Saturday 21st of May 2022

heading towards another scomo miracle?...


The overwhelming impression the Morrison government has projected this week has been one of chaos, with revolts coming from the right and the left.

And that’s accurate. But, within the shambles, there has actually been one encouraging sign. We’re seeing a new generation of Liberal moderates belatedly raise their voices.

When several moderates spoke out in the Coalition party room, airing their reservations about the Religious Discrimination Bill, or aspects of it, it was the most significant indication so far they aren’t willing to be quiescent any longer.

They may be partly driven by the looming election, but whatever the motive, it was an important moment.


It’s true the moderates had played a part in the government’s embrace of the net-zero by 2050 target, including putting their views in a meeting with Scott Morrison. Further back, under the Turnbull government, some had been drivers for same-sex marriage.

In the party room this year Warren Entsch, member for the north Queensland seat of Leichhardt, adopted the tactic of deliberately getting up to counter contributions from right-wingers such as fellow Queenslanders Gerard Rennick and the Nationals’ Matt Canavan, so that the official briefing for journalists after the meeting didn’t just include one side of an argument.

But this week the presence of the moderates, a number of whom arrived in the class of 2019, was suddenly more obvious.

While it’s one thing to get up on your hind legs in the party room, or even to make public statements, it is a big step to call out your government in parliament.

It would have taken a lot for Bridget Archer, a moderate who holds the highly marginal Tasmanian seat of Bass, to make herself the story.

Archer said outright what a number of her moderate colleagues were thinking, when she criticised the government for not bringing forward its legislation for an integrity commission.

“I am a bit offended, in a way, that we are prioritising – in a rush I might add – the Religious Discrimination Bill over an integrity commission,” she said, in very frank remarks to The Guardian on Wednesday.

Then on Thursday she seconded a move in the House of Representatives by crossbencher Helen Haines to try to bring on for debate Haines’s private member’s bill for an integrity commission. Archer wasn’t arguing that bill was perfect, but declared the issue needed to be talked about.

All crossbenchers and Archer voted in favour, and had the numbers. But the move failed because it did not have an absolute majority.

Archer was later ushered into a meeting with the PM, Josh Frydenberg and Marise Payne. She was offered a “pair” for next week, but declined it. 

Read more: View from The Hill: Scott Morrison warns disorderly troops against putting 'a smile on Labor's face'

A fellow moderate said of Archer’s action, “It’s been asymmetrical warfare for too long” – people on the right of the Coalition having had licence to speak out on their issues.

Ironically, it was a moderate, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, who’d had the task of slapping down the Haines-Archer move. Fletcher told parliament the government stood ready to introduce legislation, which begged the question why it hadn’t done so.

The government’s suppression of the integrity debate (which it also did earlier this week in the Senate) was a pyrrhic victory.

It was a bad look: not only hadn’t it brought in promised legislation, but it had also refused to allow a debate on an issue very many Australians rate highly.

Forced onto the back foot over the matter, Morrison later took the unexpected tack of declaring the legislation was actually out there.

He was referring to the original model the then attorney-general, Christian Porter, released a year ago. That draft, widely criticised, has been the subject of consultations, with the aim of producing a revised bill.

But whether the bill will be reworked is now in doubt. Morrison’s spokesman said there was “no final decision” about making any revisions. Government sources said it was looking “increasingly likely” the legislation released last year would be that presented to parliament. This would make a nonsense of the consultations.

Morrison also launched a fresh sweeping attack on the NSW ICAC, saying, “what was done to Gladys Berejiklian, the people of NSW know, was an absolute disgrace”. Given the evidence against Berejiklian, and regardless of her continued popularity, reflected in new polling, this was a very dubious path to go down.

Earlier this week, Morrison lectured the Coalition party room on the danger of division. His exhortation had little effect. Apart from the Archer revolt, negotiations by Morrison and Frydenberg with senators Rennick and Alex Antic – who were withholding their votes because they are agitated over state vaccine mandates – had only limited success. And there were other breakouts.

Read more: With a federal election looming, is there new hope for leadership on integrity and transparency?

Once, the political wisdom might have been that if Morrison were returned for another term he’d be rewarded with unbridled authority – having achieved a second “miracle”. Equally or more likely, however, if his margin were again razor thin, he could be more constrained by a backbench starting to look at leadership succession, in the realisation the Coalition’s good run couldn’t last forever.

