Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories & Liberal MP for Farrer Sussan Ley shows her true colours

"This is an industry with an operating model built on animal suffering" [Sussan Ley, 21 May 2018]

Recently welcomed back into the Coalition ministerial fold after being forced to resign as health minister due to her expense scandal, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories & Liberal MP for Farrer Susan Ley, placed her lack of moral compass on full display this week when she abandoned her commitment to limit the cruel trade in live sheep.

Compare her present actions with her description three months earlier of the live sheep trade which she then condemned in no uncertain terms. 

The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 September 2018:

They threatened to cross the floor to stop the trade they felt was so heinous. But when it came to a vote on Monday, Liberal MPs Sussan Ley and Sarah Henderson staged a change of heart and used their deciding votes to prevent a debate on a ban on the live animal export trade.

As backbenchers the pair led a government backlash against the live export trade after horrific footage showing the deaths of thousands of sheep en route to the Middle East last year emerged. They even proposed their own bill to stop the trade.
That was within grasp on Monday, when a private member's bill sponsored by the Greens and crossbenchers to stop the trade passed the Senate 31 votes to 28.

Just two votes were required to approve it in the House of Representatives but Ms Ley and Ms Henderson, who were recently elevated to the outer ministry in Scott Morrison's reshuffle, voted against moves to bring it on for debate.

To cross the floor, they would have needed to quit their ministerial positions.
The pair then also rejected Labor attempts to bring on a debate in the House on their own bill. Their two votes made the difference with the bill going down 70-72.

Labor's agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said the pair had put their political interests ahead of animal welfare.

“Sussan Ley and Sarah Henderson sponsored a bill to phase-out the live sheep export trade and made passionate speeches in support of their proposal," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"But today they put their own political careers ahead of their policy convictions.

"Given the 72-70 result, their votes were the difference."

Both bills now disappear into history and the issue of cruelty to exported livestock remains unresolved.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Kevin Hogan's political backflip

On Thursday 23 August 2018 Kevin Hogan MP for Page announced that; This constant rotation of Prime Ministers by both the Labor Party and the Liberal party, I cannot condone. I am announcing today, that if there is another leadership spill for the position of Prime Minister prior to the next Federal election, I will remove myself from the government benches and sit on the cross benches.”
A second leadership spill occurred on Friday 24 August 2018 and parliament went into recess.

Kevin Hogan was nowhere near the cross benches when the Australian Parliament resumed on Monday 10 September 2018.

He is still a fully-fledged member of the Parliamentary National Party.

Still a National Party Whip.

Still Deputy Speaker in the House of Representatives.

This was Kevin Hogan on the morning of 10 September firmly ensconced in the Speaker’s Chair.

At 12:15 on the same day Hansard shows that Kevin Hogan voted as a Nationals MP against a motion by the Labor Opposition.

Hogan's official statement included an undertaking that  he was going to be an independent in a similar style to former MP for O'Connor Tony Crook*.

However Tony Crook's parliamentary entry looks like this....

and Hogan's looks like this.....

Not even a pretence of the announced independence on Hogan's part.


* Tony Crook was elected as a WA National Party candidate in August 2010 but sat as an Independent MP for less than three years before retiring prior to the September 2013 federal election. He never sat in the Coalition party room and apparently only attended the Nationals party room for a brief period towards the end of his parliamentary career.
Crook voted with the Gillard minority government on numerous occasions.

New Holland Publishers picked a lemon in the MP for New England Barnaby Joyce

The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 September 2018:

Back in the day, estimates of book sales were just that – estimates. These days, courtesy of the Bookscan system, which measures sales from nearly every book store across our brown and pleasant land, you can be very accurate – at least if you have a 'Deepthroat' high up in the publishing world like I do. I can report thus, that after being on sale for four weeks, Barnaby Joyce’s memoir, Weatherboard and Iron, has sold 1570 copies.

Yes, notwithstanding the general publishing rule that – with the notable exception of John Howard’s Lazarus Rising – right-wing memoirs don’t sell well, those numbers are proof positive that whatever hunger there has been for details of Joyce’s personal life has been sated. 

Having gone from being priced at source for $32.99 a copy, it had been reduced to $24.99 by QBD books after only 3 days.

