Thursday, 15 November 2018

Has Morrison's loose lips sunk the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

The populous Indonesian archipelago is one of our nearest northern neighbours. This predominantly Muslim nation is a significant trading partner which purchased $7.03 billion worth of goods and services from Australian business/industry in 2017.

On 24 August 2018 when Scott John Morrison walked over the political corpse of Malcolm Bligh Turnbull to become Australia’s 30th prime minister the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was well on its way to being signed by both governments.

Australia and Indonesia announced the substantive conclusion of negotiations on the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) on 31 August 2018. This agreement will launch a new chapter in economic relations between Australia and Indonesia…..

Indonesia is a growing market for Australian goods and services exporters. In 2017, total two-way trade in goods and services with Indonesia was worth $16.4 billion, making Indonesia our 13th largest trading partner. IA-CEPA will provide Australian and Indonesian businesses an opportunity to expand and diversify this economic partnership.

IA-CEPA builds on commitments under our existing free trade agreement, the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) across goods, services and investment.

In addition to reducing non-tariff barriers to trade and simplifying paperwork, IA-CEPA will allow 99% of Australia's goods exports to enter Indonesia duty free or with significantly improved preferential arrangements. All Indonesia's goods exports will enter Australia duty free.

IA-CEPA will improve conditions for services suppliers and the climate for two-way investment. Australian services suppliers and investors will have greater certainty for entry and operation in the Indonesian market, helping to facilitate more Australian investment in Indonesia. This will create more opportunities for Australians to help meet Indonesia's growing needs for investment and for the supply of world class services in its market.

Both sides will 'scrub' the full text of the agreement, to verify its accuracy and internal legal consistency.  The agreement will be translated into Indonesian with the Indonesian and English versions being equally authentic.  Once translated, the agreement will be ready for formal signature.  The full text of the agreement will be released publicly once it has been signed.

After signature, Australia and Indonesia will then follow their domestic treaty making processes to bring IA-CEPA into force. For Australia, this will include tabling the text of the agreement in Parliament and an inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT). [my yellow highlighting]

By Day 81 of his time as prime minister Morrison had managed to publicly offend moderate Muslims here and around the world not once but twice and, the Agreement which was to be signed before the end of the week has now been delayed indefinitely by Indonesia.

Scott Morrison captain's call over the status of Jerusalem in particular was a grave error -based as it was on Pentacoastal teachings and not existing Australia Government policy.

He needs to think before he opens his mouth in future.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Does the Nine-Fairfax merger mean the writing is on the wall for Alan Jones?

With an ageing listener demographic, big brand unhappiness with 77 year-old wannabee politician Alan Belford Jones’ bitter, angry, bigoted, biased on-air persona, a string of defamation payouts by 2GB on his behalf and, his radio contract coming up for renewal in June 2019, has Alan Jones finally reached his use-by date?

The Australian, 12 November 2018:

Alan Jones has been sensationally disciplined by the board and management of Macquarie Media, which refuses to confirm or deny if it has forced its star breakfast presenter to pay some of the costs of the multi-million defamation action brought against the company by the Wagner brothers.

And the 2GB breakfast announcer’s infamous interview with Sydney Opera House boss Louise Herron was “unbecoming and inappropriate”, bosses say.

Diary is told the board is unhappy with the top-rating veteran broadcaster over three incidents: the Wagner defamation case; the use of the racial epithet “nigger in the woodpile” when discussing Liberal leadership turmoil; and the aggressive Herron interview.

Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate told Diary: “Absolutely, we had a couple of big issues. As you would expect, the board and management have been very mindful about these things and ­decided to make sure they don’t happen again and that’s been done. Alan is a professional. He gets it.”

Tate dismissed talk that advertising revenues had suffered in the wake of the controversies. “Our revenues are good, ahead of last year and ahead of forecasts.”

The price of defame

After Jones’s repeated defamations of the Wagner family over the 2011 Lockyer Valley floods, which killed 12 people, 2GB was ordered to pay $3.75 million, the largest defamation payout in history after Queensland Supreme Court judge Peter Flanagan ruled the defamation was “extremely ­serious and of the gravest kind”.

