Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

the lying king of the turds we were to elect him...


 Former prime minister Tony Abbott has been fined $500 for allegedly failing to wear a mask as required by public health orders.

Mr Abbott was photographed this week by a member of the public in Manly who observed him talking to a friend at Fairy Bower near the main beach.

He was subsequently reported to NSW Police, who confirmed on Saturday the former prime minister had been issued with a fine.

“A 63-year-old man was issued a $500 Penalty Infringement Notice on Friday (10 September, 2021), for failure to comply with wearing face covering directive,” police said in a statement.


“Police will allege the man did not wear a face mask while in public at Fairy Bower, Manly Beach, on the morning of Wednesday, 8 September, 2021.”

The person who saw the alleged breach – first reported by – said Mr Abbott lingered and talked to his friend for an extended period.

Following confirmation of the fine, Mr Abbott said he believed he had been adhering to public health orders.

“I just want to say two things. First, I believe that I was well within the law, reasonably interpreted. But I am not going to challenge the fine because I am not going to waste police time,” he said on Saturday.


Second, I never thought dobbing and snitching was part of the Australian character. I think as soon as we can leave this health police state mindset behind us, the better for everyone.”


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in tony's missteps...

As F Scott Fitzgerald once wrote to his daughter: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” So it is with many politicians.

At what point in the midst of a pandemic would anyone other than a politician think a good way to highlight the benefits of opening up is by saying, as did Scott Morrison last week, “they’ll have funerals, but people will be able to attend them”. I mean, even throwing in the “sadly” beforehand is a truly weird way to highlight hope.


How do you get to a point where you stand up in front of reporters, as did Gladys Berejiklian, and state that “death is horrible, but we also need to put things into perspective, because at the moment there are 8 million citizens who don’t have choice in how they spend their free time”.


As author Neil Gaiman, who came across my tweet of the video, noted: “No sentence that begins ‘Death is horrible but ...’ is going anywhere good.”

But should we be surprised, given the day New South Wales announced a record number of cases and at the point where the state government is seeking to trial a pathway towards easing restrictions, Berejiklian also announced that she and the health minister would no longer be holding daily press conferences because it was not “practical”?

As I say, politicians are different from you and me.

Now look, we get it.

This week the latest payroll jobs numbers showed that NSW has lost nearly 9% of all jobs in the past two months. And bad as that is, they really hide the true hit to employment, because when we drill down, we find that northern parts of Sydney have lost nearly 10% of jobs, while the south-west has lost close to 15%.


A roadmap out of the current lockdown hell is vital for the economy and our mental health.

But when you hear Morrison suggest, as he did on Thursday, that Western Australia “get vaccinated and get ready – get your hospital system ready, get your health system ready, and push through”, you really have to ask what is the priority here?

Push through? Push through rising hospitalisations? That’s the sales pitch?

Yes, jobs are important, and as someone who works in the tertiary sector, I am more than aware of the job losses occurring because of pandemic restrictions.

But as someone whose 15-year-old daughter is in a high-risk category and has only this week been able to have her first vaccine, I’m also aware of the fear many have about easing restrictions.

So yes, we need to put a lot of things into perspective.

But just after telling Western Australia to push through, the prime minister explained why Australia negotiated to remove specific climate targets from the free trade agreement with the UK by saying that “it wasn’t a climate agreement; it was a trade agreement”.

Well now, either Morrison had just revealed his ignorance of how important climate targets will be to trade in the future when carbon tariffs become a thing, or he had revealed his willingness to do anything to prevent emissions reduction.

It seems like political worries about the National party are more of an issue to him than the climate.

When we keep getting told that Australia will “meet and beat” its emissions targets despite all evidence to the contrary, why should we believe their statements about the validity of their targets and policy for handling Covid?

Yes, governments need to chart a path towards easing restrictions and we should expect they have put great thought into the consequences.