It should be in the $10 bin at local book stores by the beginning of October 2018.

So much for a story of Politics, the bush and me being an additional income source for the egotistical, greedy and 'entitled' Nationals Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Under Morrison's prime ministership will church and state begin to regressively merge?

Liberal MP for Cook, former Australian Immigration Minister and former Treasurer, Scott John Morrison, is being marketed as Australia’s first Pentecostal prime minister.

Right from the start of his parliamentary career Morrison politicised his own faith and made sure he identified as a Pentecostal ‘Christian’ in his First Speech in the House of  Representatives on 14 February 2008.

This month the Pentecostal ministry returned the favour by commencing his re-election campaign….

The Guardian, 7 September 2018:

Pentecostal leaders have warned their congregation that “darkness” will spread across Australia and Christians will be persecuted if Scott Morrison does not win the next election.

Others have been told that Morrison’s rise to power was a “miracle of God” that answered three days of prayer and fasting. They have been told that Morrison has made a public stand for Christian freedoms, and has promised to keep doing so, so God intervened to ensure he beat the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, in the Liberal leadership spill.

Videos posted to YouTube show how Pentecostal and evangelical religious communities are reacting to the rise of Morrison as prime minister.

Last Sunday, pastor Adam F Thompson from Voice of Fire Ministries and Adrian Beale from Everrest Ministries told a congregation of Hope City Church that Morrison’s elevation to power was divinely inspired.

Thompson, who says he can interpret dreams and that supernatural signs and manifestations accompany his ministry, said he’d received a message from God that Morrison and the Coalition must win the election.

“The Lord woke me up at 4.30am this morning,” Thompson told the Hope City Church congregation on Sunday, in a video he asked to be recorded.

 “Scott Morrison, he’s a born-again Christian, he’s probably one of the first ever born-again prime ministers, but it’s not time to celebrate at the moment.

“This is a crucial time right now … In the next six months it’s time for the body of Christ [the Christian church] to put its differences aside … and come together and agree that Jesus is the Messiah and start praying together and calling it in and praying for our prime minister right now, and for our government.

“I really see that the body of Christ is going to have influence in the arena of – the political arena of this nation.

“[But] if the prime minister right now doesn’t get elected in this next election there’s going to be darkness coming. And I’m not being negative. The laws are going to change where darkness is going to come and there will be persecution on the church.”

Thompson asked the congregation if they truly wanted a Pentecostal revival and reformation in Australia.

 “If it doesn’t happen in the next six months, in the next year I should say, there is going to be, the laws are going to come in, where they’re going to change and darkness will come,” Thompson said.

“The Lord is saying he wants us to rise up and pray, rather than come into persecution where we’ll have no choice.”

In the video, Beale from Everrest Ministries then leads the congregation in prayer for Morrison, calling on God to help Australians grasp the value of his intervention in the leadership spill.

 “Just as Scott has come to the fore, unexpected Lord, you’ve kept him hidden for a time such as this,” Beale said.

“Lord, we pray that the whole of the body of Christ in Australia would grasp the value of what you’ve done, Lord, and get behind our new leader … and that the next election would be won so that godly principles would be put into place, rather than the enemy having his way.”

In a different video posted to YouTube, Warwick Marsh from the Australian Christian Values Institute has claimed three days of prayer and fasting had been answered with two miracles.

“Firstly, on the 15th of August, the Senate voted down the euthanasia in the territories proposal. No one expected this. This was an absolute miracle,” Marsh says in the video, which was posted last month.

“Secondly, on Friday the 24th, the Liberal party voted in a new prime minister, Scott Morrison, after a week of political turmoil.

“Many people here in Australia of faith believe this was a miracle of God, as Mr Morrison has a strong faith in God and has made a stand for Christian freedoms and has promised to do so in the future.

“It would seem that this is a direct answer to our prayers, as we prayed against the erosion of our Christian freedoms under the forthcoming Ruddock report.”....

In apparent response Morrison has stated....

Pause for a moment and consider the ramifications for an Australian democratic secular society, when the far-right leader of a right wing federal government apparently believes that secular society has no greater claim to legitimacy than faith-based society and, that prayer not environmental or economic policy is an appropriate response to the effects of climate change.


Subsequently he stood for parliament as a Liberal Party candidate and won the seat of Cook in the 2007 federal election.

