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Posts Tagged ‘Malcolm Turnbull’

Well, it wasn’t rocket surgery for KC to correctly predict the PM’s imminent demise.

The political circus act in the big top tent in Canberra had its inevitable denouement yesterday with the elevation, so to speak, of the egregious ScoMo to the top job, after all semblances of personal loyalty and party unity were rudely trashed in a week of bald-faced lying and treachery amongst thieves.

Amongst the many Brutus look-alikes the Big Belgian aka Mathias ranked highly in his treasonous volte-face: one day standing photogenically alongside our erstwhile PM Malcolm of Point Piper, and the next day embracing the assassin’s cabal.

It’s another sad day for Australian politics, when once again personal enmities and hard-nosed ideologues behead their own leader in an orgy of self-destruction. The three As choir boys Abbott, Abetz and Andrews, all inspired by Christian self-righteousness and revenge, got their man. But they over-reached when their anointed Trojan horse Dutton went down to ScoMo, who of course is another bible-basher – is something Machiavellian going on there?  

Malcolm’s valedictory speech predictably also, was full of self-congratulations for a PM job well-done. He looked like he’d won the lottery instead of unceremoniously chucked out on his ear. That man’s ego is bullet-proof. An insincere opportunist, who will disappear into the ever-growing dustbin of minor prime ministerial figures who strutted and fretted their time on the political stage and signified nothing. 

A threnody to the disappearing Australian body politic, may it not rest in peace!

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Liberal Party backroom apparatchiks have been indulging in dirty tricks as their NSW factions brawl over pre-selections for upcoming elections. The nadir was reached with a YouTube video depicting Federal backbencher Alex Hawke as a ranting Adolf Hitler.

Fall-out has been instructive with Tom Tudehope from the Federal Leader’s office already fingered by an ’email chain’. Although not at all involved in production of the video, his resignation has been accepted, which makes perfect sense, and of course no-one is to blame. And Charles Perrotet, ‘key staffer’ to ultra-right NSW faction boss David Clarke, has undergone disciplinary action for his link in said chain, despite claiming emails were ‘doctored’.

Naturally all the kerfuffle, falling on swords and denial has revealed ‘anonymous sources’ as responsible for the dastardly deeds. Or more accurately, to mix another medieval metaphor, staffers were hoisted on their own petards. Use of social networks as tools of political assasination is still in development phase.

Actually the most interesting revelation in this low-life story was that Malcolm’s Tom is one of 24 staff in the office of Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, and his job is apparently to file Malcolm’s twitters! Let’s hope the other 23 have something marginally more useful to do, like twittering with the boss about dirty tricks co-authored in his office before they hit the fan.

galahs

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The Rudd government cannot be trusted nor taken seriously on climate change policy. As Kevin struts the UN stage lecturing others about the severity of the challenge and need for action in Copenhagen, his half-baked Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme proposal for Australia awaits input from the other side of conservative politics. The media concentrate on whether it will trigger an early election, not whether it’s right or wrong. Nationals remain climate change sceptics and threaten Coalition split. Traumatised by this pincer movement Malcolm Turnbull says wait and see what the rest of the world will do first. That’s leadership and policy principles for you!

Australia is now highest global per capita carbon emissions polluter. Coal exports are set to double as new mines and coal loaders ramp up. Ditto LNG exports. Unproven carbon capture and storage technology is touted as a pollution solution. Gross energy feed-in tariffs, proven to encourage solar power investment in Germany and elsewhere, remain too-hard. Rail lines close. Etc.

Against this background the CPRS proposal mandates a mere 5% carbon pollution reduction and upper limit of 25% if other countries agree. Heavy polluters will receive $16 billion government handouts, and export industry exemptions mean business as usual. The Greens call it Continue Polluting Regardless Scheme. Simple test of these complex proposals is whether they reduce carbon pollution.

If Rudd and Wong were serious about substantially reducing Australia’s carbon footprint they would negotiate with The Greens and independent senators to introduce a real, binding, comprehensive scheme. Current CPRS proposals must be strengthened if they pass, or risk entrenching inadequate action, as political heat dissipates and punters’ attention moves on.

Jobs will not disappear under a proper scheme, contrary to energy industry scaremongering. ‘Green’ jobs will be created en masse. From 1998 to 2008 the oil price went from $US20 to $US130 and did not lead to massive job losses, and when it dropped back to $US40 in a year there was no boom. Our economy clearly has the capacity to absorb necessary adjustments in energy prices.

An eloquent statement of a brave new world from Caroline Lucas (Greens UK): ‘Transition to a post-carbon world doesn’t have to be about sacrifice. It’s about jobs, it’s about a more equal society, and it’s about a way of life with the potential to be more fulfilling than the turo-charged consumerism which is peddled by politicians today’. Amen.

Check here for an inspiring rendition of an old Australian youth hymn favourite.

Global CPR may help treat planetary cardiac arrest & drowning. Mmm!

mine Iron Knob

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Federal Liberal Party leadership is normally not worthy of KC scrutiny, with more important issues to report, like Kookynie council elections and the new baby kangaroo health centre. But the flagrant unsuitability of Malcolm Turnbull and other Liberal lights as potential PM cannot be ignored.