If he found himself in minority government, his arm would be twisted on issues (such as an integrity commission) where his negotiating position would be weak.

Morrison has only another week this year to endure his disorderly party room, but the issues backbenchers are concerned about will hang around.

The Religious Discrimination Bill will be a source of contention over the summer. On the integrity commission, the government is in a no-win position. If it doesn’t introduce legislation, it will come under sustained criticism. If it does, the model will be an orphan.

Meanwhile, the agitators on the right will continue their rage over state vaccine mandates, a big issue with the base in Queensland.

Looking towards 2022 and the election, Morrison could hardly be facing a more uncertain environment.

He is seeking to surf on Australians’ post-lockdown new freedoms. But given what’s happening in Europe, there is no guarantee Australia, especially as the international borders open, might not face a fourth wave of COVID next year, despite very high vaccination levels. If that happened, some restrictions could be reimposed, which would undermine the freedom pitch.

While the election time isn’t locked in, Morrison’s plan, it seems, is for parliament to return in February, including to try to bed down the religious discrimination legislation. Before a May election there would be a budget, to focus attention on the economy, the government’s strongest ground.

That strategy has a lot of logic. But such uncertain times mean it is also dangerous to delay, which will be the argument of those who would advocate having the poll in March.


Read more:



See also:

playing democracy...


 ScoMo is a liar...




An old cartoon by Bruce Petty at top...

shallow twits of scomo liars...

Requiring ID to vote has caused disenfranchisement in the US, and the government’s push for a similar law is aimed at suppressing the Labor vote.


BY Mark Buckley


Our government made plenty of mistakes in handling the pandemic, but nothing on the scale of the criminal negligence that Donald Trump and his Republican allies were guilty of during his presidency. Even now, with President Joe Biden attempting to salvage the situation, vaccination appears the only way out.

But there are gathering signs that Australia has a particularly immature and sadly ill-informed set of “parliamentarians” and fellow travellers, mainly from the loony-right think tanks, who are keen to import some really bad American ideas. Of course the loony-right think tanks are another import we could do without, but that is another matter — we are stuck with them.

One reason the American system has faltered recently is that the traditions and myths of their origin story have been hijacked and politicised, and the myths have won out over common sense.

Some examples of bad American ideas include the notion of personal liberty outweighing the public good, the belief that public health systems are socialist and the idea that education is not a basic human right but something to be purchased.

Other caustic ideas include the notion that imposing regulations and limits on the private sector is always bad, that global warming is rubbish, that welfare is money wasted, that citizens should have the right to bear arms, that any relationship or family based on anything other than the classic nuclear family is immoral and that poverty is a sign of a vengeful god punishing the poor.

There are many other silly ideas, but I want to highlight the matter of voter ID, aka voter suppression, which is definitely on the radar for our very own Trumpist government.

Voter suppression is an ancient and honoured tradition in America, and it continues today. Since 1870, when the 15th Amendment was passed, all men (later broadened to include women) were guaranteed the right to vote. This included men of all races, and specifically former slaves. Southern states, still smarting from their loss in the Civil War, set about limiting Black access to the vote. These methods included a poll tax, or a fee to lodge a vote. Poor whites could gain an exemption from paying the fee, but not poor Blacks.

Literacy tests were also routinely applied, with many more black Americans being excluded than white Americans. This often related to the level of education achieved by black Americans, which was in most cases inferior, if it was even available. But in other cases, the tests were selective, with African-Americans often receiving more difficult ones. These measures were gradually phased out during the 1960s but not before they had disenfranchised generations of otherwise entitled voters.

More recently the Republican Party has refined its methods to suit the times. In Florida, for example, until recently convicted felons were ineligible to vote. Many with similar names to felons were wrongly purged from the electoral rolls. That law was reversed in 2018, but the Republican state government managed to circumvent the intention of the statute, known as Amendment 4, by making restoration of the right to vote almost impossible. In the 2000 presidential election, George W. Bush won the country by fewer than 1000 votes, while convicted felons, and some of those with similar names, were purged from the electoral rolls. Convicted felons were, by a huge margin, more likely to be black and to vote Democrat.

Although the presidential election last year was not decided by a tiny number of votes, Florida voted for Trump. As many as 1.4 million voters were eligible to be restored to the rolls, but only 300,000 were allowed to register. That is 1.1 million voters disenfranchised. That would make a difference to the result.