On the election of the Abbott Government in 2013 he began his ministerial career:
Cabinet Minister from 18.9.2013
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection from 18.9.13 to 23.12.14
Minister for Social Services from 23.12.14 to 21.9.15
Treasurer from 21.9.15 to 26.08.2018
Prime Minister from 24.8.2018.

As Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Morrison had a reputation for refusing information to parliament, mainstream media and the general public.

Eight asylum seekers in onshore/offshore detention died during his term as immigration minister - these deaths included three suicides (one by self immolation), one ruled a death in custody, one due to failure to receive adequate medical care whilst in offshore detention and another a murder of an asylum seeker by offshore detention security guards.

His well-known antipathy towards asylum seekers has been demonstrated by his actions and statements such as this in 2013:

In 2015 and 2018 Scott Morrison took part in the removal of two Liberal prime ministers - Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. In the first instance by agreeing not to stand as deputy on Abbott's ticket and in the second instance by sending his own supporters to lobby for the second leadership spill and then successfully standing for the vacant prime ministership. 

The first two Newspolls published after he was sworn in as Australia's 30th prime minister were unfavourable to the government he leads.  The second was the Coalition Government's 40th consecutive unfavourable Newspoll with First Preference voting intentions running at Labor 42% to Coalition 34% and Second Preference voting at Labor 56% to Coalition 44%

So unlike the prime minister he replaced, Morrison experienced no 'honeymoon period' after he came to office.

Due to the resignation of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull on 31 August 2018 Scott Morrison currently leads a government without a majority in the House of Representatives.

Morrison has not been generally viewed in a favourable light by the media nor by some who worked with him in the private sector.

The New Daily, 25 August 2018:

Morrison attended Sydney Boys’ High School through to Year 12. In March 2015, approximately 300 alumni of the schools former students signed a letter protesting Mr Morrison’s attendance at a fund-raising event. The letter accused Mr Morrison of having “so flagrantly disregarded human rights”…..

Veteran Canberra journalist Laurie Oakes once said on television that the government “should avoid the goading and arrogance of Scott Morrison, where he just pours mullock on journalists”. Oakes added that his attitude towards journalists was disgusting. “When people like Scott Morrison give us the finger when we ask tough questions, we’ve got to shine a light on that and expose it because it’s not acceptable.”

To become Liberal candidate for Cook in 2007, he lost the preselection ballot, 82 votes to 8, to Michael Towke, a telecommunications engineer and the candidate of the Liberals’ right faction. However, allegations emerged that Towke had engaged in branch stacking and embellished his resume.The Liberal Party’s state executive disendorsed Towke and Morrison won the pre-selection. Later, the allegations against Towke were disproved and Sydney’s Daily Telegraph was successfully sued by Towke.

When 48 people died in the Christmas Island disaster of 2010, Morrison objected to the Gillard Government offering to pay for families’ fares to the funerals in Sydney……

The BBC’s Nick Bryant ungenerously wrote: “My hunch is that Scott Morrison doesn’t spend much time agonising over the contradictions that have marked his career, or fretting about the veering course of a political journey that has taken him from the moderate wing of the party, to the right. The main point for him is that his career has been heading in an ever-upward trajectory.”

The Saturday Paper, 8 September 2018:

Twelve years ago, Morrison was sacked from Tourism Australia – two years into his term as boss there. The then Liberal minister for tourism, Fran Bailey, in 2006 said the board could no longer work with him. He was “incapable of being a team player” and faced a revolt from state and territory tourism executives.

An Australian National Audit Office report released a scathing report into Tourism Australia’s management of “perceived conflicts of interest” while Morrison was at the helm and quoted industry observers who had “expressed the view that the perceived conflicts of interests of board members are a major risk to Tourism Australia’s reputation”.

Morrison’s reported half-a-million dollar payout was questioned as excessive and not in accordance with regulations according to then Remuneration Tribunal president John Conde.

Morrison’s ability to listen to others was questioned during his time as treasurer. Sydney Liberal John Alexander, who headed a group of parliamentary colleagues worried about housing affordability, was incensed by Morrison’s dismissive attitude to him. The task of holding his badly fractured government together will make Morrison’s time at Tourism Australia seem like a walk in the park.