Tate refused to comment to Diary if the board had forced Jones to contribute. At Macquarie Media’s annual general meeting last week, chief executive Adam Lang confirmed the station had ­insurance but he also refused to confirm or deny if the board had asked Jones to pay. “Whether Alan is paying or not, those are matters that we would like to keep within the company.” The legal ­action would cost Macquarie about $5m and “we are prepared for that” Lang said.

But legal sources put the total cost of the action much higher, ­between $8m and $10m. And other sources at Macquarie told Diary the board had demanded Jones pay some of the costs. One 2GB insider said board members snubbed Jones after a board meeting at the network’s Pyrmont studios.

At the AGM, Tate said: “We have learnt from this and there are new procedures and new rules and new training regimes in place ­including in the case of Alan.”
The company also told the AGM it had “dealt” with Jones over his widely criticised interview with Herron.

Shareholder and anti-gambling activist Stephen Mayne told the board the interview was an “outrageous breach of editorial standards”. Lang said: “I agree it was unbecoming and it was inappropriate. Many in the community including some internally were ­offended by the way in which he handled Louise Herron AM in that broadcast. We have dealt with that directly with Alan.”

Jones was enjoying record ­audiences, Lang said.

Macquarie Media is 54.5 per cent owned by Fairfax Media, whose chief executive Greg ­Hywood sits on the Macquarie Media board. Nine Entertainment is due to complete its takeover of Fairfax next month. How any of this ­affects negotiations over Jones’s contract, which expires mid-next year, remains to be seen.

Mr. Jones is now on indefinite leave due to ill health.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Like Turnbull before him, Scott Morrison fails to connect with voters

In its national opinion poll released on 11 November 2018 Federal Primary Votes came in at:

Liberal-National Party 35 (-1)
Australian Labor Party 40 (+1)
Australian Greens 9 (0)
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation 6 (0)

These results gave this Two-Party Preferred Voting breakdown (based on 2016 federal election preference flows):

The Australian, Twitter, 11 November 2018

AAP General Newswire, 11 November 2018:

Bill Shorten has narrowed the gap to Scott Morrison as preferred prime minister as Labor extends its lead over the coalition in the latest Newspoll.

The coalition government has slipped further behind Labor in the latest Newspoll as Bill Shorten narrowed the gap to Scott Morrison as the nation's preferred leader.

The Liberal-National coalition now trail Labor by 10 points after slipping to 45-55 on a two-party preferred basis, according to the Newspoll published in The Australian on Sunday night.

The coalition’s primary vote fell by a point to 35 per cent - two points higher than the record low of 33 per cent.

Labor's primary vote, according to the national poll of 1802 voters, sits at 40 per cent - only the third time it has hit such a mark in almost four years.

The coalition has been behind on the primary vote since the leadership change in August.

Mr Morrison's latest effort to win back votes - his bus and plane tour of Queensland - appeared to not work with voters with his net approval rating sinking another five points to minus eight.....

Monday, 12 November 2018

This Christmas advert has been banned from TV in the UK for being too political

FauxMo is not cutting through so he's started the flag routine

The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 November 2018

Standing in front of two Australian flags, interim Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison has "called out" violent, extremist Islam, saying it is the biggest religious threat to Australia. Scott Morrison says radical Islam threatens Australia's way of life.

Given Morrison history of politicizing his own extreme religious views pushback was inevitable.......

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Australian Politics 2018: the emperor's new clothes

i360 sits on the bleeding edge of technology, delivering innovative products and services through the strategic use of data, software and analytics. Bringing together this unique set of data science, marketing and analytical capabilities, i360 drives innovation and results for our customers in both the political and commercial spaces…..Using predictive modeling and state-of-the-art grassroots tools, i360 helps candidates and issue advocacy organizations target the right individuals with a strategy guaranteed to make an impact whether at the local, state or national level. []

It’s no secret that the Liberal Party of Australia has contracted the services of data miner and political micro-targeting analyst i360, a conservative-aligned platform funded by hard right US billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

i360’s services were used in this year’s South Australian state election and it is rumoured these services will be available to Liberal Party sitting MPs during the 2019 federal election campaign.

