence” — from semen to injury. But it looks like, there was also a bit of ripple happening back in 2013...

An ass? The law?

It is easy to find reference works and websites that attribute the phrase to Charles Dickens, who put it into print in Oliver Twist, 1838. When Mr. Bumble, the unhappy spouse of a domineering wife, is told in court that "...the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction", replies:

"If the law supposes that," said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, "the law is a ass - a idiot”.

So we need an inquiry, not to prove anything, but to make sure the smiling politicians are not abusing us beyond the normal day-to-day bullshit. Jack Waterford tells us:

Any proper assessment of Christian Porter’s fitness for office would not only properly assess the sexual assault allegations but would his performance as a politician and as a minister. It would appear his personal failings mirror his abuse of political principle.

It began long before I had any knowledge of his private character or about the allegations of the rape of a schoolgirl 33 years ago. But it was strengthened by what I learnt in Louise Milligan’s Four Corners report about his character as a university student and young lawyer around Perth. Milligan, it seems, was unable to satisfy ABC lawyers in November that it was safe to broadcast the rape allegations, but it seems clear, in retrospect, that some of the material that was broadcast had been gathered in the context of the allegation.

It is apparent that his personal failings mirror his abuse of political principle. He emerges as a deeply unpleasant character, particularly in relation to drinking, to deeply sexist, misogynist and dismissive attitudes to women (and indeed other groups including the disabled) and to being, generally, a Hooray Henry sort of entitled buffoon of the type exemplified in Britain by the associates of David Cameron and Boris Johnson. He was frequently accused of inappropriate behaviour with women.

While he was teaching criminal law, he was said to have had a gratuitous focus on violent and sexually graphic material in the legal cases he taught. It was not necessarily different at the law school I attended but, for what it is worth, Porter was teaching in an era that was supposed to have absorbed some of the past 50 years of feminist insights.

A barrister, Kathleen Foley, told Four Corners:

“For a long time, Christian has benefited from the silence around his conduct and his behaviour, and the silence has meant that his behaviour has been tolerated and after a certain amount of time, the silence means that it’s condoned and that it’s considered acceptable. And I’m here because I don’t think that his behaviour should be tolerated, and it is not acceptable.”

None of this shows him to be guilty of the rape he so vehemently denies. But it says something of his character that an independent observer would be entitled to consider while assessing the wider questions about his personality, temperament and disposition. They certainly contrast with the posture of a strong ethical and moral base and deep religious conservatism.

All this sit alongside a record as Attorney-General of appointing Liberal Party cronies to high-paying quasi-judicial positions, outside the merit process.

It includes giving dubious secret advice permitting highly irregular distribution of grants for partisan purposes, interventions in deeply political prosecutions that violated principles of the Crown being a model litigant.

It involved his role as a social security minister administering the Robodebt scheme when he knew, and was concealing legal advice and quasi-judicial findings, that the scheme was illegal. The Robodebt process, like an increasing number of processes in the refugee system, has a reversed onus of proof, contrary to the rule of law to which he has so suddenly become attached.

Porter has carried on with a new type of approach to being law officer. Once, the first law officer had occasionally to stand at a distance from his colleagues, explaining what the law was, rather than presenting them with schemes, stratagems and dubious interpretations to assist ministers or agents to circumvent the will of the parliament. Once, the concept of the rule of law necessarily implied that public administration was circumscribed by guidelines that enforced equality of access to, and fair dealings from government.

Government law subverts basic principles

Under Porter and Morrison, particularly since the pandemic, we have shysters finding ways to subvert the law. Much government is occurring under discretion, without accountability or public reporting, and without the slightest attempt to offer all citizens an equal fair go.