Karl Stefanovic put it bluntly on the Nine Network: “You are the boss but you have little or no control over the party … Your party is an absolute dog’s breakfast.” Amazingly, Morrison said he was “not fussed” about all that. “We are focused on the job ahead.” But in a giveaway that it’s getting to him, the PM leaked one of his own pending announcements: that his five-year commitment to raise the pension age to 70 was being ditched. Labor’s Jim Chalmers quipped the PM was getting in first.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 November 2012:

In 1998, aged 30, Morrison went to New Zealand to run that country's national Office of Tourism and Sport, answering directly to the then tourism minister, Murray McCully. He became known as "Murray's Rottweiler", so enthusiastically did he throw himself into a battle between the minister and the national tourism board. When the dust settled, the casualties included the board's chairman and chief executive, as well as McCully himself. A Wellington newspaper reported that in the ensuing inquiry, Morrison emerged as "a cross between Rasputin and Crocodile Dundee".

Sunday, 9 September 2018

How the NSW Wagga Wagga By-election is playing out for the Berejiklian Government

Darryl William Maguire ceased to be the state Member for Wagga Wagga on 3 August 2018 when he was allowed to resign in disgrace, after being identified by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption as being involved in corrupt conduct.

The Wagga Wagga State District By-election was held on Saturday, 8 September 2018.

Electors enrolled on 17 August 2018 numbered 55,220 with 46,272 people casting their vote in this by-election.

There was a field of seven candidates voters could choose from.

By Saturday night it was evident that the NSW Liberal Party had likely lost the seat which it has held continuously since 1957, with an est. 30 per cent swing against the party on first preference voting.

Second preference ballot counting is now underway and the two remaining candidates are Independent Joe McGirr and Labor's Dan Hayes.

The final result is expected to leave the Berejiklian Coalition Government with 72 members out of a total of 135 upper and lower house parliamentarians, with the Coalition holding 56 per cent of the lower house seats.

The next NSW general election is on 23 March 2019.

Australian Communications and Media Authority has found that Channel Seven Sydney breached the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice during “Sunrise” program segmennt on indigenous children

On 13 March 2018 the Channel 7 Sunrise program’s “Hot Topic” chat segment featured Sunrise co-host Samantha Armytage, commentator Prue MacSween, and Brisbane radio personality Ben Davis.

The ensuing discussion of indigenous children was reportedly inaccurate, insensitive, uttered stereotypical generalisations and was borderline racist.

Almost five months later an investigation into the incident conducted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 was concluded and in September a media release was issued.

Australian Communications and Media Authority, media release, 4 September 2018:

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that Channel Seven Sydney breached the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice in a Sunrise ‘Hot Topics’ segment broadcast on 13 March 2018.

The ACMA found that the introduction to the segment claiming Indigenous children could ‘only be placed with relatives or other Indigenous families,’ was inaccurate and in breach of the Code. The licensee explained that this repeated a statement from a newspaper of the day. However, the ACMA considered that Seven should have taken steps to verify the accuracy of this claim before it was used as the foundation for a panel discussion.

The ACMA noted the follow-up 'Hot Topics' segment broadcast by Seven on 20 March 2018 was a more informed discussion in which a panellist accurately described the true position regarding placement of Indigenous children. However, the ACMA found that the follow-up segment did not correct the earlier error in an appropriate manner in the circumstances.

The ACMA investigation also found that the segment provoked serious contempt on the basis of race in breach of the Code as it contained strong negative generalisations about Indigenous people as a group. These included sweeping references to a ‘generation’ of young Indigenous children being abused. While it may not have been Seven’s intention, by implication the segment conveyed that children left in Indigenous families would be abused and neglected, in contrast to non-Indigenous families where they would be protected.

‘Broadcasters can, of course, discuss matters of public interest, including extremely sensitive topics such as child abuse in Indigenous communities. However, such matters should be discussed with care, with editorial framing to ensure compliance with the Code,’ said ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin.

‘The ACMA considers that the high threshold for this breach finding was met, given the strong negative generalisations about Indigenous people as a group,’ added Ms O’Loughlin.

The ACMA is in discussions with Channel Seven about its response to the breach findings. Channel Seven has indicated that it may seek judicial review of the ACMA’s decision.