It’s no accident that interim Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison (who had a Kiwi grandfather and a mother who was a New Zealand citizen by descent) has suddenly turned himself into a virulent ‘ocker’ - complete with an Aussie beer or meat pie in hand, thumbs forever standing to attention when cameras begin to click, spewing forth g’days and fair dinkums ad nauseum while sporting a cheap Australian flag lapel pin on his business suit jacket. Togged out in hi-vis vests whenever possible. Wearing a veritable parade of caps for less formal media moments as a "good bloke' and nicking the moniker “ScoMo” from other Facebook users for his own public relations purposes.

No recognition of his own multicultural background for Scott Morrison - it might offend the One Nation supporters he is so obviously wooing!

One has to suspect he is personally getting a calculated makeover by a professional image manager. If the image advice is coming from Finkelstein and Kunkel they are definitely not earning their salaries.

The problem for Morrison is that he has been a federal MP since 2007 and was a Cabinet Minister from September 2013 until he became prime minister in August this year, so his underlying character is widely known to the national electorate. 

A man without a genuine empathetic bone in his body; single-mindedly ambitious, self-righteous, arrogant, prevaricating, unwilling to accept responsibility for the consequences of his ministerial decisions, a shameless dog whistler and, a victim blamer from way back who believes that political or business success and/or personal wealth are visible manifestations of God's approval of the individual and consequently lacking success and wealth indicates moral failure.

His track record as Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (18.9.13 to 23.12.14), Minister for Social Services (23.12.14 to 21.9.15) and Treasurer (21.9.15 to 26.08.2018) precludes him from ever being considered a good bloke.

So it was inevitable that the artifice of his new persona would be mocked……

The Guardian, 7 November 2018:

He didn’t want the job, it was handed to him – just ask him. But now that the mantle of greatness has been thrust upon him, Scott Morrison, ScoMo to you thanks, is going to take that mantle, put a surf cap from Mick Fanning’s mum on it and serve it meat and three veg. Fair dinkum. He’s the nation’s daggy dad and, just in case you weren’t aware of it, he’s going to stone the flamin’ crows and show you just how ridgy-didge he is. Below are some memorable quotes. But who said them? Our 30th prime minister, or an Australian icon?

Top of Form

 1. "That’s why you keep backing it in. If something is working well, you should back it in. And that’s what we are doing here."
Scott Morrison
Alf Stewart from Home and Away

2. "The right is constantly procreating while the left is grooming a dead dog."
Scott Morrison
Cleaver Greene from Rake

3. "No wonder the country’s in a mess."
Scott Morrison
Ted Bullpitt from Kingswood Country

4."We’ve got a future CEO of the farm down here, I reckon. He’s pretty keen on the ice cream."
Scott Morrison
Bill Heslop from Muriel's Wedding

5. "This is me doing what I do – I’m out, I’m listening, I’m hearing and I’m doing."
Scott Morrison
Kenny Smyth from Kenny

6. "It’s a simple rule: pants first, shoes second. That always usually works for me."
Scott Morrison
Alvin Purple from the movie of the same name

7. "Feels good to be on the road again. Feels like a drug. Not an illegal drug, a good drug."
Scott Morrison
Russell Coight from All Aussie Adventures

8. "Mate, I think I’ll take you down to Canberra and let you give the boys a bit of a rev-up."
Scott Morrison
Barry McKenzie from The Adventures of Barry McKenzie

9. "People don’t hassle me. It’s always very friendly anywhere in the world."
Scott Morrison
Paul Hogan

10. "Lily and I had a great time yesterday doing the hot lap with Mark Skaife and coming down it was a bit like doing the Wild Mouse."
Scott Morrison
Steve Irwin

11. "And yeah, fair dinkum, we should be supporting Australian businesses."
Scott Morrison
Darryl Kerrigan from The Castle

Image Credit:The Guardian

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Tweet of the Week

The Coalition Box of Chocolates - Just In Time For Xmas

This tea-towel may contain traces of bigotry and zealotry. Wash in a gentle, upper-class cycle with whites only.