Meanwhile we discover the art of debating-alla-Socratic is not about finding the truth, but ways to explore arguments. 
Scholars such as Peter Boghossian suggest that although the method improves creative and critical thinking, there is a flip side to the method. He states that the teachers who use this method wait for the students to make mistakes, thus creating a kind of negative feelings in the class, exposing the student to possible ridicule and humiliation.[23]

Some have countered this thought by stating that the humiliation and ridicule is not caused by the method, rather it is due to the lack of knowledge of the student. Boghossian mentions that even though the questions may be perplexing, they are not originally meant for it, in fact such questions provoke the students and can be countered by employing counterexamples

Read more:


Humiliation, according a law student:
But it's worth asking how much of my own experience, and Professor Suk Gersen's, should be generalised across all the cultures and backgrounds that show up at the law school. A Maori friend studying with me tells me that in his culture, being singled out and shown to be wrong in front of others can invite not just embarrassment, but shame.

Perhaps my terror is misplaced. In a recent class, the professor picked on a student who'd volunteered to answer an earlier question and asked him for the facts of a case. 

"I didn't actually read that one," the student confessed. We all laughed - collegially, not accusingly. 

Half-an-hour later, the professor asked another student a question based on what he'd just been saying about Rawlsian public reason. 

She stammered a brief answer and then confessed: "I wasn't listening to what you were saying." 

We all laughed again. 

On that day at least, it seemed the method could be just as humiliating for the professor as for the students. 

Hannah Ryan is an Australian Law Graduate studying at Harvard Law School

And this is where we enter the world of Witness K and Bernard C. They are being martyrised for having exposed the secret bad shenanigans of a government. Oh so, we cannot trust our own government for honesty and moral rectitude? And who is the main chaser of these two people who have exposed the nasty trickery?  Well, it's no other than our Attorney General, Christian Porter… Here the question is that the secret of the bad deed is enshrine in the Australian Secret Act which is used as a closed door by Porter to hide the hideous way some past politicians have behaved — which could be a reflection the way, present politicians piss in our small pockets. Despite the closed door, the bad government smell still gets through the keyhole.

So, can we trust Porter when he claims he did not do it?. Unfortunately for him, we cannot, while still giving him the presumption of innocence… And this is going to eat his conscience and his future like a worm lives in a sweet cherry…

An inquiry would open the cherry and get rid of the worm if there is one... A dilemma of doubt: is there a worm in the cherry? 
Time might tell... or not.


the law for rulers...


The law of rulers


The Christian trained in the art of “the message” … Revelations on media spinning from his time as WA’s attorney general … Law war continues … Reporting serious things is now “trial by media” … Dreadful shock for shepherd’s pie feast at the Melbourne Club

Read MoreMarch 9, 2021

A grateful nation sighs


Michaelia Cash in charge of the rule of law … Porter as attorney general not worth the candle … Bookshelves Brandis still pushing the party’s barrow from London … Best quotes

Read MoreMarch 5, 2021



janet, peter and andrew were there when it did not happen...

On Saturday, The Australian ran a column by right-wing commentator Janet Albrechtsen and university professor-cum-journalist Peter van Onselen that revealed parts of Mr Porter’s deceased accuser’s early diary that had not been published before.

Van Onselen is a long-time friend of Christian Porter’s but did not declare this in the story.

“Chilling and never-before-published details from Christian Porter’s accuser can be revealed for the first time. Now readers can judge for themselves,” the article’s introduction reads.

The article also claimed that the accuser’s family thought she may have imagined the allegation because she suffered from bipolar disorder.

Friends of the deceased woman with whom she shared the allegations have publicly called for the case to be reported fairly and respectfully.

“None of us was so naive to think this wouldn’t become a huge story but we find it interesting those who shout ‘trial by media’ are quickest to anoint themselves counsel for the defence,” one of those friends, wine writer Nick Ryan, wrote in an op-ed in the Sunday Mail.

— Nick Ryan (nickryanwine) March 7, 2021



Former Liberal staffer and friend of Mr Porter’s accuser Dhanya Mhani shared her horror at The Australian‘s reporting.

“This isn’t just being misinformed – it’s willfully causing harm & declining a chance to be better,” Ms Mhani wrote on Twitter.


I emailed @vanOnselenP last week after #insiders, so my friend’s memory would not be further insulted. He replied w/ no interest in talking. I asked again. Now a new, awful article. This isn’t just being misinformed – it’s willfully causing harm & declining a chance to be better.