Of course, that could never happen here, or could it? We have no voter fraud here, so there could be no reason to change the voting rules. Well, yes, it could happen here. The federal joint standing committee on electoral matters has recommended that identification be required to vote and to enrol or change voting address. The chair of the committee is Senator James Paterson, a former Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) director. He thinks that if he has to show ID in a club, why not when voting?

Liberal members of the committee made similar recommendations in their reports on the 2013 and 2016 elections as well. They quoted several submissions in support, from the IPA and others. Labor and Green members opposed the recommendations but were outvoted.

There is a cynical reason for such a simple rule. The more disadvantaged you are, the more difficult it is to conform to what look like petty requirements. And the ID of choice for most Australians is their driver’s licence. Petty for you and me, but not if you have insecure housing or are forced to live on the starvation line or are fleeing domestic violence. And many disadvantaged people do not own or drive a car. That means they probably don’t have a licence, so they may be forced to buy some form of photo ID in order simply to vote.

The Liberals believe the disadvantaged are more inclined to vote for Labor, so any measure that makes voting or registering to vote more difficult is a good thing. There is a reason why most Australians despise the IPA and its ilk. They appear to be staffed by strangely inadequate individuals who dream of making life difficult, in a range of petty ways, for the vulnerable.

In instituting voter ID, we would need to accommodate Australia’s system of compulsory voting and compulsory enrolment to vote. That would arguably force the electoral commissions, state and federal, to implement inclusion measures such as provision of regulated photo ID for anyone who needs it. Obviously that would send the cost of elections through the roof. This is another example of unintended consequences caused by allowing inexperienced, or simply shallow, twits to write policy.


Read more:



it's part of "the plan"...

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sought to downplay deepening divisions and ill-discipline in his ranks after a chaotic week in parliament, saying he embraces his colleagues' divergent views. 

Key points:
  • Scott Morrison says he is not worried rebel MPs could spoil the last sitting week of parliament
  • The Prime Minister says he welcomes different views within his party
  • The government has confirmed it will keep its original proposed model for an anti-corruption commission

Mr Morrison is facing a backbench revolt that has paralysed his government's agenda, seen Coalition senators siding with One Nation and the government briefly lose control of the House of Representatives.

On Thursday, Liberal MP Bridget Archer crossed the floor in support of a bid to force a debate on a federal corruption watchdog. 

Mr Morrison today confirmed the government would stick with its original proposal for a Commonwealth Integrity Commission, abandoning plans to rejig the widely criticised model. 

However, he would not say whether it would be introduced next week, before parliament rises for the year. 

"I don't lead a team of drones and warm bodies that I just move around in the parliament," Mr Morrison said.

"That's what the Labor Party does, that's how they treat their members. 

"If you disagree in the Labor party, they kick you out." 

PM 'not afraid' of Liberal MPs spoiling legislative agenda

The Coalition likes to promote the fact that, unlike Labor, its backbenchers are not bound to vote along party lines but the fact that seven Liberal and National MPs voted against the government in one week is almost unheard of.


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If you know tactics of politics, you would understand why this "revolt of the back-benchers", so close to an election, is part of the plan for ScoMo to be re-elected. These backbenchers are the backbone of Scomo's success... Okay? So let's say you feel they're doing a good job by "challenging ScoMo". So you vote them back in... Result: ScoMo's return to bugger your life is assured, once more, because these two-faced guys and gals (what were they doing all these years that ScoMo was lying and fudging?) won't challenge ScoMo ONCE HE IS RE-ELECTED. See the trick?


So do not vote for the Liberal party, do not vote for the Nationals, do not vote for Clive Palmer, who is a stooge of the Liberal Party, Do not vote for the Pauline Hanson party (this would be mad...), etc... So at the next election, the choice is clear... THROW SCOMO OUT!





FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞¶¶¶¶!!!


The sight of chaos in Parliament never helps a government when voters expect prime ministers to lead a unified team.

Scott Morrison took a hammering this week when at least seven members of his own side turned against him in votes on the floor of Parliament, while a handful of others pushed back on his signature policy on religious freedom.

But the Prime Minister will have good reason to thank some of his renegade Liberals and Nationals if he is lucky enough to win the next election.

Why? Because some of the rogue MPs are likely to hold their seats by standing up for what they believe rather than following the Morrison line.