Tea towels available now at

Friday, 9 November 2018

A salutary lesson for business concerning the dangers of participating in an interim prime minister’s frenetic electioneering…….

Virgin Australia learning the hard way that drinking the Kool-Aid offered by Scott Morrison on the federal election campaign trail is not a wise decision,,,,,,,,,

Sunday Telegraph, 4 November 2018, p.4:

Australia’s heroes — Defence Force veterans who have selflessly served the nation — will board aircraft first and be formally acknowledged before take-off in a bid to further entrench national respect.

The Digger dedication plan will take place on all Virgin Australia flights and will be announced today by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Taking Mr Morrison’s plan to provide veterans with a US-style military card that gives discounts on petrol, food and even weddings a step further, Virgin Australia will honour former servicemen and women with a priority boarding process, and alert passengers via a public announcement that heroes are on board.

Both announcements come as The Sunday Telegraph, News Corp Australia, Foxtel and HarperCollins launched a joint #thanksforserving campaign to encourage the community to honour those who served.

Mr Morrison said Virgin chief executive officer John Borghetti understood why Australians were so proud of ex-military personnel.

“We acknowledge the important contribution veterans have made to keeping our country safe and the role they play in our community,’’ Mr Borghetti said. “Once the veterans have their cards and lapel pins, they will simply need to present them during the boarding process.” It will be rolled out when the ­system of new cards — or digital ID — starts early next year.

Mr Morrison said the idea got a “thumbs up” from him.....

AAP Bulletin Wire, 5 November 2018:

The Australia Defence Association says veterans would prefer Virgin reinstate discount airfares for ex-service men and women to tokenistic public thanks.

A leading veterans' group says Virgin's plans to offer ex-service men and women priority boarding and in-flight thanks "smacks of tokenism".

The US-style idea has also been derided by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, who described it as an "embarrassing" marketing ploy.

Neil James from the Australia Defence Association said practical action would be much more welcome than "tokenistic" public thanks.

"If you really wanted to thank veterans you'd reinstate the service discount abolished in the early 1980s," he told AAP.

"Some veterans would be embarrassed by this - in fact, many would be - and some of them with psychological conditions, you actually risk making their problem worse."

Mr James said the airline's idea was a symptom of a deeper problem.

"That is there are so few Australians now with any understanding of military service and war," he said.

Virgin Australia, Twitter, 5 November 2018:

We are very mindful of the response that our announcement about recognising people who have served in defence has had today. It was a gesture genuinely done to pay respects to those who have served our country. 1/3

Over the coming months, we will consult with community groups and our own team members who have served in defence to determine the best way forward. 2/3

If this process determines that public acknowledgement of their service through optional priority boarding or any announcement is not appropriate, then we will certainly be respectful of that. 3/3

When will the Federal Government realise there is a Climate Emergency?

The need for urgent and effective action on climate change is becoming a major issue in Australia .  More people are starting to realise that we are facing a climate emergency and that we are being caught short largely because of the incompetence of our Federal Government which continues to be captive to climate denialists and the coal lobby.

The message from the October 20 Wentworth byelection does not appear to have resonated with Prime Minister Morrison and others in his Government.  Morrison is equating the devastating swing against the Government with the electorate’s concern about the dumping of their popular member, Prime Minister Turnbull.  While that was certainly a factor, there were other concerns about the Government’s poor performance with a major one being its lack of effective climate action.

Despite all that Wentworth voters said about climate change (as well as the way they voted), there are Government members who claim Wentworth cannot be seen as comparable with other electorates. Wentworth is different! According to them, climate change is not a major issue elsewhere.  It will be interesting to see if this wishful thinking lasts until next year’s federal election campaign.

While Wentworth indicated the growing public concern about climate change, other recent developments in relation to climate have further shown how out of touch the Government is. 