— Dhanya Mani (dhanyajmani) March 13, 2021


Mental health experts also condemned the reporting.

“Trial by media? [Van Onselen] seems to consider it ethical to imply a victim was mentally ill and therefore has memory impairment and lacks credibility. He clearly knows little about the impact of trauma on memory, narrative and mental health. Maybe speak to experts before judging the dead,” University of Melbourne Professor of Psychiatry Louise Newmanwrote on Twitter.

Senior research fellow at the Centre for Advancing Journalism Denis Muller told The New Daily some in the media are now putting a dead woman, who cannot defend herself, on trial.

“The big turning point was Porter’s press conference. Then basically News Corp began running a case for the defence. We saw this in the Bolt column, and in The Oz in different ways, ” Dr Muller said.

On Thursday Andrew Bolt published a column titled: Nine reasons not to believe the woman who says Christian Porter raped her.

“This is an exercise in conducting a trial by media for the defence,” Dr Muller said of the column.

Mr Morrison’s refusal to hold an inquiry into whether Mr Porter is fit and proper to continue in his position has left the media to fill the void – with increasingly concerning reporting from some News Corp papers, he said.

“This is why we need an inquiry. We can’t simply go on dealing with bits and pieces of the story in the partisan way that is destructive of the whole concept of justice,” he said.

“There is going to have to be some circuit breaker soon.”

The lawyer who acted for the deceased woman before her death, Michael Bradley of Marque Lawyers, said Van Onselen and Albrechtsen’s article had “turbo-charged” a trial by media against his former client.


Read more:



the ghost of the rule of law...



Attorney-General Christian Porter’s denial of the historic rape allegations was emotional, emphatic and unequivocal. What cannot be denied, however, is the need for the Australian people to have absolute confidence and assurance in the character of our highest law man in the country – the attorney-general. Without an independent investigation, he alone cannot prove his innocence any more than the deceased woman who made the allegation can return from the grave to establish his guilt. All the more reason for an independent inquiry, chaired by a retired judge, to clear his name, if indeed that’s what the inquiry finds. Without such an inquiry, this issue will haunt Christian Porter to his own political grave and irrevocably damage the federal government.

Nick Toovey, Beaumaris


See also:

‘I want a formal investigation into this allegation of rape against me, not just to clear my name, but because it is the wishes of the woman’s family and friends. Questions around what happened on that night in 1988 need to be answered.


Read more:


Read from top... 



Stop the persecution of witness K and his lawyer !!!!

of love and trust...



Attorney-General Christian Porter has launched Federal Court defamation proceedings against the ABC over an online article that he alleges portrays him as the perpetrator of a “brutal” rape that contributed to a woman taking her own life.

The lawsuit is expected to put an end to calls for a public inquiry into his fitness to remain in office because a trial would ventilate many of the same issues before a judge, and involve the same witnesses.


Read more:

a pollie resigned for a paddington bear, while...

The social services minister, Christian Porter, has refused to apologise for Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system, after a Senate inquiry found it had caused trauma, stress and shame to Australia’s most vulnerable. 

The Senate inquiry into the robo debt system released its final report on Wednesday night, recommending the system be suspended until its flaws are resolved. 


The report described the debt recovery system as “so flawed that it was set up to fail” and said it had “a fundamental lack of procedural fairness” at every stage.

“This lack of procedural fairness disempowered people, causing emotional trauma, stress and shame,” the report found. 

But Porter said on Thursday the system was “not a matter for apology”.

He described the inquiry’s report as “political” and noted there was a strong minority dissenting view in the report. 

“This is not a matter for apology,” Porter told the ABC. “What we have is a responsibility to the taxpayer to make sure that we are paying people exactly what it is that they dutifully required to receive and no more and no less.

“There are a massive amount of overpayments that occur in the system, now we are actually tackling that problem. That’s not a matter that we would apologise for, there have been a whole range of refinements to the debt recovery system.”

Victorian Legal Aid has been helping people hit by the debt recovery system since last year. It has dealt with twice as many Centrelink matters in the first five months of this year than the same time last year. 