But when we have had so much evidence of mismanagement and irresponsible handling of the ongoing crisis of climate change, it is not a great surprise that when we hear them talk about pushing through and needing to have some perspective, we might decide that our perspectives and viewpoints are not the same.




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rowing the boat without rollocks...

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his counterparts from India and Japan will jet to the US this month to meet President Joe Biden to discuss enhancing Indo-Pacific relations.

This will be the first in-person summit of leaders of the “Quad” countries, which are seeking to enhance cooperation to push back against China’s growing assertiveness.

The summit will be held at the White House on September 24, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.


Mr Morrison will also attend the United National General Assembly in New York, alongside fellow prime ministers Narendra Modi of India and Yoshihide Suga of Japan.

A virtual meeting of the Quad leaders was held in March. They pledged to work closely on COVID-19 vaccines and climate and to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific in the face of challenges from Beijing.

“Hosting the leaders of the Quad demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s priority of engaging in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Ms Psaki said.

Mr Biden’s Indo-Pacific coordinator, Kurt Campbell, said in July the long-planned in-person meeting should bring “decisive” commitments on vaccine diplomacy and infrastructure.

Mr Biden, who is pushing big infrastructure spending at home, said in March he had suggested to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that democratic countries should have an infrastructure plan to rival China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative, which involves projects from East Asia to Europe.

Ms Psaki said the Quad leaders would “be focused on deepening our ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas such as combating COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific”.

A senior US official said infrastructure would be among a range of topics discussed at the in-person summit.

The Quad meeting comes after Mr Biden’s image took a battering over the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan.


US officials have said ending America’s longest war will allow the administration to divert resources and attention to tackling China-related issues.

Senator Bill Hagerty, a Republican, and former US ambassador to Japan, welcomed the plan to host the Quad leaders.

“Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal debacle made India’s neighbourhood more dangerous & raises legitimate questions for Japan and Australia as well, so it’s good we will be hosting Quad partners soon,” he said on Twitter.

“We must repair & renew our alliances, and this one is key.”


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kicking nuts and tits...

Tony Abbott claimed that would fight fair and forcefully... Two things to say about this: He was never FAIR (he kicked "people in the virtual nuts") and his forceful way was only due to the support of Rupert Murdoch — without which Tony Abbott would have become no more than a bird dropping on the Australian landscape... He was a master misogynist, a loaded liar and an idiotic denialist which we did not need at a time... Never any time. Unfortunately, he wasn't the only acidic dork in the Australian Liberal (CONservative) family...


From SBS:


Australia’s first and only female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard made this nation uncomfortable. Her leadership was like a magnet to the sharpened nails of misogyny lurking in the public and private sector, media and in everyday households. As Australia’s 27th Prime Minister between 2010 and 2013, Gillard weathered brutish behaviour by parliamentary colleagues, but it was the patronising behaviour of some segments of the media that lingers in the memories of some who had hoped for a pivot in the way Australia values women.

The comments Gillard had weathered prior to running the nation might have adequately readied her, though, and they were not solely from men. In December 2006, Anita Quigley wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “On what should have been one of the proudest days of Gillard’s political career, she bungled it with a less than flattering haircut and a frumpy ’80s tapestry print jacket… Get yourself a stylist your own age.” 

In May 2007, Senator Bill Heffernan told The Bulletin, “I mean anyone who chooses to remain deliberately barren… they’ve got no idea what life’s about.” 

In The Australian in 2010, the deliberately provocative Janet Albrechtsen wrote: “She has showcased a bare home and an empty kitchen as badges of honour and commitment to her career. She has never had to make room for the frustrating demands and magnificent responsibilities of caring for little babies, picking up sick children from school, raising teenagers. Not to mention the needs of a husband or partner.”