The main problem with Turnbull is not only his lack of principles, policy and poor political judgement, but also cynical opportunism and posturing which reflect his character. Electors do not find it endearing or trustworthy, with his lawyer’s demeanour and constant negative spin. The ongoing Utegate debacle confirms this. Unlikeable and lacking the common touch, punters will not go for him. The lamentable apologia (disgraceful for ABC) and attempt to humanise Turnbull by portraying his difficult early upbringing in ‘Australian Story’ is further proof of this opportunistic mindset.

Alternatives also lack crediblity and popular appeal. In the same way that Peter Costello was not seen as PM material by the voters, despite all the articles and books written on that subject. His smirking visage did not inspire confidence or trust. Its not about policy or politics, but simply human nature that some people do not connect with the masses….viscerally or chemically!

Tony Abbott, known as The Mad Monk, or People Skills presumably because of his lack of them, is also not an alternative PM. His aggressive, carping character is unnerving and punters do not warm to him. Joe Hockey plays a jovial, avuncular role par excellence but lacks stature and gravitas for the top political job.

Further analysis of the ranks of Liberal Party hacks suitable for the leader’s guernsey does not throw up any hidden gems. So unfortunately the benefit of a strong alternative PM candidate and effective opposition in keeping the government under pressure is lost, giving Rudd’s team free rein.

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Reverse triple somersault with double pike, or volte-face as we say in diplomatic circles, was performed by so-called Environment Minister Peter Garrett in approving the new Four Mile uranium mine in SA.

Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull was quick in pointing out a gaping hole in Garrett’s credibility from his anti-nuclear days, but then agreed with the decision, demonstrating again his unerring political opportunism.

“Oils ain’t oils”, as one headline had it. For Midnight Oil fans, think Blue Sky Mine (’nothing’s as precious, as a hole in the ground’) and Dead Heart (’uranium companies…got more right than people, got more say than people’). As Pete said, “look this is an old song”. Indeed it is, and now he’s a ‘team player’ who accepts government decisions.

The holes in our political and cultural landscape will be matched by a real hole in the ground, where radioactive waste from the uranium leaching process will be dumped into aquifers. Garrett’s approval does not require the mine owner to clean this up, and his bald-faced (oh yeah!) assertion that there is no credible threat to the environment takes on Orwellian tones.

Mine owner Heathgate Resources (75% US owned) is an affiliate of General Atomics, a US weapons and nuclear energy corporation, whose billionaire chairman James Blue supported the CIA-funded war against Nicaragua’s left-wing government.

The Rudd government remains on track to convert Australia’s economy to renewable, green energy, blah, blah, particularly with its low-key carbon pollution reduction scheme and clean coal technology, coming soon. And after all, the uranium is for export and only to nuclear non-proliferation treaty signatory countries. No chance of it ending up in nuclear weapons. As for waste disposal, well there’s a solution coming soon too.

 open mine

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Coincidentally after his worst week in Federal Parliament doggedly pursuing the Utegate farce, Malcolm Turnbull disappeared – to surface in  Afghanistan on a frontline visit to the troops, no doubt ‘fact finding’ but also reassuring them of his support. Only cynics would imagine this opportunity to wrap himself in the flag was a god-send.

Meantime Malalai Joya arrived from Afghanistan to launch her book “Raising My Voice”, about her remarkable experiences as staunch critic of the Afghan nomenklatura. Paul Sheehan’s recent interview (SMH 27-28 June) provides some background.

In 2003 during the Loya Jirga traditional assembly of tribal and religious leaders to decide a new constitution, she openly described them as theocrats, warlords and criminals. Joya was elected to parliament in 2005 on women’s votes (youngest member at 27) and continued her vocal criticisms until suspended for the term of the parliament. Her life is under constant threat of reprisals. Joya’s message for Australia follows.

“The millions of dollars that Australia has donated is simply fattening the wallets of the most criminal and murderous traitors who are brothers-in-creed of the Taliban. Because Australia is part of the NATO coalition, it has followed the wrong policies for seven years. Even the troops that have lost their lives are the victims of the wrong policies”.

“Your government is supporting a corrupt, mafia-ridden, criminal state. The warlords are the sworn enemies of democracy, women’s rights and justice. The Australian troops are really guarding US strategic and military interests, not the Afghan people”.

“Afghan women like me, voting and running for office, have been held up as proof that the United States has brought democracy and women’s rights to Afghanistan. But it is all a lie, dust in the eyes of the world”.

Not exactly mincing her words, and a very clear message indeed.

Australia’s parliamentary system (like Britain) has a glaring fault when it comes to engaging Australia in wars of intervention. The Government, or more accurately the PM and inner circle, make that decision without a vote of parliament. Even the USA does not allow unilateral executive action for such serious matters. 

Australia’s mission in Afghanistan has not been properly debated or scrutinised in parliament. It remains vague and based mainly on alliance considerations, as always. We look forward to Turnbull’s critical appraisal and Opposition challenges to policies underlying Australia’s military engagement there.

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