The organisation’s civil justice director, Dan Nicholson, said Porter’s comments show the government was continuing to ignore clear evidence of flaws with the system.

“It’s been clear from the very start that there’s a disconnect between government claims of a system working well and the real experience of people dealing with Centrelink,” Nicholson told Guardian Australia. “It’s a shame the government continues to have a tin ear.”

The system has been plagued by criticism since it was launched in earnest in September.

Critics say the increased automation of the debt recovery system has caused the issuing of false debts and shifted the onus onto vulnerable Australians to prove they don’t owe the government money. 

The inquiry made 21 recommendations, including that all debts calculated using the often-inaccurate “income averaging” method be reassessed by humans.

That method divides a person’s annual income crudely by 26 fortnights to assume they have been working all year, and were therefore ineligible for welfare payments.

The inquiry also called for the government to review all cases in which a 10% debt recovery fee was automatically imposed. Welfare rights groups have previously warned that automatically slugging individuals with a 10% recovery fee may be unlawful. 

It recommended that voluntary data-matching guidelines be adhered to, barriers to communication with vulnerable groups be resolved and the new online portal for debt matters be redesigned. 

More information should be provided to debtors on their rights and options, and funding for community legal centres should be reviewed to ensure they were able to assist affected individuals.

The inquiry also called for the Department of Human Services to be adequately resourced to implement the recommendations. 

The lack of resourcing for the department has been a key concern of the Community and Public Sector Union.



Read more:


The Robodebt fiasco has cost the government more than one billion dollars, but no proper apologies came forth for the unfairness of the system implemented by the then social services minister, Christian Porter...




Robodebt removed humans from Human Services, and the Government is facing the consequences

The problem with artificial intelligence is that it's artificial.

The problem with the intelligence of humans is that it's limited, variable and compromised by judgement and values.

Put both together and you get a good understanding of how and why the Federal Government muddled its way into, and out of, the expensive, stressful "Robodebt" debacle.

A computer algorithm couldn't tell the difference between real and artificially calculated money "owed" in 470,000 cases.

Humans, too driven by the desire for "integrity efficiency" and "budget repair", didn't stop to question strongly enough whether the automated means for gathering an estimated $2.1 billion could ever justify the agonising ends for welfare recipients.

Scott Morrison was one of those who enthusiastically promoted "faster and more targeted interventions" through "streamlining existing compliance activities".

As treasurer in 2016 and social services minister before then, Mr Morrison joined a long line of ministers, including Christian Porter, Alan Tudge and Stuart Robert, who believed in the promise of automated welfare debt recovery.

They believed because they wanted the money it saved, not because they had satisfied themselves of the system's reliability.

"A more targeted approach to managing people" is how the now Prime Minister had described it in mid-2016.

The story of how the data-matching scheme was invented with vim by a coterie of high-powered bureaucrats and sold to starry-eyed ministers is fabled in Canberra.

"Give our Department some extra money, and we'll get you an extra $2 billion" was the pitch.

Never mind that in their zeal, the Human Services Department would actually remove humans entirely from the process of identifying alleged debts and mailing what amounted to letters of demand to more than 370,000 people.

Nor had anyone evidently stopped to take rigorous legal advice on whether the brave new world of data-matched welfare recovery actually stood up to the laws of the land, which stand as the barrier between Government excess and the protection of the people.

Although it's almost never released, we now know that subsequent legal advice to the Government warned its chances of defending numerous court actions would be close to zero.

Viewed against such advice, the only surprise in Stuart Roberts' abject capitulation in a Gold Coast park late on a Friday afternoon is not that it came, but that it didn't come sooner.


Read more:


Considering a minister resigned for importing a Paddington bear without declaring it at customs, one would have hoped that Porter, Morrison, Tudge and Robert resigned from government FOR THIS GIGANTIC UNFAIR FIASCO that cost taxpayers a lot of cash — or be booted out by the rule of law, or by electoral "awareness". But no, these guys who can talk under water, have stuck to government positions like shit-flies stick to window panes... What can we do?... Nothing much...


The Scomo government is a lucky stinker...