Whatever the (irrelevant) state of her kitchen, Gillard’s post-Prime Ministerial accomplishments are a beacon to current and aspiring women in politics. Rather than lurking on the sidelines of Australian politics as an armchair commentator, like so many of our past male PMs (Turnbull, Rudd, Latham and Keating are the most prominent critics), Gillard retired gracefully and took up consulting and ambassadorial roles with organisations that aligned with her values of women’s and girls’ rights, education, mental health and leadership.[Gus: it seems Tony Abbott is still polishing his sore butt with the cloth of revenge].

Gillard’s 2012 speech, in which she lambasted “sexism and misogyny”, made waves internationally. She pursued the same sophisticated, but sharply pointed, approach in her retirement speech, in which she encouraged the public to question her media portrayal and whether she was subject to harsher judgement and higher expectations than her male colleagues. “What I am absolutely confident of, is it will be easier for the next woman and the woman after that, and the woman after that. And I’m proud of that.”

Ahead of Strong Female Lead, the new documentary exploring gender politics and Julia Gillard’s term as PM, we asked some of Australia’s current female MPs what the legacy of Gillard’s Prime Ministership meant for them personally and how that has reflected on their own sense of power and potential. Did her treatment scare them into being quiet, or did her post-PM role with the UN inspire them to see opportunities beyond parliament?


Fiona Patten was elected to parliament at the end of 2014 as a member of what was then called the Sex Party. The name change to the Reason Party took place in 2016.

“There’s times when I was in the same room as [Gillard], which was always awe-inspiring,” Patten recalls.

Of the media attention Gillard was subjected to, Patten says, “It was absolutely predictable, though it was incredibly disappointing. That was a good 10 years ago, and I’m not sure it’s changed [for women]… I think she opened that floodgate. She helped us say, ‘we actually can stand up and say this is not acceptable’. She stood up and said ‘no, we have to address that’… I think the media has become a lot more cautious and a lot better in how they report on female MPs.”

Patten continues: “I’ve been relatively effective in making changes… mainly by negotiating and working with others, by being practical. I think this is what Julia brought to the table as well. When she was negotiating with the cross bench, she would negotiate with us… she was able to affect change. It may not have been 100 per cent what she wanted initially, but she got legislative reform through at a greater rate than just about anyone ever has. That’s one of the real skills that women bring to the table, I feel.”

Greens Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters was elected in 2010 and began her Senate term in July 2011.

“I was campaigning to be elected with a one-year-old in tow when Julia Gillard became Prime Minister,” she recalls. “I only met her personally a few times and found her warm, funny and self-deprecating. As a politician it’s clear she was whip smart and didn’t suffer fools – or sexists – and had an enormous amount of resilience to put up with the crap thrown at her.”

In Waters’ opinion, not much has changed in terms of attitudes within parliament and in the media’s treatment of women.

“Women in politics are still stereotyped and still taken less seriously by men,” she says. “We’re still regularly talked over, ignored, ridiculed and dismissed by men. The Canberra boys’ club is alive and well and sadly I’ve seen it get worse not better in my decade of being a parliamentarian.”

Waters continues: “I know for a fact that as much crap that privileged and relatively powerful women like me have to face, it is infinitely worse for women of colour, First Nations women and disabled women.”


Independent MP Zali Steggall OAM has been serving the seat of Warringah since 2019. For her, the lack of sideline commentary from Gillard following her retirement from politics has been elemental in a “dignified transition”.

In terms of the treatment of Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop, Steggall is suitably unimpressed. “What I saw in both instances is, despite [parties’] talk about merit, we’re talking two highly qualified women getting short-changed, not getting the respect they deserved. Their treatment was misogynistic, sexist, and completely lacked the respect that should have been displayed.”

Steggall is sanguine though, recognising that Gillard’s Prime Ministership was the ultimate pioneering act, proving that the path is there for women who aspire to it.

“I think her becoming PM brought about change,” says Steggall. “She was the first. The role will always be that much harder for the first to hold it.”

Steggall isn’t intending on running for the job anytime soon (“As an Independent, being PM isn’t something I’m planning or looking at. For me, it’s about the jobs that need to be done.”)


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