Morrison started his Prime Ministership with the determination to assist drought-affected farmers.  But he brushed aside any linking of this latest severe drought with climate change.  However, the National Farmers Federation and an increasing number of farmers acknowledge the link and understand that simply throwing drought relief money at the problem is only a short-term solution.  Calls for discussion about land use in parts of the country are growing.   These include consideration of the viability of some forms of farming and whether farming will be sustainable in some areas as climate change impacts worsen. 

The latest data on Australia’s climate emissions for the twelve months to March 31 was released late on the Friday afternoon of the Grand Final weekend (September 28). The Government had been sitting on this data for months and quite obviously did not want it noticed – for good reason.  The report showed that emissions have continued rising as they have every quarter since the end of the carbon price in 2014. Emissions continue to increase simply because the Government does not have an effective policy to curb them.

Despite this bad result, the Prime Minister and Melissa Price, the Minister for the Environment, managed to put a positive spin on the figures.  Price claimed Australia would beat its 2020 target – an impossible achievement.   And Morrison, ignoring reality completely, claimed Australia was on track to achieve its 2030 Paris targets and would do so “in a canter”.  This is despite the analysis of experts who say we will fall drastically short unless there is an urgent change in government policy.

The recent dire announcement by the IPCC has shown just how urgent the climate issue is.  According to an analysis of the IPCC report published by the Climate Council “limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid and far-reaching transitions during the coming one to two decades – in energy, land, urban and industrial systems”.  (The aim at Paris was to keep global temperature rise well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and to attempt to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. A rise of 2°C would produce catastrophic effects.)

At war within itself, our Government just does not have either the interest in the issue or the will do what is essential - to act effectively across the board to reduce our emissions drastically. This is in spite of the Wentworth result and all the polls indicating that a growing number of people are concerned and want effective action. 
As well as concerned individuals, scientists, environmentalists and farmers, it is significant that many in the business community, who know they need to take measures to protect their businesses in a carbon-constrained world, also want effective action from the government.

Just what are the chances of the current Government coming to its senses and acting in the national interest?   At the moment that seems unlikely.  We may have to wait for a change in government - unless a grass roots campaign across the nation persuades Morrison that he has no chance of political survival unless he changes tack.


Northern Rivers
29th October 2018

GuestSpeak is a feature of North Coast Voices allowing Northern Rivers residents to make satirical or serious comment on issues that concern them. Posts of 250-300 words or less can be submitted to ncvguestspeak AT for consideration. Longer posts will be considered on topical subjects.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Scott Morrison hits the campaign trail - complete with bus

On Saturday 3 November 2018 interim Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook (NSW) Scott Morrison announced he would be in Queensland this week.

On Sunday 4 November he announced the first of the election campaign promises for that state - $200 million towards Townsville water supply.

The bus accompanying Morrison in Queensland is allegedly being paid for out of LNP coffers. 

However it is principally a visual prop for Morrison as he rolls out his 'ocker' social media videos and announces his financial sweeteners because for most of the trip in will be empty except for its driver.

As consenting authority he has apparently signed off on the use of a Royal Australian Air Force VIP jet for most of his travel and that of his staff, so it will be Australian taxpayers paying the considerable airtravel costs as well as the hotel bills.

In 2013 the hourly operational cost of such a special purpose aircraft was in the vicinity of $50,000 plus fixed costs. How much will Defence be billing the public purse for four days of VIP air travel over Queensland to kickstart this LNP federal election campaign in 2018?

Side view of Morrison's bus complete with 'borrowed'* nickname as signature.

* There are a number of men (including businessmen and athletes) from the United States and beyond with the nickname "ScoMo" who have long established   Facebook accounts - one ScoMo going back as far as 2006.

Morrison's Taxpayer-Funded Electioneering Junket:

Day One

Morrison’s team film him standing on the sand at Broadbeach wearing a Rip Curl American-style ‘trucker’s hat’ made somewhere in Asia which was sent to him by an ‘admirer’, promising to wear more of the same in the coming week and talking up support for 'Australian' businesses like Rip Curl.