Bridget Archer, the Liberal MP for Bass in northern Tasmania, infuriated some on her own side by crossing the floor on Thursday to vote for a debate on a national integrity commission. She shamed Morrison on something he promised three years ago but is yet to deliver.

Archer did something similar one year ago when she abstained from a vote on the cashless debit card for welfare recipients – a real issue for people in her community on low incomes.

Archer won Bass by just 563 votes at the last election. The seat swings from one party to the other every three years. Voters may stick with Archer if they see her sticking up for them.

Liberals including Archer joined a smaller revolt this week without going so far as to cross the floor. The group included Dave Sharma, Katie Allen, Andrew Bragg, Warren Entsch, Fiona Martin and Trent Zimmerman. They split from the official line on the religious discrimination bill introduced this week.


Read more:



it's part of "the plan"... (READ ABOVE POST)


If you know tactics of politics, you would understand why this "revolt of the back-benchers", so close to an election, is part of the plan for ScoMo to be re-elected. These backbenchers are the backbone of Scomo's success... Okay? So let's say you feel they're doing a good job by "challenging ScoMo". So you vote them back in... Result: ScoMo's return to bugger your life is assured, once more, because these two-faced guys and gals (what were they doing all these years that ScoMo was lying and fudging?) won't challenge ScoMo ONCE HE IS RE-ELECTED. See the trick?


So do not vote for the Liberal party, do not vote for the Nationals, do not vote for Clive Palmer, who is a stooge of the Liberal Party, Do not vote for the Pauline Hanson party (this would be mad...), etc... So at the next election, the choice is clear... THROW SCOMO OUT!





prepare your goodbyes...

Retiring Labor MPs have been told to get their farewell speeches written and ready, with the federal opposition asking for time to be set aside to deliver them in the final week of Parliament.

The request from Labor chief whip Chris Hayes comes amid growing chatter in government ranks about the political futures of Health Minister Greg Hunt and former attorney-general Christian Porter, with many Liberals expecting both men will retire ahead of the next election.


In the lower house, six Labor MPs – Sharon Bird, Julie Owens, Warren Snowden, Joel Fitzgibbon, Nick Champion and Mr Hayes – will step down, while seven LNP MPs – Kevin Andrews, Ken O’Dowd, Nicolle Flint, Andrew Laming, John Alexander, Steve Irons and George Christensen – will finish up.

The federal election is due no later than May 2022, but there is a view among government and opposition MPs the Prime Minister could call a poll for early March, which would mean Parliament would not return at all, or that the budget could be brought forward to March, which would leave minimal time for valedictory speeches.


Mr Hayes said not everyone on the Labor side wanted to make the traditional 15-minute farewell speech but “I’ve told those that do want to do it that they should be prepared to do it next week”.


“The government hasn’t given us an indication yet if they will set aside the time for it.”

While both Mr Hunt and Mr Porter have publicly denied they plan to retire, the former attorney-general has told colleagues 2021 has been a difficult year and privately not expressed great enthusiasm in contesting his seat of Pearce – which has seen its margin shrink from 7.5 per cent to 5.2 per cent.

Despite Mr Hunt’s repeated denials, some of his colleagues believe he could still pull the pin on his 20-year career in federal politics.


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playing democracy...



polishing the votes...


Your article has shown how politicians are recruited in the Liberal party and it is clear that powerbrokers who distribute favours and expect them in return control the preselection process (“PM, NSW Premier at odds over candidates as federal intervention looms”, November 21).

It is a convenient illusion that ordinary members at branch level have any say in preselection when the powerbrokers move in. The outcome is that local members become acolytes of their sponsors and parties become less representative of the people. One only has to look at the dismal and declining membership statistics of parties to recognise that most Australians understand their involvement in a political party at branch level is not really a path to meaningful involvement in the political process. 

Peter Hull, Hat Head



The Liberal machine seems content to trample their local branches and parachute a number of head office apparatchiks into marginal federal seats before forthcoming elections. Nothing new maybe, but it’s the very practise that has contributed to the arrogance and privilege evident among the political elite on both sides. Apart from contributing in big part to Parliamentary hubris, it’s acted as a deterrent to countless quality local aspirants with much better to do than engage in petty party bickering and now provides fertile space for the rise of clearly inadequate independent wannabes. The major parties deserve what they get but the voting, taxpaying public deserves much better. 

Russell Murphy, Bayview


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playing democracy...