Also promising backpackers (with a billion dollars in their pockets) will have a great time working on farms bringing in crops, at the same time as introducing a workforce test so Australians are given the first chance to get that casual farm work - with no explanation about how he will manage to produce this rural nirvana except by extending backpacker and working holiday visas by three months and raising the age limit for these visas from thirty to thirty-five.

Morrison additionally pledged $112 million towards the tram extension between Broadbeach and Burleigh.

Day Two

Morrison turned up to a Maroochydore pie factory for a photo op (left), slipped in a quick doorstop, pressed the flest at thr CWA, then down to Caloundra to press the flesh again at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club where he was careful to be photographed with a Queensland beer in his hand

Before boarding his VIP jet to fly into Rockhampton ahead of the campaign bus.  

He could have stayed in Sydney to eat a pie, do a doorstop, have a beer at the races and fail to pick the Melbourne Cup winner without the taxpayer having to pick up such a hefty tab. 

Day Three

Still in Rockhampton, still in that silly cap and just a bit late in announcing $800 million for a local ring road project - the Queensland Labor Government announced the jointly-funded ring road in February 2018

Then onto Gladstone and then that VIP jet again heading to Townsville where he was scheduled to appear on a special edition of Paul Murray Live to answer voters’ questions in a forum broadcast on Sky News and WIN from 8pm AEST.

This is Morrison's third visit to Townsville in 2018 and his second as interim prime minister. Is he buying an investment property there?

Wonder how many dollars he'll have left in his election campaign Santa sack by the time the actual writs are issued?

Day Four

And the day is yet to unfold......

Yet another minister compromises the Morrison Coalition Government

On becoming Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, employing the Trump doctrine of appointing foxes to guard hen houses, retained Northern Territory Nationals Senator Nigel Scullion as Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

A politician with a long history of voting for the oppressive Intervention in the Northern Territory and the introduction of cashless welfare cards into Aboriginal communities, as well as unsuccessfully voting to weaken protections in the Racial Discrimination Act and voting against changing the date of Australia Day.

As far back as 2006 he voted for the the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Bill which was seen as making significant changes to the existing land rights legislation which has the potential to compromise the rights and interests of Indigenous people living inthe Northern Territory.

This is the result.....

The Guardian, 2 November 2018:

The Indigenous affairs minister, Nigel Scullion, has used money earmarked for alleviating Indigenous disadvantage to fund a fishing industry lobby group he used to chair.

He approved a grant of $150,000 to the Northern Territory Seafood Council so it could argue how it would be negatively affected by land claims – claims he opposed during his time in the role.

Under the NT Land Rights Act, those who consider a land claim would have a negative impact on their business or personal interests can argue a “detriment” case about how their future access to income, land or water would suffer if the claim were approved.

A group of six land claims in the NT have been held up – some by almost 30 years – by unresolved detriment issues.

Scullion chaired the NTSC from 1994 to 2001, and gave statements or appeared in person to argue detriment in at least two of the claims.

As minister he approved grants of $150,000 to the NTSC, $170,000 to the NT Amateur Fishermen’s Association, and $165,000 to the NT Cattlemen’s Association for “legal fees, effectively … to put forward a case of detriment to the land commissioner”, as he told a Senate hearing last week.

The money was taken from the $4.9bn Indigenous advancement strategy, which is supposed to “improve the way the government does business with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to ensure funding actually achieves outcomes” – according to the government’s website.

Parties who wish to lodge detriment claims are able to seek financial support from the Attorney General’s Department.......

This latest revelation follows close on the heels of this disastrous vote in the Senate.

NT News, 22 October 2018:

CALLS for Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion to resign have been graffitied on his Darwin office.

It comes after the Territory Senator voted for a widely-condemned One Nation motion last week declaring “It’s OK to be white”.

The motion, brought forward by Pauline Hanson, also claimed “anti-white” racism was on the rise in Australia.

The phrases have been used by far-right groups to stoke racial division.